Training too hard......
Who would have thought I would ever bring this topic up because if you go to a local gym, you'll see people sitting and lying on benches in between their sets, head down and locked in on their PHONE.
It's crazy, people don't even get up between sets. But, for those of you who were training decades ago, perhaps you have gone through the ringer with intensity. And, maybe some of you today are copying the workouts of your favorite instagram lifter but simply don't realize they are chemically enhanced while you are natural.
I had a GREAT weekend. I got in some dumbbell and kettlebell training from my basement couch.
My training today is not so different than 10-15 years ago. I will say this, the MAIN difference is in my intensity.
I was thinking of things I did in my late teens and early 20s.
I would Leg Presses with the entire machine loaded, then I would ask someone to sit on top of the machine. The last set was always an endless drop set where I would go from 10 plates on each side down to 4 plates on each side. I would end up doing 100 reps on the last set alone.
Then it was hack squats, leg extensions, leg curls, heavy RDLs. Ahhhhhh, to be young and crazy again. But at the gyms I trained out of, this type of work was viewed as "normal".
If I did Squats I'd work up to 455 maybe 495, then my training partners would strip off the 25s and I'd get 3 - 5 reps, then they'd strip off a pair of 45s and I'd keep maxing out going from 405, 315, 225 and 135.
It was like a Death Set of Squats. I thought I was Tom Platz. By the time the entire set was over I'd probably have done 50 reps.
I would do the same when benching. Drop sets. Forced reps. Then negatives where my partner would lift the bar and I would fight the negative.
Leg Extensions with the stack, then endless drop sets. If I had a training partner I'd break them mentally with a bunch of drop sets on leg extensions before we squatted so they couldn't walk. As I write this I think to myself, does anyone train this crazy anymore?
Last time I was in a public gym the intensity was people's thumbs on their phones.
In my early 20s, I recall two guys saw me and asked to train with me the next time. They said, "Man, Zach, you get me going!" I had them train legs with me as a test to see if they really wanted to do this and of course I just wanted to break them, like an idiot. We did the endless drop sets of leg extensions. One guy was in the bathroom for 10 minutes and then had to go home because he felt like he was gonna pass out. The intensity destroyed his stomach.
The other guy couldn't bend his legs afterwards so he couldn't even squat after the leg extension death sets. To me, this was normal. But that training will destroy you. It burns and hurts and you feel like you're working but it is NOT what gets you stronger and bigger.
FLEX magazine said otherwise in 1991. Arthur Jones preached this all out, high intensity work on his machines as well but for athletics / sports performance, I do NOT recommend this style of training.
This training was too crazy. But, I thought this intensity and insanity was normal.
At the time, I couldn't control myself. My mindset was Man on Fire.
I wanted to destroy my partners and destroy my inner weakness.
Today, I never do forced reps. In fact, when I coach athletes, I tell them if someone touches the bar when you're benching or helps you when squatting, that is a NO rep and they have to go lighter. For high school kids, they do this on the regular when benching. But hey, what do I know, I've only been training since 1989.
I have memories of the strongest guys in the gym. The thing I remember most was their technique was always clean. NO grinding reps. Everything looked perfect. Often times, these guys trained alone. No spotters.
For the past 15 years or so, I never go to complete failure. I always leave a rep or 2 in the tank. The older you get, the smarter your training must become.
I am not following Dorian's Blood & Guts program as I did 22 years ago.
I met Dorian at a local bodybuilding show in the Fall of 1995 and he was with Steve Weinberger, co owner of Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym. I bought Blood & Guts on VHS, went home that night and watched it while eating chicken and rice at midnight. The next day I destroyed the gym and myself. Forced reps. Drop sets. Negatives. Training until I couldn't move.
We are natural lifters. I don't take TRT or anything like that. So you gotta take that into account. By the way, if you take TRT or anything else, I don't care. That is your business, not mine.
I'll also say this....
The internet has convinced every man over the age of 30 that they need TRT or they will become weak and fat without 25 different supplements. Now we have young men acting as if they can't get big or strong without supplements and TRT. That is a WEAK mindset.
It's not as complicated as people make it. But, it DOES take work. Training, Nutrition, Lifestyle / Sleep must ALL be dialed in. No supplements or drugs will replace poor eating, poor lifestyle and shitty training program.
Training with our Gladiator STRONG, you train 3 x week and have plenty of time to recover. You also have time to LIVE. I prefer some low intensity cardio as well as being active with my kids. Bikes, time at the beach where I can walk, swim and surf.
Even dating back to my mid 20s when I began dialing in my training and learning how powerful recovery was, I began training every other day, with 2 days off after ever leg workout. I made tremendous gains because my recovery and nutrition were dialed in.
Train hard for 45 minutes three times a week. Then, go do whatever else you want and do NOT live in the gym.
Get in, do the work, get out.
Get out there and OWN the day.
Stay away from the negative freaks and do the WORK.
Live The Code 365,