Is Liver a Superfood for Strength, Health and Muscle Building?

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Here's a question that popped up in the in-box
this morning:

Hi Brooks,

I've been reading a lot about liver lately for
health and muscle building.

What do you think about it, and how much
should one eat?

Thanks!

Jeff

Thanks for your question, Jeff. It's a common
one, so I thought I'd answer it in an email to
the Dinosaurs.

Liver is high in B vitamins, particularly vitamin
B12, which is necessary for muscle growth. As
a result, liver has achieved a sort of legendary
status among strength trainers. Many view it
as one of the original super-foods -- and as
an absolutely essential part of a healthy diet.

But is it?

John MacCallum wrote a famous article in his
"Keys to Progress" series in Strength and Health
back in 1969 or 1970-71, where he urged readers
to eat a pound of liver for breakfast every single
day.

This advice originally came from nutritionist Adele
Davis, who also promoted liver for breakfast back
in the 1960's.

So the "Eat lots of liver!" message has been out
there for a long time.

The problem is, some people hate liver. They cannot
eat it no matter what.

I'm one of them. When I was 19 or 20, I worked an
out of town summer job, and tried to save as much
money for school as possible -- and liver was the
cheapest meat I could find -- so I ate liver every
single day for the entire summer.

As a result, I've never been able to eat it since
that time.

So I'm living proof that you do NOT "need" to eat
liver. You can do perfectly fine on other foods.

The same could be said of any particular food that
supposedly works wonders for building strength
and muscle.

There are many good, healthy, muscle-building
foods.

But the best food for YOU is one that you like --
and that you enjoy eating - and that you digest and
assimilate easily.

So, in response to the question, how much liver
should you eat, the answer is: "As much -- or as
little - as you want."

If you enjoy liver, then eat it. Don't stuff yourself
with it, and don't eat a pound a day just because
someone said to do so. Let your appetite be your
guide. If you like a quarter pound of liver once
or twice a week, that's fine.

I would strongly suggest that you eat organic beef
liver. The liver purifies the blood, and chemical
residues tend to accumulate in the liver. So the
liver from a conventionally-raised animal is
going to contain hormones, antibiotics and
other chemicals that you don't need and don't
want.

And don't worry about the expense. Even organic
beef liver is inexpensive.

If you don't enjoy liver, then don't eat it -- and don't
worry about it. Other meats will work just as well
as liver when it comes to building strength and
muscle.

Bob Hoffman said it very well back in 1940:

"No one food is essential for health. There are no
health foods."

But what about dessicated liver tablets for those who
don't like liver?

Well, if liver is not necessary, neither are liver tablets.
If you take them, and you think they help you, then
feel free to keep on taking them. Personally, I'd rather
spend my money on the best and healthiest meat,
eggs and vegetables that I can find.

For more about liver, other healthy protein sources, and
the best kind of diet for strength training and muscle
building, reserve a copy of Knife, Fork, Muscle as we wind
up the pre-publication special for the little monster:

http://brookskubik.com/dinosaur_nutrition.html

I hope that helps. As always, thanks for reading and
have a great day. If you train today, make it a good
one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Building strength and muscle requires the right
kind of nutrition and the right kind of training program.
Strength, Muscle and Power details the right kind of
training for big gains in muscle and might:

http://www.brookskubik.com/strength_muscle_power.html

P.S. 2. My other books and courses are right here:

http://www.brookskubik.com/products.html

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Simple is best, whether it's
training or diet and nutrition." -- Brooks Kubik

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Are 20 Rep Squats a Good Idea for Older Trainees -- The Dinos Weigh In!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

We received a ton of feedback to yesterday's email
about 20 rep squats for older trainees -- but before
getting to that, let me hit some quick updates and
reminders:

1. Someone asked if Knife, Fork, Muscle would help
in maintaining strength and muscle mass while losing
unwanted flab -- or whether it was just about eating
to gain muscle mass.

Answer -- it's about healthy eating for lifelong strength
and health -- and it contains advice on eating to gain
muscle mass -- and also contains advice about eating
to lose flab while maintaining strength and muscle
mass. Hope that clarifies things!

You can grab your copy right here as we wind down the
pre-publication special:

http://brookskubik.com/dinosaur_nutrition.html

2. If you subscribed to the Dinosaur Files newsletter,
please send in a brief testimonial about why you liked
it, how it helped you or motivated you, etc. I'm using
them to put together an order page for the new
quarterly Dinosaur Files. (And I'm shooting to get
the order page up next week.)

3. Had a great interview with Carl Lanore on the
SuperHuman Radio Show yesterday. The download
is not up yet (as I type this) but it should be up later
today:

http://superhumanradio.com/

On the training front, many of you responded to my
email about whether 20 rep squats were a good idea
for older trainees -- or whether lower reps would work
better.

Here's a summary of what you said:

1. Almost all of the older Dinos said they do better with
multiple sets of low to medium reps, with many of you
doing 5 x 5 or similar set/rep systems.

1a. Many older Dinos noted that higher reps make them
too stiff and too sore.

1b. In other words, the older Dinos have found that they
recover better from lower rep workouts -- which is what
I've been saying for years, and which is certainly true
in my own case.

2. The older Dinos who prefer higher reps in their squats
have been doing higher reps for many years, and are
fully adapted to them.

2a. Several of these Dinos noted that even though they
do 20 rep squats, they don't push the weight on them
the way a younger lifter would do. In other words, they
use them more for conditioning work.

3. None of the older Dinos thought that switching from
low reps to 20 rep sets would be a good idea for an
older trainee -- the consensus was "Dance with who
brung ya," i.e., keep on doing what you've been doing.

4. Several readers noted that Trap Bar deadlifts are a
very good alternative to the squat for older trainees.
I agree.

4a. For more information on the Trap Bar, go here:

http://www.trapbartraining.com/

5. Several of the older Dinos noted that they do low
reps (singles, doubles, triples or 5 rep sets) because
they can maintain good form on each rep -- which
helps them train injury-free.

5a. This is a key point.

5b. Low reps sets do not mean you pile on so much
weight that you shake and wobble and the weight goes
all over the place. It means that you train with perfect
form -- and that you use weights that allow you to use
perfect form.

5c. The pumpers and toners never seem to get this.
They equate low reps with maximum effort, life or death
heravy lifts -- which is ridiculous.

6. Many of the older Dinos noted that they supplement
their strength training with low-to-moderate intensity
conditioning work.

6a. Many rely on walking for their conditioning work.

6b. Several older Dinos noted that swimming is good
for conditioning work because it is easy on the joints.

6c. At least five older Dinos noted that the lugging
and loading drills covered in Gray Hair and Black Iron
are their preferred form of conditioning work.

7. One older Dino who is a medical doctor bluntly
noted that 20 rep squats can be dangerous for an
older trainee -- and can even trigger a heart attack
if you over-estimate your level of conditioning and
try to go too hard or too heavy.

7a. In other words, don't try to do 225 for 20 reps
just because you used to do 300 for 20 reps 30 years
ago and 225 for 20 "ought to be easy."

7b. "IUSETA" thinking -- as in, "I used to lift such and
so, so I can surely do X now" will get an older trainee
in trouble every single time.

7c. Every. Single. Time.

7d. I covered this in a recent podcast -- I think it was
on Eric Fiorillo's Motivation and Muscle Podcast Show --
or perhaps it was an interview with Bill Kociaba --
and I noted that there was a time when I could do a
perfect belly to back suplex with an opponent in a
wrestling match -- but that was 40 years ago, and
that doesn't mean I can do a suplex today -- or that
I would ever try one.

I think that covers the feedback. Thanks to everyone
who sent in a response. I appreciate it. And ditto for
all of you who sent in a testimonial for The Dinosaur
Files -- they really made my day.

If anyone has further thoughts on the 20 rep squat,
send them in.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great day.
If you train today, make it a good one.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Here's the guidebook for older trainees:

http://www.brookskubik.com/grayhair_blackiron.html

P.S. 2. My other books and courses -- including Knife,
Fork, Muscle -- are right here:

http://www.brookskubik.com/products.html

P.S. 3. Thought for the day: "Don't worry about what
you used to be able to do. Focus on what you can do
NOW." -- Brooks Kubik

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20 Rep Squats for Older Trainees -- Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Three quick notes, then we'll talk about 20 rep
squats for older trainees.

1. Go here to reserve your copy of Knife, Fork,
Muscle as we wind down the pre-publication
special:

http://brookskubik.com/dinosaur_nutrition.html

1a. Researchers at UCLA just issued a break-through
paper on Alzheimer's that follows the diet and
nutrition advice in Knife, Fork, Muscle VERY
closely. In other words, Knife, Fork, Muscle
is cutting-edge stuff -- even though it also
includes many old-school ideas.

2. If you are a former subscriber to the Dinosaur
Files newsletter, shoot me an email with a brief
testimonial to help launch the sales page for
the new quarterly Dinosaur Files -- which will
be going up sometime mext week!

2a. THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in a
testimonial for the Dinosaur Files!

3. I'll be on Carl Lanore's SuperHuman Radio at
12:00 noon today -- listen live or catch the down-
load later on.

And now . . . the question of the day.

Is the 20 rep squat a good idea or a bad idea for
older trainees?

Several readers asked this question in response to
yesterday's email about the 100,000 Squats Club.
One reader in his late 40's noted that he had a bad
shoulder and was going to focus on squats and
deadlifts while it healed up. He said he had been
surfing the Interwebs (oh-oh) and found an article
by a guy in his 20's talking about the 20 rep squat
program -- and was thinking about trying it.

And he asked if I thought that was a good idea.

Frankly, I don't .

I know that many younger trainees have done very
well with the 20 rep squat. But it's a very difficult
and demanding program -- and it's hard to recover
from your workouts -- and it requires you to whip
yourself into a frenzy before your 20 rep Death
Set -- and push yourself into the ground, so you
finish the set and lie on the floor for 10 or 15
minutes before you can move.

That's one thing for guys in their teens or 20's.

It's another thing entirely for an older trainee.

John Davis did 15 and 20 rep squats when he was
building himself from a 181 pound lifter to a full-
fledged Heavyweight. But then he switched to 5 x 5.

In one of his books, Tommy Kono talks about doing
20 rep squats when he was younger. A few years
later, while still in his 20's or 30's, he tried them
again but switched back to lower reps. He just
didn't have the drive to do them any more. And
I think that's probably true of most older trainees.
You work hard, and that's great -- but you don't
need or want to do those 20 rep Death Sets.

There's also the shoulder issue. Most older trainees
have some degree of shoulder problems. That makes
high rep squatting difficult.

Heck, it makes any kind of squatting difficult.

Which reminds me -- if you have bad shoulders,
this little device will save your squat workouts:

http://www.oldtimestrongman.com/products/dave-drapers-top-squat-1

There's also the recovery issue. Younger trainees can
recover from 20 rep squats. Older trainees may not be
able to do so.

And then there's the issue of form. Older trainees should
ALWAYS perform every rep of every set of every exercise
in perfect form. Younger trainees can sometimes get
away with sloppy reps, but they often lead to injury
for an older trainee.

Lower reps allow you to perform your exercises in
strict form. But doing 20 reps in the squat makes it
very difficult to maintain good form for the entire set.
Finally, I will note that most Masters weightlifters do
low reps in squats or front squats -- and the older they
are, the fewer reps they do. They find that too many
reps make their knees sore.

Of course, if you have been doing 20 rep squats your
entire life, and you enjoy doing them, then keep on
doing what you're doing. But if you're thinking about
"giving them a try" at age 50 or 60 -- that's probably
not a good idea. It's better to dance with who brung
ya.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great day. If
you train today, make it a good one!

And remember to send in those testimonials for the
Dinosaur Files!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For more training advice for older Dinos, grab
this:

http://www.brookskubik.com/grayhair_blackiron.html

P.S. 2. My other books and courses -- including Knife,
Fork, Muscle -- are right here:

http://www.brookskubik.com/products.html

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Never try to change
horses in mid-stream -- or mid-workout." -- Brooks Kubik

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The 100,000 Squats Club

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Two quick notes, and then we'll talk about the
100,000 Squats Club.

1. If you haven't already done so, there's still
time to reserve your copy of Knife, Fork, Muscle
before we close down the big pre-publication
special:

http://brookskubik.com/dinosaur_nutrition.html

1a. I had hoped to have the books printed and
shipped by now but we're running behind schedule .
I'll keep you posted on the shipping date as I get
more info from the printer. I may include an extra
bonus for everyone to make up for running late.

1b. If you want me to autograph your book, send
an autograph request pronto!

2. I'm working on the new quarterly Dinosaur Files
newsletter, and it has some TERRIFIC articles. I'm
looking for some testimonials and feedback from
everyone who subscribed to the Dino Files in the
past, so please write something up -- just a
sentence or two -- and send it in. Thanks!

And now -- let's talk about those squats.

Many Dinos are in their 50's (or are older), and
they got started in training in their teens. So
they've been hitting the iron for 40 or 50 years.

For example, I got started at age 11, and I'm 57
now. That makes 46 years of training. I'm closing
in on a half century in the Iron Game.

So here's the math.

If you train 50 weeks a year, that makes 2,000
weeks of training after 40 years.

And if you do an average of 50 squats per week
in your workouts (including warmup sets), that
makes a total of 100,000 squats over 40 years.

And it's very easy to do 50 squats per week, if
you include your warm-up sets. Many of you will
go higher than that, especially if you do higher
reps. And that's true even if you only train squats
once a week.

So any of us who have been training steadily for
40 or more years are probably members of the
100,000 Squats Club.

Heck, some of us may have gotten there 20 or
30 years ao, especially if we were doing bodyweight
squats, where you do much higher reps.

Now, on the one hand, it's great to have done that
many squats over so many years. But with that
many reps of any exercise, there comes a lot of
wear and tear on the body.

Topmmy Kono used to say, "You only have a certain
number of squats in you."

And I think he was right.

And the same is true of any exercise. The reps add
up over time.

This is one reason why I prefer low-volume workouts.
You can keep doing them for more years.

Doing the latest over the top, squat 'til you drop,
mega-insanity squat workout may SEEM like a good
idea when you're young -- but it's sheer lunacy for
older trainees.

And personally, if I have a limited number of squats
in my body, I want to save some of them for my 60's,
70's and 80's.

Over the top is fun -- but so is being in it for the long
haul.

In other words, train hard, but train smart. Have fun,
but keep it real.

As always, thanks for reading, and have a great day. If
you train today, make it a good one -- and save some of
those reps for your Golden Years!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. Here's the number one book about strength training
and muscle building workouts for older Dinos:

http://www.brookskubik.com/grayhair_blackiron.html

P.S. 2. Support your training with the right kind of diet
asnd nutrition program -- the kind I detail in Knife, Fork,
Muscle:

http://brookskubik.com/dinosaur_nutrition.html

P.S. 3. My other books and courses -- including the
popular Legacy of Iron books -- are right here:

http://www.brookskubik.com/products.html

P.S. 4. Thought for the Day: "Training hard for a week
or a month is one thing -- but Dinos train hard for their
entire lifetime." -- Brooks Kubik

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Old School Training, Old School Progress!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

One of the maddening aspects of modern strength
training is the idea that you can't build strength and
muscle without modern supplements, roidskies, or
whatever else someone is trying to sell you.

There was a time when things were different.

Much different.

Back in the day, a young man bought a barbell
set, read the instruction booklet that came with it,
and started training.

He followed a basic training program built around
exercises like squats, deadlifts, presses, curls,
rowing, shrugs, etc.

He probably followed the double progression
system, where he started with a light weight
and an easy number of reps, gradually upped
the reps, then added weight and dropped back
to the original rep count -- and repeated the
process over and over. It was a very simple
formula.

It was also very effective.

Just how effective?

Well, consider this.

There's a letter to the editor published in the
Success Stories section of the April 1943 issue
of Strength and Health.

It's from a young man named Byron Green, of
Glendale, California.

He started training with a 100 pound barbell set
and an 80 pound dumbbell set. After training for
a month or so, he found the 100 pound barbell
set was too light, so he machined down a pair of
flywheels to fit the barbell. That added 125 pounds
to the bar.

After five months of training, he had doubled all
of the weights used in his different exercises. He
had added ten pounds of muscle, and weighed 175
pounds -- and he could clean and jerk 200 pounds.

Now, I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty
good progress for a young man who has been training
for just five months. I sure as heck couldn't clean and
jerk 200 pounds after my first five months of training.
Neither could most modern trainees.

And as Byron explained in his letter, it was all very simple
and very basic. He trained five days per week: 1 heavy
barbell day, 2 light barbell days, and 2 DB days. The
classic York program.

It was old-school all the way -- and it was very, very
effective.

And that's what we teach here at Dino Headquarters.
Old school training. It's not fancy, but it works.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great day.
If you train today, make it a good one.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. 1. Here's a great course that covers one of the
most popular exercises among old-school lifters --
the military press:

http://www.brookskubik.com/militarypress_course.html

P.S. 2. Hard training requires top quality nutrition.
I cover diet and nutrition for Dinos in Knife, Fork,
Muscle:

http://brookskubik.com/dinosaur_nutrition.html

P.S. 3. My other books and courses are right here:

http://www.brookskubik.com/products.html

P.S. 4. Thought for the Day: "Never under estimate
the power of old-school training." -- Brooks Kubik

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Rest Pause Training for Strength, Muscle and Power!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

A quick note, and then we'll talk about Rest-Pause
Training.

1. My latest interview on Eric Fiorillo's Motivation and
Muscle Podcast Show is right here -- and I think
you'll enjoy it:

http://www.fiorillobarbellco.com/category/podcast/

On the training front . . .

Everything old is new again -- and everything new is
something old.

At least, that's the way it is in strength training.

One of the new things in Olympic lifting is to do a
special kind of hypertrophy training to increase the
size and strength of the exact fast twitch muscle
fibers used in the snatch and the clean and jerk.

Here's how it works.

A lifter will train the snatch by warming up, working
up to a heavy weight, and then doing 10 - 20 heavy
snatches.

The lifter will do triples, doubles and singles.

The lifter may do wave training where he works up,
drops back down, works back up, drops back down
and works back up.

The lifter trains at a fast pace. The entire sequence
of heavy snatches may take 15 or 20 minutes.

The lifter does the same thing with the clean and
jerk, and the front squat.

Those may be the only exercises in the program.

Remember, as I said, it's a special kind of program
that targets the fast twitch fibers used in lifting.

And that's the state of the art stuff for the best
in the world in 2014.

Amazingly, lifters were doing the same sort of thing
back in the 1950's -- and the 1940's -- and the 1930's.

There were even bodybuilders who trained this way,
although they used different exercises.

And plenty of garage gorillas and cellar-dwellers did
this kind of program back in the day.

They called it Rest Pause Training -- and it built
tons of real world strength and muscle.

Nowadays, everybody does 8 x 8, 10 x 10, 12 x 12
and 20 x 20 to build muscle mass. Heck, someone
is probably teaching 50 x 50. Volume training rules.

But back in the day, men built muscle mass the old-
fashioned way -- one rep at a time.

I cover Rest Pause Training in detail in Strength,
Muscle and Power -- and the program could be the
key to the best gains of your entire life:

http://www.brookskubik.com/strength_muscle_power.html

As always, thanks for reading, and have a great day.
If you train today, make it a good one!

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. For maximum gains in strength, muscle and power,
you need to suppoert your training with the right kind
of diet and nutrition -- which is exactly what you'll
find in Knife, Fork, Muscle:

http://brookskubik.com/dinosaur_nutrition.html

P.S. 2. My other books and courses are right here:

http://www.brookskubik.com/products.html

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "Train old-school style
with rest-pause reps -- and build real world strength
and muscle." -- Brooks Kubik

********************************************

How (Not) to Stop Your Progress Dead in It's Tracks!

Hail to the Dinosaurs!

Two quick notes and then we'll talk about the number
1 progress stopper you face.

1. There's still time to reserve your copy of Knife, Fork,
Muscle during our pre-publication special:

http://brookskubik.com/dinosaur_nutrition.html

1a. If you forgot to ask for an autograph, and you want
one, shoot me an email.

1b. I'm not sure when we'll get the books from the
printer, but I'll keep you posted via my emails -- and
we'll shoot them right out the door by pterodactyl
mail as soon as we get them.

2. Yes, we are launching a new quarterly version of the
world-famous, one and only Dinosaur Files newsletter.

I'll put an order page up next week. We're going to
do single issues rather than subscriptions. Each issue
will be BIG -- it will move from newsletter to magazine
size. Be looking for the announcement soon.

In the meantime, if you'd like BACK ISSUES -- not a
new subscription, but BACK ISSUES from 2010 and
2011, you can find them here:

For 2010 back issues (a 12 issue set):

http://www.brookskubik.com/dinosaur_files.html

For 2011 back issues (a 12 issue set):

http://www.brookskubik.com/dinosaurfiles_renewalpage.html

Remember, these are for BACK ISSUES only, NOT for a
new subscription.

On the training front . . . let's talk about the number
one progress buster.

Yesterday I discussed the importance of concentration
when you train -- and I noted that distraction was a
physical culturist's greatest enemy.

I was talking about distraction during your workouts.
But there's another kind of distraction -- and it's a
huge problem -- and one that's getting bigger all the
time.

It's information overload -- and it's the result of all the
different people with all the different whiz-bang training
programs, workouts, exercises, and ideas.

Now, there's nothing wrong with training information
per se -- or with reading about training or with being
on the lookout for new ideas. In fact, the availability
of good information and the free-flow of ideas is a
good thing.

But it becomes a bad thing when it leads a trainee to
start to second-guess what he's doing -- or to change
what he's doing before he's had a chance to make any
real progress from it.

Remember, it takes a while for a training program to
work.

For most people, it goes something like this.

You start light and easy and gradually add weight and
build up the intensity of your workouts. This may last
anywhere from two to six weeks.

Eventually, you hit a point where the workouts are hard,
heavy and demanding. This is where the program will
prove its worth. It's the hard part of the training cycle
where you maker your gains.

Finally, you reach a point where your gains slow down or
come to a stop.

At that point, you switch to another workout -- once again
starting light and easy, and working up to some serious
iron and some serious effort.

Over time, this approach gives you plenty of variety,
and builds a ton of strength, muscle and power.

But you have to stick with each program long enough
to make progress.

If you change your program every time you see some-
thing new and different, you usually don't do very well.
In short, information is good -- but you need to know
how to use it -- and when to use it.

And you need to stick to a given program long enough
to get some real results.

Make a plan -- and follow through.

That's the key to success.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great day. If
you train today, make it a good one.

Yours in strength,

Brooks Kubik

P.S. If you need help finding the right program for
your current level of experience, strength and
development, grab this:

http://www.brookskubik.com/chalk_and_sweat.html

P.S. 2. My other books and courses are right here:

http://www.brookskubik.com/products.html

P.S. 3. Thought for the Day: "A good program always
works, but it doesn't work overnight." -- Brooks Kubik

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