Latest Event Updates

ME Upper

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Deadlifts-
365 x 1
385 x miss (got it off the ground that only a couple inches)

Split Squat-
60 x 2 sets x 10 reps

Pull Throughs-
120 x 3 sets x 10

Around The World plate pinches

I have to get a video of my DL for shot and posted up for feedback. I am beginning to think that one of the big limiting factors for my DL, aside from form, is weakness in my spinal erectors.

Cardio/ME Upper

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AM- 25 minutes low intensity cardio

PM-
Military Press-
worked up to a 165 x 3 push press

DB Inclines-
50 x 20
60 x 12
70 x 7

Pendlay Row ss Face Pulls
165 x 10 – Green band x 10
165 x 10 – Green band x 10
165 x 10 – Green band x 10

Towel Barbell Curl-
65 x 3 sets x 10 reps

I gotta start doing some more rotator cuff work to work on my shoulder stability. My right shoulder felt fine but after the OH pressing my left one was not having anything to do with the db pressing.

High Octane Abdominal Training

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Over the course of the last 4 years I’ve become more and more aware of what the real function of the muscles of you abdomen. It’s not must there so you can have a “6 pack” to show off at the pool or beach, its an intricate web of muscle meant to stabilize and transfer power from your lower to upper body and vice versa. Building abdominal strength can improve your posture, prevent or correct lower back pain, and improve not only your squat and deadlift but your overhead press and military press as well!

Imagine replacing the middle portion of the space shuttle with aluminum foil. As soon as the rockets fire the foil will collapse, the top section would fall to the side and instead of the shuttle taking off into space, it’s not even going to make it off the pad. The same principle applies to your abdomen when you’re in the gym. If your abdomen can’t stabilize your upper body and the weight you have on your shoulders or in your hands then you aren’t going to complete the lift.

Where most conventional abdominal training falls short is that there is very little stabilization between the upper and lower body. Crunching and 99% of the abdominal training exercises that are routinely performed in todays gyms don’t do anything besides build lactic acid in the muscle and let people “feel the burn” of the exercise which doesn’t do anything except build the endurance of the muscle. If there is no strength to the muscle the what is the point of endurance?

To take your training numbers, posture, and overall badassness to a new level, drop your old ab training routine and throw these in to replace them.

Turkish Get Up
This can be performed with no weight, a dumbbell, a kettlebell, (or if you are ridiculously brave) a barbell.

To start-
1. Lie on your back with legs flat, 1 arm in the air by itself or holding a weight, with the other arm at approximately a 45 degree angle from the body with the palm flat on the floor.

2. Keeping the arm that’s in the air pointed at the ceiling the whole time, go from lying on your back to standing up and back down.

Perform 2-3 sets of 3-6 reps per arm at the beginning and build up as you feel comfortable.

Trust me, it’s easier described then done!

Not only does this drill make you stabilize both the upper and lower body at the same time, it increases coordination levels and is a very good shoulder stabilization exercise.

One Arm Lifts

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As part of the DeFranco WS4SB program, Fridays are usually reserved for either strongman conditioning drills or for more sprint work. Since it’s winter and I’m not running hills and I don’t have any strongman equipment Friday has become a bit of an experiment day. The idea came to me after reading an article by Dan John. Seeing how my posterior chain and abdominal strength are two things I am focusing on I decided to make Friday a “Death by Dumbbell” day. Each day I’m going to start my workout with either dumbbell snatches or dumbbell clean and press. The sets and reps will vary from workout to workout but I won’t go below 5 reps very often. This day will also include ab work and conditioning.

Sample ‘DBD’ Day-
DB Snatch – 4 x 8
Barbell Complex – 4 rounds, 1 min between rounds
Abs
Jump Rope

Fiber and Digestive Health

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Over the past year I’ve really tried to keep track of how much fiber I take in each day as well as how I feel after I eat different foods. Previously I never paid much attention to how the foods I was eating was actually affecting me. I was only concerned with calories and whether or not I was losing weight.

What I found out was that during the times when I made a real effort to get plenty of fiber (both supplemental and from vegetables) not only did I feel better during the day and sleep better at night but I also lost weight at a much faster pace. Part of the weight loss was due in part to the fact that the added fiber helped to remove some of the uncirculating waste in my intestines but also because with removal of what that waste my body was better able to utilize what I was eating. Not only that, but the removal of that waste along with the added fiber helped to balance the bacteria in my digestive tract. This in turn prevented the build up of excess gas which reduced the amount of bloat that I had from some foods.

Where this becomes important the majority of people is that getting plenty of fiber not only keeps your digestive tract healthy but your immune system begins in your digestive tract as well. Regaining the proper balance of bacteria helps to beef up the front line of your immune system and keep you healthy!

As part of my diet renovation in the coming weeks I’ll be making sure to add plenty of veggies into the mix.

Plans for the coming months

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After talking to my diet coach today I’m taking the diet easy today and the next couple days just to give my body a break. On Saturday when we get back from Christmas with my fiances family I’ll be carbing up while I’m at work. From there I’m going to put 100% towards sticking to my diet to make progress as fast as I can.

One thing I have to get better about doing is my fasted morning cardio. I’m honestly not a fan of it but it does help get rid of some extra calories. I very much prefer to use barbell complexes and sprinting as my primary means of cardio. It’s much more effective as well as being more fun.

Here are a couple of complexes I’ve been using-

Power Clean
Front Squat
Military Press

Snatch
Front Squat
Military Press

RDL
Barbell Row
Military Press
Hang Clean
Squat

I’ve also stolen several other complexes from people that are much smarter than I am lol. Below are the links to a few articles I’ve borrowed info from-

Rebuild Yourself with Complexes – Dan John

Complexes for Fat Loss- Alwyn Cosgrove

Bezercher Complex – Joe Defranco

ME Lower

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Deadlift-
315 x 5

Walking Lunge-
100 x 2 sets x 10 steps/leg

BB Shrugs/Thick bar holds

DL form was better this time. I’ll get a video of it next week and get it posted for some feedback. I’m beginning to have doubts about this program, but I know it’s just my ADHD talking and I just need to stick to my plan. It’s definitely hitting some of my weak points right now.

If I get a workout in Thursday it will be riding the recumbent bike, push ups, and sit ups since I’m going to be out of town.

Dieting Mistakes

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There are several common dieting mistakes that people make which this post will hopefully help you avoid.

Before I get to far into this, there is one thing everyone needs to understand is that your body isn’t anything other than a brain what is wrapped up and stored in a survival mechanism. Our bodies haven’t changed all that much over the past 10,000 years other then that we are much sicker and weaker than we were then!

The body is a system built on checks and balances. There are numerous different systems in the body that all have to work together in order for you to actually burn fat. What you have to do is convince the body that it isn’t going to run out of food any time soon and can burn calories freely. One of the odd things about the body is that it functions better as a whole when it’s free to burn all the calories it wants and produce as much heat as it wants. However, it’s can be difficult to get your body into the right conditions to allow that to happen which is why so many dieting plans and dreams never come true.

One mistake that people make is changing to many variables at once. What I mean by this is that they go from eating very inconsistently, and not exercising or sleeping well to cutting back on how much they eat, exercising intensely on a regular basis and often times taking some form of a fat burner on top of all that! What this does is induces quick weight loss in the short term but sets them up for failure in the long run. Once the initial water weight and fat is gone and their weight loss stalls, they have no clue where to go after that to get it going again. Do they drop their calories further? Do they increase the amount of exercise they do? Do they find a new fat burner to replace or add to what they are already taking? By changing that many different variables at once you get quick unsustainable results and you don’t know what exactly was causing the weight loss in the first place.

I believe you should change things in this order-

Diet
Exercise
Supplementation

Get you diet cleaned up over the course of a week or two. Over that time period you can research some training programs (I’d start here- TeamBix.com). Once you have your diet consistent add in some weight training and cardio to the point where you are losing weight. It’s only at that point that you should add in any type of supplemental fat burners. These help enhance what is already going on in the body, not cause the actual weight loss.

Once weight loss has stalled you have to look at your diet closer or increase the amount of exercise you are doing. Either, it’s one variable to change, and much easier to manage.

The second mistake is just bottoming out your calories right off the bat. Yes, this will induce weight loss, but it will also destroy your metabolism. Despite what some people preach, nobody has one set caloric level to be under to lose weight. Some people will lose weight on 2400 calories will some (such as myself) need to be down below 2000 calories to consistently lose weight. If you know approximately how many calories you are taking in but you aren’t losing weight, cut your calories by around 150 to 250. If you don’t know how many calories you are consuming each day, get a diet log going and find out! Mediocre effort will only produce mediocre results.

Those are my two big tips this week for how to begin your diet. If you are looking for a specific plan to follow or for someone to help you set up your own diet check out the links on the right side of my blog!

8 Easy Diet Tips

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1. Eat Breakfast

Food is the best way to stimulate your metabolism. Adding a balanced breakfast of high quality protein, fats, carbs, and fiber is going to not only get your metabolism cranked up early, it’s going keep your appetite down throughout the rest of the day.

2. Eat More Protein

Protein not only helps support the muscle mass you already have, it elevates your metabolism, and boosts your immune system to boot.

3. Eat Fewer Carbs

Despite what the RDA says, most people grossly overeat carbs and severely under eat complete proteins and healthy fats. Overeating of processed carbs has lead to a virtual epidemic of adult onset diabetes. Not only do the processed carbs have virtually zero nutritional value, they can cause rollercoaster energy levels which is what leads to the after dinner power nap that you feel like you need. When picking carb sources choose ones that are minimally processed, complex, and high in fiber.

4. Cut Out Calorie Containing Drinks

Sure, you’ve dropped that daily Twix bar, but do you know how many calories that Pepsi or Starbucks coffee your sucking down have in them? 8 ounces of Pepsi contains 28 grams of sugar and is 112 calories (even though it’s only advertised that it contains 100 calories). A Tall Starbucks Caramel Brulee with whipped cream is 310 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 55 grams of sugar. Simply switching to black coffee or using calorie free sweetners and switching to diet soda over the regular can save you a couple hundred calories per day.

5. Drink Green Tea

Green tea increases your metabolism, provides very potent antioxidants, and can actually help you sleep better. ‘Nuff said.

6. Eat Healthy Fats

There is a reason that there are essential fats and proteins but zero essential carbohydrates. Contrary to our physiology though, the general public takes in virtually no healthy fat sources such as fish oil, avocado, natural peanut butter, or olive oil just to name a few. These fats can help you lose weight (the fats in olive oil increase you resting metabolic rate), decrease your blood pressure, improve joint and mental function, and improve hair, skin and nail health.

7. Cook For Yourself

Simply put, if you cook it, you know exactly what’s in it and what source that it came from which makes it several times easier to control you calorie intake.

8. Eat More Fruits/Vegetables

Fruits and veggies are packed with trace minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber which is important for pretty much everything lol.

New Years Resolutions

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Since we are closing in on the end of ’09 and prepping for ’10 I thought I’d get a discussion going about New Years Resolutions. Specifically I’m referring to all those people who’s resolution is to lose weight or put on some muscle.

Here are the top 5 things I feel are an absolute MUST if you are even remotely serious about actually achieving your training goals.

1. You have to have a PLAN. Without this your finished before you even get started. No matter what your goals are, make a plan. Whether it’s hiring a trainer/nutritionist or doing your own research, make a plan and stick to it.

2. Set GOALS. You need long term goals (6 months/1 year/2 year/etc) as well as short term goals (1 month/2 month/etc). #1 and #2 on my list are the where most people drop the ball. To “lose weight” is not a goal. It’s the idea of what you want to do. Set specific goals for what you want to do and make them attainable. If you reach that goal sooner then the time line you chose for that goal, pick a new one and keep going.

3. Keep It Simple Stupid. 99% of the time the simplest plans are going to be the best. For example, this fall I began working with a guy on my diet. I expected some sort of complicated diet with fancy protocols. What I got was your basic high protein, med-high fat, low carb diet that I had been using, just with different quantities for the different nutrients. What I lacked was consistency, not some diet/supplement fancy protocol. Stick to the basics and stay consistent!

4. Any type of training regimen you pick should be PROGRESSIVE. Whether it be greater endurance or becoming stronger you should be working to move forward.

5. You have to have FUN doing it. Pick something that you enjoy and consistently do week after week and month after month. If you don’t like lifting weights but really enjoy jogging and doing activities outdoors then it really wouldn’t make sense to pick a program that is predominantly lifting with very little room for what you enjoy. You may stick with it for awhile but eventually you will stop doing it. If your diet is ridiculously restrictive and you feel hungry all the time, more then likely you’re going to quit doing it and move back into what got you fat in the first place.