I’m coming to the end of the training cycle, and the meet is only a few weeks away. I’ve had some good sessions and some bad ones. My programming, done by Brian Carroll, has not been the reason that I have had bad sessions. I think the reasoning behind some of my bad sessions is that I have not been eating enough, and I have not been doing some of the things I know I should do in my warm ups.


Over the past two weeks, I have made a huge effort to increase my carbohydrate intake post-workout, and it is helping. Once I realized that this was one of my issues and decided to address it, things began to go better. As you may know, I am Carbohydrate Back-Loading with help from Kiefer.

When I began this journey, I was FAT and out of shape at 275 pounds. I was also weak. Since I began Back-Loading, I have lost close to 40 pounds of body fat and have gained an equal amount of muscle. Think about that for a moment. That is an 80-pound net change in body comp. This does not sound like it is even possible, but the skin fold calipers do not lie. I was well over 30% body fat when I started. I am now around 18-20%. Making progress like this, at my age, is hard for me to believe. I’m fairly confident that once I set my mind to losing the rest of the fat, I’ll have at least two rows of abs popping. I will not concern myself with this until after the meet.

I am also in the gross phase of fat loss. The bulk of the body fat is gone and the remaining fat is stubborn, and the skin is loose where the bulk of the fat loss occurred. Did I mention this is the gross phase? There is nothing more athletic looking than a bunch of loose skin around your waist and man boobs. It’s super hot and sexy.

Warm ups

I generally do a fairly complete warm up, but I never do all of the things I would make a client do. Why? Because I hate it. My left hip has been killing me for a long time, and getting it to feel better has been a challenge.

I get Graston/ART (Active Release Therapy) and a massage weekly, but it is not enough. In the past two weeks, I have added in specific hip mobility work, and it is WORKING. Why didn’t I do this earlier? I’m an idiot, that’s why.

Going forward, I will add more hip mobility work and begin dragging the Sled as part of my warm up. I stopped dragging the sled over the summer because the gym was about 2000 degrees, and it was draining my energy. Now that it is getting cooler, I will add it back in and see how it goes.


As I mentioned in my previous article, I expect progress way too fast, and I think I was aggressive in choosing openers in the squat. Most of the readers here are familiar with what an opener is, but for those that aren’t, an opener is the weight you lift at a meet as your first attempt. I think an opener is something you should smoke for at least a double. The goal is to get one lift on the books so you don’t bomb. You opener should be a guaranteed lift, if such a thing exists.

With this in mind, my squat opener was supposed to be 645 pounds. Hitting 645 pounds has been an issue in training, and it should not be. I decided this week to lower my squat opener to 600 pounds. This initially made me feel like a pussy, but when I review all of the things I said about this meet, I’m comfortable with it now.

I have said all along that I don’t care about my total. I do of course, but I care more about bombing. And choosing an opener too high is a good way to bomb. I have also realized that EVERY lift I make in this meet is a PR. I have NEVER lifted in the 275s. Thanks to Vincent Dizenzo for making me see the obvious.

The plan this week was to hit my last warm up for a double. In the workout, I hit 595 pounds, which was my planned last warm up for an easy double. I talked to Steve, and we made the decision, mostly he made the decision, that this was to be my opener. It is a good decision, and this is why you have training partners that you trust. Sometimes they see the forest through the trees when you can’t.

I did 420 pounds for 3 sets of 3, with the straps down in my Metal Jack Pro Squat Suit after that. Then I hit the Belt Squat. I love the belt squat machine and the Spud Inc. Squat Belt. It hammers the quads and saves my lower back.

I was out of time and had a client coming in, so I decided to roll and stretch and make up the Reverse Hypers and ab work later. Another good decision.

Bench day was next. My ass simply refuses to stay down on the bench. It has for years. You would think that having a giant hoop like I do would make it easy to stay down, but it does not. I can pretty much fix anyone’s ass coming up if I am coaching them, but when it comes to me, I am a mess. I’ll get it right by meet day. I need to focus on squeezing my glutes harder and pushing my knees out, as well as getting my feet further back and wider. This sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t. It just comes down to patience and focus.

The plan was to touch my last warm up and then my opener. I have been touching these weights fairly well, but my bench form has not looked good, and I wasn’t getting much out of my Metal Jack Bench Shirt.

Over the last two weeks, I have been using the shirt much better and my form has improved, and this has caused my ability to touch to disappear. I did not touch either weight, and I was pretty angry. Oh well, on to reverse band presses.

I used an EFS Pro Average Resistance Band and 405 pounds for these in the shirt with a 3 board. It sounds ridiculous, but Brian wrote it. So I did it. Guess what? It’s AWESOME. The reverse band work builds tricep strength and confidence. These will be a staple in my training from now on.

Some pump and tone beach muscle work was next, and I don’t even want to tell you what it was... but I will. Lateral raises and flys. I felt like I needed a string tank top and a pair of sunglasses with someone screaming at me while doing these. That’s how they do it in the bodybuilding magazines, right? I skipped the glasses and the tank top, but one of the guys did come over and scream “two more” as I did them.  I’m not sure if that helped.

On to deadlifts.

These were done at the S4 compound when I went out to coach at the LTT. I’ve been to the compound before but never trained there, and I was pretty psyched to do it. Before I talk about training, I’d like to talk about the LTT.

Dave Tate does something great with the LTT seminar. He assembles the best team of lifters and coaches for a weekend where you come out and learn more in two days than you will anyplace else.  Attending an LTT seminar is an experience that you will remember for a lifetime. You are in the room with some of the best lifters on the planet, and they are coaching YOU to be your best.

You get the chance to meet a group of people that have taken the time to come together and live, learn, and pass on. I cannot recommend attending one of these highly enough. When I was younger, things like this did not exist. This is an opportunity you should not pass up.

It is also done to help some very deserving kids through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The thought of this alone was enough to make me leave my family and business for three days and do my small part to help.

I am a creature of habit and do things at the same time, in the same place, all the time. Training is no different. You can set your watch by it: 3:30 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Not this weekend kids. We were training at 8:00 am.

I blame my shit ass performance on Harry Selkow, my BFF. The night before, Harry, Russstache, Brian Schwab, and Dave Kirschen drank beers in my incredibly well appointed Motel 6 room. Brian and Dave were smart enough to shut it down around 11:30 p.m. Harry and I, not so much. We went until about 2:30 a.m.

I set my alarm, and it said, “your alarm is scheduled to go off in three hours and fifteen minutes”. YEAH! Great decision. I woke up at 0-dark-30, and we went to breakfast and then on to the compound to train. I was exhausted, and it took forever to get in the proper mindset.

Everyone else was already going strong when I got there. The energy in the room was so strong that you could feel it when you walked into the gym. It reminded me of the old days at TPS.

My plan was to hit my opener of 525 pounds and then do block pulls. I am not used to lifting with photographers snapping pictures of me, and it was a little weird. I put it out of my mind and did my pulls. All went well until my set at 525 pounds.

I got to the bar and didn’t set my grip right. The bar fell out of my hand. It was not due to a weak grip; it was due to me being an idiot and not being patient. Instead of hitting it again, I went to block pulls and did them.

Losing my grip on the last pull didn’t mess with my head because I know why it happened, and I will not allow it to happen at the meet. I feel well prepared as I go into week eight, and I’ll get you a full report on that next week.

It was GREAT to see all of the people at the LTT seminar. People like Harry, Joey Smith, Kroc, Tate, Steve Colescott, Wendler, Matt Ladewski, Julia Ladewski, Molly Galbraith, Freakshow, Dave Kirschen, Matty Goodwin, Rhonda, and countless others are awesome people, and I am grateful to call them friends. I also met Brian Schwab for the first time and now call him a friend. I look forward to the next LTT seminar to see them all again.

On another note, I have mentioned that I am not the smartest guy in the world when it comes to my own training, right? If I had half a brain, I would have switched my deadlift workout and done it here and BENCHED at the compound. The bench has been giving me trouble, and I SQUANDERED an opportunity to have the Schwabster, Freakshow, and Joey Smith help me with it. Live and learn, right?

Thanks for reading and for all of the comments on my series. Thanks to Alex Sharon for the great feedback on the LTT seminar too. See you next week.

C.J. Murphy

If you are in the Boston area, stop in to Total Performance Sports to meet Murph.