Things I’ve Learned in 2011

Happy New Year everybody! 2011 is over. 2012 is here. Now is the best time to review and summarize everything that happened to me regarding training, nutrition and other stuff in 2011. And happened a lot. 2011 year was full of experiments and learning. It had it’s own highs and lows. And that’s great in my opinion. I found out so much new stuff. Something worked, something not. I started Rough Strength blog with intention to share the knowledge of what is real training about. I can’t stand bullshit and shameless marketing and will always expose it anytime I can. Also I had several publications.

My Article in My Mad Methods Magazine

I’ve met different people, made new friends and connections, moved to another city etc. Anyway, it was year full of experience. So here we go.

Intermittent Fasting is the single best thing you can do with your diet

I’m not talking about nutrition much. Well, I’ve been collecting information and experience. And now I can share some thoughts with you.

I started experimenting with intermittent fasting (IF) a year ago. At first I was a bit scared. Not eating every 2-3 hours? Not eating breakfast? Late night eating? Well, mister, it’s just too good to be truth. But all in all, trying IF was the single best thing I’ve done to my diet. The benefits are tremendous:

  • No worries about food
  • No bitching about skipped meals
  • Elevated energy levels during fasting (I’m not kidding)
  • Much less cravings
  • No guilt for overeating
  • Improved health
  • Improved strength
  • Improved fat loss and much more

Well, if I need to describe IF in one word then I’d say “freedom”. It’s real dieting freedom. You’re dieting without noticing it. I never liked eating breakfast. It was always the hardest meal of the day for me. Why I ate it? Because current nutritional dogma states that you NEED to eat breakfast because otherwise your muscle will shrink away, and because those who don’t eat breakfast will never gain muscle and burn fat. And you know what? I dropped eating breakfast and nothing bad happened. Even contrary, I feel better than ever and perform better than ever. Don’t be afraid to question current dogmas. Don’t like eating 6-8 bird meals a day? Try IF and eat like a king. Meal frequency doesn’t speed up your metabolism. Don’t be fooled. Well, everything is up to you. It’s always YOUR choice whether or not blindly follow something that has no scientific or at least empirical proof.

Of course, you shouldn’t be a fool and assume that IF will make you ripped by itself. Calories are still matter, as well as macroratios. But dieting has never been this easy.

Low-Carb diets are NOT a “Magic Pill”

It’s an old one. Yeah-yeah, everybody should know this. But there’s so many people who get caught on the hook of this low-carb thing. I was one of them. And I can say from my own experience. You CAN get fat on low-carb diet. Everyone who tells you otherwise is a stupid moron and you can punch him in his face. If you think that low-carb is an answer and you won’t need to estimate your calories anymore then you’re dead wrong, my friend. Calorie surplus = calorie surplus. Too much is too much, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s meat or candies.

As for fat loss, yeah, it’s not bad IF you eat sufficient amounts of calories. TheĀ  next one is about calories.

The importance of control

If you want something to work then you need to control as much as possible. Why am I stressing on this? There are people who say: “Calorie counting is stupid and lame!” Well, that’s not right. Actually, not knowing what you’re doing is stupid and lame. There are guys with superior genetics who can eat lots of crap and train like retarded and look awesome. But they are happy minority. The majority will end up looking like crap when using such setup. Having training journal is awesome. Having food journal is “awesome” squared. Don’t get too fancy. I don’t mean writing down everything too precisely. Find some system that you feel comfortable with. For example, don’t weigh every egg that you eat. Find an average weight and multiply it by the quantity. That’s easier and more sustainable.

Bodyweight Strength Training

I discovered it in 2010. But only last year I took it seriously. And it became my biggest passion. I still love kettlebells and sandbags. But no weight training can satisfy me more than old school calisthenics.

Pure Awesomeness

A lot of guys think the same way (especially those who are involved in weight training): Bodyweight training? Pull-Ups and Dips? Sit-Up? Seriously? No weights? They think that it’s impossible to build decent physique with calisthenics. Well, I’m sorry to shatter the tiny little dream you live in but you CAN build awesome physique with your bodyweight only. And you will master your bodyweight in the process. Also you can perform it almost anywhere. The thing is that you can add infinite amount of intensity to the upper body bodyweight exercises. As for legs, add volume, plyometrics or add some weight. I highly encourage you to try this type of training. It’s simply awesome.

Low-Volume Training

Low-Volume TrainingĀ  works.

High-Frequency Training

I had success with this training protocol last year. It worked every time I used it. The reason why it works is, I guess, in adaptation of CNS to certain movement pattern. No kidding, I was able to add 1 rep a day steadily until I hit the plateau. HFT is a powerful tool in your arsenal. Use it wisely. Concentrate on less things at once and get results.

Some wisdom

Read. It’s one of the best things you can do to get smarter. Absorb as much information as you can. Then analyze it and make your own conclusions. Try new approaches, be open-minded. And, while trying, compare it to something that worked for you. If it works better then stick with it, if not then it’s probably not for you or it’s not the right time.

Closing Thoughts

Well, this is just a part of things that happened in 2011. It’s always good to see that you found out something new. I wish you to find out lots of useful stuff in 2012. I have a feeling that it would be a great year. As always, thanks for reading. Subscribe, comment, add, discuss etc.

Play rough!

Alex Zinchenko

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6 thoughts on “Things I’ve Learned in 2011

  1. Gabri

    Happy New Year Alex!!

    Great article! I have to say that last year i discovered real calisthenics, and then rings training. It’s awesome! When you mix this with HFT, you get awesome results. I still lift a heavy deadlift once a week, but the rest of the week i train on the rings, a bar or the floor.

    What kind of intermitent fasting do you do? Fasting during the day and eating at night? Or fasting once or twice a week? I think both methods are cool, they can give good results for health and fat loss. What would you do for gut health and mass gain without protein shakes??

    Thank you for your attention and your time!!

    1. Alex Zinchenko Post author

      Thanks, Gabri. I follow daily 16/8 IF protocol. Yes, fasting during the day and eating at night. It works awesome for me. I’ve tried 24h fasts and can’t say the same about them. I inevitably felt weaker after the fast.

      What would you do for gut health and mass gain without protein shakes??

      I would concentrate on smart food choices. You know, chicken, eggs, meat, vegetables etc. For mass gain you need to get stronger, be in calorie surplus and get enough protein. Smart training program and diet plan will get you there. For gut health I recommend IF.

      Hope this helps.

  2. Eric

    Great info, mate! I pretty much agree with EVERYTHING you have written here, which is rare. I especially like the stuff about IF, HFT, and calisthenics – three techniques that I definitely subscribe to, and recommend to me friends and clients (I am a part time trainer as well). Keep up the good work, man!


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