A few years ago I decide to do a top things I learned list at the end of each year and more and more people have been emailing each year asking, “Is your list up, yet?” Not only is it a teachable time for my readers but it’s an special time of reflection for myself, so without further ado, here are the top things (in no particular order), I’ve learned in 2012. You’ll notice that I categorize my lessons under the four M’s, which I feel every male and female can related to: muscle, meaning, marriage and money. Lots of personal reflection that I’m sure will resonate home. Looking forward to your comments afterwards… which one stood out to you? What did you learn in 2011?
Muscle (and fat loss):
1. My top three set and rep protocols that produced the greatest amount of size and strength in the shortest amount of time were wave loading with 7-5-3, giant sets with 6-12-25 and straight sets of 7×7. These were such powerful set and rep protocols that I designed three exclusive programs of each: The 7-5-3 Wave Loading Workout, The 6-12-25 Mega-Size Method and The 7×7 Size & Strength Solution (to be released very soon).
2. The fastest way to smash a plateau and build 5 pounds of lean muscle mass (over a ten day period) is Charles Poliquin’s 5-Day Hypertrophy Bootcamp. Sixteen students came together in Rhode Island and we completed fifteen (15) different hypertrophy workouts (3 per body part each day) over the course of five days, an example of extreme overreaching. All sixteen students gained, on average, 5 pounds of lean muscle mass, during the next five days of complete rest. This is an example of extreme super compensation. This was a powerful reminder that you can build muscle fast, with proper programming.
3. Two a day workouts (i.e. manipulating training frequency) was the one hypertrophy variable my body responded best too. Visiting the gym early in the morning for an intensification-based workout (i.e. strength training) followed by an accumulation-based workout (i.e. hypertrophy training) six hours later, gets you growing extremely fast. Although this is very tough on your joints and I learned I could not sustain 2-a-day training for more than two weeks in a role, nor is it recommended. Two weeks on, two weeks off is optimal for 2-a-day training.
4. Chains are an awesome tool to match the strength curve. Alternating chains with no chains each workout has helped me become stronger on the top end of the movement and has taught my body how to accelerate through a full range of motion.
5. I discovered a new “get ripped fast” diet and workout and supplement protocol this past summer when preparing for my IRONMAN photo shoot, on last minute notice. AM Workout #1 – 30 minutes of hypertrophy work. 4 Hours Later – 30 more minutes of hypertrophy work on same bodypart. 6 Hours Later – Cardio Intervals. Diet consisted of fats and proteins each meal – 2 chicken meals, 2 beef meals and 2 liquid meals. 2 cups of veggies each meal. And a “cortisol-management” supplement protocol which included a lot of BCAA’s, glutamine, phosphatidylserine, vitmain C, greens, magnesium, zinc and green tea. This all happened at the time we launched Hypertrophy MAX in June, which is why I REFUSE to give anyone sympathy who claims, “I don’t have time…” BS!
6. The fastest way to lose fat comes down to one thing: A hard deadline. When asked to shoot for the cover of IRONMAN magazine I was three weeks behind schedule so forced to resort to the crazy workout and diet regime mentioned above, for two weeks straight. That resulted in losing ten pounds of fat and coming in at 8% bodyfat on very short notice. The deadline consisted of a flight to California, a set time to shoot with a photographer and a chance to land on one of my favorite muscle mags. It’s all about getting some blood in the game and setting a meaningful goal.
7. “Take RTS123″ in the words of my most influential teacher who left this world way too soon, Peter Chaisson. RTS123 and Peter completely changed the way I will view exercise and his wisdom and voice will live on strong through everything I share and teach.
8. The best therapy I’ve ever experienced is MAT – Muscle Activation Techniques and after Peter worked on my feet for a few weeks I felt like I could go into the gym with an S on my chest. MAT will continue to be my “go-to” therapy and if you have a MAT practitioner near year, go see how effective it is.
9.The fastest way to progress continues to be periodiazation. Pre planning my training cycles around three weeks of scaling up my intensity to hit personal bests every third week and then having a deload week every fourth week has kept my mind and body always wanting more, never burning out, always progressing. Hypertrophy MAX members know what I’m talking about!
10. Hypertrophy MAX workouts are, by far, the most bad ass hypertrophy workouts in existence. In ten years of training, I still come back to our own Hypertrophy MAX workouts to follow myself. MAX-LACTIC and MAX-VOLUME are too of my favorite so far.
11. My favorite nutrition certification to date is Dr. John Berardi’s Precision Nutrition. Not only does it teach the science but more importantly, it’ll teach you how to APPLY the science in the real world for all levels of clients.
13. If you’re relying on the Internet for all of your learning, HUGE MISTAKE. The majority of information I learned this year was at live events, conferences, certification courses or seminars. Believe it or not, NOT everything can be found for free online. Sorry to burst your bubble.
14. The best way to become compliant to your diet is to learn how to cook – you don’t need the latest fad diet! Flavia took cooking lessons this fall and I was floored by how delicious you can make healthy food if you have the know how. The best money I invested in my wife this year was cooking lessons with a healthy chef (she’ll be in a bunch of our upcoming videos). It cut back on how much we ate out and resulted in more bonding time in the kitchen.
15. Be FULLY present. There is nothing my wife hates more than me being somewhere else when she is talking to me.
16. Learn how to give your spouse your FULL attention. When my wife talks to me, I physically move my body away from the computer so that I’m not distracted by what’s in front of it. Another way to say #15, it’s that important.
17. The most important thing I can do when my wife is upset is shut up, stop trying to problem solve and listen! Simply listening seems to have a magical effect on fixing the problem! Who would have thought?
18. It’s important for married couples to discuss their roles and who will take the lead in each respective role and both parties must take pride and ownership in their role. For example, I don’t expect my wife to throw the fist when we have issues with our accountants or contractors. In our marriage, that’s when Vinny steps up to the plate and lays the smack down.
19. “The 3 Year Vision Plan” is a very powerful exercise every couple MUST do. Sit down and write out exactly where you want to be in 3 years as a couple. Lifestyle, body fat percentage, how many kids, where do they go to school, who are there friends, what time do you go to bed, how many hours do you work a day, how much money do you make, where do you vacation, how is your relationships with you mom and dad, sisters and brothers, how much do you contribute, what have you created etc. If you and your spouse don’t know where you’re going in life, any road will get you there… Remember, the best way to plan for the future is to create it.
20. Value your time more than money. Know what you’re worth on an hourly basis when you’re productive. I look at every hour during my “working day” as either an investment or expense. Let’s say I’m worth $50 an hour. If I go 8 hours without being productive, I just lost $400. At the time of this writing, I just hired two 14-year old up and coming entrepreneurs to shovel my drive way for $25 a snow fall. I’m 33 years old and haven’t shoveled my drive way in almost ten years. Nor do I do any of my own lawn maintenance. It’s not worth my time (nor do I have any interest).
21. Continue to give at least 5% of your income to a charity of some kind. This past year Flavia and I supported three causes – NationWares.com, CompassionCanada.ca and HopeForTheSold.com I believe that everything I make is a blessing from God. At any moment, He can take it all away. I give Him the first 5% as a sign to show that I’m trusting in Him to provide the next 95%.
23. One of the best free educations on wealth creation can be found by watching Shark Tank. Don’t watch that show without a pen and paper.
24. Pay yourself first. Flavia and I have monthly saving goals to reach our yearly saving goal. Don’t let your bills bully you around and prevent you from hitting your goals. After I pay myself, THEN I’ll pay my bills, NEVER the other way around. I do my best to control the future.
25. At the end of the day, it’s not how much you make, but how much you keep! Just because someone tells you their business generated over a million dollars last year, don’t drop your jaw. They could have had $950,000 in expenses… It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep. Learn to live below your means.
26. Script your day. Never start your day without a plan of what needs to be done in what order. And more powerfully, set a time deadline to each task. The biggest mistake I made with to do lists was not allocating a set period of time to each item. Work against the clock and you’ll be 10x more productive.
Meaning and Manhood:
27. A happy wife equals a happy life. Staying in tune with my wife’s needs and “keeping her love tanks full” has allowed Flav and I to keep growing closer.
28. Training your eyes, can be the toughest muscle on your body to train and the toughest battle of a man’s life. Wandering eyes can lead to a wandering heart and a wandering heart can lead to wandering hands and feet. Train your eyes to not take that second look. We make our women feel like ABSOLUTE SHIT and DISRESPECTED when we give into our selfish desires for those two seconds of visual pleasure. If you feel defeated in the area of sexual temptation, read this book: Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker. Get some accountability. This battle is NOT won alone.
BONUS NOTE: Porn addition will DESTROY YOUR LIFE – slowly but surely. Get help here: http://www.xxxchurch.com/
29. The grass is not greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it. Cherish your mother, father, brothers, sisters and people in your life. If you’re not satisfied with a relationship, it’s because you’ve let the grass go brown and you need to start watering your side of the fence.
30. 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. Men are to be in community together and we were not meant to truck through life on our own. I’m extremely grateful for the men in my life whom who are brothers or brothers from a different mother.
I hope a few of my learning resonated with yourself. I believe that we should ALWAYS BE LEARNING & GROWING so this was a fun reflection. Thank you for reading. I have been doing this on my website since 2006 and it’s become a highlight of my year. I would love to hear which one stood out to you and what you learned in 2012. Leave your comments below.
Vince Del Monte