Bulletproof Athlete – Second Place Winner

Will Ashe - Bulletproof AthleteWill, thanks for taking the time to be with us here today. Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Will, I’m 30 years old and I live in Southern California.  I’m sort of a classic weekend-warrior/desk-jockey in that I work in web-development and have to spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer though I try to be as active as possible in my limited free time.

We all know what it’s like to be busy! Could you tell us a little bit about your training history and background?

I’ve been trying to establish a decent strength foundation with limited success really since high school.  I’ve always tended toward being on the lanky side so size/strength has always been a goal.

In high school I was on the wrestling team and lacking any real athletic background, and I got pretty beat up physically, shoulder and lower back injuries in particular.  These were exacerbated by poorly-informed bodybuilding style weight-training for a year or two after high school and have always been major limiting factors in the gym.

I’ve experimented with a lot of exercise modalities over the years but always seem to hit a point where my shoulders, lower back or hips flare up and I eventually have to bow out.

I bet a lot of people could relate to that. With the issues you had dealt with, what did your training look like heading into the Bulletproof Athlete program?

And why did you think it would be a good fit?

A few months before starting the BPA program I had been doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for about a year.  After a fairly traumatic shoulder injury in practice I had to quit.

After this I started on a sort of customized version of Eric Cressey’s Show & Go program.  I was very limited in terms of upper body exercises so I had to get a little creative to work around this.  Lower body was going ok but I still lacked the necessary mobility/stability to really push it the way I wanted to without my back and hips becoming a problem.

The Bulletproof Athlete program sounded like a perfect fit for my goals: to get stronger and more athletic while improving movement quality, ironing out injuries and dialing in my lifestyle.  It has delivered on all counts.

That’s great to hear! Tell us about the program itself – which program did you follow, and what did you like about it?

Going in I had a lot of time to spend in the gym and was really excited to get started so I decided to go with the Monster program.  This was probably a bit overzealous in hindsight (mostly I wasn’t completely prepared for the metabolic aspects) but it was nevertheless a great program.

The most beneficial part for me was stepping back from big barbell exercises and focusing on building a really solid foundation in stability and mobility for the first two months.  The emphasis on bodyweight exercises and tempo with really strict form early on seemed to work wonders for me.

Along those same lines, were any of the nutrition and/or recovery challenges difficult for you?

I found the nutrition/recovery challenges to be of great benefit to me.  They were all pretty easy to implement and I think this was due to the built-in strategy of adopting one at a time each week.  The hardest ones were probably weighing/measuring my food and getting in the habit of doing my 1-hour pre-bedtime routine.

After a week or two of weighing/measuring meals I developed a pretty good sense for portions and though I don’t always make time for the bedtime routine I’ve gotten better about it and I do notice a big difference when I get this right.  I still continue to implement most of the guidelines daily!

Will, you obviously made some great changes, as you were picked as a winner for our BPA contest!

Could you tell us a little bit about the progress you made on the program, as well as how you’re feeling now after completing it?

Long story short, I made a lot of progress on a lot of different fronts with this program.  I gained about 20lbs (from 170 to a pretty lean 190) and made significant improvements with my lifts (Bench Press: 155 to 185, Squat: 265 to 305, Deadlift: 265 to 305), which were my main goals.

I still have a ways to go before I can really consider myself strong but even more important to me was the fact that I was able to gain muscle and crush the new weights without any of my old injuries being a factor.

In addition, despite having gotten significantly heavier I actually feel lighter on my feet due to the reactive/agility components of the program.

I love hearing feedback like this!

Last but not least, hindsight is always 20/20. Did you make any mistakes along the way? And if so, how would you troubleshoot those in the future?

Other than maybe being a bit overzealous in jumping into the Monster program (it’s called the Monster for a reason), the one mistake I made for the first couple of months (!) was misapplying the rest intervals between exercises.

For whatever reason I thought that with super-set exercises we were supposed to fit the B exercise into the rest interval of the A exercise and vice-versa.  In other words, do exercise 1A, then go straight into exercise 1B during the 60s rest interval for exercise 1A and actually rest for any time left over.

It doesn’t really make much sense in hindsight but for anyone wondering, the correct way is to do exercise 1A, rest for the full interval (60s for example), then do exercise 1B, rest for the full interval (another 60s), back to 1A and so on.

Will, thanks again for taking the time to be with us here today. Any final thoughts?

Mike, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to put together the Bulletproof Athlete program.  It has made a lasting positive impact on my life.  I’m eager to go through the program again and to continue to apply the sound training and lifestyle guidelines indefinitely.

Thanks again Will!

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