The Contrast

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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Full Body

Deads
285 x5, 325 x5, 365 AMRAP (13)




Reverse Grip Overhead
90lb Top Set



Front Squat
190 5x6




Chins
37.5 3x12


Pec Deck
4x12



Dips
37.5 3x12


Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Different ain't bad

It's taken me a while to learn to love the differences and have an eye of wonder for the choices others make when singing and acting. The choices you wouldn't have made don't make that performance less great, especially when performed with such sincerity and conviction. 

Perfection is a white rabbit you chase down a hole, the best thing you can do is refine your instrument in its entirety and present that story with the humanity you bring to it.

Don't waste your youth being a jealous critic, find things to admire. It's a much better venture. The things you will dislike will be quite obvious, there's no need to focus on them.

Here's an exciting, thoughtful, and new perspective on a couple of old standard that have been through it all performed by great new faces to this repertoire.

Steven Pasquale singing Soliloquey

Steven Pasquale and Laura Osnes singing "If I loved You."

That's all for now, until next time...

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

The Opera Bro

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Full Body

Bench
160 x3, 180 x3, 205 AMRAP (3)





Pause Squat
195 4x6




Croc Rows
130 top set 4x12

1" Deficit Deads
345 2x6




Leg Press
4 plates plus 70lbs 3x12

Shoulder Hypertrophy

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Monday, April 27, 2015

Full Body

Squat
185 x5, 210 x5, 240 AMRAP (8)





Decline Bench
155 4x8-12



Chins 
35 3x8

Pause Deads
Week 1 335 2x6




Dips
35 3x12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds 30 secs each

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The AM/PM Split

I've gone through numerous training methods the past couple of years, some of which I recommend, others which were wastes of time and I have deemed "good life experience."

I used to be a regular practitioner of two a day training, and although when I first began this type of training I was on a very aggressive high volume, chase the pump style training, I've refined my ideas and my programming to get the most out of my ideas.

Warning:

  1. This type of training is not for everyone. This type of training is probably best used by a lifter who is an intermediate lifter, well past the "new to lifting" phase, approaching at least 3 years of experience where you're not having to remind yourself how to do certain movements.
  2. You either need a very flexible or a very awkward lifestyle in order to make it to the gym twice in the same day. If you're a student who has close access to a gym and time between classes, if you have an office training center and have an ample break to wreck a training session mid day, or you're financially VERY well off and choose to live out your life making hella gainz.
  3. Only implement this style of training if you're going to have ample amounts of recovery, meaning lots of calories, lots of rest, mobility work, all that PT supple leopard b.s. that keeps people moving well and still lifting frequently. In the examples I give below you only have 3 training days per week and Do the Big Three every training day, but you rest at least 36 hours before your next session.

The Rationale:

It's difficult to put in the kind of mental focus, mind muscle connection and the mental tenacity required of a decent pump, high volume sesh when you've just spent the majority of that energy ensuring that you won't be crushed by the big movers. The central nervous system is spent and ready to quit by the time a person gets to their "accessory" and weak point work, and the lifts that follow the big fun hauls tend to suffer.

The greatest factor in Hypertrophy is accumulated volume. More volume means more time under tension, more reps and sets, which means Mo' Muscle. But it's easier to accumulate it if there is a base of strength. Doing 8-12 reps with 250lbs will yield a higher volume than doing 8-12 reps with 80lbs. This is why this training style is so effective, you're acquiring strength and volume in the morning, then you're accumulating even more volume in the afternoon/evening and working on more factors that contribute towards Hypertrophy.

Also, if you're like me, you have friends who like lifting but in the words of bros everywhere "They don't lift." Meaning they don't like the Squat and Deadlift (or they fear them for some reason) and much prefer the pretty boy muscles and like to do the traditional bro sessions. Lucky for them, I also love bro lifts and pump sessions. But, I need to get in my strength training in, so I wake in the morning before they have the time to wipe the j├Ągar from their mouths and get in my Power lifts, then I meet up with them later and hit up a mad pump sesh that will wreck them for days to come and help them vomit all of the mistakes they ingested the night before.

I'm being ridiculously facetious, but in all reality, this gives you some flexibility in going to friends with friends, or your special gal or guy and get in more volume but not neglect your true work in the morning.

Now, to the lifting...

 

The AM: Strength, the Heavy Movers


In my current training I do a variation on a Squat, Press and Deadlift on every training session. It's a program designed to get stronger in the powerlifting style lifts: Squat, Bench, and Deads. In this AM session you will do these lifts....or you could think of it as a Squat, Press, and Heavy Pull.



Only 1 of the lifts you do in the morning session will be a max effort, all out lift, pushing your R.P.E 9-10. The others will be working within that 65-75% and are designed to get in additional volume and technical practice and address the weak points in most lifts.

PM: Hypertrophy, the pm pump sesh


This session is all about getting in volume, the kind of techniques employed in this session include but are not limited to: Drop Sets, Giant Sets, Pyramid Sets, Supersets, sets past failure. Slow eccentric work, tempo sets. Basically the body building book of techniques.

Curls for the girls.



Example 2-a-day Sessions:


AM:


Monday:
Bench Press 75-90%
Pause Squat 65-75%
Deficit Deads 65-75%

Wednesday:
Squat (Competition Style of choice) 75-90%
Incline Bench 65-75%
Pause Deads 65-75%

Friday:
Deads 75-90%
Front Squat 65-75%
Weighted Dips 65-75%

PM:


Monday: Chest and Back
Chest Flys
Chins/pull ups
Push up complexes
Pull downs
Rows of all variety

Wednesday: Arms and Shoulders
Presses: Barbell and dumbbell
Shoulder flys and raises
Face pulls
Curls and extensions

Friday: Lower Body
Leg Press
Leg curls
Leg Extension
Goblet Squats
Calf Work
Single Leg Work


I strongly believe that if you're going to do two a day sessions that you don't stick them back to back unless you're a professional athlete and your job is to train. If you have two 2-a-day sessions back to back your strength training in the mornings will suffer, especially if you're giving that pump sesh the hell it deserves. Stick to an every other day training schedule, or put a PM session next to a rest day.

This is by no means a fully fledged out program. There's no inherent progress or periodization written into this, so it's something that could supplement a program that progresses one or all of the big three or a means to break up the assistance work. Do with it whatever you'd like, it is yours for the musing.


Until next time,

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

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Friday, April 24, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
95 x5, 110 x5, 120 AMRAP (9)



Heavy Squat
285 min
215 2x8



Hammer Chest Press
2 Plates plus 50lbs 4x12

Hammer Rows
2 Plates plus 10lbs 4x12

3" Deficit Deads
315 2x4




Bicep Tricep
Superset

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Full Body

Deads
315 x5, 360 x3, 400 AMRAP (8)





Reverse Grip Overhead Press
Pyramid Up 4x8-12



Front Squat
195 4x4




Chins
32.5 3x8

Flys
3x12

Dips
32.5 3x12

Farmers Carries
120 2 rounds 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Elevator Ride

Elevator goes up. Elevator goes down. As a delivery driver I ride a different elevator in a different part of the city nearly every day, sometimes twice a day. Most of the time in hospitals. Delivering to doctors and Pharm reps. They have various speeds, decor and music. But, unlike the Wonkavator, it has only two directions. Up and down.

I enjoy being a coach and trainer. I truly do. However, it is at times rather heart breaking to watch others go through the ride, to help them through the journey, to always be the words of strength and support and keep that finger pointed to the light at the end of the trail and watch them fight those same demons I wrestled with day in and day out for the better part of two years.



Even to this day those demons, those son's of bitches tug at my heart, making me question my self worth with every minor change to my physique or measurements or the progress I'm making in the gym. And now I watch others fight those same battles, go through the ups and downs, ride the elevator if you would. I pray that my "wisdom" gives them solace and that my understanding of their struggles will shine light on some of the mental pit falls.

Yeah, that's right a metaphor. Elevator go up and down. Except this elevetor isn't dropping like a dimmer switch. It only takes digital numbers on a little box you step on in the morning to cut your wires and send us into a plummet.



It's fucking agonizing. I've had days where those numbers literally dictate what kind of day I'll be having...

I lost a pound.

"Yeah! Life is grand!"

I gained a pound.

"...What the hell am I doing with my life? I'm never going to lose this weight. I fucking suck. This day, this week, this month, this YEAR have been a complete and total fucking waste."

If you think I'm exaggerating then you obviously have never had this struggle before. This was my LIFE for the better part of 2 years. It's a miserable elevator ride filled with shitty Muzack and the upset feeling you get when the ride goes up and down too damn fast, except everything you're doing is self inflicted.

But the highs....oh my god, the highs are so incredible. I've regularly talked about my addictive personality, and never have I gotten such an incredible high as when I succeeded with my weight loss goals. Cloud. Fucking. 9. King of the world, King Kong ain't got nothing on me. The blissful, god complex that overwhelms your head and heart is enough to make you ride that cloud right into the sunset. 



This is what you have to look forward to whenever you decide to take the journey. Whether it's with me, another coach or trainer, or by yourself, you will experience this every step of the way. It's easy to show before and afters and say that the journey is worth it and that it was more manageable than people might imagine. HOWEVER, whenever you're on your 16th week of dieting, you've never missed a training session, a cardio session, and your diet is on point and you don't feel like you're seeing the results you should be, your body and mind will do as much as it can to try and get you to quit.

DON'T QUIT.

Change, adapt, make adjustments and push as hard as you can. But never quit. The moment you quit is the minute you die. I know I'm being dramatic, but your progress has to be that important to you if you're going to get through the ride.

Until Next Time,

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

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Full Body

Bench
145 x5, 170 x5, 190 AMRAP (8)




Pause Squat
205 4x4 



Croc Rows
4x12 (top set 125)

1" Deficit Deads
365 2x4 



Leg Press
4 Plates plus 65lbs

1 Arm Shoulder Press
65's 1xAMRAP, 45's 1xAMRAP

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Full Body

Squat
205 x5, 235 x3, 260 AMRAP (5)





Decline Bench
145 4x12



Chins
30lbs 3x8-10

Pause Deads
305 2x8




Dips
30lbs 3x12

Farmers Carries
120 2 rounds 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

You gotta have wheels

I used to be like the average bro who neglected the shit out of my legs. I'd have a whole day dedicated to biceps, yet legs somehow got left off the menu. It was only when I began to take my training seriously that I started to see optimal results.



Da Wheels


Your wheels are what you ride around in all day, and your legs are the original wheels, so it only makes sense to pimp yo ride.


But in all seriousness, you should not neglect your leg training. In fact, your lower half should truly be the main focus of your training regardless of your goals. 

Health 


The longer you walk, more than likely the longer you will live. I know people are making a lot of hype about how sitting kills you that I'm not 100% convinced by, but the longer you have fully functioning healthy legs, the better for your health. There is no argument about that.
 
It seems that I run into someone who has knee issues pretty much every day. And since there's little you can do to actually improve the joint itself, your focus on keeping yourself mobile should be aimed to making the quadriceps as strong and powerful as humanely possible to buffer for your crappy knee genetics (trust me, I sympathize with my achy knees.)

Weight loss


High rep Squats/lunges/step ups will make you sweat BEADS! I've actually seen multiple fitness personalities who use frequent leg training filled with high rep squats, distance weighted lunges, and super setting big leg movers in order to keep their calories high while dieting for a photo shoot. The energy output required for these brutal lifts is infinitely more substantial than most conventional cardio.

and finally...


Performance/Dat ass!


Your Glutes are your largest muscles on the human body. (Or at least they should be. Pancake butt gets you nowhere in life!) If you neglect your ass, you're not only depriving yourself of epic performance potential, you're also missing out on a large portion of energetically expensive material that could help you maintain an overall leaner physique which is essential for endurance athletes, and athletes required to remain in a certain weight class

Favorite Lower Body Lifts


There is no lift that equates the power and efficiency of deep, ass to grass squats. Quads, Hams, Glutes all in one fell swoop. No matter what field sport or athletic pursuit you're looking to develop, I recommend Deep squatting.

Although I'm not a functional fitness junkie or necessarily care about movements carrying over to "real life scenarios"...


Deadlifts are chief. Total body power. The above picture ^^^^ is obviously a joke, but getting strong on the most incredible lift is gonna get you good lookin and work your entire body. Traps, Glutes, Hams, some quad action. Your body learns to adapt under such bad-assery.

Glute Ham Raises are fantastic. I wish I had a glute ham raise at my gym, but alas. 

Glute Thrusts 

Glute thrusts are the perfect isolation for dat ass. But they're pretty inconvenient to set up unless you have one of Bret Contreras' fancy glute platforms. 

And of course I like Lunges, Bulgarian Split Squats, Thrusters, pretty much anything that get's you in a low, squat like position, but they are all secondary to the above IMO.

So, in closing: make sure you train your glutes, hams, and quads...but neglect the shit out of your calves!!!



Jk.

Until next time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Friday, April 17, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
105 x5, 120 x3, 130 AMRAP (5)




Heavy Squat
285 min
210 2x12



Hammer chest Press
2 plates plus 45lbs 4x12

3" Deficit Deads
275 2x8




Rows
4x12

Bicep Tricep shoulder
Super sets

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Full Body

Deads
295 x3, 340 x3, 380 AMRAP 10




Arnold Press
55's 1xAMRAP, 40's 1xAMRAP



Front Squat
165 4x8




Chins
27.5 3x12

Pec Deck
3x12

Dips
27.5 3x12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Off Season

Like in the sport of bodybuilding, you go through seasons of competing and then seasons of growing. Seasons of making gainz, of putting in lots of quality time in the gym, being in a caloric surplus. It's called the off season. You may have heard this term used with Other sports as well.

We as actors and performers go through many seasons as well. Audition season is one of the more common ones talked about because it's one of the more miserable and usually sparks some of the more entertaining stories or commiserating banter.


The Seasons



There are also pretty general performing seasons. There's Summerstock for places that perform multiple shows within the context of Late May through August, The Fall and Holiday shows that are around September through December, and the Spring Shows that cover January through April. Tours of course break the mold and go through most of the year.

If you're a lucky kitten strong enough to push their way through the rest of the litter to mama's teet, you've got yourself at least one per those three seasons. However, even this will leave you with lots of flex time in between shticks. Even if the show you're in has a one month run at a theatre with a one month rehearsal period, that still leaves you a few months "off."

This, my friends is your off season...

It's true that if you're fortunate you have less of an off season. Which may or may not be fine depending on how you feel about your product. If you feel like you're producing crap and that you will soon burn out, then I suggest you make yourself have an off season. If you're in a position to say "no" to things, it might be best for your future to say that magical little word.

However, there are others that are just lucky enough to book one decent sized gig per calendar year. In this case you have a lot of time in your off season. In this case there is only so many applications you can fill out, so many resumes and head shots to send,

What to do with your off season:


Now, I'm not a life coach, a career coach, your mom, dad, or mentor. I'm just sharing with you my philosophy when it comes to the in-between stuff while you're waiting for your career to build up the momentum you desire. I'm all for chasing down leads and getting the small gigs that buffer the big lands, but sometimes the well has run dry and you are in a holding position. But as a dude that loves to work towards my goals, waiting is death, and I ain't ready to lay in my coffin.




Prepare for your next thing


You should obviously make sure you're fully prepared for your next project. Learn your lines, learn your notes, rhythms, the story, dig deep and find the piece of that character that lives within you and pull it out in full force.


Develop Your Craft


Develop your instrument as a whole. Become more disciplined in your practice. I've recently accepted the benefit of reading and can be seen with a book in my hand or text on my screen as I survey the world for the right knowledge that will take me to that next level. Books are cheap, they're practically free, and usually the investment you make on any book will have immense returns if you apply the knowledge you've learned.

Become a more interesting person


Sometimes we performers lack things to talk about. We generally get trapped in the same back and forward of what we've performed, who we performed with, and Netflix. I'm plenty guilty of this, and I'm trying my best to make the things that come out of my mouth more than gym, gym, singing, singing, Netflix. I'm by no means trying to be a jack of all trades, but I like to hear how others live their lives, how they justify their actions, and how they find the beauty and art in their craft. This American Life is pretty good at opening the window into other worlds.

Get a Bankroll


Not a lot of people can make a full time living as a performer. Many have to have other jobs or other means of income. It's difficult pullin' down full time cheddar doing a job that you may only have three or four jobs a year, definitely when commin' up the ranks you've got to accept the necessity of survival jobs.

Get Stronger


This could also be titled "formulate healthier habbits." You know, gain control of your diet, exercise, practice things that will solidify your mental health, meditate, yoga, blah, blah, blah. I personally think having a good long streak of just focusing on getting stronger is the best thing you can do for your body in terms of health. But I'm biased, so do what you want to do to feel healthier.



Whatever you decide to do during your off season, make sure you're growing in one way or another. Financially, spiritually, academically. Just find something to invest the kind of energy to put into your creative projects and come out the other end a better version of yourself.

Until Next Time,

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

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Full Body

Bench
165 x 5, 185 x 3, 210 AMRAP (3)




Pause Squat
165 4x8




Croc Rows
4x12 (top set 125)



1" Deficit Deads
295 2x8



Leg Press
4 plates plus 60lbs 3x12

1 arm Shoulder Press
65's 1xAMRAP, 45's 1xAMRAP

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds 30 secs each

Monday, April 13, 2015

Full Body

Squat
190 x3, 220 x3, 250 AMRAP (6)




Incline Bench
180 4x2
135 1xAMRAP (14)



Chins
25 3x12

Pause Deads
345 2x4 



Dips
25 3x12

Farmer Carries
115 2 rounds

Friday, April 10, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
95 x3, 110 x3, 125 AMRAP (6)




Heavy Squat
285 min
210 2x11



Hammer Chest Press
2 plates plus 40lbs 4x12

Rows
Pyramid Sets

3" Deficit Deads
295 2x6




Bicep Tricep 
Ss

Farmers Carry
110 2 Rounds

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Full Body

Deads
Week 1 275 x5, 315 x5, 360 AMRAP 13




Arnold Press
50's 4x6



Chins
22.5 3x12

Front Squat
185 5x6




Pec Deck
3x8-12

Dips
22.5 3x12

Farmers Carry
105's 2 rounds

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Drama, Drinking, and Your Gainz

These past few years I've spent a great deal of time "trimming the fat." And I mean that quite literally and figuratively.

Avoiding people and situations that breed drama are not only important for your progress, they are 100% necessary. 


Choices


Life is a series of choices, and although I'm not always a believer that every situation has a good and or bad choice, each will yield a result that may or may not be in line with your overarching goals.

If you want to lose body fat, gain hella amounts of muscle and live a fairly healthy lifestyle, you might need to say no to your friends who want to binge drink after work all the way through the weekend. 



I personally hate bars. I find them to more often than not to be pits of self hatred and disappointment and a colossal waste of money. And although I don't drink, I have no issues with alcohol. It's a pillar of our society. But if I told my future children that I met their mother while trolling bars for chicks...well, I'd use my story telling abilities and fabricate a much better one.

Staying up real late, consuming large amounts of booze and waking up hungover is obviously not in line with the goals of someone looking to make a life changing transformation. 


Chill


I tell my clients to chill with consistent binge drinking and life drama the same reason I tell them to chill at their job and get more sleep: Stress

Anything you do to add stress in your life will manifest in your training and progress. Not only will cortisol make you hoard all kinds of water, hiding all of that great progress you've been making under subcutaneous liquid, but the more stress you stack on, the closer you will be to "fuck it" mode.



Life is tough as is with family, job, bills, and the on going grind of the journey. You don't need the pithy manufactured "OMG, Becky, Sasha said you didn't look good in your lulu lemon yesterday." That's the talk of children and commoners, your dreams sit in the stratosphere amongst gods. Hold your time as precious as they grasp their golden apples and suddenly the nonsense talked about by fools will be the equivalent of robbery.

Save your money. Buy a fine source of libations, or a cheap one that delights you and spend your evenings with people in environments that will stimulate your spirit and thinking. Your gainz will thank you.

Until next time,

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

The Opera Bro