Episode 7. Case Study: Staying Ripped While Travelling in a High-Pressure Job

Episode 7. Case Study: Staying Ripped While Travelling in a High-Pressure Job

Show NotesTrevor Timmins Interview

In Part 2 of our interview with Trevor Timmins, we focused much more about the nitty gritty of his hectic, high-pressure schedule, and how he is able to stay lean year round, and stick to his diet and training.

Trevor is actually currently doing Scott’s Hardgainer Solution, partly because he’s in his mid-40s and partly just because the program is very flexible.

There are a few things worth noting about Trevor’s schedule:

  • He calls ahead and generally has some idea of what gyms he’ll try. In our modern day, he’s almost always guaranteed to find some place that’s “pretty good.” Sometimes not, granted, but he can usually find something, and if not, he can go for a walk, or use whatever the hotel’s got
  • Trevor makes a point to get his work out in, because it keeps him balanced and focused for everything else he has to do. It’s less that he has to fit it in “on top of everything else,” and more that getting it in makes everything else that much easier. He feels MORE energy after working out.
  • Trevor would rather miss a meal than a workout.
  • He doesn’t count calories, though he knows what makes a generally healthy meal, and he’s very in touch with his body and his body’s biofeedback. He knows what he needs to stay energized. He knows when he’s not getting enough carbs, for example, because he feels “flat.”
  • At fast-food places, you can usually find *something,* even if it’s just eggs, or a grilled chicken burger without the bun and a salad. Lots of places have something. The trick is to focus on finding the protein.
  • For fancier restaurants and business dinners, Trevor stresses that they’ll pretty much make what you ask them to make. Steak, chicken, some other protein, grilled, plus a salad or baked potato or some other side, and it’s not too hard, assuming you’re not stressing over counting each last calorie.

Links / Resources mentioned

The researcher who writes about flow and being in a flow state is Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

When Mike mentioned that sometimes you have to go “out of flow” during training, he was referring to research on deliberate practice. See Daniel Coyle’s book, The Talent Code.

Trevor’s Profile Page on the Montreal Canadiens’ website.

Trevor’s client page on Scott’s site.

Up In the Air trailer, where George Clooney’s character makes airport travelling into a science.

The program Trevor is doing is Scott’s The Hardgainer Solution.

	
	
	

Episode 6. From Bodybuilder to NHL VP of Player Personnel and Director of Amateur Scouting

Episode 6. From Bodybuilder to NHL VP of Player Personnel and Director of Amateur Scouting

Show NotesTrevor Timmins Interview

Scott and Mike interviewed Trevor Timmins.

Trevor is Vice President of Player Personnel and Director of Amateur Scouting for the National Hockey League’s Montreal Canadiens. 

What this means is Trevor is the guy running the NHL entry draft for the team, so he spends each year working with an entire team, scouting around both North America and Europe preparing for that draft. Trevor in particular was responsible for drafting NHL superstars like Carey Price, PK Subban, and others.

What most people don’t know about Trevor is that he is a former bodybuilder, and he actually hired Scott as his coach for his first few bodybuilding shows! Trevor now stays lean and ripped year round, despite an insane schedule and a high-pressure job (we covered this more in episode 7, or part 2).

In part 1, we talked a lot about how Trevor progressed through his career, starting at the very bottom with the new Ottawa Senators hockey team in the early 90s, and rising from there. Scott stressed that he knew — just knew — early on that Trevor was going to go far. Trevor has risen through the ranks, and kept his job across 6 (!) different general managers in Ottawa, and that’s especially impressive given how high-pressure the job is. If you’re not producing, you’re gone!

Since Trevor himself has to think about the mindset of elite level athletes, we turned to talking about what Trevor looks for as a veteran scout in young players who are going to be thrust into the spotlight at age 19 or 20 playing elite high-level hockey.

There was a lot about mindset in this episode, and what makes a champion, and what scouts are looking for beyond just skill level.

This episode is a must for everyone interested in high-level success, whether you’re an NHL fan, a bodybuilder, or just looking to improve your physique or your career.

Links / Resources mentioned

The video link Scott mentioned towards the end.

Vern Gambetta’s book, Athletic Development.

Trevor’s Profile Page on the Montreal Canadiens’ website.

Trevor’s client page on Scott’s site.

Episode 5. The Metabolic Compensation System and Sustainable Weight Loss

Episode 5. The Metabolic Compensation System and Sustainable Weight Loss

Show Notes

This episode was all about metabolic compensation and weight loss in the real world. It came about as Scott was inundated with emails a couple weeks back over an article in the New York Times about the metabolisms of former The Biggest Loser contestants. Basically, years later, it turned out that these contestants were burning way less calories than one would expect for someone their size–and again, this was years down the road.

Does this mean weight loss is hopeless? NO. But it does mean that forcing your body to extremes, and not being realistic, are not going to result in sustainable weight loss. They just won’t.

The main theme of the episode, then, was about strategies for dealing with this, and preventing the kinds of severe metabolic compensation we saw in the article, and that Scott has seen in bodybuilding and figure contestants for years.

Metabolic Compensation (Notes)

  • The kinds of things Scott saw in the competition world, where insane dieting is combined with taking bodies to their extremes.
  • Scott’s been using the term metabolic damage for years. People are now acknowledging that “metabolic compensation” happens, even though the term metabolic damage is still considered “not real.”
  • Speaking of which, many ignorant coaches play the “blame game.” As in, “Well I didn’t get metabolic damage, therefore my clients must be lying.”
  • The “genetics no one talks about.” Two people can seem to have very similar genetics in terms of how they look, and what they need to do to get lean. While one can “get away” with insane dieting, the other suffers more from the effects of metabolic compensation.
  • The mind games that losing weight and gaining it back play. Metabolic compensation is really hard to deal with from a psychological perspective. (One reason why prevention is the best cure.)
  • Mike’s ambivalent feelings towards the phrase “obesity is a disease.” It absolutely should be acknowledged, and we should fight ANY kind of fat shaming, tooth and nail. (He’s been through that!) BUT the phrase itself creates a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, and makes you feel like there’s “nothing you can do.” That’s not okay. There are things you can do. Anything that might make people feel helpless isn’t useful.

PREVENTION IS THE BEST CURE:

  • Use reasonable dieting. Use relative caloric deficits (~500-800 calories below your maintenance) instead of absolute ones (more than 800 calories per day below what your body needs to maintain). Note that Scott doesn’t like calorie counting specifically, but it is absolutely a good starting place.

  • Coax your body, don’t force it.

  • How do you coax your body? Don’t have specific dates. Your body will change at the rate it will change. Be in this for the long-term! As soon as you try to “force it” to “speed up” or anything, you’re no longer coaxing things as you should be.

  • Don’t demonize entire food groups. You need carbs. You need fats. You need protein.
  • That said, acknowledge that.. yes, some foods provide more satiety than others. Simple whole foods provide more satiation than simple sugars, especially simple sugars by themselves (snack foods).
  • Avoid losing lean mass. One of the reasons for weight rebounds is loss of both fat and lean tissue. The more lean tissue (muscle) you keep, the better off you’ll be down the road.
  • Accept that there’s a limit to what your body can be coaxed to do. What you see in the magazines is not realisticeven for the people in the magazines with great genetics.

 

Links / Resources mentioned

Episode 4. The 5 X 5 Reps Scheme and Using Strength Training Workout Plans to Build Muscle

Episode 4. The 5 X 5 Reps Scheme and Using Strength Training Workout Plans to Build Muscle

Show Notes

This episode was all about the famous 5X5 rep scheme, and using that as a way into talking about the role of strength and strength training when your goal is gaining or building muscle.

Here’s what we talked about:

  • Scott pretty much always uses “weights constant” with his 5 X 5 rep schemes, meaning you pick a weight that you can get 5 sets of 5 reps without failure, and without having to go down in weight to hit your reps on the latter sets.
  • The use of crossover effects. That is, why should a bodybuilder ever focus on limit strength?
  • The use of the big lifts in the gym, things like compound movements, which aren’t “just” the squat, deadlift, and bench press. There are also rows, lunges, and so on.
  • Kevin never goes heavier than his opener in the gym, which is usually about 87.5%-90% of his projected max… that’ll be the heaviest single he’ll ever do, maybe twice before a competition. None of his best lifts are done in the gym; they’re done at the actual powerlifting competition.
  • Kevin talked a bit about the way sometimes he trains the movement for the sake of keeping his skills sharp, not just to maintain or build “strength.” It’s like a tennis player needing to practice their swing so that the muscles stay trained.
  • Pay attention to “force decrements.” As you get to the final reps in a set, you’ll notice you’re unable to produce as much force. Sometimes this means you pause in between reps, and you make sure your form is perfect, and that you’re mastering the movement.
  • How and why to use 5 X 5. There are more uses to a 5 X 5 rep scheme within a bodybuilding program than just the standard 5 X 5 program.

Here are some examples of using the 5 X 5 reps scheme within a program:

  • The Hardgainer Solution contains sets of 5 in every workout, but those are whole body, bodypart workouts. Also, there are instructions to raise the rep schemes on the lower end (like the 5 X 5) if you start working out 4, 5, or 6 days a week. (HGS gives you that option in terms of how many days per week you train.)
  • A new 6-day program Scott’s working on has 5 sets of 5 for the first three days of the week, but then on the last three days of the week those reps go much higher: going up to 8-10, 12-15, 15-20.
  • Another 6-day program that Scott has (custom program, unreleased) is much like that six day program, except each half of the week is a mirror of the other. So on Day 1 if you do Chest and Quads, Chest will be the strength focus, and Quads will be higher rep. But then on Day 4, you do Chest and Quads again, but this time the Quads are on the lower end of the rep scheme. Day 5 lines up with Day 2, and Day 6 lines up with Day 3. (Note from Mike: I mis-spoke. The rep schemes are not actually 5 X 5. The strength focus days go as low as 4 or 5 sets of 6-8, not 5. Just a tiny bit higher. Worth keeping in mind in terms of recovery!)

Links / Resources mentioned

The Hardgainer Solution is on Amazon: .com | .ca | .com.uk

Kevin’s Free Video Series and cheat sheets on the Compound Lifts:

Episode 3. Training Workout Programs for Fat Loss and Metabolic Enhancement Training

Episode 3. Training Workout Programs for Fat Loss and Metabolic Enhancement Training

Show Notes

This episode was all about training workout plans for fat loss and metabolic enhancement training.

There was a whole lot about how it’s not just about “oh this is a fat loss program” and “this is a muscle gain program.” It’s more about putting the client on a program that fits where they are at right now. A lot of the time, the success of a trainee during the fat loss stage is determined by what they’ve been doing up until then — are they in a spot where they can lose fat in a healthy manner, without getting caught in plateaus and dead-ends and diminishing returns?

Training Workouts for Fat Loss (Notes)

  • There is no “one-size-fits-all” single workout plan that is optimized for fat loss.
  • Metabolic Enhancement Training builds off innervation training. Whereas innervation training says “train the muscle, not the movement,” MET training acknowledges that you can use the movement to train the muscle.
  • The issue with cardio — and this is true with all forms of training to some extent, though with cardio it can be a bit exacerbated — is it’s a law of diminishing returns. You have to do more and more, but you get less and less. It’s better to go back ‘n forth, as opposed to getting to the point where you’re spending 2 hours a day on the treadmill.
  • Use a traditional bodypart split workout plan to build muscle. Then use a MET exercise program to optimize your workload capacity. Then you go back to a bodypart split, maybe this time surfing the strength training curve. Then you go back to a bodypart split similar to that earlier one. In this way, there are huge carryover effects between programs, so that the second time you do the bodypart split, your body is in a different place, and your experience of the program is far different.
  • Cardio does have a place, but again: keep those diminishing returns in mind. After 4-6 weeks the benefits decrease a lot.
  • Think holistically about training and fat loss. Sleep is just as important as your workout plan. It’s not as though your fitness and fat loss is only determined by “what you eat” and “what workout plan you use.” There are other factors at play; they are minimal in terms of calories burned, but in terms of the whole picture — energy, sleep, sustaining the fat loss, mood, hunger, maintaining muscle while losing fat — it’s hugely important.
  • Don’t try to count burned calories. The laws of thermodynamics are absolutely true, but 1) the body is an open system, not a closed one, and 2) you never end up with a completely accurate picture, because the tools we have are notoriously inaccurate.

Links / Resources mentioned

Scott’s Intro to MET book is available as part of his starter set. Click here to get it.

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