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Fat Loss Fitness Uncategorized

5 Proven Ways To Break Through Your Plateau

It happens to us all. Everything is going great. You’re adding muscle and shedding pounds. You feel stronger and more confident.

And then…WHAM! It hits: the dreaded plateau.

Suddenly, everything is going wrong. You stop building muscle, stop losing fat, and stop progressing. It’s a state of homeostasis,where here everything stays the same.

At this point, many people get discouraged and give up. They back away from the gym and stop watching what they eat. In a few weeks or months, they rouse themselves enough to try getting in shape again. After some rapid progress, guess what?

Yes, they hit another plateau. And give up again for a while. Sometimes this cycle can repeat itself for years.

I have hit so many plateaus in my life but the one I remember the most is when I sat around 92 kg. I must have sat there for 2 years. Up to 93, down to 91, but 92 was it.
I thought I was doing everything right. But I wasn’t. I was doing the same thing I had been doing for as long as I can remember. As soon as I made the changes that were required, I suddenly shot up to 97 kg. This is where I comfortably sit right now and i’m stronger than ever.


What does all this have to do with you? Everything! My message to you is:

Don’t get discouraged, get off your plateau instead.

Here’s how.

  1.       Cycle Your Calories

If your goal is 3000 calories per day., That’s 21,000 per week. The normal gym goer would split this up evenly over 7 days. This makes life easy but also makes it easy to stagnate.

 

Instead, eat more or less each day depending on what you are doing that day.

For example, you might eat 3,400 calories on leg day and 2,900 on arm day and so on.

 

This helps to trick your body into believing it’s not losing fat or on a long term bulk. The result: more constant growth.

 

  1.       Periodize Your Routine

Or in simple terms, switch up things every week or so. Periodization has been proven to improve muscle growth and fat loss. How it works is as soon as your body starts to figure out what you’re up to, you change your routine.


A simple protocol would look like this:

Week 1: 5 reps

Week 2: 8 reps

Week 3: 10 reps

Week 4: 12 reps

Week 5: start over

 

This is basic version of periodization where you alter the rep ranges to target different energy systems and muscle fibres.


As you advance, you can switch up the exercises as well as the rep ranges.

This will keep your body guessing and promote constant growth.

If you’re a guy who wants to get ripped and have six packs abs, download my free cheatsheet here.

 

  1.       Fast

Fasting is extremely popular and for good reason. It cleans out old cells, helps regulate hunger hormones, and can slow the effects of some diseases.

 

The sort of fast I recommend is a 24-36 hour fast. I personally go for longer fasts between 3-4 days for health benefits that aren’t gym related.

During your fast your body will forget about what it’s been doing and start cleaning out old cells in the body to use as fuel. The duration without food also helps your body look to your stored energy to keep it alive.

 

After your fast, you will have reset your body and you can begin your normal regime again.

If your fast is longer than 2 days then once every 2 months is a good frequency. If you decide the shorter fasts are your thing then once a month or up to once a week can be beneficial.

 

  1.     Work Harder

We can become the villain in our own story. We get comfortable and stop treating each workout with the intensity it deserves. Instead we look for something else to blame whether it be genetics, age, work, your bad knee etc.

 

Make sure you are giving every workout your absolute best. You should feel like crawling out of the gym.

 

My favorite way to increase intensity is to add dropsets to each exercise.

 

To do this, simply take the set to failure, drop some weight and go again. It will feel like someone has a blowtorch to your muscles.


5. Forgive Yourself

Plateaus are inevitable. Whether you like it or not, it will come. It happens to all of us. Whether you are a professional athlete or a weekly gym goer, you’re still human. The important thing is to keep going and say: “okay, what now?”

 

If you’re a lady who is sick of counting calories or isn’t sure how much you should eat, click here:  http://ethanhyde.com/ccd-landing-page/

 

 

 

Categories
Fat Loss Food

5 Laws Of Eating For More Muscle

Do you “clean bulk” or “dirty bulk”? These phrases are often thrown around by guys at the gym who have no idea about nutrition. A “clean bulk” is eating healthy foods that are close to nature to gain weight. These guys don’t cheat on their diet and don’t get eat the “bad” stuff.
 
“Dirty bulkers”, eat whatever they want to consume as many calories as possible.
 
To me there is no clean or dirty bulk. Both are not sustainable. I’m all about sustainable approaches to fitness and nutrition.
 
Understanding nutrition is key to gaining muscle. This involves knowing how many calories your body needs to maintain its current state. From here it is a matter of adjusting up or down to suit your goals.
 
To gain muscle you need to increase your calories. If you think you can go to the gym and build muscle by doing the same old exercises, you will not see results.
 
Your body needs extra fuel to grow. If it doesn’t get this fuel, it will stay the same or shrink.
 
Because of this, so many people stay the same year after year.
 
Here are my 5 Laws of eating for muscle.
 
Law 1: Should You Bulk?
 
This may seem like a silly question but I see lots of overweight guys trying to pack on muscle. The problem with this is, they have so much stored energy they don’t need to consume more. Their body is more likely to store this extra food as it has gotten so good at doing.cartman
 
If you cannot see your abs, then you should go on a fat loss program first. This will reveal your muscle and make you look bigger, it also has profound effects on muscle growth.
 
Your body is more receptive to carbohydrates when you are lean. You will be more efficient at shuttling these to the muscle and using them as energy.
 
Carbohydrates are a great fuel source, but we can’t always give it what it wants. Eventually our body will stop working in our favour. It will be very hard shift our body composition if we keep eating a high carb diet. Fat tissue will then start taking in all those carbohydrates, not the muscle.
 
Fat will always compete with the lean tissue for absorbing those carbohydrates.
 
The more fat you have, the more likely it will take up those carbs. Go on a quick fat loss program and drop that fat. This will make muscle growth much easier.
 
Law 2: Control Your Calories
 
To build muscle, you need fuel. Fuel comes from food so it makes sense to eat more. The problem here is, people suddenly think it’s a free for all. Out the window with lean meats and vegetables and in with pizza and muffins. Not so fast!
 
To gain muscle, you need to tailor your calories to your activity level and metabolism. Failure to do so will result in fat gain. This then means you need to go back and forth between fat loss diets and muscle gain diets.
 
It can be quite hard to find figure out your ideal calorie intake. There are many calculators online that help but I find another method much easier. Remember, I like things simple.
 
Weigh yourself on day 1. Have your meals prepped and eat the same foods every day (or as close as possible). If you have not gained any weight by day 8, you have found your maintenance calorie amount. This means the amount required to keep your current body weight. From here, increase calories. If you are counting, this is around 100-200 calories. If you don’t count, add in an extra serve of protein.
 
Weigh yourself in another 7 days. If you have gained weight, great! If not, add in 1 cup of cooked carbohydrates. Repeat the process until you see a slight increase in weight gain. Do not rush this or you will get fat.
 
Law 3: Keep it Under Control
 
As I mentioned above, people often throw their healthy diet out the window and begin inhaling food.
 
This is not going to help you.
 
Research has shown that when you consume a high amount of calories, the Glyceamic index is more important. Consuming extra calories comes with the risk of fat gain. High G.I. foods spike insulin and can promote fat storage. If you are in a deficit, you can often consume higher G.I foods without too much trouble.
 
While the occasional treat is fine, consuming junk every day is not. I like to view things as a trade-off. If I am having pizza tonight (lets say, 70g carbs, 40g fat, 25g protein), I will then subtract those numbers from another meal that day. I will also make sure I train a larger body part that day such as legs. By doing this, my body will be hungry for energy and less is likely to spill over into fat gain. If it was an arms day, I would keep it healthy.
 
If you find your bodyfat is creeping up, then reduce the amount of treat meals and the amount of days you bulk. If I find my bodyfat percentage has risen around 3% then instead of doing a 20-week bulk, I will do a 12 week bulk.
 
Law 4: Pile Up The Protein
 
Research has shown that a high protein diet is very anabolic and helps to preserve muscle. We also know that digesting protein is a calorie expensive process. Roughly 30% of the calories consumed are used in the digestion process. Compare this to carbs and fats that only require 5% to digest.
 
What this means is, if you consume 100 calories of protein, you will absorb around 70 of those.
 
High protein diets when gaining muscle have shown to limit fat gain.
 
A study showed that a group of individuals on diet with a surplus of 800 calories from protein did not gain any fat. This equates to 1.5-2g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Another very similar study showed a decrease in fat mass!
 
If you worry about your kidneys, liver, or other health markers, don’t. High protein diets do not cause any damage here. Unless you have a pre-existing condition, a high protein diet could work in your favour.
 
On your next bulk, aim for 1.5-2g of protein per pound of bodyweight if your body can handle it.h
 
Law 5: Don’t Drink Your Calories
I can’t stand “Mass Gainer Shakes”. They drive me nuts. 1000 calories in one drink? Get ready to pack on the fat.
 
I don’t advocate drinking smoothies or juices either. The sugar levels are way too high and will cause a massive spike in your insulin. This will then send a lot of those calories to your fat stores.
 
If you struggle to gain muscle and think you need these, jump back to Law #2. These shakes are clever marketing by supplement companies. Most pre-workouts and fat burners fall into the same category of crap.
 
Eat your food and put in the effort. You will be rewarded for years to come.
Categories
Fat Loss Fitness

6 Rules For Fat Loss

Fat loss is an interesting topic. Everyone has their own method and rules for it. Don’t eat this. Don’t train that.
Those rules work for them. They don’t work for everyone.
One of the keys to fast fat loss is understanding your goal. The goal of fat loss is to look good.
When done right, you can increase strength and muscle size.
The flip side is a lot of muscle wasted and you end up feeling like crap.
After years of testing these methods on myself and my clients, I have come up with 6 rules that stand out above the rest.
 
1. Rest Less
 
If your goal is to burn fat then your rest period should reflect that. Resting for 2 minutes after performing 10 reps doesn’t cut it.
Let’s say you perform 10 reps or even 15. That takes around 20-30 seconds to complete.
If you rest for 2 minutes, that’s 4 times longer than it took to complete the set. Far from optimal. That means that at most you are only working out for ¼ of your time in the gym.
Long rest periods have their place but most of us have lives we need to get back to. We are short on time and want to be in and out after 30-45 minutes.
I like to keep rest periods between 30-90 seconds depending what I have done.
 
2. Metcon
 
This ties in with resting less. My metabolic conditioning workouts in SHRED21 are for ultimate fat loss in less than 30 minutes. These work due to their ability to boost your metabolism, increase fat burning hormones, and burn more total calories. This sure beats wandering around the gym for an hour trying to decide what exercise to do next for chest.
Try this:
60 seconds of pull ups
50 seconds of push ups
40 seconds of squat jumps
60 seconds of leg raises
50 seconds of med ball slams
40 seconds of burpees
As fast as possible.
 
3. Add a finisher
 
I love adding finishers to my workouts. I see it as one last shot at getting the absolute most from my workout.
These will often burn more calories and provide more benefits than my actual workout!
HIIT sessions are great separate to my normal workouts. Although, I will tag an extra 10-15 minutes onto my workout and go for gold.
 
Try these finishers:
 
Deadmill Sprints: Turn the treadmill off and sprint flat out for 20 seconds. Rest for 60 seconds and repeat for 10 rounds.
Deadmill and Burpees: As above but increase the rest period to 90 seconds. In each rest period, perform burpees. The first round will be 10 burpees, the second will be 9. Keep going until you reach 1.
Battle Rope Slams: Jump and slam as fast as possible for 25 seconds. Rest for 40, repeat 8 times.
Cycle and Overhead Press: Sprint on the bike for 25 seconds. Immediately jump off and grab some dumbbells. Complete 40 overhead push presses and get straight back on the bike. Repeat for 5 rounds and record your time.
 
4. Always move
 
Your rest periods are great for recovering but there is a more useful way of using that time.
Research has shown that staying active during your rest period has a long host of benefits. These include, fat loss, increase of muscle gain, and strength increases.
This is a key protocol I include in my SHRED21 42DAY workouts.
Next time you hit the gym try adding in 30-60 seconds of running, skipping, or abs. If you are training legs, you could add bicep curls or leg raises.
Your active time in the gym is already limited, don’t waste anymore.
 
5. Perform compound exercises
 
Large compound exercises should already make up the bulk of your workout.
When it comes to fat loss, these larger movements will burn more calories. The reason is they use more muscle. The more muscles required for a movement means more energy used.
Large exercises such as a deadlift have an amazing effect on anabolic hormone levels. Yet another reason to include them.
I still like to perform isolation work. When I do, I generally super set these or perform a giant set. This keeps me active and the calories burning.
 
6. Be consistent with everything else
 
Going hard in the gym is one thing. Backing it up with sleep, nutrition, supplementation, and recovery is another.
Knowing when to eat and what to eat are vital for fat loss. What’s even more vital is knowing how to sustain your hard-earned results.
All too often, we follow a plan, get great results, and then what? There is no plan. We can’t keep dieting forever but if we add food back to fast we will get fat right? What if we add the wrong foods? Even fatter!
By controlling your workouts, nutrition, and rest, you will not only look amazing. You will perform better than ever and get to keep everything you have worked so hard for.
This is the cornerstone of SHRED21. It’s not about the fat loss you experience. It’s not about getting fitter and stronger than ever. It’s about maintaining those results for as long as you want and not putting the fat back on.
 
 
Categories
Fitness Uncategorized

Is Training To Failure A Good Idea?

Training to failure is a topic that many people are divided on. To be clear on what training to failure is, it is simply when the muscles can’t produce enough force on the lifting phase of the exercise to continue moving the weight upward.

Most of the people who argue for and against this type of training treat it very personal as if it defines you as an athlete. You have one group telling you “Training to failure is training to fail” and then you have plenty of well known champion bodybuilders who say pushing last your limits is where the muscle growth happens.

Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said, “The last 3 or 4 reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack: having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain, no matter what happens.”

No matter what side of fence you are on there are pros and con’s to training this way.

The Pros and Cons of Training to Failure:

A Spanish researcher found that when every set was taken to failure an increase in Cortisol happened. Cortisol is catabolic hormone that promotes fat storage and muscle wasting, not what a bodybuilder wants.

Another Spanish study found that taking sets to failure showed an increase in nucleotide adenosine monophosphate (AMP) levels compared to those not reaching failure. An increase in AMP levels indicates that a muscle cell has been drained of energy and protein synthesis will then decrease. This can be detrimental to our performance and recovery.

Training to failure can be anabolic in the right context. Training to failure increase levels of lactic acid within the muscle which is critical for muscle growth as it triggers intracellular growth factors. An increase in lactic acid has been shown more in those training to failure versus those who do not.

Another benefit to training to failure is that it exhausts the smaller muscle fibers and the central nervous system must then recruit surrounding muscle fibers to complete the movement. This results in total exhaustion of the muscle group. The only problem with taking sets to failure like this is what’s called “central fatigue”. Once your nervous system is fatigued, all following sets will be performed at a much lower capacity. For example, if on one set you can get 12 reps at complete failure, you may only get 9 the second set. However, if you stopped at 10 reps on the first set, you likely would have been able to get 9 or 10 on the second set. This is because you have less central fatigue.

Although there are arguments for both sides, the most practical solution would be to take the last set of each exercise to failure with a strategically designed program. This is supported by research that suggests taking the last set to failure results in greater size and strength gains.

Dorian Yates is famous for having a warm up set before taking only one set per exercise to failure. “One set at extreme intensity does the muscle-building job. It must be stressed that the one final, all-out set I do takes me to the very limit of my capabilities. If you feel you can attempt a second set, then you couldn’t have been pulling out all the stops during the first set. It’s not pretty, but it works.” Dorian Yates, Mr. Olympia, 1993-97

Failure can occur with a training partner or without. If you do not have a training partner then rest pause sets and drop-sets can take you past failure. If you have a training partner then you can often train a bit further past failure with forced reps and negative repetitions. The benefits of forced reps and drop sets are similar to failure training: greater metabolic stress, more lactic acid, and more muscle fiber recruitment. However, both techniques cause far greater central fatigue than normal failure training.

To conclude this debate, follow these simple steps:

  1. Training to failure can be catabolic so do it sparingly.
  2. Failure training should often be used only on the final set of each exercise.
  3. Training to failure should be used more on hypertrophy days versus strength days.
  4. When training beyond failure using the above techniques, ensure you have proper rest. Your body may feel fine but your central nervous system will fatigue and you will be put at risk of over training.

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Categories
Fitness Uncategorized

The Best Muscle Building Exercises

Everybody wants to build more muscle and look great but not everyone knows the best muscle building exercises. Sometimes it gets hard with so many people telling you about “this” great exercise or “this” way of training that you don’t know where to start. Luckily there are some common exercises that every single bodybuilder on the planet uses and always will.

Before we get into the best muscle building exercises, lets discuss what creates a good exercise. Compound movements are those that include more than one joint and muscle whereas isolation movements are those that focus on one target muscle and are single jointed exercise. To give an example, a overhead barbell shoulder press uses two joints (elbow and shoulder) and activates more than one muscle (deltoid, tricep, and trapezius) making it a compound exercise.

A bicep curl is what’s called an isolation exercise as it uses the elbow joint alone and the bicep is the muscle performing the main contraction.

Compound exercises are known to speed up the metabolism and instigate more growth compared to that of a isolation exercise. Isolation exercises do still have there place and I use them every day to target smaller muscle groups in order to fine tune parts of my body.

Compound exercises are what every beginner, intermediate, and experienced lifter use. This is why compound exercises are the best muscle building exercises and isolation are more fine tuning exercises.

The 5 Best Muscle Building Exercises:

  1. Squat: Yep, you guessed it. This is number one. Why? It involves every muscle in the legs, core, and lower back making it one of the best muscle building exercises of all time. This is great exercise for building lower body strength and mass. Don’t be tempted to go ‘ass to grass’ on this one as many ‘hardcore’ lifters will tell you to. Going lower than parallel shifts the focus away from the target muscles (quadriceps and hamstrings) and places unnessecary strain on the knee joint. Constant tension on the target muscle is what we want and going too low shifts the tension to other areas. If you are not comfortable with squats, try a 90 degree leg press instead.
  2. Pull-Up: This is a hard one but if you can master this move, expect your back to grow! This move targets the core, biceps, latissimus dorsi (lats), trapezius (traps), and deltoids. This move will give you an amazing v taper and your strength will explode. Try using a lateral pulldown machine instead to work up to doing a pull-up.
  3. Push-Up: This is often neglecte by many lifts due to it being a bodyweight exercise and people prefer to push more weight. If you can’t do push ups non-stop for 60 seconds then you have no business getting under a bar loaded with weights. Work your core, shoulders, legs, triceps, and chest muscles with this power move. If you can already smash out push-ups, try adding a clap to each push-up to really turn up the heat. For theses reasons, the push-up is one of the best muscle building exercises.
  4. Military Press aka Shoulder Press: This move is killer for creating boulder shoulders and a killer physique. Using almost every muscle in the upper body, the shoulder press makes the cut for one of the best muscle building exercises. Use dumbbells or a barbell to transform your shoulders and amplify your strength. If you are a new and wish to increase your confidence first, use a machine shoulder press.
  5. Clean and Press: This is one of the best muscle building exercises yet hardly anybody does this exercise as it is considered more of an Olympic lift rather than a bodybuilding lift. Any bodybuilder that does clean and presses is one that is focused on results. This move uses almost every muscle in the body. Picking a heavy barbell up off the ground and launching it above your head is hard but effective. Another benefit from this move is it’s effect on your metabolism. Studies show when training the entire body in one workout, fat burning is increased dramatically for the next 24 hours.

These are the foundation exercises behind any well thought out program designed to create results. You may be wondering why I didn’t include the deadlift. Yes, this creates amazing power and strength but it is extremely risky and many injuries come from this move. For this reason it did not appear on the list. The exercises above are what I truly believe to be the best muscle building exercises available.