Thursday, December 30, 2010

Back Development Advice

I have been lifting for over 30 years now and this has to be some of the best advice I have seen in a mainstream muscle mag.

"I am trying to bring up my back on width and thickness. What type of exercises should I be doing?"

Answer by Hany Rambod:

For back width, nothing beats pull ups. Lat pulldowns are a good exercise, but they simply don't compare to pull ups, which are far more difficult and thus more productive. For back thickness, it's all about various free weight rows. (snipped). Deadlifts can also be a valuable tool for building a thicker back, but only when done with proper form. I've seen many bodybuilders injure their lower backs because they simply didn't know how to do the exercise correctly, and made common mistakes such as rounding the back.

Everyone who wants to add deadlifts to their back program should seek out an experienced trainer who can teach them proper technique. With that done a comprehensive back routine would include pull-ups, some type of barbell or dumbbell row, lat pulldowns, perhaps cable or machine rows, and deadlifts.

My one tweak is the free weight aspect of rows should be replaced by the many excellent back supported rowing machines out there. Protect that lower back!

What he states on deadlifts is spot on. Deadlifts done improperly can wreck you big time. Rounding the back and "parachuting" the deadlift will wreck you long term as well. Well, the majority of people that is.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How To Transform Your Physique #89

Winter is here. Ugggh. I have come to really hate winter.  I grew up in northern Michigan and snow. I went to college in the snow belt of Michigan Tech in the Western UP of Michigan. And, now, I am still in snow and ice and cold today.  Winter is a time for my cardio workaround as well.  Pushing or pulling the sled just doesn't work in the snow and ice.  I've tried. So, my workaround is jogging.  Today there is a below zero temperature with winds up to 40 mph.  No matter. I went out and did a mile.  I don't jog all out per say. That is go to the max and try and be Mr. Distance. I am just trying to keep some cardio during the winter months and burn a few calories.  Again, for health reasons.  It wasn't bad at all and traction was good due to some Yak Trax Pro's.  Plain and simple, these things work.  I have recommended them in previous years and it still sticks.  You can get a pair online and can see the product here.  You still need to be careful for ice spots and slick areas when jogging even with these on your feet.

The Holidays are again right around the corner.  My recommendation for eating still holds.  One or two days of eating anything you like won't kill your physique or put a load of body fat on you.  As long as you don't continue the "cheating" you'll be right back on track in about the same number of days you cheated. You'll likely gain a bunch of water so don't even worry about weight gain.  You should not be relying on the scale anyway for any assessment of your current condition.  It is just another data point.

I've continued doing mostly body weight exercises mainly due to convenience and I don't want to have any spine bearing exercises anymore.  Once I go back to a gym I'll be using machines.  I really continue to like the Hammer Strength plate loaders.

For you younger lifters, I can't emphasize enough that you need to get in control of your eating when you are young.  Because as you start to age, the number of calories you can take in without gaining fat will decrease.  You can see it all the time. You see it in actors. You can see it in co-workers. In family.  People have the tendency to get fat over time and with age.  They don't change their eating habits or really don't have them in order as they age.  You can not eat like a 20 year old when you are 45!

What's also interesting right now for me is that I am holding more muscle than I would think I would hang onto. I weigh about 190lbs and most people when I ask them would think I weighed 170.  I suppose that's good because of having a lower body fat.  I am not really eating that much for the majority of the week calories wise. The bummer thing about it is that I haven't really been able to lose much more body fat. I think I'd have to go completely bonkers with my training and mock entering a bodybuilding competition to go lower in body fat.  Hardly worth the effort given if I would have to work so hard to do it, it's not likely I could easily maintain it!

I've found a quick meal oatmeal that is really good. It's by Better Oats. I like it for a bunch of reasons.  First, it has no sugar.  Second, it's low in calories.  Third, you get fiber.  Fourth, it's portioned controlled.  Fifth, it's fast at only 90 seconds.  I do only the no sugar kind. You can take a look at it here.

Well, that is about all for now.  Just remember what I believe is one of the most important parts of a good program and it is not about the exercises, number of days, etc.  Whatever YOU CONSISTENT.  String together weeks and months of never missing a workout or straying too far from your diet.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How To Transform Your Physique #88

I was recently reading where a guy lost weight on a junk food diet. That was no surprise.  As I have said before in this column, it really is calories consumed versus calories burned.  It really sucks getting old with respect to the ability to burn calories.  Is it a coincidence that as people age they gain weight?  It's like an epidemic.  How many people actually lose bodyfat as they get older?  Hardly ANY!

I've seen some pretty radical training routines over the years.  Everything still will work...for awhile. And, that includes such radical programs.  Any radical program in volume or intensity cannot be done for long periods.  The nervous system will break down and you will feel sluggish and without "snap" during your sets.  This tends to lead injury from my experience.  In other words, the nervous system tends to go before injury occurs.

I was recently commenting on a YouTube video of a national level powerlifter.  I made the comment he was dropping his shoulders (he was) in the bottom and he ended up back lifting his squats.  Of course the first person to comment basically said "He's a top level powerlifter...who are you to tell him how to squat!"  Ok, great. Just like the biggest guy in the gym is the most knowledgeable. NOT!  All I was doing was trying to help the guy avoid some pain in 20 years.  But, hey, who am I to talk. I don't squat as much as he does.  :)

Boy, there are a lot of people around me having health issues. The majority of them are of the age 45-50 years old. Tumors on the brain. Tumors on the pancreas. Growths here and there.  What the heck!?  One person that is a neighbor literally has a couple days to live. Just a week ago he had months.  Cancer yet again.  It sure drives home the fact of not taking for granted your health.  And, we all do it. Until something goes wrong.

I've visited a few college gyms recently.  What was interesting is that there were very few machines.  I think it was part philosophy driven but also cost and space driven.  Hey, I am a barbell and dumbbell basement dweller so that was OK with me.  Not that I won't be changing my tune here in about 9 months when my daughter goes away to college. :)

Winter is arriving. This means I am switching to some non-optimal jogging.  I am not going to let my Sorinex Root Hog get trashed in the Iowa winter by any means.  Unlike the past years. It was also very hit or miss due to the weather and what the ice and snow (and sand and salt!) was like on the roads.

The holidays are around the corner. This means a lot of temptation to stray from the normal diet.  What is your strategy for the holidays with respect to diet? Shoot me an email at and let me know and I will share it with the other readers.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

How to Transform Your Physique #87

I recently visited a commercial gym to work out. My son was home on the mid-term break and since his program via the track team is somewhat different I figured we would go have some fun at a local gym.  The facility itself had a lot of space which was nice.  It was very wide open.  They had an assortment of machines, Hammer Strength, and of course free weights. The free weight section was actually sub-par with only one squat rack. It was also in a smaller type room.  The bars were typical -- the weren't very good.  A good bar is the foundation of using free weights but you'll often find them to be cheap and without good knurling. At least that's been my experience over the years.  When I was going to college, it was much the same when I first got there. The bars were crap. My first duty as a member was to recommend we purchase Texas Power bars.  And, we did. Thank goodness!  Bent bars are even worse.  At least these bars were not bent.  My son is actually able to use chalk in his college weight room. Amazing!  That's another issue with a lot of commercial gyms due to the mess it can create. I can see their point, but when you have crappy bars with crappy knurling, holding onto the bar can be an issue in lifts like deadlifts. 

There were no suprises at the gym. You can always find people doing more talking than training.  You won't find an abudance of people working out intensely either.  At this stage of my own training, I find myself pretty flexible.  Many people and younger trainees get hung up on finding the perfect program.  What split should I use? How do I build my biceps?  Should I train this bodypart with that one? Heck, people even think that doing exercises like squats and deadlifts on the same day is taboo and they "won't have energy" to do both.  My goodness!  Won't have energy!? 

Let's talk about biceps development for example. Many trainees won't believe you don't need a ton of direct work if you are doing exercises like rows and chins.  I was reading an online bodybuilding forum and one of the top Mr. Olympia bodybuilders even said he never worked his biceps directly until just before a contest. And, he undoubtedly has some of the best arms in bodybuilding today!  So, what to do for biceps? This curl, that curl, blah blah blah.  Yes, do curls. That's good.  It really doesn't matter if you are seated, use a machine, bar with weights, stand on your head, or do it in a vacuum.  Use full range of motion. Pick an exercise and work them.  Pretty simple eh?  How's this for the best the exercise you enjoy doing the most. What a concept eh!?  How often?  Who cares!  Are you really going to do them 7 days a week? Of course not. No one is that stupid.  Ok, that leaves...errr...ummm....a couple times a week. Great! Sounds good. :)  Boy, that's complicated eh?  There's so many excellent biceps machines out there why would you even need to use free weights? Unless you enjoyed using them more, right?  It's up to you.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  Worry about being consistent if you are going to worry about anything.  Worry about using TRUE proper exercise form.  Worry about warranted progression.  Warranted progression is true progression.  It comes in SMALL increments. It's not "going up in weight" and "going down in exercise form" that you so often see!

Until next time...don't sweat the small stuff. This is simple stuff. Don't make it complicated.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How To Transform Your Physique #86

So I was watching some videos on YouTube and happened across a back workout of Branch Warren who is one of the top bodybuilders right now.  The first thing I noticed was how sloppy he was in some of his exercises.  Take his back for example.  In the video below you'll see pulldowns that would get most of us eventually injured. Heck, it may injure him too at some point.  There is no where near the amount of routine, supplements, exercises to use, when to workout, etc. information as compared to "HOW" to perform the movements effectively.  To this day, I am at a loss as to why this is the case.  Check this out:

I was watching Fred Fornicola do a high intensity back workout on YouTube. Yes, he demonstrated it. But there was no description as to what he was doing at the time with his body. Was he trying to keep his elbows in? Contracting his lats? Wondering what he was going to have for lunch? HAH! He went thumbless? Why?  What about breathing?  How about overall body position during the movements?  You'll see him observing his body at the start of the chins. What was he looking at?  What was he checking?  How did he know how to stop.  Now, I am not busting Fred's chops (ok, just a bit!), but this is actually better than most for what you see with respect to really focusing on how to perform the movement in detail.

Proper form is at the foundation of the successful strength training routine.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How To Transform Your Physique #85

The last 3 days I did a little experiment. I pushed the sled 3 days in a row. And, I seemed to get in better shape each day believe it or not.  Yes, I had to be VERY careful but the sled allows me to be very deliberate and high intensity without worrying about tweaking something. Pushing the sled is like doing sprints...but I am basically walking!  I didn't expect to adapt as fast cardio wise. My recovery time was reduced each day.  I obviously cannot keep this up, but this again points to the ability to do short bursts of higher frequency to get the body to make some gains.  I am trying an experiment in the bench press for the next month.  Keep in mind that my mind is pretty open about workout routines as anyone who has seen my KTA program can attest to this.  KTA is really a shocker program based on the Blacksmith theory as I call it.  Old time Blacksmiths didn't have the option of resting a day in between sessions. They were right back at it. And, they adapted.  I do believe the hands and forearms are somewhat unique though. After all, we use our hands and forearm muscles constantly during the time we are awake.  Even in the shower, shaving, and brushing your use your hands. 

The "rebound effect" is something that can be manipulated but it can be very much hit or miss unless you have a very well thought out and disciplined program.  Train too much into overtraining territory and you might get injured or be too far into the hole to recover and rebound.  There are also a lot of other variables that can put a monkey wrench into this tricky tactic for gains.   So, I am experimenting with short and radical routines a bit and using myself as the lab rat. :)

I forgot to mention I even added weight to the sled in the course of the 3 back to back days.  My body obviously got the message it needed to adapt and adapt NOW. I don't expect it to continue and won't be stupid and continue to pull sled again tomorrow or the next day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How to Transform Your Physique #84

Boy, time sure is flying by. Pretty soon snow will be here. I am already thinking about ways to jog/run the hill in the winter time. There is no way my root hog will be left out in the garage during the winter.  Or, if it is it will be covered up and not used with all the sand and salt.  We continue to really like the lawn mower push with the Root Hog. It really blasts your upper body as well as lower body. 

I have really noticed that it's getting harder to drop that last portion of bodyfat compared to 5 years ago. Ah, it sucks getting old. ;)  I have been working very hard with hill running and the root hog.  And, of course mostly bodyweight strength training.  I again notice I don't need to eat very much to sustain myself.  It also reminds me of how much I used to eat when I was younger. I would blow up like a blimp if I ate that much today!

My son is going off to college this week. I've trained him since he was 12 down the basement in our home gym. I will miss our Saturday workouts.  I told him he is going to have to scope out someone to spot him he can train to spot and work out with as well (maybe).  I had something like 4 different training partners when I was in college.  Typically they had no set routine and were game to train the way I was. The result was always good gains for them because it was consistent hard training with the basics.  No magic formula needed.  I told him he could just add sets to get his work in if necessary as it becomes very dangerous to go hard to the end of a set with someone who doesn't know how you lift let alone with NO spotter whatseover.  Not smart.  He'll be better equipped though overall as I have seen the weight room.  My son has recently learned the role of proper nutrition in overall body composition.  He's learned it at a much younger age than me. Much younger.  As a teenager, forget it.  I ate everything and anything. ;)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

How To Transform Your Physique #83

My training and diet are still on target. I am now down below in bodyweight before my vacation. But, I am sure my muscle is up a bit as well.  My son tried the oatmeal that I make and liked it. He needed a good food item for breakfast when he goes away to school.  A tub of oatmeal lasts longer and is better than a breakfast cereal.  It's just plain Quaker Oats cooked in the microwave. I add cinnamon and a few raisins.  I go exactly by the serving of 1/2 cup.  It's long burning stuff and it fills you up nicely.  And, of course, lots of fiber.

Fred Fornicola is a trainer.  Wait, you say. You knew that. No, Fred Fornicola IS a REAL trainer.  Fred is constantly thinking about how to make workouts effective given constraints thrown at him that might come with each individual. He's one trainer I would trust to train my kids.  And, for me, that's a big deal. Safety while being effective is always part of his equation. As I have said plenty of times, you can not train if you are injured!  Fred's latest article on running is spot on. In fact, I took his advice and went to a local neighborhood BIG hill (grass!) and talk about a good cardio workout without the joint stress.  I loved it. He's also been firing suggestions my way to help with my lower back.  It's been much appreciated Fred, thanks!  Frankly, Fred knows his stuff and long time Cyberpump readers are probably aware of this already.  Fred tells me he's going to start up an online training service. If you are looking for some help in your training even for a short period of time to get back on track, contact Fred.  I give him the highest recommendation.  You can visit his site at

The hill running was a great change of pace as well. I did 7 trips up and down the hill. I think it was somewhere around 75-100 yards up the hill. Yeah, it's a pretty big hill. It's not a nice grade to it as well. It's only 5-7 minutes from my house.  I walked the first one and then had about a 50% speed up and not an all out gut busting full speed sprint.  I focused on having good running form.  It was an excellent workout and I was done in about 15 minutes.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How to Transform Your Physique #82

Fred just posted a video on YouTube of a drop sets example. Check it out:

Last post I mentioned I would share a video example of squatting. I wasn't saying to not squat.  What I was saying is that very heavy squats done improperly for low reps will kill most people if they do it for awhile.  If not now, later they will pay the price.  Again, some people can get away with murder lifting with bad form.  Most cannot.

Here is an example of how squats can mess you up long term. This guy is a nationally ranked powerlifter.  Watch how he back lifts this heavy squat and gets hip tuck in the bottom.

Fred sent me a good quote:

"Use exercise as a means of improving your health and functionality. When certain types of exercise become counterproductive to these means, it's time for you to reevaluate and consider." - Fred Fornicola

I live by this quote!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Heavy Squatting

" I would not have anyone squat long term and I know that sounds cut and dried but there are plenty of ways to work your legs without spinal compression and exposure."
I should have been more clear. Squatting with a heavy weight such that they become back lifts more than working the legs is definitely not recommended for the long haul if you ask me. 

I will post a good video example in my next entry.

Monday, July 26, 2010

How to Transform Your Physique #81

We went out to eat yesterday (Sunday).  I was able to stay the course and not cheat. I was only slightly tempted.  I had a plain grilled chicken breast sandwich.  The side was two small pieces of melon.  Saturday I pulled the sled and this time I wasn't as wiped out after which is good.

My low back is still not feeling the greatest. I am still at a loss for how to get it so it doesn't feel inflamed all the time.  It doesn't matter what I do these days. No getting worse but lately no getting better either. I won't give up though.  I will remind everyone why I am dealing with this today (again).  Deadlifts and squats are not only effective but they can be total body destroyers as well especially if done improperly for a long period of time and with heavy weights.  I would not have anyone squat long term and I know that sounds cut and dried but there are plenty of ways to work your legs without spinal compression and exposure.  Note I said long term.  And, I mean the majority of mere mortals like myself out there. Not the genetic freaks who can get away with things like round back deadlifting without effect.

If you want to know what I had for breakfast today, simply look at other entries. Yup, boring and exactly the same!  Lunch and dinner as well. I did have smoked salmon for lunch though.  Grilled chicken for dinner was on the menu as well.  Spinach salads (raw) was eaten at both. I had a protein bar as a snack about 2ish.

Yesterday I did some free squats alternated with push ups and crunches. I did 3 cycles of 25 for each.  Then, did a fast walk for about a mile to get some more activity in to burn some calories.

Friday, July 23, 2010

How to Transform Your Physique #80

The sled kicked my butt again yesterday. But, not before I added another trip! My speed on my pushing of the sled has increased but part of it is due to technique to keep the sled moving better.  The result is I have to complete the trips faster.  It was hotter than hades too so that made it harder.  But, I can tell I am getting in better condition.  I can tell I have dropped some of the vacation eating weight gain.  I never use the scale as the absolute measure and frankly no one should. It does not differentiate between muscle and fat loss. Or, fat gain versus muscle gain. 

My diet remains constant. My breakfasts are exactly the same. My Carlson's lemon flavor Cod Liver Oil arrived so I added a tablespoon of that.  I had grilled turkey breast last night for dinner with my typical spinach salad. 

Since tomorrow is Friday, it's cheat day. But, not as radical as usual.  I am bringing in donuts for my group at work to celebrate a member's company anniversary but I will not have one (or is it two or three!) like I have done in the past on cheat days.  I got invited out for lunch so I will be eating a burrito (chicken).  Of course Papa Murphy's Chicago stuff pizza is on tap for dinner with the cheesecake chaser.  Have a cheat day motivates me to be strict and use it as a "reward" for my efforts and discipline.  I actually look forward to it believe it or not!  It's just a psychological game I play with myself. :)

I didn't get as sore pulling the sled this time which is good.  Tomorrow is the bigger workout for the week.  I am curious how I will feel tomorrow with the one cheat meal now that I am on a roll so to speak with tightening things up....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

How to Transform Your Physique #79

So Saturdays are consumed a lot with training my two teenagers.  As I mentioned in #78, these days I tend just work in some exercises as I train them.  Since I pulled sled on Friday, and it was the first time since the vacation, there was no way I was going to put myself in traction and do it again yesterday!  During my son's workout I did some shoulder press, dumbbell rows, and curls. I can only do rows now due to the lat injury. I actually injured myself doing negative chins of all things.  I also threw in some grip work as well. When he was pulling sled I did the lunge/free squat super set.  That's 24 lunges and a free squat set of 25 back to back.  It wasn't hard, but I knew I would be sore.  Again, this was done very controlled without bouncing around.  I then stretched after. I forgot I added in some reverse hypers on a stability ball. This is an experiment. This is a poor man's version of the reverse hyper.  I'll keep readers posted and let's see how my low back responds.

Yesterday's breakfast was exactly the same as Friday. In fact, I won't vary that one bit. And, lunch won't vary much either. I have no problem with "boredom" and eating. The reason we really eat is to fuel the body. Not for pleasure and being satisfied with our taste buds.  So, with this attitude and mindset and with the goal of lowering my bodyfat level, I have no problem staying the course. :)

Lunch was not really optimal. It was a meal replacement bar. A good one though.  Basically I ate this on the fly because of lack of time.  Dinner was a cheat meal at our fav local eatery.  I'll look to see how I do in the next two weeks and if necessary I will cut out this second cheat meal of the week.  No sweets though as a chaser like on Friday. :)

Today I'll probably pull sled light.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How to Transform Your Physique #78

Yesterday has normally been a cheat day all day for what I eat. Since I am tightening things up the only cheat meal I had was dinner. Long time readers know that I encourage cheat days/meals.  So here was yesteday's breakfast:

6 egg white omelet with no fat cheese
1/2 cup oatmeal (not instant)
1 cup of green tea.

For supplements I have always taken a multiple vitamin. I figure why not since they are cheap and if they do help even just a tiny bit I will be better off.  I also take a fiber supplement. Colon problems run in my family so I have started this recently. I just pop a couple chewables.  I also take red yeast rice. Another cheap supplement that has been tied to helping keep cholesterol in check. Another family genetic thing I inherited as I mentioned in the past to Cyberpump readers. I only eat red meat once a week and that would be only on Friday or my one cheat meal that I will start out keeping that's Saturday night dinner.

Mid morning I had a whey protein drink and this was low in carbs as well. I won't make one with over 10 grams of carbs.

For lunch I had the following:

Salad composed of the following:
A few carrots
A few hot pepper rings (to spice it up!)
A small amount of vinaigrette

Grilled turkey breast cutlets
1 cup of green tea

I worked out yesterday as well. I've had to make changes to my routine.  After next year I will be more than likely moving to working out at a local gym that has a full line of very capable machines.  Why next year? I have one teenager left in the house. ;)  I don't do any spine bearing exercises anymore. My low back is still giving me issues due to all the nasty abuse I gave it when I was younger.  So, squats and deadlifts are out.  More details on how I am trying to conquer that in another entry.   I also don't like to bench press anymore either. The reason is the way my joints feel.  It feels I am 2 quarts short of oil in my joints. When I was on vacation I got to use a bunch of different machines at a Gold's gym and loved the variety and also the ability to move quickly between exercises without setup, etc.  And, without joint creakiness.  But, believe it or not, the standing shoulder press doesn't feel creaky in my joints.  Maybe this is because it was never a staple of my program over the decades.

Keep in mind that I have a body that has a base of over three decades of lifting so this type of routine is customized to me based on my training history.

Past injuries I am also working around besides the low back abuse and injuries are a torn right lat, a pulled left hamstring (slight), and a right knee that I injured as a junior in high school and tweaked powerlifting once as well.  Yes, you will likely pay even for these types of long ago injuries.  My dad just had shoulder replacement surgery at 78 years old. He dislocated it back when he was in his 30's.   All of my injuries were my own fault and being stupid.

Long time readers also know that I like sled pulling for cardio. It's low impact, intense, and feels like you are running sprints.  I recently upgraded my sled to a Sorinex Root Hog. It's a great piece for sled pulling variety and of course builit very well. 

I did 4 trips (about 50-70 yards one way). I don't know the exactly distance but it's at least consistent. It's a certain mailbox down my street and back.   I pulled for 3 trips and then pulled out the lawn mower attachment.  This thing kicks your ass even more than pulling because you are using your upper body as well as lower body.  Here is a video of the Root Hog so you can see how I am using it:

The temperature here was 90+ degrees so I was drenched when I was done.  I normall do a few sets of pushups and crunches alternating between the two for 25 reps (currently).  No, this is not to true failure.  I do them very strictly as well as I don't want anymore injuries.

After the workout was another shake. I was on vacation yesterday by the way.

For dinner, my cheat meal on Friday, it was Papa Murphy's take and bake pizza.  The Chicago Stuffed one. I had 3 pieces.  I had two small pieces of cheesecake for dessert.  I will cheat again at tonight's meal but will have no sweets.  If I don't see the results I want, I will cut out this second cheat meal and will secondly tighten up on total calories of the one cheat meal.

Don't be surprised if you see some crazy type of splits in my working of my body.  A lot of it is working out on the fly as I train my two teenagers.  Fitting stuff in between their sets.

Today both of them train.  They will do full body workouts. I am a big believer in full body workouts for athletes to save time of having to go to the gym 5-6 times a week and the body is a WHOLE after all not a sum of disconnected body parts.  Do they compete by bodypart?  No, they don't. They use their whole body on the court/field!

Stay Tuned!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vacation Eating

So I just splurged for the last 2 weeks eating while on vacation.  As long time Cyberpump readers are aware, I've had some massive weight gains in a short period of time while on vacation.  My metabolism tends to go into overdrive as well during this time which is interesting.  It's probably going "Whoa Nellie!" when it sees all the food to process.  My record from past years is 18 pounds.  Yeah, 18 pounds. :)  We also do a TON of walking as well.  Keep in mind though that some of that 18 is water as I don't normally scarf up pastries, pasta, and more!  This trip I gained about 8-9 pounds and I figured I would not gain as much because I didn't quite eat as much as past record trips.  Normally it takes less time to strip it off and again relates back to water retention being a big part of the weight gain. 

I have always encouraged Cyberpump readers not to be "freaks" when it comes to eating.  That is to "freak out" when they eat something off of their normal diet like it will KILL them instantly as they stand.  Or, to "freak out" because they missed a workout.  If you have been putting in the hard work over a long period of time, it won't even phase you as your body takes a lot more to de-program what's "normal".

I have decided to really tighten things up for about 8 weeks and see what my results are.  I won't cheat as much as I have been will be the main difference.

Monday, June 21, 2010

High Intensity Grass Cutting!

Those that have visited Cyberpump know that I pull a sled for "cardio". It's walking but it's like running sprints. During the summer I cut my grass as another form of activity to burn calories. I have a new sled coming that is really cool and I'll post about that in the future. I got an idea when I was about to cut my grass this last time. My lawn mower actually is self propelled. My lawn has various grading to it. Including slightly up hill at times albeit a small grade up. For a self propelled lawn mower they are really not suited to be pushed without engaging the gear train. Unless you want to add even more resistance to the push of the mower. Hey, what a great idea! High Intensity Lawn Mowing. So, for the front part of my house I tried cutting it without engaging the gear train. Sure enough, it was like PUSHing my weight sled. My triceps were burning. My quads started to burn. I was sweating like a pig (it was in the mid 80's and humid!) and I was getting a good cardio workout as well. Given how hard it was to push through the gear train and the fact that I pulled sled the same day earlier I decided to not continue on for the rest of my lawn. I would have died for sure! Just another idea for another cardio workout...HILM!

Saturday, May 29, 2010


One component of health many neglect is trying to maintain flexibility. As you age, things will definitely go south if you don't do anything about it. Some people are naturally more flexible. However, this will degrade too with age and with no action.

I feel we are more advanced with respect to flexibility training than 20 years ago. Stretching the muscles cold? That used to be standard when I was in high school. Stupid. Never stretch a cold muscle. We also over did it as well with respect to how hard we stretched. All I can say is we were sure ignoring common sense back then.

Do you incorporate regular flexibility work into your training? If you don't, you should! There are so many resources for flexibility make sure you weed out the bad versus the good. Try not to go on information overload. Simple tends to be good. Remember that. It doesn't have to be complicated, take 2 hours a day, and cost an arm and a leg to come up to speed on a good basic flexility program.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I am in the midst of again coaching the throws during high school track season. We have averaged (so it seems) three meets a week. Very tiring even for the coach! Both my daughter and son throw. What is interesting is the recovery aspect of their training. The fact is that if someone knew the exact recovery formula and could predict overtraining to the minute, they would be a millionaire! I do believe though that it is better to be slightly undertrained than overtrained. Especially if you are a competitive athlete. Injury will often accompany overtraining and then the athlete is forced to rest. The last thing an athlete wants to do is overtrain. Sleep is often underrated for recovery. You cannot burn the candle at both ends and expect to be able to recover.

This year I have actually tried to be more aware of total body fatigue and try and put in more rest. There are plenty of factors that cut into recovery as well. Not just the training itself. When in doubt, an extra day or two rest will never kill your progress.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Intensity by Bill PIche

I guess you can probably call this cardio experiment Part II.

Fred and I have been talking back and forth or at least probing between the two of us on intensity of exercise, duration, etc. Don't let anyone tell you it's an exact science or that they know exactly the formula. The fact is, no one does. Which is why there continues to be studies coming out. I can tell you that you can wear your body out. Why wouldn't you be able to? Think about it. What I can tell you is you need to recover. And, I also believe there are different recoveries associated with the body. The nervous system is a whole animal that gets neglected because you cannot see it. But, it's the electrical system that drives the body including the muscles.

Overtrain or tax that nervous system and no matter if your muscles feel fine, you won't be firing on all cylinders. I did an experiment yesterday and until I follow through with it I won't be able to draw any sort of conclusion. I have not pulled my sled all winter. I jogged instead. I could easily jog a mile even at once a week without feeling too taxed at the end. Yesterday, I did two up and backs in my normal sled run and was sucking major gas. I was just walking fast. What gives?! The intensity of effort was much higher muscularly. No doubt. What I am going to do is drop the jogging and go to sled pulling only again. Then, go back and try and jog/run a mile. I'll give it a month. Now, if anyone cares to remember, Arthur Jones decades ago said that proper weight training done with minimal rest is the ticket.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Little Cardio Experiment

Fred Fornicola and I recently had a discussion on exercise frequency. We talked about how often one should work out and also the possibility of working out being a detriment to your body. I did a little experiment this past week. Partly because I am strapped for time anyway. I did a jog of about 1 mile a week ago. I did not do the jog again until a week later (yesterday). I wanted to see how I felt with 6 days in between. Would I suck gas? Would I feel de-trained. Would I actually feel stronger than last week?

The answer is: I basically felt the same. Maybe a hair better than a week ago. This little experiment is another data point that backs up what I said that people don't need to freak about missing a workout or two. Or, taking a week off to rest and recoup (like a vacation!).

That's not to say I am going to decrease my exercise to once a month now! It was just an experiment to again let people know that it's ok if "&##$# happens" and you miss a workout.

On to another topic.

You should not get injured strength training. Let me say this once should not get injured strength training! You should not get injured PERIOD in your exercise. If you do, you are doing something WRONG! The point of exercise is to BUILD the body. Not break it down and actually BREAK it as well! Now, if you do get injured, you better take a HARD look at what you are doing. You better find ROOT CAUSE. A lot of times it's just pushing the body for too long and too hard. This gets back to the rest part and the point I made above. You also need to identify exactly what exercise caused the injury and avoid it. At least for awhile. Sometimes if you made a big enough mistake you may have to totally dump them. Don't be foolish and continue to do an exercise that might be one to cause you injury over and over.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Body Remembers - Part 2

The good news is the body remembers muscle and strength too. If you have put in the time for many years under the bar consistently, you'll reap these benefits even after you switch goals such as myself. I am more concerned about longevity and health rather than how much I can bench press. And, bodyfat levels and keeping muscle. Due to recent time constraints, I am probably averaging 1.5 workouts per week. No, I am not shrinking up. I still have my bicep peak and I do little direct arm work. Again, the body and it's memory. If I have carried extra muscle for 30 years out of 46 years of my life it makes sense. So, what's my message here? Well, don't freak out when you miss a workout. Or two. Or three. You'll gain it back and probably more!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Body Remembers - Part 1

The body is amazing. It's memory is long lasting. It resists changing. So, once you obtain that lower level of bodyfat and re-program your the body memory it can work for you just like it works against you when trying to lose fat. I've continued to be amazed at how I can cheat and not gain bodyfat or bodyweight AS LONG AS I don't do it such that the body gets reprogrammed with a new memory.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Donators Area Upgrade

We are working trying to upgrade the donators area. Thanks for your patience!