Interview with Big Man Teiko Reindorf As told to CriticalBench.com by Ben Tatar
CRITICAL BENCH: Teiko, tell us about yourself.
My name is Teiko Reindorf aka TKO , aka the Enforcer, aka the Chocolate Thunder.
I am a personal trainer/ ex- bouncer based out of Toronto, Canada and it is my personal mission to make Big Men Strong.
With that said, I want to clarify something about my interpretation of strength. It isn’t just what you do in the weight room or on the field. The strength I’m talking about applies to all areas of your life. Hopefully you’d like to join me on that journey.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about what you do and your website.
My website is called Teikoreindorf.com and it is the one and only site on the web that teaches big men how to become strong and little men how to become BIG.
On my site you will find articles about training, stories from my days working the door at seedy Toronto nightclubs as and frequent updates detailing my experiences as a trainer in downtown Toronto.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your top 10 training tips to getting as huge and ripped as possible? (What are your tips without having to constantly sacrifice one for the other.)
- Huge is a mindset… it’s something you decide you want to become. Once that decision is made, everything becomes easy
- I’ve never met anyone who became big by talking about it. Get under the bar!
- Until I see one of these so called ectomorphs carry five meals to work and eat em – I ain’t listening to any excuse why they can’t grow.
- When it comes to mass, volume is king
- When it comes getting strong, focus on intensity.
- It’s impossible to grow when you are injured. Put time aside for soft tissue work and recovery.
- Eat real food whenever possible, people have been getting big and strong way before we started taking supplements.
- You know that exercise you hate to do? That’s the one that will get you stronger.
- Train with like-minded people. If your training partner whines or misses workouts – ditch him, he doesn’t respect your time or training goals.
- There will be a time when you won’t be able to put up the numbers you once did… until that time comes – go all out.
CRITICAL BENCH: What are the 5 biggest mistakes you see other lifters make?
- Trying to talk their way into a physique. All of that theory doesn’t matter when a weight is bearing down on you.
- Not knowing when to back off. Sometimes your body has had enough, you’ve gotta learn to listen to it.
- Ignoring their blind spots. Everyone has a lift they excel at (whooptyfreakin doo) the guys I respect are the ones who figure out how to get better at the things they suck at.
- Not warming-up properly. It doesn’t matter when you are twenty and full of piss n vinegar but once you start getting older skipping warm-up is a recipe for disaster.
- Going to gyms where they play Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry. Your environment is everything. If you are around studs, you will become a stud.
- Lifting has become huge. Everyone is training now. The industry will further splinter off into little cells like it has been. I’d also like to see someone develop a system, which incorporates the best of all training systems, but I think that is a long ways away.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about your diet. Do you have any special diet tips for bulking or cutting?
LOL diet? Hold on lemme put away these chips.
No seriously though, I’ve been a big boy my whole life and after many failed attempts at dieting… I am done with diets. My advice to people is to eat real food and train hard. Don’t bother being too militant with your diet unless you are stepping on stage somewhere.
CRITICAL BENCH: If people visit your website Teikoreindorf.com, big guys can learn how to get stronger. Why do you think there are so many huge guys that are weak?
Huge guys are weak because they are lazy or are doing the wrong type of training.
The laziness is a direct result of being blessed with big boy genes, when you don’t have to work quite as hard for size – it becomes really easy to get complacent.
In terms of inappropriate training… this all falls back on the whole bodybuilding thing. Almost everyone who gets into strength training cuts their teeth with bodybuilding. Most people realize somewhere along the way that bodybuilding, though effective for size – stinks when it comes to building strength.
The big guys you see who haven’t been able to move past this are the same ones who never get any stronger.
CRITICAL BENCH: Also, why are so many small guys strong but not huge?
It’s gotta be the whole Napoleon complex thing. A lot of small guys go extra hard in the gym to offset their size, it’s a bit of a gift and a curse. When done properly it can yield massive results but if unchecked… it generally leads to burn-out or injury.
CRITICAL BENCH: what should huge guys who are weak do differently to be strong?
Aside from man-up?
Honestly I think your success is largely based on who you train with. I’ve made my best gains in size and strength by training with people who force me to train harder. Hmm now that I think about it, my best training partners have all been little guys!
In short, if your training partner isn’t borderline psycho about sticking to a training plan – get a new one.
CRITICAL BENCH: Do most people want to be huge or strong?
Personally I think most people wanna be both huge and strong. I never buy it when a guy tells me he doesn’t wanna be too big and I’ve never heard anyone say they don’t wanna be stronger. Guys who say things like that don’t believe they can be bigger or stronger so they try to downplay it.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tieko, what is it about weight training that you just love?
It’s a vehicle for transformation. When I started training I was a fat little butterball. Through my dedication to the iron, I’ve evolved into something much greater. Nowadays I try to convince people to call me The Chocolate Thunder. That never would have happened if I had never lifted weights.
CRITICAL BENCH: In closing is there anything else you would like to say?
Just that training should be more than just something physical you do. Each time you walk into the gym you are faced with an opportunity to test yourself and you should never forget that.
Go Big Or Go Home
A Free gift from Teiko:
Is Intensity Overrated?
By Tyler Bramlett
Over the last decade I’ve seen high intensity training come in and out of favor. One week we call it the devil’s incarnate and the next we decided that it will cure cancer. In this short article I want to share with you the positives and negatives of high intensity training and answer the question, “is intensity overrated”?
To start out, we need to identify the purpose of using high intensity in your workouts. Here’s 3 Reasons high intensity can benefit you and your workouts:
- Building Massive Amounts Of Muscle
- Skyrocketing Your Metabolism Into Overdrive
- Forging Elite Mental Toughness
Sounds good right?
But let’s not forget the downsides of high intensity training. Here’s 3 reasons why high intensity training can hurt you and your workouts:
- Nervous System Burnout
- General Fatigue And Overtraining
So… What makes the difference between training at a high intensity being of benefit for you or destroying you?
Well, the way I see it is that way to many people focus on intensity as their only variable of quantifying results. They forget about things like volume, density and movement complexity, which can be useful components to manipulate in any workout program.
You see, hanging your hat merely on intensity without determining these other variables is a recipe for disaster and must be remedied if you want to safely use high intensity training in your workouts.ee it is that way to many people focus on intensity as their only variable of quantifying results. They forget about things like volume, density and movement complexity, which can be useful components to manipulate in any workout program.
The rest of this article will be spent teaching you exactly how I apply this when I design programs for my clients. It is divided into 3 different phases that you can use to upgrade your workouts, learn to move like a pro and bust through your plateaus!
Phase 1 – Movement Competency
A mentor of mine Pavel Tsatsouline once said to me, “you can only fire a cannon from a canoe once.” What he meant by this is that a canoe doesn’t have the structure to endure the intensity of the cannon. Unfortunately this is why most people get injured.
Take for example the squat. If all you ever do is add more and more lbs to the squat over and over again. You may end up being the proud owner of a powerful 5, 6 or 700lb squat, but will you be able to do that for a long and consistent period of time?
My bet is on NO!!
I aim instead to build muscles that look as good as they perform. How I do this is by focusing exclusively on Movement competency first and foremost.
What is movement competency?
It’s really just a sexy way of saying “good form”. If you have good form, if your muscles are firing properly in the proper sequence then you can move onto phase 2. But… If you move to phase 2 before you are ready, you will battle injuries and plateaus for the rest of your life!!
Seek out a good coach (there’s not too many around these days) who knows movement and have them help you reach a high level of movement competency first and foremost before ever adding substantial load to any movement.
Another thing I will leave you with before moving onto phase 2 is the following quote, “Practice doesn’t make perfect… Perfect practice makes perfect.” Truer words are seldom spoken!
Phase 2 – Increase Volume And Density (To Hone Movement Competency)
Once you are able to move correctly, you must go from consciously performing a movement perfectly to unconsciously performing a movement perfectly.
This is what separates the pros from the amateurs! Think of a time when you watched your favorite sport. Think about a moment you remember when you witnessed an athlete do something that you may have considered impossible, but made it look easy or like it was second nature.
This is what you need to aim for!!
When starting this article you may not even have known that you didn’t know. This is called unconscious incompetence. This is the person who works out with bad form and never knows that they have bad form.
Once you understand that what may be keeping you injured or at a standstill with your gains is your movement competency as in phase 1 you move onto a stage psychologists call conscious incompetence. You are now aware of the fact that you move like doo doo.
By following phase 1 you will move onto the next stage known as conscious competence where you know how to move well, with good form but you must be thinking about it in order for it to happen.
By following these guidelines from phase 2 you will then move from the “amateur” conscious competence to the “professional” unconscious competence, where you don’t have to think and you still move well.
Ok… A lot of psych mumbo jumbo, how do you bridge the gap and move like a pro?
You increase your volume and density over a period of time focusing on ALWAYS maintaining perfect form 100% of the time.
Here’s an example of how this can be accomplished over an 8-week period if we were talking about an exercise like the squat.
- Week 1 – 3 Sets Of 6 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 4 Minutes (Use A Weight You Can Do Every Rep With Perfect Form)
- Week 2 – 4 Sets Of 8 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 3 Minutes (Same Weight)
- Week 3 – 5 Sets Of 10 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 2.5 Minutes (Same Weight)
- Week 4 – 6 Sets Of 8 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 2 Minutes (Same Weight)
- Week 5 – 6 Sets Of 10 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 2 Minutes (Same Weight)
- Week 6 – 7 Sets Of 8 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 90 Seconds (Same Weight)
- Week 7 – 7 Sets Of 10 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 90 Seconds (Same Weight)
- Week 8 – 8 Sets Of 12 Reps Doing 1 Set Every 90 Seconds (Same Weight)
Each of these workouts will only take you 12 minutes and the benefits of practicing perfect movement and steadily increasing volume and density are enormous. Not to mention you may see a sudden spike in lean muscle being added to your frame from the increased volume.
If moving like a pro, increasing your gains and busting through your plateaus peaks your interest, I highly suggest you spend just 8 weeks following this protocol and watch as you go from moving like a chump to moving like a champ!!
Phase 3 – Now You Can Get Intense!!
Once you’ve rebuilt the way you move and ingrained it in your brain so it has become second nature. Then you can add intensity.
What does this mean?
This means it is now the right time to lift heavy, move faster, kick ass and take names!!!
By the inch it’s a cinch, and by the yard it is hard. Be smart, train smarter and remember… Don’t be an amateur, be a pro!!
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