Archive for August, 2014

Why?

I could have probably made this a one word post.

If you ask yourself “why” you want to achieve something everything else will fall into place.

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New Categories added

Posted: August 20, 2014 in fitness

My readership has been steadily growing and I appreciate all of the feedback and constructive criticism you guys offer!

To help organize all of the articles I’ve written I’ve added another 3 categories today. Hopefully they will help you navigate through some of the past posts you may have missed that would interest you, and cover the more popular ones I’ve written.

The three new categories are:
Muscle Building
Fat Burning
Program Reviews

Hope you find some gems!



If you’re like me you may have noticed a lot of people in the gym or on running paths (or even the street) wearing hoodies while doing their cardio.

I believe this is a trend started by Kai Greene. Like most recreational bodybuilders I like Kai and think he has a great attitude but what of this whole hoodie thing?

In one documentary Kai suggests it is to create “thermogenesis” (although even he seems quite unsure of this while saying it). Thermogenesis being when your body creates heat. This process is known to burn fat. It does this because it determines that heat is needed. Why would your body produce heat if you are bundled up?

Will you sweat? Yeah sure, but simply sweating profusely is more likely to cause dehydration than thermogenesis. Otherwise cardio would not exist and we’d just sit in a sauna.

So my opinion is that it is far superior to create that heat from the inside using intense exercise and cardio. If it were decent I’d jog naked to make the body work even harder but no one wants to see that.

So next time you see someone jogging like a goofball wearing a hoodie just smile to yourself and realize you know better.

Related:
Fighting Fat the Hormonal Way

Time to get lean!


SuperHero Physique
superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington


biceps

There are a few programs out there to add size to your arms in a shirt span of time. Charles Poliquin wrote one which is a ten hour arm routine if I remember correctly. Rob Regish wrote a similar one and Ben Pakulski has written a three-week arm specialization program, all of which I have tried.

To date the most effective and long term arm programs I’ve done have included an intelligently designed training split that stimulates the arms a couple times per week by hitting them directly and indirectly (such as those included in the Amazing Arms chapter of Superhero Physique).

That said, I have experimented with a method that has created an unparalleled arm swelling in a fraction of the time of the other routines.

First let’s look at what creates muscle growth (from a training perspective):

  • Muscle fiber damage
  • Optimal time under continual tension
  • Cell swelling
  • Hormonal cascade
  • All of these can be accomplished within one workout. Let’s say that we are training biceps and chest together. After doing the primary movements we will finish the day with this little killer movement that will do all of those things at once. It is a combination of elements I’ve picked up from the people spoken of before as well as a couple others.

    I should probably give this a special name because it is bound to be re-used by others. Since 16 appears in it a lot I’ll call them 16s.

    This is how you perform it for biceps:

    Do an occluded incline dumbbell curl With about half the weight you would normally do 8 reps with and instead do 16 reps and really focus on a controlled negative. At the end of the set keep the arms flexed but stretch them out for a good 16 seconds. Immediately drop the weight by about 25%, do 8 reps followed by another 16 second flexed stretch. Do one more 25% drop for 8 reps and the 16 second flexed stretch then immediately bang out one last rep with the same weight. Once this is done take off the occlusion bands.

    Here is a video example:

    This will give a GH blast as well as pump up your arms massively. By controlling the negative and maintaining tension you are also creating muscle damage that results in longer term growth.

    Give this puppy a try!

    Related:
    The Best Arm workout going
    How I added an inch to my arms… in a caloric deficit! (with 8 tips for arm growth)
    Bi-sets for Biceps
    The Perfect Rep
    Occlusion Training: My newest muscle growth weapon


    SuperHero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington

    MI40x Final thoughts

    Posted: August 10, 2014 in fitness, MI40x, Program Reviews
    Tags: ,


    mi40x

    As promised I’ve done the entire MI40x program and will now offer some final thoughts and suggestions.

    The first thing to consider is whether the program delivers all it promises. The basic components include a six week training program, videos on execution as well as lecture-style information on the science behind the training. There are also “bonus” items advertised, which include a video series on exercise fundamentals and a coaching call.

    It is the promised “bonuses” that are the main weak point in this program. The coaching call was done but the quality was so poor that it was taken down and never re-recorded. The exercise fundamentals was kind of interesting, but has since appeared on Ben’s YouTube channel which anyone can freely access anyway.

    There are said to be 3 different programs based on your training level, however the three programs are virtually identical. The only difference I noticed was the number of sets changed slightly. This is fine, as long as you are not expecting three vastly different training programs.

    When you look at the cost of the program it is quite high. It is selling for about $100 for a 6 week program. Compare that to something like Superhero Physique which is selling for about a tenth of the cost and includes 3 completely different 6-week muscle building programs as well as 2 cutting programs and half a dozen muscle specialization programs and the price begins to look even less appealing.

    But if cost isn’t an issue the question has to be the effectiveness of the program because let’s face it; flashy new techniques are meaningless if they don’t translate into real-world results.

    MI40x is attempts to periodize several types if training within a six week span. It is similar to some undulated periodization routines I’ve tried in that way. It was an interesting concept to me, but having gone through it I don’t think it really gave my body time to progress. One of the strengths of the original MI40 was that it was purely intended as a hypertrophy program, where this one almost tries too hard to be a little of everything.

    For those who have bought and done the program I welcome your experiences and feedback. For those who have not bought it, unfortunately I can’t give it the same glowing review I gave the original MI40. Instead I will recommend a couple other suggestions…

    1. Instead do MI40 but using weighted stretching or even occlusion training.

    2. Try John Meadows’ mountain dog training which you can find online for free and uses many of the same principals.

    3. Try one of the many programs in Superhero Physique.

    4. I’ve put together a couple of programs that are likely to get you equal or better results. You can download the beta versions here:
    Www.buff-n-toned.com/products.htm

    Related:
    Mi40x Honest Program Review
    mi40x

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


    SuperHero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington


    SOA – a new Animated webseries
    SOA

    MI40-x week 6 log

    Posted: August 3, 2014 in fitness, Program Reviews
    Tags:


    mi40x_wk6

    MI40-x logs: week 1; week 2; week 3; week 4; week 5



    I’ve just completed the final week of MI40x. Due to the 2/day training on one day and the wall-to-wall sessions it was very time-consuming.

    To recap, week 5 was split into 2 parts, the first three days are called phase 5 and the last few training days are part of phase 6 along with a whole week of training essentially making it an extra long training week.

    So this week, continuing on with “phase 6” began with Back, chest & arms on day 1. Most was Supersets with slightly higher reps (12-21).

    Quads and hams were split up on a couple of days this week and combined on another day making for a lot of leg work. Not a bad idea as lots of trainees out there tend to neglect their legs.

    Still no Coaching call however.

    I will post my final thoughts and rests on the program as a whole within the next few days.

    UPDATE: Final thoughts




    Related:
    Mi40x Honest Program Review
    mi40x


    SuperHero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington


    Sometimes inspiration comes from unexpected sources…

    This week I spent a lot of time playing guitar and was struggling to play certain songs. I did some research to learn the songs and I stumbled onto some videos that taught me that even after having played guitar for twenty years I was doing very basic things in a way that was not optimal ie. holding the guitar pick poorly.

    Re-learning things that were breaking poor habits was not easy. In fact I had to play even slower than I had before. Yet when I re-learned the basics properly I was then able to fall back on my experience to achieve my best results ever.

    I believe in fitness the same principles apply.

    Dedicating ourselves to mastering the basic principles is a step that is easily overlooked, especially in the flashy, heavily marked world that is today’s fitness industry.

    I highly recommend anyone research and learn to master these basics, here’s a brief overview on some of those things to get you started…

    Exercise execution:

    Exercise is all about stimulating the body’s muscle-building mechanisms. It stands to reason that some methods are more effective than others at doing this. It all begins with FORM!

    The amount of weight and number of reps don’t matter if your movement pattern is not optimized. There are too many specifics to get into within this post to get into but here are some good tips:

  • Begin each movement by contracting the working muscle
  • Strive to maintain the contraction through the entire movement
  • Work in as great a range of motion as possible (and safe)
  • “lock down” your body, so you begin with optimal position and posture and do not stray from that ie. do not use momentum to move weights
  • Attempt to utilize every possible function and range of the muscles
  • Do not end a set early. Learn the difference between mental and physical fatigue.
  • Also, here are a few articles you can start with:
    Isolating compound movements
    Shoulders
    Chest
    Arms
    Arms II
    Back
    Back II
    Legs (overall)
    Quads
    Glutes/hamstrings



    Nutritional basics:

    This can also be pretty expansive, Nd includes such things as determining your caloric needs, keeping hydrated, frequency of meals, macronutrient functions and requirements etc.

    The thing with diet is that it is a little bit harder to nail down than exercise because it is very individual. Everyone’s caloric needs will vary as well as such things as food intolerance.

    I’ve found I don’t handle carbs very well so I have to find creative ways of getting enough calories to build muscle while keeping carbs on the low side and timing them strategically.

    Here are a couple of diet related articles you can look at:
    Eating like a bodybuilder
    The perfect pre-workout shake
    Muscle juice
    Between-meals shake
    Eating disorders in bodybuilding

    The challenge of mastering the basics is often that we are our own worst enemy. We skip over things with the assumption that we already know what we need to do and this miss out on small intricacies that will make long-term results far superior.

    Related:

    SuperHero Physique
    superhero_physique by Shawn Buffington