5 Things I’ve Learned in 2012

I’ve never really wrote one of these before so I’m giving it a shot.  I know you will find these points very interesting.  You will also be able to walk away with some information that might help you reach your goals quicker.  Read on…

 

1. Carbs are king when it comes to weight gain, size gains, and strength gains.

If you are looking to gain weight you need to consume carbohydrates.  Paul Carter at Lift-Run-Bang talks about this consistently and I completely agree on this.  No bodybuilder or large person that you or I have ever seen did so without eating carbohydrates.  I’m sorry if I insulted the Paleo’s who read this (of which there is probably 1), but it’s true.

Current and Former NFL Superstars. If you think they skipped carbs to get their physiques, you’re nutso.

I recently heard that Arian Foster turned Vegan.  Although I don’t think Arian Foster has an incredibly impressive physique, he definitely has some reasonable size going on.  He built that eating meat, not being vegan.  I get sick of hearing that ‘so-and-so doesn’t eat meat or doesn’t eat carbs.’  You know what, they sure as hell ate meat and carbs in order to achieve their physique.  Now perhaps they can remove these foods and maintain what they worked hard for.

 

I can tell you that I have had a lot of experience with this over the past little while.  Eating food just puts you in a more anabolic state.  It allows you to lift more, which in turn will allow you to grow.  Constantly restricting calories can work, but if you simply increase calories, you will get stronger much faster.  

 

 

2. Squatting a lot, and I mean A LOT makes you a better squatter.

This makes a lot of sense, yet somehow get’s lost on people.  If you want to get better something you do it more, not less.  Common sense, I say!

You want to have a big squat, you want to be leaner, you want to be stronger?  Squat more.  Is there research supporting that squatting everyday burns more fat than squatting less frequently?  None that I’ve seen.  I have however, read enough anecdotal reports to at least peak my interest.

I’ve written at length about high frequency squatting.  For people who think that’s it’s impossible for a drug free human to do… I don’t really know what to tell you other than you’re flat out wrong.  A good friend of mine and me (who are both drug free) have been squatting daily for the past 8 months or so.  Never have either of us have ever been stronger.

I don’t have any joint pain, nor do I exhibit any signs of the vaunted overtraining syndrome.  Yes I experience staleness every now and then, but I just push through it, and PR’s just start pouring in.

 

 

3. Too many trainers worry too much about things they don’t need to be worrying about.

Dissecting whether or not their client should overhead press is a prime example.  Just get your clients doing something productive.  Worrying about every little thing is as pointless as the sequel to Silent Hill.

Your clients come to your for fitness.  They don’t come to get a spa treatment (although some I’m sure do, luckily I don’t have any of these clients though).  I’m not propagating doing crazy stupid shit for 100’s of reps either.  That’s just silly.  I’m saying that you shouldn’t think that if your client overhead presses or does a deadlift that they’re all of a sudden going to turn to dust.

 

 

4. You do not need to be genetically gifted or using a wide variety of mexican engineered pharmaceuticals in order to train with high frequency.

This falls in line with point numero dos.  Does gear help you recover better?  Yes.  Does that mean it’s impossible (without drugs) to train frequently and allow your body to I don’t know… Adapt!? We adapt to imposed demands.  Face it.  Case closed.

 

 

5. You don’t need to a crap load of different exercises to achieve gains in strength.

Assistance exercise can be useful in many instances.  However, being a pedant about assistance is as useful as the shake weight:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbsSeVr5NSI&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

In other words… Not very useful.

Has your bench stalled for the past three months?  Have you been doing board presses, floor presses, tricep extension, upper back work?  Still not seeing any improvements?

Maybe you should focus on the bench press.

Stop worrying about so much about how to stimulate the long head of your triceps to increase your bench and just bench.  Improve your form, practice the lift by increasing frequency or volume,  eat food and it will increase.

 

 

6. Lifting loads that a grandma would find easy can actually be beneficial.

Yea I said five and theres actually six!  It’s my blog though, and I am a Boss, so deal with it.

You definitely know me as someone who likes to lift heavy.  I think it’s pretty much the best thing for me in the gym.  I think others should lift heavy as well.

So why am I suggesting that you lift light weights?!

A couple good reasons:

– Injury prevention: my joints have felt amazing since doing this.

– It’s fun and feels good.  It’s nice to do things that you actually want to do in the gym, so treat yourself after you put in your work on the hard parts.

– It even has some research backing it up.  This study concluded that lifting loads at 30% of your 1Rm resulted in similar hypertrophy to lifting loads at 80%.  Strength gains were not very good in the 30% group, so obviously you don’t want to be using this on your big compound exercises.

 

One Love.

 






Kre-Alkalyn Or Creatine Monohydrate… FTW?

For those of you wondering what FTW means: for the win.  Now that we have that important tidbit out of the way let’s discuss if it’s worth it for you to spend exorbitant amounts of your hard earned cash on Kre-Alkalyn (KA) or stick with the tried and true Creatine Monohydrate (CMr).  This won’t be an introductory piece on what creatine does. If you are interested in learning more about dosing read this.  If you are a newbie to training and are flirting with the notion of creatine use then read this.

 

The trustworthy supplement companies have made the claim that KA has the same effect as CMr, but can be taken at a lower dose.  It also has fewer side effects!  Due to these reasons, it costs a million dollars for a 3 month supply.  Some new research was just released that looked at the differences between KA and CMr in terms of creatine retention, and performance.

 

Instead of boring you with scientific blabber I will quote Mr. Shirley from Christmas Vacation “give me layman terms, none of that inside bullshit jargon that nobody understands.”  Basically the researchers tested KA on one group and CMr on the other group.  Why a control group wasn’t used is beyond me.  All participants were previously trained as well which makes this study slightly more useful than if they had used untrained subjects.  Untrained subjects will get stronger and bigger with no intervention.  So using them as test subjects for supplements is comical.

 

Anyways, the KA group was separated into two.  One group loaded creatine for a week (5g/4x / day, then 5g/day) (KA-L), the other (KA-H) took in 1.5g/day.  The CMr group loaded for a week (5g/4x / day, then 5g/day) and then went on a maintenance does.  Oddly enough, the KA manufacturers have such a high esteem for their product that they suggest you use only 1.5g/ day rather than load.

 

The researchers analyzed “muscle biopsies from the vastus lateralis, fasting blood samples, body weight, DEXA determined body composition, and Wingate Anaerobic Capacity (WAC) tests were performed at 0, 7, and 28-days while 1RM strength tests were performed at 0 and 28-days.”  In the short term the CMr had higher levels of creatinine over a short period of time than the KA groups.  This didn’t have any effect between groups on “body mass, fat free mass, fat mass, percent body fat, or total body water; bench press and leg press 1RM strength; WAC mean power, peak power, or total work; serum blood lipids, markers of catabolism and bone status, and serum electrolyte status; or, whole blood makers of lymphocytes and red cells.”

 

Another point of interest was that serum LDL levels were significantly reduced after the CMr loading phase.  Unfortunately, these levels levelled out over the 28 day testing period.

 

Some people experience nausea using CMr.  Of all the participants in this study, no one experienced any side effects.  So for those of you who do experience nausea, I don’t really know what to tell you.  You could always see what the bro-science board on bodybuilding.com is prescribing to treat that.

 

As you can see, there really are no differences between KA and CMr other than the price.    I just looked at SVN Canada, KA is literally 10x as expensive as regular ole’ creatine monohydrate.  So do you yourself a favour and don’t take Kre-Alkalyn unless you enjoy burning holes in your pockets.  Alternatively, you could send the money you just saved to me (I’ll buy a steak and eat it for you!).

 

One Love.

Random Post Day.

1. I’ve been doing some research on the cytokine response to stress.  Very interesting stuff.  It’s a theory for the causes of OTS.  So far I’ve concentrated on injury, inflammation and cytokines.  Basically, whenever you put a stress on the body, cytokines (which are basically inflammatory chemical, but not all are) are released and do shit to your body.  The question that I continuously ask myself is how that matters when you are training often.  If they are released after you train 4x per week versus 9x per week, what effect does that have on the body.  So far I haven’t seen anything different other than the increased frequency of cytokine release.

Why am I researching this you may be asking?

I’d like to know more about overtraining syndrome and why it occurs in some athletes.  Although I haven’t read enough research on the subject yet, I can tell you that OTS doesn’t seem to occur very much (if ever) in strength athletes (olympic lifters are usually the ones being researched).  Since everyone and their dog seems to mention OTS in books and articles I decided to look into it myself.  Since I’ve been training like a mad man since the beginning of the year, I’d love to see how others could explain why it is that I’m not overtrained or injured.

 

2. When talking to some older folks, I’ve had them claim that my eating methods would not work for someone who is older.  They claim that because I am young I can consume whatever I please and still stay lean and healthy.  This bothers me for a couple reason.  For one, I put a lot of work into developing my methods of eating as well as develop the discipline to actually follow what I do.  Secondly, I think that the claims of dwindling metabolism as we age are true, but are much more in our control than many think.

A completely inactive human will undergo a series of changes as they age.  Their muscles will shrink, their bones will not heal themselves efficiently, they will sit more as a ‘replacement’ for moving around or you know, lifting shit.  None of these are good things.  The body has no need to keep metabolism high if there is nothing to adapt to.  If, on the other hand, a person stayed active into their old age: moved around; maybe do some light weights, maybe even yoga; kept their nutrition in check, then perhaps their dwindling metabolism would be able to be kept at a maintenance level.

 

3.   Those replacement NFL refs were complete balls.  I understand it must be a hard job to do properly.  Luckily for the viewers (and especially Bill Belichick) the refs are back!

 

4.  I’m learning a ton about movement and conditioning from using kettlebells on my clients.  They are such a great tool for teaching people to move properly in other movement patterns.  Whether you are coaching the squat, deadlift, or other techniques to increase strength, the kettlebell is just excellent.  As a conditioning tool, it’s awesome too.  The swing for instance will condition you like crazy, teach you to stabilize your lower back (thus preventing injuries) and kick your ass (literal your glutes will be on fire given enough volume).  Most of my clients really enjoy doing them as they feel that they get the same effect doing swings as they would from running on a treadmill for 30 minutes etc.

 

One love.