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I.C.E. Program #1 - Training Program Unbound!

After having enlightened you with some information on nutrition and supplements, that leaves me only with training information left to give.

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Article Summary:
  • Intensity is more than just adding more and more weight to the lifts you've been doing.
  • Consistency is an absolute necessity to making steady progression in bodybuilding.
  • Make sure the training and nutrition choices you make are efficient for you.
  • After having enlightened you with some information on nutrition and supplements, that leaves me only with training information left to give. It's something I've pondered more than once, how to make training effective for everyone. On the one hand you have all these cuckoo ideas thrown out there by the likes of Mentzer and Parillo that certainly do work, but only for a percentage of people.

    On the other hand you have magazines publishing yearlong training programs that do not even take into account the weak points, experiences and proper rep ranges that an individual has or needs in order to grow. What I wanted to do was create a program that would help all, or almost all people to reach their greatest goals in muscle gain and fat loss. But how can I know what a person needs if I don't know him or might never meet him? The answer was logical: I can't.

    How Can You Develop A Specific Plan For Someone You Don't Know? Simple, You Can't.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    How Can You Develop A Specific Plan For
    Someone You Don't Know? Simple, You Can't.

    So I had to come up with something else. A means of letting you figure out what is best for you. This is why this program is rarely effective immediately. It takes the development of a bodily instinct that could take a few weeks, months and in rare cases years. But that it works is no longer an issue.

    I related my idea to my long-time mentor Prof. Dr. Michael Provost. He has been my guardian angel in my short career. He helped me set up tests to prove and improve the efficiency of what I came up with. A fairly large scale test in several gyms, uncontrolled circumstances apart from the nutrition. We equalized the nutrition for all participants according to some of Dr. Provost's ideas, ideas that have influenced my take on nutrition and supplementation over the years as well.

    So I can't take all the credit for the work I'm producing here. The idea and most of the concepts were my own, but I couldn't have done it without the help and resources I was provided with.

    The system would have to be comprehensive and simple. It would have to be a total package of all the options that have worked in the past. It would lean on good nutritional habits and plain rules, but leave a lot of room for personal adaptation. To give you the options for adaptation, I realized I would need a lot of space.

    This article series is a sneak preview of the system and isn't complete yet. What it comes down to is that most of the things presented here are not new. They are either common knowledge, insider tricks or methods forgotten a long time ago, combined to give you a complete overview of your possibilities.

    Next to that I would have to undo a few popular myths that have circled the world of bodybuilding too. So this enormous collection of bodybuilding truths, of which I'm going to give you a grasp, was dubbed I.C.E.

    This Enormous Collection Of Bodybuilding Truths Has Been Dubbed I.C.E.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    This Enormous Collection Of Bodybuilding
    Truths Has Been Dubbed I.C.E.

    What Does I.C.E. Stand For?

    Granted it sounds cool (literally), but that's not the reason I chose these letters. Each letter is the beginning letter of one of the three golden rules of my philosophy. When thinking about bodybuilding every success can be reduced to succeeding in one of these three rules. I.C.E. stands for Intensity, Consistency, Efficiency. By using them to name the system I planted a constant reminder, because as you peruse my articles and decide on a path to follow in your bodybuilding life, I want you to remember whether or not it serves one of these three rules. If it does it's most likely a good step.


      This has to be the number one thought going through your head when you start a new set of exercises. Muscles do not grow unless they have to. So you have to make them. This is not achieved by lifting weights you lift in daily life in a manner that is nonchalant. The idea is to stimulate, isolate and destroy the muscle. That way when it rebuilds, it will rebuild stronger, bigger and better.

      All my life I have had to hear that you need to lift heavy weights. Well, here's a newsflash, you don't. Weight is an excellent way to increase the intensity, but it's only one of thirty or so. On the other hand weight can lead to sloppy form, poor isolation and injury.

      Arnold himself lifted only 60-pound dumbbells in the flye. If I tell you that my weak, sorry ass can lift 80 pounders, do you really believe I am stronger than Arnold? I didn't think so. But by making his flyes more effective Arnold shaped one of the most amazing outer chests in bodybuilding history. If you can't lift with intensity and fail when you have to, you might as well go home.

      Mentzer was right about that: It's better to lift two times ten minutes with full intensity than it is to lift a whole hour with a half-assed attitude. But no one ever said anything about training one hour with killer intensity.

      The fact remains that things like intensity, motivation and anticipation produce a certain amount of cathecholamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine). While it is true that this will burn more protein, it also burns more fat, increases blood sugar levels and has a positive influence on GH secretion. As long as GH is plentiful, you will not produce the catabolic cortisol. You can't put this off forever, even in the most experienced trainer you cannot train longer than 75 minutes without producing cortisol.

      Fact remains that intensity is one of the most important factors in working out. When you have a rep range, obey it. Do not just take any weight to complete your reps, but select a weight that makes you fail at the desired number of reps.

    Arnold Himself Lifted Only 60 Pound Dumbbell In The Flye.
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    Arnold Himself Lifted Only 60
    Pound Dumbbell In The Flye.


      With all this talk of having to change and switch up and alter exercises, some people have come to believe that training is something haphazard. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's true that you need to change your exercises every 4 to 10 weeks and taking a week's rest once in a while can be beneficial. But neither will be very effective if you do not adhere to your workout schedule.

      Consistency in training is very important. If you knew how many emails I get that start with "I just started training again" or "I used to train hard and now I'm starting again" you would know what I am talking about. Had these people kept up their training they would have answered all their own questions simply by trial and error, and I would be asking them questions.

      In some cases circumstances play a role, but in most cases these people just lost their motivation. You have to drag your ass to the gym so you train every muscle every week. Everybody has bad days, the difference is a bodybuilder doesn't care. Especially in the beginning this is the case. After a while you get to know the people at the gym and enjoy working out and pretty soon you need your daily fix of Iron so bad that you begin to resent rest days. But consistency has to be the rule if you want to grow on non-workout days as well.

    You Have To Drag Your Ass To The Gym So You Train Every Muscle Every Week.
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    You Have To Drag Your Ass To The Gym
    So You Train Every Muscle Every Week.


      No doubt the rule that is most often ignored in training. Either out of stupidity or ignorance. I have seen wonders you wouldn't deem possible. A personal trainer suggesting you do pullovers for abs, a triathlete using 1-arm rows for his triceps, a basketball player doing incline curls with a weight so light he was almost playing marbles and another personal trainer talking to someone when his novice trainee was doing free barbell squats for the first time in his life. I don't blame people for thinking bodybuilders are a bunch of morons.

      Efficiency means using the exercises, rep range, number of sets and split that work for you and not what seems effective or someone else says you should do. This is where I.C.E. differs from most training systems. Develop the skill you need to feel the efficiency of whatever you do. You should be wise enough to realize that if you don't feel the pump in the area where it is supposed to be felt you are doing something wrong. If you can't feel it, you are in the wrong rep range and if you can't feel it in the right place you are doing the exercise wrong. If you can't do it right, it's not worth doing at all.

    If You Aren't Feeling The Pump, Then You Are In The Wrong Rep Range.
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    If You Aren't Feeling The Pump, Then
    You Are In The Wrong Rep Range.

    The Name Of The Game

      Now you know I'm not giving you a prêt-à-porter program that you have to follow to the letter. I'm here to give you the possibilities, but it's up to you to make it work. The success you harvest is directly dependent on what you can lift in the kitchen and not what you can handle in the gym. You should be eating at least 500 calories more than 10 calories per pound of bodyweight. If you don't notice any increase whatsoever on the scale within 2 or 3 weeks eat 500 calories more and so on.

      If you aren't growing, that means you aren't eating enough as my old football coach was fond of saying. You should be consuming 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight from varied sources (milk, eggs, meat, vegetables, ...) and that should amount to 35 percent of your total diet. 50 percent of it should be carbs (of which half should be complex carbs) and 15 percent of clean fats. This is an absolute must for recovery. On top of that 7-10 hours of sleep daily are required.

      What I.C.E. is all about is making you lift to the maximum capacity one can handle without over-training. John Parillo once said that there is no over-training, only under-eating. This is not entirely true, no one can handle two times two hours daily, 7 times a week. Not even a drugged-up bodybuilder is that insane.

      But how much you can lift without risking over-training is directly dependent on how many calories you eat and how many hours you sleep. The better you recover the more you can handle. The trick is progression. Start out with 6-8 sets per body-part and continue to a point where you feel that doing more would hinder development or risk over-training.

      When you reach such a point, either increase food intake or reduce training. Take a week off even, to correct matters. That is all you need to know specifically about the system.

      Combining this with the three Golden Rules will allow you to train to your maximum capacity and get all you can from your workouts. You need to start from the bottom up to reach your final destination. There are crucial elements that have to be met before you move on to the next level.

      Most of all, do not underestimate what I am saying. You may have heard some, or all of this before. I can hear you going, I know that already, but though you know, you obviously weren't paying attention or else you wouldn't be reading this. Everything is equally important and the more of it you use, the more your chances of muscular gains will improve.

      I can't tell you what is most important, because that too, like the system, will vary from person to person. For some it may be more important to tinker with exercises and perfect performance, for another it may be additional sleep and for yet another it could be post-workout nutrition. All factors have to be met to give you the greatest chance. What I can tell you is that most trainers don't think about anything other than what they want to do, so it's most likely that the thing you need to change is the farthest from your thoughts now. Do not pass up on the things you don't like to do, because odds are, that's exactly what you need.

    If Your Reaching A Point That Risks Over-Training Try increasing Food Or Reducing Training.
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    If Your Reaching A Point That Risks Over-Training
    Try Increasing Your Food Or Reducing Your Training.


    So welcome to I.C.E., I look forward to making your dreams come true. Next time we'll look into how to arrange a set/rep scheme, pick a split and figure out where to start.

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