Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I'm currently doing a Performance Menu cycle to improve my Olympic lifting and my overall strength. So far, it's going quite well. Since committing to the O-lifts, my snatch has increased by roughly 60# and my clean & jerk by about 40#. My technique in both is much better (although they still need a lot of work). My squat numbers have also improved significantly. Drew will tell you one simple thing about me: I'm obsessed with strength. Still, I don't care how much you curl or leg press. Tell me you can deadlift 500, snatch over your bodyweight, and squat like it's your religion, then you'll have my complete attention. I'm not bashing metcon workouts like Fran or Helen or Fight Gone Bad or Cindy. But if you can improve your strength drastically, metcon improvements will only be easier to come by.

"The only aspect of conditioning that really will never have a negative effect on any others is maximal strength development. Maximal strength development will have a positive effect on almost every component of fitness, except maybe flexibility." -Dave Tate

Still, no matter how many lifts I do in a day, a week, or month, I need to ensure that I am consuming enough (good, quality) calories to build muscle mass. I'm not trying to put on weight. I'm not trying to gain "mass". I want to be stronger. I want (need) to build more muscle. With that, weight and mass will come, but moving more weight is all that matters to me. I've finally realized that I need be eating significantly more food to put on muscle, aid in protein synthesis, and improve my recovery after hard workouts. I'm just as committed to eating as I am to lifting. Here's what I ate yesterday...

Meal 1: Bowl of beef chili with sliced chicken breast added
Meal 2: Three eggs and three strips of bacon covered in syrup, six capsules of fish oil
Meal 3: Two slices of roast beef, half a large yam covered in olive oil, post-workout shake (two scoops of whey protein, one banana, one scoop of iso-leucine, half can of coconut milk, whole milk), seven capsules of fish oil
Meal 4: Steak, asparagus, two glasses of chocolate milk, spoonful of peanut butter, five capsules of fish oil
Meal 5: Three strips of bacon, three slices of roast beef, chocolate milk, more fish oil

I have no idea how many calories this equates to, but needless to say, I was in pain after some of these meals. And that's what it's going to take for me to build muscle. This might not be the case for others, but since high school, I've probably only put on 17 pounds of muscle. Not nearly enough. Also, most of the choices above are still pretty healthy. The syrup was just a quick way to add more calories. All told, I took roughly 20 capsules of fish oil as well.

By no means am I bragging about how much I'm eating. Hell, I'm slightly disgusted with myself. But if it's going to help me get stronger, I'll do what I have to. Start taking a look at what you're eating everyday. Is it enough? Is it too much? Is it benefiting your workouts? Assess your diet, make changes, train hard, sleep well, get strong.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How Serious Are You?

Let me guess, you're in the gym almost every day of the week. You drag yourself out of bed or force yourself to go after work. You get in there and you're all business. You work twice as hard in the gym as you do on your TPS reports, which all have cover sheets now. You sweat, you bleed, you nearly puke almost every time you grab the pull-up bar, sprint down the street, or pick up that barbell. Everyday you push harder and strive to put in the best performance you can. You push yourself to the brink, chasing after that far-off horizon of elite performance you crave so desperately. And after your dilated pupils finally return to normal size, the blood drains from your lungs, and the battery acid seeps from your legs, what do you do? You waste it. You waste a perfect opportunity to really get the most out of your workout and improve your recovery. The better you recover, the better you'll do tomorrow.

Here's what I ate after my Wednesday morning session...

-flank steak
-two scoops of whey
-about a cup of whole milk
-some cheese

-half a sweet potatoe

-half can of coconut milk
-olive oil

-six capsules of fish oil
-10,000 IU of Vitamin D
-one scoop of iso-leucine powder
-one scoop of Perfect Food's Super Green Formula
-three branch chain amino acid pills

We all pretty much want the same thing: a faster Fran, a heavier deadlift, more pull-ups, and so on. We want these things for various reasons: to get in great shape, to look better for beach season, to prep for ski season, or maybe to compete in something. But really, how serious are you? Until you start taking your diet and recovery seriously, your goals will always be that far away, sitting on that unreachable horizon.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Experts Are Stupid.

This is utterly astounding. I was genuinely enraged after watching this.

I really don't know where to begin. I'm almost too angry. Here were have a registered dietitian advocating the consumption of fast food. She's actually advising the American public to eat McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, and some strange wraps you find at the gas station.

Her main concern seems to be "calories, calories, calories" with absolutely no mention of food QUALITY. The whole purpose of this piece is to help the out-and-about person find good food choices while traveling and all she suggests is fast food. Are grocery stores just too inconvenient? For God's sake, pull over over and pick an apple off a tree.

And of course, like all doctors, dietitians, and nutritionists out there, she makes no mention of the three macronutrients that comprise food: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. She makes no mention of how bad carbs, like those found in fast food, affect one's insulin levels and destroy long-term health. Look, I get it: it's only a 90 second segment but have a clue at least.

Everyone out there is counting calories and buying "low fat" products. The result? America is the fattest, unhealthiest country in the world. Heart disease is our number one killer and diabetes is climbing the list every day.

All I'm saying is this: don't believe everything a doctor or a dietitian tells you. Chris Rock said it himself: "The money is in the medicine." NOTE: I am not telling you to believe everything Chris Rock says either. Just get out there and educate yourself. I'll do the best I can here, but you guys and girls need to be aware that not everything a "professional" tells you is necessarily the best thing for you.