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  1. 12 points
    In response to this fantastic offer by Mehdi, I guess I have no choice but to offer all members free memberships for lifetime!!!!!! And as a special bonus offer, you can have access to YOUR training logs anytime! Wow! What a concept. *music starts* *confetti drops* *balloons released*
  2. 8 points
    A few weeks ago, idle and I got to talking about what we thought were the important aspects of a good novice program. After hammering it out for a while, we came up with a template that I think would have really appealed to me when I started lifting, while still satisfying all of the important criteria that a quality program demands. Let me be the first to say that no, the ideas behind this template are of course nothing revolutionary. It is based on proven principles that are used in lots of popular novice programs. The ideas behind a lot of these programs are the same because they work, plain and simple. Nobody is reinventing the wheel here. This template in particular is based on two key concepts: 1. Simplicity. The program revolves around a small number of compound lifts and uses a very simple and consistent pattern. Each day involves a lower body barbell movement, an upper body barbell movement and an upper body bodyweight movement for assistance. You don't need to write your workout down on a pad of paper before you hit the gym, it doesn't get much simpler than this. 2. Efficiency. Each workout is designed to be short and to the point. You only have 2 main movements to worry about that involve spending time warming up and loading plates, and one accessory movement that can be performed very quickly with no additional warmup and minimal use of equipment. It is very unlikely that you would ever be in the gym for more than an hour, even when working up to fairly heavy work sets. Rationalizing the Template Once we had settled on these two cornerstone values of the program, we needed to iron out the minutia and really determine what we believed would be the best way to lay out the lifts. Choosing the lifts themselves was simple; the primitive compound lifts are the best bang for your buck and never go out of style. What we needed to figure out was how to best pair them, and then how to organize those pairings throughout the week. 1. Squat/Press/Chinup. Starting the week with the Squat is a no-brainer. The Squat is the foundation of any good strength training program and it's no different here. For the first day of the week, it made most sense to use the Press because it is the lightest of the upper body movements, and therefore requires the least recovery time and will have the least impact on subsequent upper body movements later in the week. The logical choice for bodyweight assistance here is the Chinup, to balance the upper body pressing movement with an upper body pull. 2. Deadlift/Bench Press/Chinup. We went back and forth several times when deciding whether to Deadlift in the middle of the week or at the end of the week. Eventually we agreed that deadlifting in the middle of the week was preferable because it allowed the Squat sessions to be distributed more evenly. The upper body movement had to be either the Row or Bench Press. The Bench Press won out because it places zero strain on the low back, unlike the Row where performance would suffer due to fatigue from the Deadlift. The downside is that this creates a less than ideal distribution of barbell pressing throughout the week. Fortunately, by placing the Press on Day 1 and the Bench Press on Day 2, the upper body is able to completely recover from the lighter stress of the Press before the Bench Press session, so there will be no impact on performance. Chinups are again performed at the end of the session to balance out the pressing. 3. Squat/Row/Pushup or Dip. It is widely accepted that squatting frequently is more beneficial than deadlifting frequently, so it made sense to make the third lower body lift another Squat session. The Row is the best upper body pulling exercise one can do with a barbell, so it was the logical choice to finish the week off as well. Pushups or Dips (depending on the trainee's abilities) are done as the bodyweight assistance to compliment the Row with a pressing movement. Sets, Reps and Progression The program uses the traditional 3 sets of 5 rep scheme for most exercises, and 3 sets of 3 reps for the Deadlift. This is very similar to other setups endorsed by world class coaches such as Mark Rippetoe and has proven to be effective for building strength and muscle mass in countless trainees time and time again. For the bodyweight exercises, 3 sets are performed where the number of reps depends on the trainees level of strength. Make sure not to push the first two sets so hard that the third set is a wash. Leave a couple of reps in the tank. It is better to do two sets of 8 and a set of 7 than to do a set of 11, a set of 5 and a set of 2. Being a novice program, the goal is to increase the weight for every exercise each workout. It is recommended to begin by increasing the weight on all exercises by 5 pounds per workout, except the Deadlift which can be increased by 10 pounds per workout to keep up with the Squat. Eventually progress will slow down and it will become necessary to use smaller increments. Once progress can no longer be made from workout to workout, it's time to move on to intermediate programming. Common Questions 1. What if I can't do a single Chinup? This is a common problem for a lot of new lifters. The simplest option is to perform them assisted until you develop the strength to do them without help. There are several ways to do this: Place a bar in a rack at about shoulder level. Take your grip, squat down and perform your Chinups with your feet on the floor, using as little assistance from your legs as possible to get up. If you are using a doorway Chinup bar, place a chair in the doorway and use it as a stool to assist with your legs just like doing Chinups in a rack. If you train with a partner, they can help you perform your reps. Grab the Chinup bar and hang with your feet crossed and have your partner put his/her hands under your feet. Have them help just enough for you to make it over the bar, you want to be doing as much of the work yourself as possible. Loop a resistance band over the Chinup bar and place your knee or foot in it to help you up. I don't like this as much as using your legs for assistance because the strength curve is changed a lot, but if you have a hard time staying "honest" when using your legs to help, this can work well, especially if you have several different bands so you can gradually reduce the amount of assistance. Alternatively, if you have access to a lat pull down machine, you can perform pull downs for sets of 5 to 10, gradually increasing the weight each time you use the machine until you are strong enough to do a proper Chinup. Another factor that can impede Chinup progress is bodyweight. If you are very overweight, the best way to earn your first Chinup is to lose weight. Strength training can certainly help with that, but it's by and large going to be dependent on diet which is beyond the scope of this program. 2. Why not Squat three times per week? Lots of other novice programs have you squatting three times per week, this one has you squatting twice per week. Two squatting sessions is more than enough to make solid progress and it keeps the sessions shorter by avoiding deadlifting and squatting in the same day. In addition to this, you can train your Deadlift harder when you are not already fatigued from squatting earlier in the session. 3. Where's the Power Cleans? Power Cleans are a tremendous exercise but are challenging to learn without an experienced lifter to help you. Without good technique, it is hard to move a lot of weight in the Power Clean and get the full benefit of the exercise. While the Power Clean trains you to be fast and explosive, it is not necessary to perform to develop full body strength. If you are comfortable with the exercise and would like to include them, using them as a warm up before the Deadlifts on Day 2 is the best place to put them. 4. When should I start doing Dips instead of Push-ups? If you are doing more than 15 Push-ups per set, you should definitely be doing Dips. The Push-up is only really included as an alternative for people who lack the upper body strength to do 3 sets of Dips, so the goal is definitely to move away from them. As an aside, you don't have to go balls out on the pushups/dips on the last day. There are already 2 heavy pressing sessions in the week so stopping well before failure on all sets just to get some blood flowing is a perfectly acceptable approach, especially for people who are able to do a lot of reps. 5. How do I know what weight to start with? It is hard to layout a scientific approach to choosing a starting weight for each lift. The best advice I can give though is to start lighter than you need to. The more room you give yourself to run, the more progress you will make before stalling. If you've never lifted before, spend the first workout trying to establish where you're at. Start with just the bar for a set of 5. If it's really easy, add some weight and perform another set of 5. Continuing adding weight in manageable increments until it stops being really easy. Once it feels like about a 6 out of 10 effort, you are at a good starting point. It is important to note that it should stop being really easy a long time before it gets really hard. A 6 out of 10 shouldn't be a struggle by any means. If you have already been lifting for a little while and have a good idea of your one rep max (1RM) or five rep max (5RM), a good starting point would be around 70% of your 1RM or 80% of your 5RM. It's light, but the weights increase quickly and you can build some momentum which will help you progress further before you hit any walls. 6. I failed a set, what should I do? First things first you need to figure out why you failed a set. It's always going to be for one of 2 reasons: Something you are doing outside of the gym has affected your performance. This means maybe you didn't sleep enough, you aren't eating enough of the right foods, you were not hydrated enough or maybe you played a 2 hour game of pickup soccer before heading to the gym. In this case, attempt the same weight next time and make sure you are doing what you need to do outside of the gym to sustain performance inside the gym. You are doing everything correctly to ensure proper recovery but you were just not strong enough to complete the set today. In the case of the second scenario, the first thing to try is still to repeat that same weight again next time. Once you get stuck at the same weight for 3 workouts in a row, it's time to take a couple steps back and work back up. Reduce the weight for your next workout down to about 90% of the weight you missed and work back up from there. Once this approach stops working and you are getting stuck at the same weight over and over again, you need to move onto an intermediate approach that adds weight to the bar in cycles instead of every workout. If anyone has any questions or suggestions, please let me know and I will add them to this post. I would also really love it if anyone wanted to run the program for a couple of months and give their thoughts, it's nothing revolutionary but it would make me giddy like a school girl to see people enjoying this template and getting some use out if it. Also open to better names for the program/thread, this one sucks.
  3. 8 points
    Most of us came from one beginner's program or another where we increased the weight on the bar each session. And then, because of the natural addiction to lifting bigger and badder weights and the doctrine spouted by proponents of the beginner programs, we go to weekly programs and try to milk the gains as fast as possible. I wonder where/when it is best to just chill out about how quickly you can reach such and such a number. Seriously, target fixation is a problem. "I want to squat 4 plates..." and no sooner than you accomplish it, you set your next goal for half the distance to 5 plates. "Sweet, if only I do some crazy Russian/Chinese/Super-Secret-Society program I can hit that weight in two weeks!!" At least that's how it worked out for me. I hit two plates, and I wanted body-weight. Then I wanted to squat the heaviest body-weight I've ever had. And then I wanted 3 plates, then 4, and it never stops. The problem isn't so much the ambition to reach that goal, it's the patience required to hit it. Rippetoe and Mehdi are both guilty of the "push your strength as fast as you can" approach, particularly in the beginning. I kind of wonder if that mentality is more damaging than helpful... But once you've exceeded lifting your body weight on squats and deads (Dan John's definition of minimum required strength for a man), it might be worth putting the kabosh on that thinking. I'm thinking that learning how to push strength with sub-max weights would be better learned at this point rather than continuing the madness of target fixation. So what's the worst that can happen? Quite simply you end up grinding yourself down banging against the same numbers never quite able to hit the euphoria of your next goal. In the long run, you'll be aiming for certain lifts, and then take the same amount of time or even longer than if you took a more leisurely approach. This is my thinking after looking at Wendler, Carter, and even the way LSG and Wathan trains (since I can follow their logs more faithfully and they are much more approachable). I don't know why I keep having to relearn this lesson. It seems everything I tried really hard for was constantly out of reach until I just calmed down about it. The approach seems to work for lifting, relationships, and life in general. This is just food for thought, and ammunition you can use against me if I loose sight of it again. My goal for this year is to see where relaxing about training takes me without fixating on year long goals. Take the good, forget the bad, and just focus on the road right ahead.
  4. 7 points
    Suppose that once a week, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to £100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this: • The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing. • The fifth would pay £1. • The sixth would pay £3. • The seventh would pay £7. • The eighth would pay £12. • The ninth would pay £18. • And the tenth man (the richest) would pay £59. So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every week and seemed quite happy with the arrangement until, one day, the owner caused them a little problem. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your weekly beer by £20.” Drinks for the ten men would now cost just £80. The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free but what about the other six men? The paying customers? How could they divide the £20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share? They realized that £20 divided by six is £3.33 but if they subtracted that from everybody's share then not only would the first four men still be drinking for free but the fifth and sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fairer to reduce each man's bill by a higher percentage. They decided to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay. And so, the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (a 100% saving). • The sixth man now paid £2 instead of £3 (a 33% saving). • The seventh man now paid £5 instead of £7 (a 28% saving). • The eighth man now paid £9 instead of £12 (a 25% saving). • The ninth man now paid £14 instead of £18 (a 22% saving). • And the tenth man now paid £49 instead of £59 (a 16% saving). Each of the last six was better off than before with the first four continuing to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got £1 out of the £20 saving," declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got £10" "Yes, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved £1 too. It's unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me" "That's true" shouted the seventh man. "Why should he get £10 back, when I only got £2? The wealthy get all the breaks" "Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison, "we didn't get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!" The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next week the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important - they didn't have enough money between all of them to pay for even half of the bill. And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works. The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy and they just might not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier. David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D. Professor of Economics. For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.
  5. 7 points
    I have to agree with Beasely and the guys and disagree with this. When LSG announced he was going to do BB style training, aside from the few expected cries of "heathen, boo hiss" from the usual suspects, the overall tenor was supportive, and in fact, I have seen many lifters here finally allowing themselves to curl without getting a raft of BS from the self-appointed Iron Police. I like that this site is not doctrinally confined to one program or style of lifting. I like that I can get feedback specific to the programs and goals I have rather than the endless "drink more milk" or "no curling in the squat rack" dogma that can proliferate elsewhere. I don't think anybody here is supportive of ineffective training methods, but I do think many people here are aware that there are many ways to train effectively and are more likely to understand and support each persons path rather than engage in non productive doctrinal disputes.
  6. 7 points
    3 Years of Lifting- The Most Important Thing I've been around this lifting web for 3 years now. And I've seen a lot of people come and go. I've read a boatload of posts- I've commented on a fair number of them too. And I'd just like to share something that I consider the most important thing I've learned in the lifting game, and the thing that I think might help you most of all. I started thinking of this because of a conversation that I had with a guy just a little while ago. This guy told me that I was hanging out with the wrong people because he could deadlift more than me. That got me thinking. And I came to the conclusion that in a certain way he was right. Now a lot people are going to tell you that the most important thing in meeting your fitness goals- lifting, body composition...whatever...is going to be programming. Or maybe they'll tell you that it's diet, or maybe they'll tell you that it's recovery. And all those things are important. But the number one thing that really matters is WHO you are associating with. When I first started lifting 3 years ago- I was sick of being skinny and fat at the same time. I was disgusted by the flab I had gotten from some years of inactivity. So I turned to the net to find a site that would tell me how to lift effectively. I found Mehdi and Stronglifts. And even though he didn't coach me personally, I watched all the videos again and again. I read all the instructional posts and it got me started. So when I went into the 24hr fitness near my home, I felt like it was ok to ignore the trainers there, and ignore the bros who were curling, because I had faith in the program that Stronglifts laid out for me and because...well...it just made sense. But after a time, I needed more than a website could provide. Plus, the nonsense at the big, commercial gym was just too much. I started looking around for some other place to train. I needed a gym where I could really learn. I found it. The guy who told me that I was hanging out with the wrong people didn't know that at my gym I get help and ask questions from the following people: Alex Galant- 5x world powerlifting champion, 6x US masters team coach, US record holder Mike Burke- 2011 Olympia Strongman winner Rick Sosias- 3rd Place Mens Heavyweight IFBB National Championship 2005 Rob Lewis-2011 Masters National Strongman Competition Matt Rauzi- 2002 Captain US National Scottish Games Team And about half a dozen other guys who bench in excess of 500, Squat 600 and Dead 700. These are the people I hang out with. Now I may not be able to lift as much as the guy who made the comment to me. That's true. I'm 12 years older than him. I've had two major surgeries in the last three years and had a couple of injuries- all that has set me back. But I don't really care. One day- in the next couple of years- I will out lift him. I know that...because he was right...I was hanging out with the wrong people. He just didn't know which ones. The most important lesson I've learned in 3 years of lifting is this: Find people who support you. Find people who inspire you. Find people who will teach you . Find people who will cheer you on. And find them in your communities. I know some of you are in small towns and that some of you are training in your garage, or in your basement. But you really can't do it alone. You can for a while, but after a time...you'll need more. If the web is the only place to get help- then by all means use it. Make friends on this site, find some others too. Keep those people who support you close. But somewhere- nearby- probably closer than you think; no matter where you are in the world- there are men who are covered in sweat and chalk and blood who are your brothers. Find them. Join them. Lift through fear and pain and doubt. You will curse and swear. You will cheer and celebrate. And together with your brothers in lifting you will find: yourself. Become the man you were meant to be. Become a champion. Become a hero. Live. Good luck.
  7. 6 points
    I can't tell the direction of the flow so it makes it even more complicated. But it appears to be an infinite loop. Jak will never get to the gym that way. I think he'll find this one more useful.
  8. 6 points
    Nutrition and Effective Weight Management This is meant to be a work in progress, which will be developed as my own understanding of nutrition and basic biomechanics as they relate to what we do develops, and hopefully through the contributions other people will make. It is not meant to be a diet, but a source of information about nutrition so that you can make your own mind up about what you are eating. That said, there is an overarching principal to help people achieve their goals (whether that is to add muscle or cut fat, possibly both), and that is programming a diet based on individual goals and training needs and then sticking to those macros. This is a brilliant calculator which will work out your macros for you and this is a very helpful online food log, which makes tracking your consumption of macros easy. I'll explain more about the research behind the calculators below, but they are the only tools you need to jump straight in. This is not a diet; it is an approach to organising dietary requirements to achieve goals without the trappings of rules on what you must and must not eat. However, the post will go into the information you need to help you decide what may be better food choices (hopefully providing a balanced point of view). There are several weightlifting centric diets that are discussed in better detail elsewhere in the forum. Some of the concepts in those diets may be covered in brief here as part of the overall discussion. I am not saying that you should use this approach instead of any of those diets, but your may find this approach easier to follow. Introduction of Dietary Concepts The premise of this approach works on the basis that managing macro nutrients is a fundamental part of achieving your goals, more so than the actual food you eat. In other words, broadly speaking you are fine to eat what you want providing that you eat to your macro nutrients, which are calculated to be specific to you (your age, height, weight, and so on), your training and your goals. However, this is not a license to eat junk food all the time, because that would completely ignore your micro nutrients and you would eat an excess of undesirables; like salt (a mineral not a macro) and unsaturated “trans” fats. That would be detrimental to your overall health and should not be done. Excess calorie consumption / consumption of macro nutrients is broadly the real reason people are fat, fatter than they would prefer, or put on too much fat when trying to build muscle. This is as true for people who do not train as it is for those who do. It is not that simple, however. There is growing evidence to suggest that some people who cannot eat enough and some people eat too much have too much or too little of the appetite controlling hormone Leptin. People are advised by governments to eat, “healthily”, and if they do, purportedly they will not be fat. This is not true. For a start there is no universal definition of healthy. For example, someone following a low GI diet will urge you not to eat white rice rice because it will purportedly make you fatter than the wholegrain alternative. Some followers of a Paleo diet will urge you not to eat rice at all, because humans have not evolved to consume grains and there will be undesirable consequences if you do. Less dogmatic followers of the Paleo diet will argue that white rice is fine to eat because the husk is removed and the husk is where the problem lies. Two different ways of eating rice, a third option not to eat it, and three very different points of view on what constitutes, “healthy”. And that’s just a single grain of rice, and not the full story either. Accepting for a moment the fallacy that the universal definition of, “healthy”, is the definition perpetuated by governments in western modernity – wholegrain foods, fruit, vegetables, non processed meats, a couple of portions of oily fish a week and a little diary – even if someone does observe this diet without considering their macro nutrients they can still be overweight. Your macro nutrients are devised from your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (“TDEE”). If a person’s TDEE is 2500 kcals and they eat 2500 kcals of these purportedly healthy foods, but just one extra apple a day (a “healthy” choice) for a year, they will over consume approximately 17500 kcals and add five pounds / two kilos to their frame. So even if a healthy diet can be agreed, overconsumption of calories and therefore macro nutrients can have a negative effect on overall body composition. Eating a “healthy” diet can have “unhealthy” consequences. Obviously, it is easier to consume excessively with calories dense foods (burgers, fries and chocolate). In terms of an overall philosophy for fat loss and building muscle, it seems that being lean is a better starting point and as a corollary that a conservative well managed, “bulk”, is superior because it avoids putting on extra fat. Lyle McDonald suggests a lower figure of 10% body fat and an upper limit of 15% for men, at which bulking may begin and cutting should start respectively (albeit after a brief two week period of normalisation in either direction). Essential body fat storage is between 3 and 5% for men and 8 and 12% for women. Athlete’s body fat composition ranges between 14 and 20% for women and 6 to 13% for men. Female fitness enthusiasts may have a body fat profile between 21 and 24%, men between 14 and 17%. Average figures range between 25% and 32% for women, and 18 and 24% for men. Beyond that and you are storing excess fat. Putting aside other health issues relating to fat (some of which may not apply to people who partake in sports even if they do have a higher body fat percentage, due to diminishing visceral fat from exercise), excess fat can lead to decreased levels of testosterone. Testosterone is a highly anabolic hormone (anabolism is the metabolic process where proteins are broken down to repair muscle tissue) so the more testosterone you can produce naturally the better. Testosterone in men starts to diminish naturally as you get older. Between the ages of 40 and 70 testosterone may diminish by as much as 60%. Preserving natural testosterone through being comfortably lean is therefore likely to benefit overall body composition and realisation of training goals, as well as quality of life. There is some suggestion that a better ratio of fat to muscle can be achieved when bulking with a leaner body composition. I have not found any science to back that up yet. That does not mean the theory is not true and there is some anecdotal evidence to support it. Gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time is contentious. There is broad agreement that it may be achieved in novices or the overweight. There is little in the way of science to establish that it can be achieved naturally, but plenty of anecdotal evidence. The fact that it can be achieved with anabolic-androgen-steroids suggests that it may be possible, or more likely, in people with naturally advantageous hormonal profiles (teenagers). The fatter someone is the more energy the body has stored in reserve, so it may release those stores even if the body is in an overall deficit to build some muscle. Those are just my theories though and I have no science to support either. The problem in practical terms is defining who is a novice and what constitutes sufficiently overweight, and conversely who is not and therefore will not burn fat and add muscle at the same time. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that Carbohydrate Cycling, “Carb Cycling,” will allow you to burn fat and gain muscle at the same time. Though some proponents of the diet suggest it will only help minimise fat gain alongside muscle gain. Opponents of the building muscle / burning fat theory suggest that the hormonal changes necessary cannot be achieved quickly enough; you either need to be in a prolonged state anabolism to build muscle or catabolism (where the body breaks down cells for energy) to burn fat stores. This view is supported by current research, however; the absence of evidence to support the contrary opinion may only lie in the reality that not enough been done to study the effects of carb cycling. If you are not lucky enough to burn fat and add muscle at the same time you will want to try a traditional, “bulk”. For the reasons given above, you may wish to get lean first. For the reasons I am about to give, “bulking”, is a bad description, albeit the mostly common used term. The traditional view says that anabolism requires energy, so you need to be in calorie surplus. If you are in calorie surplus not all that energy will go towards protein synthesis and building muscle (despite your best efforts in the gym), some of your calories surplus will be deposited as energy reserves in the form of adipose tissue (subcutaneous fat and visceral fat). I’m looking for evidence – if any exists – to determine what ratio of muscle to fat muscle may be achieved at different levels of calorific surplus and what manipulation of macros might have on that. There is anecdotal evidence to say that if you eat a more conservative surplus you will achieve a better muscle to fat ratio (for example a 300 kcal a day surplus as opposed to the traditional 500kcals a day). However, you may build less muscle consuming a 300kcal surplus than a 500 kcal surplus. It also seems sensible that building muscle with a calorie surplus would be one of diminishing returns, so you might deposit less adipose tissue with a 300kcals surplus than you would with 500kcals. There is definitely a ceiling to how much muscle you can add naturally, because, amongst other things, your body can only synthesise so much protein. While I do research into that, the general view is that 500kcals surplus is more than sufficient and anymore than that more just adds fat. Again, for a previously skinny teenager with huge amounts of natural testosterone, plenty of food and good program more is certainly possible. It is a shame these anomalies are perpetuated as possibilities for a wider audience by strength and conditioning coaches. They are not. Though not strictly diet related; it is possible to gain strength without building muscle, or even while losing fat. This is as a result of improving the efficiency of the motor units in the muscles. Some strength may be lost if muscle tissue and consequently motor units are lost with the loss of muscle tissue. A person’s ability to lift weight and gain size will be genetically determined by the fibre composition of their muscles. Someone with more Type II fibres in their muscles will be able to lift more than someone with more Type I muscle fibres. The power lifts are not optimal for causing hypertrophy, nor are the set / rep structures traditionally used by power lifters to develop maximal strength.
  9. 6 points
    This post/thread will be about Paleo nutrition (and it's application to lifting), but since I'm starting the thread it'll be about my take on Paleo which is decidedly not dogmatic. That is, I don't care if something is "paleo", I care if something WORKS. The fact that I'm typing this while drinking a protein shake should be evidence of that ;-) The Paleo Premise Paleo (or paleolithic) nutrition starts with the idea that man evolved for hundreds of thousands of years hunting and gathering and is well suited to that diet. The introduction of grain-based foods as a staple is relatively recent (4,000-10,000 years) and man has not yet successfully adapted to a grain-based diet. Lifespan, health, etc The first rebuttal often offered for this seemingly innocuous premise is that paleolithic man had a very short lifespan. While it is true that the average lifespan in this era was 33, when adjustments are made for trauma deaths and infant mortality, the average lifespan was actually in the 60's, even before we take medical care into account. Meanwhile, when populations started shifting to agricultural foods as a staple, average lifespan dropped to 20 and reached a mere 18 during the Bronze Age, as people began to cluster in cities and sanitation was as yet undiscovered. Life expectancy did not return to non-adjusted paleo levels until the 20th century, for most parts of the world, and in some countries is still in the 30’s. Perhaps worse, quality of life was greatly diminished; every culture that adopted agriculture as a staple source of dietary calories shows drastic changes in skeletal health in the following generations. Diminished stature (4-6 inches lost in average height in many cases), rickets, skeletal deformities, dental problems, etc became normal whereas they had previous been unheard of. In the US, we are directed by the government to consume a diet based on grains -- 60% of our calories are recommended to come from "whole grains". Despite following this policy for ~40 years, Americans are fatter and unhealthier than ever, leading to the conclusion that people simply aren't following the guidelines but instead consuming lots of processed junk foods. Unfortunately, the ancient Egyptians -- who most certainly did not have access to modern processed foods -- ate a diet virtually identical to the one recommended by the USDA, and still suffered many of the skeletal deformities, dental problems, and even obesity recognized in modern countries as well as other cultures that adopted agriculture. We are now at the point that we are able to consume enough calories that we can at least make up for the nutrient deficiencies of grains. That is, a population living off of a small quantity of grains only would rapidly become unhealthy, small, and weak because the small quantity of grains offered so little nutrition. With calories and nutrients now in abundance, we can essentially out-eat grain's dietary deficiencies -- but the harm remains. Rather than worry about counting carbs or concerns about various macros, I agree with Dr. Kurt Harris that it's more important to avoid specific compounds found frequently in modern foods. The evidence seems to indicate this and it offers an explanation for why various cultures around the world thrive on various macronutrient compositions, so long as they avoid neolithic foods . Dr Harris' excellent summary is located here. The problem with modern foods Modern foods bring a host of problems. Not *because* they are modern, but because of known, specific biochemical problems or conditions they create. Probably the only thing that irks me more than blind adherence to “paleo” for the sake of paleo is the dismissal of a mostly “paleo” diet because “we aren’t cavemen” anymore or some nonsense. Modern foods do NASTY things to your body, and I’m going to outline the biggest culprits. Again – these aren’t foods to be ignored simply because cavemen didn’t eat them. They are foods to be ignored because they are bad for you for medically verifiable and testable reasons. First on the list are grains. Grains include wheat, barely, oats, corn, rye, etc. What’s the problem with grains? Grains contain phytates Phytates are (anti-nutrients) which prohibit the absorption of zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium, niacin, and other nutrients. To be fair, nuts and seeds contain these as well (though in lesser amounts per quantity typically consumed) as nature will always punish you for eating the reproducing part of a plant. Plants have evolutionary strategies, too, and they’re good at chemical warfare. Grains contain Lectins Lectins are nasty little proteins that avoid digestion and make it, intact, into your intestines. From here, they then get transported intact through the intestinal wall, into the bloodstream. Having intact proteins circulating around your bloodstream is bad news for your immune system, which is always on the lookout for offenders and formulates its immune response based on the type of protein. After a while, if it recognizes too many proteins floating around for too long, it thinks something is wrong and mounts a response. The problem is that, at this point, it might not be able to tell the difference between an invader protein and your body itself, leading to attacks on good cells in an effort to get rid of the bad. Congratulations, you now have an auto-immune disease to deal with. Gluten: bad guy #1 Of all the grains, the gluten containing ones are arguably the worst, as they contain weight-germ agglutinin (WGA) which is the nastiest lectin of all. Not only does WGA slip through the intestines like other lectins, but it also binds to other “macromolecules” in the intestines (read: poop) and brings them along as well. So now you have a whole mess of proteins floating around in your bloodstream and your poor immune system has no idea who’s friendly and who’s there to cause trouble. While the research in this area is new, my theory is that excess grain consumption is responsible for the dramatic rise in food allergies we’ve seen over the years. As people eat wheat along with other food (e.g. peanuts, which themselves contain lectins) the body recognizes the proteins as an invader and mounts a massive immune response. The research on this subject is, unfortunately, quite scarce, as it is only recently that the idea that grains were anything but the “staff of life” has been questioned. Also, agricultural companies aren’t exactly in a hurry to fund research showing the negative effects of grains… [More reading on WGA/gut health/immunity: http://www.fourhourw...-diet-solution/] Wheat causes blood sugar spikes For many people, something about wheat spikes blood sugar higher than expected for the carbohydrate content it contains. Interestingly, ancient strains of wheat don’t have quite the same effect, though they still produce undesirable spikes in blood sugar. More reading on wheat and a host of other problems it causes from AGE (advanced glycation endproduct) production to pancreas issues, to addictive properties http://www.lef.org/m...le-Grain_01.htm Other culprits (usually associated with grains): Omega-6 Polyunsaturated fat, especially linoleic acid: bad guy #2 The media would have you believe that French fries, baked goods, and desserts are LOADED with ARTERTY CLOGGING SATURATED FAT. Right? Wrong. Most of the fat in the “high saturated fat foods” people think of is actually polyunsaturated. Specifically, it’s omega-6 poly unsaturated fatty acid in the form of linoleic acid (LA). Omega-6 fatty acids are highly inflammatory, and LA is one of the worst culprits. All vegetable oils are polyunsatured and much of the polyunsaturated fat found in grains is of the worst kinds. First, a quick aside about fats: Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, trans, and saturated fats are not fats themselves, but classifications of different types of fatty acids. Even those can be further broken down into different categories based on the chemical structure (e.g. omega-3 vs omega-6 vs omega-9). Most fat sources contain a blend of fatty acids, but they are not all created equal. Your body prefers some over others and in varying ratios. Ok, moving on: Polyunsaturated fats breakdown or trigger signaling molecules called “eicosanoids”, and there are good and bad eicosanoids. Dr Eades describes these in terms of their effect on blood flow: omega-3 eicosanoids promote blood flow whereas omega-6 eicosanoids promote clotting and inflammation. Aspirin’s blood-thinning effects are actually caused by a downregulation of clotting eicosanoids. For the nerdy crowd out there, here’s what happens: Note the breakdown to Arachidonic Acid (AA), which is a particularly potent inflammatory agent. What happens when you’ve got an inflamed cardiovascular system? Imagine a plumbing system of metal pipes that are heated, constantly. They metal will eventually become brittle, stiff, and show stress cracks and weaken. Your arteries begin to do the same, but your body doesn’t want this to happen, so it sends cholesterol to the stress cracks in order to patch them up. Cholesterol is a nice, goopy substance your body uses to patch holes (among other things) in blood vessels, and does a good job. Unfortunately, if you keep the inflammation going, your body is going to keep sending cholesterol, until there is so much cholesterol stuck to the side of a blood vessel that blood can’t flow through it. We all know what happens next. Linoleic Acid and other omega-6-heavy Polyunsatured fats make up most of the fat in grains and are frequently combined with grains to give a nice 1-2 punch to the body. Finally, Fructose: bad guy #3 The last major culprit in modern foods is fructose. Hold your horses, because I am *not* about to say that fruit is bad. Fruit is fine. There are three major camps on this issue, and all of them are wrong. The first, mainstream/medical establishment camp, says that fructose is from fruit (or corn) and is therefore good (naturalistic fallacy, again). They say fructose doesn’t evoke a massive insulin response, has a low glycemic index, and therefore is better for diabetics or people not wishing to become diabetics. The second is the contrarian-but-still-wrong camp suggesting that high-fructose-corn-syrup is the devil and if we all just drank soda filled with sucrose we’d be perfectly fit and healthy. The final camp is the “paleo for paleo’s sake” crowd who rejects fruit on the ground that caveman didn’t have year-round access to fruit and ancient fruits weren’t as sweet. Those points are both true, but it ignores the bigger picture. The first two camps are both wrong for a couple of reasons. First, they both start with the assumption that people should be consuming a carb-based diet and then they are merely quibbling over which sugar is better than the other. If you are consuming 150-200g of sugar a day, your body hardly cares whether you’re dumping fructose or sucrose into it – at that point, sugar is sugar and the total load on your body is going to be very bad no matter the type. This isn’t saying that fructose ISN’T worse than other sugar – it technically is—but rather I’m pointing out that sheer quantity at that point makes them all horrible. That being said, fructose is quite a bit more harmful than many other sugars. First, it’s processed primarily in the liver, which basically stops everything to clear what it sees as a potential poison. In small amounts (e.g. actual fruit) this no problem. But in large quantities (e.g. soda, fruit juice, and sweetened foods) this becomes a huge problem as your poor liver tries to detox. Fructose also screws with hunger hormones (specifically, ghrelin) which tends to make people hungrier. Thus, it becomes harder to control eating when lots of fructose is involved. Fructose is certainly the least three of the main culprits I mentioned, but it deserves mention because it causes a variety of metabolic problems. Grains suck as a source of nutrition Let’s pretend that grains don’t have any negative side effects. Let’s pretend that grains are free of WGA, lectins, omega-6 fatty acids, and all of that. As a source of nutrition, they SUCK and are mostly empty calories. As an example, let’s go with 100g of avocado (about half an avocado) vs 100g of whole wheat bread (about 3 slices or maybe one large bagel). Avocado: -167 calories, 8.64g of carbs, 15.4g of fat (mostly good monounsaturated), 6.8g fiber, lots of vitamin c, vitamin A Whole wheat bread: -259 calories, 47g carbs, 4g fat (mostly inflammatory PUFA), 4.4g fiber, no vitamin C, no vitamin A Whole wheat bread even sucks as a source of fiber, the main reason lots of people supposedly eat it and the reason it supposedly is good for you. To get the fiber found in ONE avocado, you would have to eat an entire loaf of whole wheat bread – getting almost 1,000 calories in the process, compared to the avocado’s 260 calories. Again, this isn’t white bread I’m talking about. This is the whole wheat stuff. Wheat isn't even good at the things it's supposed to be good at! Look at the nutrient profile of kale, cauliflower, asparagus, lettuce, coconut, and any number of non-grain foods and they completely blow away even “healthy whole grains” in terms of nutrient density, fiber content, satiety, and antioxidant contents. So even if we completely ignore all the bad things about grains, you’re left with a food that is really just…pointless. It doesn’t contribute anything meaningful in contrast to these more healthy alternatives. Worse than pointless, the number of calories consumed to try to obtain decent nutrition from grains is staggering. Calories from grains really are “empty calories” compared to any meat or vegetable. So grains, particularly gluten-containing ones, are AT BEST high-calorie foods that provide little nutrition and satiety and AT WORST, gut-destroying, immune-response provoking, inflammation-causing junk foods that should be avoided. Combined with excess linoleic acid (a common ingredient in many boxed/processed foods) and excess fructose, and you’ve got a trifecta of bad news. Take a look at what’s in most things on the grocery store shelves and you’ll see this general formula: a grain, a vegetable oil, a sugar (usually fructose-heavy). This same formula exists in foods that obviously bad (twinkies) to things not thought to be bad (whole-grain cereal). To sum up The big three bad guys to avoid here are grains (especially gluten grains), excess fructose, and excess linoleic acid. Saying "avoid" doesn't mean "never have them". What I'm saying is that you first should recognize that they are bad for you and WHY they are bad for you. The second step is to realize that they should not form a staple of your diet. The third step is to determine what role, if any, they will play in your life. The trouble with moderation So that brings us to moderation. Most people read this stuff and say “well, I can’t give up ___________(pasta/rice/bread)” and just move on. I guess the idea of just limiting them never occurred? Many others read this stuff and say “well, I think everything should be consumed in moderation.” I agree with that – the trouble is that we’ve been told that a diet comprised of 60% grains is “normal”, so we’ve skewed the definition of moderation. I would say that a diet comprised of 5% calories from grains is “moderation”. You eat roughly 20 meals a week, so 5% of your calories from grains means you have a fair-sized serving of grains twice a week. To me, that’s moderation when it comes to grains, though I happen to consume them far less often than that. To many, “moderation” simply means not eating huge plates of pasta all the time – meanwhile eating a whole grain sandwich every day, having a biscuit or roll before dinner every night, and eating various grain-based snacks throughout the day. When it comes to grains, that level of consumption isn’t moderate AT ALL. It’s a huge amount, frankly. Then you add in the juices (excess fructose) and all the omega-6 fatty acids and you've got a bad diet. So, moderation is fine, but first you have to get your definition of moderation right. If you accept the evidence that grains are harmful – or at least pointless filler foods – then 0% consumption logically becomes the new baseline (if you’re concerned about your health or weight, that is). Moderation from that point then becomes any small quantity you eat above that, within reason. Here’s what I mean by this. Let’s say that the average alcoholic drinks 12 beers a day. We all recognize that alcohol isn’t necessary for anything, but non-alcoholics choose to consume a few beers every week because they enjoy the flavor and the intoxicating effects. Consuming a few drinks is consuming in moderation, whereas an alcoholic simply reducing from 12 drinks to 9 is NOT drinking in moderation simply because he is drinking LESS. It’s all about perspective. If you start with the premise that a diet comprised mostly of grains is “normal”, then your sense of moderation will be just as skewed as an alcoholic who thinks a 12-pack a day is “normal”. Paleo vs not paleo: a disclaimer I want to state again that I am *not* saying that paleo foods are inherently good and modern foods are inherently bad. That is like the naturalistic fallacy wherein things that are natural are “good” and things that are unnatural are “bad”. That’s not the point. Looking at diet through a paleo lens, however, gives us insight into what works. By definition, Paleolithic foods worked for our ancestors or we would not be around to debate the merits of a paleo or modern diet. That they were able to thrive before the existence of modern agriculture – and in spite of living at the mercy of nature – is a testament to the viability of paleolithic nutrition. That doesn't mean it can't be augmented or improved, it merely means that we evolved to handle a certain diet and we should be skeptical of new foods, which have a tendency to cause problems. There seems to be a rush among many (especially) the crossfit crowd) to see who can be "more paleo" than others. I see athletes avoiding whey/casein PWO because it's "not paleo" and it makes me cringe. I cannot emphasize enough that your body doesn't care if the food you're putting in it is 100,000 years old or 1 minute old. It cares if that food is harmful or not, and that's it. Yes, paleo foods tend to be more beneficial and neolithic foods tend to be harmful. But the idea of "eat paleo foods and avoid modern foods" is a guideline, an idea to provide coherence and give us predictive power -- not a line in the sand. What you don't eat is more important than what you do eat, and so I've covered the things that should be minimized or avoided. I'll post further to talk about what you SHOULD eat, though "meat, vegetables, fruits, butter/ghee/coconut oil, and some nuts" is a good general guideline for most people. Reading: -My notes that I used during a nutrition seminar I gave a couple years ago: https://docs.google....9EH2nlizdg/edit -Dr. Kurt Harris: Paleo 2.0 and Getting Started -Dr Eades' take on "Wheat Belly", Dr. Davis' book
  10. 6 points
    I'm curious about what happens with SL, in the same way I might search Facebook for an ex who dumped me and hope that I look better than his current significant other. I'm not especially proud of this. I'd prefer to be able to wish Mehdi well, but I don't.
  11. 6 points
    The basic principles for Insulin are: Insulin is one of two blood-sugar regulating hormones--the other is glucagon which has the opposite affect. When you have an increase in blood sugar, such as happens when you eat carb rich foods, the body responds by spiking insulin. (how much and how long depend on the nature of the carb and how processed it is) The excess blood sugar has to go somewhere: either in your muscles and organs or stored as fat. Training preps the muscles to receive energy (i.e. they become insulin responsive) If due to abuse of your body and not doing anything you become insulin resistant, it all gets stored as fat. If you ignore the insulin resistant state too long it can develop into diabetes. The flip side of the coin, for glucagon is: About 7 hours after you last eat, your body switches to produce glucagon, which pulls energy from the fat cells and raises the blood sugar where it needs to be The longer you go without eating, or without eating something that has an appreciable insulin response (i.e. no-carbs), the longer it burns fat The long and the short of it is this: your body is designed to go through cycles of insulin and glucagon production, and this is one of the primary ways it maintains the proper blood sugar balance in your body. As weightlifters we do want to make sure that the insulin is doing its best to help us recover. That's why we advocate having carbs post-workout. The muscles are prepped and ready for energy for roughly 48 hours after you train.
  12. 5 points
    Any statement that is along the lines of "real men/women look this one certain way" is bullshit. Real people have a tremendous range of body types.
  13. 5 points
    It sounds to me Kevin like it's your training and nutrition that are not on point. Hypertrophy needs a certain level of intensity / volume for best effect, which is different to the sets / rep range you would commonly associate with strength training. If you've bought the fallacy that training for strength results in the best muscle gains (and why not, lots of purportedly knowledgeable people say this) then I'm sorry to say you've been chasing your tail. If you want hypertrophy you have to amend your program to train specifically for that. Furthermore, if you went from 135lbs to 155lbs in a few months, you have been eating far too much. A complete newb in their 20's might gain 2lbs of muscle a month with a perfect program designed for hypertrophy (that's only in the first year, after that it slows to 1lb per month). You were in your 40's (muscle gain is much slower) following a program that limits your muscle growth (wrong reps / sets, and incomplete exercise selection). At best you were looking at 1lb of muscle gain a month and maybe as little as 0.5lb. It's not surprising that you (like a lot of people on here, including myself), ended up sporting an impressive belly when you followed the advice, "eat more". If a few is four and at best you were able to put on 4 lbs of muscle, the other 16 lbs were always going to be fat. I would be prepared to put my neck on the line and say with the right program, the right diet, and a bit of patience, that you could sculpt yourself a decent torso.
  14. 5 points
    Since many of us are in the process of losing some fat, and we even have a challenge on the books, it's probably good to catalog some strategies to lose fat and not muscle. I've learned a lot over the past year, more so than when I stopped dieting and focused on eating to lift more. These seem to be tried and true methods, and it goes to show that there's more than one way to lose a pound. The Preliminaries Foundational stuff is important if you want to have the strategies below work for you. Before you begin you need to know where you are starting: Resting Metabolic Rate: How many calories you burn being a couch potato. If your gym tests this by measuring the air flow as you exert effort, get it tested so you know for sure what it is. If not, there are several calculators to help you get started. What's your size? Get a flexible tape measure and measure your important dimensions: neck, chest, waist (navel level for guys, about an inch below for women), hips, thighs. You can throw in arms and all that if you want. This is probably going to be the most sure indicator of progress during weight loss. Scale weight and body fat%: These are rough indicators, and they will fluctuate day to day, or even within the same day. But it's good to know where you are starting and what you are aiming for. Scale weight is easy to measure, but it doesn't tell you anything about your body composition. Body fat% is hard to measure consistently, and that combined with the scale weight will tell you if you are losing fat, or gaining lean mass. The 'before' picture: When you stare at yourself in the mirror every day, your frame of reference is only yesterday. You don't change that quickly. But when you take a before picture and compare yourself a month later, the difference can be quite impressive. Your goals: Know where you are going. Concrete and easily measured goals are the best. "I want to lose 3 inches off my abdomen" and "I want to lose 20lbs of fat" are good solid goals. "I want to lose as much weight as I can" is one that will get you in trouble. Time-boxing your goals is another way to keep you motivated. If you want to do XYZ dietary strategy for 3 months, knowing the end time will keep you on it. Once you have the starting point set, you need to track your progress. Here's where things get a little tricky. If you measure progress too often, it can demotivate you or cause you to lose focus. If you don't measure progress often enough, you won't catch mistakes soon enough. So, there are things you can do to help you on your progress: Keep a food log: whether you use LiveStrong.com, FitDay.com, or a paper log, nothing keeps you as honest as reading over all the things you ate. The online logs are pretty handy as you can usually use them even at work, and they take care of tracking the macro-nutrients and all that for you. Retake your measurements: anywhere between once a week and once a month, retake all your measurements, scale weight, and body fat measurements. You may even need to recalculate your RMR. The fat laden parts should be getting smaller, and possibly the lean parts will be getting bigger. You'll find that some measurements vacillate more than others--for me my calves and forearms go up and down within a certain range. Reevaluate your strategy: If things are going in the right direction at a comfortable rate, don't change anything. However, if you are losing more lean mass than expected, you might need to look at what you are doing to lose weight. Also, if the measurements are going the wrong way, take a look at what you are doing. It might be that certain foods are causing a reaction (bloating), or it could be that you are eating more than you think. Finally, some rules for the road to help frame the rest of the conversation: You won't lose fat if you don't consume fewer calories than you burn. Pretty simple. You will lose lean mass. Not all lean mass is muscle, but muscle is something you don't want to lose. For sedentary people, 1g protein/kg lean body weight will be sufficient to maintain muscle mass. For weightlifters, you will need 1g protein/pound minimum. This will help support rebuilding muscles after exercise, and even getting a bit stronger. Look at your Calorie consumption on a weekly basis instead of a day to day thing. This will help you consider how reasonable your goals are. Make your game plan and execute it. If you plan out your meals at the beginning you don't have to make decisions on what you need for this meal right now. Calorie Cycling This is one of the most basic approaches to losing calories. Over the space of a week, you will still have a calorie deficit, but individual days will be higher than others. Typically, you time the higher calorie days with your training days. You can have every day with a calorie deficit, or you can keep the calorie deficit on your rest days. In order to make this strategy work for you, plan your high calorie and low calorie targets ahead of time--and don't compensate for the amount of calories you burn training. It's very likely that you are going to be at a calorie deficit even when you have maintenance+20% calories on training days. That's a good thing while you are losing fat. Carb Cycling This is a common component of all anabolic diets. Essentially, you up the carbs on training day--preferably post work out. Lower carbs on rest days when you don't need them as much. Training depletes your glycogen stores, and cabs restore them. This approach works by manipulating the insulin/glucagon response from your pancreas. When you have an increased amount of carbs, your body will release insulin to move the energy where it is needed. Your muscles are made insulin sensitive for up to 48 hours post work out. This is when it is OK to have carbs. After that, and there is always the chance it will end up in your fat stores. Ketosis Severe carb restriction puts your body into a fasting state, where it converts your fat to ketone bodies. You are having food, and since you are eating your protein (see "Preliminaries" above) your muscles will be safe. The nice thing about ketone bodies is that they cannot be converted back to fat. Unused ketones will be urinated out. Some things to consider about ketosis: The first 3 days are usually the roughest. Your body will be crying for carbs, potentially with hunger pangs even though you are full, headaches, etc. It takes 3 weeks for your body to become efficient with it's ketone production. You'll lose the most fat during this time, but also during this time your pancreas will be reset to normal operation in most cases. (Diabetes does not necessarily go away). Supplement your vitamins, and calcium. Drink lots of water Don't train for endurance during this time You will have a one time 5lb (2.5kg) lean mass loss when you deplete your glycogen stores. You will have the same one time 5 lb (2.5kg) lean mass gain when you start eating carbs again. Intermittent Fasting Fasting once a week, or for 16 hours a day provides you with a longer fat burning state than you would have otherwise. If you fast once a week, it helps to have a much higher calorie day the day before. It's reasonable to note that ketosis and fasting behave similarly on the body. A word of caution: this is a case where being judicious is very important. One day of fasting will probably do you well. Skipping a meal occasionally will also do you well. Two days of fasting can really hurt you--even when you compensate with a high calorie day before each fasting day. Mix and Match Each of these tools work well on their own. You can combine strategies to really help lose the weight in a way that works best for you. For example, the Lean Gains approach mixes intermittent fasting, carb cycling, and calorie cycling to help you lose weight. The percentages vary depending on your goals. Also remember, not every strategy works for every person. I know some people who keto is the wrong tool for the job, even though it worked for me. The things to keep an eye on while trying to lose fat are: Mood and concentration levels. If you are easily irritated, or you can't seem to have a coherent thought, chances are you are trying to lose too quickly for your system. Adjust accordingly. Lean mass going down too fast. It's a good chance you are burning muscle. Either your programming or your diet need to change. Possibly both. If your RMR is 3,000 Calories, and you are eating 1,000 a day, you will lose muscle. Don't do that. Training may be more difficult, this is a time to be conservative. It may be worth moving to a program with slower gains during this time. Parting Shots There are certain things I purposely didn't touch on here, but they still can make a big impact on how successful your fat loss journey is. First is the macro-nutrient balance. Bottom line is that if you have the protein where it needs to be, and the overall Calorie content where it needs to be, the rest will fall in place. Second is food selection. There's a lot out there and people who have very different opinions. We are different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Or it may. Or there will be some progress, but not what it needs to be. One person can have a type of food and there be no issues, while another person gets bloated eating the same thing. If you suspect that happening to you, try swapping out foods until you know what it is.
  15. 5 points
    This has come up in a couple of posts, so I wanted to address it properly. Carb cycling Carb cycling is when you eat a fairly low carb diet most of the time but then ramp up your carbs and back off of on fat at certain times in order to manipulate the hormones leptin and insulin. This doesn't necessarily mean that you must follow a ketogenic diet on off days, it just means that carbs are higher and fat is slightly lower on carb-up days and carbs are kept somewhat low on off days. If you are always eating 300g of carbs everyday, that's not cycling. Some people choose to do carb-ups on the weekends (a cyclic approach) whereas some choose to do them after their workouts (a targeted approach). I do a combination of sorts, always doing my heaviest, hardest workouts on Saturday/Sunday and thus using one or both of those days as my high-carb days. This works well because, like most of us, I relax a bit on the weekends, like to go have a few drinks and eat socially, and I also get more sleep on Friday/Saturday ensuring that I'm well-rested for hard weekend workouts. That's my preference though; you can do it however you like. I personally think the targeted approach (ie: carbs after workout) makes more sense as your body doesn't really know or care what day of the week it is. Your body isn’t thinking “gee, it’s Sunday, so I should take in 250g of carbs and NOT mount a massive insulin response or send BG through the roof!” Why carb cycle? Carb cycling has a few benefits, but they don't apply to everyone (see below). The first benefit is performance enhancement via providing nutrients to recently worked-out muscles that are now trying to rebuild themselves. Many strength athletes find that, after a point, their performance suffers if they do not follow their workouts with carbohydrates to some extent. Why? When muscular glycogen stores get depleted or diminished, the main fuel source for heavy lifting is scarce. There are mechanisms through which your body can accommodate for a long-term lack of glycogen, but the adaptation can be slow and it can interfere with frequent, moderate to high volume weight training. I’m speaking of total volume here, not volume per set. Once you start to go over 25-30 reps on a couple of heavy compound exercises, you’re going to put a dent in glycogen stores. As cavewoman found out last week, not replenishing this glycogen post workout can make for poor performance during the next workout. For those looking to get lean, carb cycling gets fairly interesting. Obviously, if your workouts suck and you keep missing reps because you aren’t recovering properly, you will at best be unmotivated and at worst you won’t put enough effort into your workouts meaning you will not build muscle or continue to progress. If you can’t workout (or workout well) you will either fail to build muscle or you will lose muscle while you cut. That’s bad. More importantly though, as you start to get very lean (again, see below), your body starts to hit the brakes on a number of metabolic processes. If you go low-calorie and low-carb all the time, while already being lean, your body basically slows a number of things to conserve energy. Leptin will downregulate a bunch of stuff: Hormone levels might drop, energy levels might drop, you might have compromised immunity, etc etc. Bad stuff – not the kind of stuff you want when you’re trying to get ripped and doing heavy lifting a few days a week. You can manipulate this hormonal cascade, though, by selectively adding carbohydrates after heavy workouts. Who should/should not carb cycle? Carb cycling is NOT for everyone and it is NOT for every workout. First, carb cycling to manipulate leptin only applies if you are already somewhat lean. For guys, I’d say this is somewhere in the low-to-mid-teens and, for girls, somewhere in the low-20s. If you’re carrying more fat than this, you are almost by necessity leptin resistant (or you wouldn’t be carrying more fat than this..), so your leptin response will be blunted anyway and you will get no rebound from carb-ups or overfeedings. Your body won’t be anywhere near “starvation” mode and so there is no need to manipulate the hormone leptin and big carb feeds will just add calories that stall your weight loss. Now, there is still a role for some recovery carbs if you are above these levels of body fat, but recovery is accomplished with far, far fewer carbs than a true leptin-bouncing carb-up. A common mistake I see is people “carbing-up” after every single workout. That’s not the point. You should only raise carbs following intense, heavy workouts that deplete a significant amount of glycogen. For most people, you will not be doing these workouts more than 2-4x per week, if that. If you are on a low-volume program, such as 5x5, you will not be depleting that much glycogen, relatively speaking. Going for a jog or a swim or some such cardio does NOT require a carb-up, and most cross-fit style met-con doesn’t either. I save my carb ups for the heaviest, most intense days. If I do something moderately glycogen depleting like HIIT with weights or kettlebells wherein my sets were long (e.g. barbell complexes) I’ll have some carbs post workout – but not nearly the amount I would have after doing 90 minutes of double reverse pyramids of a deadlift/weighted dip superset wherein I did 30 total reps above 70% of my 1rm of each, plus warm up and back-off sets. (just typing that sounds exhausting.) -Heavy, prolonged weight training, 30-40+ reps @ 60% or more of 1rm: high-carb up (100% of values below) -Moderate effort: A 5x5 workout, Cross-fit style workouts of chins, kettlebell swings, wall-balls or barbell complexes: medium carb up (50-75% of values below) -Sprinting/plyometrics/body weight work: small carb up (10-25% of values below) -Jogging/Cardio: meh. Have a little. -Heavy singles/oubles or max effort o-lifts: none needed, but may be psychologically gratifying A good discussion about what energy systems are used for various times of activities can be found here: http://www.gotstreng...om/?page_id=134 Note that the first few seconds of effort can almost avoid glycogen use entirely. This is why you can do Chaos and Pain style programming (lots of heavy singles and doubles) or Oly lifting while on a keto diet. As soon as reps wander above 3-4, though, you better pull some carbs in PWO. Assuming we are only talking about performance, I would consider a “high” carb-up, in grams, to be roughly your bodyweight in pounds. I would also pair this without about half as much protein. Again, this is not yet taking into account additional carbs for a leptin rebound – this is strictly talking about simple recovery. So if you’re a 200lb male trying to recover from a heavy weight-training session, I would recommend you eat, PWO, roughly 200g of CHO and 100g of protein within a few hours after working out. It doesn’t have to be immediately – the “recovery” period is easily 4-8 hours, not the 60 minutes once thought. If you are a 140lb girl, 140g of CHO accompanied with 70g of protein is a good rule of thumb. Now, that is for the most intense, heaviest workouts. If you’re more on the moderate range (keep in mind, I put 5x5 workouts in the moderate range) I’d say about 50-75% of those values would suffice, depending on the intensity. That being said, never go below 50g of protein PWO, even if your workout was sprints or a jog or some low-to-no-carb required workout. If you are already somewhat lean and are trying to get leaner (again, low-twenties for girls, low-mid teens for guys), I would say you could probably increase these carb-ups by roughly 50-100% of the values given, while letting protein go up a bit. As an example: I weigh in the mid-180s and most of my very heavy days see me eating roughly 300-400g of carbs, most of it PWO, with about 100-120g of protein in the same meal. For a 140lb girl in the low-20s trying to get lower, 200-250g would probably be more than enough. Keep in mind that if you are outside of these BF ranges, this is likely way, WAY too many carbs for you post workout and you will probably stall your weight loss eating like that. The leaner, more muscular you are, the more carbs you can eat (and should) eat PWO. I forget who said that “as you get lean you earn the right to eat carbs” but it is a true statement. Don’t go on these huge refeeds if you’re still trying to shed lots of weight. So, eat some carbs to recover in proportion to the intensity and duration of your workout, but save the the true carb refeeds for once you are already somewhat lean trying to get leaner. Finally, I would add that I am still tinkering with this, and this is my personal opinion/guidelines that I have seen used effectively and based on what I’ve read, but I reserve the right to change my mind if new evidence comes up. Paleo carb cycle So with all that said, how do we do this in a mostly paleo fashion? Easy – use carbs from non-grain (or very low lectin) sources! This could be mangoes, bananas, sweet potatoes, taro, plantains, regular potatoes, etc. White rice is a fairly reasonable trade off as it’s very low in lectins and gluten free, so I enjoy post-workout sushi refeeds which have a great combo of protein and carbs (especially nigiri). The ratios are almost perfect, actually. I don’t particularly care if something is “paleo”, I care if it works. In this case, the benefits outweigh the risks (which are already small because rice is probably the most innocuous of the grains). Because you aren’t eating the shell of the rice, you can avoid most of the nastiness. It’s still got some bad stuff, and it’s still empty carb calories, but empty carb calories are the point of refeeds, so that’s fine. I try to keep my rice consumption to 2-3 times per month, with most carb refeeds coming from mangoes, banana, and sweet potatoes. While not paleo, if I am going to consume a grain such as corn or eat some pizza, I will also eat those meals after my most intense workouts. Cavewoman and I eat thin-crust pizza once every couple of months after a heavy workout, usually with a couple pounds of ground beef and some banana as well. Pizza has too much fat to be a leptin-bouncing food, but this is just a matter of targeted “cheat” meals and damage control while still allowing for PWO recovery. For further reading, Mark Sisson wrote a good post about this a while back: http://www.marksdail.../#axzz1kRNxeA2O And this one on rice: http://www.marksdail.../#axzz1kRNxeA2O
  16. 5 points
    All I want to say is that it's annoying when people use their own individual progress/success to raise guidelines or conclusions for the general training population. Took me over two years of regular training to squat 180kg/400. I'm not female because of that. Thx.
  17. 4 points
    In late 2010, I did GOMAD for eight weeks, with great results. Here's my story. I was always skinny. When I got married at age 30, I weighed just 56kg (123 lbs) despite being 6ft (183cm) tall. Five years later when I started the Gallon Of Milk A Day diet, I weighed 63kg (139 lbs). Every day for the next eight weeks, I consistently drank between 3 and 4 liters of whole milk in addition to my regular meals. I also carried a bag of peanuts or raisins around with me to snack on. If that wasn't enough, I mistakenly added three scoops of Weider Weight Up (a weight gain protein powder) to my milk three times a day instead of just once because I misread the Japanese instructions. Besides eating, I went to the gym three times a week and did compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench press and bent-over rows. I was also a keen runner so I went running two or three times a week despite knowing it would burn off some of my hard-earned calories. GOMAD Side-Effects All this milk and protein consumption came at a price, and I don't just mean the cost of the weight gain powder. First, it took a while to get used to all the milk. I felt bloated and struggled to eat my regular meals. I also ended up going to the toilet a lot with a mild, but persistent case of diarrhea. Second, I'm lactose intolerant, so I had a really itchy anus. I had to go to the pharmacy to get some anti-itch pellets to stick up my rear. Third, I got acne on my back and arms. I've always suffered from acne on my back, but it got much worse doing GOMAD. Finally, I started to smell of ammonia. This is apparently caused by the body sweating out excess protein, probably caused by me consuming too much protein powder. The Results Was it worth it? Absolutely. At the end of those eight weeks, I weighed in at 74kg (163 lbs), 11kg (24 lbs) heavier than just two months prior. I had a noticeable belly, but had thicker arms and legs, too. I just got a lot bigger. I've continued drinking whole milk, though no more than a liter a day, and now weigh 76kg (168 lbs). I'm still short of my goal of 83kg (183 lbs), but I can't imagine ever reverting back to my old skinny self.
  18. 4 points
    Rip outlines a good beginner's plan and the guidelines to customize the rep/set counts for your abilities. The Starting Strength release 2 book is excellent and well worth buying even if you do an alternative beginner's plan. The Starting Strength program is in three phases, as you progress through the program. Phase I This first phase is for people who are brand new to lifting, and it will last 2-4 weeks. Essentially you will be doing it until the newness of the deadlift is worn out. The deads will end up way in front of your squats for a bit. If you already know the lifts because you started with StrongLifts, or you are starting again after a long break, you can skip this phase and simply start with the second phase. Just do it longer than you normally would. Workout A Squats (3x5) Overhead Press (3x5) Deadlifts (1x5) Workout B Squats (3x5) Bench Press (3x5) Deadlifts (1x5) Phase II This phase will also last for about 2-4 weeks. You are introducing Power Cleans to the mix, and your deads will grow at about the same pace as your squats. Workout A Squats (3x5) Overhead Press (3x5) Deadlift (1x5) Workout B Squats (3x5) BenchPress (3x5) Power Cleans (5x3) Phase III This is the third and final stage of Starting Strength where you continue this until you can no longer make linear gains. Workout A Squats (3x5) Overhead Press (3x5) Deadlift (1x5)/Power Cleans (5x3) (alternating each workout A) Workout B Squats (3x5) Bench Press (3x5) Back Extensions 3x10 Pullups/Chinups 3xF (F= to failure) On the exercises that are to failure, when you can do more than 12 in the first set you add weight. With back extensions, when you can do 3x10 for a couple weeks increase to 5x10. After that you can start adding weight. Overview The reason for learning the lifts in this order are: squats are very important and the foundation of any strength program. Bench is easier to learn than OHP. Deadlift helps learn the beginning movements of the power clean. Now, if for some reason you cannot do power cleans (such as injury or something like that), the barbell rows are a decent alternative--but you are giving up an explosive movement to do it. The barbell rows are considered an assistance exercise, and do get different areas of the body than the PC. You will be working out 3x per week, so week 1 you will do workout A twice and week 2 you will do workout B twice: Week 1 Workout A Workout B Workout A Week 2 Workout B Workout A Workout B Make sure you have a complete day of rest between each workout. For example a good schedule would be Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Another alternative would be Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. You can do just about any combination as long as there is a full day of recovery between each workout. NOTE: the Power cleans are 5x3, not 3x5. In short these explosive lifts will drain you, and Rip doesn't recommend more than three in a set or form will suffer. Starting Weight You will learn all the lifts with an EMPTY bar. No exceptions. However, to find your starting work weight you keep adding 10-20 lbs each set (5 reps) until it feels like the next increase is going to hurt your form. Yes, it's subjective and it depends on your confidence, but form is absolutely imperative. Dedicate one day to each of the lifts, both to learn the basic technique, and to be fresh to find your work weight. You'll get plenty tired as you are doing a full 5 rep set before you increase the weights. Some lifts you will be able to go by large increases (up to 50 lb/20kg) at first like your squats and deadlifts. Other lifts you should be much more conservative. If you've already had a head start with the Strong Lifts protocol, you may find that you go up in some lifts while deloading in others. The idea is to have the heaviest load you can perform with good technique. If your technique falters or you are struggling with the set, use the weight from the previous set for your work weight. For an example, we will use a hypothetical overhead press session: set 45 lb (20kg) set 55 lb (25kg) set 65 lb (30kg) set 75 lb (35kg) set 85 lb (40kg) set 90 lb (42.5kg) set 95 lb (45kg) -- struggling In this case, use the 90 lb set, not the 95 lb set as your starting weight. (note the kg numbers are not exact conversions of the pounds, but more like the progression you would use with metric weights) Progressive Loading You will be adding weight every time when you do these lifts. For most of the lifts you will be adding 5 lbs (~2kg) each time. You might be able to handle 10 lb increases from your starting weight on squats and 20lb on deadlifts for 3-4 weeks if you are in good shape and an older teen or young adult. However, it's more important to go up by a little and keep good form than get greedy and fail too early. What to Do When You Stall It's inevitable that you will stall. When that happens simply repeat the weight next time. However, if you stall three times in a row on a lift, you need to do something to get past that plateau: Deload 10%. This helps your body recover, and let's you work on form. Over the next workouts increase as you normally would (for example 5 lbs per session) After you get past the weight you originally stalled at, cut your increases in half. For example, if you were going up by 10lbs (for deadlifts), go up by 5lbs. If you were going up by 5lbs, go up by 2.5lbs Eventually even this will not be enough to continue making linear progress. When this happens, you have gained all the beginner strength you can, and you need to switch to an intermediate program.
  19. 4 points
  20. 4 points
    Okay, I'll just speak out some of the thoughts that I suddenly realized last night when I woke up in the middle of the night, which make a lot of sense, at least to me. I see lifting weights as a practice for life. Whatever you need to be successful in lifting weights, you need to be successful in life. You need discipline, motivation, the right goals. You need to take care of yourself well: proper nutrition and plenty of sleep. Realizing there are no shortcurts, no ways around hard work. In lifting weights you'll encounter setbacks and problems, like in life, both minor and major. The minor ones are maybe ones like figuring out what squat stance works best for you or how to fix mobility issues, and major ones are for example serious injuries or in real life events like the loss of a person close to you. This way I think you'll figure out how to solve problems or deal with setbacks without going crazy immediately. I often see people frown or look funny when they hear about how much time I spent lifting, or foam rolling, or stretching, or reading about it. But to me it's not only training to get stronger, it's also training to be better prepared at life. And even if lifting cannot prepare you for the worst possible things in life, at least lifting can keep you sane. It can give you guidance, a way to stay on the right path, so you won't go crazy and lose all control over your life. I know this probably sounds rather like Captain Obvious, but I never really realized it like I did now, so I thought I'd share it with you guys.
  21. 4 points
    Well . . . first off, kudos for caring enough about your wife and her well-being to encourage her to strength train. That's awesome! However, I wouldn't worry too much about trying to convince her to share your passion for the iron. Just do your thing and encourage her in whatever physical endeavor interests her, be it yoga or martial arts or long-distance running or (we can only hope) lifting weights. Many women are intimidated by weights or afraid they'll get bulky or unattractively masculine. Others, strangely enough, simply aren't interested. It isn't for everyone, and pushing too hard might backfire. To answer your question, though, here is a non-exclusive list, in no particular order, of reasons why I personally love strength training: -- I can open any jar in the house. -- I can give my 7-year-old daughter shoulder rides, and I can piggyback my 10- and 12-year-old sons for long distances. -- I can pluck any of my sleeping children off the floor and return them to their beds without assistance. -- I can deadlift more than my 6'2" husband weighs, for reps. -- I like and respect my body for these amazing things it can do. -- I have visible delts and lats for the first time in my life. -- The parent who shows my kids proper push-up form is their mom, not their dad. -- I can maintain my weight without spending any time at all on the stupid-ass helliptical or dreadmill. -- Speaking of ass, my husband loves my posterior more now than when we got married 15 years ago. -- I competed in a powerlifting meet and won a trophy (yeah, so there was zero competition in my weight class . . . it's still a trophy and it's still mine). -- I stand tall with the best posture I've ever had -- no more slumping or slouching. -- Women at the gym watch me covertly while I'm in the squat rack and they're on the leg curl machine, and every now and then one comes up to me and asks me how I learned to do that. -- I sometimes do chin-ups on the monkey bars at the playground, just because it's fun and I can. -- I am not afraid of any part of the gym, or of anyone at the gym, because I belong there.
  22. 4 points
  23. 4 points
    So easier question first: Since most of these supplement pills are pretty small (relative to say, a sandwich) taking them with food can help in two ways: 1) Slows down the transit rate: If you have some solid food making the trip through your digestive track with the pill, it slows down the time it would take the pill to make it though. Not only does your body have to break down the food more and more at various stages before it can move on, it also has to use the unconscious, slow squeezing muscles of your GI tract to move things out of the stomach and then through the intestines and colon, etc... Both of these actions buy time for the pill to be both fully broken up by enzymes and absorbed into the appropriate cells. 2) Triggers preparation of uptake: If you take just a pill alone it has less of a chance to trigger the right hormone cascades to be activated by the time it makes its way through your GI tract. From the minute you even start chewing things, like a sandwich, your body starts a complex hormone cascade that prepares everything for its job in breaking down and extracting nutrients. For a small pill that you are not supposed to chew (which is also usually tasteless, thereby circumventing some other natural triggers too), your body has not realized that it needs to be ramping up some of the digestive processes. And this in concert with the previous effect could mean that the nutrients in the pill could already be on its way past a give GI tract region before that region is fully prepared to take advantage of the total volume of compounds contained in that pill. This applies for most vitamin/nutrient supplements. This is also why the converse is recommended in some cases of medicines (mainly pharmaceuticals). Sometimes its better to have a drug pass through your system in a predictable amount of time (no food slowing it down) making the metabolism rate more consistent from dose to dose. And there are also some cases where you don't want those other hormones present in the bloodstream when you start absorbing a given medication. And as always, you want to try getting as much of a given nutrient from its natural source as possible. For the reasons mentioned above, as well as the fact that there has been growing evidence for the idea that there is often a sort of synergistic effect of vitamins/nutrients absorbed with the other compounds that occur in the natural cell tissues of plants/animals you eat to get them. (i.e Eating a carrot has better vitamin A benefits than eating a vitamin A pill). But with Omega-3s this can be difficult though, since one of the highest sources is fish like salmon and large tuna, but eating these fish too often have mercury build up risks. Grass fed beef will also be greater in Omega-3s, but it is often much more expensive or much more difficult to find.
  24. 4 points
    All these statements describe mechanics that violate the laws of physics. You cannot add resistance to the lift by pulling down on the bar with your upper body. Newton's Third Law of Motion, "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." When you pull down on the bar with your upper body muscles you simulataneous create an upward force exactly equal to the downward force on the bar. This plays out by you pulling yourself up into the bar (think behind the neck pullup) So the upward force of that balanced out the downward pressure from your hands. Thus there is no more resistance for your legs to overcome. What is actually happening is that you are sandwiching the bar between back and hands. This is not a consious pushing up with you back, it's just the way physics works. Pulling down is pulling yourself up at the same time. To your legs it changes nothing. This is why if you got on a scale and did this you wouldn't weigh more when you push down on the bar. Just thought I'd clarify that. Also, your upper body muscles do not cross the hip or knee joints so they cannot impede the squat no matter how hard you pull down on the bar. A squat is simply a movement of hip and knee extension. That is how the work is done. Think of it like that rather than moving the bar upward in space. So you can't use your upper body to move the bar on your back down in space even if you wanted to (unless you literally slide it down your back), you would have to flex the hips or knees to move the bar downward. What you experience when you pull down hard on the bar is a coordination issue. It's harder to extend the hips and knees only because you psychologically have trouble sorting it out. There isn't more force involved but it feels like it because it seems logical that you're pulling the bar down in space, which you're not, and at the same time trying to push it back up with your legs. While it technically means "it's all in your head" that doesn't mean it's not a legit effect. But the issue isn't more resistance, just that you're finding it harder to contract your lower body muscles when you think you're pulling in the opposite direction with your upper body. If you mentally sort that out you should be able to overcome that. However, read on. There is no reason to try to pull down on the bar anyway. If anything you would pull foward. You start the lift standing up, so you have to pull it forward into your back. Don't even worry about when you're at the bottom, even if you're bent over 45 degrees you would still be pulling it toward your body not down. You wouldn't be pulling it down unless you were bent over parallel to the ground. But you don't have to sandwich the bar into your back with the wrath of god, which I'm pretty sure you were when you were "pulling down". Just tighten up, create that nice stable shelf on your back. Keep your chest up, abs tight, back extended and all that. You probably won't even have to think about keeping the bar tight to your back if you do the other things right. If you were having trouble keeping a tight core, jamming the bar into your back harder wouldn't directly do anything to change that. If abs are weak strengthen them. If you have a hard time activating them, that's basically the same thing. A bit off topic but I disagree with the notion that you don't need any core training, that you can just do squats and deadlifts and that's enough for your abs. I think it's too easy to cheat. You can give your lower back more of the load, you can lose extension a bit and let it pass. I say do extra ab/core work anyway. For the most part you sorted this out it seems but the one thing you're still doing is pushing up on the bar. Do not do this. Your upper body can not actively aid you in the squat by trying to direct upward force to the bar. Remember Newton's Laws. If you push up with your arms the weight just travels down your arms and onto your upper back again. You change nothing. You might slightly raise the bar relative to your body but it doesn't aid you even 1 gram as far as extending the hips and knees. And where the bar is in space doesn't matter at all. The squat is done when the hips and knees extend. All you could accomplish by pushing up with your arms would be to push the bar off your back, or take some of the force of the bar off your back and put it on your arms, which will hurt your wrist or elbow eventually. As far as the legs are concerned you change nothing by doing this. The reason that might have felt easier isn't because you helped move the bar up with your upper body. Nor is it because you stopped moving the bar down with your upper body (remember the laws of physics don't allow either of those things to happen). It's simply because you resolved the mental coordination problem (which I understand really feels like a physical impediment). All the hands do is hold the bar secure to the back. They don't take any of the load from the bar. The back stays rigid and supports all the weight of the bar. The quads extend the knee. The hamstrings extend the hip. The bar rises as a result of the hip and knee joint movement. A bit long but hopefully there's something in there that helps.
  25. 4 points
  26. 4 points
    Using the Oxford Dictionary and the free on line dictionary, I have researched the meaning of the name “Mehdi”. Meh: Pronunciation:/mɛ/ informal exclamation · expressing a lack of interest or enthusiasm:meh, I’m not impressed so far adjective · uninspiring; unexceptional:a lot of his movies are ... meh · unenthusiastic; apathetic:everyone else I talked to was kind of meh Di: di- 1 pref. 1. Two; twice; double: dichromatic. 2. Containing two atoms, radicals, or groups: dichloride. [Greek; see dwo- in Indo-European roots.] [...] Put them together and what have you got; twice the lack of interest or doubly uninspiring. Sums it up for me.
  27. 4 points
    When I read Mehdis apology, I was reminded of the Koren/Planned Parenthood brouhaha as well as Rush Limbaughs latest shenanigans. In all three cases, the apologies seemed more like damage control in response to a barrage of social media opprobrium that threatens their business model. While I have no doubt that some of Mehdis contrition is genuine, despite his repeated braggadocio of how he "doesn't care what others think", I find it all too little too late. If he had acknowledged that the legacy members were a fair part of his success, had been unreasonably purged and could now gain full membership for free, as he had originally intimated; had he not tried to make the dissent on his site seem to be only from the "freeloaders", when he knows full well paying members had the same qualms as those remaining free members, even all of this would still not convince me to go back. While I agree with H that the logic of the basic original approach for the SL site was sound, and not something I had any particular quarrel with, for me, the best part of that site has moved here. Not just the people, but the perfect blend of commitment to strength training, tolerance for a wide variety of methodology, and a true spam/troll/bully free environment. So I can only applaud his "apology" with one hand. While saying I'm sorry is better than stonewalling through eternity, too often lately it seems when people say: "I'm sorry" they mean: "I'm sorry you got mad at me for being a jerk and making it hard for me to keep doing my utterly disagreeable thing"
  28. 4 points
    Ironstrong is Ironstrong and has much better and liberal moderation, software and community then Stronglifts ever had in my book. I think we should stop thinking of this place as new Stronglifts and focus on what it really is, awesome Ironstrong.
  29. 4 points
    Looks like SL took care of canceling my account for me. I got a PayPal email notification today with no further notice as to why. Probably inactivity since I really never said anything particularly nasty as others have reported. Mehdi I know you or your disciples are lurking here. I don't know how this works in Belgium, but most honorable businesses offer some sort of warning, or at least a notice of why the subscription was terminated. I've given you the benefit of the doubt for the most part, along with my $9.97 monthly fee, simply out of appreciation for getting me started on a fitness program that somehow stuck. Even despite my absolute lack of any athletic experience or interest. Thanks for giving me the bum rush and I am glad to be yet another of your valued customers. Perhaps some day you'll pull your spine out of your purse and act like a real man that has integrity.
  30. 4 points
    There are several places that share the same set of strength standards, such as exrx.net's chart. In order to make sense of these charts, you have to understand what they represent. Essentially there are different levels of adaptation that lifters go through as they get stronger. It's important to understand that your body is going to gradually change as you progress and get stronger. It will take you longer to recover from that heavy set of five you just did, so you won't progress as fast. If the program you are following has you progressing faster than your body can keep up, you will hit stalls and potentially even get into overtraining. So let's start by understanding the definitions of the levels: Untrained - minimum desirable amount of strength for a good quality of life for a sedentary person. Typically an untrained person can recover from the heaviest thing they can lift within 24 hours, so they could potentially train every day. Novice - a person training for 3-9 months. Typically a novice can fully recover from heavy lifting within 48-72 hours, so this person can progress every session if they train 3 days a week with at least a full day of rest in between. Intermediate - a person training for up to 2 years. Typically an intermediate lifter takes up to a full week to fully recover from heavy lifting. Intermediate programs provide a "heavy day", a light or medium day, and a max effort day, training 3 days per week. The heavy day gives the lifter the volume needed to get stronger, while the light day provides some active recovery. The max effort day is a higher intensity, but lower volume day than the heavy day. Advanced - a person training for multiple years, and has definite goals. Typically an advanced lifter takes up to a month to recover from heavy lifting. Advanced programs are designed using a concept called "periodization", where much of the month is spent in active recovery (lifting lighter than max effort weights). Elite - refers specifically to people who train in strength sports like power lifting. Elite lifters will require more than a month to recover from heavy lifting, and their programming has to be designed around competition dates. Now, I want to make something perfectly clear about a couple of things. First, the time frames listed are rough estimates based on a young adult population. More important than the time frames is the recovery requirements of these "levels" of strength. Older people, or people with special considerations such as asthma, handicap, etc. may need to bump their programming up to the next level because of recovery issues. Second, the weights associated with the levels in the standards are not hard facts for everyone. You may blow by a certain threshold but your recovery is still as good as it ever was. There's no need to change programs just because you hit the magic number. OK, a third thing: those numbers represent a 1RM (one rep max). More than likely you may pass that number with your 5RM before you need to switch. Another important thing to consider is that the more you progress, the easier it is to overtrain. Overtraining is where you pushed yourself harder than your body can recover and keep up. In mild overtraining you will see a loss of performance, strength, and energy. In worse cases of overtraining you can develop symptoms that appear like clinical depression. According to the "Programming for Strength Training" book, it takes you twice as long on a deload to get out of the overtraining state than it took to get into it. For a beginner, that's not a big impact because they only have to go back a couple sessions--it's also a lot less likely that you can push yourself that hard. For an advanced trainee, that's a couple months being derailed. This is why logs are so important, and your mood before and after training is equally important. What Are the Standards Good For? The most important use for those standards are for setting and evaluating goals. Let's say you are just starting out, and you have a hard time just lifting the Olympic bar. It's perfectly normal in the beginning be and feel weak. However, you want to shoot for some reasonable goals. If you pick one of the beginner programs that gives you linear progression like Starting Strength or StrongLifts, you can set yourself the goals of reaching the "Novice" standards by such and such date. Since the programs have a schedule to keep increasing, you can predict when you will reach those goals pretty easily. Things come up, and you may not hit that initial goal in the time frame you gave yourself, and that's OK. Just keep at it and you will hit the goal. When you do, set a new goal. Now, let's say you've just switched to intermediate, and the weights you are lifting are tracking pretty closely with what is listed in the charts. Your squats are a bit further out, but your bench is right on the money. So you set yourself the goal of increasing your squats by 140lb in the next six months. Since your program is weekly, you figure you should be able to do that in half the time if you never stall. Now, you look at what that would be on the standards charts and you are deep in "advanced" territory. In short, there's a good possibility you may have to switch to an advanced program before hitting that goal. That will change your schedule, but if you keep working at it, you'll still be able to hit the weight. They are also useful for understanding trends. Some exercises are harder than others, plain and simple. When you look at the charts and you see the standard weights go up by small numbers from one level to the next, you can bet yourself that lift is hard to do big weights with. A prime example is the overhead press. There really isn't a whole lot of difference between intermediate and advanced when you compare it to squats, or even the bench press. You can figure out what the rough proportions should be for where you are in your training. Even if you are off the charts with better lifts than what's listed under "elite" but your recovery is still pretty quick, the lifts will likely have a similar spread as they are presented in the charts. Essentially, it helps you to set your expectations reasonably. If you start stalling on the overhead press, and you know it's normal for that lift to lag behind the others, you don't get as upset. As much as I hate missing a lift, having unreasonable expectations sets you up to quit in exasperation. They also provide an idea if someone's golden ratio really applies to you. The classic one I heard in high school was that you should be able to bench your weight. Well, for the average 140-165lb teenage boy, that might be a reasonable goal (within the novice range). However, you get a 220lb football player, and they have to train harder and longer to do the same (intermediate levels). You get a kid weighing over 300lb and they have to work really hard to achieve the same goal. In short, you can use the charts as a rough bullox meter when someone tells you when you should be able to do something. It's a Tool, Not the Guide of Life You don't need to switch programs just because you lifted the new threshold. You need to change programs when your recovery is not keeping up with the progression you are doing. However, if you feel yourself feeling like you are barely getting your training done, you can check the charts to see where you are. If you are pretty close to the new threshold, it could be your body telling you that you'll have to change programs soon. The most common time it becomes a question is when a late beginner is just about ready to switch to an intermediate program. The body's recovery might be taking a full 72 hours (the weekend off), or just a little more than that. Either way, you just can't keep up with a new workout session every 48 hours. Switch to the intermediate program, and you will be able to keep going with weekly progression until your body starts taking 8 days to recover. And so on. Of course, it could be the beginner is stalling out because they are trying to diet and lift with linear progression at the same time. This person might be stalling out at half the normal threshold for intermediate standards. The standards don't rule your life, but there is a good indicator that you probably aren't giving your body what it needs to get stronger. In short, it's a tool to help you troubleshoot your progress.
  31. 4 points
    Because different muscle fibers are recruited for different purposes at different rep ranges. If you're doing sets of 8, you aren't going to recruit very much fast-twitch muscle fiber (IIb)whereas you will recruit a fair amount of other muscle fibers. Assuming you are at least working in the 12 reps and under range (per set), though, you'll be recruiting mostly IIa and IIb fibers. IIb fibers are strong and fast, but can't exert effort for more than a few seconds. Any set lasting for more than a few seconds, therefore, is out of the range of *optimal* effort for these guys, though they still get recruited to some extent. It takes about 70% of your 1rm to recruit these fibers, which is why I recommend that your working sets always take place above 70% of your 1rm. For beginners, they can train effectively at 50-70% of their 1rm for a few months and still recruit IIb fibers. As you get more advanced, you need more stimulus to call up fast twitch fibers, so you have to keep pushing your 1rm% up as you get stronger. Elite athletes typically don't see gains unless working into the 90% or up range. At lower rep ranges, you also see the CNS play a larger role, as muscles have to fire in a precise order and very efficiently to accomplish the lift. Compare a max effort DL or O-lift to a bodybuilder's "pump" workout and you can see the difference. If you've ever just felt "beat" the day after heavy, heavy DLs or o-lifts in a way that has nothing to do with muscle soreness, you're feeling your CNS take a hit (don't worry, it adapts just like muscles). Strength gains come from a combination of improved neural efficiency (ie: better recruitment of various muscle fibers) and also muscular growth. The gains from neural recruitment are faster at first, and then start to taper off, though they still play a role for advanced lifters. One thing about the CNS and muscle recruitment is that bad form reinforces bad form. If you are performing movements with bad form all the time, or performing max efforts while fatigued, your CNS will begin to learn that new pattern and not recruit muscle in the best way. This is why I'm always railing on any plan where people do a ton of work *before* hitting their top or max set. It's completely backwards based on what we know about the role of the CNS in muscle recruitment... not to mention that you're just plain weaker for the set! I also prefer to start from the top and go down because then you're effectively moving through the fiber hierarchy. You're focusing on your fast twitch fibers first, then going after the intermediate ones, etc. As j2times pointed out, we have some pretty good evidence on optimal rep range for various efforts. I would perhaps prefer that data in "pyramid" form, with 70% forming the floor. If you're hitting over 20 reps with 70% of your 1rm, that's the base of what you MUST do for optimal growth. If 8 of those reps are at 90% of your 1rm, that's fine too, but 20 @ 70% should be your bare minimum. Once you're above that, adjust based on your preference and goals. For absolute strength, go for lower reps and for slightly more hypertrophy for for lower reps. One thing to consider is that even if you're working up to heavy singles, you will no doubt need to do some warm-up and probably back-off sets as well. This will all count towards your total volume. Keep in mind that strength and hypertrophy are not quite so distinct as people think. If you get stronger, you WILL get bigger -- it's just a matter of degree. Also, if you are focused on absolute strength but want additional hypertrophy, just throw in a couple back-off sets of 6-8 reps *after* your strength work and you will hypertrophy quite rapidly without sacrificing strength at all.
  32. 4 points
  33. 4 points
    Half expecting him to start a thread - Special offer for all ex-SL members! Just this week only, special, 100 places, for just $5. I could easily charge $500, but I'm such a cool guy, I help you out. But only til midnight. Act now and get my free ebook "How to build Sick GUNZ in 21 days" worth 97$, but free for first 25 orders. Act now, otherwise it will be too late. And you will never have 6 pack abz and gunz. And I might never do this offer again. One time only. You buy know or forever be weak with skinny arms.
  34. 4 points
    Medhi who? C'mon guys forget about him already.
  35. 4 points
    I know a lot of us have been getting the word out about this please and rounding up our SL brethren, but I think Janelle and 5 deserve the most praise.... I think they laid down the most of the ropes that got everybody here. 5, of course, took advantage of Mehdi's policy of allowing signatures to link to personal blogs, and since she posted about as often as anybody at SL, everybody saw her blog and everybody was able to see it when she put linked to this place on her blog a few days ago. And, Janelle got the word out even earlier. She certainly was the one who got me here. When Janelle lapsed her gold membership, her log was up for days with her new home here prominently displayed because Mehdi did not care what happened to her or think anybody would follow, probably because he never gave a shit about women lifters and never paid one ounce of respect to Janelle's strength. He had gals doing his program winning PL meets (a boxer from Florida with a handle I cannot recall) and Janelle was deadlifting 315lbs, and he never gave them any respect, going so far as to try and brand SL as "the place for men". So, I say hats off to Janelle and 5 for helping us all get here, and it serves Mehdi right that his own attitude helped them get everybody out right under his nose.
  36. 3 points
    That´s already two things to think about. Do you really think that thinking about more things is any use? I can hardly think about one thing at a time, let one more than two. Just keep on practicing with controllable weights, take videos and/or have someone that knows his stuff give you tips. Overthinking stuff is rarely ever the answer, especially when considering movements. Feeling and intuition is always faster than thinking, thinking is slow.
  37. 3 points
  38. 3 points
    Sit down and stand up, squatting isn´t that hard. No Need to overcomplicate things. Now I´ll grab my Popcorn and wait for K to show p with a billion different cues.
  39. 3 points
    Follow Simon's advice, he's the resident dieting wizard I you're serious about weight management, tracking calories is your best route, at least for a while because it will help you get a grip on what you're actually eating, and what your body actually needs. The experience you gather from that will be very valuable once you've reached your goal and want to adjust for other goals (like clean bulking or just maintenance). "Diet plans" usually just work by tricking you into eating less without the actual math. This being said, don't get overly obsessive about it. You're not gonna lose your gains because you miss your protein goal, you're not gonna blow up because you overeat once. As for calculators, I think this one is one of the best. It helped me cut from over 125 kg to just above 105 kg within about 6 month (moderate lifting 3 times per week, hardly any cardio, some HIIT and hill sprints). Another interesting tool is the Body Weight Simulator. The best article I've seen so far on weight loss is this one, check it out. As for protein, 200g is doable, but I'd say probably not necessary in your case. From the stats you gave, I'm assuming you're shooting for a lean body mass of about 70kg - 75 kg. Consequently, about 120 g protein per day should be sufficient even in a caloric deficit. If you prefer to err on the high side (like I would), go for about 150g, that's plenty.
  40. 3 points
    Using this workout style, I've brought my DL from 340 to 500 in 18 months and added about 12lbs of muscle with no appreciable fat gain. I'm posting this here because I've got more than a few questions about the "program" that I'm doing, as described in my workout log on the SL forums. I've typed this out in a handful of PMs and I'm just gonna put here so it's in one place. I'd like to refine it a bit, so please post any questions and I'll be glad to answer them or simplify particular points. If I could distill this down to something simpler, I'd like to. I am posting the long version to fully explain everything behind why I train this way -- if you just want "the system" and not "the theory", I'm working on that at the bottom. My training style is based on reverse pyramids training (a la Martin Berkhan) but has quite a few differences. Namely, I typically hit each point on the pyramid twice, I superset almost everything, and I typically finish with a drop set for speed. I also apply a bit more math to my approach, which I guess comes with being both an engineer and an economist. It's not so much a program that prescribes set weights for each week as it is a workout structure based on a few principles. The main tenets are: -There are limits to rates of muscular growth and a given amount of muscle provides a given amount of strength. -For non-beginner lifters, increased CNS efficiency plays a minor role in strength. -Maximal efforts in the 2-6 rep/set range translate to gains in 1 rep-max and vice versa (range varies slightly depending on lift). See my spreadsheet equating these -By equating the above, one can work to increase real or predicted 1rm every 1-2 workouts -Gains in strength, speed, conditioning, and hypertrophy are NOT mutually exclusive and the trade-offs are NOT as severe as people think -Reverse pyramids allow a primary focus on strength, followed by work done for hypertrophy and conditioning -Total volume in the 25-40 rep range with sets in 3-8 rep range improves conditioning and hypertrophy -- as well as strength -- if done with appropriate density (hence why I almost always superset and do pyramids) -Changes in lift mechanics translate with a relatively fixed ratio to one another (e.g. improving snatch grip deadlift will improve regular DL by some known and predictable percentage) -A 3% increase in weight or mechanical difficulty translates to decrease of roughly 1 rep. I created this spreadsheet to list the progression and translate all 1-8 rep work down to a 1rm. I basically took Brzycki and Beachle's methods, calculated for various reps, and averaged them, then rounded to the nearest five lbs, as shown on the Average(rounded) sheet. I try to move down one row on that list every workout or two, usually hitting two different rep ranges (columns) before moving up. For instance, look at the sheet named "Average(rounded)" and find the row where 1rm is 500. The predicted, rounded values for all the reps x weights that correspond to that 1rm are in the columns of that row. Take 3x465, for instance, 4x450, and 5x535. Before I tried to pull 500 for a 1rm, I had done ALL of those. In a sense, I had already pulled 500 before I pulled it. It's not exactly equal, of course, but it's a very good approximation, and certainly good enough for my purposes. Before I go in to the gym, I already know what ROW on that sheet I'll be working -- the only difference is which COLUMN I work. Do I do 1rm? Or 2reps? Or 3-5? That sort of depends on how I feel. But I have copies of this sheet printed out for all my big lifts and I check off each cell as I hit that weight/rep combination. The more a particular row fills up, the more I know that I "own" that particular 1rm weight. All I do is just move down the paper, as fast as possible. This mainly applies to my top set, though, and I form the rest of the pyramid based on that (see below). I think of workouts in terms of whatever the translated 1rm is -- it's MUCH easier to keep track of all your lifts when you just equate everything to that. This doesn't work if you're doing 3sets of 10 reps or something, but in low-mid rep ranges, it works great. I usually do 2 sets of that same rep and weight combo, so my training style could best be described as "double reverse pyramids". I've found that almost anything you can do once in a workout can be done twice in a workout. Three times starts to get tough, but you almost always have two top sets in you -- even on a 1rm day. So, let's say I'm working DL at 500lbs 1rm and I want to do triples that day. I'll do two sets of 3x465, because 3x465 corresponds to a 1rm of 500lb. That is my "top set", and that's the set I translate to 1rm and try to improve every workout or two. Following that, I'll drop somewhere between 5%-10% of the weight and add a rep (moving up and right a few cells on the sheet). So I would probably then go on to 4x430 and I would do that twice. Next, I would drop another 5-10% and add another rep, going to 5x405 for two sets. Finally, I might drop down to 60%-70% of my 1rm and do as many reps as possible, as fast as possible (Without breaking form) and then drop another 20% and continue to rep out. So my deadlift workout for this day would look like this (after my warm-up, of course): 3x465, 3x465, 4x430, 4x430, 5x405, 5x405, 8x335 + 4x315 (the "+" indicating a drop set or cluster rep done after a brief rest). And of course that's exactly the type of rep structure you typically see in the 20+ pages of my workout log. Note that in that workout, I worked strength, volume, and conditioning/speed, in that order. In order to shorten the necessary rest time for that workout, I will typically alternate a superset with an unrelated lift. I usually superset DL and a press (bench, db press, ohp, dips) and superset squat/front squat with a pull (chins, DB rows, etc). I apply the same principle to both lifts: I aim to improve the top set of the pyramid every workout or every other workout, and then form the rest of the pyramid based on that. I typically do some sort of pushup or light dip as a drop set with my pushing movements as well. If I'm doing dips, the whole workout would look like this: DL: 3x465, 3x465, 4x430, 4x430, 5x405, 5x405, 8x335 + 4x315 Dips: 3xBW+125lb + 10x pushups, 3xBW+125lb + 10x pushups, 4xBW+110lb + 8x pushups, 4xBW+110lb + 8x pushups, 5xBW+90lb + 8x pushups, 5xBW+90lb +8x pushups, 8xBW+45lb + 10x BW dips That's pretty standard for what you've seen in my log. Finally, I believe that altering the mechanics of a lift corresponds to some percentage of an increase or decrease in that lift's 1rm and the same system can be applied once you figure out what that percentage is for you. I've found, for instance, that doing deadlifts from a 1" deficit equates to roughly a 3-4% reduction in strength for me -- or about 1rep. So going back to my example DL workout, 3x465 conventional deadlift is no different to me than 4x440-450 from a deficit. Going to snatch grip and adding a deficit, however, seems to equate to something like a 12-15% reduction. I find 6x365 snatch grip from a deficit about as hard as 6x405 conventional DL. I find that using DBs instead of a bar from things like bench is "worth" about 7-10%, and going from a flat bench to a 45 degree incline is worth another 5-7%. The exact percentages themselves aren't really relevant, but I roughly figure about 1 rep for every 3% of added difficulty. For me, going from flat BB bench to incline DB press has historically meant a 15% drop in strength. Let's apply this to bench. My 1rm bench max is ~265 right now. That implies a 4 rep max of 4x240lb. Subtracting about 15% from that should correspond to the amount of weight I can incline DB press for 4 reps. Sure enough, 85% of 240lb is 204lbs, which implies 100lb dumbbells. Lo and behold, 4x100lb on DB incline press is EXACTLY what I put up a couple weeks ago right before maxing 265. Once I found the percentages for me, they've held pretty steady for the last 2 years. By determining roughly what works for me, I can move up my BB bench press to a known quantity by moving up my incline DB press by the relevant amount. This is why I'm fairly sure that when I'm snatch grip DLing 455 for a few reps, I'll be able to conventional DL 525. I know the rough percentage, and I know it transfers, so I can use one the mechanically weaker lift to move up the mechanically stronger one. In my experience, the percentages are fairly similar between most people and fairly stable for one person as long as they aren't a total beginner or a VERY advanced lifter. When I'm training a friend,I can usually find them a good working weight of a different exercise. I want to emphasize that I do not have the entire workout planned out before I go in the gym. ONLY the 1rm weight of the top set. I usually decide on a rep range for my top set during my warm-up, depending on whether I feel more tolerance for volume or max strength that day. I form the rest of my pyramid on the fly, as I'm removing weights. Subtract 5-10%, add a rep (or two) -- it's simple. This explanation makes it sound much more complicated because I'm explaining the reasoning behind what I do in case others find it helpful. Actual implementation of this is very simple, though: translate all your lifts to the 1rm and move that 1rm up as fast as you are able. Every 3% of additional weight -- or added mechanical disadvantage -- corresponds to roughly 1 less rep. Edit: I forgot to add a note about workout frequency and split. I do RPT strength-focused workouts only 2-3 times per week and always full-body workouts. Usually one day of DL and one day of Squat/Front squat. I typically have another 1-2 days of assistance work (e.g. shrugs, oly lifts), but I alternate with assistance work like calf raises, Bulgarian split squat, cable flyes, oly lifts, etc. I still typically -- but not always -- do the RPT structure for the workout even though I do it at a higher rep range. I might do shrugs in the 4-6 rep range for my top set but do calf raises in the 8-10 for my top set, dropping all the way to 15 reps for my last set. I still do supersets and circuits on these workouts. I've been travelling a lot lately, so I've not had access to my bumper plates, but my favorite workout structure is 3 days on/1-2 days off doing strength, assistance, oly/met-con on days 1-3. So that'd be something like DL/Press (day 1), Shrugs,calves, and Bulgarian split squat (day 2), Circuit of Clean, Snatch, curls, heavy bag (day 3). I hope that made sense. Questions? ---- The short version is: -Get a chart (like the one I made) that plots all rep/weight combos to 1rm. -Find where you are on that chart, in terms of 1rm -For your next workout, move down one row (or 5lbs on your 1rm) to find your goal 1rm -Pick a column depending on whether you want to do singles, doubles, triples, quads etc. Let's say you go with quads (4 reps/set, not the body part). Your workout would be: -Two sets of the weight that corresponds to the 4rm of your goal 1rm -Drop 5-10% of the weight (some autoregulation here) and do 2 more sets of 5 reps -Drop another 5-10% of the weight and do 2 more sets of 6 reps -For your next workout, consider how easy the top set was. Did you annihilate it? Or was it tough? If it was really tough, spend another week on that same row, but do another column (maybe do a double or triple next time). If it was easy, then move up in weight and down a row. Repeat. I typically do a similar rep structure for both exercises, at least on strength day. If I'm gonna max DL, I typically max Bench or max OHP as well. If it's a max day, I usually do something like 2 singles, 2 triples, 2 fives, and then a drop set of 8+4, just to get some additional volume in. That is, I almost never go 1,1,2,2,3,3.
  41. 3 points
    Does this cause muscle loss? lol I'm beginning to think you're subtly trolling us. There is nothing you could do except surgery that is going to make you lose muscle in a single day. When cutting, the basics are: eat the proper amount of calories to lose weight, eat higher than normal protein to preserve muscle, lift heavy to preserve muscle. There are plenty of different diets but the ones that work best ultimately fulfill those criteria. As to why you felt bad, who knows? It's one day. And one day doesn't mean anything. You ate differently and felt differently. Unless you plan on making a habit out of this, and you continue to feel bad, it doesn't matter. Don't over analyze everything. Getting the basics right over long periods of time is what produces results. You worry too much.
  42. 3 points
    First a brief description. De-loading is the term we use for when we reduce our working weight on a particular exercise due to lack of progress (stall). For example, in the stronglifts program, once you staal three times at the same weight, you reduce that weight by 10% and work your way back up. The standard reasoning is that the time it takes to build back up to the weight you stalled on allows for time to work on form, and confidence, under (or over) the bar. When on a beginner strength training program, progress/challenge level will generally feel like this for every exercise: Weeks 1-4: Learning basic form. Weights feel easier than you can do Weeks 4-8: Applying newly learned form to your former work weights. Feels challenging but manageable Weeks 8-12: Pushing your limits on each exercise. You will fail on at least 1 exercise, likely more (or all) For me the principle of de-loading wasn't realized until weeks 8-12. I saw it as 'failure'. I didn't look forward to stalling or even worse, de-loading. The thing is, in weeks 8-12, I began pushing all of my limits on all of my lifts. And all at the same time. So I'm attempting to push my strength limits on squats, bench, and rows all within 90 minutes. But when I de-load on one of those for the first time, it leaves more energy to push past on the other two lifts. And when I de-load on two lifts, my sole focus is on pushing my body limits on the one other lift. De-loading allows you to crush a new PR on other exercise(s). This is why I no longer fear de-loading as 'failing'. If I didn't de-load, I would fail on all lifts, but with it, I'm always in a position to make a PR on at least one lift.
  43. 3 points
    Since new guys usually have the same questions and form problems I decided to create this thread to put some advice in the same place. Other guys feel free to add more stuff. I'll put some random videos for now. For the press: On hip mobility:
  44. 3 points
    This reads like a troll to me but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. There is controversy about GOMAD. I have done it myself. I was 5' 10" and I've been as low as 105lbs. My normal weight before lifting was 120 lbs. I know what skinny is, I've been there. And I trust that you are skinny so don't worry. The problem is this: There is nearly no situation in which a sudden 2400 calorie increase is prudent. Even if you were starving. You would want to get on an immediate calorie increase in such a situation, yes, but not one so drastic. That's not healthy, even if you were starving at the time. The fact that you're skinny doesn't give you the ability to partition 100% of your surplus into lean mass. The fact that you workout doesn't give you that ability either. And the combination of the two still doesn't give you much more than about a 1:1 ratio when you over-feed. And credible as they may be, a few testimonials giving personal impressions on the internet is not going to convince me otherwise. I did GOMAD. I thought I gained mostly muscle. I looked way better, and I went way slower than the standard protocol. My flaw, and what ended up saving me, was that I suck at eating. So while I did GOMAD I subconsciously couldn't keep up my regular food intake. The system ended up self regulating. I ended up gaining about 40 lbs. my first year, instead of 40 lbs. in two or three months, as GOMAD tells you to do. And yet, I now know I didn't gain "mostly muscle", although technically all that would mean is 51% muscle, which is feasible. I know there are people out there that swear they gained like 90% muscle on GOMAD but, although I respect them, I don't believe they are correct. They aren't getting DEXA scanned. They are basically just looking in the mirror and liking what they see, so assuming it was mostly muscle. I don't intend to argue. I won't convince them and they won't convince me so I'm not trying to debate. As I said, I respect these people and their impression and opinion is as valid as mine. That being said, I don't think you should do GOMAD, for several reasons. First, you need to get real weight training equipment. The Iron Gym is a glorified pull up bar. Resistance bands aren't of much use. You're basically saying you can do body weight movements like push ups, pull ups, and sit ups. This is simply not a program that is to be combined with gross over-feeding. Anyone in their right mind that recommends something as drastic as GOMAD is going to demand you do heavy Barbell Back Squats, at the VERY LEAST. So if you're not going to run a hard barbell program like Starting Strength or 20 rep Squats or something like that, don't even think about GOMAD. Even if you are going to run said programs I still say you should start out with a more moderate calorie increase. 2400 is ridiculous. Start with an extra 600 at most. And if you're set on getting it from milk that equates to about 1 quart, or 1 liter a day. There is absolutely no reason why GOMAD would work but LOMAD would not. The only difference is you have less food to eat with LOMAD and you'll gain less body fat in the process. Now if you intend to drink a gallon of milk and not much else in addition to that then that's a different story. It's up to you whether or not you want nearly 100% of your calories to come from milk. But that is not what GOMAD is supposed to be. You're supposed to continue eating what you eat now and then add GOMAD on top of that, resulting in an additional 2400 calories a day. Let me reiterate, I know where you are because I was there too. I did GOMAD, and luckily I kinda screwed it up. There are better ways to go about things. Seriously why not LOMAD instead? And remember, if you're not lifting heavy barbells just get this diet out of your mind right now. Body weight stuff is fine but you're not going to get swole on it unless you have amazing genetics.
  45. 3 points
    Great post Simon! Agreed totally. Getting strong and huge as fast as possible is fine, but you'd be surprised how strong you can get in a relatively short period of time if you just slow down. Less injuries, deloads and other BS that way, and you actually feel strong instead of feeling beat up as hell all the time. Sort of a Tortoise and the Hare deal...
  46. 3 points
    Sort of reviving the old Hall of Fame thread, but I had some time at work today and came up with this. The Category 5 numbers are based on the average Wilkes scores of the top 15 lifters in the 105kg class at the IPF Classic World Cup from this year. Not an enormous pool of data but I chose that class because that's about my weight so those are the numbers I'd feel most qualified to critique. I think the results are very reasonable. To get the Category 1 numbers, I took Rip's starting squat numbers from his own standards table and determined what percentage that was of the Category 5 number, then extrapolated that to all the lifts. Category 2, 3 and 4 were chosen somewhat arbitrarily, by designing a curve that I thought was a fair representation of strength development over time. So Category 1 and 2 are further apart than 2 and 3, which are further apart than 3 and 4, etc. Here is the strength curve used across the categories (this particular example is a squat for a 220lb male, but the shape of the curve is constant across every lift and weight class): In my opinion it should probably rise faster at the beginning and taper off even more slowly at the end, but doing that gave numbers that a lot of people would have complained about. The jump from Cat1 to Cat2 would have been massive. The categories are meant to be interpreted something like this: Category 1: Average strength level for someone new to lifting after spending a little bit of time getting comfortable with the technique. Category 2: A good initial goal to shoot for. Should be attainable within a year of lifting for most people. Category 3: Really good lifting. Achievable by just about anyone who is dedicated to strength training. Category 4: Excellent lifting. It is unlikely you will reach this point without several years of very dedicated training. Category 5: World class lifting. Usually achievable by only extremely dedicated lifters who train seriously for many years. Obviously some people are going to lift less, some people are going to lift more, but I personally like these numbers for the average person. Any criticisms and opinions are appreciated!
  47. 3 points
    Not surprised and gutted for Pat. Same way I was for Alistair. There are no high level sports without PEDs, period. My close childhood friend is a professional ice hockey player. The whole of his squad is on HGH. A friend is training in the same gym as Konstantinov back in Latvia, KK is a living PED factory. A Russian strength-training forum I write on has a number of competing PL and OL lifters' diaries, who openly write about their current and past PED cycles. An ex-competetive BBer in my gym (a very strong chap and PED user) has trained with Andy Bolton and says he is definitely on gear (that one is for you, Vaughan, although I appreciate it's only 'from a guy who know _the_ guy'). None of that takes away from the fact that all of these athletes work very-very hard, are gifted for their sports and do have their diet, recovery and training in check. I say, let people use whatever is that they want to, as they are going to anyway. PS: I was reading a Russian powerlfting book from 1996 over the weekend, by a coach called Muraviev. It has a chapter dedicated to steroids, which starts as follows (my translation): "As one cannot imagine a hearty meal without a loaf of bread, so one cannot imagine a weightlifter without methandienone (aka Dianobol / D-Bol). Methandienone is the weightlifter's bread and butter". So do bear this in mind when you try to emulate Russian training, ok? PPS: Do you own research and draw your own conclusions. Popular media is one of the worst sources of information on anything, really.
  48. 3 points
    The six pack doesn't matter, who said it ever did ? Mark's stance on six pack is like a chick he can't get, so he starts trash talking. People who haven't seen their cock in ages always seem to defend their stance. It's like atheists who convert or vice versa, they start bashing the other side. In my experience with a bunch of people I've seen in person and conversated with on a daily basis, some I've coached: everyone cares about aesthetics. Powerlifters are, I quote a fellow lifter, a bunch of fat men lifting weights. Imo, a sportsman should look like a sportsman. If you get weird facial expressions with "so, you train huh ?" and you train for over a year - you're doing it wrong. Six pack is nothing, it's something you get when you're lean and healthy. I was horrified when I read a recent article on EliteFTS about being "hoodge". Pay attention to your food ffs... getting 4000k semi-clean is not so hard and eating less on rest days isn't either. Getting strong shouldn't be gaining 30lbs on the bar for 20lbs on the scale - that's just not a fair exchange. Eventually, relative strength comes into play, and it DOES matter. I like Jamie Lewis' take on the whole thing.
  49. 3 points
    Hi Brad, Bolly My advice is to sort out all the other good stuff about benching first: Things such as: top-to-toe tightness (much of the advice you read is an elaboration on this), keeping the scapulae retracted, degree of elbow tuck, finding your preferred position and path for the bar (position on the chest, position at lock-out and shape of the path followed between these two positions), placement of the feet, whether you want blocks under your feet or not (for short-arses like myself) and breathing. Don't over-think it. If you've been benching for a while you'll instinctively go for a grip that won't be too far away from what is optimal for you. But once you've got everything else sorted then you can try varying the grip width a little and seeing what difference it makes. If you're still making changes to other aspects of your technique you won't be able to fairly judge. Your style of lifting and the purpose for which you are lifting may influence what width works best. But one almost general rule is: If you have shoulder issues, a narrower grip with elbows tucked closer in will afford your joints more protection from further injury that a wide grip with elbows flared. Wider grip is a more chest/shoulder-dominant lift, narrower more triceps/elbow-dominant. Therefore training goals or your relative strengths in these two areas may come into consideration. A wide grip might appear to be advantageous in a competition (because it reduces the range of motion) but it also reduces the efficiency of the levers formed by the shoulders and elbows. (Interestingly, extra wide grips used by very short-limbed lifters has been discussed by the IPF. One of these guys told me that they discussed once the idea of introducing a minimum distance through which the bar must travel from the chest to lock-out. I believe he said one figure being tossed around was 7cm ... less than 3 inches!!! I wished I'd asked him how they thought they were going to measure it in a competition, but it gives you some idea of just how wide these little guys must be able to grip.)
  50. 3 points
    'Should I bulk or cut?' - the simple guide to deciding the guy who wrote that can deadlift over 700 btw.