Archive for August, 2010
One of the questions I get a lot about Body Armor (and honestly, about my other programs as well), is exactly what equipment is needed to do the workouts.
I almost find this question funny now, as just a few years ago, this question would almost be along the lines of being stupid.
You see, a few years ago, all most people really had to do their muscle building workouts with was normal, plain old gym equipment. You know – the stuff that was in their local commercial gym, YMCA, or even the college weight room.
Then, with the advent of warehouse gyms and the popularity of certain types of fitness programs, you then saw more ‘specialty’ stuff being used – glute-ham benches, bumper plates, reverse hypers, prowlers and sleds, etc.
Now, all this is pretty cool stuff, and can mean absolute kick ass things for your training. (You long-time readers will remember that I wrote one of the first sandbag-based training books on the market back in ’03 – “Singles & Doubles – still available at workingclassfitness.com)
However, it’s caused a problem. So many trainers use this type of stuff (though I think it’s more of a ploy to try and differentiate themselves as being ‘different’ or ‘cool’ than anything), that unless you’ve got access to all this kinda stuff, it’s almost impossible to do many of the workouts on the market today.
That’s why Body Armor is different.
All you need is basic stuff you’d find in any gym, or even a decently equipped home-gym – rack, bench, bar, plates, DBs, chin/pullup bar, etc. Simple stuff.
Body Armor can be done in pretty much any kind of gym or weight room.
Now, can you use all the other ‘cool’ stuff out there in Body Armor? Sure you can. But, by no means is it necessary.
Tags: body armor, body armor workout, workout equipment
Posted in Muscle Building, Strength Training | No Comments »
Last week, I sent out a newsletter about a pretty cool feature in my Body Armor muscle building programs.
The feature is that on certain exercises, I give you a basic list to choose from, you can pick and choose whichever exercises you want. Now, the ‘main’ strength & power exercises are specifically prescribed, as are other certain movements for prehab, as well as ‘relative’ strength purposes.
1 – Only ‘good’ exercises are given as options (your leg extensions, cable crossovers, and triceps kickbacks can kiss my ass).
2 – Certain people just like certain exercises. I’ve talked about this before, but my buddy Andy loves DB Rows. Now, I like DB Rows just great, but will almost always favor Bent Over Barbell Rows. Andy, on the other hand, doesn’t like Bent Rows nearly as well. And in the end, it doesn’t really matter – different strokes for different folks.
3 – In the end, how different are many exercises, really, anyway? If you’re using good form, a decent weight for the given set/rep range (and the goals inherent with said set/rep range), and are using the same musculature in the same fashion, then who gives a damn?
Now, if we were talking about using different muscles, a much different range of motion, or a different movement plane, then yeah, I’d get it. A Curl Grip Pulldown on a cable machine is a much different exercise than an old-school T-bar Row that’s just done with one end of an olympic bar in the corner and holding onto the other end.
However, if you’re talking about a palms facing away Pullup, a Curl Grip Chin, a neutral grip pulldown, or any other similar vertical pulling motion, then there’s just not that much difference. Same would go with DB Rows, Bent Over Barbell Rows, Low Pulley Cable Rows, etc.
That also means exercises like DB Overhead Presses, Behind the Neck Presses, and PushPresses are all similar. Lateral Raises don’t belong to that list. Nor do Dips, Shrugs, Upright Rows, or any kind of Bench Press.
When I sent that out to in my newsletter, many readers “got” it. Others…not so much.
I had one guy basically “go off” on me, literally asking me “how stupid are you?” He went on to tell me about the intricate differences between a flat and inclined Bench Press, as well as the differences between how the rhomboids would be targeted in a Bent Over Barbell Row that was done with a wide grip, bar pulled to the chest or neck area, and a Bent Over Barbell Row that was done with a shoulder-width grip, bar pulled to the belly button.
Ok, lemme see if I can explain this. (I really hate this kinda arguments, because there are some people that no matter how hard you try, you know you’re just never gonna get through to them.)
Technically, the guy is right. Would there be a difference in how the rhomboids would be directly targeted in those two different kinds of rows? Sure. Just like there is difference between how the pecs (as well as front delts and triceps) are hit with flat Bench Presses and inclines. Just like there is a difference between a Curl Grip Cable Pulldown and a wide grip palms facing away Pullup.
But here’s the rub – while those kinda differences do exist, it’s more a matter of “putting the cart before the horse” than it is about them being relevant.
Look at it this way – say somebody wants to become a medium distance runner. Not sprints, but not marathons, either – say something like a 5k.
Now, while I’m no distance running expert by any means, I do know that there is definite strategy to be employed when running a race or training. You don’t just go out there and go balls out from the starting gun. At the same time, you don’t just pace the whole thing, either. There are times to pace yourself, times to run a fast clip, a time to really turn it on to pass or catch up with a pack, and a time to kick it into high gear for a good finish. This will vary from runner to runner depending on their own running styles or capabilities, but that’s where a good coach comes in.
So let’s say you decide you’re gonna start running 5k races. Would all these things be important to know? Of course they would. BUT, if you couldn’t even run a 5k in the first place without have to stop and walk for a rest, do any of those strategic race moves really make any kinda difference?
Well, all these different kinds of exercises are the same way. Are they “different”? Yeah, they are. But they are much more similar than they are different. So just pick your favorite and go at it. Or, you can pick your favorite 2-3 and rotate through them – whatever you want to do.
If you get to the point where you’ve put on a bunch of size and are concerned enough with your physique (be it for bodybuilding competition’s sake or just plain ole’ vain ego) that the intricacies of these different exercises really matter, then by all means, feel free to add different exercises to your program or broaden your workouts out to the point that you can be more specific.
But if you’re just a dude that’s trying to put on 15 lbs of muscle, get in better shape overall, be stronger/more powerful your sport, or anything else along those lines, don’t worry about it.
Lift hard, lift heavy, and keep your nutrition right. I guarantee the dude that just picks an exercise or two and works diligently on them is much further ahead after 3 months than the guy that’s worried about hitting every single little angle and variation and nuance.
So go get to damn work.
Still not sure exactly what to do? No problem – I’ve got you covered. Just hit up Body Armor, and I’ll tell you exactly what to do (giving you the leeway to make some of your own exercise choices) every step along the way.
Tags: body armor workout
Posted in Character/Motivation, Muscle Building, Strength Training | 3 Comments »
Ok, this is gonna be short and sweet.
I’ve been hinting around at having something cool in the works for a while now, and in my newsletter last week, I mentioned a ‘contest’. Well, time to find out what all the fuss is about.
Some of you might have seen this on Facebook recently, but in case you didn’t, my latest book – Body Armor – is now listed on Amazon.com! Was a bit of work, but I jumped through all the hoops and got Body Armor up on the worlds biggest internet shopping site. So now you can not only get the electronic version from my website (www.bodyarmorworkout.com), but the hard-copy version at amazon.com here.
To ‘celebrate’ this event, I am gonna give away three copies of Body Armor, the hard-copy book…FREE.
Here’s how it’s gonna go down. First, you have to have already purchased the electronic version of Body Armor from my website (y’all have supported me by plunking down your hard-earned cash, so I wanna help y’all back). Second, you have to have verified your email address when you got your download instructions (I’ve got a list of all Body Armor order email addys verified). Third, you have to be one of the lucky people I draw at random.
Simple as that.
Now, I’m going on a small weekend vacation this next weekend, so I’m gonna do the drawing and order the free copies before I go. I will draw the names at random on Friday, 27-Aug-10, at noon eastern time.
That means if you haven’t gotten your copy of Body Armor yet, you have until then to order and verify your email address. But come noon (eastern time) on Friday, the names are getting drawn. If you haven’t ordered by then, then sorry Jack – tough luck.
So if you haven’t gotten your copy of Body Armor yet, go get it now while you still can, and get a chance to win one of three FREE copies of the hard-copy version of Body Armor as listed on amazon.com!
Tags: amazon.com, body armor workout
Posted in Muscle Building, Strength Training | 1 Comment »
A few days back, I made mention in a blog post that I had gotten a question about Intermittent Fasting (IF).
If you’ve been reading my blog or newsletters for any decent amount of time now, you should be well acquainted with IF. But, just in case you’re not, a quick primer to IF is this:
Simple enough, right? Sure is. But why would you go on an eating plan like this? I could give you a laundry list of reasons, ranging from:
-fat loss (it’s an easy way to reduce calories)
-freedom from food and eating (not having to cook, eat, bring food with you, or find food can really free up a lot more time during the day than you think)
-muscle gain (when you starve your body of protein, it can go into “oh shit!” mode, and when it gets it again, it goes into overdrive to utilize as much of it as possible)
-simply giving your digestive system a “rest”
-increased energy (you’d be surprised how much better you have when you simply just don’t have food in your system all the damn time)
-the feeling of just not being full all the time
-getting to enjoy a nice meal when you’re done
In fact, you do IF long enough, and you’ll find that you almost “re-program” your body to an extent. I’ve found that when I do IF very strictly for a number of weeks, the amount of food I end up needing – or even wanting – ends up radically decreasing. (Which incidentally, ends up leading to even more fat loss and more energy. Just sayin’.
Now, more than once I’ve recommended Brad Pilon’s book “Eat Stop Eat” as a great initial resource to IF. I know there’s a lot of science to the “why” of IF and it working, but truth be told…just between you & me…I don’t care. I know it works, and I’ve talked to enough other people who tell me the same (both “gurus” and regular joes). Good enough for me. No need to beat the thing to death, you know?
What Brad recommends in “Eat Stop Eat” is a virtually perfect way for most people to get started down the path of IF, and for many, it’s all they’ll ever need. I’m not gonna give away the farm, but Brad’s method of IF involves fasting completely for a couple days/week, and eating fairly normally other days.
To get Brad’s complete recommendations, not to mention to learn the “whys” behind what he says works, then be sure to pick up a copy of “Eat Stop Eat”. I highly recommend it b/c not only is it a great book on IF, but is also written for us “regular guys” in mind – no fancy language or overly complex terms when it’s not needed. Definitely worth the purchase price.
As for myself, what I do is something slightly different. I actually do IF every single day, but do it for shorter periods. So, instead of fasting for an overly extended period of time, I just fast overnight and through the next day. Come the evening time, I break my fast with a protein shake first, then a good meal, and maybe even a snack or two. I try to keep all my caloric intake for the day in a 4-5 hour window, and not eat the rest of the day. So, if I have my protein shake at 5:00pm, I won’t eat again after 9:00-9:30pm until the following evening.
But what do you do if you just can’t make it that long without eating? Well…you just friggin’ eat a little something. Duh.
For example, say you have a serving or two of a high-fiber cereal in skim milk or a little rolled oats in water plus a scoop of protein powder in the AM. If you can get away with doing just that, you’ll have taken in likely less than 300 calories. If that isn’t enough, have a small whey protein shake during the day, or maybe a can of tuna or a piece of grilled chicken. When all is said and done, by the time you get to your evening meal, you’ve still only taken in likely 500 calories total for the day…maybe 600. Hell, you could have a very large and fulfilling evening meal then, and still have taken in maybe only 2000 calories for the day.
Keep the overwhelming majority of the calories protein, plenty of fibrous veggies (which tend to be very, very low calorie anyway), and you end up full, plenty of protein, and losing weight.
See, you wanna keep the big picture in mind here – in the end, the thing that’s gonna help you with losing the weight the most is the fact that you’re simply taking in fewer calories than you’re burning up. You know?
And Intermittent Fasting is a great way to do that – about my favorite way.
Seriously – I highly recommend you try it. But don’t necessarily jump in with both feet right away. I do my little style of IF virtually everyday – I might only have one day/week that I don’t. (And when I don’t, I generally end up feeling like crap the next day.) Being hungry sucks ass, and when you first get started on IF, I won’t sugar-coat it – you’re gonna be hungry.
Like real hungry.
Like “get the hell outta my way and gimme damn some meat to eat before I tear a hole in your ass” hungry.
So ease into at first. Go get “Eat Stop Eat” and go by Brad’s instructions. When you find yourself going good on that, then progress from there.
Tags: brad pilon, eat stop eat, IF, intermittent fasting
Posted in Diet/Nutrition, Fat Loss, Muscle Building, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »
Last Friday was Friday the 13th. Normally, this is a day thought of as “bad luck”. Not this Friday, though. See, this past Friday the 13th was the debut of the new action flick “The Expendables” – a movie I’ve been excited to see literally for months now.
Now, if you don’t know what “The Expendables” is, then you seriously need to get out more. “The Expendables” is a sort of throwback film – an homage to action films seemingly long since gone…or at least seen on a rare basis since the ’80s. This sort of film will never win an Oscar, nor likely be critically acclaimed.
But then again, who gives a rat’s ass? It’s got Stallone, Statham, Jet Li, Ivan Drago, Randy Couture, STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD! (<-my Jim Ross tribute), Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, Ahnuld, Bruce Willis, and more. It’s got enough explosions to destroy a small country (I think maybe they did). It’s got cool one-liners, and bitchin’ music.
Really, the easiest way to explain it is kinda how I did to my 16-year old son (HELL YEAH I took my kids to see this…I’d be remiss in my duties as a good single parent if I didn’t! LOL). Back in the ’80s, action films had a simple formula – you had a good guy, a bad guy, a hot chick, some sorta bad situation to overcome, a major boss battle at the end, and a cool training or preparation montage in the middle (preferably set to cool music). This movie follows that formula to a “T”…only it scales it all up by about a factor of 5 or so.
In short, it’s the ultimate epitome of a guy movie – and something that’s just not made anymore. This movie is pure testosterone-filled awesomeness. Simple as that.
It’s not meant to be pretty or deep or thoughtful or pensive or any of that other happy horse shit. It’s meant to be manly. It’s meant to be tough. It’s meant to be cool. And all that is likely why I had such a kickass time and enjoyed it so damn thoroughly.
I went to buy tickets, and in the line next to me were three kids – all teenage boys – and what I just assumed was one of their dad. Being four dudes, I guess I just assumed they were going to see “The Expendables” as well. I mean, if this isn’t a great movie for a dad to take his boys out to see, then I don’t know what is.
Didn’t happen, though. I won’t say what they went and saw instead, but let’s just say that it involved a lot of glitter, looked to be full of emo teen angst, and homo vampires.
When we got in the lobby, I turned and looked at these three teens. All 3 of them were skinny, looked weak, had stupid laughs, exuded absolutely no ambiance of “cool” whatsoever, and I don’t think the three of them combined could do one good pushup.
But the real kicker was the dad! He looked just as skinny and weak, ripped up jeans, name brand t-shirt, and leather cuff bracelet thingy. Dude…f@cking really? I swear, I think my 10-year old daughter could kick the shit out of all four of them at once.
People…WHERE IN THE HOLY F@CK has toughness gone? Manliness? Character? Pride? A little ‘macho’? When did it become cool to be a pansy-ass little twerp? When did it become Ok for men to get run all over? When did it become socially unacceptable to look like you actually have some testosterone flowing through your body?
I am so sick of this absolute CRAP. What in the HELL is happening here? Why are we letting society drift toward this sort of essence that is seemingly devoid of masculinity? Devoid of hardness? Devoid of having a set of nuts between its legs?
I don’t know about you, but I actually like being tough. I like being hard. I like being strong (in body, mind, and spirit). I like knowing that I do the right thing when nobody is looking. I like knowing that when push comes to shove, I’m the guy you can count on. I like knowing that I have the character others don’t. I like knowing that when I walk into a room, there’s a damn good chance I’m the strongest guy there.
And I’m nothing overly special. I’m no pro athlete or millionaire CEO. I’m just a regular dude, trying to do the right thing and set the right example for my kids – day in and day out.
I don’t know about you, but when I grew up, that’s how everybody wanted to be! When I was little, we pretended to blow shit up (then we actually did when we got a little older). I didn’t need a helmet to ride my bike across town. If I fell down and got hurt, my dad told me to pick my ass back up, dust myself off and go back to what I was doing – I’d be alright. When we played sports, not everybody got a trophy just b/c they showed up. Coaches weren’t worried about our feelings, and physical games like dodge ball weren’t against the rules b/c they might foster aggressive behavior.
We as a society are getting soft, dammit. And I find it sickening. So I say “F@CK SOCIETY”. I won’t get soft. You won’t run all over me. You can try and throw your emo bullshit and goth “woe is me” and skinny metro-fag wannabe tough guys and shitbag pop music and weak-ass TV male role models and all that other crap at me you want – it won’t affect me. I’ll chew it all up and spit it out like the crap it is.
As for me – I’ll continue to listen to hard music. Work out hard. Be strong, fast, and conditioned. Do the right thing just b/c it’s the right thing – not b/c there’s something in it for me. Have some character. Live by an actual code of conduct. Not succumb to the pressure of the world just b/c it’s what’s cool now. B/c as far as I’m concerned, almost all of what’s cool now sucks ass.
Who’s with me?
If you’re ready to get tough again, to stand for something, and to not let all this pansy-ass bullshit take you over, then I highly suggest you start off by making your body big and strong.
By putting your time in with the iron, not only will you build up your physical strength and size, but you’ll develop mental toughness and emotional resolve. When you’ve got that heavy bar on your back, trying to grind out one last rep, there’s a toughness there most just will never know anything about. When you’re outside, sucking wind, but you still run up that hill, there’s a character developed others just won’t have.
And when you walk around, arms stretching your sleeves, shoulders and traps making your shirt tight, you can have a pride – regardless of what anybody else tries to say or tell you – that nobody else will “get”, and that nobody else will deserve to have.
Ready to make those changes?
Posted in Character/Motivation, Muscle Building, Strength Training | 33 Comments »