Friday, January 22, 2010

Fat Loss Tip - Vegetables are your best friend.

One of the nutrition principles that helped me achieve the greatest condition of my career was the inclusion of lots of vegetables during my pre-contest preparation. The lower my calories dropped, the more vegetables I consumed and the leaner I became!

Vegetables, especially the green crunchy ones, are like negative calories and you can not over eat them. They provide a lot of food volume with very few calories and this is critical for keeping your metabolism humming along while eating a low or controlled calorie diet.

My favorite was green beans. I bought them frozen and microwaved them. Then I added no fat/no calorie butter spray along with Frank's RedHot sauce.

In our documentary "I Want to Look Like That Guy" you can see Stu using the same nutrition principles I did to go from over 30% body fat to less than 6% body fat in 6 months. I advised him to eat lots of vegetables and he did with great success. Stu chose broccoli.

Someone I respect a lot in this field is Pauline Nordin. Just take a look at her FighterDiet blog and you'll see the importance she places on vegetables for becoming lean and maintaining it. Her vegetable of choice is cabbage. Pauline is a great example of what you can do drug free with the right approach and the right work ethic.

So the moral of this story is if you are trying to target body fat, vegetables are your best friend so eat up! Just remember not to add anything to them that adds calories. Any zero calorie condiments and spices are fine.

Believe. Achieve.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fat Loss Tip - Calorie Reductions

One of the main components in the fat loss equation is calories. You need to be mindful of how many calories you are taking in each day. If you are not showing the results you desire it is likely you need to eat fewer calories but be careful, calorie cuts should be made with a scalpel not a hatchet.

Don't do a dramatic cut all at once or you risk committing metabolic suicide. You need to make your reductions gradual over a period of time. I advise dropping approximately 100-200 calories every 7 to 14 days.

I get into this topic and discuss other nutrition principles in detail in the new DVD I am working on now, including how to structure a good beginning meal plan with smart nutrient ratios for building muscle and burning fat.

Believe. Achieve.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Physique Transformation Tip

Muscle and fat are two different tissues. Contrary to what you may have heard you can't turn fat into muscle and conversely if you stop working out, muscle will not turn into fat.

If you are over weight and your main emphasis is fat loss you still need a strong muscle building component to your plan (This goes for women too!). Don't feel you need to lose fat before you focus on building muscle. It is quite the opposite.

Remember, every ounce of muscle you build you will increase your resting metabolic rate and encourage greater fat loss.

Believe. Achieve.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Max-OT Cardio Tips

Remember not to over complicate Max-OT cardio.

The goal of Max-OT style cardio is to work out of your comfort zone for 16-20 minutes. You need to be "huffing and puffing" throughout the session. Simply put, if you complete 16 minutes and it feels easy then you are not working hard enough.

Don't worry too much about what program setting you choose, what machine you are on or how many RPM's you are doing. If you are uncomfortable throughout the session and always striving to beat your distance you will achieve the desired effects of Max-OT style cardio.

Believe. Achieve.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

1999 Team Universe

I came across this photo recently from the 1999 NPC Team Universe and it brought back a lot of memories. This photo is meaningful to me because it was my first real photo shoot. The photo was taken in the alley outside our hotel in NYC by Mitsuru Okabe for IronMan Magazine.

It was taken Saturday mid day before the finals so I didn't know at that time that I had won the light heavy weight class. Based on how the call outs went in pre judging the night before I was confident I was in the top 3 and thought I had a chance to win but I would have to wait until later that night to find out for sure.

What a year! 1999 was a very significant year in my career and my life really changed as a result. It was my first Team Universe victory which consequently opened the door to my relationship with Paul Delia and AST Sports Science. I also have to thank Skip La Cour for playing a role in that introduction as well.

I came across some other great old photos which I will share over time but that is enough reminiscing for now. Time to get back to work!

Believe. Achieve.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Heavy Dumbbells = Diminishing Returns

I've had an evolution of thought over the years about using heavy dumbbells for pressing movements, both chest and shoulder. The shoulder training clip I just posted on my new YouTube page brought it to mind so I thought I would share it.

Though dumbbell movements are an excellent compound choice of exercise and they fit squarely within the Max-OT principles I feel there is a diminishing return using them, particularly when you develop a level of strength forcing you to wrestle with the big boy dumbbells at the end of the wrack in order to get enough resistance. At that point I think you are better off sticking with barbell movements.

There is a lot of wasted energy before you even start the set as you can see from the clip. This is true even if you have a partner handing you one of the dumbbells. It's even worse if you are trying it on your own.

Not only do you waste energy getting in and out of the exercise, you also potentially place yourself at a higher risk of injury in my opinion because you can end up in some compromising positions that are placing undue stress on your body.

My advice is load up the bar and focus all your energy on moving the weight from point A to point B.

Believe. Achieve.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Organization is Key

We always talk about discipline, hard work and dedication when we talk about achieving goals and these are all important attributes without a doubt but often times a key skill gets overlooked is organization.

Being organized will be critical to achieving your goals, particularly when we talk about nutrition. One tool that can help you stay organized with your nutrition is writing out a menu with your daily intake detailed. Each meal should be outlined containing the specific foods as well as the time of consumption. This way you can pre-plan your day and make sure you have what you need to eat when you need to eat it. After all, you can know what you are supposed to eat but if that meal is not available when you need it, it will do you no good.

If you miss one meal you may think it is not a big deal and by itself I would agree with you. However, if you miss one meal even every other day it will start to add up. Think about all the missed opportunities to improve over a year's time if you are not organized!

Believe. Achieve.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day by Day

When you are working towards a goal sometimes it is easy to get overwhelmed by the enormity of the task at hand. That is why you need to remember the simple concept that each goal, no matter how big or small, is achieved by your accumulative efforts over time - or as they say a journey of 1000 miles begins with one single step.

One of the keys to my bodybuilding success was the ability to break my overall goal down into a day by day target rather than trying to digest the big picture all at once. For example - Instead of thinking of the whole 6 month pre-contest phase and everything I would have to do to be successful on stage I looked at each day as its own separate entity and I tried to complete each day to the best of my ability. The enormity of the whole task could have been paralyzing but completing each day to the best of my ability was easy to digest and execute. I knew that every great day I could complete would lead me one step closer to my over all goal. I knew my success or failure would result in how many great days I could string together over the long haul.

So as you set out to accomplish your goals remember to "chunk" the big tasks down into manageable bites and string as many great days together as you can......Day by Day!

Believe. Achieve.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Back to the Blog

It's been a while since I posted anything. The last couple months have been busy with holidays and some travel. Now it's time to get back and re-focused like many of us do at the start of a new year.

I have a couple cool things in the works. The first of which should be available within the next few weeks. More to come on that in the near future.

The other "cool thing" is my next DVD project which is scheduled to begin work on January 16th. More to come on this project in the near future as well.

Hope everyone had a nice holiday season and is ready to attack 2010!

Believe. Achieve.