Here is the initial contact message I received from Blake on April 1st:
“I'm in it to win it brother. First off I want to say that I will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to win. I'm treating this like my life depends on it. I want to know what it's like to train for a competition and to know how to take myself to that elite level mentally and physically. I trust that you can guide me there. I have been reading your blog (and now listening to your podcasts) for the last year and a half. I love your intensity! You're not here to fuck around and neither am I! I want to get better and better. This is my next step.”
Blake is a mechanical engineer with a very demanding schedule, wife, and 2 kids. He had been fasting for up to 20 hours a day before we began training together.
I rearranged the diet and it became a crash course for him adjusting meals to meet the extreme demands of winning this competition. But he just DID IT!
No excuses, no bullshit, he did every step of the process for the 12 weeks. Take a look at the before and after photos and let me remind you that this was in just 12 weeks!
Imagine where he will be within a year!
Congrats man, your talk isn't cheap, I like that!
(It was a very tough call between 1st and 2nd place in this competition. I had to take “before photos” into consideration and evaluate the entire process of these transformations)
UPCOMING TRANSFORMATION COMPETITION
Another transformation competition will launch within the next few weeks.
For several years I had trouble getting my quads to match my upper body in terms of development and separation.
It wasn't that my legs weren't strong and it wasn't that they weren't growing quickly; they just never felt the same as when I would train my other muscle groups.
I wasn't getting the same feeling in my quads that I'd get in my chest, back, delts, or arms from directly training them.
Everyone would always preach the same things when it came to quad development…
“Press off the heels when you press, squats are king, heavy weight for ‘power type lifts.'”
I can remember the days of loading 15 plates on each side of the leg press and feeling like I was accomplishing something.
I remember being worn out from a hard leg training session and struggling to move around the following few days.
Surely I must have been hitting my quads hard right?
Well, let me let you in on a little something I discovered too late into training;
NOT EVERYONE HAS THE SAME GENETIC MAKEUP IN THEIR LEGS AND NOT EVERYONE'S LEGS DEVELOP FROM THE SAME STYLE OF PRESSING AND/OR SQUATTING!
That's right, some guys can press or squat in almost any form they want and their quads just take off and grow and separate without any issues.
I never realized how much I was short-changing myself on quad development until I began watching Tom Platz train legs!
Tom Platz always pushed from his toes/balls of his feet. It was this duck looking stance where he would press off the balls of his feet.
His style of squatting and pressing looked like the exact opposite of everything I was taught about saving my knees and pressing from my legs properly.
When I actually started doing it I began feeling SO MUCH MORE IN MY QUADS!
My leg workouts went from feeling like my entire body was taking the brunt of the work to my quads actually feeling on fire from the pump!
FOOT POSITION FOR LEG DEVELOPMENT, A PROCESS OF GIVE AND TAKE!
What I found by pushing from my toes like Tom Platz always did on a leg press or squat was that I wasn't going to slap a bunch of plates on a bar or machine just for my ego or some show for everyone to watch.
By going too heavy IT WOULD HURT MY KNEES before my quads felt fully activated.
I would start extremely light and work my way up to heavier weights.
A leg press would begin with a single 45 lb plate on each side and the foot position was lower than my knee position.
I would lower the weight until I felt a hell of a stretch in my quads, usually it would get lowered to rock bottom.
This stretch would be much more of a stretch in my quads than my old way of leg pressing.
I mention leg pressing more than squatting because although I do hit squats, I'm not a believer that you have to squat to get big legs.
I prefer the feeling of my quads actually feeling smoked and taken to muscle failure than my body giving out first before my quads got fully fatigued.
One important factor that came into play from my new foot positioning was how flexible my Achilles tendons were.
I learned that over time my Achilles tendons would become more flexible to accommodate this new positioning of my feet.
My quads quickly started becoming a good body-part and began to get more sweep and separation!
Another thing to note was that unlike my old foot positioning where I seemed to hit failure around the same point every leg workout, my new foot position began to show me that strength gains were once again on the regular!
My teardrop began taking off again and working quads no longer felt like an “all around leg builder”, but a direct quadricep engagement!
BODY-WEIGHT SQUATS VS. BODY-WEIGHT SISSY SQUATS!
If you have never tried to do 100 reps of just body-weight squats straight through, I urge you to try them! You'll find them extremely challenging!
What I want you guys to understand is that it doesn't always take a massive amount of workload to see results.
I frequently do 100 reps of body-weight squats as an initial pump-up exercise first thing in the workout, or possibly as a finisher at the end of a workout.
A sissy squat is usually done extremely light and done while holding something to allow you to come forward with your knees first. You will be on your toes when coming forward and downward on each rep.
Your quads should feel on fire by about rep #20 for sure. I want you to think of this movement as a combination of a deep stretch and then a press!
Walk over to a bar on the smith machine or really anything to grab with at least one hand, and lower yourself down slowly to practice a few.
Once you find your groove then keep going and pump them out!
Don't be afraid to mix and match regular body-weight squats with sissy squats. There are no rules here, you can do things like alternate for 20 reps of each until you hit 100 reps.
I had to do this for a long time because 100 reps of sissy squats with my body-weight only still felt almost impossible.
So I would do 20 deep squats with a wider stance and then I'd do 20 squats with a narrower stance and do a sissy squat motion for those reps.
It would feel like right when I got to about rep #20 with the sissy squat I'd almost have to change stance to continue going! It's hell!
This is a great way to begin a leg workout and create one hell of a pump before you ever get into other exercises!
BODY-WEIGHT LUNGES, THE BEST EXERCISE FOR QUADS YOU'RE PROBABLY NOT DOING!
Guys hate doing walking lunges! It's normally chicks you see doing them, and now that I think about it most people are doing stationary lunges.
Get rep count out of your head, go for distance instead!
Pick a space that is the longest down and back lap the gym will allow. Or a parking lot or field if the gym is too small.
Now, down and back = 1 lap.
At one of my gyms down and back is probably 60 yards. I'll do 3-4 sets, so yea probably 200 yards or so?
You see, when it's distance that is involved it hurts a little more to stop halfway there. It's failure beyond failure, a true test of your mental power to keep pushing on!
Imagine that? A fucking definitive end besides just a rep count!
By the way, nothing I'm talking about is easy here.
Now, in the manner you did your presses or sissy squats will be the way you push off the ground on your leading leg!
Try it, it'll destroy you!
Not challenging enough? Then try this;
once you drop down, come back up about 6″ and drop back down again for an extra stretch, then press all the way up! Press off the front of the foot rather than the heel.
You'll lead just a hair with the knee on the descent to allow for a deeper quad stretch when pushing back up off the front of the foot.
Tell me how sore your quads are the next few days after these. Forget the added weight, using the body only will allow you to focus 100% on the stretch of the quad and mind/muscle connection rather than worrying about holding weights or simply completing the movement with weights!
What do a lot of us want to do when it comes to training legs? That's right, we want to hold most of our strength for the bigger lifts!
Break that stupid mentality if you want to excel your leg development. From exercise #1 you should be killing shit!
Yes, a single set of 100 body-weight squats will feel like it's exhausting you and draining you of potential strength for heavy pressing or squats.
THAT'S THE POINT!
The point is to pre-exhaust the quads so you have to fight through hell to make it through leg day!
Stop “saving up” for a specific exercise. Get rid of that mentality because guess what? If your legs stopped growing it's no longer working!
No exercise I do for any one body-part or set is done with the intentions of half-assing shit!
When I'm leg pressing a single 45 lb plate for 100 reps straight through it's difficult.
When I jump to 2 plates per side for 50 reps it's difficult!
When I jump to 3 plates per side for 25 reps it's difficult.
Did the reps with the baby weights take it out of me before the final sets with heavier weights? Yea, they did.
THAT MEANS WHEN I'M USING HEAVY WEIGHTS I NEED TO DIG REALLY DEEP TO BANG THOSE SETS OUT!
My mind needs to go to a place that most people's minds don't go during my workouts.
I need to call on some motherfucking demons to do those heavier sets that come further into my workouts!
Do you feel like you're gonna puke yet? GOOD, you did something!
DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT WITH YOUR NUTRITION
Do you feel like you need more calories after leg training in order to recover? Then eat more calories that day!
An extra bowl of oatmeal that morning? An English muffin with jelly? 3 bowls of fruity pebbles post workout?
Fucking do it!
Stop fighting growth!
You see, everyone is so caught up in fad dieting that they're becoming their own worst enemies in terms of growth and recovery.
Get to know your own damn body, stop listening to everyone else. Especially people that are small or are fucking fat asses that couldn't see their own damn abs if their lives depended on it.
You see, people have this crazy idea that certain supplements and drugs are going to replace food. Never!
There will never be a pill or steroid that will ever replace hard work and proper nutrient intake!
Proper nutrient intake might mean that when you train your legs and go through a living hell, that you take in extra calories and nutrients for recovery that day!
Much of this is all going to depend on where you're at with your development.
There may be times where you don't want to break that daily caloric deficit in order to continue getting leaner.
But if your goal is to actually look jacked and you don't look jacked enough then guess what? Stop eating like a fucking bird, especially on leg day!
THE PUMP WILL ONLY HELP CREATE MORE MUSCLE ENGAGEMENT ON HEAVY SETS
Have you ever done one of those leg workouts where it felt like you were actually stronger after getting a pump?
This is what I'm talking about here; it's that ability to actually feel that mind/muscle connection when you do get to heavier weights!
You help create this by not holding back on the other work that precedes heavier sets.
Now, when you actually get to heavier sets you're not just beating your body up, you're fully engaging the targeted muscles within those sets.
All of the little exercises that people want to hold back on such as leg extensions, lying leg curls, calf work, body-weight pump type work, all of that stuff needs to be treated like it's the only exercise you're doing that day!
I don't give a fuck which exercise comes first, every single exercise matters equally as important! This mentality will help create a much larger and stronger individual over time.
When you get to that point where after you go through just 1 or 2 leg exercises and you feel like you're gonna die? When you say to yourself ,”How am I gonna possibly do anything else, I already feel like I'm in hell!”
I couldn't wait to get into the gym this morning and destroy shit!
I've been in a high stress environment lately and around people that are exhausting to speak and listen to.
Today I was about to lose all sense of logic if I didn't get my ass to the gym!
Have you ever had to deal with people that are simply exhausting and taxing to be around?
Sometimes I just want silence.
It's like, “SHUT THE FUCK UP, PLEASE STOP TALKING TO ME, YOU'RE DRIVING ME INSANE. I'M GETTING ZERO OUT OF THIS CONVERSATION!”
I'm simply a realist and if someone is simply “noise” near me then I assume get them out of my face.
I go into autopilot mode and just try to make it through the mundane daily nonsense, but the gym is where I can truly be myself!
So I was in the gym destroying shit and I started to think about a few things that I felt would be beneficial to share with my readers.
MY TRAINING IS UNORTHODOX AS HELL, AND IT WORKS!
I DO STUPID SHIT IN THE GYM; stuff most people wouldn't even dare to attempt!
You see, I need the gym to mentally unload on something.
Half the time I'm in there it's not for anything to do with the way I look, the way I look is simply a byproduct of unleashing all hell on the weights to calm myself mentally!
This is what made me think of something;
I thought to myself, “Ya' know, your workouts are a lot like fighting. You don't stop and tell the opponent ‘Hold on, I need to catch my breath before we go at it again!' No, you just keep fucking going and when the sets get hard you get pissed off and go even harder!”
You see, everywhere I look now things are set in stone. Most beginner workouts call for a rep range of under 10 reps/set, I disagree.
Personally, I feel like sets of 5 reps for a beginner is unsafe and produces mediocre results compared to higher reps.
My belief is that you should get stronger through more reps first, then once you're stronger you can start lowering rep ranges.
There isn't anything wrong with pounding out a set and going straight to the next set, or smashing a set of presses with heavy weights and dropping straight into push-ups that make your chest feel like it's going to explode!
But you see, people have this idea in their minds that getting big means you need to be slow and lazy and lift heavier weights for lower reps, and that if you try keeping your heart rate elevated or continuously move yourself around then you're going to get small.
Aren't some bigger guys afraid of everything sometimes? For Christ sakes, try something new once in awhile!
There is nothing wrong with 100 rep death sets, pause/tension holds on sets, bodyweight work to assist with the pump and muscle growth, and working a muscle group more often than once a week!
GOOD FIGHTERS FIGHT REGULARLY!
Do fighters just walk into the gym once a week to put on a set of sparring gloves?
No, if they didn't throw punches regularly they wouldn't be good at fighting!
While there may be times where deloads and periods of backing off from weight training frequency can be beneficial, AS A WHOLE the person who trains more regularly is going to look and perform better!
A lot of this has to do with conditioning in general, and how used to different exercises your muscles become.
Have you ever went to perform an exercise and you felt weaker on that exercise for the simple fact that you just weren't used to it?
Bodybuilding can be a lot like that sometimes. You want to train regularly to get stronger as well as more conditioned.
Remember, training hard burns calories. It keeps your metabolism firing!
LIKE FIGHTING, A GOOD TRAINING SESSION WILL MAKE YOU TIRED!
Don't get me wrong here, I do believe in a little thing called OVER-TRAINING, but most people aren't doing that; they're UNDER-NOURISHING!
Yes, working out hard will make you tired. It's fucking normal!
People want to act like they shouldn't feel tired anymore and that if they do feel tired then something must be wrong with what they're doing in the gym.
You're not doing anything wrong, it's normal! You are going to feel tired!
NO, DON'T STOP THE SET RIGHT WHEN THE FIGHTING BEGINS!
Don't you understand that if you quit anything right when it begins to get hard and hurts that you'll never get good results?
If you were in a fight are you the type of person who is going to get hit once or twice and give up? or are you going to start swinging back?
Start treating your workouts like you're swinging back, stop fucking quitting as soon as something gets tough!
But you see, people get tired from working out and they still expect to do everything that everyone else is doing in their daily lives.
They want to work out, but they don't want to stop eating out for lunch everyday.
They want to work out, but they don't want to go to sleep at night so they can recover properly.
They want to work out, but they don't want to stop drinking alcohol regularly.
So what they end up with is POSSIBLY a little bit better of a look than not working out at all, but they're not much healthier because now they're placing higher demands on their body without putting everything else into place!
Bodybuilding is harder to hold yourself accountable for because there isn't a coach waiting on you to be at practice everyday at 5pm.
You're not going to be taken out of the game because you weren't showing up to practice.
So this allows an environment that is really easy to be half-assed for many people.
But people that don't want to do it because they're tired? Being tired is just part of fighting your way through to results!
The point is to eliminate as much fatigue as you can in your downtime and you do this by proper nutrition and proper rest.
GOOD FIGHTERS DON'T LOSE A FIGHT AND QUIT!
When 2 guys get into the ring against each other and they're introduced to the audience, they will announce a fighters record.
It's rare to hear about a fighter with zero losses with a numerous number of fights under his belt. But despite losing he's still back in the ring!
The gym is going to knock you down if you stay in it long enough.
You're going to pull muscles, tear muscles, get joint impingements, arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, fuck pretty much all the itis's there are….
But you don't stop because you lose one week!
What am I going to do if I stopped going to the gym? After doing this over half my life I cannot stop.
Whether or not you're new to bodybuilding or if you just need a simple reminder here, being able to do consistent basics with your routine should be the basis for every result you get from bodybuilding!
So many of us forget the value of consistency and simplicity with a nutrition and workout regimen that we aren't ready for anything advanced.
I also hash on my opinion of “fapping” which isn't really a major topic in my book. I've recently began hearing a few questions on this topic and I was sort of in the fog about this topic and what kind of role it played in peoples lives.
I believe it CAN BE A PROBLEM TO A CERTAIN POINT, but I just never thought much about it until recently.
It's not always random life factors when it comes to depression.
Have you ever thought that people may be depressed because their life lacks movement?
Look at the type of people that sit on their porches and drink all day; do you think they're happy?
No, they're not.
THEY DON'T FUCKING MOVE!
When you don't move you don't sweat.
Toxins build up in your body and you feel worse and worse.
That shitty feeling now becomes the momentum for further depression.
You wake up depressed and because you know you're depressed it becomes harder to take action to do anything but continue to be depressed.
I'd like to use high school as an example of continuous movement…
In high school it's hard to sit still because you're not in a class for much longer than an hour before you walk to your next class.
When you walk to your next class there isn't a lot of time to get there right?
You have a few minutes to walk from possibly one side of the building to the other!
This sense of movement and urgency keeps you awake and in a better mood.
Most nurses that I know are usually positive people.
Even in a high stress job they're usually positive people because they WALK, WALK, AND WALK SOME MORE!
Not to mention a lot of them work out on top of the walking they do at work.
People who work downtown and walk are usually more upbeat people also.
I rarely see a man in a suit who is carrying a briefcase while walking, with a look on his face that reflects thoughts of possible suicide (I'm sure they're out there, I just don't see it).
I'm sure by now you get my point; constant movement keeps us happier and more lively.
PEOPLE WHO DON'T MOVE ON THE REGULAR ARE DEPRESSED AS FUCK!
PEOPLE WHO DON'T SWEAT ON THE REGULAR ARE DEPRESSED AS FUCK!
This isn't that difficult to figure out here; when you don't move, your body doesn't produce certain chemicals such as human growth hormone, testosterone, glucagon (which helps turn fat into readily available energy), serotonin and dopamine.
WHERE THE FUCK ARE WE GOING TO SIT DOWN NEXT YOU FAT FUCK?
Have you ever thought about how stupid some people's day's pan out to be?
Alarm goes off…
Fuck I don't want to get up. I cannot wait to get in my car so I can stop moving again!”
In car, repeatedly pulls out phone…
Fuck I cannot wait to go eat something and drink coffee!”
Whips the car into the drive-thru, fuck getting out because that takes too much effort…
I'll sit in line for 20 minutes instead. Shit, now I'm late for work. But it's ok, I'm tired.
Fuck I cannot wait to sit down at my work desk and pull my phone out to do my own personal NOTHINGNESS ON!
Let's see what other people ate for dinner last night on social media. That looks really good, I cannot wait till lunchtime to go sit back down to eat again!”
Lunchtime rolls around and I go eat with other fat coworkers and talk about people at work…
Fuck, now I have to walk with this stomach full of food and it's that time of the day again, the after lunch sleepy stretch!
I just want to get home so I can sit down again and watch the new season premier of zombie fuckers!”
Pulls back out phone during commercials to check social media…just decided that people that are into fitness are shallow and all about vanity…
“I've also just decided that my life sucks because I'm fat and single and I need a pill for depression and a therapist to talk to.
“Wait…never mind that for now, commercials are done and my show is back on!”
Commercials come back on, I check Tinder to see if I can find a suitable match…
This person looks good but they want to meet tomorrow and I'm busy eating, watching television, and doing a bunch of nothing. I think we should plan to meet next Friday instead.
Hopefully she doesn't have an STD by then. Never mind, I don't have a sex drive anyways and sex takes effort”
WHY IT'S IMPORTANT TO KEEP MOMENTUM THROUGHOUT THE DAY!
It's not just important to keep movement throughout your day so you don't look like a blob of shit, but it's important for your success and outlook on your own life too!
When you feel good you will look at your life as being good.
When you feel like shit your life will be an absolute piece of shit!
Your kids will look at you like you're a fat loser.
They'll stop asking you to do anything with them because they know you're too fat and lazy to actually say yes and go do it!
Do you know why my son trusts everything I tell him?
It's because I'm the guy that showed him…
how to swim
how to jump his bike
how to roller-skate
how to throw and catch a football
how to do push-ups and lift weights
how to mow the lawn
how to use a bow saw to cut tree limbs
how to ride a skateboard
and more “how to's” than I could shake a stick at!
I'm not telling you this to toot my own horn, but the reason I'm the guy that taught him all of this is because I never stopped moving!
The reason I have validation and trust is because everything I've ever talked about was usually something I COULD DO AND WOULD DO, because being a lazy fuck wasn't appealing to me!
Standing still gets nothing accomplished! A rock will always be a rock; it will sit there, it won't move, it'll be in that same place 50 years from now!
Keeping movement throughout the day is vital to your success and well-being. It goes far beyond just not wanting to look fat!
This isn't a necessity but sometimes the human brain works easier when we have programming.
I've talked about the Red Sniper stack in the past and it's a really good way to supplement your diet with energy and focus.
When you take a supplement that provides energy and focus, it's a little harder to stray off your program because you know that if you stray off then you've wasted your money!
Supplements and steroids DO NOT GET YOU RESULTS IF YOU DON'T WORK FOR RESULTS!
But what they can do is make you more committed to putting in the work since YOU WANT TO SEE THE RESULTS!
Therefore, if I know that my own intensity, focus, and drive could be higher from supplementing a routine with something geared towards energy and fat-loss then it may be easier to have that MOVEMENT on my mind throughout the day!
I don't bullshit people, sometimes when you're sedentary for a long time it's actually a bit more difficult to get in movement.
The reason for this is because the chemicals in your brain aren't where they need to be in order to feel good.
It's a case of “Which came first? the chicken or the egg?”
Develop some sort of system that works for you. An example of something I may do would be:
5am: wake up, take 2 capsules of Red Burner and 2 capsules of Red Focus, hit the streets for cardio! GTF outside and start moving!
6am: shower and eat a light breakfast
7am: arrive to work
12pm: Find a neutral style lunch (a neutral lunch would be eating at a restaurant but eating something that doesn't hurt my progress. This is more about getting back out and moving than it is about a specific place to eat. Just be wise with your options, ie: sushi bowl, half a sandwich, fruit, grilled chicken salad, etc etc.)
3pm: mid afternoon meal, possible a whey isolate shake in water and a few handfuls or almonds. This is something quick and easy
5:30pm: Go home, shower off (yes, I shower before I lift weights to help wake me up, cold showers work even better!) Eat a preworkout meal, some form of faster acting preworkout carb such as cream of rice, white rice, half a sleeve of flavored rice cakes, small 6oz portion of meat such as steak or chicken
7:30pm: meal #5
10:00pm: meal #6
***Once I'm already leaner, I'll split the Sniper stack up and do 2 capsules of Red Focus in the a.m. with black coffee, and save the Red Burner until RIGHT BEFORE GOING TO BED! ***
I know it sounds crazy, but when I pop a fat burner right before hitting the pillow I get insane results because it begins working in my body in a fasted state!
I'm actually going a decent 6-8 hours on an empty stomach while the fat burner is active.
You have to do this right before you fall asleep or you'll have trouble falling asleep.
STOP MAKING EXCUSES AND START MOVING!
It's easy to make excuses to be sedentary. Many people will use the weather as an excuse and I've even been guilty of this in the past myself.
I found that sometimes it was easy to tell myself that it was simply too hot to do anything outdoors in the summer time where I live.
Don't get me wrong, it's hot as fuck here in the southeast, but what am I supposed to do about it? Live like a recluse for 8 months out of the year?
No, although it's hot out my body will adapt to it! It's no reason to stay inside and do nothing!
This is anywhere you live; it's either going to be too hot, too cold, too rainy, or too much snow!
Fuck that, break that stupid mentality and adapt and overcome the elements!
Wouldn't it be nice to actually be strong in other places in your life besides an air conditioned gym?