Archive for May, 2013

superdude

When the first photos of Man of Steel popped up, like everyone else I was impressed with the physique of the newest superman, and with the shirt-less scenes the filmmakers make it clear that the actor is not wearing a “muscle suit” under his costume.

People may have seen some of the work Cavill did previously, and know he is no stranger to getting into top shape. For Superman it appears as though his main focus was on building impressive pecs and delts.  His fat levels were kept low, though he didn’t get ripped to the point where he was likely to risk losing lean mass.

It would also seem that he did a good job of balancing hormones, I suspect naturally, but by making optimal nutritional choices.

I’m going to state up front that while I have done some research into his style of training I have no intention of putting his EXACT routine here for many reasons, the primary one being that Cavill’s genetics and starting point are unique to himself.

I actually spent many months in the pursuit of building a similar physique (completely naturally of course), my results were actually very good. Here’s how I did it…

Training:

I start each program with a 7 day detox where I flush my body and lower the training intensity to focus on teaching my body form, increasing flexibility and balance.

Following the detox the real fun begins! I alternate between a week of overloading shoulders and a week of overloading chest, that not only gives those muscle groups more stimulous than normal, it also gives a week of hyper-recovery while I’m overloading the other part. Shoulders will be trained 3 times over the course of delt week, where Chest will only be trained twice during the pectoral week:

Week 1:

  1. Shoulders
  2. Legs
  3. Shoulders
  4. Chest & back
  5. Shoulders
  6. Arms

Week 2:

  1. Chest (lower, outer)
  2. Back/hams
  3. Shoulders
  4. Chest (upper, overall)
  5. Quads/calves
  6. Arms

This two week cycle is then repeated.

I will put the specifics of the workouts in my next couple of blogs, including something really cool I discovered, which I now call “SUPER DROPS”!

*Chest routine: “Super Drops” for a Man of steel chest

**Delt routine: Man of Steel Cannon-bass delts

Nutrition:

The first goal is to keep lean (but not necessarily ripped) while building muscle.  The best approach I’ve found to do this is to consume a large amount of protein and moderate amount of carbs 3-4 hours after working out, and moderate amounts of protein, healthy fats with lots of vegetables for every other meal.  Actual amounts of food wll vary from person to person based on several factors, the more serious you are the more rigid you will have to be.

On that note, check out my post on: The Perfect Post-Workout nutrition

Also due to the high volume and frequency of this kind of training, make sure to have lots of vitamin C throughout the day to boost your immunity and assist with recovery.

On shoulder days a joint supplement including MSM will help recovery and avoid injury.

That’s all for this post, please subscribe so you will receive updates on my followups to this blog as well as a few other fun ones I have on the way!

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SuperHero Physique
superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington


SOA – a new Animated webseries
SOA

It is nothing new to use certain post workout nutrients to get the most out of training, but like anything, I think there are ways to optimize it.  As a quick side note, I’m going to mention certain products by name, simply because I’ve found them to be the best for their specific purposes.  They span several companies none of which endorse me (yet)…

In order to come up with the perfect nutrients to take following an intense training session, the first step it to have a firm grasp on the goals we are trying to attempt and then set out a plan of achieving that.

Whether I’m looking to cut or bulk, the goal of my weight training is always to build muscle. When it comes to building muscle, perhaps the most important thing we can do is maximize anabolic hormones, while limiting catabolic hormones.

A problem here is that hormones tend to want to balance themselves out, so when you boost testosterone, the body wants to boost estrogen. When the body boosts Growth hormone, the body wants to decrease insulin. When the body senses stress it will also release cortisol to attempt to regain normality.

Provided you avoided carbs prior to training, and included a good balance of heavy and high volume training you will have boosted T and GH naturally.  This leaves us with a very critical window following the workout in which we want to decrease cortisol, and spike insulin. The reason to do this is because the simultaneous combination of insulin and GH in the body has been shown to be highly anabolic. It is also a fairly rare thing to occur in the body (naturally).

Since we will be spiking insulin, the delivery hormone, it also makes sense to supply the body with muscle-building amino acids and creatine, so that we supercharge the recovery process.

Furthermore, we want to combat muscle acidity and remove free radicals from the body to speed up recovery. Also we want to help the body lower cortisol and raise testosterone.

Accomplishing all of the above is not actually that complicated.  Sugary carbohydrates such as dextrose can spike insulin as well as combatting cortisol, however I’ve found that I don’t require much, so I start with:

  • 1 Tbs lemon lime Gatorade (10g carbs)

Now for the amino acids:

  • 10g BCAAs (at least 3g leucine) – Aminocore Caribbean splash mixes well with this

In order to fight muscle acidity and remove toxins add:

  • 1 freshly squeezed lemon **Since lemon juice can wear down tooth enamel make sure to brush your teeth with a paste that will build enamel. My dentist recommended Pronamel by sensodyne.
  • 1 scoop phytoBerry

Now to assist with muscle hydration and fullness add in:

  • 5g creatine monohydrate
  • 1 pkg lemon-lime flavored electrolytes

Mix the above in plenty of water, and a couple ice cubes if you like, and then take the following with it:

  • Phosphatydlserine – helps correct testosterone:cortisol ratio
  • 2-5 caps MassPro Synthagen – facilitates protein synthesis
  • 100mg Magnesium – lowers cortisol
  • 25mg zinc – supports testosterone
  • 2g vitamin C – lowers cortisol, antioxident
  • 1000 IU vitamin D3 – supports testosterone
  • 1 high potency multivitamin – removes free radicals, supplies vitamins & minerals

After taking this give it a little time to settle, perhaps take your shower, then throw down about 30g of whey protein mixed with 15g of casein.  An hour or so later is a good time to get some complex carbs in.

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Related: https://shawnthebuffer.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/unsung-bodybuilding-supplements/

 

 

Unsung Bodybuilding Supplements

Posted: May 21, 2013 in fitness

supps

When asked about the most effective bodybuilding supplements, the usual suspects always show up: Whey protein, multivitamin, fish oil and creatine.

While these are great for their purposes, I’ve found there are certain supplements that are not quite as sexy, yet can have a huge impact on improving your physique. The best part is that they are not overly expensive either. For each I’ll touch on WHAT (it is), WHY (to take it), WHEN (to take it) and HOW (much to take).

Electrolytes

What: Electrolytes are really just minerals (the primary ones being Magnesium, potassium, chromium, calcium and sodium) that play a huge role in keeping your body hydrated, and prevent cramping.  These cannot be created by the body so they need to be included in your diet.  Most multivitamins do contain small amounts of these but not in a great amount.

Why: Muscle hydration is a huge part of hypertrophy, and due to the role that electrolytes play in that, it stands to reason that incorporating them into your regular diet will be beneficial.

When: Post workout is usually the best time. On leg training day I usually take a couple of doses.

How Much: Each mineral has different optimal amounts, so my suggestion is to get pre-made packages of dissolving electrolytes. Start with one package and if needed increase from there.

*Magnesium* – Magnesium is an electrolyte, but it is a very important mineral that is deficient in most people.  It is extremely helpful in both fat burning and muscle gaining, which is why it is a staple of mine year round.  But it is also important to note that you should avoid Magnesium Oxide, and opt instead for another form such as aspartate or citrate.  The reason for this is simply that magnesium oxide, the cheapest form of magnesium is virtually useless in the human body.

Greens

What: Essentially this is a powdered assortment of vegetables.

Why: Keeping muscle alkalinity is another underrated

When: They can really be taken at any time in place of a serving of vegetables, one good idea would be to take them shortly after resistance training to help return muscle acidity to normal.

How Much: A typical serving is around 10g.

MSM

What: This is one of a few supplements found to relieve and prevent joint pain.

Why: Especially when it comes to shoulder joints, keeping the joints healthy and lubricated is important to ensure you can not only recover from training, but train it as hard as possible to ensure continual growth. There are many joint supplements out there, but MSM is one that seems to have the most consistent positive findings with no negative ones, so that makes it my go-to joint supp.

When: Post workout is generally the best time, if you have a lot of joint soreness a second dose before bed may help too.

How Much: A typical dosage is around 500mg.  Start with that, and if it does not prevent joint pain a second dosage a few hours later can often be very effective.

Melatonin

What: Melatonin is a hormone that appears to help other hormones including anabolic hormones work more effectively. It has often been used as a sleep aid.

Why: Since one of the things it has been shown to do is boost GH, it can be helpful for anyone building muscle

When: Pre-workout to optimize hormones and before bed.

How Much: 2-5mg is recommended, 3mg seems to be standard in many formulations.

Vitamin D

What: This is a fat-soluble vitamin, the D3 form is also called Cholecalciferol, and has been shown to have the greater efficacy than other forms of vitamin D.  It is still not known whether vitamin D boosts testosterone or if it is simply a limiting factor, however studies have shown there is a clear relationship between vitamin D and testosterone.

Why: As mentioned, vitamin D is an important vitamin for maintaining optimal testosterone, but it also has other benefits including bone density, immune functions and disease prevention.

When: Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it requires fatty acids to be present to transport it.  Therefore I typically consume some with every fat-containing meal (for me that is my first meal and last two meals of the day).

How Much: As a fat-soluble vitamin, toxicity is always a concern, however getting to that point is pretty difficult with vitamin D….

Zinc

What: Zinc is another mineral that is often deficient in people, and while it is technically an electrolyte, it rarely shows up in electrolyte supplements.

Why: Test… ‘Nuff said, but I’ll say more anyway. Zinc is not likely to boost your testosterone to the point where you are breaking out in zits like a teenager again, but being deficient might be a limiting factor that is preventing you from making the gains you ought to be.  It also assists with other bodily functions to keep you healthy.

When: It can be taken throughout the day.

How Much: The dosage required will vary depending on how much you are getting naturally from your diet. Since a typical dosage is 25-30mg start with one serving per day before bed and increase if needed.

Leucine

What: This is one of the essential amino acids and branched chain amino acids found in complete proteins. It has been found to stimulate protein synthesis all on its own, typically at a dose of 3g.

Why: The primary reason to supplement with leucine is that it is inexpensive, tasteless and can be easily mixed into a protein shake or pre-workout drink to ensure you are getting at least 3g.

When: It can be taken with meals or in between.

How Much: 3g.

Flax seed oil

What: An omega 3 oil that can be found in liquid or capsule form.

Why: There are many reasons that flax seed oil can be beneficial, but one of the main ones I like it for is joint lubrication.

When: It can be taken with any non-carbohydrate meals, specifically on shoulder training days.

How Much: This is going to vary person to person based on your daily caloric intake as well as how much fat is already in the meal you are eating, I generally do not exceed 4g in a single serving.

MassPro Synthagen

What: This is the only “proprietary” supplement I feel deserves to be on this list. The main ingredient here is a blend of all 9 essential amino acids that has gone through extensive testing by its creator to get the optimal ratio. In addition to the EAAs there is taurine, magnesium, Beta-Alanine, as well as ATP and carnosine boosting agents as well as a strong adaptogen… and all of which have been designed to complement one another when it comes to building and repairing muscles.

Why: Essential amino acids are required to build muscle, there is no debating that. This is one reason why whey protein is so popular, as it provides relatively fast absorbing aino acids.  However in free form they enter the system even more quickly making them the perfect supplement pre and post workout. All of the complimenting ingredients only add to this.  Over the past year I’ve used this supplement fairly regularly and I believe it has played a large role in my results.

When: There are three key times that Synthagen can be taken, pre and post workout are the primary times, but it can also be taken pre-bedtime as it has been shown to improve sleep.

How Much: The recommended dosage is 5-7 caps per dosage.  Personally I find as little as 3 taken with BCAAs to be effective. The makers also suggest to take synthagen with tart cherry juice.  I’ll be honest, I’ve done it with and without Cherry juice and found little difference in results in myself.

Conclusion:

I feel the only way to get the best value for your buck when it comes to supplements is to understand how your body works and how to optimize those functions. Most of the products on shelves today are marketed based on little or no human studies to support their claims.  By taking an intelligent approach you can save yourself a lot of money and get far better results!

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tom_hardy

(Tom Hardy in Warrior: The ultimate Alpha!)

In Part one of this unexpected franchise of blogs, I discussed a workout designed to pump up those sexy parts that make the ladies week in the knees.

Well, a couple of months ago I tried a more subtle approach, and the results were quite unexpected… My plan was to pump up those “alpha” parts prior to a date to give myself a more manly façade to help amplify that subconscious attraction. In the end not only did the target girl want a piece of me, so did her best friend!

So being the generous guy I am, I’ll share it with you. But as a disclaimer, don’t blame me if you get a boatload of unintended female attention!!

The idea of this workout is to volumize the delt and trap muscles. This will help create that broad and intimidating look that we’re after.

Step 1: Pre-workout nutrition – To assist with optimal hormonal response, avoid carbs for at least 3 hours before training, and consume the following:

  • 100-200mg caffeine
  • 10g EAAs (at least 3g leucine)
  • 10g glutamine
  • 5g creatine
  • 5g taurine
  • 3mg melatonin

Step 2: Warmup!! – this cannot be overstated! Speaking from personal experience, a shoulder injury can set you back months, so make sure to do at least 5-10 minutes of DYNAMIC warming up of your shoulders.

Step 3: CNS Activation – to begin this workout we want to activate the brain so that muscles are fired efficiently and effectively

  • Dumbbell Deadlifts with shrugs – 4 sets x 6 reps, 2 min rest between sets – due to the shrug at the top, the weight will have to be lower than what you would simply deadlift. Also keep in mind this is not a stiff-leg deadlift, it is targeting the back, not the hamstrings.
  • Arnold presses – 6 sets using the following wave loading pattern: 9 reps, 7 reps, 5 reps, 9 reps, 7 reps, 5 reps. 3 min rest between sets – as logic would dictate, you will choose heavier weights as the number of reps decrease.

Step 4: Volumize!

  • Dumbbell side laterals – 4 sets x 8 reps, negatives at the end of each set, 1 min rest between sets – to perform the negative, you basically perform a hammer curl to bring the dumbbells up towards your shoulders, then extend your elbows out. Now straighten your elbows until you are essentially in the top position of a lateral raise, then lower as slowly as you can… prepare for the burn on this one!
  • Bent Dumbbell lateral raise w/external rotation – 4 sets of 12 reps, 1 min rest between sets – keep in your mind that for this move we want to target both the rear deltoids as well as the traps/rhomboids. Start with a flat back bent to 90 degrees, your forehead resting on an incline bench, palms neutral/facing inward, and shoulders extended forward (towards the ground). Extend arms up using your shoulders, then at the top externally rotate your arms (rotating thumb towards the ground) while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Do a nice controlled negative back to the starting point.
  • Face down incline Shoulder press – 3 sets x 15 reps, 45 sec rest between sets – lying face down on a steep incline bench use a fairly light weight and press up in a straight line. Because you are on an incline this will not be moving perpendicular to the ground and therefore will become more challenging towards the top of the movement.
  • Dumbbell shrugs – 2 sets of 3 drops using 6, 12, then 20 reps, 1 min rest between drop sets – I find that using 50% of the weight on each drop works well, so for example, perform 6 reps with 80lbs, then immediately perform 12 reps with 40lbs, then 20 reps with 20lbs, rest 1 minute and repeat.

Step 5: Stretch! – Hang from a chin-up bar for 20-30 seconds letting your shoulders stretch as much as possible. Not only will this help the recovery process, but will also help avoid injury.

Step 6: Cardio – in order to get your GH really flowing as well as turning on your fat burning mechanisms, do 5-6 minutes of HIIT cardio on an upright stationary bike.

Step 7: Post-workout nutrition – since this is about volumizing, have the following right after training:

  • 30g when protein (at least 3g leucine)
  • 10-30g dextrose (ie Gatorade)
  • 5g creatine
  • 1-2g MSM

Step 8: strut your stuff!

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Related: Get Sexy in one workout… the Pre-Date pump-up!