It just wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t get at least a dozen random fitness related questions per week from strangers, family members or long lost pals at holiday parties. Kinda like the exchange I had with my old friend Kevin last week…
“Hey Jay, good to see you, buddy. Glad you’re here, I have a couple questions for you.”
“I probably don’t have the answers, but fire away.”
“My shoulder’s been killing recently right here, when I bench press. Here, feel this clicking thing it’s doing,” he says as he places my hand on his shoulder.
Another holiday party; another guy placing my hands on his body. For once I’d like to meet a lingerie model with a supraspinatus tear. Or a pulled pec.
“Feel that? What do you think I should do?”
“How bad does it hurt?”
“I’m gonna go with stop bench pressing, then.”
“Oh man… I was hoping for another answer. I love benching.”
“But obviously it’s screwing up your shoulder. You can probably go back to it eventually but for now you have to eliminate whatever is causing you pain. That would be the first logical step. See how it feels when you drop the bench and we’ll take it from there.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
Kevin already knew the answer but he needed to hear it from me.
At another recent holiday soiree I was approached by a young guy named Rick who I hadn’t seen in a year. At the 2008 version of this bash he asked me how he could get bigger. He said he’d been training for the last six months but with little to no progress. I inquired about his current training program and he said he had been following some of my stuff online and in the magazines.
“Well, that’s a start. What exactly are you doing?”
“I do bench, curls and pushdowns three days per week. For legs I run on the treadmill when I’m done.”
I sat with a puzzled look on my face, trying to recall when exactly I had written such an inefficient training program. Finally, I concluded that I hadn’t and it was he who was mistaken… at least I hoped.
I told him to drop the pushdowns and add in chins, dips, military presses and cleans or rows for upper body work. I allowed him to keep the curls because I’m nice like that. He was done with the treadmill and was going to learn how to squat and deadlift, I insisted.
“Train three days per week with an upper body pull, an upper body push and squat or deadlift variation. Finish up each workout with a few sets of curls or shrugs and you’re done. Eat an ample amount of healthy food three to five times per day and report back to me in a year.”
Had he done what I said he would have gained an absolute bare minimum of twenty pounds. Yet, here he was standing before me, the exact same size as last year.
“So what’s been going on with the training?” I asked.
“Uh… it’s good.”
“Have you been doing squats and deads?” I obviously knew the answer.
“Well, I tried them, like you said. But they were just so hard, ya know? I like to look forward to going to the gym and getting a good pump. I wasn’t really getting a great pump from them. And I felt them in my back a lot. So, ya know, I didn’t want to get hurt.”
“Yup… I know.”
“I mean, I trust you and all, and I’m sure I would have gotten much better results if I did what you said, but… ya know.”
“I do… I do.”
Later that night a guy named Chris approached me and asked me how he could get ripped for a trip he had planned to Hawaii in March. His training was pretty good. He was actually running sprints instead of jogging. The only problem, I concluded, was his diet. When probed, he admitted that there were tons of starchy carbs being stuffed down his pie hole on a daily basis. I very simply told him to cut those out and he’d lose the fat.
“So you really think it’s the diet, huh?”
“Yes, it is. You can’t out train a bad diet. And you’re proving it to yourself right now. Change the diet and your body will transform.”
“Yeah, you’re right; I know that.”
You see, most people know more than they think. They have at least half of the answers. They just need me to confirm it for them.
Don’t believe me?
Try this 10 question pop quiz and prove it to yourself…
What’s the best thing to drink all day?
D) Irish car bombs
Which foods help you get leaner?
A) Green vegetables
B) White rice
D) Chocolate mousse
What’s the best exercise for your triceps?
D) Kickbacks with soup cans
Which exercise helps you get leaner, faster?
Which exercise helps you build muscle faster?
B) Concentration curls
C) Leg extensions
D) Ankle inversion/eversion with stretch bands
What’s the optimal amount of sleep you should get each night?
A) 8-9 hours
B) 5-6 hours
C) 3-4 hours
D) Who needs sleep
Which exercise will help you get faster most efficiently?
B) Speed ladder drills
C) Over speed training
D) Watching Carl Lewis sing the national anthem on YouTube
Which exercise will have the greatest transference to the playing field?
A) Power cleans
B) Smith machine presses
C) Donkey calf raises
D) Double biceps curl thingy while standing in the middle of the power rack and holding a cable in each hand and holding each rep for a three second peak contraction
Which food helps you build muscle fastest?
What would help you make faster progress in the weight room?
A) Adding more weight to the bar
B) Going from training four days per week to seven
C) Doing tri sets and giant sets
D) Doing drop sets and running the rack all the way down to the 5’s on every exercise you do
If you answered A on the majority of questions you are on your way. You know what you need to do and what it takes to get great results.
Lots of the above will lead to tons of muscle and strength being built and fat being lost.
But you don’t need me to tell you.
Because you already knew that.
Now you just have to do it.