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Podcast With Rob Shaul of Military Athlete

June 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Interviews, Recent Posts

Meet Rob Shaul

military athlete logo“Rob is a lifelong gym rat turned self-educated strength and conditioning coach. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and has attended seminars/certifications through CrossFit, Gym Jones, U.S. Weightlifting, and Athletes’ Performance. He started Mountain Athlete in Jackson in February, 2007, and founded Military Athlete in January, 2009. He is a 1990 graduate of the US Coast Guard Academy.”

Listen as strength coach Rob Shaul talks in detail with interviewer Luke Allison about his unique work training soldiers and mountain climbers. Rob’s philosophy reflects his diverse influences – everything from power lifting to Gym Jones. In this interview, he describes what an appropriate fitness test for military personnel might look like. The value of Crossfit and mental training is also addressed. Also, how does pre-deployment training for soldiers headed to Afghanistan and Iraq differ?


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Review of the Accelerated Muscular Development Program

June 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Recent Posts, Reviews

amdStrength coach and trainer Jim Smith says that he developed the Accelerated Muscular Development (AMD) program after becoming frustrated by his efforts to stop being the “98-pound weakling” and put on lean muscle. He also says that the AMD Program is a complete system designed not to just show you the workouts, but to provide you with the knowledge you need to be able to “make your own decisions based on your individual needs.”

That statement by itself is important because it shows that this isn’t a “one size fits all” kind of program. Each person is unique and his (or her) body has different needs in terms particular training approaches that are most effective. AMD is designed so that you can easily customize the program so that it best suits your particular needs. I also like the fact that in regards to getting started on the program, Jim offers an “express” option, which allows you to quickly dive right into the routines. This way, you can take start training immediately and take your time learning about the underlying principles of the program.

All of the AMD workouts are based on a single template, which has three columns (upper body, lower body and full body). Each of these columns is then divided into four sections—ACS, AMD, Core and then ACS again. I’ll explain what each of these means a little later. The system is built around a 16-week progression of workouts. The first four weeks is spent developing foundation strength, followed by eight weeks of strength/mass-building and then finally, four weeks focused on developing strength and power.

The first section of the AMD manual is focused on helping the reader to gain and understanding about muscle fibers and the how’s and why’s of muscle-building. This knowledge puts you on the road to understanding your body’s particular needs and sets the stage for customization of the AMD program. The next section is all about nutrition. Here, Jim talks about the basics of nutrition such as protein, carbs and fat. He also shows you how to calculate your body fat percentage and to determine your daily caloric needs based both on your body type and your activity level.

Next, Jim launches into an in-depth discussion of the AMD program. Accelerated Muscular Development incorporates both undulating periodization (UND) and escalated density training (EDT). With UND, your training program changes with every successive workout, varying volume, intensity and tempo. The purpose of this is to keep your muscles in a constant state of adaption and therefore, avoid training plateaus. EDT was originally developed by a guy named Charles Staley. It is designed to produce quick results in a short timeframe by incorporating training blocks of 15-20 minutes followed by rest periods. By incorporating both models into the program, AMD facilitates rapid muscle growth.

UND exercises are the “primary” exercises and EDT exercises are the “supplemental” ones. Other components of the workout sequence include Accelerated Corrective Strategies (ACS) and Combat Core Strength (CORE). ACS is designed to improve fluidity, prevent injuries and increase mobility. The CORE component is supposed to do just what it sounds like—focus on your core.

Your basic AMD workout will start with 5-10 minutes of ACS exercises before moving into a 5-minute warm-up period. Next up are the primary and supplementary (UND and EDT) exercises for 15-25 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of CORE exercises and wrapped up with 5-10 minutes more of ACS exercises. The 3-day-a-week workout sequence is done once for lower body, once for the upper body, followed by one full-body session. Each training session lasts about 40 minutes.

By now you’re probably thinking, “This sounds great, but how the hell am I supposed to keep track of all this?” Remember the template I mentioned earlier? That’s how you’re able to follow all of the sequences without getting confused. Once you have the basics down, following the template is easy. And, everything you need is included. AMD comes with companion guides that provide in-depth information about each of the sections—ACS, UND, EDT, CORE and warm-up. In addition to the Quick Reference Guide so you can dive right into the program, AMD also includes sample meal plans for fat loss.

Click Here

To wrap it up, in looking over Jim’s AMD Program, I like what I see. It’s a challenging but effective program that doesn’t try to sell itself as an effort-free “magic bullet” like so many others. In my book, that makes it a winner, well worth checking out.

You should click here now ———- <<<<<<<<<<

Hey Hardgainers! You Are NOT Doomed To SUCKY GENETICS!

June 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Interviews, Recent Posts, Training

This podcast was with Mr. Jeff “The Muscle Nerd” Anderson who was kind of enough to spend some time with us to talk about his new program called Project X Hardgainer.


In this podcast, Jeff and Al Mokbel of discussed a lot about why Ectomorphs have so much difficulty increase their lean muscle mass.

To quickly summarize the 30-minute interview, we discussed:

The common reason and mentality behind gaining muscle.

Why the old standard of “eat more and workout harder” doesn’t work.

What are the different body types and how much different they are from each other.

How Ecotmorphs have a genetic disadvantage in terms of gaining lean muscle.

The 7 different reasons why Ectomorphs can’t gain lean muscle.

How come Ectomorphs should eat more carbs in order to gain weight instead of a protein-based diet.

How and why isolation exercises will benefit Ecotmorphs in bulking up.

Why the current mainstream of compound muscle training is not ideal for Ectomorphs.

This interview is jam-packed with information and is bound to make you progress to new heights in your goal in gain lean muscle.


To learn more about Jeff’s Project X Hardgainer program, please visit:


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Chris Janek Totals 2502 At Only Third Powerlifting Meet

Chris Janek competed in the 2009 UPA Powerlifting Nationals held in Dubuque, IA – April 2009

Chris Janek (308) represented Critical Bench totalling 2,502 pounds in only his third meet. Janek squatted 1,036 pounds, benched 727, and deadlifted 738 pounds.

Luke Allison of Critical Bench interviews Janek in this podcast discussing the meet and training leading up to the meet.

To get your Chris Janek desktop Wallpaper visit this page for more screen resolutions.


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No Pain No Gain? How About No Pain With Gains!

June 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Recent Posts, Reviews

Review of the Unbreakable Program

You wouldn’t believe the amount of emails I get from people asking me how to manage pain. Honestly it’s not my area of expertise. I kind of just deal with it like most of us probably do. Than I mask the symptoms with ice, ibuprofrin, elbow sleeves and muscle rub. My buddy Dave and I from the gym joke around a lot like we are squirting oil into every part of our body that bends before we start training. I get a kick out of it, but maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, I decided to buy a copy of Keith Scott’s corrective exercise program called Unbreakable. Basically I wanted to know if this would be a good place to refer people to.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you are a bodybuilder or strength athlete injuries are inevitable at some point. When they do happen, not only can they be physically painful, but they can even be emotionally painful too. It’s frustrating to be making gains and then suddenly you’re sidelined by an injury. A common reaction is to take something for the pain and try and “work through it,” which is usually not very effective and often leads to even more problems. Other options like physical therapy-though effective-can be costly and time consuming.

There are alternatives though-in fact, Keith Scott has developed a system called Unbreakable, that he says can help most anyone learn to live pain-free and to do all the things they love to do. He’s spent more than 18 years working in the sports medicine and sports performance fields and developed Unbreakable not only to help people address and prevent physical injuries but to improve overall athletic performance.

After a discussion about how most people deal with injuries by ignoring them entirely or just medicating the symptoms, Keith talks about what he calls the “kinetic chain.” Basically, the kinetic chain is all about how all of our systems are interconnected and how they rely on one another in countless different ways. When one component of the system is not functioning properly it causes a chain reaction that impacts the entire system. This section of the book is incredibly interesting, presenting plenty of information that will be new to most people-including me.

The Unbreakable system is made up of detailed assessments, special fitness program “plug-ins” to correct physical issues, full, specific corrective exercise plans and targeted soft tissue work. There are five basic steps to the program with each component discussed at length in its own guide.

Steps one and two together comprise the assessment portion of Unbreakable. This guide is broken down into body-part sections. In each, you are guided through a series of simple tests and questions. The tests aren’t overly complicated and the process is fairly straightforward and easy to follow. Keith includes photos and step-by-step instructions for performing the tests. Following each test/question segment is an “assessment explanation” section that clarifies the meaning of the results. Step three is where based on the assessment, you determine the appropriate course of action for you.

With steps four and five we learn about the “plug-ins,” corrective exercises. Like the previous guide, this one is divided into body-part sections that correspond with the assessments. The exercises are designed to work together holistically to address strength, muscular endurance, joint stability, balance, power, flexibility, mobility, range of motion and to eliminate pain. The program calls for performing the exercises at least three days a week.

The exercises are presented in daily (day 1, day 2, etc.) charts that give you all the information you need-number of reps, number of sets and the overall benefits of each exercise. The next guide gives you all the information you need to know to perform all of the exercises. Again, like the previous guides this one is broken down by body parts, making it easy to reference. In-depth how-to descriptions and photos are included for each exercise.

All of the exercises presented in Unbreakable are simple enough to do for just about anybody, regardless of skill level or athletic ability. Whether you’re a seasoned bodybuilder, a beginner, elderly or an overweight guy who hasn’t exercised in 20 years, you shouldn’t have any problems performing any of the movements.


The next guide presents a summary of Keith’s 4-phase 16-Week Unbreakable Strength and Fitness Program. The exercises are presented in charts broken down by day and phases with all the information you need-number of reps/sets and the rest period. The guide that follows provides comprehensive exercise descriptions with photos.

Four additional guides complete the package: Soft Tissue Work for Optimal Physical Health, Recovery and Regeneration FAQ Guide, Nutrition Guidelines and Fat Burning with High-Intensity Interval Training. Each of these is well-written, providing plenty of useful information in an easy-to-follow and understandable format.

In my opinion Unbreakable is a good value, well worth the investment. Keith doesn’t knock the need for doctors and doesn’t profess to know more than they do. He sticks to his area of expertise, which is helping people to prevent and manage common minor issues that manifest themselves through aches and pains. He presents useful, practical information that can not only help you to avoid injuries, but to also to improve your overall fitness level.

If you’re sick of the lower back pain, the aichy knees, the clicking shoulders and the rest of the “issues” that come along with the hobby we all love than spending $77 on Keith’s program could be a good investment for you to help get rid of some nagging injuries.

Keep training hard,

Mike Westerdal

P.S. If you do get this program, keep in mind it comes with a membership recurring billing site. You get the first month free which is cool so you can talk to Keith the author directly. You can’t do that when you buy a book at the book store can you?


Joel Marion Burns Fat With Strategic Cheating

June 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Interviews, Nutrition, Recent Posts

About a month ago a guy named Joel Marion contacted me on Twitter. I guess I’m out of the loop sometimes but I had never heard of him.


I guess he’s “kind of a big deal” in the weight loss industry. He won the Body For Life transformation contest in 2001. At the age of 19 he was already getting published on sites like T-nation and magazines like Men’s Fitness.

He gave me a ring and wanted to tell me about his new program called, Cheat You Way Thin. Right away I was a little turned off by the name. The dudes I usually talk to online aren’t really concerned about being thin, in fact that’s probably our worst nightmare.

I had my guard up big time. After he started explaining to me that it had to do with cheat days and not cheating all the time, I thought okay, that’s nothing new. Sure there’s a physiological benefit to taking a break from healthy eating to help keep on you track right?

Well Joel started explaining that there’s much more to it than that. There’s a reason your body needs to cheat in order to keep burning fat. It has to do with a recently discovered hormone called Leptin.

I’m not the science guy. I set up an interview. Luke Allison of interviews Joel about his new program. Luke was skeptical going into this as well, but listen for yourself, I think Joel is pretty convincing in his argument.

Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know what you think. He’s promoting a discount price which is over now, but still want to what everyone thinks of ths.

Click the link below to read Joel’s story of how he was a personal trainer that kept screwing up his healthy eating habits by eating pizza with his roommates and going to party with a buffet and it actually helped him burn more fat! ———- <<<<<<<< Click Here

Click the play button below to listen to the audio podcast.


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Interview With Powerlifter Eric Talmant

June 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Interviews, Powerlifting, Recent Posts

Luke Alisson of conducted this interview with powerlifter Eric Talmant.

Eric is a metabolic typing advisor and the founder of the Raw Unity Meet.

In this interview Luke digs deep and gets Eric talking about some of these topics that I found interesting and I think you will too.

Luke said it best after the interview. He told me this guy really cares about the sport of powerlifting.

  • In powerlifting there are many “national champions”. The quantity of people that legitimately claim this title actually devalues the title.
  • How the Raw Unity Meet can determine a raw champion even though it’s not a sanctioned meet.
  • Comparing powerlifting to boxing. How at one time boxing had multiple feds and multiple champions and nobody could really say who the official champ was.
  • It’s all connected. Sponsors, television coverage, prize money and drawing big lifters.
  • Eric walking the walk. How he’s going back to the gear.
  • Eric talks about not putting crap down your pie hole!
  • Walking the dogs and how it helps GPP.
  • Contrast showers, vinegar baths and recovering from workouts!

Eric put on a show. The interview is going on 1-hour so if you don’t have time to listen to the whole thing download it for later. There were a few cut offs during the interview and some technical issues at the end. It’s kind of funny actually hearing them try to figure out how to end the interview. Feel free to skip the last few minutes.

To follow Eric’s Training Log visit the Muscle Forum at

Eric also has an author page here:


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Hyper Growth Muscle Mass Training Review

June 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Recent Posts, Reviews

Dan Gallapoo—aka Doberman Dan-is a well-known natural bodybuilding expert. He’s a smart guy with a bodybuilding philosophy that runs contrary to what you see in a lot of the magazines. According to Dan, his particular area of expertise focuses on helping hardgainers to pack on lean mass. As you probably already know-since this is the majority of the population-hardgainers are regular guys that aren’t “genetically-gifted” bodybuilders. These are the guys for whom packing on muscles is tough. During his more than 21 years of bodybuilding, Dan has developed some very successful strategies for helping hardgainers to put on mass. He’s compiled his strategies into his Hyper-Growth Muscle Mass Training Program (HGMMT).

Doberman Dan kicks off HGMMT with an excellent discussion about the basics-building a solid foundation and setting the stage. Afterwards, he quickly launches into the nuts and bolts of the program. A fundamental difference between HGMMT and other training programs is Dan’s belief that “muscular gains in size and strength are much more consistent if a bodybuilder only works to about 50% – 80% of his or her intensity level.” This is a concept that definitely goes against the majority of training philosophies, which focus on either “high intensity” or “training to failure.” Both of these are among the most common training strategies you’re likely to see any most any gym.
In HGMMT Dan says that while both approaches will most likely yield results, they also drain the body of nervous and muscular energy while simultaneously unleashing unwanted metabolic side effects. The consequence of this he says, is less than stellar results in terms of gains and a body that has been drained of its defense reserves. In contrast to the two tactics mentioned above HGMMT is based on the concept of reduced intensity and increased workload. According to Dan, this facilitates gains in size and increases the burning of fat without the metabolic side effects.

Dan makes it a point to say that other forms of training such as high intensity aren’t all bad. They have a time and a place, but they need to done properly and not for extended periods of time-say for more than 12 weeks at a stretch.

Time, volume and form are the three key components of HGMMT. The underlying concept of HGMMT is actually pretty simple:

  • Reduce the weight by 25%;
  • Perform 10 repetitions per set;
  • Don’t perform each set to failure;
  • Rest no more than 60-90 seconds between sets; and
  • Increase the number of sets.

To determine how much to reduce the weight you start off by determining your max set point. This is the maximum weight you can lift for 8-10 reps for a given exercise. The number of reps can actually be from 6-20-the choice is yours. So for example, if your bench press max set point is 10 reps at 205, then you would reduce this by 25% for HGMMT. You would then perform 5-8 sets of 10 reps, resting no more than 60-90 seconds between sets. No sets are performed to failure. As you improve, you gradually reduce the rest time between sets.

As you move through the discussions in the chapters that follow, Dan discusses other important concepts behind HGMMT such as specific training timings for the various muscle groups, frequency of training (four days a week) and the necessity of taking 1-2 weeks off every 90 days. He also talks about when to increase the resistance and presents some thoughts on working in a “muscle shocking” workout once a quarter just to mix things up.

The next section includes sample training routines for the various muscle groups. Here are a few examples:


Bent over rows 6 x 10
Pull-downs 6 x 10
Seated Rows 8 x 10


Bench Press 5 x 12
Incline Flies 5 x 10
Pec Deck 5 x 15
This is followed by in-depth descriptions of exercises for all body parts. He also includes some blank workout logs-great for tracking your progress. The remainder of the book includes discussions of nutrition and supplementation.

So to wrap it up-while there’s no doubt that some of Dan’s philosophies are not What you will typically see going on in your average gym, I’m convinced that he knows what he’s talking about, particularly when it comes to helping hardgainers achieve their goals. So if that sounds like you, HGMMT is certainly worth checking out. Or maybe you just need a break from high intensity training and want to try something new to deload your nervous system so you can go back to the high intensity workouts with a new fresh revived urgency.

Click Here To Keep Reading About The Hyper Growth Muscle Mass Training Program.

Elliott Hulse Wins Pro Card In Strongman

June 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Interviews, Recent Posts

I had Luke and Elliott over at my house a couple weeks ago to watch the UFC fight. It was a good time. Hey I consider it a night out with the guys even though I didn’t leave the house. We talked about fighting, working out, Internet marketing, the usual.

Elliott won his pro card in strongman at the Europa show in Orlando. I’ve got some pics to share along with a video from the event and this audio interview with Elliott Hulse.

Here’s a pic of us after Elliott got his trophy. Obviously Elliott is in the middle, Luke to the left and I’m on the right.



Here’s a cool Wallpaper you can download for your computer. To get your screen size just click the image to go to the page with the different sizes.


I forgot I had this audio file on my computer and thought I’d share it.


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My Meet Summary – APF Southern States

June 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Powerlifting, Recent Posts

My Meet Summary – APF Southern States – DEC 6th 2008

Dropped 10 pounds to make weight at 242. Thanks for the cutting advice from Talmant, Carroll and Schwanke.

Went three for three on the squat. 578, 622, 640. PR

Bench hit my opener 578. Hit 2nd 622 for a PR. Went for the gold on the third and missed 655. Got out of grove and felt stuck on my chest.

Deadlift. Hit 550 opener. Got 2nd attempt 600 PR. Went for 645 to try for 1900 even, but it didn’t go.

PRed with an 1862 total in my 2nd full power meet.

Have to thank my handlers Tom Bodenbender and Sam Ho. Couldn’t have done it without you guys, thanks for making the trip. Want to thank the entire Tampa Barbell team for their help during my training cycle. Ofcourse I have to thank Tommy Fannon specifically for allowing me to be a part of the team and providing a great place to train.

My wife for all her support and putting up with my hobby. APT for the best wraps and belts around.

It was fun seeing the guys from Team Samson (thanks for the warm up help) and the guys from OBB. Seeing national level lifters put up big numbers motivates me to step up my game so that was cool too.

Also congrats to Greg Jurkowski for a PR total of 2143 I believe and the biggest deadlift of the meet with a 777 pull. Eddie Fitzpatrick set another world record bench for his age group….good job. Tim James had a nice day too even with a pretty bad head cold hitting a 500+ bench. Critical Bench sponsored lifter Brian Carroll had an awesome day…with the biggest total of the meet including a squat over a grand. Congrats to Brian.


I came out of the meet without bombing out, Got PRs on every lift and didn’t get hurt so I can’t complain. Elite will have to wait till next time. And yes elite is my goal, it just wasn’t time yet, but I left it all out there trying.

Good times!

HIT vs. Volume Training

June 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Articles, Recent Posts, Training

hypergrowth1I’m huge advocate of High Intensity Training. I’m the kind of guy that thinks you should squeeze out every last rep and push yourself to the limit every workout. I think a lot of us on this blog feel the same way.

There’s nothing wrong with forced reps, heavy weights and low reps right? If you’re not pushing yourself to absolute muscular failure every workout you’re just not going to make gains right?

Well I believed that for a long time and I still do. But there’s something I believe in even more and that’s PERIODIZATION, which is an organized approach to cycling different training regimens during a specific period of time.

I like to set up my powerlifting cycles to last about 12-weeks. During this time I’m not adhering to a strict diet (okay I pretty much eat what I want). But when the 12-week training cycle is done, it’s time to start eating better, and change up my training a bit.

I’ll take a few weeks or even more sometimes and throw in some volume workouts. With the volume workouts you take short breaks between sets (great for fat burning), and you do a ton of sets. If you’re just concerned about building muscle these workouts are actually pretty good at that too.

Another advantage of switching to this sort of workout is giving the central nervous system, bones, joints and tendons a break.

In fact I recommend most of my clients lift like this before and after starting the 11-Week Critical Bench Program.

This style of training is nothing new and no it’s not something I invented. It’s based on German volume training techniques and a lot of the bodybuilders from the Golden Era swore by it.

I’ve been reading a lot about it lately in my friend Doberman Dan’s Hyper Growth program. He sent me a review copy of his “Hyper Growth Muscle Mass Training” program last week and so far from what I’ve read and tried out in my own workouts, it’s KILLER! <<<<—— CLICK HERE

If You’re Wondering What The Golden Era Is…


The bodybuilders of the Golden Era from the 50s, 60s, and 70s produced bodies that resembled Greek Gods! The symmetry and proportion untainted by the humongous drug bloated waists of today’s pro bodybuilders explains why even young men of today’s generation are inspired by the men of this past generation.

Guys like Vince Gironda, Frank Zane and Larry Scott Had Attained The Secrets To Achieving Steroid-Like Results Without Abusing Dr*ugs Like Many Of The Pros Of Today Have Done.

I’ll be writing more articles about this and posting about it in my training log. If you’re thirsty RIGHT NOW, than check out my friend Doberman Dan’s new program called, Hyper Growth Muscle Mass Training. You can’t even buy this unless someone gives you the page.

Keep training hard.

What To Eat To Gain Weight

June 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Articles, Nutrition, Recent Posts

Man can not build muscle with food alone. Packing on lean muscle weight requires two things: one, you have to lift weights and two, you have fuel your muscle growth with the right kinds of foods. Even if you’re training with weights regularly, stuffing your face with anything and everything is not the way to build muscle and achieve that ripped, buffed look you desire.


A healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of lean proteins, the right carbohydrates and unsaturated fats is essential to gaining lean muscle mass.

So you might ask, “What’s the best diet for me?” If you’re looking at any of the “fad” diets out there, the answer is simple-none of them. The most effective and healthiest strategy is to develop lifelong healthy eating habits that focus on providing your body the basic building blocks it needs. Think of it like this-for tens of thousands of years, our ancestors roamed the earth, lean and muscular as can be, never worrying about being on a “diet.” Why? Because not only were they active all day, but their diets naturally included the right balance of lean proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats. For the most part, their proteins came from the animals they hunted; carbohydrates from the fruits, vegetables and grains they gathered and healthy, unsaturated fats from nuts.

On the whole, humans didn’t have to worry about getting fat until we began to adopt a more sedentary lifestyle, starting around the dawn of the industrial age. As we became more civilized, we started eating more and more processed foods, high in sugars and fats-that’s when all hell broke loose and we started needing to go on “diets.”

The best strategy is to look at our past and keep it simple: a 4-6 day a week lifting routine combined with a diet of lean proteins, healthy carbs and unsaturated fats. Skip the processed foods loaded with sugars, saturated fat and empty calories. Chicken breast, turkey, tuna (packed in water, not oil), salmon and egg whites are all excellent sources of lean protein. Satisfy your cravings for snacks and supplement your protein intake with a protein or meal replacement shake in between meals. Carbohydrates should come from fruits, whole grains, beans, potatoes and vegetables. Unsaturated fats usually come from plants and nuts and are considered to be the “healthiest” of all of the fats. Avoid saturated fats.

The best way to get started is by developing a plan and sticking to it. In planning your meals, you’re better off eating smaller meals more often. Most fitness experts agree and any serious bodybuilder will tell you that it’s best to eat five to six smaller meals spread throughout the day rather than just breakfast, lunch and dinner. How much protein, carbohydrates and fats your body needs is going to vary depending on how fit you are currently what you have in mind for your training goals. You’re sure to find differing opinions but a good general rule is that 40-50 percent of your calories should come from lean protein, 40-50 percent from carbohydrates and 10-15 percent from healthy fats.

It’s important to start with a good breakfast-what you eat (or don’t eat) for breakfast causes a chain reaction for the rest of your day. Studies have shown that people who eat a nutritious, balanced breakfast are not only healthier, but far more likely to be close to their ideal weight than other folks. When you neglect your fuel tanks early in the day, you short-change yourself and are prone to binges later on. Stick to chicken, fish and lean pork accompanied by vegetables for lunch and dinner. Lean beef can be an occasional treat but for most guys, shouldn’t be part of your daily routine. Protein shakes and canned tuna (spice it up with some mustard or even a dash of Tabasco sauce) and a (small) handful of nuts are perfect for between meals. Plan out your meals for the week so you can be sure to have everything you need on-hand. If you slip up once in a while don’t knock yourself out-it happens to everyone. Just get back on track and throw in some extra cardio.

For more information, please see: Building Muscle 101

Of course if you want to increase your muscle mass, you’ll have to train with weights regularly. You should train four to six days a week in order to really see any gains. For most guys, use free weights rather than machines and you’ll get better results. The movements used when training with free weights are more natural (similar to everyday movements), increase the use of stabilizing muscles, helping to boost balance and coordination. Before deciding on a training routine, determine what your goals are first. Then you can determine what types of exercises are right for you and start planning a regular routine.  Click Here For More Weight Gain Information.


Is Muscle Soreness Really Needed?

June 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Articles, Recent Posts, Training


For a lot of bodybuilders, competitive athletes and guys who just like to work out, sore muscles are the marker for a “good” workout. If you’re muscles aren’t sore the next day or the day after that, then you probably didn’t work out hard enough-that’s what a lot of us have been taught to believe, anyway. But is that really true? Is it necessary for us to train hard enough so that every time we work out our muscles are sore? Let’s find out.

For years, fitness and medical experts thought that sore muscles were the result of lactic acid building up after an intense training sessions. Lactic acid is produced when you exercise or lift really intensely-when the muscles are screaming for more oxygen than what the blood can possibly deliver at that moment. Because the body can’t deliver the oxygen the muscles want, it compensates by beginning another process-one that works in the absence of oxygen. Lactic acid is a by-product of this process. And since it is an acid, it causes us to “feel the burn.”

So while on the surface it seems to make sense that lactic acid could be the culprit in causing sore muscles after an intense training session, it’s just not so. In reality, the lactic acid gets washed away from the muscles pretty quickly-it doesn’t hang around for hours or days. But, the muscle soreness we’re talking about here doesn’t show up for anywhere from as little as 8 to up to 36 hours after we train. So if can’t be lactic acid causing the soreness, what is it?

Modern science points to micro-traumas… the real perpetrator that causes the post-training muscle soreness. Micro-traumas are just what they sound like: small abrasions, tears or otherwise localized damage to muscle fibers-specifically, the membranes and contractile elements. Researchers have taken biopsies of muscles suffering from training-induced micro-traumas discovering that the z-bands were bleeding, causing their function to be disrupted.

The z-bands are filaments that hold the muscle fibers together as they slide over one another while contracting. When they’re damaged and bleeding-even though it’s microscopic-the muscle fibers become swollen and of course, sore.

They’ve even found a way to evaluate just how badly the muscles have been damaged by measuring the level of creatine phosphokinase (CPK) in the bloodstream. CPK is normally found inside of the muscle fibers but the when the fibers are damaged the CPK is released into the bloodstream. The higher the level of CPK in the bloodstream, the greater the damage to the muscles, which means more soreness.

Some people say that stretching after you train can alleviate the severity of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)-which is what it’s being called these days. However, knowing what we now know about what causes the soreness, we realize that this just isn’t true. While stretching-before and after a workout-is always a good idea, it won’t do much of anything to reduce or eliminate sore muscles the following day because micro-traumas are the real source of the pain, not lactic acid.

So is muscle soreness necessary? The answer is that to some degree yes, it is needed. It’s the stress or trauma that comes from lifting hard and heavy that causes our muscles to grow and become stronger. If you never train to the point where your muscles are sore the next day then the truth is, you’re not training hard enough-and you’re not seeing the results you’d probably like to see. On the other hand, ignoring the soreness and forging blindly ahead training “through the pain” is not the answer either. If you don’t pay attention to what your body is saying, you’ll pay the price sooner or later and wind up injuring yourself-possibly very seriously.

The secret to managing the soreness is two-fold:

1) increase your workload gradually. Don’t try and show off by making huge leaps in the amount of weight you’re lifting-give your muscles time to adapt.

2) Allow your body plenty of time to rest and recover between training sessions. Remember, the rest and recovery part of bodybuilding is equally as important as the lifting weights part. It’s during this process that you’re muscles are actually growing-not when you’re working out.

So while it shouldn’t really be your goal to completely eliminate training-induced muscle soreness it is important to know that you can manage it and minimize its impact on your body and your training routine.

For me personally, whenever I bench press heavy, my muscles always get sore and I kinda like it that way.