Beautiful Vistas. Gorgeous mountains. Captivating sunsets. These are the fuels that replenish the consciousness of man.
Every so often, it helps to mix things up; to get some variety; to get back to nature, to nurture the nature of your mind. With summer and good weather upon us, I thought that June was as good a time as any to get away. So, on the 2nd of June I made the familiar trek to New York State, passing through beautiful Montreal.
The upper state of New York [near Vermont] is a wondrous sight. The beautiful Adirondack Mountains sit high in the distance, stretching as far as the eye can see. If the mountains were a person, real or imagined, they would be Atlas - bearing the weight of the sky on their shoulders - eternally and patiently cradling it, as if the survival of man were at stake.
Lake Champlain, near Plattsburgh, is also a wonder. It, too, stretches into the distance, where water and sky become one. The history of the area is equally fascinating and historically rich. As America - the only philosophically RATIONAL, MORAL and ETHICAL country to ever exist - was struggling to shrug off the tyranny of the Monarchy, men were fighting, and dying, there. I had a chance to visit some of the memorials in the area, and as a fellow former soldier, to pay my respects and thanks to those courageous and noble human beings who REFUSED to live under the heel of tyranny, and who REFUSED to live in a world where no HUMAN options or conditions existed. Their belief in a nation ruled by LAW, REASON and RIGHT, as opposed to WHIM, FAITH and FORCE, is why we all have the freedom that is the unalienable right of every human being on Earth.
The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have divided the world into two camps - those who are for the war [for whatever reasons], and those who are against it [for whatever reasons].
Regardless of where you stand, or what you decide to believe, the soldiers that are fighting in different parts of the world - not for conquest, but for freedom - regardless of their nationality - each of them ARE Atlas for the people that they defend. These men and women bear the weight of freedom, and the world, on their shoulders - being eternally patient, cradling the hope that all people can live in peace, with freedom of thought, conscience, and belief. They do this because the survival of man DOES depend upon it.
The simplicity of nature and its ability to nourish and replenish the consciousness of man is remarkable. I am thankful that, in a free, noble and JUST society, I have the freedom not only to be a bodybuilder, but also to see the mountains - not only those in nature, but also the mountains of freedom, with whom I share a place in society. Because of them, my thankfulness and faith in other people is renewed, too. God bless you all!
I've been reading some of your articles on Bodybuilding.com and I think they're great. I have a specific question, and if you could help me out it would be greatly appreciated. I'm 21 years old, 5'11", weight 185 lbs., and about 9% bodyfat. I've been lifting for approximately 6 months. My primary goal is to gain strength. I'd like to get bigger as well, but I'm going for mainly strength. I'm getting stuck trying to come up with workouts to work off of. I get confused if I should work 1 bodypart once a week, if I could work everything twice, etc. If you could help me out on this it would be great. Thanks for reading.
Sure, I would be happy to help you with this. In my June, 2003 column I answered a question regarding something that a reader had read in Ironman Magazine.
He asked if I thought a bodypart should be worked once or twice weekly. I explained to him that working a bodypart twice weekly is appropriate only under specific circumstance - i.e. when a bodypart needs a shock to grow. Other than that, working a bodypart twice weekly will quickly lead to overtraining and stagnation for the natural athlete. Ronnie Coleman and other assisted athletes may be able to train with animalistic intensity twice weekly, but the natural athlete cannot.
As far as a routine goes, it is important to be critical. Routines that are suitable for a more conditioned athlete may not prove useful or effective for you. Given that your primary goal is strength, I have included my current power-bodybuilding routine [with poundage's adjusted for you, as a beginner].
To learn how to do each exercise, visit our exercise database!
Day 1 - Back, Traps
|Exercise||Sets x Weight x Reps|
|Wide Grip Pulldowns to front||1x40x10
|Bent Dumbell Rows||1x20x10
Day 2 - Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves
|Exercise||Sets x Weight x Reps|
|Hamstring Machine Curls||1x30x10
|Seated Machine Calve Raises||1x50x10
Day 3 - Chest, Triceps, Biceps
|Exercise||Sets x Weight x Reps|
|Flat Barbell Bench Press||1x70x8
|Tricep DB Extensions||1x40x10
|Standing Barbell curls||1x bar x10
1x bar x10
|Lying Bicep Curls||1x10x10
|Reverse Barbell Curls||1x25x12
For the core exercises like Squats, Flat bench press and Deadlifts, increase your poundage's by 5lbs every week for each set. It is important that you follow the repetition and poundage scheme exactly as outlined, and that you make no attempt at any time to deviate from it. It may seem "easy", and you might believe you can do more. You may be right, but it SHOULD seem easy. That is not a misprint. It should seem easy. You should not feel destroyed after this workout; you should feel strong, confident, and happy because you will always be getting stronger and bigger. After a while when its time to workout you will probably think something like "Well, its time to get stronger again this week." Using this repetition scheme, you will find that you will get stronger on the core exercises week after week, on a consistent, predictable and continual basis.
This will be very rewarding, as the stronger a muscle gets, the bigger it gets. The bigger a muscle gets, the stronger it gets. It's a circle that will allow you amazing gains in both strength and mass simultaneously.
It is like getting an RRSP where the interest compounds week after week after week. Because you have money, you add interest. Because you add more interest the richer you become. Because you add more money, it is easier to add interest and to get richer even more. See what I mean? One subject that I am training has put on 21lbs of muscle since May 1st using the program above, and we are not even done yet. Watch for an article in September where I feature his phenomenal results. Space the frequency of your workouts so that you work one day on and one day off, with the weekends off as well.
If you require more information on how to correctly execute these core movements, refer to my article The Big Four! I am also going to assume that you understand the importance of correct nutrition. In case you do not, refer to my article Grocery Shopping for the Bodybuilder! and consult the article database here on Bodybuilding.com.
I first would like to tell you how much I enjoy your articles. It is hard to find people who give good advice these days. Here is my problem. I had half of my thyroid removed five years ago. I am currently taking synthroid to supplement what my body produces. I am also bipolar [manic depression]. These two things combined prevent me from using thermogenics. I have tried them a couple of times and had severe reactions. What is the best program to use to shed bodyfat and raise my metabolism? I am also curious about anabolic steroids. With my current medical conditions are there any cycles that would not cause severe problems? I would appreciate any help you could offer.
Thank you for your kind words. The best thing about having my own Q and A column, as well as writing articles, is that I can make a real difference in the lives of other people. Let me give you some pointers so that you can get to work.
The task of shedding bodyfat naturally - i.e. without any thermogenic supplements - is about doing four things simultaneously. These things are:
- Reducing caloric intake
- Increasing the metabolism naturally
- Doing cardiovascular work
- Doing weight training
Reducing your caloric intake is not simply about cutting calories. What is important is eliminating calories from food sources that stand in the way of you losing bodyfat. Food consists of three macronutrients. They are:
Foods that are high in simple carbohydrates - i.e. refined sugars - are notorious for turning into fat once they enter the body. The only appropriate time to consume simple sugars is after a strenuous workout when muscle glycogen stores are depleted. At all other times, strive to get your carbohydrates from complex sources, like oatmeal, brown rice, yams, etc.
Fats should come from sources like fish and nuts and seeds. Protein should come from whole sources like meats, dairy, and powder supplements. For best results, get your protein from a variety of sources. For quick reference, I have included a chart illustrating several foods from each macronutrient group.
Quick Reference Food Chart
|Chicken breast [without skin]||Protein|
|Fresh or flash frozen fish||Protein|
|Low Fat Cottage Cheese||Protein|
|Salmon||Protein / Fat|
|All Natural Peanut Butter||Protein / Fat|
|Nuts and Seeds||Fat|
|Sweet Potatoes [yams]||Carbohydrates|
|Fibrous Vegetables / Hot Peppers||Carbohydrates|
Stimulating your metabolism naturally is a simple task: eat more frequently and eat spicy foods! I like to eat a lot of Mexican, Latin and Thai foods. These foods incorporate not only a variety of flavors and colors, but also a lot of peppers and sauces. It is a known fact that hot peppers raise your body's metabolism. An elevated metabolism is a metabolism that burns more calories and one that derives more energy from stored fat deposits. For more information on how to structure a diet geared for fat loss refer to the articles A Step-By-Step Guide For Body Fat Reduction! And Grocery Shopping For The Bodybuilder! These publications will provide you with more detail on the aspects of body fat reduction that I have outlined here. You can also consult the article database or message boards here on Bodybuilding.com.
It is a known fact that carbohydrates and fat have an effect on the regulation of moods. When bodybuilders go on extremely limited diets where they are required to reduce carbohydrate and fat intake, a disruption in moods usually occurs.
I can reasonably speculate, based on my knowledge of biology and neurochemistry, that you may experience a disruption in the effectiveness of your medications because of this practice, but I cannot say for certain. Given that my field of study is psychology, not psychiatry, I am unable to say for certain whether reducing your body fat levels via dietary manipulation will have any effects on the effectiveness of your medications. I suggest contacting your doctor for this information.
I can say, however, that anabolic steroids are not suitable for you, given your medical conditions. I would also avoid pro-hormones as these serve to alter the delicate balance of your endocrine system. Generally, I advise people to consult with a physician before engaging in an exercise program. I give the same advice to you. Before modifying dietary habits or engaging in physical exercise, it is important to receive the proper clearance from a qualified medical practitioner. Your unique circumstances require extra prudence and caution. Take every effort to stay healthy by being careful. Good luck!
I read your article about anabolic steroids on Bodybuilding.com, and I think you're the one who can answer my question. Is it safe for a man to use the steroids for an animal? One of my trainers encouraged me to use the steroids, but when he showed me the bottles I read on label something like this: "Anabolic Steroids for Horses, Dogs and Cats". I am hoping for your kind response.
First of all, I want to say that I neither condone nor advocate the possession, use or abuse of illegal narcotics. I recommend that everyone, with any sanity and a wish to live a long, healthy life, avoid steroids altogether. Possessing these compounds and not being authorized through your doctor is against the law. If your trainer is recommending that you use steroids of any kind, as a professional, he has some ethical problems.
I am not against the use of anabolic steroids as such; I am against the use of any drugs that are illegal, be they steroids or any other drug. After all, I did write an article titled De-Criminalize Anabolic Steroids! so it would be hypocritical of me to preach the evils of steroids to you.
When considering taking any drug, you must think about what gains you MIGHT experience from its use, and you must contrast these potential results with the possible negative side effects you could experience. Steroid use is a game of balancing positive results with negative side effects. The idea is to maximize the positive results while minimizing the negative side effects. This means that the issue of whether or not a drug is safe is both relative and subjective.
On the one hand, the issue is relative because it is about maximizing positive results and minimizing negative ones. Often the steroids that will give you great results will also have severe negative side effects. On the other hand, the idea of safety is subjective because it comes down to how much of the negative you are personally willing to tolerate in order to achieve the physique you desire.
For example, Anadrol is very harsh on the liver, can cause you to lose your hair and can give you gynocomastia. This is not because it aromatizes to estrogen... it simply has progesterone-like effects once it gets into your system. You also will suffer from water retention while using it. It is, however, the "best" for gains, but it is really unsafe. Deca-Durabolin, by contrast, will give you good gains and is safe. The choice is up to the person using the drug as to how much risk they are willing to take to achieve what they desire.
With respect to safety, it is also important for you to know that there are different drugs designed for animals that bodybuilders use. Each of these drugs has a different profile and as such different chemical properties. This means, of course, that each drug will be more safe or less safe than the others. Without the name of the drug, I am unable to provide you with precise and specific information.
I will say, however, that common sense is pretty reliable. That being the case, it is probably a good idea to avoid this particular steroid. Although human and animal endocrinology is very similar, and although bodybuilders use these drugs often with no immediately visible side effects, I would still avoid using them. After all, drug addicts use strychnine [rat poison], and we all know the familiar face of a drug abuser, caught in the cycle that they cannot escape because they did something that violated the tenets of common sense and sensibility. It is a good idea to avoid anything that is not specifically designed for humans.
As for your personal trainer, it is my opinion that any trainer who recommends his clients to take steroids is simply trying to hide the fact that he lacks the ability to get results for his clients naturally. What's more, your trainer may be the front man for a steroid dealer, and as such may be getting a cut of the sale price, should you buy the steroids he is trying to push. In either situation, I recommend getting a new trainer. Try bodybuilding naturally for five years with a clean diet and a good supplementation program. Then ask yourself whether steroids are necessary. Good luck to you.
I am writing in regard to a piece you wrote on Gynocomastia and exposure to estrogenic compounds in the environment. I have heard that due to hormones chicken are given to make the breasts larger, little girls have been known to develop breast very early and it to cause changes in the breast tissue in boys, as well. I am wondering if this could be a cause or at least a contributor to Gynocomastia in adult men. I am not a man, but this came to mind when I read this on your Q&A.
I decided to include this in the column because it is both interesting to and relevant for bodybuilders.
While it is true that livestock [chickens, cows, pigs, etc.] are fed steroidal compounds to make them larger, and therefore more valuable to farmers, it is unlikely that this is the cause of the early onset of puberty.
Normally, according to literature, puberty in girls begins at around age 11, and at about age 13 in boys (Myers, 2001). For some, however, puberty begins earlier or later in life. The onset of puberty is much like stature: it is determined by many factors including diet, genetics, and environment. These three factors work together to determine at what point in someone's life they are capable of reproduction [puberty].
The reason that I say it is highly unlikely that the consumption of steroid fed livestock has led to the early onset of puberty is because of the simple truth that more children eat sugar [which increases fat storage] and drink or eat from plastic containers [soda containers, candy containers, plastic lunchboxes, bottled water in rare cases] than those who eat hundreds of chicken breasts per year in order to put on ripped, shapely mass. How many 11-year-old girls eat to look like Corrina Everson? It is well known and documented that since the Industrial Revolution in England in 1750, the average age of menarche has decreased. At that time anabolic steroids were not even in the thoughts of the scientists at the time [who were mostly biologists, astronomers, or botanists]. Even 100 years after the industrial revolution in Britain and later Europe, Mendel was still doing experiments on heredity of traits with pea species.
During the Industrialization of Europe, the population grew over 300 percent in the early years of capitalism. Previously the European population had a growth rate of only 3 percent per century. In fact, in 1750 England had a population of only 6 million people. Fifty years after the Industrial Revolution, England had a population of 9 million people. In 1820, a mere 70 years after industrialization, England's population was 12 million. What's more, infant mortality rates dropped by over 40 percent during the same period of time. (Buer, 1926).
In every industrialized nation the trend is the same: when a nation industrializes, menarche occurs sooner in life. So, what is the connection between the population increase resulting from the Industrial Revolution, and a decrease in the average age of menarche resulting from the Industrial Revolution? Improved living conditions and sanitation.
It may be argued that the early years of the revolution were exploitative to children, but even this does not stand. Compared to the plight of children under the economics systems of socialism and feudalism, industrialization and capitalism represented a marked increase in the quality of life. John Locke wrote a report for the Board of Trade and remarked of children before the revolution "what they [children] can have at home, from their parents... is seldom more than bread and water, and that very scantily too."
Another prominent figure Prof. Ludwig von Mises commented, "these women [before the revolution] had nothing to cook with and to feed their children. These children were destitute and starving. Their [the children's] only refuge was the factory. It saved them, in the strict sense of the term, from death by starvation." (Mises, 1949)
In a capitalistic economy, specialization of labor is dependent upon an excess of goods. For example, before industrialization each person was responsible for working the land so that they may eat. People were living a hand-to-mouth existence. After an excess of agricultural goods was produced, this freed some men to pursue other lines of work other than farming. Using the goods and products produced from these other lines of work, these men were able to trade for the food that they would have had to have produced for themselves in times past.
As the number of available units of a specific good increase, the overall value of each unit decreases. This is the law of supply and demand as it relates to inflation or deflation in a capitalistic economy. When individuals began producing large amounts of agriculture and putting the excess for sale into the free market, food became cheaper and more easily accessible to the general population. When the factory system emerged, the "working-class" was created, and the population finally had a way of making a living. This may have prevented people from working their own fields to produce food but, with a steady wage, they were able to buy food on the free market.
So how does this relate to the early onset of puberty in young people? Quite simply, food was much more readily available on a consistent basis. A constant supply of vitamins and minerals from food improved the general health of the population, including children. As bodybuilders are aware, a deficiency in any vitamin or mineral will result in a disruption of a number of metabolic processes, including the body's hormones, which are responsible for the onset of puberty.
Bodybuilders eat every two hours or so because it is important to provide the body with a consistent delivery of vitamins, minerals and macronutrients. As people began to eat regularly and as sanitation practices improved [along with medical technology], the average age of puberty onset decreased, and life expectancy rose.
As for the second part of your question regarding the impact of steroid fed livestock on gynocomastia in men, I doubt that this would have any meaningful impact on the number of cases of gynocomastia in the general population. The reason that I say this is the same as before: how many men do you know that eat hundreds of chicken breasts per year? If steroid fed livestock has any effect on gynocomastia in men, I believe that the effects would be minimal, if any.
Bodybuilders often avoid eating a lot of chicken before competition because livestock is fed steroids. Small amounts of these steroids may show up in drug testing, if the event that the athlete competes in is drug tested.
To put every bodybuilder at ease, it should be remembered that the concentration of active bio-accumulative steroidal compounds present in store-bought livestock is not of a significant magnitude to present any risk of aromatization once it enters a human body. If there were an unacceptable risk of harm from eating livestock raised in this manner, the USDA and the FDA would have banned the sale of such goods. After all, we bodybuilders know full well how the government likes to ban whatever it can. Thanks for the interesting question!
I have been reading your column for several months. You know a lot about supplements, and I thought your test on N02 was great. You've talked about the supplement 1-Androstendiol. Does this stuff really work? What about 6-OXO? It is expensive and I don't want to spend money unless I know for sure that it is worth it.
I am glad that you enjoyed my test of N02. If there is one thing you can count on in the supplement industry, it is the presence of propaganda and marketing hype. To observe the infestation of propaganda into bodybuilding literature, just pick up a bodybuilding "magazine." 99% of the advertisements and claims that one particular company makes are bogus. Unfortunately, when a dollar is to be made [in this case stolen or conned] from consumers, unscrupulous characters want a piece of the pie. $70 for creatine and sugar anyone?
It is sadly ridiculous that in a free market such crookery is allowed to exist. I guess it's time for the garbage peddlers and bottom feeders to get rich. With hundreds upon thousands of products on the market, and with new products being released daily, it can be very confusing to make any determination as to what works, and what does not. At times like this, it helps to do your homework before you spend your hard-earned money.
1-Androstendiol is a pro-hormone introduced to the market by the company ErgoPharm and Patrick Arnold. Patrick Arnold, president of LPJ research is a consultant for ErgoPharm. Mr. Arnold has a VERY respected ESTABLISHED reputation within the supplement industry for producing effective supplements, and is a pioneer of "andro" products. He makes sure that if you buy a supplement from him, it has a mountain of science behind it. He is one of the few good guys in the industry that actually cares about people getting what they pay for.
Here is what I am going to do for you. I am going to test these products to see if they "walk the talk." I will, personally, test 1-AD and 6-OXO, and will release an extensive unbiased, professional, review on them later in the year. Watch for it, and until then, live large!
Come back next month to see YOUR questions answered! From steroids to supplements to sexuality, workouts to weight loss and more, the answers you want are here!
Buer, M.C. (1926). Health, wealth, and population in the early days of the Industrial Revolution, 1760-1815, London: George Routledge & sons. P. 30
Misis, L.V. (1949). Human Action, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. P. 61
Myers, D.G. (2001). Psychology: sixth edition. New York, NY: Worth Publishers. P. 146
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