Sunday, May 25, 2008

Working Through a Plateau

Three months ago, I trained a gentleman for three sessions. When I ran into him recently, he wanted to know why he was not yet seeing a difference in his muscularity.

I asked him what he had been doing since our sessions. He said he was doing the same workout as the one I originally showed him with only one variation: he added a little weight to each exercise.

For him — and for those of you reaching a plateau — here is one way to break through.

After three months, the exercises become easy because of muscle memory, which is ease of movement through practice and repetitions as well as getting new muscle fibers involved in your practice of weight training.

Now we're ready for the second step in bodybuilding: add enough weight where you can reach only six repetitions. Do four sets of each exercise. When you work your way back to 12-15 repetitions, add more weight. The most important factor is that the last couple of repetitions in each set should be very difficult. But be careful — be sure to maintain form and, if the weight feels at all clumsy, drop down a little bit in weight. Safety always comes first.

This should help you work through your lulls. Happy lifting!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

General Lifting Rules

Jessie asked good questions about lifting. How do we know how many sets, how many reps per set and how much weight should we use for toning?

Okay, so it's been a few years since you lifted. No biggie. Here are a few pointers:

  • Start light. Let your muscles remember the movements.
  • For general toning, do three sets for each exercise.
  • Do 10-12 reps per set.
  • The proper weight is when you struggle to get to the 12th rep. If you can't reach 12, you are using too much weight. If you blow through 12 reps, there is not enough weight.

Machines are good, but don't shy away from free weights, especially dumbbells. They allow you to use muscles independently, thus causing fewer imbalances.

As far as stretching goes, check out Sport Stretch: 311 Stretches for 41 Sports by Michael J. Alter. This great book details how to stretch and explains sets and duration of each stretch.

I hope this helps. Let me know, Jessie!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Do Not! Do Not! Cut Carbs Out Of Your Diet.

Here is a diet tidbit for you from my private Magic Bullet Kit.

If anyone says the words I am going to cut carbs out of my diet in order to lose weight, I will barf. This is the newest diet fad and I can't wait to publish my new book on this topic.

As long as there is no insulin imbalance in the body, carbs do not make you put on weight.
When we think about carbs, we tend to think about white bread, white rice and other processed foods. When these foods break down, they consist of sugars with little other nutritional value.

To choose proper carbs, always check the nutritional labels.

Look for fiber and carbs versus sugars. The higher content of fiber and carbs, the better.

Look to fruits and vegetables as a great source of carbs. As a double benefit, you also get vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

According to Susan Kleiner, author of the book Power Eating, "Bodybuilders practice low carbohydrate dieting because they believe it promotes faster weight loss. The problem with these diets is that they deplete glycogen, the body's storage form of carbohydrate. Once glycogen stores are emptied, the body starts burning protein from tissues. Including muscle tissue, to meet its energy demand . You lose hard earned muscle as a result."

When carbs break down they become ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the fuel your muscles run on.

If you are going to work out and work your muscles to their full potential, give them their preferred fuel source.