Thanksgiving is by far one of my favorite holidays. Why? Food. I grew up a very very hungry hippo and I'm still a foodie at heart. I've learned to not gorge myself to the point of illness, but I'm still enjoying foods. Here are a few tactics I've learned on my travels.
Method 1.) - Guided YOLO
This is the preferred method and the one I generally prescribe to my clients (depending on their personality.) It allows for freedom with the mindset of keeping yourself just enough in check to not throw your progress completely under the bus, set yourself back a few weeks, and feel like crap.
In the hierarchy of importance in general feasting and not looking like a monster afterwards, the order is as follows:
That means at first, reach for the turkey, spirits and wine. Hold off on the beer and fruity boozes.
Then, reach for the carbs and fats. The rolls, the stuffings, the fattier meats, some of that mutha fuckin heaaavenly hash.
Then, if you're not stuffed to the gills or completely satisfied by now, get yoself some pie. Preferably pecan. Good shit.
Method 2.) - Do it Yourself
This Thanksgiving I'm trying out something new. I'm not a football guy, I don't really give a damn about sports. So, this holiday, I'm trying my hand at cooking. This, while allowing me to try and enjoy the holiday in a different way then years past, also is allowing me to keep track of the macros I'm using in the dishes, maybe sneak in some alternatives to get more bang for my buck in terms of macro/calorie content to volume ratio, and therefore, be a little bit more informed nutritionally and be able to fit in those awesome leftovers into my macros for days to come. I'm still playing a little yolo and getting a decent enough workout in the morning of, but I'm generally keeping it pretty close to the cuff.
Meet my carby butter filled children.
Method 3.) Create the Buffer
For those of us who cannot help but destroy the feast of thanks, this is probably the tactic that should be employed. If you're a bottomless pit like Ol' Yeargain and you can stomach thousands of calories, you can honestly set yourself back weeks with this, but if you don't give annnny fucks. Try this one out.
This one requires preparation. The week of the holiday, prepare yourself by cutting back on your calories throughout the week, specifically in the macro nutrient that you want to destroy. For me, it's dietary fat, for others it's carbs. Work extra hard at the gym, do a little bit more cardio, deplete your body, more or less store up a sweat bank that you will pay back in dividends on the holiday. Then, let loose the dogs of war.
There has been a great deal of turmoil the past week in the world. I don't pay much attention to worldly news, but when my social media feed is saturated with certain events, it's clear that some things are happening and are of significance. To the best of my knowledge, a kid and a cop got into an altercation, and the kid was killed because of the incident. This issue is fraught with tones of racism and due to the verdict, things became heated and rioting occurred. People damning and supporting the verdict or the uproar associated with it are making their voices heard with a few types on a keyboard. I keep my mouth shut on the subject and watch the event from a passive stance, not knowing the facts and just trying to understand the hurt and anger. I'm not in a position to take sides, so I just won't. Don't ask me my opinion, you won't get it.
I'm not gonna sit on here and say that people should put aside their swords and reach for the hand of their brother/sisters and come together, because people interested in fighting for their beliefs aren't wanting to hear my spin on it. I am, however, going to cook for my family, think about what we've done this past year, what we've overcome and how much we've grown.
Tis' the time for reflection and preparation for a hard winter. This past year was immense for me in terms of personal development. I've done a lot of small steps towards building my future. Started my business, started pursuing musical theater, got leaner, stronger, developed a craft and obtained a bucket full of rep I adore. Like a chipmunk I'm storing up my treasures and preparing for something big. I don't know what it is yet, but I'll know it when it's here.
I love programming. Specifically diet and training programming. It's like a puzzle that's presented to you all broken apart in a shitty cardboard box. I pick through the lot of it, find the foundational pieces and start filling in the gaps. Except at the end of this puzzle isn't a picture of a basket of kittens or a scenic view of Paris, it's a boarding pass to GAINZville, Florida with your pet lizard, GAINZilla.
I'm by no means a master, but my prices for my programming don't reflect a master. However, they do achieve results. Leaner, stronger results.
For my clients I have their programming planned out for weeks in advance and even have plans and anticipations for possible adjustments they might have. It's all in the same place, I know exactly where to find it. I owe it to them to keep it as such.
However, the programming I do for myself?
It's all over the place. Notes on my phone, my computer, my blog, emails, my google drive. Every time I plan my next training session I have to consult several different sources. However, I'm still getting results from my programming. Ol' Yeargain is STILL making Yeargainz.
But this begs the question, will I continue to do my own programming?
My thoughts are this. Don't fix what ain't broken. My current knowledge and understanding of training is allowing me to progress in my lifts, keep me relatively lean and not affecting my singing. Why should I jump ship? By my definition, I'm lifting big, singing big and looking great doing it. When this stops being so I will either adapt my training, my lifestyle, or seek guidance from others with superior knowledge. That being said, my knowledge of training grows daily due to my insatiable curiosity and my time spent in the car listening to experts in the training and lifting world talk about their crafts via podcasts, interviews, YouTube videos, and unbiased explanations of recent nutritional discoveries. My exposure to information vastly outweighs my experience and as the gap is closed, my knowledge will reflect my strength and physical development. But until that time I practice patience, consistency and curiosity on the daily.
Until next time,
Lift Big, Sing Big, and look Great Doing it.
The Opera Bro
Also, if you're interested in joining the team, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You and me will go to the zoo and look at some lions and sharks to whet your appetite for gainzzzzz.
This concept of diminished returns has a lot of application to my life. And, since I am the opera bro, I will outline how it comes into play for the two worlds I walk in. Singing and training.
Often times less can equal more, especially in the realm of strength and muscle gains. Many people believe that in order to get the absolute best results you need to drive yourself into the ground with lifting and dieting. Not true. Although a bit of suffering is to be expected, your life should not exist as martyrdom. Spending hours in the gym everyday, 365 days a year will not only leave you broken, but it can actually cause your progress to derail entirely. Leaving you just as weak as when you began. Rest and recovery, resisting the temptation to go to muscular failure on every lift, allowing the body to be nourished with enough calories, macro and micro-nutrients. However, The same thing applies to nutrition. This idea of eating to grow has a lot of practical application, but at a certain point you're not growing muscle, you're harvesting fat. You may add some numbers to your lifts faster, but you're going to be in a narsty position come stage or camera time. Investing some time in getting your calories in is imperative, but focusing on the kitchen alone will leave you fluffy.
I'll open this up to performing in general. If you delve every essence of your soul into the process, the words, the notes, the emotion, calculate everything down to a science you're then left as cold as a math equation scribbled onto a piece of notebook paper. Art, singing, theatre is an organic being that exists in a moment, if you're too wrapped up in making it perfect, it won't be right. It won't be fun. It won't breathe. Don't hammer away at things until they are perfect, just until they are correct. The principle of diminished returns lives in the neurosis of specificity, meaning the longer you focus on the tiny flaws, the more flawed they will become. The longer you wail away and struggle on that high note, the longer it will stay shitty. The more you try to anticipate that one awkward moment on stage, the more awkward it will become and the more it will pull from your other scenes.
The majority of my clients when first starting out share a very common woe. The protein requirements of my diet aren't astronomical, however, they are by far much higher than what the average person consumes on a daily basis. One of the concerns is how they can actually ingest that much protein, and the other is generally how much it costs. I've written out the following information dozens of times before in various emails and messages, so I figured I should just streamline it, which I finally did in the form of a PDF. But, since I've found myself with a little extra writing time as of recent, I figured I would share this info on the Ol' Blog.
The protein conundrum is fairly common. Most people don't actually know what kinds of foods contain substantial amounts of protein and almost always reach for the general whey protein, protein bars and chicken breast. All three of these contain protein in varying degrees. However, to ingest all of your daily protein needs from these three things would actually be much more expensive than ingesting it from food sources. Especially if the whey protein is of any sort of quality (especially in the taste department.)
People then reach to meat to fill in the gap, which is great, animal flesh has the ideal amino profile. However, this can be fairly aggressive on the Ol' pocket book, which for some of my clients is a concern.
So, I show yous a chart...
Here are some cheap, protein packed foods to help you reach your goals! Protein Content
Egg Whites at walmart 3$ 5 grams, 20 servings per container100g
Greek Yogurt at walmart 4$ 23 grams, 4 servings per container92g
Fat free cottage cheese at walmart 3$ 14 grams, 6 servings per container84g
3lbs of frozen chicken breast 7$ 20 grams, 12 servings per container240g
Can of Tuna 1$ 26grams per can26g
Sardines 1$ 19 grams per container19g
Eggs 1$ for 6 eggs 36 grams for 6 eggs36g
Lentils 1.50 for 16oz 10 grams for 35 grams, 12 servings per container120g
Kidney Beans 1$ for 16 oz, 7 grams for 130 grams. 3 ½ per container25g
These are fairly cheap whole food sources that are Macro nutrient dense, and generally pretty tasty regardless of how you prepare them, at least in my opinion. It ain't shark fin or lion meat, but these will suffice as hunting sustenance for the time being.
This isn't the last I'll talk about protein, in future posts I'll talk about ways to maximize the volume of your meals with protein powders, but until then... Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It. The Opera Bro
Bait the hooks, chum the seas. We're hunting the monsters of the deep, big mutha fuckahs with rows and rows of pearly whites. Mack the knife paddles out there and we've got that bigger boat, bitch.
What does it take to be a shark fisherman?
Bravery. You've got to be willing to chase after catch that most people are intimidated by. People want the results without the work, or they want to get the results by their means. Fools! You can't catch sharks with sardines.
Dedication. Sharks don't want to be caught, but you can force them into the nets. Wait them out. Keep trolling the deep, chumming the waters, chasing after the leads. No one catches their first trip out, why are you so unique, special snowflake? Turn to your brother and see his weathered beard and leathered skin. He's seen the fins circling, but it took him since the days of fresh cheeks and stubble to earn it.
Trust. Take heart that your captain, Ol' Yeargain, knows these waters and the turns of the tide. I'll lead you through the struggles of the storms and show you where giants sleep. Your doubt will only lead you and the whole crew down that hell of mutiny and failure. The fins and jaws tacked onto my wall no longer matter to me, I look now only to helping you earn your own pearly rows. I could give you mine, but what worth are they to you?
Love. To hunt these beasts you have to respect them, adore them. Strip off your rubber boots and coat, Remove that chain mail, dive into their home, into their feeding grounds, stare deep into those black infinite eyes and feel your blood run cold. Their teeth will sink deep into your flesh, they will tear you down to the marrow, but when you emerge from those deep waters you will be baptized and made new. Your form hardened for eternity. For this, you must love your foe.
Until next time, my shark fishermen...
Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.
The Opera Bro
Join the team, become a shark fisherman or woman. Email me at Operabro1@gmail.com
I've been watching a lot of House M.D. lately. It's a fucking brilliant piece of theater and entertainment. However, it does cause the watcher to both assume the worst in everyone and makes the viewer think they know much more about diagnostic medicine then they really do...and since I'm no different, I've been doing some basic diagnosis practice myself. This time, with my clients.
After reviewing a few of the symptoms, I have diagnosed that my clients are suffering from a rather drastic case of Gainz-itis.
A sudden influx of selfies on their phone cameras.
Improved posture and confidence.
A sudden urge to demonstrate their gainz by means of posing.
Wearing tighter fitting clothing.
More time spent in front of the mirror.
More time feeling their muscles.
A Preoccupation with how they're going to achieve "mo' gainz."
Although the mortality rate is low, gainz-itis is only curable if the patient falls off the wagon. However, this rarely happens, for like walker bites, once you've contracted the virus, you develop insatiable hunger for mo' gaaaaaaiiinnnnnzzzzz.
The symptoms will only exaggerate until you look like an illustration out of a comic book. But even then, you'll still be thinking about how you'll bring up your delts.
But in all seriousness,
I saw one of my good friends and clients last night for the first time in person in months. Almost all of my clients live states away from me and I only really get to see them in progress pics and the occasional visit. The time before I saw this particular client was brief and I was preoccupied, and last night was the first time I got a chance to get a good look at him, and boy, I tella ya what, I was 'mirin hard. It's always nice to have the work you've invested in the programming and nutritional guidelines you've set out see such quick and fruitful returns. I'm currently working on a full post and update over his progress that I believe you all will enjoy whenever we've gotten to the extremes.
However, the reason I bring this up is because his results were not only apparent to me, but to him. He couldn't stop fondling his gainz, mirin' his own work and dedication. He was standing taller, his muscularity peakin' up. It reminded me a great deal of my own transformation I had undergone and how much time it had been since I first was bitten by the gainz zombie and started to become obsessed with crafting the physique of my dreams. I was hungry to learn more about it, to be better, bigger, and being leaner, sexier. Not for anyone else but myself. I notice that same drive and hunger in him and it's fuckin' awesome. I'm very excited that I was able to help him get these results and look forward to continue pushing and getting even more.
Until next time,
Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.
The Opera Bro
Also, If you're interested on hopping on the gainz train, hit up ya boy Ol' Yeargain at Operabro1@gmail.com and I'll help you out.
Tis' the beginning of weight conscious season. Meaning people are set with the choice of how they're going to navigate and manage the shape of their bodies during the coming feasting seasons. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. The big "Fuck It" Holidays. It's the fitness industries double edged sword. They worry that they're going to lose all of their current clients at the beginning of this season and look forward to gaining oodles and oodles of New Years clients near the end. It's a vicious cycle.
The fact that these holidays also land during the coldest times of the year is also problematic for two reasons...
Firstly - when it's cold outside, people rarely want to deviate their regular outings, so getting to a training facility goes from being fun to inconvenient. Especially if you're usually a morning training person (Like Ol' Yeargain) and it literally hurts your hands to touch your frigid steering wheel on your way to the lion's den.
Secondly - We as a species have a strong survival instinct. Being lean and hanging out in a lower body fat percentage, having to throw on a couple of additional layers gets to be real inconvenient and horrendously uncomfortable. Also, your metabolism can be boosted from frequent shivering. Now you've got a perfect storm of insatiable appetite.
Combine the the two things mentioned above with an abundance of holiday cheer in the form of free treats and you've got a shit storm of potential fat gain. Which, isn't that big of a fucking deal. Even ya boy, Ol' Yeargain has stopped stepping on the scale and letting himself get a bit fluffy. I'm still keeping pretty on point, tracking my food (for the most part), and letting my lifts and mirror be my guide.
A lot of people who consider themselves "fitness minded" let the winter be a prime excuse to gain a bunch of weight in the name of a "Bulk." However, most people bulk like damned fools. Eating all sorts of junk in the name of fitness, skipping workout sessions, and letting themselves get sloppy. Fat gain can help your strength (specifically in your pressing movements) increase dramatically. However, if you're a person looking to use their bodies as a vehicle of performance (acting, performing, body-builder, etc.) it doesn't serve you to gain a bunch of weight that you're going to have to peel off once spring shows it's fucked up face.
However, being forced to wear multiple layers of clothes so you don't feel like you're going to die when walking to your car gives a person enough removal from the focus on physique long enough to play a little yolo, nurish the body with excess nutrition and DOMINATE some lifts. I'm personally taking this time to push the progressive overload, make some gainz, and put on enough quality muscle that when I cut down again, I'll be bigger AND Leaner.
In the end, gaining weight is only an issue for people who have no clue how to lose weight. This is a skill that is learned, cultivated and perfected. It took me the better part of a year to have the confidence in the weight loss process and figure out techniques to get through the messier times and to learn how basic human chemistry works in regards to food. And now, I teach others how to do it. If you're interested in learning, email me at email@example.com
Until next time, eat with confidence, but don't play too much YOLO and get shloooopppyyyy. And, as always...