Thursday, June 25, 2015

Out of shape fella chases Elite

At the SPF Luck of the Irish powerlifting meet on 3/14/15, I weighed in at a paltry 301 and change.  I readjusted my lever belt out another notch and squeezed into a singlet that was too big for me when I bought it weighing 242 a few years back.  I looked like a tan Paul Bearer, and I lifted like him too.

660... miss : (

But in looking at the lifters classification after the meet, I realized that I was in shooting distance of Elite at 275.  Now, in the SPF, "elite" is only 1654.  That would have pretty much been a perfect meet for me at 300#'s last March.

Since then, I've continued to keep an accurate and detailed log in the Scourge of Iron FB group detailing my "off season" lifting.  Really, it's just a bunch of bicep curls and band pull a parts.  But somewhere in there I pulled a small DL pr and reached new heights squatting in rehbands, with a 45# pr.

I also brought cardio back, running my first mile in a long time in 11:00 at 300#'s.  Sled drags also made a comeback.  I'm hitting McDonalds less frequently and with less ferocity now too.

At the same time, I managed to drop a few pounds here and there, last weighing about 285 a few days ago.  Bench has taken a hit though, so keeping an eye on these numbers has been ever changing and challenging.  Apparently tit's don't take too kindly to calorie reductions OR vegetables.

And, there's no rush.  I don't want to break my ass to get it done in the fall or winter if I'm not truly ready.  It's for fun after all, the last thing I want to do is to make this lifting thing into a second job while I sweat a miserable amount just to make weight.

But I AM passionate at the same time, or else I'd sweat this much doing something more productive with my time and energy.

The breakdown looks like:
SQ 650
BP 400
TOTAL 1655

Although the actual breakdown may differ, those are the goals, and I've done all of those numbers at least once each.

I hope to get this done in December of this year, but only because I think it's attainable without a numb skulled water drop. I'll keep the log and updates coming.  Until then, enjoy the following picture of me tearing ass so bad that I screamed:

Let's get sum!

I wanted to post this because...

It gave me an erection.  New content by the end of the month on Elite.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Big things are happening

Been busy, but that's good!  My articles are appearing regularly on both Muscle & Strength and Lift Big Eat Big. 

I competed at the 2014 Raw Power Blast Charity Push/Pull on 11/15.  My bench suffered but I pulled a 5# pr of 570.  Not bad for a guy with a bad back.

Raleigh Barbell has re opened after being closed for a couple of week to relocate.  We have a new place only a half mile from the old location.  The spot is great, it's in a more industrial part of town so loud music is no problem.  We have a new deadlift platform made by gym members. 

There's a 35 degree hill out front for conditioning work, much steeper than the hill at the old location.  We have new lifters joining including two local guys who I've never met who are running my bench program from Lift Big Eat Big.  I exceeded the ladder's weight limit by 20#'s and STILL cleaned the gutters today! It's pretty surreal.

To top it off, I'm in contact with representatives of a MAJOR powerlifting company regarding some freelance work and I've submitted an article to them today.  I'm excited to even be considered, so if I don't hear back from them I'll still count it as a win in the column. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

In my short time in a box gym

I need to get this off of my chest, but before I do I need to lay out the following:

  1. There are exceptions to every rule.  I’m going to speak in general terms and paint the picture with broad strokes.  If this offends you, chances are that I wasn't referring to you, or I was and don't care.
  2. The views expressed here are not necessarily shared by any other member of the RB group as a whole.  Just mine.

I've been around long enough to notice a pattern, and I know I’m not alone.  Some people will quietly agree, some will boastfully say I didn't go far enough, but neither are required.  This is more food for thought than anything else.

Sportsmanship, maturity, generosity, brotherhood, attitude.  These are some of the many traits that define the sports athlete.  I see those traits in people, as well as seeing a gaping void where they should be in others. 

Again, I’m going to speak in general terms when I talk about strength sports, and my experience in Powerlifting. 

As a newcomer to the sport, and it is most definitely that, a sport, I notice that nearly every athlete, every participant have very similar attributes.  I notice a willingness to help a fellow competitor.  I see guys screaming their head off when a competitor lifts, even when they are in direct competition in the same weight class.  Whether it’s chalking your buddy’s shoulders or helping them into gear or letting a competitor borrow wraps or a belt when they forgot theirs, there is a unity in the air that can be felt. 

This extends beyond the platform too.  I’ve been lucky enough to train with some great lifters and share knowledge as well as learn a lot along the way.  The only way to do this is to be totally and completely open minded and humble.  You’ve got to be able to take constructive criticism.  Not only that, but you’ve got to be able to tell a friend that his squat looked like shit when it did, or else you’re just coddling. 

It may just be that the pure nature of powerlifting draws personalities that have those attributes.  From what I’m learning and experiencing, PL takes a lot of work.  No shit, right? That work is performed for the promise of attaining a goal, and that goal is a quantitative measurement or your accumulated skill, strength and experience expressed in the form of a number, or set and total of numbers.

By and large, the lifts themselves aren’t flashy.  You aren’t judged on how you look outside of the rules of the lift.  You’re judged on what you can DO.  That to me is the definition of a sport: Doing. Doing more than your competitor.  But Sadly, some people are less interested in DOING and more interested in how they LOOK.

I see a lot of guys in the gym, or in forums, or in video’s, in advertisements or even in public who embody that.  It’s a different mindset, it’s a different set of attributes.  Self love, vanity, immaturity, arrogance, insecurity, jealousy.  I see these people unable to take advice.  I see these people put in obsessively hard work to be happy gazing into a mirror. 

More than that, I see these people flaunt themselves around like camera whores.  I’ve even seen people justify a high squat by totally ignoring science, claiming that their friend who took an online personal training course said it was bad for the back and knees.  Using excuses that coincidentally make their way easier than the right way.  Those kind of people don’t seem to want to GET better, them want their false outer image to LOOK better. 

They’re also the first to try to compare dicks, figuratively. These are the guys who flock to bodybuilding forums and post about how much they deadlifted out of the rack and bounced off of the rubber floor with wrist straps, or did quarter power bows in the squat rack with 5 plates.  More concerned with which NO supplement will get their veins to pop the most rather than the fact that their rounding their back on a pull, screaming "don't fuckin touch the bar!" as they're pinned or bouncing the bar 2” into their sternum to get some rebound on their bench.  So what if the lifts look like shit, that’s a lot of weight!

Ok, they’re douchebags.  So why do I care?

One simple reason.  Bodybuilding is and has always been more visible, popular, accessible, advertised and distributed than powerlifting.  Magazines like Flex, Muscle & Fitness, Built, AXL, Kaged muscle, Men’s fitness, Monster Muscle yadda yadda yadda. To date, there are as many as 30 bodybuilding magazines easily available on news stands, and only ONE true powerlifting magazine, Mark Bell’s POWER Magazine. 

Well, the internet is still pumping out powerlifting literature right?  Sure, but google “Strength” and look at the top results.  After the wiki definitions, who’s got the top spot?!  Bodybuilding, the sport where strength doesn’t matter.  The sport where strength is just a byproduct of SIZE. 

Bodybuilding drowns out the rest with flashy advertising, over the top pageantry and ridiculous looking role models.  Look at the Arnold Classic, or the Olympia.  Both huge bodybuilding expos.  Guess who gets to take the stage as a sideshow?  Strength sports.  PL, Grip, Strongman.  Like circus freaks.  The message is loud and clear to today’s youth looking for direction:  It’s all about how you LOOK.

Life isn’t a beauty pageant, it’s a competition.  Life is about bettering yourself and your situation in the face of adversity.  It’s about working hard to achieve, working hard to eat, working hard to survive.  Did your grandfather give a shit about how his ABS looked? Fuck no!  Did the greatest generation defeat the nazi’s with back double bicep poses?  Shit no!  When the hell did guys stop trying to get strong and start caring about how strong they look!? 

People who live their lives for the appearance, for the LOOK tend to be that shallow lady you hate at work, or the flashy douchbag in the 4cyl convertible with the racing stripes revving his engine at the stop light.  Living your life for the look is as artificial as captain biceps on the magazine cover wowing the impressionable kids with his roided out pipes, selling big box creatine for only $85.  Vanity, self love, insecurity, big-o-rexia.  These are the subliminal messages being sold to our kids.  The lie that Big not only equals strong, but that Big > Strong.

Unfortunately, they’ve got the corner on the market still. But there’s always a silver lining.  With the rise of competitive strength sports, it seems like more kids are bypassing the pony show for something just a little harder to find in all of the noise.  Fewer guys are drooling over the muscular thighs of some bigger than life poser and actually getting in the gym to put the work into strength. Something bigger than they are, a brotherhood, a sport. 

Will Strength sports ever rise to the notoriety of bodybuilding?  Time will tell, but in the mean time, I’ll be working on and sharing a passion for strength and performance.  Those others with mandatory mirror time can keep blasting their guns and lying to the world about how strong they are.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Big news

Well holy shit, I'm on Muscle & Strength.  Not sure how that happened, but my article, "11 hardcore gym rules you need to know" is up only 24 hours and has over 300 likes. I'm assuming that's good!

I have a ton of ideas for articles and I'm excited to share them.  I'm also speaking with the editor of another lifting site and shooting articles for his review.  So far, the editor seems to think my ideas are too raw and alienating to some lifters, and the language is a little rough on some of the entries.

But I'm not willing to change.  This is how I talk, this is how I write and this is how I think.  That's what I like about M&S, they printed my article as I sent it, no revisions requested.  That's awesome.

Lifting is going well, Donnie Thompsons IPA meet is 10 days out and I'm stronger than any other point in my life.

Excited, grateful and feeling undeserving of this life sometimes.  Thanks to those who support and motivate me, you are more influential than you know.

Later bitches.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fuck Protocol

Edgy title, very cursey.  I haven't posted in a hot minute because I've been busy adding slabs of beef to my arms legs and torso but I wanted to collect some good quality brain farts in a jar and release them all at once in a giant cloud before I just settled on writing something less than sincere in a sentence THIS long.  So here we go:

Fuck protocol

Specifically, fuck you for following it to the letter, and even more specifically, fuck your gains.  I'm seeing it pop up in a few places still, guys and gals following a piece of paper that says do a 3x8 with X amount of weight and blowing through it without much thought to the point of why they're even doing it.

Why 3x8?  is it only 8 reps because 10 would be too hard, sloppy or impossible?  Do your delts know how to count?  Is this a magic code that your body understands and starts pumping out test?  Is it... ok you get the point.

What if I told you that the concrete number of sets and reps and weight didn't matter by themselves?  What WOULD matter?  How do people become bigger and stronger?

Working against various levels of resistance in different states of fatigue. That's it.

How much WORK are you doing by flailing your chicken wings for 3 sets of eight or one set of two  reverse band when the resistance just isn't there.  Ask yourself this:  Could I have done 3, 4 or 5 more?  If the answer is "yeah probably" then you probably aren't doing shit in the gym.

Now I'm not advocating training to failure and I do leave a rep in the tank on most every lift, but what I'm saying is train for the days INTENT, not the numbers on the paper. 

A lot of people like set in stone rep schemes.  They buy an e-book and trade the price they pay for the luxury of not having to think.  If they just do the exact reps and sets as prescribed, then it's the programs fault if they don't grow stronger or bigger.

Wrong, asshole.

It's YOUR fault for not being invested in your own training. My advice to the young, up and coming, the lazy and the uninspired is the same:  Fuck protocol.  Go off the reservation once in a while, step out of your safe place and get your feet wet, beat your own path, blaze your own trail, google your own cliché.  Take responsibility for your own gains (if you really give a shit.)

If the sheet says do squat triples with 300 and it was too easy, fuck you for not using 305, 310 or 315.  You've totally missed the entire INTENT of the day, heavy triples.  HEAVY, not kinda heavy, not light, not fast, not easy.  Do some HEAVY work.  Same goes for having an off or shitty day.  If you're programmed for 5 sets of 3 with 300 and the first set you only completed two, then drop down to 285 and get a third on your next set.  Vary the weight to get the desired effect of heavy triples.

obligatory photo of my back
Now obviously not everyone is going to agree with that, and I'm not presuming to tell an elite or experienced athlete how to train, because odds are that they change things on the fly in training all of the time already.  Changing the workload or the weight, (up or down) is better than changing the INTENT of the day.

I set my bench training up to be a challenge that I know I will complete week in and week out.  The weight and volume stays challenging but I'm always a step ahead of the days work.  The INTENT of the day is always set in stone, but the sets and/or reps may change depending on the variables of the day.

For instance, 3 weeks ago I was programmed for heavy bench triples.  Well I was out of town for work and lifting at midnight after a long day on the job.  I completed 3 of the 5 sets and knew the 4th and 5th just weren't there, so I switched to floor press and completed them that way.

Conversely, this past week I had heavy bench triples again and not only did I smash all sets with a heavier programmed weight, but I even went UP 5#'s on the last set and destroyed it as well.

Speaking of the bench program, several people have begun training with this method and are reporting positive results.  The feedback I'm getting confirms what I already knew.  My program isn't just the holy grail for my titties, but for titties everywhere.  Here's what some peeps had to say about it so far:

"Beats the shit outta 531 for me when it comes to bench. always felt like I wasn't warmed up enough when I got to the final 531 set and then that was it (and it was an AMRAP set). feel like RBBP gives me more practice dialing in form with relatively heavier weights due to the volume." -BR

"I did my first bench day on your program yesterday. Im liking it a lot so far. I showed it to a few guys at Iron Mafia and they said it looked really solid. Another guy is gonna use it as well." -JG

"So it's week 3, came in thinking 320 for the 5x3...smoked 325 for it instead, fired the fuck up about this program." -MT

I am literally no one in the sport of powerlifting and three testimonials isn't anything to pitch a tent about, but I know these guys look stronger and say they feel stronger and that makes me feel pretty damn good about the program.