It happens to the best of us, all of us. We take time in our respective sports to gain the competitive edge, making sacrifices along the way. The sacrifices we make aren't made in vain, however; they are to perfect a certain facet of our program. After all, you can only go in one direction until you reach the horizon. Eventually you're going to hit a point where other aspects of the Irongame cross your mind. If you have accomplished goals you have had set in your mind, moving forward and having new ambitions will spark new life into your training. Maybe you're going to change it up for a while and try a powerlifting meet, or you're a bodybuilder trying his hand at CrossFit type training. Every athlete comes to a point in his career where changes must be made in order to succeed. Different goals and opportunities arise and call you to step up to the plate. How will you answer the call?
"You can't do it." That is the phrase that gets my heart pounding in my chest and the fire in my eyes. All the sacrifices you make along the way in your path to greatness need to be worth it. Hearing criticism from others only builds the energy and desire to do something different. What is holding you back? Is it the people you are putting yourself around? On Sundays, everybody squats and Monday is worldwide bench day, can you break the mold without facing ridicule? Everyone trains with someone or relies on a group for influence. If your crew doesn't think you have it in you to pursue a certain venture, then it may be time to find new role models. Maybe they are telling you no because they are lazy, or maybe because they are afraid of what you might accomplish. Jealousy is a natural human trait that we all deal with to some extent, learn to filter out those that whisper the "you can't" in your ear and make some strides forward.
The types of sacrifices made along the way will dictate just how good you will be. Strength and hypertrophy training will make you a better athlete in contact sports; that's a no brainer statement that is tested day in and day out on hardwood and Astroturf. Certain sports, however, require an entirely different type of discipline in terms of VO2 max and Glycogen loading. Realize just to what extent of cross training you can handle and learn what needs to be given up to progress. Your body hits a certain point where you will retain a relative level of strength, regardless of what else you put it through. Most importantly, muscle memory allows your body to regain lost strength much easier than gaining it from the start. Now I know it will be a blow to the ego to no longer hone the biceps and triceps in favor of hip abduction and repetition hamstring work, but that's all small fish in the big pond of training. Just take a look at the types of physiques that are winning your respective events to give you an idea as to where you want to be. By all means, do not attempt to crash diet to get down or stuff your face to gain, put yourself in a position to make a gradual shift to be where you want. A sumo wrestler doesn't just wake up tomorrow and says 'I'm going to do a triathalon' and expect to be good at it. Everything will fall into place after a gradual shift in your training methods. There is no magic plan to get to where you want to be and don't fall into any traps telling you otherwise.
Isolation, going against the grain, being different; these phrases all come to mind when you see yourself doing something different. How did we all begin? As cliché as it sounds, weren't we all just kids with a dream of being big and strong? You see magazines and sports stars in the spotlight and they are all massive and powerful. We all wanted that-the look, to be accepted and held as one of the 'bigger kids'. What sacrifices did you make along the way to get there and, most importantly, were they worth it? Now take a look at modern age athletes-a tremendous amount of pressure is on them to be the best type of role model, especially with social media and the Internet breathing down everybody's necks. The point is that you're going to be going against the norm when you branch out from the type of training you are usually involved in. You are going to be segregated from the rest of the guys in your gym or in your club and sometimes you may find yourself training alone. The great lengths you go to become successful must be worth it in the end and you need to try your hardest to make sure of it.
The human body is an amazing machine that can handle just about anything you throw at it. Look at professional bodybuilders drying themselves to chiseled stone for a show and the 120lb marathon runner that looses 10lbs of water during a race. Your body will bounce back, recover and come back stronger than ever during times of stress. As you figure out what direction your training is taking, remember to never say "I can't" because it is at that point that the battle is lost. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by author Robert Browning: "When the fight begins within himself, a man's worth something".
Put yourself around the right types of people, don't accept mediocrity and be your toughest critic. Find the fight in yourself and become something.
As a strength athlete sets his eyes on the prize, many things need to be taken into account. The athlete needs to make sure he has the tools to forge strength, the implements to train the events properly and the support staff to piece the puzzle together. Getting stronger really doesn't come in powdered form and needs to be attacked repeatedly from different angles over time. Anybody can get big in a hurry, but forging strength across the boards takes time and dedication.
The tools. The program. The gameplan. What is yours? Are you using a Westside Powerlifter's split in preparation for your strongman contest? Are you using the 5/3/1 to increase your tire flipping ability? Get the method of operation down for the task at hand. Train for what you will be tested with on the battlefield and nothing less. Time and again, lifters look for the one size fits all program; which isn't practical or realistic for any matter. Realize what you are training for and go from there. If you are an in-season football player, then why are you going to be doing speed bench with bands? Ask yourself what will be most beneficial for what I am trying to accomplish. Take your plan and write it down. If you have it laid out on paper with a calendar in front of you, it is much easier to see what angles you are missing. Don't be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone. You will make the most progress when you do things outside of the norm.
The implements, your iron training partners. Sourcing out what you will be using in your training can be a tedious and expensive task if you don't know where to look. Start with basic barbell equipment as you can use that to train for the 'gist' of every type of event. Every strongman contest consists of loading, squatting and pressing, so having the equipment for that would be a good start. You can't put a price on a good powercage with a chin-up rack and good bars; you will need this to perform basic movements to build yourself up. When you are getting started sourcing stuff out, get on the internet and be budget conscious. If you can wheel and deal, by all means do so. Strength sports are not beauty contests and a wire brush and spray paint can turn old rusty pieces into new usable equipment. Overhead pressing is an invaluable strength as well, so a thick bar is also a good investment. Kegs and tires can be sourced from liquor stores and mechanic shops, respectively. You don't need to spend a lot to get a lot, you just need to make sure to have a truck!
What do you train for? What do you strive for? What gets you out of bed in the morning and lights the fire under your ass when you train? Do you just go with the flow or do you have a true competitive spirit? Why did you get into the sport in the first place? Answer those questions, get the right tools and get to work.
If there's one thing I have learned thus far in my lifting career, it's that the biggest results come from tweaking the little things. Lifters, in general, are on the same lines of thinking in terms of lifestyle, goals and mindset, but not all of us have the right guidance steering us along the way.
In terms of training, we all know what we are doing, for the most part. What types of programs we use will vary, along with the duration and frequency. If you're a powerlifter or strength athlete, then it's obvious that you are not going to improve by doing pulley and machine exercises. Not to be any bit discouraging, but you need train specifically for what you are going to accomplish. Picking the right exercises to perform should be done with the guidance of off a program or from a mentor or coach. To haphazardly group exercises together when the goal is to deadlift 600lbs might have you spinning your wheels and wasting your time. Do not be the guy who goes to the gym with the goal of bench pressing more but does curls and rope pressdowns like the apocalypse is upon us and pays no attention to what he should really be doing to reach his goal. Now this isn't necessarily all the lifter's fault since popular culture and lifting magazines brainwash the masses into believing certain ideals. I would also strongly opt away from the advice given by divebomb squatters and thumbless grip benchers, even though some of the strongest lifters of all time have had less than ideal technique. Another obvious observation is that beating your joints into oblivion with poorly grouped or poorly executed exercises will do nothing but make you sore and disappointed with your progress. For heaven's sake, it won't kill you to take off the gymrat blinders and see what the truly successful people are doing; it's obviously something that works! For example, what makes Westside Barbell so successful as a team is that there is constant evolution and the junk is scrapped in favor of new methods. What works stays and what doesn't work goes by the wayside. Keep your eyes and ears open while you are training; and keep an open mind. There is a reason that guys who train at the 'Big 4' gyms, Rick Hussey's Big Iron, Orlando Barbell, Westside and Lexan Extreme, are predominantly in the running to place in the Top 5 at every major powerlifting meet. These teams are pushing the envelope, innovating new ways of stimulus and pushing the boundaries of the lifters. So what if you work out in your basement? Weekend warriors make up a vast majority of the sport at the amateur level and need to be commended for busting their hump 9-5 and then breaking PRs on the platform. If something consumes upwards of 15 hours a week of your precious time, be smart with how you lift.
Methods of recovery can be a huge tool; just as important as your training and diet. You need to put an emphasis on taking care of your body. Remember, you will need it for much longer than you are going to be involved in the Irongame. The biggest mistake people make is pushing through pain and finding ways to work around it. Stubbornness is a lifters biggest enemy and can cause damage that will further stunt your process. It seems like everyone nowadays is a resident MD: Oh I had that same injury, I did XYZ As great as it is to get some advice, be careful. Everyone's recovery process isn't a cookie cutter model. I made the same mistake with my shoulder injury. I was afraid to put it on medical record that I had a constant numb pain and clicking sound, and it ultimately cost me four good years of training with stagnant progress. I'd advance to a point then tumble down the mountain again. Put a definitive end to kicking around the pebble and get the problems you have assessed. If you are unhappy with what the doctor says, then get a second opinion or go see a physical therapist you are comfortable with. For all the money people spend on supplements, $4 lattes and fuzzy toy-dog beds, you can spend $15 co-pay on an hour session with a licensed physical therapist who may be able to actually correct your problems. Do not get in the habit of being complacent with your injuries. Many fall into the place of My back has hurt for years, I just deal with it. Just as important as the rehab of current injuries, the preventative methods of pre-habilitation will make a big difference. The time you spend getting in the gym and getting warmed up can be accompanied by basic movements to stretch, bring circulation to a certain area or build up your joints and ligaments. Adding an extra 10 minutes to your workout addressing these issues could add an extra 10 years to your career. How many times do you see people just get right into their workouts without paying the smallest bit of attention to warming up? Well in the modern age of training, a great workout starts with an equally as great warmup. Pay attention to trouble areas before they actually become trouble. Ice, heat, whirlpools and hydrotherapy methods need to be used daily to prevent being beat up. Let's face it, strength sports are a bit tougher than power walking and they do take their toll on the body. Play it smart; take care of what hurts and prevent future things from hurting and you will be on the path to a successful career.
The smallest changes in your diet can make the biggest difference in your performance, physique and well-being. Your energy demands as a strength athlete are tremendous, and an ultra-clean, low calorie diet will only leave your body in a depleted and deprived state. You need nutrient dense proteins in conjunction with fibrous green vegetables, healthy fats and whole grain carbohydrates. Of course, deviation from the plan is always welcome during times of heavy training and an influx of extra calories after a brutal deadlift session can do your body and mind a world of good. Now that was a fancy way of saying that if you eat like shit, you're going to perform and look like shit. It's that simple. Get on the health train. The 400lb mammoths of 1990's powerlifting are all dead and gone. Everyone is adopting healthier ways of eating and finding that, with lower body fat, you can perform just as strong as the big boys but have the added plus of low blood pressure, healthy cholesterol and no threat of diabetes. Am I asking you to give up the burgers and fries all together? Absolutely not. If you want to perform and look good, I always tell the people I help with their diets, If you can't pick it, hunt it or grow it then don't eat it! I get asked by co-workers, How do I eat right? Everyone at my job eats at a certain deli. So I suggest tweaking a meal like turkey and swiss with mayo on a roll with a side of chips and a soda to turkey and swiss with veggies, oil and vinegar on a wrap with a side of fruit and diet soda. It isn't a drastic change by any means, but can make a huge difference in a lifter's health and performance. Swapping out a fatty condiment or switching from white to whole grain might not seem like much of a change, but it will certainly add up over the weeks. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but also helps you get in fiber, clean calories and energy. Healthy, natural foods taste better, look better and make you feel better. So don't be lazy; get to the supermarket and get cooking!
With all the things I said here, most of all just be the guy who makes an attempt to educate yourself in the proper methods. Read. Use all the resources you have at your fingertips. Attend training seminars and accept constructive criticism from more experienced athletes. You are not in this game alone. My coach, Henri Skiba, always tells me about his college days in the 1970s, on the back roads of Kansas where he and his friends truly were the only powerlifters around. They didn't have any resources, making it truly trial and error. Fortunately for us, that is no longer the case; we have a wealth of knowledge only a click, phone call or short drive away. Find out what you need to change and tweak the small things to prevent the big problems.
Eating properly while training for competitive powerlifting is often looked at as a lost cause. Traditionally, strength athletes are viewed as monsters with no neck, little definition and horrible conditioning, only able to move massive amounts of weight. The stigma of the meathead is dwindling down by the day, however, and athletes are getting leaner and leaner. This is not happening out of thin air either though; Americans, in general, are on a health kick. There are many benefits to a smaller waist size and lower body fat both from a health and performance standpoint. The media, as well as popular culture, is on the fat attack and you should be too.
Athletes in the iron game got caught up in the bigger is better mentality the past 20 years and lost sight of what really happens the more mass you gain. The organs have to work harder to support basic life support, such as breathing and heart function, and your risk for all sorts of ailments increase. What is the benefit to carrying around all the excess body fat? I think everyone has been realizing that lean and mean is the way of the future. So how do we get the plan in motion? Where does a strength athlete go to start a lifestyle change? It starts with a goal.
Figuring out what is good and bad for your diet isn't rocket science. If you can't pick it, grow it or hunt it, then don't eat it. There is some leeway to this because there are a lot of healthy choices that aren't straight from the earth. Identifying the bad and removing it is step number one. Anything processed, white starches, refined sugars or oily hydrogenated foods loaded with trans fats, have got to go. Cutting out sweetened beverages, sodas and iced tea in favor for low calorie options, water, teas and coffee can make a big difference in and of itself. Once you make those few simple changes in your lifestyle, you should start to see a major improvement in your performance. No more constant bloating and abdominal cramps; regularity, as well the regaining of energy, are all results of a healthy and balanced diet.
Moving forward in your diet, you need to understand why you eat the foods you do and what they will do for your performance. You need fuel-clean energy and lots of it. Start with carbohydrates. Whole grains are always the best way to go: oatmeal to start the day and whole grain breads and grains, pastas and rice for lunch and dinner. Complex, dense carbohydrates fuel your workouts and can't be reduced unless you provide your body with an alternative fuel source, i.e. healthy fats. We all know the right materials to build the brick house, but eating them in proportion and at the four critical mealtimes, breakfast, preworkout, post workout and bedtime, always sets you on track for the best results.
Strength athletes have much more room for error due to the massive amount of calories that are burned during training. Nervous system fatigue is a completely different animal than muscular fatigue. Your body can only be replenished by calories and adequate rest. You don't have to be as strict with your meal choices simply because you have to re-feed yourself. There are damaging effects to your performance when you don't give your body enough of what it needs. Your protein sources need to be plentiful, but you are not limited to ultra lean choices. Steaks, pork, ground meats, dark meat chicken and omega-rich fish are all on the approved list.
The missing part of the puzzle I feel most athletes neglect is including nutrient dense fruits and vegetables in their meal plan. Fruits with high levels of antioxidants have a number of health benefits, aid in performance and taste fantastic. The super fruits I speak of include tart cherries, kiwi, mango, figs, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, pears and the almighty pomegranate. They will all be a welcomed addition to your diet and add a bit of variety to the mundane apples, bananas and oranges we have grown up on. Vegetables don't get the due credit they deserve. They are full of nutrients and add countless flavor and color to otherwise drab and boring food. Great leafy choices should always be a staple; spinach, kale and broccoli need to be incorporated daily. Colorful vegetables including peppers, carrots, beets, squash and pumpkin all have their own unique vitamin and mineral composition. Top performance can be achieved by keeping constant variety. When you get bored with something, switch it out for a food that will spark your taste buds.
I had previously mentioned fats that should be included in the diet-no other part of this plan is overlooked by athletes more. Fats are brain food. They stimulate testosterone and are a dense and caloric fuel source. Your diet should be rich in raw nuts, healthy oils, including extra virgin olive, and natural sources of fat, such as avocado and coconut. These fats are not trans fats and are rich in omega 3,6 and 9, boosting performance and keeping cholesterol at bay. Some types of healthy fat need to be incorporated at all whole food meals; use a little olive oil to make your eggs in the morning, have an avocado at lunch or use macadamia nut oil on your sweet potatoes at supper. It is a great way to pack in calories without making any life changing moves from your plan.
Putting the plan down on paper can have your head spinning at first. I used to be very much into macros and counted every last calorie, but nowadays, I don't have the time or the patience for that and eating by feel works the best. If you are hungry on a particular day, then you eat more; if you are run down by training, then you eat more; if you are bloated and not able to stomach any more food, then you eat less. It is a very basic approach to mass eating that will coincide directly with your training. If you train heavy, hard and often you're going to be hungry-that's a fact.
I'd cover the bases first: 3 to 5 solid food meals with 2 to 3 snacks or shakes. A 200lb lifter looking to move towards 220 can try a plan like this. You can plug in your pre/post workout shake program into the program.
Meal 1: 4 scrambled eggs, 1 cup of quinoa cooked in milk with 1 cup of blackberries
Meal 2: Weight gain shake; High protein/healthy fats
1/2 cup ground oats, 1oz almonds, 1 tblsp peanut butter, 40g protein powder
Meal 3: 1/2 chicken (light and dark meat) shredded into plain Greek yogurt mixed with sriracha hot sauce and shredded cold slaw over 1-2 cups of rice
Meal 4: 1 diced mango mixed with 1 cup cottage cheese
Meal 5: Pork chops with salt and pepper marinated in Worcester sauce topped with chopped stewed tart cherries with a large yam drizzled in extra virgin coconut oil melted into brown-Splenda served with asparagus
As you can see, each meal contains protein, carbs, healthy fats and some type of fruit or vegetable. It is virtually a plug and play plan with next to nothing being off limits. Getting your diet plan down on paper and laid out can be the difference between bombing and a PR day. Make it happen and eat to win.
Nothing is better than the feeling of winning. All the hard work you put in, painful hours in the gym, countless time prepping and eating your meals, all while shuffling around your life. Everything fades away when you are on the podium with a 1st place finish, when you hit that big lift, or when you reach your goals. Training and competing in strength sports is a never ending process. If one piece of the puzzle is out of place or lost, you are not going to be at your full potential.
Getting stronger depends on a number of factors. One large factor is what you use to fuel your body. Strength athletes differ from competitive bodybuilders in that a strength athlete wants to be as strong as possible whereas a bodybuilder wants to look razor sharp. Foods such as pizza, burgers, and dense pasta dishes are often scoffed at by bodybuilders but are embraced by powerlifters and have a place in a bulking/strength-building diet. These dirty foods have a place when used sparingly along with a solid building diet. More often than not, athletes think getting big and strong involves supersets and some special recipe of powders and pills with the occasional flank steak. This is a recipe for disaster. I am going to lay down a solid plan for mass and strength that anybody can follow, even those on a budget.
Complex carbohydrates are the fuel for the fire, the lifeblood, what gives you energy for the big lifts. They should be included in every meal of the day. The easiest choices include brown rice, raw oats, whole grain natural breads, and the always reliable sweet potato. Now, when you think of texture and taste issues, you have to be creative. There are tons of recipes out there to make your food taste good. Some tips I can suggest are to use low sodium chicken/beef broth to cook your rice, make your oatmeal with milk instead of water, and make mashed baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon and low calorie sweetener. These are all great ways to get all the nutrients you need while eating food that tastes good.
You can't just eat all these starches without embracing a bit of Mother Earth. Feed the machine with a serving of greens. Fibrous vegetables such as peppers, asparagus, green beans, as well as green leafy vegetables are all sensible choices. You don't need to eat vegetables all day long, but make sure to get a few daily servings to keep everything on track.
Protein-the building blocks of muscle. Let's face it, you need to take in adequate protein or your training will be worthless. Strength athletes need to eat protein to get strong; it's a no-brainer. You need to remember that every body is different. The 165 lb lifter will not be able to process the same amount of protein per sitting as a 275 lb monster defensive end. More is not always best. A good rule of thumb is around 35 grams of protein per meal, per 200 lb of bodyweight. So the 220 lb athlete could get away with a 6 oz serving yielding 40 grams and the 330 lb guy can handle 10 oz. Ground beef is a cheap staple for any diet. It is an old school proven strength food. Leaner cuts of meat can wait until cutting time, so you should embrace cuts of beef, pork, and dark meat chicken. You can also have salmon and catfish. Dairy has a place in your protein demands as well. Milk is 80% casein and 20% whey, which makes it an ideal choice for slow, sustained nutrient delivery without breaking the bank. Eggs are also an excellent source of protein, and can be made palatable at any time of the day.
Fats-just the sound of the word brings some lifters to tears. Fats keep your heart and vascular system healthy and play an important role in your body's energy system. I'm not talking about processed foods and fried junk. I mean nut butters, olive and macadamia nut oil, as well as avocados and omega rich cuts of fish.
Everything I've mentioned so far is nothing new to the seasoned iron athlete. You know what to do but sometimes get sidetracked on exactly how to get it all in place. There are many avenues to getting big and strong, all of which have pros and cons. I was my strongest while eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted But I felt like hell with blood pressure and cholesterol levels that were through the roof. Through trial and error, I've figured out the diet that best suits my needs to gain strength and lean mass while keeping body fat at bay. Lend me an ear, fellas.
First off, let's figure out your individual needs for gaining. Multiply the bodyweight you'd like to weigh by 20. I'm using 220 lb as an example for the diet. 220 x 20= 4400. That's how many total calories you should be consuming.
For strength and mass gains, I believe in a 1/3 protein, 1/3 carb, and 1/3 healthy fat diet. I am a mesomorph, so this diet has faired me well during growth phases.
Next, calculate your protein, carb and fat requirements.
Divide 4400 by 1/3, which leaves us with 1466. We can round up to 1500 calories.
Carbs = 4 calories per 1g
1500 divided by 4 = 375g carbs per day
Protein = 4 calories per 1g
1500 divided by 4 = 375g protein per day
Fat = 9 calories per 1g
1500 divided by 9 = 166g fats per day
I know all this math has your head spinning by now, but there is a method to the madness. You don't want to blow up like a marshmallow and eating like this in proportion will keep your muscle gains strong and steady while providing you with the energy and fuel to train hard.
This is a sample gaining diet with 5 whole food meals, not including a pre- and post-workout shakes.
6 whole eggs, pan fried
1 cup of oatmeal made with 1 cup of 1% milk (add cinnamon and calorie-free sweetener)
1 banana chopped up in the oatmeal
7oz ground beef (spiced any way you like it)
2 slices of sprouted wheat bread
Small green salad with olive oil and vinegar or chopped avocado
1 cup of 1% milk
Same as meal 2, but change your carbs. I like mashed sweet potatoes, whole grain pitas, and brown rice cooked in chicken broth with mixed veggies.
8oz salmon/catfish steak broiled with lemon pepper
1 cup brown rice mixture with chopped peppers and onions
1 cup of 1% milk
2 slices of sprouted wheat bread with 3 tablespoons nut butter and a chopped banana
2-3 cups of 1% milk
1 cup of fat free frozen yogurt
Total Calories: 4357
Total Fat: 156.7g
Total Carbs: 409g
Total Protein 323g
Now like all plans, this is very flexible. You can substitute ground beef for ground turkey or, if you can afford it, you can use cuts of steak. You can make mashed sweet potatoes with broccoli or green beans instead of brown rice. The possibilities are endless. You need to get creative and make sure that you are eating a complex carbohydrate paired with a fibrous vegetable.
Whatever type of seasonings, diet soft drinks, and coffee and teas you want are also allowed in this plan, not to mention the addition of protein supplements which are useful for those of you can't handle the lactose from the milk. Now I know milk gets a bad rap from a part of the bodybuilding community for all of the sugars, but I urge you to zone out the haters and give milk a chance. The biggest and strongest athletes in the world swear by milk. Getting down solid calories is money in the bank for gaining, so keep your lifting heavy and your stomach full. If you want to cheat on this plan, feel free. Skip out one of the meals for a night out at a restaurant, a few slices of pizza, or even a burger or two. Just don't make it a daily habit. Taking down a large pizza-been there. Pounding 10 fast food hamburgers-done that. You need to feed the machine during a growth phase. The massive influx of calories will have your muscles primed and ready to grow. Just be sensible while eating. If you are in the drive thru every night then you need to reassess and regroup.
Cutting down is as equally important a process as is mass building. Once you reach your goal weight, you want to hone your physique while maintaining strength and dropping excess body fat. One of the biggest mistakes strength athletes make when cutting down is limiting the frequency of meals during the day. This is probably the worst thing you can do because you are switching your body's metabolism from food, food, food to starve, starve, starve. The human body is an amazing creature and it will react to its surroundings. If you give it food, it will grow. If you take food away, it will work to the best of its ability to preserve what it has by burning down hard earned muscle for fuel. You need to make a gradual switch with your caloric intake. If you decide tomorrow that you want to go on a diet and all of a sudden start eating only 1,000 calories a day strictly from protein, you are on the express train to failure. I have had success during a fat loss phase by keeping the same nutrient profile, but consuming less overall calories, all while increasing the work load on the body by means of cardio.
I like carb rotation diets because they work. However, I just don't find them particularly useful for a strength athlete who relies on glycogen stores for constant energy. If you are competing in Strongman and are expected to perform a 2-minute medley with a tire flip, truck pull, and farmers walk, you won't be able to operate with minimal carbs. On the same train of thought, you can't possibly recover without carbs either. Keep the carbs in the plan in order to maintain your strength and energy levels; just lower your intake.
Some lifters like to use the dehydrating method while going into powerlifting contests. This involves water loading followed by a dehydration period until weigh-ins. I haven't done well using this method and I'm not qualified to tell you how to do it properly. Not trying to discourage you against it; you need to know your body and where you are at.
I like to keep things simple because I do shift work and prep most of my meals the morning of or the night before work. To make it easy, you can use the same formula as the gaining plan for cutting plan. Multiply your bodyweight by 12-14 to get your caloric needs, and plan your intake accordingly. Adjust your calories if you feel like you aren't eating enough and are too weak in your training. Just because you are cutting doesn't mean you will loose all of your strength. A reduction in calories is going to hurt a bit, but if you keep your training smart and your fork in your hand, you will be successful.
Here's a sample cutting plan I used while preparing for a powerlifting competition. I was cutting from 235lb to 220.5lb in about 6 weeks.
2 cups egg whites (cooked or drank straight from the carton)
2 slices sprouted wheat bread
2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons low sugar jelly
Meal 2, 3, 5
6oz grilled chicken breast
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
10 spears of steamed asparagus
1 serving of fruit
1 cup of whole wheat pasta with pesto sauce (chopped garlic and olive oil)
Total Calories: 3000
You can implement variety in this plan as well. Just keep your proteins lean, your carbs low glycemic, and make sure you take in adequate fruits and vegetables. I keep most meal plans the same for a day then switch. So, I'll eat chicken today, tuna tomorrow, pork the next and so on. I have a 45-minute commute to and from work, so sometimes it just works out this way when I can't get to the grocery store. Ideally you'd like to consume at least two different sources of animal protein a day for a more complete amino profile.
The overall idea is a calorie reduction plan to keep your energy levels intact, but force your body to burn excess fat into energy by increasing the work load. This type of eating will allow for heavy training since nutrients will still be readily available, while also allowing fat loss.
As far as cheating on this plan, you need to realize your goal and see where you are in your progress. If you are 2 weeks out from a powerlifting contest and 10lb over and have 12% body fat to begin with, then it is probably not a good idea to have that fast food. You should stick with the egg whites instead. If you hit your goal with 2 weeks to go, then it can't hurt to grab a couple slices of pizza. Again, I don't like to add in supplements to my meal plans because they are exactly what they claim-supplements to a complete and solid diet. Fundamentals like Multi-V and Joint-V should be mainstays, especially when putting your body under the stress of heavy training. Also, you should complete your workouts by priming your muscles with aminos, creatine and glutamine.
Look at yourself in the mirror. Where do you want to be? I want an elite total. I want to squat a grand. I want to be a champion. Set goals, set deadlines, stay around motivated people, and block out the negativity. Eating is an everyday aspect of your life; get yours in check and embrace the madness.
I don't make it to the gym during normal hours anymore because of my schedule, but, when I do show up, I always see a new face. It's some new guy who comes in to train with us and wants to get into the Irongame, somebody home from school who wants to bulk up for next year's football season, or somebody that drove by and saw a bunch of guys pushing a metal sled down the street and came in out of curiosity. The new guys always want to know one thing-when do I get to bench press? Now call me bitter, but when I hear this I get all fired up. Nobody ever comes in and says When is squat day? or When do you guys deadlift? In powerlifting, you have the most might with the muscles that you seldom look at, mainly your posterior chain. The posterior chain includes the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.
Every time you attempt to embark on something athletic (i.e. putting yourself in a power position), you are using your posterior chain. When you are gripping the bar getting ready to pull a deadlift, are you using your triceps? No. When you are in a three-point-stance getting ready to lay a block, are you using your pecs? No. When you are bending over into the freezer at the supermarket to buy the 10lb value-sized ground beef, are you using your pecs? No. So why all the fuss about lying on the bench and pushing the weight? Well, it's mostly the stigma that revolves around American strength training-the man is only as mighty as his bench press. I'm here to put that idea to rest and explain to you how to beef up the muscles that will make a difference in your training.
Powerlifters, bodybuilders, and strongman can all agree that the squat is the most influential exercise in lower body development. Foot positioning and squat variation play a major role in the muscles that are worked while squatting. Today we are going to talk about a wider stance (toes pointed outward) that will put more of a stress on the glutes and hamstrings rather than the quads. Contrary to popular belief, your hamstring is not one solid piece of muscle. It is divided into four smaller muscles-semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris (long head and short head). Not to get too technical, but it must be known that this muscle simply cannot be worked from one angle and expected to grow and develop like other muscles. Simply put, you need to include both medial and lateral movements to strengthen this region. I'm talking about different variations of lunges, step-ups, glute ham raises, and stiff leg deadlifts to involve the different angles of the hamstring. If all you do is squat, or leg press for that matter, you are going to develop your muscles into a plane that will only be able to produce force in one direction. For strongmen especially, this can be dangerous when doing events that require odd loading and twisting while under great stress. This can also be dangerous in powerlifting because the one time you rotate when coming up with your deadlift or pitch forward with your squat, you can easily tear a muscle.
The muscles of the lower back are biomechanically the weakest link in the human body. The human frame is not designed to hold a great deal of muscle mass there. Even though there are 11 different muscles tied into your lower back, stretched across your thoracic cavity, none of them will develop in the same way your pectorals or quads will. You need to strengthen these muscle fibers by using good sound technique and avoiding overtraining. The biggest mistake trainees make when they are first starting out is jumping on the hyperextension with a 45lb plate and doing back raises. This couldn't get any worse in terms of muscular development. Recruiting the most muscle fibers available will produce the largest strength increase in this region. In laymen's terms, get your rep work in with your lower back if you are a beginner.
The calves are some of the most stubborn muscles on the body to develop. I am in no way qualified to discuss how to make your calves grow, but I will explain how to make them stronger. Not every gym has a glute ham raise, but this is the ultimate in calf strength development. Stress through the entire range of motion repeated over a time of 30-60 seconds under tension will be sure to increase usable strength in this region. Now remember that we use our calves every day, every time we walk, so in order to strengthen them we need to put ourselves in positions that we don't normally encounter. While squatting and deadlifting will produce strength gains in the calves, direct stimulation is required to reach maximal strength development.
I'm going to lay down a solid template for the lower body that will produce strength gains in the muscles that you have been neglecting all of these years. Use this in conjunction with your current upper body training. Put these two workouts into your weekly program, 96 hours apart from each other. If it turns out to be too much work, then do one workout a week and alternate. I have used this template with Day 1 on Monday and Day 2 on Friday.
The Posterior Strength Template:
Day 1 Squats (whatever set, rep scheme/variation is in your program or you can work up to 5/3/1 rep max)
Glute Ham Raise/Poor Man's GHR for 4 sets of 3-20 reps (depending on your current conditioning)
Lateral/Reverse Barbell Lunges for 3 sets of 6-12 reps (alternate weekly)
Superman Back Extensions lying on the ground for 3 sets of 15-20 reps
Seated Calf Raises done with a barbell with your knees and toes on plates or plywood for 3 sets of 20
Suspended Abs Training (hanging raises, roman chair) for a total of 100 reps
Day 2 Deadlift (alternate between full range, rack pulls, speed pulls, and deloading)
Barbell Good Morning (arched back) work up to a heavy set of 3-6 depending on how you are feeling
Reverse Hyperextension for 5 sets of 12 (any spinal decompression type of exercise would substitute)
Weighted abs training for a total of 100 reps
Day 1 is more focused on hamstrings and glutes while Day 2 focuses on the lower back. If you have access to a glute ham raise/reverse hyper/back attack you can reap the full benefits of a routine like this. If you train at a McGym, you need to be creative. The Poor Man's GHR is done by anchoring your ankles to the ground by means of a barbell or dumbbells. Once you are planted put your knees on some type of pad then fall forward and pull yourself up with your hamstrings to mimic the glute ham raise. You can load this exercise by changing your hand positioning to either folded vampire style or behind your head.
Squatting technique is something to be learned with time and with the development of the muscles in the lower body. Deep squatting has been proven to help the body produce testosterone, in turn building muscle and strength. Don't be the guy in your gym that says he squats 6 plates, but he doesn't sink down to parallel. The only one you're your cheating is yourself. Another issue that needs to be addressed is that people think that smith machine squats are an appropriate substitute for free squats. That statement couldn't be further from the truth.
Again, returning to what I was saying before about the planes of motion, you have to teach your body to push from different angles under different types of stress to develop true strength. This is just a basic premise that strength athletes need to follow in order to become successful. The strongest men and women in the world didn't just squat to get there. A full circle approach to strength is necessary to reach ones potential.
The biggest problem people make for themselves is looking in the mirror and trying to judge strength. Pay more attention to what you can't see and I promise I will make a believer in posterior chain strength out of you.
Do I go for a seven mile run? Should I try CrossFit? Maybe I will take a cardio bodywork class? Wrong, wrong, and wrong. Why? Some people forget that, unless you are dieting yourself down for a bodybuilding show, not all forms of cardio are created equal. We get sucked into trends that end up being more harmful than beneficial to our training. Too often I'll hear a guy say, I'm 12 lb over my weight class so I'm doing cardio six days a week until my contest, and then find out he bombed out of his powerlifting meet. Remember, the whole idea of increasing your General Physical Preparedness (GPP) is to attain a greater fitness level by building up your work capacity. You need to train for the task at hand. Running distance will help distance runners, CrossFit will help wrestlers and MMA fighters, and cardio classes are fine for your Aunt Sally, but not for you and the quest for your elite total.
When talking about cardio and the ideas of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, people always think they know their stuff. I often hear, Oh, aerobic energy is when your body isn't working hard and anaerobic energy is used when you are busting your ass. Well, yes and no. Your body never actually changes over completely from an aerobic to a total anaerobic state. The harder you work, the more the body requires anaerobic power, so you should really view this as an evolution in metabolism meeting the body's circumstantial needs.
When you train, your body begins to make the switch from aerobic to anaerobic as your fuel consumption needs change. You need different types of energy as you change from doing military presses to flipping a tire or sprinting up a steep hill. The main reason people begin to feel fatigued so quickly is that they change processes too quickly. In simple terms, you run out of gas. The fuel we're talking about in this case is oxygen.
VO2 max is the idea used to describe the point when your body's oxygen consumption rate is no longer efficient at converting oxygen to fuel your muscles. VO2 max is reached when oxygen consumption remains at steady state despite an increase in workload. Do you find yourself fatigued after jogging or after doing a high rep set of kettle bell swings? How about after chasing your dog around the yard? Sounds like you need to up your GPP and increase your body's VO2 max.
So what can you do to increase your ability to handle more oxygen?
High intensity interval training (HIIT), which is proven to raise your metabolism rate for up to 24 hours after training, seems to be one of the most widely used methods of increasing VO2 max in the strength training community. Short bursts of activity at an all out effort for 5-30 seconds followed by short resting breaks repeated at a 2:1 work to rest ratio is the most popular way to get in shape for the seasoned strength athlete. After all, nobody wants to spend the summer on the treadmill gawking at girls reading magazines; they want to be out in the mix getting dirty! This type of conditioning can be done in many ways. For example, pushing/dragging a sled, bodyweight exercise, sprinting on a treadmill or up a hill, circuit training, carrying objects, strongman yoke/farmers walk or walking with a wheel barrow.
Here is a quick training note-the work load should start low and pyramid up, followed by a deloading period. So a beginner would do 5 reps in week 1, 6 reps in week 2, and so on. Eventually, this would be followed by a break in training by progressing back down or changing conditioning methods.
Another popular type of conditioning is steady rate cardio. This method makes it easier for people to maintain a steady caloric burning state, especially if you are overweight and have trouble getting motivated. A good rule of thumb would be to maintain 65-85% of your body's max heart rate. Do this 3-5 times a week for 20-40 minutes. This is similar to what a bodybuilder does to maintain a steady rate to burn fat. It sounds like a lot of numbers to crunch, but to put it simply, try the 4x4x40 regiment. On a treadmill, set the incline at 4 degrees and walk 4 MPH for 40 minutes. Do this 4 times a week and you will set your body's fat burning mechanism in high gear, as well as increase your work capacity.
Another type of GPP that should be included in every strength athlete's repertoire is a specialized form of cardio referred to as lactic acid training. Sometimes called time under tension, a trainee uses a low weight and performs a high repetition set (50-250 reps) or a set for a given amount of time (3-10 minutes). This encourages blood flow in a lagging or sore muscle group. This method should be used rest-pause style because you're not going to be able to bang out 200 reps of triceps press downs without slowing the pace. The volume of this type of training will greatly increase your workload. This type of GPP is what is prescribed in the Westside method as a mini workout or recovery workout. One should stay away from super complex movements such as power cleans or squats because you are doing 100-200 reps, which can become a max effort movement in itself if you don't keep the weight low.
This type of lactic acid training could include hamstring curls with 5 lb ankle, high rep mini-band triceps press downs, or high rep dumbbell benches for 3-5 minutes. The possibilities are pretty much endless.
Now that you know how to get in shape, here are a few tips as to how to schedule it in with your training:
Schedule your conditioning around your main workouts. For example, don't push the prowler for 45 minutes the day before you will be deadlifting.
Do high rep recovery work the day after you perform max effort work. For example, do a high rep dumbbell bench GPP workout the day after you perform a max effort bench workout. This encourages blood flow and recovery in that muscle group.
Prioritize the main workouts first. Remember, conditioning is the extra padding in the program that will help you excel. It's better to get in your main work than to skip the main work in favor of an easier cardio session.
As you are drawing closer to contest time, reduce the amount of GPP you are doing in your program. Two weeks out from the contest, stop doing GPP all together. Your body will need time to properly recovery to perform at top levels.
Now that you know how to put it all together, get out there and get in the fight! The benefits of doing GPP work far outweigh the disadvantages; lean, muscular athletes are setting the pace for the next generation. And I expect to receive phone calls from angry landlords and public works managers about how someone is ripping up the concrete in the parking lot with a metal sled loaded with weight!
Training for a running event requires a very different angle of attack than the traditional methods used in preparing for a lifting contest. However, on many levels, the events are similar. For instance, it is you and only you that will be doing the competing. You aren't relying on a team; there isn't anybody to step into your place if you fail to succeed. Also, the two mirror each other in terms of the hours of preparation required, and the lone wolf aspect of both sports. I can't offer any magic formula for success in the sport of running. However, I can provide a guide for areas that need to be addressed and attacked during preparations.
Figuring out what type of event you'd like to compete in is the main concern. Are you going to be doing a distance run like a half or full marathon, or will you be doing a speed event like a 5k or 10k? The difference between these two types of events is much greater than you would imagine. People looking from the outside in always seem to wonder how far the jogger on the side of the road plans to run. Pop culture glorifies team athletics and really gives great athletes, such as Jamaica's Usain Bolt, just due. This feeds into the fact that people nowadays have very short attention spans. Many runners need to use MP3 players to have a steady stream of music pumping into their ears to focus on the task at hand. I really think that you need to have it in you to be a runner. I personally don't think I can stay focused to run 3+ hours in a 26.2 mile marathon without somebody keeping the flame lit underneath me. You need to find it in you to be a runner; once you find that energy and enthusiasm, it is time to get focused.
I chose to train for a 5k so that I could still maintain my lifting, career, and family and relationship obligations without completely isolating myself from the world. The biggest mistake people make is thinking that their bodies can cross-train for a 600lb deadlift and a 3.5 hour marathon. Although that is a good goal to strive for, it is unrealistic and will leave you burnt to the ground. You need to first figure out how much time you are going to have to dedicate to training. If you have the time to put in 20+ hours a week for training then who is better than you? But realistically, with the demands of life we are lucky to get 8 hours a week to completely put towards training. I chose to crosstrain both my running and an abbreviated basic power program so that running wouldn't sap away hard earned muscle. The best advice I can give is to check your ego; when lifting you either move it or you don't and while running you either put the work in or you don't.
I'm going to lay out some basic ideas that can be pieced together for a program. The first point that needs to be attacked is the endurance aspect of the sport. You need to train yourself to push constantly for either 18 minutes in a 5k or for 3+ hours in a marathon. You accomplish this by building up your body's work capacity. You can do a slow run once or twice a week or use other conditioning methods such as hiking, biking, cross country skiing, or any other low impact endurance exercise. Keep in mind you aren't going to get better at running by biking 3 times a week, so after the body's VO2 max is built up you need to direct the attention to running. Speed training will include quick bursts up to 1 minute long for a number of repetitions, multiple times during the weekly training program. Interval running includes high and low intensity training, running for time and distance, and then changing the speed. Any successful running program will include specific strengthening exercises for the core and posterior chain especially. If you choose to dedicate yourself to running and put the lifting on the back burner, you will have to deal with the loss of muscle mass across the board. You will build your frame into a more athletic, versatile figure as opposed to the blocky look most bodybuilders and strength athletes form.
So you're all saying, Okay, now I see the pieces of the puzzle. How do I put it together the right way? Again, I'm going to repeat that there is no magic program that will provide you with success and you need to find what works best for you. Here's a weekly program that can be progressively built upon as the race approaches. This is an example of a program I used:
Sunday: Catch-up run or light jog (if run was missed during the week), plus 30 minutes abs/core training/stretching and foam rolling. Monday: Interval training: 200 meter run, 200 meter walk for 40 minutes Tuesday: Speed work. 10, 400 meter sprints Wednesday: No running/cross training (weights) Thursday: 3.1 mile run (5k), hard pace Friday: Speed work. 10, 100 meter sprints/cross training (optional) (weights) Saturday: Distance run: 6-12 miles, slow pace.
This is of course only a rough outline of what you can include in a program, but of course the intensity can be ramped up. For the beginning runner the intensity of the speed and interval training can be knocked down a bit, but as always you need to have set goals.
Putting together your program for success will always be an issue of trial and error. You need to put your feet to the pavement and get out there and run. If you are coming back to running after a long layoff then start slow with a few weekly jogs and gradually ramp yourself into training. Just like lifting, if you are running without any direction it is irrational to believe you can make any monumental strides. Get out there and hit the road!
Ive been kicking my training into high gear the past year and Im starting to develop a certain momentum that only comes with progress. You know the feeling, things just are falling into place and youre doing work! One of the major issues Ive had when I wasnt making any progress was stagnation. I had fallen victim to the old, Im doing this because thats what I always did mentality. After overcoming a shoulder injury and spending the past few months rehabbing, reality smacked me right in the face. People are creatures of habit. I like doing the same stuff day in and day out but with work, the family routine and lifting, all heading in the same direction, I needed to change course. Since Ive taken this step back as Id like to call it, Ive progressed the most in my training and the rest of life just seems to now fall into place. This is the leanest Ive ever been in the strength-athletics game, Im getting more sleep than ever before and Im learning to better channel the different types of stresses that I encounter in my life. Heres the course Ive been charting
Dieting will forever play the largest and most overlooked role for the athlete. What you feed your body will provide you the fuel and the energy to get the job done. If you eat like shit, you look and feel like shit. When you take the time to get your meals together, design and stick to the plan, youre going to perform better than the guy that spends his time in the fast food lane. Its really simple. Ive been following a carbohydrate back-loading diet that really helps cater to my lifestyle and work schedule. I found my magic bullet via good old trial, error and research. If everyone did the same thing, had the same supplement program and same body type, there would be no need for any of this. Sure there are guidelines to follow, but all the fine tuning and trial and error is completely on you. Dont get caught up in the whole well this guy does it this way and is strong and ripped, so thats the only right way. Dont be the guy that falls victim to trends and hype. For example, I can eat a diet heavy in healthy fats and maintain my weight and strength, but I have trained with people where this is not the case. You just need to find what works for YOU! There are many roads to your final destination, just need to put it in gear to get there.
The commute, your 9-5, family commitments, relationships, at the end of the day what do you have? Letting things eat you apart in life will always spill over into your training life. Be it a deadline, a long day followed by a night of nagging, people you care about not being there for you, its going to all hit you at once. Ive learned how to filter out negativity by distancing myself from those who bring me down. If you have the type of job where you are taking it home and lying in bed thinking about it at night, you have to learn how to channel your emotions. Venting to someone or getting in that extra cardio session when are pissed off can really help bring you back down to earth. Trust me, stress can really beat you up and when you add in heavy training you are on a crash course to burning out. Putting yourself around positive people helps a lot. If you have negativity constantly whispering in your ear, its almost always going to bring you down. Remember that misery loves company.
Living your life Your training life is exactly what it isyour training life. Unless you are the Jay Cutlers or Chuck Vogelpohls of the world, you are going to have to live a normal life. Lets face it; there will always be someone bigger, stronger, and better than you. Does that mean that you shouldnt give it your all and make sacrifices to be the best you can possibly be in your respective sport? Absolutely not. But does it mean that on holidays you cant sit down and have a piece of birthday cake with Uncle Joe or have a glass of wine at Sunday supper? Just remember in the grand scheme of things you have to look at the big picture and not let life pass you by. I was finding I was missing out on big parts of my life by isolating myself with my gym life. Sure you are going to be different than your other friends, not drinking at the bar and staying out until 4am, keeping a shaker cup in your trunk, popping supplements and pills at all times of day and the night, but for goodness sake, dont let life pass you by.
Not to say that I wasnt enjoying myself, but I was stressing too much about the little things in life. Many people take for granted that you only get one go at this and spend their time destroying their bodies in bars or at buffets or just isolating themselves from the world. This however is a double edged sword because I also think the biggest shame in life is wasted talent. Find that common ground, that median, the fine balance in your life that allows you to become successful in multiple endeavors. Chart your own new course, one that allows you to achieve the goals you set for yourself in training and life. You only get one chance at this, better make it big!
Flashy products come and go as often as the seasons change. Out of nowhere comes a product that promises the gains that you could only dream of in the past. By the time the sun sets, that product is farther out of sight than the sun itself. For years companies have been putting out miracle products that only lead to disappointment, with both your physique and your bank statement. SportPharma goes about its business in a different way. Nothing fancy, no high-promised pipe dreams. No false promises. SportPharma brings results in an affordable fashion.
With all the crazy concoctions and mixtures currently out there, it's very tough to select an effective product. The basics have always gone a long way; they've stood the test of time among all the other flashy products. Creatine, protein, and multivitamins, just to name a few, have stood proudly in the midst of all the high-priced, flash in the pan gimmicks, and for good reason-they work. Now let's add another proven staple into your arsenal. Enter SportPharma ELECTRO Max.
ELECTRO Max is a high quality electrolyte complex. We've all chugged a sports drink or two in the past. The reason why people often choose a sports drink over water is the electrolyte content. Sometimes water just isn't enough. Electrolytes often help ensure proper rehydration during bouts of high intensity exercise. For those looking for a calorie- and sugar-free alternative, throw a bottle of ELECTRO Max into your gym bag. You can quickly and conveniently pop a capsule or two of ELECTRO Max during your intense training sessions. By doing so, you'll be able to perform optimally for an extended period of time while reducing the chance of cramping due to lack of nutrients. ELECTRO Max is also infused with vitamin B6 and glutamine to help maximize absorption and overall exercise output. We all want to train hard without burning out in the end. Those extra sets and reps separate us from the competition. It could be the difference between first place and second place, the difference between winner and loser. If you want to raise your hand in victory, grab a hold of ELECTRO Max and get back to work.
The sun now sets earlier in the night. The temperature is slowly dropping. The beaches have become deserted. Boardwalks have closed up shop. The summer is officially over. If you've taken the advice from previous articles, you should still have a well sculpted physique that is worthy of the beach and pool. If not, then click back a few articles and start there. It'll be worth it.
So now what do we do? The majority of the gym goers would scream that its time to bulk up and get huge. Start throwing in the GAIN Max and add another 1,000 calories to the diet. Start eating more cheat meals. Down the cheeseburgers and ice cream. WRONG. Do this and you'll be very disappointed with how you look in a few weeks. Just as you eased into dieting, you need to ease into a bulking. At this point, your body is craving nutrients. Start off by increasing your protein intake a bit. Instead of jumping the gun and hitting the GAIN Max, pick up a tub of SPECIALIZED Protein for Lean Mass when your current tub runs dry. You no longer need the thermogenic effects of the SPECIALIZED Protein for Dieters. Swap those two and you'll be in the clear. Make some minute changes to the diet and let time run its course. Throw in a glass of OJ with breakfast. A baked potato can be subbed in for a sweet potato. Brown rice or white rice? Whatever you feel like cooking. You have a lot more leniency now, but you still want to keep it clean. Otherwise you run the risk of spilling over and adding too much fat. Your body is like a sponge right now, soaking up every nutrient. Let's take advantage of this.
Cardio can now take a back seat. The days of waking up in the dark for fasted cardio are over. However, you should still implement cardio on a weekly basis. Hit the treadmill twice a week for 20 minutes after a workout. Off-season cardio has numerous benefits. It helps stimulate metabolism, keeps your heart healthy, and helps you add quality lean mass. No need to slap on 30lb overnight and have a hard time breathing as you walk up a flight of stairs. Let's do it the right way this time around.
Now that the basics are covered, let's dive into other areas. Now is the time you can experiment with different aspects of training and dieting. If you've seen a different diet that you want to try, give it a whirl. If you've found a new workout program that shows positive results, jump on it. Experiment in life. We're all made differently. One person may respond great to a low carb/high protein/high fat diet while another may feel sick and respond terribly. Same goes for training. High volume works great for some, while others may see great progress with low volume and high intensity training. Find what works for you and give yourself time to see results. Diets and training programs don't produce results overnight. They require dedication. Throw the excuses out the window and get down to it. Just because it's the off-season, it doesn't mean you're allowed to slack off a bit. Now is the time to produce some lean mass and keep fat gain to a minimum. Let's make some progress this off-season. Forget getting bloated, pulling out the bigger sized jeans and larger shirts. Let's fill out the current ones a bit better while keeping the waist slim. If you do it right, dieting down next time will be even easier.
The winter months are long gone. It's time to shelf the Gain Max and CARB Max and let them collect some dust for a while. Now it's time to get lean. It's the middle of the summer and the sun is sizzling. Everyone is slimming down to look good on the beach. Now is the time to cut back on the calories, clean up the diet, and start hitting that unforgiving treadmill. There are not too many positives associated with walking around thick, bloated, and heavy during the hot, humid months of summer.
While everyone has a diet to follow, many often lack the knowledge to diet down successfully. Unfortunately, many end up shedding muscle along with the body fat. Proper nutrition and supplementation are thrown out the window in place of very little eating and countless hours on the treadmill. What's the point of shedding body fat if you're melting away muscle as well? What do you plan on showcasing? It's a vicious cycle. In the end, people end up weighing the same year-in and year-out. They build up what they lost last summer, just to lose it all over again this year. Fortunately for you, I'm here to help shed some light on how to keep all that hard-earned muscle. By the time you finish your cut this season, you should notice an extra helping of lean beef hanging on those limbs.
Diet and Cardio Diet is the number one contributing factor for keeping all your hard-earned muscle. Just because you're dieting doesn't mean you shouldn't still be eating a lot of food. Start out with your normal bulking diet, minus the cookies, sweets, cheat meals, and weight gainers. Run your bulk diet for two weeks without ANY cheats. If you're eating a clean bulk diet, you'll notice you've already dropped a good amount of excess water weight. The process has begun. From here, you want to slowly drop your carbs over a period of time. Keep the protein clean and add in some green veggies in place of the other carbs. You can't just go from 300g of carbs a day to 50g and expect to keep your muscle. Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint. You should be dropping around 1lb per week.
Cardio is the same as diet-slow and steady. Don't jump on the stepmill and hammer away 60 brutal minutes, seven days per week right off the bat. Here again, you'll sacrifice way too much muscle. Start off slowly. Hit the cardio three days a week for 30-minute sessions. On the second week, make it four days per week. Then, increase your four sessions to 45 minutes. Eventually, based on your goals and how you look, you can work up to six sessions per week at 60 minutes each. Use the mirror as your guide, not necessarily the scale. The scale is great at showing progress in numbers, but it's not always 100% accurate. If the waist on your pants is loose and you start to get more shape in your muscles, then you're on your way.
Here's the fun part; the part you've been waiting for. Of course I'll suggest Thermodrene as a mainstay in your cutting program. You can't beat its formula. It'll get your system primed to be in fat burning mode and your metabolism will be increased, allowing your body to burn fat more efficiently throughout the day. However, there are several other key players that I'm going to mention that you may not have thought about when it comes to dieting down. These players will be the products that help you keep all that muscle, bringing about a new and improved physique, whether you're stepping on stage or stepping on the sand.
Beta Alanine - I bet many of you haven't even heard of this product. It's often found in many pre-workout drinks, buts it's most effective by its lonesome. When working out, your muscles fill up with lactic acid while they use up stored ATP. Once this happens, your PH levels drop, thus allowing more acid buildup. Once the PH drops, your ability to keep pumping out reps will halt. Take three caps twice per day, one pre-workout and the other 3-4 hours later. Keep your PH levels up and keep repping out those weights. The extra sets/reps will force your muscles to stay hard and full while shedding body fat. This is one of the most overlooked supplements on the market. Get yourself some.
BCAA Max - Another overlooked supplement is the branched chain amino acids. Many feel that they get enough from their protein powders. In reality, the forms differ in the protein powders. BCAA found in protein powder must go through the liver before they're dispersed to your muscles. BCAA Max is directly metabolized in the muscle, thus playing a crucial role in halting catabolism quickly and efficiently. To promote protein synthesis, enhance nitrogen retention, prevent muscle breakdown, and increase the anabolic hormone response, take a serving both pre- and post-workout.
Just Creatine - I bet you didn't expect to hear creatine mentioned in a cutting article, did ya? Unfortunately, many people are misinformed when it comes to creatine and dieting down. The common belief is that creatine makes the user feel bloated and puffy. This is often associated with a poor diet and lack of proper hydration. Keep your foods clean and keep the water coming in and you'll have no problems. Creatine helps pull water into the muscle cells, allowing for greater strength and endurance, and delaying fatigue. When it comes to shedding water weight, diets and diuretics will expel water from underneath the skin, not from the muscle bellies. Keep the creatine in the mix to keep the size and fullness to your muscles while getting that thin skin look. Take a serving both pre- and post-workout.
SPECIALIZED Protein For Dieting - The type of protein you consume while dieting can affect your results. Obviously you shouldn't be chugging Gain Max. For best results, turn to SPECIALIZED Protein for Dieting. To get the full gist of the product, check out the product page link. This protein is perfect for those who are dieting as it contains extra ingredients to help promote the fat burning effect in your body by stimulating the thyroid hormone, increasing metabolism and reducing nitrogen loss. Consume two servings daily, with one of them being post-workout.
There you have it. Add in those little guys this time around and you won't be disappointed when you take a look at yourself in the mirror. Keep the diet clean, keep the cardio intense, and choose your supplements wisely. Now go out there and get ripped.
SportPharma has upped its game once again by adding two quality protein powders to their already effective, affordable supplement arsenal. When it comes to choosing the correct protein supplement, it's important to remember that not all protein products are created equally. If you look closely at the ingredients that make up several of the protein products on the shelves, you'll notice that there are a variety of complexes used in the formulas. High quality protein supplements usually consist of a variety of protein sources in an effort to supply your body with the most effective ingredients. Due to the abundance of proteins on the market people often get thrown for a loop when it comes to making a good decision. What do you take if you're bulking? What do you take if you're cutting? What's the best type of protein for you? Fortunately, SportPharma has taken all the guesswork out of the equation.
SPECIALIZED Protein For Dieters When dieting, it is important to try to hold to as much muscle as possible. After spending weeks and months agonizing, turning away delicious foods and sweet treats, the last thing you want to see in the mirror is a body stripped of all its fat, with no muscle to show off. To help your body hold onto muscle, it's important to take in the right nutrients. The monotonous meal plans paired with the endless amounts of cardio that are required to shed pounds is often too much to grasp on its own; the last thing you want to worry about on top of all that is whether or not your protein shake is supplying the proper nutrition. SportPharma left nothing to the imagination with SPECIALIZED Protein for Dieters.
This protein powder starts and ends with the correct blend of proteins. Additionally, SPECIALIZED Protein For Dieters goes way beyond the protein aspect. In order to provide sustenance over a longer time span, this product contains a delivery system called Timed Release Amino/Protein Technology, or TRA/P. As mentioned before, dieting is all about holding onto as much muscle as possible. Therefore, keeping your muscles satiated is the main objective. Once the muscles begin to lose vital aminos, they break down. The TRA/P blend helps to keep the aminos trapped in the skeletal muscle, allowing greater periods of anabolic activity.
To make this process even more beneficial, various protein sources are used to allow both fast and slow absorbing nutrients to enter the muscles. The whey concentrate works to stimulate protein synthesis at a quicker rate, while the casein holds its own by preventing protein degradation in the form of isolated casein peptides.
Not only does SPECIALIZED Protein For Dieters contain various blends of proteins to help stimulate muscles and keep them full of nutrients, it also contains ingredients specifically geared to boost the body's ability to burn fat. Within the Pro Whey Complex, CCK helps the body with its cravings by signaling satiety and therefore reducing the appetite. Anyone who has been through a rigorous diet or two knows the benefits of CCK on their appetite. Lastly, SportPharma uses a particular protein, water-washed isolated soy protein. Its benefits include potent isoflavones as well as a great ability to stimulate the thyroid hormone (TSH) and thyroxin (T4), both of which are critical hormones when it comes to torching excess body fat.
SPECIALIZED Protein For Lean Mass When it comes to bulking, you need a steady supply of nutrients coming into your system all day long to ensure optimal growth. This is why eating every 2-3 hours is so imperative. Once your body's supply of nutrients begins to dip below the E line, you need to fill it back up in order to continue the growth process. Let's face facts; not everyone has the ability to consume 8 whole food meals per day. Not only do we simply not have time to do so, but most of us cannot flip the bill for 8 meals worth of Filet Mignon. SportPharma just made it a bit easier with the launch of SPECIALIZED Protein For Lean Mass.
This formula is specifically designed for those seeking lean mass gains. As mentioned earlier, no single type of protein is best. Top notch protein supplements tend to contain several different types of proteins, all of which are beneficial to your body in a different way. SPECIAZLIED Protein For Lean Mass contains whey concentrate, whey isolate, hydrolyzed whey, isolated casein peptides and egg albumin. The whey complex contains several microfractions in the form of glycomacropeptides, BSA and immunoglobulins, all of which help spark the grow process. Not only does SPECIALIZED Protein For Lean Mass contain the same Timed Release Amino/Protein Technology, or TRA/P, as SPECIALIZED Protein For Dieters, its formula also provides a precise ratio of amino acids which your body needs to ensure increased protein synthesis and to maintain a proper nitro balance. What does this all mean? This means that when taking SPECIALIZED Protein for Lean Mass, you'll be getting a steady stream of amino acids and quality nutrients for hours, enabling you to stay anabolic all the way up until your next feeding. For best results, be sure to take one serving before bed so that you get an IV-drip of the essentials throughout your slumber.
Whether you're trying to trim away the last few pounds of fat or add quality mass, SportPharma has the answer for you in the way of SPECIALIZED Protein For Dieters and SPECIALIZED Protein For Lean Mass. With their specifically designed protein blends and added performance enhancers, each product can suit your needs to the exact gram. Take your physique to the next level by adding one of these products to your supplement shelf. Would you rather piece together your own protein blends and dish out excess money or head out and pick up a tub of SPECIAZLIED Protein to cover all your needs in an affordable fashion? I thought so.
The winter months can wreak havoc on one's body. Everything can spiral downward in a moment's notice. The cold temperatures cut through your skin like knives, leaving you feeling ill, drained, and lacking motivation to get out of bed in the morning. When you're a hard training athlete, you can't afford to be bed ridden for days at a time. You need to keep your system running optimally through the winter months. Consistency is how you get ahead in any sport. Without it, you're just spinning your wheels.
First and foremost, you want to get your nutritional bases covered. With the cold weather looming, you need to be sure your body and its immune system are ready to fend off all attackers. Aside from the standard vitamins and minerals, SportPharma's Multi-V contains added nutrients to help your body remain in working order. With added greens, antioxidants, immune support, energizers, and digestive enzymes, your body will be ready for the worse conditions that the winter season can bring.
Just as the bitter winter weather can batter one's immune system; it can do just as much damage to one's joints. When arriving at the gym, be sure to take a few extra minutes to warm up. A quick 5 minute loop on the exercise bike can be a great way to get your body into motion for the workout ahead. Just as one wouldn't immediately drive their car after starting it in the middle of winter, one should never jump right into resistance exercise without a thorough warm up. Take it one step further and provide your joints with the added benefit of SportPharma's Joint-V. Comprised of 5 key joint support nutrients, Joint-V works to keep your joint health covered from all angles. Joint-V will keep your joints in great shape while you continue to pound the iron during the rough winter season.
Nutrition is a very important aspect of staying healthy during the brisk season. Eat healthy and you'll remain healthy. But sometimes we need a bit of extra energy to get ourselves going. When you can actually see the cold by staring out the window, often times it's a reason to just crawl back into bed, wasting away. For those days where you're lacking the energy to get up and head to the gym, throw a scoop of SportPharma's CARB Max into your shaker cup. CARB Max is a high quality carbohydrate blend balanced with both fast and slow digesting carbohydrates. This ensures a steady flow of glycogen into the blood stream, keeping your muscles anabolic and functioning optimally. With a quick 20g influx of carbohydrates, you'll be injected with extra intensity, allowing you to get up and get going even during the laziest of days. To add even more to your energy cocktail, add a scoop of Vanilla Just-WHEY to the Citrus CARB Max for a delicious anytime shake.
Keep these core supplements in mind as the winter season rears its nasty head. By following this protocol, you'll be able to prepare your body for the worst that winter can throw your way. Be sure to have a healthy diet, rich in protein and complex carbohydrates as well. Let this be the first winter where you progress instead of remain in neutral, or go backwards. When the smoke clears, and the birds start chirping, you'll be standing atop the mountain, way ahead of the pack.
balance - noun 1. a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc.
When it comes to striving towards any goal in life, you must remain balanced. Letting any single event, obstacle or barrier consume your entire life can and will lead you nowhere. You'll end up alone, by yourself, wondering when you took that wrong turn.
The world today contains too many individuals that live a secluded and stressful lifestyle. They work incredibly long hours at their jobs, only to come home and try to fit in a quick workout before heading straight to bed once they get home. Before they know it, a few years have been chipped away. Health in the United States is no where near where it should be. Those aforementioned long hours at work translate to poor nutrition. T.V. dinners should not make up the majority of one's diet, yet it seems that most people don't have time to muster up anything more.
In any course of action, balance is essential. Bodybuilding is no exception. Too many times people put all of their effort into building their bodies. They shut out their friends, families, and sometimes they even turn over a cold shoulder towards their work.
You want to be the strongest guy in your gym? By all means, go for it. But remember who you are, where you came from, and what made you who you are up to this point. Keeping those facts up front will enable you to strive towards your goal without losing sight of what's important.
Unless you're in contest preparation for a bodybuilding show, it's OK to stray away from your diet every once in a while to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary. Taking a day trip with your friends or family should be a fun and enjoyable experience. You shouldn't have extra stress placed upon your shoulders because you're worried about bringing a cooler full of food, or worrying about the workout you're going to miss. Family is the most important thing a person has. Don't ever let something come between you and your family. Turning into a mindless drone who only thinks about working out will eventually lead to complete loneliness and isolation.
We all want to train like warriors, and that's fine. Train like a warrior when you're in the gym. Push every set to the limit. Leave everything on that gym floor. Walk out the doors knowing you gave it your all. That is how progress with your body is made. But progress with your overall development as a person begins and ends with finding that correct balance in life.
With the abundance of information and misinformation out there today, people have a tough time figuring out how to train correctly. Just when you thought you found the perfect training routine, another magazine comes out with one that promises even better results. Then you tend to second guess your current program, jump ship, and hop into the new one. This cycle can be a never ending catastrophe. Your body needs time to adjust to a new program before it starts producing results. The problem is that most people don't allow their bodies enough time to adjust before they're on to the next great thing.
In the end, every training program works, to some degree. They all offer great tips, advice, and general outlines to keep your workouts in check. But its not what training program you're using, rather its how you're actually going about the training program. There is a big difference between just working out versus actual training.
There is a reason why bodybuilders are able to move big weight. Next time you see one in the gym, take a close look at how they're actually performing the exercise. Instead of just yanking the weight up and down, you'll see that they are making the muscles do the work. For example, when you're doing a dumbbell curl for your biceps, you need to make sure you're actually pulling with your bicep muscle to bring that dumbbell up. If you're just heaving that dumbbell up, you're not working the biceps the way you should be. Therefore, you'll never see legit gains. This applies to all body parts. When doing a bench press, be sure to keep your body fixed. Use your chest muscles to push that bar up. Don't overuse your shoulders, triceps, and legs just for the sake of pressing up heavier weight. Doing it this way won't get you anywhere. Before you start your set, picture your chest squeezing together while pushing the weight up into the air.
This is what is called the mind-muscle connection. Once you've tapped into this powerful union, your gains will come much more rapidly than in the past. Too many people become infatuated with pushing heavy weight without worrying about working the muscle or maintaining proper form. What happens? Years down the road, they're still pushing the same weights because they're not directly working the intended muscle. In the beginning, you'll have to use less weight than what you're used to. You'll be focusing solely on working one body part instead of the secondary muscles. As you continue to train this way, your muscles will grow at a quicker rate. Soon enough you'll be pushing the weight you used to push when using your primary and secondary muscle groups together. At that point, you'll know you're making some headway.
Make your time in the gym count. Building muscle is a simple process, yet it becomes far too complicated with all that is available in terms of theories and programs. Walk into the gym, train that particular muscle group, and head home. Don't worry about pushing huge weight and wasting hours in the gym each night. If you focus on making that one muscle do the work, you'll save countless hours, days, even years in the gym. Years down the line, you can either be light years ahead of where you are now, or you could still be struggling to press the same weight on that bench press bar. The choice is yours.
Everyone wants to improve. That's why we all sign up at the gym. The rituals of going to the gym and taking supplements seem to go hand in hand in today's world. Supplements can be of great benefit whether you're trying to shed some fat or pack on some clean lean mass. The problem is that there are so many products out there, your head might spin when trying to determine the right ones for you. Let's iron out a few myths out there and put together a list of supplements that are to be considered staples-products that, no matter what, should be a part of everyone's arsenal. Think of these as making up the Essential Supplement Stack.
Multi-V Man, woman, young, old, bodybuilder, or casual lifter, everyone needs a multivitamin. Aside from the daily activities a person goes through, a gym session can take a serious toll on your system. Exerting intense energy for an hour or more depletes the body of essential nutrients. By taking a well rounded multivitamin, you're giving your body everything it needs to function optimally.
Supporting optimal nutritional balance, SportPharma Multi-V gives you a complete and potent vitamin and mineral formula along with other key complexes, such as greens, anti-oxidants, immune support, energizers, and digestive enzymes. Take 2 Multi-V capsules every day.
Just-WHEY The first thing people talk about when you walk into a gym is protein. For good reason, as protein helps build muscle and burn fat. Protein consists of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissue. Among the critical roles protein plays are repairing cells, building and repairing muscle, boosting immune system, strengthening bones and reducing stress. If you're dieting correctly, you should be getting in protein at every meal, and you should be having about 6 small meals per day.
But sometimes it's hard to meet the target amount of protein through whole foods. How much chicken, steak, and tuna can one person eat in a single day? Time constraints due to work, personal life, and commuting, just to name a few, can cause one to miss a meal or not have enough time to eat a full meal.
This is where Just-WHEY can help. With its own blend of whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate, it's a perfect source of quality protein in a hurry. Just throw one scoop into a shaker up and you're all set to ingest 20g of high quality protein. Even better, Just-WHEY is extremely versatile: you can add milk, fruit, or whatever else you think might make a good mixture for a tasty smoothie. For best results, consume 1-2 scoops twice daily, with one serving immediately after your workout.
As mentioned before, working out on a daily basis can really take a toll on your body. If you're in this sport for the long haul, you have to protect your joints. Years and years of pressing heavy iron will cause some unavoidable wear and tear on your joints.
In order to keep everything functioning at optimal levels, pick up Joint-V. Joint-V is comprised of 5 key joint support nutrients that work together to keep your joint health covered from all angles. Using a winning combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, hyaluronic acid, and ginger root, Joint-V is designed for hard training athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. As a whole, Joint-V can help aid in the support of healthy cartilage, lubricate joints, maintain healthy cell membranes, combat inflammation, and support digestion. Add Joint-V to your supplement cabinet and take 3 tablets per day with a meal.
Just Creatine As the essentials round out, you have an option to add in a creatine product to your arsenal. Creatine is a proven sports nutritional supplement. Safe, effective, and repeatedly tested, creatine assists in helping to increase muscle energy. For those looking to take their physiques to the next level, Just Creatine should be another staple when it comes to your monthly supplement purchases. With Just Creatine, you get the purest creatine monohydrate on the market-Creapure.
Why creatine? Muscle cells store creatine in the form of ATP in the body. When lifting weights, muscles contract and ATP is lost. When ATP is depleted, the muscles become fatigued. By implementing a solid creatine product like Just Creatine into your routine, your body will be able to regenerate ATP more quickly, thus delaying the onset of muscular fatigue. This means you'll be able to workout longer, harder, and you'll notice strength gains as well.
For any hard training athlete looking for an added boost, Just Creatine is where it's at. Throw a serving in your post workout shake along with Just Whey and you're covered in all areas. Mix 1 teaspoon with 6-8 oz of your favorite beverage. For best results, take during normal training periods.
So there you have it-the Essential Supplement Stack that any and all athletes should get their hands on if they're serious about progressing toward their individual goals. No matter what you're looking to do, these basic supplements should be a mainstay in your supplement cabinet. Let's break this down with an easy to follow guideline:
Multi-V: 2 tabs per day Just-WHEY: 1-2 scoops twice daily (one serving after your workout) Joint-V: 3 tabs per day with meals Just Creatine: 1 teaspoon with 6-8 oz liquid after training
Whether you've been in this game for a while, or if you're just starting out, chances are your first few dollars and cents will go towards restocking the protein in your cupboards, cabinets, and counter. We all know that protein is necessary for building muscle, and sometimes it's tough to consume 6-8 meals per day just to cover your protein requirements. Protein powders have been around for years now, making it easier for everyone to reach their target protein requirements. After years of formulations, new ingredients, updates, and tweaks, protein powder flavors have come in full swing in terms of taste. Back in the 1970's, protein powders were a very bland tasting mix; not something worth looking forward to. Nowadays, there are endless choices when it comes to flavors. But sometimes you still need to spice it up a bit.
Different strokes for different folks. Different people, different types of protein shakes. When you are trying to gain some mass, you want calories made up from quality, protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. For those looking for a lower calorie shake, a smooth protein powder can be combined with some fruits and milk to create a tasty treat. When you're done training, you need quick digesting proteins and carbs so that your body can get the essential nutrients ASAP so it can start recovering/growing. For every instance there is a shake made for that moment. When the particular time arrives, put together one of the following shakes and you are good to go.
Mass 101 2 scoops Gain Max Chocolate
2 scoops Gain Max Vanilla
18 oz skim milk
875 calories, 4g fat, 126g carbs, 82g protein
This shake is simple and very easy to make. SportPharma has some of the best tasting flavors out there. And this shake does not disappoint. Another option would be the chocolate/strawberry combination. While bulking up, try to drink one of these shakes 1-2 times per day, with one of them coming after your workout. For the post workout shake, throw a serving of Just Creatine in there. For those looking for post workout recovery without a large amount of calories, your shake is coming up next.
Post Workout Shake 2 scoops vanilla Just Whey
2 scoops Citrus Rush CarbMax
1 serving Just Creatine
16oz cold water
364 calories, 44g carbs, 40g protein
If you know a thing or two about building muscle, you know that post workout nutrition (PWO) is the most important meal of the day. At this point, your body is depleted and broken down. You need something to kick start the recovery process to help you grow. What do you need? First, you need simple carbs; carbs that can get into your system quickly and flood your muscles with nutrients efficiently. Combine that with some protein to help rebuild the muscles and you've got a winning combination. The Vanilla Just Whey combined with the Citrus Rush flavored Carb Max might be one of the best combinations out there in terms of flavor. For this shake, we will use water. We don't need to slow down the digestion with milk. We want fast absorption here. Throw in a serving of creatine to top it off. This shakes taste like a delicious creamsicle. Be sure to use cold water.
On the Go 2 scoops Strawberry Just Whey
12oz skim milk
458 calories, 2g fat, 51g carbs, 54g protein
When you are short on time, you need something to hold you over. Sometimes we need a quick fix to feed our bodies as we head out the door to class, work, a meeting, or some other important task. The milk will help slow down the digestion, allowing you to stay fuller for longer. The banana will add some extra carbs to the shake, giving it enough calories so that you won't be hungry moments later. You can't go wrong with this strawberry banana shake.
Dieting takes extreme focus and determination. Whether you're trying to cut that last bit of fat off for a bodybuilding show, or if you just want to lean out for the summertime, you need a product to help you get through the tough stages of dieting. The process of shedding body fat is not an enjoyable one. The foods must be clean and healthy. Your training must be kicked up a notch. Your mental toughness will undoubtedly be tested. In order for you to get over the hump, you need a product that will cover all those trouble areas and then some. Dieting and training can only do so much. When your limits have been pushed, turn to Thermadrene.
With Thermadrene, you get a scientifically formulated thermogenic designed to provide energy and help stimulate fat burning. Thermogenesis is marked by an increase in metabolism, a rise in core body temperature, and an acceleration of calorie expenditure. In short, you can burn fat more efficiently. Thermadrene contains a precise blend of powerful natural extracts including kola nut, green tea, and cayenne, along with cha-de-bugre and yerba mate. This energizing herbal matrix will help you get stronger, be more alert, and feel better than ever before.
One of the most effective ways to burn fat is to do some type of cardio activity. The best time to do cardio activity is right out of bed on an empty stomach. Problem is, getting out of bed in the morning can be rough. Once that alarm goes off, pop a couple Thermadrene capsules. Within a few minutes, Thermadrene will begin to raise energy and heighten alertness. It's now officially time to shed some body fat. Head to the gym to use your favorite piece of cardio equipment or take the dog for a long walk around the block. It's all fair game. Finish up and get a healthy and high protein breakfast in your system and continue on with your day. When the afternoon rolls around, pop another 1-2 Thermadrene caps. By now, your body will be in total fat-burning mode. Your metabolism will be running full throttle, and your general feelings of vitality and wellness should be optimal.
Nothing can replace good nutrition and a sound diet. But when you've been dieting and you've seemed to hit a brick wall in terms of results, Thermadrene will be there to help tear down those walls and turn your body into a complete fat burning machine. Let the natural thermogenic power of Thermadrene put your goals in closer reach. When all else fails, and it is time to get serious, SportPharma Thermadrene is the answer.
Carbs help you grow. Theres no way around it. Sure, protein supplies the body with essential aminos to help build new muscle, but carbs are the driving force that gets the protein where it needs to be. In its most simplistic form, carbs give you energy. Without carbs in the body, youll go into a catabolic state. In this state, your body will turn to its own muscle for energy: a hard training athletes worst nightmare.
Carbohydrate intake surrounding your training session is of the utmost importance. Without proper pre and post workout nutrition, your training session will mount up to nothing but wasted time. Society today has built up a black cloud around carbohydrate intake by selling numerous low-carb diets that are supposed to be proven to work. On the contrary, when it comes to carb intake, timing is the make-or-break factor. Proper carbohydrate timing will determine the results of your hard work in and out of the gym. Take in good amounts of quality carbs both pre-, intra- and postworkout.
Prior to hitting the weights, you need to give your body some type of quality carbohydrate. Throw a serving of SportPharma CARB Max into your shaker cup with some water and fuel up. This will give your body ample energy to help power you through the toughest of training sessions.
Topping off your glycogen stores, CARB Max provides your body with both fast and sustained released carbs that include waxy maize, maltodextrin, d-glucose, and trehalose. This specialized dual action Quad Carb blend consists of high-molecular weight and low-molecular weight carbohydrates helping to ensure a steady flow of glucose into the blood stream, allowing them to maintain their anabolic nature. This dual action blend found in CARB Max is designed to decrease muscle catabolism, enhance muscle and liver glycogen resynthesis as well as assist in promoting faster recovery and providing fuel for high intensity training. Added electrolytes ensure proper rehydration and replacement of key electrolytes that are lost through sweat while training. Whether youre an endurance athlete or bodybuilder, the addition of carbohydrates during training can help sustain energy levels and assist to maximize overall strength output and athletic performance.
Once the training session is complete, grab yourself another serving of SportPharma CARB Max. Postworkout supplementation is one of the most important meals of the day. At this point, your body is completely depleted of its glycogen and needs fuel to help recover. By supplying your body with a quality carbohydrate blend such as CARB Max, youll give your body the essential nutrients it needs to start repairing and recovering from intense workouts. Mix in a scoop of Just-WHEY and prepare for quick recovery. By adding in some Just-WHEY protein, CARB Maxs high quality ingredients will help shuttle the protein and amino acids into the muscles at a fast rate, kick starting the recovery process. CARB Max is simply a great tasting way to get more out of your workouts.
Building your base. When you train for a sport, you need to ensure that your body is prepared to handle the rigors of competition. Who can rightly go into competition without practice or proper training? Sure, you can try but be prepared to lose and to be beat convincingly by a better prepared opponent. At the same time you can relate this to your supplementation. There are tons of fancy supplements out there that promise you everything under the sun. But what good are these promises if you haven't even built your base? You can't expect to realistically lift large weights on a consistent basis if you only train on occasion.
What most athletes fail to recognize is the importance of having a solid base underneath the muscle. What good is having a lot of muscle mass if it's built on a structure of weak joints, ligaments, tendons and cartilage? If you're building muscle on top of a weak foundation, you can only get so far. A weak base can potentially limit your overall development. So what can you do?
Smart training, proper rest and eating a good diet should come first and foremost. Once you've got that covered, this is where some solid joint support should come into play. Ensuring that your joints are supplied with the right nutrients is the first step. Enter Joint-V by SportPharma. SportPharma Joint-V was designed with the hard training athlete and fitness enthusiast in mind. It's comprised of 5 key joint, ligament and cartilage support nutrients.
Here are the 5 key components that make up Joint-V: glucosamine, chondroitin, msm, ginger root and hyaluronic acid. Glucosamine sulfate acts as an important building block of joint tissue and aids in the support of healthy cartilage and other connective tissue, even blood vessels. Chondroitin is another ingredient that you often see combined with glucosamine in joint formulas. Chondroitin is one of the major constituents of cartilage. It helps to provide structure and draw fluid (water) and nutrients, and also allows other molecules to move through cartilage, which is important because cartilage does not contain blood vessels, so there is no blood supply to cartilage.
Joint-V also contains a healthy dose of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), which is a natural source of sulfur. Sulfur is a very important to the human body. It's the eighth most abundant element in all living organisms and is found in many types of bodily compounds, ranging from enzymes and tissues to hormones and antioxidants. Sulfur also occurs in connective tissue, particularly in component called collagen. Ensuring the body has a constant supply of sulfur is critical for joint health. Next up is hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is found in every tissue in the body. It's a key component of cartilage and helps assist in regulating synovial fluid to keep joints lubricated properly. Lastly, ginger root rounds out Joint-V's support blend. Ginger root is added to help combat joint inflammation as well as to support digestion. It's also a potent antioxidant that's been show to assist in stimulating circulation and protecting the liver and stomach.
Five components, five new ways to ensure that your foundation is strong, that your footing is sure. Five powerful joint support nutrients easily condensed into a mere three, convenient tablets. Top quality ingredients, proven on the field and in the gym and delivered at a wallet-friendly value. That's Joint-V. That's SportPharma. That's quality you can build on.
Sportpharma. You know the name. An industry leader since 1989, Sportpharma burst on the scene and set the stage for the supplement boom of the nineties. With a line that ran the gamut from staple items like Just-WHEY to cutting edge formulations like Thermadrene, the SportPharma name was on the lips of athletes in every competitive field.
Two decades later, SportPharma is back on the map and still standing strong. In a world of flashy trends, SportPharma is now needed more than ever. The SportPharma brand stands apart by delivering high quality, proven, and value-driven products to their consumers.
Certain concepts are timeless, and while our formulations are forward thinking, our values are from a different time. Quality and trust never goes out of style. As such, ensuring the quality of the contents of every SportPharma bottle is our number one priority. Making good on this promise takes control of every step of the manufacturing process from testing raw materials to bottling and labeling. We match the enthusiasm and dedication of our consumers striving to reach their goals by holding ourselves to highest standards possible. At SportPharma, nothing less than excellence will suffice.
As the SportPharma line expands, a new core product mix including BCAA Max, Beta Alanine, Multi-V and Joint-V will be unified with classics like Thermadrene and Just-WHEY to once again address the very specific needs of the most dedicated athletes in the world. While our past is storied and our legacy long, the SportPharma narrative has just begun. In 2009 we open a new chapter, we embark on a new era. But as much as things change, one fact remains the same, you can always rely on SportPharma to deliver quality you can build on.
From the time that we are able to function without a diaper, eat our food with silverware and drink a beverage on our own, we're told by our doctors and parents about the importance of taking a multi-vitamin supplement. They start us out with some sort of tasty low-dose chewable children's multi. As we grow older, they move us on to a very basic generic one-a-day multi, and usually that's what the majority of us stick with. Good enough, right? For some, maybe. Most people don't care to look into what is actually in that generic multi they've been using for years, because hey, if a doctor told us it was good enough, than it must be.
Just what are the formulas of generic multis based on? Well, because vitamins and minerals are so important for one's health, the FDA has formulated a recommended consumption level for vitamins called Recommended Daily Allowances (RDAs). Generic multis are based on these RDAs. What are RDAs based on? The RDAs account for the amount one would need to take in order to prevent deficiency diseases. That's right, just enough to prevent deficiency.The RDAs are simply enough to prevent disease in a sedentary individual and not an amount needed to maintain maximum health for those with an active lifestyle. But what if you lift weights and play sports? What benefit does your average generic multi have for a real athlete?
The needs of a hard training athlete are hardly ever taken into consideration by our doctors, the FDA, RDAs and persons whom formulate your average generic multi-vitamins. Their goal is to make the formula as cheap as possible and mass market them to death, not keeping the athlete in mind whatsoever. What you end up paying for are ads and commercials. When I ask athletes what supplements they use, I often hear them mumble out a multi, maybe some sports drink and not much else. Oftentimes, they aren't even able to tell me what type of multi they are using, just that it's some kind of store brand multi that their doctor told them to use. They bring me in the multi and when I take look at the supplement facts, I'm often surprised at how inadequately dosed and incomprehensive they are. Definitely not what a dedicated athlete should be building their supplement plan around.
What most athletes don't take into consideration is that a good multi can pay big dividends down the road. When you're performing at high levels day in and day out, whether it be weight lifting, running, swimming, cycling, etc., you need balanced nutrient support for your active lifestyle. A good, balanced multi provides you with the correct daily dose of key vitamins and minerals, plus added antioxidants, enzymes and support nutrients that assist your body in performing at optimum levels. If you are low on essential vitamins and minerals, your body can break down and your performance will be hindered.
This is where SportPharma's Multi-V comes into play. When you're adding extra stress to your body by playing sports and working out hard, you need nutritional support that is formulated specifically for athletes .In such cases somegeneric formula just won't cut it.Multi-V is formulated for the hard training athlete and fitness enthusiast alike. It is jam-packed with over 40 support nutrients that act as a key cornerstone for your foundational health needs. The V in Multi-V is symbolic of the Roman numeral V, or 5. Why the symbolism? Well, Multi-V is a complete formula that is packed with 5 key complexes in addition to its already comprehensive vitamin and mineral profile.
Multi-V is packed with nutrient-rich green superfoods like spirulina and chlorella. Greens are currently in high demand in the supplement world. Loaded with micronutrients that ensure overall health, the superfood blend found in Multi-V is the first of the multifaceted general health components designed to optimize performance and heighten general wellness.
Potent anti-oxidants such as alpha lipoic acid, grapeseed extract, CoQ10, lycopene and lutein further bolster the robust health-promoting benefits of Multi-V. Antioxidants are touted for their ability to combat free radicals and to fight the oxidative stress that may be responsible for disease and cell damage.
Immune support factors including citrus bioflavonoids, garlic, zinc and selenium help to fight illness and protect agains germs and environmental stresses that leave the human body susceptible to sickness, especially during flu season.These risks are further compounded by those with active lifestyles as their training and athletic endeavors put an even greater strain on their recuperative ability.
Natural energizers like green tea, choline and inositol further differentiate Multi-V from the rest of the pack. Using compounds found in nature to help promote alertness, vitality and overall feelings of well-being, Multi-V enhances performance and the vigor with which we meet daily tasks.
The fifth and final stage of the Multi-V formula is comprised of a digestive complex that includes the enzymes bromelain and papain and betaine HCl. Digestive support is a critical but so often overlooked aspect of supplementation. The macronutrients and micronutrients we ingest, no matter how healthful, have very little nutritive value if unable to be properly processed and assimilated. In this instance Multi_V once again meets your needs by exceeding the standard set by its average and ordinary competitors.
These special added complexes are important for hard training athletes who need a more all-inclusive profile than their couch potato counterparts who may be satisfied with a generic multi-vitamin formula. Hard working athletes can't afford to let their performance suffer due to a lack of proper nutrition. Multi-V is there to act as nutritional support for your most strenuous endeavors. Multi-V, five ways to a healthier life, in just 2 tiny pills per day. Only from SportPharma.