#ThePROGRAM: Week 4

“Man Up”

As Week 4 of #TheProgram takes flight, it happens to be the day our nation recognizes the life and lessons, the service and sacrifice, of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This also happens at a time when our nation finds itself divided yet again, now by an apparent inability to critique, define and honor manhood in modern America. Torn between the attitudes and gender roles of centuries ago and the insecurity and overcompensation that results in not knowing and feeling confident in your role in society, many men see themselves as under attack.

When I was a kid, a common phrase in athletic circles was to “man up”. When you were hurt or tired or disinterested, you put your head down and did what was required of you, whether you wanted to or not. Those moments required heart, courage, conviction, and grit. To do what was asked of you, whatever it takes. To dig deep and find your drive to get through the tough times. To do what was right, even when inconvenient. To be an example to others of determination and will. To live up to the standard expected of you, not just by your coaches and peers, but most importantly, to live up to what you expected yourself… To summon within what it was to “be a man”. It was an internal impulse rooted in virtues like pride, responsibility and love.

The latest outrage involved a male grooming corporation taking a very public stand against sexual harassment. The resulting uproar created op-eds fighting to attach the male archetype to everything from beards to beer. And it all made me laugh. Men have freed the oppressed in war… Have built skyscrapers from scratch… Have cured disease and created priceless art. And we’ve also fucked up plenty along the way. So it is OK for us to collectively own the fact that we’ve got to do better. To be gentlemen. To lead by example, teaching our kids by both our action and our word. To be less sensitive about our own inadequacies, and more sensitive to the plight of others and the injustice in this world.

Today I think of MLK, literally laying down his life for what was right, so that we all could be free, and I am inspired to “man up”. To be the man I was born to be, the man my mother raised me to be, the man my daughters expect me to be, the man the world needs me to be. When the weight on the bar feels heavy this week… When life weighs heavily upon my shoulders this week, I will remember that simple mantra, and what it really means to “man up”.

“More quality over quantity, Heavy Duty style, making every set count. Finish with the lower back work, once all of the rowing and width exercises are done and your upper and mid-back are cooked. Recommended viewing homework: watch ‘Blood & Guts’ on YouTube. Listening to PE on MLK” -G

Supps: 2 scoops Bangin’ Black Cherry VICE preworkout

  1 scoop Invincible Iced Tea RISE intraworkout

  • Underhand Grip Barbell Rows: 3 sets x 12-6 reps
  • Low Pulley Rows: 2 sets x 15-10 reps
  • Dumbbell Pullovers: 2 sets x 15-10 reps
  • Wide Grip Pullups: 4 sets of BW x failure
  • Deadlifts: 3 sets x 6 reps
  • Hyperextensions: 2 sets x 12 reps

Cardio: 30 mins Incline Treadmill/Stationary Bike or Outdoor Alternative

“The ‘Rocky II’ Press is an alternating back and forth front and behind the neck press. Feel free to scream ‘Creed!’ as it begins to burn. The strict lateral raises literally mean to keep your arms straight with good posture at your sides and hold light weight. Lift them straight out to your sides to forehead level. You will realize that for the first time, you’re moving the dumbbell with only your medial deltoids. Check your ego, cut the weight down exponentially, and watch yourself grow wide.” -G

Supps: 2 scoops Grindin’ Grape VICE preworkout

  1 scoop Code Orange RISE intraworkout

  • Standing Military ‘Rocky 2’ Press: 3 sets x 12 reps front/12 reps behind the neck Low Pulley Rows: 2 sets x 15-10 reps
  • Strict Side Lateral Raises: 2 sets x 15 reps
  • Upright Rows: 2 sets x 12 reps
  • Head Supported DB Rear Lateral Raises: 3 sets x 12 reps
  • DB Shrugs: 3 sets x 12 reps
  • DB Side Lateral Raise Burnout:  1 set x 50 reps

Cardio: 30 mins Incline Treadmill/Stationary Bike or Outdoor Alternative

“Isolation work for biceps. Lots of preacher movements to remove the front delt from the mechanics of the curl. I remember Lee Priest doing a ton of overhead extensions for triceps, so I never train triceps without bombing them from that angle.” -G

Supps: 2 scoops Cherry Swola VICE preworkout

  1 scoop Code Orange RISE intraworkout

  • EZ Bar Preacher Curls: 3 sets x 12 reps
  • Superset: DB Preacher Curls w/ DB Preacher Hammer Curls: 3 sets each x 12 reps per
  • Cable Straight Bar Curls: 3 sets x 15-10 reps
  • EZ Bar Overhead Extensions: 3 sets x 20-10 reps
  • Two Arm DB Overhead Extensions: 3 sets x 15-10 reps
  • Pushdowns: 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Cross-Bench DB Wrist Curls: 3 sets x 15 reps
  • Giant Set: Seated Leg Raises w/ Bench Crunches (Knees to Elbows) w/ Stick Twists, 2 sets each x 25 reps per

Cardio: 30 mins Incline Treadmill/Stationary Bike or Outdoor Alternative

“Pre-exhausting again before squats with a Bulgarian split squat/leg extensions superset which will set your quads on fire. The sissy squat finisher is a bit outside of my personal comfort zone, as I have very little personal experience with them, so that’s all the incentive needed. #TheProgram should encourage us to try new things and challenge ourselves.” -G

Supps: Cherry Limeade VICE Recipe: 1 scoop Bangin’ Black Cherry VICE + 1 scoop   Legend Lime VICE preworkout

  1 scoop Invincible Iced Tea RISE intraworkout

  • Superset: Bulgarian Split Squats w/ Leg Extensions, 3 sets each x 15-10 reps
  • Squats: 4 sets x 10 reps
  • Superset: Stiff-Legged Deadlifts w/ Lying Leg Curls, 3 sets each x 10 reps
  • Calf Raises: 4 sets x 25 reps
  • Sissy Squats: 2 sets x 10 reps

Cardio: None

“Today’s #BigFriday chest session comes courtesy of GCode sponsored athlete Justin Yurko. Father, husband, hustler, business professional, high-level national bodybuilder and fashionista with swag, Justin embodies so much of what is elementally at the core of the GCode brand. Check out his VICE with soda recipe, and his pushup superset finisher.” -G

Supps: 2 scoops Bangin’ Black Cherry VICE mixed w/ Sprite Zero preworkout

  1 scoop Invincible Iced Tea RISE intraworkout

  • Flat DB Flyes or Pec Deck: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Incline DB Press: 4 sets x 12-15 reps, *Double Dropset on last set*
  • Incline DB Flyes: 3 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Flat DB Bench Press: 4 sets x 12-15 reps
  • Superset: Push-Ups, Feet Elevated w/ Chest Elevated, 2 sets wide, 2 sets medium to failure

Cardio: 30 mins Incline Treadmill/Stationary Bike or Outdoor Alternative

Antonio is the real deal. An old soul from Queens who is literally leading a movement on the ground within his sphere of influence, Antonio just naturally represents the values and spirit of The GCode. An iron warrior who hits the gym with aggression and relentless passion, he is also kind and decent in a way the world desperately needs in 2019. As a father, he instills these same diverse virtues in his three boys every day, ensuring our collective future will benefit.” -G

Supps: 2 scoops Lemon Italian VICE preworkout

  1 scoop Code Orange RISE intraworkout

  • Seated Overhead DB Extension: Warmups x 25 reps, 3 working sets x 12-6 reps, Dropset on last set
  • Superset: Pushdowns (Rope or V-Bar), 4 sets each w/ Palms facing each other & Knuckles facing each other
  • Standing Alternating DB Curls or Barbell Curls (Heavy): Warmups, 3 sets x 10-6 reps, Dropset on last set
  • Superset: Hammer Curls, Neutral Grip & Cross Body, 3 sets each x 8-10 reps per
  • Single Arm Preacher Curls (Thumbless Grip): 2 sets x 10-15 reps

Cardio: 30 mins Incline Treadmill/Stationary Bike or Outdoor Alternative

“As Aristotelian wisdom suggests, excellence is repeated action, it is habitually living to a higher standard. In this way, the squats of Sunday Service on #TheProgram are designed to make us grow comfortable with efforts beyond the confines of the norm… Not because we are in any way extraordinary, but because this is simply what we do. Eat something tasty before training to reward yourself for a week on the grind and four straight weeks of training.”

Supps: Snack: 2 Pop-Tarts

  2 scoops Pina Colada VICE preworkout

  1 scoop Invincible Iced Tea RISE intraworkout

  • Barbell Squats: 10 sets x 20-1 reps

Cardio: None

#EatLikeTheMan “GET BEEFY”

Recent buzz around Stan Efferding’s brilliant, simple Vertical Diet has reinforced what many of us already knew for years. When it comes to building muscle, red meat is king. Among the most nutrient dense of food sources, red meat packs a massive protein punch, as well as being loaded with micronutrients like creatine, B Vitamins, zinc and iron. Not to mention copious amounts of saturated and monounsaturated fats critical to testosterone production–absolutely crucial to the drug-free athlete.  

Beef quality in recent years has come under scrutiny, so the desire to find “natural”, “organic”, “grass fed” and “grass-finished” beef has been heightened by those looking to add muscle via the optimal food sources. But unfortunately, like so many of our nutrition choices, food quality is a class issue, and an access issue, and a money issue. And we can’t exist on cheesesteaks and burgers from Mickey D’s all the time. Luckily, I’ve been able to find one lb of 85/15 grass-fed organic ground beef at $4.99 per at Aldi. I’ve eaten it all over the years, so don’t think you need the fancy options, but if you keep your eyes open, you can track dowm the good stuff on the cheap. Finding an affordable option of high-quality ground beef is a big deal to those of us out there on the grind, trying to feed a family while we properly feed the machine.  

One of my favorite foods in the world are my Cuban mother-in-law’s empanadas. As you know, I am a huge fan of “ravioli and all of its cousins across ethnicities” but I can’t pursue physique excellence eating fried pockets of dough every day. So instead, this is a recipe we cooked up, to deliver all of that authentic empanada-inspired flavor in a bodybuilding friendly manner. I make a rice cooker full of jasmine rice with spinach and chicken bouillon and then top it generously with the following. I have Tara add fresh garlic to it as well, because I’m obsessed with the health benefits (and of course the flavor) of one of the world’s most underrated super foods. Don’t sleep on the power of garlic.

Here’s the recipe…

  • lb 85/15 ground beef 
  • 1 medium white onion diced 
  • ½ green bell pepper diced 
  • 1 clove garlic minced 
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper

Heat a cast iron skillet on high, adding the olive oil. Combine all ingredients simultaneously in the pan and brown. Cook until most of the moisture in the pan is absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top a cup of cooked rice. Eat. Repeat.