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The Return of the Masochist

Over the last month I’ve bouldered 5 times, done 25 hangboard session, 16 gym sessions and had no alcohol. I’ve eaten 1.75 pizzas and had sushi twice, other than that I’ve controlled what I eat. I haven’t been to bed after 12 this month.  Anyone want to challenge my dedication?

Today is the 1st of February.  When I started writing this post about a month ago, I thought that it was going to be a bit funny at first. I had some photos of myself that are a bit embarrassing for me. I’m still feeling the effects of my knee surgery so things are still a bit harder than usual but I’ve spent the last month pushing myself harder than I ever have in the past, I have trained 27 of the last 31 days; of the 27 days I trained twice a day for 20 of those! I’ve also been seeing a dietician and have been going to bed early so that I can get up for my early morning hangboard session every morning.

So what was it that actually brought about this radical change in my attitude and behaviour? What brought about this month of pure masochism? It was the time I spent overseas and then the month of December which certainly didn’t help. Before our trip, I was really good about not eating too much, even in Germany I didn’t gain weight. Unfortunately for me, we went to Austria and there were 6 course meals every night, massive buffets for lunch and for breakfast, plus I couldn’t exercise so it was all a big problem.

eating cake
Yeah, no comment. 76kgs

When we got back I didn’t think too much about the matter, I wasn’t training yet so wasn’t worried. The worries started towards the end of November and the middle of December when I started trying to do a bit of training again. At that stage I’d picked up a few kgs but it didn’t quite stop there… At my worst I was 76kgs, up from my normal 69. That’s a 10% increase in just a few weeks as I was 70 when I left for Germany.

Two weeks in
Two weeks in

As a New Year resolution thing, I decided to take on some serious training. I also decided to focus on my nutrition because all the training in the world won’t help if you eat crappy food. Drinking lots of wine doesn’t help either so I’m definitely going to take it easy on that too, even though we have some one the Cape’s best one the rack!

I’ve been focusing on eating every hour or two. For breakfast around 6:45 I’ll frequently have two pieces of fruit before training. Immediately after training a 50g serving of Future Life High Protein, or muesli with yogurt and cottage cheese. I’ll train till around 8:15 / 8:45 depending on the intensity of my session. Then at 11:30 a carrot or an apple. Around 1 o’clock I’ll have a meal: a serving of protein, a cup of steamed veggies and 1/3 a cup of rice, or 3 Provita crackers.

Good breakfast!
Good breakfast!

During the afternoon I’ll munch on another 2 carrots, apples, plums or whatever I have available. Somewhere in the mix will be a handful of almonds and cashews. By 5 or 6 o’clock I’m usually at the gym. 7:30 I cook dinner. Usually I’ll steam veggies and either chicken or fish, sometimes a pork fillet, and 2/3 a cup of rice or sweet potatoes.

Yep, that’s a pretty typical day for me. I came across an article on indicating that in a study conducted in the USA, it was determined that athletes recovered 26% more effectively during the night if they ingested protein 30 minutes before bed time. So sometimes I’ll have a protein shake right before bed if I’m worried I’ll be really stiff the next morning.

Healthy lunch
Healthy lunch time meal

10 January:

73.5 kgs on the 11th of Jan, looking better.
73.5 kgs on the 11th of Jan, looking better.

I started writing this about a week into my mixed gym and hangboarding sessions. My hangboard sessions are in the morning, usually before work, so they have to be quite short. Kris Hampton has the solution for this in his Bare Naked Hangboarding. From start to finish in 30 minutes. But this wasn’t enough for me seeing as it was doing the same exercise daily, so I have added a variation to it by alternating it with the Chris Webb Parsons program that I spoke about previously. Here’s an instruction vid for the twelve week program:








The advantage of alternating these is that I can focus a significant amount of effort on finger strength one day (Hampton) and a significant amount of effort on one arm strength the next day (Webb Parsons). I’ve been doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It was suggested to me by a personal trainer that I follow on Twitter. His name is Alexander Pawels, he’s based in Belgium and he’s got some good ideas for heavy fitness training. There are a few different exercises but each of them revolve around Giant Sets, which is essentially four complimentary exercises back-to-back consisting of 15-20 reps each. After you complete your 80 reps you take a 45 second break and then start again until you’ve done 5 sets. There are two Giant Sets per workout and for me it takes about 45 minutes to complete. The weights are pretty heavy, the goal is that you can easily complete 15 but struggle to reach 20.

HIIT Workout 1
HIIT Workout 1
HIIT Workout 3
HIIT Workout 3
HIIT Workout 2
HIIT Workout 2










I usually start a HIIT session after 25-30 minutes of cardio, either rowing or cycling or both, that way I feel warmed up and my heart is racing. I tend to keep my heart rate above 150 for the whole session, it’s not easy, on the contrary it’s actually outright exhausting.

18 January:

Masochist_brian_weaver_06After getting the Moon Hangboard, at first I couldn’t even hang the micros for a second, three weeks later I’m up to 5 seconds! I love seeing progression as I improve. I would say that my absolute benchmark is Paul Brouard’s program C which involves 3 minutes of non-stop repeaters (6 grips per minute, straight arms 1st minute, 1/2 lock second minute, full lock 3rd minute, followed by 10 pull-ups on a small edge in the first 30 seconds of the forth minute. Rest 10 minutes, repeat for 5 sets).

I’m really looking forward to moving into my power-endurance phase when I can work with that one!! But for now, I’ve been working on lock-off strength and on pure finger strength to prepare me for what lies ahead. I did a little experiment yesterday and did a 30 minute hangboard program with an exercise every minute on the minute. I was really surprised when I annihilated it! There were some momentS of definite pump, but I got through it just fine and continued to do a lot more than just that.

Here is my training log in case anyone is interested, it’s quite rough.The past three weeks have really been tough and I’m loving it, I even met with a dietitian on Thursday the 15th to help with the designing of an eating plan that can match my goals. My strength is going up and my weight is coming down slowly, the way it should. It’s always a rewarding feeling to do exercises that were your benchmark in the past, I’m sure we all have a route or exercise that when we can do it well we know we’re fit. During my strength training session, I’ve noticed my ability to hold smaller holds for longer periods. It’s been really reassuring knowing that I’m doing something right. It feels great to hang a crimp with 35kgs extra weight for 10 seconds at a time and not fail. It also feels great to be able to hang on some of the small edges on the Moon Climbing Finger Board I got for Christmas.

The 18th was 2.5 hours of hangboarding and 2 hours of cycling and HIIT training at the gym, basically till the point of exhaustion. Probably will need a rest day after this weekend. Three weeks of training is a good place to start… My goal is to train on my board till I’m cleared to climb outdoors again. After I finish my strength phase (8 weeks), then I’ll move to my power endurance phase (6 weeks) and follow it all up with a month of pure endurance training. Once it’s all done I’ll start over and build on my pyramid! Hopefully my body will be ready for a good winter climbing season at Chosspile and Boven! Wish me luck .

1 February

Smiling during a training session, something must be up... Maybe it's the photographer, I bet she's doing something funny!
Smiling during a training session, something must be up… Maybe it’s the photographer, I bet she’s doing something funny!
70 kgs and feeling strong!
70 kgs and feeling strong!

Well, we’re back to where we started: today is the 1st of Feb. During the last two weeks, I’ve been pushing really hard trying to isolate my fingers and push my body even further than ever before. I started to plateau a little with the Kris Hampton program, I think it’s because I don’t have small enough holds on my boards other than the micros and tiny slopers on the Moon Hangboard. So what I did was listen to my friends and start focusing on a single hand (still with 10kgs) while the other hands assists as either a F2 or B3 on the smallest edge available. It’s also slightly offset, rather than being on the same height. So in a way, I’m doubling up on my exercise.




F2 Left Half Crimp Right
F2 Left Half Crimp Right
F2 on the Beastmaker with B3 on the small edge of the Metolius
F2 on the Beastmaker with B3 on the small edge of the Metolius

What also happened, which was a first for me, was I had to change to a different hold for the Chris Webb Parsons program. I moved away from the outer slots on the Beastmaker and now I’m using the center incut (as in the below pics). My finger strength has moved forward significantly and my lock-off strength is catching up I’m getting closer to the elusive one arm. As of today, I can go from straight arm to eyes in line with my hand (not quite 100% there but close).



Mono hang rock climbing
Mono Right with M2 Left
Use the rope for some assistance
Use the rope for some assistance


Last week I also started seeing a biokineticist, so I’ve been doing a lot of exercises daily to strengthen my leg and my glutes. I can see that it’s going to be a long road ahead in terms of the recovery process but by the time my knee is ready to come to the party I’ll be fit enough and strong enough to jump back in!

Here’s the training program again in case you missed the link. I call it Brian’s Training Program for Strength and Power. I would like to thank Paul Brouard, Steven Bradshaw, Kris Peters, Kris Hampton and Chris Webb Parsons for the psych that was produced as well as the programs that I used to build my workout. It’ll keep expanding as I progress and I’ll update the link from month to month.


Brian is sponsored by Outward Ventures and uses La Sportiva, DMM, Wild Country, Roca Ropes





  1. Nice masochism, my training program is about the same. I dont eat sushi (fish are friends), just pizza and coke regularly and I look at my fingerboard at least once a day:P

    Glad you getting strong again. Dont let the manometer break that knee again:)

    If you struggle when you get back onto rock, try 5.10 stealth rubber:]

  2. Hi Brian

    These training articles are really useful. Just a suggestion – why don’t you start a #TumblrTuesday where we can ask you training advice?

  3. Hi Brian

    These articles and pictures are amazing! Please could you add more details on how you get the lighting right when you take selfies in the mirror? I can never seem to get my abs to pop!

    • @Iloveselfies: Sierra Blair Coyle also runs a #TumblrTuesday. Since she is more model than climber, maybe that is a question better suited to her expertise?

      • Good point Kev, but she doesn’t have abs like those. I need tips to hook the ladies.

        • Probably better to check out back copies of Men’s health? Brian’s focus is about climbing hard and training hard!

          • Yeah but he really nailed those selfies! Men’s health is all studio produced, and the guys are clearly flexing. I want that natural ripped selfie look.

        • Ah yes, makes sense. These pics aren’t photo shopped or air brushed which means Brian’s program must work?

          • dude, Brian’s programs definitely works! In the 6 months since I started cranking I’ve improved by 3 grades!

          • But what about your abs? Harder grades aren’t gonna get Iloveselfies the babes!

          • Exactly! At least Kev is paying attention. Grades? I’m all about the selfies and Brian’s are awesome.

  4. How many kilo’s you think you dropped from cutting out beer for a month ?
    Thats what i want to know ? If one is say a 3 beers a day kinda guy and weighs in at 73kg….
    OK, Ive been averaging 17 hrs a week on my MTB since the start of Dec14.
    Wonder if i would drop another 2 kg in a month if i gave up beer ?

    • Yeah I suppose you do have a valid point. And the end of the day we climb because it is fun, we get to spend time in the gym with our bro dawgs, and enjoy looking at the pictures/videos.

  5. cannot wait for the time lapse selfies!! OmNomNOM

  6. Hi Brian

    I really enjoy your training advice, and I can really see the improvements in my climbing since I started following your blog. I really believe I can start crushing soon! I would personally just like to thank you for your contribution to our climbing scene.

  7. So I thought masochism is about self loathing, whips and chains and a bit less about dieting. Must be on the wrong website…

  8. Ha ha guys, I knew this one was gonna be embarrassing for me! Honestly, dropping the drinks probably contributed to some of the weight loss, no binge eating after a night out.

    Training has become a bit of an obsession for me, honestly it has been this easy for 12 years. But in current times with my knee surgery I’ve become really motivated, i don’t want all my time off to be a waste.

    My training log is very thorough for the last month. Just shows that if you want it bad enough you can do it. Plus, this is just one month, it’s 1/2 of my strength cycle, power is 6 weeks after, then power endurance for another 6, then endurance for a month.
    My goal is to be this motivated for the whole time. Maybe I’ll have some wine now and then, but I’m gonna keep on going and I’ll keep writing about it. NO MORE SELFIES THOUGH! Ha ha ha

    • I want more selfies, not less. Besides how awesome they look, what better way to show improvements and that your training is working!

      • Iloveselfies, It seems no one is answering you question about how to get your abs to show in photos.
        So here is some really good advice:
        The first step to getting you abs to show in photos (weather selfies or studio photos) is to actually get abs. The rest comes naturally. So stop trolling and start training bitch!

        • Wow, that’s a bit aggressive! Anatomically speaking everyone has abs, so hey they have to be there somewhere. Maybe better lighting will help bring them out? Any tips on training my selfie taking skills would be awesome!

          • You are a coward hiding behind a fake name, you deserve a broken nose and then you can take a selfie of that.

          • David: Maybe worth channeling that aggression into some climbing?

          • I have been meaning to get some work done on my nose. It’s a little skew. Will you be gentle afterwards and rub my back?

        • Hi David

          I (and I am sure a lot of other fellow crankers) would totally love it if you could also give us some training advice. Have you ever considered writing a blog?
          I would definitely be interested, as well as some pics/videos.

          • @David – What would you recommend iloveselfies use to break his nose with?

        • David, I think you’d probably repress a lot less anger (and other things) if you just told Brian how you felt about him – no-one is judging and I’m sure Brian will be pretty receptive (those selfies pretty much scream “Grindr profile photo”).

          By the way, Brian, I know everyone has pointed out how awesome your abs are, but please could you share some body hair removal tips? I have to admit that those photots gave me a bit of a broner.

          • @tt – is Grindr a good place to get training tips?

    • @Dave. Big fan of your work. the movie stuff and your bravado displayed above. @iloveselfies. Take Dave’s advice and stop not self-promoting yourself.

  9. In short, maintenance is significantly more cost effective than re-establishment.

  10. Wow, that’s something. Inspirational, I am also making a comeback, been couple months totally off. Though I am lucky if I get 2 hour training per week ) : And I will continue to graze pizza! Looking forward to climbing again Brian.

    • Andrew – maybe you could share the 2 hour workout for us who are time challenged? And don’t the before and after selfies!

      • Andrew boulders for two hours on a Tuesday before heading out for pizza and beer! He’s super strong naturally!

    • Andrew please can we have a pre and post training pic…… maybe you can throw in a few secret eating tips that make you gingers so frikken strong? I hope it includes beer and steak cause this healthy dieting sh1te is freaking me out!

  11. By the way, I’m always to happy to help out with training advice at all levels. I’m on Facebook and on Twitter @BrianMWeaver. I do get training questions from time to time and I always make an effort to answer and share some knowledge.

    I’ve shared my training log to help anyone interested with some different ideas for workouts. These are mostly centred around the hangboard on account of my knee injury, but as I recover there will be a lot more and it won’t be limited to hanging around. If something doesn’t quite make sense in the program (I’ve been told I write in code), feel free to drop me a message through social media and I’ll get back to you.

    If you see me somewhere, don’t be shy, I don’t bite. Ask away.

    • Brian you should charge sponsors to advertise on your hangboard!

      • They support me pretty well already!

  12. A real masochist would eat 0 pizza and then make himself watch others eat their pizza. Just saying…

    • I did give away half of my Col’Cacchio pizza, does that count?

  13. I am going to prove you can do this with donuts!

  14. Hi Guys!

    So last night I just couldn’t help myself! I had the dopest sesh on a fingerboard. I really feel good about this year, think I’m gonna crush! But if someone could just give me some advice please. Both of my middle fingers, and also my ring finger on my right (strong) hand is really sore on the knuckles. Like for instance, when I try to open the car door. Any advice would be great thanks!

    Can’t wait to get back to the fingerboard tonight! Btw, I noticed my abs look pretty good while crushing those crimper pullups! I would recommend that to you iloveselfies!

    • Futurecrusher – I think the answer to your question is an obvious question: WWBD? (Hint: add more weight and #selfies)

      • @truthteller: So I thought about adding 11.43kg for the mono pullups and 7.65kgs for the full crimp dead hangs. Do you think it will help if add in a campus sesh?

        • Just ask yourself ‘if I was Brian, what would I do?’ as you reach for the weight belt. More is better, except when it comes to pizza, but especially when it comes to self-tan.

          On a related note, @Brian, I have another question in terms of training materials – do you have a recommended number of mirrors for your training room? Mine only has two mirrors and I’m worried that isn’t enough. Inquiring minds must know, Brian, inquiring minds must know.

  15. Have you considered the use of a selfie stick?

    • It’s like the cheat stick of selfies

  16. I weighed myself recently and found I was 58kg. This was very exciting as I once harboured dreams of weighing 60kg – a number I deemed a little more manly. Alas, I am back to 57kg.
    I also find it interesting to weigh myself before and after ablutions. This leads me neatly to my diet philosophy – “The Eat More, Shit More Diet”. The title gives away the fundamentals but if anyone is interested in more details I will be very happy to oblige.
    Happy training and dieting everybody!

  17. Hey Brian. Maybe you could run a “how to take great training selfies” workshop at the Origin Mountain Festival. It seems there is a great need. 🙂

    • @Illona I think I’ll have to bow out and bring in the true selfie queens: Sasha and Sierra! I think I’ve seen more selfies of them than professionally done pictures!

      By the way, I have used my cheat stick for filming before, so does that count as a selfie stick or a monopod? So many technicalities.

      @truthteller there does happen to be a mirror in my training room, it happens to be in one of the doors of a cupboard. Once in a while I use the mirror to make sure I don’t lose form, it helps to jugde lock off angles in the arms.

  18. @iloveselfies, kev bacon, truthteller and futurecrusher….. amazing “you guys” have such a similar train of thought….. great humour. Flex I like your diet , although i may be about 3 shits behind

  19. Hi Guys!
    Joh joh! I was late for work today, because I got up at 04:00 to start with my new training plan! Totally buggered now, but wow, I can already feel the progression since last night’s session! Struggling a bit holding a pen with my right hand today though, I think I might have hurt my index finger on my right hand a bit.

    Anyway, I call my new training plan Naked hangboarding. It involves, well, hangboarding, and I’m sure you guys will be able to fill in the blanks!! If anyone is interested, I can also forward you the detailed details, always happy to share!

    • Futurecrusher, your psyche is infectious. I’ve been climbing for 3 years now – so i’ve been around the block climbing wise, and I’m a little concerned about your fingers. Did you know that you can jump a full boulder grade by strengthening your pinkies? Why not give your other fingers a break. I can tell you pinky strength is the way forward – ok i ruptured the tendons in both of mine (freak chair slip accident) but after 8 months off my other fingers are feeling awesome! Keep cranking and keep up the psyche.

  20. This is very faany….tiehiehie

  21. I know Andrew Padley quite well, and he reckons hangboard training doesn’t help with explosive power.

    Irregardless, I don’t think we should read this article and think it’s the gospel, or the truth.

    • Each person is unique with different strengths and weaknesses, so there is no “one-fits-all” training program.

      • David, it’s better to train to be strong, it makes no sense deliberately be weak.

        • Hi Grant,

          I built this program based on the fact that I need to build up my base strength, something that is lacking in my overall ability. As a result, I’ve been training very hard on the hangboard. Don’t forget, I’m also recovering from knee surgery, if I wasn’t, I would put a lot of emphasis on 1-2 move boulder problems that are maximum effort and nearly impossible initially.

          This is also the first in my training cycle and has nothing to do with building explosive power, thus the strength building portion. At the end of February, I’ll begin my Power cycle, in April, power endurance, May will be endurance with my performance time from June onwards.

          The document I released with this is the first step, the first month of 5-6 months in a training cycle.

    • okes should post like their hardest send from the last 6 months and then we can know which “advice” to trust!!!

      not aimed at grant in particular but a lot of people read these chat rooms and might get injured!!!! 🙂

  22. Awesome Brian! I needed this to get repsyched myself, so thanks! Glad to see that you pull from all the available resources… that’s exactly the way to do it. Psyched to follow your progress!

  23. Weaver, your game is up – how long have you been on the SWAK exercise plan?

    I mean, we knew it was good, but even we are a little surprised with these results. Especially in light of the fact that we haven’t finished our animal trials yet, so could not test it on pro athletes. Or any athletes for that matter.

    Don’t know about that mirror thing though, but our preliminary research shows at least 37% increase in power when a attractive member of the opposite sex is present. Do you think this can be incorporated in the training somehow?

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