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Mission Accomplished!

On my 40th birthday, I had set a bold goal to accomplish a 10 second human flag.

Here is the “final product”


I have many friends that where never involved in strength training until the rise of CrossFit.

I appreciate that CrossFit has exposed them to the many faces of fitness in addition to many positive life changes. At the same time I have never felt the need to jump in since I’ve been having my own fun for the past 15 years. (Note: it is mildly annoying when friends that never touched a weight until a few years ago become self proclaimed experts… oh well, the sun will continue to rise and life will go on)

While I mean no disrespect to my fellow CrossFit friends, reading this article was disappointing.

An Open Letter To CrossFit HQ

The article basically discusses how incredible athletes where treated like circus meat for the sake of entertainment. It was written by one of the volunteer medical doctors on staff at the 2015 games. If I WHERE involved with CrossFit, I would be doing my part to make sure HQ represents the very people that define them. There is GPP and then there is just plane idiocy.

I personally feel like the games are going too far down that path for entertainment at the mercy of their athletes. No thanks.

As one of my favorite strength coaches, Charles Staley said “the goal should never be to seek fatigue and to feel destroyed. If you want that, just run out into traffic.”.

Does this mean CrossFit is an evil cult? Hell No! That is like saying that Chiropractors are a bunch of quacks because of a few bad apples.

There are MANY CrossFit gyms that have an incredible culture IN ADDITION to a properly trained staff that understands FMS (Functional Movement Screening).

People simply have no business doing overhead squats for time when they can’t even hold their hands straight overhead properly! I have a close friend that is an orthopedic surgeon. Another is a physical therapist. Guess what? A large percentage of the injuries they see are CrossFit related.

I hope my readers don’t interpret this is a criticism on their beloved CrossFit. Quite the contrary, I am raising awareness so that it continues mature into the incredible entity that it has the potential to become.

Trust me, I get it…. I was raised Catholic and understand how it feels when “not good” things happen within the organization. It shouldn’t be confused with the principles we stand for.


If you are new to this site, check out my previous post on this topic first.
Here is a quick video update of my human flag training progress.

It’s going well!!

Strength Exercises added to the tool box:

Wide grip pull up static holds with a 70 pound dumbbell for 10 seconds

Low Cable Suitcase static holds

Wide grip pin presses (heavy for sets of 3)

The Human Flag

Mind Over Matter and the Human Flag

As long as I can remember, this is one of those exercises (if you can even call it that) that has fascinated and humbled me. If you have never heard of the human flag before, it involves tremendous lat, shoulder and trunk strength to hold yourself completely sideways with arms extended from a pole, post or ladder.

2 years ago I had the idea that I wanted to be able to do this and I believed there was a thread of hope since I could hold myself for just over 1 second before my legs started their dive bomb decent.

Little progress was made until 3 months ago when I decided to attack it with 100% focus. My entire training routine was tailored around resolving strength deficits to accomplish this. I settled on a goal of holding it for 10 seconds on my 40th birthday.

Well, I am 1 month away and here is my latest progress (filmed by my daughter Addison).

It doesn’t feel like it should even be possible and to say it feels super gratifying would be a gross understatement!


When I find some more time, I will post my training and nutrition strategies for Human Flag training.

The key flag training elements are:

  • Maximize strength to body weight ratio (you can’t afford excess “non functional” weight)
  • Increase absolute strength in the shoulders, lats and “core” (I know the “c” word is way over used lately)
  • Balance your training program to keep support muscles and antagonists in good condition

The primary exercises really depend on where you are starting from. Ideally you should be able to perform several wide grip pull ups and hand stand push ups (feet against the wall). Once you can hit 8-10 reps on these exercises, you are probably ready for the TRUE human flag training to begin.

For me, these included:

  • heavy weighted wide grip pull up holds (3-6 second holds in the half way position)
  • heavy parallel grip lat pull downs (3-6 reps)
  • heavy dumbbell shoulder presses (3-6 reps)
  • overhead rack half presses (wide grip)
  • lots of hand stand push ups (feet against the wall)
  • side plank holds with feet elevated on bench (work up to 60 seconds)
  • human flag practice each weekend (trying not to go to failure, just many exposures)
  • core exercises to maintain/increase leg strength without focusing on hypertrophy



Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

As with many “popular” trends, the answer to this question is both short AND long enough for entire book.

The short answer is YES, but does it work for what?? Well, intermittent fasting can be used to lose fat and/or gain lean muscle depending on the protocol you use.

After much experimentation, reading, trial, error, blood, sweat and tears (ok, maybe not so much tears) I have settled on a program that is shockingly close to what Martin Berkhan of LeanGains.Com advocates which is a 16 hour fasting period followed by an 8 hour feeding period.

Recently, I stumbled upon an awesome ebook by Dr. John Berardi, entitled “Experiments with Intermittent Fasting”.

Click here for Dr. John Berardi’s Experiments with Intermittent Fasting.

Just like Dr. Berardi, I started off with full day fasts. My first experience was with the Xtreme Fat Loss program. I really had no business trying an “extreme fat loss” program since I was already quite lean but I was writting a review about the program and, unlike most internet fitness fakes, I actually try out any program I review… shocking! The problem with the Xtreme fat loss program is that it has 2 full day fasts per week and it’s brutal to follow.

I actually made excellent progress with a 48 hour “all you can eat” followed by a 24 hour fast.

Eventually, I transitioned to what I feel is the most sustainable (Martin Berhan’s 16/8 style program). Not to toot my own horn but I essentially drafted up a 16/8 style program after reading Ori Hofmekler’s book “Maximum Muscle, Minimum Fat”!





Here is an outline of my new Wednesday routine that incorporates intermittent fasting and strength training

This snapshot of a typical Wednesday is something I will follow for the next 4 weeks before changing the strength training components.

Tuesday night,
9:30PM (the night before)

Finished eating my last meal for the next 16 hours:

2 scoops mixed protein powder,
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup oats
1 Tbsp Almond Butter

Wednesday morning,

3 Beverly International Quadracarn (mixed Carnitine supplement)
1 cup of black coffee
Note: I can’t prove or disprove if this supplement is doing anything yet but my collective program is working awesome!


6 BCAA tablets, 4 Mass Amino Casein Tablets, 3 Quadracarn

12:15PM – 1:15PM
Workout #1

During the workout I sip a BCAA and L-Glutamine mixture (Beverly International Glutamine Select) with about 6g BCAA’s and 10g Glutamine.

The pre-workout aminos and “during workout” Aminos are very important to have a great workout in a 16 hour fasted state. They serve anabolic and anti-catabolic functions as well as provide the body with a readily available source of aminos to be converted into blood sugar.

Superset #1
1) Dumbbell reverse lunges (3 x 6-8 reps)
2) Incline Dumbbell Curls (3 x 10-12 reps)
3) Close neutral grip dumbbell press (3 x 8-10 reps)

Exercise #2
Leg Extensions with 60 seconds rest (7 x 6-12 reps)

Exercise #3
DB Front Squat (1 x 10-15 reps)

1:30PM – 2:00PM
Meal #1

1 1/2  scoops Beverly International Mass Maker Ultra
1 1/2 scoops beverly International Ultimate Muscle Protein
1 Banana

3:30PM – 4:00PM
Meal #2

8 oz low fat greek yogurt
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp Cacao Nibs
2 tsp orange flavored fish oil (Barlean’s)
1.5 oz raw mixed nuts
2 Beverly International Fit Tabs (multi-vitamin)
4 Ultra 40 Liver Tablets

6:15PM – 7:15PM
Meal #3

2 medium grilled chicken breasts with cheddar cheese (small amount) and asparagus
1 1/2 pieces grilled corn on the cob with pastured butter and sea salt
2 cups mixed greens salad with fresh raspberries, Udo’s oil and balsamic vinegar
2 squares 90% dark chocolate with 2 tsp Almond Butter

9:30PM – 10:15PM
Workout #2

Heavy Barbell Bench Press (6 x 1-3 reps)
Single leg calf raises (6 x 12-20 reps)

10:45PM – 11:15PM
Meal #4

This will be my final meal for the next 16 hours again:

Breakfast wrap (who says this can only be at breakfast!)
3 Eggland’s best Whole Eggs
1 egg white (cheap generic egg)
1 oz cheddar cheese
2 tsp coconut oil (for cooking eggs)
1 Ezekiel sprouted grain wrap
Salsa and plain greek yogurt

1 cup organic whole milk
1 scoop Beverly International UMP protein
1 Tbsp natural peanut butter with flaxseeds



High Protein Diet Menu:
“The Anti Wussy Salad”

There is an epidemic that has overcome America and is slowly spreading to other nations. 

Diabetes? Nope, but that is certainly in the top 3.

Cancer? Good guess, but that’s not it either.

The Epidemic is:
The Pussification of America

That’s a bold statement but you heard me (read me) right. America is turning into a bunch of pussies and sissies. Too many people have the “skinny fat” syndrome of sunken chest, pot belly and no upper back muscle to speak of which lends nicely to the rounded shoulder wussy look.


So why did I chose the name “Wussy”?

Well, if I called it the “Anti Pussy Salad” it would send the completely wrong message and if I called it the “Anti Sissy Salad”, it could be abbreviated as the ASS.

Again, not the message I was going for, although it would be funny to prescribe a dose of post workout “A.S.S.”!



This Anti-Wussy Salad Will Meet You Half Way:
Deliver Ultimate Nutrition
After You Kick Your Own Ass

This recipe has become a staple of my weekly meal plan regardless of my goals of building lean muscle or rapid fat loss.I have researched the ultimate combination of ingredients to deliver a massive nutrition power punch that tastes great AND has a long list of health and recovery benefits, including optimal hormone levels ( such as Testosterone ).





Why is this Anti Wussy, high protein salad….

That’s a great question and the reality is that it can’t be the ultimate salad to everyone under all situations. The truth is that most individuals are interested in either fat loss or a body transformation which involves lean muscle gains and fat loss.

Under both of these situations, it is critical to focus on total nutrition, not just the macro-nutrients (carbs, fat and protein).

With the Ultimate high protein salad, I set out to select and combine ingredients to give a diverse and effective nutrient profile that I could also enjoy eating on a regular basis.

After all, who want to eat a healthy meal day in and day out
that tastes like rotten cardboard?!

Many popular nutrition strategies and programs advocate eating meals that contain either protein and fat or protein and carbs. Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition has been advocating this simple eating strategy for the past decade and I fully recommend, practice and embrace it (except on cheat days! ).

This high protein salad is classified as a
protein + fat meal

Let’s dive in and look at the ingredients to make this muscle contracting confection!

  • 2 -3 Cups of Organic Baby Spinach
    and Spring Mix (not 100% spinach)
  • 1 Tbsp of Udo’s choice EFA oil blend
  • 1/3 – 1/2 medium avocado, chopped up
  • 1/4 Cup blackberries and/or blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp raw sesame seeds
    (make sure to read why below!)
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp diced red pepper
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp high quality balsamic vinegar
  • 4 – 8 oz fish, chicken and/or steak
    (ideally grass fed beef)



The avocado, red pepper, berries and balsamic vinegar combine to create a fantastic and unique taste that will pleasantly surprise you (or make you vomit….).

There is a method to my madness in the selection of each ingredient. Let’s run through the list and understand the benefits of each one.

Organic Baby Spinach and Spring Mix:

I prefer a mixed green variety as baby spinach is high in naturally occurring oxalates which prevent calcium absorption. The spring mix I commonly use has a combination of spinach, tango, lolla rosa, red and green romaine, red and green oak, red and green chard, mizuna, radicchio, frisee, beet greens, arugula, tat-soi, red mustard, kale and collards. Whoa!!


What is the baby spinach and
spring mix rich in?

  • Vitamin A (80%)
  • Vitamin C (30%)
  • Iron (20%)
  • Calcium (6%)
  • Fiber (4g)


By using the spring mix instead of 100% baby leaf spinach, we are leaving a good dose of Magnesium and Folate on the table.

Fear not, the we will make up for it in the other ingredients, plus the reduction of oxalate will allow the body to absorb more calcium from the sesame seeds. Say what? Yep, sesame seeds are a great source of calcium, among other things, but we’ll get to that!


 Udo’s Choice Essential Fatty Acid Blend

Essential fatty acids are critical nutrients that you must consume through food and supplements since your body is not able to manufacture them. Udo’s blend provides essential omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids which have a seemingly endless list of benefits including brain function, heart health, optimal hormone levels, stamina, skin health and more.

I also strongly recommend additional supplementation with a high quality fish oil with other meals as part of your complete nutrition plan.


Avocado’s are delicious and another excellent source of healthy fat. The primary fat in an avocado is mono-unsaturated fat (omega 9) and the same primary fat that is in olive oil. Mono-unsaturated fats are an excellent source of fuel for your body.


What is an Avocado rich in?
(1/2 avocado)

  • High in potassium
    (same as whole banana!)
  • Fiber (5g)
  • Mono Unsaturated Fat (11g)

In addition, avocados seem to inhibit the inflammatory compound interleukin-6 when eaten with lean meat. Cha ching!!


Sesame Seeds

Why sesame seeds? Ok, this is awesome.

Not only are sesame seeds an excellent source of calcium, they are also full of lignans which are known to bind excess estrogen.

Like all hormones, proper estrogen levels are very important for men and women but since this salad is the “anit-wussy” salad, we want to reduce estrogen levels.

Note, that if you are a female (and who says women should be wussies?!), check out this link to learn how you may want to cycle the types of seeds you use depending on the point of your menstrual cycle. Ok guys, I just felt my testosterone levels drop by typing that last sentence I will try to minimize estrogenic words.




Age Dependent Meal Plans For Muscle Gain

Plan #1 : The Teenage Athlete Through Early 20′s
With <15% Body Fat

As I mentioned in my video post, teenagers in their late teen years that are player high school sports for example have much different requirements than older athletes due to metabolism, energy expenditure and hormonal levels. The supplement companies try to make money (it’s a billion dollar industry!) pitching unnecessary supplements to young athletes trying to gain lean muscle quickly.

Your battle is with a fork and a knife!

  • Your target level of carbohydrates (fruits, starches and whole grains) should be about 55% to 60% of your total calories.
  • Your target level of proteins (eggs, dairy, beef, chicken, turkey, fish) should be about 25% to 30% of your total calories
  • The amount of healthy fats you should eat (fat in red meat, egg yolks, whole milk, butter, olive oil, avocados) should make up the remaining 15% to 20%

Knocking back endless protein shakes is completely unnecessarily.

Multiply Your Body weight by 20 to
Estimate Calories Needed

This rule of thumb is only a starting point. If you are gaining more than 1 to 2 pounds per week then you are most likely gaining too much fat and a calorie reduction is in order.


So you want Big Arms?

There are many factors that go into arm size as well as the types of gains you can expect to make.

Before I get into the specifics, let’s have a reality check. I am guessing that the reason you are reading this is because you are searching for a killer bicep routine to help you put on size.

Here’s the deal. For males, if your arms are less than 14″ in circumference (and you are taller than 5 1/2 feet) then a killer arm routine isn’t what you need, but rather a solid routine that focuses on compound movements like pull ups, bent over rows, dips and close grip presses.

Chin ups, pull ups and dips will pay huge dividends when it comes to packing on arm size.

I have observed many times over the years that when I can get an individual to stop performing direct arm work and, instead, focus on the compound movements, increases in arm size and strength where experienced.

In fact, when they went back and tried curls, they were shocked to see that they could curl more weight!

Will this work for everyone? Nope. My arms are just under 16″ ( ok, 15 3/4″ ) at a body weight of just over 170. I am very strong in pull ups and dips but size increases will only come from lots of direct arm work, lots of eating and lots of rest!

I once heard a rough rule of thumb from a very well know strength coach that to put an inch on your arm, your total body weight will need to increase by approximately 10 pounds. On average, I have personally confirmed this.

If you have read some of my other posts on the subject of carb cycling, you know that a carb cycling meal plan can produce fantastic results! Although you can “jump right in” to a plan, it is best to go through an adjustment period for optimal results.

This adjustment period is commonly referred to as a fat adaptation phase. I learned about these methods from Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale’s excellent book: The Metabolic Diet. I learned about “Dr. Di” at a Charles Poliquin training seminar and I later saw him lecture at the SWIS weight training symposium in Toronto, Canada many many years ago.

The Metabolic Diet starts you off on a very low carb “assessment phase” which is what I am describing here.

Why do you need this?

Well, when excessive amounts of poor quality carbohydrates have been over consumed (i.e. diabetes epidemic), insulin levels are chronically elevated which leads to insulin resistance.

Here’s an analogy: You walk into a bar (no, this isn’t a one liner joke…) and there is a live band playing. You can’t hear a thing! Then, eventually, you become kind of numb to the music and it doesn’t seem as loud anymore.

Well, that’s what happens to the insulin receptors of your cells when you consume an abundance of over processed carbs. Your body becomes numb to the insulin your pancreas is cranking out in a furious attempt to get your blood sugar levels down.

Even if this doesn’t describe you, this phase is still a great way to get the fat burning enzymes in your body fired up AND assess how well you will do on a low carb diet.

If you have been searching for how to keep your lean muscle while losing fat, a carb cycling meal plan that starts off with a fat adaptation phase is really the most flexible and efficient way to do so.

Any nutrition plan (aka “diet”) that ties your hands to a particular strategy is flawed and doesn’t take into account every person’s unique needs. The carb cycling meal plan that I outline allows you to adjust carb levels to the optimal point once you have engaged the fat burning machinery in your body.

Is this plan just for men? Absolutely not! Carb cycling for women will produce excellent results and the same strategies are employed regardless of sex.

On a side note, I learned from Dr. Serrano in a fat loss seminar that it’s best for women to align their PMS phase of the menstrual cycle with a very low carb phase. If you are a woman, then go for it! If you are a boyfriend or husband reading this then be warned, this results in elevated fat loss AND…. ummmm….. bad moods.

Starting on a Monday, keep your fat intake at 50% to 60% of your total caloric intake while your protein intake should make up most of the difference ( Note: this means that most of your calories should come from fat for this period!).

Keep your carbohydrate intake at a maximum of 30 grams. If, after 6 days, you feel like THE WALKING DEAD, Have some complex carbs before bed in the form of sweet potatoes, oatmeal and fruit (banana is best here). Then switch back to 30 grams max for the remaining 6 days.

After this 12 day period, have a 48 hour “carb load” then start the lean muscle gain and fat loss rotation plan.


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