Archive for the ‘Training Tips’ Category

If you’ve had a chance to read through some of the content on my blog, you’ll see that I train a certain way and eat a certain way. How do I know what works for me? Experimenting!!! I’ve read countless articles, tried countless programs, used various methods over the years and I’ve found out the style of training that my body best responds to in terms of progress and aesthetic gains. It’s taken me years, and it’ll take some time for you as well, but a good starting point to figuring out your direction is knowing your body type. Knowing what kind of body type you have will help determine your training regiment and your nutritional needs. It all comes down to this, do you train with a purpose? I do, and so should you. Find yours and work smart. Know your body type. Know what works best for it and experiment. That’s the only way you’re going to get better at anything is with experience and experimenting. You’ll get to learn your body and train efficiently. Not wasting you time with training styles that will hinder your performance. Sound good? Stay with me and learn about the 3 body types, figure out yours and even get some training and nutrition recommendations based on your body type! Think 3 months from now. That’s transformation time. That’s 90 days and those are your 90 days . You won’t let any day go to waste. Make sacrifices and reap the rewards. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Think of the last time you saw someone with an impressive body. You were probably thinking oh must be nice to be that guy. Guess what. It is and it’s possible for you too. Learn about your body type, apply your knowledge and love the results. Let’s go!

In the late 40’s, Dr. William H. Sheldon developed the theory of Somatypes; a theory which described three basic body types:

  1. The Ectomorph
  2. The Mesomorph
  3. The Endomorph

The Ectomorph 

The ectomorph is characterized by:

  • Long limbs and thin frame
  • Lean and lanky
  • Generally tall
  • High metabolism; hard to put on muscle
  • Lose fat relatively easily
  • Tend to do well at endurance sports such as running, cycling, swimming, etc.

Exercise and Nutrition Recommendations: Due to their high metabolism and low amount of muscle mass, the best type of training for ectomorphs are short but intense training sessions, with heavy weights and low reps with longer rest periods. Cardio should be minimal, maybe 1-2 sessions a week at 20-30 minutes of LISS (Low Intensity Steady State)  to maintain cardiovascular health. Changing up programs every month or so is key to progressive gains. Aim to add 2.5 – 5 lbs to your lifts from week to week to keep pushing your body, moving heavier weight and growing. Lifting is only part of the equation!  If you’re an ecto looking to put some muscle on that frame you’ll need to eat like a beast and rest.  A LOT. This is incredibly important. Ectomorphs must eat high quality, whole, nutrient dense foods to grow. I ate 5-7 meals a day and made sure that I was getting in at least 1 gram of protein per pound of my goal weight. Eat low-glycemic carbs (oats, brown rice, whole wheat pasta), avoid sugars and eat fibrous carbs. Drink lots of water and rest. Ecto’s are usually considered noobs  and tend to believe more is better and spend hours training in the gym, leading to overtraining and wondering why their not growing. Muscle repair happens outside the gym when your resting, not in it. Take the hint. Less is more. Get in. Kill it. Get out. Feed. Rest. and Grow! I’ll provide a list of suggested programs that I’ve used with great success to provide myself with the foundation to build the body I have today. Stay tuned!

The Mesomorph 

The mesomorph is characterized by:

  • Most desired bodytype
  • Muscular and athletic body
  • Rectangular shape, with full chest, good broad shoulders and narrow waist
  • Low body fat
  • Gain muscle easily, but can gain fat easily as well .

Exercise and Nutrition Recommendations: Mesomorphs must train differently from ectomorphs to reach their genetic potential. Due to the large muscle mass and lower body fat, the mesomorph must frequently mix up workouts and use variety to prevent burning out or plateauing. The best way for meso’s to train is to keep the body guessing. Using a combination of rep ranges and techniques such as supersets, dropsets, negative reps, forced reps, rep-pauses, etc, will help the meso grow and progress while limited the chances of plateauing. To keep body fat levels low, I recommend 2-3 HIIT cardio sessions lasting 10-15 minutes. My favourite forms of HIIT cardio include ice hockey, sprints, crossfit WOD’s, and circuits. In relation to nutrition, meso’s should keep protein around 1-1.5 grams per bodyweight, fats around 15-20%, and the rest taken by complex and fibrous carbs. Drink a lot of water, 3+ litres a day and get lots of rest. As mentioned above, rest is when the muscles grow. So train. feed. rest and grow! Follow my muscle specific workouts if you fit into the meso body type. As I am in this body type, the training and nutrition that I follow will be best tailored towards achieving your genetic potential.

The Endomorph 

The endomorph is characterized by:

  • Round body type
  • Lots of excess body fat stored around the waist, arms and legs
  • Small shoulders and wider hips; pear-shaped
  • Generally quite strong
  • Slow metabolism

Exercise and Nutrition Recommendations: Due to the large amount of bodyfat stored on the body and the slow metabolism, it is recommended that the endo use circuit-style training, in conjunction with 3-4 days of HIIT cardio, in order to rev up the metabolism and melt off the fat hiding the muscle away. Like the meso, the endo must change workouts often and use various techniques to get the body burning maximum calories. The training that will best suit this body type is moderate/light weights with minimal rest in between sets. In order for the endo to slim down a bit, it is recommend to eat at a calorie deficit some 250-500 calories below maintenance. Protein intake is key for muscle building, while dropping some low gi-carbs in place for some fibrous carbs, will help along with the results. Try to limit fat intake. Drink lots of water. No booze or soft drinks. This is your body here, not some trashcan. I’ll also post some workout for my endomorph followers to provide kick ass fat burn and muscle unveiling.

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Ladies, what if I told you that lifting weights WILL NOT make you bulky. Squash that belief, and next time you’re in the gym, step away from the cardio equipment, and get on the gym floor. It’s no secret that these days strong is the new sexy. Toned, strong, and curvy women are back in and skinny women are out.  Eating healthy and working out WITH weights will help you get lean and sexy, improve your shape and curves.

All too many times I’ve heard girls saying, “I don’t want to use weights because I don’t want to have bulky muscles.” Almost 99.9% of the time, this is coming from women that have never touched a weight because of this myth. I’m here to tell you why these women are wrong and why weights are so important in building that strong and sexy body.

Testosterone. This is the mythbuster. Testosterone is a male steroid hormone that is the culprit behind the stereotype that lifting weights will make you bulky. The testosterone level in males is DRASTICALLY higher than that of females.   The average level of testosterone in males is anywhere between 270-1100 ng/dl (nanograms per deciliter), whereas women have testosterone levels between 6-86 ng/dl. As you can see, there is a significant difference. So what does that mean? It means that unless you are taking testosterone injections or anabolic steroids, your body will not be able to naturally add bulky muscle. Lifting weights will NOT give you the same muscles as a man; they will help shape and tone your body.

Now there have been proven studies that men and women do not need to train differently, with that said put down those 5 lb dumbells and grab something a bit heavier. So tighten and tone that body, we’re going to be lifting and heavy. Don’t worry, those muscles wont be getting bulky they’ll be getting sexy and lean, and you? You’ll be getting jacked. Your version of jacked. The jacked you that you’ve always wanted to be. It’s possible, and this is how!  There is a general “guideline” for rep ranges that I will provide you with. Rep ranges of 1-5 are general said to help build strength and power. Anything between 6-12 leans toward hypertrophy, and anything in excess of 12 reps is used for endurance.  So which are you going to be doing? You will find out soon! Before that let me throw in some nutrition advice!

To build the ideal body we want to burn fat and build muscle. How do we do this? We find our maintenance calories and then add 250 calories to that number. We find out the final number and then set our macronutrients.  The female body burns a greater ratio of fats-to-carb then its male counterparts. This means that the body uses fat as energy more than men. This means that you can handle lower carb diets more easily. Adequate protein and EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) intake is required to build muscle and burn that fat. Eat whole, nutrient-dense foods and avoid anything processed. Drink lots of water. 3+ litres a day. The benefits are amazing, and you’ll feel full longer! Stay consistent, feed your body whole foods, and enjoy the progress! Now onto determining your body shape.

female body

No woman is shaped the same! That’s because there are four general female body shapes and knowing yours is the first step to getting to that lean and sexy you!

The Banana (Rectangle) Figure 

Characteristics of women in this category include:

  • Thin frame, long limbs with a petite upper body.
  • High Metabolism; eat pretty much anything and remain skinny.
  • Ectomorph body type
  • Examples include Cameron Diaz or Kristin Stewart.

Workout Prescription: As women with this body shape are petite and thin, heavy weights mixed with some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) should be used to add some muscle and curves to the frame.  Gym sessions with heavier weight and lower reps will help add some beef to the frame and 2-3 HIIT sessions will sculpt and tone that muscle into a beautiful body.

The Hourglass Figure

Characteristics of women in this category include:

  • Naturally proportionate; chest and hips of same size, with a smaller waist.
  • Classified as a meso-endomorph; tend to look heavier than they are
  • Examples include Scarlett Johansen and Kim Kardashian

Workout Prescription: Women with this body shape generally have proportionate chest and hips, with a smaller waist. To accentuate the curves, I would prescribe HIIT cardio 3-4 times a week coupled with weight training, performing heavy aiming each set in the 8-12 rep range.

The Pear Figure

Characteristics of women in this category include:

  • Smaller upper body and waist with larger thighs, butt and hips
  • Tend to have a slower metabolism.
  • Classified as an ecto-mesomorph.
  • Examples include Jenifer Lopez, Beyonce, Rihanna.

Workout Prescription: Women with this body shape generally have a smaller upper body with larger thighs, hips and butt. To accentuate the body shape, I would prescribe 3-4 HIIT sessions a week with a focus of using heavier weights with lower reps to build the muscles in the upper body, and use moderate weights with higher reps to tone the lower body.  Building up the upper body and toning the lower body will help build a pear shape build a body that resembles that of the hourglass figure.

The Apple Figure

Characteristics of women in this category include:

  • Top heavy with thinner arms, legs and hips with a tendency to store bodyfat in the midsection.
  • Classified as an endomorph.
  • Apple shapes have a tendency to drop weight and build muscle easier than the other shapes, but can also regain fat quickly if not maintained.
  • Examples include Queen Latifa and Catherine Zeta-Jones

Workout Prescription: Women with this body shape are generally top heavy with thinner arms, legs and hips. In order to accentuate the body shape, lifting heavy weights and using circuits/supersets will ignite your metabolism and burn the bodyfat sitting in the midsection. Intense circuit style gym sessions along with 2-3 days of HIIT cardio. This plan will have you feeling sexy and looking the part if done right.

To conclude this post, there are two main points that I must emphasize: (1) determine your body shape and  (2) lift and eat you’re way to your true potential. You will NOT bulk up, this I promise you. Follow the blog, educate yourself and build that beautiful, toned body of your dreams.

 

Jacked

 

What if I told you could gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously ?! Most people believe that there is only one way to get ripped and thats by bulking and cutting.  What if I told you that’s not entirely true! While it’s one way to hit your goals, it’s definitely  not the only way! Bulking up involves eating excess calories, lifting heavy, increasing rest periods, reducing cardio all in pursuance of adding muscle to the frame and pounds on the scale. While you will put on muscle, you will also put on some fat as well. This is what cutting is used for. A deficit in calories, increased cardio and lighter lifting with shorter rest periods results in the burning of the body fat gained from bulking and a chiseled figure. You get shredded but you can also lose a lot of that hard-earned muscle because of the sudden deficit in calories. Most people think that the only route to getting your dream body is by bulking and cutting. While it is a popular method, it’s not the only way to get there. Enter jacked training. While reaching our aesthetic goals we will also be building our strength, power, balance, and agility for functionality and athletic performance. I don’t believe in putting on or losing weight, I believe in changing body composition, shredding fat and building muscle. I stayed within 5 pounds of my starting weight on my transformation found in the motivation section titled “my story”. I looked bigger and I was stronger, performed better athletically and my cardio ability was awesome, all while maintaining my weight. Since then I’ve always trained with a focus on my composition rather than my actual weight. For me its how I look in the mirror that dictates my progress as opposed to the digits on the scale. I’ve found that constant variety in your workouts and constant experimenting with new methods is the key to changing your body composition and getting you that jacked body you’ve been looking for. The key here is proper nutrition and killing every workout you do. No workout to go to waste. Every workout like its your last. It’s a battle, it’ll be tough, you will be challenged but you will overcome and succeed, constantly setting goals and achieving them, never settling, always hungry for more. That’s the mentality you need to get anywhere. Try out the workouts that I’ve provided and eat well. I’ll be providing a sample nutrition plan to help you get started, the rest you will find on the blog. Scroll through the menu, read, get educated and kill your workouts!! Let’s do this!

 

I’ve been experimenting with planche pushups for a couple months now. I’ve been working on getting my core strength there through planks and back levers. Something I’ve always focused on was variety. I’ve never done the same workout. I completely believe that challenging your muscles with variation will help you build the best you. Your muscles adapt to certain movements and habits over time and memorize them. You’ll notice your lifts will eventually stop progressing and you’ll be stuck at a certain weight struggling to add more. This is called plateauing, and I firmly believe that changing something workout to workout will provide your with progressive gains. You challenge every part of your body. An example of this is your stabilizer muscles. Calisthenics and plyometrics are both great for adding variation to your workout as they require extreme strength, power and balance. Here is one of the moves I’ve been working on. I’ve gone into a more calisthenic and plyometric functional training as of late. I enjoy challenging my strength using only my bodyweight and gravity. I find my core lifts increase greatly whenever I train in this style. Its hard. very hard. but very rewarding.You get great gains and you look awesome. Your core strength also increases twofold. I’m also a big fan of the swiss ball and its half version the bosu ball. I’ve incorporated a lot of balance work to my lifts which recruits heaps of stabilizers. Building these will help you with you core lifts. Great for making plateaus disappear and keeping the gains coming. I’ll have something posted for you tomorrow! It’s leg day and I want to show you one of my favourite exercises I’ve incorporated into my regime to keep my legs powerful and strong. I’m a hockey player, and some solid wheels never hurt to have. Something I suggest would be to practice your pushups and as your strength increase you can go on to plyometrics or calisthenics. The more you practice, the stronger you’ll get and the more challenging you’ll have to make it! And progress is exciting, its addicting. You’ll want more, so go get it. Never be satisfied, you have no idea that capabilities your body is capable of. With that said, stay tuned for the first workout I’m releasing tomorrow!

Having laid down some nutritional foundation on you, I’m going to get into the training portion and this post will be about the basics. I’m talking exercises that have been around for as long as weights have.

When you first step into the gym what are the first few things you will notice? Probably a lot of people on treadmills, some guy growling under a bent bar lowering himself to a seated position and rising, another guy at the bench tearing up 3 plates, and another one hoisting massive weight from the ground. Why do you see people doing these exercises? Because they work.

These lifts are referred to as compound movements, meaning that they use more than one muscle and are usually multi-jointed movements. Our basic 3 compound lifts are the bench press, the deadlift, and the squat. Some other effective compound movements are the military press, pullups/chinups, the bent-row and the clean.

If you’re a beginner get familiar with these exercises because they will be the staples of your workout. I recommend that when planning your workouts, 75-80% of your lifts should be compound movements, the remaining 20 odd percent could be isometric movements.

What are Isometric exercises? Well, they are single-joint movements that isolate a certain muscle with the goal of definition. Examples of isometric movements include lateral raises, tricep extensions, bicep curls, etc. These are not so important for beginners, but for those of you that have been working out for some time, 6+ months, you’ll be more inclined to use these types of movements.

Okay, so back to the basics. I’ll be focusing here on the compound movements because they are so incredibly important for all gymgoers, be it beginners or the experienced gym rat. Like I said earlier, you’re workout will be comprised of mainly compounds, therefore it is important to have a solid understanding of these movements because you WILL be doing them.

The Squat – This movement works the lower body and core. It hits your quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus (your butt), your calves and your core. This is a beast of a lift and you will definitely feel it. To do it properly, line up under the bar and pick it off the rack just behind your traps, take a few steps back, extend your hips back and drop down slowly and controlled. As you sit into the squat, you want to make sure you’re feet are flat on the floor, about shoulder width apart, and that your knees track over your feet. You can go 90 degrees or lower, I prefer to go ATG (Ass to Grass) and dip just below 90. Make sure your weight is on your heels, keep your head faced forward, and use your legs and hips to drive the squat up back into full extension. Many people tend to fold their backs when they go down which is wrong. You want to keep the bar in a straight line from top to bottom, by driving the hips you can do this properly. By clicking here, you’ll be sent to youtube where Mark Rippetoe explains the concept of hip drive in greater detail.

 

The Bench Press – This lift is a staple for building the muscles in your chest.  It works the pectoralis major muscle in the chest and is a great mass builder. To do it properly, lay flat on a bench and grab the barbell just over shoulder width. As you raise the barbell off of the rack, make sure to keep your wrists straight, control the weight down to the nipple line and explode up. You want to ensure your back stays flat! Many people arch their back once they lift heavy and you can easily slip a disk and mess up your back. Don’t do that, always be sure to use a weight that you can control. The weight isn’t as important as the mind-muscle connection.

 

The Deadlift – This is your lower backs best friend. One of the most classic lifts in a bodybuilders arsenal, this thing is extremely functional because we pick stuff up off the ground everyday. To do the lift properly, stand over a barbell with your feet just under shoulder width. Make sure your shins are touching the barbel and the barbell sits over the middle of your feet. As you lower down to grab the barbell, ensure that your back is straight and grip the barbell about shoulder width. Keep your feet flat, weight on the heels as you explode up. Keep your head up, look straight ahead throughout the whole lift and lock out at the top. This exercise can really mess you up if you round your back. You can easily slip a disk and mess yourself up as well, so ensure a flat back throughout the lift. The deadlift, like all of the classic compound movements can be targeted to focus different muscles with variations to your stance and grip. We’ll get into that as you progress, for now you’ll get better at this.

The Pullup and Chinup – I love this one and you should all know what it is. A pullup is done with your hands are pointed away from your body gripping over the bar, whereas a chinup is done with your hands are pointed towards your body, gripping under the bar. Different hand placement determines what part of the back is being worked, and yes you can cover virtually your entire back with different variations. Perfect for lifters of any experience, every back workout I do includes some variation of the pullup or chinup and so should yours.

The Bent-Over Row – Another great mass builder for the back, the bent row is my go-to for putting on size and strength. The exact muscles used differ on hand placement, which can be either pronated (as you see in the pic) or supinated (underhand grip). The bent-row works the latissimus dorsi muscle, which makes up the middle back. To perform the bent row, grab the barbell about shoulder width and slightly bend your knees. Lower the barbell to about knee level and keeping your back flat,  contract your back muscles and lift the weight up your quad and into your hips. Lower slowly and repeat. This exercise can be used with heavy weight so make sure that you nail the form before attempting to go heavy. Always control the motion and keep a mind-muscle connection.

The Military Press – The king of all shoulder exercises. This beast works all three heads of the deltoids and can be used to build strength and put on size on the delts. To perform this move correctly, sit on a 90 degree bench and grab a barbell just about shoulder width. Keeping the back as flat as possible on the bench and wrists straight, lower the weight down until your arms are about 90 degrees, pause, and control the weight back up into starting position. You don’t want to go too low because you can mess up your shoulders, which I’ve done and its not very fun at all. Don’t let your ego get the best of you and use weight you can manage, it can be easy to mess up your rotator cuff if you’re reckless.

The Clean – This is one of my favourite olympic lifts. It works muscles in your lower and upper body, as well as your core. It is a great exercise to add strength and improve athleticism. I know personally I’ve used this for hockey and its used religiously by football teams, for good reason, it works. This exercise is a bit more complicated to learn, so take your time with it and master the basics. Essentially you start as you would prepare for a deadlift, feet flat, back straight, head pointing up and forward.  As you explode up, lifting the barbell and shrug the weight up and using the momentum and force created, you drop and receive the barbell in a front squat. I know it seems complicated and it might seem so at first, so click here to get a video demonstration.

So there we are, we’ve reached the end of the basic lifts. These lifts explained above work the entire body and will be used in every workout you do. Be sure to learn them properly and remember to check your ego at the gym door and work with weight you can manage. If you have any questions, you know where to find me! Until next time, stay jacked!