Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to combat hunger while on low calories

I was recently asked how to combat hunger while following a low calorie diet. Here are a few tips to help.

*Drink lots of fluids. I don't have a problem consuming artificial sweeteners so I drink plenty of diet soda while on low calories. Coffee and tea are also great tools to combat hunger. I am a coffee freak and had plenty during pre-contest preparation.

*Eat lots of vegetables. Vegetables are the one food you can actually consume more of and it will help your weight loss. Vegetables add lots of food volume with negligible calories. Stick primarily with green crunchy vegetables and eat up!

*Keep your meals consistent. Eat a balanced meal every 2-3 hours max.

*Chew Gum. I found it helpful to chew gum to satisfy cravings and help bridge the gap between meals.

Along with these tips keep your "eyes on the prize" and stay connected to the vision of the physique you want to achieve. Realize that a little hunger is a necessary price to pay if you want to achieve an extreme level of leanness.

Believe. Achieve.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fat Loss vs. Weight Loss

I am against the biggest loser mentality because I think it encourages the wrong approach to fat loss. A person’s goal shouldn't be to lose as much weight as possible in the shortest amount of time. It should be to lose fat and build muscle on a continual basis. Emphasizing muscle gains will yield the greatest long term results. The key phrase there is long term.

There are quicker ways to get more immediate weight loss results than the approach I follow, however, rapid weight loss often equals having a worse body composition (body fat % vs lean muscle %) than what you started with. Let’s examine why.

If your program is simply focused on weight loss you are most likely not doing things very conducive to building muscle or at minimum maintaining muscle and that is where the trouble begins.

Losing muscle is a bad thing for long term results because every ounce of muscle you can gain, you raise your resting metabolic rate. That’s right; with more muscle added to your body you will burn more calories each day right out of the gate. That is why having a strong muscle building component to your program is critical for fat loss.

Following Max-OT style training will set you up to build muscle, lose fat and really transform your body. That means you may not see much movement on the scale initially and that is OK. We are concerned with long term results and over time there will be a downward trend with your weight but it will not happen over night. For this reason I don’t encourage frequent weight checking.

Here’s another cautionary tale for scale addicts. Contrary to popular belief muscle does not weigh more than fat. That is like saying a pound of bricks weighs more that a pound of feathers. A pound is a pound. Muscle is, however, more dense than fat. That means the same volume of muscle will weigh more than the same volume of fat therefore you could be a few pants sizes smaller and yet weigh almost the same as you did when you were carrying more fat. You see how that works? This is a prime example why the scale is not the best way to measure progress.
I believe a better indication of progress is how our clothes fit or if you want to get more exact you can chart inches lost or measure your actual body composition. Another good tool is visual assessments and the use of photos to see the changes made over time.

The moral of this story is concern yourself with fat loss and not simply weight loss because they are two different things. Be patient and execute a smart plan that has an emphasis on building muscle.

Believe. Achieve.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day MASS Pack Special!

The MASS Pack is a collection of my best instructional products with a retail value of over $130.00. Normally the MASS Pack sells for an already discounted price of $79.95 but in honor of Father's day you'll save an extra $20.00 and pay only $59.95!

MASS Pack Includes:

  • Training DVD A
  • Training DVD B
  • Nutrition Seminar DVD
  • Training Journal
  • Autographed 8x10 Photo

This Father's Day special is only available until Monday so act now and save over $70.00!

Believe. Achieve.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NEW BOOK - Inside the Mind of a Champion

I am very excited to introduce Inside the Mind of a Champion.

This special 118 page book is a collection of motivational thoughts, concepts and training tips captured during my remarkable journey towards earning an IFBB pro card and becoming one of the greatest drug free bodybuilders in history.

This book contains the best insights I can share from the best competitive year of my life. Throughout each page you'll get an intimate look at all the mental strategies I used to push myself to the limits of personal performance day in and day out on the way to achieving what many would say is impossible - earning an IFBB pro card drug free!

Inside the Mind of a Champion is available in e-Book and printed hard copy formats, both at a special introductory price. As an extra bonus, I will autograph the first 25 printed hard copy books sold!


Believe. Achieve.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Learn From the Best

In many ways it seems like only yesterday when I made my way to the gym for the first time and my love affair with bodybuilding began. I loved everything about it, especially the possibility of one day becoming a great competitor.

When I started out I was probably as naive as I was passionate. Naive about certain aspects of the sport, both good and bad. I didn’t know about supplements, nutrient timing, Max-OT or Max-OT cardio. I also didn’t know about the use of performance enhancing drugs in the various levels of the sport.

I remember when I first became aware that many top guys in the sport were using steroids. It was like finding out there wasn’t a Santa Claus. It disappointed me but didn’t discourage me. Thankfully I had a strong belief in myself and found role models that helped me stay true to my dreams and I continued going for the coveted IFBB pro card "my way."

I’m not here to preach, I never have been. To each his own and how you choose to go about bodybuilding is your decision, however don’t make that decision because you think you can’t be outstanding if you stay drug free. I am here to tell you that you can achieve great things training naturally and to make your quest easier there are blueprints for success you can follow.

Take a close look at accomplished bodybuilders who train drug free and learn from them. That’s exactly what I did and what I strongly prescribe to you. For example, I remember after the 1998 Team Universe I knew I needed guidance. I wasn’t afraid to seek out help and decided to go to the best. I just witnessed Skip La Cour come back from disappointment in 1997 to smoke everyone and set a new standard for conditioning at that show, so who better to learn from I thought. I modeled a lot of what I did after Skip’s approach. I didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. I didn’t look at Skip and think “he’s better than me so he must be cheating.” I looked at him as someone who has achieved great things and someone I could learn from because he was obviously doing something right.

Unfortunately there are a lot of people missing the boat in my opinion. Rather than learning from the best natural guys they accuse them of cheating and assume they are lying about their methods. You can't have this type of limiting mindset and expect to achieve outstanding results.

If you open your mind and learn from the best, you can unlock your full potential.

Believe. Achieve.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What is Max-OT and why is it best for changing body composition?

Max-OT stands for Maximum Overload Training and is based on the physiological principle that overloading a muscle with heavy resistance creates the best stimulus for growth. The Max-OT principles were created by Paul Delia, CEO of AST Sports Science and are the principles I’ve followed exclusively since 1998. Paul was a very valuable mentor and I model a lot of my teaching after things I learned from him.

Max-OT is a low volume, high intensity approach to weight training that will maximize muscle and strength gains. Remember, this is very important to anyone interested in fat loss because every ounce of muscle you can build you are going to raise your resting metabolic rate and make fat loss easier. Plus, if you can build muscle you will achieve a more shapely/toned body when all is said and done.

When I speak about volume I am talking about the total number of sets and reps you are going to perform in any given workout. Most programs advise way too many sets and reps in my opinion, particularly those programs that are supposed to be designed specifically for “toning”.

I often hear people say they don’t want to lift heavy because they don’t want to get too bulky or they will point to one of my contest photos and say "I don’t want to get that big"; they just want to tone up. They make it sound as if the moment they start lifting any weights they’ll add gobs of muscle over night. Before I yell at them, I remind myself it is not their fault they have this fear of lifting heavy. It’s because that is what has been ingrained in their heads. We all hear it all the time….light weight and high reps for muscle tone and heavy weight with low reps for bulk (BTW - I hate the term bulk. To me that is another way of saying fat because adding quality muscle will never make anyone look “bulky”. A so called “bulky” look comes from too much body fat). Every time I hear the talk about light weights for muscle tone I want to scream because that is just not accurate and leads people to mediocre results.

You don’t need to lose any sleep over building too much muscle. Building muscle is very low on the physiological totem pull. You need to do a lot of things right with your weight training and diet to build muscle and not only that, you have to do these things day in and day out for a long, long time. Even then you might not build appreciable amounts of muscle depending on your body type. It is doubly hard for women right out of the gate because they don’t have the hormonal support to build muscle easily on top of everything else.

Take most drug free bodybuilders for example. They work their tails off for years doing everything geared towards building muscle from a diet, training and supplement standpoint just to add a few inches of circumference to their muscles. What makes the average person think they are going to start working out and become the Incredible Hulk over night? It just isn’t going to happen so stop listening to all that nonsense and start grabbing heavier weights.

Lifting heavy weights is not going to make you huge but it is going to set you up to build muscle way more efficiently than high rep training. The reason is because overloading the muscle with a heavy weight will create the best stimulus for the muscle to grow and become stronger. This is not my opinion, this is physiology talking. And let’s remember that is the whole purpose behind lifting weights to begin with is to build muscle and strength. (More muscle = higher resting metabolic rate and a more shapely body when you lose the fat with smart diet and cardiovascular exercise.)

I believe Max-OT is the best way to train to maximize results based on what physiology tells us and also based on my own 20 year real world study with myself as the primary test subject. Plus there are countless success stories of men and women all over the globe who've really changed their bodies by executing this style of training.

If you’ve seen our documentary “I Want to Look Like That Guy” it illustrates this point perfectly. In the documentary, Stuart MacDonald (Pictured Above) was the test subject and he followed Max-OT training for a 6 month period while also following the Max-OT cardio principles as well as a very strict and carefully calculated nutritional plan. In those 6 months his results were astounding and you can watch it happening right in front of your eyes during the film. He went from over 30% body fat to under 6% body fat and lost over 50lbs. All this by continuing to lift heavy weights throughout. If you follow the logic that heavy weights build bulk and light weights get you toned and trim then how do you explain Stuart’s outstanding results?

Keeping the weights heavy with Max-OT style training kept Stuart in a state where he was building and at the very minimum maintaining muscle throughout his strict diet and intense cardiovascular exercise. I guarantee you that if Stuart followed the “normal” guru advice and did a lot of high rep, high volume workouts with long duration cardio he would have never achieved the results he did. He may have been able to lose 50lbs or even more but his physique and body composition would not have been as incredible as there were at the end of the film. Why? Because he continued to have a muscle building emphasis with his weight training by using the Max-OT principles.

I've said it many times before and I will say it again. There are many different training philosophies and you can workout a variety of ways and achieve results. Some programs might work more on your athleticism, some on your agility and some on your flexibility, however, if your primary goal is to change your body composition then I firmly believe Max-OT is the best. To really change your body composition you must have a strong muscle building component to your plan and that is exactly what Max-OT will give you.

Believe. Achieve.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Lower Back Training

One question that comes up from time to time is about lower back training in relation to the Max-OT workouts. I receive this question because most Max-OT routines don't have any specific lower back exercises. Here's my answer:

I don’t do any direct exercises to target my lower back. This is due to the degree the lower back is recruited during many compound exercises to stabilize the upper body. I feel that any additional work is not necessary and could possibly lead to over training the area.

One of the things that makes Max-OT the most effective way to train is because it is centered on basic compound exercises which are the best for maximum muscle recruitment and stimulation.

Movements like squats, deadlifts, stiff leg deadlifts, and bent over barbell rows all involve the lower back quite a bit. I feel that a Max-OT routine that includes many of these exercises gives the lower back plenty of work already.

If you feel your lower back is a weak point, you may want to include a couple sets of direct work to target the area. But remember, the lower back has already received a good deal of stimulation throughout the entire training week and doesn’t require a lot extra. I would say 2 to 3 sets of good mornings or weighted hyper extensions would be plenty.

Believe. Achieve.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Workout Duration Doesn't Equal Overload Success

One common question from people who are new to Max-OT training is about the short duration of the workouts. A lot of times people have been brainwashed into thinking long workouts equal better workouts and that is not the case when it comes to maximizing your gains. You want low volume/high intensity workouts focused on one or two muscle groups. You don't want to be in the gym for hours. In fact, if your workouts are taking you more than an hour to complete you may want to re-examine your approach.

Max-OT workouts will range anywhere from approximately 20 minutes to 45 minutes depending upon the body part arrangements. Don't be fooled by the short time span because short doesn't mean less intense. I'd argue it is just the opposite. Shorter workouts allow for greater intensity and focus compared to marathon workouts that span an hour or more. The longer you are in the gym and the more sets you have piled up the more likely your intensity and focus will decline over the span of your long duration workout.

Remember, the goal of each Max-OT workout should be to effectively overload the targetted muscle group(s) and the duration of a workout has nothing to do with the overload success achieved.

Believe. Achieve.