Fitness & Wellness

Stop Destroying Yourself and Make Better Gains

Stop Destroying Yourself and Make Better Gains

Guys like us have goals.

We’re determined to get bigger and stronger as fast as possible.

So we go 110 mph all the time, in the constant pursuit of making gains.

If you played sports, you probably carryover that same mindset to the weight room. You have the mentality that you have to go as hard as possible, all the time.

Although this can be a great attitude to have, it can actually leave us beat up and over trained with lesser strength and hypertrophy gains.

Ever see the guy in the gym using a weight that he’s absolutely struggling with? He’s usually not the most jacked guy in the gym.

On the other hand, the most jacked dudes are actually doing the opposite. They’re using a challenging weight that they can handle for the prescribed rep range and leave one or two reps in the tank on sets. Just check out The Rock’s IG for example.

If you are a genetically average, drug free lifter training to failure is actually going to do the exact opposite of what you’re training for. Over time you’ll get weaker, smaller, frustrated and burned out.

If you’re not sure what it means to train to failure then check this out.

Training to failure means that if you are doing a set of bench press for 6-8 reps for example and your last rep you either go for and can’t get it up or you get it but it literally takes every single thing you got to get it up. The last rep is painfully slow and you could not have gotten one more if you had a gun to your head. Either way is hitting failure.

When you train to failure day in and day out a few things happen.

  • Technique breaks down and your movement quality goes to shit. Leading to excess joint stress and overcompensation.
  • Your Central Nervous System gets absolutely fried which makes your workout very difficult to recover from and leads to systemic fatigue.
  • Underdevelopment of muscular strength and growth due to what I mentioned above and the fact that you aren’t going to be able to follow the progressive overload principle. To add, you’ll constantly be missing reps.

Although our egos can lead us to training to failure time and time again we have to keep that shit in check. We have to constantly remind ourselves that trying to do too much is going to lead to the exact opposite of what we want.

Here’s how to avoid training to failure.

  • If you are healthy enough for the big lifts (bench, squat, deadlift) find your 3 or 5RM on those movements. Then use percentages of your max for certain rep ranges. For instance, if your 5 rep max is 275 lbs. on the bench press and the following week you are going to bench press for a set of 6-8 reps, you can take 85% of your 5RM (230 lbs. in this case) and use that weight for your sets of 6-8. Prilepin’s Chart can help you out with this.
  • If you are doing a body weight exercise like chin-ups, imagine during your set that if you had a gun to your head and can only do one more rep, you’re going to stop and leave that rep in the tank. So if with a gun to my head I can do 15 chin-ups, I’m going to stop at 14.

  • If you are using dumbbells or doing an exercise you can’t take a percentage with, select a weight that you can do about two more reps with than the prescribed rep range. So if I am doing a dumbbell row for a set of 10 and I know that I can get the 100’s for 12, I’m going to use the 100’s for my set of 10.

If you follow these guidelines you’ll be able to follow the progressive overload principle and make more weekly progress in your training.

Training to failure is very difficult to recover from and will only impede your gains and performance, so be smart about your weight selection.

Although you still want to train hard and never train like a total softy, you also have to be smart and avoid failure. Doing so is only going to save your joints and leave you bigger, stronger and feeling better.

So leave your ego aside and choose an appropriate weight. The longer you’re in the game the more gains you’ll be able to make.

I hope this helps, guys.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. As always if you have any questions feel free to drop a comment below. If you found this post to be helpful then please click the share button so your friends and family can check it out too.

Built Like an Athlete

Built Like an Athlete

These days, there is a huge misconception with what it actually means to train for athletic performance.

You may scroll through your Instagram feed and see some “performance” gurus that crawl around all day mimicking every level of the food chain in the animal kingdom.

Some coaches will have their athletes do about 7 hours of mobility work and send them home.

But is this what you should be doing if you want to look like a shredded MMA fighter or NFL wide receiver?

Having worked with athletes and regular guys that want to get jacked and shredded with the strength to back it up for the last 12 years, I have experimented with every training program  under the sun.

Through experimentation on my clients and myself over the years, I put together a blend of the best stuff from each training modality that I have played around with.

Regardless if you are still a competitive athlete or just someone who is looking to get strong, jacked, lean and athletic, following the steps I am about to give you can help get you to your goals faster.

Listed below are the steps you can follow to finally achieve the look of a strong, shredded athlete with the health and performance to back it up!

So let’s get started.


Just before the start of your training session is a perfect time to work on your flexibility and SMR (Self Myofascial Release). For your flexibility work I like to address severely tight areas (typically the hamstrings, glutes, hip rotators and flexors, pecs and lats) and the muscles that we will be training that day.

In the past static stretching prior to training was frowned upon. However I have been doing this for years and never had an issue. In fact, some of my clients who were extremely tight were able to get into certain positions they normally couldn’t have after some light static stretching pre-workout.

SMR is a great way to relax tight musculature prior to training. Foam rolling and using a lacrosse ball are my go to just before I begin my warm-up. Typically I prescribe massaging the back, glutes, hips, I.T. bands and quads for most of the people I work with.


I have talked about the importance of a thorough dynamic warm-up plenty of times in previous articles so I won’t beat a dead horse. Just make sure you go through a body weight circuit prior to the start of your strength work. This will help increase your heart rate and core temperature, improve mobility and flexibility, lubricate your joints and put you in a safer state to train in.

A good dynamic warm-up can take 10-15 minutes.

Once you complete your mobility circuit then I like to prime the CNS or Central Nervous System just before your strength work.


Now is a good time to work on your power. Since you are in a warmed-up, fresh state this is the best time for your explosive movements.

Jumping, throwing and sprinting aren’t just great for developing power. They are also some of the most athletic things that you can do. Use different variations of all three.

Doing some type of jump, throw or sprint just before your strength work is also great for priming your CNS before you hit your heavy lift for the day. Just be sure that you don’t turn this into a conditioning routine and fry yourself out. That’s the opposite of what you want.

Typically on jumps and throws you can do about 3-5 sets of 1-5 reps. For sprints you can do 3-5 sets of 10-25 yards tops.


Here we are focusing on strength. Which means we are focusing on either increasing weight or reps you accomplish with a particular load over the course of your training cycle.

For the most part, your big lifts like the squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press, chin-ups and their variations are programmed here.

Keep in mind that your big, compound movements are what’s going to help get you strong as shit and pack on the most muscle from head to toe. But keep in mind that if you are a little older and/or beat up you don’t have to stick strictly to a barbell. You can certainly use variations of each movement that can be done a bit safer.

For instance, if you have access to specialty bars at your gym you can replace a barbell squat with a safety bar squat. Or a straight bar deadlift with a trap bar.

Otherwise, you can use a dumbbell or kettlebell for exercises like the goblet squat instead of using a back squat. Or you can stick to a neutral grip DB press on an incline instead of a straight bar bench press if you have beat up shoulders.

The possibilities are endless. The important thing is that you are mimicking each particular movement pattern with a variation that you can handle.


The best way to look like an athlete is to do athletic shit. Jump, throw, sprint, carry, drag, crawl and lift heavy.

Pushing or dragging a heavy sled is tremendous for lower body strength. It’s also a great way to hit the lower body without loading the spine.

Another great thing about sled work is that you won’t get sore from it since there is no eccentric component.

This way you can drop a B.M. without any additional discomfort. Lord knows we can all use some more comfort during a B.M.

Working in different crawls like Gator Walks and Bear Crawls are great for the core and shoulders so make sure you work those in too.

Loaded carry’s like Farmers Walks are great for developing the muscles that make up the core, hands, forearms and can pack on slabs of muscle to the traps.


Once you’re doing all that then the one missing piece is to play as often as possible. Softball, basketball, martial arts, biking, hiking, tennis, swimming…whatever. Just be active, play and compete as often as possible.

Being competitive is great for overall well-being.

Competition is a fun way to get your “cardio” in and is great for testosterone production, which will help you build more muscle and burn more fat.

Plus, it’s never a good look to walk around all jacked but look like a total schlub as soon as your buddy throws you a basketball.

Take advantage of the summer and all of the activities that go along with it.


If you want to look like an athlete then you better be eating like one. If you aren’t sure how to do that then check out this article I wrote that shows you how to eat for health and longevity with the physique to back it up.

Now that you know the steps to get on your way to looking and performing like an athlete, it is up to you to follow them.

I hope this article helps you achieve the results you’ve been looking for. Have fun and do whatever it takes to look and perform the way you have always wanted.

Kick ass this summer, guys!