Editor’s Note: Don’t blame the title of this article on Alwyn. While having lunch with Mr. C and listening to his acerbic viewpoint on, well, just about everything, I was reminded of the old Saturday Night Live, Mike Myers skit where Myers played a Scottish shopkeeper whose motto was, “If it’s not Scottish, it’s Crap!” Naming the article after that line seemed appropriate.
This isn’t my usual type of article. Rather than launch into a specific training program, TC’s given me this opportunity to launch into an Alwyn Cosgrove rant. A brief warning for the timid, however: I am the king of the politically incorrect.
It has been said that if you don’t piss off someone each day, then you’re just not doing enough. That has become my mantra. I like to start early, too. There are days when I just wake up, switch on the TV and tell Matt Lauer to get fucked.
So in keeping with that sentiment, there are a few things I’d like to discuss.
As a young lad growing up in rainy Scotland, my Dad used to have me move shit around. I dragged logs, lifted rocks, chopped wood, moved sandbags (to stop the rain from flowing into the house from the hill outside) and generally did manual labor. In exchange for my labors, I received a few pennies to spend.
I thought my Dad was a cantankerous old bastard.
Little did I know he was apparently a master strength and conditioning coach and this was merely my GPP phase.
Now people all over the world pay Master coaches like my dad large sums of money for the pleasure of moving shit around backyard gardens all over the world.
It’s not mowing the lawn, it’s GPP!
2) FASTED CARDIO
Are you fucking kidding me? Seriously, are you fucking kidding me? Why are we even talking about this?
Let’s take two twins, both 200lbs, both doing the same training program, taking the same supplements, and following the same nutrition plan in the hopes of getting lean.
One difference, though: one of them eats 2 eggs and does 30 minutes of cardio three days per week. The other does 30 minutes of cardio, three days per week and THEN eats 2 eggs.
So what’s the magical difference in terms of fat loss after six months? Drum roll please…
I’ll tell you – no fucking difference.
However, whenever you bring up this question we get a ton of responses saying, “This is exactly the information I needed!”. Oh fuck off. The reason you are still fat is because you couldn’t decide to do cardio on an empty stomach or not?
30 minutes of steady state cardio will burn about 300 calories. Three times per week – 900 calories. Add that up for 26 weeks and we get a whopping: 23,400 calories.
Or 6.6 lbs of fat.
In six months.
If doing it fasted, burned 30% more (which it doesn’t), you’re looking at another 2lbs of fat in that same six month period.
Or an additional 0.07 pounds per week.
And for those of you who say – I do fasted cardio but I have a small scoop of protein first, then you’re NOT DOING IT FASTED THEN, ARE YOU?
Fat people finish marathons all the time. Aerobic training doesn’t do a hell of a lot for real world fat loss. Even if you’re hungry.
3) BOOT CAMPS
Boot camp is where trainee soldiers go to learn the art of war, get in shape, and prepare to be on the front line. What your gym offers is known to children all around the world as playing soldier.
Dressing up in green camouflage and having someone yelling at you to keep your feet six inches off the ground while you’re lying in the mud is not cutting edge fitness training. Its cutting edge fucking stupid is what it is.
The guys at Camp Pendleton are preparing to go into battle; at Camp Happy Fitness LA or whatever it’s called, they’re pretending to go into battle. And you’re 30 years old. Fucking stop it. Next you’ll be pointing your finger and pretend-shooting people.
And while we’re at it, Tae Bo is not going to make you a ninja.
Playing soldier isn’t the same as being a soldier.
4) BODYPART SPLITS
I think my mission in life is to rid the world of this ridiculous workout notion. Somehow this highly developed organism that we call the human body is not a remarkable piece of machinery that functions flawlessly as a unit, it’s just random ass “parts” put together – each of which can be worked separately.
You didn’t even turn your computer on using only one muscle so why in God’s name are you trying to develop a body using some sort of body part split?
And while I’m on the subject, how come fingers and toes don’t get their own “day”?
Biceps get their own special recognition, what about fingers and toes and sternocleido mastoids? Or left arm on one day, right arm on another day (different body parts)? Because it’s stupid, right? Well, so is splitting up your chest and shoulder “days”.
There are NO athletes other than a small bunch of genetically gifted, pharmaceutical abusing individuals who use a “body part” split with any success. NONE.
Now, if you ARE one of the genetic elite pharmaceutical abusers, then feel free.
Split routines arrived on the scene shortly after Dianabol was popular. Do you see the connection?
Now before you ask me, “Can I split up my routine in some way?” Of course you can. But split it up based on what your body DOES, not based on what “part” it is. Splitting up by parts makes as much sense as splitting up by the number of freckles in that area.
5) PEOPLE WHO BUY THEIR PROTEIN POWDER OR VITAMINS BASED ON PRICE
There is a reason that you pay less for some brands. It’s because they suck.
Why are you making a decision on whether or not to consume something (sometimes two or more times per day) based solely on price? And do not fucking start me up by saying the ingredients are the same.
All cars have four wheels, a seat, an engine, and a steering wheel, but a Corvette is a little different than a Chevette.
Coal is cheap. Diamonds are expensive. Try giving your girlfriend a coal ring for your engagement and explain that it’s the same thing and it’s just marketing. She’ll cut your dick off and put it on display in a pickle jar. Which brings me to my next point…
Every restaurant and deli on the face of this country puts a green, lumpy, decomposing, venereal-disease ridden penis on my plate. Or chopped up in my sandwich.
Oozing green fluids.
In the US they call it a dill pickle and it is clearly the sign of the devil. It is a dead decomposing cucumber that looks like a penis, and it’s been kept from rotting by liberal use of vinegar. And you expect me to eat it?
I do not like green penises with my lunch, I do not like them Sam-I-am.
7) DOING BICEPS CURLS WHEN YOU CAN’T DO A SINGLE CHIN UP
8) INTERNET SUPER-TRAINERS WHO HAVE TRAINED ABOUT THREE PEOPLE, EVER, IF THAT. AND GOT NO RESULTS
You know who you are.
9) PROGRAMS THAT VIOLATE BASIC TRAINING PRINCIPLES
You can’t forget that maximal voluntary contractions are necessary to improve. Overload. If you don’t overload the muscles, nothing happens. No matter how cool, big, clever, cutting edge, or exciting it sounds.
10) PEOPLE LOOKING FOR THE FAT LOSS SECRET
I can vividly remember doing a photo shoot at our gym with a male client who had lost 85lbs of fat and now had a nice six-pack to show for his efforts.
My own gym members came up and asked me what his “secret” was.
There is no secret.
They seemed to think I’d given him the “real” information and had withheld it from them! He’s been given the same advice as I give to everyone else – he just chose to follow it a little more closely.
Fat loss is not under the control of the magic fat loss fairies. It’s based on simple changes in behavior. Granted, there are programs out there that work better than others, but it’s more likely because some programs violate number #9 above.
11) “WESTSIDE” TRAINING
You aren’t training Westside unless you are actually in Ohio at the Westside Barbell Club. So stop pretending.
Jim Wendler once told me he sees people doing different things at the real Westside club all the time so he has no idea what “Westside” is when people talk about it.
“If you don’t train at or have trained at Westside then you are NOT WESTSIDE! I am sick of people tagging this to their work especially when they have never stepped foot in the gym. They need to understand Westside is more than a program, far more.”
– Dave Tate
And another thing, understand that the Westside model of training is a very advanced strength training method that combines max effort methods with dynamic effort methods and repeated effort methods in a conjugated periodization model solely to enhance the performance (strength) of three movement patterns – bench, squat, and deadlift.
Is it a great method? Absolutely.
Is it the best method for rehabbing an injury, developing mobility, improving your chin up performance or developing lactate tolerance? Nope.
It won’t work for everything. You can hammer in a nail with a screwdriver, but a hammer will work better. Use the correct tool for each job.
Coming soon though: Westside for triathletes, Westside for window cleaners, and Westside for basket weaving.
12) PERFECT ROUTINE SEEKERS
There is no perfect routine. The fact that your favorite author just published a new workout that is “exactly what I’ve been waiting for!” just shows us that you have no long term plan for any type of success and are unlikely to make any progress.
Stick with the basics, and stick with them long enough so you get an adaptation. Don’t change too often. It’s clear to me that most people follow completely uncomplimentary workouts for short periods of time. Success will only come when you commit to a long term program where each phase complements the previous phase. A program is a long term approach for success. A workout or a phase of a program only works as a part of the big picture.
13) CHARLES STALEY
Okay Charles, we get it. do more work in less time. Enough already.
14) CHAD WATERBURY PUTTING SALT IN HIS BEER
I saw him. Apparently it makes you pee less often. But it didn’t work. I’m still wondering about that. And the fact that I counted who peed the most concerns me also.
15) COACHES WITH NO HAIR
Are Chad and I the only coaches who still have hair? Yes I’m talking to you, Jim Wendler, Dave Tate, Paul Chek, Charles Staley, Pavel Tsatsouline, Zach Even-Esh, Joe DeFranco, Ian King, Jason Ferrugia, and Christian Thibaudeau…
Woah. That list was bigger than I thought! Maybe I need to shave my head.
PS: Dave Tate doesn’t really shave his head–-he has the wrap around going on though. But that’s only because he can’t reach the back of his head to shave it.
Caption: Baldness in strength coaches: A prerequisite to greatness or just nature’s way of preventing them from getting laid and reproducing?
16) RYAN SEACREST
Come on America. How did this neo-maxi-zundweebie (points for the movie) become a star?
17) PEOPLE WHO ASK ABOUT SUPPLEMENTS AND DON’T FLOSS
Okay. I stole this one from Dan John. But if you don’t have the discipline to floss your teeth twice a day (which has been proven beyond any doubt to be worthwhile, not only in terms of dental hygiene, but also in terms of inflammation and heart health), then how do you expect to suddenly develop the discipline to take four pills three times a day to see a small benefit?
18) PAPER AND PENCIL PROGRAMS
There are some people out there who write programs/articles that are absolutely shit. They are so desperate to see their name in print that they come up with fictional garbage just to sound cool.
Just because it looks good on paper, doesn’t mean it will work worth a shit in real life.
19) “A CALORIE IS A CALORIE”
100 calories of broccoli and 100 calories of frosted flakes are exactly the same are they? I know JB could lose his mind on this one, so I won’t go too deep into it.
However, we also have to mention that calories do count and unfortunately you cannot eat unlimited amounts of the food you would like and still get lean. And you do not need something sweet to finish your meal. Do you realize how much you just ate? You don’t need anything.
20) SPECIALIZATION ROUTINES THAT SUCK
I spoke about this before but skinny arms are not caused by a lack of curls. So some arse of a trainer suggests you “improve your chin ups” and he typically gives you a cutting edge article that just has you try to do a lot of chins.
Why, you fucking genius trainer, you!!
I can’t do a lot of chin-ups but you, in your almighty wisdom, have solved my problem by suggesting that I just try to do more! Wow! Is that the Weider “do more of it” principle or is it from the Soviets?
Sometimes the world needs a slap. I plan on giving it one now and again. When the time comes that I’ve shaken my head enough times in the near future, you’ll get part two of this series. Until then – behave.