Fire Fighting in Canada



Fitness and Nutrition

Want to bulk up?

Personal trainer Brad Lawrence looks at five-by-five mass training in his fitness column and, in his nutrition column, benefits of tea.

November 30, 1999 
By Brad Lawrence

FitSmart is a Fire Fighting in Canada online exclusive column by Brad Lawrence, a firefirefighter and personal trainer in Leduc, Alta.  Brad can be reached at


Five by five mass training
July 21, 2008

Over the previous 20-odd years, bodybuilders and personal trainers have changed with the times, just like everything else. As technology advances, so does our training and training methods. Many of us who have been training for years tend to overlook basic proven concepts. One of my personal favorite mass concepts is 5×5 training. Even though it was popular, is commonly overlooked today.


The concept of 5×5 training has been fairly popular for years but, unfortunately, seemed to get lost somewhere between push/pull training and functional splits. The program has been proven over time by some of the most successful people in the industry. This was actually a personal favorite of old Arnold’s regime.

What is 5×5 training?

It is training designed specifically for size and strength. In the program you will perform five sets of five reps each. As always, make sure you’ve completed a proper warm up before lifting. When lifting, you’re shooting for very heavy lifts and you should fail at rep five for at least your final two sets. You’re lifting as heavy as you can, which means it would be a good idea to have a spotter on hand.

Exercise selection and program design

Last month we discussed program design so remember what you’ve learned so far. With 5×5 training, typically you’re either doing high and low splits, or a full body workout. Personally, I’d recommend high and low training. As well, isolation exercises aren’t used as much. When selecting your exercises, shoot for compound movements (using multiple muscles at a time). Try starting with between four and eight exercises a day. I know that sounds easy, but remember your doing 25 reps per exercise, using the heaviest weights you can.

Sample program
Here is what my latest 5×5 looks like. Exercises are performed using supersets (do A1, break for 30 seconds, do A2 until finished 5×5, then go to B). Cardio is performed on all off days. Caloric surplus is required to see any gains in size. The program is extremely demanding weight-wise but designed to prevent over-training and injury .


The benefits of tea

July 21, 2008

Recently, tea became the second-most consumed beverage in the world next to water. Most people are already on-board but if you’re not, you probably should be.

Green tea/white tea
Green and white teas are by far the most beneficial tea you can drink. Green tea is loaded with polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants. Also, green tea is far better at fighting free radicals than any of the popular vitamins. Green tea’s ability to fight cancer is so great there are several active studies looking at using green tea for possible cancer therapy. Other benefits include reducing risk of heart disease and stroke, reducing tooth decay and inhibiting viruses. Many users have replaced their daily aspirin with a few cups of green tea, with much success. If you drink only one type of tea, make it green. White tea is simply the rawest form of green tea available. Many experts say white tea possesses even greater antioxidants.

Black tea
Black tea is the foundation from which many forms of tea are built. Black tea is second to green tea in the antioxidant count and has a much stronger flavor than green tea. Black tea does have a strong ability to reduce inflammation. Many studies suggest black tea may have the ability to slow or even cease the growth of cancer cells. Black tea also has much less caffeine than a standard cup of coffee.

Rooibos tea is another favorite among tea drinkers. Same story: high count of antioxidants; fights free radicals. There are some types of antioxidants in rooibos that you can’t get in green or other types of tea. Rooibos is completely natural and pure – there are no additives or preservatives. Rooibos, like black tea, also has a stronger flavor and doesn’t taste like coloured water. This particular type is caffeine free and is highly recommended for people with insomnia, disturbed sleep, headaches, anxiety or hypertension. In relation to other teas, rooibos provides a high level of vitamins as well.

If you drink tea, you now know why, and if you don’t, you probably should! There aren’t many people who can’t benefit from a few cups of tea every day. For best results drink at least two to three cups of green, white, or rooibos tea daily.

Don’t have time? Don’t like tea?
Green tea or polyphenols (the most beneficial antioxidant in green tea) is also available in pill form. In some cases, one pill can provide the same effect as more than 30 cups of tea. Any health food store should have what you’re looking for and it’s usually very reasonably priced.

Happy drinking!

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