With another year behind us, in yearly fashion, I’m knocking down the top things I learned in 2014 when it comes to Muscle, Manhood, Marriage and Money — the four M’s I believe every man wants! Let me know which lesson stood out to you most, in the comments section below. Deal? Let’s get started!
Top 10 Things I Learned About Muscle:
1. Constant tension timed sets redefine the word pain when it comes to building muscle. Training for time is more effective and efficient than training for reps when it comes to size. However, it’s so excruciating, you can only do it for 6 weeks at a time.
2. Functional hypertrophy clusters are a fun and powerful way to get strong from week to week.
3. Follow a strength-based program (like functional hypertrophy clusters) for the first 6 weeks of a cutting phase. Strength-based training will help you “lock in” your size and prevent/minimize muscle mass while in a caloric deficit compared to a traditional high-volume size-based program.
4. Omni sets are excellent way to efficiently trash all the muscle fibers. Omni sets are when you give your body a mechanical advantage from set-to-set for 6 sets. So, for a chest press it would look like:
Set 1 – 75 degree incline
Set 2 – 60 degree incline
Set 3 – 45 degree incline
Set 4 – Flat
Set 5 – 30 degree decline
Set 6 – 60 degree decline
You can perform this technique for every single body part. It’s efficient and effective plus it’s very different so you can prevent boredom.
5. “Touch-up” sessions as Coach Ryan Faehnle describes are excellent to stimulate the same muscle group twice in the week. An example of a “touch up” would be one exercise for 3-6 sets of 10-12 reps (really any rep range) at the end of the session. Here is my current training split:
Monday – Quads (Hams touch up)
Tuesday – Shoulders (Arms touch up)
Wednesday – Back (Chest touch up)
Thursday – Hamstrings ( Quad touch up)
Friday – Chest (Back touch up)
Saturday – Off
Sunday – Arms (Shoulder touch up)
6. Variable resistance bands are the cheapest and best equipment purchase to build muscle. I own bands from 20lbs to 100lbs to make certain exercises “appropriate” for the body, i.e. utilizing bands to match the strength profile of an exercise to the resistance profile of an exercise. This is where all your future gains are waiting. I’ll be dedicating a lot of time and teaching to how to make exercises “appropriate” for the body in coming muscle camps and articles.
7. M.A.T. (Muscle Activation Techniques) continues to be the most powerful therapy I’ve ever experienced. It’s been a few years since I started M.A.T. but this year, after starting to treat my abdominal muscles and anything associated with “side bending,” my body is like a new machine. I owe all this new muscle function to the smartest therapist I know, Eric Seifert from Core Strength in Toronto. If your body continues to break down, I strongly recommend you go see him or someone on his team, or find an M.A.T. therapist, even if you have to fly halfway across the world. It’s worth it and it’s the ONLY thing that’s actually helped me.
8. The simplest way to build muscle from a nutrition standpoint is eating balanced and in a slight caloric surplus from high quality foods. Perhaps the least complicated way to eat. Go figure! This is the same approach I teach in my best-selling e-book, No Nonsense Muscle Building. Keep it simple and don’t get caught up in all the fancy and unnecessary methods out there.
9. Make your supplement decisions based on blood work, or else you’ll simply be guessing and end up with the most expensive pee in town. This past year I’ve worked with my Naturopath, Dr. Carissa Doherty from Natural Care Clinic in Burlington, Ontario and I’m finally getting my “gut” under control. After an allergy test I discovered a massive yeast build up causing some other allergic cross-reactions and an “impossible” time to lose my belly fat. I thought my gut was just an “energy deficit” issue but that’s only half of it. I don’t fully understand the science but when I do I’ll write an article on why I’ve had to go grain-free, sugar-free and dairy-free to starve the yeast. Plus, I’m on a mega-list of supplements (B vitamins, B injections, acetyl-l-carnitine, magnesium glycinate, ALA, inositol, NAC, probiotics and digestive enzymes) specifically for my situation. I strongly recommend you work with a naturopath if your body is not responding to your training and diet. There are most likely deficiencies that only a professional can help you through, quickly. Sure, you may be able to figure it out on your own but I STRONGLY doubt it. Plus, that’ll only cost you more time and money and poor health in the long run.
Top 10 Things I Learned About Manhood:
11. Hitting your mid-thirties (I’m 35) really makes you stop and think about the path you’re on… Get ready for some exciting and big changes with my online business this coming year.
12. Strong daughters need strong fathers. Every day I pray that I will give my daughter my attention, protection, courage and wisdom.
13. This is a repeat from two years ago: Men need men. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” To me, this means there is mutual benefit to rubbing two blades together; the edge becomes sharper, making the knives more efficient in their task to cut and slice. The Word of God instructs us to sharpen one another – in fitness, business and life. I’m thankful for the Christian community of fitness entrepreneurs I’m part of, led by my father. Together, we encourage each other, share personal challenges and do life together.
14. The #1 book to awaken your life and soul is Fight: Winning The Battles That Matter Most by pastor Craig Groeschel. STRONGLY recommended.
15. Reading can get you out of a rut. Some of the best books I’ve read this year were The Legacy Journey by Dave Ramsey, Scaling Up by Verne Harnish, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and The One Thing by Gary Keller.
16. A man must be able to have the ability to take his ground, frame his words and make his case when truth is under fire and when beliefs and convictions must be defended.
17. To be a man is to make decisions. One of the most fundamental tasks of manhood is decision-making. The indecisiveness of so many males in today’s society is sickening. Real men know how to make a decision and live with its consequences. A great book on this topic is Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
18. While society celebrates sex in all types of forms, real men practice sexual integrity, avoid pornography, fornication, all forms of sexual promiscuity and corruption. Real men admit the dangers of lust but take pleasure and pride in the sexual capacity and reproductive power instilled by God, and commits themselves to finding a wife, earning her love, respect, trust and admiration – and eventually lead her and a family through life. If this is an area you want help in, visit XXX Church.
19. Learning how to cook is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and your family. I recommend cooking lessons but if that’s not in the budget, download my wife’s outstanding cookbook, Skinnylicious Cooking.
20. It doesn’t matter how many LIKES, fans, subscribers or customers you have if your personal life is a mess.
Top 10 Things I Learned About Marriage:
21. Doing chores around the house is attractive to women.
22. Gaining more muscle is still attractive to the wifey (and don’t worry ladies, she likes when I call her “wifey”).
23. Don’t take anything personally. (Read The Four Agreements to understand this one)
24. Don’t make assumptions. (Read The Four Agreements to understand this one)
25. Structure = Freedom.
26. Over communication is the name of the game these days.
27. Kids spell love, T.I.M.E. I can’t tell you how much joy my daughter feeds me each day.
28. Continue to schedule date nights and time alone. The average American couple spends 11 minutes a day speaking to each other. That’s sad but can happen without planning.
29. T.H.I.N.K. before you speak. Is it Truthful? Is it Helpful? Does it Inspire confidence? Is it Necessary? It is Kind?
30. Decide what is most important to you during an argument: You can be right or you can be happy, but you can’t be both! 🙂
Top 10 Things I Learned About Money:
31. After 8 years, I need to start doing a budget. While we had our biggest year, our expenses were insane. For the past few years I’ve simply known there is more coming in than going out, and now looking back, that was quite irresponsible. A budget is the key to long-term wealth and the fastest way to fail financially is to not use a budget. It doesn’t matter if you’re a billionaire, you’ll never outgrow a budget.
32. How much money other people make is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Ultimately God is the owner of everything — our home, car, investments, you name it. He’s the Owner. We’re the Manager. He can take it away at any time and if God gives someone else more money to manage than you, that’s really none of your — or my — business. So stop saying, “Does that guy really deserve to get paid $100 million to throw a football?” First off, that’s none of your business. Second, why doesn’t he deserve it? He sells tickets, fills stadiums, gets TV rating, sells clothes… I know that’s more than I do so he definitely deserves more than me.
33. God’s way of handling money actually works. The absolute best money book I can recommend is The Legacy Journey by Dave Ramsey. The book is the playbook for leading my family forward.
34. Gratitude comes from recognizing that our wealth is from God and belongs to God. He owns EVERYTHING and we take NOTHING with us when we’re dead. We’re simply the managers of what God is loaning us. If you’re not responsibly managing what is being “loaned” to you, he will not give you more.
35. The “rich line” is always moving. If you make more than 34K a year then you’re in the Top 1% of the world’s highest income earners. Crazy eh? No matter how much you make, you’ll always desire more. If you’re not happy with your current situation, you won’t be happy later. That doesn’t mean you can’t strive for more but don’t expect it to make you happier. And from my experience, I agree with the late Notorious B.I.G., “Mo money, mo problems!” Remember, the “rich line” is always moving.
36. If you are financially wealthy, that is NOTHING to apologize for or be shy about. Wealth is a BLESSING from God so why would you apologize for being wealthy?
37. Investing into coaching programs, mentors and courses is a MUST if you wish to advance your career. If you’re going at it alone, be prepared to get left behind. Why go to school on your own mistakes when you can go to school on someone else’s?
38. PLAN your future. Failing to plan is planning to fail. I always thought this was a cute saying but experienced it firsthand this year. If you don’t sit down and come up with a plan, you’re screwed. Mark my words.
39. There is NOTHING good about debt. Except for your house, if you can’t buy it in cash, don’t buy it until you can. End of story.
40. Making more money requires RISK. Uncomfortable risk. Risk is OK, but make sure it’s CALCULATED risk and set “trip wires” in place so you know if and when you should pull the plug.
I hope you enjoyed that…. I believe that we should ALWAYS BE LEARNING AND GETTING OUTSIDE OF OUR COMFORT ZONE to grow and become the best versions of ourselves possible. Thank you for reading. I have been doing this on my website since 2006 and it’s a very reflective time for me. I would love to know what lesson stood out to you most. Leave your comments below.
Vince Del Monte
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