02 Mar It Always Worked For Me
“Not everything I do is appropriate for me to share with some young impressionable lifters simply because I have no science, research or anecdotal evidence besides my own to back it up… But it always worked for me.”
It Always Worked For Me
I just competed in another powerlifting competition and I did pretty well. But this post isn’t about how amazing I am – although if you want to tell me I humbly accept because I know how sincere you are. Anyway, after adequate blood flow returned to my brain and the massive amounts of caffeine wore off I got to thinking about how often guys ask me what training method, diet, supplements, etc. work for me.
When I’m asked this sometimes I tell the truth. Sometimes I don’t. Let me explain before you start yelling Deceiver! There are things I do, food I eat and practices I hold to in my own training that aren’t appropriate for everyone. Am I implying that I’m an elite lifter and that those I’m referring to just aren’t my level? Not at all – although I do like shouting the phrase “Yo, you’re just not on my level” randomly in conversation.
Not everything I do is appropriate for me to share with some young impressionable lifters simply because I have no science, research or anecdotal evidence besides my own to back it up. In short, I know the crap I do works for me but I have no freakin clue if it would work for them so I’m not going to share my personal beliefs with those who don’t know how to filter information. Also, some of the stuff I do isn’t fitness/strength world politically correct.
Since I always want to be open and honest with you the reader and possibly because I haven’t returned to higher brain function yet from the competition, here’s a quick list of things that have led to personal success. Once again this is by no means training advice that I’d necessarily share with an athlete or client but rather just a random list of things I’ve done.
Remembering that McDonalds is a food group.
I figured out really early in my lifting career that bulking diets passed on by Gold’s Gym meathead forefathers and muscle magazines are often not what they seem. How many times have you read a magazine that says that so and so professional bodybuilder’s diet consists of eating two 4 ounce chicken breasts with a half a cup of broccoli and 1 cup of brown rice. I’ve found that those magazines fail to inform the reader when the pro bodybuilder eats this way. It’s ironically usually when they are in their cutting phase for a show. Meaning they are using this kind of diet to LOSE WEIGHT. This kind of diet is still passed along though to be the best way to gain muscle regardless because hey if it works for the pros it must work for me too. I would argue though that if you take a close look at the diets of these same bodybuilders in their offseason when they are trying to bulk that it wouldn’t look that great.
Would I recommend the above diet to a healthy individual who wants to stay lean or an athlete with an average sized build who needs adequate nutrition for performance? Yeah, at times.
When we’re talking about gaining weight and getting as strong as possible though, that’s a different story.
What’s the bottom line here? The more muscle/weight you gain the more calories you need to take in to maintain or keep gaining. If you need to take in a lot of calories you need a lot of calorie dense food.
For me that means hitting up the dollar menu at McDonalds every now and then. That doesn’t mean I eat there that much or that McDonalds is the only food I eat that is traditionally not clean. The fats from foods like these are also great for strength gains but that’s a topic for a different post.
Could I eat super clean and still get in the calories that I need? Sure, I’ve tried it. It involves eating ridiculous amounts as to make me hate eating and fight with myself around meal 8 to keep the food down.
I’ll take my ground beef, pasta and the occasional McDonalds or pizza thank you.
Doing Dynamic Effort Days
The effectiveness of dynamic effort days for strength gain has been called into question more than once. For those of you unfamiliar with this it involves performing a lift as explosive as possible for relatively low reps. An example of a dynamic effort day (or speed day as some would refer to it as) would be taking 75-85% of your 1 repetition maximum (1 RM) in a deadlift variation and doing 6 sets of 3 repetitions all the while trying to move through the entire range of motion as fast as possible and putting as much force into the movement as you would if it was a 1 RM attempt.
Without getting into the details, dynamic days are supposed to help you become as explosive as possible. This will be helpful when you go for a max effort attempt and you want to actually get the weight off the ground.
I personally love dynamic effort days because every time I stop doing them I feel as if my training suffers. I feel slower and weaker on my heavy days. Is this because dynamic effort days truly make me more explosive?
Maybe, maybe not.
I believe they help but it could be for a completely different reason. I tend to over train fairly easily. Dynamic effort days may help me because it is more like a forced deload. Instead of doing an extra day of heavy work – like I stupidly would – I take a day where I handle lighter weights while still performing the same motor pattern thereby allowing by body to recover.
Either way, I like them and I will continue to do them. This is something I believe in enough to have my athletes do.
Getting all Hopped Up on Caffeine
I’ll willingly admit it. I have almost no almost nothing about pre-workout supplements. I have absolutely no interest in the newest Entro-hemoglobin-venous oxide-rajin Cajun – pump rage pre-workout mix. I might be stuck in the past but I prefer just taking caffeine pills.
Say what you want about how the newest supplement helps you lift longer and heavier in your workouts I believe it comes down to stimulants. The only stimulant I’ve heard of that has actually been tested to increase performance would be simple caffeine. The feeling of your head buzzing from those fancy supplements is usually from the caffeine or B-12 in them anyway.
I’ll save my money and buy caffeine pills and B-12 if needed.
That’s about It
These are just a couple of things that have worked for me. I don’t encourage any client or athlete to try or do anything unless I first know that it works and will not harm the athlete in anyway.
That’s why I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing what I do but it always worked for me.
Have some unconventional techniques for training or nutrition? Leave them in the comments.