The Contrast

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Full Body

Bench
Week 1 145 x5, 165 x5, 185 AMRAP (9)




Pause Squat
195 4x4 



Croc Rows
4x12 (top set 115) 



1" Deficit Deads
355 2x4 



Leg Press
4 Plates + 50lbs  3x12

1 Arm Shoulder Press
55's 1xAMRAP (5), 40's 1xAMRAP (15)

Mountain climbers
3 Rounds, 30 secs each

Monday, March 30, 2015

You Must Choose!



In the game of dieting You have two choices: You can either count your calories or trust your body. Depending on the kind of person you are, one of these options sounds appealing and the other sounds revolting. I meet a lot of people who are completely adverse to the idea of tracking calories and or macros, other times people will gladly do so and feel empowered knowing how to keep a finite goal in mind.

One will be exact, but a huge pain in the ass. The other will require you to actually trust the signals your body is sending you and employ hunger blunting techniques.

I'm for the former, and here is why ->


Intuitive eating is very much becoming very popular in the community. And I'm all for trusting your instincts and your body to indicate how you should eat. BUT, I think this approach can truly become flawed with someone who is new to the dieting game. Most people have no clue what their body is telling them and get "snacky" or "peckish" and the best way that I can describe it is when you leave food out for dogs they'll generally polish the whole bowl off right away regardless if they are hungry or not.

I have a raging appetite. In order to curb my hunger throughout the day I have to employ hunger blunting techniques like caffeine ingestion and a high fiber and protein diet. Luckily I fuckin love caffeine and protein...fiber is alright. Because of these hunger blunting techniques sometimes when I have a planned unregulated days I actually don't eat enough calories to keep up my gym progress.

Now, assuming that I'm not employing said hunger blunting techniques and going off of whim or cues from blood sugar that is regulated just by random consumption of whatever macro composition happens to be in front of my face, I'm going to be left with a mystery calorie level that you can't really progress regardless of your goals.

The Recommendation


If you're not already ingesting a high protein, high fiber diet, then you should start. If you don't believe in that diet protocol, then I don't even know why you'd listen to a damn thing I say because that is what I know will work.

  • Learn how to count calories
  • Learn how to count macros
  • Learn your maintenance numbers
  • Play with different types of macro ranges and how your body reacts

THEN LIVE WITH YOUR BODY AND FOOD

When you've spent as much time as I have looking up the nutritional composition of food, the facts start to get stuck in your brain. Osmosis in practice if you would. You also remember what certain foods do to your appetite, your mood, and your body composition. Then you start to see what foods in certain combinations do in these same regards. Science will give you confidence in the method of calorie counting, but then experience will nestle you in her sweet sweet bosom and as long as you don't live and die by the numbers, life will be grand.

Until Next Time,

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

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Full Body

Squat
Week 3 200 x5, 225 x3, 250 AMRAP (5)





Incline Bench
160 4x6




Chins
15 3x12

Pause Deads
295 2x8




Dips
15 3x12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds 30 secs each


Friday, March 27, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
Week 3 100  x5, 115 x3, 130 AMRAP (4)




Heavy Squat
295 Minimum
210 2x9



Hammer Chest Press
2 plates plus 30lbs 4x12

Rows
4x12

3" Deficit Deads
265 2x8




Biceps/Triceps Super set
2x8-12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Do a lot with a little

One of my favorite challenges with performing is taking smaller roles and making every moment they are present in the picture to be memorable. It's often times why my eyes will be looking at the smaller roles on stage, to see those who not only seize the opportunities presented by the character, but make each and every moment significant to the story.



It's not every day that young performers get a chance to perform a title role like Don Giovanni. With a character like that you're given ample opportunities to make something of the character, and often times just by sticking to the script, the author or composer has already done most of the work. You just have to follow the road map. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

But, with the small characters...the ones with not a lot of stage time. Every single thing you do has to have significance to who that person is, was, or will be. Their hopes, dreams, insecurities, and affectations that live in every human being must be manifested in mere moments.



I've been practically entranced this past year watching how my colleagues have taken the challenges of smaller roles and blown my expectations out of the water. I recently saw a production of Pirates of Penzance where the smallest characters made the largest impression on my experience. I was literally taking mental notes on the things they did to so enchant me.

I was blessed in college to be given as many lead role opportunities as I did, but it wasn't until I stepped into the professional world that I was given a chance to try and find my "voice" in a crowd. It's an invaluable experience.

This past year has been filled with little roles. Paris in Romeo et Juliette, Trevor Greydon III in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Prison Guard in Dead Man Walking, Zuniga in Carmen, Revival Worker in Elmer Gantry. And then there was Frank.

And, although Frank Maurrant is considered a leading role, he is by no means a large scale figure. He has a handful of scenes, less than a page or two of dialogue, and an aria that's by no means a great indicator of character depth. My favorite compliment that I received that evening was that people were surprised about how much they sympathized with this murderer and my best friend called my portrayal of Frank "noble."

Frank could very easily be the bad guy. The villain. But in my opinion it would have been cowardly to have done so. To not be able to rationalize how a man could do something as horrible as murdering the woman he loves demonstrates to me that you're afraid of feeling such sympathy. Which is alright, it's not an easy thing to come to grips with. You've got to be wired a certain way, I reckon.



My continuation of doing a lot with a little will hopefully continue in my next two pursuits. Jud Fry is a very small role in the context of Oklahoma!, but again, everything that he says and does has more layers than many would expect. I'm still feeling out his words and the way to navigate some things, but I've got a pretty firm idea of who I am manifested as Jud. The accent fits pretty nice in the mouth, and boiling anger and depressive solidarity are all too reminiscent. But, I'm also looking forward to the tennis game with colleagues I've yet to meet.

And I guess this is as good as a time as any: I'll be performing my first Shakespeare play at the end of this summer. I'll be performing the roles of Metellus Cimber and Marullus in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Again, small roles, but big opportunities.



Until next time,

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

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Full Body

Deads
Week 2 290 x3, 330 x3, 375 AMRAP (10)




Arnold Press
40 4x12



Chins
12.5 3x12

Front Squat
160 4x8




Chest fly
3x12

Dips
12.5 3x12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Pick your holidays

We're very much a pleasure driven society. We're currently engineered to chase after that constant rush of dopamine that surges whenever something pleasurable occurs. We're at a point now where we get a little rush of it every time our phone vibrates. "Oooooo, contact!!!!"

The idea of holidays were created during times when existence was grueling and to live was such an exhausting experience that having a day or time that stood out as significant gave a mental break from the constant push.

Now every day is a freakin' holiday! Here's just some highlights from March:



Here's my issue:


People are searching for reasons to legitimize their behavior, regardless if it's beneficial to their goals or not. We all do it. You, me, everyone. So I understand the "need" for it, I just think that we need to pick and chose our times of indulging in our vices so our life doesn't become that vice.

If weight loss is your goal, you can't have numerous days of unmonitored eating in near succession. Even one cheat day a week can completely stall some people's results.

As we talked about before, we're very much a Pavlovian society. From the days when we're kids and we get a pizza party when we win the softball game to the office mixer to encourage synergy your boss threw last week. We do something, we want a reward. But when people reach adult hood and realize that sometimes just getting up in the morning is tough, we're looking for pretty much any excuse to "Treat Yo'self!"



Again, I don't really care if you like to kick back and celebrate all the time. BUT, if it interferes with your goals of getting a great physique, then you shouldn't feel an obligation to eat a slice of pie or two on Pi day (3.14...although homophones are amusing, I don't see how this means we should eat pie more than any other day.)

And your indulgences shouldn't be extended onto other people. If bagel day is important to you, but don't "shame" me for not practicing in your weird food cult every time it's celebrated. I'll have pie or a bagel, or maybe pizza whenever I feel like it. After all, when pizza is on a bagel, you can have pizza anytime.


Leathered


Maybe I've become rather masochistic this past year or become obsessed with the work, the grind, and purposely "suffering" a little bit each and every day, but I've truly believe that joy has no meaning if it's overflowing. I spent the better part of my life giving into every indulgence that I could get my hands on and it left me feeling like hell, looking like hell, and not truly appreciating the indulgences themselves. They're too easy to come by nowadays. I can get a whole pizza for 5 dollars for fucks sake.

Life isn't as simple as A+B=C. You don't always get rewarded for hard work, you don't deserve treats every time you "lay down" and Santa clause and his naughty and nice list ain't real.

But I'm no monster. I believe in rainbows after storms, even if we have to manufacture them. Hard Work will always yield results, varied as they might be, and even the leathered farmer must uncrook his back, stand tall and observe the yielding of his crop.



Here are the times I make exceptions...


The Exceptions



You gotta use your best judgement for the birthdays scenario. Depends on how important that person is to you. Significant other? Absolutely. Brother? How close are you to that brother, how good does that cake look? Vanilla icing? Nasty. No, fuck it. Cookie cake? Pass me a plate. See what I mean?

For everything else, use either my cheat meal strategy or make the meal fit your flexible dieting (IIFYM) numbers. It's basically what I do and I have no trouble losing weight or maintaining my physique. 

Until Next Time,

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

The Opera Bro



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Full Body

Bench
Week 3 160 x 5, 185 x 3, 205 AMRAP (3)


Pause Squats
155 6x8



Croc Rows
4x12 (top set 110's)



1" Deficit Deads
285 2x8




Leg Press
4 Plates plus 45lbs 3x12

1 arm shoulder press
50's 2x6-8

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 seconds each

Monday, March 23, 2015

Full Body

Squat
Week 2 185 x3, 210 x3, 240 AMRAP (7)




Incline Bench
150 4x8



Chins
10 3x12

Pause Deads
Week 2 335 2x4 



Dips
10 3x12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 seconds each

Friday, March 20, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
Week 2 95 x3, 110 x3, 120 AMRAP (7)




Squat
275 minimum
210 2x8



Hammer Chest
2 Plates plus 25lbs 4x12

3" Deficit Deads
285 2x6 



Rows
4x12

Bicep Tricep ss

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds 30 seconds each

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Let's Talk Sugar

The title should not be confused with "Let's talk, Sugar..." which is kind of creepy.



Ahhhh, fructose glucose!

People love to demonize sugar, they love to put the brand of "unhealthy" on it. However, this is only done on assumption because they see people who's diet is composed primarily of high sugar foods and their physiques may not be great and thus the correlation equals causation equation was born. We all know this is a fallacy, yet we indulge in this practice regularly. 

And although I still see "I need to stay away from carbs" all the time from people who are novice to the fitness game, most people have learned that carbs aren't a force of evil. People are attached at the hip to his assumption that sugar is somehow to blame for their woes.

But what sugars?


Monosaccharides


Glucose - Dextrose or grape sugar occurs naturally in fruits and plant juices

Fructose - Fruit sugar. Occurs naturally in fruits, some root vegetables, cane sugar and honey and is the sweetest of the sugars. It is one of the components of sucrose or table sugar.

Galactose - Does not occur in the free state but is a constituent with glucose of the disaccharide lactose or milk sugar. It is less sweet than glucose.


Disaccharides


Sucrose - found in the stems of sugar cane and roots of sugar beet. It also occurs naturally alongside fructose and glucose in other plants, in particular fruits and some roots such as carrots. The different proportions of sugars found in these foods determines the range of sweetness experienced when eating them.

Maltose - formed during the germination of certain grains, the most notable being barley, which is converted into malt, the source of the sugar's name. A molecule of maltose is formed by the combination of two molecules of glucose. It is less sweet than glucose, fructose or sucrose.

Lactose - naturally occurring sugar found in milk. A molecule of lactose is formed by the combination of a molecule of galactose with a molecule of glucose. It is broken down when consumed into its constituent parts by the enzyme lactase during digestion.


The Two Biggest Scape Goats: 

Table Sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup.


All of these sugars have Identical results in regards to body composition. In this recent post by Menno Henselmans on Bret Contreras Blog, he points out a few excellent facts.

"A 6 month study of 390 participants found that this is true for all simple carbs, like fructose (fruit sugar) and lactose (milk sugar): whether you consume simple or complex carbs does not affect your body composition [1]. Or, for that matter, your blood lipids, an important marker of your cardiovascular (heart) health.

While it is easy to classify simple carbs as bad and complex carbs as good, the distinction between simple and complex carbs is in fact completely arbitrary. It is merely a medical tradition that we call carbohydrates with 3 or more sugars ‘complex carbs’ and we call carbohydrates with 1 or 2 sugars ‘simple carbs’."


If you hate sugar, then you have to hate sugar gliders....and who could hate a sugar glider?


The Caveat


So, assuming your calories are in order it truly doesn't matter what kind of carb sources you chose to have WITH THE EXCEPTION THAT YOU HAVE SUFFICIENT FIBER INTAKE.

People assume that I'm advising individuals to push aside that plate of broccoli and to pick up a pack of skittles when that could be farther from the truth. I just think demonizing food and placing the blame on to other people for your weight or is not only irresponsible, but lacks intelligence and self respect.

My concerns are Calories, protein and fiber. Once you've hit those three numbers, I'm not really too particular on where you decide to get the most of your energy from, fat or carbs. I personally believe carbs are a better option, but with the current American diet it's difficult to get a consistent low fat diet combined with the average person's hectic schedule. So, pick your "poison" and find foods that you like, fill you up, and don't make you want to binge. This tends to be foods that are often deemed "healthy" by general society, but the minute you start thinking you're better than other people.

Until Next time,

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

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Full Body

Deads
Week 1 270 x5, 315 x5, 350 AMRAP 12


Never thought I'd ever do 12 reps on the Deadlift.


Seated Arnold Press
35 4x12



Chins
7.5 3x12

Front Squat
180 4x6



Chest fly
3x12

Dips
7.5 3x12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Full Body

Bench Press
Week 2 150 x3, 175 x3, 195 AMRAP (6)





Pause Squat
175 4x6




Croc Rows
4x12 (105 top set)



1" Deficit Deads
325 2x6




Leg Press
4 plates plus 40lbs 3x12



1 arm shoulder press
50's 2x6-8

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds 30 secs each

Monday, March 16, 2015

Let's stop defining our diets

People love to define things. It's as if we were all born with a label maker attached to our hips, or perhaps it's saddled with our diapers. We need to point to objects in our little baby books, perhaps spheres, red in color, and say "ball!"

So, I understand the desire for labeling and defining, but with things such as dieting, it just get's down right silly.


The Healthy Food Conundrum


This idea of "eating clean" eating "paleo" and "eating Healthy" are just buzz words. They don't mean anything because you can't precisely define any of them. I can understand and fully support those that chose to eat because of moral or religious practice, but I will never understand or support those that make morality or religious practices out of the way they eat.



I never, and I mean NEVER say that I eat "healthy." People assume I eat "healthy" and some people say that I eat "healthy" but I have not once told anyone that I think I'm a healthy eater. I don't look at food as black and white, as healthy or unhealthy. Why is that? Because the term "healthy" is subjective and is used more now for purposes of propaganda more than a means to help people achieve a higher level of health or a means to find a great balance between enjoyment and discipline.

Isn't the term "dieting" enough? Just eat! The results of your eating is what truly defines what you're doing more than the food you choose to do it with. I can gain weight, lose weight, or maintain with my usual food choices. The defining factors are and will always be the quantities. The minutia of the quality and kinds of carbs, proteins, and fats are debates for those looking to waste endless hours of their life with such banter.


Consistency and Calories


The people that I've seen get the best results and stick with their program in order to achieve said results are the ones who have done the least to adapt their current diet. They didn't jump the shark onto the clean food/paleo/healthy meal crunch, they just found a means to make the foods they love work for them. Either with lesser calorie adaptations of their favorite treats, making their meals higher protein and high fiber thus more macro friendly, or just fitting their sweet treats into their daily allotment of carbs and fats. If they need a day to gorge, they work in a day where they get a big calorie "refeed," feel what it's like to be miserable via food, and then return to the ground. In the end, they worked with their calories, their limitations, and then kept at them for weeks on end until goals were achieved



I don't mind debating about this topic, clean eaters only have the power of social assumption, fear mongering and anecdote to "prove their theories." But, to be frank, I've grown bored with this debate. I'd rather debate about whether something tastes good and whether or not it's worth trying at all than try to formulate borders around the parameters of "healthy or clean."

Until Next Time,

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

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Full Body

Squat
Week 1 170 x5, 200 x5, 225 AMRAP (9)





Incline Bench
140 4x12



Chins
5lbs 3x12

Pause Deads
Week 1 315 2x6




Dips
5lbs 3x12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds 30 secs each


Friday, March 13, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
Week 1 90 x5, 100 x5, 115 AMRAP (8)




High Bar Squat
275 Minimum (275)

Leg Extension
Drop Set

Hammer Chest Press
2 plates plus 20lbs 4x12

3" Deficit Dead
295 2x4 



Rows
4x12

Biceps ss with/Triceps
2x8-12

Mountain climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Full Body

Deads
Week 3 304 x5, 344 x3, 385 AMRAP (8)




Behind Head Press
105 4x6-10



Front Squats
185 4x4



Chins
2.5 3x12

Chest Flys
3x12

Dips
2.5 3x12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each