WTH is “Paleo”? The Big-7 Checklist

/ Posted 07.06.2014

Paleo eating has become one of the most popular ways to eat healthfully, even for many athletes, but what is it exactly? Here’s a checklist, from the April ’13 Better Health:

1) Lean protein. This should come from grass-eating animals and make up 19 to 35 percent of total calories.

2) Plants. Eat lots of them. In primitive times people ate an average of 100 types of vegetables and fruits during a year, which provided a diverse array of nutrients and antioxidants.

3) Carbohydrates. Carbs in primitive times came from whole foods, including roots, nuts and seeds. Obviously, there was no processed sugar—zero “simple” carbs.

4) Fiber. Ancient people got more than 100 grams of fiber each day in their diet (compared to fewer than 20 grams today).

5) Grains. Only small amounts of seeds were eaten—and not much in the way of grains at all.

6) Fats. No cooking oil, so the only fat was from meat, fish and vegetables, which resulted in a balance of pro-inflammatory omega-6 and anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.

7) Dairy. No dairy foods were consumed. “Humans today are the only species on Earth that consume the milk of other species.”

Now many of the serious fitness trainers I know on a Paleo Diet include organic dairy. I’m in that camp. For example, I eat high-protein, probiotic-rich Greek yogurt often. But that is up to you…

Also, if you go Paleo, do NOT get stuck eating bland meals of the same foods over and over again. It will become a problem, making the plan hard to stick to. If you’re interested….

Check out the PaleoHacks Cookbook HERE<<

Inside, you’ll not only get 125+ delicious recipes, but some great bonuses as well–to help you get started as fast as possible–like the “Paleo 4x Cookbook,” which lists some great recipes that only require 4 ingredients–to keep it as simple for you as possible.

I’ve found it helpful to eat healthful. Good stuff.

It’s one more way to stay Built For Life!

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Summer of Mass: 18 Pounds of Muscle

/ Posted 11.16.2013

When my daughter’s 18-year-old boyfriend came to me for a mass-building workout, I was tempted just to give him one of the already existing X-Rep programs. Jordon had graduated high school and desperately wanted to pack on some size over the summer so he could be “big and awesome” by the time he moved up to his new campus in September.

Jordon had me flashing back 20 years to when I put Jonathan Lawson, at that time around 20 years old, on the very first Size Surge program. Jonathan was the beta-test subject for that, and he gained 20 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks–the first two pics below. That amazing gain set the stage for Jonathan to become a very good natural bodybuilder, the last pic, with some of the best arms in the business…

JL_SS&Now

But Jonathan was regaining some of that mass. He’d been bigger before–but had given up on his bodybuilding dreams when he couldn’t seem to add any more muscle. So he went on a lame, uninspired training program and shrunk. But the Size Surge program cracked the code and pushed him to new levels of mass fast….

Jordon, on the other hand, was pretty much a beginner. Yes, he’d been a football player and lifted, but that was strength training. The coaches wanted him strong–and fat–to open holes for running backs. When he played he weighed a very plump, glazed 200 pounds, no visible muscle whatsoever. He hated that look; he wanted to be a bodybuilder…

I knew I could just throw Size Surge his way and hope for the best, but then I thought, Hmm, Jordon would be a perfect guinea pig for my new mass tactics, like Downward-Progression 4X and TORQ–tension-overload repetition quantity, an offshoot of Mr. America Doug Brignole’s high-end hypertrophy method.

So it was back to the workout drawing board. I used what I had been experimenting with and getting good gains–growth-threshold methods like 4X and TORQ–and peppered in some Power Pyramids, heavier, progressive-weight training since he was young and could handle it. I wanted to see what would happen with an early intermediate trainee if he used these methods correctly.

I was more than pleased–shocked, actually. It seemed like every time I saw Jordon over the summer, he got bigger. Amazing. Midway through the summer, I switched his split and redid his workouts so that he was no longer using mega-heavy training. It was all Downward-Progression 4X and TORQ, higher-rep, longer-tension-time sets. And he got even bigger–and stronger–without ultra-heavy training.

By the end of the summer, he had gained 18 pounds of muscle and was a tad leaner too. He was excited. He looked and felt big and could even see some abs peeking through. He didn’t think that was possible considering he had eaten big throughout the summer. And get this: He even went on a vacation, to Hawaii for a week. But it fell perfectly, midway through the summer, so I could break up his program into two phases. The change-to-gain switch worked like magic. Like I said, he got bigger and stronger.

Jordon4BefAft_Smlr

He tested his strength before he left for college. Hard to believe, but he set personal records at the end of the summer. He benched 315 x 3 and squatted 385 x 5. Not bad for an 18-year-old beginning bodybuilder…

When I saw his before and after pictures and tallied his results, I knew I had to document it. I hadn’t planned on an e-book, but his spectacular gains would motivate others and show what can be done with sensible, drug-free bodybuilding methods–just like Jonathan’s Size Surge program did 20 years earlier.

The result is The Ultimate Super-Size Crash Course. Jordon’s two-phase program is there as well as an alternate Phase 1 with Progressive-Speed 4X for those who don’t want to use Power Pyramids. The PS 4X version is perfect for older bodybuilders. Jordon’s Phase 2 is all moderate-weight, growth-threshold training, so any bodybuilder of any age can use that one.

Jordon is at college now, but I still communicate with him. He’s still training hard and bound and determined to get 20-inch arms. Ah, I remember those days–consumed with lifting and packing on muscle. Welcome to the wonderful addiction of pumping iron. It will benefit you for the rest of your life. Thanks for the motivation–and trip down memory lane.

Note: To get a copy of The Ultimate Super-Size Crash Course, go to X-Workouts.com.

SuperSizeCC_CvrShadow

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Start High for New Size: The Iso-TORQ Method

/ Posted 02.21.2013

In my previous blog I whined about heading into my 50s and not being able to train with ultra-heavy poundages anymore. But once I stepped away from my mistaken belief that it takes heavy weight to build mass, I realized that having to leave joint-jarring poundages behind is a blessing not a curse. It’s led me to discover multiple ways to build mass with moderate poundages–tension overload repetition quantity (TORQ) being the most recent….

As I’ve mentioned, research has shown that the optimal tension time for muscle size is 40 to 90 seconds per set. Less than 20 seconds is the strength-building TUT. A lot of bodybuilders “think” they’re training for size when they do 9 reps–but if each rep lasts only two seconds, that’s only 18 seconds per set. You’re still training mostly for strength!

Actually, a recent study showed that the optimal rep speed for hypertrophy was one second to lift and three seconds to lower. That’s four seconds per rep. Look around. How many gym rats do you see using that semi-explosive concentric and slow eccentric? Not many…

But consider this: If you do your 9 reps with that 1/3 tempo, you’ll get 36 seconds of tension time. Much better size stimulations because you’re now very close to the 40-second growth-threshold. Add a five-second static hold on that last rep at the sticking point and–boom!–you’re there.

Now getting to the HIGH-end hypertrophic tension time of 60 to 90 seconds takes a bit more concentration–and pain tolerance on many exercises. Mr. America Doug Brignole starts with 50 reps on his first set–and does multiple high-rep sets after with weight increases.

Doug is the one who led me to my own TORQ version, and I don’t know whether to thank him or punch him. It freaking hurts! Ah, but it does work, as it’s nothing your muscles have experienced.

My version is 30-20-15. You take a weight that has you reach failure, or very close, at 30 reps; rest 45 seconds, then take that same weight and try to get 20; rest 45 seconds, then try to get 15. Even if your rep speed is 1/2, you still get into the high-end size-building tension time on the first two sets–90 and 60 seconds, respectively. And the third, at 15 reps, is 45 seconds….

You can use TORQ on any exercise. I usually suggest using it on the last one you do for a bodypart to finish with a major bloodbath; however, I’ve recently found it to be incredible in a modified pre-ex scenario….

Modified pre-ex does NOT involve supersets. Instead, you do all of your isolation-exercise sets first, then you go to the compound, or multi-joint, move for a series of sets….

Do you see where I’m going with this? If you use TORQ on the initial exercise, the isolation move, you will get an amped pre-ex effect. Here’s an example for medial delts…

Seated laterals (TORQ), 3 x 30, 20, 15

Upright rows (4X), 4 x 10

If you want to use heavier weights on the second exercise instead of moderate-poundage 4X, use a pyramid. Add weight on every set so your reps go something like 9-8-6-5….

Me? I’m old and no longer interested in max strength, so I prefer 4X: Pick a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but only do 10; rest 35 seconds, then do it again–and so on for 4 sets. Go to failure on the last, and if you get 10, you can add a bit of weight at your next workout. That’s moderate-weight growth-threshold training for mass.

Give the Iso-TORQ method a try on an upfront isolation exercise–and prepare for new size!

Stay tuned, train smart and be Built for Life.

The Updated 4X Mass Workout 2.0 is $15 (regular price is $24). This best-selling muscle-building e-book still includes all the 4X mass-method info and workouts, but it’s now been updated with the new Tension Overload Repetition Quantity tactic. TORQ is quick high-rep 3X sequences that trigger ultimate mass–it pushes the target muscle into the high-end of hypertrophic tension time (60 to 90 seconds)–something most bodybuilders never get. For more on the newly updated 4X Mass Workout 2.0 (ONLY $15), Go HERE  <==

 

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High-End Hypertrophy: A New Way to Grow for Most

/ Posted 01.17.2013

Now that I’m over 50, I’m always on the lookout for methods that can build more mass without turning me into an orthopedic nightmare. And thanks to Mr. America Doug Brignole, I’ve got a new one to add to my arsenal: high-end hypertrophic-tension sets.

I call it TORQ—tension overload repetition quantity. That’s a fancy name for a method that incorporates higher reps with the 4X mass method. Before I get into how you can try my version, you need to understand optimal time under tension. Here’s a quote from strength and muscle-building expert Jim Stoppani, Ph.D. (from his book Encyclopedia of Muscle and Strength):

“The best TUT range for strength is about four to 20 seconds per set and about 40 to 60 seconds per set for muscle growth.”

Some researchers extend the growth, or hypertrophic, tension time to 90 seconds. But the thing to realize is that most bodybuilders rarely hit the LOW-end 40-second mark. Look around the gym; the majority of sets last around 20 seconds, which is the TUT for strength, not size. (Could that be why mass gains are so slow for most? Hmm.)

So getting into the UPPER hypertrophic tension time, 60 to 90 seconds, has a lot of potential for triggering loads of new growth, primarily in the sarcoplasm. That so-called energy fluid in the muscle blows up best with longer time under tension.

So if you’re ready for some new size stimulation, here’s an example of how you might use it on the last exercise of a Positions-of-Flexion 4X triceps workout….

Midrange: Close-grip bench presses (4X), 4 x 10

Stretch: Overhead extensions (4X), 4 x 10

Contracted: Pushdowns (TORQ), 3 x 30, 20, 15

That’s an ideal triceps mass program for anyone, but especially older bodybuilders who don’t want to stress their joints and connective tissue with ultra-heavy weights.

For those not familiar with standard 4X, you pick a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but you only do 10; rest 35 seconds, then do it again—and so on for four sets. On the last set you go all out, to failure, and if you get 10 (or 12 in some cases), you add weight at your next workout.

Simple density for muscle immensity—and you train the force-generating myofibril strands in the muscle as well as initiating sarcoplasmic expansion. It hurts, but it works.

Now speaking of pain, here’s how you use the TORQ method, which is designated on the last exercise, pushdowns.

First, pick a weight with which you can get 30 reps—and do 30. Go to failure or very close—and try to keep the painful screams to a minimum. Rest 45 seconds.

For set 2 try to crank out 20 reps; once again, go to failure or very close. (Luckily your pain sensors will be in shock from the first 30-rep set, so this one won’t hurt quite as much.) Rest 45 seconds.

For set 3 try to drive out at least 15 reps—go all out.

Now you’ve successfully pushed the target muscle through the high-end growth-threshold tension time. If you keep your rep speed at two to three seconds per rep, you will hit 60 to 90 seconds on the first 30-rep set. And you’ll still reach 60 seconds, or close, on the second set as well.

By the way, Brignole starts with 50 reps, adds weight and progresses downward in reps from there. He says he’s gaining more muscle at a record pace with higher reps–two to four pounds per month so far. He weighs more now in muscular shape than he ever has. {I interview him on that in the March issue of IRON MAN—very interesting stuff.]

So there are various ways to use it and hit the high-end TUT, as explained in the updated 4X Mass Workout e-book.

More in future blogs. Till then, stay tuned, train smart and be Built for Life.

The Updated 4X Mass Workout 2.0 is $15 (regular price is $24). We’ve reloaded this best-selling muscle-building e-book with the new Tension Overload Repetition Quantity method. TORQ is quick high-rep 3X sequences that trigger ultimate mass. How? TORQ pushes the growth threshold into the high-end of hypertrophic tension time (60 to 90 seconds)–something most bodybuilders never get. Plus, you get the new 9-week phase-training Itinerary that has you hitting a different 4X and TORQ workout every 2 weeks. For more on the newly updated 4X Mass Workout 2.0 (ONLY $15), Go HERE  <==

 

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The Key Mass-Building Move (Not What You Think)

/ Posted 12.18.2012

I was having an e-mail conversation with Mr. America Doug Brignole, which will be part of an exclusive interview in the March ’13 IRON MAN, and I asked him which are his favorite exercises for building mass. He’s put on quite a bit of size lately, so I was wondering if he’d made any “discoveries.”

His answer stunned me, even though it’s something related to an animal study on hypertrophy I often quote and directly related to my Positions-of-Flexion mass-building protocol (more on that in a moment)…

“[The best mass-building exercises] are the ones that have a resistance curve whereby the resistance increases as the muscle elongates and diminishes as it contracts–for example, standing cable laterals.”

Whoa! Ask most people what the best size-building move is for the medial-delt head, and you get “presses.” But I know for a fact Doug is not an overhead-press fan. That’s another story. The point here is that his best choice for shoulder size is a STRETCH-position exercise.

Doug said, “A standing cable lateral raise–with the pulley about hip high–provides resistance right from the beginning of the movement [where the medial head is somewhat stretched], and it diminishes as the arm is raised to parallel to the ground.”

That’s the complete opposite resistance curve of a standing dumbbell lateral raise, an inferior delt exercise, according to Doug. There is zero resistance at the start–the most important point–and it gradually increases to where it’s impossible to hold in the contracted position. There should be max resistance at the bottom with much less at the top.

So why is the stretch point so important for stimulating muscle-mass increases? Here’s the scientific explanation from top strength and hypertrophy researchers Steven Fleck, Ph.D., and William Kraemer, Ph.D.:

“At the optimal length [of the muscle fiber] there is potential for maximal cross-bridge interaction and thus maximal force….. With excessive shortening there is an overlap of actin filaments so that the actin filaments interfere with each other’s ability to contract the myosin cross-bridges. Less cross-bridge contact with the active sites on the actin results in a smaller potential to develop tension.”

In case your eyes glazed over while reading all the science lingo, what they are saying is that at the peak-contracted position, like the top of a dumbbell lateral raise, the fibers are very bunched up, so much so that they can’t produce as much tension as when the muscle is in a more lengthened, or stretched, state.

There’s definitely something very special about stretch-position exercises when it comes to triggering mass–semi-stiff-legged deadlifts for hamstrings, overhead extensions for triceps, flyes for pecs, incline curls for biceps and so on. I use those as the second move in standard Positions-of-Flexion mass-building protocol, but maybe they should be first.

I’ve been more intrigued with stretch-position moves since I saw the bird study by Antonio and Gonyea (Med Sci Sports Exerc. 25:1333-45; 1993). They produced a 334 percent increase in mass gain in the “lat” with one month of STRETCH-ONLY “workouts.” They progressively overloaded the bird’s wing at elongation, and according to Antonio, “produced the greatest gains in muscle mass ever recorded in an animal or human model of tension-induced overload.”

With Doug’s comments and revisiting all of the above, I’m going to experiment again with putting the stretch-position exercise first in my bodypart routines. I say “again” because we tried that years ago. In fact, it worked so well we created a video titled “Hypercontraction Training.” Lots of trainees reported excellent mass gains–but it fell out of favor. Why? Because strength was sluggish on the big midrange exercises, which were performed after a few sets of a stretch-position exercise. We thought because strength wasn’t increasing, it wasn’t working well. Wrong…

Now we know that there is not a major correlation with getting a muscle stronger to get it bigger. And maybe, just maybe, stretch overload is the key get-bigger trigger.

I’ll have more in a future blog. Till then, stay Built for Life.

Note: For more on STRETCH-position exercises, as well as complete Position-of-Flexion mass-building workouts, see the 3D Muscle Building e-book. Special limited-time ultra-low price. Go HERE <==

 

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Chicks Love Big Arms: Quick Tips to Get Yours Growing

/ Posted 11.07.2012

We did a survey here at IRON MAN a few years ago with a group of women, and all of them put muscular arms up near the top of their lists for sexy bodyparts on a guy. That alone should get you fired up to torch your tri’s and bi’s for new size.

Then there was the time I took my new girlfriend out on the town. She always told me that bodybuilders were “gross,” and she made the puking motion when she saw me reading Iron Man. But that night out at a club we ran into a friend who happened to be the current Mr. Texas–in a short-sleeved shirt no less. He was not known for being a good-looking guy, yet she couldn’t keep from hanging around him, touching his arms, giggling. Sheesh!

Do you think my arm workouts were intense after experiencing that ego-deflating (for me) event? You bet.

Unfortunately, so many guys who crave big arms tend to overtrain them without realizing it. Think about all the indirect work your arms get. Triceps get hammered during all the pressing for chest and delts, and they even get involved when you train back (any pullover type move hits the long head hard). As for biceps, when you train your back, your bi’s are attacked with rows, pulldowns, chins and so on.

My arms recently got a big growth spurt when I reduced direct workouts for them to only once a week. I put delts and arms on Wednesday, with chest and back on Monday and Friday (legs get hit on Tuesdays and sometimes weekends). I developed that split when I recalled Jonathan Lawson’s amazing gains with the 10-week Size Surge program. <===

Jonathan, my former training partner, packed on an amazing 20 pounds of muscle in only 10 weeks–and I recalled that his arms grew like crazy when he was using only one direct biceps/triceps workout a week–in addition to two chest/back sessions.

Now, to be fair, he was regaining some of that mass, as he had been motivated previously, built some muscle, got discouraged with his slow gains and then backed off his training–just going through the motions for the most part. I re-invigorated his passion for bodybuilding when I recruited him for the Size Surge experiment back in the late ’90s.

In addition to one “direct” arm workout a week, another technique I remember from the SS program that got Jonathan growing like mad was end-of-set static holds. When he would hit failure at around rep eight, he would drive the weight to the sticking point and flex-hold for six seconds. He did that on almost every exercise, which really spurred a lot of quick growth–and over an inch on each arm.

If he had simply stopped at eight reps without the hold, his muscular tension time would’ve been a bit low–around 30 seconds. But by adding that static hold, he boosted it up close to 40 seconds, the low end of the optimal hypertrophic time under tension.

I remembered all of this because we just updated and retooled the Size Surge e-book (see the note below for details). It’s amazing how going over older programs, what you’ve done in the past, can re-motivate and rekindle old mass tactics for another round of new gains.

An end-of-set static hold can definitely trigger loads of new muscle growth. Give it a try for a burst of new size.

Stay tuned, train smart and be Built for Life.

Note–Updated 2.0 Version: The best-selling SIZE SURGE e-book, which includes the exact training and eating plans Jonathan Lawson used to pack on a solid 20 pounds of muscle in only 10 weeks has now been UPDATED. This bigger retooled version includes two NEW Phase 2 workouts with the M4X density-overload method–one that fuses Power pyramids, M4X and one-set finisher moves with X-celeration, X-centric or NA-Speed reps. Those are unique one-set hits you can use to get huge. It’s a perfect winter GET-BIG blueprint. For Jonathan’s before and after photos, size-and-strength progress charts and more info on The X-traorddinary Size Surge Workout 2.0, GO HERE. www.SizeSurgeWorkout.com.

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Muscle for the Masses—90 Minutes a Week? Really?

/ Posted 10.26.2012

“Sell-out!” Those words screamed at me from an e-mail I recently received. The gist of the rest was that I’d gone soft, forsaken my hardcore-muscle fans and defected to soft-core fitness with my wife in producing the Old School New Body program. Ouch!

There was also insinuation that I was, um, untruthful, to put it politely. The OSNB e-book promotes a training system, F4X, that is designed to produce results in 90 minutes a week—30 minutes per workout.

No B.S.: The LEAN workout in OSNB can produce excellent results with only 90 minutes a week, especially for older, inexperienced trainees. It’s designed to get people off their butts and experiencing the incredible benefits of safe, sane proper weight training–not to build bodybuilder muscles, which most people don’t want anyway, especially women.

Take my wife Becky. She trains 90 minutes a week with a version of the LEAN program and is in fantastic shape. Very impressive considering that she’s 50. My own workouts take an average of 50 minutes each, and I train three or four times a week. I’m 53, and I have abs and plenty of muscle (my training is very similar to the BUILD workout in the Old School New Body program, incorporating many of the set-variation methods outlined there).

Want another example? How about Clarence “Ripped” Bass–he recently sent me a photo of how he looks now at age 75. I asked him how much weight training he does to get in the condition he displays in the pic. He said–drum roll–90 minutes a week. How about them apples–er, um, muscles! (His new book, Take Charge, will be released soon.)

Okay, I don’t want to get righteous, but my mission, along with my wife’s and co-author John Rowley’s, is to turn as many people on to moderate-poundage, density-style weight training as possible, especially people over 40. Why?

I truly believe if more people were using this type of weight-training workout consistently–yes, only 90 minutes a week is fine–our sky-rocketing national healthcare costs would nosedive. Not kidding!

The reason is that this style of training is so good at optimizing the immune system and hormones, building some muscle, reducing the risk of diabetes (more insulin sensitivity) and producing significant anti-aging effects (natural growth hormone release)–all of that without joint stress from lifting heavy. The trainee also gets significant fat burning and residual cardio benefits with short rests between sets (it’s a lot like HIIT cardio with overall muscle stimulation).

If more people would commit to this type of workout, we may even get the obesity epidemic under control (younger people should use it too–our daughter, who is 20, does F4X workouts, and it’s helping her keep off the bodyfat and stay in shape while she’s away at college).

Please join us. Become an evangelist for sensible weight training for the masses—for the Built-for-Life lifestyle. If you know anyone who could benefit from this information, please forward this to them or send them to http://www.OldSchoolNewBody.com.

We are serious about our mission of taking moderate-poundage, density-style weight training to the masses. It could change people’s lives for the better–and, maybe, eventually the world (okay, knowing human nature probably not, but we can dream).

Stay tuned, train smart and be Built for Life.

Note: For the article “5 Steps to Looking 10 Years Younger” and more info on the Old School New Body program (on the page after the article), go to OldSchoolNewBody.com.

 

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Mr. Olympia Muscle: The Truth

/ Posted 09.28.2012

The Mr. Olympia is this weekend, which reminds me that many bodybuilders are still confused about building EXTREME muscle size that you see on these massive guys…

While most pro bodybuilders are strong, they DO NOT train for strength to get BIG. If you don’t believe it, check out this quote from one of the greatest–and strongest–Mr. Olympias of all time, Ronnie Coleman (pictured here with Jay Cutler). You may have seen Coleman benching 500 and pulling 800-pound deadlifts on his videos–more for show than to grow:

“I know I was doing singles and doubles in those lifts you saw me do, but that was mainly for the DVD to make it more exciting. Usually I always did my sets in the 10-12 rep range, because that’s what made me grow best.”

What about four-time Mr. O Jay Cutler? Well, he has some gargantuan wheels, yet he says he hasn’t squatted over 405 since he was 19 years old. And these days it’s often less than that because he begins his quad work with high-rep leg extensions.

Even top IFBB pro Johnnie Jackson, who is also a competitive powerlifter, says that when he trains ultra-heavy with low reps exclusively, he gets smaller, not bigger. Why? Lack of tension time—he’s emphasizing only myofibrillar growth and getting almost zero sarcoplasmic stimulation with all-heavy workouts. He must switch to using more reps and/or short rests between sets to look like a bodybuilder for physique competition.

So don’t be brainwashed into believing it’s all about pushing more weight. It is if you’re after STRENGTH. But if you want extreme muscle SIZE, you need more emphasis on extending tension time and doing more work in less time–or density intensity. That’s how to build muscle immensity.

Stay tuned, train smart and be Built for Life.

Note: If you’re interested in more on Coleman’s and Cutler’s workout styles, they are included in  Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building: “Analyzing Mr. Olympia’s Workout From an X-Rep Perspective” (Coleman–20 reps on the Nautilus lateral-raise machine? Shocking stuff.) and X-Rep Update #1 : “Mr. O’s Wild X-O Workouts” (Cutler–more moderate weights, lots of partial reps and 12 to 20 reps per set. Interesting.) You can get those two e-books, as well as The Ultimate Mass Workout, for only $24.99. That’s correct–not a typo–you get ALL 3 big info-packed e-books for only $24.99–the lowest price ever. Go HERE to check it out.

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Rebooting Your Mass-Building Machinery

/ Posted 09.07.2012

I recently got an e-mail from a 40-plus-year-old competitive bodybuilder that got me excited–and not in a good way. His physique is very Zane-like, obviously an ectomorph who has a hard time packing on mass–but with very good lines. Here’s what he said:

“[After this last contest] I am re-evaluating a lot of things, including my workouts and the longevity of my joints….”

I had to write him back and address his apparent frustration. It sounded to me like he was ready to throw in the towel–but I know from experience that his joint concerns are not necessary…

If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know that when I got close to 50 years old, I was thinking the exact same thing. I thought I was going to have to quit lifting weights, or at least go to circuit training with the pink dumbbells.

But after some research, talking to various people who had trained with top competitors of yesteryear, as well as “revisiting” in my mind my talks with Vince Gironda when he used to visit the IRON MAN offices, I came up with the 4X mass method.

I told the frustrated competitor that Mr. America winner Doug Brignole, now over 50, began using a version of 4X and was amazed at being able to pack on muscle quickly using only moderate weights. He recently made a comeback to competition thanks to that moderate-weight, high-muscle fatigue, growth-threshold style.

For the uninitiated, here’s the gist of it: For any exercise you take a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but you only do 10; rest 35 seconds, then do 10 more. Continue for four sets. On the fourth, you go all out–to failure. If you get 10, add a bit of weight to the exercise at your next workout.

That standard 4X method is based on Gironda’s density training–condensing the workload (doing more work in less time). NO heavy weights required. I’ve been using it for about two years now, and my joints feel fantastic, and I’m leaner and more muscular than I’ve been since my 20s. Not kidding!

I hate to see anyone give up on bodybuilding because they can no longer use heavy weights. Smashing your joints to dust is simply not necessary for muscle size. Unfortunately, it took me 20 years to finally figure that out–and I hope others, including this frustrated competitor, give 4X a go for more muscle growth–no joint obliteration necessary!

Stay tuned, train smart and be Built for Life.

Note: The 4X Mass Workout is available at X-Workouts.com. It’s a joint-friendly, growth-hormone-spurring method designed to trigger major muscle growth, fat loss and health.

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Maybe This Is Why You’re Not Growing

/ Posted 07.09.2012

The pro bodybuilders are huge–impressive and mind-boggling, to say the least, and lots of guys aspire to that look. Few get there, however, even if they do take, um, special “supplements.” Why? What is the limiting factor?

Well, genetics, of course–and that includes how your body uses the food you eat. In your quest for a ripped 250-pound physique you must eat a meticulous, ridiculous diet. Why ridiculous? Because most people cannot imagine eating the way a pro eats (this is a real diet from a real pro; oh, and this is eight weeks out from a contest)…

Meal 1: 6 oz. lean beef, 1 cup egg whites, 2 whole eggs, 100 grams grits

Meal 2: 10 oz. chicken breast, 2 cups white rice

Meal 3: 10 oz. lean beef, 16 oz sweet potato

Meal 4: 10 oz. chicken, 12 oz. sweet potato

Meal 5: 10 oz. lean beef, 16 oz. sweet potato

Meal 6: 8 oz. chicken, 1.5 cups oatmeal

That doesn’t include his postworkout shake and his bedtime shake. That’s 54 oz. of meat a day–more than 3 1/2 pounds! And the calories must be well over 5,000…

Not only do you have to eat a boat-load of calories, but your body must use the majority of that food to build muscle, which is a genetic predisposition. Most people will just get fat eating like that….

And even if you do have the genetics, can you imagine cooking all that food? You’d need a full-time chef or a lot of free time and clean aprons. (Look at that diet again; remember, that’s EVERY DAY!)

What it does hammer home is that extreme muscle size is very hard to acquire for most–even if you have incredible genetics and you’re using copious amounts of anabolic drugs. The bottom line is that you still have to eat a crazy amount of food and be able to partition those calories to muscle!

It takes a lot of discipline, pain tolerance and laser focus to be a top pro–or even a top amateur. If you’re not in that league–still aspiring to get big–then you need to be very consistent with a clean, muscle-building diet. Probably not to the extreme–protein, calories, etc.–of the above, but meticulous nonetheless.

Me? I’m a realist–I know I don’t have the genetics for all that mass, so I’m satisfied with being fairly muscular and lean (not to mention lazy–I refuse to cook all of that!). I try to keep my abs in view throughout the year, but 20-inch arms are not on my radar these days. I eat clean, but not nearly like the diet above. Even half of that would make me bloated fat.

The bottom line is that muscle is difficult to build for most of us, so if you want it, you’ll have to have certain genetics and make some big sacrifices–one being to cook and eat lots of the right food. It’s the only way to get huge, genetics willing.

Stay tuned, train smart and be Built for Life.

Note: The 4X Mass Workout is available at X-Workouts.com. It’s a joint-friendly, growth-hormone-spurring method designed to trigger muscle growth, fat loss and health. The 4X companion e-books, The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout and The X-centric Mass Workout, are also at X-Workouts.com.

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