Tag Archives: training

kettle bells

A Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit

CrossFit training is a type of exercise that can prepare you for any kind of physical that may come your way in life. And training talks about the activities that enhance performance by way of measurable organic difference in the body.

The training doesn’t make you an expert in a given skill; rather it makes you an upper hand in fitness as a whole. This makes you a better person, a better student, a better player at games, a better you!crossfit trainer

CrossFit is all about performing practical movements that are continuously changed at high speed. It is a principled strength and training program. It’s a program that is shaped to bring about adaptability and response as quick as possible. CrossFit, as explained earlier, is not a focused or specific exercise but an intentional effort at improving one’s physical fitness in all the ten basic and established training skills, also known as CrossFit’s First Fitness Model. Your fitness depends heavily on how competent you are in every single one of these ten skill areas. A program or routine should be developed for the training such that it will improve your fitness in each and every one of these ten skills. They are:

  • Respiratory/Cardiovascular Endurance: Running, random extended workout, rowing
  • Stamina: Movements and mixed speed and length of workout
  • Strength: Phased movement of weight using kettle bells, atlas stones, kegs, barbells, tires etc. and gymnastics of bodyweight such as push-ups, press-ups, handstands, rope climbing, pull-ups and dips on rings and bars
  • Flexibility: Mobility work, warm-ups, squats, with emphasis on accurate form in all movements
  • Power: Weighted sled pulling/pushing, power and Olympic lifting, box jumps, kipping pull-ups, ball slams, kettle bells, barbell speed workout
  • Speed: Brief, strong, gentle exercises, sprints
  • Coordination: Rope climbing, kipping pull-ups, Olympic lifting, wall balls, jump rope
  • Agility: Changing swiftly with ease from one movement to the other, jumping or hopping over objects, suicide sprinting
  • Balance: Power and Olympic lifting, planks, ring work, Turkish getups, hand-stands
  • Accuracy: Box jumps, jump rope, wall balls, bar hops and hurdles.

It is crucial to note the progress in stamina, flexibility, strength, and endurance that take place through training, which discusses the activities that enhance performance by way of measurable organic difference in the body.

In the other way, progress in agility, accuracy, balance and coordination occur by way of practice. Practice in the CrossFit model discusses activities that enhance performance via changes in the nervous system, while speed and power are combinations of both practice and training.

kettle bellsCrossFit’s second fitness model

Moving on to CrossFit’s Second Fitness Standard, the importance of this model is the belief that fitness is doing all right at every possible task. Imagine a hopper loaded with an endless number of physical challenges where there is no functional selective mechanism and you’re asked to do fetes that are drawn randomly from the hopper. This model implies that your ability to do well at these tasks compared with other persons is used to measure your fitness.

What this implies is that fitness needs the power to do well at all tasks, even unknown tasks or tasks that are joined in substantially changing combinations. In reality, this motivates the sportsperson not to bank on any set notions of exercises, sets, order of training, rest periods, reps and so on. The environment often present generally unexpected tasks so, train and prepare for that by struggling to keep your motivation broad and frequently varied.

CrossFit’s third fitness model

Three metabolic pathways exist that supply the energy for all human activities. They are called the glycolytic pathway, phosphagen pathway and the oxidative pathway. The first one, the glycolytic pathway controls average-powered activities that last like a couple of minutes. The second pathway, the phosphagen pathway, controls the highest-powered activities that don’t last more than about ten seconds. The last one, the oxidative pathway controls low-powered activities that last more than a couple of minutes.

The type of fitness that CrossFit supports and improves – total fitness, needs competency and training in all of these three pathways. Matching the result of these three pathways greatly decides the why and the how of the ‘cardio’ or metabolic training that is done in CrossFit.

Keeping out one or two and favoring the others and also not realizing the effect of undue training in the oxidative pathway are perhaps the two mistakes people make in fitness training almost always.

The drive for these three models is merely to make sure that the most extensive and most general fitness possible is performed. The first model assesses efforts against a complete range of physical changes, the second model concentrates on the depth and breadth of performance while the third model measures power, time and as a result, energy systems. Let it be understood that the type of fitness that CrossFit supports and improves is intentionally general, broad and inclusive. Focus should not be placed on specialization. The specialist is penalized in this type of fitness training. Varied sports, combat, and survival are the rewards of CrossFit.


carb cycle

Proper Training Routine for Carb Cyclying

by 3J, www.3jsdiet.com

OK guys, today we are going to talk about running a proper training routine for carb cycling. There are many different patterns that can be used in the philosophy of carb cycling. What we want to cover are the principles that one should follow in order to better understand how to set up a training routine that will be synergistic with the philosophy. I think people forget about synergism between their diet, training, and mental well-being. All three aspects are important. If your diet isn’t up to par you will not see results. If you’re not training well your results will be hindered. If you are not psychologically in the game and taking care of yourself in the heart and mind, it will likely affect your ability to stay with a protocol. Back to the subject at hand.

Let me lay out a carb cycling schedule is my favorite:

Monday – high day

Tuesday – medium day

Wednesday – low day

Thursday – high day

Friday – low day

Saturday – low day

Sunday – no carb day

Here is a quick sample of meal ideas for your low and  high carb days.

Here is a quick sample of meal ideas for your low and high carb days.

Lets take a look at this carb schedule. You have two high days, one medium day, 3 low days, and one no carb day. The best way to attach a training program to this schedule would be a 5 day split. Since your two lowest carb das are Saturday and Sunday those days should be rest days. I actually recommend 48 hours of rest uninterrupted. People forget that the body needs ample rest to grow.

Now, if we are doing a 5 days split that works one body part a day we have to decide what goes where. We have a chest, back, shoulder, leg, and arm day. Out of all those days, which days would you think need the most carbs? If you guessed back and leg day you are correct! So lets set up Monday as back day and Thursday as leg day. If you follow a little bit of common sense, the rest of the days fall right into place. Your 3rd neediest day of the week should be your chest day. Place your chest day on Tuesday. That leaves your shoulder day and arm day. I personally like to give my arms a break from all the secondary work it does in the beginning of the week. Placing your arm day on Friday gives it a break on Thursday due to it being a leg day. Wednesday gets the shoulders and Friday gets arms.

You can see how synergistic the carb cycle is with the training routine. You don’t need high carbs on shoulder and arm days because you are just working smaller muscles, what you get those days in terms of carbs suffice.

Here is the full program:

Monday – high day – Back

Tuesday – medium day – Chest

Wednesday – low day – Shoulders

Thursday – high day – Legs

Friday – low day – Arms

Saturday – low day – Rest

Sunday – no carb day – Rest










How To Properly Read Nutrition Facts

by 3J, www.3jsdiet.com

This article will teach you how to properly read nutrition facts.  Many people do not understand how to properly read nutrition facts, leading to miscalculated macros and total calorie count.

Serving size:usda-guide-to-nutrition-labels-ga-1

The first line under the Nutrition facts is the serving size.  The unit of measurement for a serving can be different based on the product, but most all nutrition facts will usually have a gram weight.

Amount Per Serving:

This is the amount of the macro and micro nutrients you will receive from the serving size.  In this case, the serving size is 172g.  Every time you eat 172g of the product, you get the nutritional value from the information listed below the amount per serving.


Here is where people get confused, remember that you get the number of calories, carbs, fats, etc. that are listed PER SERVING.  The serving amount her is 172g which is just a little over 6oz.  If you eat 12oz of the product then you are getting twice what is shown in the nutrition facts.  Thats twice the protein, twice the carbs, twice the fats, etc..

Total Fat:

Gives the total fat intake of each serving.  Do not be fooled by the 0 trans fat reading.  The FDA has strange requirements from companies that let them slip by with trans fats.  I have seen peanut butter that says 0 trans fats yet specifically has the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients.  If you see these words in the ingredients, know that your eating trans fats!


Gives the amount of cholesterol the product with provice


Sodium is simply salt.  Its the amount of salt in the product. Be weary of salt intake! You should be aiming for 2000-3000mg of salt daily.  Some foods have a very high salt content.  Soy sauce is a perfect example. Soy sauce can have 300-500mg of salt per tablespoon!

Total Carbohydrate:

Gives the total amount of carbohydrates that you will ingest per serving.  For those of you who are worried about “impact carbs” or carbs that will cause an insulin spike, pay attention to the dietary fiber listed under total carbohydrates.  Subtracting your total carb intake from the dietary fiber will give you your total “impact carbs.”  Sugars are listed to let you know how much sugar is in the product


Gives you the total protein intake per serving


The last two rows will give you the vitamins and minerals that you receive from the product.

So what are those percentages to the right of each value?

The FDA requires that nutrition facts are based upon a 2000 calorie diet, and that the percentage of the governments required daily amounts of each value be listed.


What are the side effects of steroids?

Section 4

drawing of hothead

Like all drugs, steroids have two types of effects on the body therapeutic effects and non-therapeutic effects.

Taking steroids is known to improve muscle strength and size and give a competitive edge to athletes who train with them. Users are usually impressed with the results of taking the drugs and with their slimmer, more-fit bodies. But there is a downside to taking steroids  side effects that can cause serious damage to many of the bodies functions.

Like all drugs, steroids have two types of effects on the body  therapeutic effects and non-therapeutic effects. Therapeutic effects of steroids are the desired effects of taking steroids  a leaner physic, larger and stronger muscles. Non-therapeutic effects are the unwanted side effects of steroids that can cause damage to the body. Anyone considering using steroids should learn about these side effects and their dangers because many of them can be irreversible, even fatal if the steroids are used improperly.

There are many precautions steroid users can take to minimize the side effects associated with steroid use. Proper dosage, the right physical training, a planned recovery and the use of certain supplements to counteract side effects can make steroid use safer and less harmful.

In fact, there is some debate to just how harmful steroids are when properly used. Most studies on steroids side effects were conducted at a time when users were unaware of their dangers and tended to take much larger amounts of the drugs than were needed and supplements to counteract the side effects weren’t yet developed. Also, the steroids themselves were not as advanced as ones available today. According to Jerald Bain of the University of Toronto, many of the side effects associated with steroids, like liver damage and heart problems, are related to the classical anabolic agents 17-alkylated steroids. He points out, however, that these steroids are not pure testosterone, the basis for steroids, and that increased levels of testosterone in the body show no signs of causing these harmful side effects, and may in fact be helpful to the body.

As the science of steroids improves, there may be a time when their use will be safe. But for now, their side effects should be looked upon with serious consideration before using any kind of steroid. The following are some of the known side effects of steroids:

Liver damage Steroids contain toxins that the liver cleanses from the body, which may lead to cysts or tumors.

Kidney damage Kidneys also help cleanse the body of toxins, and although it is rare, steroid use may lead to kidney damage.

Cardiovascular problems Steroids affect the cardiovascular system in many ways. Steroids can raise cholesterol levels in the body, which can lead to blocked arteries around the heart or blood clots throughout the body, including the brain. Also, steroid use can lead to cardiomyopathy where the heart muscle grows larger and weaker and is unable to pump blood throughout the body. Finally, steroid use can lead to high blood pressure, which is the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes.

Problems with the reproductive system Steroid use affect the reproductive systems of both men and women. In men, high doses of steroid lead to infertility while they are using steroids. Also, steroid use may cause men to develop female characteristics such as loss of body hair, decreased size of testicles and they may also develop larger breasts. In women, the use of steroids may lead to male characteristics like facial hair and loss of scalp hair. Steroids also alter a woman’s menstrual cycle and make them unable to become pregnant while using steroids.

Stunted skeletal growth Testosterone is the body’s chemical messenger that slows growth of bones during puberty. Adolescents who use steroids can seriously stunt their growth and become less developed than they would be without using steroids.

Skin problems The toxins in steroids when excreted through glands in the skin cause users to suffer from acne.

Psychological problems Steroid use can affect peoples moods in a variety of ways. Some users report a high from taking steroids, which is often followed by a low. Long-term use without the proper recovery plan can lead to serious depression. Also, many users report heightened feelings of aggression, a state that is now coined as roid rage.


Muscle Fiber Hypertrophy -vs- Hyperplasia

diagram of muscle-fiber

diagram of muscle-fiber


Hypertrophy refers to an increase in the size of the cell while hyperplasia refers to an increase in the number of cells or fibers. A single muscle cell is usually called a fiber.


If you look at a good marathon runner’s physique and compared him/her to a bodybuilder it becomes obvious that training specificity has a profound effect. We know that aerobic training results in an increase in mitochondrial volume/density, oxidative enzymes, and capillary density (27). Also, in some elite endurance athletes the trained muscle fibers may actually be smaller than those of a completely untrained person. Bodybuilders and other strength-power athletes, on the other hand, have much larger muscles (14,40). That’s their primary adaptation, their muscles get bigger! All the cellular machinery related to aerobic metabolism (i.e., mitochondria, oxidative enzymes, etc.) is not necessary for maximal gains in muscle force producing power, just more contractile protein. We know that this muscle mass increase is due primarily to fiber hypertrophy; that is the growth of individual fibers, but are their situations where muscles also respond by increasing fiber number?


Scientists have come up with all sorts of methods to study muscle growth in laboratory animals. You might wonder what relevance this has to humans. Keep in mind that some of the procedures which scientists perform on animals simply cannot be done on humans due to ethical and logistical reasons. So the more convincing data supporting hyperplasia emerges from animal studies. Some human studies have also suggested the occurence of muscle fiber hyperplasia. I’ll address those studies later.


This animal model was first used by Sola et al. (38) in 1973. In essence, you put a weight on one wing of a bird (usually a chicken or quail) and leave the other wing alone. By putting a weight on one wing (usually equal to 10% of the bird’s weight), a weight-induced stretch is imposed on the back muscles. The muscle which is usually examined is the anterior latissimus dorsi or ALD (unlike humans, birds have an anterior and posterior latissimus dorsi). Besides the expected observation that the individual fibers grew under this stress, Sola et al. found that this method of overload resulted in a 16% increase in ALD muscle fiber number. Since the work of Sola, numerous investigators have used this model (1,2,4-8,10,19,26,28,32,43,44). For example, Alway et al. (1) showed that 30 days of chronic stretch (i.e., 30 days with the weight on with NO REST) resulted in a 172% increase in ALD muscle mass and a 52-75% increase in muscle fiber number! Imagine if humans could grow that fast!

More recently, I performed a study using the same stretch model. In addition, I used a progressive overload scheme whereby the bird was initally loaded with a weight equal to 10% of the its weight followed by increments of 15%, 20%, 25%, and 35% of its weight (5). Each weight increment was interspersed with a 2 day rest. The total number of stretch days was 28. Using this approach produced the greatest gains in muscle mass EVER recorded in an animal or human model of tension-induced overload, up to a 334% increase in muscle mass with up to a 90% increase in fiber number (5,8)! That is pretty impressive training responsiveness for our feathered descendants of dinosaurs.

But you might ask yourself, what does hanging a weight on a bird have to do with humans who lift weights? So who cares if birds can increase muscle mass by over 300% and fiber number by 90%. Well, you’ve got a good point. Certainly, nobody out there (that I know of), hangs weights on their arms for 30 days straight or even 30 minutes for that matter. Maybe you should try it and see what happens. This could be a different albeit painful way to “train.” But actually the physiologically interesting point is that if presented with an appropriate stimulus, a muscle can produce more fibers! What is an appropriate stimulus? I think it is one that involves subjecting muscle fibers to high tension overload (enough to induce injury) followed by a regenerative period.


The stretch induced method is a rather artificial stimulus compared to normal muscle activity. What about “normal” muscular exercise? Several scientists have used either rats or cats performing “strength training” to study the role of muscle fiber hyperplasia in muscular growth (9,13,17,18,20-22,25,33,34,39,41,42). Dr. William Gonyea of UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas was the first to demonstrate exercised-induced muscle fiber hyperplasia using weight-lifting cats as the model (20,21,22). Cats were trained to perform a wrist flexion exercise with one forelimb against resistance in order to receive a food reward. The non-trained forelimb thus served as a control for comparison. Resistance was increased as the training period progressed. He found that in addition to hypertrophy, the forearm muscle (flexor carpi radialis) of these cats increased fiber number from 9-20%. After examining the training variables that predicted muscle hypertrophy the best, scientists from Dr. Gonyea’s laboratory found that lifting speed had the highest correlation to changes in muscle mass (i.e., cats which lifted the weight in a slow and deliberate manner made greater muscle mass gains than cats that lifted ballistically) (33).

Rats have also been used to study muscle growth (25,39,47). In a model developed by Japanese researchers (39), rats performed a squat exercise in response to an electrical stimulation. They found that fiber number in the plantaris muscle (a plantar flexor muscle on the posterior side of the leg) increased by 14%. Moreover, an interesting observation has been made in hypertrophied muscle which suggests the occurrence of muscle fiber hyperplasia (13, 17, 28, 47). Individual small fibers have been seen frequently in enlarged muscle. Initially, some researchers believed this to be a sign of muscle fiber atrophy. However, it doesn’t make any sense for muscle fibers to atrophy while the muscle as a whole hypertrophies. Instead, it seems more sensible to attribute this phenomenon to de novo formation of muscle fibers (i.e., these are newly made fibers). I believe this is another piece of evidence, albeit indirect, which supports the occurrence of muscle fiber hyperplasia.


The main problem with human studies to determine if muscle fiber hyperplasia contributes to muscle hypertrophy is the inability to make direct counts of human muscle fibers. Just the mere chore of counting hundreds of thousands of muscle fibers is enough to make one forget hopes of graduating! For instance, one study determined that the tibialis anterior muscle (on the front of the leg) contains approximately 160,000 fibers! Imagine counting 160,000 fibers (37), for just one muscle! The biceps brachii muscle likely contains 3 or 4 times that number!

So how do human studies come up with evidence for hyperplasia? Well, it’s arrived at in an indirect fashion. For instance, one study showed that elite bodybuilders and powerlifters had arm circumferences 27% greater than normal sedentary controls yet the size (i.e., cross-sectional area) of athlete’s muscle fibers (in the triceps brachii muscle) were not different than the control group (47). Nygaard and Neilsen (35) did a cross-sectional study in which they found that swimmers had smaller Type I and IIa fibers in the deltoid muscle when compared to controls despite the fact that the overall size of the deltoid muscle was greater. Larsson and Tesch (29) found that bodybuilders possessed thigh circumference measurements 19% greater than controls yet the average size of their muscle fibers were not different from the controls. Furthermore, Alway et al. (3) compared the biceps brachii muscle in elite male and female bodybuilders. These investigators showed that the cross-sectional area of the biceps muscle was correlated to both fiber area and number. Other studies, on the other hand, have demonstrated that bodybuilders have larger fibers instead of a greater number of fibers when compared to a control population (23,30,36). Some scientists have suggested that the reason many bodybuilders or other athletes have muscle fibers which are the same size (or smaller) versus untrained controls is due to a greater genetic endowment of muscle fibers. That is, they were born with more fibers. If that was true, then the intense training over years and decades performed by elite bodybuilders has produced at best average size fibers. That means, some bodybuilders were born with a bunch of below average size fibers and training enlarged them to average size. I don’t know about you, but I’d find that explanation rather tenuous. It would seem more plausible (and scientifically defensible) that the larger muscle mass seen in bodybuilders is due primarily to muscle fiber hypertrophy but also to fiber hyperplasia. So the question that needs to be asked is not whether muscle fiber hyperplasia occurs, but rather under what conditions does it occur. I believe the the scientific evidence shows clearly in animals, and indirectly in humans, that fiber number can increase. Does it occur in every situation where a muscle is enlarging? No. But can it contribute to muscle mass increases? Yes.