If you listen to the 3DMJ podcast, you’ve probably heard me or one of the other coaches talk about how the offseason and contest prep should resemble one another a bit more closely over the course of your career as you develop “bodybuilder life skills”. If this doesn’t make sense initially, I can understand that. An immediate reaction might be to cock your head, and raise your eyebrow as you think, “hold on, in the offseason you should be in a surplus, gaining weight, higher in body fat, using more volume, and doing less or no cardio…that’s very dissimilar to contest prep.” Correct, that’s all true…but we don’t mean the quantitative variables, we mean the habits and lifestyle you develop, and the underlying structure.
“I’ve tried four different coaches, none of them met my expectations, I was disappointed with each one.”
“I read through the very positive testimonials for this coach, but after trying the coach out, I didn’t get the results I expected.”
“The coach produced some really impressive before and afters, but after trying the coach, the coach didn’t produce the same results for me.”
These seem like reasonable statements, and I’ve heard them before, many times. However, one thing I want to point out, is that if you remove the word “coach” in each of the examples and replace it with home or kitchen appliances like “vacuum”, “Rumba”, or “blender” the sentences still work. That’s a problem.
Are you really dedicated?
There was a time, over a decade ago, where I was an incredibly “hardcore”, focused, and silently judgmental young bodybuilder. I was completely intent on winning my pro card and one day winning a natural bodybuilding pro world title. [Read more…]
Some people live a life that imposes more stress on them than their training. Some people are the opposite. They have a program that is the largest stressor in their life when it comes to the physiological disruption it causes. However, most people proceed as though they are in the latter category, changing their training program often trying to find something that works as well as they expect, when in fact, the problem is high levels of life stress. [Read more…]
I recently had a really great exchange with a young individual who is striving to become a “thought leader” or “public intellectual” in the fitness community. They want to “break into” the industry, have their work recognized and begin making a difference. This is an admirable, but difficult goal.
Many individuals in their late teens or early twenties, at the beginning of a road that leads to a fitness career, feel time pressure and like they are trying to enter a crowded space where it’s hard to stand out. On top of this sense of urgency and fear of obscurity, many up and comers also feel pressure from time and energy constraints, as they try to balance study, work, and the time and energy required to create an online presence. [Read more…]
More and more lately I’ve been writing, speaking and thinking about, well, thinking. As the “evidence based community” has grown in fitness, I’ve been increasingly aware of the disconnect between scientific knowledge and scientific thinking in our little community.
Sometimes we accept logical fallacies in arguments, so long as we think the person being argued against is on the other side of science. [Read more…]
In part 1 of this article I cover the why, as I went through the pertinent information as to when higher volumes might be necessary, and I hinted that logistically specialization cycles might be the best way to safely achieve them. As a brief recap, plateaued poor responders and plateaued advanced lifters might want to consider a higher volume approach (in opinion, defined as 20 sets per muscle group or higher) if everything else is in order (nutrition, technique, effort, exercise selection, sleep, stress etc.). Also, since I wrote Part 1, the soon-to-be-published study exploring very high volumes in trained lifters lead by Schoenfeld and colleagues that I referenced is now published for those interested. This article is all about the how: the process of constructing these cycles. [Read more…]
We’re fortunate to live in an era where folks like Dr Brad Schoenfeld and other researchers are consistently working on practical research to answer specific questions that lifters want to know. We’re also fortunate that folks like Greg Nuckols and James Krieger are doing analyses outside of the peer reviewed research to keep the community on the cutting edge of data-informed training. [Read more…]
Now that I’ve been lifting with serious intent for 14 years, and training other people for 13, I’ve noticed a consistent pattern that occurs during the “lifespan” of a serious lifter.
Initially, (especially for those who start reasonably young, say in their teens or twenties) enthusiasm and passion combined with a lack of understanding of what it truly means to commit to a lifetime of lifting, and a lack of knowledge and experience regarding the “diminishing returns nature” of gains over a career, results in some poor decision making among novices. [Read more…]
What follows is an excerpt from my contribution to a roundtable on overtraining in the most recent issue of Alan Aragon’s Research Review, which by the way, is an amazing body of work that spans a decade of issues. I’ve had the privilege of contributing to the AARR twelve times over the years and I can’t recommend it highly enough for those who want to see how the master engages with the literature: https://alanaragon.com/about-aarr/ [Read more…]