The Contrast

The Contrast
Lift Big, Sing Big, Look Great Doing It.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Full Body

190.4...but it is before 7am, so I expected to be heavier today.

Incline Bench
165 5x6



Bent Over Row
215 4x8



Front Squat
195 4x6



Deadlift
265 2x6

Dat neck vein doe...


Bicep Curl
150 x 5
120 x 8 



Close Grip Bench
150 2x8

Face Pulls
130 x 12


Mondays

I use this blog for a lot of reasons: tracking progress, posting research, saying the word fuck in excess, the occasional poem. Consider this post another branch into the ideas of philosophy and perspective.

Monday


There is the classic fuck Mondays attitude...however, this usually comes from those who live the 9-5 type life styles where they slave countless hours during the course of the week, and live and die by the beauty and success of weekends.

People return from the "freedom" of the weekend and slink their postures into crooked figures that fully express the apathy they live and breath every moment during the monotony of their occupation.



That fuckin entitled cat ain't got no room to talk, he don't do shit. He doesn't even make his own damn lasagna, I'm sure he eats Stouffer's or some shit...but his words ring truthfully as you post his ignorant ass on your cubicle wall.

We live in this awkward man-made parameter of time so that people can organize, plan, and thus adjust to a comfortable lifestyle. Same reason we stick to that daylight savings nonsense

*Sidenote: One time on my car I refused to change my clock to compensate for daylight savings time through the course of a year. I proved it's uselessness. I'm a goddamn scientist.*

Time wasn't fabricated to be ticked away with jots, markings, and scribbles on stone, pad, paper, calendar or electronic device, yet we have backed ourselves into corners as a species to need these things. Time is money, don't you know?



Time, life, the streams of it are continous like a river, but we've shaped that scary infinity into the realms of night and day, compacted our sleep to fit the span when it get's difficult to see work of our labors until the fiery ball makes eyes again.

That's why I've never felt at home in a typical job, one where you sign up to recieve hours of your day designated within a time frame, scribbling your initials on a certificate that claps chains on your hands. A schill of the man. I mean, some forms of slavery are necessary, especially as a young man trying to build a name and a brand in two desperate industries. I've just always preferred the types where it's a little less predictable as far as the constraints on your precious hour glass sand.

Things I look forward to on Mondays


You know, though. I'm no revolutionary, I'm not about to be able to change the very basic building blocks of our society so that I can legitimize cat naps. So, like all animals, I adapt. Let me outline some positivities about Mondays and a few of the things I look forward to.

The Beauty of scheduling.


Having things to look forward is one of the things a person can look forward to when their life is set into bullet points. It's kind of like an awkward form of prison...but ya know, whatever. People have their T.V. shows, their stories, their weekly visits. I personally really enjoy YouTube, and more specifically I like the Monday Q&A's.


Jason Blaha is a fitness YouTube personality, highly knowledgeable, and he doesn't bull shit you. He'll call you retarded to your nuts and show no sympathy for it. I've learned a great deal from this man and his channel has helped me grow thirsty for academic and researched based fitness knowledge.

Restart Yourself, Mutha Fucka.


There is something to "starting a week off fresh." It's all mental of course, but sometimes the stories we tell ourselves is the base in which our success lives or dies. Getting to drive yourself into a hole, burning those wrecked feathers to ash and then re-emerging as that sweet ass Phoenix has a nice sound to it. It has no real foundation of truth, it's more philosophical than practical, but whatever works.

Finite Numbers


We know that 12 inches is a foot. Using this knowledge, I can say I'm 6 of those and some change in height! Markers, like on a map, little pin points to track your past and plan your future. Like when were kids and the idea of time was still confusing, we'd judge our when our birthdays were based on how many sleeps we had till then or based when it was snack time based on the length of boy meets world episodes.

I miss this fuckin show...

For the planned mind, where we come from has a lot to do with what we're going to do and where we're going. I always plan my next workouts based on what I did the week before, sometimes the workout before. And if we had no Mondays, we'd have no weeks, and the concept of time would be skewed if we selectively eliminated one part of the paradigm.

Basically all of this was to say: Make your Mondays. Carpe Diem, Mutha Fuckahs.


Until next time, Fuck day lights savings time and entitled felines. And, as always...

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing it.

The Opera Bro

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Is Fast Food Bad For You??

Fast food is a huge part of American culture and has spread all across the world. It's a multi-billion dollar industry. But, is it bad for you? 




Well, it ain't great for you. (No shit, right?) But how bad is it for you, should you never eat it, can it in fact kill you? There's a lot of negativity surrounding this kind of food and a stigma that goes with choosing to consume it. People actually feel shame for going through a drive thru. They hide their faces with hats and shades so nobody will judge them.



So, I'll share some thoughts, some stories, some anecdote and some research on both sides and we'll think this through like big boy and girl pants wearing adults, shall we?


The Argument:


People like to cite the movie Supersize Me and all the adverse affects our dear Morgan Spurlock endured after eating Mcdonald's every day for 30 Days. 




But everybody knows about that noise...

There is this study about obesity and pregnant women and students in regards to proximity to fast food...

"We investigate the health consequences of changes in the supply of fast food using the exact geographical location of fast food restaurants. Specifically, we ask how the supply of fast food affects the obesity rates of 3 million school children and the weight gain of over 3 million pregnant women. We find that among 9th grade children, a fast food restaurant within a tenth of a mile of a school is associated with at least a 5.2 percent increase in obesity rates. Among pregnant women, models with mother fixed effects indicate that a fast food restaurant within a half mile of her residence results in a 1.6 percent increase in the probability of gaining over 20 kilos, with a larger effect at .1 miles. The effect is significantly larger for African-American and less educated women."

*full paper here.*

Or there is this article on NBC New's:

"But a new study from U.S. and Irish researchers puts a precise number on it. They found that for every extra fast-food transaction in a country — every time someone bought a hamburger or a serving of fried chicken — the average BMI went up by 0.03."

And we all know that they use ingredients that are questionable:


  • "Premium Egg Blend" containing: glycerin, a solvent found in soap and shaving cream.
  • Lettuce leaves with propylene glycol, a substance found in anti freeze and sexual lubricants.
  • Chili that contains silicon dioxide, which is found in quartz or sand.


that's some tasty lookin silicon dioxide. Dust that shit on my chili, please.


THE TRUTH:

Most studies against fast food rely heavily on a basic fallacy of correlation being causation. These people ate fast food and happened to gain weight, but their diets didn't consist specifically of an all fast food diet, their activity levels were varied, and it wasn't focused enough to make a generalization that eating fast food causes health concerns. And, even if it is weird that some of these things are found in your food, they are considered safe to consume by humans.

Even when you look at the Spurlock experiment, you have to diagnose what that fucker actually did and why it made him gain so much weight and why he had so much adverse affects.


  • He must fully eat three McDonald's meals per day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • He must consume every item on the McDonald's menu at least once over the course of the 30 days (he managed this in nine days).
  • He must only ingest items that are offered on the McDonald's menu, including bottled water. All outside consumption of food is prohibited.
  • He must Super Size the meal when offered, but only when offered (i.e., he is not able to Super Size items himself).
  • He will attempt to walk about as much as a typical U.S citizen, based on a suggested figure of 5,000 standardized distance steps per day, but he did not closely adhere to this, as he walked more while in New York than in Houston.

However, he frequently was also consuming ice cream (mcflurries, cones, shakes, sundaes) and regular cokes with either dinner or lunch, or both, so his calorically dense food choices were suddenly becoming more and more dense with every sip. About 1/3 of Spurlock's calories came from sugar. His nutritionist, Bridget Bennett RD, cited him about his excess intake of sugar from "milkshakes and cokes". It is revealed toward the end of the movie that over the course of the diet, he consumed "over 30 pounds of sugar, and over 12 lbs. of fat from their food". So, basically, Spurlock went on the world's worst (or best depending on your opinion) dirty bulk with almost no real physical activity.





He would have experienced similar complications if he was over eating on basically any other high calorie, high fat diet. And although I'm sure the quality of the food did play a factor, it wasn't THE deciding factor in his health complications near the end of the documentary. Eating upwards of 5,000 calories a day while being overall extremely sedentary is an obvious recipe for a health and dietary disaster.

Tom Naughton made a comedic reply entitled Fat Head where he suggested that Spurlock's calorie and fat counts didn't add up. And, had Spurlock published the food log of his McVenture, he may have a foot to stand on with his argument. Naughton has a page on his web site that lists every item (including nutritional information) he ate during his fast-food month. 





Soso Whaley, an independent film producer, made a YouTube movie reply titled Me and Mickey D's, in which she also ate all meals at McDonald's, yet lost weight—20 pounds over 60 days; 30 pounds in 90 days. Whaley's results were quite different because of the reduced calorie diet, and inclusion of exercise.

"It's still bad for you! Just think of all of that sugar!!!!"

You best listen, child. Alan Aragon back hands your bull shit assumptions in this video:



In this video he talks about the "toxicity" of sugar, it's" cancer causing" capabilities, and basically all sugar fallacys you can concoct in your noggin.


"What about childhood obesity!?!?!"


What about it, suckah?

"When children eat more than they need, their bodies store the extra calories in fat cells to use for energy later. If this pattern continues over time, and their bodies do not need this stored energy, they develop more fat cells and may develop obesity.

No SINGLE factor or behavior causes obesity. Obesity is caused by many things, including a person’s habits, lifestyle, and environment. Genetics and some medical conditions also increase a person’s chances of becoming obese." - Medline Press

But this isn't just true about children, this is true about EVERYONE. Get active and fuel your body, OR don't eat as much. These are your choices. Literally, you have no other choice. You can eat a variety of foods, including fast food and still lose weight and be healthy.

"Do you have examples, Ol' Yeargain?"

In fact, I do. Recently, this man lost 56lbs on an all McDonald's based diet. Instead of going on an all Mcdonald's supersized binge, he was on a diet that was in his caloric number that just happened to be all McDonald's purchased items. He supplemented his diet with light cardiovascular exercise and actually saw improvement in his health.



Take a look at these fellas:



These guys are the Hodge twins. They've been fat, skinny and skinny fat. Now they are ultra fit YouTube phenoms. They make their living from YouTube videos and apparel. 

Recently they have been on a cut to get into a very lean aesthetic for a photo shoot and they have been eating fast food pretty much every time they get finished working out. No, neither of them are ordering double quarter pounders super sized with a sundae, but neither are most people eating that once or twice a day like in Spurlock's mcsperiment.


Also check out Furious Pete eating the entire dollar menu...The guy is jacked, super strong, and has super human eating capabilities...check out his YouTube channel.




"But Ol' Yeargain, People don't neeeed that much food!" 


People don't need a lot of fucking things. But people want a LOT of fucking things, and our market, economy and community rises to provide these services for people. Whether it's food or property. 

I've even heard some nonsense about how fast food is engineered by evil corporations to make you fat and even some conspiracies about how it's utilized to subdue the poor. I know a lot of fat, rich fucks who don't touch fast food and a lot of shredded, aesthetic, healthy bros with not a penny to their name who eat the shit out of some McDonald's.

Fast food provides a service and options that may or may not be affordable for the average American, they have no plans to get you fat and to keep you that way. You don't have to have an agenda when literally millions of people are throwing their money at you. They've set up a system that is an infinite money making machine that has no real competition, they just got to stay current and not offend too many minorities, which is easy enough when you have the kind of lawyers and marketing team a company like that can afford.

Frankly, fast food restaurants are an easy target. They aren't rich in vitamins or minerals, the macros aren't exactly easy to fit into a well balanced diet, and if you're a regular ignorant yolo, you're gonna over eat on it and see adverse affects. However, if you're a reasonably intelligent person, understand the basics of nutrition (calories in vs. calories out) and have a sense of personal responsibility, then you're not gonna worry yourself about companies like McDonald's taking advantage of you. They can't steal your money, you have to give it to them willingly.


The Individual


People fail to account for the individual. I've literally eaten McDonald's hundreds of times and not once gotten sick, including at one point where I ate there every day for about a week or two. It was fuckin awesome. But a few months ago, I got food poisoning from a Chipotle. Hippy mutha fuckas.  

I was also a lot fatter back when I was taking in McDonald's on the regular, but I never remember thinking "this is causing my woes." My weight was because of my overall life choices, not just one or two McDonald's trips. In fact I continued to eat there even when dieting. Actually, I ate a lot of fast food when I was first dieting, and I was seeing results. The scale was going down every day. 




The weight loss equation takes multiple parts, you can't just stare at one part and assume that that pesky X is what's causing your grief. More than likely you did something or neglected something else in order to not find the sum of the whole. 


Determining Food Choices


Guys, I don't eat clean, there is no need to. However, if you observe some of my behaviors on Instagram (@TheOperaBro Follow me!), you'll notice that I often reach for low fat, low carb, no fat, no carb options.

Pita Pizzas on deck, bitches.


You probably see that and think I'm doing so to be "healthier." You're way off. In fact, one could argue that because of all the things manipulated in some of these non fat, low carb, no sugar concoctions that they are more processed. I think I almost have to agree. But, frankly, I give no fucks. 

I reach for these items because they don't taste that much different than their full fat, full carb low protein alternatives and that leaves me with all sorts of potential to sneak in more food, including tasty treats like cookies, ice cream and cereal to top off my macros for the day.

Dat ice cream and chocolate chip cookie life doe!!!!



What do you really want?


Do you really want Mcdonald's, or do you want a thin slice of meat, cheese, and a lot of ketchup? Cuz I can replicate that perfectly for you with 1/2 the fat. Most of the time when I crave something, I just crave the texture of it, not the actual menu item. What about THAT menu item do you want? 

The other day my friends and I were talking about why we crave Taco Bell and realized that it wasn't the meat, tortillas, or even the quality of the cheese...it was the baja sauce. That shit is fuckin tangy, sweet, ands gots herbs, spices, and some tasty tasty fats...I'm on the hunt to find it in the grocery store...

My version of the Quesarito from Taco Bell. I call it the "Kasey-rito."


But, really, at the end of the day, you have to ask why you're eating some of this stuff. Is it the quality or the convenience?

Eating for Convenience.


This is a big obstacle for those who have ridiculous schedules (ol' Yeargain currently.)

Most of the time I have an hour total to consume all of the food needed for several hours, and I have to spend every minute preparing and putting that together. But, so be it. I got more finite numbers to work with, I love the way it tastes and I'm satisfied and full at the end of the day.

I understand it's easy to swing through a drive-thru and grab something, and you can be your own best judge on whether something will fit into your plan for that day (depending on your individual goals). You shouldn't feel guilty about having to do this. If want to eat something, either eat or don't. Don't make it a moral dilemma. If you're displeased with the way you look, do something about it by understanding how many calories you're consuming through the whole of the day and work with your schedule around that.

Is "Junk Food" Addictive?

Huffington Post talking about what makes junk food so addictive:

"Consider this: In a Connecticut College study released just yesterday, neuroscience students found that eating oreos activated more neurons in the pleasure centers of rats' brains than did consuming cocaine or morphine."

I would also argue that there is a distinct difference, because one is food and rats are instinctively after things that will aid to their survival, where we (humans) seek pleasure in all things (including: eating, drinking, smoking, sex(ing), doing drugs, and riding expensive motorcycles.)

You're a rogue, Ralph. You're on a railroad track to hell!

I think anything that is tasty and hits the big three (sweet, salty, and fatty) can be addictive, but I don't believe that junk food is any more addictive, or that the chemicals "inserted in it" are causing people to be slaves to that food. McDonalds just provides cheap, fast service that's easy to replicate at a global scale using ingredients that are guaranteed to taste good. Fat, sugar and salt. They aren't an evil corporation trying to make you fat, how much you eat of their food is your choice, they just provide you lots of different choices. 

No, I think people like the food and are addicted to convenience and the life style of those eating behaviors. They know it will be quick, fairly cheap and taste good, where cooking your own food takes time, energy, a fridge full of resources, and you have a chance to feel inadequate when it doesn't turn out very good. At least if your burger sucks at McDonald's you can get your money back and yell at and feel superior to a person working hard to throw this slop together instantaneously. (Don't let me catch you being inhuman to service people or I will end you.)



Why You Should Avoid Fast food.


It's not because it's "unhealthy," it's because the variables are too great to keep good track of the macro nutrient content accurately. Now, it might not matter that much to you guys, and if it doesn't, then don't stress about this shit. If you're active, a healthy body weight and eating this food doesn't stress you the fuck out, then eat up, Mother Fucker!

"No worries, I'll just eat clean."

Oh really? I promise that your inactivity and over eating on your "clean foods" is gonna put you in the ground just as fast if not faster than an individual who is active, eats fast food, a healthy body weight and tracks his macro nutrients. If that guy lifts, he'll live to crush the skulls of your kin in the battle of the continents that will occur in 2137. He'll make your family name his bitch and urinate on your burial grounds. 





Why I Don't Really Eat Fast Food.


It's not to feel superior to people who do, or because of health. It's because of neurosis, inaccuracy, and the volume of most fast foods. I like foods that are lower calorie that I can get a lot of volume out of. Fast food usually has too much fat on it for me to be satisfied. Also, I don't want to have to spend 12$ in order to be satisfied with the quantity of my meal. I'm very broke right now, and I have a taste for diet beverages that I don't plan to kick anytime soon. But fast food is tasty as fuck, and not poison, so I recon I'll eat it again some day with absolutely no shame.



Until next time, shamelessly eat your fast food, but don't eat too much of it in one sitting, maybe get off your ass and lift some heavy ass weights. Basically what I'm sayin is...

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It

The Opera Bro

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Metabolism Talk: Part 4 - The Key to Metabolic Success

I've talked extensively about some of the things that will potentially tank, or manipulate your metabolism to operate at less than optimal.

(See part 1, part 2, and part 3

But, negativity only helps so much...So, I give you guys:

The Key to Metabolic Success


This is one part science, one part bro-science, and one part practicality. Let's examine it, shall we?


1.) Always start your diets/weight loss with highest amount of calories and smallest amount of activity.


When starting to shrink down to a smaller version of yourself, don't go full potato right out of the gate or you will be FUCKED! And by fucked, I mean you will be 5-10lbs away from your goal, starving, and miserable. From my own experience, having done both of these, they both have their miseries. But going to bed feeling like you're starving is one of the worst feelings in the world. This doesn't frequently happen on a slow cut, again, at least in my experience. Metabolism is adaptive, but the degree to which it adapts is arguable and based primarily to the individual variables (as I discussed in part 1). Dipping your calories below 2,000 calories and doing shit tons of cardio to get to 12% sucks BALLS. Don't do it.



2.) Do Heavy compound movements as your primary exercise.

Fuck all of that high intensity cardio/high rep shit. Lift some heavy ass weights. Build up your strength and put on slabs of metabolism increasing muscle. I won't go as far as to say that cardio will take away your metabolic capacity, but enough of it can take away your energy for your lifting and thus contribute to deviations from your linear strength gains. 



When looking for a lifting program, always go for one that has you progressively lifting more and more weight in a periodic fashion, even when dieting. Continuously try to progress in your lifts until your body will not allow you to do so, which, if you're a true beginner, will be quite a long time.

Programs I recommend:


Now, if you're interested in lifting, you will figure out a program you like. Try a bunch of them. Most of them come in the form of 6 to 8 weeks. If you're finding that you're gaining strength and size with one program but are floundering on another, that is normal. Some people respond better to some things better than others. The key is to build muscle and strength and utilize your big muscle movers: bench, deadlift, squat, bent over rows, overhead press, weighted chins and dips.


3.) Maximize your food consumption in terms of volume and caloric value. 

Foods that are high in volume and low caloric value (Meaning: "Whole Foods"), Foods like fibrous veggies and hearty low fat meats are your best friends. Foods like pop tarts, cookies, ice cream, high caloric low volume are delicious as fuck. But, it will leave you hungry in a very short amount of time, plus they don't take as much energy to digest. That's why veggies and animal protein is pushed so aggressively in most diets, because they are high satiating, high volume foods. The basic chemistry alone is usually powerful enough to cause most people to lose weight. This will also allow you to ingest MORE calories because these foods have a high thermic quality, require more energy to digest, and leave you with a little bit more of a "calorie buffer." Don't go full potato with this theory. Calories are still calories, and you can make yourself fat as fuck with bro foods, too, but making these foods a regular part of your diet will help you sneak in those tasty fucking treats and not leave you starving.



4.) After a long diet, use a reverse diet.

Lucky for you guys, I wrote a whole post about this already. But, this isn't just a plug for more views on my page, this is just a smart practice. It doesn't have to be a 12 week long reverse diet, a three week reverse should do the trick, but generally, a longer and slower reverse diet usually yields the least amount of weight/water/fat fluctuations. It just takes a lot of mental stamina. Good luck.

5.) Don't get Too fat

When you're reverse dieting back to a body fat percentage and body shape you either want to build from or maintain, don't allow yourself to get too fat. Other than just not giving a fuck, there is no real reason to be above 15% (25% for women) body fat. Some dudes look halfway decent in 15% (all women look great), but they are usually genetically gifted in the symmetry department. As I've already discussed, fat mass only really makes up about 6.7% whereas lean muscle mass makes up 62.3% of your metabolic rate. Lean mass (muscle) and fat mass are the most "controllable" variables on your body, so you should utilize it to your advantage.

Being heavier for most people usually means more energy, better hormone levels and being able to lift heavier weights. However, there is definitely a law of diminished returns in terms of weight gain and weight on the bar.

"An extra 10 lbs added to your bench isn't impressive if you also gained 10 lbs of body weight. That's a 1:1 ratio of weight to strength, which is strongly indicative of fat gain. However, assume you added 10 lbs to your bench, but only 3 lbs of body weight. That's a 1:3.3 ratio of weight to strength, which is quite good. Odds are most of those 3 lbs came in the form of muscle and not fat." - Martin Berkhan of Leangains

For those of you who don't say that Fat = strength are straight up ignorant. Just ask Mark Bell who lost a great deal of weight. In his words he got "tanned and jacked" after being a heavy heavy power lifter (over 300lbs)



"The big question, however, pertains to whether you’ll get stronger. Let’s say you’re a guy who weighs over 250 pounds. I know that’s probably pretty big for a lot of you, but in powerlifting terms, that’s a fairly normal—even small—size. If you’re 250, and you lose ten pounds, that’s no big deal. It’ll take you 10-14 days, and you likely won’t notice any loss in strength. The same thing happens with the next ten pounds, too. Keep in mind, however, that if you’re the same strength when you’re lighter, you’re actually getting stronger. If you have less overall body mass behind you and beneath you, and you’re still able to lift the same weights, that’s quite an accomplishment...Now, if you go higher than that and get into the 50 pound range like I’ve done, there’s going to be hell to pay. I’ve taken a hit in my strength levels after losing 50 pounds." - Mark Bell

However, the main reason to not get TOO fat is simple: To be able to get into your peak conditioning, or just great shape, without an extremely long dieting process. Dieting sucks. Even the best diets suck a bit. Again, Spare yourself complete and totally misery by not putting yourself into a position to be on a long ass diet. As a dude who has been one long ass diet for what appears like forever, dipping your calories below 2,000 calories and doing shit tons of cardio to get to 12% body fat sucks BIG DONKEY BALLS. Don't. Do. It.
I weighed a mere 249 pounds this morning my strength on Bench and Squat are clearly way off from when I was a Big Fat Fuck. - See more at: http://www.markbellpower.com/#sthash.4xqDzz20.dpuf
I weighed a mere 249 pounds this morning my strength on Bench and Squat are clearly way off from when I was a Big Fat Fuck. - See more at: http://www.markbellpower.com/#sthash.4xqDzz20.dpuf
I weighed a mere 249 pounds this morning my strength on Bench and Squat are clearly way off from when I was a Big Fat Fuck. - See more at: http://www.markbellpower.com/#sthash.4xqDzz20.dpuf

 

 Resting Body Weight


Almost NOBODY lives in peak stage ready conditions year round (meaning sub 7% body fat) and the majority of individuals don't live in it for longer than a week (peak week), some individuals even just a day. And this isn't even just for body builders. Movie stars, actors and the such tend to get "into shape" (a shape) for a movie or a project and then have that in between bloat. And although I'm not a huge fan of the bulk then cut system (I'll write more on that later), it's your prerogative if you want to get really fat then cut back down to peak conditioning. I don't think anybody should ever completely let themselves go, I'm actually a fan of being lean (ish) year round.



However...

You should live in the body fat percentage that you can maintain the easiest. One that you're willing to deal with the complications and demands of your daily activity, your training style, and most importantly: your social life. If you're having to do buttermilk taste testing as your primary source of income, then you're gonna have trouble maintaining some macros to support your 6 pack. Or even in a non sarcastic example: if you're a person who lives an extremely active social life and you're going out for a lot of meals and you find it hard to limit yourself to one or two drinks or one or two big meals with mystery macros, it's probably best if your set point is higher.

For men, it's generally recommended that you don't stay below 7% (for women around 14%) for extended periods of time. 

"Although it’s probably as related to energy balance as body fat per se, the point is that when folks get beyond a certain point of leanness, hormone levels are disrupted in both men and women...The normal menstrual cycle in women may stop (this is called ammennorrhea), indicating a problem with estrogen production. This tends to cause bone loss which is a very serious problem. In men not using drugs to maintain their hormone levels, testosterone can approach near-castrate levels as they reach the lower limits of body fat...Thyroid, growth hormone, IGF-1, metabolic rate, and the immune system are all severely depressed under situations of extremely low body fat (genetic oddities excepted).

This is all just part of a coordinated set of adaptations that occur with both starvation and dieting (dieting is just starvation on a smaller/slower scale) to try to keep you alive.

A woman dieting to 12% or lower body fat wouldn’t be able to bring a baby to term safely in the first place, so the body prevents it by shutting down the menstrual cycle." - Lyle McDonald from Bodyrecomposition.com
That being said, that's shredded by almost everyone's standards. Some individuals live much lower than that rather successfully, some natural (not using steroids) or perform a demanding physical activity frequently enough where the amount of food required to maintain anything above that becomes absurd. 

Examples: 


Alberto Nunez



Alberto Nunez is part of the 3DMJ coaching team, well known for their incredible natural body building athletes. He rocks out 7lbs away from stage weight year round, is incredibly strong, and stupid shredded.

Martin Berkhan



Creator of the Lean Gains method. He stays shredded year round with the application of his life style adaptive meal scheduling combined with regular fasting, carb, fat, and calorie cycling. Also, he's incredibly strong. Here's him Deadlifting 600lbs for 4 reps. 

So, basically, it's possible to live in even a completely shredded aesthetic year round, but it requires adaptations of diet, training, and the like. Whether you're willing to come to terms with this stuff is your choice.

I'm currently in pursuit of this kind of lifestyle: being completely shredded, stupid strong (with relative strength goals), and having the metabolism of a monster. The best of all the worlds in my opinion. It's something that will require years of study and practice and patience...fucking patience. BUT, these are goals worth having in my opinion.

There are methods to go about this, BUT, I'm looking for my own way of doing it. Ya know? Call me a fool for doing so, but I like a challenge...

Until next time, stay lean, get stronger, don't run yourself into the ground with exercise and lack of food, and as always...

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.

The Opera Bro

Friday, June 27, 2014

Full Body

189.4

Incline Dumbbell Bench
85 2x2
75 2x5
55 x 10



Weighted Chins
72.5 3x4

Bent Over Rows
210 3x8 



Front Squat
185 3x8



Deficit Deads
260 2x6 



Bicep Curl
145 x 5
115 x 10

Close Grip Bench
145 2x8



Seated Face Pulls
120 x 12



And one more for opening night of Deadman on Saturday.



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Boulders and wheels

189.4

Overhead Press
120 4x4



Dumbbell
60 3x4-5
50x6



Behind Head Press
110 2x4

Front Squat
180 3x8



Leg Extensions
200 3x8



Deficit Deads
255 2x6



Glute Thrusts
190 3x8



Glute Ham raises
30 3x10

Shoulder Raises
50 Drop set to 10s


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Full body

189.7

Incline dumbbell
80s 3x4 1x2ish



Chins
70 3x4

Bent over rows
205 3x8



Front Squats
175 3x8



Deficit Deads
250 2x6



Bicep Curls
140 x 5
115 x 9



Close Grip Bench
140 2x8

Face Pulls
110 x 12