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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.


hydration and performance

Hydration and Amino Acids – Keys to Enhanced Performance

Hydration is perhaps the most important factor both for good health and to enhance performance in the gym and in sports – especially outdoor sports. Drinking enough water is especially crucial for athletes due to the kind of activities they perform, which tends to easily consume energy. As an athlete or a sportsperson, cautious observation of how much water you drink ensures you’re getting the sufficient hydration.

Importance of proper hydration

hydration and performance

Staying hydrated is key to enhanced performance in the gym.

Whether or not you are a full-time physical fitness trainer or athlete, it is vital to ensure you get the correct quantity of water prior to, during and after exercising. Water lubricates your joints, controls body temperature, and helps move nutrients through the body. In the event that you are not well hydrated, your system will not be able to perform at its peak, and you’re sure to encounter muscle cramps, fatigue, lightheadedness, or even some other more grave warning signs.

The right amount of water intake

There really aren’t ground rules set aside for the quantity of water one should drink during exercise, as everybody is not the same. Everyone’s body system is different. Also, heat, exercise intensity, rate of sweat production, and the duration of exercise are few of the elements that have to be put into consideration. An easy method of making sure you are keeping yourself well hydrated is to examine your urine. If the color of your urine is constantly light yellow or colorless, then you’re probably staying properly hydrated. But if the color of your urine is amber or dark yellow, then that’s an indication of dehydration.

Though everyone has a unique body system that differs in terms of the amount of water intake to stay well hydrated, the American Council on Fitness has recommended that people who engage in average to high intensity exercises should observe the following standards of water consumption:

  • Drink 17-20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before exercising
  • Drink 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up
  • Drink 7-10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise
  • Drink 8 ounces of water not more than 30 minutes after exercising

So try to stay properly hydrated this summer for enhanced performance and great outdoor fun.

Why water is significant

Our body depends on water for certain objectives such as removing contaminants and undue acid from the body, correct brain functioning, controlling body temperature, lubricating joints and moving nutrients to the cells, topping oxygen for use in the blood, breaking down fat among others. Also, water is necessary for people to function efficiently.

Proper hydration, especially when the weather is hot is very good because dehydration causes a drop in performance.

amino acids

Examples of some popular amino acid supplements.

Supplementing amino acids

It feels good to have it all – amazing performance, energy and explosive growth. Well, supplements are the key! The use of supplements is a vital part of building muscle and enhancing performance.

To have fun in summer you have to take advantage of supplementing amino acids to enhance your performance.

Since outdoor activities and athletic training are known to raise demands on the amino acid pool, it is therefore natural to want to boost the amino acid pool instead of letting it run dry and affect your performance. This is where amino acids supplement comes into play.

Dietary protein and some amino acids give possible remedial measures against the effects of poor performance. Adding amino acids supplements to a moderate carbohydrate diet has been shown to enhance the synthetic rate of glycogen and improve exercise performance after the first exercise period, as compared to just a moderate carbohydrate diet only.

Supplementing amino acids has also been reported to lower the decrements in bench press and squat performance. Also, the amino acid glutamine serves various functions that are of interest to a sportsperson or physical trainer like the formation of collagen and the secretion of growth hormone.

A number of athletes use amino acid supplements to avoid sickness, retain good health and make up for poor diet, though most of them use these supplements mainly to enhance physical performance, stamina or recovery after exercise.

One certain amino acid supplement that has been reported to enhance performance in outdoor exercises and outdoor activities is the one called beta-alanine. Beta-alanine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body and helps in holding up muscle fatigue and improving endurance. It is great for supplementing amino acids to enhance performance and outdoor summer fun.

Basic diet for cutting

spousal support diet

picture of spousal support diet

Here is a basic rundown of a diet to follow when cutting.  In the morning you want to have ½ cup of oats and 6-8 eggs whites.  For lunch, grilled chicken cooked on a George Foreman grill (or any fat separating grill) and ¾ cups of brown rice with broccoli on the side.  For your snack in the middle of the day you should have ½ cup of oats along with WPI Protein.  Dinner will consist of grilled chicken, string beans, and 1 sweet potato.  Remember, your dinner is your pre-workout meal.

Your post-workout meal will be a scoop of WPI with either a banana or an apple.  Then an hour before you go to sleep you will have ½ cup of cottage cheese and ¼ cup of almonds mixed into it.

It should be noted that using fish oil along with a sound nutritional plan is excellent for your health.  Consume water as much as possible throughout the day. Drink a glass of water with every meal, in between meals and after. It will help suppress appetite and water will keep your system hydrated. However, be sure not to drink too much before you go to bed or else you will find yourself waking up every two hours to use the bathroom.
I like to have some days where I substitute chicken with salmon or top round steaks. It’s good for a change. You have to remember that a cutting diet isn’t something everyone can do. Some will try and give up within a couple of weeks.  This diet is only a guide to follow to help set you on your path.

Diet tips for maintaining muscle mass

picture of muscle graph

muscle graph

If you are looking to lose weight, but want to retain your muscle mass, then you should think about doing the following:

First, in the morning you need to do cardio on an empty stomach.  This is ideal because your insulin levels are lowest, hormone sensitive lipase is fully active, and the fat cell releasing enzyme is dormant.  Make sure to keep your cardio session under 60 minutes because if you do it too long it will start to eat muscle tissue.

Next, it is very important not to eat carbs when you don’t need to.  This means that if you’re not about to workout, or just completed a workout, you don’t need carbohydrates.

Third, you don’t want to let yourself get hungry.  Lapses in your diet may occur due to the fact you’re hungry, so make sure you eat often to stay full even if its lots of veggies and water.  Also, when it comes to eating be careful not to eat large amounts of fat and carbohydrates together.  The carbohydrates will be absorbed first as energy and then the fat will be consumed as just that, fat.  Taking fish oils is a great way to increase your sensitivity to carbohydrates and will assist with fat loss.  When cutting fat you will be hungry when you go to bed so the best thing to do is to eat 1-1.5 cups of cottage cheese 30-60 minutes before bed.  This will give your body some slow digesting protein to breakdown and also it will have calcium, which can help you sleep.  Eat citrus fruits if you must eat fruits as they are acidic and raise insulin much less than most typical fruits with the exception of pineapple. Plus, they contain flavinoids such as naringin in oranges and grapefruit, which also help with fat loss by extending caffeine’s effects. Do not eat grapefruit with prescription meds as it will amplify its effects in most cases.

Maintain some form of weight training at least 3x a week.  If doing cardio for 45 minutes stops working for you then try doing 30 minutes of interval training.  Meaning you will go hard for a certain time then go easy for your “rest” period.  If you follow these rules you start cutting fat while keeping the majority of your muscle mass.


The Measure of Man’s Strength

No one asks another guy how much they can squat or deadlift, which is why the bench press is the median of measuring a man’s strength.

There are three styles to bench as well; they are the wide grip, narrow grip, and the reverse grip.  People with longer arms usually use the wide grip, people with shorter arms use the narrow grip, and finally the reverse grip in the last couple of years has been allowed to be used in competition.

Body placement is important when benching.  Make sure you extend your body on the bench and If you are able to try to arch your back as much as possible so it will lessen the distance the bar has to travel.  This will also allow the legs to drive your shoulders into the bench for more power.

Foot placement is important in powerlifting because any foot movement of your feet will negate the lift.  So just make sure your feet are flat and stationary on the floor.  If necessary you can put blocks or plates under your feet for more power and stability, just make sure you wont slip during your lift.

pictute of man participates in Amateur bench press championship in Professors GYM January 29, 2011 in Pecs, Hungary.

Hand placement is more of a personal preference than anything.  But unless you’re 100% certain of your grip when using a false grip then just stick with the regular grip.  A false grip is when your thumbs are behind the bar.  The bar placement is the movement of the bar, which is started from the vertical position with the elbows locked.  When lowering the bar, bring it to the bottom part of the pectoral area.  Then pause for a moment and push the bar back to the original starting position. Sometimes the lifter should move the bar at an angle or path that feels most natural.

The use of the bench press shirt will also help you get your bench press number up while preventing injury at the same time.

Periodization principles are the best for gaining strength and power in your bench press.  But if you are consistent with your lifting program and give 100% effort every time you hit the gym you will get the results you want with any program.  It is also very important to train your weak areas and make sure you always use good control when lifting.

steroid user

Beginner’s guide to strongman training

There is a huge difference between power-lifting competitions and Olympic lifting – strongman events are what you can call unconventional.  The reason for this is because depending on the promoter of the event there will be different types of lifts that need to be performed.  Granted, there are the usual tire flip, truck pull and atlas stone event but there are several events to choose from so if you want to train for a strongman competition you can’t train the same you would as a power-lifter or Olympic lifter.  Training with more than just the traditional barbell movements is very important.

What you have to realize is that training for a strongman competition is not an exact science.  Another important aspect that needs to be brought to light is the need for cardiovascular conditioning that is necessary to compete in strongman competitions.  The cardio conditioning used in strongman training can be seen as “power-cardio” because walking on a treadmill for 10 minutes is not the same as pulling a truck 60 feet.  The importance of functional strength is enormous because it is very different than lifts that are mainly done in the gym.  Functional strength requires power, stability, and also explosiveness throughout the entire body.
Sample Strongman Workout:
Day 1-
Deadlift from ground: 3 sets of 5 reps.
Deadlift partials (bar set 18” from ground): 2 sets of 5 reps, 2 sets of 2 reps
Stiff legged deadlifts: 3 set of 10 reps.
Leg Curls: 3 sets of 10 reps
Bent over rows: 3 sets of 10 reps. (straight bar for 2 hand) (kettlebells or dumbells for 1 handed)
Shoulder Shrugs: 3 set of 10 reps, 2 sets of 5 reps.
15 minutes of various ab crunches
Day 2-
Bench Press: 5 sets of 5 reps
Triceps extension: 5 sets of 10 reps (kettlebells can be used for seated of lying extensions)
Biceps curl (straight bar) 4 sets of 10 reps
Dips (weighted if you can) 6 sets of 10 reps
Power Cardio: Suggestions –farmer’s walk with dumbbells, Carry 100lb plates, carry and load sand bags
Day 3-
Day 4-
Squat or Leg Sled: 3 set of 10 reps, 4 sets of 5 reps
Leg Curl: 4 sets of 10 reps
Calf Raises: 5 sets of 20 reps
Power Cardio: Suggestions -carry and load sand bags, push or pull vehicles, stadium stairs carrying weight
Day 5-
Military Press: 3 set of 10 reps, 2 sets of 5 reps
Kettlebell Isometric Shoulder Exercises: front raise and hold, side raise and hold. These are great for training for the Crucifix Hold in Strongman
Power Cleans: 3 set of 10 reps, 2 sets of 5 reps
Full Pull with Kettlebell or One Armed Snatch with Dumbell: 3 sets of 10
15 minutes of ab work with a medicine ball
Day 6-
Build Endurance!
Big Power Cardio Day
Work with Strongman Implements you have or just find some heavy items and lay out a carrying medley

Wind Sprints at 80 percent effort
5 – 100 yards 5 – 50 yards (then add as you need)
This is great for building endurance and wind!

Day 7-
Suggestion: Get a massage on this day


Powerlifting 101: the 5×5 routine

When it comes to giving advice to beginners, the best advice is to stick to the basics.  There is a common misconception that there is a secret number of sets and reps that will produce the best results.  Low sets and low reps with little assistance work is common among top notch pro power lifters.  The simplest and effective method is the 5×5 routine.  The best thing about this program for beginners is that they are not jumping into a high intensity routine that may cause them injury because they don’t have the proper technique but they are learning the core lifts first. Simplicity is the key to this routine so that you focus on your form to avoid injury and eventually be able to do more advanced lift routines.  Here is an example of the 5×5 program:


Squats: 5 sets of 5 with the same weight. Start with a moderate weight and add 5-10 pounds every week.

Front squats or leg extensions: 3 sets of 8-10. Add 5-10 pounds every week for all sets.

Glute/Ham raises: 3 sets of 8-10. If you can not do 8 reps, do as many full reps as you can then do partials to finish.

Calves: 3-4 sets to failure. Use slow reps. Add 5 pounds per week for all sets.


Bench Press: 5 sets of 5 with the same weight. Start with a moderate weigth and add 5-10 pounds every week.

Flat Dumbbell Bench Press: 2 sets of 8-10. Try to increase the weight as often as possible. It is harder with dumbbells.

Close Grip Bench press: 3 sets of 5. This is a core lift. Add 5-10 pounds every week.

Tricep Pushdowns: 2 sets of 10. Add weight every week. When you can do the stack for every set do weighted dips.


Deadlifts: 5 sets of 5 with the same weight. Start with a moderate weigth and add 5-10 pounds every week.

Barbell Rows: 3 sets of 6-8 reps. Try to add weight every week though it wont always be possible. Strive to make personal records.

Reverse hyperextensions/hyperextensions: 3 sets of 10-15 reps. These are for rehab and preventitive strengthening of the lower back (use a lighter weight for this exercise).

Barbell Curls: 5 sets of 5 reps. Start with a moderate weight and add 5 pounds every week.


Techniques to help develop strength from bench presses

It is very important to remember when working on your bench press, that you warm up properly.  The majority of lifters just throw some plates on and do some half reps before starting on their routine – this is a very counter-productive approach to bodybuilding.

The best way to get stronger at the top of your lifts is to practice locking out and holding the weight between each rep.  Doing this will greatly improve your stability, holding strength and control.  This will also increase your ability to place the bar in the proper groove with a bench shirt on.

The use of boards will also help develop your upper end strength.  You should start out with 5 and 6 boards, during the lift bring the bar low towards your stomach with your elbows in and let the weight sink into the board while you relax your arms and shoulders.  Then you want to push up back into the starting position and hold for 2-4 seconds on every rep and repeat.

Rack work should be limited to 2 to 4 inches max depending on your body and arm length. You should be locking out somewhere in the neighborhood of your shirt bench.  The perfect execution of the lockout is pivotal.  Your arms should be straight out to your sides, your elbows should not be tucked in and the bar should be at upper chest shoulder level.  What you want to do now is called an exaggerated extension.  This is when the bar is pushed beyond your comfortable lock-out.  You try to hyper extend your elbow, this position is held for 3-5 seconds on every rep.  When releasing the bar there is to be no negative resistance, which means that you in a sense let the bar drop instead of bringing it down slowly.

This work-out is a typical work-out day:

Close grip bench press
6 sets working up to a 3RM

6 Board press
6-8 sets working up to a 3RM

5 Board press
6-8 sets working up to a 3RM

Shirt bench
6 -15 sets or as many as needed

Rack lock-outs
6-8 sets working up to a 3 RM

Note: It is very important to hold weight in the starting position and the lock-out position, for extended periods of time (approx. 3-5 seconds), of every rep of every set.



The superiority of the Sumo deadlift

Although there have been debates on the differences between the conventional and sumo deadlift techniques, several studies have shown there is no significant difference in the compressive disc forces at the L4 or L5 vertebrae between both techniques.

But that’s not to mean that the debate between the two styles isn’t without some merit. Another study has demonstrated that the erectors were twice as active in the conventional stance than in the sumo. Also, several reports from bodybuilder surveys have stated that the sumo technique is much more technical and requires more skill than the conventional one.  Bodybuilders also report that the sumo technique is more biomechanical and more efficient because the bar doesn’t have to travel as far.  The reason for this is because the trunk angle of the lifter is a lot closer to vertical than the conventional lifter.  In turn, this shifts the bulk of the load on the hips and knees unlike the conventional lifter where the weight is more focused on the lower back muscles.

All in all the pros of using the sumo technique over the conventional technique is that you have a greater range of knee extension at the bottom of the lift, your posture is in a more upright position, the distance the weight must be moved is reduced, and the bar path is kept closer to the body so it makes the lift is more efficient.

workout, cycle, stack

Bulldozer Weight Training System Basics

The bulldozer weight training system is based on a mixture of doggcrapp training, max-stimulation, and heavy-duty training.  In Doggcrapp training, the key focus is performing 3 sets to failure with a certain weight.  The max-stimulation training focuses on performing single reps with just enough weight so you can perform another rep.  And lastly, the heavy-duty training system was designed for high intensity lifting, which is often beyond failure.

The bulldozer system consists of training splits that focus on 20 rep rest-pause sets.  The important thing when performing your sets is that you choose a weight that you can do 8-10 reps of.  The way to perform these sets is to do as many reps as you can without training to failure, then rack the weight and take 10-15 deep breaths and repeat until you hit a total of 20 total reps for that set.  Another key component of this system is the weight progression.  If you are not getting stronger it is a lot harder to gain muscle.  When you are able to perform 20 total reps for a set in 5 mini sets or less, then it is time to move up in weight.  Here is a recommended mini set guideline of progression:

  • Chest. 5 mini-sets for non-pressing movements. For Bench Press, Incline Press, etc, 6 mini-sets.
  • Shoulders. 5 mini-sets for non-pressing movements. For barbell and dumbbell overhead press, etc, 6 mini-sets.
  • Triceps. 5 mini-sets.
  • Back. 5 mini-sets. (See Deadlift note below)
  • Biceps. 5 mini-sets.
  • Traps. 5 mini-sets.
  • Forearms. 5 mini-sets.
  • Quads. 5 mini-sets. (See Squat note below)
  • Hamstrings. 5 mini-sets.
  • Calves. 5 mini-sets. (See note below)
  • Abs. Work abs as you please. See note below.

Also, here is an example workout routine:

  • Day 1. Legs. Squats using HHLL, Leg Extensions (Bulldozer 20 rep), Hamstring Curls or RDLs (Bulldozer 20 rep)
  • Day 2. Arms. 2 working 20 rep Bulldozer sets of 2 exercises for both triceps and biceps.
  • Day 3. Off.
  • Day 4. Back. Deadlift, 10 rep rest-paused singles, followed by DB Rows (Bulldozer 20 rep) and T-Bar Rows (Bulldozer 20 rep).
  • Day 5. Chest. Bench Press (Bulldozer 20 rep), followed by two addition chest exercises (Bulldozer 20 rep).
  • Day 6. Off.

Day 7. Shoulders. 2 heavy weight, non-Bulldozer sets of Overhead Barbell Presses, followed by Side Laterals (Bulldozer 20 rep), Upright Rows (Bulldozer 20 rep), and then (again) Overhead


A case for cardio in the morning

picture of womans abs

There is a strong case that says fasted morning cardio has a possible advantage in the quest to get lean.

Bodybuilders have seen morning cardio burn as a true fat loss technique, but there was never a unanimous agreement about its effectiveness, especially in the scientific community.

The time of your cardio is not important to fat loss.  There is a strong case that says fasted morning cardio has a possible advantage in the quest to get lean.  The main arguments for the morning fast is that when you wake up from an 8-12 hour fast, your body’s supply of glycogen is low, so doing cardio will cause your body to use more fat because there is less glycogen in your body.  They also say that eating causes a release of insulin that interferes with the movement of body fat, therefore in the morning there is less insulin so more body fat will be burned during cardio.  It was also said that when doing cardio in the morning your metabolism stays elevated after the workout is over which is called the after burn.

There has been research done at Kansas State University that proves that fat is burned sooner when exercise is done when you are in a fasted state in the morning.  Despite the facts that were just laid down, there are still doctors out there that can discredit this research saying that there is always studies that support every theory.  There are some doctors that say it doesn’t matter if you workout on an empty stomach or not because your body stores fat in different places.

In terms of real world fat loss, Chris Aceto is a successful bodybuilder and nutritionist to some of the top pro body builders in the world and he believes that morning cardio is the best way to go.  Even though this topic raises a lot of controversy here are some more benefits that can be gained is that you feel great all day by releasing endorphins and from this it energizes you.  It also may help regulate your appetite for the rest of the day and also that it increases your metabolic rate for hours after your workout session is over.  The most praised benefit from morning cardio is the rise in your metabolism because it effects the “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption” or EPOC as some doctors call it.

After a low intensity workout the amount of EPOC is so small that the impact on fat loss doesn’t matter.  The point of this is that a slow walk on the treadmill will do nothing to increase your metabolism.

The best way to increase your EPOC is to increase the intensity of your workout.  There has been a study that shown that the effects of a high intensity workout will add a lot to your day’s calorie usage.  Of course weight training has a much higher magnitude of EPOC then aerobic training.  The common concern about doing cardio in the fasted state is that if it is done at a high intensity there is the possibility of losing muscle.  But don’t worry, there are ways to avoid losing muscle and the best way to do that is to not over do your aerobics.

Another way is to avoid doing cardio on an empty stomach for more than 30 minutes.  Next you need to give your body the right nutritional support.  The loss of muscle probably has more to do with a bad diet than excessive cardio.  Just make sure you get the nutrients to sustain yourself for the rest of the day.

Thirdly, you should keep on training with heavy weights even if you’re in a fat loss phase.   The notion that if you do high reps and low weights will help you get more cut is a mistake.  One strategy that is used my body builders is to drink a protein shake or eat a protein only meal 30-60 minutes before working out in the morning.  The reason for this is that protein without the carbohydrates will minimize the insulin response and allow your body to use fat while providing amino acids to prevent muscle breakdown.

In conclusion it looks like that morning cardio has enough benefits to motivate people to set their alarms early.


Debunking popular myths about exercise

picture of big man eating high carb foods

One of the myths is that if you exercise longer at a lower intensity you will burn more fat.

Although some old fitness fictions, such as “no pain, no gain” and “spot reducing” are fading fast, plenty of popular exercise misconceptions still exist. Here are some of the most common myths as well as the not-so-common facts based on current exercise research.

One of the myths is that if you exercise longer at a lower intensity you will burn more fat.  But the thing that is most important when you exercise is not the percentage of exercise but rather the total energy burned up.  So if you were to walk, step, or run at a high intensity you will burn more calories, but it is difficult to keep that pace.  The safe thing to do is to start at a low intensity and gradually build from there throughout your workout.

The next myth is that if you don’t workout hard and often exercise is a waste of time.  On the contrary there is a lot of research that shows that any kind of exercise is better than no exercise what so ever.  Even something as small as a walk for an hour a week will reduce the risk of heart disease.

Another myth is that if you exercise long and hard enough you will always get the results you want but in reality genetics plays a huge role in the changes that each individual sees from exercise.  So 2 people were on the same exercise program one person may see results faster than the other because each persons strength, speed, and endurance development is different.

Another one is that exercise is one sure way to lose all the weight you desire, and also that there are many facts that come into weight loss like diet and importantly genetics.  It is possible to be active and overweight, so even though exercise doesn’t guarantee weight loss regular activity is still important when it comes to long-term weight management.

My favorite myth is that if you want to lose weight you should stay away from strength training, but the thing is that you should use both cardio and strength training to have a healthy weight.  The thing about weight training is that it helps maintain muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage.

Another myth is that water fitness is just for older people or people that have injuries, but actually water fitness is really hard and intense and is good for improving fitness and losing weight.

Deeming exercises like tai chi and yoga as questionable is another myth.  The truth is that these exercises have shown to help treat lower back pain and also improve flexibility, balance, coordination, posture, strength, and help manage stress.

Overweight people are unlikely to benefit much from exercise is another common myth but people that are over weight that have a regular exercise program have a lower risk of mortality than other individuals.  Men and women of all sizes and fitness levels can improve their health with a modest increase in their activity.

The last myth is that home workouts are fine, but going to a gym is a better way to get fit.  There has been research that shows that some people are more comfortable and find it easier to stick to a home-based fitness program.  The most important thing for exercise programs is to find a program that you will be able to stick to and do on a daily basis.


Using chains when doing squats

picture of fit man and woman

Create your own spreadsheet for your training cycle to help with the speed of your workout.

When doing squats it is a very effective training tool to use suspended chains.  The way to set up is to hang two 8 foot chains over the mono-lift.  Each chain should be in line with the grip rings and half the chain should be on each side of the bar so the bar tracks between each side.

On a dynamic lift day use the chain squats as a substitute or to replace box squats.  Lifters that have lower back or disc issues will find suspended chain squats a safe and also less painful alternative because they eliminate compression on the disc that box squats may cause.  The chain height can be adjusted to any height that follows your current training protocol.  You also have to remember that as the weights get heavier, your squat depth will change due to spinal compression.  Now that you have experimented with the set up and feel of the type of resistance that you would normally use with chains you should use the same rep scheme as well as a slight to moderate pause when using chains.

Chain squats can be used to create a speed or strength phase for implementation on dynamic or max effort day.  Using the set-up listed above, create your own wave or use the one we use regularly at points in our training cycle as a replacement for dynamic days.

Example workout:

Week 1: 35%, bar weight plus a pair of heavy bands plus the following chain weight added on; all performed for two reps per set.

Set 1–3: pair ½” link chains

Set 2–4: pair ½” link chains

Set 3–6: pair ½” link chains

Set 4–8: pair ½” link chains

Sets 5–10: pair ½” link chains

Week 2: 35%, bar weight plus a pair of heavy bands and a pair of average bands plus the same chain weight as week one

Week 3: 35%, bar weight plus two pair of heavy bands with the same chain weight as weeks one and two

Week 4: deload, 45%, bar weight plus the following chain weight only

Sets 1–4: five pair ½” link chains

Sets 5–8: 10 pair ½” link chains

Use chain squats for max effort day by creating a 4–16 week training cycle based on a peak at the end of the cycle for your target meet. All squats are done at 6 inches and 4 inches above parallel in briefs only (belt optional). All squats are done at 2 inches above parallel with briefs, a suit and your belt. All reps performed at parallel should be done in full gear with knee wraps, and all squats performed free of chains should be done in full gear with knee wraps and a trusted team member to judge depth. The following is only a guide. The percentages are based on a target max for your training cycle, and the weights may need to be adjusted at some point. Create your own spreadsheet for your training cycle to help with the speed of your workout.

Bodybuilders are NOT mostly gay men

Myths about bodybuilding and bodybuilders

picture of fit bodies

Bodybuilders are NOT mostly gay men

There will always be myths about bodybuilding but like most myths they are 9 parts fantasy and 1 part truth.  These are just 8 of the most common myths:

Myth 1: Your muscles will turn to fat the soon as you stop working

There is no physiological mechanism by which muscles magically convert to fat when one stops working out for some reason. What happens, however, is that many of the gains in muscle mass will be lost from the lack of stimulation.  So what you have is often a loss of muscle and an increase in body fat due to lack of exercise coupled with excess calories.

Myth 2: Pros eat clean all year round

This myth can be blamed on the bodybuilding publications of who want the readers to think their heroes eat low fat healthy “clean” foods year round. This has often led to newbie types attempting to get all the calories they require for growth from baked chicken, rice, and vegetables. Of course getting – say – 4000 plus calories (or more) from such foods is virtually impossible. The reality of it is that bodybuilders during their off season eat pizza, cheeseburgers, and other junk food. Big people require plenty of calories and calorie-dense foods are the only way to get them. Now I can’t comment on every pro’s diet as I don’t know them all, and I am sure some of them have cleaner diets then others off-season.

Myth 3: Bodybuilders are not strong

Only people who have never stepped into a gym make such stupid statements.  There are people using weights that had to be seen to be believed: 600lb front squats for reps, incline bench presses with 500lbs for reps, and seated presses with 400lbs for reps, etc. No, not all bodybuilders are nearly that strong, but any bodybuilder worth his salt is still considerably stronger then the average person. Some bodybuilders compete in both power lifting and bodybuilding and often do well in both.

Myth 4: Bodybuilders are all gay

As with the last myth, this one does not warrant much space. It’s my experience the bodybuilding community is gay as often as the general public. No more, no less, and how much muscle a person has does not seem to affect the rate one way or another.

Myth 5: Anyone can look like a pro bodybuilder if they take enough drugs

If this were true, people in gyms all over the world would look like pro bodybuilders. The major difference between a high level bodybuilder and everyone else is their genetics, the one thing they have no control over. Yes, drug use is a fact of life in bodybuilding and many other sports, and yes, nutrition and training play a role; but if you don’t have the genes for it, all the steroids in the world won’t get you anywhere.

Myth 6: Bodybuilders are all Narcissistic

Well OK, this one has a ring of truth to it. Truth be known, bodybuilders can be some of the most narcissistic people you will ever meet, but they are not all that way. Some are humble, down-to-Earth people, but let’s be honest, some narcissism is necessary for the course in bodybuilding.

Myth 7: Bodybuilders have small penises and they try to make up for that with big muscles

Clearly, this one is directed at the male bodybuilders. It’s the same as men in general some are big, some small, while most are in the middle or “normal.” One argument can be made is that a big guy with a normal-sized member will look smaller then a skinny guy with a normal sized member. It’s all in the proportions.

Myth 8: I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to get huge

Women, more often then men usually state this. It’s just an excuse for people not to exercise. As discussed above, very few people have the genetics to achieve even above normal levels of muscle mass. It’s not like anyone ever woke up one day bulging with muscles they didn’t expect. And if you are one of those rare people who put on muscle relatively easily consider yourself lucky.