The Contrast

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

Friday, January 30, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
80x5, 95x5, 105 AMRAP (10)



High Bar Squats
250 2x2
180 2x12



Hammer Press
3x8-12

Deads
320 2x8



Rows
3x8-12

Biceps
50's 2x5 



Face Pulls
1x15

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 seconds each

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Full Body

Behind Head Press
105 4x4



High Bar
235 4x4



Chins
60 3x6

Chest flys
3x12

Deads
360 2x6



Dips
50 3x8-10

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 seconds each

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Full Body

Bench
135 x5, 155 x5, 175 AMRAP (10)



High Bar Squat
210 4x8



Reverse grip row
140 3x12

Deads
320 2x7



1 arm dumbbell press
50s 2x5

Leg Press
4 plates plus 5lbs 3x12

Knee to chest jumps
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Monday, January 26, 2015

Full Body

Dumbbell Incline Bench
65 3x12



High Bar Squat
220 5x6



Chins
40 3x8

Deads
360 2x5



Dips
30 3x12

Mountain Climbers
Till exhaustion 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Your food doesn't care about you...

People like to have enemies. They like to know who is good and who is bad. But life isn't a game of cops and robbers, nothing is so black and white, it's all shades of grey...but not 50 shades of grey.

The other day I ran across THIS article that was more or less a media stunt to show which one is worse for you: Fat or Sugar. (It should have been called Dietary Fat vs. Carbs)

Two brothers (twins, both doctors) decided to take on an experiment to see which diet was worse for you. Turns out both suck, but a heavy carbohydrates based diet will at least increase performance mentally and physically. (No shit, glucose is our body and our brains preferred source of energy.)

The premise seemed interesting enough, although this kind of information seemed pretty basic to me and figured that people with serious degrees should know that the outcome would be nothing short of obvious misery.



I had heard this before from other medical professionals, and having gone to a doctor or two that didn't really seem to know how to manage their weight I knew there were some doctors who didn't really have a clue about nutrition. Which is very sad since we place a great deal of faith in our doctors in regards to our health. But what people fail to mention is that doctors are taught to memorize algorithms and equations that quickly deduce what the one solution is out of the nearly infinite causes of your medical woes. This plus this plus this equals this. Where nutrition and the resistance based training it benefits is much more experimental. "Let's try doing this after doing this and see what happens!" Fitness and diet has much more luxury in this area, because if a person is in agony, they're not willing to be a test tube for your theories, whereas most diets and training programs work, but some just work better than other.

By the end of the experiment the doctor brothers discovered what basically every rational nutrition based professional should know: the most effective diet is the one that is most sustainable, the one that doesn't completely alter your life and lifestyle and require you to demonize a macro nutrient. 

And at first I had read the article and thought "Hey, what a well drawn conclusion!" Then I read their conclusion that more or less demonized processed food and I couldn't help but shake my head. Somehow they had missed the forest for the trees...

The Real lesson to be learned from this..


Your Food Doesn't Care About You



There is no such thing as good and evil in the world of food. 


What if I told you that the only enemy you have in regards to being in shape and being healthy is you? Your enemy is you. You eating in excess and not utilizing the god given muscles fastened to your frame. It's not the highly processed food, it's not the McDonald's down the street, it's not because evil corporations are manipulating my mind via the Boob Tube.

Your almighty Whole Foods, clean eating, gluten hating (sorry my friends with Celiac related gluten intolerance's) have just as much to do with your weight issues as your occasional indulgences. You can't solve all of your fitness woes by paying three times as much for your groceries. In fact it will just send you to the dollar menu when you have to choose between your rent and "eating a healthy diet."

Don't give the food you put into your mouth more power than it deserves. There is no single food group, macro nutrient, or compound that throws on a cape and lurks in the night, waiting for when you're not looking to latch itself onto your hips and form love handles. In the end it's all calories that we use for energy and then turn into shit. 


Bat Kasey is still looking for that evil Macro...



Everything is a chemical.


Everything is composed of chemicals, the world is chemistry. Just look at all the chemicals that are in these Blueberries!!!!





Everything is Toxic in the right dose.


Dr. Kavorkian killed (some of) his victims with a concentrated dose of potassium. POTASSIUM! The shit in your bananas and potatoes that people praise! Yes, enough of it can KILL you. That doesn't mean you need to stop eating potatoes or bananas, in fact, most individuals should actually eat more of them.

"A needle was inserted into the arm and the flow of harmless saline started. After a switch was tripped, the solution of sedatives was to begin, followed automatically by a paralyzing agent and potassium chloride which was to result in heart slippage and death. (46) (The heart was monitored by cardiography electrodes on the victim’s arms and legs.)(47)"


If you want a more thorough discussion on this topic, I suggest you watch this video where Dr. Layne Norton talks about the word "Toxic." 





Some Highlights from this video:


- People love to say "Sugar is toxic." And yes, yes it is...in the right dose. The "lethal dose" of sugar is 400 grams of sugar in ONE SITTING. And 1/3rd of that is considered the "lethal dose" of Vitamin C. Something that is often considered "good for you" and prescribed in excess.

- You can drink enough water to delude your electrolytes where it will kill you. In fact you're more likely to delude your body with the water contained in diet beverages than you are to experience a form of toxicity by the artificial sweeteners.

Conclusion


I'm not here to preach about "moderation" because I feel that it's really quite obvious at this point. We're all adults and we know that we can let a great deal of things that give us pleasure take a hold of our lives if we don't exercise self control. Sex, drugs, even weight training. Be an adult and understand that you live in the manifestation of your choices, everything else is just an excuse.

Until Next time, eat some fruit, get some protein, and as always...

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

The Opera Bro

Friday, January 23, 2015

Full Body

Hammer Press
3 Plates 3x12

1 Arm Lat Pull Down
3x12

High Bar Squat
245 2x2
175 2x12



Deads
315 2x8



1 Arm Shoulder Press
45 x12



Facepulls
1x15

Split Squat
30lbs 2x12


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Full Body

Behind the head Press
95 4x6

Chins
97.5 3x2
17.5 x12

Chest Flys
3x12



High Bar Squat
230 4x4



Deads
355 2x6



Dips
87.5 3x2

Mountain climbers
45 secs


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I'm Batman...

That's right, I'm Batman.



I am Vengeance...



I am the Night...



I am Batman.



But in all seriousness, one of the most interesting side gigs I kind of fell into this year was working for a company called Forever After Parties. Occasionally I dress up as Princes or Superheroes for parties and events. It's a jam. I get a bit of extra cash to make kiddos very happy and to play improv for an hour or so.



But I have to be honest, when I first was approached about this I was a weeeee bit skeptical. Not because I think I'm above this, but I wasn't sure I'd be good at it or right for it. Anybody that knows me well knows that I'm not the greatest with kids. That combined with a bit of social anxiety I just didn't know how a situation with me and a bunch of excited chitlins would play out. 

However, I gave myself a set of rules to live by when I became The Opera Bro, that I was always to say "Yes" to a situation if it:

-Didn't bring about harm to me or others.
-Didn't detract from my training or singing
-Didn't put me into a horrible financial  position
-Gave me a life experience I might not have known before

Dressing up as fictional characters to the delight of chitlins doesn't break this credo. And, despite my initial hesitance, it's proven to be very rewarding and a lot of fun. In fact, dressing up as fictional characters has taught me a few valuable lessons...

1.) When playing batman, never go with the Christian Bale voice. Most kids play the video games or watch the cartoons associated with Batman (Kevin Conroy), and using that voice alone for 2 hours is going to wreck you, Christian Bale voice will turn your vocal folds into hamburger meat.

2.) Be mindful of the cape. You will step on it. It will be in front of your hands unless you push it out of the way. If your bat suit has hooks you can keep the edge of the cape in it's grips so it's always being pushed out of the way when you decide to gesticulate with purpose. This obviously doesn't help Superman or any other super/fictional character with a cape, with them you're going to need to get a firm grip on it pretty much every time you move.

3.) Don't just know the character, but the character that the kids know. Disney Princes are pretty easy, unless there is sequels or T.V. spin-offs. With Superheroes you can't go with your favorite comic depiction of the caped crusader, and forget about being Adam West Batman, nobody wants that. Be the Batman the kids need, not the one they deserve... And the kids are going to try and trip you up. They will shoot you all sorts of questions that you gotta be ready to answer. "The Batmobile is parked outside with a cloaking device so nobody can see it." "My weapons are reserved for the Joker and Injustice!!!" "Robin is patrolling Gotham while I'm here."

4.) Never go full Batman. Batman is kind of a dark character, most of the time a little bit too serious, and is always preaching about vengeance and being the night. No need to bring up all of that business about your parents being shot in front of you when you were a kiddo.  I had a couple of kids who were scared of me as Batman...that being said I had a couple of kids who were scared of me as Kristoff...and I've had a lot of people who have been scared of me as plain Ol' Yeargain, so this may be a personal issue...


Now, something more specific to Batman lessons...People love Batman. Kids LOVE Batman. We live in the age of Batman. He's a human, not blessed with super natural powers or injected with a super serum, or bitten by some kind of mutated arachnid. His skills have been learned and crafted through dedication and discipline. Batman is more than a person, he's a symbol. He is exemplified in numerous ways by people who want the world to be a better, safer place. (If you haven't watch the documentary "Legends of the Knight" on Netflix, get yourself some tissues and give it a watch.)



A part of all of us believe that Batman does exist and that in some way we can become Batman. (If only we had access to military grade armor/weaponry/vehicles and the millions necessary to live that bachelor persona of Bruce Wayne!) So, that being said, if you're going to be Batman, be Batman. People have a sense of ownership over their heroes, and the worst thing you could do is not live up to their expectations. I'm looking at YOU Ben Affleck. Clooney had his chance and blew it.

Until Next Time, get out of your comfort zone, make some memories and life experiences. Make someone happy.

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

The Opera Bro/Batman


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Full Body

Dumbbell Bench
90 x 1, 60 3x12

Chest Fly's
3x12

High Bar Squat
205 4x8



Hang cleans
135

Deads
315 2x7



Leg Press
4 plates each side 3x12

Alternating Bicep Curl
45's x 12



I'm Batman.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
135 x 1, 95 3x8

Chest Fly
3x12

High Bar Squat
215 5x6



Chins
77.5 3x4

Deads
355 2x5



Dips
67.5 3x6

Bulgarian split squat
20's x 12


Friday, January 16, 2015

Full Body

Bench
210 4x1



High Bar Squat
240 2x2
170 2x12



Deads
405 2x2



Overhead Press
135 4x1

Side Grip Rows
130 3x12

Face Pulls
1x15

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Full Body

Bench
195 4x5

Chins
57.5 3x6

High Bar Squats
225 4x4



Dead
385 2x4



Dips
47.5 3x10

Split Squat
15lbs x 12

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Addiction and Weight Loss

Yesterday I read this article written about Deborah Voigt, world renowned dramatic soprano recently featured as Brünnhilde in the Met's ring cycle.



Some years ago she underwent gastric bypass surgery to help her lose a significant amount of weight. It was the talk of the industry for some time. It sparked issues of weight loss and maintaining the integrity of the voice. There were colors of sexism, fat shaming, body acceptance, painted all across the web with her picture. I myself had several extensive conversations in regards to this topic and even sited her particular case as a reason (among many others) why you should only get gastric bypass if it's a life or death scenario, and that the risk to reward ratio is by no means worth it. 

However, I didn't even think to question what may have helped her kick her addiction. It turns out that was other addictions.

Anyone who has been significantly overweight understands that the majority of the reasons we are/were fat is because of our lifestyle addictions. Addicted to junk food, late night partying, extravagant meals, seconds of everything, the whole damn box of Oreos, etc.

A big part of my book covers addiction and how I've managed it, so I don't want to exhaust the topic too much before its all on paper, but I consider myself a lifetime addict. I have an immensely addictive personality. Whether it's people, passions, books, food, whatever, if I enjoy something, I want it and I want it all the time. When I played in orchestra, it was the Viola, when I began singing, it was opera, When I was fat, it was chocolate chip cookies and cheeseburgers, when I decided to lose weight, I became addicted to going to the gym. 




I'm fortunate enough to have only a few addictions of mine be of some concern. However, I have family members that have struggled and continue to struggle with much more serious addictions. So, I'm all too familiar with that reality.

There is no "cure" to addiction, only a means to control or navigate your life around it. Smokers who have been smoke free for years still say they feel the itch here and there. I've spent the better part of a year learning how to not compulsively snack on everything in sight, regardless if I was hungry or not, and tiny snickers candy bars don't even contain opiates. I can't sympathize with more life altering addictions, but I can empathize.

The picture I'm describing may be bleak, but I truly think the only way to "control" your addiction is to point it to a direction that can somehow become beneficial. Training, programming, singing, (I recently become a workaholic) worked for me. Even this blog was an addiction starting out nearly a year ago. Delving the energy I would spend thinking about the mcdoubles cooking up down the street turned into lots of different creative outlets. 

There are lots of ways to go about weight loss, unfortunately Ms. Voigt chose two paths that I disagree with. Rather than face the issues that caused the weight gain to begin with, she chose the band-aid and Neosporin. But I have to say that I'm immensely proud of her bravery for being that person that raised the weight loss question in the opera community, took the negativity with the positivity and continues to be honest and transparent. I can only hope the absolute best for her and her career. I know she still has many things to say with her art, and I for one look forward to hearing them.




If you struggle with an addiction, regardless of how serious you think it may be, let someone know. And, if you have a friend or family member who is suffering, reach out to them.

And if you don't feel like you have anyone you can talk to, you can find resources on the web to talk to professionals. I found this site that has a 24 hour hotline: 1-800-821-HELP (4357).

Until next time,

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

The Opera Bro

Full Body

Bench
180 x 8 (3x6, 1 AMRAP for 8)



Bent Over Row
185 3x12 



High Bar Squat
200 4x8

Deads
310 2x8

Overhead Press
125 x 5 (4 sets total)

Leg Press
3 45's 2 35's 2 5's + 5lbs 3x12

Alternating Bicep Curl
40lbs x 12

These workouts are getting BRUTAL. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Full Body

Bench Press
185 x 8 - 4 sets total (3x5 - 1 AMRAP)



Chins
37.5 3x8



High Bar Squat
210 5x6



Deads
350 2x6

Dips
27.5 3x12



Jump Lunges
Body Weight x12