Top 40 Things I Learned in 2014

By

Vince Del Monte, WBFF Pro Fitness Model, Certified Fitness Trainer
and Nutritionist and author of No Nonsense Muscle
Building.

IMG_7463With 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.

10. Barbell complexes and Strength circuits are two of my new favorite tools to start burning fat before lowering my calories and before introducing any form of cardio.

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.

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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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Top 40 Things I Learned in 2014, 4.6 out of 5 based on 35 ratings

Comments

16 thoughts on “Top 40 Things I Learned in 2014

  1. Thank you for showing others that when you are a Christian it doesn’t mean you’re better but that you should do better. I love the fact that you teach not only getting in shape is important but what goes inside your mind and your heart is important. Great job Vince, looking forward to another great year.

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  2. Thanks for sharing the books you’ve been reading or read. The Four Agreements audiobook is on youtube for free. It’s amazing book. Thanks Vince.

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  3. Great stuff Vince.
    Appreciate you.

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  4. Vince, thanks for the thoughts .. I always look up for them when December hits the end

    Also, grazie for the book suggestions

    I wish you and your family have a great 2015 .. cheers,
    Giovanni Carpanetti R.

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  5. Some great advice to start the New Year. Always learn a thing or two from reading these. Hope you and your family have a prosperous New Year.

    All the best
    Kevin

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  6. As a wild guess, $10 or $20 million of the $100 mill football player’s salary is probably due to the local taxpayers paying for his stadium. The rest comes from each fan paying maybe $5 per year to him. I’d only complain about the taxpayer part.

    This illustrates a frequent way to make a lot of money – provide goods and/or services to a lot of people.- and get a few cents or a few bucks from each one. The other extreme would be a surgeon getting hundreds or thousands from a somewhat small number of patients.

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  7. Thanks Vince, for sharing your wisdom. May God Bless You and your family in the New Year!

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  8. Always great stuff from you, it was an excellent read. Congratulations on all your deserved success.

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  9. I can surely relate to some of these Vince. All of your workout plans that I’ve tried this year have been the most rewarding and currently am in the best shape of my life and I still have room to grow. Looking forward to more and ready to GROW into a BEAST! All the best.

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  10. Thanks for closing the year off and sharing the things that you learnt. If most people planned in the different areas of their life they would be more successful i.e. money, workouts. Above all it’s always best when you put God in your decision making. Things will not always go smoothly but things will always work out the way they are supposed to work out.

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  11. Vince
    Had to message you regarding your top 40 things you’ve learned email.
    …..so well said and shared.
    so great to see you sharing your faith.

    Let me tell you a very quick story; I’m a 56 year old man now living in Brisbane Australia.
    in the past 6 1/2 years I’ve gone broke due to a business failure, lost our family home and relocated to Australia to work, lost my 20year old Daughter to a car accident, got made redundant in the GFC , my wife has had cancer and recovered and I’ve started a business in a new country.
    Only my Faith has kept me going, never never ever ever give up……
    My 19 year old son and I work out together most days pushing each other to our limits and have built a full gym at home in the garage with leg press , squat cage and all the free weights. I have gone from 93 kg fat weight to 80 kg hard weight and my son has gained 9 kg in the past 8 months.
    I now do most of the cooking and have changed our family habits to clean eating (non processed foods etc) we love it.
    reading your mails gives me ideas and has developed my training skills and understanding.
    you are doing a great job buddy.
    sent you pics by email as well
    Lance

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  12. CTTS and clusters and strength circuits oh my! Love all the different protocols you bring to the table. By far the most valuable content to me.

    Also dig the hypertrophy-focused exercise variations. So far Natalie and I have done “appropriate” squats and bench.

    Would love to see omni sets applied to other body parts.

    Thanks Vince! Here’s to a great 2015 coach!

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  13. DAVE RAMSEY ROCKS!!!!!!
    All debt is no good!
    Proverbs says it like this: the borrower is slave to the lender.
    Cant go bankrupt if u dont owe anybody money!!!
    IM DEBT FREE!!!!! FREEDOM!!!!

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  14. Great read Vince. Agreed with pretty much most of the points. Constant timed tension sets have to be tried – they will put you in the hurt box – big time but are extremely rewarding. Number 13 is also a must try to believe the power of it. I am going to give MAT a try, chiropractors are a waste of time and money even if you find one that works with a sports team.

    As I am in Toronto next month I might go see the guys at Core Strength to see if they can fix the imbalances.

    I quite like LLTV when I am stuck. Everything seems to make sense!

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  15. I like the things you have said vince some great stuff i wanna read into now so thanks . 1 thing i do not agree with is number 39 about debt there is good and bad debt . You just gotta know the difference 🙂 If you get the chance read rich dad poor dad .

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  16. Love reading these Vince–every year. Lots of learnings and growing this year!! Very good stuff. I’ll be making up my own list too.

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