Archive for the ‘Natural Bodybuilding’ Category

Nine Simple Ways to Increase the Intensity of Any Workout

Friday, March 6th, 2009
Photo Credit: Young_Einstein

Photo Credit: Young Einstein

Beginners usually do not need such advanced concepts simply because as a beginner, pretty much anything will work as it’s new to your body. You don’t need to bump up the intensity because the workout itself is usually hard enough. But for those who have worked out for quite some time, doing a simple routine doesn’t cut it. And for those who are entering a competition and may be on low card, sub-maintenance calories and doing cardio twice a day, adding more and more weight is easier said then done. Where’s the energy?

That’s where some advanced concepts come into play.

These are ways in which you can use the same routines, but thru some clever manipulation, you need not add any weight to make it the most intense routine you’ve ever experienced. This is especially a good toolset to use when you’ve worked out for many years and find it hard to make gains or you have a prior injury that makes it difficult to lift heavy weights. Working out heavier and heavier each time, trying to break your personal best can lead to injury and stagnation.

Using some of these advanced training concepts, you can take a simple bicep curl or bench press and maximize the intensity of the exercise without adding a single pound:

1. Repetition Speeds – Rather then 1 second up and 1 second down, there’s a little know fact that you can take advantage of to double the effectiveness of any exercise. That secret is slowly lowering the weight on the negative part of the movement. By utilizing this alone, you will have increased the effectiveness of any single exercise by 100%. Not only will you be working on the upward movement but you will work the muscle on the downward rather then most people who just let gravity take over. Vary your repetition speeds for an increase in intensity.

2. Tempo Variations – Have you ever seen any programs listed as 4032? That just means 4 seconds on the down motion; 0 seconds at the bottom of the movement; 3 seconds up; 2 second hold at the top. You can do all types of tempo variations to just feel the muscle working and increase the intensity. For example, how about a set of machine bench presses where it’s 8032? 8 seconds down? Not super-slow but very controlled. And with a nice 2 second squeeze at the top. You can take any exercise where you’ve done the same weight and instantly make it much harder and more intense. Without adjusting the weight in the slightest!

3. Tension Manipulation – If you think about it, some exercises like the dumbbell side lateral raise, when the weights are truly at your side (bottom of the movement) the tension is totally off the shoulder muscles. By using tension manipulation you can stop short of this occurring. Take the leg press for example. Rather then do a full rep where you might lock out and pause at the top, how about a slow 4 seconds down, 0 seconds at the bottom, 3 seconds up, and only go ¾ of the way to the lockout, no pause and repeat. This is called “continuous tension” and it will not only increase the intensity of any exercise but it’s slow, controlled and the tension is never off the working muscle.

4. Stretch Exercises – With some exercises, there is a perfect opportunity to get a deep stretch with a weight load on the muscle. The calf press is a good example. How many people have you witnesses doing calf raises quickly using momentum? Several? Next time, take a 2 second pause at the bottom and feel the stretch before doing the next rep.

5. Contraction Exercises – Again, the calf raises can be slightly altered to make it feel like somebody has put a flame torch to the back of your legs. At the top of the movement, rather the lower the weight, hold the fully contracted position for 5 seconds and squeeze! This can be done with a set of Smith Machine squats too. At the top of the movement, squeeze like you are holding a flexed pose for 2+ seconds. It’s one more way of taking the same old exercise and making it different.

6. Super-Sets – Ever heard that with super-sets you can get more done in less time? It’s true. Rather then do a second of barbell bench presses, followed by a 3 minute rest, and then another. How about doing a set of barbell bench presses, immediately followed by a set of cable flyes? You can get more work done in the same time period. The more work you can do in a shorter time frame is a method of making the whole workout more intense.

7. Rest Periods – Take the example above but this time, after the cable flyes, you only rest 30 seconds and repeat. Not only have you done a super-set, but you’ve just shortened the rest period. The intensity bar is sure to show a spike now. By lowering the rest periods, you can effectively make the workout more intense, without adding more weight. Combine this with super-setting and you can do an amazing number of sets in 60 minutes. At one point, I was able to do 48 sets for my legs in 60 minutes! That is insane.

8. Split the Splits – This only applies to individuals that might have a lifestyle where this is possible in a given day. Take for example leg training. It’s very difficult to train the quads, the hamstrings and calves in a single session for the advanced athlete. But if you are able to train quads in the AM and hams and calves in the PM, then you have just obtained an optimal workout. Both are short and intense. Both allow for fully recovery. And focus can be given to particular body parts. The most common type of split of splits is on a leg day where the front of the legs are training at one time and the back of the legs trained at another. Not only is this advanced but it really requires that you have a time period when you can do this. Possibly a weekend if you are disciplined enough to take up an entire Saturday or Sunday.

9. Ascending/Descending Sets – Nothing more then increasing or decreasing the weight in a given set but do not let this technique fool you. It’s a wicked way to just blast a body part. Descending sets are commonly referred to as “drop sets.” For example, if you were doing dumbbell curls, you could start with a weight and do 10 reps, the move down in weight for another 8 reps, and move again and again. Ascending is just the reverse. There’s no set number of moves downward up upward you can do but the maximum that is efficient is no more then 4 either way. For an interesting twist on this move, use a combination of both. Start with a given weight, use the ascending technique and then immediately use the descending technique. This makes for a giant set using both principles. And is very difficult.

By using these nine simple steps individually or in combination, you are ensured to take yourself to the next level of intensity.

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
www.nobullbodybuilding.com

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Muscle Chow

Monday, February 16th, 2009
Muscle Chow by Gregg Avedon

If You Are a Bodybuilder and You Don’t Have This Book… Get It!

  • If you are a bodybuilder looking for quick and easy to make recipes to build muscle and burn fat, this book is for you.
  • If you are just somebody looking to eat healthy and needs quick and easy ideas in the kitchen that doesn’t involve being a sue chef, this book is for you.
  • If you want to pack on mass and burn fat but the whole nutrition thing has your stumped, this book is for you.
  • If you know you should eat but don’t know what to eat and even less how to cook it, this book is for you.
  • If you don’t have a lot of money to spend but need some ideas, this books is for you.

My Muscle Chow Story

Before I found this, I kinda went from website recipe to website recipe. Or to overly complicated cookbooks that were not for bodybuilders trying to get lean or build muscle. Greg Avedon nailed it with this and wrote to the married guy or single guy who can’t cook but wants to cook something in order to build muscle. It was so incredibly simple to follow. I am not a cook or chef by any means. My biggest accomplishment was grilled chicken and burgers. This is so stinking simple to use. It doesn’t have a ton of ingredients and you’ll find that many of the recipes use the same foundations. Meaning, less big trips to the store. Many of them are only 4 steps. They taste great and are low in fat and sodium. Perfect for that lean look.

It’s not that I didn’t know what to eat.  It’s not that I didn’t know how to cook it.  My main problem is similar to many of you.  I get too caught up in making this sport or lifestyle more complicated than it needs to be.  I want something easy to make, that tastes good that doesn’t take 60 minutes to do.  I don’t want a huge mess in the kitchen and I don’t want to be in the kitchen for 2 hours each time.  I don’t like to cook.

The biggest problem anybody will face when it comes to building muscle, burning fat and making the changes they need to enhance their body is all done thru nutrition.  And the biggest problem we all face, unless you are OCD or love to cook is that you don’t have too many ideas and cooking isn’t enjoyable.

Cooking Isn’t Enjoyable (to me and maybe to you)

I’m not a food person.  As Tom Venuto said in his Body Fat Solution, people he’s interviewed see food as fuel.  A way to get the energy necessary to live and workout.  But that’s it.  I see food as fuel.  I don’t like cooking or else I’d not have issues with eating often, eating enough and having plenty of cooking ideas.

My guess is that you don’t like to cook either!  You don’t like being in the kitchen for hours.  You have  few ideas but not nearly enough.

But if you do like to cook but just don’t know what to cook that fits into the category of healthy, this book will solve it for you.

It’s your guide to leanness and your guide to packing on muscle.  As much as that sounds crazy, it’s the only thing in 10 years that literally changed my life in the kitchen.

“Do you sit down to every meal with a calculator in hand?  No?  Me neither.  Any diet that requires more than basic counting skills is a diet that is way too complicated and will ultimately fail.” - Page 3 of Muscle Chow

A Small Sample:

The Key Lime Pie that I pulled out of Muscle Chow took hardly any effort to make and was arguably the healthiest dessert you could have given the circumstances.  Those circumstances being I love Key Lime Pie!  But it’s proof that cooking can be quick and easy.

There’s over 150 healthy recipes in Muscle Chow.  They are broken down into several categories.  It’s more than enough ideas to get you lean and muscular.  In fact, too many ideas is a bad thing.  It leads to indecision and in the bodybuilding world, too many choices means you can’t plan for your specific needs.

The real secret to meal planning is advanced planning.  Knowing what you will eat before you eat it.  Not tracking it after the fact and realizing at 9:00pm that you’ve missed your target by 1000 calories or ate too much.  Planning in advance is key and having easy to make meals that are geared towards your goals is what this book is about.

What Makes Muscle Chow Different?

It’s not just a cookbook.  It’s not a diet.  It’s easy to make healthy recipes that fit into a healthy lifestyle.  You can use it to burn fat, build muscle.  It’s not complicated.  It’s low in sodium which is a factor for some.  It’s lower in fats but higher in healthy fats.

If you don’t have Muscle Chow, go get it.  It’s a fantastic resource, well written and should be in your kitchen right now.  And you can pick it up at Amazon or Barnes and Nobles for under $20.00.

To Your Health,

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
www.nobullbodybuilding.com

P.S. - I wish it was a sprial book as I’ve got 2 copies.  And both are coming apart at the seams because I use it that much.

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Almost Guiltless Key Lime Pie

Monday, February 9th, 2009

If you’ve been strict with your diet, there’s going to come a time when you deserve a break.  A cheat meal in the bodybuilding world.  But let’s notKey Lime Pie take cheating to the extreme!  Here’s an almost guiltless key lime pie that will satisfy your sugar cravings without being too sweet.  When compared to the store bought brands, this one comes in at 10 g LESS fat than most commercially available alternatives.  It’s cheap to make and easy as pie!

Who said that having your dessert had to be unhealthy?  These recipes are as close as you can come to making the argument that cheating is actually good for you.

Makes 8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 sheets of low-fat honey graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 can (~14 ounces) fat-free condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 2 cups fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed

HOW TO MAKE IT:

Step 1: Preheat the over to 350°F.  In a large bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, oats, apple sauce, and cinnamon.  Mix well.

Step 2: Set aside 1 tablespoon of the crumb mixture.  Pour the rest into a 9″ x 11/2” nonstick pie pan.  Use the back of a spoon to press it evenly into and along the sides of the pan to form a crust.

Step 3: Bake for 15 minutes.

Step 4: In a bowl, combine the egg yolks, condensed milk and juice.  Whisk until smooth.

Step 5: Reduce the oven heat to 250°F.  Pour the filling into the crust.  Bake for 40 minutes or until the filling is firm to the touch.

Step 6: Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or until totally chilled.

Step 7: Top with an even 2″ layer of whipped topping.  Sprinkle with the reserved 1 tablespoon of crumb mixture (if you saved it).

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION:

Each serving contains:

  • 272 calories
  • 7 g protein
  • 53 g carbohydrates
  • 3 g total fat
  • 1 g saturated fat
  • 2 g fiber
  • 113 mg sodium

VARIATIONS & COOKING TIPS:

You can add more cinnamon, change the type of crackers or use different combinations of the whipped topping.  I used a no fat version which I initially thought would be awful considering that no fat stuff is normally bad but it turned out alright.

Be careful not to overcook it.  40 minutes is plenty of time.  It should be solid to the touch but not hard.

RIPPED TIP:

While this could be considered a darn healthy post-workout meal (at least by some standards) take it easy on this one.  Especially if you are trying to get lean.  Try and limit yourself during a lean-out phase to just 2 servings over a 2 week period.  Or whatever you feel fits into your food scheduled based on your calculations.  Even with a healthy dessert such as the key lime pie, those calories can add up quickly and shoot your right over your goals for the day.  Just keep a keen eye on that and you’ll do just fine.  This one is excellent for family functions when you are tasked with bringing the dessert.  Now it’s healthier and you can eat it too.

Key Lime Pie from Muscle Chow

If you want other alternatives to the above and some really good bodybuilding meals, weight gain shakes and healthy meals that are super easy to make… I would recommend you take a look at this book.

Men’s Health Total Fitness Guide 2008 Muscle Chow

Before I found Muscle Chow, I kinda went from website recipe to website recipe. Or to overly complicated cookbooks that were not for bodybuilders trying to get lean or build muscle. Greg Avedon nailed it with this and wrote to the married guy or single guy who can’t cook but wants to cook something in order to build muscle. It was so incredibly simple to follow. I am not a cook or chef by any means. My biggest accomplishment was grilled chicken and burgers. This is so stinking simple to use. It doesn’t have a ton of ingredients and you’ll find that many of the recipes use the same foundations. Meaning, less big trips to the store. Many of them are only 4 steps. They taste great and are low in fat and sodium. Perfect for that lean look.   Armed with this, I cannot go wrong. Awesome book. Changed my life in the kitchen.  Check out Muscle Chow.

To Your Health,

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
www.nobullbodybuilding.com

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How Supermodels Keep Their Looks

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Photo Credit: 1000 watt dream

Ever wonder how some supermodels can keep their shape all year?  There’s lots of theories.  From hard work to plastic surgery to fad diets, not eating and crazy herbal supplements.  Maybe it’s a little bit of all of that and then some.  Who knows.  But what I do know is that supermodels don’t drink these shakes.

Ordered by Calories:

5.  Baskin-Robbins Berry Pomegranate Banana Fruit Blast Smoothie (large)

  • 1,020 calories
  • 1.5 grams of fat
  • 232 grams of sugar

You gotta wonder if they put Pomegranate in there for a later marketing ploy to say it’s healthy because of the anti-oxidant properties.  Just my guess.

4.  Cosi Gigante Double OHI Arctic

  • 1,033 calories
  • 35 grams of fat
  • 177 grams of carbs (I’d guess mostly simple sugars)

3.  Jama Juice Peanut Butter Moo’d Power Smoothie

  • 1,170 calories
  • 30 grams of fat
  • 169 grams of sugar

2.  Baskin-Robbins York Peppermint Pattie Shake (large)

  • 2,210 calories
  • 103 grams of fat (57 saturated)
  • 281 grams of sugar

1.  Baskin-Robbins Heath Shake (large)

  • 2,310 calories
  • 108 grams of fat (64 saturated)
  • 266 grams of sugar

Source: Muscle & Fitness, March 2009; p.54

Should companies be allowed to produce such utter crap?  I understand the freedom of choice but ONLY if the person choosing has a clear understanding.

My point is… if you told somebody you were going to get one of these shakes, they might know it’s “bad” for you but what they may not know is just how bad or that 75% of your daily calories are being consumed in a liquid form.  You might know it’s not good for you but many people don’t know the degrees of bad.

It would be unfair to leave you without a good shake solution so here’s just one of my favorites that I think tastes really good, nice chocolate flavor and icy.

So here’s my alternative to any of the above options…

Chocolate Almond Mocha Blast

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 level tablespoon instant coffee
  • 10 unsalted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon lecithin granules
  • 2 packets (2 grams) stevia or other sugar alternative
  • 1 cup crushed ice or 6-8 ice cubes
  • 2 level scoops chocolate whey protein powder (or your favorite flavor)

How to Make It:

Step 1: Put everything except the ice and protein powder into a blender.  Blend on high until fully mixed.

Step 2: With the blender on medium, add the ice and protein powder.  Blend on high until fully mixed.

Makes 1 Serving….

Nutritional Facts for the Chocolate Almond Mocha Blast

Per serving: 393 calories, 47 g protein, 24 g carbohydrates, 10 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 2 g fiber, 55 mg sodium

If you want other alternatives to the above and some really good bodybuilding meals, weight gain shakes and healthy meals that are super easy to make… I would recommend you take a look at this book.

Men’s Health Total Fitness Guide 2008 Muscle Chow

Before I found Muscle Chow, I kinda went from website recipe to website recipe. Or to overly complicated cookbooks that were not for bodybuilders trying to get lean or build muscle. Greg Avedon nailed it with this and wrote to the married guy or single guy who can’t cook but wants to cook something in order to build muscle. It was so incredibly simple to follow. I am not a cook or chef by any means. My biggest accomplishment was grilled chicken and burgers. This is so stinking simple to use. It doesn’t have a ton of ingredients and you’ll find that many of the recipes use the same foundations. Meaning, less big trips to the store. Many of them are only 4 steps. They taste great and are low in fat and sodium. Perfect for that lean look. Nutrition is 80% bodybuilding as Vince Gironda once said. Armed with this, I cannot go wrong. Awesome book. Changed my life in the kitchen.  Check out Muscle Chow.

To Your Health,

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
www.nobullbodybuilding.com

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Build Muscle Fast

Monday, January 12th, 2009
Tips to Build Muscle Fast

Tips to Build Muscle Fast

After purchasing an Iron Gym for a family member, I found the Nutrition Guide listed on page 9 of the very thin instruction manual that came with the product.

I laughed out loud at the bullet points!  They were so simple.  A few rules and some tips and now you were going to pack on dense thick muscle like never before.

After reading books over 250 pages on the subject and having written my own NoBull Bodybuilding System, it was silly to think somebody would benefit from tips so simple.   Then it hit me…

Those Stupid Bullet Points are the Nutrition Pillars of ALL of These Programs!

Thus… I’ll post them here in their unedited format and you can see that the #1 reason why people cannot gain healthy weight, build muscle is truly related to some of these tips.  Now I don’t agree with all of them but hear me out and take a look.

Eating Recommendations:

  • Eat at least six times a day
  • Make each meal count.  If you eat anything, consider it a meal
  • Eliminate any and all refined sugars and sweets
  • Reduce caffeine intake and increase water intake (should be half your body weight in ounces.) No Alcohol!
  • All heavy starches to be consumed by 1pm or 3rd meal of the day.  For example: bread, paste and rice.
  • 1 serving of protein should be consumed with every meal.  For example: (4-6 ounce piece is considered 1 serving).
  • Limit dairy intake to 1st or 2nd meal
  • All fruits should be consumed before 1pm.  No fruit juice!
  • Multi-vitamin everyday
  • Maximum amount of time between meals: 3 hours
  • Protein always first choice then carbohydrates to be added
  • Limit sugary condiments such as salad dressings
  • Meal replacement bars and shakes to be used if sugar free

Surprisingly enough.. this simple list that most of professionals would scoff at is similar information that any client would receive.  Now there’s some exceptions.  I could easily debate a few bullet points.  I would elaborate.  Next thing you’d have is 250 pages to read but in all honesty…

If I had followed these to the letter when I was younger, I wouldn’t have made so many mistakes.  I would obviously need to learn about calories and such but nutrition is such a big part of building muscle fast.

Nutrition is Numero Uno (or #1)

You can have a horrible training program but if your nutrition is impeccable, you will look better than some who have fantastic training programs and can’t get the nutrition part down.  If you have awful nutrition but a fantastic program, you cannot support the growth or the recovery with a poor nutrition plan.  And you can live a fine life with good nutrition and minimal exercise.

Before we start a huge debate, my point isn’t to say all books over 10 bullet points stink!  In fact, that’s not the case at all.  I only want to point out that with all the confusing information out there, if you can stick to the basics when it comes to nutrition and build upon it, you will be successful.

Why am I doing this?

Because there’s a fine line that separates those who know and those that don’t.  It’s my wish to help those who are confused as I was to get some fundamentals down and then learn on their own.   I only wish when I was younger somebody had at least told me the above that I could have written on a note card.  I wasn’t ready to read 250 pages or figure out calories and worry about macro-nutrient ratios.

But I would have responded to some short bullet points and then expanded upon those as I learned.

What You Can Learn From the Iron Gym

If you are already following the above give or take, most likely you are on the right path.  If you are not, you might be missing out on a critical nutrition pillar that can have you building muscle fast.  Maybe you are not eating enough?  Maybe you can’t stay away from processed and refined foods?  Maybe you drink later at night?

These simple bullet points seem stupid I know and I don’t agree with them all but generally speaking, they are quite sound and would benefit most.  Then you can learn at your own pace and adjust as necessary.

You start by following the basics and that’s how you build muscle fast.

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of the The NoBull Bodybuilding Program

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Sodium Hides in Strange Places

Friday, January 9th, 2009
Sodium in Food

Salt Shaker by L. Marie

In a study by Consumer Reports, they analyzed 37 foods and four salt substitutes to see how the sodium amounts claimed on the labels compared to the actual amounts.

The good news?

Accurate labeling has improved over the years and while there’s some misleading numbers, generally speaking, it’s pretty good.

The bad news?

There’s high levels of sodium in some foods you may not think to check.

Let’s get the guidelines straight to level set your expectations.  There’s no reason to just list off foods if you don’t have a frame of reference right?

Dietary guidelines recommend that healthy adults get no more than 2,300 mg of sodium a day.   The average American ingests 2,900 to 4,300 mg.

Here’s a foods where high sodium lurks.  Take into careful consideration the portion sizes and you can see how it’s very easy to go over your daily allowances in foods that are not so obvious.

Some Examples of Sodium in Places You Might Not Expect:

  • Kellogg’s Raisin Bran Cereals: 350 mg per cup
  • Prego Heart Smart Traditional Italian Sauce: 430 mg per half cup
  • McDonald’s Premium Caesar Salad with grilled chicken without dressing: 890 mg
  • Ruffles Original Potato Chips has 10 g of fat and 160 mg of sodium, while the baked version has 7 fewer g of fat but 40 mg more sodium

Confusing Terminology:

If you don’t see the word sodium or sodium chloride on the labels, which are terms most people seem to know as the common word for salt, you still might be getting plenty of sodium if you don’t know other names for it.  Some other names are: disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, sodium caseinate, sodium benzoate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium nitrite, and other combinations

Consumer Reports offers some advice as to what consumers can do:

  1. Read labels.
  2. Look for no-salt-added condiments.
  3. Be a smart chef and taste before adding salt. Use herbs and spices, salt-free seasoning blends, citrus juice or zest, and flavored vinegars instead of salt.
  4. Eat one serving.
  5. Avoid sodium heavyweights. Or limit them when possible. Among the highest-sodium products: soy sauce (1,160 mg/tbsp), chicken bouillon (1,100 mg/packet), frozen dinners (930 mg/serving in Stouffer’s Lasagna with Meat & Sauce; some have more), and Spam (790 mg/2 oz).
  6. Eat at home. You can easily consume a day’s worth of sodium in a single restaurant dish.
  7. Check your meds. Some drugs contain sodium.
  8. Retrain your taste buds. Research shows that after three months, most people no longer miss salt.

Consumer Reports Study

Can You Tell Which Food has More Sodium? (visual game)

It’s always good to read labels.  Especially if you suffer from hypertension or have a special need to limit your intakes.  Things like chips and salsa are obvious but heart healthy pasta sauce or some candy may not be.

Here’s to your health,

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of the The NoBull Bodybuilding Program

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Basic Premise of Critical Thinking

Sunday, January 4th, 2009
Trust but Verify

Trust but Verify

“The bottom line, and a basic premise of critical thinking, is that authorities don’t matter, the facts do.  All information must be analyzed critically and never accepted blindly.  If the advice comes from people you respect and admire, then listen, but still verify.” ~ Tom Venuto; page 26-27 of The Body Fat Solution

Frankly… I’m finding too many quotes like this in a pre-release copy of Tom Venuto’s The Body Fat Solution.  And while I’m not personally looking to burn excess fat this year, it’s the book of 2009 that needed to be written in a world that desperately needs an Un-Diet mentality.

As I’ve told my podcast listeners before, if you can do just one thing you’ll save yourself so much wasted time and money.  Listen to the experts you pick but verify those facts. Make informed choices when it comes to your life.  I’ve made this all to clear with supplement questions over the last few years.  I’m never too shocked…

When I see “Does X supplement work?” Even after pointing a person to some resources so they can get some facts on their own… they still end up buying.

But back to the point.  If you can make this single quote true in your own fitness quest, no matter who you listen to if it’s me, Tom or any other fitness expert including yourself… I guarantee…

You’ll be saved from the whipsaw action that comes with blindly accepting the next fad or discovery as truth.  Do a little bit of research on your own.

My job for 2009 is the same as always.  To help you learn how to learn and end the frustrations and filter out the noise.

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of The NoBull Bodybuilding Program

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Ten Timeless Burn Fat and Build Muscle Techniques

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

On a day sort of like this on out here in California, eighteen years ago, I started working out in my bedroom with a Sears plastic weight set and no clue of what I needed to do.  Passion drove me and the hunger to build muscle, become stronger and change my body serve as the fuel for massive change in the future.  A senior in high school without a clue except that I desired a different body image and I desperately wanted to change.

At the time, my mind overflowed with ambitious dreams of the future.

There are techniques that can make your quest easier and your journey more compelling. While this list is in no way comprehensive, these 10 strategies are used quite a bit because they work.

Repetition

Frankly… it’s the foundation of my own fitness program.  In order to see results, you’ve got to give your program time to work and it needs to be applied over a period of weeks.  Since bodies don’t change overnight, most don’t, repetition is key and if you can keep repeating something over and over even as simple as going to the gym, ultimately you’ll be better off today than you were yesterday.

Most fitness experts won’t tell you this but even if it’s the WRONG thing to do (e.g. 60 minutes of low intensity cardio for some) it’s still better than doing nothing or being frustrated and staying home.  Go to the gym, repeat the steps over and over and learn along the way.  Then adjust.  As you repeat the process, it becomes routine.  Ingrained in your daily life and that is exact point when missing a workout feels strange.  Because you’ve repeated it so many times it’s part of your life.  Repetition.

Reasons Why

During the months of October 2008 – December 2008, I lost my reasons why.  Reasons why I went to the gym.  I’m already healthy, I eat right and I workout.  For those 3 months, I was focused on the Stock Market, my portfolio that was taking a beating and it’s when I learned something about trading options and changing my perspective on investing.

But my reasons why for going to the gym were back-burnered.  I didn’t go much.  My workouts were ho-hum and sub-par.  I felt like the reason of the mindless crowd that shows up.  Looks around and then tries to figure out what to do.  Does some stuff and leaves unsatisfied.  Reminded me of the college days when I had no time either!

The strategy itself does make sense if you think about it. We don’t like to be told things or asked to take action without a reasonable explanation.  You need to give yourself a reason why.  It will help you stay focused and enable repetition to become common place.

Consistency

Dave Draper once said…

If there’s a secret, it’s consistency. Don’t quote me on this, but I believe bad exercise, badly executed consistently is far better than no exercise at all.

Exercise applied consistently over a period of years will lead to results.  Even the guys in my gym that do the worst form, the sloppiest stuff and are all over the board at still 100x in better shape than those who do nothing and figure it’s not worth their time.  These guys and gals are at least consistent in their efforts.  Over time, they can learn and change.  But it’s the repetition of going to the gym and making an appearance and then applying sound principles consistently over time that makes a person’s physique change.

Expand Your Social Support

Some people need personal trainers.  Others need a training partner.  And with Web 2.0 stuff becoming more and more mainstream to the point of Twitter updates on your cell phone mid-set, you can do something Adam Waters has said before.

There is a need for positive pressure to make accountability work.

My friend Mike Mahony wrote a 2 part post about Social Networking 101.  He’s using it to provide accountability for himself in his muscle building goals and current fat loss endeavors.  Instead of paying for a trainer in this case, he’s getting support from friends and making himself more accountable for his daily efforts by posting his results, his thoughts and his discoveries along the way.

Maybe you can use Social Media in some way to connect with like-minded people today that have similar goals?  The power of the group is more than enough fuel when you don’t seem to have the energy yourself.

Other ways to expand your social support courtesy of The Body Fat Solution pages 211 – 215 :

  • hire a trainer
  • enroll in group classes
  • locate a training partner
  • find a mentor
  • join a health club
  • join an internet forum or community

Learning New Things

When somebody has the machine you want or the squat cage has a line longer than opening night of a hit movie, you need to have an arsenal of other exercises you can do.  No matter the gym I step into, I’ve got a Plan A and a Plan B.  If a station is taken or somebody steals my thunder during a super-set, I can switch it up quickly.  Don’t worry…

You won’t have to learn every exercise in the book but it helps to have options.  Sticking to a single plan for the rest of your life is not the way to go.  Try new programs.  See what works.  Toss out what doesn’t.  Learn new exercises.  The more you have at  your disposal, the faster you can keep challenging your body to grow.

Having an open mind will propel you to your goals so fast your head will spin.  And in the event things don’t go your way, you’ll have options.  I’ve know 2 people in my journey so far that literally left the gym when the only squat bar was in use.  They had no other options to stimulate leg growth!  Don’t be like that.

One such resource is Nick Nilsson and his Powerful Training Secrets.  I have no idea how Nick comes up with all these exercises.  It”s an amazing resource of exercises, mainstream and not for every body part.

Address Objections

Once you’ve got some reasons why at any point in your quest, it’s equally important to address any objections you might have to starting a new program, a new gym or anything else.

If you start to think “yeah but…”

You’ll stray off the path.  Figure out any issues up front and tackle them head-on.  Here’s an example.

You purchase a new fat burning or muscle building program.  You print it out and immediately pick it apart.  “Yeah but squats and deadlifts on the same day?  I read that’s not good.”

For starters, you’ve put yourself in a negative mindset and it’s doubtful the program will work for you.  Before you start something, address those objections up front and get over it.  If you can’t, then find another alternative.  I’ve seen too many people download, print or purchase a program only to tweak the living heck out of it before Day 1 and in less than 2 weeks, they have determined the program isn’t any good.

They failed to address their personal objections up front Day 1.

Learn to Deal with Information Overload

15 years ago, all you had for fitness information came from the mainstream publications of professional bodybuilders.  Doing those routines would eliminate the average person.  Not a lot existed at the time to get quality information out to the masses for the natural bodybuilder.

There’s so much information out there that over time, you are just as confused as you were before you had any.

  • Cardio is bad?
  • No wait, low intensity cadio is bad.
  • Wait.. cardio over 45 minutes is bad but I see really ripped bodybuilders doing it and it’s working for them?!
  • Squat below parallel are bad for the knees but this guy says that’s not true?
  • 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight.  Or is that 1.43?  Or 2 g?  Or as much as possible?
  • Carbs before 7pm is bad.  That’s a myth.  No wait it is true if I go to be at 5pm.  But…
  • Creatine works!  Creatine doesn’t work.

The trick is to learn from quality sources and filter out the noise.  If you listen to everybody and believe the hype, you’ll end up in the same position today as yesterday.  Unable to move.  Unable to make a decision.  And more confused than ever before with the slew of information coming at you.

I’ve often said that unless your job is a personal trainer, a freelance writer or you have a passion for learning this stuff, there’s simply no point in learning all the minor details if whatever you are doing is working for you today.

In fact, some of the most brilliant minds in nutrition today don’t have the bodies to prove it.  The reverse is true, some of the most gifted natural bodybuilders that work hard day in and day out and follow the basics, couldn’t tell you too much about Cortisol or how fat is stored.  They don’t care, they just know how to burn it.

It does not take a degree in exercise physiology or a Masters in Nutrition to get this right.  Learn what you need to know for your own personal goals and then apply those fundamentals consistently, over time with hard work and dedication.  That’s how the job gets done.

Know Thyself or The Experiment of One

Carlos DeJesus said…

The experiment of one is essentially the Discovery of self.

Learning is awesome.  Knowing fact from fiction is important.  Following the fundamentals is the ultimate key to success.  But the end result is you and you alone.  What works for you and whatever gets you the results you desire.

I’ve read too many articles that tell me don’t use this machine.  I’ve written articles myself that tell you to avoid 2 exercises if you value your lower back and shoulders.  There’s plenty of research to support Brand X supplement.

Quick Action Plan:

  • Listen less to others opinions
  • Listen more to yourself

You can read more about The Experiment of One over at Carlos DeJesus site.

Agitate and Solve

A bit skinny?  A bit overweight?  Don’t avoid those issues if they bother you.  Deal with them directly and learn how to solve them.  I spent eighteen years dealing with the Skinny Guy issue but with repetition, consistency, being bugged by the problem and trying to solve it.  I made plenty of mistakes along the way.  But I got there and if I gave up years ago, I’d still have my personal issue that bothered me and I’d not be anywhere close to my goal.

Learn from Mistakes; Don’t Dwell on Them

It’s okay to miss a gym day.  As I type out this blog skipping breakfast while being burned on a trade I place earlier today, once again I’m reminded that it’s okay to make mistakes.  So what if I skipped breakfast just today?  Big deal.  I’ll live.  I won’t lose 10 lbs of muscle and I will still have a kick butt gym day.

Now if I did that every single day, we’d have a problem.

Too many people beat themselves up for the smallest things.  They will ruin an entire 12 hour day because they missed 45 minutes of the gym.  I literally worked half-asses for 3 months while I focused on something else, I ate like the normal person and didn’t drink enough water.

I didn’t get much weaker.  I didn’t lose much mass.  And my entire body didn’t gain 12+ body fat.  I’m not bragging about my lack of reasons why or my consistency in the gym.  I only wish to prove that it’s okay to stumble a bit in your journey forward.  If you beat yourself up over the minor mistakes, you end up being so negative you quit going altogether and that is a mistake you should dwell on!

Allow yourself to make some mistakes.  Fitness is the quest of a lifetime.  Give yourself room to breathe so you can focus on the important stuff and keep making the small steps forward.

If this resonates with you, feel free to drop me a comment below or add in a techinque I missed that has made all the difference in your life.

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of The NoBull Bodybuilding Program

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Training for a Triathlon While Cutting

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Question: I recently decided to start to train to for a Triathlon for 2011-2012 and in addition I would like to begin a cutting regiment to tone my body. Can you share any tips or training regiments that can help me to reach my goal?

Thanks so much,

Michael Gruen

Answer:

See the podcast link below.

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Three Ways to Cut Your Grocery in an Economic Crisis

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Most people I know are freaked out by the latest rounds of economic news.  Our current situation has been labeled as the next Great Depression, the lame-stream media gets more hyped up by the second, and it seems that on any street corner, you’ll unavoidable hear a conversion between two or more people who are frozen with fear like Chicken Little in the Sky is Falling.

There is no denying that the economic crisis creates real world problems both financially and mentally for a massive number of people.  So what’s my role?

I’ve put myself forward as a fitness authority, so how am I going to live up to that challenge?  I eat a lot of food myself, especially when I am trying to gain weight.  Food isn’t cheap!  And it’s getting more expensive by the month.

Here’s just three ways cut your grocery bill and still eat high-quality, fat-burning foods.

1.  Take a List and Follow It

Never shop without a list.  Dieticians estimate that 40 percent of supermarket purchases are made on impulse.  According to best selling food author and NYU professor Marion Nestle, 70 percent of shoppers bring lists into the supermarket, but only about 10 percent stick to them.  Developing a standard list of foods to replenish weekly will save you money by avoiding purchasing an excess of food that might spoil and go to waste. It will also help you avoid impulse purchases of foods you didn’t need. By the way, planning your shopping can also help you avoid unnecessary trips to the store, which saves you time as well as gas money!

2.  Don’t Write Off The High End Stores

I love my local Safeway and Costco. They have bulk items and their deals are super. However, Whole Foods (Whole PayCheck as I often call it), sometimes has deals on particular items that are even cheaper than the discounts at the bigger chain stores. Don’t loyally stick to a single store and ignore the potential savings that might be happening at other stores in your area.

3.  Free Grocery Store Coupon Sites

These are some of the most popular coupon sites I’ve found. Unlike other frustrating sites that ask for an e-mail address and then spam you to death, these websites give you printable coupons with great deals, without all the excessive email. Suggestion: use a secondary email address to keep your main email safe, just in case.

•    Coupons.com
Enter your zip code and find printable coupons for your area.
•    CoolSavings.com
Offering food coupons for online and brick & mortar shopping.
•    SmartSource Savings Network (www.coupons.smartsource.com)
Comprised of leading grocery and retail chains, newspapers, lifestyle websites, interactive companies and others bringing online savings to you. Printable coupons available.
•    Upons (www.upons.com)
Offering free grocery coupons, special promotions and product samples. Local coupons available.

•    CouponSaver (www.couponsaver.org)
Coupon codes and promotional codes for all types of items.

At the end of the day, the question of whether or not you can afford to eat healthy. What matters is that you have an opportunity to eat healthy and save some money.  Just grabbing what seems like a good deal or healthy foods is not going to work anymore.  It never really did.  Spending just a few minutes planning and taking a list will immediately garnish you some fantastic cost savings.

If you liked this, you’ll love the 10 page, 2 part series that I wrote exclusively for the Burn The Fat Inner Circle

Apparently you can have an entire month to test drive Tom Venuto’s Burn The Fat Inner Circle website for only $1.00…

Marc David
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
www.nobullbodybuilding.com

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