Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Tips to get your shit in order part 2

Tip 7 - Use supplements to enhance your program 

Do you need sports supplements to build muscle? No, you don't need them. What you do need is proper nutrition.

However, with that being said, supplements can enhance a weight training program once all nutrition and training issues have been dealt with.

If you've been following a consistent diet for at least 8 weeks and your seeing progress with your workout routine, you may want to introduce supplements.

Sports supplements are not going to save your weight training routine or be solely responsible for it's success.

Supplements are exactly that, to help enhance (supplements) an already successful diet and weight training program.

I can say this for certain supplements, they work (reputable ones anyways). They can help give you that slight boost, but there are some things you need to remember with supplements. Firstly, certain supplements have to be taken a the proper times and in the right amounts for it to be useful. For example, in my humble opinion, whey protein isolate is best taken immediately after weight training in order to get the best results. However, taking 5 grams of whey protein isolate for a 180 pounds weight trainer is not going to do a thing. in this case, the timing is right but the dosage is way off. 40 grams of protein would be more appropriate for building muscle.
Secondly, you need to make sure the supplement does what it is supposed to do. You need to practice a bit of due diligence before you start dishing out your hard earned cash. At one time, inosine used to be the big thing back in the late 80's.
This supplement was totally useless but it didn't stop hoardes of body builders from buying the stuff up (Including yours truly). There was absolutely no evidence that this stuff worked but supplement companies knew exactly what buttons to push. I'm ashamed to say that I've been a sucker on more than one occassion for the next big supplement.
Read as much literature as possible on your chosen supplement. If there is any doubt, save your money.
Thirdly, make sure the company is reputable. There is simply too many scammers out there in the supplement world. FDA is pretty lax on sports supplements so any joe with a kitchen sink can make shotty supplements, package it up and charge you for sub par ingredients. Places like GNC rely on quality supplements that work. It is not in GNC's best interest to simply sell any old supplement on the market. The brands at GNC are pretty reputable so it's safe to say they work. Don't ge me wrong, I personally think GNC's charges too much for their supplements but, they do come from reputable companies.
I just read a book by Jeff Anderson called Homemade Supplement Secrets and it is simply wonderful. You'd be surprised what supplement companies will do just to get your hard earned money. I like the way Jeff presents his book because he really goes after the supplement companies. It's really an eye opening book that I recommend you read.

Tip 8 - Monitoring your program Want to give your workouts an immediate boost and start improving today? Keep monitoring and evaluating your weight training program. Why is this such an important tip? By monitoring your program, you can make any adjustments that may be needed to improve your workout program or fix any problems. For example, you keep improving on the seated shoulder press but when you look into your logs, you've stopped progressing on the bench press. By monitoring your logs, you can see where you've stopped and why you stopped progressing.

I think a training log is a very powerful tool and by monitoring it on steady basis, you give yourself a reason to hit the weights hard - Just by looking at the numbers, and looking at your goals. By evaluating your program on a weekly or bi weekly basis, you can decide whether your training program needs to be adjusted or whether you need to add or cut down on calories.
I suggest you take a day out of your week and evaluate your body composition, body weight and body measurements. Decide whether or not you need to adjust your weight lifting routine and nutrition program based on your evaluation.

Your fitness logs should go everywhere you go.

Tip 9 - Rest
Blasting your body at full throttle all the time will slowly run you down. You need to take some time to rest and relax. Have fun, kick back and relax and enjoy the fruits of you labour. Let your body get into a good rhythm of work and rest.

By getting quality rest you will ensure that you get the most out of your program. Sleep is vital to building muscle. Make sure that you get enough rest to properly repair your body.

I said this above, and it is the absolute truth - Muscle building doesn't happen in the gym, it happens in your bed with your eyes closed. Heavy weight training is very hard on the body and it basically tears it down. You need to feed it a lot of nutrients and get plenty of rest in order to recover and get stronger. Use common sense and listen to your body before you decide to train a sore muscle group or body part - You may do more harm than good. Stay home, have a protein drink and watch a movie or read a book.

Also remember the equation in the section above called "Why people fail at their weight lifting programs". Rest is 1/3 of the equation to proper muscle growth so you know that sleep is as vital to building muscle as is your training program and diet.

To get the most out of your weight trainig program, you have to keep training, diet, and rest in balance. You simply cannot have any of these three muscle building components alone, or any two. It is crucial that you give adequate time and priority to all three, including rest and recuperation.
How much rest do I suggest? I think you should try and aim for 7 to 9 hours of rest each night. Don't be afraid to take a nap in the afternoon or after work to add a little energy to your workouts.

Tip 10 - Keep motivated
Motivation is the juice that keeps the machine moving. Throughout your program, it is very important that you stay focused and motivated. Although this may seem a little harder than you may expect.

Just remember that not all of your workouts are going to be 100%. It's important to know that there will be times when you just don't feel like working out or your workouts don't feel quite right. Feeling like this for one or two workouts is normal, but if it persists, your body is telling you to try somthing new or to take some time off.

There will also come a time when your muscle gains and progress will come to a halt. Yes, it will happen but don't get discouraged, it has happened to us all, even the best.

The important thing to remember is to keep going, don't quit. If you find yourself in a rut, think of it as a challenge. Try and find new ways to gain. If your bench press is sticking, stop doing it and use dumbbells instead

Listen to your body. Don't try and be stubborn when it comes to listening to your body. If it's telling your that it's tired, listen and take some time off. Your body has ways of telling you when it's tired and broken. This is a very important weight lifting tip, listen carefully to your body and you'll make great gains and avoid injuries.
Try and keep yourself motivated. Stick posters of your ideal body on the fridge, in your locker, in your room or anywhere else you might need motivation. I used to stick a poster of Bertil Fox in my locker at school. Every time I opened my locker, there was Bertil doing his patented most muscular, driving me on.

Try listening to music that motivates you in the gym. The repetitive sound of plates banging against one another can test even the most dedicated weight lifter. Listen to music that gives you some edge and drive.

Try taking pictures of yourself every couple of weeks. This way you'll see yourself improving from the "old you".

Listen, there are going to be times when you are dragging your behind around and don't want to workout (that is, without being physically ill). Maybe your a little tired from work or school, or maybe you stayed up a little late last night. It is during these times that you need to really dig deep and search what it is that you want to get out of your routine. If this reason is strong enough, you'll get to the gym and start weight training.
Tip 11 - Use quality weight lifting apparel and clothing in the gym
You'd be surprised what I see people in the gym wearing. I don't judge people for what they wear but when I see dudes wearing super tight jean shorts and a little halter tops, trying to do squats, I can't help but wonder what ever possessed them to wear such things in the gym. To me, they gym is a sacred place where you go to achieve your fitness goals, not to use it as a platform to show your fashion sense or to shock other people.
Common sense gym apparel is very much needed if you want the necessary room to move around in. Range of motion and movement is very important in weight training and if you want to maximize your mobility (which is very important), keep your clothing loose and comfortable. No, you don't have to show up in a burley sack but at the same time, you don't want to constrict your body. What you want to do is use clothing that allows your body to move comfortably and freely without constriction.
As the saying goes, dress for success and that goes for the gym. If your all business in the gym, your clothing should match that type of training - loose and comfortable that allows maximum movement. 
Tip 12 - Drink a lot of water
We all know how important water is for losing weight but did you know it's just as important for building muscle, maybe even more so? Dehydration is a killer to your workouts. You see, muscle relies on water in order to contract properly. It does this through electrical impulses sent via electrolytes and water. Without adequate water for muscle contractions, what do you think your body does? Well, it doesn't move as much weight as it should because your muscles aren't contracting properly. If you've been feeling tired and dry in your workouts, it might be because your dehydrated.
Did you know that even if have a 2% water deficit of your body weight, you can lose as much as 15% of your strength and up to 40% for aerobic workouts? That's a lot. 15% of your strength can make a huge difference in your workout program. If you want to have better workouts and get into top shape, you better be drinking a lot of water. It only makes sense because 70% of our body is made up of water. It really does take water to move muscle so if you want to start getting stronger, load up on water. 

Tip 13 - Give your self a free day Try giving yourself a free day every couple of weeks in which you can eat anything you want. This way your not going crazy with your diet and it allows you to enjoy some of your favourite foods.

I love this tip because I think everyone (including me) has a favorite meal that's not the healthiest.

Why not give yourself a "Get Big" day in which you eat more calories than you normally would. Back in the old days, my training buddies and I would all get together each Friday and have a huge ckicken dinner and drink gallons of milk. We would stuff an extra 2,000 calories into our bodies because the next day, Saturday morning would be squat day and for that, we needed a huge amount of energy because we would do 10 sets of heavy squats - EACH.
Tip 14 - Have some fun
Weight training should be a fun and rewarding experience. Make sure to enjoy what your doing and have some fun.

What fun is weight lifting and building muscle if you can't stand being at the gym? You really have to enjoy weight training or else your not going to last.

Tip 15 - Believe in yourself
Always believe in yourself. If you start doubting your abilities, your workouts are not going to be effective and your efforts are not going to be 100%.

Attitude is everything. Once your attitude changes, everything changes. When you know you can do it, you can and will do it. Too many times have I heard people say, "What you going to the gym for, you don't need that" or "Why you building all the muscle for? it's all a waste of time and besides, all those guys are on steroids".

Want to know what I do, I leave and try and do my best to stay away from those people. Negativity is like a disease and if you stay around it for long enough, you'll contract it. Pretty soon, you'll start believing in those comments and start to stay home with these very people and drink beer and eat potato chips watching re-runs of "Lost". Pretty soon, you'll be fat and out of shape wondering how you got to that point, knowing you were once sleek, muscular, and in shape.

My advice to you is stay positive all the time, surround yourself with positive thinkers and get away from any negativity. Remember - Always believe in yourself!!


  1. my advice on cardio - dont do classic, slow/medium speed distance running. Do High intensity interval training - for example sprint at 90% of your maximum for half a minute, jog for another 30 seconds and repeat

  2. Thank you so much sir :3 bookmarked

  3. really nice tips,they give me the urge to start training again

  4. I'm always having trouble with tip 10 :(