Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Questions and comments, athlete feedback...

Setting the record (straight)
My report on the last 6 weeks.
I've worked hard at changing what I eat. I snack on walnuts and fresh fruit, and forego sandwiches at lunch for salads and fish (on most days). Dinner is whatever the wife makes (which on most days is well balanced). I don't bother counting calories. I am just focusing on eating better, and think the change in diet and increased activity will be enough in the long-run. As for an exercise routine, I have been doing a lot of experimenting. Your posts have been very helpful here. You discuss quite a few exercises I had never heard of, providing plenty to research, which usually expands into a entirely new area of fitness for me (example, muscle-ups).
My favorite from your catalog is the Bulgarian Training Bag. Your dyi version was very cool, but I opted to meet with Greg Maurer at the Hockessin Athletic Club to get a hold of the original design. I dug it, and ordered one for my own (26 lbs.). This thing kills me in less than 20 minutes.
My current routine is:
D1 (Saturday) - Run/walk Alapocos Run. Can't run the whole thing yet so I do what I can and walk the rest. I change this up freely with uphill sprints, which are brutal on this trail. Appreciate your thoughts on running more than 400m and think this is a fair compromise. I enjoyed running distance in the past, and would like to regain that experience eventually.
D2 (Monday) - Gym: squats 3x15 with in between sets of pull-ups; bench press3x15 (both squats and bench turn out to be 2x15 with muscle failure on the last set, once I get to ten reps on the last set I bump-up the weight. I am leaving weight off here because it’s a little embarrassing, give me some time).
D3 (Tuesday or Wednesday) - 30 minutes w/Bag
D4 (Thursday or Friday) - 30 minutes w/Bag
I'd like to change this up to include another day at the gym, but it will have to wait until after July 9. My Bag days are work-out at home days. I plan to incorporate pull-ups, some ab work, and other body-weight exercises on these days, but haven't gotten around to hanging a pull-up bar. All in good time. Overall, I am feeling much better and am 12 lbs lighter than the last time I emailed you. Weight loss is not a huge priority for me, but it is a favorable metric right now so I'll use it.
Still working on defining goals, and still thinking about how to change-up my weight-lifting routine when the time comes. You do a lot of Olympic style lifts that I understand are best for strength building. But I would need to invest the time to learn them and develop good form. On my own that could be challenging. That's a few months down the road though. As always, thoughts, comments and criticism are welcome.
Talk to you soon,
Cuba Gooding Jr

Thanks for the update, Cuba, its great to hear how well you're progressing. The beauty of your situation is that at one time, you were in the military and fit, by general standards. Therefore, your body recognizes that and it is easier to get back to that state of well being than it would be for someone who was never there before. And still, because of your fitness hiatus, you are training as a beginner. When beginners train, every single thing they do works, unfortunately, it will not work forever. Our bodies adapt to everything. I choose to work hard on a few things at a time, then switch every 4-8 weeks before things get stale, yet I have benefitted from the gains I made while on the program. Other programs like CrossFit, for example, are constantly varied and change daily, so many people never really get to benefit from a particular exercise because they may not repeat it again for a very long time. All this depends on the programming at the particular institution, not CF in general. My primary goal is increased strength, not endurance, so I focus my energy that way. I also feel that strength will have more carry over to all facets of fitness more so than any other aspect such as flexibility (yoga lovers), endurance (runners and bikers), agility or what have you. Strength can enhance all these other attributes more so than they can enhance strength. So, one thing I like to do in a training program is perform regular maximum effort exercises. Rotate the exercises regularly. The best exercises to choose from are squats, deadlifts, presses and pulls. Add in some unilateral training and you got a great start.

Using things like the Bulgarian Training Bag are a great way to enhance your mobility, cardio and stamina, but anything you can do for more than a few seconds won't help your strength much beyond beginner levels. For a new trainee not sure where to begin, a great 2 day split to use goes something like this for the primary exercises.

Day 1

Squats 5x5
Pull ups 5x submax
then whatever else you want to do that keeps you happy, this assistance work could vary greatly depending on the athletes needs.

Day 2

Deadlift 5x5
Bench 5x5
Then trails or BTB or anything else that provides joy and excitement, see above.

This is very simple, and can be used whether you train heavy 1, 2, 3, or 4 times a week. If you train once a week, you would do workout 1 this week, then workout 2 next week. If you train heavy twice weekly, you could do W1 on Tuesday, then W2 on Friday or Saturday. Three times goes W1, W2, W1 one week, then W2, W1, W2 on week 2, rinse and repeat. Four times a week goes W1, W2, W1, W2 on something like Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri. I would even change the reps from 4-6 on Mon and Tues to 8-10 on Thurs and Fri. Beginners need not get too crazy and sexy, just add weight and reps and get really good at the basics. Then you will progress to intermediate status quicker and will only then need more detail and variety in training.

The olympic lifts are not for everyone, but with sufficient strength can be a wonderful tool for power development. I recommend seeking professional guidance when starting to incorporate the quick lifts. If you are not relatively strong, the quick lifts may be a waste of time and can be potentially dangerous. So have fun, keep asking questions and seeking out new information, I'll be here for ya.

Train to win,


Ab Crawl (oven mitts to protect from heat only, not hard, rocky ground. If ground is cool I don't use gloves to toughen and condition skin)
KB 2 Hand Backward Overhead Throw
DB Push Throw
Ab Crawl

1.) 2 DB Power Clean 4x5

2A.) Front Squat 6x4
2B.) Reverse Hypers 6x8

3.) Good Morning 3x8-10

4.) Bulgarian Split Squat 3x8-10 (L/R)

5.) Ab Rollouts 4x10-15
Feel free to sub ab crawls for the rollouts. You can use a wheel, but I like to use a basic piece of wood. You put your feet on it, and drag it for distance. Try 3-4 sets and beat your best distance every time you try. Shoot for 100 meters. Enjoy.

Friday, June 25, 2010


1.) Power Snatch 80% x 2 reps x 5 sets

2A.) Sumo Deadlift 5x5
2B.) Reverse GHB (Hanging) Leg Raise 5x10

3.) RDL 3x10

4.) Walking Lunges 3x8-10 L/R

5.) Farmers Carries 3-5 x Max Distance

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I understand not everyone has the same goals at the same time, if anyone has any questions about their training, post em up.
1.) Swiss Bar Floor Press 5x5

2A.) Incline DB Press 3x8-10
2B.) Weighted Pull Ups 3x8-10

3A.) Weighted (if possible) Ring Dips 3x10
3B.) Bent Over/Inverted Row 3x10

4A.) Weighted GHB Situps (SLOW) 3x10-15
4B.) Weighted Back Extension (SLOW) 3x10-15


Billy vs. the Beast
Mikey on the Fat Bar

Post deload, back at it again...

1.) 2 DB Power Jump 3x6

2A.) Front Squat 5x5
2B.) Reverse Hypers 5x10

3.) Good Morning 3x10

4.) Bulgarian Split Squat 3x8-10 (L/R)

5.) Ab Rollouts 3x15

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Question to the giant rock standing in front of me

What is the next logical step to making yourself better? What if you have a talent that others are interested in, and you choose to not share it with anyone? Are you providing a disservice? Are you just lazy, or are you making a bad moral decision? People need to know the good that you have to offer. Stop hiding yourself and let yourself be known. Publicize your skill and your image. In the end your skills will diminish, but your image will remain.

Train to win,

Matt Wichlinski

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Unnatural Athlete

The following is an excerpt I stole from The Unnatural Athlete, by Charles Staley of Staley Training Systems:

“Habits are like cobwebs at first, cables at last” — Proverb

with the New Year upon us, I thought I’d use this installment of The Unnatural Athlete to

explore the relationship between our habits and the outcomes we experience in training and

in life.

The concept of “New Year’s resolutions” has always been interesting to me, primarily because so

few people manage to keep them. Since the conventional route rarely works, let’s explore a less

conventional approach...

What Are Habits?

Habits are consistent patterns that reveal our character and determine our effectiveness in life.

Steven Covey describes habits as “the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire.” In Covey’s

representation, knowledge represents the paradigm we apply to a situation, or the “how to do.”

Skill is the “how to do,” and desire is the motivation or the “want to do.”

Benefits & Costs

Anthony Robbins has suggested that we do not change “bad” habits until the negative consequences

of those habits begin to outweigh the perceived benefits. For example, you might find yourself in

the habit of eating a pint of ice cream every night before going to bed. You enjoy the experience

of eating that ice cream, and, at least for the short term, that enjoyment greatly outweighs the

negative outcomes of your habit, since it takes time for those extra calories to cause weight gain.

After several weeks however, it becomes evident that your ice cream habit has caused you to gain

15 pounds. At this point, the negative outcome of the habit is quite tangible, and because you have

been eating that ice cream every day for weeks, you don’t get the same enjoyment from it that you

used to. Because the negatives are now outweighing the positives, you’re now much more likely to

change your ice cream habit.

CHAnging UnprodUCtive HABits


In some cases, we are unaware of the negative consequences of our habits. For example, excessive

intake of processed carbohydrates can promote inflammatory responses in the joints. You may

assume that your painful joints are simply part of life, or the outcome of old athletic injuries. It

isn’t until you reduce your intake of processed carbs that you realize the negative consequences of

your former habit. On a similar note, we often do not realize the benefits of our good habits until

we discontinue them for a period of time.

We commonly assume that it takes discipline to change bad habits. It’s interesting to note that the

word “discipline” evolved from the root word “disciple” which means “one who learns.” And in fact,

when you encounter a highly disciplined person, you’re not looking at someone who gets his/her

kicks from self-denial, but instead, someone who has learned that the negative outcomes of certain

behaviors is not worth the benefits associated with them. It really comes down to self-awareness.


The skills required to change undesirable habits can be learned by anyone and are widely available

to those who seek it. The primary skill involved is the simply decision to take action. I recently saw

a great sketch on a television show, where Bob Newhart played a psychologist who billed himself as

being able to cure anyone’s problems in 5 minutes. A female patient comes in whereupon he asks

“How may I help you?” She proceeds to explain that she has a terrible eating disorder where she

eats copious amounts of food, only to purge the meal shortly thereafter. “Is that all?” Newhart asks?

“No” she replies, and begins to describe her terrible drug and alcohol problems. “Anything else?”

Newhart inquires. “Yes,” the patient continued, explaining that she also has Obsessive-compulsive

tendencies, and can’t manage to leave her house without making sure that the stove if off dozens

of times.

Finally, the patient had fully detailed her numerous psychological problems. Newhart reflects for a

moment, and then simply says “OK, here’s what you need to do: STOP IT!”




“Just STOP IT!”

“I also pull my eyelashes out”

“Stop that too”


Unfortunately, simply stopping your bad habits, in and of itself, is an insufficient strategy. A much

more effective plan is to substitute a new, more productive habit in place of the one you’ve decided

to end. For example:

Sitting in front of the television at night is the enemy of good eating habits. You’re being bombarded

with tremendously effective food commercials, and you’re in close proximity to the fridge. If you

find that you’re most vulnerable to making poor eating choices at night, this could be the reason

why. If you can terminate the night-time TV habit and substitute it with (for example), a bike ride,

a lot of good things start to happen:

1. You’re away from the pervasive food commercials and the access to the fridge

2. You’re burning calories while you exercise

3. Exercise tends to blunt your appetite

4. When you exercise, you’re more likely to eat right, as a way of further leveraging the good effects

of the exercise


The motivation required to change bad habits comes from the realization that the benefits you

experience from your habits are not worth the negative outcomes of those habits.

The following is an exercise to help you become more aware of the benefit/cost ratio of your habits.

Spend a few minutes on this exercise right now:

My 3 most effective/empowering training/nutritional habits are:




My 3 most destructive training/nutritional habits are:




Now take a moment to identify the benefits or rewards you experience from each habit, and also

the negative outcomes (if any) of each habit.

Example: Under the effective habit list, you may have listed that you eat 5 times a day (as opposed

to 2 or 3). The benefits of this habit are that your energy levels are more stable, your

cravings for sugary foods has diminished, you can eat more without gaining weight, and

that your body composition has improved. The negative aspects of this habit are that it

is occasionally inconvenient to eat so often, and that you need to give more thought to

meal preparation than you used to. Are the benefits worth the cost?


The nice thing about establishing new habits is that most of the hard work takes place in the first

3-4 weeks...after that initial period of time, the amount of effort required to sustain the new habit

diminishes considerably.

The bottom line is that whatever strategy you choose to change undesirable habits, at some point,

you simply need to take action; you need to interrupt the pattern. You might find it helpful to

recall a positive experience from your past as you managed to stop a bad habit. How did you do it?

Was it worth the effort? Was it really as hard as you had anticipated?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Deload workout

A little extra rest should have you feeling well. Now we'll do a deload workout to get the weight off the spine and lots of mobility work to get the body primed for some more heavy lifting in a few more days.

2 Kettlebell snatch 15/15 x 10 minutes
15 seconds on 15 seconds off. This is 20 total sets, shoot for 5 reps each set for 100 total reps.

Spend a good amount of time performing samson stretch's, scorpions, sitouts, iron cross's, hindu push ups, cossack squats, and hip circles.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


1A.) Double Kettlebell Power Jump 3x5
1B.) Box Jump 3x5

2A.) DB Bench Press 5x5-8
2B.) Bent Row 5x8-10

3.) Double Kettlebell Clean & Press 3 x 8-10

4A.) Ring Dips 3 x Submax (weighted)
4B.) Hanging Leg Raise 3 x 10-15
4C.) Chin Ups 3 x Submax (weighted)
-Don't rush these sets, if you are trying to gain strength or mass stay heavier, keep a faster pace if you want better conditioning

5.) Reverse Hypers/Back Extensions 3x10 (Light for Recovery)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fat - food for thought

Fats - we need you more than ever!

Here is something I found regarding fats, I can not say I agree with it all, I actually cut out the part about saturated fats as i did not agree at all with it. Personally, I cook with coconut oil and organic butter. I use pure extra virgin olive oil with very low heat or raw on salads and stuff like that. An avocado a day keeps the Dr at bay. Fish, fish oil, krill oil, hemp and flax oil seem to have great benefits. I eat tons of nuts and seeds, a good variety will ensure ample amounts of quality nutrients. I eat them by the handful and refuse to count 9 almonds to fit in the zone, it's just a personal choice. If I was stepping onto a bodybuilding stage, I know paying attention to my caloric intake would be imperative, but since my goals entail running through brick walls and lifting heavy objects for fun, I only count in kilos and pounds, not grams. I am not too concerned with saturated fats, they get a bad rap. It is actually a fact that bacon cures cancer. And if you wrap bacon in bacon, you will actually win the lottery and go straight to heaven with 12 virgins eagerly awaiting your arrival when your time is up. Here is a link to another fat article worth reading. Now go get your fat on...

All fats are NOT created equal.

It's an interesting title, but are there really such things as "good" fats? Seems as though all we ever hear about is how bad fats are for you. But there are differences in fats. There are fats that your body actually needs for energy, heart health, essential fatty acids and to transport vitamins throughout your body.

So, here's the simple truth about fats:

The "Good" Fats

The good fats are the unsaturated fats - monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

Monounsaturated fats lower the risk of heart disease. They also lower total cholesterol and "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and increase "good" (HDL) cholesterol.

Foods that are high in monounsaturated fats include nuts (walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, hazel nuts, peanuts and pistachio nuts), olive oil, olives, avocados, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.

Polyunsaturated fats also lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids, which protect the brain and nervous system, bolster heart health and prevent certain types of cancer, Alzheimer's disease and diabetes, are included in this category.

Foods that are high in polyunsaturated fats include fish (salmon, trout, catfish, and mackerel), nuts, some vegetable oils (sunflower, safflower and corn), seeds, dark leafy greens and flaxseed.

The "Bad" Fats

The bad fats are trans fats - they raise total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and clog your arteries, increasing your risk of heart disease.

Trans fats are the worst of the worst because they raise total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. They are produced when liquid vegetable fats are changed into solid fats. Many processed foods contain trans fats, including cookies, cakes, microwave popcorn, margarine, and the foods in many fast food restaurants.

Be smart about fats and stick with poly and monounsaturated fats. Read food labels, especially commercially processed foods, to avoid trans fats. Use reduced fat or fat-free products when cooking, whenever possible. Limit your intake of sweets, processed foods, fried foods and fast foods.

What's your take on fat?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Work on that back!

After performing a proper warm up, the following workout should take no longer than 45-60 minutes. An example of an adequate warm up can be found here.

1.) BB Deck Snatch - 3-3-2-2-1-1-1 ascending

2A.) Trap Bar Deadlift - 4-6 x 3-4
-ascending, no rest
2B.) Box Jumps - 4-6 x 4-6, mid-thigh to hip height, full rest

3A.) Weighted Pull Ups - 4x8-10
3B.) Weighted Dips - 4x8-10
trying to use at least the same weight as last weeks 6-8 reps

4A.) Good Mornings, barbell & light/mini bands with necessary weight- 3x8-10
4B.) Bent Over Rows - 3x12-20

5A.) Elbow Plank (weighted) - 3 x max time (find a weight that challenges you for a minute or so)
5B.) Rope/Towel Hangs - 3 x max time

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


You might be a new man, but you'll always be an old friend.
1.) Power Snatch + Overhead Squat + Hang Snatch X6-8 ascending

2.) Squat - 8x2

3A.) Push Press - 5x4
3B.) Pull Ups - 5x4-6 weighted
3C.) Weighted Pistols - 5x4-6 R/L

5A.) Sled Drive - 5x100' Heavy
5B.) Double KB Swing 5x10

Saturday, June 5, 2010


6 eggs, lots of peppers, onions, mushrooms and kale cooked in coconut oil, some black beans, salsa, a banana, and a handful of nuts for breakfast.1.) Seated Box Jumps x15-20

2A.) Bench Press 6x4
2B.) Bent Row 6x6-8

3.) Double Kettlebell Clean & Press 3 x 8-10

4A.) Close Grip Push Ups 3 x Submax (weighted)
4B.) Hanging Leg Raise 3 x 10-15
4C.) Supine Row 3 x Submax (weighted)
Preferably with thick rope or towel

5.) Reverse Hypers/Back Extensions 3x10 (Light for Recovery)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


1.) Double KB Snatch 3 x 8-10

2A.) Deadlift 6x3
-ascending, no rest
2B.)Banded KB Swings 6 x 6-8, full rest

3A.) Weighted Pull Ups 4x6-8, rest 30 seconds
3B.) Weighted Dips 4x6-8, rest 60-90 seconds

4A.) Reverse Hypers light/recovery 3x8-10
4B.) Fat BB or DB Power Curls 3x8-10