Note: Charles is here on a weekly basis to help you cut through the B.S. and get to the bottom of the biggest questions in health and training. Post your questions via social media or in the comments section below to participate in next week's mailbag.

 

Question #1: Is P90X Legit?

READER: I'm thinking of trying P90X. What do you think?

 

CHARLES SAYS: P90X reminds me of a mix between Scientology and Amway. Sure, some people feel they’ve benefitted from it, but that will always be the case when there are large numbers of purchasers. Far more people have been disappointed or even hurt by it. Nearly all of Beach Body’s marketing is deceptive or downright dishonest. Their Shakeology product is okay but nothing more, and far overpriced for what it is. Their “coaches” are predominantly unfit MLM salespeople, and everything out of their mouths is obviously scripted from HQ.

 

"It’s tough to know if you’ve found a good gym or coach when you’re a beginner"

Breaking Muscle Shop

Beach Body coaches constantly talk about “revolutionizing” the fitness industry, but the fitness industry isn’t in need of a revolution - we already know what works. So if you’re looking to get in shape, I’d stick with what’s been a proven formula for decades - lifting weights and controlling your diet. It’s pretty much that simple.

 

Question #2: Avoiding Drive-By Coaches

READER: How do you tell somebody to go away when they starting coaching your form at the gym?

 

CHARLES SAYS: If I was a woman and the advice-giver was a man, I’d probably suspect ulterior motives. But with that aside, I don’t necessarily want such a person to go away. It all depends on whether or not the advice is credible or not. If you’re not sure if it’s valid advice, look at the physique and/or strength level of the advice-giver. I’ll always at least listen to someone with an impressive physique, even if I’ve heard him say dumb things in the past. Personally, I never offer advice to anyone (in or out of the gym) unless I’m directly asked, or if I feel the person is in imminent danger.

 

Question #3: Powerlifting Newbie

READER: I'm new to training, and my friend wants me to join his powerlifting gym. Is it okay to start with powerlifting if I'm inexperienced? 18yo, 6' tall, 162lbs male.

 

CHARLES SAYS: If you’ll be supervised by a good coach, powerlifting is a great place to start. So is bodybuilding, CrossFit, or Olympic lifting. Or just a great personal trainer. It really boils down to the coaching for the most part. Hope this is helpful for you. It’s tough to know if you’ve found a good gym or coach when you’re a beginner, but shop around, talk with the coaches, students, and ask questions. Best of luck!

 

This Week’s Training

Weekly Training Volume: 73,080 Pounds (Last Week 73,919 Pounds)

 

Significant Lifts:

 

  • Power Snatch: 154x1
  • Bench Press: 240x2
  • Clean & Jerk: 187x1
  • Block Pull: 494x1
  • Military Press: 145x1

 

Another solid week with over 70,000 pounds of volume for the second week in a row. The only lift that hasn’t felt strong lately is the low bar squat. In fact, this week, after working up to 135 pounds, I just moved on to high bars instead. That said, my Olympic lifts, deads, and presses are all moving forward nicely.

 

 

This week, I’ve included a narrated video where I discuss how I manage the inevitable comparisons that we make between ourselves and others, and how to make those internal dialogues to best advantage. Have a listen - I think you’ll enjoy it!


February 16, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 201.8 lbs

Volume: 16,683 Pounds

Average Weight Per Rep: 137.87

 

Power Snatch

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 45 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 66 lbs × 5
  • Set 4: 66 lbs × 5
  • Set 5: 88 lbs × 3
  • Set 6: 99 lbs × 3
  • Set 7: 110 lbs × 3
  • Set 8: 121 lbs × 2
  • Set 9: 132 lbs × 2
  • Set 10: 143 lbs × 2
  • Set 11: 154 lbs × 2
  • Set 12: 165 lbs x 0
  • Set 13: 132 lbs × 3
  • Set 14: 132 lbs × 3

Notes: IQ: 90.53

 

Squat

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 95 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 135 lbs × 3

Notes: IQ: 85

 

High Bar Squat

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 132 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 198 lbs × 5
  • Set 4: 198 lbs × 5
  • Set 5: 198 lbs × 5

Notes: IQ: 154.2

 

Leg Press

  • Set 1: 180 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 180 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 180 lbs × 8
  • Set 4: 180 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 180

 

Trap Bar Deadlift

  • Set 1: 225 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 315 lbs × 3

 

February 17, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 200.8 lbs

Volume: 18,984 Pounds

Average Weight Per Rep: 195.71

 

Bench Press

  • Set 1: 135 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 185 lbs × 6
  • Set 3: 205 lbs × 6
  • Set 4: 225 lbs × 4
  • Set 5: 240 lbs × 2
  • Set 6: 205 lbs × 7
  • Set 7: 205 lbs × 7

Notes: IQ: 189.04

 

Chin Up

  • Set 1: 1 reps
  • Set 2: 2 reps
  • Set 3: 3 reps
  • Set 4: 4 reps
  • Set 5: 5 reps
  • Set 6: 6 reps
  • Set 7: 7 reps
  • Set 8: 8 reps
  • Set 9: 9 reps
  • Set 10: 10 reps

Notes: IQ: 200.8

 

February 19, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 201.8 lbs

Volume: 27,868 Pounds

Average Weight Per Rep: 206.42

 

Clean and Jerk

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 66 lbs × 3
  • Set 3: 66 lbs × 3
  • Set 4: 88 lbs × 3
  • Set 5: 110 lbs × 2
  • Set 6: 132 lbs × 2
  • Set 7: 143 lbs × 1
  • Set 8: 154 lbs × 1
  • Set 9: 165 lbs × 1
  • Set 10: 176 lbs × 1
  • Set 11: 187 lbs × 1

Notes: IQ: 95.39

 

4" Block Pull

  • Set 1: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 225 lbs × 3
  • Set 4: 315 lbs × 3
  • Set 5: 365 lbs × 1
  • Set 6: 405 lbs × 1
  • Set 7: 455 lbs × 1
  • Set 8: 485 lbs x 0
  • Set 8: 495 lbs × 1

IQ: 234.5

 

19" Box Squat

  • Set 1: 95 lbs × 5
  • Set 2: 135 lbs × 5
  • Set 3: 185 lbs × 8
  • Set 4: 185 lbs × 8
  • Set 5: 185 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 164.41

 

Leg Press

  • Set 1: 180 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 180 lbs × 10

Notes: IQ: 180

 

Safety Squat

  • Set 1: 155 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 155

 

Back Extension

  • Set 1: +150 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: +150 lbs × 10
  • Set 3: +150 lbs × 10

Notes: IQ: 150

 

VIDEO: Here is a complete video of this entire session, along with my thoughts on managing internal dialogue, maintaining a positive internal climate, and comparing ourselves to others:

 

 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

 

Bodyweight: 202.6 lbs

Volume: 9545 Pounds

Average Weight Per Rep: 81.58

 

Military Press

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 10
  • Set 2: 65 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 85 lbs × 6
  • Set 4: 105 lbs × 4
  • Set 5: 125 lbs × 2
  • Set 6: 145 lbs × 1
  • Set 7: 95 lbs × 6

Notes: IQ: 77.43

 

Close Grip Bench Press (Pinkies On Rings)

  • Set 1: 45 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 95 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 135 lbs × 8
  • Set 4: 155 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 107.5

 

Lying Tricep Extension

  • Set 1: 65 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 65 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 65 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 65

 

Bicep Curl (Dumbbell)

  • Set 1: 70 lbs × 8
  • Set 2: 70 lbs × 8
  • Set 3: 70 lbs × 8

Notes: IQ: 70

 

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