Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

Last week I had to make a weigh-in within 48 hours and had to drop about 7 pounds… here’s how I did it:

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A few weeks ago I had this crazy idea of how to train chest as seen in this video (2.33 min in):

So like I mentioned in the video, simply by playing around I speculated upon the best way to activate the pectorals… then a friend pointed me to this study: Electromyographical Activity of the Pectoralis Muscle During Incline and Decline Bench Presses from The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

The bottom line of this study being that the decline bench press (especially the negative part of the movement) recruits far more muscle than the incline press.

The two takeaways for me here are firstly to continue using the decline movement and others that utilize this range of motion, and secondly the benefits of consciously considering the desired range of motion and angle when determining movements for ALL body parts!

I just finished a 6-week program focussing on shoulders and back and I have to say the results are pretty impressive. Here’s the video describing the program:

Training:

I did a 4-day split:

Delts & back (heavy)

Chest & biceps

Delts & back (high reps)

Legs & triceps

Every fourth week was a deload week where I would only do one delt/back day.
DIET:

Chicken/rice/broccoli was a staple meal. 

Avoided saturated fat.

Always had a banana and then whey + greens post workout

Supplement with betaine – 1.25g pre-wo and 1.25g post wo

belly-fat

If you’ve done a google search on “belly fat” or “abdominal fat”, you are probably experiencing a problem with it and more than likely you are coming across the same old suggestions which you’ve no doubt tried without success. If this sounds familiar to you… I have been in the same boat, and I had to do a lot of digging around to find some actual useful suggestions so hopefully this will help you too.

Aside from being unsightly, belly fat can be a precursor to type 2 diabetes which is a fairly frightening though in and of itself.

It is often said to be due to one of two things: insulin resistance or elevated cortisol.

So the natural solution is to lower your carbohydrates right? Well if you’re like me and have lowered them to near non-existence yet made no progress you’ll know there is something missing here. A lot actually.

The first problem is with cortisol… cortisol is a stress hormone, meaning that it is present when it detects a “stress” – well guess what happens when you depleted of carbohydrates? Your body goes into a state of “stress”. In addition, the hormone Leptin tells your body to stop burning fat as does your thyroid.

New studies seem to confirm this, as they have shown that if people deplete carbohydrates too much and their body has to synthesize the energy they provide, the body will stop burning fat.

So clearly carb depletion is not the answer – yet we need to lower them to resolve the insulin problem…

The solution? Carb cycling.

This is not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination, but here’s a way I have found to implement it practically…

5 days of the week limiting carbohydrate intake to 1-2 meals after training. This will provide carbs when your body really needs them and help prevent cortisol getting out of hand. Then 2-non consecutive days have carbs with EVERY meal (excluding pre-workout if you choose).

But that is not the end of the story.

Something else might be at play here. We have been conditioned recently to believe that dietary fat is not a bad thing and assists with the absorption of vitamins as well as healthy hormonal functions. Unfortunately being lenient on fats might be part of the problem. Dietary fat – specifically saturated fat has been shown to cause insulin resistance (source).

I don’t know about you, but when I am on low carb days I tend to fill out my diet with fat-dense foods. But now we know that doing so might aggravate the issue.

Now I know that a lot of people out there are standing up for saturated fats these days, especially when it means jumping on the coconut oil bandwaggon – but speaking from personal experience, I will be making a conscious effort from this point on to avoid saturated fats.

douche

Okay in fairness, much of this is not from Greg himself but rather his minions, but since they view him as a god I give myself licence here. I used to be a member on the “Project Beach Body” facebook group (if I recall the name right), and it was usually good for a laugh, but eventually it became less entertaining and more frustrating, so I had to separate myself from the rampant stupidity that people want to believe.

Regardless, here are some of the gems they taught me…

1. Greg is God!

2. Intermittent Fasting is the only effective way to burn fat.

3. Exercise form is unimportant (unless you’re taking steroids).

4. It doesn’t matter what you eat as long as your calories meet your goals, the Twinkie is evidence of this.

5. Getting high before lifting heavy weights is not just safe and intelligent, it’s downright awesome!

6. The whole point of making progress is so that you can post selfies and lifting videos to show how awesome you are.

7. Diet soda is good for you.

8. The more education someone has the less they know (after all, grand master Greg has no qualifications and no education yet knows everything).

9. Sugar has no impact on insulin.

10. The only way to build muscle is by lifting heavy.

11. Adrenal fatigue is a myth. The more stimulants you can take the better!

Okay I gave you eleven instead of ten. Don’t you feel enriched!

And here’s the video version:

Perhaps you have heard of the supposed benefits of ice baths, if not the claims are pretty incredible. The claims are that they can help you lose fat in the area a four pounds per week, help detox and speed up recovery from training.

So are these claims realistic?

When it comes to burning fat using ice baths, my experience is that the result is negligible.

Where I feel the true benefits of ice baths lie is in between your ears.

When you subject yourself to something this uncomfortable you are first and foremost programming a message to yourself that this is important to you. This kind of thing builds resilience and the kind of attitude needed to make progress in other areas of your life.

It is also a good opportunity to practice focussing on something other than the pain, much like meditation. This also has additional benefits in life, certainly where fitness is concerned as strong focus can lead to better and more efficient time in the gym.

I do believe there are benefits as far as recovery which may lead to a greater ability to increase your training volume, thus accelerating your progress.

So if you are considering this for your program I think you can find great benefits in doing it safely; just make sure to manage your expectations.

This is an awesome method I used to add massive strength over a 6 week period (50lbs to my squat and 25 lbs to my bench) while in a caloric deficit.

WEEK 1:

Begin with a 3-day/week split. Determine your starting weight by doing a simple pyramid, ie:

Set 1 = 12 reps, set 2 = 10, set 3 = 6, set 4 = 4.

Keep your form PERFECT!

WEEKS 2-4:

Use the following reverse pyramid rep scheme:

Set 1 = 4-6 reps, set 2= 6-8 reps, set 3 = 8-10 reps

Followed by one slow negative set which is heavier than your first set.

The goal each week is to add either a rep (writhin the range) and/or weight.

WEEK 5:

De-load by doing a two-day split keeping around 8 reps.

WEEK 6:

Back to the 3-day split, you will likely find you are a lot stronger than in the first week.