Friday Night Freestyle Volume 3

Would ya look at that…its actually Friday this time!

Which means 4 more days until Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is released exclusively on the PS3:

Aside from Metal Gear Solid 4, this is the only game that I can remember being this excited about in recent memory. I’m so glad that gaming technology has reached a point where gaming as an industry is finally starting to garner the serious respect that it deserves. In terms of quality script writing, voice acting and story line, many of the game put out by big studios such as Naughty Dog, Konami, Rockstar and Square-Enix are rivling the big budget films that we see in theaters. Although I’ve never seen an Indiana Jones movie, I’ve seen enough clips of them and many other action adventure movies to notice that this game shamelessly borrows from said big blockbusters, and there ain’t nothing wrong with that!

I smell a game of the year award coming up soon.

And incase you’re not interested at all in video games, here is a trailer of the best movie that you’ve never seen:

WARNING: The trailer does get a bit bloody at time, so if you want to avoid such awesomeness, do not click play.

Mail Bag – Question #2

Question: How do you keep your workouts interesting?

First off, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to check out my site, as well as for asking the great question.

A lot of trainers these days are trying to sexify their programs, but unfortunately for their clients, sexifying means tossing a bunch of random things into a program purely for the sake of doing so. You know what’s really sexy? Results are sexy, and you don’t get them by haphazardly throwing exercises together and calling it a program, so lets go over some things you can do to simultaneously make things interesting while at the same time setting your clients up for success.

Play with the variables

In a training program, you only have control over 5 things: the number of reps, sets, amount of weight being used, rest time between sets/exercises, and the tempo of the exercise, so it would behoove you to tinker around with these variables to challenge your clients in different ways. Has your client been doing 3×5 on the bench press, ramping up the weight each set with 90 seconds of rest in between sets? During the next phase of their programming, knock their rest down to 60 seconds and see how they respond. You could even keep the rest periods the same, but on their final set, have them see how many reps they can get with the same weight they previously used for 5 reps.

Here is another scenario for your mind. If you have a client that loves push ups but is so good at them that they knock them out with no problem, adjust the tempo. Have them lower for 3 seconds, pause at the bottom for 5, and then take 1 second to explode back to the starting position. Definitely something different, but you’re still keeping them on track by using the same exercise yet making that minor adjustment to one of the variables.

Don’t be afraid to play around with things, just make sure you don’t change everything all at once – pick one variable to adjust and stick with it for a few weeks, then adjust another of your choosing further down the line. Rinse and repeat, repeat, repeat!

Exercise selection

After 4-6 weeks of the same thing, most clients are ready for a change, and by thinking in terms of movement patterns instead of which exercises work which muscles, you can definitely give it to them without disrupting their progress. Here are the movement patterns you should be concerned with, and some of the exercises that correspond with them (keep in mind that there are also unilateral versions of many of the exercises listed below):

Knee-Dominant: Front/Back Squat, Forward/Reverse Lunge, Split Squat, Bi-Lateral Deadlift variations, Etc

Hip-Dominant: Good Morning, Single-Leg Deadlift variations, Supine Hip Extension, Etc

Vertical Push: Push Press, DB Military Press, Handstand Pushups, Etc

Vertical Pull: Chinups, Pullups, Lat Pulldown, Etc

Horizontal Push: Bench Press, Pushup, Dips, Etc

Horizontal Pull: Chest Supported Row, Cable Face Pull, 1 Arm Standing Cable Row, Etc

Bridging/Core Stabilization: Plank, Ab Wheel Rollouts, Side Bridge, Pallof Press, Etc

Alwyn Cosgrove, one of the best in the business at delivering results, states in his Program Design Bible that “the body adapts to the rep range the fastest and the exercise selection the slowest,” meaning that you really don’t have to change exercises all that often, but if it makes your client more likely to stick with your training program, then have at it (Cosgrove 44).

One way to do this would be to replace certain exercises with other exercises that adhere to the same movement pattern. For example, you could replace pushups with alternating dumbbell bench press. Both are horizontal pushes, but you’re providing your body with a different stimulus while at the same time providing some variety. The same process can be carried out for all the other movement patterns, so have a blast.

Circuit time!

I’m going to assume that most of your clients are interested in fat loss since that’s what almost everybody is interested in these days. If that’s the case, well then I have some suggestion that will certainly make things interesting; notice I said interesting and not fun – if they want fun you can take them to the circus!

At the end of a workout, you can have your client go through a certain number of exercises back to back with minimal rest and have them do it for time, for a certain number of reps on each exercise. For example:

A)    Burpees x 10

B)     Pushups x 10

C)    Mountain Climbers x 30sec

D)    Kettlebell or Dumbell Swings x 20 total or 10 each arm

Rest time depends on their level of conditioning. Repeat 2-3 more times.

You could also limit the circuit to 3 exercises and simply block off a period of time (lets say 10 minutes), seeing how many times they can go through the circuit in the allotted amount of time. In terms of circuit ideas, you are only limited by your imagination, even when the amount of equipment at your disposal is lacking. Weighted complexes are another route you could take, just make sure that they don’t go for reps at the cost of their form.

Hopefully that helped answers your question and gave you some ideas to take back to your own gym. Feel free to contact me via e-mail or leave a comment below if you have anymore questions  and I’ll be sure to get back with ya.

Until next time!

Mail Bag – Question #1

Question: We are all bombarded with lose weight quick schemes, but how does a brother GAIN weight?

First of all, thanks for your question.

In the fitness world, we tend to lump people into three categories as far as body type is concerned: Ectomorph, Mesomorph, and Endomorph. Knowing you personally, the somatotype that you are referring to would be the Ectomorph.


Here is an except from John Berardi’s Scrawny To Brawny that helps explain the Ectomorph in a nutshell:

The typical ectomorph is a person who exhibits low levels of strength and size prior to training. They’re usually tall and thin, with relatively low levels of body fat and small, narrow bones. Although their smaller joint structure often serves as an impediment in strength and power sports, they do tend to excel in endurance activities due to what is typically a higher-than-average proportion of slow twitch muscle fibers. Their fast metabolisms often make it difficult to gain weight of any type when following a more conventional dietary approach.

As for the answer to your question, I hope you have yourself a pair of eatin’ pants, because its time to eat like you’ve never eaten before! I’ve never met a weight gain problem that could’nt be fixed by throwing more food into the mix, but the problem with most Ectomorphs is that they simply don’t eat enough, or don’t eat enough consistently.

1) Keep a food log.

You don’t know how much you’re eating until you know how much you’re eating. When I was trying to put on weight, I had days when I swore I was eating like a horse, but when I checked my log for the day the truth was I just had a really big breakfast, barely anything in between, and a mediocre dinner. You also don’t want to eat big one day and then fall off hard during the rest of the week, essentially taking one step forward and six steps back. Keeping a record of what you eat will help you in this respect.

2) Set a weight goal.

The only direction you’re concerned with is up, so as long as the scale is constantly moving in that direction you’re golden. I would buy a scale and weigh yourself once a week, shooting for a 1-2lb increase a week. Don’t weigh yourself everyday as its unnecessary and the body tends to experience fluctuation throughout the course of a day, which can drive a normally sane person mad.

3) Don’t fear the food – eat the food.

This is a trap that many skinny people tend to fall into. In their attempts to gain weight, they scale back their food intake because they don’t want to get fat. This is like showing up to a 100m race in a fat suit because you’re worried about hurting yourself if you fall. The main thing you want to do is eat a lot, and eat a lot consistently.


When your goal is to gain weight, you want to go with foods that are calorically dense – food that contains a lot of calories relative to its size. For example, it would take more than 5lbs of broccoli to equal the calories in 1 Cinnabon cinnamon roll, which weighs less than half a pound. Luckily there are natural, whole foods options that meet this requirement so you don’t have to sacrifice your health for your physique goals.

Eggs, Milk, Cheese, Chicken, Beef, Turkey, Pork, Fish, Yogurt, Walnuts, Peanut Butter, Olive Oil, Almonds, Oats, Pasta, Fruit….the list goes on and on. The main take away point here is don’t eat like a bird. Veggies are great for health reasons, but they won’t put on the size by themselves. Make sure you’re including them in your diet, but also make sure to surround them with copious amounts of other food as well. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself to the occasional treat either.

4) When in doubt, drink some of your calories.

Many former skinny folk swear by drinking a gallon of milk a day on top of their normal meals, and while I wish I had an excuse to drink that much milk, I can see how some might be put off by that idea. If you’re in that camp, I urge you to check out Precision Nutrition’s Supershake Guide . Its free and it will give you ideas on how to put together your own tasty, calorie filled shake.

5) Eat 4-5 times a day.

You’re only awake a certain number of hours a day, so you want to get in all the food that you can during your waking hours. However, you don’t want to hit yourself with a calorie bomb early in the day only to spend the rest of it in a lethargic slump because you fell into a food coma. Spread the food out over the course of the day, and make sure you get in a nice big meal after your training session – your body will thank you for it.

6) Train!

You didn’t think that you were going to get away without exercising, did you? While not crucial in the grand scheme of putting on weight, a proper resistance training regimen will ensure that you don’t end up looking like a heavier, softer version of your former self.

Having reviewed the book myself, I feel like John Berardi’s Scrawny to Brawny is a great place to start for most people looking to put on size as it comes with a program specifically aimed at Ectomorphs, but there are also many other resources that will help bring your closer to your goal:

Eric Cressey’s Maximum Strength

Robert dos Remedios’ Power Training

Nate Green’s Built For Show

As a matter of fact, here is a 30% off coupon for Borders if you prefer the in store option. Its good until 9/25. Don’t ever say Rog didn’t give ya anything!

Hopefully that helped answer your question, and if not please feel free to leave a comment and I will be glad to clarify anything.