Over the years I have toyed with many types of training templates. From bodybuilding splits to powerlifting, from Strongman to HIIT, I have spent countless hours playing around with many different training modalities. Only to try and configure the best training program around that produces the best results.
What I have found is that every style of training can work if you use it properly. The style you choose should depend on what your goals are.
If you want to be the next Mr. Olympia, well you should be following some kind of bodybuilding split.
If you are a college wrestler and want to get strong as hell without putting on additional bodyweight we need to take that into consideration.
If you are a regular dude that wants to get jacked and shredded but still have the ability to play some pick-up basketball you can do that too.
Your goals will dictate your programming.
However, I am about to share with you the type of program we use at Tutela Training Systems in Clark, NJ that have proven to produce incredible results time and time again.
But first let me kick it off with my story and how I developed this system and got into training in the first place.
Ambition to become the king of arm wrestling
My training career truly started when I was 13 years old. I was challenged to an arm wrestling match back in the 7th grade by a kid named Mark. Mark was probably about half my size, but the kid used to destroy everyone in arm wrestling. I took the challenge and he literally laughed at me mid-match, right before he nearly ripped my arm off. All the kids that surrounded us laughed hysterically, which left me humiliated, pissed off, and more importantly, determined.
The next day I walked my ass down to the Modell’s about a mile from my house and purchased one hexagon 20 lb. dumbbell . 13 years old and about 140 lbs, I was barely able to carry this thing back to my house. And naturally, I did the one exercise that I knew, for probably about 20,000 reps.
The bicep curl.
I was determined to never lose another arm wrestling match in my life. I challenged Mark almost every day at school, and took beating after beating. Until, 8th grade came around and about 9,000,000 bicep curls later, I was finally able to beat that SOB!
That was my first taste of getting stronger and seeing first hand results.
Welcome to high school football
The summer going into my freshman year of high school my friends talked me into playing football. Only a few of us 8th graders were committed to the 8-AM workouts at the field house that summer.
This was my first experience in a true weight room environment and it was incredible.
Like all typical teenagers, I was immediately attracted to the bench press. So, I benched, I curled, I squatted, leg pressed, deadlifted and cleaned, with what was probably the worst form anyone has ever seen. Luckily, despite the fact that I had no clue what I was doing, I never got injured and actually saw some results. That summer I grew from 150 lbs-165 lbs.
Making the game
After four years of lifting for high school football, I started to get even more serious with my training after football my senior year. The first book I bought on training was Triple H’s “Making the Game” where it took you through his workouts with all kinds of exercises and pictures.
I spent hours in the gym, literally 3 or 4 a night.
I knew very little about training at that time. So what I did was follow a typical bodybuilding split. Monday chest and tri’s, Tuesday legs, Thursday back and bi’s, Friday shoulders, arms and calves.
Any of you that have been following me for a while know that I wouldn’t typically recommend this type of split for any genetically average hard gainer like myself. But initially I did make some progress, until I eventually plateaued and couldn’t get any bigger or stronger.
During a family get-together that year I was talking training with my cousin and mentor, John Alvino, who is one of the best in the strength and conditioning business.
I remember being so excited and proud to tell him about all of the work I have been putting in.
When I did his reply was simple.
“You gotta stop wasting your time.”
I was shocked! What the hell do you mean?! I have been putting in hours almost everyday!
“Come to my gym on Monday” was all he said.
The start of a new career
The name of my cousin’s training facility was called Iron Athletes. As soon as I walked in I was immediately hooked. He had all types of equipment that I had never seen before.
Naturally our first session together was leg day. And naturally, I puked all over the place and nearly passed out.
Regardless of all the puke and outer body experiences I loved training there. The atmosphere, the music, the guys pushing you…everything about it. I knew that this is what I wanted to do.
While training at Iron Athletes I started training more like an athlete, using less isolation movements and more multi-joint stuff. Military presses, squats, deadlifts, bench presses and all kinds of assistance exercises that I had never used.
Over the summer I went from 175 lbs. to 190 lbs! I was also the strongest I have ever been in my life, benching 305 lbs, squatting 400 and deadlifting 425!
It wasn’t until then that I learned the benefits of combining powerlifting, bodybuilding, bodyweight and strongman training. This combination known as powerbuilding gets you big as hell and brutally strong!
The birth of Tutela Training Systems
After working under John Alvino for nearly three years I decided to open up my own training business. So in March of 2009 I opened up TTS as a contractor at a private gym in Clark, NJ.
From 2009-2012 I became obsessed withnot only getting people bigger and stronger but getting them shredded. During this time I played around with a lot of metabolic conditioning stuff. If you’re unsure what that is, Met Con is strength training exercises put together in a circuit to create more of a conditioning effect.
Typically we did 3 full body days per week.
Although these workouts are extremely effective for getting people lean, they are also pretty taxing and become tough to recover from when you do them long enough.
I found that most guys who are more advanced and already strong don’t typically enjoy this style of training; however beginners and women tend to love it.
This is due to the fact that advanced trainees have more strength and muscle, which requires a greater demand for oxygen. This makes it much more taxing with a much greater conditioning effect for advanced guys and girls.
The biggest bang for your buck
The way I train myself and most of my clients and athletes now after opening my brick and mortar location in 2012 has been proven to give us all the biggest bang for our buck!
That is using an upper/lower split most of the time with a powerbuilding type of template. On off days you can do your conditioning work. You can use met con, HIIT, sprints or play a sport or martial arts on your higher intensity days.
On low intensity days go for a walk, bike ride, hike, swim or do some type of low level activity to break a sweat.
These days I typically strength train 3 days per week. One week is upper, lower, upper and the next week is lower upper, lower.
I do martial arts twice per week, sprint once per week and do something with low intensity once per week.
I also walk everyday first thing in the morning every day on an empty stomach to get my head right for the day and to burn some fat.
I have used this split for myself and for many clients over the years and have had tremendous success.
Putting it all together
As you can see from my training experience throughout the years, I didn’t do everything right. I actually had no idea what I was doing at first. But I did the work and saw results.
Once I stopped seeing results I tried something new, then I saw more results. One that stopped I tried something new, and saw more results!
My point is if you’re constantly looking for the next best thing, you’ll never know what works and what doesn’t. You’ll waste more time and energy looking for the best training program rather than just putting in the damn work.
The time may not be perfect, you may not be sure what to do, you may think there is a better way… but if you just stop thinking and DO THE WORK you’ll find that is what actually produces results. Regardless of how shitty your program looks on paper.
Because if you have the best training program on paper but always second guess it and change what you’re doing your results will suffer.
Just get in the trenches and start doing SOMETHING!
That’s the only way you’ll find out how to achieve real-world results.
I hope this helps guys.
Drop a comment below or shoot me an email to let me know what you think.