A blog by the Next Level  2013 Advancement Team.  

This blog provides the insight, in-jokes and inspiration of a team in action.  Each post is by a team member as their journey continues.  

In The Next Level, an "Advancement Team" is a team built of experienced athletes designed to "advance" the program.  The spring 2013 Advancement Team is comprised of eight men: Tom Keon, Phil Cohen, Stephen Cyr, Seth Carbonneau, Stephen Forgione. Phil Biondo, Yarza Winn and Chris Noonan.  

Each post represents only the views of it's poster, and is not intended as a reflection of the opinions, views or beliefs of any other teammate, the team as a whole or The Next Level.  

Follow these men as they make their marks on a small corner of history.


Belt for Maximum VIKING POWER!!!!

Posted by: Stephen Cyr

While I was at Global Strongman in NYC, Hans recommended that I use a softer belt under my normal belt for better support. After using it at the competition I noticed such a huge difference in comfort, warmth, and stability. I mean would I have lifted the same amount, most likely, but belt this certainly helped improve my comfort level for the whole competition.

When you are uncertain about some lift, or weights, having a great belt gives you that extra confidence you need to just go for it, and know that it will help prevent injuries.

Now for the best part....THIS BELT COST $22 DOLLARS!!!!!!!!!!! This is literally the cheapest piece of gear I have ever bought. It was money very well spent.

I bought the belt here, on Amazon; it's just a simple lumbar support by Mueller.

Basically, you use this belt under you leather belt, this way the belt doesn't cut into you or hurt, it gives you more flexibility because of this comfort, and it provides even more support because you are combining it with the regular belt.

Maine StrongMan 6: Event #3


Sunday April 30th saw a return of The Beast, when Chris Noonan, Steve Cyr, Ryan Aruck and Tyler Rabin all competed, along with their resource mentor and teammate Seth Carbonneau, at the Maine StrongMan 6 in Augusta, MA.

The guys were flying through their classes and none of them came even close to the time limit.  As always, Seth Carbonneau was in top form with his 500lb. load – so fast we didn't even get all the video!

Chris Noonan was struggling for much of the day until this point, but his stable core not only made up for lost time, but also saved him on a couple potential stumbles under the weight of his 600 lb. yoke.  Proof that keeping a stable midsection allows you to keep the weight up.  The guys were allowed as many drops as possible, but Noonan refused to use the privilege, instead favoring time.

Ryan Aruck has come a long way with the yoke, and getting under 800 lbs. with no drops is proof of his progress over the past year, when he would occasionally destabilize under less weight.

Both Tyler Rabin and Stephen Cyr moved 500 lbs. quickly, both gliding in to a sliding stop which shows how much momentum they were able to create.  The rules state that any part of the yolk can cross the line for the event to be considered "completed," so often competitors take advantage of this privilege by allowing the apparatus to slide forward just as they reach the line – a proven trick to ensure you "made it."

Maine StrongMan 6: Event #2


Sunday April 30th saw a return of The Beast, when Chris Noonan, Steve Cyr, Ryan Aruck and Tyler Rabin all competed, along with their resource mentor and teammate Seth Carbonneau, at the Maine StrongMan 6 in Augusta, MA.

The second event of the day was the descending deadlift during a 60 second time limit.  The bar begins 18" off the ground, and very time the bar is lifted a level is removed, causing the next lift start from a lower level than the previous.  

All the guys simply kicked ass in this event, with some heat firing up between Seth and Tyler, who both had to pull 450 lbs.  

Seth's remarkable form was literally the object lesson of the concept of "retrieval."  His ability to drop a little form and return to it for assistance made his lifts look not only effortless, but even poetic.  (As if the admiration didn't show by how many photos we took!) I'm bummed we couldn't find a video of it – it was the very epitome of skilled heavy lifting.

Ryan is clearly the King of Hitch Form, and pulled his 575 lbs. with all the fire he is known for.

Tyler's own hitch-form skills also came to his assistance as he snuck in one extra lift just before the time ran out.

Noonan and Steve-O both set PR's on this event as well.  Noonan had never lifted 500 lbs. ever in his life – from ANY height – so even if he did not finish this event, he proved that strength is not always about sheer bulk.  Meanwhile, Steve proved that graduated practice makes perfect, as he was finally able to use his hip thrust to his full advantage.  Pulling 450 lbs. for consecutive reps was more weight than he has ever pulled over 60 seconds.  (Way to finally get that gigantic ass DOWN, Steve.)

Maine StrongMan 6: Event #1

Sunday April 30th saw a return of The Beast, when Chris Noonan, Steve Cyr, Ryan Aruck and Tyler Rabin all competed, along with their resource mentor and teammate Seth Carbonneau, at the Maine StrongMan 6 in Augusta, MA.

The first event was the press medley, which consisted of four lifts: an axle bar, a log, a keg and a circus dumbell.  All competitors had to execute two lifts with each implement, but could do them in any order, to allow them to mix and match towards their strongest talents.  As with so many events in StrongMan, they had 60 seconds to attempt completing the event.

Watch the blog for updates as the Advancement Team competes tomorrow!

Watch the Advancement Team's team blog page tomorrow, Saturday the 30th of March 2013, for posts about The Next Level's showing at the annual Maine StrongMan 6 contest.


We have a team of four Next Level athletes competing, along with a few PhysiQademy friends and resources.  We'll try to post here any updates, photos and clips from the event, as close to real time as possible.

Seth Carbonneau (Advancement '13)returns to competition after healing a broken foot.  (He probably got it from kicking so much ass!)  He is the outstanding team leader in StrongMan and we're excited to see how he does.  He enters with a slight cold, but we're sure his performance will be stellar.

Chris Noonan's (The Beast, Advancement '13) second contest of the year, and he is hoping to continue his placing streak.  He has, as always, brushed up on his form and his focus for this event is astounding.

Steve Cyr (The BeastAdvancement '13) is has been prepping for this event since January, and his winter has seen a string of PR's - personal record after personal record fell before him on his way here.  He is playing the numbers game, trying to stay at the top of his novice heat.

Ryan Aruck (The Beast, Advancement '13) is a monster of a man, nearing 300 lbs, and all brute force.  He has been maxing out for several months, in anticipation for the outrageously heavy Heavyweight Class of competitors.  What this man can do is amazing.

Tyler Rabin (The Beast) is already a veteran even though one of the youngest at every competition.  He has already eclipsed his weights for this contest, and is going in as his usual bundle of fire and enthusiasm.

We're excited to share their work successes with you!  Check back often on Saturday March 30th!

How to Tan for Bodybuilding

This is a step by step instruction that I wrote out for a friend in Florida who is doing a bodybuilding show by himself and has no one with him the day of the contest. Either way, this tells you how to tan prior to the contest, and at the contest if need be.

Posted by: Stephen Cyr

My Tan Plan (how to tan for a bodybuilding contest)

Step 1: Get the products

Pro Tan
Muscle Juice
Jan Tana Ultra One (just get the cheap one)

You don’t need to actually buy the products from these very sites; these links are merely meant to show you what I used.

Step 2: How Much to Buy

2-4 Pro-tan

1 Muscle Juice

1 Jan Tana-One (if you don’t wanna spend the money you can do without this)

Step 3: When to put what on

So like 2 -3 days out start put on your first coat of pro-tan. Do it outside! Or lay down a tarp. Wear socks over your toe nails, and wear rubber gloves. This will stain your nails. You are gonna put this on starting as early ads 3 days out from the show, with the last coat potentially being the morning of the show.

The day of the show you should put on the Jantana-one. This will go on the day of the contest, in the morning, prior to the show, same rules for this with socks and gloves and tarp.

The muscle juice goes on like 20-30 mins before you go on stage. Lube yourself up.

Step 4: How to put this stuff on:

The pro-tan is kinda confusing. Read the instructions. If the top part doesn’t work just rip it off and spray it like it was hair spray. I would put on like 3-5 coats of this if you want to avoid using the jantana-one.

Don’t spray your face til your last coat, your face skin sucks this shit up. So you wanna get someone, mom, dad, girlfriend, boyfriend, to spray your whole body with this for each coat. Don’t worry about the runs in the tanner, it will drip everywhere and they give you a little brush to fix the streaks. Don’t worry about that. Make sure the person (victim) who is tanning you wears gloves, otherwise they will hate you for their oompa loompa orange hands.

This should literally take 10 mins. You have that person fully spray you, then get in full sweats and chill. That is it!!! Seriously. If you do this 4-5 times you will be nice and dark and evenly colored. And it will be good enough for your first show.

As for the muscle juice, just rub that shit on like oil, like Arnoldzzzzz didzzz.

As for jantana-one if you wanna do this, it is like a foam that you rub all over yourself. Honestly, if your gonna be a lone just avoid this. However, if you have someone there, they are going to rub this all over you, face included. Then again, get into your sweats and chill.


• If you have questions ask people there.

• The reason the dream tan won’t work is because you need to put it on right at the contest. And then you cannot put any clothes on. If you can have someone do it for you that is fine, but if you are alone at the contest it would be kinda impossible from my understanding.


The poster for the event. Click here to go to the informational PDF.

The poster for the event.
Click here to go to the informational PDF.

On the last Saturday in March, the 30th, a pack of Next Level athletes and alumni will be in Augusta Maine for the Maine StrongMan 6.  

Seth Carbonneau (Advancement '13), Chris Noonan (The Beast, Advancement '13), Stephen Cyr (The Beast, Advancement '13), Tyler Rabin (The Beast), Phil Biondo (The Beast, Advancement '13), Ryan Aruck (The Beast) and Nick Cambi (Wolfpack) will all be entered in one of the Next Level network's largest presence at a strength event along with other friends and resources.

If you are in the area, take an afternoon in Maine and come see some amazing work! This is the first "big event" of our Next Level competitive season, and we expect it to be a tremendously kick-ass day!

And the Fire Rises...

So today was my first day back doing strongman and it felt awesome. I know for me, time away from something leaves me hesitant to go back to it, in fear that I will have regressed and be disappointed in myself. But today went surprisingly well and I am super pumped for next Saturday already. What helps you guys get back on track? Does it take a good workout? A good mood? What do you find inspires you to challenge yourself again after time away from some skill or art. (doesn't have to be gym related)

Posted by: Stephen Cyr

Awesome Hybrid Athlete

This dude is a beast. I mean his achievements in both Strongman and Bodybuilding are just astounding. While there are no listed wins under bodybuilding, he is still shredded and def competed at a high level.

This just goes to show, steroids aside, that it is possible to be a world class athlete in multiple disciplines.

It can be done.
The gauntlet has been laid down.

First person to place 1st in both strongman and bodybuilding wins.

Posted by: Stephen Cyr


posted by Stephen Cyr

What Gets Me Going?

Inspiration. It's that little voice inside our heads that constructs the vision or the ideal we are striving for. It's like a stomach, and when properly fed and fueled it can help us push beyond what we believed ourselves to be capable of.

People always throw out diet and gym work as being the two major components of bodybuilding. With silly quotes like “it 90% diet bro,” or “bodybuilding breaks down 75% diet 25% effort.” (I'm sure everyone that subscribes to these numerical divisions has strong scientific support to back it up.)

But it's not the work nor the diet that gets you in the gym. There is no chicken or the egg debate in bodybuilding. Before the journey can begin there must first be inspiration.

Inspiration is not stagnant or singular; it evolves as we do: a subconscious coach that speaks to our inner most desires. Whether the inspiration drives your love for fitness, bodybuilding, strongman – or doing taxes.  Inspiration is an intangible well of resources that is rarely tapped in order to ascend whichever of life’s ladders you choose to climb.

So my point in all this is that while inspiration is unique to each of us, there might be a chance that by sharing what inspires us, may inspire the others on this team. So I am gonna go through what my favorite lead up to a workout is, and what gets me in the mood to train hard.

First off, I don’t like to eat within an hour of going to the gym. Getting a solid meal in before that hour period is usually the best. Something with both carbs and protein and low in fat. Once that hour hits my internal starts automatically telling me to start getting in the mood.

That mood starts with the clothes, putting on however many layers of gym rat clothes I own. Then the next thing is (if I have the time) to throw on some YouTube videos of bodybuilding, or famous speeches, or any sort of motivational thing. I let that play while I pack up my bag with my post workout protein, and whatever things I need for the gym.

As I watch the video and pack my stuff, I can feel my body waking up. I start to imagine the feeling of the gym; the enjoyment I am going to receive from the workout and the steps I will be taking on the timeline that I have laid before myself. As these external areas of interest move into focus, thoughts about the next contest, my current training plan, my current diet (or lack there of) all come into view.  

Yet along with all that I never lose track of recalling the base enjoyment I've always received from lifting. It is so strong sometimes I have to remind myself that I need a plan going in and that I can’t simply run in and throw some weight around without any sort of direction.

I train to maintain a balance between my frenzy and my plan. This doesn’t always work out perfectly; sometimes I don’t have time to do half or any of these things.

So what are some of the things that get you pumped for the gym? Is it the clothes you wear, the music you listen to (my favorite is Black Sabbath), the videos you watch or something you think about?

Lets share what inspires us and see if we can inspire one another.