7 Simple Steps to Beginning Bodybuilding

Although my hypothetical letter would be written for me, I’m certain that the 7 steps in that letter would apply just as well to you or to any other teenager or beginner who is frustrated and at a point (early in their training education), where they would waste a lot of time if they started heading down the wrong path.

I wasted so many years making so many training and diet mistakes, that I hope by sharing these 7 steps with you, that you will get started on the right track and make great gains right from the beginning.

Before I take you through each of the 7 steps one by one, first, it’s a prerequisite that we define the word, “bodybuilding.”

“Bodybuilding” isn’t just about getting massive muscles.”Bodybuilding” isn’t just for men, either. The word “bodybuilding” should actually be two words to eliminate confusion, stereotypes and preconceived notions. Using resistance training, in any way, shape or form, even if you’re female and only lifting 5 pound dumbbells, is “body building!” Body building can mean anything to anybody, so regardless of your goals, don’t be intimidated by the phrase.

Now that we have that out of the way, onward to the 7 steps!

The first step to beginning bodybuilding is…

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Meal Frequency: Is Eating Six Times a Day Necessary?

Eating Six Times a Day

Is All That Eating Necessary ... Really?

One question that is popping up all over the bodybuilding space is the question is meal frequency.  Not just meal timing, just the basic question of how many times do I need to eat per day?

Just the other day I received this note …. (for you who can’t read, I’m not saying this, I said I received this)

No study has ever confirmed that it is more efficient to eat 6 small meals as opposed to 3 big meals (or even 2!) in terms of body composition results.

ZERO!

Are those six meals a day I’ve heard about really necessary?  People have been told for some time that in order to build muscle and gain weight, they need to be eating.   In the past, you’ve probably heard that eating more frequent meals is has a thermodynamic effect and you will burn more fat by eating more often. ( A study done in 2010 disproves this assumption)

But is this dogma true?  First, let’s examine the short list of frequent meals.  This list is by no means definitive.

Benefits of More Meals Per Day:

  • appetite control
  • frequent eating and tight control of within day energy balance help to control insulin
  • personal observation (not scientific but not irrelevant either)
  • energy balance
  • higher meal frequency is important from a cortisol control standpoint

Drawbacks to More Meals Per Day:

  • too much eating
  • burden to carry so much food around
  • preparation for the amount of food
  • not necessary to achieve the proper amount of total daily calories
  • not necessary for the current level of athletic training

” If eating 5-6 times a day helps control your appetite and easily hit your calorie goals, if it gives you more energy, keeps you satisfied all day long and you enjoy it – then that’s the way to go. If eating bodybuilder-style with 5 or 6 whole food meals a day is a burden to you with the food prep and time spent eating, or it makes it harder to stick with your plan, not easier, then you’re better off with 3 or 4 meals a day or 3 meals with snacks.”Tom Venuto, author of Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle

To take Tom Venuto’s statement a bit further here’s what Dr. Dan Benardot, PhD., RD, LD, FACSM, and author of Advanced Sports Nutrition says on the meal frequency subject…

“There is a limit to how much energy (i.e., calories) the body can handle properly at one time. By satisfying our total energy requirements through infrequent eating opportunities, this limit is passed and problems occur. In addition, infrequent eating does nothing to address normal blood sugar fluctuation. Blood sugar peaks about one hour after eating, and is back to pre-meal levels about two hours after that. That means that we can expect a normal range of blood sugar for about three hours. Unless something is consumed to satisfy the need for blood sugar every three hours, gluconeogenesis can result with a loss of lean mass.”

“A dedicated bodybuilder should eat at least five times a day and space those meals no further than three hours apart.  I have found eating smaller, more frequent meals, or in other words “grazing” throughout the day, is the most efficient way for my body to process food.”SkipLaCour; six-time national drug-free champion bodybuilder; author of Bodybuilding Nutrition

Will Brink, author, columnist and consultant, to the supplement, fitness, bodybuilding, and weight loss industry and author of Bodybuilding Revealed & Fat Loss Revealed weights in with an excellent video on the subject.

Do You Need to Eat Six Times a Day or More?

At this point, I hope you are not confused!  What I’ve found is that first and foremost you must get your required number of calories per day to reach your goals.  After that, meal timing becomes important given your activities in the next hours.  You do not need to eat more frequent meals IF your blood sugar is in control and your appetite is fine.

Signs of Hunger:

  • hunger pangs
  • loss of focus and inability to concentrate

If you are NOT engaging in high intensity training or activities that require some type of re-fueling OR if you are taking a training break OR sedentary, then 3 meals a day would probably be just fine.

However, if you want to optimize performance, be your best at your intense workouts, perform longer duration activities, then don’t get caught in the trap of controversy that says multiple meals (maybe 5 maybe more) is not necessary.  Or that there’s no evidence via studies to show that multiple meals has an affect on body composition.

In fact it IS and there are SEVERAL studies (listed below) that prove this.

Going by personal experience, as should you in this case, if you find yourself getting light-headed and you feel like you want to grab the closest candy bar, you are probably experiencing some significant swings in insulin.  Having more frequent meals helps control this issue and it’s why I like having 5-6 meals per day.  I’m able to eat at a 15% calorie deficit when cutting without going crazy with hunger or insulin making me make horrible choices out of desperation.

However, if you eat 3 times a day maybe a snack or two and get your calories in per day, have energy for your activity and you experience NONE of the hunger swings or cravings, you simply don’t need more meals per day.

I am a fan of frequent eating but is it absolutely 100% necessary?

The answer is you should customize your meal frequency!

Meal Frequency can be affected by:

  • environmental
  • your history
  • accessibility
  • culture
  • time
  • finances
So YOUR meal frequency really needs to be customized to your situation based on the benefits and drawbacks listed above in addition to your personal situation.

In the meantime, based on the research and several experts in the field of nutrition and bodybuilding listed here on subject, I’ll continue to eat my six bodybuilding style meals per day.

I’d love to know what you think on this subject.

Marc David – CPT
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of NoBull Bodybuilding

Additional Resources and Studies on Meal Frequency

  • Meal Frequency: International Society of Sports Nutrition
  • Meal Frequency and Energy Balance by Lyle McDonald
  • Researchers Look at How Frequency of Meals May Affect Health
  • Beneficial metabolic effects of regular meal frequency on dietary thermogenesis, insulin sensitivity
  • Meal frequency and energy balance
  • Meal Frequency and Weight Loss by Dr. Christopher Mohr
  • Optimal Protein Intake And Meal Frequency To Support Maximal Protein Synthesis and Muscle Mass by Dr. Layne Norton
  • Effects of meal frequency on body composition during weight control in boxers

More Studies:

  • Nibbling versus gorging: metabolic advantages of increased meal frequency
  • The relationship between frequency of eating and adiposity in adult men and women in the Tecumseh Community Health Study
  • Effect of meal frequency and timing on physical performance

Here’s How Consumer Reports Screws You Blind

Unhealthy Metals Found in Some Protein Drinks

Is Your Protein Shake Poison?!

In the July 2010 issue of Consumer Reports, there’s a 4 page spread and chart showing that those favorite protein drinks of yours can contain potentially unsafe levels of heavy metals.  Things like Arsenic, Lead and Cadmium!  With such a report, it’s almost a guarantee to rock the supplement world.  Or is it?

Maybe the better question:  Should it?

The full report will be in the July issue of Consumer Reports.  Or you can read the Consumer Report on Protein Drinks (opens in a new window)

QUESTION: I just read the Consumer Reports article about potentially unsafe levels of heavy metals.  Some of those protein drinks I consume.  I’m currently drinking Muscle Milk chocolate.  Not three times a day but I use it frequently.  Do you think I should stop drinking protein shakes entirely?  What is your thought on this report?

ANSWER: Could this be true?  The same magazine I used to buy my last washer and dryer is now the expert on supplement research?   Can the same evaluation methods to test how dry my socks are be used to tell me if I’m in-taking too much dangerous levels of heavy metals?  Or even better, how much protein I need a day?

In a nutshell, Consumer Reports used USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) an independent research facility to test 15 protein drinks which included ready to drinks, meal replacement power and just whey powders.

Consumer Reports testing was based on consumption of three shakes per day and the testing applied proposed U.S. Pharmacopeia standards - not current, accepted or approved standards or guidelines.  It’s important to note this was not published in a peer reviewed scientific journal.

They tested for:

  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Mercury

USP found most of the products to be in the low or moderate range for the 3 servings except for the following three products.

What Consumer Reports Found:

  • EAS Myoplex Original Rich Dark Chocolate Shake has an average of 16.9 micrograms of arsenic in three servings — more than the 15 micrograms a day that is the proposed USP limit. It has an average of 5.1 micrograms of cadmium for three servings — above the USP limit of 5 micrograms a day.
  • Muscle Milk chocolate powder, at three servings, contained all four of the metals, and three metals were found at a level that was among the highest of all 15 products tested. Cadmium levels were 5.6 micrograms — above the 5-microgram limit. Lead was 13.5 micrograms — above the USP limit of 10 micrograms. The arsenic averaged 12.2 micrograms — near the 15-microgram daily USP limit.
  • Muscle Milk vanilla crème had 12.2 micrograms of lead per three servings — above the 10-microgram daily limit. It has 11.2 micrograms of arsenic — close to the 15-microgram daily limit.

Here’s What They Aren’t Telling You … They Didn’t Compare Apples to Apples!

All of the products listed in the Consumer Reports article are not the same.  Muscle Milk and Myoplex ranked the highest partly because they are Meal Replacement Powders or MRPs.  MRP’s will have naturally higher trace amounts of these elements because they include a blend of all macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates), plus micronutrients in vitamins & minerals.  Whey protein powders OR low carb protein powders will contain lower levels of these elements because they provide mostly protein and not the full blend of macronutrients plus vitamins & minerals that MRP’s do.

In other words, the more nutrient sources (macronutrients & micronutrients) one consumes, the more trace amounts of these metal elements they are ingesting.  The report would have been more accurate if all like products were compared (MRP’s). Pure Whey protein powders will have lower amounts of these elements for the reasons just mentioned.

Do You Know What’s In Your Food?

Don’t forget the substances tested by Consumer Reports are naturally occurring in the environment, and it would be uncommon, if not impossible, not to detect the trace amounts reportedly found in any agricultural product, such as dairy products, fruits and vegetables.

FDA’s publication Total Diet Study Statistics on Element Results (December 11, 2007), which analyzes 200 foods found in grocery stores four times per year, showed the following:
Lead Levels in Common Foods

Lead Contamination in Everyday Foods

BUT KEEP READING…

First off … let me start by saying I’m not a scientist by nature.  But that doesn’t disqualify me from making comments on how a proper study should be conducted.  In fact, I wondered myself after reading this article.. how would one conduct such a study?

My guess is, at the very least they need to include the methods used in testing so that anybody else qualified could reproduce the results. Even friendly hackers do this.  They report their findings and methods used to reproduce the error in an effort to get the company in question to fix their product.

However, what’s the #1 thing missing from this Consumer Reports article Heavy Metals Found in Protein Shakes?  Care to take a guess?

The methods used!  For all I know, they took various expired supplements from a location in Area 51 and used a metal testing kit from ACE Hardware.  They don’t specifically say how it was conducted and the onus is on them.

Here’s How another 3rd Party, Independent Agency Responded to the  Consumer Reports Article on Protein Drinks

“NSF International cannot comment on the test results reported in the July 2010, Consumer Reports article on protein drinks. It omits critical information about the laboratory that performed the test and its accreditation qualifications. ISO 17025 accreditation is critical for any laboratory testing for heavy metals in dietary supplements and nutritional products.

The article also omits the test methods used, analytical preparation, sample size, the basis of their risk assessment, detection limits, quality control data and instrumentation used for this report.”

FACT: In order to report your finding you MUST report methods used so that results can be reproduced by others.  Sorry Consumer Reports but your study is invalid without such.  Not to mention your testing apples to oranges.

But don’t take my word for it… I asked Daniel Whittaker, a personal trainer for decades, a Wellness Consultant, an Expert Moderator on DiscussBodybuilding.com and researcher.  He’s currently attending California State University, Los Angeles, where he is studying Exercise Science and Bioscience and assisting with research in the University Human Performance Laboratory.

He is the recipient one of two Certificates of Honor awarded by his College in recognition of exceptional academic achievements, and he has been inducted into both Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Golden Key International Honor Society.

“Marc, your comments about the validity of the research methods are spot on.  Without a methods section, the report is really of no value if I can not repeat it consistently in a proper lab with the same methods…” -Daniel Whittaker

What’s even more shocking is that nobody including the fitness expert you probably follow seems to pay attention to the 4 pages that precede the pretty colored chart.  Things I’ve tried in my newsletter, program, blog, podcasts and forum to battle.  What things?

MYTH:

“The body can only break down 5 to 9 grams of protein per hour” -Kathleen Laquale, licensed nutritionist and certified athletic trainer

FACT:

“Regarding the quote from Kathleen Laquale about the body only being able to break down 5 to 9 grams of protein an hour. I defy her to find research to support this. I cringed when I saw the original quote in Consumer Reports, and I’m cringing again to see that the NPR site has adopted it as fact. - TCLoma (of T-Nation?)

“There is no such thing as consuming too much protein.as long you’re getting other nutrients in your diet as well.”Dr. Andrew Shao, Ph.D, in Nutritional Biochemistry from Tufts University in Boston, M.S. in Human Nutrition Science.  His B.A. in Biology is from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass.

A reoccurring theme throughout the entire article is:

Too Much Protein Can Cause Health Problems!

Of course, there’s no links to current studies just “experts” who drop the statement like a hot stock tip at a bus station.

Let’s see what a few of the real experts in the field of bodybuilding have to say about the never ending myth that a high protein diet is deadly ….

“If you tell them you are on a high protein diet because you are an athlete they will tell you, “oh you don’t want to do that, you don’t need it and it will lead to kidney disease” without a single decent study to back up their claim!” - Will Brink, columnist, contributing consultant, and writer for various health/fitness, medical, and bodybuilding publications article,  author of the “Nutritional Myths that Just Won’t Die: Protein.”

“A number of health risks have been attributed to the consumption of high protein intakes, this includes potential problems with the kidneys, bone health, metabolic acidosis and certain types of cancers. For the most part, these risks tend to be extremely overstated.” -Lyle McDonald, “Protein Controversies.” Chapter 8 from The Protein Book: A Complete Guide for the Coach and Athlete.

Moving on …

So I asked my friend and mentor, Tom Venuto, a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer, certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS) and author of the #1 best selling diet e-book,  “Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle” about this “High Protein” is bad for you that Consumer Reports wants you to believe.

Marc: Tom, can you explain why some licensed professional STILL tell their clients that a diet high in protein leads to health problems?  Including kidney failure, dehydration and osteoporosis?

Tom Venuto: I knew this question would pop up. This “high protein is bad for you” myth never seems to go away, so let me squash this ugly bug right now once and for all.

At one time or another, you’ve probably heard the myth that high protein diets are:

  • bad for your kidneys,
  • they dehydrate you
  • and give you osteoporosis.

Well, here’s the truth: It’s a medical and scientific fact that except in the case of pre-existing kidney disease, there is no documented evidence that a high protein intake will cause kidney damage in a healthy kidney. In fact, there is not a single study that has been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal using adult human subjects with healthy kidneys that has shown any kidney dysfunction whatsoever as a result of consuming a high protein diet.

In the textbook, “Total Nutrition: the Only Guide You’ll Ever Need,” from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, the authors, Victor Herbert and Genell Shubak-Sharpe, had this to say about protein and kidney disease:

“High-protein diets have never proven to be a serious hazard for healthy people, although processing excess protein can overburden a liver or kidney’s that are damaged by disease. That’s why individuals with kidney or liver disease are often put on protein-restricted diets. Likewise, very high protein formulas can also be detrimental to very young or premature infants whose kidney function is not fully developed. Some nephrologists have also speculated the eating a high-protein diet throughout life may be the reason for the ‘slight’ decline in kidney function that usually occurs with age, but this connection is still under investigation.”

What about the claim that high protein diets cause osteoporosis? In inactive people, some studies have shown that increased protein intakes lead to elevated calcium excretion. This is because high protein intakes increase the acidity of the blood, and the body must “leach” calcium from the bones to buffer the acidity. The researchers theorized that this calcium loss could lead to accelerated osteoporosis, especially in women.

While this phenomenon has been observed in sedentary individuals, there is no clearly established link between high protein intake and osteoporosis. Women with risk factors for osteoporosis should be more cautious, but if you are athletically inclined and participate in aerobic and resistance exercise, you will probably have few risk factors. Here’s what Herbert and Shubak-Sharpe had to say on the subject:

“Our typical high-protein, high-meat diets have also been implicated as a factor in the development of osteoporosis, but these claims may be the results of misinterpreting scientific research. Studies have shown that adding purified protein supplements and amino-acid mixtures that have had their phosphate removed do increase excretion of calcium by the kidney in both animals and humans. However, several long-term controlled human studies carried out by Herta Spencer, M.D., at the Hines VA Medical Center in Illinois have shown that high intakes of protein from natural protein sources such as meat, which have their phosphate intact, do not significantly increase calcium loss.”

A post-menopausal sedentary woman would not be well advised to go on a high protein diet, but if you’re a bodybuilder, or even if you just train with weights recreationally, then you will have denser bones than someone who doesn’t work out. Therefore, extra protein should not be a cause for concern.

Probably the only legitimate problem created by a high protein intake is dehydration. Metabolizing protein requires more water than fats or carbohydrates, so it is very important to consume extra water if you increase your protein intake. The standard recommendation is 8-10 8 oz glasses per day (64 – 80 oz). However, the higher your protein intake, the more water you should drink beyond the standard guideline. For bodybuilders on high protein diets, a gallon a day (124 oz) is more like it.

The one gram per pound of bodyweight guideline is good as a general rule of thumb for bodybuilders.  The amount of protein you need depends on how hard you are training and on whether you want to gain, maintain, or lose bodyweight.

Marc: Thanks once again Tom.

I can appreciate the overall good intentions of Consumer Reports to bring public awareness to the foods were consuming.  However, it does not negate the fact that the study itself was flawed and that most of the article seemed to have a bodybuilding type bashing theme to it.

In my 6 years online and 2 decades of bodybuilding, I’ve run across these myths countless times.   I can understand how the average consumer might not know protein intake requirements or how to conduct a proper research study, I fail to understand how a company as large as and well funded as Consumer Reports can write such a loosely documented and misleading prose on the world of fitness.

Even IF the report were true, they give NO information to the companies listed on how to reproduce the results to correct their products.

When David Barr wrote on the potential ill effects of Glycocyamine in some products, specifically Muscle Milk, I recall passing that report off to Cytosport.

Guess what they did?

They took the research, they looked over the facts and the consumer concerns and Cytosport REMOVED it from the product.

See folks.. that’s how it works.

Step 1:  You Find Something Questionable

Step 2:  You Document Your Research and Share with Company

Step 3:  You See if Company Responds

What we have here is a clear case of myth perpetuation and classic biased reporting.

Here’s What They Should Do Next:

Instead of freaking out of high protein diets, or all protein powder, the products that have been named should get tested by a research group that will publish the findings in a peer reviewed journal, where we know the methods of testing meet certain scientific standards or at least can be scrutinized by the rest of the scientific community to be sure that they do.

If the results come up positive for heavy metals, these supplement companies have some explaining to do and some actions to take for damage control.

The Bottom Line: Overall, the Consumer Reports article on Heavy Metals Found in Protein Drinks is of no real usable value. I won’t change my habits at this time when it comes to using protein supplements on that list or not.  Regarding Cytosport’s Muscle Milk, which I am a consumer of at times, it has NSF Certification which does not support the findings of Consumer Reports.

In my NoBull Bodybuilding program, I recommend whole foods thru Ph.D. approved meal plans, andd using protein shakes or powders as an supplement getting no more than 20% of your daily protein from such sources.  While I use proteins like this myself, I don’t drink 3 shakes a day.

Disclosure: I have a close family member works for Cytosport.  However, I am a consumer of the product.   You should realize however, that this isn’t an research report; it is a blog, and unbiased blogs are kind of boring.  If you don’t take a position what do you write about, really?

Industry Response:

Cytosport: Testing Confirms Muscle Milk Safety
Optimum Nutrition
NSF Statement on Consumer Reports Findings

For Further Research:

Protein Drinks Are Dangerous??!! Yeah, right.
CBS Morning Show: Could Protein Drinks Be Harmful to Your Health?
Heavy Metals Found In Protein Shakes: Should You Stop Drinking Them?
UltimateFatBurner Blog: Skeptical about Consumer Reports
How to Evalute Any Supplement

Dangerous protein drinks?
Bodybuilders & Protein, Part 1, 2 and 3
How Much Protein Can I Eat at Any One Time?
Consumer Reports Magazine Takes Aim at Protein Drinks

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

P.S. – My biggest pet peeve is a few fitness experts trying to make money off the report and linking you to a brand of protein thru their affilite link!  Of course they make a commissions off the purchases.  Talk about bias.  If you don’t trust supplement companies WHY on earth would you trust and expert that passed this report to you, offering up no professional insight and then tries to milk you for a few cents off a link to purchase protein.

I believe buyers should be made aware of the incentives individuals may have to give particular advice.  They should be more cynical.

What Supplements Should I Take?

Photo Credit: John Jeddore

Photo Credit: John Jeddore

I’ll refrain from talking about brand names and such as I think we all have our opinions on those and many times price is a factor.

I’m also not posting this list to preach about the benefits of supplements.  The post title is “What Supplements Should I Take” and I’m merely answering.

This isn’t my schedule but rather a framework.  And please keep in mind.. these are supplements meant to supplement an outstanding nutritional program.  I do not use this list to fill in gaps or substitute or my lack of proper eating.  It’s in addition to … not in place of.

So let’s begin…

My Foundational Supplements:

These are supplements I take daily with meals (not all meals), regardless of training.

* Multi-vitamin
* Essential Fatty Acid complex (EPA/DHA)
* Joint Matrix
* Digestive Enzymes
* Udo’s Oil 3-6-9 Omegas (plant sourced)
* Beta-Glucan
* ZMA

My Picks for Performance/Muscle Building Supplements:

My selection at this time for pre-workout and post-workout recovery.  I’ve tried drinking various energy combinations during a workout (Waxy Maize, Vitargo, water beyond a sip at the drinking fountain, etc) and found it to be bothersome.  My workouts don’t last long enough that I need energy during the workout itself.  I’ve got reserves for 60 minutes of high intensity training.

This section is the most critical for me.  If I can have enough energy to do a very high intensity workout AND I can recovery quickly, my gains will be staggering.

When I do not have a session that involved weight training, this list shrinks a lot.

-Some things are bulk, raw materials that aren’t available for end line consumers. –

* Whey protein
* Creatine
* Vitargo S2
* L-Leucine
* Muscle Milk
* Monster Milk/Mass
* Monster Amino
* Monster Pump
* Beta-Alanine
* Provon 290 whey protein isolate

My Optional Supplements:

Things I’ve found beneficial and I take at irregular times.  I am a coffee drinker and I switch to green tea.  Not for the metabolic effects but for the pick me up of caffeine and the other associated benefits with green tea.

* Caffeine
* Green tea
* Cytomax

Cytomax is something I found useful in 2 specific categories:

a) when attempting to do a high volume, high intensity leg workouts.  It’s the only solution I will consider drinking during the actual workout besides sipping water.  Anything that is “endurance” related which can be some weight training workouts believe it or not.

b) taken long after workouts but before bed on high intensity days to eliminate cramps.  Leg cramps plague me.  This is the only solution I’ve found that eliminates it almost immediately.

And that concludes this lengthy list on what supplements I currently take.

I’d like to know what supplements you take if any.  Please post your comments below.

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to update this post when things change or I go home and swallow a pill and realize I didn’t post it here. :-)

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

QUESTION:

You said you don’t need to take supplements to build muscle?  At least that is what your book claims along with everybody else in this industry.  Are you contradicting yourself?

ANSWER:

You do not. I was asked what I personally took, and I responded when most other professionals will not.  I’m not a supplement pusher but I’m not a supplement hater.   You only need handwork, consistency and adequate food intake coupled with recovery to build muscle and burn fat.  I said that, others say it and I stand by it.

QUESTION:

What supplements should I take?

ANSWER:

I’ve got no idea what you should take given your personal financial situation, your work ethic, your age, any medications or other complications and/or needs.  Recommending supplements to people isn’t something I do for a variety of reasons.  One being, I might be fine taking Product A when you have an allergic reaction.  I think sticking to the basics is the best idea.  Beyond that, if your diet is nearly perfect, that’s the time you can put forth some honest effort into making a plan for yourself.  Cookie cutter list of supplements to take is like giving cookie cutter financial advice.  Most people LOSE.  It may or may not pertain to them.  They end up frustrated and upset.  Hence, I make these recommendations for ME and me only.  Not you.  Re-read that this is for informational purposes only.

QUESTION:

How come other fitness guys don’t post this?

ANSWER:

I don’t know.  I’d guess the same reason they don’t post a lot of things.  They create images and often live different lives.  What you see in this blog, my personality, my preferences for a training style, my opinions.. is how I live.  All the time (except when I’m sleeping).  I take supplements personally and therefore, I don’t create some illusion I don’t.  But I don’t run around pushing them on people and I don’t give out recommendations as I don’t know your history among other things.  It’s a question I get all the time and it’s always the one I can’t answer perfectly.

QUESTION:

Where can I buy…   How come you don’t post links?

ANSWER:

Because I’m not making recommendations.  This is a list post.  For informational purposes.  Disclosure.  For curious minds.  Not me trying to encourage you or direct you anywhere.  People asked, I responded.  That’s it.

QUESTION:

Where can I learn more about the science behind supplements IF I choose to take this path?

ANSWER:

I wrote a very lengthy post about How to Evaluate a Supplement. I suggest you read it and do your research before just buying the latest and greatest or what Joe/Sally said on some forum.  You’ll end up with more money in your pocket and feeling smarter.

Most Americans Know Their Diet Stinks

Photo Credit: Wheatfields

Photo Credit: Wheatfields

In the latest National Grocers Association’s 2009 Consumer Panel Survey, 66% of American consumers responded their diet could be healthier.

Roughly 16% of the 2,145 individuals asked by the NGA Consumer Survey gave a response that their diet “could be a lot healthier,” with 52% saying it would be “somewhat healthier.”

An astounding (at least to me) 24% said they took some type of supplement to improve their diets.

But the most interesting part of the NGA Survey?

70% of respondents claimed the internet to be their primary source of information!  But only 26% said they trusted what they found in regards to nutrition on the web.

View the survey in full here.

It makes perfect sense really.  I’ve know many people in my lifetime that admit to eating poorly.  They know they should eat better but they don’t.  Sometimes it’s lack of information.  Other times it might be they haven’t found something strong enough to motivate them to make a lifestyle change.  It can be a combination of both.

Everybody has their limits or when they hit “rock bottom” and sometime primal forces them to change.

Here is a list out a FEW of the experts I personally follow.  I use Google Reader and frequently share items.. No matter what you use or what you read, here’s my Top List of Fitness Experts that I read daily or whenever I see something new in their blogs.

Not sure what RSS is?  Read What is RSS

If you are going to get your information from the Internet like 70% of people do in the survey, make sure you are getting it form the right people.   There’s a lot of great information out there and there’s some really horrible advice.

While this is not an all inclusive list of every expert on the subject, it’s the people I turn to often and read what they have to say.

Who’s In My Blog Reader:

BodyRecomposition

Lyle McDonald is a world renowned expert.  He’s a bit over the top for me at times but some of his work, like the Baseline Diet 2009 sums up about 250 pages of any good nutritional book.  I’ve found his posts to be incredibly useful.

Burn the Fat Blog

Tom Venuto is the fat loss guru.  He spends HOURS on his stuff, researching and writing and focusing on his core audience.  The guy is no-propaganda.  He’s not out to sell you on his latest fad diet or new fangled way of losing weight.  If he was the mainstream icon for fitness, maybe things would be different.  Maybe not.  In any case, worth reading.

Exercise Therapy

Carlos DeJesus, father of the Quad Blaster and bodybuidling pioneer is new to the scene.  Not the bodybuilding scene but blogging, etc.  He’s heavy on the thought process but if you understand what he’s getting at, you’ll know that the Experiment of One is all that matters.

Cranky Fitness

Provides more of a real-life, less technically approach to fitness.  Mixes it up with some humor.  A few swear words.  But not the typical bodybuilding approach that I’m so in tune with all the time.  Different approach to fitness that I preach but it’s nice information and not fanitical.

Diet Blog

If there’s a new story, they’re on it.  They find the latest mainstream stuff and comment quickly on it so that you can get some serious information quickly without falling prey to the bad information.  It’s a no-hype zone.  Short, sweet and to the point.

MuscleHack

Mark is a nice guy who’s taking a low carb bodybuiding approach.  You might enjoy his receips and unique style of writing.  The video demonstration of exericses and his theory on Optimized Form is liken to Skip LaCour’s Controlled Cheating.  Interesting perspectives.  Training tips you can use.

The Brink Zone

Will Brink is the supplement guru. I don’t know why people don’t do more research when purchasing high end or expensive supplements.  Talk about why people have a low trust factor!  Truth be told, Will is more than just a supplement expert but he’s the 1st person I talk to on a professional level whenever I see some new fad come out and people start tossing money at hype.  Waxy Maize Craze?  New Creatine version?  Ask Will.

The Physique Formula

Jimmy Smith is from New York.  At least he sounds like it.  His vidoes are clever and he’s got that down to earth, healthy living, bodybuilding, lean physique lifestyle.  He’s not into doing crazy things but he gives off the appearance that in his youthful days (how old is Jimmy anyway?).  No matter, he’s got some good solid information to bring to the fitness world.

BodyBuildingSecrets

Another Tom Venuto site but this is geared towards the bodybuilding lovers.  Hardcore workouts, bodybuilding interviews.  A side of Tom that unless you subscribe to this blog, you’ll never know.  He’s a meathead from New Jersey that is old school.  He’s a fat loss expert for sure but he’s also a muscle building guru to boot.

WorldFitnessNetwork

Clever articles about fitness and bodybuilding.  Helpful things like reading a nutrition label down to utilizing dumbbells and doing various exercises.  Anything that keeps the workout from becoming stale.  Tips, tricks and helpful suggestions.

NinosMission

Nino doesn’t blog nearly enough but I like Nino.  He’s just a nice guy who gives no excuses.  I like following people who push themselves to their limits and try and help others.  Nino gives thru his unique posts.  You might find some real gems in his poetic style of writing.  He’s got to stop using the word “Gee” so much!  Just kidding Nino.  Be yourself.

Skip LaCour

No blog here but over 55 and counting radio shows.  You can call in, download episodes and get some SERIOUS tips from a bodybuidling expert.  Skip’s show is worth listening to as in 60 minutes you can pick out some real “ah-ha” moments.  Allows you to connect with an expert and ask your questions.  Take him up on the offer.

And that in a nutshell is what I have in my reader.  If I run across more, I’ll update this entry as appropriate.

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

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So, what do you think?

8 Little Known Traits of Successful Bodybuilders

We all know the “rules” of bodybuilding.  Hard work (intensity), applied consistently over a period of time

will yield significant results.

But some of the best and most impressive bodybuilders have traits that might surprise you. Here’s how having faith, angry and focused (in the right ways) can create breakthrough success on your own body.

1.  Don’t Over Analyze

While listening to another episode of the Skip LaCour podcast, Skip said something that struck home and it’s something I’ve been thinking and noticing for the longest time in my own industry.

The level of knowledge and attention to detail rarely matches the physique.

If it’s your job to know this stuff, by all means learn and if you just thrive on facts and interesting fitness information, by all means, go for it.  Learning is fun but my point is…

Don’t get so caught up in the stuff that doesn’t matter that you forget the basics.

Some of the smartest people I know in this field don’t even look like they train!

Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Just train like a madman (or woman), workout hard and do just enough to stimulate growth.  If your program is working for you, forget the validation.  Just keep doing it!

2.  Don’t Know Everything

A lot of times, I think beginners have the BEST advantage.  Their minds are open.  They are willing to listen and try new things.  After some time, reading and training, they start to lose that beginners edge that makes their minds open and ready to absorb like a sponge.  Not knowing everything and keeping an open mind will allow you to move through the journey and not worry about some ultimate destination.

Building muscle and burning fat is not a singular destination that once you reach, that’s all she wrote.  It’s a series of journeys back and forth using different concepts and times of year to keep making progress.  By allowing yourself not to know it all, you actually become smarter and more able to understand concepts and reason better.

All to often I meet somebody who’s not even close to their potential, they are 40 lbs or more off their stated goals and yet, they know more than anybody else.  They know more than many of the experts put together.

What they don’t understand is they’ve learn some good things and some bad and aren’t able to ditch the bad stuff and keep learning because once you’ve told yourself you know it all.  Your mind shuts off to new or different information that could otherwise help you.

You don’t have to be a beginner physically for that long but if you can keep the beginners mindset, you’ll be smarter than most.

3.  Get Mad Once and While

Vent!  Get angry and use that anger to direct it towards actively doing something about it.  Better yet, use that pent up angst to workout harder in the gym and take it out on the weights.  Working out is a super stress reliever.  Stress is a killer, literally.

It’s okay to get mad and use that frustration to push yourself.  Being frustrated or angry becuase something isn’t happening in your physique is okay.

4.  Stop Trying to Discount and Debunk Every Theory

It’s fine to have some clarity and certainty in what you are doing.  Spending excessive amounts of time debating and debunking every training theory or new program is mostly a quest for validation that whatever you are doing is the right thing to do.  It becomes self-justification.

Some of the most successful bodybuilders I know don’t know everything about nutrition or how muscle grows.  They just follow the basics and make significant progress.  They don’t spend hours trying to prove their theories (unless they have a theory).  They just do it.

I’m not really worried if deadlifts should be done on a back day or a leg day or if there is a slightly better way to squat if I don’t go to parallel.  I’ve seen message forum threads about protein deprivation go on for over 10 pages from people (who I don’t know their credentials) attempt to prove it cannot work.

5.  Break the Unbreakable Rules

Give yourself some wiggle room.  Let’s put it this way, if you skip 1 workout in a 7 day week, you just missed 14%!  That same workout in a year is only .2%.  Which is so minor, you’ve never know about it and it does not matter.

Skip a week and you’ve missed 100% of your potential progress.  That same week is roughly 0.3% in 6 years.

Put things into perspective.  Consistency is the backbone of progress.  It’s what will make your physique change over years and have your family and friends asking for your super secret plan.  What “illegals” you took to get huge or what diet you followed to lose the baby fat.

Give yourself some room to make mistakes.  You miss a meal?  Big deal.  You didn’t drink your allotted water for the day?  So what.  You missed legs?  Oh no how will you survive!  Don’t make a habit of breaking the rules (that’s called inconsistency) but missing some stuff here and there is not a deal breaker.

6.  Take a Leap of Faith

Sometimes it is just good to follow a new program or nutritional idea to the letter.  Instead of worrying if it will work or the reasons why it can’t work, just follow it.  Don’t ask questions initially.  Later you can take the results and introduce your own perceptions and feelings.  Instead of saying that a certain rep range cannot build muscle, just try it.  Take a leap of faith and see if the concept turns into real world results.

While everybody is different there are fundamentals and principles that work for everybody all of the time.  Debating, over analyzing eventually leads to paralysis.

Once you have reach the point where you can no longer try anything new because it goes against what you know to be true, that’s when you will cease to make progress.

When I start a new training program that I think will work based on what I’ve read, I look for some certainty and validation but I follow it to the letter.  I don’t ask questions.  I don’t e-mail the author and argue why it cannot work.  I try it and if it works, I keep it for later use.  If not, I toss it out.  I’ve saved countless hours and headaches not wasting my time trying to prove somebody wrong when in the end, all it would truly be is validation that whatever I’m doing at the time is the right thing to do.

To be honest, nobody know exactly how muscle is built.  All we know is that the right amount of stimulation, not too much and not too little, is how it grows through weight training.

7.  Forget Genetics and Focus on You

I can’t tell you how many e-mails and phone consultations I’ve done when the 2nd question is about genetics and the potential to succeed.  Whenever that question comes up, I know right away the person is doomed if they can’t change their line of thinking.

“Genetics do not matter to the natural bodybuilder.  But your genetics will only take you so far in competition.” - Hugo A. Rivera, CFT, SPN, BSCE

If you are and plan on being a natural bodybuilder, then this question truly deserves no answer.

If you plan on stepping on stage, then genetics can be a factor (among other things) but if you let that slip into your mind and it brings about negative thoughts, that is far more damaging than having the perfect wrist size or bone structure.

Some of the males and females I personally know who stepped on stage and did fantastic were not the most genetically gifted people.  They felt they didn’t have the bone structure for true bodybuilding but it didn’t’ matter to them.  They didn’t live within limits and they never worried about genetics.

Some of the most genetically gifted people I know (they look at a weight and grow muscle) never put forth any effort into bodybuilding and many people who you would never look at them twice have far surpassed their genetic rivals.

It’s an unknown factor that nobody can answer.

8.  Don’t Pay Too Much Attention to the Latest Training/Nutrition Flavor of the Month

Now I love to give advice here at BodybuildingSecretsLive, and I personally benefited hugely from several fitness experts advice before I ever started writing here.

It’s great to absorb how-to articles that speak to you, and to try new programs. But at the end of the day, the thing that makes your physique great is you. Don’t get so caught up in minor details or some new hyped of program that you forget what makes your body change (hard work, consistency, time).  The basis.

The most “perfect” training program in the world would be deathly dull.  Great workouts are quirky, weird, and challenging–just like interesting people are.

Learn the fundamental rules, get advice, then be passionate about your goals and see what happens. If you get a wild hair, go ahead and try it.  You might love it, your body might hate it.  The great thing about a bodybuilding is, there’s always another workout tomorrow.

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

Secrets to Award Winning Physiques Revealed

No Shortcuts to Your Physique

Do you wish you could build muscle quickly without having to put in the hard work?  Are you short on time but want the results?  If so, lump yourself in with the majority

Today I received the following from somebody I’d consider very typical when it comes to fitness.

I don’t have time to read your book because I am very busy with my work. I ask you to give me medicine to increase my muscles. - Name Withheld

And that’s just the beginning.  But in order to make this short and sweet, I’ll divvy out the solution.  It’s worked for me, it’s worked for thousands before and and it will work for thousands after me.  This solution will work for any human being regardless of race, gender or political preference.

THE SOLUTION:

  1. Hard Work
  2. Consistency
  3. Time

Without going into the complex details of training variety, periodization, zig-zag nutrition manipulation, rest periods, number of sets, etc… these 3 fundamentals are common among anybody that I’ve ever know in my entire 17 years of natural bodybuilding.

These are also the same things that happen when somebody is overweight.  It’s not like you put on 100 lbs of extra weight overnight right?  It was work, consistenly, over a long period of time.  If you only gain 10 lbs a year, in 4 years of a desk job, you’ve now got 40 lbs of extra weight and that’s pretty damn significant!

These concepts go both ways.  It’s how you change your physique.

THE BREAKDOWN:

  • Every person who’s changed their physique put forth significant effort.
  • Every person did so with consistency (they kept at it).
  • Every person gave it more than 8 months.

I can’t tell you how many times somebody will write to me with a detailed nutritional plan and training program and the very last sentence goes like… “I’ve done this for 8 weeks, non-stop and to the letter and I’m not seeing significant results!”

If you’ve tried your routine for the average lifespan of a Coral Reef Golby and are about to throw in the towel becuase you aren’t seeing results, keep in mind it takes YEARS to see incredible results and months to see significant results.

For most people, 6 months is a good time frame if you are doing the above 3 things to see some fair results of your work.  Your body doesn’t change overnight.  Well it does but not things you can see.

Take a chill pill my friend.  If you cannot devote the time now, then at least make two promises to yourself until work settles down.

Promise #1:

I will eat the best healthy breakfast I can that’s sustaining for my day.

Promise #2:

I will make it a point to get up from my desk or take a break and move about during the day.

Promise #3:

I’ll drink more water.

You know, if you can just do those 3 things now, it’s better than looking for shortcuts to building muscle when none exist.  It will end your frustration, you’ll be better off for it now and when you get the time to put forth the effort, you’ll be in a mental mindset to do the right thing.

Until then, nothing is worse than dreaming of becoming somebody with a physique you could have and then never putting forth the effort required to do so.  You’ll never reach your goal and the mental anguish is excruciating.

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

Bodybuilding with Hugo Rivera

Hugo Rivera

During my 17 years of bodybuilding, I’ve run across many natural bodybuilders.  It’s rare when you see a bodybuilder of Hugo’s proportion and attention to detail.  Hugo walks the walk and talks the talk without a doubt.  His placement in non-tested bodybuilding shows is even more impressive.

I’d like you to meet Hugo Rivera.

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My formal education background believe it or not is in Computer Engineering. I graduated from the University of South Florida back in 1998. So the question is: how did I end up from engineering to being a competitive bodybuilder and best selling fitness author?

Well, I actually used to be very overweight as I was growing up so at an early age I experienced the feelings of insecurity that come along with obesity as well as the scorn and ridicule from some people. Since I kept hearing that the reason for my weight problems was food and that I had to stop eating, I took the advice to heart being sick and tired of how I looked and felt.

So this resulted in me going anorexic at the age of 13 and losing a total of 70 pounds in less than a year. My family, very concerned about my health, took me to a nutritionist in an effort to put some sense in me and stop the anorexic cycle.

This nutritionist mentioned one thing that changed my outlook on dieting forever: “Eating food will not make you fat; only the abuse of the wrong sort of foods will.” After listening to that statement, it all seemed to make sense. I then began following the diet she gave me and started to study the effects of foods on the human physiology.

By the age of fifteen my interest in how food affects the shape and the form of your body naturally led to an interest in the area of exercise.

2. So how did you get started with bodybuilding and what led you to become a fitness author with a website?

The reason I started bodybuilding is because a girl that I really liked back then told me that I would look better if I had some muscle on me. She said that though I looked good, I was too skinny. Keep in mind that anorexia left me weighing a bit less than 100-lbs.

So I asked my mom to get me a muscle magazine, the May 1990 Muscle & Fitness (which I still have to this day) so that I could educate myself on the subject. After I saw an article called: “How To Get BIG” written by the one and only, Arnold Schwarzenegger, I was hooked! To me, Arnold just looked perfect so I chose him as the role model to follow. I also got inspired by the physiques of Lee Labrada, Shawn Ray, and Francis Benfatto who were competing extremely successfully back then. To me, all of these guys exemplified perfection, real works of art. They all ate 6 times a day and trained hard day in and day out.

So I simply started with following the training program and diet laid out by Arnold on his article. As I was so underweight and skinny at the time, even with Arnold’s training, which was pretty much overtraining, I still gained 40lbs during the summer. A proper six meal a day diet and regular training with me being very underweight really pushed on the muscle mass even if I did gain a little fat as well, but it was amazing to me and all my friends thought I was on steroids! Yet, I did not even have a clue of what steroids where at that time!

Come to think of it, I guess that I was “on steroids” due to the fact that I was a teenager back then producing tons of hormones (yes guys, if you are teenagers then you are on the most powerful stack of anabolic steroids; the one produced by your own body! This, in conjunction with the fact that once I started to feed myself 6 times eating around 3,500-4,000 calories a day, made me grow beyond belief on a daily basis and I guess this is what got me really hooked and led me to become an avid natural bodybuilder.

After, gaining all that mass, I reached a plateau unfortunately; a sticking point I could not get past. As much as I loved Arnold I realized a natural bodybuilder like me could not keep up with the routines of professional bodybuilders who were taking drugs and so I took to reading countless books in my quest to find a perfect system.

The frustrating problem was that I started getting exposed to absolutely contradicting theories on how to best gain muscle and lose fat. Upset at the fact that no one could give me a straight answer I decided to take matters in my own hand and use myself as well as my training partner as guinea pigs in order to find out what worked. This was the first time I really knew that I was going to create my own system as I was going to test everything on myself, my training partner and friends in order to find out what worked and what didn’t so that I could then throw out the bad and keep the good.

I started my quest by recording everything I did down to the last detail. I’m quite analytical as a person, which is I guess why I became an engineer years later, but even early It showed as I read every book and article everywhere I could get my hands on. I was like a sponge for information, reading stuff from trainers from all over the world. I started to put together training routines and diet programs, and while some failed miserably some worked!

For instance, I will never forget what happened when I went from training 2-3 hours a day to training for 45 minutes. I went through a growth spurt again! So through endless training routines and diet combinations I started to really understand what worked and what didn’t for me and my training partners. I started finding principles and patterns of training that seemed to work on everyone I tried them on. Above all, the most exciting part of my discoveries was the fact that there was no necessity to stay all day at the gym in order to get results! Because I felt that not many people in the industry cared about trainees actually reaching their goals, I decided to create a web site and start conducting personal training during my college years in an effort to spread all of the knowledge that I had acquired.

Once I had dialed in the timing, frequency and the important details of training and nutrition cycling, that is when I decided to come up with the Body Re-Engineering System. It was at this point that I became passionate about sharing my knowledge with people as I fully understood I could help to double everyone’s results at the gym in half the time if they would employ my training and nutrition cycling principles.

Because I needed to put together a website in order to graduate from Engineering school (that was my Senior Project) that is how I started to post my first few fitness articles, and not much later have the first version of my Body Re-Engineering System. Notice that it took me from the time I was 14 years old to after I graduated from college to learn all the secrets to muscle building and fat loss on my own. However, with my Body Re-Engineering System, I am confident that I can save anyone from all the troubles.

3. What is it about bodybuilding that you love so much?

body re-engineeringThe fact that bodybuilding can instill in you an amount of discipline that can be applied to all other aspects of your life and thus make you successful. In addition, I love the fact that bodybuilding allows you to completely take control of your image and achieve a sculpted look that enables you to feel better about yourself and thus be more confident. This added confidence will serve to help you in achieving any goal you set for yourself. It will also help to improve your relationships and your career as well.

In addition, the health benefits derived from practicing bodybuilding such as higher energy levels, low blood pressure, good cholesterol and a better love life, just to name a few, make it all worth it. And of course, who cannot enjoy the feeling of a good pump at the gym???!!!

4. Tell us about your Body Re-Engineering System? What is this e-book about?

Body Re-Engineering is the culmination of over 15 years of trial and error of different training and nutrition strategies.

With the principles presented in Body Re-engineering, not only will bodybuilders double their results from each workout and cut their supplement bill, but they’ll also get to greatly accelerate results in terms of massive muscle gains and fat loss.

The key to Body Re-engineering is the cycling principle. Body Re-Engineering uses this principle in both the nutrition and the workout elements of the program.

Workouts are cycled in such a way that through the use of the right exercises and the manipulation of training volume, intensity, and rest in between sets, you create a unique metabolic situation whereby the body has to over compensate in order to adapt to the unique training phases. As a result, muscle mass gains and fat loss are accelerated dramatically.

The diet in the Body Re-Engineering program cycles calories, carbohydrates, and even protein to trick the body into releasing body fat while pushing nutrients into the muscle cell in order to increase size and strength. The diet is based on your individual metabolism and what your fitness goals are.

Body Re-Engineering is versatile as not only can it be used by those looking to gain muscle size and weight but also by the more casual lifter simply looking to lose fat, harden up and tone to look good for the beach. And best of all, it works equally well for men and women of any age and results are guaranteed regardless of genetics.

As you can see from the pictures of me as a kid on my losefatandgainmuscle.com site, I had terrible genetics; I was overweight and then very skinny, but despite bad genetics, if you have the determination to consistently apply body re-engineering, I guarantee you will achieve great results.

I wrote Body Re-Engineering in the manner I would have liked to have read a book back when I started. My ideal book would have included information on goal setting, visualization, training, nutrition, supplementation, rest and recovery, etc. In addition, the writing style would have been such that would be easy to read and above all, practical and easy to follow. One, two, three format so to speak and zero guesswork. If engineering taught me something was to be precise and to logically arrange information. Because of that, it was very easy for me to put a manual together that would meet of all these criteria.

5. Is Body Re-Engineering just for bodybuilders?

Well, my definition of a bodybuilder is anyone that uses weights, cardiovascular exercise, and nutrition to re-shape their physique. So by this definition, it is just for bodybuilders. However, if the question refers to the program just exclusively being for people who want to make large gains in muscle and hit low single levels of body fat for competition then the answer is no. Anyone can use this program regardless of what the goals are. If losing fat weight is your goal, then this system will help you achieve that faster than by just dieting alone. If your goal is competitive bodybuilding then this will help you get there as well.

6. Can you expand further on the topic of the Cycling Principle?bodybuilder

Absolutely.A big problem encountered by bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts is the fact that they plateau (stop making gains) after a few weeks of using a specific bodybuilding program. The way to do fix that is to make use of the cycling principle, which is the principle that forms the basis of my successful Body Re-Engineering program.

The routines of my Body Re-Engineering program change in an orderly manner that takes the body to the brink of overtraining and then allows it to recover, and thus, overcompensate (grow) in response to the stress. These changes are what the cycling principle is all about.

The Cycling Principle is the key to consistent and rapid increases in muscle mass and strength for the bodybuilder. This principle states that in order for the body to respond optimally, it cannot be trained in the same manner all the time and that the best way to make the body respond is through the correct variation of exercises, volume (number of sets times number of reps), intensity (how heavy the weight is), and rest periods between sets.

Workout parameters are going to be determined by the phase of the program you are in. There are going to be three phases that we will be repeating over and over again. The first week will be an “Active Recovery Phase”. In this phase you will only train with weights twice a week on a full body routine before you start the next phase which will be called the “Loading Phase”. The “Loading Phase”, which is three weeks in duration, is going to be a high volume phase with short rest between sets. Training volume gradually increases over the course of the three weeks in order to stress the body almost to the point of overtraining.

Then the next three weeks are going to be a higher intensity/lower volume phase (heavier weights) with longer periods of rest between sets. This phase is called the “Growth Phase”, as volume is reduced but weights are increased in order to let the body catch up and super compensate (grow muscle size and strength).

The Active Recovery Phase

The Active Recovery Phase has three main functions:

* First, according to leading strength expert Tudor Bompa, Ph.D., “you are trying to adapt the anatomy of the body to the upcoming training so that you can create, or produce an injury free environment”. Essentially, your tendons and ligaments should be strong enough to support the stressful periods that will follow.

* Second, this phase is a great time to address any strength imbalance that your body might have. This is the reason why mostly dumbbell work will be used during this phase.

* Finally, this phase will act as a great time in which the body will re-charge its energy stores and allow for complete physical and mental recuperation.

The Loading Phase

* During the Loading Phase the body is stressed with an increasing high volume of work that if kept for too long will eventually result in overtraining and injury. During this phase, three things will happen:

* The growth hormone output goes through the roof due to the short rest interval between sets and the high volume.

* Hypertrophy (muscle growth) occurs by the body increasing the levels of creatine, water and carbohydrates inside the muscle cell. This phenomenon is called muscle voluminization.

* The body’s recuperation capabilities are upgraded in response to the stress imposed by the increasing volume of work coupled with short rest intervals.

The Growth Phase

During the Growth Phase the body is not stressed by volume. This time the stimuli are heavy weights. If this phase would be kept for too long eventually the body would stop making strength gains and you would plateau. This is the reason why you always need to go back to a Loading Phase. During this phase the following three things will happen:

* The testosterone levels go through the roof in response to the longer rest in between sets and the heavier weights.

* Hypertrophy (muscle growth) occurs by the body increasing the actual diameter of the myofiber (the muscle fiber size) through increased protein synthesis (Note: protein synthesis is creating protein strands through DNA and RNA and it takes place in the cytoplasm of the cell.)

* Since your body’s recuperation abilities were built up to the maximum by the previous phase and the volume has gone down dramatically, these extra recuperation abilities are used to increase strength and build more muscle mass. The reason the body does this is in order to be prepared for another stressful period like the one it just went through. This adaptation mechanism is the one that ensures the survival of the species.

* Even if you are training for fat loss, your main goal should always be to stimulate growth. Otherwise, if you were to drastically reduce training poundage in order to perform a lot of high reps, there would be no reason for the body to keep the muscle around. Because of this, you should always train with muscle growth in mind and let the nutrition and the cardiovascular exercise take care of reducing your body fat levels.

About Hugo

bodybuilding
Hugo A. Rivera, CFT, SPN, BSCE. is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, multi certified personal trainer, industry consultant and fitness expert who not only knows training and nutrition theory, but also applies it on a daily basis as evidenced by the fact that he’s always in shape and by his awards and high placings at numerous

national level bodybuilding competitions. He is also an internationally known best selling fitness author with a very successful franchise of books called “The Body Sculpting Bibles” which collectively have sold over a million copies. Hugo is also the author of the very popular “Body Re-Engineering” e-book, which

teaches you how to gain lean muscle mass and get lean without drugs, or fancy expensive supplements, using the secrets he devised after many years of weight problems as a child.

To learn more about Hugo’s cycle training principles and Body Re-Engineering Program visit:
www.losefatandgainmuscle.com

Blazing Trails: Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne Tells His Story

Jack LaLanne at 71

How true it is and more true today with the Internet, mass e-mail, ClickBank books, and everybody jumping on the bandwagon of “I’ve got a solution for your weight loss problem.”

“Something else that worries me is the advertising on television today. It’s killing Americans, and we have to do something about it. Just watch TV for an hour and you’ll see people —especially athletes—selling their souls for millions of dollars to endorse the very items making people fat and unhealthy—cakes, pies and soda pop.” – Jack LaLanne

When Jack LaLanne opened the nation’s first health club in 1936, people thought he was nuts. When he went on the air 1951 with the nation’s first fitness television show, people thought it wouldn’t last. Today, at the ripe young age of 89, his TV show is still on the air, he is in better shape than most Americans and he is still going strong. In this exclusive WELCOA Interview, fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne talks with WELCOA President David Hunnicutt, PhD about LaLanne’s lifetime of fitness and what it’s going to take for Americans to get and stay healthy through their golden years.

It occurs to me in this day and age that if you ask any younger person today “who is Jack LaLanne,” the most common answer if they know will be “he’s that As Seen on TV guy that does the Juicer Machine.”

Jack LaLanne on the role of parents:

First and foremost, parents should set a good and positive example for their children.

Take a close look around you the next time you go out to eat. Trust me, if the adults were setting a good example, we’d not have such an obesity epidemic in the United States.

For as cheap as free, you will download and read this Jack LaLanne interview and it will make an impression on you.

Since my mom sends jokes all the time, I’ve already sent her a copy of this as I feel my own parents need to be more active.

If they won’t listen to me, maybe they will listen to a 94 year old man.

Jack LaLanne Interview:

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  • Jack LaLanne 1914-2011, Interview and Podcast at Age 94 – Before there was Arnold, or Charles Atlas, there was Jack LaLanne. He opened up the first modern health club in Oakland, California in 1936.

Be Fit, Stay Strong!

Marc David – CPT

P.S. – If you go to YouTube and just search for “Jack LaLanne” you find many snippets of his TV show where he made famous, fingertip pushups.