EFS Classic: 10 Things I Learned from Vincent Dizenzo

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10 Things I Learned from Vincent Dizenzo

elitefts™ Sunday edition

I’ve been training with my man crush, Vincent Dizenzo, for about three-and-a-half years. Over that time, I learned a whole bunch of things, some of which are just plain common sense and others that are not-so-obvious at first. I’d like to share a few of these in hopes that they may help you get where you’re going.

So here they are:

1. Psychology This is probably the best one of them all. I saw this first hand at the IPA Worlds in June 2007. Vincent was going after his 600-pound bench for the third time. Everything was off that day. The rack was too high, and we were having trouble with the lift-off. The bench was too high, and he was having a hard time driving his heels into the ground. We miss-timed the warm-ups, and he sat for about 45 minutes after his last attempt in the back room. Nothing was falling into place the right way. At one point, I looked over and saw Vincent with his eyes closed, talking to himself. I took this as a sign to leave him alone. As it turns out, he pretty much talked himself down from the ledge. He WILLED himself to succeed, and he did, setting the IPA unequipped bench World Record at 600 pounds. No matter how he feels, he’ll always answer, “I’m feeling f***ing great!” There are no excuses for having a bad day. It’s your job to put yourself in the right frame of mind to succeed.

2. Breathing This is another lift-saver. This is very simple and effective. When you get nervous and start hyperventilating or thinking about the lift too much, just start breathing. It’s as simple as that. Breath your air deep into your belly and let it out. While you’re breathing, count. For me, it’s three seconds in and three seconds out. If you count in your head, you won’t be able to think of anything except your breathing. It will take your mind off of whatever it is that’s bothering you, including your girlfriend or wife.

3. Toes up This is great for squatting, pulling and benching...if you bench flat-footed. We all know that we need to have most of our weight on our heels when we lift. The easiest and most effective way I’ve found to do this is by lifting my toes up in my shoe. Every time, I relive ym childhood. Remember the times you used to get new shoes? The shoe helper would always ask us to pick our big toe up so he/she could see where it was in relation to the front of the shoe. This same tried and true method of sizing shoes will also help keep your weight on your heels while smashing PRs.

4. Video Video all of your lifts. This is not to include sex with your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband, unless you or they are good looking and you want to send me a video. This is the best way to see what you’re doing. Your training partners can tell you what you’re doing wrong or right, but it will only really click when you see yourself doing it. Cameras are cheap and an invaluable way to better all of your lifts.

5. Leg drive in the bench It’s just like you’re “on the bottom.” Drive those hips as if...whether you’re a flat-footed or “on your toes” bencher, the key to victory is keeping your hips up just like you’re fornicating with your significant other(s). Before you take the hand-off, get your hips up by squeezing your glutes and hamstrings. Your hips should stay up throughout the entire lift. Once you get the “rack” command, you can let them drop back down.

6. Breathing revisited Hold your breath. If you let your air out, you change your body position under the bar. This isn’t so important while squatting because in some federations there is a “squat” command and you need to take another breath. However, on the bench, it’ll kill you. Hold your air in until you’ve completed your set. If you’re doing more than three reps, try to keep it in. It’s a must in the 1–3 rep range. Vincent is a 300-pound asthmatic. If he can hold his breath for the first 25 reps at 225 on his way to 40 with only one more breath, you can do it. Besides, almost blacking out is a sweet high. Very inexpensive.

7. Diet and supplementation Put the good stuff in your body. Every big bastard (275 and above) eats crappy food. We love it. The cholesterol flows through our veins and our hearts skip beats as if to say, “WTF is wrong with you? Why are we so big?” But, at the end of the day, all of us fat guys eat a pretty clean diet. I’m no nutrition expert, but there are a few very simple things that Vincent taught me:

  • get at least your body weight in grams of protein
  • eat lots of dead animals
  • drink milk
  • eat pasta/potatoes/rice
  • eat lots of eggs
  • do this every day
  • drink a gallon of fluid
  • do this every day

As far as supplements go, do what you will. The supplements that Vincent and I use are:

Whatever you choose to use, be consistent with it, just like your food intake. If you put the pieces together, it’ll turn out well for you.

8. Sleep You’re supposed to get one hour of sleep for every two hours that you’re awake. This is how you know how much sleep you need every night. If you have the next day off, go to bed at your usual time as if you had to get up for work. Don’t set your alarm. When you wake up, look at the clock. Do some simple math and that’ll tell you about how long you need to sleep. If you get enough sleep, you should not “need” an alarm to wake you up, no matter what the hour. If you're a fellow fat guy with apnea, go get a sleep study. Do ALL of the things you need to do so that you get a good, restful sleep. Sleep deprivation will destroy your life, not just your lifting. Ask Chad Aichs about his sleep deprivation. It’s a serious problem that can be fixed if you’re willing to do it. It took me almost making out with a bridge abutment at 80 mph before I got my study at the behest of Big Vinny. It turns out that I hold the record in the Southside crew. I stopped breathing 136 times per hour—ten more than the next man.

9. Expect to move big weights This one is as simple as it sounds. Expect to lift big. Just because you might not be able to do it now doesn’t mean you can’t do it in the future. Vincent’s worst lift was the bench. He was a 750-pound squatter and a 700-pound deadlifter in the 242-pound class (that sounds funny, doesn’t it?) and he had a single-ply dishcloth for a squat suit. Two ruptured discs led him to being a bench specialist. Along the way, he held a World Record in the 275 class and a World Record unequipped and was one of the first guys to bench 800 pounds. The list goes on. He didn’t go into benching thinking that he’d hold these records and accomplishments. He just kept training and the numbers kept falling. He expects me to squat 1000 pounds. He expects me to deadlift 800 pounds. He prays that I learn how to bench, but that’s a whole other story. Expect greatness from yourself...and you’ll get it. Greatness isn’t measured in World Records. It’s measured in setting and breaking your own goals and records.

10. It’s ok if you get turned on by tranny porn Some of you know what I’m talking about...and some of you don’t.

I hope some of these things help you. They’ve helped me a ton!

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