Posts Tagged ‘muscle’

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!

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!

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!!

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!

The chest is one of my favourite muscle groups to train and that for good reason, it’s become one of my strongest muscles. Training the chest is like the epitome of training legs for ladies, we love it and we do it all the time. The chest is the muscle that is most overlooked like women because of their mammary glands (breasts), but please stick with me on this! It’s still a muscle in your body and needs to be trained. Focus on the recommended exercises portion of this post to benefit the most of it. Gentlemen, I’m not worried about you!  You’ve probably already got your notebooks open and pen in hand, good, let’s get going!

What we know as the chest is actually called the pectoralis and it is made up of two muscles; the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor( sits beneath the pectoralis major). Both males and females have the major and the minor, however the female chest has the pectoralis major and the minor around the mammary gland (the breasts)

Now to help you target the pecs better, I’ll separate them into two portions; the upper and lower pecs. If you build a strong chest and get your body fat low enough you can actually see this separation when you flex your tits. If you look at the photo above you see the separation. The lower portion of the pec that you can see in the photo is the larger sternal head of the pectoralis, while the upper portion of the pec is the smaller, clavicular head. So what does this mean? Well basically by understanding that the pec has both upper and lower portion, we can isolate each portion with specific exercises. Exciting stuff right? This will bring out those monster pecs.

How do we work out the chest?! To to this we find out what the pectoralis major actually does for us. The answer:  brings your arms towards the middle of your body across the chest. Think of it like this, everytime you hug someone you’re using your pectoralis major to wrap your arms around them. Never thought of it like that, eh? I’ve probably ruined hugs for you now, oh well, moving on..

The pecs are what we call a push muscle. What does that mean?! Well, to work the muscle itself we have to use a pushing movement. Do you know what a pushup is? I assume you do, do you know what muscle it works? If you guessed the chest, you’re right! Thats because when you push yourself off of the ground, you are using the pectoralis major muscle to get off of the ground, thats why its called a pushup.

When training the chest, there are generally two types of lifts that we do, these are presses and flyes. Whats the difference?! The bench press is used to add size to the pecs, while the flyes are used to give shape to the pecs. Think about it like making a pot of clay, doing bench presses is like adding more clay to the pot to make it bigger, while doing flyes brings the actual shape of the pot together. You usually use more weight on the bench press as it is a compound lift (click here to see the Weight Training 101 post) then on the flye because it is an isometric exercise.

So now that we know everything about the pec, all thats left is to provide you with some exercises that will work the entire chest! Here we go!!

To build the overall size of the chest, I recommend to do a variety of these exercises:

  • Barbell/ Dumbell (DB) Bench Press – Hits the whole pec muscle.
  • Incline Barbell/ Dumbell (DB) Bench Press – Hits the upper pecs.
  • Decline Barbell/ Dumbell (DB) Bench Press – Hits the lower pecs.
  • Plyometric Pushups – Involves explosiveness, builds power and adds size.
  • Pushup – Hits the whole pec muscle.
  • Incline Pushup (Arms Elevated) – Hit the lower pecs.
  • Decline Pushup (Feet Elevated) – Hit the upper pecs.
  • Machine Press – Hits the whole pec muscle.
  • Incline Machine Press- Hits the upper pecs.
  • Decline Machine Press- Hits the lower pecs.

To shape and define the chest, I recommend these exercises:

  • Dumbell Flyes – Hit the whole pecs.
  • Incline DB Flyes – Hits the upper pecs.
  • Decline DB Flyes- Hit the lower pecs.
  • Cable Flyes – Hit the whole pecs.
  • Incline Cable Flyes- Hit the upper pecs.
  • Decline Cable Flyes- Hit the lower pecs.
  • Machine Flyes – Hit whole pecs.

By now we should have a better understanding about the pecs and we’ll use the provided exercises to hit them hard and watch them grow. Thats a wrap for this post folk, see you at the gym training jacked!

If you’re here because you’ve already read my post Nutrition 101: Macronutrients, please read on, if you haven’t click here to check out the first lesson in Nutrition before returning to continue your learning.

So we know about macronutrients and you’re probably thinking holy sh*t, this must be really time-consuming and difficult to maintain. This is the point at which you decide how strict you want to go! If you’re looking to get into contest shape or planning to be a fitness model, you’ll want to have a plan of action with your macros and track each one so you can monitor progress and adjust based on how you look. That’s a different story, and I will be writing an article about specifics in another post shortly and linking it here. This post caters to the beginners, who haven’t followed anything specific and don’t know where to start. I’ll break this up really easily for you.

The good news is that there are many ways to achieve your nutrition goals. Some prefer to cook their meals for the day everyday, but in this day and age, it is much more practical, convenient, and efficient to prep are your meals once every 3 days. For me, Sunday and Wednesday nights work. I grill all of my proteins and prepare my carbs as well, all this alongside some salads and vegetables.

So what do I recommend? A visit to your local dollarstore, walmart, target, etc, to buy some Tupperware containers. Why? Because this will make your life SO much easier. Grab a small cooler as well, this will give you a place to store and carry around all your food so you can eat on a dime and you’re never left unprepared. This may seem like a weird order of events but bear with me. It just makes more sense to get the elephant out of the room right now. You’re going to have to be prepared, and failing to plan will lead to failure to execute.

Before you continue reading, please understand that I myself don’t count calories because I’m just maintaining my current physique. I’ve been eating like this for so long I can tell portions without weighing them and I know the nutritional profiles of what I usually eat, and if you’re a beginner you most likely wont, so make sure you track what you eat. This will help you greatly in making necessary adjustments based on your progress.

So we now know about macronutrients and why they are important, but what role do they play in our plan? You’ll see, but for now it a good idea to find your Daily Caloric needs, which can be calculated by clicking here. This will give you the amount of calories that you need to maintain your current weight. Now for the plan, if you’re trying to gain weight/build muscle you’ll be adding anywhere between 250-500 calories/day to that amount. If you’re trying to lose weight you’ll be dropping about 250-500 calories/day. You should be dropping about a pound or gaining about a pound for every week. That’s what’s considered normal. Remember that these numbers aren’t exact! Everybody is different, take a week or two eating at a caloric increase/deficit and see how you weigh, if you’re not gaining or losing you’ve gotta adjust accordingly until you find out what works for your body. Just remember, if you’re focused on losing weight, during the first week, the healthy eating and exercise will shock your body and you may lose anywhere between 3-10 lbs. This is water weight, aside from the first week, you should be losing about a pound a week.

Almost done promise! Now that you’ve got your set amount of required calories, you’ll have to figure out how many meals you will have. I usually have anywhere between 5-7 meals a day, consisting of 3 larger meals and 2-4 snack meals, depending on whether I’m training that day or not.  So what you’ll want to do is divide the total calories by how many meals you plan to have. It’s generally recommended to eat in 2-3 hours intervals in order to keep the metabolism revved. Some live by this others are against it. Like I said earlier, it works for me and that’s what matters. Find what eating regime works for you and stick with it, just make sure you’re getting in all of your required calories!!

Ok so we’ve got our caloric requirements and we’ve determined how many meals we will eat each day, what’s next? Cooking your food and preparing the meals with the right macro’s. The general rule of thumb is to take in about 1-1.5 grams protein per lb. of bodyweight, 1-2 grams of carbs/ lb. of bodyweight and 0.5 grams of fat/lb. of bodyweight.

For example, at the time of this writing I weigh 186 pounds.  To fill my caloric requirements, I need to eat anywhere between 186 grams- 279 grams of protein, 186-375 grams of carbs and approx. 95 grams of fats. I know from personal experience that I need about 3000 calories to maintain my current size.  To get my required calories and macros, I would need to eat about 240 grams of protein (240×4=960 cals), 300 grams of carbs (300×4=1200) and around 95 grams of fats (95×9=855 cals), which adds up to 3015 calories. Knowing this, you can divide your macronutrients by the amount of meals you’ll be having and set goals for each meal (e.g. If I eat 6 meals in a day, for each meal I should aim for about 40 grams protein(240/6), 50 grams of carbs (300/6) and 16 grams of fats (95/6). Be sure to check out my post on macro meals breakdowns and meal timing, by clicking here, to see how to manipulate the macro’s in each meal to optimize nutrient absorption and recovery.

Here’s a quick guideline to recap our meal prep for dummies:

  1. Find your daily caloric needs and adjust them based on your goal.
  2. Divide these calories up by the amount of meals you’ll have and your macro requirements .
  3. Prepare your proteins, carbs, fats and veggies/greens on the same day, and have your Tupperware containers ready.
  4. Once finished making all the food, mix and match your protein, carb and fat sources into each of the containers and you’re set!

What’s worked for me is using my fist size to judge portion sizes. This makes it so easy to prepare meals and takes the hassle out of the meal planning. One fist size for me is about 5-6 oz of protein, 1 cup of carbs, 1 cup of veggies/greens and a tablespoon or two of fats. Using this method, when I prepare my foods, I toss in a chicken breast, 1 yam and a cup of broccoli into one Tupperware case and in the other I’ll change my protein source and throw in a fist size portion of extra lean ground beef with a cup of brown rice and a cup of mixed greens. Sounds easy right? It is.  Use this method to ease into the habits of healthy eating. If you’re just looking to lose weight or build mass this helps. If you’re not losing weight, switch one carb serving for an extra serving of veggies/greens. On the mass building plan, if you’re not gaining, increase your carbs to a fist and a half for a meal or two and see how that goes. It’s all played by ear, if it works keep it going, if not make simple changes, experiment and adjust based on the results. I’ll make some specific nutrition plans for weight loss and muscle gain in time, but for now remember to keep it simple and make small changes where necessary.

Remember I’m here for you during this journey, if you still find something confusing, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll get back with an answer as soon as I can!

Before I get into the nitty gritty of muscle specific workouts and workout programs, I want to make it known to all that nutrition is easily 85% of the battle. If you want to make a transformation, be it lose weight and tone up, lean out, or to pack muscle, whatever your goals are, you’re nutrition has to be spot on, I CANNOT stress this enough. Having a sound nutrition plan and staying consistent with it is a KEY ingredient (see what I did there) in the recipe for success. It’s said that failing to plan is planning to fail and I agree completely. So now that thats out of the way, let me get into the nitty gritty of nutrition and show you that it doesn’t have to be as difficult as people make it. There are many ways people go about nutrition and food prep, but the most successful people are those that plan ahead and are always prepared. Being prepared allows for  consistency and ensures that your body is receiving enough nutrients to recover and grow. Don’t think of this as a diet!   You’re changing your lifestyle here, this isn’t something that you follow strictly for said amount of weeks and then you go back to eating junk food. This is a change for the better. You’re doing your body good with this and trust me, its not as hard as people make it out to be.

Okay, so now we know that nutrition is vital for a successful transformation and preparation is the best way to ensure consistency of this nutrition.

Now let me break this down for you. Grab something in your kitchen with nutritional info on the package and have a look. This will be your new bestfriend. On the label you have total calories, then the chart breaks down into FAT, cholesterol, sodium, CARBOHYDRATE and PROTEIN. See the letters in caps? Those are what we call macronutrients. There are three and as you can see above, they are:

1. PROTEINS

2. CARBOHYDRATES [ Two types: (1) Hi-Glycemic Simple Carbs: quickly digested and cause a insulin spike in the blood (2) Low-Glycemic Complex Carbs: slow and steady insulin release]

3. FATS

These three macronutrients provide the calories that you see listed on as the total amount of calories on your label. These guys are important so pay attention!

Proteins have 4 calories per gram.

Carbs also have 4 calories per gram.

Fats have 9 calories per gram.

What does this mean? Well, take you’re calculator and multiply the amount of fat shown on the label, in grams, by 9. Next, multiply the total carbohydrates by 4 and the total proteins by 4. Add them all up and you should receive the total calorie amount shown on the label. This means that proteins, carbs and fats are what we must feed our body with for it to be able to recover and grow from your intense training sessions. Now every food has its own macronutrient profile, some foods are build mainly of carbs (e.g brown rice and oats), some of mainly proteins (e.g turkey, chicken, fish), and some of mainly fats (e.g coconut oil, nuts, flax).

The goal of proper nutrition is to manipulate the numbers of proteins, carbs and fats into a macro ratio, which will be planned according to your goals. Most people use the 30 P/40 C/30 F ratio, meaning 30 percent of your calories will come from protein and another 30 percent will come from fats, and the remaining 40 percent will come from carbohydrates. I will make a post in this series about different macro ratios and describe what goal each will help attain, as for now read on!

Here are some basic examples of foods that fit into each macronutrient profile:

Proteins –  Chicken, Fish, Turkey, Whey Protein, Eggs, Beef, Poultry, Lamb, etc.

Carbs –  Hi-Glycemic Simple Carbs: Fruits, Honey, Maple Syrup, Agave Syrup

Low- Glycemic Complex Carbs: Brown Rice, Oats, Grits, Whole Grain Pasta, Whole Grain Bread, Quinoa, Couscous

Fats –  Coconut Oil, Nuts, Flax Seeds, Fish, etc.

At this point, I’ll explain how your body uses these macronutrients, so play close attention, this is important!

Protein:  Your body uses protein to help rebuild and repair muscle tissue. When you workout, you rip muscle tissue, thats why you feel sore the day after. By getting in enough protein, you will be able to help your body repair the ripped tissue and grow.

Carbs: Carbs are your bodies preferred source of energy and they are required for you to function. The brain needs carbs to work and the body uses them for energy.

Fats: Help promote good health, brain function and help protect your limbs and joints from damage.

Okay cool!  So we’ve covered what macros are, how your body uses them and I’ve given some examples of foods that fit in each category of macro. What now? Well head over here to find out how to prepare your nutrition battle plan.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!