Posted on 22 Dec 2015
8 min read
Now, as you may have noticed, we at Gymtalk are big fans of a review.
So, as the end of 2015 approaches, we thought we’d go big this time and review the whole year in terms of muscle and fitness.
From the sublime to the ridiculous and irreverent, we’re going to reveal our biggest highlights and lowlights of 2015.
Note: obviously a lot of these people/things predate 2015 – we just happen to have ‘discovered’ them this year.
2015 was a massive year for Eddie Hall, Britain’s finest and strongest.
Not content with winning England and UK’s Strongest Man, Eddie finished (spoiler alert) 4th at World’s Strongest Man and most impressively now holds the world record for Raw Deadlift with straps (463kg).
Or to put it in simpleton terms, Eddie Hall has picked up more weight on a bar than any other man ever.
He also did it shirtless, wearing little more than a belt and a pair of gym shorts he has possibly owned since the age of 14.
Aside from inhuman static strength, Eddie Hall is also a great character, looking like a cross between a shaved bear and a Viking beserker.
Hall also doesn’t shy away from slagging off fellow competitors, which is highly refreshing amidst the current crop of robo-sports stars who’s media training leaves their interviews as contrived as a Tony Blair statement to The Hague War Crimes Tribunal.
Eddie Hall is certainly our favourite strongman of 2015.
This one may come as little surprise as we’ve really loved almost every TPW product which we’ve reviewed.
Amongst the tirade of endless household foods (and soon-to-be products no doubt – protein pillow anyone – absorb gains through your head while you sleep) TPW have kept things fairly simple but highly effective.
All boasting spectacularly good macros.
These new products are complemented by a solid range of protein powders for both lean mass and all-out bulk, which you can all find at theproteinworks.com.
Keep it up guys, and, more importantly, don’t fuck it up.
Now, we’ve pissed on Crossfit’s chips a few times (and rightfully so), but there really is no arguing with the record of the proclaimed “fittest man ever”.
Having won the Crossfit Games 2011-2014, Froning thought he’d give everyone else a chance by ‘only’ taking part in the team event this year.
His team of course won.
Now, Crossfit is often associated with complete fuckwads wearing knee high shorts, performing pull ups like Jackie Chan on acid.
But Froning, with the help of some other elite athletes, has changed all that.
Quite simply, they are all strong and jacked as fuck – certainly not missing chest day.
At 91kg, Froning boasts a 200kg+ squat and a 247kg deadlift.
Now these lifts aren’t especially associated with the competitive sport of Crossfit, but then telling you how much he snatches is like telling a London cab driver about the micro-economics of the European Union.
Froning has also performed some incredible strength endurance feats – just check out this video of him clean and jerking 100kg for 30 reps:
In the Crossfit world, this is called ‘doing Grace’.
I urge all of you out there to try doing this with just a 60kg barbell.
I guarantee you’ll be lying on the floor in a pool of your own shit and stomach bile by the end… absolutely brutal.
So yeh, Froning… pretty legit.
Tired of regularly splitting your jeans around the gooch area while bending down to pick up a pen?
Struggling to find jeans that aren’t made exclusively for Nick Grimshaw – both in terms of tightness and making you look like a top class cunt?
Then, my friend, I give you Next Stretch Fit Chinos.
At Gymtalk, we’ve never skipped leg day, indeed, we’ve been doing leg day overtime then moonlighting leg day over the weekend.
Not to say we’ve got trunks like Chad Weasley Smith, but it was starting to become a problem to find any [fashionable] lower body wear that wouldn’t make your cock and balls feel like they’re on the London underground at 17.15 on a Friday.
Thankfully we then discovered these beauties.
Available in waist sizes over 40 inches and more than 10 colours, you hardly need to buy another pair of trousers ever.
From business to pleasure, these chinos are a fantastic buy and at the fucking stupid price of £20, great value for money.
The stretch fit fibres used to make the product even make them a viable option for the gym, although you will look like a total heel if you choose to do so.
It’s not an exaggeration to say these chinos are the best things we’ve discovered this year.
Never again will I have to worry about busting into a set of lunges on the dancefloor in WonderWorld.
Russian Weightlifting Champion.
Russia’s Strongest Man
Global Powerlifting Phenomenon.
If strength is his business then business is very good:
Mikhail Koklyaev is one of only two men to have clean and jerked the Vasily Alekseyev 501lb barbell.
What’s funny is that Koklyaev isn’t even the strongest member at his training gym.
Kirill Sarychev – World Record Raw Bench Press – 365kg.
Andrey Malinichev – World Record Squat – 470kg.
Yet what we love about Koklyaev is the sheer madness of some of his lifts.
315kg no arms squat.
900kg powerlifting total within 30 seconds.
And whatever the fuck you might call this video:
Outstanding – a Russian we can all get behind.
And now for some things that have somewhat irked us this year…
There’s an age-old fitness adage that the first battle in building muscle/losing fat is just walking into the gym.
I’m going to drastically disagree with that.
If you’re reading Heat magazine on an exercise bike or doing 12 reps of rope pushdowns without breaking a sweat, then, my friend, you are basically achieving fuck all.
I’m not saying you need to be passed out on the floor after a 30 minute metcon or put 20kg onto your 1rm squat and have your gym buddy hold a loaded gun to your head.
But just… put some fucking effort in.
A bead of sweat running down your forehead, the odd grunt to get you through that last rep, maybe even panting a bit.
Just make sure you don’t do it while Bodypump class is in full swing, you will be ejected.
Just a modicum of effort in the gym will make a lot of difference and you’ll actually feel better afterwards.
Exercise will release endorphins in your body leading to an overall sense of satisfaction and motivation to get back there.
Unfortunately putting in effort at the gym has been vilified by so many internet memes about dropping weights and grunting.
Yes I was strong enough to pick it up, but after the those five reps of max effort clean and jerk, I was somewhat unable to put the barbell down with the grace of Dame Margot Fonteyn.
Once a weekly feast of strength and conditioning knowledge, insight and inspiration, Barbell Shrugged has now become somewhat… self-indulgent.
I have the utmost respect for these guys, consistently putting out content every week for well over two years, plus technique videos and blogs on their website.
It’s a great service.
However, in the earlier days they had big guests – Froning, Kendrick Farris, Kelly Starrett, AJ Roberts, Chad Weasley Smith.
Sure, they still have some good guests on the show, but now it seems to be more about the hosts: “Look at all these people we know in the industry who make organic goat milk and raw sweet potato smoothies”.
Plus, they spend most of their time trying to compete with each other and sound the most knowledgeable, and they just talk over the guest.
Anyone who follows the podcast will remember the Chad Smith episode when he shot down the Westside training method.
The BBS guys had nothing in response, in fact they almost appeared afraid of him.
Smith has not been back since, a real shame.
I don’t listen anymore, if they care.
“Those nuts and seeds are packed full of fat,” she tells me while shovelling down a disgusting lunch of low fat chicken tikka curry ready meal, low fat cereal bar, low fat fruit yoghurt, and a piece of fruit
Please fuck off.
It seems most people over the age of forty five seem to think if something says “low fat” then it’s going to have the fat burning efficacy of a six week North Korean boot camp.
But reading the ingredients list of one of these so-called healthy meals or bars is like trying to understand the plot of any Cohen brothers’ film.
Alllllll kiiiiiiiinds of e-numbers.
And not to mention a shit load of sugar.
For more nutrition tips, don’t ask your Dad whose farts smell like 16th century London, head over to our nutrition pages.
Perhaps a bit self-defeating to write this on what is ostensibly a bodybuilding blog, but in a somewhat ironic twist of fate, bodybuilding, at least for us, has become massively monotonous and repetitive.
We all love to harp back to the golden age of Pumping Iron where the sports people were real people, not cyborgs covered in slabs of hormonal muscle.
Hell, we’d even take Kai Greene skull fucking a cantaloupe just to mix shit up a bit.
Bodybuilding is boring, it’s all about strength sports now.
So there we go, another massive year for all things gym.
But what does 2016 have in store for us?
Maybe an Englishman will do something of significance in the world of weightlifting (unlikely)?
Maybe there won’t be suspicion about the blood passport of Russian athlete (doubt it)?
Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll wash my gym bottle more than once per quarter and get some of the pond scum off?
Don’t forget to leave a comment below with your highlights and lowlights of 2015!