Archive for June, 2014


mi40x_wk2

MI40-x week 1 log

Week 2 was very similar in structure to week 1 in terms of the split and the volume. One of the key differences was that NOSx was utilized a little more frequently and even at the beginning of some workouts which made the rest of the training very challenging.

A lot of the challenge of this week was battling mental fatigue more than muscular failure, which in my opinion is character building if nothing else.

I also got through more of the educational videos this week, which were fairly informative as far as the theory behind the program.

A couple of glitches have been worked out in terms of the diet calculators, but one issue was the coaching call. The audio was cutting out so badly on it that it had to be taken down. That was back on June 16 and so far it has not been re-recorded or even rescheduled as far as I know.

The support team is really good about getting back to any questions I’ve asked so far, but they haven’t been emails to let us know when there are updates to the site etc.

Week 3 is where it starts getting really intense…

Related:
Mi40x Honest Program Review
mi40x


SuperHero Physique
superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

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I was in grade 5 when I first learned about the Ninja Turtles. It was only a few months after I got into them that the first movie came out. I was so excited about it I would record the trailers, music videos and TV spots on a VHS tape that I would watch over and over.

Over the years the original TV show dwindled away as the movies got progressively worse. There was a thoroughly awful live stage show and equally bad live action television show. There was a mediocre TMNT computer animated film, then in 2012 they seemed to get it right with a well-conceived CGI series.

Now in 2014, we are soon to be treated to a live action film with CGI turtles created in the way Gollum was animated for Lord of the Rings. So far we have seen a couple of posters and now two trailers, which you would think would have me excited to relive my childhood but I have a few reservations…

1. Michael Bay

I’m not really a fan of his, but luckily he is not directing this one. Still his name on the project raises red flags.

2. Megan Fox

Yes she’s hot, but that’s not enough. And so far I can’t get my head around the idea of believing her as April.

3. The story

Not much is known so far, but it seems to be taking a page from The Amazing Spider-Man, in terms of adding a “mysterious” past into April’s life. It is an interesting idea, but nothing new.

At one point in the new trailer one of the turtles says “This is OUR city”. What? They’ve been living in hiding in the sewers their entire life, how does that qualify as THEIR city?

4. The Turtles

I’m still not sold on the new look. They don’t seem loveable but frightening. I imagine my kids will be more scared of them than rooting for them.

5. The look

What we’ve seen of the action looks like it will be pretty neat, but the film looks dark and the action looks too frantic, to the point where it could easily become more frustrating than exciting.

On a slightly different but related note, at one point one of the Turtles whips out a rocket-board. Again, these are characters that were supposed to be living in the sewers with limited means.

6. Woopi Goldberg

Seriously?

Final early thoughts

I really hope I’m proven wrong, and that when I see the movie I find it spectacular. But I’m really worried this is going to be similar to Superman Returns – it will certainly do well financially but very well might set the franchise back several years via a miscalculated reboot.

Related:

Ninja Turtle legs


mi40x_wk1

Week 1 of the MI40-x training protocol is done. I’m doing the “graduate” program, which is what I think most people will start with.

Starting point. Okay, I started this program out a little bit fatter than I want to be due to having been doing gaining programs throughout the “off-season”. It is now summer so I’m actually going to be using a slight caloric deficit for this program. If it is as good as advertised I should be able to put on mass as well as trimming some fat.

First impressions: ouch!

To be honest I was very skeptical at first. I have previously done John Meadows’ Mountain Dog training which includes some weighted stretching but this takes it to a whole new level creating a massive pump. Does that translate to lasting muscle mass? Obviously it is too early to tell.

Day 1 commentary:

Training my chest, biceps and front delts made for a pretty long workout. It didn’t include any of the “new” techniques, probably to ease you into the program, but it was still a touch workout to get through. I stuck in a set of the NOSx chest press at the end just to try it out and it was pretty painful.

I did the optional 10-minute calf routine as well.

Day 2 commentary:
Today was back, rear delts and triceps. Again no “extreme” movements but still a lot of volume.

Day 3 Commentary:
Legs… oh boy. Ben is the king of wheels these days and he knows how to make your legs hurt. Today’s workout is tough from the very first movement. I took lots of BCAAs and electrolytes during the workout and thank goodness for that.

Actually my calves are still throbbing from when I did the calf routine on day 1, which made this an extra tough routine to get through.

Day 4 commentary:
Yesterday was an off day, so today was the second chest & biceps day of this week. It was challenging but in a different way from the fisrt chest/biceps workout of the week in that it started off with NOSx early in the routine and had some extremely slow eccentrics. But I did look massively pumped after.

Day 5 & 6 commentary: These will have to be carried over into week 2 since I was only able to do 4 workouts this week.

Related:
MI40-x week 2 log
MI40-x week 3 log
MI40-x week 4 log
MI40-x week 5 log
MI40-x week 6 log

Mi40x Honest Program Review
mi40x


SuperHero Physique
superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington


2012_comp

I just finished two relatively successful 6-week gaining cycles with a brief 3-week cut sandwiched between them. I wound up putting on 8lbs of muscle which is pretty phenomenal given my age.

I accomplished this by sitting down and building a plan of attack. It seemed to work. A lot of the things I did are written of in my recent blogs. I’ve also decided to put these items all together in one chapter my new book: Superhero Physique. There are actually three muscle gaining chapters in the book. The one called “The Incredible Bulk” is based the first gaining cycle I did this year, “God of Thunder Mass Attack” uses similar philosophies but with a different training method (which is actually quite cool). And “Bat-Mass” was the most recent gaining phase I did where I pulled out all the stops.

Anyway, I managed to stay relatively lean doing this cut but I’m going to start dieting moderately between now and June. Last year I placed top ten in the Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle challenge so I won my way into the contest this year, however it has changed substantially to the point where I probably won’t do it. Still this summer my plan is to be more ripped than ever.

So my program for the next few months is going to essentially be the “Spidey-slim” program listed in the book, then I’ll move onto the “wolver-abs” for the last portion of the summer. I’ll also be sure to write about in part along the way.

If you are a regular reader you are probably aware that I am in the process of trying out the MI40-x workouts, so that will be my training protocol as I work to get lean. Plenty of fun updates ahead!!!

Thanks for all the support everyone!

Join me on facebook here.

Related:
Which superhero has the best physique?


SuperHero Physique
superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington


bookshelf

Here’s what’s on my bookshelf (alphabetically):

Body-For-Life by Bill Phillips: this was the first fitness book I ever owned. I bought it after reading an article in a magazine (I believe it was Phillip’s own magazine) discussing the body-for-life transformation contest. Even looking back now much of what the book says is still valid and it’s well written for the beginner, however much of what it leaves out is the very things that gave me true results.

Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle by Tom Venuto: this book is the first fitness book I read in my modern fitness reemergence. It still stands up as possibly the best book out there for obtaining a bodybuilder’s physique (specifically while dieting).

Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger: I wouldn’t take this one as gospel, but there is some really interesting ideas in here from the master himself. I found the program in it to be ridiculously high volume at the time.

High-Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way by Mike Mentzer: You either love or hate Mike Mentzer. I used to love him and now I see him as a bit of a sideshow. But the book has some interesting ideas and certainly his character comes through.

Natural Hormonal Enhancement by Rob Faigin: If you want to learn about utilizing food and exercise specifically to get a maximal hormonal effect than this is an excellent resource.

Periodization by Tudor Bompa: As far as building a periodized program this is a pretty good resource. It is a little bit of a touch read and some of the information is a little dated.

The Poliquin Principles by Charles Poliquin: Poliquin is great at bringing practical application to muscle development. This one is a bit older but certainly some good fundamental info in here.

Super Squats by Strossen: This is an oldie but a goodie. It has stood the test of time as many people started off with this program in their early days of physique building.

Superhero Physique by Shawn Buffington: this book is designed to help you attain the “next level” of fitness, depending on what your ideal body looks like, with 12 different training programs to help you accomplish it as well as a chapter on how to create your own program.

My “e-book shelf”:

The Blueprint 2.0 and 3.0 by Rob Regish: This is a really innovative muscle-building program that will get you really thinking about training and nutrition.

The Ketogenic Diet by Lyle McDonald: The original intent of this document was to teach about extreme dieting to get ripped. But it contains a lot of information about hormones and body mechanisms that can actually be very useful when striving to add mass as well.

MI40 & MI40x by Ben Pakulski: MI40 is a great resource to learn about doing proper movements and proper nutrient timing for hypertrophy. MI40-x takes these principals another step by adding in several other intensifiers.



Related:

SuperHero Physique
superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

MI40x honest review
mi40x

Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle – non-biased book review

You guys probably know by now that not only am I a fitness “buff” but a fan of comic book movies (actually I’ve been a fan of superheroes and comic books since before I could walk).

So combining those two loves for me is a huge thrill, and something I just took to the next level with a book I wrote called SUPERHERO PHYSIQUE.

So to honor this recent publication I want to pose the question: which superhero had the best physique?

This is obviously a very subjective question, even Frank Zane said that bodybuilding and its judging is so subjective that it will never be considered a “sport”.

I’m going to put the following rules into this particular question:

  • This is specifically about movie superheroes (not cartoons or comics)
  • One of the criteria will be how the actor looked before preparing for the role



  • Contestants (alphabetically):
    Batman
    Captain America
    The Incredible Hulk
    Spider-man
    Superman
    Thor
    Wolverine



    BATMAN

    To date the best physical specimen for Batman is Christian Bale…

    Christian Bale packed on a ton of muscle after being sickly lean for the Machinist. He got big but managed to stay fairly lean.

    However in American Psycho Bale had an amazing physique that I would wen rank higher than his Batman.



    CAPTAIN AMERICA

    Chris Evens had to look big and powerful after stepping out of the super soldier chamber, and he did it well. He looked fantastic.

    However he was previously in great shape for such roles as Human Torch in the fantastic four.



    THE INCREDIBLE HULK

    Hulk is an easy pick for being simply huge, but since most incarnations have been CGI we an only look at Lou Ferrigno.

    Lou was huge and ripped as hulk, but has the advantage of being a professional bodybuilder. Not to take anything away from him, he just did not have to undertake the same kind of transformation some of the others did for their roles.



    SPIDER-MAN

    Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield both had to do some physical preparation for the role of Spidey. To me the far and away winner is Maguire. He had to put on some muscle, and got noticeably lean as well, where Garfield is more of just a skinny guy. Maguire underwent his transformation while adhering to a vegetarian diet, which may have been to his detriment but should be respected.



    SUPERMAN

    Three actors have done impressive physical work to prepare to take on the role of the man of steel:

    Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh both added decent size without extra chub for the role and neither one came from a fitness background.

    Henry Caville on the other hand was in very good shape for The Immortals.

    All the same, Caville put on noticeable size and still was quite lean for this role. Kevin Smith astutely noted that this was the closest to a comic book Superman we’ve seen to date.



    WOLVERINE

    Before becoming the Wolverine, Huge Jackman was a stage actor and his most noteworthy performance was playing the muscle-bound goon Gaston in Beauty and the Beast. However he was not overly huge for that role. When he first hit the screen in 1999 his physique away the time was not stellar but still quite good. Director Bryan Singer made it sound like they made his physique work by arranging the shooing schedule for the topless scenes around his training schedule, and did some close ups when he wasn’t at his peak.

    However, if we fast-forward to his latest outings as Wolverine, he is in absolutely ridiculous shape especially when we consider he is getting to the age where hormones are not on his side.



    CONCLUSION

    As I mentioned before, it’s a very subjective topic. In Superhero Physique I included 12 training programs designed to help you build your physique in the model of the superhero of your choosing as well as a bonus chapter to help you create your own program.

    The winner for me? I’ll tell you after you tell me 🙂 Who’s your pick?



    Related:
    Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine training and diet

    Thor Mass Program

    Man of Steel: Building a physique like Henry Cavill’s Superman


    SuperHero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington


    mi40x

    Off the top, this is not an affiliate review. How do you know? There are no links to the program within my review!! This is an honest, no-BS review of Ben Pakulski’s MI40x (also called MI40xtreme and MI40x 2.0).

    BACKGROUND

    I actually contacted Ben attempting to get an early copy of the program to review. Unfortunately he ignored my request which may have been in part due to the fact that I don’t really like his scam artist pal Vince Del Monte. So since I had to go out and buy the program I’ll have to be an extra tough critic, hehehe…

    Something has to be said for Ben Pakulski’s current track record. When he first came onto the scene he was very much about educating people on proper training techniques while pursuing his own career as a pro bodybuilder. He seems to have fallen away from that a little bit, leaning towards becoming a marketing machine like his pal Vince. This has been made evident by such things as his hypertrophy max program.

    This appears to have made him search for new gimmicky techniques to sell a product. This particular product has been in the making for a couple of years as he has tested it out with clients, and has been pushed back several times. I’m unable to say if it took so long to release because the tests were less than optimal or if he was continually tweaking it; but I haven’t seen any genuine testimonials from these test subjects to suggest unnatural gains obtained naturally. The “before and after” pictures included with the marketing were underwhelming… and most of them came from his other programs and weren’t test subjects for MI40x.

    MI40x is being marketed both as a followup to MI40 and as a training method to help you overcome genetic limitations.

    It’s a very sexy concept because people who have not had as much success as they would like in their training often love to blame their genetics for this even if it is not the case. Ben himself even states that some of the factors people consider to be genetic limitations in reality are not actually pre-determined factors.

    So how does he go about overcoming these perceived limitations?

    If you’ve seen any of the sales pitch on the program you have probably heard him refer to what he is calling C.E.P. In MI40 he coined the term NOS referring to drop sets. In MI40x he has added a new dimension to NOS, calling it NOS-x. That is just one component of C.E.P. so it is a little convoluted.

    Basically the program utilizes training and diet methods that are fairly basic and designed to optimize hormones and hypertrophy. These elements appear in MI40, Superhero Physique among other training systems.

    Some of the other techniques discussed in his program are actually things that I’ve written about in these blogs:
    Occlusion Training: My newest muscle growth weapon
    3 advanced muscle-building techniques

    The material is entertaining and easy to read with a very slick presentation. The execution videos are in-depth and answer most questions you could conceive in terms of the movements.

    So the real question: would I recommend this program?

    For me it comes down to a question of the cost for the value.

    Cost: $97 USD *-he tries to sell you on “add-ons”

    Value:
    Let’s begin with the components included:

    1. 7-day detox & primer (these are recycled from MI40)
    2. CEP application & blueprint – teaching the logic and execution of the training protocol
    3. Exercise execution – this document is similar in style to MI40 but updated
    4. Nutrition guide – pretty brief guide that outlines dietary concepts
    5. Supplement guie – fairly in-depth list of what supplements to take and when
    6. Workout sheets – There are actually 3 programs depending on your training level
    7. Diet calculators – put in your weight and fat percent and it calculated how much to eat for each meal
    8. Training videos – there are CEP specific videos as well as general execution videos. I have not gone through them all yet, but traditionally Ben has delivered very good videos.
    9. The science of CEP – discussion of the theory behind the training
    10. Bonus material – coaching call (not yet released), hardcore abs (how to perform ab movements), xtreme suspension (I have not seen this yet, but expect it is to do with suspension bands)

    That is a lot no? Mind you when I really evaluate the value here’s what I like to consider:

    1. Is it educational? It has a lot of content, but whether it is valid or not will depend on real world results
    2. Is it entertaining? Definintely
    3. Could I spend the same amount of money elsewhere and get equal or better results? Again, hard to say at this stage

    Pros:
    There are three programs included depending on your ability level.

    A lot of “cutting edge” material.

    Cons:
    There is a lot of material spread across several documents and videos. It actually makes it a little bit difficult to navigate through. It would almost be more ideal to have a single document that you could read from start to finish, or at least numbered documents.

    When you but the program there are “add-ons”, which is always upsetting to me. You buy a program expecting the best and then you’re told you can improve upon it by paying more. In this case a lot more ($197 per month for one and $47 for another).

    CONCLUSION

    Here is what I’m going to do for you, my readers… I am going to run the program and post my results as well as offering regular updates. I will approach it as a believer because in order for it to have any chance of success I believe that is mandatory.

    If the results are sub-optimal, part of the program’s promotion is that there is a hassle free money back guarantee, so if needs be I will take him up on that.

    I will not exaggerate my results one way or the other because there is no incentive for me to do so. What you will have is an honest testimonial of whether or not to spend your hard-earned cash on this training protocol.

    UPDATE:
    MI40-x week 1 log
    MI40-x week 2 log
    MI40-x week 3 log
    MI40-x week 4 log
    MI40-x week 5 log
    MI40-x week 6 log
    MI40-x final thoughts

    Related:
    Top 10 Bodybuilding lessons I’ve learned from Ben Pakulski
    pakman

    My review of Hypertrophy Max


    SuperHero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington


    SOA – a new Animated webseries
    SOA