Tout dans la vie est une question d'équilibre d'où la nécessité de garder un esprit sain dans un corps sain.


Everything in life is a matter of balance therefore one needs to keep a healthy mind in a healthy body.


E. do REGO

Saturday, February 25, 2012

15 Questions for TC Luoma

By Bret, February 24, 2012 6:21 am
TC Luoma is someone I have tremendous respect for. In fact, I consider him to be one of the most influential individuals in the history of Strength & Conditioning. He’s had a tremendous impact on spreading “non-bodybuilding” strength training methodology with more of a strength, power, functional, or joint-friendly flare to it. Where other publications would have ignored the various writers and article submissions in their quest to promote hypertrophy-based, traditional training practices, TC saw potential and gave guys like me and methods that don’t fit the “bodybuilding-only” mold a chance.
I’m certain that had I submitted my first article, Dispelling the Glute Myth, to other sites or magazines, I wouldn’t have heard back from them. But TC saw potential and agreed to post the article, and two-and-a-half years later the hip thrust is popular around the world. When I think of it, a vast majority of what I’ve learned today as far as strength & conditioning practices are concerned come from reading TNation. I recently reached out to TC to see if he’d conduct an interview for my blog and much to my chagrin he agreed. Here’s the interview:
1. Hi TC, thank you for agreeing to conduct this interview. First off, what does TC stand for, and why do you go by “TC” instead?
Well, if you go to Wikipedia, or at least the last time I checked it, it suggests that the “T” stands for the descriptor, “Ten-Inch,” and the “C” stands for, well, use your imagination. Seriously. That’s what it said on my Wikipedia entry. Kinda’ makes you doubt the authenticity of some of the other info, doesn’t it?
Anyhow, TC is just the two initials of my first and middle name: Terrence Christian. I’ve always preferred to be called TC and I’ve always used it as my pen name.
2. I’d like to know how you stumbled into the fitness field. Were you always a fitness nut or did a job just fall into your lap?
I’ve worked out as long as I can remember. I remember wanting to start lifting weights when I was ten years old but my mother wouldn’t let me – she said it would stunt my growth. So it wasn’t until high school that I started lifting in the basement. I also read the earlier Weider Magazines and somehow thought I was the only one who liked Arnold and Frank and the rest of the California bodybuilders because nobody I knew in real life in Michigan had ever picked up a weight or even knew who those guys were.
I remember hearing that Arnold was going to do a book signing in a nearby town when I was growing up and I drove a couple of hours to see him. I’d stood in line for about an hour, finally got to the head of the line and some woman started talking to him about some business proposition. He took my book, signed it, and never even looked at me. I was seriously bummed.
I finally met him when I got into the biz, but it wasn’t the same.
Anyhow, years later, I hooked up with a bodybuilding photographer named Ralph DeHaan. He worked for all the mags and when I told him I write, he said he always needed articles to go with his pics. I tried writing one, sent it to MuscleMag, and they bought it. Then I sent one to Muscular Development and they bought it.
I started sending articles to mags all over the country, including some in Europe. Pretty soon I was writing 15 articles a month. I got to know everybody in the business, and then I hooked up with George Snyder and Bill Phillips and started writing most of their magazine, Muscle Media 2000. Within a year, they made me editor-in-chief. A few years later after Phillips decided he wanted to go mainstream, I left and hooked up with Tim Patterson, who had the weird and wonderful idea of starting a website called “Testosterone.”
3. It seems that those Muscle Media days were bitter-sweet times for you. Looking back, what important life-lessons did you learn from the experience?
That everybody in this business has something seriously, seriously, wrong with them. Dat’s a fact, Jack. I learned that business, almost invariably, will eventually exploit people, resources, or the environment. I learned that lots of money, earned very quickly, corrupts people as few things do. I learned that most people climb the corporate ladder by being sniveling, obsequious little worms. I learned that many girls, given enough money, will take their clothes off and do wonderful things, especially in Vegas (Bill used to take groups of us there for recreation).
And those were the good things I learned.
Nah, just kidding. I made a name for myself at Muscle Media 2000, earned enough money to put a down payment on a nice house in San Diego and honed any writing skills I had by writing tens of thousands of words in articles (both under my name and ghost writing for others), books, pamphlet, and ad copy. I also met Tim Patterson, which later turned out to be a very good thing because we started Biotest and T Nation together.
4. You started Biotest and TNation with Tim Patterson out of his garage in Colorado. What was your and Tim’s initial vision for the company?
A small correction, Bill Phillips started his company out of his mother’s garage in Colorado. We started Biotest and T Nation out of a small office building in Colorado Springs. Tim, along with Dr. Mike Leahy, were running a medical practice that was built around ART. Tim started building Biotest out of that same building while concurrently running the day-to-day doings of the ART business.
Our first “warehouse,” however, was a former gas station right next door to the ART practice.
Anyhow, we initially wanted to be a better version of the old Muscle Media 2000 had been, before it went mainstream – an entertaining and innovative source of ground breaking information on training, diet, and supplementation that didn’t suffer fools gladly but liked to make fools suffer. Similarly, we wanted to make hugely effective supplements that WE wanted to use; if anybody else wanted to use them, i.e., customers, than great. We’d have our protein cake and eat it, too.
5. Did you ever think back then that TNation would end up being so popular, and how did your and Tim’s vision for the company morph over time?
Yeah, I did think it would be as popular as it is. And as far as how our vision has morphed, it really hasn’t. We’re still passionate about training, whether it’s strictly bodybuilding training, or training to be as functionally brutal and bad-ass as the type MMA fighters. We also still build supplements WE want to use. If you want to use them, too, great.
That’s something that kills me. A lot of times people contact us and ask whether we used such-and-such a crappy or inferior ingredient in one of our products and I think to myself, “You moron. Why would Tim or I put some crappy ingredient in a product that we built for ourselves?
6. Do you feel that TNation is the crème de la crème for strength & conditioning writers? If so, why?
Absolutely. Just about anybody who’s anybody either started out with us or writes for us now. It sounds bad, but sometimes people ask me about if I’ve heard of some obscure coach and I think, perhaps mistakenly, “Hell, if he were anybody I’d already know about him and he’d be writing for us.”
7. Several years back you wrote a book titled Atomic Dog: The Testosterone Principles. I actually bought four copies; one for me, one for my twin bro, and one for each of my two step brothers. The book resonated with me because I feel that most men these days lack integrity, fortitude, and testicular-power. What’s wrong with our current generation of men?
Thanks! That’s really gratifying to hear.
What do I think is wrong with today’s men? Where do I start? Fear. Uncertainty. Lack of identity. Lack of true self worth. Obsession over any perceived slight. A lack of a definition of what true manhood is. Believing that money or material possessions are synonymous with accomplishment. I could write a book. Wait, I have!
8. I suppose you’ve seen it all when it comes to strength training. Since TNation’s inception in 1998 (then it was we’ve seen articles from the likes of Ian King, Charles Poliquin, Paul Chek, Dave Tate, Christian Thibaudeau, Dan John, Chad Waterbury, Alwyn Cosgrove, Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, Michael Boyle, Joe DeFranco, Nick Tumminello, Tim Henriques, Tony Gentilcore, Jim Wendler, Ben Bruno, and even some asshole named Bret Contreras. It’s basically a laundry-list of S&C rock stars. What 3 individuals have made the most significant impact on your training?
Man, I feel like a Hollywood starlet who’s been asked which of her leading men was the best lay. This sounds like I’m being diplomatic, i.e., being a slimy politician talking out of both sides of his mouth, but I’ve stolen from all the guys you’ve listed. Each one of them has things to offer to T Naiton and to me. Otherwise, their stuff wouldn’t have been posted on T Nation.
For instance, I was just doing Bret Contreras glute thrusts yesterday. I’m using some of Wendler’s 531 stuff, too, and I routinely use Christian Thibaudeau’s methodologies, too.
I will say that Poliquin was the first to make me radically change my approach. Before Poliquin, it was 3 sets of 8 for not only me, but virtually everyone who lifted weights. (Bret’s note: I think Charles Poliquin, and possibly more so Ian King, influenced strength coach practices more than any two individuals in S&C)
9. Speaking of strength training, how do you currently train? Are you a bodypart split guy, a lower/upper split guy, or a total body training guy, and what are your goals?
I’m a push/pull guy. After all these years, after trying everything, it’s what makes the most sense to me and what works best for me. I lift 3 or 4 days a week and I have to confess, I’m a grinder (even though Christian and Tim are trying to cure me of this habit). I like extended sets, drop sets, multiple no-rest, make everything burn so at the end you have to drop the weights and make an ugly face until the pain goes away. It’s just my nature. Otherwise, I don’t feel like I worked out.
I also work the Prowler one or two days a week, along with riding a modified mountain bike up and down the local thousand-foot “mountain.”
My goals right now – and they may change in a few months, such is the nature of the beast – is simply to get as strong and conditioned as I can while remaining essentially the same weight. I have virtually no cartilage in my left knee – the result of a football injury – and I find that I can keep the nagging pain away if I stay reasonably light.
10. Here’s a random question. Have you ever noticed that many “gurus” in S&C seem to get really strange over time? What’s up with Gurus Gone Crazy?
I know, I know. Here’s what I often tell new writers. “Here’s how it will be. You’ll start writing for us. You’ll gradually grow to be very popular and make a lot of money. You’ll adore us. Then, things will change. The fame will affect you. You’ll star to castigate us for not treating you like the star you are. Your shipment of Anaconda and Indigo-3G will be a day late and you’ll threaten to sue us. You’ll leave, thinking you don’t need us, and at least 5 out of 10 times, you’ll fade into obscurity and spend your days in the park trying to teach pigeons how to Bulgarian squat.”
11. What irks you the most in regards to article submissions by prospective contributors, and what sort of writers and articles catch your eye?
The thing that bugs me is guys who submit articles without having studied the T Nation site. They send me articles on stuff that we’ve written about the week before. They’ll send me articles that are too simplistic for the Parade Magazine that comes bundled up with the Sunday paper. I don’t get it.
As far as what catches my eye, I usually defer to one thing, and that’s if the article makes me want to try whatever it is they’re writing about. If I’m interested in it, chances are the readers will be, too.
12. Do you have any advice for upcoming S&C writers?
Don’t get too immersed in studies. Instead, use experiential evidence. In other words, studies aren’t the end-all and be-all. I read them and they’re fascinating to me, but studies are often poorly designed. They’re often overlooking or missing certain intangibles. For instance, I bet if some researchers took a group of test subjects and decided to test Westside barbell’s methodologies on them, they wouldn’t get nearly the results that the real Westside does. The real training has intangibles that the research would lack, like being screamed at by a bunch of guys who look like stone killers, or having heavy metal music blasting out at 110 decibels.
Studies are great, but if you depend solely on studies, you’re just writing book reports. A literate high school kid could do the same thing. I prefer guys who read stuff and then test it out themselves.
Similarly, I sometimes get PhD nutritionists writing for us who simply can’t, because of their formal education, make a deductive leap about something. They’ll stammer that the research hasn’t proven it yet, and while every piece of evidence points to a certain conclusion, they’re unable to make the small leap. You want to smack them on the head. Hell, this sport or activity or passion, whatever you want to call it, was built on deductive leaps.
13. Word on the street is that you’ve just written a new book titled Manhood and Other Stuff: The Testosterone Principles II. Is this correct?
Oh, finally, my reward for doing this interview! I get to plug my new book!
Yes, that’s true. The alleged national campaign kicks off in April, but the book is currently available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both hard and soft cover. Like the first book, it’s about manhood.
As far as what it’s about, I’ll just give you the synopsis I just sent to the publishers. It’s probably a little longer than you expected, but what the hell, we’re not killing any trees here:
This book is about manhood, and, well, other stuff. But let’s address the manhood thing first.
And I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking the type of manhood that worships monster truck rallies and nacho fries and fast cars; that paints its bare chest green and sits in the subzero stands of Lambeau Field with a hunk of plastic cheese on its head while bellowing like a gutted Klingon; that communicates largely by grunting, belching, or telling fart jokes.
You know, all that stereotypical crap.
But that’s not what I had in mind. In fact, I had this notion of manhood that combines the do-goodedness of the Boy Scouts with some heaping doses of self-determination and pragmatism, sprinkled with a dollop of Testosterone, and seasoned with a few fistful-size pinches of Howard Stern.
From my experience and observations, men and boys are in some serious need of a new definition of manhood. Men by and large don’t have a masculine identity that’s much different from the one-dimensional and infantile masculinity epitomized by professional athletes or by the characters in Hollywood action movies or, worse, yet, television sitcoms.
But there’s a yin to the masculine yang I just described, and neither side is very pretty.
There’s a whole other breed of man who, despite rejecting silly Maxim Magazine notions of manhood, has gone completely in the other direction, only slowing down to do some occasional antiquing. Their balls were either cut off metaphorically by society, circumstance, or disapproving wives who put them in a Mason jar and stored them in the shed behind the pickled beets.
As a result, many kids don’t have fathers anymore; the traditional American family consists of two “moms,” one with a traditional vagina and one with a penis and testicles that acts like a mom. A lot of wives don’t have husbands anymore – they gave their wedding vows to yet another son who, despite being in his 30′s or 40′s or beyond, has to be told what to do and scolded when he’s bad.
The other type of man I described earlier, the beer-swilling, monosyllabic slobs? Oh, he gets married and has kids, too, but he doesn’t stay married very long — if his wife has any sense, that is.
So I wrote the columns that make up this book. Most of the articles are about some aspect of my version of manhood, along with the occasional observation about new developments in science or psychology, along with a healthy dose of popular culture and sex (the “other stuff” referred to in the title).
I’m hoping against all odds that it helps, at least a little bit, to set things right, or at least generate a little discussion and a lot of laughter.
14. I believe that TNation has been the single most influential website in the past two decades in terms of positively influencing the training practices of lifters worldwide. We have you to thank for helping spread sound training methods, and for this you should feel a sense of achievement. What’s your most proud accomplishment in life thus far?
Thanks! That’s nice of you to say.
As far as being “proud,” I have to take issue with that word. Don’t worry, I’ll be brief. I think pride is an immature emotion. It means I allegedly have done something (or even bought something) that I hope will convey superiority over someone else. I prefer the word “satisfaction,” as in what accomplishment has given me the most satisfaction? In other words, what have I done that was truly useful or life affirming?
First, it’s immensely satisfying when I hear you say that my first book helped your brother “man up.” I hear that type of thing a lot and it’s enormously satisfying. Secondly, I’m happy that it seems that I’ve helped spread what is often –not always – a healthy life style. From what I can see, a lot of people are healthier, fitter, able to enjoy life more, and happier because T Nation exists.
That’s very cool.
15. Thanks again for your time TC. I have one last question. My last several dogs were Min Pins, Dachshunds, or Chihuahuas – all small dogs. I imagine that you’re a Pit Bull, Doberman, or Ridgeback type of guy. Am I correct?
I’ll admit, I have a weakness for masculine dogs. I have two English Staffordshire Bull Terriers and they’re regarded as second cousins to pit bulls. Truth is, they were originally used for fighting in the pit in England by the coal miners that developed the breed, and they would tie a bear to a wall and have a small group of these dogs fight the bear. Pretty weird, huh?
But this breed has been domesticated over the years. In fact, they’re now called “nanny dogs” in England because of their reputation with children. That’s good, because it’s frowned on when you have dogs that actually eat kids.
Anyhow, I like the dogs because they’re relatively small, but with very thick, muscular bodies. They’re canines with the bodies of bodybuilders, coupled with the athleticism of an NFL running back. My male, Tommey, was born from the frozen sperm of a champion dog that had been dead for over ten years. I feed him organic meats, vegetables, and Biotest supps. Hell, we should put him on the label of some of our products.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sandbags For Strength

Sandbags For Strength

Is the sandbag the key to elite strength and conditioning? Probably not. It isn't a miracle tool and likely not the missing link between you and strength training glory. However, used properly, sandbags can certainly be an effective adjunct to a solid resistance-training program.
Before you rush out and start stealing sandbags from the stack your neighbor has holding up his kid's swing-set, you need a rationale for using them. This article will discuss how sandbags can help you build strength, conditioning, and power.
Often regarded as a "poor man's choice" for strength and conditioning, there's a distinct split between those that use sandbags (and other odd-shaped lifting devices) and those that train with traditional resistance, namely barbells and dumbbells. For some reason, we rarely find people that consistently work at both ends of the spectrum. Why?
  • It's difficult to "grease the groove" with sandbag training. Although your technique will undoubtedly improve over time, you'll still find yourself fighting for most lifts. Most don't like this.
  • Sandbag training, being unstable and constantly shifting, will prevent you from lifting as much weight as you could on a more fixed device, like a barbell. This means that most who train for absolute strength tend to write them off.
  • Sandbags aren't always employed for their unique properties. They're often used for sandbag variations of regular barbell exercises, meaning that serious trainees just end up lifting less weight than normal. As a result, the comparable results between sandbag training and barbell training aren't that impressive.
If you're considering adding sandbag lifting into your training program, it's important to first qualify what it will, and what it won't do for you.

Functional Fiction

Sandbags For Strength
The annoying functional training "buzz" has come full circle. People are now wise to the fact that the modality used (barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, sandbag, etc.) and exercise selected don't necessarily make it functional. What makes these things functional (and indeed anything) is how they relate to you and your individual needs.
Subsequently, we're starting to see a return to programs that are more functional for most people. Programs based around good, compound lifts are now common – and this is a great thing.
Does this mean that we should avoid those other "real-life" lifts altogether? I say no, provided we realize why we're including them in our program.
Most avoid "odd-object" lifting because it's tough and they find themselves struggling to make many of the lifts, even at moderate loads. For those aiming to increase absolute strength this can become an issue. I'm proposing that you don't substitute sandbag training for barbell training, but use it as an additional tool.

What Makes The Sandbag Awesome

  • The sandbag is awkward to lift, requiring that you fight hard to perform exercises with it, just like working with a "real-life" object or person. (Hello, mixed martial artists, bouncers, and amateur mud wrestlers.)
  • Sandbags require great levels of grip strength to lift. You'll find that you naturally grip them in positions like the bear hug, Zercher, or shoulder.
  • The sandbag is malleable. It will adjust to your body and how you're using it. Like Spiderman's alter ego Venom, it's particularly effective in "molding" itself to your body and is perfect for carrying, dragging, and throwing.
  • The sandbag is unstable and will develop great core strength. This is the opposite of most "core" training where the surface you're standing on is unstable. Working with an unstable object is much more akin to the demands of real life.
  • They're a great way to push past plateaus. Get used to lifting a 200-pound bag of sand above your head and you'll be stronger when you go back to the relatively "stable" barbell.
  • Finally, sandbags are inexpensive. They're perfect for anyone on a budget. Just show up to a riverside community in the weeks following a spring flood – they'll pay you to take them away!

Integrating Sandbag Training

The simplest way to incorporate sandbag lifting is to use the bag as an alternative to deadlifts, squats, presses, and pulls. This isn't the most effective use of the sandbag but it will give you a taste of the benefits therein.
How you integrate sandbag training into your strength and conditioning will be highly specific to your own individual needs. The following three options will provide you with some starting points:
  • Substitute an existing session of lifting for sandbag variations. Replace the lifts you'd normally do with a traditional free weight with the sandbag. Do this 1-2 times per month.
  • Add in a unique sandbag lifting session. Use some of the sandbag exercises described below and try a session that's either strength based (high weight, low rep, long rest periods) or conditioning based (light-moderate weight, moderate-high rep, minimal rest periods).
  • Use sandbags for a sport-specific session. Push it, pull it, drag it, and throw it. Treat it like an opposing shopper at Best Buy on Black Friday and be creative.

Sandbag Exercises

The following exercises will give you the best of what the sandbag has to offer. They're exercises that you probably wouldn't normally do, and that's a good thing!

Sandbag Windmill

Sandbags For Strength

If you've ever tried a windmill with a kettlebell or dumbbell you'll appreciate that it can be a tough exercise. It requires great flexibility, core and shoulder strength. Try it with a sandbag and it goes to a whole new level. The constantly shifting load of the sandbag will challenge your shoulder stability like nothing else.

Sandbag Bear-Hug Load Carry

Sandbags For Strength

This is the type of exercise that the sandbag was designed for. The bear hug will develop the kind of strength that's difficult to get from regular lifting. Couple this with a load carry (or sprint for supreme conditioning) for a great strength and conditioning exercise. You could move the bag between platforms or chairs, or perhaps set out a course to cover.

Sandbag Floor Press with Bridge

Sandbags For Strength

The floor press is a great exercise for developing pushing strength, and the sandbag version encourages greater development of grip strength and shoulder stability. Plus, you can be creative with it. MMA athletes can try escapes and transitions with the sandbag.

Sandbag Clean and Press

Sandbags For Strength

Lifting a bag of sand above your head is no easy feat, and the added challenge from the sandbag is enough to justify its inclusion in the list.

Wrap Up

There's absolutely no substitute for the basics, namely barbells and dumbbells. However, just as the Prowler and kettlebells can be effective additions to a solid weight-training program, so can the dirty old sandbag. It might just be the plateau buster you were looking for!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The 6-Week Sprinting Solution

The 6-Week Sprinting Solution

Six Week Sprinting Solution

Welcome to the 6-6-6 Sprinting Solution – the 6-week interval-training program that will radically alter your conditioning, increase endurance and power, and drop stupid amounts of body fat.
Interested? Well, before we get into the program, let me tell you how this all started.

I'm Getting Old(er)

It's true. I'm getting Less than six months from now I'll be 30, and boy does that feel weird. As I crest the rise of the hill leading the way into the twilight of my youth, I'm starting to realize what everyone has always told me is true: it sucks getting old.
Now, before those of you in the 40-50+ crowd jump all over me, let me say that yes, I'm completely aware that by most standards, I'm still quite young.
I guess I should amend my statement to say, "Things change as you get older." I think we can all agree on that, no matter how old we are.
As recently as five years ago, things were a bit easier. Fact is, things were a breeze, especially in the fat loss department.
When I was 21-24, man, I was a . I needed exactly three weeks – and three weeks – to get ready for the summer. That meant if beach season started in June, I didn't really have to start prepping until sometime in May.
I didn't know how good I had it.
This year, I had to start my summer prep in late March. Even with my advanced fat loss workouts and my knowledge of diet, it still took me about 6-8 weeks to get into the extreme lean shape that I like to maintain for the summer.
To try to figure out what the deal was, I pulled out my training journals from the past several years and compared my summer prep.
The first thing that jumped out at me was my diet. I used to eat the same thing every damn day! The foods were all healthy and even tasted good, but my culinary limitations certainly put a clamp on any kind of variation.
But that wasn't the answer. While I enjoy a broader spectrum of foods today, my overall diet is very similar in terms of calories and macronutrients. I eat more foods, but I'm not eating more food.
If anything, my diet has gotten better. I know a lot more advanced fat loss techniques than I did five or six years ago, and have tweaked practices like intermittent fasting, cheat days, and carb/calorie cycling to achieve impressive transformations with hundreds of soldiers in the growing Roman Empire.
Looking more closely, the difference between what I and what I was was sprinting. Back in the day, I used to sprint three times per week, without fail. Every. Single. Week.
Now, I sprint about once per week.
However, it's not quite that simple. While I sprint less often today, I've taken that into account in how I train today, and the added activity from my workouts more than makes up for it.
This led me to ask, "Is there something special about sprinting that helps me lose fat so quickly?
Only one way to find out, of course.

Return to the Track

Six Week Sprinting Solution

The next week, I sprinted Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, doing traditional HIIT/Tabata style workouts. It went pretty well; felt a bit like Ol' Roman lost a step or two, but I guess I shouldn't expect to hold onto my 40-yard dash time forever.
I did this for two weeks. Then, Saturday morning of the second week, I got up and had a serious problem.
Or perhaps, I woke up, because I certainly didn't get up – I had a hard time getting up most of the day. My hamstrings, glutes, and lower back were killing me, although I'd been aggressively foam rolling and stretching.
I got some soft tissue work done – massage and ART – and thought I'd be good for Monday. I was excited to get back to it because, to be honest, I getting leaner already. I guess there is something special about sprinting after all.
Well, Monday rolled around, and during my warm up, I damn near felt my hamstring pull off my femur. Why did this happen?
This brings us back to the "I'm getting older" matter. It means that I can't recover as quickly.
Add to that another problem: I'm too good at it.
Between football and track, I learned how to truly sprint, not just jog really fast. I know the techniques, I understand stride, and I'm a power-based runner.
All of which means that when I sprint, I do it correctly – I use a lot of muscle and generate a lot of force. While that's probably what makes sprinting so effective for me, it also makes it very taxing.
Herein lies the problem. Sprinting seems to have an almost magical effect on fat loss, but the better you are at it, the more careful you have to be. If you're an advanced trainee, there's a threshold that you can't cross without greatly impeding your ability to recover.
I set forth to figure out how I could fix it and get shredded like when I was a kid.
I did a lot of experiments, ranging from decreasing the length of my sprints and just doing more of them, to packing all my sprinting into one day (bad idea).
I managed to find what works the – a happy medium of incredible results, paired with a set up that allows for total recovery.
I mean total recovery. Not only will this sprint set up allow you to recover in a way that it won't interfere with subsequent sprint sessions, you won't even mess up your weight training workouts – even if it's a leg workout on the same day!
The secret is frequency.
The more often you train, the better your recovery – to a point. You still need to rest. In this program, you'll be sprinting .
If this all sounds counterintuitive given my injury woes from sprinting three times per week, consider this little wrinkle: in training, whenever you frequency, you have to but (not necessarily decrease) volume.
In a weight-training context, if you normally bench for ten sets on Monday and wish to increase your frequency, you could split up benching over two days, say five sets on Monday and Thursday.
Now, instead of just doing five sets on each day, you could try six. Your total volume goes up, but your daily volume goes down.
Taking it a step further, you could do four sets, three days per week. Finally, if you want to take it all the way, you could do three sets, five days per week. Your total is 15 sets – 50% more volume – but spread over a greater time.
Because you're resting and never hitting total exhaustion, you can actually perform more work over the week. Furthermore, you could also gradually increase the weight to increase results.
Understanding this principle, I began applying it to sprinting. And what do you know, it worked. Over the course of a few weeks, I came up with:

The 6-6-6 Sprinting Solution

Six Week Sprinting Solution
Bam. It's that simple.
Back when I used to do full sprint workouts three times per week, I'd perform 10 sprints per workout, for a total of 30 sprints per week. Each of these was a full-out sprint, lasting 20 seconds, with 10 seconds of rest in between.
Pretty obvious why it was so challenging, huh?
I decided to up the frequency and keep the volume moderate. I wanted to sprint every day, as I predicted that this would allow me to drastically lower the volume to allow for recovery.
After experimentation, I found that I could sprint six days per week with no issue.
Then came the volume. I began with five sprints per day, meeting my total of 30 sprints per week. At 20 seconds each, it would still be a challenge, but I thought I could do it.
Well, it worked for a bit, but I started to feel burnt out again.
I decided to look at volume a bit more deeply. I started looking at my total week work time; that is, my total amount of time spent sprinting.
In my initial model of three days per week and 10 sprints, I was sprinting for a total of 200 seconds per day, or 600 seconds per week.
In my first version of sprinting six days per week, that was simply divided over six days instead of three. That is, five sprints of 20 seconds for a total of 100 seconds per day, or a total of 600 seconds per week.
It was good, but I still felt like I wasn't recovering well enough. That's because, like you, I simply wasn't accustomed to daily sprinting. My legs needed more time to recover.
So it was back to the lab again, this time to see if the workload could be tweaked. I reasoned (correctly) that if I allowed myself to to the total time workload, I could not only achieve 600 seconds, but also perhaps more – all while burning fat and allowing for adequate recovery.
I switched the rest periods to allow for optimal recovery during each workout, giving me the "space" to make progress from week to week.
All told, this new program would give me the best of all worlds – the benefits of daily sprinting (constantly elevated metabolic rate, daily caloric burn), as well as built-in progression, meaning that while I'm forcing adaptation from increasing workload, I'm staying ahead of the adaptation curve.
Increases in fat loss, aerobic capacity, and overall athleticism. All with minimal time and a small daily commitment. Not too shabby.
Okay, enough talk. Let's get to the workouts!

The Triple 6 Workouts

Six Week Sprinting Solution
  • The number in the work column of the tables below represents your work time, and the number in the rest column is your rest time. If you see "10" and "20" in those columns respectively, that means sprint for 10 seconds and rest for 20 seconds.
  • These workouts are done on a treadmill, which allows for convenience with both performance and timing. While you can do these as outdoor sprints, you'll run into the issue of clock-watching.
  • Sprinting on a treadmill is a bit tricky. Be careful, and be sure to use the handrails as you jump on and off. When you're resting, simply grab the handrails and jump onto the side rails of the treadmill. To jump back on, grab the handrails and start sprinting again. Maintain your grip on the handrails for the first second or two.
  • If you choose to train outside, my recommendation would be to sprint for distances instead of times. Take the given time and multiply it by 8; that's the distance you'll run in yards. So a 10-second sprint becomes an 80-yard sprint. Your rest period is the amount of time it takes to briskly walk or jog back to the starting point.
  • Each week, do a single sprint workout, six days per week. The workouts are structured to be progressive, allowing each week to build on the previous week.
  • If at any point you feel like the workout is too easy, simply increase the speed or incline on the treadmill – not the time. The time is how we measure progress week to week, so increasing your sprints because you feel strong one day is going to mess with the program.
  • Ideally, do these workouts first thing in the morning. If you're going to be training in the morning, sprint first and train after.
  • Stretch before and after. Stay hydrated. Insert other disclaimers. Don't be an idiot and hurt yourself.
On to the show!

Week 1

Notes on Week 1: You'll notice that in this week you're sprinting for a total of 510 seconds, which is a great start. However, the important part here is the set up. You're never going to dig yourself into too deep of a hole, because the rest periods are structured to allow you a nice bit of recovery.
There are only two sprints lasting 20 seconds – one when you're fresh, and one when you've rested for a "long" period of 15 seconds. More importantly, each of those 20 second sprints is followed by a short sprint of only 10 seconds. This short follow up sprint won't tax you too much, so you can recover more effectively on subsequent rest periods.
Overall, this will break you in and allow for some nice fat loss. Week one is also a good gauge of where your weaknesses may reside.
If at the end of the workout you're winded, we've got some issues and you should repeat this. On the other hand, if you're not winded but having trouble closing out some of the sprints, that may be an issue with local fatigue, and will work itself out over the week.

Week 2

Notes on Week 2: During the second week of the program, you'll notice that your total sprint times are the same. Where's the progression from week one?
While your work time is unchanged, the structure of the workouts is what makes this a bit harder. You only have a single 20-second sprint here, followed by a short 10-second sprint. However, from there you have to deal with three 15-second sprints in a row, all with equal rest periods. This forces higher performance with less rest.
While you're not doing more overall work than Week 1, you're allowed less recovery during the latter part of the workout. This will help increase work capacity and prepare you for more total work in the coming week.
Moreover, having multiple "long" sprints helps build local endurance in your legs, ensuring that as you progress in the program, tired legs won't hamper you.

Week 3

Notes on Week 3: This week, we progress in a few different areas.
First, you'll notice that the total work time increases to 90 seconds of total sprinting per day. While five seconds may seem a small difference, when we're talking sprints, every little bit helps.
Looking at the structure, you can see how the difficulty will escalate. The short 10-second sprint and 20-second rest combo is gone, meaning that your longest rest period is now at the very end of the workout.
Instead of being able to recover to any real degree, you jump into 15/15 alternations for the majority of the workout.
Although it's only a 1:1 work/rest combo, it's still physically exhausting and serves to improve cardiovascular endurance while burning fat.
This also begins to draw on the enhanced local endurance in your legs that was built during the first three weeks.

Week 4

Notes on Week 4: Again, we have a week where there's no increase in total training volume, but rather changes in structure.
Week 4 introduces the first appearance of two 20-second sprints back to back. This is exceptionally challenging, particularly with only 10 seconds of rest in between.
Thankfully, by this point you have a lot of experience with doing 15-second sprints back to back, so you're prepared for it.
The structure here is hard in the beginning, then a bit soft in the middle – two 10-second sprints with 20 seconds of rest isn't hard.
In many ways, this week is almost a "deload" week. It's easier than previous weeks, and serves to prepare you for the upcoming long sprints back to back.

Week 5

Notes on Week 5: This week workload goes up again, but that's not the only way things get more difficult.
Along with increasing sprint time to 95 seconds per day, you're also packing the seconds closer together with less rest.
As with Week 4, the long sprints are in the front; however, this time you only have a single 10-second sprint/20 second rest combo, followed by three 15/15 bouts to finish off the workout.
You're being forced to increase work output with diminished recovery time. You'll never fully recover, and each sprint will take it out of you, making subsequent sprints even harder.
Of course, the end result is increased fitness and decreased fatness.

Week 6

Notes on Week 6: This week, we finally get to the goal of sprinting for 100 total seconds per day, totaling 600 per week.
However, unlike my first shot at this, you won't be burned out because you'll have prepared for it over the previous weeks – while losing fat!
With Week 6, it's all work and no play. You've got two 20-second sprints in the front. This time, there's no 10-second recovery sprint followed by 20 seconds of rest.
No sweet air – just a double dose of 15-second bad boys to follow it up.
After that, you finally get a break with a 10-second sprint. After 20 brief seconds of rest, however, you're right back into the grind, finishing out strong with a 20-second sprint of agony.
By the end of the workout you'll be cursing my family for six generations in either direction. You'll also be burning fat and getting into the best cardiovascular shape of your life.
Week 6 can be performed for up to two additional weeks (stretching the program to a total of 8 weeks) before you need to take a week off and rest.
Provided you practiced some dietary diligence, by this time you should also have an adorable litter of six round and fuzzy abdominal muscles snuggled up neatly above your belly button. In honor of the efficacy of this program, please name the cutest of the bunch Roman.

Other Training and Odds and Ends

Six Week Sprinting Solution

Of course, you'll want to do some other training outside of just sprints during the next six weeks, so it's important that we briefly cover that.
While the 6-6-6 program can be done in concert with nearly any training program, some are a better fit than others. The best training program would be a full body fat loss workout, done 2-3 times per week.
First, a fat loss workout is going to help maximize the effects you're looking for with the program in the first place (duh). Second, a full body program is very much in the same vein as the 6-6-6 program itself – frequent stimulation, but lower daily volume.
This means that you can do a full body program with no modifications, despite the fatigue and compromised recovery you're likely to have from the sprinting.
Here's the workout I recommend while following the 6-6-6 Sprinting program:
A1Barbell Push Press18
A2Pull-up with 2-second pause16-8
A3Alternating DB Lunge18*
A4Single-Leg Glute Bridge with 3-second pause18*
A5Bodyweight Plank145 sec.
A6DB Floor Press112
A7Bent Over Barbell Row110
A8Goblet Squat16-8
Remember that despite the short daily workout, sprinting is taxing, and should be given top priority, at least for six weeks. Therefore, while the above workout is effective, it's designed to work alongside the sprints, which is why the leg volume is toned down. As long as you choose appropriate weights and move briskly, this brief circuit will shred off fat while keeping your strength levels up.
For those who wish to continue on with their regularly scheduled training, the obvious modifications concern leg training.
First, on days where you train legs, sprinting will be . If you choose to sprint on your leg training days (masochist), sprint first and reduce your weights. Period. Don't be a tough guy, and don't think you're smarter than ol' Roman. Reduce the weight, and do the sprints first.
The other change to make is to avoid sprinting the day after your leg training. You need one day to recover. Take that time to stretch, do some extra foam rolling, and read my blog.

Wrap Up

In a perfect world, we'd all grow old gracefully and become more distinguished versions of our youthful selves while not losing an ounce of our youthful athletic ability; like George Clooney with Reggie Bush's six-pack and 40-yard dash time.
Unfortunately, Father Time catches up with all of us, and while we can't stop the clock, we can slow that fucker down some. Sprinting – along with other activities that require natural athleticism – is a great place to start.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

12 Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat | How to Build Muscle, Gain Strength & Become a Better Athlete

1) You’re Eating Too Many Carbs

carbohydrates 300x238 12 Reasons Youre Not Losing FatThis should be pretty obvious to most people by now, but there are still the old die-hards out there who swear that everyone should be consuming two grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight every day while maintaining a low fat intake. Load up on whole grains and fruit while cutting down on healthy, essential sources of fat like grass fed beef they’ll tell you.
Anyone experienced in physique transformation knows this is nonsense.Most people have a terrible tolerance for carbs, shitty insulin sensitivity and simply don’t do enough physically demanding work to warrant too many carbs. If you want to get lean cutting carbs is usually one of the first and most important steps you need to take. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any but you need to make smart choices and they need to be taken in at the right times and cycled properly.

2) You’re Eating Carbs at the Wrong Time

If you’re above 20% body-fat pretty much any time is the wrong time. In that case I would only recommend vegetables and possibly some post workout potatoes or a once per week refeed. When you get down to 15% you can increase the amount of carbs in the post workout meal or the weekly refeed. Everyone else should limit carb consumption to post workout and night time, as per The Renegade Diet rules. During the day you want to be alert and focused, which is one reason why you don’t want to load up on starchy carbs during this time. Save for them for the night time when you want to optimize serotonin production and rest, relax and repair.

3) You’re Eating Too Much Fat

Some people cut carbs and assume that they’re good to go and there’s nothing else to worry about. Unfortunately, the low/no carb diet isn’t as much fun as Dr. Atkins made it out to be. You can’t just eat pounds of bacon and mayonnaise with reckless abandon and think that you’ll magically end up ripped. Fat contains calories; nine per gram to be exact. At the end of the day total calories still matter, and if you’re eating more than you burn you’re never going to get ripped. Please don’t mistake this as my advocating a low fat diet. That’s just as bad, if not worse, than eating too much fat. A bare minimum of 20% of your calories should come from healthy fats like pastured egg yolks, wild caught salmon, grass fed beef and coconut oil to ensure optimal health. Just be careful about going overboard with it and thinking that low carbs automatically leads to single digit body-fat. You still need to keep a handle on things like total calories.

4)You’re Not Eating Enough Protein

protein food 300x203 12 Reasons Youre Not Losing FatIn my experience it’s usually only females who are guilty of this but guys can make this mistake on occasion as well. The average female who can’t lose body-fat usually eats a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast with an egg. One… single… egg.
Then she’ll have a sandwich for lunch with four ounces of lean turkey. For dinner it will be a salad with low fat dressing and four ounces of chicken or fish. Although, in all honesty they may skip the protein all together and just have a salad for either lunch or dinner. Let’s assume she weighs 135 pounds. Most experts would agree that she would need to consume at least 100 grams of protein per day, if not a gram per pound, which would equal 135 grams. Each ounce of protein is around 4.5 grams of protein. So in this example she had 36 grams combined with lunch and dinner plus the six grams from the egg. So that’s a total of 42 grams, which falls just a wee bit shy of where she needs to be.
Females often freak out when you tell them to eat more than six ounces of protein at a sitting but when you break down the numbers for them and reveal just how many calories they’re eating it should make more sense. If they had eight ounces of protein three times per day it would 108 grams of protein. That’s only 432 total calories. Add in the fat and it’s still not that much.
People who eat a sufficient amount of protein usually end up having an easier time getting ripped than those who don’t. Make sure you’re getting enough.

5) You’re Drinking Too Many Protein Shakes

There are two problems associated with drinking shakes when you’re trying to get ripped. First of all, whey protein can raise insulin levels, as I have been telling people since the mid 90’s. If you’re trying to get lean you don’t want insulin to be flowing like the Nile all day. You want a nice insulin surge post workout but the rest of the day you want it under control. That’s why The Renegade Diet limits the intake of whey protein to very small amounts during most of the day and only allows a larger amount post workout or at night.
The second problem with drinking too many shakes is that they are so easy to digest that you don’t really burn any calories when you eat them. When you chew down some salmon and broccoli your body works harder to digest that food and you burn more calories during the digestion process. When you drink something that is so easily digested, like a protein shake, your body does almost no work in the process.
So, when getting ripped is your main goal, limit your shake intake and chew as many calories as you can.

6) Your Liver is Over Stressed

This is usually the last thing people think of when embarking on a fat loss diet but it can sometimes be the most important. Everything that goes into or on your body has to be processed by the liver. That means all food, alcohol, suntan lotion, environmental pollutants, etc. If you are constantly exposing yourself to this kind of stuff and overstressing the liver fat loss will be much more difficult to come by. Cut out booze, stop eating grain-fed, chemical laden meat and incorporate some regular periods of intermittent fasting to give the liver a break and you will find your rate of fat loss is noticeably faster.

7) You’re Eating Nuts

I love nuts. I mean, who doesn’t? Give me a bag of pistachios or cashews and I won’t look up till the whole thing’s gone. The problem is nuts have a ton of calories. When you’re dieting for fat loss the rules are usually the opposite of those followed by skinny hardgainers trying to gain size. Those guys want the most calorically dense foods possible. Fat loss dieters do not. You’re better off filling up on nutritionally dense foods that don’t pack a lot of calories, like green vegetables. If you’re dieting you need to limit your nut consumption to about ten almonds per serving. No too many people can eat ten almonds. Most people eat ten handfuls. If you are strictly tracking and calculating everything all day and you want to load up on nuts at certain times I suppose you could but I wouldn’t recommend it. Nuts can be very problematic for a lot of people, especially those with digestive or auto immune issues. As Paleo Solution author Robb Wolf has noted, nuts should be used the same way you use condiments- sparingly.
I should also add, and this is strictly my opinion, meaning it has NOT been proven and posted on Pubmed… nut butters seem to be easier for most people to digest than actual whole nuts. Just something to consider.

8) You’re Eating Fruit

jolie berry 300x224 12 Reasons Youre Not Losing Fat“What?! You’re telling people not to eat fruit!? Everyone knows that it’s impossible to get fat from eating too much fruit!”
Yeah, yeah I know, that’s why physique competitors eat so much fruit and why all fat loss experts who specialize in getting people shredded recommend such high quantities of it. In our hunter gatherer days fruit was nothing like what you see in the supermarket today. Berries were small, dark and bitter; not the huge sugar sacks most people consume these days. Don’t get me wrong, fruit is healthy and can be eaten by lean individuals in limited amounts but any type of excessive fructose (a sugar found in fruit) consumption will lead to fat gain. Fructose can only be processed by the liver and once liver glycogen stores are full the excess gets converted to triglycerides and stored as body-fat. If you want to get ripped cut fruit completely for a while or limit it to one to two small servings per day. Just be sure to really up the vegetable consumption so you can keep your vital nutrient uptake where it needs to be.

9) You’re Not Training Heavy

When you want to lose body-fat the first inclination is often to crank up the reps and cut the rest periods. I actually have no problem with fairly low rest periods. But not if you’re used to resting three minutes between sets and all of the sudden cut them down to thirty seconds because you decided it was time to get shredded you’ll be in trouble. That never works. All that happens is your weights start plummeting on every exercise and you get weaker and smaller. High reps have the same effect.
When dieting, the primary role of strength training is to maintain muscle mass. That is the single most important thing. Don’t use it as your primary “fat burning” activity… UNLESS you are seriously overweight. If you need to lose more than fifty pounds or so that would probably be fine (although please don’t ever do any of the bullshit you see on those fat camp TV shows). Females can actually get something out of metcon workouts in the right situation as well. The caveat, however, is that that they need to be strong and actually have some muscle mass. If you take a weak female with no muscle and give her a silly metcon circuit she won’t usually get much out of it because she’s too weak to produce enough force. Females should get strong first before they attempt that type of training.
If you’re a guy and are trying to lose 10-20 pounds of body-fat without losing all your muscle mass in the process you should use strength training as a way to maintain size and strength; nothing more, nothing less. So the same principles that helped you get big and strong apply when dieting. Keep the reps low and the resistance high.

10) You’re Overdoing Cardio

Traditional forms of cardio are largely useless for fat loss. But useless is even okay, it’s when it starts to be counterproductive that we have a real problem. Excessive amounts of cardio lead to an overproduction of cortisol which leads to more abdominal fat and numerous health problems. If you want to do cardio that won’t actually hurt you and could do you some good, go for a long walk. No self respecting man should ever be spotted on an elliptical machine.
dog sled chan 12 Reasons Youre Not Losing Fat
Sled work builds muscle, burns fat and is irreplaceable

11) You’re Not Running Sprints or Doing Sled Work

Dieting is the most important thing for fat loss. After that you should be doing some form of strength training to maintain your muscle mass. When you have those to things dialed in you’ll want to add in some type of sprinting or sled work. There is nothing more effective for fat loss. See all wide receivers, defensive backs, sprinters, soccer players, etc. for proof. Two or three 20-40 minute sprint or sled sessions per week will be enough for most people.
Don’t have a sled? 

12) You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep

When you’re short on sleep your insulin sensitivity decreases and your cortisol goes up. Both things lead to less than optimal fat loss. You also miss out on the critically important Growth Hormone boost that comes each night during deep sleep. If you want to lose more fat you have to get more sleep. Most people will ignore this and some of you are probably reading this at 2am. Unfortunately this just might be the most important thing on the whole list. More sleep improves EVERYTHING. Make it a priority.