Interview with Jim Schmitz

Thanks to Barry Kinsella at Weightlifting Epiphanies for this 3 part interview with the great American weightlifting coach Jim Schmitz.

Part 1

Part 2, technique

Part 3, programming and competitions


Interview with Nakamura Okamisan

Sumo Fan Magazine sat down with Nakamura Okamisan for a great interview published here.   For those who don’t follow Sumo, the word “Okamisan” is basically the honorific term for a female manager of a Sumo stable.

Yep, they call the gym where Sumo athletes train a “stable”.  But, hey, they really are as big as a horse!


Sumo is the condensation of Japanese culture; the beauty Japan contains within, and the way of thinking inherent in this beauty are one of the fascinating things about Ozumo. Thus, I would like to ‘offer’ these things (as representative of Japan and the sport) in order to let fans in foreign countries understand them well.

Lift Hard: The Asian Weightlifting Site

Check out this site written (in english) by a group of Malaysian Olympic Weightlifters called Lift Hard: The Asian Weightlifting Site. They’ve got a number of great articles, including this gem.

As many of you know, I lived in Japan for a number of years as a child (read about my odd food cravings here), and my parents lived there for close to 30 years.  I have a particular affinity for Asia.  My comfort foods growing up were not Mac and Cheese, but Sushi, Sukiyaki, and Yakiimo.

It’s great to see a well-run site by a group of dedicated lifters in Asia.  I wish them luck.

Glenn Pendlay Interview

ExRx has an interview with Glenn Pendlay here. In it he covers all kinds of stuff including a discussion about some of his athletes (including a 60 year old masters world champion), his own history, and training philosophy.

Important quote:  “The quicker you are, the less strong you have to be to make the same lift.”

He also discusses how there is no such thing as any one exercise to measure how strong someone is.

Mega-Mass Gain Diet for Skinny High School Athletes


When I was in High School there were 90 year old women who were bigger, stronger, and taller than I was.   I’ve since gained 60 pounds of muscle–though, I haven’t gotten any taller.  I’ve helped a lot of other skinny kids (and adults) pack on pounds of muscle over the years, and I’m here to tell you that it’s not as impossible as you’d think to gain upwards of 20 pounds of muscle a year throughout your High School and College career.  If you’re determined to be as big and muscular as you can possibly be, read on.

You’re in High School.  So, right now, your metabolism is fast–blindingly fast.  You’re constantly busy with a lot of home  and school work (you may even have a job).  And, up till now, you’ve let your parents do all the thinking for you regarding your diet.  I can’t do anything about the first two problems.  But, I can help you with the third.

I’m going to take a (not so) wild guess that you are making one (or more) of the following diet mistakes right now:

  1. You don’t eat breakfast
  2. You don’t eat right after your workouts
  3. You don’t eat right before bed
  4. You don’t eat more than 2 meals a day
  5. You do eat at these time, but you are following the diet of your favorite Bodybuilder.

The first 4 of these are cardinal sins if you ever want to get big.  You can have the perfect weight training routine, but you’ll still be skinny if you don’t eat a lot. You have to eat a ton of food.  Period.  There is no breaking of that rule–ever.  Eat breakfast, eat post-workout, eat before bed. Those are the 3 most important meals of the day.

The last mistake (number 5) is more of a problem than you might think.  The trouble with bodybuilding diets is that they are too healthy.  I’ll repeat that.  They are TOO HEALTHY.

While bodybuilders are a frequent source of laughter among us strength coaches because of their ridiculous training programs that only work if you’re on steroids, they HAVE figured out diets that are great at getting you leaner and more ripped.  Bodybuilders are very good at that.  But, that is not your goal!!  You have to get big before you can diet down and show off your muscles.  I don’t mean you should get fat, of course, but you have to give up on your abs for at least a  year.

You need massive amounts of calories if you are going to put on 20 to 50 pounds of muscle.  You CAN do this.  I was a skinny kid too, and I did it.  And the way to do it is actually quite simple and enjoyable.

The Trick?  Eat crap all the time–yes, crap.  Mac and Cheese, ice cream, burgers and fries, fried chicken, pizza, etc.  Fun, right?  Get only as much protein as you need to feed the muscle rebuilding process (about 3/4 to 1 gram per pound of body weight), and focus the rest of your eating on carbs and fat (mostly carbs).   You see, your problem isn’t that you aren’t building muscle fast enough, it’s that your body is eating away all the muscle that you’ve build!!  But, if you give it enough calories (carbs) to fuel itself, then you’re protecting your newly built muscles from being devoured by your freaky-fast metabolism.

OK, OK, so what’s the diet already!  Below is a simple 5 meal a day diet (4 meals and 1 shake) that has worked for many skinny kids (including me).

The Diet

4 whole eggs
2 pieces of toast, each with peanut butter and jelly on them
16 oz of whole milk

You could instead eat Pancakes and eggs, or steak and eggs.  I used to eat a whole can of ready-make buiscuits with 4 eggs, syrup, butter, and a large glass of milk.

(you can easily pack this in tupperware and bring it to school)
1 whole box of mac and cheese, mixed with
1 whole can of tuna

You could use ground beef instead of tuna.  Mac and Cheese is great because it’s easy to make before school, easy to carry around, cheap as dirt, and very high in calories (one box has  over 1000).

Snack (an hour before working out):

Bagel and Cream cheese or cookies and milk (or both!)

During Workout:


Shake with the following
1 scoop whey protein powder (~25 grams of protein)
12-16 oz whole milk
1 cup+ of ice-cream

Another option is simply to drink one full quart of chocolate milk.  Fast, simple, relatively cheap.  I’ve heard that’s what the University of Washington football players do.  Those guys are not small!

Whatever Mom makes (eat 2 servings), this is a good time to get vegetables.

Things like Burgers, pizza, etc are perfect.  But, it’s hard to say no to meat loaf, or Teriyaki chicken and rice!  Even better, YOU should start cooking dinner for your family (give your Mom a break, man!).  Some day you’ll be on your own, and if you don’t know how to cook, you’ll never reach your strength goals.

Before bed:
Large Bowl of ice-cream, or large bowl of cereal (always, always, always eat carbs before bed)

Now just workout with weights 3-4 days a week on compound movements (squats, cleans, snatches, deadlifts), and do 2 days a week of cardio (cardio makes you hungry, this is very helpful–I hate cardio, too).  What are you waiting for?  Go eat!

Parents: I know that the above looks very unhealthy.  It is.  Especially for us adults.  WE can’t eat like that.  But, a young High School kid who is actively working out a lot and has a naturally high metabolism will thrive on the calories.  These kids are like aliens compared to us.

What you can do to mitigate any potentially negative effects would be to make sure they eat vegetables at dinner time, take a multi-vitamin every day, take extra vitamin C and E, and take Fish Oil capsules.

Gay vs Bolt: 100 Meter SMASH at 2009 World Championships

Usain Bolt vs Tyson Gay

Usain Bolt vs Tyson Gay

Tyson Gay just ran a 9.71 100 meter dash at the World Championships in Berlin smashing the American record.  This was the 3rd fastest time in history.  But, he only got second place and a silver medal.  Usain Bolt, the Jamaican 2008 Olympic sensation from Jamaica, got the gold with a 9.58!

Gay is still healing from a groin injury, but plans to compete on August 31 at the European Grand Prix.  Expect good things.  These guys are all so fast that all it takes is bad start off the blocks to change history.  As great as Bolt is, and he is, so is Tyson Gay.

And don’t count out men like Asafa Powell, who until now, held the record at 9.74. He’s still a great sprinter.   But both Gay and Bolt took that record down.  And, Bolt ripped it down so hard it may need a paramedic.

The truth is, some are arguing that Bolt still has room to improve:

Yes, he sprinted through the finish line for a change, even if he did turn his head to look at the clock before he crossed it. Yes, his reaction time out of the starting blocks was better than in Beijing and yes he was in the lead after just 20 meters, which is good work for a man of his height who usually loses the start to more compact sprinters.

But according to former world-record holder Donovan Bailey, Bolt straightened up too early on Sunday, thereby losing early propulsion.

“In Beijing, of all the finalists, he was the worst technically,” Bailey said. “He’s improved a lot, but he can still go faster and improve his first 30 meters.”

Guy Ontanon, a French sprint coach, analyzed the final Sunday for the French sports daily L’Equipe and also remarked on Bolt’s premature rise out of the drive phase.

“He really gave it what he had, which explains the time game,” Ontanon wrote of the race. “But he can still pick up five or six hundredths of a second. It’s monstrous to do what he did in this race despite that error.”

Monstrous indeed, Check out the video:

Catapult Technique vs Triple Extension in Olympic Weightlifting

Don McCauley has an interesting take on the evolution of modern weightlifting and how we coaches should be teaching lifters.  I’m amenable to many of his ideas, actually, and hesitant about others.   But, I thought I’d post all four of his Youtube vids on the subject for you to judge for yourself.

The good thing is, he’s thinking outside the box.  We could use more of that.