Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

weight-scale1

“I’m gunna start working out because I want to lose X amount of pounds/kilos”. If only I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that. You might have said it yourself or have heard a friend say it. The reason I bring this up is because the general population believes that solely the scale can track progress. While losing weight will definitely bring you closer towards your target body, it won’t be of much use once you actually hit your target weight. I very rarely, if ever, look at the numbers on my scale. If I were to hop on a scale now I’d probably be sitting around 180-185 lbs. You may be wondering how I measure my progress if I don’t watch my weight. What I’m going to tell you might surprise you. Ready? Drum roll…..the secret to getting your perfect body is the mirror. Crazy right! It can’t get much simpler! Let me explain how I’ve come to this conclusion.

When I started working out I was skinny-fat and I weighed around 135 pounds. I needed to lose fat on my body but I was actually really light.  Typically when somebody has a higher amount of body fat they’ll immediately think losing weight will give them the body they want. I’m here to tell you that’s not necessarily the answer. I’ve seen people that look like they’re 180 pounds of pure muscle, when in reality they weigh 160 pounds. After my phase with p90x, I weighed around 175 and had some good muscle definition but I wanted bigger more defined muscles. 3 months later, I looked like I gained 10 pounds of muscle and weighed myself and was 2 pounds heavier at 177 pounds. How is it possible that I looked a lot heavier when I actually only gained 2 pounds? Would I have been as successful if I only used scale to track my progress?! No way!! DO NOT TRACK PROGRESS SOLELY WITH THE SCALE, TRACK PROGRESS BASED ON HOW YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR VS. WHAT YOU WANT TO LOOK LIKE. That’s right, all caps, if you know what’s good for you, caps usually mean something important, so take it in again. MIRROR > Scale. 

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, let me tell you how to track progress by using the mirror. The thing you’ll be focusing on changing is your body composition. Body composition is basically the amount of fat vs. the amount of muscle on your body. If you think you need to lose weight then you probably have a higher amount of body fat and want to convert that into muscle. I’ve found that my weight generally fluctuates 5 pounds,  give or take, from my starting weight. I like to eat just above my maintenance calories (to find yours click here)  with a macronutrient split of about 40% Protein 40% Carbs 20% Fats. This is generally my starting point when I start a program and I adjust the ratio based on how I look in the mirror. If a couple weeks down the road, I don’t see the definition I want, then I’ll replace a serving of complex carbs with a serving of fibrous carbs. I’ll eat this way for a week and then make any necessary adjustments again. I’ve found this method of measuring progress to be the best for me because instead of worrying about my weight, I can focus on how my body looks, which is, in essence, the main goal. We’re trying to shape and build a body that we want. You have to be able to visualize what you want your body to look like to get there. I’m sure you’ve seen photos of people with amazing bodies that you aspire to build. Use that as motivation. Recognize that the mirror will give you a better measure of your progress towards that dream body than the scale. You can see abs and muscles in the mirror but you can’t see those on the scale. How are you going to get closer to achieving that dream body if you’re only focused on the numbers on the scale?! You won’t, it’s as simple as that!

You can find everything you need to build your dream body on this blog. Use the nutrition articles to find out your maintenance calories and to create a meal plan, try my workout routines and continuously check progress in the mirror and adjust your nutrition accordingly. Results will follow and you may just be surprised of what you’re capable of looking like!!

Good luck and train hard friends!

Looking for bulging biceps with peaks the size of Everest?! You’ve found the right place. These workouts will have those arms bear hugging your sleeves within a couple of months. These are some of my favourites that help me build strong and powerful arms. I like to keep it intense by performing several different rep ranges within a workout, using dropsets, supersets and short rests to stimulate different muscle fibers in the arms and grow those puppies. Try one of these workouts the next time you train arms and see for yourself. Let me know how you like these workout by commenting!!

Workout #1

 Rest between 45-60 seconds after completing all exercises in the superset before performing the next set.

  • Superset: (A) Barbell Curl 4 sets of 6 reps (B) Close-Grip Bench Press 4 sets of 6 reps {Increase weight with each set, rest for 75 seconds)  
  • Superset: (A) Dumbell Hammer Curls 4 sets of 8-10 reps (B) Overhead Triceps Extension 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Superset: (A) Cable Straight Bar Curl 4 sets of 25-30 (B) Tricep Extension 4 sets of 25-30

 

Workout #2 

Rest 45 seconds between sets.

  • Barbell Curl 4 sets of 15,12,10,8 {Increase weight as rep range drops}
  • Incline Dumbell Curl 4 sets of 15,12,10, 8 {Increase weight as rep range drops}
  • Spider Curl 3 sets of 10 {Keep same weight}
  • Tricep Extension 4 sets of 15,12,10, 8 {Increase weight as rep range drops}
  • Overhead Dumbell Extensions 3 sets of 10,8,6 {Increase weight as rep range drops}
  • Weighted Bench Dips 3 sets of 15 {Position yourself between two benches, and have a spotter put some plates onto your hips. Drop down into the dip and extend, that’s one, let’s hit another fourteen}

Workout #3

Rest 45 seconds, and add on 15 seconds until you finish your fifth set. Rest 120 seconds before hitting another 10 reps, then decrease by 15 second intervals as you move up the rep range

  • EZ Bar Curl 10 sets of 50,40,30,20,10,10,20,30,40,50
  • Smith Machine Close-Grip Bench Press 10 sets of 50,40,30,20,10,10,20,30,40,50

 

Workout #4

Rest 60 seconds for the first two exercises, then use short 45 second rests to keep the intensity up and the blood flowing into the muscle.   

  • Bicep Barbell Curl 10 sets of 10
  • Skull Crushers 10 sets of 10
  • Superset: (A) Preacher EZ Bar Curl 3 sets to failure (B) DB Single Arm Preacher Curl 3 sets to failure
  • Superset: (A) Tricep Extension 3 sets to failure (B) Dips 3 sets to failure

Workout #5

Rest for 45-60 seconds between sets. I want intensity here and maximal blood flow to the muscles. Let’s put some power into those arms.

  • Straight Bar Curls 3 triple dropsets of 10, 10, 10
  • Incline Dumbell Curls 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Standing Hammer Curls 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Tricep Extensions 3 triple dropsets of 12,12,12
  • Overhead Dumbell Extensions 3 heavy sets of 8,8,8
  • Weighted Bench Dips 3 triple dropsets till failure (Start with a 45 lb plate and rep out to failure, have a spotter replace the 45lb plate with a 35lb plate, rep out again, then replace the 35 lb plate for a 25 lb plate, rep out, rest and repeat)

Hey Ladies,

I’ve asked my good friend Zita to write a guest post on her training program. She’s always been busy moving about and traveling, and despite never staying in one place too long she’s always managed to keep up her fitness. What she’s given you here is an awesome home/outdoor workout regime that doesn’t require a gym, therefore all excuses go out the door. Below you’ll find Zita’s post, so read, learn, perform and prevail jacked!

I’d like to thank Marko inviting me to participate in his new blog. I hope that the information will be appealing, especially to the lady audience. To say the least, I for one am not a gym person. My entire life has revolved around sports/activities of different kinds – be it dance, volleyball, soccer and for a brief period Muay Thai. I love sports and dance because they force you to use your body, engage your mind and before you know it, the “workout” is over and you feel amazing afterwards.

I’ve been living in São Paulo, Brazil for quite some time and contrary to popular belief, people here are NOT all about capoeira, (dance) samba and MMA. I could hardly find guys that actually dance at clubs! I have to admit, Jiu-Jitsu is quite popular, but nowhere near the Gym Scene. The Gym Scene here is HUGE! Some pay between R$200 to R$500 ($100 – $ 250) for monthly gym membership (excluding personal trainers) and are obsessed with musculação (engl. muscle training) especially the women.

In Brazil, personal trainers are a must and so, when I visit the gym (yes, I’ve conformed) I typically see people in fancy gym outfits with their personal trainers going at some workout. What I also see is that these people spend a lot of time socializing with their trainers and others at the gym. Beware; this huge distraction diminishes the effectiveness of your workout because resting time should last a maximum of 60 seconds. Note, I don’t have anything against personal trainers and do believe they help people achieve their fitness goals. But, I do not invest in this because there are workouts you can do on your own, which can be quite challenging, more effective and can save you some money.

The program of the workout I’ll go on to describe below was given to me by one of my friends’ personal trainers and consultants (my friend is a professional (Olympic) athlete). When I asked him how could I burn fat and tone my body at the same time, he told me that the right combination of Aerobic exercises and HIIT Circuit with resistance exercises could do the trick. Below, in Table 1, The Timetable is defined. Alternatively, you can modify it in whichever way you like, consider a maximum of 2 days rest if you want to achieve best results.

Table 1: Program’s Timetable

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Aerobic

HIIT + Cardio

Aerobic

REST

HIIT + Cardio

Aerobic

REST

n.b: If you prefer the HIIT + Cardio training to Aerobic, feel free to do it 3 times a week as opposed to 2. Similarly, choose your resting days as you please.

Before I go on, I would like to emphasize the importance of monitoring your heart rate. My friend, the expert, told me that in order to burn fat in cardio exercises, you have to monitor your heart rate and make sure it does not fall below 130 bpm (beats per minute) and does not exceed 155 bpm. Thus you have to make sure your heart is beating within this interval, otherwise you are burning energy and not fat.

So, BUY A SPORT WATCH AND FILL IN YOUR PERSONAL SETTINGS J

In addition, HYDRATING WHILE YOU WORK OUT IS A MUST. I CANNOT EMPHASIZE HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS. When I jog (cardio/aerobic section), I make sure I have a sip of water every 2-4 minutes. By the end of the entire workout, I’ve downed between 1 – 2 liters!

The 2nd Table, below, outlines the HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) combined with Cardio. Notice the heart rate intervals…

Table 2: HIIT + Cardio Training Outline

Exercise

Time

Description

Heart Rate (bpm)

HIIT + Cardio

10 min.

Jog – Warm up

115 – 130

HIIT Circuit

5 min.

Intense warm up: Some stretching, Jump rope, jumping jacks, etc.

Nice and high!

20 min.

1) Lunges (Light weights, optional) – 20x
2) Push-ups – 20x
3) Squats (Light weights, optional) – 20x
4) Crunches (use aerobic ball for back support) 20x
5) Donkey Kick 20x (10x each leg)

 REST FOR 60 seconds

REPEAT the circuit 5 times, rest for 60 seconds between each section. Do it quickly and effectively. FEEL THE BURN!

Cardio

20 min.

Light jogging

130 – 155

Stretching

15 min.

Stretch thoroughly

Falling

TOTAL CALORIES

450 – 550+

As you can see, the HIIT training section is composed of several resistance exercises. Naturally, you can pick the resistance exercises you please. They key is to do these exercises properly and quickly so that your heart rate goes up nice and high. The 60-second rest is a chance for you to recuperate and have a few sips of water J. It is harder than it looks! I made my boyfriend (who has a great fitness level) do these exercises and by the end, there was a lot of huffing. The Cardio section after the HIIT Circuit serves to help your body metabolize all the lactic acid you built. Last but not least, thorough stretching after your workout is paramount. Focus on the areas that feel tight! This is not only good for your muscles, but gives them beautiful shape.

On the other hand, the Aerobic Training is a chance for you to diversify your workout. If you have the opportunity to play sports or participate in activities, DO IT! Table 3 below outlines the Aerobic Training.

Table 3: Aerobic Training Outline

Exercise

Time

Description

Heart Rate (bpm)

Aerobic

45 min. – 60 min.

Pick any aerobic activity you like and feel free to alternate during the week
Consider sports: Tennis, Volleyball, Soccer, Cycling
Activities: Aerobics class, Zumba, Dance
OR: Jogging/running

130 – 160

Stretching

15 min. – 20 min.

Stretch thoroughly

Falling

TOTAL CALORIES

350 – 450+

If you don’t have the time for sports or activities, jog outside or indoors on a treadmill (I usually do this).

Bottom line; buy a sport watch to monitor your heart rate (some good brands include, Polar and Suunto), a BPA Free water bottle in order to hydrate. When you work out, try not to talk to others so that your resting time doesn’t exceed 60 seconds, stretch and eat healthy!

And for some motivation, MUSIC helps (alongside picturing your fit body in a bikini in some faraway paradise, like Croatia J)

Happy working out people!

Pancakes..mmm.. who doesn’t love them! Thought eating healthy was boring? You’ll think again after you’ve had some delicious banana chocolate protein pancakes. These are some of my favourites to make! They’re delicious. They’re healthy and they’re convenient. You can make these the night before and heat them up next morning if you’re usually out the door before eating breakfast. If not these can be the perfect  breakfast,post-workout meals, or meal anytime during the day. So easy to make, you’ll be wondering how you lived without em!

Here are the ingredients and the recipe with pictures to help you follow along!

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1/4 cup oat flour ( I use Quaker Instant oats and the nutribullet to mill the oats into flour. You can also buy oat flour at health stores, but their pretty expensive, so I prefer this little improve).

3 egg whites (You can also use liquid egg whites, just use the nutrition info to calculate the equivalent of 3 egg whites).

1 scoop of protein powder (I use Kaizen Whey Protein because it’s natural, without any GMO’s or gluten, and it doesn’t give me stomach problems. You can also use any type of protein powder; whey, casein, egg, oat, hemp, etc.

1 medium-size organic banana 

1 tablespoon (Tbsp) of organic coconut oil

Preparation:

  1.  Mix the dry ingredients (oat flour, cinnamon, and protein powder into the bowl).
  2. Mash the banana into a smooth consistency and add the to bowl.
  3. Break (or pour) the 3 egg whites into the bowl and mix all of the ingredients together.
  4. Place a pan on the stove and set it to medium. Grab a Tbsp of coconut oil, and coat the pan with it.
  5. After all the ingredients are mixed you should have a lightly runny consistency. Pour some from the bowl onto the pan.

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6. Let it sit for a 1 minute or two, until you can slide the spatula under it without any resistance. Flip it for another minute     Repeat these steps until the bowl, is empty. This mixture made me 3 smaller pancakes and one bigger pancake.

**OPTIONAL: Pending on your goals, you can add this!! I don’t like to eat my pancakes dry, so I used a Tbsp of 100% pure organic maple syrup. I’m in Canada so this stuff is amazing and its available to me. I tend to stay away from the calorie-free, sugar-free syrups because they are full of ingredients that aren’t very good for the body. Pure maple syrup has natural sugars and has more antioxidants then blueberries and spinach. So with a little moderation, you can eat these natural sugars on occasion. Unless your allergic, in any case, natural honey and agave syrup are good alternatives!!

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I used this as breakfast, but the mix of protein and low-glycemic will release nutrients into my blood through the next couple of hours until I re-feed. As mentioned earlier, these are super convenient, easy to prepare and will provide a sustained energy release. If you haven’t tried them, have a go and let me know what you think!!

Nutritional Info:

Per 1 Serving

Calories: approx. 100 calories

Protein: 9.45 grams

Carbohydrates: 4.68 grams

Fats: 4.125 grams

Alright this is the chest we’re looking at here. Gentlemen, get ready to kick some ass. Ladies, this applies to you too. I love to work chest, its one of my favourite days! Make sure you check out the anatomy of the chest before attempting any of the workouts! It’s best to know about the muscle you’re working so you can ensure your training its properly. I will workouts similar to mine, they will build muscle, burn fat , and give you a presentable pectoralis. You just have to be prepared for the hard work!! Use these workouts, cycle between them every week and watch yourself grow! I like to build my workouts with compounds lifts and go heavier on those, then do some plyometrics works and use swiss balls to kinda get the body guessing and finish up with some classic shapers. As far as reps go, I’ll go to failure, whatever that number happens to be. I generally aim for 4-6 reps on heavier compound exercises and 8-15 on the lighter shapers and bodyweight exercises. Here are 5 chest workouts that I absolutely love to do and you should too!

1. The Giant Set Killer [Not for the weak hearted]

Rest periods of 90 seconds after single lifts and supersets, 2 minute rest between giant sets.

  • 3 sets of Korean Dips (Do standard dips if you haven’t worked up to korean dips) superset with Pushup Ladder (You basically take the bar at the smith machine, lower it as close to the ground as possible and start with your arms gripping the bar as wide as possible. Aim to perform 8 reps, after that slide the bar up one notch and narrow your grip one hand length. Aim for another 8. Do this until your hands touch, blast out those reps and rest for the next set)
  • 3 sets of Deadstop Bench (aim for 4-6 reps each set)
  • 3 Giant Sets (3 or more exercises done one after the other without rest inbetween) of : [Swiss Ball Dumbell Press][Wide-Grip TRX Flye] [Swiss Ball Dumbell Pullover] [Pushups] ; the goal is to aim for around 8 reps of each and just burn out with as many pushups as you can, my first set I did 10, by the third I did 4. This set will get you!
  • 3 Giant sets of: [Korean Dips] (Use standard dips to build up to korean dips) [Incline Smith Machine Bench] [Dumbell Incline Flye]. This is the last giant set of the workout, so get in, work hard and you’ll be dunzo by the end of this puppy trust me. Aim for around 8 reps on the first two movement, and some 12-15 reps for the flyes. Keep it controlled with good form. Make that mind to muscle connection and kill it.

2. Revved Up Classic

Rest periods of 90 seconds between lifts.

  • 3-4 sets of Incline Dumbell Press superset with Incline DB flye
  • 3-4 sets of Flat Bench Dumbell Press superset with flat DB flye
  • 3-4 sets of Decline Dumbell Press superset with decline DB flye

For the presses aim for hitting around 6-8 heavy reps and with the flyes choose a weight that’ll have you struggling by 12 and doing no more then 15 reps.

3. Pyramid Scheme Chest

This workout uses the pyramid method. This method usually involves moving from a high rep range down to a low rep range progressively through sets.

  • Incline Dumbell Bench Press Pyramid 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 6 ( As the reps drop, the weight goes up)
  • 3 sets of Plyometric Pushups ( Place two dumbells on one end just over shoulder width apart. Start on the ground and explode up onto the dumbells, lower your body and explode off the dumbells back onto the ground. To build up strength for this try clapping pushups, or if your completely new try standard pushups)
  • 3 sets of Cable Flyes (aim for 21 reps; start with the cable on the highest setting and perform 7 flyes, immediately drop the cable to shoulder height, perform 7 more flyes, after this immediately drop to the lowest setting and perform another 7 reps. You’ll be doing shaping your chest from three different angles on this one, and the lowest setting will be a killer. Suck it up, work through it. Shut out the pain and follow the burn. Kill it.
  • 1 set of Dips (Aim for hitting between 75-100 reps; use the rest-pause technique until you get to the rep range, you don’t stop until you get there! Take as many breaks as necessary but hit that number. If you can’t do bodyweight dips on the dip bar, head over to the assisted dip machine and rep them out there)
  • 10 sets of Swiss Ball Dumbell Press (This is a modified german volume training technique, I love to use as a burner. Grab a pair of dumbells that are 50-60% of your 10 rep max. I can hit 10 reps with around 70lb dumbells, so I use 25 lb dumbells for this. You’re doing 10 sets of 10 reps with 10 second rest in between. It seems easy because of the light weight, but by the 5th set you’ll be hating me! Rep these out, control your form, and finish of the workout!)

4.  DTP Style Chest Killer

This is one badass workout and you’ll feel the blood rushing into your chest like no tomorrow. It may seem very simple but it packs a punch. It’s perfect for those that need a quick workout. This is one of Kris Gethin’s DTP workout, and it’s kicked my ass. You should try it out!

  • Dumbell Bench Press 30 20 10 5 5
  • Incline Dumbell Bench Press 5 5 10 20 30

How this works is you start with 45 second rest periods. As you go move down the rep range and increase weight, you add 15 seconds of rest. So your rest will look like this: 45 seconds, 60 seconds, 75 seconds, 90 seconds, 105 seconds, then you’ll set up for the incline dumbell press and shorten the rest period back down to 45 seconds.

5.  The Big Pump

  • 4 sets of Incline Barbell Bench Press (Go heavy and aim for 6-8 reps for the first three sets. On the last set, do 21’s, lighten up the weight and do 7 wide grip reps, rack and do 7 shoulder width reps, rerack and do another 7 closer grip reps)
  • 3 sets of One-Arm Swiss Ball Dumbell Flyes superset with Bosu Ball Pushups ( Hold a pair of dumbells over your body on a swiss ball. Hold the left arm straight, flex your abs and stabilize your body whilst lowering the weight out with your right arm and performing a flye. Do 8 reps with one arm, then hold the right arm straight with the dumbell over you and lower the dumbell in the left hand. Hit 8 reps then jump into pushups holding the bosu ball on the flat end and rep out until failure. Repeat two more times.
  • 3 sets of Dips superset Machine Flye [Triple Dropset] (Here you’ll be doing your standard bodyweight dips for 12-15 reps  and then without break moving to the machine flye and repping out 8 reps, lowering the weight and without rest, performing another 8 reps, and again lowering the weight and performing another 8 reps without rest. Thats one set, do two more and we’re done. Good luck taking your shirt off to shower!

There you have it guys, a couple of my favourite chest workouts that I like to cycle around week to week to keep my body guessing and progress coming. If you’re new to the training scene, scale down some of the sets so that you can perform as much as you can. Don’t give up, you’ll get better, I promise. Just work hard, train jacked and you’ll get jacked! These workouts will build muscle and shred fat. They will help with functionality, power,strength and athletic performance. The muscles will not only look big and full, they’ll have the strength to back it up. Enjoy everyone, please try them out and comment if you like them!

on7hcWhat if I told you that you had no more excuses to not work out. No more excuses to not go to the gym. No more excuses to feel tired all the time. This post is for anyone that’s in high school, college or university, that either wants to make a change, switch things up or completely transform themselves.  It’s not impossible. It’s actually very achievable if you do the right things. The main thing here is called time management. You’ve planned your days around your school schedule, so why not spare an hour or so for working out. These days almost every school or university in North America has a school gym. Take advantage of it. They are either covered in your tuition or are heavily discounted to accommodate the student budget. Take Ryerson University for example. Full-time students pay for memberships to the universities two gyms in their tuitions! Before that it was around 40$ to buy a membership for a whole semester, which is ran from September-January. That’s pennies, even on a student budget. I recommend you go to your on-campus gym and find out if you get access through your tuition, which is a definite plus. In the case of Ryerson, students have either the Ryerson Athletic Centre (RAC) or the newly built,  Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). If you want to make the change for the better I strongly urge you to take control of your life, eat well and train consistently. Doing this will change your life, I guarantee you. The benefits of physical fitness and the habits learned from taking care of yourself transfer into your every day life. You will not only feel and look better, you will be happier, you will be able to think more clearly, you will have a more positive outlook on life and you will be able to cope with stress a lot better. All of these pros and what are the cons? You have to find a whole hour to workout. An hour of your day is only 4% of the total day. What do you do for the other 23? If you’re like the general population, you’ll probably spend a lot of time on the internet, scrolling through 9gag, reddit, facebook, and youtube. And you’ll probably spend more than an hour doing that everyday .Why not make a commitment to being healthier? Why not use that time to change your life? What’s stopping you? One of my pet peeves is hearing excuses about the gym. Oh I can’t go I don’t have the time! It’s too expensive! I’m too busy. I’ll start tomorrow! No, you won’t! You said tomorrow, yesterday and here you are today sitting on your ass making another excuse to further delay any change. You’ve got an opportunity here, take it, you absolutely WILL NOT regret it. The first step is to realize a change is necessary, then its your job to make a plan and go after it. Everything is possible and excuses are for losers. You, you’re not a loser though, you’re a champion, and you will do this. No time? Make some! Too expensive? You’ve already paid, if not check with your school gym and get discounted student pricing. Take advantage of it. You’re going to have to grow up anyway, there’s no denying it. Why not learn some discipline and prove to yourself that you’re independent. Reaching your goals will help you make new ones and reach them. You’ll have everything you need on this blog; nutrition, meal plans, goal-specific workouts, wellness tips and motivation. I’ll give you literally everything you need to know and you’ve just gotta execute. This is on you. I can’t make the change for you, but I can help you along the road. Follow my blog and like my facebook page, read and get educated. Knowledge is power, remember that. Let’s get it together, eat jacked, train jacked and get jacked, whatever your jacked may be!

Abs….we all want them. They’re usually the first muscle noticed and their high sex appeal doesn’t hurt either. Let me teach you a bit about yours, so all you jackedudes can chisel those bad boys out and all you jacketettes can sport a tight, flat stomach!

What we know as the abs are actually a group of four muscles. These are the:

  1. Rectus Abdominus
  2. External Obliques
  3. Internal Obliques
  4. Transversus abdominis

The rectus abdominus is the flat muscle at the front of your stomach that, when body fat is low enough, provides that “6 pack” appearance. It’s main functions include the flexion of the lumbar spine and compressing the abdominal contents. The first of the three anterolateral muscles (muscles that wrap around the sides of your body), the external obliques, are located at the side and the front of the abdomens. Their main functions consist of unilateral and bilateral actions. The unilateral, or one sided actions, include contralateral rotation and ipsilateral side flexion. Big words right? Have no fear, let me explain. A contralateral rotation just means that the muscles on the right move the trunk to the left. An ipsilateral side flexion is simply a same sided flexion, the muscles on the right flex the right side of the abdomen. Moving on we have the internal obliques, which lie underneath the external obliques and run in their [external obliques] opposite direction. The internal obliques share the same functions as the external obliques, which we can see if we scroll back up. The final layer of muscle, the transversus abdominus, is the deepest muscle in the abdominals and is tasked with stabilizing the back and maintaining abdominal pressure. An example of when we use this muscle is when we go to poop and pee. When you’re pooping and going for the kill, those final pushes are recruiting the transverse abdominus. Pooping your way to abs, wouldn’t that be something! Unfortunately, its not that easy. Let me give you some of my best tips and movements to build your own set.

Before I get into the movements and tips, I want you to chisel this into your brains! Having visible abs is only possible when your nutrition is in check. Notice how I said nutrition, not diet. That’s because your changing your lifestyle here, this isn’t some diet fad that you complete over a month and then go back to junk food for breakfast. It doesn’t work that way. Proper nutrition leads to lower body fat which leads to visible abs. That’s on you. This is your life. Your transformation. Your body. Imagine  your favourite car. Now imagine your favourite car as your body… are you gunna feed yourself shitty 87 grade fuel or super 91. Which one is going to provide you with the better long term performance? The 87 or 91? I hope you get my point.. nutrition is like 80% of the battle for that six pack or tight core you’re looking for. Dial it and results will come. Now how to make those abs pop and those tummies tight!

To those of you who might be doing thousands of sit ups or crunches a day naively believing your going to get a six pack, I advise you to read this and see if it changes your mind. I, for one, am unorthodox when it comes to training my abs. I feel this way because I don’t often directly train my abs. I’ll do some targeted ab work here and there but no religious schedule or workouts. That’s me! I do, however, do a lot of indirect ab work that recruits the abdominals to stabilize my body and keep my  lower back from snapping. Sounds a bit harsh, but I’ve taken a new look on training my core. I like to put the body outside of its comfort zone. This is how I see it. 3 sets of 15 crunches vs 3 sets of squats with a heavy barbell on your upper back, and your abs are stabilizing your body; preventing you from snapping. It’s a bit vulgar but its how I train. Stabilization. Heavy weight isn’t the only solution, take away balance and your in a new world. I do a lot of work with stability balls and bosu balls to build my core. Calisthenics is also a great discipline I use to build my core. When I do train my abs directly, there are a few favourites I have that always manage to kick my ass.

My favourite ab exercises are:

  • Toe-to-Bar Leg Raise
  • Roman Chair Oblique Leg Raise
  • Decline Crunches
  • Swiss Ball Crunch
  • Swiss Ball Bicycles
  • Jackknife
  • Cable Crunches
  • Cable Oblique Crunches (Chops)
  • Windshield Wipers (*advanced )
  • Back and Front Levers (*advanced movements)
  • Hanging Leg Raises

Doing these exercises will provide you with little visible progress unless your body fat is low enough. You’ll need to have your nutrition in check and be consistently active!! You can do it, no excuses, if you want it, you’ll get there. Use your new knowledge of your abs along with these exercises and clean nutrition, and you’ll the that jacked you in the mirror that you’ve always dreamed of!!

A favourite of mine and all guys a like, and ladies, if this isn’t one of your favourites, it soon will be. All men want big, full, peaked biceps and horseshoe tri’s. For the ladies, tight and toned does the job. Nobody wants flabby arms, the fix? Read on.

Section A – The Anterior (Flexor) Arm Muscles

First we will take a look into the flexor muscles in the arm known by normal people as biceps and by gym rats worldwide as guns. As you can see, there are 3 flexor muscles that make the “biceps”. These are the:

  1. Biceps Brachii
  2. Brachialis
  3. Pronator Teres

The largest muscle you’ll notice is the biceps brachii. The term bicep means two heads, and the biceps brachii has both a long head and a short head. These heads work together to allow flexion at the elbow and shoulder, as well as supination (holding with an underhand grip). The brachialis is the main flexor of the forearm and the pronator teres flexes the forearm at the elbow and allows us to pronate at the forearm. What does this all mean? Essentially, it means that the main job of the bicep is to allow the arm to flex at the elbow.

How do we work them out? Well this one is pretty self explanatory. We’ve all seen pictures of massive men with bulging biceps curling heavy looking weights. As flexors, the best way to build and develop the biceps is to add weight to any movement that involves flexing the arm. With that said, there are a variety of exercises we can perform to hit the biceps from all angles and get em growing, or in the case of women, tight and toned. My favourites include:

  • Supinated Dumbell Curl
  • Barbell Curl (*Works wonders for adding size to the guns)
  • EZ Bar Curl (Wide Grip/Close Grip)
  • Preacher Curl ^
  • Concentration Curl ^
  • Spider Curl ^
  • Incline DB Curl ^
  • Overhead Cable Curls
  • Cable Curls
  • Hammer Curls
  • Pronated Curls
  • One-Arm Cable Curls
  • 21’s ( These are DEATH)

^ – These four lifts limit the amount of momentum of the movement and therefore really isolate the bi’s and are effective in giving your biceps that highly sought after peak!

Section B – The Posterior (Extensor) Arm Muscle

If the term “bicep” means two heads, how many heads do you think the triceps have? If your answer was three, you’re correct! The Triceps Brachii, or more commonly referred to as triceps or tri’s, have 3 heads that make up the muscle. These are:

  1. Long Head
  2. Lateral Head
  3. Medial Head

The long head is the longest head of the triceps. As you can see in the photo, it runs down the arm alongside the body. The medial head is found in the middle back portion of the upper arm and the lateral side is found on the outer side of the arm, it completes the triceps and gives it that distinct “horseshoe” look. The  main function of the triceps is to straighten the arm by extending at the elbow, while the long head of the arm also works simultaneously to bring the arm down toward the body.

The triceps are trained using push movements that require the arms to be extended at the elbow. Some of my absolute favourite tricep exercises are:

  • Overhead DB Extension (*great burn)
  • French Press
  • Close-Grip Bench Press (*beast for adding size to them tri’s)
  • Skull Crushers +
  • Cable Extensions +
  • One-Arm Extensions^
  • Rope Extensions +
  • Bodyweight Dips
  • Weighted Dips +
  • Dumbell Kickbacks
  • Overhead Barbell Extension ^
  • Bent Overhead Cable Extension^

^ – These exercises are great for burning out the triceps

+ – These exercises are great for adding size to the triceps with heavier working loads.

There we have it folks, the complete go-to guide to building your arms. Now that you have a better understanding of the anatomy of the arms, lets get to growin! Until next post everyone, stay jacked!!

Our legs are the largest muscles on our body. They can be separated into two portions: the upper legs and the lower legs.  We’ll be looking at the anatomy of the muscles that make up the upper and lower legs, their functions, and some exercises and tips to help develop some badass legs. Grab them notebooks, sip on a nice protein shake and get to readin!

As mentioned above, there are two parts to your legs. The upper legs,  which are known as the thighs, consist of the quadriceps (anterior), the hamstrings (posterior) and the glutes, whereas the lower legs, which are the calves. To help you get through this, I’ve divided the post into 3 sections: Quads, Hams and Calves, respectively.

Section 1 

Let’s start by taking a look at the anterior (extensor) compartment of the thigh.

Looking at the photo, you may notice that there are many muscles that make up the anterior compartment of the thigh. The one’s that we can train, develop, grow, and define are the quadriceps (the technical term is quadriceps femoris). The term quadriceps means four heads, which means that there are four heads that make up the quadricep femoris.

The four heads are the:

  1. Rectus Femoris
  2. Vastus Lateralis
  3. Vastus Medialis
  4. Vastus Intermedius

The rectus femoris is located at the front of the quad. The vastus intermedius, not shown in the photo, lies underneath the rectus femoris. The remaining two muscle heads run parallel to the rectus femoris. The vastus medialis is the head found in the inner thigh, and the vastus lateralis is located on the outside of the thigh. All four heads work synergistically to extend the leg and flex the thigh, while the rectus femoris simultaneously acts alone to flex the thigh at the hip.

To develop the quads we use variations of squats, lunges, leg presses and leg extensions. Something important to remember when training the quads is that foot stance and toe positioning determine which muscle head gets targeted. For example, for squats and leg presses, performing these movements with your feet shoulder width apart and pointed slightly outward will provide overall thigh development. Closing your stance, meaning bringing your feet closer together, with toes pointed straight ahead will hit the whole thigh, but will target in on the outer thigh (vastus lateralis). Widening your stance, on the other hand, past shoulder width and pointed your toes out past a 45 degree angle will work the whole thigh, with a particular focus on the inner thigh (vastus medialis).

As mentioned above, there are many variations of the squats, lunges and extensions you can perform with varying stances and toe positions to hit each muscle head and develop some great quads. Some of my favourite exercises are:

  • Full Back Squat
  • Front Squat
  • Close Stance Squats
  • Wide Stanced Squats
  • Pistol Squats
  • Sumo Squat
  • Barbell Lunges (Forward/Reverse)
  • Bulgarian Split Squat
  • Step-ups (Barbell/Dumbell)
  • Machine Hack Squats
  • Leg Extension
  • Wall Squat
  • Unilateral Leg Extension
  • Single-Legged Leg Press
  • Leg Press
  • Wide-Stance Leg Press
  • Close-Stance Leg Press
  • Deadlift
  • Sumo Deadlift (ABSOLUTE MURDERER OF INNER THIGHS)

How we feeling so far?! Take a quick break, I recommend it, and come back ready to learn about the hamstrings. See you in 5!

Section 2

Okay, we’re back! On to the posterior (flexor) part of the thighs, the hamstrings. 

As with the deltoids, the hamstrings are a combination of three separate muscles and these are the:

  1. Biceps femoris
  2. Semitendinosus
  3. Semimembranosus

Opposite the quadriceps, the 3 muscles that make up the hamstrings are responsible for flexing the leg at the knee joint and extending the thigh at the hip joint. There is no need in getting into it because the exercises for the hamstrings generally work all three muscles and the glutes as well.

In addition to working the quads, squats, lunges and deadlifts also work on the overall development of the hamstrings, there are, however, certain exercises that isolate the hams. These badboys include:

  • Lying Leg Curls
  • Seated Leg Curls
  • Standing One-Leg Hamstring Curls
  • Flutter Kicks
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlifts (Barbell/Dumbell) (*My absolute favourite for hamstring development)
  • Good Mornings
  • Glute-Ham Raise (*This one is really difficult and requires a spotter because when you fail, you’ll drop on your face, I recommend working up to this with stiff-leg deads, leg curls and flutter kicks)

Section 3 

Congrats on making it to the final section! By now you should have a good understanding about the anatomy of the quads and the hams, their functions, and some movements that if performed will make them grow! In this last section, we will be covering the lower portion of the legs known as the calves. 

Screen Shot 2013-09-10 at 23.28.42

As you can see in the photo above, the calves are made up of three muscles, these are the:

  1. Plantaris
  2. Gastrocnemius
  3. Soleus

Another thing you may notice in the photo is the the gastrocnemius is the largest muscle in the calf. It’s function is elevating the heel (known technically as plantar flexion). The soleus shares the same function as the gastrocnemius, however it comes into play when the knee is bent. The plantaris at the top of the calf is a very weak muscle that also aids the gastrocnemius in elevating the heel.

How do we train the calves?! Before I get into the exercises that will help us males develop monstrous calves and help the ladies develop heel complimenting calves, I must bring to your attention that the calves are worked everytime your foot leaves the ground. This means that they are used to being worked often. How do we translate this in the gym? We use higher reps, I personally never train calves with less than 15 reps to a set. Just like the quads, the positioning of your toes targets specific areas of the calves. If I’m doing an exercise for 3 sets, I like to vary my stances to hit each part of the gastrocnemius and soleus. My first set will usually be standard toes pointed forward, the next set i’ll turn my toes out so their pointed in a 45 degree angle, and for my finisher set i’ll point them back in to what I call a duck stance and finish off the set.

With that said, lets look at some of my favourite exercises that will provide you with a lovely burn and shape those puppies into deliciousness. These movements include:

  • Seated Dumbell Calf Raise
  • Seated Machine Calf Raises
  • Donkey Calf Raises
  • Standing Machine Calf Raises
  • Leg Press Calf Raises

** Remember that the soleus is only used when the knee’s are bent so for every calf workout, make sure that you have atleast one seated variation of the calf raise, either before or followed by a standing variation.

THATS IT!! We’ve made it, wooohoooo!!! You should have a solid understanding of the upper and lower portions of the legs, how they work and how to develop them through exercise! I hope you’ve learned something, we’ve almost completed the muscle anatomy series. Sit tight while I finish the write up for the anatomy of the arms and the abs, and I’ll have some muscle-spefic workout templates that you can use to really eff shit up and build that body of your dreams! Until next time everyone, stay jacked!

Nothing tops of an upper body, nicer than a set of defined shoulders. On both men and women, defined shoulders compliment the rest of the upper body and also play an important role in daily functionality. Have a read into the anatomy of shoulders and built them to your liking!

The muscle that we know as the shoulders are  actually called the deltoids!

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 15.05.02

The deltoids have three main heads, these are:

  1. The Anterior head
  2. The Middle head
  3. The Posterior head

All three shoulder heads work together to allow the arm to raise away from the midpoint of the body (known as abduction). So when you are standing with your arms to your sides and you raise them to shoulder level, you’re deltoids are engaged and make this possible. The important thing that I want you to remember is that there are 3 heads in the delts! Why is this important? Because each head can be worked with specific exercises, and by combining exercises that work all three heads we can create a workout thats hit the whole delt and build some beautiful tennis ball delts.

As with the chest, working out the delt consists of performing push movements. There are movements that we can use to add size and thickness to the delts, and there are also some movements that we use to shape and define the deltoids and really get those striations showing.

To add size to the delts, I recommend doing a variation of pressing movements, the heavier weight will tear apart the muscle tissue in the shoulder and rebuild huge delts. The presses work the whole deltoid, all three heads included, and below you’ll find some of my favourite exercises for slapping on size to those delts:

  • Standing Military Press
  • Seated Military Press
  • Behind the Head  Barbell press
  • Arnold Press
  • DB Press
  • Handstand Pushup
  • Hammer Shoulder Press
  • Korean Dips

To really shape and define the delts, we use raises to target the anterior, middle, and posterior heads of the delts. These are isolation movements and really provide a deep burn when done correctly.

To target and shape the anterior (front) deltoid head, we use the following exercises:

  • DB Front Raise
  • Incline Front Raise
  • Barbell Front Raise
  • Low-Cable Front Raise
  • One-Arm Low-Cable Front Raise
  • Seated Front Raise
  • Front Raise w/t plate and twist

To target and shape the middle deltoid head, we can use any of these exercises:

  • DB Lateral Raise
  • Cable Lateral Raise
  • One-Arm Lat Raise
  • Seated Lat Raise
  • Incline Lat Raise

To isolate and shape the posterior (back) deltoid head, we use any variation of the reverse flye:

  • Reverse Cable Flye
  • Reverse Machine Flye
  • Bent Reverse DB Flye
  • Seated DB Reverse Flye
  • Lying DB Reverse Flye
  • Seated Reverse Cable Flye

There we have it everyone! As you can see, the deltoids are one of the smaller muscle groups on the body but they still require attention and targeted training to be built. Well built delts complement a big back and a solid chest, so use the provided exercises to target the delts, destroy them and get jacked. Until next post everyone,stay fit, make healthy choices and kill it!