Sunday, December 30, 2012

Picking Your Battles


 You don't have to venture far on the internet to see a viewer commenting on a lifting video about how much the video sucks because it doesn't match the viewers standards. It seems that some people just can't appreciate a big effort and hard work. Instead, if it doesn't match their own views, the lift was garbage.

Part of this is inevitable. As LBEB brings together individuals from all strength sports, there will of course be differences in opinion when it comes to technique, especially the main lifts. Problems do arrive, however, when a lift is called into question for not matching one sport's standards although the lift is for a completely different sport with completely different rules and regulations.




For example, nearly every time a deadlift video is posted on LBEB, someone bags on the fact that we drop the bar at the top instead of lowering it like Powerlifting rules require. This is because nearly all LBEB staff members and athletes are not participants of Powerlifting; we are mostly Olympic lifters and Strong(wo)men. We train the deadlift to get stronger, rather than as an event for a competition. For most of us, the deadlift is a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. On top of this, we like to test different lifts just for fun. We don't need to lower it because its not a requirement for us, just because your sport requires it doesn't mean ours does.

 

I remember when I started lifting, I wanted everyone to follow my exact standards and if they didn't, I thought they were doing it all wrong. I view this now as a sign of immaturity. If I see a video of someone half squatting 1000lbs in a competition and the judge calls it a good lift, it's a good lift. I may personally believe in squatting ATG, but that is my personal preference and a requirement in the sport I coach. If a lifter's sport only requires them to squat halfway down, then you better believe that is the depth they should train to in order to excel at their sport. Most of the time I won't even offer advice or criticism on a lifting video that is posted unless I am asked, because I pick my battles and comment trolling is not a battle I need to be in.


Too many people seem to have "NO REP" on autotype on their keyboard. Another example would be Marshall's 405lb thruster, a heavy lift that maybe 8 people on the planet can do (one of the others would be Misha). Immediately there were calls of NO REP on the lift because it looked like he didn't squat deep enough. Are you kidding me with that? Not only did he do a flexible movement that is impressive for a man of 345lbs, he did it with a weight that is more than a lot of people's deadlifts. There is a difference between offering valid criticism and pure trolling on a video.

The final subject of my rant involves trying to convince outsiders to do what we do. You won't see LBEB going on to vegan sites and telling them all the problems we see with their way of life, and why ours is better, or onto marathon runner's pages and doing the same thing. This is another battle I don't need to be involved in. Just like with religion or football, telling someone why their beliefs suck just doesn't work. In my opinion, it is better to let someone come around of their own volition (because forcing beliefs always works out well, right?) What we do is our way of life, and I don't want to waste my breath trying to convince people who don't want to listen. Chastising someone for their way of life does nothing but make them hunker down and hold to their beliefs even more, so don't waste your breath.



In closing, try to avoid holding other lifters to your standards if it's very clear that they don't participate in your sport and operate by different standards. Pick your battle, save your breath, and work on smashing your own lifts.

Go forth and prosper, Pastor B out.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Is Stress Making You Weak?


Article written by Marshall White for LiftBigEatBig.com

Lately I have been going through some very stressful things in my life personally. Through it all I have tried to make sure I still kept my gym schedule, my eating schedule and my sleeping schedule. I have done a very good job at maintaining these schedules and have only been out of whack a few times. Even though I have maintained them well I have noticed a slight decrease in my performance on certain days. What I would like to write about is how ones personal life can affect their athletic performance and strength and what you can do to better manage that stress.

For many years I refused to believe that anything stressful in my "regular life" could affect what I do in the gym. I figured that if I was stressed out and I had a bad day, week , or month in the gym that I must be mentally weak and the only thing for me to do was to train harder in order to overcome this weakness. This is when I started figuring out that your body has a physiological response to stress. Your cortisol levels go up, your central nervous system takes longer to recover and on a more superficial level, your eating and sleeping can be negatively affected. My first step in overcoming personal life stress affecting me as an athlete was to admit that stress can affect my strength and performance negatively. My second step was to look for ways to overcome these stresses. Here are just a few tips that I have found to work for me in managing the impact stress can have on my training.

DO NOT stop training!!! Most people's workouts are more of a stress relief than a cause of stress. It's completely understandable if you are so stressed you don't even think you can get out of bed to go to the gym and you stay home, but do not let this become a habit. To the best of your ability try to stick to a training schedule. Even if all you do is go into your box and jump rope, stick to your routine and try to make it in every day you can. This will improve your mood, provide some mental clarity and because you put in work you will eat and sleep better. Next, if at all possible reduce your exposure to the stressors prior to training. If you have a big work meeting in the evening try to catch your workout in the morning or early afternoon. Again, this will put you in a better place mentally to train as well as handle the stress later in the day.

Another good thing to do is to try and minimize other smaller stresses in your life so that things don't "pile up". Maybe hire someone to mow your yard if work is really stressful right now. If your domestic life is rocky maybe try only watching funny movies or tv programs for a while so that there is some levity in the household. Focus your energy on the big stressors and your training and minimize and manage the small ones so that you can get back to a regular lower stress life. Finally, make sure you stick to eating cleaner foods and getting good quality sleep. It's very common for people when stressed out to want to eat junk food and sleep all day. A little junk food is ok, and a nap here and there is also ok, but try to the best of your ability to stick to your regular schedule. Taking too many naps will keep you up at night and the quality of your sleep will reduced, and introducing a lot of junk food to your diet will make you feel lethargic and possibly add an element of depression. During high stress times I rid my house of all junk food and I have even incorporated a sound machine to help me sleep better.

The biggest key to minimizing the impact stress has on your training is to recognize it for what it is. Recognize that you are stressed but that it is also temporary, things will get easier. Take this time to do something fun you may not often do in the gym, or spend some time on just getting your clean and jerk up. Stick to a routine but have fun with it and use your workouts as a stress reliever. Working out, training, exercising, lifting, whatever you want to call it should enhance our lives not make them harder so incorporate these suggestions next time things get stressful and I'm positive you'll be better off for it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When Listening To Your Body Doesn't Work

"Hey coach, when should I be taking a break from training"?

"Just listen to your body and you will know."


I see that conversation played out a lot on the internet and in the gym, and while I agree with its concept, I don't think it is always implemented or carried out properly.


Since your undies are already in a bunch, let me explain my reasoning.


On occasion, people will tell me that they just listen to their body when it comes to deloading in their training or taking a day or two off. I see several problems with this. The first is that some of the peoples will take copious amounts of preworkout mixes, or a load of caffeine before they lift. This can effectively override your CNS, inhibiting your body’s ability to tell you that something is wrong. That is the point of preworkout, after all: To over stimulate your body. Constantly taking a bunch of preworkout supplements will prevent your body from telling you it is time to take a time out until it's too late, leaving you on the bench for weeks.


This argument usually comes from those who think they are doing some sort of Bulgarian Training. Bulgarian is great if you are loaded to the gills on PED's, and if you are loaded to the gills, you will not be doing "Bulgarian" for any real length of time.  Some have even claimed that Russian lifters such as Klokov and Misha do not take scheduled deload weeks, which Marshall has verified as being a lie, since he has personally trained with those kinds of athletes.


I think that everybody wants to do Bulgarian training: Maxing every day with no real rest days. It would be great if we just could just max all the time and see gains with no injuries or need for rest. That is a fantasy world, however. You can look at Bulgarian lifters; they washed out of their own programs pretty quickly because their bodies broke down. On top of that, they couldn't even compete because they were on so many PED's.


You might be living in a fantasy world to think that scheduled deload weeks are a bad idea, you are probably not as advanced of a lifter as you think, and a week of light lifting can be tremendously beneficial for you.  When brand new lifters are told to "listen to their body", what are they supposed to be listening for? They might not know the difference between DOMS and a real injury that is going to affect them down the road. By waiting until something is wrong to fix the problem, you have just screwed yourself over. Taking schedule time off (Even when you don't think you need it) can offer some benefits to the mentality of your training as well. Going light for a few days can leave you mentally hungry and prepared to hit it hard in the following weeks.


Is it better to take a break when you are operating at 20% and you feel destroyed, or is it better to hit it hard for 2-4 weeks, and take a scheduled deload week, regardless of how fine you think you are? You know my opinion already, I look at the results and longevity of athletes who followed scheduled deloads. How about you?  Leave your opinion in the FB comments.



Sunday, December 16, 2012

Anabolic Gardens for LBEB




 Lift Big Eat Big has partnered with Anabolic Gardens to bring you high-quality pharmaceutical grade products. These products are manufactured in state-of-the-art facilities that produce both pharmaceutical products and dietary supplements. Therefore, these facilities are federally inspected and registered as both a pharmaceutical and nutritional supplement manufacturer. It is required that they maintain United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration) registrations, which includes stringent testing on their raw materials and their laboratories to guarantee potency, purity, and label claims. Very few nutritional product manufacturers apply the same level of quality control or regulatory oversight to nutritional supplement manufacturing.

Anabolic Garden products can be purchased from LBEB here.

All of Anabolic Gardens products are pharmaceutical "made" which is different than pharmaceutical "grade". Pharmaceutical grade is a commonly used term within the nutritional supplement industry to indicate potency, purity and quality. It makes us think that certain pharmaceutical standards have been applied to the nutritional products we buy. Some companies will simply use this as a marketing ploy. In actuality, none of these perceptions properly characterizes the nature of pharmaceutical-grade supplements. Pharmaceutical grade refers to the particle size and uniformity of a vitamin, mineral, herb or amino-acid powder. In order to move through encapsulating or tableting machines that are typically designed for drug manufacturing, nutrients need to be pharmaceutical "grade."  Think about it this way. You have coffee beans. It would be impossible for these coffee beans to fit into a pill making machine, so they would have to be made into a powder. So you put these beans in a grinder and make coffee powder. 

You now have pharmaceutical grade coffee. What this means on a practical level is that essentially every product you purchase is pharmaceutical "grade".
On the contrary, our products are pharmaceutical "made" meaning the raw materials and processing of the products are under strict[er] guidelines than most supplement companies. There are more advanced analytical procedures to identify raw materials including microbiological testing, spectrometry and quarantining. Our facilities are regularly visited by the FDA to ensure product quality and guidelines are held to standard.

By choosing Lift Big Eat Big as your high-quality supplement provider, you can be confident that you are purchasing a premium brand featuring the finest ingredients backed by over 85 years of manufacturing experience.
             Certified organic products
             GMP certified and in compliance with FDA cGMPs
             Member of Natural Products Association (NPA)
             Expert technical support and customer service
             All products double verified gluten free
             Best by date and lot number printed on each bottle
             Amber glass bottles protect integrity and are easy to reuse or recycle
            Quality guaranteed for potency and purity


Vitamin D

is naturally produced in our body when exposed to sunlight. It can be obtained through some foods although it is difficult to obtain high enough doses through diet alone. This vital nutrient is rapidly becoming the miracle vitamin of our time. So important, in fact, that current research has scientists calling Vitamin D both a steroid and a hormone and is thus referred to as a “secosteroid”. However, this current research also shows that Vitamin D deficiency is chronically widespread throughout the world due to sun avoidance, use of sunblock, seasonal changes in sunlight, lack of outdoor activity and various other reasons.  Vitamin D can be obtained through some foods although that amount is nowhere near a dose that would be considered therapeutic.

It’s long been known that Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium, and therefore, bone health. Historically, it was thought that the main benefit of Vitamin D was to reduce the risk of rickets. In the last two decades, however, more and more research is finding that Vitamin D goes far beyond that. It has been shown to have significant implications on overall health and wellness, improved athletic performance, improved muscle strength, and improved mood.  

Deficiency of this important nutrient can lead to a weakened immune system, decreased rate of recovery, muscle weakness, mood disorders, increased systemic inflammation, osteoporosis, most cancers, diabetes and a multitude of other conditions.



How Can Vitamin D Improve Athletic Performance?
It is important to remember that the active form of vitamin D is not really a vitamin, but rather a steroid, similar to testosterone being a steroid. Furthermore, it also acts like a hormone in the same way that growth hormone is a hormone. Research by Dr. John Cannell of The Vitamin D Council shows that vitamin D increases the size and number of fast-twitch (Type II) muscle fibers and most cross-sectional studies show that vitamin D levels are directly associated with musculoskeletal performance in older individuals. (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise May 2009; 41(5):1102-1110)
 The Science of “The D”
Most, but not all, studies have shown that low vitamin D levels increase the risk for asthma and allergies. Results from small trials of short duration suggest that vitamin D supplementation decreases severity of eczema and decreases the risk for asthma exacerbations. (Litonjua, Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunology. 2012 Jan.)

Vitamin D For Cancer Prevention- “It is projected that raising the minimum year-round serum 25(OH) (Vitamin D) levels to 40-60 ng/mL would prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000new cases of colorectal cancer each year, and three fourths of deaths from these disease in the US and Canada. (Garland, Cedric F., et.al. Vitamin D for Cancer Prevention: Global Perspective. Ann Epidemiol 2009;19:468-483.)

A study including 57, 311 people taking an ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements (up to 2,000IU) seems to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates.  (Autier, P., MD, Gandini, Sarah PhD. Vitamin D supplementation and Total Mortality. Arch Internal Medicine, 2007; 167(16)1730-1737.

Fish Oil

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) have a crucial part in running virtually every system in the human body. Modern food processing techniques and dietary tendencies create an overwhelming abundance of pro-inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids while contributing to a deficiency in anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. Many lack the proper amount of omega 3 fatty acids from their diet, so supplementation becomes important for overall health and improved athletic performance through better recovery and less inflammation.
Anabolic Garden’s “Heavy Duty Fish Oil” is a unique product designed simply to be the most effective fish oil product on the market. Our extraction process, called molecular distillation, ensures that no pesticides, PCB’s, or heavy metals are present. It is manufactured according to GMP guidelines in cGMP facilities with “A” grade from NNFA. This enhanced proprietary blend of beneficial ingredients is specifically formulated to:
·         Reduce inflammation associated with exercise
·         Speed recovery
·         Reduce soreness
·         Enhance the immune system
·         Improve nervous and cardiovascular system
·         Benefits joint, skin and immune health
Key Features:
·         High concentrated fish oil, meaning less pills to take. 1 softgel provides nearly twice as much EPA/DHA as most standard fish oil products.
·         1200 mg total fish oil. 360 EPA and 240 DHA. Remaining 600 mg are other omega fatty acids found in fish. NO FILLERS
·         Sourced from fresh cold-water fish (anchovies, sardines, mackerel)
·         All natural Florida orange oil is added to eliminate any unpleasant aftertaste or to eliminate fish burps
·         Provides a natural mix of tocopherols for additional antioxidant protection and better absorption
Magnesium
Magnesium is an essential mineral that demands attention when it comes to health assessment, athletic performance and optimal functioning.  It is required by virtually every cell in the body, and it’s vital in more than 300 metabolic processes that sustain basic human health and function, including muscle contraction and relaxation, protein synthesis, nerve function, cardiac activity, blood pressure regulation, hormonal interactions, immunity, bone health and synthesis of proteins, fats and nucleic acids. Magnesium is also crucial for energy metabolism, to calm pain and inflammation, and to support healthy joint, bone, and muscle function.  Disease states that have been associated with magnesium imbalances and deficiencies include migraines, diabetes, coronary heart disease, neuromuscular disorders, kidney diseases, asthma, premenstrual syndrome, and even obesity.

 
Magnesium and Athletic Performance

There is emerging evidence that magnesium requirements are significantly elevated in athletes, and that performance might benefit from higher intakes. Aside from being used up in the production of energy, magnesium might also assist performance by reducing accumulation of lactic acid and reducing the perception of fatigue during strenuous exercise through its action on the nervous system. Magnesium plays an important role in protein biosynthesis, which is certainly applicable to athletes. It is necessary for the activation of amino acids which helps to create proteins. In other words, protein synthesis depends on optimal magnesium concentrations.
It is hypothesized that low magnesium levels may negatively affect protein metabolism, and may result in diminished strength gains. Magnesium is also lost through sweat, so athletes training hard in hot and humid environments might further increase demands.
No serious athlete can afford to overlook the benefits that magnesium brings to athletic performance and the recovery process. Research suggests that even a small shortfall in magnesium can lead to greatly reduced performance and stamina.

Key Features  

·         Contains 400 mg of magnesium per serving (3 capsules per serving)
·         Contains a combination of magnesium from amino acid chelate (64%), malate (26%), and citrate (10%) for easy digestibility
·         Provides 222mg malic acid which is utilized to produce energy in the muscle cells to increase muscle stamina and endurance
·         Vegetarian
·         No Artificial Colors, No Artificial Flavors, No Preservatives,
·         No Chemical Solvents, Yeast, Starch, or Gluten
Function             
·         Supports / promotes muscle health and is vital for muscle contractions.
·         Essential for energy production and protein synthesis
·         Supports nerve and heart function
·         Keeps bones strong
·         Aids in converting blood sugar into energy.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The 12 Days of LBEB


*Credit to Chow for the idea

It's the holiday season, and at LBEB, we want to celebrate the holidays doing one of our favorite things: lifting ungodly amounts of weight all damn day, then bragging about it after. What better way to do this than put together a program based on the "12 Days of Christmas?"

This is how it's going to work: Starting on December 13th, we are designating a different lift every day for 12 days, aiming for PRs 12 days in a row. This is not something that we would recommend combining with any other programming that you are currently on. This challenge will not be for the faint of heart; in fact, you probably shouldn't even do it. I repeat, DON'T DO THIS (unless you want to get huge).

Starting today would be a great time to start a 6 day deload in preparation for this challenge. That means 6 days of doing absolutely NOTHING except stretching, eating, and resting to make sure you are adequately rested for 12 days of maxing. You want to know what it's like to max every day, like all the "pros do"? Now you can put your money where your mouth is and test it for yourself. Marshall, Talia, and even Kristin Rhodes spend 10 days before their competitions not touching a single weight, and things work out pretty well for them at their competitions.


Here is how the lifts will break down on the appropriate days:

Dec 13th: Strict press
Dec 14th: Back squat
Dec 15th:Power clean
Dec 16th Bench press
Dec 17th: Snatch
Dec 18th:Deadlift
Dec 19th: Jerk
Dec 20th: Snatch grip deadlift (Use straps)
Dec 21th: Bear complex (1 complete rep)
Dec 22st:  Clean
Dec 23nd: Farmers walk (50ft)
Dec 24rd:1-1/4 squat



The following is a simple way to warm up to your max attempts without fatiguing yourself. In fact, this is what I do:

Starting with 2 reps the empty bar, add 10% of your max weight to the bar for sets of 2 reps until you reach 70%. Then, decrease to 1 rep per set and increase weight by 10% until you reach 90%, after 90%, take 5 minutes complete rest. Then, hit your old max and attempt a new PR at your own weight discretion. You can use this method for all exercises here. You get 3 attempts at a new max for each exercise before you have to call it quits, but that won't happen, WILL IT?

We want to see as many people participating as possible, so please submit videos to the LBEB fan page, with "12 Days of LBEB" in your video title. You can also compile all videos into one giant video when its all over if you prefer.

Whoever makes it through all 12 days and PRs every day will be entered into a pot, where a winner will be chosen to receive a 5lb jug of protein of their choosing from Truenutrition.com

Do your part to help everyone participate in this by sharing this article with your friends. We will be waiting for your videos!