Get Healthy First

Posted: September 12, 2014 in Uncategorized

A chapter in my upcoming e-book is dedicated towards getting healthy over getting fit. The two are not synonymous, and being fit before being healthy can actually make you sick. Think about it– how many over-trained, starved, neurotic, and depleted athletes are there? Too many to count. That is why the rate of injury and exhaustion is so high in these individuals; they are fit but not healthy. This is not to say that all athletes or fit people are unhealthy, as there are exceptions. A lot of people set out to lose weight with horrendous strategies, and their overall health becomes a casualty. At one point, you may have experienced some of the hallmark symptoms of your health going backwards, not forwards. These include:

- A drop in body temperature. You might experience cold fingers and toes, reduced tolerance to cold, and an inability to sweat, even when exercising.

-Reduced sleep quality. You either can’t sleep, or the sleep you do get is not restorative and you wake up feeling exhausted.

-You are tired all of the time and need caffeine just to function. This is a hallmark sign of an energy disturbance within the body, and you need to be aggressive in fixing it.

- A constant craving for sweet or salty foods. Your adrenal glands do not just produce sex hormones, they also produce stress hormones. When the stress you are placing on your body is no longer therapeutic (eustress), your body produces more stress hormones (cortisol) to try to adapt to the chronic stress (distress).

In this chapter, I give strict guidelines a person will want to follow on their path to not only a healthier body, but a healthier mind. Most diets create stress for people and inevitably, they are doomed to fail. A good diet will give you energy, improve your quality of health, and also your quality of life. Here is a blip I will share with you.

 

 INCREASE INSULIN SENSITIVITY AT ALL COSTS

A valuable gem I learned in terms of overall health is this.  There are 3 things that cause ill health; Insulin resistance, Estrogen dominance, and Inflammation. Insulin resistance is a biggie in terms of health. Ultimately, it regulates how well your body uses or stores energy. People who are pre-diabetic or full blown diabetic have deranged insulin sensitivity. This derangement leads to weight gain, fatigue, and in severe cases, organ damage. I am not aiming to be a fear monger’r, but rather drive home the relevance of insulin sensitivity. There are a lot of things you can do to increase your body’s overall insulin sensitivity. For the sake of time and to keep things simple, I will outline 3 big ones.

1. Diet: Big shocker there. A diet that is high in processed foods, PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially from seeds), refined sugar, and meals low in protein and fiber will ultimately hinder insulin sensitivity. So keep it simple and just make sure you limit processed food intake. Be sure to have protein and fiber present at every meal. In the presence of protein and fiber, the glycemic load (the amount of glucose that enters blood stream proceeding a meal) is greatly reduced. This makes sure glucose enters the blood stream slowly, and more energy is shuttled into the cells for respiration.

2. Exercise: Exercise increases insulin sensitivity, glycogen re-synthesis, and promotes more lean body mass (muscle tissue). When you consume food post-exercise, more energy is preferentially going towards restoring muscle and liver glycogen stores. Glycogen is a form of stored energy that fuels exercise and the body in a fasted state. Think of it as a form of starch the body stores and uses as needed. Depleted glycogen stores hinders athletic performance exponentially. The ability to store glycogen efficiently is a good sign of insulin sensitivity. Remember, the poison is in the dose. Exercise appropriately and do not over do it.

3. Sleep: Sleep is huge player in your quest for overall health. Just 4 nights of sleep deprivation can greatly reduce your body’s insulin sensitivity. Here is a great article for more insight on sleep…http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/05/lack-of-sleep.aspx

 

Putting it all together

When it comes to getting healthy, make a few changes that will have the greatest positive impact on your health. I like to tackle sleep and diet first and foremost. If you have your sleep and diet under control, maybe take a look at your training program as whole and make the necessary changes. I also cover optimal training in my book. Please share and stay tuned for my upcoming e-book.

New Training Cycle

Posted: September 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

When it comes to training, having a plan is a must. I have never been one to wing it and hope for the best; I need structure. I am coming off of a high volume training cycle where the two main goals were fat loss and hypertrophy. I lost 4% body fat following the program for 4 weeks, and now it’s time to switch gears and perform some heavy lifting. Before diving into the new training program I have mapped out for myself, I will cover some areas that may help you with your own training.

 Have a plan and work the plan

After picking one or two goals, it is time to start creating a program. I like to break down my training cycles into one or two different categories; either intensification, where the main stress is total weight lifted, or accumulation, where the main stress is amount of work performed (or total volume). The two phases can co-exist with each other in any given cycle. For example, you can be on a fat loss cycle that has you lifting relatively heavy loads, but the total volume (amount of exercises, amount of total reps, amount of total sets) places you in an accumulation phase. On the flip side, you can have a phase that requires the volume to be high (say 20 sets) but the amount of exercises (1-2) and total reps (2, 3, 4, or 5) places you in an intensification phase where the primary goal is boosting total strength (relative or max).

 Break up your training into cycles with mini goals

Keeping the training results-based is a sure fire way to stay motivated. A big mistake is not having mini goals for each cycle. These are not necessarily the same as your primary overall goal, which takes a bit of time. Establishing mini goals can be a very powerful tool for gauging whether your training is effective or not. Here are some examples of mini goals:

- Increasing my bench by 15 lbs.

- Being able to perform more pull ups

- Squatting lower and heavier

- Able to run faster

There are caveats to this method. The goals must be specific to the cycle you are on. It can be disheartening to feel as though you are getting worse, so keep it relative to what you are doing. For example, don’t be sad if your work capacity decreases while on an intensification cycle. Here are some more examples of how I use this method for clients:

Phase 1: Accumulation- German Volume Training (goal is hypertrophy and fat loss)

Phase 2: Intensification- 6 Sets of 2-4 (goal is an increase in relative strength)

Phase 3: Accumulation- 6-12-25 Method (goal is an increase in lean mass and work capacity)

Phase 4: Intensification- Advanced German Volume Training (goal is an increase in lean mass while keeping body fat down)

 

This is not the only option you have in terms of breaking up a program, as it all depends on the client and their goals. I would also like to add I switch up diet options for any phase of training. Here is how that would look:

Phase 1: Accumulation- Carb-Backloading

Phase 2: Intensification- Low Carb w/ 1 re-feed

Phase 3: Accumulation- Cyclic Carb Diet

Phase 4: Intensification- Carb-Backloading

Enough with how you can dissect training; here is my program I am following leading up to my shoot.

 

Phase 2- Intensification: 4 week cycle

Day 1: Lower Body

A: BB Front Squat: 6 sets of 4-6 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 120 seconds

B: 1 1/4 Trap Bar Dead Lift: 4 sets of 8-10 reps, 31X1 tempo, rest 90 seconds

C-1: Bulgarian Split Squat: 4 sets of 10 reps, 20X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

C-2: Single Leg Hamstring Curl: 4 sets of 10 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

Day 2: Upper Body/Push

A: BB Incline Press: 6 sets of 4-6 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 180 seconds

B: Weighted V-Bar Dips: 5 sets of 8-10 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

C: Decline DB Chest Press w/Neutral Grip: 4 sets of 8-10 reps, 40X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

D: Cable Chest Fly: 3 sets of 12 reps, 4040 tempo, rest 90 seconds

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Upper Body/Pull

A: Weighted Chin-Up: 6 sets of 4-6 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 180 seconds

B: Thick Neutral Grip Pull Down: 5 sets of 8-10 reps, 40X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

C: DB Single Arm Row: 4 sets of 8-10 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

D: Reverse Fly: 3 sets of 12-15 reps, 3022 tempo, rest 75 seconds

Day 5: Rest

Day 6: Arms

A: BB Close Grip Bench Press: 6 sets of 4-6 reps, 40X0 tempo, rest 180 seconds

B-1: Close Grip Scott Curl: 5 sets of 8-10 reps, 40X0 tempo, rest 60 seconds

B-2: Decline DB Triceps Extensions: 5 sets of 8-10 reps, 40X0 tempo, rest 60 seconds

C: DB Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 15 reps, 2020 tempo, rest 60 seconds

 

I keep the volume low in this cycle and go for sub maximal lifts every workout. The goal is to add a bit of weight every workout and match the reps. I will shoot a video for every workout, so you can follow it yourself. Hope you enjoyed the article and please share it.

 

Bad Trainers Revisited

Posted: August 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

A great article was published in T Nation in regards to bad trainers. The article was insightful, thought-provoking, and direct. As good as it was, I feel it missed a lot of key aspects that make a trainer, “bad”. I hope to shine light on the most common areas that make a trainer terrible at their job. Before you dive in, here is the link if you would like to read the article I am referring to:  http://www.t-nation.com/training/how-to-tell-when-a-trainer-sucks.

Before going forward, here is the reason why I chose to write this article– most trainers suck. I am not saying this with arrogance or a pompous tone.  I am saying this based on my nine years of working with different trainers in a variety of different gyms. With that being said, here are the areas I feel put a trainer in the “suck” category:

1. Being late or not showing up to appointments 

late client

I mean, how hard is it to show up to a scheduled appointment? Apparently, extremely difficult for most trainers. To me, this is a clear sign of a trainer who doesn’t give a s***. A client is paying you to be there, offer an experience, and keep them accountable to their goals. If you cannot even make that appointment, how committed are you to your clients goals? If you are a client and your trainer is constantly late or worse, not showing up, fire their ass.

2. Recycling workouts

recycling-bin

I see this more often than any other offense. A trainer gives every client the same exact workout; there is no individualization or planning. A workout not only needs to be specific towards a clients’ goals, but also to their abilities. Not everyone can do the same things and it’s irresponsible on the trainers’ behalf to assume so. When a client comes to see me, the first thing I do is assess what their current abilities are. After that, I design a workable program that consists of appropriate exercises for them. Recycling workouts usually occurs in the trainers who take on a boat load of clients, and are more into the money-making business rather than the helping- people business.

3. Getting too personal or making the session a social hour

fucked

As trainers, we have to draw our line in the sand and not allow people to cross them. To add to this point, we shouldn’t cross them either. I see trainers divulging their personal lives to their clientele all the time, and it makes me sick. The hour should be about them, and the purpose of the hour is getting the client to their goals. I am not saying you shouldn’t talk; there is nothing wrong with friendly conversation at the appropriate times. I am talking about the trainer talking about their relationships, the s***y day they are having, gossiping, and so on. These are the types of trainers who never get their clients to their goals. Instead, they bank on building relationships, not results.

4. Negligence 

drg

Negligence is something I see in trainers who market themselves as experts, as though they are doctors. If you are not certified in massage, stop massaging your clients.  If you are not certified in stretching or have not taken a class, stop stretching your clients (I will explain why in a bit).  If you are not a health care provider or more specifically, a medical doctor, you should not be giving medical advice…..EVER!!!! Here is why. These are all specialties and require extensive training to be performed effectively and safely. I see trainers ramming their thumbs and tennis balls into clients’ muscles all the time, claiming it will help ease the tension. If you are not familiar with the orientation of muscles and the nerves that innervate them, you will do more harm than good. For example, I witnessed a trainer jamming a tennis ball in a clients rhomboid, for the sake of relieving tension. What the stupid a** didn’t realize is that the dorsal scapular nerve is right underneath the rhomboid, and he was running the risk of impinging the nerve. Secondly, I have witnessed trainers stretch their clients’ shoulders by holding them off the edge of the table with their arm hanging off to the side.  The trainer proceeds to push the trailing arm towards to the floor. This is a horrible position for the shoulder joint to be in, considering the glenohumeral joint is more prone to anterior dislocation. Listen, there is nothing wrong with not knowing everything, but there is with claiming to.

5. No desire to learn

knowledge

A gem I learned from Charles Poliquin is that you have to learn more to earn more. I have a passion for weight lifting, body building, and nutrition. I spend a lot of hours, dollars, and time attending seminars, reading books and listening to lectures. I also surround myself with people who do the same. I am passionate about what I do and I don’t think I will ever stop learning. A continuous thirst for knowledge is what makes a trainer valuable. Unfortunately, some trainers do not care to learn and are content with the little knowledge they have. They think what they know is the best way of doing things, and that anyone who questions them is dumb. These are usually the trainers who put down other trainers, because they are insecure about themselves. They spend most of their time trying to convince their clients they are the best, rather than showing them.

This article is not aimed at putting down anyone, it’s aimed at building awareness. If you are a trainer who happens to fall victim to the above faults, it is not too late. If you care about your clients, business, and integrity, you can still turn things around. Simply do the opposite things that a s***y trainer would do.

The posts I share now will be related to what I am doing to prepare for a photo shoot I am doing in September. I will discuss my meals, supplements, training, and various subjects that might help you with your fat loss endeavors.

 

 Training should always be periodized and broken up by goals. 

The first thing I do when I make a decision on what training goal I aim to achieve, is to map out a plan. I break up my training into cycles. If fat loss is the goal, a cycle can last 3-4 weeks. If strength is the goal, the cycle can last 4-6 weeks. The goal dictates the reps, sets, rest, tempo, and choice of exercises. As you can tell, I leave nothing to chance; I micro manage everything.  Here is what my current 3 week  cycle looks like:

Day 1: Lower Body

A-1: BB Back Squats: 4 sets of 4-6 reps, 50X0 tempo, rest 10 seconds

A-2: DB Walking Lunges: 4 sets of 10 reps each leg, 20X0 tempo, rest 10 seconds

A-3: Petersen Sled Drag: 4 sets of 50 ft, AFAP (as fast as possible), rest 120 seconds

B-1: Lying Leg Curl: 4 sets of 4-6 reps, 50X0 tempo, rest 10 seconds

B-2: RDL’s: 4 sets of 8-10 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 10 seconds

B-3: 45 deg Back Extension: 4 sets of 12-15 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 120 seconds

Day 2: Chest and Back

A-1: BB Incline Press: 5 sets of 4-6 reps, 50X0 tempo, rest 10 seconds

A-2: DB Decline Neutral Grip Chest Press: 5 sets of 12-15 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 120 seconds

A-3: Neutral Grip Chin up/weighted: 5 sets of 4-6 reps, 50X0 tempo, rest 10 seconds

A-4: Thick Grip Neutral Grip Pull Down: 5 sets of 12-15 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 120 seconds

Day 3: Interval Training

Jacob’s Ladder, 4 sets of 3 minutes, rest 90 seconds between sets.

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Arms

AM Workout

A-1: BB Close Grip Chest Press: 5 sets of 4-6 reps, 50X0 tempo, rest 10 seconds

A-2: Decline EZ Bar Triceps Extensions: 5 sets of 12-15 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 120 seconds

A-3: Seated DB Zottman Curls: 5 sets of 4-6 reps, 50X0 tempo, rest 10 seconds

A-4: Standing EZ Bar Reverse Curls: 5 sets of 12-15 reps, 3010 tempo (pause at 10 degree’s of elbow flexion), rest 120 seconds

PM Workout

A-1: Single Arm DB Curls on Scott Bench: 6 sets of 3 reps, 80X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

A-2: V-Bar Dips: 6 sets of 3 reps, 80X0 tempo, rest 100 seconds

Based of how you feel and your recovery, you may not need to perform the PM workout.

Day 6: Accessory Work/Upper

A: Side Lying Powell Raise: 4 sets of 12-15 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

B: Hi Cable Chest Fly: 4 sets of 12-15 reps, 3030 tempo, rest 90 seconds

C: Seated DB External Rotation w/ Elbow on Knee: 4 sets of 12-15 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

D: Seated Reverse Fly: 3 sets of 20 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds

Note: Because of the high volume of  pressing, anterior deltoid work will not be necessary. The prime focus on this day is focusing on areas of the shoulder that are not getting direct work during the week.

 

As you can see, my training is dialed in. I will follow this for 3-4 weeks with the 3rd week being a de-load week. I will post videos of the actual workouts being performed, so you can get an idea of what the exercises are. I will save the topic of nutrition for my next article.

 

Posted: January 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

This is a bit late, considering I performed this workout on Friday of last week. But with the holidays, it has been hard getting in front of my computer. This workout was brutal and probably the most mentally demanding. Maybe because it was the last workout of the week and I was drained from the previous workouts. Here it is.

Wave Loading Front Squat

A: BB Front Squat: 6 sets of 8, 6, 4, 8, 6, 4 reps. 40X0 tempo, rest 180 seconds.

I used lifting straps to help with the front rack position. I will post a video shortly of the technique. It makes it easier to support the load for heavier loads and higher reps. It is also easier on the wrist and fingers as well.

B-1: Inertia Squats: 4 sets of 6-8 reps, 22X0 tempo, rest 90-120 seconds

B-2: Toes Pointed In Leg Curls: 4 sets of 6-8 reps, 50X0 temp0, rest 90 seconds.

C-1: Seated Leg Curls: 3 sets of 10-12 reps, 30X1 tempo, rest 60 seconds.

C-2: 45 Degree Back Extensions: 3 sets of 10-12 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 60 seconds.

The volume was really high for this workout and I also introduced different exercises as well. I will post a video this Friday of the workout.

DAY 3 OF WAVE LOADING CYCLE.

Posted: December 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

This is the workout I have been looking forward to all week, mainly due to the fact it has arm work in the workout. This workout is centered around the pull up. I must say as a disclaimer that I performed 50 strict chin ups after Muay Thai on Monday night, so I was pretty sore. Enough banter, here’s the workout.

Pull

A: Neutral Grip Chin Up: 6 sets of 8, 6, 4, 8, 6, 4 reps, 40X0 tempo, rest 180 seconds.

B-1: Weighted Dips: 4 sets of 8-10 reps, 40X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds. I used 30 lbs. between my legs for this.

B-2: Incline DB Curl: 4 sets of 8-10 reps, 40X0 tempo, rest 90 seconds.

C-1: OH Rope Tricep Extensions: 3 sets of 12-15 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 75 seconds.

C-2: Straight Bar Curls: 3 sets of 12-15 reps, 30X0 tempo, rest 75 seconds.

I was pretty wrecked for this workout. I performed this on Thursday and the holiday spread did anything but optimize my performance.

Pre-Workout

I just had a Rockstar energy drink with this new supplement I am trying out called Ciltep, http://naturalstacks.com/products/ciltep, just in case your interested in trying. Anything that increases brain function will increase your workout drive and performance. I am always experimenting with new supplements and let me say this, most of them don’t work. Just in case you care, here is the supplements I take.

Transdermal Cream

Dermacrine

Progestacare

Topical Magnesium

TestoPlex

I prefer topical over orals when it comes to things that support hormone function. I actually use these supplements to help with sleep. It may seem like a lot but the topical’s last longer than oral versions.

Oral Supplements

Pregnenlone (Allergy Research)

T-150 (Xymogen)

B-6 Complex (Pure Encapsulations)

Magnesium Glycinate (Pure encapsulations)

Hope this helps. I have decreased the amount of supplements I use in the last year. I try to get most of my needs met with food.