My Training through Duggaesthetics

"The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else. I hate that" Arnold Schwarzenegger


(This post is being written in week 6 of the first training phase)

I've been training myself since 2014. I remember the first time Mitch, Naden, and I joined Synergy fitness because Frank got us a "deal." Wasn't really a deal but I digress. Loved that first gym. It was a nice mix of corporate and "meat-head" vibe. It had a great selection, good amenities, a great steam room, and punching bags/speed bags. They also had a large racquetball court turned into a half basketball court. Anytime I hear "Come and Get It" by Selena Gomez, my mind goes straight to that court (that was my first song many times at the time). From there I joined Lifetime Fitness in Syosset. God do I miss that gym. Platinum gym that looked like a giant mall full of equipment. Ran into Tobias Harris many times in the locker room (he's super nice and I wish him well with the Clippers). When I moved back to Ohio, I was still apart of Lifetime. They have locations in Dublin, Easton, and Pickerington. I enjoyed learning how to lift. What worked and what didn't. At some point, your own expertise will plateau you. This is why getting yourself a coach is so important to progression and optimization. They see things you don't. They are objective. The good ones know what they are doing. And the great ones live their words. 

Jordan and I have been working together now since June 6th. We have a unique arrangement set up. Back in the good ole days, people traded services for other services instead of money. We are doing the same thing. More on that when it's live! Anyway, since June, I've been on my first 6 week training program. I've been looking forward to this for awhile. I had been happy with my progress for a few years. I knew there were things I could be doing better though. An earlier post I also admitted a mistake I made my first year of grad school. I think it's entirely possible to focus 100% on multiple things if you have the right mindset and systems behind it.


First Six Weeks: Reality Check


“My greatest weapon over human beings begins with me getting them to drift. When a person begins to drift on any subject, he is headed straight to the gates of what you earthbound call hell... I can best describe the word “drift” by saying that people who think for themselves never drift, while those who do little or no thinking for themselves are drifters. A drifter is one who permits himself to be influenced and controlled by circumstances outside of his own mind. A drifter is one who accepts whatever life throws in his way without making a protest or putting up a fight. He doesn’t know what he wants from life and spends all of his time getting just that. Once any person hesitates, procrastinate or becomes indefinite about anything, he is just one step removed from my control.” Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill


HOLY CRAP! The first week I thought I was going to die. I was incredibly tight in a lot of areas, was winded about half way through, and couldn't finish the second day of training. This was a true wakeup call for me and the fact I have drifted off of the way I used to train. I remember after 2 quad exercises and after my first set of dumbbell lunges, I couldn't move. Embarrassed, I did finish the workout. A heavy dose of reality was given to me and only confirmed my suspicions that I was just going through the motions.  A large portion had to do with nutrition (my experience with bulletproof and possible food fear in a future post) I believe. I was putting in a lot more work. The body will naturally need more energy to fuel and recover. Here's the BIGGEST thing I can tell you 6 weeks in: Track your lifts. I rarely see anyone with a journal or something to write down their lifts. You are not that good at remembering your past lifts (trust me I've tried). I attribute that to being a huge component to just going to the gym, doing the same lifts, and not getting any better. I was doing a little less than maintaining. 

My nutrition plan was a huge adjustment and a pain point for me the first 4 weeks. I made excuses for not following my macro plan the way I should have. "It was too much food" or "Everything I read constricts what he has me doing." I think we can all fall into this trap with the amount of information that is out there. Here's the thing: there's more than one way to get the result you need. Here's another thing: Jordan knows a lot more than I do about nutrition. I do my research and I'm aware of a lot but he trains individuals to GAIN muscle systematically. I think a lot of these diets don't take this into consideration. It wasn't until Jordan and I were talking on the phone going over my check in and he said, "You're going to be a professional." THAT lit a fire under my ass. I always wanted to represent myself to anyone I work with that "I have put myself through the fire and I'll never ask you to do anything I have not done myself." I think those are the best coaches. Not to say I will be in the elite shape that the professional athletes will be working with are but somewhere near it isn't out of the question. It also makes me more relatable and believable as a coach. I'll be honest, I rarely have a black and white mentality on most concepts but anyone who is in the health, fitness, or human performance field that is dedicated to helping athletes and high performers achieve their highest potential and treats THEIR OWN body or mind like shit is a fraud will not succeed. YOU literally have the answers to the test of how to be healthy and if you don't take advantage of that, you are imposter and have no business working with athletes. There are levels of this of course but some baseline principles are necessary. If my accountant is broke, he clearly doesn't know what he's doing. So, the fifth week of my fuel plan I nailed. I had sat down that Saturday to figure out my Q3 goals and our new GPS system had me inadvertently choose one goal that had been holding me back from all of my goals. I had come to the conclusion that VICTORY OVER LACK OF MENTAL STAMINA was my new focus. I could execute my fuel plan perfectly on Monday and it just went down hill from there. I vowed to work on this goal and have tremendous success. Now this week, I want to do even better.  

It is authenticity, not mimicry, that best serves as the coach's initial linchpin toward establishing a strong connection with others. It is only by cultivating this authenticity that the last step of the three-part "Stages of Internal Identification" framework - where we close the gap from who we are to who we want to be - is possible. Conscious Coaching

I have finished up my first 6 week protocol and I'll tell you I've never felt better. I'm typically hard on myself so I tend to focus on what's been lacking but looking at the numbers have really helped. My chest growth isn't where I want it to be (this is me being hard on myself my bench has increased from week 1 to 6 to the highest I've ever been able to do) and Jordan suggested a slower eccentric motion and I had just started that this week so I'm excited to see the increases there. Here is where my lifts have gone in 6 weeks that I'm most proud of:

  • Rack Pulls: Week 1- 1x5 225lb, Week 6- 1x5 315lb 
  • Straight Bar Cable Rows: Week 1- 1x5 135lb, Week 6- 1x4 200lb 
  • Dumbbell Rows: Week 1- 1x8 75lbs each side, Week 6- 1x8 95lb each side, AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) 1x20 45lbs each side finisher 
  • Dumbbell Rear Delt Fly's: Week 1- 1x15 15's, Week 6- 1x15 25's (May not seem like much but for me it was huge)
  • Close Stance Leg Press: Week 1- 1x8 360lb, Week 6- 1x6 630lb
  • Bulgarian Split Squat: Week 1- 1x8 85lb (not great form), Week 6- 1x10 155lb
  • T Bar Rows: Week 1- 1x6 75lb, Week 6- 1x5 170lb
  • Deadlift- Week 1- 1x5 245lb, Week 6- 1x2 315lb (Back to my PR)
  • Sumo Leg Press- 1x10 270lb, Week 6- 1x15 540lb

Again, I wish chest had progressed better (I'm the strongest I've ever been so can't complain too much) but overall I'm happy with my results thus far. It took until about Week 4 until I had the stamina to go after each lift with maximum intensity. I attribute this phase to the big dial when you're dialing something in (most of you don't know what I'm talking about do you?) and this next 6 weeks will be getting the fine tune dial down. I'm excited to see some body fat drop along with gains in the chest and more overall muscle development.