July 2010

In the spring of 2006, I began my most successful dieting effort to date, and over the course of 12 weeks I would accomplish the impossible. Beyond the usual insanity accompanying a restricted carbohydrate intake, I was at the same time fighting the symptoms of an undiagnosed case of hypothyroidism that would go undetected until March 2010. I felt like the mashed avocado in my chicken salad--green and a little fuzzy--so let’s just say this diet was a little difficult. However, my efforts paid off. I finished my diet in a supplement-induced haze that had me shaking so badly I could...

Note: You can read part 2 of this article here. If you’re trying to build a set of massive, indestructible legs, then there’s no doubt that you’ve heard the old mantra that “squats are king”.  Moreover, you’ve probably been told that squats don’t even count unless you squat deep enough to leave a little brown star on the floor when you come up. Unfortunately, it is not only incorrect to suggest that deep squats are the only way to get a huge set of wheels, but it can also be a recipe for disaster for some trainees. The truth is that squats are...

The premise of many scientific studies is often to compare two training programs or two exercises in order to find out which one is “best”. However, scientific studies are of short-term duration, with rare exceptions. These short duration studies are in contrast to “real life”, where our involvement in training is (hopefully) long-term and measured in years. In order to make long-term progress, we must consider the principle of accommodation.  As we use even the best program, we adapt to that program and therefore it becomes less and less efficient in stimulating gains in strength and mass. As they say in the trenches,...

Would you agree that most sports are chaotic in nature? Would you go so far as to say many events in life are chaotic and unpredictable? On another note, would you like to look like you can cause chaos because of your muscular build? The answer to all of the above is probably “yes”, except if you want to stay skinny, weak and slow! I can talk about chaos because I’ve experienced it on both sides of the hardwood, on the basketball court playing throughout college and the pros, and now as a strength and conditioning coach training athletes (remember, if you have a...

Everyone hates cardio. Well some people have embraced it - first as a necessary evil to reach a specific fat loss goal, then eventually as an OCD-driven compulsion, afraid that they are going to reach “lifted out of the side of the bedroom by a crane” levels of obesity if they miss two cardio sessions in a row. Okay, perhaps I am exaggerating. The truth is, that MOST of us aren’t cardio fans, but do see the usefulness of it. I listened in once as two friends of mine had an interesting debate on cardio. Both were exercise phys students, one coming from the...

Show me a person who doesn’t want to be strong and I’ll show you someone who doesn’t get off the couch very often.  The ability to move heavy objects and perform physically demanding tasks is just plain cool. When you’re strong, you don’t have to walk around thumping your chest like an idiot, people will stand up and take notice. Since most of us don't go around lifting cars or chopping down trees with our bare hands, the easiest place for us to demonstrate strength is in the weight room. Gyms become our stage where we act out our physical abilities. And...

Bodybuilding magazines — pro or con? I find that I ask myself that question often. Do the mags serve their purchasers by providing useful info, motivating stories and inspirational photos or do they erode enthusiasm, misinform readers and develop expectations that are unrealistic? Let examine the goals of bodybuilding magazines. First off, as in any business their goal is to turn a profit. In the muscle mag industry, that entails revenue from advertising income and/or the sales and promotion of in-house products. The early Weider magazines promoted both Weider Nutrition products and the IFBB, which they controlled. In its heyday Muscular Development was...

If you're a lifter, I guarantee you've been asked The Question. It's almost like a prerequisite to even joining a gym: "Here's your towel, your member key, and, by the way, how much do you bench?" Although it's often asked nonchalantly, the true intent of The Question is to find the answer to an even deeper question: How much of a man are you? The truth is, unless you're a powerlifter, how much you bench is irrelevant. In fact, if your goals are primarily hypertrophy and aesthetics, chasing some number on the bench may be detrimental to your progress. Developing a full chest—one...