T Nation

2006: What Have You Learned?

I thought it would be interesting and educating to find out what everyone has learned in '06. What’s worked for you, what you wish you hadn’t done, training revelations, anything.

For me 2006 was awesome, mostly in part because I started training at the tail end of 2005.

I learned that the best use for a machine was to sit for a rest; despite popular belief the shoulder is more than the anterior deltoid, and that nutrition is a hell of a lot more important than I originally thought.

My perceptions about training also changed. I used to think I just want to be stronger. Forget size or definition, that’s just a plus, I just want to be strong. I could care less about shape in my biceps or triceps, darn it I want to curl and push big! That’s not to say compounds were not the focus of my workouts, but I held the same philosophy for bench or squat in every exercise. Now I look at a muscle and say, what do I want it do for me? Looks? Does it help a major movement? I think this was a big turning point for me.

Another thing I am still dealing with is the “fear” of what others think. When I started out one of the main reasons I stayed away from the free weights section was because that’s where all the big guys were, and being a fat bastard with a WoW sedentary lifestyle I lifted like a 130 pound girl. My biggest regret was around the time I finally got some balls to move to the free weights: I was quite ignorant about anatomy and was not aware there are muscles that the mirror doesn’t show (mainly, the back; excuse my poor attempt at a joke).

Another thing I learned was that no, I’m not invincible or impervious to injury. Currently dealing with a nerve entrapment (thank God for ART) and having some fun with shoulder pain has taught me that “training” does not just consist of lifting some weight and I need to do a hell of a lot more pulling exercises.

Also, 2007 will not bring me a 1000 pound squat or 800 pound raw bench press. Coming off newbie gains was a bummer, but also a lesson in not just training hard but time to think about training smart.

The best of 2006: Benching 1x my body weight. Ye, I know not very impressive, but it was one hell of a day for me.

The worst of 2007: Ironically not having to stop benching due to injury or failing to make a PR, but being told I should be lifting a lot more for a guy my size. Obviously it was true, but having just started training it was an embarrassing moment. I figured I could be a pussy and go back to machines in the corner or keep busting my ass and change that fact. I’m still nowhere close to where I want to be or with respectable numbers, but that doesn’t mean I can’t put it in gear at the gym trying to get there.

Well, here’s looking to 2007 and a big thanks to everyone at T-Nation, staff and members alike, for building such a great resource.

Stay Strong! (and healthy!)

Should be a no-brainer but I learned not to train through injuries.

I also learned that it’s ok to gain fat while bulking and not to be afraid of it. It took reading about 50 of Prof X’s posts all saying the same thing to really drill it in my head, but once I let go of that fear I have actually started gaining at a reasonably good pace.

Don’t deadlift if you have Diarrhea !!!

Progress is progress. Be satisfied with small improvements, and make plans to keep them coming. Over time, small gains add up to big gains.

Wherever you need to go to achieve your goals is where you belong. Stop caring about what you think other people think. Fact is, other people don’t care, because they’re preoccupied with their own shit.

You benched your bodyweight; now bench 1.1 times your bodyweight, then 1.2, and so on. As long as you improve, it’s good. Improvement is not guaranteed.

  1. Periodization is important.

  2. Flexibility is super important – suffered a
    rotator cuff strain and lumbar strain due to
    poor flexibility.

  3. Bodyweight exercises can produce results.

  4. Cardio doesn’t mean running; circuit
    training hits cardio just as hard.

  5. Lift heavy after building a good foundation
    first.

  6. Stick to basic movements: push, pull, twist,
    squat, and deadlift.

  7. Swimming provides a good warm-up.

  8. I’m addicted to tv shows on DVD. I hate
    adverts.

  9. VW Jettas suck, so I replaced mine with a
    350Z – hopefully it won’t suck as much.

  10. People do really stupid shit when given the
    opportunity.

[quote]GP-100 wrote:
Progress is progress. Be satisfied with small improvements, and make plans to keep them coming. Over time, small gains add up to big gains.

Wherever you need to go to achieve your goals is where you belong. Stop caring about what you think other people think. Fact is, other people don’t care, because they’re preoccupied with their own shit.

You benched your bodyweight; now bench 1.1 times your bodyweight, then 1.2, and so on. As long as you improve, it’s good. Improvement is not guaranteed.[/quote]

Good advice, I appreciate it.

[quote]tweaker wrote:

  1. Cardio doesn’t mean running; circuit
    training hits cardio just as hard.
    [/quote]

Sounds fun too; a good change up from the norm and more challenging then just staying on the treadmill.

2006: The year I learned that if I’m dissatisfied with my body [b]I can change it[/b].

Life lessons- I’ve learned many valuable things this year but probably the most important and life altering is that I’m not a child anymore and my life is now fully in my hands and in my control.

Even though it is a very difficult hurdle to overcome I’ve also been learning it doesn’t matter what people think and trying things spontanously.

Training lessons- Always strive for constant progression and keep a training log.

I learned that not all good things last forever. Basically, almost everything in life (not just organic things, but intangible things, like relationships/friendships) has its own lifespan.

I guess nothing lasts forever. Also, I learned that no matter how sure you are, even the people who you trust most can let you down. It’s funny, I wish I could share details, I have a ‘great’ (well, interesting…) personal story about this, but it is strongly connected to a prominent T-member and I wouldn’t wanna dis her in this place that she frequents. It’d contradict her image.

2006 I found this site, so pretty much I had to unlearn and re-learn everything I knew about training and nutrition.

Personally this is the first year that I maintained a job for the entire calendar year (I’m still not so far away from my college days). And I was able to use this to make longer-term financial decisions and carry them out. Basically I made the same amount I did in the previous year (a little more), but did a hell of a lot more with my money.

  1. Charles Staley is a genius.
  1. My Power Clean or worse still my Power Snatch technique sucks
  2. The military press and Sots Press are both great excercises
  3. Mobility is really important
    4)It sucks to get ill 3-4 times in a row
  4. Sleep is just as necessary as food for putting on weight

I have learned a tremendous amount this year about how my body responds to various types of training, nutrition and rest. But my biggest lesson by far has been that Chad Waterbury knows his stuff, and the best thing I can do to achieve my physique goals is to blindly follow everything he says.

I made decent gains on all sorts of programs but once I switched to CW’s stuff that my gains have been RIDICULOUS. Fuck trying to think for myself, learning tons of exercise theory and trying to develop my own programs.

After being stuck with whopping 13.75" guns after two years of serious training, in less than 4 months on CW’s programs, I’m already pushing 15" … with no end in sight. Plus I’m actually leaner and really enjoying my training like never before. My goals which even recently seemed so distant are suddenly pretty close to being actualised.

I don’t care for debates about total body vs split training etc etc etc. All I know is everything of CW’s that I tried has worked for me like nothing else has. So pretty much all I will be doing in the gym in 2007 is (a) buying his book and (b) rotating between his 3 times a week full body programs (ie, TBT, AOW, TTT, WM etc), with a view to getting stuck into HFT in 2008.

Good thread and good training in 2007.

  1. You shouldn’t spread 15 yds. of mulch then just grab a few hundred lbs. for a dead lift.

It hurts your back.

  1. When doing GHRs with a medicine ball, don’t slam the ball off of the floor on your way down.

It will hit you in the face.

  1. Pain is like spicey food. Sometimes it hits the spot, but a little too much will make you jump up and down, screaming and swearing.

This past year has been an awakening in regards to training and nutrition. From the time I got out of high school until earlier this year (roughly 9 years), I was blindly doing workouts in Men’s Health, Flex, and any other fitness rag at the grocery store.

I thought doing these workouts were the only thing I had to do to transform my skinny-fat self into a ripped, strong specimen. That was not the case, and I remained skinny-fat and even started to become just-fat because of a horrible diet.

In February this year I made a change and hired a personal trainer at a local Gold’s. He was a “time of tension” disciple and was stressing 7 second reps. In a way this helped because it made me focus more on form than anything else, and my strength and physique were getting better.

After a couple months he left the gym, but we had a deal where he would write programs for me and email them. I did that for awhile, but my progress was leveling off and I was getting terrible headaches. I couldn’t get in contact with him, and I broke down and went to a chiropractor.

Along with incredible tightness in my neck, he said I needed to work on my rotator cuff muscles. He provided no guidance on how to strengthen these muscles, so I turned to the internet for any help I could find. This lead me to Eric Cressey’s rotator cuff articles, and the rest is history.

That last part of the story was just in September, and I think I’ve made more progress in the last 3 months than in the previous 3+ years. With a better understanding of how the body works and a better nutrition plan, I can’t wait to continue improving in '07.

I learnt that low reps, high weight is what works for my upper body best.

I learnt that endurance training cannot proficiently convive with strenght training (much to my dismail).

I learnt that rest actually increases my performance.

DisneyWorld is an awesome vacation site.

Spike is good.

Thinking that at 47 I’m just on a “forever plateau” is stupid; collaterally, Waterbury’s TBT can produce amazing progress–I suspect in anyone.

Changing my profile to turn off access to “Get a Life”, “Politics and World Issues”, “Sex and the Male Animal” and “T-Nation Tech Support” turns T-Nation into a more serious website for me, and the Top 30 Most Discussed threads are 99% focused on health and working out. Great feature.

I learned what is really important in every strength sport:
Bust your ass every training and eat as if there ist no tomorrow.

Sounds like a no-brainer. But it took me 2 years of lifting to realize that.

greetz from germany

Don’t waste too much time caring. Although training is certainly good, there are more important things in life than training.

I stopped seeing skin move and gross human movement.

I started seeing, moments, angles, traction, transitory forces, vectors etc.

It’s made a big difference.

And one of the biggest thing, is the number on the plate or dumbell, is no indicator of the forces on the body.