My impressions of Wendler’s 5/3/1 program

In the last couple of weeks I have been very busy with my job and research that I am doing to help improve myself.  I also have switched gears from a long distance endurance athlete to power and strength. I have currently been doing Wendler’s 5/3/1 lifting program. I have been on the program for about three weeks. and It’s just like Wendler says it is the simplest and most effective program for strength gain. This is my thought on the program so far. I think it is a great program but you must have some experience in the weight room first before you begin the program. The reason why I say that is that there is little to know program for assistance work. For example I am doing the 5/3/1 for the Big lifts(Bench Press, Squat, Dead lift, Military Press). Each day is a lift in which the program followed by assistance work depending on what your goals. I chose to stay as athletic as possible. So the assistance work for the program would say on Bench day 75 x BW( Body weight) chin ups & 75 x BW push ups.  There is no specific set rep scheme for the chin ups or  push-ups. People who don’t have any idea on how to program will be able to develop a plan to to make sure they are achieving the assistance work. Other than that the main lifts will take a lot of effort and give you plenty of room to push yourself on open sets. Once you get done with the main lift you feel very accomplish. Now the program runs in 4 week cycles and you will have to max out at the end of each cycle( 1 week is a deload week which will allow you to recover.) If you are an advance lifter and you are looking for strength gains I completely recommend the Wendler’s 5/3/1 for strength gains. If your not sure in how to program assistance exercises in the program then you can find someone to help youImage

How to pick a personal trainer

I have seen a lot of trainers I have seen some good trainers and some bad trainers. I will give a list to help you pick the good from the bad. This is all my own opinion so take it as it is.

1. Overweight personal trainer
If your personal trainer has a gut or is overweight you may want to consider picking a new trainer. If there philosophies on exercise has not helped them get in shape.

Ideal fitness leader
she follows her own advise

How can they help someone else. Yes this may seem a little shallow and you should not judge someone by how they look if they were serious about there jobs or had a passion to help people get better they would be in good shape themselves.  Would you allow someone who is broke to manage your money?

2. They Bosu ball people to deathIs he really using 8lb weights
IF your watching a trainer train a client and they use the Bosu Ball/balance board like its the cure for all diseases. It will be time to find a new trainer.  I don’t know where this crazy for unstable ground training came from but the general population does need to use bosu ball for every exercise.  Train on the surface in which you live or perform on. It is very simple. I have send countless people standing on a bosu ball shaking trying to perform bicep curls with 8lb weights.  The bosu ball makes people think that they are working harder than they really are. Especially when people are doing simple movements like curls or partial squats







3. Machine weights
If a personal trainer has taken your money and promptly walks you over to the machine weights just kindly ask for your money back. Machine weights for the most part are idiot proof.  Look at the picture guide select your weight and perform Do you really need someone to show how to use these machinesthe guided movement in the machine. If most of you workout consist of weight machines then ask for your money back. I believe that trainers need to not only show you a proper work out program but also teach you skills with using free weights as well.










4. Don’t advocate good technique
If your trainer does not mind keep reminding to have good technique when performing an exercise then they don’t really care.  I have seen many personal trainers what clients perform partial squats.  Teach people to go full range of motion or make sure they are doing an exercise proper and safely. If they can’t perform full squats on a bosu ball have them do it on the ground it is plan and simple.

Still did not reach full range of motion











5. Still perform sit ups and crunches
This is relatively new but none the less if your personal trainer is keeping up with the current research  they would know that sit ups and crunches cause more problems to the lumbar vertebrae. So why are they still subjecting their clients to this torture. There are several other ways to Strengthen the core muscles. You have planks, med ball tosses, farmer walks, suitcase carries x band walks, Pallof presses, land mines and etc. These exercise are more friendly on your spine and get better results than crunches and sit ups.

In conclusion if your personal trainer is overweight, makes you use the bosu ball and Machine weights for a lot of your exercises, doesn’t advocate good technique and is still making you perform good sit ups and crunches its time for you to find a new trainer or a new gym in entirety.

Tough Mudder essentials

I will keep this short and sweet. I have done two mud runs one 5.5 miles in the Fall( in South Carolina) and a 12 mile tough mudder in the Winter( in Georgia). From those two runs I have learned a lot and if you want some advise on clothing and what too bring I will list it out for you.

1. Gloves– A good pair of gloves is essential. During the winter time they will keep your hands warm. Warm hands function better than cold hands. Also they protect your hands from splinters or little nicks and cuts that can occur.

2. Plan for the worst weather and hope for the Best In cold weather make sure that you minus another 10 – 15 degrees for wind and water obstacles. You may think that you will be warm from running but submerging your body in cold will cause your core body temperature to drop so keep that in my  I recommend some long sleeve shirts and or long tights to wear. Not only will they help you stay warm they will help protect form cuts.

3.  Bring at least two towels and simple clothes to change into after the race.  In both races afterwards they had a designated area to change clothes and the ground was so muddy that it was difficult to stand or they had gravel which was painful to stand on barefoot. Bring an extra towel one to dry off  the other to use as a mat to change on. It will make everything a lot easier.

4. Have family/Friends members carry water and meet you at certain parts of the race to give you nourishment and or water. Some races provide bananas and other snacks but if you have a picky stomach its best to stay with snacks that you are familiar with and have family or friends meet you at certain obstacles to provide you with those snacks. In one mud run the provided water but they ran out during my wave( I ran at a later start wave).

5. Shoes with wide/deep Tread  this is important as you run up and down through the nature trails remember after water obstacles the trails will be come slick. If you have low tread on shoes they will be packed with mud and become very slick. It will be similar to driving a car with slick tires on ice.

Shoes with good tread

6.  Practice running up and down hills. When preparing for a mud run make sure to get some hill running training because that is what you will be doing unless you are in the middle of nowhere.

7.  A watch – this is optional but for me it helped keep me on track and on pace. The first one I ran I didn’t have a watch and I lost track of time the second one it was a lot better but that is based on preference

8. Have Fun – When in doubt keep your spirits positive and you will have a great time. IF you didn’t have teammates before the run you will afterwards be positive and help others.

ToughMudder Georgia 2012

Well my race was this Saturday and it was one hell of  a race 12 miles of obstacles and cold weather and electric shock. It was a pain in the rear end. But when you cross that finish line you will get the greatest feeling of accomplishment. If it wasn’t for the cold weather I probably would have posted a better time but excuses are for the weak. Overall if you wanted something to test your fitness a toughmudder is something to look into. I will post some tips in another post

What is your definition of Fitness?

Every day as I talk to more and more people in the fitness and health industry I start learn many new things. The biggest thing that I have learned is that the Fitness(just like many other words) has a different meaning for each person or the phrase “I want to get in shape”. Well what kinda of shape are you talking about? Being in shape or being fit has has a huge range of meaning. If you talk to the skinny kid in high school his idea of being Fit is being strong with chiseled chest and washboard abs. You ask a middle age man with cardiovascular problems the same question he will answer I want to stop taking these medications and live a normal physically active life.  Now same word  but completely different meanings. The word/phrase has gets its meaning from what you value highly in life. My own personal definition of Being in shape is being able to perform many different physical activity efficiently without any pain. My looks come second even third in my definition of being fit. I like to be able to play basketball, tennis, skate, racquet  ball and many other activities without pain. I have been plagued with injuries throughout my basketball career.  Now people definition of Fitness can change over time. I had a former teammate from college his definition of being in shape was being able to play basketball at a high level.  Now that he is done playing ball his goal of being in shape is to look as ripped/cut as possible.  His definition has changed based on what was important in his life.  Whatever your definition in life is you can strive to reach that goal. It will take a lot of time and sacrifice to achieve those goals. My roommate in college gave me this old African Proverb ” If you want something to eat you grab with one hand, If you want some more take with the other hand.  Now if you want something else you will first have to place something down in order to gain more.”  My interpretation of this proverb is if you want to achieve a goal you must be willing to sacrifice something in return.  A good example is a person who is trying to get off  their hypertension medication. In order to do so they must first change their diet and start exercising. If they don’t sacrifice the fried foods  and eat a healthier diet  The will be unable to achieve their goal of getting off the medication.

Bye Bye Burger and Fries

Now it is a very tough decision to sacrifice things that you like to do or eat. If you truly want to reach a goal then you will make changes in your life or make time to exercise daily. Once you do make changes and start seeing results you will want to continue your new life style.  Back to Fitness it is a very big and broad word and people definition of fitness varies from person to person  and you shouldn’t fault or look down upon someone else because their views on fitness is different from yours.  I am at fault as well when I judge people in the gym but I am currently trying to work on that and make myself a better person.