Low reps and heavy weight is best

Some more great research I just came across. They are looking into two types of fatigue that occurr during training, peripheral and central fatigue.

Here’s how it was described at Conditioning Research

What I thought was neat about the study was the distinction between “peripheral” and “central” fatigue: the former is the reduced ability of your muscle itself to contract, and the latter is a reduction in the signal from your brain to your muscle demanding contraction. If you pick up a heavy (above critical torque) dumbbell and lift it until you can’t anymore, the limiting factor appears to be peripheral fatigue. Your muscles are simply no longer capable of contracting powerfully enough to lift the weight.In contrast, if you lift a lighter (below critical torque) dumbbell to failure, your muscles themselves fatigue to a much lesser extent, suggesting that fatigue somewhere in your brain or central nervous system is the problem.

AH HAH! As I’ve said before, and I will say again, lifting heavy weights at a handfull of reps, is the best and fastest way to make progress. It allows us to fatigue the muscle itself, “peripheral” fatigue, which triggers an adaptive change, forcing muscle growth.

If you don’t fatigue the muscle to the max in a short enough time, you aren’t actually hitting the “wall” of your strength. You aren’t actually hitting the physical limit of your muscle’s ability to lift that weight.

High reps causes the “central” fatigue, that of the CNS and the brain. Your muscles can’t lift the weight any more, not because you have hit the physical limit of the muscle’s strength, but because your brain is stopping it from contracting. This does not cause the same “stressor” or adaptation as “peripheral” fatigue, therefore, once you have healed and try the lift next week, your threshold to lift a heavier weight is diminished.

This has been my experience in real life too. Max muscle damage, by reaching actual limits of the muscle’s strength, causes larger adaptations.

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Is carb loading or carb-refeeding necessary for big muscles?

In every circle of body builders and body science experts there are folks trying to find shortcuts for getting bigger and stronger in less time. Protein timing, meal timing, workout timing, carbo-loading, etc, it’s all scrutinized and debated into the ground.

One of the most common things you’ll hear is that carbohydrates after exercise is “absolutely necessary for protein synthesis”, or that “carbohydrates increase protein synthesis beyond what can be achieved with protein supplementation alone”.

What’s the reason for this belief? I think a lot of it stems from conventional wisdom. You know, that driving force that keeps everyone following the USDA dietary guidelines, stuffing themselves with cheap sugar calories in the form of bagels, pasta, and “hearthealthywholegrains” (they do form the base of the food pyramid, by the way).

Another driving force is the fitness and health industry, people who are licensed to parrot that conventional wisdom to anyone who is willing to pay for their “training advice”. Most of the things that are taught through personal trainer licensing programs and dietitian programs, etc, teach these people basic weighing and measuring of carbs-protein-fats. They even teach them formulas to calculate the exact amount of carbs you will need for your given activity level. This, again, makes carbs appear to be a necessary part of our lives.

The final and possibly most influential force in the belief that carbs are needed for big muscles? The big-muscle guys themselves. Again, it’s merely conventional wisdom rearing its ugly head. Something so basic and incorrect can be repeated a million times by huge influential dudes in the community, and that thing suddenly becomes truth, because it’s been repeated over and over. But where’s the proof?

I think one thing that drives people to accept this theory lies in the fact that carbs (and sugar) cause a spike in insulin secretion. Insulin is a growth hormone that forces nutrients into cells (as long as you aren’t insulin resistant like most Americans). Forcing nutrients into cells is what body builders want, because it initiates growth and repair of damaged muscle tissue. That’s exactly how you get bigger muscles, faster.

But wait, is that all there is to it?

Did you know that protein initiates an equal, if not larger amount of insulin to be secreted compared to carbohydrates? That’s pretty interesting to know, because that fact by itself disproves the idea that carbs are required because of the insulin effect. Given enough protein ingestion, there will be plenty of insulin response to get your tissues growing.

Now, what about replenishing those lost glycogen stores after our brutal workout?

Well, if you are already eating a Paleo type diet, high in vegetables, starchy tubers, and some fruit, your daily diet will supply enough “carbs” to easily refuel your lost glycogen. It can even be replenished across a few days. Your liver even takes care of this via gluconeogenesis if you are on a very low carb diet.

And, if you are sticking to a fairly moderate exercise plan, about 3 times per week and no longer than an hour each, there is no need to “carb up” so rapidly, since you really aren’t draining your glycogen stores that much. If you are doing lots of HIIT (more than once or twice a week) or you are an endurance athlete, this changes a bit, as you may want to have more carbs in your diet, but I’m not talking to you marathoners right now.

There is one caveat to all this carb loading stuff. If you are doing occasional carb-refeeds or some sort of other carb-cycling protocol like Leangains to get rid of that last few percentages of stubborn body fat. There is a time and a place for that, but it really does not relate to the purpose of this discussion (which is whether or not carbs are required for protein synthesis or increased protein synthesis).

Bottom line, carb-refeeding or cab-loading is not necessary, and carbs are not required, for normal or increased protein synthesis.

Let’s look at the proof.

Here is a study that looked at just that. They compared protein synthesis post workout after ingestion of 20 grams of protein. They then compared it with the same amount of protein+some carbohydrates. The outcome? Nada. None. No difference in protein synthesis.

This study looked at the difference in protein synthesis and growth hormones after consumption of protein OR carbohydrate, and strangely enough, found no difference in protein synthesis versus consumption of just protein or just carbs. They did not state whether or not the subjects had fasted before hand, so they very well could have already eaten and had some amount of amino acids already floating around in their blood, waiting to be used. This seems to suggest that had you eaten at all that day, eating anything at all after workout will stimulate a similar amount of growth. Huh!

This last study can be confusing because of their wording. They tried to make it appear that carbs were necessary to facilitate increased protein synthesis. The problem is, they were comparing Protein+Carbs to Carbs only. The protein+carbs group had a higher myofibrillar, but not mitochondrial protein synthesis. And the amount of carbs in both groups was small at 25g. Having more grams total in the P+C group is likely the major contributing component.

Edit 4/18/12: Also, another reason that carbs are not required to fuel muscle building!Branched chain amino acids, which are found natrually in the protein of animal products and also as a workout supplement off the shelf, can convert to glucose as your body demands. This is great for those of us who do fasted training, because taking BCAA’s pre workout will stop our bodies from breaking down precious muscle mass to produce glucose for fuel. It’s the isoleucine and valine that convert to glucose, while leucine converts to ketones. So there is absolutely no need to consume “carbs” before or after workout to prevent muscle breakdown!

So there you have it. Carbs necessary for protein synthesis or body building? Nope! Just get plenty of protein and nutrients, and you’re golden!

Like this post? Leave a comment!

Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

Stretching is for dummies

Stretching won’t prevent injury or sore muscles before or after exercise. Stretching won’t even help you “warm up”. So what is stretching good for?

People like to stretch. It feels good. It makes you feel like you are doing something good for your body. If you look around the gym and pay attention – where most people have no idea what the heck they are doing – you see people stretch as if it’s expected of them. It has been programmed into us from a young age throughout school gymnasiums.

Everyone assumes that stretching is the right thing to do. But how useful is it really? Well, it just so turns out….

 

Stretching won’t prevent muscle soreness:

Researchers looked at 10 relevant randomised trials looking at the effect of stretching before or after physical activity on muscle soreness. The studies produced very consistent findings – there was minimal or no effect on the muscle soreness experienced between half a day and three days after the physical activity.

The best available evidence indicates stretching does not reduce muscle soreness. However there are other justifications for stretching,” they wrote. “Some evidence suggests that once muscle soreness has developed stretching may provide a transient relief of soreness: some people stretch to reduce risk of injury, others stretch to enhance athletic or sporting performance, and yet others stretch because it gives them a sense of well-being. The current review does not provide any evidence of an effect or otherwise of stretching on risk of injury, performance, or well-being.

Authors’ conclusions:
The evidence derived from mainly laboratory-based studies of stretching indicate that muscle stretching does not reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness in young healthy adults.

[Here’s more about stretching and reducing muscle soreness]

[Even more: Link, ]

Stretching won’t prevent injury. Stretching actually promotes injury:

Most of the studies that show increased flexibility and range of motion with stretching fail to address one thing: The problem with stretching is that muscles become too loose, and weaker, allowing the associated joint to move in a wider range of motion.

That’s extremely bad, since heavy lifting usually employs your full range of motion, you need your muscles to be able to stabilize the joint in place, not give it more range. I can see now how easy it would be for many lifters who stretch to get rotator cuff damage from heavy bench presses. Increased range of motion puts more stress on the joint, increasing the risk of injury.

Damaging the muscle through stretching can also have an adverse affect on an athlete’s gait. The loss of smooth efficient movement puts stress on virtually all structures – ligaments, tendons, joints and bones. They body tries to compensate for this irregular movement, and in doing so uses up more energy, reducing ones performance.

A recent study showed how stretching can result in poor running economy. increasing energy consumption during an endurance event, and decreasing performance.

Stretching will reduce muscular power:

In this study, acute bouts of static stretching have been shown to impair performance. Most published studies have incorporated static stretching that stressed the muscle(s) to the point of discomfort (POD). There are very few studies that have examined the effects of submaximal intensity (less than POD) static stretching on subsequent performance.

Ten participants were pre-tested by performing two repetitions of three different stretches to assess range of motion (ROM) and two repetitions each of five different types of jumps. Following pre-testing, participants were stretched four times for 30 s each with 30 s recovery for the quadriceps, hamstrings and plantar flexors at 100% (POD), 75% and 50% of POD or a control condition. Five minutes following the stretch or control conditions, they were tested post-stretch with the same stretches and jumps as the pre-test. All three stretching intensities adversely affected jump heights.

With data collapsed over stretching intensities, there were significant decreases in jump height of 4.6% (P = 0.01), 5.7% (P < 0.0001), 5.4% (P = 0.002), 3.8% (P = 0.009) and 3.6% (P = 0.008) for the drop jump, squat jump, countermovement jump (CMJ) to a knee flexion of 70 degrees , CMJ using a preferred jump strategy and short amplitude CMJ respectively. An acute bout of maximal or submaximal intensity stretching can impair a variety of jumping styles and based on previous research, it is hypothesized that changes in muscle compliance may play a role.

[Here’s more about stretching and how it reduces muscular performance Link, Link, Link, Link, Link]

[More reasons not to stretch before exercise]

So, when is stretching beneficial, if at all?

One thing some studies do show, is that stretching with no other exercise following is able to significantly improve performance.

Note: Statistical significance – means the likelihood that a finding or a result is caused by something other than just chance. (i.e. not a large amount, but just enough to matter) Just sayin’…

This study showed that, in the ascence of any other exercise, stretching has some benefit. Simply stretching the muscles had a training effect. The trainees got faster, stronger, and more flexible. The article suggests that stretching may be a good introduction for those who are out of shape or just beginning an exercise routine, or for those not yet fit enough to do other types of training.

[Article: Static stretching improves exerxcise performance]

Conclusion: “This study suggests that chronic static stretching exercises by themselves can improve specific exercise performances”

My opinion is that stretching should be done only by those in rehab or those who are unable to do regular training. If you are able to train, however, you probably should train, since results will likely be much greater than just static stretching. Plus, stretching just sucks!

Just sayin’….

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them

Paleo for one year: My results thus far & Understanding the Paleo concept.

It’s been exactly one full year since I stumbled across my first learnings of Paleo ideas and lifestyle. Many things have changed since then, all of them for the better.

First off, understand that paleo is not a “diet” or a “fad”, it’s more of a way of integrating our knowledge of human evolution and biology into a modern context, so that we can improve our quality of life. This integrates knowledge of biochemistry, human biology, fitness, evolutionary psychology and general health, in order to make us healthier, stronger, better looking, and longer-living.

My personal experience has given me the following benefits as I’ve progressed through the past year:

  • Decreased body fat
  • Increased mental clarity and focus
  • Increased muscle mass and recovery **(this is a huge one!)
  • cured chronic heartburn
  • cured ambiguous gastric issues
  • Less illness
  • cured eczema
  • cured bad acne
  • Better sleep
  • Boundless energy

And the list goes on. Needless to say, I feel as though I’ve found the fountain of youth. And I will continue to do this as long as I live, Paleo that is, because of what it has allowed me to accomplish over the course of just one year, especially the ability to put on muscle pretty much effortlessly!

Edit 2/9/12: One more thing I’d like to mention: my teeth and gum health have drastically improved. My dentist made a comment last visit that my gums look “much better than they did 6 months ago“. I used to have pretty inflamed painful, bleedy gums at the dentist, and sometimes when I brushed my teeth. Now my dentist will tell you my gums got better because “I started to brush and floss more”, but the truth is, I lied. I actually brush once a day, if I brush at all. And hardly floss. I don’t have bad breath anymore so it’s really not necessary. See? Emulating a hunter-gatherer diet lets your body take care of itself!

Now there’s a new buzzword floating around recently. It’s an idea that encompasses everything we do relating to Paleo, and combines it with modern ideas to improve ourselves beyond just “Paleolithic” nutrition and fitness, and surpass everything from the Neolithic environment that holds us back: Hyperlithic. Sounds cool right?

Here’s the post from Evolify:

Think Like a Geek.

Intelligence is sexy. It confers both survival and reproductive advantage, and was certainly selected for in our paleolithic ancestors. It’s woven throughout so many levels of our evolutionary past that it’s hard to reduce it to one thing. In this context, it carries the implication of the very word paleolithic itself — the reference to tools. Thinking like a geek helps us choose tools and develop tools.

Eat Like a Hunter.

The fuel we provide to our biological systems has effects that ripple through every aspect of our individual life. From mental acuity to mood to structure to disease, our choice of fuels is crucial. Thinking about food from the angle of a paleolithic hunter quickly provides answers to questions science is unable to efficiently adjudicate. This is not about pure carnivory, but a nod to optimal foraging theory. Once we understand something about the strategies of a paleolithic hunter we can begin to merge our ancient food system with our modern food system. If we lose either perspective, we will quickly go astray.

Train Like a Fighter.

This gets into a mess of words and concepts. Ignoring the “hunter-gatherers don’t train” bit for a moment… This is about training as a fighter fights, and not training to be a fighter per se. It is also about adopting modern tools with the intent of unlocking parts of our DNA that lay dormant within sedentary humans anesthetized by economically abstracted violence. Humans fought their own battles prior to the rise of agriculture. Being able to pay for violence to be conducted on our behalf appears to be a moral and physical benefit, but the signals and interaction between our genes and our environment are not easily faked and not easily replaced. Our physical and mental potential as individuals is not always aligned with those of industrial agricultural civilization.

Look Like a Model.

Because “look” embodies multiple tenses in the English language, this one is open to much ambiguity. My meaning is primarily in a passive sense. If you think like a geek, eat like a hunter, and train like a fighter, then you will [more or less] automatically “look like a model” in terms of phenotypic expression. It is also important to note that “model” means many things. There are many inputs for advertisers deciding on models, but I’m specifically not talking about three types of models. 1) Men as advertised in men’s magazines. 2) Women as advertised in women’s magazines. 3) Fashion models of either sex. Without going into too much detail today, it has been shown that men pictured in men’s magazines tend to be more muscular than the ideal women find attractive, and women in women’s magazines tend to be thinner than men find attractive. Advertisers manipulate us according to evolved heuristic biases.

I use “model” to imply something closer to an ideal attractiveness influenced by Darwinian sexual selection (inter-sexual). The intent is to get at things that are relatively generally attractive to the opposite sex. This is contrasted to the use by advertisers of intra-sexual selection… or… competition with others of the same sex. Our brains do not analyze these questions in a rational way, but in a way that tracks markers of health in the context of evolutionary time. “Look good naked” is a great goal. Unfortunately, our intuitive self-assessments of looking good are likely biased to the point of being counterproductive.

Common Threads

All of the above are related to the ecological context of us as individuals. The interaction between our genes and our environment is implied in each level. The association with gyms and training with the active physical components of health is similar to synthetic and isolated components being packaged and sold to us as “food”. Real food is not enough. We need real life as well.

The impact on our psychology is entwined in each of these concepts as well. We know that points of attractiveness shift depending on the ecological context of the beholder. Some use this as a refutation of attractiveness as an evolved psychological component. However, this represents a fundamental misunderstanding of human ethology. I am not interested in mimicking the optimal attractiveness ratings of people influenced by sub-optimal (resource depleted, etc.) environments. A better question is this: What is optimal for humans in an optimal environment? We need to answer other questions to say what environments are optimal, and they are not easy questions. They are also not so difficult that we should be flummoxed by those who descend into relativist or quasi-relativist arguments representative of myopia.

 

 

 

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

 

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

 

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

 

Control your gene expression.

 

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

 

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

 

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

 

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

 

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

 

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them.

 

 

 

My Progress 2/08/2012 and breaking the plateau.

I’ve done it again! Week-on-week gains have been a walk in the park for me these past 2 cycles.

I’ll post my updated logs below, but first I want to go off on a tangent about…

The Dreaded PLATEAU

I have friends that complain about hitting “plateaus” in their workouts. They just can’t lift any more weight, or get past a certain point in body composition. I wonder what the cause is? My gut tells me they’ve hit the plateaus because of poor diet, and their body just can’t support any more muscle mass with their mediocre nutrient intakes. Or they have some systemic inflammation going on, and recovery from the gym is just secondary to their body’s need to fight that inflammation.

One of my close friends follows a low carb plan (weakly though). He’s got decent definitiion, but seems to get bored easily. I think the boredom has to do with his lack of gains recently, and that exacerbates the problem. He complained to me once that he just couldn’t get past “this one lift”.

Another of my gym-going friends says he pays attention to what he eats, but it really is a shit-poor diet of grains and lean meats. So in reality, he’s eating what everyone else in the weight-lifting world eats. He also started with the “bulking then cutting” bodybuilding mentality, and has paid for it with piss-poor body composition for years. Granted, he CAN leg press 1000 lbs, but that’s just genetic luck on his part. He also seems to have some boredom issues with regards to getting into the gym and lifting. He’s also plagued by constant joint pain and various lifting related injuries that have held him back and caused regressions here and there. The injuries were obviously preventable, but it’s taken him a long time and he still has not fully recovered. This has definitely played a role.

Both friend A and friend B don’t have the same pumped up mentality they used to when we all started out “back in the day”. They do train to failure, and friend A even uses the same Musclehack routines that I do. Again, boredom comes to mind with regards to lack of gains or results in the gym, but I think it all comes down to one thing: they’ve lost their capacity to make further changes in body composition, and lost their capacity to recover.

So what’s holding them back?

Both friend A and friend B continue to eat grains and sugars and all that crap. And the lack of gains is making them lose interest and get bored.

Friend B has a “personal trainer” that no doubt whispers sweet nothings in his ear about “arterycloggingsaturatedfat” and “healthywholegrains”. He trains hard and does the classes and the spinning and all that, but it’s been about a year, and he’s still got that gut. Every time I talk to him about Paleo all he says is “I need my carbs”. Ok buddy, how’s that workin’ for ya? His injuries have also been slow to heal. My experience with this tells me that his “high-carb” attitude has him guzzling grains like a factory-farmed-cow. The immune response from all those lectins and inflammation is undoubtedly keeping his recovery slow, not to mention nutrient deficiency which is absolutely critical to recovery from injury and illness!

Friend A has a wife who loves to cook. Need I say more? Paleo seems like a pretty big life changer for their situation. It would take me a lot of convincing to get both of them to switch. Damn, marriage really does take a toll on your health!

So how do I help my friends? They’ve been stuck in a rut and brainwashed by “professionals”! Meanwhile I’m surpassing them. Huh funny how that works….

Speaking of surpassing

Here’s my latest log update. Keep in mind, most numbers in the spreadsheet are PER SIDE, and don’t include the bar.

Workout Log 1-20-12 to 2-7-12

My biggest lift pundage totals so far

Overhead Press 120 x 8

Smith Shrugs 250 x 10

Leg Press 690 x 8

Bench 175 x 7

Deadlift 245 x 9

Cable Curls 80 x 8

Tricep Pushdowns 145 x 7 (not sure if this is actual weight or what, its one of those cable machines so it could just be a “resistance” measurement)

So there you go! That’s why I never get bored. My body doesn’t plateau because it’s not busy fighting inflammation. [Eat good]. [Train hard]. [Do it right.]

Get More Jacked! Eat This Stuff on Workout Days.

Check out these little tricks to boost HGH production after workout, or reduce body fat percentage, a.k.a. adipose tissue.

  • Mango

A little bit of freeze dried mango mixed into the diet helped to reduce body fat and glucose concentration in mice. The reasoning behind this is because mangos boost the production of adiponectin which raises the glucose uptake of muscle cells. Look at the HF + 1 bar in each graph, which had the best response overall. These mice were fed a 1% composition of freeze dried mango. All mice were fed a “high-fat” diet that was designed to fatten them up. I’m wondering what type of fat was in the diet…..

  • Fruit and Veggies

Lots of other fruits have been shown to reduce body fat and increase results at the gym. Cherries can increase muscle mass and let you put on less fat. Blueberries can also help you put on more muscle without gaining fat. And getting more vitamin K-2 from the right foods increases testosterone.

  • Caffeine and Carnitine

Caffeine and Carnitine Increase your endurance, so you can do more HARD WORK!

  • Milk

A type of choline contained in milk, Alpha-glyceryl-phosphoryl-choline (Alpha-GPC), helps boost HGH production post workout. The researchers in this study gave 600mg Alpha GPC to subjects about an hour and 30 minutes pre-workout, and had them do one-leg-presses. The below graph shows HGH production post-workout. The lower line shows baseline HGH (what occurred with placebo).

That’s a pretty significant HGH boost! Another great study found that consuming milk post-workout reduced muscle soreness, reduced decrements in isokinetic muscle performance, and limited increases in creatine kinase.

  • Creatine and Tarragon

This nice study looked at the insulinogenic and creatine-uptake effect of combining creatine and tarragon supplements. This abstract describes a study in which creatine disappears faster from the bloodstream and into muscle tissue after ingestion, when human subjects took 1000 mg Artemisia dracunculus (tarragon) extract along with the creatine. The dark black line is the one we are looking at. It shows the creatine leaving the blood and entering the muscle faster.

This study shows that the extract caused the muscle cells to produce more of pretty much all the proteins that make the insulin receptor work. Possibly because the extract boosts activity of Phosphatase enzymes, which separate phosphate groups from molecules, which in turn may stimulate the insulin receptor. This makes the muscles more insulin-sensitive, allowing more stuff like nutrients and creatine to enter and do their job. Bigger muscles dude! Check the protein response in the graph below.

The researchers also found that “Skeletal muscle from animals randomized to PMI 5011 was demonstrated to have decreased 20S proteasome activity and reduced gene expression of specific proteins as part of the ubiquitin–proteasome system in skeletal muscle”. In laymen terms, this means that proteolysis (the breakdown of muscle tissue into glucose) was slowed down. That’s pretty nice!

  • Water

Drinking water before meals has a slimming effect

There’s some good info, now go put it to use! Let me know how it works!

Biceps 12/23/2011

Bicep day was yesterday. I am continuing to make great progress in increasing the weight each week. I am now up to 75×11 on the cable curls, which means it’s time to add 5-10 lbs next week (I’m actually beyond the recommended rep range by one rep). Last week, I was at 65×11, so to jump 10 lbs in one week makes me really happy.

Keep in mind that I also do back exercises first on this day, so after the barbell rows and pull-ups, my biceps are already worked. If I was not doing back, I think my curls would be in the 80’s.

Bis and tris are pretty much the only isolation exercises I do, and they seem to be contributing to arm size fairly well, when coupled with the compund moves I do the rest of the week.

Check. Me. Out!

There you go! Always lift to failure, then do it again! Merry Christmas, ladies! haha.

Triceps 12/16/11

Tris, after Tri-day Fri-day. I’m up to 55×10 on the decline bench french curls (EZ bar, including bar. I think the bar is 15, but it could be closer to 30)

I like this move. I decline to about 35 degrees, and allow the bar to come a bit behind my head. I keep my arms from going totally vertical on the contraction so that my muscle is constantly under tension. Going behind the head also works the lats a little and gives the tris a larger stretch at the bottom, allowing more “full” range of motion.

How (not) To FAIL At The Gym. (Get Muscles, Burn Fat Faster) III

 

This is part III. Make sure you read part I and part II.

Muscle growth is a defense mechanism. To speed growth you must force change.

Given the proper diet, your body will make more muscle as a result of certain environmental “threats” or stressors. To create the fastest muscle growth, you need to work your mucles to failure (I mean motherfucking cruel, unforgiving, uncomfortale, 100% absolute FAILURE) within a certain timeframe, or “time under tension”. Usually this is no longer than 60 seconds, and between 6-12 reps. That is why heavy weights are required! This ensures that all your muscle fibers are recruited before lactic acid buildup causes premature muscle failure.

Performing sets for too long with high reps does not allow you to reach the actual limit of your strength. With high reps, we are forced to stop, as lactic acid becomes too much for the muscle to handle, and ATP production becomes limited. Your muscles simply run out of energy before the limit of their strength is reached. There will be growth, but it is slower, and recovery takes longer. Therefore, high reps are a WASTE OF TIME, mang!

So, we lift heavy, and lay the foundation for muscle growth through adaptation.

We also eat right, to speed recovery and promote positive gene expression, while maximizing cognitive ability and testosterone production. We get sun (Vitamin D baby!), and we get plenty of rest.

Recovery is just as important as lifting heavy things

Rest between each set allows ATP to recover, and lactic acid to leave the muscle. If you aren’t resting for a few minutes between sets, you may as well be doing one of those stupid high-rep workouts like everybody else!

Rest days are just as important, because once you kick your own ass in the gym, you gotta heal up, baby! During a lifting session, you are actually in a catabolic state, but you are triggering something that comes after: the anabolic state! Adaptation can only happen if you give your body time to build new tissues and recover.

If you keep picking a scab, does it ever heal?

Don’t get confused by magazine programs and other useless crap.

Strength, power, size, mass, toning. Whatever you call it, IT IS ALL THE SAME. Building muscle and burning fat happen SIMULTANEOUSLY given a proper diet. I seriously hate anyone who says “I don’t want big muscles, I just want to tone”. Give.me.a.fucking.break! It is all the same, the only thing that matters is how fast you get there. Anyone with an elementary education should say “I want to change my body as fast as possible, and not waste hours in the gym every day”. If that’s not you, why are you reading this? 

I wrote this in “How To FAIL At The Gym pt II”.

Now ladies, don’t get all worried about “blowing up” or “looking like a dude”. Women naturally have less testosterone than men, so it’s naturally more difficult for them to build muscle and burn fat. That means women (for the most part) who train just as hard as men, given a similar amount of work, will see less results than men. Why would you want to fuck around wasting time at the gym, when you can do it faster and better with HARD WORK? Once you reach your desired body composition, you can maintain! Trust me, you won’t just wake up one morning looking like the Hulk. Progress takes time, but it takes less time when you follow the right method!

Over time, our goal is to overload the muscle by increasing the weight a little bit each week. Basically, once you reach about 12 reps for a certain exercise, add a little weight the next week. This keeps you within the anabolic threshold, while making sure you get measurably stronger. And if you’re getting stronger, you’re making PROGRESS. (fun fact, muscle strength is directly proportional to muscle size. Stronger IS bigger).

Strong is the new skinny.

How does this all relate to burning fat?

With a clean Paleo/Primal diet and lifting heavy, our muscles grow, and our metabolism gets better at burning fat. More muscle = more mitochondria, and more mitochondrial adaptation to fat burning. A common misconception is that we go to the gym to get big or burn fat. What actually happens at the gym? We are causing an adaptation, so that our muscles grow later on (recovery), and we burn fat all day long instead of glucose (#Winning).

Cardio has limited potential for changing body composition and burning fat, because it does not push your body to it’s limit and force adaptation. What we do in the gym should cause positive adaptations and changes LATER ON. Doing intense lifting workouts, along with high intensity interval training, or Tabata Sprints every once in a while, is going to give us more fat burning. Sprints rapidly deplpete your glycogen stores. The rapid glycogen depletion makes your body realize that your need for energy (ATP) has become much greater, and forces your body to create more mitochondria. This also forces the mitochondria to learn to burn fat for energy rather than glycogen. THIS is the outcome we are looking for: fat burning ALL DAY LONG, not just in the gym.

The side effect of this is greater stamina. A marathon runner who trains their body to burn fat will find it more difficult to “hit the wall”, or “bonk”. This is a good thing.

A good method for intervals or sprints is a quick warm up sprint, at about 80% effort. Once you feel ready, you will have to go ALL OUT with 100% effort. Pretend you are running for your life away from a hungry lion, or whatever.

You will sprint with all your soul and effort for about 20 seconds, then rest for 3-4 minutes. Do it like this a handfull of times, between 4 and 6 reps. You can do this on machines too set on high resistance, just don’t try it on the treadmill!

Ask me how I’m so awersome! yup!

I follow the free MuscleHack Gym Routines. Scientifically proven to work, dammit! (I’ll never promote name brands or anything that costs money. I don’t have anything to gain from promoting things. If it friggin works, I’m gonna friggin tell you about it! Because I’m that cool).

Tell me what you thunk about my post! And then? Go lift heavy shit brah!

How To FAIL At The Gym (There Are No Shortcuts) II

This is Part II. Make sure you read Part I and Part III.

The sooner you understand this one simple concept, the sooner you can thank me.

I see this every time I go to the gym. The people that HALF-ASSEDLY do any “workout”, incomplete, poor form, partial range of movement. They don’t track their progress. They don’t follow a consistent routine. They don’t fucking lift anything heavy. Explain to me how that can POSSIBLY do you any good? How can you PROGRESS without pushing your limits? You have no idea where you are going or what you are tryng to do, picking up random weights and swinging things around as if you’re actually working your muscles properly.

It goes the other way too. Huge guys come in, who got huge by eating everything in sight. They may have made progress, but their body composition is in the shitter. Yah, sure you can bench 220 for few reps, but your fat ass still hangs out of your shorts. Then there’s another guy, with a 55 pund dumbbell in each hand, swinging his body back and forth violently, as he completes half-assed reps, barely working his full range of motion, and definitely NOT really lifting that 55 lbs. These guys might be big (looking), but its mostly fat on top of muscle, and I don’t see them losing it any time soon.

It might be easy to blame the rag-mags, or the media for the mis-information. The conventional wisdom promoted by the “professional”. You want the real culprit? YOU are at fault for your laziness. Yah, the truth hurts. Now do something about it! Educate yourself, get some biology in ya! I consider it my duty to my body to understand how it works, reacts, grows, heals, and thrives. Besides that, it should be COMMON SENSE that the only shortcut to better body composition is HARD WORK.

Hard work creates progress that you can see and feel. Hard work is the only shortcut.

Hard work means pushing your limits to make your body adapt. Hard work means following a consistent routine that causes measurable growth and fat loss (including diet). Hard work means good form, heavy weights, and pushing yourself to 100% failure.

Hard work does NOT mean doing endless reps with little weights. Your body is a reactionary mechanism. It adapts and heals as a reaction of the stressors you place on it. (Your immune system is a perfect example). Lifting light weight does not create functional strength, because you are not forcing an adaptation. Doing 100 bicep curls with a 5lb weight will do nothing more than reinforce your ability to lift……can you guess?………FIVE POUNDS! Holyfuckamoly Batman! What use is that in your everyday life? What use is that in an emergency situation? (It is really useful for wasting a lot of time at the gym, though).

Hard work does NOT mean lousy form. If you have to use swinging momentum to curl that 50 pounder, you aren’t doing work, YOU ARE CHEATING. Don’t be a wuss! Stop trying to show off. You’re not impressing anyone. (I’ll get into gym etiquette with another post). Find a weight that allows you to use proper form, and you’ll find out how strong you actually are. Push yourself to failure within the anabolic rep range. Eventually you WILL grow and be able to curl that 50 punder the right way!

Hard work allows you to minimize your time at the gym, so you have more time for the fun stuff; sex, playing music, fixing your car, or writing a blog….

Women AND men should focus on functional strength. Strength is sexy.

It’s attractive. Muscle ALWAYS looks better than fat. (Muscle forms the foundation of your outward appearance, and you can control which aspects you change. Muscle enhances your metabolic flexibility, immune system, endurance, and resistance to injury). Now, I’m not saying that I’m attracted to women who are jacked like bodybuilders. I’m talking about natural shape, aesthetically pleasing form, that can deadlift AT LEAST their own bodyweight, or perform a handfull of decent pull-ups. That’s not asking too much, is it?

Now ladies, don’t get all worried about “blowing up” or “looking like a dude”. Women naturally have less testosterone than men, so it’s naturally more difficult for them to build muscle and burn fat. That means women (for the most part) who train just as hard as men, given a similar amount of work, will see less results than men. Why would you want to fuck around wasting time at the gym, when you can do it faster and better with HARD WORK? Once you reach your desired body composition, you can maintain! Trust me, you won’t just wake up one morning looking like the Hulk. Progress takes time, but it takes less time when you follow the right method!

Ah, the perfect example. Stacie Tovar, CrossFit champ. She lifts heavy and pushes her limits. This shows her change after going CrossFit.

Take a look at Lauren Plumey. She’s a good lookin’ CrossFitter too.

Now leave some love! In the form of comments. I also accept other forms of love. heh.

This is Part II. Make sure you read Part I and Part III.

Like this post? Want to find out more about how to get in shape fast? Check out these articles about getting in shape, feeling great, and controlling your genes!

Lower bodyfat setpoint.

Lose stubborn body fat. (Intermittent fasting)

Control your gene expression.

Heavy strength training is a required aspect of long term health. For everybody.

How to train your body to burn fat all day long. High intensity interval training (HIIT).

Why you should avoid too many polyunsaturated fats.

What is chronic inflammation. What to eat to avoid it.

The final word on grains and legumes: AVOID them.

The final word on Saturated fat and Cholesterol: EAT them.

How To FAIL At The Gym. (Health Is Common Sense)

This is Part I. Make sure you read Part II and Part III

I have a complaint.

Is it the media, a lack of information, or just plain LAZINESS that makes people run on a treadmill for an hour and a half, every day, and STILL they can’t manage to change their body composition?

I see them every day, at the YMCA. They run with terrible form, heel slamming, joint killing form. They jump up and down on the elliptical (terrible machines), only doing about 50% of the work they THINK they are actually doing. They pedal carelessly on a bike, while their guts spill over into their laps and they read “Food and Wine” or “People” or some other God-awful publication that’s bound to be contributing to their utter useless lifestyle.

I’ve managed to motivate myself to change permanently for the better, with no other forces at work other than pure determination, and the knowledge that I will not spend, I REFUSE to spend the last 10 to 15 years of my life in decrepitude. The problem with society is that we’ve been programmed, BRAINWASHED into thinking this is normal. Apparently, even though we are still genetically identical to our wild ancestors, we have to accept the fact that we are different, that we can not live without disease and degenerative disorers that render us utterly useless to ourselves, left in the care of our offspring as we lose the ability to MOVE and ACT and have FUN.

BULLSHIT I say. You can change your falsely pre-determined future. Its so friggin easy people, all you have to do is realize that you are poisoning your body slowly over the entire course of your life by feeding yourself food toxins [1] [2], by being lazy, by hiding from the sun, and by listening to the government tell you what is healthy. These problems largely do not exist in the wild! Paloelithic human beings didn’t have to deal with cavities, heart attack, obesity, cancer, etc. Know why? They hunted, sprinted, lifted heavy things, ate animals, vegetables, and fruit. They didn’t sit around playing Halo on Xbox 360. They didnt eat 7-11 servings of birdseed (grains) every day! They didnt have soy. They didnt have veggie oils. They fasted. They didn’t eat every 2-3 hours trying to “keep blood glucose elevated” (fuckingstupid). They were lean, fit and HEALTHY throughout their lives. Don’t believe me? Modern anthropology continues to find evidence of this. GO TO A MUSEUM you fool.

Health is common sense. Most, if not at least 80% of body composition and total health, is determined by what you EAT. Movement only constitutes about 10%. The rest is lifestyle. If you don’t change what you eat to REAL FOOD (animals, vegetables, fruits), you will never know true health.

However, if you realize that there is no science behind the FAT-PHOBIA, CHOLESTEROL, FOOD PYRAMID, HEARTHEALTHY WHOLE GRAINS, you will live largely sickness and disease free, and you will change your body composition. You will lean out and gain more muscle. You will become more attractive naked. You will emit a positive attitude. To everyone around you, you will appear to be unstoppable, full of energy, immune to whatever virus is floating around the office.

Your brain will fucntion at optimum efficiency, soaking up all the information and beauty around you. You will feel ultimate clarity. It’s like a permanent high. Engergy on-tap, whenever it is needed. Power to have explosive workouts at the gym. Speed to spint to your car after work. Drive to make-your-bed-rock (ooooh yeaaaah). Recovery to do it all again. Your immune system will function at top efficiency because you will not have chronic inflammation, you will not get sick, you will recover from your brutal lifting sessions faster. You won’t waste time consuming fillers made of grain or soy, so there will be more room for amino-acids and fatty-acids to build and construct new tissues, bigger muslces. You will train your body to burn fat for energy by promoting mitochondial adaptaion. You will be a FUCKING SUPER HUMAN!!!11 YUP!

Did I mention I feel really really good today?

This is Part I. Make sure you read Part II and Part III

Progress

This is my progress so far. I don’t concern myself with body measurements. I know I am making progress when my biggest lifts at the gym go up. I can see the way my clothes fit. I notice when my suit needs to be re-tailored because the shoulder area is now way too small.

Compared to 3 weeks ago…..

Not the same picture angle, but I can see a definite difference in ab definition, shoulder striation, and chest size.

I added 10 lbs to my bench.

I added 10 lbs to my squat.

I added 10 lbs to my deadlift.

I added 5 lbs to my press.

Added a couple lbs or so to all other isolation and compound lifts.

Special note: I always, ALWAYS lift to absolute 100% muscle failure within 8-12 reps. EVERY set, EVERY time. Then I lower the weight slightly, and do it again. It’s the key principal to making your body grow, it is a reactionary mechanism, btw.

If you want to see the logs I have been using for the past year or so, check out MuscleHack! Download the freeTHT version 4.0. Killer program!

Eating for Muscle Growth and Avoiding Catabolism

First, a primer on insulin. This is especially important for you low-carb guys who think insulin is bad:
 
In a nutshell, your insulin will spike from protein or carbohydrate. Insulin suppresses hunger and prevents overeating. Insulin spikes are actually higher from protein, this is why eating protein is way more satiating than eating a meal without it. This is also why those silly protein diets work, because they make you eat less later in the day.

Insulin response. High protein vs high carb

Effect on hunger Effect on fullness

Glucose resonpse. High Protein vs High Carb

Now, we must understand that insulin is necessary for protein synthesis. That is how we grow our muscles! The question is; how do we utilize insulin properly to reach our goals? Here are the key processes that are stimulated or stopped by the release of insulin:

Actions of Insulin

Notice proteolysis. This is what your body does when you don’t eat enough protein and insulin levels are very low. It is the action of breaking down muscle tissue to get the amino acids your body needs. It also occurs during long periods of fasting. Normally, insuluin stops this breakdown process. But, if you consume a high volume of carbohydrates without protein, your glucose response will be very high. When this happens, insulin actually stimulates proteolysis.

“Previous studies from our laboratory have indicated that the effect of insulin on suppressing proteolysis is highly dependent on the availability of plasma amino acids. […] At maximal insulin levels…protein breakdown was suppressed by approximately 90% when amino acids were available compared with 45% when hypoaminoacidemia was allowed to develop. These studies were performed with glucose fixed at euglycemic levels.”

So, with an insulin response, when protein is available, muscle breakdown was decreased by 90%. When protein was not available, breakdown was decreased by only 45%.

The influence of hyperinsulinemic-hyperglycemia on protein and carbohydrate homeostasis was assessed using L-[1-13C]-leucine and [3-3H]glucose combined with open-circuit indirect calorimetry. After a 30-min basal period, healthy human volunteers were subjected to two sequential experimental periods (150 min each) during which insulin was continuously infused at a rate to elicit maximal effects (10.0 mU.kg-1 x min-1, resulting in 220-fold basal levels) in conjunction with an infusion of L-amino acids to maintain euleucinemia. Plasma glucose was maintained near basal (94 +/- 2 mg/dl) during period I and at twofold basal (191 +/- 4 mg/dl) during period II. The endogenous rate of leucine appearance (index of proteolysis in mumol.kg-1 x h-1) dropped by 80% from basal during period I (P < 0.01) but only by 44% during period II. […] The present study demonstrates that, during hyperinsulinemia, acute elevations of plasma glucose to two times basal levels result in a marked stimulation of whole body proteolysis during hyperinsulinemia

And, with normal blood glucose and maximum insulin response, breakdown was reduced by 80%. With high blood glucose and maximum insulin response, breakdown was only reduced by 44%.

  • Every time you eat carbohydrate and secrete insulin, you must, absolutely MUST, consume a complete protein source.
  • If protein is unavailable in the blood stream, insulin only halfway stops proteolysis.
  • If your blood sugar is elevated from grains or junk food, insulin will stimulate whole body proteolysis, no matter what.
  • Higher blood sugar spikes = Higher catabolism.

So, how do we limit catabolism and maximize anabolism? DON”T SNACK! Eat only a few meals per day. Eat complete protein at every meal. That means free range eggs, grass fed beef, and fish. (Chicken and pork is ok too, but they do not have an optimal omega 3/6 ratio.) You must also limit blood glucose spikes, because this is what causes insulin to stimulate catabolism. That means not eating sugar, grains, or excess starches. You must also avoid eating fruit by itself.

Think about that next time you pick up that mid-afternoon soda, or gaze at that vending machnie, or mindlesly munch on those apple slices while you read, or bite into that hearthealthywholegrain bagel. What are you really doing to your progress as a bodybuilder? You are breaking down that hard earned mass and pissing away your muscles.

Snack foods based in grains and sugar contain little protein, and the protein they do include is incomplete. Corn and wheat are deficient in lysine, an essential amino acid. If your body is short on any essential amino acid, it will have to disassemble your muscles to get it. 

Still want to follow the USDA food pyramid? Sill think you can eat like Homer Simpson, while looking like your favorite models on the cover of “Muscle and Fitness”? Think again, lame-brain. Those “complex carbs” are nothing more than a hyped up sugar rush. No doubt, carbs are good for fueling powerful lifting sessions, but only when they come from healthy tubers, fruit and vegetables. Don’t be fooled by easy carbs in a shiny plastic bottle. That Gator-fade aint doin you no good, boi.

Tonight, I’m fueling my workout with eggs and home-made-spicy-grilled-taters! Tonight, I’m looking for PROGRESS! woot!

New Cycle Begins

I am starting a new lifting cycle today. Here is the program I have been followng since February. It has given me the most results of any program I have ever tried.

MuscleHack THT

Its designed with science in mind, and uses only proven techniques for maximum muscle hypertrophy. His diet regimes are also geared towards gaining lean mucle mass without putting on additional fat. It’s perfect if you are tired of the endless “bulking” and “cutting” that just ruins your body.

I have personally put on decent lean mass, and actually lost fat without doing cardio. I do not follow his diet regimes because I prefer to follow a Paleo/Primal diet. I began using the MuscleHack diets, but found Paleo to provide a more complete sense of health and lean mass potential. It also just makes more sense.

On that note, here is what I ate this morning….

 

America Runs on Drunken Gonuts

 

Sinning before I even get to work…

 

I know, it’s a sacrilege, but I get to fuck myself up about once every 10 weeks. If it makes any consolation, I feel like I’ve been slightly drugged, and my head is spinning. But hey, at least I don’t feel like this EVERY day like all you SAD fuckers (Standard American Diet). Of course, I can’t blame any of you because you are only programmed and conditioned to believe it’s NORMAL. GO BACK TO SLEEP, SHEEP, WE WILL TELL YOU WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO EAT AND HOW TO FEEL. WE WILL MAKE YOU FAT BECAUSE IT’S NORMAL.

I’m done fucking around now. I have to go back to work with the rest of these zoo animals called “co-workers”.

I will be day dreaming of lifting heavy things, and getting that satisfying “pump”.