Wednesday, April 29, 2009

There seems to be a very big surge of people who want to train like fighters. Almost certainly, this stems from the popularity that UFC has made. Lots of and so called "UFC fitness guru's" have been made out of this new phenomenon as well. UFC fighters are, without a doubt, some of the most in shape and well conditioned individuals on the planet, so it is a good thing in my mind for people to look to this as a way to get into a FUNCTIONAL fit state. However, it seems many people don't know how to train like this and achieve the level of badassery that these warriors eminate on a daily basis.

So, I'll shed a bit of light on the subject with a few ideas to help get you started. (DISCLAIMER: All knowledge I have is stolen from coaches and is proven to work by them. If you implement what I say, and you get hurt cuz you do it in a dumb ass fashion or go beyond what you are capable of, don't sue me, because then it will be really difficult to be friends.)

- Train using compound movement patterns: This means that you guys who think doing leg curls is gonna help make you a stronger kicker are way off. The muscles of the body are made to work with one another in a total body manner. So, by trying to isolate muscles, you are making your body "forget" so to speak, how to work in coordination with other supporting muscles, thus making you an uncoordinated fighter, which will make you get your ass kicked by Fedor. Compound movements include: Olympic lifts, deadlifts, presses, squats, rows, etc.  Now, that being said, and I can't believe I'm saying this, there is room for bicep work here, BUT A MINIMAL AMOUNT!!! In order to choke out an opponent, you need a strong hook, and extra bicep work can definitely help with that.

-Train in a circuit fashion: Ever wonder how those fighters can last so long in The Octagon? Well, that has to do with their epic level of conditioning. They do this by putting their exercises into stations and going through them based on an alotted time per station or a higher rep scheme. This also boosts their metabolism because the intensity of the work is do high. Here is an example of one I would make:

  • Speed snatch x 30 sec
  • Sled Push x 30 sec
  • Sled Pull x 30 sec
  • Med Ball Slam x 30 sec
  • Plyometric Push-Ups x 30 sec
  • Kettlebell Swings w/External Push (for core) x 30 sec

All that by maybe 3 or 4 sets with 2 minutes rest between.That's just off the top of my head, and it could be way off (so don't try it!), but that's about what it could look like. To use regular weights, just substitute your exercises in and alter the work time to suit your needs. The point is to make the workout be as intense as a bout could be, so for about as long as the duration of a round (in this case a three minute round).

-Stretch regularly: These fighters need to be flexible to be able to withstand and armbar or an Achilles hold (they hurt like Hell). Also, it helps speed up recovery after workout. So, for the average lifter (i.e. you), you want to do it for the latter. A simple 10-15 minute static stretching session after workout should be fine. Also, invest in a foam roller. It's like getting a deep tissue massage. It's painful at times, but it is well worth it.

-Eat nutritionally sound foods: You can't look like a fighter if you don't eat like one. Most (with the exception of BJ Penn, who ate cheeseburgers all training season and got his ass rocked by GSP), have a very clean and nutritionally sound diet. What does that mean? Well, for starters:

  • Cut out calorie containing beverages. I know the Gatorade makes you fell all powerful and strong, but your love handles beg to differ.
  • Eat 5-7 smaller meals a day rather than 3 big ones. More meals throughout the day means an increased metabolism and constant nutrients getting to you all important muscles.
  • Protein with every meal. Protein is the building block of muscle, so you need a lot. Some say 1 gram per pound of bodyweight, but I'd say you'd be safe around 2 or so. Added bonus: protein has a high thermic effect on the body, which means more overall calories burned.
  • Fruits and vegetables. If you don't eat them, a) you won't get good fiber and minerals and b) your mom will be pissed.
  • Carbs around workout. Have alot of your carbs around the workout for fuel you will need. A pre-workout shake of a 2:1 carb to protein ratio should be perfect. Have another shake after then another high carb meal an hour or so after that.
  • Don't forget fats. You need good fats to grow. Fats help increase the amount of testosterone in the body, and in this day and age, we could all use more of that (fuckin Zac Efron).

Well, that's all I got for this installment. As I come across more research and plans, I'll be sure to let you faithful in on it. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I'm dead. Well, not in the literal sense, as you can plainly see, but in the sense that my body feels as though... I'm tired (too tired to come up with a wity joke. Insert your own at your discretion.) Trying to workout this week has been, purely and simply, difficult. You know it's time for a break when you have heavy breathing while walking up stairs (that's slightly embarassing).

So, whats my plan? Well, it really amounts to not doing shit for a couple of days. I may swim here or there and maybe go for a bit of a jog in the morning to pump some blood to the muscles, but the majority of time will be spent studying for damn finals (fuck you International Law). I'm a believer that your body needs complete rest every once in a while when you train like we do. People seem to forget that part of training. You may not feel sore in the muscles, but your CNS (Central Nervous System) will sure as hell thank you for the time off. I mean I'm an extremely active guy (ladies, there is plenty to go around), so I have to take rests, especially when my routine consists of powerlifting and total body workout plans 3 days a week. Pretty much my CNS is saying "Fuck you man!" 

Hell, next time I get back in the gym, I will most likely be stronger than when I was lifting. I just get all ansy when I'm not exercising, but I know this will help. I'm just staring at my kettlebells and longing for some snatches (yes, pun definately intended).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Mayhem

Random thoughts after a week of work and strife:

  • I love kettle bells, and it is not a platonic love. I love their versatility, I love their applications, and I love the myriad of exercises and schemes you can complete with them. These things save my life when I don't have time to go to the gym or need a break from the monatony. This is the complex I did before my drive home last week (it ain't a textbook complex but it's close enough):

-KB Power Clean x 6

-Front Squat x 8

-Shoulder Press x 8

-Windmills x 8 (each side)

-Renegade Rows x 8 (each side)

-Russian Twist x 10 (each side)

-KB Hand-2-Hand Swing by 12 (each side)

  • I've become a big fan of training barefoot. Not only does it make me feel all special inside because of strange looks, it allows me to feel the ground and get a better "grip" so to speak. Try it, if you don't mind pissing off a few personal trainers.
  • Take a week off every now and then. People seem to forget that they make progress in the gym when they aren't hitting the iron. Recovery is a huge portion of your gains and take it from me, I learned the hard way. Either do some regular sports, go jogging, do some complexes or just take the whole damn week off. Your body will thank you.
  • I gotta get me some TRX Suspension Trainers. These things are great for body weight and core work. Also, I need some bands too for banded squats. Good for developing power.
  • I need a new gym. As I would think most of you know, we are a minority in the world so we must conform to the Bally Total Fitness and 24 Hour Fitness mentality. Personally, I'm done with it and am going to find a gym with my philosophies instilled in it. Time to invest in my training.
  • Nutrition is tough in college. So with that being the case, I've learned some cheap, inexpensive snacks that don't consist of the words "Ramen" and "Easy Mac". One is an apple, three tablespoons of peanut butter and some cinnamon. Does the body good.
  • Supplements blow. They cost too much and most don't do shit. That's why I go to Biotest on T-Nation for reasonably priced protein and supps for a lot less that normal. (Note: T-Nation has some great articles from the best in the biz. Whatever your goal, they talk and write about it. Check it out.)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Since I have been driving for the past 6 hours and just got back to my computer after a heavenly weekend of merriment in California, I've decided to be lazy and give you all an article I came across by a guy named Matt Phelps at EliteFTS. Very good and very fitting.  Enjoy! (I will try and write something tomorrow if finals allow me too.)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

5 Things I Hate in the Weightroom (+1)

Hi, Billy Mayes (Sean Butler) here with an offer you can't refuse! I am here to let you in on a rant of pet peeves that will make you want to punch baby seals by the end! You will  get 5of my most hated things I see in weight rooms today! But wait, there's more! I'll give you another thing I see in training that I hate absolutely free! You can't get a a rant like this many other places for this cheap! So, without further screaming at the top of my lungs, let the tirade begin!

1. People who use the power racks for curls- Seriously, I know that it's a struggle for you to pick up the 60 pounds of weight off of the floor and that your underdeveloped back is straining against the sheer massive poundage, but seriously, when I'm trying to do a useful exercise, I would really prefer not to wait for you to gas through your 8th set of bicep work then lose my focus while you flex your "guns" in the mirror. 

2. People who wear Affliction and/or hats in the gym- You may feel badass when you walk in wearing a $80 shirt that somehow represents that you watch an MMA fight on rare occasion, and it may attract women. However, this wofts in such an air of douchebag that I feel as though I need to move away from you so I don't smell the Natty Ice or start saying "bro" or "chill" on a constant basis. Also, if your wear a hat, I know that you're fucking new or just a plain idiot and with try at all costs to stay away from you so you don't hit me with a weight while doing your 15 pound lateral raises. (Side note: Why the fuck do people wear their hats on the back of their head? Seriously, it's not even on nor does it serve any purpose like that)

3. People who ask "Whatcha bench?" anytime they need a judging on strength- Look, I'm not gonna say that if you bench a lot, you aren't strong. Anyone who can bench two times their body weight is decently strong in my mind and should give themselves a hug (or touch themselves if their lonely). But anyone who judges someones strength entirely on one exercise or movement does not even belong in the weight room and much less near any heavy object (mainly because I could possibly hit them in the head with an 80 pound weight out of shear rage). 

4. Personal trainers who tell me that the exercises I do are dangerous-OK, first off, I have nothing against PT's. As I mentioned, I plan on becoming one. However, the PT's in my college gym seem to think that since they got their certification, they can tell me that the exercises I do will either a) kill me, b) kill someone else or c) kill all the polar bears and puppies in the world. Honestly, until you can give me written evidence that I can die from doing an explosive movement, shut the fuck up and keep having your clients do curls with 8 pound dumbbells on a Bosu Ball.

5. People who watch T.V. on the elliptical machine- There are really 2 things wrong with this. One, why the hell are you on an elliptical? Seriously, there are better ways to spend your time that can burn more calories, rowing for 10 minutes for instance (believe me, I did crew, it's Hell). And two, if you are watching Gossip Girl while "running", I'm almost certain you are putting full effort into your workout.

And finally...

6. People who say I can't do...- People told me there is no way I could deadlift 315x3 today cuz I'm only 160 pounds. Well fuck that! I did it...twice! Six reps. And it wasn't hard. So fuck naysayers. Do what the fuck you want. 

Ok, my rant is done. If you have any things you hate in the gym or training, or just life in generally, comment on this article. Just make sure you calm down before going to the Zoo or anything, those seals are endangered. 

P.S. Thanks to Ricky for the epic Paint job on the picture.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm not gifted. There, that's the first step to acceptance. I'm not a tall individual at 5'8", which didn't help my swimming or water polo career. I've been stuck at 160 lbs for about 4 months now and my strength seems to plateau on a regular basis. I don't generally pick up new sports very quickly and I'm pretty much an average athlete all around. Then we have the case of my roommate. 

He is about 6'3" and 220. He lifts weights maybe 5 days a month and when he does, it usually consists of many isolation lifts with maybe a power exercise here or there. He (off of his own report) can do a 200 lb clean and jerk x 3. I can do that too, but I lift 3 days a week full body AND swim 3 days a week. He picks up sports extremely easily. He is skilled at basketball and other contact sports. The other day, he did a pistol squat jump up onto a three and a half fort table. I KNOW I can't do that. 

This pisses me off. I train my ass off, meticulously follow my nutrition, and stay up to date on the latest exercises and periodization schemes to perform feats of unnatural nature and here my lazy ass roommate who stays up all night boozing, eats Taco Bell and Whataburger on a regular basis, and lifts on the rare occasion he feels lazy can do this shit.

Now you may be asking yourself "Why are you writing about this? What does this have to do with MY fitness concerns? Why should I care about your problems? First off: you're all selfish bastards. Can't you think of anyone but yourself. Plus you're fat.

Okay I'm kidding, but I do have a reason behind the myriad of words I have written above.

I see guys plugging away in gyms, on fields and in pools for hours and hours and wondering why they don't look like the model on the fitness mag or the bahemith in math class. They keep doing everything right as far as they know and read, yet there are still people, seemingly less motivated, lazy people, who are out-performing them on a daily basis. 

What we regular people need to realize is that there are forces at work in our lives that are beyond our control: somatotype, genetics, upbringing, and just damn dirty luck. I'm Irish, but I seem to lack the luck gene our people is famous for. My roommate, on the other hand, seems to have all the best qualities: he's mesomorphic (characterized by large bones, solid torso, low fat levels, wide shoulders with a narrow waist), has the Eastern European genetics to back him up and he just has plain old luck.

Now I'm not doing this to try and make anyone feel inferior (you're of the less than 50% of Americans who trains regularly, give yourself a pat on the back), but when I think of all the problems against me (you), I think of the Nike slogan: "Just do it". Seriously, striving to beat that guy who is just genetically gifted will pay off better for you in the long run a better feeling of self worth, higher motivation, and a great physique to show for it.

Like I tell the water polo kids I train when they first step into the weight room, "There is no ego in here. No one is special. Work ethic determines everything." I don't care if one new kid can bench 145x3 and another just the damn bar x3. If the one lifting the bar is still getting the same workout and getting stronger, then both him and me are doing our jobs.

So if you are one of those genetically challenged individuals out there struggling against someone, something, or just some numbers, just remember to keep working at it and the results will come your way. (Inspirational rant complete).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Books I Like

I'm a connoisseur of sorts. I'm never happy with just one program design or one training philosophy. I believe every training model and idea has it's place in strength and conditioning. That's why I have over 20 different books on training programs by some of the best guys in the field: Robert Dos Remedios, Alwyn Cosgrove (he has survived cancer...twice), Chad Waterbury, Nate Green, Mark Rippetoe and many more. Every one of them has brought something new and thought provoking to the table. So, without further adue or brown nosing (hey guys, remember my name when I'm looking for a job), here are some of my favorite training manuals and reference guides (in no particular order):

Men's Health Power Training by Robert Dos Remedios

This book is one of the best all around training manuals out on the market. Dos' programs focus on functional training for everyday strength and conditioning. He uses power and Olympic style training exercises to help boost metabolic performance and make your stronger while also making you bigger. I've been using his total body model and it has made great results.

Built for Show by Nate Green.

This book is a must for anyone looking for huge hypertrophy (muscle size for you noobs) gains that goes by the seasons. Nate also has a great section on how to look good while not naked with suggestions on clothing, speaking to women, and generally being a beacon to which sex and naked women gravitate to on a regular basis. I highly reccomend it.

The New Rules of Lifting For Men (and Women) by Alwyn Cosgrove

 Alwyn Cosgrove is probably the single most sought after speaker on fitness in the field. He also, as said before, is a 2 time cancer survivor. This book is great for anyone just starting out in fitness and needs a good solid beginner program. Very good read and makes perfect sense for those who don't understand the jargin of the industry. (Note:Check out Alwyn's fundraising for cancer research. A CD with over 800 pages of articles by some of the best in the biz: Liftstrong.

Huge in a Hurry Chad Waterbury.

 This training manual has it all: great programming, sound nutrition, and science to back it up (for all you uber biomechanical and kinesiology nerds out there). In this manual, Chad looks at what he calls the SIze Principal. The program requires that you lift heavy enough weights to get to the type IIB/X fibers (the ones that allow you to lift ridiculously heavy shit). It has total body programming, strength programming, and bodybuilder style triaining programs available to you (it even has High Frequency Training for arms for you bicep crazy people). Definately give it a look.

Muscle Chow by Gregg Avedon

 Gregg hit the nail in the head with this great cookbook that helps you get the nutritional needs to have while also not making you suck down protein shakes every hour of the day. The recipes help turn on the anabolic switch to help you get great muscle while still remaining lean. If you care about your results (which I think you do considering you're reading this) definately get this book. BTW, it even has freakin' desserts in it!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Are you a "hardgainer"? Do you lift and lift yet you still don't see the magical fruits of your labor, like increased muscle size and strength? 

Well, do you eat like enough to make these gains or do you eat like a 12 year old anorexic girl and have a crouton and a glass of water at dinner to keep your precious six pack? If you do eat food on a regular basis, do you eat the right kinds? How about at the right times of the day and in the right quantities and ratios of macronutrients?

Seriously, I'm not gonna be one of those guys who says that nutrition is 80% or even 70% of your total muscle gains, but it is a huge part. I used to think I ate enough food yet the scale never tipped. However,  one day I started using

Boy, was I totally wrong. I wasn'y getting nearly enough nutrients for my needs. This site has it all: vitamin and mineral breakdowns, percentages of your calorie intake and where they come from, and they even have an option to make a new food entry if the one you want isn't already in their database. The greatest part is that it's free! If you are serious about your gains and nutrition, I highly recommend using it.

Also, you might want to checkout Dr. John Berardi's book Scrawny to Brawny.

It has all the information on nutrient timing, ratios, and when and why to eat, and it even has some good recipes in it. The beginning also has a pretty good workout scheme that goes right along with the premises of the book. Give it a look and see if it can't help you, unless you like being constantly mistaken for sapling.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Have the squat and deadlift variations completely been abandoned all of the sudden? I see college guys in my gym walkin around with KFC syndrome (big breasts, little thighs). What the hell has happened? I'm not gonna point fingers at anyone in particular, but people, there is no reason to look like you can bench 350 yet not be able to lift a couch while moving (and I am almost certain women think you look like a douche). 

Sqauts and dealifts not only help build up the claves and legs while releasing large amounts of testosterone (and in this day and age, we need all we can get (naturally of course)), they also make you look like a fucking badass.

So, help me in bringing back squat and deadlift...

 ...cuz we all want an ass like that (or at least want to touch it).

My First Post

In this blog (where the hell did they come up with that name?), I want to talk abou things I like in this industry. Be it products, exercises, articles, books, coaches, nutrition or half-naked women, I want to discuss it here. I will put a disclaimer out though: I am not a strength coach. I do not have any certification in the field (yet, getting my CPT in a couple weeks and CSCS when I graduate college). What I have is a general knowledge of training and nutrition and a love for conditioning and sports preparation. I will not hold any form of conditioning over any other (though I really am not a fan of Crossfit, I guess I can allow it). Every goal and every method has it's place in my mind and I will do my best to talk about each. I also want to discuss things that I see in gyms that make me want to punch baby puppies. So, if you have any comments, feel free to post 'em.