Bodybuilding Training Tips

It’s no secret that doing the same workouts with the same internal variables over and over again won’t lead to muscle growth. But you don’t need to completely abandon your routine every time you need a change.

1 DO YOUR MONDAY WORKOUT ON SUNDAY

I hate to ruin your love affair with football, but unless you enjoy standing in lines reminiscent of your childhood trip, Monday is absolutely the worst day to be in the gym—especially if you’re planning to train your chest. Ironically, if you were to hit that same gym a mere 24 hours earlier, you’d find it practically empty. I’ve come to find the most serious lifters at my gym are there on Sundays to skip the crowds. 

2 BUST OUT YOUR CARDIO BETWEEN SETS

We know you’re popular: You’ve got friends to text and conversations to catch up on with your crew at the gym. None of this changes the fact that you’ve still got a cardio session waiting for you at the end of your workout. Why not get your cardio done alongside your lifting.

Instead of sitting your butt on a bench between sets, you can speed things up, get your heart going, and burn calories at the same time. Active rest (doing a mild cardio activity between sets) will help you get a more productive workout and cut your time in the gym substantially. Try jumping rope, doing step-ups, or hitting box jumps for 45-60 seconds between weight-training sets. Just make sure you pace yourself.

 
3 ADD WEIGHT TO THE BAR WITH SMALLER PLATES

Working out with a partner has some huge advantages. But creating a partner-friendly workout means finding convenient ways to load and unload weights. Nothing feels more like wasted effort than continually having to make weight changes. By using the smaller plates you can more easily make weight changes, saving time and effort. Bonus: If you do dropsets, you can simply pull off the right amount of weight without having to take off one of the big wheels and replace it with a smaller plate.

4 TRAIN YOUR INTERNAL ALARM TO GO OFF AT 10 REPS

Too many lifters—at least the ones who never make any progress—come to the gym and choose weights they can lift for 10 reps, rest, and repeat. The problem with this approach is that the body has already grown accustomed to the load, and no further adaptation is taking place. You can literally train like this for years and never see progress.

Instead of hitting the usual 10 reps after your warm-up sets, choose challenging weights you can do for 6-8 reps—especially early in your workout, when your energy levels are high—and then employ sets of 8-10 later in your training session.

If you’re in fact going for 10 reps, you should barely be able to squeak out a 10th rep. When you can hit 10 reps without cheating or help, then it’s time to add a small plate to each side of the bar.

If you find that you’re taking every set to 10 reps, your internal alarm should go off. As soon as you hear yourself say the number 10, automatically add a plate to increase the overload. Don’t get lazy and work out on autopilot.

This tip applies mainly to multi-joint movements, especially for individuals looking to increase their size and strength.

 
5 INVEST IN STRAPS FOR EXTRA REPS

Often times when training your back, your grip will give out first. Never sacrifice your back for your hands. When your grip starts to fail, put on a pair of lifting straps and you’ll be able to get an extra rep or two on each set, which translates into more muscle growth. Don’t let your grip be your limiting factor on back day. If you want to work on grip or forearm development, throw those on to the end of your workouts.

When using straps, be sure to isolate your back and let the straps do their job. You don’t need to use an overly firm grip with straps. Just press lightly on them, allowing your forearms to relax a little to send the focus of the movement toward your back.

 
6 GET IN, GET IT DONE, GET OUT
 

IF YOUR WORKOUTS ARE TAKING TWO HOURS, WORK ON INCREASING THE INTENSITY (AND TEXTING LESS BETWEEN SETS) BY MAKING EACH SET HEAVIER AND HARDER.

You probably can’t sustain a high-intensity workout for long periods of time. You can, however, do a long workout with moderate intensity, but even that’s suboptimal for muscle gains. Powerlifters are known for longer workouts, but that’s typically due to more warm-ups and substantially longer rest periods between sets.

If your workouts are taking two hours, work on increasing the intensity (and texting less between sets) by making each set heavier and harder. Don’t just add more sets and exercises; that only serves to lengthen your workout.

Unless you’re a powerlifter (like myself), a faster pace does two things, it has been shown that shorter rest times and higher volume may improve your hormone activity, which means you’ll likely build size at a quicker rate. Second, it’s easier to stay focused for the duration of your session. Mental fatigue contributes to less-than-perfect focus and form, not to mention increased risk of injury.

Successful natural bodybuilders get in and out of the gym fast—in 60-75 minutes, tops. But what they sacrifice in duration, they more than make up for with intensity. Plus, you’ll save yourself an extra 45-60 minutes each day.

7 LEARN TO KEEP YOUR BACK ARCHED

Learning how to keep your lower back arched correctly when training is like learning how to ride a bike: It doesn’t come naturally at first, and you’re going to make mistakes along the way. But while falling off a bike may result in only a few scrapes, using bad form and rounding your back when training with heavy weights disrupts spinal alignment and can cause permanent damage. Disc herniation can happen when you don’t protect your spine during lifting.

You can save your spine and properly target your working muscles by learning how to hold the arch in your back. This is especially important for bent-over exercises like Romanian deadlifts, bent-over rows, and bent-over lateral raises.

By having normal curvature or even a slightly modified arch in your lower back you’ll also gain stability across the core. By breathing in on the negative and having your chest up, if you squeeze your abdominals in tight you’ll increase your intra-abdominal pressure and actually provide much greater strength across your core. As an added benefit, contracting your ab muscles will actually help build them to a degree.

To check your form, stand perpendicular to the mirror, bend over about 45 degrees, stick your arse out, keep your chest big and open and bend your knees slightly. Look sideways at the mirror and check your body position, ensuring you have a tight arch in your lower back—not a humpback that’s rounded forward. You must practice this until you get it right, and few beginners naturally get the hang of it.

8 DON’T DUPLICATE NEARLY IDENTICAL EXERCISES

You’ve probably heard that you want to hit a large muscle group with exercises from multiple angles over the course of your workout. Pay attention to bench angle and hand, foot, and body position so you’re not repeating very similar movements. Incline, decline, and flat-bench presses work the pecs from multiple angles, but there are only small differences between flat-bench barbell, flat-bench dumbbell, and flat-bench machine presses.

Angle training ensures that you hit every muscle fiber, especially in muscles that have multiple attachment points. Performing a similar exercise with a different piece of equipment may help improve stabilizer muscle contribution, but going from a machine to a barbell, or barbell to a dumbbell, still hits the muscles at almost the same angle. At the very least, if you’re going to do the same exercise at the same angle with a different piece of equipment, vary your grip or your stance [with leg exercises]. A varied grip changes the emphasis of the primary muscles and the activation pattern of the assisting muscles.

9 FINISH YOUR WORKOUTS WITH LOWER-BACK AND FOREARM EXERCISES

Want to know the best way to ensure you’re physically incapable of doing anything later in your workout? T your body’s weakest links and train them to failure. For most of you, that’s your grip and your lower back.

Once your lower back is fatigued, standing upright becomes nearly impossible, let alone maintaining good form with heavy weights. For safety’s sake, do lower-back exercises at the end of your training session, most likely on back day.

Likewise, blow your grip with forearm or grip training, and you can forget about holding on to anything afterward. A heavy set of bent-over barbell rows after forearm training? Not a chance. So save the forearm and grip training until the end of your workout, with no other body parts to follow. It’s also a good idea to skip training those body parts if they’ll be necessary for the next day’s workout.

10 DON’T LOOK FOR THE EASY WAY OUT

Everyone wants big muscles, but no one wants to lift heavy-ass weights. Eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman, and he was dead-on. If you’re looking for shortcuts or otherwise trying to make your workouts easier—avoiding free-weight squats, bench presses, and deadlifts, for example—I’m sorry to say that you’re taking the wrong approach.

Looking for the easy way out may also mean excessive cheating on your movements, such as bouncing the bar off your pecs when benching, or bringing your elbows forward when curling. Although there is a time and a place for cheating, relying on it takes stress and tension off the muscle, which is counter-productive in bodybuilding.

Find ways to increase the degree of difficulty and make movements harder, not easier. Add chains to your bench press, do negative reps, extend sets with dropsets, or decrease your rest intervals: whatever it takes to make a movement more difficult. When you substitute machine movements for free weights, do seated motions instead of standing, or otherwise look for ways to make your workout easier, you only short change yourself—and the results you see in the end.

 

Aspire to Inspire

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Dropping BF %

The old way of cutting fat needs to be tossed once and for all. Use this science-backed system and you’ll coast toward your goals while those around you struggle with fatigue, cravings, and weakness. 

Question: What’s the best way to get shredded? If you’re like most people, what came to mind was a combination of extreme food and calorie restriction, grueling high-rep weightlifting workouts, and hours and hours of cardio each week.

Ironically, this is the worst way to go about it. This approach guarantees a downright miserable experience of horrible food cravings, rapid muscle and strength loss, and a building fatigue and lethargy that eventually burns you out.

It doesn’t have to be this way! When you know how to use nutrition properly, you can rapidly lose fat while maintaining strength. You can also completely avoid daily struggles with hunger, cravings, and energy levels.

This isn’t just something that works on paper, either. It’s a reliable combination of strategies to get to 6-7 percent body fat with relative ease, and which have been successfully used by thousands of people.

IT ALL BEGINS WITH CALORIES

You’re probably familiar with the physiology of fat loss, but let’s quickly review it. Losing fat requires feeding your body less energy than it burns. When you do this, you’re creating a negative energy balance or “calorie deficit,” and the energy difference between what you eat and what you burn every day usually measured in calories more or less determines how much fat you lose over time.

I know it’s trendy right now to claim that calorie counting doesn’t work or that weight loss is actually about the quality, not quantity, of calories eaten, but these trends obscure the main issue. Calorie restriction is, and always has been, the key.

You see, your metabolism obeys the first law of thermodynamics. There is no debating this.

When viewed energetically, your body can’t tell the difference between the calories in a doughnut and the calories in a gluten-free, soy-free, cholesterol-free, fat-free, GMO-free green juice. This is why study after study after study has conclusively proven that so long as a calorie deficit is maintained, subjects lose fat regardless of diet composition.

Now, that doesn’t mean that macronutrient ratios don’t matter. They definitely do, as I’ll show a little later. But the point I want to make is that you must know how to maintain a proper calorie deficit over time if you want to lose fat while preserving muscle. 

CUSTOMIZE YOUR ENERGY INTAKE

First, we need to figure out, as accurately as we can, how much energy you’re burning every day. This is known as your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). Here’s how I like to do it:

1 Use the Katch-McArdle formula to determine how much energy your body burns every day, excluding physical activity, which is known as your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. To get this number, you’ll need to know your lean body mass.
2 MULTIPLY

Multiply that number as follows:

  • By 1.2 if you exercise 1-3 hours per week.
  • By 1.35 if you exercise 4-6 hours per week.
  • By 1.5 if you exercise 6 or more hours per week.
3 CALCULATE 80 PERCENT

Calculate 80 percent of this number. This will create a mild caloric deficit which will allow you to lose about a pound of fat per week without feeling starved or losing too much muscle.

YOUR CALORIC STARTING POINT FOR FAT LOSS

If you’re familiar with this type of calculation, you probably noticed that my activity multipliers are slightly lower than those found in similar formulas. This is intentional. One of the many things I’ve learned is that the standard activity multipliers are just too high for most of us.

Unless you have an abnormally fast metabolism, a standard Katch-McArdle TDEE calculation will leave you wondering why you’re losing little-to-no weight despite being perfect with your food intake. The multipliers above are much better for the average metabolism, and can always be adjusted based on actual results.

I occasionally run into people who lose weight a bit too slowly or quickly on the above multipliers. In the latter case, they’ll also experience significant decreases in strength and energy. These issues are easily remedied by decreasing or increasing daily calorie intake by about 100 and reassessing.

THE PERFECT MACROS FOR FAT-LOSS

Now that you know how many calories you’re supposed to eat every day, it’s time to turn that number into macronutrients. The most common mistake here is too little protein and carbohydrate, and too much fat. The result for many is a significant amount of muscle and strength loss.

PROTEIN

The goal while dieting for fat loss is to preserve muscle, and a big part of this is ensuring you’re eating enough protein. Fully addressing the science of protein needs would require its own article, so I’ll keep it simple here.

Protein needs for energy-restricted resistance-trained athletes are likely 2.3-3.1g/kg of FFM [1-1.4 grams per pound of fat free mass] scaled upwards with severity of caloric restriction and leanness.

In other words, the leaner you are, or the more calorie-restricted you are, the more protein you need. It’s like an inverse bell curve. Figure out where you fit in this range, but bear in mind that its protein per pound of lean mass, not total body weight. 

Here are some guidelines for protein intake and different body fat levels:

  • Super-lean: 10 percent or less body fat (men), 20 percent or less (women): 1.4 g/lb. or higher.
  • Lean: 15 percent (men) or 25 percent (women): 1.2 g/lb.
  • Average: 18-24 percent (men) or 25-31 percent (women): 1 g/lb.
  • Overweight or obese, calorie-restricted: 1.6-1.8 g/lb.

DIETARY FAT

High-fat diets are really trendy right now because they are supposedly the best for maximizing testosterone levels and weight loss. This is misleading, though. Yes, switching from a low-fat to high-fat diet can increase free-testosterone levels, but not nearly enough to help you build more muscle.

There are two studies commonly cited as definitive proof that high-fat dieting is superior to high-carb dieting. One demonstrated that when men switched from getting 18 percent of their daily calories from fat to 41 percent, free-testosterone levels rose by 13 percent. The other study, conducted a decade earlier, had similar findings.

Now, that might sound nice, but here’s what high-fat hucksters don’t tell you: Small fluctuations like this do little to nothing in the way of improving strength and muscle growth. This has been demonstrated in a number of studies.

This is why I recommend you stick to getting around 20 percent of your daily calories from dietary fat when eating for fat loss. To calculate how many grams this is for you, simply multiply your total daily calorie intake by 0.2 and divide this by nine, since there are nine calories in a gram of fat.

CARBOHYDRATES

And now we come to the most maligned macronutrient, the carbohydrate. According to some, this evil little bastard is what makes us fat, and dramatically reducing intake is the best way to lose weight. In action, this simply isn’t true.

Research has demonstrated that when protein intake is sufficient, there is no significant difference in weight loss between high- and low-carbohydrate diets. As long as you’re maintaining a proper calorie deficit, you’re going to lose fat at more or less the same rate, whether you’re low-carb or not.

The less carbs you eat, the lower your muscle glycogen levels will be, which means compromised performance in the gym and miserable workouts. Muscle endurance in particular seems to take the biggest hit.

Furthermore, research has demonstrated that low muscle-glycogen levels impair post-workout cell signaling related to muscle growth. This is particularly detrimental when you’re in a calorie deficit because your body’s ability to synthesize proteins is already impaired.

There’s more, though. Calorie restriction in general is known to reduce anabolic hormone levels, and low-carbohydrate dieting only makes this worse. Especially when combined with caloric restriction, this creates a catabolic nightmare that results in more muscle loss while dieting.

The research is clear: as a weightlifter, the carbohydrate is your friend. This is why I recommend you keep your carbohydrate intake high while dieting for fat loss.

THE EQUATION FOR SUCCESS

  • daily calorie intake for fat loss = 3000 x .8 = 2400
  • protein intake = 188 x 1.2 = 225 grams per day
  • fat intake = (2400 x .2) / 9 = 53 grams per day
  • carb intake = (2400 – ((225 x 4) + (53 x 9))) / 4 = 255 grams per day

 

 

Aspire to Inspire. 

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Things becoming a little clearer.

Blogging – Well with around 2000 views, 100 or so followers (Love you guys) and as of today over 100 blog posts, I can say things are going well . It is a little odd not knowing my audience, as well as on occasion finding out some friends are reading this I didn’t even know about. Nonetheless, it’s one hell of a platform for me to work with and is effectively a storage space of valuable ideas to return to. 

My goals – My goals are pretty straightforward. Compete in powerlifting. bodybuilding and obstacle races, get every qualification I need (fitness and degree), open a gym selling my apparel and work as a sports psychologist and instructor. Granted they are pretty black and white but that does not mean they easy by any means. 

Methods – In terms of reaching these goals I have to give myself credit, progress if being made. In terms of training I am at a point where I could comfortably compete in powerlifting, around 1 to 2 years away from a bodybuilding comp and have a race in 5 days! As for the rest, well they are slower. my final year of my degree in Criminology and Applied Psychology begins in a month with qualifications in fitness are planned for next year. The longer term projects are my gym and apparel, I have an interested second party and designs for apparel are complete, time to bring it all together! I have to be grateful too for the growth of my platforms Instagram/blog/Facebook page (linked below). Between them all I manage to reach thousands of people which is unbelievable. Whatever it takes to change lives.

https://www.facebook.com/PBMoriginal

http://instagram.com/c_j_barney  

Battles – Nothing worth having comes easy. Well everything I want is certainly worth having, so of course that provokes struggle. So far there are issues I’ve made my way through, though on regular occasion they return to me, I’m not sure they ever leave. Reoccurring issues are things like body dismorphia, eating disorders and maintaining a positive mentality. Some battles are unavoidable as every one of you will appreciate. For instance, my main two issues are time and money – aren’t they always?  With the money and time, I could invest in my apparel for faster growth as well as produce more designs, with even more I could start financing my own gym! But we have what we have, there is no excuse for not making the most of that!

The last of my battles are to do with the necessary mentality. To go on with all this every day without faltering isn’t easy by any means. With little appreciation from the outside world as well as those around me (few exceptions) it becomes even harder and somewhat lonely. There has to be an ongoing thought, a belief that what I am doing is worthwhile, so luckily I have that going for me to drive me through. 

 

People – The people in our lives have a drastic effect on who we are. Too often we surround ourselves with people who cannot accept us or unintentionally cause us to close away parts of who we are. I learnt this lesson over several years and of course the hard way (seems to be a pattern in my learning methods). However today things are a little different, over time I have changed who I keep around me in both quantity and quality. I don’t really see the need for a hundred friends or the approval of the world, instead I have learnt to just be me and those who can accept that stay. Incredibly that has left me with a group measurable on both hands in quantity, but in quality? Immeasurable. 

I have friends who support me, understand me and encourage me. A girlfriend who beyond my understanding not only accepts all that I am, but actually seems to be fond of it? (yes an understatement but you see the point I am making). 

People say you surround yourself with like-minded people, of course they are right, I do not disagree. However when in a position like me you realise like-minded people can be hard to find, which I consider to be a privilege. No, instead surround yourself with people who, though may not be on your path, are willing to walk beside you when you falter, or will help you stand your ground when things get tough. I adore those in my life and can not thank them enough. 

 

Hard work – This is it. The determining feature. No dream nor goal was ever achieved without hard work. So on a regular basis I find myself saying to myself, ‘are you prepared for this? Are you willing to keep going?’. I am not arrogant enough to pretend my answer is always yes. On many days I will suffer, I will want to give in and take it easy. So of course I have my fears and like every other person on this planet I fear the possible. ‘Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure’ – Marianne Wiliamson. How far I have come terrifies me as it reveals the possible of how far I could go. Would you not be scared too? To have everything you could imagine, the ideal life and world unravel before you, are you brave enough to go all out and pursue that with one sickening thought daily echoing in your mind.

What if I fail? What if it all passes me by?

This will never leave my mind sadly, but that is not to say I cannot work aside it, the fear of failure will only be lost in my ability to succeed. 

 

Aspire to Inspire. 

9 Ideas to Improve Your Workouts

3 Ideas About Reps

1. Use Countdown Reps

I’m a huge fan of 5 x 5 workouts and this little change can be very valuable. I’ve always thought that the second to last set is the toughest mentally and this is a way to get around that problem. 5-4-3-2-1 … simple. 

2. The “And-One” Method

 “And” is the first rep and “one” is the second. A set of 10 looks like this:

You’ve done 10 reps, but you’ve only counted five. Ten reps can be a struggle for me by rep 8 or 9, but this method somehow tricks the mind. Much of training is a mind game, so accept it and play with it.

3. Embrace “Ish”

John Powell’s approach to the 5 x 5. Each year, he’d set a goal of doing a weight for 5 sets of 5. If he chose 365 as his target weight, he’d plop down on the bench once a week and test himself.

Workout One

He’d then add up the total reps of the workout (10 in this case). As the weeks and months progressed, he’d slowly work up into the teens, and then the low twenties. With a serious enough weight, it could take months to build up to the full 25 reps of a 5 x 5 workout. The upside of this workout may not be obvious, but it allows you to use heavy weights and slowly, steadily, build up the volume. Progress in life and the weightroom is as “ishy” as I can imagine.

3 Ideas About Workouts

1. Punch the Clock

Those are sessions where you just show up and do the work. If you had a plan, you followed it. If you had a preprinted workout, you finished it.

Like a craftsman, much of our training is going to be showing up and doing stuff. It’s also the kind of training that builds a reliable system over time. But there are times that you need to leave it all on the floor and sadly, in my second thought below, “leaving it all on the floor” can actually happen.

2. Perform Challenges

I like to call these workouts and short windows of training “challenges.” I also call these “Kill Yourself Workouts.” They’re great, but you can only do these for about three weeks before you die.

Most gyms that push “balls to the wall” training every session tend to have huge dropout rates, lots of physical therapy issues, and tend to close rather quickly. You certainly can do anything, but there’s wisdom in not doing everything all the time.

3. The Hangover Rule

I’d like to introduce you to “The Hangover Rule.” I’ve had conversations with people from all kinds of sports and I noticed a pattern – their lifetime best effort was often performed the morning after a series of bad decisions. 

Why? How? Don’t know and don’t ask. I’ve learned that extraordinary training sessions and days just pop out of nowhere and you have to enjoy your dance with these rare moments of life.

3 Ideas About Programming

1. Look for Gaps

In programming, I keep my eye on two basic concepts that open the way for a third. First, I’m all about looking for gaps in training. Gaps consist of anything you should be doing, but aren’t doing. Here’s my list of the fundamental human movements:

  • Push
  • Pull
  • Hinge
  • Squat
  • Loaded Carry
  • (Everything Else)

 

2. Meet the Standards

Next, logically, come the standards.

My standard for instance – 

Power Clean:
Deadlift:
Back Squat:
Front Squat:
Standing Press:
Power Clean & Jerk:
Bench Press:

The idea is to have attainable but high standards to keep in your mind every workout, these are not my max’s, but they are numbers I would be disappointed not to reach. 

3. Trust Your Intuition

You must trust yourself and train with intuition. It was once called “instinctive training,” but it’s simply this – when you’ve put the time, effort, and energy into your training, you can sometimes “get a hint” that you need to do X, Y, or Z.

Now that doesn’t mean every day is going to be arm day because the Force is telling you to work your biceps.

If you keep a running log of checking your gaps and trying to fulfill certain standards, you can allow yourself a lot more flexibility in your training because you can see over a week or month whether your “instinct” is right or wrong.

Your strengths won’t go anywhere. In fact, it tends to improve when the whole system is improved. So, when it comes to training on intuition, “Trust, but verify.”

Time Well Spent

I spend considerable time simply “thinking” about how to make my training  better. I urge you to do the same. It’s quality time that might be far more meaningful than much of what you do in the gym each day.

 

Aspire to Inspire. 

Couple lifting tips.

Showing up, Woody Allen famously said, is 80 percent of success. But let’s be honest: Woody wasn’t heading to the weight room to do battle with the iron. When it comes to lifting, getting to the gym is still crucial, but so is doing quality work while you’re there.

Before you start resorting to a bunch of weird metaphors about plateaus and mesas, try these techniques to make the most of your time in the gym. 

SIP WATER THROUGHOUT THE DAY – Hydration is an often overlooked element of prepping for a workout, but it’s a must—particularly if you train intensely.  You’ll lose roughly 10 percent of your strength from being dehydrated. Studies have shown that even mild dehydration can also negatively impact your mood, mental acuity, and energy level.

Many people walk around all day long without realizing they’re in a partially dehydrated state. The best way to avoid this is to make a water bottle a fixture in your life at home, on the road, at work—everywhere. Make sure you’re sipping it throughout the day, so your tank is full when it comes time to train.

PRESS PLAY – If your first stop after rolling out of bed and throwing on some shorts is the gym, you’re probably going to be less than enthusiastic when you pick up your first heavy object of the morning.

Before you get under the bar or hop on the treadmill, give yourself an extra jolt of energy. Put in some headphones and play one of your favorite songs to get you in the zone while warming up on the treadmill for five minutes. Start off with Rob Bailey and the Hustle Standard’s “Hungry.” Listen, and you’ll want to lift.

 
LIGHTEN THE LOAD – The first thing many people do when they feel a bit weak in the gym is test themselves against a really heavy weight. Maybe they think it’ll kick-start their mojo somehow. Maybe they’re just trying to prove that they still have “it” when their body is feeling whiney. Rather than adding more weight to the bar, try taking a few pounds off. By lightening the weight, you can dial in your technique and pay attention to precisely what’s going on in your body.

Try to feel each muscle contracting as you move through the movement. The more you maintain focus and control during the set, the greater your strength gains will be.

Train this way for a few sessions and you’ll be surprised by your increase in strength and workout quality. Train with your ego holding the wheel, though, and you’ll end up feeling beaten up by sloppy form. 

 
HAMMER YOUR WEAKNESSES WITH VARIABLE RESISTANCE – People often think they’ve reached their ceiling with big lifts like the bench press, squat, or deadlift, when they’re actually just getting worn down by a certain sticking point in that lift.

This is when a knowledgeable set of extra eyes can come in handy—and don’t be surprised if your helper recommend you dial down the weight and add some extra resistance to the lift in the form of strength bands or chains. Adding chains or resistance bands to your strength training allows you to use a lighter weight and increase your lifting speed so you can push past the plateaus. 

WATCH THE CLOCK – We’re all guilty of it: rest periods that drag on a little longer than they should, eventually becoming chat sessions. There’s nothing wrong with taking a breather between sets, but that’s all it should be.  The longer you allow the muscle to rest, the more pump you lose, and the less momentum you’ll have going into your next set. Make sure your rest break is long enough for you to go on and maintain optimal weight and form, but no longer.

 

Aspire to Inspire

Living with Hypermobility Syndrome

Instead of having muscles that are too tight, people with hypermobility syndrome are often too flexible. They are able to extend their joints and flex their muscles beyond the normal range. Although this increased range of motion can serve as an advantage in activities such as gymnastics, dancing and swimming, hypermobility can cause numerous problems, particularly with joints. The best activities for hypermobile joints help to strengthen your muscles, while the worst activities increase their flexibility.

 

Hypermobility syndrome is characterized by excessive joint motion and joint instability. Normally, muscles and ligaments help ensure joint stability. When those tissues are too lax, their ability to stabilize joints is compromised. Loose muscles and ligaments allow for more wear and tear on the joints than normal. This can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis, the most prevalent form of arthritis.

If you suffer from hypermobility syndrome, engage in activities that strengthen your muscles. Stronger muscles are better equipped to protect the joints they surround. They provide more stability, thus decreasing not only joint wear and tear, but also your risk for joint displacement. Strengthening exercises are those that involve working with resistance, such as weight lifting, medicine balls and tension bands.

In general, you want to avoid stretching hyperflexible muscles any further. Instead, concentrate on isometric or concentric strengthening exercises. In isometric exercise, the joint doesn’t actually move, even though the muscles around it are contracting. Imagine pushing as hard as you can against a building, as if trying to move it – the muscles are working, but the joints don’t change position. Isometric exercises keep the joint stable and protected while still allowing the muscles to work properly and gain strength. With concentric exercises, muscles shorten as they contract, the way a biceps muscle behaves during a biceps curl.

The excessive range of motion present in hypermobility syndrome makes joints particularly vulnerable. Therefore, keeping muscles strong throughout their entire range of motion is especially important. Muscles tend to be strongest in their mid-range and weakest at either extreme of motion. That means a joint will be most vulnerable, or least protected, when it is at the end of its range of motion. Maintaining strength at range of motion extremes helps counteract that vulnerability in a joint that has too much range.

Prioritize strengthening the muscles surrounding the most susceptible joints: your shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles. Also focus on strengthening your core muscles in your lower back, abdomen, pelvis and hips, because they protect your spine. By stabilizing your entire body, a strong core also lessens the load on the most susceptible joints, reducing the chance for injury there as well.

Doctors do not recommend sustained muscle stretches for hypermobility syndrome, because muscles and ligaments are already too lax. For the same reason, eccentric exercises should be avoided, although it’s hard to avoid them completely. Eccentric contractions, commonly referred to as “getting the negative,” are the opposite of concentric contractions and occur when a muscle contracts while lengthening. Using the biceps curl again as an example, an eccentric contraction occurs when you lower the weight back down to starting position. During that phase, the biceps is getting longer as your arm extends down, even though the muscle is still contracting to control the downward movement. As the name implies, a lengthening contraction does lengthen the muscle, an undesirable action for muscles that are already too flexible.

 

Aspire to Inspire. 

Well… Crap

This is a vent session, sorry for the bore.

Just been to the doctors for a check in essentially. I’ve left being told I need to essentially stop powerlifting or i’ll permanently damage my tendons and mobility – Fuck hypermobility. Seriously fuck this. Having my own damn body let me down? Having all the god damn motivation, discipline and dedication mean absolutely nothing because I am not physically capable. 

Cannot explain how angry I am. 

So frankly, screw it, I’m not stopping. There is no chance in hell that I will allow myself to just give in. This may mean enduring some serious pains or injuries, so yes there will be that, but there is recovery. 

I will endure and I will continue to progress.

Aspire to Inspire. 

Bodybuilding and Life – 30 Lessons

1) Wake up early

Laziness and procrastination is an awesome way to suck at life.
It’s ok to sleep in sometimes, but don’t make a habit of wasting your life in bed.
Get your ass up and go.

2) Don’t make excuses EVER

Nothing is going to derail your efforts faster than trying to place blame on anything other than yourself. YOU control YOU. Once you figure that out, things will start to happen for you.

3) Do shit other people aren’t willing to do

You have to be willing to get uncomfortable and go outside of the norm to dominate life. Whether you want to be a bodybuilder or a business-man, doing the things that others will not will give you confidence and an attitude of ass-kicking-ness toward life.

4) Eat well

Eating crap may not affect you now, but it will.

It’s not “cool” to be able to eat what you want and stay lean. It’s still destroying your insides and you’re setting yourself up for a shitty time when you’re older. Eat good whole foods and take care of yourself. How you eat reflects your sense of self respect. Take care of the temple!

5) Surround yourself with bright people

How you talk, walk, and act is a result of the people that you surround yourself with… so get around bright and successful people!

People, TV programs, the daily news all introduce thoughts and behaviors into your life. What goes in, must come out. Beware.

6) Always wear clean shoes

You can dress like a bum, but clean shoes say that this guy takes care of his shit. Shine those biatches.

7) Stay at nice hotels

Splurge! I know it gets pricey, but surrounding yourself with successful people and the first class lifestyle associated with 5-star hotel treatment will motivate you to work harder to stay there.

It’s an investment in your confidence and mindset. Plus the food is much better.

8) Become a professional

I wish someone had told me this sooner in life.

Whatever you do, BE A PROFESSIONAL.

I don’t care if you’re a professional Brazilian waxer or horse stall sweeper. Do it, and do it better than anyone else and do it with pride.

Want to be a pro bodybuilder? Then THAT is your profession. Eat, sleep, walk, talk like the best of the best (although it may be hard to find a decent role model).

Write down what you would expect from a pro in your field. What should a pro bodybuilder look, talk, eat, train like?

Why aren’t you doing that?

9) Enjoy life

Too many people have no idea what being happy means to them.

What really makes you happy? (if you say shopping you need to read a book…ANY book!).

Find what you enjoy and make it a large part of your life.


10) Get HARDCORE

The world is trying to breed mediocrity.
DESPISE mediocrity.
Get intense, get focused, get hardcore.

Whatever you choose to do, go HARD or go the Fuck home.

Wake the Fuck up people. Get excited. Get enthusiastic. Get hardcore!

11) Smile!

Smiling doesn’t make you a bad person… why don’t people smile?

12) Talk

I know there are 7.1 billion people in the world, but saying hello to the 30 people you encounter on a daily basis really isn’t hard. PRACTICE.

Communication is an art. No need to be afraid. Rejection is good for you too.

Read13) Read

Reading will improve your ability to think and communicate.

TV seems to be the new cool thing to talk about. Reading is now reserved for the very select few who choose to give a shit about their lives.

14) Choose your TOP 5

You are the 5 people you choose to surround yourself with. We all get into circumstances we can’t always control, but stop making excuses and take control of your life.

If you have a hard time finding 5 great people to surround yourself with, you simply aren’t bringing enough to the table. Respect is earned.

15) Fly first class at least once

Yep, it’s 4 times as expensive and you’re often paying a lot extra for a crappy meal, but flying first class will motivate your brain to start thinking about HOW you can start affording this all the time. MUCH better than spending the entire flight thinking about how much the fat person beside you smells bad and how the leg-room sucks in coach.

16) Choose what you put into your brain

A single drop of brown dye in a bucket may go unnoticed, but continue to allow drops of brown dye into that bucket and eventually you’re going to have a big bucket of shit. Don’t let people drop their shit in your bucket. Negative people are like the cancer of life.

17) Never talk negatively about others

Your brain can only hold one conscious thought at a time. Why would you waste that talking about someone elses life? Life is too short to waste it on other peoples problems.


18) Buy a suit

If you want to be successful, first impressions matter. Save up and buy a suit that makes you look like a boss. It will get you much further than dropping a few hundred at the bar every weekend.

19) Dress one step above everyone else

You never want to be under-dressed.

If you’re expected to wear a shirt and tie…. you wear a jacket. Stand out from the crowd. If everyone in the room is wearing a black tux, go out and buy a fkn fedora.

20) Always choose the road less travelled

When given the choice between picking the easy road and the road that would make something of you, always choose the road that others aren’t willing to take.

Rest less, work more.

21) NEVER quit

This is the number one thing learned. If you start, you finish!

No matter how much it sucks. You chose to start, you’re committed, and there may be someone relying on you.

22) Be grateful

This should be number one on the list.

If you suck at everything else and refuse to try anything outside of what you’re already doing, do this one.

Anything and everything in life has gratitude hidden somewhere inside it. Find a reason to be grateful for everything in life.

23) Get a mentor or coach

You are only one person and you have no time to do everything.

Hire someone or ask someone to help guide you in one area of your life you need most help with.

24) Enthusiasm moves the world

Get enthusiastic.

Why does it seem most people are afraid to show their enthusiasm for fear of ridicule. If someone puts you down for being enthusiastic, think about it, tell them to take a walk. Good people encourage enthusiasm.

Arnold25) MAN UP

Accept responsibility for your actions, be confident, take control of your life. 

Be a man!

BONUS POINTS:

26) Save money.

27) Be the first to help others.

28) Treat your lady like a queen.

29) The world waits for you to TELL them who you are. Decide the person you
want to become and show the world.

30) Give back!

 

Aspire to Inspire