Q: Joe, in your opinion what’s the quickest and least expensive way for me to boost my energy levels before a workout? I’m very strict with my diet but my problem is that I train early in the morning, about an hour after breakfast, and then I go to work immediately after my workout for about 12 hours/day. Any good supplements you can recommend to help wake my ass up a little quicker! Thanks coach and your new place looks like a dream!
First of all, it sounds like you’re actually taking the time to eat breakfast - that’s great! You didn’t tell me what you’re eating, but I’m going to make a suggestion; try eating a high protein, moderate fat, low sugar breakfast. DON’T load up on pancakes, cereal or other high carb foods to try and “energize” yourself. I know a lot of experts suggest consuming most of your carbs in the morning and then tapering down with each meal as the day goes on. For me, I just feel better with a high protein, low carb breakfast, followed by my pre-workout “cocktail”. As I’ve stated many times before, I’m a huge advocate of combining a small/moderate amount of caffeine with a large dose of the amino acid L-Tyrosine after (or with) a high-protein meal. This is an inexpensive way to stimulate the “mind-muscle” connection and wake your ass up before a workout! About 30-45 minutes after your breakfast, try taking 1 vivarin with 1500 – 3000 milligrams of L-Tyrosine. Within 15 minutes you’re going to be ready to hit the weights and your energy will remain with you for your entire workout. L-Tyrosine has a synergistic effect when combined with caffeine so your “buzz” will last much longer. L-Tyrosine doesn’t work as well when combined with a high-carb meal, so make sure you have a high protein breakfast. I’ve also noticed that I don’t “crash” as bad with this combo, as opposed to just consuming a massive amount of caffeine.
Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Q: Coach Defranco,
Just saw the pics of your new place, now that’s a weightroom!
My question is where do you do your running and conditioning with your athletes (specifically football players and wrestlers)? Or is it true you don’t believe in running with your athletes?
I’m also thinking of opening my own training center but I only have access to about 1800 square feet. I’m afraid this won’t be enough space to condition my athletes. Any thoughts?
Please take the time to answer this. It would mean a lot to me coach.
I can’t believe how many people misinterpret our training philosophy with regards to running & conditioning our athletes. I will say it one more time, “YES! We DO have our athletes run & condition, we just don’t run their guts out all year long!” As far as our football players are concerned, we start running & conditioning them about 2 months before training camp. We believe in building the foundation of speed during the initial stages of the off-season with strength training, proper nutrition and flexibility/mobility training. And as I’ve said before, many of our top athletes play 2 sports, or they generally stay active during the months that we don’t do “formalized” speed training. It’s not like they sit on their couch and do nothing for 5 months.
When we do start our formalized speed & conditioning sessions, we run at local high school football fields & tracks. Most coaches and athletic directors in our area don’t have any problem with letting us use their fields to help their kids. Our new facility also has a parking lot that is about 100 yards long and about 15 yards wide. This space is great for strongman training and you can’t beat the rent! The parking lot doesn’t cost us anything! This enables us to keep our expenses down with a “smaller” facility, and the quality of our training goes up. Our quality improves because we never have to train large groups of kids with different ages and skill levels in the same group, just so we can afford the rent. I know a lot of training facilities that end up watering down their training, just so they can make more money per hour and pay their rent. This is NOT the business model that DeFranco’s Training was built on. Our training system is based on QUALITY & RESULTS; it is NOT based on trying to jam as many kids as possible into our building every hour because our rent is so expensive. So in your case, I think 1800 square feet is a great start! It’s much better to start small and gradually work up. Remember that I started DeFranco’s Training in a 500 square foot closet!
In short, I recommend keeping your expenses down so you can focus on the “core” of the business, which is training athletes. In your case, I feel that having “only” 1800 square feet is a blessing in disguise. This smaller space will give you LESS headaches, compared to a mega-facility that requires investors, loans and a boatload of other problems; all of which will take away from your ability to train athletes. Remember that a great facility is not based on size & a pretty juice bar; it’s based on the trainers, atmosphere, equipment and the results that the previous three factors produce. Believe me, athletes see through the “BS”. When it’s all said and done, the most dedicated athletes will choose the place that produces the best results.
Now back to your question about running & conditioning wrestlers: First of all, the best conditioning a wrestler can do is to get on the mat and wrestle! 100% of the wrestlers that we train go to special wrestling clubs throughout the year. At these club practices, the kids wrestle & condition every session. These sessions are usually brutal, so there is no need for us to focus too much on conditioning. Our main focus is strength development & nutritional counseling. When we do condition our wrestlers, we favor strongman conditioning. Again, we use the parking lot in the back of our facility for this. If you’re going to email me back and ask me what we do when the weather starts getting colder, here’s my answer, “We do the same exact thing that we do now – strongman conditioning in the parking lot!” Who cares if it’s a little colder outside in the winter!? Most great wrestlers are nuts; if they don’t want to go drag the sled or push a truck outside when it’s cold, then they’re training at the wrong place. There are plenty of carpet & chrome health clubs that they can train at and I would be more than happy to give them a full refund. Any kid that complains about going outside and training in the cold doesn’t have any shot at winning a state championship anyway!
Here are just 2 highlights from 3 of our top high school wrestlers’ workouts last week…
Paramus high school’s Matt Lindsay (left) & Hawthorne high school’s Luke DeFranco (right), push Joe DeFranco’s Tahoe for 3 sets of 30 yards! (Check out those 22’s that Joe’s Tahoe is sittin’ on!!!)
Don Bosco Prep’s 152-pounder, Doug Lanzo, benches 275 lbs.!
Stay tuned for more highlights of our high school wrestler’s workouts. We have a very talented/insane group of kids this year and they are all transforming on our program!
See ya at the states!
First of all I want to say that you have the most informative training site on the net. I know you’re busy but I wish you updated it more – great stuff. Anyway, I have 2 quick questions for you:
Thanks for your time coach. You are an inspiration to us all!
To be blunt, I hate high pulls. Why not just take a sledgehammer to your AC joints? Seriously, I’m not a big fan of high pulls because they have always ruined my shoulders. I literally feel my humeral head blasting into my acromion when I do this exercise; and it doesn’t tickle! I have also gotten a lot of negative feedback from my football clients – specifically the older college athletes and almost ALL of my NFL clients. That’s enough for me to bag the exercise; I don’t care what anyone else says. But, feel free to take my advice “with a grain of salt.” You may have gotten great results with this exercise and none of your athletes complain of shoulder pain. If that’s the case, go ahead and do it. (I won’t think any less of you.)
As far as great alternatives to the barbell bench press, my favorites are:
Dumbell floor presses, palms
Brandon Short, Carolina Panthers, LB
125 lb. DB’s X 8 reps
Dave Diehl, NY Giants, Guard
405 lbs. X 3 reps
Joe DeFranco – 565 lbs. X 3 reps
Try these 3 alternatives and watch your offensive lineman’s strength explode!
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