Archive for June, 2013

Snatch Technique Progressions

Posted: June 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

As most of you know, I spend all my time in the Weightlifting Room.  As others train, I often get questions from them on technique or what they are doing wrong.  I try to help the best I can but I am not a coach.  I am just another guy who likes lifting heavy things above his head and am doing my best to get better at it.  Lucky for us, we have YouTube where top coaches have posted videos breaking down proper technique with drills.

Here are three videos done by Coach Glenn Pendlay when he was with California Strength.  Coach Pendlay is one of if not the best weightlifting coach in the US so this series should be really helpful for those looking to improve their snatch and analyze their technique.

The Best Training Program

Posted: June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

The fitness industry is a special one.  Every year, it seems like there is some new method, system or routine that is going to be better than everything else.  It went from free weights to the Nautilus machine craze to aerobics, etc.  Now we are surrounded by more options than ever.  CrossFit, Zumba, BodyPump, Spinning, kick boxing, P90X, Insanity, Powerlifting, Weightlifting, bodybuilding.  And this list only scratches the surface.  Everybody is looking for that one fitness system that is the best, the one that produces more results preferably in the shortest amount of time.  Lucky for all of you, I know the answer and I will share it with you here.

Let’s first start with where I got the answer.  I few weeks ago, I came across a short documentary on YouTube about strength sports.  It features videos and commentary from some of the top guys in sports like Strongman, powerlifting and weightlifting.  I’ll post it here:

They talk about what got them to the top of their sport and what it is that makes them different from all the others.  One guy, unfortunately not credited, answers the question above.  He lets everyone know what the best training program is when he says:

“It really just comes down to, you know, the best program is just fucking wanting it more.  Just trying harder.  Being willing to do what it takes to reach your goals.”

That’s the secret.  Just wanting it more than the next person. Committing 100%.  I think we have all known this answer all along but how many of us are willing to really do what it takes to reach our goals?   We tell ourselves we can do it, that we know the meaning of “trying harder” and “wanting it more”.   But do you?  Are you willing to do everything it takes to reach your goal?

I have lost count the number of times people in my life have asked me to write a diet or training plan for them so they can get in better shape.  I‘d do it for them time and time again, putting all my effort into a plan that I was hopeful would get them the results they were after.  Without fail, every one of them followed the plan for about a week or two and then stopped all together.  Meats and veggies turned into cookies and bread.  Fasted morning walks became sleep-in days.  Goals of weight loss and better fitness became another failed commitment.

Now when they ask me to help them I politely decline.  If they ask why, I explain to them that they have shown me once that they really don’t want it bad enough and that this time probably won’t be any different.  Why should I waste my time?  Furthermore, someone who failed previously and is now committed to making a change would have taken a more serious approach by participating in a fitness program, hiring a personal trainer or working with a nutritionist.  Outside of a move like this, their words are hollow representations of something they think they should say, not something they really want.  “You will only change”, I tell them, “when you are so disgusted with yourself you can’t stand it anymore”.  Stiff but true.


One of the people I helped in the past doing her fasted morning “cardio”

These people failed not because they couldn’t do the plan I wrote for them.  They failed because they really didn’t want it badly enough.  The drive to make a difference wasn’t strong enough.  They wanted a goal but were not willing to put in the work needed to reach it.  They tried and they failed, some of them several times.  The program wasn’t too hard, the will was too soft.  Everybody can, not many do. 


Maximize Protein Synthesis

Posted: June 13, 2013 in Uncategorized


On the heels of my blog from Monday, I thought I would spend some more time and attention to the specifics around how to put your protein to good use, no matter which type you use.  Despite my steadfast bias toward whey, many of you choose to just eat real food or use another type of protein.  Whichever method you choose, I think we can all agree that we want to make the most of the protein we are ingesting.  This article does a very good job of laying how the process of protein synthesis works and when you should be taking it.  Lots of science in this one but I think it is good info for all of us to know.

Oh, and I wanted to say that I know this site looks like it is skewed towards bodybuilders (and most of it is) but the science and experts that contribute to the articles on this site are second to none.  Most of the writers are experts in their field and have walked the walk whether it be with their education or their accomplishments.

The Whey It Is

Posted: June 10, 2013 in Advice, Original, Thoughts


Most of my blogs have an inspirational/motivational slant but this one will be a little different. So if you read this and it rubs you the wrong way, tough shit.

I have been at CrossFit 717 for a little over 2 years now and I have seen things come and go. Let’s talk about something that comes up over and over again that I am actually quite sick of hearing about: protein supplements. More specifically, finding a substitute for whey protein as it doesn’t work with a vegan/vegetarian/paleo/etc. diet. I have heard all types of substitutes thrown around from plant protein to pea protein to rice protein. Here’s the bottom line. Nothing works as well as whey protein for replenishing and building/maintaining muscle. Period.

In fact, if you are using any other type of protein supplement I think you are wasting your time and money. Don’t agree? Let’s delve deeper.

Whey protein is the most bioavailable source of protein you can take. What does that mean? Here is Mark Sisson from everyone’s favorite Primal/Paleo site, “Mark’s Daily Apple” explaining why whey protein is his favorite:

Of course, whey isn’t the only protein powder around. It’s my personal favorite for a few reasons (the anti-atherogenic qualities, the fast absorption, the positive effects on lean mass development), but a number of you asked about other sources, so here’s some info on a few of the more popular varieties, including their respective biological values (BV).

The BV is one way to measure a protein’s “usability.” The higher the BV, the greater the proportion of available protein that can be synthesized by the body’s cells. Higher BVs also indicate a greater amount of essential amino acids – those amino acids that the body cannot synthesize or convert on its own and must instead obtain from the diet. Whey protein concentrate, for example, has a biological value of 104, while isolate has a BV of 100. Milk itself? 91. Beef? 80. You want a high biological value in your powders especially, since their only reason for existing is to provide a quick, easy influx of dietary protein. Interestingly, BV goes down with greater protein intake. Whey’s BV of 104 is at intakes of 0.2g/kg; it drops to around 70 at 0.5g/kg. While this isn’t really an issue for a PBer who uses shakes sparingly as supplements and gets most of his or her protein from whole foods, it might dissuade one from getting all their protein from powder.

Note, though, that biological value does not refer to the amount of protein in the powder; it only refers to the usability of the protein in the powder. A particular powder might be 60% protein, and the biological value would tell you exactly how much of that 60% is usable by the body. Different powders have different protein contents. Hemp protein, for example, is often about 50% protein, but it varies by the manufacturer. A quick glance at the nutrition facts should clue you in.”

Mark goes on to explain the different types of protein powders and their BV scores. You can read his whole post here.

Let’s look at another example. Since we all CrossFit, I am sure you have heard of Progenex. If you haven’t, Progenex is a recovery supplement that sponsors many of the top CrossFit athletes. Here is a list of the athletes they sponsor:

Rich Froning (2011 and 2012 CrossFit Games Champion)

Annie Thorisdottir (2011 and 2012 CrossFit games Champion)

Graham Holmberg (2010 CrossFit Games Champion)

Chris Spealler (competed in every CrossFit Games)

Jason Khalipa (2008 CrossFit Games Champion)

Ben Smith (3rd place 2011 CrossFit Games)

Cheryl Brost (7th place 2011 CrossFit Games)

Yes, all of the athletes at the top of the sport use Progenex. Guess what it contains? You got it, whey protein. In fact, almost none of the top CrossFit athletes eat Paleo or Zone but that is another blog for another time.

Khalipa protein

The reality is that any athlete at the top of his or her game that uses a protein supplement uses one that has whey protein in it. You can’t even find a high level competitor in any sport that uses a protein supplement other than a whey protein supplement. You think Lebron James is dunking in people’s faces while taking pea protein? You think Tiger Woods hits the ball 320 yards by taking hemp protein? You think Albert Pujols smashes 50 homers per year taking rice protein? Fat chance.



This is a great article  and interview with John Broz who owns Average Broz gym in Las Vegas.  You can read more about John in the article but the short of it is John trained under a legendary Bulgarian weightlifter and trains his guys under the Bulgarian method which is basically to max out on every exercise for that session, every day.  This kind of methodology flies in the face of everything we have traditionally heard.  Most of us program at least 2 rest days into our week but John’s guys take one every 2 weeks.

His methods are controversial to some but one thing is for sure, they work. All of his lifters are super strong and you can see this with the videos embedded in the article and well as the other videos in his YouTube site.  I highly suggest you watch them.  I have personally tried this for one week and was most definitely beaten up at the end but with two days rest, I did come back stronger the next week.  I would love to have the time to give this a go for one straight month but maybe one of you will do it and let me know how it goes.