Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lack of exercise killing as many as smoking...

Ryan DeLuca founder and CEO of Bodybuilding.com sent this news blurb out to the BB.com family.

 I wanted to share it with the rest of you.

From the BBC:

A lack of exercise is now causing as many deaths as smoking across the world, a study suggests.

The report estimates that about a third of adults are not doing enough physical activity, causing 5.3m deaths a year.

That equates to about one in 10 deaths from diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and breast and colon cancer. Researchers said the problem was now so bad it should be treated as a pandemic.

This makes me sick to my protein-powder-filled stomach. Just like with smoking, these early deaths are preventable. We know exactly what to do. The bodybuilding industry has had the answers for sixty years, but the message is still not getting through to the mainstream. Why?

·         The government doesn’t get it. Obese politicians are force feeding us corn-based carbs and reminding us to “take short walks and spend time gardening”.
·         Scam marketers have made it worse by promising to get us in shape with the latest two-minute ab workout or miracle fat burning pill.
·         The drug industry is against us all. They can’t profit off of exercise. It’s actually their competitor, so they tell us we need prescription pills instead.
·         Most gyms are focused on signing up members and collecting initiation fees, fully knowing that most members don’t actually show up after a few weeks. The fact that members stay home actually helps keep their costs down.
·         Every day a new book comes out with some “revolutionary” new diet and they spread the word all over the news. They can’t profit off of the obvious so they have to make up something “new”. It causes so much confusion.
·         The fast food industry has made bad food available on every street corner, and they try to trick us into thinking it’s healthy by including some low-cal options that nobody actually buys.

It’s not that complicated! Our site has the answers and they aren’t sexy or new. Almost every Fitness 360 athlete profile on our site shows that they follow the same basic workout, nutrition and supplement plan. Almost every transformation story has the same elements. The hard part is staying motivated and we’re continuing to work on social and tracking tools that make it easy.

The answer is not legislation or medication.  The answer is information, motivation and supplementation.

We have already changed the lives of millions of people around the world, but our job is not even close to being done. Thank you for doing your important part to help us fulfill our mission!

Ryan DeLuca
CEO, Bodybuilding.com

The Bodybuilding.com Mission: We help our visitors reach their health, fitness and appearance goals through information, motivation and supplementation.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

the role of protein in training

This article is courtesy of:  http://personaltrainertoday.com/the-role-of-protein-in-training

The Role of Protein in Training
Written by NFPT Staff Writer

Proteins are indeed the building blocks of the body. They also play a vital role in resistance and
aerobic training.

The role of protein and amino acids in building body tissue is well known. Amino acids are the
end product of ingesting protein. Amino acids are used for three basic functions in the body:
- They provide material for body tissue repair and synthesis.
- They are the synthesis of hormones, enzymes, and blood proteins.
- They provide for energy through deamination.

Specific amino acid combinations are predetermined through genetic nitrogenous base coding
to be synthesized into living body tissues, muscle tissues, hormones, and blood proteins.
While other specific amino acid combinations are synthesized by the liver into the very enzymes
and hormones that convert free amino acids, body protein and fatty tissue, into energy through
deamination and catabolism.

Deamination is the removal of an amino group, NH2, from an organic compound. It is the
process by which amino acids are broken down if there is an excess of protein intake. This
process takes place primarily in the liver. It is important to note that whenever energy is
produced, some amount of amino acid deamination is unavoidable. It is equally important to
realize that free amino acids are available in the bloodstream for 3-4 hours for combining with
other amino acids for the uptake and synthesis of body tissues.

If after this approximate length of time, amino acids are still free in the bloodstream, they will be
degraded and/or deaminated by liver enzymes into energy. This amino acid deamination results
in the toxic bi-product ammonia, which the liver then converts into urea nitrogen for excretion.
The amino group is removed from the amino acid and converted to ammonia. The rest of the
amino acid is made up of mostly carbon and hydrogen, and is recycled or oxidized for energy.

Enzymes convert ammonia to urea or uric acid through the addition of carbon dioxide molecules in the urea cycle, which also takes place in the liver -- and is not a deamination process. Urea
and uric acid can safely diffuse into the blood and then be excreted in urine.

How much protein is too much?

The most accurate way of determining sufficient protein intake is to closely monitor the nitrogen
intake (16% of all protein is nitrogen), and then compare this amount to the excreted nitrogen
through Urinary Urea Nitrogen (UUC) testing.

There are two primary metabolic conditions during which a high protein level exists:

- In the presence of sufficient total calories, a level of protein intake that is greater than the
body's need will likely result in a positive nitrogen balance, but at the expense of over stressing
the liver, which is already lcharged with breaking down the toxin ammonia into urea for
excretion. The greater the excess amino acids the harder the liver has to work. Overabundant
amino acid presence in the blood accelerates metabolism and more water is lost during these
increased chemical reactions, possibly causing dehydration in varying degrees. An alternative
to decreasing the protein intake under these conditions is the consideration of increasing the
intensity of exercise. This will minimize the excess circulating amino acids. The best way to
optimize protein intake is through UUN testing and then altering resistance training intensity.

- In the absence off sufficient calories, whether protein ingestion is high or not, a high level
of circulating "broken-down" body proteins and resulting amino acids will result in a negative
nitrogen balance, as well as the liver's production of keto acids, which are toxic to brain
function. This, low-calorie, overabundant amino acid presence is clearly a more critical
metabolic situation than when total calories are sufficient, as mentioned earlier, and it is
undesirable regardless of health and fitness goals. This situation occurs during prolonged and
extreme dieting.

Of course, any fat loss goal and takes a back seat whenever health is threatened. Maximizing
fat loss results does sometimes call for a substantial restriction of total calories, however, using
acetate testing (similar to UUN testing), adjustments to total calories can be made that result in
a less threatening trace measurement of acetate.

It is important to keep in mind that increasing protein intake while also reducing carbohydrate
intake with fat loss in mind will have positive fat loss effects, since amino acid deamination
constitutes more work and accelerates metabolism. However, it is not suggested to maintain an
extremely low calorie, high protein intake for periods longer than a few weeks. Increased water
intake must be an integral part of this short-term dietary fat loss measure.
How low is too low?

In the presence of sufficient total calories, low protein ingestion will not easily accommodate the
building of new tissue. It becomes extremely important, if one is ingesting little or no protein,
that energy needs are being completely provided by ingested carbohydrates and fats, thus
allowing what few amino acids are present in the blood to be synthesized from body proteins to
include muscle tissues.

When too little protein is being ingested and intense resistance training is performed, catabolism
is prolonged and a long-term negative nitrogen balance can be expected.
While there is known that several natural complex carbohydrates contain protein, it is
acknowledged that several essential amino acids are missing from these carbohydrates.
In most cases, when ingested proteins are insufficient even for the required synthesis and repair
of vital blood proteins and organ tissues, the body uses catabolic enzymes to degrade existing
'low priority' body tissues using their bi-products as building blocks instead. Since antibodies, for
example, are among these 'unneeded' body tissues that are cannibalized, the body's immune
system can suffer as a result.

In the absence of sufficient total calories, while performing little or no strenuous activity, it is
likely that few amino acids will escape the deamination process. In addition, the synthesis of
protein based hormones, enzymes, blood proteins and various body tissues will be
compromised. The performance of strenuous resistance exercise under these low-calorie, lowprotein
dietary conditions will likely result in the continued cannibalism of various structural body
tissues to include muscle and organ tissues.

Optimizing Protein Intake

In an effort to maintain a "positive nitrogen balance" (ingesting more nitrogen than excreting),
the intention should be to provide a steady flow of ingested protein (every 3-4 hours), consisting
of a wide variety of amino acids allowing for all possible combinations. Thus, insuring the
continued synthesis of body tissues, proteins and enzymes (positive nitrogen balance). It is
important to realize that amino acids are most effectively spared from the process of
deamination in the presence of sufficient bloodglucose energy that results primarily from
carbohydrate ingestion. So long as protein intake is sufficient, the ingestion of more total
carbohydrate calories will contribute to a positive nitrogen balance.

In addition, similarly to glucose, insulin must carry amino acids into muscle tissues, and
carbohydrate ingestion causes insulin release, so it would make good sense to ingest proteins
with carbohydrates to optimize insulin-carried amino acid uptake and utilization in body tissues.
All protein foods have varying Protein Efficiency Ratios (PERs), with milk and egg proteins
rating highest on the list of "complete" proteins. The steady provision of protein throughout the
day will generally result in a positive nitrogen balance. Where activity is concerned, the greater
the intensity and duration of resistance exercise, the greater the required protein ingestion.


For those who are not currently training for size and strength, consider letting the level of activity
dictate protein intake. For example, if someone trained today with at a greater intensity than
usual, then consider ingesting additional proteins every 3-4 hours. If exercise intensity lwas
somewhat low today, then concentrating protein intake will not be as important. For an
endurance athlete performing aerobic activity for 60 + minutes, consider the ingestion of
proteins rather than carbohydrates during the activity. Protein ingestion may act to maintain
blood sugar levels longer.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Giving back from Bodybuilding.com

Here a couple of cool events that you can take part in thanks to Bodybuilding.com!

For every bottle of NOW Daily Vits purchased a bottle of NOW Kid Vits will be given to a child in need.

Bodybuilding.com and NOW have partnered with Nourish America to help bring nutrition to children in need this year. Not only will you be able to help fulfill your resolution of living a healthier life by getting the multi-vitamins and minerals you need, but you will also be giving that same gift to someone else. Whenever you buy a bottle of NOW Daily Vits in January a bottle of NOW Kid Vits will be given to one of twelve million American children in desperate need of nutritional nourishment.


$100,000 Transformation Challenge Provides the Ultimate Motivation to Transform This Year

Bodybuilding.com, the most-visited bodybuilding and fitness site and largest online retailer of nutritional supplements, and Optimum Nutrition have teamed up once again to bring the nation’s largest free transformation challenge with $100,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs. Not only do individuals have a chance to win, but everyone is provided with a free custom nutrition, exercise and motivational guide led by industry experts Kris Gethin and Jamie Eason. Weekly personal emails provide entrants with exclusive deals and words of advice from top athletes. This interactive, revolutionary approach ensures every 2012 transformation can be a long-lasting success.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Thoughts from a fellow trainer

Ok, so I have talked about this before, but it's worth mentioning again.  There is no one training style that is the "best" or that fits everyones needs. 

Personally I like to do most of my training using more of the classical bodybuilding style with a little functional circuit training thrown in, but hell I've also been know to throw some power lifting workouts in just for fun as well.

The most important thing is to find something that you WILL DO, and do on a consistent basis.  If you love spin class, then great, go to spin class 3+ times/week.  If you love lifting then great, lift 4-5 times per week.  Exercise can and should be fun.....hard yes....umm that's how you know it's working, but still fun and something you look forward to doing, not only because it improves your health or gets you closer to your fitness goals, but because you just plan enjoy it as well. 

YES I enjoy flipping a large tire sometimes, among other various barbaric type of activities.....it's fun!....... yes, yes I know, I quit possibly have problems.    

So with that in mind here is an article written by a fellow trainer and good friend of mine Arlo Gagestein.  He also happens to own Competitive Edge Fitness here in Ogden, UT, where we train using a little of everything we can!   https://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Competitive-Edge-Fitness/115272125169180?sk=info

What About Crossfit

It seems that nearly everyday, someone is asking me what I think about Crossfit. Well, here it is! Haven't heard of Crossfit? Check out www.crossfit.com

Truth is, I really like their training philosophy. They continually mix it up to include both muscle strength and endurance as well as anaerobic and aerobic cardiovascular conditioning (distance and sprints). They foster a intense, competitive environment that really challenges and drives guys like me. In fact, Crossfit workouts are often quite similar to workouts we do here at the Edge, and I occasionally even steal ideas from them.

That being said, I don't believe Crossfit is for everyone. Because of the workout intensity, exercise selection, speed of workouts, etc. there is a high potential for injury with beginners doing Crossfit. And I'm not just trying to make them look bad because they're the competition. In fact, my massage business has profited greatly from Crossfit! The only people I work on more than Crossfitters, are runners (more on why running is bad for you another day)!

Exercises like the Push Press and Clean and Jerk that require great technique, shoulder mobility, and practice are staples in the Crossfit workouts. Sure they are great exercises, but they have a big learning curve, and honestly, inexperienced lifters shouldn't be doing them without very careful individual coaching. Adequate shoulder mobility is also a crucial requirement of these lifts. Mobility that in my experience, very few people over the age of 20 have (especially those who sit at a desk all day). They should have it of course, but for more reasons than I have time to go into here, they don't. Take a person with less than ideal shoulder mobility and throw him into a group class doing these exercises, and he will soon be coming to see me with shoulder impingement syndrome. Box jumps, another staple in Crossfit workouts, are also great exercises, but require a lot of coaching to keep healthy knees (this is especially a problem among women, who because of their wider pelvis are more susceptible to knee pain).

So, in short, Crossfit is great for experienced, healthy, mobile athletes with unspecific or general goals.

Wait, what? Unspecific or general goals? What do you mean? And thus arises the 2nd, okay, and 3rd issue with Crossfit. I wanted to separate them, but they are tied too closely together. Issue 3 (I know this is backwards, but it lays the groundwork for Issue 2) - The vast majority of Crossfit followers I've met, and tens of thousands of those I haven't met, all feel that Crossfit is THE BEST TRAINING SYSTEM EVER! It is the best way, it is the only way, and they scoff at any other possibility. Interestingly, it is often these people who are quick to ask me, "What do you think about Crossfit?", almost like they are trying to trick me into a debate about why their workout is better than anything I could possibly be doing. They think they're sneaky, but I've gotten to the point when someone asks me that, I immediately think, "Oh, you're one of those." Again, I think Crossfit is great for some people, but I find the Crossfit attitude very annoying.

Now back to Issue 2. Not only is Crossfit the best training system ever, it is the best for everyone! You're an elite runner - do Crossfit. You are a fighter - do Crossfit. You play football - do Crossfit. You want to lose weight - do Crossfit. Is it just me, or does it seem to you like maybe those different scenarios would want to train at least a little differently based on their goals? Why would someone who runs mile after mile train the same way a defensive lineman does who rarely moves more than a few yards from where he begins for an entire football game? Hmm, confuses me too.

To further illustrate this point, here is an excerpt from one of my favorite books, Never Let Go, by world renowned strength competitor and coach Dan John:

"In Tyler Hass's famous interview with Crossfit founder, Greg Glassman, I saw another interesting promise:

'If you come to us with a 4-min mile, six months into it you are going to be 30 seconds slower, but a whole hell of a lot fitter. Similarly, if you come to us with a 900-lb squat, in six months it's going to be 750 lbs, but you, too, will be much fitter. A 4-min mile and 900-lb squat are both clear and compelling evidence of a lack of balance in your program. This doesn't reflect the limitations of our program, but the inherent nature of flesh and blood. But here's the fascinating part. We can take you from a 200-lb max deadlift to a 500-750 lb deadlift in two years while only pulling max singles four or five times a year.'

The same issue emerges here: A 4-min mile is a world class time that would/should/could provide this athlete with a salary, or at least a free education. A 4:30-mile isn't unusual in a high school state meet. Certainly there are lots of examples of students running these times well before their junior year. Here's the rub: We're recommending a program that literally takes one from world class to solid high school performer?

The point about the 750-lb max deadlift can only be demonstrated by the platform, but I've been around the game a long time and a 750-deadlifter is a rarity with any program, anywhere. In my only powerlifting contest, I was the last successful deadlifter of the night (3am, deadlifting 628; hard on the nerves, by the way) and any program that can get me to 750 with minimal deadlifting is worth a serious study."

If your main goal is speed, you should train for speed. If your main goal is endurance, train for endurance, if your main goal is strength, train for strength. If your goal is just to be in great shape - Crossfit might be what you're looking for (or boot camp at the Edge might be! - had to throw in that shameless plug).

In a recent visit to Crossfit Ogden, the trainer there was shocked when I easily flipped their 730 lb tire 7-8 times. "You're only the 3rd person including me to ever flip that tire. And your form looks really good too!" I laughed and replied that I'd had a lot of practice. I also immediately thought of half a dozen of our tough guys who could easily flip it on their first try. Our goal is strength, so that's what we train for. Sure they could probably run faster than us (well with the exception of Sam Wendt and Mace Warren) strong guys, but that doesn't bother me. I'm not training to run. I'm training for strength. To be fair, I also know some Crossfit instructors like Lyndsey Hassel and Adrian Conway who are much stronger than me (I also know they were stronger than me before becoming involved with Crossfit, but that's irrelevant, point is they're still strong). I have since inherited the 730 lb tire from Crossfit Ogden and am putting it to good use. :)

Issue number 4, then I'll put it to rest. I despise the Crossfit pull-up. Also another great injury potential, the kipping pull-up takes an otherwise amazing strength exercise and allows anyone to pad their score and brag about how many pull-ups they can do. Different people of course have different methods, and not all kipping pull-ups I've seen are as bad as some, but honestly many Crossfitters I've watched resemble in the words of my dear friend Jeff, spastic orangutans. See demonstration here:


Notice the narrator proudly admits he's taking what is supposed to be a vertical pulling strength movement and building momentum in the horizontal plain to cheat. Wait, why is this good? I'm not sure either. He goes on to discuss that it is great for training the snatch and other movements, which by the way is completely opposite of the kipping pull-up (in the snatch you are explosively pulling a barbell above your head, in the kipping pull-up you are explosively pulling your body in the opposite direction above the bar). I do see where this might violently force much needed shoulder mobility upon some people (my number is 409-1370 and I'm happy to schedule you some rehabilitative massage), but other than that I don't really see the point.

I love how Dan John explains the pull-up, "Start with absolutely straight arms and pull until your chin can rest on the top of the bar. Be as strict as possible. Why? Because no one gives a *** how many pull-ups you can do. There's no professional league, no Olympic gold medal nor any celebrity endorsements. It's a measurement. Don't cheat and turn this into some kind of dance mover; just use your arms and back." Shortly after the orangutan comment, we vowed never to do anything but the strictest dead-hang pull-ups, with a complete stop at bottom to kill all momentum, at Competitive Edge.

In closing, I really don't hate Crossfit. I may have come across that way, but I do believe it is another valuable training tool. It is not however the ONLY one, and isn't the best thing for everyone. There are many healthy individuals who benefit greatly from Crossfit, and it has made their workouts tougher and perhaps more enjoyable than anything else they've done. I'm happy for them and think they should embrace it. We don't even shun Crossfit instructors. Lyndsey and Arian are great guys. Chris Fritz, who has logged many an hour at Competitive Edge is Crossfit certified - and shares many of the same feelings about it as I do. We even have another guy who's getting Crossfit certified in a month or two and is wondering about working with us (or at least he was before I wrote this article...).

Friday, July 1, 2011

Train like a Goddess

Train like a man……look like a Goddess!

I’ve done it, and you’ve done it, so don’t deny it! We’ve all seen that fit athletic woman at the gym; the one that stands out from the rest of the sheep, and we’ve stared at her. Not out of creepiness (well I hope your not one of the gym creepers!), but out of admiration for the female body in its ultimate form of power and sexiness. Men look because they are dumb struck and in awe of her, often times intimidated because she can lift with better form, higher intensity, and some times even heavier weight than they can! (Come on guys put more than a plate on the bar for squats). Woman look because they admire her defined arms, flat stomach, and traffic stopping booty!

How do these woman get the body that we all so admire? Is it form hours and hours on the elliptical? Maybe she does Pilates and yoga six days a week. Maybe she was just born with great glutes and defined delts!

The truth is she lifts weights, and sometimes those weights are heavy! That’s right she picks up iron and gets down and dirty with it! She’s not afraid of weight training! She knows she’s not going to “look like a man” from lifting and lifting hard. She sweats…..she uses chalk…..she uses lifting straps…..she uses a weight belt…….she’s not afraid of a few calluses on her hands.

One of my proudest moments as a trainer is when my female clients take over the squat rack (kicking the guys off doing their biceps curls), and drop it low with some serious weight resting across their shoulders!.....now that’s hot!

It’s like this. In order for muscle to have shape, the muscles fibers have to be shaped through resistance training, which will increase the size of the of the individual muscle cells or more specifically the Myofibrils. This increase in size is called hypertrophy. When sufficiently lean, the shape of the muscles can be seen under the skin which gives us the nice “sculpted” look.

So ladies if you want that Goddess look……..that head turning……jaw dropping……traffic accident causing look, get intimately acquainted with the barbells and dumbbells at your local gym!

Below is a 4 week training program designed to get you started on your journey to greatness!

I have had some of my top female figure and bikini clients train using this type of program.

Training tips:

- Remember to always lift with proper form.
- Keep the movements controlled, and think about contracting each muscle through the entire range of motion.
- Don’t be afraid to lift heavy.
- You should be failing (not able to complete another rep) at the end of your rep range.
- Keep rest breaks between sets to no more than 60 seconds.
- Plan your meals.

On this training program you will be doing cardio twice per day. Typically you will do 30 minutes in the morning and then 30 minutes after your lifting workouts.

3 times a week you will do the following treadmill incline workout for one of your 30 minute cardio sessions. (This is designed to wake up and activate your gluteus!)

-3 min incline run @ level 7-9
-3 min of incline walking lunges @ level 4-7
-3 min of incline walking @ level 12-15

2 times a week you will do the following 20 min HIIT (high intensity interval training) circuit for part of your cardio, finish the remaining 10 minutes with moderate intensity cardio.

- sprint 30 seconds
- 10 buprees
- 20 squat jacks
- jog/walk 1-2 min

- sprint 30 seconds
- 50 mountain climbers
- 20 squat jacks
- jog/walk 1-2 min

You will be lifting weights 4 times per week. You will be doing two lower body workouts, and 2 upper body workouts. You will also have a 5th day where you will be doing a plyometric style workout.

Your first two week of workouts will be more of circuit training style workouts, and then the next two week you will progress to more of a split lifting routine. You should include abdominal/core training 3 times per week on none consecutive days.

Weekly lifting schedule
Day 1-lift/cardio
Day 2- lift/cardio
Day 3- cardio only
Day 4- lift/cardio
Day 5- Plyos/cardio
Day 6- lift/cardio
Day 7- cardio only

Weeks 1-2

Upper body workout #1

Complete 3-4 sets of the following circuits or super sets. 12-15 reps. Rest 1 min between circuits.

Standing/Alternating Dumbbell shoulder press
Wide grip lat pull down
Scull crusher
Curl bar curl
Machine shoulder press
Dumbbell bent row
Triangle handle lat pull downs

Lower body workout #1

Complete 3-4 sets of the following circuits or super sets. 12-15 reps. Rest 1 min between circuits.

Bulgarian split squat
Reverse lunge (front foot up)
Step ups

Walking lunges (with weight)
Lunge jumps

Glute kicks backs
Calf raises

Ball hip bridge
Ball hamstring curls

Upper body circuit #2

Complete 3-4 sets of the following circuits or super sets. 12-15 reps. Rest 1 min between circuits.

Inverted row
Chin ups(underhand)
Dumbbell kicks backs
Dumbbell front raises
Dumbbell side raises
Upright row
Ball abs roll outs

Plyometics and Cardio

Complete 3-4 sets of the following circuits or super sets. Rest 1 min between circuits.

Box jumps-15 reps
Squat jumps- 15 reps
Lunge jumps- 30 reps
Mountain climbers- 50 reps
Burpees (with jump)- 12 reps

Lower body #2

Complete 3-4 sets of the following circuits or super sets. 12-15 reps. Rest 1 min between circuits.

Box squats

Leg press (feet high)
Leg extensions
Leg curls
Glute raises on stability ball
Glute kick backs

Weeks 2-4

Workout #1 Shoulders/Triceps

Complete 3-4 sets of each circuit with reps as listed. Rest 1 min between circuits.

Arnold Press Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Front dumbbell raises Reps- 12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Side Dumbbell Raises Reps-12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Bench Dips Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Dumbbell triceps kick backs Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)

Incline dumbbell chest Press Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Machine shoulder press Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Triceps Rope Pressdowns Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)

Workout # 2Glutes/Hamstings

Complete 3-4 sets of each circuit or supersets with reps as listed. Rest 1 min between circuits.

Lunges (weighted) Reps – 15 each leg
RDL Reps – 15, 12, 12, 20 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Leg Press Reps – 15, 12, 12, 20 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)

Reverse Lunge Reps – 15 each leg
Leg Curl Reps – 15, 12, 12, 20 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Single leg. Hip Lifts Reps – 15 each leg

Stability ball leg curl/glute raise Reps- 20
Reverse leg raise Reps- 20

Workout # 3 Back/Biceps

Complete 3-4 sets of each circuit with reps as listed. Rest 1 min between circuits.

Internal and external shoulder rotation -Reps 12-15

Wide Lat pull -Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Push Press -Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Seated Cable Row -Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)

Inverted Row -Reps 12-15
Underhand T-bar row -Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Plate Biceps Curls -Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)

Triangle handle pull downs -Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Hammer curls -Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)

Workout #4 Plyometics and Cardio

Complete 3-4 sets of the following circuits or super sets. Rest 1 min between circuits.

Box jumps-15 reps
Squat jumps- 15 reps
Lunge jumps- 30 reps
Mountain climbers- 50 reps
Burpees (with push up and jump) - 12 reps

Workout # 5 Quads/calves

Complete 3-4 sets of the following circuits or super sets. Rest 1 min between circuits.

Step Ups Reps 12-15
Leg Extension Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)

Hack squats Reps -12,10,8,12 (make the weight heavier for the middle 2 sets)
Narrow body weight squats Reps - 20

Smith machine squats Reps -12-15
Body weight lunges Reps – 15 each leg

Standing Calf Press Reps 12-15

Along with a great workout program such as the one I have outlined above, you are going to need to make sure you are eating the right kinds of foods and the right amounts. I have provided a simple sample meal plan.

Meal 1: 1/3 cup blueberries or other fruit. 4 egg whites, 1/3-1/2 cup oat meal. 1tbs flax meal.
Meal 2: 1 tbs peanut butter, 1 multi grain rice cake. Protein shake (20gm).

Meal 2 option 2: ½ cup cottage cheese, 1/3 cup fruit, peanut butter or almonds.

Meal 3: 4 oz chicken, 1/3 cup brown rice, 3/4 cup green veggies, or small green salad.

Meal 4: similar as meal 2

Meal 5: 4-5 oz lean (chicken, white fish, turkey) (red meat is ok occasionally),3/4 cup green vegetables. 2oz sweet potato.

Make sure you get a protein shake in right after your workouts.

Ok so you’ve got your workout plan, you’ve got your menu for the week, but what about supplements? You’re not going to use a lot of supplements while following this program but you will need some of the basics.
Multi vitamin
EFA (essential fatty acids, Fish oils)
Glutamine (take 3-5 gm 2xday)
Protein powder

There it is!! Everything you need to know to train and look like a Goddess!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What Workout Style Is Right For You

People ask me a lot what my workout program is like, and I could tell them, but is it the best program for them? Does my program fit their needs, goals, lifestyle and time available? What if I’m on a bulking program, and they want to lose weight?

Have you ever been confused at what to do when you go to the gym? Has that confusion ever prevented your from going to the gym because you feel like you are just doing random exercises and wasting your time? Most of us have been in this position before. You want to workout and exercise; maybe you even know how to do a lot of different exercises, but you don’t know how to put it all together.

Are you one of these people that go to the gym, watches what somebody does that you want to look like, and then follows along after them doing the same exercises? Seems like a good idea right??? Well it might not be. You don’t know what else they are doing, what their nutrition or cardio is like, or how long it took them to get to the point that they are at.

Ever guy I know wants to have big double peeked biceps! But if you have a body fat percentage over about 9 or 10% your not lean enough to see a lot of the biceps definition, so does it make sense for you to do 5 different biceps exercise??

Basically I see people at the gym all the time that are over weight and out of shape doing bodybuilding style workouts. Last time I check doing a standing biceps curl, resting 60 seconds (or let’s be honest most people rest almost 2 minutes unless they are timing themselves), and repeating the movement doesn’t burn a whole lot of calories, but that’s what I see out of shape people doing all the time. Most people just don’t know any better. They just do what they see everyone else doing, or what the read in a magazine (add 2 inches to your biceps with this revolutionary biceps workout!!!!.....blah blah blah). People need to find the right fit for their goals, needs, and level of fitness.

There are 3 styles of working out that I like, and think fit the needs for most people’s goals. There are also many adaptations to these trying styles.

They are:

Bodybuilding style- split routines
Circuit training
Cross fit style training

Now let’s not forget the importance of diet and cardio, but I’m not going to take the time to go into those two aspects right now. Let’s just say that without the proper diet and the right amount of cardio you will have a hard time reaching your goals.

Bodybuilding style

This is probably the most popular workout style out there, and for good reason. The bodybuilding style workout is what is most often published in the workout magazines, which is where most people get their workout information from. But also the bodybuilding style of working out is very effective! I wouldn’t say it is effective program for beginners, but for more advanced lifters it can be a great way to make size and strength gains.

A typical bodybuilding workout split may look something like this.

Day 1: chest

Day 2: legs

Day3: rest (which always means cardio day)

Day4: back

Day 5: arms

Day 6: shoulders

Day 7: rest

Or some chose to split the workouts up like this:

Day 1: Chest/ Tris

Day2: Legs

Day 3: rest

Day 4: back/bis

Day 5: Shoulders (possible second leg day)

Day 6: rest or shoulders depending on if day 5 was a second leg day

Day 7: rest

Those are just 2 examples out of many different possibilities of how to split up workouts. One way is not better than another way in my opinion. This style of training is very specialized and lets you focus on shaping and building each muscle group.

Generally you can plan on spending 60-90min on each workout session using the bodybuilding workout style. Generally you do your cardio at a separate time in the day from your lifting workout or right after your lifting workout. You should plan on a minimum of 4-5 days of week of lifting to be able to hit each body part/muscle group sufficiently. Sets and reps will very greatly depending on what cycle or phase of lifting you are in.

This is a great style for those that have a couple of years of lifting knowledge under their belt, understand proper diet and supplementation, and have plenty of time in their day to spend in the gym and can hit the gym 4-5 times per week. If you are limited for time, or looking for weight lose, this isn’t the style of lifting for you.

Circuit training

This might be my favorite lifting style of any of them. It is very time efficient, metabolic (calorie burning), and does allow for a certain amount of muscle growth and strength gains. It can be done using simple exercise or more complex advanced lifts. The key to circuit training is to have 4-8 exercises that you rotate though without resting in between. The other key is it to select exercises that are multi joint movements, and large dynamic movements. Exercises that combine both lower body and upper body muscles are some of the best to go with.

An effective circuit training program can be done in 3 days a week of resistance based circuit training. A typical workout takes from 45-60 minutes. I recommend people use as many exercises as they can utilizing free weights (dumbbells, bars, plates) as this allows for less rest in transitioning from one exercise to another. Also if you are at the gym during peak hours which chances are you will be, there is often a line of people waiting to get on the machines. Remember for effective circuit training you want almost no rest between exercises and very little rest between rounds of your circuit. Generally you should look to complete 2-3 rounds of each circuit. Reps will range form 10 up to 20+.

An example week using circuit training may look something like this:

Day 1: circuit training

Day 2: cardio

Day 3: rest

Day 4: circuit training

Day 5: Cardio

Day 6: circuit training

Day 7: rest

Again there are a lot of options of how to split your workouts up during the week.

Here is an example of one of my favorite circuits using a loaded barbell:

Bent row
Hang clean
Front squat
Push press
Back squat
Push up roll out/ with bar

Here is an example using dumbbells:

Squat shoulder press combo
Push up with row
Reverse lunge with biceps curl
Squat hold with triceps kick back
Romanian Deadlift

There are many combinations of lifts that work great for circuit training. Be creative; you can put together some great workout combos using a variety of free weights and machine weights.

If you have a limited number of days that you can spend at the gym each week, and a limited amount of time to spend at they gym, then circuit training is a great option. Circuit training is what I recommend to my clients that are trying to lose weight.

If you are looking to put on a lot of muscle size, or gain a lot of strength then circuit training is probably not the right style for you. A modified circuit training program can also be used to cut down before a competition or big event.

Cross fit style training

I thought I would also mention crossfit in my overview of workout styles. Crossfit has become immensely popular over the last few years, and has even evolved into its own sport. Crossfit is very effective, very hard, and utilizes a lot of advanced Olympic style lifts. Crossfit workouts are generally time effective. Some workouts take as little as 15 minutes to complete, but trust me at the end of the 15 minutes you will feel like you were hit with a truck, dragged to the train tacks, run over by a train, then taken home and put through a spin cycle!

In brief (and I am sure I will have some crossfitters tell me I am wrong or that haven’t explained this right. Crossfit people tend to be a bit sensitive about their workout style)

Crossfit style training utilizes a combination of Olympic and Power lifts in conjunction with plyometrics, running and other explosive type movements. (Remember I said in brief, meaning just a brief explanation, so all you Crossfit people out there just calm down).

Crossfit style training is great for off season athletes, military and law enforcement personal, and anyone that is looking for an intense workout. One thing that is unique about Crossfit workouts is that many of them are based on a number of rounds for time, or often the lifts are based on a percentage of your body weight, so people of all abilities can complete the workouts.

Crossfit is a specialized workout style, so I don’t recommend just trying it own your own; chances are you will do the lifts incorrectly, inefficiently, and risk hurting yourself. Crossfit gyms are opening up everywhere, so if you are interested find one in your area and give it a try.

If you interested to find out more, just Google crossfit, and you will get more information than you know what to do with.

If you would like to now more about Crossfit training get a hold of my friend Jaquelyn Kay on her bodyspace page. This girl kills it at Crossfit!!



Remember there are many different types and styles of training available. In my opinion, I don’t think any one style is better than another. The key is to find the style that fits your goals and lifestyle, then dedicated yourself, and hit it hard. Intensity is the key; most people make the mistake of not hitting their workouts with enough intensity. Go hard or go home!

Along with finding the best workout style for you, don’t forget to add in your cardio, and most importantly get your diet and supplementation on the right track!

Check out Bodybuilding.com (http://www.bodybuilding.com/) for information about training programs, diet plans, and supplementation. You can also get involved with their social network and connect with people with similar goals as you, plus as always you can buy all your supplements right there!



Monday, April 4, 2011

Cheating The Right Way

You know you do it, don’t deny it, don’t lie about it, and don’t pretend you don’t! You cheat, I cheat, we all cheat on our diets occasionally. Now I will grant that sometimes you may cheat and might not know it or realize that you are cheating. You would be surprised at how many foods we think are healthy really aren’t.

What about those times when you are just craving something sweet or salty……? Something that just tastes good, and makes you smile……what to do?

Should you go ahead and have a tasty cheat treat? You and I both know what will happen if you do. You will feel guilty for one, also you are more likely to blow the rest of your diet for the day after you have slipped and had something not on the “approved list”. You know you will be doing an extra 40 min of cardio to burn those dreaded calories off. Let’s not forget to mention what it will do to your mental state of mind!

I’m sure you have heard all of the usual advice before to stop cravings such at: Drink water, drink tea, chew gum, munch on celery (hey it’s got a negative calorie balance right!), do something to distract yourself, etc.

But what about those time that you just can’t live without a tasty frozen dairy treat or something baked and deliciously good???? Is there anything that can be done to save yourself from disaster? The answer to that my friends is YES! So what’s the answer you ask……? The answer is to cheat! Yes you read that right, you don’t need to get your eyes checked. Cheat…….but cheat the right way.

I was talking with my good friend, Bodybuilding.com spokes model finalist, and IFBB pro Kathleen Tesori the other day about this very topic, and asking her what she does when she has a craving for a cheat, and what recommendations she might have for the rest of us. She said she cheats, but she cheats the right way. She explained that there are ways to have cheat foods that aren’t really cheating. It’s all in the preparation and choices my friends.

I’ll us myself as an example. I love French toast! I mean I really, really love French toast…but as of yet I haven’t found a way to make it healthy. Well Kathleen as shown me how I can enjoy the yummy goodness of French to toast, but not blow my diet for the day. Basically you take your egg whites, oatmeal, add in a little sweetener and some cinnamon, blend it all together, pore into a waffle maker, and bam! Out comes an egg white oatmeal waffle that taste just like French toast!

That is just one of many examples of how you can make healthy alternatives to some of your favorite cheat foods. For more tasty recipes, and other helpful eating and lifestyle tips check out Kathleen’s website. http://www.kathleentesori.com/  http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/KathleenTesori/

Ok so that takes care of my craving for French toast, but what about when I want something cold, thick and chocolaty? Well with a couple scoops of protein powder and a little creativity you can create yourself a high protein alternative to your favorite ice cream treat.

Another good friend of mine, and self proclaimed master mixologist Aubrie Richeson http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/Aubrie / has provided us with 12 sensational protein smoothie shake recipes. I am sure one of these is guaranteed to take care of that evil craving from something cold, sugary and full of fat!


All fun and joking aside, proper planning of your meals is the most important thing you can do to avoid cheating. Your more likely to cheat when you are hungry and don’t have a healthy meal readily available. So plan, plan, plan, and plan some more! ..........But for those times when you want to give yourself a delicious treat, don’t blow you diet, use the resources I have listed above and enjoy a healthy alternative, that isn’t going to make you feel the need to do an extra 40 min of mind numbing cardio!

Brandon Johnson






Friday, April 1, 2011

Gratitude for opportunities

Be grateful for the opportunities that you have. and more will come your way. Along with that be happy for the opportunities that your friends receive, and more too will come your way.

I have had some really great opportunities to work with bodybuilding.com over the last year and a half; first as a transformation trainer, now as part of their 2011 Team. What a great chance for me to share my knowledge with others, and learn from some of the best and brightest in the industry.

Have you ever noticed that fit healthy people seem to have more fun and exciting opportunities than other people? Every wondered why this is?

Here are a few of my thoughts on why that is:

1. Fit healthy people are just physically able to do more fun and exciting things. They have more energy, are stronger, healthy, etc.

2. They are happier. Fit healthy people are mentally happier and more pleasant to have around. They are less negative and more likely to help others.

3. They have more time. People that make the time to take care of themselves seem to be better at time management, thus allowing more time to pursue other opportunities.

4. They inspire others. We look up to fit people doing amazing things with their lives, and think how can we be like them. We want to be around them, thus creating more opportunities for them to do great things.

5. Fit people generally just work harder. Hard work equals rewards and opportunities.

6. Fit people have found a way to have balance in life.

These are just a few of my ideas. I am sure there are many more. Everybody has different reasons for being fit and healthy. Think about what yours are. If you don’t have any, find some and transform your life!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Role Models and Examples

We all have them. People we look up to, that we respect, those that we seek to be like and emulate whether they want us to or not.

Sometimes I think that we put our role models up on these high pedestals and forget that they are normal regular people, with normal regular people problems just like the rest of us.

If you think about why a particular person is a role model for you, it’s not because they live some perfect life where they never have sets backs, defeats, and personal strife. It’s just the opposite!

They are people that have gone through the some muck and shit of life that we have, succeeded and failed, loved and mourned, achieved much and lost more. The difference between them and the rest of the pathetic people that we know (or are), is that rather than sit around having pity parties for themselves, endlessly talking about how things should have been different, blaming other people or society…….. blah blah blah……., they have dug deep into their inner strength.

They have giving their problems and set backs in life the middle finger, turned weakness into strengths, and defeat into success. Success can simply be not giving into the norm of society of becoming a “poor me” person. You know the kind I am talking about. The “oh poor me, my life is so hard, blah blah blah, boo whoo”. You know……the people that want our sympathy all the time……that never take responsibility for personal choice, and that want to be victims of life. IF YOU’RE A “POOR ME PERSON”, CHANGE! THANK YOU!

Having a role model and talking about how great they are and how they inspire you, and then sitting around on your ass feeling sorry for yourself and doing nothing to improve who you are; well that is like walking up to this person that you say you look up to, saying how great you think they are followed by spitting on them, slapping them in the face, and calling them names. Kind of contradictory don’t ya think…………???? We’ll that’s exactly what your doing when you don’t follow their examples, but profess to look up to them……think about it for a minute, you know I’m right!

Maybe you’re still working to finding and developing your inner strength……..that’s ok; it’s not something that happens over night without a lot of work. I bet your role models worked damn hard to develop the ability to use their inner strength, so why should you work any less hard?? Hard work is what produces the greatest and longest lasting gains. And yes it’s hard! It’s difficult to not be a “poor me person”!

At the risk of contraindication every thing I have just said, sometimes it is ok to say “that really sucked what just happened to me”. Or “I wish that hadn’t happened, because now I have to work extra hard, or start over”. I’m not saying don’t get discouraged, or feel bad when stuff goes all wrong. Stuff will always be going wrong. But the difference is what you do after the bottom falls out…………………..

I for one wouldn’t want some of my role models to meet me one day, look at what I have done with my life and then shake their heads and walk away in disgust, although I am sure on some days they would do just that…….hmmmm how embarrassing! Guess I need to work on making some changes, and that’s just it; we all have work to do, things to work on, things to change. Don’t look at it like a bad thing, it’s a good thing! It’s called progression in life. Use every opportunity you have to improve yourself in some small way.

Let your role models be a guide of how we can choose how we respond to situations in life. We have control over how we choose to react to those things that we have no control over. It’s not easy but it can be done. Better people than you and I are doing it every day!


Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Sweaty Death

So it's been one of those days, hell it's been one of those weeks, maybe even the whole month.  You know the kind I'm talking about........when your just pissed off at everything and nothing all at the same time!.......and really for no one reason in particular. 

Maybe it's because your stressed out at work, frustrated with how your workouts have been going, upset that your not making the gains you want, down in the dumps because of a nagging injury that won't go away.  Maybe your frustrated with your love life, or the lack there of as the case may be.  Whatever the reasons are, your just not feeling on top of your game.......we've all been there.  Frustrated, stressed, never feeling like you have enough time to get done the things you need to.  AHHHHHH!

One of the best way to kill the negative voices that take up room in our heads is to sweat them to death.  I mean really sweat the death out of them!  I'm talking sweat pouring off your face, stinging your eyes, socking your shirt, sweat them the hell out!  Push yourself until everything goes quiet around you, and all you can hear is the sound of your own labored breathing as you struggle to pull air into your burning lungs (you know you love that feeling!)...........  Sometimes a good sweat is the best medicine for a troubled mind.

So yesterday I did just that.  I took my negative, frustrating, stress causing thoughts to a park and gave them a sweaty death!  And you know what.... it worked!  An hour later, I was exhausted, sweaty, and happy.  In fact I still have a little of that happy feeling with me today still.

This was my sweaty death yesterday.  Give it a try next time you need to find a little inner peace and quiet.

25 body weight squats
20 squat jumps
50 yard sprint
20 split lunge jumps
50 yard sprint
-repeat 5 times (try not to rest)

Burpee to *box jump 1x2x3.....x10 ascending
100 mountain climbers
10 plyo clap push ups
10 push ups
-repeat 5 times (try not to rest)
           *I used a picnic table.

You can do this workout anywhere......the gym, a park, your back yard.  

So stop making excuses and go find some sweaty peace!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Invictus (Latin for "unconquered")

Read this poem, then read it again, then read it one more time!  Now read it every day!

There isn't a person out there who hasn't struggled at some point in their life to accomplish their goals and to understand their purpose. 

Remember that we are greater than the sum of our fears, remember that the human soul is unconquerable!

There are examples all around us of those who go on accomplishing their goals despite seemingly devastating set backs and challenges.  For those of you who are those people, thank you! For the rest of us, maybe it's time to conquer our fears, and become "Invictus"!  

Now go train hard, and 'get some'!

Friday, April 30, 2010

A Few Thoughts About Supplements

Have you ever noticed all the supplement ads out there......."take (insert product name), and lose weight, get ripped, gain muscle, grow hair, grow boobs, look better, get younger, lose belly fat, formulated specifically to help woman lose fat, increase T levels 200%...........without having to do anything else, or change anything about your life"...............really????????

I love it!!  I love the fact the consumers are really stupid enough to believe what they see on TV or read in the magazines, and buy bottle after bottle of powders and pills (most they won't actual use all of).  Just for kicks and giggles look in your own cabinets and pantries and see how many partially used or unused weight lose, or muscle gaining products you have.....come on do it, don't be scared, it will be fun.

I love the fact that our country is so lazy that we would rather spend $100/month on weight loss pills than spend $30/month on a gym membership.  Going to the gym would actually mean people would have to get off their fat lazy asses and put forth effort! Taking a pill is so much better, I can sit on my couch and swallow it down with my favorite soft drink.......so much easier than breaking a sweat! 

I love the fact that people think if they take "such and such" product that they will look like the sexy women and buff guys in the ads.  NEWS FLASH PEOPLE- while yes the fitness models in the magazines might be taking said product, they are also doing a hell of alot more!........... Like, eating healthy, exercising on a daily bases, and working with a professional trainer, just to name a few.  Not to mention that their job depends on them looking fantastic, so they might just be a little bit more motivated than rest of us are.  Oh by they way almost every picture you see in a magazine has been "touched up".  If I touched up a recent photo of myself I could look like I just got done competing in a bodybuilding show..........uhhhh anyone good at photo shopping......let me know.

So now your thinking, man this guy must really hate supplements and have a problem with the supplement industry.  Well if your thinking that, you couldn't be more wrong.  I love supplements!  Love, love, love them!  I take no less than 6-8 supplements on any given day (everything from multi vitamins, protein powders, to glutamine and pre workouts).

So whats with my ranting and raving?  Maybe I was just bored and need something to talk about.........ummmm no.  It's called I have a problem with the misuse and misrepresentation of supplements. 

Dietary supplement- "a product taken orally that contains one or more ingredients (as vitamins or amino acids) that are intended to supplement one's diet and are not considered food" (source- http://www.merriam-webster.com/)

Did you catch that??? ".....intended to supplement one's diet and are not considered food"  So that means you still have to eat the right foods and do all the other things your suppose to in life to be healthy and fit (like exercising, getting plenty of sleep, manage time and stress levels,etc), and yes supplements can help along the way.

So let me make sure I am clear.  Supplements are intended to supplement a healthy diet of lean protein, fresh fruits and veggies, and healthy carb choices.  Oh and don't forget the whole daily exercise things.  See that's not so hard to understand!

Supplements can be a great benefit to peoples health and well being, not to mention play a critical role in helping athletes reach their fitness and performance goals.  Just remember no supplement will take the place of hard work or healthy eating, but they can help you gain the edge that you need, train harder, recover faster, and promote over all good health.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Squats!! They don't count unless you go all the way to parallel.....or lower! I'll make an exception for people with contraindications, but otherwise I don't care how much weight you put on the bar, if you aren't to parallel, don't bother to tell me about how much you can squat...... I don't give a shit, and neither does anyone else (except maybe all your little bitch buddies that you have to have spot you because you can't lift the weight yourself!) Okay I'm done ranting.....maybe.

What counts as parallel you might ask? Parallel means the crease of your hip is at the same level or just lower than the top of your knee. I don't understand the point of doing a squat unless you are going to parallel.

Recently I was at a local popular gym chain (I'll let you guess which one), and thought I would do my leg workout since very few people work legs at this gym. No lie, I've seen the same individuals work chest and biceps 3 or more times per week........really guys you've got other muscles in the body.....just a thought.

Well the workout Gods played a cruel joke on me, and sent a pack of "heavy lifters" in to annoy me. To help you get an idea of what I was up against, let me describe a few things about these individuals. They travel in groups of at least 4 (1 to squat and three to spot......lift them up), they use knee wraps for every set (even for warm up sets), they have no concept of how to actually use a squat rack.....umm anyone heard of safety bars???? These "heavy lifters" load 4 or 5 plates on each side of the bar (405-495lb), wrap their knees up tight, and strap on their lifting belt. They stiff leg walk over to the bar; position themselves under it, with a spotter on each side and one behind them. They un-rack the weight, take a step back, and proceed to go into the squat movement, well a quarter to half squat movement anyway. Their back spotter is hugged in close behind them, arms wrapped up under the lifters arm pits to help hold him up so the weight doesn't crumple his skinny weak ass legs and crush him to the ground. The side spotters are helping to control the descent of the weight, but their most important job is to help lift the weight up so the lifter doesn't end up on his ass or better still his face with the weight pressing his pathetic body into the ground (remember no safety bars are allowed do be used, that would just be silly!) But hey it's all good, they can tell people that can squat 495lb for reps! I would think they would have massive quads with that big of a squat, but no.... somehow they still have skinny chicken legs.

Now don't get me wrong  I'm all for heavy squats, and there is a time and a place for heavy knee wraps, belts, lifting singlets, and multiple spotters. I've been to my far share of power lifting competitions. Now those guys squat some heavy weight, and DEEP!

So what the big deal with squatting deep? Well a couple of things. For starters you are going to stretch the quads more, and increase the time that the muscles are under tension, which will equate to more motor neurons and fibers being recruited. More time under tension=bigger stronger, muscles.

More importantly you work the gluteal muscles (gluteus maximus muscle, gluteus medius muscle and gluteus minimus muscle.) Oh by the way the gluteus maximus is one of the largest and strongest muscles in the body, and is the muscle that you need for getting up and down from a seated position, climbing stairs etc. Not to mention strong gluteal muscles give you a nicely shaped butt.......and who doesn't want that? If you said no.......your a liar!

If you find that you can't get up from your chair at work without pushing off of your desk, or the sides of your chair with your hands, chances are you have....and are a weak ass. Atrophy of the gluteal muscles which is often caused from disuse and constant pressure for sitting can lead to lower back pain, and difficulty with some movements that naturally require the gluteal muscles.

What...??? Lower back pain can be caused from a weak butt.....?? uhh ya it can! The problem is if your butt is weak, your hip alignment could be off, and your lower back is going to be trying to compensate, and do the job that your butt should be doing, not to mention what your poor hamstrings are trying to do. It is theorized that potentially half of the non injury related lower back pain could be alleviated by strengthening the butt muscles......that's a lot of people by the way!

So not only do strong gluteal muscles make you have a damn sexy looking backside, it can help your everyday activities, and potentially make your back pain go away.

Hmmm so now you are thinking....how do I strengthen my gluteal muscles.......the answer is.....by squatting my friends.......and squatting deep!

P.S. I know there is some lame brain out there that is going to bring up some stupid comment about the fact they heard squatting deep is bad for your knees. Well it isn't! So don't waste time by bringing it up! (If you have a knee injury...well that could change a few things, and is a topic for another time, and yes there is a time and a place for a modified squat, again for another time.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


"Sets are competitions with yourself. They’re finite journeys taken again and again. Broken down into reps and stacked together to form workouts, they’re training’s fundamental unit of measurement. They’re like miniature lives, beginning with vigor, but debilitating with time and repetition, and always, eventually, ending. They’re regimented periods of joy and pain, and, at their best, they deliver an aching sense of accomplishment we’ll call “joyous pain.”
                                                                                                - Flex Magazine-

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Intervals for fat loss

Fat loss, fat loss, fat loss! That still seems to be one of the most talked about and controversial topics in the health and fitness world. Everybody seems to have an opinion on what is the best kind of exercise for fat loss....me included! So for those of you that know me, you will know that I am not a big fan of steady state aerobic training (or what many people like to call "cardio")........ well unless you are training for an endurance event (crazy endurance people!)

I don't know how many people come up to me all the time, and tell me, "so I do like 60 min of cardio everyday, but I just can't seem to lose this fat and get toned....I just don't understand it" (umm news flash people, you can't expect to lose fat and eat fast food everyday!) People also seem to think that just because they get on the elliptical everyday they should be getting skinny. Next time your at the gym look around at who is on the elliptical trainers........bet you it ain't going be fit people with well defined muscles! Nope! It's going to be the fat people! Now don't get me wrong, it's fine to get on the elliptical, and everybody has to start some place, so I would never discourage an overweight person from busting out 60 min of mind numbing cardio (hey some places even have little TV's in the machines so you don't have to miss Oprah). I'm just happy to see them at the gym and not at Walmart!

But for those of us that don't get all hot and bothered over doing hour after hour of cardio, there might be another way. It's called intervals. I know it's a revolutionary concepts thats only been used for like......every!

Basically intervals mixes bouts of high intensity exercise followed by a recover period, then repeated. By high intensity I mean a level of intensity that you can only sustain for 30-60 seconds before you have to recover for 60-120 seconds. Look up HIIT training for more info. With interval type training you can burn the same number of calories in less time, which means more time for the important things like LIFTING!

Numerous studies have been done on interval training and fat loss. Here is an example of just one.

Interval training burns fat and improves fitness more quickly than constant but moderately intensive physical activity, according to research by a University of Guelph researcher.The study by Jason Talanian, a PhD student in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology. It found that after interval training, the amount of fat burned in an hour of continuous moderate cycling increased by 36 percent and cardiovascular fitness increased by 13 percent. Fitness buffs and athletes have long used interval training — short bursts of intensive effort interspersed with more moderate stretches — to improve performance. But Talanian’s study shows that the practice also improves cardiovascular fitness and helps the body burn more fat, even during low-intensity or moderate workouts.Talanian studied women riding stationary bikes in hard-easy intervals in the training lab of his supervisor, Guelph Prof. Lawrence Spriet. The eight subjects included moderately fit women in their 20s as well as borderline sedentary subjects and an active soccer player. They trained every other day for two weeks. They alternated 10 sets of four-minute bursts of riding at 90 percent effort with two minute rest intervals. It did not matter how fit the subjects were before. After interval training, they experienced not only an increase in fat used and in aerobic capacity, but also an increase of enzyme activity in the muscleTalanian notes that faster fat burning and greater overall fitness may not necessarily mean immediate weight loss. The technique may improve someone’s potential to burn more fat, “but for weight loss, you need to consider a balance of exercise and a healthy diet,” he said.The message from his studies is to mix interval training into an exercise routine once or twice a week, particularly in running, swimming or cycling.
Source: University Of Guelph (2007, June 29). Interval Training Burns More Fat, Increases Fitness, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 24, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/

So for those of you that don't want to spend you life on the treadmill or elliptical, or who are at a plateau for fat loss, try mixing in intervals a couple of times a week.