Archive for the ‘Natural Bodybuilding’ Category

Creatine Dosage: A Simple Formula For Creatine Cycles

Monday, April 14th, 2008

The Creatine Dosage Calculation

In order to calculate your creatine dosage according to the original research,

Proper creatine dosage and how to calcuate your creatine cycle

you’ll first need to convert your body weight into kilograms. This won’t require a math degree. If it did, I wouldn’t be able to post this or even explain it!

Simple divide your current body weight in pounds by 2.2 to obtain your weight in kilograms. For example, if you weight 190 lbs then your kilogram weight is ~86 kilograms (190 / 2.2 = 86).

Next, multiple your weight in kilograms for the appropriate dose. The recommended loading dosage is 0.3 grams per kilogram of body weight. The maintenance phase is even less at only 0.03 grams of creatine per kilogram of body weight.

Example: 86kg person starting a loading phase would require 25.8 grams of creatine per day for 5 days divided up into 4 equal parts during the day. The maintenance phase of an 86kg person would be 2.58g of creatine per day.

Personal Creatine Dosage Worksheet:

Step 1: Your body weight in pounds

Step 2: Body weight in kilograms
body weight in pounds divided by 2.2

Step 3: Find your Loading dose
body weight in kilograms multiplied by 0.3
divide into 4 equal parts; take 1 part every 4 hours

Step 4: Find your Maintenance dose
body weight in kilograms multiplied by 0.03

It appears that the loading phase will saturate your muscle stores with creatine quicker but there’s little difference in a person who does or does not do the loading phase. Except it might take longer to reach full muscle saturation. Many references today (2008) report the loading phase as unnecessary. Others make comments that a loading phase is only there to go thru the products quicker so you’ll need to purchase more creatine.

The loading phase can be done or not, it doesn’t appear there will be any final outcome differences.

General maintenance phases of Creatine Monohydrate are between 3-5 grams. The references above will get you a more personalized approach to your creatine dosage vs. just the recommendations based on the average person.

If you’d like to learn more about creatine, take a look at Creatine: A Practical Guide.

Photo of Creatine Monohydrate by Size8Jeans. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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Don’t Make This Stupid Nutrition Mistake

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

After doing my routine calorie calculation formula, which I’ve not used in a long time, I figured I needed 2952 calories to maintain my daily activity. Since summer is fast approaching, I decided to start cutting. That means at a comfortable but conservative 20% calorie deficit, I would need around 2361 calories per day.

Imagine my surprise when I input what I HAD been eating vs. what I thought I was eating and got the number around ~2000 calories a day! Not cool. All this time I figured I’d be eating what I had been since my last bulking period and it turns out I’m below a 35% calorie deficit and have been slowing down my metabolism. That does explain a lot.

Needless to say, I’m eating more now to burn fat and turn back on the furnace. Don’t make the same mistake. Do some basic measurements and determine your calorie situation at least monthly to keep on track.

“Nothing will undermine the “re-building” of your metabolism like inconsistency. If you stop and start, or skip meals and workouts often, you will not even get off the ground.” - Tom Venuto

Reminds me of a good article on How to Repair Metabolic Damage

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Meal Plans Need Not Be Difficult

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Meal variety sucks and how that can be the single factor that leads you away from yourmeal planning goals.

Pull up a chair and hear me out please.

“Variety Sucks!” – he said.

My eyes were wide open like a kid who just heard his first swear word when I heard that. In fact, stunned because many people who I’ve run across told me that variety in my meals is the KEY to success.

You know what I mean don’t you?

“No not that kind of variety,” he said. “Meal variety. When you change your meals all the time. Everything has to be new for each meal. You get bored right? So you always have to have something different. That sucks.”


Photo Credit: by helenjane

Again, I couldn’t believe my ears and yet, he was right.

You probably already know this…

What if you continually change your meals all the time, so it’s always a new meal every day. Of course you won’t be bored but what you will find impossible to do is stick with your plan and maintain a steady goal.

Obviously you can understand that makes perfect sense!

You’re probably wondering if most professional bodybuilders and those who you admire have pretty boring diets.

Let’s take an example of Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers or any number of other commercial diets on the market today.

Okay, you’re probably wondering…

What do they all have in common?

Face it… they are all using pre-planned meals!

Don’t miss a word of this…

You are never guessing at what to eat or making hasty choices without full well knowing exactly how many calories are in that meal, the protein, carb and fat contents too.

Knowing this is critical to keeping your meals targeted towards your goals. The more variety you have, the harder it will be to stick with a set meal plan to ensure you are getting the proper nutrients as well as enough calories.

And now you begin to realize that variety does suck.

Do you ever try and create a meal on the fly?

No planning just go to a restaurant and pick something off the menu only to track your meal later and find out you were way over your goal or you aren’t close to your calories for the day and have to literally stuff yourself later?

Here’s my confession…

My greatest success in terms of nutrition have come from a variety of pre-planned meals. 7 day meal plans where I know what I’m going to eat, what to shop for and all of them laser targeted towards my goal.

You see, variety in the food choices isn’t a bad thing at all. Variety ensures we are getting the proper nutrients and ratios. It helps to have several pre-planned meals so that you aren’t too bored but you know what’s ahead.

Pre-planning your meals for the week lets you go shopping for the foods you need as well.

Think of how impossible it will be to just “eat” if you don’t give some thought into the meals you are having to reach your goals.

Grocery shopping would be a nightmare if I didn’t already know my meals well in advance.

I know your boring alarm is going off right now but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Plan out your meals. The more pre-planned meals you have, the easier it will be to shop. The faster you can put together something that meets your needs.

The people who simply must have a new breakfast, lunch and dinner so they don’t get bored with foods, are the ones always counting calories. They are always guessing at what meal they are about to eat if it fits their goals. They find out AFTER they have eaten it.

The successful people know before the food hits their mouth what the meal is doing for them. They already know how many calories. They know the portions. Calorie counting only had to happen once.

Think about this for a minute.

If you want variety in everything you eat and you don’t want to have pre-planned meals because that just sounds too boring, then realize that might be why you aren’t reaching your goals.

I’m not saying meals have to be boring and bland but you should know before hand what you are going to eat.

That’s a pre-planned meal.

That’s why variety in one sense of the meaning sucks!

Meal planning does not have to be complicated. If you want pre-designed, bodybuilding meal plans in a variety of calories ranges and the ability to create future unlimited combinations, take a look at the meal plans in the NoBull Bodybuilding Program.

meal plans

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How to Gain Weight in 6 Simple Steps

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

Here’s 6 simple ways on how to gain weight without getting fat. When I started I was 150 lbs at best before I got serious about weight gain. In just under 5 months, I put on 30 lbs of lean body mass and am able to maintain 190 lbs . Here’s the overview in a nutshell of:

How to Gain WeightHow to gain weight in six simple steps

Tip 1: Eating Enough Quality Calories

Have you ever asked somebody who’s trying to gain weight what they eat?

I did. And the response I received was shocking.

“I just eat.”

That’s what he said. I just eat.

You MUST know how many calories a day you need for your weight gain goal.

This person desperately wanted to gain weight and every time I saw him the gym he had some excuse as to why it wasn’t going his way. And it was usually related to his metabolism.

Let me tell you…

If you want to gain quality weight, you have to eat high quality dense foods and ENOUGH of them. Furthermore… if you want to gain weight without getting fat, then you bulk with the same principles as if you were on a cutting diet. Choose higher-calorie foods when given a choice.

Photo by: Side Salad

In my years of experience, when I bulked up and gained weight and fat, the biggest mistake I made was not tracking what I ate. I always tracked my diet when I was on a calorie restricted phase (that was a given) but when I wanted to gain weight I just ate everything I could.

Have you ever felt that way?

In order to gain weight, you need to eat more than your usual maintenance calorie intake but not so much as to just store the excess calories and get fat. And you need to eat consistently.

That should have been your “ah -ha” moment.

Gaining weight isn’t your cue to eat everything under the sun. In order to gain weight, lean mass and not get fat, you need to eat just over what you body needs to maintain. In this manner, you’ll provide your body with all the calories it needs to build muscle but you won’t give it so much as it stores the excess as fat.

[ Remember that anything in excess, even protein, can be stored as fat. ]

The key is to gain healthy weight and minimize the fat gains.

Tip 2: Grocery Shopping 101

If you are looking to gain weight, then don’t have bare cupboards. Go to your kitchen right now after reading this section and take a look at what you’ve got in stock.

Make sure your kitchen is fully stocked with the foods you need to eat. Dense foods work wonders for putting on the weight.

Examples are whole-grain breads, vegetables such as avocados and potatoes, kidney beans, lean red meat, poultry and fish.

Bare cupboards = no weight gain!

Bodybuilding doesn’t have to break the bank. Many times you can get bulk items for much cheaper than you think. Packages of tuna, turkey, chicken legs, pasta all are great bulking items that don’t cost a ton of money.

Perishable items like fruits and sugary laden items and condiments are usually things that cost the most.


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What’s Good For The Goose May Not Be For The Gosling

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

There’s way too many articles, eBooks and forum posts dispensing bodybuilding tips as ifNew Bodybuilding by Ellington Darden that will just apply to everybody. The consumer of the information, YOU should realize nobody can give a personal, case by case basis by posting fact after fact.

What works for ALL of us, may be the worst situation based on somebody’s personal life, circumstances and situation.

“Facts are facts – but people are individuals, and their problems are usually individual in nature. The perfect solution to one case may be (and frequently will be) the worst possible approach to the situation in another case; in effect, while the same methods will work in ALL cases – the application of those methods MUST BE on an individual basis.”

-Arthur Jones

What Arthur Jones referred to was the basis for the necessity of personal training.

I’ve run across an excellent book by Ellington Daren, Ph.D called The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results. It’s based on the Arthur Jones theories on HIT. Worth reading if you aren’t familiar with this or if you like the concept of Arthur Jones Revisited.

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From Geek to Freak Back to Geek: Where Do I Go From Here?

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Maybe you’ve heard of Tim Ferriss? Maybe not but his blog post From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks gathered as many believers as skeptics.How to gain weight

Before you shout… this story is OLD! Move on already, I wanted to let you know that it’s human nature to forget. But I didn’t and neither should you. Let’s re-visit the post and you’ll see my point when I ask you…

Where in the world is [tag-tec]Tim Ferriss[/tag-tec] now? (regarding muscle of course)

First off, this recent March 2008 snap shot of the Tim Ferriss website proves the point. You’ll see the before and after pictures where he’s gained 34 lbs of lean body mass (more on that in a second) but pay SPECIAL attention to the newest picture up top.

Hey… that’s Tim!

But he’s not the HUGE mass monster you see below in the after picture. If he maintained that muscle, he’d be filling out that tight t-shirt easily and his shoulders would rhyme with boulders. You might even call him “Tiny Tim” if you were mean, which I’m not.

Don’t get me wrong guys… Tim Ferriss did gain 34 lbs of LEAN MASS. He used the word muscle as most novice bodybuilders will to describe any positive weight gain. However, it’s incorrect and without doing a biopsy, Tim can’t possibly know that he’s gained 34 lbs of pure muscle. It’s lean body mass.

In fact, I did a blog post on how much muscle can you gain. Everybody wants to point out how much muscle they gained and it might not apply to you. The post it worth a read as it gives you realistic perspective and level sets your expectations. Too many bodybuilders set lofty, unrealistic expectations and end up sorely disappointed if they don’t make the gains some other hardgainer or skinny guy claims. Set REALISTIC expectations to avoid that. Fact is…

Tim Ferriss’ body transformation is IMPRESSIVE! But that’s only half the story….

Where’s Tim now? He doesn’t appear to have kept that muscle in his latest picture? He’s in shape, lean and mean but where did all that mass go?

My guess is that Tim Ferriss gained 34 lbs of lean mass in a short period of time (almost any skinny guy can do this) and then promptly went back to his lifestyle which is not bodybuilding. He lost most of it. No it didn’t turn into fat! He just burned it off. Muscle mass is highly metabolic and requires a lot of work both in the gym and out of the gym to maintain it. That my friends… is where the REAL ART begins.

By the way… if you read the steps Tim took to gain that lean body weight, I’ll agree with him 100% they were spot on for a beginner to advanced. He used a HIT training program.

1) Fast, time efficient, intense workouts

2) Compound movements to maximize gains and natural growth hormone production

3) Malicious attention to nutritional details

4) Proper measurement and weigh-in techniques

5) Photos in the same pose

6) Accountability

7) A solid plan

If you want to learn more about HIT programs like the one Tim did, I suggest The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results by Ellington Darden, Ph.D.

Tim did a bang up job on outlining in 6 steps how to go about getting the job done. He had a very realistic plan, a precise method of how to get there, a vision of what he wanted to accomplish, written goals and accountability. Tim didn’t just go to the gym to screw around. He did what Skip LaCour and Tom Venuto talk about all the time as the most IMPORTANT aspect of bodybuilding.

Step into the gym with a plan!

For all these reasons… it’s not a shocker that Tim slammed on 34 lbs of good looking lean body mass. While many comments accused Tim of steroid use, cheating, doctoring photos and such, I believe Tim. I know because I’ve been there, done that before. What he outlined is simple yet precisely what anybody would need to do. But I wouldn’t follow his advice and here’s why….

It is best to learn from someone who is still practicing what they are preaching.

The REAL difficult part of any bodybuilding journey isn’t the quick weight gains you experience after a long layoff or the skinny guy hardgainer gains you make in 6 months following some program.

It’s what you DO years later to keep that muscle and to build more. It’s the art of maintaining it and getting past difficult plateaus or injuries. It’s learning how to fish and not be tossed a fish. It’s taking all the FACTS and then applying them to your specific situation.

I’d take advice from Tim on how to make my business more successful, my blog more SEO friendly or even design options (his blog looks great).. and I’d even take his advice on how to shorten my work week.

But I wouldn’t take how to gain weight, bodybuilding or muscle building advice from somebody who isn’t able to get past the real difficult parts of bodybuilding. What the heck to I do now that I have this mass? How do I maintain it? Where do I go from here?

“Facts are facts – but people are individuals, and their problems are usually individual in nature. The perfect solution to one case may be (and frequently will be) the worst possible approach to the situation in another case; in effect, while the same methods will work in ALL cases – the application of those methods MUST BE on an individual basis.” - Author Jones

Train hard and expect success,

Marc David

P.S. – Tim Ferriss did a great job on how to gain weight with his body transformation. Remember that while anybody can make amazing progress quickly (refer to weight loss before and after pictures) it’s what you do with that later that matters. Losing weight is easy… keeping it off is not. Gaining weight quickly is simple… maintaining a muscular physique is not.

P.P.S. – If you are in this bodybuilding game for the long-haul, I invite you to check out my own bodybuilding lessons where I’ll teach you how to fish. You can make gains just like Tim did and I’ll even tell you how to keep them!

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How Much Water to Drink?

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

I think the following how much water to drink chart may help you to SAFELY determine how much water you need to stay properly hydrated for your activity without over consumption.

* this chart is meant to be a guide not an absolute *

This chart is courtesy of the ISSA

Recommended Water Intake:

Step 1 Select an appropriate need factor.

Need Factors

0.5 — Sedentary no sports or training
0.6 — Jogger or light fitness training
0.7 — Sports participation or moderate training 3 times a week
0.8 — Moderate daily weight training or aerobic training
0.9 — Heavy weight training daily
1.0 — Heavy weight training daily plus sports training or “2-a-day” training

Step 2 Multiply weight (in pounds) by the appropriate need factor to arrive at the recommended water intake in ounces per day.

Example 1 120 pounds x 0.6 = 72 ounces per day
Example 2 200 pounds x 0.7 =140 ounces per day

We recommend that you drink water eight to twelve times per day.

Example 1 72 ounces per day divided by 10 glasses = 7.2 ounces per glass
Example 2 140 ounces per day divided by 12 glasses = 11.7 ounces per glass

Lewis Black and Aquifina. Or as he says, “the end of water was we know it.”

Here’s Lewis Black with a little humor on the subject of how crazy water consumption is today.

WPvideo 1.10
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Waist to Hip Ratio

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008


The waist to hip ratio or WHI doesn’t seem to be any better of a predictor than the BMI because neither one takes into lean body mass.  How good of a predictor can this measurement actually be when it only takes into account fat in one area of the body, not the overall body fat percentage?


The WHR ratio was designed in or around 1993 as a replacement for an indication of health for the BMI.  Many health professionals including myself don’t find the BMI or the WHR to be useful as a sole indicator of health.

While it can be useful in some aspects, body composition is much more accurate and a better determination of overall health as you have pointed out.

In more recent years, the WHR has taken fire for being not such a good indicator of overall health either!


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Here’s a Healthy Breakfast

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

How to Make this Healthy Breakfast:

* 1 cup of regular oats (not the quick kind)
* 1 scoop of whey protein powder
* 1 tbs Udos 3-6-9 oil
* 1 cup of 1% milk
* regular banana

Just mix it all up. I don’t cook the oats as I like to eat them raw. This mixes very well and tastes great. It’s fast, cheap and offers up some significant energy benefits and will keep you filled up for hours. Adjust the portions as necessary for your specific calorie needs or modify the ingredients to your preferences.

Here’s the estimated nutritional details for the healthy breakfast idea:

Calories: 743
Fats: 24g
Carbs: 97g
Protein: 38g

Note: Remember to adjust the portions as necessary for your specific calorie needs.

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Sports Injuries – What to Do If You are Injuried

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Weight training, weight lifting and bodybuilding all come with the greatest prize of them all. The chance of an extended life and a better quality of living. On the other, for those who are sloppy, don’t bother to learn anything about weight lifting or embark on a short-term quest to do a 300 workout without the slightest idea of their physical abilities, the same sport that offer the gift of better health, can give you a lifelong injury.

Let me tell you a few things you can do if you are injured.

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