This blog really stinks

I can’t wait till the BOM (Business and Operations Manager) for the new and improved Informed Performance gets here to Ireland because the reason that I wanted a BOM is because I hate all the business and operations stuff…I mean I really hate it…I’m a coach…the reason that I got into coaching was to avoid ever having to get a real job or ever having to do any real work. Yet all I seem to be doing currently when I’m not coaching is doing business and operations type ‘stuff’ for the new business…and the only thing that stinks worse than this blog…is all the other crap that is going on in the background to facilitate me being able to continue on in to the future without ever having to do an honest days work.

I’m going to cover a few things in this post…all of which will be less interesting and informative than the one before…but I’m sure you’ll read it anyway.

Sports Technology Demonstration
If you are coaching and training and are interested in what is the latest in sports technology come along to the gym tomorrow at 11am. All the information is here.

Moronic things I have read this week
Charles Poliquin is a Canadian strength and conditioning coach who gets brought to my attention at least once every month….as a strength and conditioning coach the guy is absolutely moronic….as a marketer…he’s pure genius. I am going to put a collection here of all of Charles Poliquin’s greatest lines of bullshit and I welcome anyone who wants to send me some to either email me directly or just post them in the comments section and I will transfer them here.

Charles has a near cult like following here in Ireland which is actually surprising because the Irish are usually quite sharp and sceptical….some people here are actually paying thousands to this guy and are completely sucked in.

Here’s a gem that I read this week:
“I can take a 200-pound guy with 20% body fat down to 6% in 8 weeks, with no change in body weight.”
That equates to this 200lb (90kg) guy losing 12.7kg of fat and putting on 12.7kg of muscle in 8 weeks….does that make sense to anyone? I know a lot of athletes and coaches read this blog…has anyone seen a 90kg guy lose 12.7kg of fat in 8 weeks? What about any 90kg guys putting on 12.7kg in 8 weeks. Has anyone ever seen those 2 things happen simultaneously? I’m not saying that I doubt this is possible….I’m saying that it is impossible. This guy is an outright liar.

One of my older favourites:
“I tell people who get certified by me that if they can’t get a female to do 12 chin-ups in 12 weeks, then they don’t know how to train. That’s how you can evaluate a good trainer. If he can get a female to do 12 chins, he’s a good trainer. If he doesn’t know how to do it, then he doesn’t know training. Period.”

This again is moronic…I’ve had 3 female athletes in my lifetime that could do 12 plus chin ups ever….and have probably seen with my own eyes less that 17 female athletes ever do 12 or more chin ups and all those were gymnasts at the AIS.

I know that there are a few Poliquin trainers here in Ireland that read the blog…I’d be happy for any of those that consider themselves ‘good trainers’ to contact me because I will pay for a female athlete…not just any girl off the street…but a current national level athlete…to train with them for 12 weeks and we’ll see how many chins they can do before and after. I’ll do this on the proviso that if they don’t do 12 chin ups that not only repay my money but that you come and clean my gym for free once a month for a year. For the rest of you….don’t hold your breath waiting for this to happen because even these trainers know Poliquin is full of shit.

So instead of emailing me with you ‘Poliquin Program’ asking me what I think of it…I suggest you email Joe DeFranco or Alwyn Cosgrove and ask them….they are both Poliquin certified so they should know….while you are at it…ask them why they would never mention the fact that they are Polquin certified? I’ll take a guess for you…it’s because any strength and conditioning coach worth his himalyan sea salt will tell you that Poliquin is an absolute joke in the industry as far as strength and conditioning goes….but as a marketer…he’s a role model….because very few people in the industry have pushed the envelope regarding getting people to swallow such gigantic mounds of bullshit as Charles has.


Lyle McDonald’s – Applied Sports Nutrition – Seminar Summary

I thought I would do a bit of a summary of what I got out of Lyle’s presentation. I am going to skip over all the basic stuff because what I really want to get to the ‘take home’ material. I want to spend more time on the stuff that I really want to use.

Module 1: The Basics of Human Nutrition
I am not going to go into things in detail here because most of the stuff covered here were all the really basic foundation information on sports nutrition that you can get anywhere.

Lyle essentially covered all the basics of protein, carbohydrate and fats and their roles in nutrition and where and how you get these macronutrients in your diet. He also went over the difference between glycemic index, glycemic load as well as vitamins and minerals.

Module 2: Overall Nutritional Requirements for Athletes
I loved Lyle’s little hierarchy of nutrition pyramid….mainly because I did something similar myself previously.

I want to say something myself here…it isn’t something that Lyle said but hopefully he’ll chime in if he thinks I’m wrong. I get asked questions all the time about nutrition…and 90% of the time the questions are completely pointless. That is actually probably an under exaggeration if there is such a thing…and I’ll tell you why. People worry about all the dumb crap…they worry about creatine, they worry about ‘fat burners’, they worry about what is better…whey concentrate, whey isolate or whey hydrolysate. Yet you ask them how much protein they are getting daily…something as simple as that and they don’t have a clue. I’ll tell you what I KNOW about sports nutrition…I’ll tell you what I think is the MOST IMPORTANT aspect of sports nutrition. If you are an athlete and you don’t know how much protein you are getting in your diet you’re an idiot to worry about anything else. The way that people go on about sports nutrition is absolutely retarded…it is like planning your ‘taper’ for your training in detail but just turning up everyday and doing whatever takes your fancy everyday in the gym in the 6 months leading up to your taper. It is just plain stupid. So if nothing else…get your basics right before you worry about the almost inconsequential things.

Now I’m going to go completely off track here…but it is my blog and I can do whatever I want. Two things that I really got out of the seminar were as follows:
1. One size fits all nutrition doesn’t fit anybody
2. Sports Nutrition is really as much about Sports Psychology as it is about anything else in that everyone knows the basics…it is the application that is the problem…and it sort of overlaps with the first point. In relation to myself I tend to be an ‘all or nothing’ type of person when it comes to sports nutrition and training…if I have a goal, something to train for I just sort of ‘flick a switch’ and go onto auto pilot and do it. If I don’t have a goal or something to train for…well lets just say…I don’t really ‘do’ moderation. Everyone is different and everyone needs to find a strategy that works for them…intermittent fasting works for some people not because it is the ‘answer’ but because it suits some people perfectly. I know others that need to weigh every gram of food and count every calorie…it works for them because it suits their personality. OK…I just thought of another thing I got from the seminar…
3. There is no magic…it doesn’t matter what bullshit you’ve heard…there is no magic formula…no magic supplement…no magic combination of macronutrients…if you want to lose weight you can eat less or exercise more or preferably for most people do a little of both.

Anyway back to the seminar summary.

Lyle broke down sports into 3 basic categories.
1. Strength/Power – power lifting, oly lifting and throwers.
2. Mixed Sports – field sports and games.
3. Endurance – running, cycling and swimming.

He then covered the training, adaptation responses and nutritional tendencies amongst these different categories.

I will actually come back and detail the some of the specifics…I want to cover the generalities of the seminar and if people bother reading this far and stuff that they are particularly interested in then let me know.

We covered all the macronutrient recommendations for the various categories and went into them in some detail.

In this module he also covered general supplement use as well as micronutrients and general deficiencies.

I am just looking at my notes here…so far we are 30 or so slides into what was an 83 slide seminar and the really sexy bit is the next module on around workout nutrition…unfortunately for you…but fortunately for me I have to head back to work. I will try to finish of this module this evening when I get home and then finish the rest up tomorrow in my lunch break.

Module 3: Around Workout Nutrition
This was the real nuts and bolts of what I wanted Lyle to go over as this is the stuff that was really important to me. I don’t really read research…I don’t mean to say that I don’t read research on nutrition…I don’t read ANY research. It is a philosophy that I’d recommend to a lot of trainers and coaches out there….if they read less and actually worked more they wouldn’t be so crap at their job…but that’s another story. My point is…I trust people like Lyle to read all the stuff I couldn’t be bothered reading. I want guidelines…I want stuff that I can use. I’m not saying that I take everything everyone tells me at face value…I take advice…I put it into practice and I see what works. If I was to listen to some people I’d be telling athletes to go to the Dominican Republic and getting them to eat organic food and they’d put on over 1kg of lean muscle mass a day…(don’t laugh…there’s actually a coach who expects people to believe that…although the guy is basically Canada’s answer to Tony Quinn so too much shouldn’t be expected from him but that’s another story)…I would naturally love that to be true…unfortunately it’s not. So what I rely on is people like Lyle to tell me what I ACTUALLY need to know…so here it is.

Goals of Around Workout Nutrition
1. Improve training quality.
2. Decrease fatigue.
3. Reduce muscle damage.
4. Promote optimal adaptations.
5. Improve recovery
6. Protect immune system function

Now you have to admit…these are pretty important goals when it comes to training?

I have to tell you here…Lyle did a whole bit on fatigue…which was apparently excellent…I pretty much day dreamed through it all…the bit that most interests me about fatigue is the bit where I get to induce it…if people are really interested in this let me know and I’ll actually summarise it…but I don’t think the background information on it is as important as the take home points.

Phases of Around Workout Nutrition
Phase 1 – 1 to 4 hours before workout
What you should know…the reason you are doing it is to top off liver and muscle glycogen. It shouldn’t be skipped unless you are a weight class athlete, you’re doing technical workouts (no huge nutrient requirement), or an athlete who train first thing in the morning or have insufficient time for full meal. The size of the meal depends on the size of athlete, type of sport, type of workout (volume/intensity) and the time between meal and training. Ideally it should be a mixed meal.

Phase 2 – 0 to 30 minutes before workout

What you should know…the reason you are doing it is to ensure appropriate blood glucose levels and hydration and to make sure you are ready for action some amino acids may also improve post workout adaptation. The rebound blood sugar could be a concern but waiting till the start of your warm up may blunt insulin response. Liquids at this stage are probably better than solids as they will also help with hydration. Fast acting carbs are best (dextrose, glucose, maltodextrin, sports drinks) along with some rapidly digesting proteins (whey/soy) but fats and fibre should be avoided and you can throw in some creatine for the win.

Phase 3 – During workout
I’m not going to bother with this….see my note at the end of this section.

Phase 4 – Immediately after to 1-2 hours after workouts
This is where you are looking to improve glycogen resynthesis and to initiate and improve long-term adaptations to training along with enhancing recovery in preparation for your next training session. The whole ‘post workout’ window thing is something I’ve always considered to be blown out of proportion…I’ve seen athletes go on as if their muscles would fall off if they didn’t consume their post workout shake within seconds of finishing blasting their biceps. If you are training soon after…as in later that day…it’s probably important to get something in as soon as possible. If you are training in 24 to 48 hours later…it’s probably not so important.

Let me tell you what I got out of this and what I am going to be telling athletes.
1. Have something to eat in the 4 hours before training…that could be a meal or a snack…if it is close to training…try to avoid too much fat and fibre.
2. Start drinking a carb+protein beverage when they commence training and consume it throughout training. What I am going to do is to get a sports drink, empty it into my shaker and stick a scoop of plain whey protein in it along with a teaspoon of creatine.
3. After training I am going to chug a litre of milk and another scoop of whey protein and another scoop of creatine.

Creatine is not the devil…it doesn’t give you rage issues, it doesn’t shrink you testicles, it doesn’t turn muscle to fat when you stop training. I’m not going to even bother to try to talk people around…if you don’t want to take it don’t…take a teaspoon or two a day…I can promise you…it won’t make your kidneys explode either.

Lyle went into bunch of supplements…I’m not summarising these either. Look after the basics first….99% of the athletes I work with barely do that…when they do…I’ll get into the supplements in more detail.

Module 4: Modifications for Different Goals
There are essentially three things that athletes are looking to do…improve performance at a given weight, increase their lean muscle mass or decrease their body fat.

Improving performance at a given weight

  • Generally requires a small surplus on training days to support adaptation
  • Depends on type of adaptation (e.g. neural vs. muscular)
  • Best made with around workout nutrition
  • Small surplus around training sufficient
  • Maintenance calories on non-training or light training days
  • Many athletes (e.g. lifters) train slightly above optimal weight and drop down to make weight for competition

Increasing lean muscle mass

  • Requires a surplus of calories AND building blocks
  • Can’t make muscle out of thin air and wishful thinking
  • Proper training program: sufficient volume and frequency
  • Surplus around weight training workouts
  • Actual rate of muscle mass gains is slow
    • 1 kg/month for males
    • 0.5 kg/month for females
  • 1200-2400 calories per pound muscle (300-500 cal/day surplus)
  • Calories beyond what is needed for growth will just make the athlete fa

Fat loss

  • Requires a caloric deficit
  • How much fat is the athlete carrying
    • Fatter can lose faster than leaner
  • May be better to gradually increase metabolic type work (extensive tempo, bodyweight circuits) while keeping calories static

Then there is the holy grail of body recomposition…this is where you gain muscle, lose fat and improve performance…personally…I’ve rarely seen this happen…I’ve heard stories of people gaining 26kg in under a year and doing so at 6% bodyfat but like stories of athletes having fillings removed and gaining 12kg of lean muscle in a month and of strength coaches that can train any female athlete to 12 pull ups in 12 weeks I’ve generally considered these to absolute bullshit.

What I generally do with athletes looking to make recomposition changes is to basically cycle mass gain and fat loss cycles as long as is needed.

Module 5: This was a wrap up and all other matters section

Keeping your immune system primed is important…eat well, get some probiotics and zinc and you can take glutamine and vitamin C when you feel yourself getting sick.

To make sure your bones and connective tissue are tip top…all of the above…as well as calcium, glucosamine (1500mg) and chondroitin (1200 mg)…the only thing that I actually learned in the whole seminar is that pinapple also hepls…more specifically bromelain and papain.

Also…sleep is good…it’s 2.47am…and it’s what I should actually be doing.

A great weekend…eating muffins and drinking coffee

Mainly because I did little to no work…which was excellent…going to start trying to do nothing far more often.

Lyle’s seminar was on Sunday and I know I got a lot out of it…not because I learnt anything new…but mainly because I got to hear different opinions and ask questions. I get asked a lot of questions myself and as with questions related to training when questions are asked about sports nutrition the answer is almost always prefaced with the word…depends.

I think I’ve said here on the blog before…and if I haven’t said it before I’ll say it now…I think the 3 areas for growth in regards to improvements in sports performance are in improving recovery modalities, sports psychology and sports nutrition. It was excellent to spend the day covering a lot of the stuff that I knew the generalities of but had wanted specifics on.

I am going to put up a ‘seminar synopsis’ here and then I am going to post up what I got out of it…but work comes first…real work that is…not internet work.

For those that attended I will put all the presentation slides on a PDF and email them out to you.

My idiocy

This is completely irrelevant to all but about 30 of you…but in my post yesterday I said the seminar on Sunday was kicking off at 11am…don’t go and look because I’ve fixed it. It is actually going to kick off at 10am. If you are coming and have the time and inclination bring your training gear as we’ll be getting a session in after the seminar…a training session that is. You can also bring your clothes that you wore to mass that morning because we’ll be going out for something to eat afterwards as well and you’d be most welcome to tag along. As anyone who has ever been to a seminar knows….all the good and interesting stuff actually happens before, at lunch and after the seminars are done so you surely don’t want to miss out on that.

So anyone that wants to come…Sunday…10am at St Mary’s Rugby Club, Templeville Rd Tempelogue….and don’t forget to bring €55…it’s not really for the seminar…more for the coffee and muffins.

Always working hard

I’m getting busier and busier. Barry and I look like we might have found ourselves a new boss…someone to be the Business and Operations Manager for Informed Performance. The first thing he told us…after he told me to shut up…was that we can’t talk about the new gym any more. I’m going to find this difficult to the point of pain but I’m going to do what I’m told because he’s American and therefore much smarter and better than us so he must be obeyed.

I’m going to get back to blogging about training instead…it’s been flat out in the gym…literally.005
There’s lots going on at the moment training wise and I’m also finalising all the details for Lyle’s seminar this weekend which I am really looking forward to. If I know you or work with you and you aren’t coming don’t ever expect me to take you seriously when you ask me a question on nutrition ever again. You can find the details for the seminar here. The title says it all really. Lyle will be going through some of the basic theory of sports nutrition but there’ll be a major focus on how to put ‘best practice’with regards to sports nutrition in place so you can optimise the results of your training…whether you are looking to get leaner and ditch the flab or to increase your muscle mass and strength or more importantly…to improve your performance on the pitch.

If you are reading this and you are attending on Sunday and you haven’t received an email me from me today then you better send me one with ‘Lyle McDonald – Seminar’ in the title or you won’t be getting the seminar handout prior to Sunday’s seminar!

I can’t wait for Lyle to get here because I think I broke my metabolism.

It’s all about the bench

Here’s Barry’s warm up set from today. We sorta kinda did a testing session.

I wasn’t going to test him today but he picked up a little niggle in his hip training on the mat last night so decided to take it easy today and let it settle over the weekend. I was thinking of just doing a heavy bench session with a view to doing his testing next week…but once we got started I thought we might as well test today so as to not waste another days training next week.

So we benched…last testing session he got 60kg….went for 80kg and got stapled to the bench…he didn’t even get close to moving it off his chest…today he did his first proper warm up set at 60kg for a triple, 70kg easy for a double, 80kg for an easy single….missed 85kg and this is why I need a cameraman…I did my whole coaching thing…I’ll let Barry tell you how complex and detailed my coaching points were and next time he got 85kg easy. His technique is really unrefined…but that is basically because he really hasn’t benched since he’s been training with me…it is way down on my priority list…his imbalances in his back was a much bigger issue as far as I was concerned and injury minimisation has been one of my major priorities. If we focused on it there’d be another 5-10kg there fairly readily and if we made it a priority he’d get a 100kg bench I’d say pretty confidently.

Then we did his inverted rows…like I said I wasn’t going to do a full test…just wanted to see how he’d go…he got 6 reps in 60 seconds last time. That isn’t a fantastic score. Well today he got 30 reps…that on the other hand is a great score.

I figured at this stage we might as well finish testing…he got 39 push ups, 8 pull ups and 170kg on the trap bar deadlift. So all in all I’m pretty pleased with his progress…a lot done and yet more to do.

The Seminar
The money is already rolling for Lyle’s Seminar on the 5th of April and the first of the names are on the list. Lyle obviously has much better drawing power than I have…but I suppose that’s a given…. after all Lyle’s American and that’s where Lindsay Lohan was invented so he must also be fantastic. I’ll be working out the capacity for the venue this week and putting a cap on the numbers attending. I’m secretly hoping that we’ll hit the number before hand just so I can tell the people who turn up and think they’ll be able to just pay on the day to attend to piss off. I’ve worked out that if I can sell another 36358 places than Lyle and I will both be millionaires…I have counted the chairs…but it may be pushing it.
So if you want to go be sure to send me an email and arrange to get the money to me soon and make sure you get your name on the guest list.

I saw this gem of advice from Lyle just then:
Originally Posted by Lyle McDonald
If you check the macros on a standard donut, it’s actually not that bad. At about 250 calories, like 8 grams of fat and the rest carbs. Two donuts plus 30-40 grams of protein will be about the same as a clean meal macro wise. And taste better. And leave you hungry again in 20 minutes which facilitates the eating needed to get huge.

How could you not want to come and get advice from a genius like that?

Practical Principles of Sports Nutrition and Fat Loss – Sunday April 5th

I have to say that I’m really looking forward to this seminar and I already have a small list of questions for Lyle of my own. I think it will make for an excellent weekend. The presentation will take part at St Mary’s College Rugby Club on Tempelville Road in Tempelogue in Dublin Ireland which you’ll find here.

The seminar will cover the basics of sports nutrition including macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and protein), baseline diets, meal frequency, nutrient timing and most importantly the stuff that everyone really wants to hear about…that being how to optimise strength and hypertrophy gains, maximising fat loss and optimising body recomposition.

Lyle is going to cover all the ‘real’ issues in regard to sports nutrition. That is not to say that the science isn’t important because it is but as a coach what I really want to know is what the best practice is.

I am going to come back and edit and add to this post as needs be and I’m sure Lyle will have stuff to add when he sees it as well. The seminar will cost €55 and places will be limited by the size of the venue. So if you want to make sure you have your place guaranteed drop me an email and arrange payment earlier rather than later.

The Lyle McDonald Bio:

Lyle obtained a degree in exercise physiology from the University of California in Los Angeles, graduating in 1993. He has dedicated nearly 20 years of his life to studying human physiology and the art, science, and practice of human performance, muscle gain, fat loss, and body recomposition. He applies a combination of cutting edge research, canny tinkering, and sometimes, a little bit of intuition to develop my hypotheses which I then test in the real world on various guinea pigs (often including himself). Lyle has worked with athletes from numerous sports including bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, Olympic lifting and many others, developing training, nutrition, and supplement programs to help athletes maximize their potential. He has published seven books on various aspects of exercise, diet and sports nutrition, and writes a weekly blog on his website at Lyle has also written for numerous print magazines including Flex and the now defunct Peak Training Journal. He has a regular column in the new magazine, Muscle News. Additionally, he’s written for numerous online publications including Cyberpump, Mesomorphosis, Mind and Muscle, Read the Core, Intelligent Design,, Ironmagazine, Wannabebig, etc.