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17 May 2018

A Public Service Announcement from Bruce Randall: "For Fuck's Sweet Sake. Bulk First, Then Worry About Getting Cut."

Bruce Randall went from nothing to fat badass to shredded ladies man in three years, natty af.  Begin the naysaying, skinny-fat internet nobodies!

Having been positively besieged with questions over the years asking how lean a person should be before bulking, I thought it was high time to introduce a new generation to the modern human marvel- Bruce Randall, a strongman, powerlifter, and bodybuilder famous in the 1950s for making an insane amount of progress in a very short period of time.  I realize that it's all the rage to traipse through your fitness club in skin tight capri pants and a melon colored string tank top, checking out your abs between lackadaisical sets of whatever Jeff Seid happens to be recommending these days, but if you actually want to impress real, live people when you walk down the street as a physically imposing and impressive motherfucker, chicken breasts, kale, and P90x isn't going to fucking cut it.

Bob Hines, Bruce Randall, and Abe Goldberg outside of Goldberg's gym.

I realize that for anyone reading this while rocking athleisure clothing, this revelation will come as a fucking shocker, but it's true.  The only person of whom I can think who successfully shreds and then lean bulks is Sylvester Stallone, cited above.  As such, I am not saying it is not possible to do, but it's a mostly idiotic way to go about things for most people.  A far better example to follow would be a person like the wrestler Bruno Sammartino, who gained over 100 lbs of muscle in 4 years and set a bunch of lifting records while doing it, or the man pictured above, Bruce Randall.  Bulking hard and then cutting allows you to overeat like crazy to pack on muscle, which is easy enough to hang onto if you keep your protein high.

Sylvester Stallone- the reigning world champion of cutting and then bulking.  "[W]hen I did Rambo III, I didn’t like the way I looked anymore, so I decided to reshape myself. I went down to 168 pounds. I put on weight slowly and got sinewy, hard-cut muscles. I wound up weighing about 200. But it was all muscle – my body fat was down to 3.8 percent. Now my fat count is 6.8. I’m 5’10? and weight 187 pounds. I’m pleased with my body now" (Davis).

So, having already written about Sammartino's methods, allow me to introduce you to Bruce Randall- at 6'2", his weight ranged anywhere from 183 to 401lbs.  In the course of his career, the man managed to gain world renown for his strength, then gained even more renown for shredding like crazy and winning the Mr. Universe title against some renown strongmen in 1959.  The thing that made him stand out in my mind (for which I unfortunately couldn't find a citation) is neither of those things, though- it's that once he cut down he was so unaccustomed to his own strength that he grabbed a bench to do some benching and noticed everyone staring at him.  When he set the bench down, he realized the fucking thing had been bolted into the ground, but he was able to rip it out of its moorings with no more effort than what it took to pick up a bench.

I highly doubt any of you have made gains or losses that even slightly compare to those, so you goddamned well better pay attention.  As to the tilt, the image was cockeyed and I'm working on a Chromebook, so that's the best you're getting.

Before we get going, I know half of you are going to call bullshit on his weights and progress, but the dude was heavily documented by Iron Man magazine the entire time.  The other half of you are going to talk shit about his programs, because the knee jerk reaction for people these days is to say "that's horseshit and you're a lying pussy" rather than actually considering the implications of what you are reading actually might teach you something, rather than just reinforcing what you think you know.  That said, let's delve into the story of a man whose life tale is so tall it's like Mark Henry and Johnny Appleseed doubleteamed Calamity Jane to create a man who makes Paul Bunyan seem like a punk bitch in comparison.

Bruce Randall was a professional bodybuilder and insanely strong guy who leapt into the public eye early in life and disappeared from public view just as quickly.  Born in 1931, Randall didn't actually start lifting until he was of legal drinking age, and only did so at 21 because he needed to weigh 225lbs to play for the base football team in the Marines.  Approaching the base lifting coach, Chief Petty Officer Walter Metzler, Randall explained he needed to pack on mass as quickly as possible so he could go out and be the crazy white Lawrence Taylor of the armed services.  So at a bodyweight of 203lbs, Randall began his training with weird as hell program and a ingeniously simple diet that initially just included an extra loaf of bread, quart of milk, pork chop, or whatever he could get during every meal (Randall and Roach).

Clearly, that dietary methodology is so simple a six year old could have figured it out, but frankly it never once occurred to me to try that sort of thing- luckily for all of us, it's never too late to try to pack on 30 lbs of mass in six weeks.  His program was also incredibly simple, and although you'll all hate it, his methodology was sound.  Having grown up in an era where you're gonna get mocked for skipping legs, you would likely all write a beginner program based around the Olympic lifts or power lifts in an effort to engage as many muscle groups as possible.   Randall, on the other hand, said fuck that noise.  Instead of doing some lame fucking 5x5 program wherein you are allegedly going to get jacked off three days of lackluster lifting a week, Randall did the following program 6-7 days a week.  His logic?  "I found that in my case I could work on my arms almost every day and make gains. I assume that this is due to the natural recuperative powers of the arms. Because they are always in use they seem to be able to regain total strength with just one night’s rest and are ready for more the next day" (Randall).  In short- you can make serious hypertrophy progress training your arms every day like a fucking maniac, but the same couldn't be said for a program comprised of squats and deadlifts.  You'd fall apart faster than a scarecrow in a tornado.

Randall's 1st Program, Aka the "Curls for the Girls" Routine
Military style barbell curls – 110 pounds, 3 sets of 6-8 reps
Dumbbell concentration curls – 50 pounds, 3 sets of 6-5 reps
French style barbell curls – 70 pounds, 3 sets of 6-8 reps
Bent-over triceps extension with dumbbells – 35 pounds, 3 sets of 6-8 reps
Dumbbell incline curls – 45 pounds, 3 sets of 6-8 reps (with an arm hanging over a gymnastic horse)

His weights are the weights he started the program with, so a couple of years of chopping wood prior to starting this program definitely paid off as unplanned preparation for lifting. He'd start with six reps per set, and as he grew stronger he would wait until he hit eight reps for all three sets, then increase the weight and start back at six.  With this program and diet, Bruce Randall's progress was nothing short of pants-shitting (both figuratively and likely literally).  In six weeks, he increased his weight from 203 lbs to 225 lbs and his arms grew from arms increased from 16” to 17.5”. Because football was still a few months off, Randall decided to change his goal to gain another 25lbs using the same routine and diet, and he got his weight up to 265lbs.

Clearly, this kind of weight gain and progress is just fucking ridiculous, but it should immediately indicate to every motherfucking last one of us that we eat like Angelina Jolie and we need to level the fuck up at the dinner table.  Lest you think I am suggesting that we all should get fat as shit to pack on mass, I'm not.  There is a happy medium between gaining 200 lbs in two years and applying similar principles to this in order to quickly gain mass, or to smash through sticking points (and there is definitely evidence that our collective sticking points are due in large part to eating like fucking hummingbirds.

Can you imagine someone posting a pic of this now?  The internet would go crazy screaming shit like "fake plates" and "snap city"

So at 265lbs, Randall decided it was time to take his diet to the next level and alter his training to involved the larger muscle groups.  The following just the basis of his training, and he would add exercises as time permitted.  Again, he started with three sets of each exercise, dropping the starting reps to 3-5, and adding weight when he hit 8 reps.  His starting weights were still light, but recall at that point lifters had to clean the weight to their chests and fall back into a high incline board for incline barbell press, which definitely increased the level of difficulty considerably.  He took as long as he felt he needed in between sets, often lifting from 3-5 hours a day.

Randall's 2nd Program
Dumbbell Bench Press – 120 pounds, 5-8 reps
Decline Dumbbell Bench Press – 130 pounds, 5-8 reps
Incline Barbell Press – 250 pounds, 5-8 reps
Good Morning – 295 pound, 3-5 reps

If you are wondering, like I was, why the squat still wasn't in this program, I have your answer right here:
"Randall originally shied away from the squat because of a serious injury there years previously in which he broke his leg in seven places.  He would periodically test his strength in the movement and attributed the hard work in the good morning exercise for allowing him to squat 680lbs.  He actually once took a shot at a 750lbs good morning, but had to drop the bar because the weights shifted on him" (Roach).
It was with this program, just under a year into lifting, that he managed to win an Olympic weightlifting competition, in spite of the fact he trained less for it than most people train for fun runs.  In December of 1953, 11 months after he started training, Randall entered his first meet, the Capital District, and won with a 300lb press, 230lb snatch, 315lb clean and jerk, and 845lb total. 

As his training evolved to suit his heavier training with more compound lifts, so did his diet. Centered around four massive meals (a cafeteria tray filled to overflowing with rice and pork for dinner, or a breakfast of his typical breakfast, consisting of 28 fried eggs, loaf and half of bread and two quarts of milk) a day, at 6:30am, 11:30am, 4:30pm, and 9:30pm.   Between meals he didn't snack beyond drinking milk, of which he drank a fucking unreal amount (8-10 quarts on average).  When I say unreal, I'm talking unicorns that fart cinnamon and sneeze rainbows unreal- at least one time he drank nearly five gallons in a day, which gave him almost 15,000 calories and 600 grams of protein just by themselves (Roach).
“I remember one incident that happened to me at lunch. I weighed about 330 at the time and came to lunch ready to eat like a horse. They were serving a favorite Chinese dish of mine, fried rice with pork. It happened that I was eating at the Navy mess hall at the time and so had a metal tray with five different compartments in it to eat from. Well, I filled the entire tray with rice and pork. The mound was so high that if another spoonful was added it would run over the side of the tray. Carefully balancing the tray so as not to drops a precious grain, I made my way back to a table amid incredulous stares from every sailor in the hall. Upon sitting down and tasting a few spoonfuls I found the rice to be slightly undercooked. The center of each grain was a little pasty and absorbed all the moisture in my mouth when I chewed. In order to solve this frustrating dilemma, I secured several quart bottles of water and proceeded to eat the rice with a swig of water every so often. Under this procedure I was able to finish the entire tray of fried rice and pork (I made it an absolute rule to finish everything I took. Wasting food is an unpardonable sin!). Upon getting up, I was, to put it mildly, sufficiently filled. When I arrived back at the Marine Barracks I found myself feeling rather strange sensations going on in the region of my stomach. I made a hasty retreat to my bed and lay upon my back for five hours taking short panting breaths because I found that deep breathing caused even more pressure on the stomach. Thereafter I made quite certain that the rice was well cooked before I loaded up the tray" (Randall and Roach)

Those of you who remember the Saxon Trio's eating habits will note even they would have thought this was just an egregious amount of food and milk, and the man's bedroom must have smelled like a Turkish bathhouse in which Gary Busey and Nick Nolte had been doing squats.  If you slept in a sewer you probably would have breathed better than you could in this man's room.  And Randall gave less fucks than Deadpool donkeypunching Gina Carano in the middle of a child sex ring- he actually once said that if he'd pushed his weight to 500lbs he could have deadlifted 1000lbs (Roach).

Putting aside that Randall's bedroom must've smelled like a camel threw up eggs onto a pile of cow shit, and his bathroom was likely considered a Hazard Zone by every governmental agency in the country, we'll go back to his training.  Randall said he never really had a "set" program, but he did specifically alter his training to the following, done five to six times a week:

Incline Clean and Press (pictured above) – 3x3-5, 355 lbs.
Quarter Front Squat – 3x6-8, 1,010 lbs.
DB Bench Press – 3x3-5, 205 lbs.
DB Decline Press – 3x3-5, 195 lbs.
Good Morning – 3x3-5, 565 lbs.

His training kept changing from then on, rotating in and out various exercises (but usually keeping the total exercise count to six) that constantly ramped up the insanity as he tested his digestive system and his body's ability to adapt.  By the time he had two years of training under his belt, Randall's lifts were among the best in the world at the time.

Randall's Best Lifts after 2 years of training, at 335-410lbs (Greatest, Willoughby 138)
Military Press – 365lbs x two reps, 375 x one rep
Squat – 680lbs
Good Morning – 685lbs (Bent knees, back parallel to the floor)
Deadlift – 730lbs x two reps; 770 x one rep
Strict Curl – 242 lbs Dumbbell Bench Press – 220-pound dumbbells x two reps
Bench Press – 482lbs (with a 3-second pause on the chest)
Decline Dumbbell Bench Press – 220lb dumbbells x one rep
¼ Front Squat – 1,320lbs
Incline Clean and Press – 380lbs x three reps, 410 x one rep

It seems that his switch in diet happened basically on a whim he mentioned to a friend, that he wanted to “look at life from the other side of the weight picture,” and his friend essentially told him he was out of his motherfucking mind, which only served to strengthen his resolve (Rader and Randall).  I can respect that kind of motivation, because as I've written in the past, spite is an amazing motivator.

As far as I was concerned there is no such word as "never" in a lifter’s vocabulary.
- Bruce Randall

Taking up the challenge like a heroin addict takes up a fentanyl habit, Bruce knew he would have to immediately change both his diet and his routine.  Interestingly, he had the exact opposite opinion about the matter than Arnold, though they both ended up at the same conclusion using the same simile.  Whereas in Pumping Iron Arnold said, "you look in the mirror and you say, okay, I need a bit more deltoids ... so that the proportion's right, and ... you exercise and put those deltoids on, whereas an artist would just slap on some clay on each side," Bruce Randall said, "take a sculptor about to create a statue. He takes a big, ungainly piece of rock and with hammer and chisel he chips away at it until the desired effect is created" (Logan).  At 401lbs, Randall saw himself as that big, ungainly piece of rock, and the weights and diet were his hammer and chisel.  With that in mind, he reversed his previous methods and reduced his food intake at each meal, trying to keep his protein and green vegetables high while cutting back on starches and fats.

At the same time he reduced his food intake, he increased his volume in a way only a dangerously psychotic and probably self-destructive person would, training 6-7 hours a day (and once 27 hours in two days and 81 hours in that week), 6-7 days a week (and once 27 days in a row) doing more than 20 exercises with 4-5 sets of 12-15 reps apiece.  He also started walking daily, gradually increasing his walks and pace until after a month he would walk/jog, and was running 3-5 miles a day by the end of his 9 month cut.  And if you say that's going to kill your lifts, no it won't- you're just being an excuse-making pussy.  According to the man himself, "I found that it did not adversely affect my workouts in the gym and in addition to the above mentioned benefits it increased my stamina and endurance greatly" (Logan).

His workout was as unconventional and volume dense-as-a-black-hole as you would guess:
Randall's "Reduction" Program
Situps, leg raises, hanging leg raises – 20-50 reps.
Squats without weight – sets of 20.
Leg curls and extensions – sets of 25.
Bench presses, flyes – sets of 15-20.
Chins, dips, curls, rows, upright rows – sets of 15-25.
Seated DB presses, incline presses – sets of 10-15.
More situps, leg raises and hanging leg raises – sets of 25-50.
Miscellaneous optional exercises at the end of each workout.

Randall at the end of his cut, weighing 187lbs.

If that's not insane enough for you, his 1956 New Years resolution was to do 5.000 situps a day for the first 15 days of 1956.... in addition to all of the other ab training he did. He credited that with his waspish waist, which was an amazingly trim 33", and whatever else it did, that resolution confirmed that the man was indeed crazier the Heath Ledger Joker on angel dust and flakka.  He did, however, say that in retrospect his reps and should have been reversed (ahhh, sweet vindication):
"I prefer to REDUCE the repetitions and INCREASE the number of sets. 
To illustrate the above point let us take the following example. Instead of performing 3 sets of 20 repetitions per exercise, I would prefer to perform 10 sets of 6 repetitions per exercise when training for definition. Let us say that we were able to do 3 sets of 20 reps with 100 pounds in the curl. Now, if we were to increase the sets to 10 and reduce the reps to 6 we would be able to increase the weight substantially to, let us say, 150 pounds! The point is that at the end of the exercise we have performed exactly the same amount of repetitions. However, on the high set, low rep principal, we use 50% more weight thus accomplishing more work and therefore burning more energy which is necessary in order to reduce fat and attain definition. 
Remember, it is the amount of energy you have burned up which in turn is determined by the amount of work you have performed that will determine the amount of fat reduction. This approach to definition should also enable the trainee to retain a great degree of muscle density, at the same time encouraging greater definition. The writer is not suggesting that the reader follow the idea of 10 sets necessarily. It is true that the more sets you perform the longer will be the length of your workout. It is also true, however, that it is necessary to put in many long workouts in order to bring the body around to top contest condition. Ask any top physique winner and you will find that this is true" (Randall).

Bruce in 1959 at 225 lbs

In the end, Bruce Randall was eating like most kids online claim they're eating when they "literally can't eat another thing."  How those kids have such tiny appetites almost as big a mystery as how the formerly competitive-eater level Randall got his food intake down that low.  By the time Randall was down to 183 in 1956, he was eating the following:

2 soft boiled eggs
Plain pint of skim milk
Glass of orange juice

Salad, dates and nuts

Round Steak
Two vegetables
Quart skim milk with additional powdered milk
Coffee (Occasionally)

As you can see below, his first couple of competitions didn't go quite as well as Bruce Randall would have liked- but the man remained undeterred.  When he stepped onstage in 1956, Bruce had increased his weight up to 219 lbs., continuing his bizarre weight yo-yo.  In 1957, Randall took a different tack and went lighter, coming in 6th weighing 195 lbs.  At that point he was walking around at a much more reasonable 203lbs-240lbs in the offseason, and won in 1959 weighing 231lbs, four pounds lighter and an inch shorter than Arnold Schwarzenegger, who would win it nine years later.

Bruce Randall's Competition History
1956 – Mr. America – AAU, 13th
1957 – Mr. America – AAU, 6th
1958 – Universe – Pro – NABBA, Tall, 2nd
1959 – Universe – Pro – NABBA, Tall, 1st
1959 – Universe – Pro – NABBA, Overall Winner

“I constantly put personal goals before myself and these goals acted as a stimulus of sorts. In other words, I would set a date, perhaps three weeks hence, when I would try to accomplish some change such as a loss of 12 pounds or a reduction around the chest or waist of several inches. This idea of using goals is something that I learned when I was gaining weight and strength. I would tell myself that at a certain date I would press or deadlift, etc., such a poundage. Thus I found myself constantly challenged and I love challenges!" (Randal and Rader).
And that is essentially where the Bruce Randall story ends.  He fell off the map and no one really heard from him again.  Likely, he burnt himself out and just didn't have it in him to keep training.  On top of that, his unconventional methods and ridiculous training volume lent themselves about as well to coaching athletes as John Belushi's party practices would have lent themselves to leading AA meetings.  In any event, the man is a fucking textbook on how a zero-fucks-given attitude and big brass balls can push you to the forefront of the strength game... and that the bullshit about yo-yo dieting killing you faster than a diet of plutonium will.  Randall lived to the ripe old age of 87, probably just to prove one unnecessarily awesome point.

A couple of gems Randall had for people regarding training were (Randall):

  • “I did do one exercise during this time which may have had some influence on my squat. This was the good morning exercise. When I reached over 400 lbs. on this exercise I found that I could not do the exercise in the strict sense because I had to band at the knees in order to compensate for the weight at the back of the neck. I made 685 in this manner with my back parallel to the floor and once almost made 750 but was forced to dump it because of a shift in the weight."
  • “I found the ¼ Front Squats helped me push-press heavy weights and believe it to be a fine exercise." 
  • When cutting- “I use powdered milk and skim milk mixed together, thus increasing the protein content. I also took coffee at times finding it tended to curtail my appetite."
  • Just as Mac from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia said about his season-long weight gain, Randall felt good at his heaviest.  "Actually, I felt fine when weighing 400 pounds but found that I perspired freely and had a bit of trouble getting about the city. Of course I needed great amounts of sleep and food. My food bill (early ‘50s) was never under $80 per week and very often well over $100. I know that if I wanted to gain again I could weight 500 lbs. in 18 months time." 
  • On doing anything you believe you can- "Many people say that added weight is not necessary to become stronger. Perhaps they are right, but in my case it was necessary because I believed it was.
  • "I would suggest that those who find it difficult to refrain from the cake pie and candy routine remind themselves that each candy bar will cost them another 500 situps to work off! I found this to be a very persuasive means of combating temporary dietary temptations!"
  • Finally, all you Zyzz and Jeff Seid loving motherfuckers out there take note- "Remember that anyone can have the definition he desires if he is willing to train and will apply a little “exercise” of the will power. In conclusion I think it might be wise to add that there is a time to be extremely defined and a time not to be quite so defined. I feel that it is unwise to maintain an extreme degree of definition for great lengths of time because, by reducing the body fat to an absolute minimum, one also reduces his resistance and may subject his body to colds and many other possible illnesses."

So what have we learned?  First, we learned once again that you form Nazis out there can take a big step back and literally fuck your own faces.  We also learned that literally anything is possible if you set your mind to it and go ball-to-the-fucking-wall.  Finally, it should also seem fairly obvious to anyone paying attention that bulking at the outset to build strength and size makes far more sense than trying to achieve and maintain Instagram-ready abs at all times.  Frankly, I wish I'd dirty bulked in my formative years so I could maintain a higher set-point of muscle mass, rather than constantly scraping and scratching to gain a little muscle every year on a diet of rice and chicken... plus, pizza is fucking delicious.  A bit of food for thought, at least...

"Singleness of mind and the will power to stick to something with the courage to go on in spite of what people might say is a great factor to success."

By the way, big ups to Antonio Jacopo Campaner for reminding me of this guy's name.

Bruce Randall.  Greatest Physiques.  Web.  8 May 2018.

Christopher, Logan.  Bruce Randall.  Legendary Strength.  8 Oct 2013.
 Web.  8 May 2018.

Davis, Chris.  Sylvester Stallone workout: Rocky & Rambo.  Pop Workouts.  21 Feb 2016.  Web.  16 May 2018.

Heffernan, Conor.  Bruce Randall and the most amazing transformation in bodybuilding.  Physical Culture Study.  1 Jun 2016.  Web.  30 Apr 2018.

Randall, Bruce.  Definition, That Elusive Quality.  Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  30 Apr 2009.  Web.  30 Apr 2018.

Randall, Bruce and Peary Rader.  How Bruce Randall Trained- Up and Down to a Mr. Universe Title (1957).  Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  24 Aug 2008.  Web.  30 Apr 2018.

Roach, Randy.  the amazing transformation of Bruce Randall.  Iron Game History.  Aug 2008.  Web.  8 May 2018.

07 May 2018

[Full Fucking Redux] Baddest Motherfuckers Ever- Bruno "The Italian Superman" Sammartino

[Here is what amounts to a complete rewrite of my Bruno Sammartino article- I found much more information on the man, and the guy is such a goddamned legend he deserves far better than my original article.  So before I post another one or two articles this week, I thought this man deserved a tribute befitting the superhuman he was.]
Rest in Brutality, Bruno Sammartino 

Back in the day, if a guy was a wrestler, he was a bona-fide badass.  The sport, which grew out of what were essentially MMA fights with less striking and more wrestling (catch style), was filled with bad motherfuckers who ate big, lifted big, and lived big.  They were living proof that the Paul Bunyans and Spring Heeled Jacks and other men with skills so mad that they are often considered the fanciful bullshit of legends or conspiracy could have actually existed.  I realize that the same cannot be said for the modern era of wrestlers, since other than the Rock being ridiculously jacked and charismatic, none of them seem larger-than-life to the point of being supernatural. Back in the day, however, it was commonplace to hear stories like the fact that Andre the Giant drank 106 beers in a night, or Ken Patera and Masa Saito beat the shit out of 16 cops at once and then missed the verdict of their court case because they were out at a bar getting drunk and asleep in the courtroom, respectively, or any of another dozen wrestlers one could name off the top of their head who did shit better than the rest of us to a point where it isn't just not a competition- we're just participating in two different universes with two entirely different types of physics (Schwartz, Professor). 

It was from this era that the longest reigning WWE Champion in history, holding the WWE Title for 2,803 consecutive days, known as the Italian Superman came.  Bruno Sammartino, who presided over what he perceived as wrestling's fall into "the chemical years" (of which Hulk Hogan's apparently the evil figurehead), was so beloved by Italians and wrestling fans that they went quite literally berserk when a a heel who turned on him, stabbing him, smashing his cars, flipping over his cabs on the way to fights, and at one point a mobster friend of Frank Sinatra's even offered to shoot "Classy" Freddie Blassie on Sammartino's behalf.  Saying Bruno Sammartino was the ultimate babyface is like saying that James Ellsworth is the least physically impressive wrestler of the modern era- it goes without saying, and seems like an understatement even as it's somewhat hyperbolic.

Bruno was an Italian immigrant who had spent two years in the arctic environs of mountains of Italy (from age 7 to 9) running around like Brendan Fraser in Encino Man with a sharp stick and dining on dandelions and wild animals (DeLuca).  Yeah, so when you're telling your fucking sob story on Instagram about how a rough childhood and broken home are the reason you have a sub 350lb bench, take a big step back and literally fuck your own face, because big Bruno was so malnourished in his formative years that he only weighed 80 lbs at age 15. That year, Sammartino arrived in the US, the docs prescribed him a diet of meat and potatoes with a side of heavy lifting (holy shit, I was born in the wrong goddamned era) and shit proceeded to get real. 

Sammartino took to the weights like a stripper to cocaine, and competed in basically every single weightclass from 123 on up to heavyweight, which was his weightclass after only four years of lifting.  

Let that sink in for a second- Sammartino lifted and ate so hard that he went from 80 lbs to 225 in four years with no steroids, so the next time you're watching some dickhead on Youtube screaming about how everyone's on steroids, just thumbs down that video, eat a fucking steak, and go bench press until your fucking eyes bleed.  

By the time he was college-aged, the 16 year old 105lb neophyte lifter kid without a word of English in his vocabulary had become a fucking weight room monster with a scholarship offer for wrestling from the University of Pittsburgh, and went on to win a bunch of lifting titles.  Sammartino basically treated being the best at everything the same way most people act when they're finishing a delicious sandwich- it was just what he did, and he neither sweated little shit nor bemoaned any "hard times" that befell him.  One of his favorite memories is travelling to an annual Strength and Health picnic and competition in York, PA in 1957.  In the era before people abandoned their pride and set up GoFundMes to pay for their travel costs, Sammartino slept on a motherfucking park bench and then proceeded to wipe he fucking platform with his competition.  He then repeated that process over and over, and by the time he was 22 be had won Mr. Allegheny in bodybuilding, set a world record for the bench press, and boasted the following lifts:

  • 565lb Bench
  • 625lb Squat
  • 675lb Deadlift
  • 365lb Olympic Press
  • 270lb Snatch
  • 370lb Clean and Jerk
Bear in mind when viewing those numbers that powerlifting didn't officially exist at this time, and the power lifts were just three of 72 lifts contested in odd lift meets at the time- it's not as though these guys specialized in them unless they just loved the ever-loving shit out of them.

The man was an absolute Milo of Croton-style beast of a pro wrestler, and while looking like a beardless Zangief, he racked up the following sick accomplishments as a wrestler:
  • 133 consecutive sell-outs in Madison Square Garden
  • 75 consecutive main bouts in Boston Gardens.
  • 21 straight sell-outs in Australia (a record that may still stand)
  • the largest crowd (90,000 people) in Japan (at least until 1972)
  • the all-time record of 125,000 in India (at least until 1972)
  • the only pro wrestler to sell out the Bull Fight Arena in Caracas (50,000 in attendance).
  • the record for total gates around the world (Deluca)
Bruno Sammartino's All-Time Best Lifts
  • Bench Press- 315lbs for 38 reps (Tatar)
  • Bench Press- 330lbs for 33 reps right after hitting a max of 500 for the day (Twichell)
  • Bench Press (Competition, with a flat back and two second pause)- 565lbs
  • Floor Press- 545lbs (Willoughby 133)
  • Strict Curl- 235lbs (Willoughby 138)
  • Olympic Press- 410lbs (Willoughby 133)
  • Deadlift- 705lbs (Willoughby 377), though he never trained it because he thought it was bad for the back (Twichell).  
  • Squat (Competition)- 685lbs (Twichell)
  • Snatch- 270lbs (both his snatch and clean and jerk were hamstrung by the fact his elbows wouldn't lock out fully, which he attributed to malnourishment while living in the Alps)
  • Clean and Jerk- 370lbs

Not too fucking shabby, especially considering the fact that he was fanatically drug free and trained in a time before supplements, and he put up his 565 bench on a rickety homemade bench with no uprights (Tatar).   His workouts were fucking legendary, and weren't spurred by anything but Sammartino's imagination, his defiance against gravity, and his titanic brass balls.

He fueled his lengthy, brutal, and frequent workouts by eating his fucking ass off.  At 5'11" and 270lbs, Bruno had to have been a big eater, and according to interviews, he'd routinely put away 24 lamb chops or four pounds of steak at one sitting and eat breakfasts of 12 eggs, a loaf of bread, a whole box of cereal, and two quarts of milk (Rouvalis).  Arthur Saxon himself would have been proud of Sammartino's total unwillingness to approach the dinner table with anything but contempt for food, because at every meal Sammartino's goal was stuff as much food down his gullet as humanly possible.  Obviously, Sammartino wasn't overly concerned with showing up at competitions ripped to fucking shreds- he was about looking so physically imposing his opponents had to wear Depends into the ring and with being so superhumanly strong he made legendary strongmen look like bitches.  Given the fact he lifted 3 days a week, did calisthenics another two days a week, ran 8 miles a day, and wrestled six to seven days a week, however, Sammartino was training to a point where he'd likely have dropped dead of starvation eating any other way.  As it stood, his diet was exactly what the doctor ordered, because Sammartino was so goddamned strong that he was capable of "doing amazing feats" at a moment's notice, like, press slamming 605lb Haystacks Calhoun so hard that he caved in the center of the ring (Deluca, Rouvalis).  That is a feat even the legendary Paul Anderson couldn't pull off- at one point he tried to lift Haystacks and failed harder than Tara Reid at sobriety. 

Bruno Sammartino Vital Stats
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 265lbs
Chest: 56"
Arms: 20"

By this time, you and I are two wholly different species if you're not dying to know how he trained.  In wild departure from the manner in which people approach training today, Sammartino didn't simply follow a bullshit, cookie-cutter program developed by and for candy asses- he honed a routine over the years that proved to be as successful as it was brutal. 
"I was working out three, sometime three and a half, hours a day with weights. I would work out in the morning because I wanted to be very rested up for the wrestling matches at night. So I would do a workout, then have a light breakfast, and then I would go to bed for a few hours. I would eat an early dinner no later than 3:00 so that it would be fully digested by the time I went in the ring. So yeah, I worked out very hard and heavy, but I always used to try and take a couple hours nap afterward just to recoup and rest up" (Wuebben).

Bruno Sammartino's Power Routine (Twichell)

Bench Press- 10 sets, working up in 2-rep jumps to his max (I'm guessing 2 sets of 10, 2 sets of 8, 2 x 6, 2 x 4, 1 x 2, 1 x 1). His 11th set was a death set with about 65% of his 1RM for the day.

Floor Press- 5-7 x 3 with ~550lbs (see pic above, because it's different than what I've done as a floor press)

Incline Dumbbell Presses- 5 x 5 (heavy as fuck- when he was training with the legendary Karl Norberg he was using 150-pound dumbbells) 

Incline Laterals- 5 x 5 (again heavy enough to make your eyes bleed, 125-pound dumbbells)

Cheat Upright Rows- 6 x 6-7 x 205lbs

High Pulls (to the navel)- 6 x 3-4 x 400-425lbs

Squats- 8 x 3-5 reps x 650lbs

Strict/Military Barbell Curl- 10 x 10 x 135 to 175 pounds (he'd also occasionally do cheat curls with 225)

Bruno Sammartino's Travel Routine (Twichell)

Because training is a bitch on the road, and Sammartino stopped squatting after a while because it hurt his agility and his knees, he had a routine of three basic exercises. 

Bench Press- 10-12 x 3-5 starting around 300lbs and work up to a single with maximum poundage, followed by a death set. 

Strict/Military Barbell Curl- 10 x 10 x 135 to 175 pounds

Standing Laterals- I'm assuming 5x5 as above, but he didn't specify in the interview)    

Bruno Sammartino's Beginners Routine (Kubik)

In the pre-intenet era, everything was done through online courses or published in magazines.  You know that shit-dog cookie-cutter course you bought off some nobody for far too much money?  Well, think of correspondence courses as the same thing, except they almost invariably came from someone who had actually accomplished something in the strength world.  The following routine was Sammartino's recommendation for beginners, so the volume is low.  Everything is done with a single warmup set and followed by 3 sets of 6 reps.  Weight work was done three times a week, with the bodyweight stuff done on two of the off days.

Squat- 3 x 6
Bench Press- 3 x 6
Barbell Curl- 3 x 6
Behind the Neck Press- 3 x 6
Upright Rowing- 3 x 6 (with a two second hold at the top)
Sit-Ups- 3 x 6

The bodyweight work for two off days (working up to sets of 100 on squat pushups and 15 on pullups):

Hindu Squats- 1 or 2 sets 
Hindu Pushups- 1 or 2 sets
Behind the Neck Pull-Ups- 2 sets
Calf Isometrics
Neck Isometrics

Sammartino was even jacked at the age of 70.

Sammartino kept training even into his old age, because that's what badasses do in retirement.  The following is the routine he followed in the picture above, doing it three times a week along with a seven mile daily jog.

Lat Pulldowns- 5 x 15 x 130lbs
Lateral Raises- 10 x 15 x 40lbs
Bench Press- 7 x 8 x 150-250lbs
Dumbbell Bench Press- 5 x 10 x 100lbs
Dumbbell Curl- 10 x 10 x 40lbs
Overhead Tricep Extension- 4 x 15 x 40lbs
Leg Extensions- 5 x 20 x 125-160 lbs
Crunches- 100
Leg Raises- 75
Alternate Leg Raises- 75
Bicycles Crunches- 100
Crunches- 100

By the time he was 77, Sammartino's routine had changed somewhat, but still outpaced your average 20-something athleisure-wearing Instragram superstar.  Once a badass, always a badass, it seems:  
"Three days a week I do roadwork. I had hip replacement, and the doctors tell me I can walk as fast as I want, but I’m not allowed to run. So I power walk. I do between four and five miles. Then I come home – I have a well-equipped gym downstairs – and I do about 800 leg raises and leg crunches for stomach work, and then I stretch a little bit. And that’s it. The next day, I work out with the weights. Now, do I lift heavy weights anymore? No, I’m 77, and my weight is not 275 anymore. I’m 215 now, maybe 220 with my clothes on. For example, on bench press, I don’t go higher than maybe 215 for reps. For shoulder work I do 35-pound dumbbells for side laterals. Nothing really heavy anymore, because, #1, I’m old; #2, I’m not as heavy as I was; and #3, I don’t want to put too much stress on the joints at this stage of my life. I use weights that are comfortable for me" (Wuebben).

Lest you think Sammartino was simply a huge, strong guy and a pushover outside of the ring, that was about as far from the truth as any natty bro's vociferous claims about how natty they are.  Sammartino was still willing to throw hands after he retired, and one of his backstage rumbles is fucking legendary.  At the age of 51, Sammartino was a commentator rather than an announcer.  Spying six large non-wrestlers backstage, Sammartino approached them and told them they were going to get in trouble with security.  One of the six, a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, grabbed Sammartino's hand and tried to play the old hand-squishing game to "prove his dominance" in the same way pussies like Neo-Nazis and those fucking "men going their own way" would attempt to.  Then the man uttered what were luckily not his last words, telling Sammartino he was washed up and sucker punching him.  Sammartino, being the Italian Superman, knocked that motherfucker out with a single punch and proceeded to fight the other five single handedly, until the Iron Sheik jumped out of the shower and into the fracas bare-assed naked.  The two of them proceeded to stomp the ever-loving fuck out of the six men and presumably went off to share a grilled steer and a couple kegs of beer (and given it was 1980's Iron Sheik, I'm guessing at least an 8-ball of coke).

Sammartino did not look small sandwiched between Sergio and Arnold, with whom he trained in the late 1960s.

Clearly, none of us are going to be Bruno Sammartino, because there's only one Italian Superman, and he just died.  We can, however, do our best impression of that bad motherfucker and honor him by eating a hell of a lot more and training a hell of a lot more, because judging by the standard that man set in just four years of training, we have all failed to come within screaming distance of our potential.  Nothing whatsoever should stand in your way in becoming the best possible version of yourself, and anything you tell yourself is a reason why you can't get huge and superhumanly strong is just a fucking excuse you're made because you're a whiny bitch.

Don't be a fucking bitch.  Go make it happen.

Deluca, Fred.  Bruno Sammartino (1972).  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  26 Nov 2010.  Web  7 May 2018.

Iron Sheik and Bruno Sammartino fight in locker room story.  Youtube.  2 Mar 2009.  Web.  7 May 2018.

Kubik, Brooks.  Old gold from the living legend.  Dinosaur Training.  31 Jan 2012.  Web. 7 May 2018.

Kubik, Brooks.  The top training program of 1969!  Dinosaur Training.  7 Nov 2014.  Web.  7 May 2018.

Rance, Chasyn.  Training.  Chasyn Rance.  Web.  7 May 2018.

Rouvalis, Cristina.  Wrestling with fame: Bruno Sammartino still a hero to fans.  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  28 Oct 1998.  Web.  7 May 2018.

Schwartz, Nick.  The most unbelievable Andre the giant drinking stories.  Fox Sports.  27 Nov 2016.  Web.  6 May 2018.

Tatar, Ben.  Sport stars and celebrity bench press rumors.  Critical Bench.  Web.  7 May 2018.

Twichell, Jon.  Power training interview with Bruno Sammartino (1964).  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  24 Apr 2018.  Web.  7 May 2018.

Wrestling Professor.  Ken Patera & Masa Saito vs Waukesha police department.  6 Aug 2016.  Web.  6 May 2018.

Willoughby, David P.  The Super-Athletes.  New York:  A.S. Barnes and Co, 1970.

Wuebben, Joe.  Old-school ass kicker Bruno Sammartino.  Muscle and Fitness.  2013.  Web.  7 May 2018. Staff.  Nine things you need to know about Bruno Sammartino.  WWE.  18 Apr 2018.  Web.  8 May 2018.

01 May 2018

When Your Body Basically Says, "Fuck You, Pay Me"- Sleep Deficits Are A Debt You've Gotta Pay

"Business bad? Fuck you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning, huh? Fuck you, pay me."

We all know that we need to sleep to grow- it's what every dipshit screeches in a conversation wherein high volume training is *gasp* mentioned in a positive way, because "YOU GROW WHEN YOU REST, SO TRAINING MORE THAN THREE TIMES A WEEK MEANS STEROIDS AND EVIL AND MASTURBATION AND YOU PROBABLY HAVEN'T SEEN A REAL PENIS OR VAGINA RECENTLY."  Yeah, that's just a fantastic argument- by the logic of most geniuses slumping through their lives and posting endless training updates detailing their hilarious lack of progress, training once a month and eating exactly .8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight should make you into a human mountain dripping with muscularity and vascularity.  Clearly, that's all fucking nonsense, but the value of sleep is rarely given the credence it is actually due, and is never overstated.  I'm as guilty of ignoring its value as anyone, having grown up with such an allergy to sleep that my body had to lay low my spazzy elementary school ass with cluster headaches to force me to rest.

This guy was a fan of he blog and did the OG label for Ferox.  Somehow he missed my original article on the value of sleep, though, which should have indicated that facedown in the dumbbell rack is not an optimal place for napping.

We've all trained for long periods when over-tired.  That's just part of life.  Something those among you who are chronically sleep deprived might not realize, however, is that your body and brain are exactly like Robert DeNiro in Goodfellas, and they're gonna fuck you up if you don't pay your debt.  Yeah, that's right- you can skip sleep here and here, but eventually your body is gonna be like, "fuck you, pay me" at some point, and the longer you wait, the worse it is gonna get.  Inadequate sleep not only fucks up maximal muscle strength (Knowles), but it fucks up your overall health, your ability to concentrate, your overall level of alertness, your metabolism, your attitude, your pain threshold (Onen), and even your sex drive (Hillman, Leproult).  That's right- you skip enough sleep and you're going to turn into a fat pile of broke, libido-less, uncoordinated (Sprenger), retarded shit with nothing to do but sleep because you'll be living in a van down by the river fueled by nothing but government cheese and free soup (Alhola).  Oh, yeah- the shitshow you create when you go without sleep is fucking epic (Orzeł-Gryglewska):

  • impaired perception
  • difficulties in keeping concentration
  • vision disturbances
  • slower reactions
  • poor memorizing
  • schematic thinking (which yields wrong decisions)
  • emotional disturbances (lie deteriorated interpersonal responses and increased aggressiveness)
  • tremors
  • speech performance becomes monotonous and unclear,
  • sensitivity to pain is higher
  • risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease increases. 
Sounds awesome, right?  Here you thought you were a go-getter, but in the end you'll just be sloppy, stupid, jobless, sexless, and probably addicted to subreddits that should only be used to as bait so we can determine who we should exterminate first when someone useful comes to power in the Western world. 

If frequency of erections is any indication of testosterone levels, my personal investigation into the use of supplemental t-girl porn to improve sleep quality and hormonal profiles indicates that t-girl porn might rival mattress quality as a lifting aid.

There's no sense in me rehashing all of the different ways you can improve your sleep- I covered the badass way to improve your hormonal profile with deep sleep last year, how to make your overall sleep more healthy in this one from about ten years ago, and every hack writer on the planet has rehashed the same bullshit in every health-related sleep article ever written, so there's no need for that.   Frankly, I only care about "health" and "fitness" insofar as they pertain to moving huge weights and fucking, so I pay very little attention to the ministrations of hippies who yammer on about vegetables and stretching about as much as I pay attention to evangelical Christians' suggestions regarding better sex.  You'll find, however, that a lot of the old time strongmen mentioned the value of sleep a lot, and for those of you natty bros who still read this blog, that should be a sign for you to perk the fuck up and pay attention.  One such man is JC Hise, pre-steroid era proto-powerlifter who boasted a 700lb deadlift without a warmup, squatted 690lbs out of a homemade rack built out of tree branches on uneven ground, and was a lumberjack, coal miner, and uranium prospector.  basically, a guy so fucking hard I doubt any of us even deserve to read about him.  He had this to say about sleep:

"A very important stage of growing is "rest." Much of this precious custom is in sleeping. If his bed suits him not, even a plentiful supply of walrus meat will do a Briton no good. And exercises will only make him more tired still. Those who sleep curled up can sleep safely in beds that have deep sags in the center, which ruin all who sleep stretched to full length. If you sleep straight out, never, never sleep in a bed that sags deeply in the center, because your hips, shoulders and legs must be in the same plane. This "suspension" has a prying effect on the lower spine that is extremely debilitating and wears out a vigorous person more than any amount of hard  work or dissipation. An extremely large percentage of exercisers fail because their bed is wrong; they don't need new secret exercises, they just need to kick a box under the bed to limit the bed sag to four or five inches, or less -- and presto! -- the next morning, and from then on, they are "hi-lifed," even though they have been "dead" for years.
If one sleeps on the floor to escape the saggy bed, he must use very thick padding or he will sprain his deltoids and elbow tendons from resting too much weight on them. Most people who suffer from lack of energy really have plenty, but they are worn out from sleeping in that saggy bed every night. I never learned how to bed from print, but from the vulgar lessons delivered by old salts in hammock practice. A loose hammock equals a tired all-in feeling; I had always had it, and never slept in a hammock; I kicked the locker box under my cot, and have never since tried to sleep on a saggy bed" (Hise).

Frankly, I never even considered the fact that a saggy mattress could fuck up your lifts that significantly, but if a guy who was comfortable squatting close to 700 outdoors on uneven ground makes that big a deal about mattress quality, we should all pay attention.  A good mattress could do more for your squat and deadlift than whatever retarded cookie-cutter program you've considered buying for a couple of hundred bucks will ever do. 

How much sleep we should get in total and how much we should get at a time is an issue long in debate, especially among people on the internet.  The three types of sleep are monophasic (one sleep period per 24 hour period), biphasic (two sleep periods per 24 hour period), and polyphasic (continuous interrupted sleep).  In spite of he fact that you'd have to be butt-fucking retarded to utilize the polyphase method, here's how it breaks down according to Medical News Today (Smith):

  • Everyman: A long sleep time of around 3 hours with approximately three 20-minute naps throughout the day.
  • Uberman: Only 3 hours of sleep per day in the form of six 30 minute naps throughout the day.
  • Dymaxion: Only 2 hours of sleep per day, in the form of 30 minute naps every 6 hours.
Without putting too fine a point on it, the people advocating polyphasic sleep should be put to death in some slow and painful way, like slow roasting and forced autophagy; the "death-by-tattoo" in Kafka's "The Penal Colony;" or perhaps the staked-out-with-broken-bones-and-fed-to-bullet-ants method of execution in the Green Inferno.  Honestly, nothing is more cruel, insipid, or bereft of sense than polyphasic sleep, so whatever method you choose to dispatch a person who attempts to convince you of its efficacy isn't unpleasant enough to match the casual malevolence of their efforts.  Let's just say that their best argument is that it was possibly used by a megalomaniac and a virtual eunuch (which is literally the best evidence they have supporting their sleep pattern)- beyond that, there is no compelling evidence whatsoever to support its use by non-incel/MGTOW enthusiasts.  Thus, unless you're gonna cut off your genitals, scream extremely confused homophobic and anti-Semitic slurs in the aether, and shoot up public places, stick to mono- or biphasic sleep schedules.

This meme came decades too late to save poor Bill Cosby.

How humans slept in the pre-industrial era is a matter of some debate.  There is evidence, both anecdotal and scientific, for both monophasic and biphasic sleep patterns.  According to historian Roger Ekirch, people in pre-industrial eras slept in two four hour chunks, between which they hung out and fucked and chopped wood and got hammered.  Essentially, they'd just get up in the middle of the night and do whatever the hell they wanted.  It was from his research that the concept of biphasic sleep sprang forth, and at least one clinical study (in which people were exposed to only eight ours of sunlight a day) supports the idea that this sleep pattern is natural (Jackson, Wehr).  If you're considering this type of sleep pattern, what appears to be the norm is four hours of sleep, a one to three hour waking period, and then another four hours of sleep.

Chronic sleep deprivation (which is what polyphasic sleep induces) makes you insane.  Like this guy.

Monophasic sleep, in spite of Redditors' persistent and wildly ineffectual efforts to debunk it, seems to be pretty natural for people.  A recently conducted study of three traditional/pre-industrial African societies, the San, Hadza, and Tsimane, revealed that their sleep habits are monophasic.  These habits are thought to mirror those of ancestral peoples (at least in tropical regions) and don't resemble the nonsense yoga teachers have been spouting for years about falling asleep and waking based on the sunset and sunrise.  Instead, sleep has far more to do with the length of the day and the ambient temperature than anything else.

"Sleep periods, the times from onset to offset, averaged 6.9–8.5 hr, with sleep durations of 5.7–7.1 hr, amounts near the low end of those industrial societies [4–7]. There was a difference of nearly 1 hr between summer and winter sleep. Daily variation in sleep duration was strongly linked to time of onset, rather than offset. None of these groups began sleep near sunset, onset occurring, on average, 3.3 hr after sunset. Awakening was usually before sunrise. The sleep period consistently occurred during the nighttime period of falling environmental temperature, was not interrupted by extended periods of waking, and terminated, with vasoconstriction, near the nadir of daily ambient temperature. The daily cycle of temperature change, largely eliminated from modern sleep environments, may be a potent natural regulator of sleep. Light exposure was maximal in the morning and greatly decreased at noon, indicating that all three groups seek shade at midday and that light activation of the suprachiasmatic nucleus is maximal in the morning" (Yetish).

Pretend like that's in your bed and get the fuck in it and off Instagram already.  No one gives a fuck about your three sets of whatever with some bullshit weight and the eleven thousand excuses you listed for not doing something epic, anyway.

Instead of suggesting that monophasic is the only way, the team doing the study determined that biphasic sleep isn't unnatural- it's just predated by monophasic sleep.  Moving north from the equator created the biphasic sleep pattern during the long nights, especially during the winter.  Once we developed electric lights and central heating, we reverted to our original sleep habits (Yong).

"The Hadza, Tsimane, and San were also strongly affected by falling temperature, much more so than failing light. They start to sleep as the night cools and begin waking up at its coldest point. “This suggests that temperature is a very strong and evolutionarily old signal that gets integrated into sleep-regulating systems in the brain, and that we could exploit better,” says van Someren. And as Siegel adds, “This temperature rhythm has been reduced or completely eliminated for most of us by our shelters and heating systems.”
No matter how you're sleeping, however, these three things are the key to sleeping like a fucking champion (Yong):

  1. sleeping during declining temperature
  2. getting up at the same time of day every day
  3. exposing yourself to a lot of bright light in the morning.
Waking up extra early to train is like "stepping over a $100 bill to pick up a nickel."  That's an awesome adage from Stan Efferding.

If you're not assiduously following either a full monophasic or full biphasic sleep schedule, you are fucking yourself up in all sorts of ways.  Luckily for you, however, getting only eight hours of recovery sleep after short-term sleep deprivation is enough to return to baseline performance levels (Caldwell).  While you won't be back to optimal levels, you'll be able to get the job done when it's time to fight, fuck, or lift, rather showing up at an event a flaccid, fat retard.  Chronic sleep reduction or repetitive shallow sleep is cumulative, however, and will resemble drunkenness (just like going a day without sleeping) in short order (Orzeł-Gryglewska).  Luckily, your body is built to bounce back like an asshole after a hard fisting session, so getting a couple of extra hours of sleep for a couple of days will get you within shouting distance of full recovery even in cases of extreme sleep deprivation (Rosenthal).  Take note of that- for your body to get back to normal, you need not one but two days of recovery sleep.  Less than that and neither your physical nor mental recovery will be complete, and your recovery from heavy training sessions will be severely limited as well (Ikegami, McMurray).

A couple other little tidbits of note:

  • even short periods of sleep can be beneficial- specifically, a short afternoon nap (Vyazovskiy).  Author and trainer Jason Ferruggia stated in Fit to Fight that naps "are a great way to speed up your recovery.  During sleep, your body releases growth hormone and repairs the damage that has been done to your muscles during intense workouts.  A 20- to 60-minute nap once a s day is a great way to make faster progress.  If you ware training two to three times a day, as many combat athletes are (conditioning in the morning, practice in the afternoon, weight training at night), naps are an absolute necessity if you want to maximize your performance" (Ferruggia 188).
  • low testosterone can lead to shitty sleep.  Weirdly, high levels of exogenous testosterone can have similar effects (Wittert).
  • if you have sleep apnea and use a CPAP, the improved sleep will weirdly not resolve your testosterone deficiencies, so don't use the darth Vader machine in hopes it'll boost your test levels (Wittert)
  • if you are sleep deprived, caffeine supplementation will bring your post workout hormone levels to non-sleep deprived states.  Thus, if you're not getting enough sleep, don't skimp on the fat burners and preworkouts, or a post workout cup of coffee (Donald).
If that torrent of information didn't convince you to catch up on your fucking sleep, nothing will.  Caffeine and ephedrine will only carry you so far- at some point you've gotta stop eating cake and eat a steak, so to speak.  I'll be honest and tell you I knock myself the fuck out with Hypnos and binaural beats as I mentioned at the beginning of the article a couple of times a week, and when I don't I my training suffers for it.  Like anything else though, there are tons of ways to skin a cat, but since Bill Cosby's gonna be locked up until he dies, sleepovers at his house are no longer an option.  In any event, get some fucking sleep if you wanna tear up the strength world and look good on Instagram without filters.  

[For more on the importance of sleep, check out Joe Rogan's interview with Matthew Walker, professor of Neuroscience and psychology at Cal Berkeley on the Joe Rogan Experience.  I stumbled across this while doing research last week and thought the timing sucked for me, haha, but from the bit to which I listened, I don't step on his focus in the interview too hard.  If I did, the shit was totally unintentional and the timing was entirely coincidental.  In any event, props to Rogan for a good interview- we definitely need to revamp the medical residency programs around the world so they aren't based off the sleep habits of a dude who makes Tara Reid's drug habit look ridiculously casual.] 

This broad's drug habit looks like she's fucking straightedge compared to that of the founding father of modern surgery.  Cocaine is a hell of a drug.  

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Donald CM, Moore J, McIntyre A, Carmody K, Donne B.  Acute Effects of 24-h Sleep Deprivation on Salivary Cortisol and Testosterone Concentrations and Testosterone to Cortisol Ratio Following Supplementation with Caffeine or Placebo.  Int J Exerc Sci. 2017 Jan 1;10(1):108-120.

Ferruggia, Jason.  Fit to Fight.  New York: Avery, 2008.

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Jackson, Melinda and Siobhan Banks.  Humans used to sleep in two shifts, and maybe we should do it again.  Science Alert.  4 Apr 2018.  Web.  30 Apr 2018.

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Onen SH, Alloui A, Gross A, Eschallier A, Dubray C.  The effects of total sleep deprivation, selective sleep interruption and sleep recovery on pain tolerance thresholds in healthy subjects.  J Sleep Res. 2001 Mar;10(1):35-42.

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Rosenthal L, Merlotti L, Roehrs TA, Roth T.  Enforced 24-hour recovery following sleep deprivation.  Sleep. 1991 Oct;14(5):448-53.

Smith, Lori.  What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep.  Medical News Today.  15 Sep 2017.  Web.  30 Apr 2018.

Sprenger A, Weber FD, Machner B, Talamo S, Scheffelmeier S, Bethke J, Helmchen C, Gais S, Kimmig H, Born J.  Deprivation and Recovery of Sleep in Succession Enhances Reflexive Motor Behavior.  Cereb Cortex. 2015 Nov;25(11):4610-8.

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Yong, Ed.  What you can learn from hunter-gatherers' sleep patterns.  The Atlantic.  15 Oct 2015.  Web.  30 Apr 2018.

Wehr TA.  In short photoperiods, human sleep is biphasic.  J Sleep Res. 1992 Jun;1(2):103-107.

Wittert G.  The relationship between sleep disorders and testosterone in men.  Asian J Androl. 2014 Mar-Apr; 16(2): 262–265.