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

Ep 61: How to Periodize Your Training for Peak Performance with Steven Benedict

April 14, 2023 Steven Benedict Episode 61
Ep 61: How to Periodize Your Training for Peak Performance with Steven Benedict
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 61: How to Periodize Your Training for Peak Performance with Steven Benedict
Apr 14, 2023 Episode 61
Steven Benedict

Today’s guest has encountered every reason to NOT race. From abandonment to abuse, family deceptions, and other distressing events, Steven Benedict faced it all and managed to rise.  It's amazing that despite everything he went through, he was able to focus and excel at his sport. 

Steven starts off by sharing his backstory. He then discusses periodization, productional force strength, avoiding fatigue, programming deloads, and more. He shares how he programs and individualizes his workouts and his recommendations on how others can program theirs. Steven also talks about nutrition for athletes and non-athletes. 

Steven’s rules for running the race translate to almost every industry, person, and circumstance—and his story is a reminder to all who hear it that so long as you still have breath in your lungs, your race can still be won. 

Tune in and get a behind-the-scenes look at how a professional track and field athlete and Olympic Qualifier’s workout is periodized for peak performance.

__________
Schedule your FREE 30-minute Nutrition Momentum Call with Philip here
__________

Today you’ll learn all about:

[1:52] Steven's backstory
[5:12] Periodization and why athletes use it
[12:31] Progressive volume and individualized programming
[16:03] The athletes that Steven works with and what he helps them with
[17:54] Productional force strength
[19:51] Is it easier to make yourself stronger, than to make yourself lighter?
[21:46] Periodization schemes
[27:54] Tony shares what he likes about Philip and the Wits & Weights community
[29:14] Big lifts for the average lifestyle person who wants to be a better/faster sprinter
[34:09] Avoiding fatigue and overtraining
[37:12] Programming deloads or rest days
[39:40] Nutrition, carb loading and others
[47:18] Hardship in the gym and how it translates into having a stronger mind
[51:25] What excites Steven for the future
[52:22] How to connect with Steven
[53:30] Outro

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’s guest has encountered every reason to NOT race. From abandonment to abuse, family deceptions, and other distressing events, Steven Benedict faced it all and managed to rise.  It's amazing that despite everything he went through, he was able to focus and excel at his sport. 

Steven starts off by sharing his backstory. He then discusses periodization, productional force strength, avoiding fatigue, programming deloads, and more. He shares how he programs and individualizes his workouts and his recommendations on how others can program theirs. Steven also talks about nutrition for athletes and non-athletes. 

Steven’s rules for running the race translate to almost every industry, person, and circumstance—and his story is a reminder to all who hear it that so long as you still have breath in your lungs, your race can still be won. 

Tune in and get a behind-the-scenes look at how a professional track and field athlete and Olympic Qualifier’s workout is periodized for peak performance.

__________
Schedule your FREE 30-minute Nutrition Momentum Call with Philip here
__________

Today you’ll learn all about:

[1:52] Steven's backstory
[5:12] Periodization and why athletes use it
[12:31] Progressive volume and individualized programming
[16:03] The athletes that Steven works with and what he helps them with
[17:54] Productional force strength
[19:51] Is it easier to make yourself stronger, than to make yourself lighter?
[21:46] Periodization schemes
[27:54] Tony shares what he likes about Philip and the Wits & Weights community
[29:14] Big lifts for the average lifestyle person who wants to be a better/faster sprinter
[34:09] Avoiding fatigue and overtraining
[37:12] Programming deloads or rest days
[39:40] Nutrition, carb loading and others
[47:18] Hardship in the gym and how it translates into having a stronger mind
[51:25] What excites Steven for the future
[52:22] How to connect with Steven
[53:30] Outro

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

Steven Benedict:

periodization and periodization for people as they should understand where their base is, and then where their tail end is where they want to be in whatever six months 12 months or whatever, and work their way backwards from that.

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. George Sheehan, a legend of running and running literature wrote the following. Why race, the need to be tested, perhaps the need to take risks and the chance to be number one. Today's guest has encountered every reason to not race, from abandonment, to abuse, family deceptions, untimely deaths, drugs and alcohol. Professional athletes, Stephen Benedict was confronted with more obstacles before the age of 28 than the majority of people face in a lifetime. Despite these hardships, Stephen applied what he learned on the track to remain focused on the finish line. His rules for running the race translate to almost every industry, person and circumstance. And his story is a reminder to all who hear it that so long as you still have breath in your lungs, your race can still be one. Steven, thank you very much for coming on the show. I appreciate you guys having me. I look forward to talking today. And thanks for the intro. Ya know, it's a great integrated to so high expectations. And the audience does want to get to know you a bit better before we dive into the specific topic today, which is going to be periodization. But let's start with your background as a professional athlete, as it pertains to running the race to optimizing performance. And if you want to tie it into training principles like periodization go for it. Yeah, so my background as an athlete, I started running actually got pushed into running when I was a freshman year in high school and

Steven Benedict:

I was on the football field football was pretty dominant for my life as well as some other sports early on. My first sport ever being martial arts, I did 10 years of judo. And that kind of laid the discipline and the foundational aspects of being able to translate into other sports at a high level. But like I said, the track and field coach saw me on the football field when I was a freshman approached my parents, my parents who wanted me to try something different and something new and really wasn't on my radar. And so reluctantly, I jumped in there for my winter season and wound up wound up winning lean county championships as a freshman and it just kind of built up over time. And I really honed in and liked the aspect in the sport that is a one on one sport, it's pretty much you against the clock, and whatever you put into it, you get back from it, you know, obviously, you know, it's a lot different from let's say baseball, football, basketball. Whereas these team Reliance sports, you know, here, it's you running your race, you're in your lane, of course, there's other athletes that are on the track with you, but you're really focusing on what your race model is compared to the other athletes. And if you lose that focus, and you start running their race, automatically, you're putting yourself in the red already. So that's kind of like the early on stages and and I was able to run in some of the world's most prestigious races across the board from Penn relays, while I was in high school to States and the international races to diamond league REITs and, and then go on to things like Olympic trials and do and then the bigger platform. So it's been a big roller coaster, you know, obviously with not only with my athletic career, but then also my story background, which was, you know, all over the place of things, people see it as well. He's an athlete, he's got it all together, and that was far from it. So I got a lot of loss and a lot of abandonment, you know, growing up through the foster care system and then losing my adopted parents. So there's been quite a bit that have taught me not only through my sports, but also in life, about resiliency and patience and due diligence, and really just focusing and keeping my eye on the prize and, you know, keeping good people around me coaches. And, you know, to my current position today we're on at the tail end of my career and training for my last Olympic Games, which will be Paris and and then I'll shift into and move into something else that will be in correlation to all the knowledge and the hours and Uh, you know, the training aspects that I have been able to put in in this time and try to benefit and bring value to other people's lives.

Philip Pape:

Awesome. So there's a lot there, there's definitely a lot of paths we can take. What what one of the things that sticks out is me is the parallels that you talk about between the the discipline and the practice and the the way that you approach specifically that sport of running, in that you're really racing against yourself, you're competing against yourself, even though you compete against others, at some point, you can't focus on that, it actually reminded me of lifting in a way, right, because I don't know much about running, never have I tried running when I was younger, it's just not not my thing. But I think we can learn a lot from the sport and what you said, of like, if you're a power lifter, or lifter, you can't focus on other people's numbers, because it's really irrelevant to your own performance. So maybe we get into that a little bit more and talk about performance, and then talk about periodization as a model for doing that, because I think there's a lot of relevance there. So we want to start with, you know, what you mean by periodization? Maybe, and why athletes or lifestyle trainees would use it?

Steven Benedict:

Yeah, I think, you know, well, first and foremost, periodization, it is very relevant to the period in which you are in your life, and how that translates to your your, whether it be lifting or your, your specific kind of goal setting or specific kind of movement or modalities that you're doing, you know, whether it be lifting, whether it be running, whether it be, you know, on the field playing soccer, you know, we only see so me putting my cell phone on the chopping block is, we only see for us, you know, since track and field is not as marketed in this in the States, you only really see like the World Championships, where you see the Olympics, every four years, every two and a half years, something like that, depending on the big meats, you don't see what goes on behind, and you don't really see all of the constant due diligence that these athletes are putting in, and the coaches in order to have our peak at those games, but also at the championships are so you know, so in specific for me, like, you know, September, usually September we start and it's just base work, you know, it's just really putting our body back into movement flow and, and learning how to run again, and, you know, kind of kind of trying to pick up where our previous season ended, and implement that early in the season. So that we're kind of moving forward, we're not starting back to yours, you know, we're starting where we left off after our break. So we have the rest, we have that whole aspect of recovery, that downtime, that disconnect, and then we plug back in, kind of recharging our batteries, but our periodization and periodization for people as they should understand where their base is. And then And then where their tail end is where they want to be in whatever, six months, 12 months or whatever, and work their way back backwards from that.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, yeah. And I was gonna ask about that, you know, it seems like you want to reverse engineer from an event or a peak. I mean, we do that with nutritional periodization as well, right? You have a goal, you work back from there, whether it's lose weight, or build muscle or whatever. So what about how does specificity and adaptation play into that right into how you periodized someone's programming or that that phase, knowing that you have this skill that you have to develop, but you also have other things that support that like strength, power, speed, and so on. Yeah,

Steven Benedict:

of course. First, first and foremost foundational aspects, you know, if we left off on a good note, or we're going in and they're coming in from scratch one I need to know what their predisposed situations were any of their if they have any ailments or anything like that. Any previous injuries or surgeries or anything that has been chronic or ongoing, so that we can really address those because they probably haven't gone away. They're probably just hibernating right now until things start to build up and we start adding on weight or we start pushing the pace on things or anything like that. So

Philip Pape:

is that what I have a hibernating shoulder? Yeah, that's that's the word. Okay. Okay. Well, however

Steven Benedict:

name shoulder I've had, you know, hibernating Achilles, I've had issues and it wasn't really until I stepped back and really addressed those things in back. Okay, well, this has been chronic and it's been going on for look like let's say, I'm good through the beginning phases of my training where the foundational aspects is great. And then I move on into kind of like, the strength and power development but when I get into speed stuff that's when things start to kind of show up, right, and when the post kind of wear and tear thing show up, but as for other people, it's just kind of the same thing as, as we push the needle, things are to show up and, and your body starts to show it's kind of true colors, right? It starts to become transparent, and transparency with clients and, and also, when I work with anybody is super vital on you know, I don't need you to be a superstar, you're not trying to impress me, I've already performed at a high level. So that's it, there's no kind of ego aspect here. But, you know, in that space is understanding Foundation, understanding, patience, understanding the little things of accumulation into the bigger things like movement correction, and understanding like so for runners, it's, it's a lot of feet issues that contribute to going up there to the, the, the chain of things through their knees, through the hamstrings, through their hips, all the way up through their scapular and stuff. So and I think a lot of runners don't understand that, as you know, we start from the bottom of the foundation work up, not where the point of kind of hurting or the kind of, you know, debilitation is, so, you know, there's a lot of writing down notes, notes, taking and building relationship and rapport with people, whether you know, the athlete or the weekend warrior, anything, understanding that at the beginning, like this is a long term game, just use it as a long term gain and understanding that each phase is a phase for the coinciding phases to come. So that's, you know, part of the periodization thing, and that foundational piece is super important. For for any athlete, I mean, for our track and field athletes, it's, it's vital. If our, if our, if our preseason is terrible, it's going to show up, come around March, march ish. When we start getting into spikes, and we start pushing and start pushing the paces a bit, if we haven't done the rehab stuff, and the the foundational strength stuff, we're gonna blow we'll so to say.

Philip Pape:

So in this in this preseason is there, I mean, a lot of what you're telling me sounds like, definitely, if you had a coach, they're going to be able to individualize and understand the subtleties with you, and bring their fresh pair of eyes and expertise to it. But even if somebody's wanting to do this on their own, who's maybe it's the first time and they're not at that elite level? Is there? Is there a model that we follow in the preseason of a certain stacked level of things to focus on like, okay, take take two or three weeks and go through this checklist, and make sure you can get out of it here, you know, this level of health or performance? And then that tells you ready to go to the next phase? is can it be simplified to that level? Like, hey, maybe you could write a book about it?

Steven Benedict:

Yeah, I think, um, you know, I think in layman's terms in simple ways, you know, quantity to quality type of mind frame, yes, you know, there's a lot of volume early on, but it's not, it's, it's progressive volume, it's not a, let's dump the dump truck on you all, all in one phase, and then then you're worth nothing, come the next month or the next, you know, the next four weeks after the first four weeks as far as program design and kind of progression in that one foundational strength and, and then strength, endurance, strength, power, and then you know, quality, which is whether it be speed reps or anything on that sense. So there's like, kind of like four building blocks, they're dependable on the over encompassing goal, or the, the athlete in or the subject in question. But, you know, overall wise, you know, it's, it's really a foundational piece and building out the spaces of, you know, like those blocks and, and not rushing those blocks. They could be for one person that that block could be four weeks, or the other person, it could be six to eight weeks, depending on their learning curve. And you know, how much they really need to know. I am usually in the six to eight weeks span of people and then the time and, and to give them that adaptation period of their body to understand movement. And then, you know, in the beginning, I recommend somebody to have somebody alongside them at all times, or at least accountability wise, if they're new to space, justice. They can learn, right? It's like going to school. For me, my coaches are invaluable, right, I need the eyes on me, because I can't see myself run. But I'm very good at making adjustments with cues given to me. And that becomes body awareness and that, you know, conversational aspects of understanding, you know, how the coach can relate to their athlete, and how they can translate what the coach is telling them into movement, or mindset, kind of the the Brain Body connectivity aspect of things.

Philip Pape:

Yeah. And I think that's important, what you're saying to people listening, because I hear a lot of the time, you know, I'll get a coach when I need it, or when I need to fix something or whatever. And you're like, just get the coach from the beginning, because you're gonna cut out months or years of mistakes and poor habit forming. And I've experienced that personally, when, you know, my squat was terrible for years. And then I got a coach and in one day, you know, if he helped me fix things, let's So one question I have is you work exclusively with runners and endurance athletes?

Steven Benedict:

No, not not, not specifically. I mean, sprinters, yes. But I mean, I've handled athletes across the board, from NFL players, to soccer players, to martial artists. So mine is more of kind of the over. What I like to what I like to see is one I know and I believe that sprinters are an overall package of an athlete, right, you can take them and pretty much because of their based on what they've done through power and strength and explosiveness and movement, you can take them and plant them in any other sport, all they would have to do is learn the modalities of that sport.

Philip Pape:

Do you mean the skills of that sport basically skills of

Steven Benedict:

that sport, whether it be soccer, you know, be becoming more pliable in and versatile in their dribbling, football, you know, obviously, being able to take a hit and, you know, a lateral and vertical movement. So it's like, learning those aspects. But as far as the core basic things of power, strength, explosiveness, that translates to pretty much every sport that's needed, in some way, shape, or form. And so, it not only runners, but I've done a lot of corrective exercise things, strength and conditioning, and then also work through the chain of rehab and stuff, too. So overall, overall aspects. But I would say my expertise from my practical knowledge is probably through the modalities of running and, and sprinting. And

Philip Pape:

the Yeah, it's good, good to know, to put it in context. And then also, as we talk about periodization, what exactly we're talking about, because we could get very narrow and say, you know, periodization, for a powerlifting meet, or periodization, for an athlete overall. But even there's general principles. So would you agree that, for example, you talked about strength, power, endurance, all of these attributes? Is strength of foundation is straight? I don't wanna say the most important, but is it the foundation of all of these?

Steven Benedict:

Um, it depends on what type of strength we're talking about, right? Are we talking about like power, strength? Or brute strength? Are we talking about production of force? Strength? Yeah, yeah, production of force strength? I would, I would say, yes, across the board, is being able to utilize how much force we're applying in order to use the strength that we build in the gym, in real in real life situations. Right. And I think a lot of the times, you know, you have power lifters, but those even power lifters, I know, you know, I've had, you know, several friends that were very prolific in powerlifting. And you can take those guys and put them on the track, and they'll be able to run pretty damn well, if they just learned the mechanics a little bit better, you know, cycling and, and force production in that. So I think it's utilizing the things that we its capabilities of being able to utilize strength and functional ways. So it's like functional power sharing, I think that's kind of like what people are seeking right now, in overall health wise and trying to be functional in life, right, but strong functional, and they get the misconception of I'm going to be in the gym, and I'm going to be this house. And I'm going to turn into you know, this big body builder. And it's like, you don't have, you know, the DNA to do that. And it's going to take years and years and years and years to even, you know, build up that type of density.

Philip Pape:

Absolutely, yeah, absolutely. And even even when I've worked a few with a few nutrition clients who are endurance athletes, the question always came up of, you know, the focus is always on the running and very little put into the strength. You And hey, I need to lose lose weight. So I'm faster. And then the question I have is why don't we just spend a little time getting stronger when that make a massive improvement? Because to me, it's I think, in terms of math, right, you know, strength to weight ratio, isn't it easier to make yourself a lot stronger than to make yourself a lot lighter? I mean, what are your thoughts on that?

Steven Benedict:

Yeah, and I think, for me particular A, it's in the space of, you know, track and field sprinters. It's always, you know, it is a strength and it switches from the frame to power light frame powerful, what you have to build that power early in the season, and then switch gears and worry about having a light frame, because you've already built that base and that internal engine of things. So I do agree that yes, we need the internal engine before we go out and start trying to hit the gas on anything. But, and I also think that you know that that strength piece is super important for healing situations and strengthening other elements around ligaments and joints, and just overall body and bone density, which a lot of people lose, because they don't like to lift and they're afraid of lifting because of the, you know, like we said do because of the, you know, the misconceptions around it,

Philip Pape:

you know, you're speaking my language. Because even in the context of people just wanting to get fit and lose weight, oftentimes a conversation is, well, you can't you can't reveal muscle, you can't get lean, if it's if the muscles not there, if the strength and the muscle are there. And by the way, being stronger is going to improve all these other issues you may be having. So it kind of translates to all of these areas. What about periodization schemes? So again, I think in terms of lifting of things like simple linear progression to undulating and black, you know, these non traditional types of periodization schemes for lifting Do you have those kinds of models in the world? We're talking about here?

Steven Benedict:

Yeah, um, as far as the schemes and stuff, I mean, and again, you know, it really depends on the subject. So I'm pulling from my own pages of personal aspects, because we don't have a subject right now. But, you know, for us, it is heavy volume, like right now I'm in the gym twice a week, and then on the on the track the other probably four days out of the week. So it's a six day model right now. And we're really focusing on so some of the movements and the scheme aspects or, you know, we work on our own, we work off of our own bodyweight, right. So for our squats, and things like that, it'll be you know, starting maybe like 55% of our body weight, and then we're working our way up that, you know, building up those areas, building up the areas that are most beneficial to us, and moving horizontally down the track, vertically. So a lot of our posterior chain is viable to us. And then important to us. So hamstrings, hips, hip flexors, things like that, lower extremities, our ankles, and our Achilles and, you know, foot strength, getting them as hard as possible. But the schemes that we're working on is, you know, roughly around a four to six week space, that fifth week is a test week. And then the sixth week is kind of a taper down week where we're not doing any weights, and we're on the track. And we'll kind of try to do a race model of kind of our body in that.

Philip Pape:

When you say test week test, test, testing, your lifts are testing your your skill based on the strength. Yeah,

Steven Benedict:

yeah, we're testing both. So we'll do best at the beginning of the week, like on a Monday, and then come back on a Thursday or Friday, with light flush sessions in the in the middle of the week, and come back and run, I don't know maybe like a split 400 or, you know, or a hot 300 and just push to see where our bases that come of all the strength that we've built up and the modalities that we built up in there and like, you know, all the different drills and things that we're incorporating. So it's pretty technical on the back end, and, and my coaches are overseas right now. So we converse on an app, and all of the athletes are on that. So they actually write out our programs and we go through that and then we can converse in there if we have any questions and they track things like our heart rate, and I wear an aura ring to DPS, so I'm trying to get pretty accurate on the numbers and you know, burning calories on a daily basis to know what I have to put back in. But Uh, I mean, again, it's, it's, it's really subject to subject matter. And

Philip Pape:

it is, but I'm so cute. I was such a nerd about this stuff. And like, it's my podcast, I like to ask whatever I want. And so I don't know. And I don't know if the listeners, you know, tune me out sometimes, but that's what I like. So I like to dig into that just a little you said percentage of your body weight. But if somebody's a lot stronger than another athlete, are they? Are they using a higher starting percentage of their body weight? Or how does that work?

Steven Benedict:

Um, no, not at the beginning at the beginning, because, you know, we're all I think at the beginning, we're all coming in with a clean slate. And because we're coming off of rest period, so we're not trying to push it. But then as, as that goes forward, the body weight aspect gets interchange with kind of one rep max percentages, yeah, percentages, and things like that. So we start interchanging plugs, and putting them in so then we start to work our way. So then it's like one rep max at 55% 75% 80%. I don't think we ever really go 100%.

Philip Pape:

So you never test the one room. It's like an estimate,

Steven Benedict:

yet estimated, but the only time that will test is on that fifth week.

Philip Pape:

Okay, so So I was wondering, you test the winner? Yeah,

Steven Benedict:

yeah, we'll test it there and just kind of get a big push in there. And only on of our, our big movements are big complex movements, you know, whether, you know, it'd be full squat or quarter squat, usually quarter squats are are more beneficial for sprinters, you know, we're just focusing on kind of that push an explosion out of the blocks. So they're more beneficial for us on the back end, and things like a hex bar deadlift, and then max, vert Max, and just being pushed off the ground. So you know, sports specific things in my space, and then and then for other athletes, depending on their stuff. So like some of the athletes that I've done, their combines for, for the NFL, obviously, it's, you know, geared towards

Philip Pape:

what another thing is 40,

Steven Benedict:

you know, standing long, you know, stretching and stuff like that. But even in that we I really pick up the spaces in which I feel we pick up the top three, because well, that's where they'll gain the most points in and they'll gain the most knowledge, the most kind of ahead of the curve pushing if they can be good in three areas of that test. So it's usually like the 40 the bench, and a vert Max.

Unknown:

My name is Tony from a strength flipped or my 40s Thank you to Phil in his Wits, & Weights community for helping me learn more about nutrition and how to implement better ideas into my strength training. Phil has a very, very good understanding of macros, and chemical compounds and hormones and all that and he's continuously learning. And that's what I like about Phil, he's got a great sense of humor. He's very relaxed, very easy to talk to. One of the greatest things about Phil, in my view is that he practices what he preaches. He also works out with barbells. He trains heavy, not as heavy as me, but he trains heavy. So if you talk with him about getting in better shape, eating better, he's probably going to give you some good advice. And I would strongly recommend you talk with him and we'll help you out. Thanks.

Philip Pape:

Okay, yeah, see some of those guys pounding up to 20 fives for you know for sure, whatever. What. So another question came to mind about the lifts itself. You mentioned like quarter squats. So now I'm interested in what kind of lifts are really effective for sprinters. And then also how a sprinter sprinter straining would compare to like a marathon runners training. You know, and just as a side tangent, there was just a study that came out comparing half squats and full squats for which which muscles are the most not not activation, right? Because sometimes that can be misleading, but actual development. And you know, some things were obvious, like full squats, work the glutes more, but like half squats, work the quads more. So it's interesting, you mentioned that what are some of the big lifts for like an average lifestyle person listening who wants to be a better and faster sprinter?

Steven Benedict:

So I would, if you're, I mean, if they're not competing, and they're just looking to kind of like run fly fast or in any space, one for us, it's all posterior chain. Male quads are great. But if you look at science and if you look at some of the past results of some of the best sprinters across the board, you know, the guys with very deep and developed hamstrings are guys that are able to push down the track and get and get out of the blocks a lot quicker and have more cycle and ground impact on through their stride. So So I'm a big believer in developing the posterior chain a lot, so hamstrings, glutes, and then anything that will help pull horizontally out of blocks so hip flexors, you know, and then the lower extremities of my ankles and calf raises and, and Achilles areas, but then also being able to translate some of that stuff onto the field. So barefoot running, squatting barefoot, you know, really getting those, those cushions that divide us from feeling what the floor looks like in actual pushing, and actual producing force. We do a lot of that, and I take a lot of that stuff out.

Philip Pape:

Like do you squat shoes? Or not? I

Steven Benedict:

don't I use I do have them. I do have them. But I rather squat in my socks and barefoot Got it? Got it. Yeah, I just feel like, I feel like I get more of I can feel the chain, I can feel my, the way I'm pushing. And I'm from pushing flat through the, the flat part of the foot and utilizing every chain of the back or every muscle throughout the chain up the back or there. Or if I'm shifting, I can feel my base a lot better. When I'm when I'm flexing.

Philip Pape:

Yep. So, so. So something like hamstrings, right? For me, it comes to mind would be like RDLs or good mornings or I mean bodybuilding movements like a leg curl or maybe you know, lat leader lateral movements like step ups or reverse lunges or semi what what would you say are the, like top two or three for the average person to work on?

Steven Benedict:

Without a doubt? Definitely Single Leg RDL single rails. I'm a huge lover and believer of Nordic hamstrings. Oh, yeah. Nordics are like, a necessity for any of that type of program, not only for building out density and strength and hamstrings, but also helping out with rehab of, you know, pre kind of rehab of things, you know, and it stretches out the hamstrings and the the insertions on the top of the hamstring. So you keep them nice and long. Because you're doing a lot of hamstring work, especially hamstring curls and stuff like that. A hamstring gets a lot of bunching up, so to say in those areas. So it helps to keep them long and flexible.

Philip Pape:

So hold on on that movement. How do you do? How do you like to do them? Like the bar on the rack? Or a special machine?

Steven Benedict:

Yeah, no, I have, I usually do with a bar on the rack, or if I can have somebody hold my, my my ankles and give me that extra pressure. But I usually do them on the bar on the rack. But also having a I'm a big believer in also having a variable squat program. So you know, one week, quarter squats twice a week, one week, full squats twice a week. And I think that helps out with the lack of adaptation, but it helps with you know, mobility in helping the body to understand the depths of squatting and able to produce more force at different levels.

Philip Pape:

And what what squat is as low bar high bar, some front squats. Yeah,

Steven Benedict:

um, so I mean, I do I do front squats, quarter squats and full squats. So front squats and so it'll be four front squats will be in my program pretty consistently. And then the other switching variable will be either quarter squats or full squats. So one of those interchange every other week.

Philip Pape:

Okay. Are you doing them high? High bar or low bar?

Steven Benedict:

Well, no, do low bar. Okay, cool.

Philip Pape:

All right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, cool. No people listening, you know, these are good, good ideas. The Nordic the Nordic camps, the Nordic curl is underrated, you know? Maybe not underrated, just not as well known. Right. And it's, it's cool that you mentioned that. So how do we, how do we avoid fatigue and overtraining? That's a big thing in my world, especially at work a lot of older folks. And that's, and I'm an older getting to be an older folk. And I know you know, your body gets a little more beat up as he as yours. Yeah,

Steven Benedict:

yeah, I think you know, one is understanding recovery and knowing that that's a part of your training as well, that it's not just the hour, hour and a half, two hours that you're in the gym, whatever, you know, your program, you know, keeps you in there for but then understanding that once you go home or whatever you do post that is very important for the day's post that to come. And that includes things like rest and recovery and nutrition, and whatever else that you can get your hands on, you know, and then it becomes body awareness and always knowing your limits. Because obviously, as you as you get older, you're, you know, I put us in a space of like, we're all these batteries, right. And I don't know if you ever have seen like the Energizer batteries or anything that used to have that power strip on the thing and tells you how much is left in there. That's kind of like, that's kind of how I dictate what athletes are, or, you know, across the board, you know, or general purpose, you know, this is this is your boundary capabilities, this is how much you have in it, and you need to understand is, when you're getting to that halfway mark, is that, yes, we can do maintenance in that space, but also plugged back in, so that we can kind of hopefully try to stay within the 80 to 85% range throughout the week, instead of having 180 5%. Or to, and by Friday or Saturday, you know, you're tapped out and you have nothing left, we need to try to prolong our progression over the course of the week. And that made me to shift in, in what we're doing, we may need to take something out of the program, during the weeks, or we may need to take add something like a recovery day, like a flush day that is just re charging yourself. But that really becomes a space of understanding yourself, and being able to communicate that with your coach correctly. And saying like, hey, you know, and the coach needs to be aware, too, you know, they need to see that things are dropping off, that they're coming in fatigue, they're blown fumes and, and that their job is to get the most out of their athletes as much as possible, and not burn them out. Because it's their ego trip of things. So I think there's a fine line and balance. But the recovery piece is is a vital, vital, vital part to any any performance program.

Philip Pape:

For sure. not pushing too hard. And like you said, by using biofeedback or being aware of yourself and communicating that What about do you program it in as part of periodization? You program in D loads? Or are you more I know, some people some coaches prefer to, to do it as they go right, like to only use a D load if needed, because you don't want to slow down the progress if the person is perfectly fine. What's your take on that?

Steven Benedict:

Yeah, you know, I usually I usually implement at least the fourth week as a D load. Okay. So I'll go three weeks on for the fourth week is kind of a D load and a preparing for another four weeks post that I think that that's a pretty good model. Now. I, I believe that, you know, some of the younger athletes can go a little longer, you know, and but each athlete is different to you. You have to, like a lot of the new things will tax people very quickly. So that needs to be taken into account for as well. And sometimes, you know, you just need to implement it during those weeks to prolong past four weeks is like hey, you know, you do something like a scheme of two days, Monday, Tuesday on Wednesdays off and then there's a Friday on and then Saturday, Sunday off? Right? I think those three days off, and those four days on will help prolong things depending on how aggressive the program is, as well. So I think there's a lot of kind of Windows, you can throw in there. Sure. But I really like to go three weeks hard. The first two weeks are hard. And then that third week is kind of a build up week for that fourth week where that fourth week could be, you know, maybe one hard session on may come back,

Philip Pape:

keep the intensity high of the volume low. Right? Yeah, it's cool. So So you're talking about the generally fixed D low programmed in, maybe if you're younger, you can go a little bit longer. You also mentioned even during the week, maybe undulating the volume, which speaks to me because I just I just switched from a four day kind of West Side programming where you're, you really don't ever take D loads because the concept is you're varying the big lifts constantly and you never quite get fatigued on any one lift. But it does catch up to you. And so I moved to now heavy light medium, so the middle of the week is a much lighter day than the other two. It kind of gives you that recovery. So it's pretty cool. I you know, people listening to take all that to heart from it so that they can beat it for the long game. What about nutrition? Things like I'm always fascinated with concepts like carb loading because I know the science keeps seems to keep changing. There's been all these complicated schemes about carb loading and it seems a science is like no, it's pretty simple. Just like ramp it up and then eat a ton of carbs for the event. But what Tell me about that,

Steven Benedict:

yeah, gosh, contrition space, everybody's got, you know, one, this is a really, really touchy space for everybody because it's so it's so flooded with all these gurus of, hey, do this diet, do that diet and there's all these, you know plethora of diets out there. Now first and foremost, before you jump on any diet one, diets are interchangeable. And I think they have their place and their space at particular times depending on what your training needs are, and how, how high the volume is, right? I think a lot of the space in which diets are and you say you talk about carb loading? Well, what what period of training are you in like, so if I'm talking about carb loading, and, you know, perhaps it's my race season, and I have a race early later in the week, maybe some extra carbs to a midpoint in the week would be great if I'm racing on like a Friday, Saturday, but then I need to taper that off. Right? Because I don't want to go into a race heavy and feeling water retention or having a spill over. Yeah, and having, you know, gi problems now. So. So one, I would highly recommend one is getting at the beginning of the season, or the beginning of your program is getting a blood test, getting a panel done, understanding what blood type you are, and then trying to coincide your eating with what blood type you are. So you know, which is really not a lot of people go that route, it is a little more in integral of the all the inner workings of things, but understanding what type of blood you are and understanding how your insides work in what is most. Most your body will consume the best in performance wise, because you know, like, right. So everybody understands that if you're giving the same diet to somebody else, and you're eating, let's say, a bunch of carbs, and you feel sluggish, you're not, you're not producing and your body is metabolizing. Alright, well, obviously something in there isn't working for your system, or your DNA nutrition. So, you know, sitting down with industry, I'm not a nutritionist, so I don't even you know, I have nutritionists, for me, and the spaces of doing blood work first is really is really helped me out a lot. You know, I'm a meat eater, I need meat, I need the B vitamins. On the back end, I cannot do vegetarian or plant based. I do have plant based shakes that I do in the morning because I feel like they absorb well for me in the morning. But as far as recovery aspects of things, B vitamins, like buffalo burgers, and bison burgers, those really helped me to keep the inflammation down in my body from that space, and then you know, high protein like eggs and chicken and fish and stuff like that. So

Philip Pape:

and optimal nutrition whey protein, right?

Steven Benedict:

That's what I use. Yes, yeah.

Philip Pape:

Oh, you did plant protein. Okay, yeah, I

Steven Benedict:

do the plant protein with them. But then I also do, they do have little RTDs that I keep in my bag for post training that our way. So those are really eat, those are really easy for me to throw in. But, you know, it's really that's that's the end to is understanding your, your particular type of DNA and the way and what diet is going to coincide with your training, but also your metabolism as best as possible. Because in a lot of those spaces is that, you know, if you're eating the wrong things, it's going to slow your your metabolism down, and then you're gonna gain and then you're then you're gonna be pointing the finger at everybody. So

Philip Pape:

yeah, yeah, first of all, you're making me hungry. It's almost dinnertime here. And bison burgers are. Agree. But yeah, I mean, the general principle, you know, people, people are always going to disagree on specific diets. And I'm a nutrition coach. I'm not a nutritionist, but I'm an addition coach. And for me, it's all about flexibility, because I want the client to have something that works for them. And that responds well, there's a guy I am friends with, and I was kind of working with him on the side and so Manny, you're really getting a lot of fat and not nearly enough carbs and you're doing all this lifting. And he's like, alright, let's let's try more carbs. He's like, I just cannot live on that many carbs. I can eat him. I'm sluggish. I don't feel good. Let me go back to high fat he did and he was fine. And it's like, everybody's different. There's no one size fits all. So that's good. I was just really curious about carb loading specifically, because what is it you know, Alan Aragon he writes the flexible dieting stuff. Oh, yeah. He like summarize the evidence on this just a few months ago on the carb loading and I was kind of blown away by how many, how many grams of carbs that you possibly could eat as an athlete, you know, and kind of reduce the protein going into an event. I was just curious. But like you said to me,

Steven Benedict:

for me, I really like to keep my, my high calories and my carbs. So I'm roughly taking in about 3400 calories a day, right? Well, which is pretty high. And but my particular frame of the way I post my days is, I'll keep my, my high carbs and everything is when I'm going to utilize them right as as pre workout in the morning, and then post workout. And then I'll have 1/3 1/3 meal kind of mid day. And then as the day goes on, I taper off, and I don't have any carbs. And I'll do like salad and fish and things that absorb quicker. And then I try to cut off my eating no later than seven, you know, to just get my body into a fast a bit and, you know, to promote growth hormone to the body and stuff like that when I'm sleeping, so I can get that deep sleep. But that's what works for me. And that's where I feel the lightest. And that's where I feel like I'm gaining the most amount of could I eat all day? Sure, I could eat all day. I mean, I can go through probably two pizzas by myself, Oh, man.

Philip Pape:

It's funny, because I'm right around 3500 calories myself, but I'm at the very end of the six month building phase, and I'm sick of it. I actually want to be on a diet. It's funny, people hear that. But, you know, the body fights itself, you know, wants to get back to some sort of balance. Right? And

Steven Benedict:

the flexibility pieces is super important, like you said, you know, is is one, you know, it's a flexible balancing, you know, yes, there's a number there. And, yes, you need to know how much output you have in order to bring back the input in on a daily basis. But that number gets people really kind of blown out of the water, you know, when you say 3534 and calories, like, oh, no, I'm gonna get so fat. You need to work your way up to it. Like it's not like a lot tomorrow and have 3400 calories when you've only been eating 15 1600.

Philip Pape:

Exactly, yeah, your body has to adapt up to that for sure. But all right, I do want to ask one mindset question, then a couple wrap up, if that's all right. So, you know, you overcame all these obstacles, by your late 20s. And you used all this to stay focused. So what are your thoughts about hardship in the gym, and how it translates, you know, the gym in the track, and how it translates to having a stronger mind stronger thoughts, you know, just like attacking life, because you went through that physical hardship.

Steven Benedict:

I think hardship builds resilience, and then also exposes us to figuring out solutions internally, that will show up externally. And what I mean by that a lot of times is one, you have to understand that there's not going to be a perfect, you're not going to have a perfect day ever. And you're not going to have consent, you can have consistency. But even in that consistency, you're still going to have pitfalls. And I think by having those peaks and valleys, and in my own life, they've helped me to translate to a lot what I've done in sports, and also to let go of things and not to be so emotional, on, on the failures. And and really, I call it kind of celebrating the little wins and being a gold digger. And what I mean by that is just, you know, in every situation, there's there's a silver lining, right? Like, there's something that did go well, even if it's the most miniscule piece, something did go well. And you're like, hey, you know what, that one? Well, well, this went terribly. But this went well. And I think that's a that's a shift in which, you know, it's very, it's very hard to come by, and it's very hard to focus on because our brain wants to focus on the negative, and it wants to pull in all the things that went wrong. While we know that there's a win there. And we let that space kind of, we let that space just sit to the side. And we don't celebrate that enough. Like even even if we get promotions, even if we get a PR or anything like that. It's it's in that moment. And it's like, hey, great. Let's move on to the next one. Where, what how can I run faster? How can I lift heavier, right? Like you don't, we don't live in that space enough. And I've really kind of tried to focus on that space and develop that type of mindset of whatever happened yesterday happened yesterday, and I'll leave it there. Now. Today's a new day. I have a new platform, a new canvas to put forth a better a better foot and also a better effort. So every time I'm on the track, I'm trying to to push the pace, right? I was like, yes, that's great. And I think if we get into that space of how can we push the pace? How can we become better on a daily basis? We force our bodies to put our best foot in our best efforts. And that shows up, I think it shows up.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, no, I like that. Celebrating small wins, pushing yourself reset resetting each day. And even what resonated with me is the idea that if you can celebrate those wins the next time you struggle with that same thing. And recall that you have the win. It can kind of push you through like me, it could be something as simple practical as you're working on a lift, and you do it really well, one day, and the next day, it just feels like trash. Well, you did it well, the day before. So you there's something has changed. And that's okay, let's let's find it and fix it and move forward.

Steven Benedict:

Right? It's sort of doing reflection right now, like I could. And that's a huge thing, too, is like looking back six months before to where you are now. Like a I remember six months, I couldn't even lift this off the ground. And now I'm lifting what, two, three plates off the ground. So like that, in a sense is like, wow, you know, I need to take hold of that.

Philip Pape:

It's probably way more than two and three plates for you. But no, I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding. So So I like to ask this question of all guests. And that is, what one question Did you wish I'd asked? And what's your answer?

Steven Benedict:

You wish I've asked. Um, I think one of the one questions that you I wish you would ask is What am I? What am I excited about for the future?

Philip Pape:

Okay, what are you excited about for the future?

Steven Benedict:

The things I'm most excited about for futures, one, transitioning into something new that that is going to benefit from the years of experience that I've had, and then also looking forward into new kind of like, home living have. I just got engaged. So congrats. I'm looking forward to having the married life and seeing what that's about. And, you know, just having a counterpart to walk things out with.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, I personally can vouch for it. It's been a great experience for me. So welcome to the club. Cool, cool. All right. So last thing, where can listeners learn more about you and your work?

Steven Benedict:

Yeah, definitely. So I have my new website is about to be launched. It's WWE dot Stevie b.com, ste vieyb.com. And it's going to be super interactive. All the things that I have coming up, it'd be a schedule there, whether the events or charities that I'm involved with, or, you know, races that I have come up, and then all of the other things that are developing on the back end of, you know, just trying to give as much as I've learned out,

Philip Pape:

cool, so that's www.stvieyb.com. Correct. That's gonna make it a little bit tricky spelling. So make sure people know. And I'm going to, of course, include that in the show notes. Anyways, we're going to tap on it. And Steven, this has been a really cool experience and learning experience for me, because an area I don't get to talk a lot about, and you're obviously an expert in the area. So I'm grateful you came on the show. Thank you very much.

Steven Benedict:

I appreciate you guys having me and I look forward to you know what the future holds for you guys.

Philip Pape:

Awesome. Thanks so much. 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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