Sunday, June 21, 2015

Full Body Training: Exhaustion or Exhilaration?

     When training with full-body workouts, a couple of options are best when designing your workout program.  First, you can use a "heavy-light-medium" system of training—a lot of the full-body workouts here at Integral Strength reflect this option.  Or, second, you can use a system of training where none of the workouts are "all-out"—rather, each workout is more of a "practice session" for the various exercises.  In this second option, the workout sessions aren't necessarily not hard, but they are not "intense" either.  You stop each set a couple reps shy of failure, and you never do so much work that you can't train the muscle group—or the lift—48 hours later.
Bradley Steiner's Tips
     Years ago in IronMan magazine, sandwiched between all of the glossy pictures of steroid-bloated bodybuilders and the various pics of semi-nude (though admittedly beautiful) women, there was real training advice.  Bill Starr had monthly columns that, once you read a few dozen of them, allowed you to become a semi-expert in the field of real training.  Stuart McRobert had articles that were all pretty darn good—the advice was practical, no-nonsense stuff.  I had articles that, not to be too self-promotional, weren't half-bad.  And, of course, there were also plenty of articles on full-body, basic workouts from a number of other writers/trainers who peddled such practical wisdom as what was found once-upon-a-time in the "golden age" of bodybuilding yore.  Amidst all of this, Bradley Steiner wrote a column—not to mention quite a few additional articles—for decades in the magazine.  And his advice was as bare bones as it came: nothing but the basics, full-body workouts only, limited amount of sets and reps, keep it simple—that sort of stuff.
     Steiner's workouts would fit in the second category of full-body workouts discussed above.  In one of his articles in the mid '90s, he had this to say about the "indicators" that reveal whether or not one is training correctly:

  • You feel comfortably and pleasantly tired when your workout session is done.  You feel as if your mind and body have been renewed.
  • You feel energetic—not as if you have the strength to train again, but as if you'd do it again if you could.
  • You feel positive about your training.  You're deeply satisfied with the session you've just finished.
  • You're buoyant, almost high, about an hour later.
  • You're relaxed when it's time to go to bed.  You sleep deeply and well, and you feel good when you wake the next morning.
  • You feel absolutely super on the day following a good workout.
  • When you train right, you enjoy it.
  • When you train correctly, you find that you make steady progress.
  • And, finally, you feel exhilarated, not exhausted—and that's a good way to feel.
Steiner's advice, obviously, is still sound as ever today.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

R.I.P. Bill Starr

One of the Greatest There Ever Was... and Ever Will Be
May His Memory be Eternal
(a.k.a. "Bill Starr-style Advanced Squat Training")

     I've been away from the internet, and lifting in general, for too long over the last couple of months.  Generally, of course, lack of internet-perusing is, decidedly, not a bad thing.  But in this case, I failed to read the news that Bill Starr died about two months ago.

     If you haven't read much of my material, then you may not know that one of my greatest influences in lifting has always been Bill Starr.
     There was no one like him.  No one.  Period.
     This is what I had to say in a post a few years ago:


     For those of you who don't know—and most of you who have read my training articles do know—my primary inspiration in training and writing has always been Bill Starr.  Perhaps nowadays people—powerlifters, strength athletes, readers of the major bodybuilding magazines—think that Starr is too "old-school."  Well, old-school, in my book is just fine.  Bill Starr is still, and always will be, one of the best-of-the-best.
     When I grow tired of writing training articles, I return to Bill Starr.  (Who writes damn good, by the way.)
     When I grow tired of my current training program, I return to Bill Starr.
     When I grow weary of all the modern gadgets—stuff like training balls, chains, bands, and one-legged whatever—I return to Bill Starr.
     When I grow weary of all the modern "trainers" and all of their methods (like everyone that writes for T-Nation, for instance—as much as I like that magazine), I return to Bill Starr.
     And when I just need a reminder of why I love to write and love to lift in the first place, I return to Bill Starr.

     I wish I could have met Bill Starr, but I never did, and now I will never get the chance.  I should have written him at some point, if for no other reason than to tell him that the writer "CS Sloan" would never have been without his immense influence.  But I let that time pass me by, as well, so the best I can do is offer a few training pieces in the coming days in his honor.  Hell, it's probably exactly what he would have wanted.

     What follows is one of the first articles I wrote exclusively for this blog back in 2009.  It's a piece on "4 tips for building a massive squat using the heavy-light-medium program" that has Bill Starr's influence oozing from the pores of all the sentences, and his obvious stamp on the training program itself.
     In memory of the great man himself, enjoy:


Bill Starr "Advanced" Squat Training

     The purpose of this article is to show you how to boost the numbers in your squat using the heavy-light-medium system of training.  These tips and techniques can be used by powerlifters, athletes, or any of you who just want to be stronger than you currently are at the moment.
     This article also assumes that you are already familiar with heavy-light-medium training.  If you're not familiar with this form of lifting, then the first thing I suggest is reading my article on H-L-M training that I wrote for Dragon Door.  You can find it here:
     http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/508/
     More than just being familiar with this sort of training, it's best to actually do it for an extended period of time.  If you've never done full-body workouts, much less H-L-M training, then you definitely need to perform the basic workout listed in my Dragon Door article for at least 8 weeks, minimum.  Twelve to 16 weeks would be even better.  After you have done that, then you're ready to start specializing.  Which is where an article such as this one comes in handy.
     When writing articles like this, the best way to often get your point across is through "tips" or "keys," so I guess that an alternate title of this article could have been something such as "4 Tips For Building A Massive Squat Using the Heavy-Light-Medium System."  That's a little more catchy.  I kind of like it.
 Tip #1: Know How Frequently You Need to Squat
     When you first begin the H-L-M method of training, you typically want to squat 3 days each week.  Every lifter that I have worked with has gotten good results at the beginning of their H-L-M training by training the squat on each day.
     The squat, in this regard, is different than the bench press or the deadlift.  Even when starting out, I typically have my lifters deadlift only once a week, and bench press twice each week.  It's harder to overtrain the movement pattern in the squat compared to the other lifts.
     Some lifters can get away with training the squat on all 3 days throughout their training careers.  (Of course, some—even if they could get away with this—would rather do other exercises just for the sake of variety.)  If you are built for squatting, then this would be you.  How do you know if you're built for the squat?  First off, if you haven't done squats for an extended period of time in order to increase your strength, you don't know.  If, however, you have rarely done anything other than squats to increase your squatting strength, then you're probably built for this exercise.
     When you decide to add some exercise variety to your squats, I would start by substituting a different exercise on your light day.  I like the reverse lunge on this day.  I say the reverse lunge for a couple of reasons.  One, you can do it in the squat rack in the same place that you perform your squats.  Two, it seems to have a better carryover to your squats—for whatever reason—than do forward lunges.  This probably has something to do with the fact that the movement of stepping back, instead of forward, is more natural.  Perhaps it also has something to do with the fact that a reverse lunge more closely resembles a step-up.  And step-ups are a great exercise for increasing your squat.  (It also more closely resembles a one-legged squat, since your "squatting" leg stays put in the reverse lunge.)
     The reverse lunge is a natural exercise for your light day because of the weights used.  Reverse lunges just don't allow you to use very much weight.  If you squat 400 on your heavy day and 350 on your medium day, you will have a tough time achieving 275 on your reverse lunges on the light day.  This also helps to take a lot of the guesswork out of the light day.  With reverse lunges, you can train as "heavy" as you are capable of training, and it will still be "light".
     As you get more advanced, and as you discover that you really do need more variety than just lunges, you should substitute another exercise for squats on the medium day.  I think the best exercise to start with on medium day is the front squat.  If you perform 5 sets of 5 for squats on Heavy Day, 5 sets of 5 for reverse lunges on Light Day, and 5 sets of 5 for front squats on Medium Day, the front squats will be a natural medium exercise without even trying.
     As you progress even further, it could be that you will want to start rotating to some different exercises other than just these three.  First things first when doing this: Stick with squats as your core exercise on the heavy day.  In other words, never deviate from Heavy Day squats.  However, feel free to rotate to other exercises as you see fit on the light and medium days.  Although, when first doing this, I would be hesitant about rotating exercises on every light day or on every single medium day.  It's probably best to stick with an exercise for 2 to 3 weeks before rotating to something new.  For instance, here's an example of what 9 weeks of training might look like:
Weeks 1-3:
Heavy Day: squats
Light Day: reverse lunges
Medium Day: front squats
Weeks 4-6:
Heavy Day: squats
Light Day: walking lunges
Medium Day: barbell hack squats
Weeks 7-9:
Heavy Day: squats
Light Day: overhead squats
Medium Day: bottom-position squats
     One thing that I hope you're beginning to understand at this point is that variety is important.  You always need to use a system of training—which is H-L-M training in this case—but you need plenty of variety built within that system.  Which brings us to our next tip.
Tip #2: Vary Your Repetition Ranges on a Regular Basis
     The more advanced you become, the more variety you need.  This is true even for those of you who can get away with—and enjoy—squatting 3 days each week.
     As a rule of thumb, I would advise to vary your repetition ranges, on each training day, once every three weeks.  If you use the above 9 week example for changing exercises, this would mean that you would change your repetition ranges each time that you varied your exercises.
     Here is the repetition scheme that I most prefer (and it's also the one favored by Bill Starr, which is where I learned it, although his method is slightly different, but we'll get to that in a little bit): Weeks 1-3: 5 sets of 5 scheme; Weeks 4-6: 2 sets of 5, 3 sets of 3 scheme; Weeks 7-9: 4 sets of 8 scheme; Weeks 10-12: progressively heavier singles scheme.  (Note: When performing the singles, you will probably want to perform 5s, then 3s, as you work up to a heavy, near-max weight.  Take your time to work up to your maximum single, but DO NOT fatigue yourself as you do so.)
     Bill Starr advises—and here's the difference—that advanced lifters vary their repetition schemes on a weekly basis.  So, the first week would be 5s, the second week would be triples, the third week would be 8s, and the fourth week would be singles.
     Learn what method of variation works best for you.  Do you get the most out of weekly variation?  Or do you do better by waiting 2 to 3 weeks before changing reps?  I think that the more advanced you are, the more variation you need.  For instance, if you've been lifting hard and heavy for over ten years, you could probably use the weekly variation.  If you've been training hard for just over a year, then you will probably do better by waiting 3 weeks before changing to a new scheme.
     Keep in mind, as well, that you can use different repetition schemes than what I've recommended here.  You might want to perform a 10 sets of 3 scheme, where you take minimum rest between each set but you use the same weight on each set (as opposed to the progressively heavier sets that H-L-M training usually entails).  Or you might want to use another one of my favorites: the 5 sets of 1 method.  For this method, use a weight that you can only get 2 or 3 singles with.  Stick with this weight until you get 5 singles with it.  At the next workout, add weight and repeat the process.
Tip #3: Increase Your Workload Via Back-Off Sets and Assistance Exercises
     As you get more advanced—and as you really focus on bringing up the numbers on your squat—you will need more than just 5 sets of 5 reps, or 4 sets of 8 reps, or whatever it is that you are using for the training week.  You will need both back-off sets to increase your workload for that exercise and assistance exercises to work on any weak points that you have.
     When first performing back-off sets, I would stick with a 2 sets of 8 scheme on days where you do sets of 5, triples, or singles.  Let's say that you work up to 400 pounds for your final set of 5 reps.  Rest a few minutes, strip the weight down to around 275 to 300 lbs and perform 2 sets of 8 with this weight.  On days where you might use a 4 sets of 8 scheme, I would only perform 1 back-off set of 15 to 20 reps.
     At first, only add back-off sets to your heavy days.  After a few weeks of this, add back-off sets to your medium days.  You can probably stick with doing the back-offs on both the heavy and medium days throughout your training.  The exception is for those of you who are really advanced.  If you are squatting close to triple your bodyweight, then you will want to also add some back-off sets to your light days.
     After you start performing back-off sets, you will want to begin adding some assistance work for your squats at some point.  Some of the stuff you are already doing should naturally be assistance work.  For instance, deadlifts definitely improve your squats, as does abdominal work.  And for some of you, this will be enough to keep your squats moving upward for a long time.  For others, it won't be.
     The assistance work shouldn't be done in a haphazard manner.  It should be done knowing what your weak points are.  Now, weak points can be complex things, but we'll try to keep it simple here.
     If you are having problems coming out of the "hole" in your squats, then you need some specific work for your glute-hamstring tie-in muscles.  I like good mornings and stiff-legged deadlifts in this instance.  A couple of sets at the end of the workout—but before abdominal work—should do the trick.  I would advise using the same repetition schemes as on your back-off sets.  So, 2 sets of 8 should work just fine.  But make sure that the 2 sets are hard.  Easy stuff just won't cut it.
     If your lower back is giving you problems—for instance, do you tend to "bend over" when coming out of the hole?—then good-morning squats are probably the best thing in your arsenal.  Once again, 2 sets of 8 should be sufficient.
     Assistance exercises are something you need to experiment with.  Try some different ones, and try them for several weeks.  If your squat starts moving upward again, then you're probably on the right track.  Keep in mind that you don't need them, however, if your squats are increasing steadily without them.  But you do need the back-off sets.
Tip #4: Add an Extra Light Day
     The more advanced you become, the more total workload that you need.  There's just no getting around it.  However, at some point, you will not be able to train just 3 days each week.  Not unless you want your heavy and medium days to start going over 2 hours in length.  (I must say, at this point, that I have—in the past—trained in excess of 2 hours on both my heavy and medium days and I was strong as hell while doing so.  So, the idea that your sessions should never last longer than 45 minutes—or an hour at the most—is a bunch of hogwash.  However, most people don't want to—nor do they have the time—to train this long.)
     The best thing you can do at this point is add an extra light day to your program.  If you train on Monday (heavy), Wednesday (light), and Friday (medium), then your extra light day should fall on Tuesday.  Don't worry about the fact that you are training three days in a row.  The extra light day should be a little "lighter" than the light day on Wednesday.  Also, this will—because you will now be advanced before attempting this—aid in your recovery from the heavy day of training.
     If you are still squatting 3 days each week at this point, don't squat on this extra light day.  Perform reverse lunges instead.  If you are, say, squatting on Monday, doing lunges on Wednesday, and performing front squats on Friday, then it's time to change things.  You will do better by squatting on Monday, doing reverse lunges on Tuesday, front squats on Wednesday, and bottom-position squats on Friday.
Summing Things Up
     I hope I have covered most of the things that followers of H-L-M training have been pondering when it comes to their squat training.  If not, then please feel free to e-mail me with any specific questions you might have.

All Hail the Apocalypse! The End of the Overtraining Myth, Part Two



a.k.a.: The Squat Nemesis Training Journal:
Part Two

by Jared Smith

     It is week two, and to say that my legs feel like they have gone through the meat grinder would be a huge understatement. I must say that there is something almost enjoyable about feeling this way. Perhaps it is the fact that I am testing myself, which gives me a sense of accomplishment. I know what some of you are probably thinking (and you are correct): You don’t have to be sore to know you’ve trained hard, but sometimes we need that painful little reminder that we killed it!

         I must say that I am pretty happy with the gains I have made thus far. Going from hardly being able grind out a triple just to parallel with 315, to taking such a weight ass to grass with a pause in that position, before attempting to send it through the roof, makes me happier than a witch in a broom factory. I know that number is not impressive, but being able to do that after coming back from my injury and a lifetime of the “squeeze it like it owes you money” mentality of my former training fuels my enthusiasm.
         While the program doesn’t exactly call for a pause squat, I make sure that I do so on my max effort attempts. With each of these, my aim is to make sure that I am moving the weight as precisely as possible without the aid of momentum. The eccentric portion of these lifts typically takes about three seconds, which further reduces the chances of momentum aiding me in the lift. 
         The most remarkable thing about the program so far is the change in my mood. After hitting a few heavy sets of squats daily, I seem to feel better and am more productive. I may not be a psychology major, but I am going to attribute this to the “confidence boost” I get from knowing that I am improving. I have struggled with anxiety for many years now, and since adopting a frequent approach to squatting, I have found myself being far more relaxed. Of course, I can’t decidedly say that the training is the reason for this. I am aware that correlation does not equal causation, but I do know that lifting seems to ease my mind.
Where’s the Beef?
         While my primary goal with this program is to become a better lifter, and attain more strength/neuromuscular efficiency, I know you may be wondering if any size will be lost from training in such a way. Abso-friggin-lutely not! While the cells may not be a “volumized”—as with traditional bodybuilding-style training—the entire body is still getting more than enough stimulation. One reason the body builds muscle from the get-go is a response to stress. This goes back to the S.A.I.D. principle. For those unfamiliar, this stands for Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands. This essentially means that “your body becomes its function” by adapting to the specific stresses placed upon it.
Feeding the Machine
         When training with this level of intensity, it is important to “chow down” on a regular basis! Upon starting this program, I automatically added an extra 300 calories to my diet, which bumped me up to around 4,300 calories daily. Seeing as I have the metabolism of an anorexic crack-head, I require a pretty decent amount of food. While I keep it as clean as possible, I do NOT shy away from a high-calorie meal on the weekend. I am a huge fan of carbohydrate back-loading (but we will discuss that another time).
Supplements
          I will be the first to tell you that there is no magic potion. Supplements are used only to fill in small gaps, or give you a slight boost in recovery. When utilizing heavy weights and frequent training, you will want to remain as fresh as possible. I find that a primary limiting factor is inflammation. I use a hefty amount of BCAA and Glutamine. I have found that Glutamine greatly reduces the amount of inflammation that I experience from training. I didn’t fully realize how much it helped until I ceased using it after the last month long squat program I did. Even with a frequency reduction, the inflammatory response was immense and caused my performance to suffer! With that said, I am currently taking around 20 grams of glutamine a day and about seven grams of BCAAs.  If the cost of such a thing is a concern—as is the case with me—you can always buys the flavorless kind, and mix them in with water or whatever it is you like to sip on during training. This is much more cost efficient, and you can buy this stuff by the bucket when it’s flavorless.
Post Apocalypse (Teaser)
         I’m not one to get ahead of myself, but when I’m excited, I find it hard to contain. I learned a long time ago that it always pays to think a few steps ahead, and in training it’s no different. I am a bodybuilder and my ultimate goal is mass. With that in mind the program that follows this four week block is geared toward one thing: MASS! You will want to stay tuned. Much like in a Hollywood epic, after the Apocalypse is over, something—or someone—always rises from the ashes!
        

        


Thursday, June 11, 2015

All Hail the Apocalypse! The End of the Overtraining Myth!!

a.k.a.: The Squat Nemesis Training Journal:
Part One

by Jared Smith



         For some time now, I have been a firm believer that overtraining a muscle is about as possible as winning the lottery a dozen times in a row or establishing peace in the Middle East.  While the nervous system is another issue in-and-of-itself, the muscles can withstand much more punishment than the vast majority of people are willing to dish out. I admit that, when my training was in its infancy, I too was under the impression that infrequent training for each muscle was optimal.  However, as my knowledge evolved, I learned that the more frequently you can stimulate a muscle, the more opportunities for growth you can experience.  After delving into all the information I could find on how to enhance recovery between sessions, I embarked on a mission of training muscles as often as possible while remaining as fresh as possible.  Within months, I was a man transformed.  My muscular density and strength were increasing at a remarkable rate.  Fast-forward to today and my training has become a hybrid of hypertrophy and power.  While my main goal is hypertrophy, I realize that the only way to become as massive as humanly possible is to not only add strength but to PERFECT the king of all lifts…THE SQUAT!
         I am no stranger to the lift, but my technique and ability to hit a deep squat without feeling like I was going to die was very much lacking. I am a prime example of fear preventing progress.  After a partial tear of my right quadriceps tendon over a year ago, I avoided the squat for some time.  I’d do insanely high-rep leg workouts and literally push myself to the point of puking many times, but my legs just never seemed to grow.  I knew what I had to do, and although it would be like starting over, I was not about to let it defeat me.  I sat down and thought of all the things that could have played a part in my injury and, though I didn’t want to admit it, I knew that a lapse in technique during the squat was my downfall.  The next day I got back in the rack and instead of training like a “bodybuilder”, I decided to train like a LIFTER.  Trust me when I tell you there is a huge difference between the two.  A lifter is one that trains simply for the love of doing so.  A typical bodybuilder is concerned only with the change to physique.  I realized that the path to the physique I wanted was through perfecting the LIFT!
         I decided that I would squat in some shape, form, or fashion every-single-day until form was second nature to me.  I used eleven different variations of the squat during the next four weeks.  The first week was almost like squatting with a broomstick, because, if I could not use a light load and go ass to grass, I didn’t deserve—nor was I ready—for anything substantial sitting atop my back.  Everything about my technique was tweaked, and, while not comfortable, I knew that I had to force my body to relearn how to squat.  After two weeks, my elbows were throbbing like an infected wisdom tooth from using a close grip and cranking down on the bar.  At this point, I switched to front squats and—all of the sudden—everything fell into place. Whether it was from all the overload of the back squat, or just the change of bar path, it clicked. The sequence of un-racking, walking out, getting set, breathing, dropping the hips back, sinking into the hole and staying there…FINALLY!
         I began squatting before each hypertrophy session for every-other-muscle, and I continued to add weight to the bar.  Though technique was my primary focus, my confidence in my ability to handle weight was growing, and, by the third week, I was sinking back squats complete with a pause in the hole as if it was nothing. During week four, I snapped a photo of my quads, and I was stunned at how much thicker my legs had become!  I realized then that the cumulative volume over the course of each week, coupled with a single hypertrophy session for each muscle, had really done the trick! Nothing—and I mean nothing—fuels enthusiasm like results.
         Now that we’ve got my little history lesson out of the way, we can get down to the reason I’m writing this. This will serve as my journal for the Squat Nemesis program. I am four days in, and thus far, it is going pretty well. Though I did squat every day for a month prior to starting this program, the intensity was not quite as high as this!  The daily max-effort singles are taxing, but I find myself being very ‘’amped” upon completion. Thus far, the most remarkable part is the “heavy three” and two sets of five afterwards. Perhaps it’s the activation of my nervous system, or just that primal rage that comes from sinking a max effort squat, but those triples feel awesome. I find myself using more weight on the triples than I expect, which fuels my desire to get back under the bar the next day and try to add some weight to my singles. The sets of five are there to continue working on technique and the fact that such a thing is built into the program is awesome. What you must realize is that lifting is a skill, and the more you practice, the better you will be! I will be the first to admit that my numbers are NOT impressive but, keep in mind, I am a bodybuilder and am using programs such as this to improve the efficiency of my training, so adding pounds to my lifts is an added bonus that I will gladly take!
         My weekly training schedule:
Monday/Wednesday/Friday= Back squat
Tuesday/Thursday= Front squat
     On each day, I work up to a max effort single, then reduce the poundage to around 70% of the weight I worked up to and begin triples.  My goal is to never get less than three reps on these. If I feel I can add weight, I do. Next up is the practice round. With around 50% of the weight I used on my single, I will perform two sets of five reps explosively. This is to keep “dialing in” my technique. My approach to maintaining the rest of my muscularity is a minimalistic approach, and rightfully so.  The squat hammers not only the legs, but the whole posterior chain, and done with intensity and frequency, the cumulative stress of this will make everything grow!  The training for all other muscles is mainly to fill it with blood, and give it just enough stimuli as to not regress, and cause minimal stress on my joints. My aim is not to cause much muscle damage but to promote recovery of tissues through blood flow.
         Training continued:
Monday: Chest
 Decline presses or dips 3x 10-12
Tuesday: Back
Chins 3x Max
Barbell Rows 3x 10-12
Wednesday: Shoulders
Standing Barbell Shoulder Press 3x 8-10
Thursday: Arms/Calves
Blood Flow Restriction training
Dumbbell Curls 2 clusters of 30, 15,15,15
Pushdowns 2 clusters of 30,15,15,15
Seated calf Raise 2 Clusters of 30,15,15,15
Well, the dull ache from the week is starting to settle in, and its time for me to do the one thing I enjoy more than training….GET MY GRUB ON!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Change is Coming!

If you read this blog regularly, then you know that I haven't posted anything in quite some time.

There are a few reasons for this.  I've been extremely busy with work, training, and writing some totally non-strength related material.  The lack of material here, however, is about to change.

First, you'll notice that the blog has a new "look"—assuming enough readers like the new look, we'll keep it as is.

I'm also proud to say that I've hooked up with a couple of people who are very important to me—my dear friend Jared Smith and my oldest son Matthew Sloan—who are going to do some regularly contributing to the blog.  Hopefully it will be enough so that, between the three of us, we can have two to three posts each week.

Jared Smith

Jared is a former workout partner of mine, and a man who I'm proud to have called my friend for the past decade or so.  He's also one incredibly massive S.O.B.  But don't take my word for it.  Here's a pic:



Jared is currently embarking on the daunting task of completing Nick Horton's "Squat Nemesis Program."  He's planning to journal his results here, in addition to writing other material.

Jared's main emphasis—heck, his only emphasis—is on getting as massively big as possible.  His training is pure hypertrophy bodybuilding taken to the nth degree.  His writing, hence, will focus on massive muscle-building.

He's gonna be cool because his methods are different from mine, although they overlap somewhat—we both favor high-frequency training, for instance.  He, however, is much more "into" intensity techniques that really "thrash" the muscle groups.  His writings will reflect this.

Matthew Sloan


Matthew is, quite obviously, my son.


At 16, his main concern is getting as "ripped" and "shredded" as possible, while maintaining muscle mass, and all while doing this in a healthy manner.  (He doesn't take any "stimulants", for instance—I wouldn't want him to.)

Also—and this is an important note—he's not one of those kids who can just eat whatever-the-hell they want and get in great shape.  He's had to really work for it.

His writing will focus on the nutritional aspects for getting in awesome shape, while including some high-volume and bodyweight training articles.