Sunday, June 19, 2011

Periodization Training!!!

One of the mistakes most people make in regards to training is doing the same old thing even when it is no longer producing results, what many personal trainers will tell is that you should plan to change your training style every so often. Now there are two different approaches to this, and we will look at both.

First we will look at the more of the structured of the approaches where you set up a plan for an entire year. In this approach the idea is to have micro cycles through out the year where you will change your training style at predetermined intervals. This sounds complicated but it’s really not and this can all be set up in a relatively short amount of time. To keep everything fairly simple we will not get to technical, or go into the theory or science behind it because that could end up being enough content to fill a book.

We are going to break the year in to 3-5 micro cycles, these micro cycles are usually; hypertrophy (mass), strength, power, endurance, and plyometrics. The selection of the different micro cycles is largely biased on your goals. For example some people exclude Plyometrics, and some exclude power. So for example lets say you wanted to incorporate all 5 I have listed, you would first choose what one you wanted to start with, I recommend selecting one that if different from what you are currently doing, then alternating them to make the changes as drastic as possible to force your body to respond and grow from this different/new stimulus you are placing on it. So let’s start with power, what you will do is train in a very low rep range (1-3) with low total volume, and utilize large compound movements with lots of weight in an explosive manor. You will train like this for 8-12 weeks (I usually do 8 weeks per micro cycle). Next you are going to want to shock your body so you will switch to hypertrophy for the following 8-12 weeks, this will be a very slow tempo style of lifting with a higher rep range (10-15). From there you are going to want to shock the body yet again, so for the next 8-12 weeks you switch over to plyometrics. Plyometrics is a method of training muscle elastic strength and explosiveness to enhance athletic performance, we will not go to much in depth with how to set up a plyometrics routine as this content could fill its own book as well, but you would incorporate things like jumping box squats, clapping explosive push-ups, and things of that nature. Here is a big surprise, we are going to want to shock the body again so we change gears to the strength phase. This phase is going to be a rep range of 4-8 with heavy weight. Finally we are at the endurance phase, this phase uses lighter weight and a much higher rep range usually 15-25+ reps. It should also be noted that some people include a de-train period of 1-4 weeks where weight training is kept to a bare minimum or avoided all together, that way when they get back to training hard they are shocking the body again, thus forcing it to grow.

With the 8-12 weeks for each of the micro cycles that gives you 40-60 weeks for the entire rotation, so it could be any where from just under 1 year, to just over 1 year. It should also be mentioned that some people also make the micro cycles only 4 weeks in length, that way they are able to get 2+ rotations in one year.

The second method is very similar, but rather than having a predetermined amount of time that you stay on one micro cycle you would switch when your progress slows or stops all together. This is a good approach because you don’t waste time once your progress has stalled, but you have to be very in tune to your body and keep a good record of your numbers so you can tell when its time to switch to the next phase, other than that the rest of the set up is the same.

Please note that this is in no way intended to be a full and in-depth look at periodization training, but rather just a very brief over view. If you have any questions about this type of training or would like to learn more about it head over to and visit the forums, there you can read over the different topics already being discussed or start your own and get any questions you may have about this topic answered.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Diet Makeover! (Continued) day 5

Ok, so now I know what complex carbohydrates are, but what are healthy fats?
To keep this as simple as possible we will split fats into 2 main categories, good fats and bad fats. Then we will split each of those into 2 subcategories.

There are 2 main types of good fats, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat. From these 2 groups the fats and foods that contain these fats are as follows; olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, peanut oil, sesame oil, avocados, olives, nuts (almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, cashews, walnuts), peanut butter, soybean oil, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, trout, sardines), soymilk, and tofu.

On the bad fat side the 2 main groups are saturated fat, and trans fat. From these 2 groups the fats and foods that contain these fats are as follows; high-fat cuts of meat (beef, lamb, pork), chicken with the skin, whole-fat dairy products (milk and cream), butter, cheese, ice cream, palm and coconut oil, lard, commercially-baked pastries, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, cakes, pizza dough, packaged snack foods (crackers, microwave popcorn, chips), stick margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods (french fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, breaded fish), and candy bars. The objective is not to remove fat from your diet but rather to have as much of your dietary fat come form the good fats as possible, and consume as little as possible of the bad fats.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Diet Makeover! (Continued) day 4

So what are complex carbohydrates, and where can I get them?

A complex carbohydrate is a carbohydrate containing chains of three or more single sugar molecules linked together. There are many different sources of complex carbohydrates, and they can be obtained from grains, potatoes, and vegetables just to list a few. One way to make sure that you are getting complex carbohydrates is to only purchase whole grain or complete grain products when buying things like; bread, pasta, flower, or cereal. Also you will want to choose sweet or red potatoes over white potatoes and brown rice over white rice. Oatmeal and legumes are also excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. As long as you make sure you are getting your carbohydrates from sources like the ones listed above as opposed to sugars or refined, bleached, and over processed items like white breads, pastas, and cereals, then you should be headed in the right direction. Some of the benefits of consuming complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates are; higher fiber content, they take longer to digest, you will feel fuller longer, and they don’t spike your insulin levels as much as simple carbohydrates.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Diet Makeover! (Continued) day 3

Yesterday we talked about how to determine how many calories you will need to lose weight as well as the proper ratios for your macronutrients. Now that you have that, the next thing I want to go over is the proper way to split those calories and macronutrients up. Some people think it’s best to have a big breakfast, an average lunch, and an average dinner. Other people believe is good to have a small breakfast and lunch and a big dinner. However for optimal results what you are going want to do is split your calories between 6-8 small meals spaced about 3-4 hours apart. Your first meal should be upon waking and should have more carbohydrates than the other meals, your last 2-3 meals should be mainly protein and fat meals and your last meal should be right before you go to bed. Follow this in addition to the protocol you learned yesterday for calculating your BMR and the proper ratios for macronutrients, add in a solid exercise routine and weight loss should come fairly easy. Just remember as you lose weight you will need to recalculate your BMR, (about every 10lbs or so should do it.)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Diet Makeover! (Continued) day 2

Calories in VS calories out!!! This is a hotly debated topic, there are those out that will tell you if you take in less calories than you burn then you will lose weight. Then there are others out there that will say this theory is a complete misconception, they will tell you it’s all about the macronutrients, their ratios and timing. Well I have news for all of you, it’s both!!! Although generally speaking if you consume less calories than you burn you will lose weight, however if your macronutrients are not in check that weight loss will be short lived as your body could go into a catabolic state as well as slow your metabolism down.

So where do you go from here? The first thing you want to do is use the Harris Benedict equation to calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), next factor in your daily activity level and this will give you the amount of calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight, decrease that by 500 calories a day, and your weight loss will be about 1 lb per week (+/- 500 calories a day = 3500 a week, it takes about +/- 3500 calories to gain or lose 1 lb of body weight). Now that you know the amount of calories you need to lose 1 lb a week, this is when we will factor in macronutrients and their ratios. The ratio I recommend starting out with is 40% protein, 35% carbohydrates, and 25% fat, and once you see how your body responds to this you can tweak these percentages to what works best for your body. So for example if the amount of calories you needed to lose weight was 1500 you want 40% protein, 35% carbohydrates, and 25% fat, (keep in mind that protein and carbohydrates are 4 calories a gram, and fat is 9 calories a gram). So 40% of 1500 = 600 calories, divide that by 4 calories per gram = 150g protein, next carbohydrates, 35% of 1500 = 525 calories, divide that by 4 calories per gram = 131.25g carbohydrates, and finally fat, 25% of 1500 = 375 calories, divide that by 9 calories per gram =41.6g fat. So your new diet will be 1500 calories a day consisting of 150g protein, 131.25g carbohydrates, and 41.6g fat. I know it sounds somewhat complicated but it’s really not, just Google the Harris Benedict equation and it will walk you through the entire process. Just keep in mind you want your carbohydrate sources to be complex carbohydrate, and your fat sources to be healthy fats.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Diet Makeover!

Over the next few days I will be providing you a few quick, hopefully helpful tips for improving your diet, boosting your metabolism and losing fat.
First off, for all of you out there who are intentionally not eating 3-4 hours before bed time in an attempt to prevent weight gain stop this immediately. You are already going to be depriving your body of nutrients the entire time you sleep, if you add 4 hours to that you could be going as much as 12hrs without nutrients that your body needs. Even when I am cutting the last thing I do before I brush my teeth and go to bed is eat. The trick it to have a protein/fat meal, you are going to want a slow digesting protein and a healthy fat, (I use a casein protein, and natural peanut butter), the fat will slow the digestion of the protein even further to fuel your body while you sleep.  This will help prevent your body from burning muscle for fuel and it will also help prevent your body from going into starvation mode and slowing down your metabolism. There are many meal options to choose form that will provide slow digesting protein and healthy fat, so be creative, try different things, and for crying out loud EAT BEFORE BED!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

When NOT to change your exercise routine!

There are times when it is a good idea to change your exercise routine, for example if it has stopped producing results, your schedule no longer allows you to follow the same protocol, you are having issues with injury, etc. However there are also times when it is not necessarily a good idea to change your routine, I look at it like this, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. I see people all the time that are changing their workouts too frequently, you have to give a given split or routine enough time to see if it works for you. I am not saying you should stick with if for 6 months but a good time period to reevaluate is around the 4 week period. This amount of time should allow you to ascertain whether or not the new program is producing results. So if it’s not broken, don’t fix it, and if is it, well then fix it already!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A strong mind can lead to a strong body.

The mind is a very powerful thing, and I think sometimes people tend to overlook this factor when it comes to their fitness goals. A quote I like is, “whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you are right”, I believe it was Stewie Griffin that said that. The point is that your mind can either help you or hinder you from reaching your fitness goals. If you tell yourself that you can’t do it, that it’s too hard, that it is a pointless pursuit, then you are absolutely correct. However if you stay positive, reassure yourself, and know that you can prevail, than that is just what you will do. So stay positive, work hard, and never give up.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A new week is a fresh start!

Whit Monday morning comes many things for many of us, like work, chores, appointments, and its back to the hustle and bustle of the busy week. However Monday does not have to be all bad, you can look at this new week as a fresh start to tackle your fitness goals. So last week may not have been ideal, you had unhealthy  fast food one too many times, you did not exercise as much as you should have, that’s ok, because today is Monday, it’s a clean slate, a chance to start all over. Now you just have to figure out how you’re going to make this week better than last week. Start by writing down your fitness and nutrition plans and goals for the week.  If you write them down you are more likely to follow them, then you could do something like not allowing yourself to go out to eat until you have checked of all of your goals for that week, see that’s 2 birds with one stone, you will be more likely to reach your weekly goals, and you will be less likely to go out to eat and make unhealthy food selections.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fitness out of the gym!

Fitness is achievable many different ways, spending hours on end in the gym is not the only way to achieve your desired level of fitness. There are so many other options, you can swim, walk, run, play, bike, rock climb, the list goes on and on. For example I went for a hike today, it was about a 4 mile round trip hike on fairly uneven mountainous terrain. Aside from the calories that were burned, the uneven, shifting, ever-changing terrain also had another benefit, you see when you are on terrain like that you start to involve muscles from all over your body to stabilize yourself. It starts in the feet, and works all the way up through your entire body. One of the largest areas that is used for stabilization is your core, and this is evident if you place your hands on your abs when you are hiking in conditions like this, you can feel your abs working to stabilize your body and keep your balance. The point to all of this is that you don’t have to go to the gym to get a good workout, you can get a good workout just about anywhere. You just have to pick a method that you will enjoy, then have fun and before you know you have hiked, or biked, or ran your way to fitness.  

Friday, June 3, 2011

I am Back!

Due to many different factors I have not been keeping up with my blog, I apologize for that.  Between Job hunting, starting a new job, keeping up with my clients and preparing for a bodybuilding show I have been pretty busy lately. However I am going to make an honest effort to update this blog consistently, as well as start another blog that will follow my training and preparation for my upcoming bodybuilding show.  I look forward to this and hope you all find it interesting, informative, helpful and motivational.