Archive for the ‘Quote’ Category

Symmetry’s Novice Program (Part 2) – Mehrad.

Symmetry’s Novice Program (Part 1) – Mehrad.

Impact of the Menstrual Cycle on Determinants of Energy Intake – Reseach Review -Lyle McDonald.

Q&A about opening a gym -Alwyn Cosgrove.

Women, Bulky Muscle & The Hulking Reality – Mehrad.

A Better Way to Gauge Intensity of Effort During Resistance Training – Brad Schoenfeld.

To Stretch Or Not To Stretch? – Mehrad.

Best Fitness Articles — June 7, 2015 – Ben and Kristen.

BioLayne Guest Blog Peter Baker – Unf***ing your Spine for Powerlifting Excellence

DOMS and Muscle Growth -Lyle McDonald.

Women Training and Fat Loss – Book Teaser -Lyle McDonald.

12 Ways to Know if You Should Include an Exercise in a Strength Training Program – Eric Cressey.

It’s ok to be fat as long as…

3 Ways to Level Up Your Coaching -Mike Robertson.

Don’t just stand there, do nothing! The difference between science-based medicine and quackery -John Synder.

Fat Loss Friday: 15 Lessons on Leaning Out – Eric Cressey.

Build Your Glutes Fast! -Chad Waterbury.

Eat, Lift, and Condition to Lose Fat and Maintain Muscle -Mark Lewis and Travis Pollen.

Does Light Load Training Build Muscle in Experienced Lifters? – Brad Schoenfeld.

Squats and Deadlifts Won’t Make Your Waist Blocky– Bret Contreras.

Eight Considerations for Weight Room Training -Robert A. Panariello.

12 Observations From Training Women – Bret Contreras.

3 Weekend Mobility Drills to Help you Enjoy Spring -Dean Somerset.

Current Position Statement on Anterior Pelvic Tilt– Bret Contreras.

6 Exercises Upgrades For Better Results -Adam Bornstein.

The “Thin Woman Inside” Lie

Transcriptional Control of Energy Regulation -Dr Sharma.

Endurance vs. Conditioning – The biggest misconception in sports specific training – Wolfgang Unsold.

The Pro’s and Cons of BCAA Supplements – The Poliquin Group.

Naturopathy vs. Science: Diabetes Edition -Scott Gavura.

Doing Too Much Causes (Unnecessary) Stress and Costs You Long Lasting Results -Nia Shanks.

Top 12 Biggest Myths About Weight Loss -Kris Gunnars.

Whole Body Vibration Therapy -Steven Novella.

Responses to Ridiculous Justifications for Fat Shaming

Squat With A Large Volume To Improve Strength Rapidly.

The Curious Case of Why People Fear Protein -Adam Bornstein.

How Drinking More Water Can Help You Lose Weight -Adda Bjarnadottir.

20 Common Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight -Kris Gunnars.

Antidepressants and Weight Gain – Lyle MacDonald.

GMO Foods: Good or Bad? -Atli Arnason.

The Best Protein Sources -Adam Bornstein.

The New Rules of Specialization: How to Add Muscle Mass -Adam Bornstein.

No Carbs Diet: The Flaw in Fat Loss -Adam Bornstein.


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The Diet And Training Combination: Figuring Out How You’re Messing It Up -JC Deen.

Yoga for Athletes: Why Activation and Inhibition Matter More than Stretching -Dana Santas.

Round Backed Deadlifts Another Look -Lyle MacDonald.

How To Gain Weight — Practical Applications for Eating to Build Muscle, and Why You Might Not Want to Gain Weight Fast -JC Deen.

Why Should I Use “Good” Form if I’m Stronger With “Bad” Form? -Bret Contreras.

The Top 5 Deadlift Mistakes to Avoid -Amir Fazeli.

9 Non-Fitness Books Every Fitness Professional Should Read -Dean Somerset.

Body Positivity in Space

How to Strength Train for Jiu-jitsu -Charles Poliquin.

Strength Strategies: Installment 1 -Greg Robbins.

Acupuncture, Organic Food, and Other Questions -Steven Novella.

5 Mobility Rules of Thumb, Part 1 -Quenn Henoch.

5 Things to Know About Your First Weightlifting Competition -Ariel Stephens.

(Please don’t skip me!) Warm-up -Neghar Fonooni.

How to Science Your Fitness -Dean Somerset.

The Taxonomical Disorder of Recovery – Antonio Robustelli.

4 Worst Foods for Plantar Fasciitis -Rick Kaselj.

The 3,500 Cal Per Pound Weight-Loss Fallacy And Why Even Experts Get This Wrong -Arya Sharma.

Perfectionism Sucks (Plus 9 other Things I Learned in 2014) -Neghar Fonooni.

7 Worst Shoes for Your Feet -Rick Kaselj.

2014: Chiropractors, naturopaths and acupuncturists lose in state legislatures -Jann Belamy.

The Best of 2014: Product Reviews -Eric Cressey.

BEST Products of 2014 -Rick Kaselj.

An Open Apology to the Internet – Lyle MacDonald.

The Health Benefits of Moderate Drinking -Harriet Hall.

BEST Articles of 2014 -Rick Kaselj.

The Truth About Belly Fat -Rick Kaselj.

Ethics in the Fitness Industry -Nick Mitchell.

Massage & Muscle Stiffness -Patrick Ward.

No, the HPV vaccine does not cause promiscuity -Scott Gavera.

5 Lessons on Coaching -John O’Neil.

Nine Things that Improve Insulin Sensitivity: Accelerate Fat Loss & Build Muscle Faster! – Poliquin Group.

Detox: What “They” Don’t Want You To Know – Scott Gavera.

Working in Tall-Kneeling -Dan John.

Fitness Marketing Bullsh*t -Nick Mitchell.

Top 10 Foods that Help Balance Cortisol for Optimal Body Composition – Poliquin Group.

Diesel Quick Tip – Awesome Hip External Rotator Stretch

The Multi-Angle Giant Set for a Big Back -Charles Poliquin.

Stop Striving for “perfection”. Find your strong.– Alice Round.

Why IIFYM doesn’t mean go YOLO on food choices….don’t be a basic bitch -Alice Round.

Why FATS dont make you FAT -Alice Round.

Bret’s Third Powerlifting Meet: What a Crazy Day! -Bret Contreras.

Don’t Be a Slave to the Scale -Bret Contreras.


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I read Dan John’s book “Never Let Go” sometime ago, as I work through my backlog of notes I’ve come now to putting thoughts together on his work, something which for a long time I struggled to do. His work doesn’t really speak to much of a narrative, so when I dub this post “Program Design”, what I really mean to say is: this will be a post of really great take-home points John makes about such. Today I’ll be discussing 4 program design points:

  1. 5 Simple tips for program success
  2. Different Variations of “5×5”
  3. 3 levels of implementation for the phrase “if it works, do it everyday”
  4. An analysis of volume and intensity

1. 5 Simple tips for program success

John’s first tip for planning a training program is  to come up with a basic routine, but basic doesn’t necessarily mean boring. Here by basic he still wants you to design something that is fresh, but gets results. How you determine this might be by your own goals and measures of success, for him it is measure by “basic lifting measurements or throwing distances. It could be a ratio of upper-arm measurement to waist measurement.” (p. 94)  For me personally it is about what my specific program at the time dictates, be it endurance, strength, hypertrophy, I also might mix in more meta goals such as muscle-building, or fat-loss in which I might still use these same programs, but tweaked slightly to suit my goals (for example if seeking fat loss, I employ multiple set strategies with minimal rest time no matter whether I’m in an endurance, or strength phase).

His second tip is to add varying tools from your training toolbox one at a time, if you have a new exercise, or exercise product, or piece of exercise equipment try one out during each phase of training, this will help you to focus on how the new tool is affecting your training, without masking its benefits by having to many varying forms of stimulus. “Some things only work for a short period of time.” (p. 94) Remember, you can overuse your favorite tools.

His third tip is an addition to the second:

Some great ideas work sometimes, but not all the time. In fact, I keep a chart of all the training tools at my disposal and reread this list anytime I feel like having a little instant variation. (John, 2009, p.95)

John states that following this principle to nutrition is more difficult as he notes: if it works immediately, its illegal. If it works quickly it’s banned.” (p. 95) He advises using a standard nutrition plan (which includes three meals a day, before training, protein with every meal and water as your base beverage, p. 95), it’s only after you have these basics down that you should start to play around with different nutritional variables (be it fish oil or I might add, intermittent fasting, low carb etc).

2. Different variations of “5×5”

Jon talks about the 5 reps by 5 sets routine here, but notes that your standard 5×5 routine including warm up sets could take a long time, due to the nature of warm up sets (that is gradually increasing your weight until you reach what they call your “working sets” or the actual 5×5 that you record), and he states 5×5 traditionally done could be very taxing for the body. He offers 5 variations of the 5×5 workout to streamline it for you.

Variation One: The John Powell Workout – this variation, based on John’s discus world holder “buddy” states that you pick a target weight and perform 5 sets of it performing as many reps as you can (the example John uses the lifter only got a total of 10 reps over the 5 sets), you would then repeat this program and weight weekly until you reached the total 25 reps x 5 sets.

The upside of this workout may not be obvious; it allows us to use heavy weights and slowly, steadily  build volume. (John, 2009, p.99)

Variation Two: What most people really do – Here John states that what most people do with 5×5 is use 3 of their 5 sets to warm up and actually end up doing 2 working sets. John actually agrees that there is some merit to this workout however, as long as your “warm up” sets are actually heavy enough to challenge you. He admits it’s not exactly scientific but he recognizes that many strong people in the field of strength and conditioning have used, and sworn by this method. He asks you consider it.

Variation Three: The Wave – For this one John notes the wave is kind of like a wave performed at a sports game by the crowd, this feature simply states that you work up in weight for some of the 5×5 sets, drop back for a set or 2 then increase the weight again. The upshot is we get to lift lots of heavy weights, but we also get sets where the weights “fly up” perhaps working subtly on speed (if that is your purpose).

Variation Four: The Wave II – In this variation John asks you track your 5×5 sets and see where you’re the strongest and by this information you might be able to determine where you can place your back off sets, and heavier sets within the 5×5 schema.When you determine your peaks and troughs you can better specialise your 5×5 program to you, and thus tailor your results to your specific body, and workings of such.

Variation Five: Dropping back – This variation states you begin with your heaviest set, thus allowing the “volume” part of this workout to be done with weights that perhaps, for the muscle-building crowd, you can use to feel “in the muscle” thus increasing the likelihood of hypertrophy.

This is a great adaptation for people who train in a situation where they can’t always have spotters, not just the home-gym trainer, but people who train in gyms where consistent, competent spotters can’t be found. (John, 2009, p.102)

John suggests three rules that might apply to any variation you pick:

Rule one: Use the same rest periods for every set no matter the variation you pick, he recommends “one minute, three minutes or five minutes” (p. 102).

Rule two: Try not to have an entire program of 5×5, he notes that it works great on the big lifts (deadlift, squat, bench press, military press, curl), isolation and core exercises might be best left to a higher rep scheme.

Number three: Calculate the weights times the reps and add them up over 5 sets, this will give you a measure of progress, no matter what variation you use, if that number goes up, you’re progressing, that is getting stronger (and who knows, maybe more muscular).

That might be enough for today, I’ll finish up with his three remaining program design tips in section (B) of the next blog. Stay tuned.


John, D. (2009). Never Let Go. Aptos, Cal. On Target Productions.

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The Overlooked Key to Muscle Growth -Lee Boyce.

Why I Lift, and Why You Should Too -Bret Contreras.

Double Stimulation Training -Christian Thibaudeau

Kettlebell Leg Training -Mike Robertson.

December Research Round-Up: Foam Rolling Edition -Bret Contreras.

My New Study on Fasted Cardio and Fat Loss: Take Home Points -Brad Schoenfeld.

Bionic Ethics -Mike LaBossiere.

Eating What Bugs Us -Mike LaBossiere.

Simplifying Your Squat and Deadlift -Mike Robertson.

Slow and Steady Wins The Race

Eric Helms’ Epic Article on Natural Bodybuilding Potential -Alan Aragon.

BioLayne Video Log – How to Track Macros When Eating Out -Layne Norton.

The Myth Of Core Stability.

20 Ways to Train Smarter -Bret Contreras.

New Insight into Rest Intervals for Muscle Growth -Brad Schoenfeld.

When is Weight a Symptom?

Correctives-Dan John.

Realistic Reps and The Rule of Ten -Dan John.

Five Movements That Will Make An Impact Overnight -Dan John.

The Problem With A Lively Debate

Yes, Fat People Are Actually Human

What To Do When You’re Not Motivated -JC Deen.

The Iron Age: Resistance Training and the Metabolic Syndrome -Dr Jonathon Sullivan.

Stuff to Check Out: New Years Edition -Dead Somerset.

Bullet Proof Abs of Steel -Dean Somerset.

A New Approach To Fat Loss Nutrition -Adam Bornstein.

Eating At Night Does Not Make You Fat -Adam Bornstein.

No Carbs Diet: The Flaw in Fat Loss -Adam Bornstein.

Overtraining or Undertraining? Plan From a New Perspective -Michael Nackoul.

Calling All Rookies -Natalie Tenorio.

Light-Load Training: Can It Build Muscle? -Brad Schoenfeld.

Top Fitness Articles of the Week — January 11, 2015 -Jesus and Kristen.

5 Tips On How You Can Be the Change To A Better Gym Culture -Matt Klingler.

Top Fitness Articles of the Week — January 4, 2015 -Jesus and Kristen.

5 New Strategies for Fat Loss -Clay Hyght.

Steroids: What Pro Bodybuilders Are Really Using – Shadow Pro.

The Best Damn Posterior Chain Exercises -Bret Contreras.

How Many Carbs Do You Need? -Nate Miyaki.

An Often Over-looked Form of Soft Tissue Treatment -Jarrett.

Crawling Your Way to Chiseled Abs -Charlie Badaway.

A New Super Smoothie -Mike Snowden.

7 Reasons To Swing Big Bells -Kelsey.

Circuit Training -Kelsey.

Real Talk about Aerobic Training for Athletes -Mike Robertson.

Some Thoughts on Increasing Punching Power – Charles Poliquin.

My Take on Medicine Balls -Charles Poliquin.

 Most Bang For Your Bucks 2015 Resolutions -Charles Poliquin.

Ten Things I Was Grateful for in 2014 -Charles Poliquin.

Top 15 Incredible Reasons to Strength Train… Besides a Bangin’ Body -The Poliquin Group.

25 Simple Ways to Improve Insulin Sensitivity & PREVENT Diabetes -The Poliquin Group.


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The organization and planning of training should be considered an art that is based on science. The implementation of a well-organized and scientifically based training plan eliminates random and aimless training practices, which are still practiced by ill-informed coaches. A well-devised training plan removes poor training concepts or philosophies such as “intensity all the way” and “no pain, no gain” and replaces them with practices that are logically devised , meticulously planned, and based on science. The goal of the training plan is to stimulate specific physiological responses according to a planned design so that certain performance outcomes are stimulated at the appropriate time. Nothing that occurs during training should happen by accident; responses should occur as a result of the design of the training plan. The old adage that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” is true of the training process. (Bompa & Haff, Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training, p. 236, 2009, 5th ed.)


Bompa T. O., Haff G.G. (2009). Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training (5th ed.). 57A Price Avenue, South Australia.  Human Kinetics. P. 236

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I was just thinking about the “beneficial effects” of a low-carb diet and how it’s essentially a misnomer.

When we eat low-carbohydrate diets, our “good” HDL tends to go up, our LDL becomes larger and fluffier (less atherogenic), our blood pressure goes down, and our triglycerides plummet. Does this mean a low-carbohydrate diet is beneficial to health?

Yes and no. While it appears “beneficial,” for me, it’s more of an indicator of our serum lipids “correcting” to levels that we are supposed to find in a healthy individual. In other words, if we look at a population of people who are chronically over-consuming sugar and refined carbohydrates, their serum lipids are going to be abnormal. When they go on a low-carbohydrate diet, they’re correcting the abnormality and the associated lipids will become more “favorable” (while I would argue that they’re just trending toward a normal, healthy human being) depending on which MD or researcher you ask.

So it is with weight “loss,” water “loss,” lipid and metabolic “benefits” of a low-carbohydrate diet. There is nothing magical about restricting carbohydrates, rather it’s closer to the kind of diet that we’ve been eating and are presumably genetically adapted to eat, and any loss of weight and water, any beneficial effects on serum lipids are just a correction rather than an improvement in health.

Benefits v. Correction:

A restricted-carbohydrate diet doesn’t make you lose weight; it corrects your weight.

A restricted-carbohydrate diet doesn’t make you lose water weight; it corrects your water weight.

A restricted-carbohydrate diet doesn’t improve serum lipids; it corrects serum lipids.

A restricted-carbohydrate diet doesn’t improve health; it corrects unhealthiness.

Taubes G. (2011). The Dose of Intervention and the Land of Dr. Oz. Gary Taubes’ Blog. Retrieved 5th October, 2011. http://www.garytaubes.com/2011/03/dose-of-intervention-land-of-dr-oz/

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A little positivity for you guys, on this, the first day of spring, with new hope and a warm summer to follow!

Do you want a purpose-filled life? Find a problem to solve… Purpose is mainly about finding solutions. If you are trying to eliminate a threat to survival or to enhance the opportunities for a quality life, you have purpose. Find something you hate and work against it. Find something you love and work for it. Hunger, natural disasters, inequality, oppression, unfairness, predation, disease, invasions, aggression, racism, sexism, cruelty to animals, pollution, endangered species, political corruption, corporate greed, unsafe working conditions, exploitation- these are all worth fighting. The toil to gain scientific and historical knowledge; or the exercise of creating beauty, art, music, literature, theater, and architecture; or the efforts put into sports, entertainment, cooking and gardening- all these are worthwhile, useful and purpose-filled activities, and you can probably think of more. (Barker, The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God, pp. 36-7, 2011)

Barker D. (2011). The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God. Berkley, California. ULYSSES Press. pp. 36-7.

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