RPS Jersey Rumble May 20th, 2017

I gave myself a few higher expectation this time.  Yeah, it was only my second meet, but after a year of practically training for power and nothing else I decided the time had come for me to at least somewhat challenge myself.  Hell, in the year since my last meet my Squat had finally hit the 300’s and my Deadlift was just 15lbs away from hitting 400.  My Bench Press?  I really don’t want to even go there.  But I knew going into this meet that my shoulders were absolutely fucked, a result of carrying around a leather shoulder bag by the handle because the strap was broken and having a bunch of weight pulling on my joints.  To make matters just a bit worse, I was at a park with my students the day before this meet and one of them asked me to play catch with him.  Of course I couldn’t just tell him no.  The problem?  Throwing a football requires a tad more force – or power! – than a regular ball, especially if you want to throw a spiral.  So yeah, my throwing arm was now even more fucked.  Just great.  This fuckin’ kid is so lucky I like him.

So I arrived at the Ramada Plaza Hotel just a tad more focused…and even more anxious than last time!  See, I had planned my opening lifts maybe just a week in advance, not because I was procrastinating, but because I wanted to feel comfortable knowing I was going to least pull those off – especially with the squat.  If there’s one very important psychological tool I learned from Jim Wendler, it’s that you want to be able to just bang out your Squat opener.  If you do that you’re confidence will sky rocket, if not, your confidence as a whole might just do a nice, big nose dive.

I weighed in at 179.8lbs, which was fine since this was my first meet in the 181lb weight class along with the Raw Modern division (knee sleeves or wraps), managing to hit 180lbs not even a handful of times in the last few months alone.  Since we were as early as we were I had plenty of time to take since pictures, but not many because almost as soon as I walked into the ballroom I almost immediately ran into PJ Santa Teresa, who was competing in the 198lbs weight class and the Raw Classic division.  He also won first place last year.  I ran into Eric Chase a few minutes later and the three of us just got lost in all things Powerlifting for while, with me even educating PJ on the Doug Young won the 1977 IPF World Championships with three broken ribs.  In fact he might be the topic of my next post!  So anyway, because I got stuck talking to PJ and Eric for a while I found myself not taking too many pictures.  But I sure noticed some sick new trophies!

This shit right here is exactly why I’d kill to win just one trophy from this fed.  So fucking metal.  Seriously.

So I made sure that this time around all my lifts were filmed and you can see them all right here!

But for the actual story, I already knew in advance that I’d be going for a 330lb squat PR for my final lift so long as my first two attempts were successful, which they were.  Once again, C4 was my buddy because was nice and warmed up, and real fuckin’ jumpy.  So after hitting my first two attempts of 280lbs and 305lbs I’m starring at the monolift with full concentration.  Trying to channel Doug Young; what you can’t hear in the video above is that I’m so into shit now that I’m growling as if I was Doug himself…only his growl was WAY more terrifying!  You know what…I think I AM going to write about Doug next.  Anyway, I’m feeling stuck at the half way point, all it took was me screaming “UUUUPPP!!!” at the top of my lungs and I had all three green lights.  Quick fun fact:  Both of my second squat attempts from this year’s Rumble and last year’s only had two green lights.

My Bench Press attempts were where it all started to go to shit, making me feel like all my energy must’ve gone into squatting.  As I said earlier…my shoulders were in shit shape, so my opener and second attempt, both green lighted, were a measly 150 and 160.  After the second attempt I was in so much pain that I lower my third attempt from 180 to 170, fearing an injury over just not getting the lift.  Here’s where I think I should’ve used a wider grip width because my grip alone was not an issue, having finally fixed that issue not too long ago.  But either way, as soon as the bar hit my chest it wasn’t going back up.

I had a lot of time to kill before Deadlifts so I spent it eating salty snacks and drinking gatorade, taking in as much sodium as I could, since sodium retains water as well as helps to restore electrolytes.  I also took my other bottle of C4, ensuring I’d have the energy I’d need if I though I was going to pull 420lbs.  I made sure I was focused, even if the preworkout alone wasn’t hitting me like it did for squats.  So I opened with 355 and my second attempt was 385.  After I hit that number I somehow felt confident enough to request 420 as my final lift.  This would’ve brought my total into the low 900’s.  After about ten minutes my flight (or group) was called up for our final attempts.  Eric told me he was just going for 400lbs, which appalled me a bit because I know he had more in him…although I now wish I did the same.  Eric hit his number beautifully, and I was a few lifters behind.

It’s now my turn, standing behind the bar, ammonia cap under my nose for extra stimulation, mid chest length hair down like I’m Dan Green or some shit.  I’m nervous and excited at the same time as I take a deep breath and manage to just rip the fuckin’ bar right off the ground.  But at the halfway point I got stuck and couldn’t lock out.  At all.  It was so bad I even dropped the bar, which you’re not supposed to do.  I’m now FURIOUS.  Slamming down my Inzer Forever Belt, all I wanted to do was throw shit everywhere.  After taking two minutes to kind of calm down I asked my girlfriend to show me the video.  And there it was – my hips went up way too early.  I was fucked from the beginning!  Was I that nervous that I wasn’t focusing on my body movements?  Most likely.  So now my total was going to be 875.

After my flight PJ went on to deadlift 550lbs for his second attempt and it was fucking FLAWLESS.

That look on his face at the end gets me every time.  He tried to go for 600lbs after this; he was just about to lock out when he BLACKED out instead, falling face first in front of the judge’s feet.  Rising blood pressure is a bitch.  He still managed to win 3rd place, by the way.

I plan on going back to the gym next Sunday and I’m going to start using Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 Boring But Big template, which is essential a Powerbuilding program.  I think it’s time for me to focus more on muscle mass for a bit, especially in regards to my chest and shoulders.  I’m also considering trying the Sumo Deadlift stance to reduce my range of motion and take some stress off my lower back and put it on my quads.

My stats for Jersey Rumble 2017:

Squat: 280, 305, 330 (PR) 3/3

Bench Press: 150, 160, failed with 170 2/3

Deadlift: 355, 385, failed with 420 2/3

Total: 875

Be sure to follow PJ and Eric on Instagram:

PJ Santa Teresa @pjironmind  Eric Chase @_echase

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                         Left to right: PJ Santa Teresa, Eric Chase, Angry Metalhead

Darkthrone Or Metallica: Which Training Are You? By Jim Wendler

Here’s my first blog of the year.  Haven’t been free to write sooner.  So if you follow me on Instagran @confessionsofanangrymetalhead you’ll most likely also see the hashtag #jimwendlerisgod underneath most of my lifting related posts.  Well, he is; and here’s one of many reasons why!

Underneath this is the link to a blog piece I just discovered on his website which pretty much sums of his training philosophy along with that of most real lifters using two very extremely different musical styles.  So click down below, read, enjoy, and ask yourself this: Are you real?  Or are you just a phony?

https://jimwendler.com/blogs/jimwendler-com/101066310-darkthrone-or-metallica-which-training-are-you

Quick Powerlifting Update

REvPS

I recently signed up for my second powerlifting competition, The RPS Jersey Rumble, happening on Saturday, May 20th at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Newark, NJ.  Unlike last year, where I competed in the 198lb weight class I’ll be in the 181lb class this time, since I dropped down to 172lbs since last May.  I’m still undecided on all my lifts.  I’m pretty sure I’m going for a 400lbs Deadlift.  I’ll either go for a 300lbs squat or I’ll go a bit higher.  My Bench Press?  QDisgraceful.  I might keep that real low.

I hope to start recording my meet prep soon.  It’s been so hard because while my new gym is surprisingly really good there are nights were it’s just so fucking overcrowded with college kids.  Fuck, I had to foam roll by the outside locker area just two nights ago because the entire designated stretching area was crowded.  A stretching area!  Oh yeah, since I last wrote in here I had to leave Sports Club because they increased my monthly payments without warning me.  Unacceptable.  I’m now at Blink Fitness, which surprising has five Hammer Strength power racks and Olympic bars with knurling so deep and juicy, as one of my Instagram followers put it, that it WILL rip up your shins during deadlifts and WILL rip the skin off your hands if your grip isn’t there.  I just wish it wasn’t so crowded at night!

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New Training Videos!, New Nails!

New Training Videos!

I restarted training at the gym last Sunday and so far things are going far better than expected.  I’m still doing 5/3/1 but I’m more focused on conditioning this time so each time I train I’ll just do two exercises and then it’s off to the bike I go since the gym won’t get another prowler until management begins renovations near summer’s end.  Lame.

I did just release two videos I was able to make on last week’s Overhead Press day and today’s Squat day and you can check them out below:

 

Explanations of each workout can be found in their entirety in the description boxes of each video.

I’m already eyeing my next meet and it’ll most likely be RPS’s Autumn Apocolypse in November, same hotel in Newark as the Jersey Rumble back in May.  I’m just hoping that by that time I’ll at least have my Squat and Deadlift in the 300’s and 400’s, respectively.  In fact, my friend Steve, who works at my gym told me he’d take me to the other gym he trains in, East Coast-West Coast in Carlsadt, in July.  I heard about this gym and in fact someone I met at my first meet posted up a video of himself training there.  This gym just looks so fucking badass.  It’s like Skiba’s in Carteret but bigger.  Here, just look at the gallery pictures:

http://eastweststrength.com/facility/nggallery/page/1

Note that some pictures will be of their California location.

I also am in the middle of recording two new original tracks and re-recording the first one I uploaded since I can do better with it.  I should be done, hopefully by the end of this week.  Be sure to subscribe to my channel to get updates on them.

Oh!  And here’s some of the shit that motivated me during my first week back in the gym:

New Nails!

Speaking of my Spotify playlist, in which you’ll see two tracks from Nails…anybody here as psyched up for this new fucking album as I am??  I’m most likely going to do a review on it after a few hundred listens or whenever I’m ready to get it out of my car, or so long as it doesn’t cause me to get into an accident because it makes me drive too fast…whichever comes first.

And if you aren’t as ready as I am check out their video for “Savage Intolerance” here!

The FYE by my apartment better have this come Friday.  I’d like to go see them in Philly on August 5th, I’ll just make sure I’m in the back of the room so I don’t die.  I have a feeling it’ll be even more brutal than when I went to see Crowbar last year for sure.

One Last Thing

I made a small post about this last night but I’m looking for underground bands to review.  If you’re reading this and you know of any extreme bands (death, black, grindcore, sludge, crusty sounding) that you feel should get looked at let me know in either the comment section below or private message me.

 

RPS Jersey Rumble May 21st, 2016

So here we are, May 21st has come and gone and I still haven’t even unpacked my bag days later.  I should though.  Whatever.  It was a hell of time…I just don’t know if my girlfriend or my father will come to one of these again just because of how long this meet was!

We arrived at the Ramada Plaza Hotel around 10:30ish, a good half an hour ahead of schedule for weigh-ins.  Having weighed in at 181 that morning I made sure to eat a nice big breakfast of four scrambled eggs, flank steak, an English muffin and grape flavored juiced aminos so I could make my weight class, which was 198 and when I weighed myself again before leaving I was 184.  So I’m ok, right?  Well, I guess all the cardio I was doing up until a week before this must’ve clearly put my metabolism into overdrive because when I was weighed in by Gene Rychlak’s mother-in law I weighed in at 182.8, having apparently dropped nearly two pounds during the ride, putting her in a panic in the event that I placed and would have to get weighed again.  But I assured her I was going to eat more and she was relieved…not that it mattered much because I knew I wasn’t placing in anything.

After weighing in I went into the hotel ballroom were the first wave of the day, featuring the Women’s and Juniors Divisions was still running.  Damn…it felt partially like a rock concert, partially like a biker convention.  Loud 80’s metal was playing, a banner in the background with Ed Hunter on it, lights on the stage like an 80’s concert, tattoos everywhere, dudes with serious muscle, some women with serious muscle.  You know, I have an issue with some women that choose to juice just so they can get the muscle mass they couldn’t get otherwise just because they naturally don’t carry as much muscle as men.  There were a few chicks that looked awful pretty but when they began to speak their voices where pretty damn low.  Also, since testosterone is supposed to help with burning fat I saw one or two chicks that legit had no titties – it was all pecs like a guy!  Not that I haven’t seen this before but if I ever come out of musical retirement I’m going to write a song about chicks on juice and call it “No Titties”.

On the table in the back was a whole bunch of trophies that the winners are actually allowed to pick from, which I think is pretty cool.  I’m assuming that Gene Rychlak or his designer are sick metalheads or just really into Conan The Barbarian because look at some of these trophies!

9d2b3458b8133eab201455c881742652  IMG_20160521_113453014 IMG_20160521_113438252_HDR  IMG_20160521_113445536_HDR

Then I saw a dude who looked like Bam Bam Bigelow back from the dead but instead of having the skull covering tattoo he had a nice, thick chain around his neck, like something you’d get at a hardware store.

Bam Bam Bigelow

Just tell me that isn’t badass – I even went up to him and told him it was badass!  Turns out he works for Gene and is his Minister of Information, as well as the guy who spotted everyone during squats.

Things were a bit delayed and we didn’t really start on time, but needless to say I smoked all my squat attempts, building up to 260lbs which my girlfriend took pictures of but didn’t film.  I did, however, get one red light for my second attempt at 245, most likely because I didn’t sink enough.  Some people thought I did it perfectly but I know what I felt.

showtime 3                                   showtime 4

 

 

 

That 260 felt easy.  The biggest relief, more so than even that, was that I had absolutely no rotator cuff problems; that was a huge concern for me going into this.  Starting with my third Bench Press attempt of 160lbs, my girlfriend finally started filming.  She had some issues with her old phone so she didn’t get the first two attempts.  So starting with the last Bench attempt and all three deadlift attempts everything is on film.

All my attempts were real easy, easier than I thought – especially that 360lbs Deadlift.  Although I have to say this: there’s nothing worse than getting psyched up for a lift and then really shitty music comes on.  Republica’s “Ready To Go” came on during my first attempt and then The Scorpions came on during the 360 attempt.  Fuck The Scorpions!  Couldn’t I lift to “Mr. Tinkertain” like a few guys got to do?  Now THAT would’ve been badass!

I went to get to the merch table to get my complimentary free shirt for competing and one of the dudes who spotted during squats told me “You need to put more weight on there, you totally smoked it.”.  So will I do this again?  Most likely, just a matter of when.  I also don’t know if my girlfriend would go with me again or that my dad would come and see me again because I didn’t get out until nearly 11pm!

 

 

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My Results:

Squat – 235, 245, 260

Bench Press – 130, 145, 160

Deadlift – 305, 330, 360

Total – 780

Check out Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate at http://www.revolutionpowerlifting.com

Final Thoughts

So, as of this writing, Nick Menza’s death has been a declared a massive heart attack brought on by heart disease.  At 51 years old that makes his death the ultimate heavy metal tragedy of the year unless something far worse happens.  That’s too young and while, most people are crying because the Rust In Peace-era reunion is surely not happening now, I feel far worse for his two kids.

And speaking of which, so how about that nice little damage control statement that Dave Mustaine released followed Nick’s death.  They were always close right?  Things happened and that’s why they didn’t get back together last year, right?  Funny because there are multiple interviews were Mustaine admits that it didn’t happen simply because he didn’t want it to happen.  So this benefit show he now wants to put together to help out his kids?  Like I said…damage control.  It’s true, isn’t it…that only the good die young?

 

Final Pre-Meet Workout Notes/First Megadeth Album Uploaded

First Megadeth Album Uploaded

So last night I got a bit bored and looked at the music on my laptop and saw that I had the first three Megadeth albums – not that remixed shit either!  Although I do in fact have the remixed 2002 re-release of Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good! along with the original.  So I decided to start uploading my Megadeth albums on my YouTube channel, starting with the original version of Killing.  Here’s the link:

Oh sure, Mustaine did a great job when this was remixed sixteen years later.  But this isn’t such a bad job considering they blew half their budget on speedballs and needed an extra four grand just to finish the record and STILL make it sound so BRUTAL!

Final Pre-Meet Workout Notes

I did my final squat workout last Thursday leading up to my Powerlifting debut next Saturday.  I pulled off 245lbs for a single, although if I wasn’t preparing for a meet I know could’ve hit more reps than that.

It was good but as I was starting my working sets leading up to that single I felt the bar press on my right rotator cuff so bad that it hurt for two more days afterward.  I need to work on my shoulder mobility this whole week because I’ll be squatting with a 65lb bar at this meet, which I’ve never done before, and I sure as fuck don’t feel like getting injured next weekend.

Aside from working on mobility I’m not doing any training this whole week.  It was a bit weird waking up today and NOT heading to the gym.  I’ll definitely plan to film my lifts on meet day as well as take as many pictures as I can.  I’ll be at the Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate Jersey Rumble on Saturday, May 21st 2016 at the Ramada Inn in Newark, NJ.  I’m competing in the 198lb Amateur division and my wave starts at 2:30pm, although I’ll have to be there by 11am for weigh-ins and have the rules given to me at noon.

“Hey, I hear you don’t like beatdowns?!” Shadows Fall live at L’Amour: August 10th, 2003

I first read up on Shadows Fall in a brief one page Guitar World article in 2000, discussing the release of their newest album, Of One Blood, which featured the debut of vocalist Brian Fair.  I’m pretty sure I still have that magazine in my attic somewhere in a big ass bin of old GW back issues….along with a shit load of Muscle And Fitness mags that I stole from my ex-job…several times.  Those security guards were and probably STILL are dumb as SHIT.    All these years later I can’t remember why it didn’t get my attention much in a time when Pantera was just a month away from releasing Reinventing The Steel, and shit rap-metal and pussy pop punk was king; but it was most likely because I read that they mixed thrash and death metal with rhythm guitar Matt Bachand’s love of new-age music.  At that time I most likely too young or ignorant to understand the idea or even give it a listen to see how the band melded such styles together.

That changed two and a half years later, by which point I was a few weeks into my college career.  They once again were featured in Guitar World, this time discussing their newest album, The Art Of Balance.  This time around, the article focused on the fact that lead guitar Jon Donais actually shreds his ass off on the record.  Both he and Matt discuss their love of all kinds of metal, as well as the fact that at that point in time the ONLY other guitarists known for TRULY shredding it up were Dimebag Darrell and Zakk Wylde.  True story.  So I was interested.  Then, I started seeing ads for the album in magazines featuring quotes from these rave…and I mean RAVE…reviews, calling Shadows Fall “The Next Metallica”, on the heels of the fact that this CD was supposed to have such a purist, old school thrash feel.  Ok…I was sold.  So I went to Sam Goody, maybe around Christmas time, bought the CD, and my ass was instantly KICKED so hard.  The riffage was very thrash.  Jason Bittner’s drums were so precise and so freaking fast on his debut recording with the band, Brian Fair really did sound like Ride The Lightning – era James Hetfield.  Then, there was those guitar solos.  Jon Donais is an AMAZING lead guitar player.  There are guys who shred to blow their load by showing off their knowledge of every scale known to man and there are guys like Jon who shred with aggression, technique…and feel.  GASP!!!  Not too long after this I finally heard Of One Blood and realized what I was missing out on because that record is even MORE brutal than The Art Of Balance!

Sometime in the summer of 2003 I was in a Hot Topic – the second to last time I ever went into one – and I found myself talking to the guy behind the counter, whose name I no longer remember.  The discussion turned to musical styles.  Around this time, the nu-metal/rap metal train was close to FINALLY crashing, but so-called hardcore with breakdowns that the kiddies would breakdance too was starting to become the new trend.  This guy played in a band called Resin and they liked to do those breakdowns.  Too bad.  But he told me that his band would be opening for Chimaira and Shadows Fall within a month and he had to sell tickets (gee, I wonder where I heard that shit before) and of course I told him I’d go.  They were practically THE only modern metal band I was giving the time of day.

So a month later my mom insisted on driving me to L’Amour on 63rd St, most likely because she was a sissy who couldn’t bare the thought of my taking car service there even though I had done it just three months earlier, when I was last there to see Superjoint Ritual.  No sooner did I close the door to her car did I hear a voice yell out to me “Hey!  I hear you don’t like beatdowns??”.  I turned around there was all of Resin.  In the middle was their gruff looking singer, who yelled out to me.  To the left was the guy from Hot Topic…who clearly had a great memory!  So we spoke for a few minutes and they gave me my ticket.

Going into the show, which was an Ozzfest ’03 off-date, the bill was once again HEAVILY booked by the idiot guineas that ran the place.  I think the first band I remember seeing was this band of kids who did a cover of Sepultura’s “Roots Bloody Roots” that was played waaaaaayyy too fast.  Even when I was that age I never understood why younger bands just need to speed up even those songs that need to be played a little slower.  Is it nervousness?  Is it lack of understanding of dynamics?  The original tempo for the song was just right because it allowed Igor to put the right kind of groove in there and, more importantly, it allowed the heavy ass riffs to breathe.  Most times, fast never equates to heavy.  Heavy is not about tempo, or even volume for that matter.  It’s about attitude.  If you’re a young musician and you’re reading this, don’t ever forget this.  Dynamics, more important than ANYTHING else in terms of songwriting.

While seeing this one band one the main stage, whose guitarist was clearly trying so hard to be Dimebag Darrell, I recognized Jon Donais standing literally feet away from me.  I went over to him to discuss the band on stage because the guitar player was in fact really good and he put on the biggest smile and even gave me his full attention.  That solidified to me once for all the humility of the underground guys.  They were playing their first huge festival tour as The Art Of Balance was selling 100,000 copies, the first album in Century Media Record’s history to do so and they were still down to earth guys.  I went up to Brian Fair after seeing Jon and he too was a cool guy.  I saw a few more local bands including Full Blown Chaos yet again (and they sounded like shit yet again!) and Chimaira came out.  Long story short: they sucked.

Shadows Fall went on around 10pm and, long story short: they blew Chimaira out of the fucking water within the first minute of being up there.  Although that part wasn’t hard.  They were so good, playing songs from the two most recent CDs.

The Setlist:

Idle Hands

Crushing Belial

The Idiot Box

A Fire In Babylon

Stepping Outside The Circle

Thoughts Without Words

Of One Blood

Destroyer Of Senses

Serenity

The show was fucking incredible…and I totally forgive Brian Fair for wearing a Clash t-shirt that night!  Someone in the middle of the set he asked us if we BOUGHT the new album and I’m pretty sure most of the crowd responded pretty positively…by which I mean horns in the air and loud chanting.  You could tell it meant a lot; let’s face it, bands in his position NEVER sell 100,000 copies of a record or even make that in combined album sales.  And that was a minor miracle compared to the success the band would see a year later!  What I did NOT know about that night was that it would be my last time going to L’Amour for anything.  They’d close down just over five months later in early February 2004.

Final Thoughts

Here’ a brief video of me squatting 235lbs for 6 reps without a belt last Thursday night.

I managed to pull this off without a belt and it was surprisingly easy.  Starting this week I began final preparations for my first meet happening on May 21st in Newark, NJ.  As of this past Sunday I’m focusing only on the big three lifts and light cardio, making my training sessions considerably shorter.

New Nails Video!, First ever training video

New Nails Video!

Ok.  First things first: Anyone here see the new Nails video yet?  No?  Well here is the new video for title track to their upcoming Nuclear Blast Records debut, You Will Never Be One Of Us, coming out on June 17th.

…yeah…super brutal.  And that was just a minute and a half – just imagine what the rest of this shit sounds like!  If you’re a regular reader of my blog and you haven’t figured it out yet…yeah…I’m becoming a HUGE fan of these guys real quick.

First Ever Training Video

So today began week 3 of my current 5/3/1 cycle so I decided I want to go all out and see how many reps I can get at the last set of each big move – the Deadlift in this case.  I managed to pull 310lbs for 6 reps.  It’s a PR for sure, although I forgot to mention that I did pull 315 for 4 reps back in February.  Here’s my routine for the day:

Deadlift

125lbs – 1 x 5

155lbs – 1 x 5

185lbs – 1 x 5

245lbs – 1 x 5

275lbs – 1 x 3

310lbs – 1 x 6

Leg Curl

60lbs – 1 x 10

90lbs – 1 x 10

120lbs – 1 x 6

This was all followed by 7 1/2 minutes on a stationary bike.

Here’s the video:

Much better than I expected.  In fact my bodybuilder doppelganger Jon texted me back just now, telling me: “holy crap!  I got winded just watching!!”.  I plan to make a few more of these soon.