I only recently heard this term, and it was in the context of learning about a program called “Rethink Masculinity” where men are taught how to get in touch with their feelings as well as other helpful things like being sensitive towards others and cry in public.

Go to the page (which I will not link) and you will see four men who are probably the last people I would think of when I think of the term “manly”, but these people want to teach you how to get rid of what they call “toxic masculinity”.

Now “Toxic masculinity” can mean different things to different groups… as per wikipedia the definition is “traditional norms of behavior among men” – so does this mean standing to pee?

I am going to go out on a limb and guess that this is largely a group of effeminate men who are intimidated by testosterone-filled, angry dudes.

If that’s the case I can sympathize, but I will suggest that a man who is not in control of his temper is merely a child and does not deserve the title “man”.

Our world is trying so viciously to be nice that we are seeing more separation and contempt for one another than ever. Just look at the political landscape in the US right now. An educated society should be able to embrace their own uniqueness while understanding the necessity for people with differing qualities. But instead of uniting we make them into villains.

And claiming that men acting like men is toxic is doing the exact same thing. And unfortunately it is becoming more and more uncommon for men to have the qualities that are natural. If the word natural pisses you off, I would ask how it is that our species has survived so long… the clear answer is that in the beginning of time we had a social construct that supported our evolutionary means of survival and reproduction… in other words: men were men and women were women.

Both are equal in importance and yet both are different in design AND purpose.

I began a video series on the topic, let me know what you think…

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I’ve seen a bunch of articles popping up today citing a study from Birzeit University that suggests fizzy/sparkly/carbonated water can lead to fat gain…

The reasoning is that they feel it leads to a release in ghrelin – the hunger hormone.

Now there are a few details that I think are important to note here…

According to the information provided They tested both diet sodas and carbonated water on rats and found they ate more than the taking non-carbonated drinks.

What this information seems to leave out is the minor detail of artificial sweeteners… sucralose and aspertame do a lot of nasty business to your body and are obviously in abundance in the diet sodas, but how about the fizzy “water”? Just look on the labels at a grocery store and you’ll notice that the vast majority have some form of artificial sweeteners.

I know this is purely anecdotal, but when I drink a carbonated drink I don’t feel hungry but rather I feel full. I also tend to get sparkling water sweetened only from natural sources.

So from what I can tell – and I stand to be corrected – this study was greatly flawed from the outset. That being said I would certainly avoid artificial sweeteners and sugary sodas.

Last week I had to make a weigh-in within 48 hours and had to drop about 7 pounds… here’s how I did it:

A few weeks ago I had this crazy idea of how to train chest as seen in this video (2.33 min in):

So like I mentioned in the video, simply by playing around I speculated upon the best way to activate the pectorals… then a friend pointed me to this study: Electromyographical Activity of the Pectoralis Muscle During Incline and Decline Bench Presses from The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

The bottom line of this study being that the decline bench press (especially the negative part of the movement) recruits far more muscle than the incline press.

The two takeaways for me here are firstly to continue using the decline movement and others that utilize this range of motion, and secondly the benefits of consciously considering the desired range of motion and angle when determining movements for ALL body parts!

I just finished a 6-week program focussing on shoulders and back and I have to say the results are pretty impressive. Here’s the video describing the program:

Training:

I did a 4-day split:

Delts & back (heavy)

Chest & biceps

Delts & back (high reps)

Legs & triceps

Every fourth week was a deload week where I would only do one delt/back day.
DIET:

Chicken/rice/broccoli was a staple meal. 

Avoided saturated fat.

Always had a banana and then whey + greens post workout

Supplement with betaine – 1.25g pre-wo and 1.25g post wo

I’m not sure why, but this question came into my mind today and it’s a good one. But it’s also a tricky one to answer although I’m going to attempt to all the same.

When training for cardiovascular improvement we can gauge our intensity by measuring heart rate.

When doing high repetition weight training, we can judge successful training by cell swelling/ a massive pump.

When pure strength training working “hard” generally means (or should) increasing the load with consistent form.

But if your goals is “building muscle” it becomes a little less clear, especially since it takes a long time to make noticeable (natural) gains.

When it comes to adding size to muscles we have to force the body into a state where it thinks it has no other choice to survive than to build muscle, but despite what Mike Mentzer would have you there is more to it than just lifting heavy weights for one or two reps. There is a fascinating study called the “mechanisms of hypertrophy” that suggests that adding size comes down to maximizing mechanical tension (heavy weights – 6-8 reps), cell swelling (high, 8-15 reps), Metabolic stress (building up lactic acid).

One of the things that is often overlooked in all of this the rest between sets, which plays a key role in my latest attempt to maximize the mechanisms listed above. By gradually decreasing rest time between sets, while simultaneously adding the number of sets you are increasing overall volume or workload, as well as incrementally making it more difficult metabolically.

But what about weight, won’t it have to get lighter over time if the rest time is shorter? Aaaaah, well here’s where it gets fun… to accommodate this what I’ve implemented is the idea of jump-sets – going from one set with one body part to a set with a different body part. This essentially gives you double the amount of rest time for that body part so load does not suffer too much.

But if you are gradually increasing volume how can you increase load? Another great point… how I’ve decided to overcome this is by using a sort of zig-zag pattern, where I gradually decrease rest/increase volume for 3 weeks, then de-load by spending 1-3 weeks with low volume. Then I will start where I left off at week 2 but with increased load and decrease rest for another 3 weeks then de-load.

I must stress that this is theoretical at the moment, but I guess the idea I want to express that by setting up a program with built in progression in as many areas as possible, you are likely to find that working “hard enough” will fall into place even when you can’t rely on muscle soreness or other signs.

6 month recomp program

Posted: December 9, 2016 in Fat Burning, Muscle Building

After an up and down 2016, I’ve finally decided upon a direction to take my fitness/physique.

Here are the guiding principles…

First and foremost, I want to embrace change. I want to do what so many seem to have difficulty doing these days which is to try something outside of what we believe to be the “right” way to do things, as Stephen R. Covey said “Every significant breakthrough began with a break in old ways of thinking.”

Mental principles:
1. The primary goal is to slowly burn fat – about 3lbs per month
2. The secondary goal is to build muscle size – especially shoulders and back.

Dietary principles:
1. chicken and rice with steamed broccoli as a regular meal
2. majority of protein to be lean meat (fish & chicken)
3. post workout banana then protein/green powder
4. majority of carbs to be taken post training
5. Use portion sizes rather than calorie counting

Training Principles:
1. Form matters
2. train in all three primary rep ranges
3. value of metabolic stress/progression – utilize density training to increase progressively in metabolic expenditure & volume
4. De-load every fourth week
5. Increase load following de-load weeks

It’s all probably a little abstract at this point, but the fact of the matter is that I have no idea if this program will prove to be effective or not. If it is I will write it out in an easier to comprehend format.

For the time being here are a couple of the video blogs I’ve started for the program…

Video 1: overview

Video 2: day 1