If I had to do it all again

By Samir | August 1, 2013

I’ve been lifting for 5 years now, first in bodybuilding type training, then powerlifting, and now what I’d call general strength training. I was reflecting on what I’d re-do if I could be given new knees, a new back and I get to keep the maturity I’ve gained.

Basically, I’d focus on the lifts that my body was made for, try to keep my cardio up, do a lot less volume and enjoy the journey a lot more than I did. Trying to bring up a low bar back squat and a deadlift at the same time with the volume I did was nothing but idiotic - and my back and knees are paying for it now. I’m not sure if I’ve passed a point of no return, but if I have I’ll accept it and work with the limitations.

Focusing on the squat while ignoring the fact that I was a natural deadlifter was another mistake. I should have squatted in slightly-more than maintenance mode and gone all out on the deadlift. Unfortunately, I got caught up in the “squatting is king” mode du jour and I didn’t listen to my knees, lower back and the fact that my deadlift continued to rise while I ignored it, where as my squat stubbornly hung out in the 350-400 area.

Squatting 3x a week, once I passed about 1.2x body weight on the bar, was also pretty dumb. I really should have scaled it back to 1x a week, and stopped trying to have it all at once. I should have enjoyed the week to week progression. Lifting in the gym is 99% of time we spend lifting, lifting at meets is 1% of the time, if that. Yet 75% of my focus was on trying to get ready for a powerlifting meet. I really put the cart before the horse there.

In lifting, the mental game is what feeds the physical game. I was all wrong mentally, and now it’s cost me. You get caught up in the ego, the “internet hype” and so on, and you stop listening to the voice inside you. Never again.

I stopped doing HIIT because I found it competed with my lifts. I lost 100 pounds of fat once, doing long bouts of low-intensity steady state cardio - I’m talking long walks, long video game sessions on the elliptical, casual bike rides, i.e. nothing that brought my heart rate above 120. Why did I ever stop doing that? Because HIIT was the in thing. I should have stuck to what worked for me. See? mental game.

It’s fine to experiment, but I was too stubborn. After 4-5 weeks, I should have pulled the plug. I’m going back to everything that works for me now - everything, which includes

- Focus on the lifts that have never injured me, made me stronger, and just all around felt more like I was in the groove while doing them: Bench press, light front squats, deadlifts, cleans, presses, strict rows. I will accessorize with stuff like cable crossovers and sit-ups, but the focus is on the big stuff. Chins and dips never did anything for me, so I’ll treat them like accessories also.

- Focus on eating how I felt best : As little grains as possible. Mostly simple meats, vegetables and fruits. Lots of home made stuff.

- Cardio that doesn’t compete with my workout and spike my appetite needlessly : Fire up the Xbox, it’s time for video games while slowly churning.

I will always keep my mind open to new ideas, but they’ll have to be a lot better in the future to get some time on-deck with me.

Topics: Strength Training | No Comments »

The Go-Round of Strength Training Books I’ve Read in 2012

By Samir | December 17, 2012

I’ve said it to my friends a hundred times and I’ll say it here now. Leaders are readers.

I purchased and read several strength training books in 2012, since this was my first full year of power lifting training. I thought I’d offer my thoughts on each one. For what it’s worth, the programs I tried this year were

1. Stronglifts
2. 5/3/1
3. The Ironsport Strength Method

I don’t want to make this a post on programming, but to be honest, every program I tried worked. Every single one of them increase all of my powerlifts. Did they all work equally well? No. But considering that 85% of your genetic potential is achievable in under a decade, they all work equally well in the long-run. My only caveat is that Stronglifts will stall you if you’re beyond the beginner level of adaptation, and then you’ll have to adjust the frequency meter on your squatting to make up for higher intensities. Yes, I of course learned, this the hard way from my knees and back.

In truth, as long as you’re smart about it, and hit a certain level of intensity and frequency, pretty much any programming works. Huge in a Hurry’s push/pull/legs works. 5/3/1’s micro-volume works if you go all out on the last set. Stronglifts works if you eat like a madman and sleep like a baby. The Ironsport Strength Method works if you eat like two madmen and sleep like four babies. It all works, if you just work hard.

I am disclosing what programs I ran because, well, you can take my review with the appropriate grains of salt. I can’t really tell you if Strength, Life, Legacy works because I haven’t tried it yet.

Anyway, that’s enough of a digression. On with the post:

Book #1: Strength, Life, Legacy by Paul Carter

I only recently discovered Paul Carter and I love his blog. He eschews us, as men, to become lions who fight to the death for our genes to be passed on; to be strong and in shape in order to do so. It’s a primal harkening to one of masculinity’s forgotten purposes: to be the ROCK. To be the provider, not just of iPods and Pizza Hut nights, but of an example.

It’s a great book with lifting philosophy, programs and injury protocols. The best program, without expermentation, appears to be Strong-15 based on a Chest/Shoulders, Back/Biceps, Legs powerbuilding split. I will probably try it eventually, but only once after my commitment of 12 months of 5/3/1 ends.

Highly recommended.

Book #2: The Ironsport Strength Method by Steve Pulcinella.

Small admission of bias here, I’ve actually been trained by Steve Pulcinella. This was, of course, before he got famous and started being followed by thousands on Fitocracy. Steve has owned one of the premier strength gyms in America for about 20 years now, and he’s a champion powerlifter and strongman competitor.

I loved the book. The program itself was a great program, a little on the animal side, which is a perfect reflection of Steve’s “train till it hurts and keep training” philosophy. I found 5/3/1 to be a bit more sane in that respect but I made gains in the Ironsport Strength Method regardless.

What’s great about the book is Steve’s personal anecdotes and his favorite assistance exercises. He goes through his exercises in great depth and with his usual infectious and self-deprecating personalities. A great read.

Book #3: Starting Strength, 3rd Edition by Mark Rippetoe

Rippetoe’s been a coach for 30 years, and I think this book has been around in various forms just as long. I only managed to get to it now. It’s a great “textbook”, in the sense that it often devolves into discussions of physics that would give my dad (incidentally, a physics teacher) a boner. I found it overkill from that point of view, but there are some overthinkers who really need to understand power, force, work, etc. This is THE book for them.

Where I enjoyed this book more was in Rippetoe’s justifications of strength training, his espousing of his philosophy and his elegant writing. I feel like it’s almost a shame he’s a barbell coach, he could easily outwrite 99/100 journalists I read. His style is direct, striking, concise, confident and precise. If you need a sample, take a look at his recent T-Nation controversy stroker on conditioning.

Obviously, this book contains his famous 3×5 program, itself inspired by Bill Starr’s 5×5 program. It’s a great novice program and truth be told, I’d wish I’d have found this book earlier on in my training. His description of the lifts is exactly what a beginner should read; in fact, I still go back to it from time to time just to make sure I’m doing it OK. I disagree with a few things on his squat, namely his hand positioning, but a picture-perfect Rippetoe squat is still 100% better than the usual squat I see in the gym.

Book #4: Stronglifts Manual v1
You can’t actually download Stronglifts V1. The site, once a fountain of information with a burgeoning community, has been closed to private (i.e., paying) members only. The PDF with the program has been updated to be more of a sales pamphlet. The V1 was a perfectly concise manual on the Stronglifts program without any, let’s excuse the expression, bullshit. If you can find it and are scared of the Power Cleans in Rippetoe’s program, this is a good alternate program.

Book #5: Powerlifting by Dan Austin
This is a great reference manual, focusing mostly on the technical aspects of each lift. A great book if you want a “no-nonsense” how-to on powerlifting, with some general, basic programs. There is an absolutely massive dearth of accessory lifts, complete with explanations of how to pick and program them. If you’re a free wheeler who doesn’t want to do any program except one of your own conception, this is a great book.

It’s also a good book for beginners in order to learn the sport, what’s expected and what will go on during a powerlifting meet (that’s why I bough it).

Book #6: 5/3/1 for Powerlifting

I loved the original 5/3/1 book so much, this was a bit of a let down. The big gist of it was to switch from 5/3/1 to 3/5/1 and there was a discussion on gear. I’m not sure it was worth it, but it was good to re-read all of the 5/3/1 concepts again. Many have commented that 5/3/1 or 3/5/1 doesn’t matter, strength gains will come.

There are a few “meet advice” and “peaking” sessions that are cool as well, but I don’t think any of it was ground breaking. IF you don’t own 5/3/1 and plan to compete in powerlifting, get this book, but if you own 5/3/1 and were curious about this one, I’d say it’s not really worth it.

Topics: Books / Livres, Strength Training | No Comments »

Paul Carter - Strength, Life, Legacy

By Samir | October 31, 2012

This book is available in eBook form and it’s seriously amazing. I will probably do a full review at some point but it’s worth a read if you care at all about being swole and strong.

It’s got the kind of wisdom and simplicity of thought that only 20 years of trial and error and success can bring you.

Topics: Books / Livres, Strength Training | No Comments »

Book Review: The Ironsport Strength Method

By Samir | August 25, 2012

Book Review: The Ironsport Strength Method

Released August 24, 2012, the Ironsport Strength Method (“ISSM”) is Steve Pulcinella’s first foray in the world of eBooks and eTraining. Pulcinella originally gained notoriety as the owner of Ironsport Gym, a black iron gym in Glenolden, PA. He later became gained a cult following as the “face” of the popular DYEL (“Do you even lift”) meme, a meme that’s used all over internet message boards to question if an interlocutor in a discussion regularly lifts weight.

The book is available for the moment as a PDF on EliteFTS (http://www.elitefts.com), though Steve says he’ll have some copies printed eventually for those of us who prefer last century’s format.

ISSM is written in a very colloquial, informal style. The book opens with “The Fatty Fifty”, a tale from Steve’s childhood in which his gym teacher made him race “other fat kids” over 50 yards. The event traumatized Steve so much that he vowed to get bigger and stronger than everyone else.

The book moves on to discuss some of his inspirations, and some of his achievements as a powerlifter and a Highland Games competitor. Once you’ve gotten to know Steve, he starts discussing his philosophies on training.

Philosophies on Training
Steve is a larger-than-life guy, (I’ve met him), and it came as no surprise to me that his book has some larger than life ideas. He hates the term “overtraining” and prefers to tell people they’re working “over capacity” instead.

His key beliefs are: You need the right attitude to get stronger (“the dominator”), and the easiest way to get stronger is to just get bigger. As a man who was 270 by the time he was 19, Steve knows big.

On eating and supplementation, he believe 99% of supplements are bullshit.

On technique, he eschews picture perfect form. A throwback to the old strongmen of the past, Steve lived by the slogan “less form, more power”. He accepted the injuries that came with his high-volume, high-capacity, high-intensity style.

The Ironsport Strength Method
Steve stresses that this method is not for beginners. Upon reading it, I’d totally agree because it’s very high threshold and much of the emphasis is on singles and triples.

In short, for bench press, squat, shoulder press and deadlift:
Week 1: Work up to your one rep max, then back off and do 80% of it for 3×5
Week 2: Work up to a max triple (with or without chains), and then back off to 80% (or remove the chain) of that and do 3xAMRAP.

Week 3: 10 singles at 90-93% of your Week 1 max weight.

Week 4: 60% of your 1 RM, 5×5. Use bands if you want to.

Accessory Work
One of the first criticism of this book is that Steve talks about his favorite accessory exercises, and gives rep recommendations for each but doesn’t really provide programming information beyond 1 sample template.

As he says, it’s not for beginners. Self-programming accessory work may be OK for intermediate / advanced lifters who’ve become acquainted with their body’s parameters and their weak points.

ISSM vs. 5/3/1
Of all the programs out there, ISSM is going to draw most of its comparisons to 5/3/1, Jim Wendler’s insanely successful program. Having run 2 cycles of 5/3/1 and seeing improvements, I’d say ISSM has its pros and its cons vs. the Wendler program.

Both programs work on the 4 days/week method at their base and both of them focus on the 3 powerlifting movements and the (standing shoulder) press which most trainers include because of a raging hard-on for the movement (and it’s kind of cool to lift things overhead, I’ll admit).

Firstly, the sets are quicker as the weight isn’t changing on every working set. Secondly , there’s more high threshold work, unless you’re doing 3/5/1 for Powerlifting. On the downside it’s a lot less flexible than 5/3/1 because it’s programmed 4 days a week (5/3/1 can be done 2 or 3 days) and more of the sets are prescribed. Also, as 5/3/1’s been around longer, there’s endless volumes on how to tweak it for bodybuilding, for strength, fat loss, etc.

At 50 pages for $20, it’s not necessarily the best value but the ISSM is a cool program for those who like to train in the 5/3/1 style but with a lot more intensity. It’s got less community support and the accessory work is more vague, but chains and bands are directly programmed in it. For an intermediate or advanced lifter, it could be an interesting wrinkle - especially if said lifter is seeking more high-threshold work, or more volume at higher thresholds.

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Samir’s Training Log - Feb 29, 2012 to Mar 3, 2012

By Samir | March 6, 2012

I’m going to start pasting my training log here, now that I’m following Strong Lifts 5×5 exclusively.

For now, we’re going to deal with a paste off my Fitocracy profile :

February 29, 2012
Barbell Squat:
45 lb x 10 reps (+37 pts)
95 lb x 5 reps (+44 pts)
135 lb x 5 reps (+57 pts)
185 lb x 5 reps (+81 pts)
245 lb x 5 reps (+121 pts)
245 lb x 5 reps (+121 pts)
245 lb x 5 reps (+121 pts)
245 lb x 5 reps (+121 pts)
245 lb x 5 reps (+121 pts)

Standing Barbell Shoulder Press:
110 lb x 5 reps (+62 pts)
110 lb x 5 reps (+62 pts)
110 lb x 5 reps (+62 pts)
110 lb x 5 reps (+62 pts)
110 lb x 5 reps (+62 pts)

Parallel-Grip Pull-Up:
5 reps (+40 pts)
5 reps (+40 pts)
5 reps (+40 pts)

Barbell Deadlift:
135 lb x 5 reps (+57 pts)
205 lb x 5 reps (+92 pts)
275 lb x 5 reps (+148 pts)

March 2nd, 2012
Barbell Bench Press:
45 lb x 10 reps (+42 pts)
95 lb x 5 reps (+50 pts)
135 lb x 5 reps (+66 pts)
165 lb x 5 reps (+80 pts)
165 lb x 5 reps (+80 pts)
165 lb x 5 reps (+80 pts)
165 lb x 5 reps (+80 pts)
165 lb x 5 reps (+80 pts)

Pendlay Row:
135 lb x 5 reps (+49 pts)
155 lb x 5 reps (+56 pts)
155 lb x 5 reps (+56 pts)
155 lb x 5 reps (+56 pts)
155 lb x 5 reps (+56 pts)
155 lb x 5 reps (+56 pts)

Barbell Squat:
45 lb x 10 reps (+37 pts)
95 lb x 5 reps (+44 pts)
135 lb x 5 reps (+57 pts)
185 lb x 5 reps (+81 pts)
245 lb x 5 reps (+121 pts)
245 lb x 5 reps (+121 pts)
245 lb x 5 reps (+121 pts)
245 lb x 5 reps (+121 pts)
245 lb x 5 reps (+121 pts)
5 reps (+34 pts)
5 reps (+34 pts)
5 reps (+34 pts)

March 4, 2012
Barbell Squat:
45 lb x 10 reps (+37 pts)
95 lb x 10 reps (+52 pts)
135 lb x 5 reps (+57 pts)
185 lb x 5 reps (+81 pts)
225 lb x 5 reps (+106 pts)
250 lb x 5 reps (+125 pts)
250 lb x 5 reps (+125 pts)
250 lb x 5 reps (+125 pts)
250 lb x 5 reps (+125 pts)
250 lb x 5 reps (+125 pts)

5 reps (+34 pts)
5 reps (+34 pts)
5 reps (+34 pts)

Standing Barbell Shoulder Press:
45 lb x 5 reps (+40 pts)
45 lb x 5 reps (+40 pts)
45 lb x 5 reps (+40 pts)
95 lb x 5 reps (+56 pts)
115 lb x 5 reps (+65 pts)
115 lb x 5 reps (+65 pts)
115 lb x 5 reps (+65 pts)
115 lb x 5 reps (+65 pts)
115 lb x 5 reps (+65 pts)

Barbell Deadlift:
145 lb x 5 reps (+61 pts)
195 lb x 5 reps (+86 pts)
245 lb x 5 reps (+121 pts)
285 lb x 4 reps (+145 pts)

Topics: Old Lifting Logs, Strength Training | No Comments »

Bigger, Faster, Stronger (2008) - Film Review

By Samir | February 29, 2012

Rarely do all my interests intersect so obviously as they did when I fell upon the film Bigger, Faster, Stronger, a 2008 documentary on use of performance enhancing drugs in the Iron Game. Power-lifting fan or not, this is a movie for everyone. Chris Bell, the film-maker, has interviews across the map - renowned strength coach Louie Simmons, his own brothers who use steroids, doctors, academics. He even interviews musicians on their use of adrenaline-blockers in order to be more focused for an audition.

Obviously, his exposition of the American hypocrisy in supporting sports full of steroids (football, for one), while condemning their use, is on-point. His review of the double standard used to judge other performance enhancers, whose risks are just as murky steroids (adrenaline-blockers, EPO, Adderall, etc.) is particularly scathing. He even makes the point that within the steroid field itself, some steroids (cortisol) are “OK” while others aren’t.

Along the way, he re-exposes Carl Lewis as a cheater and a hypocrite for condemning Ben Johnson while himself having failed a dope test before the Olympics. He exposes the hypocrisy of musicians for saying “beta blockers are OK” while steroids aren’t, under the guise of music not being competitive. “What about at an audition?” is his question. It’s clear that Chris Bell’s bulging biceps aren’t his biggest muscle - the film is an intellectually challenging one and he is blessed with a fantastic, rapid-fire interview style and an ability to think on his feet that really allows the film to blossom.

In the film, it’s the steroid users who come off somewhat as the moral antiheros. Unlike the EPO-chugging cyclist, or the Adderall-abusing student, these guys aren’t lying to themselves about the possible adverse effects of steroids. They’re also the only ones who basically come out and say it : All sport is doped, all of our heroes are fake because the hypocrisy of the judging public forces them to be fake.

From that point of view, it’s an excellent film.

Of course, there’s an entire second under-current to the whole movie, that most people will miss. Throughout the film, Bell, the only brother who doesn’t use steroids in the family, follows the lives of his two brothers who do use. One of his brothers, older brother Mike, is the saddest case of all.

Mike is completely unable to accept himself, and at 36 years old, is still using and trying to get noticed in California or get signed by WWE. What’s clearly evident in the movie is that Mike is afraid of this idea of being an “average Joe”, despite having a supportive family in Poughkeepsie, a stable job he seems to be good at, and a beautiful young family.

Mike’s mother, who is in complete denial about steroids in the family until Chris tells her that two of her sons got their first doses from her own brother, tries to convince Mike to be happy with what he has, stating he is made exactly in the way God intended. Among “consciousness” circles, this is commonly expresses as “his creation was an intention of life”. That said, he clearly isn’t average but it’s in ways that are a bit more subtle : he’s funny, articulate, entertaining, blessed with a loving wife who is loyal and supports him regardless (consider that 50% of marriages end in divorce, and a good chunk of those that don’t aren’t great, even among the California elite).

It’s never enough for Mike, which I guess is the real point of the movie. Steroids are for those who never really have enough. Of course we can bash them and whatnot, but the real point is that most people who take them won’t make any money by doing so. So what’s the point of assuming all those risks? To be the guy who stands out.

This is pure egoic thinking at its finest. If followed in a purely identified way, it usually leads to disaster. As luck would have it, you can read about what Mike Bell’s fate is here. Just remember, a big part of happiness is learning to appreciate the ordinary - whether it’s an ordinary musculature or an ordinary life.

Samir Syed is a lifetime drug-free lifter who does not condone the use of anabolic steroids.

Topics: Conscious Living, Misc. / Divers, Strength Training | No Comments »

6 Books in 6 Lines

By Samir | August 29, 2011

I love reading non-fiction. In a given week, I’ll thumb through at least two books, read at least 10 articles across The Globe And Mail, The Economist, The WSJ, and CIO Magazine.

That said, most great works of non-fiction are written with one central idea, one tenet, one guideline. The theme acts like the glue that holds an entire piece of work together. The theme can be used to summarize the entire work, as well.

Here are some of my favorite works of non-fiction of the year, and what I would say are the overall themes of each one. As this is an exercise in brevity, I’ll maintain a 1:1 ratio here - 1 book, 1 theme.

Book: The Wealthy Barber
Author: David Chilton
Theme: Wisely and consistently invest some of your money for later; you’ll be rich before you know it.

Book: Leadership and Self-Deception
Author: The Arbinger Institute
Theme: The best leaders begin first by being completely honest with themselves, about themselves, and avoiding self-delusion.

Book: Huge In A Hurry
Author: Chad Waterbury
Theme: Train with the basics, lift until you can’t lift quickly, and get plenty of rest.

Book: First, Break All The Rules
Authors: Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman
Theme: The best managers use what works, not what is conventionally accepted.

Book: The Pursuit of Happyness [sic]
Author : Chris Gardner
Theme: No matter where you are, you can succeed and end up happy.

Book: Chief Culture Officer
Author: Grant McCracken
Theme: The best corporations are not sterile, bland money-making organisations, but active contributors to the development of humanity and its cultures.

Topics: Books / Livres | No Comments »

Book Review: Huge In A Hurry

By Samir | May 28, 2011

Review of Huge in a Hurry
by Chad Waterbury
29 May 2011

Having trained in the gym for the better part of the last four years, I can honestly say that the two books that have given me the greatest results are Beyond Brawn (by Stuart McRobert, reviewed here) and Huge in a Hurry, by Chad Waterbury, a notable contributor to the bodybuilding site T-Nation. Brawn is more of an abbreviated workout philosophy, favoring very gradual, incremental upticks in training load, training with weights two times a week. I followed the program to great results last summer, where I was able to up all my weights by about 10% in the span of two months.

The only problem I had with Brawn was that it left me craving the gym. I went on Saturday and Sunday, and would spend the entire week waiting for my next Saturday. Eventually, my anxiousness got the better of me and I started using a conventional split routine, just so I could get to the gym more often. My results immediately tailed off. For reasons beyond my understanding, I kept at the split routine anyway, with negligible gains for over half a year. After a few months, I began searching for the next workout routine I’d want to try.

How I came upon Huge In A Hurry (“HIAH”) is a bit of happenstance. My own instincts as an admittedly novice bodybuilder told me that if I trained a muscle group once a week, by the time I’d come back to it seven days later, it had “forgotten” about the adaptation I was trying to force on it. I spoke to other bodybuilders, but to a man, these were all on a typical, post-modern split routine. No help there.

I needed something that would get me in the gym at least three times a week, but would hit each muscle group more than once a week. I came upon an article in Men’s Journal (November 2010) about “Super-compensation”, the theory that a muscle should not be hit once it’s fully rested from the previous workout, but when it is in the midst of over-compensating for a heavy weight load from its previous workout. In theory, this happens not seven, but two or three days after a workout. The idea seemed interesting.

Looking back on some of the “old school” routines I’d read - you know - only barbells, total body workouts each day, no steroids, no protein shakes, etc., it started to dawn on me that this was perhaps how I should train my body. Eventually, while going through a book store with some friends when I came upon Huge in a Hurry, buried somewhere between books on why soy proteins would save the world and how to do Yoga at home.

I read about 100 pages of it right then and there. I went home, slept on it, and ordered it online.

To put it simply, Chad Waterbury’s philosophy in HIAH is as follows:
- Work out 3 days a week. I say “days” because some of his more advanced workout includes two-a-days, but never a fourth day in the gym.
- In order to recruit the most muscle, lift as quickly as possible without compromising form.
- Stop when the lift slows down, not at a failure. (”Stimulate, don’t annihilate.”) You’ll be coming back to this muscle group later in the week.
- Each workout is organized to have 1 push (bench press, military press, etc.), 1 pull (chin-up, rows, etc.), and 1 leg (squats, deadlifts, lunges, etc.)
- For strength, 2-3 and 4-6 rep sets are the cornerstone of the routine.
- For size, 4-6 and 10-12 rep sets are the cornerstone of the routine.
- Rest days are absolutely crucial when lifting in this manner.
- High frequency each week is favored over high intensity
- Eat properly (duh.)
- After four weeks, take a light week and even an off-week to let your nerves and joints recover.
- He has a set of “Get Lean” workouts also; I’ll do and discuss those at a later time. For now, I’m only discussing his “Get Strong” and “Get Big” workouts.

Like the old school lifters, Waterbury focuses primarily on compound exercises which require massive efforts, thereby inducing large metabolic surges. Having done his “Get Big” program, I can attest to the following for myself. As any lifter, novice or not knows, results always vary per person. If you’re like me, you’ll get these results:

- Mass gains are almost immediate. Two weeks in, I saw noticeable changes in my back, chest, trapezius, legs and arms.
- You will feel the need to rest on non-lifting days if you’re doing it properly.
- You can add about 2%-5% to the weights each week.
- If you eat properly, you’ll stay lean.
- The program gets easier by the 3rd week. You must push yourself to keep seeing results.

Of course, I modified Chad’s routine somewhat since I dislike cables (where in the real world are you pulling cabled weight?). I tried to do as much of it with barbells as possible, while leaving in some dumbbells to force some of my stabilizers to work differently. I also added a fourth push exercise on my third day, because, well, I kinda like doing incline chest :).

Here’s what I did at the beginning. Like any program, you’ll have to change it up as you go, to keep seeing gains.

Day 1
- PULL Chin-ups with a dumbbell between my feet
- PUSH Flat bench press
- LEG Wide-leg squats
- Donkey calf raises

Day 2
- PUSH Incline bench press
- PULL Bent over row with a wide grip
- LEG Standard deadlift into a shrug
- Sit-ups with a plate on my chest, and I pressed the plate over my head at the top of each sit-up

Day 3
- PUSH Dumbbell shoulder presses (standing!)
- PUSH Cable cross-over flies, past my median, for lower chest
- LEG Backward lunges with dumbbells
- PULL High pulls (this is like the beginning of snatch lift, but you don’t get the bar over your head)

There was no isolation on the arms or traps, but each muscle group improved regardless. The abs felt hit each day because of the standing nature of many of these exercises, especially the shoulder presses. I won’t go crazy regarding results, but I can report they were excellent, with strength improving by 10-35% depending on body part, with greatest gains in the arms, which surprised me due to the lack of isolation. My lowest gains occurred in the chest, but I theorize this is because, like many typical males, my chest has been trained “with priority” for most of my bodybuilding life and thus was probably more developed than other areas.

I’m going to keep at this program for another few months, and report back in a few months.

Topics: Books / Livres | No Comments »

Review of Gran Turismo 5

By Samir | December 7, 2010

Right here

Topics: Blog | No Comments »

Bio (Nov 2010 update)

By Samir | November 2, 2010

My name is Samir Syed. I grew up in Montreal, Canada. I work in professional services and enjoy writing, weight training and philosophizing in my spare time. I would say my biggest writing influences in the modern world are Robert Farago, whom I wrote for at The Truth About Cars (.com) from 2007 to 2009, and Gregg Easterbrook, whose ESPN columns I have read for many years, and whose polymath style and contrarian thinking I truly enjoy.

This blog exists for those unexpected moments where I feel like writing and I have something I feel is worth sharing.

Look for me on Facebook if you want to know more.

Topics: Bio | No Comments »

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