Posted by Tony Montgomery under General  Weight Lifting  Training  on May 10 2016

DOWN!!! The only sound you hear after you've finished your last deadlift on the platform. You either just finished with a great day or you are scratching your head trying to figure out what went wrong. One way or the other this is the time that we as lifters are our most introspective. We sit and ponder how to get better and ways to improve on our performance never really taking a second to just relax and appreciate the effort you just put in for that one day on the platform. As a true competitior its hard not to just go straight into thoughts of improvement, we just don't have time to waste on enjoying the momemt. So with great zeal and desire we hit the gym with no time to rest. The next step you take will determine how your next meet will go because its not so much what you do during meet prep that will determine the outcome but what you do in the offseason that will determine how your meet prep goes and thus how your day on the platform will go. So take your time to put in the detail of your off season plan because far to often I see lifters say things like I am just having fun for now and will start getting serious in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile the great ones are already in the gym with a specific agenda and a plan on what to do next. They know how they want to train, what their diet looks like and what they want to do at their next meet. Keep these things in mind as you set up your off season plan.

The set up is very simple, at the end of your meet I am sure you have a general idea of when you want to compete next. The stronger you are the more rest and work you need to put in before your next meet, the newer and weaker you are can compete a little more often to get a good feel for meets and how to set yourself up to perform at a high level with practice. Once you have a general date picked out than you want to map out what kind of blocks or phases you want to run and for how long you want to run it for. Leading into a meet as the weights get heavier you should get a feel for what you need to work on and it will become more evident on meet day. Also leading up to a meet you will be at a higher intensity and lower volume to prepare for the meet.  These things are very important before moving onto the actual planning and exercise selection moving forward.
1. When is your next meet?
2. What are your weaknesses?
3. How do you want to set up your training blocks/phases?

Look if your answer to number 2 is everything than sure work everything because it makes no difference because you are to lazy to take the time to pinpoint your weaknesses and build them up so you will inevitably fail and not improve. Why you ask? Its simple because you just can't fix everything in one training cycle and everything can't be weak or else you would crumble under the bar when you go to lift. 

So now that you have made a decision on those 3 things it's time to set up your plan moving forward. After a meet prep your work capacity has pretty much gone to crap and you need to develop some weak areas. Two ways to improve on those two things is volume, supersets, and hiit cardio. You need to really take these next 4-6 weeks to get back in shape and healthy again. So going into a volume block designed to build up your work capacity is a great idea. A few ideas to consider during this phase is to try to make the heavier compound movments harder by doing pre exhaust sets. An example of this would be doing 3 sets of 15 leg curls and leg extensions superset and than go into some squat movements. I prefer to go away from the competition lifts slighlty and also different stances and or grips. So for my squat days I like to do high bar close stance, belt squats, front squats, and leg presses. This takes the bar off my back and allows me to develop my weaker muscles which for me are my quads. i do the same thing with bench and pulls. I bench with a wide grip so I do a lot of close grip work, floor presses, DB's and Inclines. Pulls I go to conventional pulls and a lot of SLDL and RDL's. These moves I haven't touched in probably 8-10 weeks so the new variations themselves will creat a training stimulus and the fact that they are weaker for me I don't have to go as heavy to get the same type of growth which will allow my joints time to recover. I will do this phase with a lot of BB style movements and rep/set schemes. 

After these 4-6 weeks I will do another 4-6 weeks with the same emphasis but switch up the exercises slightly, for me just by switching up the movemtns I will get huge benefits but I give each movement careful consideration on how it will help bring up my main lifts and I also use these movments the whole time because I need to give them time to work and grow. I am not a fan of switching exercises every week or two because to me if you picked this exercise because its a weakness of yours than hammer it away by hitting it for weeks on end. 

After 8-12 weeks of volume work I will go into a 4-6 week strength phase were the exercises get a little more specific and I lower the volume slightly and raise the intensity. the reason behind this is to make sure all your volume work is paying off. It is hard to see if you brough up a weak area with volume, you have to handle some heavier weights to see if things have change. Same thing goes with any type of imbalance as well you put in the work to fix it but you have to eventually test it to make sure it is getting better. During this strength phase I will drop the hiit cardio and just focus on restorative cardio like a bike or walking that way my fitness doesn't completely plummet.

These are just a few considerations to planning out a long and successful off season to keep building up a bigger and bigger foundation so when its time to peak for meet you have a higher ceiling to reach.

Posted by Tony Montgomery under General  Diet  Weight Loss  Nutrition  on May 03 2016

I am sure you've seen this time and time again and you've probably tried it yourself a time or 2 with the same results. You want to drop down a weight class and you want to do it all within a 12 week prep cycle. What usually happens is you drastically drop calories, throw in a bunch of unnecessary cardio just to make it happen by any means. Training starts off well and you think man this is easy I am dropping weight and getting stronger, than as the weeks go on you get smaller and smaller and more rundown. Your lifts start dropping but you are reassured everything will be ok so you keep fighting forward because at this point in time you think I don't want to gain my weight back and still be weak so I'll keep dropping to justify my weaker lifts. The meet comes you make weight, congratulations are instore and you go pig out on some breakfast and eat like a gluttonous pig because you know if you get a little bloated and put weight back on you'll be all good. Meet day is here and time and time again the lifter fails miserably and decides you know what cutting weight just is not for me, I just need to be big. So they proceed to eat like they just did a 20 week diet and as if food will no longer be around if they don't eat it all. Their weight balloons back up and they pack on way more fat than ever, but they are strong, YES!!! Exatcly what they wanted so they do their next couple meets as a bigger, stronger, and fatter lifter. Hit big numbers but ultimately decides they feel like shit and they don't like they way they look. So guess what happens, they do the same exact thing, extreme diet, excessive cardio and fail. If this sounds like you, then I have the solution for you. It's not going to be easy and it will take time but it will get you to where you ultimately want to be.

The problem is most lifters have this next meet mentality where they only see things in 12 week meet prep cycles. They don't plan for the year or years to come they want to be the most competitive at this meet and this meet is all thats are their mind. Which brings me to another point if cutting a dramatic amount of weight is going to make you more competitive than you are not strong enough so just focus on that, it is powerlifting, not subpar small totals at a lighter weight class so I can win a 3rd place medal in the 18 different sub categories I signed up for or is it??? 

Lets think in terms of the Olympics where athletes put everything they have into 4 years of training to peak at this one event. 4 years of training, that means they have a plan to take them to that point. Sure they compete throughout the years but they aren't concerned with the outcomes as much as they use these competitions as markers or indicators of how well their training is going and make adjustments. So in terms of weight class sports, lets say a lifter needs to add some size they will spend a whole year or two doing so and trust me when I say they don't take the kitchen sink, wheel me out in a wheel barrell approach. It is a slow and methodical approach to add X amount of kg's to their frame per month. This same approach is taking when dieting them back down to their original weight class. So yeah while they are gaining weight they might be outmatched in their heavier weight class but thats not their goal. The goal is to be ready for the Olympics not the next local meet. Do you see where I am going with this, everything they do is detailed out so that they are ready when they need to be ready.

Another example of this is the Russian powerlifters, when Krill broke the All Time bench record people forget that a year before he smashed a 716lbs Bench that looked like he could have broke the record that day, but that was not the plan. Same thing with Andrey and his squats, people seem to think he only wants to break it a little at a time and why not just shoot for that 1st 500kg squat but everything he does is well timed and when its time for him to squat that he will. Its called having a game plan that goes far beyond the upcoming meet. Same thing goes for dieting, you have to develop a game plan that will set you up exactly where you want to be in the next 2-5 years and i know that may seem like a lot of time to dedicate to this but nevermind if I have to explain to you that this is a marathon and not a sprint you probably quit reading this a long time ago because it was a secret diet/recipe to get you ripped and strong all at the same time and in only 12 weeks.

So now that you know what this is going to take and have mentally prepared yourself for the task at hand, lets begin down that journey. The goal of leaning out or dropping a weight class needs to be made well ahead of time to allow for a slow and methodical approach leading into your next meet. Starting a cut phase or diet is best done right after a meet, i know some people tend to think you need to pound calories to help with recovery but lets be honest those people are usually fat and not really the greatest lifters. Starting to diet right after a meet is ideal for two reasons, one is that after a meet you will start doing a lot more volume and GPP so the best way to keep muscle on while dieting is to do more volume and adding in some type of cardio. Think along the lines of how bodybuilders train leading into a show, because the key to a successful cut is to be able to drop fat and maintain as much muscle as possible. Number two reason is that it will give you plenty of time to slowly work yourself down in weight, I highly recommend people give themselves at least 20-24 weeks of dedicated work to get down to the next weight class and stay. That doesn't mean you can't compete just be mentally prepared to not be as strong during this time. Which is fine because we are building for the future not the next meet. 

Now I know alot of you didn't start powerlifting to improve your physique, in fact most people gravitate towards it because its been known to be a sport where you can eat whatever and just lift. This is no longer the case if you want to be good, do you think its a coincidnce that the top guys and ladies are usually pretty lean and look like bodybuilders. So if you want to be the best than you must change your approach and mentality about nutrition, unless you are a super heavyweight than god bless you eat whatever. Why 20-24 weeks that seems like a really long time to be dieting right and it is but the approach to take is to diet hard for 8 weeks and than spend the next 8 weeks slowly adding in calories, than diet hard again for 4 weeks and spend the last 4 weeks slowly adding calories. The key here is to try to keep increasing your starting calories of the cut so you can keep dieting on more and more calories. Disclaimer here that is extremely important before we get into the cut and reverse plan is that if after these 20-24 weeks are up and lets say you don't get to your weight class, don't panic and go on and extreme diet just for the sake of the weight class, be patient and extend the process until you get there.

Lets say that you start your dieting phase at 2500 calories and by the end of the 8 week cut you are down to 1500 calories in hopes to lose about a .5-1lbs per week rate, this seems to be the ideal rate for most, from that 1500 calories each week you will increase them by 150-175 calories so that by the time this 8 week phase is up you will satrt your next diet phase lighter but up to 2700-2900 calories. You just keep going back and forth with this process until you have reached your desired weight class and preferably slightly below. Why slightly below you may ask and thats because if you are below you will have more wiggle room for more calories going into the next phase which is the maintence phase. This is the phase where you start to get your old strength back. This is the pahse where you will start to increase calories over a 20-24 week time frame but not letting your weight get over 5% of your weight class. So there may be a few times in there where you may not add any calories for a couple weeks until your body adapts, you train harder, or you add in some cardio. The key to this whole process is patience, consistency and a long term goal oriented focus. This approach will help you from having the huge ups and downs of cutting/feeling sorry for yourself and gaining all kinds of unwanted weight for the sake of being stronger again. 

Posted by Tony Montgomery under General  Training  on Mar 17 2016


Q: How and why did you get into powerlifting? What are your bench numbers?

I got started in powerlifting in 1996. My first passion was to always play basketball. This particular year I was not playing basketball. I chose to take some weight lifting classes. During these classes I realized I had a decent bench. I also met a guy named Jauquin Diaz Delon. He was into powerlifting and often came into our class to volunteer his time and help everyone lift. I worked closely with him for roughly 6 months. He helped tweak my bench form and show me how to start programming for a competition. He helped me get signed up and helped me through my first powerlifting competition. I had a blast lifting against other people. Knowing the hard work I was putting in was paying off. Right then I was hooked in lifting, I was more hooked on seeing the progress I would make training. 

My best bench in competition is 585lbs raw while weighing 220lbs with a same day weigh in. 

Q: Where do you train at and what does your training week look like? 

I currently train out of Nautilus Plus in Oregon City. I also work closely with Inner Beast Crossfit. However, I do go and train at gyms from all over. I spend time at EGO gym in Seattle, Gstandard in Tacoma and the Lab in Portland. 

Right now my current training per week looks like this. 

Saturday – Heavy bench / Light bench alternating each week 

                Followed by dead pin presses, front raises, and a tricep circuit. 

MondayTuesday – OFF
Wednesday- Bench acc work 

                Incline spoto presses, Shoulders, Flies, Volume rear delts and triceps

Thursday- Back work 

                Straight arm pull downs, Lat pulls, Seated wide grip rows, Kroc rows and Pull ups

Q: How do approach lifting and programming? Does it change much from offseason to meet prep, if so how?

My approach to lifting has always been well thought out. I enjoy thinking about what will get me to my goals the quickest way. I obviously take lifting very serious but I like a relaxed joking environment during training times. There is a time and a place to put the joking aside and lift. But once the lift is over it is about having fun. My programming does not change too much from off-season to meet prep. Although, when I am 16 weeks away or more from my next competition I am less worried about everything being low rep work. I will try and incorporate a lot of higher volume type training in. I also stay away from cardio due to the fact I am doing a fair amount of volume. Now when I get closer to a competition I reduce the reps drastically. I also begin doing cardio.  Since I am no longer doing high volume training I will kick up about 30 minutes of cardio each day. In addition, I am very consistent with other things in life such as dieting/eating, sleep and enough heavy training sessions. 

Q: Best advice you can give to a lifter?

My best advice to any lifter no matter what the circumstances are is too pick a goal and slowly chip away at it. Nothing in powerlifting comes fast. Understand that the top lifters in the world have been doing what they do for many many years. Find supportive and loyal training partners and most of all have fun. If you do not enjoy what you are doing it becomes work. Lifting is supposed to be fun. Yes, at times it will be work. But make it fun so you enjoy the process. 

 

Q: What drives you to come to the gym day in and day out?

What drives me each day to train is the fact I have pride in what I do. If I am going to do something I am going to do it all the way. Also I have two kids that look at what I do and will someday likely carry on the traits I show to them. I want them to see me as someone that doesn’t use excuses, someone that never quits and finally someone that works his ass off to accomplish the task at hand. My entire life I have been told in one way or another “You cant do something” Well guess what I have yet come across something I cant do.

Q: Give your best advice on how to improve these:

 

Triceps/Lockout: 

I really use a lot of dead pin presses. This really focuses on speed off of the chest which in return has a faster lockout. In addition to dead pin presses I utilize Tricep hammer presses, Close grip bench pressing and Skull crushers to work my triceps. 

 

Speed off your Chest: 

To incorporate speed off of the chest the dead pin presses is the trick. I also include lifts like the spoto press (stopping the bar at a dead stop a few inches from your chest) and Eccentric pressing. 

 

Non Bench Accessory: 

I spend an insane amount of time focusing on my back and rear delts. I have found that seated wide grip rows along with kroc rows have helped my back grow tremendously. 

 

Q: What is the biggest mistake you see lifters make these days?

The biggest mistake I see lifters make these days would be two things. First I see a lot of people worry about sponsorships. Don’t worry about that stuff let that all fall in to place. My advice every time someone asks me what to do to get sponsored. I tell them to wait until they are contacted about being sponsored. Until then it is out of your hands. The second thing I see is people comparing them selves to other lifters. You are you focus only on your lifts. Its ok to know what other people are lifting but you can control your powerlifting total by the amount of work you put into the gym. 

 

Q: Why do you put out videos and other information?

More than anything I enjoy helping people. Truly one of the biggest accomplishments I have had in lifting is getting messages or meeting people and they say I saw this video or read an article and you helped me. That in its self makes me feel good. I enjoy helping people and find great pleasure in watching them PR. Also I want people to know that if you have a disability or are embarrassed about certain things it is ok to go out and do what you enjoy. We only live once and make it a good one. 

 

Q: Who is your favorite powerlifter and why?

My favorite Powerlifter has to be Mike Mcdonald. I was fortunate enough to break his All Time world record bench. He held the record for nearly 30 years. I have never met Mike but he made me push myself harder than I thought I could ever push myself. I appreciate him setting the bar so high. 

Q: What do you have coming up and where can people find you/get ahold of you?

I plan on competing at the end of 2016 in the 220lbs weight class. My goal is to take back my all time world record. 

People can find me at larsenpress.com on IG and Twitter at larsenpress Facebook and youtube – Adrian Larsen

Posted by Tony Montgomery under General  on Jan 20 2016

We all have goals, dreams, and ambitions some achieve them some fall short. The ability to take pride in what you do is what will inevitably set you apart from the rest and will allow you to reach those goals. To many times people quit because they don’t take pride in what they do. They hit a bump in the road and they quit because they were more concerned with the outcome of what could have been instead of taking the time to enjoy the process of getting there.

 

Quitting is the easiest thing in the world to do, it takes no real effort to quit. Quitting becomes a habit though and if you start quitting on things now it will affect you and the people around you for the rest of your life. The thing you have to understand is, taking pride in what you do will set you up for success in anything you do. My father told me one time when I was considering quitting football when I was about 14 years old. I wanted to hang out with my friends and I sure as hell didn’t want to spend 2-3 hours everyday practicing. He told me “you started this so you will finish it, we don’t quit.” At the end of the year he said I didn’t have to pursue it if I didn’t want to but that I had to finish out the season.

 

My dad had and always will have a way with words that without fail hits home for me. This is the same guy that worked all day and all night, to provide for us with everything we needed. So he didn’t have to say much he lead by example in everything he did, but when he did talk I listened. My whole life I watched that man do all kinds of thing and when he did something he worked his ass off to get it done and be the best he could at it. Whether it be his job, yard work, golf, etc.. he gave it everything he had. 



                                             (My Dad)
 

You see for him it wasn’t about anything else other than he took pride in everything he did and he instilled that in me. The problem I see with people today is they get involved with something and if it doesn’t go the way they want it to or if it is harder than they thought it would be they quit. Its a society of entitlement meaning that people think if they just show up they deserve what it is they are reaching for. Instead of working hard to earn it. I set out on this powerlifting journey to be the best in my weight class and although this year didn’t go as planned for me I know that if I keep putting in the work and being consistent with my actions that I will achieve what I want. It may take me 10 years to get there, but for me its not about the outcome its about the process and the journey that it will take to get there. If you get to caught up in the outcome than you start to miss out on the great things that go on in your day to day journey. Would you still do what you do if the accolades were not there? Take pride in what you do and wake up every day with a sense of urgency to be the best version of you you can be day in and day out.

 

Posted by Tony Montgomery under General  Diet  Weight Loss  Nutrition  on Nov 04 2015

I am starting this series of back to the basics to simplify all the information thats out there on nutrition. There is so much information out there and new studies are coming out all the time. All this is great but sometimes it can get a little overwhelming and people spend way to much time reading instead of just starting. Knowledge is great so I definitely recommend reading what you can and learning from the people who have been there and done that but the best advice I can give you is just get started and make adjustments as you go. 

 

First things first lets cover the most important part of every diet, calorie consumption. Simply put if you want to lose weight than you need to eat less calories than you are burning. So basically you need to be in a calorie deficit, there are two ways to do this. You can either exercise more to burn off calories or eat less. If you combine the two, exercise and a proper diet, the results will be that much better. So first you need to figure out how many calories you need to consume to maintain weight. This is called your resting metabolic rate and to calculate that you need to multiply your bodyweight by 12. Now this is just a very general rule of thumb if you have a physically active job than you multiply it by 15. Everyone is different but this will give you a decent base plan to follow. If you want more info on how to set up your diet check out this article I wrote a while back. https://tmnutrition.net/2014/09/diet-guidelines-to-get-you-started

 


Most if not all nutritionist will echo these sentiments, the thing that causes confusion is a calorie just a calorie. Meaning as long as you are in a deficit you will lose weight so if your diet consist of milk and pop tarts you will still lose weight just the same if it was rice and chicken. Science will say yes that is an accurate statement and I will have to tend to agree with this you will lose weight but will it improve performance or body composition I say no. A calorie is just a calorie is great guide for the general population of people who are looking for an easier route to lose some weight, but for athletes our serious fitness enthusiast a calorie is not just a calorie and the ones you consume do make a huge difference.

 

Calories are derived from foods of our three macros that give our bodies fuel for our everyday lives. This includes brain function, awareness, body performance, and just all of our everyday occurrences. So with that being said I will have to say common sense will tell you the better you eat the better everything else will perform. We’ve all heard the car analogy and it rings true, our bodies as athletes are high performance machines like a Ferrari and if you want your Ferrari to perform with all cylinders? Yes of course you do so you don’t put cheap oil and cheap gas in it you put the expensive stuff in it. Our bodies are the same way, the more nutrient dense food you feed it the better it performs. Foods that are more than just processed sugars, foods with vitamins and minerals in them, foods that have more complex carbs and better nutrient profiles. So yes a calorie is a calories but if you feed it with the best food it will perform day to day at a high level. If you’re performing at a high level you will burn more calories throughout the workout, you will increase muscle size and endurance, and increase strength. Good calories will also help with recovery so you can workout harder and more often throughout the week. You want to emphasis good quality food to get good quality muscle size and weight loss. 

 

Just a basic overview into calories for weight loss and weight gain. Key take aways are eat whole quality foods over processed junk, calories are calories but to take your body to the next level you need to pay attention to the foods you eat, be consistent week to week and make small adjustments in calories when you hit a plateau. Over the next 3 weeks I will be going over the 3 macros protein, fats, and carbs and explain the value of each one.


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