30 April 2013

Fuck The Bottom, We Belong At The Top: Hooligans Abound!

A couple of months ago, I started offering training consultations with the idea that there were some people out there who just needed a bit of help to get them out of shit and into suck.  Or out of suck and into ok.  In any event, I thought there were a few proud individuals out there who might brave my wrath and acerbic wit to get a big of training advice.  Surprisingly, there were, and the results were even better than I had anticipated- there are a couple of your brave fuckers out there who are quite good at listening to my sage advice and picking up heavy shit.

One of these courageous individuals is Joe, a dude who came to me with a physique already in pretty good stead.  Though some of you might think that this is cheating for me, I'm not sorry to report that you might be mentally retarded.  People who've already been training a while and who have had a reasonable amount of success are some of the hardest people to convince they've been fucking up.  As such, this is proof of my immense skill, as this dude went from pretty damn good to fucking awesome inside of two months.  Bear witness to the glory that is my coaching skill.

Alrighty, give the peeps a bit of a background on yourself. I know you live in the wilderness and have a longer daily commute to work than I have two and from work in a week. Beyond that, hit us with with you relevant stats- height, weight, age, years you've been training, etc, along with your best lifts prior to kicking this bitch off.

Yeah, I live in a small town on the Eastern Shore of MD. Mostly farm-land. Long-ass commute. Work a desk job during fairly standard hours. Recently bought my own house and assembled a home gym so I could train whenever the hell I wanted. Decided to consult with you to give me a new perspective on training and I knew I would end up learning a lot from you. Somewhat obsessed with the strict press and chasing the feats of those like Saxon and Maxick.

24y/o, 5-10”, 189lbs, 6 years training (with the obligatory first year or so being complete fucking about).
Taken on March 5, 2013.

Previous Best Lifts
Strict Press- 205lb
BTN Strict Press (Klokov Press)- 185lb
Squat- 352
Bench- 253x5
Deadlift- 420x4 (single set to failure)

And what are your stats now?

Weight is hovering around 185lb, as far as composition changes, bodyfat has dropped a good bit along with some muscle gain. You’ve seen the pics. I will provide more, though.
Taken March 30, 2013

Current Best Lifts
Strict Press- 212lb
BTN Strict Press- 200lb
Squat- 387lb
Bench- 300lb x2
Deadlift- 418lb x18 reps (singles, within 30min workout)

Also, pull-ups have increased like crazy, I can bang out sets of 20 now, whereas I was previously struggling with 10.
Taken today, April 30th.

Not too shabby!  Those are some sick increases in a month.  To what do you attribute your rapid progress (other than my genius, of course)?

I think the major factor was that I was busting my ass in the gym basically every day (minus the 1 rest day per week). I’d never trained with that sort of frequency in the past. It was the hard work and diligence toward the goal, that your program instilled in me. I think that’s the key.

We messed with your diet a bit, as I recall.  Nothing too crazy, but just increasing the protein.  By and large, you're doing the APD, right?  Tell the people about your diet, as with those abs they're definitely going to ask.

My stint on the APD was rather short actually. Less than 2 week, right at the beginning of the consult. I gave it an honest shot, but I tolerate carbs rather well and made much better progress with them in the diet, so I immediately returned to the diet that has worked well for me. I actually wrote a decent article about the diet on my blog, so its probably easiest to just link that somewhere [how about right here: http://circastrength.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-biorhythm-diet_18.html.. Although im sure there will be questions regardless.

No cardio of any kind as you leaned out, correct?

No cardio whatsoever.

Good man.  You've made huge gains in the last couple of months- are your goals changing as you progress, or are they pretty much the same?

Goals are still exactly the same, continue getting stronger & leaner. I want to look like I eat sheet metal and shit nails. The goal is simple, become the baddest motherfucker my body will allow.

What would you say was your biggest takeaway from the training consult/program redesign?

My biggest take-away is that I can train more often and heavier than I let myself believe was possible. Most days I was sore, certain body-parts always ached, but I just went ahead and trained anyway. To my surprise, the gains kept coming quickly. It came down to trusting the plan you designed and working as hard as possible on that particular day.

Yeah, you definitely seemed to enjoy a hell of a lot of rep work, and as I recall were fairly skeptical dropping the reps would work.  Any words of wisdom to impact on the slavering beasts reading this thing?

The point I want to drive home is that more work nets more results, at least in my experience.

... Which is exactly what I've been saying all along.  Check out Joe's blog here to keep up on his progress.  At the risk of divulging all of my amazing training secrets, I'm not going to give out the exact details of the program Joe used, but you can rest assured it involved six days a week of training, a lot of volume, a lot of Joe busting his ass, and a lot of weight.  Joe had been doing a fairly typical upper/lower split routine, but as he wanted to improve specifically on overhead pressing and get stronger overall, I dropped his reps very low, shifted the emphasis to overhead pressing, and cut out some of the bullshit he was doing.  That, some form tweaks on his squat, and a hell of  lot of work on Joe's part, and his lifts improved dramatically in less than two months, as did his physique.

This shit isn't rocket science- it's just that some of you need a rocket scientist to fire your asses in the right direction. Go lift something.

25 April 2013

Ask The Asshole: Comic Book Edition + Hotties And Nootropics

I get asked questions so random that a group of ninja specops guys would need years to find the secret nazi machine necessary to decode the code that would unlock the rhyme and reason behind the questions.  In any event, the questions occasionally provide a nice break from mocking sundry fat people (if you think my commentary on Capes is a bit stiff, wait until I start in on Rulon Gardner) and this has proven to be a highly entertaining exercise, at least for me.  In any event, my comic book heyday likely predated most or all of your collective comic book experience- I started reading comics a great deal in the 5th grade, when I had the ability to ride my bike to places that sold them.  At that point, it was a weird time in comics- the Comics Code was still in effect, but both Marvel and DC were paying less attention to it.  For those of you who are blissfully unaware of the comic book industry's self-censorship period, allow me to explain- in the 1950s, comic books were getting far too awesome for Christians.  As such, people in American states who thought that the banjo was an acceptable medium by which they could convey a musical message started burning comics, apparently in an effort to promote the illiteracy for which the Bible Belt is so famous.  After watching massive piles of comics get burned by psychotic hillbillies, the comic book industry decided they'd just censor themselves, and really went balls-out with it.  The rules they set forth, as summarized by the good people at Wikipedia, were the prohibition of
"the presentation of "policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions ... in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority." But it added the requirements that "in every instance good shall triumph over evil" and discouraged "instances of law enforcement officers dying as a result of a criminal's activities." Specific restrictions were placed on the portrayal of kidnapping and concealed weapons. Depictions of "excessive violence" were forbidden, as were "lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations." Vampires, werewolves, ghouls and zombies could not be portrayed. In addition, comics could not use the words "horror" or "terror" in their titles. The use of the word "crime" was subject to numerous restrictions. Where the previous code had condemned the publication of "sexy, wanton comics," the CCA was much more precise: depictions of "sex perversion", "sexual abnormalities", and "illicit sex relations" as well as seduction, rape, sadism, and masochism were specifically forbidden. In words echoing the Hollywood Production Code, love stories were enjoined to emphasize the "sanctity of marriage" and those portraying scenes of passion were advised to avoid stimulating "lower and baser emotions."
In other words, if it was cool, anti-authority, scary, bloody, or in any way badass, it was disallowed.  that left very little for anyone with an imagination and a love of excitement to work with.  By the mid-Eighties, however, comic book companies were starting to take risks, and even the odious DC comics got gritty for about five minutes.  By the early nineties, comics were understandably at the height of their non-golden age popularity, and a number of Marvel's titles were revamped with the most popular artists at the helm (basically, the guys who went on to form Image) to push popularity even higher.  they got a little big for their britches, however, and started putting out multiple versions of the same issue with slightly different covers to capitalize on the fact that people were at that point collecting comics as an investment.  that, of course, backfired, and the glut of comics on the market, combined with declining quality as comics were rushed to print, caused a crash of the industry that left Marvel bankrupt.  At that point, my interest in comics flagged for a while, and I've only periodically gotten back into them when interesting artists or story lines emerge.  In short, most of you guys will likely have never heard of the shit I'm about to recommend, and you may well fall asleep as I nerd it up hardcore.

Though this has nothing whatsoever to do with comics, it's hilarious:

Who are your favorite comic characters and why?

Before I get started on what my favorites are, I need to address Wizard's top 200 comic book characters, 2008.  For those of you who got laid in high school and had more friends than you could count on a single hand as a youth, Wizard is a magazine devoted to the world of comic books, and as such is pretty much the final word in comics.  As such, this list comes as something of a surprise, as it's incontrovertibly wrong, in almost every regard, past the first seven entries.  This list could probably suck more, but it'd be hard to do.  I'll just give you guys the top twenty, as it's long as fuck and consistently horrible, especially as the numbers get higher.  There are "heroes" on this list so obscure they make the random references of Dennis Miller seem downright banal by comparison, and most of the list appears to just be filler.  Nevertheless, here's their top 20:

1. Wolverine- Granted.
2. Batman- Granted.
3. Spider-Man- Granted.
4. Superman- Granted.  I've always found Superman to be the least compelling superhero on Earth, but for people without a scintilla of backbone, I'm sure the magical Superman empowers them.  Somehow.  For those of you who are unaware, Superman was inspired by a book I love entitled Gladiator.  The protagonist in Gladiator is a complex character, hardly invincible, certainly not a Boy Scout, and more of a Juggernaut-style bad guy gone good than a dithering bitch-style Superman.  Whereas early on in the comic Superman echoed Gladiator's darker, more philosophical tone, and Superman had only the abilities of the Hulk with a greater intellect, we all know that Superman later became more of a god than a super-strong humanoid.  A very whiny, uncompelling, unquestioning, vapid, soulless god.  As such, the original incarnation would have made for a far more interesting character.  Instead, we're given a goody-two-shoes bitch who has every power under the sun and only serves as a cautionary tale against letting downtrodden pussies write for comic book companies.

5. The Joker-  Absolutely.
6. Rorschach- I'm not a 100% on the Watchmen bandwagon, but Rorshach's a character worth paying some attention due to the dialogue in the Watchmen comic.  Were he a real person I would meet on the street, I'd bounce his head off every hard object I could find and toss his body off an overpass, because moralistic psychos are hardly what the world needs more of.  Nevertheless, his general brand of insanity does lend itself nicely to the page.
7. Captain America-  Frankly, I've never liked Cap, but he's an American icon and pretty integral to Marvel.  I'll let it slide, but I'll go on record saying the only more boring character in the top ten is Superman, and not by much.
8. Hellboy- Debatable.   Mike Mignola is perhaps one of my least favorite artists, however, so my opinion is biased.  I lump Mignola into the same camp of heavy-handed, overhyped, painfully simplistic, imaginationless artists as John Romita Jr., Sal Buscema Sr., and Steve Dillon, which for me made Mignola's books completely unreadable.  I'll accept it in the top ten, however, as it's an Image comic, the movies were decent, and my personal bias against his particular brand of shitty artwork colored my opinion of the writing.
9. Magneto- A bizarre choice and generally shit.  If Magneto had ever been written correctly, every human on Earth would be dead and the X-Men comics would basically be mutant hentai.  I have no problem with that, either.
10. John Constantine- WHAT THE FUCK?  Constantine was well-written, granted, but it was barely a comic book- it was an illustrated novel.  Constantine has as much right to be in the top twenty list of comic book characters as Oscar Pistorius has for being "Boyfriend of the Year 2013".  Moreover, the movie managed to place an American golem in the role of caustic-witted, chronically overtired, and occasionally hilarious Brit John Constantine, which shows how much respect the world at large has for his character.
11. The Thing-  Sweet jesus christ.  Let's get this straight- the Fantastic Four are, without question, the worst pack of do-nothing, shit-powered, useless, whiny, badly-drawn fucktards in comic book history.  The Thing was perhaps the worst of the bunch- he was a semi-literate juggernaut who should have been wrecking shop 24-7, yet was bound by the strictures of his lame-assed superhero quartet to do nothing more than give Sick Of It All a badass song title.  When he could have been a perfect amalgam of the Hulk and the Punisher, he was instead a weepy, rock-faced, shitbird in the single worst comic book not named "Dazzler" of all time.

12. Snake-Eyes- Definitely.
13. Kitty Pryde-  How in the fuck did she make the list?  In a group of individuals whose powers range from teleportation to invincibility to shooting earthquakes out of your hands to an unimpenitrable arm-plated body on a Soviet super-soldier, the emotional broad who can turn to vapor when shit gets real is at the top of the list?  Christ almighty, even fucking Jubilee was a more compelling character than goddamned Shadowcat- at least that broad could set shit on fire and was somewhat punk rock.  If I were to rank the X-Men from first to last, Kitty Pryde wouldn't make the top twenty of that list, and would likely find herself at the end of a long list of shitty, lazy comic book characters that include... Dazzler.
14. Jesse Custer- Preacher might have been drawn by the same spastic who later went on to make Frank Castle look like a half-starved hobo, but Jesse Custer is badass nonetheless.
15. Wonder Woman- Had the original incarnation simply kept getting ramped up ad infinitum until modern WW comics were nothing but femdom torture porn, I'd be on board.  As they're not, fuck WW in her unused asshole.
16. Lex Luthor- Meh.
17. Morpheus-  Sandman sucked, Gaiman is awful, and everyone at Wizard should be sad.
18. Doctor Doom- Should have been WAY higher on the list.
19. The Hulk- Granted.
20. Miracleman- Never heard of him.  I researched him to discover that he's a Captain Marvel (i.e. Superman) knockoff, and thus sucks even harder than Superman.

Apparently, the Red Skull was based on actual events.

My top ten?  Glad you asked, as it's a damn sight better than the shite Wizard has given us.
1.  Wolverine-  Short, ultra-violent, bloodthirsty, and generally irascible, he's the ultimate anti-hero.
2.  Batman-  Basically, Batman at his best is Wolverine without the claws.  At his worst, he's your average shitty DC character, which is to say, your average DC character.  DC has done more to create bland, useless, almost laughably bad comic book characters than NAMBLA has done to cause fecal incontinence in our nation's youth.  In fact, were NAMBLA to artfully smear the feces from the anuses of their young boy lovers across a page, they'd likely match the artistic quality of your typical DC book prior to the hiring of the entire Image artist stable to restore some semblance of artistic credibility to the publisher.

3.  Lobo-  Like the other two, he's a asshole who'll kill anything in the galaxy that's not a space dolphin, though he'll do it with far more fervor and hilarity.  At some point, DC will get off its ass and make an "R rated" Lobo movie that will either go down in history as the greatest film ever made or Green Lantern 2, which would put it at the other end of the awesomeness spectrum.
4.  The Joker- Not much needs to be said about the Joker- he's the ultimate villain and one of the very few things DC's ever done right.  Equal parts insanity and sadism, the Joker's only real failing is that he was in the DC universe rather than Marvel, which meant that he'd never be used to his full capability.
5.  Dr. Doom-  Given that he's the main villain for the odious Fantastic Four franchise, you'd think I'd avoid Dr. Doom like he was the little-known fifth member of the tragically useless "Fantastic" Four.  Doom, however, is a super-genius king-scientist-magician with delusions he could expand his tiny kingdom into worldwide domination.  He's every Eastern European despot who's ever lived, only less successful at spreading his particular brand of evil over the Earth than Russia's current beady-eyed death dealer, Vladimir Putin.  Had Dr. Doom ever been capable of being wedged into a Todd McFarlane-penciled Spiderman comic, he'd be ten times as popular as the Joker at this point, and would be as quotable as he was awesome at not doing much of anything worth talking about in any Marvel comic, ever.

6.  Venom- As a kid, I bought the Secret Wars comics off a kid who used to sit at the back of my schoolbus- a kid I thought was a total badass.  I was, of course, eight years old, and about as well-qualified to identify a badass as Christina Aguilera's tone-deaf ass is capable of identifying a talented singer.  Nevertheless, I was able to see the advent of the black Spiderman costume as it happened, and was incredibly psyched to see that badass garb make its way back into the comics four years later, even after Peter Parker killed his black suit harder than an eight year old at a track meet.  For those of you who don't get how cool the debut of the black suit for Spidey was, it'd be like seeing an affable but homely Will Ferrell return for another season of Saturday Night Live looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger, all the while managing to be even funnier than he had been initially.  It'd be like Slayer following up Reign in Blood with Pantera's Mouth for War.  In short, it was the coolest fucking thing that could happen in the life of a 6th grader.  Venom never disappointed either, showing up under Todd McFarlane's pencil as a jacked, slobbering, juiced-up, psychotic Spiderman clone.  Fucking awesome.

7.  Pitt-  Pitt is perhaps not-terribly-well-known, but is a super-sweet Image series created by the best artist to ever draw the Hulk- Dale Keown.  Like other image comics, the story never made any fucking sense, the issues were always delivered late, and everything but the art was phoned in harder than Robert DeNiro's lines in the lates Fokkers sequel, but the splash pages were fucking epic.  Pitt was a badass alien who protected a kid named Timmy from something or other- the plot never mattered for shit.  Pitt beat and gored everyone who got close to the kid in the book, and the art kicked fucking ass.  Like Marius Pudzianowski in the cage, it was all aggression and no technique, and it fucking worked.  Ten thumbs up for Pitt.

To be fair, Jim Lee could make Kenny G look fucking cool.

8.  The Punisher- As a libertarian, I have trouble backing a character who consciencelessly mowed down jaywalkers as if they were crack dealers... and who devoted himself to supporting a legal system based on a set of laws so arbitrary they make the rules in the Bible seem downright well-reasoned.  In any event, he had badass branding, the storylines were crazy violent even in the Comics Code era, and Jim Lee made him look so cool you couldn't help loving his comics.

9.  The Stalkers- Alright, it's not one character, but this comic is definitely the best comic of which you've never heard.  Set in a dystopic future and drawn (with the exceptional couple-page horror show perpetrated by Val Mayerik) by one of my favorite artists of all time, Mark Texeira, and written by the guy who went on to give SciFi fans nerdgasms with the Battlestar Galactica TV show.  the series only lasted a year, but it was a badass year filled with vigilante, privatized paramilitary police battling very well-spoken domestic terrorists.  If you can find these books, pick them up- they're fucking amazing.
10. Red Skull- A Nazi terrorist with the coolest henchman of all time, Crossbones.  The Red Skull managed to make Captain America comics tolerable, which is a hell of a feat.

WAKE UP MOTHERFUCKERS!  Sofia Jaramillo demands your attention.

Who are your favorite artists and writers?
Frankly, I never really gave two shits who was writing the comics, provided the art was good.  I was never really a fan of Chris Claremont and generally tried to avoid shit he wrote, but other than that the writer was a non-issue for me.  My favorite artists are, in no particular order:

Mark Texeira- Tex, as he was known, became my favorite artist when he started drawing Punisher War Journal in the 90s.  His art was far more dynamic and gritty than anything else in comics at the time, and I stuck with him even after he started drawing Black Panther, who is perhaps my least favorite comic book character.  He's not working in the industry now, to my knowledge, but his stuff is worth grabbing if you can find it.

Philip Tan-  I found Philip Tan after having purchased every book I could find drawn by Frank Teran.  I was looking for further artistic inspiration, and googled "artists like Frank Teran", and out popped Tan.  Unfortunately, the story lines Tan's drawn have usually sucked, but his art is pretty fucking awesome.

Frank Teran- Frank Teran is, as I discovered after looking for similar artists, one of the most reviled artists in the comic book industry, apparently because the people bitching never had a chance to have their eyes raped by the hacks who learned to draw by badly copying Rob Liefeld's work, which was of course a terrible copy of Jim Lee's stuff.  Teran's stuff was gritty and often grotesque, and was as such right up my alley.  he now maintains a blog with sketches and works in the gaming industry making art for video games, as I understand it, but if you ever find his work in Punisher, grab it- the art's fucking amazing.

Simon Bisley- Biz is another oft-maligned for being too fucking awesome artist, best known perhaps for his work in 2000 AD.  I got into Biz because he did the art for three of the first issues of Verotik (Glenn Danzig's defunct, yet infuckingcredible comic book line)- Death Dealer, Satanika, and Jaguar God.  All three of those books were incredibly drawn, ultra-violent, and contained a fair amount of sex, which is all any growing boy needs.  His stuff seems to be heavily influenced by the inimitable Frank Frazetta and drugs, and that combo's working swimmingly for him.

Todd McFarlane- The man who revolutionized comic book art and saved Spiderman from becoming the joke that Superman is.  Not much needs to be said about McFarlane- he changed the way Spiderman was drawn by making him far more dynamic and interesting, invented Spawn, gave us the fairly badass Spawn movie and the only movie in which John Leguizamo was even slightly tolerable, popularized my personal favorite style of comic art (overwrought, over-inked, dark, grotesque, and basically awesome), co-founded Image, and founded the coolest toymaker in history.  Todd McFarlane also gave the world Greg Capullo, who went from copying the styles of Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld to copying McFarlane, and their work (as you can see above) is completely indistinguishable.  Frankly, that's a good thing, because Mcfarlane's stuff kicks ass.

Ben Templesmith- Templesmith's famous for being the artist half of the Templesmith-Niles team that brought the world the gritty and often incomprehensible vampire series 30 Days of Night, and the movie of the same name.  30 Days is to Twilight what Re-Penetrator is to Warm Bodies- violent, dark, and not safe for work.  Though Templesmith would suck as an artist on a traditional superhero book, he's great for stuff that can be a lot weird and occasionally terrible.

Jim Lee- Lee did for the X-Men what Liefeld did for X-Force and McFarlane did for Spiderman- he took a book with flagging sales but an amazing pedigree and completely revitalized it.  Though most of his splash pages consisted of people standing in impossible poses, frowning and clenching their fists, he inspired a lot of great (and even more godawful) artists to enter the field.  After throwing in the towel at Image, Lee reentered the big two to do for Batman what he'd already done for the X-Men, and Batman's comics were worth looking at again.

On a side note, one cool thing about the image founders- Lee, Liefeld, Larson, Portacio, and McFarlane, is that they all lifted at work when they worked at Image.  I don't think they kept up with it, and I don't recall reading anything about awesome gym-going exploits, but I thought it was cool they had that as part of their corporate culture, given the fact that they made their money off heavily muscled bodies.

What are your favorite comic story arcs?

Lobo: "Highway To Hell"- What could be better than a mini-series written by Anthrax's Scott Ian?  A comic book miniseries starring Lobo, drawn by Sam Keith (whose style is very similar to Biz's), written by Scott Ian.  In it, Lobo travels to hell to beat the shit out of Satan (who appears as a little girl in a party dress) because Satan killed a space dolphin.  there's nothing more to tell you about the plot- that's it.  Lobo kills a shitload of demons and beats the brakes off Satan to avenge the death of one of his beloved space dolphins and to prove, once more, that he's the baddest motherfucker in the galaxy.

Punisher #94-95- Like most of the series I love, this is just an all-out brawl with awesome art.  Frank Teran pens this all-out brawl pitting the Punisher and a huge, scarred mob enforcer named Grisham against a warehouse full of underground pit-fighting deathmatch enthusiasts.  Over-hated and under-rated, these are the two best issues of any Punisher comic, ever.

Batman/Lobo: Deadly Serious and Batman/Lobo Elseworlds- In the former (drawn by Sam Keith), Batman and Lobo end up on the same interstellar cruiser, kidnapped, and team up to fuck up some baddies.  In the latter (drawn by Simon Bisley), Lobo gets hired by the Joker to take out Batman, and the two go head to head.  Again, good art, good old-fashioned rassoodock ultra-violence with no appy polly-loggies, and badass characters.

Secret Wars- This was my favorite mini-series growing up.  It's basically a full-tilt war between all of the Marvel heroes and all of the Marvel villains, and it can pretty much serve as an encyclopedia for the whole Marvel roster in the mid-80's.  Plus, you get to see the advent of Spider Man's black costume, which is awesome.  Witness the birth of Venom!

Good looking out on the Noopept suggestion- that stuff is the shit.  As I have finals looming, do you have any other suggestions for stuff that might help?

First, let me preface this with a rejoinder to the parties who have speculated that I receive some sort of sponsorship from supplement companies- that is utterly fucking retarded.  I recommend shit from multiple different companies, none of whom give me anything more than a hearty "fuck you" for doing so.  Does anyone actually think a company wants me as their public face?  If so, they're likely guitarists in Syndrome of a Down. They're also likely fans of Rant's blog, as retardation and yoga seem to rule the day there.

Synedrex-  Though this stuff is technically a fat burner, it has a bunch of the stuff a growing brain needs, including stuff that goes great with Noopept.  Namely, it contains Sulbutiamine (which improves memory, lowers inhibitions, and reduces depression) and 1,3 Dimethylamylamine (DMAA), which increases alertness.

CTD Labs Adralin- This product is the balls.  CTD created it to be an over-the-counter replacement for Ritalin, and as such it's the best companion for Noopept money can buy.  I like the inclusion of Vinpocetine and L-Huperzine A as well- those are two little additions that could provide a nice boost.

Two you cannot get in supplement stores but can get online:
Aniracetam- This is another member of the racetam family that seems to improve perception, both visual and aural.  I add it to my noopept daily.

Oxiracetam- Another racetam, use of this one in studies "lead to higher scores in tests for logical performance, attention, concentration, memory and spatial orientation" (Wikipedia).  This is another one I add to my daily stack.

There you have it.  The guys badgering me about comics can now chill their tits, and the rest of you can look at the tits and chill.

16 April 2013

Baddest Rivalry Ever- Kaz Vs. Jon Pall Part 2

The face of sanity.

Having set the stage for the battle between the incomparable titans of World's Strongest Man, it is now time to examine the Kaz-Sigmarsson rivalry in detail.  Though their first meeting is often believed to be the 1988 World's Strongest Man, the first meeting between the two roaring beasts was in 1985, in which Kaz and Sigmarsson went head to head in the World Muscle Power Classic.

Prior to the inaugural World Muscle Power Classic, Kaz had bounced around a bit.  After taking third in his initial foray into World's Strongest Man, Kaz went on to win it three times in a row, beating his (alleged) rival Capes by an average margin of 21.6 points.  As such, in their first three meetings, Kaz and Capes were rivals in the same way the US Army and the Iraqi Army were rivals in the 1990s.  Thereafter, as Kaz made a triumphant return to powerlifting to dominate that sport, Capes went on to beat Jon Pall by very slim margins a couple of times, and then lost handily a couple of times to the Viking berserker.  Sadly, as Kaz languished in the frozen tundra of Don'tcomebackbecauseyouembarrasseveryonewhenyoubeatthefuckingbreaksoffthem-land, Pall and Capes had to compete in the shadow of Kaz's greatness and endure constant commentary about how neither of them would be a true champion until they beat Kaz in a WSM.  It wasn't until 1985 that Kaz and Jon Pall would face off, with Capes in the middle like a thong crammed between two beautiful Brazilian ass cheeks, and it wouldn't be until 1988 that Kaz would be welcomed back into the warmth of World's Strongest Man's pillowy bosoms.

Life could be worse.

Kaz's return to strongman was hardly triumphant, as he came in third to Jon Pall and Capes in one of his only losses to the latter.  Not much information is available on the event, save for the event list and the placings.  Surprisingly, the events were by and large Scottish Highland games-style events, which makes it odd Kaz didn't fare better.  He failed to dominate either Capes or Pall, and Pall walked away with the gold.  What's curious here is that the events should have come as naturally for Kaz as banging teenagers and making boring movies is for Woody Allen.  Instead, Kaz found himself for two years on the outside looking in to the world of strongman, about as capable of winning a competition as an armless broad would be at winning a flapjack-flipping competition.  After sitting out the 1986 season in major strongman compeitions, Kaz again attempted to best Capes and Jon Pall.  1987 was the only year since the WSM's inception that the contest was not held, and in its place, was an event some consider to be the seminal strongman event of all time- Pure Strength.  Were I pressed to give my opinion, I contend that Fortissimus is in fact the greatest Strongman competition of all time, but Pure Strength certainly wasn't too far off.  Intended to be a fill-in for the defunct WSM, Pure Strength was initially a competition between the three best strongmen of the era- Geoff Capes, Bill Kazmaier, and Jon Pall Sigmarrson.  What was intended to be a three man race was really just a two man competition between Kaz and Jon Pall, however, as Capes didn't post a win in any of the events.  Instead, Capes won the off-camera cake eating competition and received a shiny participant's medal, which he also ate.

We should all look so good.

Should you attempt to look up Pure Strength, you'll likely only find youtube videos reminiscent of the Playboy channel of the 1980s- if you recall, most of us spent much of our formative years in an effort to discern what the fuck was being displayed, as it was for us mostly static and blurred lines set to a backdrop of passionate moaning.  If you paid close attention, you might occasionally see a titty with a nipple on it, but the majority of the image was analog nonsense.  That's the video quality of most of the extant Pure Strength footage, but like the Playboy Channel of yore, close attention to the image pays off.  Nevertheless, the competition featured a somewhat pudgy Kaz facing a bloated Jon Pall in his prime, with a bearded Eric Cartman in a tiny track jacket looking on from the sidelines.  Pure Strength was interesting not just for the fact that it featured a 1980's strongman competition between King Kong and Godzilla, though- it was unique in its events as well.  Despite their uniqueness, none of the events proved to be terribly difficult for Jon Pall, as he went on to win 8 of the ten.  Kaz only managed two wins, and displayed both an astonishing contempt for the world at large and for anything resembling good form throughout the competition.

Viking power.

In the forward hold, for instance, Jon Pall screamed encouragement to himself as he dominated the field, while Kaz simply seemed to give up with a look of disgust on his face in pretty short order.  The event was actually pretty cool, as each competitor had to hold a claymore at arm's length in one hand and a shield in the other.  The McGlashen stones went no better for Kaz, as he utilized none of the form one typically sees in stone lifting, instead choosing to basically bend at the waist somewhat lazily, throw the stone onto his shoulder, and walk rather lackadaisically to the bin in which he had to deposit it.  Kaz then went on to lose at a number of events for which he was famous, including the log lift, the deadlift, and the caber toss.  Jon Pall, to his credit, had been training in the Highland Games events for some time, making his transition from powerlifting to strongman to Highland Games rather easily.  Kaz, though an accomplished Highland Games competitor and all-around strongman badass, couldn't manage to channel his obvious hatred for all things great and small long enough to win anything but the weight for height and the stone carry, though he should have won some kind of award for "best look of boredom and contemptousness in history".

I'm paying attention and I care.  Seriously.  I do.

At the time, Kaz held multiple world records in powerlifting and was the only three-time World's Strongest Man.  Thus, in spite of the fact that he placed behind both Sigmarsson and Capes in strongman, he was still arguably the strongest human on the planet, and his workout belied his superhuman stature.  Surprisingly, Kaz only trained four days a week, though his volume was pretty much what you'd expect- a hell of a lot of work.  You've likely seen some nonsense online wherein Kaz trained with high reps, though that's not what I found, and it's not what would make sense- high reps would make about as much sense for Bill Kazmaier as a donkey would be for transportation in a race against a Ferrari.

In case you want to see it for yourself.

When getting ready for a meet, Kaz would plan out his workouts months in advance, so he'd be able to envision exactly what he'd be lifting in preparation for the lifts he'd be making.  Thus, once he actually got underneath the poundages that would liquefy the bowels of lesser mortals, he'd already lifted them dozens of times in his head- this way, everything he did was old hat, even the first time he actually lifted it.  Though you'll read all over that Kaz only did sets of 10 and higher, his competition prep would begin with sets of 5, then drop to 3 and then 2 as the meets approached.

Bench (heavy)- warm up, then 4 work sets
Wide Grip Bench- 3 x 10 reps
Narrow Grip Bench- 3 sets x 10 reps
Front Delt Raise 4 sets x 8 reps
Dumbell Seated Press 4 sets x 10 reps
Side Delt Raise 4 sets x 10 reps
Lying Tricep Push (after 2 warm up sets) 6 sets x 10 reps
Tricep Push Down 4 sets x 10 reps

Squat (heavy) warm up, then 4 work sets
Deadlift (light) warm up, then 3 work sets
Shrugs 2 sets x 15-40 reps, 1 set x 10-20 reps
Seated Hammer Curls 4 sets x 12 reps
Standing Curl 4 sets x 10 reps
Close Grip Chin Ups 3 sets x max on each set
Seated Row 4 sets x 10 reps
Leg Extensions 3 sets x 10 reps
Leg Curl 3 sets x 10 reps
Calf Raise 3 sets x 15-25 reps

Bench (light) warm up, then 3 work sets
Wide Grip Bench 3 sets x 10 reps
Narrow Grip Bench 3 sets x 10 reps
Dumbell Seated Press (heavy) warm up, then 4 sets x 8 reps
Front Delt Raise 4 sets x 10 reps
Tennis Backhand Cable Extensions 4 sets x 10 reps
Prone Tricep Extension 4 sets x 10 reps

Deadlift (heavy) warm up, then 4 work sets
Squat (light) warm up, then 4 sets x10 reps
Shrugs (heavy) 4 sets x 10-15 reps
Seated Hammer Curl 4 sets x 8 reps
Concentration Curl 4 sets x 12 reps
One Arm Row – 3 positions 3 sets x 10 reps
Wide Grip Pull (down to chest) 4 sets x 10 reps
Leg Extensions 3 sets x 10 reps
Leg Curl 3 sets x 10 reps
Calf Raise 3 sets x 15-25 reps
(Ab Work When Possible)

I've no idea how long these workouts must have taken, but it's longer than most of us are willing to spend in the gym... or is it?  In the next installment, we'll take a look at how Jon Pall lifted to prepare for battle with Kaz, and I'll probably just dispense with pics of Kaz, Jon Pall, and Cartman for pics of a certain Brazilian broad with a gigantic booty.

One more Andressa Soares pic, because booty.

Hercules, Iron.  Bill Kazmaier Routine (apparently sourced from Marty Gallagher article no longer available online).   Muscle and Brawn.  28 Jun 2009.  Web.  3 Apr 2013.  http://muscleandbrawn.com/bill-kazmaier-training-routine/

Smoker, John.  A Seminar with Kazmaier.  Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  Nov 2009.  Web.  3 APr 2013.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/11/seminar-with-kazmaier-jon-smoker.html

No homosexual is gay enough not to fuck this broad.

11 April 2013

Baddest Rivalry Ever: Bill Kazmeier vs. Jon Pall Sigmarsson

Godzilla and Mothra.  Tyson and Holyfield.  Tom and Jerry.  Frazier and Ali.  Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant.  David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar.  Humanity has always loved a good rivalry, and the World's Strongest Man is no exception.  Unfortunately, WSM is no longer as it was, with huge men with huger personalities doing battle on what amounted to a game show for the illustrious British Meat trophy.  Certainly, modern athletes are better prepared for the events, better conditioned, and altogether superhuman, but the contest lacks the pitched battles of its forebears, the compelling characters, and the yearly rivalries.  The earliest of these rivalries was Britain's Geoff Capes, a man who from his appearance seemed better suited to beach volleyball than strongman, versus a psychotic, foaming at-the-mouth, apoplectic Bill Kazmaier.   Capes really couldn't hang with Kaz on anything, and was far too nice a guy to really make the rivalry interesting.  The hilariously named British Meat company was the sponsor at the time, however, so the show really tried to prop up their Brits as much as humanly possible.  Kaz dominated the field in 1981 and 1982, crushing his competition so completely that he was not invited back to the competition until 1988.

Jon Pall, some tiny goofball, and Geoff Capes, President of Sadotopia and Duke of Fatbodiland.

By the time Kaz got back into the WSM, Jon Pall Sigmarsson, a hilarious, jacked, and Norse-pride-infused Icelander was on top of the WSM heap.  Jon Pall was an interesting counterpoint to Kaz- whereas Kaz seemed to rely on a blend of hate-fueled rage and brute strength, Jon Pall combined a wry sense of humor, a hell of a lot of Viking pride, and an extremely diligent training schedule.  The two men then battled for preeminence in the world of strongman from 1987 through 1989, when Kaz finally quit the sport as his injuries accumulated faster than he could recover from each.  Frankly, one could say that their rivalry began after Kaz's strongman and powerlifting careers had reached their zenith, but their rivalry managed to transcend that fact simply because each was batshit insane enough, each in his own way, to make the competitions featuring both behemoths the greatest in history.

First, a tale of the tape:

On paper, both of these massive dudes were fairly similar- they were of similar height, more or less similar weight, and both began as powerlifters, though Kaz competed as a superheavyweight and Jon Pall competed in the 275 lb class.  Kaz, eldest of the two by seven years, started lifting weights when he was at the University of Wisconsin, where he played fullback.  After two years, Kaz dropped out of school to pursue powerlifting, doing virtually every ridiculously manly job he could find while doing so.  It's said that a man once immediately grew a full beard after accidentally brushing shoulders with Kaz in the gym, and that he was able to induce pregnancy and miscarriage in any woman within 100 yards of him simply by thrusting his hips in her general direction and giving her his most alluring, bug-eyed, psychotic, "I'm going to eat your babies" stare.

Cue "Big Pimpin'"

He obtained his unbelievable machismo and testosterone levels at least in part from the jobs he held after leaving football, as he worked as a Patrick Swayze-esque "cooler" in the roughest bars he could find, an oil rig roughneck, and a lumberjack, looking equally magnificent in a leather duster, whatever it is that roughnecks wear, and plaid and a bushy beard.  While working his way through his list of jobs guaranteed to put 100 lbs on your bench and an inch on your penis, Kaz set a world record in the raw bench press and completely dominated the superheavy weight class.  Bored with his dominance of a sport that consisted of three measly events, Kaz shifted his attention to the wild and woolly world of strongman, wherein he became the first man mountain to lift all five of the famed McGlashan stones (now known as the Atlas stones) in competition, the first man to press the Thomas Inch dumbbell overhead, the first man to win three World's Strongest Man competitions in a row, and the only person of whom I've ever heard who has had their physique compared favorably to that of a dinosaur and an elephant.  I'm not bullshitting you- in one Cambridge University text on animal physiology, Kaz's superhuman squat and bench press were used by a scientist to determine how large an animal could possibly get on our planet.

Kaz rounded out his storied strength career with a tryout with the green Bay Packers (a move later imitated with similar failure by the man with the worst tattoo in history, Brock Lesnar) and stints in the WCW, RINGS, and New Japan, wherein he was at his leanest and most intimidating.  Before moving his one-man circus to wrestling, however, Kaz compiled one hell of a record in strength sports:

Strongman Competitions

World's Strongest Man
1979-  3rd
1980- 1st
1981- 1st
1982-  1st
1988- 2nd
1989- 4th

World Muscle Power Championships
1985- 3rd
1988- 1st

World Strongman Challenge
1988- 3rd
1990- 2nd

Pure Strength
1987- 2nd
1988- 1st  w/Stuart Thompson
1989- 2nd w/O.D. Wilson
1990- 1st w/O.D. Wilson

Scottish Power Challenge
1984- 1st
1985- 1st
1986- 1st
1987- 1st
1988- 1st
1989- 1st

Strongbow Strongman
1980- 1st

Le Defi Mark Ten Challenge
1987- 1st
1990- 2nd

Powerlifting Competitions
  • Junior National Powerlifting Champion-275 Pound Class-(760-512-760-2033) (1978)
  • Senior National Powerlifting Champion-275 Pound Class-(782-534-804-2121) (1978)
  • World Powerlifting Champion-Superheavyweight-(865-622-804-2292 lbs) (1979)
  • World Record-Bench Press-Superheavyweight-622 lbs (1979)
  • World Record-Bench Press-Superheavyweight-634 lbs (1980)
  • World Record-Bench Press-Superheavyweight-639 lbs (1981)
  • World Record-Bench Press-Superheavyweight-661 lbs (1981)
  • World Record-Powerlifting Total-Superheavyweight-(926-661-837-2424 lbs) (1981)
  • World Record-Deadlift-Superheavyweight-887 lbs (1981)
  • Senior National Powerlifting Champion-Superheavyweight Class-(870-540-837-2248) (1982)
  • World Powerlifting Champion-Superheavyweight Class-(848-501-799-2149) (1983)
As if that wasn't enough, Kaz set some other random records and benchmarks worth noting for comparison with Jon Pall:
  • Louis Cyr Dumbbell Side Raise and Hold- (Louis Cyr-88 lbs in one hand and 97 lbs in the other); 89 lbs in one hand and 101 lbs in the other for 6 reps. 
  • Louis Cyr Dumbbell Front Raise and Hold- (Louis Cyr-131 lbs. for 1 rep.) 210 lbs x 6 reps.
  • Loglift- 375 lbs 
  • Dumbbell Press-100 lbs X 40 reps
  • Member of 10 Man Team that Pulled a 14 ton Tractor and Attached Caravan for 2 Miles
  • Barbell Curl- 440 lbs
  • Barbell Cheat Curl- 315 lbs x 15
  • Seated Barbell Press- 448 lbs X 3 
  • Deadlift (with straps)-904 lbs 
  • 56 lb. Weight Toss Over Bar (Scottish Highland Games)-Height: 18 feet and 3 inches 
  • 374 Clean and Jerk, 837 Deadlift, 120s x 17 Dumbbell Press in the Strongbow Superman Contest

Jon Pall was no slouch in the awesome department, either.  Growing up on an island near Iceland's largest fjord, Jon Pall apparently wandered the countryside lifting frozen rocks and sacrificing babies to the Norse gods.  By the time he was 15, Jon Pall started competing in Olympic weightlifting, as Europeans seem to think destroying their joins and masturbating with PVC pipe is an enjoyable way to pass the time.  He trained in glima from the age of five onward as well, as he put on at least one public exhibition of his skills in the sport during his strongman career.  For those of you who lack Wikipedia access, glima is a type of belt wrestling not dissimilar to that of the Mongolians and Tibetans, Schwingen, and a couple of other random styles scattered throughout the world, and glima is basically Iceland's national sport.  In any event, Jon Pall eventually tired of his wacky Eastern European trick lifting and joined the legions of beasts who were at that time setting a new world record in powerlifting every other hour.

After excelling in the sport and coming to the realization that a world record in powerlifting is little more important to the world at large than the release of a new model Daewoo automobile, Jon Pall decided to try his hand at strongman.  Unfortunately, Sigmarsson's breakout year occurred in concert with Kaz's shunning, so the two did not meet on a battlefield blessed by Brodin in 1983.  Like Kaz, Sigmarsson kept competing in powerlifting while a strongman, and set the Iceland and European world records in the bench, squat and deadlift in 1983.  In 1984, discontented with merely ruling two strength sports, Jon Pall oiled up, strapped on a banana hammock, and won the Icelandic bodybuilding championships.  Thereafter, he went back and shit all over his competition for a few years in strongman (becoming the first man to win four WSMs in a row) until his heart exploded while deadlifting- just as a Viking would want to go.

Jon Pall's competition resume reads much like Kaz's, which is part of what made their rivalry so awesome.

World's Strongest Man
1983 - 2nd
1984 - 1st
1985 - 2nd
1986 - 1st
1988 - 1st
1989 - 3rd
1990 - 1st

World Muscle Power Championship
1985 - 1st
1986 - 1st
1987 - 2nd
1988 - 3rd
1989 - 1st
1990 - 1st
1991 - 1st
1992 - 3rd

Europe's Strongest Man
1983 - 3rd
1985 - 1st
1986 - 1st
1987 - 3rd
1988 - 2nd
1989 - 3rd
1990 - 4th
1992 - 4th

Scottish Power Challenge
1989 - 1st

Le Defi Mark Ten Challenge
1985  - 3rd
1986 - 2nd
1987 - 5th

Pure Strength
1987 - 1st

Scandinavian Strongest Man
1982 - 1st

European Hercules
1991 - 2nd
1992 - 6th

Ultimate Challenge Competition 
1987 - 1st
1987 Japan Grand Prix - 2nd

Corby Great Eccleston (England) 
1989 - 1st

Iceland's Kraftur Contest 
1989 - 1st

Nissan Power Cup 
1990 - 1st

European Muscle Power Championship
1990 - 1st

Iceland's Strongest Man 
1985 - 1st
1990 - 1st
1991 - 1st
1992 - 1st

Finland's Strongest Man
1989 - 1st
1992 - 1st


IPF World Powerlifting Championships 
1981 - 3rd 125kg

EPF European Powerlifting Championships
1980 - 2nd 125kg
1981 - 2nd 125kg
1983 -1st 125kg

NPF Nordic Powerlifting Championships
1979 - 2nd +110kg
1980 - 1st +125kg
1981 - 1st +125kg

Olympic Weightlifting
1980 Icelandic Olympic weightlifting Championships - 1st

Highland Games
1986 Carmunnock Highland Games (Scotland) - 7th
1986 Commonwealth Highland Games (Scotland) - 1st

Also like Kaz, Jon Pall set some fairly impressive personal records worth noting for their upcoming comparison:
  • In competition (1980)- Snatch: 242 lbs, Clean and Jerk: 330 lbs at 272 lbs.
  • One arm deadlift- 506 lbs (without straps)
  • First man to load a 150kg Atlas stone
  • Pushed 3,000 lb wheelbarrow 3.06m

This is how the stage was set for these two titans of strength to meet in our Earthly Valhalla known as the World's Strongest Man.  Up next, Kaz talks some shit and Jon Pall metaphorically bitch slaps him in their first meeting, then they become friends even while screaming and foaming at the mouth, plus the workouts that made them the beasts they were.

Please the Facebook gods and like this shit on Facebook.  Apparently it means something if you do.
Bill Kazmaier.  American Strength Legends.  Web.  1 Apr 2013.  http://samson-power.com/ASL/kaz.html

Bill Kazmaier.  Wikipedia.  Web.  4 Apr 2013.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Kazmaier

Freedman, Lisa.  Fittest Americans of All-Time.  Men's Fitness.  Web.  3 Apr 2013.  http://www.mensfitness.com/leisure/entertainment/fittest-americans-of-all-time?page=6

Holden, Ted.  Dinosaurs and the gravity problem.  The Anomalist.  Summer 1994.  Web.  11 Apr 2013.  http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/ciencia_dinosaurs01.htm

Henderson, Bill.  Jon Pall Sigmarsson.  Strongestman.billhenderson.org.  Web.  11 Apr 2013.  http://strongestman.billhenderson.org/bios/jonpall.html

Jon-Pall Sigmarsson Tribute Page.  Web. 11 Apr 2013.  http://home.earthlink.net/~jonpallsigmarsson/

Jón Páll Sigmarsson.  Wikipedia.  Web.  11 Apr 2013.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%B3n_P%C3%A1ll_Sigmarsson