Monday, December 16, 2013

Ebb and Flow

By Cristi Bartlett

Heavy is back. And it feels good.

Within my world, there is a considerable amount of rotations, stops and
go's, cycles if you must.

I'll run through beer and stop the vodka. Or I'll channel the inner Russian
in me,drown in Ketel 1, and ditch the heavy, not enough bang for you
buck, weak ass beer.

Man, I will eat cookies, cakes and whatever else crosses my path without
thought. Whereas there are times where I think sugar and shit food is
toxic. So Instead I'll stick to the meat, veggies, fruits, and sweet
potatoes, rice and such.

As far as my training goes, there's light and heavy.

These are phases. Ebb and flow.

For the past, well, for the past almost year, my training has been primarily focused on
gaining size and maintaining my strength. Since last year while both  dieting
and both eating in excess, I've been into some higher rep, body part
split training. No deadlift days, just back. No bench days, just chest. It
was a bit of an adjustment for me because having strength at the
forefront of my training for most of my lifting career, I thought I could
do anything with the heaviest amount of weight; bodybuilding training
will quickly put me in my place. It's just a whole other mindset and my
pride/ego needs to be checked before embarking on the reps, constant
tension, rest-paused, forced rep, partial rep, time under tension journey.

Bodybuilding training. How I see it.
It's a deep burn. A burn so deep, it fucks with your breathing. Almost
every rep leaves you gasping for air. Your muscles feel like they are on
fire. By rep #8, of a set of 12, your not sure if you are going to
complete the set. Muscular failure never felt so good. 60-90 secs pass
since your last rep, your not quite recovered, but its time to perform. It
starts all over again. It feels almost like a long sprint. Every fiber of
that muscle is contracting as hard as you can push.It's exhausting. It's
like you can feel growth occur; the pump, it's so good.

This beast. A different kind of beast. For me, I don't feel a burn, It's
hard to describe. When I'm pulling, squatting, or pushing something heavy,
I feel it bone deep; I mean right from the jump, the set up, it's every
ounce of your being being tugged at, being pushed, being pulled. The last
place I feel it is in my muscles. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, I don't know.
but the deadlift. As soon as I take the slack out of the bar, sit way
back and pull that bar in, I feel like the ligaments, tendons, and
muscular origin and insertion points are gonna rip completely off the
bone. There's no engorgement of blood pooling in the belly of my muscle,
just the feeling of mechanical torment. And if your that bold enough to
withstand that type of affliction, that type of discomfort, you'll then be
relieved to stand there in all your victorious glory of PRing in whatever
lift you been training for. It's so fulfilling.

It's so advantageous to cycle. There's benefits to reps, benefits to
lifting heavy shit, benefits to eating less, benefits to indulging,
benefits for high intensity training, benefits to steady state cardio;
there are benefits to just about anything.

How do you expect to gain muscle without putting on some extra pounds and
eating more than what you are used to. Eat up and accept this as your
"Grizzly" phase. Go ahead, break out your big pants, lift some heavy shit
and get big and as strong as you can. I mean I love walking into a room,
feeling like my back is as wide as a double wide trailer is long or that
there is nothing in this world that I cant pick up or handle. Its feels
great. If you embrace this "Grizzly" phase, the whole process of your
pants getting a little bit tighter or your shirt just fitting a tad bit
more snug on your shoulders is much more fun than fighting it. Have fun
with it, because after my "Grizzly" phase, there comes a "Panther" phase.
This is the phase where your eating less, you're sleek, muscular, vascular
as hell and irritable from the little food your eating. Get out and start
sprinting, posing, and hit some higher reps within your training protocol.

How do you expect to not get bored with your training? You have to switch
it up; benefits ranging all over the place. Give yourself a break from
all the heavy lifting and try some bodybuilding type training, change up
your split. Try getting strong as hell, ditch the 8-12 rep range and hit
some PR's in the 3-5 arena. If you have found yourself in "Grizzly" mode
for too long, diet down, get athletic, and get "Panther" like. You have to
switch it up, every 6-8 weeks, every 12 weeks, whatever, just don't get
stuck with the same routine or use the same exercises for years on and
end. It'll get boring and you may end up with some overuse injuries which
are a pain to deal with.

If you haven't switched it up yet, try doing something different at the
beginning of your new cycle, you will be surprised as how much carryover
there is from cycle to cycle.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.