Be Your Own Scientist: Things from my own training

Be Your Own Scientist: Things from my own training

The Professor in His Lab

What is a scientist?

A scientist is simply someone who tests things.

Do you need an advanced degree to do this?  Nope.  I would not recommend that people spend 16+ years in college to the tune of over $250,000 like I did just to test things.  Let me save a ton of money and time.

Don’t get me wrong.  Education is great, but if you want to talk about overkill, that is pretty much it if your goal is to test exercises on yourself.

Testing 101

You should find a way to test everything.

Do you want to build bigger muscles and increase strength?

Find a way to test it.

I have been using the testing as shown in the Grip n Rip DVDs for about 3.5 years now.  The system was not as refined when I started, so you have a huge head start.  Frankie was the first one to test it and then I was right after him.  Now you can go to and type in “#PReveryday” and see hundreds of people using it.

If your goal is more muscle and less fat, then you progressive overload.  What is that?  Do more volume, density (volume/time) and intensity (weight on the bar).  Do a bit more in one of these 3 areas each time you enter the gym and score a PR (personal record).  Rinse and repeat.  I can be that simple.   Really.

What Have I Learned?

I recently went back through my training journal to look at the first year of training that I did using biofeedback.  This was starting about 2 years ago and I looked for about a 1 year time span.

Here is what I found

Deadlift- Volume work

I responded much better to more volume. I did volume work at a lower percentage of my max and still made progress. Even doing high rep work on the trap bar deadlift helped.

Bench Press – Intensity Work

For bench I responded better to more higher intensity work. My best gains were made when I was at a heavier body weight and working at about 90%+ percentage. For a 9 month period I was routinely doing 5-10 sets of singles at 90-98% of my 1 rep max once a week.

Squat – Nothing

This one did not test well at all, most likely to my spine issues. I could lunge and do deadlifts, but a standard barbell squat did not test well. Once I got my spine fixed up a bit, it started to test well again. More on that below.

Variety –  Great!

The more new exericses I did, the better I felt and could increase relatively fast. I found that this helped other things I did the most. I was much better kiteboarding, playing broomball and volleyball. I could kiteboard for 3 hours at a shot, just cranking it for most of the time with very little body fatigue. AWESOME! Nothing worse than going to some place new and finding out your body hates you and you are limited. Boo.

Wow, 2 of the best kiteboarding days I have ever had in Minnesota!

Vision+Scar Work

I have a scar of over a foot long on the middle of my torso from open heart surgery when I was about 4.5 years old. I was born with a cogenital issue called an “atrial septal defect” see the video below

What is an ASD?

My heart was enlarge and I went into heart failure at a very young age. Without surgery, I would be lucky to live to about age 18 due to the increased strain on my heart. They went in, took a bone saw and cut my sterum (chest), cut through the right atrium and repaired the hole. Even on x-ray now I still have the “twist ties” in my chest that they used to put me back together.

Scars are nothing more than areas of limited mobility, but in the skin/fascial layer.

I did some specific work taping my scar into a position with kinesiotape before my lifting sessions. I taped it in the direction that resulted in the greatest increase in my active range of motion.

I worked on specific exercises that would stress that area and cause it to remodel. During this time many lifts that I wanted to do did not test well. My performance on my “standard” lifts dropped.

This went on for about 6-9 months and then I needed to tape it less and less. Since then I have not had to do any taping at all and my structure is much better.

Keep in mind that loading (weight training) is a powerful stimulus to cause changes to

  • bone
  • skin
  • fascia
  • muscle
  • tendons/ligaments

It is probably the best way we know to change our structure


I am currently stereoblind –  I don’t see in 3D.  I suppress the image from my right eye.  You have 2 eyes that your brain uses to construct a 3D view of the world since each eye is off just a bit from the other one, so it sees things just a bit differently.  Your brain uses this to allow you to see in 3D.  I can “see” from both eyes, but when I am giving specific tests to analyze 3D vision I fail them out right.  My right eye is set out and up a bit since I had a “lazy eye” as a kid.

Through help from Dr, Cobb of Z-Health, at the time, I found that my scar seemed to be linked to my ability to turn on and off (unsupress) my right eye by using a simple Brock string device.    As my movement got better, I did less scar taping as described above, my vision started to get better.   Currently I find that kettlebell juggling is a huge help.    My next step is that once I get a few things off my plate and bit more money I will start some more intensive visual therapy as my structure seems to have stabilized.

Fixing My Gaze

A Must Read For Anyone with Vision Issues


I found that I need about 9-9.5 hours of quality sleep a night.
At first I was pissed about this and spent months and months trying many things to get by on less. I could operate on less, but my strength gains and the amount of volume and intensity I could do in the gym dropped off pretty fast. I learned to be a master of the nap and would drive around with a pillow in my car. I was known to slip out of the lab between sessions and catch a short nap in the back of my Jetta. If you do it right, a 6’3″ guy can find the back with the seat down. I used caffeine power naps too.

I have also been using an Earth Pulse Unit for a few years now.    I have not noticed as much strength gains as others have reported, nor could I cut back on sleep duration; but I noticed I don’t have to do much of any cardiovascular (conditioning) as I had to in the past to keep it at a decent level.  I don’t use it for a few days and CRF (cardiorespiratory fitness) drops quite fast.  It should be pointed out that I have never really had any issue with quality sleep, so others with sleep issues may respond differently.

Stress Sucks

Stress would kill my gains in the gym pretty fast.   While you may not be able to change what you are doing (maybe you can), if not, you need to change how you PERCEIVE it.   This is a bit beyond this post, but keep in mind that you are in control and that you make the decisions.  Are you getting better or worse?

No PRs = No Progress

Seems so obvious I know, but I did not get it at that time.  I did not think it was possible to make a PR every time you go to the gym.  It is possible and for the fastest progress you need to do it!


So I would encourage you to take a look at your training journal and see what trends you find.  Figure out a way to test it.  If you don’t have a training journal, get one now!  Just a standard notebook works great for me.     Probably the only thing I did correct when I started about 18 years ago was keeping a training journal.  I still have ever one of them too.    Study the past to help predict the future and test it.

Rock on

Mike T Nelson


If you want to know how to test your training for the fastest gains ever and not go through

years of trial and error, pick up Grip and Rip now!

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