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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

MUSCLE BUILDING STRATEGIES

Untapped Target 1 – High Frequency Lifting
The reason it works: If you could train a muscle group 50 times a year or 150 times a year, which would get you better results?  150 - assuming you are recovered before the next stimulus on the muscle.
How to make it work: train each body part with up to 3-4 workouts per week.  But you must manipulate the weights, exercises and rep ranges. You will not lift heavy weights 3 days in the week all on the same muscle group or else the joints and nervous system would be overtaxed.
Methods you can experiment with: An example is training a body part 3 times in a week, while incorporating a heavy day, medium day and a light day; using all different exercises, sets and reps. Here's an example using chest:
On Monday you do a power day of 4 sets of 6-8 reps, 2 minutes with bench press. On Wednesday you have a hypertrophy day of 3 sets of 8-10 reps, 90 seconds rest with Incline Dumbbell Press.  On Friday you do an endurance day of 2 sets of 25, with 30 seconds rest, for Decline Chest Flyes.
Untapped Target 2 – Positions of Flexion Training
The reason it works: hit each muscle group from three different angles each workout.
How to make it work: For your first exercise you hit the bulk of the muscle fibers with a mid-range mass-builder exercise, which would be a multi- joint/compound movement. Shoulder Presses, Bench Press, Squatting and Deadlifting are all perfect examples.
Your second exercise would target the muscle from a stretched position – a very vulnerable angle that forces a lot of untapped fiber recruitment. An incline bicep curl is a great example.
Your third exercise you select a peak- contraction exercise, which challenges the muscle to contract against resistance. This further helps activate every single muscle fiber without over fatiguing or over killing specific movements of a muscle (a very common mistake). A tricep kickback is a great example of a peak contraction exercise.
Methods you can experiment with: When you split up your body- parts, I see very little reason to incorporate more than 3 exercises per body part. Each body part should have a mid-range movement, a stretch movement and a contraction movement to maximize all the muscle fibers and prevent overtraining. A killer bicep workout would only include standing barbell curls, incline bicep curls and concentration curls.
Positions Of Flexion is the most sensible way to organize your exercise choices instead of the shotgun way of just picking a multitude of exercises for a body part without any specific reason.
Untapped Target 3 – Significant Amounts of Unilateral Lifting
The reason it works: it’s harder for the body to recruit the growth muscle fibers during bilateral movements than during unilateral exercises. Beginners often hit a plateau because of an inefficient nervous system so they can’t recruit the high threshold growth fibers. People with longer limbs experience the same difficulty in recruiting their high threshold motor units.
How to make it work: incorporate 3-week training blocks of pure unilateral (one arm or one leg at a time) movements to better recruit the nervous system and ultimately improve the recruitment of the high threshold motor units when returning to bilateral movements.
Methods you can experiment with: Don’t drop all of your bilateral work and use this method sparingly, especially if you’re not a beginner or have shorter limbs. Here are unilateral exercises to target each side independently or alternatively: alternating lunge, 1 leg-curl, 1-leg deadlift, 1-leg squat, step ups, 1-leg hop, 1-leg press, 1-leg stiff leg deadlift, 1-leg back extension.
Better training and regular inclusion of unilateral training will optimize bilateral training and maximize the high threshold motor units for growth.
 
Important:
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Thursday, January 20, 2011

FAT-BURNING WITH IDEAL AND DELICIOUS FOOD

Some people may call these "healthy snacks", but I prefer to consider them meals because they should be similar in size to your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, if you want to spread your calorie intake out over the full day to "graze" so to speak.
After all, I'm sure it's no secret by now that eating 5-6 small meals per day is a much better strategy for getting lean compared to the traditional "3 squares" a day (which for most people, turns into only 2 big meals/day as many skip breakfast).
The problem that I see most people having is being prepared enough to bring healthy mid-meals with them to work for the day. If you don't plan ahead,  and bring something healthy and balanced with you when you're out and about for the day, or at work, you're going to end up choosing the junk food at the vending machine or corner store.
So here are some of my favorite natural foods based mid-meals that I've used for years with great success and that lots of my clients love too. I want to keep things simple here, so I'm just gonna give a couple of my easiest, quickest, and healthiest...
Quick, healthy mid-meal ideas to keep you lean:
  • Apple or other fruit with almond butter
  • Hummus with carrot sticks or sliced red/yellow/orange peppers
  • Guacamole with carrot sticks or sliced red/yellow/orange peppers  
  • Ricotta cheese (grass-fed if possible) mixed with cocoa powder, stevia, and vanilla extract (delicious high protein, low carb snack!) 
  • Cottage cheese mixed with yogurt, berries, and walnuts or pecans 
  • A couple hard boiled eggs with carrot and celery sticks and hummus (roasted red pepper hummus is my favorite)
  • Celery sticks with organic peanut butter or almond butter (a classic quick snack)
  • My famous healthy chocolate FUDGE recipe
  • Foods that make you fatAvocado slices wrapped in deli turkey breast (one of my favorite quick snacks)
  • A piece of sprouted grain toast (sprouted grain preferred nutritionally over "whole grain") with nut butter and berries 
  • Fresh sliced pineapple with a handful of macadamia nuts 
  • a bowl of blueberries mixed with raw almonds
  • my quick and healthy fat-burning chocolate pudding recipe
  • Cottage cheese with cinnamon, apple slices, and walnuts (mmm, mmm good)
That should give you some ideas to start working with.  Now you have ZERO EXCUSES for resorting to junk food snacks on the road or at the office, when you have all of the delicious and healthy fat-burning snack ideas right here! 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR GROWTH HORMONE & TESTOSTERONE

2 Exercise "Tricks" to Increase Growth Hormone & Testosterone
Increase the "youth hormone", burn body fat faster, and build more lean muscle with these tips
by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer
Author:  
The Truth about Six-Pack Abs

I'm sure you know that 2 of the most important hormones for both burning body fat and also building lean muscle are growth hormone (GH) and testosterone (T)... and there are certain "tricks" that you can use during exercise to maximize production in your body.
And keep in mind that GH is also called the "youth hormone", so there are benefits besides just fat loss and lean muscle development.
Now let me clarify, this topic might seem to be more relevant to men (especially when it comes to Testosterone), but it's also important to the ladies for getting maximum results from training...
For the ladies reading this...don't worry about exercise-induced small increases in these hormones...the amount of T in the female body is so small compared to men that minor increases won't lead to any "masculinization" (I just made that word up)... instead it just helps get a leaner and more shapely body.
Ok, this topic could be long-winded, but I'm going to give just a couple really quick tips today for maximizing Growth Hormone and Testosterone response from exercise...
From a lot of the research I've done, there seems to be a couple distinct types of training that can either help increase T or help increase GH, and they are different training methods.
In order to reduce your body fat as much as possible, as well as build lean muscle the easiest, you need to try to maximize BOTH!
Here's how...
First, for exercise-induced Testosterone increases...
From a lot of the various research I've read, one of the best methods to increase T is to do at least some portion of your training in very low rep ranges and very heavy weight.
This means training in the 2-5 rep range, with such heavy weights that you can't physically do more reps than that range.  Also, this only works with the biggest multi-joint exercises such as barbell squats, deadlifts, bench press and weighted pullups.  No silly side lateral raises or tricep extensions when you're trying to get a Testosterone response!
An example of this type of structure would be 5 sets of 3 reps on the barbell deadlift, squat, or bench.  Alternating sets of deadlifts and bench press (or squats alternated with weighted pullups) separated by at least 2 minutes of rest between sets works well to accomplish this super heavy lifting style and subsequent T increase.
It's basically the aspect of challenging your body with super heavy weights and low rep ranges, with 2-3 minutes rest between sets that helps to maximize T production.
From what I've observed at most gyms, almost NOBODY trains in this rep range (most people seem to always train in the 8-12 or higher rep ranges), so there are a TON of people that could see Testosterone improvements by incorporating this into their training at least once or twice a week.
Keep in mind that this super heavy style of training is ONLY for advanced trainees that have years of training experience with weights.

Now, let's talk about exercise induced Growth Hormone increases...
From the research I've read on this hormone, it appears that more explosive styles of training, and also higher rep training with shorter rest periods helps to increase GH response.
Wind sprints are one of the top exercises for inducing a GH increase. I like to do these as 60 to 100 yard all-out sprints across a local soccer field or football field.  Generally, I'll do about 8-12 total sprints with about 60 seconds rest time in between each one for a good 20 minute workout.  If you haven't done sprints in a long time or are out of shape, it's a good idea to not go to "all-out" intensity for the first couple weeks or you'll risk injury.  Also, just doing 3-4 sprints for the first couple of sprint workouts is a good idea to reduce injury risk.
Also, hill sprints are an exceptional exercise for GH response.  I like to sprint as fast and as hard as possible up a 30 yard hill and then walk down... and then keep repeating until I've done at least 10-20 hill sprints. Sometimes I'll mix in pushups in between hill sprints to maximize the full body effect.
As for weight training, from the research I've read, GH increase comes best from higher rep ranges with short rest periods between sets.  This means that supersets in the 8-15 rep range per exercise with no rest between might work well. The weight still needs to be heavy enough to challenge your muscles close to failure at those rep ranges.
Another type of training that seems to increase GH is more "explosive" types of exercises such as squat jumps, lunge jumps, or something like barbell power cleans or barbell clean and press.  Any exercise that works large muscle groups explosively or almost the entire body at once in an explosive fashion seems to stimulate GH (hence why I chose barbell clean and press as one of the best).
I also think double kettlebell snatches are one of the most intense exercises ever invented and probably have a huge effect on growth hormone due to their explosive and intense nature.
So with all of this said, it's important to keep in mind that for the best results with maximizing both T and GH, you want to incorporate BOTH of these styles of training.
One way to do this is to have 1 or 2 workouts per week that are designated low-rep "strength" days where you work those big multi joint lifts in low rep ranges.  And then on another 1-2 days per week you work on the explosive exercises, higher rep ranges and short rest periods, and/or the wind sprints or hill sprints.
And lastly, always remember to consciously think in your mind about how the exercises that you're doing are actually increasing your fat burning and muscle building hormones, making you feel younger, etc, etc... I've talked in several other articles about actual PROOF of how using the power of conscious thought in your mind can help bring about those changes in your body (aka placebo effect).
I hope you enjoyed this article... I really think if you incorporate these tips into your workout schedule, you can drastically improve your hormonal response to exercise and therefore see faster fat burning and muscle building effects!