Archive for the ‘Transformations’ Category

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Gun Show: Paul and Jason style

It’s not often that I give up a beautiful Sunday afternoon to be in the gym.  I like to use Sunday as a day to rest.  It is a way to make sure that I don’t train every day.  Two days ago was an exception.  Why?  Geoff Girvitz and Paul Valiulis.

Mr. Geoff Girvitz

Enter the S2B Seminar at Bang Fitness.  Let me say one thing, these two guys know how to talk shop.  I’m fortunate enough be able to talk to Geoff on a regular basis…and Paul…not so much.  For those of you who don’t know, Geoff Girvitz is the owner of Bang Fitness in Toronto, Ontario.  Geoff is a fitness genius.  He’s one of those guys that you know you should listen to in the gym; he always has something smarter to say than you do.  On the other hand, Paul Valiulis is one of the Scrawny to Brawny coaches from Precision Nutrition.  He is a nutritional God.  In this case, take the word “God” literally.  Picture Thor from Norse mythology.  That’s Paul.

Paul's Scrawny to Brawny transformation

What is Brawny?

The seminar started with Paul asking the group, “What is Brawny?”.  The funny thing is: most guys didn’t have the answer.  All they knew was that they wanted to be bigger.  Paul, himself, said that he didn’t even know what “brawny” was until he decided to enter his first bodybuilding show last month (in case you were wondering, he won).  It seems that when you finally figure out what brawny is, you will see “brawny” as something different than your neighbour.  One person may picture their favourite bodybuilder, while another may picture their favourite athlete.  It is important that when you set a goal for yourself, you actually need to know what the goal is.

Paul just being Paul AKA Brawny

S2B Takeaways

Aside from creating our own definition of brawny, the meat and potatoes of the seminar was movement related.  This was Geoff’s forte.  What were the key takeaways?  Here’s your answer:

  • While deadlifting, it is easier to injure yourself while lifting submaximal weights.  This is because you are not properly engaging your core, thus, not protecting your spine.
  • On the deadlift, only work in the range of motion where your pelvis doesn’t start to tilt (butt tucking under your belly).  When the pelvis starts to tilt, you will start to feel lower back pain.  Instead, raise the barbell up and perform a Modified Deadlift (MDL; basically a rack pull).  Load the shit out of the MDL and get yoked.
  • If shoulder mobility is a problem in the push press, you have to regress to a seated incline shoulder press.  The incline should be approximately 80-85 degrees.  Do not use the smith machine.  There are no straight lines when it comes to the motions of the body.
  • In order to increase shoulder mobility, do a wall slide, but on the floor (floor slide?).  Move the hands far from your head, point your thumbs to the floor, and drive your shoulder down, focusing on firing the lats.  You want to crush the ground with your hands.
  • “Your body is what it is”.  That’s a Geoff Girvitz quote.  Accept your mobility while lifting, but focus on increasing this mobility while foam rolling and during your dynamic warm-up.
  • “If you’re going to push someone, do you put your elbows in or out?” (Krista Schaus; she was one of the few females at the seminar, but she sure deserved to be there).  This question will help you answer the age-old question of where your elbows go while bench pressing.  Hint: approximately 45 degrees from the body.
  • Power stance:  contract glutes, spread floor, shoulders down, lats engaged, core braced, hands squeezed.  Now that’s how to unlock your strength potential!
  • Paul was the “foam rolling guy” during the seminar.  Every day for the next two weeks, everyone should be foam rolling their adductors, glutes, and IT bands.  Remember your stripper butts!  (inside joke, but you probably laughed even though you didn’t understand it).
  • “Professionals are here for a reason.  Listen to them 100% and try to prove them wrong.  It is only after this that you can conclude that something doesn’t work” (Paul Valiulis).  This is great advice.  Don’t tweak your programs or nutrition.  “Even though your mom may have told you that you were special, you’re not special enough to change your workout programs and nutrition” (Geoff Girvitz).  The truth hurts.

Krista Schaus and Paul Valiulis checking out some dude's stripper butt.

All in all, it was an awesome afternoon.  I feel like it is safe to say that the ones who decided to attend this seminar are a step ahead of the rest.  Enough said.  Special thanks goes out to Geoff, Scott, Michael and the rest of Bang Fitness for hosting the event, and to Paul Valiulis for coming all the way from Vancouver (ok ok, he may have been in town to see his family as well).  Yeah buddy!!!

Paul, Geoff, Scott

Do you wonder what I’ve been up to lately?  Well, over these past 10 weeks, I decided to get lean.  Check out my results:

Before (Monday, May 2)

Weight: 199.8 lbs

Bodyfat Percentage: 20%

After (Saturday, June 16)

Weight: 178.6 lbs

Bodyfat Percentage: 10.5%

(Measurements were taken using the InBody 520)

How I Did It:  I ate for fat loss.  I trained for fat loss.  I didn’t joke around.  My daily calorie intake was my body weight (in lbs) x 10.  For example, the first week, I weighed approximately 200 lbs, so my calorie intake that week was 2000kcal per day.  To give you an idea of how low this number is, I was eating 3500kcal per day before I started this diet.  The only things I ate on this diet were: meat, eggs, lots of non-starchy vegetables (and I mean LOTS), olive oil, nuts, and the occasional tub of plain organic Greek yogurt.  That’s it.  This may shock you, but in order to get lean, you need to eat like a human is intended to eat.

I know that you may be wondering: what about fruit?  Fruit is awesome, and is great for you.  I didn’t eat it because I wanted my body to go into ketosis (think Atkins diet).   That’s right, no carbs.  Obviously, to every rule, there is an exception.  Every 2 weeks, I had a re-feed day.  On this re-feed day, I ate whatever I wanted.  Fruit? Oh ya.  Bread?  Yup.  Cake, ice cream, dessert?  Ya baby.  These days kept my body from going too far into ketosis, and got my metabolism revving again.  It may seem counter intuitive, but these days helped me lose more fat.  (My diet was a modification of The Get Shredded Diet by John Berardi).

In terms of training, I lifted weights 3 times per week (each session lasted under an hour).  On off days, I would take my TRX to the park (if it was nice out), or I would do barbell complexes in the gym (if I felt like it).  I only ran once during the whole 10 weeks: I sprinted intervals of 10 seconds (with 20 seconds rest) for a total of eight rounds.  I bet you that if I did do long distance running on this diet, I would have lost less fat.

My stomach on the second last day of my diet.

What I Learned: 

  • Even though I thought I was big and muscular before this diet, I was actually fat (in comparison).  There’s no point in being big and muscular if you can’t see your muscles underneath your fat.  From now on, I promise to not let myself get above 15% bodyfat.
  • Dieting is easy if you know how to cook.  For the first 2 weeks, I only ate salad.  It sucked.  I decided to start cooking more meals (because salads suck).  I would cook steak with fried tomatoes, peppers, onions, basil etc.  I would eat this meal 5 times a week.  I loved it (and I still do).
  • I learned the art of Intermittent Fasting (IF).  My caloric intake was so low that I was hungry every hour of the day.  No matter how many vegetables I ate (to try to feel full), I would still be hungry.  Thus, I started IF’ing.  This was the best idea of my life.  I would have an 8 hour eating window each day, and I would place it at the end of the day.  This way, I would go to bed feeling full.  As my ghrelin levels started to adapt, I wouldn’t even feel hungry during the fast.  (I will talk more about IF’ing in a future post.)  As of right now, I have no intentions on stopping my IF’ing lifestyle.
  • I learned what over-training feels like.  On week 10 of the diet, I had progressed up to some very hard Olympic lifting on my lifting days.  This drained me and I became over-trained.  Don’t let yourself become over-trained.  You will never reach your goals (unless your goal is to be over-trained).
  • I don’t enjoy the taste of food that is bad for me (with the exception of desserts).  For some reason, after finishing this diet, all I want to eat is healthy food.  Weird.
  • I have the power and knowledge to make my body look the way that I want it to.

What’s next?:  For the next 8 weeks I will be transitioning my eating to back to normal (slowly increasing calories and adding in meals with starchy carbs).  Transition dieting is the lost art of dieting.  It allows you to stay lean, and not gain back all of your fat that you lost.  Basically, I’m slowly introducing carbs back into my eating patterns, and slowing increasing my caloric intake.  After this transition, I plan to slowly gain some quality lean mass.  My goal is 8lbs of muscle in 8 months (I’ll keep you updated).  I won’t let myself get fat, I promise.

Now, time for some more pictures: