Friday, July 27, 2007

Q&A Time

Question: Jay, I figured you would have some good advice on these questions. First of all, my buddy does the eliptical machine for cardio. Isn't that a little gay for a man to be doing? I mean, isn't any kind of cardio in the gym a little gay? Is it ever acceptable to wear old school sweat pants to train in? What about wind pants? Just wanted to get your thoughts on these subjects. Thanks buddy.
Marty T

Answer: Marty, the eliptical machine is unacceptable for a man to ever be seen on. In fact, I would tend to agree with you that any in the gym cardio work is highly questionable for those who whish to keep their manhood status. You and I both know that men drag sleds and push The Prowler or their car for cardio. Sprints are also acceptable. Using the Stair Climber while watching Rikki Lake, or whatever people watch these days, is not.

Old school sweat pants? I wouldn't recommend it. Wind pants? Absolutely never.

I like the way you think, stay in touch, my friend.

Question: Jason, I train three days a week and compete in a serious baseball summer league. I also surf and play a lot of recreational sports on a regular basis. What would be the optimal way to set up my workouts for this schedule?
Kent Waters

Answer: Kent, I would stick with just one lower body day in the summer if you are doing that much other physical activity. Do upper body on Mondays and Fridays and one lower body day on Wednesday. Since you are running and jumping and doing other sporting activities so frequently I wouldn't worry about including any speed/ Dynamic Effort work in your program right now. Just hit a heavy lower body lift once a week and fill in the rest of that day with some glute hams, reverse hypers, back extensions, trap work, abs, calves or grip. Something along those lines would work. On the upper body days hit a few sets of pushing and pulling and maybe some arms at the end. After all it's summer and everyone wants bigger arms.

Glad to see you are not letting training limit the amount of playing you do. That is a huge mistake that way too many people make.
Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Question: I recently purchased the Muscle Gaining Secrets package and must say that it is great. Thanks for putting together so much useful information into one great package.

I have been lifting for about 1 year and am about to start the phases laid out in Maximum Mass. Before I start eating like crazy I was wanting to lean out a little bit first by losing some fat. (Currently about 12-13% bodyfat.)

My question is whether or not you would alter the programs laid out in Maximum Mass and take a different training approach for a fat loss phase, or if you would prescribe that I should just follow the programs the same way for fat loss or muscle gain and just alter my dietary approach and/or cardio. I guess I'm just curious as to whether you weight train differently for fat loss than you do for muscle gain.

Any insight would be great. Thanks in advance.


Answer: Ron, you are right at the cutoff point for bulking up. I think you could do the workouts in Maximum Mass and just hit three cardio sessions per week and keep the diet real clean and you'll be fine. As you gain muscle, you will get leaner.

As for real specifics on fat loss workouts, there are several changes I would make if losing a ton of fat in a very short time was your goal. But that would take an entire article or even a book to explain.

If you really want to hit the fat loss hard I recommend either Turbulence Training by Craig Ballantyne or AfterBurn by Alwyn Cosgrove.

Good luck and thanks for the kind words.

Question: Hi Jason and team,

hope my email finds you well. Thanks a lot for answering my last question so thoroughly! Therefore here is my next one:

Jason, from your experience training so many diverse people what do you personally consider strong, or more precise, when do you consider an athlete or a "normal gainer" as strong?

Do you have yardsticks in regard to weights used in the main basic exercises and maybe in relation to bodyweight?

I'm fully aware that every athlete is different with his own strengths and weaknesses and that he/she should mainly concentrate on personal improvements. But as a "lonesome cellar dweller" without a training partner to compete against in the weight room I find such milestone very motivating.

As I know that you are busy training athletes and do not have time to answer question individually I hope my inquiry is interesting enough for other readers that you kindly comment on it in a future blog.

Thanks a lot in advance!


Answer: Thomas, I still think the old school measuring stick of the 3/4/5 club that they used to use back in the old days is a good initial goal for most beginners to shoot for during their first few years of training. This means a 300lb bench press, 400lb squat and 500lb deadlift. Writers in the 70's such as John McCallum used to talk about achieving this goal as your first big milestone in training. Within five years of training, just about everyone, if they train and eat properly, can reach these numbers. 99% of the people you see training in public gyms will never come close to these numbers, in fact it's rare to see someone squat 315, never mind 405.

Aside from the 3/4/5 club I think you should also be able to do ten perfect, chest to the bar chin ups, at least twenty dips, standing military press at least 185 and hold a plank for at least two minutes to be considered strong; not superhumanly strong by any means, but strong. If you can do all of that you will be far stronger than at least 90% of the people in the world who lift weights on a regular basis.

If you add 100lbs to each of those lifts and a 45lb weight to the chins and dips for the same amount of reps, then you are extremely strong.