Friday, January 25, 2013

Powerlifting Misconceptions

Lately I've been seeing some powerlifting numbers thrown around on the LBEB and I feel there might be a misconception or a lack of understanding as to what powerlifting, specifically geared powerlifting, is.  Did you know or realize that when you see numbers like a 1000lb bench press or even a 1000lb squat, these are not in fact what we at LBEB would call "pure lifts"?  In other words, the lifts were not accomplished using only the power of the human body and gear that is designed to keep it safe like a belt.  Rather, these lifts were accomplished using "bench shirts", "squat suits" , "squat briefs" and even "deadlift suits".  A lot of times when you see powerlifting videos on the Internet, the athlete is not wearing a singlet, but rather a variation of one of these suits.

Before I get into the explanation of the gear used, I feel it necessary to explain the current state that modern powerlifting is in.  Quite a while ago as more and more assistance gear was introduced, there was much debate amongst the athletes as to what gear should and should not be allowed.  What this caused was a major split, then even more splits, in the powerlifting world.  Tons and tons of powerlifting federations popped up, each with their own set of rules regarding assistance gear, squat depth, bench pause time, etc etc.  Unfortunately, this greatly divided and confused a once GREAT sport where pure, raw, static strength was tested on standardized equipment.  We are starting to see the revival of more and more "raw" (no assistance gear) federations, specifically under the direction of Sean Katterle, but again unfortunately more often than not, when powerlifting numbers are thrown around people are usually referencing "geared" or "equipped" powerlifting.
So, lets get into the gear.  Powerlifting gear is varied and wide in its scope. Nowadays an athlete can find a suit or shirt to fit any body type and to provide almost as much or as little assistance is needed, and if an athlete can't find what they want they can contact gear companies and have suits or shirts custom made to suit their needs.  How much assistance does gear provide you ask? Well, that all depends on the gear.  I've personally known "1000lb squatters" that could only squat 5-600 without their gear.  Bench shirts offer even more assistance at times.  No man has ever benched more than 730lbs without assistance gear yet the "bench press world record" currently stands at a little under 1100lbs!!!!  I myself am a 500lb give or take a little depending on the day, but my very first time in an Inzer Rage X bench shirt I was able to bench press 700lbs!  Not all gear offer extreme gains like in my examples, deadlift suits for example only offer 20-50lb no matter what type of suit you use simple because the mechanics of a deadlift don't allow for gear to be effective.  The IPF and USAPL powerlifting federations also minimize the type of gear that can be used in order to more legitimize the lifts being accomplished.

We at LBEB are not bashing on geared powerlifting,  in fact some of our lifters have dabbled in it a time or two.  What we are doing is trying to educate you as a lifter.  There is nothing wrong with being a geared powerlifter, but if this is the route you choose to go accept and realize that you are competing in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SPORT than raw or standard powerlifting.  Please don't claim to be a 1000lb squatter if your best squat raw is 405, just say you are a 1000lb geared squatter.  We have the utmost respect for geared powerlifters and we agree that these men and women are in fact very strong in their sport.  The fact is though that we at LBEB prefer raw lifting in all it's forms so we will always be biased towards that.  In addition we will always be more impressed by a 400lb raw squat than even an 800lb geared squat for example.  So, when hearing numbers thrown around keep this in mind, only 18-20 men have ever deadlifted 900+ under powerlifting standards in competition, no one has EVER squatted 1000lbs without gear and the biggest raw bench to date is 730lbs.  This should give you just a bit of a reference point to go by.

Written by Marshall White. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

How To Get Big While Doing Crossfit

Based on the amount of emails I get regarding it, the question of the century seems to be "How can I put on more quality weight while still doing Crossfit and not losing my speed?" How I read this question is "How can I put on more weight without altering anything I am doing and without losing my abs?" You don't have to be like me and get big by any means necessary, you can still put on quality weight over a period of time while improving your lifts and keeping your speed. I am going to outline three of the main issues I see when consulting Crossfitters who want to get bigger.

Jannetti knows whats up

1. Altering Your Diet (Duh)

Let's take a look at what CF says about diet: "Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and NO sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat." Right there in the definition it explains to eat enough to maintain your current body mass but not add extra. There is a reason why women can add some quality weight on paleo while men have difficulty putting on weight. Some women who previously ate less meat and fat are now eating more meat and fat and can see some gain, whereas men (who on average require more calories) are now eating less calories.

I am going to tell you something you probably don't want to hear:

Eating bacon and eggs for breakfast is NOT eating big

There I said it. Let's break down a bacon and egg breakfast in terms of calories. 6 pieces of bacon is about 200 calories, and 5 eggs would be about 310 calories. That is a whopping total of 510 calories. If you aren't adding AT LEAST a whole avocado to that, how can you expect to put on weight?

Another thing to remember is that simply eating meat and a little fat won't help you add very much weight. If you are eating low carb, the protein you eat is going to be used for energy, not for building muscle. Help protein do it's job by adding more carbs back into your diet.

Streaky is down for carbs

Most of the LBEB crew is gluten-free, except for the occasional lasagna. If you want to put on some decent quality weight, try adding in 1/2 cup (measured before cooking) of rice to your meals 3-4 times a week. I recommend white rice as the shell of the whole grain kernel can cause GI problems just like gluten can. If you don't want rice, add in 3-4 extra sweet potatoes a day. 

On top of these meals, adding in blended food shakes can help you add more weight. Twice a day, I will blend 3 cups of Rice Krispies with 100 grams of Cinnamon Bun grass-fed whey protein from
It is important to remember that shakes and post-workout drinks are SUPPLEMENTS, not REPLACEMENTS. Add them in to compliment your solid food intake, not replace it.

2. Decreasing The Training Days

The second most common question I get is people who want me to write a strength program followed by them saying they also hit 4-5 WOD's a week, go to yoga 2-3x, run 5-10 miles a week, etc. It doesn't take much brain exercise to figure out why hitting 8-11 workouts a week is keeping you from putting on mass, especially when combined with a diet that is supposed to help a sedentary person lose weight, not fuel high level athletes. If you are eating extra food to help you grow, working off those calories is the opposite of what you want to be doing.

When it comes to workouts, I believe in quality over quantity, and I believe in structure. Streaky learned this the hard way, she used to hit a random workout every day, some times twice a day, which led to some awesome injuries, right Streaky? She learned her lessons and now takes scheduled deloads, planned days off, and is always able to go to her next workout fresh and ready to roll. Her food is fueling her, as well as helping her grow. That is what we want when we are trying to cultivate mass.

You won't get fat if you take a scheduled day off. In fact, that day off will allow your muscle fibers to repair and grow back stronger and bigger than before if you are eating correctly, and the fat will stay relatively low as long as you don't overdo your carb intake. Not everyone wants to look like Marshall or myself (which confuses me!)

3. More Short & Heavy, Less Long & Light

As we have stated before, If you want to increase performance as well as increase quality body weight, decrease the amount light reps you are doing in favor of fewer, heavier sets. Doing a 150 air squats may give you an awesome lactic acid buildup, but as far as increasing mass beyond the average beginner gains, the progress just won't be there. 

Along with this, if you want to improve your Grace or Isabel time, don't just do 30 reps as fast as possible with the prescribed weight: do 10 sets of 3 reps with 1.75-2x the prescribed weight. Not only will this improve your strength and help you focus on your form, it will make the prescribed weight feel like peanuts after a few months.

Trade off the 20-30 minute metcons in favor of shorter and much heavier workouts to improve your overall strength without decreasing your conditioning; that I promise you. The only conditioning I have done in the past year is my Strongman events on Friday, and I can still row a faster 500m than most of you who read this site (1:20) at 285lbs.

These three aspects of altering your Crossfit lifestyle will help you to put on the quality weight you want to, while still maintaining that speed that is all-important to Crossfit. You don't have to be 300lbs, but if you are 5'11" and 170lbs, you might want to consider adding some mass to your body!

Pastor B out.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Training Music

Article written by Marshall White for
 Alright, that's it! I've had a gut full and I have to say something! Listening to metal all the time in gym SUCKS!! There I said it. I know some of you are going to hate me for this but I have to say it. I'm so tired of going in to the gym and hearing that blaring screaming music and watching dudes walk around all puffed up and excited, gritting their teeth and mean mugging everyone.

Look I can get in to metal just as much as the next guy, I love Lamb of God and Meshuggah, hell I can even get down with some Belphegor and Children of Bodin. Here's the thing though, in my many years in the gym I've come to realize that the guys listening to metal, spreading their lats and mean mugging everyone the most are usually the ones lifting the least amount of weight. Now, this is not a hard and fast rule it's just a casual observation I've made, so don't go getting all butt hurt on me. If you are butt hurt then you just proved my point.

Think about this, the Spartans didn't have Pantera when they marched off to war, neither did the Scots, Vikings, or any other badass society. Yes, these societies had some horns and stringed instruments but do you know what they mainly whooped ass to? Drums. Yeah that's right they conquered and rampaged to some sick beats. The drums set a rhythm that they could follow and do work to. I'm sure there's some theories out there about circadian rhythms and all that, and that would be interesting to research, but for now what I know is I, along with tons of other big lifters lift better to drum beat based music.

Lets take a look at some of the best lifters in the world. Ever notice how Klokov's videos always have trance or house music playing in the background? How about Zydrunas Savickas? See what I'm getting at here? I'm not saying listening to metal is bad or even negative, what I am saying is that maybe you should try throwing on some hip hop or some dub step once in a while. I know that Streaky and Stephanie love listening to dub step while training and myself, Talia, and Pastor always throw on some dirty rap, and all of us as a team put up big ass lifts on the reg. Give it a shot, if nothing else hopefully it'll broaden your horizons and maybe make you a little less angry while in the gym.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Keeping Women Down

You don't have to venture to the gym or on the internet for more than five minutes without seeing some dumbass remarks from men who shouldn't be let out of their cages and give the rest of us a bad name. It's hard to imagine why they felt the need to crawl out from under their rock to grace us with their presence, but it's time for them to go back into hiding, post-haste. I can think one specific comment made on the photo of a friend of mine. It reads:

"Whatever you're shooting into your body to gain muscle like a man, has made you look line. Even masculine facial features. Not to mention your man-like body. Why try so hard to not look feminine? Any man that thinks this is sexy should be f*cking another man.  Just saying....Do you have to shave yet?"

Just to clarify, the woman in question is the farthest thing from looking manly. In fact, I consider her to be a petite woman. We aren't dwelling in ye olde Victorian England anymore. We live in a world where woman SHOULD be seen and most definitely be heard. Nothing can hold a beginning female back more than a troglodyte who tells her that women need to remain limp and frail creatures.

Although I have personal goals to be as huge as possible, most of the people I work with are women who simply want to look better or get stronger, my personal goals don't influence the goals of those I work with. It's extremely difficult for these women to get over years of verbal abuse from insecure men who would rather step on women instead of bettering themselves. You can look at the success stories of Michelle or Streaky to see the amazing things they achieved, but also the comments left by detractors. These comments involve such things as "muscles are gross", "eww she looks like a man", and "wow that is just not feminine at all, sorry."

Why do these things need to be said? Some men need to accept the fact that we don't live in the 1950's and women are actually real people, who are free to do with their bodies as they choose, free from societal presuppositions that are imposed on them. 

Without sounding too much like a Pinterest motivational poster, weak men absolutely demand that a woman stays weak as well. Demanding that a woman not have muscle or get strong is implying that you as a man need to exert dominance over the women in question and if you cannot exert that dominance, then she is unattractive to you. Does this sound like a strong man to you?

These are the kinds of things that drive women to count calories, slave away on treadmills, and skip healthy foods for highly processed, fat-free foods. We will never advance as a society as long as we view women as a sub-species that is not allowed to pursue their own goals in strength, competition, and healthy living. If you simply cannot accept the fact that strong women are amazing, then it's time for you to crawl back under the rock from whence you came.

Go forth and prosper, Pastor B out.