Sunday, February 28, 2010

How Many Calories Are You Burning Everyday? You Can Find Out Here . . .

Looking for the number of calories you burn everyday?

It is an essential number to know if you want to lose fat or gain muscle.

Your ultimate success hinges on both sides of this number.

Here's a calculator you can use to determine how many calories you are burning in a day.

The way I use it is this: I always choose the lowest level of activity and then in my diet software (DietController), I add in the exercise calories. This has consistently given me the best and most accurate results.

Train hard, diet harder.


Plus50Fitness: "Loading Phase": Week 2 (Chest/Back)

Today was Week 2, Day 3 of the Loading Phase

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

•The growth hormone output increases due to the short rest interval between sets and the high volume.

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

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

In Week 2 the Day 3 Loading Phase workout looks like this:

Chest & Back

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 sets x 10-12 reps (No rest)
Wide Grip Pull-up to Front (Palms facing away from you) 4 sets x 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)

Chest Dips 4 sets x 10-12 reps (No rest)
Close Grip Pull-up (Palms facing you) 4 sets x 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)

Dumbbell Shrugs 3 sets x 10-12 reps
External Rotations (for strengthening of the rotator cuff) 3 sets x 15-20 reps

Leg Raises 4 sets x 25 reps (30 second rest)
Crunches 4 sets x 25 reps (30 second rest)

One Arm Rows 3 sets x 10-12 reps (No rest)
Dumbbell Bench Press 3 sets x 10-12 reps (No rest)
Knee-Ins 3 sets x 25 reps (1 minute rest)

When in the Loading Phase it is important not to use weight that is too heavy to get the number of reps designated. To do that causes the increased risk of injury and will not accomplish the hormone results that this phase can provide.

Currently, I have made "the turn." That means I am gaining weight slowly -- muscle weight -- and will continue to do that over the next several weeks, up until April 15 at which time I will enter the Cutting Phase and cut down to sub-10% body fat over the course of 6 weeks and be ready for summer! (It is not as easy at it may seem and I will blog on that dynamic this week.)

You can watch the diet on the website: I upload it every week.

Train hard!


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Workout: Loading Phase: Week 2: Legs [Do Not Try This At Home]

Brutal leg routine today . . . my legs were shaking as I left the gym and I ended up passing out this afternoon for a 2 hour nap . . .

You will recall we are currently in an 8 week routine. 2 weeks "active rest;" 3 weeks "loading phase;" and 3 weeks "growth phase."

Tomorrow (Sunday) we complete Week 2 of the "loading phase."

Today was Legs in Week 2 (This is a 6 day routine so you do each day twice each week.) Here's how it went this morning:

Day 2 – Legs (Wednesday/Saturday)

Smith Machine Squats 4 sets x 10-12 reps (No rest)
Standing Leg Curls 4 sets x 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)

Hack Squats 4 sets x 10-12 reps (No rest)
Leg Extensions 4 sets x 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)

Adductor Machine 3 sets x12-15 reps (No rest)
Abductor Machine 3 sets x12-15 reps (No rest)

Standing Calf Raises 4 sets x 10-12 reps (30 second rest)
Seated Calf Raises 4 sets x 15-20 reps (30 second rest)

Dead Lifts (Barbell) 3 sets x 10-12 reps (No rest)
Leg Presses (3 sets x 10-12 reps (No rest)

36 sets going to near failure each set.

It goes fast if you get as little rest as is designated and you feel like a truck hit you at the end.

This routine is NOT for beginners. It is not even for intermediates. If you do this routine and are not ready you will not be able to walk for a week. I will send you beginning or intermediate routines upon request, no charge. This will hurt you if you don't have at least a year in the gym consistently training hard. So warned . . .

Next blog I'm going to write about an interesting dilemma -- what I call "the turn." This is where you have achieved your goal bodyweight but now want to put on muscle without adding a lot of fat. Challenging to say the least and I'll discuss it next time.

Train hard!


Friday, February 26, 2010

Current Workout - "Loading Phase"

In my talks, the most common question is, "What do you eat?" Well, on the website you can see everything I have eaten for more than a year.

I upload my food each week at: Check it out.

Others have asked that I start uploading my current workouts. I'm happy to do that and we're making an addition the web page in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, here's where I am now in the gym . . .

On an 8 week program focusing on growth which explains why I have added about 200 calories to my diet each day -- I'm doing what is called "lean-bulk," adding the maximum amount of muscle and the minimum amount of fat. More on the why's later.

Here's an explanation of the routine:

The first two weeks were an “Active Recovery Phase”. In this phase I only trained with weights twice a week on a full body routine before I started the next phase which is called the “Loading Phase”.

The “Loading Phase”, which is three weeks in duration, is a high volume phase with short rest between sets. Training volume gradually increases over the course of the three weeks in order to stress the body almost to the point of overtraining.

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

Right now I am in the "Loading Phase," lots of sets, little rest between them. Today was Week 2, Day 1 of the "Loading Phase" and it looked like this:

February 26, 2009
Shoulders & Arms:

Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 sets x 10-12 reps (30 second rest)
Bent Over Laterals 4 sets x 10-12 reps (30 second rest)

Dumbbell Curls 4 sets x 10-12 reps (No rest)
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 4 sets x 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)

Incline Curls 4 sets x 10-12 reps (No rest)
Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extensions 4 sets x 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)

Wrist Curls 3 sets x 15-30 reps (No rest)
Reverse Wrist Curls 3 sets x 15-30 reps (No rest)

Bent Over Laterals 3 sets x 10-12 reps (No rest)
Concentration Curls 3 sets x 10-12 reps (No rest)
Triceps Pushdowns 3 sets x 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)

39 sets -- whew! It's tough but it moves fast because there is little to no rest allowed between sets.

Supplements right now include the regulars and I've added "Tribulus Terrestris," a natural plant-form supplement that increases testosterone levels which I need right now working out 6 days a week, 30-40 sets per day. I'll let you know how that goes.

Hope this helps. Keep the e-mails and questions coming.

Train hard, diet harder,


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Being Mindful When Dining With Others

Others' eating habits influence us.

Research shows that those who eat with 1 other person eat 35% more than they do when alone; those in a group of 4 eat 75% more; and those in groups of 7 or more eat 96% more.

Be mindful, friends, and train hard!


Lentil with Spinach Soup -- High Protein in Less Than 30 Minutes

Want a great hot, high-protein dish you can prepare in less than 30 minutes?

Try this lentil with spinach soup.

We will try and get this on video as soon as we can.



Monday, February 22, 2010

63 Rules That Will Take You To Your Body Goal

Just got back from 10 days on the road . . .

Here's an article I read that is a must read for everyone interested in being the best they can be:

Hope everyone is well, training hard and eating clean.



Friday, February 12, 2010

Even Those Who Care Nothing For Themselves -- Think of Your Children

Most prevalent form of child abuse? Child obesity.

Our children are destined to live 10 years less than their parents because of diet -- mostly fast food, prepared and packaged foods. We are eating ourselves to death and taking our children with us. Diet related illnesses are responsible for 10% of all healthcare bills in the U.S. and increasing every year.

Obesity kills far more people than smoking.

Childhood obesity is off the charts.

Jamie Oliver is taking on the issue. Here is his presentation to "Ted." This is a must watch.

Set Short-Term "Action" Goals

Research shows that people who set short-term "action" goals have better success than those who set "result" goals. Example: for losing weight, "I will do my cardio 4 days this week and eat no junk food" yields much greater success than "I will lose 3 pounds this week."

Focus on the "how's," and the results will take care of themselves.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Are You "Overtraining?" These Are The Signs . . .

Kelly and I have been in an "Active Recovery" phase for the last two weeks. In our current routine, there are two weeks of "active recovery" followed by three weeks of high volume called the "loading phase," followed by three weeks of lower volume, heavy weight, called the "growth phase." More on those later . . .

The Active Recovery Phase has three main functions:

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

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

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

What put us into Active Recovery were signs of overtraining, all too common but that lead to unfortunate consequences.

How can you tell if you are overtraining? Read this -- a discussion of the signs of this dynamic you want to avoid.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Check Out A New High Protein/Low Carb Main Course On The Homepage!

Scallops With Pasta Sauce Over Shredded Cauliflower

Check out this new high protein, low carb, low calorie main dish for those who want to eat clean. Great nutrition balance. Don't be turned off by the cauliflower -- looks and works just like rice or pasta without the simple carbs!

It's on the homepage today:

Try it out; you'll love it.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Hammer Strength Incline Presses - Upper Chest Development

For most guys it is reasonably easy to get a big chest -- free bench press and flat bench dumbbell presses will get you there.

But what about the much harder to develop upper chest which has a tendency to go flat with age and without exercise to focus on it.

There are Smith Machine incline bench presses -- they are good but it can be hard to get in exactly the right position and if you are not, they can be tough on the shoulders (something I found out the hard way.) Free bar incline presses are good, too, but you need someone who really knows how to spot you. If not, they are dangerous.

Perhaps the best all-around upper chest developer I've found is the Hammer Strength Incline Press machine (plate loaded.) All you have to do is adjust the seat to your height and you can really slam the upper chest. Do about 4 sets of 6 - 8 reps (meaning you have set the weight to where you have to squeeze out that last rep!)

Take a look at the video at

Let me know if you have questions and add this into your workout for 6 weeks and let me know whether you see a difference.

Coming up later this week -- back to the kitchen and a great high-protein, low-carb scallop dish with a twist!


What Body Fat Percentage Does It Take to Expose the Abdominals?

First, let's get this straight: abdominals are not made in the gym, but in the kitchen.

You can do situps and other ab exercises until you pass out from exhaustion but if you do not have your body fat at the right level, you will not see your abdominals muscles -- the famous "six pack."

Here's a summary of what it takes from Tom Venuto, great natural bodybuilder, who tells you what you need to make taking off your shirt in the summer a real pleasure . . . and know this -- it doesn't matter how old you are -- if you want a six-pack and are willing to make the sacrifices to have one, it's yours!

What is the Ideal Body Fat to See Your Abs?

Measuring your body fat percentage is a valuable tool to chart your progress on your quest to get six pack abs. Hopefully most people realize by now that abdominal exercises don’t burn fat off your stomach. Abs are made in the kitchen, not just in the gym. No matter how much you work out, if you don’t eat right and achieve a calorie deficit, your abs will remain covered in a layer of adipose.

When the realization hits you that you must reduce your body fat percentage to see your abs, one of the biggest questions that pops into your mind is, “how low do I have to get my body fat percentage to see my abs?” It’s a tough question and the answer may be different for men than women.

Here’s what I’d recommend:

First, get familiar with some benchmarks for body fat levels.

My Burn The Fat System has a body fat rating scale, which includes averages and my suggested optimal body fat percentages. This is my own chart, which I created with a combination of research literature and my own personal experience.

Burn The Fat Body fat rating scale:


Competition Shape (“ripped”): 8-12%

Very Lean (excellent): < 15% Lean (good): 16-20% Satisfactory (fair): 21-25% Improvement needed (poor): 26-30% Major improvement needed (Very poor): 31-40%+ MEN:

Competition Shape (“ripped”): 3-6%

Very Lean (excellent): < 9% Lean (good): 10-14% Satisfactory (fair): 15-19% Improvement needed (poor): 20-25% Major improvement needed (Very poor): 26-30%+ Just a quick note: You’re not destined to get fatter as you get older, but in the general population (not fitness and bodybuilding folks), the average older person has more body fat. [Note from Karger: This is because most of us over 50 just "give up." You don't have to do that!]

What I did to accommodate this was to include a body fat range instead of one number, so younger people can use the low end of the range and older people can use the higher number.

Also, just so the average reader can keep things in perspective, single digit body fat for women and low single digits for men is far beyond lean – it’s RIPPED – and that’s usually solely the domain of competitive physique athletes.

Competition body fat levels were not meant to be maintained all year round. It’s not realistic and it may not be healthy, particularly for women.

For most women, 12% body fat or thereabouts is ripped, and for many, that’s contest ready (figure or fitness competition).

Just for comparison, I’ve done over 7,000 body fat tests during my career, and the lowest I have ever measured on a female was 8.9% (4-site skinfold method). She was a national-level figure competitor and she was shredded – full six pack of abs… “onion skin!”

However, I do know some women who get down to 11-13% body fat – by all standards extremely lean, complete with six pack abs – but oddly, they still had a few stubborn fat spots – usually the hips and lower body.

What about guys? Well, I know a guy who looks absolutely chiseled in his abs at 11% body fat, but other guys don’t look really cut in the abs until they get down to 6-8% body fat. Bodybuilders usually aren’t ready for competition until they get below 6%.

That’s the trouble with trying to pin down one specific body fat number as THE body fat level for seeing 6-pack abs (or being ripped and contest-ready): Everyone distributes their body fat differently and two people may look different at the same percentage.

The average guy or gal should probably aim for the “lean” category as a realistic year round goal, or if you’re really ambitious and dedicated, the “very lean category.”

You’ll probably have to hit the “very lean” category for six pack abs. However, the bottom line is that there’s no “perfect” body fat percentage where you’re assured of seeing your abs.

Besides, body fat is one of those numbers that gets fudged and exaggerated all the time. I hear reports of women with body fat between 4% and 8% and I usually dismiss it as error in measurement (or there’s some “assistance” involved).

Body fat testing, especially with skinfolds, is not an exact science. All body fat tests are estimations and there is always room for human error.

The low numbers are nice for bragging rights, but the judges don’t measure your body fat on stage. What counts is how you look and whether you’re happy with that (or whether the judges are happy with it, if you’re competing).

You can use my chart to help you set some initial goals, but for the most part, I recommend using body fat testing as a way of charting your progress over time to see if you’re improving rather than pursuing some holy grail number.

In my Burn The fat, Feed The Muscle program, you can learn more about how to measure your body fat – professionally or even by yourself in the privacy of your own home.

Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle explains why body mass index and height and weight charts are virtually worthless, and shows you how to track your body composition over time and “tweak” your nutrition and training according to your weekly results.

Author Bio: Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilder, certified personal trainer and freelance fitness writer. Tom is the author of “Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle,” which teaches you how to get lean without drugs or supplements using secrets of the world’s best bodybuilders and fitness models. Learn how to get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism by visiting:

(Article published at: Facebook "I Love Leg Day.")

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Time to start thinking about summer . . .

By: Hugo Rivera

Summer is just around the corner. Along with it comes the time to get in your bathing suits and go to the beach.

But, wait a minute! Do I hear that can’t do because some of the flab gained over the holidays is still on your waist?

In this article, I cover what needs to be done with your diet. Don’t worry; I won’t take your carbs away or stick you with a liquid or celery diet. If you want a summer body and have the determination necessary to do what it takes to get it, I describe the path that will lead to it.

1) Eliminate all sorts of junk food from your diet. That alone will cause you to eliminate empty calories that are not used by the body and are turned into fat.

2) Reduce your intake of bad fats. Bad fats are things like butter, cooking oils, and saturated fats such as the ones found in meats. However, ensure adequate intake of good fats such as flaxseed oil. 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil a day covers all of the essential fatty acid requirements of most people. I tend to take 1 tablespoon in the morning with my protein shake.

3) Reduce your intake of sugars. Foods laden with sugar cause a sharp rise in insulin levels. Insulin is a good hormone when it is not present in excess as it carries the amino acids from the protein into the muscle cell so that they can be used for growth and repair. It also carries the carbohydrates into the liver and muscle cells for storage as glycogen (stored carbohydrates) that can be used for future occasions. However, in excess, once the body’s reserves of carbohydrate storage are full, insulin turns these carbs into fat!

In addition, the excess insulin production will also take the carbs away from the blood stream too quickly creating a situation of low blood sugar. In this case you feel tired, groggy, and usually craving sweets. It is a vicious cycle that guarantees fat gain.

4) Increase your intake of protein. Protein foods provide the building blocks of muscle tissue. Without it, building muscle and burning fat efficiently would be impossible. Its importance is paramount. Protein also helps increase your metabolism every time you eat it by 20%! It also makes the carbohydrates that you eat ‘timed release’, so you get sustained energy throughout the day and you get a more steady release of insulin as opposed to the sharp rise you would get if you ate carbohydrate foods alone.
Good examples of protein are eggs (I use Egg Substitute: 1-1/2 cups liquid), chicken breast (cooked, skinless and boneless: 6 oz), turkey (cooked, skinless and boneless: 6 oz), lean (90% lean) red meats (6 oz), and tuna (6 oz). Each serving size equals approximately 35-40 grams of protein.

5) For every serving of protein, have an equal size serving of starchy carbohydrates. Remember, too many carbohydrates cause a huge release of insulin. When there is too much insulin in the body, your body turns into a fat storing machine. Therefore, it is important that we eat no more carbohydrates than necessary and that we eat the right amount of carbohydrates. Good sources of starchy carbohydrates are: Oatmeal (1 cup dry), sweet potatoes (8 oz baked), potatoes (8 oz baked), rice (1 cup cooked), pasta (8oz cooked), corn (1 cup canned), peas (2 cups cooked). Each serving approximately equals 40-50 grams of carbohydrates.

By ensuring that you get no more carbohydrates than your body requires you will guarantee that body fat decreases. Now, I am not saying to eliminate the carbs. All I am advocating is portion control. In other words, if you have a serving of protein, have an equal sized serving of starchy carbohydrates. The minimum amount of carbs that you can get away with is an equal serving of them in three meals. For instance, a diet like the following will provide most men the results they are looking for.

If you are a woman, then just take out meal 6 and reduce your portion sizes as described below:

Fat Loss Diet for Men [Just an example -- needs to be adjusted for age and body weight.]

Meal 1 (7 AM)
1 cup of dry oats mixed with water
1 cup of egg beaters

Meal 2 (9 AM)
Meal replacement or protein powder (around 40 grams of protein) mixed with water
1 Tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil

Meal 3 (12 Noon)
1 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 4 (3 PM)
Meal replacement or protein powder (around 40 grams of protein) mixed with water

Meal 5 (6 PM)
1 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 6 (8 PM)
Meal replacement or protein powder (around 40 grams of protein) mixed with water (No flaxseed Oil at this time)

Fat Loss Diet for Women

Meal 1 (7 AM)
1/2 cup of dry oats mixed with water
1/2 cup of egg beaters

Meal 2 (9 AM)
Meal replacement or protein powder (around 20 grams of protein) mixed with water
1/2 Tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil

Meal 3 (12 Noon)
1/2 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 4 (3 PM)
Meal replacement or protein powder (around 20 grams of protein) mixed with water

Meal 5 (6 PM)
1/2 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

6) Drink plenty of water! Water is by far the most abundant substance in our bodies. Without water, an organism could not survive. Most people who come to me for advice on how to get in shape almost always underestimate the value of water. Realize that a lack of water will not only cause dehydration, but also would stop the fat burning processes!

Water is good for the following reasons:

·Over 65% of your body is composed of water (most of the muscle cell is water).

·Water cleanses your body from disease inducing toxins and pollutants.

·Water is needed for all of the complex chemical reactions your body needs to perform on a daily basis. Processes such as energy production, muscle building, and fat burning require water. A lack of water would interrupt these processes.

·Water helps lubricate the joints.

·When the outside temperature is up, water serves as a coolant to bring the body temperature down to where it is supposed to be.

·Water helps control the appetite. Sometimes hunger indicates a lack of water. Drinking water may take the craving away.
·Cold water increases metabolism.

In order to know how much water your body needs a day, just multiply your lean body weight by .66. This would indicate how many ounces of water you require per day.

7) If you fall into temptation, do not sabotage the entire diet! We are all human and we are bound to make mistakes. If you fall off your diet, do not binge all day long because you fell off once. Just start eating correctly at the next meal. Bingeing for a full day can destroy the progress that weeks of effort delivered. Do not fall for it.

8) Be prepared! Prepack all of your food so that you have all of the food that you will need throughout the day. I don’t know about you but my life is pretty hectic. Without my cooler, I would be at the mercy of the fast food joints and then I would probably be a candidate for the Mr. Pillsbury Doughboy Championships. In addition, if you run into a situation where you don’t have food with you and don’t have the time to stop somewhere to eat either, hunger will increase and drive you to binge! So prepack all of your food; such practice wins half the battle.

9) Get your Zzzzz’s. That’s right, getting enough sleep. Everyone’s requirements differ but, on the average, people usually need between 7-9 hours per night depending on their level of physical activity. Sleeping adequately will ensure that your insulin metabolism operates properly. A faulty insulin metabolism leads to sugar cravings which spell disaster in any diet.
In addition, deprive your body of sleep and you’ll have lousy fat loss. As a bonus, you also get muscle loss which lowers your metabolism. The reason for this is because without enough sleep the body stops producing anabolic hormones (Muscle Producing/Fat Burning Hormones; e.g. testosterone and growth hormone) and starts increasing the production of catabolic ones (Muscle Destroying/Fat Depositing Hormones e.g. cortisol). In addition, you will lack the energy and focus to get through your workouts and it will also lead to overtraining as you won’t be able to recover adequately.
To top it off, there is research that indicates that a lack of sleep creates cravings and binges in addition to hardening of the arteries which leads to heart attacks. If you don’t think that you have enough time to sleep, then turn off the TV and make the time!

10) Stop associating social gatherings with food. Unfortunately, we live in a society that celebrates everything with food, usually the type that does not serve our goals. The minute that you train yourself to think about what is more important for you, the chips and the piece of cake at the party or the six pack of abs (not beer), the faster you will reach your goals. I wish that we lived in a world where exercise gave you a license to eat whatever you wanted. If that were the case, I would be the first one in line waiting for the cake. But since life is not fair, you only have one choice. If that summer body is important enough for you, I am sure that when the time comes, the decision will be clear.

Follow the tips above and I guarantee you will be well on the path to the look you are striving for.

If your interested in more information about my complete Body Body Building & Fat Loss Program check out

Author Bio: Hugo Rivera CFT, SPN, BSCE. is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, multi certified personal trainer, industry consultant and fitness expert who not only knows training and nutrition theory, but also applies it on a daily basis as evidenced by the fact that he’s always in shape and by his awards and high placings at numerous national level bodybuilding competitions. He is also an internationally known best selling fitness author with a very successful franchise of books called “The Body Sculpting Bibles” which collectively have sold over a million copies. Hugo is also author of the very popular “Body Re-Engineering” e-book, which teaches you how to gain lean muscle mass and get lean without drugs, or fancy expensive supplements, using the secrets he devised after many years of weight problems as a child.

Courtesy of:

Friday, February 5, 2010

Supplements: Which Ones Are Worth Taking?

This is one of the most common questions I get during seminars -- "What supplements do you take?" The implication of the question indicates that supplements are very important, even essential, to fitness. The hope of many is that they can take a handful of pills and be absolved from hard workouts in the gym and from having to stay strict on their diets.

Not true.

Supplements play a role but a minor one. If you are eating clean and working out hard, supplements are important. If you are not, you are throwing your money away.

If you are one of those who is hitting the gym 4 times or more a week, working out hard, pushing yourself, and eating clean (meaning no "junk"), here are the supplements I have found to be worthwhile:

1) Whey Protein: I use whey protein in the morning (20 - 30 grams) to get my body into an anabolic state (muscle-building). Met-Rx, Gold Standard and Lean Dessert all do the job.

2) Casein Protein: This is a slow releasing protein that feeds your muscles over a longer period of time (7 hrs), much slower than the instant effect of whey. Like whey, it has anti-catabolic properties which help in muscle growth. I use casein protein immediately after my workout, usually with oatmeal which provides the carbs I need to transport the protein. I also use casein protein before I go to bed so my muscles are constantly supplied with a steady stream of amino acids throughout the night! A good source of casein protein is cottage cheese. I also like BSN Syntha-6. Most often before bed I take a scoop of Syntha-6 in a half cup of 1% cottage cheese. (Note: I do not supplement with soy protein as some studies show that it increases estrogen levels in men -- exactly the opposite of what we want to happen.)

3) Creatine monohydrate: This form of creatine is proven to be the most effective. Creatine is known to increase strength levels by increasing the rate of PCr regeneration during high intensity resistance exercise. In other words this allows you to complete more reps of a given exercise which, assuming sufficient calorie intake and protein, means more muscle mass. The maximum creatine level in the body is quickly achieved by consuming large doses of 20-30 grams for 3-5 days, followed by a daily maintenance dose of 2-5 grams.

4) Glutamine: This is an excellent supplement for decreasing the rate of muscle breakdown post exercise and increasing protein synthesis in muscle tissue. 10-20 grams of glutamine is the recommended daily intake immediately after an intense training session to replenish depleted glutamine stores. I also add Glutamine to my workout drink.

5) NO: Nitric Oxide enhancer. I take NO before and during my workout in my workout drink. NO balances the nitrogen in the body and allows you to do more, push harder and thus get better results. I use White Flood by Controlled Labs, but NO Explode by BSN is also popular.

6) BCAA: Branch chain amino acids. Like glutamine, these help keep your body from feeding on lean muscle. I take them after my workout.

7) Multi-Vitamin: Essential nutrients are not met through a regular diet. Supplementing vitamins and minerals is important. Animal-Pak is great but the multi-vitamin and mineral tablets sold at Costco maybe the best value.

There are others I take and some I cycle on and off. More on those in future blogs.

Train hard!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Video Posted: Hammer Strength Incline Presses

A new video has just been posted at

On the home page, you will find the video on the Hammer Strength Incline Press -- a staple of any good chest workout.

Bottom line is that most people never develop the upper chest because they never focus on it.

Add the Hammer Strength incline press to your chest routine and you'll notice an almost immediate difference!


Monday, February 1, 2010

Are High Protein Diets Safe?

I believe they are not only safe, but healthy.

Check this out:

Scientific Training - "Periodic Undulation"

Kel and I started what is termed a "periodic undulation" routine today in the gym. 8 weeks broken down into three components -- "Active Rest," "Volumization" and "Growth" -- we're anticipating good things!

Like diet, weight routines are no longer the guesswork they used to be -- it is all very scientific now. The only thing that hasn't changed is the effort and the pain it takes to get to the next level. If you want a copy of the new routine, e-mail me at:
I'm happy to send it along.

And, don't miss this interview with Diana Chaloux, a WFBB pro, about her routine, diet and motivation.

Have a great week and train hard!