Archive for April, 2014

strong eggs

Once I added Whole Eggs into my daily diet regime, I noticed almost immediate results in terms of improved energy and muscle. They can be a bit of a pain to prepare, but that is a small inconvenience when you consider they come with the following benefits:

  • They contain the most bio-available protein of any whole food source
  • Packed with vitamins & minerals that promote health and energy
  • Contain healthy (hormone supporting) fat
  • Have anti-inflamitory effects
  • Relatively cheap
  • I’ve found they work best at a dosage of about 1 whole egg per 30lbs of bodyweight per meal. If you are cutting round down, if adding muscle round up. So a 150lb individual would take about 5 eggs, and a 180lb individual would take 6.

    Due to all of the benefits listed above, eggs play a huge role in the Hero’s Breakfast I included in Superhero Physique, which is designed to optimize energy-inducing neurotransmitters, improve utilization of nutrients throughout the day and provide the protein required to build and/or preserve muscle (depending on your goals).

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    Eating like a bodybuilder

    Super Hero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington


    By the time most people get to the point that their physique stands out in the crowd, they have usually tried just about every method of training out there and spent years doing a variety of programs (this is especially true when it is done naturally).

    This is why seeking out the biggest guy in the gym is not necessarily the best way to find out how to get the most out of your training, and where scientific studies can come in handy.

    I’ll direct you to an especially good scientific paper called The mechanisms of hypertrophy by Brad Schoenfeld.

    In practical terms this paper suggests the following things are responsible for muscle hypertrophy:

    Muscle damage – accomplished by training within 6-12 rep range (as heavier loads tend to recruit the CNS and lower loads tend to be too light to elicit a growth response. This rep range also tends to recruit the largest range of muscle fibers.

    Metabolic stress – accomplished by gradually increasing volume (sets x reps x load) for a few weeks until the point where you are close to overstrained then back of to de-load and hyper-compensate.

    Hormonal response – accomplished by intense training and dietary protocols (ie. avoid carbs pre workout as they blunt GH but take then post workout with protein for insulin spike).

    Practical application: this is just one example of many excellent papers out there, bur here is how I would put the information in it to use:
    For 3-weeks do a split routine of your choice focusing on a combination of compound and isolation movements in the 6-12 rep range. Avoid carbohydrates 3 hours prior to training and take high glycemic carbs with fast digesting protein immediately post workout. Each week increase the volume one or more of the following ways: heavier weights, less rest between sets, add sets. On the fourth week lower the volume to about what it was on week 1.

    Stimulating Muscle Growth in Multiple Ways

    How to get the most out of your training and diet

    Super Hero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington


    By now you surely know I am an advocate of lifting with proper form for a full range of motion to build muscle.

    You also know I’m a fan of using intensifiers to push yourself even farther – one of those being partial reps at the end of a set.

    I’ve tried things like Pete Cisco’s programs where the entire routine is based on heavy weights for a small range of motion and found hat to be ineffective.

    I have recently found a different way to use heavy partials that seems to be a lot more effective for both size and strength.

    The idea is this: take a weight you would normally use for 8-10 reps and add about 20%. Perform 8 reps. The first 2-3 reps should be the full range of motion. As you go on through the set the range will become smaller, but still maintain the tension. Do this for 2-3 sets of an exercise fairly early (2nd or 3rd) in your routine.

    The next week attempt to use a full range of motion for more reps than you did before using the same weight.

    This can only safely and effectively be done using isolation movements…

  • For shoulders it might be dumbbell laterals
  • For chest machine or cable flyes
  • For back wide-grip pulldowns
  • For legs leg curls
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    Combining Intensifiers for HUGE gains!

    3 keys to massive muscles

    Superhero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

    My overarching goal of 2014 is to put on more muscle mass than I ever have in one single calendar year. One of my strategies includes dietary plans I’ll be writing about in the next few days. The other is manipulating a training variable most people seem to ignore: exercise sequence.

    Traditionally my practice was to start with a movement that stimulates the CNS so that the brain is fully engaged and therefore improves the entire workout. But the goal is not to train the CNS ultimately but muscles, so what if we flip this concept on its head by first doing isolation movements and then incorporating compound movements AFTER the working muscle has been somewhat stimulated?

    The first thing I noticed when doing this is that the compound movements are done with lighter weights, but this may actually be a good thing since we’ll get the equivalent training effect without as much joint strain.

    The other thing I noticed was that the metal burnout following a workout seems to be much greater which leads me to believe that actually the overall toll on the body was greater.

    So if you find your workouts aren’t as effective as thy once were and you want to shake things up, try starting training days with the following:
    Chest day: dumbbell flyes with external rotation*
    Back day: 1-arm dumbbell rows
    Leg day: leg curls

    *if you follow my blog you’ll know I have a high respect for Ben Pakulski. He will often suggest doing dumbbell chest movements with INTERNAL rotation as internally rotating the arm is one of the functions of the chest. However if you externally rotate on the concentric then by default you will be internally rotating on the eccentric which is longer in duration!

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    Superhero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

    Obviously I’m not doctor, but I have (recently) experienced the nasty weight-lifting-induced pain on the outer elbow that is often called “tennis elbow”. I had previously had a shoulder injury, but this was my first time dealing with an elbow injury. Interestingly, I had actually recently worked on strengthening my forearms — I can’t say at the moment if that helped speed my recovery or caused the issue in the first place, but what I can do is give you the steps I followed to get myself back to the point where I could hit the iron again.

    Just like the first step different “rehab” programs Accetance is huge. In my case it began as a slight discomfort which I ignored until it was too late. Hopefully you don’t make the same mistake, and take action immediately.

    Once you have determined something is wrong you need to look at what NOT to do as well as what TO do.

    What to NOT Do:

    1. Don’t train upper body as heavy or as frequently
    In fact this is a good time to ramp up your leg training. I took two weeks off of upper body training, then when I returned to training upper body for the first week I focussed on movements that did not involve moving the elbow joint (straight-arm pull downs, lateral raises, dumbbell flyes etc).

    2. Avoid foods that cause inflammation

    These include: dairy, fried food, sugar, alcohol, gluten

    What TO do

    1. Stretch forearms

    Multiple times I day I would extend and flex my forearms and hold for 20-30 seconds.

    2. Slowly incorporate elbow function into training

    Once you begin incorporating more elbow-involving movements I’ve found it beneficial to slow down the negative portion of the rep to 5-6 seconds. This allows you to keep in control of the movement and not aggravate it further, while also allowing for a good training stimulus.

    3. take inflammation-reducing foods and supplements

    These include: tart cherry juice, fish oil, berries, vegetables, garlic.

    I have also found that joint supplements help, especially those that include boswellia.

    4. external assistance

    By using a transdermal anti-inflammation cream as well, an elbow wrap as an ice pack daily, I found the healing seemed to speed up.

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    Building a Man of Steel Chest with “SUPER DROPS”

    SOA – a new Animated webseries