Cycle Overview: Triphasic Strength



Cycle Overview:

This ten week, 5x/week cycle will focus on developing strength utilizing a strength progression based on the research of collegiate strength and conditioning coach, Cal Dietz. This cycle is broken into three separate training blocks, each focusing on a specific type of muscle contraction.

Block 1 focuses on eccentric muscle contractions, with a specifically timed slow descent during the lift, followed by explosively coming out of the bottom of the lift.

Block 2 focuses on the isometric muscle contractions, holding at the bottom of the lift for a specific amount of time before lifting the weight back up.

Block 3 focuses on concentric movements, which is the ‘traditional’ style of lifting where you descend normally and come out of the bottom of the lift rapidly with no pause. Sounds complicated? It’s not – the programming breaks it all down for you.

The cycle will assess your strength via a 1RM Hang Squat Clean, 3RM Back Squat, and 3RM Bench Press. You will assess once at the beginning of the cycle, and at the very end. We will focus on strength 3x/week, as well as 1x work capacity efforts and 1x aerobic endurance/trunk strength effort to keep your conditioning in check. This will be a challenging cycle, and it relies on following a set of protocols outlined below to maximize the work. Don’t go full meathead Week 1 - follow the training techniques below and you’ll see outstanding results, no matter your lifting experience

  • Be Smart on Your Assessment

Your reps on the strength assessments should be damn near perfect. No starfishing on the cleans, no bent back on the squats, no back arch on the bench. Strong, solid, perfect reps!

  • Eccentric, Isometric, Concentric

If you don’t quite understand what this stuff means, CLICK HERE to watch a video on these three types of muscle contractions. The eccentric & isometric lifts are especially demanding – always use a spotter!!

  • Sets/Reps & Prescribed Loading

The sets/reps prescribed are at your working load. Take as rounds as needed to work up to that load, and then complete the programming. 

  • Failing Reps & Resets

If you complete all sets and reps as prescribed, continue following the prescribed progression on the next session. If you fail on 1-2 reps of the total prescribed, use that same load for the next session.  

  • Does Your Hang Squat Clean Suck?

If you’re not confident in performing a Hang Squat Clean, I want you to do Hang Power Clean’s instead. Don’t worry - you’re not missing… as you’ll still generate the same amount (or more) of power per lift with a Hang Power Clean. 

Weekly Break Down:

  • Mon: Strength 

  • Tues: Aerobic + Trunk Strength

  • Wed: Strength

  • Thurs: Work Capacity + Trunk Strength

  • Fri: Strength 

Quick FAQ’s

  • All exercises are linked to demo videos. Click and watch if you’re unfamiliar. 

  • Equipment: This is a gym plan. You’ll need access to a squat racks, bumper plates, barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, etc. 

Ready to train online? CLICK HERE to get signed up. $19/mo and a money back guarantee.

Ready to train at the gym? Simply fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you ASAP to figure out if we’re a good match.

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Why You Need The Deload Week


By Kellie Rongo

As much as we love to train hard and heavy day in and day out, it is easy to forget the benefits of a deload week and how important it really is in order to keep progressing and getting the gains we’re all here for. 

What does “deload” or “deload week” mean? 

A deload is a period of time, usually 4-7 days, that is worked into your training regime where training frequency, intensity and weights lifted are lowered substantially to help you and your body adapt and recover properly.


Typically this will be every 6-10 weeks, depending on what type of training you’re doing. This does not mean you have to sit your ass on the couch for a week eating potato chips and drinking beer; quite frankly, that’s the last thing we want you to do during a deload. Staying active is super important during these times. Of course, if your body is telling to you be lazy as hell for a day, have at it. Those days are good sometimes, too, but you shouldn’t need them all too often.

Side note: Taking a few days off from the gym every 6-10 weeks will NOT make you weaker. You will not wither away to nothing like you may feel/think. I promise.

With all of that being said, listen up…

No Recovery = No Adapting = Performance Decline. Go back and read that again. 100% truth.

You can not train at 80-90% of your max effort like we have been for the last 8 weeks and still reap the max benefits of your training program. If you think about it, it makes total sense. We train hard using what is called the overload principle so that we can get these big gains, but each time we train that hard, we have to remember that we are intentionally putting stress on our body so that we can get stronger/faster/whatever, which will inevitably cause fatigue.

If you do not recover from this fatigue properly, you will not be lifting as heavy as you want to be during your daily training, which totally defeats the purpose. After all, the goal is to continuously get better at whatever you’re working on and we certainly don’t want to regress. But really, all of this stuff mentioned is OK; we want to work hard enough to be tired, we want our muscles and even our minds to be tired, we just have to take the time to allow our body to adapt to this all this stress we are putting on it.

Benefits of deload recovery periods include…

  1. Increased motivation to train hard again! This is a big deal so I made it #1. Personally, if I take a few days off from the gym or train light for a few days, I am BEYOND ready to train hard again after that. I know this is the case for most of you, too. You feel hungry again. There is nothing like resting up, allowing yourself to kind of crave that hard training again, and coming back to crush it.

  2. You SHOULD be and probably will be stronger after a deload period. If you do this every 6-10 weeks, you will train harder during those weeks, recover well after, and your “baseline” should be higher than when you started. (A good example of this is when we finish a cycle at LOD, take a few lighter training days + a weekend, then come back for our first assessments for the next cycle and typically feel strong, motivated, and ready to kill the next 6-8 weeks of work.)

  3. Injury risk goes down. I’m sure with how many times I’ve said recover and adapt in this post, you already get the point of this one. If you’re extremely fatigued, you probably won’t move as well, form may break down, muscles, tendons, ligaments, other supportive tissues, etc. will be taking a beating. This means your chances of getting hurt go up. Injuries suck, so we want to do the best we can to prevent them.

  4. Give yourself a mental break every so often. Take a breather. Change up your day in, day out routine a little. It’s just good for the soul. :)

  5. Preventing body or mind burnout- You never want to allow yourself to get to the point of burnout where you’re feeling like crap, not even wanting to hit the gym, feeling unmotivated, and not performing well in the gym and maybe in other parts of your life, too. If you’ve never felt this, that’s good. Eventually you’ll get there if you have the “I don’t take breaks from the gym” attitude.

I’m sure there’s a longer list of benefits but these are some very important ones. Of course, everyone’s needs for a break in training are different, but always remember to listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Small/nagging injuries, lack of motivation and not hitting the numbers you’re supposed to hit are all good signs that it’s time to deload. Manage your training well so you can get the maximum benefits from all the hard work you put in!

Nutrition Coaching - What is it and why should you consider it?

What Is a Nutrition Coach? 
By Coach Kellie Rongo

When it comes down to it, a nutrition coach is someone who teaches you how and why to fuel your body well which will lead you to feeling, looking, operating, and performing better in your every day life. My purpose is to make a meaningful, positive difference in your life through nutrition. 

I struggled with that title at first- only because the first thing you’d think about is the D word… Diet… *barf*. Who the hell wants to be on one of those?

A lot of people may think of a nutrition coach as a coach for bodybuilders cutting for a show or maybe a coach for someone who is sick in some way and has to follow a strict diet. Or, they just think of the word diet and assume it’s not an option for them.

But me? I’m really none of the above. I want to work with everyone outside of those categories. I want to be a coach for someone that just simply needs a plan to follow, just like we need a plan to follow for training at the gym. You could be a 60 year old woman that wants to be healthier in order to live longer, you could be a middle aged man that wants to lose some belly fat, or a young lady who has a wedding in the near future. You could even be a young athlete that just wants to perform well at your sport, whatever that may be. Hell, maybe you hate to exercise but you want to be healthy, feel good and look good. And I got you, too.


I noticed right off the bat that there are many different types of clients that want nutrition coaching and the coolest part is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it as long as you guide your client to a better, healthier lifestyle (and get those RESULTS).

I have to adapt to each of my clients individually because every single one of you will adhere to different diets best, learn in different ways, want to eat and drink different things, have different performance and/or body image goals, etc. No one nutrition plan is the same as the other. You are unique; so is your nutrition.

And the same goes for nutrition as for exercise: Find something that works for you that is sustainable and RUN with it! My style of coaching is truly special in the sense that I don’t want to take away everything you love to eat/drink.


I have a questionnaire that I have every client fill out and it includes questions like “What do you enjoy eating? What can you not live without” and the opposite, “What foods do you HATE? What do you refuse to eat?” We all have these things and that’s good! We want to enjoy our food and we really don’t need to eat things we are disgusted by.

I’m human, just like you, and I have quite a few guilty pleasure foods. Ex: I feel like I can not live one day without eating peanut butter. So, guess what? I work it in to my plan and I enjoy every little bit of it. I have one client now that really loves dark chocolate. Can you imagine if I just said “nope, sorry, going to have to cut it out.” That relationship probably would not have lasted very long, and the nutrition plan probably wouldn’t have made it a week. I am a true believer that restricting is not the answer. 

If all of that wasn’t a good enough reason to hire a nutrition coach, maybe these will be…

  1. You don’t have time to think about these things

    Let’s face it, your brain space is taken up by other things. You’re busy with work, school, your kids, getting to the gym, family, trying to get enough sleep, and everything else on your plate. Why not let someone who is trained and experienced get you on the right track?

  2. Save on medical bills

    Seems nuts, but it’s true. A lot of recent research shows that if you have a personal trainer or a nutrition coach, you’ll be healthier. You being healthier = less trips to the doc. Period.

  3. It Feels Good

    I can’t tell you how many of my clients have come to me after a few weeks of following a plan saying how much better they feel and look, how much energy they have, and just how much better their body is operating (they can poop like champs!)

  4. You’ve probably tried other “diets” and failed

    Maybe you succeeded short term then fell off the wagon. A nutrition coach should be setting you up for short term AND long term success.

  5. You’ve seen results from the gym but you know there’s way more where that came from

    Your workouts are only part of it. To get the absolute BEST results, a combo of nutrition and exercise is the way to go.

I could list a lot of other reasons to consider a coach, but I think those are the main ones. Pretty convincing, huh? This whole happiness journey starts with owning your health- an exercise program and a nutrition coach together could certainly get you headed down the right path!

Interested in learning more? Schedule a free Nutrition Consult and talk with Kellie to learn more!

How Many Times a Week Should You Train?

It’s easy for me to sometimes forget that not everyone works at a gym and can’t necessarily make it in to train Monday through Friday. Life happens, and sometimes the easiest thing to give up for the day is training. It’s the reality for many with busy lives, busy jobs, and busy kids.

If you’ve been training with us for some time, you know that nearly all of our cycles have five training sessions per week.

If the emphasis of the training program is, for example, a work capacity cycle, that will normally mean we have a multiple effort, short duration - high intensity conditioning day paired with a trunk strength circuit on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays.

The Tuesday and Thursday training will be a strength training day, focused on the current progression from your assessment numbers.

Since the cycle emphasis work capacity, that is our main focus. The secondary focus is on strength maintenance - we’ll see strength increases from the start of the cycle to the end, but it’s not the main priority. This of course rotates during a strength focused cycle, but all of our programs have a strength component to them.

Why? Because strength is the foundation for everything that we do in the gym. Not only does it make us stronger, but it allows our musculature to become more resilient and perform longer when required.

So, let’s say you can only make it in a few days a week. Below is a list of how to most effectively use our training schedule (or, if you are following our online programming, how to schedule your own week).

We’ll use the week’s training from a past cycle as an example:

Screenshot 2019-01-20 12.01.02.png

Training 4x/Week: Pick two Work Capacity Days, and the two Strength training days. This allows for a nicely balanced cycle if you’re able to stay consistent - you may not see as much progression on your Work Capacity assessment, but you will still certainly see improvements. Your strength work will stay nice and consistent here as you follow along on the progressions.

Training 3x/Week: Pick two Work Capacity days, and one Strength training day. With this combination, we’re still meeting the intent of emphasizing the Work Capacity efforts while maintaining strength. Be careful to not skip progressions on the strength work. The coach’s keep track of where you are in the progression, but make sure you’re not skipping ahead. We don’t want you going from a 75% of your 3-rep max to 90% - follow the progression and always ask us if you don’t remember.

Training 2x/week: Pick one Work Capacity and one Strength training day. This isn’t ideal, but you’re still working along the progression ladder. If you’re new to training, you will still see improvements. If you’ve been training for years, you probably will stay at the same level from which you started. It’s better than nothing.

Training 1x/week: Pick one Work Capacity session and get after it. At this point, you are working out, not training. Training means we have a purpose and method to get you where you want to be. Working out means you’re just exercising and sweating. Again, it’s better than nothing, but you likely won’t see much improvement unless you’re very new to the world of fitness/exercising.

Not all of our cycles have the same construct, but most will. This should give you a decent idea of how to pick your days. We don’t program training for Saturdays, and our Coached Open Gym weekend hours are for athletes to catch up on a day.

We’ve allowed athletes in the gym to catch up on a day. So we might have one athlete doing Tuesday’s training session, while everyone else is doing Wednesday’s. It’s not ideal, but we believe strongly in the structure of the programming - it’s built with a purpose and we want to enable you to follow it as best as possible.

Everyone has different circumstances and demands on their time - make the commitment to coming in on certain days, and we will get you where you want to be!

Questions, comments? Email

Why We Do the 'No Sweat Intro'


Over the last several months we’ve implemented a “No Sweat Intro” for all those who walk through the doors of Line of Departure Athlete. Before we lift a single pound of weight, we want to sit down with each person.

This is our first interaction with you, the athlete, and plays an incredibly important role as we get started together.

Why do we do it?

  • Understand your motivations

    Not everyone who comes here has the same training goals. Some want to lose weight, some want to get stronger, some want to move better. Each person has a distinct motivation, and no two are alike. In order to get you where you want to go, we need to understand your “why.”

  • Understand your training history

Just like your motivation, each persons training history is varied. We have several impressive athletes with long training histories. We have others who are complete gym newbies and have to start from the ground up. Everyone will be pushed, but our understanding of your history allows us to provide the best possible service for you.

  • Understand your strengths & limitations

We all have strengths, and we all have limitations. Our mission is to encourage those strengths and blast through those limitations, but the reality is that previous injuries can initially limit what you can do. Understanding your injury history allows us to scale movements and intensities appropriate to what you can efficiently handle.

  • Determine Your Path Forward

We have multiple training, nutrition, and onboarding options. Our conversation will give us the information and ability to provide the absolute best recommendation for you going forward. This first interaction can often be the best indicator of whether you’ll flame out like a shooting star, or commit to a lifetime of training, health, and performance.

  • Assess & Reassess

    If you come to the gym now, you know that every single training cycle has an initial assessment, and a final assessment based on its focus. The same principle applies as we get into training - we want to hear what you’re happy with, what you want to improve, and what you hate (besides Sandbag Get Ups) to continuously keep you on the right track.

Ready to get started? Sign up for your No Sweat Intro by CLICKING HERE

Gym Ownership - Part 1 (Why, Influences, & Planning)

Why Open a Gym

The gym business is one of the most crowded industries in the country. Big commercial gyms, smaller micro-gyms, sport-specific gyms, pilates, spin, orange theory, the list goes on. Why go into it?

Strength and conditioning is something I do, every single day. I love training, and I love learning more about periodization, programming, and coaching. I’ve been involved in throwing weights around since I was 13, and much of my life is based around it. At this point, it might as well be in my DNA.

Gym ownership made sense - I’ve been training other for about ten years. I understand what right looks like. I also was fortunate work in three different business’s/organizations where training was the focal point, and saw examples to emulate and examples to steer clear of. This doesn’t mean I have the answer-key to the gym world, but I’m confident in my experiences and learning that we’re going down the right track.

Lastly, I wanted to make my own way in some form or fashion. Build a culture based on sound methodologies for all types. No trends or flavors of the week - focus on good programming and sound implementation to get athletes #strongerfasterbetterlookingnaked.

Financially, gym ownership is a big gamble. Lots of competition, high startup costs, and a fairly low return on investment. Microsoft isn’t going to offer me a million-dollar buyout.

So why do it? Ownership and community. Build your path, work hard, and see if it floats.

Planning and Influences

My family and I made the decision to come back to Charleston and start Line of Departure Athlete about a year before we actually made the move. I’m fortunate to have several friends who have forayed into this competitive industry, and have succeeded. I started by asking them several thousand A shout out to a few of the major players:

The owner of Mountain Tactical Institute, Rob Shaul (my former boss) taught me an incredible amount on coaching, programming, and life in general. I’m proud to employ many of his methodologies and to have the confidence in my own programming abilities to adapt programming to the needs of the athletes here in Charleston, SC. I’m also incredibly thankful to the athletes I had the pleasure of coaching in Jackson, WY… wildly impressive mountain-sport individuals who gave me an appreciation for the pursuits of climbing, mountain guiding, skiing, big game hunting, amongst many others. 

My close friend and brother-from-another-mother (BFAM) Brooks Woodfin, owner of Gym 22 in Jackson, WY endured all of my questions and showed me every number and blueprint behind the business curtain that I asked for. This kind of transparency is rare and I am grateful. Brooks has built a fantastic business for himself and for the well-being of his coaches. He’s also developed a fantastic culture at his gym where all shapes, sizes, and ages come in and get after it, day after day. 

Another BFAM, Ian Bowers, was likely my greatest sounding board on all aspects of the business and continues to be to this day. Ian and Hosea Sandstrom opened the first Crossfit gym (Lowcountry Crossfit) in the Charleston area in 2008, well before there was a micro-gym on every corner and in every shopping center. They hired me to coach while I was in college prior to the military, where I got my first experience coaching. The Lowcountry Crossfit community was incredibly close, and many of my closest friendships started there. Many of the athletes who train with us today are friends from the original gym, ten years later. 

Lastly, but most importantly, my wife has provided an incredible amount of understanding and support (both emotional and financial) as I planned to make my own way. Becky was pregnant when we made the decision to move and start the business - likely the worst time to try an entrepreneurial venture. She’s never wavered in her support and I am so grateful to her. 

The planning process was the same as any other business. I built a business plan, determined my budget, and revised as needed. The business plan can be onerous, and feels silly at times when predicting financials that are for the most part, made up or based on other business’s.

Regardless, it provided a structure and blueprint on the direction of the business that I certainly needed.

I met with representatives from the various Small Business associations, and generally didn’t walk away with much. The advice was too broad.

Fortunately, I found a gym-business mentorship service, Two Brain Business, which was incredibly helpful. They provided help on developing the systems and procedures that are truly needed for any business. Too often I got the feeling that many small business owners were winging it. The help from Two Brain was specific enough to this industry to give me confidence that it wouldn’t all fall apart if I stepped away for a day.

I saved up enough for the start-up costs plus six months of operating costs (about $30k in total). I was also advised to take out a loan. Despite my initial misgivings, I took out a loan of $20k, of which I only accepted $5k. This was a smart move, and I’m thankful I went through the process. It provided some extra cushioning for my personal financials as well as the business.

To be continued…

What's the Best Time of the Day to Train?

Training in the gym usually falls to a secondary priority for most of our athletes when compared to work, family, etc. It’s an understandable prioritization. Work pays the bills, family time is wonderful, and the occasional happy hour is needed every now and then.

Somewhere inbetween those big blocks of time we schedule our training. For those who work a standard work-day schedule, that means ass early in the morning or right after leaving the work place.

We train when we can, not when it’s optimal. It’s understandable, but the differences in when we time our training are significant.

This article by Bayesian Bodybuilding provides an excellent overview of the literature on timing and training based on multiple studies of testosterone production, muscle growth result trials, and your sleep cycle.

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): The best time of the day to train is the window of 6 hours to 12 hours after waking from a complete sleep cycle. So if you falls asleep at midnight and wake at 8am (luck you), 2pm to 8pm is your optimized training time.

From a performance perspective, the increase in strength and/or endurance was negligible between morning and evening training in the studies cited below.

However, the prime example of the benefits of the evening training was in muscle size growth. The majority of the these studies found greater mass gains with evening training, and most of them were not structured strength programs but rather assessments of a certain kind of muscle-specific contraction.

Küüsmaa et al. (2016) studied the effectiveness a training program performed in the morning between 06:30 – 10:00 h or in the evening between 16:30 – 20:00 h for a 24 week period. While strength and endurance performance improved similarly across the groups, the men training in the evening gained notably more muscle mass: see the graph below.

In line with the increased muscle growth, muscle anabolic signalling after a workout is higher in the afternoon than in the morning  

Laczo et al. also presented the following data at the 7th International Conference on Strength Training in 2010: more leg muscle growth after an afternoon training program than a morning one.

Malhotra et al. (2014) studied how training in the morning vs. the evening affected strength development. Strength gains were significantly greater in the evening for eccentric exercise: 29% vs. 23%. For concentric training, the trend was the same but less pronounced in favor of evening training with 23% vs. 21%.

Tim Scheett performed a study in bodybuilders on the best time to work out. Half of the participants trained before 10 AM in the morning, the other half after 6 PM in the evening. While the results never got published outside of the 2005 NSCA conference and didn’t reach statistical significance because of having only 16 participants in the study, look at the data below: the evening training group had much more favorable body composition changes.

Sedliak et al. (2009) studied trained men working out around either 8 AM in the morning or 6 PM in the evening. While again there were no statistically significant changes in strength development or muscle growth, look at the data of muscle growth. It’s likely the difference in muscle growth did not reach statistical significance because of insufficient statistical power, considering there were only 7 and 9 men in the training groups and the study only lasted 10 weeks.

Not all research shows benefits to training later. Sedliak et al. (2017) found similar anabolic signalling, hormonal effects, muscle growth and strength development in untrained men over the course of a training program performed either in the morning or the afternoon. However, with only 7 and 11 subjects in the 2 groups, this study was statistically underpowered to detect even a medium effect size. They couldn’t even find significant correlations between the different measures of muscle growth, so if there were benefits of training in the afternoon, as the other research suggests, they may well have been masked by the large variation in the data and this study simply wasn’t powered enough to detect it. Plus, the former study by these researchers only detected the effect after week 11, but this study was only 11 weeks in duration.

 core body temperature

For those of you who train at different times of the day, you’ve probably noticed a signifiant difference in how you feel between a early morning session and a mid-afternoon session.

The morning feels slow. Joints creak to life and it’s far more challenging to get everything firing up quickly. This one hits close to home for me… my morning sessions need a lot more time to warm up and get ready to go, while my afternoons feel significantly better.

This is due to the natural rise of your body temperature throughout the day. Simply put, when your core temp is higher, your body is stronger, faster, and more flexible. This is what any warm up is designed to achieve, but as you can see by the graph below, the afternoon to evening time frame is ideal for natural core body temperature and exercise.


application of timing your training

The bottom line is for those of you who have hectic schedules, you train when you can. If that means 6am, so be it. I’d rather see you then than never. For whatever it’s worth, I’ve found that I do my best work after a good morning training session; my brain just seems to function better.

The additional benefit of morning training is that very few things will get in the way of morning training. No surprise appointments or dropping the kids at soccer practice. Just you, an alarm clock, and the barbell.

The science clearly support training in the afternoon-evening for the optimized performance and results, but getting in when you have no distractions is a powerful thing.

Maximal Strength versus Relative Strength

The chase for a higher max weight lift is one of the main motivators for many (especially men) when they enter the gym for the first time. Getting the big plates on the barbell for a Bench Press for the first time is a big deal.

It feels good, like your part of an exclusive club. Look over at the weaklings and chuckle to yourself as they struggle with peasant weight. You are strong(er), they are weak(er). 

This cycle will rinse and repeat until oblivion... working up to new 1-Rep Max's over time, as the increases get incrementally smaller. You'll find new methods from the likes of Louis Simmons, Fred Hatfield, etc. The chase continues.

This approach isn't wrong - Powerlifters, Olympic Weightlifters, and gym rats chasing a heavy deadlift (or whatever lift) are all impressive beasts who have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of maximal strength, or the total amount of force an athlete can produce, regardless of bodyweight or size.

Watching Julius Bjornsson (The Mountain from Game of Thrones) set the world record deadlift at 472kg (1,041 lbs) is for lack a better term, fucking nuts.



Here at LOD Athlete, I don't care about your maximal strength

The metric I prefer when assessing an athlete who walks into the gym is relative strength, or strength in comparison to bodyweight. A 150 lbs. athlete who can deadlift 300 lbs has a stronger relative strength base than a 250 lbs. athlete who can deadlift 400 lbs.

The 150lbs athlete can likely run/jump/change direction disproportionately better than the 250 lbs. athlete. He also is likely more resilient against injury and has a better aerobic base. 

To put it simply, a good level of relative strength lends itself to performance and health, while maximal strength generally just means you can lift heavier things than everyone else. 

This comes with a few caveats:

  • Is the athlete at a healthy weight for their pursuit and/or health?

This applies if the athlete is significantly overweight or underweight. Those who are overweight need to focus on bringing weight levels down first (nutrition adjustment) and those who are underweight need to bring it up (nutrition adjustment). For these folks, relative strength is a secondary concern. 

  • What is the main driver for walking into the gym?

Some folks want to pursue maximal strength. That's great - it's a hard, long road that requires dedication, lots of eating, and a good coach. That being said, I'm not a Powerlifting or Oly Weightlifting coach. I'd recommend you go elsewhere for someone who specializes in it and wish you luck!

  • How do they move?

If an athlete has good relative strength on paper, but their movement patterns suck, we need to reset. Tuck away your pride and work on the mechanics of the lifts. You're selling yourself short with partial range of motion reps and janky back squats. Do it right, get stronger, and profit.

We want to create better all-around athletes here who are stronger, faster, and better looking naked. This is a 360-degree approach to strength and conditioning, not a specialization. For me, relative strength is a superior method of working towards those goals.

Numbers don't matter, performance does. Keep this is mind next time you're tempted to add that extra 10lbs on max day when your back already looks like a dead accordian. 


Notes from the Latest Gym-Based Endurance Cycle "Big L"


We're finishing up the last week of our latest cycle, "Big L." The focus during this 5-week cycle was to develop aerobic endurance - a modality that is often forgotten in the age of high-intensity interval training. 

During this cycle we began with 40 minutes of constant effort training sessions, 3x/week. We progressed the time to 50 minutes, and then finally 60 minutes over the course of four weeks. The sessions were split into two to three training segments, normally around 15-20 minutes each. 

The remaining two days were focused on developing a baseline on simple speed and agility drills (teaching the body proper mechanics) as well as lower body, single limb strength and upper body pulling strength. 

The important note for athlete's during this cycle is to find a steady, maintainable pace for the duration of the training session. We don't want you redlining out of the gates and falling flat on your face 15 minutes in. 65-75% effort (which normally runs parallel to your heart rate) is what we're looking for.

The cue was to be able to speak a full sentence at any given moment during the training session. If the sentence is broken up because you're out of breath, you need to slow down. Able to speak a paragraph without stopping? Pick up the pace. 

Aerobic work (which utilizes the oxidative system almost entirely past the 30-40 minute mark) has several benefits.

  • Increased efficiency & recovery

According to the to National Strength and Conditioning Association, "Prolonged activities have been reported to induce muscle glycogen depletion and to acutely increase the rate of fat metabolism, while chronically leading to an increase in stroke volume, mitochondrial density, and a more efficient oxidative capacity." These traits are a important component to the 360 degree perspective on fitness. Increase your body's ability to do work by developing the systems that charge it, which in turn allows for a decrease in the amount of time needed to recover.

  • Increased volume of work

The construct of the sessions allows us to increase the total volume of work accomplished without overtaxing the musculoskeletal system. We use light loading split between upper body, lower body, and total body work in conjunction with running and step ups. We don't use a ton of squatting movements if you look at the cycle as a whole - super high rep squatting with lightweight simply adds a stress to the joint that isn't necessary to accomplish the goals of the cycle. 

  • Mental Fortitude

Some things in life just take longer than 15-20 minutes. Anecdotally I've found athletes hit a mental wall somewhere around the 30 minute mark. Pushing through that wall develops a sense of accomplishment beyond what you thought you were capable of. Most of us here in the gym aren't training for the olympics or an ultramarathon, but knowing you can consistently work hard over a progressively longer period of time gives a taste of the hard life that we might not otherwise get. 

This was an undoubtedly hard cycle, which is why it's only 5 weeks long (including a deload week). Keep grinding - it'll pay off. 


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What the Hell Does Work Capacity Mean & How We Train It


The term Work Capacity in the strength and conditioning world is broad, vague, and generally poorly defined. You'll find plenty of similar terms - the Crossfit world calls it Metabolic Conditioning (METCON), some may call it Circuit Training, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Anaerobic Training, and others may use it in the general context of conditioning. 

The most common definition stems from Mel Siff, author of "Supertraining."

"Work capacity refers to the general ability of the body as a machine to produce work of different intensity and duration using the appropriate energy systems of the body"

If you've read previous articles here, the energy systems are broken into Phosphagen (Powers you for 0-30 seconds), Glycolytic (0-3 Minutes), and Oxidative (0-3+ minutes). Phosphagen and Glycolytic are grouped into Anaerobic energy pathway, while oxidative falls into the Aerobic pathway. 

These time zones are rough - each individual varies slightly due to genetics and training history. To make it more complicated, you are never truly using just one energy system... it's more of a mix of all three until you enter a steady state aerobic zone. Unless we're doing a sport specific program where the coach programs to focus on a particular energy system, our body will determine the appropriate system to fuel us. 

Rob Shaul, owner of Mountain Tactical Institute (and my former employer) has two of my favourite definition. 

"Work Capacity is where it all comes together – aerobic base, sprint cardio, raw strength, strength endurance and mental fitness."

"Combine more horsepower, increased strength endurance, and greater mental fitness and the athlete can do more in less time. Work Capacity is increased"

In other words, building the all-around engine known as our body to perform a challenging task(s), recover quickly, and stand ready to perform again.

Work capacity is the sum game - we don't care how much you can lift if you can't also move quickly or for long distances, and we don't care if you can run a marathon but crumple beneath a light external load. The combination and application of the various fitness attributes is what I would call general fitness. 

How We Train Work Capacity

  • Use of Planes of Motion

We utilize exercises which work through all planes of motion (Saggital, Frontal, & Transverse) during an individual training session. This develops a degree of athleticism employed during high threshold efforts by moving in all directions. Constant use of a single plane of motion can risk overuse injury, and may establish poor movement patterns out in the real world when you have to apply your fitness (sport, profession, chasing your toddler around the house). 

  • Focused Time Domains

While in a Work Capacity or Strength focused cycle, we will focus on one of three different time domain efforts. This includes:

5 Min + 5 Min + 5 Min: Short but high intensity efforts with 2-3 minutes of rest between.

10 Min + 10 Min: Slightly longer in total time volume, but able to still maintain a high intensity of work. 3-5 Minutes of rest between efforts.

20 - 25 Min: The longest duration efforts. I personally find these to be the most mentally challenging and requires strong intrinsic motivation to keep pushing hard through out the training. 

  • Assessment & Movement Driven Focus

Our Work Capacity cycles will have a total of four assessments. A assessment in week one and a re-assessment at the beginning of Week 4, followed by a second assessment at the end of Week 4 and re-assessment at the end of the cycle (Week 7). The exercises assessed are embedded into follow on training sessions. This allows us to see verifiable results. We could use specific progressions based on the exercise, but I've found those to get very boring, very fast. This is a nice middle ground. 

  • Varied Round/Reps/Rest Constructs

Work/Rest interval based training, EMOM density style, ascending and descending ladders, and AMRAP's - we use them all. This keeps the training fresh and challenging. 

  • Focus on Perfect Movement Patterns

This one is unnegotiable. All movements must be perfect to ensure athlete safety. If I see an athlete losing form, I'll have them stop and rest. The gym is the dumbest place you could possibly get hurt. Form is primary, intensity is secondary. 

  • Safe, Simple Movements

We don't use anything overly technical in work capacity training. No gymnastics, no snatch's, no kipping pull ups, no rapid-rebounding box jumps. 


Work Capacity is the sum game, but training it everyday can lead to serious burnout. I've experienced this first hand. During a work capacity cycle, we'll train it no more than 3x/week. This allows us to properly recover - both physically and mentally. Smart training extends our ability to do this over a long lifetime, not burn out like a shooting star through atmosphere. 



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Why Train the Clean?


We train many variations of the barbell clean here at LOD. Powers, Hang Power, Hang Squat Clean, full olympic style clean, etc. We even shake up the training tool when doing it... barbell, kettlebells, sandbags. 


The belief is that these lifts will help develop your bodies ability to generate power - defined as (force x velocity).

Hypothetically, if you train the clean and improve your numbers, you'll be able to jump higher, come off the starting line of a sprint more explosively, or drive an opponent off the line or into the mat. 

The reality is that while you may become stronger with the exercise, it likely has a pretty marginal effect on your ability to create power. 

Genetics plays such a large role in the bodies potential to generate power/explosiveness, your increases in likely due to improved competency in the technical aspects of the lift.

We're all born with a certain set of muscle fibers. Type I muscle fibers work long, hard, and efficiently, but don't contract quickly and therefore produce less force per contraction. Type II muscle fibers (divided into Type IIx and IIa) produce a powerful muscle contraction quickly and generate greater power. Lance Armstrong is mostly Type I, while Usain Bolt is mostly Type II. Each of us has a genetic makeup, when paired with the shape and form of our body, establishes an athletic potential ceiling. 

While training can transfer the disposition of a individuals muscle fibers, it's limited. For the most part, you're born with a certain set of genetics that will dictate your performance with particular tasks. 

If the ability to transfer olympic style lifts to real-life performance, why do we do it?

1. Durability:  The ability to move a barbell through the air and catch it in a full or partial squat increases or ability to manage force - particularly in the catch. Your body learns how to absorb the load efficiently by aligning the joints in proper position and preparing the supporting musculature to absorb it. For athletes, this means you're likely to land from a jump safely, take a hit safely, or change direction safely. For most us, that means catching ourselves from tripping  without tearing up the knee or compromising the lower back. Teaching joint alignment and force management is important to staying injury-free. 

2. Coordination: Your entire body is involved in the triple extension (ankles, knees, hips) involved in the clean. This takes a level of coordination that is not experienced outside of sports. We want to train our body individual body parts to work as a whole, not as isolated limbs. Coordination is a perishable trait that can and should be improved through your life span. 

3. It's Fun: For whatever reason, sticking a heavy clean feels damn good. We want to train all aspects of strength, but lets face it - squats and presses can get boring. Hitting a good clean just feels sexy. 

The Division 1 football player who is the same size and height as me is probably going to have a bigger vertical jump than me, even if I clean more than him - but for most of us, that's not the point. We want to have fun with training and increase our ability to be durable and become stronger, faster, and better looking naked than we were the day before. Cleans are a important aspect to achieving that. 

Hand Positioning in the Back Squat

Watch the video above for a quick fix on how to adjust your hand position for a stronger, more stable back squat. Adjusting my own grip has made a world of difference on those hard reps where you're back feels like it's about to go all wobbly on you. Check it out!

"Eazy E" Cycle Overview


This strength focused cycle assesses the Hang Squat Clean, Back Squat, and Bench Press. We'll use  a percentage based linear progression through the cycle with supplementary accessory work, and re-assess at the end of the 7 weeks. 

The cycle will also maintain our work capacity and aerobic conditioning, while hammering away at the trunk (mid-section). Watch the video below for a in depth description. 

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Stronger. Faster. Better Looking Naked. 

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Booze, Training, & Fitness: Impact and Mitigation


Summer is here, and with it comes the BBQ's, pool parties, sporting events, and whatever other social gatherings that nearly always revolve around America's favorite past time - drinking alcohol. 

Let me state this clearly - if you like to drink, party on. The mentality that booze is the great evil and antithesis of physical development is too black and white.

It's true - drinking hurts performance in the short term and continued overconsumption (particular as we exit our 20's) can lead to #gainz of the fat variety in the long term. 

If you don't want to read the rest of this, here's a few realistic guidelines for mitigating the effects of drinking:

  1. Don't mix your hard alcohol with sugary shit (soda, fake fruit juice, pre-made mixes).
  2. Drink water in-between alcoholic drinks to reduce the hangover.
  3. Increase protein intake during the day - preferably a real protein, but a shake will do.
  4. Resist the drunken hunger pains - they aren't real. 
  5. Don't drink Michelob Ultra unless you like looking ridiculous. 

How Booze Impacts Training & Performance

Given the need to promote protein synthesis that underpins adaptation, repair and regeneration of skeletal muscle the results of the current study provide clear evidence of impaired recovery when alcohol is consumed after concurrent (resistance, continuous and intermittent high-intensity) exercise even in the presence of optimal nutritional conditions. (Parr, Camera, Areta, 2014)

The biggest impact of drinking (specifically binge drinking) beyond the brutal hangover is its impact on the body's ability to recover and adapt following training.

A study by RMIT University in Australia explored how binge drinking affected training metrics for a group of collegiate student-athletes. The athletes followed their assigned strength and conditioning program, and then were fed these guys vodka and orange juice until they were at, or slightly above the legal driving limit in Australia.

Alcohol Ingestion Impairs Maximal Post-Exercise Rates of Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis following a Single Bout of Concurrent Training - Parr, Camera, Areta

Alcohol Ingestion Impairs Maximal Post-Exercise Rates of Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis following a Single Bout of Concurrent Training - Parr, Camera, Areta

Their findings reported a 37% decrease in muscle protein synthesis, which is critical to the recovery and adaption phase following any form of progressive training. 

The second group followed the same train + drink protocol but were provided a protein supplement immediately following training. This group reported a 24% decrease in muscle protein synthesis. 

What's this mean?

If you're going to go hard in the paint, ensure you consume additional protein before or following training to mitigate the loss of your body's ability to properly recover. You won't get as much out of your training, but it will help mitigate


What About One or Two Drinks?


Few things are as delicious as a beer following a hard workout. I've always felt a little guilty about it, thinking I was erasing the work I had just done.

Guess what? It doesn't matter. 

A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology measured the effects of drinking a vodka and orange juice (I don't know why this is the standard drink for physiologists) after a training session for ten males and repeated the test with no alcohol. The test subjects reported no change in muscular contraction force. No harm, no foul.  

If you're thinking that a beer after exercise will further dehydrate you, that also appears to be inaccurate. A seperate study compared the hydration of effects of a beer versus water after strenuous activity. 

Beer intake did not adversely affect any measured parameter. Fluid balance and urine excretion values did not differ between the rehydration strategies. (Jimenez-Pavon, Cervantes, Diaz, 2015)

Drink your beer and enjoy the beautiful feeling of hydration. Keep in mind, I highly doubt this rule applies after one or two adult beverages.


I'm Hungover Right Now - What Kind of Training Should I Do

First off, if you're hungover and still have the drive to train, you're a better man than I am. With the exception of one cumulative hangover from a bachelor party (screw you, Dan), I haven't had a serious hangover in a while. The one aforementioned bachelor party ruined me until Wednesday... and I got home Sunday.

If you are hungover, don't lift heavy weights. I repeat, do not lift heavy weights. Your body is in a state of a slow recovery as your liver processes out eight IPA's. Everything performance related will take a hit, but your strength/power will be the most severely effected.

Light loads, moderate intensity, aerobic base training is the way to go. This can be a run, or it can be something similar to the gym-based aerobic work we do here at LOD. 

Get moving, make sure you're drinking fluids consistently, and avoid the desire to go to Waffle House


Don't Get White Girl Wasted


This might be my favorite term in the lexicon. We've all seen or been the drunk stumbling out onto the street with the sole mission of finding the nearest late night pizza/pancake/burger joint.

Avoid this at all costs. Don't scarf down a day's worth of caloric intake in one greasy sitting. Despite what your mind is telling you, it's not needed. Go home and go to sleep - no one wants to talk to your drunk ass anyways. 

Enjoy the summer with your friends, family, and a cold one. Just do so intelligently and in moderation. 

Questions? Email






Parr EB, Camera DM, Areta JL, Burke LM, Phillips SM, Hawley JA, et al. (2014) Alcohol Ingestion Impairs Maximal Post-Exercise Rates of Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis following a Single Bout of Concurrent Training. PLoS ONE 9(2): e88384.

Barnes, M.J., Mündel, T. & Stannard, S.R. Eur J Appl Physiol (2011) 111: 725.

Jiménez-Pavón D, Cervantes-Borunda MS, Díaz LE, Marcos A, Castillo MJ.
Effects of a moderate intake of beer on markers of hydration after exercise in the heat: a crossover study.
J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Jun 6;12:26. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0088-5. eCollection 2015.




Assessment Results from Ashy to Classy

Assessment Results - White Board.jpg
"Ashy to Classy" Assessment results 

"Ashy to Classy" Assessment results 

We just finished up the last week of the 7-week cycle “Ashy to Classy,” which focused on multiple, intermediate duration work capacity with a secondary emphasis on strength development. Here are our notes: 

Work Capacity

The work capacity focus was based on two assessments - a 4 round, 60 sec. on, 60 sec rest max 25m shuttle during the first three weeks, which was assessed and then re-assessed. 

The second three weeks of the cycle assessed a max effort Sandbag Get Up in 10 minutes - again assessed and re-assessed and the end of the cycle. This is a true grit test no matter what your level of fitness is. 

In order to progress these movements, each work capacity training session included the movement that had been previously assessed. Instead of using a percentage based system to work only on sandbag get-ups, we embedded the exercise into the work capacity training sessions. 

Below is an example of part of a training session:


A. 7 Rounds for time
30x Step Ups @ 15/20”
5x Lateral Burpees
3/5x Pull Ups
Rest 30 sec.

Rest 2-3 Minutes

B. 5 Rounds for time
10x Sandbag Get Up @ 40/60 lbs (Advanced athletes use 80 lbs.)
8x Russian KB Swing @ 53/70lbs.
200m Run

The athletes would always use the same weight that was used during their assessment. They got reps at the exercise, which does have some technique to it despite its simplicity. This is an absolutely an indirect way of progressing for a work capacity assessment - in fact it’s not really a progression so much as it is accumulating reps for the given exercise.

The question is - did the athletes get “more fit”, or did they simply get better at the exercise? I have no real way of answering that question, but anecdotally I can tell you that a 10-minute sandbag gets up assessment has been, still is, and will forever be exceptionally challenging. 

You can’t game it - you just have to grind through. 


For the strength work, we utilized a linear, percentage based progression based on initial 3-Rep Max’s for the Power Clean + Push Press and the Deadlift. The strength progression was in density format - 3 reps every 60 seconds for 7-10 rounds (depending on where we were in the cycle) at 65-80% of their 3RM (again, depending on where we were in the cycle). 

It’s a nice, simple design that also helps aids in the development of the work capacity conditioning. As the weight got heavier, we transitioned to using this format once a week with a second strength day that utilized other exercises to compliment our two assessed lifts. 

Trunk Strength and Aerobic Work

The trunk strength circuits, based on MTI’s Chassis Integrity theory, are a great tool in developing the midsection for performance and injury prevention. Using all planes of motion from the standing or kneeling position (hardly ever do we do anything on our back for abdominal work) has tremendous carry over to real-world demands. The duration, 15-20 minutes of constant, steady work, develops muscular endurance and trains time under tension. 

The aerobic work in this cycle was light. 20-30 minutes of slow-paced work, 2x a week. While high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in it’s many forms is great, it’s critical that it’s balanced with lower intensity aerobic work. This allows for the development of the cardiovascular system in ways that short duration, high-intensity work simply does not. The athletes here in Charleston did a gym based aerobic work, which generally included lots of step ups, running, and bodyweight movements. The athletes training with us via the online subscription were prescribed to go and get outside - run, hike, swim, bike, etc. Both work and are interchangeable as long as we maintain the appropriate low-moderate intensity assigned.

The rule of thumb - if you can’t speak a full sentence, you’re working too hard. 

Overall Results

As you can see from the chart above, everyone showed improvements in the assessed work capacity and strength training. This style of programming is challenging to implement, as it’s based on athletes training 4-5x/week. 

Obviously, this isn’t always possible - life gets in the way. The strength progressions are the real challenge - I need to track which progression each athlete has completed so that don’t skip ahead or regress to a previous progression. Maintaining the right balance of designed stress and recovery is the key to this whole fitness game - so maintaining the proper metrics and tracking will be the constant battle. 

With that said, I’m very pleased with the athlete’s results. This was our first cycle since the gym opened, so you can see that the flow of new athlete’s signing up got in the way of completing all assessments. In addition, it’s getting to be summer time so several folks took off on vacations and missed the second half of the cycle. No big dead, we’ll get them on the next run.

Questions? Email


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Crossfit Is Great - This is How We're Different


Many of the athletes training here in the gym or via online subscription have done Crossfit in the past or continue to do so today in some capacity. I got my start as an athlete and coach in the world of functional fitness via Crossfit. 

Crossfit has encouraged a wonderful sense of community through the class-based fitness model, where athletes compete and encourage one another through the workout of the day and the fitness journey as a whole. 

Additionally, Crossfit has introduced various walks of life to the barbell. Exercises that were once in the realm of bodybuilders and collegiate athletes are now commonplace. This is especially true for women, where strong is sexy and the #thighgap movement dies a miserable death. 

With that being said, my own fitness journey as an athlete and coach has led me to utilize different methodologies from Crossfit. It's not a bash on Crossfit, it's simply a difference of opinion on how to get stronger, faster, and better looking naked. 

High Return on Investment (ROI) Exercise Selections
Our exercise selection, whether for strength, work capacity, or endurance, is selected on its ability to develop the fitness attribute we're training, the athlete's ability to execute the exercise, and athlete safety. This means that we generally stay away from advanced gymnastics movements, some (but not all) Olympic lifts, and high-rep/high-risk/low return techniques like kipping pull-ups, kipping muscle ups and bouncing box jumps.

Our overarching goal for anyone who trains with us is to get stronger, faster, and better looking naked. I'm confident that this can be achieved without the aforementioned exercises. If you love them, keep on doing them! You just won't find it here. 

Macrocycle Periodization - Everything has Purpose, Nothing is Random
Periodization is simply the long-term planning of a fitness plan. The long-term in our case is one year, with mesocycles of 7 weeks. This means that we know exactly what we'll be doing 6 months from now. The programming is deliberate, not random.

LOD Athlete programming has been written out for one year, rotating efficiently within the macrocycle between work capacity, strength/power, and endurance focus. This style of periodization is heavily influenced by Mountain Tactical Institute's fluid periodization model. It allows athletes to maintain a high state of fitness.

Since the majority of our athletes are not collegiate or professional athletes, they don't need to peak for a season. It allows us to steadily improve performance (and get better looking naked) without a significant drop in any particular fitness attribute. 

Focused Progressions based on assessments in each 7-week cycle
Within each 7-week mesocycle, we'll begin and end with assessments specific to fitness attribute targeted. These assessments provide us measurable and tangible metrics which we can track and improve upon.

This is beneficial for the athlete, as they have a number and/or weight they looking to beat. It's also beneficial for me, as it lets us know if the training and programming are working. If not, I need to adjust. 

Aerobic System Work
Much attention is paid to anaerobic training these days - every boot camp advertises High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in some form or fashion. If you're out of shape, this will work to a degree... but if you're looking for consistent improvement, the aerobic system must be trained along with anaerobic systems.

Aerobic training allows for an increase in mitochondrial and capillary densities, which enables a more efficient transfer and use of energy. It also serves as an efficient cool down the central nervous system, which is why you'll often see it following strength work. Lastly, rotation of energy systems between aerobic and anaerobic keeps our body guessing for fat loss. 

Anaerobic training is great, but training anaerobic and aerobic is better. 

60 Minutes of Work
If you've come to class here in Charleston, you know that the training sessions are a full 60-minutes of work. No messing around - we're here to train. Bullshitting and beer drinking is encouraged following the training session, not during. 


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Nutrition on the Run


If you're keeping tabs here at LOD Athlete, you'd know that the last 4-6 weeks have been hectic. Moving across the country, getting a space outfitted to train in, opening the gym, getting online training up and running, and the various other ins and outs of starting a business. 

Oh, and my wife and I also have a 7-month old boy. 

While I've kept up with my training protocols here in the gym, my nutrition has taken a serious hit. I've grabbed bits and pieces of food where I can during the workweek, and that tends to be garbage food that is readily available, but not so good in the performance or looks better naked category. 

I stepped on the scale this weekend and found that I've stacked on a solid 10-12 lbs. in the last few months, weighing in the low 220's. Nothing like an inadvertent #dirtybulk. 

So, time to get back on track. 210 lbs is a healthy weight for me - I feel lighter and faster on my feet, my knees don't ache as much (years of abuse and 3x ACL tears make this inevitable to a degree), and overall I look better. 

Nutrition is a perilous game - some sell snake oil, some recommend intricate macronutrient tracking, and others like to keep it simple. I fall into the "Keep It Simple" category. 

So, what's that mean? Below are two excerpts from coach's I highly respect and have learned from in the past. 

Power Athlete Diet

Eat with abandon: meat, fowl, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables, roots, tubers, bulbs, herbs and spices as well as animal fats, olives & olive oil, avocados, and coconut (meat, oil, flour) and dairy*.
*Dairy is a gray area, while it is a powerful tool in the strength and weight gain category you have to be smart. Individuals with autoimmune disease should avoid dairy products of any kind. For those without autoimmune diseases, dairy from grass-fed animals is permissible. Dairy from grain-fed animals will not have an ideal omega 3 profile. Heavy cream, butter, and ghee should not be problematic. Occasional consumption of fermented dairy options such as cheese and yogurt is acceptable. Experiment with milk but eliminate it if it is found to be problematic.
**Pasteurized whole milk from grain-fed cows treated with rBGH offers an increased anabolic environment for the consumer.
Limit: nuts, seeds, and fruit.
Better choices in the nut category include macadamias, cashews, and hazelnuts. Almonds aren't terrible. Seeds are generally rich sources of linoleic acid because they can be eaten in large quantities (the serving sizes are typically in the tablespoon to 1/4 cup range and can be misleading). Sunflower and sesame seeds are a terrible choices in the seed category. Soaking nuts prior to consumption is recommended but not necessary.
Reduce the serving size if you are going to pick a fruit that has a high metabolic fructose content.
Avoid: Cereal grains including: all varieties of wheat (spelt, einkorn, emmer, durum), barley, rye, oats, triticale, corn (maize), rice (including wild rice), sorghum, millet, fonio, and teff and legumes.
Grain-like substances or pseudocereals including: Amaranth, Breadnut, Buckwheat, Cattail, Chia, Cockscomb, Kañiwa, Pitseed Goosefoot, Quinoa, and Wattleseed (aka aacacia seed). Pseudocereals are the seeds of broad leaf plants whereas grains are the seeds of grasses.

Mountain Tactical Institute Diet

6 Days a Week: Eat lean meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, and drink water. Don’t eat carbs (bread, spuds, rice) or sugar.
1 Day a Week: Cheat like a mother! Beer, pizza, ice cream – you name it! We’ve found you can’t eat clean over the long term without cheating. We’ve also found the longer you stick to this diet, the less you’ll “cheat” on your cheat days, and the more cheating will hurt you – i.e. stomach ache, gas, etc.

Fairly simple and despite a few variables between the two, they are mostly the same. If you're interested in doing some research on your own regarding nutrition, I highly encourage you to do so. That being said, be wary of your sources. This recent article by the New York Times highlighted how the sugar industry has played a heavy hand in influencing nutritional research which was then disseminated to the public. 



We all fail with diet. Life happens. It's ok. The key is identifying it before you give yourself the diabeetus or your healthy eating habits are so crushed that getting back on the health horse seems like an insurmountable task. Below are a couple cues to get your diet on track without losing your mind:

  • It starts at the grocery store. My self-control is poor when I have 'bad for you but tastes so good' food in my fridge. So take grab 'em by the horns from the start and control what's in there. 
  • One step at a time. If you're just getting started, be reasonable in changing your diet. Going 0-60mph in a diet change is often unrealistic when it comes to a life/work/training balance. Cut out one habit you know is bad for you (sodas is the prime example). Cut it out for two weeks, and it'll become a habit. Now move on to the next actionable step like shifting away from a flour-based, carbohydrate-heavy diet. Replace with additional vegetables and healthy fats. 
  • Enjoy the cheat day. You only live life once. Don't be the weirdo that doesn't have a beer at friends and family gathering, or say no to your mom's cookies.  
  • Thirty Day challenges are great with the buy-in of a group. Your peers will keep you honest. The thirty days will end and the peer group accountability with it - the long-term diet shift must be a personal decision. 





Training Principles for GPP

Outlined in the video are Line of Departure Athlete's training priorities in establishing our General Physical Preparedness (GPP) cycles from a year to a day's worth of gym time. Everything you do should in the gym should be thought out, planned, assessed, and progressed. Without it, you're wasting your time.

"Ashy to Classy" Work Capacity Focus Cycle Overview

Check out the video to see the ins and outs of the latest LOD Athlete cycle, "Ashy to Classy"

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Make the Most of Your Lift - Compensatory Acceleration Training

Think about the last time you did a heavy barbell back squat. 

You took the barbell off the rack, walked it back. Your hips push back and down, lowering the weight while maintaining posture and position with a strong torso. You hit the bottom of the squat and activate your lower body to lift the weight and come out of the "hole." 

You fight the weight inch by inch until you're about half way up, and suddenly that barbell is much easier to return back to the standing position. The hard part is over, so we coast back up with relative ease. Sounds about right?

Why does it become so much easier half way up? The load on the barbell certainly hasn't changed.

That halfway point as you stand back up (the concentric phase of the lift) is where you're bone structure and supporting musculature have a greater mechanical advantage compared to the bottom of the squat. All of the muscles in the posterior chain, adductors, and quad's work in unison with relative ease at this point. 

Levers and stuff...

Levers and stuff...

So what do most of us do when the hard part of the lift is over in the second half of the concentric phase? We get lazy and move nice and slow back up to the standing position.

This is where the theory of Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT) comes into play.  

This theory, originating from Fred Hatfield and expounded upon by Mel Siff, proposes that accelerating the speed of the lift during the concentric phase, especially in the top half of the lift we discussed, allows for maximal force generation at submaximal loads. 

So, to put it simply, you lift the bar as fast as you can coming out of the hole back to the standing position. If you're doing it right, you'll hear a 'clink' at the top of the lift of the weights on the barbell shifting ever so slightly. 

Nice example of CAT - Accelerating through the entire concentric portion of the lift. Notice the little jiggle of the weights at the top. That's your cue.

(Don't dive bomb down to the bottom - this is a technique used by some in powerlifting but risky for the vast majority of us. Control the weight in the downward eccentric portion). 

This technique has several benefits:

  • We're now using maximal force throughout the duration of the lift, maximizing efficiency to properly overload the system for adaption (i.e. getting stronger).
  • We're recruiting more fast-twitch muscle fibers (as opposed to slow twitch) to execute the lift.
  • In terms of performance, the application of strength outside of the gym is done through applying your strength through power. The carryover with CAT is greater than a heavy, long lift.
  • We can use less weight to train maximal strength. By lifting the load with maximal velocity (mass x acceleration = force... according to some dude named Newton), the amount of force generated by a CAT lift at submaximal load (60-80%) is equal to or greater than the heavy, long lift. Hatfield squatted over 1,000 lbs using CAT, with training loads which rarely exceeded 800lbs. 

This technique doesn't just apply to the Back Squat. Any compound movement can be conducted with the CAT principle. If you're going to give it a whirl, do some practice reps to ensure you don't explode off your feet. Stay totally grounded and in control of the barbell while still applying max acceleration.