Watch a Competitive Powerlifter Try Snatching for the First Time

“It never gets easier, you just get stronger. The stronger you get the more you’re rewarded with hard work,” says Max Aita, Head Coach at Juggernaut Training Systems.

That’s arguably one of the most honest ways to describe weightlifting and strength sports in general. This is especially true with weightlifting, as this is a sport that takes years to master and is an ongoing project of self-improvement. Max Aita does a phenomenal job at breaking down the snatch for a beginning weightlifter, which in this case is BarBend contributor Meg Gallagher (Meg Squats).

Meg is a competitive powerlifter, so seeing Aita walk her through snatch progressions as a beginner was really interesting. Movements in both sports require and have different mechanics. This aspect requires extra focus from multi-sport athletes, because they’ll have to work extra on things like starting position differences.

One of the first progressions Aita highlights and focuses on with Meg is how she makes contact with the bar and her hip. Aita talks about how most beginners either don’t make enough contact with the bar and hip, or when they do they push the bar away from them. He has Meg go through multiple sets and reps of focusing on bar contact with upward compulsion.

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One of the biggest takeaways of the video was at the very beginning when Meg and Aita talk about weightlifting beginners and new gyms.

When we asked Meg what the biggest lesson was she took away from working with Aita, she said, “On a non-technical level, I think the biggest thing that Max taught me was the importance of working with a talented coach early on. If you have the opportunity to be around greatness, then take advantage of it.”

Meg also added to the importance of the above statement by saying, “No lifter should ever feel like they’re not worthy of great coaching, or wait until they pass some kind of threshold before asking questions.” 

A sport like weightlifting can be intimidating to start, especially for lifters with no previous experience. Aita touches on this point in the video and states, “Everyone started at some point where they didn’t know how to do it – no matter who they are. Being around good athletes and coaches is great because they can often really concisely provide laid out tips. They know so much they can convey information to you in a really small one or two words that can make a huge difference.”

For weightlifting athletes who are interested in taking the next step in their training and are thinking about competing, then Juggernaut also made new video titled, “Guide to Your First Weightlifting Meet.

This video is tremendously helpful in giving you a step by step guide to finding and prepping for your first meet. Aita talks about how a meet is a great way to track how far your training has come.

Juggernaut’s new weightlifting videos are great tools for understanding what it takes and what to expect when first starting out this sport. Possibly the biggest takeaway is to not let intimidation stop you.

Feature image from Juggernaut Training Systems YouTube channel. 

The post Watch a Competitive Powerlifter Try Snatching for the First Time appeared first on BarBend.

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Americans Weightlifters to Watch at the IWF Youth World Championships

USA Weightlifting’s top Youth competitors will be competing at the 2017 IWF Youth World Championships starting next week. This year’s Youth Worlds are being held from April 3-10th in Bangkok, Thailand. Be sure to check out the live stream with this link.

The 2017 IWF Youth Worlds is an event with the potential to qualify athletes for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, which are being held in Argentina from October 6-18th. According to USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews, “Both [USAW’s] Women’s and Men’s team are on course to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games for the first time at the World Level.”

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A few athletes to keep an eye on are 69kg CJ Cummings, 77kg Harrison Maurus, 69kg Athena Schrijver, and 63kg Taylor Babb (but many more are poised for great performances!).

Cummings and Maurus are positioned to potentially break (or in Cummings’ case, extend his current) world records for the clean & jerk and possibly take home first for their weight classes.

This would be huge for Team USA, as Andrews further explained in an email sent out to USA Weightlifting’s membership: The last time was Berger and Kono at the 1958 World Championships, who both won Gold at the event (and both were Olympic Champions in 1956).”

What Andrews is referencing in the quote above was Isaac Berger (featherweight) and Tommy Kono’s (middleweight) performances in the 1958 World Weightlifting Championships. They both finished first for their division, so for the first time since 1958, Team USA could find themselves in a similar situation at an international competition with their male athletes.

CJ Cummings

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Cummings is currently the Youth World Record holder for the clean & jerk with a 182k (401 lb) lift. He also holds the Junior American Snatch record with 139kg, which he set this year at the Nike National Junior Championships.

Harrison Maurus

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Maurus will hopefully find himself in a position to attempt a world record clean & jerk. This lift would be a significant in competition PR for Maurus, but his recent training has suggested it’s possible.

USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews commented that, “If both athletes are successful, either at this event or later in the year, it will the first time since the 1950s that two athletes have set World Records for the USA in the same event at any age group. The USA will then hold 3 of 16 World Records (69kg Men, 77kg Men and +75kg Women) at the Youth level.”

The third record holder is Cheryl Haworth, who claimed bronze at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Last September, the IWF approved the creation of two new youth weight classes for women, which include 75k and 75+kg classes.

In January, the IWF formally acknowledged athletes who would have set records for these corresponding weight classes and age groups at the time of competition. This gave Haworth (in the 75+kg category and 17 at the time of completion) the record for her 125kg snatch at the 2000 Olympics. 

Athena Schrijver

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Schrijver, 16, took home silver in the snatch and total at the year’s 2017 USA Weightlifting Nike Junior National Championships.

Taylor Babb

A post shared by Taylor Babb (@taylor.babb.cf) on Feb 7, 2017 at 4:52pm PST

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Babb, 16, finished second at the 2017 USA Weightlifting Nike Junior Nationals Championships and set the U17 63kg junior snatch record at 80kg. She also holds the the U15 snatch record with an 82kg lift she hit at the 2016 American Open.

Hopefully we can witness history in the making as some of USA Weightlifting’s best young athletes head off to Bangkok this weekend.

Feature image from @cj__cummings, @harrison_maurus, @taylor.babb.cf, and @athena._.schrijver Instagram page. 

The post Americans Weightlifters to Watch at the IWF Youth World Championships appeared first on BarBend.

Bear Komplex 7mm Knee Sleeves Review — Did the Four Seam Design Fit?

Bear Komplex makes supportive knee sleeves and other gear (belts, bands, hand grips) targeted towards functional fitness athletes, all offered in various designs and colors. While these sleeves were introduced to functional fitness athletes initially, they have made their way into the strength and power sports. Their knee sleeves also have four seams and four panels, which is pretty rare among neoprene compression gear.

I snagged a pair of these sleeves and was eager to put these sleeves to the test during heavier weightlifting sessions and share my experiences and feedback. 

In this article I’m reviewing the Bear Komplex 7mm knee sleeves.

Stability

The Bear Komplex 7mm knee sleeves are the standard thickness (7mm) for most recreational and competitive power, strength, and fitness athletes. Similar to other 7mm sleeves on the market, these are supposed to offer joint warmth and compressive support for squats, lunges, snatches, cleans and jerks, and other strongman and lifting movements.

The sleeves offer a good range of support for most lifters, however, when compared to other 7mm knee sleeves on the market, to me they felt a bit more rigid and provide more joint warmth (at the expense of flexibility). For lifters looking for supportive yet still somewhat flexible sleeves, these could be a good option, however for athletes looking to transition them on and off or move more during fast-paced WODs, these may offer slightly less flexibility and movement than other sleeves on the market.

Bear Komplex Knee Sleeves Stability

That said, I personally liked the added rigidity of these sleeves during heavy training (squats, strongman movements, and ballistic Olympic lifts), and didn’t notice too much movement impedance during WODs.

Comfort and Fit

The sleeves come in a range of colors and designs, and are offered in both 5mm 7mm options.

The Bear Komplex 7mm knee sleeves sizing was comparable to other 7mm knee sleeves that I have reviewed as well a trained/competed in (see the video for my complete measurement and sizing breakdowns). That said, I did notice they were more of a snug fit, especially putting them on and taking them off, however that could be due to me wearing pants (although other sleeve options with pants didn’t have as much as an issue).

Additionally, the increased rigidity did make me think there may be a bit of a “breaking in” period with the sleeves.

Bear Komplex Knee Sleeves Sizing

Unlike other 7mm knee sleeves, these sleeves were comprised of four (4) seams, two down each side. The seams were constructed in a countered fashion, allowing for very tapered fit, making them comfortable while on and allowed them to stay in place better. I did not notice any excessive material of bulk due to the added seams as well, making the design of these knee sleeves unique and appealing to many lifters who may struggle with finding a good fitting sleeve.

With that said, I did find that these sleeves kept my knees warm, provided a snug, contoured fit, and were a good balance between support and comfort for most of my training. The exception however, would be for lifters looking for a slightly more flexible and less supportive sleeve (such as beginners or those experimenting with wearing sleeves during general fitness workouts); there may be other 7mm knee sleeves on the market that fit their needs.

Material

The Bear Komplex 7mm knee sleeve has demonstrated good stiffness and flexibility during most of my weightlifting, strongman, and general hypertrophy training. The 7mm neoprene has remained intact, showing little signs of wear and tear, with the four seam construction holds up and offers a snug fit and feel.

I found the material to be very similar to other 7mm knee sleeves on the market, however I did enjoy the contoured fit and style of the sleeve, and the added design and color combinations is a nice pop of attitude to mix into your training life.

Durability

I have lifted in many similar knee sleeves for years, competing in powerlifting, weightlifting, and functional fitness competitions. The durability of these sleeves has been similar to most other 7mm knee sleeves on the market. The sleeves seem to be pretty durable given they provide a snug fit and stay in place during most workouts.

Price

The price for the Bear Komplex 7mm knee sleeves (sold in pairs, so two sleeves) are $49.98, which is pretty on par with similar 7mm knee sleeves on the market.

Bear Komplex Knee Sleeves Price

For more advanced lifters looking for the utmost knee support and stability (although may sacrifice movement and flexibility of the sleeve), there are other 7mm knee sleeve options that may be better, both in this price range as well as at a slightly more expensive price point.

Final Thoughts

The Bear Komplex 7mm knee sleeves offered support and compression while still allowing for fuller range of motion movements such as functional fitness WODs, lunges, and higher rep based training. They’re mid-range for supportiveness; more supportive than about half of the 7mm knee sleeves I’ve tried, and bordering on supportive to the point of restricting movement (but not quite, in m y experience). 

Personally, I have found these sleeves to offer support during heavy and high volume squat cycles, snatches, and heavy cleans similarity to some of my other top rated sleeves. Additionally, I have found them useful for general joint warmth and compression support without breaking the bank.

The added colors and designs also allow for some extra flair, which may or may not be your thing. Nonetheless, it’s a solid pair of knee sleeves for most recreational and avid power, strength, and fitness athletes.

The post Bear Komplex 7mm Knee Sleeves Review — Did the Four Seam Design Fit? appeared first on BarBend.

Watch Clarence Kennedy Do Powerlifting and Weightlifting At a Recent (Unofficial) Meet

We’re simple people at BarBend. When we see Clarence Kennedy post a video, we watch.

The Irish weightlifter — variously known in internet circles as Harry Potter and Clark Kent, and the Irish Hulk — is known for his superhero levels of strength in the Olympic lifts (and his vegan diet), having performed snatches at 185kg (407.8lb) and clean & jerks at 220kg (485lb) as a 94kg class athlete.

Those are elite lifts — the world record in the snatch for the 94kg class is just three kilograms above Kennedy’s PR, though of course there are big differences between training and competition lifts — which is why it was both surprising and not surprising at all when he announced in a recent BarBend interview that he was interested in switching to powerlifting.

The reasoning he gave didn’t go much further than, and we’re quoting him here, “I’m pretty good at the squat, bench, and deadlift, so I figured why not!” But that’s a pretty darn good reason, and on Sunday he made a rare appearance at an unofficial powerlifting and weightlifting meet in Bray, Ireland.

Now weighing 106kg, Kennedy competed in both weightlifting and powerlifting, performing the snatch, clean & jerk, squat, bench, and deadlift.

Naturally, he came first on every single lift, winning the best pound for pound and overall lifter. (There were no weight classes at this unofficial meet.)

You can watch all of his lifts in the video below, which includes appearances by fellow vegan weightlifter David Nolan and competitor Eoin Murphy, whose squat Kennedy beat by just a single kilogram. (Though Kennedy was doing pause back squats, which he does in order to limit the weight he can use and thereby protect his knees to a degree.)

Kennedy snatched 160kg (352.7lb), clean & jerked 200kg (441lb), pause back squatted 281kg (620lb), benched 190kg (419lb), and deadlifted 320kg (705.5lb) with straps. None of these were personal records for Kennedy, but in a follow-up interview with BarBend, he noted that he isn’t training as often as he once did.

“I just did (the meet) casually, I’ve been training two to three times a week these days,” he said. (Earlier this year, he was lifting four out of every five days.) “My knee injury is bothering me, and mentally, I can’t handle high frequency training right now. I’ve been training hard for too long without a break.”

Kennedy has experienced knee tendinopathy in both knees and has required multiple surgeries, and he predicts more surgery in his future.

“I could’ve done a 170kg snatch and a 210kg clean & jerk, but I couldn’t have lifted much more weight in the other lifts,” he admitted. He also said he doesn’t see any more meets in the near future, and isn’t so sure he still wants to compete in powerlifting. (“I change my mind fast on things,” he says.)

A post shared by Cassidy Du Berry (@cassduberry) on Dec 31, 2016 at 11:10am PST

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Keen observers of his popular YouTube channel may have noticed that the Irish Clark Kent has gained some serious muscle over the past year, and now weighs in at 106kg. But despite the compliments he receive on his physique on YouTube and Reddit, Kennedy isn’t enjoying the extra mass.

“I hate being this heavy. Everyday life is hard at 106 kilos,” he admitted, bringing to mind similar comments made by German superheavyweight lifter Matthias Steiner. “It made my cleans a lot worse. I did get stronger though. I gained the weight on purpose, but it wasn’t a good idea, and it really messed with my mobility. At the moment I’m focusing on going down to between 98 and 100 kilograms. I felt best around the time I did 340 kilograms in the deadlift, and I was 100 kilograms at that point.”

Never revealing too much about himself, there’s no way to know if Kennedy will make any more appearances at meets — powerlifting or weightlifting, official or unofficial — but we’ll be the first to watch his video if he does.

Featured image via @clarence0 on YouTube.

The post Watch Clarence Kennedy Do Powerlifting and Weightlifting At a Recent (Unofficial) Meet appeared first on BarBend.

Wes Kitts Just Jerked 237kg In Training

During a casual live stream of a run-of-the-mill training session at California Strength, the 105kg weightlifter and former GRID athlete Wes Kitts pulled off one of the heaviest jerks we’ve seen from an American: 237 kilograms, or 522.5 pounds.

As California Strength helpfully noted in the comments, the American Record in the clean & jerk for Kitts’ weight class is 220kg, the World Record is 246kg, and the Olympic Record is 237kg, which was made by Ruslan Nurudinov at Rio last year. Yes, it’s quite a bit easier to jerk the weight if you don’t have to clean it first, but we’re still impressed with Kitts’ lift.

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We know the jerk is kind of a strange exercise on its own; it’s not a competition lift, and Kitts also performed it from the back rack, a starting position many lifters can actually jerk more from as compared to the front rack. Since it’s not a competition lift, we don’t know how close it is to the American record, but we do know that Kitts isn’t the first man to jerk that much at California Strength — check out the 237kg lift we saw Donnie Shankle perform at the gym in 2011.

But the jerk is arguably the most difficult portion of the clean & jerk, and while this doesn’t necessarily mean that Kitts could clean that much weight, we know he can power clean at least 201kg — the man is definitely lifting at the elite level.

No one-trick pony, he currently holds the American Record in the snatch, which he set with a 174kg (383.6lb) lift during the 2016 USAW American Open in December of 2016.

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Last month, he also managed to smoke a 215kg (474lb) clean & jerk in training, which is 5kg away from the current American Record.

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The same week, he pulled off a colossal power clean of 201kg (443lb), the heaviest we’ve seen from an American in recent memory.

A post shared by Wes Kitts (@weskitts22) on Feb 27, 2017 at 12:25am PST

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Remember, the 26-year-old has only been a dedicated Olympic weightlifter since 2014 — he played football while he was in college and later became a functional fitness athlete in the National GRID League.

Given his track record, we’re pretty certain that 2017 is the year he breaks the American record in the clean & jerk.

Featured image via @cal_strength on Instagram.

Thanks to BarBend weightlifting correspondent Mike Graber for his help with this article

The post Wes Kitts Just Jerked 237kg In Training appeared first on BarBend.

Is Oscar Figueroa Coming Out of Retirement?

Oscar Figueroa knows about struggle — it took him four appearances at the Olympic Games to finally win a gold medal, which he did in Rio at age 33 when he totaled 318 kilograms (701 pounds) in the 62kg category. He completed a snatch of 142kg (313lb) and a clean & jerk of 176kg (388lb).

Tearfully, he took off his shoes after his lift, signifying that after winning the sport’s highest honor, he was officially retiring.

That is, until he quietly posted this training clip to his Instagram yesterday.

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“Tokyo 2020, I hope,” reads the caption.

As far as we know, Figueroa hasn’t released any more information regarding this goal, but he might not be the only (roughly) 37-year-old weightlifter in Tokyo — the 77kg Lu Xiaojun has also hinted that he hopes to return to the Olympics.

It’s possible that Figueroa was motivated to return to the sport after The Olympic Channel premiered their documentary about Figueroa this week, entitled “Against All Odds.”

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That’s the trailer for the documentary, but you can watch the full eight and a half minutes of the film over on the Olympic Channel’s website here. (Note that you may have to log in with your Facebook or email to get it to play.)

I think we have to struggle all of our lives. Because life is just moments, episodes. Bad, regular, good. At home I was taught to work hard to be number one. They say I have a bad temper. I have a strong personality, which is different. I am the kind of person who just says yes or no.

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It’s a fantastic, beautifully shot documentary, and though it’s relatively short it’s truly impressive in its depth. It doesn’t just provide gorgeous, diverse footage of Colombia itself, you also learn how the sport of weightlifting is developing in the country.

In addition to intimate interviews with Figueroa, we’re taken to this childhood weightlifting gym and introduced to his matronly former trainer Damaris Delgado, who helped sculpt Figueroa into an elite athlete. (“He knew absolutely nothing about weightlifting,” she says. “But he learned the technique in one day.”)

Figueroa repeatedly says that everyone needs to struggle. From being unable to lift the bar in Beijing to a diagnosis of a cervical hernia, Figueroa knows a thing or two about struggle.

Trying to medal at age thirty-seven might be his biggest yet.

Featured image via @iwfnet on Instagram.

The post Is Oscar Figueroa Coming Out of Retirement? appeared first on BarBend.

7 Tips to Build Muscle in College

To sum up college in one intro to an article is nearly impossible. For most, it’s a time in life when you begin to transition from being looked after to doing the looking after. The looking after is of yourself, of course. You start to develop and learn methods that work and don’t work for your body. This comes in the form of diet, lifting, sleeping, working, studying, and a combination of all five.

When it comes to strength sports and bodybuilding in college, it’s even tougher to maintain gains, grades, health, and somewhat of a social presence (if you choose). I think every strength athlete has had experiences, stories, or memories of when they realized that they need to develop methods different than most of their college peers for muscle building.

A post shared by Jake Boly (@jake_boly) on Mar 2, 2017 at 12:32pm PST

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The memory that really pushed me up to develop my college muscle building plan came in the fall of my sophomore year. I was in my midterm week, hadn’t slept the night before, and had a peak week squat workout in Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program. I was dead tired and misloaded the bar after my second working set for a 405 final set AMRAP (I loaded 45 lbs less on the right side).

As I un-racked, the whole bar completely lost balance and I dipped enough to the right to slide off my college’s wobbly clip and plates to the floor. Besides the embarrassment, I’m lucky no one was standing within falling plate range to get hurt. This was when I realized that not sleeping, having a set workout time, and having energy set aside specifically for lifting was a must for my health and others around me.

Sometimes it feels impossible to balance everything while still hitting your strength and physique goals. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help make gains, while not losing your initial focus (schooling).

1. Compound Movements and College Bodybuilding

Bodybuilding in college is a common trend among a lot of lifters. For most college students it’s about packing on muscle while maintaining their ideal physique. An issue that can arise with this style of training is the lack of focus on compound movements.

When time is a limited an emphasis on the bigger lifts should be a priority. Squats, deadlifts, and presses will benefit strength and size the most. A lot of times students get so wrapped in the college bodybuilding ideal, and forget that when time is limited a deadlift will support their gains better than a bicep curl.

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Sharif El-Kady, 165 lb powerlifter at the University of Ottawa says, “Personally, I found success when I started doing heavy compound lifts and increasing my training frequency. Powerlifting gave me the strength to handle more weight on my bodybuilding days, which allowed my muscle to handle greater loads altogether.”

2. Find Your Best Training Frequency

The issue with training frequency in college comes with the ever changing amounts of obligations you make. For those who are super busy, then they’ll most likely need to train less frequently than those with more time on their hands.

My advice is to take the first two weeks of each semester and try two different training frequencies you’ve used in the past with your current program. Write down how you felt after each workout and week, then compare what frequency is realistic for your energy demands/needs.

3. Dial in Your Diet

Far too often college lifters don’t eat enough to grow or too much to maintain their ideal physique. Life gets busy and sometimes eating is the last thing on someone’s mind. Vice versa, sometimes the excessive food, partying, and drinking add up and hurt one’s physique. This is when different food strategies come into play.

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For lifter’s who have trouble eating enough.

  • Account for busier times in semester (mid-terms, finals, etc): “Make sure you get enough calories. A lot of times I was under eating when I would be at the library all the time. I recommend keeping track of your diet and getting quality meals in, especially during busier times of the semester,” says Peter Hoang, a collegiate powerlifter at Rutgers.
  • Make meals in advance and buy in bulk: “Buying food in bulk, then setting aside a day to prep was a huge help for me. Tracking macronutrient intake was a good habit to develop,” states Rodrigo Manzo, 66kg powerlifter and senior in Dietetics.
  • Bring snacks: Buy a box of protein bars, or other snacks that contain ample protein and are easily transportable (trail mix, cheese sticks, etc). When meals aren’t available these can be a life saver when you need last resort calories and energy.
  • Cafeteria bring backs: I’m not suggesting to steal, but most college cafeterias (usually big schools) are a swipe in and eat as much as you want. Something I used to do was bring back foods like peanut butter packs, hard boiled eggs, and other transportable foods my cafeteria provided in a little lunch box. You’re paying for it, you might as well get the most out of it.

A post shared by Rodrigo Manzo (@rodrigo.manzo) on Mar 24, 2017 at 9:45pm PDT

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For lifter’s who eat and drink in excess in college.

  • Create a flexible eating schedule: “Be flexible whenever possible to avoid limitations that can lead to stress,” says Manzo. Time allotments to eat can be a first step to wrangling in mindless eating. For example, set a time for yourself to eat lunch each day (ex: 12-1:30). This allows wiggle room, while keeping an eating schedule somewhat consistent.
  • Account for party days: On days and nights when partying is present try to account for damage control. Personally, when I knew I was going out, I would up my protein intake and drop my carbohydrate and fat intake for the day. This is an easy way to gain back a few calories (for drinks), while hitting your protein goal.
  • Introduce tracking slowly: If you don’t track now and want to, but you’re worried you’re too busy, then start by tracking one or two meals a day. For exanmple, when you consistently know what you’re intake is for breakfast and lunch, then you’ll begin to develop an idea of what you need and how much certain foods equate to.

4. Find a Workout Plan

This is where you need to ask yourself how you want to train. Are you most interested in powerlifting, bodybuilding, weightlifting, strongman, or functional fitness style workouts? You don’t have to be competitive to find a workout plan that matches your interests. A lot of college lifters jump from program to program, which is great for trying new things, but can be limiting to growth and consistency.

“Be smart, stay consistent, and have fun. Beginners will build muscle regardless of what they do, so as long as you stay healthy and consistent, then you’ll see progress. If you enjoy the consistent process, then everything will eventually come together,” says Clifton Pho, elite Canadian powerlifter.

A post shared by Clifton Pho (@clifton_pho) on Mar 28, 2017 at 8:56am PDT

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A few programs and resources worth checking out for each style of strength athletes are shared below. Keep in mind this is to provide direction. I’m not stating one resource is better than the other, or to buy one of the programs.

  • Powerlifting: Stronglifts 5×5, Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1, and Juggernaut Method 2.0.
  • Weightlifting: Catalyst Athletics, Mash Elite Performance, and California Strength.
  • Strongman: Starting Strongman and The Cube Method.
  • Functional Fitness: Look for General Physical Preparedness (GPP) programming protocols and find coaches/programs that work best for your schedule/equipment availability.
  • Bodybuilding: EliteFTS and Bodybuilding.com are great starts for looking into different programs.

5. Find Your Perfect Gym Time

This point can be dicey for super busy schedules. It’s ideal to workout around the same time each day, but that’s not possible for most. An easy way to do this is to make lumped consistent days. For example, on Tuesday and Thursday class schedules keep that lift time consistent, then do the same for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It’s not a perfect method, but building a consistent gym time is good for a couple reasons.

  • Energy: Your body will adapt to the energy allotment you need partitioned for your lift during that day.
  • Regulars: You’ll see people consistently who lift at the same time, which is a clutch characteristic for working in on sets and finding knowledgeable spotters. Plus, you gain possible gym bros!

A post shared by Jake Boly (@jake_boly) on Feb 13, 2016 at 12:14pm PST

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6. Sleep

There’s no question behind the importance of sleep for muscle growth, recovery, and mental sharpness, but the typical eight hours isn’t realistic for a lot of students. Life doesn’t always allow us to have ample amount of time to sleep, but there a few things we can do to get the most out of the sleep we get.

  • Unplug from screens at a certain time each night: If you have to study late, try to use books, notes, or print out slides in advance. Blue screens disrupt our eyes, brain, and body’s ability to produce natural sleep inducing hormones.
  • Avoid being in bed when not sleeping: Try to avoid watching movies, television, and studying in bed if you’re not sleeping. This can result in your body associating your bed with things other than sleep. This can cause restless sleep for the little amount of time you may have.
  • Late workouts: If you workout late at night, then check out this article I wrote on restful sleep solutions for late night lifts.

7. Useful Supplementation

Out of all the times in life when protein shakes can be useful, I’d argue college is among one of the tops. Protein shakes are easily transportable and can be an easy way to increase caloric and protein intake for the day. If your goal is calories, then find a shake with a little extra carbohydrate and fat macronutrients. This is a simple and somewhat cost effective way to pursue dietary goals.

Wrapping Up

College can be a messy time when making gains in the gym, but with enough patience it’s possible to create your perfect muscle building regimen. The above tips can be a useful start for any strength athlete looking to perfect their daily lifting routine.

Editors note: This article is an op-ed. The views expressed herein are the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BarBend. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author.

Feature image courtesy of @lisahaefnerphoto Instagram page. 

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