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Train Like A Champ!

In order to maximize growth, you must be consistent. You must be willing to make sacrifices and also put up with criticism from others.

By: David Knowles

The number one goal in the off season is undoubtedly to put on as much muscle as possible. I think that the perfect way to accomplish this is through a combination of intense training, proper dieting, sufficient recovery time, and strategic supplementation. In order to maximize growth, you must be consistent.

You must be willing to make sacrifices and also put up with criticism from others. You would be surprised to see how much others are concerned with something that doesn't concern them. Don't worry about the distractions, just concentrate on staying focused.


Intense Training

When I say intense, I don't mean to sacrifice form in order to do the most weight that you can physically hold for a set, or doing endless reps with light weight. Training with maximum intensity entails forced reps with heavy weight and strict form. Avoid using weight that you cannot control.

What I usually do is try one set with a weight that I can do about ten to twelve clean reps with in order to gauge my strength. Keep in mind that this weight should feel heavy, I mean it should be a challenge to make it through the set. It probably wouldn't hurt if this "warm-up" included one or two forced reps.

Next, rest long enough to catch your breath, pick a heavier weight for your next set, and then go to work. One or two sets should be plenty, if you can do three sets with the same weight for the same amount of reps, you need to increase your weight.

Once you get deeper into your workout, you will probably be able to skip that initial warm-up set and jump straight into your work set. This set should really hurt. If you doing about four or five forced reps with correct form, you're doing well.

Avoid pausing between and resting between reps. Your spotter is there to help you if you need it, so don't sacrifice quality for quantity. Push through the pain until you can no longer feel your working muscle, and then try for another rep.

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As for the number of exercises per body part goes, I usually limit myself to between four and six exercises. Honestly, I physically cannot do more than this. Training with this kind of intensity is as brutal physically as it is mentally.


Proper Dieting

There is not much to say about proper dieting. However, do not be a fool and underestimate the effects of a poor diet. In the off season, I aim for forty to fifty grams of protein, seventy to eighty grams of carbohydrates, and ten to twenty grams of fat per meal. I try to eat a good amount of vegetables every meal, about a bowl full of some type of raw or cooked vegetable.

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My target number for meals per day is five. Sometimes I eat only four, and other times I eat as many as six meals, depending on how long I am awake. Keep in mind that in the off season, I weigh around 200-205 pounds, so try and figure out from that how much you should be eating.

Also, if you are younger (14-19), you can probably eat more than this since your body is growing at faster rates than mine. If you can eat more, then do so, remember, it is the off season, a little bit of fat won't hurt.

It is possible to eat too much, even when the food that you take in is healthy. Like I've said in my previous article, excess food intake, healthy or not, gets stored as fat all the same. To avoid this, try eating "nutrient dense" foods.

These are foods that have high amounts of nutrients per weight, such as chicken for protein, and rice/pasta for carbohydrates. Try to eat every three hours; four hours is pushing it, and five hours is absolutely too much time between meals.


Never Train A Sore Muscle

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Never train a sore muscle. Many people will disagree with me on this, but I really think it is a bad idea. Remember, your main objective is to grow. You grow when you rest.

It goes like this; your muscles are broken down during a workout, and rebuilt during times of rest. So, if you don't rest, you will gain insufficient muscle growth, which defeats your entire purpose.

You take major risks of working a sore muscle. During times of soreness, working the muscle puts you at a high risk for injury, such as tearing or straining a muscle. If you do this, then you'll really be in trouble.

If you wait until the soreness is gone, your muscle will be at one hundred percent and you will be able to use more weight during your workout.


Sleeping

Sleeping really helps speed up muscle recovery, so don't skip out on it. When you sleep your body releases its highest amount of growth hormone, so, the more you sleep has obvious benefits. Also, your quality of sleep is very important.

Avoid taking any type of drug that will put you to sleep, if you do take these drugs, you deprive your body of achieving what is called "deep sleep" or "REM".

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It is in this stage of sleep that your body releases high amounts of growth hormone, and other anabolic substances.


Supplementation

Supplementation is another thing that should not be overlooked. I feel that you should really look into what you buy, don't just buy something because it is cheap or expensive. I recommend taking Cell-Tech Hardcore for your creatine source. You should only go through the loading stage for no more than four days. During this loading phase, take enough Cell-Tech to equal 20 grams of creatine per day.

After the loading phase back down your intake to 5-10 grams of creatine per day. Nitro-Tech is a good product that has a synergistic effect with Cell-Tech. Nitro-Tech is a good product for keeping your body in positive nitrogen balance, in this state, your body is using protein for anabolic purposes instead of catabolic purposes.

Cyclo Z-Mass is excellent for improving strength and overall performance. Taken exactly as stated on the bottle, I think that this is one of the best things out there. You should also notice that while taking this, your recovery time is improved.

I've tried about three different kinds of thermogenics, Ripped Fuel, Xenadrine EFX, and Hydroxycut, and I really can't tell the difference between any of them. I usually just take one or the other before a workout. These are the basic supplements that I would recommend.

In later articles, I will get more into other supplements and their effects.


Conclusion

I know that this sounds hectic with timing meals and killing yourself in the gym. Trust me the results will be well worth it. My friends and family still think I'm kind of crazy. They all ask me why I am so serious about training. I'll tell you why...because it SUCKS to be small!

Train Like A Champ!
dknowles@alltel.net

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