lifting

Drop Sets For Strength: Lesson Learned [Sample Week Template]

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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)

Thursday- Deadlift

Friday- Bench

Saturday- Long and slow cardio, running, biking or hiking with a weighted pack

Sunday- Rest

 

I’ll post the revised training tomorrow and what I have adapted to ensure longevity with progress that won’t wreck me.

 

YOUR CHALLENGE

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!

 

RESOURCES: Elliott Hulse, Johnny Candito, Mark Bell, Jim Wendler

Attack Your Weakness

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We all have kinks in our armour that we are aware of, whether it’s emotionally, physically or mentally no one is completely immune. Realizing this truth alone will be enough to catapult you far enough, but if you’re wanting to reach every bit of your potential then that requires change. And the best change is usually with your diet, we are only well from the inside out. The book Quick Paleo Meal Prep is a great resource to get your life back in line with your goals, by making failure impossible by removing the bad choices. Once you’ve realized these shortcomings then you have taken action, you will be amazed at what you’re truly capable of! 
LOOK AT YOURSELF 


Too often we are afraid to stand in front of a mirror for longer than ten seconds for fear that we might notice all our imperfections. Instead of seeing these things to work on as “flaws”, look at them as an item on the to-do list. Do this with your physical body first, and then you will learn how to spot things as something to work on and not a disaster. Once you’ve mastered this I would suggest taking time out to look at what most of your days consist of. I know when I did this I realized I was wasting 60% of my day with nothing…it was a sad reality :/. But you have the opportunity every day to look at the last few days, and analyze the choices you made and how that helped you or if it did anything at all. I know this sounds strange, but to know where to start you have to know what needs fixin’. 

You wouldn’t want to pay for a brand new engine in your Ferrari if the only problem was it needed a new fan belt and that’s it. 

TAKE ACTION


Now the worst thing you could do is see the things you need to work on worse than they are. Tony Robbins’ quote has stuck with me since the first time I heard it, “See things as they are, don’t see them worse than they are.” So what I’m trying to say is accept where you are and be prepared to make changes. Simply looking at yourself and walking away to do nothing is the sign of giving up…period. Make a plan to change one thing at a time until you’re noticeably different. If that means shaving off your love handles then great, if that means adding an inch to your biceps so you feel proportional then great, if that means cutting out two episodes of Netflix before you go bed to start an online business then great! Just do something to get the thing done!!!
YOUR CHALLENGE

This afternoon or whenever, take 3 minutes to look at yourself in the mirror. Sounds simple but people have been known to cry after just one minute. Look at who you are physically and as a person. Acknowledge the good and write down the bad, this will be your list. Work down the list one at a time, with patients and joy, you’ll be amazed at the changes you can make!

How Your Fitness Affects Your Business

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If you haven’t already, please check out the YouTube channel
Are you ever so tired after a long day at work that the thought of working out just sounds exhausting? Or you wake up in the morning after snoozing through 45 mins of alarms to avoid the workout? This could be related to your diet, which is easily remedied in the book Quick Paleo Meal Prep, this book outlines how to structure your meal plan and get ahead of the potential hindrances to your workouts. But above all else you need to find a way to get through the 5pm or morning blues, because you could be leaving hundreds if not thousands of dollars in revenue on the table! 
WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT WORKING OUT?


Well for starters there’s no better way to get yourself firing on all cylinders than to apply a jolt to your system! Let’s look at your morning workout, you’ve been asleep and mostly motionless for a good 5-8 hrs, and I’m assuming your not vibrating with energy once you get your 45 minutes of 5-10 minute broken sleep cycles from hitting the snooze over and over. This isn’t going to fade away as the day goes on either, you might get a pick me up if someone cuts you off in traffic or spills their coffee on you, but the tired feeling will stay with you. 

Now I’m sure you know the inverse of this story, you wake up and force yourself out of bed and into your workout clothes, get a decent breakfast and head to the gym. After 45 minutes you would have spent half asleep and procrastinating, you’re now amount the top 20% of performers! You leave the gym with momentum and success on your mind. You get to work and hit the ground running, while leaving the other morning zombies in the dust! You out perform everyone consistently all day, and all because you made one decision to get the day started with activity! The same goes for the afternoon workouts. 
WHICH WORKOUTS FOR THE MORNING


You want to do something that’s going to involve as much physiology as possible to get the full benefit. I recommend a compound movement that focuses on STRENGTH! Not only does heavy training get motor skills working, but if your training at or above 80% of your max then you’re involving the nervous system, and you’ll be vibrating by the time you’re done! Follow this up with some high intensity something or other and you have a recipe for a great start to the day! Stay strong! 
YOUR CHALLENGE 

Don’t skip your next workout, and implement some sort of moderately heavy training followed by high intensity cardio for 4-8 minutes. I promise you that you’ll be able to note a lasting surge in energy for the rest of the day!

When Should You “Lean Out”

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I started a YouTube channel as well, check it out here
life is all about balance, yin and yang, hot and cold, fat and skinny. The best way to create this balance is with proper nutrition above all else, which is addressed in the book I collaborated on “Quick Paleo Meal Prep.” This book goes over all the fundamentals of fixing your junk diet and manipulating portions and ingredients to take you from fat to ripped, or skinny to Froning. However this post is about “leaning out” to keep the gains going, whether it’s fitness or business, there’s always a time for rest and recouping. 
YOU CAN’T PERMA-BULK

  


By perma-bulk you know that I’m talking about the people who are always “bulking” with the intention of consistently adding muscle month after month. I’m not saying this is impossible, but I do know that your body has a point of critical mass when you’re constantly shoveling food in. After a while of realizing there will be a constant stream of food in excess, your body begins to store it as fat because that’s its primary method of operations after centuries of living on the edge of survival in the wilderness. So if you consistently shove in high calorie foods with no variation then you’ll only start to see “gainz” around your belt line. 

SAME GOES FOR BUSINESS 

I know first hand that you can’t mash the gas pedal everyday for too long before the wheels start coming off in one form or another. Whether it’s growing apart from your family or pushing the ones you love out of your life with your constant focus on work, to maintain these great things takes times of intensity and times of rest. 
WHEN TO “LEAN OUT”


I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on the Internet, see your licensed physician before applying anything you’re not used to. 

I personally go through a sustained low calorie diet anywhere from 1-3 months per year. This helps to reset the metabolism and give your body a chance to clean out all the garbage it accumulates during the bulking phase. Now I would get down to the point where I have a visible six pack and constantly visible vascularity just for the sake of asthetics and the beach season is usually when this happens. But you can get down lower or somewhat above, as long as you maintain it for at least a month and a half. I use the month and a half as a minimum because your body adapts quickly around the 90 day mark, and if you drastically shift around that point you’ll have the best results from my experience. We will discuss how to lean out healthily later, crash diets aren’t fun or useful for most people. Until then stay strong! 
YOUR CHALLENGE 

Set a time to go through a “leaning out” phase, whether it’s business or fitness. And make time for family and enjoying the good in life, it’s a struggle at first but the rewards are well worth it! And you’re worth it! 

Which people should lift heavy?

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the only people who should lift heavy are those with a pulse, period. And the key to lifting heavy is proper nutrition, which is covered in Quick Paleo Meal Prep. Nutrition is the foundation to fitness, and preparing food ahead of time to succeed eliminates options of cheating so check it out. As for the lifting, I’m not saying you need to go find your grandma and tell her to suck it up cause she’s about to board the pain train in route to a 315 bench record. But I think we can all agree that there’s a requisite amount of strength we all need for daily life. 
SHOULD GRANDMA LIFT ?


If you care about grandma then she is the first person you should explain this to. The reason elderly people become so frail later on in life is they’ve trained themselves not to move. I don’t mean they’re zen masters and have found enlightenment through days of stationary meditation, but they’ve sat down for close to 6 hours of the 12 hour days for years and have let their legs deteriorate to brittle sticks. The reason it’s so hard for older people to get up is because it’s basically a one rep max squat from a pause every time! Again I’m not saying older people should be thrown under a bar and made to do 5×5 every day, but at least get the functionality back with mobility work and body weight movements that translate to life. 
ATHLETES WHO SHOULD LIFT MOST


I’m about to say something that just might get me banned from the internet folks, so strap in! MARATHONERS ARE THE FIRST PEOPLE WHO SHOULD HAVE RELATIVE MAXIMAL STRENGTH AS A PRIORITY. Yup I just said it, and before you virtually crucify me, hear me out. As a runner your main objective is to move your body long distances right? So if your legs have a constant relative strength threshold then it doesn’t matter how efficient you move, you don’t have the POWER to move your body any faster.  You may be able to run longer with that training, but not faster because speed is a product of power or force (force=(mass x distance ) / time ). If you take a runner whose max back squat is 115 for 2, and another whose max back squat is 315 for 2, and they train the same outside of strength. Then the one who squats more will move faster AND more efficiently because he’s used to carrying a heavier load, so when he has to move his body around it’ much easier. 
YOUR CHALLENGE

If you’ve never lifted over moderately heavy, get your form nailed down PERFECT for the squat, bench and deadlift. Then take 90 days to follow whichever beginner strength program you want. Mark your mile times at the beginning and end of the program, don’t stop running all together but ease up enough to recover. 

Are you getting things done, or being busy?

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there is a difference in the two, and the difference can give you the life you’ve dreamed about, or keep you in the same rut forever. And example of getting things done is the book I collaborated with, Quick Paleo Meal Prep, this took time that was reserved for Netflix and mentally unoccupied time. Through that adventure I learned that time I had previously been wasting on tasks I thought were meaningful were seen as what they were, a glorious waste of time. I could have been growing my knowledge of the paleo lifestyle and other areas 6 minutes at a time, instead of watching 40 different 3 minute clips on YouTube of the same stupid stuff people do. My eyes are open now and I’d like to challenge you to do the same

MY NEW HABBITS

I used to binge on Netflix religiously on Monday and Thursday nights when I could, these nights were like a mental coma that separated me from my problems 45 minutes at a time. Now I’ve set up a “buy in”, for every episode I watch on Netflix I have to do 10-15 minutes of research or some productive activity. The best part is that most of the time around, 8 minutes, I’ll get so caught up in what I’m reading or doing that it might be an hour or so before I get back to Netflix if at all. This has been fruitful in many ways, most of all the amount of meaningful stuff getting done has increased exponentially! 

BEING BUSY


After starting this challenge I realized the amount of “busy work” that gets done is ridiculous. By busy work I mean when you know you have a paper due that could mean pass or fail or paycheck or no paycheck. You’ll sit down at your computer to do the thing, and then you see that you have 3 unread emails from friends or “potential clients” so you respond carefully to them and spend the next hour and a half in a back and forth conversation about nothing with people who don’t want to do what they need to either. Now you’ve cut into the time that you could have spent doing the thing that was gaurunteed to pay you, doing things that made you feel like you were “busy”.
I COULD GO ON FOREVER


But I won’t (because that would just be busy work lol), but you get the point right?? Instead of going home to watch tv for hours take the commercial breaks as an opportunity to do exercise or read or anything besides give your time to be persuaded to give your money to someone else through commercials! Better yet just skip the TV time and talk to friends or family in the room and bond with them in a REAL way. 
YOUR CHALLENGE

If you watch tv most nights anyway, then take time tonight to do something productive during commercials. Reading exercise, talk to your spouse or girlfriend etc.. Using tvo is not a valid excuse!

Take A Step BACK

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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). 
THE PROGRESS


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! 
YOUR CHALLENGE 
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.