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  • Anthony Mychal 1:59 pm on October 30, 2017 Permalink  

    These two things are preventing you from building more muscleeeeee ahhhhhh (insert more fear tactics here) 

    If you're trying to build muscle, you HAVE to believe that muscularity is a malleable characteristic. If you didn't, you wouldn't be here.

    You don't go to church unless you believe in God (and are trying to shield yourself from the fact that, in the end, you will be nothing but mud).

    This seems like semantic suicide. Like I'm establishing an obvious truth for the sake of nothing. Well, I got news for you. Everything is for the sake of nothing. Existence is meaningless. I wasn't kidding about that mud stuff.

    Lucky for you, I surf the wave of absurdity, which means I'm able to find meaning within the meaningless, of which muscle mass is included. And thus, establishing the malleability of muscle mass is important because logic then tells us that:

    My name is Logic, if you don't know by now, I'm always on my grind; And at this moment in time, I’m on a road when I write this rhyme; Sitting behind Raheem Devaughn while he’s passed out…

    Oh, my bad. That was Logic, not logic. Here's what logic was supposed to tell us:

    If muscularity is a malleable trait, then our bodies have the option, at any point in time, to build more muscle.

    Obviously, you don't expect your body to spontaneously COMBUST-A-MUSS (my new supplement made from organic koala nose). If you thought your body was going to get jacked void of external input, you wouldn't be here.

    You're here because, whether you've consciously thought of things the following way or not, you know you have to CONVINCE your body to build more muscle.

    “Convince” is an important word. I like that word. It's rugged. HARSH. It implies effort. And forethought.

    For instance, I know my lady-friend won't give me a foot massage unless she's happy. I also know my lady-friend hates cleaning the kitchen. But she almost always has to clean the kitchen because I cook — an unwritten relationship rule, and one of the few things humans got right.

    But if I want a foot massage, I'll clean the kitchen. Unannounced. SURPRISE! This gives me appropriate leverage to convince her for a foot massage later in the day. I win.

    Just think of your body as a lady-friend. You can't go in dumb and blind. I LIKE YOU I SENT YOU THIS STRAND OF YOUR OWN HAIR IN THE MAIL TO DEMONSTRATE MY LIKE FOR YOU PLEASE GO OUT WITH ME.

    In order to be a good convincer you have to get inside the mind of the convincee. You have to understand the variables involved in their decision making process. This isn't about you and your ego. Set that shit aside.

    You're trying to convince your body to build more muscle, so what are the variables involved in its muscular decision making process? If you don't know, you need to know. If you need to know, you're in the right place.

    This is Part 1 of Muscle: A Model. Click here to go to the table of contents. If you don't want to miss any updates to this series, signup for my weekly email column here.

    The super duper important energetic implications of muscle mass

    Your body is using energy every second of every day. The moment your body stops using energy is the moment start becoming mud. (If your cranium cracked into crumbs because you don't know dick about energy balance, click here and double fist my energy balance guide with what you're reading now.)

    Your body uses energy for a bunch of things. Beating your heart. Digesting food. Picking your nose. All of these things require energy. So let's compartmentalize things and say that your daily energy expenditure is always a totally inaccurate and imaginary (BWx10).

    You weigh 160 pounds, which means your metabolic rate is 1600 calories. But you aren't satisfied with your physique. You want to build muscle and get to 180 pounds. Alright. Cool. But there are two implications.

    First, it takes energy to build the muscle. Think of the aforementioned (BWx10) as the amount of energy you needed to stay alive given your former lifestyle. Building muscle requires energy on top of that, so you'd need more than (BWx10).

    If your monthly mortgage is $2000 and you want to build an addition onto your house, you need to be making more than $2000. You need buy the tools and materials, and pay the people like me (Mexicans that reinforce stereotypes by dressing up as tacos) that are working for you.

    anthony mychal taco

    Second, it takes energy to maintain and use muscle. If your metabolic rate is (BWx10), then, when you gain muscle and weigh 180 pounds, your daily metabolic rate would jump to 1800 calories. Bigger creatures require more energy.

    Once you have the addition, your electric bill goes up. So does your gas bill. Property taxes, too.

    So muscle mass isn't a one time purchase. There's a down payment and a recurring monthly financial impact.

    Muscle is expensive, who cares?

    You're probably wondering why I'm telling you this. You're smart to wonder. Just kidding. I'm the smart one. I'm the one that's force-feeding these thoughts into your head via your eye sockets. You're just a pawn.

    Understanding metabolic impact of building more muscle is important because of the way your body balances its energetic checkbook. And the only way I know how to explain your body's financial tendencies is through the backdoor.

    (Not anal.)

    I'm going to start with something related to what I wrote earlier: the moment your body stops using energy is the moment start becoming mud.

    Say hello to Emo Sapiens

    Humans have been around for 200,000 years. A species wouldn't stick around that long unless it had some sort of inkling to not only survive, but also reproduce.

    Imagine about a group of human things that wanted to kill themselves and despised the act of sexy time. Let’s call this species Emo sapiens.

    Emo sapiens wouldn’t last long. There’s be no babies. Everyone would be dead. Unless, of course, Emo sapiens struggled with motivation for suicide the same way Homo sapiens struggle with motivation for fitness. If that were the case, Emo sapiens would never die.

    But let's assume Emo sapiens didn't struggle with motivation. It wouldn't take long for Emo Sapiens to go the way of Dinosaurs. I mean, seriously, why did that show get cancelled? It was a classic. NOT DA MAMMA!

    Dinosaurs Baby Sinclair

    Why life is terrifying and even the amazing keeps me up at night

    The cosmic joke undermining our inkling to survive is the fact that we can't sustain life by our lonesome. We need shit that we can't produce, like food, water, and oxygen. Corn isn't growing out of the pores of your skin.

    Resources, for the most part, come from the world yonder. We just happen to be rocketing through the infinite universe on microscopic rock with all of the ingredients necessary to support human life.


    Life is amazeballs, but there's nothing warm and fuzzy about realizing that, any moment now, Earth can murder every last one of us.

    Imagine if oxygen deleted itself from the air for five straight minutes tomorrow. That's all. Five minutes of non-oxygen. 93.75% of humans, myself included, would become mud.

    It's natural so it must be good

    Oxygen pulling a Houdidi sounds absurd, but animals die by the thousands on a regular basis because of changes in the ecosystem. National geographic said so.

    In nature, mass mortality sometimes happens. More than 200,000 saiga antelopes in Kazakhstan drop dead in a matter of weeks; 337 dead whaleswash up in a remote fjord in southern Chile; some 300 reindeer in Norway are felled by a single bolt of lightning— all that has happened since 2015. There’s evidence such spectacular displays of death are increasing in frequency due to climate change.

    National Geographic

    Suffice to say, the environment of generations past has influenced how us smelly ooze discharging humans behave today. For instance, if oxygen did pull a Houdini for five, not everyone would die. Those with superior lung capacity (or something) would survive.

    They would go on to reproduce and pass their iron lung genes into the next generation, and then from that point on not having iron lungs would be weird.

    This is an example of natural selection, which is to say: some creatures have traits and adaptations which allow them to better survive a certain environments. Those with said traits and adaptions live and pass their genes (which contain said traits and adaptions) into the next generation.

    Those without said become mud. Their genes do, too. MUD jeans. I'm teaching you the meaning of life, are you paying attention?

    Your body's gollumness towards energy

    Now that you understand natural selection like a sage understands how to add a fragrant, woodsy aroma to food, I can reconnect to where I left off earlier.

    You use energy. But you can't produce energy yourself. You need to get it from the world yonder, which you do via food. Food contains the energy your needs to stay alive. If you stop eating, you'll eventually die.

    In today's world, you have to make a conscious decision to not eat if you were to die from starvation because food is hyper available. But, in reality, food is a finite resource. Not eating wasn't always a choice.

    History books are filled with droughts and famines. And not the “I can’t take a shower today” kind of drought, or the “supermarket was closed at 4AM so I couldn’t get eat my hangover curing empanada” kind of famine. I’m talking about the “CHARLIE AND SUZY DIED YESTERDAY” kind of droughts and famines.

    Given this (and natural selection), you now have a backboard for understanding your body's financial abilities, tendencies, and one last word that ends in ies.


    First, you're able to store and stockpile excess. The fact that you're able to do this is a miracle when you think about the oxygenated Houdini hypothetical mentioned before.

    Being able to store energy allows you to survive a longer time without an immediate food intake. In general, humans can survive three weeks without food. (Compared to three minutes without oxygen.)


    The ability to store is one thing. The propensity to store is another thing. And, boy, does your body have said propensity. When your body is given excess, it'll store the excess.

    This is a microcosm of being an all around metabolic miser. You don't waste energy. You're efficient with what you have. You take energetic shortcuts when possible. In other words, your body has a certain gollumness towards energy. It's preeccciouuussss.


    The muscular wildcard

    I don't know if you've been paying attention (probably not, this shit is boring and I'm making most of it up), but the situation isn't looking good. On one hand, muscle mass is metabolically expensive. On the other hand, your body is a metabolic miser.

    These ends oppose each other, which is why you're here. This shit isn't easy. If you're trying to build more muscle, you're fighting an uphill biological battle.

    But don't quit on me now. You aren't Anakin Skywalker, so don't listen to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Having the high ground doesn't mean shit because there's a wildcard.

    Your body is a metabolic miser, but it doesn't have a hoarding disorder. Your body is using energy every second of every day. It's not afraid to spend, so long as the juice is worth the squeeze.

    Beating your heart. Digesting your food. These things require energy, and your body gladly fronts the cost. But why?

    Because we aren't Emo sapiens

    Remember that whole survival inkling? Your body knows the difference between investments and wastes. Investments cost money up front, but there's a greater return on the back end. Wastes, however, are expenses without utility.

    The prospect of staying alive another day versus not staying alive another day is one way to turn a waste expense into an investment.

    The two variables in control of your muscularity 

    You have all of the information you need to start making sense of things.

    • Muscle is metabolically expensive.
    • Your body is a metabolic miser.
    • Continued survival justifies spending.

    Throw these three factoids into a pot, and you cook up the two variables in control of your body's muscular decision making process.

    The first variable is <NEED>. Your body has to feel that building more muscle mass is a necessary expense. An investment, rather than a waste. Otherwise, it won't willingly raise its monthly metabolic bill.

    The second variable is <FEED>. Your body needs to have the shit necessary build more muscle mass. If you don't have the materials, tools, and (wo)(man)power, the job won't get done. Your body also needs to know it'll have the shit necessary to maintain and use what's being built. Your body won't build itself into something that it can't sustain.

    These two variables are always working in tandem, but <NEED> comes first. If you <FEED> without <NEED>, then you won't gain muscle. You'll just get fat, for reasons I won't get into now.

    What you need to know about <FEED>

    If you're trying to gain more muscle you can work through the following flowchart.

    • First, ask: are you in a state of need?
    • Second, ask: are you handling feed?

    Although both of these variables are important, I'm going to ditch <FEED>. I've written about it many times before.

    The cliffnotes: you have to continually assure your body that it'll have enough resources to support the investment. In other words, you need to eat enough food. I know “eating enough food” is vague. You shouldn't necessarily eat everything in sight. You shouldn't necessarily shove your face with shit food.

    If you're in the dark with <FEED> and want more direction, click here to buy a thing I made that tells you what to eat if you want to be ripped, lean, and jacked.

    This leaves us with <NEED>. And the big question with <NEED> is: how do you convince your body that it needs to build more muscle mass?

    In order to answer that question, you have to know what purpose muscle mass serves. And that's exactly what I'm going to dive into next.

    This is the end of Part 1. Part 2 is in the works. If you want to know when it drops, signup for my weekly email column. 

    Click here to signup

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  • Anthony Mychal 4:25 pm on July 20, 2017 Permalink  


    I was prepared to punch him in the face.

    I didn’t know who “he” was, exactly. “He” was someone. Anyone. It could have been a “she” for all I knew.

    I wouldn’t punch a girl. Maybe I should though. I’m all for equal rights. The moral of feminism: girls want to be punched in the face. Did I pass the test, Lena?

    I can’t lift my arm overhead right now. Grade 3 shoulder separation. My range of motion would be perfect if I were in the Schutzstaffel. So I had the following scenario running on repeat in my head.

    Someone was going to give me flak for not being able to perform an overhead physical task. Maybe it’d be an old lady in the supermarket asking me to get something down from the top shelf and I’d be all, “I’m sorry my 6’4” physically capable looking frame can’t accomplish this task for you. Good luck. Don’t slip and fall in the bathtub anytime soon. Bye.”

    And then she'd be all, “Oh for Pete's sake, this younger generation is a bunch of hairless sissies.”

    And I'd be all, “No, you don't understand. I really can't grow a beard. I've tried. I'm really insecure about it, and you just hurt my feelings. I'm redacting what I said earlier. I hope you slip and fall in the bath tub. And break your hip.”

    Someone was going to make a snarky comment about me on account of my (current) disability.

    (Ha! Disability. I’m mashing all sorts of politically correct buttons right now. I might as well be playing Tekken as Eddy Gordo.)

    Whoever this snarky commentator would be — that's who I was prepared to punch.

    And I got my chance.

    I was boarding an airplane, unable to lift my carry on luggage into the overhead bin. So I did the sensible thing: I forced my lady-friend to lift it for me. (She’s only 5’2”, har har.)

    I’m coaching (yelling at) her. “Use those muscles! Get that thing up there!”

    And that’s when it happened.

    An older man behind us said, “It’s nice that you’re helping.”


    Despite my original face punching intentions, I kept my cool. I turned his way, pointed at my sling, and said, “I can barely move my arm.”

    His snark laden superiority complex laced face melted into one of apologetic regret. Witnessing this 180 felt good. I'm a shitty human. Whatever. I already hate myself, might as well add a few more pancakes and make it a tall stack.

    When we landed, he helped me put my book bag on. Because when you only have one arm, putting a book bag is like solving a Rubik's cube. He also helped us get our luggage down.

    He was obviously a kind man, but he got owned by the WYSIATI heuristic. “WYSIATI” is an acronym created by Daniel Kahneman that stands for What You See Is All There Is

    We make decisions and judgments using information available to us — no matter how limited (it’s usually always limited) — as if it were the only information out there. We rarely step back and ask ourselves, “What information don't I have?”

    The man on the plane fell for WYSIATI, but he’s not alone. You fall for it. I fall for it. I’m in the lobby of a hotel right now making snap judgments about everyone I see.

    That guy is wearing white rimmed sunglasses? He must be a douche bag. OH. WAIT. That’s just my reflection in the mirror.

    90% of that chick’s butt cheek mass is hanging out of her bikini. She must be a slu…gift from God put on this earth for the sole purpose of my eyeballs right now; I’d be a fool not to stare.

    The moral WYSIATI, given the stories above, appears to be: don't be a dick. Don't be so quick to judge others.


    But how we feel about (and treat) others is only one facet of WYSIATI. It also affects how we feel about ourselves.

    Because most of us engage in the following serial killerish behavior: comparing ourselves to other people.

    But we never really compare ourselves to other people. We compare to the parts of other people we can see. And, usually, the parts of other people we can see are the parts they want us to see. In other words, just browse fucking Instagram.

    Although a diatribe on social media would be heavily relevant right now, I won't go there. Perhaps another day. Just know, for now, that social media is a cesspool for WYSIATI.

    WYSIATI is a bitch. Right? An entire book could be written about WYSIATI. It affects…everything.

    Consider that WYSIATI has been a background programming running in your mind ever since you've been able to think. A lot of thoughts and judgments you already have (and will continue to have) about how the world works are a product of WYSIATI.

    Meaning a lot of the things you think you know and understand are just that: things formulated with LIMITED INFORMATION that you THINK you know and understand…but DON'T.

    The moral of all of this is, of course: WYSI(SN'T)ATI. But there's something else to keep in mind.

    You know about WYSIATI, so you won't fall for it anymore. You have the antidote. Right?

    Wrong. You'll fall for it. Often. 97.3% of the time, to be as exact as something not trying to be exact at all. Because WYSIATI isn't under your conscious control.

    The you that you think about when you consciously think about the you that you are isn't always in charge of your thoughts, beliefs, and judgments.

    You can consciously acknowledge that people aren't 100% defined by their clothes and physical appearance. Yet it's been shown that we form impressions of people within (ready for this?) less than one second of meeting them.

    Your subconscious is the true protagonist of your thoughts, whether you realize it or not. (Hint: you don't.)

    Overriding WYSIATI takes conscious effort.

    It's not easy.

    Which is why you rarely do it.

    Talk about a happy ending.

    Actionable advice is for idiots, anyway.

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  • Anthony Mychal 12:25 am on June 21, 2017 Permalink  

    long slow walks 

    I started doing a new kind of walk (out of necessity) a few weeks ago. I'm enjoying this new kind of walk…a little too much.

    I'm looking forward to my walks, which is strange because I haven't looked forward to most of the physical activities I've done in…years.

    I've even started to (sometimes) take two walks every day.

    I'll tell you about this new kind of walk in a second.

    First, some context.

    I'm not new to walking. Before this new kind of walk, I used to walk daily (pending weather). Most of these old walks…I did them, but I didn't really look forward to them.

    I just wanted to get the benefits of walking.

    To clarify…

    I don't walk for fat loss purposes; I don't walk to burn calories. I did enough incline treadmill walking back in 2006 in the heat of my fat loss craze.

    The days of me huffing and puffing my adipose tissue away are long gone. As are my days on treadmills. I'm shivering just thinking about those memories.

    I walk because, when I'm walking, I'm not (a) sitting down (b) inside of a room (c) in front of a computer.

    I need less of those three things.

    Most people need less of those three things.

    I also walk because a long list of writers, thinkers, and creatives have said that walking is better than cocaine.

    All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.

    -Friedrich Nietzsche

    Nietzsche convinced me to walk more than any modern “health expert” has.


    Prior to this new kind of walk, I didn't put much thought into walking. Sometimes I'd listened to a podcast. Sometimes I'd leave everything at home to fast from technology.


    I didn't put thought into walking. I'd just move my legs like they knew how to move.

    But then I injured my heel.

    Some nuckfugget jumped into the air and landed on my heel (he was wearing spikes). I couldn't put any weight on my left heel. Which sucked, obviously.

    Couldn't do any lower body lifting. Couldn't walk heel-to-toe. Couldn't cut potatoes.

    (Okay, I could cut potatoes just fine. I was just seeing if you were still paying attention.)

    But I'm an aggressive rehabber. I've wrote about my rehab philosophy a few times in the past — not gonna get into the guts here.

    TL;DR, I get moving as quickly as I can after I'm injured. I walk the line between discomfort and pain.

    So I started walking as soon as I could.

    At first, I hobbled. I stayed on the toes of my left foot, making sure my heel didn't touch the ground. But then, after a few days, when I could walk with discomfort and not pain, I started to put a tiny bit of weight on my heel.

    This required me to sloooowwww down my pace. A lot. To a uncomfortable degree, just because it felt so…different. My steps were shallow. Slow. Gentle.

    I walked like a 97 year old retired iron worker, really.

    It took me twice as long to walk my normal route, which sounds boring…even to me, right now. BBOOOORRRIIINNNG. I'm going to close out of this window myself, I think.

    But it wasn't boring.

    It was invigorating.

    When I slowed down, I had no choice but to notice things. To open my eyes and look at things I normally didn't see. I felt like a guy sauntering around town with no where to be. Without an agenda —

    A flâneur.

    And it felt amazing.

    And that's when I realized something about the act of walking. Something best described through a conversation I had with my fiance as we were walking.

    “Walk slower,” I said.

    “Ugh. This is painfully slow,” she said.

    “Well, I'm hurt. And, besides, what's the point of walking?” I asked.

    “What do you mean?” she asked.

    “We aren't walking to lose fat. And we don't walk to get from one place to another. Otherwise, we wouldn't even leave the house because we'd already be where we need to go. We start and end at the same place.”

    “What's your point?” she asked.

    “We walk to walk. That's the point: to walk. So why rush?”

    I realize this might be very anticlimactic. I'm telling you to walk slower, which doesn't seem exciting or new.

    But you should try it. Walk as if you have no where to be. Walk as if time doesn't exist. You'll feel the difference…mentally.

    And you'll realize that most people are walking with the exact opposite mindset. They're walking fast. They're walking to get somewhere they want to go (or so they think).

    I'm sure I could mention something here about enjoying the moment or relieving stress or…

    But that's going to bounce right off the walls of your skull, as is most of this. Because self-limiting your walking speed isn't going to feel fun or exciting.

    So I'll 1-UP things…

    I'm getting older. My eyesight is going bonkers. I stare at a computer screen most of the day. So, on these slow walks, I make a deliberate attempt to alternate between focusing on things far, far away — like the clouds or the top of trees.

    And then I focus on things really close to me.

    Not very formal or scientific. Just something I think will help my eyes in the long run.

    “To become a philosopher, start by walking very slowly.”

    -Nassim Taleb



    If you want to get a little more serious about fixing your eyes, check this out from GettingStronger.org.


    Hat tip to Nassim Taleb for introducing me to the word “flâneur”.

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  • Anthony Mychal 6:17 pm on June 5, 2017 Permalink  

    This is the most important page on this website if you’re a skinny-fat dude looking to build a lean athletic body 

    Dearest Skinny-Fat Brethren,

    I’m going to show you the exact steps you need to take if you want to build a lean athletic body.

    They’re the same ones I used to build the body I have now.

    skinny-fat secrets

    You don't need anything fancy. I train in my garage. Alone. I don't live in a mansion with a personal chef.

    So here's the deal…

    I going to give you a chance to see the steps.

    But not right now.

    Because you’re not ready.

    You’re (probably) missing a vital piece of information — a secret — that glues together my three step skinny-fat transformation system.

    And I can’t just spew this secret into your cerebrum. You have to know “enough” in order for it to stick. And I’m not going to make assumptions about what you know.

    If you want to learn about this secret (and my system), then you should sign-up for my free email crash course on body composition for skinny-fat dudes.

    This crash course'll treat you like a wet sponge. It'll squeeze all of the muck and evil out of you (things you know now that aren't doing you any good), so that I can fill you up with the good stuff (things you don't know now that will do you much good).


    That sounded pretty sexual.




    If there’s one thing you need to know, even if you don’t take the crash course, it’s this:

    If you're skinny-fat, you’re…


    I’m guessing you’ve experienced why first hand. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. I’ve experienced why first hand, too.

    But don't get your tubes tied. “Different” doesn't mean “broken.” Most skinny-fat dudes aren't broken, they're simply playing the wrong game.

    As Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

    But I’ve said enough. If you take the course, you’ll see why you’re different (and why it matters) soon.

    The post This is the most important page on this website if you’re a skinny-fat dude looking to build a lean athletic body appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

  • Anthony Mychal 3:47 pm on April 12, 2017 Permalink  

    muscle is a byproduct 

    Everyone wants muscle mass, but muscle mass isn't really something you directly train for. This is why things are (probably) more confusing than they should be.

    Muscle growth is a byproduct of moving your body a certain way through a certain environment; growing is a calculated decision your body makes in order for you to be able to better tolerate an environment.

    A better (more human) way to think of volume, reps, muscle mass, and everything I've been trying to explain is via (a) load, and (b) time.

    Muscle mass is a product of load and time. A higher gravity environment (more strength) encourages better muscle gains, but you have to stay in that environment long enough to convince the body that the investment (in more muscle mass) is worth it.

    • Higher load is better.
    • Sustaining load is better.

    The key is combining the two in some way or another.

    It's sort of like building a callus.

    You can rub your hand on a brick aggressively for one second, but you're not going to get a callus from that short exposure.

    You can rub a feather on your hand all day, but you're not going to get a callus from that soft of a surface.

    You need repeated, sustained harsh enough exposures.

    If you're struggling to gain muscle, it's probably because of one (or both) of these variable isn't developed enough.

    Either you aren't exposing yourself to a high enough gravity environment, or you aren't sustaining exposure enough. (Assuming you're also accounting for food.)

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  • Anthony Mychal 3:44 pm on April 12, 2017 Permalink  

    best rep range for muscle 

    Your 1RM is the greatest expression of strength you can muster, meaning it has a big influence on the volume equation.

    But you can't churn out 1RM after 1RM.

    The nature of a 1RM is such that it can't be repeated often (otherwise it isn't a 1RM). So by training at (or near) your 1RM, you aren't going to accumulate a lot of volume.

    This is why you often see the following breakdown between size, strength, and number of reps:

    • 1-3RM more max strength, less muscle mass
    • 4-8RM combo of strength and muscle mass
    • 9-15RM more muscle mass, less max strength
    • 15-20RM muscle mass for selected body parts

    But I'm compelled to clarify some things that the simplicity of this breakdown neglects.

    Imagine Ted has been doing a lot of maximal-effort training, using 3-2-1RM loads.

    He tests his 1RM and it's 300 pounds. If you use the percentages thrown out before, this equates to an estimated 8RM of 240 pounds.

    But if you had Ted test his actual 10RM, it'd probably be lower than expected because 10RM's are a different kind of enemy.

    Sets of 10 are more metabolically (muscularly) taxing. The type of training Ted has been doing doesn't bias those adaptations.

    Imagine Sam has been doing a lot of submaximal-effort training, using 8-9-10RM loads.

    He tests his 10RM and it's 240 pounds. If you use the percentages thrown out before, this equates to an estimated 1RM of 300 pounds.

    But if you had Sam test his actual 1RM, it'd probably be lower than expected because 1RM's are a different kind of enemy.

    Singles (sets of one rep) are more neurologically taxing. The type of training Sam has been doing doesn't bias those adaptations.

    I mention Sam and Ted because the breakdown between reps and adaptations are clearer at the fringes. The middle is soupier.

    You can gain muscle using lower reps, you just have to compensate for the volume lost. And you can get stronger using higher reps, you just have to have a progressive mindset. If you do nothing but 10 reps per set but continually add weight to your sets, you're getting stronger.

    The post best rep range for muscle appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

  • Anthony Mychal 3:42 pm on April 12, 2017 Permalink  

    max-effort versus max strength 

    Increasing maximal strength — getting stronger — shouldn't be confused with maximal-effort strength training.

    Increasing your maximal strength is pushing your gravitational ceiling higher. It's your ability to move through the highest gravity level possible, which is usually accompanied by additional external resistance — weight attached to your body in some way, shape, or form.

    If you're using more weight (assuming good technique), you're expressing more strength. Lifting 210 pounds showcases more strength than lifting 200 pounds.

    But increasing maximal strength isn't (necessarily) maximal-effort strength training, and here are some definitions from Westside methodology to help explain this:

    1. Maximal effort method: lifting a maximal load against a maximal resistance.

    2. Repetition method: lifting a nonmaximal load to failure; during the final repetitions, the muscles develop the maximum force possible in a fatigued state.

    3. Dynamic effort: lifting a nonmaximal load with maximal speed.

    Say you're doing bench presses. You go in and you lift as much weight as you can for one repetition. This is your one rep max (1RM).

    The max-effort method entails lifting weights at 90% or above your 1RM. This is essentially training with your three rep max (3RM), your two rep max (2RM), or your 1RM.

    Most people shouldn't (initially) use the max-effort method to increase strength; you don't need to use max-effort method to increase strength.

    Most people are better off using a strategy not included in the Westside system: the submaximal-effort method.

    Zatsiorsky, in Science and Practice of Strength Training, describes the submaximal-effort method as lifting a load lighter than maximum (90-100% 1RM) for submaximal number of repetitions (not going to failure).

    “About 70% of strength work should be in the 70-85% range, which actually allows you to develop greater strength than when you lift only in the 90-100% zone.”

    Dr. Yessis

    Which sounds confusing, so let's unpack by first establishing this: anytime you're doing more than three reps per set, you're automatically using a submaximal load.

    Below is an extremely crude and non-scientific way to remember how reps correlate to a percentage of your 1RM: subtract 5% for every repetition beyond your 1RM.

    • 1RM = 100%
    • 2RM = 95%
    • 3RM = 90%
    • 4RM = 85%
    • 5RM = 80%
    • 6RM = 75-80%
    • 7RM = 70-75%
    • 8RM = 65-70%

    So if you're doing 4, 5, 6+ reps per set, you're training below 90% of your 1RM and thus not training with a maximal load.

    You don't have to max out or train at your real maximum every day in order to increase max strength.

    Starting Strength is one of the most popular beginner strength training programs. You go into the gym, start light, do five reps per set, and add weight to your sets every session.

    Meaning you're training submaximally, yet you're still getting stronger.

    If all this technical jargon is offsetting, here's a more straightforward example:

    If your 1RM is 200 pounds, you don't have to go into the gym and (try to) lift 200 pounds every week.

    You can lift 70-85% of 200 pounds and still see maximal strength improvements over time.

    The post max-effort versus max strength appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

  • Anthony Mychal 3:36 pm on April 12, 2017 Permalink  


    The biggest variable correlated to muscle mass (eliminating food from the equation) is strength training VOLUME.

    Training volume is often misunderstood.

    Trivia question:

    Five sets of ten reps (5×10) is more volume than four sets of six reps (4×6) — true or false?


    What's twelve divided by zero?

    There's no solution because “load” is also a variable in the volume equation. Load is gravity plus external resistance. Considering we all deal with the same gravity, load (simplified) is simply an external resistance.


    Which is why 3 sets of 10 at 100 pounds (3×10@100) is less volume than 10 sets of 3 at 150 pounds (10×3@150).

    • 3x10x100=3000
    • 10x3x150=4500

    In general, “external resistance” — strength — is the most malleable and influential variable on volume. But in order to understand why, you have to take a cognitive leap and undress the numbers.

    Let's look at a simple (3×10@100=3000) and play a game of doubles.

    • Double the sets: 6×10@100=6000
    • Double the reps: 3x20x100=6000
    • Double the weight: 3x10x200=6000

    It appears that sets, reps, and load all carry the same impact. But that's not necessarily true.


    Look at the second example. A doubling of reps wouldn't happen unless maximal strength was also improved.

    Consider maximal strength to be your ceiling, the highest gravity environment you can sustain. You won't be able to sustain it for very long — only a few seconds.

    Sustaining a high gravity environment is more along the lines of strength-endurance. And strength-endurance (to a certain degree) is at the mercy of maximal strength.

    • Ted can bench 300 pounds.
    • Sam can bench 200 pounds.

    Throw 150 pounds on the bar. Who is going to do more repetitions?

    You can't really increase reps per set unless you also increase maximal strength. So if you're thinking about upping repetitions to increase volume, a more realistic example has to account for a commensurate drop in load.

    Meaning if you can do 3x10x100 and you want to do sets with 20 reps, you'll probably have to drop to 3x20x50.

    Of course, you can compensate by doing a billion sets. Sets are less dependent on maximal strength. But, at some point doing sets ad infinitum becomes impractical, boring, and time consuming.


    Remember stickiness? And muscle mass being a product of honest sticky movement? As the reps increase, you go beyond the “sticky sweet spot.”

    In other words, say you can do 3x10x300. Doing 3x30x100 isn't going to have the same effect inside of you, even though the volume is consistent.

    You're lifting a load that you could be springy with, meaning it won't spur the same adaptations inside of you.

    Doubling and tripling the reps doesn't always mean what it mathematically says. Nonlinearity prevails in biological entities.

    The post volume appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

  • Anthony Mychal 3:22 pm on April 12, 2017 Permalink  


    arnold schwarzenegger strong

    Arnold Schwarzenegger was a competitive powerlifter before turning bodybuilder. In 1966, he put up the following numbers:

    • Squat: 440-pounds
    • Bench: 374-pounds
    • Deadlift: 616-pounds

    In general, getting stronger means you’re going to gain muscle. In general.

    Just connecting some dots…

    • No gravity / no load = no muscle
    • Earth’s gravity / some load = some muscle
    • Earth's gravity + / more load + = more muscle

    But doesn't always shake out this way because your body can get stronger without building muscle.

    Envision rowers in a boat. The oars connecting with the water. Water is a sticky medium, which helps move the boat.

    When you get stronger, the rowers in the boat are doing their job better. Somehow. That's strength, in a nutshell. Your system is improving…somehow. You're increasing your output.

    One way to increase output is to get more out of what’s already there.

    When you’re a noob, it’s like having a brand new rowing crew. No one knows anyone else in the boat. They get in the water and row.

    Billy is rowing at his leisure and Bobby is rowing to the tune of Disarmonia Mundi and Ben is rowing to Macklemore. No one is in sync. The boat goes nowhere.

    But then the rowers practice. And practice. And practice. Suddenly, they’re rowing more efficiently. Everyone is working as a team. Output increases.

    When your rowers get better at rowing (firing in sync, etc.), you get stronger. This skill-learning mechanism behind strength happens (primarily) via neural and technical improvements.

    Your inter-muscular and intra-muscular coordination improves. Rate coding improves. More things happen that I’m sure a physiology book would do a better job explaining.

    Another way to increase output?

    Continue working at a reduced (inefficient) capacity, but add some beef to the rowers. You replace 100-pound pipsqueak rowers with 200-pound muscular brick houses.

    Getting bigger rowers is like building muscle mass.

    Under most circumstances, both adaptations happen in tandem. Your nervous system improves, and your musculoskeletal system improves.

    The biggest influence, the thing that's going to decide whether or not you build muscle, is how much (and what kind of) food you're eating.

    Also, a useful thing to note:

    Eventually, you'll hit a bottleneck with neural and technical adaptations at which point you'll need to gain muscle to improve output.

    Once your rowers have their timing and technique perfect. The only thing they can do to increase output from there is beef up.

    Most people looking to optimize strength to bodyweight ratio mess this up. They starve themselves in order to stay lean. They're afraid of gaining weight, even if they don't have a lot of muscle mass.

    Imagine a natural 160 pounder trying to stay 160 pounds. He doesn't have a lot of muscle mass, so he doesn't have a high strength potential.

    Compare him to a natural 140 pounder that added 20 pounds of muscle to get to 160 pounds.

    Who do you think has the upper hand?

    The post Ahhhnuld appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

  • Anthony Mychal 3:18 pm on April 12, 2017 Permalink  

    gravity bottleneck 

    Most of us aren’t walking around all huge like the incredible Hulk because Earth’s gravity is constant. It’s always 9.8 meters per second squared. There's an inherent bottleneck.

    anthony mychal hulk

    Most of us have “enough” muscle to neutralize the threat of gravity. Think about all of the times in your every day life when you face an honest sticky situation.

    Probably never.

    Building muscle tissue beyond what your body feels like it needs is like a quadriplegic buying a six story mansion. It’s like hiring ten mafia men when you only need one.

    You’re just wasting your money. The extra dudes are sitting around, zapping you for cash, eating all of your cheese and waffles.

    If the same two burglars try to break into your house, and your mafia men thwart them every time…

    …why spend money on more men?

    You don’t.

    If you want more mafia men around, you have to increase the threat. You have to tell your body it needs more.

    And this is where “strength” comes back into the conversation.

    Strength training is the act of seeking more “load” than what Earth has to offer. It's you pushing the adaptation envelope.

    The post gravity bottleneck appeared first on Anthony Mychal.

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