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.

How To Get Shredded On A Vegan Diet! (Without Losing Muscle)

Adopting a plant based diet is easier than ever these days. Getting shredded on a plant based diet? That’s a whole other story.Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that it’s hard or complicated, most people simply don’t know how.

Sure anyone can get shredded by just simply eating in a caloric deficit. The only problem is that in most cases you would also lose a whole heap of your hard earned muscle, and ain’t nobody got time for that!

In this article I’m going to give you a few simple tips that will allow you to get as shredded as the mailman’s pant leg after a vicious chihuahua attack. All the while losing very little muscle, if any, in the process. Alright, let’s do this!

There are a few golden rules when it comes to getting shredded as a vegan, and they are super simple. They are as follows:

Rules For Getting Shredded On A Vegan Diet

  1. Don’t eat carbs after 8pm. Really, this just means no carbs within 4 hours of bedtime. So, in other words, if you go to bed at 2am, you wouldn’t have carbs after 10pm. This works like a charm. Why? Your body releases insulin when you eat carbs, insulin is a hormone that tells your body to store fat. When you eat carbs during the day, you don’t store them as fat because you burn them off for energy right away. So, what do you eat? A low or no carb protein source such as tempeh or seitan, vegetables, and a fat source such as avocado. A protein shake would also work. Ideally, you’ll be eating small meals every about 3 hours, so your last 2 meals would be virtually carb free. Do this and watch the fat melt away.
  2. Supplement, supplement, supplement! Take protein powder, BCAAs (Branched chain amino acids), EAAs (Essential amino acids), and Glutamine. This will help your body to stay anabolic (in a muscle building state) even while on lower calories. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscles, and if you don’t get an adequate amount every day, you can forget about building or maintaining muscle. For the average person this may not matter, but for anyone training, it makes a massive difference in your recovery and progress. Protein powder is non negotiable, you need it unless you want to eat all day. BCAA’s are the next most important, and EAAs and glutamine are just the icing on top of the cake. Glutamine helps you to recover faster, and EAAs are great in case you’re not getting enough.
  3. Stick to mostly whole foods. There’s a ton of processed junk out there for vegans, and there’s definitely a time and place for it, but when you are getting shredded is definitely not the time. I suggest hitting your target physique and then adding in a cheat meal once a week and seeing how your body responds. Some people can get away with eating more junk than others, it all depends on your particular metabolism.

That’s it! 3 simple steps to getting shredded as a vegan that if you follow, I guarantee will have you well on your way to getting shredded. Remember, it doesn’t happen over night. You need to stick to any diet for a minimum of 12 weeks before you can accurately gauge it’s effectiveness.

Well, I’ve given you all the tools you need to get more shredded than ever, and to make it simple, as it should be. Put these tips to the test and let me know how much you love the results. Until next time, I love you guys.

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

How Often Should You Train Abs?

To train abs or not to train abs? That is the question. Whether tis nobler to have abs that a maiden could wash her clothes on, or to have a shapeless, blocky midsection, capable of frightening small children at a glance.

There are several schools of thought when it comes to training the abs. Some people say there’s no need. That to have great abs is simply a matter of proper dieting. Others say that the abs get all the stimulation they need from heavy compound movements such as squats and deadlifts.

The theories are endless. All of them have valid points, so where does that leave you, the reader? Often it leaves you pretty damn confused. Well worry not my good friend, by the end of this article you’ll be confused no more.

Before we dive into training protocols, let’s discuss exactly what we are talking about when we say abs. We are actually talking about are several different muscles that make up the midsection.

They are the rectus abdominis( the muscles that make up the six pack), obliques, serratus, and intercostals which all make up the muscles on the sides of the abdomen and last but certainly not least the tranversus abdominis( the muscle behind the rectus abdominis, which is responsible for core strength and a flat stomach).

When someone is at a relatively low bodyfat level, you can see these muscles. That’s where the belief that diet is ALL that matters comes in. On compound movements all of these muscles are engaged to stabilize the body.

That’s where the belief that compound movements are enough for great abs comes in. Then there’s the silly belief that it’s ALL about genetics. In my 17 years of bodybuilding I’ve come to one conclusion through not only personal experience, but also observation.

It’s this. The people with the best abs all train abs often. Usually a bare minimum of twice a week. Some even train them every day. I personally believe that you shouldn’t condone something unless you’ve tried it yourself.

This way, you can give an honest assessment of how it works from first-hand experience. This is exactly why throughout the years, I’ve tried all of these protocols, to find out for myself, exactly what works and why.

I’ve discovered a few golden nuggets that I’ll share with you now.

1. Abs recover much more quickly than other muscles and can therefore be worked every day.

2. The most effective ab routines are short and intense ones, with very brief rest periods.

3. Weighted ab movements can enlarge the waist over time, giving the torso a blocky look.

4. In order to really etch the fine details into the abs, squeeze at the top of each rep and hold for 1-2 seconds.

Now for the fun part. Let’s put those protocols together to create a basic ab routine. What I’ve found is that while the abs can be trained every day, they respond just as well to every other day training, and it isn’t so monotonous.

That day of rest in between is critical for maintaining your enthusiasm long term. As for the workout duration, you want each ab session to last for about 10 minutes, with very little rest, about 30-60 seconds between sets.

Decrease rest period duration as you are able. Pick two movements targeting different parts of the abs and superset them. Supersetting is performing two movements back to back without rest.

For example, perform hanging leg raises which emphasize the lower abs, and follow them immediately with swiss ball crunches. Due 2 regular crunches, and then one twisting to the left and one twisting to the right. This will emphasize the upper and middle abs, along with the obliques and intercostals. Keep repeating this until failure. Rest 1 minute and repeat the superset 2 more times.

Then pick two more movements and superset them with a minute of rest in between. Do this for 3 sets just like before. Follow this with a plank to failure for the transversus abdominis. Now you’ve trained the entire midsection in 10 minutes.

There is NO need to train the abs any longer. Remember, with the abs, you want to hit it and quit it. Due this every other day, changing up the movements every so often if you desire.

Obviously, if your bodyfat isn’t low enough you won’t be able to see your abs regardless, so remember to eat sensibly. Either way though, your core will be stronger and firmer, which will benefit you in several ways from lessening and preventing back pain, to being stronger in compound movements.

Remember, your core is the center of everything, and as such, it should be kept healthy. That’s it guys, I’m off to train. Don’t forget to hit those abs, I’ll be watching and counting your reps.

All My Love,

ADONIS

Why You Should Think Twice Before Eating Vegan Mock Meats

“The First Health Is Wealth” Ralph Waldo Emerson

These days, going vegan has become a trend. Everybody’s doing it! I personally think that’s awesome, but as with everything it comes with some pros and cons. Due to the higher demand for vegan food there are new options popping up left and right.

These options are often delicious, such as Beyond and Impossible burgers. There are many others, such as ground meat, chicken, sausages, and so on.

Often in the excitement and celebration of having new vegan options we include these types of foods into our diet without giving much consideration as to where they come from, other than the fact that they’re vegan.

Many of us even go so far as to eat these foods daily. Keep in mind that most of these foods are new in the marketplace, and we don’t necessarily know how they’re affecting us on a long-term basis.

The Beyond and Impossible burgers in particular have become incredibly popular, and while they are definitely delicious, let’s consider how they may be affecting our bodies.

Our bodies are natural organisms, made to consume naturally occurring plants, and these “mock” meats are not natural. They are created in a laboratory.

They have chemicals in them, and while we may not know the extent of how harmful they can be long term, we should should proceed with moderation.

“Mock” meats also tend to be very high in sodium, so pay attention to that as well. Unless you are an athlete who sweats alot daily, you shouldn’t eat more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day.

Don’t buy Beyond Meats every time you go to the store. Have them once a week, or once every other week. When you go to vegan restaurants, don’t order the mock meats every time.

Instead, find dishes made with whole foods. Sure, cooking whole foods takes longer than whipping up a burger or hot dog, but it can save you money and trips to the doctor also.

As a vegan who consumed mock meats VERY regularly, I got colds and would get sick regularly. As a vegan who eats a whole food plant based diet, I haven’t had a cold in 3 years.

That’s not to say the same thing will happen to you, but I’m willing to bet that you will notice that you get sick significantly less, and if you do get sick, that it’s much less severe than it was before.

I’m certainly not telling you what to eat, I’m only presenting ideas that work well for me and people that I know. At the end of the day, the only person that can choose what goes in your mouth is YOU!

And I believe it’s fair to say that you deserve to feel healthy and vibrant on a daily basis. Remember though. As with all things, moderation is key.

Stay Healthy Fam,

ADONIS