Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thanksgiving with Jay Cutler and Dennis Wolf


Thanksgiving with Jay Cutler and Dennis Wolf

Thanksgiving with Jay Cutler and Dennis Wolf


Thanksgiving with Jay Cutler and Dennis Wolf

Russian Secrets for Power

7209-prime6Q: I’d like to get my bench press, squat and deadlift poundages up. I understand that the Russians have produced a lot of world champions in IPF international powerlifting competitions. What are the unique aspects of their training?

A: The International Powerlifting Federation was founded in 1972, and the first official IFP World Championships was held the following year. Due to strict rules and drug testing, the champions in IPF meets tend to be more highly regarded than those in many of the other organizations.

Russia has been a dominant force in IPF competitions, both the men’s and women’s teams. In fact, last year at the World Championships the Russian men won the team title and the Russian women placed second. It’s my understanding that the training programs of the Russian powerlifters are modeled after Olympic lifting programs, with lots of sets, high frequency and very few assistance exercises.

One accomplished Russian powerlifting coach who promotes such training is Boris Ivanovich Sheiko, who has recommended up to 40 sets of bench presses per week. Because of the high volume, the load is generally low, focusing on weights that are about 70 to 80 percent of the one-repetition maximum.

Another accomplished powerlifting coach who is a proponent of high-frequency training is Dietmar Wolf of Norway. It’s my opinion that he has done the best job of implementing cutting-edge Olympic-lifting methodology in the sport of powerlifting.

Q: How do you increase tendon strength? I heard that high reps of 20 to 30 with light weights is the way to go.

A: I prefer negative training for increasing tendon strength. Eccentric, or negative, training aides collagen production. Tendons have a slow metabolic rate with limited blood supply, making them very slow to heal. Eccentric movements stimulate blood flow, promote tendon healing and activate mechanoreceptors in the cells of the tendon, increasing its strength.

Negatives will also lengthen the muscle-tendon unit, increasing range of motion. For example, eccentric training is commonly used to rehabilitate, strengthen and lengthen the Achilles tendon. If you are new to it, begin by manipulating tempo with a four-second eccentric phase and a one-second concentric phase. You can vary that tempo by using a longer eccentric phase and an explosive concentric motion.

Q: Should I do aerobics to lower my blood pressure and improve my heart health? I hate stair climbers and treadmills, but I’m concerned that weight training is not enough for my ticker.

A: Consider that weight training dramatically improves heart function. It has repeatedly been shown to decrease blood pressure. A recent scientific review found that across eight trials, systolic blood pressure decreased by an average of 6.2 mmHg. That is a clinically significant result because it is more than double the benefit of the typical blood-pressure-lowering medications.

Weight training also enhances arterial function and decreases inflammation. One review showed that older women who weight trained had lower C-reactive protein, an oxidative stress marker that causes an inflammatory status. The combined effect of lower systolic blood pressure, less inflammation and better blood flow can reduce cardiovascular disease risk by more than 14 percent.

Q: Is in-season weight training a good idea? My son plays high school and club baseball, and the coach is concerned that if he lifts weights too hard before important games, he will be too sore to perform well.

A: One popular expression in strength coaching is, “All things being equal, the stronger athlete will always win.” That said, why train your body to be weak? Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happens when sport coaches exert too much influence on their athletes’ strength and conditioning programs.

Many sport coaches are so worried that their athletes will get too sore from training that they tell the strength coaches to work them light several days before a competition—or worse, tell them not to train at all. The result is that by the end of the season, when the most important competitions occur, the athletes will be weakest. Remember, it’s the volume of training, not the intensity, that is most likely to cause overtraining. During an athlete’s season, prepare for major competitions by reducing the volume first—but still go heavy!

Q: What is the best protein source for a postworkout shake?

A: I like whey protein. First, whey is high-quality protein that provides a greater array of amino acids in greater concentrations than other protein sources, so your body has more to work with. It triggers muscle building to a greater degree than either casein or soy.

Second, as convenient as protein powders are, if the goal is fat loss, use only whey protein after training and eat high-protein foods (meat!) for all meals. Energy expenditure after a whole-food meal is up to 50 percent higher than after a processed meal. Whole foods also favorably moderate insulin and blood sugar.

Third, whey supports immune function because it raises levels of the most important antioxidant, glutathione. Surveys show that a stronger immune system is associated with greater muscle gains.

Finally, whey excels in practical tests. Note the results of one such study that compared having trainees supplement with one of these three protein choices: three grams per kilogram of bodyweight a day of whey protein, the same dose of soy protein, or a smaller dose of 1.7 grams per kilogram of bodyweight a day of whey.


• The large-dose whey group gained 2.5 kilograms of muscle.

• The soy group gained 1.7 kilograms of muscle.

• The small-dose whey group gained 0.3 kilogram of muscle.


The one drawback to whey protein is that a lot of people can’t tolerate it, or they become intolerant over time, meaning they need to rotate their amino acid source.

Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit Also, see his ad on the opposite page.   IM


Holiday Diet Tip #3

Today's holiday tip isn't about food -- it's about exercise.

Make time for a little exercise every day. Go for a walk outside if the weather cooperates, or walk inside ...

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Dexter Jackson at Nationals


Dexter Jackson & Bob Chick at Nationals

Dexter Jackson at Nationals


Dexter Jackson & Bob Chick at Nationals

Holiday Diet Tip #2

Today's tip is to drink more water. It helps you feel better after you've indulged into too many adult beverages that can leave you feeling dehydrated the next day. ...

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IIFYM Rubbish?

Is the concept of IIFYM rubbish? Yes and no... Last night I was very tired after a 14 hour day stuck at my desk. I polished off half a tub of ice cream and half a box of weetabix.  Contrary to what our IIFYM evangelists (If It Fits Your Macros, abbreviated to IIFYM, refers to meeting macronutrient Read more . . .

Casey Bunce: One Determined Dude

From the first it was clear that Casey Bunce had a story to tell. The question: “What do I need to know about you before we do this interview?” His answer: “I’m very determined, and I love my family.”

Determination is the word, all right. Though he’s earned two first-place finishes at Seattle’s prestigious NPC Emerald Cup, the 33-year-old, 245-pounds-in-contest-shape gym owner from Corona, California, has taken the long road in his bodybuilding career—and, as his bio would suggest, in life. That he’s triumphed this far shows just how determined the 6’ superheavyweight is.


“I was in recovery for over a year, first with a wheelchair, then a walker and crutches. My leg was severely atrophied.”

Raised in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley—not so far as the crow flies from the Riverside County town of Corona but a million miles in lifetime experience—Bunce spent his high school years in Las Vegas and in Lake Havasu, Arizona. He majored in kinesiology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and eventually moved to Washington state before coming to Corona, where he opened Construction Zone Fitness this year. Along the way he held numerous jobs—account executive at a mortgage bank and regional sales manager for electrical equipment, to name a couple—before making his way back to what he really wanted to do.

Casey’s contest résumé is short but impressive: In 2003 he took third in the heavyweights at the Gold’s Gym Classic and in ’04 was heavyweight champ at the Emerald Cup. Four years later, at the ’08 Las Vegas Classic, he earned another top trophy in the heavies, and after placing well at the California Championships in 2011, he moved up to superheavyweight, scoring another class win at Emerald Cup in 2013.

That four-year gap is the key to Bunce’s story, at least the part that features his true grit in the gym and on the contest platform.

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RS: Did you have a sports background?

CB: I played baseball and football, starting from the age of eight. I have always loved being competitive.

RS: When did you start working out? 

CB: In high school, when I starting playing football, but the football program didn’t make you lift weights, and I started to lift at home with my dad. He was very big into it and had all the necessary equipment in the garage. My dad was a very strong and large man, so I always wanted to be like him!

RS: When did you start competing? 

CB: After playing some college football, I joined a gym in Kirkland, Washington, and started working out more, focusing on more detailed workouts vs. the strength and power movements I was used to doing in the football program. I became workout partners with  a former Marine named Gary Hardin who competed in bodybuilding. After a few weeks he told me that I would make a good bodybuilder. I said, “Okay, what the heck? Let’s give it a try.” Gary guided me slightly, and with my science and nutrition knowledge from school I did a diet and preparation plan and was on my way to my first bodybuilding show [the ’03 Gold’s Classic].

RS: You were out of commission for several years. What happened?

CB: In 2005 I was prepping for the USAs. I’d just come off my win at the Emerald Cup and was feeling good about doing very well. I was at a birthday party and had an unfortunate incident with some bad people who showed up. They beat me up severely, kicking in my knee—and all over jealousy. It just goes to show that you have to pick the people you are going to have in your life very wisely. I had to undergo a major surgery and have my knee rebuilt with donor ligaments.

RS: How long before you could train legs again?

CB: I was in recovery for over a year, first with a wheelchair, then a walker and crutches, and, finally, toward the middle of the second year, I was able to work out that leg with light weights and get back into the gym on a normal schedule. My leg was so severely atrophied that it took another year and a half to get it close to the same size as the other leg; to this day it is still smaller, and if I do not train it regularly, it starts to atrophy. In April 2012 I had to have another surgery to help repair some of the left-over damaged cartilage.

RS: How did it feel to get back onstage?

CB: It was amazing! I am not going to lie—it was bittersweet. I was so happy to be doing what I loved again and that I came right back with a win, but at the same time I felt that if it had not been for that injury, I would be farther along with my bodybuilding career—who knows maybe even a pro—rather than feeling like I was starting over. That has passed now, and I just feel blessed that I can have the chance to get back onstage and be doing what I am passionate about.

RS: What are your competition goals now? Pro card?

CB: I would love to try for a pro card. Right now I am just taking it slowly, one show at a time. I may do the ’14 USA, but I am thinking of competing in December at the NPC Excalibur in Culver City, California, so I can get more comfortable being onstage as a superheavyweight. I know I need to work on my hamstrings and back width.

RS: How would you describe your training style?

CB: I really wouldn’t call the way I train a style. I just try to constantly mix it up. I believe that the muscle responds well to a new stimulus, so I try to add different movements and weight and rep ranges every week and keep it different than the previous week. That way I feel I can maximize my gains, keep my workouts short and still yield good results.

[For more on his training, see the sidebar on page 88.]

RS: How about your diet? How do you approach eating for mass gaining? For contest prep?

CB: My diet doesn’t change too much during my bulking periods because I try to stay fairly lean during the off-season. I just eat a few more higher-glycemic carbohydrates. Then I switch those to low-glycemic carbs when I cut down for the show. My body responds to certain foods very well, so I don’t change things much. That way I don’t get any surprises. My approach is very basic—I try to eat a well-balanced diet and add a few supplements to aid in nutrition. I do try to have one or two cheat meals a week to keep myself and my family sane. [Laughs]

RS: You mentioned how important your family is.

CB: Yes, I love my family! I am married to a wonderful woman named Yvonne; she is the reason I have become a better man. We have five kids. I have a beautiful stepdaughter, Amanda, who is 24-years old. I have a son, Dru, who is 16; I have a stepson, Nick, who is 15; and then my two youngest—twin boys, Jonathan and Jacob—are 14.

RS: Talk about your gym, Construction Zone Fitness.

CB: I have always been a personal trainer. Even when I had different jobs in different industries, I always seemed to be training people for extra money, and I loved it. When I moved back to California, I started building up my clientele, and then when the opportunity came, I jumped on it and bought the gym I was training people at. I wanted to make the gym bigger and busier, so I called some friends in Issaquah, Washington, Pete and Apple Grubbs, who own Construction Zone Fitness. We put our heads together and came up with an agreement. Now we have a Southern California location in Corona.

We are a fitness-oriented, family friendly facility. We do mostly weight loss and group fitness, and of course we do contest prep, nutrition coaching and education. We also work with [pro fitness star] Tanji Johnson at Save Fitness. Tanji and her coaches help a lot of our competitors with their posing, and they also do seminars.

RS: How do you juggle the activities and pressures of being a business owner, family man and competitive bodybuilder?

CB: It is very tough—that is for sure! I guess I just try to stay organized, focused and, most important, patient. Sometimes things get hectic, and that is just how life is. So if I can just try to be patient, things tend to work themselves out. If I let the stress get to me, it will effect all aspects—my family, my business, even my gains in the gym—so I try to pick my battles and not let too much of the little stuff get to me.

Editor’s note: To contact Casey Bunce, write to  IM

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LL 45: How to Live A Spiritual Life

The Wellness Guys

Do you identify with the term ‘spiritual’? What does ‘being spiritual’ mean to you, and what form does/should it take in everyday life? Jane and Rebecca reveal their stories of discovering their ‘empath’ and psychic abilities, the ways in which they use their spirituality in their business and personal lives, and how important emotional self-work is for evolving your spiritual journey. Part 1 Part 2

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