By Chris Wilson, Head Strength Coach
1. Chris Wilson: Ben Tatar AKA, Tatar Monster, you have been to every Arnold Sports Festival Event. Of ALL the Arnold Sport Festivals you’ve been to, name the THREE best years of the event and why?
BEN TATAR: Wow, so many have been amazing and the best in their own way. It’s hard to pick a favorite because, in a greater sense, they all become one, all part of a bigger journey. However, I will pick three Arnold Sports Festival Events which I feel were special:
3rd place: The 2007 Arnold Sports Festival! 2007 ASF gets 3rd place because it was before the whole world knew about it through social media which made it more personal. The WPO was in full blast on the main stage; they had incredible celebrities, and I have so many memories with old friends.
2nd place: The 2009 Arnold Sports Festival! I set some records and did the first ever human barbell. I picked the booth girls for booths. The expo and parties were just hotter than ever, and the magazine industry was still really booming. It was just an incredible ASF trip from start to finish.
1st place: The 2011 Arnold Sports Festival! This was the peak. Everyone I knew from multiple periods of time attended. The stars were at an all time high. The event had a hardcore edge, and most of the Critical Bench crew was even there. It was just the perfect Arnold.
I would say the 2016 Arnold was probably one of the biggest Arnold events along with last year’s Arnold. The event had more events, greater attendance with more booths than past Arnolds. I really liked some of the Arnold’s new features like the NFL Hall of Fame.
There were so many things happening, from the Kids Expo to the WWE experience. The event just expands. This was also an amazing year for me as I met so many great people at the Hyatt, Phil Heath Autism Charity Event Party and reunited with old friends. This year’s event reminded me that the opportunities at the Arnold never run out; the friendships are forever.
The 2016 Arnold also had many big name celebrities. Some of the celebrities at the 2016 Arnold included: 50 Cent, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jon Bones Jones, Royce Gracie, Larry Fitzgerald, Phil Heath, Jay Cutler, the Ohio State Buckeyes, HHH, Kai Greene, Kurt Angle, Orlando Pace, Andre Reed, Apolo Ohno (from the Olympics,) Randy Couture, Justin Timberlake, the World’s strongest man competitors, the WWE locker room and most booths had a sponsored champion or athlete.
On top of the celebrities, the 2016 Arnold had a huge list of freaks, thousands of female models, mascots and the event was loaded every aisle you walked. The event also had more events and booths than ever.
People from over 80 different countries and people from everywhere were there. I feel like every Arnold event has been a world victory for me that goes beyond setting world records.
At this years Arnold, I set a record for benching a 235-lbs bandbell bamboo bar 36 times (more than anyone else my size.)I also set a world record at the 2014 Arnold for doing 40 pull-ups while wearing a 50-lbs vest. This achievement made my Iron Man Magazine bio and is featured on the walls of restaurants from around the globe.
The victory of each Arnold surpasses breaking records as each Arnold breaks many different personal records to me in so many different ways. That’s another reason why there must be many favorites.
The Arnold is always a huge victory as a reporter and as a reporter I feel like I’m setting a new personal record at all times in new ways! When I pick the 2011 Arnold as the best ever it’s like me saying “This championship win is my favorite championship win!”
The details of the 2011 event wins like the crazy after parties, the hotel parties, stars at the top, the more personal/yet more hardcore vibe of the fitness culture, behind the scenes stuff and the crazy details which you actually would have to experience in person to really understand.
I am proud of my perfect Arnold streak and I look at every Arnold I have ever attended as an incredible victory & movie. I feel like it continues on during the off season in the hearts with other friends.
2. CW: What’s new and cool at the Arnold, and what’s old and dull?
BT: Lots of things were new at the Arnold. Some include: Baton Twirling, Indoor Cycling Charity Ride, Indoor Triathlon, Tae kwon do, the Arnold Wheel Chair bodybuilding contest and the NFL Hall of Fame. Other events that returned for the second straight year were the Kids’ Expo, Soccer and the WWE Experience. Another cool addition to this year’s Arnold was having 900 booths.
This is a big jump because in 2012 the Expo had 750 booths. There were some negative aspects in regards to the 2016 Arnold. For example, they didn’t have a Bodybuilding dot com booth, BEAST booth or GNC booth.
What is old and dull? Well, I use my creativity to prevent that from happening. I always find ways to create my own fun. It’s not just about the Arnold, but it’s what you bring to the Arnold.
For kicks and giggles, when I survey people about what gets old, they occasionally tell me that they watch a competition to see which girl can get her breasts out the most without showing her nipple. They complain about having to stand in an hour line for one sample or being stuck shoulder to shoulder in a huge crowd.
Others think that it gets old how the Arnold keeps adding sports that have little to do with lifting.
They are like, “what’s next Guinea pig racing?” Then at the same time, the Arnold is doing a great job at putting outside of the box events in other venues. For what does and doesn’t get old is really a perspective thing.
I would say what gets old is the fact that many people are attending these events almost every single month on a smaller scale.
It’s not like ten years back when there was just the Arnold and the Olympia. Today you have an Arnold sports festival event right after the Los Angeles fit expo or less than two weeks before the Arnold Australia. There seems to be a fitness event each month, but the Arnold USA event is the Grand Daddy of them all.
Every time I step on to that expo floor, there is a huge energy that I feel, and it gets bigger each year. I feel satori, metanoia and numinous eudaemonia! I know that each Arnold Sports Festival Event will always be unique because it has the best of the best in everything! The Arnold is an extravaganza which in its own way is bigger than the Olympics. History is made here.
3. CW: Name the 3 Hottest Women you saw in person at this year’s event and the 3 Most Impressive Guys you saw in person?
BT: Who were the three hottest booth babes? I will have to let the fans vote on that one! In a generic sense I don’t think the fitness models are in their prime overall because before the models were competing for magazines as today it’s more about selling oneself on social media.
On the other hand, there are more types of models today than the past. The good news is, there will always be nines and tens in the fitness culture. There were way more models at the 2016 Arnold than most Arnolds because there were a lot more booths!
The 2016 Arnold did a great job of using models from everywhere! The 2016 Arnold had everything from small town girls from the mountains in the middle of no where to city girls on the beach!
One of the biggest bodybuilders I saw this weekend was definitely Paulo Almeida. This guy is just a true genetic freak from 5%ers. Another choice of mine is Jon Bones Jones because I think he is the most dominate UFC fighter. We actually have developed a friendship over the years. Another incredible person was Orlando Pace from the NFL Hall of Fame. It’s hard to come up with just three because there are so many.
4. CW: Who gets this year’s FREAK award and who is the ALL-TIME Freakiest Guy ever at the Arnold Sports Festival?
BT: Well, there are two freak award winners this year. The biggest freak at the 2016 Arnold was Glenn Ross. Glenn is the biggest strongman competitor of all time. He weighs 578-lbs and placed third at the 2005 Arnold Strongman contest.
He has a 881-lbs deadlift, 881-lbs squat and a 650-lbs raw bench press. Glenn also has done crazy strongman feats before. He is the most massive strongman/freak in the history of Arnold events.
The other freak award this year goes to Brandon Lilly. I put a shirt on him that you gave me that says “Body Weight Beast Champ,” with the Critical Bench Logo on the back. He is not only enormous, but super strong with a 2204 power lifting total which is getting bigger by the minute.
Obviously, for greatest freaks ever…… I’m going to say that in the massive monster category there has been nobody like ED RUSS! Unlike, Glenn Ross, Big Ed has less body fat and has much more muscle mass in his arms. Anytime people see old pictures of us, they can’t help but laugh or have an OMG reaction!
Whenever I’m with Ed Russ, I feel like I’m in a movie like no other, meaning you’re like on another planet. Everywhere fans just line up for pictures! I give a big shout out to Ed Russ because I know he is reading this.
For bodybuilders–My all time King of Freaks king goes to Kenny Gipson from back in 2006. Kenny was just a breed of his own beast. He was like Zeus from the movie “No Holds Barred,” but way freakier, thicker and more ripped. He was Zeus personified.
5. CW: Has the Arnold become TOO big….does the event feel overwhelming like you just can’t get to everything?
BT: I could see where someone could think that. From a person to person perspective no, but from being able to watch every single event perspective, yes. The Arnold has over 70 events which is more than the Summer Olympics with people from over 80 different Countries competing. As the Arnold has grown, the events have gone to many different locations.
For example, if you want to attend the Arnold swimming event, you would have to travel in traffic to get to the Courtyard by Marriott in New Albany Ohio. That is over an hour drive. If you want to attend soccer, you would have to travel to Stars Indoor Sports in Columbus, OH. If you wanted to attend the Pro Boxing, you would have to go to the L.C. PAVILION.
The Arnold Sports Festival weekend has become so big that they now even have a separate Expo for kids! As you can see, just having me list the different locations makes it seem overwhelming, and you’re right that it has gotten physically impossible to get everywhere. They do give you maps and have made an effort to help people navigate.
I must admit there have been times when I wish the Arnold Sports Festival was two weeks long like the Olympics and didn’t just go from Thursday to Sunday. This would allow me to actually compete or attend and cover everything. However, at this point it doesn’t matter because I know where I should be during every single Arnold event and if there is anything I miss, I can see what happened later!
The event has just gotten so huge, and there is actually something for everyone! It doesn’t matter if you’re a nine year old boy singing in a “Kids Got Talent Show,” or playing chess or if you’re a beast competing in the MAS wrestling event.
6. CW: It appears that Arnold himself truly loves this event…he’s always present and the first one to congratulate the winners. Does his celebrity and enthusiasm for his own event make it that much bigger and better for those in attendance? Is Arnold himself the driving force behind the events monster success?
BT: Excellent question, but I feel there are so many other factors to the success of the event than just having Arnold there. For example, where else can you find friends from around the world all located under one roof at the biggest iron extravaganza? Think of the booth models! Where else will a guy enter one venue with thousands of booth models who have something in common with himself?
Think of the other celebrities, whether it is UFC fighters, WWE wrestlers, NBA players or movie stars? Fans who aren’t bodybuilders appreciate this. There are so many big bodybuilders, strongmen and Olympic athletes who are in their prime, and fans like engaging with them.
It’s in our blood to compete, and people will compete even though most know they won’t be going out for lunch with Arnold during Arnold weekend. I think the event now has so many different driving forces behind its success that goes well beyond Arnold.
At one time, I do think Arnold was a huge factor for the success of the event! Arnold got the ball rolling but once he did, the success just grew off of everything else!
7. CW: We’ve talked about this before but who cares…if you could choose an ALL-ACCESS pass for either the Arnold or Olympia, what would you pick and why?
BT: The Arnold because it has four times the amount of people and seven times the amount of events. The Arnold has 190,000 fans and the Olympia has 45,000 fans. The Arnold and the Olympia are such different monsters.
If you have an ALL-ACCESS pass to the Arnold, it’s far more beneficial because your media credentials can help a greater range of people. You’re there for the people in anything and everything you want! This means you can be there for people in the 5k run and pump or the Powerlifting competitions.
You’re there for the families….. You’re a whole support to the whole entire Arnold Sports Festival Nation and not just the bodybuilding nation. I think the ALL-ACCESS pass to the Arnold runs a lot broader and a lot deeper.
The Arnold and the Olympia bring in different types of people. The Arnold brings in true iron fans and the Olympia brings in more socialites or social climbers. One of the Arnold Booth workers said “The Arnold fans are more impressed with everyone they engage with and feel like they are in for something special.
The Olympia fans are more competitive social types and even if they didn’t have a pass they would tell people who have passes that they are more famous than or successful than them. It’s just a different mentality.”
I think the pass is more relevant during Arnold Weekend. I think the Olympia has more bodybuilding freaks, maybe hotter booth models and bigger name celebrities than the Arnold. The Arnold has way more energy and intensity because you have the World’s Strongest Man contest going on the main stage, loud music, The WWE experience on another side of the expo, way more people and the intensity of the Arnold just destroys that of the Olympia!
The Arnold also has more random freaks and a higher powerlifter-strongman culture than the Olympia. The Arnold also has way more NFL players and Olympic Athletes than the Olympia. The pass at the Arnold mostly is more important than a pass at the Olympia because the lines at the Arnold are way worse!
The Arnold pass is also instant access to the after parties and at the Olympia you don’t need a press pass to go into any of the Vegas parties. For the Vegas parties…you just need to get tickets early to avoid the lines.
8. CW: Will the new attention paid to the “Men’s Physique” division help events like the Arnold and Olympia going forward?BT: We live in a changing society which I will discuss in my future article, “The metamorphosis of the fitness industry.” I don’t want to just comment on “Men’s Physique,” but as a whole you see changes in philosophy when it comes to physique.
Ten years ago the mentality was “Bigger is better and if it’s easy, it has no value.” Back then there would be big lines for the freaks and the 6’1 160-lbs fit lifters would be labeled as peons.Today you have 5’9 300-lbs bodybuilders with only about eight people in their lines.
There are fitness models who are almost 6 inches taller and over 100-lbs lighter with very-very long lines! Some old school bodybuilders have expressed anger because they had to get known before social media existed and they aren’t getting the attention today. Some people feel the new motto of the industry is “if it’s easy, more people will do it and more people are doing it.”
This statement is in reference to being cut, fit, aesthetic and not super big or strong. Fitness models and fans at the booths often take pictures, use hash tags, and post on social media. That’s huge publicity!Perhaps this is healthy because it promotes health, gives mainstream people hope and keeps people connected.
So, the answer to your question is that it’s subjective. Part of the reason the industry is growing is that it’s open to more types of people who possess different fitness interest.
9. CW: Who’s the NEXT big star in the world of Bodybuilding? Who’s the new, young hopeful emerging?
BT: All the winners were people who I have heard of before. Most of the freaks at this year’s Arnold were freaks who I already knew from past events. Akim Williams from the Muscle Meds booth could possibly be the next Kai Greene or a true bodybuilding freak of the future. There are a number of people who are emerging in different fields of fitness.
10. CW: Name your three favorite events at this year’s Arnold Sports Festival?
BT: I enjoyed way more than three events and it’s hard for me to compare events that are so different and that are a part of me in very unique ways.Three of my many favorites are: The NFL Hall of Fame – I just loved the athletic skill competitions, the question & answers with NFL Hall of Famers. I felt that it was a new feature that really added to the event.
The Arnold strongman contest – In my eyes, this is always unique because the events are creative, world records are set, and it’s more based on brute strength than the WSM you see on TV. They did a great job even giving Eddie Hall who placed last in the strongman competition a chance to break a record and Brian Shaw a chance to break a record by creating fan interested events!
The WWE Experience – The reason I choose this one is because it really helps the event grow. Many kids would like to be the next big WWE star; here is their chance. I love all the events. Even when I’m 80, I will probably be playing pickleball at the Arnold. Maybe I will be setting a world record as an 80 year old man and competing in multiple sports as well as covering the event!
11. CW: As we wrap up this interview, is there anything else you would like to say?
BT: I would like to say that I’m impressed with how much stronger everyone keeps getting. At every Arnold, it seems like a New World Record keeps getting broken. The top powerlifters keep getting stronger! I feel that the present isn’t just competing with the present but also with the past. It’s also always an amazing adventure each year that brings in powerful memories that you can’t get from anywhere else.
In closing I would like to thank Mike Westerdal & Chris Wilson “Coach Chris,” from Critical Bench for the press pass. I have to thank Rob Jones from the GLC2000 booth and New Age Performance Booth who I shot some past and future stars with. Rob introduced me to so many incredible people all weekend.
I would like to thank Grace Grimes for the hook up at the Phil Heath Makeitfit Autism charity event who was a big factor in regards to why the Arnold weekend was so special. I give thanks to Lindsey and Janice McLaughlin who are incredible people and for helping me with some of the transportation!
Special thanks to everyone I partied with at the Hyatt, you know who you all are! There are just so many great people in the industry. There is more that happens at these events than I can possibly write. I had quite the agenda. On Thursday I did shoots with old stars and stars of the future.I also partied with many booths and I bar hopped downtown. On Friday after the Expo, I went to the Phil Heath Make it Fit Charity party for Autism and then partied with the stars at the Hyatt. On Saturday I went to the Party with the Pros event and it was a spectacular event.
There wasn’t a dull moment at the expo and at the Hyatt Hotel it all just continues without the fans there! The whole weekend was incredible.With all that said, I know that my next ASF USA event will be even better! Why you ask? Ed Russ will be back, the King of Freaks!
I will see most of you again and the moments, experiences and all will just expand with history included and beyond. Critical Chris, thank you so much for the great interview questions.
2015 Las Vegas Olympia Interview featuring Ben Tatar
By Anthony Alayon
Anthony Alayon: For those who don’t know you that well, can you tell us about some of your achievements in the iron world?
Ben Tatar: To quote the Biography of me in Iron Man Magazine:
“Ben Tatar has been contributing to IRON MAN for more than a decade. He holds a record at the Arnold Sports Festival for doing 40 pullups wearing a 50-pound vest. He also has performed a record 810-pound bench press lockout-out–the most weight for his height and weight in the world– and has benched 455.
He has written hundreds of training articles and is a reporter for CriticalBench.com IM” I also have been in many different magazines, wrote ebooks and done media at many different events.
Anthony Alayon: Ben you have been reporting, covering and doing interviews on the biggest events for a very long time. How has the Olympia changed in 2015 compared to when you first started going?
Ben Tatar: Well, when I first started going to the Olympia, there were hardly any fans! You could see the biggest celebrities and your friends without thinking about the crowds.
I saw the Olympia event as this little paradise that was relatively unknown. However, social media has totally changed that; the Olympia is constantly marketed everywhere! In the past being published in magazines was a really big deal, so people really wanted to be discovered at these events.
Although this mentality still exists, it’s much more digitally focused. The Olympia convention is also enormous today! Back then the fitness industry was more like a family where there were less people and everyone was friends with everyone.
Today the industry is gigantic with many different events going on throughout the day and there are over 1000 booths.
Anthony Alayon: What celebrity appearance surprised you the most?
Ben Tatar: Seeing Floyd Mayweather. He’s one of the biggest names in the world today. I never knew Floyd was coming until the day he showed up. He has never been to one of these big conventions before.
Anthony Alayon: Can you explain to the readers what makes the Olympia so special?
Ben Tatar: I will list ten things:
1) If you’re into bodybuilding, the Olympia is the highest prize of any event in the world. Winning Mr. Olympia has more prestige than winning the Arnold Classic in the sport of bodybuilding. That’s why the people who are into bodybuilding consider the Olympia event and everything surrounding it to be the biggest of all.
2) The Olympia is in Las Vegas. There is so much to do.
3) Most females have told me the Olympia is their favorite event. When they go to expos in South America or Europe, they notice that the conventions are a bit downscale and that they don’t know as many people. They love that it is in Las Vegas.
4) The Olympia isn’t the most crowded event as that belongs to the FIBO in Germany which has over 1 million fans! The Olympia isn’t as crowded as the Arnold in Columbus which has over 200,000 fans! However, the Olympia has over 1000 booths with less than 50,000 fans. This at least means you can walk around the Expo without getting stuck in crowded traffic jams.
5) The Olympia brings in the biggest celebrities. Some names include: Ronda Rousey, Floyd Mayweather, all the UFC Champions, Pro Athletes, John Cena, Carmen Electra, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Jersey Shore Cast, Action Hero movie stars and many more.
6) Even if you aren’t into celebrities, the Olympia has tons of events. Many martial art events are going on during the day. There are other fitness shows going on like the “The Ultimate Fitness Training Guru,” and tons of competitions. These competitions are open to people of all ages. This means that nobody really gets bored.
7) Guys love the many attractive females who are drawn to the fitness expo.
8) The Olympia is a freak show. There are so many 350lbs lean monsters all under one roof.
9) There are tons of fitness challenges and fun games around the expo. People love this and all the supplement deals.
10) For me, the Olympia weekend is history because I know so many people. These surprises each year keep my motivation fresh. Although I like the history, each event is unique and like no other.
Anthony Alayon: What night life surrounds the Olympia weekend in Las Vegas?
Ben Tatar: The Olympia is in Las Vegas so there is a lot to do. The biggest surprise at the Olympia this year was Rich and Sara Piana’s wedding. Their wedding guest included 350lbs ripped monsters, celebrities,female muscle freaks and lots of models.
After the wedding on Thursday night, I went to Surrender night club. What’s interesting about today is that the booths now promote their own VIP parties.
For example, the Shredz booth had a party at the ballroom right after the Expo at Encore with all the models and celebrities from Shredz. Some of the world’s greatest powerlifters of all time like Ed Coan and Rhino had their own gym opening on Friday right after the expo.
The XS Phil Heath after party happens in Vegas on Saturday night and you could hang with Carmello Anthony from the NBA at the Veneitian. Hey, you could jump off the tallest tower in America like I did in past years or attend a pool party at Wet Republic.
Anthony Alayon: How would you compare this year’s Olympia to last year’s?
Ben Tatar: Last year the Olympia had way more companies and booths in attendance. This year the Olympia charged companies a lot more for booth space, so many companies backed out.
Last year’s Olympia had a lot more people at the booths and even more competitions. This year’s Olympia dropped some competitions such as sumo wrestling, the world’s greatest athlete competition, the powerhouse challenge and arm wrestling.
The Olympia from a public perspective, definitely took some steps back this year.
Anthony Alayon: Who gets the freak award?
Ben Tatar: This is the hardest question to answer because the top freaks are much improved and win in their own way. I’m going to give it to actor Marytn Ford who will be in Undisputed 4. He is close to 7 feet tall and still very muscular! There are freaks bigger than he, but they are a lot shorter.
Anthony Alayon: What were the best and worst parts?
Ben Tatar: The best part is that the Olympia has so much to offer without being ridiculously crowded. The worst part is dealing with marketing agendas when you want to connect at a deeper level.
Anthony Alayon: In closing is there anything you would like to say?
Ben Tatar: Anthony, thank you so much for the interview. For those reading this interview I hope to see you down the road.
Interview with powerlifting Team USA member Meghan Pellatt
By CB reporter Ben Tatar.
Critical Bench: Today Critical Bench is here with Meghan Pellatt who has succeeded in powerlifting. She will be a member of Team USA in June as she competes in the powerliftings World Classic in Africa. Meghan, tell CB readers a little about yourself.
A little about me; I have always been a competitive person. I grew up in a small town where I played sports year round basically from the time I could walk. I have always known that I was genetically gifted with strength and became borderline obsessed, challenging strangers to an arm wrestling match, or by wrestling who ever I could. When I fell into powerlifting I knew I had found a home.
Critical Bench: What federation do you compete in and what are your best lifts?
I compete with USAPL RAW (no knee wraps, no suits, no bench shirts) in the 63 kilo open division, they are a drug tested federation. My best competition lifts were 292 squat, 170 bench and 385 deadlift. I haven’t competed in a few months so I have reached new PRs in the gym since then, 300 squat and 405 deadlift. My bench has been stuck almost since the beginning, maybe you guys at Critical Bench could help with that! 😉
Critical Bench: Meghan, how did you get started in powerlifting?
I started powerlifting when I lived in Florida. There was a group of powerlifters that I had followed for awhile until I had the courage to ask to join the team. It was love at first lift after that!
Critical Bench: What are your future goals? (Tell us about your upcoming competition in Africa)
I have had the honor to be invited to compete on team USA at the Classic World Championship in South Africa this year. It had been my ultimate goal from the beginning and now that it is reality my goal is to have the experience of a lifetime and to medal in my weight class. To stand on the podium with the best female lifters in the WORLD would be nothing short of incredible. I’m on some pretty intense programming and I am determined to place in the top 3.
Critical Bench: What are your top 10 tips to get scary strong beyond belief? (Note Meghan deep squats for reps more than what most men squat once)
1) Warm up!!! I don’t mean a few arm circles, touch your toes and go. Take at least a half hour for dynamic warm ups, foam rolling and stretching.
2) Ask questions. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. Find someone who knows what they are doing and proper technique. You have no idea how much it irks me when I see people doing quarter squats, or when I see backs bent like a fishing pole during deads.
3) Proper nutrition. Not all powerlifters are fat. I’m not a believer in cutting whole food groups out of your diet. Flexible dieting works for me, for cutting, maintaining or bulking. Fat and carbs are just as important as protein.
4) Rituals. Find one that works for you and use it every time you approach a lift.
5) Focus. I am easily distracted, so when I am in the gym I have to put my headphones on blare some music and get into the zone.
6) Stay positive. Sometimes you are going to miss a lift and you’re going to get pissed off. Allow yourself a few minutes to be mad at the world, brush it off and get back to work. Every failure is a step closer to success.
7) No excuses. When I lived in Florida I worked a full-time job and had full-time personal training clients, I never missed a training day. If you want something bad enough, you’re the only one who can go out and get it. Find time and let nothing get in your way.
8) Less Cardio.
9) Recovery. Rest days are just as important as training days.
10.) Get rid of anything (or anyone) that is bringing you down.
Critical Bench: Great tips! what motivates you?
Like I said I’m very competitive, and as a competitor I want to win. The thing that motivates me is knowing that there is a real chance that I could be one of the best female lifters in the world.
Critical Bench: So far in your powerlifting journey list us a favorite moment, funny moment, crazy moment and a moment that changed you the most Favorite moment?
Standing on the podium at Nationals with a silver medal around my neck while getting a hug from the living legend, Jennifer Thompson! (I mean she 132 pounds and benches over 300)
Funny moment: Getting interviewed, when the camera was on I felt like Ricky Bobby I didn’t know what to do with my hands. I kept touching my face, doing weird things with my fingers and I couldn’t get any actual words out of my mouth. Embarrassing.
Critical Bench: What is your powerlifting routine like?
For now, once I finish the program I’m on I will test my maxes and start with a new one and most likely bench and squat two days a week.
Critical Bench: How do you want to be remembered I would like to be a legend like Jennifer Thompson, Kimberly Walford, Taylor Stallings or Jenn Rottsinger.
I want to be remembered as a strong woman, in more ways than one.
Critical Bench: What is your advice to woman out there who train?
Stop thinking you’re going to get bulky and lift heavy!
Critical Bench: Who would you like to thank?
My boyfriend Matt McDonald, who pushes me day in and day out to be the best, he and I come up with my programming and without him I know I wouldn’t be where I am today!
Critical Bench: Thanks Meghan! We all wish Meghan the best as she continues to amaze us all. Please visit Meghans’s gofundme link and support her:
Interview with World Record Holder Tiny Meeker (First man to bench press over 1,100lbs.)
Interviewed by CB reporter Ben Tatar
Tiny Meeker is the first and only man to bench press 1,100lbs. Tiny benched an astounding 11,02lbs and he gave 1,135lbs a ride. Tiny is also the World Record Holder for repping 600 lbs. for 14 reps. He benched 700 lbs. for 8 reps and 800 lbs. for 4 reps which is the most ever. Let’s meet the man with the biggest.
CB: Tiny you have set all kinds of bench press records. Which 5 were your favorite in order and why?
Tiny Meeker: My five favorites were as follows:
1) 1,102, I am finally satisfied with a lift. I will put my next top 5, but this meant the most to me. I am the first and only one to hit 1100.
2) Was benching 800 and 900 in a single. Man, I was battling Bill Gillespie to be the first to bench 800. I was really worried he would get the 800 first. He would do a Meet and miss it. Then I would do one and miss. And then finally I got it.
3) 1077, I cannot lie. I cried! I was going to do 1100 there, but I was too overwhelmed, so I passed.
4) This one is kind of funny. Gus Rethwisch asked me after my second WABDL World Meet what my goal was in powerlifting. I told him I wanted to bench 700. He told me that I would never do it, because I only benched 606 in the last two years at Worlds. Man, did that make me mad. I actually had the flu the year he said that.
I didn’t even take my training serious back then. The next year I hit 657 and broke Ryan Kennelly’s record by two pounds. I then missed 700. The next two years I missed 700, but the next time I lifted in the WABDL, I hit 843!!! I told Gus, he was right. I never benched 700. I did 843!!
5) My first 600 and 700, not in the WABDL. My first 6 was 606 and I did it in the APA. What made it special was that I also did it in front of The Great Anthony Clark. It was also my first real World Record. It put my name in as a serious lifter. My first 700 was 705 in the APF.
Another special moment was with my training partner was Bill Lobins. Bill had to move away to take care of his mother who was ill. I promised him that I would bench 700 before he moved away. I opened with 683 good, then missed, 705. On my third lift I hit it. I had tears going down my face halfway up, because I knew I had it.
I jumped up on the bench and hugged Bill and told him, I told you I would do it!!! He said, you sure did!!!
CB: What are your future goals?
Tiny Meeker: I have some much unfinished business in the single-ply. I need to nail 1000!!! Right now I know I can do 1140 in a Multi-ply. I know 1100 was the ultimate goal, but I do believe I can bench 1200 very soon.
After that, I want to lose about 40 to 50 pounds and stay at 280 for sometime. Not sure if I want to drop down to 275, but time will tell.
CB: Back when you were in college did you always believe you would be a world record bench press holder?
Tiny Meeker: I love these questions, NO, during my first year I was working in Night clubs and living the night life. I also was playing lots of basketball.
I was always in the weight room, but I had no idea that powerlifting existed after high school. I lifted in high school my sophomore and junior year, but my school dropped it my senior year.
I always loved to bench, but I was never really serious about my lifting until much later. When I was 22, I was benching 600 raw. I actually did it the first time in my old high school gym during the summer. At 28 I met a man named Bob Garza. He saw me benching over 500 in a Bally’s gym one day. He asked me if I wanted to powerlift.
The techniques I learned were way better when it comes to to bench. I used to flare my elbows, but not anymore. My benched dropped at first. A few months later I lifted in my first USPF Texas Meet. I took second. And that is when it all started again.
CB: How does it feel to have the biggest bench press ever?
Tiny Meeker: Very relieved. In 2010 I suffered a very bad shoulder injury. Thank GOD for GLC2000. Last December I was riding around in Vegas with my friend Hunter Hernandez. I was telling him 1047 was not a bad number. I really felt that I would never bench 1000 again.
I was good for 900, which is not a bad bench at all, but I didn’t think my shoulder would heal. After the WABDL Worlds I took a few weeks off and doubled up the dosage of my GLC2000. Within weeks the pain just stopped. A few months after that I benched 1077 in Corpus at the SPF Texas State.
CB: What is unique about your training partners and the equipment you use?
Tiny Meeker: They show up every Sunday!!!! Actually, they all want to be better and they are all great guys. I am truly blessed to have a great group of lifters such as Steven Kaufman, Mike Thomas, Keithyon Gunter, David Smith, Greg Brown, Harjit Kumar, Fateh Sihota, Bobby Leitz, and Chris Eason.
This is my team. We are all different in ages and weight classes, but we all want to be the best and help each other. As far as equipment goes, I have a very big hardcore gym which is about 13,000 sq ft. I have the best bars and benches you can use which includes a kilo set, bands, chains, and much much more.
CB: How do you want to be remembered?
Tiny Meeker: I just want to be remembered as a lifter that had no fear. And a lifter that never thought he was better than anyone else. I never wanted to be treated different from anyone else and a lifter that loved to help others reach their goals.
I just wish there was one day that everyone would see me lift or watch my video and say that was good. I wish!!
CB: What shirt did you use to bench the 1102?
Tiny Meeker: Inzer Advance Designs SDP. The Phenom is the most incredible shirt ever made. I can touch 600 in the same shirt I bench 1102 in. Yes, it was a 3ply
CB: One might wonder why the best bench pressers use shirts. Any explanation?
Tiny Meeker: Safety! The number one reason we wear equipment. I have much respect for Spoto and Mendy, but lifting raw is the only way I ever suffered a injury lifting. I want to lift for a very long time. That might not happen, if I get hurt again. I will take my chances wearing equipment.
CB: So far in your bench journey, list us a FAVORITE MOMENT, FUNNY MOMENT, and a MOMENT that changed you the most.
Tiny Meeker: Favorite, lifting in Russia. The people were so good. I really felt like a RockStar.
Funny, when I benched 1047 at the Biggest Bench On The River, I jumped up and asked the spotter why wouldn’t you grab the weight. We were all laughing, because no one could hear the call. I then stopped and said, was the lift good and they said yes and we all cheered.
Okay, maybe that was corny, but I got a good laugh. Another one, was at the FIT EXPO. I hit my opener 887 and everyone back stage went running to change shirts.
Changed the most? Super-lifting! Made me a much better lifter. Taught me to hold big weight longer and move much faster.
Another major change for me was when my sponsor Randy Risher bought me my first 1000 pound weight set and supplied me with my first gym. My sponsor Brian Welker designing and making my first ever custom bench with me.
CB: What is your advice for a young lifter who would one day like to be benching 1000+
Tiny Meeker: Be patient. It took me 30 years. Learn perfect, yes perfect form first. That means everything is perfect. From the warm-up to the max out. Nothing changes. Put yourself around good people who all want to be there. And will always be honest to you as a lifter.
You will never do this on your own. Don’t be afraid to fail. Always be humble. Help others, because you are going to need help too.
CB: Tiny it was great interviewing you today. In closing is there anything else that you would like to say or anyone who you would like to thank?
Tiny Meeker: Last please let me thank, GOD my Lord Jesus Christ. My sponsors John Inzer and everyone at Inzer Advance Designs, Shawn Madere and GLC2000, Power Sugar, Dr. Nerenberg, My team, My Monster Gym team, Tony Saraceni for giving me the means to go after my ultimate dream.
My brother Jason Meeker, Bert Brocker and the Texan Live Team. Dr. Hillborn and Bob Garrett for fixing my body regularly. And any training partners I have had over all these years and anyone who ever helped put a shirt on me or liftoff for me. Also, a big thank you to Lifewave and Labrada Nutrition.
And finally, thank you Critical Bench for the interview.
December 11, 2013 by Mike Westerdal
Filed under Articles, Bodybuilding and Muscle Building, Fitness Experts, Health and Fitness, Interviews, Muscle Building, Nutrition, Recent Posts, Training, Workout Motivation
AA = Anthony Alayon; SH = Scott Herman
AA: What’s going on, Team Critical Bench Nation? It’s Coach Anthony here and today I have a very, very special guest with us and for those of you that don’t know, Scott is a YouTube sensation, has almost a half-a-million subscribers. He also has close to 200,000 Facebook fans and lo and behold, he has a membership site, which you’re going to find out all about. I was poking around with it last night and this thing is like a hybrid of Facebook, Twitter, BodySpace, all combined. It’s really unique and it makes fitness fun.
So without further ado, I’m going to go ahead and introduce Scott. How you doing?
SH: Hey, what’s going on, man?
AA: What’s going on? This is Scott Herman, ladies and gentlemen. And like I said, he is a YouTube sensation. We’re going to talk all about it. So let’s get started.
So, Scott, can you first tell us about how you got started in the industry, in the fitness? What—was it your passion? What drew you to where you’re at today?
SH: Well, when I was a kid, I was always into lifting. I kind of found my dad’s old weight set in the basement. And then I was on the wrestling team throughout my youth years, I guess I could say. And one of my friends had worked at a gym, a local Gold’s Gym and he’s like, hey, I know you like to lift at home, do you want to try coming to the gym with me and working there for a free membership? And I was like, sweet.
So I was like 14 years old, I started working at the gym, just cleaning stuff on the weekends. And lo and behold, a year later I was working full time, pretty much running the front desk and doing the floor and it just kind of spiraled from there. Just started off as a cleaning monkey and just worked my way forward and I just fell in love with the gym.
I loved the members that were there, I loved that I had something that I could work on at my own pace and something I could always improve on and keep pushing to try and get stronger and stronger. At the time, I was really into Dragonball Z, so I was like, I want to be like these guys, so just being the gym and lifting made that kind of possible.
AA: Cool, man. You actually got started just from the ground roots, basement to the gym and now it’s led you to a nice career in the fitness industry. That’s interesting. What would you say would be your biggest challenge when starting out, especially on YouTube? What obstacles did you face?
SH: I think for me, I kind of didn’t have any idea that you could do this kind of stuff on YouTube. When I started my YouTube channel, I was living in New York City. I had just got done filming the Real World Brooklyn and I was living in the city. I had been always in my own gym. I worked for the same guy for like eight years and I was the general manager of one of his gyms before I left to go to New York.
One day I was just kind of sitting in my apartment and I was like, something’s missing in my life. I feel weird not doing anything like completely fitness related. And so I couldn’t go home to my gym because I was in New York. So I figured, hey, maybe I’ll start doing some YouTube videos in my apartment and just kind of teach people how to exercise or give tips and anything like that. That’s basically kind of how it started.
And then the biggest obstacle for me became, I didn’t have a place to film inside of a gym. The gym I was going to, it was a Crunch gym in New York. They were kind of weird about me filming things in there. Which it’s funny now because it seems like almost gyms don’t even care. But for me, they wouldn’t let me film, they wouldn’t let me do anything. And so eventually that’s why I moved back home and that way I could at least film videos in my buddy’s gym and get this channel off the ground.
I would say the biggest obstacle for anyone getting started is just getting the fan base going and getting people to subscribe and see who you are. And my biggest tip I can give you for that is just be true to yourself and don’t fall into the gimmicks. A lot of people online now, they do these gimmicky things and you’ve got to remember, you’re putting yourself out there.
You want people to respect you and see you as a fitness professional. You want people to still want to watch your videos a few years from now. You don’t want to become a fitness fad; you want to become a fitness guru or a fitness professional. And that’s key to being successful. The key to being successful at any business is to make sure that you can be sustainable.
AA: Right, absolutely. Those are some good tips. I think that’s what holds a lot of people back, especially the Critical Bench audience. There’s a lot of people that want to start things, it’s just overcoming those hurdles. So it’s good to hear that you’ve had some hurdles, you are human and that you were able to overcome them.
SH: Yeah. I mean, I’ve been doing it since 2009. It just takes time. And you might not grow the fastest right off the bat, but opportunities come in through the door. As long as you just work hard, it will be there.
AA: Yeah, perfect. Now, what would be the number one exercise tip you would give to our fans who are trying to lose fat and gain muscle?
SH: The number one exercise tip if you’re trying to lose fat would be to circuit train. A lot of people ask me questions about their routine and their diet and they’re trying to lose weight. I always say, hey, so what are you doing for your workout routine?
And nine times out of 10, they’re doing like a muscle-gain split and they’re not burning any calories, not doing any cardio because they’re under the impression that if they do cardio they’re going to lose the muscle they have while trying to lose the fat.
It’s just misinformation that’s out there, and that’s fine. That’s why I built SHF, to try to help guide this misinformation to get people on track. And so if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to eat right, high protein, low carb, easiest thing to do, and you need to circuit train and do cardio. And circuit training is just going from exercise to exercise and doing basically a total-body workout.
A lot of people like to call circuit training Crossfit now. And they think that Crossfit invented circuit training, which isn’t the case, which is kind of annoying. Maybe it’s not annoying to you, Anthony, but every time I do a circuit training routine, I’m called a Crossfiter, which I think is…
SH: Yeah. Anyways, I like Crossfit, don’t get me wrong, but they didn’t invent circuit training. And then if you’re trying to gain muscle, you need to be doing the muscle-gain splits. You need to be focusing on volume. A lot of people are so worried about the weight. Obviously the weight is important, but in order to grow muscle, you need to have volume in your workouts.
And by volume I mean you’re doing higher repetitions, like 12 to 15 repetitions per set. You’re doing three to four sets per exercise and then you’re getting around 15, 16 working sets per muscle group. And normally what I’ll tell people, I’ll say, hey, if you’re doing chest, I don’t care how many exercises you’re doing, just try to get in like 15, 16 working sets. So however many exercises you do, just make sure when you’re doing that’s how many total sets you have in there.
And also, you can experiment with things like tempo. Most people don’t realize that you actually gain the most amount of muscle—you break down the most amount of muscle tissue in the negative part of the exercises.
And to be honest, a lot of people kind of rush through the negative and they’re not doing full range of motion and they’re not working through their sticking points and they’re avoiding all these critical areas where you’re actually going to gain—get the most benefit. So slow negatives, high volume and hit it hard for muscle gain.
AA: Cool. Yeah, that’s great tips. It’s so true that things like full range of motion, just little basic tips, add-up to be the difference-makers. So sticking to the topic of number one, what would be like the number one nutrition tip you’d see for our viewers, especially coming from like a bodybuilding sort of background and like what you’re trying to do with your goal?
What would be the number one tip?
SH: I would say you need to make sure you’re counting your macros. And I say this because a lot of people—and I’ll ask them. I’ll say, how many grams of protein are you eating? And they’re like, oh, my God, I eat so much protein. And lo and behold, they’re probably like 100 grams short of what they should be eating for the day.
Funny story: I was in Wal-Mart the other night and I saw my next-door neighbor. He’s turning 60 soon and he’s a runner. He runs the 5K in like 20 minutes. And he wants to be able to do it in under 20. That’s really good for someone who is 59. I mean, I told him if he just dyed his hair brown, he’d look like he was 35.
So anyways, so I was asking him about his diet and I was like, hey man, what’s your protein intake like? He’s like, oh, my gosh, I eat so much protein and for whatever reason, in his head, he thought that he was eating like 140 grams of protein because he thought that his tuna fish was giving him at least 50 grams of protein a day. And when in reality, he was only getting like—he had little tuna fish packets. You know, you can buy the premade ones?
AA: Yeah, yeah.
SH: He’s like, oh, this one tuna fish packet has like 100 grams right there. I was like, oh, really? Let’s go check-out your tuna fish packets right now on the shelf. Lo and behold, he was only getting like 25 grams. And he’s like, oh, I guess I was wrong. I’m like, yeah, you’re wrong, man. You need to get your protein up.
So at the end of the day, if you have to make sure you hit at least one macro, make sure you hit your protein goal, because nine times out of 10, your carbs and fat, they’ll kind of trickle-in on their own as you’re eating.
AA: Okay, perfect. We also—we already discussed some on the topic of your career path passion. I want to know, what are your workouts looking like these days? Have you changed them up? Have they been consistent from when you first started out? Tell us a little bit about that.
SH: My workouts—recently, I’ve actually—I do want to do a show at some point, and also, I’ve been doing fitness DVDs with Lyons Gate. And those require me to make sure I have a lot of muscular endurance. And so two to three times a week I make sure I’m circuit training.
And I do really high intensity circuits where I’ll incorporate things like muscle-ups and box jumps and Spiderman pushups and mountain climbers and groiners and all these other fun exercises, like burpies, that are just torment. And I have my muscle-gain splits throughout the week as well.
I’d say the biggest difference I’ve done is I’ve actually split my leg day into two different days and I’ve been able to get much better results that way. So instead of doing everything at once, I’ll have one day where I focus mostly on quads and glutes and another day where I focus more on hamstrings and I’ll throw-in my calfs and I’ll just kind of wrap-up what’s missing from my leg day: abductors, adductors and something like that.
I still do my drop sets. If you see my original videos, I haven’t done it for a couple of months, because I did them for about three months straight. Which is basically the first set of every exercise I do a drop set of like three or four drops, basically just pre-exhausting the muscles as much as possible. But right now, I’m sticking to the 10 to 12 rep range, or usually I’ll go maybe has high as like 15 reps, like I said earlier, about focusing on volume.
And I try to at least make sure on one set that I’m doing really slow tempo, maybe as like a finisher. Just to make sure the muscle is getting hit as hard as possible.
AA: Right, right. Perfect. I mean, splitting up the legs; that was a big breakthrough for me. It’s like doing hamstrings, quads different days, separation. So that’s a great tip. Thank you for that. What about your diet now? What is it looking like?
SH: My diet is pretty simple. I stick to what’s easy, to make sure I can do it. I do a lot of chicken, a lot of rice, a lot of broccoli, oatmeal with fruit. I have apples and bananas throughout the day. My girlfriend makes these protein pancakes with the BSN Syntha-6 protein, which gives me like 50 grams of protein right off the bat in the morning, which is really good. It’s kind of become like a staple in our diet.
And then the simple stuff like almonds and then I do have my powder shake throughout the day and I just basically keep it very simple like that. I just make sure I’m hitting my macros and chicken is really easy to cook. Just throw it on the grill and broccoli is even easier to cook. You just throw it in there with the chicken and once you close the top, it kind of like cooks itself. It will be a little raw. You know what I mean?
AA: Yeah, yeah, man. Cool.
SH: So I’m basically just eating kind of plain stuff like that. And then on the weekends, maybe we’ll go out to eat and enjoy myself a little bit, as long as I’m good throughout the—during the week.
AA: Cool. Yeah, macros are important. And I want to also know, this is a question that a lot of people want to know. Do you ever take time away from the gym, such as a vacation or a week from not doing exercise, and why?
SH: I can only take like maybe two or three days off from doing anything. And after like two or three days, I just start to feel like I’m missing something. My body needs to be active. And it can just be like—it can be like a 20 or 30 minute run and I’ll be happy. But I don’t like to stay away for too long, because this is my job and I am filming videos and if I take a solid week or two off, it’s going to affect how I look.
And then when I get back in the gym, it’s going to take me a week just to get my body back to where it is, because obviously you’re going to be sore if you haven’t worked out for two weeks and you go train again. So it will really kind of mess-up my flow of my operation I have going on here.
I mean, if I’m traveling on vacation and I have access to a gym, I can always circuit train and make sure I’m at least pushing myself hard that way. So it’s just a matter of doing something. For me, personally, I just—I don’t like taking off more than a couple of days. It just doesn’t feel right to me.
AA: Right. Okay. Before we get in the membership site, I know you have like a clothing line. I want to know, what are your plans with it?
SH: Yeah, actually, we just re-launched our clothing line. I’m wearing one of my sweatshirts right now. My plan with the clothing line—actually, I can’t take all the credit, because my girlfriend did a lot of the designing and picking of the clothing, and there’s actually girls clothes as well. But the goal was to make stuff that you could wear out to the gym and also kind of wear our around town as well. Because all the clothing is form fitting, so it sticks to you really well, especially if you have a lot of muscle.
The favorite shirts that I have right now are the Burnout shirts. It’s that material that like if you were to pull it, it’s kind of like see-through, but when you wear it, it’s very comfortable and it breathes well. So we wanted to put out a line that was more than just like t-shirts with funny logos on it. We wanted to have something that was a little bit more unique that you would feel proud of wearing. Maybe you open up your drawer and you see like your Armani shirts and your SHF shirts and you’re like, I’m going with the SHF shirt today. You know what I mean?
SH: So that’s the kind of quality we went for with the clothing line. So we’re really excited about that and the hoodies that we have are super-comfortable. They’re extremely warm and they’re form-fitting as well. So actually, I’m wearing one of them right now. It has one of—like an old-school crest that we made up. So it has it right here. It’s kind of like a classic.
SH: When the business started. It says SHF in the middle. All kinds of good stuff.
AA: Cool, man, cool. Yeah, I like that logo there SHF.
SH: Yeah, man. Thank you.
AA: Perfect. Before we close, I want to say, I know you were telling me a lot about the membership site. I touched on this earlier in the introduction of this interview. Can you go ahead and give us just a quick overview of kind of like what’s going on with it and what are your plans with it? What are you trying to do with this, because I mean, you’ve got everything in there.
SH: Sure. Do you want me to do a screen capture of it for you?
SH: Can you see the site?
AA: Yep, there it is.
SH: Awesome. Yeah, Anthony, so you’ve had a chance to kind of log in and make your own profile. So you’ve seen some of this stuff where the site looks like this. It went through a major overhaul. It literally took me all of last year to rebuild this website. Because before, the site was focused just on kind of getting, you know, exercises and routines and the meal plan out there. Now it’s actually its own social media network.
So when you log in to your profile, just like any other network, you have your friend requests, you have your notifications and you have your messages. And then what we wanted to do was make the profiles a quick snapshot of you. So you have your photo over here, you have your measurements. We have avatars. It’s around Thanksgiving time right now, so I have a fun Thanksgiving avatar put together. And then I have badges. There’s a bunch of badges you can pick from.
And then over here, these are like your top 12 friends, which is actually something that MySpace had back in the day, which I thought was pretty cool. You could have like your top—first it was like your top five friends, your top 12, maybe top 15, now it’s like your top 30. It’s starting to get a little ridiculous. I don’t know if you remember that stuff. You remember MySpace?
AA: Yep, I do. Back in the day.
SH: Back in the day. So I kind of pulled from there. And this is more your inspiration. So these are my top 12 inspirations which basically is some of my super Hermanites and my girlfriend and some other people that I talk to on a daily basis. And it just gives me quick access to their profiles.
So you’ll notice also, too, I have my goal, gender, age, height and my weight, and then down here, you have your board, which is where your friends can come or you can post comments and let people know what’s going on with you for the day and stuff like that. And like every other social media site, you want to make sure you have photos and so right here I have some photos.
All the photos work just like any other site, where you can see them and you can make them bigger and leave comments and there’s a notification system, so if somebody comments on my photo or likes it, I’ll be notified of that so I can go check it out.
We have a video section which you can actually pull videos right from YouTube. Actually, I was telling you about my red Camaro earlier. This is it right here, Anthony.
SH: So these work the same ways. I have a couple of different video albums. That’s motivational stuff, some fitness video stuff, some music videos that I like. And then this part right here, this is where most people spend a lot of time. You’re actually able to go to the section I created called “The Notebook” and you’re supposed to think of the notebook as a real notebook.
So if you were to go to your routine, and you can actually input all of the exercises and routines that you’re doing for the entire week and then you can print this out and take it with you and you can actually fill in these boxes.
One of the things that’s a pain in the butt is when you’re trying to fill out your routine, but you have nowhere to write down your reps and weight. This keeps it really organized. And if you’re a platinum member of my website, you can actually pull from my database of routines and exercises. So I’ll type in—I’ll change this to exercise.
And then I’ll type-in dumbbell. And it’s going to pull up all the different exercises on my website that have a dumbbell. So dumbbell bent-over row. That’s for a back exercise. Maybe you want to add that to your back day. So once you have it here and you click “add”, it adds it down here with its own list of sets, reps and weights.
And then, say for some reason you forget how to do a dumbbell bent-over raise. You can actually utilize this as a clickable link and it will go to that part of my website where the exercise is and you can watch the video. You can see what muscles are being used. I rate the exercises as beginning to intermediate and advanced.
And there’s also a written write-up right here so you know how to do the exercise. Maybe you don’t have access to the video. And then there’s photos down here to show the starting and ending positions.
AA: Nice. That’s real cool.
SH: So there’s a little bit of everything here. You can also put your meal plan together with my website. Some people actually write them out on their own. So I made it so you can either upload a PDF or a Word document and then you can see the meal plan here. Or you can go to create your own and you can write it all out by hand. So if you wanted to see exactly what my meal plan is, all you have to do is log on to my site, go to my profile and you’ll be able to see all my food right here.
SH: We also have progress charts. So if you want to start keeping track of your body weight and your body fat percentage, you just simply go onto here and you add the points. And you can change these dynamically very easy. So today for body weight, we’ll type-in the date. So it’s the 27th. Here we go. And my weight is around 171 right now.
Click add and it adds the point. And then we make this dynamic as well, so you can change multiple charts at once. So now I can go over to my body fat chart, I’ll enter my fat here, which it’s getting pretty low. We’ll see that come down to 6.8. And I’ll add that point here. Once I click out, it’s going to update the chart.
SH: Now the chart is updated.
SH: And then we also have a section over here with it’s started to get more attraction, and that’s your list. This is like for your max bench, your max squat, your max deadlift, snatch, clean and jerk, squat clean. Basically, this is an area where you can upload your max lifts for people to see and they can motivate you by clicking on the motivate button right here. And then they can also leave comments on your lifts as well into this section.
SH: And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, Anthony. I can sit here with you all day. We also have articles. I’m going to be doing a live video feed session pretty soon. We’re probably going to start that towards the start of the New Year. We’re going to take you guys into my studio and you’ll be able to talk about certain subjects or I’ll show you guys new exercises or routines.
And obviously you can share all this stuff with your friends as well. And if you’re looking to have some tips to eat big and stay lean on Thanksgiving, you can check out the articles I posted this week so you can make the right choices.
AA: Cool. I mean, very in detail, very in depth and just like I was saying earlier, like a hybrid of BodySpace and like a social media network such as Facebook, so really unique. You get articles, you can upload pics, you really go the whole nine. That’s excellent.
SH: Yeah, man. We’re all about improving, too. So this is just the beginning. We’re going to do our best to make sure we’re always making the membership as valued-added as possible. Anyone who wants to try the membership site out for free and have full access to the database of exercise routines and my meal plan and exclusive content, they can use a promo code FREEFITNESS, which is all one word, and I’ll give them a one-month free trial. They can check everything out.
AA: Okay. So they can go to the site, type in FREEFITESS and they get a month free to try everything.
AA: All right, perfect. That’s excellent. Guys, definitely check it out. It’s a great membership site where you obviously can see the benefits and you have nothing to lose. It’s free. So Scott’s kind enough to let you try it. He has that much confidence in his program. We’re going to have links below this video so you can check it and learn more.
Scott, is there anything in closing that you’d like to give to someone trying to start out in the fitness industry, one piece of advice you’d give them, what would it be?
SH: My best piece of advice would be to remain true to yourself, have good morals and values and if you’re going to do it, do it because you love it, not because you’re looking to make a million dollars, because with any kind of business in life, if you’re doing it for the money, people can tell. And there’s a lot of money in this industry, and obviously it’s a good industry to be in.
But you need to be here because you love it, and it’s going to show if you do. I feel like that’s why I have the large community that I have, because they can really tell that I love doing this. Yeah, it’s a job for me, but I love this stuff and I love helping people and I love taking the time to show them how to reach their goals. And that really shines through if that’s what your true intensions are. So be true to yourself and then your community will be true to you.
AA: Cool. Well, Scott, any final closing words before we end this interview?
SH: Yeah, actually. I’m pretty excited. In about two weeks I’m flying out to L.A. and I’m filming my third fitness DVD series with Lyons Gate Be Fit, and then the first two DVDs that I did are coming out maybe towards the end of December, start of January. So for those of you who like to work out exclusively at home, you can check out those.
They’re going to be available everywhere, like Amazon, Best Buy, Target. And I also have all of the videos for the workout series that you can do at home on my website as well under Lyons Gate. So you can check those out there. So we’re pretty excited about that. It’s a pretty big opportunity for us and we’re hoping that more keep coming.
AA: Cool. Guys, you’ve heard it there on what to do. Check out that DVD when it comes out. We’ll make sure to have some links there for the readers and viewers who want to know more about it. Scott, it was a pleasure doing this interview. Thanks so much for allowing us to do this.
SH: Yeah, thank you, man. It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
AA: Awesome. Well, you take care, you have a great day and we’ll be speaking soon.
SH: Thanks, man. I’ll see you soon, brother.
AA: All right. Bye bye.
2013 Olympia Interview with Ben Tatar
By Anthony Alayon
Anthony Alayon: For those who do not know you that well, can you tell us who you are and how you have helped Critical Bench throughout the years?
Ben Tatar: I have been with Critical Bench since 1999 and have written hundreds of training articles and ebooks. I have interviewed hundreds of celebrities, UFC champions, pro athletes, world record holders, bodybuilders and iron greats. I’m also known for attending many conventions and reporting on events.
Anthony Alayon: Moving on to the Olympia. What makes the Olympia weekend great?
Ben Tatar: The Olympia is an amazing event. I will list 10 things that make the Olympia great:
1) The best of the best are always there, the best athletes, celebrities, bodybuilders, powerlifters and strongmen.
2) The Olympia is in Las Vegas. This gives the Olympia a real vacation and glamorous feel.
3) The Olympia Expo is in a big convention, so you have quality time to talk to the stars. I have had more conversations with people at the Olympia than any other event.
4) There is so much to do at the Olympia. There are thousands of people who share your interest, competitive events and entertaining attractions such as the Animal Cage.
5) You have all of Vegas to enjoy, so the opportunities for fun are endless.
6) You see old friends who you don’t get to see often. It’s like reuniting with a friend in a paradise-like setting.
7) You meet new friends in a great setting.
8) There are great restaurants, casinos and parties.
9) Champions are made.
10) There’s lots of great energy everywhere.
Anthony Alayon: How many people show up to this event?
Ben Tatar: There were approximately 40,000 for the Olympia Expo. Also, about 10,000 people show up for the Mr. Olympia competition. Another cool thing about the Olympia is that all the big names past, present and future are there.
Anthony Alayon: What were some of the athletic events that went on during Olympia weekend?
Ben Tatar: There is bodybuilding, powerlifting, bench pressing, arm wrestling, World’s Strongest Man, World’s Ultimate Athlete competition, cross fit, all types of model searches, mixed martial arts, boxing and even Sumo Wrestling.
Anthony Alayon: Did you compete in any of the events?
Ben Tatar: I competed in the World’s Ultimate Athlete competition. This is an event to crown the greatest athlete. Athletes perform events such as a fast ball baseball pitch, a three point shooting contest, throwing footballs through tires and a grueling physical obstacle course. The obstacle course includes carrying things like big logs over boxes, climbing over big walls and pulling sleds.
Anthony Alayon: What was your favorite part of the entire event and why?
Ben Tatar: My favorite moment of the event occurred when I picked up my Media Credential Pass at the Orleans Hotel. As soon as I picked my media credentials, I looked back at all the years I have been going to these events. I thought about the people I planned to see and remembered people who use to go to the events. It was a deep and intense moment for me. Then I walked into Meet the Olympians event, I saw the strongman in the Lobby and my dad with a media credential pass as well. My dad and I were celebrating. The energy around me felt intense. Every moment from these events that I have ever experienced entered my mind simultaneously! I screamed “Yeah, Westy,” even though he couldn’t hear me. I thought of everyone. I was like “Thank you God,” and then I patted myself on the back for my choices. Then I was like, “I’M HERE!” It was a powerful experience, and then I took that energy into a laser-like focus for an amazing weekend.
Anthony Alayon: Tell us a crazy or fun thing that you did during Olympia weekend?
Ben Tatar: I jumped off the tallest building in Las Vegas, the stratosphere. You can see my video below.
Ben Tatar: I’m giving the freak award to WSM all-star, Robert Oberst. He stands at nearly seven feet tall and weighs well over 400lbs. He has a bigger beard than Santa Claus, and he is awesome.
Anthony Alayon: Name us a bodybuilder from the 2013 Olympia who really impressed you and tell us why?
Ben Tatar: I always found Ben White impressive. He is not only an IFBB pro bodybuilding great, but he is also the strongest bodybuilding bench presser of all time.
Anthony Alayon: What are the costs of attending this event if someone wants to go?
Ben Tatar: The Olympia Expo only cost $25 per day. The cost of hotels vary wildly.
Anthony Alayon: Tell us who made history at this year’s Olympia weekend event.
Ben Tatar: Phil Heath won the Mr. Olympia competition. In the men’s 212lbs bodybuilding competition, James Flex Lewis emerged victorious. The physique professional winner was Mark Anthony Wingson. The Muscle and Fitness model search winner went to Sergi Constance. On the women’s side, Iris Kyle became Ms. Olympia. She also set a record for winning more Olympias than anyone in history. This includes surpassing Arnold. The woman physique winner was Dana Linn Bailey. My friend, Nicole Wilkins took the figure again. Adela Garcia won Fitness, and Ashley Kaltwasser won Bikini. In the America’s strongest man competition, Brian Shaw made history! Shaw has truly become a strongman champion icon winning these competitions repeatedly! Craig Tullier won the Olympia’s Arm Wrestling war.
The heavy weight, Tectar from Norway won the Arm Wrestling heavy weight championship. In Sumo Wrestling, Sumo Dan Kalbfleisch won the Gold. For powerlifting, Henry Thomason was the most impressive heavy weight powerlifter, totaling 2,298lbs. Al Caslow and Micah Marino dominated in the powerlifting 181lbs weight division. Al totaled 1,973lbs and Micah totaled 1,967lbs. April Shumaker prevailed victorious in the female powerlifting division, totaling 914lbs. The best bench presser for the big men was Matt Houser, benching 826lbs. Joe Mazza weighing 181lbs was the most impressive pound for pound bencher as he benched 617lbs. The best female deadlifter was Kristy Scott, as she deadlifted 523lbs. Damon Myers weighing 198lbs won for light lifters, deadlifting 766lbs. The man who deadlifted the most of anyone was heavy weight Brent Willis, deadlifting 881lbs. The Ultimate Athlete Champion was Mark Sayas. Mark was in 14th place after day one, and he made a huge comeback to win the World’s Ultimate Athlete competition. As you can tell, lots of people made history in different avenues of iron and athletic excellence during Olympia weekend.
Anthony Alayon: What made this year’s Olympia different from other Olympia’s?
Ben Tatar: This year’s Olympia Expo was in the Northern Hall. That made this year’s Olympia the biggest one to date. There are always new faces, celebrities and champions. Therefore, for me, these events never get old, and I will keep returning.
as told to CriticalBench.com by Ben Tatar
Jake Prazak has bench pressed 909 at 220lbs and 920 at 242lbs. These are both world records. Let’s meet bench press world record holder Jake Prazak!
CB: Jake, tell us about yourself.
JP: I am 35 years old and live in the small town of Rock Falls, Ia. I am married to Jessica and have 4 kids. Hunting, fishing, lifting, and wrestling is how I spend most of my time. My family by far is the most important thing in my life.
CB: Jake, you benched 909 at 220lbs and 920lbs at 242lbs, both world records. What went through your mind after you achieved both of those lifts? How did you celebrate?
JP: They both felt amazing. In bench there are a lot of ups and downs. To finally get the records was a relief because I had been close so many times. We celebrated just like we do after any competition…with lots of beer to replace lost carbs and rehydrate.
CB: Tell us about your bench press routine!
JP: Monday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, close grip bench, accessory triceps
Tuesday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, Squat/Deadlift, leg accessory, bi’s, forearms
Wednesday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, Upper Back work and some more shoulders
Thursday- Shoulder preventative maintenance
Friday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, Bench, accessory chest
Sunday- Shoulder preventative maintenance, bodybuilder day (core, cardio elliptical sprints)
CB: Can you tell us a little more about what you do during shoulder preventative maintenance days and why they are important?
JP: I look at my body as a complex machine. If you don’t do any preventative maintenance (PM) on machines, especially the complex and most used parts, they will start to not work correctly and eventually break. That is how I look at my shoulders. Your shoulders take a beating daily, they need to be taken care of. For my PM for shoulders I do active stretching, light band work, and several different rotator cuff movements.
Bill Carpenter with Jake Prazak
CB: Jake, give us 10 keys to a scary strong bench press!
JP: 1-Training partners that are on the same page as you
2-Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when to deload, no program should.
3-Do not get into a comfort zone…handle weights that takes you out of that zone.
4-Analyze how each accessory exercise you do can help your bench
5-Don’t worry about anyone else’s numbers but your own.
6-Eliminate as many distractions as possible throughout each day.
7-Constantly work on improving your form, setup, and technique
8-Know how to supplement correctly.
9-Travel and do a training sessions with the best out there. This hands on knowledge is priceless.
10- HAVE FUN and be yourself.
11- SPEED, SPEED, SPEED
12. Orgasm often…best thing for your body by far.
CB: Thanks for the 2 bonus tips 🙂 Thus far in your bench press journey, list for us a) your favorite moment b) a crazy moment and c) a moment that changed you the most
JP: a.) Watching any teammate hit their first multi-ply bench
b.) Watching bones break, quads detach, bicep tears… it’s so painful and crazy to see in person.
c.) Hearing my kid’s voice over everything else while laying on the platform.
CB: Where do you train? What is it like?
JP: I train at N.I.P. & Fitness Center. I own it with one other partner. It is a 5100 sq ft, brand new facility in Mason City, Ia. We have Powerlifting, Strongman, Dedicated Women’s circuit and lots of pin select and plate loaded equipment. We cater to everybody, no matter what your fitness goals are. www.northiafitness.com is our website. We have a forum and online supplement store. You may also find us on Facebook under N.I.P. & Fitness Center.
CB: That’s awesome. Everyone make sure to check out Jake’s gym. How did you get started in bench pressing? Did it ever occur to you that you would be a world record holder? That makes you one in 7 billion people. How does that feel?
JP: I started bench pressing in 5th grade and never quit. My first competition was when I was in 10th grade and I think I benched 185. I never in a million years believed I would hold any all time world records. It doesn’t even sink in until you say, “7 billion people” and then you start to look back and realize what you have achieved.
CB: What are your future goals?
JP: In the near future, I want to up the 242 record and within the next 2 years want to be the lightest ever to bench 1000.
CB: What are your 10 favorite exercises for a bigger bench press?
JP: 1-Splitting wood by hand
3-Close Grip Bench
4-Dumbbell military presses
5-Incline Straight Bar
9-Close grip bench with bands
10- 12 oz arm curls
CB: #1 and #10 are my favorite. How are you going to remember your bench press journey? How do you want to be remembered?
JP: I will remember all of the great friends I have met throughout the world. Powerlifters in general are the most down to earth, non self centered people I have ever met (for the most part)…until you disrespect them! That is what I will remember and love about the powerlifting community. I don’t really care how I am remembered, everyone else will decide that on their own.
CB: Well, Jake you’re so much stronger than the rest of the world. How do people usually respond when they discover that you can bench press over 900lbs?
JP: Most don’t believe it and most don’t understand multi-ply lifting.
CB: What was the best advice you ever received? What was the worst?
JP: Best: You have to live in your shirt. Worst: You train in your shirt way to much.
CB: I’m going to name a powerlifting topic. I want you let me know what comes to mind.
JP: Me in 11th grade. I thought I was big shit getting 225.
CB: 315lb. bench presser
JP: Believe me, I don’t mind taking plates off for you. I want you to be 405 lbs presser. I am just happy you are bench pressing and wanting to get better.
CB: 405 lb. bench presser
JP: Same as the 315 lb presser.
CB: 500 lb. bench presser
JP: Same as the 405 lb presser.
CB: 600 lb. bench presser
JP: Same as the 500 lb presser.
CB: 700 lb. bench presser
JP: Same as the 600 lb presser.
CB: Bencher who fears the shirt.
JP: You have to surround yourself with people who know how to use them…they will cure your fear.
CB: Bencher who disses the shirt.
JP: They have obviously tried it…they just can’t handle multi-ply benching. Do you want to say you bench 400 raw or 600 equipped? Human nature in all of us says we want to say 600 equipped. Sounds way cooler! Raw and equipped are two completely different sports. I got really bored with raw and became addicted to handling as much weight as possible. I have the utmost respect for anybody who competes and will never diss anybody.
CB: People who look up to you.
JP: Don’t be scared to talk to me and ask me any question. This is what I enjoy.
CB: Your fans.
JP: Thank You!
CB: A bencher comes up to you and says, “I haven’t gotten stronger in years. I need help! I feel like I have reached my potential and I’m just not into it.” What do you say to get them going again?
JP: I say get into it and stop feeling sorry for yourself. There many people who have it way worse than you. So be thankful you can even lift weights! Once they change their attitude I will help them as much as they need.
CB: What’s your nutrition plan?
JP: I have no nutrition plan. I try and eat as clean and healthy as possible. I try and stay anabolic 24/7. Everybody knows what they should and shouldn’t eat, I don’t need it on paper. I love burgers, brats, and beer!
CB: I’m going to list five aspects of powerlifting. Tell me which you think are most important: Diet, Genetics, Mind/Heart, Training Partners, Rest.
JP: Mind /Heart
CB: Jake, if you could be any kind of animal, what would you be?
JP: A dog…They are pretty intelligent and obviously for the other reason.
CB: What makes Jake different in the gym than everyone else?
JP: I am driven to be the best at what I do. I am not happy with 2nd.
CB: Jake, it has been great interviewing you today. You have really shocked the world with the numbers you have been putting up in the bench press. We wish you all the best with everything you do. In closing who do you want to thank?
JP: I want to thank my wife Jessica and my kids for the sacrifices they have put up with while allowing me to be selfish in accomplishing my goals in this obsession of mine! They are my biggest fans. My training partners deserve a lot of credit as well, without a dedicated team no records would have been broken. My sponsors Rudy Rosales with OVERKILL STRENGTH EQUIPMENT, American Muscle (http://americanmuscle.us/), Rhino Power Gear (https://www.rhinopowergear.com/), HAAS Chiropractic, Synergy Worldwide (http://us.synergyworldwide.com/). I am proud to represent these elite companies. I take who I represent very seriously. Finally, thank you CRITICAL BENCH for taking the time to get to know me!
In this interview, Critical Bench author, Jedd Johnson interviews Jerry Shreck, from Variety Trainer and originator of the Deceleration Training program.
1. Jerry, tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be a Strength Coach at a Division 1 University.
Well I graduated from East Stroudsburg University with a major in Movement and Exercise Science and a minor in Sports Medicine/Athletic Training. My first job was working at a pretty big high school that was serious about their sports; so serious that the town would all but shut down for Friday night football games.
What surprised me when I got there was they never had an athletic trainer or strength coach there before. I was their guy and I was able to accomplish some great things there.
Then an opportunity presented itself, one of those “being in the right place at the right time” situations. So I pursued it hard and landed a job working as an athletic trainer at a D-I University (Bucknell). To my surprise they had no full time strength coach. Just a guy who kind of worked with the football and wrestling programs.
To make a long story short; within a year, I was volunteering in the mornings 5 days a week to train 7 different sports teams. Within 2 years I was hired as Bucknell’s first full time strength coach and have been there ever since.
2. Jerry, what sports do you work with at the Division 1 Level?
I work with 27 varsity programs and one club varsity team (men’s rowing). I oversee 2 weight rooms and have one full time and one part time assistant. My full time assistant works directly with football in the stadium weight room. The other weight room houses M & W Basketball, M & W Lacrosse, M & W Soccer, Field Hockey, Volleyball, Women’s Rowing, Baseball, Softball, M & W Swimming & Diving, M & W Track & Field, Cross Country, M & W Tennis, M & W Water Polo, M & W Golf, Cheer Leading, and Wrestling.
I think I got them all and I oversee all of them. Injury prevention is my top priority with all of their training. They do keep me busy!
3. Jerry, I know a very serious injury that athletes experience in college athletics is ACL Tears. For those who might not know what is the ACL?
Well first, I would really like to point out that ACL tears occur at all levels of sport and it can be one of the worst injuries an athlete can suffer. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament or commonly known as the ACL is a major ligament that really helps to stabilize the knee. Without getting too technical, it attaches the femur bone (upper leg) to the tibia bone (lower leg/shin) and runs across and through the main joint of the knee. Its main purpose is to keep the tibia bone from moving forward.
4. What causes an ACL Injury? What types of movements in sports bring about these tears?
An ACL tear occurs when it is stretched beyond its tensile strength limit and it essentially gives until it snaps. It would be like stretching a rubber band until it breaks. This normally occurs either by a contact or non-contact injury. A contact injury would be from contact with someone or something violently. An example of this would be if a football lineman was involved in a pile up and another football player rolled up on or fell into his leg.
A non-contact tear occurs normally in stop-and-go sports, usually when changing direction or landing poorly form a jump but without touching anyone or thing. An example would be a soccer player sprinting down a field and was going to cut to the left. He/she would typically plant with the right foot and extend through the ankle, knee, and hip (triple extension) to push off towards the left.
What can happen when sprinting, if there is not good glute activation and the athlete is quad dominant, the tibia will be pulled forward and when the athlete tries to pivot it will result in an over stretching of the ACL – – “POP” – – – the ACL tears.
5. What does it mean if an athlete is Quad Dominant, and can this increase ACL injury risk?
I see quad dominant athletes more and more now days for reasons that I won’t go into right now. Basically, what this means is an athlete is relying on their quads as the main muscle groups of the lower body to decelerate and accelerate when doing athletic types of movement. This quad dominance can place the knees into improper positions that can predispose athletes potential for injuries.
Getting good activation of the gluteus muscles during deceleration and acceleration types of movements will not only assist the quads but also place the body into more proper biomechanical positions resulting not only in lower chances of injury but a more stable and explosive athlete.
6. Jerry, you have developed a program to prevent ACL tears. What is the program called, and what is the basis of the program?
It is called, Deceleration Training To Prevent ACL Tears. It is ten years in the making and has been tested and used on all levels of athletes for the past 8 years with outstanding results! It is basically a systematic progression of exercises and drills that re-train an athlete to use his/her glute muscles when moving in or out of any athletic movement.
Younger athletes today sit more than ever before in front of the TV, computer, texting on the phone, and/or playing video games. I believe this to be shortening their hip flexors and in return causing other problems. One major problem is the inability to fire up the glutes properly. This is one of the main reasons I believe we are seeing a rise in ACL tears each year in athletics.
7. Jerry, is this something that just Football players would benefit from or can other athletes do it as well?
ALL athletes that are involved in any sport where sprinting, jumping, cutting and/or change of direction will benefit from this training system.
8. Jerry, is this the type of program that is only good for University-caliber students, or can other athletes use it as well?
I have used this will athletes at all levels from jr. high school to professional athletes. I once used this system with a U-10 soccer team (all under 10 years old). You only advance to the next phase after the athlete has mastered the current one. Obviously, the more mature and athletic the athlete is the quicker he/she would advance.
9. What kind of equipment, space, and time requirements are needed in order to implement your Deceleration Training Program?
Not much equipment is needed at all. A plyo box and some cones is it and if you were creative you would need no equipment.
Space will be determined by how many athletes are going to be trained at a time. Usually, an area of 30 yards would be sufficient. I do the majority of these drills on a basketball court with teams.
Time would be determined more on which phase you are on and the level of athlete learning the phase. Most drills are very short and would normally be done in the beginning of practice 15-30 minutes; twice a week would work on average.
10. Where can we find out more about your Deceleration Training Program?
Check out the full details about the training program here: http://criticalbench.com/goto/ACLtear
You’ll get to see even more details about the program itself, and even get to see me performing some of the drawers full speed.
How To Prevent an ACL Tear Video
Luke Alisson of CriticalBench.com Interviews Chris Barnard
LA: This is Luke Allison here with the CriticalBench.com weekly Muscle Building Expert Interview series. Today I’m here with Chris Barnard. Chris, how are you?
CB: Good, good, Luke. How you doing?
LA: Doing all right, man. I appreciate you joining us. We have a sort of special topic today that I know people are going to be interested in hearing about, Total Xplosive Training. Give us some background; talk a little bit about that.
CB: About the training itself or how it came about?
LA: Wherever you want to begin.
CB: All right. Well, basically, Total Xplosive Training was… Basically, I kind of just fell into it. I was training… I played football my whole life. I’ve played baseball my whole life, basketball, you know what I mean? Any sport out there, you name it, I kind of was trying to get my hand in anything growing up.
I really tailored-in in football and tried to pursue that after high school. I actually went to a junior college and ended up getting like basically a career-ending injury. I broke my shoulder in a game and I think I separated almost every tendon in the shoulder. And while rehabilitating, I really started to look into different types of training and how I could get my body back into peak shape and basically I wanted to take it to the next level. That’s every kids’ dream is to really use training, you know what I mean? Especially if you have the bad genetics, as they say, to make yourself something, get yourself to that NFL dream.
So, basically what I ended up doing was I started training with Elliott Hulse over here at Strength Camp, and I started doing a couple of different methods and reading online and figuring out all these things. And it wasn’t until I actually started to study it in school to where I started applying that knowledge into my training.
So, when I developed Total Xplosive Training, really what I was doing was I was preparing myself to play Division I football at the University of Miami. So, basically, I just took my workout, along with Elliott Hulse’s, you know, he’s got the meal plan and the Strongman… If you guys aren’t familiar with him, he does a lot of Strongman for football, and things like that. And I took my speed training and kind of just put it all in a pot and really tried to mix it up and make it work, basically for myself.
Well, what ended up happening was I got awesome results. I think I was like… After surgery I was probably like under 200 pounds. I was able to gain all my weight back, all my strength back. I got up to about 235-240 pounds and I was just pure muscle. My strength was through the roof. I was squatting extremely heavy. I mean, I was able to do like five plates for reps, you know what I mean? I was able to bench close to 400 pounds. And this was… We’re applying this to sport training. So, I know I’m not powerlifting numbers, but for sports training that’s pretty good. My 40 time was really reduced. I was able to run the 40 in a 4.58 and for 235 pounds, that’s pretty impressive. I could jump amazingly.
So, I mean, everything was just working for me. So, I though… In my head I was thinking, okay, this is just for me. So, when I was doing this, working alongside Elliott, he gave me the opportunity to work with some of his athletes. Well, my second guess was, okay, I’m just going to see what I can do with these athletes and get them the training that I was going through.
To my surprise, what ended up happening was, these kids who were kind of like weak and scrawny and didn’t really have a hope for getting to the next level, they all started becoming beasts in the gym.
That’s kind of when I just realized, wow, I’ve really got to start putting this stuff on paper and really got to start getting it out to some people. Because, I mean, it’s working really amazingly. Like, the proof is in the pudding, as they say.
So, basically with the training, we’ll talk a little background on that, what we do is we basically start them off by giving them some kind of heavy, like high intensity plyometrics, something to really get their motor system working. The whole thing about Total Xplosive Training, the whole science background, I don’t want to give you the whole textbook hoopla. But basically for people who want to know, we’re training the nervous system. We’re not just training your muscles; we’re training movements. As an athlete and as any person in power training or any kind of athletic performance, they need to tailor-in certain movements.
So, it’s not necessarily what the muscles is doing, how big it is, but it’s more or less what the muscle is doing for you on the field, on the court, you know, in the pool, whatever it might be that your sport is.
So, basically, like I said, that’s the plyometrics. We’re training certain movement patterns that you usually see in your natural sport. So, we can say, for instance, basketball, football, baseball, soccer, MMA, any of these sports, they’re obviously very different as far as the movements go, but then when you look at the underlying, the base features, a lot of it is still the same thing. For football, for basketball, for baseball, for MMA, you still need strong, powerful hits in anything you do. You still need a strong, powerful shoulder joint, everything you do.
So, what we do is we go ahead and we train that at the highest intensity it can go, which is power. It’s your force times your velocity. So, how strong it is times how fast you can move it.
So, we go ahead, like I said, we start off with a speed movement, like a plyometric or some kind of high velocity movement where we’re getting those base movements from each sport to really move, and then what we’re doing is we’re going to then in turn go ahead and train the strengths. So, we’re going to go ahead and move to strength movements where we’re really using some of that brute force to really move some heavy weight.
For instance, I think some of our workouts will consist of something, say like, a couple of different high intensity box jumps. And then, we’ll move into the gym and go ahead and train a couple different variations of the squat, deadlift, maybe some kind of bench press, really heavy.
That basically is the foundation. Like I said, I don’t want to get into too much scientific, some kind of hoopla for you guys, but just to give you the general background of Total Xplosive Training. Does that help you out, Luke?
LA: Absolutely. I think that’s a good start. It sounds a lot like you’re training the power and the velocity like skill work. Usually the idea is do skill work first before you get tired, and then you can sort of move heavy things slowly after that. Is that right? You’ve sort of got your priority…
CB: Yeah. Well, basically what… I mean, a lot of scientific people believe in something called PAP, which is post-activation potentiation. What that is is basically say you lift something heavy and then you go ahead and… A lot of people call it complex training, too. You’re lifting something heavy, you’re creating a stimulus, you’re turning on your muscles, basically. And then, you want to go ahead and use the same muscles to go ahead and do like a powerful jump. Because, what they’re saying is it’s activating your muscles. Now, you can go ahead and do a more high velocity thing.
What I’ve done and what Total Xplosive Training is, basically just flip it. I want to get the most powerful movement that you can, you know, the velocity, in the very beginning while your muscles aren’t fatigued whatsoever. Because, basically what happens is, you have motor units connecting to each one of your muscles. You might have, depending on the size of the muscle, depends on the amount of motor units you have firing. Well, with this, we want to go ahead and activate the most amount of motor units we can. So then, you’re going to get the most out of each particular muscle.
In addition, we want to go ahead and make sure that we are firing efficiency, as we could say, is on point. So, basically, they call it rate coding. We want to make sure that each one of your…the signal being sent for the muscle to turn on is as fast as it possible can. So, that’s why I went ahead and I trained the velocity first.
So, what we do is we, you know what I mean… Like I said, your muscle isn’t going to be fatigued whatsoever. We’re getting down to the correct motor patterns of the muscle to where it’s firing immediately fast and you’re able to get the most power out of it at that point in time.
Then, like I said, as we go into the gym, the strength component is basically to supplement the power. Anything you do… I mean, you think about any sport, unless you’re talking powerlifting or Strongman or something of that nature, you’re not going to be lifting a maximum amount of weight and taking you five seconds or something. Everything is a quick, sudden burst.
So, the strength is there to compliment the power output. And obviously, if the strength is a component of power, if we increase the strength, we’re going to increase the power.
LA: It makes as lot of sense. I think people think of sports and they go, oh, speed is speed and you’re faster or you’re not, and that’s just not the case, is it? You can get faster and jump higher and do all of those things. I think you’re certainly an example of that.
CB: Right, exactly, exactly. Well, yeah, the thing is, like I said, when I got a handful of athletes, I, myself, actually was somebody who… There’s this aura going around that if you have bad genetics you can’t train speed. And I kind of just grew up with that. I saw in my head everybody said… I remember through school, the gym teacher would tell us that. So, I mean, either you’re born with speed or you’re not, and that seems to be the belief that everybody grows up with.
Well, me growing up with that, I wanted to figure something else out. Now, don’t get me wrong, genetics does play a role. I mean, if you look at kids on the playground, and you take two five-year-olds, one of them is going to be faster than the other. You’re going to look at it and say, okay, did one train harder than the other? No. I mean, there is genetics played in every aspect of our life. But, for us to say that genetics can’t be manipulated, or for us to say that training cannot improver your speed, I just… I think that’s a total false statement.
LA: So, you’re trying to give people hope, too. You’re not trying to put people in boxes and say you can’t do this and you can’t do that. Work hard, see what happens.
CB: Exactly. Because, like I said, I was once the underdog. I, myself… I mean, I’m not coming from reading this in a book and trying to tell somebody they can do this. I actually did it myself. Like I said, I had a career-ending injury. I went ahead and I came back and I got on the team for one of the most prestigious schools, you know, out there for college football, the University of Miami.
So, like I said, I took my 40 time from high school, when I was like 180-pounds, from probably like a 5 second 40, and I went ahead and I brought it down to a 4.58, which is pretty fast if you’re watching the combine these days. And that’s just through training speed and strength.
So, what I felt is…what I tell everybody is, there is numerous ways that you can manipulate, depending on what you want to do. And I think that, like you said, if I’m giving people hope, they’re able to understand it can be trained. It’s out there. It’s just what are you willing to do to get that?
LA: Right, and that’s also a matter of if you’re not satisfied with the information you’re getting from your high school program or your college program and you think about changing, look at what Elliott’s doing, look at what Chris is doing. This is serious stuff.
Talk about some of the equipment that you use. Get into some of that. Give people an idea of sort of what this might look like if they pick up the program.
CB: Okay. Well, basically anything that I have in the Total Xplosive Training you can acquire at any gym. I made it with the thought of thinking, okay, there’s going to be those high school athletes, there’s going to be those older guys who want to get back in athletic shape, because obviously everybody wants to look like an athlete. So, I said, you know, it’s nice to have a gym like Strength Camp where we have tires and all kinds of stones and stuff like that and pegs. But, the average, every-day guy isn’t going to have these kinds of things available to him.
So, what I said was, what I’m going to do is I’m going to create this to where wherever you are, I’m going to give it to you to where you can do it in a normal gym setting or you can do it in… Say you have a barbell and some weights in your back yard. You can take care of it the same way. You’ve just got to be a little bit creative.
The most things that I think that we have, you know, people come to me and say, oh, I don’t have boxes for box jumps. Well, I remember being in high school and jumping off of a trash can or jumping over stuff like that just to go ahead and… Because, I, myself couldn’t afford the boxes that they make just for jumping. But, people realize you don’t really need those kind of things.
CB: There you go, exactly. Well, I remember we started doing it off my own truck. So, I mean, people can’t really say too much about not having the right equipment. Like I said, as far as the weights go, a squat rack, a bench, anything with a barbell with some weights on it, is sufficient enough. I think I do have a couple of machines connected in with the training, but they’re nothing more than like a cable or something like that that you can find in your everyday gym.
LA: That’s good. I think that’s what people need to hear, because I think they sometimes get confused about well, if I’m going to be serious, then I have to have all this serious stuff. And that’s kind of not how it works. You have to work your way up to needing all of that. Right?
CB: Right. Exactly. I mean, people think that you need to jump into it and have the best things. And honestly, like we always say, I could give you the best workout in the world, but if you follow it 50%, you’re going to get 50% results. I could give you the worst workout in the world, and I you follow it 100%, you’re going to get great results.
The thing with TXT is, the workout I’m giving you is tailored in for you to get the most out of your athletic potential. So, if you go at this 100% and you have the right setup in the off season for your upcoming season, there’s no way you can lose with it. You’re definitely going to go ahead and increase your athletic performance.
Like I said, I’ve had a basketball player, I’ve had a baseball player, I’ve had a football player. I put them all to the test with it. I was nervous because I said, you know, everybody says one key doesn’t fit all locks. So, I said, okay, this is my training. It’s not going to fit everybody else. Let me go ahead and give it a shot.
It’s kind of like I had some lab rats. Well, each one, you know, the basketball player increased his vertical jump and was able to move quicker and more efficiently on the court. The baseball player went from not hitting one homerun to hitting…I think he hit seven that season. And then the football player was just completely just a beast and went ahead and made the University of South Florida team as a walk-on.
So, I mean, each and every player went ahead and improved their athletic performance, and it’s all from the base foundation of increasing your explosive power.
LA: And that’s exactly what people… I think when people are in the market, that’s what they want to hear, is this has worked. It’s something you thought about and then you did it and then it worked. It’s been in all of the different phases.
Give people an idea how long of a program it is, how many days a week. Go into a little bit of detail, if you can, on that.
SC: Yeah, sure. So, basically, Total Xplosive Training is a three-phase. It’s a base phase. And what we do there is the first month we go ahead and create a foundation. So, what we do is we make sure your hip joint is completely stable and able to go onto the next phase, which is developmental phase. And there, we start developing certain aspects of your game and we increase the intensity and drop the volume. And then, after developmental phase, we go into the peak phase, which is the third and final month. And what that does is basically we increase the intensity and we drop the volume and this is basically what it says. We’re going to be peaking. By now, your numbers are going to be extremely high. You’re going to be breaking all your one-rep max records, your personal records. You’re going to be protecting everything at this time and it’s going to be getting you ready for that season.
So, to sum it up, it’s three-phase, three-month. And each one conjugates with each other so you’re moving slowly into the next phase of being able to get the most out of your training.
As far as how many days per week, we go ahead and we train four days. There’s a lot of…how should I say it? People use these terms with each other, over-reaching and over-training. I think a lot of people get this mixed up with what they’re doing in their training and I believe that over-training, basically, if you’re recovering enough, there won’t be over-training. So, what we do is we give you complete recovery sessions, the complete nutrition to follow and exactly how much sleep you should be getting as well.
So, what we do is we train four days a week and it’s very intense. But, like I said, we do have the recovery and the nutrition included. And so, basically, with the four days you’re able to take off of each movement pattern or muscle being used so that you’re able to develop the next one. Kind of like what they call like a block periodization micro-cycle. So, you’re not using the same muscle each day, but you’re able to go ahead and improve on them throughout the week. If that makes sense.
LA: Oh, it makes sense to me. I’m just making sure that we cover it in enough detail for people that might not. Block periodization, I think that was what you described before, where you have the different sort of monthly blocks, which is just a group of training that’s similar, but that also builds on itself. Because, you’ll be going… You’re not trying to go like three months of distance in one month. You’re trying to go three months of distance in three months.
CB: Right. Well, there’s so many different, you know, after studying this, there’s so many different methods of periodization. I started looking at some of the ones, obviously the traditional western linear, where you’re continuously moving up. I looked at block periodization where you use certain effects, reciprocal effects, to go ahead and build on top of each other. And I’ve also…what I’ve adapted from Elliott Hulse is the Russian conjugate.
So, basically what I try to do is just basically mix these up to where I’m using each one, a particular little piece of my favorite part of each method and building it into its own training program.
So, like I said, it will move you through certain phases like say block periodization. But, at the same time, you are staying strong, you are staying fast, you know what I mean? Because it is three months.
People know, and athletes know, how important this off-season is to them. Like, your off-season is almost everything, because you want to come back that next season and you want to be that person. You want to be that athlete that just stuns everybody and says, you know, look what I did this off-season. I turned my life around, I turned my game around and I’m ready to go.
So, people know that the off-season is short, but they want to get the most out of it. And that’s exactly what Total Xplosive Training does.
LA: And that’s the key. I absolutely want to emphasize that, because the difference between an athlete and someone that’s just lifting is, an athlete has a sport, and that person has a very specific period of time where they can have an off-season and then they also have a specific period of time where they have to get back on the court or back on the field.
LA: It makes all the difference if you do the right thing.
You’ve mentioned MMA fighters, basketball players, football players, anyone else you have experience working with or who you think Total Xplosive Training would be appropriate for?
CB: Like I said, I’ve been… I hate to say this, but even before the whole football thing, I remember in high school I worked at World Gym and then after that I was a trainer at LA Fitness. I don’t like to bring those out, because I don’t like the fashion show gyms too much. I like kind of the hardcore stuff. But, I’ve been working with… You know, I’ve always been attracted to the athletes, because I, myself, have always been one. And I just was able to connect. I understand the intensity they want to go. Now, I’m not taking anything away from the average day lifters, because there are those guys out there who used to play the sport and realize that I’m not going to get anywhere unless I train like an athlete. That’s the beauty about TXT.
I apply TXT to the average-day guy. And what they do is they end up looking back like they used to look when they were playing football or they were playing basketball. You know, that look that they want to get when they’re 30 or so years old, and they realize wow, I can’t just lift, I’ve got to go back to training like an athlete. That’s how I’m going to look my best.
In addition to that, I’ve worked with, like I’ve said, I’ve worked with basketball players, I’ve worked with baseball, football, soccer, swimmers, actually. That was a new one for me. MMA was pretty cool because those are some of the most… I thought football was pretty intense, but MMA guys really love to push themselves. Let me think here, just an overall of sports. I worked with a boxer before, I think.
And the funny thing is, there really isn’t a sport that I’ve helped people out with… You know, I’m actually working with some people in rugby and lacrosse right now, too, as well. But, like I said, there’s not a sport that can’t benefit from it because there’s not a sport that doesn’t have an underlying movement that they can’t… Now, I understand that sport-specific training, meaning if you’re a quarterback, you’re obviously going to throw the ball. If you’re a pitcher you’re going to be practicing your pitching motion and your mechanics. That’s sport-specific training.
But, besides that, each sport has their base movements to where they’re going to want to get the most explosive power and strength out of their body that they can. And by improving that, it’s going to improve every aspect of your game.
If I take a pitcher and he just throws all day long, he’s going to get his mechanics down. Now, say I take that same pitcher and go ahead and apply Total Xplosive Training to him and make him more powerful. Now you see his hip, now you see his rotational muscles, basically his obliques and transverse abdominis getting extremely strong. So now, he’s able to throw that ball a lot harder and a lot more powerful. That’s all it’s doing. It’s complimenting your sport-specific training to basically increase your overall athletic performance.
LA: The two things that I think of when you just said that was, the ability to decelerate, to slow down after you’ve sped up, and then it’s the ability to change direction. And those seem like the things that go, you know, everyone is interested…or should be interested in that if they’re interested in performance. Is that right?
CB: Right. And that’s the whole thing about explosive training. You want to be able to stop… It’s all body control. That’s what athletics are all about. I don’t tell somebody to be the biggest and the craziest looking athlete, but if their body is completely under control at all times, that’s how you train your body, your nervous system to move efficiently and to move as swiftly as possible.
So, I mean, the biggest athlete isn’t necessarily the strongest. So, what you’re doing here is you’re basically teaching an athlete to come to speed, you know, to get the maximum speed as quick as they can and to stop as quick as they can, or make that move as quick as they can.
Say somebody in basketball is crossing-over. Say a baseball player is hitting a fastball, or say an MMA fighter throwing a punch. It’s all moving as fast as you can. As you look, some of the most…the best players in each sport, in every sport there is, I guarantee you they’re usually the fastest or most powerful player. There’s something about them that’s more than the rest. Yeah, there’s technique, obviously involved. But, like I said, the best ones, the best of the best, they usually have, like you said, those two. And that equals they’re the most explosive.
LA: Absolutely. Make it simple. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.
CB: Right. Exactly.
LA: Fair enough. Chris, if people are interested in getting the program or sort of getting some more information, give them an idea about where they can go and sort of what they can find.
CB: Yeah. Basically, I have it on the website, it’s at TotalXplosiveTraining.com. I believe that Mike here will have a link to it in on his thing that you guys could check it out. I urge people who are serious about their athletic performance to definitely give it a shot this off-season. It’s definitely something to look into. And like I said, I’m always available. I’m not somebody that’s trying to be one to make a quick dollar or anything like that. I really want to help people out.
So, even if… I want people to email me. I love working with people. I’m working with people all across the world right now. And I, myself, am also training, got some things in the woodworks to go ahead and do. So, I just want to create, as far as like a community, to basically help athletes out to get them to their goals. I think that would be pretty neat.
LA: Sounds great. Chris, I appreciate the time. Thank you again.
CB: Luke, thank you very much. I appreciate it.
LA: All right. Take care.
CB: Have a good one. Bye bye.
As Told To CriticalBench.com by Ben Tatar
Sarah has been a pro boxer, a pro female football player in the LFL, a NPC pro figure competitor, and is one of the most hybrid female athletes out there.
CB: Sarah, welcome to Critical Bench. It’s great to have an elite athlete who competes in so many different professional sports. First, tell us about yourself!
SGK: I am a free spirited, hard working young woman originally from New England, Massachusetts. I have my own personal training business serving Fort Lauderdale and Aventura Florida. I am also a fitness model and women’s NPC Figure competitor.
CB: Let’s start by talking about your journey as a boxer. List for us your favorite moment, funny moment, crazy moment, and a moment that changed you?
SGK: Wow…well, my favorite moment was when I won my fight hands down and also took home a belt! Everyone was nervous because they thought my opponent was going to be super tough. Halfway into the first round I knew I had the fight when I hit her with a couple jabs that sent her head back. It shook her confidence when she felt the power of my jab!! Wooohoo! I would say a moment that changed me was when I let some drama in my corner get to my head and affect me negatively in another fight I had. I realized how much of a mental sport boxing is.
CB: What was it about boxing that you loved so much?
SGK: I not only love the physical challenge of boxing but I love the technical aspect of the sport as well. I know it sounds crazy but when I get into it I kinda like getting hit. Of course not when I’m in a fight ’cause that equals points for them, but it doesn’t faze me! (laughs)
CB: Sarah, you are a warrior!! How did people respond when you told them you were boxing?
SGK: I think they were surprised because looking at me they were kinda like “Yeah, okay.” However, once they saw me in action it totally changed their opinions.
CB: Before you boxed, you were a ring card girl. You lived the model’s dream and the athletic dream. Did you like boxing more or being a ring card girl?
SGK: I love boxing WAY MORE than being a ring card girl. I have always been a tom boy, so kicking someones ass is way more fun for me than being sexy!
CB: Very cool. What did you think of being a ring card girl back when you were one?
SGK: It was fun! I was very young so it was quite an exciting experience for me.
CB: You are extraordinarily athletic and in amazing shape. You inspire lots of people. Tell us about your training routine.
SGK: My training routine varies depending on what stage of training I am in. If I’m getting ready for a show my training is usually a typical body building style and I’ll do 2 a days where I split cardio and my lifting. If I am in the off season I prefer to do more circuit, functional style training and I will box or do some MMA for fun.
CB: We also know you compete. How do you train for your shows and what is your diet like?
SGK: For my shows I usually do chest Monday, back Tuesday, legs Wednesday, just cardio on Thursday or arms and cardio, shoulders Friday, and legs again Saturday. It tends to go something like that. My diet also depends on how far out I am from my show. Typically it consists of lots of protein, green veggies, salads, eggs, and some complex carbs. When I am not getting ready for a show I try to stay along the same guide lines but I add more healthy fats in my diet and a little more variety. Also less measuring and being so strict on my portion sizes.
CB: On top of all these accomplishments, in 2009, you played for the LFL with the Miami Caliente. The LFL is professional football and it is played in lingerie for those who don’t know. Sarah, what were your thoughts when it came to playing in the LFL?
SGK: Well again I love sports and I am a huge football fan. I was super excited to get out there and take some broads out! (laughs) Football is an awesome sport!!
CB: What was harder boxing or playing in the LFL and why?
SGK: I would say boxing was harder because football is a team sport and when you mess up hopefully your team has your back. Boxing is just you in that ring and your opponent. May the best man win!!
CB: Was playing in the LFL what you thought it would be?
SGK: I didn’t go in with a lot of expectations but the game of football itself was more complicated than I anticipated, so that was a challenge. You know, we didn’t grow up learning the game in elementary and high school so it was like a crash course on everything.
CB: Speaking of great football players, you also have videos of you training with NFL pro bowl living legend Brendon Ayanbadejo. How did you meet him, and what is it like training with an NFL living legend like Brendon?
SGK: I met Brendon probably 7 or 8 years ago when my best friend and I crashed her fiancées house where Brendon was sleeping. I woke him up and introduced myself and ever since then we’ve been friends!! (laughs) I truly enjoy training with Brendon. He inspires and motivates me!
CB: What has it been like being friends with Brendon?
SGK: Brendon has been a great friend to me. He is a real down to earth guy with a super positive attitude! I really appreciate and enjoy his friendship!
CB: Outside of Brendon, name us some athletes who inspire you.
SGK: Wow…that’s a tough one. I gain inspiration from other female athletes like Dara Torres, Mia Hamm, and Figure competitor Ava Cowan. I am all about woman being mentally and physically strong. Sports of all kinds build your confidence and mental strength. Girl power!!!
CB: What motivates Sarah to be a fitness bombshell?
SGK: I like challenges! I’ve seen what I can do with my body and it motivates me to keep pushing to be the best. I also hope to use it to grow my business as a personal trainer and as a model!
CB: What makes Sarah happy?
SGK: Doing what I love and having good friends and family in my life
CB: How do you want to be remembered?
SGK: As a determined, hard working, honest, caring, sexy beeatch!! (laughs)
CB: You will be remembered as all of those and more! You’re a hybrid, professional athlete superstar in so many sports as well. What is your advice for young girls who would one day like to be in the best shape possible?
SGK: Stay focused! Set goals for your self! Pick a sport and become the best you can at it!!
CB: What was it like for you to do a figure contest?
SGK: Well, I had done quite a bit of modeling and bikini contests when I was younger so when it came to getting on stage that was easy, but learning to pose for figure and compete against so many other great athletes has been new to me!
CB: What was it like competing in the NPC?
SGK: I have always wanted to compete in the NPC and I think its a super professional organization. Definitely more competition. You have to bring it!
CB: You did just that and always excelled. What has it been like being a personal trainer for you?
SGK: I think I have a gift for teaching and really I enjoy being able to inspire and potentially change someone’s life. Sometimes I feel like a psychiatrist, and that can be draining at times but like any business it has its ups and downs.
CB: Sarah, let’s hear your top 10 fitness tips.
1. Always incorporate squats and deadlifts in your leg routine.
2. Don’t just do low intensity cardio but incorporate intervals as well.
3. Switch up your routine every few weeks.
4. EAT! don’t be afraid to eat, thinking you will get fat. Make sure its real food, not processed and low in sugars.
5. Don’t stretch before you lift. Incorporate an active dynamic warmup that mimics the movements you are going to perform in your actual workout. Stretch after.
6. Consume your protein shake with fruit right after your workouts.
7. Give your self a rest day or two. You will come back stronger.
8. Don’t over train. You don’t need 3 or 4 hours in the gym a day. It’s counter productive to your muscular development.
9. Incorporate single leg training into your leg routines. It will improve your overall leg training and stability.
10. Strengthen your core by doing full body movements, not just crunches. It will make you stronger in all your movements.
CB: These are great tips. Everyone should print these 10 tips out and put them on their refrigerators. Sarah, It has been great talking to you, Sarah. In closing who would you like to thank?
SGK: I would like to say thank you to all the people who support me and encourage me in what I do. Thank you for following me on twitter, facebook, my website and YouTube channel! And thanks to my friends and coaches who believe in me! You can connect with me at these links:
Download the exclusive “audio interrogation” with Joel Marion and Craig Ballantyne and special guests John Romaniello by right clicking the link below and selecting “Save Target As”. You may also left click the link to stream the audio without downloading. 53-minutes of UNCUT rapid fat loss information, yours FREE!
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You may have heard the buzz about Lee Hayward and Vince Delmonte’s new 21 Day Fast Mass Building program.
They are claiming that you can gain 5…10..15….and yes even 20 pounds of muscle in just 21 days.
Sounds like a big claim doesn’t it?
Not only do they say you can gain this muscle weight but they also say it will be pure fat free muscle.
How you ask? Good question because I was wondering the same thing.
They are using something called the Anabolic Amplifier Effect.
Here to shed some more light on the topic fitness authority John Romaniello interviews Lee Hayward and Vince Del Monte on the secret technique behind their new 21 Day Fast Mass Building Program. This is the same technique that competitive bodybuilders have been using for decades to pack on lean muscular mass year after year.
http://www.21dayfastmuscle.com —- <<< Read more here
This killer strategy (The Anabolic Amplifier Effect) can pack on as much as 12 pounds of pure muscle in only 21 days. Even though this may sound “to good to be true”, it is not. It’s based on rock-solid science, 50+ years of real-world experience and Vince and Lee’s recent results. All revealed in this FREE MP3 audio! Listen in and then leave your questions and comments below…
Meet Rob Shaul
“Rob is a lifelong gym rat turned self-educated strength and conditioning coach. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and has attended seminars/certifications through CrossFit, Gym Jones, U.S. Weightlifting, and Athletes’ Performance. He started Mountain Athlete in Jackson in February, 2007, and founded Military Athlete in January, 2009. He is a 1990 graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy.”
Listen as strength coach Rob Shaul talks in detail with CriticalBench.com interviewer Luke Allison about his unique work training soldiers and mountain climbers. Rob’s philosophy reflects his diverse influences – everything from power lifting to Gym Jones. In this interview, he describes what an appropriate fitness test for military personnel might look like. The value of Crossfit and mental training is also addressed. Also, how does pre-deployment training for soldiers headed to Afghanistan and Iraq differ?