Most Workout Advice Will Turn You Into a Pansy

If you do an internet search for something like, “best mass building workout program” you will receive pages upon pages of information. There is no shortage of opinion out there. I have been lifting weights for close to 20 years. I have had success with a few programs, less than hoped for results with most. I followed the advice of many a bodybuilding article, after following some advice I made some gains, after following others I put inches on my waist. I ate like they told me to, I took the latest and greatest supplements. I found after time that only two supplements really worked for me . What I did not know was that I was following a dead end road over and over and over.

Within the past several years I have learned some valuable lessons. I share those lessons with you so that you won’t have to make the same mistakes that I made. I will also share with you what I have found that works.

The first lesson that I learned was that typical body building routines are for juicers. The routines that you find on bodybuilding sites are written on the assumption that you are already juicing.

The second lesson was that while I wanted to lift to increase my muscle mass, make me a better martial artist and toughen up my body, I found that the conventional wisdom really seemed to turn us into a bunch of pansies. Think about it; “be careful! Don’t over train!”, “Don’t work the same body part more than so many times per week!”, “Don’t let yourself get hungry! If you are hungry you are already burning precious muscle mass!” When I really thought about it I came to realize that this type of thinking is a reactive, fear based approach. No matter what I did eating 6 meals per day consistently put fat on my adbomen, even though I was supposedly turning my metabolism into a “fat torching machine”.

The third lesson that I learned is to stick with a program that works. You will often read that you should change up your program every 12 weeks as your body gets used to what you are doing and therefore you will no longer make any gains, but what if you are lifting more weight than you used to? For instance, if I bench press 195 lbs in week 8, and progressively am adding at least some weight, say by week 12 I am benching 210 lbs, does that mean that I should just quit because my body is now “used to it”. Does this mean that I will not put on any muscle or gain strength? I have found that sticking with the same basic program for the long haul works best. I keep the basics the same and tweak some of the less important exercises like curls. If I am adding weight over time, I will see gains, period.

Based on these lessons here is what I have used to work for me:

Eating: I no longer eat 6 small meals per day. I usually eat 2 meals. I practice intermittent fasting. I get up at about 4:45 am and will not eat until at least 11 am. My next “meal” will be a small shake of 1 scoop protein powder, about 2 cups of coffee, creatine and heavy whipping cream. The next real meal that I will eat will be after my workout. That’s it. I would never have fathomed being able to do this previously. I thought my muscle gains would melt away in front of my eyes if I didn’t eat every two to three hours. I was wrong. I thought that my workouts would be terrible if I didn’t have the right amount of carbs/protein several hours before working out. I was wrong. Some of my best workouts have come on a completely fasted stomach! In addition, I feel much better eating less. I have more energy, feel more awake, I sleep better and my mental acuity has certainly improved and I have gained muscle mass. I don’t know about the science, but from everything that I have seen all roads seem to lead to very positive health benefits to fasting. Mentally, fasting makes you tougher. I realized that constantly being concerned about what to eat and when wasn’t good for me. Nobody likes to fast, but that is exactly the beauty of it. When we force ourselves to do things that we don’t like it makes us stronger mentally. Intermittent fasting is like anything else; find what works for you. Some men can fast several days per week, some only one. It must work for you in order to work for you. What I mean by this is; don’t push it to the point that it becomes detrimental to your health. Experiment and you will find your ideal zone.

Training: Training really depends on one’s goals. I personally believe that a strength program is the best. First, if you work on getting stronger you will add muscle. This will be functional muscle though, not just for looks. When I was in the service it never failed that the overly buffed dudes could not physically keep up with the rest of us. It is not functional muscle. Have you ever seen a real life Navy SEAL jacked like a bodybuilder? I rest my case. My main concern is to increase strength, stamina and work capacity. I like the old school heavy lifting programs. After reading the “Body of a Spartan” by Victor Pride I realized that I could work the same body part even daily. Think about it. Old school farmers were buffed. They did the same thing day in and day out. According to conventional wisdom their muscles should never have grown due to “overtraining”. Once again, complete and utter b.s. Reading “Body of a Spartan” was really eye opening for me. I love being able to bench every single day. Some weeks I squat every single day. I work my back every single day. My muscles have not withered away to nothing. I have gotten stronger. I trained with weights for over twenty years and this program has by far been the best for my body. I have learned that my body reacts very well to a low rep/high weight program. I have tried high rep/lower weight programs and have only put on fat. The other thing with a strength based program is that it just feels good to deadlift a ton of weight. It feels great to squat a ton of weight. It feels great to bench a ton of weight. Lifting heavy will also increase your testosterone output. Its just a manly thing to do and it will make you strong.

Here is the program that I now use, check it out, it is well worth the investment: Body of a Spartan

Supplementation

Man, there is a lot of information out there about supplements and supplementation. Some writers recommend supplementing with whey protein, creatine, an amino acid complex, nitrous oxide and on and on. Then there are those who believe that supplements are basically snake oil and have no effect on training whatsoever. They blame the supplement industry for promoting useless supplementation so they can make money.

Personally, I have taken supplements on and off for years. I have followed the conventional wisdom and taken several different supplements at one time, then have gone years without taking any supplements at all. After more than a decade of doing an on again, off again supplementation routine I have boiled it down to two that actually work for me. Here are my reviews, recommendations and experiences of how they worked. There is no science here, just the results of about 15 years of trial and error. As a side note, I have never used steroids, so all of the information presented here has to do with being a true natural. I am not a “bodybuilder” per se. I lift and lift heavy 6 days per week but I also do a ton of flexibility excercises and practice Krav Maga.

Whey protein: Most fitness articles that you read about whey supplementation deal with the speed at which the protein will be distributed to your muscles. I suppose that is somewhat true since drinking it in liquid form would theoretically speed digestion over eating a chuck of meat. I have supplemented with whey protein considerably. I also gave it up at one point for about a year, only focusing on my eating program for gains. I actually found that for my body, I experienced better gains in both size and in strength by not using the whey. Focusing on whole foods definitely gave me more of an edge , particularly in the strength department. Now, recently I have begun to experimentally supplement with whey again. This time I use it in a very limited role with a bit of coffee and heavy whipping cream about 1/2 hour before lifting. The reason for this is the anti catabolic effects of whey protein. I now only ingest about 10-20 grams per day, as opposed to the 50-60 grams that I previously ingested. I noticed that I often felt bloated and had a ton of gas with the heavy supplementation. I do not experience either of these side effects the way that I use it now. I recommend using the powder version and making your own shake as you have more control over it. The other important aspects are as follows: it will taste better, the pre made commercial brands have too much crap in them and have been pasteurized thereby killing the protein. I do have one word of warning: look at the sugar/carb content of your powder, many powders have extremely high sugar values. I use MRM’s chocolate protein powder which has less than 1 gram of sugar per 18 grams of protein. The other great benefit of MRM is that it is natural.

The other supplement that I still use regularly and have found results with is Creatine. I started using creatine about 15 years ago as well, on the recommendation of a body building friend of mine. At that time, I would purchase Creatine Monohydrate in powdered form, mix it with a high sugar fruit juice and try to drink it without throwing up. I followed the manufacturer’s recommendation of having a one week loading phase. The loading phase meant that you ingested a certain amount of creatine per day, then dialed it down for the rest of your usage. As with whey, I have used creatine on and off. What I have found is that creatine helps me to lift more, I do get better pumps. After a certain period of usage, 4-5 weeks for me, it seems that at that point my body has gotten used to it and the effects are not the same. I will then cycle off of the creatine for several months. I have found that as long as I keep lifting heavy I will keep the gains that I made even after coming off the creatine. The only reason that I use creatine at this point is to help me break through a plateau. Based on things that I have read as well as my own experience, I have found that the initial loading phase is unnecessary. Research points to no noticeable difference by loading. There are several things to say about creatine as well. First, if you lift heavy, it will make you cramp. I find that not only do my muscles cramp from lifting, but when I work out in martial arts I am much more susceptible to cramping as well. I counter this by drinking Pedialyte when I do Krav Maga; it mitigates the cramping. I have also found that the old adage, “you get what you pay for” rings very true for creatine. There are some cheap options out there, but they have many impurities in them. I have learned to buy the more expensive brands as they are more pure, and generally will last you a long time. Some guys also experience bloating with creatine. I have not experienced this myself.

Supplementation is a very broad sword. Every one’s body reacts differently to them. These are the supplements and methods that I have used that work for my body. The main thing, I believe, is to remember that supplements are exactly that; supplemental. I rely on lifting heavy, eating right, stretching and getting plenty of sleep with whey protein and creatine added in to supplement the foundation.

If you have any differing experiences with supplementation please comment and let me know.

Why I Said the Previous Video “Says it All”

A reader asked me privately why my previous post, a video from YouTube, was titled, “This Video Says it All”. I figured that this was a good question and would also provide material for a good article.

First of all, lets start with the title. I believe this video “says it all” because it shows several key factors to being a man.

Of course, there is the obvious; this guy is a warrior. He trains, and trains hard. He is out doing his “road work” in what looks to be early morning, still during twilight. I’m sure that he would much rather have been in bed. As he is running he pulls a muscle or something (I’ll admit, he won’t win any academy awards for acting.) but he pushes on. He trains tough, pushing himself. There is kind of a crescendo to the training portion of the video, you get the feeling that he has reached that point where his mind tells him to quit but he pushes himself until he reaches a certain point. Anyone who has seriously trained will know what point I mean. Its the point where his mind tells him that he is at failure, his mind says that he can’t go any further, but as he pushes on he reaches that point where he actually becomes stronger.

We see him helping what looks to be his son with homework. This is a lost element of masculinity in our times. Men must teach, we are bound by our honour to teach the next generation of men. He also teaches a younger guy hand to hand combat, at one point knocking him down and beckoning him to get back up. This is tough love, how men are made from boys.

Finally, we also see the main character working on some sort of course work as well. We don’t know what it is, but most likely it is for his betterment. As men, we are always learning, growing and striving to improve ourselves whether it be physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual. For some reason, whatever it is that he is working on frustrated him; he balls up a piece of paper and throws it away, but then he keeps on going overcoming his sense of frustration.

Essentially, what we view in the video is one day in the life of a man; training himself both physically and intellectually, working through pain and frustration, giving back by teaching and mentoring the younger generation and finally walking off to face the next day.

Assertive Masculinity

One of the reasons why I keep a daily journal, and recommend it to everyone, is the amount of information that is learned and the conclusion made from writing at least daily. This past weekend, I was journaling about several ideas bouncing around in my head. I was thinking over my time in the service and what made good NCO’s and officers. They all had a certain bearing and aura around them. I hope that as an NCO I was like that as well. My thoughts then connected to my sessions working out at Krav Maga. That same attitude and mindset was very apparent in our training and in the movements and general philosophy of the martial art. As I wrote, something clicked, a light bulb went off and a name came to me for this attitude. This attitude and bearing is what I have penned, an assertive masculinity.

What are the defining characteristics of “assertive masculinity”?

Assertive masculinity is integrity and clarity. It is clarity of purpose and intent. It is about being totally present. It is about being “all in”. Assertive masculinity is clarity of thinking. In order to get to this point, a man must know what he thinks and believes. He must be willing, and strong enough, to act on these beliefs and what is more, never violate these beliefs. “Presence” requires confidence and integrity. A man must have both in order to not be worrying about what to say, how others will react, or what he needs to be doing in two hours.

Assertive masculinity is about taking charge and taking control. It is the epitome of being proactive rather than reactive in life. Those who are assertively masculine move with a purpose, they walk with a purpose, they talk with a purpose and authority. Once again, without integrity this is not possible. Assertive masculinity is assertive in taking control of situations. If there is someone who will rise to an occasion, it will be the assertively masculine man. This is possible because he is in control of himself. He is in control of his emotions, and his actions.

Assertive masculinity is respected. A man with assertive masculinity respects himself, and others. His body language reflects that respect. It comes from a deep integrity and confidence, it cannot be faked.

Assertive masculinity takes leadership seriously. It is about leading from the front. It is about understanding the leadership role that is inherent in being a man and never apologizing for it. He owns whatever he is in charge of. Conversely, he is accountable, not just in word like a politician, but accountable in the real sense. He knows the buck stops with him, he owns his responsibilities. Those who are assertively masculine are also, well….they are masculine. They take interest in masculine pursuits. They never debase their masculinity.

Finally, the assertively masculine male is deeply caring, in a manly way. For this reason he is seen as a “father figure” or older brother to many. He sees his subordinates more as younger brothers to be guided and taught. He is often stern with them, precisely because he cares about them. This is a hallmark of masculinity; we push ourselves to study and learn in order to be able to educate the next generation of men.

Display of Higher Value

I was recently at a gun show and witnessed DHV in action. At one point as I was walking through the show, there was a couple walking in front of me. They seemed to be having a good enough time at the show, strolling along together. At one point, one of the vendors looked at the guy and said, “I love that shirt!”. All three laughed, but as soon as that happened, I was watching to see how she reacted. Sure enough, as they were laughing she slipped her arm into his so that they walked in locked elbow and rested her head on his shoulder.

I never saw what this guy’s t-shirt said, but I did see how quickly she reacted to stake her claim on her man, who had just been given a small amount of DHV. This is how important it is.

Polarity

I had some interesting conversations over this past week that have led me to think a lot about relationships and dating. There is conventional “wisdom” out there saying that being friends is the secret to a long lasting relationship. I know many people who strived for this friendship in their marriages, and most of them, if not all, are now divorced. Focusing on being friends destroys polarity.

Being “friended” happens for a variety of reasons. The “friend zone” is an impossible pill for an alpha male to swallow for two reasons; women find him attractive due to his behavior, therefore they would not put him in that mental “friend zone” category. Second, if she ever did want to put him in that category, he would never allow himself to be denigrated as such, he would walk, there are plenty of other women waiting in the wings for him.
So what does it boil down to? Respect. If a woman does not respect a man, she will not find him attractive. She can definitely think that he is “nice” and “sweet” and possibly her “best friend” but she will in no way have any attraction for him. I repeat, she will have not attraction for him whatsoever. Therefore, why would any man want to introduce friendship into his marriage?

Of course the question now becomes; “How do I gain her respect?”. The answer is simple; if a man respects himself, his woman will want to respect him. Self respect is a deep and consistent inner journey, it cannot be given, it must be earned. It is therefore beneficial for a man to learn to respect himself by becoming the man that he has always wanted to be. An essential element of being any man is a strong masculine character. This character is developed from being, from doing, from living, from experience. The stronger the masculine character the more polarity increases, the more polarity increases the more her femininity will increase in response. The major part of respect in a relationship comes from this very polarity. If one is a man, enjoys being a man, does manly things, behaves in a manly way, she will have no choice but to be in love with him.

A large part of self respect in a relationship is being able to walk. If she doesn’t treat the alpha man according the his expectations, he walks. If there is any behavior that is unacceptable to him, he walks. Any relationship will have its quirks and disagreements, but a man must know where he draws the line. A man must always have the ability to walk away, no matter what his feelings. Should he choose a long term relationship, he must keep the polarity up for life. Ultimately, the dynamics of a relationship boil down to this; the man keeps up the manliness, the polarity, she keeps up her physical appearance. She continues to dress nice, to wear makeup, to take care of her body.

In an attempt to provide the best content that I can for this site I often research other writers both in print and on the web. I signed up for newsletters in order to keep a finger on the pulse of what is going on out there. I now receive endless emails about “getting my ex girlfriend back”, “how to get 20 phone numbers this weekend”, “how to pick up on college girls”. That is all well and good, but what does it do for me? I can get my ex back, I can get those 20 phone numbers this weekend, but if I don’t have that masculine polarity none of it will matter. It will all just be a meaningless show. The key is to be a man, to enjoy being a man and not backing down from my beliefs. This is what the “Classical Man” is all about. This attracts women to men like white on rice.

Manly Fragrance

An important part of being a man is smelling like a man. There is a time and a place for everything. When you are playing football with the guys, working on your car, fixing something at home you don’t need to be drowning in cologne. On the other hand, when you put on that suit, tuxedo or casual jeans and blazer, you better be smelling good.
There is no shortage of colognes out there. It seems that everyone has their own brand now. Who knows, maybe one day you can buy the “Classical Man” cologne at Macy’s. In the meantime, it is important to find a cologne with the right mixtures that will smell good on you.

The most important rule is this: you get what you pay for. Brut, Old Spice and other “aftershaves” are not for you and they smell cheap. A good cologne will cost you, but worn properly a bottle will last you at least one year. You must find a cologne that smells good to you and makes you feel good. A good cologne will mix with the oils in your skin, so they all smell slightly different on each individual. It is good to experiment at first to find the right cologne for you.

I will give one word of warning; be very careful about most commercial brand colognes. First, many of them nowadays have a slightly feminine hint to them. You want to avoid this for the obvious reason, but also because when you notice the smell on yourself it changes your mood. For instance, if you are wearing a very masculine smelling cologne you will feel like a man, it will increase your drive. Who knows, it may even increase your testosterone levels based on your feelings. On the contrary, if you are wearing a cologne with a slightly feminine hint to it, you will feel more feminine, it will affect how you see yourself and how you feel about yourself. I don’t think any one of us wants to feel feminine.

Right now I am wearing “Dusk” by Herban Cowboy. I like “Dusk” for several reasons. First, it is natural; no synthetics. There seems to be some speculation out there as to the effect of synthetic colognes on testosterone in men. Secondly, it smells great! It has a woodsy, rustic, masculine scent. Women compliment me on it often. Third, its not well known yet, therefore I get a lot of people asking, “What cologne is that? I like it!” Finally, its cruelty free. I personally don’t believe that some poor animal should suffer so that I smell good. Men are not cruel to the innocent or weak; this means animals too.

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A Must Read

This is a link to a free PDF by the author Jack Donovan. I highly recommend reading this for every man. I also highly recommend his book The Way of Men
http://www.jack-donovan.com/documents/No%20Mans%20LandPDF.pdf