Confessions of a Lift-a-holic

So I’m pretty sure that Lift-a-holic is a real thing and I decided that since I am suffering from not lifting and i’m itching to train… maybe this is exactly what I am.

So for the record – I placed 4th at the Ontario’s qualifying myself for the Nationals which I will attend in the summer of 2015! I can’t wait!

After finishing the show, I took some time off training and eating within my plan. It’s Wednesday now so i’ve only been off since Saturday post show, but let me tell you taking this time off was one of the hardest things to do.

I think most people would say they have an issue with their bingeing, some may even have an issue with self image… Myself, I have an issue with taking time off the gym.

Thinking back to the last few years, I don’t think i’ve spent more than 14 days total out of the gym. I made sure everytime I went on vacation etc I was always lifting. Some of you may say ” FUCK YA ! MERICA!!!” but really, what happens to my identity when I take a couple days off the gym…
There is so much more substance to everyday life. I found myself lost with no idea what to do with a full day to myself… no obligations, no meals to get in… just to live. Needless to say I was up from the crack of dawn to the peak of the evening because I was full of unused energy. I started to think more and more about how little time off I had, and the post I made last week about resting and how your body loves it… and here I am reflecting on the advice I seldom take for myself. Here I am likely on the edge of burning out and I had no idea.

I feel like a caged animal right now, and although “no rest days ever” is something I hear a lot of, I doubt those people are able to give it their whole self, their whole mental focus. I want to be able to perform my best. This time off made me think about a lot of things in terms of my family, friends, training, nutrition, whatever else. I mean – it’s not like I completely neglect my friends and family and all that… If you know me you know me as Beaner – the freaking nut job 5 foot 2 rager. I go to concerts and I mosh… I throw people around and get flying elbows to the head. Sometimes those emo floppy salmon kids who do that stupid throwdown kick me in the head… All of that stuff is my thing. No matter how dead I am I make sure I get to enjoy those times.

At the same token, even though I enjoy that, I also have myself so caught up in getting training in, when it comes time to wind down at night James and I are like, ok lets just go to bed. Sometimes Jubilee is ready to party and we’ve only had one little walk… or we’ve only got to do her OB work for a short time. I hate that feeling. It rides on my conscience.

These couple of days, although busy because I’m trying to invest much more time into my business and my upcoming camp with Ella, i’m running the club while Kim and Gord are on Holidays… They made me think more about what the hell i’ve been doing all of these years. Yeah i’m a freaking liftaholic… I don’t get my fix I get wild. Although a great outlet, I still think I need to ease up and allow myself the break. Discussed the probability that I have some whacked out hormones from not allowing myself rest time… cortisol levels all crazy and whatever else may have its toll. Mentally and hormonally, I realize these days have been good for me. In terms of my overall progression, maybe I’ve been hindering it by not resting enough. I’m a natural athlete and i’m trying to gain all of the gains… Maybe my approach was wrong.

It’s really hard to take your own advice. With that said I’m looking forward to letting someone else handle my programming this offseason. I am also looking forward to giving myself at least one full rest day a week if not more. It’s time to be okay if i fuck up my macros for a day…. it’s time to let go of the control.

I may have a healthy lifestyle, I may not have a problem with my views on food, i may not have body image issues (other than perhaps wanting to be huge) but I definitely have an issue with my obsession with the gym. It’s good to love it, but its another thing to let it consume me. I can let it be my drug, but I can’t abuse it… or it won’t support me. It can medicate, but like any medication, too much and it’s not good anymore. Like any medication, you come off it and you go crazy.

Time to moderate this crazy life of mine…. maybe I need to get back on my BMX… but it’s time to have more substance than just the dumbbells. Life awaits, and it only comes around one time.


JAEL Training Camp 1

Hey guys!

There is still time to register for camp on August 17th with Ella and I!! However – spots are filling right up!

Be sure to send your email with subject CAMP to and remember – its  .CA !!

Let us know you are interested in the camp – and get your deposits in to keep your spot on lock!

Cheers friends!


Rest Periods Influence Growth – an article by Chris Aceto

Rest Periods Influence Growth
by Chris Aceto
If you are a regular reader, I am sure you are aware that I continue to be a big believer in heavy training. Not Heavy Duty-one-set-to-failure. But, heavy training using multiple sets for each body part. Nothing influences muscle growth more so than being able to push lots of weight. Just ask Ronnie Coleman and Kevin Levrone. Crazy amounts of muscle mass right? They built their bodies on the foundation of strength. When you’re strong and can work in the growth rep range, no fewer than 6 reps with no more than 12 reps, muscle growth comes easy.

Besides lifting heavy – of course with good form and training within the 6 to 12 rep range – the rest periods you take influence and affect how much muscle you can add. That’s’ the topic I want to tackle this month. Rest. Specifically, how much to take in between sets.

Principle #1 Your body is a Unit
This principle has everything to do with taking your time. One of the myths in training for growth is to speed up your training. The idea is that taking shorter rest periods between sets leads to greater growth. In fact, the opposite is true. When you rest a bit longer, that extra rest and immediate recovery allows you to be able to use the heavy weight you just lifted for another productive set. For example, if you bench press 120 kgs for 10 reps and rest for only 40 seconds, do you really believe you’ll be able to handle another set for the same number of reps. The answer is clearly no. You might be able to move the 120 kgs but will likely fall far short of 10 reps. On the other hand, if you rest for twice as long, say just over a minute and a half, you would be able to handle the second set for 10 reps. The lesson: training too quickly, moving too fast from set to set compromises your ability to re-use a heavy weight and muscular growth is highlydependent on the amount of weight you can use in the 6 to 12 rep range.

Having said that, let’s discuss how the body integrates itself as a unit. When you train with weights, it’s an anaerobic training system. That is, unlike with cardiocacular training, weight training works the body without the need for large amounts of oxygen. However, in training larger body parts to failure – such as legs, back, chest and quads – the bodybuilder not only causes his muscles to fail, but puts an intense stress on the heart and lungs. While the activity – training to momentary muscle failure – put the greatest stress on the muscles, you can’t help but notice the heart and lungs comes into play in a very big way. In squatting or bent over rowing, for example, you often “run out of breath” at the point where you can barely get that final rep. Immediately after that final rep to failure, you stop and that’s where both the muscle your training has to regroup and recover, and it’s also the exact time where the heart has to recover. Specifically, training to failure can radically increase the heart rate and when the heart rate dramatically rises, you can’t truly train to failure again – to take a second successive set to muscular failure – until the heart rate has returned closer to its resting level. Imagine taking a set of leg presses to failure. When your legs say “no” your heart rate is racing like you just performed an all-out sprint. If you don’t rest long enough between sets, the heart rate will interfere with taking the muscles to failure and you wont be able to use a heavy weight. At least you wont be able to use a really heavy weight, one that’s required to stimulate big growth. On a simple level, imagine Ronnie Coleman squatting 350 kgs for 8 reps. At rep 8, his body as an entire unit is maxed out. His quads are fried and his heart rate is running through the roof. Do you think he waits only 1 minute before hitting set number two? Of course not. He rests as long as it takes to get the heart rate closer to normal. And that could be 4 minutes. Don’t forget, this is his mass training, so training with 30-60 seconds rest in between sets is definitely not the best idea for radical growth.

Principle #2 Short Rest Periods Short Circuit Contraction
When you train to failure, the muscles produce a lot of acid called lactic acid. Lactic acid is actually a by-product of the metabolism of sugar. When you call on glucose in huge amounts to power those big sets, the by-product is lactic acid. When you rest – between sets – the acid is sent to the liver and used as fuel. During the actual set, it (lactic acid) can’t be used as fuel. The problem with lactic acid is that it inhibits muscle contraction. When you take a set to failure, one factor causing you to no longer be able to continue with the set is a surge in lactic acid. Lactic acid irritates the endings of nerves that connect to muscles and prevent the nerve signal from firing. In short, lactic acid exerts an unfavorable effect on muscle contraction. Lactic acid clearance – how fast it gets out of the area – is related to rest periods.
If you wait a very brief time between sets, the acid remains within the muscle you are targeting which prevents you from taking your second set to failure in the same rep range as the first set. For example, in bench presses, you might do a set of 10 with 130 kgs. At the point of failure, you rack the weight and rest for a minute. Picking up the weight to perform the second set, you fail at rep number 8, two short of the first set. A reason you may not have been able to perform 10 reps as you did on the first set: a lack of sufficient rest between sets which prevent maximal clearance of lactic acid out of the muscle. To allow maximal clearance, you have to – in addition to following principle #1 – rest long enough to clear lactic acid. Rest periods for growth can be up to 4 minutes on major movements like squats, leg presses, bent rows, or dead lifts, with 2-3 minutes on shoulder exercises and most other back, shoulder and chest exercises. Because the arms don’t drive the heart rate up as much as large body parts, you can get away with waiting 1-2 minutes between sets. For growth, the 30-60 seconds rest between sets is, in my opinion, poor training advice.

Why Short Rest
The idea that shortening rest periods between sets is advantageous for muscle growth came about with limited understanding of how a bodybuilder approaches his training. On a theoretical level, if I do 10 sets of 100 pounds of bicep curls, I could establish the idea that I am actually doing more work if I wait only 1 minute between sets rather than 2 minutes. That idea is based on the formula that work and time are related. Short-rest enthusiasts push the point that the bodybuilder can add stress to the body – therefore resulting in greater growth – by performing the sets and reps he is currently doing in a shorter period of time. For example, if you do 4 sets of bench press with 125 kgs and 4 sets of inclines bench presses with 100 kgs followed by 4 sets of flies with a pair of 30 kg dumbbells – all resting for 2-3 minutes between sets, – you can benefit by bringing the rest to just 1 minute. Yes you can, or you could but in reality, when you shorten the rest periods, you either create a massive lactic acid build up or your body as a unit begins to tire. The result: you have to use smaller or lighter weights and lighter weights always translates into less muscle growth. With drastically cutting down on rest periods, the bodybuilder who previously performed 4 sets of bench presses with 125 kgs – resting 2 and up to 2 ½ minutes between sets – will not be able to handle 125 kgs for all 4 sets. In short, cutting back on rest periods is detrimental to the total amount of load you can place on the muscles.

So what is the best rest range?
For most the answer varies though you have to consider your heart rate.
If the heart rate is not close to normal, then the body as a unit will experience fatigue which can interfere with lifting the heaviest weight possible. Therefore the time to rest between sets will vary. For biceps, the ideal time could be a minute to 90 seconds while a larger body part or exercise that gets the heart rate up- such as bent over rowing – can require 3 minutes of rest. You need the full amount – or a greater period of rest – if you hope to push the heaviest weight possible on each successive set.

Besides trying to avoid an elevated heart rate, keep in mind excess lactic acid production can interfere with your training and taking greater rest periods can allow time for the acid to dissipate which allows for a more forceful contraction.

Bottom line; with less lactic acid clogging the contractile pathways, the more likely you can continue to use a heavy weight on successive sets.

Peak Week Party

Well here we are approaching a second peak week in two weeks.

I just competed at the Henderson Thorne Naturals and won the short class… Hoping to bring a better package for the Natural Ontarios.


I wanted to touch on peaking here for a minute.

Unfortunately there is no perfect way to peak for a show that can be used for all people. For myself, I have had some great experiences, some “meh” experiences and some “that didnt work” experiences. After doing 11 peak weeks in my time competing you’d think you can pinpoint the exact thing that worked.

Well, in my opinion I think the level of conditioning you’re at, the current intake you’re at as far as foods go and the way your body responds to certain dietary changes over short periods of time ie. fat and carb increase or decrease… will all be factors in what might fit for you on a certain day.

I think that if an athlete is ready, they are ready. You don’t need to pull all of the strings to change all of the things and leave it up to chance.

I also think if an athlete needs a bit more to go, then their final week may not be spent easing off of cardio and training, and they may need to spend some time buckling down for the last week for a bumpy ride with a low intake and unfortunately cardio.

As a coach, while i’m working with an athlete for a peak week and even prior to, I like to identify what foods make their bodies do cool things.. and by cool things I mean by become vascular, or get bloated, or fill out. We want to be able to see what types of foods are going to be optimal for this person. if you are looking full and hard and you’re just eating peanut butter – why wouldn’t we want to use peanut butter on our load? If you bloat from eating white potato or banana, we don’t want you to be eating that before stage.

Paying close attention to this I truly believe can help identify where there may have been errors, or where you can tweak things to make them better on the fly. Sometimes the whole process works great just going with the flow! I have also had to send athletes to eat though on certain instances due to the fact that they needed to fill out with additional fat and sodium, and unless I was paying attention to how they were looking they could have easily showed up on stage looking stringy and small. Other times we have had to pull certain foods or water due to menstrual cycles, or stress.

Anyways, moving on with this… I think its imperative to make assessments after a peak week and be objective if you need to be on yourself. If you are comfortable with how it went, awesome!! If you feel like things could have been a bit different, break the process down and identify where you feel it went off track. There is always room for improvement!

By identifying your weaknesses, you can turn those things around into your strengths if you’re willing to look at the big picture.



All New Website!

It has come to my attention that the Original page for MightyBeanz was pretty darn lame and you couldn’t navigate to anywhere, or see a damn thing from your phone!


I am currently working on getting this page up to speed and introducing you to the all new MightyBeanz Training website!!

We will have blog updates, client successes, news, photo galleries, recipes, training tips!

All of the awesome things are coming to you !

In the meantime, this little Beaner is off to the Henderson Thorne Natural show in Ancaster, ON to compete in the Women’s Physique Division!!

Lets get wild!

-B bean