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Start with the Negative

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Here are the 5 best articles I found today on the subjects of fitness, weight training, diet, and building muscle:

  1. Sleep as a Catalyst for Fat Loss
  2. 5 Fats You Shouldn't Fear
  3. 5 Essential Nutrition Tips to Gain Energy, Feel Good, and Look Better Than Ever
  4. The Curse of Stress, and How to Break It
  5. How Assisted Pullups Make You Better At Pullups

I can tell you with 100% certainty that a) you need to eat good healthy fats to burn bodyfat and b) sleep and stress cause a whole lot of issues.

So get those in order if you want to build lean muscle and strip off bodyfat.

For most people, 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sound sleep is sufficient.

Is it optimal? I don't know. Let your body be your guide. Listen to what it's telling you.

For #5, I know this works – for any resistance exercise.

In fact, if you can't even do an assisted dip or pullup, do the negative!

When I first started weight training, one of the exercises I wanted to do but couldn't was the parallel bar dip. I could not press up from the down position. So I used my 12 year-old ingenuity, and rather than give up, I improvised.

Now, I didn't know WTF I was doing, but it worked.

I knew I could lower myself, if even just six inches. But doing so, for reps, built my strength. Soon enough I could lower myself to the fully-stretched position.

Of course, I still couldn't push myself back up.

But over time, I got stronger and was soon able to do one full rep! YAY!

When I wanted to do one-arm pullups, of course, I couldn't. So I went back to the (knowledge) well and did what I did with dips: I started in the up position, doing a pullup with both arms, then I let go with one and held it (isometrics), then lowered myself as slowly as possible.

In time, I was able to complete not just one one-armed pullup (with either hand) but several.

It works. You have to outsmart gravity and the exercise apparatus.

Start with the negative! You will get positive results.

Now that Halloween is over…

halloween-indiscretionsOver your sugar high yet?

I have a love-hate relationship with Halloween.

I love it because candy.

I hate it because – like everything else in my life – I over do it.

So I'm paying for it today.

The best part about the iron life? I get to work it off today!

And I love that!

Today is leg day, so I'm sure I'll burn off those calories and build some strength today.

Plus, I love doing HIIT training on the bike after a hard leg workout. I sweat like a beast!

What do you do to correct your weaknesses?

My New 4-Day Split

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Normally, today I'd do my deadlift routine. But my low back is super sore, so I'm going to hit upper back, chest, and delts.

You?

Oh, yeah, I'm switching from my very-effective-in-my-younger-days 3-day split to a 4-day split. Here's what that looks like:

  • Monday: Back, chest, and delts
  • Tuesday: Legs and arms
  • Wednesday: Work on a lagging body part OR take a day of rest from resistance training and just ride the bike
  • Thursday: Back, chest, and delts
  • Friday: Deadlifts (I know, not a body part-focused workout – but it is: I'm hitting quads, low back, and traps with HEAVY weights for 3-5 rep sets, building in weight until I can't do even 3 reps)

What's your weight routine look like?

Let me know – just hit reply.

Can I ask a favor? If you're finding these blog posts helpful, would you please share them with your bestest friends?

I'm trying to grow a nice tightknit community here and want you to be a MAJOR PART of it.

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My New Favorite Back Exercise – Deadlifts

My New Favorite Back Exercise – Deadlifts

In my last post, I talked about my new favorite chest exercise, the incline bench press. I am now following that chest work with a deadlift program.

It's really quite simple, but super-effective.

(I never knew how hard I could breathe until I started doing heavy deadlifts. Very similar effect to squats.)

I start out usually on the floor with a light weight, mixed grip (alternate your grip, though, so you get even development). Get down low by bending at the knees and hips, keeping the back flat. Then simultaneously push with the thighs, glutes, and hips, while lifting with the lower back, too.

Typically, I only do a few sets:

  • One warmup, minimal rest (30 seconds tops)
  • One with a midrange weight for 5-8 reps (60 to 90 seconds rest)
  • 2 sets of 3-5 with increasing weight (120-180 seconds rest)

Deadlifts are funny (not “Ha-ha” funny) in that you're better off doing fewer reps with heavier weight, using super-strict form, rather than doing higher-rep, lower-weight sets.

 

It is so critical that you do these with the strictest form possible that getting carried away with too many reps will literally get you carried away!

The more reps you focus on, the less you focus on your form; so, do fewer reps but in strict form!

Please.

No back injuries.

Deads are so great for your core strength that they ought to be a staple in your weight-training programs.

They stimulate muscle growth and Growth Hormone production in a way similar to a squat program, but they really blast the upper body (all areas of the back and traps), including the biceps and forearms.

They may be a better exercise than the bench press!

I'm a slow learner. It took me a really long time to figure this out. This fact, coupled with my lower back issues over the past 10 or so years, has really kept the blinders on. But now that I can see clearly again, I'll never turn my back on the deadlift!

I love them now!

So I got my testosterone test results back…

discouragement and sadness

This is how I feel right now

…and it's not good.

I've been lucky most of my life.

Lean, healthy, can take a beating. Strong, fast, and active. Smart, inquisitive, and kind.

But too much stress, too little rest, and shortcuts have killed my metabolism, fucked up my heart, and cut my T in half.

Shit!

So it's time to get really fucking serious.

I'm too young to feel this damned old. Plus, I have 4 kids, all under 11 years old (my youngest just turned 2).

I ain't having no more. Trip to the doc's a couple years back virtually guarantees that! (snip snip)

I need to be here with them. And I love my wife and want to spend another 50 years with her.

Early death isn't an option.

And zest for life is a high priority.

This is what I'm going to do:

  • MOVE every. damned. day. Do something active and physical for 60 minutes. I may split this into 2 sessions of 30 minutes each due to time constraints.
  • Meditate. I need to calm the hell down. Relax. Chill.
  • Lift weights 3-4 times a week. I still haven't decided if I want to do my trusted 3x a week split or a M-Tu-Th-Fr split. I've had my best results on the 3x split but 4 days a week may prove more beneficial at this point in time. Hell, I should just try both.
  • Cardio 5x a week, in the gym. At least 30 minutes every day at a fairly high intensity.
  • Go back to small, frequent meals. I've experimented with intermittent fasting (don't eat from 8pm until 12pm the following day). It's easy, but totally ineffective for me.
  • I need to drop 40 pounds. I know. How the fuck did I get this out of shape? Shit, I could see myself getting fatter. Why didn't I just turn this fatass around before it got out of hand? Reasons, that's why 🙂
  • Use supplements wisely. Below I will post my “supplement stack.” I've always been a huge believer in supplementing for specific effects. Now is the time.
  • Mindset matters: That's where the meditation comes in. Plus, I'm going to try the wishy washy “affirmations” and “gratitude.” Yes, I said it. It's feel-good shit but man, in the past, when I did it, I'll be damned if it didn't work! Visualization will play a role here, too.
  • I'm going to write more. Writing is my heaven, my safe place, my mental yoga.

Dang, I didn't mean to lay it all out on you. But I bet at some point, you've faced similar challenges. And I bet you overcame them, just like I will.

Here's the supplement stack I mentioned:

  • Omega 3s from krill oil
  • A good food-based multi-vitamin/mineral
  • A supplement I've used in the past that made me feel great – Longevity
  • A supplement I've researched that can naturally help T levels (and I know it works in the libido area, because I've tried it – it works super fast and doesn't have any noticeable side effects like I've heard Viagra and its cousins have) – K20
  • To help metabolize fat and keep my insulin and glucose levels where they should be – Gluco Guardian
  • I have used, and will use now and in the future, MexRx – I love this stuff!

If the above doesn't produce results (mostly in higher T levels, losing body fat, and feeling better), I will pursue the HRT path – yes, sticking myself with freaking needles full of testosterone.

I'm reading up on all of that now. I've been in consultation with a doctor who is open-minded about this sort of thing, which I've found is pretty darn rare.

bodybuilder guy

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