Monday, May 30, 2011

Guest Post From Brandon McElroy: Heavy Is All I Know

Let me start by giving a little background. I am not an expert, doctor, or a certified personal trainer. I have a normal career that does not involve strength training, weight loss or physical development. I am an average guy who uses fitness to ENRICH and BETTER my life. Pure and simple. I played football and baseball in high school and this is where I was introduced to weight lifting. I was always one of the bigger and faster guys so I never had to push myself in the weight room. When I got to Texas A&M, I joined the Men's Rugby Team where strength is king. If you're gonna be making and breaking tackles you better be brutally strong.

So that leads me to the question...why would you care what I say? Again, I am an average guy who has been in the "workout" scene for 18 years. My story is simple and everyone can do it. It won't take a lot of money or time but it will take GUTS and HARD WORK. If an average guy like me can do it. why not you?

A question I usually get from people is "What gym do you go to?" The answer is always, "I don't. I haven't been to a gym in four years."

As you can imagine, this always gets the follow up questions, "Then what do you do?" That is the REAL question not just for me but for all of us. The exercises you perform should be predicated by your goals. If you are interested in getting ripped, info on the latest supplements or the Next "Big" Idea, do everyone a favor and stop reading. If you want strength and overall fitness, we're on the same page.

So what do I focus on and where do I work out? I workout or "train" as I say, at my home using very simple implements to do this including tractor tires, sledgehammers, kegs, sandbags, bodyweight, hill sprints, sled drags and pushes, kettlebells and pretty much anything HEAVY.

For the last for years, this is ALL I have used. No dumbbells, pec decks, cable machines, leg extension machines or any other chromed out isolation machine. Since training this way, I have seen the greatest strength gain of my life. Having a better looking body is a nice side-effect, but strength and fitness was the overall goal. What about barbells and dumbbells? I'm not against them, I just don't have them at my house. If you want to uses these, then guess what...lift HEAVY.

What about biceps and triceps, stabilizers, and blah, blah, blah? Put yourself through and experiment, not for me, but for yourself. For one month, focus on HEAVY functional, compound lifts. In each workout, complete your lifts and until you can't lift anymore and then do one more. After that, tell me you really need to focus on your biceps, triceps and other BS! You'll get more than enough work from the compound lifts, if they are HEAVY. As Marcos is always talking about, 5/3/1 and 5x5 are training protocols that build all-around strength. With my training, using the tools I do, it's all about lifting heavy. Weight training, despite what the fitness magazines will tell you, is simple. It is an art, not a science.

I want to clarify something. Heavy is a relative term, I'm not telling a 105 lb. woman to flip a 400 lb. tractor tire down the street. Find something you can do for a few reps, and lift it. If you start with a 50 lb. tire, that's fine. Just lift it and keep adding weight every chance you get.

You don't have to be a lifetime member of some fancy club to get strong and fit. Forget about $100 shoes and the latest fitness clothing. You need HEAVY weights, guts to lift it and determination to continue lifting it day after day and year after year. I don't care what you do or what you lift, just find something and lift it, push it, pull it, drag it, carry it, flip it, whatever. Just make it HEAVY.

Trust me, I know what I am talking about.


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