Lessons in Daily Discipline #1: NEVER STOP LEARNING

If you follow me on Instagram (@joshuasettlage), or know me personally, you will know that Iive by the phrase, “daily discipline”. Not only is it a clever use of alliteration, but also represents the way we should all strive to live our lives. One of my most popular articles, “Why Do I Get Up Early?” gives an in depth look into one aspect of daily discipline. If you haven’t read the article, you can find it here. I decided to start a series of articles that not only allow me to open up about decisions of discipline or lack there of in my own life, but to also help those who need a little extra push to stay disciplined in certain areas.

Last week I began training for the Submission Pro Tour in October. Once I have a date on the calendar, I am 100% focused. Every aspect of my life revolves around peak performance and gaining a competitive edge against the competition. One of the habits I picked up while training for a previous tournament was buying a $2 notebook at WalMart and begin to study jiu jitsu competitions and other practitioners. I took notes on everything. Their sequence of attacks and certain defenses, transitions, most successful submission, etc. I also took notes on the moves and transitions I learned in class, and how I did during the live rolls of class. In beginning the study process for this next tournament, I realized something. Why am I not applying this amount of focus, passion and drive to learn jiu jitsu throughout the entire year? Not only in jiu jitsu, but why have I fallen out of reading daily? What happened to the discipline of making time to learn something new each week?

Like fresh bread, we must never grow stale. We must never grow complacent with our current position or situation. We must always strive for something more. There is something special about aiming to be better, faster, more efficient, at any task, skill, or aspect of our everyday lives. Not only does learning and growing enhance our quality of life, but the lives of those around us. At this last year’s Global Leadership Summit, founder and senior pastor of Willow Creek Church and head of the Summit stated in his opening session, “Everyone wins when a leader gets better.” Isn’t that so true? When a leader in the workplace gets better, employees enjoy their job more, and are able to deliver with excellence on the tasks they’re assigned. The same for coaches. When a coach gets better, most of the time, athletes get better. When a husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend gets better, the relationship gets better.

Constantly learning allows us to grow in fulfilling the purpose God has for us, or the mission we have set out to complete. In fulfilling the purpose God has for us, everyone reaps the benefit. I realized that in order to become a better strength and conditioning coach I needed to stay up to date on what research is coming out about exercise physiology, as well as learn how to run my business more efficiently so I can help more people reach their fitness goals. I in turn bought Lazlo Bock’s NY Times Bestseller, “Work Rules!”. In reading this book I am learning how not only how to transform how I live, but also become a better leader because of it.

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Some of the books and resources I’ve picked up over the years.

Learning does not necessarily mean learning or studying something that is directly related to your sport or your line of work. It is good to stretch yourself and learn something beyond what you’re comfortable with. When I first met my girlfriend, I hated coffee. If you know me now, that might come as a huge shock. Although, through getting to know her family more and being exposed to great coffees from all over the world, I became fascinated with home brewing. Over the last several years I have accumulated several pieces of home brew equipment and thoroughly enjoy finding the perfect ground to water ratio, the perfect temperature to heat the water, and what coffees taste best with a certain brew method. Learning about coffee not only is fun and enjoyable with other coffee lovers, but it allows me to take a break from all the barbells and jiu jitsu. Sometimes it is nice to step out of the realm I am used to thinking in, and be exposed to a whole new world of agriculture and chemistry.

Making a commitment to learn more is not difficult. It just takes discipline. Here are some of the steps I take when wanting to self educate myself further…

  1. Schedule in time specifically dedicated to self education. Write it in big sharpie, put a reminder on your phone, whatever it takes. Do not just think, “Today I am going to spend some time reading.” People are so busy these days and 9/10 just saying you’ll try to do it does not last very long.
  2. Go grab a book. Any book. Any book that seems remotely interesting and READ it. Don’t leave it on the shelf. Use the first step of scheduling time, and read the thing.
  3. Make a list of hobbies and plug one of those hobbies in with “How to…” on YouTube.
  4. Find an interesting podcast to start listening to during your commute to and from work.
  5. Instead of watching TV in the evening, turn on that podcast and go for a walk after dinner.

These are just some of the habits I have used in the past to self educate myself. It is easy to do all these things when you have all the time in the world. Unfortunately, there is never enough time. Like the great Arnold Schwarzenegger always said, “You will never have enough time. You must make the time!” As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it takes discipline. Daily Discipline. Now go out and learn something. Comment below what you are going to learn this week!

For more information of #dailydiscipline, strength and conditioning, and my everyday life, give me a follow on Instagram: @joshuasettlage. If you have questions or inquiries on personalized programming, customized nutrition plans, and/or personal training, email me at settlagesac@gmail.com.

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3 Things Wrestlers Should Do In Their Pre-Season

Labor day weekend is now officially behind us, and the heat waves and summer tournaments are over. Now is the calm between being in the off season, and being deep into the weekly dual meets, tournaments, cold winter and all. As a wrestler, you are the only one responsible for your losses the previous season. There is no one else to blame, but you. As a wrestler, you can not claim credit for any of your wins. Each of your wins last season came from the many contributions both your training partners and coaches invested in you. Although, during the off season, what you do to get better is entirely your responsibility. The summer months are what really separate the JV and Varsity line ups, the divisional competitors, and state placers. During the summer, a wrestler makes a conscious choice whether they want to crush the competition next season or not. They make a choice between being a glutton at every backyard BBQ and hardly gets a wink of sleep, and those who focus on getting stronger, refining technique, and keeping their nutrition in check. What YOU decided to do this summer is what has put you in the position you are in now. It is now the week after Labor Day weekend, back in school, and time to start up pre season training. Here are three things every wrestler who is serious about becoming the best wrestler they can be should be doing right now in this precious preseason.

  1. Keep Getting STRONG.

If you are one of those wrestlers who chose to take advantage of the off season, you most likely spent most of the summer training hard to build a firm foundation of strength to take into next season. Now that it is the pre-season, do not stop now! You still have at least three months before your first tournament. That’s 2 months at the very least to keep lifting heavy and getting as strong as can be. You might have to make sacrifices like skipping weekend parties and late nights to be a good student, and lift for wrestling. You can’t stop now, because there is still work to be done. You do not want to throw away that strength you worked so hard for over the summer. With that being said, now is the time to introduce a little conditioning. Finish out your workouts with some sprint intervals on the track, or sled drags and pushes. You do not need to run a marathon, but something short, fast to start building your engine. A future article will discuss different conditioning finishers for pre-season training. Here is one of the simplest finishers: 20 minutes total of 30s all out sprints, followed by 30s of rest. If you have never done this on a rowing machine, give that a try. You will find what you’re made of on that rower.

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If you have not been training this summer to get strong, now is the time to start. Start squatting, deadlifting, and pressing. If you need to know why strength is important to sport and how to perform each lift, refer to last week’s article here. There is a famous saying, “On a hot summer day with no shade, the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time to plant a tree is right now.” You should have started doing some sort of structured strength training two weeks after your last match. If you did not, then you better get to the gym and start now.

2) Dial in Your Nutrition:

School has started which means there are no more summer BBQ’s, swim parties, late night hang outs or kickbacks. Now is the time to get your nutrition straight. You want to have your diet locked in BEFORE season starts. Trying to adjust your diet, finding out what foods your body responds well too, and trying to develop new eating habits to make weight in season is very hard. Get your food straight now. It will only make you a better athlete. If you have never seriously eaten clean before. Start with these two simple rules: 1) If it comes from the ground or has a mom, it’s probably good for you. 2) If it has more than three ingredients, it is probably bad for you. Simple as that. Not only will you perform better as an athlete, you will gradually begin to lose excess body fat gained in the summer, thus giving you a better idea of what weight class you can be most competitive in. Learning to properly fuel your body for optimal performance should be done before you begin training for optimal performance.

 

3) TAKE EVERY CHANCE YOU CAN GET.

For some wrestling programs, not all preseason practices are mandatory. You have to chose to show up to practice. If you are in the middle of football season and/or have commitment to another sport that’s a different story. Although, if you are serious wrestler, you better show up. It’s no secret that the wrestlers who have been to more practices, drilled more tilts, taken more shots, and finished more takedowns at practice are going to out perform you every time. Put in extra work every chance you get. If there’s no practice on Saturday, invite a team mate over, move the couch and coffee table and drill tilts for an hour on the carpet. If there is no one who wants to drill for an hour on a Saturday, move the couch and coffee table and drill your stand up escapes. Getting in 100 perfect reps doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes. Instead of laying on the couch watching TV, watch your matches from last season and take notes (I started doing this when I was a sophomore in high school. Hands down one of the best things I did to become a better wrestler. I still do it to this day with all my jiu jitsu matches.)

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I apply this principle in my own jiu jitsu training. All summer I would find someone who would want to show up an hour early to drill transitions and submissions. I usually stay after class to get an extra 30 minutes of live rolls in. When no one wants to get to jiu jitsu early, I go over to my old wrestling team and wrestle with them for an hour before I go to jiu jitsu. On Sundays I drive 30 minutes across town to another jiu jitsu school and get in an hour of live rolling. My game has improved drastically, because of the extra steps I take each week to become better. My next competition is in 46 days and I want to be prepared as I can be. I will take every chance I get to become better. You have 3 months. Get after it.

These are the three things you should be doing right now during this precious preseason. If you are not, start NOW. Not tomorrow, or Monday. TODAY. Begin to build discipline and take advantage of opportunities to become a better wrestler. Next season is a reflection of the work you put in during the offseason and preseason. Get strong, eat clean, and wrestle.

Barbell Training for Sport

Let me just start off by quoting one of the most influential lifters and self made, self proclaimed, meat head millionaires I’ve ever met: Mark Bell. Bell famously signs off his podcast (Mark Bell’s Powercast) with, “Strength is never a weakness.” This could not be more true. Though yes it is a clever play on words, the underlying principle should be considered when training for sport. Strength is a critical component to EVERY sport. I literally mean EVERY sport. Do not get that confused with most important. In a sport like track, speed is universally most important, but strength is a valuable component in even speed oriented sports. You do not need to be the strongest man in the world, or sport a 500lb deadlift, but when two evenly skilled athletes enter in competition, the one who is stronger is most likely to come out on top. Strength is directly correlated to one’s ability to produce force. For example, in the sport of sprinting, a stronger athlete can produce more force with each foot strike, producing a greater stride length. Greater stride length leads to greater distances traveled with each step with less energy used.

Why specifically barbells? Sure dumbbells, kettle bells, sandbags and body weight exercises are also great tools to build strength, but barbells are most commonly recognized as the superior training tool in building the greatest amount of strength. One of the greatest resources for learning about barbell training, Mark Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training”, explains this concept best. Rippetoe states, “Properly performed, full range-of-motion barbell exercises are essentially the functional expression of human and muscular anatomy under load… Barbells allow weight to be moved in exactly the way the body was designed to move it…” (Rippetoe, M., 2013). Using a machine only allows the body to move the way the machine allows you too. If you are looking to strengthen your lower body, you can squat, or you can use the leg press machine. The leg press machine is a great piece of equipment, although it does have it’s flaws. You do not have to balance the weight and recruit all the stabilizing muscles of your trunk, the leg press machine has a backrest which allows you to produce force against a fixed object, thus removing the need for back strength.

Here are three basic barbell exercises that anyone can add to their current sport training. Keep in mind I am not a doctor, nor do I intend to play one on the internet. Be safe, not foolish.

The Squat:

The king of all exercises is the squat, and I believe every athlete from every athletic discipline can benefit from squatting. Correct and technically sound squatting helps strengthen the entire body (a stronger body is a body that is less susceptible to injury and able to produce more force). One of the biggest benefits of the squat is that it is the only exercise to directly train hip drive. Hip drive is the active recruitment of the muscles that create the posterior chain. The posterior chain includes all the muscles running from your mid back, hamstrings and everything in between. The posterior chain is the core of all athletic movements. The posterior chain contributes greatly to jumping, pushing, picking things up, pulling, stabilization, and balance. Employing squatting into an athlete’s strength and conditioning program can assist in the jumping ability of a basketball or volleyball player, develop the power and strength in the legs and hips of a football player, and produce greater leg drive and force in a wrestler. The squat is also a great exercise to strengthen movements that involve hinging at the hips. The hip hinge position is seen in many sports (traditional wrestling stance, football starting line position, starting position of a vertical jump, etc.).

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A big misconception about squatting is the belief that squatting is bad for your knees. Let me clarify that bad squatting is bad for your knees (Ex: Squatting with your knees caving in is bad for your knees). Squatting with proper technique is actually one of the best exercises for your knees. Rippetoe goes on to state, “The squat, when performed correctly, not only is the safest leg exercise for the knees, but also produces more stable knees than any other leg exercise does.” (Rippetoe, M., 2013). In a study conducted by Tony Ciccone, Kyle Davis, Dr. Jimmy Bagley, & Dr. Andy Galpin from Cal State Fullerton on deep squatting and knee health, they found that deep squats do not place greater amounts of stress on the ACL and the PCL than shallow squats. However, their research went on to conclude that deep squats, “… result in greater activation of lower-body musculature compared to shallow squats.” (Bagely, J., Ciccone, T., Davis, K., & Galpin, A., 2015). That being said, DO NOT avoid deep squats. A REAL squat is when you lower the hips to at least parallel with the knees, preferably below. Any squat with hips higher than the knees is a partial squat, and not a REAL squat.

The Deadlift:

If the squat is the best exercise to develop hip drive, the deadlift is the best exercise to develop back strength. Similar to the squat, the deadlift develops stability in the posterior chain, and allows for the lumbar spine to remain rigid in order to transfer power into the trunk. The deadlift is one of the greatest tests of strength. You can either lift it or you can’t. The deadlift requires the athlete learns how to brace the spine properly which transfers over into all athletic movement. Learning to properly brace the spine is crucial to avoiding potential injury and producing power in a more efficient manner. Not everyone needs to do heavy deadlifts. For a marathon runner or a swimmer, heavy deadlifts might not be necessary. Although, lighter deadlifts with an emphasis on proper bracing and hamstring recruitment can greatly assist in injury prevention.20170829_200924962_iOS.jpg

The deadlift is another great exercise that focuses on strengthening the hip hinge position. It develop one’s ability to lift objects of the ground from a hip hinge position, and extend the torso with proper bracing of the spine. Look at the back control position in jiu jitsu shown below. When the athlete in front is bending forward to defend different submission attempts, the athlete in back must use their posterior chain to extend their opponent’s body to create openings for submission attempts, forcing the hips open and forcing their body into a weaker position. The deadlift can directly strengthen one’s ability to extend the body and open the hips.

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The Overhead Press:

The overhead press is one of the greatest upper body barbell exercises one can add to their strength and conditioning program (in this article I am referring to the standing overhead press). The overhead press not only develops the shoulders and all the secondary muscles involved in overhead extension, but teaches an athlete how to brace their spine in a new overhead range of motion. The overhead press is not just an upper body exercise. According to Rippetoe, “… except for powerlifting and swimming, all sports that require the use of upper-body strength transmit that force along a kinetic chain that starts at the ground.” This route that force travels through the body is called the kinetic chain. This chain begins at the feet (base) and ends at the bar (the load being moved) in the hands of the athlete. It goes without saying that some people consider this exercise as dangerous. Let me again state that bad pressing is dangerous. Pressing with poor technique can lead to shoulder impingement. Shoulder impingement refers to the pinching of the tendons between the head of the humerus (upper arm) and the scapula (shoulder blade). When pressing overhead, the athlete should focus on shrugging their shoulders at the lock out point of the lift. This causes the scapula to be positioned in a manner where the arms are strongly supported and impingement is not present.

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Please excuse the poor picture quality. This is a shot of me doing a behind the neck press. Different range of motion than a regular press, makes this a great variation of an overhead press.

In closing, barbell training can greatly enhance someone’s athletic ability and drastically increase performance in their sport. Barbell training is arguably the best way to build strength. By incorporating the squat, the deadlift, and overhead press, an athlete can get stronger, have the ability to produce more force, and become a more complete athlete. There are several ways to program barbell training for sport. This is all dependent on the athlete, the sport, training experience, etc. which I will cover in a future article. Below are some links to some of the best instructional videos on how to squat, deadlift, and press. Give them a watch and try them out.

If you enjoyed this article, share it with a friend. One of my biggest passions is spreading the gospel about the barbell. Barbell training has changed my life and I believe it can change yours too.

For more information of barbell training for sport, questions about current training programs, or inquiries about 1-on-1 training sessions, DM me on Instagram (@joshuasettlage) or email me at settlagesac@gmail.com.

The Squat:

The Deadlift:

The Overhead Press:

 

What I’ve Learned About Bulking

If you are someone who is serious about lifting weights, or someone who is just starting, at some point you have or will think about trying to get stronger. To a certain degree getting stronger comes with getting bigger. Bigger muscles have a greater capacity to be stronger muscles. This is the reasoning for most lifters choosing to go through a “bulking” phase. Bulking is the simplest terms is a phase of training where total calories consumed are increased and the goals of training are to build muscle and get stronger. Although, bulking can mean many different things depending on who you ask, and the different methods of bulking vary even more drastically. Let me first clarify the notion of a “clean” or “dirty” bulk. A clean bulk is a well paced rate of weight gain, and consists of manageable macronutrients obtained from healthy foods. A dirty bulk is an excuse to eat garbage in the name of bulking. If you are serious about getting better as an athlete by putting on size and gaining strength, you better be eating clean and staying disciplined. Do not make excuses for yourself. For the rest of this article, the term bulking refers to a “clean” bulk.

My first phase of bulking was one, giant, six month long, uncontrolled, experiment. After I stopped wrestling my junior year of highschool, I assumed since I would no longer have to make weight anymore I would gain lots of muscle, and become big and strong. I was mistaken. Instead of eating lots of food and lifting heavy, I was still doing hundreds of burpees, running all the time, and only picking exercises I was good at with my lower body weight. In turn, I gained only THREE pounds over a nine month period (139-142). Just before high school graduation, I decided it was time for me to get BIG and STRONG. I researched and studied many articles, podcasts, and webinars from the top minds in strength and conditioning to figure out just how I would execute this bulking phase. After filtering through all the information, this is what I found to be the most common principle’s of bulking.

  • A healthy rate of weight gain is 1-1.5lbs per week.
  • You must increase overall caloric intake to gain weight.
  • You must lift HEAVY. Your program should reflect a focus on strength. You can’t truly get strong if your program is designed for someone to build conditioning.
  • EAT. EAT. EAT.
  • Keep eating.

All of these pieces of advice are very true, and can create a good base for someone who is trying to bulk. I took all these pieces of advice to the extreme. My goal was to weigh 175lbs and add 90lbs to my back squat in six months. Every morning I woke up excited to weigh myself and see how close I was too my goal. When I ate, I stuffed myself full and then ate more to ensure I was getting enough calories. I stopped all conditioning. Literally ALL conditioning. No running, burpees or rowing for a whole year. I conveniently skipped the light conditioning at the end of the week, because I needed to “recover” when really, I didn’t want to breathe hard. I kept eating and lifting heavy and obtained what I considered at that time to be amazing results. In six months time, I had gone from 142lbs to a bigger and stronger 176lbs. If my rate of weight gain was greater than a pound and a half per week, I didn’t care. I was growing and was blindsided by such a quick and large increase in weight. I had only added about 60lbs to my back squat which at the time I was happy with. This all came at a price. As you can see in the photos below, I went from being very lean, with a traditional light weight, wrestler physique, to what my family members called my dimple belly stage. I was simply too large and soft for my very short frame.

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June 2015. Weight: 142lbs
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December 2015. Weight: 176lbs
  • You must EAT. EAT. EAT. to get big, but you can not just consume whatever portions you want even if it is all relatively healthy foods. For the most part I was eating what most would consider healthy food, but my overall caloric intake was off the charts for what my current activity levels were.
  • Conditioning may not be a focus in a bulking phase, but for the benefit of overall health, some conditioning should be in every bulking program. I was shocked when I had a tough time doing sprint intervals on the rower and running just one mile.
  • There is a reason why most experts suggest no more than 1.5lbs gained per week when bulking. I was just getting too big, too fast and gained a substantial amount of fat and not the amount of muscle I was aiming for.
  • Continue to do bodyweight exercises so you can still move your own bodyweight even at a larger weight. It was one big wake up call when I could barely get through 10 grueling pull ups.

The second time I decided to bulk, it was after I had finished the 2016 Tahoe Show bodybuilding event where I competed as a Teen Men’s Physique competitor. At the show I had my best physique to date. Though I had lost some strength during the prep, I loved how I went from the heaviest I had ever been, and in 15 weeks created my best physique ever.

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2016 Tahoe Show Front Pose. Weight: 149.5lbs
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2016 Tahoe Show Back Pose. Weight: 149.5lbs

Going into this second bulk, I knew I could not repeat the process I had done the year before. I knew I needed to take control of my eating habits, pay more attention to how much weight I was gaining from week to week, and not lose all the conditioning I had developed during the prep for the bodybuilding show. In turn, that meant I needed to change up my programming too. I tested out some new training techniques and programming principles centered around gaining strength (5-3-1, Bulgarian method, etc.). My new goal was in four months to gain between 10-15lbs of body weight, add 30lbs to my back squat, and still have visible abs. The results: Weight Gain: Yes, 15lbs. Back Squat 1 Rep Max PR: No. Visible Abs: Yes. I then realized I needed to learn more about programming for strength. I already learned how to put on weight, and from previous training endeavors understood how to train for conditioning and getting better at bodyweight exercises, but I needed to truly learn how to get strong.

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December 2016. Weight: 165lbs

Gaining weight was the easy part, but what good is more bodyweight if you can’t move heavier weights on the barbell. After this second go around at bulking, here are the new takeaways:

  • It is possible to eat very clean and still gain weight.
  • The training program must be tailored to build strength in addition to muscle size.
  • Getting bigger doesn’t not always mean stronger. I for sure got bigger, but still moved the same weight I always had.

After starting up jiu jitsu again and competing in several tournaments with training goals geared toward building conditioning, maintaining strength and cutting weight for competitions, I knew it was time to bulk again. That is where Settlage Size & Strength was born. I wanted to seriously get BIG and be STRONG. To my surprise, I had made some serious strength gains while still cutting weight for jiu jitsu so I knew the new programming techniques and principles I applied were working. Now it was time to construct the best diet for me that allowed me to have enough fuel to train hard with the weights for two hours in the morning, roll hard in jiu jitsu for two hours in the evening, and still build size and strength. I researched many books, videos, articles, and interviews with some of the best coaches in powerlifting. Guys like Mark Bell, Chad Wesley Smith, Matt Wenning, Mike Israetel and Louie Simmons. After spending hours of studying, and creating draft after draft of the new program, I now had a new way of going about bulking. This time I was very specific in how I tracked my macronutrients, conscious of the program and the progressive overload that I followed as well as splitting the total six month program into two phases. The first three months were focused primarily on hypertrophy or muscle size. The last three month phase were all about strength. Here are the new principles of Settlage Size & Strength for my current hypertrophy phase:

Personal Nutrition:

Macros:

  • Carbs: Start with 2g/lb of bodyweight. Once weight gain stalls for two weeks, increase carbs by .25g/lb of bodyweight. If weight gain becomes greater than 1-1.5lbs per week, cut back carbs by .25g/lb of bodyweight per week till proper rate of weight gain is established. I am currently around 2.15g/lb of bodyweight.
  • Protein: 1-1.5g/lb of bodyweight.
  • Fat: Keep majority of fat sources from healthy fat sources like olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter, etc.

Personal Training Protocol:

Big 3 Exercises:

  • Squat every day. Each day being a different squat variation.
  • Drop sets for volume on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday.
  • Bench Monday & Thursday.
  • Deadlift Monday & Wednesday.
  • Accessory & bodybuilding exercises reflect the primary exercise for the day.

Of course there are many more intricacies and details to the program as far as rep schemes go and variations in volume from week to week, but this is the foundation of the program. In the 4 months I have been running this program on myself, I have seen amazing results! In the first 12 weeks I gained 10lbs of muscle, and achieved an unexpected 30lb PR on my back squat! I still have some abs and have kept excessive fat gain at bay. I still am able to do my bodyweight exercises and have plenty of conditioning for jiu jitsu. I must address the jiu jitsu though. The hard rounds of jiu jitsu acts as a great source of cardio that others doing this program might not have access to. I believe jiu jitsu has allowed me to gain weight and consume more calories than if I was not competing in jiu jitsu. Due to my higher levels of activity through jiu jitsu, I can afford to consume more calories. Although, this does come at a price. If I have a hard training session at jiu jitsu, sometimes my workout the following morning can suffer. I do my best to recover as optimally as possible, but sometimes it happens.

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May 2017. Weight 155lbs
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August 2017. Weight: 170lbs

 

All that being said, if you are someone who is looking to gain weight and get stronger, I hope this article gave you some insight and new perspectives on gaining weight and building muscle. The last two years of bulking and cutting cycles have taught me so much. I learned a substantial amount about my body and how it responds to different training stimulus and nutrition protocols, as well as much more. My hope is that you can take these tips I found through my several bulking cycles and apply them to your own! Don’t stop there, join the conversation! If you have questions about bulking or building strength for sport or everyday life, DM me on Instagram (@joshuasettlage) or email me at settlagesac@gmail.com! I am here to help, you. If you are interested in signing up for Settlage SIZE & STRENGTH, now is the time to do so! Registration is open till Sept. 3rd! I have seen some crazy results on this program and I am only 4 months in! Let’s put on SIZE & STRENGTH together!

Why Do I Get Up Early?

Since I began posting pictures of the digital alarm clock in my room, many people who follow my social media are curious about it. I often hear, “Aren’t you tired?”, “I don’t know how you do it.”, “Why do you get up so early?” After hearing this almost on a daily basis, I decided to share the main motives behind this daily decision and how you can join me in doing so.

I get up early because there is work to do.

I get up early because everyone else is asleep.

I get up early because it’s a challenge.

I get up early because it takes discipline.

I get up early because chances are, my competition is still asleep.

I get up early because if I wake up two hours before the competition does, that is two hours of extra preparation I have ahead of them.

I get up early because I love it.

Getting up early is not easy. It’s hard. It sucks leaving the warm comfort of your bed to head to the gym where you’ll be in pain and sweaty and tired and gross. In all honesty, I too have times where the most beneficial thing to me and my training is to sleep and recover and I am careful using those strategic rest days. Although, for the most part, I choose to ignore that voice in my head and throw the blankets off, drink a glass of water, go down to the squat rack and warm up. When there is work to be done, one must get up early. Nobody has enough time, so we must make the time. If I hear someone tell me they don’t have time to train, and I see them sleeping in till noon, laying around on the couch for several hours and then deciding to get ready and do something with their day, it frankly makes me sick. I do not have enough time to get done everything I need to. I am busy and have responsibilities like everyone else here on Earth. I do not have enough time, but I do have goals. I do have visions, dreams, aspirations, and plans. In order to accomplish those goals I have to make the time to work towards them. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger said, I must sleep “faster” to add two more hours to my day so I can train. Taking one more step towards making that vision a reality. I want to influence, mentor, lead and encourage young people around me to be more disciplined, to be mentally tough, and to be stronger. Getting up early starts the snowball effect for my day. If I have to discipline to get up at 3:30am, I also have to discipline to not cheat on my diet during competition prep. If I have to discipline to do that, I also have the discipline to work on growing my personal business when I am already a full time student, and continue to learn and develop myself mentally and spiritually just as much as I am physically.

Getting up early is a choice you must make the night before. If you normally wake up at 7:00am, you can not simply just will yourself awake to get out of bed at 5:00am. You have to set your alarm the night before and make a conscious choice and commitment with yourself that you are supposed to get up when you intend to. That leads me into my first tip of getting up early.

  1. SET AN ALARM. This seems like an obvious step, but I can’t tell you enough how many times people tell me they are going to start getting up early and yet never set an alarm! If one alarm is not enough set more. I currently have five alarms set so that there is no way I am not awoken when I should have been.
  2. DO NOT HIT SNOOZE. The first act of #dailydiscipline for me starts with refusing to hit snooze. If I refuse to hit snooze, I am on track to getting after it that morning. The snooze button is one of the worst inventions ever created. It is the button that activates laziness. It is a button that entices you to give up on your commitment to yourself of getting up early. If you do not plan on waking up at 5:00am, do not lie to yourself and set your alarm for 5:00am. If you do plan on getting up at 5:00am, proceed to step three.
  3. GET UP. Physically leave your bed. Undo the covers and go from horizontal to vertical as quickly as you can. You can’t fall back asleep if you are standing up and walking around. When I first began making a commitment to getting up early, I would wake up, but lay in bed staring at my phone and seeing what was going on the night before. Before I knew it was being woken by alarm number two. If you leave your bed the first time, there is no longer a desire to hit snooze, there is no longer a desire to get back under the covers, there is no longer a voice saying to roll over and fall back into a deep slumber. You are already up. Act on the first two acts of discipline that took you here.

These three steps to getting up early probably seem like the most obvious steps for any process imaginable. As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of people who tell me they want to wake up early, but don’t know how, or are not committed enough to do it. It is not complicated by any means, it is just hard. Like anything else it becomes easier as your body adapts to the new circadian rhythm. It’s not impossible, you can do it.

I encourage you to start getting up early. Why? Because it takes discipline. If you can have the discipline and grit to wake up early, you can have the discipline to skip the cookie tray at work. You can have the discipline and most importantly the extra time needed to workout even if it’s just something small. Starting your day with one small step of discipline makes for other bigger steps of discipline easier. Another reason I enjoy getting up early is because it makes my day longer. If you currently do not have time to read and work on personal development, or do not have enough time to workout, or do not have enough time to prep healthy food before you leave for work. Imagine all you can do with one extra hour in the morning. Imagine how much more productive you can be if by 8:00am, your workout is done, you have read a chapter of a new book or listened to a podcast, and are ready to tackle the day with your homemade healthy lunch already assembled? Take it from me, you can do a lot.

Get up early. You do not have to get up at 3:30 like me, but just set your alarm an hour earlier. Instead of waking up at 6:30 and hitting snooze till 7:00, set your alarm for 5:30 and actually get up when it goes off. Take a picture of your alarm clock and tag me on Instagram (@joshuasettlage). Let’s create a culture of #dailydiscipline that does not settle for mediocrity and strives to jump start the day. My life has changed since I began waking up early over a year ago. My hope is that yours will be changed as well. GET UP.

The Importance of Mind Muscle Connection

In the bowels on Instagram and YouTube, if you are viewing any sort of fitness, bodybuilding, or workout content, I am sure you have heard of the phrase, “mind-muscle connection”. Though it may be a simple concept, the challenge is consistent application and correct execution. Mind muscle connection was made popular by those of the Golden Era of Bodybuilding during the late 60’s and 70’s. The Golden Era of bodybuilding produced famous lifters like, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu, Dave Draper, Serge Nubret, Robby Robinson, and Frank Zane.

During bodybuilding’s early years, athletes chased the pump that they got when lifting seriously. The wonderful feeling of blood flushing through your muscles resulting in your skin feeling tight over the growing and pumped up muscle bellies. The champions of that era though went one level deeper into their training. The “mind-muscle connection”. The mind muscle connection is just that. A connection and extreme focus you place on the muscles at work during a certain exercise. For example, when doing a dumbbell curl, using mind-muscle connection means literally envisioning the bicep contracting and squeezing the weight at the top. Then focusing on how it then lengthens as you let the weight down slowly and the two heads of the bicep drifting away from one another.

This results in a better contraction. When you have a better contraction, you can recruit more muscles fibers to do more work. When more muscle fibers are at play they are able to be subject to training stimulus and thus yield better results after proper recovery. Mind muscle connection can greatly improve your workouts. The mind-muscle connection, like stretching and posing between sets, is one small extra step you can take to shock your muscles even more. Being in complete control of your body is a crucial aspect to training. Your mind is capable of subjecting the body to the specific stimulus necessary to produce the results you want to see.

The mind muscle connection also means you need to stay focused on your workout. It doesn’t mean you are texting between sets, or checking Instagram or talking to a friend at the gym. It means you are focused solely on squeezing your chest together in a fly, or pressing out the bench press with perfection. If you just go to the gym and are going through your workout lackadaisically, you will never tap into your true potential. I consider the gym almost like a church. You should not be texting in church or wondering about what is for lunch afterwards. The gym is no different. You are there to train. Not to socialize, watch other people workout, while you sit on a bench for ten minutes scrolling through Instagram. It is a time that you set aside to TRAIN. Having a mind muscle connection in your workouts means you are training with intent, not just going through the motions.

Though the mind muscle connection as described above is important, it is not necessary for all activity and exercises based on your goals. If you are pulling a heavy deadlift, your focus should shift to staying tight in the midsection, proper bracing of the spine, and keeping the bar in it’s optimal bar path, not on the hamstrings and spinal erectors. Focus, which is greatly involved in mind-muscle connection, is the underlying principle to be learned. Whether you are doing dumbbell lateral raises and you are focusing solely on your deltoids, or running and focusing on your pace and cadence, the focus you bring into the gym is what can elevate your workouts and assist you in seeing better results.

Why Settlage Size & Strength?

This Settlage Size & Strength Program is a programmed designed to build some big, quality, dense, muscle, and use those bigger, harder muscles to get even bigger, and most importantly stronger! This is a long journey. Six months is a long time. Quality size and strength does not happen overnight. It takes time to make such a serious change in your body. There are many myths, misconceptions, and mistakes, people make when trying to bulk. Ever heard of a dirty bulk? Or have you heard anyone say, “I’m going to bulk”, but they still do hours of cardio so they can keep their 6 pack? I have made all these mistakes. My first bulk I stuffed my face with food, not always clean food, and gained 30lbs in three months and a substantial amount of body fat. Not to mention, I didn’t make as many strength gains as I wanted either, and I lost all the conditioning and endurance I had developed previous to the bulk. Since then I have several more bulking cycles, each better and more productive than the last. My mission with this program is to help you get BIG without gaining a crazy amount of body fat, and get STRONG.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED?

To do this program, you will need a weightlifting belt, or a powerlifting belt, shoes for squatting and deadlifting (flat soled shoes like Chuck Taylors will work great for both squats and deadlifts. If you prefer a Olympic weightlifting shoe with an elevated heel for squats, that’s fine. I use Reebok Lifters 2.0 Plus for squats, and Chuck Taylors for deadlifts) and a gym with the equipment necessary to do squats, bench presses, deadlifts, pull ups, dips, plenty of dumbbells, and cable machines/access to resistance bands of varying resistances.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I SHOULD DO THIS SIZE & STRENGTH PROGRAM?

If you are someone who looking to gain size and strength this program is for you. If you feel like you are fresh out of your beginner gains, and want to continue progressing in your lifts, this program is for you. If you are looking to get bigger for football, or put on some size for a future bodybuilding show, this program is for you. This program is designed to help those “hard gainers” and people who want to bulk up without gaining too much bodyfat.

CAN I DO THIS PROGRAM IF I AM A HARD GAINER?

Again, YES! I was what you would call a hard gainer. I couldn’t gain any weight when I was wrestling no matter how hard I tried. It wasn’t until I completely changed how I was training and how I ate that I slowly began to gain more weight.

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Day 1 of Settlage Size & Strength.  Body weight 155lbs.
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Week 8 of Settlage Size & Strength. Body weight: 163lbs.

WILL I GAIN A LOT OF BODY FAT?

If you stick to your nutrition plan and follow the workouts as they are perscribed, you should experience minimal fat gain. Notice how i said minimal, not zero fat gain. Gaining weight means you have to gain some fat along with all the muscle you are building. Don’t worry, *SPOILER WARNING* there is a leaning out phase that will be available just about the time this program comes to an end.

WHAT IF I’M A BEGINNER AND HAVE NEVER LIFTED BEFORE?

This program is scalable for all fitness levels. Whether this is the first workout program you choose, or you are a seasoned lifter looking for something new, the workouts can be scaled up or down to meet your fitness needs.

SETTLAGE SIZE & STRENGTH PRICING:

6 Month Size & Strength Program Pricing:

Program Payment Plan Cost Description
Settlage Size & Strength One Time Payment

Month-to-Month

$525 (Best Value)

$95/month

Full access to all 24 weeks of Settlage Size & Strength, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, weekly check ins and monthly FaceTime calls.
Settlage Size & Strength (Personalized Programming) One Time Payment

$600

Full access to all 24 weeks of Settlage Size & Strength tailored specifically to your athletic needs and resources, and bodytype, customized nutrition plan, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, daily check ins and weekly FaceTime calls.

If you are ready to gain some SIZE & STRENGTH, fill out the fields below to sign up for the newsletter!

Why #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED?

#SUMISSIONSHREDDED is a training program made for wrestlers, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and submission grappling athletes, made by a former high school wrestler, current BJJ and submission grappling athlete and life long lifter; Me. I have tried many sports, but my one love always came back to grappling focused combat sports. Through the seven plus years of training, I have utilized many different strength and conditioning programs to achieve different goals throughout my grappling career. I constructed this program based off of how I have prepared for the weight cut and conditioning training of my last two competitions earlier this year and had great success. My main goals and big focus for this program were to get stay strong, build on my conditioning, and have an easy weight cut where I can be the biggest strongest competitor in my weight class.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

To do this program, you will need a weightlifting belt, or a powerlifting belt, and a gym with the equipment necessary to do squats, bench presses, deadlifts, pull ups, dips, and plenty of dumbbells.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I SHOULD DO #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED?

Here are just a few questions for you: Do you pin most of your opponents in the first period? Do you lose the majority of your matches by points or pin in the third period? At the end of a match do you find yourself exhausted mounted and hanging on for dear life? If you answered YES to any of these questions, then this program is for you. The focus of this program is to build your aerobic and anaerobic capacity to push the pace of a match, as well as serve as a way to train to cut weight if need be.

CAN I USE THIS PROGRAM TO CUT WEIGHT?

Yes! There will be two versions available, one for straight conditioning, and one for conditioning with a weight cut bias.

WILL I LOSE THE STRENGTH GAINS I MADE FROM #SUBMISSIONSTRONG?

No! This program is still rooted in strength. This program will have you lifting heavy to maintain the strength you’ve worked so hard to obtain, but will help you become a better athlete through the development of your conditioning.

IS THIS PROGRAM JUST FOR BJJ/SUBMISSION GRAPPLING ATHLETES?

No it is not. This is an inclusive strength program designed for ALL grappling athletes. Wrestlers in competing in both collegiate, freestyle, and greco, as well as traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners, and the No-Gi submission grappling crowd. The athletic demands of all these grappling sports are relatively the same despite different techniques and rule sets.

CAN I DO THIS PROGRAM WHILE IN SEASON?

There are going to be two version of #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED. One for the off season, and a slightly different one meant for in season training that includes a weight cut

WHAT IF I’M A BEGINNER AND HAVE NEVER LIFTED BEFORE?

This program can be easily tailored to your experience level as a lifter. If you are someone who is just getting into sport specific strength and conditioning, you can choose the scaled version of the workouts.

#SUBMISSIONSHREDDED PRICING:

#SUBMISISONSHREDDED

Program Payment Plan Price Description
#SUBMISISONSHREDDED One Time

$260

Full acess to all 12 weeks of #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, weekly checkins and monthly FaceTime calls.
#SUBMISISONSHREDDED Month-to-Month

$95

Full acess to all 12 weeks of #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, weekly checkins and monthly FaceTime calls.
#SUBMISISONSHREDDED (Personalized Programming) One Time

$300

Full acess to all 12 weeks of #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED tailored specifically to your athletic needs and resources, and bodytype, customized nutrition plan, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, daily checkins and weekly FaceTime calls.

If you’re interested in #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED, fill out the fields below to sign up for the newsletter!

 

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3 Days Before Weigh In From GrapplingX Elk Grove 2017

Why #SUBMISSIONSTRONG?

#SUMISSIONSTRONG is a training program made for wrestlers, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and submission grappling athletes, made by a former high school wrestler, current BJJ and submission grappling athlete and life long lifter; Me. I have tried many sports, but my one love always came back to grappling focused combat sports. Through the seven plus years of training, I have utilized many different strength and conditioning programs to achieve different goals throughout my grappling career. I constructed this program based off of how I prepared for my last two competitions earlier this year and had great success. My main goals and big focus for this program were to get crazy strong, keep most of my conditioning, and not get too big to the point where I wouldn’t make weight. In this program you can expect to get big, strong, all while still being able to make weight.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

To do this program, you will need a weightlifting belt, or a powerlifting belt, and a gym with the equipment necessary to do squats, bench presses, deadlifts, pull ups, dips, and plenty of dumbbells.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I SHOULD DO SUBMISSION STRONG?

Some question for you: Do you lose most of your matches by pin? Do you have a hard time escaping from mount? Do you have a hard time finishing takedowns or maintaining position? If your answer is YES to any of these questions. Then YES this program is for you! Strength is essential to finishing pins, as well as not being pinned. Someone can be a better wrestler than you technically and expose your back for some near fall points, but if you are strong enough to defend and keep moving, chances are you can get back to your belly and stay in the match. Of course we never want to even get in the situation in the first place.

Being a stronger wrestler will allow you to fight harder for advantageous positions and stay on the offensive. Strength in crucial to finishing a takedown. You can have the most amazing takedown technique, but if you are unable to produce the force behind it, forget about it. For you BJJ and submission grappling guys, if you can’t finish a takedown, you can’t engage fight. Even if you’re someone who plays a heavy guard game, you need the strength to hold your opponent in position and control his/her body.

IS THIS PROGRAM JUST FOR BJJ/SUBMISSION GRAPPLING ATHLETES?

No it is not. This is an inclusive strength program designed for ALL grappling athletes. Wrestlers in competing in both collegiate, freestyle, and greco, as well as traditional Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners, and the No-Gi submission grappling crowd. The athletic demands of all these grappling sports are relatively the same despite different techniques and rule sets.

CAN I DO THIS PROGRAM WHILE IN SEASON?

There are going to be two version of #SUBMISSIONSTRONG. One for the off season, and a slightly different one meant for in season training.

I DON’T WANT TO GROW OUT OF MY WEIGHT CLASS. CAN I STILL DO THIS PROGRAM?

Of course you can! Through proper nutrition and training, you can still get crazy strong without having to grow out of your weight class. Although, this program is best used for someone who is already small for their weight class and is looking to get stronger for that weight class.

CAN I USE THIS PROGRAM TO CUT WEIGHT?

You can, but it wouldn’t help you cut weight at all. If you are looking for a program that is for a weight cut and /or conditioning, peep #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED.

WILL I LOSE THE CONDITIONING I

GAINED FROM #SUBMISSIONSHREDDED?

If you follow the workout program, stick to the nutrition guide, and recover well, you shouldn’t lose any conditioning. That goes to say you might not necessarily PR your mile time, but are you trying to run fast or get strong to win matches?

WHAT IF I’M A BEGINNER AND HAVE NEVER LIFTED BEFORE?

This program can be easily tailored to your experience level as a lifter. If you are someone who is just getting into sport specific strength and conditioning, you can choose the scaled version of the workouts.

#SUBMISSIONSTRONG PRICING:

#SUBMISISONSTRONG
Program Payment Plan Price Description
#SUBMISISONSTRONG One Time

$260 (Best Value)

Full access to all 12 weeks of #SUBMISSIONSTRONG, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, weekly check-ins and monthly FaceTime calls.
#SUBMISISONSTRONG Month-to-Month

$95

Full access to all 12 weeks of #SUBMISSIONSTRONG, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, weekly check-ins and monthly FaceTime calls.
#SUBMISISONSTRONG (Personalized Programming) One Time

$300

Full access to all 12 weeks of #SUBMISSIONSTRONG tailored specifically to your athletic needs and resources, and bodytype, customized nutrition plan, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, daily check-ins and weekly FaceTime calls.

If you’re interested in getting #SUBMISSIONSTRONG, fill out the fields below to sign up for the newsletter!

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Why #COLLEGECUTS?

#COLLEGECUTS is a training program created for college students who are struggling to balance the responsibilities of being student and living a healthy lifestyle. I was not originally thinking of creating this program, but after several people asking me about a program for college students with goals of leaning out/losing that freshman 15, it came time to create #COLLEGECUTS! I am college student myself and have had to learn how to balance being full time student, while having three jobs, and finding time to train for a bodybuilding show, and jiu jitsu tournaments. It was not easy, but it was doable, just like how it’s going to be doable for you! I have been training since I was in seventh grade. At the time, I did not understand how people did not have time to be healthy and workout. It wasn’t until I reached college, I realized the balancing act many young adults go through while being in school. Health is often left at the bottom of the priorities list. We are young now, our bodies bounce back like nothing else, although that time will end. If we don’t make the right decisions now, we will pay ten fold in the future when our health leaves us.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED?

You will need access to a gym, or at least some workout equipment. Honestly, any gym will do. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy as long as it has a squat rack, dumbbells, barbells, and a few machines/access to resistance bands of varying resistance. Most college campuses have rec centers you can join and train at during certain hours. You will also need some solid training shoes. This program is not for someone who is going to train in their slippers.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I SHOULD DO #COLLEGECUTS?

Here are a few questions for you: Once high school athletics were over, did you let yourself go a little bit and gain some “Freshman 15”? Are you someone who has never really led an active or healthy lifestyle and are looking for somewhere to start? Do you just want to stay lean throughout the semester now that summer has ended? If you answered YES to any of these, then this program is for you. The focus of this program is to help you get healthy and lose body fat.

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE TIME TO WORKOUT?

You never have time. You must make the time. Not having time to train is a lazy excuse. Trust me, if you are focused and getting after it, training hard, you will be out of the gym in an roughly an hour. Get in the gym. Train. Leave. No texting, checking Instagram, working on homework, or socializing by the water fountain allowed.

WHAT IF I’M A BEGINNER AND HAVE NEVER LIFTED BEFORE?

This program can be easily tailored to your experience level as a lifter. If you are someone who is just getting into exercise and working out, you can choose the scaled version of the workouts.

#COLLEGECUTS PRICING

#COLLEGECUTS

Program Payment Plan Price Description
#COLLEGECUTS

 

One Time

$260 (Best Vale)

Full access to all 12 weeks of #COLLEGECUTS, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, weekly check ins and monthly FaceTime calls.
#COLLEGECUTS Month-to-Month

$95

Full access to all 12 weeks of #COLLEGECUTS, private Facebook group, live Q&A’s, weekly check ins and monthly FaceTime calls.

If you are ready to make a change and get #COLLEGECUTS, fill out of the fields below and sign up for the newsletter!

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