The muscle up is an explosive move & you wanna train your nervous system to be explosive on command. By adding weight you train your nervous system to generate more force when doing pull ups.
The explosive pull ups will also train your nervous system to generate more force and teach yourself how to catch the bar once you let go of it.
Next time you are at the gym do:
3 sets of weighted pull ups for 3 reps. (focus on on exploding really hard)
3 sets of 3-6 explosive pull ups (like I showed them on the video here)
Since you are training your nervous system you wanna keep the reps low and the weight/intensity high.
#2 – Bar Pull Over:
This move will help you get used to being on top of the bar and also teach you the proper mechanics you should have at the top of the muscle up. You can see my bar pull over tutorial here but I will talk more on how to do this exercise tomorrow 🙂
Next time you are at the gym do:
5-10 sets of 1 pull overs (Focus on going slow on the negative part of this exercise)
Once of top of the bar do 3-5 straight bar dips
#3 – Straight Bar Dips:
Straight bar dips are hard! The first time you do them you might barely be able to dip down a bit but over time you will expand your range of motion and be able to to go lower.
You can do these either at the top of bar after doing a pull over or find low parallel bars & practice there.
Next time you are at the gym do:
3 Sets of 5-8 Straight Bar Dips (Focus on quality not quantity; if all you can is 2 reps with good form then do sets of 2 reps)
Practice those exercises next time you workout & you will be a lot closer to getting a muscle up.
If you have any more questions feel free to reply to this email!
“You Are Not Lost In Life – You Are Just Early In The Process”
I just saw this video from Gary Vaynerchuk and it hit me straight in the gut.
The answer to “I feel overwhelmed & I don’t know what to do” from a young guy (LIKE ME) spoke directly to me.
Gary’s Answer: You gotta try stuff. The biggest reason you don’t know what you wanna do is because you haven’t tasted enough things & the biggest reason you are not tasting enough things is you are worried about finding it too fast”
We are all guilty of this and I certainly am fighting with this fear of what if I fail & what should I do?
The key is to take shots, be PATIENT, learn and move forward.
Since high school, I have always wanted to be an athlete & teach fitness to others & I have to some extent done that. That’s why I started my blog, YouTube channel & became a personal trainer.
It’s scary to put this info out there since I know I am always judged but my gut is telling me to do it.
When it comes to my own fitness goals & workouts I have so many options in front of me.
I have tried:
Learning Advanced Calisthenics Skills
Going for high reps on bodyweight exercises (like 20 pull ups)
These different training styles & modalities that I have tried and have shaped the way I train but
I FEEL CAGED & TRAPPED
I wanna get stronger, build muscle, get ripped, learn how to do a handstand on gymnastic rings & deadlift 600 pounds.
Like all of you, I wanna do it all but I have to pick a discipline & get better at it instead of trying to be a jack of all trades & a master of none.
My gut is currently telling me to be a better calisthenics athlete: master the basics & learn the muscle up, handstand, lever & pistol.
Training for these skills is not as easy as do 4 sets of 12 reps. You gotta obsess, be patient & practice the skill daily.
Most importantly you have to let go of your mental fear & overcoming the biggest obstacle in your life: YOURSELF
You are the one limiting yourself from not being able to get these skills done.
Yes we need to learn progressions to these exercises
Yes we need to get stronger in certain positions
Yes we need to learn to breathe when creating tension while on a handstand
All these attributes are necessary to build up your physical strength, balance & control.
But the ultimate battle is to free yourself from fear.
To stop worrying about being scared & failing from a handstand.
To stop thinking you can’t do a hard exercise like a muscle up or handstand when you haven’t even physically tried it.
To stop caging your mind into thinking that you are weak, skinny, fat, heavy, tired, genetically ungifted or [insert other lame excuse you’ve told yourself]
Try a new exercise without much thought & let the fear move to the side.
Don’t be afraid of failure. Be afraid of not knowing whether you can or can’t.
To end this just TRY & gather learning experiences.
Watch Gary’s video & remember that anything you wanna achieve will happen as long as you keep trying and are patient.
That “overwhelmed + lost feeling” of not knowing what to do will little by little start to get clearer & you’ll have greater direction on what you want to do vs just “thinking of what if”
“For the longest I didn’t want to share this. I was afraid, ashamed and horrified about myself but the only thing that will set me free is the truth.”
Those pictures up there are of me.
From 2012 -> 2015 -> 2017 (In August)
I wanna share the story of how I went from skinny to fit to fat with you.
2 years ago (in 2015) I was fit. I had gained muscle from training hard and went from a skinny 140 pound kid to a strong 150 pounds in 2 years.
I was making regular youtube videos, sharing my workouts and all the things I was learning with you guys and that is how you found me.
Life was great back then. I had lots of time to train, create and learn but I wasn’t making a lot of money so I had to find a job.
I quickly got a job and that led into having 2 jobs. This was great and now I had a lot more cash that I could invest into my food, my education and gym memberships.
I joined a powerlifting gym at this point and my strength gains were increasing too fast.
I went from deadlifting 225 to hitting a one rep max of 405 in less than 3 months.
I felt on top of the world. I was making a lot of money and also getting stronger.
During this time some of my friends were really big into craft beer. I had never been into beer before but little by little after hanging out with them I started to really enjoy beer (specially stout and sour beers)
After a few months of hanging out with them I became obsessed with beer. Not because I liked to get drunk or feel buzzed but because there was so many styles of beer out there and I simply wanted to try them all. It was a new art form that I was excited to discover.
Eventually I got to the point where I was going out 3-4 times a week to drink and have fun at festivals and breweries. I had a lot of fun but this new passion destroyed my body.
I was working a lot and after work it was either go to the gym and train or go out with friends and drink. At first it was an easy choice:
I’ll just do it all – Work, go workout and then go out. And that worked out great for the first year.
But eventually the more I went out the less I started to train simply because I felt like S#!t. I was eating junk food all the time, sleeping super late (2:30AM-3AM) and was constantly in a state of drunkness.
Fast forwarding to 2016 I had put on over 10 pounds of fat and had lost a lot of my muscle. I was depressed and felt ashamed.
I once was known for being an energetic guy that all I wanted to do was workout and hang from trees. And now I was a skinny fat guy that was overworked and his definition of fun was going to get a few cold ones with the boys.
I had hit rock bottom.
At the beginning of the year I had made the resolution of training again to get stronger.
During January I moved out with my best friend. We had a cool apartment and I started meal prepping again. I brought my gymnastic rings and kettlebell to train with me.
“I didn’t have a place to hand the rings in the house so I wrapped them around the stairs next to the elevator”
Since I had to pay rent I stopped going out regularly. I was cooking, going to work and when I came back home I was either working out or doing some computer work.
My life was slowly getting back some structure.
Our lease ended in April and I moved back with my parents.
During this time I got lazy again; since I didn’t have to pay rent anymore I could go out and spend money again so I started going to eat a lot of restaurants and trying out crazy fat food like bacon wrapped burritos and ice cream chicken sandwiches.
It was fun discovering fun new foods but again this was wrecking my health and energy levels.
After eating all kinds of Instagram worthy foods I started to feel dissatisfied. The fun that I once had trying new foods got boring and everything tasted the same: Just cool looking grease balls.
After the summer I found some pictures of my old self when I was fit and also some older ones when I was skin and bones. I saw that I had made a huge transformation and started to self reflect on my life.
What was I doing with my life?
I was just consuming and not really contributing much to this world. I taught back when I was making YouTube videos on the regular and that is when I felt the most ALIVE. That is when I was motivating people to take action and change their bodies.
Here I was a once strong guy that had everything going for him and now I am looking in the mirror and my abs are covered by an abundance of constant beer, bacon and donuts.
I felt disgusted into what I had transformed into.
Finally on August 8 I woke up dissatisfied and joined a gym. It had just opened a month ago and the place had all kinds of monkey bars to hang from.
I nervously go there to sign up and start going there almost everyday.
Whitin the first week of training there I meet some guys doing crazy calisthenics movements: 360 Muscle Ups, Levers and Handstands on rings.
I was able to do a muscle up before but these guys were frestyling on the bars and basically flying.
After that training session I felt alive. I wanted to get stronger and I knew that if I wanted to do crazy skills like these guys then I needed to start training with them.
For the past 2 months I’ve been training to get my muscle up and I am able to do them again. But after gaining weight and getting weaker this movement is a lot harder.
I’ve decided to re-start my calisthenics journey and here we are now. I am writing emails to help you guys and making regular YouTube content again.
I feel excited to train and share. I am still not at the level I want to be but I am excited to train everyday.
I will be sending regular emails to help you get stronger based on everything I know and learn.
It’s been a long email and I just wanna say thank you for being subscriber. Thank you for being here for me and reading my story. It was tough to share all this personal information but the truth is what will set us both free.
If you are in a similar situation or needed a kick in the ass to go train then I hope that my story inspires you into action.
I am here for you so feel free to drop a comment and ask m anything.
Can’t wait to see how much progress we make together.
P.S. The blender I use is a VItamix. This thing is powerful and I can even make almond butter on it. They are pricey but worth it. I see a lot of smoothie shops and restaurants use them for their drinks.
First off all I love avocados, their flavor and color make all food better.
But they don’t make me full. Fat on a meal is supposed to make you full so you can have sustained energy for longer BUT that wasn’t entirely the case for me.
About me: I am ectomorph (skinny body type) and I tend to break down carbohydrates and protein fast so eating fatty rich foods help me sustain energy for longer.
I talked to my coach about this issue.
Me: I eat a big dinner with rice, chicken and avocado but in 1 hr I feel hungry again.
Him: That’s because Avocados tend to digest faster. Not all fats act the same and you need to consume a fat that takes longer to breakdown like some peanuts or almonds.
Me: So by eating a handful of almonds after my meal I will feel fuller for longer?
Him: Yeah, nuts and seeds will take longer to break down and will give you sustained energy for longer.
Boom! The light bulb went on! and from now on I’ve been eating almonds with my most of my meals.
I eat them after eggs, after eating white meat (chicken or fish), after eating avocado & it has been working great. I am finally full for a few hours as opposed to feeling dissatisfied within the hour.
[Warning: Something to be aware is that almonds contain a lot of calories so if you are watching the amount of calories you consume then don’t eat too many.]
This has helped me and if you are in a similar situation where avocados alone aren’t doing it for you, then add a handful of nuts like almonds after your meal.
You will feel full and have energy for longer times.
Last week I was working 12 hour shifts back to back and I am sure many of you are familiar with those schedules.
The little sleep, the constant to do and not having much of a break.
In those moments you need to either be prepared with meal prepping or make healthy choices when it’s time to eat.
I was working at hotel and was fortunate to get breakfast and lunch for the most part by the hotel so I was eating eggs & potatoes for breakfast and salad, beans and chicken or turkey.
For dinner I usually just went to Chipotle since it was convenient. I just made simple choices and didn’t overthink my eating schedule.
When we are busy is better to keep things as simple as possible and if that means having the same meal over and over then let it be. As longs as it is not something greasy or fried for the most part you should feel fine.
Last week I also didn’t get much time to workout or train but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t moving. My job was very active so I was constantly moving and pushing carts with heavy items on them.<
On the times I had a break I got my coworkers involved into doing a few reps of dips, push ups, pull ups and L-sits on chairs, the carts we were pushing or anywhere there was a corner.
It’s fun how many people will follow you into working out when you show them that it is easy and that things don’t have to be perfect. Specially with bodyweight exercises since they don’t require any equipment and can be done anywhere, most people will see it as a challenge and will join you to see if they can do the skill.
Yesterday I had a call with a new friend of mine and we talked all about opportunistic workouts and how he didn’t have access to a bar where he can practice muscle ups so this is what i told him:
Find any bar outside and do pull ups there to practice your muscle up:
Use the bars on shopping carts to do pull ups or dips
Any store will have rails that you can use as a bar (check out the guy below)
Use any wall to practice a pull up
Use any bar at the playground and if there is no good pull up bar then buy gymnastic rings and practice ring dips and the muscle up there. Hang them on the swings, a thick tree branch or somewhere safe and sturdy.
There was a lot more examples I shared but the point was to open his eyes to the fact that there are opportunities in every day life. It’s just up to you to keep your mind open and attack when you see an opportunity.
Lots of pictures today but I hope they motivate you and get the point across:
Keep nutrition simple and find opportunistic workouts anywhere you can.
A month ago I joined a gym called Just Go Lift in San Diego, California.
I hadn’t been part of of a gym in about 2 years and I was missing the community and support from others.
I am not gonna lie, I was hesitant to join since I had been training alone for so long so the fear of being judged and seen scared me a little. (I’ve always been an introvert by nature.)
But I joined and the coaches welcomed me with open arms and my thoughts of “I will be judged” were all a lie.
I have had nothing but support here and that is what a good community does: they support each other and grow together.
I have been working on getting my muscle up again and while training here I realized how weak I was and have been working on the basics: Pull ups, dips, planks, L-Sits and any movement to get my body and hands used to hanging again.
2 weeks after joining I meet a few calisthenics guys. Seeing them do muscle ups like nothing and freestyle on the bars made me realize that I can do this.
They gave me advice on how to do the muscle up and what I can improve on.
After 25 min of failing and very encouraging “You can do it” “You got this” words I was able to get 1 muscle up and that is all It took for me to make the mental switch on my mind.
I ended up doing a few muscle ups that night and my whole mindset on training changed from “I am weak & have so much training to do” to “I can do this and I am excited to keep working at it”
Instead of feeling bad for being weak now I am happy because there is so much exciting growth that will keep happening.
All it took for this mental switch was for someone else to believe in me and guide me with their support.
The point I am trying to make with this is that in order to accelerate results you need a foundation (i.e. working on the fundamental exercises)
But if you want to accelerate even faster then you need mental support and that is where joining a community comes in. They will be there to pick you up when you feel worthless and be there to make you remember that you can do anything.
Train not only the physical but also the mental and you will get there faster.
I am not sure what your specific goals are at the moment but I wold advice to get friendly help from someone that can do the skill you wanna do. Whether that be a muscle up or a handstand just ask and you will be surprised by how open others are willing to help.
Enjoy your Labor Day and reply with any questions, I am here to help.