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Training To Win: Using Your Instincts And Sound Principles That Work For You!

To answer those of you who contacted me via email or approached me at the recent spring contests asking how I managed to make such huge changes in density, hardness and size in 3 week periods I have briefly summarized what I feel was the major driving...

As I briefly discussed I have always trained instinctively and from an early age (13) I used many training principles that worked for me. Many of these training principles also worked for a man by the name of Joe Weider who happened to publish his ideas (unbeknownst to me at the time). I just found out through trial and error what worked for me (probably the same as Joe did).

I attribute much of my success, especially now as I am almost 40 with having such a strong foundation of basic training techniques, understanding body mechanics and nutrition, as well as being able to visualize and focus.

I also attribute my success to the fact that I maximize what I have and what is given to me. I have good genetics, but I also have little time. For instance:

I have not done cardio (except for 5 times) in the past 15 years (although I strongly believe in it).
I do not stretch (although I wish I had the time and patience to)
I only train 1 hour 5 days a week, I would love to train longer.
I do not train heavy anymore for fear of injury ( wish I could).

What I have learned however, is to make do with what my body, mind, and schedule allows me to make the most out of what I have. I think that attitude has enabled me to make the gains I have with the previously mentioned limitations

Smart Cardio For Strength, Mass & Fat Loss!
If you're a typical guy who loves to lift big weights, but considers anything over 3 reps to be endurance training, you might not be interested in this article. However, if you can bench press a Buick but get winded when you bend down to tie your shoes, maybe I have an audience.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

To answer those of you who contacted me via email or approached me at the recent spring contests asking how I managed to make such huge changes in density, hardness and size in 3 week periods I have briefly summarized what I feel was the major driving forces for such change.

Undivided Focus And Drive

The most important contributor was my focus. Although I had very little time to make changes with the weights in a few weeks, while I was in the gym posing, squeezing, stretching, I set a goal and was determined to exceed the goal.

My first goal was very simple: do not make a fool of myself (realize I had not been on stage in 15 years, and I was not training, and I choose a show that was less than a month away, a non-drug tested show, a show where I was still one year shy of masters, so I would be standing toe to toe with competitors half my age who trained for this show all year, and by admission were not natural athletes.


When I am in the gym I train. I am not there to chat, check out the girls, or wish. I am there to get bigger, stronger and harder. When I am in the gym I remember why I am there and stick to my instinctive plans.

Flexing - It Is Not Just For Egotists Anymore

Flexing in between sets, just like stretching is very important to maintaining hardness, sculpting your look and providing blood to the muscle to aid in recovery and growth.

Before 3 weeks later.


Stretching stimulates growth and increases flexibility. It also gives you greater range of motion which results in the ability for greater muscle contractions. Stretching also reduces injury. Many bodybuilders say they do not have the time to stretch, but remember this�in the long run stretching allows you to handle heavier weight, reduce layoffs because of injury and will get you to your goals quicker.

Additionally, your quality of life will be better (less soreness, less tightness). You will also save money because you will have less need for your doctor, chiropractor or pharmacist�the people you typically visit when your do not take the time to stretch. Do you really have the time not to stretch?

Bottom line: Stretching is goooooooooood!!!

Stretching For Weight Training!
In this article find out the different forms of stretches, their benefits and some simple, easy to follow stretching routines!
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Good Nutrition

My knowledge of nutrition was also important. I have taken college classes in nutrition, but I would say most of my experience has been self taught, through reading, through trial and error. However, I must admit I still ate lots of candy at night, and ate after midnight. These are not the best things to do, but I adjusted my diet accordingly to make up for these miscues and still had rock hard abs and muscle separation after a few short weeks.

13 weeks later. Off season,
July 2004 (7 months later)

Drawing on Experience

I have trained on and off since I was 12. I hate to admit this, but that means I have been raining for�.ehhhh��.. (Whispering) approximately 28 years. During this time I learned many things that worked for me through trial and error.

Many of the things I learned on my own has also been captured and published by Joe Weider. Not that I am taking credit for anything, but I am illustrating the point that although bodybuilding can get very technical (physiology, biomechanic, nutrition, etc.) you can learn a lot about these complex sciences instinctively through trial and error.

For this to happen you have to experiment and be observant. Use a training log and a food log in the beginning. See what works and what does not. I know this works, because many of the things I self taught myself were beautifully documented by Mr. Weider.

The following are the principles. I used for my first contest back. I use others but because I only had a 3 week period from the start of my training until the first show, some principles were not appropriate given the circumstances.

The Main Principles I Used For My Sudden Reentry Into The Sport

Cycle Training Principle
I followed the "Cycle Training Principle". This involves tailoring your workout for a specific goal (strength, mass, or contest preparation). I follow this principle partially, mostly to avoid injury and keep my body responsive (confusion principle, which I will discuss later. For this goal, I used my contest prep training�i.e. no heavy weight.

I normally do not follow this approach exactly, because I believe you need to keep some strength movements in to keep mass and depth, but considering I was not training, I had no strength, and pushing to develop some with just a few weeks before a contest would be a huge risk (injury) with very little potential chance of significant mass gain.

Additionally, I would not lose mass or depth because it was already gone. Therefore, even a contest preparation training cycle would result in mass gain for me and depth) because it would be a new stimulation to my muscles that were not worked for a while.

Split System Training Principle
I also believe in using a Split System Training Principle where I train only one large muscle group at a time, with the complementary smaller muscles the same day of the next day, then give them 4 recovery days.

I use that principle with the Muscle Confusion Principle, because I learned a long time ago that muscles can adapt very readily and as a result the only way to make continued strong gains is to shock the muscle (not just with the amount of weight but with volume of exercises, volume of reps, angles, amounts of reps, combinations of sets, body parts, etc.

In fact, I use this principle so instinctively that I can honestly say that I never do the same work out within a month. I have that much variation in my mind when I walk into the gym. Weider actually breaks down this principle even more by calling the variation of rep/set schemes, intensity and frequency to maximize mass the "Holistic Training Principle".

I typically use many other Weider principles for success (like the Progressive Overload Principle, the Eclectic Training Principle, etc.) which I will not mention here, because I did not use them during my 3 week "comeback" because of the lack of time I had available at that time. In the upcoming months I will discuss my overall training approach and philosophy, but for now in this article I will continue to answer the question posed to me, which was how I made such a huge body change in so little time.

Instinctive Training
The main principle I used would be what Weider calls the Instinctive Training Principle. If you are a successful bodybuilder and you try enough different diets, routines, etc. and you pay attention you will soon be able to instinctively attain the ability to develop a diet, and training routine (exercises, reps and sets ranges, intensity levels, etc. that will provide you with the best gains.

Learning The Instinctive Training Principle!
The Instinctive Training Principle, created by Joe Weider, allows you to change things up and react with a 6th sense kind of approach to bodybuilding.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

The same principle will apply to your diet and supplementation. For example, some people hold water with creatine supplementation, while others do not. You have to be aware, focus, and be instinctive. So, the bottom line is going with your gut, does what feels write, train hard while you are in the gym, train smart, and eat well. You too can make rapid changes that will surprise others, as well as yourself!