Monthly Archives: December 2011

Intro 5 – Training (Cutting and Bulking)

Everyone wants to have ripped abs, huge biceps and a big chest. And it’s easy to have them right? Do 1000 crunches everyday and your abs will eventually show, right? Do biceps curls every day and your biceps will explode from your T-shirt, right? Do bench presses and 1000 push-ups everyday and you’ll have a massive chest, right?

WRONG!

How come that’s wrong? Well… there are many reasons, unfortunately.

First of all, doing crunches will not make you lose your belly. To lose fat you must first look at your nutrition, then think about crunches – which aren’t a really good abs workout, but we’ll talk about that later. It’s been proved that you need to do around 100.000 crunches to lose only around 500 grams.

So, because we’ve started with “ripped abs”, let’s continue talking about them. How can you have abs? Well, let me tell you a secret. You already have abs, you already have a 6 pack or an 8 pack (depending on your genetics), it’s just that it’s covered by a layer of fat, or as we may all call it, the belly. How to lose it? By doing cardio, lifting weights and eating under your maintenance. Some think that doing 14 sessions of cardio every week, one in the morning and one in the evening, it’s all you need. Doing so, you will lose a lot of muscle and, if you’re nutrition is not in place, there’s a good probability that you won’t lose anything.

The rule is: 70% nutrition and 30% training. You can have the best training on the planet, lift 100kg overhead and jog everyday, if you don’t eat how you are supposed to eat, it won’t help you.

First you need to look over your “diet”, calculate your macros and stick with a healthy diet that will give you energy for your training. After that, find a workout that will work for you. Then, if your goal is to lose fat, add to your weight lifting workouts a minimum of 3 cardio sessions. If you’re a fat ectomorph – which I would really want to see, seriously – then it is not necessary to do cardio too often or too much because your body will burn a lot of calories just from staying in your couch and from your simple weight lifting workouts. But considering that fat ectomorphs are a rarity, you will have to do those cardio sessions.

And that’s it. Simple as that. Eat under your maintenance (read the Cutting article), have a weight lifting workout-program, do a minimum of 3 sessions of cardio per week. You don’t need to starve to lose weight.

 

Now you know the basics. Let’s continue talking about how you should train and what kind of cardio you should do to have the best results.

We continue talking about training for people who want to lose fat. When it comes to training, there are different styles of doing it. Full body, upper/lower split and single split.

A full body workout is when you work your entire body in one session. That means you will work you shoulders, back, chest, arms and legs in one session. In my opinion, this is the best for losing weight as you burn a lot of calories in a single session. The thing that you need to know is that, when doing such a training, you will need at least 48 hours between your training sessions so your muscles can recover. The 2nd thing you need to know is that these sessions should last somewhere between 30 to 60 minutes at MOST. The 3rd thing is that you will only do ONE exercise per body part in every session; if you do more than an exercise you will have to spend more time recovering. The 4th thing is to not rely on isolation exercises, but on compound exercises. The list below will give you examples of isolation and of compound exercises.

Compound exercises – work more muscles at the same time (use more than one joint):

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench presses
  • Overhead presses
  • Rows
  • Pull ups/Lat pull-downs

Isolation exercises – isolate only a single muscle (use only one joint):

  • Biceps curls
  • Triceps pushdowns
  • Cable/Dumbbell flies
  • Leg extensions
  • Leg curls
  • Lateral raises

Doing compound exercises will help you burn more calories and will train your body as a whole.

Upper/lower splits mean that you will train your upper body in one session, then your lower body in another. These are really good for building muscle as you can groups of muscle 2 times a week and can focus more on them. In these kind of training sessions you can incorporate isolation exercises because you will usually have 2 to 3 days of recovery.

Usually, upper/lower splits look like this – 1,2,3 are the days in which you workout:

  1. Upper body
  2. Lower body
  3. Rest
  4. Upper body
  5. Lower body
  6. Rest
  7. Rest

Single split routines should be used, in my opinion, by experienced lifters that have lifted for at least a year, know their body, how it works, and know how to use their muscles in a way that, for example, when they do a bench press (which works shoulders, chest and triceps) to use only their chest – isolate the chest, even if it is a compound exercise. For these kind of lifters, full body or/and upper lower splits will not work as well as for beginners.

A good example of this kind of split is the next one:

  1. Legs
  2. Chest
  3. Back
  4. Shoulders
  5. Arms
  6. Abs
  7. Rest

 

Continuing with cardio. The best cardio for losing fat and maintaining muscle is HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. To explain it in a simple way, it means that you will do intervals of – for example – one minute of sprinting as fast as you can, one minute of rest (walking or just standing still), one minute of sprinting, one minute of rest, etc. This kind of cardio training shocks your metabolism, making it to burn fat and not muscle.

 

You know what to do, somehow, now. You know what kind of workout to choose, you know how to do your cardio. Now I will give you some routine examples for each of the training examples.

 

FULL BODY

Monday:

  • Squat
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Incline dumbbell bench press
  • Dumbbell shoulder press
  • Pull ups
  • Plank

Wednesday

  • Bench press
  • Bent over row
  • Military press
  • Lunges
  • Bodyweight jump squats
  • Leg raises

Friday

  • Deadlift
  • Clean and press
  • Dips
  • Chin ups
  • Step ups
  • Any kind of abs exercises
The days that haven’t been written mean that they are rest days, or cardio days for the ones who want to lose weight.

 

UPPER/LOWER SPLIT

Monday

  • Bench press
  • Incline bench press
  • Pull ups
  • Bent over rows
  • Military Press
  • Biceps curls
  • Triceps pushdowns

Tuesday

  • Squat
  • Leg extension
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Seated leg curl
  • Calves raises
  • Abs workout

Thursday

  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Dips
  • Chin ups
  • Cable rows
  • Dumbbell shoulder press
  • Preacher curls
  • Overhead triceps extension

Friday

  • Deadlift
  • Hack squat
  • Good morning
  • Lying leg curl
  • Calves raises
  • Abs workout
The days that haven’t been written mean that they are rest days, or cardio days for the ones who want to lose weight.
SINGLE SPLIT
Monday – Legs
  • Squat
  • Leg press
  • Hack squat
  • Leg extension
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Leg curl
  • Seated calves raise
  • Standing calves raise

Tuesday – Chest

  • Incline chest press
  • Bench press
  • Dips
  • Dumbbell flies
  • Cable flies

Wednesday – Back

  • Pull-ups
  • Bent over rows
  • Cable rows
  • Overhand lat pull-downs
  • Lat pushdown

Thursday – Shoulders

  • Military press
  • Dumbbell lateral raise
  • Cable lateral raise
  • Bent over lateral raise

Friday – Arms

  • Biceps curl
  • Preacher curl
  • Hammer curl
  • Triceps pushdown
  • Skullcrusher
  • Overhead triceps extension

Saturday – Abs

  • Plank
  • Bicycle crunch
  • Leg raise
  • Side plank
Cardio sessions are chosen by personal preference on any of the lifting days.
There are also different ways of lifting, depending on your goal. First you will need to calculate your 1RM, which is the weight with which you can do only one repetition for a certain exercises – this means it is impossible for you to do a second rep. After doing this, look at the stats below and choose them depending on your goal – strength, power, muscle, fat loss or muscular endurance.
STRENGTH
Reps: 1-5, Sets: 4-7, Rest (between sets) :180sec, Weight: 85-100%
POWER
Reps: 1-5, Sets: 3-5, Rest (between sets): 120sec, Weight: 70-100%
BUILD MUSCLE
Reps: 8-12, Sets: 4-8, Rest (between sets): 90-120sec, Weight: 60-80%
FAT LOSS
Reps: 8-12, Sets: 4-6, Rest (between sets): 30-60sec, Weight: 60-70%
MUSCULAR ENDURANCE
Reps: 12+, Sets: 2-4, Rest (between sets): 60sec, Weight: 40-60%
And again, before I finish, don’t forget: 70% nutrition, 30% training.
Advertisements

Knee injury

Apparently my knee injury is a bit more serious than I thought so I will not be working my legs for about a week or two, then I will probably start working them with low weights and high reps for about 2 to 4 weeks to aid recovery and not put too much strain on my knee.

I will take advantage of these weeks to work on a few personal records regarding push ups and to work on my strength with respect to pull ups.

Besides that, I will stretch my hamstrings and quads daily also to aid recovery and also because my hams are really tight.

I will not be taking any protein supplements during these weeks, but I will take others also to aid my recovery:

  • Multivitamin – one pill in the morning with my breakfast
  • Glucosamine – 3 x 500mg pills throughout the day
  • Cod liver oil – 4 x 1000mg pills throughout the day
  • Magnesium – one 250mg pill before I go to sleep
  • Zinc – one 25mg pill before I go to sleep
  • Alfacalcidol – one 0.5μg pill in the morning with my breakfast

All of these are said to aid recovery. I will also be taking calcium and vitamin C from natural sources (dairy products and veggies and fruits high in vitamin C – especially broccoli).

A lot of ice and anti-inflammatory gel also.

I’ll see how things evolve. Hopefully all we be good so I can continue training again.

Intro 4 – Bulking

… or put  on muscle.

Nowadays, most people that start going to the gym just for the sake of lifting or to start some serious training have one thing in mind: add muscle and burn fat. Unfortunately, this is not possible. To burn fat (or lose weight) you need to eat less than your maintenance, to add muscle (or put weight on) you need to over your maintenance – or the TDEE which I was talking about in the Cutting post.

There is though a slight posibility to add muscle and lose fat at the same time. This only happens when you’re a beginner and never lifted weight before, you’re obese and of course still a beginner or if you use anabolic steroids – which I do not recommend.

But let’s go back to putting on muscle. As you’ve read above, you need to eat over your maintenance, or your TDEE. Also, when trying to put on muscle there is a big possibility that you will also put some fat. The amount of fat that you will add depends on how many calories over your maintenance you will eat. The more you eat, the more fat you will eat. A good calorie base for adding muscle should be to add to your TDEE between 300 and 500 calories. So if your maintenance is 2800 calories, to add muscle you should eat around 3100 to 3300 calories every day. If you eat less, you’ll have a slow progress (too slow, trust me), if you eat more, then you will start adding more fat.

So get over it and get used to the thought of adding some fat along with muscle. When you see that you added too much fat, just start cutting.

Going back to our subject. Now you know how many calories you need to eat. Now you need to divide these calories into your macro-nutrients (to know more about them, read the Cutting post).

The most important macro-nutrient is protein. Eat at least 2.2g of protein per kg. That means that if you’re 70kg, eat at least 154g of protein everyday.

When it comes to fat, you should try to eat around 1g of fat per kg. Don’t go below because fat is involved in hormone production, meaning that you will have healthy testosterone levels, but don’t go above too much (only if you’re an ectomorph with a really high metabolism – still, don’t exagerate). So that means 70g of fat a day.

Carbohyrates – or carbs – are extremelly important when it comes to bulking. They give you energy and they are stored as glycogen in the muscles cells from which you will get your energy from instead of taking your energy from fat or from amino acids – when eating too few carbs. Aim to eat mostly complex carbs during the day and simple – or sugary – carbs before, during and/or after your workout.

So how many carbs should you eat? Well, let’s go back to the theory. Let’s say we’re talking about a 70kg person with a TDEE of 2800 calories. That means that he should eat between 3100 and 3300 calories a day. Let’s say 3300. He needs to eat 154g of protein a day, which means 616 calories. He also need around 70g of fat, which means 640 calories. We are now left with 2044 calories and this would mean that this person can eat 511g of carbs. If this seems to high, you can reduce them a bit and replace the calories with the ones from protein. Therefore, he could eat – for example – 450g of carbs, 215g of protein and 70g of fat, which means exactly 3300 calories.

Where should you take these calories from? Read the Cutting post for this information.

 

Next post will be about training for bulking and for cutting.

Intro 3 – Supplementation

I think this will be a shorter post compared with the cutting one. I’ll see how things evolve.

I’ve seen people who confuse supplements with steroids. I really never thought there are people that stupid.

“According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, anabolic steroids are synthetic substances related to the male sex hormones (androgens). They promote growth of skeletal muscle (anabolic effect) and the development of male sexual characteristics (androgenic effects).”

“Dietary supplements are substances you eat or drink. They can be vitamins, minerals, herbs or other plants, amino acids (the individual building blocks of protein), or parts of these substances. They can be in pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid form. They supplement (add to) the diet and should not be considered a substitute for food.” (http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/tc/dietary-supplements-topic-overview)

Hopefully now you understand what supplements are.

There are a few (well, not quite a few) supplements that every person that decides to start lifting weights or train needs. I will go directly to them:

  • Multivitamin complex – healthy immune system
  • Fish oils (for omega 3) – cardiovascular health and can help promote healthy brain function
  • Whey protein – strength gains and ease and convenience of not having to prepare whole foods

These 3 are the foundation. If you don’t really care about the financial side, the list can go on with the next important supplements:

  • Creatine – for muscular strength and endurance
  • BCAA – recovery and muscle building
  • L-Glutamine – recovery and minimising muscle breakdown

There are many others such as different types of protein (casein for example) which, in my opinion, aren’t that important as long as your nutrition is in place (and must be in place). If your nutrition lacks something, supplements will not work. They just supplement a “perfect” diet. Eat pizza, chips, crisps, sweets and burgers and take whey protein and creatine and the only thing you will see is a bigger belly.

Next post will be on bulking (putting muscle mass).

Intro 2 – Cutting

The first thing that you should understand is that “cutting” isn’t quite the same as “dieting”. I do not diet. I eat less than my body needs, but at the same time enough so that my body can burn as much fat as possible and as less muscle as possible at the same time. A healthy way of losing fat is to lose around 500g per week and AT MOST 1kg per week. Loosing more than 1kg per week means that the body has started losing muscle. STILL, this is different from a person to another. The more body fat a person has, the more easier it is for him/her to lose it. But, a healthy way is to do it gradually.

To lose between 500g and 1kg of fat per week means that you (or I in this case) must first calculate your TDEE – Total Daily Energy Expenditure – which quantifies the number of calories you burn in a day. This means the more you move your body and you work your muscles, the more greated your TDEE is. In a more easier way to explain it, TDEE is how many calories you need to eat in a day to maintain your weight.

After calculating my TDEE I will substract around 20% of that so that I can get a number which means how many calories I need to eat in a period of 24 hours to start losing fat.

So lets say that my TDEE is 3000 calories. I substract 20% of that, which is 600 and I am left with 2400 calories. This is how many calories I need to eat so I can lose fat at a healthy rate and spare as much muscle as possible.

After this, these calories must be divided into macro-nutrients, which are proteincarbohydrates and fats.

PROTEIN

Protein is probably the most important macro-nutrient when it comes to maintaining muscle on a diet. Protein is broken down into  amino acids during digestion which are released into the bloodstream where they may then be taken up by muscle cells and for protein synthesis to occur.

The standard protein intake (when it comes to bodybuilding) is around 2.2g per kg. Meaning that if you weigh 80kg, you should eat a minimum of 176g of protein per day. When it comes to cutting, you should increase the intake, this helping your body to spare as much muscle as possible. The target now depends on your body type. For an ectomorph, the minimum should be at around 3.5g of protein per kg. For a mesomorph, the minimum should be 2.8g per kg. For an endomorph, the minimum should be 3.3g of protein per kg.

FAT

Some may say now that you should not eat fat if you want to lose fat. Fat makes you fat, right? Not really. You need a minimum amount of fat especially for testosterone synthesis. Lowering them too much will have a huge hit against testosterone production, thus limiting your gains and “screwing up” your hormone balance. However, dietary fat is also stored easily as body fat. Therefore there should be a balance.

To balance everything, one should eat between 25-35% of his/her calories from fat and NOT go below 15% so that testosterone levels can be high enough and to not stop the progress of lowering body fat.

CARBOHYDRATES

One should not lower carbs too much. Nowadays, most of the weight loss diets are against carbs and tell you to eat as few as possible. If you were to not lift weights at all, maybe it might be true, but you need energy and the best energy comes from carbs. Carbohydrates are transformed into glucose by the body and glucose is stored as glycogen in the liver and in the muscle. If you eat too few carbs, then the body will take it’s energy NOT from fat, as many think, but from the amino acids stored in the muscles, which means there won’t be enough amino acids in the muscle afterwards to maintain muscle tissue, meaning of course that muscle will be lost.

So how many carbs should one eat in a day? Well, let’s calculate.

1g of protein has 4 calories, 1g of carbs has 4 calories and 1g of fat has 9 calories.

Let’s choose an 80kg mesomorph which has a TDEE of 3000 calories and wants to lose fat at a healthy rate, meaning he will have to eat around 2400 calories. I said above that mesomorphs should eat at least 2.8g of protein per kg. That means 224g of protein, which means 896 calories. When it comes to fat, let’s say he will eat 30% of his calories from fat. 30% of 2400 calories is 720 calories (which is 80g fat). We are now left with 2400 – 720 – 896 = 784 calories, which can be filled with carbs – 196g carbs.

As long as you hit your macros and eat the required calories, you will lose weight, so do not worry.

Now you know how many calories to eat and how many macro-nutrients. That should be enough, right? Well, not really. For some might be enough. Some people may tell you that this is enough, that it does not matter where you if it fits your macros – or IIFYM – that’s all you need to do. I recommend not going with that belief. Yes, the most important thing is to eat the required macro-nutrients, but aim to eat as healthy as you can. That means as many whole foods as possible and as less processed as possible.

The list below will show you the best foods from where to get your macro-nutrients.

PROTEIN

  • Fish
  • Chicken, Turkey
  • Eggs
  • Low fat beef
  • Whey, casein, soy protein
  • Milk, cottage cheese

CARBOHYDRATES

  • Oats
  • Bran
  • Brown rice
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beans
  • Fruits (but not too many because they contain fructose)
  • VEGETABLES (yes, caps-lock; you know why)

FATS

  • Olive oil
  • Flaxseed
  • Nuts (a handful a day is enough)
  • Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel)
  • Peanut butter (IF it does not contain hydrogenated oil)

When cutting, you CAN eat sugars as long as it fits your macro nutrients

Also, you can have a cheat meal every once in a while, for example every week (a slice of pizza, a burger etc.), but you should not eat over the required calories and you should fit the cheat meal into your macro-nutrients. So if you eat a slice of pizza which has, let’s say, 15g of fat, 40g of carbs and 10g of protein, add those to your macros and eat less fat/carbs at the other meals so you can fit it in properly.

Next post will be on supplementation and the basic supplements that anyone needs when weight lifting and training.

Intro

I will be posting everything I do related to my day to day nutrition, workout and supplementation.

Supplements will change during some months, depending if I am bulking, cutting or maintaining.

The purpose of this blog is for personal motivation. If it happens to help you too, be my guest. I am always happy to help

 

Also, if anyone needs a piece of advice regarding this blog, me or anything related to my nutrition, workouts and supplementation, please to not hesitate to contact me.

 

My next post will contain my goal with respect to the subjects that I have been writing about above.