Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat

Ep 60: Strength and Programming for Maximum Gains at Any Age with Andy Baker

April 11, 2023 Andy Baker Episode 60
Ep 60: Strength and Programming for Maximum Gains at Any Age with Andy Baker
Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
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Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
Ep 60: Strength and Programming for Maximum Gains at Any Age with Andy Baker
Apr 11, 2023 Episode 60
Andy Baker

Today we’re examining the world of programming and coaching with my special guest, Andy Baker. We get into programming principles for lifters of different ages and experience levels, whether your goal is to improve strength, performance, or body composition, or just have fun but effective workouts. We also talk about Andy’s career as a coach,  training principles and methods, and what he’s been up to lately.

If you don’t already know him, Andy Baker is a highly sought-after strength coach, personal trainer, competitive raw and drug-free powerlifter, and co-author of two best-selling books on strength training.

Andy’s books and programming changed my life when I finally figured things out and got my act together back in 2020 and did my first novice linear progression with Starting Strength. I’ve since run several of his programs, my favorite being The KSC Method for Power-Building, and I’ve been a group client of his Baker Barbell Club since 2021.

_________
👩‍💻 Schedue your FREE 30-minute Nutrition Momentum Call with Philip here.
________

Today you’ll learn all about:

[3:20] Why Andy specializes in barbell workouts
[9:49] Andy's friendship and collaboration with Mark Rippetoe
[13:54] Rewriting "Practical Programming" and which areas Andy covered
[18:17] His approach to programming
[22:04] Programming differences and mistakes of beginner to advanced lifters
[25:39] When NOT to follow the Starting Strength novice linear progression
[27:32] Benefits of strength training for older adults
[28:59] What you need to be a great coach
[34:20] Tendon and ligament health for older lifters
[43:08] Listening to your intuition when following a program
[48:25] Andy’s favorite training programs
[56:40] Andy’s current projects and what he’s working to improve
[57:56] How Andy’s beliefs or opinions have changed over the years, and new methods and trends in strength training
[1:08:50] Being consistent with eating better and making better food choices, and doing cardio
[1:14:09] What helped make Andy the kind of coach he is today
[1:18:33] How to find Andy

Episode resources:

📲 Send me a text message!

Support the Show.


🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

👥 Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

✉️ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

📱 Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

🤩 Love the podcast? Leave a 5-star review

📞 Send a Q&A voicemail

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Show Notes Transcript

Today we’re examining the world of programming and coaching with my special guest, Andy Baker. We get into programming principles for lifters of different ages and experience levels, whether your goal is to improve strength, performance, or body composition, or just have fun but effective workouts. We also talk about Andy’s career as a coach,  training principles and methods, and what he’s been up to lately.

If you don’t already know him, Andy Baker is a highly sought-after strength coach, personal trainer, competitive raw and drug-free powerlifter, and co-author of two best-selling books on strength training.

Andy’s books and programming changed my life when I finally figured things out and got my act together back in 2020 and did my first novice linear progression with Starting Strength. I’ve since run several of his programs, my favorite being The KSC Method for Power-Building, and I’ve been a group client of his Baker Barbell Club since 2021.

_________
👩‍💻 Schedue your FREE 30-minute Nutrition Momentum Call with Philip here.
________

Today you’ll learn all about:

[3:20] Why Andy specializes in barbell workouts
[9:49] Andy's friendship and collaboration with Mark Rippetoe
[13:54] Rewriting "Practical Programming" and which areas Andy covered
[18:17] His approach to programming
[22:04] Programming differences and mistakes of beginner to advanced lifters
[25:39] When NOT to follow the Starting Strength novice linear progression
[27:32] Benefits of strength training for older adults
[28:59] What you need to be a great coach
[34:20] Tendon and ligament health for older lifters
[43:08] Listening to your intuition when following a program
[48:25] Andy’s favorite training programs
[56:40] Andy’s current projects and what he’s working to improve
[57:56] How Andy’s beliefs or opinions have changed over the years, and new methods and trends in strength training
[1:08:50] Being consistent with eating better and making better food choices, and doing cardio
[1:14:09] What helped make Andy the kind of coach he is today
[1:18:33] How to find Andy

Episode resources:

📲 Send me a text message!

Support the Show.


🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

👥 Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

✉️ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

📱 Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

🤩 Love the podcast? Leave a 5-star review

📞 Send a Q&A voicemail

Andy Baker:

Any type of training that you do is going to be better than if you're not, but the physic the physiology is still basically the same. And that was a big thing for a long time. They said, well, body parts splits don't work for, you know, natural guys natural guys need to do full body or upper lower, or that type of stuff. And that's not necessarily true.

Philip Pape:

Welcome to the Wits& Weights podcast. I'm your host, Philip pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self mastery by getting stronger. Optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition will uncover science backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry, so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in. Welcome to another episode of Wits & Weights. Today we're getting into programming and coaching with my special guest who's none other than Andy Baker. We'll get into programming principles for lifters of different ages and experience levels. Whether your goal is to improve strength, performance, body composition, or even just have fun but effective workouts. We're also talked to Andy's about Andy's career as a coach his opinions on training principles and methods and what he's been up to lately. So if you don't already know him, Andy Baker is a highly sought after strength coach, personal trainer competitive raw and drug free power lifter, and co author of two best selling books on strength training, that are also personal favorites of mine practical programming for strength training, affectionately called the great book that he wrote with Mark Rippetoe of starting strength, and the barbell prescription strength training for life after 40 with John Jonathan Sullivan, aka solely, and any host the baker barbell podcast, and he's books and programming basically changed my life back in 2020. When I finally figured things out, I finally got my act together and got into barbell training. And I did my first novice linear progression. And I've since run several of his programs. My favorite, I think is the KSC method for power building. So I'm gonna run again soon here. And I've been a group client of his online Baker barbell club since 2021. And he has almost two decades of dedicated experience as a strength coach and personal trainer. He's coached hundreds, if not 1000s of clients by now, ranging from high achieving adult fitness clients to elite athletes. And he's a former US Marine, a certified starting strength coach, and of course, the owner of Kingwood strength and conditioning, a private barbell based training facility in Texas, and event. It's a privilege to welcome you to the show. That was quite an introduction. I appreciate it. That's probably the that's probably the best and smoothest one ever. That was great. I appreciate it. Man. I am going for that now with every guest. I have you know you because because you deserve it, man. So thanks, I appreciate it. I'm happy to be here. Yeah, it's gonna be fun. And you know, I always have like, 20 questions ready. And I usually get to three, and then we go off on much more valuable tangents from that. So let's hope that happens today. It's funny, because my podcast is like that, like, I'll script out like an outline for the episode. And it's like, you know, and I don't know why I do this, because I know it's not going to work. It'll be like 10 different topics I want to cover and like an hour goes by, and I've done like one and a half. And I'm like, Well, I guess we're gonna have a part two on this site, which is awesome. You know, that's, that's what we want from this. Yeah, this isn't this is not a highly produced show. This is real people here. Alright, so, you know, you've probably told your story a million times on podcasts, I want to kind of I want to narrow the focus for folks here. You've trained since you were young, you went to Texas a&m, to spend time in the Marines became a full time personal trainer and strength coach, you know, your gyms in the Houston area. Right? Yeah. And I guess what I'd like to ask you is between the experiences you had with CrossFit with the online forums with your gym, when did you realize that this style of training, and programming with barbells was the way to go?

Andy Baker:

I'm pretty early on. I mean, even in my early days, before I, you know, back when I was a teenager and early 20s, and stuff when you're just, you know, you know, before I was coaching anybody or anything, you're just training yourself, I mean, there's always kind of a recognition of what works and what doesn't, you know, and so I always gravitated towards, you know, the basic barbell lifts and such, even when I was doing like, more bodybuilding type stuff, and that just came from, you know, having a background in that. Coming out of a sports world, that sort of thing. There was always a recognition that, you know, there was a lot of value to squats and bench presses and deadlifts and that sort of thing. Really, regardless of what the goal was, that that that was a great foundation. And so, you know, whatever style of training that I've that I've done, which going from like, you know, and this is you know, spans both me personally and with my clients going from like bodybuilding style training, to even experimenting with like CrossFit style training to coaching power lifters. You know, to just general fitness general population, types of people that the basic barbell lifts has always been at the core of everything that I've done and then the the changes are a lot Have it is just on the periphery, you know, kind of on the margin specific to that person and what their goals are. So, you know, a lot of it is just, I always tell people, like, once you've done squats, I mean, you kind of know, like, if we're a new person, that's never they, they've read all this stuff and experimented with different things. But like, once they've done squats and see the results from it, it's hard to like unconvinced somebody that squats isn't, say, a superior leg exercise. You know, it's like, you don't really have to convince people, they just you just kind of know. And so, you know, that's, that's kind of the way I've always felt about it that, you know, you just, you can watch the changes happen with people, you get people's anecdotal feedback, you know, from your own personal experience. You know, even if you're training purely for aesthetic goals. You know, most people still like to be strong, even if that's, you know, they're not necessarily numbers chasing or whatever. So, those have always kind of been, you know, at the core.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, yeah, we'll explore that a bit. Because probably a lot of people listening in and myself included, it took me four decades before I could figure out what worked. And, and I wonder, you know, not that it came more naturally to but I did CrossFit for eight years. And I did a bunch of squats there, but they weren't super effective for me. And so the question is, you know, you said, people naturally find this out, but it almost seems like they have to come across the right approach and work in the white, right, for example, weight range with the right programming, and be consistent about it for a while to see those results to then feed that back into their mental loop of oh, this works. What do you think about that? Yeah, what's

Andy Baker:

it like with CrossFit, because I've, you know, I've had a lot of experience working with CrossFitters. and such, and I've, I've paid attention to it, you know, from the early days, you know, in the in the good, the good CrossFit gyms, the good CrossFit coaches, had a recognition early on that like, the squatting and the bench pressing, and the overhead pressing, and the deadlift, and everything that was really probably, you know, 70 80% of the results that people were seeing the problem wasn't the lifts, it was the way they were programmed, or not programmed. And the fact that in the early days of CrossFit, it was all so everything was so randomized, that, you know, you might squat, you know, on March 1, and then not squat again, until May 8, or something, and it was just all it might be, it might be a five by five this time, but then the next time it was a one RM, and then the next time it was three sets of 10 or so. So it was a 10 by 10. Any Yeah, so. So it was just like, you know, it was it wasn't the, it wasn't the exercises, that were the problem, it was the way they were programmed. And I think a lot of the good CrossFit gyms now you look at them, and they all kind of operate fairly similarly, which is that they have a structured periodized, repeatable strength program, you know, built into their watch structure. So you know, Monday, we're going to squat every Monday, we're going to squat, and then we're going to follow that up with some sort of wide. And then Tuesday, we're going to benchpress. And we're going to program these lifts. And we're going to do them repeatedly. And we're going to progress them on some sort of with some sort of framework that makes sense. And then, you know, Friday is we're going to deadlift, every Friday, we're going to deadlift, and then we're going to do a lot and, and the wads complement what you're doing with the main barbell lift, and they, they don't interfere with what's coming the next day. And that's the difference between like, I think CrossFit. Now it versus CrossFit in the very early days was the idea that completely and totally random was better than programmed. And, you know, the reality is, is it's really not because if you're gonna if you've got squats on Tuesday, and you do you know, 400 meters of walking lunges on Monday. Well, I mean, that's just retarded. I mean, there's no, there's, there's no reason to do that. And so that, but that was kind of the really early days of CrossFit was this idea that good exercise needed to be completely and totally random, regardless of how little sense that it made, you know, doing high volume kettlebell swings, and then the next day do and heavy deadlifts, you know, that sort of thing. It's just it's not, and you know, the gyms that wanted to stay in business and not burnout and injure their clients kind of figure that out,

Philip Pape:

figured it out. Yeah. Yeah, I mean, and what so the principles of what you're talking about here for anybody listening who may have not been able to find something that works for them is the progressive overload the programming the being consistent and developing something over time. And perhaps folks that go to the gym to Gen Gen pop that haven't found a gym like yours, or haven't found barbell lifts or just, it's random as well, just because they don't know what to do so. So that's really important. All right, I want to talk about I want to talk about ripp a little bit and your relationship with him because this probably comes up a lot. It's, you know, I listen to him all the time to and his podcast and just the guy's got a great personality. It's just just very unique. I understand. He was a mentor and friend of yours, you shared a similar vision, you know, this repeatable approach to lifting whether it was based on anecdotes like you said, working with tons of clients based on the biomechanics and bar path and all that good stuff. And then you collaborate on the third edition practical programming. How did you become friends with them? And how has that evolved to this day? Well,

Andy Baker:

firstly, on the way I stumbled upon rip as a way a lot of people did was, you know, he became kind of known, let's say, nationally, or to the broader audience via CrossFit. And this was in the early days of CrossFit when I don't pay attention to CrossFit now, so I don't know how they how they do things. But in the early days, you know, they brought in all these subject matter experts to teach these, you know, kind of independent skills that were a part of the broader CrossFit regime. And so they had Mike Burgener was the Olympic weightlifting guy. They had like a jump rope guy, they had a kettlebell guy, you know, they had all these guys and rip they brought in was the basic barbell guy. So they brought him in to teach squats, bench overhead press and deadlifts. And I don't know how Glassman found out about and that somehow Glassman knew about his book, starting strength that he had written, but it was not, at the time, starting strength was not real widely known, like it is now but but CrossFit kind of introduced it to the world. So I became familiar with rip, via CrossFit. But at that time, CrossFit wasn't as big as it is now. And so, you know, at the time I was, I was in the transition of getting out of the Marine Corps, I still lived in California, Rick was from Texas, I was from Texas, I was moving back to Texas, I had started to train, I had started to train clients while I lived in California. And I had planned on, you know, starting a coaching practice, when I got back to Texas, and I was using a lot of that stuff from starting strength with the clients that I was coaching. And when I eventually opened my gym, and late 2007, early 2008, I was taking a lot, I was using starting strength, linear progression, you know, in some of the other programs, that early programs for practical programming, intermediate stuff, I was using a lot of that in a commercial setting, with real people, which you know, really, that's, that's kind of the only place that accounts as a coach, you have to be able to apply this stuff in the real world, or otherwise, it's just theory and looks good on paper, if it doesn't actually work with real people, then as a coach, it's it's not really a viable methodology. And at the time, rip was a moderator. On this obscure strength. This was before social media might have MySpace or something, but at the time, yeah, but like Facebook, and Instagram, and none of that stuff was what it is today wasn't even around really, I don't guess. But anyways, RIP, RIP was a moderator on this kind of obscure strength training forum, called strength mill dot, I think it was strength mill.net. And they're like, nobody went there. And so but I somehow found it. And I was communicating with rip on that forum. And he eventually bought strength mill.com, or strength mill dotnet, whatever it was, and it became starting strength.com The Forum, but yeah, the forums. And so I was communicating with him way back then about what I was doing at my gym, and Kingwood. And, you know, at the time, you know, there, I'm sure there were other coaches that were doing it too, I was just the only one that was doing it. And communicating back and forth with him relatively frequently, about what worked, what didn't work. You know, what I was struggling with. And it's like one of those things where, if you do it, if he's doing it with a few 100 people up in Wichita Falls, and then I started doing it with a few dozen, a few 100 people down in, in, in Houston. You know, if you do something with 10 people, you learn something, if you do something with 100 people, you learn more, if you do something with 1000 people, you learn a lot more. So it was just one of those things where the more people that are doing it, the more you learn about it. And so we're we're communicating a lot of this stuff backwards, back and forth, especially on like the intermediate type of programming and all that which hadn't been really all that fleshed out that well, in the earlier editions of practical programming. And so then, fast forward a few years later, and he find he wanted to do a rewrite of practical programming, basically, because we have learned a lot actually putting a lot of this stuff into practice. And he's like, hey, you've you've been doing this stuff as much as I have been, or, you know, rip also just isn't that interested in programming? And he was like, so he's like, I want you to come on board with me. And let's we'll do this together. So I was pretty cool.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, I brushed off my, my issue of practical programming, which I did read, just so you know, because there's a running joke that, you know, have you actually read it? And yeah, he his acknowledgment to you is about you're like a numbers guy, and you know, you're the programming guru. So are all the programming examples in there. Everything from the Texas method and the splits and everything is it's all at your section of the book.

Andy Baker:

I mean, not the Olympic lifting stuff, because I mean, I told him So that's like that's not my I think he did a lot with Jim Moser did a lot of the Olympic weightlifting stuff plus rip. So rip is a lot more experienced with Olympic weightlifting than I am. It's just not my I mean, I can teach people how to power clean and power snatch. But you know, full full Olympic weightlifting programming is not something that I do. But the rest of it. Yeah, it was pretty much me, obviously, with a lot of rips influence in there, but he pretty much let me take the reins on that and go in and he would, you know, there were stuff on there that I would propose, and he didn't want to have it in there. So we took it out, and, you know, that sort of thing. But for the most part, yeah, it's, it's, it's mine. And, you know, it's, it's one of those things where, you know, you put a few example programs into a book, but you can't put everything in there. And so there's a lot of there, you know, there's, I mean, there's stuff that we've learned, since then that, you know, we would probably go back and add, but it's like, at a certain point, you can only do so many rewrites, you know, of a book, and we've gone back and kind of looked over it, you know, over the past couple of years. And, you know, I think most of it's still, you know, there's nothing in there. I'd say, oh, no, I don't agree with that anymore. Totally got to take that out. I mean, there's stuff in there. I could, we could have clarified more, or, you know, expanded on

Philip Pape:

shouldn't run the Texas method. Because it you know,

Andy Baker:

yeah, I mean, there's, there's, there's a never ending there. I mean, that's going to go on forever. If we did a fourth edition, there would be a few years from that there would be things that we'd want to go in there and clean up and clarify. But, you know, after a certain point, you just have to put stuff out there and realize it's never really going to be perfect. But yeah, it's it's still pretty good. You know, I think and so I still stand by the work. And I think it's a good starting point for most people, you know, for at least to understand the basic concepts around programming, the problem, the problem is, and this is why we kind of joke about people don't read it is they do tend to look at, they do tend to just kind of skip over all the text and go right to the right to the programs, which which are all just examples. You know, and it's hard, because none of those are written for any specific person. They're all just kind of generic, but people follow them, like a cookbook, and they don't necessarily give themselves the latitude to adjust and tweak based on the principles that are outlined in there. And if you don't understand the broader principles, then you don't know how to necessarily make those adjustments. And so in granted, it is hard. I mean, for the average person to self program, it can be difficult.

Philip Pape:

It is yeah, yeah, no, it is. But you know, you're what I was gonna say is, if you were to have an addendum to that book today, I would tell anybody, just go to your go to the, you know, Baker bar, what's your Andy baker.com, go to your training page. And those are effectively a bunch of programs that you've worked out over the years, and have selected the best stuff. And, you know, you charge for them, but they're, they're super reasonable. And you take those and then ask you a question on how to tweak it or read practical programming, you kind of get a good sense for how to work, work through it. And you've helped me with this over the past couple of years, where up now I've got a shoulder issue. Now I'm gonna cut. Now, you know, I've got this thing going on in my life. Now I need to go from four to five days. And those are the kinds of things where the principles matter. And once you've kind of gone through that process a few times, I think you can get pretty good at it. But, you know, it's not for everybody, like programming is a skill for sure. And I think you've got that.

Andy Baker:

Yeah, I mean, even like, if you look at stuff like heavy light, medium training, I mean, it's, that's just a very general generic way to kind of organize the stress of a given week, but within that framework, I mean, there's, we gave a few examples in the book, but there's an infinite amount of examples you could give when you start rearranging, exercises, sets, reps, volumes and intensities. I mean, there's an almost endless amount of permutations you could do that would more or less be heavy, like medium stuff. And then there's like, a lot of programs I do that are, you know, kind of heavy light medium, but not exactly. And so that's like, that's where I'm, I tend to be less rigid that I think a lot of my readers and clients are they read it and they're very rigid and how they apply it. And I think a lot of them are very surprised that I'm not Yeah, I'm, I'm more you know, I always tell people like I'm I approach programming much more as an art than an engineer. Like from an engineering standpoint, I think a lot of guys, especially that are drawn to starting strength, because it's so formulaic, kind of have that engineering brain. And they really liked the structure, like but overly so almost. And so I think a lot of people are surprised to figure out how kind of loose I am with some of that stuff. Because I've had people say, Well, you know, you said we were going to do a heavy light medium program, but this isn't in I'm like, yeah, it's it's heavy light, medium ish. Yeah, kind of is. It's just it, but it just works. I mean, so it's like whether it fits very, you know, 100% neatly into this package. Doesn't really matter that much. Oh,

Philip Pape:

yeah. No, when people people ask you a question on the forum, and they're like, Can I do this or this or this or this or this? And you're like, sure, like, yeah, those all work, you know, for what you're trying to accomplish.

Andy Baker:

Um, they have a great thing at the starting strength seminar. And I think I hope I'm quoting this right. But Nick delgadio is kind of the programming guide now with starting strength, and he does a great job. I mean, I tell people, I mean, I, I trust in it, you know, as much as anybody, maybe even more so than me with a lot of the basic barbell stuff, he's really good at it. And you know, he has a good a good thing. And then in the programming section is like, before you ask a question, ask yourself, one doesn't matter. And a two and I think two is something like, you know, would the best option be to just try it and see? Sure. And that's, you know, that's, that's kind of what people are like, exactly what you just said there. They're like, Well, can I do this? Or should I do this? And it's, like, try it and see man, like, both could potentially be right, like, I can't tell you, is four sets of five or four sets of four gonna be better for this movement? Like, how can I? How can I know what that degree of precision, especially from somebody that I don't even coach, you know, closely. In any event, it's somebody that I do coach that closely. And I've made this point before, like, most of the stuff that we do from a programming standpoint is more or less guesswork. You know, there's, there's, there's no way to know, on any given day where something where the you can say, Well, when I squat today, should I be doing four sets of five? Or should I do four sets of four or five sets of four? Like, you can't really know that you're kind of just saying, Well, based on where we're at, and who I'm working with, and the loads that we're with? And I'm gonna say

Philip Pape:

it's true recovery and how you feel.

Andy Baker:

Yeah, you can't really pinpoint the exact level of stress that would be optimal. I mean, one of them is more right than the other four sets are for four sets of five, right? Like, one of them's more right than the other. But we're kind of just guessing there and in over time, you know, I think it probably evens out to where it doesn't really matter that much, as long as you're kind of in the ballpark, and you're really consistent with it.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, you 95% versus 90%, may not be be a big difference, as long as you're getting to that 90%. What you know, the other thing I've seen a lot is that new lifters, they, they want to copy a an advance or, you know, an advanced lifters programming, or they see what they're doing on social media, right? And they just want to look or perform like that person. So they're going to try to do that. And that's just one example. I mean, what are the differences between beginners who just don't know what they're getting into quite yet and don't understand their body or what their max is, or anything else, or even intermediate, which I feel like late novice, early intermediate, still pretty much a baby in the woods. I know, I was between that and advanced lifters and then the mistakes people make in that regard with regards to writing their own programming.

Andy Baker:

Well, one is the terminology. And we had rip me and rip have both said this, that I think if we had it to do over again, we would probably change the terminology away from like, novice, intermediate, advanced, I mean, I think novice is correct. But the reality is, like this, let's say the starting strength progression, depending on who that who the athlete is, and who we're working with, you're looking at anywhere from potentially as short as six weeks, to as long as six months, with six months being really long. Like that's, that's someone that starts out really small on most in most instances and, and gains a lot of weight through the program. And does everything right. But most of the time, it's between probably eight, eight weeks to 16 weeks, somewhere in there is probably more about right in terms of so. So somebody does a linear progression like that, and goes, let's say three or four months, and then they kind of, you know, phase out of that and they're ready for something more complex, or just, you know, structured differently. You know, there's still a beginner, you know, they're yes, they're on technically, they're on to intermediate training. But, you know, the way that we defined it in there was that, you know, someone that's an intermediate at this point, could only progress on a weekly basis, there was no day to day progression left, they couldn't, they couldn't progress between Monday and Wednesday and Wednesday to Friday, that they were on more of a kind of a weekly type schedule. But you know, if you've only been training six months, you're still a beginner, you know, if you've been training a year, you're probably still really a beginner, even though technically, you may be into kind of late stage intermediate training, the way that we defined it. And kind of the same thing with advanced is that people look at advanced programming and they think, Well, you know, I'll never be advanced like that's for like an elite competitor or whatever. But really advanced training, the way we define it is just, it's any type of progression that is that is longer than week to week. In other words, you can't progress between this Monday and next Monday, your progress is going to be slower than that. And really, anybody that's been training for six, eight months or a year for sure, is really going to be kind of in that advanced territory. And the differences between intermediate and advanced training are often so hazy, that it's there's a case to be made that there's not even really a point in making a distinction because the the line between the two are so blurry that You could really make the case that we just have kind of novice training, and then post office training, right? You can vary by lift, even, it probably will, you know, vary by lift. You know, a lot of people will make more, you know, longer linear progression on maybe a deadlift than they will an overhead press, or something like that, that's going to require a different type of programming. So, you know, so that's, you know, that's, that's one way to, it's just understanding that the rate of progression is going to slow a little bit sooner than you think that it is.

Philip Pape:

Sure. So and then speaking of a beginner, then where what scenario, is there any scenario where you would not recommend someone follow the starting straight novice linear progression? Or something close to it? Is there is there any scenario you can think of? Um,

Andy Baker:

yeah, I mean, a lot of times I do even with novices I put them on, it's still basically looks the same, it looks very similar. Like if you laid the programs out on paper and next to each other, but I'll use, a lot of times, I'll use a four day split with somebody even right from the beginning, as opposed to the full body structure. And that a lot of times that just that may have to do with somebody's schedule. You know, at the beginning, I think the first few weeks for sure, like full body programming, is the easiest, simplest way to do it. The problem with it is that as somebody gets stronger, is that the workouts take a long time, right. And so certainly, if you have somebody that is has kind of competing, you know, is competing for resources with the lifting, let's say they play sports, or they do any type of really other outside activity, we don't generally recommend people engage in a lot of, you know, a lot of aerobic activity while they're doing it, you know, it's better to take that time and just get stronger. But you know, sometimes people don't have the option, if they're playing a sport or whatever they have to do, you know, they have to practice and play the sport. And a really long drawn out full body workout is either too time consuming, or just too draining on the recovery. So, so doing something like a four day split, Monday and Thursday, is bench and overhead press and chin ups or something, and then, you know, Tuesday and Friday is just squat and deadlift, and you're out the door, you know, something very simple like that, it will, it's still basically all the same lifts, it's still, it's still progressed within the week, you know, nothing really changes other than you're going from, you're doing an upper lower split versus a full body split. And it just, it makes the workouts a lot shorter and easier to recover from. So, you know, but in terms of the lifts, I mean, when I work with older people, for sure, I mean, you're gonna have certain Pete that people that can't always do all the lifts, I mean, for sure you're gonna, the lift that most people can do actually is the deadlift. So I'm, if I'm thinking in my gym, where I get a lot of, you know, in my, in my coaching practice here locally in my gym, you know, I get a lot of clients that are, you know, 60s and 70s, and even up into their 80s. And so, I mean, very, I'd say it's more rare, the, it's more common that people come in and can't do at least one or two of the lifts the way that we prescribe them. I mean, it's pretty rare, you're gonna get a guy that's in his 70s, that hasn't worked out in forever, that can low bar squat, overhead press, and bench press without any remediation. I mean, because things like arthritic shoulders, and all that is kind of the norm, almost with that population with an unathletic older population. And so, you know, are they, you know, they're not going to have the strength to do to squat a 45 pound bar or overhead press, a 45 pound bar. So, you know, but that some of that stuff's easily solved with just lighter equipment, you know, having the equipment there, where they can do a 20 pound overhead press, you know, a lot of my older clients, I may have them start deadlifting with light kettlebells first, before I progress into a bar, you know, and I'll have them, we'll get up to where they can do a 50 pound kettlebell, and then move them to a 65 pound barbell, that sort of thing. You know, for for a lot of people that are maybe listening to this that are your, your clients are probably a lot of like mine, a lot of guys in their 30s and 40s. That's not usually an issue with that demographic. I mean, most of them can squat a 45 pound bar on day one, but a lot of my you know, for if you're a coach listening to this, I mean, or you're thinking about getting into coaching, if you're going to coach people in person, you're gonna have a lot of older clients that have a lot of issues, and you're going to be surprised how few of them can, you know, squat a 45 pound bar on day one, or deadlift 65 pounds, which would be you know, 45 pound bar with 10 pound bumpers on it, that's going to be way too much for a lot of people. And so are they may, you know, even if they have the strength, they may not have the range of motion, or, you know, things that people don't think about, you know, being able to lay down flat on a bench. A lot of older people, they can't do that, you know, they can't lay flat on a on a hard bench like that and get on and off. So you got to be creative in your approach. You still follow the same principles. But you're right, yeah. And I'm pretty flexible in that I really look for a cave, instead of trying to force people into a certain movement. I look at okay, what can we do well, and let's go focus on those, you know, let's let's not try to force you into this into this movement, you know, I'm not going to jam the bar down on your shoulders trying to force you to do a low bar squat, when I could just have you do a safety bar squat, or start you with a goblet squat or a bodyweight, bodyweight squat, you know, whatever it is, I'm just going to get you squatting, then we'll kind of flesh out some of this other stuff down the road.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, and I think that goes back to talking about this more as an art in that you have to accommodate where people are coming from. And I know a lot of you guys in the club, you know, we're in our 40s. And, again, dealing with all sorts of little things, and you got to get creative. For me, it was recently a multi grip bar, instead of a street bar for for, you know, press because of the shoulder issues. I have female clients that are maybe in their 40s or 50s, who never lifted and, you know, can they have access to a women's barbell or 15 pound barbell, and that often at least lets them get started and progress up. You mentioned something about recovery. And you were talking about people who are maybe athletes who have other forms of cardio that they're doing in between. And you said maybe they need, you know, for four days versus three days, just this week, I had a client make an assumption. And I was thinking of he actually said, Well, I'm currently in a fat loss phase. So of course, I can't do a fifth or sixth day. And I thought, you know, and he had me running the bodybuilding track when I was on a cut. And that was six days a week. And it was fantastic, because each day was just like bite sized. And I only had stressful movements, maybe two days a week. And that allowed me to, you know, spread out the fatigue and recovery. So let's just explore that for a second. People understand that, like the number of days per week doesn't always correlate to, to the stress or vice versa. Right?

Andy Baker:

Yeah, because like the, the bodybuilding track that I do, for a lot of the guys that are you know, strictly hypertrophy oriented, physique oriented, you know, that's not something I would necessarily start a novice outwith. But once you've kind of, you've got a decent base of strength established, and you're kind of looking to, you know, go outside that a little bit, then, you know, people people will see without seeing the program, they'll go, Oh, my God, it's six days a week, I can never recover from that. But the workouts, the way, the way that I like to train that style, is with short, very intense, very focused workouts. And so, you know, you're looking at a day where it's just, its shoulders, you know, and so that's not that's not near that's not as stressful as doing squats, bench presses, and deadlifts. You know, on a day, that's, you might do a, you know, a standing overhead press, that would be your, you know, your initial lift on that day. And then you've got a series of, you know, isolation type movements that are, you know, stressful on the shoulders, but low systemic stress, you know, you're talking about things like side delt raises, rear delt raises, maybe some shrugs, and you're out the door. And, you know, I'm I like for hypertrophy, I'm not a big volume guy, I like enough volume, but I'm much more in favor of, you know, high effort, a handful of very high effort sets for that type of training. And so the workouts are shorter, and they're intense. But there's it is, to me, it's easier to recover from something like that, even though, you're training more frequently, you're not training your whole body, or even half your body six days a week, you're just doing, just basically doing a body part. And you're using a lot of exercises that are not that systemically stressful. And so you can recovery, recover from it, and a lot of those workouts, you know, if you're really focused, and you're not scrolling around in your cell phone, and you're, you're watching your rest time, and that sort of thing, I mean, you might not come out in 3045 minutes, and you're out the door. And that's, that's kind of how I like to train. And if you're gonna combine that, say, with cardio and aerobic activity, it's a lot easier to do that, than if you're trying to knock out a full body workout, or even half a body, you know, full full, a full upper day or a full lower day, even as much more is much harder than that, then, you know, just doing like a body part type split.

Philip Pape:

For sure. Ya know, I've learned a ton from from your approach here, when it comes to stress fatigue recovery, and how we balance all of those. And then the the I guess the other aspect for older lifters would be the kind of the types of things that they shouldn't shouldn't do during the week potentially, to manage that recovery. Actually, my friend Tony Perry, you know, you probably know him right in the barbell club a lot stronger guy than me. He's always getting on me for that. So I hear you, man. But he wanted me to ask you a question about tendon and ligament health in this context, whether there's anything older, older lifters maybe shouldn't do, whether it's sprinting, or Olympic lifts or anything like that. Maybe explore that a bit in terms of tendons and ligaments.

Andy Baker:

Well, yeah, it's like high speed activities, for sure. Especially when you're not accustomed to them. That's the thing. It's, it's one thing like there's a difference between, you know, doing sprints when you're 40 When you started doing them in college, and you've maintained a sprinting regimen for into your 20s and 30s. And yeah, maybe you've done moderated it down, you don't do as many or as frequent or as fast, but you've never, you've never stopped those activities, you know, you've always played, you know, you've always played recreational basketball or whatever it is that you do. You've maintained those, just like with anything else your body is adapted and conditioned to those stresses, there's a big difference between that, and a guy that's 4550 years old, that says, Okay, I'm going to start doing sprints. Now, after never have after not having done that for 25 years, or 30 years, you're, you know, the connective tissue is not adapted to that, it's not that you can't do them, but you just got to be really careful about introducing that kind of stuff. And you have to really weigh the risk reward of that sort of thing. You know, jump training is typically not something that I would necessarily do, I think sprinting is okay. But I always tell my older guys, and really, this is really anybody over like, 30. So not just, I mean, there's really no reason why somebody our age should be running 100% max effort Sprint's I mean, you get, you get whatever benefit you're gonna get out of them by running at 80 90%. And you're, you're without putting yourself at the risk of even if it's not a torn Achilles tendon or something like that, just a strained hamstring, those types of things, that then, you know, they're not catastrophic, but they're, they're an annoyance, and they slow down your progress by a lot. You know, if you're having, if you're having to nurse that thing for, you know, three or four months, you can still train but you're not training hard, you're having to always nurse it, it's always in the back of your mind, whether it's going to give or not. And so, you know, there's certain things high speed movements, for sure, are something that I would be I would be careful with, you know, but I would say in terms of, you know, protecting yourself from that, don't do things that you're not conditioned to do. If you're not used to training heavy, you know, you need to kind of acclimate to that for I think full range of motion is very important, I think, full range of motion and using the, the lifts as using the one of the benefits of a lot of these lifts that we do is that kind of weighted loaded stretch, you know, I think is actually very, there, I think it helps prevent injury. And I think it's, I think it's good for the joints to be taken through there for not excessively long, but you know, not doing a lot of heavy partial movements, you got to be careful with like, dead stop movements from the pins. Those are movements that sometimes I'm careful with, you know, pin squats, dead stop rack, bench presses, those types of things, right, I like those movements. But as you get older, you start to those types of movements can be hard on the connective tissue. And then just paying attention to your own your own body and your own your own body's feedback to you about the things that might cause pain or your own injury history. You know, I've got a, I've got an entire history of minor PEC tears and one one or two, pretty, not major, but less than minor, you know, PEC tears. And so I've got some soft tissue issues, you know, in my, in my pecs, that maybe you don't have, or another guy doesn't have. So I'm more careful with certain movements, just based on my own injury history than another guy has, you know, if you've got a history of knee problems, or shoulder problems, or whatever, just paying attention to your own body, you know, kind of writing your own rulebook for what you can or can't do. Because, like, there are certain there are certain movements that get demonized a lot like dips, or behind the neck presses or upright rows. And yeah, those are problematic for a lot of people. But I can do all those movements. And I've never had I behind the neck press all the time. I've never had an issue with that. But I don't. But that mean, me being able to do it doesn't mean that everybody over 40 Can behind the neck press. I just have I've always had very free and open shoulder range of motion. And so that movement doesn't hurt at all. And but I don't, but I know a lot of people do. So I don't prescribe it. Universally, you know?

Philip Pape:

Yeah, no, no, exactly. Right. Not not one thing works for everyone. And also, what you just said there is Don't you know, some of us out of ego, I think especially us guys will push ourselves, especially if we've gotten really, really strong I mean a lot of progress in one area where maybe it's our big lifts. And then we go out like I did a few years ago and said, sure I can trail run at 100%. And you realize kind of maybe you should have eased into it and worked up to it and train for you. And the older you get, the harder it is to bounce back from those things. Hey, this is Philip and I hope you're enjoying this episode of Wits & Weights. If you're looking to connect with like minded listeners on their health and fitness journeys, come join our free Facebook community. It's a supportive space where you can share your experiences, ask questions, and access free guides and weekly trainings. Just search for Wits& Weights on Facebook or find the link in the show notes. Now back to the show.

Andy Baker:

Yeah, I mean, I've look I've been dealing with some plantar fasciitis and my foot for since July of last year, and it came out of me not following my own advice. My son is my son's a teenager He's playing football now. So I was training him last summer for his upcoming fall football season. And I had him out on the track running sprints. And I thought, you know, like, like a good dad like a good coach. I'm not gonna, you know, it's like 100 degrees. You know, it's it's harder to go it's harder to do that stuff. You know, on your own. So I thought you know, like a good a good dad, a good coach, good trading partner, I'm going to run the sprints with him, you know, we're going to we're going to, we're going to suffer suffer together type of thing. And so I was Do you know, during the workout, I was feeling pretty good. And I ran. I don't know what it was 10 1040 or 50. Yard Sprint's, but it had been a long time, you know, since I had done that type of stuff. And then of course, I got competitive with him. And we started we started instead of just running breaking point. Yeah, we started right actually racing. So I was I did a handful of, you know, max effort sprints with him, felt great, I woke up the next day, and man, my foot, like I couldn't put my foot down on the ground. And at first I was like, Man, I thought I had a stress fracture in my foot. And and then, you know, come to find out, it's just I gave myself a pretty acute bout of plantar fasciitis. And then if you've ever had that, you know, it's, it's a pain in the ass to get rid of, you think it's gone, and then it comes back, and then you think it's gone. And then it comes back. And so I've been dealing with that off and on since July of last year. So you know, it's not the, it's not debilitating, but it's definitely annoying. And that just came strictly from not following my own advice, which was one don't don't run sprints at max effort and don't, don't do a high volume of things that you're not accustomed to doing. I violated I violated both those rules. And, you know, I've kind of been paying for it a little bit. Luckily, it's a minor thing. It's not, you know, I didn't blow out a hamstring or quad tendon or something like that. But you know, that kind of stuff can happen.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, that reminds me the suicide Sprint's I did at the beach a few years back, same thing, you know, you and me, buddy, let's go after it and see what we can do. And, you know, 25 anymore.

Andy Baker:

Yeah, and I think to a degree, you know, as guys, and if you're, you know, former athletes or whatever you I mean, you're competitive, and it's easy to let the moment, you know, kind of take over and you do things that you don't, you wouldn't, you know, you wouldn't prescribe to a client, but you wind up doing yourself or, you know, in the gym, it might be, you know, working up to heavy, you know, you haven't been training for a while or whatever, and you decide to work up a little heavier than you should try to hit old numbers or pursuing too much volume, or whatever it is, you're just you're applying more stress than your body is able to recover from and I think, especially when you're older, and you're you you have you, you're still pretty strong and you have been strong, I think you kind of hit this nexus, where you're still able to apply a lot of stress to your own body, like I'm still pretty strong, like I can apply a lot of stress to myself, but I have to be careful with that because my recovery is not as good as it used to be. So I can, I can still put up some decent numbers on some of my lifts, I just have to be careful about my volume and my frequency and that sort of thing, because I'm capable of generating a pretty big training stress, but my ability to recover from that same stress is not as good as it was 10 years ago, or 15 years ago. So you just kind of have to learn, I think as you get older, and we we focused on this a lot in the barbell prescription, which was, you know, everything's going to happen on your own individual timeline. And, you know, that becomes even more true, the older that you get is that you really can't adhere to things that are too regimented. And too, cookie cutter. And you know, you really have to pay attention to how is this program that I'm trying to follow? How is that affecting me? You know, and that's one thing I always tell these guys that are like, in my club that are following, you know, a lot of the stock programming is that's a good starting point like, but give yourself permission to adapt, and improvise and modify and adjust. You don't, you don't necessarily have to ask for permission to do that. If you're following a workout plan, and you feel like God, this is just killing me, like, if your intuition is telling you that it's way too much, then it's probably too much, you know, and you don't necessarily have to ask, you know, to shave off a set or to or to back the wave down a little bit like you have to kind of pay attention to your own body. And I think that's one of the big mistakes that people make, is they they just they don't really, they don't give themselves permission to be like, at the end of the day, your your coach is an advisor, or, you know, that program that you're following is an advisor, I liken it to like a like a roadmap or a trail map. Like Like, if I give you a map, you know, a rudimentary map to follow that says, here's how you get from, you know, we're out in the woods somewhere and it's like, here's how you get from point A to point B, and you're going down that trail, you know, and you come to a two foot deep puddle of water. It's like well go around it, right. It wasn't on the map, but don't just wade through it. Like go round it like you know, and I tell I kind of like to try to tell my guys all these things like if you're doing this program and it says five by five squats, but every time you do five by five squats, you can't walk For a week, you know, are your low back hurts, like do okay, then don't get five sets of five do three sets of this, even though they do they do and like, I'm going to be the first guy, and that's going to tell you to do that. Because when I put out a program for people to follow, I'm that program cannot possibly be optimal for every single person that's gonna follow, it's gonna get you, it's gonna get you in the ballpark, it's gonna get you pretty close. And I think that's good. And so a lot of people are against, you know, stock programs or stock templates for that reason. But I think it's just like that little that a handwritten, you know, little map is still going to be better than just walking through the woods blind. But it doesn't necessarily include every obstacle that you're that you might encounter. But it's gonna get you closer than maybe if you're on your own. But it's not precise. And it's not exact.

Philip Pape:

It's about 80% of the way there. And then the rest of it is, you know, taking this advice that you're sharing here, talking to a coach, having a trainer, whatever it takes to make those adjustments as you learn. You know, it's funny, you mentioned the GPS. Did you ever watch the office? The US was in the office? Oh, yeah. Do you remember the episode where they follow the GPS? Like almost ready to

Andy Baker:

do it, Dwight drives the car right into the lake? Or Steve Carell does whichever one. But yeah, they're driving, and it's like, oh, there's a lake here. And it's like, well, the, the roadmap said to go into it, and it's like, so they just drive into the lake. And a lot of people do that with their own training. And it's like, you know, you have to just, I think that's a big problem with I don't know, there's something about the online world that's created that, you know, and I think some coaches would take it as an affront to their own programming skills, if their clients want to modify what they gave them, but you just have to recognize that, you know, unless you're working with somebody, like, like me working with Shelley, who's a very high level, you know, competitive athlete, you know, at the world level, but, you know, God, I've been working with her very, very intimately for like, six years. So like, with her, I can pretty much I think, you know, pretty much down to the, to the set are pretty, you know, pretty damn close, you know, get really close to what's optimal. But that is that has come from a long relationship of programming for her, and and now, you know, she's been doing it long enough where, you know, her feedback now to me, I listened to it a lot more than I would have, like, in year one, you know, so when she say, This is too much, or this is not enough, you know, at the beginning, as a coach, when you're working with people, you know, for a guy that's only been trained in a few months, you're like, Okay, I'll kind of make a note of that. But

Philip Pape:

I was a coach, and I know better. So let's right,

Andy Baker:

you don't blow it off. But a lot of this stuff, you've, they just, they don't know enough to make a lot of these models. But the longer somebody has trained the, the coach becomes much more of an advisor, rather than, you know, any kind of give them stuff, but I give them much more agency to make their own. You know, it's kind of like a football coach does with a really experienced quarterback with Tom Brady, you know, that the coaches is not going to script out every play for him, he's going to give him a lot of agency to go out there and call audibles, you know, or call his own play call, you know, call a pat call a pass when a run was called, because that's what the defense showed, you know, that type of thing where you may not do that with a rookie quarterback, because you're gonna make a lot of mistakes. So there's a lot of analogies in this from sports that

Philip Pape:

Phil Jackson and his team, same thing. Hey, speaking of your program, so you're talking this whole the idea of templates versus customizing? You know, I guess one of the things I like about your KSC power building program is it's not really a template, it is very flexible. It's like, here's a bunch of things you could do on Monday, here a bunch of things you do Tuesday follow this framework, but then you get to choose, which some people may find frustrating because like, Oh, this guy is telling me that I have to now figure it out. But I like that. Well, I mean, what is your favorite program of all the ones you've ever written?

Andy Baker:

I actually liked that one a lot. That that probably is my favorite. Cool, just just because I've, I've used it a lot personally, probably my strongest that I've ever been, was probably when I was, you know, consistently following that eight five to programming for the main lifts. And for the reasons that you just kind of laid out I like that program, because it provides there is a pretty good amount of structure on how to do the main lifts. So it keeps you from I don't like a program where you just walk into the gym and you're just guessing, you know, you don't want to leave it to the, to the client to just to just guess, you know, whatever feels good today. So it provides some structure but it also gives you a framework to do if, you know the your ability is just not on point that day, you know, and so a good program provides that of kind of, what do you do if you get out there and you know, you're supposed to do X but you can't that day, like you know, it kind of gives you it kind of gives you some direction on where to go and how to how to how to handle that when progress starts to slow down. So it gives you some it gives you a little bit Have rigidity and some structure on the main lifts. But then on the margins, it gives a lot of flexibility to one choose exercises that that you prefer or that fit your equipment situation. That's one of the biggest things like doing like hypertrophy based programming is what equipment do people have?

Philip Pape:

Right? Machines? Yeah, they

Andy Baker:

are, they're in a garage gym, and they have a barbell, and some dumbbells, and maybe some janky cable station or something, versus if they're in a really good commercial facility, where they have everything, this kind of gives them a framework of how to, you know, how to how to implement some variety, but also not to get carried away with variety. You know, here's, here's a couple of accessory movements for your chest, you know, maybe need one or two, but you know, a 10, you know, type of thing. And so that's because that's, that's an area where people with too much variety will get carried away, and they'll lose the lose focus on the big picture stuff. And focus too much on this the smaller type of things, but so I like programs like that, that are that have some rigidity, but also have some flexibility. And some Yeah, exactly, you know, on the on the margins,

Philip Pape:

it kind of reminds me of flexible dieting on the nutrition side where you know, got your calories and macros, but you go ahead and pick the food, you know, it's similar here, you've got your a five to structure and you've got your days, but pick the pick the movements. So, after working in this field for I guess, at least two decades now, a couple of questions I wanted to pick your mind about one is, is there anything that you've completely changed your mind on? That used to feel strongly about? And then the other is, is there anything new that you're experimenting with? That maybe we haven't heard much about from you?

Andy Baker:

Um, you know, it's hard to say if there's anything that I wholesale, used to believe that I just don't believe anymore. I mean, definitely, maybe the way that I do some stuff is won't for sure, the way that I do some things is different. I think, fundamentally, fundamentally, I more or less believe. And I think, you know, that's the thing, when you work with real people in the gym, I think you you kind of see what works. And if it worked 10 years ago, it's still gonna work. Now, it's not like, well, this is old, so it doesn't, it doesn't work anymore. No, if it worked, I mean, humans haven't evolved that much in 10 or 20 years. So, I mean, I think you get better at just maybe being more efficient, you know, with what you're trying to do. But more or less the stuff that worked, you know, the stuff that worked 10 or 20 years ago works. Now, you know, I think a lot of people too, they look at what your they look, you know, as a coach you you have to kind of come up with your own system that you that you follow. And you have to get really good at working within a system or a couple of systems. And you can't try everything or do everything. So it's like, if somebody will be like, well, Baker does this. So he obviously thinks that this other thing doesn't work. And it's like, that's not, that's something I just know exclusively, I just don't use it. If people do that with nutrition, I heard Mike is retell the other day on Instagram post or something. And he was right about this, it'd be like people see him, he's like, eating an orange. And they're like, Well, why aren't you eating an apple? He's like, it's like, Well, I'm just eating an orange. Like, it's not, it's not that I don't like apples, I'm just eating an orange. And it's kind of like that way with programming. It's like, I'm programming and training a person this way. It doesn't necessarily mean i wholesale believe that this other way doesn't work. I just, that's just not what I do. And I don't, I wouldn't know how to use it, as well as some other coach uses it. So I don't, I don't do it. But I've, you know, I've always I've always borrowed from a lot of different systems. So I don't have like one thing that I do necessarily, my system is a conglomeration of a lot of different stuff. You know, so I beg, steal and borrow, and then I assembled it kind of into my own thing, which I think is what most coaches wind up doing. But that's, and then I think we're I'm pretty good at, I think my strength is a coach, it's being able to take, you know, an approach that I that I know how to use and applying it to the right person, right, you know, utilizing, right I know, I know how to use the conjugate system with people, let's say, for instance, and I liked the conjugate system, but I don't universally apply the conjugate system to every single client that I trained, because it's not it's not appropriate for every single client that I trained, but it's very appropriate for other people. And so I try to match the programming structure or the programming style to the person that I'm working with, not only with their goals and their experience level and their abilities, but even just their individual preferences. You know, some people like a lot of variety and they want to learn new things, they want to be constantly challenged. And for them, like a conjugate approach, which is really really good and a conjugate system for the people that I mean, it's very deep, but it's a lot of variety of different exercises and that sort of thing. And so that type of

Philip Pape:

go listen to your multi part, podcast episode on

Andy Baker:

I'm not gonna I'm not gonna I'm not gonna break the whole thing down here because that's another hour but It's, you know that that system will work well for a lot of people that want to do it that way. But for a guy that doesn't like to train that way that wants, he wants to peel everything back, except for just the bare minimum basic stuff he wants, you know, a minimum number of exercises, he likes the repetition of doing the same stuff over and over and over again, then I might use more of a heavy light, medium structure with that person. And again, it may come down to something, you know, a guy may want to do a call, he may contact me and say, Hey, I'm really interested in this conjugate method. You know, but his his equipment selection is a rack and a barbell may not work that well for you, man, like it's Yeah, I mean, you can, but you're trying to, you're kind of trying to force a round peg into a square hole with that, and so you can't rotate through enough areas with Yeah, that's right. Yeah, yeah, you just have, you just you kind of need more stuff to do that. And so sometimes it's better to just, you know, it's better to just go with what you have, and do the best with what you have. And then in trying to, because if you're if you want to joy, I'm a big believer, if you don't enjoy your training, you're not gonna You're so if you're following a system of training that is, doesn't match up well, with your preferences, you're, you're probably not going to be as consistent with it. And consistency is key. And one of the one of the keys to consistency is to actually, I mean, all of us have days where we don't want to train and we don't want to go in there and do it. But you have to be following something that excites you, at least to some degree. And so as my as a coach, I try to match that up as best as I can.

Philip Pape:

Yeah. And that right, there is huge, that's a big part of why I recommend you all the time to people because it there's so much variety to choose from, and you'll find something that works for you. And then even in the barbell club, it's just the tracks that come out, and the variety we tweak are great. So last couple things. If we got time for a couple more questions, I got plenty of time. All right, so are you you're always open to things because I noticed like in the bodybuilding track, you're big into the the rest pause sets and density sets, and you recommend all these different things, which I think are fascinating, you know, the dog crap training, stuff like that? What, uh, what have you been experimenting with? Or trying to, to work through now that maybe we haven't heard of? Or is there like? Or if not, is there something that you're personally working on that you're just trying to improve?

Andy Baker:

You know, for the, for the last several years, I've kind of gone back to where I started, which was, you know, I started, like a lot of guys did is, you know, late teens, early 20s, with a bodybuilding style approach with the body part split. But looking back, you know, when I didn't have enough good information, and so I was doing a lot of things wrong, that I still made progress, because I was, you know, I was very, you know, I trained hard, I was very consistent, I always, I understood the importance of nutrition early on. So I got, I got good results with that type of training, you know, early on plus I was, you know, 1920 21. So you're gonna, if you're doing if you're eating well, and you're training hard, you're still going to get pretty good results. And at that age. And so, you know, I, but looking back, you know, there was a lot of things I would have done differently. It had I had the information that I have now. So several years ago, I kind of went back to that bodybuilding style approach that I that I used when I was younger. And I thought, okay, with the information that I have now, could I do this better and make it work? And so for years for I did that for a number of years before I started offering, you know, that track out to my clients of, you know, how do I make this kind of body part split type stuff work? Because now I understand a little bit better of why I'd be doing something that I'm doing instead of just doing what I felt like, which is kind of how I did it back then. And so yeah, I think the the bodybuilding style of training, applying the principles of progressive overload, and that sort of thing, to that style of training, as there would have been a time where I would have said that, you know, that maybe that style of training didn't work, because you've heard that before, like body parts of which only work for advanced athletes or, you know, enhanced athletes. So, and that's really not true, you know, that if you're on gear, you're anabolics, in any type of training that you do is going to be better than if you're not, but the physic the physiology is still basically the same. And so, you know, that was a big thing for a long time. They said, well, body parts splits don't work for, you know, natural guys, natural guys need to do full bodied or upper lower, or that type of stuff. And that's not necessarily true. You just need to make sure that certain principles are in place like progressive overload. And I think that's one of that's, that's one of the reasons I'm so drawn to Dante tradelens work and kind of his dog crap system. And again, I don't prescribe the dog crap system. Exactly. But I've, I've borrowed elements of it, one of which is just that, that applying those principles of progressive overload and everything to more of a bodybuilding style of trading, which I think is where a lot of guys, young guys, especially that train in that vein, where they go in there, and they have an arm day, let's say in this and they do a lot of volume, a lot of sets and reps on their arms and all that kind of stuff and they still don't see any progress, any growth. And a lot of that is is because like I was when I was at ages, I really wasn't Thinking about progressive overload, I was thinking about, well, how can I go in and just destroy my arms? You know how so, you know, you're just trying for what's the most massive pump I can get? How sore can I get, how fatigued can I get, you know, it's not a good workout, unless that body part that you're training is just destroyed, you know. And that was kind of what a lot of the bodybuilding magazines and stuff back in the day preached was you have to just absolutely destroy a muscle as as opposed to now my thinking is more, you know, you have to take, you have to find certain exercises that work really well for that, you know, for that muscle group. And then you have to apply the principles of basic progressive overload to those exercises. And we think a lot on a about progressive overload on squats and deadlifts and that sort of thing, but we don't necessarily think about it on our cable, tricep press downs, or our barbell curls, those types of movements, people just go in there, and they just knock out three or four sets of 10 reps, and then wonder why they're not growing? Well, it's like, if you're, if you're doing a cable, tricep, press down for 10 reps with 100 pounds, you know, in a few months, you need to be doing 10 reps with 150 pounds. And if you're not thinking that way, on even those small exercises, you're not going to see the type of muscular growth that you would if you were, you know, applying those principles of overload. And so it's the same thing. I mean, people recognize that on their squats, you know, if you want your legs to grow, you need to take your 225 Squat and turn it into a 315 squat. to 25 for five needs to become 275 for five needs to become 315 for five needs to go needs to turn into 405 for five, I mean, that's really, that's where groat muscular growth occurs on those lifts. But it applies to every other lifts, if you're trying to get your chest to grow. And you're doing a dumbbell bench press. Like if you're doing the 60s for a set of 10. Today, well, in a few months, you need to be doing the 80s for a set of 10. Exactly, you know, so those principles that we apply to the barbell lifts apply to every other lift that we're going to be doing, you know, when you're trying to do that bodybuilding style approach. So I went back and kind of retrace my steps that's kind of training the way that I used to train, but applying some of this stuff, some of these more scientific principles to that training and see if I can make it work. And even getting away from the barbell stuff entirely, just to see if I can elicit an adaptive response without them. You know, and you can, it's not great for strength, you know, your low bar, one Rm is not going to go up if you don't train your low bar, one RM, but you can still, you know, I wanted to see, can I actually grow doing a lot more machine based, Bill based training and that sort of thing, because I knew I could with the barbells, I wanted to see if I could make it work, you know, kind of with the bodybuilding type system, more physique level approach, and it does it does work. Yeah, and

Philip Pape:

you have some really nice features in that program. For what I can recall, it's been been about a year since I ran it, but it had the top set back off set approach, right in the bodybuilding track. And you you'd you'd go through a certain progression for six 812 weeks, what is it now on the program, before you start to switch it up? Something like six weeks, right?

Andy Baker:

Yeah, I'll do like basically like six weeks, and then I'll D low people. And, and again, you know, is that optimal for everybody? You know, the idea is, though, is that if you know, if you know that we're going to, we're going to kind of load for six weeks, and then D load and then kind of reshuffle some of the movements, then you're trying to kind of maximize, yeah, you're you're pushing Yeah, it's

Philip Pape:

a psychological thing. For sure, yeah, you're

Andy Baker:

gonna try to push that, you know, your benchpress in the four to eight, four to eight rep range, you know, you're going to push that hard for six weeks. And then, you know, we may not the benchpress may just go from the first exercise to the second exercise, and then not and be in the eight to 12 range, instead of the four to eight range. But you're still, you're still trying to apply those principles of progressive overload now, just within a different reparation in a different order. And so all that type of stuff, you know, I've kind of figured out a way to long term kind of make it work.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, and it's a lot of fun, and you're still hitting plenty of compound lifts in there. In a variety of rep ranges, like you said, it's not always the big three which can be refreshing actually, when you're kind of getting tired of doing the same lists over and over. And then it's also I also read it during a cut and you had suggested that as one of the the higher priority programs potentially because of the autoregulation and the recovery, you said something in one of your articles you wrote stay out of the bulking, cutting purgatory, pick a goal and get there. bulking usually erases your abs and cutting use erases your PRs just deal with it. Right. And I'm always having I'm always having arguments with people about bulking and cutting myself to me and Tony, he's like, stop cutting man, you gotta you gotta gain and I'm like, Well, I don't want to gain 40 pounds and keep going up I need to at some point get a little bit late. And that's

Andy Baker:

and that's true. I mean, the bulking and cutting thing. Not that it doesn't work. But I think what what happens is guys just hang out in the middle for too long. So they, they want to, you know, drop the body fat, but they don't do it long enough. You know, to really get lean, you know it because they're because what happens is, you get a few weeks into that diet, you know, and your strength starts to go down a little bit and so you have They have a system of training. Like, that's why I don't recommend when guys are going on a cut, I don't recommend them following some sort of barbell base strength program that has them working up towards a peak, like working up towards a one rep max, because you're asking the stress to go up, up, up, up, up, up up, while your recovery and your recent your nutritional resources are going down, down, down, down, down, like that's a bad combo. So you have to figure out a way to train that allows you to still train hard, because you need to train hard in order to maintain the muscle mass, but your absolute strength like your your PR, one RMS on your lifts are gonna go down. And I honestly wouldn't have guys even mess with that you don't need to be taken out squat one RMS while you're on a cut, because one they're going to go down to it can be dangerous, if you're if you're really dieting hard, and you're depleted, you don't need to be going down and doing those types of, of lifts. So you need to be training hard, but in a within a specified rep range. I do like to push the lifts close to failure, but not relative, it's relative, it's relative, you know, it's within the five to eight rep range or the eight to 12 rep range not in the one to three rep range. And the when you get there that you find that the load on the bar, I don't want to say it doesn't matter, it does matter, you want to try to maintain your strength as much as possible. But within those kind of medium rep ranges, not not not your one RM maximal strength, because that is going to go down if you're on a prolonged cut. And so you just got to kind of get that out of your head and really stay focused on the goal, which is if I'm trying to get lean, let's just get lean. And then once you level off, and you start going back into gaining again, a lot of that strength is going to come back. I do think that there's a lot of there's a lot of utility. And if you're kind of in that you're your body type is such you've got some muscle and you're kind of strong, but you're kind of fat, and you want we'd like to be less fat, but you're still not your strength is still not where you want it. And so people are like, Well, should I should I just keep gaining weight? Or should I or should I lean out because and honestly, if you're in that zone, I usually tell people to do the lean out first, like get get lean. And then because actually, if you get nice and lean, you're actually going to be more anabolic to start a bulk later like that bulk is going to be more effective going forward, your body is actually going to you're going to your insulin sensitivity is going to be better when you're leaner. So you'll be able to eat more without putting on as much body fat when your insulin sensitivity has been fixed. If your level of runway, yeah, yeah, if you're fat now and you start bulking, probably your insulin sensitivity is not good. And so if you start trying to go into a big caloric surplus, why you're kind of fat, now, you're just gonna get fatter, I mean, you still will probably get stronger, but you're gonna, then you're gonna get to a point where, you know, yay, my squat went up 50 pounds, but man, I'm fat. And I don't want to be here, you know, and it's like, so you're going to be, you're going to be in a better place to add that muscle if you start off a little bit leaner. So it can be better to cut first, because of getting your insulin sensitivity is better. A lot of times your testosterone is going to be better. I mean, I think we know now that you know being obese is one of the leading causes of having your, your sort of have is having of having low testosterone. And so I think all of those markers are going to be better and are going to enable you to have a better bulk if you get lean first. You know, if you're if you're already lean now, you don't need to get, you know, you don't need to get down into single digit body fat unnecessarily,

Philip Pape:

I guess you could easily do that later. Right? Exactly. You know, I've also seen the scenario where someone, especially new lifters who have never lifted before, you know, could get some of that body recomp. Right, they can stay at maintenance, potentially, if they if they're not excessively heavy and really need to lose that weight right now for health reasons. Maybe it's around a maintenance and enjoy some that body recomp that the rest of us can't get it get any more to that extent, and then figure out where do you want to go, because you might see, hey, the waist size has gone down, the muscle mass has gone up. And I haven't lost any weight on the scale. But now I'm good to bulk. You know, it could go that way too. Yeah.

Andy Baker:

And I think cardio plays a role in that as well. You know, it's your, it's kind of it kind of again, it kind of depends on where you're at, you know, if you're if you're if you're very overweight, if you're carrying a lot of body fat, you're not happy with the way that you look and you feel, you're probably more going to be especially if you're older, you're probably going to be more on the end to get the weight off first. But if you're just kind of in that, like skinny fat type of thing, you know, or you're just moderately overweight, you can oftentimes get a little bit of a recap, just by cleaning things up, you know, making not necessarily eating a lot more or a lot less, but just eating better, making better food choices. And just in being more consistent with it not having this is something we all struggle with, you know, not just being good on your diet, you know, Monday through Thursday, but, you know, Friday, Friday nights, I mean, a lot of people do really good on the weekend. I mean during during the week, and then on the weekend, you know, they drink too much they eat bad. I mean, I'm certainly guilty of this. Then you know, they kind of never really gained any traction because those couple days over the weekend keeps growing them up. And I think cardio sometimes it can help to kind of smooth out the edges of it. perfect diet, it won't, I don't like people to get in the mindset of, I'm just going to eat whatever I want, and then do cardio to try to undo it. But you know, it kind of most people's diets are not perfect all the time. And so adding a little bit of, you know, just kind of moderate intensity that zone to cardio or you want to talk about, you know, 234 days a week for 20 to 40 minutes at a time, that can help, it can help you to eat more, and you'll be more, you'll be more satisfied with your eating, you're less likely to binge, because your caloric intake is a little bit higher. And that can help as well. Yeah, that's

Philip Pape:

the thing, I actually just talked to Brandon the cruise about the high energy flux lifestyle, right. And he was talking about that as well, the idea that we want to eat more and move more, we don't want to eat more, we don't want to eat less, move more, we don't want to eat less, move less, you know, you want to have both kind of up there. Because now you're fully you're fully feel filling your tank, you're feeling your lifts, you're feeling better. A lot of this is how you feel too, right. And it's just when you talked about eating better. I imagine that's going to help with digestion, how you feel, how you recover, how you sleep, everything else.

Andy Baker:

It does. And that's and then the other thing was that I just had a conversation with a client, I guess a day or two ago. And this is something if you work like like I do, and you probably do you work with guys that are in like their 30s and 40s and 50s. That can be a high stress time of life and turn. I mean, that's where your career is really busy. You have young kids, a lot of times, there's a lot of pressure on you business wise, financial wise, marriage wise, kids wise. And so a lot of times when you're in that situation, and you're but you're wanting to, you know, lose some weight to and guys are wondering, Well, should I die it or should I do cardio, you're one of the things you got to remember when you're under when you're in a situation where you're where you're stressed, you're in, you're in a high, and it's not really going anywhere, right, your career is not going to get any easier. Your kids are still there for 10 more years, you know, you've still got job pressures and all that kind of stuff that a very diet, a very restrictive low caloric diet, very low carb, very repetitive diet, that you're less likely to stay with that when you're in a high stress environment, your that's going to lead to a lot more binge eating and going off track. And so I would rather a guy in that situation, eat more, because that's going to satiate him better. And it's probably going to lead him to less binging and overeating. So feed him more, but have him do some cardio on top of that, in order to get in order to get towards that deficit. And one you'll discourage kind of those cyclical patterns of binging and being restrictive binging and being restrictive. And the cardio in and of itself is a good stress reliever. You know, there's there's a lot of evidence that you know that that type of that type of work is good at reducing stress levels. And so that's the approach, because that's the debate people always have, should I dye it harder and not do the cardio because it's potentially catabolic, or should I do cardio and eat more? And so that's just something to think about for a lot of the people that are probably listening to this that are probably in our kind of our age, and in our situations in life. Is that something to think about is Yeah, for sure. Feed yourself a little bit more, but then do the cardio to kind of get yourself closer to the deficit. Yeah.

Philip Pape:

And even walking, I mean, walk as much as you can is really a form of cardio, that's also low stress. And people don't do enough of it. We're all sitting around desks, and you might go to the gym and think that you're working hard. And that's the only time you move then that that could be part of the the issue right there. All right, Andy, I want to ask one more question. And I asked this of everyone, it's what one question Did you wish I had asked, and what is your answer?

Andy Baker:

Oh, man. That's a tough one. I don't know. Where can I find out more about your stuff? I don't

Philip Pape:

know. That was gonna be my last question. No, no, that's that's the last question. Anyway.

Andy Baker:

I know. I went I went straight to it. I don't, I don't really know. I mean, I've, I've done so many of these podcasts. I've got, I've got a lot of, I've been out there a lot. I've got a ton of articles, my own podcast, that sort of thing. So there'll be any anything that people want to know about my opinion on stuff. It's it's out there somewhere, you know, and so that's yeah, I don't know. I don't really have a good answer for that. I'm sorry. I should have prepared better.

Philip Pape:

Okay, then I'll throw it out for you. Is there is there any is there like any entertaining story or something very career that I don't know, you've never shared on a podcast or maybe haven't told, you know, the public? Oh, yeah. Knows most of those. I don't want to my millions of listeners, Andy, you know,

Andy Baker:

yeah, from, you know, from my, probably just, you know, I think a lot of people that they don't know a lot about, like, you know, some of the I've got a pretty diverse background and where I've trained and how I've trained and who I've trained with and everything and I think that's, that's helped me become a better coach of just I spent, you know, I was of that age where I grew up in gyms before the internet. And, you know, that was really helpful, I think, to where that was back in the days where when you went into a gym, people shared more, you know, people didn't have headphones hands on. And it was more common I think for young young guys like me teenagers and stuff to go up to the big guys in the gym, the big strong guys and, you know, ask for advice, or they would freely come over and give the advice, but it you know, in a in a very helpful way, you know, and there's just so many of those, those stories of guys that I've met over the years, I mean, some of which, you know, guys like Kurt Kawasaki, and stuff that people would know. And then other guys that were just in gyms that I've trained out over the years that, you know, you know, people don't have any idea who they are, and I don't, I haven't kept up with them, I don't know where they are, but just all the all the guys that have come up and said, you know, just one thing to you just one exchange that you've had in the gym, with somebody that stuck with you, you know, that helps you you know, even if it's just a little tip of how to do an exercise, versus, you know, a more fundamental way of thinking about, you know, how you train. And a lot of that, for me was just observational, just, you know, watching being in gyms, around people, not not watching people, you know, not watching people's Instagram stories, but watching you know, being in a gym and watching how guys trained for years at a time, you know, the the guys that you would want to emulate the big strong lifters that, you know, watching? What did they not? What did they write about on social media? Because it didn't exist? But what did they actually do day to day, you know, week to week that made them have success, and you start to see certain patterns with that, you know, over time. And so I think that's something that people miss miss now is that most people get their information from social media. And there's so much conflicting information. And one guy saying, you know, oh, you should do this, and the other guy say, No, you should do that. And I think people look for the differences in people's approaches, rather, rather than the commonalities. So that's one thing I've I've always tried to look at is, you know, I know with whoever I'm going to, you know, whatever source of information I'm going to go to, to try to gain some knowledge from I know that there's going to be certain amount of things that they say that I disagree with, or maybe don't understand, or whatever. But I try not to focus on the things I disagree with, I try to focus on the things that where people agree and try to find the commonalities of what works between these different camps that you might see in between different lifters that have success and bodybuilding or powerlifting, or whatever, what are the commonalities that people do? Versus what are the things that they do different? Because, and I think what you're learning is that there is no one magical approach that works for everybody. I mean, even if you look at elite level powerlifting. I mean, in a way, everybody's kind of doing the same thing. But they've all if you go get the top 20 lifters in the world, they're on 20 different programs, right? They're not all just following one thing. And so I think the only thing that you can deduce from that is there's a lot of potential things at work, you're trying to really drill down on what are the commonalities, and then finding out, you know, on those different things, what are the things that would work for you and apply to you, you know, or apply to your clients? And so, you know, that's kind of that's just kind of always been my approach of just being an observational list, and trying to see the commonalities instead of the differences between people in different camps.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, and I can respect that, that it's like this discerning open mindedness you have. It's not that, you know, it's not that everything goes. But there are principles that are universal principles. And you recognize that and you're not dogmatic or rigid. And this is a great takeaway from folks is to just keep that in mind as they go through their journey. Because this is, at the end of the day, we want this to just be a fun part of our life that gets us to be healthy, fit strong, and we want to enjoy it along the way, right for the decades that we do this. So absolutely. So all right, what now the question, Where can listeners find more about you and your work?

Andy Baker:

Just go to Andy baker.com. That's the kind of the hub that's all my articles are there, you know, products and services are there and then the baker barbell podcast? Also if you want to search that up?

Philip Pape:

Absolutely. I'll put those in the show notes as well, Baker barbell podcast, and of course, Andy baker.com. You're always putting out a ton of really cool articles. If you're on your email list. You get interesting musings every week about some some cool stuff that I really don't hear anywhere else. So check those out. And man, Andy, this was a pleasure. It was even better than I expected. I really want to thank you for coming on the show. Yeah, thank

Andy Baker:

you for having me. I enjoyed it. I'll be back anytime you want me would love that. Cool. Thanks, man. Cool.

Philip Pape:

If you've been inspired by today's interview, and are ready to take action and build momentum on your health and fitness journey, just schedule a free 30 minute nutrition momentum call with me using the link in my show notes. I promise not to sell or pitch you on anything, but I will help you gain some perspective and guidance so we can get you on the right track toward looking and feeling your best

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