Ketogenic Update: 4 Months In and Still Making Gains

Have you ever done 4 months of anything with purpose?

If you haven’t then you are missing out on some incredible things. My first 4 months on the KETOGENIC DIET has proved that and it’s worth talking about.

When I first started  the KETOGENIC DIET (August 6, 2017) it was more of an experiment than anything. I was going to participate in the diet for a full 30 days, and do it right.

And…I did. 

I kept track of all my macros and calories, and made sure I hit my percentages every single day.

What happened?

I felt better than I have ever felt in a long time. I mean A…LONG…TIME.

Once I finished, I thought: Why not keep going?

So, I did, and now here we are four months later, training harder than ever in the GYM.

I hit two of my STRENGTH GOALS I made for the year back in mid to late October. I squatted 405 pounds and deadlifted 500 pounds while on the diet (also with no belt). This is all-while doing the ketogenic diet and keeping up with my powerlifting based training regimen.

I can say I feel stronger than ever, and have little to no aches and pains. Overall, my body is feeling great and I’m hopeful of what more I can do while on the diet. Over the next two weeks I am set to max out, as per my training routine from Mr. Eyebrows himself, Jonnie Candito, and his 6 week strength program.

I did it once already and that is where I achieved two of my strength goals in the squat and deadlift, like I just mentioned. That being said, I plan on upping my deadlift and squat again this time around by another 30 pounds in the squat, and maybe an extra 10 to 20 pounds in the deadlift.

AGAIN, all while I am on the KETOGENIC DIET.

The biggest difference is that I am CONSISTENT WITH BOTH THE DIET AND MY TRAINING.

With the exception of getting a cold last week, I have maintained my training schedule and workload, and never deviated from the diet. Well…with the exception of Thanksgiving. I went ahead and had my fair share of brownies and cookies. My stepmom made them and I had to partake, and I don’t regret it.

As soon as I did, however, I was back on the diet and back into KETOSIS within 3 days after. That said, I did have some cravings for those sweets longer than I thought I would. But, again, I just stuck to the diet and within a week I was back in it full go and feeling great.

Moving forward, I will go off the diet occasionally, but just based on that experience during Thanksgiving, I will do better in my rebound from a “CHEAT DAY” making sure to fast the next day while doing a HIIT workout to accelerate my progress back into KETOSIS to burn through my stored glycogen.

Recently, it has been interesting doing more research about the diet, and recently listening to a recent Joe Rogan Experience podcast with Dr. Shawn Baker who does the CARNIVORE DIET. As you might guess, it is a diet completely composed of all meats. Eggs and cheese too, but completely no fruits or vegetables.

Again, all KETOGENIC, but in a different style.

For those of you saying that is suicide for that man, may I point out that man is a physician for over 10 years and an athlete for over 25 years of his life. He is 6 foot 3 and 240 pounds. Anecdotal, yes, but given that there are whole communities of people who participate in the carnivore diet — AND CULTURES — I would assume there may be something to that, despite being told from the MAINSTREAM that meat, especially red meat, is horrible for you and causes heart disease. Maybe, but I think the impact carbs, especially simple carbs and sugars have on the body, is much more harmful than red meat in the long-run.

I’m not here to debate which one is right, but my point is that you should not be so CLOSE-MINDED in your approach to diet, and that is what 4 months doing KETOGENIC RIGHT has taught me.

It’s also taught me that everyone operates at their best with a diet that is unique to them. Whether that is high-carb, low-carb, ketogenic, vegan, carnivore, paleo, slow-carb, IIFYM, or anything in-between, you have to find what works and doesn’t. For me, a ketogenic diet works really good, and the best part is that my body is really adapting to perform classic glycolytic and ATP based training, like powerlifting and HIIT, which is the majority of my training, really good without carbs.

I have kept my muscle mass, improved my vascularity and muscle tone, and I’m starting to get pumps just as good as I was with carb-based diets. I think the body is an amazing organism and it will start to adapt and find ways to perform when it is forced to.

Just like how you train with heavy ass weights to get BIG, you can train your body to operate at more efficient levels of performance if you stick with something and do it like how it is intended. That’s what a good diet is supposed to do for you. OPTIMIZE your HEALTH and PERFORMANCE in the things you do.

So, for me, 4 months following a KETOGENIC DIET has been great and I plan on doing it as my base diet for the foreseeable future.

If you’d like to ask me any more in-depth questions about the ketogenic diet don’t be afraid to ask with a comment down below.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading.

Until next time, be strong and be you.

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Strength Programming Update: 2017 Quarter 2 (and thoughts on your programming)

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I finished my second strength programming cycle of the year, Quarter 2 of 4 (Mar thru May), and I’ve progressed, but have a lot to work on.

First, the good!

I got a new PR in the sumo deadlift at 475 pounds, with no belt, at ~187.5 pounds body-weight. I did try for 500 after (what the hell right?), but it was a no-go. What’s also good is that my back and knees feel good and that’s really important to me, so feeling gracious for that!

Now, the things I need to work on.

I did not get any new PR in the squat, bench press, or overhead press. Sad face 😦

This “no progress” was due to various factors. The first factor is that I strained my right shoulder, specifically my anterior deltoid. I have full range of motion (ROM), but any pressing in the transverse plane (a.k.a. the bench press) is a no-go for me. This occurred in mid April and I’m still rehabing the injury today (beginning of June). That said, however, it’s a lot better, even though I re-aggravated it coming back too soon a couple weeks ago.

The second thing is that I was training at at a higher intensity for too long than I should have, causing my body to fatigue beyond what was manageable. At the time of my program construction I failed to realize that would be the case. Beats me of how it slipped by me.

(Review my Q1 and programming for Q2 by clicking HERE)

All-in-all, progress is still progress, so I’m moving in the right direction, even though I had to put some things on hold. What’s important is that I realized my programming mistakes, and understand that moving forward.

Below is a chart below that summarizes my current stage of progress for Quarter 2 of training:

Second Quarter Programming Recap (Mar-May 2017)
Lift Starting Q1 Max (lbs.) Ending Q2 Max (lbs.) Total Increase (decrease) (lbs.)
1.      Squat 385 385 0
2.      Bench Press 295 ?
3.      Deadlift 465 475 10
4.      Overhead Press 185 ?
Totals 1340 ? 10
BODY WEIGHT 188 187.5 (~.5)

What’s next?

It’s time for me to start my new program, and I’m already into it.

What is frustrating is that I’m not sure how to progress through an injury that still needs time to heal while keeping pace with what I’m trying to do (get stronger at the same body weight). That said. I’m in a hypertrophy and conditioning stage, so I’m upping the volume and my conditioning to improve cardio endurance and also lose fat, and hopefully replace it with muscle. It’s not a lean bulk, per se, but more of a re-composition. Hard? Yes, but I know I can do it and I’m starting to feel the difference in my body already, by feeling my body be a little tighter and defined.

Regardless, I’m excited to move forward because I know my mistakes and know how to fix them. As a result, I’m going to use 5-3-1 as the base of my program while adding some additions (conditioning) to specific things that I value.

Below is what my training regimen for Quarter 3 (Jun-Aug) will look like:

Quarter 3 Training Cycle (Jun-Aug 2017)
Week Focus Adaptation
1 Volume Hypertrophy
2 Volume Hypertrophy
3 Volume Hypertrophy
4 5s Strength
5 3s Strength
6 1s Strength
7 Deload Active Recover
8 5s Strength
9 3s Strength
10 1s Strength
11 Deload Active Recover
12 Test Max
Maintain Body-weight within 187-189 lbs

As you may notice, the program is basic and simple and that’s my goal for this cycle — keep it simple. That’s why Jim Wendler created 5/3/1 in the first place. A simple program that gives you the opportunity to improve without having to think about what to do each time you go in the gym. Instead, you just work and get what you need to get done…done.

That said, I will follow the template from my own program — Lean Muscle Building — by doing a 4-day split for the big four lifts (squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press) with an extra circuit and conditioning day to make 5 total days.

Below is what my weekly workout schedule will look like (based upon my current work and life schedule):

Weekly Schedule

Sunday

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Saturday

Circuit/

conditioning

Squat Bench Press Off Deadlift Overhead Press

Off

That’s my current weekly schedule, and as I experienced before, I’ll adjust if need be.

Final Thoughts

Lastly, for your own programming it is important to keep things simple, and that was one of my biggest mistakes for my last training cycle in Q2. I think I was so excited from Q1’s training cycle that I assumed I had to make things “more complex” to keep progressing. Yes, you have to do things that challenge you in new and varied ways to continue progressing, but that does not mean you make matters more complicated than what they should be. That was my first pitfall.

My second mistake is that I was a little (maybe a lot) over confident in what I could do. It is good to have faith in yourself — absolutely — but at the same time you have to be careful you do not get carried away. Again, our ULTIMATE goal is progress, and more specifically, slow and steady progress leading to BIG CHANGES over time. That’s our goal (at least mine). I jumped the gun, and that is what lead to my setbacks.

The last area I need to improve on is recovery. Specifically, getting better and more consistent sleep. This means going to bed before 11 and having a set wake-up time everyday, even weekends. Throw in short naps where appropriate and I’ll have a better chance to recover like I should. Ultimately, you can only grow and progress from hard training based on how good your recovery is.

Recover poor and you don’t have progress (or as much).

Be consistent and you will get there. I’ll remind myself of that as I continue on.


As always, thanks for reading.

If not a subscriber, please subscribe.

Click HERE to download my free Lean Muscle Building program for strength and muscle gains.

Until next time, be strong and be you.

(Photo Credit)

Deadlift Session: Heavy Paused Singles

 

 

 

 

 

Deadlift day is one of my favorites, but also one of my most nervous days because I know it is going to be hard. I’m going to give you my most recent deadlift workout, and what a typical session looks like for me.

Without further or do, here we go.

Deadlift Session

(sets x reps x weight)

Warm-up Circuit:

  • Stairs: 10 total times (~16 total steps)
    • First 5 ran every step
    • Second 5 ran every other step
  • Kettlebell swings
    • 3 x 12 x 52.9lbs
  • Lunges
    • 3 x 10/10 x BW
  • Back extensions
    • 3 x 15/12/10 x BW
  • Barbell Row
    • 2 x 10 x 135
  • Stretch
    • Cat/camel, and stretched primarily back, legs, and hips

Deadlift Workout (conventional with no belt and no straps)

  • Warm-up sets
    • 2 x 3/1 x 135
    • 2 x 3/1 x 225
    • 2 x 3/1 x 315
  • Working Sets
    • 3 x 1 x 365 (paused)
    • 3 x 1 x 385 (paused)
    • 3 x 1 x 405 (paused)
      • 3 x 3 x 405 (last set ~20 second hold after last rep)

Deadlift Variation

  • 5 x 3 to 5 x 315 (RDLs)
  • 5 x 5 x 225 (snatch grip RDLs)

Power Clean to Front Squats:

  • 5 x 1 or 10 x 135 (tempo to paused reps, to normal reps)

Lat Pull-down:

  • 2 x 8 x 120 and 2 x 8 x 160

Core Circuit (3 rounds, 90 second rest b/w rounds)

  • Wind Shield wipers (on ground and hands on side)
    • x 10
  • V-up (with knees bent)
    • x 10
  • Flutter kicks
    • x 10 (counted one, two, three, 1, one, two, three, 2…)

Stretching

  • Full body with emphasis on hips, back, legs, and shoulder complex

That’s it!

My emphasis on this day was variation, and I took it as heavy as I could within the limits of my programming.

(Click HERE to learn more about my current programming).

I focused on the conventional deadlift today as opposed to the sumo, which is my dominant style. Adding the paused variation was a good challenge, but it felt really good. My primary goal in lifting is to become as proficient as possible in the lift, and that is why I was doing heavy paused singles. This way I can ensure the best technique possible minimizing breakdown and injury, while building the strength effect I am aiming for to get closer to my goal of deadlifting 500 raw.

In case you are wondering, I like to do some sort of circuit to warm-up my body, regardless of what lift I’m doing for the day. This way I get my body temperature up and blood flowing fast, and I think it primes my body better to lift, in addition at being more efficient with my time. I’ve been doing this for the past couple months, and it really has helped jump-start my workouts and get me ready like I need to be.

This made the workout feel great, and then after I added variation to my working deadlift sets to mix things up, and train certain muscles and parts of the deadlift further (i.e. the hamstrings and glutes to better lock out at the top — a sticking point in the lift).

Following this, I did some minor accessory movements as the end, with a core circuit to finish things off good.

I tried not to push it too hard, since I tweaked my right shoulder earlier in the week after benching. It has been giving me some trouble since Tuesday, but that said, it felt pretty good during this session last Thursday. All-in-all good progress and I felt strong, especially since my sleeping schedule was thrown off earlier in the week.

That said, let me know what you think about my training, and what you are focusing on with your lifting and what programming you are doing.

As always, thanks for stopping by, and if not a subscriber please subscribe.

Until next time, be strong and be you!

Strength Programming Update: 2017 Quarter 1

Hey guys!

I’ve completed my first programming cycle of the year and it feels great!

I hit new PRs for every lift, and the best part is that my body is healthy and not too beat up. I’ve put in a lot of work inside and outside of the gym for that to happen and it’s paying dividends.

To recap, below is a table chart of where I started 2017 and where I stand right now after my first training cycle of 2017.

First Quarter Programming Recap (Jan-Feb 2017)
Lift Starting Max (lbs.) Ending Max (lbs.) Total Increase (lbs.)
1.      Squat 355 385 30
2.      Bench Press 275 295 20
3.      Deadlift 445 465 20
4.      Overhead Press 185 195 10
Totals 1260 1340 100
BODY WEIGHT 187 188 ~1-1.5

To illustrate this training cycle I’m in right now reference the table below.Now, that I have my first quarter out of the way (yes, I know I ended my first training cycle early – 8 weeks instead of 12), but I’m already in the next cycle, and so far it is a grind, but going good.

Mar – May 2017 Training Cycle (total weeks: 12)
Week Focus
Weeks 1-2 – March Hypertrophy
Weeks 3-4 – March Traditional 5×5, Variation
Weeks 5-6 – April Triples, Variation
Weeks 7-8 – April Mix
Weeks 9-10 – May Doubles, Variation
Weeks 11-12 – May Peak
 

As you can see from the table above, this training cycle will be 12 weeks, or 3 months, instead of 8 weeks (or 2 months). I’ve broken the cycle into segments each having its own focus. That said, like with anything, I will modify it on an as-need basis if anything comes up or I think it is better to change things up (i.e. getting sick, switching focus for a particular time period, etc.).

It will be interesting to see how this training cycle goes as opposed to the first one of the year, since this cycle will be 12 weeks instead of 8.

Also, this training cycle I will try a better job at tightening my focus for each particular week making things a bit more consistent. This week I am doing the traditional 5×5 style and next week I will focus on variation of the 5×5 model. For example, in the squat I may choose a front squat or pause squat as variation instead of trying to go heavier in the normal 5×5 style in each lift. This way I feel I can keep things consistent, and do a better job at challenging my body and progressing more and more each week (even if it is just a baby step forward).

At the end of the day, progress is all that matters to me, so as long as I am moving forward and getting stronger in some way that is all I care about.

I believe progression is number 1, no matter what the goal, so I encourage you to do the same and keep getting stronger.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading, and if not a subscriber please subscribe.

If you are interested in learning more about my training style, have a question, or interested in working with me please comment below or email me at builtfromstrength@gmail.com, and I will get back to you right away.

If you have not already, click HERE to download my LEAN MUSCLE BUILDING program free. This is the base program I’m using right now for my training cycles, and if you are knew to lifting and getting stronger, it is a great place to start.

Until next time, be strong and be you!

Should You Workout Fasted…MY EXPERIENCE

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Working out or training fasted.

  • Does it work for fat lost?
  • Does it hinder your strength and burn your muscle?
  • Is it even safe?

I’m sure if you’ve been working out for awhile you have probably heard some talk regarding this subject and these questions.

With that said, I am not here to present a body of evidence for or against fasted exercise, although I do advocate it. All I will do is give you my honest experience training fasted, and the results from it, giving you a new perspective allowing you to determine whether or not it is worth trying for you.

Yes, my experience is anecdotal evidence, but that does not make it useless.

At one time, or another, everything that has been studied in the fitness arena has been anecdotal. That’s why there are studies because someone says this or that works and it is then studied. That said, use my experience for what it’s worth: my experience.

My Fasted Training

Over the last 4 years, I have worked out in a fasted state regularly.

What exactly is considered a fasted state?

To me, fasting is not eating anything for 8 hours or more.

For example, if you stopped eating at 9:00pm and had breakfast the next day at 7:00am, then you would have fasted for 10 hours.

With that said, I have trained fasted for as much as 3 to 4 times per week (currently, I am training twice a week fasted) for approximately the last 4 years. These fasted workouts are the same type of workouts I do if I wasn’t fasting. I’m lifting heavy weights, pushing myself as hard as I can, and not going light.

What has my experience been like?

It’s been great.

How do I measure that?

I measure that based on my level of strength week-to-week, my body composition (weight and body fat percentage), and just how I feel overall the rest of the day compared to other days I do not work out fasted.

I know some of that measure is subjective, but measure nonetheless. During my time training fasted, I’ve kept my level of strength, improved it, and increased my lean muscle mass, as well as endurance.

How do I do I train fasted?

Typically, the night before I exercise fasted, I stop eating anywhere from 8 to 10pm, based upon my current schedule. I typically wake around 7am, and arrive at the gym from 8:30 to 9am. Between that time, I hydrate as soon as I wake by drinking lots of water, usually 32 to 50 ounces, and do some light stretching and mobility exercises before the gym. Next, I drink a branched chain amino acid (BCAA) supplement before I leave.

Once I arrive to the gym, I do my warm-up routine and start my workout. During my workout, I’ll drink plenty of fluids and take more BCAAs to keep going hard until the end. After my workout, I might take more BCAAs or, finally, break my fast and eat a protein bar or my post workout meal (it all depends).

Importance of BCAAs

Image result for bcaa scivation

Now, let me explain to you why I take BCAAs while training fasted.

I’m sure many of you have your own opinion on them, but I do believe they are a supplement worth taking, especially if you are going to work out fasted.

BCAAs are the amino acids that first break down when you start to workout once your muscle begins to break down. They are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and are essential amino acids. This means they must be obtained through the diet (virtually in all major sources of protein, like any meat, eggs, etc.) and/or supplementation. BCAAs have been heavily studied and have shown to have positive influence on protein synthesis, adding lean muscle mass, and in some instances fighting fatigue during a workout.

(Click HERE  and HERE to learn more about BCAAs and studies on them).

From working out fasted and not taking them, to working out fasted and taking them, I do 100% feel a difference.

For example, if I do not take them I notice that I cannot train with as much as intensity. I feel weaker, have less endurance, and do not get as good of a pump if I skip out on them while training fasted. In contrast, when I take them fasted and workout I feel much more alive, energetic, my endurance and strength are at expected levels, and I get a better pump. A noticeable difference.

How do I know?

Lots of experimentation with myself.

Keyword: MYSELF.

This is what works out for me, and taking BCAAs helps me maximize my fasted workouts. I cannot feel weak and not get the work in that I need to, especially if I am going to lift heavy. I do not want any excuses holding me back. I have repeatedly got new PRs training fasted, and BCAAs are a critical factor in that.

The video below is me hitting a new all-time squat PR last week at 385 pounds around 188 pounds body weight (and beltless!).

The squat felt great, even though I had to grind it out. No issues with my back, and all while training fasted with BCAAs.

Fasted Training Benefits

The reason why I train fasted are many, but below are the main reasons why:

  • I want to stimulate fat loss.
  • I want to challenge my body to perform at different times.
  • It is more convenient for me.
  • I think it helps increase glucose sensitivity, and elevate testosterone and growth hormone production.
  • It helps boosts my metabolism, and maintain a healthy weight for me.

(Click HERE to learn more about fasted training benefits and how to start, and HERE for an interesting insulin study comparing fasted and non-fasted workouts).

For me, all these benefits are great, and the number one reason why I do fasted workouts is to help stimulate fat-loss and control my weight. The difference is astounding to me, and I love it. I feel leaner afterwards, and I notice that I can keep my weight under control a lot more when I do consistent fasted workouts.

The one thing you and I must do, however, is keep your fasted workouts and the routine you do to prepare for them consistent.

This way, I think, you will have more success in maximizing the benefits of training fasted, while progressing like you want during your training.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of your experience with fasted workouts, I suggest you re-evaluate your thoughts and give it a shot.

Again, the worst thing you could do is be scared of training fasted. Keep your preparation routines consistent, and prioritize and/or schedule your days to where it fits your calendar. For example, trying intermittent fasting (or feasting, depending how you look at it) will aid in your pursuit of training fasted.

Is it a one-all solution to exponentially improve muscle building, strength, endurance, etc.?

No, but I DO THINK you can feel a significant and positive difference if you do it right.

That is why I highly recommend giving it a shot. It may feel draining at first, but if you make sure to hydrate, take a solid BCAA supplement (I take a brand called Scviation), and do it earlyish in the morning, I think you will really come to like it.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading. If it calls you please comment down below, and if not a subscriber please subscribe.

Until next time, be strong and be you!

(Photo Credit: Main photo)

(Photo Credit: BCAA)

Free Strength and Muscle Building Program and an Outline to Smash Your Strength Goals

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In the past 6 months, I have really tried to be much more methodical and organized in my approach to get stronger and lift more weight.

Before then, all I really tried to do was lift heavy with no particular approach, and was haphazardly moving from one programming style, like 5×5 or 5-3-1, to the next, and hoping to hit a goal in any one of the big lifts (squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press). It had some good results for awhile, but I noticed that I was hitting plateaus like crazy, and finding it hard to get stronger, despite battling injuries for the past few years.

As a result, I figured there had to be a better way, so I really sat down and started to program things, and developed my own basic approach after trying different ways of lifting, and actually sticking with it.

Following my own program, I hit new PRs in the back squat, strict overhead press, sumo deadlift (I do sumo the majority of the time because of my back), and incline bench press totaling over 130 pounds in six months. I added 40 pounds to my back squat, 30 pounds for my strict overhead press, 40 pounds to my sumo deadlift, and 20 pounds to my incline bench press (I typically like to do incline more than flat, based on preference and passed injuries).

These are the before and after numbers:

Progress on Lean Muscle Building Programming

Lift

Start Finish

Total Increase

1.    Squat (beltless)

315

355

40

2.    Sumo Deadlift (beltless)

405

445

40

3.   Incline Bench Press (beltless)

255

275

20

4.    Strict Overhead Press (beltless)

155

185

30

Max Totals

1130

1260

130

Weight (in pounds) 182 188
Body Fat % 14.00 13.50
Time Frame: August 2016 to January 2017

In addition, I added about 6 to 8 pounds of muscle to my frame (started at ~182lbs an now I’m ~188lbs), and dropped one-half percent of body fat, from 14.0% to 13.5%.

I know these results sound absurd — to a degree they are — but let me provide you context about me, regarding my lifting career, and past injuries to evaluate this progress, from August 2016 to present:

  • I first lifted a barbell when my Dad bought me a bench and weight set at 14 years old.
  • I started doing all of the “Big 3” lifts (back squat, deadlift, and bench press) when I was 17 because I wanted to play football my senior year of high school (and I did — I played offensive guard, despite my shortness, lol).
  • I dislocated my right knee at 14 years old, and then subluxed (partial dislocation) the same knee at 15, dislocated it again at 17, and then one more time at 18. Finally, at age 22, I had arthroscopic surgery on my right knee to take out loose bodies, and clean out damaged cartilage and tissue. (Glad I did because it feels so much better! Shout out to Great Basin Orthopaedics in Reno, NV for my surgery.).
  • I experienced a grade 2 sprain on my right shoulder labrum when I was 17, during football practice (ended my season…booo).
  • I suffered a grade 2 sprain on my left pectoralis minor when I was 18, while trying to bench press.
  • In December of 2013, at age 21, I severely strained my lower back, possibly herniating a disc in my lumbar spine, most likely between L2 down to L4 (one of those). (Click HERE to learn more about my back and my rehab process here).
  • After my back injury, I did not try heavy lifting for 4 months, then a total of 9 more months after re-aggravating the injury, and participated in mostly body-weight exercises, light weights, circuits, and running, during that time (roughly July 2014 to March 2015).
  • I begin lifting again at 23 (around late March/early April 2015), testing myself slowly and paying big attention to relearning and locking in technique.
  • After my whole experience, obsessive self study, becoming a certified personal trainer, and having clients of my own, I started my own program during August/September 2016, after planning it in late May through July 2016.

That is the basic time-line for me and my lifting career, so I really only consider myself a serious lifter for the last 6 months, despite lifting consistently for almost the last 2 years (after my back injury). In my own opinion, it may be 10 years since I started lifting, but I am only in the beginning intermediate stage at best as a lifter (I measure lifter based on strength in the lifts, and by knowledge and technique practiced).

That said, I used myself as a guinea pig for this program I put together, and wanted to offer this program to everyone starting to lift, or at the beginning stages of their intermediate stage, in their lifting career.

My program I’m sharing with you is completely free, and a guide to get you started to making more strength and muscle gains.

DOWNLOAD MY FREE STRENGTH and MUSCLE BUILDING PROGRAM BY CLICKING this link: Lean Muscle Building.

lean-muscle-building-cover-page
What’s in the Program?

In the program, you’ll find basic principles about building muscle and strength, along with how to warm-up, recover, maintain your body, and what to generally eat to get stronger. I also give you freedom in the program to incorporate varying levels of weights used, and variations to the main lifts, like front or pause squats, stiff-legged or Romanian deadlifts, and pendlay barbell rows.

I wanted my program to be flexible, as to factor in for individual concerns, levels of strength and technique, and add excitement to your training, in which you can build the most muscle and strength while using it. 

Again, my program is free because I want it to be that way, since I care about helping everyone out there avoid my mistakes, and understand basic knowledge that will help you in the early to mid early stages of your lifting career.

Extra: Strength Outline Progression

In addition to the free strength and muscle program giveaway, I want to share what I saw strongman athlete BRIAN ALSRUHE explain on YouTube in his most recent video.

(Click HERE to watch his programming method, and please subscribe to his channel because he has some of the best content out there for strength, conditioning, programming, and building strength).

In his video, Brian explains how to structure your basic programming progress for the year.

If you do not have time to watch the video (almost 25 minutes, but worth the watch), I encourage you to watch it later, but for the time being I’ve broken it down using MY PERSONAL NUMBERS, and added a few extra elements in the table below.

2017 Program Progression
Lift Current/Goal Max (in lbs.) Avg. Q max ↑ in weight Q1

(Jan-Mar)

Q2

(Apr-Jun)

Q3

(Jul-Sep)

Q4

(Oct-Dec)

1.    Squat 355/405 13 368 381 394 405
2.    Deadlift 445/500 14 459 473 487 500
3.    Bench       Press 275/315 10 285 295 305 315
4.    Overhead Press 185/225 10 195 205 215 225
Big 3 Total (current/goal): 1075/1220
Big 4 Total (current/goal): 1260/1445
Current body weight/body fat %: 188lbs/13.5%
Goal body weight/body fat %: 190-195lbs/12.0-12.5%

The table you see above is my current strength goal outline for 2017. Everything you see in there is what I’m lifting right now, and what I plan to hit throughout the year broken up by quarter (each quarter is 3 months and that is why there are 4).

With these goals, I also have other goals, like achieving a specific body weight and body fat percentage. For me, that is important, so that is why I have it there (I encourage you to do so also). I value conditioning and athletic movements, in addition to lifting heavy like a powerlifter, so that may impact my strength and goal numbers, but I think if I do it right, I will be fine.

The Lean Muscle Building program I put together has these athletic and conditioning elements integrated into the program, so it is not like it is something entirely new (although I do plan on adding some extra conditioning elements to most workouts, and I encourage you to add any extra work that you need the most help with, and what is most valuable to you).

I must also note from Brian’s video, he explains depending on the stage of your development, as in beginner to advanced lifter stages, you will have different strength goals and rates of progress. For instance, if you are a beginner you will typically have a faster rate of increase. In contrast, if you’re an intermediate to advanced lifter then you’re rate of progress will be in smaller increments and less overall, since you most likely have bigger numbers.

Final Thoughts

Lastly, I will note that all the things you do outside of training, such as getting good nutrition, rest, having proper recovery, and all that good stuff is essential to your rate of progress.

If you fail outside the gym you will fail in the gym. Period.

Ultimately, the level of consistent work and dedication you put into it will be the deciding factor on your rate of progress.

What will help you is a program to guide you, and that is why I made this program for you: to serve as a guide to get stronger and build lean muscle.

I encourage you to EMAIL me any questions at builtfromstrength@gmail.com for any questions about the Lean Muscle Building program, or any question you may have about getting stronger, adding muscle, losing weight, or anything else of that nature.

(Visit my contact page HERE and my about page HERE).

AGAIN, IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY, PLEASE CLICK HERE to DOWNLOAD THE PROGRAM.

As always, thanks again for stopping by and reading, and if not a subscriber, please subscribe.

Until next time, be strong and be you!

Sunday Morning Hybrid Workout: Circuit Conditioning and Power

Image result for tire flips

Sunday workouts are some of my favorite. For one, it’s a day where I’m off from training clients and work, and a time where I can put extra attention into my training and not worry about being on call.

It’s also a “hybrid” day for me.

I say that because it’s a day where I get to put what I’ve done the other 4 days of training (mostly powerlifting, bodybuilding, and power training) and put it into action. I do a lot of cross-training that are filled with circuits, strongman training, and conditioning.

I’ll do things like tire flips, push heavy sleds, carry heavy dumbbells for farmer walks, work with kettlebells, use circuit bodyweight training, and run stairs or do sprints. It’s definitely a fun day for me, and definitely can be more challenging than others.

With that said, I wanted to share what I did this morning with you, so you can maybe get some ideas of what to do for your own hybrid day and share ideas with me.

Here it goes!

Sunday Hybrid Workout

Warm-up:

  • Mobility stretching with resistance band, mainly working on thoracic extension and shoulder mobility.
  • Series of dead hangs from pull-up bar, for further shoulder mobility.
  • Mobility exercises and stretches for back/hip, including cats-camels, McKenzie Press, and couch stretch (check out my back warm-up routine for my back by clicking HERE).
  • Stair running at moderate intensity for full-body warm-up — 5 minutes.

Exercise Part I: Circuit Conditioning

Bodyweight circuit for 5 rounds. 1 round is below:

  1. 25 push-ups
  2. 10 pull-ups
  3. 15 body squats
  4. 25 flutter kicks

Parameters for circuit outlined below:

  • 5 total rounds with 60-90 second rest between rounds
  • Alternate push-up and pull-up stance/grip: narrow, neutral, wide, neutral, narrow
  • Body squats to full depth and controlled
  • Flutter kicks counted as up-down-up-down equals 1 flutter kick

Exercise Part 2: Full Body Endurance

I usually perform some sort of full body movement, like tire flips, farmer carries, etc for multiple sets. Today, I did front squats.

Front squats:

  • 5 sets of 10 reps with 90 second rest or less between sets.
  • First 4 sets 135 pounds, last set at 155 pounds.
  • I power cleaned the first rep and then performed 10 front squats.

Exercise Part 3: Power

Part 3 is usually some sort of power movement. For me, it typically involves power cleans, hang cleans, snatches, or even tire flips. Today I did heavy hang cleans in singles.

Hang Cleans and Push-jerk:

  • 5 sets at 155 for 1
  • 3 sets at 185 for 1
  • 3 sets at 205 for 1
  • 3 sets at 135 for 5

Extra:

Push-ups:

  • Divided into 4 sets of 25 with varying stance performed within less than 3 minutes.

Exercise Part 4: Conditioning

Part 4 is usually some sort of conditioning. I’ll either work on one thing with variations, or combine different things. Today I worked on running stairs.

Stairs:

  • Used one flight of stairs at my gym.
  • Did 3 total rounds
  • 1 round consisted of running up the stairs 10 total times. First 5 times I ran up every step (think high knees) and last 5 I ran up every other step.
  • 60 seconds rest between rounds.
  • Rounds 2 and 3 I did with no rest.

That’s it!

I would have did more, but I had to leave because I had to get in church in time (ended watching it online, so oh well, haha).

Overall, great workout and I felt great afterwards.

Now,what do you do, and do you have any thoughts on what I did?  Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment down below.

As always, thanks for stopping by and reading.

Until next time be strong and be you.

(Photo Credit)