My Attempts to Make Nutrition Simpler

November 15, 2019


View this post on Instagram

Nutrition should be Simple. Of course, this is seldom the case. Not knowing what to eat or worse, being scared to eat food, can be a serious problem. Nutrition is about balance NOT imbalance. When someone asks me about anything nutrition related I do everything I can to give very simple advice. Everyone’s in a different place. It’s important to start where you’re at. You may have a health, fitness or cosmetic goal. It may be all three. It’s very important to identify what it is you want and need. Personally, learning to understand the difference between Whole Food and Processed Food is a great place to start. Remember that “Food” is not only limited to what we eat but also anything we drink. We all know what Junk Food is but it doesn’t hurt to refresh. Learn to read Food Labels, not just count calories. Have a working knowledge of all 3 major Macro-Nutrients: Protein, Fat and Carbs. Understand that certain food is more like Medicine and some food is more like Poison. All Diets work because they require paying closer attention to what we consume. Any Diet will fail if we stop doing it. There is no perfect Diet for everyone. We each must find our own way live. Sleep, Stress Reduction and Exercise are important concepts that help with everything when applied appropriately. Don’t be scared to take a small step in a healthier direction. Work on educating yourself. Work to improve one main area at a time. In fact, with regards to Diet, try improving only one meal at a time (ex: breakfast, lunch or dinner). It’s ok if it’s not always perfect. No one is ever perfect all the time. Here’s a short list of my preferred references. 1) Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen list-and phone app 2) Dr Greger’s book, How Not to Die-and NutritionFacts website 3) Michael Pollan’s book, Food Rules 4) Netflix Explained series entitled, “Why Diet’s Fail” 5) Precision Nutrition website. I would highly suggest watching the 14 minute Netflix episode first. It’s a great summary of important information that is often misinterpreted in the media and pop-culture. #bssbbooks #austinpersonaltrainer #austinpersonaltraining #drgregor #drgregordailydozen #michaelpollanfoodrules #whydietsfail #blueskystrongbox

A post shared by Blue Sky Strongbox (@blue_sky_strongbox) on

Carlton’s Guide to Essential Reading for the Personal Trainer – Summer 2013

June 21, 2013

milo from croton with calfCarlton’s Guide to Essential Reading for the Personal Trainer – Summer 2013

*This is simply a short list of some of my favorite and most referenced books. It is in no way a complete list of essential reading for a fitness professional. However, with the wealth of material out there, it is easy to become discouraged by the mere thought of the time it might take to read & absorb so much material, that may or may not all be worth the time. Here i have tried to make things a little easier for someone starting off in the business and wishing to simultaneously gain knowledge and perspective. This list includes some classics as well as more modern reference material on various subjects. My objective was to create as short a list as possible of some great reference material while also implementing some reading for historic perspective and fun. Enjoy.

1. Dan John – “Intervention”

2. Pavel Tsatsouline – “Power to the People”.

3. Michael Boyle – “Advances in Functional Training”

3. Paul Chek – “How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy”

4. Mark Verstegen – “Core Performance”

5. Pavel Tsatsouline – “Naked Warrior”

6. Mark Rippetoe – “Starting Strength”

7. Pavel Tsatsouline – “Enter the Kettlebell”

8. Clair Davies – “Trigger Point Therapy Workbook”

9. Gray Cook – “Athletic Body in Balance”

10. Ross Enamait – “Infinite Intensity”

11. Robert Dos Remedios – “Men’s Health Power Training: Build Bigger, Stronger Muscles with through Performance-based Conditioning”

12. Bill Starr – “The Strongest Shall Survive”

13. Shirley Sahrmann – “Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Sndromes”

14. Mark Rippetoe – “Practical Programming”

15. Dr. Mehmet Oz – “You: The Owner’s Manual”

16. Arthur Saxon – “The Development of Physical Power”

17. Stuart McGill – “Low Back Disorders”

18. Arnold Schwarzenegger – “The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding”

19. Martin Rooney – “Training for Warriors”

20. Martin Rooney – “Warrior Cardio”

21. National Academy of Sports Medicine – “Optimum Performance Training for the Health and Fitness Professional” 2004 Second edition

22. Steven Low – “Overcoming Gravity”

23. Joseph H. Pilates – A Pilates’ Primer: The Millennium Edition

24. Alan Calvert – “Super-Strength”

25. Steve Vickery and Marilyn Moffat – “The American Physical Therapy Association Book of Body Maintenance and Repair”

26. Bruce Lee and John Little – “The Art of Expressing the Human Body”

27. Ross Enamait – “Never Gymless : An Excuse-free System for Total Fitness”

28. Dan John – “Never Let Go: A Philosophy of Lifting, Living and Learning”

29. Rachel Cosgrove – “The Female Body Breakthrough: The Revolutionary Strength-Training Plan for Losing Fat and Getting the Body You Want”

30. Andrew Weil – “Natural Health, Natural Medicine: The Complete Guide to Wellness and Self-Care for Optimum Health”

31. Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza – “Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance” by Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza

Pros and Cons of Testosterone and HGH

December 19, 2012

Tips on Training by The Black Prince… Robby Robinson

December 18, 2012

The Prince’s Training Tips

Then Size

It is often assumed that Robby was simply blessed with remarkable symmetry, definition and separation. To an extent, that’s true, but Robinson is quick to note that his training is geared toward encouraging shape rather than mindless mass gain.

To encourage shape development, Robby attacks his muscles from all angles and mixes his sessions with cables and isolation movements atypical from the hardcore bodybuilding elite.

For example, he frequently uses the Preacher curl – a shaping movement – to build his massive biceps peaks.


To maintain his impressive size, while ensuring his trademark separation, Robby includes heavy and light training days. During the latter, he focuses on bringing in his separation and upping the rep count to promote the kind of shape he is renowned for.

Your Limits

On all movements, Robby is sure to stretch his muscles fully to encourage full muscular development. By stretching he can change a muscle’s shape, pulling apart the fascia that surrounds muscle fiber bundles.


Robinson has been lifting for 45 years because, quite simply, he loves training. It’s an art. He still seeks perfection and further muscular refinement.

While many bodybuilders concede to the ravages of age, Robby continues to defy it by remaining on the cutting edge of elite-level training, a process he truly enjoys.

Makes Perfect

If he can achieve a single deadlift rep with 700 pounds, Robby will then envision completing several reps with 600. By constantly pushing the pace and making gradual improvements, he is able to continue refining his already incredible development.

At age 65, bodybuilding’s Black Prince is in the best shape of his life and shows no signs of slowing down.

In His Own Words

In addition to sharing his excellent arm routine and unique tips, Robinson had much to say about his training philosophy, technique, and passion for bodybuilding.


How is your training going these days? How do you stay so damn young?

I’m still doing the same kind of system; three days on and one day off. I just really love to train. You would think by now that the thrill would have worn off. But to be honest with you, David, I’m stronger now than when I was competing. A lot of that comes down to really taking good care of myself. I really did a great job of it during my career, and have done an even better job during the last 12 years.

After training three days on, one off, I repeat the cycle. I have a heavy week of lifting, then a lighter week. I go back and forth between those two cycles in those four days.

Also, I’ve always been a big believer in the basics. I’ll grab a bench and do inclines just to keep the girth and the size there. On the lighter days I’ll just switch to dumbbells and cables. I will do 15 sets per body part on heavy days and on 18 on light days.

It seems to me that you haven’t lost your passion for bodybuilding, despite being in the game for more than 45 years.

I just love going into the gym and challenging myself. I think back to the old days and all the guys I used to train with back then. I look up at the champion’s pictures at Gold’s when I’m training there. I will be looking up at Frank Zane’s picture and doing chins.

I still look up to the people who inspired me in the old days. That’s where a lot of my motivation comes from. In those days, you went into the gym and it was back day, and if Arnold did 20 reps on the long seated row, then we all did 20 reps on the long seated row.

If Kenny Waller did 10 reps with 150 [pound dumbbells], you had to do the same. It was a joyous time, and I loved every moment of it. I’m still motivated by that time period


Even though there was a competitive element among the guys, it seems like the camaraderie was strong.

Oh yeah, we did everything together. We trained together, ate breakfast together, tanned on the beach together. Our life was like one big party. Everybody was in the gym at the same time. The energy flow was continuous and you couldn’t help but be swept away by it.

What’s different about your current program compared with the one you used back in the ’70s?

After retiring [in 2001], I went back to the basics and my weight stabilized at about 215 pounds. Then I created a website and a master class where people come from all over the world to be trained by me. I was booked in 2011 from April through to September/October.

My classes are year round with bodybuilders, couples and general fitness clients. I created a Crystal Globe Award for the guy who comes into the master class in the best shape. I’m doing a lot of positive things. I love what I’m doing and I’m having a great time.

Among other attributes, you’re known for your tremendous arm development. How did you develop your biceps peaks? Was such development largely genetic? Or did you work hard to build them?

One of the biggest things for me has been to focus on training the triceps hard, because it has more muscle [than the biceps] with its three heads. I pay a lot more attention to the three heads and do more anchor stuff for the biceps. For example, I do Scott curls and Zottman curls off a bench [for biceps].

I think the anchored arm creates more biceps size, power and stretch. If you are not stretching the biceps, you are definitely not going to have the high peak. I will always basically start with the triceps on heavy days, when training arms, because it has the most heads. I will work a lot on extensions, close-grip triceps presses and kickbacks. With biceps it will be Zottman curls and reverse curls to work on both muscle size and shape.

I always work a lot on the shape of the muscle groups, for all body parts, and lighter weight creates that shape – that broad-shouldered, capped look. I use a lot more cables and dumbbells on occasions. I believe in heavy and light days. And then I have days when I go for my max weight, days when I am pushing 2,000 pounds for 15 reps on leg presses.

I am stronger now than I was back in the 1970s. I think a lot of it is experience.


What specific biceps and triceps training tips can you provide?

I have always combined barbell curls with the Scott (preacher) bench, and choose the harder exercises for each muscle group. Building that foundation is one of the reasons I have been able to look the way I do at age 65. The basics just seem to keep my physique there; maintain my 20-inch arms. I do very little for my abdominal area – 100 twists with a broom handle and hanging leg raises and that’s it.

For biceps I will do Zottman curls off a bench followed by Scott bench curls and then I’ll do five reps of standing barbell curls – five reps for each movement. I do four [sets] on the lighter days and three [sets] on heavier days. I’m a big fan of reverse curls with the EZ-curl bar. I like this exercise. It builds shape in the brachialis area and brings in the forearm development and ties all the smaller muscle groups together to create a better and bigger arm, a better-looking arm.

Heavy days: on my first set it is 15-to-20 reps to warm up, and then I drop it down to between 5-10, and occasionally three. Light days: first set is 20 reps to get the blood in there. Now, you have already built that muscle, so I’m working on shaping and bringing in all those smaller surrounding muscle groups to make the muscle look bigger.

For triceps, there’s an old Larry Scott favorite where you take a 20-pound bar and bend over as if doing a stiff-legged deadlift, but the bar is behind you. You then you push it all the way to parallel while flexing the triceps. That’s my all-time favorite.

Do you use any machines in your training?

Yes. I face forward on the pec dec machine and use the pads to extend my arms back to work the trapezius and rear delts. But I’m basically a barbell, dumbbell and cable person.

Your conditioning is always right on. Do you rely much on cardio to strip body fat?

Back in the day we would run the Santa Monica stairs, but there wasn’t much else. I didn’t get into aerobics until I competed in the Masters Olympia. I found a level for me where I can walk the treadmill for one minute on flat, one minute elevated and so on for 15-20 minutes, 2-3 times per week. This hits me perfect. And I have been doing this for almost 15 years.

As you get older you kind of have to rev things up a little. There is something about those Santa Monica stairs, though; I run them from top to bottom – there are 189 stairs and I do this probably 2-3 times.

On my heavy days, when I really want to pound the cardio, I go down to the stairs and take two 50-pound dumbbells and walk them using this weight. I just love being in good physical shape, being fit and healthy. I think it pays off.

Watching you train, what first becomes apparent is your remarkable form. How important to you is training technique?

I think the form, the technique, is what creates a great physique. Maintaining an upper back arch and breathing in and out of your nose. All of these little things I try to apply in my routine regardless of what body part I’m training. And I also use a lot of visualization: seeing the muscle the way I want it to look.

At 65, I still go in the gym and aim to build an impressive physique. I’m not going to compete anymore, but just the feeling of standing there with 500 pounds on the bar is great. I have the same feeling now as I did when I first walked into a gym; I love to train.

I don’t think I’ve ever gone in the gym and had a bad workout. With all of the equipment they have these days, there is always some way to be creative.

Judging by your online videos you are indeed moving some serious weights these days.

I believe nutrition plays a huge role in this. Last month I did a photo shoot for Ironman and did heavy squats. I was up, like, 545 [pounds] for a double. So my strength has improved and a lot of this has to do with nutrition.

Eating good meals, staying very positive, and focusing on everything it takes to stay in good shape.

More to Say

Interested in what Robinson has to say on “everything it takes to stay in good shape”? Check back soon for additional exclusive content with the Black Prince. Robby discusses nutrition, supplementation, his competitive career, struggles and failures, bodybuilding politics, Pumping Iron, his new book, and much more. Come back to the Prince’s court for another dose of unique content.

Robby’s autobiography – The Black Prince: My Life in Bodybuilding, Muscle Vs Hustle – can be purchased at

Dr. John Berardi… I (Dr. Berardi) Was talking with Alwyn Cosgrove about my earlier post looking at resistance vs. aerobic training. Here’s our take (for body transformation): — weight training > aerobics — interval training > aerobics — supersets > straight sets — explosive training > controlled sets Conclusion: build your program around explosive free weight training in an interval/superset format. (Of course, you need not exclusively do this. However, this is your biggest bang-for-buck. In other words, if you could do nothing else but 3 workouts a week, this is what you should do probably choose).

December 17, 2012

“The Mighty Atom”, Yosselle Leib (Joseph Lewis) Greenstein

August 17, 2012

“Retirement from activity promotes death”

“For years the Mighty Atom had pursued these studies, and he had a voluminous knowledge of physical culture, chiropractic, food science and dietetics, chemistry, anatomy, and allied subjects, and had received a certificate as a Doctor of Naturopathy. This complemented his lifelong study of the Mosaic Dietary Code, the Kosher laws.”

he told hecklers to “take a walk” before stepping down from his “pitchman” platform.

“No man has limits, except in his own mind”

“Look up, what do you see? Stars, planets, whirling infinity with no beginning and no end. Enough to make a man lose his mind. My deity was never born and never died. He was, is will be. My god is Space and Time.”

he was the master of “life-force”.

“if you love animals, don’t eat them”

He told the judge, “every time i swung the bat it was a home run!” after defending himself against a nazi clan. “It wasn’t a fight, it was a pleasure”

“I am a peaceable but by no means passive man. i consider mine to be important work. And i am not the kind who will accept abuse.”

“I give you respect. But i do not ask for yours in return. I demand it. If you will not give it to me, i will take it out of your hide”

“By standing still, he had become modern”

“if you can’t do any good, don’t do any harm”

“Most people, if told to close their eyes and meditate, are unable to do so. Their minds wander. The Atom asked them to keep their eyes, open, and imagine that their outsretched arms were fire hoses. They could see of out of them, while directing an unstoppable force of water. This thought process was applied to either arm, legs, hands, feet, fingers, toes. He asked them to assume this mental state before initiating physical action of any part of the body, and to practice turning it on and off”

“The Almighty must have put us here for a higher purpose that to accumulate wealth. How many meals can a man eat at one time, how many suits can he wear, how many beds can he sleep in? I figured i might as well do what gave me satisfaction.”

Great link from Pavel as an add-on (helpful/additional exercises) for the Enter the Kettlebell “Rite of Passage” workouts!

June 19, 2012


%d bloggers like this: