I picked up a couple of new lifters recently.  One of them was warming up for clean and jerks last night before I quickly pulled him aside and drew him a quick sketch.

Right=bad.  Left=good.

Right=bad. Left=good.

This represented an exaggerated sketch of what he was doing vs. what I was looking for.  I explained to him my criteria while watching a successfully performed jerk ending the brief lesson with, “I want more stuff stacked on top of stuff.”  Eloquent, I know.  This is true for everybody but especially important for people with lanky body types.  The dude is 6 foot, 75kg. soaking wet in a Dragonball Z gravity chamber so mastering correct posture and footwork is “CROOCHE” (crucial).  For more “rotund” bodies this may not be as big of a deal (but still correct).

Killa Beeeeees!

February 24, 2014

I went old school Wu-Tang on the newest team training video.

I make these as a fun and creative way to highlight my training processes that I put the team through.  This video represents what a typical week pretty much looks like.  I’ve become very picky as to what the team actually does and how much of it.  Not much room is left over for extra volume especially since we’ve begun to push doubles on our percentage based workouts.

I’m no fashionista, be every now and then I’ll find myself in a non-gym situation.  These situations require pants.  For the most part, you’ll need jeans.  Let’s just say you’re a big guy like me and you weigh 240+ (assuming you’re not tall) and squat between five and six hundred pounds.  What are you going to do?  Forget Levi’s.  That ship sailed once you passed 240, you big biscuit.

I’d recommend taking the designer jean approach and get yourself a pair of Sevens.  Seriously.  If you ever want to have full ROM wearing jeans, you’ll get yourself a pair of Sevens.  Don’t be deterred by your bros who are required by law to start hating on you for paying 100 bucks on jeans.  “Nice skinny jeans.”  They’re not skinny jeans bro.  If you had anything resembling an ass and quads, you would know that.  And honestly, at a higher bodyweight, you don’t want to have a whole lot of excess room in your clothes  otherwise you end up looking like The Thing from the Fantastic Four trying to blend into the crowd.  Sevens have a tiny bit of spandex blended into the fabric so  you can now do things like tie your shoe or climb into your vehicle without fear of a blowout.  Now obviously at this price point, you can only afford to pick up one or two pairs per year, so choose a wash that will suit most occasions.  Take note that the dye will fade as you wash so I’d recommend a darker color so you have the option to dress them up or down.  Don’t let the price point rule this option out for you if that’s a key determining factor.  Look for deals online or hip consignment boutiques.  I’ve found them for as low as 35 bucks (SCORE).

SO discreet.  Fun fact: I actually had this action figure as a kid.

SO discreet. Fun fact: I actually had this action figure as a kid.

Lets say you lose a little bodyweight and can now afford to wear non-stretchy clothes with a little more room.  Or you’d just prefer not to wear designer or form fitting clothes.  That’s cool too, bro.  For this, I’d recommend all things Carhartt.  At a very competitive price point, their clothes are basically indestructible, sporting heavy duty rivets, triple stitching and heavyweight materials.  Plus you get the added benefit of feeling like a real DUDE while wearing them.  Fair warning: when I say non-stretchy, I mean non-stretchy.  So you really need to let that imaginary size 32 waist when you were in high-school go, bro.  Because it’s just not gonna happen.  With such competitive pricing, you can now afford to diversify your color scheme.  Or you can blend both approaches together and save your designer stuff for nice occasions.

Your results may vary and obviously personal taste plays a role in your options.  But in my opinion, these two options give you enough leeway to fit most stylistic tastes and you will have the added confidence that dat 600lb squatting ass won’t blow your jeans out while you are out bowling with your buddies (true story).

If your are familiar with the brands, feel free to list some other competitive options in the comments section below.  Keep in mind the two different price points noted above.

I’m going to go on a brief rant on nutrition and it will probably be the only one I ever do because unlike many people working in the fitness industry, I still have respect for actual professionals who went to school to study specific things like nutrition.  As a weightlifting coach, I automatically fall under the wishy washy, sensationalist money machine that is the fitness industry and I have to do my best to work within certain confines set by the industry.  Lucky for me, weightlifting is actually in vogue (or at least way more so than back in 2005).  Thank you functional fitness.  Thank you to the company, Crossfit.  I can now go in public, tell people that I’m a weightlifter and 3/10 people will actually have a rough idea of what that entails.  You have no idea how frustrated 18 year old Ben was when he had to describe to people how he spent his time.  Eventually, I just gave up and started telling people that I bench 505 because what difference does it make.  Without any frame of reference for what weightlifting actually is, it’s like trying to speak Mayan to a bunch of Spaniards (I can only assume).  What I’m getting at is the fitness industry is incredibly frustrating for a number of reasons and I often feel like a frumpy curmudgeon when trying to preach common sense over sensationalist, black and white approaches to all things fitness.  “This good.  This bad” simply does not work for me and leaves me with the desire to flip over tables in frustration.

The latest personal insult to common sense that I unfortunately read was an “article” warning people about the dangers of sugar.  First of all, just because somebody somewhere wrote something and posted it on the always viable internet, it in no way shape or form makes it an article.  You know those “such and such reasons why you should such and such”  posts? Yeah, I’ll take one look at the title and automatically file in the “not viable” category of all the other random stuff I see thrown around the internet.  Hey, your results may vary.  I’m not saying stuff written like that is automatically untrue, I’m just saying that if I was a researcher who actually went to grad school so I could publish a peer reviewed study and have it carry weight, I would be offended that people read those and throw them in the same category as my work.  But that’s a different issue and I’m sure there are a bunch of people that would disagree with me.

Sugar is not bad.  Sugar is sugar.  Just like meat is meat and water is water.  Are there healthy sources vs. non-healthy sources?  Sure.  Are most people consuming too much and from non-healthy sources?  Probably.  And most people could do with more exercise too.  But the fact of the matter is that sugar is your body’s preferred energy source and when you don’t eat it, your body goes through the extra effort to make it.  I, myself limit how much sugar and carbohydrates I consume (for the most part) because I have put myself on a “weight management” diet and putting my body in a state of ketosis (for the most part) works best for my lifestyle.  Does that interfere with my performance goals?  Maybe, somewhat.  But honestly, I can’t really tell the difference most of the time except my body won’t hold as much water.  But notice how I said “weight management” vs. “performance” or “healthy lifestyle” diet.  The goal is very important in what is considered “good” vs. ‘bad.”  So are things like potatoes and fruit inherently “bad?”  No.  They’re goddamn potatoes and fruit.  But they will play a different part or perhaps no part in your diet depending on your body and specific goals.  I think we can all agree that things like soda or poptarts are not inherently “good” for us.  But what are you gonna do?  You’ve already been conditioned to like that stuff.  Are you just going to pretend like it doesn’t exist?  That shit is delicious and I for one like to indulge every now and then.  I mean, I can tell when I’ve overdone it on the junk food.  Can you?  Are you gonna go over to grandma’s and NOT eat a piece of that pie that she spent all day baking?  I’m just saying,  common sense is always the best diet.

Alright.  I’m done.

For the record.  I am NOT a diet expert.  I had to take nutrition in college but they were still on that 90’s low fat kick.  I grew up a fat kid until I discovered the joys of pushing my body though sport and exercise.  I purposely bulked myself up to a whopping 126kg last year because I thought it would help my weightlifting goals (I hover around a comfortable 115 now).  I don’t think it did but now I know better.

President’s Day Open.

February 17, 2014

I usually lift pretty dece’ on my birthdays.  Yesterday was no exception.  As a matter of fact, all of my athletes did a bang up job.

My boss, Camilo, also lifted, hitting 100 and 130.

I made myself a special little montage because I’m stoked off of how well training has been going lately.  Honestly, cleaning 190 off the blocks the other day was a huge wake up call for me.  I’m definitely going to be pushing hard going into Nationals.

My best meet total before this weekend was 319.  Now 332.

My best competition snatch before this was 145.  Now 150.

My best competition clean and jerk before this was 177.  Now 182.  BUT I CLEANED 187!!

Welcome to my Office.

February 14, 2014

Here’s a short video I made highlighting our snatch clinic from last weekend.  It was SO MUCH FUN.  A sincere thank you to everyone who came out, I was so stoked to have you in our gym.  Big thanks to my trusty team who volunteered their Sunday to make sure I didn’t look like a fool.  Thank you to Tara, the coolest boss I’ve ever had.

I’m gonna do my little plug now.  If you run a CF gym in Norcal and are interested in having me come to your gym for two and a half hours of technique work, fun times, smiles and Diet Pepsi, get in contact with me.

Y U NO CLEAN 190??

February 11, 2014

Sooooo I’ve been SUPER busy over the last 3 days.  I don’t even want to talk about it.  Here’s just one thing that happened.

Far Away.

February 8, 2014

I got a question the other day about where I draw my inspiration for my training videos.  I was always pretty decent at making art and often that’s how I would find acceptance amongst my classmates.  So art work and comics were always a big thing for me.  But believe it or not, I didn’t ALWAYS want to become a great Olympic lifter.  I started Olympic lifting my senior of high school and before that I wanted to become great at playing guitar.  Believe it or not, I was actually in a band while in high school.  And before that, I wanted to become great at skateboarding.  Yup, skateboarding. I still remember when Tony Hawk pulled the first 900 when I was in like 6th grade.  So when I was a kid, I would watch skateboarding tapes.  And to the youngins’ reading, I’m talking about actual tapes that you put into a VCR.  I always felt that even if you weren’t into skateboarding, you could still sit there and be entertained by videos of guys launching themselves down flights of stairs set to music.  A lot of the segments had set themes or a certain mood and the music played almost as much of a role as the actual skaters.  Sure, they could’ve made informative videos breaking down step by step what hey were actually doing, “Yeah bro, I like totally didn’t hit full triple extension on that kickflip right there” but that would’ve been insanely boring and would’ve taken all the sexiness out of skateboarding.  I keep this in mind when I’m making “music videos” and try to follow the same aesthetic that I enjoyed while watching skating videos when I was a kid.  

All Red Everything.

February 5, 2014

I hit my first back squat above the 600 mark today.  I think it’s save to say I’m starting to rebound after feeling so run down earlier this week.  Don’t lie, I know you were worried.

Also, who in Sacramento has a scanner that can accommodate my 11×14 inch drawing I just posted?  I wan’t to scan it in black and white and throw it on a T-shirt.


February 4, 2014

I’ve been pretty wiped out from training lately.  My brain feels like scrambled eggs.  Doesn’t seem to affect my drawing ability though.  This is the most dece’ thing I’ve sketched in quite some time.

Sup, girl.

“Sup, girl.  You know you got words in your hair, right?”