Have you ever started a new strength program because you looked at it ahead of time and it was mostly just a max effort everyday that promised to get your lifts up 400% in a month? Yea well this was pretty much my experience with drop sets. I wasn’t thinking ahead at all on this one, kind of like not preparing your food before the week starts and you fly off the rails with your diet, but that’s much easier to remedy with resources like Quick Paleo Meal Prep. That short book will outline every necesary aspect of your diet whether your a strength training athlete or a desk jockey 90% of the day, and I trust it completely. But that story is for a later time, let’s talk about why not to be stupid when programming for yourself.
LEARN FROM MY EXAMPLE PLEASE
This is how I got started on this journey to the level of wrecked that I am right now. I was listening to a Barbell Shrugged Podcast; however, before I go any further you need to know I support these guys completely and it was my own ignorance that did me in, so I was listening to the podcast on how to get stronger and the lessons they’ve learned from an average of 15 years lifting. This was mistake number one when I look back, I was one fifth of their training age and I was not even close to being on par with their numbers in olympic or power lifts so the arrogance with which I listened like I was on their level is astounding. They talked about how they all loved the concept of drop sets, drop sets are when you build up to a 2-10 rep max in a given lift and then drop to 90% of that max and you work with that weight. This is incredibly smart because instead of following numbers you plugged into a spread sheet at the beginning of the month when you were at your peak, you’re working on what your max is THAT DAY and not pushing yourself at the same intensity month after month, which would be unsustainable. But I soon found it’s just as unsustainable to train for PURE STRENGTH EVERY SINGLE DAY. By the second week of my training the wheels were coming off FAST, I was out of energy at the end of the weeks and would not want to live life on the weekends outside of bed. Clearly I was pushing the boundaries of what should be done and should have realized myself for what I was at that point, which is a NOVICE at best when it comes to lifting. I’ve been lifting for around 7 years but that’s nothing compared to the guys I was aspiring to be, so no wonder I was running myself into the ground like a mad man!
Training split went something like this:
Monday- Squat, build to 1-5 RM (rep max) then worked at 90% of that broken into a few sets to total 20 reps (this was the same for the rest of the days)
Tuesday- Overhead Press
Wednesday- Rest (ish)
Saturday- Long and slow cardio, running, biking or hiking with a weighted pack
I’ll post the revised training tomorrow and what I have adapted to ensure longevity with progress that won’t wreck me.
Analyze what you’re doing now in your training for your specific goals, if you feel great and are making progress then continue on! If you usually get 2-3 weeks into a program and need to take a week to a month off then it’s time to come up with something that won’t kill you slowly!
if you walk into the gym feeling like a beat pile of dog poo, then odds are you’re either at the end of a strenuous training cycle or you’re just not getting enough carbs. If you’re consistently lifting 3-5 times per week at a moderate to high intensity, then you need to be highly concerned with the quantity and quality of carbs in your diet! This is addressed in the resource Quick Paleo Meal Prep, which outlines how and why to prepare meals ahead of time for quality control and ease. This post however is about how and when to carb up for lifting so strap in and let’s get into it!
SIGNS YOUR CARBS ARE TOO LOW
If you get 2-3 sets in on a moderate strength load and you feel like you need to sit down and recover…you’re way too low. Also if the weights feel like they’re moving slower than expected even on a “weak day” then I would address this as well. You probably know the feeling of being fully charged in the gym and having the weights jump because of your quickness. Coincidentally this probably happened the morning after you went out for pizza and beer with the guys, and you might have even ordered a side of bread sticks to complete the mood of the carb festivities. Whereas if you decided to have a big salad with oil and vinegar dressing topped with grilled chicken, no salt and no pepper, then I wouldn’t expect to be crushing any PRs the next day.
WHY CARBS FOR ATHLETES?
Do you want to run 4 sec 40 Yd dash and not pass out? You need carbs. Do you want to get stronger in every workout and recover? You need carbs. Do you want to look vascular as all get out for them females?? You need carbs! Carbs when broken down are the fuel for your energy systems and partial brain function. To run the 4:40 more than once you’ll need more than a whole head of broccoli the night before, seeing as how the calories required for something like that are around 300 up front calories and a metabolic “afterburn” of 700 for the rest of the day just for that one exercise. Look up in the nfl how many vegan running backs there are, and should you find any you won’t be too impressed with their stats. Carbs found in calorie dense foods like pasta, sweet potatoes and rice are the best fuel to get athletes beyond their limits, but moderation and timing are important.
WHEN AND HOW TO CARB LOAD
The best template I’ve found is the modified Paleo approach. You’ll maintain the typical mostly meats and veggies between workouts and down time, but the night before your heavy morning lifts or morning games you’ll need to carb up. This will take some trial and error so don’t save this strategy for an important game day, test it on other days first! How your body reacts to different qualities and quantities of carbs is different from everyone else on the planet. For example, what works best for me the night before a heavy morning squat session is a THICK peanut butter sandwich with whole wheat bread and the morning of I’ll eat a slice of plain bread on the way to the gym. That probably won’t work for you, body weight, activity level, stress and current diet all play into how this works for you so take time to customize it for YOU. If you’re working out later in the day I would get a container of high quality dextros for like $20 and a container of BCAAs, mix a two to one ratio (20 g BCAAs and 40 g dextros), but again find your sweet spot. And DONT FORGET POST WORKOUT!!!! This is by far the most important meal of your training day! I have a blog post about it that I will link here.
If you’re dragging when you get a third of the way through the workout, or aren’t seeing results anymore, look at your carb intake prior to lifting. Check out the blog post for details on how and get started on your progress!
Now here’s a subject that will strike a nerve with most people, so don’t take any offense to this but it’s something that I have had on my mind for a while. To clarify I am a fan of network marketing, and as controversial as it may be it is incredibly important to business now and in the future. Businesses like network marketing operate at a scale that is above what most people consider to be an option, kind of like preparing your food before your week start to guarantee your success in your diet like with Quick Paleo Meal Prep. Again before we get into this I would like to ask you to keep an open mind and consider the possibilities of options outside of your situation, and how branching out could lead to great things!
MY EXPERIENCE IN NETWORK MARKETING
I was always one who had a hard time considering businesses who recruited and sold, like network marketing, as legitimate businesses. When I heard about friends who started working with a company and wanted me to watch a presentation I would always nervously respond with a vague answer like “yea, that sounds good” or “hmm that’s interesting”. But I later realized that the only reason that I really didn’t have the same passion for what they were offering me was that I wasn’t interested in what they were selling. Most of the time those companies were pushing supplements that could be found at the grocery store for 80% less and you wouldn’t be harassed about setting up recurring orders to lock you in. However, I encountered a company that struck a cord with me, Primerica Financial Services and this company, if you haven’t heard of it before, is about getting people out of debt along with providing life insurance as well as investments. They also handle car and home owner insurance as well as long term care, they have the financial world by the throat essentially. And this was something I could be passionate about! I started as fast as I could and learned all I could about the company and what it took to be successful with them, which didn’t take much convincing because the top earners were pulling in about 4 million per year! Sadly after 2 years of giving it everything I had I came up short and with little results, or so I thought.
WHAT I LEARNED
I am still with the company and am passionate about investments, but I have found alternate ways to make passive income and develop myself as a business owner. And I have Primerica to thank for it, I would have been stuck in the same dead in job chasing a paycheck and doing my best to just survive if I had not been introduced to this company! After coming to know Primerica and the joys of being paid with passive income, I quickly learned how to work hard and develop other avenues that would benefit others while providing a source of income for my family that allows me to be around more. I learned that these companies are around as a sales force for the larger companies they work with, and offer a REAL opportunity for those who are willing to work. The only problem is, and this was my problem as well. most people just don’t want to work! Most of these companies have an incredible system in place, and if you just run the system you will win, and if not then you won’t which I know all to well. However, I would not trade my employment with Primerica for anything! I learned so much and made so many friends who are now winning in life as well.
IF BUSINESS IS YOUR GOAL
I would HIGHLY recommend you find a local Network Marketing company that you can be passionate about, if you’re not passionate then you won’t be able to gain anything monetarily or emotionally from the experience. Find a company that fits your interest and stick with it for up to two years, and don’t give up because you just might make it! Don’t join a company with the goal of quitting and saying you did it, but give it everything you have and learn all they can teach you about being a moral and ethical person in the business world. You will learn so much that carries over into learning a different business, not to mention that if you get uncomfortable there like they teach you that you won’t have any trouble at all handling rejection of any kind! So if you know you want to be a business owner in the future then go join a company and get out of your comfort zone! I’m not paid a dime to say any of this, but I want you to experience what it’s like to push and grind without knowing if what you’re doing is going to pay off, to go up to strangers and ask for help, to go talk to people and be in situations you would never have thought you’d be in before. I believe in you because I know the impact it can have on your life, and the person it can transform you into! Just do it and have fun with it already!
If business is truly your goal then make time to look into a network marketing company to work with and learn from. Find one you’re passionate about and join, and DON’T LET MONEY STOP YOU, If you’re doing it for money then why is money also your reason to not do it?? Just join and connect yourself to leaders and learn business in the trenches, you might not be there forever but you’ll learn more about yourself and others than you could imagine!
if I had a nickle for every time I’ve heard this question I’d need to wear two belts to hold my pants up, cause that’s be a lot of nickles! I would think that if it’s dangerous it would’ve been shut down by now, but let’s talk about it just to appease the internets. Also with crossfit comes Paleo, and Quick Paleo Meal Prep is the best beginners and advanced resource manual I’ve found. So check it out. Let’s look at 3 things when determining CrossFits safety for now, reported major injuries, longevity and scalability.
REPORTED MAJOR INJURIES
I’ve followed CrossFit for over 3 years and have only heard of one serious injury, Kevin Ogar. Kevin is the only person who I’ve heard of in the last 3 years who has had a SERIOUS injury. Kevin was competing at a local competition and during the 1 rep snatch event he lost control of the weight and bailed (intentionally moved out from under the weight) forward; however, he stumbled and fell back as the weight was bouncing up and it collided with his lower back. To clarify, by no means was Kevin a “novice” in weightlifting. The weight he was attempting would have been considered competitive on any national stage, so he had the experience as a weightlifter to handle the weight and know how to get out from under the weight. Kevin was left paralyzed from the waist down, but instead of being bitter towards crossfit and blaming the company for his injury he’s been the biggest advocacy of the sport. Also he’s competed in the 2015 world open workout and submitted a non scaled workout with muscle ups all while still being paralyzed from the waist down. So I would think that if the person who was injured in the most permanent way possible is able to recognize that while what happened was a freak accident, that crossfit still holds value to all people.
Let’s look at longevity in the sense of being able to perform the sport for an extended period of time, as well as how well the sport crosses over to age groups. Starting with the ability to perform the sport of CrossFit for a long period let’s note the fact that it’s been around since 2007 and there are athletes who have been competing since 2009 in the 2015 games. These aren’t just weekend warriors who are competing but athletes who have devoted their lives to the sport, and have only shown signs of getting better every year. In the case of most individual competitors who might not be rising to the level of competition now, they’re going into team competitions. So there’s no evidence of “breakdown” from the sport among the most competitive which indicates that the weekend warriors are even more safe. Now the question of which ages can stand the training is even more interesting. There are men and women in their 70’s who have taken up the sport and learned the practices. Not only have these elders become more active now, but they’ve been shown how to mobilize themselves as well as strengthen their bodies to improve movements in daily life. There’s are many 70 something’s who credit CrossFit with giving them the ability to sustain a fall they had at home, and that’s impressive!
I’ve referenced the scaling term and now let’s talk about it. Is it possible to come into CrossFit with no athletic background and work your way into the shape of a competitive athlete? The simple answer is yes. I started in CrossFit with a small background in bodybuild and no real athletic potential, but I started at the bottom learning the basics of mobility and weak point training to better myself. Through two years I’ve pushed through and developed myself to the point of being somewhat competitive at a beginner level. In short scaling is the process of lowering the weights and difficulty of movements to a point that’s manageable to get the benefits cardiovascular and muscular. I hope this helps you wherever you’re at.
Go join a CrossFit gym on a free trial basis to learn the ins and outs of the sport before jumping to conclusions. Assess your mobility and imbalances muscullarly. Do real research on the benefits of training with functional movements consistently.
Resources CrossFit Journal, Barbell Shrugged and CrossFit.com
ok first thing’s first before I forget, I collaborated with a book that has been recently published to kindle, Quick Paleo Meal Prep. And want some HONEST input. If I gift you the book will you post an HONEST review, it’s a bit more professional/technical writing. But if you could help me out then just leave a comment with your email (I’ll delete it as soon as I get it to avoid creepers).
BACK TO BUSINESS
I decided to get a friend to video my squat to see if there were any technique issues I needed to workout. In short, I pretty much hung up lifting for about two weeks. Between the rounding of upper back and butt winking (when your lower back curves), and the knees diving in, I basically looked like hammered dog poo in the bottom of my squat. This is especially rough for me since I’ve worked my way from a 285 one rep max, to 305 for somewhat easy working sets. All at a body weight of 173 lbs., but here we go.
SO WHAT TO DO?
Well after crying in a dark room for a few hours and eating my feelings, I came back to the gym with a goal to fix me. I started by subscribing to the Crossfit journal (only $30/year I think), and watched every video by jelly starrett that I could on fixing these issues. I started with ankle mobility and worked my way up. It’s challenging to not go all out on stretches. After all, you see him glide in and out of these positions that I’m shaking and panting in like an uncontrollable furbie doll (aging myself with that reference).
I’ve mobilized the nasty tissue and now I’m strengthening the muscles that are probably on par with a 5th graders at this point. However the form though is looking much better, and I feel more solid in the bottom of the squat. So that’s a plus! It’s going to be a long journey back to the top, but I’m confident that it’ll be a higher peak once I get there!
Video an exercise you enjoy and compare it to a professional with their technique. Analyze what they’re doing that you’re not, and how you can get better.
Too many times in life we accept ourselves as someone with nothing to offer. We have things that we know, but shrink ourselves so as to not stand out. Nothing could be further from the truth!
YOU KNOW IT ALL
Not in the literal sense of knowing everything, but your life has afforded you the unique experiences to grant you knowledge in different areas. You may have grown up in an area that is filled with wealth, therefore you have the inate knowledge of sophisticated living that others couldn’t attain through years of study. The opposite is just as true, you could have bee so poor that you learned to appreciate life in it’s most simple elements. Either way, you and your experiences MATTER!
YOU HOLD THE KEY
There are things that you have a passion for that no one else does. You’ve taken the time to learn and grow your knowledge in this area, and that is an invaluable resource! Whether it’s fashion, investing, history or door knob shining, you hold the key to that information. Without people like you this world would be filled with the same person multiplied hundreds of thousands of times. It would be LAME! So thank you for your interest and passions.
YOU EARNED IT!
I wanted to share this with you because I was involved (hopefully we have more content headed your way!) with the writing of a short kindle book “Quick Paleo Meal Prep“. It’s in the Amazon kindle store, just search the title and it’s either free or .99. But after it was done I couldn’t help but realize that if it weren’t for two people being passionate about something, things and information would never be shared like that. So anyway, you’re special and I support you!
Find an area of your life that you’ve excelled in and take a moment to realize the joy it’s brought you. Also how that knowledge has been able to affect others lives.
Yea that paleo thing is fine if you wanna loose weight or stay lean, but I wanna get JACKED! If I had a nickle for every time I heard this I’d have a lot of nickles. “Paleo” isn’t just a diet that people go on to loose weight, it’s a lifestyle.
WHAT IS A DIET?
A diet is a short term way of eating that restricts calories to promote weight loss. There is certainly emphasis on the “short” term. Most people get to where they want to be and then go off the rails in a big way, gain all the weight back, and start the cycle over again in a year when they’re heavier than the last year. It’s a cycle that 80% of people subscribe to and accept.
PALEO FOR WEIGHT GAIN
So if a diet is a restriction of calories then weight gain is a surplus right? YUP, true you’ll need to eat more, volume wise, if you’re focusing on paleo, but your gains will have much more quality! So how I did it was about as simple as it gets. I ate balanced portions to total higher than average calories per day, but after my workouts I would have about a pound of mashed sweet potato and two cups of ground beef (fat drained).
WHY DOES THIS WORK?
Because that’s the only time your body is willing to shuttle nutrients focused on muscle growth! Your muscle size is almost dead last on your bodies priority list, so when it’s been pushed to the limit or close, that’s when you need to cram all the QUALITY food in you can. Do a little home research on the glut4 compound and how it aids in muscle growth, you’ll be glad you did. For now you need to focus on totaling up how many calories you need to gain weight (300-400 over normal per day), and make that post workout meal as big as you can stomach without throwing up your gainz. Don’t factor in the post workout as your daily expenditure, as your body will put those foods to use ASAP.
If your goal is weight gain then put this to the test. However if you’re focused on weight loss I would still add the post workout meal in there, just a whole lot smaller. This helps your body restore glucose stores after intense workouts and gets rid of the shakes of you’re training on a deficit. Again these calories basically don’t count if you put in a high quality workout, cause your body will put them to use right away.