You spoke, and I listened. The series, “Your Monday Moment of Zen” in which I splatter together a bunch of links to cool stuff and my own musings on any topic under the sun was far more popular than I’d thought.
I’d started them as a weekly thing, then I tried to shift them over to a monthly thing because I thought I’d be able to fill them up a little better that way. I was wrong. Switching to a monthly version made them totally unruly.
Not only was it nearly impossible to manage all that material over the course of a month, it became unmanageable to read! People were telling me it was taking them over a week to get through it all.
Now … they were saying this in a positive tone, as a way of complimenting me on collecting such a cool list of stuff. But in practice that implies most people just couldn’t work their way through that much stuff at once.
The beast finally got away from me as I was finishing up the writing of my book.
What is cool is the shear number of emails I’ve been getting over the last few months from long-time readers asking me where the in Hell M.M.Z went!?
So, I’m bringing this series back in its original form. A weekly wrap up of what I’ve been reading, watching, thinking about, and anything else that comes to mind.
Sometimes you get things right the first time, and it’s best not to muddy them up too much!
Zen Quote of the Week
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” — Ancient Zen Saying
This Week in the World of Weightlifting
I’ll start with some jazz that’s going on in my own sphere then branch out.
Let me tell you, 2012 is going to be a BIG year here at the Iron Samurai. You’ve been hearing me hint about some cool projects in the works for some time now, and those projects are starting to come into fruition.
One of the biggest being the project Michael Hartman and I are putting together. It’s got a number of phases, the first of which is coming out this month. (Keep an eye out!)
In fact, February is the starting place for a good many of these projects, and I’ve been CRAZY busy. Seriously, I’m working my tail off to get this stuff done because I’m so excited about it all. (If you can’t tell, I love what I do for a living!)
Nick Horton and Peter Curcio have started a new Podcast called High Octane Body. It’s a podcast primarily focussed on fat loss. Peter (Who’s weightlifting name is Petarski – he’s the guy in the image above) is one of my closest friends, business partners, and the guy who I run my fat loss programs with when I’m in the offline world. We’ve totally revamped our programs and are really excited about what’s going on.
We want to bring our approach outside the walls of the gym. A Podcast is a great way to do that.
I know it isn’t normal for a weightlifting coach to also really enjoy coaching people for fat loss. But, I am anything but normal! I love that when you help someone who really does need to lose a lot of weight, learn to workout correctly, dial in some basics of diet, that you are making a true life changing difference.
It could literally save their life.
Obesity is a serious issue we’re all facing. We may or may not be overweight ourselves. But we all love a lot of people who are, and who need us to help guide them.
I’ve said this before: You and I are part of the 1% of people in the first world who honestly do LOVE to lift weights and exercise. We sometimes falsely accuse other people of simply being lazy. But, I think the issue goes deeper than that. So many people will wake up one day after 20+ years of inactivity to find themselves so far down a hole of ill-health that they have no idea where to start. It is a huge emotional bind they find themselves in. The only way to help to guide them out of it is to approach them with a sense of compassion and understanding that is far too lacking by many of the 1%, in my opinion.
Besides, it doesn’t hurt my mission to make Olympic lifting “Mainstream” by getting out there and evangelizing to people who may not have ever even heard of a snatch … at least not THAT kind of snatch!!
JC Deen and Roger Lawson II have started their own podcast. In their first episode they go over their own back stories and how and why they got into fitness training in the first place.
JC Deen and Roger Lawson II are featured in an article at Forbes outlining the new breed of online fitness coaches. Given that I’m a part of that crowd, it spoke to me.
JC exists at the vanguard of a new generation of trainers who have sprung up online – willing to help both experienced lifters and those that don’t have a clue what a barbell is, let alone how to bench, squat or deadlift. In the past, one would only be able to side with a trainer in an established gym and hope they’d know what they were doing (and actually want you to succeed).
I’m a HUGE new-media freak, as is rather obvious to you, LOL. And the reason is because it allows us to reach out to a massive community of like-minded people we’d never have met without the internet and social media.
I obviously believe in in-person coaching, and I love it. (I DO own a gym!) But, I also STRONGLY believe in giving people options and access. The net allows us all to connect and build community in a way unheard of just a few decades ago.
PDX Weightlifting and Elite Performance Center here in Portland are running a combo Olympic weightlifting AND Powerlifting competition on the last weekend of March. Stay tuned for that.
Yes, we ARE allowing people to compete in both and attain a super total. Grueling? Yes. Awesome? Super Yes!
Chris Duffin, my friend and coach of Elite Performance Center (above) here in Portland – a kick-ass Powerlifting gym – has started a new blog, and has an interesting piece on the Gift of Average Genetics.
So what exactly is the gift of average genetics? The gift is you always have to work for every inch of progress you have made. You learned early on about incremental gains and hard work. From the first time in the gym or on the sporting field you had to work, sweat, bleed, and then do it all again just to make some measly progress. The same progress that some gifted natural athlete had just walking on the field. These small gains however are consistent and build upon each other. This is a basic psychological system that rewards your hard work, sweat, and blood. With this reward mechanism you stay at it year after year.
I can tell you, the laziest people I’ve ever met are very often those with the greatest talent. It’s the Tortoise and the Hair problem …
If you grow up your whole life beating everyone around you without having to work very hard, then you often never learn HOW to be disciplined.
Now, of course, the very few people who combine great genes with great motivation and work ethic will be the Donny Shankle’s of the world. Speaking of …
Donny Shankle Rips the head off of a Goddamned Lion:
Chris Duffin. Check out this video of him killing 495 pounds … on the one-arm deadlift! 1 rep? 2 reps? Nope. 5 reps! (By the way, Chris is otherwise known as the Kabuki Warrior … The Iron Samurai and the Kabuki Warrior, eh? Portland breads a funny brand of strength athlete!)
Bret Contreras has created a new challenge he calls The Sexy Challenge which is a complex of 5 exercise that you do (mostly) back-to-back for max reps. Like me, he’s a big lover of what I call the “big three” of lower body training: Front Squats + Romanian Deadlifts + Hip Thrusts. So those make up the first three. The 4th and 5th exercises are the Incline Bench and Chin Up.
Bret kicked ass on the RDL’s. I think I can smoke him on the Front Squats, LOL. But, that’s the only exercise I’m super confident in. (I’m getting very close to a double body weight front squat, btw – which only requires that I get 5 kilos less than my old max when I was bigger. 5 kilos to go!)
Here’s my plan: I’m going to finish each weeks workout with The Sexy Challenge (or some close cousin) on Fridays for the next 4 weeks. Given that the exercises are ones I’m doing anyway, it just is a matter of going for reps rather than maxing out.
At least one of those Fridays, I’d like to get 100 reps and be able to call myself “Dead Sexy” 😉
You should join me!
Rob Addel Snatches 170k. If you think this man looks impressive on video, I can tell you he looks twice as large in person! (See my write up our time at Average Broz gym for the Las Vegas Open last month.)
John Romaniello gives a breakdown of the most popular IF (Intermittent Fasting) styles.
The benefits of IF vary from hormonal management to caloric reduction and decreased hunger, and which benefits are prioritized will be dependent on which “type” of IF you use.
In this article, I’ll give you a complete analysis of the most popular IF styles currently discussed in the fitness world, benefits and drawbacks, as well as my own personal experience.
Roman’s got a great approach with this stuff, plus, he’s just a funny and very genuine dude.
Ruslan Albegov of Russia does a 210k snatch and makes it look like a joke!
Nia Shanks goes off on a food rant.
Look, I acknowledge that everyone would be better off if they never consumed sugar or fake sugar ever again, for the rest of their lives. I also believe we would all be healthier if we grew our own food in natural, optimal conditions and only consumed grass-fed meat, wild caught fish, free range poultry and eggs, raw dairy, and other free range meats. (Get resources for purchasing these items locally can be found here).
Adding to that, ideally everyone would get at least 20 minutes of direct sunlight every single day, and only drink water that cascaded down the peaks of the snowy Rocky Mountains, and lived in pollution-free areas. Trust me, I could go on and on about “ideal” situations, eating habits, and living environments.
But the truth is, it’s not realistic for most people to follow those guidelines every day for the rest of their life, and so I won’t suggest such a thing. And obviously, many of those suggestions aren’t the least bit practical for some individuals. Setting unrealistic goals leads to aggravation and unnecessary stress.
AMEN. I couldn’t agree with her more! One of the whole reasons Peter and I are starting our High Octane Body podcast is to promote the idea of chilling the frak out about this stuff. You don’t have to be perfect. Not even close. Just stick to a few basics and you’re golden. Overcomplicating this stuff is causing a lot of paralysis by analysis. That HAS to stop.
(By the way, I’m working on a guest post for Nia that you weightlifting ladies will definitely want to keep an eye out for. I’m writing it for (and in support of) you.)
Lu Xiaojun of China does some core work. I don’t recommend you follow his lead, but it does play into the joke we have in my club that the Chinese team has never met an exercise they didn’t like!
Adam Stoffa makes me want to buy a titanium spork. Yes, you read that correctly!
Doug is also a member of the brotherhood of titanium spork owners. This is the ultimate in high tech silver titanium-ware. Doug has his spork fastened with a tactical lanyard for extra security. Whether you’re at the kitchen table or sitting on the edge of a cliff, you don’t want to risk inadvertently dropping this kind of gear and losing it. Sure his spork helps him eat right, but boys and girls, if you want to grow up to be be big and strong like Doug don’t forget your daily dose of iron.
Rob Addel does a 272.5 kilo Back Squat – that’s 2.8 times his bodyweight.
Rog Law gives you 10+ Ways to Rock 2012’s Face Off. I particularly like this one:
Create movement. Create time. Create relationships. Create the life you want.
Mikhail Koklyaev discusses squat technique. Ya … it’s in Russian, but who cares!
(Hat tip: All Things Gym)
All Things Gym has a recap of one of the greatest battle in Olympic Weightlifting ever between Naim Suleymanoglu and Valerios Leonidis, two super champions!
Niam and my step dad used to hang out together actually because my step dad was on the Bulgarian national gymnastics team, they’re the same age, and they lived in the same basic complex. Pretty cool … I’m going to have to call in that favor at some point so that I can meet him!
Here’s a vid:
If you want the judges to be on your side, DON’T do this!