Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
People are still brainwashed to believe that you have to do millions of crunches to have a great mid section. You see it on TV all the time with the latest and greatest ab busting machine and that only perpetuates the problem.
Let me say it again.....YOU CAN NOT SPOT REDUCE FAT. You could do millions of crunches and never see chiseled abdominals.
Having great abs has a simple formula and the two primary variables in that formula for achieving the desired look are cardio and diet. That is right - cardio and diet are the keys NOT crunches.
In our documentary "I Want to Look Like That Guy" Stuart MacDonald goes from a 44 inch waist to a ripped and shredded contest ready set of abs and a lean 27 inch waist by doing abs directly only 1 time per week with resistance. Let me repeat....44 inch waist to 27 inch waist and did not do high rep abdominal training. (On a side note, do not forget with heavy Max-OT training abs and core muscles are worked daily as stabilizers during free weight compound movements. This also supports the idea that you should not be directly training your abs multiple times a week.)
The key to Stu obtaining awesome abs was his attention to diet over a 6 month span and short and intense cardiovascular activity done on a daily basis.
Abdominals were one of my strongest body parts that rivaled anyone on stage whether they were steroid free or not. My abs got better every year because of Max-OT style training which included training abs directly with resistance only once per week. Diet and cardio did the rest.
You have to treat abdominals like any other muscle. You need to build them with resistance and then melt away the body fat with cardio and diet to reveal the coveted 6 pack.
The sooner you can get the notion out of your head that you need to do hundreds of crunches to get a ripped mid section the sooner you will be on your way to achieving awesome abs!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
The first is by Skip La Cour who is a true legend of Natural Bodybuilding. He's a six time national champion and one of my mentors. As I mentioned in a blog a few days ago it was a phone consultation with Skip in 1998 that was a real turning point for my career. Another little known fact is it was Skip who introduced me to Paul Delia, owner of AST Sports Science and that started my relationship with AST which was the other huge stepping stone in my career.
I've always had immense respect for Skip and all he has accomplished so his review of our documentary means a great deal to me.
"The movie 'I Want to Look Like That Guy" is an inspiring story that teaches a lot more than being successful at creating a great body. It demonstrates what it takes to be successful at ANYTHING you attempt to do in life. This is a must-see movie if you feel that you 'deserve' success and you just can't figure out why it alludes you. Although the movie does a great job of showing what it takes to look like that guy, don't waste the valuable life lessons it teaches only on that pursuit."
Skip La Cour
Six-Time National Bodybuilding Champion
The other review comes from John Koenig who writes a column called "Stuff I Like" for rxmuscle.com. I think he really nails the overall message of the documentary:
"Film maker Stuart MacDonald asked himself the question thousands have
wondered about: Just what would it take to change my body into that of the
guy in the fitness advertisements? But MacDonald took it a step further, seeking
out IFBB pro bodybuilder Jeff Willet, who is the guy in the ads and owns a gym.
At 42 years old, with a 44-inch waist and a soft physique nearly 30% body fat,
MacDonald must have appeared a daunting project. Nonetheless, Willet decided
he'd teach Stuart how to train, set up meal plans for him, and otherwise guide
him through the entire process. "I Want To Look Like That Guy" is an
entertaining documentary of the roller coaster ride that ensued. MacDonald had
no idea what he was getting into.
I appreciate that Willet's 18-week Phase One was about learning to workout, with minimal involvement in the nutritional end. This comes closest to what the average man-in-the-street thinks those ads are telling them: join a gym, or better yet, buy this piece of exercise equipment (can we all say Bowflex?), follow a simple workout program a few days a week, and bingo, soon you'll be shredded and muscular.
After one week, MacDonald was asking the camera why his body hadn't visibly changed. This sounds ridiculous to anyone in the industry, but remember, most people don't know any better! That's why the ads are successful. He began the experiment at 27% body fat, and a dozen weeks of workouts later was only down to 25%. Of course, a massive cookie binge that 12th week slowed progress down. Sounds bad, but what could be more typical of the average person?
Phase 2 adds the dieting component. Now things get interesting, and MacDonald begins to learn for the first time how involved what he's attempting to do is. Willet lays it all out for him, every meal of each day. As the meal plans change, they are discussed between the two of them, and the actual plan is displayed on the screen. I applaud Willet for providing this much detail.
"It's scary how hard it is to get lean enough for photo sessions. You have no idea, you may look great, but you'll have no life, no energy," said MacDonald into the camera, alone one evening in his home. He was hungry, tired of being tired, and feeling sorry for himself.
At another point, further into the project, co-producer Willet tells Stuart, "You have to feel real bad to look real good! I don't care if you fall down, I don't care if you feel faint... stick to the nutrition!" Willet was tremendous, at times boosting MacDonald's spirits, at other points strongly shaking him up and making it clear he had to stay in the game and be disciplined
or nothing was going to happen. "I'm tired of hearing people make excuses!" he tells MacDonald later in the film when he's hearing excuses.
In a post on Rxmuscle, Willet pointed out "One of the primary points is to illustrate that for the ‘average' person with a job, family and normal life obligations, it is not functional or realistic to achieve and maintain single-digit body fat percentages. However, that is what would be required if you want to look like the guys in the ads. It takes intense personal sacrifice with your diet and
Stuart MacDonald struggles with the aspects of this project all of us deal with. It takes months and months to change the body this much (drug-free, keep in mind). Workouts come and go; one or two cardio sessions per day take priority in his life. Friends and family find themselves on the sidelines; he gets lonely. He's always hungry!
Stu bravely lives his life before the cameras; we see him shave his body, he poses for photos every week; he trains, he learns to pose. His doubts and failures play out before us, and didn't end up on the editing-room floor. Slowly, then more quickly as he dials in the nutrition and remains consistent, MacDonald's body begins to become that of a bodybuilder, right in front of the camera. It's fascinating to watch and listen to him confide in the camera, and to be the fly on the wall for countless meetings with Jeff Willet, who faithfully, consistently provides moral support, motivation, and all his workout and dietary programs.
By the time MacDonald has morphed into an under-6% body fat bodybuilder and is preparing to compete in an NPC contest, the viewer cannot help but be rooting for him to make it.
"I Want to Look Like That Guy" shows that a regular guy can look like the guy in the ad, but it takes a smart, disciplined plan outside the understanding of most "regular guys." Stuart MacDonald made dramatic changes to his physique, and they took many months. This movie clearly illustrates how difficult it is to get into true bodybuilding condition, and exposes the ads selling an image clearly unrealistic for most people to achieve.
"I Want To Look Like That Guy" is entertaining, truthful, and passionate. It's not about training, nor the world of bodybuilding; it's about the very real journey Stuart MacDonald took as he transformed himself."
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
It is true that you want to continually strive to increase your weights when training Max-OT style, however, it is important to remember not to increase weights at the expense of form and control.
The idea is once you hit 6 reps on your own with good execution you should increase your weight for the next set by the smallest increment possible. If you are struggling to get 6 reps or if your form is compromised to get 6 reps then do not increase until you get 6 "good" reps.
What is a good rep? If you've seen any of my training DVD's you've seen illustration of what I feel is a good rep. To me a good rep is one with maximal weight that can be controlled through a natural range of motion.
If you feel your form has become compromised, don't be afraid to take a step back with your weights. Remember that muscle doesn't know absolute poundage, it knows a resistance level. In other words, you could have less absolute weight on the bar and be performing the movement better and thus be directing more actual resistance to the intended muscle group. More resistance/overload = more muscle growth stimulation.
Monday, June 22, 2009
This was the same contest I was training Stuart MacDonald for. Ironically, we had already targeted this show long before I was asked to be guest poser.
It was a perfect ending for a few reasons.....One, it was the very stage (Redford Theatre) where I started my competitive career in 1991. Two, it was a way for family and friends to see me in my element one last time. Three, when I won the Team Universe in 2003 I didn't know at that time it was going to be my final time onstage so this gave me a chance going into it knowing this would be my finale. Finally, it was perfect because it added an unexpected twist to the story that was unfolding right in front of the cameras as we filmed the documentary.
Friday, June 19, 2009
I do not advise going to the point of forced reps where your partner is assisting you in completing the last 2 or 3 reps of a set.
Once you complete 6 reps on your own with good execution that is your cue to add weight. If you are doing forced reps you will not have a good indication of when to increase weights because you will be using more weight then you could actually handle on your own in the desired 4-6 rep range.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
One of the primary points is to illustrate that for the "average" person with a job, family and normal life obligations it is not functional or realistic to achieve and maintain single digit body fat percentage, however, that is what would be required if you want to look like the guys in the ads.
People are sold the image on a daily basis that if you take a certain supplement or buy a special machine then you too can look like the model featured in the ad. What they fail to tell you is that in order for the vast majority of body types to achieve single digit or a "bodybuilding lean" / "photography lean" physique it takes intense personal sacrifice with your diet and life style.
In the film you watch Stu go through it all from starting at about 30% body fat to achieving under 6% body fat and ultimately competing and placing 2nd in an NPC bodybuilding contest all at the age of 43 and with a very busy professional life.
I am so proud of the movie because it shows you CAN look like the guy in the ad if you execute an intelligent approach with discipline and consistent hard work (the same approach I used to become an IFBB Pro - drug free) for a long period of time AND it also shows just how hard it is to get "bodybuilding lean" and it exposes all those ads that sell an image which is unrealistic for most people.
We are not talking about a bodybuilder here or someone striving to be a fitness model. Then, of course, that lifestyle is required to succeed in that field and the person knows that going into it. We are talking about your so-called average 40 something man that just wants to look like the image he has been sold verses what it really takes to look like the guy in the ads. I should know because I was the guy in the ad!
If you actually watch the film, the message should jump right off the screen at you. Try not to judge too harshly until you have actually watched it.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
When you are training drug free and striving to get "bodybuilding lean" you really have to dig deep as I explain in this clip from "I Want to Look Like That Guy".
By the time I reached the top of my career and won my IFBB pro card I had been competing for 13 years and became a master at willing myself to get into "drug-like" condition. This was more of a mental battle than a physical one. Especially the last 8 weeks or so of contest preparation which spanned a total of 6 months. That's right, my pre-contest prep would last for 6 months! That's half the year on a strict diet with no wavering.
Just like I touch on in the clip, to be healthy and fit is a total different animal than being "bodybuilding lean" or "photography lean".
We show in the movie that if you want to achieve the level of leanness you see onstage or in magazine photos you have to be willing to sacrifice and go beyond what is comfortable and natural for your body. Being a master of your mind set is the only way you will succeed.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
During this clip below from "I Want to Look Like That Guy" I explain exactly what I am talking about.
Remember, we are in control of our minds and it is our job to direct our thoughts in a positive manner that will help us achieve our goals.
Give this technique a try, it really works.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
In this clip below from "I Want to Look Like That Guy" you hear me summarize the important Max-OT principles to Stu that he will be following on his quest to look like the guy in the fitness ads.
These are the basic principles that I feel everyone should follow if they are truly seeking to change their body composition.
One thing I love about this movie is that it blows away the myth that if you train heavy you will get big and bulky. Stu trained heavy with basic lifts throughout his journey and he didn't end up big and bulky but he did end up muscular and very lean. He built and maintained muscle whiled shedding away body fat.
You'd be surprised how many people say "I don't want to get too big." Well, I would like to tell them not to worry about getting too big because it is not going to happen!
You don't just build gobs of muscle over night because you start training heavy. You do, however, set yourself up to build and maintain as much muscle as possible which is absolutely critical if you want to change your body composition.
Let me say this again. If you want to get lean and change you body composition you MUST must take an aggressive approach to building muscle and that approach should be Max-OT.
With Max-OT training Stu shows you right in front of your eyes how he goes from 30% body fat to under 6%.
For more detailed instruction on the Max-OT principles you can check out my complete "Natural Way" DVD training series.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Along with overseeing his training and diet I also had to teach him how to pose. We worked on presentation weekly as we got closer and closer to the contest. I taught him how to hold his relaxed poses, mandatory poses and worked on his night show posing routine with him too.
He was a good student because when he was onstage he looked like he had competed several times before. He was calm, confident and hit poses to really accentuate his strong points and hide his weaknesses. He was good because he practiced!
Go to any contest and you'll quickly see the good posers from the bad. The bad ones stand out like a sore thumb often looking clumsy or just plain uncomfortable.
When you are onstage it has to look easy and fluid.
In this clip from "I Want to Look Like That Guy" you see me teaching the basics of posing. We are on the 3rd level of my gym which is where we would practice and evaluate his physique. It is one of my favorite clips from the movie.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
It's always been against my better judgement to waste time responding to people on forums who want to spew negative, uninformed insults at me. I figure it is a battle I can't win and I don't want to lower myself to their level. I try to be above it and understand that these people are coming from a place of negativity which probably stems from their own inability to achieve what they really want. So instead of looking to someone who is more accomplished then they are for inspiration or information, they would rather attack them.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Not everyone has to like my physique and I am fine with that. After all I devoted my lift to a sport that the entire premise is to be judged on your weaknesses. BUT what I do not understand is why people take on personal attacks towards me when they have never even talked to me for 1 minute. Many of the posts I have read over the years, even as recent as this morning, become very personal attacks which have nothing at all to do with my physique.
For example.....I was looking at a board to see some chatter about our documentary "I Want to Look Like That Guy". None of these people had actually seen the film but were all making their judgements based on a 2 minute trailer. One of the discussions quickly turned to me, "the trainer", and the direct quote was.....
I am not going to list my accomplishments as I feel they speak for themselves and I am not going to list my educational background either. It is all out there if someone really wanted to take the time to find out. Normally I would not even dignify this quote with a response but this morning is different. This morning I am going to talk about it for the simple fact that I can and it makes me feel better!
I've read a lot of crap written about me over the years and for the most part I always sat quiet. I've been called pretty much every name in the book.....liar, cheater, fraud, fake, etc etc and now I can add jackass to that list....too funny. I've been accused of taking all kinds of drugs even to the point of anonymous (of course) people claiming to have either sold me stuff or actually seen me taking stuff. That is just ridiculous but if I said it never bothered me that would be a lie. To insult my physique is one thing, to question my integrity and character is completely different.
See, what people sometimes fail to realize is that I am a human being.
So the next time you want to call me a name, attack my character, question my qualifications or insult my intelligence maybe you should think twice. Maybe you should list everything you've accomplished in the bodybuilding/fitness arena and list everything I've accomplished and compare the two. You might just figure out that maybe I know a thing or two about what I am talking about. Maybe you should take the time to do a little research about me before you open your mouth.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Let me be the first to tell you.....there is no 'magic' answer. There is, however, one best combination of things that will allow you to maximize your results and that combination involves continual execution on your part. If you are looking for just one thing to plug into your plan than you are barking up the wrong tree.
I've trained the same basic way since about 1998 and that is with the Max-OT principles. If you have followed my career at all then you are very familiar with this. These are the training principles I live by and the principles that I instruct everyone to use who comes to me for guidance.
So before I go any further, let me make this very clear. I believe in, use exclusively and prescribe the Max-OT principles only because I feel it is the best way to train to maximize results. I believe this from my personal experience and success as well as the success of countless others who've followed it over the years. Don't waste your time asking me what I think about 'this' training method or 'that' training method because I will always point back to Max-OT. I am not here to argue it. If you like to train another way then by all means do what you feel is best. I practice what I preach and always have. If I thought there was a better way to train than I would have trained a different way.
OK, now that that is out of the way, let me continue.
When I speak about Max-OT I guess I am talking about the philosophy as a whole which includes the cardio principles and the diet principles I used to become one of the best natural bodybuilders in the world. The greatest illustration of the the philosophy can be seen perfectly in our documentary "I Want to Look Like That Guy". http://www.iwanttolooklikethatguy.com/
I mentioned in another post that this documentary in many ways validates my career and the reason I say that is because it proves that a person can maximize their potential if they are willing to fully execute this plan without excuses.
In the film Stuart MacDonald is a great student who executes daily and achieves results in 6 months that many would have said he shouldn't have been able to do, especially considering his age and career demands. He achieved outstanding results because he trusted me and he didn't look for that 'magic' answer. (Speaking of magic...an interesting side note, Stuart MacDonald is an incredibly accomplished magician respected highly by his peers and an inductee in the magic hall of fame.)
What was interesting to me is throughout the process, Stuart posted progress pictures here at the gym. The better he looked, the more people would come to me and ask "What is Stuart doing". Again, they assumed there was one 'magic' thing he had added into his plan. They often seemed almost disappointed when I would tell them that Stu is not doing anything different than I have told you to do. The difference is he is executing it on a daily basis and doing so for weeks on end. He also isn't making any excuses. He is doing all the elements the best he can...training, cardio and diet.
It is not easy and the documentary shows this clearly. But it also shows that it IS possible to achieve great things drug free.
The first step to achieving great things is to give up the notion of that 'magic' answer and start executing an intelligent plan that is based on physiology and has a proven track record of success.
Also remember the better you do all aspects of the plan (weights, cardio and diet) the better and faster your results will be. If any one of those elements suffers, so will your results.
Just ask Stu. He lived it.
Monday, June 8, 2009
I've been at this game for almost 20 years now and climbed to the top of the competitive bodybuilding world and did it in a manner that almost everyone told me was impossible...that's right I did it completely Drug Free! Those who say there is no such thing as a drug free IFBB pro bodybuilder have never met me and before they judge me they really should walk a mile in my shoes.
I am not here to convince anyone but rather be a source of information and inspiration to those who wish to achieve their ideal physiques without the use of drugs.
There are some exciting things going on that I am happy to share and one of the most exciting for me is the release of a documentary called "I Want to Look Like That Guy".
The documentary is a collaboration with filmmaker Stuart MacDonald www.thatguymovie.blogspot.com myself. I am so proud of how this film turned out. In many ways it validates my bodybuilding career and all that I have stood for over the years.
You can check out more information about the film and watch a trailer at: http://www.iwanttolooklikethatguy.com/.
Thanks for checking in and stay tuned for more updates!