I never said this shit was easy

I know that you're busy but I've had a problem lately and i hoped maybe you could help. I'm a college freshman, and I’ve been following the CFFB program for several months now and have seen some spectacular gains. However, I took two weeks off to move to college and get used to my new routine.  I expected some slower gains and maybe a loss on some of my weights, but when I went to the university recreational center and tried to continued my programming, I found that when I used to do 300 on my squat 3x5 I couldn't even do 250 without a failure.  I've seen similar losses on most of my lifts, and I find myself burning out after just a couple rounds of the METCON.  I've checked the weights, and they're not in kilograms.  I know that there's probably not much that can be done but work my way back up, but any advice would be helpful.  I've lost over a month's worth of progress.


Chris S


First, I never said this shit was easy.

It has been a few years since I have trained in a college rec center, and I can only imagine the nonsense that goes on. 30 guys all cultivating the Justin Bieber look while training their “core” because Usher recommended it in US Weekly, all while Katy Perry’s Firework plays on repeat. Sorority girls trying to burn off all those extra trips to the soft server machine in the dining hall. That alone is enough to crush your test levels and leave you watching your lifts plummet.

Second, get a set of headphones and an iPod. Load it up with a mix of West Coast Rap, Pantera and Slayer. I know you are young and have no idea what I am suggesting, but do a search. Look for N.W.A, Ice Cube, Too Short, Cypress Hill…if you find Vulgar Display of Power and Reign in Blood you are golden. Enter your fortress of solitude and do not allow the bubblegum bullshit being propagated by your peers to kill your training session. Remember increased anger results in higher test levels. 

*Anger and testosterone: Evidence that situationally induced anger relates to situationally induced testosterone by Peterson CK, Harmon-Jones E.

Third, find the coffee shop infested with hipsters riding fixes and grad students with messenger bags; it should be close to campus. Order a 4 shot Americano in a small cup and drink it as you walk into the gym.

Fourth, I want you drop your squat down to 230lbs for 3x5 and start working your way back up on the linear progression. To make the linear progression work we need 15 reps a movement. Sometimes, the toughest part of lifting weights is taking the ego out of it.

Fifth, I want you to ditch the metcon until you start making gains on the linear progression. If only after 3 weeks of gains, do I want you to add the metcons back into your training. Just get the work done, no time and no going for broke. I don’t want you to push the conditioning until you feel strong. You just got back to college, and your old routine of training, eating, and recovery, got traded in for class, studying and sleepless nights. That can be taxing your body and CNS.

Sixth, find time to nap. In between classes, and especially on Saturday and Sunday. When you are young a nap can cure almost anything.

And I will leave you with this quote from Dick Vermeil.

“If you don't invest very much, then defeat doesn't hurt very much and winning isn't very exciting.”



Posted in Aggressive, Lifting Weights, Mental, Talk to Me Johnnie, Training | Tagged , , , , , , | 37 Comments

37 Responses to I never said this shit was easy

  1. C. Lake

    That picture of the girl in the orange shirt with the wheel cracks my shit up.

  2. Kevin Poff

    I like how they post scientific studies on shit people who lift weights alread know.

  3. Alec

    Great recommendations John. Thanks for the reminder about Pantera, I haven’t listened to them since middle school.

    I also recommend Wu Tang Clan, and some of the solo members’ stuff, Gza, Rza, Raekwon is legit.

  4. Mike

    I am in a similar situation, only about 10 years down the road. In college I was able to work out almost 2 hours a day. Now with kids, a career, a wife with a career, it’s hard to train for anything continuously. Frequent, intermittent layoffs of just a couple of weeks find me backtracking more than I’d like. Such is life. Do what you can, the best you can, and don’t worry about the rest.

  5. I just wanted to make the point that some of us ladies (and some dudes, I might add) do actually prefer delicious bubblegum pop — err, for me hip hop and r&b — over ear-grating, panic-attack-inducing death metal. Seeing as how these CFFB workouts already give me panic attacks, I tend to perform better with contemporary auto-tune stylings than I do with guitars. Like the man himself, R. Kelly, once said, ‘there aint nothin wrong with a little bump n grind.’ What he meant was, ‘if you’d rather feel sexy as opposed to pissed when you’re about to lift heavy things, that’s okay’.

    But if the testosteronious ‘get angry’ rush is indeed what you need, why stay in the past? Live life in the present and find yourself some fresh Trapaholics mix tapes. Trust me. They do wonders for my husband.

  6. Los Fettingeros

    Chris- how much alcohol are you drinking? how much did you drink before college? same consider the same before and after question for water consumption and sleep.

  7. Thor

    God I miss WC, Mack 10, and old Jeri Curl Ice Cube…

  8. Frances

    Very useful. I just started second year of college and realized getting enough sleep is getting harder as well as getting the workouts done. Luckily I organized myself so I could eat as much as before and sleep at least 8 hours a day, and take naps here and there.
    Excellent advice and choice of music, although I like firework, just not when I’m working out lol.

  9. Heavy Evy

    Dear America,

    You gave us Miley Cirus, We gave you the “Beibs’.
    I’d say we are even.


  10. Uncle Rico

    John.. rad TTMJ article. C. Lake, I don’t think anyone else got that, but that shit was funny.

  11. Lauren,

    We know that excessively “bathing” a women’s muscles in lactic acid produces a powerful growth hormone response, resulting in some impressive strength gains.

    Excessively “bathing” me in bubblegum pop and bump & grind will have the opposite effect and put my t levels in the toilet.

    Good on your for trying to emasculate the men around. I am sure you make your guy sit down when he takes a leak and watch all the season of Gossip Girl on DVD while you give each other mani/pedis.




  12. Joe N

    I just lost my shit with that last comment of yours, John.

  13. Bwahahahahaha, I recommend the Eazy E station on pandora. Beautifully stated.

  14. Spot on! I run the University of NV, Reno’s Rec center and you nailed it with the description. I am lucky enough to have a CF and OLY program…so the “Bieber” boys aren’t as bad because they are exposed to some effective training. Love the blog and CFFB!

    I have control of our music we pump in…we keep it clean with ALT Rock…but give me WU or PANTERA anytime.

  15. haha this is a sick blog. 4 shots of coffee + heavy music introveniously injected via headphones in a globo. Dedicate ur lifitng to the non believers.

  16. You might occasionally benefit from listening to The Wicked Tinkers, especially tracks like:



    Bagpipes and drums have a really positive effect on making shit happen.

  17. mad article funny as fck. yeah 4 coffess and heavy music injected via headphones is guinna get u serious..maybe even dedicate a few lifts to the non belivers. alright got me physched up just nailing my coffee and into some grave diggaz ready for daily session from givemcoldsteel.com.au


  18. Tommy

    Just threw up from laughing.


  19. Frances

    In the end you have to listen to what you like otherwise why would you listen to it in the first place? Russian weightlifters listen to crappy russian techno and they are strong as fuck. But seriously how can you get througha workout with bieber and the like on hahah

    Johm your last post was legendary, glad I read this before eating haha

  20. Frase

    love this blog too….. Simple answer… Lift heavy (safely) and rest in peace. For your next trip to the record store I suggest “rhythm amongst the chaos” by Terror. A 17 minute LP designed to evoke the hormones and create physical synergy. Another devotee of cold steel. Love your work TTMJ!

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  22. Well, just to clarify ours is surely a Bieber-free household … there is a difference between sexy and castrated!! Thankfully, I married a man who does pee standing up and do other manly things like play video games, follow your training program and eat all of the fattier parts of our grass fed ribeye steaks. 🙂

  23. PD

    Lauren’s guy here chiming in (seriously, we’re married). Just to add my 2 cents to the conversation… we have been lifting hard, fast and heavy at Ironsport in Philly, seeing massive gains with CFFB and the occasional R. Kelly song, BUT we’re both switching to the Free Flexor. Thanks for your awesome programming, John, but how can you compete when free weights only train one angle of the muscle in one direction — http://youtu.be/H6uNTpYtacw and http://www.freeflexor.com/

  24. NJ

    Surprirsed noone elsed mentioned to have a doctor check up. Mono and other health considerations should not be over-looked, especially in a college setting.

  25. little jen

    homegirl in the grey pants/blue shirt is sweating….

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  27. freddy c._one world

    One of my favorite TTMJ posts! Check out my brother’s band, Forbidden, when you get a chance. Bay Area metal from the late 80’s in on a comeback. Love me some Exodus and Death Angel!

  28. McQ

    One of my favorites for working out is Most Precious Blood. Can’t go wrong with hardcore, though. Hatebreed, Madball, Merauder, Sick of it All, Sheer Terror, Crowbar.



  29. tcully

    Uncle Rico and C. Lake, I got it and I’m still laughing.

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  31. Ryan Mac

    Composure by August Burns Red. I’ve set more PR’s listening to that song than any other.

  32. Mike

    Is it just me, or is Justin Beiber a dead ringer for Hillary Swank?

    Great training tune? “Higher” by Redlist. Gets your anger…and subsequently, your testosterone, up.

  33. Mark PTasnik

    John, what about the album IOWA by Slipknot?

  34. Pingback: » Workout Wednesday August 20th, 2014

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