Thursday, November 11, 2010

I wish I could be There...

I don't want to make my problems seem insurmountable; I don't want to be the melodramatic type of blogger that's littered across the internet. But I am tired and i am growing disillusioned with so much that life has to offer -- disillusioned and skeptical.

The gym is a microcosm that in many ways is but a reflection of the murky realities that so many of us try to leave at the door that leads into our day's workout.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Great Leg Workout

Back to basics for the the Giant and the Hawk on a typical leg day (Tuesday). We got started with squats:
Set #1: Naked Bar 8-Reps
Set #2: 135lbs 8-Reps
Set #3: 225lbs 8-Reps
Set #4: 315 8-Reps
Set #5: 365lbs 5:6-Reps
Set #6 405lbs 2-Reps
Set #7 135lbs 8-Reps
The routine included five sets of Front Squats, Hack Squats, Lunges, Leg Presses, and Leg Extensions.

All in all, we trained for about 90 minutes with almost no breaks. The intensity was great, and blasted through another great leg day (a favorite of ours during the six months we've been training together).

Train Hard, and check out our site for more articles, photos, videos, and interviews!

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Leave it to me to lose weight and become a size so rare that there's all but one pair of jeans in the whole JC Penny. Not to worry though, the very cool store staff were able to make a quick exchange the next day and I got a heck of a great deal. Four really cool t-shirts at 80% off for like $5 each, a really sweet Dockers sweater, and an extra pair of Levi's. The initial purchase that was exchanged was for a pair of Arizona jeans that were a whopping $14.95.That's a total steal.

So... the quest to lose weight and get ripped continues, but I no longer have to wear 42's with a tight-ass belt.. I mean it was starting to look like I was wearing sacks-for-pants. Funny but also an epic fail.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Early Morning Cardio

"Additionally, the research indicates a physiological link between grapefruit and insulin, as it relates to weight management. The researchers speculate that the chemical properties of grapefruit reduce insulin levels and encourage weight loss."

Quoted from: Medical News Today

Taking a note from fmr. Ms. Olympia Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia, I've decided that for the next four weeks (without fail), I'll be rising in the morning to 6-8oz of grapefruit juice and a 1-2 mile brisk walk.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Key Airport/Travel Tips

When traveling you might want to stay off the plane as long as possible, maybe because you claustrophobic, or maybe because you just want to enjoy as much time as possible on your laptop, reading your paper, or just enjoy some good ole natured people-watching. But if you wait too long, as I did this morning, you'll find that the plane's overheard compartment may run out of room and you may find yourself having to get your carry-on in the next city at baggage claim.

So the key here is to chill at the gate in moderation. As soon as half to three-quarters of the passengers have boarded, this should be your cue to get goin.

The next tip for you comes by way of energy. I pride myself on finding value at the airport, largely because the shops beyond the security zone make convenience store' inflated prices seem like bottom-dollar discounts at Walmart. In addition to the outrageous prices, variety seems to take a hit, and shocking as it may be in a nation leading the world in obesity, many of the caffeinated supplements on sale do not come in sugar-free. So instead of having to shell out $4-5 for a $1.50 monster, and on top of that having to drink spoonfuls of simple sugars, you can walk over to most coffee shops and order a double espresso for about $2. With your espresso, you can get 2-3 splendas and a dash of either milk or soy - and you're good to go!

The final tip (if you're a hulking Beast like yours truly) is try and save some money in your flight arrangements. A stupid twenty minute connecting flight from Lansing to Detroit can easily add $75-$300 to your flight expenses. If you live in Lansing, Jackson, or Ann Arbour, you can hop on the Michigan Flyer (a coach bus service that includes complimentary WiFi and comfy reclining seats) for $30 each way (or $50 round trip if you buy online and traveling out of E.L.).

And of course, never book directly w/ the airline -- always check your Orbitz, Travelocity, and Expedia type websites first. The billboard for are in most cases a royal joke; you're not going to save any more money than with the aforementioned sites. Also try and take all your stuff as carry-ons. Any trips of ten days or less, you shouldn't be packing the kitchen sink.

Also, if you want some good laughs, play a porn movie on your computer (minimizing the window) and just sit there amongst folks in the gate awaiting to board. I find it very amusing, especially since people with long faces generally bring me down. Hearing a twenty year old cheerleader going nuts in my ears makes me smile even at the ugliest grunter in the section, and eventually people will smile too. Porn brings people together and makes people smile -- you heard it here first!

This espresso is damn good. I might just get another doublebefore heading to the coach, perhaps even take some supplements. I can't wait to get to Gym Bumz tonight and do legs. I miss the squat rack, I miss the leg press, I miss the tanner, I miss the parking lot, I miss the front door, I miss the protein shakes!!! I want to Go Workout.. lol

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bodybuilder Ray Temprano Shares!

Below are three responses penned by bodybuilder Ray Temprano to our questions. Ray is an inspiration to us all, and is proof positive that discipline and hard work pay off! I hope he will send us a batch of recent photos as soon as gets its own webhosting again. And big congrats to Ray!

"My profile pic is actually 2 years old. It was taken at the N.Y. Metropolitan over 55 class where I came in first place. My age at the time was 59 and I weighed 188. I am now 61 and my contest weight was 198 for the NPC Masters Nationals where I won first place in the Heavy weight class. In the over 60 class anything over 187 is considered heavy weight. In the off season usually go up to about 230. I have been lifting weights on and off since I was 16 years old, but didn't start competing until 5 years ago at age 57. Prior to that I did some power lifting and competed in some bence press competitions. I am currently trying to concentrate more on my legs, they can always use improvement. My routine is as follows:

Day 1......chest
Day 2......Back
Day 3......Off
Day 4......Shoulders
Day 5......Legs
Day 6......Bis and tris
Day 7.....Off

My best advice to the over 50 group is "you're never too old." Eat clean,train within your limits and you will be surprised in what you can achieve.....thank you."

Ray Temprano

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Contest & Diet Updates

So first of all I really want to thank the GNC - Lansing Mall for all their assistance, both in securing a box of great supplements from USPLabs, to several members of the staff taking an interest in our group and helping to plan/promote our debut October Strength meet held at Gym Bumz - Lansing (formerly Go Workout).

I would also like to thank USPLabs, makers of the popular Jack3d pre-workout powder, for sending us sixteen samples of said product, along with about another forty single and weekly-serving samples! Additionally, USPLabs sent us two t-shirts and a bodybuilding drawstring bag bearing their cool company logo! Thanks so much for your kind gesture in helping us promote our group and assemble prize packages.

Also a huge thank you to my close friend, Jennifer Petroske of Abbott Nutrition for assisting us in securing eight boxes (each containing 12 EAS Myoplex shake (bottles). When I got the call from my apartment' office, I could hardly believe that this great company sent us over $400 in product! I gave one box to the gym and hope they will start carrying this great product; but I'm really stoked because between the EAS boxes and the UPSLabs one, I have a great source of daily inspiration to keep working towards making a first class event for Lansing and are growing StrengthAddicts family, without having to sell merch, collect dues, and/or make a business out of the hobby I love. Hobbies shouldn't be about money, they should be about friendship and fun, money is overrated.

So again, big kudos to EAS, GNC - Lansing Mall, and USPLabs!.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Should IFBB have Natural Pro Divison?

"This idea has been broached many times and it it always fails. In fact, in the early 2000s MD tried going "all natural" and nearly went out of business. The simple matter is that there is no such thing as natural bodybuilding. Even if they don't use illegal drugs (but they all lie and do them anyway), they do use legal pro hormones, test boosters, herbal growth factors, "natural" gh boosters... all that crap, including eating 20 chicken breasts a day is not natural. The IFBB would never agree to a pro natural division because that would indicate that they believe their "other division" is loaded with cheaters and criminals and would draw the attention of law enforcement even more than it does now. The bottom line is that, given the option, people are going to pay to see the freaks. And, no one believes anyone is natural.

John Romano
Boss 2 of
Ex-Editor-in-Chief, MD Magazine

"I'm afraid I don't think it will happen because it will basically be a blatant admission that all of their other athletes are using illegal drugs and I do not see that happening. It would not be a wise business or political move for them."

Layne Norton
Professional Natural Bodybuilder

[Just Received]

"The biggest challenge natural bodybuilding faces is what an individual person/fan will believe is truly achievable naturally. Everyone makes their judgements based on their own perspective and personal experiences.

You have people who have been training for just a couple of years with their opinion. You have people who readily admit they didn't fully commit to training naturally before they started using drugs with their opinion. You have extremely dedicated, hardworking people with pretty darn average genetics (at best) with their opinion. And, you have extremely dedicated people with extremely good genetics with their opinion.

Human beings make decisions based on emotion--not logic. They will "bend" logic to support their emotional decisions--whether they realize it or not.

Unless that natural bodybuilding champion standing on stage with the trophy appeals to the LOWEST common denominator's perspective and personal experiences, you will inevitably have controversy. If it's not because it's believed he is currently using, it's because he's used them in the past (whether that's true or not). If it's not because he used drugs in the past, it's because over-the-counter supplements are just as effective as drugs anyway.

Even if that person who appeals to the lowest common denominator's perspective and personal experiences as to what is truly natural, half of the other people will think that winner sucks. So, what's the point?

Look, you can line up 10 eighth-graders who have never trained a day in their lives and their will be controversy. There will be a naturally (pun intended) be a huge discrepancy in the development between the first place and last place competitor.

No subjective competition can have credibility to the masses with such built-in, inevitable controversy. "Unlimited" competition is much more palatable to the masses.

I agree with the basic premise John Ramono makes and I fully agree with Layne Norton."

Skip La Cour

Christian Duque now speaking...

For a long time now I've toyed with the idea of blogging about what I believe is a real need for an IFBB Pro - Natural Division. The introduction and immediate success of the 202 Class and the jaw-dropping progession of Team Universe class champions have been major points of interest of mine. The reality is that the IFBB's feeder (or minor league) organization in the United States, is the NPC (or National Physique Committee) and it does have a place for natural athletes.

The NPC puts on a variety of amateur shows that range from the level 1 local Mr. Mayberry contest, to regional/L3 competitions, intermediate level shows like the Emerald Cup and Southern States, and of course the big-time pro-qualifiers like the USA's, Nationals (fmr. Mr. America), and the North American championships).

On an almost parallel note, the NPC also offers a string of natural shows across the United States, spread out during the regular bodybuilding season. Shiloe Steinmetz won one of these shows in 2004 (being crowned Mr. (Natural) Ohio). The pinnacle - or Super Bowl - of the natural NPC competition-calendar is the Team Universe - also a Pro-Qualifier that will get you an IFBB Pro Card.

Where it gets hokey is what happens if a natural bodybuilder wins a series of natural shows, gets to Team Universe, and wins the overall there. If he/she takes the coveted IFBB Pro Card and competes in IFBB shows, he (more likely than she) will have little to no chance of placing Top 6, much less of taking even a small, off-the-radar show (these are sometimes referred to as the $10,000 shows).

In many cases, top-level (Natural) national champions, guys like Skip LaCour, will turn down the IFBB Pro Card and continue competing at Team Universe. I guess it's a pretty obvious to me why I would do such a thing -- on the one hand I can be a celebrated and appreciated national champion, meanwhile on the other hand I can be one of many guys with a bunch of excuses, playing a violin as to why I came in dead last backstage while the Top 6 are on stage battling it out during the posedown,when point in fact I'm more ripped and balanced than the guy that will probably take the overall, but he's got me by 50lbs of muscle and the boatload of diuretics he took make my conditioning look like I've been drinking Kool-Aid Smoothies all afternoon.

It's not fair. I know... 'who said life was fair?' But this goes beyond not being fair, it would almost be a travesty of the entire sport of bodybuilding -- and it happens.

I have to dissent w/ John Romano (even though he's one of my idols -- and -- I do appreciate the huge balls he had to even reply... others who were sent this question: Tom Platz, Ron Avidan, and even Bob Paris who wrote directly on this topic and has spoken many times about tthe issue -- never responded). And while I truly commend Romano for having the guts to speak his mind to me -- a little weblogger he's never heard of -- I don't think he's on the money. I think food-based supplements and food itself, while scientifically-advanced as it may be procured does not even come into the same zip code has using synthetic hormones, insulin (which is 100x more dangerous than steroids [p.s. steroids aren't really dangerous -- just illegal], and synthol-type site inections.

Therefore, while I concede that food-based supplements have come a long way scientifically, I just can't put these -- or the herbal supplements (like tribulus, Maca, or Horny Goat Weed), fat-burners containing Ephedrine (which most natural bodybuilders don't use), and/or even DHEA or still-legal anti-aromatase OTC's (also largely not used by natural bodybuilders) in the same category as Deca, Tren, or Sustanon.

What do you guys think? I will publish a handful comments, but I will not allow this post to become a pile-up on Romano, because while his opinion is exteme -- it's valid to a certain extent, in that "natural bodybuilders" (some) seemingly take anything and everything that's not on their federation's banned list - and certainly, that begs the question... how natural is that?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Shiloe Steinmetz Q&A

2x Team Universe Heavyweight Nat'l Champion,
2009 (Natural) Mr. Ohio,
2010 NPC Junior Nat'ls (2nd, SuperHvyWght)

Christian Duque:
For starters, please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, why did you start training, and what are some of the benefits that bodybuilding and fitness has earned you?

Shiloe Steinmetz: Well I am now 38 years old and have been bodybuilding since 1997. I started bodybuilding after college when the manager from the gym I worked out at in Columbus, OH convinced me -after that I was hooked! I loved the competion and the lifestyle. I was always interested in staying fit and working out; it just got better when I graduated and could actually afford food! LOL

I am orginally from Tiffin, Ohio and moved to Columbus after graduation from Pharmacy School at Ohio Northern University.

Since bodybuilding I have been blessed with many great things, such as a sponsorship and the opportunity to travel all over the US and abroad. I even met my wife at the Ohio Championships where I won "Mr. Ohio" in 2008.

Christian Duque: Your website says you've competed in over 55 shows -- that quite impressive! I must say, you first caught my eye w/ your terrific placings in the 2010 NPC Team Universe & NPC Junior Nationals, and given the success with which you know how to dial in your physique -- I think a procard for you is totally a forgone conclusion. But I guess the elephant in the room is .. if you win the Team U (or another Pro Qualifier) do you take your procard like a Jeff Willet -- or do you pass it up like a Skip LaCour -- and continue competing in the Universe and/other drug-tested national level shows?

Shiloe Steinmetz: Well, that is a great question and only time will tell the answer to that one. I guess it really depends on my age and if I ever get that pro card! Lol.

If I should get it in the next 2 years, I will take it and do a pro show or two and retire? If I don't get it soon, I guess retirement is inevitable anyways. haha Really it is up to God and where he leads and takes me. Also, depends on whether or not I have a family at the time also.

Christian Duque: As a natural, national level competitor could you please give us your take on prohormones, DHEA, and Ephedrine? I, personally, believe that natural federations comparing these supplements in any way, shape, or form to anabolic steroids are way way off kilter; however, I'm not the one being interviewed (lol).

Shiloe Steinmetz: I have to agree. They are in no way able to be compared. I personally think they are a waste of money and have little to no benefit with the risks of health issues. But none the less the rules are the rules and if they are banned then they are banned. Don't waste your money! LOL

Christian Duque: Could you please tell us how on Earth you put an extra 10lbs of lean size onto your physique for the 2010 NPC Team Universe - and - how much bigger you think you can get without beginning to compromise your streamlined physique and/or appearing blocky?

Shiloe Steinmetz: Well, it is rather easy. I have had the same problem all my years. I stay fairly lean and never eat enough. This year I had a new trainer and followed the diet in the off season. It was a ridiculous amount of food compared to what I was used to.

Also as far as the carb-up goes, I have never eaten so many carbs before! I actually gained weight the closer I got to the show.

The key was really nutrition. I do not want to get any bigger and am not sure I really can, eiher. I think I am maxed-out per se. Also, I do run the risk ofm losing the aesthetic-look and getting too big. I'm fine with where I am at now, looking forward to the day of retirement so then I can stop eating and really get my weight down.

Christian Duque: We've all heard the phrase "bodybuilding is a subjective sport" -- ad nauseam. We've also heard the talking heads -- over the years -- discuss how in certain IFBB shows like the Arnold, aesthetics are valued to the extent where mass is favored at the Olympia -- suggesting varying criteria per shows. If you agree with former and latter, would you say with any degree of reasonable certainty that the judges at Team Universe are looking for something distinct from that at the Junior Nat'ls, Nationals, USA's, or North American?

Shiloe Steinmetz: There may be some truth to what you're saying in the IFBB and then again it may be a different judging panel as well? I do agree that the Team Universe tends to favor more ripped asthetic physiques vs. the bigger bulky frames. Again it really is subjective and may be a differnt group of judges at the USA and Jr nationals ect.. There are I beleive some degree of politics as well, actually a big degree! LOL None the less it is a subjective sport and the "look" can change all the time.

Christian Duque: The NPC does a great job of having “natural” shows that prepare athletes for natural, national level competition at the Team Universe; the IFBB also has done a wonderful job of incorporating and promoting the Under 202 class; however, do you ever think the IFBB would match the NPC and offer “natural” shows through it’s professional league? And what do you think the response to such a directive would be?

Shiloe Steinmetz: NO, it will never happen. Simply because of money issues. The naturals will not bring the crowds and anytime there is money involved, people will find a way to bypass drug tests and it wouldn't be a true natural division anyway, but than again, you never know.

I think it would be cool. I would love to see drugs out of the sport totally, I hate that part of the whole industry. If the IFBB would do that they may eliminate alot of the other organizations out there and would unify the sport possibly. There are alot of good pros out there in other organizations but no one has heard of them or know who they are? I could only name maybe 2 or 3 and they are some really great ones! They just do not get any recognition and it would be cool if they did.

Christian Duque: As far as nutrition goes, I know you work with IFBB Pro George Farah -- whose become increasingly popular given his input w/ 2009 Mr. Olympia Runner-up Branch Warren. What other "gurus" have you worked with and what's your take on carb and sodium depletion and loading heading into a contest? Also, what are your thoughts on consuming distilled water leading up to a show – really necessary?

Shiloe Steinmetz: I have also worked with Mike Davies;he is a great trainer and gave me alot of good advice and help. I just decided to try something different this year and see how my body responded. As far as carb-depletion and loading goes, I tend to cut carbs back gradually as I get closer to the show and then add them back the wednseday before the event. Sodium on the other hand, I do nothing with and keep low the entire time. I don't believe distilled water is needed and actually it can deplete you of needed electrolytes and make you cramp up if you drink too much of it. Bottom line is: if you're lean enough, regular water is fine and simply monitor your sodium-intake.

Christian Duque: As far as your training goes, what does your off-season routine look like (e.g. how many days per week, times per day) and how does it change during your contest prep?

Shiloe Steinmetz: This is a very easy question because I do not change my training from off season to contest time.

It is usually always intense at about 45-50 minutes tops.

Legs and arms usually run about an hour. I usually start out with a heavy bulking movement then follow up with 4-5 shaping movements. I do 4-5 times a week hitting a split of (legs, chest and calves, shoulders, arms, and back) then one day a week i add in abs and hips and maybe hammies again.

During contest season I do start cardio more often. Usually 30-40 minutes in the morning followed by 20 minutes after my workout in the evening. That is pretty much it. I lift heavy and hard and intense. i dont mess around in the gym. I kinda live by a saying Ronnie Coleman asseted: "Everyone wants to be Mr Olympia but no-one wants to life any heavy ass weight." That is so true you have to life big and eat big to get big.

Christian Duque: From the looks of many of your shots and from responses you’ve given in other interviews, you seem to really enjoy leg training – as do I. Do you train the entire leg (calves, hams, glutes, and quads) all in one day – or – do you split them up alongside other body parts throughout the week? Are there any leg exercises you favor -- that may be 'out of style w/ the gym mainstream today' (e.g. front squats, lunges, good-mornings, etc)?

Shiloe Steinmetz: I usually never train the whole leg in one day. It is just too much and I go all out on leg day. I squat heavy, leg press heavy and kill my legs. Usually my last set of squats in somewhere between 550-650 for 10 reps and then I do a burn out set of deep squats with 315. On my leg presses and squats my feet are real close togetrher if not touching. This allows my to put to effort in my quads and not in my butt. I split hammies on occasion and always do calves on a seperate day usually with chest. I do alot of lunges as I get closer to the show with step ups and a ton of leg extensions. That is it pretty much. You want big wheels you have to put a ton of weight on the bar and move it!

Christian Duque: What would you like to say to your fans, and what projects and/or upcoming shows do you see yourself being involved with for the rest of 2010?

Shiloe Steinmetz: The first thing I want to say to my fans is that all i have and done is a gift from God. I have been blessed in my life and I give a credit and glory to my king Jesus Christ. Without Christ I have no hope and no salvation and all I do here on Earth is worthless. I can give testimony after testimony of the great things God has done for me. I encourage anyone who does not know the Lord to genuinely seek him and your life will never be the same. As far as projects or shows the rest of the year?

HMMM I am done with shows for the year and possibly for good. I want to trim down and play some other sports and be more involved with my family and Church.

I could walk away from the sport and be totally content with what i have accomplished and never compete again. I would like to have my own bussiness someday and put my time and effort into a new goal. Only time will tell and I will go where God is directing me. Thanks for the interview and God bless! Shiloe

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2 Days of Hard Training

Yesterday we had a great workout, largely due to the fact we were able to successfully get through a grueling workout with a five-man training crew. Training with more than two people is a challenge -- getting five people to work in sync, remain focused, and push each other both physically, as well as emotionally is a major acommplishment that can only be chalked to a serious committment to disciplined training.

John Mamaligas, James Lawrence, the Hawk, Melvin Byron, & myself embarked on a shoulder routine that included well over seven exercises -- for a total of over 30 sets, that's 150 sets between the five of us over the course of just ninety minutes. The group also implemented light exercises in between working-sets to offset extended periods of downtime.

When you're training with one or two other guys, you might wait/rest anywhere from thrity seconds to a minute, but when you have to wait four turns just for your number to come up X 5 sets -- this can easily turn into a recipe for disaster. Still, w/o getting in anyone's way or hogging any equipment, I must confess that being part of a team effort -- in what's largely been marketed as a 'sport of one,' is truly a great feeling.

When you create a group and keep a blog or a little facebook group, and recruits start knockin on the door from other cities, states, and even from other countries -- that's very flattering. When guys like Melvin Byron and Greg Morison are actually brainstorming for t-shirts for the group (and their ideas just floor you, and their future thinking into cost, artists, prices) -- that's encouraging, it give me and all of us that renewed sense that what we're all doing is so much more than just carrying on w/ a group of guys that happen to lift.

I think there's a few envious trolls out there that aim solely to take a crap on what we're doing -- be it by openly trying to sabotage us to the subtle defeatist talk in the gy -- but overall you can't just lift with someone 1-2hrs, 3-5x per week, every week - for months on end - even years, without building friendships, without developing a trust in these people, without beginning to depend on them.

I personally don't like to hear people tell me I can't do something -- or -- I shouldn't be too disappointed when I fail . The old saying 'misery loves company' is quite rampant in the gym -- I know there's people w/ better physiques than me, I know there's far more knowledgeable people out there than I am, but I don't care -- I've lost 50lbs and I'm getting ripped; Jordan went through hell and back in a car accident and he's benching 245 w/ perfect form, the Hawk went from barely training to being one of the strongest, most committed lifters at Gym Bumz. Your destiny is in your hands.

If a severely retarded child can train his butt off despite all the curve balls life has thrown his way and win a race at Special Olympics and succeed despite all the obstacles in his way -- then you can get stronger, you can get ripped, and you can be a role model people look up to.

Every single member of has the potential to reach their goals and be a role model -- and not only can you do that, but the group will push you.

High school and college are over for most of you. Some of you didn't play sprots -- but really wanted to, some of you weren't in fraternities or sororities -- but have always wondered what it would have been like. can be your sports team and it can be your greek lettered organization -- in fact -- it can be just about anything you want it to be :) Because everyone has a voice and we encourage you to speak up!

[Sermon now Over :-) ]

Friday, July 30, 2010

Chest Training & A Sweet Surprise

So today we had to hustle; John and I had to be out of the gym by 6:20, the Hawk arrived at 5:15, and we were with our newest workout partner Melvin Myron. The day's agenda focused on chest training, but we all but turned the previous week's routine on it head. Last week, we stressed heavier lifts and challenged ourselves with a very demanding routine. This week, there was more emphasis on toning the pecs, incorporating the triceps & deltoids in more distinct capacities, and in following through w/ movements that would help us shape the muscle, as opposed to obliterating it.

Thanks Amy!

Upon entering the gym, I was told there was something for me at the front desk -- I had no clue what. I was handed a white envelope -- sketch. I was immediately starting to worry... I didn't recognize the handwriting. I carefully ripped open the envelope and found several packet of Stevia and a super thoughtful, handwritten note. I was seriously touched and wanted to send a private, genuine thank you; however, Ms. Watson is all but impossible to find on facebook, myspace, or the net itself. Bummer, lol!!!

So I guess I'll just have to wait to run into her, but I am very grateful and I can't stress how good the little things in life make you feel. :) If anyone sees her, by chance, let her know it really made my day. :)

Questions Sent

Just an Fyi for everyone patiently awaiting the Shiloe Steinmetz Q&A -- I sent out the questions earlier today. Hopefully the Q&A will be up sometime this week.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Return of Josh Castillo

I trained quads today w/ 'the Hawk'. We did squats on the Smith/Icarian machine, followed by front squats in the cage, lunges, hack squats, and leg extensions. Although I had planned on doing cardio alongside my faithful workout partner -- my Sansa mp3 player decided to kick the bucket, so I drove over to Best Buy and switched it out -- (whenever you electronics -- from an mp3 player to laptop to a 60" plasma tv -- buy the warranty -- it's the wise move!). Best Buy replaced the bad unit and I quickly uploaded songs by Limp Bizkit, Ratt, Michael Sweet (formerly of Stryper, LA Guns, Gorefest, Rancid, and Motley Crue.

But as I entered the gym for what I thought would be a cardio session, I decided to touch-up shoulers. Then this little voice inside me -- from a little bantamweight-lookin trainer from an NPC show I attended in Flint in 2009 rang in my head -- something about me needing 'to bring up my delts...' -- so I just pounded out another intense workout :)

And in the midst of this delt assault, I ran into a StrenghtAddict long gone M-I-A, Josh Castillo. In terms of physiques, Josh has razor sharp abs and killer genetics for his size -- in terms of my photo-wishlist, I'd love nothing more than to have him and Kelvin Perry do a photo + video session w/ me when they're both peeled -- it would surely motivate all of us toiling away for what seems to be an ever elusive six-pack. Another couple of guys with very good abs: Karson Lattimore and Jordan Shouldice, come to mind for such a session.

I've included a few shots I took of Josh -- these can also be found on the facebook group! I'm ecstatic that we've added six new, quality people to our group and the numbers just keep building. I'm really happy that every single person in there has been observed for weeks, sometimes months before being approached. It's great to have 56 people that you know are hardcore and in it for the long haul -- no spammers, no gimmicks, and the best part is not only can you reach out to the other 55 and make friend -- but it's encouraged.

Your days of walking into Gym Bumz and not knowing anyone -- and maybe as a result of that, wanting to turn around, walk quickly back to your car, and drive away defeated ARE OVER. Say hi to your fellow members and don't be shy to say hello to the opposite sex either -- research has proven -- they don't have cooties.

Clean up your diet. Train Hard. No Pain for you. Eyes on the Prize =o).

Breaking News!

2x Natural Mr. Universe and Mr. America, Jim Cordova has agreed to do a Q&A Interview with Jim, a MuscleTech athlete, is considered by many to be the most accomplished bodybuilder of the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation!; he's also appeared on the cover of Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness magazine -- and is regularly covered in articles and photo shoots!

Email me any questions you may have
& I will include them in the interview!

Cool Tunes @ GYM BUMZ Fitness Center

Just a shoutout to management for playing awesome music as of late. Everyone loves 'hair metal' -- rock you can lift to, power ballads for the romantics, guitar solos, pounding basslines... nothin against disco, Richard Simmons' inspired aerobics music, or REO Speedwagon but with the crackdowns on pro-hormones and many of our own battles with obesity -- it's great to be able to hit the weights at a gym where the music doesn't kill what little testosterone we've mustered up to lift hard!

More hard rock during the afternoons & evenings, so if anyone forgets their mp3 player, they can still lift and not feel like a tool busting the move to a whack soundtrack :-).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Law Library Basement -- G.R.

I can't wait to train today -- even though I'll be hitting shoulders and biceps by myself. I'm stuck in the basement of the Cooley's Grand Rapids campus' library, trudging along Immigration Law & Wills, Trusts, & Estates -- John, Jake, and James [the 3-J's as it were] will be training at 3:30.

But this isn't the worse news because shoulders happens to be one of two of my trouble areas. Deltoids and back are the muscle groups I've been on a quest to improve for over a year now! And when you're focusing on certain muscle groups, which require specialized training and which also require certain tweaks and modifications to exercises contoured to your physique, it can be trying to unload those techniques on a lifter that doesn't require them for growth.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Backday

Yesterday was my first cheat day in a diet that's spenned over six week -- there was much to celebrate, considering I've lost over 50lbs, and given the fact I hadn't planned on cheating. The madness started w/ a date that started out w/ tickets to one of the best movies I've seen all year Inception (starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Ellen Page and a box Milk Duds and three handfuls of Skittles. By the end of the date I had some a McDonald's coffee shake, large fries...on the way home from Pontiac, I had Taco Bell (a Mango freeze, 2 cheese roll-ups, and 2 bean burritos)... a few exits later I stopped at Burger King and had 2 sundaes w/ mocha drizzle and a slice of cookie dough pie).

This morning... I had a Optimum Nutrition Cookies and Cream protein shake over ice and I'm now at Tim Horton's sipping a 36oz Diet Coke and a Zero Carb Rockstar. I'm happy to be back on the diet (eating out at this level is actually more of an inconvenience than a guilty pleasure) and after four hours of Immigration Law -- I'll be ready to hit the gym for a Back and Cardio -- after a a relexing off-day yesterday.

Monday Workout: Shoulders/Biceps
(Christian, John, Jake, James) 5pm

From Tim Horton's to Hot House to Gym
I made a new friend at the coffee shop -- a little on the psycho-side, but gorgeous all at the same time. Have you ever dated a girl that you think could potentially murder you in your sleep? Well if not, I highly recommend it -- it's an exhilarating experience to say the least. Plus, it'd been almost two years since I visited the fine hot tub establishment on the Lansing/DeWitt border; however, this time I visted Rm.4 as opposed to the executive suite.

All I can say is when you have arms as big as mine and you wear tank tops -- life is good - life is very good. :)

But just when life seemed like it couldn't get any better -- I went to Gym Bumz to tan and get some hamstrings done; and there he was, doing cardio. The guy that had slandered me at Powerhouse and who had demanded I be kicked out of the gym -- or he was walking. He just looked down at me from the cardio section and this lying, piece of crap didn't even have the decency to come apologize to me for all the drama, all the FACT-less drama he had created.

I just looked at him and smiled, but later as he walked out of changing room and stood by the exit, he just nodded my way as if trying elicit a reaction out of me; I just mumbled to myself but moreso believed what a lying piece of crap this guy is. Funny how "the victim" acted like the aggressor. Pro card in six months -- keep dreaming.

Apparently, when I asked at the front desk (after he'd left) what his status was at the gym, I was told he had canceled but had 30 days left.

For a guy that can't share the gym w/ me, he not only did so, he was looking for me to go off on him -- but he's not worth the aggravation. This group is getting bigger, more organized, and we're attracting new people to the gym. We are going to be a large part of this new gym ownership's success and we're also going to be an integral part of bringing competitive bodybuilding and powerlifting back to Lansing,MI.

Even if this clown were to return to our gym, I don't really care either way -- the guy is a complete joke and my only desire outside of my schooling and my physique, is making a complete success!

Hope the girl from earlier calls me back -- what a babe!
Also the girl from yesterday was quite the babe as well. I hope they both call -- especially at the same time! :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

The 7/23 Crew

Today I had planned to train w/ John Mamaligas & The Hawk, but we were also joined by our new friend James Lawrence, who really carried his own weight despite a hiatus from the gym. The four of us trained chest, with fellow StrengthAddicts Julio Lorona and Jordan Shouldice also present in the gym - working on other routines.

By the third hour of Wills, Trusts, & Estates my brain was FrieD, so I started plotting the upcoming chest workout and let my little mp3 player continue to record the lecture. Here's what I came up with:

Bench Press: Bar/8reps; 135/8x; 185/8x; 225/8x; 275/6x Spotted; 315/3-4x (no one got this high)

Smith/Icarian Incl. Bench Press: 135/8x; 225/8x; 275/6x (Spotted) -- [John was the only one to get this high]

Dumbbell Bench Press: 70/8x; 85/8x; 100/8x; 115/8x; 70/8x.

Incline Press Machine: 2-45's/8x; 4-45's/8x; 6-45's/8x; 8-45's/2 Rep minimum.

Pec Dec: 20/8x; 40/8x; 3/4 stack/8x; Full Stack/8x; Full Stack + 45lb plate/8x.

Decline Pec Cable Flyes: 20lbs/8x; 40lbs/8x; 60lbs/8x; 20/8x.

Dumbbell Flyes: 20lbs/8x, 40lbs/8x, 20lbs/8x, 40lbs/8x.

We followed this insane chest workout w/ 2 sets of Reverse Leg Curls for Hamstrings

Great workout! In the coming weeks, I hope we'll be able to do the full workout.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Late Night Cardio -- Anabolic OCD?

Many thanks to my bro Matt at the Lansing Mall General Nutrion Center (GNC) for getting in touch w/ USPLabs and scoring some product for our upcoming V-Contest. In a few days you'll have the opportunity to get with me and record your own thiry second video in front of the gym. In this video, each member of the club will speak on the subject of 'why they train and what training does for you.' The winner will walk away with a free supplement (no cheapo prize either!) The 2nd and 3rd place winners will also score some prizes.

As the site grows, the prize packages will also get bigger and better. We're also toying with the idea of Deadlift Challenge (or equivalent) for September 2010. And I think it really goes without saying, but I'll say it anways -- it's awesome to have a facility like Gym Bumz that's truly supportive of our efforts here.

Some our guys are a bit on the indifferent side and don't really do squat for the club -- and as the numbers increase, some of this dead-weight may be cut loose. There's really a great deal of interest in our concept and I think we can only benefit by having more women and competitive athletes join our ranks. We need the same kind of nutritional diversity in other areas like gender, age, and insofar as fitness goals as well. StrengthAddicts should be a multi-cross-section of the gym population -- at least that's my goal.

Today was one of those days that I really value. I had class in Grand Rapids and left Lansing three hours early (to avoid rushing down the hgwy). I met up with my crush at the coffee shop before she had to go run some errands and just basically sat there doing homework. Class was rather interesting -- especially with finals looming in just three weeks. After class was a dream come true -- got to make out with my crush and although this portion of the entry seems largely like tmiand perhaps not so relevant -- fear not, it is! As we kissed, I was soo happy that we finally had reached this level, but on a very shallow level - I felt like the little stubs of growing out after my last shave were standing tall, it was like that electric kinda feeling you get when you're right and everyone's wrong and your basking in the warmth of triumph... only I was basking in the warmth b/c she was totally digging & groping my arms -- that's the kind of inspiration that makes a person want to bang out bi's, tri's, and forearms from here till next week (of next year!). Recognition is sweet. So train hard fellas -- it pays off.

I lift to improve my physique, but this is a real conflict of your interests -- you can either stuff your face and dream about getting the beautiful girl...or you kill yourself in the gym and maybe starve yourself a bit and deal w/ the pain and not only maybe get the girl you want -- but have her (or him for female & other friends, lol) come to you. Breaking News! Breaking News! When you're cut, in shape, and feeling confident in your looks --- YOU TOO BECOME "ATTRACTIVE" and will also be sought after.

And for those of you still believing beauty is on the inside -- take comfort in knowing you 110% correct -- but w/o the body, few will stop to converse about your values. If you're reading this, get in the gym and train! :)


Per the title of the entry -- it's actually 1:17am and I'm sitting at Tim Horton's and after doing this entry and reading some Immigration Law, I'm headed back to Gym Bumz to do some cardio. Why did I have to eat a pint of white rice? Oh well... it's my favorite dish at the Empire Szechuan in downtown Lansing -- and I enjoyed the heck out of it. So now I must burn it off.

Gym tomorrow at 5:30 w/ John M., Hawk for Chest. Anyone else is free to join us. We don't all to do the same thing, but knowing we're there and especially if it's not an off-day -- you'll show up. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

T/Bar Rowing w/ Quarters

I'm a huge advocate of having people incorporate both the 25lb and 10lb plates into their T-Bar routine b/c (as demonstrated 20+yrs ago by 8x Mr. Olympia, Lee Haney ) doing the exercise this way provides for greater range of motion and may even give the athlete more control given the lighter poundage.

Although back is second only to legs in terms of overall size and strength, this muscle group also requires fine tuning and shaping exercises that work feed off of repetition and precision, as opposed to bulk weight. For mass, I'd recommend heavy deadlifs, heavy lat-pull downs, and heavy bent-over rows (whether using the straight bar or the dumbbells). For shape, your toughest exercise will be pull-ups (using at least three different grips), next I'd recommend your lighter T-Bar Rows, and lastly I would consider doing light dumbbell pullovers -- which some people might also use to train for chest.

I, personally, do not like to mix my shurgs and/or even Reverse Pec Deck exercises w/ my back workouts. I know both the former and the latter could be easily incorporated for a full-back type workout, I choose to keep them for the shoulders routine (which for many guys isn't a very long workout -- largely b/c like legs -- it's not an enjoyable experience!)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gym Etiquette (Lesson 2)

You wouldn't normally deadlift at 9am or 6pm -- the busiest times at the gym, largely because you'd want to be considerate of others. But you may not want to do your heavy lift at off times either, because in some gyms the attention of staff may be triggered for the most random reasons -- and -- when the entire facility is under the command of one person (usually during off hours), that person's judgment is binding. There's no use raising the argument that you lift this way or that way at other times or over the course of several months.

The sad reality is that even many of the traditionally hardcore gyms of old, have fallen prey to the health club influence taking the nation by storm. In some cities, gymrats are lucky to have quality fitness centers that while dungeon'esque, do offer a cross-section of fitness enthusiasts an opportunity to co-exist. If you train at a club that's bodybuilder-friendly, go out of your way to help promote and bring business to that establishment -- in all likelihood, this kind of gym will go under unless you take action!

What Are People Saying On YT

Can you say Gym Dictatorship -- these women would run a great gym -- in Taliban-controlled Kandahar! My goodness -- is there anything us guys can do in the gym? I mean these young ladies are definitely in shape, and the one on the left is just downright gorgeous, but that aside... there is such a thing as going to be a gym and being hardcore and wanting to push yourself to the limit. I'm one of those guys that does 3.2-3.4, only I'm going for 70 minutes and 80% of that time at an incline of 7.5 or higher, with my last ten minutes between 12.5-15.0. Let's you see you girls do that -- oh yeah -- and don't sweat, grunt, or hum to any songs off your mp3 player. Epic Fail. Next...

This is literally the direction some gyms are headed in -- maybe not to the extent of phoning the police, but working out at some facilities is almost like signing yourself up for a prison sentence. Now realize this, we're not talking about slamming weights and we're not talking about screaming -- the gymrat in question did exactly what got him kicked out on camera. Even something so minor can lead to major drama. Epic Fail Next up...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thoughts from a Coffee Shop

I'm sitting by the window at a really cozy Biggby Coffee shop in downtown Grand Rapids (Michigan Ave & Fulton) and I'm thinking about an interesting project for Initially, I was thinking about running a contest that would feature the best article submission and/or the best lift on video, but after speaking to a my friends at the local GNC and their super cool, visiting regional manager, I decided that if I can put together a couple of really impressive prize packages -- why not up the ante and do something bigger than a rinky-dink website contest amongst just twenty or thirty guys?

As many of you know, my dream is to have an unsanctioned, unofficial (can I stress the underground feel any more so?) Lansing-based Natural Bodybuilding and Powerlifting Championship. I stress unsanctioned because while I would strongly want to keep the chemically-enhanced physiques away from the natural ones on stage, I do think that some Natural Federations' banning supplements such as DHEA, ProHormones, and Ephedra is not only too extreme, but bordering on the absurd.

This interesting project I'm thinking about is not that unaffiliated Lansing Show; however, I am thinking about a possible Dead Lift Competition open to athletes from all over the city and surrounding townships and villages. I would need a very cool gym to give me the space and a hand with the promotion, but this type of event could be very successful in promotional terms and wouldn't involve much capital.

Local businesses like GNC, through third party vendors could donate pprotein powder, creatine, glutamine, energy drink and/or vitamin-based products which I could use to create prize-packages for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd place winners from the men, and a top prize for the women.

I'm thinking a real blue-collar type deadlift context (ala Rx Muscle's Bros v. Pros ), where belts, straps, wraps, and chalk would be allowed. It would be open to all.

Shiloe Steinmetz Q&A Coming Soon!
Fresh off his 2nd place finish at the 2010 NPC Team Universe in the Heavyweight Class and an earlier runner-up placing at the Super Heavyweight class at the 2010 NPC Junior Nationals, Shiloe will speak to as far as what he does to get himself primed for action for national-level, pro-Qualifier contests!

Shiloe has been interviewed by and has one of the best websites in the sport! This is a national-level competitor determined to earning his IFBB Pro Card! Coming Soon!

Gym Bumz -- Lansing, MI

Most gyms nowadays will charge you anywhere from $10 - $20 for a single workout (the days of old when you could just lay a five-spot on the counter and walk in -- are over!). For the lifter wanting to join, nicer (meaning cooler) gyms will offer a 2 or 3 Day Guest Pass, but Gym Bumz -- Lansing (formerly Go Workout is offering local residents, 118yrs or older, a Fourteen Day Pass to check out the facilities (one per year). This is would be a great opportunity for our readers at the YMCA Westside, as well as other Lansing Gyms like Powerhouse, New Life Fitness, and those few of you hardened gymrats exiled in your garages b/c you can't find a gym where you can actually lift some heavy-ass weight w/o being harrassed by a pipsqueak in a corporate health club shirt.

This would be a great time for Josh Schaefer to swing by and see what he's missing! Mike Horton, Dennis Rodeman, and several guys from Lansing's New Life Fitness that I choose not to mention here (to avoid them drama w/ a certain eccentric part-owner...).

The guys that own Gym Bumz are real lifters and took the place over to ensure it went in a direction we could all be proud of. I know some of the guys in the club -- some no longer w/ us think it's not our place to promote the gym -- well I think that's plain bullshit. For once, gymrats have a place we can call home and sit on your ass and not spread the word -- that's just plain bs!

Kudos to Neighborhood Rite Aid Stores!

I just wanted to send a long overdue shout-out at the awesome pharmacists at the Rite Aid on Saginaw Rd. in Lansing, MI, as well as the pharmacists at the Grand River Ave. location in the Frandor/E.Lansing area. These stores are always staffed by super-friendly associates and the pharmacy teams should be commended for excellent customer service that goes above-and-beyond the call of duty. I'd expound -- but I won't; let's just say that they've been there for me on a number of occasions to answer questions and to educate me -- and I really appreciate it.

Ironically, Walgreens and CVS common stock sells for in excess of $30.00 a share, whearas Rite Aid shares are going for about $0.90 -- I think I'll be buying a few hundred once again.

Rite Aid also has a great selection of GNC products -- something that sets it miles apart from its competitors.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I'm Hungry...

The hardest part of my diet has got to be, by far, the last meal of the night - and no I don't mean Taco Bell's 4th Meal -- I'm trying to lose weight here, not add a second chin. (lol)

Over the course of the last six weeks, I've shed about 45lbs. of weight, with about another thirty pounds to go by mid-August. My secret is 60-75 minutes of cardio (burning between 800-1,000 calories per session), light-to-moderate weight-training, and not stuffin my face w/ food late at night.

At this point in the diet, I feel like I'll eat just about anything. For example, I hate eggs, but on this diet I'll have eight egg whites as part of my last meal and for breakfast. And I'll eat those eggs like they were a handful of Milkduds.

At this point I'm kinda loopy so let me just assure you that that nasty diet food you keep hearing about will start to taste like gourmet delicacies when you're body is starving for calories! When I arrived at Grand Cafe in Old Towne/Lansing, I devoured a huge bowl of salsd that included fresh mushrooms, grated provolone and cheddar cheese, a little side of croutons, and non-fat Italian dressing. I wanted more... I was going to put puppy eyes and ask for another little bowl of croutons -- I could eat them slowly ... but no .. nope.. can't eat more -- hum a song, tap your foot, do w/e you gotta do -- can't eat till you get home. At this point, I'm ranting, I'm no longer observing the rules of grammar -- I'm hungry and can't eat -- this pain is Live from Old Towne -- as you read it, my stomach growls. (lol)

Upon arriving home, I'll spray my pan w/ Pam (no more Smart Blend now), I'll pour about 8 egg whites into the pan, then I'll mix up 30g of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Chocolate Malt protein powder in water -- that's my final meal. I will set aside a serving of ZMA, Cranberry Extract, 1,500mg of L-Arginine, and 3mg's of Melatonin. As sad as this sounds, I need to stop writing mouth is watering and I'm quite annoyed I can't (won't) eat for another half hour, lol.

Set Goals, Stay Focused

We started small (John and me) on an incline pectoral press device that could hardly be described as a 'machine' -- there's no pulleys, it's not for babies, but it's also not the full on incline bench press. We started with a single 45 on each side and then it grew to two pairs, three pairs, four pairs, and finally a total of eight 45's and a pair of quarters; and the weight just kept increasing.

Eventually we'd hit our goal of 10 45's, along with our more recent addition (Jake Hawkins). But the moral of the story isn't that we're three strong mofos (lol), it's that we set an attainable, realistic goal; we gradually increased the weight, we always started our chest routine on the same machine, and we focued our attention on not getting ourselves down when we failed or just didn't feel it on a given day.

Work hard, surround yourself with positive-minded people, and focus on making gradual adjustments. One of the most important keys to success in the gym, is coming to grips with the fact that overnight success and instant gratification will not be found during your quest to building the kind of body 99% of people are gunning for. Bodybuilding, as well as powerlifting, require a great deal of patience. Sadly, you can't buy patience at GNC or

Two supplements every lifter needs in his/her arsenal are: patience and humilitiy -- I would take about 1,000mg of each, 3x per day.

Stay Focused!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Updates & More!

"I'm currently training with the Florida Gulf Coast Weightlifting Team and hope to one day make the U.S. Olympic Team. My next competition is in August 2010.  I train five days a week, legs every day at  the YMCA in Port Charlotte on Quesada.
Megan McBride

A huge congrats to Megan from the StrengthAddicts Family, at only nineteen years of age, I think the sky's the limit fort his aspiring lifter!

Video Views & More!

Congratulations to:::

Karson Lattimore whose "Mighty Quads in Action" @ 2,954!
Mike "the Tank" Ivancevic's "Push Press" @ 2,459!

Big kudos to John M. for a great effort w/ Delts on Friday -- his video (which I've been promoting like a madman) is close to 500 views (his highest charting to date).

The New Gym

Many of the members of 'the Brand' are growing more and more concerned in regards to accessibility to Go Workout, given the establishment of Gym Bumz. In the absence of an announcement, I will ask Mitch and see if I can't put up an answer in the coming days. I think the folks at our gym are doing a great job (between painting and remodeling); however, I'm not crazy about the Friday's closing time going from 10pm to 9pm -- a very minor issue. Overall, I hope that many of our guys considering to jump ship will stay put for the time being. (In regards to my earlier issue -- I spoke to management [again], and I personally want to stay put as long as possible).

Gym Bumz is a gymrat-and-bodybuilding-friendly establishment -- we need to have its back now and not run for the hills simply b/c of a name-change. It didn't become the YMCA or Curves, so for once let the hardcore lifters help pay the bills. We always whine about how these fitness pipsqueaks get all the love at gyms, well now is not the time to abandon a ship that actually wants us on board.

Final Word

Check out the site a bit later-- some more changes in store. I'll be in the gym tomorrow (at around Noon/1pm to train Chest & Biceps -- no Hawk this week :( , but I'll be ok. Anyone that wants to talk -- gimme a ring! And thanks to all of you that reached out and were concerned I was leaving.

Don't ever listen to anyone that says 'this is just a blog' -- or -- 'this is just a facebook group' -- we're NOT! 'The Family' is only going to get bigger and baDDer in time! There's nothing mediocre about us. Only the strong survive, so train hard & shut up, lol.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Date #2 (from Hell)

Kate: Don't you think it's strange you spend so much time at the gym?
Christian: No. All my real friends are there; besides, I love bodybuilding and even a have bodybuilding website.
Kate: But you can't do that when you get old. What are you going to do, lift in the grave?
Christian: Of course I can do it when I'm old, but obviously not from the grave - especially since I plan on being cremated, lol.
The dinner that followed at Olive Garden was great. I ordered Diet Coke and a glass of red wine. I was told to 'live a little' -- I guess that entails ordering a beverage loaded with simple sugars. I had a breadstick, then a second -- but I really was uncomfortable eating them. I had them b/c I wanted to, but still.. I said I'll be doing cardio tonight.

At the end of the date -- she told me it wouldn't work out. She said she wasn't into 'the whole musclehead thing' and I literally felt like gymrats should become a constitutionally-protected class. The more cut I get, the more looks I get -- do people like what they see -- or am I going to be some kind of a circus freak? I will continue to get cut and train and possibly one day... even take the next step, but will this life lead me to utter solitude?

Will my claim to fame be the guy that's most often asked to help move furniture, flex his pecs, and/or show off his biceps? And I'm not even ripped, I'm not even anywhere near competition shape.

Maybe my real contempt for some of the gym couples isn't that they're snobby at all -- maybe I'm just utterly envious that these guys have found beautiful women that love to train alongside them. Why is that since I started working out five years ago -- that my 3hr, 6x a week gym habit has become somewhat of a concession, or something conceded to me in exchange for a bad habit or character flaw.

The bottom line is that guys that train hardcore are going to last longer in bed, aren't going to die from a heart-attack at 50, are going to be able to play ball w/ their kids, run with the dogs at the beach, walk around doing yardwork bareshirt and draw admiring eyes -- what the f*ck is so bad about being cut. Is the self-confidence a problem -- OR -- is the gym too much of a competition?

Is this like undergrad when my longtime gf was intimidated I rushed a Greek fraternity -- (Go Phi Gamma Delta -- Rush Fiji!!!) or is this like when another girlfriend came close to having me choose between her and my blossming career in student government? Why can't women (and men if you're a women reading this) not appreciate our hobbies and realize they have a place in our lives - but they don't control them.

Working out is a good thing. I'm sorry I'm not some fat motherf*cker who can't see his feet, who's impotent, and who huffs and puffs after walking a few yards from his car to the entrance of the Dairy Queen. I'm sorry I tan, I'm sorry I shave all over and have less hair on my arms, legs, and face than most girls -- yes even the run way models (if left unkempt start lookin like Arafat -- I'm sorry I'm not scared to talk to beautiful women, and I'm sorry I work out so much, I'm sorry I don't own or watch tv, and I'm sorry I don't know what friggin sitcom you're talkin about -- I'm literate -- I read books and run a website -- i don't spend my hours watching the box or playing video games.

I should go to the Humane Society and get a dog. Stop training? Get Real!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Gym Bumz (West Lansing)

Well it's now official -- the former [Westside] Lansing Go Workout is now now Gym Bumz, and while everything seems to be the same, my gut instinct when I first heard of the name a few days ago was right on the money. Gym Rats will find a home at Gym Bumz, and that feeling is felt from the moment you walk up to the building.

*Everyone take a sigh of relief -- we can still train and the new owner is bodybuilder at heart. Whenever gyms change management and/or especially chance names/business models, the gymrats (be they apsiring bodybuilder or aspiring powerlifters) worry to no end, that yet another wheatgrass drinking health spa is replacing a hardcore gym.

Currently I'm taking an L-Carnitine/CLA/Flaxseed Oil stack for the next 5-6 wks, coupled with nightly servings of ZMA. I'll also be running this plan in conjunction with the ECA Stack, low fat/mod.carb/high protein diet, cardio 6xwk, and abs/obliques 4xwk. So far I've lost about 30lbs. in about five weeks, with forty more pounds to go in order to get near-ripped.

Yesterday at the gym, the Tank walked in and was like .... wowh, you've withered away to nothin. In terms of dieting, this is like calling a guy doing a most muscular a FREAK! In the gym context -- Big Mike's remark was music to my ears, lol.

Also, I'd love to hear what kind of cooking oils y'all use and/or if you opt instead to use the fat-free cooking oils. Please drop me a line at, Subject: Cooking Oils.

I'll be at the gym today (Friday) at 5:15pm doing chest w/ John M.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Muscle & Power

This post will first and foremost congratulate the two highest viewed videos and the athletes that appear in them. Although my promotion tactics are often over-the-top, the people have spoken with their views. Most threads on message boards and friendly websites yield positive feedback, but Mike "the Tank" Ivancevic's 'Push Press 225' sits with 2,100 views only four days shy of a month online.

Most of the comments on the boards and on his video page demand that he lift more weight! The fans beleive, as do I, that 225 is only teaser of what "the Tank" aka "Big Mike" can really push-press; however, as he himself will tell you -- he's just getting back into training and getting his numbers back up requires time. He will not be rushed! But soon, I hope, we'll see a 315 push press from :)

The Tank returns to the gym tomorrow at 6pm! It will be very interesting to see him train w/ Brian (his usual training partner) & Jonathan Bennett (Brian's current training partner) at some point. I have a feeling these three guys will put up some nice numbers and also work towards streamlining their physiques per Brian's philosophies on training. Jonathan also brings some Olympic Lifting philosophies to the table that may supplement the Tank's powerlifting routines.

(Also, for all of July, Brian G. Raymond will be the face of on

Karson "Six-Pack" Lattimore is by far the most promoted video so far, featured in Mighty Quads in Action. On most threads and sites, he's getting over 90% approval -- with only minor jabs for using padding and wrapping his knees (both approaches that will save his joints from unneeded wear and tear and possible damage in the future). In just about a week's time, the video near 2,000 Views and I predict will surpass the 5,000 mark by summer's end!

Karson's nickname, "Six Pack", is very fitting because of his remarkable abdominal development and his innovative, often gut-wrenching abdominal exercise ideas. To be able to simply pull your shirt off and get your chest, abs, and oliques in perfect condition to be photographed - at the drop of a hat, is great quality that I beliveve Karson only shares with fellow StrengthAddict Kelvin Perry.
Hurry Up & Wait!
Spencer Range's much anticipated feature column on Max-OT will be slightly postponed due to moving-related issues.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Decline Pectoral Exercises

There's certain exercises that are well known but seldom performed by the vast majority of gym-goers today. But what makes an exercise fall from such favor? We often hear about stimulating the muscle and addressing it from as many angles as possible; however, when dealing with pectoral development, at least, it seems that the emphasis is limited to the upper and middle portions of the muscle, with the decline execises like the decline bench press and decline flyes falling further and further into general disfavor.

So in an effort to tackle this phenomenon, I posed the following question to Blake Selby, Josh Castillo, and a few other of the notable members of the StrengthAddicts Facebook group -- but none replied. I am aware that people have lives and other commitments, but beyond the latter and the former I am also aware of how potentially-complicated this poll question.

I am very happy to present my question, followed by an excellently written response by one of our newest members on the Facebook group! He is an avid weight-lifter, coach, and has trained alongside Cassie Bishop on several instances. So without further adeu...

Christian Duque: What's your take on decline bench press, and how importantly would you rate this exercise with regard to sound pectoral development?

"In my opinion, decline bench presses are useful for only 2 reasons:

1. As a substitute to flat bench presses when you are nursing a shoulder injury. The unique biomechanical advantage of the decline bench press allows you to place less stress on the anterior deltoids, and put primary focus on the chest and the supporting triceps muscles.

2. For the same biomechanical reason listed above, decline bench press is also useful if your anterior deltoid strength is so strong that it takes away from your pectoral strength. You are able to utilize the decline bench press as a strategy to take the workload focus off of the shoulders, and place it more on the chest where you want it.

HOWEVER you must also keep in mind that just because decline bench press takes some load off the shoulders and directs it toward the chest, does not mean that it will help you develop the chest muscles to a greater level. Declines work primarily the lower chest, and to a lesser degree, the middle chest, and almost insignificantly the upper chest.
The majority of people already develop a great chest simply from flat bench press and incline bench press. Incorporating declines into your program will create a somewhat blocky look, due to diminishing the narrow separation between the pectoral muscles and the wall of the abdomen/sternum.

So in conclusion... if your shoulders are suffering from injury or if they are significantly stronger than your chest muscles, then substituting flat bench press for decline bench press may be a good idea. But if your shoulders are healthy and balanced, stick to flat bench and incline bench."

Brandon Mutti
Certified Strength and Fitness Coach
Redford/Detroit, MIchigan


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Obsessions, Ponderings, Stats, & MoRe!

Quads: Front Squat University

Ok, the secret's out of the bag - I'm totally into leg training and developing size, strength, and definition in every StengthAddict's own set of wheels. There's no slice of scorn for those injured or otherwise in therapy -- but age, bodyweight, discomfort, and laziness (or inertia, lol) are not excuses. Any momo can bench press and do arms -- but you start seeing the boys/girl separate from the men/women when the training grows more demanding and the pain -- oh there's pain -- becomes more excruciating; I'm talking delts, quads, and backk!. Any idiot can do well on chest, arms, and calves -- it's what everyone does, from your 20yr gymrat to your Abercrombie & Fitch, metro-sexual gym poser that joins up to scope out the opposite sex and dabs his/her face with a Downhy fresh, little white towel. (These tools usually come out during New Year's first two weeks - and of course - during the hot summer months, lol).

(Note: these pipsqueaks are the deathknell of hardcore gyms, so promote this group and groups like it so bodybuilding and powerlifting remain on the business radar of gym management.

So back to the point of this entry -- legs. While I think people are privvy to the fact that for legs, squats are king! People are also aware that the silver medal goes to Leg Presses, with the bronze being awarded to Leg Extensions. However, there's at least one supplemental exercise that should not be discounted or excluded from your routine -- the almighty, devastating Front Squat!

What I like most about Front Squats are the control they demand from the athlete; unlike squats where the back, arguably, comes into play, the FS requires most of the overall balance to come from the quadriceps. And according to a great article published on, front squats require less spinal load, meanwhile are performed with less torque and spinal flexion that back squats.

In the coming weeks, I hope to be able to gather your thoughts on this excellent quad-building exercise, as well as hopefully taping a few of you at work on it! The photos in this section (from top to bottom) feature: Jake Hawkins, Karson Lattimore, and yours truly - Christian Duque.

The Joys of Dieting

It started with a handshake and a really nice greeting, "hey Christian, how are you buddy?" We clasped hands as my mind went racing. And this was no ordinary shot, this run made the Winston 500 seem like a back alley drag race.

The Women Need Role Models

The gymnasium is a place where bodies are carefully modified according to each athlets's seemingly clear mental blue print. But you're not going to be able to achieve hardly anything if your head's not screwed on properly. People need friends, inspiration, and motivation most definitely in places like the gym.

We all learn through trial and error, but everyone wants a role model, and the real-life kind always beat out the magazine and television stars that seem light years away. But even in a gym with several women considering competitive Figure contests and getting themselves into lean shape, I do not believe these persons to be accessible to the general membership.

This is why I'm very happy to announce that will be featuring local, Mighican female figure, fitness, and bodybuilding athletes, that have accomplished superb physiques, and continue to retain some sense of humility and at the same time, a true desire to help those that want to be helped, without being made to feel inferior in the process.

Covers & Stats

StrengthAddicts can be found on a great many forums all over the internet, but are most popular mediums are: Facebook, Myspace, Badoo, and YouTube. Members will be featured on the cover of our accounts, based on statistical information (e.g. video views, club activity, and subject matter). Gracing the cover of our Myspace, Facebook (group photo), and/or YouTube channel will mean that you will be the face of the 40+ men and women of the group. It's the cover of Time Magazine, but it's a great honor for those of us pushing through reps in the gym.

Great movements begin with just a few enlightened men and women. I don't dream small and I don't half-ass it - anywhere. This time (as opposed to 2008), StrengthAddicts will not stand down.

Current Coves -- Mike "the Tank" Ivancevic -- Karson Lattimore

Facebook/GR -- Spencer Range

For those of you wondering "wtf is badoo?" -- it's like Facebook, but it's huge in Southeast Asia and Latin America. I have many goals for this site (one of which is creating small fanbases around the world for all of you). I'm very proud of every StrengthAddict, and I want y'all to be seen :)

Casting Call: Gymrats Needed for Mighty Forearms!

One of the many forgotten muscles that are an integral part of every bodybuilder and powerlifter's arsenal are forearms. Use straps much? Use chalk? These are both great accessories for the modern lifter; however, they both soon become obsolete the stronger one's form's become. The human body gives us the tools to create an Iron-Grip and our very hands provide for the best stability and control conceivable -- in the form of calluses. So why do forearms gets lost in the shuffle on a day that may include triceps and/or biceps training?

Well, the answer is clearly in sex. Think of Sex and Sex Appeal in the same context. How many guitarists play their instrument with the oppposite sex in mind? How many heterosexual actors apply makeup on the set and/or have face-lifts at 40yrs of age? And how many athletes hit the gym to have aesthetically-pleasing guns, abs, and pec, meanwhile their back, legs, and delts look like dogshit?

When you lift for yourself - every muscle group is addressed, including distinct heads that are usually never isolated in [mainstream] compound movements. However, the athlete that trains for sex appeal, hits only those muscles that are in demand -- some guys would train their inner thighs and wear Strongest Inner Thigh Monster t-shirts around town if they figured it would score them points with the ladies. And some women are guilty of this phenomenon as well -- let's get out of the Victorian Age shall we -- women can be just as intelligent, sick in the head, and trendy as their male counterparts. Being Metro is an equal opportunity laughable phase in life.

So as of today -- I'm putting the call out -- if you want to train forearms and show the others a few tricks up your sleeve -- drop me a line - -- and if you live internationally and have a video on youtube, you may also contact me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chest / Diet / Recruitment

It's really not a groundbreaking concept to decrease the weight and pump up the volume on the intensity that is high-rep training. But there's more to the approach than a ton of reps -- there needs to be special emphasis placed on full range of motion, strict emphasis on proper posture, and TOTAL control during the positive and negative portions of the movement.

With Summer just around the corner, many of us are eager to get ripped (watching our meal-intake, doing cardio, etc), but many of us are also keen to the fact that while our numbers (on lifts) may be going down, this is an approach that can tone our bulky muscles and bring about promising, aesthetically-pleasing striations and cross-striations.

When a bodybuilder or powerlifter walks around in a stocky, sometimes bulky state, he/she is most likely his/her strongest. But that's the irony of the sport of bodybuilding -- when competitors look their strongest, leanest, and most cut -- they're actually their absolute weakest.

So what about Chest? Well, let's forget about those heavy bench presses and dumbbell presses and let's instead start working more on:

(1) Dumbbell Flyes
- Incline (1st, 5 Sets of 8 Reps)
-Flat Bench (2nd, 3 Sets of 8 Reps)
- 3rd Decline (1 Set of 8 Reps)

Flyes, as performed by Josh on the featured video, are so essential for pectoral definition, creating that valley between the two muscles.

Other great exercises that should also be considered for 3-5 sets per workout include: Smith Machine Bench Press, Push-Ups, Machine Press, and Cable Crossovers. The objective in this style of training is to assist you in dieting w/o losing quality muscle; however, there is heavy burden on your shoulders - you must treat those 30-50lb presses w/ the same R-E-S-P-E-C-T and conviction that you would for movements with 3x as much weight. The Low Weight / High Rep Approach is so much more mentally-challenging than throwing around big weights w/ simple brute force.

this approach that you will become more aware of how your body responds to stimulation - and - you will begin to develop your very own training techniques (this is like the passing on of the Holy Grail of weight-training).

Good Luck! And if you do this type of training -- another huge hurdle to overcome is how others perceive you -- or how YOU THINK they are perceiving you. Like I said before, this approach involves so much more than Strength, it's truly a very psychologically-draining process, but it's well worth it. You will grow as an athlete in ways too many to count and discuss here. :)

Another great magazine practically fell into my lap. The employees at my favorite supplement store in Michigan (GNC at the Lansing Mall) gave me the new issue of Muscle / Body when I purchased a couple protein bards. I had already made my monthly purchase a week earlier and renewed my goldcard, but they wanted to be sure I was taken care of and offered me this great read. :)

If you ever need supplements or just want to look around, I can assure you that will be very pleased with the selection, prices, and customer service you'll get here. :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Another Team Effort

I. About Yesterday's Entry

No apologies. Yes, this is our blog, but I do all the work here. And to a lesser, though still notable degree -- I'm the leader of the pack. If I can't be honest with my best buds in the gym (the only place that's really been important to me in the last 5yrs of my life), then who can I be honest with? I know there's local traffic, heck, I know there's international traffic as well (I get the fanmail), but bodybuilding isn't an outlet for ogres and midgets w/ Napoleon-syndrome... I want people to know that gymrats are very keen people, with expansive intellects and complex personalities; and yes, feelings too! :)

II. Truly a Team Effort!

What we're doing goes beyond lifting, spotting, and filming.

What the Hell's Wrong w/ Me?

I honestly believe blogging is as close to the spoken word of thought as anything else out there. It's like art in the spoken word, it shouldn't be processed, you shouldn't have to sugar-coat your thoughts or feelings -- just write, edit later.

Whenever I diet, I diet hard - I don't know any other way. I supplement w/ the ECA Stack, watch my foods (not always my calories), and adopt a rigidity to my daily processes that would likely intimidate most people outside the [gym] loop. A person that's disciplined from within, as opposed to reacting to external actors and/or pressures, will almost always succeed. When you eat, train, supplement, and sleep w/ yourself as the recipient of all the benefits of your sacrifices, you selfishly will not settle for anything but the absolute best.

But peptalks aside -- I'm not your average guy. I'm normally hyper-sensitive and very emotional; I'm a guy's guy, but I have a really hard time not living up to people's expectations. A mean face, an unanswered greeting, a petty act that to most wouldn't even warrant a second thought, can truly break my spirits, f*ck up my day, and send my heart and soul on a wild rollercoaster ride that would make menopause seem like a happy-go-lucky recess from the pitfalls of everyday life.

In class today, (Con. Law Seminar) I literally doodled on my notebook and heard all my classmates opine per the cues of the professor. Many of the opinions were delievered in legal-ease, using far too complex terminology for otherwise simple (if not elementary) ponderings of a group far more enchanted by the sound of their voice, than making any kind of meritorious argument. Oooops...there I go now... sounding all scholarly, and all I could have said was -- they talked too much, largely about nothing. But... the professor applauded each one of them w/ "brilliant comment," "very well thought out," nice connection,".. you'd think he had Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall, Benjamin Cardozo, and William Brennan for students!

I gave up even trying, he never once has complimented me like that and has even told me to let others have a chance -- I gave up speaking Wk4, it's now Wk7 -- I'm asked to speak, but I just can't and won't. I wanted to take this course soo badly, but now my whole time in class is spent doodling over the notes of points I'd fantasized all week about making in class, just to give me something else to think about but just balling in class right there. It's a total 2hr pity party -- and I'm the guest of honor.

So I wonder, is this crazy diet consisting of limited calories, further broken down into moderate protein, controlled fats, and only carbs that can defeat strict scrutiny prior to being consumed, a leading culprit in my seeming emotional breakdown? Or am I just a really bad grudge-holder and too immature for my own good? Is there a point in time where we as sensient human beings are too in-touch with our emotions for our own good?

I can hold a grudge longer than most. It goes back to the selfish motivation behind rigid dieting and hardcore training -- when you're the source of your inspiration and yours is the benefit reaped from sacrifice, you will settle only for the best. And when it's your feelings and your heart on the line, if it means holding onto to a grudge to save face, then you do it -- no questions asked, or at least I do it.

On that note, you also have to know when to let go. I don't know that I feel ready to participate as I did the first four weeks of school, but I did feel the need to give Ben (fellow lifter) an explanation for why I was ignoring him and his steady work-out partner. It's kind of unrelated, but it's also really not. If you're still reading, then read some more.

I basically resented the fact that two very fit members of my current gym were highly selective of who they spoke with and why during many instances it seemed my greetings fell on deaf ears -- it hurt me. I'm an emotional guy, and what makes me hardcore is that I'm man enough to admit it. The Alpha Male may be balls to the wall tough, but $10 says they can't articulate a single emotion -- it's not in them. So if you're an Alpha-anything and you think you're better than me -- may the next toilet you sit on have a generous amount of fresh superglue on it :). lol

The fact is -- in my way of thinking, warped as it is -- if a girl is rude or mean to you but her boyfriend is not, you have to quit talking to both of them. It's a respect issue for me; I'm not going to buddy it up with a guy and then ignore his girl -- that just seems off. Well as it turns out, Wong always said hello to me and was always super nice, as the grudge wore on, everytime I ignored this kid, it took a toll on me b/c I can't stand to live with myself when I'm being rude to nice people (even if this means merely giving the cold shoulder).

His workout partner on the other hand, like the female-halves of a couple of other duos, have forced me to cut ties with their really cool, genuine male halves b/c of the looming awkwardness earlier discussed. The young woman in question always seemed to be above and beyond my reach -- not romantic reach, mind you, but worse still, my social reach. It was like if there was a social ladder to reach her spot on the hierarchy of life, by the time I got a chance to climb, someone had hammered off most of the rungs off and greased the few remaining, thoroughly.

So, I gave up. And it seemed of little concern to her. But when I made up with Ben, almost immediately I received a compliment for losing weight and working hard from her. I found out that she only noticed I existed, because he made a comment about me. But guess what, I want to be noticed when I'm fat and out of shape too, because the amount fat I carry -- or don't, doesn't define me as a human being. The physique snobs of the world shouldn't measure the self-worth of their peers along the same lines as the body fat index!

Anyways, I won't talk to this woman. It's awkward as hell talking to Ben and having her stand there beside him, smiling, nodding along as if she's an integral part of the conversation. It's awkward for me, because her demeanor is seemingly that of a really nice girl that wants to be my friend, but I'm also regularly reminded of all the times I was invisible -- even when I wasn't holding any grudges... you don't ever want to be made to feel like you're a nobody -- not anywhere, but much less in the gym.

You can use that rejection as motivation to work harder and get better, but it's not optimal; the feelings of inadequacy will trump all others. Even bone dry, razor sharp, vascular, grainy, and balanced - or - well-read, prepared, and eager to debate... a wounded heart will crush your soul.