TRAINING

 

I have experimented with a wide variety of training regimes over the years.  For the first 10-12 years of my bodybuilding "career" I employed a traditional, 1-body part per day split, taking nearly every set to failure and pushing myself as hard as possible in every workout.  My outlook on training changed in 2011 when I was invited to speak at Layne Norton's VIP camp.  It was there that I listened to Dr. Mike Zourdos talk about Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) and the science behind it.  Although the thought of squatting / deadlifting multiple times per week sounded crazy at the time, the scientific evidence was strong enough for me to attempt to give it a go.  After putting together my own attempt at a DUP split in 2012, I got in touch with Dr. Zourdos and asked him to design a split for me.  I have not looked back since then, and continue to work with Dr. Z to this day.

 

My current weekly split includes 4 days of weight training.  I typically have 3 days of squatting / deadlifting (with the rep schemes varied across days, DUP-style), and a single upper-body hypertrophy day.  The three squat / deadlift days also include significant volume on specific lifts such as Pendlay rows, incline barbell presses, and military presses.  The split that Dr. Z designs for me also takes into account the weak points that I want to try to bring up, emphasizing movements that we think will address my lagging body parts.  Critical to the success of a DUP program are

  • NOT pushing to failure on each set

  • Constant progression (the primary lifts are increased ~5 lbs each week, and "plus sets" test how many reps you can get when pushing to failure)

  • Optimizing recovery through diet / sleep / supplementation

  • Deload phases where weight / volume is decreased

 

When I begin my "contest prep" period, very little changes.  I implement my cardio sessions (HIIT is preferred - never more than twice a week) on off days from training, leaving one day "completely off" each week.  My favored manner of cardio is either on the stationary bike, on the hand-bike, sprints, or battle ropes.  Typically I do 6-8 intervals of all-out effort for 30 seconds, followed by at least 1.5 minutes of recovery.  Again, the data show that this method of cardio is optimal for preserving muscle while in a caloric deficit.  

 

 

 

  • No Tank Tops

  • No Sleeveless T's

  • No UnderArmour

  • No Ego

  • No Juice

  • JUST TRAIN

 

 

One other thing about training – one of my biggest pet peeves about bodybuilding is the stereotype that we are all egotistical narcissists who love staring at ourselves in the mirror, and that we constantly crave attention.  Unfortunately, the way a lot of bodybuilders train and act in the gym only adds credence to this theory.  I try to combat this in several ways when I train:

 

  1. I never wear tank tops, sleeveless t-shirts, or any type of form-fitting gear (i.e. UnderArmour) in the gym (or outside of the gym, for that matter).  A regular old t-shirt and shorts is the only thing you'll find me wearing. This is especially true during contest prep, when some people seem to find it necessary to show off how lean they are.  

  2. I never scream, drop weights, or draw unnecessary attention to myself.  I can psych myself up for a heavy deadlift or squat without forcing others to look in my direction. 

  3. I never flex in front of a mirror when training.  There is a time and a place for posing practice – and it's not during your training.  Flexing after a set to force blood into a muscle is a great training technique, but you don't have to stare at yourself in front of a mirror when you're doing it.

In short – keep your head down, train hard, and don't call attention to yourself. It gives a much better impression of the sport if people find out you compete secondhand rather than assuming you do because of your garish behavior.