The Contrast

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

Friday, February 27, 2015

Full Body

Over Head Press
Week 2 90 x3, 105 x3, 115 AMRAP (7)




Heavy Squat
275 (or more - 280) X1
200 2x12



Hammer chest Press
2 plates plus 10lbs 4x12

3" Deficit Deads
275 2x6



Underhand Rows
4x12

Incline Bicep Curl
45's 2x8-12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 seconds each 


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hitting The Wall

There is something referred to as "the wall" by runners. The complete and total mental and physical breakdown in the midst of a marathon where you feel like you can't go another inch. This is where the mental prowess of a champion must come into play.

Many similarities can be drawn for the training and dieting game. For those desperate to make a crazy body transformation, you're bound to hit walls. It is a promise.



In actuality, hitting the wall is a specific circumstance when a person is completely depleted of glycogen stores and their muscular functions cease to work until they are replenished. This is why marathon runners and cyclists carb up before a big race and ingest those goo packets during the race. To avoid hitting the wall.



Now, this isn't a case for ingesting large amounts of carbs before doing your mediocre pump sesh, but what it does highlight is that "The Wall" is something we can quantify and either avoid or acknowledge and...uh..."climb over."


Over Training


There is a fascination with the idea of being Alpha, training repeated sets to failure, going full potato on the weights every time you hit the weight room. Mike Rashid has even made this into a brand.



But what you have to understand about Mike Rashid is that he comes from a very long training career that includes boxing where he would train 3 times a day. He has built up his work capacity to a very high level. And, with the aid of some obvious pharmaceuticals, he has a work capacity that is so insane that it's fun to watch. I have a great deal of respect for Mike Rashid. I've heard lots of interviews with him and respect him as an athlete and a business man. But, I think that the majority of people cannot train this way without hitting that wall. This level of training is something that must be worked up to and should only be done if you're in specific circumstances.

Training high volume works. The science behind more hypertrophy and higher training volume is more or less correlated. However, that is not a case for everyone to jump onto the 10 sets of 10 for every lift program. That's a great way to get injured if you're a beginner or intermediate trainee and it's very difficult to maintain. You have to love training and you have to love self inflicted pain, otherwise you will jump ship.


Over-reaching


At a certain point, Real hard training, training that is brutal, training that you dread is part of the game. In order to get stronger, you need to push yourself past a level of comfort. It is the practice of elite athletes in the realms of Weight lifting and Power lifting to regularly go through cycles of overreaching. Two-a-day training with heavy weight, lots of volume, lots of time under tension. Even in drug free athletes. However, they always incorporate "tapering" volume back before the meet so that their bodies recover and their totals (ideally) sling shot past previous meet PR's.

However, most of us will never be Olympic or elite athletes. We're bros and broettes trying to look like Greek gods and goddesses. So, generally, I recommend that you avoid the wall.

But the wall isn't just found in the weight room. It's also in your kitchen and on your plate. For numerous reasons I've already discussed in previous posts, your body is finely tuned not to lose weight or build muscle. You must force the issue. Your body uses its own chemistry to put your mind at odds with your goals. (Fuck you, mind.)


Signs of the wall

  • Constant fatigue
  • Feeling a bit under the weather (sniffles)
  • Hungry all the time and/or complete loss of hunger
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of sex drive/or sex orientated functions decrease 


How to avoid the wall


Muscle failure occurs when we are physically incapable of completing a rep without either dumping the weight or having a spotter pull it off of us or pushing it to completion. If you're going to utilize this kind of training you must program enough recovery time. And although training that muscle group or lift once every 8 days sounds appealing. The amount you must push yourself is beyond torture. You need the mental will of a goddamn Titan in order to win that battle.

Even then, training to failure is hard to program for others. Most people who think they are training to failure are more often than not training to mental failure or perceived failure. Where their mind quits before their muscles do, their head convinces them that they couldn't possibly go another rep when really they may have had 2 or 3 more.

 

For Training

You should not push yourself to the level of complete failure with every exercise, every lift, ever day. If you're going to push something to failure, either do it for smaller muscle groups near the end of the training session, or do it for 1 set of your major compound lifts.

Don't train more than you can physically sustain. Most people shouldn't train more than 4 times a week. I've gone through weeks of 7 days a week training and I'm telling you that it doesn't do you any good to train that much as a non competitive, physique driven trainee. 

For Diet

Avoid painful streaks of Hunger by utilizing higher Fiber and protein foods in your diet. The longer you can avoid hunger, the longer you can remain in a deficit and lose body fat. If you're not a coffee drinker or have an irrational fear of caffeine, you need to reevaluate your life choices and utilize the hunger blunting power of caffeine as well as the fount of energy you're not tapping into.

If you find yourself constantly caving in and demolishing pizza, cupcakes, and Ice cream, practice IIFYM and make foods like that fit into your diet so you don't constantly have to say no to yourself, or use my cheat meal strategy to keep yourself sane.


Goals, Gainz, and Final Thoughts.


In the end, the goal is to maximize your results so you can achieve your concept of an ideal physique and strength levels. The way you go about it is immensely personal, as the training style that you're most likely to stick to is one you can sustain (ie "enjoy") but this can also hinder you from making the progress you desire. Sometimes you must bring in mild forms of torture to make epic progress. Sometimes you have to bring in a bucket full of self inflicted brutality to get brutally awesome results. It's speed versus consistency. I personally like to utilize a pleasant mixture of both, times of quick hard, body smashing work, some back off, then ramp up to another block of brutality.

Wrapping it up: Train the way you want to train and eat the way you want to eat, but learn to live with the results it yields.

Until next time,

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

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Full Body

Deads
Week 1 265 x5, 305 x5, 345 AMRAP (10)





Behind Head Press
120 4x2

Front Squats
175 5x6



Chins
70 3x6

Chest flys
3x12

Dips
40 3x12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds 30 secs each.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Full Body

Bench
Week 2 150 x3, 170 x3, 190 AMRAP (6)




Pause Squat
155 6x6



Rows
4x12

Deficit Deads
315 2x6 



Leg Press
4 Plates plus 25lbs 3x12

1 Arm Shoulder Press
40's 2x8-12

Switch Foot Squats
3 rounds, 30 seconds each

Monday, February 23, 2015

Full Body

High Bar Squat
Week 1 165 x5, 190 x5, 220 AMRAP (11)



Incline Dumbbell Bench
65's 4x8-12



Chins
50 3x8

Pause Deads
305 2x6 



Dips
60 3x8

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds 30 seconds each

Friday, February 20, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
85 x5, 100 x5, 110 AMRAP (10)



High Bar Squat
265 2x2
195 2x12



Hammer Press
3x12

Deads
335 2x8



Rows
3x12

Incline Bicep Curls
40's 2x8-12

Mountain climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Full Body

Behind Head Press
110 4x4



Chest Flys
3x12

High Bar Squat
250 4x4



Chins 
67.5 3x6

Deads
375 2x6

I'm Batman


Dips
37.5 3x12

Mountain Climber
3 rounds, 30 secs each


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Full Body

Bench Press
Week 1 135 x5, 160 x5, 180 AMRAP (10)



High Bar Squat
225 4x8

Deads
335 2x7 



Rows
3x12

Leg Press
4 Plates Plus 20lbs

Switch Foot Lunges
3 rounds, 30 seconds each

Monday, February 16, 2015

Full Body

Incline Dumbbell
70's 4x8



Chins
47.5 3x8

High Bar Squat
235 5x6



Deads
375 2x5



Dips
57.5 3x8

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 seconds each


Friday, February 13, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
95 x5, 105 x3, 120 AMRAP (7)



High Bar Squat
260 2x2
190 2x12



Chest Hammer
3x12

Rows
3x12

Deads
330 2x8



Incline Bicep
35's 2x8-12

Mountains
3 rounds, 30 seconds each

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Opera Shenanigans

I would be doing myself a disservice if I did not document this particular production of Gounod's RomeĆ² et Juliette at Tulsa Opera.

Often times when you're in the profession of singing you have times that are difficult. Creative ruts, time away from family, lean times, bombed auditions, difficult colleagues and creative differences that are...well, just too much that you can't even. 

"These times of woe afford no time to woo."


So, when you do get a gig that makes you smile ear to ear, it's good to take note.

I knew that things were going to be positive when a little under a year ago I was given the contract to sing Paris and I was beginning to learn of all the people who were going to be a part of the project. One of them most notably is one of my best friends and former double in shows during college (Schicchi and The Four Villains) Stephen Clark.



This was not my first venture with this particular piece. The last time I performed RomeĆ² was at Des Moines Metro Opera in the summer of 2013. It was a tremendous time and it's rather serendipitous that the next time I should visit this piece it would again be under the baton of Maestro Kostis Protopapas and share the stage with a handful of friends who shared that summer with me as a young artist at Des Moines. Then we were either choristers or smaller parts and we have each gotten a "promotion" to some quality named roles. 



It's a completely different experience whenever you're revisiting a piece, this time in a different characters shoes, but still keeping all of those ideas, memories and (more importantly) inside jokes. 

Highlander Pose for the Win.


Sword fights, le Ducs and dance belts! Oh my!

Hello, old friend...


The creative process has been fun. Perhaps it was the comfort that the cast shared, the overwhelming youthful spirit or the familiarity and confidence shown...or maybe it was my T shirts.



And all this comedy at the price of 3 plain white t-shirts and some sharpies.


This is my third season with Tulsa Opera and every time I go into my costume fitting, my wig fitting, or the rehearsal halls, it feels like coming back home for Thanksgiving. The warmth these people emit is electrifying. You feel wanted, you feel safe, and as a result you're excited about creating. You believe in what they do and you have a feeling that they believe in you as well. That kind of confidence is what inspires great art, because it no longer becomes a game of getting the job done, but of partnership and shared respect and admiration. I've truly enjoyed seeing the creative bravery and choices made by my colleagues, each of them shining brightly. Even the chorus has stepped up its game to a level that has me floored. 

I'm not an immensely experienced performer, and the majority of my experiences have been more or less positive, But there's something different about this place. Something miraculous, and I'm glad to call it my home opera house. 

The classiest silent french Film actor.


Make sure you come out and see this show. Holla at ya boy, Ol' Yeargain. 

Until next time,

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

The Opera Bro


Full Body

Behind Head Press
100 4x6



High Bar Squat
245 4x4



Chest flys
3x12

Chins
65 3x6

Deads
370 2x6



Dips
35 3x12

Incline Bicep Curl
30's 2x12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Haters Abound

For all of those worried that people will mock you or whisper things about you or judge while you're doing your damnedest to get in better shape at the gym...

you're right, people are going to judge you.



But, it's not because of where you're at with your current level of fitness. It's not because of the clothes you're wearing, the weight you're lifting or that you're using an old MP3 rather than the new iPhone. 

It's because people are ass-holes.


I grew up a very self conscious person and I'm still in many ways immensely self conscious (which is rather strange considering the two fields I'm in: performing and fitness) and you would think after losing 100lbs, getting a six pack, obtaining a decent amount of strength that I'd be immune to some gym hate. But you'd be wrong.



Haters will find the most arbitrary things to mock you about. Today people were talking shit because I was filming myself and because I do the "same shit" all the time. Both of these things I'm immensely proud of.

If they had asked me why I filmed myself and why I do the "same shit" all the time my answer would have been straight forward and cordial.

I film myself to watch my form and it's progression, see where my weak points are so I can focus on mental and physical cues while performing the lifts and also many of them serve as promotional photos and videos for my online coaching services.



I do the big movers because I'm convinced of the research I've read in regards to the volume and frequency related to growing lean muscle tissue and gaining strength in natural athletes and I just so happen to enjoy this training style as well. Luckily for me I'm still hitting PR's every session so I'm pleased with the current programming will see it through until it no longer yields results.

But they weren't curious, just confused, so instead of asking they just mocked what they didn't really know. I'm not going to go out to address this with them, I joined the gym to lift some weights, not to get some practice with the local debate team. If they wanna make fun, that's alright to me, no skin off my nose.

The same thing goes with singing and performing. People have visceral reactions in both positive and negative ways about people's performances and their vocal qualities. Some instruments are just going to rub you the wrong way. I even recently heard a segment on This American Life recently that featured numerous emails that were outraged by the amount of vocal fry that was used by some of their female correspondence. 

So, yes. People will tease and mock you for any and everything you do, especially in the realm of training. Even Ol' Yeargain who is leaner and stronger than about 80% of the general gets haters. The best thing you can do is believe in what you're doing. If it's getting you results, however you quantify them, and you're enjoying the process, then Fuck'em.

Until next time, don't let the haters bring you down. They just hate us cuz they ain't us.




And as always...

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

The Opera Bro

Full Body

Bench Press
155 x5, 175 x3, 195 AMRAP (6)



High Bar Squat
220 4x8



Rows
3x12

Deads
330 2x7

Leg Press
4 plates plus 15lbs 3x12

1 arm shoulder press
40's 2x8-12

Switch foot lunges
3 rounds, 30 seconds each

Monday, February 9, 2015

Full Body

Incline Dumbbell
75 3x6, 1x4



High bar squat
230 5x6



Chins
45 3x8

Deads
370 2x5



Dips
55 3x8

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 seconds each