How To Identify And Smash Your Physique Goals

“No Wind Blows In Favor Of A Ship Without A Destination.” Montaigne

 

Exercise is a great way to stay young and healthy. It holds a host of benefits for all those willing to stick to it, but one of the most controversial is the fact that it augments one’s physical appearance. That is the MAIN reason many people get into it, quiet as it’s kept.

And that is perfectly okay. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, and shut shit down every time you step out the door. A healthy ego, not an out of control one, is an asset, not a liability. That brings me to the purpose of this article. This is for any and everyone who wants to achieve a specific physical aesthetic. With that being said, let’s dive into it.

Let me preface with a small disclaimer. This article is written by a male and primarily intended for other men, however, women can certainly benefit from it.

Look at you! You’re hitting the gym several times a week. You’re being more mindful about what you put into your body. You’re even seeing some results. Congratulations!

But before you celebrate your new found gains and confidence, let’s face facts. After that beginning period of 1-2 years of making decent progress, most people will Inevitably plateau.

Why is this? Don’t get me wrong. It’s perfectly fine to coast if you’ve reached your physique goals, although personally I believe coasting leads to losing ALL your hard earned gains sooner or later. Coasting is what happens when you lose motivation.

And why do you lose motivation? It’s simple. Undefined goals! Think about it. Why would you bust your ass in the gym when you don’t even know exactly what you want to look like? Exactly! You wouldn’t.

Luckily, this is a simple fix. People are obsessed with the way things look. When something is beautiful, we can’t stop staring at it. The body is a thing. And we have the ability to change it. Look at it like an artist. Our genetics are our canvas. What we eat is our paint. And the weights are our paintbrush. With these tools we can create a masterpiece, or a mess.

This brings me to my next point. What do you want to look like? Seriously, if you could have any body you wanted, what would you choose to look like? It’s very important. Find someone, an athlete, a celebrity, that you would love to look like, and put a picture of them up on your wall, or the mirror.

Pro tip: Make sure that they are similar in structure to you. If you are tall, they should be tall. If you have a small waist, they should too, etc. Obviously they won’t look like you due to added muscle mass and lower body fat, but just look at the structure. This will ensure that you can build a very similar physique to them.

Look at this picture in the morning and before bed, and try to imagine looking at yourself in the mirror with that physique. You look great, you feel vibrant and fit.

This will create a deep level of motivation that will make it easier to go to the gym and make responsible eating choices, and will aid you in staying focused throughout your workouts.

Next, create a basic plan to attain your goal physique. Don’t get fanatical. Just remember this, junk food is a treat, not fuel. Whole(REAL) food is fuel. Eat to fuel your body and treat yourself every so often. Try to drink mostly water, or other zero calorie beverages, and eat mostly whole foods.

This will of course vary from person to person, and if you’re naturally as thin as a rail, you may be able to eat junk more often and still get the results you’re looking for. Generally speaking though, it is always wise to eat healthy most of the time.

Now, let’s talk about identifying the type of physique you want. Different physiques are created by different types of training and nutrition. Here are a few basic physiques to help you identify your goal.

Physique 1

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This physique is slim and very lean. To achieve this type of look you would have to eat very clean, ideally knowing and tracking your macros, at least in the beginning. You could lift weights as little as 3 days a week, preferably in a circuit training fashion, and attain this look as long as you were doing some cardio as well to burn extra calories. You would want to keep rep ranges around 10 to 15 to increase the length of your sets and therefore burn more calories. Remember to keep rest periods short to keep your heart rate elevated while you train, no more than 60 seconds rest after each circuit.

 

Physique 2

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This physique has quite a bit more muscle, but isn’t quite as lean. For a physique like this, you would want to train a with relatively heavier weights in the 8-10 rep range. You would also want to get in a good amount of volume each week, and therefore hit the gym more like 4-5 times a week. To accomodate the heavier weight lifted, you would want rest periods between sets at 90-120 seconds. You would also want to eat in a slight caloric surplus, in order to build muscle.

 

Physique 3

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This physique is basically a blend of the first 2. A fair amount of muscle, but also shredded. This is my ideal physique type, but it should be noted that this physique is the hardest to achieve of the 3. It takes several years to build the muscle mass, and absolute dietary discipline to stay so shredded year round. If this is your ideal physique type, prepare to be in the gym 5-7 days a week. You need to lift light, moderate, and relatively heavy and do cardio several days each week to achieve this look. Figuring out your macros is a must! If you want to look like this, you can’t afford to lose focus in the gym, or in the kitchen. Of course you can still have cheat meals every so often, depending on how lean you are. Let me make it clear that these physiques are just a few examples, and there are many more to choose from. The most important thing is just to find a physique that inspires you!

There you have it. A clear cut way to identify and SMASH your physique goals! Remember, be honest with yourself, and also remember that it’s ok for your goals to change with time. Maybe you start off with something more attainable for you now, and set higher goals over time. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

If you do, you’ll most likely just burn yourself out. So, if all you can commit to is 3 days days in the gym, then do it. Set your goals accordingly. Monitor your progress. It’s incredibly motivating to see your progress on paper, or in pictures. If you know where you’re going, you have a much better chance of getting there. If you have read this far and still feel overwhelmed and confused, you aren’t alone. I would LOVE to work with you. I offer one-on-one coaching, as well as custom training and meal plans. Simply go to my products page to check it out, or you can follow this link: https://wordpress.com/page/frommeatheadtomeatless.com/125 As, always, I love you guys.

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Adonis

 

 

4 Best Diet Hacks For Getting Leaner Easily

“Bodybuilding is 80 percent nutrition.” Vince Gironda

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“Abs are made in the kitchen.” “You are what you eat.” You’ve heard the sayings. They all boil down to one thing and that is this. If you want to create changes in your body, your diet has to be on point.

However, let’s face it. There are new fad diets popping up every week. Keto, paleo, vegan, plant-based, carnivore, etc. All of this basically just complicates a simple thing. There are a few basics that if you’ll add to your repertoire will put you well on your way to mind blowing changes in your health and physical appearance.

That’s why I’ve put together this simple list of 4 hacks that are so simple, yet so powerful in their effect. Give even one or two of them a try, and within four weeks, I guarantee you’ll notice a difference in your energy and body.

1. Only drink things with zero calories. This is self explanatory. Drink plenty of water, tea, etc. So long as it is calorie free it is ok to drink. Avoid artificial sweeteners and drinks with unnatural ingredients.

2. Only eat sugar containing foods at predetermined times. For instance, for a weekly designated cheat meal. Another acceptable time would be after an intense workout. Keep in mind though that dependent on your body type and goals it may be best to avoid cheat meals altogether until you hit your physique goal.

3. Avoid carbs within four hours of bedtime. Chances are they won’t be utilized by the body for energy, and thus, will be stored as fat. Instead, eat meals consisting of protein and “good” fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, and avocadoes.

4. Make it enjoyable. The best diet is one you can stick with. The old adage of healthy food being tasteless is simply not true. A healthy way of eating can truly be sustainable for any and everyone, although it may take some time to find what works for you. Don’t be afraid to expand your palette.

If you apply even one or two of these very super simple principles I promise you’ll be astonished at the changes that occur over time. Don’t forget to be active whenever you can on a daily basis. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk instead of driving to the corner store, stretch while binge watching your favorite netflix show, and whatever else you can think of. You’d be surprised how creative you can be when you use your imagination. Much love,

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Adonis

 

 

 

A Simple And Practical Way To Begin Weight Training

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” John Pierpont Morgan

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So, you’ve decided to begin a weight training program, but you’re not sure where to start. There is so much conflicting information out there, it can be a challenge just figuring out what will work best for you. While there are many factors determining your ideal training program, there are a few basics that essentially apply to all beginners right off the bat. Due to all the complex information available about this subject, my chief aim is to make this as straight-forward and simple as possible. With that being said, let’s get right into it.

 

As a beginner in the weight room, the best thing you can do is to keep things very simple. Resist the urge to do fancy exercises and exotic programs simply for this reason, the basics are the most effective things you can do to improve your body composition and your overall health. So, what are the basics? They are compound (multi-joint) movements. Why would you do this? They work more muscles at a time the, then isolation (single-joint) movements.

 

In other words, you’re doing more in less time. This is not only more efficient for building the body, it’s also time efficient. Time efficiency in the gym is super important because when you’re training for too long, aka more than an hour, cortisol aka the stress hormone begins to rise in the body. Cortisol inhibits muscle growth and fat loss, which is a big no no! Also, as a beginner, the body responds to even a small stimulus, and isn’t conditioned to recover from a significant amount of work.

 

It is for these reasons that it makes sense for a beginner to utilize a full body three times a week routine. There should be at least one day of rest between workouts so doing your workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday would be ideal. However, if Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, or any other combination of days work better for you then by all means go for it. The exercises you select for your routine should all be basic compound movements, as I said earlier. Examples of basic, compound movements are: Deadlifts, Squats, Barbell rows, Chin-ups, Leg press, Military Press (esp. When performed while standing) , Clean and Jerks, Snatches, Dips, Etc. You can pick five of these exercises and perform 3 sets of each for eight to ten repetitions. A sample program would look like this:

 

Exercise:                                                   Sets                                                                 Reps

 

Deadlift                                                      3                                                                    10

 

Squat                                                           3                                                                    10

 

Bench Press                                             3                                                                    10

 

Chin-Up                                                      3                                                                    10

 

Military Press                                           3                                                                   10

 

For the chin ups, you can use an assisted chin-up machine if you need to. If your gym doesn’t have one, lat pull-downs would be a great option as well. Rest sixty seconds between each set and control the weight on the eccentric(negative) part of the movement. Repeat three times a week increasing the weight used in each each exercise every week by about five pounds. This will ensure that you are progressing consistently, provided you are eating a balanced diet.

 

That’s all there is to it. Stick with this program for as long as it is effective, which could figuratively be indefinitely, and I promise, you will not only improve your health, but also create phenomenal changes in your body chemistry. Print this article out, write it down, or whatever you have to do, and take it to the gym with you. If you’re unsure of the form on an exercise, look it up on YouTube. Remember, it doesn’t matter where you’re starting from, or even where you finish, but the distance that you travel. All the best.

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Adonis

 

8 Powerful Reasons Why You Should Be Resistance Training

                        “The groundwork of all happiness is good health.” L. Hunt

Adonis

Nowadays, more people than ever are taking up resistance training and rightfully so. Although in the past it was thought that weight training was harmful to health and decreased speed and mobility. Thankfully, these days we have many scientific studies showing us that just the opposite is true.

Weight training performed in a controlled and safe manner has many benefits for people of all ages, and I will be covering many of them right here in this very article. I’ve compiled them into a list, in no particular order, for your convenience.

Check them out, perhaps it will give you that extra push you need to get into the gym, or perhaps your workouts have grown stale, in which case this may be just the fire you need to get out of a rut. Ok, enough of the chit chat. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

                           8 Benefits of Resistance Training

  1. Anti Aging. If this one doesn’t grab your attention, don’t even bother reading the rest of the list. Training slows down many of the factors that result from the aging process, and let’s be honest. Who doesn’t want to feel good in their body for as long as possible?
  2. It reduces abdominal fat. In 2014, a study published in the research journal obesity, performed by Harvard researchers on 10,500 men over the course of 12 years found that strength training is more effective than cardiovascular training at preventing increases in abdominal fat. In other words, if you want to get leaner, lift weights.
  3. Creates better cardiovascular health. Lifting weights has been shown to decrease visceral fat(abdominal fat), which loves to sit around the organs, including the heart. It also improves blood pressure and facilitates better functioning HDL(good cholesterol). Fun fact. 2015 research published in The Lancet medical journal showed that grip strength (a marker for total-body muscle health) more accurately predicts death from heart disease than blood pressure does.
  4. Controlled blood sugar levels. Strength training improves the muscle’s ability to take in and use glucose, or blood sugar, thereby decreasing blood sugar levels.
  5. It reduces the risk of cancer. Research from the journal Oncogene show that visceral fat cells produce high levels of a cancer-triggering protein called fibroblast growth factor-2, or FGF2. Also, according to research, published in Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology, muscle mass is a strong predictor of cancer treatment outcomes. Muscle wasting is a common complication of cancer treatment and is associated with a higher risk of chemotherapy toxicity, faster tumor progression and lower survival rates.
  6. Improved brain health. Strength training can improve brain power in all people over a lifetime, but the effects are possibly the strongest in older adults who are suffering from cognitive decline. In a study in the Journal of American Geriatrics performed in 2016, when men and women ages 55 through 86 with mild impairment performed weight training twice a week for six months, they improved their scores on cognitive tests significantly. However, when participants spent their workouts stretching, their cognitive test scores declined. The key could be getting the blood flowing, Rebold says, noting that high-intensity strength training increases the flow of blood, oxygen and other nutrients to the brain. In this study, adults lifted 80 percent of their 1RM, or the maximum amount of weight they could lift for one rep. That roughly equates to the amount of weight they could lift for eight reps without breaking form.
  7. Preventing and managing osteoporosis. Strength training greatly increases bone mineral density. Any weight-bearing exercise in which you’re standing with gravity pulling down on your body will lightly stress and strengthen bones and muscles.
  8. Improved brain health.  Strength training can improve your brain power over your lifetime, however, the effects seem to be the strongest in older adults suffering from cognitive decline. In one 2016 study in the Journal of American Geriatrics, when men and women ages 55 through 86 with mild impairment performed weight training twice a week for six months, they significantly improved their scores on cognitive tests. However, when participants performed stretching only workouts, their cognitive test scores declined.

The key may be getting the blood flowing, Rebold says, noting that high-intensity strength training increases the flow of blood, oxygen and other nutrients to the brain. In the study, adults lifted 80 percent of their 1RM, or the maximum amount of weight they could lift for one rep. That roughly equates to the amount of weight they could lift for eight reps without breaking form.

There are a tremendous number of benefits to weight training, these are only a handful, however, I hope some of them are new to you, and perhaps could be the inspiration you need to get in the gym. There’s no need to kill yourself, all you need to experience many of these and more benefits is 30 minutes, 2-3 times a week. In the meantime, I’ll be here, guiding and encouraging you every step of the way. Let’s do this!

Amon 1-14198Adonis

How to Stay Motivated to Crush Your Fitness Goals

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar

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Often, in the fitness community, there is a rush to achieve a certain result as quickly as possible.

This leads to the use of steroids, growth hormone, ephedrine, and other harmful and unnatural substances. It may seem like no big deal to experiment with these kinds of drugs, but in reality to use these drugs is to cheat and misuse your body and mind. Like it or not, harming yourself to look good or be stronger is self-abuse.

This kind of abuse comes as a result of low self-esteem, and though it temporarily increases confidence, it is unsustainable in the long run and ultimately leads to even lower self-esteem. Remember, bodybuilding is an act of self love.

Any act putting one’s health at risk for the sake of vanity is not in line with true bodybuilding. Keep this in mind when temptations to take shortcuts come along. Bodybuilding is a journey, not a destination.

Still, with all that being said, how does one stay motivated day in and day out for decades? There is no simple answer to this question.What motivates some is of no consequence to others.

I’m sure you’ve heard that to stay motivated one needs a strong why. A strong why allows us to push through difficulties that would otherwise make us quit. People get into bodybuilding for all sorts of different reasons.

I find that on the surface it doesn’t really matter what gets someone into bodybuilding initially. What ultimately keeps us around is love. Some love the art of bodybuilding, while others love the challenge.

Some love the release, while others love the health benefits. There is no right way to be motivated, ultimately we are all motivated by love of something.

Take some time to think about what you love about bodybuilding. When you are connected to your love of bodybuilding, day to day motivation is almost effortless for the most part.

So what about those who don’t love bodybuilding? What about those who hate training and eating in a balanced way? I believe everyone loves something about bodybuilding, some of us just have to look harder to find out what that something is.

Working with a trainer can be very beneficial in this regard, as a good trainer is generally passionate about fitness, and passion is contagious. Knowing what you’re doing early on can help you to achieve your goals in significantly less time.

So then, what if someone doesn’t love anything about bodybuilding? Well assuming someone truly didn’t have a love for any aspect of bodybuilding, to that person I say, find a form of exercise you do love.

One that doesn’t feel like work. One that makes time fly. It could be biking, dancing, martial arts, gymnastics, hiking, swimming, jogging, calisthenics, or any other of the endless possibilities.

This is a far too often overlooked aspect of anyone’s health and fitness. At the end of the day, I bodybuild because I love it. I love training, being disciplined with my eating, and watching my body progress.

If I didn’t love it, there’s no way I would’ve trained almost daily for 17 years, and eaten a bodybuilding style 6 meals a day for almost just as long. Some people love training, but don’t enjoy being disciplined with their eating.

If this is you, figure out a way to get what you want, while still progressing toward your goals. Hating your training or diet is a sure sign that you won’t last. What you have to realize is that will power is a finite thing, and when it runs out, it’s gone.

That’s when you give into temptation, skipping workouts, abandoning your diet, which leads to feelings of guilt and shame, and the cycle repeats. You’re much better off creating a lifestyle where you can achieve your goals gradually, taking on new challenges as you’re ready. This is sustainable because it’s not based on deprivation and abstinence, but balance and moderation.

Conclusion

Let’s recap the tools to staying motivated long term.

  1. Steer clear of shortcuts. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself, and enjoy the process.
  1. If you love it, you’ll stick with it. Therefore, find a form of exercise you do love. Maybe you don’t love every aspect of it, but you should enjoy it overall.
  1. Figure out your why. And make it meaningful. More than just, “I want to lose such and such weight.” Why do you want to achieve X Y Z? Get specific. Find out what emotions are attached to achieving that goal for you.
  1. Work with a trainer. This is optional, but can be a tremendous investment in your health.

Inevitably there will be times when you feel more motivated than others, but if you implement these tips, I guarantee you’ll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals.

me b&w

Adonis

How to Build Bicep Peaks That Will Stop Traffic

Introduction

“I visualized my biceps as mountains. This allowed me to develop my biceps much more than if I had pictured them only as muscles.” Arnold Schwarzeneggar

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In bodybuilding, developing every muscle in a symmetrical way is paramount. However, there are a few muscles that are and have always been favored by most. These are considered the show muscles.

They are the muscles that the eyes are first drawn to. Think about it. When you first see a muscular person, where is the first place you look. Nine times out of ten it is at the chest and of course, the biceps. Namely, the bicep peak.

When someone asks us to flex, we automatically know that they are talking about flexing our biceps. A well developed bicep peak takes any physique from great to extraordinary, but many people believe having a great peak is genetic.

This would mean that for those who are not born with a great peak, there is no hope. This is a misconception, and with the right mindset and work ethic, almost anyone can develop a great peak.

I’ve witnessed it first hand on myself, and also on others. You see I didn’t always have a great bicep peak, even once my arms got to 18 and a half inches, my peak still lacked.

It wasn’t until I learned a few key principles that my peaks really began to develop. These principles worked like a charm for me, and they can for you too, but keep in mind that everyone is different and has to find their own ways of training.

Use this only as a guide. My hope is that it will lead you down a path of discovery. Discovering that there is much more to training the biceps than you had previously imagined. Let us get into it.

What Exactly is a Bicep?

Let’s briefly discuss the anatomy of the bicep. The bicep is composed of the bicep brachii, which consists of two heads, the long or outer head, and the short or inner head, and the brachialis, which is an underlying muscle that gives the bicep height and thickness when developed.

The primary function of the biceps is elbow flexion and also supination of the wrist. This is why even though the biceps are trained during virtually all back movements, the optimal movement for training them is and always will be the curl. However, there are dozens of variations of the curl.

Variations of Bicep Curls

The biceps are a relatively small muscle group, and therefore should not be trained with excessive volume. Three sets of three exercises twice a week for a total of eighteen sets a week is plenty.Very advanced lifters can do more at times as long as they are able to recover from it.

A good way to know if your bicep routine is effective is to measure the biceps every six to eight weeks. If they are growing, you’re on the right track, if not, it’s time to reassess your routine and diet.

For every muscle group, a basic compound movement is generally performed first in your routine. In the case of biceps, this movement is the barbell curl.

Although it’s not technically a compound (multi-joint) movement, it allows you to go the heaviest, and train the entire biceps effectively. In general, this is a good movement to start with, but in some cases there are other movements that are ideal for beginning your routine.

One example of this is if you have been training for at least two years and beginning each workout with barbell curls, and your biceps are still a weakness. In this case, for whatever reason, be it technical or structural, your biceps are not being fully stimulated during the barbell curl.

It would be wise then, to start off with a more strict movement to isolate and pre-exhaust the biceps. Some good movements for this are, preacher curls, incline curls, lying cable curls, or even concentration curls.

These movements make it hard to incorporate any muscle besides the biceps. They will give you a great pump, strong contraction, and get your mind in your biceps. This will make it easier to feel barbell curls later.

Keep your reps higher, between 8 and 15 and never going below 6. This is because when you go to heavy when curling other muscles, namely the lower back and front delts tend to take over.

Focus on feeling the biceps, not on lifting the weight. Follow this up with a more basic movement, like barbell or alternating dumbbell curls. You could also do cable curls with a low pulley.

Follow this up with an exercise for peak such as guillotine curls, high pulley cable curls, or dumbbell preacher curls, and you will have a solid routine for growth, so long as you progress over time and eat adequately.

If you start with barbell curls you could do dumbbell hammer curls next, or cable curls with the rope attachment. From there you would finish with a peaking exercise.

Technique

Technique is paramount for maximizing results, and it varies for everyone depending on their unique structure. Figuring out and perfecting the best technique for you takes time, but there are some basic guidelines I’ve found helpful for most.

Here they are. Don’t go too slow. Use a good speed, especially on the positive portion of the reps. Going too slowlywill result in more type 1 muscle fiber recruitment. Type 1 muscle fibers are responsible for a more slim muscular look.

This will result in toned arms but not much of an increase in size in my experience. Utilizing a faster tempo will generally result in more type 2 muscle fibers being stimulated. This will result in a big increase in size over time.

Tips

Now that you have an idea what exercises to perform, and how to set up your routine, let’s discuss a few tips to really maximize your time in the gym.

Tip 1: Keep constant tension on the biceps. Do not rest at the bottom unless you’re doing rest-pause reps at the end of a set. This applies the time under tension principle, which is crucial for bicep growth.

Tip 2: Don’t go too heavy. The biceps are only so strong, and if you pick up more weight than your biceps can handle your lower back and front delts will help.

Tip 3: Relax the wrists and forearms. The forearms assist during all bicep movements, since we are grabbing something. Especially if the biceps are a weak point,aim to fully relax the wrists and forearms and put as much tension as possible on the biceps.

Tip 4: Biceps not responding to regular training? Add techniques to increase your intensity such as, rest-pause, drop-sets, supersets, holding peak contractions, etc. to really wake those guns up.

Tip 5: Train the biceps frequently. Twice a week minimum to keep protein synthesis elevated and growth consistently occurring.

Tip 6: Monitor rest periods. Resting too little or too much will negatively affect gains. Aim for around 60 to 90 seconds depending on how quickly your biceps recover from a given movement.

Tip 7: Squeeze! Every rep squeeze the biceps at the top.

Tip 8: Visualize how you want the biceps to look while you are training them. This may seem esoteric, but I can tell you it works!

Tip 9: Flex your biceps in the mirror often, to build a strong mind muscle connection.

Tip 10: Don’t overtrain the biceps. They don’t need a ton of volume, just to be properly stimulated. If any bicep workout takes longer than 30 minutes then you are resting too long and or not training hard enough.

My biceps are over 18 inches, and my bicep workouts typically only last around 20 minutes. However, this is a hard and focused 20 minutes, and at the end, my biceps are toasted.

Conclusion

There you have it. The biceps are a very simple muscle to train, but to sculpt them to perfection takes a tremendous amount of effort and will. Our minds are truly our strongest muscles and in order to develop the biceps to their full potential we must utilize not only weights, but our mental faculties as well.

There you have it, if you will incorporate just a few of these tips into your biceps training, you are sure to build peaks that would belong on Mount Olympus. Now train hard and eat properly, I’ll be watching you and counting your reps.

me flexin

Adonis

How to Bring up Weak Points

“My attitude is if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.” Michael Jordan

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In bodybuilding, the idea is to create the illusion of perfect balance, symmetry, and proportion. Ideally this seems simple and straightforward, train everything equally and you will create balance throughout the physique. However, this is not the case, and if it were, every bodybuilder would be walking around with perfect symmetry, resembling a statue carved by Michelangelo himself. The truth is that body parts develop differently due to several factors. This is what we will be addressing in this very article, along with how to overcome these factors and build a physique worthy of being immortalized on Mount Olympus.

Why Everyone Inherently Has Weak Points

No one wants weak points, and for this reason we typically ignore them and keep training as usual, as if hoping they’ll magically vanish one day. This often has the opposite effect, exacerbating our weak points as our strong points continue to grow consistently. Among the many factors that cause weak points are: Genetics, poor mind-muscle connection in certain muscle groups, lack of intensity, overtraining (particularly in smaller muscle groups), and simply the way we are naturally put together. For example, someone with long arms and a short torso is usually going to appear to be lacking in arm thickness. Someone who’s short with a wider waist is going to look blocky, etc. If any of the above describe you, don’t worry. It’s all fixable. It isn’t your fault that you have weak points, it is however, your duty to do something about them.

Bringing Up Weak Points

So how do you bring up weak points? It varies from person to person, and bodypart to bodypart, however, with dedication and patience, any weak point can always be drastically improved. The following is a list of ways to bring up weak points. Give one or two methods a try, and if they work, continue implementing them. If not, try other alternatives, but just remember, the most important thing is that you have your mind made up regarding exactly what you want to achieve.

1.Train more intensely. This is the most basic principle when bringing up a lagging bodypart. Often we are lacking in intensity. Let’s say someone is lacking in the medial or “side” delts for example. It is hard to train them to failure because when they start to get fatigued you have to swing the weights up to keep working them which takes most of the tension off of them and puts it on the traps and lower back. Because of this, I find that the best way to fully develop the side delts is to train them with alot of volume. Every muscle is like this, it has its own preference and it is on You, the bodybuilder, to figure out what that preference is.

2.Learn more about training that particular bodypart. I believe the best way to learn is hands on experience, however, when bringing up a weak point, often it can help to learn about what its functions are. This will help you understand why you would choose certain movements in your training program, and what the most effective movements are. You can also research different methods of training that bodypart that you haven’t tried before. Assuming you’ve been consistent with your current routine, something completely new will often prompt your body to add some new muscle.

3.Lighten up your weights and focus on mind-muscle connection for a while. Too often we believe that big weights equal big muscles, and while this is true in some cases, such as when doing compound movements, there are some instances where going too heavy can hinder or prevent progress all together. Let’s take rear delts for example. They are a small area that is stimulated with heavy weight when training back, however, if we try to use heavy weights on rear delt specific exercises, the back and traps are going to take over the movements. This prevents us from getting deep fatigue in the rear delts and thus, hinders our development and creates a disproportionate look. The same is true with virtually all bicep movements, most tricep movements (with the exception of close grip bench presses and tricep dips), and generally all isolation movements. A good rule of thumb to follow is to never go below 10-12 reps when doing an isolation movement. This will ensure that you’re using a light enough weight to really utilize the mind-muscle connection. It will also increase time under tension, an important factor for growth. Most importantly though, it will aide you in minimizing the involvement of assisting muscles.

4.Train weak points more frequently. Research shows that muscle protein synthesis is increased for 48-72 hours after training a bodypart. This suggests that training a bodypart every 2-3 days is optimal for growth. If you are only training a muscle once a week, consider cutting your current workout in half and training said bodypart twice a week. Add more as you can handle it. For example, you could train arms on Tuesday and Friday. This will keep muscle protein synthesis elevated and ideally, produce more growth. Also, you could do a main workout for a bodypart, then a feeder workout 3 or 4 days later. A feeder workout is a low volume pump workout where nothing is done to failure. The idea is just to bring blood into the muscle to provide it with nutrients and stretch the fascia.

5.Stretch that bodypart daily. Stretching is one of the easiest, and most overlooked ways to improve your physique. First and foremost, stretching can create good posture. Good posture will automatically make your physique look significantly better, even without changing body composition. Correcting bad posture can lead to better technique and the correction of muscle imbalances. Another benefit is decreased risk of injury. As you know, when you’re injured, you can’t workout. If you can’t workout, you can’t progress. It can also help improve mind-muscle connection. It increases range of motion, which leads to better development. Lastly, as an added benefit, it’s good for you in general.

6.Visualize daily how you would like that bodypart to look. This one is slightly different, as it’s not a physical thing. Visualization is very powerful, just look at the studies on how visualization has affected high level athletes’ performance. I have found that if I can clearly imagine how I want a bodypart to look, and I persist with this vision, that is exactly how that bodypart develops. Give it a try, visualize how you want a bodypart to look while you are training it, and also when you think about it throughout the day. Arnold and many other greats have said this was crucial to their success.

In Conclusion

All of these methods will assist you in achieving your goals, but keep in mind, nothing will work unless you do. You have to really want it, and be willing to put in the time. That about wraps it up. Have some weak points? Give some of these methods a try and watch them turn into strengths.

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Why Bulking and Cutting are Overrated

“Balance is the key to everything.” Koi Fresco

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Once upon a time bulking and cutting were terms exclusively used by bodybuilders depending on if they were in season or off season. Nowadays though, things have changed, and even the average gym goers are incorporating bulking and cutting phases.

This is due to many factors, but one of the main reasons is that the average Joe tends to think that you bulk to maximize muscle growth, and cut to show it off.

This makes sense on the surface Right? Build as much muscle as possible, then get as lean as possible and show it off. The problem though, is that these often lead people to extremes, and produce results that are not sustainable.

Think about it, as a bodybuilder or workout enthusiast of any kind, we want to look and feel great all year, not just when we’re cutting. There’s this beautiful middle ground where we’re not shredded, but we are lean and building muscle. I call this the “sweet spot.”

It takes experience to learn where this sweet spot is for you, but once you find it it’s a great place to be. You look great while building muscle, and don’t have to restrict calories, only to eat a sensible and balanced diet.

In my opinion, this is the perfect place to be, and I’ve compiled a list of reasons explaining why and how to achieve this. So, grab a snack, kick back and enjoy. There are some golden nuggets here and you’re going to enjoy.

Without further ado, let’s get to the list of reasons why bulking and cutting is overrated.

Reason 1: Most people overdue it. When bulking only a small caloric surplus is necessary. This will lead a person to put on a trivial amount of fat at most and perhaps retain a little extra water.

Most people over shoot the amount of calories they need which leads them to putting on an excessive amount of bodyfat. This unwanted excess fat not only takes longer to get rid of, but also alters hormone levels in an unfavorable way.

Also, when our bodyfat gets to high, we produce new fat cells, which makes it harder to get lean in the future. Additionally, when we get accustomed to eating a certain way, it becomes a habit, and is hard to break.

This makes it harder when we switch to a more restrictive diet in the name of getting lean, is a problem noone wants to have, and it is easily avoidable by following a sensible yet flexible diet year round.

This means not denying yourself a cheat meal once or twice a week. There is no need to be extreme, eat healthy the majority of the time, and eat for enjoyment often enough that you don’t feel deprived. This takes significantly less willpower and therefore is sustainable.

Reason 2: When bulking and cutting people generally tend to pay more attention to the scale. There is nothing inherently wrong with using a scale as a rule of thumb.

For example, if your goal is to build muscle your weight probably shouldn’t be going down and vice versa. This can be helpful, however, the mirror is a much better gauge of the changes happening in your body.

Full body pictures are even better. Save them and compare them side by side every two weeks. If you aren’t seeing the changes you desire, alter your diet and exercise program accordingly.

Reason 3: When cutting the goal becomes to get shredded above all else. This can lead to taking drastic measures like cutting calories significantly or consuming low to no carbs.

This is only temporarily sustainable, and before long it leaves you feeling pretty crappy. The biggest reason cutting sucks, is losing muscle. When in a caloric deficit, unless you are on steroids, you are almost guaranteed to lose muscle.

Reason 4: It is unhealthy to overeat, or under eat on a consistent basis. Bulking is overeating. Cutting is under eating. Extremes such as these simply don’t last. Remember, balance is the key to long term success.

Reason 5: You just look better year round when you’re building muscle while staying lean. When bulking, your muscles smooth out and your face gets fuller hiding your bone structure.

When cutting, your muscles flatten out and you look smaller. There are instances where cutting is a good idea, such as physique contests, or photo shoots, but in general, finding that middle ground is where you’ll look and feel your best.

In Conclusion:

So how do you find that middle ground? That sweet spot where you can see your abs well, but you’re not shredded to the bone. You use the mirror and pictures as your guide.

Start with your current diet, and make minor tweaks from there. If you’re carrying more weight than you need to be, cut calories in the most convenient ways possible.

Do you eat junk food? Start start by cutting down there. From here keep making minor tweaks until you find that perfect balance where you’re lean but still building muscle.

Use the same technique if you’re very lean, but on the thin side, add in a bit more calories in the most convenient way possible. Add oatmeal to your smoothie. Add in a snack during the day.

If you’re still not gaining any weight add another snack, add avocado to a meal. The options are limitless, and don’t have to be complicated at all. Some people call this lean bulking.

I personally don’t like the term bulking at all as I feel it doesn’t accurately describe the goal. The goal is to become more muscular, not more bulky. We do not want to simply add size, but sculpt our bodies into a masterpiece.

If we are too bulky we won’t be able to see the details in our muscles enough to know exactly what to work on. If we are too lean, we won’t be able to put on any muscle.

Remember though, that extremes are fleeting and balance is key to longevity. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we all want to be fit throughout our lives so let the extremes fall by the way side.

Bodybuilding is not an extreme sport, it is an art, an act of self love. I will be discussing this more in my next article. Until then, remember that bodybuilding is life and vice versa. Much love.

Adonis

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

me outside jeans

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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