Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Overload is more important than variety.

I don't believe in the idea that you need to confuse your body with different exercises on a regular basis in order to get continual results. As long as the overload is progressively increased over time, your muscles will keep being triggered to respond to the heavier weights they are subjected to. I use myself as a prime example. I've done the same basic exercises for years on end and achieved great results because I continually challenged myself with progressive overload and high intensity.

If you like to change your routines and exercises for mental freshness, that is fine but don't do it under the idea that physiologically you need to "shock" your body. I recommend taking a week off training after every 8-10 weeks and when you start back that is a good time to change things up. Again, this change is more for mental freshness.

My best advice on this subject is stick with basic compound lifts for your exercise selections and work on progressively improving your numbers each workout. When you hit 6 reps with good execution you need to add more weight. Simple as that! If you follow this method you don't need to worry about "shocking" your muscles.

Believe. Achieve.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Positive Affirmations

You've heard me talk about positive affirmations before and how effective they can be at directing your thoughts and molding your attitude.

I had two positive affirmation statements that played a big role during my training in 2003. I wrote these two statements on white note cards with blue Sharpie marker and placed them in multiple locations that forced me to look at these cards continually for months on end. They helped me strive for excellence each day and made me continually ask more of myself. Thankfully I kept two of these infamous note cards and I snapped a picture to show you.

Notice how they are written as a statement of fact. This is very important when you are writing your affirmations. Don't say things like "I want to be" or "I will be" say emphatically "I AM!"

Viewing these powerful positive affirmations repetitively will direct your thoughts and help you make decisions throughout each day that will lead you closer to making your statements a reality.

Believe. Achieve.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Don't Over-Complicate the Process

This is a subject I've touched on before and I think it is worth mentioning again.

The actual process of building muscle and burning fat is pretty simple. We best build muscle by training with heavy weights and basic compound lifts and we best attack fat with high intensity cardio and smart nutrition with a strict eye on caloric intake. That's it!

The hard part should not be the plan itself but rather your dedication towards executing the plan on a daily basis with an understanding that the real magic happens from your attention to nutritional detail over a long period of time.

I don't know how many times I see people who are not achieving the results they want and the first thing they do is to start searching for a new workout approach. They want some magic way of training that is going to transform their body. Let me tell you, there is no magic way. Again, don't over-complicate it. Stick with basic compound movements, train with heavy weights and really pay attention to your nutrition. And to add to that, if you are focusing on fat loss you have to add more cardio to your plan. Not more as far as the duration of each session but more as far as frequency of sessions per week.

For outstanding results keep it simple and execute the basics over a long period of time!

Believe. Achieve.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lagging Body Parts

I was recently asked if I could address the issue of bringing up lagging body parts. This is a pretty common question and here's my take on it.

It is inevitable that you will have some body parts that seem to respond quicker than others. Following a smart plan like Max-OT will naturally improve overall balance.

Max-OT training places an emphasis on basic compound movements. The nature of these free weight compound movements have a lot of overall body involvement and thus improve the balance of your development over time.

If you've been at it for a while and still have lagging body parts you can do like I did and prioritze your training week to attack those body parts first when you are mentally and physically freshest.

The last couple years of competing I emphasized my back. I felt that was a weak area so I prioritzed it by training it early in the week. I also made basic compound movements like deadlifts and barbell rows the primary exercises of my back routines. And I really focused on the exercise execution to make sure I was directing the majority of the overload to the intended area.

Avoid the instinct to increase frequency for lagging body parts. That will actually be counter productive because you run the risk of over training the area. Don't focus on more frequency, rather focus on more intensity and better execution for the body parts in question.

In summary to address lagging body parts don't do more just do everything better! More focus, more intensity and greater execution!

Believe. Achieve.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Attitude is Everything!

When you are striving to achieve a goal your attitude is so important. No matter how motivated you are, you won't always feel like doing everything on your schedule. That's just a part of life. It doesn't mean you want your goal any less it just means you are human. You have to direct your thoughts and control your attitude to stay on track and perform each task, each day to the best of your ability. Only then will you fully maximize your potential.

A great attitude is something you need to work on the same way you need to train your muscles. You need to do this every day. I've always found it helpful to use visualization. I connect to the vision of what I want to achieve and this keeps my attitude positive and my motivation high. I know that every task I successfully complete will take me one step closer to achieving my ultimate goal.

Successful people are able to power through the obstacles and are willing to do the tough tasks even when they don't necessarily feel like it. They are able to see the big picture and understand that hard work done consistently day in and day out will lead to accomplishing their goals.

The next time you don't feel like doing a scheduled task, instead of complaining about it, ask yourself if complaining is going to get you closer to achieving your goal OR is executing the task to the best of your ability a better choice? I think the answer is pretty clear.

Believe. Achieve.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Arm Training: Less is Best!

When training your arms don't over do it. Some of the most common mistakes people make are doing too many sets, too many reps and training arms too frequently.

You need to remember that biceps and triceps get a lot of work all week long when training your back, chest and shoulders so they don't need many direct sets of overload. I recommend 4-5 sets maximum for biceps and the same for triceps. I split these sets up using basic compound exercises and the Max-OT principles.

So when you plan your next arm workout remember to keep the volume low and the intensity high!

Believe. Achieve.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Drug free muscle building nutrition tip of the day.

Don't fear carbohydrates! Carbohydrates are a necessary part of a smart nutrition plan. You just need to have an understanding of the Glycemic Index Rating of carbohydrates and how to time them most effectively.

All carbohydrates are converted into sugar once ingested and the glycemic index (GI) rating basically measures the rate at which this conversion happens. If a carbohydrate has a low GI rating it is converted slowly and if it has a high GI rating it is converted fast. You want both low and high GI carbs at various times of day.

When you first wake up as well as directly pre and post workout you want high GI carbs. This window for high GI carbs also extends about 3 hours after your workout. During this period of time high GI carbs are preferable.

During non training hours you want to stick with low GI rated carbs, specifically green crunchy vegetables. Vegetables are a perfect selection particularly for those interested in getting leaner.

These are the same basic carb timing principles I used with great success over the years and coach all my clients to use as well.

If you are interested in having a specific nutrition plan set up just for you, contact me about my online coaching service.

Believe. Achieve.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I recently joined forums to answer some questions about our documentary "I Want to Look Like That Guy". Here's my shout out to the forum administrators so they know it is me posting and not an impostor!

Believe. Achieve.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Arnold Classic Expo

We are just a few days away from the Arnold Classic Expo. I have a lot of good memories representing AST Sports Science during past Expos ('00, '01, '02, '03, '04, '09) and am proud to represent them once again.

The picture to the right is from the 2002 Expo. You may recognize standing with me from left to right; Earl Snyder, Derik Farnsworth and Carrie Fickle.

If you are at the expo this year be sure to stop by the AST Sports Science booth and say hello.

I'll be there Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Along with me you'll see Pauline Nordin, Bill Lawrence and the rest of the AST Crew from Golden, CO.

Believe. Achieve.