Episode 132: Mama Cass

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Kevin Larrabee (Twitter), Jonathan Fass,

and Cass Forsythe


FitCast News

  • Thanks for your thoughts
  • FitCast T-shirts now in and shipping. $20, free shipping in the US, $7 outside of the U.S.
    • e-mail me through the contact page or just send the funds via Paypal to: kevin.larrabee@gmail.com (Include your size and address)
  • Destination Abs Update


  • I’ve got a question for Jonathan. . Let me give you some background. I’m 5’6″, 160lbs and unlike Kevin, I hate benching (mainly because I suck at it, my max being 200lbs on a Close grip 1-board press – which is as close as I get to full range of motion benching).

    My current goal it to reach a triple bodyweight deadlift (480lbs), and I do tons of rows and pullups for this goal. I’d like to know if tight lats can affect my front squat technique, as I seem to have problems driving my elbows up high to keep the bar in the groove of my shoulders. This causes the bar to start slipping forward during the set. This sucks balls especially with heavier weights, as it starts to mess up my wrists. (I use the clean grip technique, the cross armed technique just feels very unstable). (P.S. sorry for the long question. Also I really love your show, as it fires me up before my training session)

    Jin (pronounced like “Gin”) from the UK

  • “I’m going Back to the Future!”

    I finally arrived at the present! I have listened to every episode of The Fitcast during the past 5 months. From Diet Soda Shakes, to “Bigger Faster Stronger”, to “Kevin’s California Vacation”, to the addition of the ladies, to Final Destination Abs … I have listened to it all and loved it. I started using NROL (THANKS FITCAST) right at the end 2008 and I am loving the new approach. I haven’t given up on my curls completely, but I focus more on functional lifting. Cutting back on my 3 day a week benching routine has been a big shocker (I know that was a routine you would love), but I think I am getting great results. All the freaking deadlifts and Bulgarian Split Squats have my back feeling better than ever. I have been eating according to Precision Nutrition (THANKS FITCAST) and I have been using some diet modifications based off of a lot of your guest’s methods.

    STATS: I am 33, 6’2”, 196 lbs, 9.4% bodyfat (18 months ago I weighed 250 with 30% bodyfat)
    DIET: I eat a very strict diet for most of the month and I eat no refined sugar sweets (cakes, cookies, ice cream, etc.). The thing that keeps me going is that 1 day per month I blow it out. I eat over twice my daily intake of calories (~6000). Most of these calories are in the form of junk (half dozen donuts, batch of sugar cookies, cupcakes, etc.). This has worked for me for the past 18 months. Does this style of cheat day pose any obvious risks? I do feel like crap by the end of the “sugar day,” but it reenergizes me for another month of healthy dieting.

  • Hi guys,

    My name is Mark, I’m from Salt Lake City, Utah, I am 6’2″ 230lbs. I am probably about 18% body fat, though I can’t be 100% sure. I can’t tell you guys how much I love the show! It really has been a huge part of my motivation to get into better shape, specifically stronger, this year. My question is about my training. I am currently doing Cressey’s Maximum Strength, I am 3 weeks in and already am seeing significant gains in strength. I have decided that I want to participate in a sprint triathlon this September. I am going to have to start training in June at the very latest, which would cut my Maximum Strength program short by a month. So what do I do? Should I complete Max Strength and only leave myself 2 months of time to prepare for the triathlon, or should I cut the Max Strength program short? Another element to consider is that there is an Ironman Triathlon taking place in St. George, Utah in May 2010. I would really like to do it since there has never been an Ironman in Utah before. I have never done a triathlon or any kind of endurance race like that before, and I imagine about a year of consistent training would be enough to prepare for an Ironman. What do you all think about that as well? One more question, will triathlon training make me lose strength gains I have made? Any advice for training for a triathlon is greatly appreciated. Sorry for the long questions, but I really respect your opinions and needed to ask them.

    Thanks again, you guys are the best!


  • Hey guys, love the show. I have a couple of quick questions for Leigh:

    What is your take on the “Beef Protein Isolate” that is now available (trueprotein.com)?

    Everybody is always saying that during a mass gaining phase you should eat more beef….. so would this be a good option during a mass phase or is it the other components of beef that are of importance?

    Is this something worth looking into, or should we just stick with the staples (whey, casein)?


  • I love the podcast and it is going to be tough waiting for your shows to get released now that I am all caught up! -Ben

  • I am fired up!
    I am 203 lbs. down from 245 just 6 months ago.
    I have been lifting weights in my basement every day and doing light cardio to lose fat.
    Now I am ready to improve my gains. I started out with just 3 sets of 10 reps on bench, shoulder press and pushups & curls. Since I found your podcast, I have added squats, lunges, shoulder flys and purchased a pullup bar (but can’t do much with it yet). I have also changed my weight liftinng routine to 3-days a week. I have established a base but would like to add more muscle. I am changing my routine to more sets & fewer reps. I also need to lose 13 more pounds but I started with nothing after 25 years of no excercise & eating anything & everything. I have added creatine & fish oil.
    Do I need to drop the cardio to maximize gains? My weight and my gains have plateaued. I am considering a re-feed or re-fuel to get rid of the rest of the fat. Any other suggestions?

    I love your podcast. Particularly when you & Leigh share learning from scientific studies. Keep up the good work. -Larry

  • am a college student and I have a hard time getting the right foods (healthy foods) because I am the only one in my family of five that cares about nutrition on a serious level. I have a job, but my parents don’t want me spending my money on food, so I eat what my mom buys. It is not entirely bad, but she still buys Jiff instead of natural peanut butter and white instead of wheat bread. My biggest problem is getting enough of the good food because it is limited, so I have to dip into some not so healthy food. In your guys opinion, should I just wait it out until I live on my own or find some other way to get healthy food even if I have to spend my own money? How much will dipping into the not so healthy food effect my overall health. I lift 3-4 days a week and do cardio 4-5.
    Thanks in advance for the help.
  • I’ve been listening to your podcast for a while now and find it very informative – good job! When I turned 40 I was 230 pounds with a 42″ waist, six feet tall. Turning 40 was hard and I made it my quest to get fit. I am 44 now, 185 pounds with about 14% body fat, 32 inch waist. Since I turned 40 I have cut out all refined foods – no sugar, white bread, etc. and eat pretty good – about 1,800-2,200 calories/day. I also don’t eat after 7 PM. I am trying to get rid of the roll and handles around my midsection without losing muscle. I know this is a balance act, but finding it difficult to attain. I do 20 minutes of cardio every morning to get me going. Six days/week I do 20 minutes of cardio at Noon as a stress releaser mainly. Three days/week I do about 45 minutes of strength training. I am into supplements: fish oil, 5-8 g creatine, whey protein (plus lean meats), multi-vit to name a few. What do you advise as I run out of energy to get a good strength training session in, but when I eat more I am not losing the roll. Should I concentrate on one or the other – roll reduction or muscle building or continue balance both?
    Burt in Napa Valley, CA. -Burt
  • Hello Kevin and Crew. I love the Fit Cast, though Jonathan Fass will be missed. Here’s a question for the panel:

    How do you progress on chin-ups and pullups? I’m stuck at about 4-5 pullups and around 6 to 7 chin-ups with bodyweight.

    I tried a ladder approach, starting by doing half the total number of reps I can do. E.g.: 3 reps, rest 15 seconds, 2 reps, rest 15 secs, 1 rep, rest for one minute and repeat. This approach builds up the total volume, but I’m still stuck at the same level. How do I increase my strength-endurance on these? -Bob

  • My name is Lindsay and I’m a big fan of TheFitcast, you all do great work so keep it up!  My wife and I exercise regularly and enjoy trying different programs, right now I have her doing The Perfect Body Diet by Cassandra Forsythe (whom is absolutely AMAZING!), she is interested in losing a few inches for graduation in June.  However my question is specifically about her leg and gait.  Her left leg is 1/2 inch shorter than her right (this is not due to past injury, she was born that way and is something that seems to run in her family).  She wears a lift in her left shoe daily to help even everything out and also wears it while she works out, but still experiences aches and pains every once in while in her hips and lately her right knee.I’m worried about how this 1/2 inch difference is affecting her when she is squatting, doing lunges, and any other exercises that involve similarmovement patterns.  I know we should get in to see a physical therapist eventually, but I first wanted to see if you had any advice regarding exercises that she should absolutely not be doing given her “condition” and/or anything else you would recommend to prevent injury, and aches and pains.
  • Hello Kevin, I’ve been a loyal listener of The Fitcast for some time now, I usually listen past episodes in the morning as a I walk to the subway station and ride it to work. I know you mentioned in the past how you thought you would never be really cover model jacked and ripped. While you have made very definite progress over the past 6 weeks, I was wondering how you feel about it now? Do you still feel that despite the massive amount of effort you have put in, the results are still not in purportion to what you’ve put in? Please don’t misinterpret this as any sort of discouragement at all because I just wanted to get your perspective. I (and others) really appreciate the effort you’ve put into The FitCast and like it very much!


  • where can I go to become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist is this a mail in degree or are there schools out there? I tried googling it and came up with no schools.. I am in California. Thanks -Cain
  • I’m a female amateur boxier getting ready for my 1st fight. I’m currently dieting and have lost 10 of the 20 pounds I need to lose to get into a good weight class for my height. My question is about strength and conditioning. While my trainer is great at teaching the sport and science of boxing, his strength and conditioning advice is vague at best. I was hoping you could shed some light on a good program to increase my strength, power, and endurance. I train with my coach 3 times a week for an hour to an hour and a half doing all the traditional stuff you see on the “Rocky” movies. Programs I already own: Afterburn, New Rules of Lifting for Women, KettlebelleBody, Josh Hillis’s Fighter Workouts for Fatloss, and Turbulence Training. . . just to name a few. 🙂 Thanks in advance for any advice you can share. -E

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7 Responses

  1. James says:

    “gabagool” is the Italian-American way to say capicola, which is a popular Italian pork cold cut

  2. MartinS says:

    Great to see the Fitcast back.

  3. For the guy who was wondering about preparing for a Sprint triathlon while simultaneously building strength…

    …I tried both a Sprint and an Olympic during a year in which I was bodybuilding…

    …and let me just say that my tits were killing me by the end of that run. Seriously bouncing up and down. And I’m a dude. Not to mention my back locked up and my calves cramped. You’ll be alot more comfortable if you shed just a little bit of muscle, and your body will be able to cool itself and carry itself much better.

  4. Also…he can go from zero to Ironman in 36 weeks. I’ve seen it done many times.

  5. Mark says:

    I am the Mark the Triathlon Guy. First off, thanks for making me sound like an ass Mamma Cass. (awesome ryhme, i know) Great advice from TheFitCast and the comments.

    To Ben Greenfield,

    Where can I get more info about that 36 week program? I’ll take as much info as possible….

    Thanks everyone,

    -Mark the Triathlon Guy.

  6. Randy says:

    Hey man, Was listening to your off topic and was wondering if your liver enzyme deal might be related to the artificial sweeteners. I understand they are processed by the liver instead of by cells like natural sugars. I’m no “new guru” by any means (don’t even have a study to refer you to), but thought I might throw the suggestion out there so you can look into it further on your own.

  7. Alison says:

    Mark – Team in Training runs a bunch of endurance race training programs. Their Ironman ones tend to run around a year in length.