Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Tips to get your shit in order part 1

Tip 1 - Evaluating your body .
How does anyone really know where they want to go unless they know where their coming from? If you want to build 18 inch arms, you need to know how big your arms are now and from there, put a plan together to achieve this goal. Or maybe you want to lose 30 pounds of body fat, you need to know how much fat you have now and from there, put a plan in place to reach your goals.
This is an important weight lifting tip because this can give you an idea of the direction you want to go. Here's what I suggest. Get yourself a chart that you can record your body statistics such as your weight, body fat levels, lean body mass, and body measurements. Once you get them down on paper, decide what it is you want. If that's to lose 30 pounds of body fat, write it down. If it's to build 20 pounds of muscle mass, write it down.
As you progress with your routine, you will need to monitor and record your numbers. You will probably want to keep track of your measurements on a weekly basis. This way, you know how you're progressing with regards to your fitness program and goals.
You can find out your body fat percentage and lean mass composition using the Accu-Measure body fat calipers. Tools such as the Accu-Measure skin fold calipers will give you a rough idea of how much lean body mass you have on your body. You can generally get the Accu-Measure calipers at your local health food store.

Tip 2 - Setting your goals
What's so important about setting goals? Like weight lifting tip # 1, you need to know where you want to go, once you know where your coming from (tip number 1).
Alright, you've just taken a measurement of your arms and they are a sinewy 15 inches. You want to add another two inches to your arms which is 17 inches. Now, you have a goal in mind - two inches of muscle to each of your arms. How important is this? This will make all the difference in the world between failure and success. You see, you've just given your brain an absolute figure. Your brain now knows, without a doubt, what it needs to do.
Without these figures, your brain doesn't know, or care what it needs to do. You show up to the gym and do a workout but really, without any direction, there is no reason for your brain to tell the rest of your body to grow 2 inches of muscle to your arms. I know, this might sound crazy but I know, without a doubt that this works.
The term "goal setting" shouldn't be used. It should be called "This Is What I Want More Than Anything In The World" term. Whether it be to lose 30 pounds of fat, become a body builder, or tone your body up, you need to give your brain a direction, which in turn will open up your body to muscle growth (If building muscle that is what you want).
Here's what I like to do. I will usually give myself a long term goal such as losing 30 pounds of body fat in 15 weeks. This is my number one goal. I'll break that long term goal into medium goals. What do I mean by medium goals? I want to lose 2 pounds of fat each and every week. Each week is a medium term goal and to reach this medium term goal, I need to lose 2 pounds of fat each and every week.
In order for me to reach these medium term goals, I need to come up with small mini goals. Small mini goals are to improve with each workout. For example, let's say I do 10 minutes on the elliptical trainer on level 5 on Monday. On Thursday, I want to improve on that time and do 15 minutes using the same level. This is a mini goal that has been met, which in turn will help be burn an additional 2 pounds of fat per week, which in turn, as long as I keep improving, will get me to my final goal of losing 30 pounds of fat in 15 weeks.
Take a look at the big picture and break it down into smaller goals. If you can do this, you'll reach your ambitions whether it be to build muscle and strength or lose body fat and weight.
Monitoring and updating your goals will be just as important. Once you start to see your goals being met, it will only reinforce these ideas and your brain will know it can reach those goals and therefore will work harder. This is very, very powerful. I suggest you keep a log handy and bring this log with you to every workout.
Which brings me to my next tip...

Tip 3 - Keep a weight lifting and diet log
What's so helpful about a log or diet log? This all ties into reaching your number one goal. By taking a log with you to the gym and recording everything down, you will start to see where your strengths and weaknesses are. The magic of weight training logs are the patterns you see.
For example, let's say you show up to the gym on day and open up your logs and see that over the course of 7 weeks, you've been improving each and every week in the bench press. Let's say you couldn't even do 5 repetitions with 135 pounds but as you look at your log, you've progressed to 12 repetitions with this weight. What does this say? It means you've improved and it's only going to get better. By the time you put your log book down and hit the bench press, you want to get 14 repetitions with 135 pounds or, better yet, add another 20 pounds to the bench press and do it all over again. See this page for using the best repetition ranges to build muscle.
Another great thing about keeping a weight training log is that it keeps you very honest with your routine. You may think your going to the gym every two days, but for the last two weeks, according to your logs, you've missed two workouts.
The insight that logs can give you is awesome. You will find out what your eating patterns are like and where you need to cut down or add more food. Weight training logs will give you an actual blueprint of what works. I've been weight training for over 20 some odd years and I still keep logs. I can't stress the importance of this tip - Keep a weight training and food log and write everything down.

Tip 4 - Setting up your program
Alright, now that you know what your goals are, you can set up your weight lifting program. It's a heck of a lot easier to set up a workout program, once you know what you want to do and have an idea of what your body statistics are. You must now decide whether you're a beginner, an intermediate, or an advanced weight trainer. Chances are, you already know this.
Once you know what your current status is, and what your goals are, you need to build your weight lifting routine according to that information. What do you want to do? Lose 25 pounds of fat? Gain an additional 20 pounds of muscle mass? Add 50 pounds to your bench press? Get huge ripped, and shredded? Find out what you want and design your program around that goal.
Now, my blog is mostly designed for building muscle. It is here to give the beginners and intermediates an idea of how to reach this goal. So, I feel that it is my duty to tell you that if you've ever wanted to build quality muscle mass, you need to structure a routine that A) Provides the correct amount of muscle stimulation; B) Provide the correct amount of nutrients; And C) Provide the optimal recovery cycle.
For the purpose of this tip, in order to build maximum amounts of quality muscle mass, you need to stimulate as much muscle fibre as you can in a relatively short period of time (Per workout). Your not going to do this doing isolation exercises such "one arm seated cable rows using a bench". You need to use compound movements and you need to hit these exercise hard, heavy, and briefly. Once you do this, rest for 4 to 6 days and hit them again. Only this time, you'll either add more weight, do more reps or do it in less time.
I strongly suggest you do one compound movement per body part and make this movement your number one priority - Every other exercise for that body part takes a back seat.
What do I mean by compound movements?

• Squats;
• Dead lifts;
• Power cleans;
• Barbell bent over rows;
• Bench press;
• Barbell curls;
• Close grip bench press;

Tip 5 - Nutrition
Do you really want to build muscle mass? How badly do you want to pack on 20, or even 30 pounds? I'm sure most people reading this page now will say "I want this really, really bad".
However, only a small portion of people will actually build quality muscle mass. I don't mean to tell everyone reading this page now to simply give up and go home because it's not like that. I'll give it to you straight. If you want to build the kind of muscle that gets stares from both sexes, fills out a tight fitting sweater or a t-shirt, you absolutely must have your act together in the kitchen.
Actual weight training is only half of the muscle building equation. Remember that equation from above? Well, nutrition is the one key that separates an o.k physique to one that gets stares. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if you don't have any desire to fix up your diet, your not going to build the muscle you want. I don't care what you do, that may be high intensity training, super sets, tri sets, giant sets, or what kind of supplements you take, even steroids, it won't do a thing unless your nutritional plan is in place.
I can say this with complete confidence because I know it works. If you can get your nutritional plan down and consistently follow it, you will start to see results almost overnight. Once your body is in a nutritionally optimal state, your strength will go through the roof and it will feel like someone has attached a tire pump to your muscles!
How do you do this? Here's what suggest:
• Start eating 6 small meals per day (these meals don't have to be big and fancy);
• Eat only whole foods - Nothing processed (That means kraft dinner!);
• Each meal should be 2 to 3 hours apart - No longer than 3 hours apart!;
• Eat a very nutritious breakfast consisting of complex carbs;
• Make sure to have something immediately after a workout such as a protein and carb drink;
If you can simply do the above, you'll start seeing some results. Oh yeah, cut out all junk food. If you need to, designate one day out of the week for a junk food meal.

Try eating 6 times per day and make sure each meal is balanced with the optimal amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat. I recently discovered a fantastic resource that plans all of your meals based around your age, body type, metabolism, gender, and activity levels. It is actually a 9 week system that uses prorietary software to customize a complete nutrition plan.

Tip 6 - Build a menu plan that supports your nutritional goals
Once you find out what your nutritional goals are, you need to build a menu that will support your goals. Try and find menus that are easy to cook and taste great. The trick is to adjust the menus and recipes to match your nutritional goals.
What you want to do is adjust the amount of ingredients in the original recipe to match that of your own.
For example, if you know that you want to gain weight and build muscle, you first must decide how much calories you need to achieve this goal. Let's say that in order to gain weight, you have to eat about 25 calories per pound of body weight. So, if you weight 130 pounds, you should be eating about 3200 calories per day (130 x 25 = 3200). With that in mind, you need to plan your meals that will get you to 3200 calories per day.
How do you do that? Actually, it doesn't have to be hard. Simply find out how much calories you need and find a resource that lays out menu plans for that particular calorie intake. 

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