Wednesday, April 4, 2007

How to Build Muscle And Get Lean

How to Build Muscle And Get Lean by Scott Magers

You work hard on the field, at the gym; have committed a lot of your time to getting better in your sport. You strive to achieve success at a higher level. Consistency in training, practicing, skill work and competing begins by knowing exactly what routine to follow to take yourself to a new level. Discipline is doing it right all the time. Mental toughness is doing it right when you are uncomfortable.

It takes a combination of both of these to master your performance. Does an extra 7-10 pounds of lean muscle in only 6 weeks interest you? What if you could train for optimum results by following a no nonsense workout that gets results? The following is an example of a highly effective weekly workout schedule that flat out works! It has been tested by hundreds of top level athletes in a wide variety of sports. Test this out for six weeks and you will be very pleased with your gains.

Weight Room Routine + Interval Cardio

The standard sequence is two warm up sets (on muscle groups not yet warmed up) 5-8 reps with your warm up weight, increasing in weight about 10% with each set until ready to perform your work sets. First work set includes 12 reps at 70% of your 1 rep max weight followed by one minute rest. Second work set with 8 reps at 75-80% of one rep maximum weight followed by one minute and thirty seconds rest.

Third work set with 5 reps at 85% of one rep max followed by a drop set of 50% of your third set weight for 20 reps with no rest in between. Move on to next exercise and begin within two minutes & Stay at the 12, 8, 5-20 sequence for six weeks. Change the order, tempo, type and rest interval of the exercise each week.


• Prime Mover Exercise: Bench Press 5 X 2 warm up 12, 8, 5, 20 rep work sets, superset last two sets)

• Incline Dumbbell Press 12, 8, 5, 20 rep work sets (superset last two sets)

• Bar Dips 12+ with body weight X 3

• Close Grip Bench Press 12, 8, 5, 20 (superset last two sets)

• French Press 12, 8, 5-20

• Underhand Grip Cable Press-down 12, 8, 5-20

• Abs Bench Roll-ups 20 X 2 and Side Rolls 12 X 2


• Squats 5 X 2 Warm up 12, 8, 5-20 Work Sets

• Stiff legged Deadlifts 12 X 2

• Walking Lunges 20 steps X 2

• Leg Extension 12, 8, 5-20

• Leg Curl 12, 8, 5-20

• Calf raises 15 X 3

• Decline Sit-ups 20 X 2



• Dumbbell Overhead Seated Press 5 X 2 Warm up 12, 8, 5-20 Work Sets

• Bent Arm Laterals with dumbbells 12, 8, 5-20

• Cable Straight arm laterals 12 X 2

• Cable Bent arm laterals 12 X 2

• Upright cable row 10 X 2

• Rear Delt Machine Row 12, 8, 5-20

• Abs Hanging leg raises 12 X 3, Bench up and twist sets 10 X 2


• Prime Mover Exercise: Bent Over- Barbell Rows Reps 5 X 2 Warm up 12, 8, 5-20 Work Sets

• One arm cable row 10 X 2

• Straight arm pulldown 10 X 2

• Close Grip Pulldown 12 X 2

• Barbell Curls 5 X 2 warm up 12, 8, 5-20 Concentration Curls 10 X 2

• Hammer Curls with Rope 12 X 2

• Abs Rubber Ball crunches 30 X 2


DAY 7 – Interval Cardio Session

Choose your method of cardio (running, biking, swimming, jump rope etc) and warm up with two minutes at an easy pace. Once you are warm, do 8 sprint intervals at 85% of max heart rate for 30 seconds each. After each interval rest for one full minute (slow jog or slow peddling) until you return to a reasonable resting heart rate.

Do 8 intervals week one, 9 week two, 10 week three and so on until you get to 12 intervals in one session. When you reach 12 you reduce the intervals back down to 8 the next time but increase the intensity of each sprint and reduce the rest time to 45 seconds following every sprint. This style of training is very effective but is intense to say the least. It can kick you metabolism into a real fat burning mode for hours.

It has been extensively researched and studies show that compared to linear cardio (going at 60% max heart rate for 20+ minutes at a time) you burn a significantly greater amount of fat. I recommend you only do this once per week for your first six week cycle.

Finishing Thoughts

Stay with this cycle for 6 weeks. Workouts should be between 45-60 minutes in length. Move quickly between exercises. Write down in a log book each set and weight lifted. (Rate the intensity level of each exercise for each muscle group on a scale from 1 lowest to 10 highest). Keep your intensity at an 8 or above, on the average. Record your overall score and intensity average at the end of each workout. A light stretch, a few push-ups or a couple of minutes on the bike can also be helpful in "getting loose" before you go into your warm-up sets. Good luck and stay committed!

Copyright (c) 2007 Scott Magers

Have you heard about the new results training program everyone’s buzzing about? Check out for a sneak preview. Health and fitness guru Scott Magers has put together the ultimate nutrition and training routine for literally hundreds of professional athletes, big league sports teams and celebrities. Will you be next?

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Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Two Forgotten Exercises Guaranteed to Add Inches of Pure Button Poppin Muscle to Your Pecs--Fast

Two Forgotten Exercises Guaranteed to Add Inches of Pure Button Poppin Muscle to Your Pecs--Fast by Leonard Rogalski

You stare on in amazement as the resident big guy at your gym blasts out yet another set of reps in the bench with 400 on the bar. His chest is massive, full, and totally developed, and yet when you try loading up on the plates what do you get from your efforts, nothing but bigger triceps and front delts.

If this sounds like you, or you simply need a break from benching, come along and get ready to grow!

The flat bench press in-and-of itself, while not a bad exercise, pales in comparison to the incline bench press.


Truthfully it comes down to a number of things, first unlike the flat bench, the incline press requires stricter form which helps prevent injuries, second, it works those all important upper pecs, which ranks up there with the most neglected of body parts, and third, the incline press carries over far greater on the athletic field than does the flat bench press.

O.K. if you thought the first exercise came out of left field wait until you see this one!

Barbell pullovers or more to the point, deep breathing pullovers.

Believe it or not, before the flat bench press came on the scene, the pullover was one of the main upper exercises all of the top bodybuilders did. Really, I'm surprised this exercise dropped out of favor as it works the chest, stretches the rib cage (in my opinion), works the triceps and the lats.

However, for me, its magic come from its rib cage stretching effects, tons of people believe you cannot stretch the rib cage and yet other people believe you can.

From my personal experience I believe you can stretch your rib cage.

This creates depth in your chest, so that when you turn sideways you won't automatically disappear.

Look at it this way, let's say you had a car and man did you ever take care of the outside of it, you waxed it everyday, and dents and dings, no way!

That's the outside, the inside and the engine, well they were terrible, do you think anyone would want to take a ride in your car?

Probably not.

Same goes for your chest, you can have massive pecs, but if you're interior (chest depth) does not exist, your chest will not look good from every angle, now you don't want that do you?


Super setting these two powerful mass builders works wonders. A super set, for those of you who might not know, simply means doing the exercises back to back with no or little rest.

To keep things simple, just try to start your set of pullovers as fast as possible after your set of incline presses.

Basically it would look like this: 1 set of incline presses followed as quickly as possible by a set of 20 reps of deep breathing pullovers.

You can do whatever number of reps you want on the incline press, but try and stick with 20 for the pullovers to give your rib cage a good stretch.


The incline press requires tighter form than the normal bench press, so stay smart, and start off light if you haven't done the lift, or maybe took a break from it for a while.

Also, for the pullovers, just try and take as deep a breath in-between each rep as you possibly can, and with the pullovers don't lock your elbows, you want your arms straight, just don't lock your arms out.

Between the incline press and the barbell pullover you have two additional exercises to add to your massive chest building tool kit.

Learn the TRUTH and gain pounds of rock hard drug free ripped muscle to your frame fast at and see how you can grab a copy of my ab course 20 MINUTES TO A SIX PACK-ABS THAT IS FREE

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Monday, April 2, 2007

Anti-Aging Secrets for Men

Anti-Aging Secrets for Men by Danna Schneider

So much of the youth-preservation and anti-aging industry here in America used to be focused exclusively on women, who were thought to be the only sex of the human species to be interested in preserving their youth, extending health and life, and enhancing their physical beauty for longer periods of time.

Not any more though. Now, men are expressing an interest in maintaining their physical and emotional health as well as their physical youthfulness, and the industry is answering that call with some excellent solutions to the quest for longevity, peak performance, and lasting health and physical fitness.

With advances in natural medicine and supplementation, there is rarely a person I talk to who does not take some natural enhancement supplement or vitamin of some sort.

Heck, even the multivitamins we have available to us nowadays offer us benefits way beyond your typical One a Day of yesteryear, with superior absorption rates as well as more concentrated and pure ingredients that ensure a greater and more noticeable benefit.

One of the best anti aging "secrets" are multivitamins that are packed with antioxidants, paired with a diet that matches this concentration. Antioxidants are found abundantly in brightly colored veggies and fruits, and are also now added to some of the top notch vitamin supplements for men and women as an added benefit in addition to basic daily vitamins.

Antioxidants, such as polyphenols (found in olive oil abundantly, for example), vitamin E and vitamin C, are pivotal to the survival of cells in the body, including skin cells, brain cells, and healthy defensive cells against things like cancer and other unwanted mutations.

Antioxidants have been demonstrated to play an important role in preventing the destruction of healthy, functional cells by something called free radicals.

Free radicals roam the body in abundance when gone unchecked and when an unhealthy diet and way of life is followed, and these environmental toxins, so to speak, destroy the healthy cell.

Sunlight exposure accelerates the destruction of healthy cells, and certain foods can as well, but taking higher doses of antioxidants and getting them in your diet as well can help mitigate the destruction of these healthy cells, and hence prolong and enhance your life.

Wearing a good SPF lotion all the time is necessary to maintain the integrity of the skin, and prevent mutations of cells such as cancers, especially skin cancer.

It is said that if we were never exposed to the sunlight in our lives, our skin would remain as smooth as a baby's bottom almost into our eighties. This is how powerful staying out of the sun can be in your quest to remain young as long as possible.

For men, maintaining prostate health also becomes a big issue as a man ages, as this gland can be the cause of health woes as the organ ages, and often materializes into an uncomfortable problem for older men, or worse, can also become cancerous over time.

There are some excellent supplements that can be taken for prostate health, and a good diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and low in red meats and other heavy, hard to digest meats, has been linked to the maintenance of prostate health and prevention of prostate cancer as well.

Another health issue for men as they age can be maintaining muscle tone and keeping an optimal level of fitness and energy. Exercise is one of the best anti-aging secrets for both men and women, period.

Exercise not only boosts energy levels and keeps the mind performing at peak levels, but it also has been shown to reduce occurrences of illness such as the flu and colds, to fend off depression and anxiety which are responsible for a myriad of other physical and mental ailments, and to keep the digestive and main organs as well as the circulatory system functioning at higher levels.

Some men (and women, for that matter), swear by the use of an HGH enhancing supplement as well. HGH enhancing supplements can help our bodies to begin to produce HGH at the higher levels of our youth once again. HGH, or human growth hormone, is basically the hormone responsible for keeping us young in every sense of the word.

Some natural supplements are thought to help the body kick the natural mechanisms back in to help the body to start producing this hormone, which typically drops off drastically after our mid twenties, at higher levels again.

All in all, with our constantly evolving and improving knowledge about the world of health and nutrition, we have the tools to remain young and healthy well beyond the years we would without this knowledge.

Those of us who want more out of life, and who understand that we only live once so we better make it the best life we can, will do well to follow these guidelines to stay "young" in spirit, mind and body, as long as we can.

Danna Schneider contributes to Mens Health Supplements and GenF20 HGH Releaser , where you can find helpful information on male and health supplements for physical wellness purposes, longevity, sexual health and emotional well being and mental sharpness.

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Sunday, April 1, 2007

4 Simple Anti-Aging Tips

4 Simple Anti-Aging Tips by Donovan Baldwin

Articles on anti-aging are all over the internet these days, so I thought I would chip in my four cent's worth. That's a penny a tip.

We cannot do much about the fact that we age, but we can do something about the effects that aging has on us. Here are four simple things you can do to delay and diminish the effects of aging.





Think you can handle those?


One of the most obvious effects of aging is what happens to the outward appearance of our bodies as well as what happens to our ability to use them. When we age, systems slow down, or even break down, we lose muscle mass, our heart begins to have problems, we lose our balance more often, we are more likely to break bones. If injured, we recover more slowly. Wrinkles form, breasts sag, stomachs poke out, and we gain weight.

Simple fact: Regular moderate exercise tightens muscles, builds lean muscle mass, helps keep us flexible and strong. It keeps systems and organs in peak health and operating at optimum efficiency. There are people in their 80's and 90's who are doing "athletic" things. Of course, some of this is related to our genetic makeup, but almost anyone can improve their overall health and fitness through a regular program of moderate exercise.

Exercise doesn't HAVE to be exercise, by the way. Gardening is exercise. So is walking, bicycling, aerobics in front of the TV (Richard Simmons, ladies), yoga, weight training, and playing with the grandkids.

Divide exercise into three types: Muscle building and toning, aerobic (cardiovascular) activity, and stretching. A basic, moderate strength routine two or three times a week, a cardiovascular activity such as a walk five times a week, and a few minutes of stretching every day should do it. It's long been understood that regular exercise can keep anybody looking and feeling good.


When people age, their nutrition often suffers. First of all, we have all kinds of exhortations to eat less, lose weight, etc. At the same time, as we age, our metabolism slows down and our body's ability to process certain nutrients diminishes as well. Many seniors lose interest in food. Our taste buds even betray us.

For seniors, eating should be fun, of course, but it needs to become a bit more logical. The body requires nutrients, but is having a hard time processing nutrients. Metabolism drops, fat starts packing on, but we need to keep our nutrient level up at a time that our sense of taste is deserting us and we are losing interest in food and a lot of other things anyway.

The exercise I mentioned earlier helps to keep your appetite up while it raises your metabolism and increases your enjoyment of life as well. It will also be necessary to make yourself eat what you are supposed to eat when you are supposed to eat it. If you have any doubt about your ability to get the appropriate nutrition from the foods you do eat, supplement your diet with vitamins and minerals. At the least, you might want to take a daily multivitamin supplement. Look for the ones that say they are for seniors.

Seniors also tend to not get enough protein. You might not need to butcher a whole cow, but try to make sure that you are getting your protein. While not perfect answers, supplements such as Ensure can help you get protein and other nutrients if you are not sure.

If you are engaging in regular physical activity (exercise) and eating properly, you will almost certainly feel more like having fun!


Having fun can have many benefits to anybody at any age, but can be of particular importance to seniors. As we age (I am 62) many of us begin to feel isolated as we quit going to work, friends die, it gets harder to get around, everybody around us (those young folks) seems to enjoy things that seem meaningless to us. Based on what a friend of mine, a geriatric nurse, told me, this is the slippery slope that leads many perfectly healthy and normal people to a chair on a senior daycare porch. She told me that many of her patients were fine, they had just figured that there was no reason to be interested in life any more.

Social interaction can keep juices flowing that otherwise would dry up, and I am talking actual chemicals, hormones, and enzymes. Spend time with friends and family. If you no longer have a job to go to daily, why not volunteer in order to keep physically, mentally, and socially active. Find something you always wished you could do, but didn't have the time because you were so busy earning a living. People with partners and pets live longer, healthier lives. There's a clue.

Keep your mind active with puzzles and games. Believe it or not, a little Sudoku, or a few logic puzzles can not only help mental alertness and thinking ability, but can actually contribute to physical health.

Just thought I'd mention, sex is good for you too!


Rest is important at all stages of our lives, and it becomes very important as we age. Regular exercise, proper nutrition, and some fun will help you fall asleep at night and sleep well. Most of us, both young and old, should be trying to get between six and eight hours of decent sleep a night. Just because you wake up a couple of times to take care of some urgent business doesn't mean that you need to stay up.

If you feel you are not getting enough sleep, or are just not rested enough, by all means have it checked out medically. In the meantime, maybe some meditation during the day can help. Hey! That's M-E-D-I-T-A-T-I-O-N so you don't need M-E-D-I-C-A-T-I-O-N!

Have a happy, healthy life.

Donovan Baldwin is a Texas writer, a University of West Florida alumnus, a member of Mensa, and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. You can find a collection of his articles on health, fitness, diet and weight loss at

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Friday, March 23, 2007

Cholesterol Diets and the way forward for healthier living

Cholesterol Diets and the way forward for healthier living by andyx5

More people are becoming aware of their own health and fitness needs in these modern times. As part of this new awareness of a persons general health is the realisation that cholesterol level is very important and having the correct level can reduce your chance of heart disease which is a major killer in the modern world.

The first thing to do is to get tested properly and find out what your cholesterol level is and then finding out importantly the difference between good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. The bad cholesterol is known as LDL Cholesterol the LDL stands for Low Density Lipoprotein. The good cholesterol is known as High Density Lipoprotein.

Bad Cholesterol problems when too much LDL is circulating within your blood stream, it can slowly build up on the inner walls of your arteries . The arteries are extremely important in delivering fresh oxygen rich blood from the heart to the brain and other vital organs.

The bad cholesterol builds up with other substances to form a plaque, a thick hard deposit that when it builds up reduces the diameter of the arteries and also makes them less flexible. This can lead to the following problem of a clot forming within the arteries which leads to a stroke or worse a heart attack.

Good Cholesterol HDL provides the defence against heart attacks. Between a third and a fourth of blood cholesterol that flows within your arteries is made up of HDL Cholesterol. The HDL Cholesterol is good at taking the LDL Cholesterol from the Arteries to the Liver where the body can process it and it can be passed from the body safely.

The best course of action is to examine your diet and reduce the amount of fatty substances that you eat, lay off the desert menu. Take an Omega 3 supplement daily fish oils have a very good effect on reducing your LDL Cholesterol. I know within my family that has been a number of deaths from heart attacks. I take regular exercise and go swimming, swimming is a very good exercise as it stretches most muscles and gives the added benefit that it’s a non impact exercise.

Some exercise such as running a impact based and maybe not as good as looking for exercise equipment that is designed to produce non impact fat burning. Consider finding out your ideal weight and seek medical advice on how to attain it. Give yourself reasonable goals in achieving this and mark your progress on something visible.

It’s important you need to see progress and that you feel the difference within yourself. Sometimes if you can not manage to get to the gym go for a good 2 mile walk and try to attain a good breathing rhythm. This can be more therapeutic than sweating buckets on a treadmill.

When you go shopping spend a little bit more time in reading the labels and if you are not sure what a product is research it and find out how good it is to eat and will it provide you with healthy sustenance or be bad for you. Getting the balanced diet and understanding your bodies processes can really help in maintaining a healthy heart and a longer more enjoyable lifestyle.

This article can be used under the standard terms and conditions of this website.

© 2007 Andy Bolton 39 Liverpool UK

Andy Bolton 39 Liverpool UK
Automation Engineer / Divemaster / Web Designer / Hot Air Balloon Enthusiast. Hot Air Ballooning Website Blogging + RSS feeds Website

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Hip Abduction Exercise For Firmer Thighs

Hip Abduction Exercise For Firmer Thighs by Jennifer Adolfs

Hip abduction exercise and leaner thighs go hand in hand.

In basic terms hip abduction means to take the leg away from the midline of the body, kick your leg straight out to the side, or to work the outer thigh. So, when you are doing hip abduction exercise it involves some form of moving the leg away from the body, usually with added resistance for strength.

The hip is a ball and socket joint, which means that you can move the leg in four directions; abduction (away from body), adduction (toward midline of body), flexion (bringing the leg up towards the torso), and extension (drawing the leg straight back behind the body).


Why is hip abduction exercise good for the hip joint and thighs?

Doing hip abduction exercise helps to strengthen and stretch the muscles that surround and protect the hip joint. As an added bonus, with the stretching and strengthening actions it pulls the muscles into longer and leaner lines.

These muscles include: gluteus medius and minimus, the piriformis (in the buttocks), the ilipsoas (in the groin), the tensor fasciae latae (upper lateral thigh), and the sartorius (runs from outside of lateral thigh into the medial side just below the kneecap).

Strengthening and stretching these muscles will help to stabilize the hip as well as to keep it flexible and working efficiently so we can move with ease. Most specifically, walk with ease and without pain.


What types of hip abduction exercise should I be doing?

There are many different ways to do hip abduction exercise. You can exercise in a side lying position, lying on your back, or standing. You can work most all of these hip abduction exercises using the resistance of water in a pool.

Some of my favorites are Pilates based exercises done on a mat or utilizing Pilates equipment if you have it available.


Side kicks:

All exercises done lying on your side with your shoulders and hips stacked on top of each other and legs angled slightly forward at the waist.

· Small Circles – With the top leg slightly forward of the bottom and at hip level circle the whole leg 6-8 times each direction. Keep the leg long and reaching through your heel. Think about reaching out of the hip to make it longer.

· Forward and Back Kicks – With the torso and bottom leg staying stationary as an anchor swing the top leg forward and back at hip level keeping the leg long and straight. Swinging the leg forward flex your foot, swinging the leg behind you point your foot. Keep the shoulders aligned as you swing the leg straight behind you.

· Open the Clam – Lying on your side with both knees bent out at a 90 degree angle, place your hand on the top hip and keep it aligned over the bottom hip. Squeeze your heels together and then draw your top knee away from the bottom knee. If you are aligned properly it should not open very far as with trying to open a very tight clam shell.

Leg Circles:

· Lying on your back with one leg extended along the mat anchored to the floor, the other leg extended up just under a 90 degree angle. Feel the thigh bone of the leg in the air set right in your hip socket and then circle it 8 times each direction.

Make the circles as large as you can control keeping your torso and leg on the floor very still. Shoulders and butt cheeks stay anchored into the floor as you circle.

Standing Hip Abduction Exercise:

· Standing with or without a weight around your ankles, kick one leg out to the side until you feel the outer thigh or hip stop you from going any farther without having to bend sideways. Make sure you stand with the spine extended as you kick to each side 10 times.

Jennifer Adolfs is a certified Pilates Mat and Equipment Specialist who works with musculoskeletal injuries. Check out her new Pilates Ebook that offers detailed pictures and descriptions of these and many more hip and core exercises. You can learn more by going to her web site at

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Friday, February 23, 2007

The Low Body Fat Secret Of Bodybuilders And Fitness Models by Tom Venuto

The secret to getting super lean – I'm talking about being RIPPED, not just "average body fat" – is all about mastering the art of "peaking." Most people do not have a clue about what it takes to reach the type of low body fat levels that reveal to see ripped six-pack abs, muscle striations, vascularity and extreme muscular definition, so they go about it completely the wrong way.

Here's a case in point: One of my newsletter subscribers recently sent me this question:

"Tom, on your Burn The Fat website, you wrote:

‘Who better to model than bodybuilders and fitness competitors? No athletes in the world get as lean as quickly as bodybuilders and fitness competitors. The transformations they undergo in 12 weeks prior to competition would boggle your mind! Only ultra-endurance athletes come close in terms of low body fat levels, but endurance athletes like triathaletes and marathoners often get lean at the expense of chewing up all their muscle. Some of them are nothing but skin and bone.'

"Tom, there seems to be a contradiction unless I'm missing something. Why do bodybuilders and fitness competitors have to go through a 12 week 'transformation' prior to every event instead of staying 'lean and mean' all the time? If they practice the secrets exposed in your book, they should be staying in shape all the time instead of having to work at losing fat prior to every competitive event, correct??"

There is a logical explanation for why bodybuilders and other physique athletes (fitness and figure competitors), don't remain completely ripped all year round, and it's the very reason they are able to get so ripped on the day of a contest…

You can't hold a peak forever or it's not a "peak", right? What is the definition of a peak? It's a high point surrounded by two lower points isn't it?

Therefore, any shape you can stay in all year round is NOT your "peak" condition.

The intelligent approach to nutrition and training (which almost all bodybuilders and fitness/figure competitors use), is to train and diet in a seasonal or cyclical fashion and build up to a peak, then ease off to a maintenance or growth phase.

I am NOT talking about bulking up and getting fat and out of shape every year, then dieting it all off every year. What I'm talking about is going from good shape to great (peak) shape, then easing back off to good shape.... but never getting "out of shape." Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it? Here's an example: I have no intentions whatsoever of walking around 365 days a year at 4% body fat like I appear in the photo on my website. Off-season, when I'm not competing, my body fat is usually between 8 – 10%. Mind you, that's very lean and still single digit body fat.

I don't stray too far from competition shape, but I don't maintain contest shape all the time. It takes me 12-14 weeks or so to gradually drop from 9.5% to 3.5%-4.0% body fat to "peak" for competition with NO loss of lean body mass...using the same techniques I reveal in my e-book. It would be almost impossible to maintain 4% body fat, and even if I could, why would I want to? For the few weeks prior to competition I'm so depleted, ripped, and even "drawn" in the face, that complete strangers walk up and offer to feed me.

Okay, so I'm just kidding about that, but let's just say being "being ripped to shreds" isn't a desirable condition to maintain because it takes such a monumental effort to stay there. It's probably not even healthy to try forcing yourself to hold extreme low body fat. Unless you're a natural "ectomorph" (skinny, fast metabolism body type), your body will fight you. Not only that, anabolic hormones may drop and sometimes your immune system is affected as well. It's just not "normal" to walk around all the time with literally no subcutaneous body fat.

Instead of attempting to hold the peak, I cycle back into a less demanding off-season program and avoid creeping beyond 9.9% body fat. Some years I've stayed leaner - like 6-7%, (which takes effort), especially when I knew I would be photographed, but I don't let my body fat go over 10%. This practice isn't just restricted to bodybuilders. Athletes in all sports use periodization to build themselves up to their best shape for competition. Is a pro football player in the same condition in March-April as he is in August-September? Not a chance. Many show up fat and out of shape (relatively speaking) for training camp, others just need fine tuning, but none are in peak form... that's why they have training camp!!!

There's another reason you wouldn't want to maintain a "ripped to shreds" physique all year round – you'd have to be dieting (calorie restricted) all the time. And this is one of the reasons that 95% of people can't lose weight and keep it off --they are CHRONIC dieters... always on some type of diet. Know anyone like that?

You can't stay on restricted low calories indefinitely. Sooner or later your metabolism slows down and you plateau as your body adapts to the chronically lowered food intake. But if you diet for fat loss and push incredibly hard for 3 months, then ease off for a while and eat a little more (healthy food, not "pigging out"), your metabolic rate is re-stimulated. In a few weeks or months, you can return to another fat loss phase and reach an even lower body fat level, until you finally reach the point that's your happy maintenance level for life – a level that is healthy and realistic – as well as visually appealing.

Bodybuilders have discovered a methodology for losing fat that's so effective, it puts them in complete control of their body composition. They've mastered this area of their lives and will never have to worry about it again. If they ever "slip" and fall off the wagon like all humans do at times … no problem! They know how to get back into shape fast.

Bodybuilders have the tools and knowledge to hold a low body fat all year round (such as 9% for men, or about 15% for women), and then at a whim, to reach a temporary "peak" of extremely low body fat for the purpose of competition. Maybe most important of all, they have the power and control to slowly ease back from peak shape into maintenance, and not balloon up and yo-yo like most conventional dieters!

What if you had the power to stay lean all year round, and then get super lean when summer rolled around, or when you took your vacation to the Caribbean, or when your wedding date was coming up? Wouldn't you like to be in control of your body like that? Isn't that the same thing that bodybuilders and fitness/figure competitors do, only on a more practical, real-world level?

So even if you have no competitive aspirations, don't you agree that there's something of value everyone could learn from physique athletes? Don't model yourself after the huge crowd of losers who gobble diet pills, blow their money on exercise gimmicks and suffer through starvation diets like automatons, only to gain back everything they lost! Instead, learn from the leanest athletes on Earth - natural bodybuilders and fitness competitors…

These physique athletes get as ripped as they want to be, exactly when they want to, simply by manipulating their diets in a cyclical fashion between pre-contest "cutting" programs and off season "maintenance" or "muscle growth" programs. Even if you have no desire to ever compete, try this seasonal "peaking" approach yourself and you'll see that it can work as well for you as it does for elite bodybuilders.

Tom Venuto is a bodybuilder, certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) and a certified personal trainer (CPT). 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. Get rid of stubborn fat and increase your metabolism by visiting: and

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

5 Tips To Make Your Exercise Program A Success

5 Tips To Make Your Exercise Program A Success by Donovan Baldwin

People seldom "fail" with their exercise program. What does happen is that they fail to achieve the success they had hoped for. Far from a failure, this is usually the result of their not really understanding what is required from them for an exercise program to be successful.

The five main reasons that most people are not successful with their exercise program are these:

1. They try to do much too soon.

2. They have inaccurate or inappropriate expectations.

3. They get bored.

4. They lose their motivation.

5. They quit too soon.

Since these are the main reasons that many exercise programs don't seem to do the job, then addressing them may make us more successful with the exercise side of our fitness and weight loss plans. So, let's take a look at each in turn and see if we can figure out what to do.

The dangers of overdoing exercise.

A factor that figures into all five issues is simply ignorance. I don't mean that as an insult, it's just that people go out and buy a piece of equipment or a Richard Simmons DVD and jump in with both feet. Even if they read the directions, those are normally written from the viewpoint of "this is what you should be doing" rather than "this is how you get to the point where you can do what you should be doing". Since most people don't really know much about exercise or how it works, and I was once one of those people, they tend to make a lot of mistakes, even though they have the best of intentions.

One of these mistakes is to try to do too much too soon.

Let's say your new barbell set says, that for maximum effect, you should be able to three sets of ten reps a certain exercise with the weight set at one-fourth of your body weight. So, you figure you weigh 160 lbs, set the bar at 40 lbs, and do ten reps. You're a little winded. It was a bit hard, but you were able to do it. You rest a minute, and try again. It's harder, but you're still able to get through it. You take another short rest and do the third set. Wow! You had to squeeze out the last couple of reps, but you did it! You feel good. You've got what it takes, and you can't wait until the next exercise day.

What has happened is that you have produced a large amount of damage to muscle tissue that your body will now have to spend the next couple of days fixing. Since you are out of shape (even if you were able to do all three sets), your body is going to have a hard time getting that work done. I can tell you that this is certainly going to impact almost every physical, emotional, and mental event or episode in your life over the next several hours or even days.

The next day, what happens? You hurt like hell! That's what happens. Even if you can convince yourself that this is a good sign, continuing on in this manner will eventually either produce a real injury, or will set you up mentally and physically to begin wanting to avoid your workouts, whether you are doing aerobics, lifting weights, running, swimming, bicycling, or working in your garden.

Most people simply do not realize how much is going on internally when they take an out-of-shape body and begin demanding that it perform as if it were already in shape.

So, just take it easy. Start off slow and gradually ease your way up to higher levels. Many highly successful marathoner runners were barely able to walk to the end of their street and make it back without stopping to rest when they first started. Many a housewife has begun her "exercise program" with a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup in each hand. Start light and increase gradually. Don't worry if you don't see "results" at first. Good things are happening inside your body.

When it comes to expectations, get real.

As trite as it is, one of the best remarks to remember is: It took you years to get this way and you're not going to change things in a couple of days. No matter how badly you try, you simply will not lose 20 lbs in 10 days. It happens, but that's the exception rather than the rule. Also, each of us is different. If your neighbor tries an exercise routine or diet and loses weight right away, you cannot assume that you will respond the same way. The one main thing you can say is that if you do your exercises regularly and gradually challenge yourself, your body will make the appropriate changes in outward appearance and inner capabilities.

Yes! Exercise CAN get boring.

Doing anything day after day can be boring whether it's exercise, sex, or eating ice least for most of us. A few people can do things over and over and never get tired of it, but most of us aren't built that way. Even if you are doing everything the right way, have good expectations, have a great program, and are seeing good results, getting up 45 minutes early for the 150th day in a row and strapping on those running shoes is going to get old eventually. Do what you can to liven it up a bit. Even if you just like to go for a walk, can't you walk somewhere else today? Why not substitute a swim, a bicycle ride, a visit to the zoo, or an hour's worth of yard work for your walk? If your normal routine is comprised of Press, Curl, Bench Press done with a barbell, why not substitute Triceps Extensions, Preacher Curls, and Chest Flys all done with a dumbell once in a while? Or, you could go to the park, do some chin ups and pushups and then take a long walk yourself. Who says you have to do exactly the same thing in the same place every day?

I listen to the news or play a motivational video while I'm on my walker. Before I know it, the walk is over and I didn't even notice it.

Your goal is to stay motivated.

How many times have you begun a program or project with a very strong motivation, only to find that after a few days, you just didn't feel like doing it any more? You saw that show on heart disease and got scared so you vowed you would exercise regularly. Perhaps you were in Sears or Dillard's shopping for some new clothes, or even worse, a bathing suit, and found that you needed the next size up...again! You went home and vowed that you would do whatever it took to get back to the size you were in high school (unrealistic expectation) and that afternoon you began your exercise program and felt so good about what you were doing. A few days later, you just couldn't find the time or the motivation to do your workout. In fact, you weren't even thinking about whatever it was that kicked you into gear in the first place.

Write it down. As you write it, feel every boiling emotion...pain, fear, embarrassment, anger...whatever tripped your trigger in the first place. Make it a statement about what you feel, what you want to change, why you want to change, and how you intend to change. Put it in your purse, wallet, or pocket, and take it out and read it a few times a day. Every time you read it, try to read it out loud, and try to reconstruct in your very being the thoughts and feelings you had when you wrote it down. Paste it on your mirror, put it on the fridge, tell your best friend if you dare, but revive it in your heart several times a day, every day.

Whatever you do, don't quit.

One of the main reasons many people feel that their exercise program has failed them is because they quit too soon. Remember that thing about how it took you years to get this way and it's not going to change overnight? The visible results of a day's exercise, a week's exercise, or a month's exercise may not give you a reason to keep on getting up at the crack of dawn or paying those gym fees. However, six month's worth of steady, regular, moderate exercise will awaken most people to the wonders of life that await them in their newer, slimmer, physically fitter body. Oh, six month's won't be enough, and some people may have to wait a year or more to see the real results, but science and several million people have proven that if you are exercising regularly, challenging yourself and moving upwards, you WILL see the results you have been hoping for.

You will see results, and so will everybody else.

Donovan Baldwin is a Texas writer. He is a University of West Florida alumnus, a member of Mensa, and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. His interests include nature, animals, the environment, global warming, health, fitness, yoga, and weight loss. Learn more about exercise and weight loss at

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