Thursday, May 10, 2018

Movement creates movement

The meaning of life is movement. Fuck 42.

Are you depressed and dont feel like leaving the bed? Start moving.

Are you injured and feel like you should take a month off working out? Start moving.

Are you devoid of passion for anything you're doing? Seeing a pattern here? Move.

This is not to say you need to go balls to the wall in each one of these scenarios, but if you choose to park your rear as opposed to choosing action, there isn't going to be a magic bell that goes off in your head when you feel up to moving again (dongggggg! Oh I feel great! Time to get schwifty again). Nope. Wrong. What will happen is you will continue to create a dent in the couch long after you've needed to.

Easy wins I like to choose in these scenarios:
- Bike to the store for something inconsequential to add to dinner. Mixes a mission with moving.
- Go for a dusk walk by the beach. Play volleyball. Win. Rejoice.
- (favorite) High set low rep high pulls or snatch high pulls.
1x2xmax weight
15x2x(80% max weight), 1min rest
- 10min dance practice

Choose movement. Choose life. Get stronger.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

High frequency days 11, 12, and 13: nope

Two training days in this block.

Dips bw+120x1
Dips bw+85x3x3
Hack squat 405x1
Hack squat 325x3x3

Heavy sets on both were crazy easy. Hack squat back off sucked balls.

Dips bw+65x8
Dips bw+35x42 reps
Hack squats 295x8
Hack squats 245x17 reps

200 reps of lateral raises, tricep pushdowns

4 rounds of HIiT 40s/20s

Later in the day I did some partials for fun
Rack pull 655x1
Shrug 495x3, rack pulls until failure
Shrug 405x10, rack pulls until failure
Shrug 315x30, rack pulls until failure

Saturday, March 24, 2018

High frequency day 10: we have unfinished business o-ren

No sleep. Still feeling kind of down and tired. Focussing on completing small tasks has really helped me get moving (thanks Tim Ferris!).

Training went well despite this. I'm thinking I need to lay off the easy squat warmups entirely until my groin heals. Its certainly not preventing me from killing other movements, but the squat itself won't get better until my groin can fully cooperate.

Zercher squat 265x1x1
Dips bw+120 1x1 easy
Dips bw+85 3x3 easssy
Hack squat 405x1 easy
Hack squat 325x3x3 surprisingly really fucking hard

Friday, March 23, 2018

High frequency day 09: your chest looks like Jim stein

No training today. Off work for the first time since January. I ended up flat out sleeping most of today.

Physically I feel pretty good. Can explode if I need to (danced the night away last night). That being said, conditioning is shit, mood is kind of bleh.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

High frequency day 08: Dracula last words were check mate

Same kratom bar. Fuck sticks.

Front squat 225x1, groin still hurts a ton
Dips bw+60x8, bw+30x47
Hack squat 285x8, 235x42

Pump achieved in shoulders, arms, and legs

I may need to find a different way to warm up my legs other than front squats until my groin recovers.

How do I feel?
Woke up for the first day this week full of piss and vinegar. Love it.

The higher volume was difficult. I want to ride this wave of energy by bringing back conditioning (i.e. break dancing). It's no fun to get winded by sets of 10.

Hack squats are easy, but higher rep sets are really difficult. My quads crap out way way before everything else.

High frequency day 07: even dogs don't go to heaven

Sitting in a kratom bar, so format be damned.

Nothing heavy today
Mix of band presses, curls, RDL's, and sidewinder wrist rolling.

This is actually pretty nice. I still get a full body pump without needing to be in the gym.

How I feel?
Tired as fuck. Depression dude. It is a bitch.

Super productive at work. Sex drive a little below average. Sleep is solid. But TIRED. My goal is to continue to knock 1 thing off my to do list daily (outside of training) to keep busy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

High Frequency Day 06: What can I say? Dicks dicks dicks

FS 225x1
Dips 115x1, 75x3x3
Hack Squat 375x1, 335x2x3
Lots of light shoulder, arms, and lower back volume

<Post Training>
15min cardio
</Post Training>


<How do I feel?>
Tired coming in, great coming out. My groin is starting to hurt pretty badly, so front squats stopped prematurely. Everything else was easy peezy.

Energy and mood relatively good all day despite no sleep last night.

</How do I feel?>

Monday, March 19, 2018

High frequency day 05: Elvis is definitely not alive

Nothing. The piss was taken out of me from the moment I woke up to the moment I couldn't sleep.

<Post Training>

</Post Training>


<How do I feel>
Oddly horny? Like....I want to fuck everything in a 12 mile radius horny? This happened last time I entered HF as well. Just weird.

The high volume day was FUN, not doubt, but I'm kind of worn down today. Not sure if that is a sustainable long term solution or not. 

</How do I feel?>

Sunday, March 18, 2018

High frequency day 04: Gwen Stacy was a total whore

Front squat 255x1x1
Dip 1x8 bw+55
Dip 42 reps bw+25
Hack squat 1x8 275
Hack squat 42 reps 225
Get a pump in my neck, abs, arms, and back
Pullups, reverse flies, band pushdowns, cable curls

Total time: 27min

<Post Training>
</Post Training>

<How do I feel>
Better than I should after 2 days of drinking. Decided today will be a volume day of sorts, and just worked squats up to an easy 'daily minimum' single.

The hunger struck really hard after this session. I. Ate. Everything.

Not feeling strong yet, but I'll get there. To reiterate, the most fun thing is the daily arms and shoulders work. It's super easy and feels awesome.

Quick note that is not in the training details. All arm and shoulders work is 2 to 3 light sets to failure. I use a different movement every day. I try for a minimum of 20 reps per set, and liberally cheat once I hit failure.

</How do I feel?>

Saturday, March 17, 2018

High Frequency Day 03: Even chicks have to pee

Front Squat 1RM 270, a fucking grinderrrrrr
Hack deadlift 1RM 365x1, still way too easy
Hack deadlift 315x3x3, again, easy
Get a pump in my neck, abs, arms, and back
Pullups, reverse flies, band pushdowns, cable curls

Total time: 25min

<Post Training>
</Post Training>

<How do I feel?>
Emotionally pretty good. Lifting wise this day was the hardest so far. It's disappointing to barely hit a 275 FS, but it has been a long time since I've done squatting of any type.

My favorite part of daily lifting so far has been the arms and rear delt work to be honest. Arms are feeling strong, and the additional rear delt work is making my left shoulder feel great.

May be mixing it up over the next few days to see how I feel.

Something along the lines of:
- FS: Hit a daily minimum (i.e. heavy, but I could get a triple easily)
- Press: 1x1, 3x3 or fuckton of volume
- Pull: Same as press

</How do I feel?>

Friday, March 16, 2018

High Frequency Day 02: Electric Boogaloo

Dip 1RM bw+105
Dip 3x3 bw+70
Front Squat 1RM 265
Front Squat backoff 3x3 215x3x3
Get a pump in my neck, abs, arms, and back
Pullups, reverse flies, band pushdowns, cable curls

Total time: 25min

<Post Training>
Cardio: Walking on a 10% incline for 15min
</Post Training>

<How do I feel?>
Started today feeling sore as a mother fucker, kind of depressed, but also more willing to jump out of bed and kill the day.

Front squats feel really lousy. I haven't done them in months, so the groove where the bar sits is painful as fuck. Combo that with the movement pattern being all off.

Still, just day 2.
</How do I feel?>

High Frequency Day 01: Back in business

Lifting has gotten a little stale recently. I'm falling back into old patterns of endlessly trying to figure out wtf I want to do in the gym and why. Mix that into reaching a particularly low point in my life, I need to help my mind pick itself up my strengthening its wrapper.

My previous dive into high frequency was a fun ass experiment. Within 2 weeks I reached a 315 front squat and 500 deadlift; two lifts I had been unsuccessfully chasing for years. Let's do this shit.

Each training day will consist of:
- A squat 2RM, backoff of 3x3
- Either a Press or Pull 1RM, backoff sets may be 3x3 or 1-3xBILLIONS depending on the exercise
- Pullups, arms, abs, neck work

I'll switch out a movement or change a movement (see: add reverse bands, decrease range of motion) when I stall.

  • FS against bands, FS, RB FS
  • ZS against bands, ZS, RB ZS
  • OHP against bands, OHP
  • RGBP
  • Dips
  • FP
  • LM Press
  • Inc DB Bench
  • DB Bench
  • DB Press

  • Jefferson
  • T bar row
  • Behind the back deadlift
  • Snatch dead
  • PC
  • SHP

Front Squat 2RM 255x1x2
Front Squat backoff 3x3 205x3x3
Behind the back deadlift 1RM 335x1
Behind the back deadlift 3x3 275x3x3

Total time: ??? I messed up and didn't record this

So, I'm depressed and feel weak as shit. Yup...this workout sounds about right. Fortunate thing is that daily training will push these numbers up quickly.

The fun find was trying out behind the back deads for the first time and absolutely loving them. This was a case where I could have done way way more than I had in me for today, but I want to save some in the tank for when I acclimate to the form. My lower back feels fucking amazing the day after these, and my groin isn't compromised like it is during Jefferson deads. Good times. Great oldies. Fox 97.

<Post Training>
Cardio: Walking on a 10% incline for 15min
</Post Training>

How do I feel?
Shitty really. It's day 1 bruh.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How you perform versus how you look

Behind every routine change, every gym session, and every rep, strength was always the original goal. The idea of chasing a better version of me was intoxicating. The idea that every time I was out on the dance floor or playing a sport was also a test drive/diagnostics of what I've built was awesome (if not done what silly).

Somewhere along the way, I got lost. I still told myself that I was chasing strength on my notebook record, but the results I looked for were in the mirror. If what I saw in the mirror disappointed, I correspondingly would project this image out into the world. Stating the obvious, this is a very very bad idea. It focusses on what I didn't have instead of what I bring to the table. It creates the idea of 'if I could just do X I would be accepted.'

It's crazy, but that's how negativity gets rooted. It doesn't sound like negativity, it sounds like a goal that you jusssssst can't reachhhhhh.

Conversely, every time I've looked my best and felt my best is linked to when I simplified my diet and training. Sticking to the original goal of getting as strong as possible centers my self esteem. Possibly because my attention can be diverted to other kicking ass in other avenues of life (as opposed to writing this week's 5th routine). Possibly because the payoff from a focussed mindset is more powerful than one that does not know what it wants.

In either is good, lifts are up, focus is honed in. Hope everyone is out there kicking ass in and out of the gym.

Focus routine 3000 (45min run time)
Note: 3-4x a week, change up when daily max stalls. Expected run time is 7 to 14 days. I.e. run squat press 1 for 14 days, switch to pull 1, switch to squat press 2, switch to pull 2, repeat
Note: each daily max movement will be lower body dominant, but essentially a full body movement

Squat press 1
Front squat x daily max
Partial front squat 1x10
Hise shrug 1x20
Pause front squat 15x1 (80% daily max, 1min rest)
Various db presses super set with bodyweight pullups
Stretch and foam roll
Neck curls 1x100

Pull 1
Jefferson Deadlift x daily max
Partial JD 1x10
Shrug 1x20
Jefferson Deadlift 15x1
Various db presses super set with bodyweight pullups
Stretch and foam roll
Neck curls 1x100

Squat press 2
Zercher squat x daily max
Partial zercher squat 1x10
Pause zercher squat 15x1 (80% daily max, 1min rest)
Various db presses super set with bodyweight pullups
Stretch and foam roll
Neck curls 1x100

Pull 2
Snatch high pull x daily max
Partial snatch 1x10
Shrug 1x20
Snatch high pull 15x1
Various db presses super set with bodyweight pullups
Stretch and foam roll
Neck curls 1x100

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Brain Droppings

When is it a good time to move on? Moving to St Pete is the best decision I've ever made, but I wonder if I'm falling into the same ruts and habits I had back in Atlanta. Moving one time proved that I can make a family wherever I go. Moving a second time may be necessary to meet my goals.

I'm saying this sitting in a house I love. Surrounded by people I love. In a city that can only be described as fucking paradise. If I don't act on this feeling, I'll be fine. But I need to know what's out there.

Come July, Denver is getting a test drive.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

High Frequency Lifting: Deadlifting Day 5

High frequency log day 5

Deadlift weight has crept into my old max from years and years ago. It used to be a hard max, now it's just Tuesday. Confidence is high, abs are starting to look solid.

One side effect is kinda weird though. My dreams have been deeper and more meaningful than usual. As in a direct representation of what is going on in my life. Most recently, I've been fighting my way through dungeons that resemble the water temple from 'A Link to the Past.' Instead of your usual run of the mill Zelda enemies, I've been fighting cultists armed with spears. My journey through the depths have been more about the fear of getting lost than the elation of going on an adventure. Something to think about if this keeps persisting.

4/4/17 Workout
Sumo deadlift 445x1, 385x3, 325x8
Parallel chinups 42 in 3 sets
RDL 210x3x12
Arnold Press 45x3x12
Rolling Thunder Grip 110x2x30 seconds per hand
Ab rollout x2

Sunday, February 5, 2017

High Frequency Training: Past Lifting

High frequency lifting on its own has offered up a few major benefits in the past 1.5 months.

1. Paralysis of decision making is a thing of the past

I have no reason to ever revisit set and rep schemes, order of exercises, and progression/failure models. Keeping things basic only requires me to focus on what I'm doing now and what I'm doing next. A cool side effect of this benefit is that I'm able to focus the energy that usually goes into reconfiguration elsewhere.

2. Strength is up. Perception of strength is up a fuck ton

Let me explain. In terms of putting up decent numbers with the movements I'm training, I am consistently outperforming my old approach. My improvements are not magical, but they are significant. I'm especially excited for when I revisit a movement to answer 'did my floor and ceiling strength increase.'

Perception of strength is how I feel day to day. I feel nigh fucking unstoppable. My energy is high, outlook is optimistic, and sex drive is over 9000. This by itself was worth the entire experiment. It is worth noting that these perceptions dropped off suddenly when I reached the apex of my last movement cycle (i.e. when I hit a 500 zercher squat).

Today I wanted to talk about the non-lifting aspects of high frequency training, and their role in what I'm doing.

1. Conditioning
Frequency: 3-6x a week
Optional: yes, but you really should be doing this

Lifting for short intense sessions daily will increase your work capacity, but only for lifting for short intense sets. While lifting will increase your Strength, conditioning is an umbrella term for staying in shape. This includes running, HIIT, pushing sleds, etc. A conditioning session should get your heart rate screaming and challenge your will power as opposed to your strength.

Although I'm sure my lifting has played a large part in how I operate day to day, I also feel like I would be reporting very different benefits to this style of training if I was also not conditioning to stay in shape.

2. Stretching
Frequency: every day
Optional: no
I don't care if you are lifting daily or not. From age 24 to 29, I was constantly feeling some sort of pain or was moving with some sort of disability. In my mind, this was either a part of getting older or a result of my hard core [sic] training. I wasn't 100% wrong...but from ages 30-32, I've moved better than I had during most of my 20s. The answer was keeping my body stretched and stretched often.

Get this done in 10min a day and feel the difference.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

High Frequency Training 1/24/17 (26 days in)

Checking in to talk a bit more about where high frequency/high intensity/low volume has taken me. Here is where I'm at...

Day 1
Zercher Squat: 315x1
Pullups: BWx10 (shoulder injury, real pain in the ass)

Day 26
Zercher Squat: 465x1 (reverse band tension used)
(Only 7 days in) Dips: BW+55x1 (added 100lbs of band tension)
Pullups: BW+80x1

I have not taken measurements unfortunately. My legs have been getting unruly big. My back and arms have not seen the same amount of growth, but it is only recently I've really been able to push my upper body.

- All the things I like to be up are up
Sex drive, energy, excitement for things in and out of the gym (this one is my favorite)
- Difficult to do, easy to maintain
Minor tweaks like daily volume to accommodate for sleep and diet are manageable

- Doing the same thing every day gets stale
This is to be expected. I'm about ready to change out zercher squats for rack pulls

Running list of things I've learned:
- As Broz stated, 'the way you feel is a lie.' Soreness is not a reason to skip a workout

- Stretching every day is mandatory
This goes hand in hand with prehab work. Make time for it or get injured
My typical day is 22min lifting, 5-10min conditioning, and 10min stretching

- Conditioning isn't mandatory, but you really fucking should
You will build work capacity by lifting every day, but it is going to be work capacity for low volume stuff. Getting your heart rate up a few times a week (running, HIIT, etc) is not going to take away from your lifting. Rather it's going to add to your gas tank in and out of the gym.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

High Frequency Training Part Deux

I've taken a dive back into high frequency training. Just like last time, I fucking looooooove it. My workouts are quick, heavy, productive, and leave me excited and fresh to hit it the next day. More than anything, it frees me from the constant reconfiguration of sets and reps. At the end of the day, that shit never really brought me much in terms of weight progression or expedited my size/lean goals.

Right now, here is the way I'm approaching things.
- Lower body movement
- Upper body minor pulling movement
- Upper body pressing movement

The rules for picking a movement is that it must be loadable over a long period of time (2 week minimum). Preferably, I should be able to use band tension to make the exercise harder and easier (to extend the length in time each movement can be utilized).
For the last 18 days, I've been following:
- Zercher Squat
- BW Pullups
- Dips

Each day involves working up to a top set (1-5 reps depending on the load). I may stop there or do a few additional backoff sets. The emphasis on each backoff set is that they must be explosive, but sets/reps doesn't really matter.

Each day should look like:
- lifting <25 min for all working sets
- conditioning 5-10 min, not every day
- stretching 5-10 min
- each subsequent day, increase the weight by 5-20lbs

Right now, movement progression looks like this:
- Zercher Squat > Rack Pull > Front Squat > High Pulls
- Dips > OHP
Zercher Squat/Front Squat/Dips/OHP
- Black band added resistance
- Blue band added resistance
- No added resistance
- Blue band assistance
- Black band assistance
Rack Pull
- Black band added resistance
- Blue band added resistance
- No added resistance
- Snatch grip, regular grip, sumo grip
- Start on pin 2, end on pin 5
High Pulls
- Snatch grip
- Clean grip

Example Workout (from this morning):
- Zercher Squat 385x1x3 (black band assistance)
- Zercher Squat 280x5x1 (no resistance, for speed), super set with BW Pullups
- Dips Black Band Added Resistance, +15lbs x1x3
- Dips Blue Band Added Resistance, +15lbs x1x5
- Dips +15lbs, x1x5
- Dips BWx5

Backoff zercher sets used 1min rest after pullups were performed
All dip sets were performed 30 seconds after one another

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Lift like everyone else, look like everyone else

I feel the program hopper demons on my back. I hurt my shoulder doing too much assistance work, then brutilized it more by not backing off on my heavy work. Every fucking time this happens I go back to my giant one note file full of programming ideas from the last 8 years. Most of them are light clones of each other. Few have produced results. None have worked consistently more than once (this is the most baffling part...I've been unable to return to something that worked before).

I'm fucking done with programs. They've brought me nothing but angst and cognitive dissonance on whether I'm doing something helpful of harmful. I'll tell you what has worked...
- heavy fucking Partials (all rep ranges)
- high frequency training, low volume and exercise choice

I was looking back to one of Bugenhagen's youtube videos when I heard something that rang true.

"Lift like everyone else to look like everyone else"

Eric goes on to talk about the problems most people have is a lack of intensity, not whether they were doing 3x6-8 instead of 3x10. Oh, was your common ass rep scheme the problem, or are you the problem? Ding ding I'm the problem.

The last time I ventured into instinctive high frequency, high intensity, and low volume training I hit 2 lifetime lifting goals withing 2 weeks. Goals that I had no idea how I was going to reach with my regular progression. Goals that I can now hit on a shitty day with little prep. What's more is this type of training is fun as hell. Burn through a movement and juice it for all it's worth, the switch to a different movement or make the same movement easier (and keep adding weight).

I'm pumped as shit. I don't want to lift to look like everyone else. At best, I've lifted to look slightly better than everyone else, and that is a huge waste of time. Game on.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Leeman Powerbuilding Part Deux

As a follow-up to my last training related post, I wanted to share the type of training I'm doing right meow. I've been at it for around 2 months, and everything has been feeling pretty damn good.

Lower body movement x1 set to failure, (drop weight 20-50lbs) x5 sets to failure-1 rep
Partials x5
Lower body assistance x3 super set Abs x3
Minor lower body assistance 2x100

Upper body press x1 set to failure, (drop weight 20-40lbs) x5 sets to failure-1 rep
super set
Upper body pull x1 set to failure, (drop weight 20-40lbs) x5 sets to failure-1 rep
Upper body press assistance x5 super set Upper body pull assistance x5 
Minor upper body assistance 5xamap

The idea is to milk a single movement for as long as possible until I hit a hard single (on the x1 sets to failure). Once I find my new max, I'll switch out the movement and start training something new. In general, I'm adding 10lbs a session to all lower body/partial movements, and adding 5lbs a session to all upper body/oly movements. I'm adding weight to assistance and minor assistance work, but adding weight isn't really the goal of those exercises (feeling the weight is the goal in those cases).

Say for example I hit a front squat of 240lbsx11 reps. In my next session I'll attempt to hit 250x11 reps. The reps will naturally go down with time, but my goal will be to rep my old max by the time I get there in a few weeks.

Progression of Movements
Lower body movement: Front Squats > Power Cleans > Back Squats > Snatch high Pulls
Partials: Shrugs > Rack Pulls > Snatch Shrugs > Snatch Rack Pulls
Upper body press: Floor Press > Overhead Press > Close Grip Bench > Push Press
Upper body pull: Chinups > Pendlay Rows > Pullups > Barbell Rows

Examples of other movements...
Lower body assistance: RDL, Leg Press
Lower body minor assistance: Leg extensions and/or curls
Upper body assistance: Handstand pushups, pullups
Minor upper body assistance: Lateral raises, bodyweight rows

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Lessons I have to keep learning part deux

Every year I spend lifting weights adds more tools to my toolbox. Most of these tools either don't work or only work for very specific purposes (see: peaking strength and size), but it's easy to overlook the tools that truly worked well for me. Here is a short list of what has worked over 2016 and why.

1. Stretching
This feels insane to write down. I used to be all about stretching. As in, I would do splits while working on my math homework into it (how the fuck).

For a few years I felt as if I needed to stop doing heavy deadlifts (and sub in oly lifts) in order to feel 'springy' or athletic. The truth is, my hips were just tight as hell all the time, and I did nothing to help them until an injury forced me to.

Stretching 10min a day has been a godsend. All of the usual nagging pains in my hips and knees are absent. I feel as springy as ever without having to leave deadlifting behind. Consider static stretching extra assistance work at the end of each training session. If you find it more boring than a high school reunion, it helps to do sets of arms (see: hammer curls, lateral raises, some kickback variation) in between stretches.

I've seen an immediate and consistent improvement in my quality of life and quality of lifts for minimal effort.

2. Specificity Rules
tl:dr Do a few things really well to expand your base of strength.

This is linked right up to body dysmorphia. The feeling that 'if I don't do X (which helped me get this big) I'll lose everything I worked for.' In trying to be good at everything, you'll end up being mediocre all around (except on some lifts which will thrive no matter what). Ask yourself, do I really need to be strong on X right now? Am I just afraid of not being strong on X anymore?

This feeling is not entirely wrong. If I do floor press and dips on my upper body days, I'm going to progressively get better at both at the same time. If I remove dips from the equation, my performance in dips is going to drop dramatically. Well, so fucking what? Concentrating leveling up a few movements is going to ensure that your nervous system gets a hard on for that movement pattern. I'm going to make my shoulders, chest, and triceps strong as fuck on that single movement. When I eventually come back to dips, the movement pattern will be weak but the muscles will be strong. Within a week I'll be where I want to be.

Your assistance work can fill in the gaps to work your muscles, tendons, and ligaments outside of the movement pattern you're trying to improve. Which brings me to...

3. Assistance work. It's kind of sexy yo
tl:dr Powerbuilding via intensity then volume is good hurghhhh.

Just because you're specifically trying to get better at a few movements by no means states that you can't venture out to other exercises. After my main intensity and backoff work, I like to add a shitton of volume with exercises that force me to feel my muscles working. Whether it's 100 rep sets of leg extensions, shoulder machine presses, or bodyweight rows, the idea is to get a pump using the same bodyparts I just thrashed to hell.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Paradigm Shift: How I View Food

For years I've kept shitty food out of my house. Why? The reason I've always fallen back on is that I have no self control. The moment I allow diet breaking food to surround me, it goes in my face (especially if I'm stressed or tired).

I thought about this more over the weekend, and it is time for something new. Saying that I have a problem is on par with saying I have no control over myself. It means I can't say no. Although I'm eating healthy in my home, how often am I really there? If I take the road that says 'I can't say no,' then the moment I can't control my environment (see: work, social functions, any fucking where else) I'm open to eating things I damn well know are a counter to my goals.

This month is a paradigm shift. I'm not throwing out the Halloween candy that didn't get eaten (see: all of one was around got halloween). I'm leaving it in plain view so I can decide to not have it day by day.

This is not a war on junk food. I've had these foods before, and I will have them again. This is a war on the belief that my diet today is good. This is a war on the idea that I can't say no.

Tl:dr I'm practicing saying no instead of saying I am powerless

Thursday, October 27, 2016

How to make friends as an adult (the Shayna edition): Why is it so hard?

Making friends as an adult is hard. Not hard like I'm living paycheck to paycheck and my house is haunted by knife Hobbits, but more like I have more freedom and money than I ever could have imagined and that freedom is constricting in its own right. It's counterintuitive, right? One would assume that with infinite choices comes infinite friends. Making friends growing up through college was easy right? How the fuck did you even do that? At what point can you say...this person is my friend? Unlike success, it's really difficult to connect the dots going backwards with friendship. When you visualize a person you care for, the feelings you have form the idea 'well....I've always loved person X, right?' Wrong motherfucker. This brings me to my first points on why making friends is hard post college.

1. In school, you were forced into social situations didn't care for
People bond over difficult situations and common scenarios. If we didn't, why would companies bother sponsoring escape from a zombie room events with new employees? Fuck that noise, i wanna play video games. The stress of having to solve a problem collectively brings people together whether or not they want to.

What is growing up if not a difficult situation? The constant exposure to learning makes people bond over studying together, making fun of teachers, or generally getting into trouble (my marching band group had an annual tradition of stealing as much shit from a Wendy's as possible in a blitzkrieg of puberty and snorting).  This is what forms the initial bonds. The reason so few bonds stick post education is that you really have nothing in common with these people. You were just in the same shit at the same point in time.

The fact is that no one is forcing you to spend time with anyone after college. Everything is based off of your own choices. But it's not that simple. If it were, you could choose a random meetup and meet your new group. This almost never, ever happens. Which brings me to my next point...

2. Part of growing up is realizing that life can be a series of closing doors
In high school, I was a part of concert band, marching band, jazz band, chorus, drama, wrestling, the Sci Fi club, and debate club. I had a part time job my sophomore year to senior year where I worked anywhere from 10 to 30 hrs a week. I also studied my ass off and ended up in the top 3rd of my class in an incredibly competitive school. I also jacked off to fuzzy porn at least 75% of my waking life, but I consider that off the clock.

Just looking at this list makes me sick to my stomach. Who the fuck has time for this? How did I do this, date, and get into trouble?

When you are growing up, the amount of energy you can spread out is insane. I never thought twice about how encompassing this list was. I also never really felt like I was overloaded.

College was a similar situation. I picked up two choruses, drama (it didn't work out), breakdancing, partying my balls off, a fraternity, caving, and film making. The list grew a little shorter and I didn't even notice.

Now a days I have what...powerlifting, cosplay, partying my balls off, and dancing to live music. I still jack off to porn, but it's in HD. Cause I'm a grown ass man that lives in the future that's why.
As I got older, I naturally gravitated towards becoming passionate about a few things instead of being interested in everything. This happens naturally whether you're noticing it or not. There are outliers who don't experience a drop in their ability to care. These people are assholes.

The same phenomenon happens to friendships. The ones that are important expand. The ones that are not contract. The people you meet as an adult are in full on contract mode. While everyone is looking for new people to trust and love, everyone simultaneously states how hard it is to make friends. Da fuck people? There is generally no room to accept new people into your life unless they already fit into your passions. Other people can be laterally grandfathered in (more on this later), but these people are usually extensions of the friend group you network into.

I've learned this the hard way a few times in my life, which leads me to my final point...

3. Everyone can like you, few people will love you
This entire segment can be summed up in the phrase 'you can't force people to let you in.' I can think of two (2) notable anecdotes for this.

I volunteered at a popular improv theater in Atlanta for 5 years. I did not make a single friend in that time. Everyone knew me, everyone was friendly with me, and I genuinely had a good time there. Yet while their click was considered a family, I was only a visitor. I never got to know any of them on a deeper level (and vice versa), no matter how much I tried.

In another instance I tried getting into crossfit (a few times actually). Here is an activity that lines up completely with my own desires (to become jacked and tan), but my main goal was to meet new friends. Social media is ripe with people who have gotten into crossfit and base their free time entirely around it. The same thing happened there that happened that the theater. No one wanted anything to do with me. I was well liked, everyone was friendly, but that is where the buck stops.

This is important, so I'm going to revisit this later on (future posts). For now, I will only pose that the common thread between these anecdotes is the fact that the activities in themselves were not struggles on a collective basis. Everyone who was there was there for themselves, myself included.

In the next installment, I'm going to review less of the 'why' and more of the 'how' on making friends.

Till next time.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Secret Squirrel Exercise

If you want to skip the click baity title and just know what the secret exercise is...there is none. Go home. Effort and consistency are the only things that matter.

If you want more Metal Gear Solid amount of insight, read on.

The Actual Article
I draw weight lifting questions like shit draws flies. Poop never asked be a meal. Why poop gotta be a meal? Huh? HUH?

Thankfully, these questions are limited to when I'm lifting weighs (unlike my friend Keenan, who gets them out in public by literally any dude he has a conversation with), but the conversation is always the same.

1. Ask if I'm a trainer (no)
2. Tell me about how they used to be the strongest man in the world (cool story brah)
3. Ask for the secret exercise

The third question in particular always gets to me. I've actually choked up a little. Here is someone who has found themselves to be too fat or too weak for their liking, and have come to the gym to level up. Good on them. But asking for the secret exercise that makes you lose weight, run faster, and fuck harder is belittling the effort needed to actually be good at something. It's saying you aren't interested in suffering through the journey, you just want your reward, and you want it now. It's entitled, and it's ignorant.

The only things that work are consistent practice and effort. In general, this is going to include getting better (see: increasing reps and weight over time) at compound exercises. Which ones you choose doesn't really matter if you are looking for general health. Sure, some exercises will swing the needle a tiny bit one way or the other. I generally find I feel slightly more athletic when I'm training with oly lifts consistently, but in the long term my exercise choice means absolute dick. What is important is that I strive to improve. What matters the most is that I show up and try.

There is no secret. Go forth and get stronger.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

High Frequency: Ending One Path and Starting Another

I've ended my stint of high frequency, low volume, and low movements after 14 days. I'm taking a brief lessons learned and migrating back to what I know and love.

Lessons Learned
Fatigue is a fucking killer. I didn't suddenly get strong enough to lift 50 lbs over my old maxes like they were candy waiting to be picked up. I practiced nothing but a few lifts and saw my ability to lift my real maxes appear.

What I Did Wrong
No matter what discipline I look at, I did not follow the intended guide path of high frequency groupies (isn't that the point? whatever...).

- If we look at Bugenhagen's model, I used too many exercises (3 instead of the prescribed 1) and did not make every day a grinding max set.

- If we look at Squat every day, Damien Pezutti, or Broz's model, I was lifting way too damn heavy. All 3 of these methodologies also entail lifting to a daily max (which is heavy but not a grinding max) followed by backoff work with 1-3 movements.

What I Absorbed
If I want to prep for a competition, I sure as shit know how. Ramping up to more volume or weight over time (and switching movements when I've topped out) should be a regular practice. I.e. get damn fine at a few movements over months of practice, then switch them out for something new. I am especially guilty of this with oly lifts, of which I kept grinding out the same shitty lifts over months.

What This Looks Like Now
Snatch High Pull
Overhead Press

Front Squat

A. 1x5, 3x6-8
B. 5x2-3, 3x6-8
C. 4-8x1
D. (Optional) 5x1 negatives, 3x6-8 full range of motion

Note: the 3x6-8 on a, b, and d use the same weight.

This is a similar powerbuilding structure a la Doug Hepburn I know works well, but it gives me the ability to top out and switch movements instead of asking what the fuck I do with myself. The immediate substitutions will be:
Snatch High Pull --> Power Clean
OHP --> Btnpp
Front Squat --> Back Squat
Dips --> Floor Press or Bench Press
Each lift will move at its own pace. For example..
Snatch High Pull
Workout 1: 225x1x5, 175x3x6
Workout 2: 230x1x5, 175 1x7, 2x6
Workout 10: 275x1x3, (whatever)
Failure, rest and try again or go to next progression.
Workout 11: 265 1x3, 4x2, 190 3x6
Workout 12: 265 2x3, 3x2, 190 1x7, 2x6
Workout 30: 295 (fails)
Failure, rest and try again or go to next progression.
Workout 31: 295x4x1
Workout 32: 295x5x1
Workout 45: failure
Replace snatch high pull with power clean and start over.

The last progression (D. using negatives) are something I want to toy with to take movements further, but this can really only happen with squats, dips, and floor press/bench.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

High Frequency Training Day 11

Nothing special to report today. I need to bring more aggression.

Front Squat 310x1, 255x3, 215x8
Notes: 310 set slowed down a TON, but my upper back kept straight
Dips BW + 120 x 1, BW + 60 x 9
Tbar Row 5plates x 15

The tbar row is pissing off the dude who owns my gym. It's really a shame, since I really like this movement (but I'm also friends with the gym owner, I don't want to damage his property).

I may switch to power cleans until we can figure something out.

Monday, October 3, 2016

High Frequency Training Day 10

Yesterday is the first training day I've missed since I started this jazz. I've found that switching movements (and then suddenly coming back) causes more of a backslide in progress than taking time off. Noted.

Arms and shoulders are definitely smaller. I'm less 'springy' from discontinuing oly lifts. That makes me a bit sad, but it could have also been a product of this week being pretty rough.

Front squat 305x1
Partial Front Squat 605x3x1x5 seconds
Dip BW + 115 x 1, easy
Dip negative BW + 145 x 1

Friday, September 30, 2016

High Frequency Training Day 8

Not 8 hours after my last session, we're back in business. This is kind of a fucked up day overall. My roommate lost her mom earlier this week, so I took off today to make it to the funeral. Right after, I'm headed to Disney World (totally and completely unrelated activities...Disney was already on the menu).

It feels odd and even a little uncomfortable to celebrate things like hitting my 500 deadlift (I immediately pulled the video from Facebook, it didn't feel right to post this week) and Disney this weekend. I know that sounds dumb, but that's the way I feel.

Front squat 285x1
Note: still easy. I'm going to build back up to above 315 before I switch to another squat.
Partial Front Squat 595x1x3x5 second lockout
Note: almost passed the fuck out on every rep
Dips BW+110lbs x 1
Dip negative BW+135 lbs x 1
Note: doesn't feel solid yet, but the rep was easy
TBar row 5 plates x 12
Note: 2 rep increase over last night. Yahtzee.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

High Frequency Training Day 7

Today was the first truly difficult training day. I'm sore all over, and spent the entire day flying home.

Front Squat 275x1
Note: I had way more in the tank, but I'm lifting again in 7 hrs. No need to break the bank.
OHP 155x1
Note: dogshit
T bar row 5 plates x 10

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

High Frequency Training Day 6

Woke up this morning with no back pain anymore. Super weird. After deadlifting my first 500 yesterday my back was a mess until I did some hip stretches in my hotel room. Apparently that shit was cure 3 because I've felt awesome all day.

Walking into the gym feeling weak in my shoulders but strong in my back and abs. I won't be able to train tomorrow, so I did some assistance for my lateral delts.

My sex drive has been all over the place, but a ton of that can be attributed to low sleep and high stress. My appetite has been high. Creativity and confidence equally high. Quality of sleep has been outstanding.

OHP 175x1, 135x8
Note: my shoulders felt pretty weak today. Not totally surprised this happened. I kind of like pressing first in the lineup though. My backoff set felt really, really good.
Zercher squat 355x1
Note: this sucked. I should have done power cleans like my brain told me to.
T bar rows 4plates, 1 quarter x 20 reps
Note: mega. I fucking love these. I wish I did them (cheated) years ago.

How do I look?
A little fatter for sure.
Leg size +
Arm size +
Shoulder size no change
Back size no change

I'm looking forward to getting back to hammering front squats next week. If anything, I miss working oly lifts for medium volume. I always felt leaner and faster when I had that under my belt.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

High Frequency Training Day 5

Woke up this morning to a dull pain in my lower back. Odd...did this happen when I was lifting yesterday or did I hurt myself in my sleep? Considering I tossed and turned all night, I wouldn't be surprised if sleeping me hates sleeping me.

OHP 180x1
Sumo deadlift 500x1

Wtf just happened...
Tied my best all time press. Deadlifted an easy 500 for the first time. I'm still waiting for the floor to drop out on me.

I didn't have a timer running today. Given the volume I did, I was likely in and out in 20min.

Monday, September 26, 2016

High Frequency Training Day 4

Traveling for work this week. Started out in St. Pete at 4am, lifted at 11am in bum fuck Alabama. The gym I lifted in is a run down old YMCA with little equipment and weights, so I took this chance to switch out movements (even though I had more juice left in my front squat).

Zercher squat 345x1
Note: super easy. It's been half a year since I tried these, so I left some gas in the tank (not to mention I was lifting in a bench press rack). No Partials today. The equipment and weights just aren't there to make it happen.
OHP 175x1, 135x9
Note: both crazy easy. I'm not sure of this is because of practice, the lack of squat partials, or the fact that I stopped all shoulder assistance. Regardless, it looks like we've got some pounds left to squeeze out of the press.
T bar row 4 plates x 20

Total time: 28min

I did less stretching today than usual (I need to get back to work), but I've been doing light sets of hammer curls in between stretches. Previously I was doing lateral raises, but I may keep hammer curls instead since they don't interfere with my other large lifts.

In general, I feel pretty friggin awesome. Physical and emotional health feels pretty stellar. I may have gained some weight over the weekend...not ok.