How To Never Catch A Cold Again! (Eat For A Strong Immune System)

“The Doctor Of The Future Will No Longer Treat The Human Frame With Drugs, but will rather cure and prevent disease with nutrition.”

Thomas Edison

We are living in an unprecedented time. The human being of today has access to a tremendous amount of information. From a logical standpoint, this seems like a good thing, and to an extent, it is. However, this tremendous amount of information can sometimes be a double edged sword. With all of the great information available, there is also a large amount of misinformation available. Because of that, many people are left feeling confused. For example, even if we only look at scientific studies as guidelines for how to do things. One study will seemingly prove one thing to be true. Then, another study will come out, and prove the opposite. What is the result? Mass confusion! That is where we find ourselves as a species now, in many ways. We are in a state of mass confusion about even the most basic things, such as diet.

Our diets play an incredibly massive role in our health. I can’t stress this enough! If someone hasn’t experienced the boundless energy and mental sharpness that can accompany a diet that is truly (and I stress truly) nourishing, it’s hard for them to understand the difference in how they can feel with a simple diet change. We are taught from a young age that a balanced diet consists of meat, dairy, grains, and of course fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Yet, heart disease is the number one killer in developed countries all around the world. The last time I checked, there are no wild animals dying from heart disease, cancer, or diabetes. These are diseases that we can prevent and often reverse with a few simple lifestyle changes, particularly in our diets. After all, you are what you eat. Many people already know this, yet still continue to make poor dietary choices.

Why is this? I believe there are several reasons, one of which is that they’ve been misinformed. Other reasons include the fact that it can be very challenging to break what are essentially lifelong habits, and the fact that it is so easy to eat foods that aren’t good for you. It seems so harmless to put something in your mouth, chew, and swallow it. For someone to say you’re destroying your health with such a seemingly harmless act seems a bit extreme, but it’s actually true. So, the question is, what changes do we need to make to our diets in order to maximize our health? The good news is that they are fairly simple, and when you see how good you can feel, and the years pass by without you getting so much as a cold, you’ll have no doubt that the changes you’ve made are absolutely worth it. The bad news is, depending on how you eat now, you may have to change the way you eat completely, which could really test your willpower.

So, just what is a healthy diet? You will get a different answer depending on who you ask, but in my opinion there is absolutely nothing that beats a whole food plant based diet. The sheer fact that it is the only diet that has been proven to not only stop, but reverse heart disease puts it in a class of it’s own regarding our health and longevity. I have been plant based, or vegan if you prefer, for just about 5 years as have my children. We haven’t been sick once since, with the exception of when I first went vegan and regularly ate processed crap masquerading as food. This has been a game changer for us, since I used to average around 2 to 4 colds a year, and sometimes the flu. My children would also get sick several times a year with colds, stomach bugs, fevers, and other common illnesses. At 35 years of age, people are often dumbfounded that I am free of all of the typical signs of aging. I say all this not to brag in any way, but to say that I’ve discovered a way of eating that works, and works well. It allows me to stay healthy 365 days a year, year after year.

So, what if there was a way for you to stay healthy 365 days a year, for many years to come? Would you make the necessary lifestyle changes? If the answer is yes, then I wholeheartedly believe by the end of this article you will have all the tools necessary to do so. There are a few guidelines you will need to follow, and while they are simpler than you may think, it takes some discipline and consistency to instill any new habit. They are as follows.

How To Never Get Sick Again

  1. A minimum of 90 percent of your diet should come from plant based whole foods, preferably organic ones. That means no more than 1 meal out of 10 should contain processed ingredients. Processed ingredients include anything that doesn’t grow outside. This includes things like high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, MSG, all long chemical sounding ingredients in general, artificial flavor, artificial color, and all the other strange non food ingredients that are added to our food.
  2. Get plenty of Vitamin C, but get it from whole foods. Synthetic vitamins are not the same as those occurring naturally in plants. There are many great plant based foods that are high in Vitamin C such as kiwis, virtually all citrus, and amla which is a type of berry that you can get in powdered form form for only a few dollars.
  3. Ground yourself daily. Grounding is essentially placing some part of your body in contact with the earth, it could be the ground, a rock, a tree, or anything else that allows direct contact with the earth. The ground is filled with what are called free electrons. When we come in direct contact with the earth, we absorb these free electrons, and they help to neutralize free radicals, which reduces inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can lead to a wide variety of illnesses and premature aging. It also improves heart rate variability which basically means it makes your heart’s job of keeping blood circulating through the body easier. It can even improve sleep. All you have to do to ground is go outside barefoot and stand or walk in the grass or dirt, or even sit up against a tree. Try to do this for at least 20 minutes daily, though anything is better than nothing. If you can’t ground outside regularly for some reason, you can easily purchase grounding bracelets, pillow cases, sheets, and more online. These will keep you grounded while you’re indoors.
  4. Drink plenty of water, preferably spring or distilled water. Water is crucial for all bodily functions, and is one of the simplest ways to flush unwanted toxins from the body. Also, you can squeeze half of an organic lemon into your water for an extra Vitamin C boost, and some added taste as well. How much water each individual needs varies based on several factors, but a good rule of thumb is to make sure your urine (I know, not the most glamorous thing to talk about.) is clear or close to it throughout the day. If it gets darker, simply drink more water.
  5. Get a minimum of 20 minutes of sunshine daily whenever possible. Exposing our skin to direct sunlight causes our bodies to produce Vitamin D, which is actually not a vitamin at all, but a hormone that is critically important for our physical and mental well being. An added benefit is that you can work on your tan. If you live in an area that gets very hot in the summer, avoid sunbathing from 10am-2pm due to the increased risk of sunburn. Remember, everyone can tolerate different amounts of sunlight. If you can handle more and have the time, go for it. If you can’t then take it easy and stick to 20 minutes.
  6. Eat nutritional yeast daily. Just 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast contains 30 percent of the RDA of zinc. It also contains lots of b vitamins and several other minerals as well, as well as some protein. It has a cheesy flavor and can be added to many simple foods to enhance the flavor. Most brands of nutritional yeast are fortified with Vitamin B-12 and while this can be beneficial for those that aren’t getting adequate B-12 already, I prefer the non fortified kind.
  7. Eat plenty of legumes! You are probably already doing this one, and great job. Legumes are another great source of zinc, in addition to a variety of other nutrients. Any legumes will do, but if you are really into being as healthy as you can be, I recommend that you make chickpeas your first and most frequent choice. This is because other legumes are acidic, whereas chickpeas are alkaline. The idea is that by reducing the acidic foods you ingest, and simultaneously increasing the alkaline foods in your diet, you can drastically reduce inflammation and increase your overall health. I will be writing an article going more in depth on alkaline foods in the future.

In conclusion, these changes are not fancy, nor complicated. Anyone can make them, but you have to decide how important your health is to you. These days, it’s easier than ever to see how valuable it is to be healthy. Our bodies are not meant to get sick, that is why we have an immune system. If we become sick, it’s because our immune systems have been temporarily compromised, usually by certain dietary and lifestyle choices. Once you experience what it feels like to be truly healthy, you’ll never want to give it up. You may want to come back to this article from time to time as a remind, which is why I would advise bookmarking it as a reference point. Health is the foundation of our entire lives, and if we have to develop a bit of discipline to improve our health, it’s well worth it. Let’s let our food be our medicine.

With all my love,

Adonis

How To Build Muscle On A Vegan Diet Fast!

The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It.”

Peter Ducker

We’ve all seen it. The stereotypical scrawny vegan that certainly may be healthy, but is far from inspiring at a glance. Let’s face it. Humans are visual beings. Appearance is important to us, though many of us haven’t made peace with that fact. With that being said, building muscle isn’t merely a vain pursuit, it benefits one’s health in a myriad of ways. Namely, anti-aging. Resistance(weight) training is probably the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. While building muscle can certainly be challenging, it absolutely does not have to be complicated. The differences between building muscle for someone on a more typical diet and someone on a vegan diet aren’t drastic, but they do exist. In this article, I’ll show you how to build muscle on a vegan diet in as simple a manner as possible.

I remember when I first went vegan 5 years ago. Within a year I went from this:

To this:

I didn’t want to have to show you that, but it’s for your own good. Just kidding. Seriously though, keep in mind that I’ve been working out for 19 years and that didn’t change between the two photos. In all fairness, some people would say that I look great in both pictures, and they’re certainly entitled to their opinions. However, for me, I was light years away from the standards that I have held myself to for over a decade. The only thing that changed was my diet. I had no idea what I was doing. I was bloated, holding more body fat than I wanted to, and my performance was suffering massively. I’ve seen this happen to far too many people. They go vegan and become bloated, or lose muscle. Don’t get me wrong, I love being vegan and I think everyone should at least give it an honest try, but when you go vegan, there is a learning curve. Whereas before you may not have put much thought into what you were eating, now you’ll have to make a some effort. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but you do need to have a basic idea of how to structure a well balanced diet. Honestly, this doesn’t only apply to vegans, but anyone desiring a better physique.

So, after months of slowly losing muscle and feeling bloated, I finally started to piece things together. It took some time, but eventually I got rid of the bloating, leaned out, and began to feel great, even better before. Can you guess what happened next? That’s right, I started looking better and better. Within 6 months or so, I was as ripped and strong as ever, as you can see here:

How’d I do it? I implemented a few key principles that honestly changed my life. I now feel better than I ever have in my 30s. I’m lean, strong, flexible, and have more energy than a teen on prom night. Okay, maybe not quite that much energy, but I feel amazing. I haven’t been ill in almost 4 years, not even a cold. Now, I’m going to give you all the tools I used to create this transformation so you can do the same. If you’re not currently in the shape you’d love to be in, or you’re just a go getter looking to take your health and fitness to the next level, you’ll definitely want to read on.

I used this success to create some basic rules for being in great shape as a vegan. They’re simple, and can be applied by anyone intelligent enough to read this article. They are as follows:

  1. Stop eating processed vegan meats. Sure, they’re high in protein, but they’re also usually high in sodium and often contain oils that are high in Omega 6 fatty acids. Consuming too many Omega 6 fatty acids causes inflammation in the body, which over time can lead to a whole host of illnesses. Omega 3 fatty acids on the other hand reduce inflammation and are healthy for the brain and heart.
  2. Don’t eat too much salt. I can’t stress this enough. Most people eat far beyond the recommended daily allowance for sodium. This can lead to bloating, which makes you look and feel like crap. It’s also not healthy in the long run, and while I’m not suggesting that anyone tally up their salt intake, doing a little due diligence to check labels can go a long way. Also, Try eating 1 or 2 meals a day with little to no salt. Something I do is eat Japanese sweet potatoes covered in cinnamon, lentils, and sweet peas all mixed together. It tastes great even without salt because of the Japanese sweet potatoes.
  3. Limit your fat intake. Vegans tend to eat nuts, seeds, and avocados more than the average person. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you’re looking to be lean, use moderation.
  4. Take fermented protein powders. Seriously, your digestion will thank you for this one. Protein powder certainly isn’t essential, but when you’re trying to consume enough protein to build muscle, it’s very convenient.
  5. Train with maximum intensity. This one applies to anyone, but this wouldn’t be complete without it. I recommend that anyone looking to build muscle naturally train with the highest possible intensity, but very briefly. This means weight training for no more than 30-45 minutes at a time, but making it so challenging that it seems like hours. Apply yourself, focus, and give it your all. Then leave the gym, rest, and recover. Always train safely and with proper form. This will keep you injury free, and therefore making progress.

That’s all there is to it guys and girls. If you are new to weight training and have no idea how to create a routine, you can check out my article on a practical way to begin weight training. It contains a basic workout routine that you can use for 3 to 6 months, and then perhaps create your own routine from there. So, as you can see, it’s fairly simple to build muscle on a vegan diet, but it’s not always easy. Now let’s get out there and represent health and conscious eating in the right way.

Adonis

How To Lose Weight On A Vegan Diet Fast!

“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”

The Marines

Some people seem to think that because something is plant based that automatically makes it healthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some people also seem to think that it’s easier to get lean on a vegan diet than others. While this does have some merit, ultimately, it’s not the whole truth. Getting lean, or ripped on a vegan diet can absolutely be done, but it requires one to have and apply some basic understanding.

Firstly, let me just say getting ripped is never easy unless you’re naturally very lean. Secondly, it’s not necessarily harder on a plant based diet, but there’s less good information available. At least, for the time being. The problem is that there are so many conflicting sources of information. For example, people saying carb up, the vegan keto people (Don’t get me started with those.), etc. Let me clarify something. I don’t condone extreme diets in any shape or fashion.

That includes any form of starvation, or any other form of eating that drastically restricts one from eating a wide variety of foods. The key word here is foods, because alot of what is being sold as food is anything but food. I’m not saying we should eliminate processed foods from our diets entirely, but they should be looked at as treats, and therefore eaten in moderation.

The vast majority of what we eat should be whole foods if we sincerely desire to get ripped, or simply look and feel our best. However, although it does promote great health and overall well being, eating mostly whole plant based foods isn’t enough to ensure that we’ll be bringing sexy back when we hit the pool in our swimsuits. There are a few more key things to understand. Without further ado, here are the keys to getting shredded on a vegan diet.

Keys To Getting Shredded On A Plant Based Diet

  1. Avoid sugar unless it’s post workout. This is a tough one for most people, but it’s crucial. All sugary foods must be avoided, including junk foods, desserts, and sugary fruits such as dates, bananas, and mangoes. I know you didn’t wanna hear that, but it’s true. Remember though, you can have them post workout. When I say post workout, I mean after lifting weights, not cardio. If you eat sugar after hitting the weights hard, it’ll replenish your glycogen(energy) stores and jump start the recovery process. If you have it after cardio, you’ll just defeat the purpose of the cardio, which is to get leaner. Also, watch what you drink, there are many drinks out there marketed as healthy that are loaded with more sugar than ice cream!
  2. Fat is fat! Regardless of if it comes from junk food or healthy food, there are 9 calories in every gram of fat, while there are only 4 calories in each gram of protein or carbohydrates. This trips so many people up because they forget that regardless of if the fat they are eating comes from a healthy or unhealthy source, the calories still add up quickly! Sure, avocados, nuts, and seeds are healthy for you, but if you want to be lean, you must consume them in moderation. For those that want to be ripped, I recommend that no more than 10 percent of your daily calories come from fat. there is of course, some flexibility here. If you prefer higher fat, just reduce your carbs. remember though, the more fat you consume, the less food you can eat overall.
  3. Water is your best friend. Drink lots and lots of it. Besides being crucial for the survival of every cell in your body, water helps keep us feeling full. The more water you drink during the day, the less hungry you’ll feel. In fact, sometimes when you feel hungry, you’re actually thirsty. Most people are in a constant state of mild dehydration all day long. So drink up my friend.
  4. Lift weights! This is like the ultimate cheat code for getting ripped. Why? I’m glad you asked. The more muscle you build, the higher your resting metabolic rate becomes. Meaning the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn sitting, standing, or doing anything else for that matter. It becomes easier and easier to lose body fat.
  5. Find a form of cardiovascular exercise you love, and do it at least every other day. This can be anything that raises your heart rate, and keeps it up. It can be intense cardio done briefly, such as high intensity interval training performed for 15 minutes, or it can be a form of steady state cardio, done for 45 minutes to an hour. Whatever you prefer and can stick with is ideal. I encourage you to get creative here. If you don’t like running then don’t run. Maybe you prefer dancing, or swimming, or kickboxing. Whatever your cup of tea is, go for it. The most important thing is that you stick with it.

Conclusion

That’s all there is to it folks. A few simple lifestyle changes implemented over the next several months could lead to you being in the best shape of your life. Whatever you do though, take things one step at a time so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. The most important part of making any change is, and always will be consistency.

ADONIS

How Often Should You Work A Muscle?

“The worst thing I could be is the same as everyone else. I’d hate that.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

Is There A Magic Pill?

Nowadays, we don’t have to dig very hard to find information. A simple Google search can tell us everything we want to know about a subject. At first glance, that sounds great, and it is, but there are definitely some cons that we often overlook.

We say this in the health and fitness community all the time these days. Some kid who’s been in the gym 6 months will tell a veteran who’s achieved tremendous physical development that he’s doing this or that wrong. Or that he’s over training, etc. Let’s put this into perspective for a second.

Typically, when you start something new, you ask questions. You learn from people with experience who have a tried and true resume, and you apply what you’ve learned. You don’t start working at the hospital fresh out of medical school and tell the doctors how to perform surgery. They know how already!

You learn from the experts, and allow their wisdom to shorten your path to success. These days however, people seem to read arbitrary information, and then spit it out as fact. None of this arbitrary information published by scientists is anecdotal, and no the test subjects in the study don’t count.

Why? It’s simple. They aren’t a 30 year old natural bodybuilding champion that’s been working out for 15 years. They have never reached the kind of physical development where people start to question if it’s even possible naturally.

It’s like this. You can read every book in the world on training, but until you get in the gym and start logging hours of hands on experience, learning what works for you and what doesn’t through trial and error, you have no idea about how to create a great physique.

You have to put some skin in the game! That brings me to the purpose of this article. How often should you train a muscle? There are many answers to this question, so I’ll provide some context, and allow you to make your own informed decision.

So What Should You Do?

The recommended training modality for natural lifters these days is to hit a given muscle group every 24 to 72 hours. This is because after training, muscle protein synthesis is elevated for 72 hours max. Elevated protein synthesis means more muscle mass.

So, is this true? Well let’s take a look at my physique and compare. Here is my physique at 235 lbs training each muscle once every six days. My split at the time looked like this.

Day 1: Chest and triceps

Day 2:Back and biceps

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Legs

Day 5: Shoulders

Day 6: Rest. Then repeat that cycle. Oh, and yes this physique is 100% au natural.

Now, here is my physique training at about 225 lbs working each muscle once every 3 days. My split looked like this.

Day 1: Quads and chest

Day 2: Back and Hamstrings

Day 3: Shoulders and arms. Here is what my physique looked like on that program.

Finally, here is what my physique looked like at 240 lbs hitting each muscle every other day. My split at the time was full body every other day. Simple as that.

My diet in each was always similar, although in the last picture, I was definitely not as lean. However, my basic diet has always consisted of two protein shakes and four meals a day. So, as you can see, all of these splits worked to build muscle.

I was able to increase my strength and muscle size on all of these programs. I definitely have my favorite, but my point is that there is no optimal training frequency. You just have to adjust your training volume to whatever your split is.

I will say that high volume has always worked best for me and everyone I know. I did try lower volume routines, even high intensity training, but I found that I was smaller and weaker than when I did high volume. Also, there is a certain quality that the muscles get from high volume training that you won’t get from any other style of training.

In Conclusion:

All training splits can be effective. Ultimately, you have to figure out what works for you. There is no magic pill, there’s only willing yourself to improve, workout after workout. Week after week, and year after year. So, stop looking for a magic pill, put your head down and work. Eventually, when you look up, you’ll realize how far you’ve come, and that’s what makes this bodybuilding and fitness journey so worth it. Until next time, train hard! I’m out.

THE SECRET TO GETTING GREAT RESULTS IN THE GYM!

Intensity is the price of excellence.” Warren Buffet

The formula for creating a great physique is simple. Training+Nutrition+Sleep=Results. That’s not difficult to grasp right? However, there’s another crucial ingredient. One that’s not talked about as much, but without it, you will never create a great physique, or a great anything, for that matter.

Can you guess what that ingredient is? It’s intensity. Intensity is the difference between a decent physique and a great physique. The official definition of intensity is the quality or state of being intense especially : extreme degree of strength, force, energy, or feeling.

Let’s focus for a moment on the feeling part. Intensity is a feeling. It’s not hard to recognize, you can easily tell when someone is intense. However, when the average person works out, there isn’t a great deal of intensity.

Simply watch the average person workout, then watch a champion athlete workout. There is a night and day difference. Is this because the champion was born superior?

No, of course not. It is simply because the average person trains with vague goals and a vague plan of action to get there. The elite athlete on the other hand knows exactly what they’re training for, and it is something of massive importance to them.

Fitness woman workout with barbell on bench in gym

It’s for this reason that 9 times out of 10, they achieve their goals. In other words, they are able to workout with a high level of intensity because they have given themselves a great reason to do so, but a great reason isn’t good enough.

It’s got to be a great reason for you specifically. Something that pulls at you. Something that gets you emotionally involved. I want you to grab a sheet of paper and a pen, and write out your fitness goals.

Don’t settle for vague goals, be specific. How much weight do you want to lose? How many inches here and there? How much muscle do you want to build? What shape do you want to create? Now, look deeply within yourself.

Why is it important for you to achieve those goals? Maybe it’s to have more energy to play with your children. Maybe it’s to live a longer life. Maybe it’s to overcome a certain health issue, or get off a specific medication. Maybe it’s to build a loving relationship with your body. It could be anything. The only criteria is that it must be deeply important to you.

Now hang that on your bathroom mirror. Read it before you go to the gym each day. Remind yourself why you are training. If you take the time to pinpoint your goals and figure out your why I guarantee, no, I promise you that you’ll notice a newfound motivation to train.

Along with that will be a focus and intensity in the gym, and this clarity of vision, that gives birth to new levels of intensity and motivation, is what will take you, day by day, right to your goals. Now get out there and kick some ass!

ADONIS

The Simple Keys To Building Muscle On A Vegan Diet

“There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.” -Charles Darwin

Of all the stigmas surrounding veganism, one of the most popular beliefs is that you can’t build muscle on a vegan diet. Sure, the film “Game Changers” did a great job dispelling that myth, but when you really get down to it, the questions the average gym rat wants to know the answer to is, Can I build just as much muscle on a plant based diet as a typical bodybuilding diet?

Is it more complicated? Is it gross? Etc. These kinds of questions clearly illuminate the fact that even a basic level of understanding about the vegan diet among the average person is just not where it could be.

That’s why I’ve decided to write this article, to simplify the basic changes you’d have to make when switching over to a plant based diet as an athlete, particularly an athlete concerned with building as much muscle as possible.

However, even if you’re not an athlete, you may still find this article enlightening and perhaps it can help someone you know. With that being said, let’s dive right into it.

Keep Things Simple

Simplicity is genius. The more complicated you make a thing, the harder it is to grasp, and to keep it up becomes nearly impossible. I believe in keeping everything as simple as possible. If it is simple, you can grasp it quickly and keep it up with minimal effort. That is the key to sustainability.

A Few Small Changes And You’ve Got It!

Essentially, the only changes you need to make are your protein sources. Instead of whey protein powder, get a vegan protein powder. Some are higher in salt, so be sure to opt for a low or no sodium option unless you want to risk bloating like a balloon.

Some other good vegan options high in protein are legumes of all kinds, peas, tofu, tempeh, seitan, lean vegan meats, and soy milk. Some vegans will tell you nuts and seeds are a great option, and that’s true, when you’re not looking to be lean and muscular.

Nuts and seeds are very high in fat, and should be consumed in moderation, or you may end up kissing your six pack goodbye! Since many carbohydrate and good fat sources are plant based by default, you typically won’t have to change many of those.

This Tip Will Make Your Life So Much Easier

Get the majority of your protein from a good protein powder! If you get 75% of your daily protein from a plant based powder, you won’t have to stress about your solid meals being super high protein. Just be sure not to overeat, and make adjustments as needed.

In Conclusion

As you can see, it’s really not hard to build muscle as a vegan, it can be as simple or complicated as you make it. So, don’t believe the hype. Give it a try for yourself and you’ll see just how simple it can be.

Eventually, as more and more of us become shining examples, this will become common knowledge. Who knows? It may happen sooner than we think. I love you guys,

ADONIS

How Much Protein Do You Need To Build Muscle? (The Truth)

“Protein is the building block of muscle.” Adonis

Protein, protein, and more protein! It’s a hot topic in the fitness community. The science is certainly there to tell us exactly how much we need. But there are many schools of thought on the topic.

There’s the old school train of thought, the new, and just some absurd ones. So who’s right? The obvious answer would be science, but it may not be that simple. I’ll show you why.

As a bodybuilder for nearly two decades, I’ve heard it all, read it all, and tried it all. One thing I’ve learned in all that time is, just because it’s in a book, or scientific journal, doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone.

There are way too many variables when it comes to building muscle and getting lean to make blanket statements. However, one thing that always remains true is that to lose weight, you must be in a caloric deficit (aka eat less calories than you burn) and to gain weight you must be in a caloric surplus (aka eat more calories than you burn).

Other than that, many things vary. For instance, some people, such as myself, can build muscle with remaining at eight percent body-fat, while others have to go up to around twelve percent or so. Some people can get lean while eating junk food daily, while others have to restrict calories and perform cardio to get lean.

My point is that we are all lean. With that being said, let’s look at some of the recommendations for protein intake. The RDA or recommended dietary allowance for protein for the average person is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body-weight.

That is the minimum amount required for optimum health. Keep in mind this is for the average person. For athletes, the RDA is much higher. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for athletes, depending on training.

For the person with a large amount of muscle mass looking to build more, even that is low in my experience and that of many people I know. I remember I built muscle to a certain point staying within the recommended range for athletes, but I eventually hit a plateau.

I increased my caloric intake, tried more carbs, more fats, training more frequently, training harder, and more. Keep in mind that I didn’t try all of those things at once. It wasn’t until I took the advice of some guys with more muscle mass than I, that I put on an extra 10 pounds of muscle. As you can see in this picture.

This made a huge difference in my physique, taking it from lean athlete to very densely muscular, and was exactly what I had wanted. So, what exact changes did I make? I went from one gram of protein per pound of body-weight to about 1.25-1.5. That’s over 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram.

I can’t tell you how quickly this benefited my physique, but I can tell you that it was quick. However, if I had listened to the scientific literature I never would’ve discovered that.

I later tried to lower my protein again, and guess what happened? I lost the extra 10 pounds of muscle! Now, I realize this isn’t for everyone. If you aren’t active and training consistently, then your body has no need for added protein, but if you train frequently, and have found yourself building muscle more slowly than you’d like, this could be the missing key for you.

Who knows, maybe you’ll take your physique to that next level that you’ve been looking for. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments. Until next time, I love you guys always.

ADONIS

How To Build An Aesthetic Physique

“Don’t be afraid of being different. Be afraid of being the same as everyone else.” Zyzz

me ferrell19

These days, it seems like the word aesthetic gets thrown around left and right, especially in the fitness industry. But just what makes an aesthetic physique? Is it abs and a sun tan? More importantly, is there any benefit beyond vanity to having an aesthetic physique?

Find out the answers to these questions and more on today’s episode of From Meathead to Meatless. But seriously, all jokes aside, let’s dive into it.

What is an aesthetic physique?

We all know an aesthetic physique when we see one, but what exactly makes for an aesthetic body? This is difficult to pinpoint, as it is subjective, but generally speaking, an aesthetic physique is a beautiful physique.

Beauty will always ultimately be in the eye of the beholder, but typically a great physique is one of symmetry and proportion. A small waist, broad shoulders, and round, full muscles are important for the male physique, while a favorable hip to waist ratio and well developed glutes make for an aesthetic female.

Keep in mind that this is all subjective, and what is aesthetic to one person may not be to another.

Genetics

Let’s discuss the elephant in the room. Genetics obviously play a major role in how aesthetic a physique looks. Some guys are born with broad shoulders, a small waist, and great muscle bellies.

Some girls are born with hourglass figures, double d’s and glutes that resemble basketballs. No matter how these people train, they will basically always have aesthetic physiques. Any type of training will generally make them look even better.

How you can build an aesthetic body

With that being said, there are things anyone can do to create a much more aesthetic body. Let’s say you have a broad or average sized waist and narrow shoulders.

Your primary focus should be building the shoulders(especially the medial or side delts), widening the lats, increasing quad sweep, and always being careful not to build the obliques.

If you have long, stringy limbs, your focus should be on thickening them and adding roundness to them. For men, if you have a flat chest, your focus should be on putting meat on the chest.

If you’re a woman and your backside lacks shape, your focus should be on creating roundness there. For both men and women, if a muscle lags behind other muscles it should be trained more intensely.

How to Increase Intensity

There are many ways to increase intensity. You can add more volume via increased sets, reps, or weight. You can shorten rest periods from 2 minutes to 1 minute, or 30 seconds. Keep in mind that short rest periods are not effective when doing heavy weight.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re using a weight that you can only get 6 reps or less with, rest no less than 90 seconds for isolation movements and no less than 2 minutes for compound movements. This will give the central nervous system time to recover adequately.

There are many other ways to increase intensity such as: Training to failure, doing forced reps with a spotter, rest-pause, negatives, partials,holding peak contractions for a count, etc. The sky’s the limit here, and you really can always make your workout more challenging.

Building Boulder Shoulders

To build broader shoulders there are a few basic principles which, if implemented will assist you greatly. The side delts are solely responsible for increasing shoulder width, so your focus should be on them in particular.

One method of doing this is to pre-exhaust the side delts. I prefer doing this with one arm lateral raises performed on an incline bench, but you can do it with any type of lateral raise. This will allow the front delts to be trained harder when doing overhead presses and result in more growth.

Another great way to bring up the side delts is down the rack laterals. The shoulders love constant tension, so techniques that increase time under tension work especially well for them in my experience. Also, avoid locking out on overhead presses, as this will take tension off the shoulders.

How to Turn Your Bird Chest Into a Barrel Chest

A barrel chest is one of the most sought after achievements by the majority of male bodybuilders. It is truly a symbol of power and looks amazing. However, most guys never develop great chests. Why is this? There are many reasons.

Poor structure, weak mind-muscle connection, lack of intensity, and most commonly, lack of know how. Most guys simply don’t know how to train the chest to really make it grow. Here are a few practical tips that if applied consistently, will take your chest development to another level:

  1. Don’t lock out on pressing movements, instead opt for performing the bottom ¾’s of the movement. This will minimize tricep involvement and keep constant tension on the chest.
  1. Correct posture is crucial to recruiting more muscle in the chest, and less in the front delts. Before beginning any chest movement, retract your scapula and bring your shoulders slightly back and down. Think of the posture you would use if you were trying to look bigger. Now you’ve got it!
  1. Vary rep ranges. Use a combination of high, moderate, and low rep ranges. This will not only ensure that you’re utilizing type 1 and type 2 muscle fibers which will result in more growth, but will also keep things from growing stale. As they say, variety is the spice of life. I recommend going as high as 20 reps, and as low as 6 reps. Generally though, I find that 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, and 6 reps pyramiding up in weight each set works well.
  1. Make your last set count! On the last set of each movement, incorporate a challenge. This can come in the form of rest pause, forced reps, drop sets, super sets, or isometric holds at the end of a set. There are many more methods, but you get the idea.
  1. Don’t underestimate the power of push ups. Push ups are one of the most effective exercises for building the chest. There are infinite varieties, and endless ways to make them more challenging as you become stronger. I recommend at the very least, finishing your chest routine with a burnout set of pushups. They can also be used as a way to warm up the chest.

Building Stubborn Lats to Create That Elusive V-Taper

When it comes to lats, basically the wider they are, the better the physique looks. This is because the wider the lats get, the smaller the waist looks in comparison.

This is what gives the highly desirable V-taper. For some of us, we have somewhat of a V-taper naturally and therefore it only takes a few months or so to create a dramatic taper, and then there are those that have underdeveloped lats and a wide waist naturally.

For these people it can be near impossible to develop a V-taper via traditional means. The following are a few simple tips for getting those stubborn lats to grow.

  1. Start with width exercises. Most of us want a more impressive V-taper, so it makes sense to prioritize width movements for back. I recommend wide grip overhand pull-ups and overhand lat pulldowns. By performing these exercises first and forcibly contracting the lats, (pretend you’re doing a lat spread every rep) you will see a serious increase in width.
  1. Build your mind muscle connection. Many people aren’t connected to their backs. Perform a 5-10 second lat spread in between sets. Spread your lats throughout the day when you think about it. This will make a huge difference in your results over time.

Increasing Quad Sweep for an X Frame

Building big legs is not rocket science, but for those with subpar leg genetics, it can seem like it.

If the basic exercises aren’t working for you, and you know you’ve been training your legs hard, these techniques will help you, specifically for increasing quad sweep which again, will make the waist look smaller.

  1. Raise the intensity! Pre-exhaust the quads with leg extensions or sissy squats immediately before performing sets of squats or leg presses. This builds alot of lactic acid in the muscles and burns like nothing else, but it works wonders for producing growth.
  1. Squat with your feet close together. This will shift the focus to the outer quads and light them up. If you have trouble doing this, put a 45 pound plate under your feet.
  1. Squeeze! Every rep, without fail, flex your quads as hard as you can. Strengthen that mind muscle connection.

How to Build Thick, Full Arms

For some, building arms comes naturally. These people can get very big arms just from a basic workout program. However, for those of us that have been training for several years and find the arms to be a weak point, extra effort is required. If you’re part of the latter group, don’t get discouraged, just follow these tips to turbocharge your arm growth.

  1. Lighten up those weights! This may seem counterintuitive, but it may be just what you need. One of the most common causes of underdeveloped arms is a weak mind muscle connection. With a weak mind muscle connection it’s easy for assisting muscles to take over. For instance,

When you’re curling, it’s very easy to recruit the lower back, front delts, and forearms. Do this for long enough, and the biceps become a weak point. Using lighter weights will allow you to focus on using only the biceps to lift the weight.

  1. Squeezing the bar or dumbbells when performing curls. This is a sure way to grow the forearms, but not the most effective technique for recruiting the biceps. Try this. Loosen your grip to where it’s just enough to keep the weight from falling on the floor, and then perform the movement.
  1. Flex the biceps hard at the top of each movement, every rep, every time.
  1. Increase time under tension. Usually, a set of curls takes the average gym goer 20 seconds or less. Try to increase that time to at least 30 seconds by performing more reps, drop sets, or supersets. This also increases intensity which, as I’m sure you know, is crucial for maximizing muscle grow.
  1. Work your triceps harder! Many people lack spectacular triceps. Why is this? When you watch them work triceps, it’s plain to see. They may train the biceps hard, but coast through triceps workouts. Increase the intensity of your tricep workouts with isometric holds, drop sets, supersets, forced reps, and negatives. I find that the triceps can take a beating, and still recover quickly. Give it a shot. Go hard or go home!

How to Build Stubborn Calves

Alas, we make our way to the most stubborn body part of all, the calves. They can seem downright impossible to build for some, despite high volume and frequent workouts.

While the aforementioned techniques will work for some people and are a great starting point, there are some of us that require a more specific approach to building calves. I fall into this category.

This is because the calves are being worked all day every day, while we walk and perform many other daily activities. This technique has a few basic principles that must remain concrete. These are:

Always stretch the calves before and after working them, with a fairly deep stretch being performed before, and a very deep stretch being performed after your workout.

This will enable you to contract the calves harder and stretch them more deeply during your workout, which brings me to my next point. Always fully stretch the calves at the bottom of each rep, and come all the way up on the toes at the top.

The next principle is to perform one to two warm-up sets, and then one all out set to true failure. I’m not talking about your average every day failure, this is next level. You need to feel like there’s literally lava in your calves.

After this set, you should have deep cramps in your calves, and be unable to walk for a few seconds. Anything short of this level of intensity is not gonna earn you the growth that you’re looking for, so don’t cheat yourself by not pushing as hard as you can.

One last tip is to train your calves unilaterally, or one at a time. This makes it easier to focus and train the calves as hard as they really should be trained.

Conclusion

There you have it, now you have no excuses. You truly can bring up any lagging body part, but you need a strong desire and willingness to put in  the extra work. An aesthetic physique is truly a magical site, displaying power, grace, vigor, willpower, intelligence, and discipline and is totally attainable, however, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Be in this for the long haul, and you will achieve whatever goals you set for yourself. Now, what are you waiting for? Go train!
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Adonis

My Best Tips and Tricks for Building Muscle on a Plant Based Diet

“It is health that is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver” Ghandi

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There are many misconceptions about being vegan, not the least of which being that it’s hard to build muscle. This notion probably comes from the fact that there is a learning curve, meaning when you go vegan, you don’t usually know much about what you’re doing.

You will know why you made the switch, and maybe have an idea about what to eat, but as far as knowing how to eat to consistently build muscle on a plant based diet, it’s a specialized knowledge that eludes many of us.

For me, it has been a process of trial and error figuring out exactly what to eat, and sometimes a pain in the ass. I’m now at a point where I’m cruising. I know how to eat to build muscle, lose fat, or maintain easily.

That being said the hardest part of it all is getting past that learning curve. After that, it’s smooth sailing. That’s why I decided to write this article, to give you some tips and tricks that will help you navigate your way to success on the plant based diet alot more quickly and effortlessly than i was able to.

If you apply what you will learn in this article, I guarantee that not only will you maintain every ounce of your hard earned muscle, you’ll build more. If you’re tracking macros every day, you know how many calories you need daily, and roughly how to break them evenly into several smaller meals.

This leads me to my first point, don’t start eating less calories. Some people think it’s hard to get alot of calories on a plant based diet, but this could not be further from the truth.

There are many plant based foods that are high in calories including: avocado, nuts, seeds, high quality oils such as grapeseed oil, dark chocolate, and many plant based junk foods to name a few.

Most of these are delicious and nutritious, so getting adequate calories should never be a problem. Keep in mind that junk food is not meant to be staples in your diet, but may be used in moderation to keep things fun and your calories high.

Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty. There are three main macronutrients. They are carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Most carb sources are vegan friendly, as well as most fat sources.

Where it typically gets tricky is the protein as plant based protein sources typically differ from omnivorous ones. Whereas an omnivorous eater typically gets their protein from meat, eggs, and dairy, as plant based eaters we typically get our protein from, beans, nuts, seeds, plant based protein powders, tempeh, vegan meat substitutes, and more.

These are all great options, however my favorite is red lentils. They are high in protein, quick and simple to make, and best of all they’re super versatile. You can make taco meat from them, burgers, soups, you can put them on salads, or eat them with rice , potatoes, and quinoa.

You can season them however you want, they never have to taste the exact same way. My second favorite protein source would have to be chickpeas. Of all the legumes, chickpeas are probably the healthiest.

They are loaded with a variety of micro-nutrients such as fiber, iron, zinc, phosphorus, B-vitamins and many more. They are also packed with protein which makes them the perfect protein source for plant based eaters.

Add all of this to the fact that they’re versatile, and you can see why they are the second most widely consumed bean worldwide after soybeans.

Those are my personal favorites, however all legumes are great plant based sources of protein, while simultaneously offering numerous health benefits.

Though I don’t recommend it as a staple, many of those following a plant based diet include mock meats as a regular part of their diet. Many plant based meats are high in protein, taste delicious, and are very simple to prepare, which is why they are so popular.

I personally don’t eat mock meats, except on rare occasions. This is because they were my main protein source when I first went plant based, and One winter I got four colds. This was a record for me and I was frustrated, so I decided to adopt a healthier diet.

My first move was cutting out mock meats. Since doing this, I have not had so much as a cold in nearly two years. That being said, it’s okay to indulge once in a while, but as I said before, don’t make them a dietary staple.

Next, let’s move on to soy. Soy is a bit controversial due to the fact that some believe it raises the levels of estrogen in our bodies. Soy does contain a form of estrogen called phytoestrogens.

In reasonable amounts, they have not been shown to increase estrogen in humans when ingested. There are various studies out there, and at the end of the day you’ll have to draw your own conclusions.

I’ll just say that many men include soy as a regular part of their diets and are very healthy. I personally limit it just as a personal preference. Also, keep in mind that things like tofu and mock meats made from soy are highly processed, and are not the healthiest form.

Therefore, I would suggest consuming them in moderation. For those who decide to make soy a regular part of their diets, I recommend a less processed form such as edamame or tempeh.

When it comes to carb and fat sources, they don’t usually differ much when switching to a plant based diet. Basic carb sources would still be rice, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Basic fat sources would still be avocado, various nuts, and seeds. For meal prep, pair carbs and protein or fat and protein, don’t mix carbs and fat often unless you are in the off-season or being lean just isn’t a priority for you.

Fruits and vegetables can be consumed freely, due to the fact that they are low in calories and high in micro-nutrients. Don’t be concerned about the sugar in fruit, it is not the same as table sugar and does not affect your body the same way.

The only things you need to be concerned with are getting enough calories as plant based foods tend to be lower in calories than meats and other animal products, and getting a wide variety of whole foods.

This will ensure that you get a variety of nutrients so that your body can stay healthy and function at it’s highest capacity. It’s easy to overlook how important it is to get a wide variety of nutrients from whole foods, as many of us are mainly focused on getting gains.

Think about it like this though, a healthier diet means a stronger immune system and less inflammation in the body, which not only means rarely getting sick, but also recovering more quickly from training.

This means you can train more frequently and have fewer layoffs due to things like colds and the flu. In other words, eating healthier does help you to make more progress over time, more so than just hitting macros every day.

My next tip is regarding supplements, and while there are many that may be beneficial, I’ll focus here on the supplements that I feel will assist you in building muscle. Basically every bodybuilder takes some form of protein powder, so let’s start there.

I have tried many plant based protein powders and trust me I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Many have given me gas and bloating, which means they aren’t easily digestable.

Not to mention the embarrassment of letting a fart rip at the worst possible moment. Also, when something isn’t easily digestable you don’t absorb many of the nutrients in it.

This is why the best plant based proteins are fermented in my opinion. I’ve found them to be the most effective, and some even have probiotics in them. This allows you to digest them efficiently and absorb that all important protein.

My next tip, and this is my biggest secret when it comes to supplementing, is amino acid tablets. Don’t forget to make sure whichever brand you go with is derived from vegan sources, and is highly digestable.

This may require a bit of research, but is well worth it in the end. I take a highly digestable amino acid tablets several times a day, and I credit them with allowing me to build muscle consistently, even when my calories are on the lower end.

There are many other supplements that can be beneficial, such as creatine and glutamine. Even things like beet juice for enhancing the pump. The list goes on, but for me personally, I keep it basic. Protein and amino acid tablets are my staples.

The logic behind this is that assuming we are creating a stimulus for muscle growth via weight training, if we keep the body anabolic (in a muscle building state) at all times then we will ideally maximize muscle growth throughout the day.

This works like magic for me, I consistently build muscle which is what we’re all looking for! My next tip and this applies to everyone regardless of if you’re plant based or not is to always keep your training brief and intense.

This means training for no longer than 45-50 minutes of nonstop getting after it with absolute laser focus. Look around your local gym. You will see many people there training for an hour and a half to two hours, or even longer.

This would be fine if they looked great, but more often than not, most of these people barely even look like they train. This is because it’s not how long you’re in the gym that gives you results, but how intense your workouts are.

Another common mistake I see is people training like power-lifters. Lifting weights that are too heavy to optimally stimulate muscle growth. This leads to rest periods that are too long, sets that don’t last long enough, a lack of intensity, and being in the gym for too damn long!

The result is and always will be lackluster results. If you want results than you must forget about socializing until after your workout. Use the restroom before your workout.

Make sure that once you start your workout it will be your only focus until you are finished. Keep rest periods brief, in the 30-60 second range unless you want to be a power-lifter.

If you were to follow this principle and nothing else, I guarantee you would double your results. Now for my last tip, and this one is often overlooked, which is unfortunate since it plays a huge part in the success or failure of your training program.

Visualize, visualize, visualize! Visualize what you would like your body to look like. Do it daily, especially while you train. When you train a body part, imagine it as you would like it to be.

This is so beneficial for motivation, and when you visualize yourself with a certain body consistently, for some reason your body seems to develop into that image.

I know this ones kind of strange, but if you’re willing to give it an honest try, I think you’ll find it to be tremendously helpful. Well, there you have it, my best tips for building muscle on a plant based diet.

Apply them, I know they’ll serve you well. Lastly, remember that you never have to sacrifice health to build muscle or get shredded. Now go make some gains. All the best.

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Advanced Bodybuilding Techniques for Taking Your Physique to the Next Level

“For me, life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

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I’d like to begin this article by giving you a little background about me. I am a natural bodybuilder with 16 years of training experience and a great physique to boot.

I also have 9 years of personal training experience and am certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. I am also plant based and I have experience bodybuilding on an omnivorous diet as well as a plant based one.

The reason I tell you all of this is because, as they say, the proof is in the pudding. I never take advice about training from someone that doesn’t have the physique to back it up.

For this reason I am including recent candid shots of my physique as proof that I know what I’m doing and it has worked very well for me. If you’ve been training for three or more years and are looking to take your physique to the next level naturally, this article is for you.

If you’re a beginner, perhaps you could pick up a few tips as well, but this article is geared mostly towards the advanced lifter as for the sake of saving time, I won’t be covering the basics here.

There are many aspects of training, including frequency, intensity, sets, reps, splits, and mind muscle connection. We’ll be delving into each aspect and lightly touching on the science of things.

However, you can easily read scientific articles on each aspect of training, I’d like to focus more on what has actually yielded real life results for myself and my clients. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

Training frequency

Let’s discuss training frequency first. There are many different schools of thought regarding frequency, ranging from high frequency high volume, to low frequency low volume, to everything in between.

I have tried them all, beginning with a standard three working sets of three exercises as a beginner, and gradually increasing volume, eventually adopting a high volume style.

After training this way for years, out of curiosity I switched over to high intensity training, trying it with a very low frequency due to extreme soreness, and gradually increasing frequency.

Through all of these training protocols my physique looked great, so there’s no doubt that they all work if you do, but by far, my physique has always looked the most muscular when training with a high volume, high frequency routine.

There are many things I attribute to this, but I believe the main factor is that with a high volume routine, you’re able to hit each muscle from so many angles, and get more contractions.

You are also able to master movements more quickly, since you get so much practice performing them. There are some drawbacks though, as high volume is more time consuming and you have to eat more food to grow due to increased caloric expenditure.

That being said though, in my experience, nothing is going to give your physique a more polished and 3D look than high volume training, performed properly, along with adequate rest and sound nutrition.

However, keep in mind that muscle protein synthesis is elevated for only 48 to 72 hours after training, so be sure to train any lagging body parts twice a week, once with a full workout, and once with a feeder workout.

Perform the feeder workout 48 to 72 hours after your main workout. Ideally, this will keep muscle protein synthesis elevated at all times in those lagging muscles.

A feeder workout is just a shortened workout with a focus on getting a good pump, as opposed to lifting heavy weight, or training to failure. Keep this in mind and never train to failure in a feeder workout. In general I’d say high volume workouts are only for the truly dedicated, since they take a greater time commitment.

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Training Splits

The next thing we’ll discuss is training splits. There are quite a few different training splits, the basic full body training three days a week, upper, lower split where upper body is trained one day, lower the next, usually followed by a rest day, and repeated.

Push, pull, legs, where you perform all push movements on one day, pull the next, then legs, usually followed by a rest day, and what is now called bro splits, where you train less of the body on a given day but with more volume, such as back and biceps.

When performing a split such as this, each muscle gets trained less frequently, sometimes only once a week, and for this reason bro splits have been deemed ineffective, unless you are on steroids.

This is simply not true, as myself and many of the people I know have used this kind of split and gotten great results.

For those who just want to stay fit or are limited on time, high intensity training performed once or twice per week, with a full body or upper lower split, would give you the most bang for your buck.

However, for those of us who want to actualize our full potential in the gym, more effort is required. But just what split is most effective? A split that allows you to hit each muscle group with high volume on a frequent basis.

Remember that high volume is crucial if you want to bring out those subtle nuances in the muscles that bodybuilders possess.

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Sets

The amount of sets of a given exercise can vary greatly from one, to as many as ten. However, most of us fall somewhere in the middle of this range and do around three to four sets per exercise.

I have gone as low as one set a la Mike Mentzer, and as high as eight a la Vince Gironda. Both have worked to an extent, but I’ve found that generally three to four sets works best for me.

This is because it allows me to do a wide variety of exercises and get a good amount of work from each of them. I also do 1 to 3 warm up sets of each exercise, usually the 3 warm up sets are done on the compound movements, with 1 to 2 being done on isolation movements.

I’ll do anywhere from 10 to 20 reps on these sets and never take them to failure. That is why I consider them warm up sets, they are not intense enough to count as working sets.

This equates to a very high amount of volume being done for each muscle group, which creates a bodybuilder look to the physique. What do I mean by a bodybuilder look?

Do you know how some guys are big and muscular, but other guys are not only big and muscular, it also looks like someone blew air into their muscles? That roundness is attained by, among other things, a very high amount of volume.

In conclusion, a high amount of concentrated work equates to a high amount of muscle. This obviously isn’t for beginners and it isn’t totally black and white, but generally speaking, may be used as a rule of thumb.

Now as for the high intensity philosophy, one set is all that is required. Basically, after warming up, you would do one all out set, the repetitions would be slowed down to about 2 to 4 seconds on the concentric and eccentric portions in order to achieve greater time under tension, aiming for about a minute or slightly longer.

Each consecutive workout you have to beat your previous workout by increasing the weight or reps, however you should always strive to beat your previous best with any training style.

Two of my favorite techniques are drop sets and super sets. They are a great way to take your workout to the next level and are easily applied. For drop sets, simply pick a weight you can do a certain number of reps with, then perform those reps and immediately drop the weight by around thirty percent or more.

You can also do a double drop set, which is the same, but you drop the weight a second time. Sometimes I’ll even do triple drop sets. What a pump! My favorite thing about drop sets is that you can use heavy, moderate, and light weights, all in the same set.

This effectively hits the type 1 and type 2 muscle fibers and also pushes the body to the limit, forcing it to adapt as long as adequate calories and protein are being consumed.

Supersets are performing two exercises back to back with little to no rest in between. This can be done for opposing bodyparts like chest and back, or for the same bodypart. Supersets are a great way to save time, and amp up your workouts as well.

As I said before though, all training styles that I’ve utilized have worked to some extent, but the best results have always come from high volume training. So, the take away here is, generally speaking, high volume works best for building muscle, however, there are exceptions to this.

Like for me my calves respond best to high intensity lower volume workouts. My forearms respond best when taken beyond failure, so remember to pay attention to your body.

Most muscles have a preference, but some grow no matter what. Those are your strong points. Your weak points are muscles that don’t grow unless you figure out specifically what they respond to, which can be an arduous process.

Keep in mind that genetics do play a large part here, but combined with passion, a great work ethic, and patient consistency, incredible things can be achieved. I didn’t do high volume training for at least my first 3 years of lifting.

I stuck to 3 sets of 3 to 4 exercises on each body part, always aiming to beat my previous workouts in weight or reps. In conclusion, get to know your body. What are your strong and weak points?

What does it take for your weak points to grow? It may take years to figure this out, so fall in love with the process. Also, generally speaking, more work is more effective for building muscle if your body can handle it and it must be high quality work.

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Rep Ranges

When it comes to reps, there are two main variables to consider. The amount of reps, and the quality of reps or the way in which reps are performed. First, let’s discuss the amount of reps.

There are many different rep ranges for bodybuilding, but most fall somewhere in the 6 to 12 rep range. This is due to the fact that when you go below 6 reps time under tension usually isn’t sufficient for muscle growth, and when you go above 12 reps, the stimulus is usually so light that you don’t hit the deeper thicker type 2 muscle fibers.

Your body also calls on your aerobic systems when performing very high reps, as opposed to your anaerobic systems which are responsible for muscle growth. Generally it is believed that lower reps, 4 to 6 or even 1 to 3 are predominantly for building strength, while reps in the 6 to 10 or 8 to 12 range are best for muscle size.

Having utilized almost every rep scheme out there I’ve learned a few things. One, they all work to some extent to increase muscle size and strength, and two, a wide variety of rep ranges is most effective when it comes to building size and strength.

Pyramid sets are a very effective way to achieve this, since you start off lighter and gradually go up in weight. I find it most effective to start with 12 to 20 reps for one or two sets.

Then increase the weight so I can barely complete 10 reps, increasing it again on each successive set so that I can only get 8, 6, and sometimes only 5 reps.

The last set is usually a drop set, meaning I do a heavy weight for as many reps as I can, let’s say 5 reps. Then I’ll do around 30 to 50 percent less weight and complete as many reps as I can with no rest.

This gives me a ridiculous pump which stimulates sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (basically a size increase in the muscles caused by increased glycogen storage), however, I’m also using very heavy weight, which causes myofibrillar hypertrophy (a size increase in the muscles caused by increasing the size of myofibrils).

This gives me the best of both worlds, and keeps the muscles guessing which means they will continue to respond. It also keeps things fresh mentally, which keeps me from burning out due to only doing one type of training.

Another effective technique for utilizing both sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar hypertrophy is to do one heavy, lower (4-6) rep day based around compound movements and a separate, lighter, higher (8-12) rep day based around isolation movements.

In order for this to be effective though, you need to be training that body part twice a week. In conclusion, a variety of rep ranges is most effective for building muscle as it allows you to take advantage of all avenues of growth.

How Reps Are Performed

The other major factor concerning reps is how they are performed. There are many different ways to perform reps, however there is one major difference between how a bodybuilder performs a rep and how a weightlifter performs a rep.

When a weightlifter performs an exercise, their primary goal is to lift and lower the weight, whereas when a bodybuilder performs a rep, the primary goal is to contract the muscle.

It is for this reason that I believe as bodybuilders we should squeeze the muscle being worked as hard as we can on every rep. This will recruit more muscle fibers and result in increased separation between the muscles which will make them pop more.

We should also perform burns, partials, rest-pause reps, and isometric contractions. The reason being is that these techniques will not only keep training exciting, they are also crucial to achieving maximum muscularity due to the fact that they increase intensity.

Another variable is the speed in which the reps are performed. There is the standard half to one second concentric and eccentric, speed reps which are reps performed quickly in a rhythmic fashion, explosive concentric and slower eccentric, negatives which generally are done with a heavier weight and a 7 second eccentric, and then generally slower reps.

I have experimented with reps as slow as a true 4 second concentric and 4 second eccentric. If you’re in tune with your body, you will feel how each exercise feels best, and that could change from day to day.

For instance, one day you may feel pullups best in a quick rhythmic fashion, and the next you may want to do them slowly. Always rememver that variety will keep the body guessing, and there are certain advantages and disadvantages to each style and they will all stimulate growth in their own unique ways.

Rest Periods

Now let’s talk about rest periods. Almost everyone I’ve ever witnessed training, has rested for too long between sets. This is detrimental to the success of a training program, because it lowers intensity, and allows some blood to escape the muscles being worked.

In other words, you lose some of your pump. To maximize sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, we want to create and maintain a maximum pump throughout the course of our workouts.

Most people don’t do this intentionally, they talk, or look at their phones, or stare off into space and don’t realize that two or sometimes even five or more minutes have passed.

In order to prevent this, it is best to watch a clock or timer between sets. Having a workout partner can also help with this, since their sets will usually take thirty to sixty seconds to complete, giving us just enough time to rest, get set, and begin our next set.

There are different rest period recommendations for different goals, but the general rule for building muscle is to rest for one to three minutes. I believe three minutes is too long.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when it can be useful, such as when one is going heavy on compound lifts. Keep in mind though, that this type of training is mainly for increasing strength and not as effective at increasing muscle mass.

So, just how long should a bodybuilder rest? I believe thirty to ninety seconds is perfect, and I would never recommend resting longer than two minutes. Unless your primary goal is strength.

Keep in mind that that two minute rest would be on a very select few heavy compound movements, such as squats and deadlifts.

Intensity

One of the most crucial factors determining the success or failure of a lifting program is intensity. I’d even go as far as to say that the reason most people don’t achieve or maintain the results they desire from an exercise program is due to a lack of intensity, or a lack of sustained intensity.

You see, if you really want to create mindblowing changes to your body, you must reach and sustain a certain level of intensity throughout the course of your workouts.

This means don’t go hard and focus for twenty minutes, only to get distracted and rest for three minutes straight. Intensity can be increased and maintained via incorporating the methods that I’ve already discussed in this article.

Brief, consistent rest periods are one of the best ways to achieve this. One thing is for sure though, if your workouts are lacking in intensity, you will be lacking in results.

Mind Muscle Connection

Although it is an intangible, the mind muscle connection is one of the most important tools for the advanced bodybuilder. But what exactly is a mind muscle connection?

It’s as simple as it sounds really, the connection between the mind and the muscles. A great mind musle connection will allow an experience bodybuiler to exhaust and even cramp a muscle even without using weight!

If you can’t do this with a certain muscle, you should work on strengthening your mind muscle connection there. Like with most things, there are many different ways to achieve this, but there are a few that aren’t talked about often enough.

One way is by performing isometrics, simply flex a muscle as hard as you can, and hold it for a predetermined amount of time, let’s say ten seconds, then relax. Repeat again for a total of three to four sets.

Also using light weight and concentrating fully, focusing on the contraction, and using isolation movements are good ways to strengthen that all important mind muscle connection.

Once you develop a strong enough mind muscle connection you’ll be able to sculpt a muscle more or less to your will. You’ll be able to focus your mind on a specific part of a muscle, and contract it harder, which will take your physique to the next level.

Conclusion

Bodybuilding at it’s core is truly an art form. Our bodies are the canvas, the weights are our paint brushes. We are all unique and different things will work for each of us, which is why it is important to always keep an open mind.

There are literally infinite aspects to training. It is simple, yet complex. It is art, yet it is also hard work. I encourage you to always learn, expand, and evolve, and your physique will always do the same. I hope this article has served you well. Now go make some gains:) With all my love,

tricep

Adonis