From the Coaches: Workouts & Tips
Craig Capurso and Karina Baymiller are here to help keep you on track and motivated. Both are Cellucor athletes,TEAM Bodybuilding.com athletes, and have won a Bodybuilding.com BodySpace Spokesmodel Search. Each week, male contestants will receive an email written by Craig, and female contestants will get an email written by Karina. The emails will include motivation, recipes, workout advice, and more. Check out each athlete's advice on working out.
Craig on Working Out ///
I recommend that people break my Fitness 360 program into two parts. During weeks 1-3, follow the program exactly as it is written. I built this program with no cardio in mind. However, I know this is a challenge so you can throw in cardio on any day you do not do Heavy Volume. I wrote a blog on Heavy Volume Training, and I posted the basics here as a must-read before starting any Heavy Volume sets:
Heavy Volume Training is my way of training with a constant heavy weight for a maximum amount of reps. The trick is finding the right weight and picking a total number of reps. I am also concerned with working that muscle hard enough to get that engorged, skin-expanding pump. When a muscle fiber fires in a lift, it is working at maximum output. The idea is to incorporate as many muscle fibers as possible when lifting in order to cause the body to actually repair those damaged or stressed muscle fibers.
When you undergo Heavy Volume Training, use a weight on your first set with which you will be able to perform 15 reps and can possibly man up to get 1 or 2 more, but never more than 20. It is very important that you are nearly at failure when completing the first set. Allow yourself around 3 minutes to recover before you start your next set, and make sure that all sets thereafter are at or near failure. I expect that it should take anywhere from 6-10 sets to complete this one exercise. I generally complete one giant set per workout day with a major muscle group.
That, folks, is Heavy Volume Training, and it is not just for cutting. This protocol is used for complete muscle mashing, and with ample amount of supplementation and nutrition, you will have the ability to grow as you shed those pounds. Remember: volume does not tone you; diets tone you. If you are a seasoned gym goer and can benefit from a few cheat reps to push the intensity while still focusing on mind-muscle connection, and can do it without getting hurt, then proceed with caution. I know there are plenty of guys out there that feel it's best to just squeeze a rep out with impeccable form, which is fine for teaching someone the basics. But sometimes you have to use a bit of momentum to break out of plateaus and push the envelope. Do not think there is only one way to do something. I use this style of training and have been very successful in manipulating my body to what I want to look like. Also, some of these exercises could be swapped out for similar lifts. For example, a barbell chest press can be changed to a dumbbell chest press, Smith press, etc.
In weeks 4-6, I want you to drop the Heavy Volume Set, replace it with a traditional 5x10 set-to-rep scheme, and add in cardio acceleration. Cardio acceleration is taking an active rest. Instead of standing there and not doing anything or sitting down in between sets, keep moving. Try jogging in place, jump roping, box jumps, or mountain climbers, or jackknife jumping jacks (jumping jacks into a body tuck). Cardio acceleration can really kick start the anaerobic burn and lactic acid threshold. After that first set of 5x10 with cardio acceleration, continue on with the rest of the program in superset style. Tack on as little as rest as possible between groups and no rest in between supersets. At the end of your workouts in weeks 4-6, if you have energy, perform 20 minutes of HIIT cardio. If you don't have enough energy, try LIIT Cardio for 40 minutes. These are the championship hours that can make or break a person. There is money on the line, pride, and a whole slew of other goodies that can come with winning the Strong To The Cor Challenge, so go hard and push it.
Let me reiterate that I know my plan may not be for everybody. But give yourself the best chance at success and stick to one protocol, whether it's diet or training, and do not quit or alter it.
Craig's Favorite Exercises
- Quads - Heavy Dumbbell Lunges
- Hamstrings - Body Leg Curls (a.k.a. Floor Glute-Ham Raises)
- Calves - Seated Hammer Calf Extensions (a.k.a. Seated Calf Raises)
- Chest - One-Click Dumbbell Press
Position bench one click up from flat for a small degree of bench angle.
- Back - T-bar Rows
- Traps - Diamond Bar Shrugs
You can use the machine, a shrug bar, or a diamond bar with neutral grip.
- Shoulders - Heavy Lateral Raises
- Biceps - One-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curls
- Triceps - Tricep Kickbacks
- Forearms - Wrist Roller
- Neck - Neck Bridges (Carefully come onto top of head to form a tripod with your feet.)
- Abs - Dual Cable Straight Bar Standing Crunch (Variation of this move)
Craig's Top 10 Workout Tips
- Take short rest periods in order to take advantage of your elevated heart rate.
- Use creatine to help keep energy stores readily available and primed for use.
- Use BCAAs during your workouts: if you recover faster, you can use more energy to burn more calories.
- Get low when you squat. There is no better way to activate deep muscle tissue through the entire leg than a deep at- or below-parallel squat.
- Try to balance your physique and give extra attention to your problem areas. Nothing looks more foolish than a guy who is top heavy and has no legs or a guy who has huge arms and no chest or back.
- Invest in a good set of headphones that will not fall out while you're working out. There's nothing worse than when you're getting ready to perform a set — or you're in the middle of one — and a headphone pops out.
- Music helps put us in the zone, so set your play list ahead of time to limit distractions and prime yourself to do work when you're in the gym. It is not a place to socialize, so get busy and get out.
- Have a plan of action before you set foot in the gym. If that means copying down your workout in a journal or using your phone, have it readily available. Spend less time thinking, and spend more time doing.
- Dress for success. If you go to the gym looking like a slob, you may feel like one. Go shopping for form-fitting workout gear that does not get in the way of your workouts. It'll also help hold you accountable: you will be able to see clear as day whether your training is working or not.
- Having a workout partner is a key part of helping you push yourself out of your comfort zone. Make friends and ask for a spot when the going gets tough — especially on your Heavy Volume reps.
Karina on Working Out ///
My Fit 360 program is made to put on some serious muscle. To me, the more muscle I have and the stronger I am, the happier I am and the better I look. Muscle is sexy as hell! As women, we should NOT be afraid of lifting heavy and putting on some muscle. It's nearly impossible to get "big and bulky" unless you make that your mission in life. I promise that you won't wake up one morning and suddenly be jacked to the point of not being able to fit into any of your clothes or looking like a man. Building muscle happens over a LONG period of time and is easily adjustable. If you feel yourself putting on more muscle than you would like, lower your weight and increase your reps. It's that easy, ladies! I suggest you start the Challenge lifting heavier weight in the 8-12 rep range and adjust accordingly depending on your level of fitness. If you're a beginner, you should probably continue lifting heavy. If you are more advanced and you have a decent amount of muscle already, you can continue to lift heavy or you can switch to lighter weight and higher reps to maintain your current muscle mass.
You most definitely do not have to follow my Fit 360 …hey, it's not for everyone! I lift really heavy six days a week with minimal-to-no cardio (minus my warm-up). This is what I have found my body responds best to, but everyone is different. Make sure that whatever program you do choose to follow for the next six weeks, you stick with it. Consistency is key!
Karina's Favorite Exercises
- Shoulders - Arnold Dumbell Presses
Hits all deltoid heads in one movement!
- Biceps - Preacher Curls
It doesn't get anymore isolated than this. My biceps are always on fire when I do preacher curls. Welcome to the gun show.
- Triceps - Cable Kickbacks
I feel like the cable kickback isolates my triceps better than with a dumbbell. Squeeze at the top! (Similar to this move, but with a cable, one arm at a time.)
- Quads - Squats
This one shouldn't even need an explanation. Squats are the best exercise not only for your quads, but also for your entire lower body.
- Glutes/Hamstrings - Romanian Deadlifts
The only exercise that's put size on my booty and hamstrings!
- Chest - Incline Dumbbell Flyes
Flyes isolate the chest muscles better than press movements, and I like the incline because it hits the top of the chest… helping to perk up the girls!
- Back - Lat Pulldowns
Good ole lat pulldowns always get the job done.
- Abs - Hanging Leg Raises
A super-challenging core movement that hits you literally everywhere — even the hard-to-hit lower abs. Hello, six pack!
Karina's Top 10 Workout Tips
- Lift heavy. Don't ever lift any weight lighter than your purse. You aren't doing yourself any good, and quite frankly, are just wasting your time if you are throwing around a 5lb dumbbell or doing 10lb leg presses.
- Lift often. One or two days a week just isn't going to cut it if you want to see some serious changes. For me, I have seen the best results come from weight training six days a week. Now this definitely isn't required if you can't make it to the gym that often or just don't want to, but I would say that four days is the absolute minimum to see some serious progress.
- Don't become a cardio addict. If you find yourself spending hours a week on the treadmill, elliptical, or StairMaster, stop right now! This is definitely no way to live life or get completely shredded. Excessive cardio can eat away at your muscle and bring your fat loss to a stop. Have you ever seen a super-toned or muscular ultra-marathon runner? Me neither. I make my point.
- Do HIIT. Instead of long, drawn-out cardio sessions that eat away at your hard-earned muscle, sprint! HIIT (high-intensity interval training) has been proven to be the best and most-effective form of cardio for fat loss and muscle retention. Limit yourself to three days a week with this, though. If done correctly, you should be completely wiped out after your short sessions.
- Don't let the "boys' side" of the gym intimidate you. Maybe this was just a problem for me, but when I first started training, I shied away from the heavy weights because I would be the only girl using them. Eventually I made my way over, and it was the best thing I have ever done. No one is judging what you are doing, and if they are, who cares? You're a badass chick lifting with the boys, and they should be the ones that are intimidated.
- Make use of supersets — my Fit 360 is built around them. Not only is it the best way to maximize your time in the gym, but it keeps you pushing through your entire workout and eliminates the slacking and excessive rests that can sometimes happen in standard sets.
- Let it all out. I've officially hit a new level of weird with this one, but it's something that works for me. I'm not sure if it's mental or if there is some actual science behind it, but letting out a grunt during my last few reps or making that super-ugly cringing face during my deep squats has helped me knock out more reps than keeping a smile on my face and looking pretty. Your body and face are going to want to do all kinds of weird things while you are pushing yourself to your limits, and I suggest you let them happen. I promise I'm not crazy — try it for yourself!
- It's all about progression. If you perform an exercise every week with the same number of sets and reps and use the same amount of weight, you're just treading water. To see progress, you need to overload your muscles. Each week, you should try and do at least one more rep or increase your weight to see changes in your body.
- Push yourself. We've all seen that person at the gym who moves from machine to machine, spending eight minutes sitting between sets, and who does more resting than actual work. What I'm saying is, don't be that person. You should be uncomfortable during your sweat sessions…not hanging out relaxing on your phone or brushing your hair (Believe it or not, I've seen this). Lift heavy, sprint fast, rest minimally, and repeat.
- Keep yourself interested. If you find yourself not as interested as you were when you began, change something. Switch up the exercises you're doing, change the number of reps, change the number of sets, change the weight, change the order of the exercises, throw in a class like kickboxing or yoga, or switch your days around (leg day swaps with back day, etc.). There are plenty of ways to combat boredom in the gym, just make sure you tackle it head on, so you don't end up throwing in the towel.