The Contrast

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

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Tools and Tricks to Improve Your Deadlift

Because of my natural genetic limb lengths, I've acquired some decent Deadlift strength fairly quickly with little to no programming and with proper diet and training I've been able to vastly improve it more and more over the past few months.

Here are a few things I've done to improve the lift and some items that you may want to give a try in your training and add into your gym bag.

Technique


Believe it or not, most of the time when people suck at the deadlift, it's more than likely because their technique is garbage and their body is getting in the way of them successfully pulling decent weight. Step one should always be to refine your technique, get to a point where it looks consistent and you're not doing anything to work against your anatomy (if ya know what I mean. *wink wink, nudge nudge*) and don't reinvent the wheel. Follow other lifters who are similar builds to you who lift big weight and heed their advice.


Grip


Sometimes the limiting factor is staring you right in the face. Your hands will more than likely be much weaker than your glutes, hams, quads, and back. Or you have very thin, breakable skin on your hands and they are constantly getting really torn up. In this situation you may want to implement some basic tools to save your mitts a bit.

Chalk


Some of the cooler gyms have these in big buckets ready to go for you. Use as much as you want type of situation. Other's allow you to bring them in and clean up your residue when you leave, and in the later situation, having a little gladware of chalk can save your paws a bit.


Liquid Chalk


If you train at a gym that's a bit of a stickler when it comes to "unnecessary messes" you may want to go for a type of grip help that won't as big of a lasting impression. In these situations some liquid chalk is the perfect solution. There's even one that can be hooked onto your key chain. So now you got an interesting conversation starter should some one over look your crappy looking car keys and see the strange lube container attached on the loop (LOL.)


 

Lifting Straps


These suckers have become a fashion accessory in most gyms, but if you're a serious barbell athlete or need your hands operating at a decent level (I've trained pianists and orchestral musicians who have spoken about such worries) then these become more than something that dangles from your hands like a goofy bracelet, then become a necessity. So take care of yo shit, brother.




However, one would argue that grip shouldn't be a factor because you should just become stronger and faster, that way you're not having to hold onto that weight for longer than a few seconds, rather than trying to grind out lengthy reps. So let's explore ways to get stronger.


Frequency...but not too heavy and not too much


Because of the nature of the lift, it is actually rather difficult to recover from frequent heavy deadlifts for the general population. However, in the beginning stages of your training, doing the movement more frequently is going to give you more practice with your technique and eventually you'll start to understand your own anatomy a lot better and will get out of your own way. But if you're lifting too heavy and too frequently you're going to derail progress on ALL of your lifts. So if you do want to increase your deadlift frequency, do it with varying levels of intensity. Or do lighter variations...

Variations

Variations stimulate your mind, incorporate different muscles, allow for flexibility in your training, and overall can be a lot of fun to dabble with here and there. They can also be great for working weak points in various parts of the lift: Starting off the floor, Upper back rounding, and the lockout.



Tools



If you're pulling wearing anything other than chuck taylors, slippers, wrestling shoes, or vibrams, you're begging for a rolled ankle.

Vibrams: They Look Weird, but it's the closest you can get to pulling flat footed. Plus it's an interesting conversation piece...along with your lube...I mean liquid chalk.





Wrestling Shoes: They're pretty cool looking, plus if you used to wrestle in high school, you now have another purpose for those old warrior shoes you used to stomp around in.





Lifting Belt

Training with a belt has many benefits. The following picture was taken from an article by the genius powerlifter, Greg Nuckols called "The Belt Bible."


It's a rather thorough and colorful. So even though it contains smart people talk, I like to look at the pictures and feel the happiness it brings.




So...

What's more fun than picking heavy shit off of the ground and putting it right back down? Nothing. So, get your Deadlift game into gear.

Until next time,

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

The Opera Bro

OperaBroTraining.com

Friday, May 29, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
110 x5, 125 x3, 140 AMRAP (3)

Feeling Light Headed this mornin'. Fuck it, PR time.


Heavy Squat
295 Min
220 2x8

Doing these with less warm up sets. Feelin' good.


Hammer Chest Press
2 plates plus 75lbs 4x12

Hammer Rows
2 Plates plus 60lbs 4x12

3" Deficit Deads
290 2x8



Shoulder/Arm Hypertrophy

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Full Body

Deads
310 x3, 355 x3, 395 AMRAP (9)



Upright Row
4x8-12 85-95lbs



Front Squat
175 4x8




Chins
57.5 1xAMRAP, BodyWeight 1xAMRAP

Dumbell Chest Flys
40lbs top set 4x12 Pyramid 

Dips
27.5 1xAMRAP, BodyWeight 1xAMRAP

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Tools and Tricks to Help Your Squat Game

I'm by no means a master squatter. I have however made tremendous improvements over the past couple of years and continue to do so. 

In this post I'll cover a few things that have helped improved my squat and share some tools that I plan on implementing in the future to further my squat game.


More Frequent Squatting


The first thing that I did to improve my squat was simply to do it more often. At first it was once a week, then it moved to twice a week, and now I Squat 4 times a week.

Why this works is really simple. More Practice. More volume. More hypertrophy. However, I think doing the exact same type of movement over and over can lend itself to injury if your recovery is not in line, so that's why I began to implement variations.


Squat Variations


Although I squat 4 times a week, I do 3 different variations of that squat and cycle the rep ranges. This allows to work different weak points, target certain muscle groups,


Pause squats are a fantastic means to build up strength and stability at the bottom of the squat. I recommend for people to do these lighter and go a lot deeper than you'd normally go (ass to calves) and work on generating energy from that bottom neutral position.


Tools


Weight Lifting Shoes


Some people, myself included just don't naturally have the kind of ankle flexibility in order to do a full ass to grass squat without the aid of an elevated heel. Purchasing squat/weightlifting shoes allowed me to finally get into that deep squat position.


 

Weight Lifting Belt


Wearing a weight lifting belt has lots of benefits. It trains your breathing pattern so that you push out your belly against a belt, it allows you to handle more weight, and it creates a sense of sGreg Nuckols wrote about the benefits of wearing a belt.


 

Knee Sleeves


Knee sleeves add minimal amounts of weight to your total in terms of total, but they can certainly add a lot in terms of confidence and feeling safer, warming and lubricating your knee joints.


 

Knee Wraps 


Depending on the quality of the wrap and how tightly you wrap them, knee wraps can increase your overall total considerably. These are very uncomfortable to wear and require a bit of help to get them extra tight. However, they can help you overload your muscles and central nervous system by allowing you to do more weight. It's another tool in the tool box.



 

  

Wrist Wraps


If you're an avid low bar squatter, your wrists and arms bear a lot of the load and can wear you down. Sometimes the pain from this wrist strain can be severe enough to make people drop the weight. These wrist wraps can help quite a bit with that stability and add another piece to the puzzle.



Hip Circle


A lot of people have trouble teaching their hips to open up and allow for themselves to sink in the middle. Along with regular technique practice, a tool you can begin implementing is the Hip Circle created by Mark Bell.


 

Bands/Chains


A lot like with my bench press recommended tools, these two tools are perfect additions to your training for speed and dynamic work. It also can make training a lot of fun and help you not constantly test your CNS and work other weak points in your squat game.





That's all for now. Get that squat game up.


Until Next Time,

Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It

The Opera Bro

OperaBroTraining.com

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Full Body

Bench
170 x 5, 195 x 3, 215 AMRAP (3)
Pause Bench 140lbs 1xAMRAP (12)



Pause Squats
180 4x8 



Hammer Rows
4x12

1" Deficit Deads
310 2x8



Leg Press
4 Plates plus 90lbs 3x12

Shoulder Hypertrophy

Monday, May 25, 2015

Full Body

Squat
205 x3, 235 x3, 265 AMRAP (6)





Decline Bench
195 3x2, 1x5



Chins
55lbs 1xAMRAP (8), BodyWeight 1xAMRAP (12)

Pause Deads
360 2x4




Dips
25lbs 1xAMRAP (15), bodyweight 1xAMRAP (20)

Bicep and Shoulder Hypertrophy

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tools to Help Your Bench

I'll be the first to say that my Bench Press sucks. It sucks a lot. In fact, My Bench press is the only thing that isn't excelling on this lean bulk/new programming. I attribute this to my natural genetic structure and my mediocre technique.

The Bench press is the big "who's the man in the gym" lift. I've always wanted a big bench, but that dream has yet to come to fruition. However, I am making plans to change this. After I've run the course of my current program, I'm going to start introducing different techniques and tools into my training.

If you're brand spanking new to lifting, there is no need to apply any of these things. Just get in the gym and lift, learn how to lift more efficiently with better technique, give it several months of consistent training and more than likely you will have gained size and strength in your chest and arms and then you can decide if you'd like to apply the following to get stronger at the movement. BUT, if you're like me and done the basics and acquired a bench that's at least your body weight x 1.3 and find it difficult to progress, give these following things a try.

Additional Tricep and Chest Hypertrophy


This will be the first thing that I incorporate. My triceps have always been a huge week point for me, my biceps are immensely larger and stronger in comparison. My chest isn't exactly a weak point, but my ability to tie in my chest and muscles via the mind muscle connection to my pressing movements is definitely a limiting factor. I recently maxed out the Pec Deck at my gym and turned to dumbbell flys with a real large stretch at the bottom position. The result said dumbbell flys is a chest so sore that it woke me up last night. Yeowzahs.

Basically, a larger muscle will more than likely be a stronger one, or at the very least be capable of more strength. Additional volume and hypertrophy after you've done your big basic movements will allow you to grow stronger and get some bigger pretty boy body parts (chest, arms, shoulders, even some abs.) It's a win win.


Pause Work


The next thing that I will begin to incorporate or cycle in my training is paused pressing work. Pausing takes out the momentum or the rebound you might get if you do touch and go pressing and bounce the bar off of your chest.

Pause Bench


If you compete in power-lifting, you're required to pause the weight on your chest before lifting it. This also turns out to be great way to get stronger and requires you to have more mind/muscle connection and create a tighter position at the bottom of the bench, which is where a lot of people get trapped (myself included.)

Spoto Press


Created by the all time world record holder, Eric Spoto, this is a variation on the pause bench where the pause occurs an inch or so above your chest where most people fail during the lift. Doing this variation allows this part of the movement to get more time under tension and potentially more strength as a result.



Overload the Muscles and The Movement


A lot of these techniques are frequently used in what is called The Conjugate Method. Basically you wail on your weak points using accessories and speed work to improve your total on the platform. These are also ways to make your training a little more fun and allow you to get stronger in numerous ways. I plan on using these as I acquire the tools piece by piece and an idea of how to set up some of the structures in my gym with minimal inconvenience.


Bench Blocks


Bench blocks or board presses allow you to limit the range of motion and can allow you to potentially handle more weight or do the same weight for more reps. This will help your Central Nervous System Adapt to heavier weight and allow for more adaptation.




Pin Presses and Floor Presses


Pin Presses target specific sticking points and potentially allow you to push heavier weight through those area. Floor Presses work very similarly, but they remove your legs out of the equation put all of the work on just your chest and triceps with a limited motion and no leg drive.

Chains


Chains have the a double benefit of looking cool and being very helpful. This kind of training is called accommodating resistance. The lift is lightest at the bottom position when the chains are on the floor and heaviest at the top position when the chains are elevated. Some say it helps with lock out, but it's best used for speed and dynamic work so you have more resistance to push against on the way up and save your joints.


Bands 


Bands do very similar things to chains, but don't look nearly as cool. However, they are definitely a lot better in regards to speed and dynamic work and allowing the resistance to increase while saving your joints. They are also a lot cheaper and less inconspicuous in your gym bag.

 

The Sling Shot


Invented by Mark "Smelly" Bell, the sling shot gives the best of all possible worlds. Like many of the above, it allows you to either handle more weight or do a weight for more reps, effectively giving you more volume and overload, but also allows you to practice full range of motion and trains your elbows to be tucked in more, saving your shoulder in the long run.



Until Next Time,

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

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com

Friday, May 22, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
105 x3, 120 x3, 135 AMRAP (4)

Tied my last PR. I'll get five next time. This felt easy in comparison to last time with this weight.



Heavy Squat
295 min
215 2x12

Easy money.


Hammer Chest Press
2 Plates plus 70lbs 4x12

Hammer Rows
2 Plates plus 50lbs 4x12

3" Deficit Deads
310 2x6



Shoulder/arm hypertrophy

Training with my voice teacher tomorrow, so I'll get plenty of extra work without the mountain climbers this week.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Full Body

Deads
285 x5, 330 x5, 375 AMRAP (11)

Reverse Grip Overhead
120 top set Pryamid in 4's



Front Squat
195 4x6



Chins
52.5 3x8

Dumbbell Flys
Pyramid Up to 35lbs 4x12



Dips
3x12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to Progress your Chin Up/Pull Up

I love to brag about how great pull ups and chin ups are. But the reality is that most people aren't capable of doing even one full pull up or chin up. So Here are things to help you progress your way to getting a full chin up/pull up.

The First Four Things:


1.) Lose Weight (Body Fat)


The reason the pull up/chin is so good is that illuminates your relative strength to your body weight. Even if you can squat 700lbs, if you can't lift your body off of the ground you're not in a great shape. Being able to do a pull up shows you that you've obtained some decent strength relative to your body. So make plans to lose body fat by either increasing your cardio or beginning a diet. (Operabrotraining.com for those of you who need help setting up a diet or training program.)


2.) Lat Pull Downs


The key to having your Lat Pull Downs have direct transfer to your Pull Up/Chin Up strength is to minimize the amount of lean and not focus so much on pulling it to your chest but pulling your chin above the bar.


3.) Controlled Negatives




4.) Assisted with bands


I don't like the assisted dip or pull up machines. I've seen very few people actually graduate from using one to being able to do actual dips or pull ups. The whole moveable platform is bothersome and doesn't train the stabilization that occurs with a free floating body. However, attaching weight bands still allows you to train the correct movement while still getting assistance. 



Now you can do a Chin up/Pull Up! Now how to do more...



1.) Do them more frequently


Get yourself a home pull up bar that you can either keep at your home, office, or in your car and begin to frequently do pull ups or chin ups throughout the day. Now, the key is not to go to failure every time you do a set. If you can only do three pull ups, then do just do one every hour. OR you can give yourself a daily or weekly goal of the amount of your pull ups you will do and then increase that total weekly. This not only gives you more practice, but more volume that isn't going to completely tax or drain you for your other training sessions.



2.) Do Weighted Pull Ups


The moment you can start doing Pull Ups, get yourself a weight chain belt and begin adding weight to the belt. Don't go full potato and throw on a 25lb plate, start real small with a 2.5lb plates. You can even do controlled negatives with much heavier weight and start introducing your central nervous system to how it feels to have that much tension on your back and biceps.



3.) Do assisted bands again!


After you've completed your unassisted pull ups, throw on a band and do even more reps so that your muscles get a nice overload.


Try one, two, or all of these tricks and you'll notice immediate improvements in your pull up/chin up strength.

Until Next Time,

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

The Opera Bro

Operabrotraining.com


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Full Body

Bench
Week 2 160 x3, 185 x3, 205 AMRAP (5)

This felt awesome.



Pause Squat
200 4x6



Hammer Rows
4x12

1" Deficit Deads
350 2x6



Leg Press
4 Plates plus 85lbs 3x12

Shoulder Hypertrophy

Monday, May 18, 2015

Full Body

Squat
190 x5, 220 x5, 250 AMRAP (8)




Decline Bench
185 4x4



Chins
50lbs 3x8

Pause Deads
340 2x6




Dips
3x12

Bicep and Shoulder Hypertrophy

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Marshmallow Test

The first time I heard The Marshmallow test was from Martin Berkhan and his website: Leangains.hadn't even thought about this test or this study for months until Recently I was reminded by John Goodman via a couple of podcasts he was being interviewed for.



The above video is just one recreation of the marshmallow tests. Kids put into a room with a marshmallow with the promise of another marshmallow if they wait to eat it. In the original 1970 experiment, When a follow-up study on each child was done twenty years later, it was found that children who waited longer also had better academic success and less behavioral problems than the ones who ate the treat sooner.

What this test basically illuminates is delayed gratification. Those of us who are the most patient and willing to slowly foster our results will be infinitely more successful and those of us that feed our every impulse will be left with nothing to show for it.



Delayed Gratification 


I currently live a life of delayed gratification. I eat, sleep, train, work, study, save money, pay bills and slowly build up a means of hyper sustainability. My socializing and communication with friends is pretty much limited to social networking, gigs, and the rare scheduled event. I don't buy many cool things, and when I do, I ponder over its purchase for months before actually pulling the trigger. I live a rather homely existence to the point that I often look like a schlub. Long hair, full beard, old clothes, old car. 

Delayed Gratification can have value in all parts of life:
Independence:
  • Saving Money
  • Living with my folks
  • Maintaining my current vehicle, computer, phone
Career:
  • Taking the jobs that pay
  • Maintaining the jobs that pay consistently
  • Foster the relationships that will bloom

Dieting:
  • Not allowing myself to binge
  • No Hardcore dieting cuts

Training:
  •  Allowing the slow PR's to unfurl rather than chase after the big numbers every session.


Delaying Gratification Sucks


Denying yourself joy isn't fun, it's not supposed to be. That's the point of it. Berkhan gives great insight on ways to manage delayed gratification: Make yourself busy. 

"When some people are dieting, they are DIETING. They treat it like a full-time job and they're in the gym every day, sometimes twice a day. Their spartan diet is meticulously planned and carefully dispensed throughout the day. They are the ones that fixate on the marshmallow.

Others take a more balanced approach. Diet and training is part of their life, but it blends in beautifully. They are the ones that tries to forget about the marshmallow. It's background noise to them."

My goal for my clients is to get the absolute best results with as little as possible in regards to gym time commitment, the fewest adjustments to their diets, and minimal amount of thought and energy outside of when they're engaged in training and diet. 

Keep your mind off of the marshmallow of the present and work towards getting thousands of marshmallows in the future.




Until next time,

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

The Opera Bro


Friday, May 15, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
Week 1 95 x5, 110 x5, 125 AMRAP (7)



Heavy Squat
290 min
215 2x11



Hammer Chest Press
2 plates plus 65lbs 4x12

Hammer Pull Downs
2 Plates plus 40lbs 4x12

3" Deficit Deads
325 2x4



Arm and Shoulder Hypertrophy

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Full Body

Deads
335 x5, 365 x3, 410 AMRAP (7)




Reverse Grip Overhead Press
4x6 110 top set

Front Squat
200 4x4




Chins
47.5 3x8

Dumbbell Fly
4x12

Dips
3x12

Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What You Need in Your Gym Bag

I know, I know, the title is bull shit. The truth is that you don't need anything in order to get in great shape, you can obtain a fantastic physique with the basics: a great diet and regular exercise. However, I feel the path to the absolute best physique possible supported by a healthy metabolism is obtained with the classic iron lifts. Squat, Bench, Deadlift, rows, overhead press.

The following is what I carry in my gym bag/take to the gym with me when I train...

Headphones

If you're like Ol'Yeargain, You need something to put in your ears while training. Either to get a daily dose of knowledge from podcasts, get pumped with some awesome tunes, or just block out the b.s the local trainers are spouting or the grunts and groans of my fellow gym attendees. I personally used the iPhone headphones for the majority of my lifting time. It was only recently that I upped my headphone game...


Bluetooth Headphones 

If you're a person who trains hard and find that the wire gets in the way or caught on the bar every once in a while, yanking the ear buds right out of your head, leaving you a new level of pissed off you would never have imagined, these are a necessity.


I personally love my Bluetooth headphones. I'll do a full review over them in the near future, but in short they were worth the investment.


Shoes

Some people can use whatever shoe they like to lift in and feel no adverse affects in either strength progress or joint health. For me, I've got long femurs, poor ankle mobility and a good shoe goes a long way.


Chuck Taylor's



My chucks were my first lifting shoe and are a great introduction to minimal sole lifting. When it comes to the deadlift, the closer to the ground your feet are, the better. That sense of being grounded allows you ample support when you're driving your feet into the ground while pulling the slack from the bar, whereas most tennis shoes have rubber and foam that throw you off balance. Some people feel great squatting in chucks, they have ease of reaching full depth with a flat shoe. Not so for Ol' Yeargain...


Squat Shoes

For the more serious and frequent gym visitor, a decent pair of squat/weightlifting shoes is quite useful, especially if you frequently squat or use the leg press. Because it's a specialty shoe it's not carried in most shoe stores, you'll need to order it online.


Squat shoes offer an elevated heel and a very sturdy sole that allows for optimal squatting: Secure base, full range of motion. Weightlifting shoes come in a wide range of prices, but the pair that I feel gets the most "bang for the buck" is the Adidas Powerlifts 2.0.


Cardio Shoes

Now, I've just told you to not squat in running shoes, so you definitely should not run in squatting shoes! Get yourself some shoes that are comfy for your cardio sessions so you can preserve your lifting shoes and get the most out of your cardio.


Other Stuff

Chain Belt 

The best way to get stronger at chins and dips is with applying progressive overload with this sucker. Some gyms you go to will have community chain/dip belts for you to use. However, as a traveling performer, I've regularly been to gyms that do not have chain belts and have been grateful to have brought my own.




Shaker Bottle

If you're like me, you like to have a scoop of Branch Chain Amino Acids when you work out. A shaker cup is made for these particular powder based mixed drinks. And although a water bottle will suffice, they generally don't have wide enough openings to accommodate the size of a scoop and you end up manufacturing a funnel with a napkin...not ideal.


Things I don't personally use but you may find useful


Lifting belt

There is extensive research that show the benefits of using a lifting belt when doing the big movers: Increased Performance, recruiting more muscle fibers, potential safety benefits. Lifting belts run for a range of prices, and quality definitely matters when it comes to effectiveness.




Wrist Wraps

Whenever you reach a certain level with your lifting capabilities, the joint's that are going to get a lot of heat with little to help them with is your poor ol' wrists. Pressing with a bare supporting the equivalent of your bodyweight over your head and face puts a lot of pressure on those joints, and if you're low bar squatting, you're more than likely using your arms to stabilize the bar on your back, giving your wrists even more aggravation. Wrist wraps give your hands more stabilization and give more area for the bar to rest on so it's not all being driven into the joint.




Wrist Straps

More than likely your back will be infinitely stronger than your grip. And depending on the length of your fingers, you may not have very good leverages for doing pulls with sufficient weight for rows or deadlifts. The way to continue progress is with the addition of wrist straps in your training.



Lifting Chalk

Chalk is a great way to improve your grip strength and putting it on the bar and the place where the bar touches your clothes is a great way to keep that bar sturdy on your back and hands so it's not slipping and sliding all over the place. It's rather inexpensive, it looks bad-ass, but it can be messy.



Liquid chalk

Liquid chalk works in the same manner as chalk, but for those of you who train at commercial gyms that don't want to get out the mop every time you visit, chalk isn't really an option. Liquid chalk is small, clean, easy to apply and a great alternative to the usually cloudy hand cocaine.


Let me know if you have used any of these items or if you think some other items should be added to this list.

Until next time,

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

The Opera Bro

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Full Body

Bench
150 x5, 170 x5, 195 AMRAP (6)



Pause Squat
215 4x4



Rows
4x12


1" Deads
375 2x4



Leg Press
4 Plates plus 80lbs


Shoulder Hypertrophy


Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Monday, May 11, 2015

Full Body

Squats
210 x5, 240 x3, 270 AMRAP (4)






Decline Bench
175 4x6





Chins
45 3x8



Pause Deads
315 2x8






Dips
3x12


Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) for Muscle Preservation

I've been using Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's) for over a year now and my overall opinion of them is "Useful, but not necessary."

From Examine.com:

"Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) refers to three amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
BCAA supplementation, for people with low dietary protein intake, can promote muscle protein synthesis and increase muscle growth over time. It can also be used to prevent fatigue in novice athletes.

Leucine plays an important role in muscle protein synthesis, while isoleucine induces glucose uptake into cells. Further research is needed to determine valine’s role in a BCAA supplement. Supplementing BCAAs prevents a serum decline in BCAAs, which occurs during exercise. A serum decline would normally cause a tryptophan influx into the brain, followed by serotonin production, which causes fatigue. 

BCAAs are important to ingest on a daily basis, but many protein sources, such as meat and eggs, already provide BCAAS. Supplementation is unnecessary for people with a sufficiently high protein intake (1-1.5g/kg a day or more)."

The best use of supplementing with BCAA's is if you train fasted in the morning (like Ol' Yeargain), if you go several hours without protein intake, or if you're dieting for an extended period of time (several weeks...like Ol' Yeargain did.)

The Following are some basic reviews of three specific brands I've tried of BCAA's and given you some of my thoughts and shared some affiliate links if you feel like giving them a try.


Cellucor




Cellucor is pretty tasty. I've tried the fruit punch flavor and it tastes a lot like sugar free koolaid or a more subtle crystal light. If you buy it from the store it's generally one of the more expensive brands, but amazon generally has some decent prices that make it more competitive. Also, cellucor is a great sponsor and they give out affiliate links that are around 25% off. You just got to look for them.

Dymatize



The first time I tried the dymatize BCAA's I tried the blue raspberry flavor, and it clumped up quite a bit when I put in a scoop on top of the water already in the shaker bottle. I was very displeased with the result and immediately purchased the brand that's listed below. However, whenever I ran out of that I turned to my old container of dymatize and put the dry ingredients in first with some ice and water, shook it thoroughly and found it to be quite delightful.

Scivation



Scivation was my first introduction to the BCAA game and it's still my favorite. It's generally priced the best in most stores that carry it and I've found the taste to be quite mild and pleasing, not like you're chugging Gatorade or koolaide first thing when you get up and train. I've tried strawberry kiwi, raspberry blue, watermelon madness, and they're all pretty good so far. My favorite might be raspberry blue...but it's not like I sit up in the middle of the night craving it. It's just pretty tasty.

Until next time,

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

The Opera Bro

OperaBroTraining.com

Friday, May 8, 2015

Full Body

Overhead Press
110 x5, 120 x3, 135 AMRAP (4)



Heavy Squat
290 min
215 2x10



Hammer Chest Press
2 Plates plus 60lbs 4x12


Hammer Pull Down
2 Plates plus 30lbs 4x12



3" Deficit Deads
285 2x8



Bicep/Tricep/Shoulder Hypertrophy


Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Full Body

Deads
300 x3, 345 x3, 390 AMRAP (9)





Reverse Grip Overhead
Up to 100lbs 4x8





Front Squat
170 4x8



Chins
42.5 3x8



Flys
4x12



Dips
40 3x12



Mountain Climbers
3 rounds, 30 secs each

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lean Muscle Diet Review

I'm going to be doing a lot more reviews of books and products over the coming weeks. For one it's good for me to experience and read more material in the field of fitness, but also I've begun an amazon affiliate program, and since I purchase the majority of my things from Amazon, I figured I'd show you guys what I like, what I use and found useful, share that information with you, and if you'd like to use it as well, you can help your boy, Ol' Yeargain, by giving him a little kickback on something you were going to buy regardless. But, I'm only going to endorse things I like and believe in. Integrity goes a long way in having a business that lasts longer than a few months.

So, Here is my review of Alan Aragon's and Lou Schuler's book The Lean Muscle Diet:


IN SHORT: I really liked this book. It was funny, informative, and it demonstrates very practical ways in starting your journey towards an awesome physique that's not filled with bull shit promises.

And if you're interested in purchasing the book, it's definitely the cheapest on Amazon:



Until next time,

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

The Opera Bro

OperaBroTraining.com