Monthly Archives: August 2013

Tempo Training: The Benefits

SLOW DOWN, and reap the benefits.


Quality of movement should be your first priority.  Intensity comes only after one can consistently demonstrate the proper mechanics of a movement.  Proper tempo prescriptions can help athletes develop awareness and body control by giving them an opportunity to “feel” which muscle groups are activating to keep them in proper positions.


Slowing down the tempo of lifts can ease the stress placed on joints and shift that additional stress to the muscles powering the lift.  Muscles are far better than joints at adapting to increased loads.  Connective tissue typically takes longer to strengthen and adapt to the increasing loads, so by slowing down the tempo you can give your connective tissue some rest while still strengthening the surrounding musculature.


First, different tempo prescriptions permit for greater training variety and stimulus.

Second, they allow us to shore up weak links by overloading certain areas of movements.

Third, slowing down movements with tempo prescriptions can allow for greater amount of time under tension with less overall stress on an athlete’s central nervous system.

Fourth, isometric pauses at the top and/or bottom of lifts force you to recruit more muscle fiber, and more muscle fiber recruitment (particularly more fast-twitch fibers) equals greater strength gains.


For more information, consult the following article:×0-mean/


Tempo Training: Understanding the Notation

Tempo prescriptions come in a series of four numbers representing the times in which it should take to complete four stages of the lift.

Let’s take the a tempo prescription of 30X1, for the back squat, as an example.


The first number refers to the lowering (eccentric) phase of the lift.

In our example, the athlete should take 3 seconds to descend to the bottom position of the lift.


The second number refers to the amount of time spent in the bottom position of the lift – the point in which the lift transitions from lowering to ascending.

In our example, the athlete should spend no time in this position, and transition as quickly as possible to the ascending portion of the lift.


The third number refers to ascending (concentric) phase of the lift – the amount of time it takes to get to the top of the lift.  

In our example, an X signifies that the athlete should EXPLODE the weight up as quickly as possible.  


The fourth number refers to how long the athlete should pause at the top of the lift.

In our example, the athlete should take 1 second at the top of the lift before beginning the descending portion of the next repetition.


Use “one thousands,” as in: 1-one thousand, 2-one thousand, 3-one thousand, 4-one thousand.


Weighted Pull-Up, 20X2

Eccentric (lowering) = 2 seconds

Bottom = 0 seconds

Concentric (ascending) = EXPLODE

Top (chin over bar) = 2 seconds

Push-Up, 2111

Eccentric (descending) = 2 seconds

Bottom = 1 second

Concentric (ascending) = 1 second

Top (hold in plank) = 1 second

In my next post, I’ll be explaining why it’s a good idea to “punish” yourself with this type of training.


For more information, consult the following article:×0-mean/

The Spot Reduction Myth: A MUST READ


There is a common misconception in fitness that exercising a muscle or a group of muscles more frequently, for example the abdominal wall, will help reduce the amount of fat that is stored around that muscle or group of muscles.

This is simply NOT TRUE, and is a misunderstanding of human physiology.

For more information as to why performing tireless abdominal work DOESN’T produce an astounding six-pack, read the quick article below:


“Core work should be done with the focus on increasing midline stabilization, not obtaining a 6-pack. If fat loss is your goal, focus on your nutrition instead of new sit-up variations. Try cutting out refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, cereal, rice, grains, and sugar in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Training for Fat Loss


“I hate to generalize, but most women (and some men) believe that they should avoid all weight training and only perform “cardio” and abdominal exercises to get their ideal physique. […] My guess is that if you are guilty of this approach, you probably haven’t seen very good results with it. Maybe you lost a few pounds initially, but now you have plateaued and you may have even gained a pound or two. This faulty approach is perpetuated by novice trainers, workout routines published in “fitness” magazines, and a few common exercise myths.”

If the above paragraph describes YOUR approach to fat loss, it behooves you to continue reading:

“The hour or so you spend in the gym accounts for a very small portion of your daily caloric expenditure. Unless you are a professional athlete that trains and practices for several hours each day, the large majority of your daily caloric expenditure comes from your Basal Metabolic Rate (or BMR), the calories burned to sustain your bodily functions on a daily basis. One of the most effective ways of increasing your BMR is through increasing the amount of lean muscle mass on your body. This is, of course, only achievable through weight training, preferably in the form of deadlifts, squats, presses, and other multi-joint, compound movements.  […] Furthermore, intense weight training results in an afterburn effect where your metabolism is elevated for up to 38 hours after your training session.”

SO, if you’re training for fat loss, weight training is imperative.  Cardio is important, but cannot be the main component of fat loss training:

“Doing cardio alone will only decrease your BMR as time goes on. This turns into an uphill battle as your BMR keeps dropping, you’ll need to increase the amount of cardio you do to create the same deficit. Without weight training, you’ll lose muscle which will actually account for some weight loss, and you might even lose a few pounds of fat if your diet is decent, but it’s unlikely you will achieve (or maintain) the level of fat loss you desire.”

Thus the hierarchy for fat loss reads as follows:


For more information, check out the following:

Breaking Down the Snatch

Check out this 3-part series by olympic weightlifting hopeful, Jon North.


Jon breaks down the snatch with simple, yet effective drills that will put you in optimal position for each phase of this complex lift.

For more of Jon’s insight and knowledge, visit:


If you’re weightlifting…why you should consider weightlifting shoes

For those of you who are a little rusty on your terminology, weightlifting (one-word), refers to olympic-style lifts such as the snatch, the clean, and the jerk.  Weight lifting (two-words), is another topic entirely, which will not be covered in this post.

The movements in weightlifting are highly specialized and extremely technical. They demand that the body achieve very specific positions and movement patterns.  This being the case, they also require a very unique type of footwear.

The article below highlights the benefits of wearing a weightlifting, or oly shoe.

If you’re still not convinced, think about it this way:

Would Tiger Woods golf in flip-flops?  NO!!

Would Michael Jordan play basketball in work boots?   NO!!!

I think you see my point.

So if you consider yourself a serious weightlifter, invest in a pair of weightlifting shoes and you’ll never look back.

Enjoy setting PRs!


The Diet-Heart Myth: What Causes Elevated LDL Particle Number

The following conditions play a role in elevating a person’s LDL particle number, thus increasing the likelihood of cardiovascular disease:






For detailed explanations as to why these conditions contribute to a person’s elevated LDL particle number, refer to the following article:

The Diet-Heart Myth: Part II

As a follow up to Part I, the aim of this post is to debunk the myth that high cholesterol in the blood is the cause of heart disease.


“Cholesterol is not technically a fat; rather, it’s classified as a sterol, which is a combination of a steroid and alcohol. It’s crucial to understand that you don’t have a cholesterol level in your blood. Cholesterol is fat-soluble, and blood is mostly water. In order for cholesterol to be transported around the body in the blood, it has to be carried by special proteins called lipoproteins. These lipoproteins are classified according to their density; two of the most important in cardiovascular disease are low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).”


“Imagine your bloodstream is like a highway. The lipoproteins are like cars that carry the cholesterol and fats around your body, and the cholesterol and fats are like passengers in the cars. Scientists used to believe that the number of passengers in the car (i.e. concentration of cholesterol in the LDL particle) is the driving factor in the development of heart disease. More recent studies, however, suggest that it’s the number of cars on the road (i.e. LDL particles) that matters most. […] The more cars there are on the road at one time, the more likely it is that some of them will “crash” into the fragile lining of the artery (thus clogging them). It’s not the number of passengers (cholesterol) the cars are carrying that is the determining factor, but the number of cars on the highway.”


“If a person only has their cholesterol measured, and not their particle number, they will be falsely led to believe they’re at low risk for heart disease. Even worse, the patients that are the most likely to present with this pattern are among the highest risk patients: those with metabolic syndrome or full-fledged type 2 diabetes. The more components of the metabolic syndrome that are present—such as abdominal obesity, hypertension, insulin resistance, high triglycerides and low HDL—the more likely it is that LDL particle number will be elevated”

For complete analysis, refer to the following article:

The Diet-Heart Myth: Part I

The goal of this post is to debunk the common misconception that eating cholesterol and saturated fat raises cholesterol levels in the blood, thus increasing the likelihood of heart disease.

Supporting research indicates the following,

“The body tightly regulates the amount of cholesterol in the blood by controlling internal production; when cholesterol intake in the diet goes down, the body makes more. When cholesterol intake in the diet goes up, the body makes less […] This explains why well-designed cholesterol feeding studies (where they feed volunteers 2-4 eggs a day and measure their cholesterol) show that dietary cholesterol has very little impact on blood cholesterol levels in about 75% of the population. The remaining 25% of the population are referred to as “hyper-responders”. In this group, dietary cholesterol does modestly increase both LDL (“bad cholesterol” and HDL (“good cholesterol”), but it does not affect the ratio of LDL to HDL or increase the risk of heart disease. (2)”


“Studies on low-carbohydrate diets (which tend to be high in saturated fat) suggest that they not only don’t raise blood cholesterol, they have several beneficial impacts on cardiovascular disease risk markers. For example, a meta-analysis of 17 low-carb diet trials covering 1,140 obese patients published in the journal Obesity Reviews found that low-carb diets neither increased nor decreased LDL cholesterol. However, they did find that low-carb diets were associated with significant decreases is body weight as well as improvements in several CV risk factors, including decreases in triglycerides, fasting glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, abdominal circumference, plasma insulin and c-reactive protein, as well as an increase in HDL cholesterol.”

For a complete scientific explanation as to why these statements are accurate, consult the following article: 


The Truth Behind Fasted State Training

“If you find yourself heading to training sessions on an empty stomach, I recommend consuming either a solid pre-workout meal of protein and carbohydrates 30 to 60 minutes prior to your workout or a protein shake 15 to 30 minutes prior. If you prefer training in a fasted state, I still recommend consuming some quality protein as soon as possible after your workout in order to improve recovery. An easy way to get pre- and post-workout meals is to simply drink half a protein shake before you train and the remainder immediately after.”

For more information about the potential detriments of training on an empty stomach check out the following: