Hi Anthony, could you introduce yourself?
My name is Anthony Mychal, and I’ve been wandering around the fitness industry for a while. I have a Bachelors degree in Exercise Science and Masters degree Health and Physical Education, even though they aren’t worth much when it comes to training athletes. When I was in school, I did a bunch of internships with the sports teams and taught basic weight training classes. I also taught and coached at a few local schools. It wasn’t until earlier this year that I decided to start writing and blogging.
What is your training approach?
This is a loaded question! The answer is: it depends. Every athlete has different demands, so it’s tough to lay a blanket like this. Most of the times, however, it’s developing a solid level of GPP for everything else to feed upon. For strength, I keep most loads submaximal, and don’t go to failure often. For conditioning—whatever that word means anymore—it’s usually developing aerobic capacity. A lot of sports need aerobic work, but few recognize it in today’s high intensity interval training hyped world.
But, again, this is so dependent upon who comes to me for help, and what sport (and position within) I’m working with. I view my job as an intermediate between staying healthy and performing optimally.
Personally, I follow a four day split right now, training out of habit. Although I’m mostly in it for recreational purposes, I do play a few sports in the summer. You can consider right now the early off season for me, so I’m unwinding with some lower loads and doing some bodybuilding inspired workouts.
What is your diet approach?
Personally, I’ve fallen in love with intermittent fasting. I know it’s in vogue right now, but it fits my lifestyle perfectly. I love how my body can deal with hunger. Before, it was like a death sentence. I would panic. But I’ve made the best gains of my life after switching to IF and eating two meals per day. I love it, and I don’t plan on changing any time soon.
Aside from blogging at http://anthonymychal.com/, what does a typical day for you look like?
I wake up at 6:30AM and take care of e-mails and other remedial tasks until 7:00AM. I’ll get a light stretching and mobility session in as some coffee brews. I’ll write until 12:00PM, strictly for magazine purposes. If I’m training that day, I’ll do it from 12:00-2:00PM.
Then it’s a combination of blogging, writing, and working with online clients until 7:00PM. Of course, I’ll take mini-breaks here and there to keep my sanity. But between maintaining http://anthonymychal.com/, writing for magazines and other publications, writing my soon-to-be-release eBook on Athletic Knee Pain, writing two other eBooks, working with my clients, and developing a new website, my attention is accounted for. After 7:00PM, I’ll relax and watch some TV. Around 9:00-10:00PM, I’ll wind it down and have a light foam rolling session and read until I fall asleep.
As you can see, my day is tailored to advancing my writing career right now.
What is the worst thing you see people doing?
Trying to progress too fast. Few train consistently and can never add weight to the bar or get better in whatever it is that they are training for. This is why I’m not a huge Max Effort fan for most athletes (although there are exceptions). It’s just not necessary. All you’re doing is blowing your nervous system on a consistent basis, and wasting reserves that can be used for other, more pertinent, things.
There are two important principles that I follow in this regard: “slow cook it, but never get too far away from it,” and, “stimulate, don’t annihilate.” Less injuries, more progress.
What mistakes have you learned from?
A lot. First, I used to train my athletes like Powerlifters. But I’m glad to say those days are over. I also used to think high intensity intervals were the end all of “conditioning,” but I learned better.
Personally, it had to be my knee pain fiasco. I squatted so many times when my knees were aching, and I regret it. I have a theory. Every time you train through pain, it takes one session of training without pain to undo the damage you’ve done. I squatted for a year or two with horrid knee pain. Guess how long it took me to fix it? Yeah, about a year or two.
And I did nothing but experimentations during that year. I lost everything. Strength, power, explosiveness, energy systems work, size. Everything. I knew if I kept training my upper body, I would lose focus. When I came back, I was much better off. As Buddy Morris said, “If you try to correct one thing at a time, you have an 85% success rate. Introduce another one, and it immediately drops to 37%. Try for three? Best of luck.”
That’s why I have no sympathy for my clients that get depressed when I tell them to take an eight-twelve week period to deal with their issues. It’s not that long all things considered.
As Vasily Alexeev said, “It seems to me that some of the talented athletes lack one thing—they haven’t had an injury. That’s right! An injury that will put them out of commission for a year during which time they’ll have a chance to weigh every-thing. I, too, would not be where I am if I had not injured my back. I suffered for a year and a half thinking everything over … After a misfortune, people pull through and become, if possible, great people – and sportsmen, in particular. Those who are stronger find their way out and to the top …”
You write a lot about knee pain, a common problem seems to be pain on the patellar tendon and swelling of the tuberosity. What are your top tips for dealing with such a problem?
Most people with chronic knee issues have an angry rectus femoris that spawns from awful mobility and lackluster knee support. By this, I mean the hip and the ankle are the dysfunctional links in the chain, not the knee. When you think about the knee, it flexes and extends. Not much happens there. It’s a boring joint. But above it, you have the hip, which has the strongest muscles in the body attaching to and originating from it. It can flex, extend, abduct, adduct, rotate, etc. The ankle has a lot of responsibilities too. My formula looks like hips + feet = knees.
We loved your article on auto-regulation, how would you go about testing your performance for an upper and lower body day. My personal approach is to do heavy singles on days you perform well and speed work on bad days.
I’m not a huge fan of Max Effort work, so I stay away from 90-100% 1RM work for the majority of my (and client’s) training. Speed work is also very neurologically demanding, so I wouldn’t consider it on a “light” or “bad” day. In fact, I think this is one of the problems a lot of smaller guys face when they follow a Westside Template. It’s all intensity all the time. Smaller guys don’t need that.
Buddy Morris once said that he used to, “lighten up guys with bodybuilding.” Tommy Konno also used to focus on higher repetition ranges the weeks after a Weightlifting competition. These higher rep zones are underutilized in today’s anti-bodybuilding mindset, and as long as they aren’t taken to failure, are a little less stressful and more suited toward a “light” day.
But if you’re going to autoregulate, what I go over in the article you’re referencing is a good method. Like I said, it has to be a gross process. Another way to do it is to have an intensity zone, say 70% 1RM on the one end, and 85% on the other. If after your warm up you feel great, go more towards the 85%. If you’re not, steer towards the 70%. Use Prilephin’s Table to work out the volumes.
If you’re interested in heavy singles and whatnot, I’d do a variation of the old Bulgarian method. Work up to a “set in stone” heavy single every time you train. Let’s say you can pull 405 on a consistent basis for one rep. Every deadlift session, pull 405 for a single. Base the rest of your workout on how the 405 felt.
What is your opinion on rest days? Should you always strive to do some kind of activity?
For the most part, I think we should do something. That’s not to say there will be a barbell in your hands every day, but everyone can benefit from a light mobility or soft tissue session with perhaps a few easy calisthenics mixed in. It keeps the body in a groove.
That’s all, thanks Anthony!