Daily Archives: Jun 1, 2011
Often you will read about training to ‘complete failure’ or going ‘beyond failure’ but many won’t actually know what is expected of them. A lot of athletes in the gym will start to struggle on a set and classify that as failure, it isn’t! This could potentially be one of the reasons for your lack of progress! Learn how to identify true failure and how to embrace it!
To define failure, it is the point during a working set where you can no longer move the weight for a full repetition. I mean ‘move’ not ‘it hurts’ to move the weight! This is the stage you have to reach when you are training to ‘failure’ as it were!
Why is reaching failure so important? If you are able to complete 10 repetitions with a certain weight and it is very challenging, but you don’t fail, this is telling you your muscles are up to the task of lifting that weight for 10 repetitions. So why would the body need to grow to cope with the stress if it can already deal with this level of resistance? By taking the muscle to failure and really fighting the weight when you do fail it shocks the muscle cells, and in turn stimulates muscle hypertrophy!
Going beyond failure means to hit a point where you can no longer move the weight and then have a training partner help you do another 3-5 forced repetitions. This goes one step beyond shocking your muscles, and is a method which has shown itself to really stimulate rapid rates of growth and strength! However, due to the intensity you should refrain from training to this extreme every week. Try every other week because this way you also maintain the ‘shock factor’ to attack your stubborn muscles!
Choosing the right time to go beyond failure is key! Compound exercises are the best ones to go beyond failure, simply because you are using more muscle fibres therefore you should stimulate more overall growth and size! Isolation movements can sometimes work, but it depends on how strict the form needs to be, because inevitably when you go beyond failure your form can suffer slightly. As a rule keeping your form perfect on isolation movements is more important than with compound movements because isolation movements are all about full contractions!
Try going beyond failure with at least 2 exercises per body part for the next week with a training partner. The DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) you experience will be very sore for sure, however you should notice within 4-6 weeks your strength and size increasing! As I said before, make sure you give your body time to recover properly as well because it is very strenuous on your muscles and connective tissues. If you ‘beat yourself up’ your mind to muscle connection will suffer badly which will really hold back your gains!
There you go, the benefits of going to and beyond failure! Be sure to take before photos because the increase in intensity will certainly help you make some great progress fast!
Advice is a two way thing, we aim to tell you everything you should be doing but we also want to tell you what may not be so beneficial. In my experience, there are certain exercises which don’t really offer that much to an athlete and they also pose a bigger threat to the health of your joints. Here are my top 3 exercises to avoid!
Box Squats – Box squats literally mean to either have a bench or box behind you when you squat, so on the way down your backside touches the surface and then you go back up. A lot of people stop at the bottom because it takes the momentum out of the exercise, thus adding more stress to the quads. Whilst there may be a point to here, by having weight across your shoulders weighing down on your back AND having a solid surface beneath is not good! This will suppress your spine which can cause all sorts of issues in the future for you. Using a regular squat is ample and if you want the added stress on your quads just pause at the bottom! Box squats don’t teach you to hold yourself whilst squatting either, and they don’t tax your stabilising muscles as much!
Sit ups – This exercise is probably the most used on abs day! Whilst it does hit your abs, on the upper half it hits your lower back more than anything else. This isn’t achieving what you want the exercise to, and it isn’t great for your lower back either! Crunches are much better in my opinion because they isolate the abdominals and keep the stress of your back! A lot of the time people use momentum to do sit ups anyway, throwing the body upwards which doesn’t place as much stress on the target muscle groups as crunches!
Triceps Kickbacks – Triceps are one of my favourite muscle groups to train, but I think dumbbell kickbacks are a relatively poor choice of exercise! The reason for this is that the athlete has to focus so much on keeping the arm in place, using the shoulder and back muscles that you may as well isolate the triceps with a variation of single arm extensions.
There are three exercises which I suggest to avoid, at least for the most part anyway. Some people may find they have experienced great gains with these exercises, but the mechanics of these movements tells me there are better options available!
Without a doubt one of the best selling supplements in the UK today is USN Protein IGF-1! This supplement is loaded with ingredients which potentially not only promote rapid recovery, but rapid muscle gains as well as a lot more! Read on as we dissect the main components of USN Protein IGF-1!
Already you can see USN really have developed a winning formula, but what else does Protein IGF-1 offer you? USN have ensured that the protein is fully available for your body to utilise to the greatest effects, by adding their STS (Sustained Transport System)! Getting nutrients down your gullet is one thing, making them have a significant impact on your muscles is quite another and USN know this! Furthermore, USN have also used a specific enzyme component in Protein IGF-1 in order to further enhance the overall digestion and assimilation of the protein content! This way you know the overall amino acid uptake is absolutely optimised! Finally, L-Glutamine has been added by USN to ensure your rate of recovery is as fast as possible!
Along with the great blend USN have added to Protein IGF-1, the taste of this product also deserves a mention. It is a very natural kind of taste and very refreshing. As I am absolutely addicted to coffee, I love the cappuccino flavour!
There you have all of the information you require to make an informed decision on USN Protein IGF-1! This is a fantastic product with the ability to make a genuine difference to any athlete!
Add Maca to your diet today and you will be able to experience a whole new bunch of gains. Maca is a natural growing root plant which is absolutely oozing with nutritional goodness as far as your health is concerned as well as your bodybuilding progress. Learn exactly why Maca is so beneficial and what you can expect to gain from using it.
Maca has endless qualities which are all attractive to say the least to any avid athlete. From the beginning, Maca was and is still used as a natural way to stimulate your sex drive if it is lacking. However since then, bodybuilding experts have become wise to the catalogue of benefits Maca can offer. Due to the fact Maca is able to enhance your libido it is also able to improve the effect of your anabolic hormones whilst deterring the effect of any catabolic hormones. Maca is able to have a positive impact on your overall hormonal balance!
To add to this, Maca contains a wealth of amino acids which are vital towards muscle growth and muscle recovery. Maca has in abundance, minerals which are very good for and effective at increasing the efficiency of your body which in turn allows you to make better progress as well as feel healthier.
Enhanced energy levels are also something else which Maca has shown itself to promote! If you are looking to add an extra degree of intensity to your workouts, a supplement containing Maca could be the way forward!
Therefore you could say Maca is a fantastic anabolic, anti-catabolic agent which can also stimulate your energy levels! If you are able to increase the retention of you muscle tissue through enhanced hormone performance and increased intensity then it stands to reason you will notice results! It is amazing how an ingredient which started out as a ‘libido enhancing’ form of medication for men with low sex drives, to something which can really accelerate the progress of an athlete!
It is always good to look at new methods to really optimise muscle growth via natural means, which are easy to implement through food and supplementation! Protein ‘pulsing’ is something which a lot of you may not have heard about, but by the end of this article you should have a much better understanding.
Increasing your anabolic activity is the key to gaining lean muscle mass and recovering faster! What does anabolism actually mean? In short, anabolism is your body’s ability to synthesise protein. The higher your rate of protein synthesis, the more anabolic you are. By implementing protein pulsing into your diet you can significantly increase your rate of anabolism!
Another key factor is the ‘anabolic density’ of a particular food you ingest. This basically means to what degree a specific food can elevate your protein synthesis levels within a short period of time, normally around the hour mark. Fast digesting proteins normally in the form of whey protein isolate and hydrolysed whey protein isolate have great ‘anabolic density!’
So what exactly is protein pulsing? Protein pulsing means to spike the level of amino acids in the blood via the use of very fast digesting proteins. By using a protein source which is very ‘anabolically dense’ as discussed above, you are able to stimulate your rate of protein synthesis significantly. In fact, many studies have shown this method can improve the rate at which your body assimilates protein by 5 times!!!!
After taking in that sentence I am certain you are keen, but how do you apply the principles of protein pulsing correctly! The ideal time to ‘protein pulse’ is as soon as you wake up! The body is pretty much empty and the amino acid levels in your blood will be relatively low, therefore it is primed to soak up a fast digesting protein. This can be done even if you are about to do cardio because protein won’t stop your body burning fat. In fact, according to studies a huge proportion of people who use the method of protein pulsing report noticeable losses in fat! The one key rule is not to ‘protein pulse’ within a few hours of a meal because the rate of digestion is too slow. So I would suggest doing it as soon as you wake up and right before bed! Although the rule is to have a slow digesting protein before bed and during the day, try a fast digesting protein alone as well! The results may well surprise you!
The best choices of protein to try this in my opinion are Gaspari Intrapro, PhD Whey HT+, Dymatize Elite Whey protein and Reflex Instant Whey!
There you have something new to try, which should really stimulate your overall muscle growth and recovery. Protein pulsing takes your protein synthesis levels to a new high, and it is the ability to assimilate protein which ultimately dictates your growth!
Energy is something you have so much of in your early teens, you can play football in the garden all day and night! However, as you get that little bit older and into your 20s, you start working, maybe you have a girlfriend and all of a sudden having the energy to workout isn’t always there. Sure, a coffee can get you so far, but do really get into the zone when you don’t feel like it a strong stimulant formula is needed! USP Jack3d is an awesome supplement to use if you need an instant ‘pick up’, and now you can learn how it is so potent!
USP Jack3d is loaded with top quality stimulants to really get your mind into overdrive and ready to train! These ingredients include Geranium, Schizandrol A, arginine Alpha-ketoglutarate and Methylxanthines. These key components of USP Jack3d are all very strong and powerful stimulants. As a result your mind to muscle connection is greatly enhanced due to the stimulation of your CNS (Central Nervous System)! Your overall alertness and mental strength is also enhanced, meaning that you are both mentally and physically primed for the workout of your life, every day! Of course, the addition of an arginine variant means that you will experience skin bursting muscle pumps! Getting more blood into the muscle isn’t just good for the ego; it also increases your energy levels and rate of recovery because there is more nutrients and oxygen available in the muscle cell!
USP Jack3d also contains a great combination of ingredients which are best known for their ability to stimulate muscle output! These include Beta Alanine, Carnosine and of course Creatine Monohydrate. Together, these ingredients maximise your overall power, endurance and strength as well as enhancing the fullness of your muscles!
Overall, you could say USP Jack3d is an extremely potent stimulant which holds the potential to take your workouts to new heights. Your overall strength, endurance and energy levels will rise through the roof using Jack3d! It contains some new unique ingredients which make it unlike a lot of other pre-workout formulas, hence its reputation for getting you ‘jacked’!!! With all of that been said, I would say this supplement is perfect for anybody who needs a lift if they find they struggle with their energy levels. However, don’t be tempted to take more than USP advise because it is very strong, therefore you won’t sleep for a week if you take too much!!!
Today the market is flooded with isotonic drinks which are misunderstood by many people! The popularity of these drinks has a lot to do with how great they taste, yet if you are a serious athlete you cannot really drink many of these drinks! However, there is a drink out there which tastes almost identical to Lucozade without any of the drawbacks. Not only do you avoid the drawbacks of high sugar content, you also get a whopping 40g of ultra fast digesting protein! Interested? Then read on and discover Reflex Whey Refresh!
Reflex Whey Refresh is a completely unique supplement which even comes in a bottle like the isotonic drinks you see in sports vending machines. As mentioned before, each drink contains 40g of whey isolate protein, which is quite spectacular! The rate of digestion of this protein is very high, therefore it is ideal to use right before a workout to stimulate your protein synthesis levels and help maintain your nitrogen retention. It is also perfect to use during your workout for the very same purposes as above and as a refreshment as well. Remember, Reflex Whey Refresh tastes absolutely amazing, it just so happens you are getting 40g of the very best protein on top! Post-workout is another prime time to use Reflex Whey Refresh due to the nature of the protein content, your muscles will soak up the nutrients!
Another great aspect of Reflex Whey Refresh is that it contains next to no sugar or fat! This makes it about as guilt free as humanly possible! So many products which taste as good as Reflex Whey Refresh are loaded with sugar to enhance the taste. Not here though, so you can enjoy a refreshing fruity drink just about anytime of the day!
Due to the fact Reflex Whey Refresh contains 40g of whey isolate protein and not much else apart from flavour, what else is there to say? It is able to promote anabolism at anytime of the day because the calorie content is so low. It tastes as good as the best tasting isotonic drinks on the supermarket shelves and it has a great convenience factor! All you have to do is reach into your bag, pop the lid and glug! Reflex Whey Refresh is certainly a product I would highly recommend, especially for the summer as you want to enjoy a nice fruity and refreshing beverage in the sun!
One goal achieved, now looking forward to the next . . . .
Many people ask when I decided to compete and when I started to train for that. I find that funny because I never (until now) have been training for a competition, just for myself because that is the way of my life. My friend told me I should go for a competition and I was thinking why not and entered for fitness Britain. Before that first competition nothing changed in my training and nutrition because I always eat the same and I always train at the same intensity. I did not have any expectations and just wanted to see what kind of event it was. That morning before competition I was so full of enthusiasm and I just wanted to experience something new. I was happy and relaxed no pressure or nerves at all. And I think that is why I managed to show my best on the stage and place 1st.
After my competition the feeling was amazing and I was so happy to get sponsorship with Monstersupplements.com! Now I know what I really want to do and started to make a plan . . . . And the biggest dream of my plan is to reach pro level. Maybe one day when my physic is ready for that. First I need to get more experience and that is why I entered for FAME UK Championships in bikini and fitness model category. I kept my diet and training very strict as always and I was ready for the show…again without pressure. I really enjoyed the day and had so much fun and I felt very natural at the stage. During the trophy presentation I could not believe I won 1st place in bikini, I was extremely happy.
Next few months is going to be hard core training to improve my weak parts of the body. And hopefully by the end of the year I will be ready for Las Vegas! Now there are two important goals …September Fitness British finals and Fame world championships in December. It will be very interesting to see the people from all around the world with amazing physiques and it will be a big challenge for me!
However, there is still time for that and now I need to focus on today; there will be a few photo shoots which I have to get ready for. It is wonderful to have a photo shoot with Michael Palmer! I really like his work and I am sure the pictures will be great. So now it is time to burn my Sunday cakes and chocolate brownies that I had after my contest!
Mental focus is sometimes the difference between a grueling training session and a social get together in the gym. Too many people all too often go to the gym with a similar mindset as to when they are going to the pub. This in turn means that the focus on the muscles which are being trained is lacking. Of course your growth is hampered. Learn to change this, channel your mind to get what you need to get out of your workouts!
When you get into your car to set out for the gym your mental focus must be tuned in. You must be thinking through and through the session your about to complete and the pain you desire from it. In reality to make the most of each and every training session you have to want the agony for every minute whilst in the gym. Therefore this requires an aggressive mindset so that when you pull into the car park your agitated, you’re itching to get in the gym to warm up and throw some serious weight about. Compare this vision to casually walking around the gym deciding what to do next. As you can see this Spartan like approach to training will yield much bigger gains and you will be surprised just how hard you can train by altering the way you hit the gym. Carrying forward this thought process into the gym can be the difference between you dropping out of a set, or getting nasty and becoming savage enough to get those vital few last repetitions which you didn’t really know you had left. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating you walk into reception with a ‘face of thunder’ and a bad attitude. Instead I mean zone in on that ability to ‘turn on’ that aggression button during your sets!
From a scientific point of view it has been known that by visualising something happening you have a much better chance of succeeding. For example, telling yourself you’re going to scream out 10 reps with 50kg dumbbells on incline bench instead of the usual 5, and getting yourself hyped hours before training means you are much more likely to make it happen. In effect, as far as your mind is concerned it has already happened. Furthermore by increasing your mental focus on the heavy task in hand, the communication between your brain and muscles improves which allows for better contractions and more intense training. This obviously doesn’t do any harm to your campaign chasing bigger muscles.
Something I often do to avoid people asking me too many questions during training is wear headphones. I always have my Ipod on, this way people are instantly deterred from approaching you. There is nothing I love more than to help people, and whilst I am having my post-workout shake I will offer all the advice I can at the end. However, unless someone is joining me in a session, I focus on my sets and that’s it. So should you!
Now you can see exactly why mental focus is so important to a truly hardcore session in the gym. It is time you did yourself a favor and got your value from your supplements, food, fuel, gym membership and put yourself in a place where you can blitz your body with a workout from hell. Maintain this attitude every time you go into the gym and enjoy some astonishing improvements. Maybe the most effective way to make sure you complete such an intense session is put yourself in a very uncomfortable position mentally, believing that if you do not push yourself something undesirable will happen or a dream of yours wont come true. Some would call this sadistic but if that’s what it takes, do it!