Like a Fox

Dear Clint,

First off, thanks for all the articles/videos you put out. They’re inspirational and often plain fun to read/watch, something not to be underestimated.

I’ve been in a relationship with a girl for about two years now. My first love. We’re having a great time and I’ve grown quite a lot. I now know what it’s like to be in a long-term relationship. She makes me strong and gives me purpose. However, there is another girl that has been flirting with me for some time now. I really feel attracted to her and think she’ll be great fun to be with. Also, she promises that she can do things to me that no other girl can!

Now, I know you’re not Dr. Phil or anything, but I hope that you can give me some good advice nonetheless, especially when I give you the names of the girls in question. The first girl is Jim Wendler, the second is Louie.

As can be distilled from the above: 5/3/1 has been my (first real) training method for the last two years. Before that, I just incidentally hit the gym, but without purpose/focus. Progress is great, and I’m enjoying it greatly. I’ve followed different templates, each ‘fresh’ in its own way. I’m not actively looking for something new; however, the Westside method (also) really appeals to me. It’s not so much ‘if’, but more ‘when’ I’m going to switch. That said, I’m in no hurry.

I’m not strong enough yet (and probably never will be, haha), but I have built a strength-base using 5/3/1. I’m a tall guy, 32 years young, 105 kilos give or take, and my best lifts are:

Squat: 5×135
Bench: 6×100
Deadlift: 5×165
Press: 5×72.5

My goals are to compete (at least once) in a powerlifting meet and maybe enter a strongman competition, although that may not be realistic considering where I’m living. Holland is a small country, so there are not a lot of different competition levels.

I’m hoping you could give me some advice/thoughts on this subject.

All hail to the House of Bicep Nation and many thanks in advance,

Peter.


Thanks, Peter!

I must say that I read the first segment of your message and a big knot came up into my throat. I began to wonder if you knew about that super secret that I had and wasn’t telling anyone about, or had possibly locked onto my location via Wendler-Vision and were after me, my soul, or possibly my sweaty underwear. (Hey, it’s happened before).

Even though I have a beard that women get all googly-eyed about, I’m not exactly Rico Suave. My wife stays pissed at me half the time, and the rest of the time she is either away on a trip or at work, so I’m glad to hear that you are torn between two other great “ladies.”

I’ve never met either Louie or Jim, but I’ve been told that Jim hates my guts. I really can’t remember his exact words, but it was something about Antique Furniture, Deep Sinus Boogers, and Shotgun Shells… whatever that means in real life.

Wait a minute, Peter, I just read the word “distilled” in your question. I’ll be right back with a glass of Blanton’s Silver Edition. (I’m saving my last Mason Jar of Moonshine as long as I can).

Anyway…

One of the biggest reasons why I enjoy the 5/3/1 Method, AND why I seem to always put my clients on that path, is because it is SIMPLE. It can be “reduced” down to the utmost of basics, and it can be added to in order to make it very Sport or Goal Specific. Its pure simplicity makes it hard to screw up (although most people do).

But why is it REALLY that great? Because it FORCES ONE TO SET GOALS! Anyone that has ever worked with me or trained with me more than a time or two knows that I’m completely ape shot when it comes to goals. It seems that everyone has the goal of “getting big and getting strong and getting cut,” but nobody realizes that those ARE NOT GOALS! Weighing 250 pounds, totaling 1600 pounds raw, being 10% body fat, having 19-inch arms… are all GOALS! You either achieve them or you don’t. There is not subjectivity there at all.

So, since my wife never reads anything that I say or watches anything that I post on YouTube, I’ll let things fly freely!

  1. When you have been with one woman for a long time, you’d better be darn well SURE that even if you couldn’t have the other “new and improved” woman, that you’d still be happier without your current woman.
  2. A blonde sure can look nice, new, and neat, but somewhere there is someone that hates her guts!
  3. Even the pretty, nice, smoking hot, and younger woman farts just as bad as the one that you have now.

All that said… IF YOU ARE FORCED to leave one woman and move on to another woman, make sure that you have learned from the first one. LEARN WHAT YOU LIKE AND WHAT WORKS for you.

In programming, like with women, it is important to know what to do and when to do it, Dear Lord what NOT to do and when NOT to do it, and sometimes when to just keep your mouth shut and get on with it, no questions asked.

If you have found things about the 5/3/1 Program that for doggone sure work for you, you had better find a viable way to move them into the Westside Program. BUT, make sure that they don’t totally screw up the Westide Program so bad that it looks like a Drag Queen riding on the midnight run of the Sanitary Truck. I mean, things should fit and look right when you put them all together in the same picture frame.

This bourbon is NICE!

Advice on moving towards the Westside method?

Go slow.

If you aren’t used to taking TRUE 1-RM attempts, then your body isn’t truly prepared for it. I don’t care which bearded guy tells you that you’ll be fine; there is nothing like actually having a TRUE MAX on the bar, and you will be doing this often with the Westside Method. BUT if you have LEARNED that 5s make your 1-RM grow the most… do freaking 5s on your Max Effort Days! Just because the Westside video says to take a max doesn’t mean you throw everything you like about your current girlfriend out the window at 160 KPH!

Learn the basics of the program.

The MOST basic things that I can tell you about the program is that you will never do more than five exercises in the gym on a given session, and I’d suggest that you not do more than 10 exercises in the week. The KEY is to get brutally strong at EACH AND EVERY EXERCISE that you do in the gym. This holds true for the 5/3/1 Program as well though.

Monitor your volume and how you feel when you are done with a session.

If you feel like a beat up dog at the end of a session, MUCH WORSE than you did after the 5/3/1 Sessions, then back it down. Again, don’t forget what worked for you.

And in closing, I’ll leave you with two pieces of information that just might keep you sane:

1) Don’t wait till you are “strong” to go compete. Just do it, no matter if you have a 60-kilogram bench press or a 360-kilogram bench press… get on the platform and HAVE FUN!

2) It is very important that Jim doesn’t find out that you are now dating Louie.

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About the Author

Clint Darden earned his pro card in Strongman in 2003 in the United States and moved to Cyprus in 2004. He competed in the US as well as throughout Europe, representing both the US and Cyprus at the international level. He owns Elite Power Nutrition supplements in Cyprus and is a full-time dad and the director of Autism Assessment Support Practice. He has struggled with ulcerative colitis for four years and has come a very long way but still suffers from it daily. View Clint’s training log.