Q&A with Brian Minor!

Past Q&As (read-only)
bdminor
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#21

Post by bdminor » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:05 am

Cody wrote: Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:18 am What strategies do you use to maintain/build strength during a cut?

The biggest thing is dieting slowly to retain muscle and make the changes in leverages a gradual process. Outside of perhaps using a little bit less volume deeper into a cut, most programming variables are going to be similar

What's the highest bf% you like to go to during a bulk (maybe use picture comparisons)?
I have never had it tested with any method other than calipers in the offseason, so I'm not really sure tbh since the range is so wide based on method. Based on my fat storage patterns, if I start to lose upper abs its time to get leaner lol

How long do you like to have cut and bulk cycles for folks not getting on stage but trying to have those sick beach abs whole still prioritizing strength? Could someone maintain that physique year round?
I am a big believer in spending as little time in a deficit as possible while in the offseason. For people who gain at a slow and controlled rate (~.5-1%/bw/month) I would say gaining phases can last 6-12 months in many cases followed by mini cuts of 4-10 weeks or so. So long as one isn't really far below their set point, it should be fairly easy to maintain with some discipline

While significantly increasing strength? How does your programming vary based on whether you're on a cut/maintenance/bulk?
See above:) Not much needs to change. You may need to reduce volume a little bit if you start to feel underrecovered. Its not uncommon for people to gain some strength early in a cut, as a lot of strength is mediated neurologically which isn't vert calorically dependent. The biggest hit to strength as one gets leaner is usually because of leverages assuming muscle loss isn't occurring on a large scale

Do you have any training strategies you've found effective for people with restricted schedules, i.e. 45 minute sessions only or two days per week only (several of us here in that boat)?
I LOVE myo reps for this situation. Its a rest pause method aimed at maximizing high recruitment/"effective" reps. I use them a lot in my own training for single joint work as well as some accessory compound work that's low risk. Check this post out:
http://borgefagerli.com/myo-reps-in-english/


What supplements do you believe are effective and worthwhile and in what doses?
For performance, the big ones I take are caffeine (~150-300mg), creatine monohydrate (~3-5g/day), citrulline malate (~6g/day), and sometimes beta alanine (~3-4 g) if using higher rep ranges. Dosing is largely going to be dependent on the person and their size. Those are simply the doses I use.

Opinions on popular dieting strategies like Paleo, IIFYM, etc?
For body composition, nothing is seems to be inherently better than another if energy balance and protein intake are equated.

What's your opinion on ab work? Useful or waste of time? Favorite exercises if so? What's your opinion on "mobility" work, stretching, warmups, etc?

Its useful for sure. I like the ab wheel personally. Those, planks, rope crunches, and reverse crunches are probably my go tos (when I train them regularly). With mobility, whatever gets you ready to lift in a safe manner. In my experience, that often seems to be less time than many people spend on it.

bdminor
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#22

Post by bdminor » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:14 am

Chebass88 wrote: Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:22 am What is the biggest mistake you’ve made when it comes to training and how did it shape your subsequent training?

Who was your biggest inspiration?
The biggest mistake would likely be overdoing it on volume and frequency and getting a bit banged up. Many people sacrifice long term potential for short term satisfaction. Injury halts more people's progress than their programming in most cases. I think its extremely important to view training through a wide lens. Aggressive approaches carry significantly higher risk.

As far as inspiration in the field, I think the evidence based community owes A LOT to Dr. Brad Schoenfeld for the sheer quantity of applicable research he has put out there regarding strength and hypertrophy. I'm not an active researcher, but I wouldn't be as good of a coach or athlete if it wasn't for him. On a personal level, my son. Having children put everything in a different perspective for me.

bdminor
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#23

Post by bdminor » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:16 am

Allentown wrote: Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:30 am
Cody wrote: Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:18 am Do you have any training strategies you've found effective for people with restricted schedules, i.e. 45 minute sessions only or two days per week only (several of us here in that boat)?
This +1
I touched on myo reps above. I would highly suggest taking a look at that method. For me, its been one of the biggest factors in being able to continue making progress when my schedule gets crazy

bdminor
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#24

Post by bdminor » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:36 am

mgil wrote: Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:42 am A couple from the IG account:

@tdood wrote:

How low did your calories get during your last prep?

Around 12 calories/lb, or ~2100 during my digging stages (so not bad lol)

How much cardio did you do?

I tracked steps believe it or not. I was up to 15k per day in the digging phases. Outside of that it ranged between 8-12k/day. I am a big fan of low intensity cardio and found using steps helped offset decreases in NEAT as I got leaner. How often do you see people in prep finish their training, do their cardio, and then sit on their butt all day?

What are your maintenance calories?

About 16 kcal/lb. So currently about 3100-3200 kcal

Do you implement diet breaks - how/when do you program them?

Yes, I had two of them during my last prep. Every 12 weeks or so. WIthin each week I also had 2-3 consecutive days spent at maintenance. That alone likely helped avoid the need for more frequent diet breaks

What, if any, changes in training Do powerlifters attempting weight loss need to train differently, how/why?

Outside of volume, programming may not need to change much at all in a deficit. A powerlifter is still going to require higher intensity work as they get closer to a meet. I think a lot of lifters overdo work above 80% in the developmental stages of a meet prep. We don't need a high degree of preparedness at that stage so its often better to focus rep ranges more conducive to joint integrity and quality volume for hypertrophy

What are your thoughts on training near failure for powerlifters?

I would certainly avoid failure on the competition lifts. When it comes to hypertrophy and muscle recruitment, your need to push close to failure is going to be dependent on the absolute intensity (% 1 RM) you are working with and the rep range being used. As a general rule, the lower the % 1 RM the higher you will need to push relative intensity/proximity to failure to achieve a hypetrophy benefit. That certainly has ramifications for a PL in developmental stages of training

Your thoughts on training larger lifters vs smaller ones? Do you program differently for women?

Larger lifters are generally stronger lifters, and in turn, each unit of work tends to be more stressful on a systemic level. What this can mean in application is that larger lifters can often get away with a bit less volume of work than smaller lifters in order to achieve the desired raining stress. There are certainly many exceptions to this but as a general trend that's what I have observed. I would love to see this looked at in research but to my knowledge it hasn't (could be wrong)

Some women often have fiber typing more conducive to endurance so in some cases I may program at a higher percentage within a rep range to achieve the desired training effect. Due to that, and their absolute strength often being lower than men, they may (but certainly not always) require more volume as well.


@EstebanBrazoFuerte wrote:

Tips for lifters who overthink things? I.e., psyche themselves OUT of making a lift. Asking for a friend....

lol I like to think of training as practice. When it comes time to compete, its simply executing what you know you are already capable of based on training data. If you find you are routinely missing lifts in training for psychological reasons then I would adjust your training to be a bit more submaximal and perhaps occasionally implement things like plus sets to challenge yourself and build confidence while demonstrating to yourself that you are still getting stronger

bdminor
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#25

Post by bdminor » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:45 am

cwd wrote: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:09 am Have you advised lifters over 40, 50, or 60?

How do you program differently for for older lifters, vs younger ones?
I have! The biggest thing is I think its important to make sure to limit the amount of high intensity work for joint reasons. There usually isn't much sense in doing a ton of work above ~80% outside of the 6-8 weeks out from a meet. However, I also feel that way about younger populations as well. Just to a lesser degree.

bdminor
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#26

Post by bdminor » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:46 am

broseph wrote: Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:13 am
PatrickDB wrote: Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:38 pm Is it possible to induce simultaneous fat loss and muscle gain in a non-novice, non-obese trainee? If so, is this more or less effective than cut and bulk cycles?
This +2.
Addressed a few back:)

bdminor
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#27

Post by bdminor » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:55 am

cole wrote: Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:15 am I live in the same city as this guy. I would ask "how much you charge for an in person technique session?"
lol nice! Shoot me an email dude. bdminor31@gmail.com

What gym do you train at?

bdminor
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#28

Post by bdminor » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:33 pm

MattNeilsen wrote: Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:17 pm I thought about this some more over the weekend, and I think an interesting question would be: how do you conceptualize the appropriate level of programming in regards to training advancement? For example, an organization like Starting Strength sees the training universe as:

Novice = Session-to-session progression
Intermediate = Weekly progression
Advanced = Monthly progression

Someone like Izzy Narvaez at Powerlifting-to-Win might define it as:

Novice = Can utilize concurrent training with little to no manipulation of programming variables
Intermediate = Can utilize concurrent training with some manipulation of programming variables (e.g. DUP)
Advanced = Requires block periodization/phase potentiation

I guess the TL:DR question would be: "Brian, do you view the stages of a trainee's advancement in terms of different types of programming? If so, what general principles/approaches do you take at each stage? If not, how do you view training advancement and how do you decide what's appropriate?"
Great questions. As a whole, I agree with both examples you provided. The small, granular programming details really only make a difference in advanced athletes (and even then are often over emphasized imo). I am assuming you are asking this from the standpoint of 1 RM strength being the primary training outcome we are seeking. Periodization as a whole has a much larger role with expressing maximal performance than a goal like hypertrophy. That said, I feel like regardless of stage, the majority of your time should be spent focusing on development. Outside of skill acquisition, it is the variable that we have the most control over long term.

With beginners, I feel the primary focus should be muscular development and gaining technical proficiency in the main lifts. Their 1 RM will increase by progressing just about any rep range. That said, I find I often gravitate towards a higher degree of specificity for exercise selection, with a smaller emphasis/lower specificity in terms of intensity. As an example, if they cant squat with good technique at 60% then what value would there be in programming loads over 80%?

As the lifter enters intermediate stages, I will start to incorporate more higher intensity work since at this stage load specificity will have a larger impact than in the beginner stages. That said, I will still keep the bulk of that reserved for intensity/peaking phases. While I'm not convinced high intensity work offers much additional benefit for hypertrophy (above what you would see with mod to high rep ranges), I do find I will include some high intensity work in developmental stages simply to give the lifter piece of mind that they aren't regressing. While the goal is not 1 RM strength for those stages, many intermediates will become discouraged if they lose too much rhythm in those low rep ranges. Also, at this stage it becomes more evident what weak links exist muscularly ad with technique and I can cater accessory work to focus on those areas.

In advanced stages, I think most lifters could take a good bit of time away from high intensity work and not feel TOO lost when they come back to it. Sort of like riding a bike. They will need to work their way back up in weight but the movement pattern itself is usually intact. At this stage, the lifter may have some aches and pains that need to be accommodated and a big part of that is going to be not overdoing high intensity work. This still works out since I still feel hypertrophy is the biggest variable in our control. At this stage its coming at a crawl, but I feel that there are more advanced lifters whose careers are ended/progress halted due to injury than just stagnation in strength due to programming nuances. I think that should get more attention. So while we may be close to capped out on hypertrophy, we are likely never truly capped out and the alternative is just maximizing the neurological adaptations which can often exacerbate existing issues if overdone (which they often are). In terms of exercise selection, I tend to have a similar approach as I do intermediates.

I hope that sort of answered your question? There is a lot that could be discussed there. Programming methodologies and models would be downstream and based around the above objectives.

bdminor
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#29

Post by bdminor » Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:37 pm

tdood wrote: Tue Apr 03, 2018 7:46 am When is this happening?
IT'S HAPPENING! Last week was a gauntlet for me so I appreciate everyone's patience in responding:)

MattNeilsen
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#30

Post by MattNeilsen » Wed Apr 04, 2018 1:53 pm

bdminor wrote: Wed Apr 04, 2018 12:33 pm I hope that sort of answered your question?
I really appreciate the thoughtful reply. It's a good reminder that the focus needs to be on long-term development rather than short-term realizations of strength expression. I also like the points you brought up about injury management. I agree it's usually not talked about enough, and your recommendations in light of managing (and/or preventing) injury make sense.

Thanks for taking the time to respond, Brian.

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d0uevenlift
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#31

Post by d0uevenlift » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:11 pm

@bdminor
Do you think powerbuilding is a feasible training methodology, or do you think it should be broken down into dedicated blocks or periods of training? Maybe when focused on powerlifting--say, with a meet coming up in 6-12 weeks--keep the bodybuilding light, and when in the off season, more of a bit of both?

cole
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#32

Post by cole » Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:30 pm

bdminor wrote: Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:55 am
cole wrote: Thu Mar 22, 2018 10:15 am I live in the same city as this guy. I would ask "how much you charge for an in person technique session?"
lol nice! Shoot me an email dude. bdminor31@gmail.com

What gym do you train at?
Was at miramont, then ft Collins club. Now I lift in my home gym

PatrickDB
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#33

Post by PatrickDB » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:09 pm

Let me slip in with some more.

1) What do you think about the anabolic benefits of cholesterol? In particular, do you think upping cholesterol intake will get people more jacked?

I was recently reading a very pro-cholesterol article that lays out some of the underlying science. However, I'm little skeptical given that (as the article notes) most of the pro-cholesterol research is coming from one lab that has received millions of dollars from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.

2) What are the biggest common mistakes you see natural bodybuilders making?

3) What dietary approach do you recommend to trainees who are both undermuscled and overfat? Say a male, 5'10", 170 pounds at roughly 20% body fat. Is cutting to 15% body fat or below appropriate here?

4) How much ya bench, bro?

5) What's your favorite variant or assistance exercise to bring up the (raw) bench?

6) What's your favorite variant or assistance exercise to bring up the deadlift?

MattNeilsen
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#34

Post by MattNeilsen » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:36 pm

Hi Brian,

I added a couple questions to Steve Hall's thread and then realized that I'd love to get your input on them as well. If you don't mind:

1) What's the biggest change you've made in the past year in your coaching practice - as it relates to programming/coaching - as a result of your interviews/research?
2) What/who are some of your go-to resources for information on strength training?
3) What research and/or training methodologies have you most excited right now? Why?

Thanks!

PatrickDB
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#35

Post by PatrickDB » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:17 pm

Another question:

Do you take a fish oil supplement? Why or why not?

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Chebass88
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#36

Post by Chebass88 » Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:13 am

Brian, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. It is great to read your thoughts on some of these issues.

EstebanBrazoFuerte
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#37

Post by EstebanBrazoFuerte » Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:27 pm

@EstebanBrazoFuerte wrote:

Tips for lifters who overthink things? I.e., psyche themselves OUT of making a lift. Asking for a friend....

lol I like to think of training as practice. When it comes time to compete, its simply executing what you know you are already capable of based on training data. If you find you are routinely missing lifts in training for psychological reasons then I would adjust your training to be a bit more submaximal and perhaps occasionally implement things like plus sets to challenge yourself and build confidence while demonstrating to yourself that you are still getting stronger

------ Thanks for your input! I'll be sure to pass it along to my friend. 0.o

EstebanBrazoFuerte
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#38

Post by EstebanBrazoFuerte » Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:27 pm

@EstebanBrazoFuerte wrote:

Tips for lifters who overthink things? I.e., psyche themselves OUT of making a lift. Asking for a friend....

lol I like to think of training as practice. When it comes time to compete, its simply executing what you know you are already capable of based on training data. If you find you are routinely missing lifts in training for psychological reasons then I would adjust your training to be a bit more submaximal and perhaps occasionally implement things like plus sets to challenge yourself and build confidence while demonstrating to yourself that you are still getting stronger

------ Thanks for your input! I'll be sure to pass it along to my friend. 0.o

bdminor
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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#39

Post by bdminor » Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:46 am

d0uevenlift wrote: Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:11 pm @bdminor
Do you think powerbuilding is a feasible training methodology, or do you think it should be broken down into dedicated blocks or periods of training? Maybe when focused on powerlifting--say, with a meet coming up in 6-12 weeks--keep the bodybuilding light, and when in the off season, more of a bit of both?
I think we discussed this on IG, but it's more feasible than most people make it out to be. I think the majority of a PL time should be spent on development anyway. Peaking typically requires a higher degree of specificity with regards to intensity and exercise selection but that process is fairly brief across the whole year (depending on how often one competes). When a meet is within 8-12 weeks you will probably want to start dialing things up in terms of specificity. Outside of that, I think there is a lot more flexibility than many people are willing to work with.

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Re: Q&A with Brian Minor!

#40

Post by KOTJ » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:24 am

@bdminor thank you for your time and effort

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