Here is how I got into the shape that I am. You can do it too!
- No matter what your diet or supplement, if you do not weight train your muscles will not grow.
- No matter how many days you are able to workout - doing something is better than nothing!
- You must rest to grow. Allow each muscle group a minimum of 48 hours (2 full days) rest to fully recover before exercising it again.
- Realize that everybody is different, what works for someone might not work for you. However, it has been shown that muscles generally respond to some stimuli better than others.
For hypertrophy (muscle growth) do:
- 2-3 exercises per body part
- 3-4 sets per exercise (excluding warm-up)
- 8-12 repetitions (reps) per set
- When selecting the amount of weight, a good rule of thumb to remember is that if you can do more than 12 reps per set, you need more weight. If you can't do at least 8 reps - correctly - you need less weight. Your workout should not be a strongman contest! Be patient, your muscles will grow.
- I believe way too much hype and glitter have been put on the words "super-set", "pyramiding", etc. I will now reiterate the previous point: lift the weight you can lift. When you begin your workout for the day, you will be fresh and able to lift more than you will at the end of your workout - so lift it!
- You're workout routine should be just that, routine. Now, to immediately condradict myself, your workouts should also be variable and include interchangeable exercises. The routine part will help prevent injury and, when done properly, will make your workouts more efficient and effective. The variable is good because it prevents your body from adapting. It also allows you to keep moving in today's crowded weight rooms!
- Most technical/difficult exercises (those that require a great deal of concentration such as power cleans)
- Multi-joint exercises (those that invlolve the largest or most muscle groups. Ex: squats, bench press)
- Isolation exercises (Ex: curls, leg extensions)
- Isolation exercises for supporter muscles (Ex: calves, forearms)
- Abs last (the abs support and stabilize your body throughout the other exercises. Prefatigue could result in a rupture or hernia.)
- Remember that about 70% of the work done in a repetition is done on the negative or eccentric part of the exercise. Therefore, slowly lower the weight and lift it swiftly, flexing hard at the peak contraction.
- Rest between sets and exercises. The amount of time should not be specific. Rest long enough for you for you to be able to complete another set but not so long that you cool off and lose your pump.
- Stretch after exercising. Stretching a cold muscle could cause a strain or injury. Stretching after an exercise actually helps blood circulation. This will help with the removal of lactic acid (the stuff that makes your muscles "burn") and other wastes and the replacement of oxygen and energy.
|Could You Clarify Some Of These Points?|
Q: Roughly, how much protein is there in, say, 1/4 pound of chicken breast, or of tinned tuna, or of steak, or of ham, or of turkey, trout, salmon, etc.; same question with peanuts and nuts in general. (Cause, like you, I don't like to do the maths, but I'd love to have an approximate idea!)
A: I am going to assume you are not in the USA, because if you were, you would see the "Nutrition Facts" label on every food product. Let's see ... on the tuna they say there is 13 grams of protein per serving and 2.5 serving in the little tin. I don't have the other products here with me to look them up (since I eat in the military mess hall). However, I know you can purchase a little book from Amazon that lists, in tables, the protein for just about every edible thing. You can also find them all here at Bodybuilding.com in their Nutrient Database!
Q: It would be useful to have an idea of what the "typical length of rest" is: is it more like 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 1 minute? (I always worry that I may wait too long before the next set: it's not clear what "losing the pump" really feels like ...)
A: Hmm, to get you going, try for 30 seconds up to a full minute between sets. However, with squats, for example, I may need an extra minute (or two!) to adequatley recover and keep from puking. With experience you will see what I mean by "pump".
Q: I always stretch at the end of a work-out as a manner of "cooling down". But I also tend to stretch before the workout, after some warming-up. What's the view on that? If (carefully) stretching beforehand is really of no use, then I can ditch that ...
A: In regard to the importance of stretching I always use this question: Does a lion stretch before it attacks? The answer is no. Studies have shown that stretching before exercise can actually cause harm by relaxing the muscles so much they become weak and subject to injury. HOWEVER, you MUST WARM-UP by doing a few easy sets prior to any heavy lifting. (I say that to keep from being sued.) A warm-up will pump blood and oxygen to the muscles readying them.
|What's Your Exact Workout?|
Q: You must be in the gym everyday all day! What is your workout like?
A: I am in the gym all the time. I have my mail and phone calls forwarded there and they have a cot set up for me by the squat rack. NOT! No, I am in and out in under 2 hours, and that includes 30 minutes of cardio. As I pointed out in Biff Basics #3 above, your muscles need time to recover. The muscles grow not in the gym but while you rest, so I include a lot of rest days! Well, enuff of me babbling on, look for yourself. Here is my full workout program:
|Back||Lower Back||Â ||Back||Lower Back||Â ||Â |
|Thighs||Upper Arms||Â ||Thighs||Upper Arms||Â ||Â |
|Calves||Forearms||Â ||Calves||Forearms||Â ||Â |
REPS AND SETS: Unless otherwise specified, a good rule of thumb for sets and reps is 3-to-4 sets of 8-to-12 repetitions for upper body and 10-15 repetitions for lower body.
Workout #1: Monday/Thursday
Bench Press 3 X 8-12 - View
Incline Press 3 X 8-12 - View
Pullovers 3 X 8-12 - View
Bent-Over Rows 3 X 8-12 - View
Chin-Ups (do as many as you can at a time until you reach a total of 50 reps) - View
Deadlifts 3 sets of 10, 6, 4 reps to failure - View
Squats 3 X 10-15 - View
Lunges 3 X 10-15 - View
Leg Curls 3 X 10-15 - View
Standing Calf Raises 5 X 15 - View
Crunches 5 X 25 - View
View A Printable Log Of Workout #2!
Workout #2: Tuesday/Friday
Barbell Clean and Press 3 X 8-12 - View
Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises 3 X 8-12 - View
Heavy Upright Rows 3 sets of 10, 6, 4 reps to failure - View
Push Presses 3 sets of 6, 4, 2 reps to failure - View
Straight-Leg Deadlifts 3 sets of 10, 6, 4 reps to failure - View
Good Mornings 3 sets of 10, 6, 4 reps to failure - View
Note: Although these power movements work the lower back directly, they also involve the trapezius and the leg biceps, and help to develop overall strength.
Standing Barbell Curls 3 X 8-12 - View
Seated Alternating Dumbbell Curls 3 X 8-12 - View
Close-Grip Tricep Press 3 X 8-12 - View
Standing Reverse Cable Extensions 3 X 8-12 - View
Wrist Curls 3 X 8-12 - View
Reverse Wrist Curls 3 X 8-12 - View
Reverse Crunches 5 X 25 reps - View
View A Printable Log Of Workout #2!
- You should always stretch and warm up prior to any weight training session
- Most technical exercises first. Example: Clean & Press
- Core exercises for the largest muscles. Example: Squat, Bench Press
- Muscle specific exercises. Example: Wrist Curls, Calf Raises
- Abdominals should be performed last in order to maintain your core
Q: What can I eat to look like you? Can I eat spaghetti?
A: Mmm! I love spaghetti! Lots of protein-rich foods such as chicken, tuna, steak, nuts, eggs, etc. Be sure to avoid the grossly fattening foods - you know what I'm talking about ... the candy, cookies, potato chips, etc. You also know what's decent food and what isn't. Increase your water intake to a gallon a day. Carry a bottle of water with you to your classes and work!
Q: What about milk? I drink 2% - that's what my mom buys ...
A: Certainly don't want to go against mom, however, skim milk is best. If you have a hard time with the taste work your way down to it by going from 2% to 1% and then the skim. Don't worry, my mom buys 2% as well!
Q: How MUCH should I eat? I read that eating ALOT is good?
A: Eating is good! As long as you eat clean foods (by clean I mean good, healthy stuff) you can eat all day. Spreading your food through 5-7 meals a day helps increase your metabolism and provides better processing of your food. I don't really like to do math, especially calorie counting! However one figure you do need to watch if you want to add muscle - the protein! Make sure you get in at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. I recommend 1.5 - 2 grams per pound of bodyweight per day for optimal results. Yeah, it's tough! Everywhere I go I pack a protein shake or bar, cans of tuna, or slabs of chicken breast.
|What Supplements Do You Take?|
Q: Boy, you must be popping every supplement they sell and then using steroids to top it all off!?
A: WHOA! I am 100% natural which means NO STEROIDS or other illegal drugs! However, due to the limitations of my diet I find it best to supplement good, wholesome food with naturally occuring vitamins and minerals. This is what I take in over and above my six square meals a day to aid in muscle building and workout recovery as well as general health:
Occasionaly, during the spring and summer "shirtless season" months, and especially prior to a contest, I may supplement with a fat-burner such as:
Also, in the weeks prior to a bodybuilding show I will change up the supplementation program, as well as my workouts, to help my skin get as thin as possiblle and my muscles as large and full as possible.
|Are Good Genes Necessary?|
Q: Man, you must have some really good genetics! I don't think I do ... I'll probably be like this forever.
A: It never ceases to amaze me how many people give up before they even get going! True, genetics certainly can help out, but you need to focus on the root goal - self-improvement! Most folks will never be Mr. Olympia, but they can lose a few pounds and get the abs to show or fit back into those pants! I believe that if you work hard and do everything you're supposed to do, you will receive the benefits. The benefits might not be as obvious as huge muscles, but they might help you OVERCOME your genetic predisposition to heart disease, etc.
|What Can I Do About Stretch Marks?|
Q: I got some mean ass stretch marks on my pecs - what the hell am I supposed to do about that? Is that good or bad? Do you have them?
A: Yes, as a matter of fact, I do have some stretch marks. In fact, I don't know any bodybuilder that doesn't have them! They are scars that form as the skin gets too tight over the growing muscles beneath it. They are permanent scars and will not go away, so that's bad, but the sudden growth that they indicate is good! That means you're putting on some serious size in a relatively short amount of time. So, to minimize the scarring I use "Udderly Smooth" lotion everyday around my armpits and any other areas (like the back of my thighs) that tend to stretch. Who doesn't want blemish free skin?
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