Sox said I gotta tighten up, so this is my attempt at putting myself out there for accountability. Talk about vulnerability. Lookin a little shabby. Its time to get freaky up in here. We have a definitive goal here: to get lean as hell while maintaining strength. The use of multiple implements is not necessary. I am going for simplicity and effectiveness. I'll be putting away most of my toys for this cycle and staying with the basics. If you don't have a particular item, just make an intelligent substitution or ask questions. There are no frills here, just flat out hard work. Sound familiar? It should.
1.) Squat 5x5 rest 120 seconds between sets, 5 minutes after last set
2A.) Row 250 meters (or 25 KB swings)
2B.) Push ups x 20
2C.) Run 400 meters (or 25 burpees w/o pushup, or 50 double unders...)
2D.) Pull ups x 15
Have fun, work hard, don't forget your SMR, mobility and flexibility afterwards. Drink at least 1 oz water / lb body weight everyday.
I'm going to put some things out there, it's up to you to follow or not. Freedom of choice and self expression is a wonderful thing. First of all, throw out all the crap in your kitchen. If its not crap, good for you, eat it. Secondly, don't buy any more crap, that's it. Simple stuff, really.
In no particular order, avoid and eliminate the following as best you can...
-Food made with refined flour and corn products, such as bread, cookies, crackers, pasta, chips, cereal, cakes
-High fructose corn syrup, almost any drink other than water, salad dressings, ketchup, this crap is in so many items, watch closely
-Trans fats, margarine, vegetable oil, yes, that means Velveeta
-Artificial sweeteners, essentially anything that says sugar free or diet
-Commercial pasteurized dairy, as awesome as bovine growth hormone sounds, just say no. If you're not going to get down and drink it straight from the tit of a "clean cow", don't do it (figuratively speaking of course), avoid pasteurized milk, cream, yogurt, cottage cheese
-Commercial meat and fish, such as canned meat and fast food, eat grass fed and wild caught
-Soy, no more tofurkey burgers
-Sports and energy drinks, just drink water, and green tea sometimes
-Protein and energy bars, they are crap, yes, you hippie, even your Kashi bar
-Processed foods, prepackaged meals, instant anything, rice cakes, pop tarts
I know, I hate being told what I can't do also. So here's some things you should do. Eat 17 colors a day. This ensures you are getting a wide range of micronutrients. Don't get too literal here, just be sure to get a wide range of real food in you. Think nutrient dense and calorie light. Every meal should contain all the macronutrients to maximize your hormonal response. Eat a quality protein, fat, and carbohydrate source with every meal. Put the emphasis on quality and you won't have to worry much about the quantity. Obviously there is an optimal amount per individual based on needs, levels of abilities, and even time (pre and post workout). Eat a little extra carbs after you train hard, like a potato. Some good choices of proteins to consider are beef, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, venison, and lamb. Good fats are olives and olive oil, coconut oil, avocados and a variety of nuts and seeds. Great carbs sources are green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, collards and mustard greens. Vibrant berries are tremendous, such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries and even cherries. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Your higher carb foods will include sweet potatoes, brown and wild rice varieties, gluten free brown rice pasta, black, red and pinto beans, steel cut oats, raw honey and pure maple syrup. Use lots of fresh herbs and spices, such as basil, thyme, oregano, cilantro, cinnamon, cayenne, turmeric, curry, ground cloves, ginger, paprika, chili, parsley and pepper. I do recommend "cheating" as a strategy to optimize fat loss. Every 4-6 days have a meal or three with lots more carbs and fats than usual. It shakes the body up and keeps it primed to achieve the things we're after here. In this case, cheating is good and recommended, not only for our bodies, but our minds as well. Now I'm not recommending Taco Bell and Hardees all day, but utilizing this principle will enhance the desired effect.
A sample day meal plan:
1 teaspoon coconut oil
5 free range eggs
1/2 cup fresh salsa (tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, orange pepper, pineapple, black beans)
1/4-1/2 cup steel cut oats with a little honey and lots of cinnamon
Non pasteurized cottage cheese with cinnamon
mix all together if you want, I do
Curried grilled chicken
Bowl of spinach, garlic and onion, lemon juice, olive oil
Wild rice or sweet potato
Salad with homemade Olive oil & vinegar dressing
Grilled fish, seasoned to taste
Lots of vegetables, no starch or high carb
A few ounces of turkey
Bite of DARK chocolate :)
Add lots of krill oil/fish oil to your routine if you're not already. A good rule of thumb is to start low, and keep adding a pill or so every now and then until your stool gets a little runny, then back off a bit and that is the right amount for you. Never mind the dosage recommendation on the bottle. This is just my opinion and I am not a doctor, so exercise free will when making decisions and don't blame anyone except yourself for your actions, as I didn't force you to do anything.
Take it as you want it, but this is a decent plan to follow. Post questions and comments below. I'm sure I neglected several key aspects, but it will all come out over time.
Ok, I'm challenging myself to an abbreviated "Lean Strength" challenge. It will begin now and run through April. I'll take before and after photo's to see if I'm full of shit, or if this shit really works. Try to do the same for yourself. I'm not calling it "fat loss", and definitely not weight loss. This is my version of "Lean Strength". Nothing new here, lots of guys are doing very similar things, such as "Lean Hybrid Muscle", from Elliot Hulse and Mike Westerdal, which is phenomenal stuff by the way. It pushes the pace and challenges you consistently. But, all the hard work in the world will not get you to your maximal potential without proper nutrition. So, I will be addressing these key points over the next few weeks. Today I will post the basic guidelines to eating for enhanced health and performance. I am not an expert on the subject matter and I realize there are many varying points of view on the subject, many of which are very controversial because people want to promote their products, etc. I will not get too detailed into carb cycling and special diets and hyperinsulinism and eating this not that, and hormonal response to particular foods and effects of leptin on fat loss, etc. This is not my area, but I will provide basic guidelines to adhere to for best results. Get ready to clean out your pantry and sweat your ass off, its gonna get interesting to see how far we can push ourselves in our quest for Lean Strength! Let us begin...
Even though this week is supposed to be a deload, I was feeling good so decided to go for it a little bit. I did some trap bar deadlifts, which are one of a few favorites of mine, and took it up to a top set of 470x5. One of my goals this year is a 550 pull, so I know its going to happen. I have always been a poor puller, damn short arms, but I'm just gonna have to overcome. After that I did some KB juggling for about 20 minutes or so. It is so much fun, I hope some of you have the opportunity to juggle weights in your training. It provides you with an opportunity to burn some fat and work a skill while having a blast. Get outside this spring, buy your own kettlebell and go for it, you won't regret it. I'm interested in how everyones training is going? Any stories, questions or concerns? I'm planning out the guidelines for the next 4-6 weeks of a fat loss program. Should be a good one, its different from how I normally train, but like I said, it's only a few weeks.
One of my favorite ladders to work with is inspired by a girevik of yesteryear, Herman Goerner, I discovered via Zach Even-Esh. It entails performing a snatch followed by a press, returned to the hang and immediately cleaned and pressed again. Any variation of the movements is acceptable, and in my gym welcomed. I've been doing these movements for a long time, but put together in this precise manner was something that I knew immediately I should have been doing for a very long time. I use DB's, KB's, or even BB's. I get a much different response from all the different implements, but if I only had ONE tool to use, I would be super excited about it nonetheless. The KB's allow a more fluid, cyclical and circular movement, so to speak, while the DB's are more linear. Both address the unilateral elements of training, which often gets ignored by many athletes. One the other hand, the barbell will allow a much greater load to be used. I use a clean grip when using a barbell, and personally always use the power version of the lifts. So it goes like this...
You have a few options here, three of which are repetition ladders, timed ladders, and weighted ladders. Pick the option that best suits your goals. I'm a strongman kinda guy, so I usually pick a light weight, do the complex for 1 rep with each hand, then go to the next biggest weight and go again for 1 rep. Start with maybe a 30 lb DB, and go up 5-10 lbs every time until you hit you're limit, then work back down. If you do repetition ladders, just add a rep every set, snatch press clean press snatch press clean press, then switch in that manner. And for time, just do what you can in a given time frame, and add some time to every set, say 10-20 seconds, it adds up quickly. I prefer doing timed sets with just one movement, like a snatch only for example, but there are no rules here, except the "Don't be a wanker" rule. I might even do some heavy rack quarter squats after my Goerner sets as well. See you on the other side.
The day has come and gone, and it was a huge success. Everyone got a ton of info to take home with them and transform their clients and business' into the beasts they want them to be.
On another note, we have concluded a 12 week program and I hope those who participated have seen some tremendous results. We have a week of back off "fun training" to enjoy before I start another cycle. I'm leaning towards a 1 month fat loss program. It's not something I do often, but it is like a cleansing of the soul for me. I spend so much of my time focusing on strength and technique, so this feels like a good time to change things up and put a focus on cleaning up. Not everyone is going to want to participate in this short program, and thats ok. If you need more strength or are on a good roll, I would continue with any 4 week period of your choice from the last cycle after this deload week concludes. Feel free to post comments and bash me for this, but it's just a month out of a lifetime of training to see how I train with a fat loss focus.
- It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again. Because there is no effort without error and shortcomings, he who knows the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the high achievement of triumph and who at worst, if he fails while daring greatly, knows his place shall never be with those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat".
Theodore Roosevelt -
1.) Power Snatch + OHS 10x1
2.) Sumo Deadlift 6-5-4-3-2-1-1-1
3A.) GHB Situps 3x10 weighted
3B.) Stiff legged deadlift 3x8
3C.) Plank 3x60 seconds
4A.) Row 3x250 meters
4B.) Pull Ups 3x15
Last minute local sign ups for the Underground Strength Mentorship, sign up here...
Last few days to sign up for the Underground Strength Mentorship with Zach Even-GEsh and myself. Its going to be a serious day jam packed full of training and business info with one of the most passionate and knowledgeable strength coaches out there! Get in here... 1.) Double KB Snatch 5x8-10
2.) Press 8-5-3-1-1-1-1
3A.) Supine Row with thick ropes 3x10-15 add weight with chains or vest
3B.) Ring Push ups 3x10-15 add weight with chains or vest
4.) Bulgarian Bag around the worlds 3x10-15 each direction
My new bells! I'm so excited, these baby's are like water in my hands, so clean and smooth. I'm so glad I decided to go for it.
As soon as I opened my new KB's today I immediately did a single bell ladder (2,4,6,8,10,8,6,4,2), I did it non stop, got fired up and was instantly pleased with my decision to purchase these bad boys. I got a feeling I won't be putting these fellas down for the next few weeks!
1.) Floor Press 4x8
2A.) Kettlebell clean & press (bottoms up) 5x6-8
2B.) Muscle ups 5x5 (add 5-10 lbs from last week)
3A.) Bent over row 3x10
3B.) BTB halos 3x10-15 each direction
10 rounds for time
4A.) Sprint 50 meters
4B.) 10-15 pushups (pick a number and stay with it)
Only a few weeks left to get off the fence and sign up for the Underground Strength Mentorship. Get info here...
We hit 1000 subscribers today, thanks to all you fine strength advocates. Good job, people. Now I want to make a challenge for myself. Maybe 50 videos in 50 days? I'm gonna need some really good ideas. What are some of the most important things you guys want me to make videos of? Anything at all... I'll try my best to accommodate. Please leave comments and questions. Thanks.
Also don't forget about the Underground Strength Mentorship. We recently had a dude sign up from England, he means business. You guys can get info and sign up here
Strength & Conditioning Coach, Owner of The Strength Shop in Virginia Beach, VA. Underground Strength Coach from Zach Even-Esh, USA Weightlifting Coach, CrossFit, NSPA CPT, All-American running back, lifetime student of strength