David Allen

I blame Kevin Costner. He made it seem cool to steal from people when he played Robin Hood in the Prince of Thieves movie. In that time period, if you were wealthy it was because you were born into wealth. Unfortunately that same mindset has made it’s way into modern times. While financial success does hinge on opportunity and some people are afforded more opportunities than others, the beautiful thing about this country is that everyone has the ability to raise their current status. Despite this fact, some people believe that everyone who is more successful than them only got there through the oppression of others. Rich people are assholes and taking their money is a good thing (thanks Kevin!). The method of theft has gotten a little more complex over the years and now instead of using bows, arrows, and swords people can just use their votes. While I understand the need for taxes, it’s gotten a little crazy since I opened my own business. Here are the taxes I currently pay:

  • City Property Tax
  • County Property Tax
  • City Personal Property Tax
  • County Personal Property Tax
  • Payroll Tax
  • Sales Tax (when purchasing)
  • Sales and Use Tax (when selling)
  • Self Employment Tax
  • Income Tax
  • Capital Gains Tax

If just my property taxes were cut in half, I could give my entire front desk staff a 35% increase in their hourly pay. But oh well, such is the cost of doing business. However, that is not what this blog is about. This is about the ways in which you can steal from me and other small businesses like me right now! You don’t even have to wait till election season.

Everything Below Has Actually Happened….This Week

Let Your Friends In For Free

While I’m sure you understand that businesses have expenses, businesses also need to understand that you have expenses too. Businesses can’t really expect you to pay for their product and services can they? Of course not. So when a business has some stupid policy like a guest fee, you should just ignore it. I mean, I know they said it was on the honor system and all and they seem pretty good about letting you bring in friends to check out the gym, but none the less, $10 can buy you a tall boy and a bag of chips so why waste it on something else. This guy below has the right idea.

View post on imgur.com

Undercut Their Prices

The next time you go to a steak house, take your grill, set it up in the lobby and offer to cook steak for half the price the restaurant is charging to the people who are walking in. Think about it, you’ll still make a profit and you won’t be burdened with all the other expenses or hassles of running your own business. In fact, take cash or paypal payments from your “family and friends” and you won’t even have to worry about paying taxes like those suckers who own the business. If that seems like too much of a hassle, just come to NBS and start offering your services to people at a cheaper rate. You’ve got a target market at your finger tips. Money in the bank!

Steal Their Intellectual Property

The only potential road block to cooking your own steaks or doing training, nutrition, or programming for someone on the side at NBS is that people may or may not think you’re good at what you do. So, take the time, spend the money and work with one or more of their trainers. Get a few of their workout routines or nutrition templates and then just sell that to people! It would be foolish to go through all the work they did to create it when you can just steal it and sell it yourself. And again…no taxes!

Don’t Pay Your Invoices

Look if a business is stupid enough to sell you their services without running a credit report on you, then they don’t deserve to be paid in full. So, if you actually go into that steak house, be sure to enjoy a nice steak and some wine but not the whole thing. Then bounce before the waiter or waitress has time to give you the bill. If they catch you in the parking lot, just tell them that you didn’t even finish the steak or wine and that being asked to still have to pay for it is bullshit. Another good way is to go to NBS and sign up for a membership but then just stop paying. Your keyfob will get shut off but if you signed up for the year contract and only paid your bill for 4 months who cares? You saved $60! Granted they’re going to spend a lot of time and energy trying to contact you about your failure to pay (which you should definitely ignore) and eventually they’ll send you to collections (when they do this, just call and cuss them out) but let’s be honest, your credit sucks already so what’s a little more bad credit gonna do. The best part? The owner gets an email for every failed credit card payment each morning. That rich asshole and his staff have to sift through every one of them to contact you and try to get you to pay, hahahaha suckers!

Remember, from a moral standpoint, stealing is very circumstantial. And who hasn’t pretended to be the Kevin Costner version of Robin Hood? I know I have

We were recently nominated for Memphis Best Health Club by the Commercial Appeal and we ended up making it into the top 3 nominees which got us the invitation to The Memphis Most Banquet last Wednesday night. It was a honor to be a part of the event and to know that we were able to make it into the top 3 best facilities in Memphis. Unfortunately we didn’t win the category which was between YMCA, ATC, and NBS (guess the key is to using your initials in your name). Even though we didn’t win, what I thought was really cool is this:

ATC has 14 locations in the mid-south area with several thousand members per location.

YMCA has 12 locations in the mid-south and an even higher number of members per location than ATC.

NBS has one location with only about 450 clients.

That is a statement to all of the NBS Fitness family who believed in this facility enough to take their time to vote us into the top 3 best facilities in the city. It was a bit of a David versus Goliath competition and while we might not have won this round, we at least rattled their cages. Till next year…

What is failure?

Failure is inevitable. Failure is life. Show me someone who doesn’t have a bag full of failures that they can pull from and I will show you someone who hasn’t done anything worth a damn. Failure is an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, to do it better the next time. Failing is vital to winning. And that is the distinction between failing and losing. Losing is a finished state, there is no coming back from it. If you fail to convert on third down in a football game, you can learn and adjust to increase your chances of success the next time you need to convert on third down. But if you lose, the game is over.

Everyone Has What it Takes, Some People Just Don’t Use It

My time in the fitness world has allowed me to experience a lot of failure, a large amount my own, some from clients, the rest from people I know. And while failure is an opportunity to learn, for some, they let it become an opportunity to lose, or worse…quit. I don’t know what causes this mentality. Is it biological, something that is inherent in a person’s DNA, something they have no control over? Is it environmental, where during their development they were rewarded for quitting instead of trying again, harder? I’m not sure what the answer is. However, I do know two things for a fact:

  • Everyone has the physical ability to push harder
  • A small minority have the mental ability to push harder

This is true up and down the spectrum of intensity. I recently interviewed a SEAL buddy of mine named JP Dinnell on my podcast (The Iron and Lead Podcast) and he said that despite the military’s best efforts to better prepare candidates for BUD/S training the only way to get more SEALs is to take more candidates. You can’t improve the drop out rate, some people are going to quit and some people aren’t. Period. On the other end of the spectrum, a minority of people are going to be able to succeed when they begin a new exercise regimen, try a new diet, or start a new years resolution and the large majority will not. Love it. Hate it. It is what it is.

Define Your Own Success

What you consider failure, what you consider winning or losing is up to you. For some, winning is giving up regular soda in place of diet soda, for others winning is hitting a new PR in the gym or on the road, and for others winning is completing an IronMan Triathlon or being in the record books. But like I stated above, regardless of what your goals, somewhere along the way you’re going to fail. And how you respond to that failure will ultimately determine whether or not you find your eventual success or throw in the towel. Understanding why you failed is the first step in learning from that failure and ensuring it won’t happen again. Here are the 4 reasons you will fail:

You Won’t Accept Self Responsibility

Truthfully, this is the foundation for pretty much this entire article. Every other reason points back to this simple statement: take responsibility for everything. If you haven’t read the book Extreme Ownership, you need to read it. The book is based around the principle of taking responsibility for every part of every situation. Missed a third attempt squat at a powerlifting meet because the judges were from another gym and they don’t like you? Wrong. You missed it because you didn’t squat it low enough to where they had no choice but to give you a white light. Didn’t get a promotion at your job because you don’t suck up to your boss? Wrong. You didn’t get the promotion because you failed to produce at a high enough level and develop quality work place relationships to a point in which there wasn’t any choice but to promote you. The biggest detriment to not taking responsibility is it leaves you with no course of action. How can you make any changes to ensure a more positive future outcome if none of the reasons for your current failure are your fault? You can’t. You just sit there and make indiscriminate passive aggressive Facebook posts and show the world how much of a loser you really are. It’s your fault, take responsibility and do something about it.

You Think You Are Special

Look, you are special. You are special in the sense that your parents were able to procreate, that somehow that one sperm and that one egg happened to go through meiosis, that you somehow survived birth, happened to be born into a time period with things like computers and air conditioning, and happened to (for most of you anyway) be born in the United States where you have the freedom to listen to rock and roll and eat apple pie. In that sense you are special, but in the sense of exercise and fitness, you’re not. Sure some people are born with different abilities and natural gifts but really, very few people lose because of their genetics and no one quits because of them. The thing is, if you just read that and thought to yourself “But David, I am one of those people”, then that’s the problem. In pretty much every single situation, regardless of what you are having to face, someone has been in a way worse situation, toughed it out and made it through successfully. That being said, if you find yourself in a tough situation, and want to start telling people how you’re “grinding”, make sure you’re not in that situation because of your own dumb ass decisions. Either way, don’t tell people you’re grinding. Just shut up and do the work. And if you think I’m being a hater, understand that haters don’t exist. No one has “haters”. If you think you do, you’re probably just a shitty person and people don’t like you. Be a better person and you won’t have haters.


You’re Afraid

The easiest way to fail is to not give your all towards something. You don’t have to give 110%, you just need to give one hundred percent one hundred percent of the time. Sure, you still might not get the results you’re looking for but at least you know you didn’t leave any effort out on the table. One way I implement this is during my runs I always run out half the distance so no matter what I have to run back the other half. For you it may be cleansing your entire kitchen of crappy food or it may be putting all your toiletries at the gym so in order to brush your teeth and put on deodorant in the morning you have to go to the gym. Maybe that’s an extreme example but for a lot of people, they will take any easy out they can get. If there’s a chance to quit, they will. Don’t give yourself a chance. Get in the corner, take the punches, and fight your way out.


Your Ego is Too Big

This is a combination of not taking responsibility and thinking you’re special. Ego gets in the way of many great dreams. If the Titanic, the Hindenburg, or Blockbuster can teach us anything, it’s that thinking you are too big to fail is almost always going to guarantee failure. Be humble, ask for help, be open to new ideas and suggestions and don’t be married to your ways. Not only does this help you be more agile and able to react quickly but it helps you win over much needed teammates. Egos get bruised easily in the fitness industry where everyone’s self worth is wrapped up in how many followers and likes they get on the IG. Don’t let your pride be your blind spot.

‘Nough Said

This article was meant to be a little harsh and straight to the point. Hopefully it struck a few nerves in you, it definitely struck some within myself writing it. That’s a good thing. That means you have a chance to do something about. Be the small minority.

At first I wasn’t sure if I should post about this but I figured people would find it informative and possibly a bit entertaining (I thought it was hilarious when I first found out). The funny thing about the fitness industry is that it really is the only health related field that is completely unregulated. What this means is that anyone can legally charge somebody for health, fitness, and nutritional guidance. There are no requirements by law that you must have any type of education, certification, or pass any type of board or state licensing exam. Contrast this to every other health related field like physical therapy, occupational therapy, and dental hygiene where you are required to go to post graduate school, pass a board, get a state license, and maintain your continuing education. Even cosmetologists are required to go to school and pass a state exam. So to summarize:

  • Cutting someone’s hair without a license: ILLEGAL
  • Giving a pedicure without a license: ILLEGAL
  • Cleaning someone’s teeth without a license: ILLEGAL
  • Telling someone to do 3 sets of 10 of squats as part of their occupational therapy without a license: ILLEGAL
  • Telling someone to do 3 sets of 10 of squats on a bosu ball because it “activates their core” while selling them raspberry ketones through your MLM: TOTALLY LEGAL!!!!

I hope that sounds as ridiculous to you as it does to me. The problem with this lack of a filter to actually become a personal trainer is that a ton of people who are not in any way shape or form qualified to personal train people or give them nutritional advice actually put themselves in a position to make a living doing just that. Most of the time, they’re not ill intentioned, they just don’t know the proper pathways to becoming a qualified trainer. Unlike becoming a doctor, where everyone knows you can’t just say you’re a doctor and instead you actually have to go to school for it, people tend to just wake up one morning and say “Hey, I’m a personal trainer, pay me.” This is why NBS makes all of our trainers get a top level certification, why we make them all go through our trainer development program, why they all participate in monthly continuing ed and are given a continuing education allowance, and why we have five exercise science degrees on staff. We don’t want to be like every other gym, we want our facility and our trainers to stand way out from the rest of the industry.

So without further insight into the personal training industry, as a gym owner I get to experience all kinds of pains in my butt of which some still make me chuckle. This is one of those. The gentleman in this photo (who’s identity has been hidden) has decided that he will now become a personal trainer and what better way to advertise yourself as a personal trainer than taking a picture at Memphis’ Best Gym where the best trainers in Memphis are. And at the insanely low and outside of industry norms price of $15 a session, what a deal he is giving us! Now, I don’t mean this to be a personal attack on this man who used to be  a member at our facility but the fact remains that an industry in which anybody can present themselves as an expert is going to struggle with quality control. The best thing you can do is educate yourself so that you don’t waste your money, time, and health taking direction from the wrong person.


Hey everyone, we want to invite you all to a member appreciation and open house coming up. The details are below. We will be providing Scoops Ice Cream for FREE!!! We will also be offering free enrollment for new members. So bring your family, bring a friend, enjoy some free ice cream and get signed up at Memphis’ Best Gym!

Saturday, September 9

11am-2pm (ice cream available from 11am-12pm)

NBS Fitness

556 Trinity Creek Cove

Cordova, TN 38018


I just recently went on vacation to the beach and one of my favorite things to do at the beach is read. It’s very relaxing to shut down electronics, lay back on a beach chair, and enjoy a good book with the waves of the ocean crashing in the background. If you enjoy reading, give these books a try and let me know what you think.

Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides

This book was recommended by my mother who is an avid reader so when she says something is good, I typically check it out. This book is about the survivors of the Bataan Death March and the Army Rangers who rescued them. It’s a heart wrenching account of how terrible human beings can be towards each other, the dangers of cultural misunderstandings and hatred towards another people group, the human will to survive, the deep seeded relationships amongst people who go through traumatic experiences together, and the American military machine that eventually lead to victory over radical evil in WWII.

Living with a SEAL by Jesse Itzler

A client of mine gave me this book to read the week before I left so I brought it along. It’s a very quick read and full of humor. It is the author’s account of the month he hired a Navy SEAL to come live with him and train him for an endurance race. The man he hired wasn’t just any Navy SEAL but one of the toughest and probably the best endurance racers ever to have lived. It shows the differences between two completely different lifestyles and mindsets. If you are looking for some motivation to push you to new physical and mental limits, I definitely suggest giving it a read. If nothing else, look up the SEAL, David Goggins, and read his story.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Our friends, Angie and Steve Foree, who joined us on the trip suggested this book so we listened to it on the way home. It is the story of a race car drivers roller coaster of a life from the perspective of his dog. The book is very well written and the author does an amazing job of entering the mind of a dog and explaining his thoughts. If you have a dog, it’ll definitely hit you in the feels and make you go up and give your mutt a big hug and kiss, especially after a week away. Give it a read.

I used to say that anyone who can physically squat a thousand pounds surely doesn’t have any mental weakness but much like many other definitive statements that I have made, I’m about to challenge this one. I first began lifting back in 7th grade. As I started puberty, I shot up in height very quickly but my weight always lagged behind. People would comment about how skinny I was on a regular basis and during that period it had a pretty major impact. I didn’t like being called small or skinny and in my head believed that a man should be big and strong, hence the start of my weight training journey. Fast forward a couple decades and I met the expectations of my 7th grade self. I got up to 280 lbs, I had elite totals in powerlifting, I had gotten lean enough to step onto a bodybuilding stage. I had checked all the boxes for “manliness”. Then earlier this year I stopped taking testosterone, something I had been on for about 7 years. My levels fell to that well beyond the “normal” range and into the “uh oh, that’s not good range”. Fast forward 6 months from then and I’m still dealing with those terribly low numbers. But beyond the physical changes that I faced, the mental challenges were the hardest to deal with. Since seventh grade I had been focused on getting bigger and stronger and for 17 years I had continued to make progress in those endeavors but once I came off testosterone I had to watch that progress begin to landslide backwards. Spending 17 years building the framework of my identity around what I looked like and how strong I was didn’t set me up well for dealing with the effects of that framework beginning to crumble.

Not Alone

I am not alone in this. I’ve been around lifting and training and fitness for my entire life. People have tons of reasons for beginning their journey and everyone’s journey takes them on a different path but so many people use the gym as a way of dealing with the emotions of life. This can be both good and bad. For many, they have setup up their identity in how they perform under a barbell, how many likes they get on a video of them training, how many followers they have to share their journey with. Unfortunately social media has become a window into so many lifters psyches and while the window my look sturdy and strong, the foundation is weak and frail. Many lifters will read this and think “Man, this guy sounds like a total wuss.” I don’t blame you, I would’ve thought the same thing. But for those who may be a little too familiar with what I’m talking about, I think I can help. I am in no way claiming to have this whole mental strength thing figured out. I am sharing with you things that I have found work for me as I work my way towards daily improvements in mental strength with the hope that they will work for you too.

Do Something You Suck At

Once I stopped pursuing strength and size, I realized I had to find something else to work towards. Luckily for me anything other than strength training was going to be a serious challenge so being the extreme individual that I am, I decided to take on lots of new things that I suck at. First, I started doing CrossFit. CrossFit was a conditioning challenge greater than anything I had attempted since playing college football. Anything that lasted longer than 1 minute was a kill shot to my lungs so when the first workout I attempted lasted over 30 minutes I was pretty sure I was going to meet my maker. Combine that with all the gymnastics movements and, despite being a college athlete, I feel like I can’t even walk and chew bubble gum. I also started doing jujitsu which, for those who haven’t ever done it, is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge and the thing about jujitsu is that your size and strength don’t give you any advantage whatsoever if you don’t have the skills and technique. I proceeded to get my ass kicked on a regular basis by people way smaller and better than me. Finally, I started running. Someone (my wife) convinced me to do a warrior dash which is a 10 mile obstacle course (the longest I’ve ever ran is a 5K). And then another friend (I’m going to classify Angie as a friend here because I really hate love hate love her) convinced me to do a half marathon. Now, anyone who knows me at all will know how shocking it is to hear me say I’m going to run a half marathon. But here is why: I really suck at CrossFit, jujitsu, and running.

While it feels so comfortable to stay in our lane and do things we’re good at, growth only occurs when we’re forced to adapt. I was as ill prepared for every one of these things as I could possibly be but that made me have to let go of my pride and in doing so I got to learn, I got to grow, and I got to gain strength not only in the CrossFit workouts, on the jujitsu mat, or on the trails but mentally as well. There was something very powerful about saying to myself “David, you really suck at this, you’re gonna suck at it for a while, and it’s gonna hurt really bad. Deal with it and don’t quit.”

Find a New Pain

There is a certain pain associated with different physical acts. As a power lifter, there is a familiar pain involved when you are getting your knees wrapped about to take your third squat attempt in a meet and the lifter in front of you takes forever. By the time you get to the bar your feet are asleep, you can’t feel your legs and you feel the weight of hundreds of pounds stressing every muscle, tendon, and ligament to the max. In football, there was a familiar pain in the 4th quarter when you’re trying to catch your breath as you sprint down the field to get ready for the next play in the last minute of a close game. All your knuckles are jammed, you’re bleeding from your nose where someone snuck a finger through your facemask, and you’ve been in an all out wrestling match with the lineman across from you but you still have to put your hand on the ground and rush with everything you’ve got. Both of those are familiar pains and that familiarity takes away their fright.

It was always easy to think of myself as tough as I watched new lifters squirm like crazy the first time they got their knees wrapped. But I was only tough in the sense that I was prepared for the pain each time and I knew exactly what to expect. A new pain, however, has a far greater power for drilling it’s way into your psyche and telling you to tap out. That has been my experience with distance running. While lifting is incredibly painful, the time frame is relatively short. Running produces a more constant nagging pain, a relentless voice inside your head that tries to make you focus on how your feet, your ankles, your legs, and your lungs are burning. It says “Just take a breather. Walk for a little bit.” Having not been used to this, a new mental battle has begun against an unfamiliar enemy. And like any other battle, while both sides will take their beatings, one will eventually come out victorious. Through that victory new mental strength is gained. Knowing that you have power over that new pain will strengthen you for the next time you face it.

Go Off Grid

As many benefits as technology has brought us it’s brought just as many negative consequences with it. I am reading a book about the Louise and Clark expedition and one of the things that is so amazing to me is their use of the english language. Their only way of communicating other than talking was through writing. If they wanted to invite someone over for dinner they had to write them a letter (much like a wedding invitation) and they would use a thousand words to describe a leaf. Now a days a text convo between two people wanting to go to dinner goes something like:

U hngry?



“thumbs up emoji”

In our hurry, we have become dumb. To top that off, with the majority of our physical needs met very easily (food, water, air, shelter) people have turned to the internet to meet their social and psychological needs. Now everyone uses social media for all other social pursuits: friendship, love, community. While there are benefits to it, many people get sucked so much that the social media pursuit becomes the predominant factor in their physical pursuits. Now the goal is to gain followers, get likes, and share the whole experience through a glass screen. I’m not saying don’t post on social media, I do it as well. But instead take some time off. Do some workouts that you don’t tell everyone about. Even better, get outside and disconnect. Go for a run, go for a hike, go for a bike ride. Enjoy physical activity apart from worrying about getting someone to video it. And enjoy that physical activity in nature. Few things can make you realize how insignificant you are as a roaring water fall that is millions of years old. With that realization you will be forced to separate from your self absorption and just enjoy the experience. When you start to collect experiences and lose the idol of self worth you will be free from the mental and emotional strain that comes from trying to perform for the crowd. You can focus on enjoying the experience, even if it is a painful one.

Go Forth and Prosper

While I may be putting the pursuit of physical strength on the back burner, mental strength has now become my next mountain to climb. I don’t know how tall it is, how hard it will be, or if I’ll ever summit. I just want to keep putting one foot in front of the other and give it my best effort. To anyone who can appreciate a challenge, I invite you to join me in taking it step by step.



Check out the new podcast from myself and two good buddies where we talk about everything from training to shooting to combat sports, politics, and interview some really cool people. Episode 1 is below.


I recognize that most people workout because they want to looker better naked. I’m the same way, of course I want to improve my physique. But I would argue that physique improvement is at the bottom of the benefits of training. Physique is so subjective. You can win the Mr Olympia and people will think you look gross. You can win the Bikini Olympia and people will think you look fake. Regardless of what you look like, there is someone out there who will think you look good and someone out there who thinks you look like crap. If you don’t believe me spend 15 minutes checking out Walmartians and recognize that most of them are currently procreating. Because of the subjective nature of different physiques and physique improvements, there can be some serious issues with making that the foundation of your “why” for training. To learn a little more about this fact, check out Annie’s recent podcast.

Physique improvements also make for easy motivation. That’s why you see so many before and after pictures used for advertisements (I know, I’m guilty too). It’s easy to get people all excited about the fact that they could look like the person in the picture. The unfortunate other side of that is that the vast majority of people who start a change in exercise or nutrition fail. They fail because they rely on their initial motivation. Motivation is fickle and constantly waning. Some days you will feel super motivated to train and eat right. Other days you will be tired, hungry, and not feel like doing crap. But in order to make physique improvements you can’t just do things right on the days you feel like it. You have to do it everyday for a really really long period of time. This brings me back to my original point that physique improvements are at the bottom of the benefits of physical training.

The reality is that people who struggle to make physique improvements struggle because they don’t have the mental and emotional foundation to carry them through. They don’t miss the gym or break their diet for any reason below the neck, the suffer to stay consistent because of what is going on above the neck. This is why I am making the case that the mental and emotional gainz are much better than the physical gainz. First, like stated above, physique improvements are very subjective. Beyond that much of your physique is determined by genetics and, regardless of how hard you fight it off, it is always going to succumb to aging. Mental and emotional strength is not subjective. Second, there really isn’t much of a carry over for physique to other areas of life. Yes, you’ll feel better when you take your shirt off at the beach but outside of making a living based on your looks (which has much more to do with genetics than most people are willing to admit) looking good naked limits itself to boosting your self image and not necessarily making you a better worker, husband/wife, friend, etc. Finally, you have to have the foundation of mental and emotional strength to be able to endure the requirements for physique improvement, or at least for continued physique improvement over time. There are plenty of examples of people who put in hard work one time and then fell off the wagon. Even those with that foundation realize that it’s almost impossible to maintain your “best” physique all the time. Mental and emotional strength are much easier to keep in a peak state.

To achieve mental and emotional strength you must focus on two factors: determination and direction. First, know where you want to go and educate yourself on what it takes to get there. Way too many people go into this with unrealistic expectations. Second, set your sights on the first step needed to take you where you want to go and start moving. Take your feelings out of the equation. How you feel is irrelevant to the end goal. Once you reach your first step, set your sights on the second step and start moving. Don’t rely on your motivation to kick in, you can’t trust it. Rely on your determination. Say to yourself, I will make this happen. After enough sequences of this, you will learn to ignore that voice inside that tells you to quit. In fact, you’ll take joy in silencing it with every piece of progress. You will also learn to trust yourself. Let’s be honest, when you currently say “I need to lose weight” or “I need to start exercising” you and I both know that deep down you’re full of shit. As soon as it gets tough you’re going to quit. You quit because you don’t trust yourself. You just say it because it makes you feel good and because that’s what everyone else does. Each obstacle that gets in your way that you manage to knock down is another boost in self trust. You start to believe yourself when you say “Today I’m going to do 30 minutes of cardio” or “Today I’m going to pack all my meals and take them to work”. This is the only way you can get where you want to go. Along the way, your physique will improve. But the mental and emotional strength you gain will be a far greater gift.


Check out my latest podcast I did for ACRE Podcast. ACRE stands for Arts Culture Religion and Entrepreneurship and is hosted by my good friend and pastor at my church. In it I talk about how NBS was created and what it’s like being a business owner.

The vast majority of my clients are not physique competitors looking to do well onstage but are instead regular people who just want to lose some body fat, build some muscle, feel better, and be proud of their bodies. What this means is that packing all their food and taking it with them everywhere they go is not realistic. They’re going to travel for vacation or work and they’re going to want to enjoy some opportunities to eat out with their friends and/or family. They need some flexibility in their nutrition plan that allows them to still see progress. I’ve adopted a similar approach to my own nutrition the last several months as I continue to try to cut weight and body fat while giving myself some nutritional flexibility. Over the years I’ve learned a few tricks so hopefully you will find these useful as well.

Transfer Your Calories

If you’re like most people, it’s pretty easy to stick to your nutrition plan during the week but the weekends can undo a week’s worth of hard work. Most of the time this weight gain is from an increase in calories and potentially water as we tend to eat foods higher in salt and consume alcohol. We can manage this a couple ways. If you know you’re going to go out to eat at night, “save” those calories for dinner instead of consuming them during the day. So if you know you’re going to go hog wild on some Mexican food you can manage the total calories for the day by dropping your carbs throughout the rest of the day or even skipping a meal. If you know you’re going to have a full on weekend of gluttony, then you can even pull carbs/calories from several days before and after. Along with consuming lots of water, this has shown to be very effective at reducing the total amount of weight gained and also getting the extra pounds off sooner rather than later.

Over Reach

One method that I used when going on a weeklong cruise where I knew I was going to consume large amounts of food and alcohol was I trained for 10 days straight without an off day. Most workouts were a little over two hours long. I know that sounds a little extreme but by the time I went on the cruise I was so depleted physically and neurally that my body soaked up everything I consumed like a sponge. The total damage from the cruise was gone the day I got back.

Order a Double

Eating clean while traveling can be extremely difficult. Most of the time you don’t have any means of taking food with you and you don’t have any means of preparing food when you get there. Also, for many of my business clients, work travel can meen catering, late night socializing, and food and drinks on the company’s credit card. In this instance, there are a couple things you can do. First, if you’re driving, you can take food with you on the road. Just throw it in a cooler and heat it up in the microwave available at most gas stations. This will at least keep you on plan while you’re on the road and away from the less than stellar selection at most gas stations. If you’re flying or driving and really don’t have any way to take food with you, you can order meals from online food prep companies that will mail your food to wherever you are staying. It’ll all be there when you get there so you can just pop it in the microwave and you’re good to go. In most cases, carrying protein powder and a shaker bottle with you is feasible and can at least ensure you’re going to get enough protein in when your company caters in a carb only breakfast. If you find yourself in a situation where you know you can’t resist some foods that are available, I suggest eating all your protein and vegetables first. This will at least fill you up some and limit how much damage you can really do with some other choices. Finally, if you weren’t able to bring food with you, you can always order two of something from the restaurants you go to. I’ve ordered two meals, thrown one in the fridge at the hotel and eaten it later that night or the next day. Most restaurants will help cook food to your specification so you can ask that they not cook something in butter or oil or leave off a sauce if you want.

Coke Zero Alternation

Despite what you may think, low carb alcohol still has a significant amount of calories because alcohol has 7 calories per gram. Now when you start talking about mixed drinks and high gravity beers, wine too, you’re looking into some pretty high calorie consumption. Also alcohol has been shown to have a negative impact on fat metabolism (can you say beer belly?) That being said, when you’re out having a good time you don’t want to be the stick in the mud that only drinks water. So there are a few options you can use to reduce the total calories and still have some fun. First, I would suggest choosing lower calories options. Instead of Jack and Coke do Jack and Coke Zero, Vodka Sprite Zero, or some other mixed drink with a calorie free mixer. If you’re going to drink beer, try a light beer (I know, they suck) or alternate the alcohol of your choice with water or a zero calorie soft drink. Coke zero looks and tastes pretty much the same as Jack and Coke Zero so you’ll get the social experience and the taste without taking in too many calories.

Either extreme of nutrition can suck. If you eat and drink without any regard to your health you’re going to look and feel like shit. Likewise if you never enjoy food, drinks, or socializing with friends, you’re going to hate life. Moderation is the key and progress can be made with some flexibility. That being said, there are certain cases in which certain things need to be cut out completely in order to reach certain goals but if you’re just trying to live healthy and enjoy some of the flavors of this world, use these tips to help you out.

Modern day society has taken out most of the hardship of previous human existence and replaced it with comfort and ease. While I definitely appreciate having a nice warm bed, air conditioning during the summer, and not having to grow, pick, or hunt everything I want to eat, I can tell that living like this has made me soft; it’s made us all soft. Somewhere within our DNA we have the genes of those people who gutted out brutal winters, conquered the wilderness, and crossed oceans in sailed ships. Struggle was their daily existence and they figured it out, they learned how to survive and thrive. We are the result of the hardest among those surviving over thousands of years and yet we seem to have managed to take a steep decline in mental toughness over the last century or so.

The fitness arena is a prime example of this decline. Most gyms have a 10% usage rate, 90% of people who begin a health/fitness change eventually quit within the first 6 months, obesity is on the constant rise. This is in the face of overwhelming evidence that sitting on your ass and eating like shit will pretty much inevitably result in your heart exploding, getting your foot cut off from diabetes, or you having t0 drive around walmart in a scooter to replenish your 2 liter cola stock. A thousand years ago: if you don’t build a fire right now you are going to freeze to death and die. GOT IT!!!! Today: if you just utilize the unlimited knowledge and resources of the internet, join a community of people who will help you and encourage you along the way, take small steps like drink diet cola or go for a 20 minute walk a day you can reduce your risk of a horrible life existence and eventually death. I CAN’T DO IT, IT’S TOO HARD.

Beyond the physical downsides of being mentally squishy, we also have the mental and emotional effects. There are middle aged soccer moms that require Xanax to get through everyday life of driving kids around in $70K SUVs while women in Africa wake up everyday hoping they don’t get raped, mutilated, and killed by boko haram. Maybe that’s an extreme example but hopefully my point was made. We constantly seek two things: stress and stress relief. In a previous millennia that stress may come from hunting a wild animal and the relief come from the whole community celebrating in a giant ritualistic feast. Now a days that stress comes from traffic, social media, and the pursuit of comfort in place of happiness and the stress relief comes from food, alcohol, drugs, and amazon. But I have a better remedy to recommend.

Humans beings are made to struggle in groups. Think about it, in the wild most humans wouldn’t last very long by themselves. We don’t have fur to keep us warm, we’re not fast, we don’t have good sight, hearing or smell, and we’re not very strong. We gain our advantage from our intellect in groups. Through those we can build things, communicate, and live like no other creature on earth. What we have done is not only removed the struggle but we’ve also removed the group. Social interaction isn’t shared in the deep seeded emotions of survival anymore. Instead it sits in the shallow water of social media posturing and the occasional birthday get to together. Unfortunately someone liking your IG picture doesn’t have quite the same effect as a someone saving your life from a charging rhino. But there aren’t any charging rhinos to be saved from anymore (at least not in my neighborhood), so what can we do?

Simple. First, you must seek a physical challenge. It needs to be tough, it needs to be difficult, it needs to make you push yourself to limits you didn’t know you previously had and it needs to make you forget about everything else that is going on in life and put all your focus into the simple act of inhaling enough oxygen to keep from passing out. Second, you need to find a group of other crazy (or actually sane?) individuals who are also willing to put themselves through that same scenario. Then together you need to find a way to get it done. Through that you’ll learn something about yourself. You’ll learn that you can get through some tough shit, that you can physically go a little farther than you previously thought, that misery loves company and there are some bonds that can only be forged in fire, and that all those worries you had before disappeared so easily once you got a little bit into the suck. So now that you know what you need to do, go fourth and seek the suck, find victory in the pain, and become a little less likely to become zombie bait.

Thank you for registering for the Second Annual Memphis Classic RPS Powerlifting Meet.

The discount code for the 3 month meet programming is:


Once you have chosen the trainer you would like utilize for programming, choose the 3 month paid in full option and apply the coupon code at check out.

For Christian Anto’s programming, click here

For Bobby Scott’s programming, click here

For Annie Gunshow’s programming, click here

For David Allen’s programming, click here

Alright everyone, our second meet of 2017 is coming up on September 23rd. The last meet was a blast and we’re excited to put on another great competition for everyone.

To register, click here 

Here are the details about the meet:

Saturday, SEPTEMBER 23, 2017

LOCATION:     NBS Fitness, 566 Trinity Creek Cove, Cordova, TN 38018

DIRECTOR:    David Allen – 901-378-0345 – david@nbsfitness.net

ENTRY FEES: $85.00 whether Full Power, Push/Pull, Bench or Deadlift Only • Crossovers (extra division) – $40 per Division

Online Entry

50 Lifter Limit. If more than 50 split session: 8am first session, 1pm second session
Entries accepted after deadline with a $25 Late Fee.
Spectator and Coaches $10 Admission


WEIGH INS:  Friday ONLY – 8:00 A.M. – 5 P.M. @ Meet Location

Welcome to our third and final installment of the NBS Fitness Guide to Supplements. In Part 1 we discussed the importance of protein and the different types and qualities available. In Part 2 we discussed the importance of a peri workout protocol. We are going to finish this series off with talk about products that can help improve your health and well being. While most lifters are quick to jump on the latest and greatest supplements to improve training, few put as much emphasis on their health as they should. This article will go over multi vitamins, fish oil, sleep aids, and nootropics and adaptagens. I’ve listed them in order of importance based off my own personal beliefs. Take a look and learn what you can take to feel better, recover better, and be healthier:

Multi Vitamin

As unsexy as the idea of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are to people who are wanting to be swole and tan, the truth of the matter is that they play a vital role in your every day functions. Vitamin deficiencies can not only slow your progress but they can also significantly impact your health and well being. That is where a multi vitamin comes in. It ensures you’re getting a decent dose of all the essential vitamins that you need to survive and thrive. Now this doesn’t mean that all you need to do is take a multi vitamin and nothing else matter. It’s still important to eat a balanced, healthy diet that is rich in nutrients and there are still instances in which you still may need to supplement something, like the next supplement on our list. I recommend that males use M Factor Hero from 1st Phorm and that females use Prenatal Plus or M Factor Goddess

Vitamin D

It is estimated that three quarters (75%) of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a major role in the development and growth of bones and has been linked to numerous other functions in the human body. Primarily we get our vitamin D from being in the sun but due to spending an increasing amount of time indoors and utilizing sun screen, many people need to supplement with it. I personally, have had to use as much as 15,000 ius to get my Vitamin D up to appropriate levels. I’m not suggesting you start with that but I definitely recommend that people get their levels checked and supplement with Vitamin D3 if necessary.

Omega 3’s

Supplementing Omega 3 fatty acids has been shown to have a major effect on lowering inflammation in the body. This helps improve blood pressure, lower triglycerides and cholesterol level, increase HDL cholesterol, and has been shown to have a positive impact on everything from brain function to insulin sensitivity. It’s important that you choose a fish oil product that has a sufficient amount of EPA and DHA and comes from a quality source. I recommend using Full Mega from 1st Phorm.

Sleep Aid

Around half of all Americans report sleep issues. Whether its from stress, schedule, or other factors, the fact is that most Americans are not getting the sleep they need to live healthy, vibrant lives. For those who train, lack of sleep can lead to under recovery and a host of issues from decreases in performance and even an increased likelihood of injury. There are three supplements that I have found to be amazing at helping improve sleep quality. Zinc and magnesium are essential nutrients that play major roles in circadian rhythms. They also just so happen to be a common deficiency in many. ZMA has been a proven supplement over the last decade for ensuring proper amounts of zinc and magnesium are attained. Melatonin is a hormone in the body that increase with a decrease in daylight and which signals the body to prepare for sleep. Being constantly surrounded by bright lights can have a negative impact on this production so supplementing melatonin can help make you a little more sleep and ready for bed. Valerian root is another supplement that can cause drowsiness and make you want to close your bed and head off into dream land. I have the combination of these three supplements make getting a restful night of sleep easy and consistent. I haven’t had a single night with any sleep issues since I started taking them. The best part is that all three supplements plus some others can be found in Night T by 1st Phorm.

Nootropics and Adaptogens

Nootropics are supplements that help increase cognitive function in areas such as memory, creativity and motivation. They can increase feelings of well being too. Adaptogens help your body adapt to stress better. Some different nootropics and adaptogens include ginseng, Bacopa Monnieri Extract, caffeine, Rhodiola Rosea Extract, Ashwagandha Root Powder, GABA, 5 HTP, and Alpha GPC. Now I realize that’s a lot of different supplements to try and take. Luckily for you they can all be found in Master Brain AM and PM by 1st Phorm.

If you’re serious about your health and want to ensure you’re getting the best results possible, you have to take care of body. That includes training intelligently, have a good nutrition plan, and taking the necessary supplements to support them both. While health supplements might not bring the same attention as performance enhancing supplements, I promise they are worth the investment. Give them a shot and see what you think.


When I was in college, my dorm mate and I had an alarm clock that would play a song off a CD as your wake up alarm. We thought this was the coolest thing ever so of course we picked a song we thought we would love to wake up to everyday. But after a month of being woke up for 6am football practice we pretty much hated that song. Our human nature wants to take the path of least resistance, it’s built into every one of us, and waking up and training that early is definitely not the path of least resistance. When I took a break from powerlifting, I struggled to find the motivation to train. My knees hurt, I was way out of shape, and I was quick to move training around for other priorities. I knew the group training of CrossFit would help but I also knew that with my schedule, if I don’t train early in the morning, I’m not likely to train at all. So, my wife and I made the commitment to training at 5am at least twice a week. Here are two of the benefits I’ve found from training this early

  • It makes training a priority. I’ve been in this business long enough to see what happens to people when they fall off the wagon hard, I know what spending the first 50 years of your life focused on work does to your physical and mental health, I’ve seen what happens when health isn’t a priority and becomes a giant, almost impossible to overcome obstacle. I know what lies on the other side of that life decision and it isn’t pretty. I don’t want to be 40, 50, or 60 and playing catch up on my health. I want my children to live a health and happy life so I want to model that behavior for them. I don’t want to waste the gift of being able bodied and healthy by letting it slip away and the only way to do that is to make it a priority.


  •  It builds your confidence in overcoming obstacles. When that alarm goes off, it is a serious battle to turn down the temptation of hitting the snooze button. But when you win that battle, you start your day with confidence and winning becomes a habit. Likewise, if you hit the alarm clock, losing becomes a habit and your confidence will falter. You start feeling down on yourself and start making poor choices in other areas. I’ve seen so many people who wake up late, skip breakfast, snack on poor food choices at work, then try to make it to the gym just to have a terrible workout because their nutrition was terrible during the day. Each day, they wake up, and solidify the fact that they “can’t” do it. One poor decision leads to the next and each new decision seems like a mountain to overcome. Win the battle against the alarm clock, win the battle of going to the gym, celebrate your success and the rest of the day will seem so much easier.

If you enjoyed this blog post, check out some of my other blogs about my adventures in CrossFit:

Adventures In CrossFit: Why I made the switch

Adventures in CrossFit: Kipping Pull Up Madness

Adventures in CrossFit: Olympic Lifting 8 Years Removed

The last time I trained weightlifting (ie olympic weightlifting) seriously was probably about 6 years ago. After leaving college I was fortunate enough to be on the strength staff at LSU where the head strength coach had a good relationship with Gayle Hatch who was the coach of the 2004 Men’s US Olympic Weightlifting Team. Over that period I was watched over by some really good Olympic lifters and coaches and continued to Olympic lift until I switched over to bodybuilding about 8 years ago. Since then I’ve randomly thrown in an attempt here and there but never anything heavy or consistent.

In August of 2014 I had a pretty gnarly shoulder injury with a posterior labrum and high grade rotator cuff tear. Since then I haven’t put anything over 135 over my head. So since I recently started training CrossFit I have slowly start implementing back in some olympic lifting. Most of it has been relatively light weight but after getting my ass handed to me in a pretty gnarly conditioning workout on Monday I put in the request for something heavy to Angie (our CrossFit coach). So today we had to work up to a heavy double in the clean and jerk. I had my goal set to get over 200, which is nothing insane but considering I haven’t done them in a really really long time I figured it would be a good starting point. I knew my limiting factor was going to be my jerk since I haven’t been doing any overhead work in the last three years. I worked my way up to 205 for the double before my jerk started to get a little sloppy with some press outs. But since they were moving I decided to attempt 225 for a single. Again, nothing crazy by any means but for this broken lifter it was a nice mental and physical win for the day. Reached my goal, hit 2 plates on a lift I haven’t done in almost a decade, and no shoulder pain. I’ll take it.

I actually found some old training videos that you can check out below:





Posted by David Allen on Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Much like a preacher about to give a sermon, I feel the need to tell you all something first: I am a sinner. Yep, that’s right, I am someone who has in the past bashed CrossFit and bashed the kipping pull up. The reason why I bashed the kipping pull up was the same reason most people hate on things: I just didn’t understand it. Based on my education and experience up to that point, I made the silly assumption that I knew everything and since kipping pull ups went against my previous beliefs that pull ups are made to be done with strict form, they must be bad. But this isn’t true. It was just the effects of the Dunning Kruger principle playing out in my life. If you are not familiar with the Dunning Kruger Effect it simple shows that the less you know, the more confident you are because you haven’t been exposed to much but as you begin to learn more your confidence begins to go down as you realize how much you still don’t know. Illustration below for people who like pictures.

If you’re much like I used to be (stupid) and think you know so much more than all those CrossFitters swinging around on the pull up bars, allow me to state my case. Starting off, let me address the claim that a kipping pull up is bad technique or “cheating” the pull up. CrossFit is based off of several different training modalities and they are weight lifting, gymnastics, and conditioning. The kipping pull up is a gymnastics move. When people complain about the kipping pull up, they are doing so from the experience of pull ups as a weight lifting or body weight movement and the belief that kipping is a way of “cheating” that movement. But that is not what the kipping pull up is derived from, it comes from gymnastics. Check out the two videos below. In the first video, a gymnastics instructor explains how to develop the kip as a move on the uneven bars. In the second video, Gabby Douglas shows what being proficient in the kipping pull up really looks like.

So there lies one major problem with bitching about kipping. When you see a CrossFit athlete do it, you call it cheating. When you see an Olympic Gymnast do it, you call it a gold medal performance.

Now, for those that believe the kipping pull up is only a gymnastics movement and not optimal for building muscle, let me show a few examples of people who have done very little weight lifting if any at all but a ton of kipping pull ups.








Now, I am not arguing that kipping pull ups are any better than any other pull up. I am simply pointing out the fact that they are a legitimate movement for a specific purpose and not a bad tool to have in your arsenal. After 17 years lifting and 10 years in the fitness industry, I’m significantly more mature than I was when I first got into it and learned about CrossFit. So if you’re someone who has talked smack about the kipping pull up, be prepared, because you might be eating your words and defending them in the future.

Welcome back to the second edition of the NBS Fitness Guide to Supplements. In Part 1, we talked about he benefits of protein supplements and what differences between different kinds are. In Part 2, we will discuss the peri workout window, why it’s so important, and what we can do to maximize it. So without further ado, let’s get to it.

The term “peri-workout” refers to the time period just prior to, during, and right after your training sessions. This “window” is a period in which our nutrition can have major impacts on our performance and progress. During this period our body is either preparing for, participating in, or recovering from the effects of training stress. This means our body is mobilizing nutrients in order to accomplish whatever physical challenge we are taking on and to help recover from it in order to be better prepared for the next time. This means that the nutrients we take in surrounding this time period is vital and lucky for us, there are some supplements that can really make a big difference.

Pre Workout

During this period, it is important that we get some nutrients flowing through our bodies so that they are readily available for use when we actually begin training. Unfortunately, our digestive system takes a while to process what we eat and the last thing we want is to train on a full stomach. There are two approaches I like to suggest for this. The first is to have a shake or meal about 45-60 minutes before your workout consisting of a whey isolate like Phormula 1, an easily digestible carb source like white rice flour or cream of rice, and a little bit of fat from olive oil or some type of nut butter to slow down the digestion just a bit. This combo works well and is usually out of your stomach by training time. However, if you’re someone who eats a lot of meal, you may still have some food in your stomach from the meal you had an hour or so ago. For some people, they feel like this sits on their stomach too much. In this case, I like to use a drink about 10-15 minutes prior to training consisting of a super quick digesting carb source like Ignition and some BCAAs. Ignition is pure glucose crystals and when combined with branch chain amino acids will provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to start a workout.

This is also the period in which you could add a pre workout specific supplement like MegaWatt V2, AlphaCre HD, or AlphaSurge DRV. These different supplements have ingredients like beta alanine, creatine, glycerol, and caffeine which can positively affect your bodies different energy systems, blood flow, and mental arousal.

Intra Workout

Now the most important meal you will consume is the meal you eat during training. This is the period in which our body needs glucose and amino acids flowing through it’s blood, delivering energy and materials for repair. However, a steak and potato consumed in the middle of some brutal sets of squats is quickly going to come back up. We also don’t want an insulin spike and crash during this period so we need something that is easily digestible but still a complex carb. I have yet to find a supplement that is more perfect for this than Intra Formance. Intra Formance is a blend of cyclic dextrin, essential amino acids, and electrolytes. The cyclic dextrin is a super easily digestible complex carbohydrate that will provide a steady flow of glucose into your blood stream without upsetting your stomach. The EAAs are going to provide the building blocks needed to repair muscle tissue that is damage during resistance based training. Finally, the electrolytes are going to replace those that are lost through sweat to maintain optimal muscular contractions.

Post Workout

After training is complete, we want to get nutrients in our blood relatively quickly (within 30-45 minutes) to kick start our recovery and maximize our progress. This is the time in which we actually do want an insulin spike to shut down catabolic reactions and initiate anablic ones. Again, Ignition fits the bill perfectly. Glucose crystals are immediately digested and into the blood stream giving us that anabolic start we needed. Along with the ignition a quick digesting protein like Phormula 1 with provide us with more amino acids for muscle repair and growth. Then about 30-60 minutes later you should have a whole foods meal to continue the post workout benefits.

This three punch combo of pre, peri, and post workout nutrition is guaranteed to make a big impact on those who are putting in the work in the gym. I’ve found that it works for more endurance type workouts as well. Adjustments can be made in regards to how long and how hard you train and based off of what your different goals are. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

You can read Part 1 of the NBS Fitness Guide to Supplements by clicking here

Don’t forget to check out the supplements section of our online store and while you’re there, take a look at the NBS Logo hat.

Life is funny, at least for me it has been. When CrossFit first came out I took the stance that most strength coaches took which was that CrossFit was an inferior training method consisting of random exercise done with poor technique at high intensity. In my defense, CrossFit was very rogue when they first came on the scene but since then it has change tremendously and so has my attitude towards it. They have an extensive education platform and now there are a ton of really intelligent and really good CrossFit coaches and athlete’s that are achieving some of the most incredible feats of fitness I have ever seen. So, a couple weeks ago I ate my words and did my first CrossFit WOD. Here is why:

Several months ago I started dealing with some hormonal issues and some injuries that threw a monkey wrench in my powerlifting plans. With a busted knee and a crappy shoulder I turned to one of our other trainers to come up with a program that would work around these issues while also trying to lose some weight and get in better shape. I had spent the that last year and a half trying to get as heavy as possible and I was tired of getting out of breath every time I walked a flight of stairs. Unfortunately, my motivation was non existent and I wasn’t training with a group anymore so I made every excuse to not get my workouts in. I realized quickly that I needed to change. I needed to get with a group, I needed to train early in the morning before any work, and I needed to get in better shape. CrossFit fit the bill perfectly.

So for the last several weeks I have been going to the 5am CrossFit class led by CrossFit NBS coach Angie Foree. Having trained for the last 17 years and having been a relatively high level athlete in several sports I though I would do fairly well…boy was I wrong. That first class I got my butt handed to me by folks 20 years older than me. It was definitely an eye opener and that cycle continued for several workouts. I hadn’t been honest with myself about how out of shape I really was while powerlifting, something I’m sure many people are guilty of as well. Now after 3 weeks, I’m feeling much much better. My conditioning has improved tremendously and I’m really enjoying the group dynamic and competition. And an added bonus is I get to do it along side my wife. We get to push ourselves and grow together and I love seeing her kick ass.

You can click HERE to read about why I added CrossFit NBS last year and stay tuned for more of my adventures in CrossFit.

So, I have a bit of a hobby of collecting completely ridiculous fitness memes and I think I have found the most ridiculous one yet. Fair warning, there is some foul language in the meme so be aware.

Let’s take this thing line by line. With as many good role models throughout the history of the world, I don’t really see the point behind trying to emulate an animal. Based off of context clues from the rest of the meme, I’m assuming that author is trying to encourage his or her readers to be aggressive in nature towards training and towards others because, somehow, they have decided that lions and wolfs are the “alphas” of the animal kingdom. Let’s be real; wolves, lions, and all other animals are driven by instinct with a disconnect from self awareness. This is what separates us from animals, we have self awareness and and moral and cognitive reason to keep us from killing someone because they were in our territory, forcing ourselves sexually on whoever we want to mate with, or stealing food from our neighbors. And even wolves and lions put their pack and their pride ahead of themselves. So in that case, yes, be a wolf or be a lion and put the other people in the gym before yourself.

Look, I hate to burst someone’s bubble but life is about taking shit. Unless you live in some Alaskan wilderness, secluded from the rest of humanity, at some point you’re going to have to interact with other other humans and that act in turn will involve dealing with someone else’s BS. Now, this doesn’t mean you should let people walk all over you but instead realize that not everything is worth fighting over. If someone takes your machine at the gym while you go get water, what do you gain by going over and being an asshole? I’ve found that most people respond a lot better to cordial interaction than they do to someone getting up in their face. And remember, if you decide to live life “taking no shit” then that means your shouldn’t expect anyone to put up with your BS either.

Set goals and smash them, right on, that’s what training is all about. Sometimes you won’t reach your goals though so learn how to be humble and thankful for the opportunity to try.

Now these next two lines really blow my mind. It what reality can you put the statement “Eat people’s faces off” and in the next breath say “Be a better person”. Assuming the author doesn’t mean it literally, then what in the heck are they talking about? I’m all for striving to be a better person but have my doubts that eating off the faces of other people is the best route to do so.

These next two lines scream arrogance. “Show people who you are and never apologize for being awesome” assumes that you are a) someone that people actually care about and b) are in fact awesome. Everyone is unique and human life is special but there have been over 100 billion humans to have ever lived and right now there are 7 billion people living on planet earth. In light of that, what makes someone believe they are “awesome”. History doesn’t remember arrogant assholes kindly, regardless of their strength levels or how good they look naked. There always has been and there always will be someone else coming down the line that will be more awesome than you. Humble yourself just a little.

The iron sports are inherently narcissistic in nature, there is no denying that and social media has just exacerbated the problem. This message turns people away from gyms and from engaging with people who actually have the knowledge to positively effect their lives. I’m all for being “hardcore” and I don’t think gyms should pander to the lowest common denominator but I also think that everyone in the gym has the same rights. Instead of being a prick about things and putting yourself on a pedestal, let’s just focus on one line of this ridiculous meme:

“Be a better person”


“Growing up, my dad would take my brother and I shooting on a regular basis. I remember getting a BB gun at around age six and taking it into the back yard to shoot Coke cans off the fence. This love for guns and shooting has continued to grow over the years. Another passion of mine since the age of 14 has been training, and I have been competing in iron sports for a little over eight years.

Just recently I had some setbacks in my training with some knee pain that won’t seem to go away, and a torn labrum and rotator cuff that are giving me issues. So, I took a step back from preparing for a powerlifting competition and focused my energy towards shooting sports, specifically pistol and 3-gun matches. In doing so, I have gone from someone who had a decent amount of experience and was relatively advanced in one sport, to someone who is a true beginner in another sport. Throughout this transition, I have learned many lessons that apply to both sports. This article will discuss several of them.”

To read the rest of the article can be read from the link below


Since the beginning, athletic endeavors and sports supplements have gone hand in hand. We’ve come a long way from ancient Greek wrestlers chewing on rhodiola leaves to the multi-billion dollar supplement industry we see today and we will continue to make progress in the future. The purpose of this series is to educate you on the planning and implementation of a quality supplement protocol to help you meet your goals. In part one we will talk about protein powders. In the second part we will talk about the peri workout window and other performance enhancing supplements. Finally, in the third part we will discuss supplements for health and some of the lesser known supplements like nootroptics. But first, let’s begin with a little segment on the state of the supplement industry.

Just as supplements have been around for a very long time, so has the practice of misleading consumers when it comes to the effectiveness of different supplements. Snake oil salesmen still exist today in this industry. Because there is very little FDA regulation into the supplement industry, companies do not have to back up their claims. With millions of dollars to be made, there have been numerous companies who have been busted for not including the ingredients they claimed were in the product and for adding in ingredients that they didn’t list (sometimes even illegal ones). This is exacerbated by the false advertising that occurs including photoshopping photos to make results look more dramatic and using sponsored athletes who don’t even use their products at all. As much as this sucks, there are plenty of good companies out there that do have the moral integrity to do things the right way. The trouble is that without the correct education, it is very difficult to determine what companies are doing things the right way and which companies are trying to screw you out of your hard earned money. One simple way is to look at the claims they are making for their products. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Supplements are just a small piece in the process of improving health, performance, and physique and no matter how much money you pour into them, they will never be able to make up for a poor training program and a poor diet. Supplements can help make the process easier and slightly quicker but they are never going to be able to do alone what they could do with proper training and nutrition thrown in the mix as well. So, with that being said, the majority of the products that I am going to discuss in this series come from a company called 1st Phorm. They are a company that I know is doing things the right way. They don’t make outrageous claims for their products, they sell things that have been proven to work, and they promote and help educate people on the importance of quality nutrition and training. They also don’t use false advertising and instead let their customers promote their products for them. They make the supplements that I personally take and the supplements that I feel good about selling at NBS Fitness.


So, without further ado, let’s talk about protein. I tried my very first protein supplement in 8th grade. It was chalky and tasted like the most disgusting chocolate I’d ever had but being the hardcore teenager that I was, I choked it down anyways. Luckily for all of us, the protein products on the market now are a much higher quality and an infinitely better taste. When we start discussing protein powder, we need to first discuss the source. There are lots of different sources for protein powder to be derived from. The most common source is whey (the liquid after milk has been curdled and strained) but there is also protein powder made from casein (what is used to make cheese), soy, hemp, and beef. Unless you suffer from some sort of food allergy  like lactose intolerance or follow certain dietary restrictions like a vegan diet, I highly suggest you make whey your source for protein supplements. The reason for this is because of it’s bioavailability compared to other sources. Bioavailability is basically a scale of how much use your body can get out of a certain protein. The term complete protein just means that it has all of the essential amino acids present but the varying amounts of all amino acids in a food will affect its bioavailability.  Whey protein has a much higher bioavailability than any other potential source. When it comes to building muscle, having all amino acids present is necessary which means you need a constant supply of all essential amino acids in your blood stream. Whey is the best way to make this happen.

Now there are two different types of whey protein available: isolate and concentrate. Concentrate is the by product of the cheese making process. Once the water and casein is removed from milk, you are left with whey concentrate. To get whey isolate, the concentrate must go through a process in which the lactose, fat, and cholesterol are removed. The less extensive version of this process involves the use of high temperatures which then can cause protein degradation and leave a lower quality product afterwards. The better version is low temperature cross flow filtration which leaves the protein intact and a much higher quality end product. Another form of whey is whey hydrolysate. This is a protein in which enzymes have been added to help breakdown the bonds between the amino acids making it easier and quicker to digest.

Which Should You Take?

So which should you take? Well, that all depends on your goal. Whey concentrate is going to be less expensive since it doesn’t go through as many processes. This does however mean that it is going to digest a bit slower and has a bit more fat and carbs in it than isolate does. If you’re not necessary needing to manage your calories that precisely and are looking for a slower digesting protein to use as a meal replacement, concentrate is a good choice. Whey isolate is going to be a little more expensive because of the processes it must go through but it will be more calories from protein with less fat and carbs and it is going to digest faster. If you buy an isolate, make sure that you are getting one that is low temperature cross flow filtrated. It costs a little more but very important to have a high quality protein that hasn’t been denatured. If you’re dieting and have to account for all extra calories or if you’re looking for a post workout protein that will get into your system and start the recovery process, whey isolate is the choice to make. Finally, whey hydrolysate is going to have a bit of a bitter taste to it. Companies try to mask this as best they can but if you get a pure hydrolysate, it’s going to have a bitter taste. The best time for whey hydrolysate is post workout.



The two protein products that we sell and that I take and recommend are Level 1 and Phormula 1 by 1st Phorm. Level 1 is a protein blend with whey isolate, whey concentrate, and some egg protein as well. This is going to give you the perfect amount of slow digesting protein to use as a meal replacement with a little bit of quicker digesting isolate to get into your system quickly. With tons of different flavors, it tastes pretty dang delicious too. Level 1 is also a little bit cheaper than Phormula 1. Phormula 1 is a combination of whey isolate and hydrolyzed whey isolate. This is the perfect protein for post workout when you need all those amino acids in your blood stream quickly, ready to get converted into tissue or energy. It is also extremely delicious.

Now that our first part of the series is over be sure to check out part two next month and a reminder that both Level 1 and Phormula 1 can be purchased from NBS Fitness or from the supplement section on our website.


In 2007 Ronnie Coleman put out a training video in which he wraps his knees and performs a 2300 lb leg press. You can check out that video here. Ten years later and aspiring lifters are still emulating one of the best ever in their attempts to grow legs like Mr. Olympia. Thousands upon thousands of young lifters have posted videos on the internet of them hoisting up hundreds and thousands of pounds in every beginner’s favorite exercise: the leg press. The man in the video below was surely thinking he was going to grow some massive wheels loading up the leg press, wrapping his knees, and performing shortened range of motion reps. Unfortunately, he suffered a massive injury which will likely take him out of training and put him in rehab for a very very long time. Fortunately for us we can learn a few lessons from his mistakes.

Don’t wrap your knees on leg press

Wrapping your knees causes compression that allows you to lift more weight. It works really well for heavy squats. However, it restricts the blood flow to your lower legs which can cause loss of feeling and numbness. Not a big deal for something heavy that’s one to three reps but when you start trying to rep out heavy weight, the last thing you want is to lose feeling in your legs.

Use full range of motion when doing leg press

In order to cause a muscle to grow, you have to cause stress to that muscle. You have to stimulate it to the point of adaptation. When you use a shortened range of motion on leg press, you fail to fully stress the muscles of your legs because you are putting them in their most advantageous position. If you really wanted to stress them, take them through a full range of motion where you can’t lift 20 plates. This way, your muscles will be fully stressed in their weakest position, causing them to grow, and at the top where your knees are vulnerable, you won’t have an overloaded leg press.

Use spotters and safety equipment when doing heavy lifts

Most of the injuries that occur in the gym are from stupid people doing stupid things they shouldn’t be doing. If you are going to lift heavy, you need make sure you cover your worst case scenario. In a squat this means you should use safety chains and have 3 spotters at a minimum. In a leg press this means you should have the safety stops in place, relatively to the range of motion you are working in, and you should have spotters on both sides just in case the worst case scenario really does happen.

This guy learned his lesson the hard way, you don’t have to. BE WARNED!!!! THE VIDEO BELOW IS INCREDIBLY DISTURBING!!! WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!

When it comes to the organization of training, many people fall back to basics they learned early on in their training career. Things that have been passed time from one lifter to the next and so on and so forth. Many times lifters are not even sure of the purpose or reasoning behind their training program, it’s what they’ve always done. This article will describe two different loading patterns that can be used when organizing your programming: horizontal loading and vertical loading. Horizontal loading is when all sets of a given exercise are done before moving on to the next exercise. Vertical loading is when the first set of 1 exercise is followed immediately by the first set of another exercise before returning back to the first exercise to begin set 2.  Read on to gain a better understanding of the effects both of this loading schemes have.

Horizontal Loading


Bench Press, work up to a heavy weight for 5 reps, do 3 sets of 5 reps with around a 2-3 minute break in between each

DB Bench Press, work up to a moderate weight for 10 reps and perform 3 total sets with a minute break in between each

Pec Deck Flys, work up to a moderate weight for 15 reps and perform 3 total sets with a minute break in between each

  • Hypertrophy: Horizontal loading can be manipulated in a variety of ways to allow complete or incomplete recovery. In the example above, we could extend or shorten the rest period in order to change our recovery. The idea being that total recovery may be better for strength development as maximum weight can be used while incomplete recovery may benefit hypertrophy training as more motor units are recruited and fatigued as the sets continue on.
  • Strength: Because horizontal loading allows for all sets of a given exercise to be completed prior to moving on to the next exercises, it is more beneficial for strength training of major movements (ie squat, bench, deadlift) because the lifter is allowed complete time to recover before his next heavy set. However, for isolation movements or major movements done without full recovery, horizontal loading will allow the lifter less time between sets and therefore potentially hamper strength.
  • Endurance: Because all sets for a given exercise are completed first and therefore require a break in between, horizontal loading may not have the same aerobic training affect as vertical loading. However, for alactic or lactic endurance in which output needs to be high with relatively low rest periods, horizontal loading can be useful to determine at what point output start to drop off.
  • Time: Horizontal loading can take more time to complete a workout than vertical loading, especially if full recovery is allowed between sets. However, training variables can be manipulated to make both take about the same time. When doing so incomplete recovery of individual muscle groups would occur with horizontal loading while full or at least close to full recovery would occur with vertical loading.
  • Gym Setup: Utilizing horizontal loading may be easier in an open gym as securing one piece of equipment for 5 minutes is easier than securing multiple pieces of equipment for the same time period.

Vertical Loading

Example A:

Complete 1 set of each exercise, minimal break in between, before returning back to the first exercise to begin set 2, complete 3 total sets

Bench Press, work up to a heavy weight for 5 reps

DB Bench Press, work up to a moderate weight for 10 reps

Pec Deck Flys, work up to a moderate weight for 15 reps

Example B:

Complete 1 set of each exercise, minimal break in between, before returning back to the first exercise to begin set 2, complete 3 total sets

DB Bench Press, work up to a moderate weight for 10 reps

DB Row, work up to a moderate weight for 10 reps

Seated DB Side Raise, work up to a moderate weight for 10 reps

  • Hypertrophy: When using vertical loading for exercises to target different muscle groups as in example B, full recovery of each specific muscle group will occur between sets (although systemic recovery may not). Because of this, activation of all motor units and muscle fibers may be limited. When using vertical loading for exercises of the same muscle group, full muscle recovery will no occur. When exercises are placed in order of compound, multi-joint movements that use more weight first with isolation movements placed later, the lifter can achieve full fatigue of the muscle group before recovering between exercise rounds. This may have some significant benefits for hypertrophy.
  • Strength: When vertical is done with same or similar muscle group exercises, strength is likely to diminish from one exercise to the next as fatigue sets in. However, if done using opposing muscle groups or non-similar muscle groups, then strength can be maintained between sets as a muscle has more time to full recover. This would be good for a strength athlete with limited training time or who needed to improve their aerobic capacity.
  • Endurance: Vertical loading can be used to develop aerobic capacity and improve the cardio-respiratory system. While recover of the individual muscle groups will be maximized, the lifter is still systemically stressed as their training becomes more dense. This works well for smaller accessory movements where total weight being used is not as high as in the main movements.
  • Time: Vertical loading should take less time to complete than horizontal loading if breaks between exercises and sets remain low to moderate.
  • Gym Setup: Setting up exercises for vertical loading is dependent on equipment availability, distance, and how crowded the gym is. If the gym is full, you may be limited in what equipment you can utilize. In this case, setting up multiple movements on once piece of equipment is ideal (like in example B).

The examples below are very basic and serve the purpose of creating a base understanding of the two loading schemes. Complexity can be grown from there to fit a lifter’s needs. Personally, I’ve enjoyed utilizing vertical loading for beginners who need a training program that will target multiple physical capacities within a limited time frame. I also like to utilize vertical loading after the main movement for strength athletes who need some improved aerobic capacity and who’s main lifts take up a lot of time already. Take what you’ve learned and apply it to your own training and see what more you can learn from these two loading patterns.


The most common discussion I have to have with nutrition clients is the concept that the scale is not the ultimate judge of progress. It has been ingrained into people’s minds that losing weight is synonymous with losing fat, being healthier, and looking better. The first thing I typically do is explain everything that “weight” can be comprised of. These include:

  • Lean tissue (muscle bones, organs, skin, etc)
  • Fatty tissue (visceral fat, fat stores in other areas of the body, nervous system tissue)
  • Water
  • Glycogen
  • Substance within the GI tract (food, liquids, etc)

As you can see there are lot of variables here that can fluctuate significantly and have a big impact on the number on the scale. This is how strength athletes, fighters, and wrestlers can cut 20-30 lbs to make a weight class. Are they losing 40 lbs of fat? Absolutely not. Many times when people first begin a nutrition program, the eating schedule is much more than they are used to (you can check out this article to find out why). Because of this, their glycogen stores fill up, they hold more water, and they have more food in their GI tract than normal which can cause their weight to go up a few pounds. However, after about a week or two their bodies adjust back to a new level of homeostasis and their weight balances back out or actually drops a little bit. I have seen this play out time and time again in hundreds of nutrition clients. So instead of focusing on the scale as the sole measure of progress, do the following:

  • Take Measurements: Taking body part measurements will very clearly show if you are losing size. You can also use skin caliper measurements to determine if fat levels are going down in different areas. Understand that measurements aren’t going to change linearly. You may have some measurements that drop every week, others that don’t move at all, and some that are very sporadic. The key is to track them over time and see where they are trending.
  • Track your training: If your training is improving, you’re moving in the right direction. You’re not going to look like someone who can crank out 50 pushups if you can’t even do a single one correctly. So push yourself in your training and know that as training number improve then your body is adapting in a positive way.
  • Weigh in to learn your body: Weighing yourself regularly can be both helpful and hazardous. If you’re someone who stresses over the scale and gets anxiety and makes drastic decisions based off of what you weigh, then you need to throw the scale away and focus on proper nutrition and intelligent training. However, if you can accept the scale is just one of many measurement tools, then you can watch your weight over time and learn how your body responds to different stimuli. You can see how your body responds to different foods, different training stress, different life stress, different amounts of sleeps, hormonal changes, etc. Using this data along with measurements and training will give you a more complete picture of how your progress is coming along and keep you from making the mistake of focusing on the scale.

In the financial world, there is a big difference between true wealth and the outward appearance of wealth. We can define true wealth as the financial cushion to handle predictable and some non predictable negative financial circumstances (loss of income, medical expenses, etc) as well as the financial position to comfortably live the lifestyle you desire with the potential to grow your wealth. We see this play out with the example of many Americans with nice cars, big TV’s, big houses, and lots of toys who still live pay check to pay check without any insurance, retirement, or investments. This is true for all income brackets. People living in poverty make foolish financial decisions just as millionaire sports stars go bankrupt from doing the same. Likewise, intelligent financial decisions including insuring oneself from catastrophe and investing in the future are made by people of all income levels as well.

This same principle applies to the training world. There are many things you can do that are geared more towards the outward appearance as opposed to things that truly build lasting value. Where you put your resources will play a big roll in the over all outcome. While intelligent investments may not bring the same short term joy, they can bring lasting value. Here are two examples of what I am referring to:


Time is our most valuable resource because it is truly non renewable. Time spent can never be earned back so it’s important that you use it wisely. Spending time trolling others on social media sites can bring short term enjoyment but has little long term value for the lifter. If we’re going to look at the true ROI (with return being characterized as improved health, performance, and/or physique) for time spent on social media, it is very very low. Interacting with other humans is great but social media platforms are not the best for exchanging quality information. Instead, a more intelligent investment decision would be to spend time reading and learning from people who have established themselves as credible in the areas you are interested in.


Energy is a renewable resource but it is not infinite. Like a savings account, you have a limited amount of energy that you can expend before you need to spend some time replenishing it. Therefore, intelligent energy usage is ideal for long term success. Many people waste their energy making their work a show for others in the gym to experience. Now, there are times when exuding a lot of outward energy is beneficial like when you are attempting a max set on a major lift. Getting yourself hyped up, however you may do it, can be necessary for certain situations. The issue is when it is used in all situations. Cable crossovers? Scream at the top of your lungs so everyone watches. Warm up set on dumbbell bench? Shot put the dumbbells out of your hands and hope no body’s feet are in the way (also who cares if you destroy the equipment). Getting ready to squat? Pour chalk on your back instead of putting your shirt on. These are the things that bring no benefit to the lifter but are instead a waste of time and potentially a nuisance to other people.

The only reason I can reflect on these things is because I have been guilty of them. As a younger lifter I made a lot of mistakes and was often time confused on what true success looks like. Now with some time under my belt in the weight room, I can look back and realize my mistakes. I used to toss dummbells on the floor until I realized that it was hurting my shoulder and causing the dumbbells to bend. I used to scream during my sets till I realized focusing on my breathing would help me perform better. I used to put chalk on everything until I realized perfecting my setup and technique made it so I didn’t really need it. If you’re newer in the fitness game, take my advice: invest your resources wisely and focus on long term success instead of trying to give the outside perception of it.

Anyone who has listed to me talk or has worked with me on nutrition knows that I am not a big fan of spending a ton of money on supplements. In order for me to justify taking a supplement myself or for recommending it to any of my clients, it not only has to have a noticeable impact on health, physique, and/or performance but it also has to be reasonably priced. We’ve recently added two supplements to our in-store stock that fit both of these categories.

1st Phorm Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine is one of the most highly researched supplements on the market and the results are simple: it works. Supplementing with creatine will help lifters store more creatine within the muscle, allowing them to continue to produce ATP (the energy substrate for muscle contraction) as fast and efficiently as possible through the phosphagen energy system. This in turn will allow lifters to build more strength and have more strength endurance which in turn can lead to increase muscle growth. The best part, it’s super cheap. Pick up 3 month supply for just $17 at NBS Fitness.

1st Phorm Night T

The second product we’ve added is a sleep aid with all my favorite ingredients. It has melatonin to help get you ready for sleep, ZMA to help with your circadian rhythms, valerian root to help you get a deep full sleep, and  GABA and 5-HTP to help with brain function. I have been taking these ingredients separately for years and now 1st Phorm has put them all in one supplement, perfect! This is something I tell all my clients to take. Quality sleep is a must have for proper function and to get the results you want out of the gym. You can get a month supply for only $45 at NBS Fitness.


Don’t you just love a catchy title. Catchy, effective, and truthful. If we’re going to define “fat” as having more body fat than the ideal amount for health (ie overweight/obese) then at least 2/3 of the population falls into that category. That number is also on the rise, by the way, which means there is a pretty high probability that if you’re reading this you’re probably either overweight or obese or will likely be one day down the road. But why is that? Why is that at a time when more people are exercising than ever before, more people have access to healthy nutrition choices than ever before, and more people are making more health concious decisions than ever before that we still see the weight and body fat levels of our nation continue to increase?  Lucky for you I am going to reveal the reasons why in this month’s article. Read on…

Simple Math

As complicated as we tend to make nutrition sound with all the different dietary methods and strategies, the truth is that weight loss and gain comes down to simple math. If you consume more calories than you burn you will gain weight. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. Pretty simple. The complexity comes in two different forms. First, the amount that you consume can effect the amount that you burn (metabolism) and the form in which that weight gain or loss occurs (muscle, glycogen, or fat). We’ll discuss how to affect these later, for now, let’s focus on the simple math.

The Caloric Roller Coaster

One of the common mistakes people make with thinking about the calories they consume is only looking at it through one time frame, ie total calories in a day. Your body is constantly going through metabolic reactions, building and breaking down tissue, and thus we need to look at energy consumed over multiple time frames (meal, day, week, month, etc). The truth is that the average American isn’t in a constant state of energy surplus and isn’t overweight because they eat cheesy puffs and drink cokes all day everyday. The ones who do are easy to point out. They’re 400 pounds and ride scooters through Walmart. Most Americans find themselves gaining weight because they have a roller coaster of calories over multiple time frames. They have a protein bar for breakfast, a chicken salad for lunch, but after a long ass day at work they have a couple glasses of wine to relax and a bowl of ice cream. On the weekends they have a night where they go out for Mexican and margaritas. Over the holidays they enjoy the pot lucks at work and different parties.

These time frames of consuming excess calories are short: a meal a couple times a week and a few extra over the holidays. But each time they come from foods high in fat, high in sugar, or alcohol. All of which are very easily converted into excess body fat. They’re not gaining a pound of fat a day but just a little bit each week. Maybe a 1/8 to a 1/4 of a lb. Just two to three pounds over the holidays. But week after week, year after year these add up and 20 years down the road they’ve gained 30 plus pounds of body fat. Sounds familiar? I’ve heard this story a thousand times. So are you just supposed to never enjoy food or drink again? Of course not! You just have to do 2 things:

1. Consume plenty of calories to sustain you throughout the day from quality food choices and in sufficient amounts of each macronutrient. You need calories and nutrients to function. If you provide yourself with that, you are less likely to cheat in between meals or when you get home because you will have remained satiated and sustained throughout the day. Doing this will allow you to eat more food, more calories, and gain less body fat.

5 Reasons You’re Not Getting the Physique Results You Want

2. Give your body a reason to need more calories. Life isn’t meant to be lived in a state of constant calorie deprivation. You’re going to have times where you want to enjoy the flavors of this world, have a beer with some friends, and celebrate the holidays. You can do all that without the excess fat gain that comes with it, you just have to give your body something to do with those calories. Here is how:

Your Workouts are Weak

Your body is made to adapt to stress which allows it to do really cool things like lift heavy weights, build muscle, run fast, etc. Besides poor nutritional choices, the second reason that most people are fat is that they just never train hard enough to warrant the extra calories they consume. Two hundred years ago when people had to do a lot more physical work just to get by day to day, you could get away with splurging on some calorically dense food from time to time without any weight gain. With modern times, you have to create that physical work through the form of exercise. Unfortunately, the average American’s workout is….WEAK!!! I recognize that getting people moving is better than nothing and that not every person wants to push themselves till they puke. However, if you think going for a walk a couple times a week is going to drop 50 pounds of body fat you’re in for a rude awakening. That is a good place to start but not the ideal place to finish. If you want to give your body a reason to not get fat, you’ll need to strive for three things in your training:

  1. Muscle. Adding more lean mass to your frame will increase your metabolic needs. Think of the amount of muscle you have like the size of an engine. The bigger the engine the more fuel it will consume. It will also improve your physique as well as allow you get stronger.
  2. Strength. Increasing your strength level increases the total amount of work that you can do and therefore the total amount of calories you can burn. It takes twice as many calories to move 20 kg 1 meter in one second as it takes to move 10 kg 1 meter in one second. As your strength improves, so will your ability to output.
  3. Output. This final training quality you should strive for encompasses both the physical and mental sides of training. It is the ability to mentally push yourself to take on greater and greater physical demands. Output is building your strength up to a double body weight squat and then building it up to doing double bodyweight for 20 reps. It’s going from being able to do a pull up to being able to do Fran Rx (95 lb thrusters, pull ups: 21,15,9). It’s going from completing a 5K to running a 5k with a 7 minute mile split time. Output is pushing yourself to be more badass.

The cool thing is I’ve seen people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds achieve all three of the qualities above so there really aren’t any limitations. It’s going to be hard, you’re going to hurt but you’re going to grow and adapt and become a better person. You’ll amaze yourself with what your body can do and what you can accomplish. And you can have that margarita and not stress because you know over the next week you’re gonna burn it off. So now you know why you’re fat (or will be) and what to do if you want to change it. Either way the decision and power lies within you. What are you going to do?

What is the Abyss? The abyss is the dark, lonely, and isolated existence that a people find themselves in when they suddenly stop training. People stop training for many different reasons. Maybe they got injured, maybe they were a competitive athlete and they couldn’t perform as well as they used to, maybe they got burned out, or maybe they had some life events occur that made getting training in more difficult. Whatever the reason, the abyss is not a place you want to be. Let’s look at how you can avoid it:

Something is better than nothing

Recently a member of our gym had a child and, understandably, had to put training on the back burner for a bit. But he still gets up early in the morning before anyone else and gets some cardio in and comes in on the weekends to train. While he may not be getting four full training days in like he was before, he’s getting in what he can so that it’s a much easier transition once life settles back down. When crazy life stuff happens, it’s not forever. Make the best with what you can and remember that something is better than nothing.

Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t

Many times lifters get frustrated when an injury occurs or their body just won’t perform like it used to. They focus on the negative and get in their head that if they can’t do it the way they want or use to they just won’t do it at all. This is a terrible way to view things. There is always something you can improve on, something you can work towards, something that you can do to push yourself. There are countless examples of veteran amputees who find ways to work around their injuries. You have to focus on the positive and find ways to get it done, work through your problem and figure out a solution. If one side is hurt, work the other side. If both arms are messed up, train your legs. If your legs and arms are destroyed, train your core. There is something you CAN do so focus on that, not what you can’t.

Turn the volume down

Many of the folks that train at NBS Fitness are people who compete in different strength and fitness sports, they are people who push themselves mentally and physically and in doing so place a lot of stress on themselves, mentally as well as physically. This can lead to a period of “burn out” where they just don’t feel like pushing themselves to that level any more. When this happens, it’s important to take step back and allow your body some time to recover and rejuvenate. Unfortunately, more often than not lifters will just take time off completely. If too much time is taken off, a lifter can find themselves in a place where they have lost their training habits and much of their fitness levels. Then getting back into the swing of things is even more difficult because they haven’t trained in a couple weeks, month, or years. Exercise has many positive effects on the brain including neurogenesis, mood enhancement, and endorphin release. This helps improve cognitive function and elevates your mood. That is why I call the state of non training the Abyss. Not only does it have negative consequences on you physically but it also has negative consequences on you mentally and emotionally. I wouldn’t recommend more than a week off of exercise for the majority of people suffering from burn out. Instead just turn it down a bit. Drop down a training day, drop your volume, drop your intensity or try a new form of exercise. All of these are better options than falling into the abyss.

Read this to suck less part 1: Mental Toughness

Read this to suck less part 2: Hearing the things you don’t want to hear

Read this to suck less part 3: How to choose the correct exercises

Just because something is hard doesn’t mean that it is good

There is something instinctual in humans that makes them transfixed by something new and different. If ever there was a place where this was true it would be in the world of fitness. People are constantly looking for the next “secret”. Secret supplement, secret diet, secret exercise, the list goes on and on. The biggest lie in all of that is the idea that there is “one” thing that can have that big of an impact. The truth is that all things have all the impacts, meaning that whatever results you get will be the accumulation of lots of different decision you make along the way. I am surprised by how many people I see creating new exercises. It’s usually someone with less than a decade of training trying to turn every machine in the gym into a bicep exercise. It’s because of a false belief that there is some “new” exercise that hasn’t been created yet that will really have an impact on their performance or physique. Most people would be better served by getting as much as they can out of a handful of exercises before moving on to the next handful. If you’ve been training for 20+ years, sure you may need to pull some new tricks out of the bag but if you’re relatively young in the game and have a list of bicep exercises a mile long, what cards are you gonna play 10 years from now?

The other big mistake I see people make when creating exercises is making things hard just for the sake of making them hard. Typically we would call these “stupid human tricks”. These are things like back squatting on a physio ball or doing handstand pushups on 10 dumbbells stacked on top of each other. Now, I get it they’re fun to watch and they will definitely get you lots of likes on social media, but are they really something you should be doing? I like to look at exercises as a risk to benefit ratio. The benefit being different for each individual’s goals (I’m not going to list gaining social media likes as a benefit). Let’s take the back squatting on a physio ball for an example.

  • Is there a strength benefit? No, the lack of stability will significantly limit the total force output.
  • Is there a hypertrophy benefit? No, the major muscle groups will not be stimulated in a sufficient fashion due to the lack of load being used due to the lack of stability.
  • Is there an endurance benefit? No because stability is the limiting factor not the energy system’s ability to continue to produce ATP in sufficient amounts.
  • Is there a power/speed benefit? No, again force production is limited by the unstable surface.
  • Is there a coordination benefit? Yes, but unfortunately coordination is movement specific and that exercise doesn’t mimic anything else so the only benefit would be making you better at squatting on unstable surfaces.
  • What is the risk comment? Very high! The exercise has a high potential for injury.

Looking at all that we see that there is no real benefit to the exercise and a high risk of injury. Therefore it gets tossed in the trash can as a waste of time. Just because something is hard, doesn’t mean that it’s good. You have limited time and limited resources when it comes to your training. Use them intelligently.

Read this to suck less part 1: Mental Toughness

Read this to suck less part 2: hearing the things you don’t want to hear

Are you willing to listen to the stuff you don’t want to hear but need to?

My nutrition coach, Shelby Starnes, made a post a while back that I really liked. In it he said that when choosing someone to work with you need to decide whether you want a friend or whether you want results. Neither is right or wrong but going into the process you need to be clear on what it is you want. After having spent many years being coached in different endeavors and now having spent the last 10 years coaching others in different fitness and health pursuits, I am more and more aware of how true this statement is. As a college football player, I hated my coach. He was an asshole. But he knew his stuff when it came to football. We were the number one defense in the country and I’ve got a really big giant conference championship ring because of it.

That’s not to say that you can’t get results and enjoy the relationship with your coach but if you really want results, you’ll need to put your ego and your emotions to the side. If you can’t, helpful information and honest feedback is going to hurt your feelings and you’re not going to be able to see or hear the truth you need to in order to get better. For example, in powerlifting there are classifications for different totals at different weight classes with the highest classification being called Elite. I have said many times to powerlifters that if you do not have an elite total, you are not strong. Oh the wonderful reactions I get. But that’s the truth. Not based on my own opinions but based on the the sport itself! An elite total isn’t enough to qualify you for the Arnold or the WPC or the IPF Nationals and it’s definitely not enough to get  you in the top 10 of your weight class. It’s the border from being weak to being strong. You can compare yourself to people who don’t lift or maybe you’re the strongest of your friends or the strongest in the gym but the simple truth of the matter is that if you’re a powerlifter and you don’t have an elite total YOU ARE NOT STRONG. I remember telling a group of powerlifting females that they all needed to get their squats up to two times bodyweight MINIMUM and one of them acted like I asked her to squat 1000 lbs. But, if you look at the requirements for an elite total, you’re going to need pretty close to a double bodyweight squat and deadlift and above a bodyweight bench to hit an elite total as a female (and much more as a male). If you want to be good at powerlifting then you need to know what good and great really looks like. You need to know where you stack up. That’s not to put down anybody’s personal accomplishments but instead to suggest that you don’t get complacent and keep on striving. Likewise, there may be some stuff you need to hear (or have been told) that may be just what you need to actually get better but you’ll need to check your ego and emotions at the door first.

Read this to suck less part 1: Mental Toughness

Mental Toughness: Make the right choice

I’ve been recently watching a TV show called “The Selection” in which 30 civilians try to make it through a grueling mock special forces selection process put on by ex special forces operators. One of the instructors said something that really stuck with me:

There is no such thing as a physical challenge

What he meant is that the body is made to withstand and adapt to tremendous amounts of physical abuse, it is an adaptation machine hell bent on survival. Physical boundaries are constantly broken down through records and feats of human performance we never thought possible. He said this during a PT session where the participants did 1000 situps. His point being that the body is not what will limit anyone from reaching that number, only the mind can do that. Because there is no such thing as a physical challenge, if a goal is to be achieved, all it takes is the decision to act.

Former Navy Seal and co-author of the book Extreme Ownership talked about how to develop mental toughness on his podcast the other day. He suggested that it was all about creating habits. By breaking each task or goal down into their most simple components, you can now just focus on making the right decision, one decision at a time. After repeating this process enough times, mental toughness will become second nature as you learn to push yourself past your currents limits time and time again. Personally, I am not sure how much of mental toughness is genetic, how much is environmental, and how much is self taught. I do recognize that there is a big difference between going through and graduating from BUD/S and the person who struggles to go to the gym and eat right. However, I do believe the process to success looks the same, even at different magnitudes. You must first decide if you truly want it or not, then you must break the task down into it’s most simple of components, and third you must tackle each of those components head on and make the right decision.

I have been training for 17 years, I have been in the fitness industry for 10 years, and I have owned a gym for 5 years. Along that time frame I have helped over a thousand people in training, nutrition, and life. I have watched people succeed, fail, struggle, bounce back, do awesome, do terrible, far exceed my expectations, and fail to reach their own potential. This journey is one of constant learning and reflection and is never as straight line as I seem to want to think it is. So to those just beginning, this article is my experience given to you. It will chronicle the five stages you will go through and need in your fitness journey. I hope they help you reach your goals in 2017.


Whether it’s a significant life event, looking at yourself in the mirror, or listening to a motivational speaker, at some point that flip is switched and the catalyst for change has begun. There is the realization that something needs to happen, something needs to change. During this phase of change, I recommend continuing to dump fuel onto the motivational fire. A rocket needs a lot of boost from take off to reach it’s final destination. Likewise people need as much momentum as they can get on the front end of change. The friction of changing life habits can be a very hard to overcome force, so a strong motivation is vital. If you find yourself in this phase, surround yourself with whatever motivation tickles your itch the most.


At some point motivation isn’t going to be enough. Using the previous rocket ship analogy, just because you have a giant booster rocket doesn’t mean you’re going to reach the moon. You need a plan of action, a map, a course to follow in order to ensure that your energy is harnessed and aimed in the right direction. Here is where a fitness professional becomes vital in your search for success. While I recognize the appeal of free stuff off the internet or your friend who is in such good shape, people who have been making a living year after year helping people just like you reach their goals know exactly what it takes and how to help you get there. Joining a gym with the goal of getting in shape is like buying tools with the goal of working on your car: knowledge is still a mandatory ingredient. Once your motivation is at it’s requisite amount, hire a fitness professional to be your copilot.


The sea of fitness is not one full of smooth sailing. You’re going to have problems. Your progress is going to stall, life is going to get in the way, you’re going to fail, you’re going to get hurt, you’re going to want to quit. I’ve seen too many people with unrealistic expectations begin their fitness journey. Not unrealistic expectations for what they can achieve but for what the journey to get there will be like. This where a support system becomes vital. A support system will not only help provide you with a realistic view on the journey to come but will also be there to help you up when you falter. Human beings can achieve great things by themselves but they can achieve even greater things in a group. Find a great support group to bring along for your journey.


At some point, your need for motivation is going to go away. You don’t necessarily need tofeel motivated to brush your teeth. You’ve been doing it since you were young and now it’s just a habit that you do. Exercise, eating right, living a healthy lifestyle all reach this same point as well. After training for 17 years, I can promise that I am far from motivated to workout every time I’m supposed to but it’s ingrained so much into my life at this point that it’s just the natural thing to do. Likewise, after a significant time pursuing your health and fitness goals, you will learn a good bit a long the way. You’ll know the tools of the trade and you’ll have experience to help give you direction. This isn’t to say you can’t still benefit from working with a coach but instead to say that you will not rely on them for the same help you did originally. Once your habits are established use them to excel you to higher levels.


If you’re just beginning your fitness journey, I’m going to give you a little spoil alert: there is no end. There is no final weight, body fat level, strength level, endurance level, etc that you will finally be happy at. As you progress you will realize your opportunity for even more success and you will want it. If you run a 5K you’ll start thinking about running it faster or running farther. If you bench press 225 you’ll start wanting to bench press 315. If you can see your abs you’ll eventually want to see striations in something else. The pursuit never ends and that’s a good thing. You will learn that happiness doesn’t truly come from reaching any one goal but instead comes from the pursuit of self progression. It comes in the realization that you have the power to make change in yourself.

Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one —    himself

If you are starting a New Years resolution, I want to encourage you to follow these 5 steps in your journey. I have watched many people transform their lives through this process and I am excited for you to do so as well.

Now that Christmas is over, I don’t feel so bad smashing a few of your previously held incorrect beliefs (don’t worry, I won’t tell you that Santa isn’t real…oops!). Well, to be honest, at one time I also believed that Santa was real and likewise I once believed that going on a hypertrophy protocol for powerlifting was a good thing to do. But…it’s really not. Here is why:

It’s not Zumba, it’s weight training

Your body is going to build muscle in response to resistance training, regardless of what title you decide to put on header of your excel sheet. Hypertrophy occurs as the result of three different stimuli: mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and muscle protein breakdown. In layman’s terms, your body builds muscle in response to weight training. Have you ever seen a high level competitive lifter in any iron sport (powerlifting, olympic lifting, strongman, CrossFit) that didn’t have a decent level of muscularity? Body fat levels aside, all strength training builds muscularity. That doesn’t mean that you’ll put it on as symmetrically as you would with a more bodybuilding type program but if you’re lifting weight you’re going to put on muscle, period. To put on muscle there are three things that must occur.

You eat like a 5 year old

The first being that you must be in a positive nitrogen balance which means you must be in a positive caloric intake with more amino acids being assimilated into muscle tissue than amino acids being broken down. This basically means you have to be taking in more calories than you are burning AND you need to have an adequate supply of amino acids to not only replenish those that are being broken down but to assimilate into new muscle tissue. In layman’s terms you have to be eating to gain muscle. This looks a little different for everybody but for the most part it’s pretty simple. You eat multiple meals throughout the day, each with plenty of lean protein, healthy fats, and carbs in adequate amounts to fuel your training and your recovery. What it doesn’t look like is skipping meals or consistently making poor food choices based on your emotional needs. Now, to all the ladies out there who claim they put on muscle too quickly…

You don’t gain muscle easily, you just get fat really quickly

The second key ingredient for muscle growth to occur is the correct hormonal signaling. Hormones control most of your body’s processes and if their isn’t an anabolic hormonal signal telling your body to build it just isn’t going to build. Most people who say they put on muscle really easily have never stood beside a professional male or female bodybuilder and seen what someone who really has great genetics for muscle growth looks like. The hierarchy for muscle growth goes like so:

  1. Males on anabolic steroids
  2. Males with good natural testosterone levels
  3. Females on anabolic steroids
  4. Females with good natural testosterone level/Males with poor natural testosterone levels (I’m going to say these are a tie)
  5. Females with poor natural testosterone levels

Like it or not, that’s the truth. If you expect to look like your “MCM” or “WCW” who’s been on drugs, training, and eating right for the last 10 years and expect to do it all natural over a 4 week hypertrophy phase, you’re in for a rude awakening. And if you fall in that category of not having very good natural testosterone levels, you’re running an uphill race. When you’re in a caloric surplus your body will either take those extra calories and convert them into energy/heat, convert them into lean tissue, or convert them into fat tissue. Genetics and hormones are going to determine which of those the body is going to lean towards and if you wonder why you “bulk so easily” every time you decide to add a dozen donuts to your Saturday routine, it’s because your body does an excellent job of converting that jelly filling into your very own visceral jelly filling behind your belly button. The truth is that, no matter what, you’re running some type of long distance race because hypertrophy takes time.

You’ve been training seriously for a couple years now? That’s cute, holler me at a decade

The final piece of the hypertrophy equation is a consistent environmental stress over A LONG PERIOD OF TIME. Hypertrophy occurs over years and is measured in decades. That doesn’t mean you can’t make progress over shorter periods but more so points out the need to view your training stimulus using a wide angle lens instead of the blinders that come with focusing on just the 4-8 week block. Hypertrophy will occur from all iron sport training IF you’re eating correctly AND your hormones don’t suck AND you do it for a long enough period of time. So if you’re looking in the mirror thinking you could use a little more lean tissue on your frame, make sure you have your I’s dotted and your T’s crossed and are willing to go in for the long haul. Add some higher volume, isolation movements to your training, get your nutrition on point (or hire a nutrition coach if you need to) and keep on grinding. Your body will adapt to look the part. Now go on and get too it, Easter is just around the corner and I don’t want to have to tell you the Easter bunny isn’t real…oops!


I may be slightly biased in my opinion on this subject but 17 years of training and 10 years in the fitness industry has influenced my ideas on what constitutes a solid gym from a gym that sucks. I am sure there are more than just five ways to know if your gym sucks but these five are definitely some of the top ones. So without further ado, here are 5 ways to know if your gym sucks.

Your Gym Has a Poor Cardio To Strength Equipment Ratio

Cardiovascular health is important and cardio machines provide a simple, user friendly way to exercise that doesn’t require much instruction. This easy learning curve combined with the false belief that cardio is the best way to lose fat has led many gyms to fill their spaces with endless rows of cardio machines and in the process, severely limit the amount of strength equipment they have. It’s not at all uncommon to find gyms with fifty plus pieces of cardio and only one or two squat racks. At NBS Fitness we have 6 cardio machines and 10 places to squat. It’s important you gym has an appropriate ratio of cardio to strength equipment. If there is never any wait on a treadmill but the one squat rack is always taken up but some knucklehead doing cheat curls, your gym sucks.

Your Gym Has Hex Pimg_7633-2lates

The reason hex plates were invented was to prevent lifters from deadlifting. I’m not sure if that’s actually true or not but its the only reason I can think of. While rubber covered hex plates are cool looking, they make deadlifting properly a pain in the ass. Because they can’t roll, the lifter get pushed into less than ideal position trying to make a lift. Even worse is if a lifter is going for multiple reps the plates will cause the bar to shift and swing. Standard metal plates are the best plates for train
ing, period. If your gym has hex plates it’s because they want you to hurt yourself while deadlifting and that means they suck.

Your Gym Plays Terrible Music

Everyone has their own music preference but there are certain genres of music that lend themselves to being better for lifting than others. At a previous gym I worked at, they were playing the worlds worst playlist with as many soft songs as you could possible play. Pretty much every member who was in the free weight section at the time complained about it. Trying to fix the issue, I changed the music to a Metallica playlist on Pandora with Metallica, AC/DC, Motorhead, etc. Well, one member really didn’t like my choice in music and proceded to jump up and scream “DEVIL MUSIC” while covering her ears and running out of the gym. This really upset my supervisors who quickly changed the music back and got on to me. My theory was that if 30 members like the music and those are the members who are coming into the gym every day and training hard, then why do we really care if it upsets the crazy lady who’s riding the recumbent bike and watching TV. At NBS, we play hard rock, metal, and rap. If you don’t like it, just put your headphones on. But we don’t want to dull the mood forthe serious lifters by catering to the people who aren’t interested in getting a little crazy in the weight room. If your gym plays boring slow music, your gym sucks.

Your Gym Doesn’t Allow Chalk

img_7632The purpose of chalk is to increase the friction between a lifter’s skin and whatever implement they are training with. This increase of friction allows for increased performance and reduction of injury as a lifter is less likely to tear their skin and/or lose their grip. The downside is chalk makes a mess. Because of this many gyms have banned the use of chalk altogether. Some grumpy members complained about chalk being left on a bar or on the floor or were too scared to join because the chalk intimidated them. As a gym owner, I understand that it is a pain in the ass to clean up chalk. The unfortunate truth is that some members are special (in a short bus kind of way) and haven’t realizedthe proper chalk etiquette. Sometimes they think they are Lebron James doing a pregame chalk explosion or they think covering the entire bench in chalk is the trick to keeping them from slipping instead of just putting their shirt on. Either way, some education goes a long way towards teaching the dumb dumbs on how to properly use chalk without making an unnecessary mess. And in the end, chalk helps your members lift bigger weights and do it in a safer manner, win win. If your gym is anti chalk, your gyms sucks.

Your Gym Separates Experienced Lifters From Beginners

The other day I watched a video of a cardio class with people swinging wooden swords around to hip hop beats. While I can appreciate the idea of something getting people up and moving, there has been a slow steady lie spreading through the fitness industry. That lie is that making strides in your health, fitness, and physique is always fun. Sometimes it can be fun but the truth is that many times it is a down right kick in the ass. Much like saving money, the reason you continue to do it isn’t that it is fun, it’s because you know it’s what you need to do to get the outcome that you want. If that isn’t an analogy for life, I don’t know what is. Many times, gyms try to lure in people with the idea of “fun” fitness. You get to dance around and listen to hip hop music or lifting on the purple equipment protected from experienced lifter’s grunts by an alarm. I’m not saying I’m anti cardio classes, however, if we’re going to make the connection between what most people want from training (improved health, improved performance, improved physique) versus what they actually get from training, rarely do they match up. This is because they are usually dissuaded from making themselves uncomfortable by putting themselves in a place of little experience. If you want to make changes, you have to get uncomfortable and instead of separating beginners from those with experience, gyms should be making it easier for beginners to connect with those lifters with more experience so they can gain experience and become more comfortable in the process. If your gym separates experienced lifters from beginners, your gym sucks.

Well there you have it. How did you gym stack up?

I’m lucky, I have perspective. In the fitness field I’ve worn or wear many hats and that has allowed me to participate and witness many things. It has allowed me to meet and know many people. I’ve had the chance to watch people both fail and succeed, to witness people give up and persevere, and to watch people quit and persist. I’ve had the chance to analyze what different habits and characteristics separate the two groups. When it comes to fitness related progress, I have found that the pillars of success are effort, consistency, community, and knowledge. Let’s take a look at each.


It’s no surprise that a certain amount of effort is required for success in fitness. There really aren’t many situations in which a half hearted effort is going to bring great results. The good thing is that effort doesn’t have to be at an absolute 10 all the time. You don’t have to puke every time you train or skip holiday meals to follow your macros. In fact, that would have significantly negative results as you would be at a higher risk of injury and getting burned out. It needs to be high but not at an absolute max all the time, there needs to be some variation. There is an ebb and flow that allows for better consistency.


Effort is vital but without consistency it’s not worth very much. Consistency is the make or break trait that separates the people who make it from the ones who don’t and it’s something that many people struggle with. I’ve seen it happen on several occasions and for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because someone was trying to put out more effort than they were capable of maintaining and when it became too much they quit instead of scaling back. I’ve seen it happen due to injury as well. They focus on what they can’t do instead of what they can and get frustrated and quit. Unrealistic expectations can be another culprit of inconsistency. A fragile ego many times keeps people who were once good from coming back. Consistency is vital and when combined with effort will help lead to community.


Take a group of people and put them through some physical challenges together and you will inevitably see a bond between them form. This community helps to maintain the consistency and effort needed to continue to make progress. Peer pressure and support is avery powerful stimulus to get things done. Pushing yourself through physical and mental pain barriers can be extra difficult when doing it alone but with a team of people helping you the burden doesn’t seem quite as heavy. Through consistent high effort training shared with teammates knowledge begins to form.


While effort can help the speed at which you progress and consistency and community can help ensure you continue with that progress, knowledge ensures you’re traveling in the right direction down the quickest path. Aimless effort will result in frustration and will make staying consistent even tougher. Knowledge is something that must be strived for continuously. Every training session is a chance to learn something, about yourself, about your training parter, about your program, etc.  Don’t miss out on these opportunities. Always be seeking more knowledge.


When I first opened NBS, these were the principles I wanted to promote and they been a constant focus of our facility since the beginning. We’ve grown a lot, our facility has gotten bigger, our membership has grown, and our staff is more developed but we’re still doing the same thing we did when we first opened, just on a much larger scale. This is what led me to add CrossFit to the services we provide. I’ve always wanted to be a complete iron sport gym. When we first started we were primarily filled with powerlifters. Then, slowly, we added some strongman competitors, bodybuilders, and olympic lifters. The truth is that CrossFit is the most well known, most popular, and most profitable iron sport in the world. Of course with it comes plenty of controversy and justly so. CrossFit had such an explosion in growth that ithad to play a bit of catch up in defining it’s practices. Regardless how someone may feel about CrossFit as a training methodology, they have perfected the pillars of success. They promote effort and consistency, they build a community, and they encourage the constant pursuit of knowledge. And that is what NBS is all about: the intermingling of multiple training methodologies, sports, ages, races, sexes, and backgrounds to ensure progress and development. That is what makes us great and what will continue to help us be the Best Gym in Memphis.


On October 23, 2015 I was weighing in for the Dexter Jackson Classic Bodybuilding Show. That Friday night I weighed in at 217, one year later I weigh around 275. Since I wasn’t going to have the opportunity to compete this year, I decided to try to put on as much size as possible. My off season weight prior to getting ready for my contest was around 245-250 so I’d say this has been a very successful year and I think I can still put on some more before the end of the year. Here a few take aways from the process:

Bulking is just as hard as leaning out. When you’re trying to lean out, you have to resist the urge to eat certain things. Putting on weight, bulking, gaining muscle, etc is much more of a physical challenge. Forcing yourself to eat when you are full just plain ole sucks. I’m not going to say one is easier than the other but instead they’re both equally difficult in different ways.

Just because you’re bulking doesn’t mean you get to eat crappy food. When you’re seeking to add quality size, it’s important you give your body nutritious food that is more likely to be converted into muscle or energy.

Consistency is the key to all progress. If you can’t stay consistent, results aren’t going to happen. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. It just means you have to stay the course and get back on track if you have any hick ups along the way.

Going with the above point, having a coach makes a huge difference. I’ve been working with Shelby for two straight years at this point. We haven’t done anything ground breaking but having someone with an objective point of view who keeps you accountable makes a huge difference in your ability to stay consistent.

Most people are going to gain a little fat if they want to put on some significant muscle, get over it. 

Here’s what a typical day of eating looks like on a training day:

Meal 1 60/15/80

2 cups mixed berries

1 cup oatmeal

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vingar

60 grams whey protein

mix in blender

Meal 2 60/15/80

8 oz lean meat

1.5 tbsp grass fed butter

1.5 cups rice

Meal 3 60/15/80

60 grams whey

1 tbsp olive oi

2/3 cups white rice flour

Meal 4 60/15/80

8 oz lean meat

1 tbsp coconut oil

1.5 cups rice

Pre Workout Shake 60/15/40

60 grams whey

1 tbsp olive oil

1/3 cup white rice flour

Intra Workout

100-120 grams cyclic dextrin

10-20 grams BCAAs

Post Workout 60/0/120

60 grams whey

120 grams carbs from dextrose

Post Workout Meal 1 60/0/170

4 oz steak

30 grams whey

2 bagels with honey

1 cup white rice

Post Workout Meal 2 60/0/170

4 oz steak

30 grams whey

1 bagel with honey

1 1/3 cup white rice

NBS Fitness member Will Sawyer recently competed in his first USA Weightlifting Collegiate Nationals competition. Check out what he had to say below:



This was the weekend of Sept 24-25 in New Orleans, and I actually competed on Sunday with having a week of midterm exams starting on Monday.  This was my second meet ever (the first was a month before) and I’ve been into weightlifting just under 2 years, so still relatively new to the sport. The atmosphere was totally unreal, with so many people trying to warm-up on a limited number of platforms and sharing a training hall.  Truly a great learning experience to say the least.  Also, very cool to meet and see people that you follow on Instagram competing in person.  I’m looking forward to training hard and getting back next year to compete again.  Even though I’m a student at the Southern College of Optometry, I’m a member of the Iron Tigers Weightlifting club that trains out of the University of Memphis.

I love this song. Period


I reach for calm
I starve for a balance unknown
This burden tortures me deep in my soul

I’ve found that strife won’t make the bleeding stop
Nor will it take away the pain
I feel like this search is all in vain
And I struggle to find my way


GPP is one of those cool catch phrases that fitness folks like to throw around to sound smart (me included) but what is it? Is it metcons? Is it pushing the prowler? Is it steady state cardio on a machine? If you don’t know the correct answer, no worries, this article is designed to get you fully educated on GPP; what it is, what it isn’t, and how to apply it so you too can not only sound smart but be smart.

What is itdsc_0026?

GPP stands for general physical preparedness or preparation or sometimes will be referred to as general physical fitness. The key word here is “general”. Terms like strength, power, speed, coordination, and endurance are all general descriptions. They are not referring to any one particular task. When you define a particular task, then we have something called SPP or specific physical preparation. Things like squatting a 1RM, shooting a free throw, pitching out of the sand, or sprinting a 100 meter dash are all specific physical tasks. GPP helps support SPP in the sense that maximum strength will help a lifter complete the physical task of squatting a 1RM and power and coordination will help a basketball player shoot a layup. GPP is the foundational fitness capacities required to do all physical tasks.

You could also think of GPP as athleticism. Think of someone who excels at lots of physical tasks. The guy or girl in high school who was just the overall athlete, they played several sports and just seemed to be good at everything they tried their hand at physically. This person had a high level of GPP.

What it’s not

dsc_0094Understanding the above definition we need to realize that GPP isn’t defined by tasks. A common misconception is for people to refer to training that taxes different energy systems as being “GPP”. So when people are pushing the prowler, they say it’s a GPP workout which isn’t technically the case. Pushing the prowler for HIIT builds alactic endurance which can in turn transfer to improved performance in other skills. GPP is not tasked based. For example, the squat, bench, and deadlift would be considered SPP for powerlifting but GPP for a football player. Football could be considered GPP for the sport of basketball. How? Because football would help a younger athlete develop power, speed, and agility that could be used to improve his or her basketball performance. The take away is to understand the definition of GPP and SPP are in the names: general and specific and what you define as the specific task will also define what would be considered GPP.

How can you apply it?

In order to figure out how to appropriately apply the idea of building our GPP, we first need to determine what specific task we are trying to improve. Let’s use strongman as an example. There are some sdsc_0004specific tasks we’ll need to be good at. For example, our latest contest had a sandbag carry, a farmers carry, axle deadlift for reps, axle clean and press for reps, and stone over bar. While these are the specific tasks, there are general fitness abilities we will need to succeed at them. Muscular strength is a big one, particular in the hips, back, core, shoulders, and grip. We’ll also need a decent amount of alactic power and endurance since most of the tasks are performed up to a minute. Our GPP would be the training we do to improve those general abilities. For the hips and back we could do wide stance yoke bar squats to a box, we could do sled drags, we could do different row variations. For the core we could do different situp and leg raise combinations or some stability core exercises like landmines. For the shoulders, we could do different pressing variations and for the grip we could do different grip challenges like shrugs without straps and fat grip plate holds. For alactic conditioning we could do different variations of HIIT using 30-60 seconds of work and 30-180 seconds of rest. A couple of examples would be 1 minute of tire flips with 2 minutes of break for 5 rounds or 5 deadlifts at 75% and 5 overhead presses at 75% with 3 minutes of break for 5 rounds.

After training in this way for a select period of time, an athlete should find that they are able to take the increase in general abilities they have and apply them towards an improved performance in the specific tasks they will be performing. This could be applied to the above example by either spending a select period of time prior to the contest working the individual events or by working the individual events into the training from time to time (like an event day every other Saturday) through out the training block.

You should now have a better understanding of what GPP is, what it isn’t, and how you can apply it to your own training. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to check out my video on the athletic development pyramid to get a visual idea on how GPP and SPP coincide.

I was lucky to see Wayne Static perform the entire Wisconsin Death Trip album a few weeks before he died. This song is from a different album but it’s still one of my favorites.


Whether you train at NBS or waste your time at a commercial gym (oops! Did I write that out loud?), there are 3 unwritten gym rules that you need to be aware of.

1. There is a place for everything and everything in its place

I’ve had some of the strongest lifters in the world train at my gym: Ray Williams, Sam Byrd, Tee Cummins, and Christian Anto. All top 5 lifters in their weight classes. You know what I’ve never seen left on a barbell? I’ve never seen anyone leave 900 lbs on the squat bar. I’ve never seen anyone leave over 500 lbs on the bench or over 700 lbs on the deadlift bar and walk away. But I have seen a ton of people leave between 135 and 315 on the bar and leave, letting someone else clean it up. So kiddos, if you want to be strong like these guys, a skill you will have to learn to master is unloading your own plates. Only weak people leave plates on the bar and you don’t want us to think you’re weak do you?

Likewise, everyone should know how to properly load a weight tree. It’s pretty simple: the 45’s go at the bottom, the 2.5’s and 5’s go at the top, and everything else is filled in accordingly in between. Under no circumstance should you put two different weight plates on the same holder. If you cover up a stack of 10’s with a 25, you’re creating bad gym karma for yourself and likely to get stuck under a heavy bench without anyone to spot you.

DSC_00452. A lifter shall be free to leave his rack without fear of someone stealing it

Thank goodness this doesn’t happen at NBS but at many gyms, squat rack thievery is on the rise. Step away for more than 5 seconds to get some water or use the restroom and next thing you know some bro has taken all your weights off, changed your whole setup and begun his epic bicep curl session. Not cool! I suppose this is a by product of gym knuckleheads leaving weight on the bar and walking off but regardless of this fact, you gotta ask. Look around, ask people if anyone is using the equipment, give it another 5 minutes and if still no one has showed up, you may proceed with caution. But you have to do your due diligence to figure out if the rack is free or taken.

3. Maintain your hygiene

Contrary to popular belief, the gym is actually for training. And when people train, they sweat. And when people sweat they smell.  So, it’s up to you to manage each of these parts of the process. When you sweat, wipe up after yourself. If you want to train with your shirt off, that’s cool, just put a towel down when you do. Put on some deodorant. All simple stuff. Try to watch out for your fellow gym goers and everybody wins.

Whether they’re etched into stone or just understood, make sure you know the unwritten rules of the gym.

Even when you own a gym, getting your training in can be difficult. Lately it’s been extra difficult because I have had a whole lot going on, both at the gym and at home.  To give a run down, over the last 5 weeks or so I have had something every weekend including:

  • Taking my CrossFit Level 1
  • Hosting an open house
  • Moving CrossFit equipment from one location to our current one
  • Moving into a new house
  • Hosting a powerlifting meet

Those are just the weekend responsibilities, add in the work load I’ve had during the week and I’ve found myself stretched for time. During periods like this I think it’s important to remember a few things when it comes to getting your training in:

  1. It’s not forever.

    Just work through this period of life until stuff eases up a bit. If you always see your training through blinders you’ll get frustrated when anything doesn’t go your way. Training is forever, till you die, so don’t be so impatient.

  2. Focus on what you can do and do something.

    The week we moved, I only trained three sessions instead of the typical 4. This past week on leg day, I got my squats in and one hamstring exercise and called it a day.

  3. Remember why you train.

    I train because it’s what I love to do. This means there really isn’t any excuse to not train, I just may have to fit training around life sometimes.

  4. Slow progress is still progress.

    Having to make adjustments to training, allows me to still make progress. If I got frustrated because I couldn’t do it perfect and just said “screw it” and did nothing, then I would be making no progress. And that’s not acceptable.

I hope these point will be of benefit for any of you who may be struggling to fit life in around training.

Looking for a quality model to work off of in the development of an athlete? Look no further. Check out this video on the athletic development pyramid

In today’s age of trigger warnings, social pressures, and fragile self esteem, people struggling to incorporate fitness into their lives have turned to a commonly used self preservation tactic known as playing the fitness victim. It is characterized by a complete lack of responsibility with a good dosing of helplessness to taste. If you or someone you know may be suffering from this condition then read on for a taste of the cure.

Note: I am not a doctor but I did stay at a holiday inn express last night 

Let me start off by removing the notion that I think everyone should work out 5 days a week for 2 hours and measure out chicken, rice, and broccoli for every meal, that’s not realistic. However, our current state as a nation is one in which the vast majority of our population is suffering from poor health and disease due to poor lifestyle choices. No longer are we struggling to find enough food to eat while hoping we don’t die from the common cold but instead we’re able to argue about the appropriate posture for the national anthem while destroying ourselves on Funyuns. A complete lack of healthy choices in your life is kind of like going into debt due to poor financial decisions. It’s your choice to do what you please but when you make poor choices, you not only put a pretty big damper on your ability to enjoy life but you also become a burden on your neighbor. In that sense, I do believe that everyone should exercise regularly, make healthy nutritional choices, and strive for improved fitness and a healthy bodyweight. That allows plenty of room to enjoy less than healthy foods from time to time and doesn’t require you to spend hours at the gym every day. Unfortunately, if you’re a fitness victim this may be asking too much. Fitness victims are held down by their physical limitations, lack of time and money, and by the societal norms that they feel bound to uphold. Lucky for you I’m going to address each one of those problems and destroy all your excuses.

Physical Limitations

There is a reality that not everyone has the ability to be a world class powerlifter, a professional bodybuilder, or as fit as a CrossFit Games competitor. However, everyone has the ability to become stronger, to build muscle and lose fat, and to improve their fitness and while you may still be fugly afterwards, you will be a healthier human being. There are some things you can control and some things you can control. Wasting your time focusing on things you can’t control like your genetics, your past, or any other physical limitation is just a stalling method. It’s time and energy placed towards something you can’t change instead of placed towards something you can. When all else fails, watch videos from Zach Anner like the one below to guilt trip yourself into toughening up a bit.


The most commonly used and most illegitimate  excuse that exists is the time excuse. The reason it is illegitamte is because unlike money or genetics, everyone has the exact same amount of time every day. You get 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week. While your life may be filled with work and family obligations, somewhere in that bucket of minutes is a handful that you could devote to exercise. Sure, if you want to look like someone spends a ton of time working out, then you’ll have to spend a ton of time working out (I know what the infomercials told and guess what, they lied) but just because you don’t have THAT much time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything at all. That’s like saying you’re not going to put any money in savings because you won’t be able to reach a million dollars. If you currently practice either of those strategies be ready for a rude wake up call one day when the shit hits the fan. When in doubt, watch this video to guilt trip you into utilizing your time better.


While money can buy you new training gear, a coach, a nutritionist, and all the supplements in the world, it can’t buy you work ethic and habits, both of which are required in the pursuit of health. If money is limited, there are plenty of ways to still make improvements without breaking the bank. Gym memberships cost less than your cable bill. Healthy, unprocessed food like chicken, eggs, olive oil, rice, and oats are all relatively in expensive when compared to many of their processed counterparts. The internet is full of free information (although this can be dangerous since a lot of it is bad) and many qualified professionals, including the ones at NBS Fitness, have many low cost options to help you with the process. When in doubt, watch this video of bodybuilders in Africa to help guilt trip you into not making excuses about money.


Within every human is the desire to follow the crowd and the desire to go against the grain. Both desires will fight against one another and eventually one will prevail. For most people, they will follow the crowd. So many times though, following the crowd will just lead you off the ledge. I have set it many many times that if you want to change yourself, you must surround yourself with people exhibiting the change you want. What that means is, if you want to improve your health, you must start spending time around people doing just that. In turn, that means you will have to stop spending time around people who are not actively pursuing the change you want. Is it hard? Yes. Will you potentially hurt some feelings? Yes. But otherwise you will be stuck just where you are and even worse, find yourself moving farther and farther from the change you were hoping to create. Don’t be that person. When in doubt, watch the video below to guilt trip you into taking charge of your health and fitness once and for all.

Dumbbell side raises can be a solid exercise for shoulder development when done correctly. When done incorrectly, they can be ineffective and potentially dangerous. Check this video on some of the common mistake people make when doing dumbbell side raises.

Cable pressdowns and cable curls are some of the most common exercises you’ll see in the gym but how do you know you’re doing them correctly and effectively. Check out this video on some of the more common mistakes when doing cable pressdowns and cable curls.


The combo of Tommy Iomi’s riffs and Ozzy’s voice make for one of the greatest metal bands in history. Give it up for Black Sabbath performing NIB live for your ears enjoyment


Crossfit Write Up

So many of you know I took my Crossfit Level 1 Certificate Course this weekend in preparation for beginning to offer Crossfit classes at NBS Fitness. I wanted to do a little write up on the weekend just to recap my own thoughts as well as give you all some information that will be helpful for your own training, your clients training, and our company as we move into this new phase as a facility.

IMG_0733 2

The Level 1 Course

The setup for the level one course is pretty interesting. They have instructors who go around teaching the course all across the country and even the globe. The course is very standardized and you can tell it’s the results of thousands upon thousands of hours of experience and feedback from teaching the class. The instructors did a great job running the class, teaching, and coaching the participants through it. Compared to other “trainer” courses I think it’s really a solid course. They send you an extensive 200+ page trainer guide to study, they lecture, and there are plenty of break out sessions to go over everything in the book and the lectures. Is it going to turn you into an elite level coach? No, but no other courses do either. I know plenty of people with an ACSM, NASM, or CSCS that are pretty terrible coaches/trainers. And they acknowledge the need to gain practical experience and offer other tiers of educational development through their course series (level 2, level 3, and level 4). One of the criticisms of Crossfit has been that they allow people to coach and/or open a gym after only going to a weekend certificate course. Well, the fact remains that in Tennessee and many other states you can train people without any certification and open a gym without one either so while it may not be perfect, I think it’s a definite step in the right direction and I think they do a good job of addressing any potential issues. Also, they’re making a killing off of these things. At a thousand dollars a head and 20+ people a class (I’m sure some classes are well above that number) and multiple classes around the world a weekend, somebody is making some serious coin. Makes me rethink our seminar prices and even the costs of other seminars I’ve been too.

There is also a very distinct nomenclature that is used. It helps them transfer the correct ideas across a large amount of people more effectively and efficiently. There are some differences in definitions and what not from what you would have heard in your exercise science degree and certification. Some of the difference is due to their needing to define things in their terms for accuracy and I think some of it is just for the fun of it, it helps with the creation of community. For example, someone used the term “buy in” in regards to a workout and I had no idea what the heck they were talking about. It’s basically something you have to do before you can start the WOD, like warming up to a specific weight.

Crossfit In General

Couple things I love about Crossfit are they are a community passionate about making people better. They recognize the benefits of getting people off the treadmill, off the machines, and getting them moving in more functional movements that will benefit them in multiple ways, from health to physique to performance.

They aren’t afraid to make people work hard. If you’re 20 or 70, they’re gonna make you get after it. They’ll scale stuff to help you complete the task but they want you working out at a high intensity.

They’re all about community and all about some fun. There is something about training in a group that is just way better than training alone and they capitalize on that. It builds camaraderie, support, and competition. I felt it in just the two workouts we did over the weekend.

They’re not specialist and they know that. They want to train for everything. Because of this they’re all about some education. They’re constantly learning from a broad range of experts on many subjects. Funny how the crossfit community is eager to learn from the specialist community but that isn’t always reciprocated is it? I wonder how much knowledge we miss out on because we’re not willing to learn outside of our realm sometimes. Do we not think that there is something to be learned from people who successfully teach every day “normal people” how to do complex olympic lifts and ring muscle ups? Do we not think it’s worth learning from someone who has figured out how to be freaking phenomenal at a broad spectrum of athletic abilities (aka games athletes)?

Sometimes I wonder if this doesn’t blunt our ability to get the best results out of our general fitness clients. Being so specialized I think we sometimes claim to be craftsmen with only a handful of tools at our disposal. I think there is a lot to be learned from the fastest growing fitness regimen in history who specializes in generality.

Scaling and PVC Pipes

Don’t discount how much work can be done and how much progress can be made using PVC pipes. I know to someone who deadlifts 700, using 95 lbs is comparatively a light weight to learn with. But a lot of the initial body positioning goes out the door when any load or velocity is used. The PVC is a great tool to teach these body positions over the volume necessary to ingrain that motor pattern. Think about how many quality reps can be gained from 5×5 at 95 on deadlift over 10 minutes of workout with a PVC.

I think we also need to learn the benefit of scaling more. As powerlifters, we want to put people under the squat bar, on the bench, and on the deadlift from the get go. I think there is a lot to be learned from the concept of not letting someone work up to a more complex movement until they have mastered a scaled down one. For example, to us, the squat doesn’t seem too crazy but to someone who has never squatted, it is asking a lot of them to properly coordinate a squat with a bar on their back. Working someone through the body weight squat, even if that process takes a long time, until technique is mastered before progressing to a bar on the back is likely a better strategy. Again, I think we’re so used to working with conditioned individuals that we lose a bit of perspective on how to work with deconditioned clients in the most effective way possible.


I love the fact that they teach an intelligent eating approach focused around health. I keep coming back to the fact that the message that is consistently taught is the improvement in quality of life and with that, improvement in a quality physique and a quality performance come as well and vice versa. The approach that was taught is the zone diet and for anyone who isn’t familiar, it involves the use different blocks of a predetermined (zones aka percentages) amount of each macronutrient fitted to that person’s lean body mass and activity level. Zones are added or subtracted as needed and macro nutrient amounts can be adjusted as needed as well. It’s good set up and fits with the 90% of all intelligent diets that eliminate the usage of processed food, specifically carbohydrates and encourages whole foods, plenty of protein, veggies, healthy fats, and carbohydrates as needed to fuel training. The 10% is where all the arguments occur and everyone has their own opinion. Personally, I think managing macronutrients separately is a bit easier than trying to manage zones for the average person but like I said, that’s the 10%.

DSC_0094Programming and Exercise Selection

You’re never going to get bored doing Crossfit since they pretty much do everything except bodybuilding isolation movements. They categorize things by weightlifting movements, gymnastics, monostructual met cons (riding, biking, running) which is a pretty cool way to categorize stuff. So there are thousands of things to scale up and down and to PR on and make progress on.

Another criticism I’ve heard and I’ve had before was the programming aspect of Crossfit. The old “hopper” method of just pulling things out of a hat and doing them has transformed a bit into something I would call “reactive” programming. Basically they taught the method of having a scale to plot out training methods across all the different domains and times and exercises that you’ve done over a period of time and see what holes are missing in your programming and start to fill them in (understanding that a Crossfitter’s goal is to be proficient at all things). This is a much better method than before however, I don’t quite see the point in “reactive” programming when you can be proactive and just program everything out in the front end to make sure you don’t have any holes in your program. It might be that pre-programming would go against the idea of preparing for the “unknown and unknowable” or it might be just an easier way of teaching the general population how to ensure they’re meeting their needs. From the little I’ve looked into the way some Crossfit facilities program, it seems like a lot of people like to think a little more in advance. Personally, I think there could be some monster benefits to using a block setup with delayed fitness capacity in programming for a competitive crossfitter and from using a tier setup when programming for both a competitor and non competitor. It would basically ensure you never had gaps in your program if utilized correctly.


The approach to coaching that they taught and represented is fantastic. The basic idea is that when your client is training, you should be coaching every second of their training session. You should be giving verbal, visual, and tactile cues to ensure proper technique is achieved and perfected. When not giving cues, you should be encouraging and complimenting them. You should be well read, well versed, fun to be around, and be able to develop lasting relationships with your clients.  Getting to the financial aspect of it, one of the reasons people have been able to make a fortune coaching Crossfit is because they’re willing to be great at what they do. It’s their passion so they dive into it. They build relationship after relationship and get referral after referral and results after results. Very similar to what we have done at our facility just over a much much more giant scale. In their training guide, Greg Glassman writes a letter about how he grew the first crossfit gym. It wasn’t through advertising, it was through focusing on being the best possible coach and getting consistent results. If you do that, the clients will come.

Funny, I’ve been to a ton of powerlifting seminars and learned a lot and had some great experiences and I would’ve never thought I would’ve liked the Crossfit Level 1 just as much but I really had an awesome time. I’m excited for the journey ahead, to bring Crossfit on board, I’m excited have Angie bringing her crew to join us and I think we’re really gonna do some awesome stuff.

With all the toys laying around NBS these days, I’ve been trying to throw in different variations in my back workouts and this combo blew my back up big time. Was sore after each week of training. Check it out:


hockey davidBeginner Background

Earlier today I was joking with a member about some of the silly things I did when I was a beginner and I thought all of you would appreciate some of these stories as well. I started training the summer between 7th and 8th grade. Around this time my testosterone levels were starting to increase and I realized that being skinny and weak wasn’t something I wanted to participate in much longer. My dad had some concrete filled dumbbells and a pullup bar upstairs and, as I recall, I started doing bodyweight exercises and lifting those ten pound concrete dumbbells.

Breaking the Machine

Eventually my dad bought a bench press that had a pulldown and leg extension/curl attached to it. We got a standard barbell weight set and collars that threaded onto the ended of the barbell. I was psyched! One day while doing pulldowns, I broke the weld between the bench and the pulldown upright. I recall everything happening in slow motion as the entire machine shifted and bent and sandwiched me between the bench pad and the upright. I thought my Dad would surely be pissed that I broke the machine but actually he was pretty tickled that I was strong enough to do it.

Exercise Machine #2 and Oiling Myself Up For Training

After breaking the first machine we had, my parents got another, heavier duty one for me to use. Like many beginners, I looked up to the bodybuilding stars featured in flex magazine at the time. In fact, I used to cut out different pictures of my heroes and tape them to the walls in the room I trained in along with my training plan. I also notice at the time that whenever a bodybuilder was in the magazine they were super tan and usually glistening with oil. I thought this was how bodybuilders trained so I got some fake tan and put it on before my training session. After sliding all over the place while trying to bench press, I quickly realized this was a bad idea.

DSC_0399Bench Press Decapitation, A Close Call

Eventually I graduated from being a beginner at my home gym to being a beginner at a commercial gym. Around my sophomore year of high school I was training in a commercial gym and was bench pressing 135 when it got stuck on my chest. I had to ask the female weight floor attendant to help get it off my chest for me. She was a pretty blonde girl about 5 years older than me so I was naturally embarrassed beyond belief.  Funny side story: About two years ago she actually contacted me for personal tra
ining, not knowing who I was. I had forgotten her name but when she showed up for her consultation my eyes shot open and I said “Hey! Do you remember rescuing me from the bench press in high school?”

Funny Gymyoung david Clothes and My First Time Shaving

If you know me, you know I am the hairiest man alive. I am covered in hair from head to toe with very little spaces in between. Well, as far as I could tell, none of the bodybuilders in Flex magazine had any hair so I needed to start shaving. The first time I did it, I spent about an hour in the bathroom trying to get every nook and cranny. I can only imagine what my parents thought. About 2 days later my skin broke out in razor rash. I looked like I had chicken pox. Around this time I also decided I needed to start dressing like a bodybuilder so I convinced my mom to help me upgrade my wardrobe with some cutoff sweatshirts and string tank tops from bodybuilding.com. I’m sure I got some funny looks walking around the gym at 6’2″ 150 lbs with my shaved legs and string tank on.

Supplements and Explosive Diarrhea

The first supplements I took when I was a beginner were nitro tech (protein) and cell tech (creatine). I recall the nitro tech being some of the most horrible tasting powder I could have ever imagined and it didn’t dissolve. For some reason I thought the best time to drink it was right after lunch. So I would be choking down this gross, lumpy protein powder that tasted like ass and gagging because my stomach was still full from lunch. The cell tech tasted slightly better but if you ever took creatine back when it first came out, you know about the horrible stomach pain that came with it. I’m convinced it was actually just a laxative. About 30 minutes after drinking it, everything in your system was coming out in liquid form. I thought that made it extra hardcore to drink.


While not a complete list of embarrassing memories, it’s plenty to reminisce on and give you all a good laugh. As much as I like to think I’ve changed since then, I’m sure I’ll back on these days and still think most everything I did was pretty ridiculous and funny. We were all a beginner at one time so don’t let that stop you from starting your journey. What are some of your beginner stories? Share in the comments below.


Growing up, my Dad was always a “toy” guy. He always had a ton of fun things to play with: guns, corvette, motorcycles, jeeps, etc. When my Dad got into something, he really got into it. When he got into hockey, he joined a team, he coached, and he bought top of the line equipment. That is a trait that I have definitely picked up. If I’m into something, I’m going to get the nice stuff. Why? Because I recognize the difference in quality and with a higher quality product, I get more enjoyment out of the activity. A couple years ago, my buddy and I got into paintball and we realized if you had the crappy rental equipment, you got your ass kicked. Paintball isn’t much fun when you’re getting shot and not doing any of the shooting yourself.

Fitness is very similar. This is because fitness is not a commodity. A commodity is a raw product. For the most part, there isn’t much difference in a commodity, so you purchase it based on price. Need granulated sugar? You’re probably going to purchase the cheapest container of granulated sugar you can find because there isn’t really any difference between the two brands. Now, if you want to take a date out and impress them, you’re probably not going to go to the cheapest restaurant. Why? Because you know a cheap restaurant probably isn’t going to provide you with the quality food and service you expect on a date.

I recently had someone ask me what the benefits of coming to NBS Fitness over a commercial gym were for someone interested in powerlifting. It’s a pretty simple question but it revealed to me that here is someone who has never experienced nor has any knowledge of what a gym like NBS Fitness is. It would be like asking what’s the difference between McDonald’s and Ruth Chris for someone interested in a good steak. Well, very simply McDonald’s doesn’t offer steak and Ruth Chris provides some of the best steak around. Very similarly, a commercial gym doesn’t offer powerlifting, while NBS Fitness is nationally recognized as one of the best powerlifting gyms around.

To give an example of why you can’t few fitness as a commodity, several years I got into a discussion with someone about the importance of training environment. I made the argument that training environment is vital to success, that it is the reason there are gyms like Westside Barbell, Gold’s Venice, and Metroflex. He believed that where you train doesn’t matter as long as you train hard. He entered one of our powerlifting meets as bench only and bombed out on bench because he did not know that you had to pause the bench or wait on a rack command. He later entered another one of our powerlifting meets and bombed on squats because he could not get to depth. Had he been training at NBS during is preparation, we could have informed him of the rules and ensured he had an enjoyable meet (ie being able to put up a total and not be disqualified).

So if you’re serious about getting results, making best use of your time, and enjoying the process, remember that fitness is not a commodity.

I love Louisiana based bands because they just have a certain sound that comes with growing up in that area. Down blends the deep blues with a metal groove and the insane lyrics of  Phil Anselmo in their song Stone the Crow

Dethklok is one of those bands that you either love or you just don’t get and few songs do a better job of show casing their talents like the song Dethday. Enjoy and don’t for get to RSVP.


For the DETH of thee
You have little time
And you’re running out of life

Happy Birthday
You’re gonna die

I can’t say that I’ve seen everything but after 16 years of training and 10 years in the fitness business I can say I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen people of all shapes, sizes, and background succeed, fail, and everything in between. One thing I hear many people talk about is motivation. Whether they claim to be in need of it or are filling up social media sites with the latest motivational fitness memes, motivation seems to always be on the mind of new fitness participants. I find this rather amusing since it’s really not something I think about, seek, or even acknowledge on a regular basis. And while I don’t speak for all my fitness friends, I know a lot of people who have been doing this for a really long time who have never mentioned anything about motivation. So where is the disconnect?

For starters, I think people illogically liken motivation with action. In other words, unless you are motivated to do something, you won’t do it. The second issue is where people think motivation and enjoyment must be connected. Both of these are not true. I can tell you that after 16 years of working out, I have had many a day where I was not “motivated” at all to train. It was the last thing I wanted to do that day and it wasn’t any fun but I did it anyway. The reason for this is because motivation is not a constant. It is a waining, ever changing feeling (and many of you know how I feel about feelings). Therefore, if you build your health, fitness, and performance on a foundation of motivation, you will for sure find yourself struggling to maintain consistency. Instead, here is what I build my training on: accountability, standards, and legacy.


No one wakes up every day gung ho to hit the gym and eat chicken breast, rice, and broccoli all day. We all have days where we think, “Screw this. I’m gonna have a burger and a beer.” Sometimes, that’s a valid response but the reality is that no one every accomplished anything giving up every time the path got tough and they were struggling. But few people have the ability to carry their cross alone and that’s where having some accountability comes into play. Whether you like to hit the snooze button or pass on your precooked meal you brought to work for some fried chicken corporate had catered in, having someone else that is counting on you will help keep you in line.

A couple of ways to help keep yourself accountable are hiring a coach and joining a group. I have used a nutrition coach since October of 2014 and will continue to use him for a long time. Yes, it helps to have an objective point of view and yes he is very knowledgeable but more than anything he’s expensive and I have to send him updates every week (I use Shelby Starnes). This keeps me in line and keeps me from straying too far off my path. Whether you have an online coach or someone you see in person, making a monetary commitment and having someone expect certain actions from you can help steer you in the right direction. Having a group to train with makes a huge difference as well. It’s kind of hard to resist peer pressure, so when a group of people expect you to be somewhere and act a certain way, you’re more likely to follow the group’s lead.

When temptation creeps in, find someone other than yourself you need to be accountable to.


When I was in personal finance in college they made us do an exercise where we had to lay out what kind of life we wanted to live. What kind of house we wanted to live in, what kind of car we wanted to drive, what kind of vacations we wanted to go on. Then we had to create a personal budget to determine how much money we needed to live that lifestyle; we were establishing our standards of living. Likewise, everyone should have some standards of living that go beyond just the financial part of life. I have personal standards for health and fitness that I expect myself to live by. I know there will come a day where my strength will decrease, where I will start to lose muscle, and my skin will sag. But I don’t ever want to be weak, skinny, fat, or out of shape. Now, my definitions for those terms are going to be different than other people’s and that’s okay. You should have your own standards. I don’t hold myself to your standards and likewise you shouldn’t hold yourself to mine. But setting some standards to operate your life off of will help keep you in the right direction when you have tough decisions to make. Realizing that every decision you make will add up one day will help keep you from skipping the gym or consistently eating poorly. Does it have that big an affect right now? No. But if you continue making those decisions you’re going to see them add up in a monumental way down the road.


One day you’re gonna go into the dirt and people will tell stories of you. What do you want on your tombstone? What do you want to pass onto your children? How do you want to be remembered? I will tell you I have a lot of bad traits and unfortunately my kids are going to get some of those but hopefully they will get my work ethic, my perseverance, and my passion. If they get those than I think they will be okay in life. If your tombstone told your approach to life, what would it say right now? Quitter? Complainer? Excuse maker? I don’t want those things on my tombstone. The idea of leaving being a legacy, even if a small one is a very powerful idea to me. Hopefully when I pass, people will say “Sometimes David was a bit of an asshole but he helped me do great things.” And because of that, that person will then be able to help someone else do great things as well.

If you are new to this fitness thing, ride your motivational high as long as you can. But one day, when it begins to falter, realize that motivation is not the gasoline needed to fuel your fire. Realize that there are far more powerful tools out there that can keep your engine cranking even after your motivational spark has burned out.

If your goal is to drive from Memphis to New York city, you would get in your car, buckle up, put on some tunes and prepare for the journey. You would focus on staying in the correct lane, paying attention to your GPS and following its instructions, checking your gas periodically to make sure you don’t run out and stopping periodically to fill back up and rest. You understand that there are going to be times where the road is open and you can put the pedal down and roll. Other times you are going to get stuck in city traffic, go through construction, or find yourself behind slow drivers. During these periods of your trip you do not continue to keep the gas pedal down because that would be foolish. You would get in a wreck which would slow your progress down and potentially prevent you from making your desired destination. You also don’t turn your car around and drive back home saying screw it. You patiently work the gas pedal to ensure your speed of progress is sufficient for the current situation.

This is how your approach to fitness must be. You can’t expect to go balls to the wall, pedal to the metal for the entire journey: especially if the journey is long. No instead you must enjoy the ride, understanding that there will circumstances outside of your control sometimes. You must be willing to take the journey and once you begin, you must be willing to enjoy the journey enough to have the patience to see it through. If every bump in the road throws you into an emotional tail spin, you are not likely to make it to your final destination. And if you do, you are not likely to appreciate the trip.

Work the gas pedal, enjoy the ride


Who writes better songs to cure teenage angst than Korn. Coming Undone is a Korn classic that brings together a solid rhythm and catchy chorus. Put it on the play list and jam out on deadlift day.


There are few bands who can pull off a cover like Devildriver does with Sail. They take a catchy, popular song and add just enough metal to make it worth listening to. Put your horns up and rock out to Sail by Devildriver.






If you’ve been following me for a while you know I’ve been working with Shelby Starnes for nutrition for about 18 months now. Here is a glimpse into our current plan:

Non Training Days

Protein: 420

Fat: 105

Carbs: 280

Calories: 3,745

Spread over 7 Meals

Training Days

Protein: 480

Fat: 70

Carbs: 730 (100-120 coming from intra workout cyclic dextrin)

Calories: 5,470

Spread over 6 meals and a peri workout protocol


Main sources of protein: chicken, steak (flank and sirloin), whey, ground bison, ground turkey

Main sources of fat: olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter

Main sources of carbs: white rice, bagels, oatmeal, white rice flour, cyclic dextrin


Current weight is around 260

Current raisin consumption: 8 oz weekly

Slipknot has been putting out killer numetal sounds for several decades now. Even with the loss of their previous drummer, The Devil in I is one of those songs that even people who don’t like metal can get behind. Warning: Music video contains disturbing images that some people may find offensive…or freaking awesome.


Over the last 18 months I have been focused on bodybuilding as my sole training goal: putting on as much muscle as possible while limiting body fat accumulation. I feel as though I’ve done a pretty solid job of that as I am the heaviest I have ever been at 260 while still keeping my body fat at a decent level (definitely not lean at the moment). This year is full of challenges and obligations from moving the gym to moving into a new house to traveling to taking business classes so instead of trying to spread my self even more thin and do a bodybuilding competition, I am going to continue to try to put on muscle this year and then switch gears later in the year to do another powerlifting meet. I am keeping my eyes open for a meet in November/December that isn’t too much of a drive to compete in. My goal is to get an elite total at 275, which is 1655. 650 squat, 400 bench, 650 deadlift would put me at 1700 and give me some wiggle room to miss a lift or two and still make it so those are what I have in the back of my mind this far out. An elite total at 275 would give me an elite at 220, 242, and 275 which would be pretty cool. Right now I am following a 5/3/1 split with hypertrophy focused accessory work to slowly build my technique back up and continue to put on some size. Here is the training split:


Squat 5/3/1

Lower body accessory work


Bench 5/3/1

Chest, shoulders, light tricep accessory work


Deadlift 5/3/1

Back and light hamstring accessory work


Press 5/3/1

Arms and calves accessory work


While She Sleeps does a nice job of blending punk and metal together in their song Four Walls. Great song to jam out to in the car or throw around the iron in the gym. I give it two thumbs ups

Bad Ass Lyrics

So when the saints go marching in
They won’t be singing for your sins
They just hope to Hell you’ve learned something
Living and breathing


I sometimes wonder if other industries are full of so many fads as the fitness industry. It seems someone is constantly putting out some new training style, new diet plan, new health tips that has everyone worked up until the next trend comes along. You gotta be quick if you’re gonna make it on this trend train! On one hand it provides plenty of humor for those of us who recognize the ridiculousness of some of these trends and on the other hand, it’s really sad to see so many people get sucked in. They are so excited about the opportunity to be healthy and fit but unfortunately fall prey to some nifty marketing tactics and sales methods. Here are three fitness terms that get thrown around a lot in the pursuit of attracting new gullible clients. Buyer beware.

Muscle Confusion

What’s the opposite of confusion? Clarity? Organization? Take a look at some of the greatest bodybuilders and powerlifter’s of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s and what do you see? A bunch of confused muscles? Surely not since most of their training methods were pretty basic; major lifts, typical 4-5 day body part or lift based splits, basic barbell, dumbbell, and machine based exercises. So how did we come up with the idea that basic barbell training wasn’t good enough? That all these muscle cells in our bodies are getting a little too narcissistic, chests puffed out thinking they got it all figured out? How did we decide we need to shake things up a bit and confuse the shit out of our biceps? Well, I’m not entirely sure who came up with the phrase but it sure did take off with Tony Horton promoting P90x. Since then, people have been trying to stay one step ahead of their pesky smarty pants muscles and bring them down a step or two with some good ole muscle confusion. There are two problems with the term muscle confusion. First, it is an illogical and incorrect statement. Muscles do not act as an independent organ but instead the neuromuscular system works together through incredibly complex physiological processes to allow us to do everything from removing the top off a jar of peanut butter, to walking, to lifting a thousand pounds. The muscles in and of themselves don’t really have the ability to be confused per se. When you place new stress/stimulus on the system, the system as a whole is forced to adapt. This means physical adaptations through an increase or decrease of different tissues and neurological adaptations. New stress doesn’t come solely from new exercises. It could come from an increase in weight (intensity), an increase in volume (more reps or sets), an increase in frequency (how many times it is trained over a certain period of time), a change in tempo (the speed at which the movement is done), or a change in rest periods. All of this brings me to my second point: if you are constantly changing exercises in the pursuit of muscle confusion, you will never become skilled at anything. Powerlifters don’t become good at the squat, bench, and deadlift without routinely doing those exercises. Golfers don’t get better at their sport by constantly playing other sports. Even bodybuilders don’t need constant variation, especially beginner bodybuilders who are trying to build a quality mind muscle connection. This isn’t to say that some variation is a bad thing just that it takes time to develop any skill set and there isn’t an exception in the case of training. Muscle confusion isn’t a type of training, it’s code for I have no idea what I’m doing so I just make shit up that looks hard.

Who's muscles are confused?

Who’s muscles are confused?


Functional Training

What does functional mean? According to good ole Merriam and Webster it means “designed to have a practical use”. If you ask many people what functional training is, they’ll struggle to give you such a definitive answer. Much like muscle confusion, functional training is used in very broad terms to fit any number of different training methods. Maybe it means some balancing exercises on a bosu or physio ball, maybe it means laying on the ground and standing up with a kettlebell, maybe it means doing things with bands, maybe no one really knows. The term seems to have come from a point in time in which personal trainers and exercise based physical therapists started to use many of the same methods (I’m sure there was plenty of cross over between the professions). At some point, trainers realized that certain physical therapy exercises were pretty difficult and if there is one thing that tricks people into thinking they’re doing something worthwhile in the gym, its an exercise that is perceived as difficult. This has led to many gyms being filled up with different balls, bands, and goofy training gadgets designed to strain your neuromuscular system into figuring out how to accomplish these circus acts. All in all, some of these particular exercises aren’t a bad thing. If someone has some significant injuries, muscle imbalances, or pain as a result from a dysfunctional body then fixing that dysfunction is a good path to take. However, if we are going to go back to our original definition of functional, many “functional training” exercises don’t serve this purpose. In order to determine how functional an exercise or person is, you have to first define the end goal. If a person wants to look good naked, their ability to do so doesn’t truly hinge on their hip mobility or stability and their ability to do a single leg squat. If a person wants to bench heavy weight, then having highly mobile shoulders would actually hinder their progress more than help it. However, I have heard on many occasions people claim that they are more “functional” than said bodybuilder or powerlifter which is funny because said bodybuilder and powerlifter have both competed in their given sports and have a level of comparison where as there is no widely accepted test for functionality. Before you throw the functional training term around, think back to what Webster said: “designed to have a practical use”. Is looking good naked a practical use? Is having a healthy cardiovascular system a practice use? Is competing in strength sports a practical use? Is balancing on one leg a practical use? The answer is: it all depends on the person answering the question.

Cleanse Diets

I’m not a celebrity so maybe that is why I don’t fully understand or appreciate the intrigue with cleanse dieting. What I mean is I don’t get the desire to eat/drink a special concoction of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and what not designed to send your GI tract into freak out mode and force you to have diarrhea for a week but you know what, to each their own. Now, I do see the need for most people to “cleanse” themselves but not in the above mentioned ways. I can’t speak for everybody but after working with a lot of people over a lot of years I’ve come to the following realization: when you eat like shit and treat your body like shit you tend to look like shit and feel like shit. I know, I know, it’s ground breaking stuff. So, that being said I do realize the need for many people to stop eating bad things (fast food) and start replacing them with good things (less processed food), to stop doing bad things (laying on the couch, not getting enough sleep, not managing stress) and start doing good things (exercising, getting quality sleep, learning to manage stress). Your body has a pretty good method of keeping out and getting rid of “bad things”. Your stomach is filled with hydrochloric acid, you have a liver and a digestive tract to filter out what you eat, you have kidneys to filter your blood, and you sweat and respire out “bad things” as well and they all do a pretty good job. Are there benefits to choosing organic foods, fresh vegetables and fruits, less processed foods? Absolutely! As you begin to change your nutritional and life style habits, your body will take care of the rest. You’ll start feeling better and looking better and performing better. A juice cleanse to start the process off isn’t going to do anything other than make you wish you had a toilet nearby.


While my brain likes to shut off when I hear these terms, hopefully this article will get your brain firing and start thinking twice when you hear these terms being thrown around.

From time to time I’ll think back to when I first started training. Pretty much my entire youth, especially when I hit puberty and grew in height far faster than I did in width, people would make comments about how skinny I was. Like many teenagers awkwardly moving throughout their pubescence, I was trying to find my identity and didn’t really like being called “skinny”. Especially not when the people I looked up to (sports start and action heroes) were far from skinny. I began my fitness journey around 14 years old doing push ups, pullups, situps, and throwing around some 5 and 10 lb dumbbells my dad had in our play room. Eventually this led to my parents purchasing a weight bench with several attachments that I proceeded to break and finally a secondary weight bench that I proceeded to outgrow when I began high school and could train in their weight room. When I could finally drive my parents agreed to get me a gym membership and I split time between that gym and my high school weight room.

When I first started training, I would do exercises out of a book my dad gave me from his youth (aka the 1960s) but I eventually graduated to coming up or copying routines from Flex magazine (not much better). I did all kinds of silly nutritional tricks that I thought would pack on the muscle and melt away the fat. Not too long ago I used to say “I wish I knew then what I know now” and “If I had only been following intelligent training and nutrition from day one, where would I be now?” but now I don’t think that way. I am actually very thankful for time period from about 14-22 where I did primarily dumb “meathead” things. Here are what I am most thankful for:

1. Not having easy access to the internet and not having Facebook
Back in the day, I trained by myself for myself. I didn’t have a giant social network that I needed to keep updated or try to gain attention from. There wasn’t a plethora of information for me to try to sift through and a million different training programs and ideas. This kept me focused on what was important: training hard and being consistent. Now a days so many people fail to gain traction in the training (and results) because they are continuously bouncing from one training method and program to another. They are bombarded by thousands of fitness “stars” showing them hundreds of different ways to exercise. One month they want to powerlift, then they want to olympic lift, then they want to bodybuild, then they want to be functional but they never spend enough time in any one method to see the results they keep chasing after. Along with that, the focus of living the lifestyle becomes portraying to your social media following that you’re living the lifestyle. It’s become more about posting videos, selfies, and the most ridiculous motivational fitness memes. Don’t get me wrong, I like the social support and the easily accessible information that comes with all this but is it really necessary to post a pic of everything you eat? Do you need the warm embrace of your Facebook friends every time you crave carbs? Do you need to post every PR when you’ve only been lifting for a year and every single lift is a PR? Maybe this is just me having a “get off my lawn moment” but I really am thankful that when I started, the focus was more about what you actually did that what you posted.

2. Lifting on crappy equipment
You won’t appreciate good equipment until you’ve spent plenty of time lifting on crappy equipment. I started off using cement filled weights, graduated to standard size metal weights (the really small bars that had screw on collars), then finally graduated to rusted olympic bars and dumbbells that were donated to my high school. I can honestly say that every step of the way I was super excited about the next piece of equipment. When you’re used to not having any equipment, a set of cement filled plates or standard size plates is the greatest thing ever. I vividly remember both times we put together the new weight sets at my house. When you’re used to training in a small room with limited equipment, getting an entire weight room of rusted old barbells is the greatest thing ever. When you’re used to rusted bent bars, shiny new things are the bee knees. When you’re used to shiny new things made for commercial gyms and general pop, the highest quality strength equipment on the planet from EliteFTS is heaven. From 14-22 I lifted on equipment that was not so great and it wasn’t till I was 26 and opened NBS that I got to experience the worlds best equipment. One of the reasons I purchase the absolute best equipment is because I know what it’s like to lift on stuff that sucks. Spending years lifting on crappy $100 bars will make you truly appreciate the $800 squat bar.

3. Doing dumb things and still getting results
While I am very much aware that I could have gotten way better results had I done things the right way during my youth, doing dumb things and still getting results has helped me gain a perspective that many aren’t fortunate to have. One thing I learned is that if you train hard, eat right, do it consistently, and don’t have hormonal problems, you can get amazing results without the most ideal program. People are quick to jump ship or talk negatively about a certain training style but more than likely, it’s probably not the training method and probably the person utilizing the method. Likewise, just because you’re getting results, doesn’t mean your program is good. Anything gets results on a beginner so don’t think you’re the god of programming because you helped a beginner go from 135 to 225 on deadlift. Also, when you do enough dumb things that don’t work or get you hurt you start to learn pretty quickly what to do from what you now know what not do. If you’ve never experienced the repercussions of doing dumb things, how can you appreciate or even trust the wise advice from someone who has. Learning things the hard way seems to be a little bit more likely to stick.

How about you? Any things from when you first started that you look back and laugh about or appreciate? Leave a comment below.

The best thing about metal music is that there are million sub genres to fit all the different tastes. In today’s metal song of the week we get a little taste of Swiss Folk Metal from the band Eluveitie. The band has 8 current members that play everything from guitar and drums to bagpipes, violins, mandolas, and harps. They combine some traditional celtic music with new age metal. Slide into your kilt, lace up your sandals, and enjoy Luxtos.

I was talking with a member today who was curious about competing in powerlifting for the first time and what some solid numbers for him to put up would be. The conversation contained some good tidbits that I think many of you may find helpful and/or humorous.

-There are standards that exist in all areas of life but what’s most important is that you have your own standards for yourself and hold yourself to those standards. The question posed was “What are some solid numbers to shoot for” to which I responded: a double bodyweight squat and deadlift and a bodyweight and a quarter to a bodyweight and a half bench. These are numbers I think the vast majority of adult males should be able to accomplish within the first couple years of training (females as well although I would adjust the bench down to a bodyweight bench) without having to do anything too crazy. These are the numbers that show you are strong, fit, and obviously train. They won’t win you any world records but if that’s not your goal then who cares. Something to shoot for if you’re trying to come up with some goals.

-Likewise, everyone should have some goal in mind when training. Even if your goal is just to be healthy, having some solid, objective goals you can work towards makes a big difference. This could be 10 pushups, 1 pull-up, running a mile without a break or being able to fit into smaller pants. We’re all going into the grave one day so better set some standards for how you want to live before that happens. I hate to think that the vast majority of people are on a slow decline from age 25 till death, watching their health and fitness slowly pass away with short bursts of half hearted mitigation in between. Who wants that on their tombstone? “Here lies so and so, they lived without standards”

-Just because something works doesn’t mean it’s the best way, safe, or even inherently good. Rape can be an effective form of impregnation but I seriously doubt anyone believes that makes it “good” or even a viable option. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard people argue ridiculous training or nutrition habits and methods because “well hey, it works so I just do it”. Well hey, you’re just dumb.

-In fitness, there is an inner circle that contains 10% of the people and 90% of the knowledge and an outer circle that contains 90% of the people and 10% of the knowledge. When someone in the outer circle begins to learn something, they compare themselves to other people in the outer circle and comparatively they are extremely knowledgeable. This can lead to them having a skewed view of where they stand between the two circles of fitness. If you only have a limited amount of knowledge, then you aren’t quite aware of all the things that you don’t know. This can lead you to believing you know a significant amount. Unfortunately, for many people in the fitness realm (especially those with experience) this can be a major limiting factor in their total progress. They believe they know so much that they have no need to continue to learn from outside sources. However, if they are open they’ll slowly slip into the inner circle and have an epiphany moment in which they realize how much they don’t know. To be truthful, they will continue to have these moments as I continue to have them. A couple instances in which this happened to me was the first time I heard of Westside Barbell. Their strength standards to get an invite to train there were at a 1000 lb squat, 600 lb bench, 800 lb deadlift, and/or a 2000 lb total. This blew my mind as I didn’t know these types of numbers were even possible, much less the standards to join a gym! Learning this lead me to seek out more information and was what initially started be down the path that has brought me where I am today. Another instance was during some PT clinic hours in which the head PT asked me how many muscles attached to the scapula. As I fumbled and bumbled trying to think of the correct answer, he told me that if I couldn’t name the muscles that attach to the scapula within 3 of the correct answer, then I had no reason ever working in the field. That was another eye opener. This also goes back to the topic of standards from before. As I was made aware of what more potential existed, I was forced to raise my current level of knowledge and ability to hold myself within the standards I had set for myself.

Christian hired me to work with him on nutrition to cut down to the 181 class for the XPC at the Arnold. When Christian first came to me, he was weight between 195 and 200. He was eating around 5-6 meals a days with protein around 50g per meal, fats around 15-20 grams per meal, and carbs really low at around 20g on training days only.  He wasn’t really sticking to any plan on the weekends either.


Starting off we reduced his fats and protein just a little and bumped his carbs up and added in 20 minutes of steady state cardio 4 times a week. We also worked to just lock the diet down a bit more especially on the weekends. Christian started dropping weight fairly steadily. We did make a few minor adjustments to his carbs throughout the time, dropping them down and dropping them out a few meals. This ended up accelerating his weight loss pretty significantly to point where we started adding carbs back in. Once we had his metabolism rolling really well we had to monitor weight very closely so that he didn’t drop too fast. Several times throughout we had to do a high carb load to bump his weight back up. We eventually go to the point where he was actually eating more carbs and total calories at the end of the diet than he was at the beginning. Making weight was very easy, we didn’t have to do any water or sodium manipulation and we even had him eat throughout the entire day on Thursday. He weighed in slightly under weight at 179 on Friday morning making for a total weight drop of about 16-20 lbs. We had him back up to 191 Friday afternoon and in the high 180’s on Saturday morning, right where he was used to training at. Christian was great to work with as his body responded perfectly to every adjustment we made. After his post meet meal, he had some pretty gnarly vascularity in his legs too.
 Christian Collage

Nothing says anger and aggression like thrash metal and Metallica are the kings of the trash genre. Nothing requires anger and aggression quite like powerlifting. Perfect Combo!!!!!

The speedy guitar riffs and violent vocals pair quite nicely with a shot of nose torque to the dome. Enjoy!


The last couple weeks have been a wild ride to say the least. Within a 4 day period we somehow managed to host a 60 person powerlifting meet with around 150 spectators and move an entire facility worth of equipment, office materials, random artifacts, and a plethora of junk across a parking lot while setting up old and new systems vital to our business processes so that we could begin business operations as usual. Looking back I realize that the only way this was even remotely possible was by the incredible willingness to help our members displayed over the four day period and an act of God. The month of April was a bit of a Murphy’s law month for me with regards to owning a business and it quite honestly kicked my butt, I’m still trying to recover. At some point I will write up an article about it for those interested in what being a business owner is like but for now I am just excited that I finally got to workout in the new space. As ironic as it sounds, being a gym owner can make getting a workout in a bit of a struggle from time to time. The past week I have been scrambling to put together the minor things in our facility like white boards, benches in the showers, and banners, along with calling window tinting companies for quotes, comcast for fax lines, and trying to get my signed moved. The acts of running a business along with trying to physically recover from a weekend of long hours, hard labor, and little sleep have taken precedent until this past Monday when I finally got back on track.

Photo May 12, 1 06 19 PM

I resumed my previous 5/3/1 plus hypertrophy program that I have the men and women powerlifting teams doing and got back on my nutrition plan. For over a year and a half I haven’t missed a single update with my nutrition coach but unfortunately missed the last two weeks. I let him know before hand that life was about to get crazy for a little bit. The combination of stress, not eating, and working 16-18 hour days ended causing me to lose 15 lbs in a 4 day period and boy did I feel it. Strength took a bit of hit but I’m sure will bounce back up after a couple of weeks of getting my weight back up and getting back in the groove of training. Here was the first training session I did in my new facility:

Squat: 225×5, 270×5, 295×5, 315×5, 340×5

Laying Leg Curls 5×10

Leg Press 4×15 reps supersetted with leg extensions 4×10 reps

Bulgarian Split Squats with a 3 sec negative, 3×12

Standing Calf Raises 4×12 plus 2 drop sets to failure

Seated Calf Raises 4×8

Afterwards I questioned the intelligence behind putting my new office on the second story…but it sure does feel good to be back.Photo May 12, 1 05 35 PM

Sticking with the anti authority theme from last week, we have Do Not Obey by all That Remains making the list this week. If you’re one of the unlucky few who train in a commercial gym (because why would anyone choose to train at one) then you can use this song to fight back against the man as you secretly chalk up your hands to deadlift with hexagon plates.


Taylor Deadlift

Taylor is Physical Therapist and strongman competitor who previously lived in Memphis and trained at NBS but moved to Oxford, MS. Taylor contacted me for online programming in October with the goal of getting stronger and preparing for the Mid South Smash strongman competition. Starting off, my main goal was to build Taylor’s base strength. He had plenty of time working with the implements and had the technique down, he just didn’t have the general strength he needed to perform at a high level. The first program I started Taylor off on was a variation of the tier system that used some of triphasic means as well. Three times a week he would perform a squat, a deadlift, and a press in one of three rep ranges (3×3, 3×6, or 6×3) with accessory work to build up his posterior chain and core. His fourth day every week was an accessory day that focus primarily on back work. Here is an example of his day 1 on this program:

Day 1
*Wide Stance Box Squat 3×3 (5 count eccentric, box should be set at around parallel, stop completely on the box then explode up)
*DB Bench Press 3×6 (3 count isometric hold right above the chest, then explode up)
*Deadlift @70% 6×3, 72.5% week 2, 75% week 3
*Weighted Hip Bridges 3×12 (back on bench)
*10 sec plank with 5 sec hold, do two sets, have someone put a weight on your back
Taylor had limited strength equipment as he trained primarily out of small 24 hour facility in MS but we were still able to make some great improvement over this time frame. After several cycles of the triphasic tier system we switched to a “peaking” tier system that dropped out all accessory work and just had him to the squat, bench, deadlift, and push press. We used this to work up to a heavy single in all the lifts to test where his current strength was.  We saw a nice 20-40 pound increase in all his main lifts. From there we switched to a program that had two base strength days using the main lifts for heavy triples and doubles and singles, a light “pump” day, and an events day for him to practice all the implements. The end results was tremendous improvements in his overall strength, his event strength, his performance, and a his first competition win. Check out what Taylor had to say about the process:
Taylor Basket

“As any good coach will tell you, training is a process. And such a detailed process takes time. What you don’t often read about is how even in the depths of a training cycle, life can happen and threaten to derail the whole process.

From injuries, illnesses, lack of implement time, and moving, everything that could happen to disrupt my training leading up to the Mid South Smash actually happened. Despite all the craziness, David made sure to make adjustments where necessary to ensure my prep wasn’t entirely derailed. And I’m very thankful he did.

This last weekend (4/2/16), I won my first strongman competition. Not only did I win, I set PRs in the car deadlift and stone load, despite only getting my hands on the strongman implements about a month out from the competition. Through David’s training, I was the strongest and most durable I’ve ever been at a contest to date. I had no issues with random pains, and my body held up through the entire day of competition.

Mentally, this was a huge hurdle to overcome, as I’ve always had something come up on competition day. I’ve never been able to put a full day of events together in such fashion as to allow me a shot at winning. To be able to finally do that, especially coming from my distance running background, speaks volumes to me about how dialed in David’s work is.

I should also mention, this is the heaviest I’ve ever been in competition (238 lbs), so to be able to move so well after being a 165lb distance runner years ago is truly amazing to me.

There are many different ways to train for strongman, some more expedient than others. However, efficiency wins in this game, and if you can get strong and stay injury free, you have so much room to grow in this sport. To sum it up concisely, if you want to get stronger, David is the man to do it. PRs in all major lifts this prep, and PRs when it counts the most on competition day have me convinced.

So why are you still waiting?”

Summer is coming up and it’s time to show off those beach bods. But what if you’re struggling to get the physique you want? These 5 reasons may be why:

You don’t actually want it

What a way to start an article right? But I think it’s important that we address the obvious elephant in the room before we move on to other potential causes. For some folks, the idea of being “jacked and tan”, “lean”, “fit” or whatever phrase they use to describe the ideal look that they would like is just that, an idea. Much like wanting to make a million dollars but not being willing to invest your life savings and work 60 hours a week to make it happen,  wanting to look like you work out hard and eat right without actually working out hard and eating right is the reason people can become millionaires selling bogus fitness products on late night television. So, if you’re someone who happens to fit this mold, you have two solid options: 1) Stop wasting time and energy worrying about something that isn’t important to you. You can still be healthy without looking like a fitness model (health being a relative term, you can’t really be healthy and 500 lbs) so do what you enjoy and don’t worry about the rest. 2) Realize that if you really want something, you have to act on it. In the words of our great green leader Yoda “There is no try, do or do not.”

You’re kinda dumb

Seriously, who starts off an article with these two points? I do. Because some people really do want it, they just do really dumb stuff to try and make it happen. Ever thought a juice cleanse was the ticket to flat abs? Ever purchased a piece of home exercise equipment that got sold in a garage sale? Ever taken exercise advice from someone who gets paid to post pictures of their butt on instagram? If you’ve answered yes to this question or a thousand questions similar to it, you in fact may be dumb. Thankfully, this is an easy fix. First, you’re reading this article which means you’ve at least taken a step away from the fitness scam marketing and started getting information for a quality company that is focussed on a no bullshit approach to fitness. Second, if you haven’t already, you’ll need to join a gym that is focused on producing results instead of offering cheap, no commitment memberships that they know you’ll never use (may I suggest NBS Fitness). Third, you need to get around some folks who know what they’re doing. Look for people with a college degree, a decent certification, years of experience, and lots of success (for themselves and others). Some combination of the above or even better, all the above, will put you in the best possible position to actually make progress and reach a new level in your physique (again, let me suggest NBS Fitness. Our trainers and members fit all the criteria).

You don’t have enough muscle

Regardless of the exact physique you are going for, a quality physique is going to be characterized by two things: muscularity and lower levels of body fat. Increasing your muscularity gives the “look” of someone who trains. Why do powerlifters and strongman with higher body fat levels in the 15-20% range look so much different than the average Joe carrying around the same body fat percentage? Simple, they have significantly more muscle. More muscle also improves your insulin sensitivity which allows your body to better utilize the carbohydrates that you intake. So when you eat that rice krispy treat it’s more likely to get used up for energy or stored as glycogen instead of converted into more body fat. Muscle does improve your resting metabolism but not by a significant amount. However, if you were to exchange 10 lbs of fat for 10 lbs of muscle, you would be more likely to utilize the food that you did eat in a more ideal way (the whole insulin sensitivity thing). Of course decreasing body fat levels is a major concern but if you’re someone who has to take their clothes off to look like they work out and instead just look “skinny”, you may want to dedicate some time to building muscle.

Your metabolism is jacked up

I don’t think metabolisms are quite as frail as some people make them out to be but I can’t deny the fact that some people seem to lose fat quite easily without much effort while others seem to gain fat on almost no food at all. Whatever the case, losing body fat can be tricky if you don’t have a high caloric need. To give a bit of an example, let’s take two people both with a resting metabolic rate of 10 calories per lb of body fat, one is a 120 lb female and the other is a 250 lb male. The 120 lb female would need 1,200 calories a day to maintain her current weight and the male would need 2,500. If we were wanting to lose half a lb of fat (1750 calories) a week, we would want to be in a caloric deficit of 250 calories a day. Well this would put the female at a caloric intake of 950 calories a day and the guy at 2,250. What happens if they halt progress and you need to make another cut? The female is already at really tiny amount of food where as the guy still has a decent food intake. Now, this scenario doesn’t take into all the other potential parts of the equation but is a basic outline of how having a higher caloric need can help. So, how can you alter your metabolism? Good question. Outside of thyroid medication, your best bet it is to exercise, get quality sleep, eat a balanced diet and make very small adjustments either way. If you’re weight isn’t moving in the right direction, it’s better to make a small change, measure, and adjust than to cut all your carbs and double your cardio. Also realize that the body can only take a beating for so long. So sometime to two steps forward, once step back approach may be best to keep from hitting a plateau.

Your hormones are out of whack

Training hard? Check! Eating right? Check! Been doing both for a while (i.e. months)? Check! Still kinda looking the same? Yeah, what gives? Well you may have some hormones that are out of whack. Hormones are the signals throughout your body that tell certain organs to do certain jobs. This could be everything from telling your body to uptake glucose into the cell, to release stored lipids (fat) into the bloodstream to be used for fuel, to telling your bladder to release all it’s contents because you were frightened. If the hormones aren’t being produced in a high enough quantity or the cells aren’t responding to the hormones, you could have some serious trouble getting your body to do what you want it to do. When it comes to physique improvement, the main hormones you will be concerned with are your sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen), your thyroid hormones (T3, T4, and TSH), and how well your body handles carbohydrate intake (insulin, AIC, fasting glucose levels). If you’re concerned, consult with a physician to get your levels checked. If you do have something that is out of whack, then bring it back into it’s proper range can make a huge difference.


There you have it! 5 reasons you may be struggling to get the physique you’re after. Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Whether you’re looking to break a PR or have a minor seizure, Fear Factory is the ideal band for both. Power shifter is one of my favorite songs because it combines the wide vocal musings of Burton Bell with the crisp double bass and chunky guitar riffs that makes industrial metal so freaking awesome. Favorite line of the song:

Always question authority

Control my own destiny

Perfect for your teenage angst and hitting a new deadlift max.


Earlier this month we hosted the USS Midsouth Smash Strongman Competition which brought about 25 competitors and about 75 spectators out on a beautiful Saturday morning to lift some heavy things, eat pizza, and have fun.  I always love putting on strongman competitions because they are super fun to watch and the atmosphere is always great. I look forward to our second strongman competition later this year and hope we can continue to help grow the sport in the mid south. Thank you to all the competitors and all the people who came out to support. Enjoy the video:


Here’s your second dose of Lamb of God playing one of my personal favorites off the album Resolution. This isn’t one of their well known singles but it’s hard and heavy and angry which makes it the perfect song for chalking your hands up, tearing your skin into iron and giving the big thumbs up to gravity.


So we had a name change and instead of “Member Mashup” which may be confused with member of the month it will be called the “NBS Mixer”. First interview under the new name I introduce to you “tank”!


Do you like helping people look good and feel good about themselves? One way you can start helping people look good and feel good is by offering to cut people’s hair and giving them manicures. Oh…wait…never mind…sorry you actually can’t start doing that because it’s illegal. That’s right, it is illegal to to participate in cosmetology without a state license.

Okay no big deal, let’s try something else. Maybe you can work on people’s cars. You’ve been driving a car for years so you obviously must know all the complexities of how a car works. No? Hmm…

I know what you can do! You can sell fitness products! Beach body, Shakeology, AdvoCare, you name it! Painting someone’s nails is way too dangerous if you haven’t been to school for it and passed  a state licensing exam and of course a car is not nearly as complicated as the human body (read “exaggeration”) but oh well, you’re totally qualified to act as an expert and advise people on their nutrition, exercise, health, and wellness.

Obviously, this makes zero sense and is a huge issue in the fitness industry. I like helping people too but I’m not allowed to go prescribe medicine because I’m not a doctor. I get it though, you lost some weight and feel way better about yourself after following a protocol and now you’re fired up to help people feel the same way. I am all for that. Encourage people to exercise, to eat right, and to live a healthier lifestyle but please don’t start prescribing food plans and workout routines. If that’s what you want to do, go get the education, get the degree, get the certification, do the internship, and build the knowledge base needed to do so correctly. The human body is far more complex than a car and a poorly prescribed nutrition and/or exercise can do far more damage than cutting someones cuticle during a manicure. So, if you really want to help people, realize that wanting to help people is not enough.

Lamb of God is known for their aggressive guitar and drums and the vocal growls of Randy Blythe. What they are not known for is softer melodic music with some harmonic singing. Overlord shows the depth of the bands abilities while still keeping their original sound. Plus it’s got one hell of a breakdown about three and a half minutes in that kicks into typical L.O.G. metal destruction.


Louis is a former member of NBS member who moved to Texas and started working with me for online programming in December of 2014. Louis trains at a powerlifting and bodybuilding friendly gym and has access to most equipment. We have used many variations of different programs from percentage based to tier to some triphasic work as well. I don’t really have any one particular program that I have stuck with for Louis because he is constantly developing and so are his needs. I feel very comfortable using different training methods so when I think one will work better than another, I will change as I see the need to. Louis has been a competition machine doing meets about 4-5 months and making progress on each lift pretty much every meet. He steadily puts on 20-30 lbs each lift each meet. This is what I am most proud of Louis for, he sticks to the plan and keeps chipping away and making steady progress instead of expecting huge jumps in a short period of time. He doesn’t let injuries derail him, we just works around them and make sure they get healed up. After this meet, we will spend some time doing a more bodybuilding/hypertrophy program. Not only is it going to be important for him to put on more muscle to make improvements but one thing we really need to work on is the mind muscle connection. You can check out Louis’ results below as well as what he has to say about the programming.

First meet ever
November 2014 at your gym
390 squat , 240 bench , 420 deadlift
Started with you December 2014
April meet 2015, Little rock
Squat 420, bench 290, deadlift 465
September 2015, Vegas
Squat 457, bench 286, deadlift 490
March 2016, Austin
Squat 474, bench 319, deadlift 501

Most of you read about Dave’s Tri-phasic program and think Dave is Tri-phasic. Dave and his programming are much more than that, and are constantly evolving.  Here are a few reason why I believe in Dave and will continue to pay for his services:


Dave makes training interesting. He uses many methods that are logical and easy to buy into. In my last training cycle, he used a hypertrophy block and a block of “Chase The Pain” to bring up my weak physical points while maintaining my strength. When moving into my meet prep cycle, I saw him methodically blend 5/3/1, Conjugate, and Tier methods to put together a Tri-phasic program for me. His peaking cycle was a 5 week, very specific results-based program. In working with him for 16 months, I have never repeated any part of any program he has developed for me. Each phase builds on my own personal weaknesses and strengths. I am excited to see what Dave has for me next.


Preparing for my last 3 meets, I have dealt with a strained pec, a very strained lower back (sometimes struggling to stand), and a torn hamstring. Dave patiently and methodically worked to help me heal faster, while training around each issue. He knows when I need to push through and when I need to back off. Dave is always looking for ways for me to work around my issues and toward my goals. I am happy to say that my pec and back are healthy and my hamstring is on its way to full health. Even with these curveballs, Dave guided me to P.R. lifts at each meet without compromising my health.

Coaching Style

Based on my experience working with Dave, his coaching of technique is sound, yet allows for anatomical differences. Dave is honest, logical, and flexible. He’s a great positive motivator, but not afraid to tell you what you’re doing wrong. He has been patient with my slow technical changes and uses different ways to explain flaws. Dave also listens to my input, and will either make a change or explain to me why my thoughts are not correct. Dave’s ability to coach me from the Internet via programming, emails, and texts, really speaks to the diversity of his capabilities. He’s truly excited when you succeed and yet he stays calm when things don’t go according to plan. You know he cares. I am very thankful Dave works with me like he does!

This line in the song made me think about doing 2 hours of cardio getting ready for the bodybuilding competition:

Through the suffering we fight, no end in sight

Until we see the light, no end in sight

Killswitch puts out some killer tunes and this one is no exception. I personally like the mix between some screaming and some melody. When you got a long training or cardio session and you there’s no end in sight, throw this one on the playlist and through the suffering fight


I’m sure every 16-25 year old meathead on the planet just read that title and immediately rolled their eyes and called me the “P” word. I admit, my 18 year old self would probably think the same thing. Luckily I’m not 18 anymore and since that time I’ve gained some perspective through being around older lifters, working with hundreds upon hundreds of clients from every background , and then 16 years of training experience myself. Over that time I’ve witnessed a lot of people come and go for a bunch of different reasons and realized the truth in Jim Wendler’s statement “Progress isn’t measured in weeks, months, or years. It is measured in decades.” Don’t have a decade of training under your belt yet? Sorry, just not that impressed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you’re exercising and eating right but I just want to see you really commit to it. Not for 30 days, not for 6 months, not for a couple years. Let me see you do it for the rest of your life. That would be impressive. Luckily I’ve had the chance to be around guys like Dave Tate, Harry Selkow, John Meadows, and Steve Goggins. Guys who have been getting after it for 3 or more decades. Now THAT is impressive! I’ve seen so many people be “hardcore” in their teens and 20’s until they get a job, get a boy/girlfriend or get married, and have kids. Then it all goes away. Life gets too hard. The only training they know how to do is 7 days a week of balls to the wall and toting their tupperware every where so they can be perfect on their diet. What happens when you have a 60 hour a week work week, have a baby, have a business lunch, have a spouse who doesn’t want to eat out of tupperware every night, or get injured? If doing it the hardcore way is all you’ve ever known, adapting to something slightly less can be very difficult, sometimes impossible.

I’ve learned this lesson myself but luckily I had great lifters to look up to and examples to follow. This has been one of the most productive training years I’ve ever had. How’d I do it? I just stayed consistent. I trained 4 days a week, stuck to my diet 90% of the time and just kept chipping away day after day, week after week. I didn’t sweat it if I had a bad day or missed a meal. Just did my best the next day. I’ve learned that going about it this way gives you a more room to “work the gas” so to speak. If you’re putting the pedal to the metal all the time, you don’t have a ton of room to work from. From here, I can push a little harder if I have a contest coming up or pull back a little if life is crazy. Either way, I’ll still be making progress because at this point in my life being consistent is better than being hardcore.

In my second installment of metal song of week I bring you Reign Supreme by Walls of Jericho. Any band that has a tatted up female lead singer and makes music videos with her working out is badass in my book. What better work out motivation music than a music video with deadlifts, tire flips, and MMA? Also there is a pretty sweet line in the song that goes:

When that day comes I hope it was worth it

When that day comes I hope you gave it your all

Perfect line for somebody having to take their training to a dark place to find the motivation they need to keep pushing. Put it on the play list and give it your all!



Are you a beginner? I bet you don’t think you are but you are. See, being a beginner has nothing to do with how long you’ve been training and I’d even argue that it doesn’t have as much to do with your abilities and performance either. Instead I believe it has everything to do with your approach to training. If you’re making these three beginner mistakes, STOP!

1. Stop talking about your pre workout and start focusing on your nutrition

Newbies in the gym and pre workouts go together like powerlifting and singlet moose knuckles. “How many scoops did you take bro?” Here’s the thing with pre workouts: First, they mess with your perceived exertion by stimulating your sympathetic nervous system and elevating your heart rate, there by giving you the misperception that you’re actually working out really hard. Second, there is a tolerance that is built up over time to the stimulants which means you need more and more to get the same effect. The real question is why do you need the stimulants in the first place? Well, if I had to throw out a guess I’d say it’s because you eat poorly and fail to provide your body with the correct nutrients and fuel that it needs and/or you don’t get adequate rest and recovery, primarily sleep.  Unfortunately, no matter how many supplements you take you will never bridge the gap between poor nutrition and sleep and the results you would get if you actually focused on them. A direct quote from a client after one week on a nutrition program: “My energy level during training has greatly improved and I just feel stronger over all.” Quality nutrition will give you all the energy you need to go through a leg day you can actually be proud of, not your 2 scoops fueled half squat and leg extension mockery of a workout.

2. Stop making up your own workouts and follow a program written by a smart person

When I was in high school, I would read flex magazine then go to the gym and train using all the exercises I saw in the magazine. Did I work hard? Without a doubt. Was I an idiot? Absolutely. I had zero education and barely any experience. Even worse I wouldn’t even write anything down, I would just go into the gym and do whatever I felt like doing without recording any of it. Now, I did make progress but I could have made even better progress following an intelligent program written by someone who had all the education and experience I was lacking. I can’t help but imagine if I had followed Starting Strength in high school and then 5/3/1 in college where I would be now. What if in high school I had actually gotten quality coaching on how to properly squat, bench, and deadlift? My excuse is that Starting Strength and 5/3/1 weren’t published till I was already out of high school and college and well, I was coached on how to lift by my football coaches so I was kinda just stuck with that. But you! You have all these resources at your fingertips so why aren’t you using them? Pro athletes, olympians, and even the best in powerlifting and bodybuilding use coaches or at least someone to help them with programming to achieve the best results possible so why aren’t you?

3. Stop hanging around other beginners and start training with more advanced lifters

Being a big fish in a little pond is fine if you’re okay with lying to yourself about being a “big fish” but if you’d like to really see what you’re made out of you gotta get around some folks who are better than you. If you want to be a professional baseball player you’ll have to work your way up through the high school, college, and minor league ranks and likewise if you want to eventually be something more than a beginner you’ll have to get away from the elementary school kickball team you call a gym and workout partners. This usually means training with people older and more experienced than you. It can be a little frightening to get out of the comfort zone of your peers, especially if you’re the alpha of the group, but if you want to continue to make progress you’ll need to make it happen one way or another.

There is nothing wrong with being a beginner but at some point you need to earn your diploma and graduate. Stop making these beginner mistakes and become more advanced as a lifter.


This exercise is a straight up SOB. Eccentrics are brutal to begin with but when you push them to the limits by doing 10 second eccentrics for 3 sets of 6 on a movement like squats you get a serious back bump and a lot of rolling around on the ground afterwards. Give them a shot and then let me know what you think (aka curse my name) in the comments.

Welcome to my metal song of the week section where I will choose a metal song to metal your face and give you gains.

Kicking off we have Disturbed’s new single “The Vengeful One” from their new CD immortalized. There are two things I love about this song: first, is was a their first single after a hiatus from producing new music and they come back with the same powerful sound with some new twists that they’ve been able to continue to do CD after CD. Second, the music video is just awesome. Check it out below

The new facility is coming along great! All the framing and dry wall is up so you can get a really good idea of what the layout will look like. The duct work is all in place as well. Everything looks to be on schedule and we should be in the facility by early to mid April. This place is going to be sick so stay tuned for more updates!


View from the cardio deck looking down at the weight area


View from cardio deck looking down at the therapy rooms


View of the cardio deck


Looking towards the front of the gym


View from the office looking down towards the weight room

I recently read the book “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” by John Ratey. The book talks about the positive chemical, hormonal, physical, and psychological effects that exercise can have on the brain. As well as how exercise can have specific positive effects on learning, depression, anxiety, aging, menapause, and pregnancy. We all know exercise is good for you…well, actually, it’s GREAT for you! We are all aware of the positive effects it can have on our bodies but I think our culture fails to recognize the positive effects it can have on our mental and emotional health as well. Too often we focus solely on exercising to improve our physique. Wanting to look good naked is a good goal, in fact anything that gets you moving is fine, but there are vast benefits beyond just how you look. What we don’t often realize is that taking continuing to take tiny steps can take you farther than a couple jumps that lead to exhaustion and quitting. In 2016, NBS Fitness wants to help you in any way possible to help reach your health and fitness goals. Regardless of your goals we want to have an impact on you. We want you to get the results you’ve always wanted and while we stay committed to being Memphis’ Best Gym.

Here is a list of everything we offer and how it can help you.


Our facility is 24 hour access so you can come train anytime, any day. We have every piece of strength training equipment you could ever want including a full powerlifting setup, strongman setup, and olympic lifting equipment. We have plenty of plate loaded and selectorized pieces as well as several pieces of cardio equipment. We have shower facilities as well. Later, in the spring of 2016 we will be moving into an even bigger and more badass facility with more equipment and nicer amenities. A membership puts you in the community you need for motivation, accountability, and support.

Personal Training

Our personal trainers are without a doubt the best trainers in the city. They all have college degrees, top level certifications, are competitive athletes, and have been through our trainer development program. Working with a personal trainer gets you a customized program with one on one coaching. If you’re looking for maximal results as fast as possible, personal training is the way to go.

Group Training

This option gives you the expert advice and coaching from the best trainers in Memphis at an affordable price along with a small group for encouragement and support. Small group training has been shown to be one of the most effective methods for people to build the habits needed to get the results they want. 

Powerlifting Team

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran with multiple meets under your belt or considering competing for the first time, our men’s and women’s powerlifting team can give you the programming, camaraderie, and team work needed to put your best numbers up on the platform.

Online Programming

If you’re looking for some guidance but not necessarily in need of a trainer to take you through the process, our online programming can give you the expert programming you need without the cost of a trainer. Get years of schooling and experience poured into the perfect program to help reach your goals at an affordable price.

Online Nutrition

Nutrition plays such a vital role in health and performance, don’t leave it up to chance or follow some 30 day challenge your neighbor talked you into trying. Work with one of our expert nutritionists to get the guidance and accountability needed for great results.

SBD Clinics

Our squat bench and deadlift clinics are sold out hits every time we host them. If you’re looking to get your technique dialed in, SBD clinics are the way to go. 

We’re ready for you. Come in, get signed up, and get ready to rock and roll.

Call 901-244-6529 or go to the contact page to send us a message and let’s get started.


If you have several years of quality training and nutrition under your belt, these three concepts can help further your training success. If you’re still new to this whole health and fitness thing or have been struggling with consistency, I suggest reading this article on goal setting and this article as well before implementing these more advanced training and nutritional approaches. For those who’ve moved past the beginner stage, consider these three concepts:

1. Keep Your Body Fat Under Control

Your body’s ability to properly utilize the food you put in it is essential to developing a quality physique and well as maximizing performance. It just so happens that the leaner you are (to a point) the more efficiently your body utilizes the nutrients you put into it. There is a very strong link between your body fat level and your insulin sensitivity meaning the leaner you are the better your body is at getting the carbohydrates and sugar you eat into your muscles. As insulin levels rise, blood sugar is more likely to be stored as fat and high insulin levels also prevent the release of fatty acids to be used as energy. Maintaining a relatively low body fat level also allows you to stay in the caloric excess necessary to build muscle without converting those extra calories into body fat. More muscle means greater metabolic demands on your body (your body needs more calories to just exist) and an increase in mitochondria (the part of the cell that burns fat).

Anecdotally, this can be seen in physique competitions as an athlete’s ability to gain lean mass is increased post competition, after a long period of dieting down to a low body fat. Even non competitors can benefit from dieting down to a lower body fat percentage. I had a female client diet down from 128 to 112. At her lowest she was eating 810 calories a day with 4 training sessions and cardio daily. As we reversed her back out, she has now gotten up as high as 3,000 calories on her high days, 1900 on her low days, and no cardio while only gaining about 3 lbs and maintaining her conditioning from before. Food is the most anabolic substance you can put in your body and the leaner you are, the better your body utilizes that food. How lean do you need to be? Every person is different but evidence suggest that some where between 8-15% for guys and 18-25% for girls is an ideal body fat percentage.

2. Make Your Nutrition Dynamic

People fail on diet because they can’t be consistent which means the best diet is the one that you will actually follow. If that means keeping things simple, then go with that. However, if you are looking to maximize your nutrition, your plan must have a good amount of variation. What this means specifically is there should be relatively consistent changes in your total caloric amounts as well as your macro amounts. These changes need to occur season to season, week to week, day to day, and meal to meal. Your metabolic needs are not consistent if you are a serious athlete. There are times in which your caloric demands will be extremely high and times in which they will be much lower. There are times in which you may be leaning out for a contest and times in which you may be focusing on putting on as much lean mass as possible. Here are 3 ways in which you can make your nutrition more dynamic

  • Peri Workout Nutrition- What is the most important meal of the day? It’s not breakfast, its the period of time surrounding your workout. Peri workout nutrition has three basic goals: prepare for the training session, fuel the training session, and recovery from the training session. Personally I have a pre workout drink with protein, carbs, and fats; an intra workout drink with carbs and aminos; and a post workout meal with meat and lots of white rice. I’m not going to go into the details of when and what to eat, there are lots of protocols that are effective, just make sure you’re utilizing one of them.
  • Loads- Loading refers to a shorter period of time in which you will increase your caloric intake higher than usual and also usually involves the increase in carbs specifically. The purpose of loading is to raise your metabolism and refill your glycogen stores. After a period of time in a caloric deficit your body will begin to adjust it’s metabolism downward as a survival mechanism. Also, during a period of caloric restriction, especially from carbs, glycogen stores can become depleted resulting in a flat look and decrease in training performance. Loading can help to “kick start” the metabolism again and fill glycogen stores back up so that training and recovery aren’t negatively impacted. Loads can occur in the form of a “cheat meal”, a high carb “load” day or several days like when loading for a physique competition, or finally over a longer period like a week or two in the middle of a long diet.
  • Cutting and Bulking- While the idea of cutting and bulking is a bit of an old school idea, alternating periods of focusing on fat loss and muscle gain does have some benefit to it. As stated above, the leaner you are the better your body handles nutrients and having higher amounts of muscle can make the process of leaning out easier. This doesn’t mean you have to drop down to 5% contest body fat or bulk up to 20% but utilizing the “rebounds” of both period can help prevent the eventual plateau you will get from focusing on one for two long. That being said you don’t need to be constantly switching it up. I would suggesting limited your cycles to no more than 2 a year.

3. Increase Training Stress

The body is an adaptation machine. It is built on survival and will adjust to whatever stress you place on it. When you are just beginning, a little bit of stress goes a long way. You can make some pretty awesome gains just doing full body workouts 3 times a week. Unfortunately, this type of progress can not continue forever and at some point you have to ramp it up a bit. In doing so, you must take an intelligent approach. You can not go from 3 training sessions a week to 10 and 3 sets of 10 to 8 sets of 20. In advanced athletes a little bit more “insane” approach is needed to further progress. They just do not respond to the same stimulus as they did before. Here are a few ways you can increase training stress:

  • High Frequency- Most people use pretty typical training splits where they train a movement or body part one to two times a week. However, there is plenty of evidence to support the need for higher frequency stimulus. The Bulgarians produced some of the best lifters in history and they squatted every day. Ben Pakulski has some of the best calves on the pro stage and he has said multiple times that he trained his calves every day to get them there. Pretty much every military branch has their members to some form of pushups on a daily basis during “boot camp”. When frequency is increased, volume and intensity must be adjust accordingly but don’t hesitate to train something more than once or twice a week.
  • Intensity Techniques- There are a million different intensity techniques: drop sets, super sets, tempo sets, negatives, occlusion sets, partials, etc. At some point you have to get away from the basic 3 sets of 10 and do something a little different. Intensity techniques place greater amounts of stress on the body than it is accustomed to and therefore it is forced to adapt. Slowly incorporate one or two techniques at a time and learn how to use them all correctly.
  • Overreaching- This refers to a training block in which you purposefully out train your ability to recover for a short period of time and then “super compensate” as a result. It usually involves the slow increase of training stress until the body is being overstressed for a period of generally 1-4 weeks. This phase is followed by a period of time in which maximal recovery becomes the primary goal (sleep, rest, nutrition, recovery techniques). This is similar to the rebound that occurs post physique competition as a results of being highly calorically depleted for such a long time. Overreaching is a highly advanced training method and should only be done under the supervision of an experienced coach.

I’ve heard it said that if you want to reach a high level of physique and performance, you need to be the person that everyone in the gym is scared to train with. This probably applies to commercial gyms more so than NBS but the idea is clear. You must train is a way that your body is forced to adapt to. As a beginner, something being difficult is plenty to make your body change but as you advance it needs to be brutal. Along with the physical changes that occur, highly intense training creates a huge metabolic demand. There is a reason people who train hard can stay lean and eat 4000 calories or more a day while other people struggle to lose weight eating less than half of that amount.

If you’re an advanced lifter who’s been looking for some ways to further your progress, incorporate some or all of these concepts into your training and nutrition and enjoy the gainzzzzz



I recently had a client respond to the question “Why do you want to lose weight?” with the confusing answer of “I don’t want to do a bikini contest”. I realized that with her being in a gym that has a high amount of high level fitness athletes along with today’s constant social media fitness model bombardment, she must have felt as if that was something that I wanted or expected from her. The truth is that myself and the other trainers at NBS Fitness want to help our client’s reach whatever goals they may have, whether that be winning a bodybuilding contest or improving their general health. Many of our clients are just regular people trying to find ways to improve their health, performance, and physique. They want to feel a little better and look a little better along the way. With our nation’s health rapidly declining, I think doing a bikini competition is the farthest thing from a goal the average American needs to be setting. Instead here are 5 goals I think everyone should have in regards to their health and fitness:

1. Learn to Enjoy Fitness

Beyond all the mountains of data supporting the benefits of exercise, quality nutrition, and a healthy lifestyle, the fact of the matter is that being unhealthy sucks. I have spoken with and talked to a whole lot of people from both ends of the spectrum in regards to health and there are multiple common traits amongst both groups of people. From a physical perspective, the healthier group suffers from less pain and is usually more energetic through out the day. The unhealthy group usually suffers from some kind of chronic pain (lower back pain, knee pain, headaches, etc) and is usually in a general state of fatigue. Mentally, I find that the healthier someone is the more positive outlook they tend to have towards things and likewise they generally feel better about themselves. Unhealthier individuals tend to have a more negative point of view in life, especially towards themselves and even more so in regards to their abilities to make healthy choices.

Being unhealthy sucks. It is sad to hear people talk about how much they hate exercise or hate healthy foods. I have even been told by someone that they hate the way water tastes. The human body was made to move. It was made to eat nutritious foods and drink water, so much so that doing otherwise results in death. While modern medicine can prolong a life of bad decisions beyond what nature would allow, eventually it all catches up. Learn to enjoy things that improve your life. Learn to enjoy exercise, learn to enjoy quality food, learn to enjoy your health. Find something you enjoy and do that. It doesn’t matter if it’s weight training, going for a walk, or kayaking. Eat good foods that you like. Learn to enjoy being healthy and fit.

2. Manage Your Bodyweight

The list of poor health consequences from being obese is a large one and sadly, much like smoking, is the result of a one’s poor decisions. There are no children at St. Jude right now who’s life decisions have led to them getting cancer but every other hospital in the Memphis area is littered with people suffering from some health condition exacerbated by them being at an unhealthy weight. In fact, the entire medical field has had to come up with new methods of doing procedures, tending to patients, administering drugs, etc due to the increasing rise of obesity over the last 30 years. The average healthcare costs have gone up as well and are reflected in health insurance costs.

Obesity is commonly the result of an accumulation of lifestyle choices and, much like smoking, those poor choices can be undone with good choices. Over the last 80 years the numbers of Americans who smoke cigarettes has decreased by half where as the number of obese Americans is on a steady rise. Make achieving a healthy body weight one of your fitness goals.

3. Get Healthy

The idea of health involves more than that of just physical health but also mental health, emotional health, sexual health, social health, and spiritual health, all of which is a topic far beyond the scope of this article. However, we can focus in on some of the aspects of physical health that can be easily improved through exercise and a healthy lifestyle. The main health markers that you should be keeping track of are your blood pressure, lipids, blood glucose, insulin, sex hormones, thyroid, kidney and liver values, and CRP. While these don’t always tell the whole story, keeping these values in the healthy range can help prevent many diseases down the road and when they are not within range can indicate the possibility of a problem that needs to be addressed. While working on improving the way your body looks may be a little more “sexy”, keeping an eye on your blood pressure from time to time and getting blood work done at least once a year will help make you aware of what’s going on on the inside of your body as well.

4. Maintain Basic Physical Performance

With age comes a gradual decline in our physical abilities. 80 years will turn a child who climbs, jumps, runs, and is in constant motion into a elderly man or woman who is isolated to a chair or a bed. While some decline in physical performance is unavoidable, complete lack of physical performance is the result of lack of use. There are plenty of cases of elderly men and women, up into their 90’s even, being just as physically active and sometimes more physically active than people 50 years younger than them. You can witness this in action at the annual senior games.

How you decide to maintain your physical performance is up to you. In the video below you can watch seniors competing in track and field, swimming, and basketball. My mom did her first powerlifting competition at 54 years old. I’ve seen people step on stage for their first physique competition in their 50’s. You don’t even have to compete, just find something that keeps you moving. My own personal belief is that you should strive to do something physically active on a daily basis. That doesn’t mean you have to do a 2 hour weight training session or a 5 mile run. Fifteen to twenty minutes of just going on a walk of doing some yoga goes a long way. If you’d like a general standard to go by, check out the Army Physical Test Standards. It gives scores for push ups, sit ups, and a 2 mile run for all age groups and serves as a pretty decent standard for physical fitness. If you can’t pass the physical standards for your age group, consider that as a sign you may need to increase your fitness levels.

 5. Make a lifelong commitment

In a previous article , I talked about how we are a nation that lacks commitment. There are few better examples of this than in the area of health and fitness. We are a nation of the overweight and obese, yet just about everyone has at some point tried an exercise program or been on a diet. We can get into the specifics about why people fail on different programs but the issue is clear, a lifelong approach must be taken. Any positive health benefits that are gained from exercising or eating healthy for a few weeks are quickly lost once a person stops. With that in mind, it is better to focus on a long term approach. Focus on the goals listed above instead of focusing on what the scale says or what the measurements are. Weight loss and physique change only come after a long period of consistency and to maintain that weight loss and change you must continue to train and eat correctly. Therefore, make a lifelong commitment to yourself. Learn to enjoy the process of self improvement, manage your bodyweight, get healthy, and stay physically active. You only get one chance at life and a living a healthy one is a pretty smart way to do it.

What does Mr. Olympia have in common with a middle aged soccer mom? They both look at themselves in the mirror and think about the parts of their body they would like to change. In today’s body image focused society, everyone is, on some level, cognizant about their bodies and aware of how they would like them to look a little different. Sometimes I wonder what my grandfather and other members of the “Greatest Generation” would think about fat shaming, fit shaming, and selfies. I suppose we have them to thank for it after all. After getting through the depression and defeating the Axis forces in WWII, they launched this country into an accelerated state of vitality that has built up to today’s state of materialism and self focus in which everyone is expected to fall into the not so general mold. The truth is you have all the freedom to look however you like. If you don’t want to exercise, want to eat lots of food and weigh 400 lbs, you have every right to. On the same token, if you wanted to stick your finger down your throat, throw up everything you eat, over exercise and weigh 90 lbs you have the right to do that as well. Of course, the truth is you’re going to be judged no matter what you do. If you’re overweight, it’s because you’re lazy. If you’re big and muscular, it’s because you’re on steroids. Real woman have curves, strong is the new sexy, blah blah blah. Everyone is constantly trying to justify their life choices over someone else’s life choices. It would appear that one thing we all have in common is serious self esteem issues as we vie for the highest number of likes on our Facebook posts showing why our way is the best way and what special snowflakes we are. Well, for all you special snowflakes looking to make a change, let this article series be a guide to help you along the process. In Part 1, we address the most important issue: Do you have what it takes?




This might seem like a strange beginning to a post about improving yourself. Shouldn’t it start with some type of motivating list about the benefits of exercise? Let’s be honest, at this point everyone is more than aware of the benefits of exercise and quality nutrition and the health consequences of being overweight, inactive, and having poor dietary habits. Knowledge is not the problem, application is. And being as the name of my business stands for No Bull Shit, I figured I wouldn’t waste anyone’s time telling you things you already know. Instead, let’s look at reality. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight and at least one-third is obese. And that’s just going off of BMI. A recent study showed showed that 29% of individuals with a normal BMI and 80% of individuals with an overweight BMI actually possessed body fat levels that would classify them as obese. To add to the issue, we’re a nation that is just really bad at reaching goals. The general consensus is that only about 10% of people stick to their New Years resolutions and I’ve seen statistics showing as high as 95% of people will fail to stick with a diet. The trend doesn’t just apply to exercise and nutrition. I’m sure you’ve seen the study showing that three-quarters of Americans live pay check to pay check with little to no savings. All these statistics make for a pretty grim outlook on the potential for ever reaching a decent level of health and fitness. Losing weight, gaining health, improving fitness are truthfully some of the easiest things to attain in this entire world. From a conceptual stand point, you just have to continually make small changes over time to accumulate the level of results you are looking for. From a practical standpoint, it takes some sacrifice. Regardless of what the statistics say, you have a choice. Everyone, EVERYONE, EVERY SINGLE PERSON, has the ability to be healthy, fit, and look good naked. But ability isn’t action, and unapplied potential is worthless. Here’s what is required to make it happen.



If you’ve ever been on some type of cleansing diet, done any type of 30 day challenge, taken any type










Almost exactly a year ago I decided to change sports from powerlifting over to bodybuilding. This decision was primarily influenced by a crappy year of powerlifting competition and a slew of injuries. In March, one of my vertebrae moved while squatting 825 for my second attempt at a competition. This caused my back muscles to spasm and they were aggravated even worse when I tried 850 for my third attempt. I had to pull out of the competition and recover. Again in August I was preparing for another competition and was having shoulder pain when it gave out and I dropped 550 on my chest. I got an MRI on the shoulder and the doctor said I had a torn posterior labrum and a high grade rotator cuff tear that was hanging on by a couple threads. Two competitions and two injuries down and I was through with feeling hurt all the time. I decided to take some time off and “train for fun”. I gave it a day and decided training without purpose sucked and took a month off completely and focused on work and getting ready for my wedding. Over that month I realized the only thing I hated more than training without purpose was not training and getting fat and out of shape.

I hired Shelby Starnes with the original goal of leaning out and getting my nutrition back on track. I like Shelby because he is very good at what he does and he is very honest and blunt. He doesn’t hold your hand or feed you any bullshit. He also takes a long term approach to bodybuilding that puts health as a higher priority, all of which I agree with. My work load dramatically increased over the year and having someone else handle the “thinking” part of the plan made it so I could focus on the “doing” part of the plan. I started in October around 235 and looked pretty crappy. By February we were down to 218.5 and a much better body fat level. I also put on some decent muscle during that period, was in much better shape, and my shoulder felt very close to being back to 100%. I was having fun and enjoying the process so I decided to keep going and commit to doing a show later in October. From that point we started putting on more muscle and got all the way back up to 246. I was doing zero cardio, calories were a bit over 5000, and the macros were around 465/70/600 (protein/fat/carbs) on training days. At 16 weeks out we started preparing for the show and the last week prior to carbing up I was up to 2 hours of cardio a day, 5 training sessions a week lasting between 1.5-2.5 hours, and nutrition was around 1800 calories with macros being 300/65/0

I have really enjoyed the last year and will continue with this sport for at least the next year. I will compete in powerlifting again at some point but for now I’m having fun. One of the reasons that I like bodybuilding so much is it is all encompassing. It tickles my desire for the extreme. It’s a total challenge. It tests you mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, and socially. It requires a lot of time, commitment, patience, and effort. I like this because you can’t half ass it, you have to be all in or all out. It’s the “anti” American version of fitness. No quick fixes, no half hearted attempts, no bullshit. I don’t know why but I seem to always decide to do bodybuilding when I have a ton of other stuff going on. Last time I decided to compete in bodybuilding I was busy working full time, going to school full time, and trying to date a new girlfriend at the time. This time was even more crazy working 60+ hours a week of work from running a business, managing employees, training interns, handling a heavy client load, getting everything ready to move the business, and trying to develop a quality relationship with my wife our first year of marriage. I have always liked being challenged and growing from the process and the last year has helped me grow and taught me a lot. Below I will list some of the things I learned or goals I had throughout the process and just give a bit of a reflection on the process.


One of the reasons I really enjoy bodybuilding is because it forces you to manage your time properly. It forces you to get organized and eliminate wasted time and energy. Lack of time is one of the most common reason for not exercising. I’m fascinated with the concept of “lack of time” because everyone has the same amount of time every day. It is not something that is distributed in higher quantities to a certain group of people. Usually “lack of time” really means poor time management.There are 168 hours in a week. If you work 60 hours (which few people do) and you sleep 8 hours every night (which few people do), you still have 52 hours throughout the rest of the week to get things done. More often than not, people struggle to manage their time wisely and organize it. Things like taking 3 hours to prep food on Sunday eliminates the need to spend time every day cooking. By giving more time one day a week, you gain time the rest of the week. Time is also a reflection of priorities. The issue is that because time is a fixed entity, like the volume of a cup, in order to fit more things in, you must take some things out. In doing so, you must sacrifice certain things in order to fit in the new things. Eliminating wasted time, taking out the things that don’t really matter, helps bring higher purpose to your life. Instead of devoting a little bit of time to a lot of things, you devote a lot of time to a few things that matter most to you. The amount of time it takes to prepare for a bodybuilding competition is excessive, but a few weeks of it is doable. For the average person just trying to add healthy habits and make some positive lifestyle changes, you have plenty of time available.

Positive Mindset

Training is hard and it hurts, physically and mentally. Following a nutrition plan is hard too. You have to put in the time and effort to focus on your nutrition and not eat things that aren’t on the plan. But they’re not THAT hard. Middle class white people complaining about exercise or dieting is some straight up first world problem bullshit. Things that are worth doing are usually hard to do. Having a negative mindset towards it just makes the process harder. Complaining gets you nowhere. It may be the single most useless thing on the planet behind male nipples. When you complain, all you do is reinforce to yourself the difficulty of the situation and how unenjoyable it is and it is just annoying to the people around you. Reality is that you’re not going to do stuff you hate for very long, you can only swim up stream for so long before you give up. Having a positive attitude towards situations that are challenging will get you through easier and make you better in the end. Complaining just increases the likelihood that you’ll give up and quit. Enjoy the process, come out victorious, and use that victory to fuel your ability to succeed in the future. 


Bodybuilding is pretty stupid. You spend all this time killing yourself in the gym, doing cardio, following a diet, practicing your posing, just to get spray tanned, stand on stage half naked, and have your body judged against other half naked people in hopes of getting a trophy that costs a tenth of the price you paid to enter the contest. In that sense, if you compete for the sake of placement, you will sadly be let down time and time again. There is only one winner in each class and only one overall winner. Only one person comes away happy. In that same vein, you have to be okay with yourself. You have to accept your body for what it is and what it can do. That doesn’t mean sit around eating twinkies and just being happy for “who you are”. You should always be striving to improve. Who you are today sucks compared to who you could be tomorrow. But you also have to learn to accept a handful of things. You have to accept that changing yourself takes time and a lot of hard work. Therefore, you better have a good work ethic and the patience to go with it. You have to accept that there are certain things you can’t change. You can’t change your bone structure, you can’t undo the past, you can’t change certain parts of your DNA. Focus on the things you can change and put your effort into them. You have to accept that you can’t change other people. There is no defense in bodybuilding, who shows up is not something you can control. Focus on improving yourself and don’t worry about what others are doing. The pleasure of bodybuilding doesn’t come from competing against other people, it comes from competing against yourself. When the strong you beats the weak you, that’s what makes it fun.

Outward Focus

Bodybuilding is a terribly selfish sport, just ask the spouse of anyone who does it. You have limited time and energy and that in which you do have is usually spent doing things for your own pursuits. How you spend your time, who you hang out with, who you train with, who you talk to, where you eat, what you eat; all of this is done based off of what is best for you. But like I stated above, there really isn’t any joy to be had in your own accomplishments. Even if you do win the show, you still look in the mirror and think of all the millions of things you need to improve to be better next year. The one thing Mr. Olympia and a middle aged soccer mom have in common is that they both wake up every morning and look in the mirror and wish there were things about their body they could improve. So, even though you will have to be selfish, you don’t have to be self focused. Your world does not have to revolve around you. One of the common pitfalls many physique athletes fall into is constant self absorption. Take one look at their social media profiles and you’ll see what I mean. While it did wear my ass out, prepping 5 other people for this show and seeing the joy on their faces when they got their trophies was much better than when they handed me mine. I know my legacy will not be what I did on stage or what I do on a platform. But I do have the opportunity to positively effect a lot of people through my business. One of the coolest parts of this contest was seeing everyone get excited about meeting Dexter Jackson, one of the greatest bodybuilders ever. Without NBS, that would never have happened. So, while you may find yourself having to make some selfish decisions from time to time in your fitness journey, make sure you keep an outward focus. You never know who you will impact next.

 Final Thoughts

One year down and hopefully many more to go. The competition was a nice icing on the cake but the real substance this year has come from the personal development of learning to handle lots of responsibilities and learning to enjoy the difficult work required to do them well. I feel a million times better now that I’m not eating the crap I ate while powerlifting and my lifting has shown it. I can trainer harder and recover better than I could before and it feels really good to not be injured. Hopefully these insights will inform and encourage someone else. And thank goodness I don’t have to shave my butt anymore.






As I write this, I am currently less than three weeks out from a bodybuilding show. I guess you could blame my writing on a lack of carbs but to honest I feel this way all the time. Maybe the lack of carbs have just finally convinced me to put those feeling down into words. There is a major problem in this country and it’s not lack of immigration control, firearm control, economy, or whatever else the competing news stations would have you believe. The problem is we have a lack of commitment. This is evidenced across many different areas of life. We have a 50% divorce rate because committing to another individual for life is really hard. Only about 25% of Americans have 6 months of expenses in savings because committing to a savings plan is a lot harder than buying stuff immediately. And more than a third of Americans are obese (although if you use body fat, a more accurate measurement than BMI, we’re actually looking at around two thirds) because working out is hard and bad food just tastes so good.

And the worst part is….the fitness industry makes billions of dollars capitalizing on the fact that most adults are incapable of committing to their own health. There are two general business models for commercial gyms. The first involves providing you with a lot of amenities (pool, juice bar, aerobic classes, climbing wall, etc) and locking you into a contract for at least a year with a pretty big sign up fee. The idea is that you’re less likely to cancel because there is a hefty cancellation fee and you’re more likely to sign back up the following year because you want to avoid having to repay the sign up fee. And of course, next year will “totally be the year you get in shape!”. The other business model is to provide no amenities, just a gym and cardio and have you pay a very low rate ($10-$25 a month) using auto draft in hopes that you’ll continue to pay even if you don’t use the gym because it’s such a low price and again “next year you’re totally going to get in shape!”. The reason they set their gyms up this way is because they know that, more than likely, you won’t actually use your membership. In a big commercial gym, you’re looking at $200,000-$300,000 in monthly overhead. You need a lot of members paying $50-$75 a month to cover that cost and a good bit more to actually make a profit (this is why commercial gyms are constantly closing). The smaller, no amenities gyms, have the same idea, just at a lower overhead. But still, at $15,000-$30,000 in monthly overhead, you still need a lot of members to paying $15-$25 a month to cover your costs. The issue is that if all 2,000-5,000 of their paying members came in the doors on a regular basis the gym would get destroyed. There would be no room for people to workout and the wear and tear would be tremendous. Gym owners know that on average, only about 20% of members will use the gym on a regular basis and about 70% will never go at all. That is a sad statistic.

Fitness, health, and a quality physique are like a ferrari, a lot of people would like to be given one but few people are willing to do what it actually takes to earn one. I am not going to tell everyone they need to train 5 days a week and measure out their chicken and rice. But everyone can make one step in the right direction. Whether it’s just going for a walk outside instead of watching TV or eating more vegetables and drinking more water, for the love of God, please do something to change the fact that we are a society of fat and lazy people who can’t even commit to the simple of act of trying not to die sooner rather than later. Sure someone is gonna get their leg cutoff due to diabetes and someone is going to have to have the wall removed from their house to get them out of it and someone is going to have to ride the scooter at the grocery store because walking is too much like exercise and exercise doesn’t taste like bacon but THAT PERSON DOESN’T HAVE TO BE YOU!!!

So if you want to join a gym that lures you in with a cheap rate and no commitment, that’s fine. If you want to go to a gym that offers you free pizza, that’s fine. If you want to go to a gym that doesn’t allow fit people and sets off an alarm when people grunt, that’s fine too. But your ass better go! You better be at that gym at least three days a week getting after it. Otherwise, you’re just fueling the problem. Not only are you making America fatter, lazier, and less healthy, but you’re funding the corrupt fitness entities that would much prefer to take your money than to actually help you change your life for the better. So, if that’s you; save your money, give it to charity, spend it on more bacon, or better yet, spend it at a gym that actually gets results. A gym that is willing to be honest and tell you the truth that no commitment=no results. Maybe once in your life, actually commit to something and see it through and in doing so, you will learn that delayed gratification is far sweeter than instant pleasure (even though bacon is pretty tasty).

Last night I was sitting around with a group of friends from the gym and they were commenting about people who had left the gym, quit training, etc. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Training, losing weight, building strength, being healthy are conceptually very easy. It is the mental and social aspect that make it incredibly tough. Why do so many people fail? While thinking about this I pictured it as a line drawn in the sand. On one side you have the people are consistently moving forward towards their goals and on the other side you have people who have failed, quit, or never made an active attempt to reach their goals. These goals can be everything from losing weight, saving money, having a fulfilling career, having a happy marriage, etc. While all very different goals, I find that the ability to be successful in one area usually builds up the abilities needed to be successful in other areas. Also, I’m not writing this from a perspective of having it all figured out. I’ve quit things, I’ve failed, I’ve struggled. I’ve done things I look back on and wish I never had and there are things I look back on and wish I’d done differently. Writing this is a reminder to myself as much as anyone else. It’s a reminder to take those lessons and learn from them and do better in the future. It’s a reminder to learn from those around me that teach me what to do and what not to do.

So, how do you keep from being that person on the wrong side of the line? Simple: get on the right side of the line and then run as far away from the line as possible. People who fail and quit tip toe too damn close to that line. I’ve been there and it’s a scary place. It’s scary to look at what you might become from where you once were or where you once wanted to go. In all areas, tip toeing near the line is just rolling the dice. One misstep in the wrong direction and you’re on the other side, the side you never wanted to be on. This is true for fitness, relationships, work, everything. How can you stay away from the line? Stay away from these three mistakes:

Selfish Attitudes

Marriages fail because one or both parties begin having selfish attitudes. They begin to believe that the purpose of marriage is to make them happy. They believe they deserve it. People fail to find happiness and fulfillment in a career when they begin to think selfishly. “I deserve a raise, I deserve a promotion”. People fail in fitness when they become selfish about their progress or their feelings. “I worked hard, I deserved that sweet. I’m working hard, I deserve to lose more weight.” The growth that occurs from the process, the pursuit is the greatest gain, far more than how much weight you lose or what your abs look like. Here is a secret that I have learned: you don’t deserve anything. Marriage is an opportunity to serve your spouse. Work is an opportunity to serve your employer and their customers. Training is an opportunity to learn patience and commitment. In that sense, you deserve the opportunity to find joy in the pursuit of serving and growing. The happiness comes with the process, not in the outcome. All three of these take time and commitment and sacrifice and in the end you don’t get to determine the outcome. So release your selfish attitude, stop focusing on your happiness, start focusing on the process of serving and run away from the line.

Failing the Small Things

The devil is in the details. When you care about something, you focus on the details. If you bought a brand new car that you loved and really wanted to show off, you would spend hours detailing it until it looked magnificent. Fast forward several years and now that same car hasn’t been washed in who knows how long, it’s got stains on the seat, and trash in the floor board. That’s what happens when you stop caring. In marriage, the small things make all the difference. These can be everything from getting off your phone at night, commenting on how your spouse looks when they dress up, and doing the dishes. In your job, it can be making sure to follow through on phone calls and work emails, having a positive attitude in all situations, and leading by example instead of pointing fingers. In fitness the small things are keeping a training log, doing your warm ups and mobility, sending your coach updates, etc. The truth about the small things is you can still get by without doing them. You could get your work done with a bad attitude, you can stay married without ever helping to do the dishes, and you could get stronger and skip all your warms ups, but the sad thing is you’ll never realize your full potential doing that. You’ll never have a great marriage, you’ll never find full satisfaction in your work, and you’ll never be as fit as you could be. The small things don’t take much extra effort either, they just take a little caring. Run away from the line.

Fear of Sacrifice

Sacrifice is scary, in all situations. When you make a sacrifice you have to have faith that what you’re doing is the best thing. In marriage, you have to make sacrifices for your family and for your spouse. No longer are you looking out for just yourself. You have to sacrifice yourself to the greater good of the family. In work, you have to sacrifice time and energy. Maybe you have to stay up late working on a project or maybe you have to travel and spend time away from those you love. But you do it because it’s for the greater good. It’s what needs to be done. In the pursuit of health, you may sacrifice the pleasure of certain foods to follow a nutrition plan, you may sacrifice time and energy to get your training in, you may have to sacrifice some relationships (if all your friends go out and eat and drink, that can make building better habits tough). So in these situations we have to have faith that what we gain is far greater than what we are giving up. Personally, I’ve given a lot of time to the gym. I’ve missed out on events, I’ve had some relationships with good friends fade away, and I’ve sacrificed my body to pain and injuries. But what I’ve gained is far greater than what I’ve lost because I’ve gotten to be a part of some great events, I’ve forged great relationships, and I’ve seen my body do things I’d never think it was capable of doing. Everyone can experience this in fitness and in the other areas of life. Don’t fear sacrifice. Run away from the line.

Everyone who trains is looking for something to give them an advantage, something to help them gain more return on their investment into training hard and eating correctly. People will put their money into supplements, clothing, training gear, and even those goofy “magnetic bracelets”. Unfortunately, many of those have a relatively crappy return for the amount of money people put into them. Here are three things you can start doing right away that will have an immediate impact on your training and will cost you little to no money.

Follow a Training Program Written by a Professional

If you had some strange sickness, you probably wouldn’t start performing tests on yourself to diagnose your sickness. Instead, you’d probably go see a doctor who has the education and experience to be able to properly help you get over your sickness. Likewise, a professional trainer who has the education and experience necessary to help you reach your goals is far more likely to get you the results you’re looking for faster than you could on your own. Does it cost a little money? Yes but money is something you can always make more of. You can never get back wasted time. Too many people come up with their own plan or follow a friend who has more experience than them. While I can appreciate seeking out the help of someone who has more experience, your friend only has experience training themselves. And what works for one person doesn’t always work the same for everyone.

How many Olympic athletes have coaches? Every single one of them. If the best and most experienced in the world rely on the help of a trained professional, you may want to consider a different approach than just showing up and winging it. One thing I am very proud of as a gym owner and trainer myself is that my entire staff has a coach they work with for training, nutrition, or both. It says something of the importance of having a coach when some of the best in the business utilize one as well.

Keep a Training Log

Ever notice how the kids who took notes in school also tended to make the better grades? Well, it works the same way in training. Keeping a training log allows you to better measure your future progress based off of your past. There is no way I could remember the weights I used on every set of every exercise week to week. Add on top of that warm up weights, different cues to improve the movement or muscle activation, notes on how you’re feeling, injuries, what weights to try next time, etc and that’s a lot of stuff to try to remember. A training log provides you the opportunity to make notes in the present that will allow you to look back into the past to make the best possible progress in the future. A couple things to take note of in your log are the following:

*Current training goals (examples: prepare for bodybuilding competition in October, prepare for powerlifting meet in December)

*Where in your current program you are (examples: 10 weeks out from show, Day 1/Week 3 of transmutation phase)

*Training Weights (examples: incline dumbbell bench press 50×12, 60×10, 70×8, 80×6, Deadlift 135×5, 225×5, 315×3, 405×3, 455x3x3)

*Future Training Weights and notes on the lift (examples: go up 5 from last time, focus on peak contraction, keep weight the same, set back and externally rotate more)

*General Notes (examples: didn’t get much sleep last night, feeling great, pain in right elbow)

Get a Training  Partner(s)

If there is one thing that will help get you to the gym and push you when you’re not feeling up to it, it’s a training parter. Other than keeping you accountable for getting your training in and pushing yourself while doing so, having someone to share the journey with can be incredibly helpful, especially if you’re trying something new. However, make sure your training partners are a good match. You don’t want to waste time with a training partner who doesn’t show up or skips training regularly or who isn’t going to push you. In dating, one person is usually dating up and the other is usually dating down. Training partners are usually the same way. One person is usually a bit more experienced, stronger, in better shape, etc. Ideally you are paired with someone who’s weaknesses are your strengths and vice versa. Either way, make sure you have something to bring to the table, whether it’s your experience, knowledge, consistency, or attitude. It can be difficult to find a good fit for a training partner but when you do, it can make your progress accelerate even more.

If you aren’t currently utilizing these three strategies, I highly suggest you give them a shot and watch your progress skyrocket.

Programming by Shelby Starnes

11-17-14 Legs
Standing calf raises 5×10+5 partials, 30 sec break (230)
Standing calf raises 3×10, real controlled (150)
Seated Cable Leg Curls 3×15,12,9 1×6 w/30 partials (increase weight each set) (70,80,90,100)
Yoke Bar Squat 3×12, just above parallel (295)
Leg Press 4×40,30,20,10 (increase weight each set) (5,6.25,8,9.25)
Leg Extension 3×10 w/1 second hold at top, 8 partials after each set (70)
Barbell stiff legged deads 4×10 (stop shy of lockout) (275)


Programming by Shelby Starnes

11-12-14 Day 3 (back, biceps)
Incline Leg Raise 4×20,18,16,15
Rope Crunches 4×25 (110,120,130,140)
One Arm Barbell Row 2×8, 1×8 then drop set for 8 (75/65)
Neutral Close Grip Pulldown 4×10, 1 count hold (130)
Deadstop DB Rows 4×8 (100)
DB Pullover 3×12 (50,60)
Banded Round Back Hypers 3xfailure (monsterx20,15,15)
Standing Cable Curls 8×8, 1 count hold, 45 second break (100)


Programming by Shelby Starnes

11-11-14 (chest, shoulder, triceps)
Hammer Decline Bench Press 4×20,15,12,10, 2 count hold at top (increase weight each set) (75,84,95,105 each side)
Hammer Incline Bench Press Work up to tough set of 8 with 3 count negative, shorten range of
motion at top and bottom (45,55,65,75,85,95 tough) each side
Flat Bench Rack slide Work up to tough set of 15 reps, 1 second pause on chest, don’t lock out (95,115,125,135)
DB Front Raise 3×12 w/3 count negative (25)
A1: Machine Rear Lateral 4×15 (80)
A2: Face Pulls 4×10 w/1 count hold (70)
A3: Band Pullaparts 4×10 w/1 count hold (mini)
Tricep Straight Bar Pushdowns 6×12 w/1 count hold, 45 sec break (120)


Programming by Shelby Starnes

My buddy Brian decided he wanted to do this workout with me yesterday. It’s been while since he trained legs. Let’s just say he is going to be feeling it for a bit.

Strength is slowly coming back up. High rep legs is definitely not what I am used to but was able to push it a little harder today.

11-10-14 Legs
Standing calf raises 5×10+5 partials, 30 sec break (210)
Standing calf raises 3×10, real controlled (130)
Seated Cable Leg Curls 3×15,12,9 1×6 w/30 partials (increase weight each set) (60,70,80,90)
Yoke Bar Squat 3×12, just above parallel (275)
Leg Press 4×40,30,20,10 (increase weight each set) (4,5.25,7,8.25)
Leg Extension 3×10 w/1 second hold at top, 8 partials after each set (65)
Barbell stiff legged deads 4×10 (stop shy of lockout) (255)


Programming by Shelby Starnes

11-5-14 Day 3 (back, biceps)
Incline Leg Raise 4×19,18,15,15
Rope Crunches 4×25 (100,110,120,130)
One Arm Barbell Row 2×8, 1×8 then drop set for 8 (70/60)
Neutral Close Grip Pulldown 4×10, 1 count hold (130,120)
Deadstop DB Rows 4×8 (90)
DB Pullover 3×12 (80)
Banded Round Back Hypers 3xfailure (monsterx20,15,12)
Standing Cable Curls 8×8, 1 count hold, 45 second break (100)


Programming by Shelby Starnes

11-4-14 (chest, shoulder, triceps)
Hammer Decline Bench Press 4×20,15,12,10, 2 count hold at top (increase weight each set) (70,80,90,100 each side)
Hammer Incline Bench Press Work up to tough set of 8 with 3 count negative, shorten range of
motion at top and bottom (45,55,65,75,85,90) each side
Flat Bench Rack slide Work up to tough set of 15 reps, 1 second pause on chest, don’t lock out (115,135,135)
DB Front Raise 3×12 w/3 count negative (20)
A1: Machine Rear Lateral 4×15 (60,70,70,70)
A2: Face Pulls 4×10 w/1 count hold (60)
A3: Band Pullaparts 4×10 w/1 count hold (mini)
Tricep Straight Bar Pushdowns 6×12 w/1 count hold, 45 sec break (110)


Programming by Shelby Starnes

11-3-14 Legs
Standing calf raises 5×10+5 partials, 30 sec e the break (190)
Standing calf raises 3×10, real controlled (110)
Seated Cable Leg Curls 3×15,12,9 1×6 w/30 partials (increase weight each set) (50,60,70,80,90)
Yoke Bar Squat 3×12, just above parallel (255)
Leg Press 4×40,30,20,10 (increase weight each set) (3,4.25,6,7.25)
Leg Extension 3×10 w/1 second hold at top, 8 partials after each set (60)
Barbell stiff legged deads 4×10 (stop shy of lockout) (225)


It seems as though everyone in America these days is just so busy. Always running from one place to another, constantly attached to some electronic device, at the beck and call of work, family, and friends. If little Johnny needs something, they jump right on it. If work sends them an email they answer it immediately. If their friends want to meet for drinks, they’re totally there. I’ve found myself in this same situation as well. So recently, I have decided to stop being busy and to start being productive.

What’s the difference? Being busy is just running around in circles. Being productive is moving forward in a straight line. Being busy is letting other people and things determine where you go and what you do. Being productive is deciding where you want to go and finding the people and things that fall in line with that goal.

We all have the same 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week. The saying “I don’t have time for that” is a lie. “I don’t find that to be a priority worth the investment of my time” is a more accurate statement. How well do you invest your time? What is your return on that investment? I see a lot of busy people going nowhere. They’re stuck in the same job they don’t like, getting fat, getting unhealthy, getting stressed. They keep doing the same things and expecting different results. They’re crazy.

The beauty of this life is you get to choose what you want to do and how you want to do it, most people are just too scared to accept it. Maybe it’s just easier to follow the crowd. Personally, I hate the crowd. Average just seems so incredibly boring, especially when you realize that it’s all a simple matter of choice. Someone told me the other day that we’re all just wired differently and I couldn’t agree more. But if you don’t like being busy and you’d like to make a change, rewire yourself and start getting productive.

For those who may not know, this time in my life is incredibly hectic (and productive). I am in the process of rolling out some new business initiatives, I just purchased a commercial property for NBS Fitness to move in to in 2016, we have our Memphis’ Strongest Man competition in a week and on top of all that I am getting married and in the process of moving into a new house. Somehow, I thought it would be totally okay to schedule a powerlifting competition right in the middle of all this. Until about two weeks ago training was going great, I was feeling strong and ready to compete. On one of my bench days, a shoulder that had been giving me some issues gave out on one of my warm up attempts and I shut down the session. I got a cortisone shot and some anti-inflammatory drugs but neither seemed to changed the condition of the shoulder much. The shoulder was just a catalyst and brought into perspective that there really was no way I would be able to do this competition without negatively affecting my business and/or marriage. After some thought and reflection I realized that I will have plenty of opportunities to compete but I have to capitalize on business opportunities when they present themselves. Growing NBS Fitness will do far more for the sport of powerlifting and the health and fitness of it’s members than me competing ever will. Along with that, marriage is forever, till death do us part. Making sacrifices of it (instead of for it) before it has even begun is not a good decision and as the leader of the family I have to put it first before my own personal desires.

All that being said I plan on competing again as soon as possible. Powerlifitng is a sport I love and plan to compete in for a very long time. I am just now getting a dose of reality and learning that life is about balancing your priorities, giving each of them their due when they need it and pulling back when they don’t.

For training purposes I am focusing on getting my shoulder feeling better and improving my GPP, specifically my lactic and aerobic fitness and my flexibility. Lifting in gear for so long has pretty much killed both of those. I have a previous training program I used for the powerlifting team that I will be using. Here is what I did tonight:

20 minute walk
40 tire flips
50 push-ups
50 inverted rows
100 Kettlebell swings
5 min steady state

Today was by far the hardest and worst training day I have ever experienced. We were to do 7 second eccentrics which ended up being more like 4-5 seconds on squats, I just could hold it. I also failed by not being strong enough to hold the weight in the front rack position, so I punked out and resorted to using the squat harness. My goal is to do this with straps in front rack position for all sets!!!

Super set
A1: Front Squat 4×4 @ 310
A2: Football Bar: 4×4 @250

Circuit: 2×10
Standing Calf Raises Laying Leg Curls
Goblet Split Squats Weighted Pushups
Weighted Blast Strap Rows
Reverse Russian Twists GHR BW Hyper

1 mile run

Today’s training was pretty strong. The only discomfort I ran into was during the reactive medball throws. This explosive movement aggravates my triceps.

A1: Close Grip Bench: 4×1 @320
A2: Reactive Med Ball Pass 4×3 @12

A1: Standing Barbell Press 3×1 @195 A2: Explosive Pushup: 3×3

Circuit: 3×6
Bent Rows
DB Skullies
Neutral Pull-ups
Seated Kettlebell Press


The team was introduced to the concept of strength speed today weather they realized it or not. We were using about 78% of our max (which was set last week) and we needed to move it as fast as possible. Our team stats shows the majority of us are really slow, this showed today for many people. I faired pretty well and moved my squats faster than they felt. Deadlift was a little hectic as the calculations initially were way to high.

Super Set’s
A1: 470x4x1
A2: box jumpsx4x3

A1: Rack Pulls: 535x3x1
A2: Leg Press Throws: 230x3x3

A1: GHR (weighted): 30x3x6
A2: Wide Stance RDL: 185x3x6
A3: Long Strap Rev. Hyp.: 190x3x6
A4: Landmines: 75x3x6

Long day today. Finally for tags for my car this morning but got slapped with sales tax (bye $1300). Bummer. Then was slammed at work so that typically makes for a tougher session at night. Went in, got my mind right, and trashed myself pretty good.

If you haven’t read Triphasic training by Cal Dietz, you should. Homie makes some solid points and has had interesting results, especially in the department of rate of force development. Speed kills, so if I can get faster, I’ll bring a much meaner package to the next big meet I attend. I’m looking at you, Refuge Classic 2015.

Anyways, adding in some of the stuff from Dietz’s work on days/lifts where it can do the most damage. It’s not a perfect copy and strays somewhat from the original, but I am going to ride it out and see what happens. If progress is minimal, we will adjust and make it work better.

Anyways, here’s what went down today.

Sled Drag

2 forward 2 backward x65′ with 90lb

SSB Squat, 5 second eccentric

Bar x8
265x4x6. Things were ugly by the last one.

Snatch Grip RDLs

135x3x8. These hit a lot of weak points for me. Keeper.



Plank Protocol

10×10 second holds with slight flexion of trunk. Whole new ball game folks. Holy crap. Oww.


Get to press heavy on Thursday and then events on Saturday to kick off the holiday weekend. Should be fun before a deload and then Memphis Strongest Man is here.

The Triphasic Training style was implemented tonight. This training is going to majorly benefit the slow lifters on the team, but I am very curious to see how it affects myself as I posses some explosive ability.

A1: Wide Stance Cambered Bar Parallel Box Squat: 3×2 @ 495 w/ 5 Sec. Eccentric
A2: Bulgarian Split Jump 3×3

A1: Split Squat 3×3 @ 225 w/ 5 Sec. Eccentric
A2: DB Jump Squat: 3×3 @ 40lbs

A1: Single Leg Laying Band Curls: 3×8 3 sec Hold
A2: Single leg 45Deg. Hyp.: 3×8 @ BW
A3: Weighte Glute Bridge: 3×8 @ 135
A4: Weighted Planks Contract / relax: 10x10sec. relax 5 sec. w/ 45lb plate


Saturday was a bit of a shit show. Not going to lie. I spent most of the morning with NBS’s own David and Christian helping out one of our fellow trainers with an obstacle course benefitting the ANGEL program at one of the local schools here. For those not in the know, the ANGEL program helps provide autistic children with year round, intensive instruction to facilitate their learning. And as someone who works with autistic children at the local children’s hospital, I can safely say they’re a population often underserved and misunderstood. We had a lot of fun helping out and hanging with the kids, except for the fact that it’s hotter than the sun in Memphis right now.

Rolled on into the gym after working the course and got in around 1030 or so as the Llama Bears were finishing up. Hated having to miss the crew, but it happens. Got psyched up as best I could to get rolling and here’s what went down.


Keg Loads over 48″






Farmers, Keg, Duck Walk Medley for Speed

200/220/300 in 38 seconds.

200/220/300 in 42 seconds. Damn.


Attempted to go outside and do yoke and ended up burning myself on the friggin yoke. Yes, burning. It was that damn hot. Decided to close up shop there and live to fight another day. I’ve got this coming week of training to knock out and then deload a bit for Memphis’ Strongest Man. Should end up being a stout lightweight class if everyone who has verbally committed shows up to compete. I’ll be interested to see where I stand before I get serious this offseason about getting my deadlift right and getting stronger.

Back Tuesday for more fun. RE Lower should be gnarly.

It has been 35 years since I dealt with Exam Week – UTK 1979. I know that was long before most of you young pups were a sparkle in your daddy’s eye. Last week we tested on some variations of squats, bench, dead lift and press.
This test reminded me of things I wish I had done differently in college:
1) I had prepared earlier and more,
2) taken the test more seriously,
3) put more effort into the test itself
4) I had not rushed through it
5) learned more from evaluating the results of the test
6) worked harder next time

We are starting a new set tomorrow and hopefully my next Exam Week will get me on the dean’s list…..

Last testing day I only got front squats in because I miss communicated with a client so I skipped Football bar and just estimated.

Bar x 2 x 5
95 x 5
135 x 5
185 x 5
225 x 5
275 x 5
225 x 3
275 x 3
315 x 3
365 x dump
365 x 4 estimated


We lost the box today and I tried to beat my teammate Jim on the EliteFTS SS YOKE Bar, Unfortunately he won. 420 felt heavier than I anticipated. I told my spotters 3 was the goal, but after feeling the weight I decided I need to rep 420 for my mini max. The pause at rep three threw my moment a little but still got it.
Second mini max was in close grip bench which I did very well since it is my first time benching since the SPF Nationals meet.

EliteFTS SS Yoke Bar:
Bar x 2 x 5
150 x 5
240 x 3
330 x 3
380 x 3
420 x 5 (estimated 7 total)

Close Grip Bench
Bar x 5
95 x 5
135 x 5
185 x 3
225 x 3
275 x 3
315 x 3 (estimated 4)

Oh Strict Press
Bar x 5
95 x 5
135 x 3
185 x 5
First rep was interesting but figured it out.


Laying YTWI, 3×10 each direction, no weight

Bamboo Bar Bench 10’s each side on doubled mini bands 3×20

Elbows out DB extensions 3×8 (40)

A1: Paused chest supported rows 3×8
A2: lacrosse ball wall stability work 3×20 sec

7 second eccentric straight bar pullovers

Side laying shoulder stability

Not a bad one overall again. I think the cube type layout really works well for my recovery rate. I can go hard each session without compromising my ability to recover. In reality, that’s really what all this is about. Can’t ever get better if you don’t recover. That said, I’m having difficulty reaching my face after tonight. Good stuff. Eccentrics on overhead presses are absolutely brutal for anyone that needs a particular way to hate themselves. I highly recommend it. Here’s what went down.

Axle Clean and Press

Axle x8
185×4(1+6) one clean with 6 presses. 5 second eccentric on each.

DB bench

90×5 lost groove. Meh.

Then I tried some of the triphasic stuff. Super setting DB oscillations with explosive band extensions. Felt a little weird, but my right elbow kinda hates me anyways.

3 Rounds

DB Oscillation (3+1 extension) x3


Micro Mini Extensions x8

Face Pull



Tired and sore from the DE day still. Made cleaning the axle a nightmare but we survived. Back Saturday for events and more fun.

So this one was a bit of a surprise. Went in expecting this one to not be so terrible. But then it ended up kicking my ass. Dunno if it was the heat or what, but it was brutal. Hamstring were cramping as I set up from about the 9th set on. So of course I did twelve sets, because quitting is for the weak. Still sore days later. Here’s what went down.

Wide Stance Box Squats


Add 90lbs in chain.


Snatch Grip RDL



BWx2x8 then crampzilla

Spread Eagle Sit-ups




Another good one in the books. Was already beat from events Saturday, but it’s important that I keep hitting my back to make it stronger. Strong back = strongman. So I’ve got that working for me.

Nothing fancy though. Here’s what went down.

Neutral grip Pulldowns


Seated Cable Rows with a Rope Attachment


BB Shrugs


Fat Bar Curls


Supine GHR Hollow Holds

3x5x5 second holds. Ow.


so today I got to do a couple of my favorite movements. Box Squatting and deadlifting, unfortunately deadlifting was done in my opposite stance so it destroyed me. My teammates took time out of their days to help “run” me as I was in need of spotters. David was able to give me some “cues” aka grocery list of what I was doing wrong, especially during deadliest.

Some cues for me to work on during deadlifting:
– slack out of bar
– do not RDL the weight
– set back (will happen if and when I take slack out).

I am a whiny bish having to swap back to conventional.

all in all I had a good training session

– Cambered bar Box squats FEMUR parallel
* Bar – 75 – 150 – 200 – 240 – 330 – 420 – 515×3 (had 2-3 more in me estimated as 515×6)
– Neutral DB Press
* 20 – 40 – 60 – 80 – 100 – 120’sx5 (that was it, estimated 120×5)
– Deadlifts (conventional) blah
* 135 – 225 – 315 – 405 – 495×3 (had 2-3 more in me estimated 495×5)
– KB Activation squats
* these are now one of my new favorite exercises. I have to run through my checklist prior to squatting and then re-check in the hole of my squat for everything again. I CANNOT stress this enough because at meets many people go into auto pilot, the only changes you will make is if something feels off. Exercises like these will get you in tune with how your body moves and how it should feel.

Heavy events is either the best or the most humbling experience of the week. This last Saturday was one of those best days. Everything moved well and felt good. I even was able to make a fast run with some thicker farmers handles and have it feel relatively easy. That’s always exciting.

Video won’t upload to youtube for some reason so I will attach it in the Facebook post. Here’s what went down though:

Yoke Walk




Keg Loads over 54″

150, 200, 220 in 18.4 seconds

200, 220, 250 in 24.3 seconds

Car Deadlift

Nissan Versa x11 reps. Got gassed. Sad.


Felt pretty good about most of this. Struggled with the car a bit but that’s always an issue when relearning how to car deadlift. It will improve though. And that’s what matters.

Its party week in my programming.  Got under some heavier weights than I am used to, and was pretty scared going into it.  Unfortunately today I backtracked to relying on a goodmorning to push through things.  I am not really sure why, and it could be that my first throught when I unracked was, “Holy shit this is heavy” and it kinda messed with my focus.  Etched out 285×4, maybe leaving 1 or 2 in the tank but knew my back wasnt set.  Christian confirmed.

Another thing I am a little afraid of is that I am kinda just getting good at rep work.  I am going to change my training a bit to include more singles, doubles, triples but I am not exactly sure how just yet. Stay posted. 🙂


warm up somexsome




Front squats ( i realize josh films my big ass from the ground here…agh.)




SSB Squats (assuming bar is 65)

bar x 8





So I’m in the big city and this place is fucking awesome. So much culture and diversity! But so damn expensive and to many damn cross fit boxes. I found South Brooklyn Barbell Club which were a USAPL affiliate. Gym was nice but the owner was the typical uptight USAPL groupie and I don’t think he has seen anyone squat over 420 in awhile lol. Anyway I am jumping into the NBS meet so I am starting “the gym prep” that the rest of the powerlifting team is on. Today was max testing day, this required us to do a 3-5 rep max BUT stop with one rep left in the tank.
Split between the new gym, NO MUSIC, no spot, and bad eating I was not on my a game. I hit 455 for 3 and my third rep was slow, I decided to call it there cause I did not trust the spotters abilities. Sent video to coach am he though I was good for 2 more which estimates 455×5. Our estimation calculations will have my max set at 530lbs. This was also my first time under a barbell since SOF Nationals, that seemed like forever!!!

Bar x5
455×3 had 2-3 more

Squat max 530

Step ups:
3×12 @ 55lbs


A1: 2 sec Pause Bench, 6×4 (315)
A2: Speed Bench 52.5% w/bands x2 (205+doubled minis)

B1: Elbows Out Extensions oscillatory disadvantage 4×4×2 (30)
B1: Standing elbows out explosive elbow band extensions 4×8 (monster)

C1: Paused Chest supported rows 3×8
C2: External band isometric hold 7 sec x3 (mini)

D1: 7 sec concentric straight bar pullovers 3×4
D2: Standing Banded Scap slides 3×10

Box Squats 52.5%(450)+average band

Deadlifts 52.5%(405)+light bands

Power Goodmornings 6×4

Reverse Hypers 4×8
2 plates each side

Grippers max reps

On August 9, 2014 / David’s Training Log / Leave a comment

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Confession:  today, three weeks out from Memphis Strongest Man, I did a crossfit competition. I realize how potentially this was not a good idea.  In fact, in light of some weird numbness in my hands, I was fairly certain I wasnt going to do it.  I was going to go, spectate, explain my stance and let that be that.  In route to the event, I stopped and got some trail mix….and some ice cream.  Eating ice cream for breakfast + no evening gym hours = Gunshow is doing a crossfit comp.

Also, this really was for a good cause.  Dylan is a great guy who has been given a really rough go the last few months.  As someone who has been on the receiving end of charitable efforts, this is the sort of thing I would hate to not be able to do.  I babied a few exercises that might give me some problems in the ole shoulders/hands and came out uninjured.  If this means I totally bomb at my Memphis meet in three weeks (which is HIGHLY doubt), then so be it.

First event was a Pullup/Overhead Press event.  Overhead weight was cake so I wasnt too worried there, and I just kept it cool on the pullups and did one at a time.  Finished just before the time cap.

Second event was a snatch/overhead squat complex ladder.  At one point, I had a really great Oly friend that gave me some pointers.  Those seem to have been archived somewhere in my brain as I muscle snatched every.single.rep.  (SORRY NATE!)  That being said, I muscle snatched/overhead squatted 135lb pretty easily and got pretty far in the ladder, only leaving one weight untouched.

third event was kind of atrocious.

30 wall ball

25 Kettlebell swings

20 ring dips (the death of me)

15 front squats (my saving grace)

10 burpee box overs

15 front squats

20 ring dips

25 KBS

30 wall ball.

this had a 15 minute cap on it.  I did not make it back to the front squats, but not very many did. The ring dips took the life out of me.

Ended up taking second, which was pretty cool!  Met a  lot of cool people, and surely burned off that fateful ice cream. 🙂

I will be back on my regular programming next workout!

Well, I’m decidedly not as explosive as I thought I was. Luckily , that’s trainable. First time doing any kind of explosive work in some time, so hopefully it will carry over to a bit more responsiveness from the old nervous system. I’ll have video up on youtube later. Anyways, here’s what went down:


Axle Bench

Axle x10

Add 60# of chain

135+60 x9x3

Strict Press

135×7 Lolol

Band Pushdowns

4×10 exploding each rep

Prone Scap Rows



Will be back in the gym for heavy events Saturday. I’m excited. Trying to get better and faster every day.

Last two days of training…

Squats went down like this




Kept feeling myself pull a lot to one side and my hips felt pretty horrible.  Either way, really pleased to see my form turning around.  David and Christian have done a really good job getting through my thick skull about not goodmorning-ing all the time.  Its getting better.

Followed with some GHDs/Lunges/Leg extension/Ham curls/ and backwards sled drags.


Bench went down like this:




then did some overhead dumbbell press/dips/pullups/rear delt flys/ tricep extensions/ and prowler work.

Bench x1
Shirt 405 4 board
455 3 board
495 3 board
525 2 board
550 1 board miss

3 board bench with chains 6×2
335+80 6×2 (2 min break)

JM Press 6×4
145 (1 min break)


ME Squats x1 w/chains
Briefs 420
Suit straps down 600
Straps up 690

Pin Pulls x1
Suit on straps down
Straps up


This off season was a little different because I really wanted to compete twice this year. I did not get to work fully on cardiovascular endurance as I wanted but I got In 2 weeks of muscular endurance which killed me. This allowed me to recover much easier than what I was used to. I also got a full physical during this off season making sure I am healthy and ready to push it again. Doctor was pleased with results. No tricep pain from high volume and I am staying on top of shoulder work through massages (Massages By Yvonna) which are painful but THE SHIIIIIT, band work, and chiropractic care.

First week back with any moderate amount if weight.

-Laying Ham. Curls (single leg) 3x failure: 40lbs
-wide hack squat 6×6: 6 plates
-reverse Hyper 3×15: 140
-banded X walks 20 yards x2: Red
-Glute Bridges: 100
– plank series 10x10sec contractions 3x


Finally back moving somewhat serious weights again. Feelsgoodbro.jpeg. Working on turning deadlift into something I love as opposed to merely a lift I despise. That’s going to take a significant amount of work, but I’m willing to try. I’m not going to win any major contests zeroing Deadlifts.

Here’s what went down yesterday:


Sled Drags (sumo walk)


4″ Block Pull


Leg Press, with 2 sec pauses at bottom



BW x3x8

Reverse Hyper


McGill Plank Protocol



I overall felt like things were moving better today. Came in stressed from work and tried to turn that to good use. Feeling a little sore this morning but I finally got a good nights sleep so that will help. Interested to follow through with this programming and see where it leads.

Back in on Thursday for more.

A1: 2 sec Pause Bench, 6×4 (310)
A2: Speed Bench 50% w/bands x2 (195+doubled minis)

B1: Elbows Out Extensions oscillatory disadvantage 4×8 (30)
B1: Standing elbows out explosive elbow band extensions 4×8 (mini)

C1: Pauses Chest supported rows 3×8 (55)
C2: External band isometric hold 7 sec x3 (mini)

D1: 7 sec concentric straight bar pullovers 3×4 (100)
D2: Standing Banded Scap slides 3×10


Still a bit beat down, but it felt good to be back in the gym moving heavier weights again. Axle clean is a bit sloppy, and my press groove isn’t quite where it needs to be, but the weight is moving. Once I get dialed in, it will get nasty. Here’s what went down:




Med Ball Slams 12 lb x8


Axle Clean and Press







245×1 <– stupid triceps


Axle Z-Press









Band Pushdowns

Avg x5x20


Band Face Pulls

Avg x20, 15, 15




Messed around with various grips on the bands this date. Trying to smash my triceps from every angle. And seeing as how I’m still sore on Saturday, Goal Accomplished. Anyways, I’m looking forward to kicking off this next round of training to bring the best me to the table in Memphis this September.

Also got some super neat stuff in the pipeline as well, and I’ll make sure to discuss that as it pans out. Until then, I’m going to keep on that grind. Back Tuesday for more fun.

As of the 5th, I was still feeling pretty beat up from the Refuge Show. It was heavy, I made plenty of mistakes, and I was damn sore to prove it. This workout was more to get back in and get blood moving so I can get after it training for the Memphis contest in September. Nothing amazing today, but it was good.



Sled Pulls

90# x6 runs of 70′



BW x5x10


Alternating GHR Situps and Floor Situps

x50 reps


Reverse Hypers





Face Pulls





Back in to start pressing on Thursday. Will have my meet recap up once I have really thought about my mistakes and what I can do to fix it.


Alright! Ive been a little quiet lately, but I am not dead.  I took a little deload and then had a wisdom tooth removed (kinda late in life for those mama jamas).  So in all, i took about a two week deload and got back into the swing of things.  I had a good training week, and am getting great advice from David and Christian on fixing form on eerthing.  I am usually pretty light hearted, but I really appreciate the brain-food these guys give me.


Anyway this week highlights included..


squat: 255×10

deadlift: 275×9

..and plenty more…below are some fun looksies



Bench x1
Shirt 405 4 board
455 3 board
495 3 board
545 2 board
565 2 board miss

3 board bench with chains 6×2
315+80 6×2, 2 min break

JM Press 6×4


Friday, August 8 – Back & Shoulders


A1: Pronated Laying T’s 3×10 -WU 5, work 7 DB

A2: Supinated Laying T’s 3×10-WU 5, work 7 DB

A3: Neutral Laying T’s 3xMax-WU 5, work 7 DB

Wall Slides 100 total 50,25,25 (looks so easy but is SO hard- thanks for the assist)

Side Laying DB External Rotation 3×10 5 DB

Overhead Rope Tricep Extensions 3×15 40 Lb

Round Back 45 Degree Hypers

Box Squats 50%(425)+average band

Deadlifts 50%(340)+double mini bands

Power Goodmornings 6×4

Reverse Hypers 4×8
2 plates each side

Grippers max reps



ME Squats x1 w/chains
Briefs 420
Suit straps down 600
720+80 chains miss
720+80 chains x1

Pin pulls mid shin x1
Suit straps down 495


Thursday, July 31

Glute Ham Raises 3×1 min- Big struggle! Maybe use band next time

Step Ups 3×10- w/ barbell – 60 backed down to 55, unstab

45 Degree Hypers with barbell 3×12 -45 bar

Seated Band Abductions 100 total -pink band

Single Leg Glute Bridge w/5 sec hold 3×10

Planks 10 sec until fail – Jeff beat me by 2

Friday, August 1

A1: Pronated Laying T’s 3×10. -WU 2.5, work 5 lb DB

A2: Supinated Laying T’s 3×10- WU 2.5, work 5 lb DB

A3: Neutral Laying T’s 3xMax -WU 2.5, work 5 lb DB

Wall Slides 100 total – this is harder than you might think

Side Laying DB External Rotation 3×10 -5 lb DB

Overhead Rope Tricep Extensions 3×15 -WU 30,work 40

Round Back 45 Degree Hypers 100- 4x 25

Squats 8×2 @60%+chains (510+80 chains)
Deadlifts 6×1 @60%+chains (405+60 chains)
Reverse Hypers 3×15 (180)
TyPlate Pinch Holds 15 sec on 15 sec of max sets (left hand failed on set 7, right hand failed on set 9)


These little 10 lb weights look pitiful but we ran 10 sets and this was my last lap.
Yes that is the sun coming up behind me.
Next we did stretches. David said I looked like Elaine from Seinfeld dancing at a rave.
He is a hater.


Been having issues with acid reflux during training which completely sucks. Just about every set up until the last one I was fighting gagging during the lockout. On top of that I couldn’t tighten the back of the shirt up or wear a belt. So being able to hit 565 dealing with all that, I will take it.

ME Bench x1
Shirt 405 4 board
455 3 board
495 3 board
545 2 board
565 2 board

Close Grip Bench 60 Reps

Single Arm Overhead Grenade Ball Extensions 3×12

JM Press 6×6

EZ Bar Reverse Pressdowns 3×15

Laying Side DB External Rotations 3×10


Monday, July 28

Laying Single leg curls 3xMax -WU 12.5, work 15

Hack Squat 6×6 -no weight, 25,45,work 55

Reverse Hypers Heals Together Long Strap 3×15- 45+35

X-Band Walks 20 yards x2 -Pink band

Glute Bridges 100 total

Planks 10×10 sec x3 sets

Us kids were left alone in the sandbox again today…..
Tuesday, July 29

Wide Grip Neutral Pulldowns 3×10 -WU 50,60, work 70

Rope Pressdowns 3×15 -WU 40, work 50

Single Arm DB Rows 3xMax -25, 30, work 35

Push-ups 100 total -40,30,20,20

Band Pull a parts 100 total -red band 50,50

Side Plank 10×10 3 sets – got 5 reps of the last set (an improvement over last week)


ME Squats x1 w/chains
Briefs 420
Suit straps down 600
690 +80

RDL’s w/chains 4×8

Glute Ham Raise 2 part 3×10

Plank 10×10 x3


Normally after a meet we take a week off, then drop all the way back down to GPP training to make our base bigger. For the next 6 weeks (roughly) I will not touch a barbell, the volume will be ridiculously high, and I will probably vomit a few times. The next 2 weeks will include 4 days a week training with 6 movements (all isolation). 3 sets of each movement performed for 1 minute straight with a 1 minute rest period. Its borderline cardio….

It is done. I’ve been working towards this show since I got done with the Wounded Warrior Strongman Contest in November of last year. Yesterday was my final “tune up” per se, to run through events one last time before I deload for a week and play the mental game.

I don’t know how many athletes practice this consistently, but mentally going over events prior to competition allows me to worry about stuff on the front end. That way, if something happens on contest day, I can just bounce right back and carry on.

I’ve seen numerous potentially winning performances get completely derailed by one bad event. Once the lifter messed up once, it’s like all the fight went right out of them. Strongman can be funny like that. The problem is, you can’t give up: if your competitor screws up in a different event, you hounding every attempt might be the only way you stay in the fight to win. So slacking on any event really is unacceptable, every point makes a difference.

That said, I’ll spend much of this week poring over potential scenarios in my head: missing a log clean, dropping the farmers, etc. And then I have no fear of those happening when contest day arrives. And should, by some unfortunate chance, they do actually happen? Well, I’ll get right in after it again so I don’t lose ground. Simple as that.

Here’s what went down though:


Log Clean and Press (clean once)

Log x5
205×10 in 60 seconds.

Farmers Walk

220×75′ no time, but slightly uphill

Conans Carry

400×75′ sweat malfunctioned my grip

Deadlift (axle)



This session is really just to fire the nervous system once more before the deload. You don’t gain strength on this day, but you can get hurt. Best to blast through it and start the recovery process appropriately.

I will have a post later this week regarding what I do on meet day, since I typically don’t cut weight for meets like others do. Otherwise, time to rest, mobilize, and get mean.

Floor Press 6×6 (245)
Meadows Rows 3×8 (45)
Wide Grip Neutral Pulldowns 3×8 (150)
Seated Facepulls 3×15 (30)
EZ Bar Reverse Curls 3×10 (20 each side)
Band Pull Aparts Series

8×2 @55%+chains (470+80)
ME Deadlift x1 +chains (135,225,315,405,495,585,615+40)
Reverse Hypers 3×15 (140)
Plate Pinch Holds 15 sec on 15 sec of max sets (left hand failed on set 6, right hand failed on set 7)

I recently saw where someone made a Facebook post asking what the point of having a strong deadlift was if you can’t run a mile and what was the purpose of being able to run, bike, and swim fast if you weren’t strong. Well, let me answer that question…Winning!

The point is to win!

I will not go into details about the importance of aerobic fitness and capacity in regards to strength sports nor the importance of resistance training and anaerobic abilities in regards to endurance sports. Instead, I will address the real question hidden in the post: “What is the point of being great at something, if it means you have to sacrifice something else?” And the point is  TO BE GREAT!

I have seen this question and thought towards training more than once before and I am not sure of the true underlying cause. It may be from a lack of understand of how achievement is gained or, possibly the more likely reason, because it is easier on the ego to be better than average at many things but great at none. In the second case, someone can say to a runner, “I am more muscular and stronger than you” and they can say to the lifter “I am faster and in better aerobic shape than you”. Either way, a basic understanding of how things work is needed before truly being able to answer the question.

First, the world rewards the specialists. Peyton Manning gets paid big bucks because he is an extremely good quarterback. He’s not a great public speaker nor is he qualified to run a fortune 500 company. He can’t create an ornament out of blown glass and he doesn’t know how to set up logistics for a manufacturing company. In truth, he’s not that big, fast, or strong. But, he’s extremely smart, he’s extremely accurate, and he is dedicated to being the best quarterback he can possibly be and because of that, he makes millions of dollars. The same can be said for the computer genius, the stock trader, the metal worker, and the surgeon. They are all specialists.

Second, to be good at a craft takes sacrifice. Whether time, money, relationships, health, or other possible sacrifices, something must be given for something else to be gained. In order to be a great surgeon, a person must sacrifice money in student loans, time in studying, and possibly strain the relationships of their spouse, kids, friends, or family and also probably put a big strain on their health through long surgeries and crazy hours and high amounts of stress. This same sacrifice can be said about any athlete. At the highest level, all athletics are incredibly bad for your health. An NFL Football player running head on with some of the biggest, strongest, and fastest people on earth is going to feel the repercussions of his actions later in life, but he does it anyway. A bodybuilder going through contest prep is going to place a strain on his relationships because of the time and energy requirement to compete at that level, but he does it anyway. A upcoming tennis pro is going to spend money on equipment, lessons, travel, and all the work needed to keep her body performing at the highest level, but she does it anyway. Why do they do this? Because they want to be great, they want to win.

In life there are those who feel most comfortable on the field and those who feel most comfortable in the stands. Neither is “the right” way to be, people are different. However, if you are someone who is comfortable in the stands and has never been on the field, you have not earned the right to criticize those on the field for their actions and sacrifices. There is nothing wrong with wanting to just be healthy, feel good, and be overall decent at many aspects of fitness. But if you’re never going to step on the platform, on the stage, on the field, or into whatever competitive environment and test your best against the best, keep your mouth shut and enjoy the fascinating endeavor of human performance at its highest level.

Those of use who strive for greatness understand the sacrifices we make and are willing to make them because at the end of the day, when we die, we want to look back and be able to say that we gave it everything we had. If you are scared of the future, you will never realize your potential in the present.

ME Bench x1 w/chains
Sling shot 365
+120 miss

Close Grip Bench 60 Reps (185×24,44,60)

Single Arm Overhead Grenade Ball Extensions 3×12 (60)

JM Press 6×6 (105)

EZ Bar Reverse Pressdowns 3×15 (90)

Laying Side DB External Rotations 3×10 (10)


About a week and a half out from meet time now. They’ve combined the. 200 and 231 classes so now I’ll have the opportunity to go up against some heavy hitters. I’m going to have to be on point in all moving events to make a difference here. If I can avoid losing ground on the press, and not zero the deadlift, then we are looking at some potential shake up in the realm of southeastern strongman.

Also, in regards to missing posts, I’ve been out of town for a week and so have not been as good about posting workouts. Good stuff was had, including a 10 lb front squat PR, but otherwise was not eventful. Will try and catch up more this weekend if anyone needs the update.

As for the workout, I started using Alpha GPC today. It’s a bit of a nootropic, and an acetylcholine precursor, to help with focus and nervous system activation in workouts. Seemed to help, so we shall see if it keeps helping. Focus and drive has been a bit lacking in some of my workouts of late. Hoping to change all that.

Here’s what went down:

Front Squat x2

Bar x10

Belt On

Stones to 54″

230x8x1 ( 8 singles) felt blazing fast

Plank/ Bird Dog 5/4/3/2/1


Back on Saturday for one last solid workout before the precontest deload. Should be interesting!

So this past Saturday 7-22-14 is when it was time to put the last 17 week training cycle to the test. Many parts of my training I doubted towards the end but it ended up being a silly doubt because the meet went extremely well for me.

During training I could not bench for nearly 8 weeks out of 17 due to tricep pain. After consulting healthcare professionals at the best gym in Memphis we were able to decrease pain which allowed me to bench and get a huge PR!


Squat: 570 – 605 – 615

( the way 605 felt it scared me out of attempting 625, after watching the video I definitely had 625)

Bench: 340 – 360 (miss) – 375

(Missed 360 due to the same butt raising issue. I took a gamble at going above and beyond my planned third attempt to get the total I was so hungry for). The strength was there but since I changed my “stance” on bench there was not much room for error, so I picked the right number for my attempt.

Deadlift: 550 – 605 – 615

These lifts form wise were probably the “worst”, as you see in my video my hips always rose which suggests I had them to low every time. This just made the weight off the floor more difficult, the second the weight left the floor I knew I had it. On this day if I got a 4th attempt I could have pulled 625.

In SPF I am now ranked 4th in totals, 3rd in full power squat, tied for 15th full power bench, and 6th in full power deadlift. I also took state records in Mississippi on every lift for my class.

Nationally (powerlifting watch) this meet got me ranked 6th overall in totals and 7th in squat

Thank you to my coach David Allen, you have taught me everything I know and guided me to these accomplishments. Thank you teammates that supported me and came out even when you were not lifting. To everyone that was cheering in my videos, THANK YOU.

Special shout out to camera woman an my client Melissa for being awesome and going above and beyond to help this team.

Floor Press 6×6 (2 minute break) (225)
Meadows Rows 3×8 (35)
Wide Grip Neutral Pulldowns 3×8 (140)
Seated Facepulls 3×15 (20)
EZ Bar Reverse Curls 3×10 (15 each side)
Band Pull Aparts Series

ME Bench x1 w/chains

Close Grip Bench 60 Reps

Single Arm Overhead Grenade Ball Extensions 3×12

JM Press 6×6

EZ Bar Reverse Pressdowns 3×15

Laying Side DB External Rotations 3×10


I rarely say that I can’t finish something David throws at us but the side planks about killed us today. There were supposed to be 3 sets but he took pity on us and only made us do 2. Pure Hell.

July 15, Day 2

Wide Grip Neutral Pulldowns 3×10 -WU 40,50, work 60

Rope Pressdowns 3×15 (lean forward, back straight, elbows lock) -Work 40

Single Arm DB Rows 3xMax -WU 15, work 20 x15,25 x13, 25 x 12

Push-ups 100 total. 20,20,20,20, 10,10

Band Pull a parts 100 total 30,30,20,20

Side Plank 10×10 3 sets (NOT!)



end of training cycle 1 for meeee…once again, i neglected to check which bar I was using, so this is a 55lb bar in all videos.  I noticed after my first set that should have been 217, i bumped it up to what I thought was 225 because I hate messing around with small plates, and wound up at 235.  Also: I know I goodmorning the shit out of my squats.  I’ll work on it.  Annie Gunshow will be hitting NBS soon…stay posted on that, I suppose.  Im going to try and get all the secrets to a great mohawk from Christian, and hopefully come home with a better squat.



warmup sets




5×10 Conventional Deadlifts

Glute Ham Raises

Glute Bridges superset with banded hip abduction

Single leg RDL


Since Jeff and Liz were going to be out of town I let David have the week off and I ran at the park with my pup, Teddy, for a change. Running sucks! I am glad to be back in the gym.
I need to work on getting deeper in the hack squat. I really struggled when I got down there.

New Work Out-Day 1

Laying Single leg curls 3xMax -WU 5, 10, 12.5,15 (6 reps)

Hack Squat 6×6 -WU no weight, 25, work 45

Reverse Hypers Heals Together Long Strap 3×15 -WU 25, work 45

X-Band Walks 20 yards x2 -small black band

Glute Bridges 100 total 60 + 40

Planks 10×10 sec x3 sets


ME Squats x1 w/chains (box squats
+40 chains
+80 chains

RDL’s w/chains 4×8

Glute Ham Raise 2 part 3×10

Plank 10×10 x2


Trained speed squats and deadlifts today. Speed squats were a bear since I tried my hand at a circa max again. This smoked my back, I did not tension the bands enough so there was to much slack in the hole and a boat load of tension at top. This caused me to loosen up in the whole and retighten through my ascent and my back did not like it. Deadlifts went perfectly, after working with coach David Allen last week his cues were loud and clear. Trained with teammate Mil-Spec Strength (B-Mac) and we crushed our openers. 8 days out from a long overdue meet for myself, I am very excited. I am on track for a water cut as well waking up at 187 so 6 lbs won’t be to bad (I still hate water cutting and how I feel after)

-Speed Squats: EliteFTS Strong,Average, and another big ass band) with 150lbs straight weight.
-deadlifts: 405 – 495 – 550
-paused Deads 2×4: 405
– banded hip thrusts

Depth Drops into box jump, 2 boxes 8×1
ME NCL Deadlift x1 (135,225,315,405,suit straps down 495, straps up 585,635,655,675 miss, grip)
Heels Together toes out reverse hypers 3×15 (65 each side)
DB Shrugs 4×20 (
Seated Band Curls 3×1 min (1 min break) (light)

Jennifer competed in her first figure competition this past June. I sat her down for interview to check out what she thought about the whole process. Take a listen to what she had to say…


I would like to take a moment and put some data into perspective for the 3 people that follow my logs. When I started training out of NBS fitness I was ignorant to the fitness industry. After roughly 8 months of training I decided to attempt my first competition. David dieted me down from 190lbs to 165lbs in attempts to get my elite total. As a side note, I would not recommend anyone do this for their first meet unless your lifts are solid enough to not be effected by the weight drop. During my weight loss I had the opportunity to get a DEXA scan, a very accurate way to measure body fat. At 170lbs my body fat was 11%, I then did a water cut and competed in the 165lb weight class and hit an elite total of 1340lbs. I then requested David to put weight on me the most efficient way possible. David guided me to a training weight of 192lbs which I have trained at for the past year and a half. I had the opportunity to get another DEXA scan in class today. I am now 20lbs heavier (190lbs) with a body fat of 9% and attempting to chase a 1600lb total in the 181lb weight class. You will not find another facility anywhere else in the Memphis area having potential results like this, nor the individuals with the education and training environment to make it possible.



Second time in the shirt this cycle. Really happy with today’s progress. I had a bit more in me but was tired from all the sets, plus had some sinus shit going on that made me keep gagging while trying to bench. Game plan was 550 at the meet but now I’m thinking I will probably need more than that to touch.

ME NCL Bench x2 (45,95,135,185,225,275,315,shirt on to three board 405, 455,475,495,515,535)
Close Grip Floor Press 60 reps (185×20,33,44,54,60)
Overhead V Bar Tricep Extensions 3×10 (70)
Elbow Out Incline Tricep Extensions 6×6 (50)
Single Arm Cable Pressdowns 3×15 (70)
Band Pull a Part Super Series 3×10 each


Closing in on the Refuge Barbell competition. Slowly but surely making progress to get there. Grip is getting better (which is scary), and my hip extension and thoracic extension with stones is getting stronger and more efficient.

I fully realize I won’t likely pull reps with 645 come contest day, so I’m focusing on working hard to make sure I get points in the other events. I can afford a less than stellar performance there if I kill it in all the other events. That said, I know my competition will be top notch there, so one slip up can mean the difference between victory and last place. But that level of competition is what it’s all about. There’s no pride to be gained from winning small local shows. You gotta go big to win big.

Anyways, here’s what all went down:

Ok…plan for today:

a. Dynamic Warm up/Mobility- 10 minutes
b. Jump Rope- 30 work/10s rest x4
c. High Knees- each leg forward/out/across body x10
d. Speed Ladder- icky shuffle x3
e. Seated Box Jump- ~80% x10

a. Stones to 54″ (to box)

260×2 in 15 s
260×2 in 10 s
260×2 in 12 s but starting off the mat

b. SSB Anderson Squat (2-3″ above parallel)

385×2 @9.5

335×2 left quad tendon hurting at this point.

c. Farmers- 200# x max distance without dropping. 2 minute rest.

200×120′ right hand gave out first

d1. Reverse Hyper


d2. Pulldown Abs


Done. Will be back on Thursday for more. Should be able to get in some work Saturday morning before we leave for the airport. Then, vacation!

All this week will be me attempting my openers. The way our program is set up I will have done my openers 3 times prior to the meet. Our coach always said, ” you should be able to hit your opener on your worst lifting day, or even if you feel sick”.

Squats: last warm up 530 – opener 570
Paused squats 2×4: 420
Tons of stretching and mobility.

Usually Saturdays our team does a upper dynamic effort bench. I have been battling triceps issues this while cycle and DE Bench is one of the movements the elicited more pain. So I replaced them with just a heavy 5×5 to lock in form.
Last week you may recall me complaining of my butt lifting, and the changes I made to try and help with little success as all my lifts were slow. Well I tweaked some things and wanted to get as close to my setup as I have been this whole cycle. By things I tweaked I mean the size of my singlet (lol). All I needed was a singlet that was not skin tight and my butt stayed “on” the pad.

Bench 5×5: 255
Seated Rope Tri. Ext.: 60
Low Row Holds: 80/side

Today was a day for a lot of semi-firsts. I put my suit on for the first time since March, used a straight bar for the first time since then, and worked out of the monolift for the first time since then.

I switched from an ace suit with jack briefs to ace suit with ace briefs and let me tell you there is a big difference in how it feels. The ace on ace is extremely difficult to move in and I struggled to open up my hips and get down. I really felt locked up well above parallel. So I definitely need to get more time in them to get used to them. Overall I was happy with the day. I took 690 for 2 with straps down (not to depth) which I will take. After several more weeks of getting used to the gear, straps up, and wraps, it should make for a pretty good squat.

ME NCL Squat x2 (135,225,275,315,365,briefs 405,455,495,545,suit straps down 585,635,675(690)
2 count Paused Front Squat 3×8 (225)
Round Back Hypers on GHR 3×15 (30)
Plank 10×10


Well, events day wouldn’t be complete without a few mishaps and blunders. Today was no different. Multiple wtf fails with the log, and accidentally loading the stone to higher heights than necessary rounded out my day. Otherwise, I’d say it went fine.

My grip will do well with some recovery and healing when the deload comes. As for my pressing shenanigans, I seem to have gotten in the habit of pressing up instead of up and back. As a result, I’m not getting under the implement appropriately. If I’m hitting triples with 245, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t hit a single with 265.

I did, however, take note of my nutrition, and I appear to be eating less calories on a daily basis than previously intended. Will have to remedy that because I guarantee that is affecting my recovery. That’s what I get for not eating breakfast I suppose.

Anyways, here’s the video. And what all went down.

Warmups with agility and jumps

a. Log Clean+Press

265×0 x3

Singles every 90s


b. Farmers Walk


c. Stones to 52″ platform

300×3 @8.5
265×3 @9

Spent. Time to eeeaaaattt.

Incline Bench 6×6 (235 3 min break)
Single Arm DB Rows 4×8 (90)
Single Arm Pulldowns 3×12 (70)
Facepulls 3×15 (70)
Seated Alternating Curls 6×8 (40)
Fat Grip Single Arm Overhead Tricep Extension 3×12 (25)
Stair Master 10 min

Alright…today was my first day training events. Jesus pete this stuff takes forever! Luckily most of my favorite gym friends were doing rad shit when I got there and it pumped me up for the day. Anyway..I did the following

Axle Clean and Press (worked up to 125, comp weight)
Yoke Walk (worked up to 385)
Farmers Walk (@150 per hand)
Tire flips (pretty light tire @300)

I hadnt worked with an axle in too long. That will for sure be an adjustment. The strength is there to move it around, but I found myself today with it getting a hair in front of me if I wasnt 100% focused.

Yoke walk: Ha..simply put,I have get stronger with this. I also need to regulate my breathing somehow.  Also, something that got me as a runner and now is getting me on moving events is my tendency for my foot stroke to cross over one another. Absolutely the worst for stability so I will have to work on this.

Farmers walk: not bad!

Tire flips: a little light for me to really identify what I need work on in the moment. This is where video footage is pretty important.

Originally I wanted to start today continuing my circa max. I also wanted to train with my coach and team member David Allen to help me with some form issues deadlifting.
One of our Advanced lifters (Tee Cummins) had the monolift tied up squatting huge weight so I was in a power rack with bands. Un racking and walking that tension out killed my shoulders so I bailed and headed to the deadlift area. David gave me a few cues and it was all I needed, ended up having great pulls today (probably cause I saved my hips and energy from not speed squatting).


Today was a crap show. Last weeks benching went so well and then I was informed my but was raising. This week was dedicated to hitting all attempts without butt raising. Let’s just say that was not as easy as I thought. All my attempts were “touch and go’s”. This also aggregated my triceps the most in about a month so it was a lose lose today.

Sorry no video today.

Depth Drops into box jump, 2 boxes 6×1
ME NCL Deadlift x2 w/chains (sumo off 1 mat 135,225,315,405,suit on straps down 495,585,+40, +80
Heels Together toes out reverse hypers 3×15 (55 each side)
DB Shrugs 3×20 (80)
Seated Band Curls 3×1 min (1 min break) (light)


We concentrated on upper body this last 4 weeks which, for me, is a lesson in baby steps. With lower body I can make bigger increases in weight as the weeks progress but it doesn’t work that way for upper body. Often a 5 lb jump is huge for me and moving from a 15 lb dumb bell to the next available size of 20 lbs is just too much. Damned skinny arms!
Looking forward to a week of conditioning coming up and then back to the weights.
Happy 4th!

Friday 7/4/14 (chest, shoulders, triceps, grip)

A1: DB Bench flys 2-3 warm ups, 3×10 12

A2: Incline Hammer Bench 2-3 warm ups, 3 count pause and contraction 3×8 30

Seated Side Raises 2-3 warmups, 3×10, w/max partials 10

Seated DB Cleans 2-3 warm ups, 3 drop sets 7

Laying DB Single Arm Cross Body Extensions w/band 2 count contraction 3×10 12

Incline EZ Bar Skullies 2-3 warm ups, 3×12, drop set 25, drop 10 max Friday (chest, shoulders, triceps, grip)


Fun day in the gym.  Kinda played around a bit, had all my favorite training friends with me. Aside from getting my own workout in, I got to make my friend Jared hold his 425 raw bench for 5 seconds while I got distracted during bench command duties.


warm up sets





B1)Bent over rows



Incline Bench


C1)Flys 4×15

C2)Chest Supported Underhand Grip T-Bar Rows 4×8

D1) rear delt destroyer set (in video)
E1) Assisted Dips, hard squeeze at top

*Then spent some time messing around with 150/hand farmers walk. Felt good, but I will keep all my events on one day from now on.*

Work has been kicking my butt lately. The gym is growing and so have my responsibilities. I train around 30-35 hours a week and do another 30-40 hours a week of gym owner stuff. So I was worn out today from the get go. I got to take a little nap before my training session, turned the volume up to a level where conversation can’t take place, and ended having a great workout. I’ve been trying to build my lockout up a bunch and have been doing a ton of tricep work, looks like its paying off.

ME NCL Bench x2 raw w/chains (95,135,185,225,slingshot 275,315, +40, +80, +120
Close Grip Floor Press 60 reps (185 17,33,45,54,60)
Overhead V Bar Tricep Extensions 3×10 (160)
Elbow Out Incline Tricep Extensions 6×6 (45)
Single Arm Cable Pressdowns 3×15 (60)
Band Pull a Part Super Series 3×10 each (mini)


Best surprise of my Tuesday? Finding out it’s deadlift day. I’ve been itching for another go at this for a while now. I feel like my deadlift is progressing and that I’ve got more in me than my numbers show. I mean hell, if I can pick 290# a hand and walk 45′ I don’t see why I shouldn’t pull somewhere in the mid 500s. Guess we will just have to wait and see.

At any rate, things are improving. Good to see. I’m ready to bring it to the contest for sure.

Here’s what went down

Warmup with agility stuff




SSB Squats


Farmers Walks



There was more work that I had to do but I was so spent and my low back was spasming. Sometimes you just have to know when to take a break. Will be back in to smash weights on Friday morning. Going to hang out as my wife races Thursday night instead of training. Hoping she will throw down something fancy and fast. We shall see.

Nothing much to say in terms of this workout. Feeling a little worn down and exhausted, but that’s to be expected. Just have to keep driving on. About a month out from Refuge at this point, and I’m looking forward to going up and mixing it up with the best. Should provide a very nice litmus test for where I’m at.

Here’s what went down.

Band pull Aparts

Mini x25
Mini x25

Face Pulls


DB Preacher Curls

15x3x10 with 5s negative

Grenade Cable Curls


Band Good Mornings

Green x3x10

Reverse Hypers


McGill Planks

10s/5s for 15 reps.


In and out. Quick and dirty. And back for more this week.

photoToday was a day that I kinda BRO-ed out and did a lot of little things that I think help but often get left out before the big lifts take so much outa me.  No video, because this was pretty lame-sauce.  Still a fun day.

A1)5×10 Wide grip Pullups:  this is something I do to make sure im not getting too fat.  I don’t care a whole lot about how much I weigh, but if I cant knock out 10 WG pullups with full extension at the bottom and chest to bar at top, Im too damn fat.  Today they actually felt pretty good.  I encourage adopting some sorta pull up standard.  Its normal to gain some LBs after a show, but jesus Christ practice some self discipline.  And while Im ranting on this, I really mean full range of motion.  I don’t care if I sound like a prick here, the next time I see someone doing weighted pullups on the top half of the movement, or unweighted even, im going to puke.  I guess the same goes for the baby motion that’s the bottom of the pull up only.  /rant (sorry I had to get that off my chest)

B1) 5×15 weighted pushups (45lb plate)
B2) 5×10 neutral grip rows with a pause at the chest
B3)Front Plate raises (45lb plate) 5×12

C1)  DB pullovers 4×12
C2) Cable machine rear delt flys 4×30

D1)  Tricep pushups
D2) Lean away laterals 4×20

E1) Tricep dips 4×20 (holy volume!)
E2) Curls for da girls 4×20

Oh! So I really tracked my macros the last two days here..i had been eye balling it.  Looks like right now im right at
Fat: 60g
Carb: 360g
Right around 2600 calories a day.  Up 6lbs from stage weight and kinda holdin there the last few days (a few days ago I ate Mexican food and ice cream so I had an additional two pounds clinging on that day)

Another thing I think maybe I’ll hammer on: Has everyone heard “you aren’t going to gain bodyfat from one cheat meal”?  Can we go ahead and all agree that’s bogus?

Okay, I’ll quit being a brat now. 🙂

Okkkaaaaay….so about today.  I was kind of all outta whack.  The saga with my lost car keys continues as I find out it will cost SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS to get a new one.  I’m willing to look a little harder before I do that.  Anyway, I got to the gym pretty late and was a little mentally checked out.  I somehow didn’t notice that I grabbed the Mastodon bar.  How did I overlook that and not feel it? No idea.  I just assumed that everything was a little harder because I was having a crap day.  So my lifts are all 15lbs heavier than what I thought I was doing.  And as normal, I goodmorning-ed these.  Not too sure if I should really worry about it.  probably, though.

Warm up: Defrancos Agile 8/ some squatsies/lunges

Working Squat sets: 210×5/240×3/250×2<—these were slow as christmas.

Volume work: worked up to 225 for 5×10

SSB good mornings / GHD

—Ice cream sammich—



Reverse band 3rd attempt squat day! I have never attempted these before so the outcome was quite comical. Warm ups mechanically was smooth but had a nagging pain in my medial quads. I thought I was going to have to cut my session short. Once the knee wraps were slapped I was good to go, my adrenaline was so high I think it numbed the pain. My opener actually moved slower than my 2nd attempt. My reverse band adventure took about 10 min to hear suggestions by several people on how to set up the bands and what weight to use. I ended up listening to my coach (which ended up being to much tension). I used ElieteFTS Light bands with a carabiner clip slapped 650 on the bar and went for a ride. I was so pumped and expected a lot of weight and generated maximal force out of the hole and shot up so fast the weight felt like 500lbs. Oh well, lesson learned.

– Reverse band 3rd attempts: 330×2 – 380×2 – 420 – 470 – 530? – 570 – 605 – 650 rev bands
– paused squats 3×4: 400lbs

ME NCL Squat x2 raw w/chains (cambered bar 135,225,275,315,365,briefs 405,455,495,545(565), +80 chains, +160 chains)
2 count Paused Front Squat 3×8 (205)
Round Back Hypers on GHR 3×15 (15)
Planks 10x10sec, 5 sec break


This week was going great until today’s training. I attempted to start a circa max prior to deadlifting today which was an interesting experience. Unfortunately my hips were worked after and by the time I got to my second attempt I felt super weak (but enough excuses). I have been told my hips are weak, I am not getting my shoulders back, and that I am not taking enough slack (tension) out of the bar with my legs prior to pulling. This why I am having trouble exploding off the floor, I also can not for the life of me slow myself down (anxious) prior to pulling and set up properly. Hope next week is better because a miss load and a miss all in the same day has gotten under my skin. Trials of overcoming failure.

Incline Bench 6×6 (225)
Single Arm DB Rows 4×8 (80)
Single Arm Pulldowns 3×12 (60)
Facepulls 3×15 (60)
Seated Alternating Curls 6×8 (30)

Struggled again today. I really just need to catch up on sleep, which I plan to do after I get my wife’s car retread in tires that hopefully won’t explode. Felt like 10 lbs of fecal matter in a 2 lb bag all session. Just couldn’t seem to shake the funk. Kept kicking my own ass as best I could to at least make the suckfest worth something. And wouldn’t you know, I ended up with a PR stone load to 52″. And subsequently strained my L bicep. Such is life haha. Anyways, I’ll hopefully heal up and be back after it for the next ME lower day. And I’ll play nice and try not to hurt it with the bodybuilding day tomorrow.

My order wasn’t exactly what was prescribed, but it was raining and trying to squeeze events outside in between downpours gets tricky. But I managed to make it happen.

Here’s what went down though.

Static Farmers Holds

270x15s back felt like crap.

Zercher Carry for Distance

400×60′ blacked out here. Suck.

Stone over 52″ Bar

330×1 PR

Was supposed to do down sets here but would have possibly injured the left biceps worse so I called it here. Better safe than operated on at this point.

Sometimes you press the log, and then sometimes the log tries to kill you. Yesterday was one of the latter. I didn’t even get video because I was expecting two more jumps before I would top out. Ended up not working out that way. Oh well.

Main thing is that I manage to make it to Refuge and show up with all systems firing. I’d rather get the bad days out of the way on the front end. Here’s to that. As for the day, here’s what went down.

Log Press from Rack

235×3 @9

225×3 @8

Log Press from High Pins (1/2 ROM)

215×3 @9

205×3 @ 9

Dumbbell Bench 60 second Timed Sets

50×27 in 60 seconds

HS Machine Row


Band pull aparts

Micro mini x50

Band push downs

Grey x2x25

Alternating DB Curls



Back in Saturday morning for events fun.

Have I mentioned how much I hate front squats?
Thursday (quads, calves, abs)

Single Arm DB Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat 2-3 warm ups, 1×4 drop sets 8-12 per set WU 15,20. Work 30, drop 25,20,15,10

Front Squats 2-3 warm ups, 8×8 (45 sec break) WU bar,55,60,65

Backwards Sled Walks 300 yards 70 lbs

Standing Machine Calf Raises 3×10 (3 count pause and contraction) 90 total

10×10 Planks

At least the fans drown out my groaning. It sounds like a sweat shop. Oh wait, it IS a sweat shop.


If you ask my grandma, “bodybuilder” and “powerlifter” are synonyms. We all lift weights and wear spandex and eat food.  Tomato, tomahto.

Yeah, I know, she’s wrong.  I know she’s wrong because I have recently taken a little time out from powerlifting to pursue a little time in physique sports.  Over the past six months or so, I have grown to really appreciate the other side of iron sports.  The two sports are so different that I have learned drastically different lessons along the way.

Things I didn’t expect to learn powerlifting

Programming is everything:  I have ran lots of different programming methods in the past, and have done a LOT of stupid stuff.  The perpetual newb in me wants to max out EVERY SINGLE DAY ALWAYS AND FOREVER.  Hell, there was a point in time where I vehemently defended my stance that to get strong and lift heavy, you need to lift heavy always.  Luckily, I had more successful powerlifters around me that sat me down, and convinced me to start using a little more grey matter.

Enjoy the journey:  Real progress is SLOW.  It can get frustrating to set life-time goals and realize how far you are from them.  However, as time passes, you have two options: take steps towards your goals or don’t.  Some of the best experiences I have had as a human being have been during less-than-stunning training days. Slow down, enjoy each step along the way, and love the ride you are on.

Value your peers: There are exceptions, but for the most part, I think the powerlifting comradery is of the best in iron sports.  Granted everyone thinks they have the best friends, but the kindness I have received from complete strangers at powerlifting meets and clinics is really incredible.  Further, some of the advice I have received from veteran lifters have been game changers!  The genuine desire to improve other lifters is undeniable.

Eat:  Umm..this seems like such a no-brainer, but I AM a female.  I have wanted to be leaner, smaller, lighter, etc.  The tendency to shy away from eating in fear of weight gain has absolutely plagued me. However, your body punishes you for such a mentality after any amount of time.  The easy remedy is to eat and eat and eat!  However, there’s really no need to gain extra adipose.  Fuel yourself for activity, enjoy life a bit, and give yourself the proper nutrients.  Your body composition will work itself out.

Appreciate your body for what it is:  This is a hard one and maybe one I would have never learned without powerlifting.  In a society where we are directly or indirectly made to feel as though we should look a certain way, its hard to opt out of self criticism.  Powerlifting passively taught me to appreciate my body for what it can do.  As cliche as it sounds, I love my body for what it is and what life experiences I’ve been able to have because of it.

Things I didn’t expect to learn from competitive physique sports

Give it 100%:  In theory, dieting for a show with the help of a prep coach is easy.  They tell you what/how much to eat, when to eat it, and you just execute.  Its FAR from easy though.  The minute details all add up.  They all matter.  If your coach says no diet soda, guess what?  You dont get to drink diet soda.  If your coach says to drink 2 gallons of water, you better get every ounce in.  Any decent prep coach will have a reason for each stipulation.  Aside from following the master plan, do it because it strengthens you as a human.  Anything worth having is worth going all out for.  Take pride in yourself and this sport if you want to compete in it.  Theres never an excuse for not working hard.

Very few people matter:  Physique sports are very subjective sports.  It can mold interesting characters.  When you put your body out in the open to be criticized, it will be.  Trust me.  Some of the things said might hurt your feelings. If you can handle it as constructive, then do so.  If someone is just being a mean person, recognize that.  Realize this: people that are negative towards you dont matter. Remember who is important, appreciate them, and let them have the best of you.

Enjoy the journey:  Yeah, this again.  When I mentioned it with powerlifting, it was easy to imagine:  hitting PRs, eating lots of food, resting.  However, with dieting, its kind of hard to paint a pretty picture.  Yeah, I’m not always jumping out of bed to eat a can of tuna and head off for my first workout of the day, but theres some beauty in doing it anyway.  You learn a lot about yourself in depleted states and you learn a lot about how you feel about things going on around you.  I have said this before, but theres a stream of consciousness that I think only occurs in dieted states that makes you extremely aware.  Plus, the week-by-week changes are incredible.  Just as in anything, celebrate your small steps, and dont worry about the end result.

Do not get caught up in winning:  If you are doing all you can, you are personally successful in this sport.  You dont know who is going to step on stage the day you get there.  At some point, Nicole Wilkins competed at a state level show…and someone lost to her.  Are they big failures? Absolutely not!  Its fun to imagine the glory, but it distracts from what’s really going on:  you are accomplishing a personal goal and promise to yourself.  That is far more important than winning a trophy.

Its more than a 16 week prep:  I wish I could scream this from the roof tops.  Every competitor talks about what they are going to eat post-contest.  Im guilty of it myself (bacon cheeseburger, btw).  However, post contest is a very critical time to practice diligence in reverse dieting.  Im not sure why this is debatable, but i’m going to break it down how I see it: post contest, you are prone to be a FAT STORING MACHINE.  You have been at bodyfat levels that your body DOES NOT want to be at, DOES NOT function well at, and FIGHTS to get out of.  With that, hormonal responses will trigger hunger and even binging.  You have been at some sort of caloric deficit for a considerable amount of time.  Have your post show lottery, but get to reversing pretty quick and rehabbing your metabolism.  Hell, reversing is an article subject all its own.

Kind of a short one…Didnt have a ton of time today.

Bench: worked up to 135 for my set of 5+, got 10.  Then did 135x4x2.  During this set, I destroyed a set of wrist wraps, which im counting into my work load.

rep work: 115×8/105×8/95x5x10

Band pull aparts/Dips


I am absolutely the worlds worst bench presser.  I have primate-like arms.  Long and worthless.  Christian and someone else were talking about bench set up, so today I tried squeezing the bench with my adductors..it really did keep my butt down.  I will be working on this over time.  I think the best thing I can do for my bench at this point is to just spend more time with it.  Thus, my accessory work will be a lot of lighter bench press where I focus on the little things I tend to neglect…primarily, lat tension and foot drive.


I used to have lower back pain after house cleaning or yard work or just sitting a lot. I have not had nearly the pain that I used to since I have been weight-lifting. (Yes, it could be because I don’t do as much house or yard work, but I am sticking with my story.)
I also try to be very conscious of my posture now (should have listened to my mother) and practice ‘chest out and shoulders back’. I moved my computer monitors to eye level to make sure I don’t slump all day.
If back and shoulder pain are a problem for you then strengthen your back so it can serve you well for life.

Wednesday, June 25
A1: Scap Shrugs w/pause 4×8 15 lbs 
A2: 1 arm barbell rows 4×12 bar on land mine attachment, 10 lbs
Stretchers 2-3 warm up, 4×12, drop, drop 50,drop to 40 only
Barbell Shrugs 3×12 w/pause, rest pause 75,85,95,work 115 
Straight bar scap row/row, 2-3 warm ups, 3×10,rest pause 50,60,work 70

Bench training had pros and cons today, the pros definitely outweighed the cons. I have been rehabbing my triceps for MONTHS! I was able to bench with minimal pain (more of an annoying pinch) and also hit may last bench PR as my 2nd attempt! the cons were that my butt rose during all my presses today. So how is one to go about correcting this, we had a lifters “pow-wow” and came up with ideas for me to try the next two weeks to fix this. Our ideas consisted of a few things to try:
-Turn Heels out, point toes in
-Set up with feet planted first
-Lessen thoracic arc and focus on arching lumbar more
-Squeeze bench with knees (get more mobile)
-compared feet and leg setup to last meet and saw I may need to untuck my feet, by a few feet (did you get that?)

These ideas will hopefully allow me to put together a bench PR for me (which I was not planning on). Great training with Brian and having the rest of the team around for the support as well, Especially when head coach David is there to cue me! Things are looking good after a rough training cycle.

Bench: barx5 – 95×5 – 135×5 – 185×5 – 225×3 – 275×3 – 315×1 – 345×1 – 360×1 (all singles done with commands “press” and rack”)
extended pause bench: 2×3 @300
Seated behind the neck tricep ext.: to relieve tricep tightness/”pain”

ME NCL Bench x2 raw w/chains (95,135,185,+40,+80,+120,+160,+180×1)
Close Grip Floor Press 60 reps (185)
Overhead V Bar Tricep Extensions 3×10 (140)
Elbow Out Incline Tricep Extensions 6×6 (40)
Single Arm Cable Pressdowns 3×15 (50)
Band Pull a Part Super Series 3×10 each


Today I did cardio..and thats it.  Nothing really exciting to talk about there, so I thought I would go over some things that I think are VERY IMPORTANT when coming off a contest prep.  We have all seen the competitors that blow up post contest.  Some people will muster up some crap about it being necessary for growth and blah blah blah.  While its true that you cant really be in a deficit and add size, I think its wildly insulting to pass that off as the reason someone is gaining an excessive amount of weight in the months post show.  Give.me.a.break.

I am going to assume that in prep, the following were utilized to lose weight:

1. Cardio

2. caloric deficits/macro manipulation

3. fat burners of some sort/stimulants

—Anything outside of this will also require attention..however, I am NOT well versed enough to talk hormonal manipulation.  If you take this route, I highly advice prioritizing your hormonal recovery.——

Its tempting to have a big ole week of binge eating, cut your hours of cardio, and taper off your stimulants.  Hell, some people will try and tell you there’s this magical anabolic nature post contest that is PRIME for building muscle.  However, make no mistake: you are a fat storing machine post contest.  You have been in a deficit, your metabolic capacity is absolutely lower, and as a system that strives for homeostasis, your body is accounting for a large activity load and a lessened caloric intake. You cannot flood the system the calories and rest and think that nothing is going to happen.  Further, if you decide to be lazy in this aspect, you can find yourself in the world worst position: a very low BMR and a very HIGH bf %.  Suddenly, you are dieting in the off season, wasting time.  So…here’s what I would/am do..

1. Ditch your stims.  Im not saying you cant have your coffee/monster energy drink/etc…but this is a good time to really cut back or eliminate fat burners.  They are probably responsible for the least of your weight loss.  Adjust to this.

2.  Get back to your diet that you had right before show day.  Consider this your baseline.  You are going to reverse from here.  This is a safe spot to start.  Keep your water intake high.  The best diuretic is water itself.

3.  Cut your cardio back, but not out.  I dont know how much cardio every person does, but cut back A LITTLE.  If you were doing an hour, maybe do 50 minutes.

—Assess…weigh yourself..see what these changes are doing to your body.  The goal here isnt to stay at stage weight, but its to minimize fat accumulation.  If you are putting on bodyfat at an alarming rate, then you probably need smaller adjustments.  If you are stage ready again, you probably will be fine to increase calories a bit more, drop cardio a bit more, or maybe even both.–

If that went well, add 50-100 calories/day on week two.  Again, really small additions.  You need to be as diligent with your diet as you had been during pre-contest.

Reduce cardio again..not by a lot, but a little. I would say about a 10% reduction in cardio a week is probably reasonable until you are doing a cardio schedule that is comparable to GPP.

—Assess..weigh yourself..look in the mirror…take measurements..be accountable for changes into your body.–

Continue as necessary.  I think the “off season” should be about recovering and building a SOLID base.  You cannot continue to push the envelope year after year when your health is in the gutter.  It also just makes more sense that the person who has the metabolic capacity of 3,000 calories is going to have an easier prep in the future than the person who is living on 1500 calories.


Be smart.  Be diligent.  Reversing is time well spent.  You can have cake and ice cream and donuts and pancakes and whatnot, but you dont have to have it all at once.


Holy. Shit. Today was brutal. We are starting to specialize a bit more since I’m 6 weeks out from Refuge at this point. Working on becoming a total hauling machine. Carrying events are my strength, so I might as well make it a point to win those events.

Anyways, had a rough work day so I wasn’t motivated to get in today. Glad I went in though. Here’s what went down:

Warmups with agility and jumps

Farmers Walk

200×70′ in 12 s
230×70′ in 12s
230×70′ in 12s
230×70′ in 11s
230×70′ in 14s

Zercher Squats

255×3 @9

Drop sets on 13″ box

Front Squats

275×5 @9

Front Squat Holds



I’m all shaky and tore up now. Working on packing in food and trying to recover before I’m back at work in the morning. I’m adapting though and feeling faster all the time.

Back in on Thursday.

My hips are tighter than banjo strings and I haven’t gotten a chance to stretch them the last couple days. So I decide to kill them on my raw week and use the soft pad. Basically you sit down until you feel the pad underneath you and slowly sit down into it until you bottom out on the box. This exercise was pretty tough and definitely wore my hips out. I wish I had done another set. I definitely felt like I had one more left in me but I had a time constraint and wanted to get all my accessory work in too.

ME NCL Squat x2 raw w/chains 95,135,225,275,315,365,405,455,495 (545), 545 + 80 in chains

2 count Paused Front Squat 3×8 (185(

Round Back Hypers on GHR 3×15 (BW)

Heels Together toes out reverse hypers 3×15 (45 each side)

DB Shrugs 4×20 (70)

Seated Band Curls 3×1 min (1 min break) (light band)



So..I have been thinking it over and uhh…Im done with figure.  I was on the fence and feasibly could have enjoyed another four weeks of prep into the Mo State, but theres a chance I would get pretty burned out.  I am ready to get back to powerlifting.  Today I jumped back in the saddle. I have been talking a lot with other lifters lately and realize that a huuuuuge mistake I make time and time again is a lack of conservative lifting.  The forever-newb in me wants to go heavy all the time, all the time.  I know this is stupid and wreckless.  Thus, I am resolving to build strength as opposed to constantly testing it.

And it went a little somethin’ like this…







5+ x 290 (got nine)


5×10 @165

Walking Lunges/Goodmornings


GHD Raises



WALA!  Easy peasy.  I’ll write a little more tomorrow about my tips for not becoming a fatty in “off season.”

This was a great training session for me. I was able to get extra time warming up due to a client cancelling their appointment, Tanner from Purdue Barbell was a huge help running the monolift and helping me with small stuff like wrap rolling ect.
My last meet was November of 2013 and my best squat was 550 and I missed 570 (which I was chasing all year). After numerous injuries and aches this meet was looking like a battle just to make it through. However, I made a plan of attack with the healthcare providers at NBS fitness and stuck with it to rehab myself back to a position where I can stay a float and have the potential to put together a good meet.

Squats: 420 – 470 – 510 – 550 – 570
Paused Squats: 330×4 – 380×4
reverse hyper swings (rehab): 4×20 @ 90lbs

Incline DB Bench 6×6 (110)
Neutral Chest Supported Rows 6×6 (90)
Pullup series 3 of each (1 min break till can’t go anymore) (5 rounds)
Laying T’s 3×15 (15)
Swiss Bar Curls 6×8 (85)
Grenade Ball Straight Back Extensions 3×12 (60)
Blast Strap Tricep Extensions 3×15

Well, summer time is a hard time to be a strongman. The heat and humidity in old Sunny Memphis TN is brutal. Even starting at 8am, it’s still 95 by 11. It’s tough no matter how hydrated I stay. My body just struggles with heat, and always has. Even so, I have to put in work. So here’s what went down.



225x 3
405×1 @8

365×12, one rep every 15 seconds till failure. Ouch.

Farmers Walk

270×75′ x1. Failed second attempt. Also mis loaded weight. Oops

200×80′. Shit. Was trying to go further, but grip was shot.

Atlas Stone Series

200, 230, 265 x21 seconds.

200, 230, 265 x18 seconds. Left hand shot numb so I stopped here.

Now I’m eating and cleaning the house. So I can cook more meat and eat more tonight. Back tomorrow for some bodybuilding work.

Depth Drops into box jump 6×2
ME NCL Deadlift x3 raw/chains (3 pad sumo Deadlifts 135,225,315,405, suit on 495, 545, straps up 585, 635, lifting straps +40 chains, +80 chains
Wall Squats onto box with band around knees 10×5 (140)
Keg Holds 3×45 (150)
Round Back Hypers on 45 degree Hyper 3×20 (25)
X-Band Walk with squat 3×20 (monster)


First time doing log from blocks today. My low back definitely enjoyed it more, and I felt less terrible by the time the workout was done. I’m not sure where this puts me for refuge, but I should be able to hit a few reps on the 250 log and not lose too much ground I think. I believe my previous log PR is around 265, and had my 3rd rep with 245 gone better today I would have chanced it.

Oh well. Also battle ropes are surprisingly terrible. I knew they would be but tonight just proved it. And I didn’t spontaneously combust from doing it similar to a crossfit WOD. The two sports can coexist. Robert Oberst, one of the premier WSM competitors now, wrote and article that received tons of negative commentary. One knucklehead even mentioned the author “must be a crossfitter”. OB’s basic point was that the iron sports are varied so everyone can play. You pick what you like and you do it, just so long as you DO SOMETHING.

The fact that there’s so much unfounded hatred astounds me. Yes there are dumb coaches out there doing dumb things. There’s also dumb powerlifters, strongmen, runners, foot coaches, basketball coaches, you name it. If it gets people moving and doing, why do you care? Plus, strongman as a sport is swinging back to more conditioning oriented medleys. Strength will always be important but we need to know how to MOVE. We shall see how many figure this out. Time to adapt or get left behind.

Anyways, rant over. Didn’t get good video today, but here’s what went down.

Warmup, box jumps, jump rope, throws etc

Log Clean and Press from Block

Log x10

Close Grip Bench

Bar x10
195×5 @8

One Arm DB Press


DB Row, Strict, No Straps


Band Pull Aparts

Monster Mini x2x25

Band Punch Downs

Grey x2x25

Alt DB Curls


Battle Ropes (had a partner so rests were his work period)

20s on, 20 s off
30 s on
40 s on
50 s on
60 s on
50 s on
40 s on
30 s on
20 s on. Fin.


Had an interesting time washing my hair. Back on Saturday for events!


AM conditioning

prowler sprint x 2 with just sled (down with high handles, low at lowest handles)

prowler sprint +20lbs

prowler sprint +40lbs

prowler sprint + 50lbs

prowler sprint + 70lbs

prowler sprint + 90lbs

prowler sprint +110lbs

prowler sprint +140lbs x 2

prowler sprint + 110

prowler sprint + 90lbs

prowler sprint + 70lbs

prowler sprint +50lbs

prowler sprint + 40lbs

prowler sprint + 20lbs

empty prowler x 2.

finisher: three minutes non stop with prowler for three minutes, as many trips as possible.


PM: Strict Press + shoulders

OH press, standing: worked up to 95×5

Rear Delt Machine Flys 4×35 reps

Meadows rear delt destroyer (chest supported rear delt “swings” for 30, cut weight in half for 30 more, then 5 with iso-tension)

super set: plate raises/lateral raises

meadows style 6-ways (seated, DBs start at side, then lateral raise to front raise, to overhead and reverse.

This was a major breakthrough in my rehabilitation of my triceps. This max effort bench session is the first time in near 4-6 months I have pressed with ZERO pain. I have been working with Gym Resident PT: Taylor, Gym Resident Chiropractor: Jason, and Gym Resident Massage therapist: Yvonna trying to heal this ongoing painful injury.
A short session of electro stim. applied early in the day irritated the triceps extremely badly to the point I was unable to go into full flexion without pain. I attempted to grab and pull my trciep to one side and move through my ROM. Oddly enough I did with zero pain. I go to the gym early and started hammering shoulder mobility and asked yvonna to try a new “rock tape” job. My theory was correct in that I needed tension pulling my tricep out of the way.
Several months ago Taylor thought my nerve was being impinged by soft tissue, this tape job supports his theory. My bench session today went to well, I hit the most amount of weight throughout this training cycle and it was done with no pain. My form was locked in and I was not sloppy, I need to stay healthy for 3 more weeks and then it is game time. I am attempting to put 100lbs on my total from last meet which was roughly 8 months ago. I have dropped out of 2 since due to tricep pain.

-ME Bench w/ chains top 2×1: 225×3 275×2 300×1 315×1 315+2 chainsx1 315+4 chainsx1 315 + 6 chainsx1 (I got excited on this one, video cuts off my excitement… barely)
The way we had the chains setthey were only about 10-15 lbs at lockout. in video I estimated down to 10lbs
-Floor Press 4×6: 225×1 275×3
-pendlay Rows: 3×4: 225 (probably too light)
-seated behind the neck rope tricep extensions 3×20

ME NCL Bench x3 (3 board 45,95,135,185,225,275,315, shirt on 405,455 3×3)
DB Bench 60 reps (90×20,35,49,60)
Seated Overhead Rope Extensions 2-3 warm ups 3×10 (90)
Single Arm DB skullies 6×6 (30)
Reverse Single Arm Cable Pressdowns 3×15 (40)
YTWI 3×10 each (5)


I havent had a deadlift day in way too long.  Everything felt great, so today I got back in the saddle.

A)Deads: 135×10, 155×10, 185×10, 225×8, 245×8, 275×5, 315×5, 335×5, 365×3, 385×3, 405x3x1  (WHOOT!) Not an all time PR, but im back at 138lbs, so its a PR at this bodyweight. TRIPLE BODYWEIGHT DEADLIFT!!!

B1) SSB Goodmornings 4×15

B2) Barbell Walking Lunges 4×20 steps

C1) Hip Thrusts 4×15

C2) Glute/Ham Developers  4×10

D1) Monster walks

D2) KBS 3×20

E1) Leg extension triple drop set

F1) Ham Curl triple drop set

Yes, you saw that right. An ME day. Programming switched up to hit the gas leading into my meets this fall. Have adjusted up a day to 4 days a week. Training ME Lower on Tuesday, ME Upper on Thursday, Events Saturday, with a Bodybuilding Day on Sunday to hit whatever needs to be hit. Will likely be going in on Sunday afternoons because I can’t miss church, but such is life.

Programming has taken a unique turn as well. We’ve decided to approach strongman more from a sport/athletic standpoint rather than a “powerlifting that walks” standpoint. My strength is in my speed, and I will never be super strong in the deadlift or press quickly. All those gains will take years and years. In the meantime, if I can keep bringing those up but win every moving event, I’ve got a shot.

All that said, it kicked my butt yesterday. Here’s what went down:

Warmup/Agility incl box jumps and jump ropes etc

Axle Deadlift

405×3 possible PR
435×3 PR

SSB Squat

315×5 tweaked my back here so skipped down sets

Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats

40x2x8 my balance sucks

McGill Plank

10s/5s x5/4/3/2/1

45′ Scap Shrugs


Prowler Work

1) 20s work/60s rest
2) 30s work/45s rest
3) 40s work/30s rest
4) 50s work/15s rest
5) 60s work


Prowler didn’t suck at first, but the last two rounds were pure hell. Barely lived. But it’s going to make keeping my breathing controlled for medleys a joke.

Back on Thursday.

Tuesday -arms

A1: Rope Pressdowns w/pause 3×10 -40,50,50

A2: Single Arm Chain Extensions 1.5 reps 3×10 -single ch w/ ball

Tricep Hell (1,2,3,4 board) 5 reps each till failure- 65,70,75 finish

B1: Cross Body Hammer Curls 3×10 – 15 DB

B2: EZ Curl Bar 1.5 reps 3×10 -15 lb total

Fat Grip EZ Curl Bar Preacher Curls 2-3 warm ups, 4 drop sets -WU bar,15 total,drop 10,5,bar last hold against resistance

Forearm Curls (alternate Supinated and pronated) 4xfailure – 35 lb bar



Okay…this is delayed, but better late than never.

This past week, I competed at my first national level show.  It was a pretty wild ride.

We flew from St. Louis to Chicago, which is a really short flight.  However, I came to find out there is no such thing.  Let me be clear, I am all about airport security.  TSA checkpoints are a small price to pay for the safety.  That said, I have never been through one as an adult and not been extensively checked. This time they went STRAIGHT for the crotch.  Cool.

Chicago was beautiful.  Got in, saw a lot of friends from when I lived there.  That was great.  Got checked in, which took a grand total of 4 minutes.  Jr. Nationals ran smooth as butter from start to finish.  I cannot say enough good things about the promoters/expediters/etc. Went back to the hotel, slept like a brick until the next morning.

Day of show 1:  Woke up to an AMAZING hair day.  Got my tan applied super early in the AM as opposed to the night before, which I prefer.  No touch up needed before stage time.  Make up next, which was amazing.  Then it was stage time….

Probably the most nervous I have ever been on stage.  There were 35ish other girls in my class and every.last.one. was lights out.  I knew one other girl in my class, which was nice.  She was experienced at this level and made sure I didn’t miss a cue.  We were on stage for approximately five minutes, which felt like forever.  We did group quarter turns, individual presentations, and call outs.  While this isn’t where they announce placing, this is where you get an idea of where you stand.

Day 2:  Day 2 was short lived, and at night.  We were on stage for about 1 minute, hit one post, and filed off with the exception of the top 5.  I was way less nervous, and had a lot of fun getting to know people.

I didn’t place for the first time in anything in my entire iron sport career.  AND: I completely agree with it.  There was something very calming about it.  It was my first time on THAT big of a stage with THAT many people looking at me.  I have a few take-aways

1.  Bring the look YOU want to bring, don’t worry about the rest.  Im not good at moderation.  If I am going to be lean, I want to be REALLY lean.  I was a little more moderate as a judge suggested last October after my Ottawa show. Not that I wasn’t happy with my look, but now I am going to do another show to really nail my conditioning how *I* want.

2.  This should be fun.  I feel like anytime you are partaking in a HOBBY, it should be fun.  For a lot of people backstage, it really wasn’t.  I was cool as a cucumber, but noted a surprising number of women having what looked like the worst time of their entire life.  Geesh.

3.  Train how you want to train, and worry about your category later.  The day of competition is 1 day of the year.  You are in the gym training 364 days otherwise.  Your training style should be whatever you enjoy, regardless of its impact on your aesthetics.  I heard one girl lamenting that her coach had her stop doing squats and how she really missed them.  I hope our 5 minutes on stage was worth “almost crying because she missed the squat rack so bad” ever leg day.  I hope that was an exaggeration.

4.  The people that follow you on social media actually do exist.  I met them.  Lots of them.  Who woulda thunk.

5.  You learn a hellova lot more losing than winning.  Its hard to see your downfalls when you are winning.  This weekend brought to light a lot of things I can work on, and that’s exciting for me.  I will likely switch to physique, and took note of what it takes to be on their level as well.


For kicks, this was my post show reefed(24 hours):

-2 slices Genos Deep Dish Meat Lovers Pizza

-IHOP Cinnamon Raisen French toast + ice cream


-Swedish Fish


-Chicken Fajitas, chips salsa, diet soda

-Medium James Brown Concrete from Andys Frozen Custard

-Some cookie with icing in the middle

-8 truffles

My body wasn’t feeling too awesome after spending a lot of the weekend in a car and sitting in a theater and on top of that I learned I had to teach bootcamp about 15 minutes before it started so I had to cut my workout short. When shit like this happens, kick ass as best you can and don’t get caught up in what you can’t do.

ME NCL Squat x3 raw w/chains (buffalo bar 135,225,275,315,365,405,455,495,545, +80 chains, +160 chains
Wall Squats onto box with band around knees 10×5 (100 vest and chains, 5 breaths in between)
10×20 yard prowler sprints


I had a really good training session. Squatted in Metal Jack Briefs and wraps.
795×3, 825×2, 850×1


After sharing a photo of Jennifer Bean in her physique competition one of the comments posted was admiration for her dedication. That’s a great word to describe what it takes to compete at this level. It’s hard to explain this kind of motivation and perseverance to people who are not gym rats. Although you are competing against others the true competition is against yourself, pushing past wanting to quit, the hunger and the disapproval of some.
I am so very proud of Jennifer and happy that we were able to be there to support her.

Monday, June 16 (hamstrings,calves, triceps)

Incline Hamstring Curls 2-3 warm ups 3×10, 1xmax w/partials- 5 lb plates

RDLs against bands no lockout 2-3 warm ups 3×15, 2-3 rest pause sets -WU bar,65,95 (3sets, pause,then max- lost grip so had stop)

Reverse Hypers 2-3 warm ups, 4 drop sets, 1xmax partials -25,50,75,100, for max 75,50,25

Leg Press 3×1 min max (1 min break) single -45 plate

Incline DB Bench 6×6 (105 2 min break)
Neutral Chest Supported Rows 6×6 (85 1 min break)
Laying T’s 3×15 (12)
Football Bar Curls 6×8 (75)
Grenade Ball Straight Back Extensions 3×12 (55)
Blast Strap Tricep Extensions 3×15

Up in Chattanooga supporting Jennifer in her first figure comeptition. After riding in the car the last couple days, walking around town, and lack of sleep, today’s goal was just to get in and get some deadlift work done in the briefs. This was the first time I had worked back into gear since hurting my back at my last comp. I was pleased with today’s lifting. I got out of position a decent amount but that’s to be expected with this being my first time back at it. Started having some hamstring pain in my left leg and cut the last set short.

Sumo Deadlifts max 3 135,225,315,briefs on 405,495,545,585,635×2


So I’m about 7 weeks out from Refuge and about 12 weeks out from Tennessee’s Strongest Man at this point. Coming off a week off to try and get my fire back and catch up on life stuff. I didn’t really accomplish that, but I’m revamping my training to hear up for the last few weeks before this show. Hoping to go to 4 days per week and see what it gets me. My deadlift is on the cusp of a huge breakthrough I think, and my moving events are improving.

I’m hoping the addition of the box jumps and later some agility work will help with event transitions and allow me to bring my best package to the show. Then, it’s just time to compete.

Here’s what went down today.

Box Jumps

48″ x4x3

Keg/Farmers/Duck Walk Medley

220/200/210 x32 seconds

220/220/300 x35 seconds. Too slow on transitions here. :-/

Axle Deadlift



A good amount of work without completely destroying myself today. Back on Monday to finish this prep with earnest.

the past 12 weeks has been lonely when it comes to training. This is due to my school and client scheduling, I have not had many opportunities to train with many of the team members. Today was an exception and it was fun to be around the team members that did show up (even though it was like 1/8 of the team). I’m calling all you punks out… where were you? I know 3 had a valid reason for not showing up.

-speed squats 300 + chains (was suppose to add bands but I miss read program
-max effort deads 2×1: 545+ 80 in chains (4) – 575+ 80 in chains (4)
I choked the chains up a good bit so one link was left on floor. I am short so when I don’t do this I am barely getting links up
-sumo deads 4×6: 405
-shrugs 5×8: 315

then I ate pizza, lots of pizza

Dreaded bench day again for me. I was in a ton of pain today when we got up to our chain work. I grinded through it and I am on track to hit the same bench I did in the NBS meet last November which is the best outcome I can hope for. I hate a hate hate relationship with bench.

2×1 with chains: 225+4 chains – 275+4 chains – 300+4 chains – 300+6 chains
seated behind next cable tricep ext. 3×20 (only way to relieve pain)
Incline DB Bench: 3×20 (added to pain later)

so last week Monday I strained my back and could not walk. I took it very easy and I felt good today warming up so I went for my ME work. my last set in this video was not my planned last set, I decided to do “the wobble” while squatting and it was due to me being special ED and narrowing my stance for some reason. I moved the weight at a decent speed but shut it down so I would not strain anything again.

2×1 w/ chains: 540 +2 chains – 540 +4 chains
banded SSB Squats 5×6
Reverse Hypers 5×10

Had to skip Monday workout because I did enough lifting heavy stuff getting ready for Jennifer & David’s BBQ party.
Why do I come to the gym every weekday morning at 6 am and push myself hard every morning when none of the other women my age do this? Maybe it is because none of the other women my age do this. I like doing things that others are not willing to do. I like pushing myself to see just what I can accomplish. It’s given more self-confidence than I ever had before (along with being old enough to think ‘screw it, I don’t care what you think).
Other than being out of town I rarely miss a workout. Why? Although sometimes I am tempted sleep in, I always am glad after the work out that I did not miss. I can’t really say that about the times that I skipped a workout to go into work early.
Lastly, and most importantly, I love to spend that time with people who energize me. My partners (and my trainer) are encouraging, dedicated, funny and they keep me feeling young.

Tuesday (arms,abs)

A1: Rope Pressdowns w/pause 3×10 40

A2: Single Arm Chain Extensions 1.5 reps 3×10 Ball/ chain on bench

Tricep Hell (1,2,3,4 board) 5 reps each till failure 65, 70, 75

B1: Cross Body Hammer Curls 3×10 15 DB

B2: EZ Curl Bar 1.5 reps 3×10 10 total

Fat Grip EZ Curl Bar Preacher Curls 2-3 warm ups, 4 drop sets WU bar, 5 total, 10

Forearm Curls (alternate Supinated and pronated) 4xfailure

Wednesday (Back)

A1: Scap Shrugs w/pause 4×8 5 lbs on row machine

A2: 1 arm barbell rows 4×12 bar (on land mine bracket)

Stretchers 2-3 warm up, 4×12, drop, drop. 50 drop 10 lbs each time

Barbell Shrugs 3×12 w/pause, rest pause 10,20,20,25

Straight bar scap row/full row, 2-3 warm ups, 3×10,rest pause. 40,50,60

Thursday (quads, calves, abs)

Single Arm DB Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat 2-3 warm ups, 1×4 drop sets 8-12 per set. 25, drop 20,15,10

Front Squats 2-3 warm ups, 8×8 (45 sec break) WU bar,55,60

Backwards Sled Walks 300 yards. 80 lbs

Standing Machine Calf Raises 3×10 (3 count pause and contraction). 35

10×10 Plank (skip)

ME NCL Bench x3 raw w/chains (slingshot 3 board 350,350 + 1chains each side,+1.5 chains, +2 chains)
DB Bench 60 reps (85×20,35,49,60)
Seated Overhead Rope Extensions 2-3 warm ups 3×10 (80)
Single Arm DB skullies 6×6 (25)
Reverse Single Arm Cable Pressdowns 3×15 (40)
YTWI 3×10 each (5)


Nutrition is a lot like religion and politics. Uneducated people looking for answers hear something that they like and hold onto to that one particular idea without question and vehemently attack anyone or anything that so much as challenges that idea. In a society of fatties looking to a fitness and health industry that is predominantly bogus, how can the average person or even the fitness enthusiast compare and grade one nutritional method against another? Well, hopefully this article will give some insight and knowledge to those and create some higher level understanding and thinking amongst those who are interested.

My background in nutrition is really quite simple. Being skinny my entire childhood and prepubescent years, I searched for methods to gain weight. This lead to reading the traditional muscle magazines, purchasing books, and eventually taking multiple nutrition classes in college (I was on a path to double major in nutrition until I got in an argument with my overweight type II diabetic nutrition teacher). The most influential teacher over that time period was experience. I’ve been skinny, fat, weak, strong, lean, fast, athletic, slow, and probably everything else in between in pursuit of high school and college athletics, bodybuilding, strongman, Olympic lifting, endurance races, and powerlifting. I’ve gotten the chance now to learn and be on a team with the best nutrition coaches on the planet as well as work with hundreds of clients myself since I got into the training industry. If I had to describe my nutrition methods I would say simple and individual. I approach every client differently and am big on compliance. The best nutrition plan isn’t worth anything if the client won’t follow it. Therefore, I will present to you the five components of nutrition that everyone needs to be aware of. I will also give examples of nutrition protocols that focus on only that one particular component.

1. Calories

Your body is a biological machine that is bound by the same physics that apply to other machines in the world. A calorie is a measurement of energy and therefore the more work being performed by your body, the more calories needed to maintain its current mass (Energy=Mass, thank you Einstein). If you intake less calories than the amount of work you are performing, your body will be forced to find another energy source. It finds this energy source within itself and ends up converting its own mass (tissue) into energy and the end result is that you lose weight (along with whatever tissue your body decided to utilize, ideally body fat). The opposite is true as well, that if you intake more calories than you require for the work being done your body will convert that extra food into body mass and you will gain weight. Weight Watchers is a perfect example of a nutrition plan that focuses only on caloric intake. It gives a certain amount of points (calories) that you are allowed to eat and lets you choose the foods that make up those points. The down side to this is that your body isn’t a closed system and is constantly regulating itself. The amount of energy being consumed and converted is constantly varying based on many factors like activity, consumption of food, and hormones.  Also, not every calorie is treatd the same in the body. That brings us to macronutrients.

2. Macronutrients

Macronutrient is the term used to describe those nutrients (food components) that provide your body with energy. They are broken down into three categories: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.  Proteins are the building blocks of your body. They are what your muscles, skin, organs, some hormones, and other body parts are made out of. Your body can use protein for energy but it prefers to use it to make things. Carbohydrates arethe body’s preferred source of energy for most physical activities. Your body does not make anything out of carbohydrates so if it can’t use it for current activity, it will store is as either glycogen (stored glucose) in the muscles or liver, or it will convert it into bodyfat (your body isn’t a fan of wasting good energy). Finally fat is what your nervous system, certain hormones, and other body parts are made of. It is also the primary source of energy for longer duration activity and while at rest. As you can see, different macronutrients are utilized differently in the body. A common nutrition plan called ‘If it fits your macros” focuses only on macronutrient amounts. Again, you are allowed to choose whatever foods you like as long as they fit within the boundaries of the macronutrient amounts you have been asigned. The down side of this is that different foods have different effects on the body outside of just their calories and macronutrient makeup.

3. Food Choice

Different macronutrients have different effects on the body but the source of those macronutrients plays a role as well. For example, although a sweet potato, an apple, and a jolly rancher all provide you with the same end product (sugar), the body’s response to all three will be significantly different. Also, the micronutrient makeup of different foods can play a role in overall health and function. Micronutrients are nutritional components that don’t provide you with calories (vitamins, minerals, electrolytes). These play major roles in basic body functions and depending on your food choices, you may or may not be getting the amounts of each that you need. For example, a sweet potato is more nutritionally dense than a white potato which is more nutritionally dense than French fries from a bag. Other factors can be seen in the difference between grain fed and grass fed beef. Grain fed beef has higher levels of omega-6 fatty acids compared to grass fed which has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to increase inflammation while omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to decrease it.  A popular diet that focuses only on food choice is the Paleo diet. While food choices are very important, when you eat those foods makes a difference as well.

4. Timing

Timing plays a major factor in how your body will utilizes different nutrients that you intake. For example, during and post workout, your body is in need of easily accessible energy for work and for recovery. During this window your body will process any carbs you take in much differently than if you ate them at another point during the day. Different macronutrients have been shown to affect the way you sleep as well. Another factor that comes into play is the combination of foods eaten together. Liquid foods will digest much faster than solids and proteins and fats will slow down the digestion of carbohydrates if eaten together. A popular diet amongst many powerlifters and strength athletes that focuses primarily on timing is carb back loading. While timing is important, there is one final component to consider.


This is the most diverse and dynamic component to nutrition. It takes into account the physical, mental, emotional, and social differences amongst everyone person. Some people physically can’t eat certain foods due to allergies like lactose intolerance or Crohn’s disease. Others have a mental barrier that makes it tough for them to stay on a specific dietary plan or who may have some type of eating disorder that they have to work through or aren’t even aware of. The emotional connection to food is extremely strong and is another challenge many people face when trying to change their diet. Finally, many people have social struggles like specific work and time requirements or even being in a social group that centers around eating and drinking. The genetic makeup of everyone is different and therefore the potential for different responses to different diets, food choices, etc is high. A diet that tries to focus primarily on individuality is the blood type diet. While individuality plays a huge role, it is still just one component of nutrition. 

 You can see that nutrition can be a bit more complicated than just jumping on the latest fad diet (even if it isn’t mainstream and is just amongst strength athletes). What can you take away from all this? Well, if you don’t focus on any of these when it comes to nutrition, then focusing on just one will probably yield some results. Because of the individuality component, these results will vary from person to person which is why not everyone who goes on weight watchers gets skinny and why not everyone who carb back loads gets huge and shredded (but they’re really good at selling you on the idea that you will). Also, look at any nutrition plan you see with a grain of salt and an ounce of education. Does it makes sense or does it just play into your desire to keep eating bad foods? I’m surprised by how many people get sucked into a diet because it tells them they can keep eating shit foods and still reach their goals. Finally, understand that if your progress has stalled or if you are looking to take it to another level, you will either need to do a significant amount of research and testing on yourself or hire someone with experience who can help you reach those goals.

I hope this has opened your eyes a bit to the fact that nutrition isn’t quite as cut and dry as many would have you believe. Much like training, it can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make. In either case, having the knowledge of what to do and the will power to do so are still the two components that are always a factor.

1.5 days until prejudging!  Jr. Nats is a two day event, unlike most shows that run AM and PM.  So, the pros: I get a little recovery time to relax between showing.  cons: I have to try and peak twice.  Oh well.  Today was another depletion workout.  The goal here is to just move, pretty much and use up some glycogen.  Im still pretty full and watery from my refeed, but thats expected and welcomed.  Anyway, FAT GIRL hit the gym!  Looked a little somethin’ somethin’ like this:

A1) Incline press 3×15

A2) Dips 3×20, squeeze at top, no lockout

A3)  HLR 3×20

B1) Lat Pull downs 3×15, hard squeeze at bottom

B2) KB rear delt swings 3xfailure

B3) Plank x1 minute

C1) Seated Cable Rows 3×15

C2) Tricep Pull downs 3×20

C3) Pushups 3xfailure

ended with 10 rounds of battle rope slams, 15 seconds on/45 seconds off.


Note: as my legs tend to get pretty watery after i trash them, I am leaving them alone until monday.  Monday I will do some cool stuff!

Well, it finally happened. I went about 3 cycles without a deload before I finally crashed out. Everything was feeling good so I wanted to ride the wave and see where it got me. I made solid gains in strength again, and have gotten significantly more proficient at cleaning every rep on the log. All good things.

However, I reached zombie status where everything was irritating me, I wasn’t sleeping well no matter what, and my appetite started to dwindle. For anyone that doesn’t know me, my appetite had been borderline legendary since high school. When it takes a hit is always my immediate sign to back down and rest.

As such, this became a deload week. It ends up working out ok because my wife is going on a mission trip to Nicaragua starting Sunday and will be gone around 8 days, so there’s a lot to do to get her ready to travel and make sure I’ve got the week at home covered.

As for training, I have deloads where I continue to train and deloads where I pretty much drop everything to recover. This is the latter. My primary focus is mainly mobility for the week , with core stabilization training and some sprinting/jumping thrown in, but nothing crazy. The goal is RECOVER.

On a programming note, we may make a few tweaks leading up to the Refuge Barbell Classic, mainly just to accommodate to events and plan for me taking a family vacation in July prior to the contest. And then we will turn around and try to get ready for Tennessee’s Strongest Man in September. Busy fall , but such is the nature of the sport. Time to grind it out and qualify for Reno!

ME NCL Squat x3 raw w/chains (135,225,315,365,405,455,495,545 (585), +4 chains,+8 chains (plus an extra on the right side, oops!)
Wall Squats onto box with band around knees 10×5 (80 lb vest)
Keg holds 4×30 sec (150 keg)
Round Back Hypers on 45 degree Hyper 3×20 (25)
X-Band Walk with squat 3×20 (monster)


anies win

(that’s  me in the middle with my Ax up…I don’t know what to do in pictures)

I’m jumping in on this a little late, so for the next few weeks my training log will be a little crazy.

Currently I am about four days out from NPC Jr. Nationals.  I just finished a warm up show this weekend, learned a ton, and am grateful for the short existence in figure that I’ve had so far.  That said, my heart is in the iron and I cant wait to get back to it.

I had a giant refeed yesterday (400g carbs!) and am finishing up some depletion workouts for the week.

A) Squats 225×15 (whoa, homie…breathing like a dragon.)

B1) Wide Grip Pull ups x 12,10,10

B2) Handstand pushups x 15,15,15

B3) 24 inch box jump x 20,20 20

C1) 1 arm DB rows x 15,15,15 (80lb DB)

C2) Pushups x failure x 3

C3) Plyo Lunges 30,30,30

D1) Pullovers x 15,15,15

D2) Dips x 15, 15, 15

D3) Squat Jumps x 20, 20, 20 (bar only)

10 minutes HIIT afterward 15 seconds sprint, 45 seconds jog.



Current macros are sitting at



Incline DB Bench 6×6 (100 2 min break)
Neutral Chest Supported Rows 6×6 (80 1 min break)
Pullup series 3 of each (1 min break till can’t go anymore) (3 of each)
Laying T’s 3×15 palms down (10)
Football Bar Curls 6×8 (65 30 sec break)
Grenade Ball Straight Back Extensions 3×12 (50)
Blast Strap Tricep Extensions 3×15 (BW)

Thursday (day 3) I felt better and was able to walk with minor pain. The reverse hyper was painful to get onto and In position but once I was warmed up it was good.
Today was great and has my hopes high to be back on track for nationals. I was pain-free all day today with no need of painkillers. Stuff in the morning after waking up but the more I moved the better I felt.
By the end of the day I was able to use the reverse hyper with 25 pounds, and able to squat the bar below parallel all pain free.
I will be adding weight in small increments to the reverse hyper and the squat bar every day from now until the end of next week (skipping 1 ME squat day, which is a big deal).

Sleeping was still painful last night and again I relied on pain medication. I also needed pain medication prior to class since sitting in one spot was very uncomfortable for long periods of time.
I got adjusted again today which was helpful as well. I started messing around with machines at the gym and I found that the 45° hyper was very helpful and stretching my hamstrings, but my number one go to machine is definitely the reverse hyper with the traction it created in my spine along with the stretch it gave my spinal erectors. David came over and actively pushed my legs through a greater range of motion which hurt but felt amazing. This was the most pain relief I have had yet, but the muscles seem to lock up 10 minutes after using the reverse hyper. Needless to say I was over at that machine about four times in an hour.

After the injury Monday I need pain pills to sleep at night and I also needed pain pills to function during the day after. I still had to fulfill my duties as a student and attend summer school classes.
I canceled all of my personal training clients today and met with a well-known chiropractor in the area. After getting adjusted I instantly felt a ton of relief. Hamstring stretches also offered some relief but there is a lot of pain getting into a hamstring stretch. I can however touch my feet today if move slow enough.

Sorry I’m a little late on updating my training log. This week was pretty bad from the view of any competing athlete. During my first top set of two, during squats today, I over arched my spine and believe I did some minor damage to the muscles overly straining them. There was no immediate pain from the set, but as I finished my second rep of my second top set my back completely locked up.
I immediately stopped training and tried to relax.
I had three clients after this incident that I did not want to cancel on which was probably a bad idea. I was unable to walk very well by the end of the night and needed my lifting belt on and clamped down for support.


ME NCL Deadlift x3 raw/chains (pin pulls off 34, 135,225,315,405,495,585,+1 chain, +2 chains, + 3 chains, +4 chains
Wall Squats onto box with band around knees 10×5 (20 lbs vest
Rack Position Sand Bag Carries 3×100 yards (punching bag, punching bag +20 lb vest)
Round Back Hypers on 45 degree Hyper 3×20 (20 lb DB)
X-Band Walk with squat 3×20 (monster)

ME NCL Bench x3 raw w/chains (football bar 95,135,185,225,275, + 1 chain, +1.5 chains, +1.5 chains, +1.5 chains)
DB Bench 60 reps (80 x18,35,56,60)
Seated Overhead Rope Extensions 2-3 warm ups 3×10 (70)
Single Arm DB skullies 6×6 (20)
Reverse Single Arm Cable Pressdowns 3×15 (30)
YTWI 2×10 each (5)


No video from today because, well, the weights aren’t that impressive really. Plus it takes a while to clean every other rep on the log, and its a bit of a boring video as a result. Anyways, was feeling kinda spent coming into today’s session, but went in and tried to get it done anyways. Ended up surviving, but it was brutal.

As an aside, I’ve made mention to numerous people in the industry how I’ve been feeling slow and sluggish with all my events lately. I just don’t seem to have the speed with stuff that I used to, even though my strength is continuing to improve. David suggested I try incorporating some jumps back into my routine, just to see if that helps wake everything back up and get me feeling snappy again. I figure since we have those sweet new jumping boxes at NBS, I might as well give it a shot. I’ll likely start incorporating some simple agility drills in as well just to help with foot speed with transitions between events when doing medleys. I’ll be interested to see the results.

As for today, here’s what went down:

Log Clean and Press (clean every other rep)

Log x8
175x3x10 <--- these suuuucckkkeed today. Kicked my butt Front Squat 135x3 185x2 225x3x10 Chest Supported Rows 55x3x10 DONE. Totally blown out after these. Was just struggling and tired, but hey, that happens. I haven't been sleeping super well so that's to be expected. Back Thursday for more fun.

ME NCL Squat x3 raw w/chains (cambered bar box squats 135,185,225,275,315,365,405,455 (475), +4 chains, +8 chains, +12 chains
Wall Squats onto box with band around knees 10×5
Rack Position Sand Bag Carries 3×100 yards (punching bag)
Round Back Hypers on 45 degree Hyper 3×20 (BW)
X-Band Walk with squat 3×20


Events day was a bit of a shambles today. I deviated from the plan because I had something to prove and didn’t feel like doing speed yokes. Which is shit excuse, but you know, sometimes you just have to have a PR day. Went HAM on some farmers, and hit a nice PR thanks to some well timed shamecasting. I’ve got work to do so, yeah, it’s time I do it. I was tripping over my own feet on the run with 250, which was irritating, but I will get better. Here’s what went down:

Farmers Walks

290×25′ <-- PR! Axle 18" Deadlift 315x5 405x4 <-- low back felt rough so I stopped here. DONE. Going to continue to ride this program for a while until the progression fails and then reassess. Still weighing right at 230, but feeling sluggish, and I'm not sure if it's sleep/health related, but regardless, I don't feel like I'm moving well. May be adjusting a bit to increase my athleticism a bit, as I think it's grossly undervalued in strongman today, and the most athletic folks are who are winning shows now. Not just the strongest guys.

So, today was a bit of an eye opener. First time since I don’t know when that I’ve legitimately felt my glutes and hamstrings firing hard when deadlifting. Often I’ve felt mostly my back working, but not in a good way. I’m hoping that while my progress may stall a bit as I continue to work on newfound weakpoints, I will ultimately emerge stronger and faster on the tail end of things. Anyways, here’s what went down:

Deadlift, from the floor

500×0 <--- one day. soon. Axle Press, from rack 125x5 155x2 185x2 215x2 245x2+1 cleaned from floor 245x2x3 <--- that's better. McGill Planks 2 rounds of 10x10 seconds DONE. Wiped out doing ab work like this. Look for a possible write up coming soon.

The final week of a workout series is always brutal. David made me do big boy push ups. They look pretty pitiful. Thanks to Jeff Mason for creating a little distraction. 

Monday (shoulders & triceps)
Seated DB Cleans 4×12 (45 sec break) 8 lb DB
Hammer Shoulder Press 1.5 reps Max 10 20,30,35,40
Seated Side Raises 3xMax 1 min (1 min break) 8 lb DB
Fat Grip EZ Bar Skullies 1.5 reps Max 10 bar, 5,10,15, 20 fail at 8
Single Arm Reverse Handle Pressdowns 8×8 (no break) 22.5 
Pushups 3xMax (30 sec break) 11,7,4 Hello, Jeff!


So today was good minus STILL not getting all the slack out of the bar before pulling deadlifts. Only doing it on my top sets. I HAVE to figure it out if I want to move heavy weight. Also failed to lock out my top sets with my hips. All my accessories revolved around firing the glutes and hamstrings to help my lockout.

-Max Deads with chains 2×2: (545+2 chains) (545+ 4 chain)
-Dimmel Deads: 3×20
– Banded GHR: 3×20
– bailed on trunk work


Seated Box Jumps 8×3
ME NCL Deadlift x5 (sumo Deadlifts 135,225,315,405,455,+60,+120)
Single Arm DB Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat 2-3 warm ups, 1×4 drop sets 8-12 per set (60,50,40,30)
Front Squat harness squat 2-3 warm ups, 8×8 (60 sec break) (205)
Backwards Sled Walks 300 yards (135)
Standing Machine Calf Raises 3×10 (3 count pause and contraction) (70 each side)

A1: Scap Shrugs w/pause 4×12 (50)
A2: 1 arm barbell rows 4×8 (60)
Stretchers 2-3 warm up, 4×12 (130)
Barbell Shrugs 3×12 w/pause, rest pause (265)
Straight bar scap row/row, 2-3 warm ups, 3×10,rest pause (110)


Today sucked bad!!! I was in a ton of forearm pain even while warming up. it just got worse as the weight got heavier, 300 + 4 chains is all I could muster up. Checking back from last cycle, this is the same amount of weight I was able to push so I am basically on track to keep my bench the same. With the variable of my injured arm I feel that is the best case scenario I can be in.

– Competition Bench w/ Chain
– Strict Press 6×6
– Shoulder Shrugs 5×15
– Tate Press 3x Failure
– Front, Side, Rear delt 1.5’s 3×10 per direction

ME Bench NCL x5 (squat bar floor press 55,145,195,235,255,275,285)
A1: Rope Pressdowns w/pause 3×10 (120)
A2: Single Arm Chain Extensions 1.5 reps 3×10 (1.5)
Tricep Hell (1,2,3,4 board) 5 reps each till failure (135,185,205,225×3 on 4 board)
B1: Cross Body Hammer Curls 3×10 (40)
B2: EZ Curl Bar 1.5 reps 3×10 (17.5 each side)
Fat Grip EZ Curl Bar Preacher Curls 2-3 warm ups, 4 drop sets (30,20,10 each side)

Had a solid session again yesterday. Not feeling too terrible overall, albeit a bit sore. Cleaning every rep on the log is kicking my ass, but it’s going to make me a hell of a lot stronger on the press and clean. Weights I used to struggle with just pressing every rep are getting easier and I’m adding the difficulty of cleaning each one.

I’m also retooling my nutrition a smidge since I have a grill now, so I can prep more food at once instead of only using the oven (which irritates me). Nothing really changing in the way of macros, since I’m sitting around 231-2 every time I weigh in, just cleaning up the food types a bit to make sure I stay healthy.

As for the training, I cut the reps down a bit on the accessories for biceps and triceps because my elbows were feeling a bit crummy. Not a big deal yet, I just know I’m prone to tendonosis in those areas so I don’t want it to get back before I address it. Here’s what went down though:

Log Clean and Press (clean every rep)

Log x8

Front Squats


Pendlay Row


Cable Straight Bar Curls


OH Band Extensions

Avg x2x25

KB Swings

36kg x2x15

Side Bridge

2x30s each side


Back Thursday for deadlifts.

Incline Hamstring Curls 2-3 warm ups 3×10, 1xmax w/partials (30, dropped to 20)
RDLs against bands no lockout 2-3 warm ups 3×15, 2-3 rest pause sets (225)
Reverse Hypers 2-3 warm ups, 3×10 (2 each side)

Today we started out Transmutation phase in our “concurrent – block” hybrid training routine. We introduced wraps and chains to our competition lift, you can tell I have not used my wraps in awhile as I am all over the place trying to find my “path”. All things considered it was a good day. I got a 15lb training best with this particular set up from last cycle, best top set today 510 +6 chains

-squat with chains 2×2: (500 + 4chain) (510 + 6chain)
-paused SSB Banded Squats (awful) 5×8: (1×150) (4×240)
-45 Deg. DB Deadlift Hypers 4×10: (35lb DB)

I was smoked by this point and bailed on trunk work. I will make up for that tomorrow.


The Yoke. My eternal nemesis. I swear, every time I start getting stronger and faster at this thing and think I’m ready for a heavy PR, I get reminded that >750 lbs is still really damn heavy. 780 today felt godawful, and I kept trying to accelerate with no dice. That said, I don’t think I’ve walked more than 800 for any considerable distance, so the fact that I was pissed about being slow today is probably a good sign. The heat was definitely a factor too, and trying to do medleys when it’s hot is turrible. All in all, a solid workout though, and I’m looking forward to the next week of training. Here’s what went down

Yoke Walk

600×50′ (under 10 s for this run, much improved)

Sandbag/Keg Medley (80′ course, max runs in 10 mins this date)

125 SB/230 Keg 4 runs of 80′ each. Death.


Would have liked to get in my speed stones today, but my low back is just not feeling fantastic and I’m not willing to put myself in the hole right now for a few light stone reps. Back stronger next week for sure.

On that high rep grind again. I hate rep deadlifts with a fiery passion, but since many deadlift events in strongman are reps for time, I need to get my ass in gear and get my motor up to speed on this stuff. The progressive deadlift in KY is going to be brutal if I’m not prepared. I struggled with the axle for reps today too, but I know it’s making my shoulders stronger and will bring me a better press come competition day. Anyways, here’s what went down today (plus photobombs):



Axle, from Rack

195x3x10 <-- may need to decrease jumps on warmups. Stretchers, a la Meadows 50x10 70x10 90x2x10 Ab Wheel BWx3x5 DONE. Skipped shrugs today because my back was already toast from earlier in the week and I wanted to have the best possible chance at a max yoke this weekend. Worked ok in hindsight, but I don't need to get in the habit of skipping exercises. In Saturday for events and stuff.

Explosive Pushups onto boxes 8×3 (45+pad)
A1: DB Bench flys Pronated to supinated 2-3 warm ups, 3×10 (40)
A2: Incline Hammer Bench 2-3 warm ups, 3 count pause and contraction 3×8 (65 each side)
Seated Side Raises 2-3 warmups, 3×10, w/max partials (30)
Seated DB Cleans 2-3 warm ups, 3 drop sets (20x3x10,15×7,10×10)
Laying DB Single Arm Cross Body Extensions 2 count contraction 3×10 (35)
Incline EZ Bar Skullies 2-3 warm ups, 3×12, drop set (37.5/25 each side)

Seated Box Jumps 8×3
ME NCL Deadlift x1 (135,225,315,405,455,495,545,585,605)
Single Arm DB Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat 2-3 warm ups, 1×4 drop sets 8-12 per set (25,35,45,55)
Front Squats 2-3 warm ups, 8×8 (45 sec break) (205)

I drank a monster rehab prior to training today and that was a big mistake. I don’t normally take any caffeine or stimulants so it hit me big time. After doing the front squats my heart rate was through the roof and I couldn’t get it to come down. Lesson learned.


A1: Scap Shrugs w/pause 4×12 (45)
A2: 1 arm barbell rows 4×8 (55)
Stretchers 2-3 warm up, 4×12 (120)
Barbell Shrugs 3×12 w/pause, rest pause (245)
Straight bar scap row/row, 2-3 warm ups, 3×10,rest pause (100)

Well it is bench day at NBS Fitness which is the scariest day for me since I never know how my triceps are going to hold up. Today they barely did just that, “hold up”. we decided to use the new EliteFTS Football bar and it really tested my injury. Since this bar keeps your shoulders in extension it automatically puts the majority of the load on the triceps similar to a close grip bench. Well it just so happens my injury is in that area. I stopped at 315lbs, as you can see by the video the weight moved well but my muscles in that region were not having it and I did not want to fail 2 weeks in a row so I took what they gave me and ended my max effort work.

-Footbal Bar (3×2): 295-305-315
-Single Arm Standing OH Press (6×6): 70lbs
-Laying Skull Crushers 4 chains (5×10): 65lbs
-DB Flys (3×20): 30lbs (to much weight)
-Rolling Tricep Ext. (3×20): 25lbs
-Banded Tricep Pushdowns (100)

Finally made it back in the gym. I’ve been sick pretty much since last week, and then ended up straining my back attempting to transfer a patient when I was working over the weekend. Not my finest 7 days for sure. It also means I missed doing heavy yoke and some other rep ranges that I think would really help me get stronger. Thus, I’m re-doing the same week of training. It obviously served me well, seeing as I hit some decent reps with the same weights, but I struggled with my wind, mainly from congestion and stuff. Here’s what went down though:

Log Clean and Press, Clean every rep

Log x8

Front Squat


Chest Supported Rows


OH Band Extensions

Avg x4x25

Rope Hammer Curl


Various Ab Things.


Overall I’m feeling better. Sore as hell today, but that’s mainly from a week of inactivity I think. Higher rep work is coming tomorrow, with some serious insanity this weekend. Hoping for a yoke PR on the horizon.

Wednesday (arms)
ME Bench NCL x1 (3 board 95,135,185,225,275,315,335,355,365,375,385)
A1: Rope Pressdowns w/pause 3×10 (110)
A2: Single Arm Chain Extensions 1.5 reps 3×10 (2 chains)
Tricep Hell (1,2,3,4 board) 5 reps each till failure (135,155,175,195,215×1 on 4 board)
B1: Cross Body Hammer Curls 3×10 (35)
B2: EZ Curl Bar 1.5 reps 3×10 (15 each side, big bar)
Fat Grip EZ Curl Bar Preacher Curls 2-3 warm ups, 4 drop sets (25,15,10,5)
Forearm Curls (alternate Supinated and pronated) 4xfailure


This is the current diet program that I follow. I am not insanely strict about it. Sometimes I will substitute different meals or if I just can’t eat I’ll skip one. I usually go out to eat 1 or two times over the week and will throw in rice krispie treats as I feel like it (I love those things).

Phase 4
Protein: 75 g per meal
Carbs: 40 g per meal
Fat: 35 g per meal
Total Calories: 4555+

Meal 1 (shake)
Whey Isolate 2.5 Scoops
White Rice Flower 1/3 Cup
2.5 TBSP Olive Oil
1/2 cup fruit
1/2 cup spinach
1 Cup Almond Milk

Meal 2
9.5 oz lean protein
¾ Cup White Rice, 8 oz red potatoes, 6.5 oz white or sweet potatoes (I choose one of these)
3.2 TBSP Butter, 1/2 cup nuts, 2.5 TBSP Coconut Oil (I choose one of these)

Meal 3 (shake)
Whey Isolate 2.5 Scoops
White Rice Flower 1/3 Cup
2.5 TBSP Olive Oil
1/2 cup fruit
1/2 cup spinach
1 Cup Almond Milk

Meal 4
9.5 oz lean protein
¾ Cup White Rice, 8 oz red potatoes, 6.5 oz white or sweet potatoes
3.2 TBSP Butter, 1/2 cup nuts, 2.5 TBSP Coconut Oil

Meal 5
7 Whole Eggs
1 2/3 Cup Egg Whites
1 quart Gatorade

120 grams Cyclic Dextrin
50 grams Hydro Whey
Citruline Malate
Beta Alanine

Today did not go quite as Well as I had hoped. The my last 2 working sets of max effort squats were close but high, and I felt as though I could not open my hips and keep my knees out defending not ascending during squats today. I made up for it by killing myself on accessories.

-Buffalo Bar – 6 chains 3×2: 405(no vid)-435-455
-SSB Seated GM 6×6: 230
-SSB Close Stance Squats 5×10: 230
-Sandbag Carries 4x100yrds
-BD Glute Bridges 100: 30lbs


ME Squat NCL x1 (buffalo bar 135,225,275,315,365,405,456,495,525)
Incline Hamstring Curls 2-3 warm ups 3×10, 1xmax w/partials (30 each side/drop to 20)
RDLs against bands no lockout 2-3 warm ups 3×15, 2-3 rest pause sets (215)
Reverse Hypers 2-3 warm ups, 4 drop sets, 1xmax partials (2×2,2×1.25,1.25×1.25,1.25×1)
Leg Press Calf Raises 3×1 min max (2.25 each side)
V Bar Heavy Press downs no lockout 2-3 warm ups 3×10, 1xmax partials (150)

Sunday (chest, shoulders, triceps, grip)
Explosive Pushups onto boxes 8×3 (45 plates)
A1: DB Bench flys 2-3 warm ups, 3×10 (30,35,40)
A2: Incline Hammer Bench 2-3 warm ups, 3 count pause and contraction 3×8 (55,60,65)
Seated Side Raises 2-3 warmups, 3×10, w/max partials (25)
Seated DB Cleans 2-3 warm ups, 3 drop sets (15/12/10)
Laying DB Single Arm Cross Body Extensions 2 count contraction 3×10 (30)
Incline EZ Bar Skullies 2-3 warm ups, 3×12, drop set (35/20)
Plate Pinch Holds, warm ups, 3xMax (25/35/45)


2nd Bench day. I am replacing my speed bench day with another “max effort day” but keeping it lighter to work on movement patterns. last week I stayed at 225 lbs this week is 236lbs

– Drop down Pushups from 45lb bumper plates (pain with this in triceps. will not be doing again) 5×5
– bench 3×5: 235
– High rows – reverse grip – push out on handles 6×8: 70lbs a side
– JM press 8×10: 65lbs (pain with this as well)
– DB shrugs 3x failure: 80lbsx30 – 100lbsx20 – 100lbsx16
– Grenade ball bicep cable curls 100
– Standing behind the neck rope tricep ext. 100: 20lbsx50 – 30lbsx50

speed squats and speed deads went pretty well today. I have been staying out late do to festivals in the area and was not expecting to feel as good as I did during this training session. 90% of my speed squats were to depth and it was with the highest percent in the wave so that was good. I am still beltless and not hurting very much in the lumbar region of my spine which is a good sign. Speed deads went better than expected as well, I am getting my positioning down for taking slack out of the bar with my legs and shoulders that has been an issue the past several months.

-Speed Squats 55% 8×2: 330 + 6 chains
-Speed Deads: 405 progression: 405-2chains-4chains-6chains x 5 (video only has chains and 6 chain sets shown)
-straight leg deads (con) 6×8: 225
-Hip thrusters 8×8: 185
-weighted vest 45 deg. round back hypers: 10×10


So teammate Austin loves tot rain back on a day all by itself. Now that we are planning on hitting the platform on the same time I cam able to train with him much more often. Sorry but no video today! However we did a new workout I am just going to call Austin rows, I will get video of this next week.

– Standing Lat Pullovers w/ V-bar 4×10
– Austin Rows: 8×10, on 8th set as many as possible including half reps – at failure strip weight and iso hold bar for max time
– Lat pulldowns: 4×12, after last set of 12 reps pause (15 sec) then cluster set (as many as you can) repeat 3 times
– rear delt bent over flys: 4×20 (single arm)
– seated strict facepulls: 4×12 then same at lat pulldowns 3 cluster sets with 10sec rest pause

Seated Box Jumps 8×3
ME NCL Deadlift x3 (pin pulls off 34 135,225,315,405,455,495,545,585,605,625×2)
Single Arm DB Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat 2-3 warm ups, 1×4 drop sets 8-12 per set (50,40,30,20)
Front Squats 2-3 warm ups, 8×8 (45 sec break) (185)
Backwards Sled Walks 300 yards (115)
Standing Machine Calf Raises 3×10 (3 count pause and contraction) (45,55,65 each side)

It is Max Effort Upper again today and for me that means hoping that all my band work, massages, dry needling and warm ups keep me pain free throughout my pressing. I had teammate and massage therapist Yvonna use rock tape on my arms to relieve the some tension and it proved extremely useful to me. I was able to finish all my main movement sets pain free which allowed me to finish my training and not have to “slack off” on accessory work.

-Incline Press w/ chains: 8 chains (bar-95-135×2-185×2-205-215×2)
– Single Arm Standing DB Press 6×6: 70lbs
– Seated Behind the Neck Cable Rope Tri. Ext.: 3×12@70lbs – 3 cluster sets with 15 sec rest pause (brutal)
– Incline DB Flys 3×20: 30lbs
– 100 banded press downs

Thursday (Back)
A1: Scap Shrugs w/pause 4×8 (30,30,35,40)
A2: 1 arm barbell rows 4×12 (35)
Stretchers 2-3 warm up, 4×12 (110)
Barbell Shrugs 3×12 w/pause (225)
Straight bar scap row/row, 2-3 warm ups, 3×10 (90)

Wednesday (back)

Pulldowns 1.5 reps Max 10 reps 70 lb, 70 lb (started too heavy)

Neutral Pullups Max 6

Single Arm Rows 1-2-3 max sets 8 reps 20 lb DB, 25 lb DB

Hammer High Rows 8×8 (30 second break) 30 total

Neutral Wide Cable Rows 15,12,10,8,6 – 40,50,60,70,80


ME Bench NCL x3 (95,135,185,205,225,245,255,265,270×1)
A1: Rope Pressdowns w/pause 3×10 (100)
A2: Single Arm Chain Extensions 1.5 reps 3×10 (1.5 chains)
Tricep Hell (1,2,3,4 board) 5 reps each till failure (95,135,165,185)
B1: Cross Body Hammer Curls 3×10 (30)
B2: EZ Curl Bar 1.5 reps 3×10 (big bar 10 each side)
Fat Grip EZ Curl Bar Preacher Curls 2-3 warm ups, 4 drop sets (20,15,1,5)
Forearm Curls (alternate Supinated and pronated) 4xfailure (55/45)

Originally I wanted to do this whole block using specialty bars and no box. I felt that I needed to make an extreme change since I have yet to utilize all the chains in the gym. I decided to go for a lot of chains today and add straight weight to the chains instead of adding chains to the straight weight.


-40% of 1rm in chains (roughly 240lbs at lockout) to a box 3×2: 380 – 400 – 420

– Seated SSB GM to pins 6×6: 200

– Narrow Stance SSB Squats 5×10: 200

– DB Farmer Walks: 50 yards 3x

– Hamstring Curls: 100 reps

Good session all around today, even though I felt like crap by the time I got off work. I think one of the kiddos I work with finally got me sick again. I’ve got all kinds of congestion crap kicking me in the teeth, and its just simply not fun. Since tomorrow should be storming when I get off work, I just plan to sleep it off tomorrow afternoon.

As far as training is concerned, I irritated/strained my left bicep doing log today. One the 3rd rep of my 1st work set I lost footing and held the log in a rowed position while my feet adjusted, and I think that’s what did it. Just feels bruised though, and there’s no gapping or nastiness going on so we shall see.

Front squats went super fast today. Could have likely reset a new max, but due to constraints and not wanting to get more sickly than I already feel, I called it after the work sets. Felt good though. Here’s what went down:


Log Clean and Press (clean every rep)

Log x8






Front Squats






Pendlay Rows



Rope Pushdowns






Cable Curls



Rope Crunches





Going to try and keep resting up and hope this bicep works itself out. Fingers crossed. Back Wednesday for more. Would love to push it back , but I have to work this weekend which will hamper any chance at events I’d have. Such is life. Adapt and overcome.




Finally got back up to some decent raw squat weight. Today felt good and I feel like I definitely could’ve done 600.

Monday (hamstrings,calves, triceps)
ME Squat NCL x3 (Spider Bar, box at 2 black pad, 135,225,275,315,365,405,455,495,545 (585) )
Incline Hamstring Curls 2-3 warm ups 3×10, 1xmax w/partials (25 each side)
RDLs against bands no lockout 2-3 warm ups 3×15, 2-3 rest pause sets (185)
Reverse Hypers 2-3 warm ups, 4 drop sets, 1xmax partials (165,140,115,90,90)
Leg Press Calf Raises 3×1 min max (2 each side)
V Bar Heavy Press downs no lockout 2-3 warm ups 3×10, 1xmax partials (140)


Still getting used to this new-fangled electronic stuff!!

Monday (shoulder, triceps, calves)
Seated DB Cleans 4×12 (45 sec break) (5 lb,7 lb)
Hammer Shoulder Press 1.5 reps Max 10 (15 lb each side)
Seated Side Raises 3xMax 1 min (1 min break) (5)
Fat Grip EZ Bar Skullies 1.5 reps Max 10 (5 lb each side)
Single Arm Reverse Handle Pressdowns 8×8 (no break) (20 lb)
Pushups 3xMax (30 sec break) (22,12,11)

-Bench 3×8: 225 (pain started)
-incline DB press 3×8: 75-85-75
-A1: banded shoulder work 3×10
-A2: grenade ball Tri. Ext. 3×10
– 1.5 front/side/rear delts 2×7: 7.5lbs
– seated cable rows 3×10: 65
– Tate Press 3×10: I did super light weight and did 3×20 for hurting triceps

When I first started training at the age of 14 in 1999, I would go up into my family’s “play” room and do all the exercises in a book my dad had given me from when he was a kid (from the 1960’s). I had no clue what I was doing and just looked at the pictures in the book and tried to mimic them as best I could. At the time, there was no social media, no camera phones, and no fitness fashion trends. I just went into the room and worked out for 3 hours or more. Was most of it stupid? Of course!

At some point I found a Flex magazine and started doing whatever program I could find out of there. I would still lock myself in our play room and do a million exercises I had no clue how to do. I even convinced my parents to buy me some supplements. The protein powder tasted horrible and the creatine made my stomach cramp up horribly. I didn’t have anyone giving me nutrition advice so I had to go by whatever the ads said. At some point, I got a gym membership and went there for 3 hours and did a bunch of stupid stuff. Still though, there was no facebook, no selfies, and no Lulu Lemon.

I probably trained for about 8 years doing dumb stuff before I received any quality information from anyone half knowledgeable. In today’s world, anyone at any level of fitness has direct access to the best information possible. So looking back, would I have changed what I did? Do I wis  I had the access that people today have? The answer is no.

My answer is no because I got the opportunity to learn and to develop, to think on my own and to grow in my own training. I got the opportunity to learn what was most important when it came to training and nutrition and life. I got the opportunity to set the habits in place early on without having to deal with all the fluff.

The fluff is all the bullshit that comes along with working out in today’s culture. People today don’t just train anymore. They have to have the right clothing, they have to make sure they’re matching, they have make sure their hair is done so they look good for their selfies, they have to make sure they have the right instagram filter on, they have to make sure they get a lot of likes on the pictures they post of their food, they have to make sure they have cool tattoos, they have to make sure everyone knows they’re hardcore, they have to make sure they post awesome gym memes showing everyone how special they are, they have to perfect their keyboard argument skills so everyone knows how much smarter they are than everyone else, and all the other bullshit that I see going on constantly. And on top of all this, people are becoming horribly impatient. They look at people who have been training for 10+ years and expect to reach their level in 1 or 2 years. They don’t want to put in the long hours, the hard training sessions or deal with the pain, the social pressure, and all the other steps you must go through to reach a high level. The same can be said for fitness professionals. No one wants to show up and put in the hard work and long hours. They don’t want to learn the training skills, the business skills, or the sales skills that take years to develop. They all want to be millionaires yesterday.

As someone who is in the fitness business, I’ve gotten caught up in all this fluff as well at times. I have to learn to live the fine line of using all the positive aspects of today’s social media and technology to grow my business and share knowledge with others without falling into the trap of majoring in the minor. I define majoring in the minor as letting your focus drift from the daily grind to that which does not actually make you better. Posting a food selfie doesn’t make you stronger, healthier, or leaner, staying on your nutrition plan even when you’re struggling does. Posting a video of your deadlift PR doesn’t make you a better deadlifter, still showing up to train after a long day of work does. There is nothing wrong with the minor. In fact, it helps others see the proper way to train and learn the proper way to eat and it helps them see what the possibilities are and what it truly takes to be great. Be careful not to let that become the focus of your daily routine. Be sure to focus your energy into that what will make you better. Forget the fluff and major in the major.

A day late catching up on my log, but I’m doing better with consistency here. Chilling on the couch on Mother’s Day fixing to do some mobility work after I write this thing up, because yesterday’s work has me all out of sorts. Nothing necessarily hurts, I’m just stiff and sore and need to get moving better. I suppose such is to be expected after the work I did, but hey, such is the curse of training hard.

I’m still having some struggles sleeping well, so I’m looking into options to help settle that down. I know of a few reputable supplement companies with safe and non habit forming options to facilitate better sleep. I already do a good job of trying to limit screen time and stims in the evening, as well as try to wind down for a while before I crash, but lately I’m still struggling to get to sleep and stay asleep.

One big potential culprit is stress. I’ve been blessed to be able to limit stress at home with the help of my wonderful wife, but unfortunately work is chaotic and looks to remain that way for the forseeable future. I’m trying to find ways to get stress down at work, but that’s proving easier said than done. Hoping to make a dent soon, but we shall see.

In the meantime, training continues, and we soldier on. Here’s what went down:

Keg Carry (40′ runs)

230×8.6 s

230×6.7 s

230×6.9 s

230×7.1 s

230×6.9 s


Atlas Stones (48″ bar)



300x4x3 (4 sets of 3)


Prowler, Max Distance in 10′

4 plates x640′ <– PR




Well spent after this one. Been trying to eat and rehydrate since yesterday and I’m still struggling. Gains cometh, however.

Also, stayed tuned to the articles section this week. My monthly mobility/prehab/rehab spot starts this week. Keep an eye out each month, as I’ll be addressing topics from questions asked in the gym as well as providing ideas for mobility and prehab stuff to prevent injuries in the first place.

Had a tough day at work today and was worn out and exhausted by the time I made it in to the gym. One of those days where I’m glad I dragged myself in, but damn was it a struggle to get there. Ended up eating a bit too much before I went in I think, which crashed me even more. I’ll definitely be more careful next time. Anyways, here’s what went down:

Deadlifts, from the floor





370x3x5 (3 sets of 5)


Axle Press, from Rack

Axle x8




215x3x5 (3 sets of 5) <– wrist finally feeling better. Upper back is worn out though



BW x3x12, with negatives thrown in when I couldn’t do 12 straight reps



225×30, 30, 40 (100 total reps, AFSAP)


Palloff Press

50x3x10 <– I added these back in because I feel like my yoke and farmers progress really fast when I’m doing anti-movements (anti flexion, anti extension, anti rotation) for trunk strengthening. So, I figured what better time to add them back in? Plus, I struggle with these, especially to maintain a tight trunk and not substitute anything.



Overall, very good session. Deads felt light and fast. The new form is doing wonders for me, and I’m feeling glutes engage with every rep and the weight is flying off the floor. I’m just glad to have my hips engaged finally. Axle felt sluggish and kind of heavy, but I toasted my upper back on Tuesday so that’s to be expected.

I’m also enjoying the new switch to Tues/Thurs/Saturdays. I get to sleep in a bit the days after these workouts because I’m not scheduled at work until 9 am. Originally this was because I was training in the morning. But now? I feel 100x better training later at night and am continuing to make gains. It does suck timing wise with my wife though, because she often wakes up early to train, so she’s nearly falling asleep by the time I get home. We’ll find a way to work it out though.

Back Saturday for events and prowler hell.

Thursday (legs and calves)

Glute Ham Raises 8×8 (30 second break) -8lb DB

1.5 Squats heavy 6 -bar, 65,85,105,115

DB Step Ups 8×8 (30 second break) -30 lb DB

Goblet Squats 3xfailure -35 lb DB,40,40

Single Leg DB Calf Raises 10×10 (no break between legs) -30 lb DB

It was hot in the gym today, even at 6:30 am. It’s been cool so long I guess we’re just not used to it. Whole lotta sweating going on!
Having grown children has a whole new set of trials. Their issues bring a more complex set of challenges and require even more thought behind how to respond. Keeps this old girl on her toes, though!



Today do not go quite as I had planned to. I had both arms rock taped to relieve some of the tension that I was having due to my still unknown injury. This tape was the only thing that kept me going in this max effort session today.
My best set on bench today was video bombed by David Allen’s back side. In my final set, that I was convinced to do, ended in failure as I could not lock out my last rep due to being overly protective of my triceps.
Best set of the day 345×3

-2 board bench 3×3: 335-345-355 miss
-Overhead strict press 6×8: 115×1 – 135×5
-bent over rows 6×8: 185×4 205×2
-pull ups pyramid: 1-10
-meadows rows 8×8: 25
-neutral tricep DB press 8×8: 80lbs
-bicep curls 60
-banded tricep extensions 100


Wednesday (back biceps abs)

Incline Reverse Crunches 4×15

Pullups Pyramid (30 sec break) blk mon mini 5

Neutral Chest Supported Rows 8×8 (30 sec break) WU 20,25, 30

Bent DB Rows (palms Supinated) 15,12,10,8,6 20,25,30,35,40

EZ Bar Cable Rows 2-3 warm up sets 4×15 (45 sec break) 70

If events day is the best day, rep day suuuucks. I know it’s all part of the bigger plan, and reps will build the muscle to make me stronger, but damn it sucks doing 10 reps of ANYTHING. Without giving too much away, my programming is set up with oscillating days of 10’s, 5’s and 3’s. How and how much they wave is not for me to say, but safe to say, it’s working. I’m getting stronger on this plan, feel less beat up, and am generally excited to see how far it takes me. I’ll be running the plan in its current stage until we get closer to my August show, then we’ll probably adjust the events to more contest specific ones. Otherwise, I like where things are going currently.

As for today, here’s what went down:


Log Clean and Press (clean every other rep)

Log x8


175x3x10 ( 3 sets of 10. Turrible) Actually got lightheaded on these.


Front Squats



225x3x10 <– had trouble getting my breath on these. Weird.


Pendlay Rows



Reverse Hypers





It was a good session overall. I weighed in at 231, so my weight is holding steady on slightly reduced cals, and significantly cleaner calories as well. Glad to see my body is adjusting to the change in macros without significant issue. As for the training, cleaning every other rep is a ploy to get me used to lapping the log frequently. In essence, as I get tired, I have to remain explosive in the clean. There’s always the chance a press could go wrong and you have to ditch it. In which case, being able to clean efficiently when you feel like steaming fecal matter mid contest is a useful trait. Hopefully it pays off.

Back thursday for deads and axle.

So I’m having issues with YouTube. but finally got a video to load.
Today I tried a suggestion that coach David Allen made a couple months ago. It was to move the hand position on the cambered bar to the cross member piece allowing the bar to swing more. It did just that making this very difficult.

-Cambered bar – Wide stance – “swing grip” 3×3
– SSB Standing round back extensions 4×8
– paused RDL’s 6×8
– 45 Deg. Hypers (Glute activation, straight back) 4×15
– banded hamstring curls 100
– planks 4 x 1 min (30 sec rest)


so today failed yet again attempting to do speed bench. I go tto about my fourth set and gave it up due to increasing tricep pain. After training I had about a 2 hour rest period then got my triceps dry needled, my gosh that was painful. but totally worth it, I feel better now. Check out Dr. Martinez at NXT Level Chiropractic.

– close grip bench 5×10

– tate press’ 3 x 1min

– low rows 10×10

– plate raises  max w/ 45lbs – max w/ 35lbs – max w/ 25lbs

– DB Bicep Hammer curls 100

– banded punch downs 100

As I sit here watching the Ninja Turtles, I’m realizing through the brain fog how much events can take out of me. It’s that “need to nap to replenish” tired though, not that “i’m probably going to die” feeling. Just another sign that my diet adjustments and training are on point again. I haven’t had the best nights’ sleeping the past week so I’m pleased to be able to turn out a session like today.

Based on the AMRAP block pulls, I can honestly say my cardiovascular strength is improving as well. I managed to do two 1 minute AMRAP’s without dying, which is an improvement, I think. My yoke runs were smooth and fast after the initial suck of the first one. I probably could have kept going, but for the sake of my spine I figured I’d limit it to 5 runs today. Good news is that each run was faster than the last, so I’m getting better. Looks like I’m still leaning a little too far forward towards the end of the run as I’m trying to pick up speed. Need to work on my thoracic erector strength a bit and see if that helps me stabilize.

Here’s what went down though:



Tire Flips


650x6x3 <–little sluggish on my transitions


Yoke Walk


600×50′ in 18 s

600×50′ in 13.2 s

600×50′ in 13.0 s

600×50′ in 12.2 seconds (video)


18″ Deadlifts


315×20 in 60s

315×20 in 60s




Working with David on some more writing opportunities for the NBS site soon. Should be interesting to see what all he comes up with for the roll out, and it will bring some great information to the site (and hopefully spread the reach a bit).  We keep having technical difficulties filming the Hip Mobility video. One of these days we’ll get it right and bring the learn and the pain.

This was my first time deadlifting heavy after my back went pop at my last competition. Felt good and didn’t have any pain or discomfort. I can tell my body isn’t used to the heavy stuff yet bet it’s adjusting. The leg were smoked after all the crazy stuff afterwards.

Box Jumps 8×3 
NCL Deadlift Heavy 1(no belt conventional 455+200 chains)
Leg Extension 1-2-3 max sets 10 reps (30 sec break) (55 each side x4 sets)
Lunges 100 each leg (20 lb chain)
Leg Press 10 reps, add weight, no breaks (1-9 plates each side)
Standing Calf Raises 1 min Max Reps x3 (110 total)
V Touches 4×20


Speed everything

-Squats (8×2): 300 + 6 chains (no belt)
-Deads (6×1): 315 + chain progression each set (2 chains each set)
-Dimmel RDL’s (3×10)
– seated banded hamstring pulls
– rev. Hyper (3×15)
– round back 45 Deg hypers (3×15)
– banded good mornings 100

Wednesday (shoulders and triceps)
NCL Bench Heavy 1 (Close Grip 2 board 315,325,335,345,355,365 miss)
Side Raises w/pause 8×8 (30 second break) (20)
Hammer Shoulder press 1.5 reps Max 10 reps (85 each side x10)
Rope Pressdowns press/pause/pulse 5, 3-4 sets of 8 (60,70,80,80)
DB French Press 4×15 (45 sec break) (60×4, 13 reps on 4th set)
Max Push-ups x3 (30 sec break) (42,14,12)

Pulldowns 1.5 reps Max 10 reps (80,100,120,130,140)
Neutral Pullups Max 6 (BWx5 sets)
Meadows Rows 1-2-3 max sets 8 reps (25,35,45,50,55)
Hammer High Rows 8×8 (30 second break) (70 each side)
Neutral Wide Cable Rows 15,12,10,8,6 (100,120140,160,170


Just counted. I’m 13 weeks out from the Refuge Barbell Classic. It’s going to be my first meet of the contest season and promises to be a doozy. Generally the people that show up to Derek’s contest are the strongest and fastest in the area, so that’s exactly why I want to go : to find out where I stand with some of the best. We never achieve greatness by hanging around the same folks all the time. We must be tested to truly find out what we are.

That said, I had a solid session today. Deadlift felt amazin, axle felt like fecal matter. Oh well. Here’s what went down:



Deadlift, from the floor






Add Belt

410x3x3 <– felt solid and good. Awesome!


Axle Press, from Rack





240x3x3 <– R wrist still feels like crap. Don’t know what’s going on, but may have to limit pressing soon if it doesn’t improve.



BW x3x8



Skipped these because the traction on my wrist doing pullups didn’t feel great


GHR Med Ball Twists

12x2x20 <— these were new, and nasty.




Other than my right wrist, everything is feeling solid. I’ve been doing some reading on what Stuart McGill (the back genius PT) did for Brian Carroll and realize the sensibility of it. Movement must be perfect throughout the day to avoid further stressing injured tissues. I think this may be a solution for my back pain that seems to be bothering me at work. Of course, I tend not to be in good positions when I bend over to treat my shorter kiddos, so I need to find a way to remedy this. Will be back Saturday for more events and fun.

April 26th has come and gone, and with it, the first fundraiser I’ve ever had the opportunity to chair and see through to fruition. It’s honestly been one of the biggest hassles and one of the hardest  things I’ve ever done. Was it worth it? Oh hell yeah.

For a bit of background, I started at Le Bonheur in September 2013 after a sort of rough ending with a previous employer. Full of vigor and excitement for my new job, I immediately began looking for ways to help the kids. Many children we see at the hospital come from less than perfect backgrounds (as do we all), with little to go home to and sometimes nonexistent support structures/parents.

These kids have very little. And as one who has grown up with the blessing of attending private grade school, private high school, and the college of my choice, this concept was so foreign to me. And as one who’d been picked on in school for one reason or another (I’ve largely kept this to myself), I wanted a way to give something to these kids. To use the strength I’ve gained with strongman to give back to those who don’t have much at all.

The endurance community succeeds brilliantly at this. The strength community is starting to pick up on it, but as it’s largely fractured with different federations, natural vs not, raw vs equipped, etc, there’s a lot of difficulty to get anyone to agree on anything. I wanted to start an annual fundraiser that would involve the community in a strongman type event that they could get behind; one that would bene