mindset

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

Your Opinion Matters!

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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! 
YOUR CHALLENGE
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. 

Eating Paleo For Muscle

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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. 
YOUR CHALLENGE


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. 

Protein Powder or Paleo Prep

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We’ve all seen them in the gym, frosted protein shake in hand, without it they probably wouldn’t be here. They hustle towards the weight rack, blaring jams to grind through their 20 sets of 8-12 reps. With a grunt of satisfaction they pump out the last rep and down the protein cocktail they put all their trust in… Cool story bro. 

WHY DO WE DO THIS??


Why is it held as “common knowledge” that this is the ritual that we are to follow to have a successful workout? Why the powder instead of the real thing? I believe it’s mostly due to marketing and the lack of willingness to believe that maybe re supplement industry doesn’t have our best internet in mind (but that’s just me). Or maybe it’s because you had such a hard workout that you need the hydro isolate anabolic homeostatic protein to make it to your ripped muscles so fast because you might loose your gainzzzzz….no. 

DID YOU REALLY WORKOUT HARD?


If so then you would have opened your muscles glucose receptor stores and anything you put in will be shuttled to the needy parts. This is of course assuming you did have an intense session and not just a jaw grinder with the bros. So put the food in that you need! The truth is that once you tax the body to the point of needing to grow new muscle the only things the muscles need aren’t JUST protein. It needs nutrients only found in whole foods. Carbs, proteins and fats to restore and improve what you’ve broken. 

THE ANSWER


After every workout I have I have a pre prepped meal of one large sweet potato and a cup and a half of ground beef with the fat drained in hot water. This will satisfy every need the muscles could have if ingested right after workout. Also you get all the benefits of the post workout without the major insulin spike! And since insulin causes fat storage, you’ll get all the gainz without the fluff, or roughly 75% muscle and 25% added weight. But this ratio is better than the 3 times average dose of sugar in most protein shakes which basically undoes all the work you put in to lean out!

SO USE THIS AND GROW!


Hope this helps and let me know if you get the same benefits or have other advice in the comments 🙂 

Are You Investing In Yourself?

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It’s tax refund season! You know what that means, the government took your money that you earned for a whole year, and now has decided to let you have it back, interest free! Wow they really are looking out for us aren’t they… Not really. 

YES IT IS A REFUND

Everyone gets so excited every year to get THEIR money back, it blows my mind when people come up to me asking how much I got back. Then we compare amounts, and when they find out that most of the time I had to pay the government money they look at me like I’ve made a horrible mistake. But let’s think about this, I changed my withholdings to keep the maximum amounts. That means that I can put what I would have had taken out in taxes into a fund of some kind, then when it comes time to pay uncle sam the NECESSARY AMOUNT (no more no less!), I take it out of the fund and use the interest gained as a cushion to be compounded every year. So in the end this person fought tooth and nail to get whatever money they could back, looking in every loophole and tax bracket they could. While I literally made money on the money every year, and never had to worry about paying too much. Sounds like a win to me…

WHAT TO DO WITH THE REFUND?

Well  you can go out and get that new tv you’ve been wanting, that new gaming system or a down payment on a car you can barely afford. But what do all of these things have in common, they’re liabilities! A liability is something that you spend money on, then you spend money on and keep spending money on it, the liability never yields anything of value to you! Instead how about you take time on the internet to invest in something that will actually help, go to a seminar on how to start a business online, look into real-estate. I wouldn’t recommend buying stocks though, I did that one year and it was a lesson well learned, it takes much more thought and consideration than buying something that will give you knowledge or income.

START A NEW HABBIT

Look at things you buy from now on as an asset (money maker) or a liability (money taker). Learning and applying these two words will yield incredible returns in most areas of your life! And the sooner you can fix your taxes to change the withholdings to keep the money that’s YOURS, the better. Just go to your HR person and ask to have your withholdings done so that you keep the maximum, this is easiest if you’re on a salary because you can look at your taxes from last year and just invest that amount monthly. Then just sit back and enjoy the interest earned and knowledge applied 🙂

Have a great day!

Cory

The Ice Age progress

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I started the Tim Ferris inspired “Ice Age” experiment last week to gain a little more aesthetics. It’s been a miserable and mentally challenging few days to say the least…

THE PROGRESS SO FAR


I started out around 178 lbs. with reasonably viewable abs.  Now I’ve got  a few veins showing on the sides and the lower 4 abs popping out at 175 lbs.! It’s been a great transformation for the time and effort that I’ve put in! 

MOVING FORWARD


I’m going to keep up with what I have been getting results from, maybe up the calories a little bit at certain points so I don’t risk taxing my energy. All in all though this has been a reasonably successful experiment. Challenging to say the least, but certainly successful!

WHAT I’M DOING


I posted in this blog two days ago what I’m doing, you’re more than welcome to look at it and please leave comments with results if you do attempt! I think everyone should since this has been the greatest stones tester (and shrinker) I’ve ever done. I certainly appreciate a hot shower now! 

Good luck!

Cory

Let’s Gain Some Weight NATURALLY

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If you want to see true LEAN GAINZZZ, you need to apply a few of the techniques we are going too look at that I did for about 4 months and saw some pretty awesome results. None of these are life altering, and if anything you’re going to shorten your time at the gym as well as the dinner table! Even for the “HARD GAINER” these rules still apply, so enough chatting and let’s get into this! 

BIS AND TRIS LATS AND PECS QUADS AND GLUTES…ABS

If you have picked up a fitness magazine in the last 15 years you have seen this structure for your workout. And as we all know, Monday is national chest day (this is one of those universal laws that spans continents and cultures). But where did this start and why is it still held as the norm if most people who follow it aren’t all jacked and swole? Well because it was most likely based off of an IFBB bodybuilders workout 90% of the time, and they aren’t exactly known for testing. So if you are on a cycle of your favorite steroid cocktail, then this will be a fantastic workout for you! However if you chose the natural (and longevity oriented) route, we need to re-design this mold.

COMPOUNDING GAINZZZZ

So if you’re a natural lifter and want to know how to get the most out of your body and time in the gym, we need to look at what’s going to get you the most bang for your buck. The answer is COMPOUND MOVEMENTS. Sure it feels great to curl those 40s for reps, but unless your on a cycle(steroids), there really isn’t much use. However if you do pullups with 3 different grips, now you’re on the road to gainz! Let’s think about it, if you do an ISOLATION move you’re hitting one muscle and destroying it, but if you do a compound move like a pullup, you’re getting most of the body involved while hitting the necessities(bis and lats). Same goes for bench, squats and deadlifts, you’re going to get an over all better result and hormonal response.

THE REASON STEROIDS WORK SO WELL

Steroids increase testosterone and natural hormone levels to increase the speed at which your body can recover and apply force. So naturally if you destroy your bis and tris in the gym breaking up the muscle tissue, and you are taking steroids, your body will work many times faster and efficiently to repair the damage and have you back to normal(with improvements due to the stimulus of stress from the weights) in about 24-48 hrs.. Where as if you are a natural lifter doing the same exact routine, you’ll leave the gym with the same broken down tissue, but will need about 8 DAYS to recover and get a fraction of the results. Now that might have painted a case for you to take steroids, and that’s your choice, just know what your getting into before you start.

SO HERE’S HOW YOU DO IT NATURALLY 

LIFT HEAVY (80%-90% 5×5 or whatever HEAVY program you follow), at least 4 days per week. As a natural lifter your body needs a strong stimulus to create enough of a “need” to build and keep new weight. So CONSISTENT heavy weight applied over time will spark this response. And to build the size of the muscle I recommend choosing two COMPOUND complimentary moves, for example, shoulder press super set with a row. Rep scheme will look like this for muscle building, 2-3 sets to failure of first move and 15 reps of second…THAT’S IT! Don’t push past this, because there’s something called the law of diminishing returns, meaning it’s all useless after this point. Your muscles are broken down (and should feel it) and your body has a reason to NEED to grow stronger and bigger, now focus on recovery. Weights for the muscle building portion should be 40%-60% of one rep max in first lift(In this example if your shoulder press 1rm is 180, you use 105).

Wow this thing is long…(that’s what she said), but it’s all proven on myself and others, so take it or leave it!

Cory