Giveaway: “101 Ways To Get Strong And Lean”

101 waysMy fraternity brother Joe played football throughout high-school and at our college. He, and his equally tall best friend John, always gave me a hard time about my lack of athleticism. However, it never felt mean-spirited because I always knew that if I actually took the time ask for help – to get stronger, to get in shape – they both would offer their time, support and assistance.

Almost ten years later, Joe now successfully runs Synergy Athletics in Endwell, New York where he has trained countless individuals and sports teams. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, a featured speaker at training seminars around the country, and a go-to expert for Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness and Experience Life Magazine. And now that I am focused on training, he has become a much welcomed and friendly resource.

Now, he, along with a group of extremely qualified trainers and coaches, has co-authored a new book called “101 Ways To Get Strong And Lean”. All the tips, tricks and advice are delivered in a clear and concise manner to make for an easy but substantive read. From the importance of squats, to introducing pylometrics in to your workout and from how to stay motivated to how to get rid of soreness, it’s a must book to keep on your Kindle. And the best part? It’s FREE!

Click here to download your copy of this awesome eBook today! Share it with your friends. Share it with your co-workers. Share it with anyone who needs that extra push to get started.

Starting With Strength

Over the past few months, I have been trying to get bigger and stronger by lifting outside of my regular CrossFit classes. I sought out advice from some of my coaches and fellow gym members, which inadvertently opened the floodgates. While their eagerness to help is appreciated, it turned out to be too much data to process. I was trying to implement too many changes at once and saw little in the way of results.

I recruited my friend Rab to be my lifting buddy and we started with a recommended Power-Muscle-Burn program. We met two mornings a week. The first day was dedicated to chest and biceps and the second to shoulders and triceps. For example, the chest workout, courtesy of Muscle & Strength, consisted of the following:

Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press – Power 4 3 to 5
Incline Bench Press  – Muscle 2 6 to 12
Dumbbell Bench Press – Muscle 2 6 to 12

While it felt good to get in these extra workouts, I was very weary of the movements, especially the “skull crusher”. Laying down on a bench and lowering a barbell with weights on it to my forehead seems very risky. Both Rab and I have multiple degrees between us and we both value our brains. Neither of us were happy to endanger them.

We reassessed the situation and have decided to focus on the three lifts that make up the CrossFit Total: the back squat, press and deadlift. For the past month, we have been meeting twice per week at 6:45AM and driving over to the local L.A. Fitness, which has the necessary equipment and a low “bro” count in the morning.  One day is back squat and bench press and the other day is press and deadlift.

warmupThe first few weeks we just did a few warm-up sets and then did 5 sets of 5 reps for each movement. This morning, we made a small adjustment and followed the suggested warm-up sets calculated by Starting Strength Warmup, a mobile app. All you have to do to use the app is enter what weight you will be working with for your main sets then all of your warm-up sets are automatically generated. It is based on Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe, which I will discuss in subsequent posts.

Rab and I kept to 5 sets of 5 for our main sets for the bench press and the back squat today. We are now discussing whether to switch to just 3 sets of 5 as advocated by Rippetoe. Whichever we decide, it was a great way to kick-off the week.