Five Random Thoughts from David Barr

About the Author: Eric Cressey

In this week’s update, we’ve got five tips from David Barr – but first a few quick notes.

How’s this for a testimonial?

I received this email on Friday:

Hi Eric,

I don’t know if you remember me, but I was in contact with you early this year.  I’m a bobsledder on the Canadian Team. I was doing one of the programs in your Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual and I made it onto the Americas Cup team because of it.  We went to Lake Placid and won two bronze medals. I have been training full time with the Canadian national team and have seen great progress. My lifts have gone up a crazy amount and I’ve gained almost 40 pounds while keeping around the same BF% since starting with your programs. Going into a training camp this Saturday, I’m 18 and competing with 28-year-old men. My goal for this season is to make it on a Europa Cup team.

I would like to thank you for the off-season manual.  It helped a ton – and next off-season I would love to come down to Boston to do some work with you.


Adam Keller

Another name to watch out for in the years to come!

For more information on the programs to which Adam was referring, check out The Ultimate Off-Season Manual.

Five Random Thoughts from David Barr

1. Soreness = Muscle Growth.  In the 1990s, we “realized” that soreness is just a result of the muscle inflammatory response, and has little to do with actual growth.  However, consider the following: if Arachadonic Acid (AA) is the fatty acid that gets converted to prostaglandins (PG) during inflammation:

a) Blocking the conversion of AA to PG prevents both soreness and muscle growth

b) Increasing levels of AA increases levels of PG, soreness, and muscle growth

c) The most damaging type of training yields the greatest soreness, strength and muscle gains

2. Short workouts aren’t as great as you think.  In the late 1990, it became all the rage to keep workouts to less than 45 minutes.  It was believed, based on scientific evidence, that training for longer periods would result in a temporary decrease in anabolic hormone levels.  Now, we realize (irony intended) that the impact of acute hormonal regulation is minimal, and it is far better to have a stimulating workout – even if it takes longer.

3. Apparently, pre-training meals suck?  In spite of the evidence to show that pre-workout meals result in the greatest observable increases in muscle protein synthesis (the acute measure of muscle growth and recovery), people still refuse to use them.  Considering that they also provide a tremendous increase in blood flow during training, which every newbie seems to be after, shouldn’t everyone be using them?

4. Faith vs. Reason.  People are going to believe what they want even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Sadly, this even results in people getting upset by the mere presentation of data that contradicts a belief. In the supplement world, if you add in the fact that the placebo effect accounts for >60% of the resulting effect, you’re just asking for people to freak out.

5. Protein Pulse Feeding.  The idea of spiking blood amino acids with protein, similar to the way in which we spike insulin with carbs, is the most anabolic nutritional revolution since whey protein was developed. Protein pulsing: not just for post-workout meals!

About David Barr

David Barr is a strength coach and scientist, with research specialty in nutrition and its impact on performance and body composition. In addition to his work for NASA at the Johnson Space Center, David’s research career has involved everything from the cellular basis of muscle breakdown to work on critically ill catabolic patients. He holds certifications with the NSCA as well as USA Track and Field, and can be contacted through his website:

That’ll do it for this update.  We’ll be back later this week with more new material.

All the Best,