Bio

Born: January 9, 1978
Age: 34
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 188

Accolades: Six-time Pro Bowl selection. All-Pro selection three times. Holds seven all-time franchise records (Cincinnati Bengals).
Position: Wide Receiver
College: Oregon State
Team: Miami Dolphins

Chad Ochocinco has been blowing the doors off the NFL ever since Cincinnati drafted him in the second round. His numbers show he’s one of the League’s most productive receivers, and on top of this, Chad is always a fan favorite. Team MusclePharm is proud to work with an All-Pro athlete who gives it everything.

Headed to Westside

How did I squat 700 lbs in a contest?

Type "squat routine" into your Google search and hundreds of pages will pop. But as far as I'm concerned, you can delete all of them. If you want a big squat, you just need to know about the Westside Method. How did I squat 700 pounds? That's right, the Westside Method. Plain and simple, if you want mass, if you want to be strong and if you want to own the platform, ignore those pages of searches that just came up on your screen and instead study and learn all you can about Westside Barbell and Louie Simmons. You can thank me later, like when you're setting personal-bests left and right under the bar.

Plain and simple, if you want to Google something, type in Louie Simmons. The man is a legend in the strength game. He's trained the best, he has been the best and he is revered by everyone who has ever stepped foot on a powerlifting platform. If there's anyone who knows strength, it's Louie Simmons.

I've latched onto everything he has told me and his vast knowledge is also why he's one of the key advisers here at MusclePharm. The man knows what he speaks, which is why I went to him when I wanted to get a huge squat.

Let's set the scene here: Westside Barbell is the mecca of powerlifting gyms. It's home to the strongest people in the world, featuring guys who can squat 1,200 pounds, bench over 900 pounds and deadlift 850+. So, picture these massive 300-pound monster walking around this hardcore gym when, lo and behold, little old 185-pound me comes walking in to meet Louie. I was a pretty boy "just coming off a photo shoot no less" walking into the trenches and, believe me, it was as intimidating as any situation I've been in. Now, you can't just walk into Westside Barbell. There's no signs on the front door saying, "$10/month membership! Sign up today!" and there's no treadmills with television screens on them. This place is invitation-only and it features the best of the best. I knew Louie, so I got an invite, but I was nowhere near ready to be squatting these behemoths. Still, it didn't stop me from being ambitious.

Me: "I want to get into powerlifting and I want to squat at Westside."
Louie (smirking): "Skinny Cory wants to squat at Westside?"

Yes, skinny Cory wanted to squat at Westside. I wasn't ready yet, but the journey had started. I studied, researched and read everything I could regarding Louie and the Westside Method. I immediately started eating more and my diet looked a lot more like the Get Swole Diet with weekend cheating at that point in time. I ballooned up to 210 pounds and my strength started to skyrocket thanks to my diet and following the Westside Method. A big key for me was doing box squats for the first time (see video of box squat). I started adding upwards of 200 pounds of chains or band tension, firing off the box as fast as possible. I would do 8 sets of 2 reps, following it with speed deadlifts against bands (6 sets of 1 rep), again focusing on speed. This workout would always finish with sled drags, a great way to end the workout.

After plenty of hours under the bar, Louie finally let me squat at Westside. I can remember that day clearly and it was an incredible honor. On my first day, I squatted 410 pounds of bar with 220 pounds of band pressure off a box. It looked like a train wreck, but it was more than 600 pounds at the top and it counted. It was amazing. I felt like I had arrived and it simply made me even more hungry, figuratively and literally. I kept training at Westside occasionally and continued to learn from Louie, officially squatting 610 pounds at a meet weighing 210. A year later, I got my 700-pound squat, weighing just 208 pounds. That day I also benched 480 and had a 575-pound deadlift for a 1,755-pound total.

In two short years, I had gone from a photo shoot weighing 185 pounds to a guy squatting 700 and pulling nearly 600 pounds. It was an incredible ride and I learned a great deal, getting very strong in the process. It's an experience I will never forget and it was beneficial to me in so many ways.

Here's the long-winded point: Don't waste your time looking aimlessly for ways to get strong. Keep it simple and make it easy on yourself. Get the Westside book of methods at www.westside-barbell.com and learn all you can about the Westside method and Louie Simmons. Unless, of course, you don't want to get strong.

SAMPLE WESTSIDE SQUAT WORKOUT

(Try to have two training partners to be safe)

BOX SQUAT

8 sets of 2 reps
Add chains and/or bands to your working sets. Add additional chains/bands each week

SPEED DEADLIFT

6 sets of 1 rep
Focus on exploding off the floor with these deadlifts. Add chains and/or bands to these and keep the rest periods short. Your focus should be on speed off the floor.

SLED DRAGS

4 drags of 200 feet
Load up the sled with heavy weight, dragging the sled four times for 200 feet. This is a great knee stabilizer, which will help lead to big squats.

You can add other assistance work (leg curls, reverse hyper, lunges, etc.) if you wish, doing those before the sled drags. This is a great beginner workout for those starting on the Westside program.

Form 10-K/A for MUSCLEPHARM CORP

Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

This report and other reports filed by our Company from time to time with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (collectively the "Filings") contain or may contain forward-looking statements and information that are based upon beliefs of, and information currently available to, our management as well as estimates and assumptions made by our management. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which are only predictions and speak only as of the date hereof. When used in the filings, the words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "future," "intend," "plan," or the negative of these terms and similar expressions as they relate to us or our management identify forward-looking statements. Such statements reflect our current view with respect to future events and are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors, including those set forth in the Risk Factors on page 9. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should the underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may differ significantly from those anticipated, believed, estimated, expected, intended, or planned.

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements. Except as required by applicable law, including the securities laws of the United States, we do not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements to conform these statements to actual results.

Our financial statements are prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States ("GAAP"). These accounting principles require us to make certain estimates, judgments and assumptions. We believe that the estimates, judgments and assumptions upon which we rely are reasonable based upon information available to us at the time that these estimates, judgments and assumptions are made. These estimates, judgments and assumptions can affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities as of the date of the financial statements as well as the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the periods presented. Our financial statements would be affected to the extent there are material differences between these estimates and actual results. In many cases, the accounting treatment of a particular transaction is specifically dictated by GAAP and does not require management's judgment in its application. There are also areas in which management's judgment in selecting any available alternative would not produce a materially different result. The following discussion should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and notes thereto appearing elsewhere in this report.

Results of Operations

Analysis of the Year Ended December 31, 2010 versus December 31, 2009

Revenues from the sale of products, net were approximately $4.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, as compared to revenue from the sale of product of approximately $1.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. Sales activities during the year ended December 31, 2010, increased due to the increase advertising and promotion efforts and the change in manufacturers which provided more consistent shipments to customers.

Cost of sales for the year ended December 31, 2010 were approximately $2.8 million or 70% of revenue as compared to approximately $0.9 million or 91% of revenue for the year ended December 31, 2009. The cost of goods sold as percent of revenue decreased due to the change in manufacturers as we realize savings offered by quantity discounts.

Operating Expenses for the year ended December 31, 2010 were approximately $19.5 million as compared to approximately $2.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. The $17.5 million increase is primarily due to an increase in adverting and promotion of approximately $5.9 million, an increase in professional fees of approximately $2.9 million, an increase in salaries and benefits of approximately $6.7 million

Operating Loss for the year ended December 31, 2010 was approximately $18.3 million as compared to approximately $1.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2009.

Interest expense for the year ended December 31, 2010 was approximately $0.5 million as compared to approximately $0.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. The increase in interest expense primarily relates to amortization of the debt discounts of $0.4 million.

Other expenses for the year ended December 31, 2010 was approximately $.8 million as compared to $0 for the year ended December 31, 2009. The increase in other expenses is primarily due to derivative loss of $.2 million and to loss on settlement of accounts payable $0.4 million.

Net Loss for the year ended December 31, 2010 was approximately $19.6 million or loss per share of $0.48 as compared to the net loss of approximately $1.9 million or loss per share of $.0.07 for the year ended December 31, 2009.

Inflation did not have a material impact on the Company's operations for the period. Other than the foregoing, management knows of no trends, demands, or uncertainties that are reasonably likely to have a material impact on the Company's results of operations.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Our primary source of operating cash has been through the sale of equity and through the issuance of convertible secured promissory notes and other short term debt as discussed below.

At December 31, 2010, the Company had cash of approximately $43,700 and a working capital deficit of approximately $2.8 million, compared to overdrawn bank accounts of $17,841 and a working capital deficit of approximately $1.2 million at December 31, 2009. The working capital deficit increase of $1.6 million is primarily attributed to the operating losses incurred for the year ended December 31, 2010.

Cash used in operating activities was approximately $3.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, as compared to cash used in operating activities of approximately $1.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2009. The increase in cash used in operating activities for the year ended December 31, 2010 compared to the year ended December 31, 2009 was primarily the result of the net operating loss net of non-cash expenses.

Cash used in investing activities was $117,303 for the year ended December 31, 2010, as compared to cash used in investing activities of $24,407 for the year ended December 31, 2009. The increase in cash used in investing activities represents purchases of property and equipment. We also maintain a website http://www.musclepharm.com), designed for customers and investors. Future investments in property and equipment, as well as further development of our Internet presence will largely depend on available capital resources.

Cash flows provided by financing activities were approximately $4.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2010, as compared to cash flows provided by financing activities of approximately $1.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2009.

The approximately $2.9 million increase is due to the $1.2 million increase proceeds from issuance of debt, an increase $358,077 from issuance of debt – related party and the increase of approximately $1.5 million due to issuance of common stock and warrants – net of recapitalization payment.

December 31 December 31
Cash Flows From Financing Activities: For the Years Ended 2010 2009
Cash overdraft (17,841 ) 5,839
Due to related party (27,929 ) 83,208
Proceeds from issuance of debt 2,140,608 932,500
Proceeds from issuance of debt – related party 358,077
Repayments on debt (5,000 )
Proceeds from issuance of common stock and warrants – net of recapitalization payment 1,503,569
Capital contribution 104,008
Net Cash Provided By Financing Activities 3,956,484 1,120,555

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

Other than the operating leases, as of December 31, 2010, MusclePharm did not have any off-balance sheet arrangements.

Critical Accounting Policies

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with US GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions. These estimates and assumptions affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reported period. Actual results could differ materially from those estimates. MusclePharm believes the following accounting policies are critical to the judgments and estimates used in the preparation of its financial statements:

Accounts Receivable. MusclePharm performs ongoing evaluations of its customer's financial condition and generally does not require collateral. Management reviews accounts receivable periodically and reduces the carrying amount by a valuation allowance that reflects management's best estimate of amounts that may not be collectible. Allowances, if any, for uncollectible accounts receivable are determined based upon information available and historical experience.

Property and Equipment. Property and equipment are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation. Included in property and equipment are website development costs which represent capitalized costs of design, configuration, coding, installation, and testing of the Company's website. Depreciation is computed on the straight-line method over the asset's useful lives which range from three to five years. Maintenance and repairs are charged to expense as incurred; improvements and betterments are capitalized.

Long-Lived Assets. MusclePharm's primary long-lived assets are property and equipment. The Company assesses the recoverability of its long-lived assets whenever events and circumstances indicate the carrying value of an asset or asset group may not be recoverable from estimated future cash flows expected to result from its use and eventual disposition.

Fair Value Measurements. The Company follows guidance for fair value measurements which defines fair value, establishes a framework for using fair value to measure financial assets and liabilities on a recurring basis, and expands disclosures about fair value measurements. The Company also applies the guidance to non-financial assets and liabilities measured at fair value on a non-recurring basis, which includes goodwill and intangible assets. The guidance establishes a hierarchy for inputs used in measuring fair value that maximizes the use of observable inputs and minimizes the use of unobservable inputs by requiring that the most observable inputs be used when available. Observable inputs are inputs that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability developed based on market data obtained from sources independent of the Company. Unobservable inputs are inputs that reflect the Company's assumptions of what market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability developed based on the best information available in the circumstances. The hierarchy is broken down into three levels based on the reliability of the inputs as follows:

Level 1 – Valuation is based upon unadjusted quoted market prices for identical assets or liabilities in active markets that the Company has the ability to access.

Level 2 -Valuation is based upon quoted prices for similar assets or liabilities in active markets; quoted prices for identical or similar assets or liabilities in inactive markets; or valuations based on models where the significant inputs are observable in the market.

Level 3 – Valuation is based on models where significant inputs are not observable. The unobservable inputs reflect the Company's own assumptions about the inputs that market participants would use.

Financial instruments consist of cash, accounts receivable, prepaid expenses, accounts payable and accrued expenses. The carrying amount of these financial instruments approximates fair value due to their short-term nature or the current rates at which the Company could borrow funds with similar remaining maturities. Unless otherwise noted, it is management's opinion that the Company is not exposed to significant interest, currency or credit risks arising from these financial statements.

Derivative Financial Instruments. Fair value accounting requires bifurcation of embedded derivative instruments such as conversion features in convertible debt or equity instruments, and measurement of their fair value for accounting purposes. In determining the appropriate fair value, the Company uses the Black-Scholes option-pricing model. In assessing the convertible debt instruments, management determines if the convertible debt host instrument is conventional convertible debt and further if there is a beneficial conversion feature requiring measurement. If the instrument is not considered conventional convertible debt, the Company will continue its evaluation process of these instruments as derivative financial instruments.

Revenue Recognition The Company records revenue when all of the following have occurred; (1) persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, (2) product has been shipped or delivered, (3) the sales price to the customer is fixed or determinable, and (4) collectability is reasonably assured.

Depending on individual customer agreements, sales are recognized either upon shipment of products to customers or upon delivery. The Company records sales allowances and discounts as a direct reduction of sales. Sales for the years ended December 31, 2010 and 2009 are as follows:

2010 2009
Sales $ 4,199,959 $ 1,385,117
Discounts 152,664 367,201
Sales – net $ 4,047,295 $ 1,017,916

The Company has an informal 7-day right of return for products. However, there were nominal returns in 2010 and 2009. During 2010 and 2009, the Company had the following concentrations of revenues with customers:

Customer 2010 2009
A 42% 20%
B 12% -%
C -% 19%
D -% 14%
E -% 13%

Sponsorship and Endorsement Agreements. As a component of its marketing strategy, the Company enters into sponsorship and endorsement agreements with prominent athletes, trainers, and other high profile individuals that provide the Company ongoing sources of exposure to its products. The agreements sometimes specify certain contingencies that must be met to receive payments; others may require regular or periodic payments with no specified service or events that trigger payments under an agreement, or a combination of both. Agreements that are contingent upon the successful completion of an event prior to payment are considered unearned until the completion of the triggering event, and as such, no expense or liability is recorded until the successful completion of the triggering event. Where agreements are based on time and not on specific triggering events, the services are considered to be earned ratably over the period of the agreement, an
d as such expenses and liabilities are recorded ratably over the term of the agreement.

Stock-Based Compensation. MusclePharm measures and recognizes compensation expense for all share-based awards made to employees and directors, including stock options and stock purchase warrants, based on estimated fair values. The Company must estimate the fair value of share-based awards on the grant date using an option pricing model. MusclePharm values share-based awards using the Black-Scholes option pricing model. The Black-Scholes model is highly complex and dependent on key estimates by management.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In January 2010, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued updated guidance to amend the disclosure requirements related to recurring and nonrecurring fair value measurements. This update requires new disclosures on significant transfers of assets and liabilities between Level 1 and Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy (including the reasons for these transfers) and the reasons for any transfers in or out of Level 3. This update also requires a reconciliation of recurring Level 3 measurements about purchases, sales, issuances and settlements on a gross basis. In addition to these new disclosure requirements, this update clarifies certain existing disclosure requirements. For example, this update clarifies that reporting entities are required to provide fair value measurement disclosures for each class of assets and liabilities rather than each major category of assets and liabilities. This update also clarifies the requirement for entities to disclose information about both the valuation techniques and inputs used in estimating Level 2 and Level 3 fair value measurements. This update will become effective for the Company with the interim and annual reporting period beginning January 1, 2010, except for the requirement to provide the Level 3 activity of purchases, sales, issuances, and settlements on a gross basis, which will become effective for the Company with the interim and annual reporting period beginning January 1, 2011. The Company will not be required to provide the amended disclosures for any previous periods presented for comparative purposes. Other than requiring additional disclosures, adoption of this update will not have a material effect on the Company's financial statements.

In July 2010, the FASB issued ASU 2010-20, Receivables (Topic 310): Disclosures about the Credit Quality of Financing Receivables and the Allowance for Credit Losses. ASU 2010-20 is to provide financial statement users with greater transparency about an entity's allowance for credit losses and the credit quality of its financing receivables. The disclosures about activity that occurs during the reporting period are effective for interim and annual reporting periods beginning on or after December 15, 2010. The Company does not expect the provisions of ASU 2010-20 to have a material effect on its financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

In August 2010, the FASB issued an exposure draft on lease accounting that would require entities to recognize assets and liabilities arising from lease contracts on the balance sheet. The proposed exposure draft states that lessees and lessors should apply a "right-of-use model" in accounting for all leases. Under the proposed model, lessees would recognize an asset for the right to use the leased asset, and a liability for the obligation to make rental payments over the lease term. The lease term is defined as the longest possible term that is "more likely than not" to occur. The accounting by a lessor would reflect its retained exposure to the risks or benefits of the underlying leased asset. A lessor would recognize an asset representing its right to receive lease payments based on the expected term of the lease. Comments on this exposure draft were due by December 15, 2010 and the final standard is expected to be issued in the second quarter of 2011. The Company believes that the proposed standard, as currently drafted, will have neither a material impact on its reported financial position and reported results of operations, nor a material impact on the liquidity of the Company.

In August 2010, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") No. 2010-05, Measuring Liabilities at Fair Value, or ASU 2010-05, which amends ASC 820 to provide clarification of a circumstance in which a quoted price in an active market for an identical liability is not available. A reporting entity is required to measure fair value using one or more of the following methods: 1) a valuation technique that uses a) the quoted price of the identical liability when traded as an asset or b) quoted prices for similar liabilities (or similar liabilities when traded as assets) and/or 2) a valuation technique that is consistent with the principles of ASC 820. ASU 2010-05 also clarifies that when estimating the fair value of a liability, a reporting entity is not required to adjust to include inputs relating to the existence of transfer restrictions on that liability. The adoption did not have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements

In December 2010, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") 2010-29, Business Combinations (Topic 805) – Disclosure of Supplementary Pro Forma Information for Business Combinations. This ASU requires a public entity to disclose pro forma information for business combinations that occurred in the current reporting period. The disclosures include pro forma revenue and earnings of the combined entity for the current reporting period as though the acquisition date for all business combinations that occurred during the year had been as of the beginning of the annual reporting period. If comparative financial statements are presented, the pro forma revenue and earnings of the combined entity for the comparable prior reporting period should be reported as though the acquisition date for all business combinations that occurred during the current year had been as of the beginning of the comparable prior annual reporting period. ASU 2010-29 affects any public entity as defined by Topic 805 that enters into business combinations that are material on an individual or aggregate basis. ASU 2010-29 is effective prospectively for business combinations for which the acquisition date is on or after the beginning of the first annual reporting period beginning on or after December 15, 2010. Early adoption is permitted. The Company does not expect the provisions of ASU 2010-29 to have an effect on its financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

MusclePharm Wins Three Bodybuilding.com Supplement Awards

DENVER , Sept. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — MusclePharm Corporation (OTCBB: MSLP.obNews ), an expanding U.S. nutritional supplement company ("MusclePharm" or the "Company"), is pleased to announce that it has been named the winner of three 2011 Bodybuilding.com Supplement Awards, which were recently released.

After being nominated for an impressive 14 awards, the growing supplement company picked up awards for New Supplement of the Year (Assault), Breakout Brand of the Year and Packaging of the Year.

With MusclePharm just being named the Official Nutritional Supplement Provider of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), it continues to build momentum and visibility with the trio of Bodybuilding.com awards, which annually recognize industry leaders who deliver top-notch and reliable products to consumers.

"We are extremely excited about winning these awards and it continues to show the progress of the brand and our growing sales. With recently being named the Official Supplement Company of the UFC and our ever-increasing presence on Bodybuilding.com, our worldwide exposure has never been greater," MusclePharm Senior President and Co-Founder Cory Gregory said.

"We are in front of millions and millions of people each week, giving more and more people the opportunity to experience our high-quality products. The MusclePharm brand is thriving and this is simply the start of something even bigger," said Mr. Gregory.

The Breakout Brand of the Year award was given to the nutritional company displaying the most improvement over the past year, and the award shows MusclePharm's dedication to bringing its customers one of the most innovative and advanced supplement lines in the industry.

The New Supplement of the Year award was given to the popular Assault product that has drawn rave reviews and is one of the best-selling products on Bodybuilding.com, the No. 1 nutritional supplement website in the world.

Of the more than 12,000 products from 550 companies, Assault is currently No. 6 on the website's best-selling list. Assault's scientifically engineered matrix of performance-enhancing compounds has continued to make it a top choice for consumers among a variety of platforms.

In a short time, MusclePharm has also become one of the top 10 best-selling brands on Bodybuilding.com.

ABOUT MUSCLEPHARM CORPORATION

MusclePharm is a healthy life-style company that develops and manufactures a full line of Informed Choice approved nutritional supplements that are free of banned substances. Utilizing years of research at the MusclePharm Sports Science Center, the products are created through a six-stage research protocol involving the expertise of top nutritional scientists and field tested using a pool of over one hundred elite professional athletes from various professional sports leagues including the National Football League, Mixed Martial Arts and Major League Baseball. The company's products address many categories of active lifestyles, including muscle building, weight loss and maintaining general fitness through a daily nutritional supplement regimen. MusclePharm products are sold to consumers in more than 120 countries and available in over 10,000 U.S. retail outlets, including Dick's Sporting Goods, GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World and Wal-Mart. MusclePharm products also are sold through more than 100 online stores globally, including bodybuilding.com, Amazon.com and Vitacost.com. For more information, please visit www.musclepharm.com.

Forward Looking Statements

The information contained herein includes forward-looking statements.  These statements relate to future events or to our future financial performance, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.  You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which are, in some cases, beyond our control and which could, and likely will, materially affect actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements.  Any forward-looking statement reflects our current views with respect to future events and is subject to these and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions relating to our operations, results of operations, growth strategy and liquidity.  We assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.

PR Contact:
Annette Dallavalle
5W Public Relations
(212) 584-4299
adallavalle@5wpr.com

MusclePharm Strengthens Management Team Adding John H. Bluher as COO and EVP

DENVER , Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — MusclePharm Corporation (OTCBB: MSLP.obNews ), an expanding U.S. nutritional supplement company ("MusclePharm" or the "Company"), is pleased to announce John H. Bluher has been named Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President for MusclePharm Corporation ("MSLP"). In announcing the new appointment, MusclePharm® CEO Brad Pyatt said, "As COO, John brings us exceptional depth and balance. His broad range of experience with public companies, boards and financial structuring in addition to mergers and acquisitions will prove helpful as we are positioning MusclePharm® for continued growth and profitability in 2012. He has proven abilities to realize the potential of an organization while rationalizing operational cost. We are extremely excited about how John will contribute to the further strengthening of MusclePharm®'s leadership position and growth prospects."

Mr. Bluher will immediately join the Executive Committee and the MSLP Board of Directors in October 2011 . As COO, he reports to Mr. Pyatt and has responsibility for functional management and day-to-day operations. His long-range goals are to help with budgeting, managing MSLPs capital structure, structure departments as the company grows, develop control processes, and assist in developing supply chain management and inventory controls. Working closely with Mr. Bluher, Mr. Pyatt will now have time to focus on longer-range strategies, business development, extending the branding and marketing opportunities for MusclePharm®.  Finance, Legal, Operations, Investor Relations, Public Relations, and Administration report to Mr. Bluher.  Mr. Bluher has been working as a consultant to MSLP for the past three months.

Mr. Bluher said: "I am excited for the opportunity to come into MusclePharm® at such an important time for this young company. The company is growing at a tremendous pace and with the brand recognition accelerating, Brad felt that he needed someone focused full time on the internal controls, budgets, and financial and capital requirements of the company.  Brad has aggressively built the brand and grown the company with innovative products, I will be focusing on building on his success so we can provide a return to our equity investors."

Mr. Bluher has significant experience working with corporate structuring, corporate boards and committees, risk management, and public company corporate governance. He has 20 years of experience working in financial services public companies as Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel, Director of Risk, and Chief Compliance Officer. Most recently he was Chief Legal Officer at Neuberger Berman and managed the sale of this company out of the Lehman Brothers estate. He was also General Counsel of the Investment Management Division of Lehman Brothers, Inc. His experience also includes negotiating transactions and purchases, and sales of assets and properties on a global basis. He has deep experience in creating and implementing corporate governance plans, working in the corporate board room, and as director of risk, developing internal audit programs and insurance programs for public companies.

He has served on the boards of ICI Mutual Insurance Company, the NASDAQ Chairman's Advisory Board, Cherry Hills Founders Group, Inc., and the University of Wyoming , College of Law Advisory Board. Mr. Bluher is currently on the Board of Targeted Medical Pharma, Inc., Safe Communications, Inc. and University of Wyoming Foundation Board.  

ABOUT MUSCLEPHARM CORPORATION

MusclePharm® is a healthy life-style company that develops and manufactures a full line of Informed Choice approved nutritional supplements that are free of banned substances. Utilizing years of research at the MusclePharm® Sports Science Center, the products are created through a six-stage research protocol involving the expertise of top nutritional scientists and field tested using a pool of over one hundred elite professional athletes from various professional sports leagues including the National Football League, Mixed Martial Arts and Major League Baseball. The company's products address many categories of active lifestyles, including muscle building, weight loss and maintaining general fitness through a daily nutritional supplement regimen. MusclePharm® products are sold to consumers in more than 120 countries and available in over 10,000 U.S. retail outlets, including Dick's Sporting Goods, GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World and Wal-Mart. MusclePharm® products also are sold through more than 100 online stores globally, including bodybuilding.com, Amazon.com and Vitacost.com. For more information, please visit www.musclepharm.com.

Forward Looking Statements

The information contained herein includes forward-looking statements.  These statements relate to future events or to our future financial performance, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.  You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which are, in some cases, beyond our control and which could, and likely will, materially affect actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements.  Any forward-looking statement reflects our current views with respect to future events and is subject to these and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions relating to our operations, results of operations, growth strategy and liquidity.  We assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.

PR Contact:
Annette Dallavalle
5W Public Relations
(212) 584-4299
adallavalle@5wpr.com

MP Official Supplement Sponsor of the UFC

MusclePharm Signs Two-Year Partnership With Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as Official Nutritional Supplement Provider

DENVER, CO September 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — MusclePharm Corporation (OTCBB:MSLP.ob – News), an expanding U.S. nutritional supplement company ("MusclePharm" or the "Company"), is pleased to announce a two-year partnership agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), as the Official Nutritional Supplement Provider for the premier Mixed Martial Arts organization in the world.

Regarded as one of the top sports nutrition companies in the industry, MusclePharm's association with the industry-leading UFC, which features the top MMA fighters in the world, is a perfect fit. The UFC has experienced a massive rise in popularity over the last several years, giving MusclePharm the ideal platform to showcase its award-winning physique and performance product line.

The UFC is currently the largest pay-per-view content provider in the United States and its broadcasts have reigned supreme in the coveted 18-to-34 male ratings demographics. Drawing sell-out crowds across the world for its live events, the UFC has regularly earned higher television ratings than the NBA, NHL, NASCAR as well as NCAA football and basketball as it continues to move into the mainstream. "We're excited to have MusclePharm as the official nutritional supplement provider of the UFC,"UFC President Dana White said. "The team at MusclePharm is committed to helping grow the sport of mixed martial arts. Having them on board as a sponsor of UFC is great for our fans and athletes."

With the partnership, MusclePharm will now have exclusive in-ring placement, including its trademark MP logo on the Octagon mat and bumpers up to 10 times per year during UFC live events, which are viewed by millions of fans worldwide.

The map placement will be in place for the UFC's ground-breaking network television debut on FOX that takes place on Nov. 11. MusclePharm's strong presence will be evident on that night, as the UFC makes its network debut with a heavyweight championship fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos that will be seen by tens of millions of fans across the United States and will be one of the most-viewed matchups in UFC history.

In addition, the partnership includes strong digital media activation and will include an exclusive MusclePharm nutritional section on the www.UFC.com homepage, which draws millions of visitors each month.
The activation will also allow MusclePharm access and visibility on the UFC's Facebook and Twitter pages, which are considered some of the most popular in the social media world and include more than seven million fans.

MusclePharm has previously and continues to be a top sponsor for many of the UFC's top fighters, including worldwide superstars Anderson Silva, Quinton Rampage Jackson, Clay Guida and Rashad Evans.
Now, the growing company, which continues to draw rave reviews in the sports nutrition industry, will have a strong presence on www.ufc.com and inside the Octagon as this amazing partnership takes off.

ABOUT MUSCLEPHARM CORPORATION

MusclePharm is a healthy life-style company that develops and manufactures a full line of Informed Choice approved nutritional supplements that are free of banned substances. Utilizing years of research at the MusclePharm Sports Science Center, the products are created through a six-stage research protocol involving the expertise of top nutritional scientists and field tested using a pool of over one hundred elite professional athletes from various professional sports leagues including the National Football League, Mixed Martial Arts and Major League Baseball. The company's products address many categories of active lifestyles, including muscle building, weight loss and maintaining general fitness through a daily nutritional supplement regimen. MusclePharm products are sold to consumers in more than 120 countries and available in over 10,000 U.S. retail outlets, including Dick's Sporting Goods, GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World and Wal-Mart. MusclePharm products also are sold through more than 100 online stores globally, including bodybuilding.com, Amazon.com and Vitacost.com. For more information, please visit www.musclepharm.com.

Forward Looking Statements

The information contained herein includes forward-looking statements.  These statements relate to future events or to our future financial performance, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.  You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which are, in some cases, beyond our control and which could, and likely will, materially affect actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements.  Any forward-looking statement reflects our current views with respect to future events and is subject to these and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions relating to our operations, results of operations, growth strategy and liquidity.  We assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.

PR Contact:
Annette Dallavalle
5W Public Relations
(212) 584-4299
adallavalle@5wpr.com

MusclePharm Signs Two-Year Partnership With Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) as Official Nutritional Supplement Provider

DENVER , Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — MusclePharm Corporation (OTCBB: MSLP.obNews ), an expanding U.S. nutritional supplement company (“MusclePharm” or the “Company”), is pleased to announce a two-year partnership agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), as the Official Nutritional Supplement Provider for the premier Mixed Martial Arts organization in the world.

Regarded as one of the top sports nutrition companies in the industry, MusclePharm®’s association with the industry-leading UFC®, which features the top MMA fighters in the world, is a perfect fit.

The UFC® has experienced a massive rise in popularity over the last several years, giving MusclePharm® the ideal platform to showcase its award-winning physique and performance product line.

The UFC is currently the largest pay-per-view content provider in the United States and its broadcasts have reigned supreme in the coveted 18-to-34 male ratings demographics. Drawing sell-out crowds across the world for its live events, the UFC® has regularly earned higher television ratings than the NBA, NHL, NASCAR as well as NCAA football and basketball as it continues to move into the mainstream.

“We’re excited to have MusclePharm® as the official nutritional supplement provider of the UFC,” UFC President Dana White said. “The team at MusclePharm® is committed to helping grow the sport of mixed martial arts. Having them on board as a sponsor of UFC is great for our fans and athletes.”

With the partnership, MusclePharm® will now have exclusive in-ring placement, including its trademark MP® logo on the Octagon mat and bumpers up to 10 times per year during UFC® live events, which are viewed by millions of fans worldwide.

The map placement will be in place for the UFC®’s ground-breaking network television debut on FOX that takes place on Nov. 11 . MusclePharm®’s strong presence will be evident on that night, as the UFC makes its network debut with a heavyweight championship fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos that will be seen by tens of millions of fans across the United States and will be one of the most-viewed matchups in UFC® history.

In addition, the partnership includes strong digital media activation and will include an exclusive MusclePharm® nutritional section on the www.UFC.com homepage, which draws millions of visitors each month.

The activation will also allow MusclePharm® access and visibility on the UFC®’s Facebook and Twitter pages, which are considered some of the most popular in the social media world and include more than seven million fans.

MusclePharm® has previously and continues to be a top sponsor for many of the UFC®’s top fighters, including worldwide superstars Anderson Silva , Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Clay Guida and Rashad Evans .

Now, the growing company, which continues to draw rave reviews in the sports nutrition industry, will have a strong presence on www.ufc.com and inside the Octagon as this amazing partnership takes off.

ABOUT MUSCLEPHARM CORPORATION

MusclePharm® is a healthy life-style company that develops and manufactures a full line of Informed Choice approved nutritional supplements that are free of banned substances. Utilizing years of research at the MusclePharm® Sports Science Center, the products are created through a six-stage research protocol involving the expertise of top nutritional scientists and field tested using a pool of over one hundred elite professional athletes from various professional sports leagues including the National Football League, Mixed Martial Arts and Major League Baseball. The company’s products address many categories of active lifestyles, including muscle building, weight loss and maintaining general fitness through a daily nutritional supplement regimen. MusclePharm® products are sold to consumers in more than 120 countries and available in over 10,000 U.S. retail outlets, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World and Wal-Mart. MusclePharm® products also are sold through more than 100 online stores globally, including bodybuilding.com, Amazon.com and Vitacost.com. For more information, please visit www.musclepharm.com.

Forward Looking Statements

The information contained herein includes forward-looking statements.  These statements relate to future events or to our future financial performance, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.  You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements since they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which are, in some cases, beyond our control and which could, and likely will, materially affect actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements.  Any forward-looking statement reflects our current views with respect to future events and is subject to these and other risks, uncertainties and assumptions relating to our operations, results of operations, growth strategy and liquidity.  We assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.

PR Contact:
Annette Dallavalle
5W Public Relations
(212) 584-4299
adallavalle@5wpr.com

Bio

Accolades:Trained Ten UFC World Champions. MusclePharm Director of Fight Development. Developer of Guidojutsu, a hybrid fighting style.
Fighting Out Of: Owner of Jackson’s Martial Arts and Fitness Academy
Strengths: Greg demands greatness from every fighter. Nothing less. That is his strength.

Director of Fight Development Greg Jackson is one of the world’s most respected mixed martial-arts trainers, heading up Jackson’s Submission Fighting Camp in New Mexico. His team boasts one of the best overall records in the professional MMA world. Jackson has turned out at least 10 UFC world champions. Greg Jackson sits on the MusclePharm advisory board, and his athletes provide some of our most valuable product feedback.

Top Five Squats: Part 1

We have 17 men who squat over 1000 pounds. The top five average 1,143 pounds. Our top five totals equal 2,690 pounds. How can one gym develop such a strong group? The answer is hard work, coupled with science, experience, and dedication.

But what is the system that produced this top five average in the squat? It’s a two-day system. One day is max effort day, which is done on Monday. Three days later, on Friday, we devote to special strength, explosive speed, or strength speed. Let’s look at speed day on Friday. 

Here, we do multiple sets depending on the percentages. For speed strength the percent is 50-60% (based on a contest max) for box squatting in briefs or a suit with the straps down. The sets can vary from 8 to 12. Bands or chains must be used to accommodate resistance to eliminate most of the deceleration phase. For speed strength the band tension is an average of 25% at the top. There is also great tension at the bottom to eliminate momentum. The bar speed should average 0.8 m/s. The rest between sets should be held around 60-90 seconds. The stance should be very wide to utilize the hips, glutes, and hamstrings. You must use the correct box squat form. This means pushing the knees out to the sides to exert force outward. The shins must never come over the toes but should be past vertical to the rear. This causes one to leg-curl off the box. Now, let’s look at a three-week pendulum wave for the development of speed development. Let’s look at Tony Bolognone, who is an 1,150-pound squatter. Below is a table showing a three-week wave. 

Week 1 10 Sets 2 reps 575 pounds bar weight 250 pounds band tension
Week 2 10 Sets 2 reps 635 pounds bar weight 250 pounds band tension
Week 3 8 Sets 2 reps 690 pounds bar weight 250 pounds band tension

J. Roberts has an 1,100-pound squat. Below is a table showing a typical speed-strength three-week cycle.

Week 1 10 Sets 2 reps 550 pounds bar weight 250 pounds band tension
Week 2 10 Sets 2 reps 605 pounds bar weight 250 pounds band tension
Week 3 8 Sets 2 reps 660 pounds bar weight 250 pounds band tension

For both men, the band tension is slightly less than 25%, but at Westside a strong band gives us 250 pounds of tension.

Dave Hoff has a 1,075-pound squat at 275 bodyweight. Below is a table of a three-week wave with weight and bands together. This is a combination of 160 pounds of chains and 140 pounds of band tension. This is a typical three-week speed-strength wave.

Week 1 10 Sets 2 reps 540 pounds bar weight 300 pounds bands + chains
Week 2 10 Sets 2 reps 600 pounds bar weight 300 pounds bands + chains
Week 3 8 Sets 2 reps 660 pounds bar weight 300 pounds bands + chains

The three examples above show a 1075-pound, an 1100-pound, and an 1150-pound squatter. You see, the weights are slightly different per lifter. There can be no hypothetical reasoning. The math must be correct to maintain proper bar speed. This is all based on mathematics. Strength-speed work is also done on Friday. The band tension must be at least 50% of the total squat at the top.

Below are two examples of a strength-speed workout by A. J. Roberts using two different combinations of band tension and bar weight. The first strength-speed workout will be with 440 pounds of band tension, working up to a 1 rep max. The work looks like this:

320 pounds bar weight 2 reps 440 pounds band tension
420 pounds bar weight 2 reps 440 pounds band tension
510 pounds bar weight 1 reps 440 pounds band tension
600 pounds bar weight 1 reps 440 pounds band tension
660 pounds bar weight 1 reps 440 pounds band tension

The circa-max workout netted an 1100-pound squat for A. J. A pure strength-speed workout is where the band tension is greater than the amount of bar weight. The strength-speed workout outlined below will produce great strength at low velocity.

160 pounds bar weight 2 reps 700 pounds band tension
240 pounds bar weight 2 reps 700 pounds band tension
330 pounds bar weight 1 reps 700 pounds band tension
380 pounds bar weight 1 reps 700 pounds band tension
425 pounds bar weight 1 reps 700 pounds band tension

 

You will notice that the top net weight is with two different combinations of band weight. The total is 1100 pounds with 440 pounds of band tension and 660 pounds of bar weight. The second workout was with 700 pounds of bands and 425 pounds of bar weight. This matches with A.J.’s meet squat. Is this a coincidence? No, not at all.
 
Using the circa-max phase, Tony Ramos made a squat with 470 pounds of bar weight plus 375 pounds of band tension, which equals 845 pounds at the top. Tony has an 810-pound meet squat. I made 585 pounds bar weight plus 375 pounds of band tension. That adds up to 960 pounds. I made a strong 920 pounds. This shows that band tension of 35-45% works well. As your bar squat goes up, of course the bar weight goes up, but the band tension goes down somewhat. Let’s look at the history of Tony Bolognone’s squat progress from 1000 pounds to 1150 pounds. As your squat improves to 1000 pounds, the band tension goes from 375 pounds to 440 pounds. 

Tony's Squat

  • 600 pounds bar weight + 440 pounds band tension = 1000 pounds
  • 650 pounds bar weight + 440 pounds band tension = 1050 pounds
  • 675 pounds bar weight + 440 pounds band tension = 1075 pounds
  • 690 pounds bar weight + 440 pounds band tension = 1100 pounds
  • 720 pounds bar weight + 440 pounds band tension = 1120 pounds
  • 720 pounds bar weight + 440 pounds band tension = 1130 pounds
  • 720 pounds bar weight + 440 pounds band tension = 1150 pounds

 

As you can see, there is a direct correlation of Tony’s contest squat with the top value of his box squat with the band and weight combinations. I have seen many such results. 
 
After each Friday speed development workout, the lifters use the Reverse Hyper machine and do calf/ham/glute raises, abs, and some kind of lat work. At times, sled power walking, back extensions, good mornings, belt squatting, or light speed pulls can be done. Below is a simple guideline to follow to determine what to expect at meet time based on a box squat record. 
800 pounds meet squat 500 pounds bar weight 375 pounds band tension
850 pounds meet squat 550 pounds bar weight 375 pounds band tension
900 pounds meet squat 600 pounds bar weight 375 pounds band tension
950 pounds meet squat 650 pounds bar weight 375 pounds band tension
1000 pounds meet squat 600 pounds bar weight 440 pounds band tension
1050 pounds meet squat 650 pounds bar weight 440 pounds band tension
1100 pounds meet squat 700 pounds bar weight 440 pounds band tension
1150 pounds meet squat 720 pounds bar weight 440 pounds band tension

This will cover most of the population. If you squat 400 to 550 pounds, simply cut the weight and band tension in half. The second workout for the squat also works for the deadlift.

Max Effort Day

This day is for lifting a max single, the best on that day depending on your level of preparedness. Doing heavy doubles or triples builds strength endurance, so stick to singles. Each week, rotate a special squat, pull, or good morning. There are many special exercises to choose from. This means eventually you will select six to eight lifts to rotate between, not the ones you like, but the ones that work best for raising your squat and deadlift. Below are exercises that Jake Anderson may choose from, depending on which work best for him. All are core lifts.

  1. Pin 2 rack pull
  2. Low-box front squat
  3. Bent-over good mornings
  4. Band deadlifts with 220 pounds over the bar
  5. Band deadlifts with 280 pounds over the bar
  6. Zercher lifts
  7. Ultrawide sumo deadlifts
  8. Safety squat bar
  9. Box deadlifts 2 inches off the box
  10. Box deadlifts 4 inches off the box
  11. Rack pulls with 250 pounds of band tension
  12. Rack pulls with 350 pounds of band tension
  13. Concentric good mornings
  14. 14 inch cambered bar low box squat
  15. Power cleans or snatches

There are countless max effort workouts to rotate between. The max effort day is dedicated to both the squat and deadlift. Just as Jake has learned that some work better than others, you will also learn not only what special exercises will build your strength but also what exercises will tell you how strong you are without doing a real squat or deadlift.

Everyone knows Westside always does box squats. Remember, the box height should be parallel. You must release your hip muscles while sitting on the box. The rest of your body must remain tense. While on the box your chins must be at least straight up and down, or the knees slightly behind the ankles. This overloads the hamstrings and glutes. Always push the knees out to the sides as you lower and rise from the bottom of the squat. A simple tip is to raise the big toe. The best shoe is Chuck Taylors. Actually, the best shoe is no shoe.

Speciality Bars

Only use a squat bar on speed-strength day. This is the only way to perfect technique. Other bars should be used only if an injury prevents you from using a squat bar. Remember, use three-week waves for speed-strength work and two-week waves for strength-speed work, and for speed work use some accommodating resistance through the use of bands or chains.

Max effort day exercises must be rotated each week. Small exercises such as lat work of all kinds, lower back, abs, and hamstrings should be rotated when necessary.

Strong Legs

It was late 1969, and the Culver City, CA, Westside boys were writing an article called Conditioned Legs Break Record Squat. Well it's as true today as it was back then. Here at the Columbus Westside Barbell, we have held world records at 181, 220, 242, 275, 308, and SHW in the squat or total. Westside has a variety of leg exercises that we choose from. Everyone knows we box squat all the time, but what do we do to supplement leg strength or to complement our hip strength? First, belt squats.

Westside lifters started doing belt squats in 1975. I personally realized in the early 1970s that my quads were somewhat smaller before I started doing box squats. Of course, I Olympic lifted first and used a close stance with a raised heel. But box squatting with a wide stance while pushing the knees out to the sides placed most of the work on the hips and glutes. It was at this point that I started to belt squat, including standing on a ramp and not locking out the legs to keep tension on the quads. Westside lifters would belt squat after box squatting or on max effort day after a good morning or a deadlift of some type. Today, we use several variations of the belt squat. Variations include belt squatting on a box; belt squatting without a box; walking on the belt squat platform until failure; walking forward where the cable is behind you, bent over like deadlifting (this is an unreal glute developer); and walking backward with tension on the front of the legs. We also do a lot of calf work in the belt squat machine.

Next up is the calf ham/glute bench. You must have incredibly strong hamstrings for squatting, deadlifting, and of course running. The reps can be very high, up to 60, for conditioning or 2-6 for strength with weight. Our glute/ham bench is 34 inches wide, so we can hit the entire hamstring. Raising the foot plate will make it much harder, for added development. For the advanced, use one leg at a time.

Band leg curls are frequently done to thicken the ligaments and tendons. Ten- or 20-pound ankle weights for up to 200 reps will also thicken the soft tissue to prevent injuries. Kinetic energy can be increased by thickening the ligaments and tendons, which will help reversal strength. Switching specialty bars on max effort day will cause added growth and strength development by causing extra stimulation by not allowing you to master the bar. Front squats, the Safety Squat bar, a 14-inch cambered bar, and even the Zercher harness will make it possible for new physical development, due to learning a new task. Using bands and chains to create accommodation to cause max tension throughout the entire range of motion can do amazing things for one's muscles. Westside was the first to introduce chains, then bands to barbells, and now every commercial has a football player doing something with chains or bands attached to the bar.

Next up is the Plyo Swing. Ours is much like the one shown in the Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vlad Zatsiorsky. We attach bands to the machine, first to accommodate resistance, and second to increase kinetic energy, causing an overspeed eccentric phase. We also do lots of leg pressing with light weight for high reps, up to 75, or low reps with very heavy weight. It's important to do one leg at a time to eliminate a bilateral deficit, which almost everyone possesses.

This brings us to power walking with a weight sled. About 1994, I was wondering why the Finns were so good at deadlifting. Of course they were very athletic, but was that the only reason? I doubt it. My good friend Eskil Thomasson from Sweden was staying here with us. He was going back to Sweden for a visit before moving to Westside for 10 years. When he went to Finland, he asked why they were all great deadlifters. To his surprise they had no idea. Some were lumberjacks and would pull the logs out to the road for the tractor to pick them up. They used several ways to pull the logs. One way was to pull them backwards; some would walk forward; some would pull over the shoulder. All and all, the key was heavy manual labor, but it added up to a lot of log pulling. On hearing this, I started pulling a tire at first and then sleds, very heavy at times, around 450 pounds for 100 feet for three or four trips. Using 225 pounds for six trips of 60 yards works great for powerlifters, sprinters, and football players. It is done three times a week, weather permitting. The heaviest pulling is on Monday. For strength development, reduce the load about one-third on Wednesday for strength endurance, and on Friday, use a 45-pound plate or two for a warmup or restoration. Sled power-walking will build all the muscles in the lower body while increasing your conditioning at the same time. Don't forget, you can work your upper body as well by using a second strap. You can do any movement you want, such as curls, upright rows, triceps extensions, pec work, you name it. Kids of 10 years old and up can use a sled. For a more intense workout, add ankle weights, weight vests, or both for added resistance. For extra hamstring work, walk with the straps between your legs and lower them to knee level. Walk with as large a step as possible, or they can be done like pull-throughs. Just switch styles as often as you like to keep new stimulation of the lower or upper body. One of my favorite exercises is good mornings with the sled. Use a neck harness attached to the sled strap, walk backwards slowly, bend over, and methodically stand erect, then walk backwards with tension at all times. This will blow up the back like nothing else. Note: you don't need very heavy weight for this to be effective.

Phil Harrington has broken several world records in the squat. His best is 905 pounds in the 181-pound class, before Mike Cartinian raised it to 930 pounds lifting for Big Iron. Phil set a goal to break Tony Fratto's raw record at 198 set in 1972, 749 pounds, and in March 2011 Phil did 755 pounds. He was concentrating on jumping exercises of all types and not doing a lot of squatting. Here is a list of jumping exercises Phil used to break the raw squat record. First, to prepare himself for jumping, he started by doing presses with a barbell and dumbbells while sitting on the floor. They are used to condition all muscles involved in jumping. First while on his knees, he did several repetitions of jumping to his feet. Next, Phil added a barbell on his back while jumping to his feet. Then, he did the following over several weeks. First, he held a bar on his thighs while kneeling and jumped to a power clean. Next, from a kneeling position with the bar on his thighs, he jumped into a power snatch. After mastering the mentioned movements, he held a bar on his thighs and jumped into a split clean and then split snatch. After this, he set records in the kneeling squat up onto a box or from a kneeling position into a long jump. These jumps build explosive power. For strength, jump onto boxes with ankle weights or a weight vest. Hold dumbbells and jump onto boxes for record heights with a certain amount of weight or combinations of weight. Switch the resistance often and do 10-30 jumps per workout. Two or three jump workouts a week works well. About once every month try a body weight jump record. This may look like a sports workout, but it will serve to condition a lifter as well as making his legs very explosive.

This is just a small sample of workouts you can do. Don't overdo it. You must raise your GPP to recover from your high-volume or high-intensity workout. Phil proved it works, and Laura Phelps is experimenting with jumps as well. Do easy jumping as a warmup or come back to the gym later for a more intense workout and watch your squats and pulls go up.

GPP

I am often asked, how do we recover from two max effort workouts each week, on top of two high-volume speed days? The two max effort workouts are done at least 80% of the year. The remainder of the year, they are replaced by high-volume hypertrophy days aimed at increasing strength in lagging muscle groups. A speed bench workout can account for 12,000 pounds, not counting special exercises. A squat speed day can be 10,000-12,000 pounds plus special exercises. One reason we use a three-week pendulum wave is for speed benching. We use a rotational system of change. Exercises that accommodate resistance are changed every two or three weeks, i.e., bands, chains, weight releasers, or the lightened method. Close, wide, and medium grips are constantly interchanged, as well as the special exercise with barbells or dumbbells. The volume must fluctuate as well. We change the strength curve by using different board loading, and of course on max effort day, we constantly change the barbell lifts. This enables us to break a record almost 100% of the time. Our lifters have the opportunity to set new standards each week whether using no gear, light gear, or our best and strongest gear.

The squat is structured in the same manner. Different exercises, different bars, and changing stances and gear are ways to avoid accommodation. For the deadlift, changing your stance from conventional to sumo, ultra-wide, or very close will help with restoration. Do rack pulls on different pins or standing on a 2- or 4-inch box, and always change special exercises.

People are afraid of change, but what got you where you are may not get you where you want to be. What about conditioning, or GPP (general physical preparedness)? Westside uses numerous special means for recovery, for example, water therapy (both cold and hot), saunas, infrared, steam, chiropractic, ART, eating correctly, and using supplements. I highly recommend my favorite supplements: Musclepharm and Atlarge Nutrition.

Now let's get to small workouts for the upper body. I prefer traction while stretching. Indian clubs are ancient but still work great. They were used by wrestlers in India. They were later called fitness clubs because they were popular in early fitness establishments. There are many ways to swing them, i.e., clockwise or counterclockwise, over the head, swinging them in front of the body in a centrifugal force fashion, or one over the head while one is held across in front of the body. The methods are countless. They are great for your grip and rotators. Every movement tractions the wrists, elbows, and shoulders. We also use a mace. It is a very large, very heavy, and long Indian club. There are many varieties of motion, much like swinging a baseball bat.

Other types of traction and grip developers, as well prehab and rehab devices, are battling ropes and chains. John Brookfield popularized them a few years ago, and they caught on with MMA, then football, and now Westside. I had a shoulder socket replacement, and when I started using the ropes, I found it made my shoulders feel great. I started with a 50 foot 1 ½ inch rope and then starting using a 2-inch rope to make it a harder workout. I use a moderate tempo for rehab and prehab. I have used a 2-inch rope for an hour straight. I then bought a half-inch chain to battle with and do a lot of 10-15-minute intervals. It does wonders for my shoulders as well as my conditioning. At 63 years old, I must do several small workouts per week to keep up with my Westside teammates. I think everyone should do them on a regular basis. Like Indian clubs, they traction the wrists, elbows, and shoulders, and traction is the key to longevity. Speaking of traction, Jump-Stretch Flexbands are seen all the time on ESPN football and baseball fields and on the basketball courts. Dick Hartzell is the founder of Jump-Stretch Flexbands. This band system is used everywhere he goes, and he goes everywhere. I thank Dick every day when we put bands on the bar with weights. They have turned Westside into a very dominant power gym.

Then there's the bandbell bar. Tony Ramos, Westside's 181 and 198 pounds lifter, came up with the concept of hanging kettlebells on a bar with mini-bands. After the initial concept, Jim Seitzer, a long-time Westsider, developed a bar that vibrates. I used this bar to bench 300 pounds in a T-shirt three months after shoulder socket replacement. Did you hear that doctors?

Another excellent upper body GPP workout is upper body sled work. Whatever you can do with a dumbbell, you can do with a sled and upper body strap, such as curls, extensions, upright rows, pecs, and external rotation work. Get fit and strong at the same time with sled work.

What about lower body workouts? Well, let's start with sled work for the lower body. There are two methods. The first is for the development of the posterior chain. Here, one walks with a long stride on the heels. After touching the heel, pull through immediately on each touch. This builds the glutes, hips, hamstrings, and calves. This will increase your squat or deadlift immediately. There is no pressure on the spine. A side note: the abs are used on each step. For running or sprinting, it will eliminate deceleration to a large degree. The second method is to stay on the balls of the feet. This is similar to the pose method by Dr. Nicholas Romanov, which teaches you to reduce recovery time. The trip length can vary from 60 yards for power sports to long distance, up to 3 miles for a marathon runner. Try walking backward for knee rehab and thigh development. A powerlifter should do no less than six trips of 60 yards, to a maximum of 12 trips for rehab and restoration. Other varieties are walking sideways, or forward with straps held below knee level for hamstrings. Light belt squats can take the stress off the spine while still increasing leg strength. Use both wide and close stances for sled work.

Don't forget that glute/ham raises are amazing for restoration. In the former Soviet Union, 600 glute/ham raises were done a month as maintenance. That amounts to 20 per day. That's doable, right? The glute/ham raises can be rotated with Jump-Stretch Flexband leg curls. For a fast small workout for the entire body, try box squatting for 5 minutes without replacing the bar in the rack. It does not matter how many reps you do in the 5 minutes as long as you finish with a squat. Also try doing light deadlifts for 5 minutes without resting the bar on the ground. The Olympic lifts can also be done in the same fashion. This method of training is common for grapplers as well as the great Olympic and world weightlifting champion V. Alexeyev, the first man to clean 500 pounds, which he did in 1970 in Columbus, Ohio.

There are too many workouts to mention in one sitting, but make up your own small workouts lasting as little as 20 minutes up to 45 minutes. By doing the right amount of small workouts for strength, endurance, and prehab, you can eliminate rehab as well as soreness and any lagging muscle groups. For a powerlifter, it depends on your level of strength how many extra workouts you do per week. For beginners, I found two extra small workouts work best, one for the bench and one for the squat and deadlift. At an advanced level, four works well, two for the upper body, benching muscle groups and two for the low back, hamstrings, and hips. I don't consider abs work a workout because it is a necessity and can be done several times per week. The same goes for stretching. You must maintain your flexibility. It can be difficult when you gain mass with years of heavy resistance training. One must be in excellent shape to make excellent totals. America is getting fatter by the day. You are an athlete, so look like it and you will perform better. Everyone must get plenty of rest to do their best. Eight hours of sleep is a must. And last but not least, learn to relax and yet be motivated.

I like to read a good book on occasion, like Call of the Wild, or watch a motivational movie. My favorite movie is
Shogun Assassin. In the movie, the Shogun sends his henchman to kill his assassin, who he now fears will kill him, but the henchman kills the assassin's wife instead but spars their child, Daigoro. As the shogun assassin finds the wife and child, bloody, the wife says "my bad dream has come true" – and wipes blood on Daigoro's face as she dies. Later, the assassin sits Daigoro in front of him with a pretty ball on one side and a sword on the other. He tells the young Daigoro that if he chooses the ball, he will join his mother in death, but if he chooses the sword, he will join him on a road of vengeance. After a moment Daigoro chooses the sword, and indeed he travels a bloody road of vengeance.

This is the Westside way. If you choose the ball, you're done, but if you choose the sword, you will be on the road called kickin' ass.

Top Five: Part III. The Deadlift

Before bench shirts, there was a saying, "the meet does not start until the bar touches the floor". At Westside, we have always had very good deadlifters: 18 at 800 pounds or more; the top five average 845 pounds. How does Westside train the deadlift and the squat without them interfering with each other? How can the deadlift be kept explosive? These are two questions that are asked over and over. Here are the answers to both.

The speed pulls are done on Friday after squatting. Squats are done for speed strength development 90% of the time. Multiple sets are done on a box with a combination of weights, bands, or chains for accommodating resistance. About 50% of the time speed deadlifts are done after squatting. There are two methods that we alternate.

Speed pulls can be done in the rack with a conventional stance. The plates are 2, 4, or 6 inches off the floor. We double up mini-bands for up to a 500-pound deadlift. The monster mini or light bands are doubled up as well. Monster minis yield about 250 pounds at lockout. The light bands add 350 pounds at lockout.

For building speed strength, 6-10 singles are done using a three-week wave, adding some weight each week. When doing speed work off the floor, use a wide sumo stance, wider than normal, to build the hips. Two bands are used. Mini-bands on our platform will provide 220 pounds of tension at the top. This works well for those who deadlift up to 750 pounds. For lifters approaching 800 pounds, monster mini-bands add 280 pounds at lockout. Six to 10 singles work well after speed squatting.

After squatting and speed pulls, work the low back and hamstrings as hard as possible depending on your level of preparedness. Glute/ham raises, Reverse Hyper machine, light good mornings for high reps with emphasis on the hamstrings, and power sled walking off the heels are a few to rotate from. Ab exercises are of the utmost importance: straight leg sit-ups, leg raises lying down or hanging, static ab work using a lat bar doing straight arm push downs, and side bends. Follow ab work by lat work: pull-downs (put chains on the bars often), chest-supported rows, low-pulley rows, dumbbell and barbell rows. Pick a total of three or four special exercises after squatting and speed pulls. Rotate the exercises after two or three workouts as a rule. Also change the sets and reps to avoid accommodation by changing the amount of volume and the intensity. This will help restoration.

Max Effort Day

An extreme workout can occur every 72 hours. Speed squats and pulls are done on Friday. This means Monday is max effort day. How do we train the squat and deadlift maximally? A squat will build a deadlift, and a deadlift will build a squat. The good morning and its many varieties will build both. The body will respond to the demands placed upon it. This describes the max effort method. This is explained in many texts, such as The Science and Practice of Strength Training by V. M. Zatsiorsky, 1995.

For squatting and deadlifting, work up to a max single. The good mornings are done for a max of 3 or 5 reps. The good mornings will build strength endurance in the back and legs. Otherwise a max on that day should be 1 rep. There is no particular order to follow, but one week do one type of deadlift, the next week a squat of some kind, then the following week a good morning. If you have limited equipment, do light good mornings after a max squat or deadlift. Exercises after a max effort workout could be any of the following:

  1. Back raises
  2. Pulling a sled
  3. 45-degree back raises
  4. Lat pull-downs
  5. Reverse Hyper machine
  6. Chest-supported rows
  7. Belt squats
  8. Barbell rows
  9. Dumbbell rows
  10. Upright rows
  11. Ab work of all kinds

If possible, do a small second workout with lighter special exercises or do a flexibility workout or some type of restoration such as hot tub, sauna, ice, massage, or chiropractic. Let's look at a random program for max effort.

First Week

  1. Safety squat bar, 10-inch box to a max single
  2. Six trips of 60 yards with a heavy sled
  3. Lat work of your choice
  4. Hamstring exercise (e.g., glute/ham raises)
  5. Reverse Hyper machine and abs for at least 4 sets each

Second Week

  1. Rack pulls on pins 3-6 inches off the ground with plates
  2. Max single, conventional stance
  3. Belt squats. Work up to heavy sets of 5 reps or more depending on your work capacity.
  4. Chest-supported rows
  5. Low-pulley rows
  6. 45-degree back raises for high reps, 6 to 10 reps with weights
  7. Reverse Hyper machine and abs for at least 4 sets each

Third Week

  1. Zercher squats as low as possible. If you cannot lift the bar off the floor, place it on power rack pins or place plates on rubber mats.
  2. Front squat off of a low box, 10 to 12 inches, for sets of 6 reps. For those who cannot hold a front squat position or hold a heavy bar in your elbows, Westside offers a Zercher harness.
  3. Heavy upright rows, with a barbell or dumbbells
  4. Reverse Hyper machine and abs, at least 4 sets each

Fourth Week

When needed, do not do a barbell exercise, but do high-rep exercises for the upper back, lower back, abs, and hamstrings, or just take it very easy with an active rest workout consisting of walking with a light sled or perhaps walking with a weight vest and ankle weights. Depending on your level of fitness, walk for a half-mile up to two miles.

Remember, this workout is for restoration, so do not overdo it. I personally get more muscle stimulation in a directed area, meaning lower back or hamstrings or even my abs. This is done to suit my personality, which is also probably much like most readers. At least do flexibility or mobility work. Also roll on foam rollers or a lacrosse ball. Go to www.ampedwarmup.com or Kelly Starrett at www.sanfranciscocrossfit.com. Kelly is knowledgeable in this field.

Fifth Week

  1. Ultra-wide stiff-leg sumo to a max single.
  2. Leg press, close stance or wide stance
  3. Heavy shrugs. We use a strongman wheel barrow known as a Wheel Farrow.
  4. Lat pull-downs
  5. Reverse Hyper machine and abs for at least 4 sets each

Sixth Week

  1. Bent-leg, bent-back good mornings
  2. Heavy sled work for 8 trips of 100 feet. Stay on heels.
  3. Chest-supported rows
  4. Low-pulley rows
  5. Glute/ham raises
  6. Reverse Hyper machine and abs for at least 4 sets each

Seventh Week

  1. Front squat to a max single. Work down doing reps at two or three weights. There are two varieties to use, a close stance on a low box or a wide stance much like your sumo deadlift stance. This teaches body mechanics for both the squat and deadlift.
  2. 45-degree back raises with as heavy a weight as possible for 5 reps
  3. Low-pulley rows
  4. Close grip lat pull-downs
  5. Reverse Hyper machine and straight leg sit-ups for at least 4 sets each

Eighth Week

  1. Heavy sled walking, meaning 4-6 plates or more. Walk 60 yards and make no less than 6 trips and no more than 10. During the week the heavy sled work was done on Monday, or max effort day. On Wednesday drop weight from five plates to three plates for example. On Friday, drop the weight again from three plates to one 45-pound plate or 70 pounds for a warm-up for speed squatting day.
  2. After the max effort sled day, do lat pull-downs
  3. Glute/ham raises
  4. Reverse Hyper machine and abs for at least 4 sets each

Ninth Week

Rack pulls with a conventional stance with two band tensions, one with 250 pounds at the top with monster mini-bands and the second with light bands, which provide 350 pounds at the top. For example, my deadlift is around 700 pounds. My best with 250 pounds of band tension is 515 pounds. My
best with 350 pounds of band tension is 415. Both are estimated to be 765 pounds at lockout, the same as my current pin 3 record. The plates are 6 inches off the floor.

After rack pulls, do belt squats or leg press. Reverse Hyper machine and ab work must follow, at least 4 sets each. Rack pulls with bands are very stressful, and the special exercises must be held to a minimum.

Tenth Week

Do concentric good mornings or squat. Crawl under the bar, relax, then lift concentrically. This is a tester, while some other special exercises are builders. Paul Anderson performed a lot of squatting and pressing with no eccentric actions. To follow-up, you must do either sled pulling or belt squatting or leg pressing. Then do direct low-back work with back raises or the Reverse Hyper machine, and add some lat work and heavy abs and you're done.

These workouts can be done in any sequence. There are countless other workouts to do. You will find which ones work best for you. Do these workouts work?

As I started this three-part series, our average top five squat was 1143 pounds, now it is 1151 pounds plus a sixth 1100+ squat of 1115 at 266 pounds. Our bench top five average was 851 pounds, now it is 861 pounds. Westside's Dave "Neutron" Hoff made a 2805-pound world record in the 275-pound weight class. A. J. Roberts made a 2825 world record in the 308-pound weight class. The average top five total was 2690 and is now 2725 pounds.

Yes it works; there is much more to the Westside system. On March 5, 2011, two former Westside members made historic world records. Phil Harrington made a 755 raw squat at 198 pounds, breaking Tony Fratto's record of 749 in 1972, and Chuck Vogelpohl made an 1180-pound squat in the 275 pound weight class, 24 years after winning his first national championship. Congratulations to all.

Info

MusclePharm is the official nutritional supplement supplier for Major League’s baseball team; the Cincinnati Reds.

The partnership begins in 2011 and MusclePharm will work closely with the Cincinnati Reds and its Head Strength Coach, Matt Krause.

Matt Krause, Head Strength Coach of the Cincinnati Reds said, “We are proud to team with MusclePharm because its products are convenient, safe, effective and contain no banned substances. As a strength coach, I am always working to ensure our players reach their full potential and proper diet and supplements are an important part of that goal of reaching full potential. Musclepharm provides the proper supplements that are approved by NSF and Major League Baseball testing guidelines which provides me with the confidence I must have in the supplements our players are using.”

Before any Musclepharm products are available for professional sports teams they must be approved by the NSF Certified for Sport® Program. To meet the growing demands of athletes, coaches and all those concerned about banned substances in sports supplements, NSF International developed the NSF Certified for Sport® Program. This testing program minimizes the risk that a dietary supplement or sports nutrition product will contain any substance that is on one of the major sports organizations banned list. It also ensures that certified products contain the identity and quantity of dietary ingredients declared on the product label, but do not contain unacceptable quantities of unwanted contaminants for the recommended serving size.

MusclePharm’s President, Cory Gregory, commented, "We are very excited to become the nutritional supplement supplier for the Cincinnati Reds. We believe this relationship will expand our brand by introducing our nutritional supplements, which are 100% free of any banned substances, to a new consumer group.”

“We started Musclepharm to provide all athletes with the proper supplements that will enable them to reach their full potential with safe and effective supplements. We believe this partnership is only the beginning of opportunities for us to expand our brand into sports outside of our core MMA market."

MusclePharm Nominated For 14 Bodybuilding.com Supplement Awards

DENVER, July 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — MusclePharm Corporation, a Nevada corporation ("MusclePharm" or the "Company") (OTCBB:MSLP.ob – News), an expanding U.S. nutritional supplement company, is pleased to announce that it has been nominated in 14 different categories for the upcoming 2011 Bodybuilding.com Supplement Awards, including in the prestigious Brand of the Year award.

"Bodybuilding.com is the biggest online retailer in the supplement world and we are very excited to be considered for this many awards," MusclePharm Senior President and Co-Founder Cory Gregory said. "It is a testament to the MusclePharm brand and the top-quality products that we continue to put out.

"In just a short time, people have recognized MusclePharm as an industry leader in the sports nutrition world and we are certain the best is yet to come.

"In fact, we are launching our CORE line (BCAAs, creatine, ZMA, Glutamine) and Armor-V, our advanced multi-vitamin, this month at Bodybuilding.com. Our consumers are dedicated to the MusclePharm product, and introducing and offering these items to our consumers will ensure all of their sports nutrition needs are met by MusclePharm."

The following is a full list of MusclePharm's nominations and includes the product that is in contention for each particular award:

  • Brand of the Year
  • Breakout Brand (most improved) of the Year
  • Supplement of the Year (Assault)
  • New Supplement of the Year (Assault)
  • Muscle Building Supplement of the Year (Assault)
  • BCAA Supplement of the Year (Recon®)
  • Fat Loss Supplement of the Year (Shred Matrix)
  • Glutamine Supplement of the Year (Bullet Proof)
  • Pre-Workout Supplement of the Year (Assault)
  • RTD (Ready-To-Drink) of the Year (MuscleGel Shot)
  • Energy Supplement of the Year (Assault)
  • Protein Powder of the Year (Combat Powder®)
  • Recovery Supplement of the Year (Recon®)
  • Packaging of the Year

A year ago, MusclePharm was nominated in five categories, with the 14 nominations for 2011 showing the incredible growth the company has made in the past 12 months.

The nominees are among the top products in their award category, which are selected from the more than 13,000 products that Bodybuilding.com carries.

In a short time, MusclePharm has become one of the top 10 best-selling brands on Bodybuilding.com, which carries products from more than 550 companies.

A variety of its products, including Assault and Shred Matrix, are also among the best-selling product lists, which has helped lead to the increasing number of nominations.

With the supplement awards, Bodybuilding.com annually recognizes industry leaders who consistently deliver top-quality and reliable products to consumers.

Voting takes place online through August 15, with winners being selected by total number of votes. Last year, more than 315,000 votes were cast.

"These awards allows the customer to vote on which supplements they feel are the highest-quality and most-effective in helping them achieve their health and fitness goals," Bodybuilding.com CEO Ryan DeLuca said.

The final winners will be announced live during the 2011 Mr. Olympia Expo on Sept. 16 in Las Vegas.

To vote for MusclePharm products, go to www.Bodybuilding.com/Awards.

Mission Statement

At MusclePharm® we live the lifestyle. The motivating force that drives MusclePharm's business is the integrity of its management team. We are not just business people; we share the lifestyle of our target customers. We have harnessed the drive and focus that marked our experiences in the sports world into building our business that benefits all fitness enthusiasts and helps Fuel The Athlete Inside®!

Supplement Facts

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 8 Capsules
Servings Per Container 30
  Amount Per Serving %DV
L-Leucine 3000mg *
L-Valine 2000mg *
L-Isoleucine 1000mg *

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet

*Daily Value (DV) not established

Supplement Facts

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 5g (3 Scoops)
Servings Per Container 60
  Amount Per Serving %DV
Glutamine Blend (L-Glutamine, Glutamine Peptides, Alanyl-l-glutamine) 5000mg *

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet

*Daily Value (DV) not established

Supplement Facts

Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 1 Capsule
Servings Per Container 60
  Amount Per Serving %DV
Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride 3mg  150.00%
Copper (as Copper Glycinate) 10mcg 0.50% 
Magnesium (as Magnesium Aspartate) 113mg 28.25%
Zinc (as Monomethionine and Aspartate) 7.5mg 50.00% 
Proprietary Trigonella foenum greacum extract standardized for 50% Saponins 50mg *
Melatonin 3mg *

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet

*Daily Value (DV) not established

German Volume Training – With a Twist

It was inevitable, but luckily, I always had a back-up plan.

Without fail, after a certain amount of time my training would stall on a new program I tried back when I was younger. My back-up plan was a good one, though: German Volume Training.

Like BMW and Mercedes, the Germans got this one right with GVT training, which is an all-out thrashing on your body. Basically, you perform 10 sets of 10 reps on core movements like squat, bench press, rows and military press.

If you aren't drenched in sweat after doing a GVT workout, well, you are doing something wrong. That's why this was always the program I kept in the chamber. Whenever something was stalling, it was back to GVT training and muscle growth and ridiculous pumps followed. Of course, this training wasn't easy and you had to be in the right frame of mind. But with a dedicated approach – along with proper nutrition and rest – this program works wonders.

The creators of GVT wouldn't throw an entire country under the bus now would they? So, yes, it works.

When I was getting ready for bodybuilding shows or photo shoots, I was always looking for the best way to show up shredded and in unreal condition.

To do this, as said before I went back to old faithful: German Volume Training.

Only now, I decided to up the ante and added a little twist.

I applied the GVT principles – 10 sets of 10 reps on my movements – only I dramatically cut the rest periods.

Needless to say, I found a new form of torture.

I went immediately to the crazy stuff, walked up to the squat rack and just used 135 pounds.
 I did 10 quick reps, racked the weight and watched the clock. Ten quick seconds flew by and I punched out 10 more reps. By the eighth set, my legs were cramping like crazy – with 135, no less. On the bright side, the pump was mind-blowing – if only I could feel my legs.

Next up? More torture as I moved onto leg extensions.

I'm not sure what I was thinking—maybe the squats shut off the common sense part of my brain. I did 10 sets of 10 reps with 10 seconds of rest between sets and, honestly, it felt like my quads were exploding. I crawled to the leg curl machine and wreaked havoc on my hamstrings, using the same method.

Not content with the tormenting, I finished up with leg press and then needed someone to carry me home. But there was plenty of good news.

In addition to the pump, the improvements to my quad sweep were quite remarkable and it helped me get in incredible condition. If you're interested in self-torture and losing your lunch, this is for you.

On a serious note, this method can add some serious growth and take your training to entirely new levels.

Don't use this method—four exercises of 10 sets of 10 reps with 10 seconds rest—for more than two weeks. But keep within this timeframe and you'll really transform your body.

Should that inevitable rut in your training appear, GVT With a Twist might be the solution you've been searching for.

German Volume Training – With a Twist

Perform 10 sets of 10 reps, but rest only 10 seconds between each set

Select 4 movements per body part

Sample Leg Workout

  • Squat
  • Leg Curl
  • Leg Extension
  • Leg Press

(Perform 10 sets of 10 reps with only 10 seconds of rest between each set)

Sample Chest Workout

  • Incline Bench Press
  • Flat Bench Press
  • Pec Deck (or fly)
  • Hammer Machine (or other machine press)

(Perform 10 sets of 10 reps with only 10 seconds of rest between each set)

Sample Back Workout

  • Dumbbell Pullovers
  • Reverse-Grip Pulldowns
  • Seated Rows
  • T-Bar Rows

(Perform 10 sets of 10 reps with only 10 seconds of rest between each set)

Sample Arm Workout

  • Barbell Curl
  • Preacher Curls
  • Skullcrushers
  • Tricep Pushdowns

(Perform 10 sets of 10 reps with only 10 seconds of rest between each set)

Sample Shoulder Workout

  • Standing Barbell Military Press
  • Lateral Raise
  • Rear Delt Fly
  • Face Pulls

(Perform 10 sets of 10 reps with only 10 seconds of rest between each set)

The 28 Method

If you've stepped into a weight room, you more than likely have heard of the 21's method for biceps. If not, you may want to step out from that rock from where you've been living.

You know the 21's drill – grab an EZ-Curl bar, perform seven reps going halfway up, seven more halfway down, and then finish it with seven full reps. Well, I've got something even better for you to tackle.

Like everyone else in lifting history, I took part in this great shock method, but I also started applying it to other muscle groups beyond my biceps. At a certain point, though, my body got used to this method and this technique. Then it no longer had quite the same impact. From there, my "28 method" was born and it took 21s to an entirely different level.

If you're like me and you've found something missing when you do 21's, the "28 method" is certainly a step up and it's also might be precisely what you're looking for.

So, what exactly is the "28 method?"

Well, it's not complicated, but it just goes a step further than doing 21's. Like 21's, you do seven regular full reps with whatever weight you're using and whatever exercises you're performing.

The next step, though, is the most intense. With your muscles already fatigued, you do seven slow reps, slow in this case applies to both the eccentric and concentric part of the movement.

In your head, do a 5-count down and then another 5-count up, slowly lowering the weight then slowly moving the weight back up. Believe me, you will feel this. From here, you finish out this work with seven reps going halfway down with the movement, and another seven reps going halfway up – much like 21s.

So, it goes like this: Seven full reps, seven slow reps, seven reps at the top half of the movement and seven final reps at the bottom half of the movement, giving you 28 shirt-splitting reps.

Try three sets for each exercise and pick three exercises for a particular muscle group. Get ready for your muscles to scream in pain. With just two minutes of rest between sets and the intense workload of the "28 method," you will obviously use significantly less weight for the movement.

But don't worry, this method works.

Almost immediately, you will see an increase in muscle fullness and the pump will be out of this world. It might not be the backbone of your training program, but you won't find a much better change of pace than the "28 method." Use it often for a couple of weeks and results will follow.

Your tighter-fitting shirts will be proof of that.

SAMPLE WORKOUT:

Chest and Triceps

A workout using the "28 method" for your chest and triceps would look like this, but you can apply this method any muscle group

Flat barbell bench
Three sets – Two minutes rest between sets

  • 7 regular reps
  • 7 slow up and down reps
  • 7 reps going halfway down (from lockout)
  • 7 reps going halfway up (from chest)

Incline Dumbbell Press
Three sets – Two minutes rest between sets

  • 7 regular reps
  • 7 slow up and down reps
  • 7 reps going halfway down (from lockout)
  • 7 reps going halfway up (from chest)

Chest Fly machine
Three sets – Two minutes rest between sets

  • 7 regular reps
  • 7 slow back and forth reps
  • 7 reps going halfway back
  • 7 reps going halfway up

Skull crushers
Three sets – Two minutes rest between sets

  • 7 regular reps
  • 7 slow up and down reps
  • 7 reps going halfway down (from lockout)
  • 7 reps going halfway up (from head)

Dips
Three sets – Two minutes rest between sets

  • 7 regular reps
  • 7 slow up and down reps
  • 7 reps going halfway down (from lockout)
  • 7 reps going halfway up (from bottom of movement)

MMA Coach Of The Year, Greg Jackson

MMA Coach Of The Year, Greg Jackson

Fresh off of his two wins at the World MMA Awards Ceremony, one for Coach Of The Year and the second for Best MMA Gym, Greg Jackson remains one of the hardest working individuals in the sport of MMA. Greg operates Jackson's Submission Fighting out of New Mexico and also founded a new martial art, Gaidojutsu, which combines wrestling and basic judo locks.

Reports from sherdog.com states fighters from Jackson's camp have a winning percentage of 81%. Greg also coaches a 'who's who' of UFC stars (including Canada's own Georges "Rush" St.Pierre, former Light-Heavyweight Champion "Sugar" Rashad Evans, Nate "The Great" Marquadt, and Keith Jardine) but remains incredibly humble. Obviously deserving of his accolades, Greg remains modest in insisting that his success is because he is surrounded by great athletes.

We know there’s more to it than just that.

Despite his busy schedule (and just finishing up another successful win in the octagon with Rashad Evans getting the decision over Thiago Silva at UFC 108), I got to spend a little time with Greg to get some insight on what it's like to work with some of the best talent in the UFC, his path into the world of Mixed Martial Arts, his relationship with Muscle Pharm and how Mixed Martial Arts fits in the world of fitness.

Can you tell us about your fighting school? (History and evolution)

I started my school in 1992. Back then, it was a school strictly for self-defense; we didn’t do any competitions. In the mid 90s, some of my students talked me into coaching them in some grappling competitions. We won some of those and some early bare-fisted vale tudo tournaments. As we kept winning, more people came and to make a long story short, here we are today!

You are obviously keeping busy with such high profile names. Can you tell us what it is like to work with such big names as GSP, Rashad Evans, Nate Marquadt, Joe “Daddy” Stevenson and Keith Jardine?

It is a real pleasure to work with such amazing athletes. It is a great feeling watching them grow and evolve; becoming stronger and stronger. I’m very lucky they keep me around, haha!

I heard you have developed your own form of Martial Arts. Can you explain more of it to us? How did that come about?

I had to teach myself most of my martial arts, because there was nobody around New Mexico doing jiu jitsu or MMA. I think that having to figure out so many things on my own allows me, even now, to stay on the cutting edge of techniques and different aspects of MMA. The great thing about grappling tournaments and MMA fights is that if the ideas don’t work consistently, you can throw them out; you have a laboratory with the evolution of ideas that can be guided.

How much bigger do you see MMA, as a sport and popular culture, growing?

MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world. It is already out-performing most other major league sports. I think as our sport continues to gain mainstream acceptance, more fans will be exposed and fall in love with it.

With the growth in popularity, what is the biggest difference in your life and work as compared to 10 years ago when MMA was in its infancy stages?

It has gotten bigger than ever dreamed possible. The intensity of my schedule can sometimes get out of hand, and I have to play a constant juggling act between work and family. The bright side is, I can actually make a living at this and I love it so much I wouldn’t want to do anything else with my day!

Your sponsor, MusclePharm, is all over the UFC. What kind of company are they?

MusclePharm’s staff are very approachable and knowledgeable at the shows. Even more so, they seem to be one of the more progressive sports nutrition companies out there. MusclePharm is very successful because they are always on the cutting edge of sports supplementation. They are an amazing company and we have been working together nearly since their inception. They sponsor so many athletes, because athletes know their products are the best. The staff is dedicated to making the best products and taking care of the athletes the best way that they can. What more could you ask for?

Fitness/Bodybuilding shows like the Olympia and Arnolds have seen increased UFC presence in each of their shows. Do you think there are synergies with MMA and Fitness/Bodybuilding?

I think that athletes of any nature can learn from each other and help each other progress. These two particular styles of athletes look at a lot of the same supplements to help them along their journeys. Muscle growth and recovery, for example, are facets these two sports share. Even though the training methods are different, the nutritional needs can be similar.

I know a lot people are reluctant to still step foot in an MMA school for their fitness needs. What advice can you give someone that feels intimidated to use MMA as a part of their fitness regimen?

Most people do MMA just for fun. The great thing about it is that you learn a practical life skill, in addition to getting incredibly fit and in shape. There are few other sports that can offer you something so practical and good for you at the same time. Your life shrinks or expands in accordance with your courage. My advice is to go for it!

Congratulations on winning “coach of the year” at the MMA Awards. That must be such an honor. How does it feel to be recognized with such a prestigious title?

I am truly humbled that so many fans voted for me to win this prestigious award. My wife and kids are super supportive, and all my fighters and the coaches that help me are the ones that this ward truly belongs to.

Thank you so much for your time, Greg. We look forward to seeing your fighters continue their success in the Octagon and catching up with you later this year. All the best in 2010!

–Reprinted with permission

Listen Up! Can You Hear What Your Body is Saying?

Have you ever wondered why certain training protocol might be extremely difficult for one athlete and leaving him wrecked for over a week, but to another athlete, it may be easy? Of course, it’s dependent on a huge number of factors from work capacity, energy systems, fundamental capability, fatigue tolerance and so on. How do you find out which athlete you are and, more importantly, which way you should train? For that, you’ve got to be able to train according to your body’s needs.

Listen closely

There’s some trouble with the whole “listen to your body” concept, if you ask me. I agree that it’s great in principle, but in application it often falls apart and athletes use it as an excuse to be lazy. “Listening” can be difficult to do, especially when the body speaks in whispers and we are hard of hearing.

For the past couple of years, the Reactive Training System research and development team has been working on a “megaphone” for the body so it’s easier for athletes to read its signals. The Reactive Training System as a whole is centered around the law of individual differences, but this megaphone takes it a giant step forward.

We call it TRAC, which stands for Training Recovery Assessment Computer. It is composed of a series of tests lasting about 10 minutes. These tests are performed first thing in the morning when you wake up and require only your home computer. TRAC software analyzes the tests and generates a report that indicates how much stress the body is under, the status of its central nervous system and the level of adaptive reserves.

What does this have to do with listening to your body? TRAC amplifies what your body is “saying” to a higher degree. And it also removes the subjectivity and consequently the laziness from your training. On the flip side, it will tell athletes clearly when they are overtraining or when their CNS is spent. It even provides recommendations on how to modify training based on TRAC scores.

Building an efficient machine

During some TRAC software trials, it became apparent that people have varying skill levels when it comes to subjectively listening to their bodies. This much you would probably guess. But what surprised us was that high-level powerlifters aren’t necessarily good at knowing how their bodies respond to the training.

In my training, the TRAC system allowed me to train more efficiently. While it wasn’t absolutely required to improve, when I did use it and followed its suggested protocol, I improved more. This sped up my gains and improved my recovery. It also taught me to keep my GPP training within appropriate limits. This made sure I got better, but didn’t drain myself for main training sessions.

Pitching to the choir

If you think this is a sales pitch for TRAC, you’re not totally wrong. But consider that the tool was initially developed for my team and me to be the primary users. We developed it because it was something we wanted to use. There are other products out there that can perform similar functions, so it’s not like we have the market cornered on this technology. However, we have a surprisingly accurate and inexpensive means to assess the recovery of our bodies — one that greatly enhanced our training productivity. We want to share it with the world.

Some nuts and bolts

TRAC works like this: You perform a few short tests when you first wake up in the morning: the orthostatic, reaction time and tap tests.

The orthostatic test measures differences in your heart rate due to changes in posture. You start the test lying on the floor and stand up after the “resting” portion. Heart rates are taken at various points during the test and entered into the computer.

Next is the reaction time test. Reaction time is determined based on a five-trial reaction time test.

Then the tap test measures how many times you can tap the spacebar in 10 seconds. Some of you may be familiar with a low-tech version of the tap test, but it’s important to note that we believe there is more to it than just how many taps you get. The variance in tap intervals and the number of pauses in tapping are also important to the overall picture.

Data from reaction time tests and tap tests are automatically entered into the data entry page. Then the software on the website “gets to know” you and makes a determination based on your results instead of a static database.

As a whole, the battery of tests takes about 10 minutes to perform and requires no special equipment other than a computer and Internet access.

Listen up

If you are the type of person who trains to get in better shape, you probably don’t need TRAC. But if you are a competitive athlete, especially if you’re interested in pushing your limits, inefficiencies like technique flaws and nutritional habits have to be tuned. TRAC is a tool you can use to make sure that you don’t have wasted potential. It’s a high quality test to help you stay on task and avoid overtraining — and it’s based on physiological inputs, not speculation.

If you’d like to learn more about TRAC, please visit the Team RTS section of our website at www.ReactiveTrainingSystems.com.

Mike Tuchscherer owns Reactive Training Systems, a company dedicated to individualized physical training. The goal of RTS is to help athletes become a dominant force in their sports. Learn more by visiting www.ReactiveTrainingSystems.com. Mike is an accomplished powerlifter. He has more than 12 years of experience training and researching the best training methods in the world. He has competed in raw and single-ply competitions. He won the Gold medal representing the USA at the 2009 World Games, becoming the first American male to ever win this distinction. His best lifts in IPF competition are a 903-lb. squat, a 644-lb. bench press, an 826-lb. deadlift and a 2,342 lb. total in the 275-lb. weight class. ~Reprinted with permission from Power magazine, August 2010.

The Secret to Carb Back-Loading

Sometimes I forget how easy life seems. I stay pretty lean throughout the year, so when I order one of the gargantuan entrees at The Cheesecake Factory, clean the plate and move on to the apple crisp with the 3 lbs. of whipped cream, I feel the eyes on me. I, however, have a diet where splurging is necessary.

In strength sports, the balance between body fat and lean tissue dictates success. Too much, and the lifter diets down for weeks, sacrificing mass and strength to cut weight; too little and strength is crippled. Improving strength, increasing muscle mass and maintaining the ideal level of body fat seems impossible – especially for those of us who were raised with the modern diet of convenience in the United States. But it's not impossible.

The key to balance

To balance our body fat and lean tissue, we need help from a pharmacokinetically diverse substance: carbohydrates. Ingesting carbs triggers a host of hormonal responses, nearly all of which signal growth. That's why people often have a love-hate relationship with carbs. Sure, they make you grow, but they're bipartisan: They make both fat cells and muscle cells grow.

Carbs are a two-faced bastard. Want to be muscular and strong? You need carbs. Want to stay tight and lean? Skip the carbs. The insulin released when you eat carbs makes fat cells efficient at storing fat and conserving energy, i.e. insulin changes the amount of energy your body derives from food. This spits in the face of "a calorie is a calorie", but from the point of view of statistical physics, "a calorie is a calorie" makes no physical sense whatsoever. If I told you it was impossible for your car to get better mileage on the interstate than in the city, you'd call me an idiot. The same is true of the body: With carbs the body gets more energy out of food & the body gets better mileage.

Complicating things, the interplay between carbs and insulin affect a host of hormones, enzymes and transcription factors in positive and negative ways. Depending on your past diet, it can significantly alter strength. Most of us need steady insulin levels to operate at peak performance. Levels can be high or low, but the body needs consistency. For the strength athlete, every meal or every missed meal can be the difference between a PR training session and getting stapled to the bench.

It sounds bleak: Being strong means being fat. As a physicist and someone who pursues elite strength, my first instinct is, "screw that", but I didn't have an answer. After almost two decades of combing through medical research and a few years refining it with elite athletes, I can say, "screw that", and mean it.

Keep it simple, stupid

The solution is so simple it's almost stupid. Keep the body as inefficient as possible, but still let insulin trigger growth in muscle tissue. Fat cells become wasteful but muscles still get the signal to grow. You could, conceivably grow muscle while losing body fat. At the very least, you could grow muscle and build strength without adding body fat.

Carb back-loading does just that. I won't get into the details here. For those who want the hardcore science, you can find it online at http://dangerouslyhardcore.com/370/carb-back-loading-the-final-follow-up. It works. Ask Brian Carroll, who has totaled 2,700 lbs. in the 275-lb. weight class. Ask Mark Bell, or a host of other powerlifters at various levels.

How to Carb Back-Load

  1. Don't eat carbs before resistance training (or before 6 p.m.)
  2. Try to schedule training start times for between 3 and 5 p.m.
  3. Load up on carbs and protein through the night after training.

That's it. Of course, this might seem familiar. It's the whole, "load up on carbs after lifting" thing, right? But if that's all you take from this, you're missing the point. Starches and sugar can be stored most easily as fat in the first half of the day, but after resistance training, muscles can absorb sugar while fat cells have a difficult time doing so. Referring to the efficiency argument above, if you don't eat carbs for most of the day and save them for after resistance training (all night after resistance training) the body becomes amazingly inefficient, but muscle retains the ability to grow, recover and repair without you getting fat.

Implementing this is easy: steak and eggs, ham and cheese sans the bread, cottage cheese and almonds, any combination of fat and protein for each meal in the first half of the day before training. After training, a carb-loaded protein shake, then load up: pizza, bread, pasta, muffins, bananas. Keep in mind that you also want to keep your protein levels high through the evening to make sure the muscles get the needed nutrients. Even if that means downing a protein shake before your cheese pizza. Do it. Eat until you sleep.

 

Know the rules

Don't think you can go in, do some froufrou session with your big-box gym trainer then back-load. You might as well sit on the couch all day and start hammering back the Doritos come 5 p.m. You need to train heavy and intensely. No super-sets or forced reps are necessary, just an intense, heavy training session. Muscle tissue needs to be loaded for the changes that allow them to absorb sugar sans insulin. You should be pushing to near failure for several sets, or handling massive loads. And the harder you lift, the more carbs you burn, the more that you can push back into the muscles when back-loading.

You may think that going without the carbs before training is going to kill your strength and endurance, but it's the opposite. Without fighting the fluctuations in blood sugar from eating carbs, the body reaches homeostasis and the nervous system fires with greater efficiency. Most people report almost immediate strength gains of 5 percent within a few days of carb back-loading.

Here's a typical day:

  • Breakfast: Sausage, eggs, tomato slices with Tobasco sauce
  • Lunch: Steak, broccoli with butter
  • Snack (3 p.m.): Low-fat cottage cheese, almonds
  • Snack (pre-training): High-quality protein shake (about 20 to 30 grams of a casein or whey hydrolysate)
  • Snack (post-training): High-quality protein shake (about 20 to 30 grams of a casein or whey hydrolysate) with several ripe bananas or a carb powder, like maltodextrin.
  • Rest of the evening: Pizza, hamburger with bun, mashed potatoes, etc.

A simple plan

Not everyone can train at the perfect time, and there are adjustments you can make, but the easiest is to stick to this guideline: Eat carbs starting at either post-training or 6 p.m., whichever is later. If you train in the morning, have a protein shake after your session, but leave out the carbs and start eating them at dinner. If you train late, load up as much as possible before bed after your session ends. There are more ways to modify this for almost any scenario, but that'll have to wait for another article. PM

John Kiefer has a Masters in Physics and is the author of The Carb Nite Solution. For more on Kiefer, you can check out his website at www.dangerouslyhardcore.com ~Reprinted with permission from Power magazine, January 2011.

A Quest for the Perfect Weight

When I started competing in power lifting in 2003, I was a svelte — even scrawny — but lean 217 lbs. People thought I was lifting in the 198s because I always looked lighter than I actually weighed. As the years passed, so did the weight classes. By 2005, after fewer than two years of competing, I started to hit what was, for me, some good numbers. My bodyweight climbed to a stouter (and more suiting for my height at 5 feet, 10 inches) bodyweight of about 235 to 237 lbs. My squat went from 705 lbs. to a respectable 925 lbs., bench to 556 lbs. from 424 lbs., and deadlift to 733 lbs. from 622 lbs. I won’t pretend that supplements didn’t play a part in this, because they obviously did, but gaining 20 lbs. of solid mass and putting about 500 lbs. on my total isn’t just about supplements — which are a subject for another time.

Fast-forward five years to 2010. I’m now at the top of the 275-lb. weight class (weighing 280 lbs. first thing in the morning) and besides holding slightly more water and a higher percentage of body fat, I’m simply a bigger and much stronger version of the guy who was lifting at 220 lbs. fewer than three years ago. To give a brief overview of the last five years: after 2005 I went on to lift for two more years in the 220-lb. class, with great success. I ended up with a 1,030-lb. squat, 633-lb. bench, a 755-lb. deadlift and a 2,375-lb. total, which is still ranked in the top 10 on the all-time list. Not bad, but that was the best I could do having to cut down to 220 lbs. from upward of 245 lbs.

Once I felt like my time ran out in the 220-lb. class, I went up to the next class, to 242 lbs., in mid-2007 for a very brief time. My weight climbed to higher than 263 lbs. by late 2008. Pretty soon I was cutting 20-plus lbs. just to make it down to 242 lbs. After registering best lifts of 1,052, 785, 771 and 2,570 lbs. total — which, I believe, is now fourth all-time — I finished with that class. 

Some people ask, what the hell happened? I know exactly what happened. Every time I cut weight and competed, my body grew. It had to adapt to the requirements that I placed upon it. I starved my body of food, water and nutrients, then suddenly gave it all it needed, lifted at 100 percent for a meet and continued to eat for the next week to make up for all the food I missed. It never failed — every time I cut weight, I came back heavier, bigger and stronger. Sometimes it was only 2 lbs., sometimes 6. Even when I tried to slow my body down and eat like a bodybuilder, my body didn’t comply. I would either get injured, weak or over-trained. Sometimes I would still keep gaining size, even with a bare minimum of food.

Knowing what I know now, I would say that my body knew better than I did. It didn’t want to be a puny 230 lbs. It knew that I needed to be upward of 270 lbs. to best fill out my frame. It also knew that to achieve my best possible squat, bench and dead would require me to become a 275-er.

Sometimes the deadlift can suffer with weight gains. I think that if I were to get to 290-plus it would kill my flexibility and ability to pull effectively. The funny things is, I never pulled 800 lbs. in a meet until I moved up to 275. I guess this reverts back to my deepest belief in powerlifting, “Listen to your body!” PM ~Reprinted with permission from Power magazine, March 2010.

Log Press

The log press is a staple event in most Strongman contests and is a critical event to master in order to obtain top results. It is a movement that must be trained consistently to reach peak performance. Some of the best bench pressers and Olympic lifters have been humbled the first time they attempted a log press. The movement requires precise technique, overhead strength and repetition to hit big numbers. In this article I will go through the basics to explain the log press, and offer some tips on how to improve results.

What is a log?

In modern contests, most logs are made of steel. The size is typically 10 to 13 inches in diameter and 4 to 7 feet long. There isn't a standard size, but the majority of Strongman contests have 13-inch diameter logs that are usually 5 to 6 feet long.

The handles are spaced around 24 inches apart and are centered on the log to provide proper balance. Empty logs weigh 200 to 275 lbs.

Natural logs are used in some contests. They are usually a little more difficult to handle due to the difficulties posed in balancing them perfectly. The logs usually have Olympic-sized bars on the ends to add bumper plates for increased weight, as required.

Lift execution

To perform a log press, pick up the log from the ground and lift it overhead. The final position is executed with locked arms and the log positioned directly overhead. The only real technical rule is not allowing the bar to rest on the head.

Most competitors complete the lift in two or three steps: pickup, clean and press overhead. If the log is light enough, it is possible to pickup and clean in one motion, and then press  or to pickup, then clean and press in one motion. This technique is used by Hugo Girard and Derek Poundstone with great success when doing log press for reps.

Proper technique

Pickup phase. There are a few different ways to approach the pickup phase. The idea is to lift the log to the top of your thighs and against your core. Most Strongman competitors use a modified bent row-type movement that combines some leg drive, slightly bent arms and a row toward the chest /hip area. Other lifters use straight arms and a deadlift-type movement to position the bar to the top of the legs. The idea is the same for both; the bar must end up on top of the legs and tight against the body.

Clean phase.

The clean phase is next. I clean the log in a way similar to an Olympic lifter: on the second pull of a snatch using the same technique as when I load a stone. I start with the log tight against my abdomen, making sure it is on the top side of my belt. I then explode my hips forward, driving the bar upward, then catch it on the top of my chest. Other lifters use less hip drive and turn the log over, using wrist and arm power to "roll" it to the top position. Very big men like Zdrunas and Glen Ross lift the log to the top side of the abdomen in the initial pull and turn their hands under to complete the clean. Experiment to find what works for you. The biggest mistake at this phase is the newcomer's tendency to try to strictly curl the log, which can lead to injury.

Press phase.

The press phase completes the lift. There are many different ways to achieve the press. Some lifters continue in one motion from the clean phase and continue right up into a press. Others rest at the shoulders and do a push press, using some leg drive combined with shoulder and triceps power to complete the movement. The big guys sometimes do a movement very similar to the old Olympic-style press, using very little quad drive, lots of calf drive and a lean back technique to drive the log up overhead. Dave Ostlund has perfected the lean-back technique, with great success. A few experienced Olympic-style lifters have also been successful in jerking the log to completion. This becomes more difficult as the diameter of the log increases.

Assistance exercises

All exercises that increase the overall power of the triceps and shoulders are beneficial to perfecting the log press. Laterals, triceps extensions, dips, standing dumbbell clean and presses, narrow grip and incline bench press, cross-body dumbell curls and stone loading are all exercises I do to improve my log press. Another exercise is pressing in a rack, either seated or standing, with a log or log bar for partials. These can be done with chains and or bands, as well. Quick movements are beneficial, and practicing some of the Olympic lifts will also increase your results.

Record progression

Hugo Girard was the first strongman to officially log press 400 lbs. in a competition. Over the past six years, Zydrunas Savikas has since rewritten the record book all by himself to its current mark of 212.5 kilos, or 468 lbs. Brian Schoonveld and Bill Kazmaier were near the 400 lb. mark and were America's best log pressers for many years. In a previously unprecedented display of power, the American record of 400 lbs. was destroyed at the Olympia last year and rewritten to its present mark of 430 lbs., held jointly by Van Hatfield and Scott Weech.

The log press is a great exercise to increase overall body power. It should be a staple in all strength athletes workouts. Proper execution of he lift will allow for maximum poundage and results. PM ~Reprinted with permission from Power magazine, June 2010.

Bench Pressing for Power

Jeremy Hoornstra is the strongest bencher I have ever seen. He’s got the formula for getting the best raw bench out there. We can all follow his advice, especially raw lifters, for a more powerful bench. He is not overly massed like yours truly, and that rules out mass leverage.

If you are banged up like an ex-football player, chances are your raw bench is limited to how you handle pain and your ability to recover. Add to that shoulder surgeries, lower back herniations, upper thoracic nerve damage and a few pec tears, chances are you will not be out lifting Hoornstra anytime soon. This article is for those who squat first and deadlift last.

Most powerlifters will never realize their bench potential. However, there are some benching strategies that may help you squeeze out the maximum poundage to help your total aggregate.

First of all, countless heavy squats beat your shoulders up. Unracking extremely heavy weights, especially those that are banded heavy, is shoulder abuse. You don’t even realize it because you are so used to the feeling of beat-up shoulders that you think it’s normal.

After you tax your central nervous system with heavy squat night, the bench gets what’s left over. And for some strong squatters, it ain’t much. Add to that the stress your elbows are under, plus the bicep tendon. It is a wonder we even make it to the bench.

Powerlifting is three lifts. Try to concentrate on moving up as much poundage as you are capable of per event. It may be less than superstar benchers, but much more is needed from your body for three events than one. One thing I like about bench-only lifters is that they push the envelope in training. We can all learn from them. All of their techniques, like practicing with the shirt and boards, have been very helpful.

The right equipment for the job

At the compound, I never use a regular bench bar. They are worthless unless you are a woman or a tiny man. The fatter bars, however, work wonders. They cover more surface area of the hand. This leads into more grip work and increased muscle recruitment — not to mention less joint pain.

It is best to rotate your bars. I use various fat bars, the squat bar and the mastadon bar. I have Iron Wolfe bars made by Keith Wolfe in York, Pa. They are stainless steel and much longer. The squat bar is actually 65 lbs. It can hold the weight past 1,200 lbs. without the whip.

No 1-inch standard fitness bars should touch your hands. The only exception to this is the deadlift bar. All my attachments for my pull-down machine and seated rows are fat-handled. The vertical grip bar, straight bar, triceps bar and V handle are all fat.

It is very important to have a fat pad for the bench. It should measure 14½ inches across. The pad should be thick. Gone are the days of the 10- to 12-inch wide benches. They cover larger area of the back and control the shearing forces much better when lowering and pressing the weight.

You should have a rack with a minimum 7-foot height. This is good for reverse-band pressing and banding the bar from around the base. Stand-alone benches that have the band attachment bar running vertical on the bottom are fancy but nice to have also. If you have the money, try the self-spotting bench from Richard Sorin. The bar is directly over your upper abs and lower chest area. The j-hooks go back to post when the bar is lifted out, using the same concept as the monolift. I still think this bench will be the bench of the future.

Weight releasers are great. We use them for the bench quite a bit. You will have to get them fortified by a welder because they are built cheaply. Of course, you need all the bands and chains you can afford. If you have nothing but a bench, you can afford these two items.

Side note: I don’t feel one bit sorry if you have to buy equipment with your own money. All powerlifters who are serious should invest $10,000 to $20,000 in a hole-in-the-wall facility. Every good powerlifter owns his own gym. Remember that. It is easy to whine and complain and leave a place when you have nothing invested in it.

Speed day

Louie always said, “speed reigns king.” If you are not fast, you can forget benching big. In most training cycles, my maximal effort (ME) bench training may be down. Squats contribute to this by destroying the shoulders. However, if you can increase your speed on your upper body light day or dynamic effort (DE) bench, you will PR bench at the meet.

Let’s focus on speed day. Most of the time it precedes my heavy squat day. I may stick with the same stimulus for about three weeks. But I suggest rotating your lift every week for best results. For instance, banded fat-bar benching. You can use a myriad of bands for this. Jumpstretch bands have micro-minis up to average bands for this.

For benching, I like to use the fat bar with monster minis. Be your own coach. If an exercise doesn’t yield results by the second week, can it. For instance, I like the monster mini-bands. So I will double-wrap them around the end of the bar in the rack. Usually, I start with a few sets of light pull-downs. Again, use your fat bar attachments. I start increasing my weight until my first speed work set is reached.

I warm up a lot and double of all my warm-ups, which do not exceed five reps. When I get to set one, I start looking at the clock. When I complete the set, I rest for 1 minute, then get ready to do my next set. This keeps me on schedule and doesn’t allow for downtime. I may make 20- to 30-lb. jumps on sets four to six and seven to nine, respectively. That is three set clicks with the same weight.

I do not always add weight, either. I let my speed be my guide. You can invest in Tendo units and other speed indicators, if you want. After doing this for so long, I usually am perfect on my selection. Do not let modalities and other cool gadgets get in your way. They are best used on testing other subjects. When you are training, you should be in trench mode and prepare yourself mentally. Texting and talking on your cell phone during your sets is going nowhere. Put that phone in your car and check it when you’re done. Is nothing sacred anymore?

Rotate your lifts weekly. I like to go for three weeks with the same lift for speed work. You may find two weeks works for you. Use the bands and chains. Find the rotation that works for you. Do not over-weight your loads on DE day. You can lift all the weights in the gym you want on ME day. Don’t let your ego hold you back.

Example speed work on DE day:

Week 1

Fat bar with chains. If you are strong and benching 400 to 500 lbs. raw, use double- to triple-chains. Make sure you are hanging the chain properly on the ends of the bar. Some of the 5/8-inch logging chain should still be on the floor at lockout. The crab hook holding the chain should still be upright, with tension at the bottom of the lift when the bar is on your chest. Your bar weight is heavier the lighter the chain you use. Bar weight will range from 40 to 50 percent of your 1RM of that setup. This is not a shirted bench! Nine sets of three reps are standard. Throw in a single at the end if you’re feeling frisky.

Week 2

Floor presses. Use a mastadon bar with chains. Place chains over the bar or use the crab hook. Use about 2 inches of cushion under your upper body to allow scapula movement. Never perform this lift on a hard floor or you will be injured at some point. Using the cushions, work up to your set weight and get nine sets of three reps. Between 40 and 50 percent is used again for your 1RM floor press. Take a 1-minute rest between each set.

Week 3

Banded bench with fat bar and bands. Stronger guys use the monster mini-bands and up. Lighter benchers use the mini-bands. Ladies use the bench bar and micro-minis. Doesn’t matter what size fat bar you use, just remember what weight you used with it. When using bands, unrack the bar and hold at loc
kout for 3 seconds and 35 to 45 percent of that 1RM. After your three reps are done, hold it again for another 3 seconds.

Week 4

Bench with bands and chains. Set up the bench in the rack again. Double the monster mini-bands around the bar. Warm up with it for a few sets, then put a 2½-lb. plate against the band. Put your chain set-up on next. Start with one chain. Maybe add another. This is a lot of tension. Get to your set weights and hammer nine sets of three reps. This is one of my favorites. The small divider plate keeps the band from being chewed up. Use 30 to 40 percent of your 1RM.

Week 5

Benching with weight releasers. Use a bar that is not a bench bar. Go to 45 to 50 percent of your shirted max. Put the weight releasers on your last warm-up. Stick with a range of 90 to 120 lbs. for the total weight releaser weight, 40 to 80 lbs. for lighter benchers. Hammer out eight sets of three reps. You may use a one board for this if you are in some pain.

Assistance work: triceps

Close-grip benching. Using the boards is wise on this one. Years ago we were ripping our shoulders up trying to come down to the chest. Jesse Kellum introduced us to the board press, and the rest is history. If you have short arms, stay with the three-board. You real long-armed dudes can do the five- and six-board. Bring your grip one of your hand widths in from your bench grip. That’s it. Your elbows will thank you, and you will get strong. The close-grip gives too much torque on the joints; something will hurt or snap one day. Try different rep schemes here. Five reps do well. Keep escalating up in weight until you fail. Get a good 15 to 20 hard reps in overall. Clicks of three to five reps are good. I usually go straight weight on these.

Extensions with bar.

If you need a break from close-grips, try these. Use the same grip as the close-grip. Lower the bar to your face while lifting the elbows slightly. I use chains for this one. Do not let your elbows drop. This will de-stress the triceps tendon and muscle. The bar will travel linear. You may use DBs, too, but they’re not as effective.

Banded pushdowns.

Get creative with these. I have bands hooked up on both sides of the rack about 7 feet high. I grab opposite and extend down with the bands crossing. Some use just one band. You can use an old band that you cut and do pushdowns with that. High reps are good. I do three clicks to failure. My reps go 23 to 25 in the first set. The second set is around 17 reps and the last is around 15. Toast after that.

Assistance work: back, shoulders and arms

Follow the triceps with some upper back work, then some shoulder work and biceps last.

Back.

One-arm DB rows are wonderful. Do not go crazy-heavy on these. Moderate to heavy is fine. Let the bodybuilders use straps and heave ho the 200s. You have a total to worry about. A chest-supported row may substitute. Use chains on this for added horror.

Shoulders.

I like the double-KB overhead military press. Get about four sets of 10 to 12 reps. Start with the 24k and go up from there. Use DBs if you want. Either way, go for volume work with weight that is a hassle. Side DB laterals and shrugs may be substituted for the military press.

Biceps.

Be a man and curl the fat bar. It is hard, and a very angry bar that wants to roll out of your hands. Get around four sets of eight to 10 reps. Substitute the heavy DB hammer curls for the regular bar curl. Reps are always 10. You do not have to use strict form because this lift is not for a peak in your biceps.

This is just a sample training regimen. There is so much more to choose from, but the blueprint is here in this article. PM ~Reprinted with permission from Power magazine, November 2010.

Building a Big Raw Bench

Strengthening a raw bench is like building a house. You start with a solid foundation. As powerlifters, our body is our foundation, so we must develop a routine for the chest, shoulders, back and legs.

Build the chest

Developing the chest is the first step. A chest routine needs to promote growth and develop strength. It should contain basic barbell and dumbbell movements, use different hand positioning and vary the number of sets and repetitions. Recommended chest exercises include barbell/dumbbell inclines, close-grip bench, wide-grip bench and floor presses.

Remember that weights need to increase with each set. Keep the routine simple for main lifts by performing four to five sets with 12 to 15 reps in the first set working up to a heavy three to five reps in the final set. Try three or four sets for auxiliary lifts and stay between six and 12 reps. Don't max out every workout. Instead, work toward increasing muscle growth and development.

Develop the shoulder

The second step is shoulder development. This is a must for lifters seeking constant gains. One bad shoulder equals time off from training, so develop strong shoulders to increase your bench.

Great benchers have a big chest and shoulders. Take it from Nick Winters and Vincent Dizenzo, two great raw benchers who used over head presses to increase their bench.

Stick with basic barbell and dumbbell movements; they work and guarantee results. The shoulder workout should be intense, with four or five sets of six to 12 reps using moderate to heavy weights. Recommended shoulder exercises include military presses, dumbbell bench, side laterals and face pulls.

Strengthen the upper back

I achieved my biggest gains after I started training my upper back. I was able to finish my lifts and maintain tightness on the bench, and if I neglected my upper back my progress stalled or declined. This is why I believe upper back strength is not just for shirted benchers, but for also for raw benchers. In a shirted bench, the upper back pulls the bar into the groove, but for a raw bench, the upper back is more for stability. Most lifters miss their lifts because they are unstable on the bench. Weakness in the upper back causes instability while pressing.

Upper back workouts need to be basic, but very intense. Begin with four or five sets of 10 to 12 reps using the heaviest weight possible. Recommended back exercises include lat pulldowns, bent over rows, seated cable rows and shrugs.

Develop leg muscles

Leg drive gives you the last pop at the end of the lift and great benchers agree that you must train your legs to strengthen leg drive. Ryan Kennelly, Travis Bell and Winters are all great benchers who know the importance of training their legs.

Whenever I see an increase in my squats, I notice an increase in my bench. The increase may only be 5 lbs. or one rep, but when my legs are stronger my bench is stronger. That is why I recommend all lifters to do some type of leg workout at least once a week. The leg work out should be basic: one compound movement of four or five sets performing five to 12 reps using moderate weight. Recommended leg exercises include squats, leg extensions and leg curls.

Build a strong house

If the foundation is weak, your bench will suffer. But if the foundation is solid, it can withstand great pressure. Use these principals to strengthen your foundation and increase your raw bench. Train hard! PM ~Reprinted with permission from Power magazine, March 2010.

Got Squat?

One thing I know for sure: Whether you train for powerlifting competitions or use powerlifts to improve your athletic ability, you will get hurt. If you’ve been training for a few years, you have undoubtedly experienced some type of injury. As a powerlifter or serious power athlete, you may have injured your lower back. This can cause problems with the good old back squat, box or no box, and the deadlift.

Some people quit when they get injured and lay in bed until they’ve healed, which can possibly take months. Others find ways to work around injuries while bringing themselves back to full health and strength. I fall in the latter category. When I injure my lower back, I can often find a variation of the squat and/or deadlift to continue training and bring myself back to health. In addition, using a variety of squats and deadlifts can help avoid overuse injuries and mental burnout, and help bring up my numbers in the squat and deadlift.

Variations and tools

Check out these squat and deadlift variations using different tools. Use these movements at your own discretion. I encourage you to become the master of your own body and do as Bruce Lee said: “Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.”

Zercher squats—This variation forces you to push the hips back, keep the chest high and force the knees out. Using a thick bar works best, and you can perform them with or without a box.

Trap bar deadlifts—These mimic the squat more than the deadlift and place less strain on the lower back. This is also a great introductory lift for a young powerlifter in the preparation phase. Increase difficulty by standing on 45-lb. plates to extend the range of motion.

Kettlebell squats—This movement minimizes spinal loading and strengthens the abs. As you squat down, keep your knuckles together and elbows pointing downward. A common mistake is elevating the elbows up and out, which takes a lot of pressure off of the abs.

Stone lifting—Lifting stones, especially atlas stones, can put you in a precarious position. But it can also strengthen your back in the round back position and improve hip mobility and flexibility. You can deadlift the stones up and down, squat them up and down or load stones onto platforms, which will help you develop speed from the bottom position as you rip the stones off the ground and onto high objects.

Soft tissue work

To remain healthy, it’s critical to stay open-minded to new movements and try different methods. It’s also critical to include soft tissue work. Use foam rollers, lacrosse balls and hard medicine balls to roll on and break up scar tissue. The body can take quite the beating through powerlifting and athletics, so make sure to utilize soft tissue work during warm-ups, between sets and after workouts.

Zach Even-Esh is the owner of The Underground Strength Gym in Edison, N.J. For more information on his training methods visit www.zacheven-esh.com. ~Reprinted with permission from Power Magazine, January 2010

Flexibility

The key to success in today’s sporting world is to develop a complete athlete. If you compete, or if you just love to train, you need to look at how you can continue to make positive gains.

I believe you must have a great philosophy so you know why you are being successful, and also why you aren’t making gains. A great philosophy is like a set of train tracks. Going through the training life, the more successful you become means you stayed on track. If you start having problems, you’ve probably been derailed.

At the University of Southern California (USC), our philosophy is very simple: “How To, How Fast and How Much.” “How To” deals with technique and preparation, “How Fast” deals with the speed of the movement and the speed at which we progress and “How Much” deals with the amount of weight or the number of reps and sets.

How To

As athletes come into our program, usually as freshmen, the coaching staff feels they are closer to a high school athlete than to a college athlete. Because of this, we need to train with great focus on “How To” do things right. As the athlete learns great technique, we can then begin to focus on how fast the athlete is moving. To improve, we need to move at game speed in all our movements.

How Fast

The transition to “How Fast” usually comes around the summer going into the athletes’ sophomore year. By this time, they are closer to a college athlete than to a high school athlete. The final transition comes about during the winter of their sophomore year.

How Much

The beauty of this philosophy is that if the athlete begins to have issue in moving at full speed, we can revert back to “How To” and make sure the technique is correct. If the athlete cannot move at game speed, the weight or amount of work is too much. If they are not working at game speed, they are not becoming a better athlete. If we are not improving athleticism, we are not doing our job.

The role of flexibility

Now that we have our philosophy set, we need to focus on how we are going to go about our work. To completely develop an athlete, I need to start with the flexibility and core (abdominal/low back) strength.

With this in mind, I feel that USC’s flexibility and core programs are on the cutting edge. We have connected with top professionals across the country to develop a program that will help our athletes play at the highest level throughout the season. Our job is to reduce the chance of injury. I use the term “reduce” because you can’t remove all chances of injury in the explosive, dynamic world of football.

Stretching isn’t the end

Flexibility has to do with stretching, but it also has a lot to do with hydration and nutrition. With this in mind, we teach our athletes about all of these ideas. Stretching isn’t the end, it is a means to an end.

In practice we have the option of two different types of stretches. When we have practices without pads, we do more dynamic movements (combining stretching and movement). With pads, we will do more sport-specific dynamic movements. With both stretches we will also do a series of joint flexibility and stretching techniques.

After practice we have two opportunities to post-stretch the athletes. The athletes working out in the weight room have the opportunity to use foam rollers and stretch bands to work on their flexibility. Athletes who are not scheduled to work out after practice will have the opportunity to do a dynamic post-stretch which aides in their recovery.

When school starts we do a dynamic stretch warm-up with their agility and quickness workouts, which takes 15 minutes. Then we warm the athletes down for 5 minutes after the workout. This means that 20 of our allotted 45 minutes of workout time is spent on flexibility, core and movement training. The rest of our time is spent aggressively maintaining strength levels.

The flexibility of our athletes is a priority of USC’s program. We take the necessary time to keep our athletes able to play at the highest levels—with the understanding that injuries are always a possibility, no matter how flexible an athlete has become.

This attitude toward flexibility is also seen in our strength training portion of our program. To lift more weight, overall flexibility must be a major focal point of any program.

Too many athletes want to get right into their program and will do some light stretching before they get going. I have found that the younger the athletes, the more “bullet-proof” they believe they are. As athletes become more mature and survive a few injuries, they begin to take more time during the preparation phase.

When I came to USC, Coach Pete Carroll outlined his belief in how a strength program fit into his overall philosophy. Carroll said we needed to “prepare at the highest level, to practice at the highest level, in order to play at the highest level.” To carry on this philosophy in the movement and strength portion of the program, we work tenaciously to ensure that our athletes are better prepared than any other athlete in the world. This type of energy can be seen by some as extraneous, but I believe that our ability to prepare our athletes at the highest level is one of the keys to our continued success. ~Reprinted with permission from Power Magazine, January 2010.

Rage Talks Pain

Pain.

Everyone experiences it.

But I seem to experience more pain than the average person.

Yes, there is the blood, sweat, and tears. I feel that pain on a daily basis. Not being able to catch your breath after a set, dropping your last meal on the squat rack, knees aching so bad you can’t sleep—physical pain is nothing I can’t bear.

But it’s the pain inside that makes life almost unbearable. I feel this pain constantly, except for those brief moments of mental levity, as I’m laying exhausted on the battlegrounds. The rest of the time, the pain is so great that I am close to tears. Yet, I am grateful for pain. In fact, I feel sorry for those who do not feel the pain that I feel, because I know they will lag, be happy with their current situation, and do little to improve.

I know my path and what I must do to reach my goal. This will be my reward for the pain I must endure. I have not brought this pain upon my life, I was chosen to bear this suffering. And not just for me. I bear it for all I encounter who are weaker than me, who cannot handle the pain.

I—along with those who are like me—was chosen to carry the weight of pain-filled eyes and faded smiles. We have been chosen. It is our duty to lead the way and show the rest how it needs to be done. So my friends, I am sorry if I stray from the path, but I shall not be lost. I may bend, but I will never break. I will arrive at the destination. Tried and true.

If you feel the pain, you know exactly what is causing it, and you know what I‘m talking about. That inner fire, drive, determination. I want it so bad it hurts. I am in pain because I haven’t yet fulfilled my destiny. But with every day, every set, every rep, I am one step closer. If you don’t know what I am talking about, sure you can follow. But I’m sorry my friend, you will never have what it takes.

I do. And in following the path and reaching the destination, I hope to see many more of the same pain-filled eyes. Because through these eyes, the future has been seen.

And this future, my friends, is glorious.

The time is now my friends. Do not wait for tomorrow to come. Today is it upon us. Each day is a day of reckoning.

Do YOU have what it takes?

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." – Theodore Roosevelt

Is Muscle Soreness a Sign That Your Muscles are Getting Huge?

In the May 2011 edition of Muscular Development, a study was presented posing the following question: is muscle soreness indicative of muscle hypertrophy, or an increase in muscle size?

The study utilized a stationary bike, with the resistance set to extreme levels, to overly fatigue the lower body muscles. Participants included well-trained individuals as well as people that were mostly sedentary. After each group performed the workout, perceived muscle soreness was recorded—along with levels of growth factors such as Insulin-like Growth Factor-1, or IGF-1.

Obviously, the sedentary group rated their soreness as much higher than the trained group. (Remember way back, when you first getting back into serious training? How damn sore you would get after a great workout?). However, the interesting part was that levels of IGF-1 and MGF were nearly identical between the two groups. This seemingly shows that there isn’t a clear correlation between soreness and hypertrophy. 

But is there really no connection between soreness and hypertrophy?

Earlier I told you to remember back to the beginning of your training and how sore you used to get. Now I am sure you still get sore after a workout, but probably not as much as you once did. During this earlier period, how quick were your gains? I know for me, it felt like I got bigger and stronger every week, whereas now it takes a bit longer to notice the gains.

I know that this has to do with adaptation of the muscle, but isn’t that really the same conversation? 

Clarkson and Tremblay presented a study in Journal of Applied Physiology, and suggested “an adaptation takes place such that the muscle is more resistant to damage and any damage that does occur is repaired at a faster rate.” If a muscle is more resistant to damage, it will take more stress to actually damage it—this is a basic principle of training. However, the study went on to show that even increasing intensities in future workouts failed to produce relative levels of muscle damage. 

So although in the first study both groups had similar levels of growth factors, it is possible that the untrained group simply utilized the growth factors more than the trained group. The body does this with many processes. For instance, when you consume too many carbs you have an increase in blood sugar. Once your muscles and other organs accept as much glucose as they need to fill their glycogen stores, the excess glucose is broken down in the liver and converted to fatty acids, then stored in adipose. This may be the same type of thing happening in the muscles with the growth factors. 

In the trained group, the muscle cell receptors may not be as sensitive to the hormones, so even though these are present in the muscle, they may not be utilized. 

Both sides of the argument present valid arguments, but some people in the community believe there is not enough information to make a definitive decision. Our belief is that since everyone is so genetically different, there will never be a clear-cut answer to this question. 

You always hear, “you have to do what works for you.” People have different levels of recoverability, and even pain perception. You hear some guys say they never get sore after a workout, while others are always sore for days. Yet they may all be growing at the same rate. 

So, the best thing is to find what works for you. 

If you find that after a workout, you got really sore and your body yielded good growth results, then you better push for that feeling every time. Just make sure you fully recover before your next workout. 

If you feel you don’t need to be sore to grow, then you are lucky. That means less pain in your life.

But what’s the bottom line?

TRAIN YOUR ASS OFF EVERY TIME YOU STEP INTO THE GYM, EAT RIGHT, AND SLEEP ENOUGH!

Everyone knows for sure THAT promotes growth. 

  1. Do you need to be sore to grow? Robbie Durand. Muscular Development.  Volume 48, No. 5, May, 2011
  2. Exercise-induced muscle damage, repair, and adaptation in humans.  P.M. Clarkson and I.M. Tremblay.  Journal of Applied Physiology July 1988 vol. 65 no. 1 1-6

Branched Chain Amino Acids, BCAA: What's The Story?

Every bodybuilder/strength athlete has been told that during reduced calorie periods such as the precontest phase, they should take Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) multiple times a day to sustain muscle growth and prevent catabolism of muscle. The three BCAA—L-Leucine, L-Valine, and L-Isoleucine—have been heavily researched as a preventative, even therapeutic, measure to combat muscle-wasting diseases. 

We all know that amino acids are the “building blocks of protein“ and protein is essential for building muscle, but why are these three amino acids so special? Unlike the other 17 standard amino acids, BCAA aren’t metabolized by your liver. These instead pass through the liver into systemic circulation. 60% of the BCAA are then metabolized by skeletal muscle into branched chain keto acids. These are incorporated into protein or used directly as energy by the skeletal muscle and organs like the heart, brain, liver and kidneys. 

BCAA also play an important role in protein turnover, or increased protein synthesis and decreased protein degradation. Their role as the muscles’ energy source is one way, and they are also key synthesizers of two other amino acids, L-Glutamine and L-Alanine. 

L-Glutamine is well known as protein synthesizer, cellular energy source and for improving nitrogen balance so anabolic processes will occur. For anybody trying to build muscle, this is a necessity.

L-Alanine is a major precursor for gluconeogenesis in the liver. Gluconeogenesis gives working muscle extra glucose to utilize. 

So BCAA are important physiologically, but how do they apply to exercise? 

Studies show exercise increases skeletal muscle metabolism of BCAA by ten times the amount of normal resting values (1). This depletes BCAA, as well as Glutamine and Alanine, levels. You need to have a readily available source of these during—and especially after—your workout to facilitate muscle recovery. In one study, a BCAA solution improved the recovery of muscle force of an isolated rat diaphragm by 20-30%, when compared to standard amino acid solutions (1). For bodybuilders and athletes, this is huge. Drinking BCAA during a workout is encouraged because skeletal muscle can instantly use them for energy.

So if you haven’t been using BCAA, start! I guarantee you will notice a difference in endurance and your end-of-workout strength. 

From experience, I’ll say that the addition of BCAA will absolutely improve your muscle gains if you do it correctly. For my most recent contest prep, I was doing a modified keto diet for the last eight weeks and doing cardio three times a day because I was behind schedule with my fat loss. My calorie intake was very low and my calorie expenditure was extremely high. I reached the point where I barely had energy for anything—let alone working out. I began mega-dosing BCAA at 10g per dose. Doses were taken at pre-morning cardio, post-morning cardio, pre-workout, post-workout, and before bed. At three days out, I weighed 223 and was sub 3% body fat. This means I had lost about five pounds of body fat, yet had only lost one pound of bodyweight. There is always a fluctuation in bodyweight with water levels, however I am positive that I added muscle due to the way my physique looked.

So here is what I recommend:

  • Offseason: take 5g of BCAA per dose
  • Precontest: 10g BCAA per dose, multiple times daily: 1) upon waking, 2) pre-workout, 3) post-workout, and 4) before bed. Enjoy the results!

1)  Branched Chain Amino Acids.  Platell, Kong, McCauley, Hall.  Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.  Volume 15. Issue 7.  Pages 695-812.  July 2000.

WADA List of Banned Substances

The World Anti-Doping Agency makes its stance on this issue loud and clear. If you compete in an organization that abides by WADA, it’s up to you to know the truth.
Examples of substances that are prohibited in sport that could be found as contaminants in supplements.

Note: the list of substances prohibited by WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency can be viewed at www.wada-ama.org)

  • 1, 3 chlorophenyl piperazine Carteolol
  • 1,4 methoxy phenyl piperazine Carvedilol
  • 1,4 trifluoromethylphenyl piperazine Cathine
  • 4-methylmethcathinone Cathinone
  • Acebutolol Celiprolol
  • Acetazolamide Chlorothiazide
  • Alfentanil Chlorphentermine
  • Alprenolol Chlorthalidone
  • Amphetamine Cimaterol
  • Amfetaminil Clenbuterol
  • Amiloride Clobenzorex
  • Aminoglutethimide Clomiphene
  • Aminorex Clopamide
  • Amiphenazole Cloranolol
  • Anastrozole Clorprenaline
  • Androstanediol Codeine
  • Androstenediol (multiple isomers) Cocaine
  • Androstanedione CP47497 (synthetic-cannabinoid)
  • Androstenedione (multiple isomers) Cropropamide
  • Androstadienedione Crotethamide
  • Atenolol Cyclopentamine
  • Bambuterol Cyclothiazide
  • Beclomethasone Cyproheptadine
  • Bemegride Desonide
  • Bendroflumethiazide Desoximethasone
  • Benzoylecgonine Desoxyephedrine
  • Benzphetamine Dexamethasone
  • Benzthiazide Dextromoramide
  • Benzylpiperazine Dextropropoxyphene
  • Betamethasone DHEA
  • Betaxolol Diamorphine
  • Bisoprolol Diethylpropion
  • Bitolterol Diethyltryptamine
  • Budesonide Dihydrocodeine
  • Bumetanide Dihydrocodeninone
  • Bunitrolol Dihydromorphine
  • Bupranolol Dipipanone
  • Buprenorphine Diprenorphine
  • Buprenorphine-nor Dobutamine
  • Bupropion Dopexamine
  • Butofilolol Doxapram
  • Canrenone Efaproxiral
  • Carazolol Esmolol
  • Carbuterol Etafedrine
  • Carfentanil Ecstasy (MDMA)
  • Carphedone Eetamivan
  • Ephedrine Mefruside
  • Ethacrynic acid Mephentermine
  • Ethiazide Mepindolol
  • Ethylmorphine Mesocarb
  • Etilefrine Metaproterenol
  • Exemestane Methadone
  • Famprofazone Methadone metabolite EDDP
  • Fenbutrazate Methamphetamine
  • Fencamfamine Methazolamide
  • Fenfluramine Methyclothiazide
  • Fenfluramine – N-desethyl Methylaminorex
  • Fenoterol Methylephedrine
  • Fenozolone Methylhexaneamine
  • Fentanyl Methylphenidate
  • Fludrocortisone Methylprednisolone
  • Fludroxycortide Methyltrienolone
  • Flumethasone Metolazone
  • Fluocinolone acetonide Metoprolol
  • Fluocinonide Modafinil
  • Fluocortolone Modafinil acid
  • Fluorophenethylamine Moprolol
  • Fluoxetine Morphine
  • Fluprednisolone Nadolol
  • Fluvoxamine Nadoxolol
  • Formoterol Nalbuphine
  • Furosemide Nalorphine
  • Gestrinone Naloxone
  • Heptaminol Naltrexone
  • HMA Nandrolone
  • HMMA Nebivolol
  • HU-210(synthetic-cannabinoid) Nifenolol
  • Hydrochlorthiazide Nikethamide
  • Hydrocodone Norandrostenedione (multiple isomers)
  • Hydromorphinol Octopamine
  • Hydromorphone Orciprenaline
  • Indapamide Oripavine
  • Isoflupredone Oxilofrine
  • Isometheptene Oxprenolol
  • Leptazol Oxycodone
  • Letrozole Oxymetazoline
  • Levophacetoperane Oxymorphone
  • Mabuterol
  • Meclofenoxate
  • Mefenorex
  • Isoprenaline Sibutramine
  • JWH-018 (synthetic-cannabinoid) Sotalol
  • Labetalol Spironolactone
  • Papaverine Stanozolol
  • Pemoline Strychnine
  • Penbutolol Sufentanil
  • Pentazocine Synephrine
  • Pentoxyverine Tenamfetamine (MDA)
  • Pethidine Terbutaline
  • Phencyclidine Testosterone
  • Phendimetrazine Tetrahydrogestrinone
  • Phenmetrazine Tiletamine
  • Phentermine Timolol
  • Phenylephrine Torasemide
  • Pindolol Toremifene
  • Pipradol Tranylcypromine
  • Pirbuterol Triamcinolone
  • Piretanide Triamcinolone acetonide
  • Polythiazide Triamterene
  • Practolol Trichlormethiazide
  • Prednisolone Tripamide
  • Prednisone Tuaminoheptane
  • Probenecid Tulobuterol
  • Prolintane Xipamide
  • Propranolol Xylometazoline
  • Prostanozol Zeranol
  • Prothipendyl
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Quinethazone
  • Raloxifene
  • Remifentanil
  • Reproterol
  • Rimiterol
  • Ritodrine
  • Salbutamol
  • Salmeterol
  • Selegiline

Please note: this list is not exhaustive. New threats to sport are continually making an appearance; hence any testing will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and new substances added as needed.

Rage Talks BCAA's: Yes or No?

Branched Chain Amino Acids, BCAA: What’s The Story?

By Jay “Rage” Bednar

Every bodybuilder/strength athlete has been told that during reduced calorie periods such as the precontest phase, they should take Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) multiple times a day to sustain muscle growth and prevent catabolism of muscle. The three BCAA—L-Leucine, L-Valine, and L-Isoleucine—have been heavily researched as a preventative, even therapeutic, measure to combat muscle-wasting diseases. 

We all know that amino acids are the “building blocks of protein“ and protein is essential for building muscle, but why are these three amino acids so special? Unlike the other 17 standard amino acids, BCAA aren’t metabolized by your liver. These instead pass through the liver into systemic circulation. 60% of the BCAA are then metabolized by skeletal muscle into branched chain keto acids. These are incorporated into protein or used directly as energy by the skeletal muscle and organs like the heart, brain, liver and kidneys. 

BCAA also play an important role in protein turnover, or increased protein synthesis and decreased protein degradation. Their role as the muscles’ energy source is one way, and they are also key synthesizers of two other amino acids, L-Glutamine and L-Alanine. 

L-Glutamine is well known as protein synthesizer, cellular energy source and for improving nitrogen balance so anabolic processes will occur. For anybody trying to build muscle, this is a necessity.

L-Alanine is a major precursor for gluconeogenesis in the liver. Gluconeogenesis gives working muscle extra glucose to utilize. 

So BCAA are important physiologically, but how do they apply to exercise? 

Studies show exercise increases skeletal muscle metabolism of BCAA by ten times the amount of normal resting values (1). This depletes BCAA, as well as Glutamine and Alanine, levels. You need to have a readily available source of these during—and especially after—your workout to facilitate muscle recovery. In one study, a BCAA solution improved the recovery of muscle force of an isolated rat diaphragm by 20-30%, when compared to standard amino acid solutions (1). For bodybuilders and athletes, this is huge. Drinking BCAA during a workout is encouraged because skeletal muscle can instantly use them for energy.

So if you haven’t been using BCAA, start! I guarantee you will notice a difference in endurance and your end-of-workout strength. 

From experience, I’ll say that the addition of BCAA will absolutely improve your muscle gains if you do it correctly. For my most recent contest prep, I was doing a modified keto diet for the last eight weeks and doing cardio three times a day because I was behind schedule with my fat loss. My calorie intake was very low and my calorie expenditure was extremely high. I reached the point where I barely had energy for anything—let alone working out. I began mega-dosing BCAA at 10g per dose. Doses were taken at pre-morning cardio, post-morning cardio, pre-workout, post-workout, and before bed. At three days out, I weighed 223 and was sub 3% body fat. This means I had lost about five pounds of body fat, yet had only lost one pound of bodyweight. There is always a fluctuation in bodyweight with water levels, however I am positive that I added muscle due to the way my physique looked.

So here is what I recommend:

  • Offseason: take 5g of BCAA per dose
  • Precontest: 10g BCAA per dose, multiple times daily: 1) upon waking, 2) pre-workout, 3) post-workout, and 4) before bed. Enjoy the results!

Source

1)  Branched Chain Amino Acids.  Platell, Kong, McCauley, Hall.  Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.  Volume 15. Issue 7.  Pages 695-812.  July 2000.

The Benefits of Alkaline

Written by Rob Riches – B.S.C. Certified trainer, Cover Model, & WBFF World Fitness Champion

When asked what the number one cause of death is worldwide, most will likely answer cancer or obesity, and in many ways they would be right, but no matter what the name of the illness is, they all originate from the same root cause – too much acid waste in the body!

Too much acid in the body creates an environment in which favors the decomposition of living things, and weakens all body systems, allowing disease to thrive. In order to maintain a healthy body that can fight off disease and function optimally, we must maintain adequate alkaline reserves to neutralize excess acid accumulation in the body.

The acid/alkaline range is measured on the pH scale (Parts Hydrogen), from 0 to 14 respectively. The human body’s pH is around 7.4pH. To give you an idea of just how serious over acidity is for our health, every one-point drop on the pH scale increases the body’s acidity 10-fold. That’s a 100,000 increase in acidity from 7.0 – 2.0, which is about the difference between drinking purified water, and a carbonated energy drink. Now imagine the benefits of drinking alkalinized water with a pH level of nearly 10! If you can imagine acidic particles much like shrapnel, you can see the danger of having acidic Ph levels, along with high cholesterol and other fatty substances within the blood. Hardening of the veins occurs when sharp acidic particles cause scratches and bumps on the inside walls of the arteries and veins, which the fatty plaques are able to stick to, triggering the onset of cardiovascular disease. Due to this build up, the arteries become narrowed and fatty plaques that ‘bandage’ the tears created by the acidic particles become detached from the walls, raising blood pressure, and potentially increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

With an estimated one third of all cancers being attributed to poor nutrition, and over half a million deaths a year preventable through a change of diet alone, how does over acidity threaten the onset of the main cause of death in both men and women?

Well, the acidic waste thickens the blood to the point where it cannot carry the quantity of nutrients and oxygen the organs need to function efficiently. When the cell is deprived of oxygen and the amino acids that they require for repair and regeneration, they either die and turn into acidic waste, or due to ‘survival-of-the-fittest’, they adapt to their new, deprived environment by becoming cancerous, allowing it to survive by multiplying continually to grab the few available nutrients. Normal cells that become deprived of the nutrients by rapidly multiplying cancer cells, stop dividing and die.

Eating good, clean food in the right quantities throughout the day, can keep your metabolism running high (think of your metabolism as your fat burning furnace), and your energy levels constant, but also eating foods with a high pH to ensure you maintain an alkaline balance is perhaps just as important. The efficiency that a cell carries out its metabolic activities is determined by the nourishment it receives. In other words, a car engine will only perform as well as the grade of fuel that you put in it. Cells not only die because of lack of nourishment and oxygen from thickened acidic blood, but also from being poisoned by chemical additives. Another reason to always try to eat organic and natural foods in their original source (not processed or modified by man).

Nutrient Timing refers to the amount of nutrients needed by the body to function optimally, without leaving leftover waste, and overloading the body with excess calories that are often stored as fat. During the day the body digests and absorbs food quickly, but in the evening and at night these processes slow down, causing blood to flow more slowly, meaning the fat particles in the blood are more likely to remain undigested and turn into acidic waste. These find their way into the blood and block the transport of insulin from the pancreas. Lack of insulin in the blood means that sugar does not get burned up, so that blood sugar levels become elevated and produce diabetic symptoms.

Aside from water, there is more fat in the body than any other substance, and I’m not just talking about the fatty tissue beneath our skin that so many of us struggle to lose year after year. The surrounding of each and every cell in our bodies are made up almost entirely of fatty acids. The combination of fatty acids and amino acids plays a vital role in energy production, forming a membrane around the red blood cells through which oxygen gains entry into the cell. Fast food and high-sugared foods are not the only culprit in the fight against obesity!

Way before we had the ‘convenience’ of fast foods, and processed foods, there was another culprit to weight gain. Heat!

Cooking destroys many of the enzymes in foods that prevent obesity, as without them there is nothing to prevent too many nutrients from being absorbed into the body, and so what the body doesn’t need is either stored in fat cells or turned into toxic acidic waste, which can be converted to cholesterol and lactic acid. Blood loaded with acidic waste circulates the body and clogs organ systems, slowing down metabolism, causing less food to be burned up. When it comes to change, even the most head strong people can still fall short, and not through lack of commitment, but more so due to lack of knowledge.

We may not have much control over external or environmental causes of toxic waste, such as pollutants or even stress, but we do have absolute control over what we put into our bodies, and so it is that nutrition will be your armory in the fight against ridding your body of acidic waste.

Below are food categories highlighting the most alkaline options to the most acidic options, from left to right.

Food Category Most Alkaline Alkaline Lowest Alkaline Lowest Acid Acid Most Acid
Sweetners Stevia Maple/Rice Syrup Raw Honey Processed Honey White/Brown Sugar Artificial Sweetners
Fruits Watermelon, Grapefruit, Papayas, Lemons Dates, Blueberries, Apples, Pears Bananas, Cherries, Oranges, Avacados Plums, Processed Fruit Juices Rhubarb Blackberries, Cranberries, Prunes
Vegetables Asparagus, Raw Spinach, Onions Green Beans, Okra, Celery Carrots, Mushrooms, Tomatoes String Beans, Cooked Spinach Most Beans  
Nuts & Seeds   Almonds Chesnuts Most Seeds Pecans, Cashews Peanuts, Walnuts
Oils/Spices Olive Oil, Herbs Flax Seed Oil, Cayenne Pepper Canola Oil Corn Oil    
Grains/Cereals     Millet, Wild Rice, Quinoa Sprouted Wheat Bread, Spelt, Rice White Rice, Corn, Oats, Rye Wheat, White Flour, Pastries, Pasta
Meats       Venison, Cold Water Fish Turkey, Chicken, Lamb Beef, Pork, Shellfish
Dairy     Soy, Goat Milk, Whey Eggs, Butter, Yogurt, Cottage Cheese Raw Milk Cheese, Ice Cream
Beverages Herb Teas, Lemon Water, Purified Water Green Tea Ginger Tea Tea Coffee Beer, Carbonated Drinks

You should limit the foods towards the right of the table, and increase consumption of the foods to the left. It’s worth noting here that a foods acidic or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the
food itself. Most think of citrus fruits such as lemons and grapefruits to be acidic, however the end-products they produce after digestion and assimilation are very alkaline, so lemons are alkaline-forming in the body.

Likewise, meat will test alkaline before digestion but as with most animal products, meat is very acid-forming, leaving very acidic residue in the body. It’s also worth noting here that the fresher the food the higher its alkalinity. Cooking, freezing or canning foods increases their acid-forming potential. Stay away from foods grown with chemicals, processed with preservatives or prepared with sugar, as these are acid-forming also.

Beneficial Food Types

Honey:(Providing it’s the thick, raw, unfiltered honey that’s opaque in color), contains high levels of the starch-digesting enzyme amylase, and is truly a super food, especially Royal Jelly, which the worker bee’s feed to the queen bee to extend her life span from a few weeks to as long as ten years.

Fiber-rich Foods: help prevent many degenerative diseases by binding with the stomach’s acid so that it cannot damage the lining of the intestinal walls. Green, leafy vegetables are beneficial not only for their vitamin and mineral content, but also because they reduce the hyperacidity in all the organs of the body. Potatoes when cooked so as still slightly raw, act as an appetite suppressant, but also contains high levels of glue-like substances called mucilage, which helps the enzymes in the stomach break down the food mass. The fact is that many vegetables are effective cleansers of the body’s acidic wastes, especially when juiced. The juice of carrots and beets, with their high percentage of acid-forming sulphur and phosphorus, effectively clean out the acidic wastes from the liver, kidneys, and bladder.

Nuts Cooking, smoking or roasting any nuts will increase their acid-forming properties, so always enjoy nuts and seeds in the raw, unbleached form.

Cayenne Pepper Stimulate good digestions, including the breakdown of fats. It’s also a good overall body tonic that can help reduce inflammation.

All meats (including fish and fowl), rob the body of minerals that neutralize the acidity, with one of the places that it will take them from being our bones.

Liquids To really put things into perspective when it comes to neutralizing acidic waste, it takes 32 glasses of alkaline water to neutralize the acid from one 12 0z. soda. For each acid-forming beverage that you consume, your body uses its own buffers, stripping bones of calcium, to raise the body’s alkalinity to maintain a health blood pH level of 7.35 – 7.45.

Purified/Enriched Water Public tap water, and even drinking water in our homes, have been shown to still be contaminated with pharmaceutical drugs, hormones, and bacteria – all acidifying.

— Reprinted with Permission

Banish Those Winter Blues

Every year, as the days get shorter and the weather (particularly in the northern climates) are affected Affective Disorder. About a third have the actual rest can be lumped into the "winter blues" category, weather gets colder, millions of people affected by a condition known as SAD or Seasonal actual SAD, as it is clinically defined, while the category, which many of us can identify with.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, a very powerful pro-hormone, has also been implicated in SAD since production is also determined by natural light exposure. Studies have been able to show improvement in those individuals with depressive symptoms given adequate dosing of this vitamin. How much to take is a matter of some debate but for those living in the northern latitudes like Canada a reasonable amount to supplement would be between 3000 and 7000 IU per day depending on your current vitamin D status. To keep this in perspective it is estimated that for those with fair skin the body will make approximately 20,000 IU in one half hour of full body sun exposure. As one researcher put it “worrying about a vitamin D overdose is like worrying about drowning when you are dying of thirst in the middle of the desert!” A simple blood test called a 2-5 OHD test can easily determine this. The ideal range should be between 35-55 ng/ml. This writer would argue that one should aim for the upper limit, as this is what one would achieve naturally by being in the sun. Nature has conveniently put a physiological limit as to how high our levels can get by breaking down vitamin D after a certain period of sun exposure.

Natural Light and Tryptophan

There are many theories as to why this condition exists and trying to isolate a single causal factor is unlikely. Many feel that SAD is likely due to an imbalance of the neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin. Production of both of these neurotransmitters, which are made from the amino acid trytophan, is controlled by the pineal gland located in the brain, which is sensitive to natural light. Currently exposure to full-spectrum light remains the most widely used therapy today. Natural sources of trytophan can be readily found in foods like turkey but you’re going to need the carbohydrate from the mashed potatoes to get it into the brain. The word “comfort food” certain applies in this case.

Omega-3 EFAs

Lastly, one cannot ignore the pivotal role that essential fatty acids play in moderating and alleviating symptoms of mild depression. Numerous studies have found a positive effect on mood by the addition of Omega 3 Fatty Acids in the diet. But please remember it is the long chain fatty acids EPA/DHA most easily found in marine sources that are providing the benefits. Those oil blends with a higher EPA to DHA ratio seem to provide better support for mood elevation than oils with near equal amounts of EPA/DHA. P.S. Some have noted that the Icelandic population suffers from a lot less SAD than one would expect from those living at such high latitude. Could it be the vitamin D rich fish oil in the Cod? I wonder?

What Women Want: The Three W's That Will Make Or Break You In The Sack

Mindy Karuk – WBFF Diva Fitness Model

Harsh? Perhaps, but all of the chemistry can flop if you can't blend well between the sheets. How you listen and tune into what each other need in bed will make all the difference in the world! Communication is key! If you've been flirting it up for awhile or have been on a handful of dates by now…you should have an idea of what kind of person they are when the lights go down (or stay on!). Pay attention to hints or details they may bring up in conversation, the slip of a sexual connotation could easily give you a peak into their ideal sex romp! But for a now, pay attention to this….

We all know by now foreplay is important to women, who wants to be laid down for two minutes be given some lip service and then get at ’er? Not too many out there I have to say!! Once again pay attention to detail take things slow and sensual, enjoy every sense that is stimulated at that moment! Touch, sight, sound! But ladies guess what? Guys love a little attention too!! Don't get right into it off the hop and get into position, not all guys are wham bam thank you Ma'am's!! GUYS NEED ATTENTION TOO! Keep that in mind the next time you reach for his zipper!

Now some like it soft and sweet and some like it rough! Err on the side of caution if your mate isn't into the rough and you might be….listen to moans and the like, it speaks SO much louder than words when your trying to decipher what's hot and what's not! DO NOT shove tongues down throats!! Just thought I'd get that out there!! Not everyone loves a Gene Simmons-esque tongue checking out the tonsils!! Kissing is a huge part, once again be gentle off the start and read how the other person is kissing back…that's your "tell", you will know whether or not to advance further.

For those that like it rough, everyone has their own limits and what they consider rough. Hair pulling, ass smacking and whips aside…know what they are comfortable with. Communication is KEY once again!! Don't be afraid to ask what they deem as rough and fun or painful and disrespectful. Some guys like a nice soft smack on the cheek others do NOT. Don't assume what's good for one is good for all! Different strokes for different folks!! Things like ass smacking CAN get sore after awhile, remember to change things up or at least have at it on the other cheek to give the other side a rest!

Speaking of changing things up, porn and threesomes can potentially heat things up or stir the pot. If this is something that you want to try, handle it with care and sensitivity, joking about it can test the waters and will gauge a response. Some women are down with watching porn with their guy and on the other spectrum some place it in the same box as cheating. This is potential to get you in the doghouse for a long time if not checked with properly.

With threesomes, if you get the green light on this one, make sure to give primary attention to your partner!!! This can be dangerous waters if the relationship doesn't have a solid foundation of respect and trust. Jealousy, resentment and feelings of inadequacy could come about on either end. Tread lightly and with respect! If all ends are covered it could be a fun experience for both! Your partner's feelings should be number one and if you are given a NO be warned if you further pursue, you could be back on the meat market fast!

Great sex can make or break a relationship, remember to always pay attention to details and don't just be the "receiver" in the relationship. It has to go both ways!! Girls and guys can be lazy on this part and it happens….make a conscious effort to reverse that if it's a problem. The other person still refusing? Maybe it's time to reevaluate? Sex should be enjoyed by both and left feeling on cloud nine! So this is the part where I am socially responsible to tell you to wrap it up and to always enjoy safe sex 😉

— Reprinted With Permission

What is Sexy?

By Karma Schopp – Personal Trainer, WBFF Pro Figure & Cellucor sponsored Athlete

When you hear the words: strong, powerful, confident, what comes to mind? Sexiness? It can mean many things to many people. The wink of an eye, flip of the hair and a smile that shines throughout a room. Those are just a few attributes that are often coined to be sexy. However, depending on who you ask – it means something different to the person who gives you the answer.

According to an informal poll on Facebook asking what is sexy, surprisingly, the one physical feature that was mentioned numerous times was ‘teeth’! Yes, teeth and a great smile will take you far. And if you have the confidence and intelligence to complete the package – then you’re way ahead of the game.

One male pollster gave these thoughts: “Different types of attraction. To just want to get it on with a girl she just needs to have a waist with a decent butt, have good hygiene and be openly turned on by me. To be attracted to a girl for a relationship, there has to be a connection, similar lifestyles, humor, morals, intelligence, a broad perspective. She needs to have an appreciation for the things she has and respect for herself and others. Helps if she has nice lips, eyes, tight skin, a balanced athletic look, is generous of spirit, uninhibited, adventurous and is a touch anarchistic. Turn offs: Dishonesty, insincerity, immaturity, obesity, self centeredness, narcissism, shyness.”

Do you want to seduce your special someone? Then hit the gym! Finish a hard core workout, drench yourself in sweat, hair all over the place and get noticed. You’re not being looked at because someone thinks you should hurry up and get in the shower. That rough exterior is actually a major turn-on for a lot of people. The raw animalism you’re exuding is attracting others’ primal instincts. So, it’s not necessarily what you wear, it’s how you wear it that will add the provocative, flirtatious factor to your persona. Strut your stuff without being too over the top. Use your genuine radiance to smile and all of your sexiness will show.

— Reprinted With Permission

Understanding Genotype, Phenotype and Epigenetics

Genotype

  1. The genetic makeup, as distinguished from the physical appearance, of an organism or a group of organisms.
  2. The combination of alleles located on homologous chromosomes that determines a specific characteristic or trait.

Phenotype

  1. The observable physical or biochemical characteristics of an organism, as determined by both genetic makeup and environmental influences. The expression of a specific trait, such as stature or blood type, based on genetic and environmental influences.
  2. An individual or group of organisms exhibiting a particular phenotype.

How many times have you heard that you are at the mercy of your deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA for short)? That we inherit various genetic predispositions (i.e. illness, disease) from our parents and grandparents, and that there is precious little that we can do about it other than accept it, and as we get older prepare ourselves for the inevitable? We've been hearing this ostensible fact from very early on in our existence, from our parents, teachers, doctors, and of course my favorite, various news media including CNN (The most trusted name in news).

Well, I'm here to tell you that the emerging scientific evidence is suggesting otherwise! Before I continue, I would like to stress that I'm just the researcher, so if you don't like what is written, please take the time to investigate things for yourself. A rebellious, close-minded attitude may not serve you best in this situation, or in most cases in life.

Our genotype is the 30,000 genes that we are born with, and our phenotype is the environment that those genes are exposed to, which will determine their expression. There are numerous environmental factors that we must take into consideration as we attempt to understand the interplay between genes and their expression. These variables include the foods we eat, our choice of supplementation, prescription meds, chemicals, toxins, and poisons that we are exposed to on a daily bases, and of course the most influential of them all, the thoughts we think and the feelings we feel. That's right, the thoughts we think and the feelings we feel have momentous affects on our biology, according to the area of cutting edge science known as epigenetics.

In other words, our belief systems are responsible for how our genes behave. For example, when looking at adopted children, with zero genetic connection to the adopting parents, it has been shown that later in life these children end up expressing the same disease processes as their adopting parents and NOT their biological counterpart. The idea is that these children (just like the rest of us), are subject to the beliefs, which we learn from our parents and our environment, that determine our genetic expression as we progress through life.

The idea that we inherit our diseases is not only incorrect but it is also disempowering. To think that there is nothing that can be done to modulate our genetic expression, and that we are all sitting ducks waiting for the inexorable is obviously defeatist. Who wants to live like that? I sure as heck do not. Isn't it much more exciting to know that all is within our control? So how does this epigenetic thing work? Well, first we need to understand a few things.

Number one, we are a collection of approximately 50 trillion cells, different shapes, sizes and function, with each cell communicating with every other cell through a process known as intercellular communication and intracellular transduction (via countless molecular messengers). All this communication goes on via the brains of the cell, which despite conventional thinking, is not located in the nucleus (or the nucleolus), but rather in the cell membrane. This is why it is so imperative that the cell membrane be made up of EPA (marine lipids and not flaxseed oil as only 4% of it converts to EPA/DHA) predominately. Once brain health is established, each cell is able to move forward effectively surveying and responding to its environment efficiently. Its environment is going to be impacted by various foods, nutrients and chemicals as mentioned above, however more than that the cells want to know how life is out there. The only way it can know this is by how we choose to feel, and thus the sensations of feelings that systemically flood our bodies. Consequently, the way we elect to perceive our reality, is what will dictate the flood of feelings (molecular messengers) that speak to our cells. In addition, it also behooves us to understand that happy, joyous, loving feelings are expansive, while negative, stressful feelings are contractive, and our cells cannot expand and contract at the same time. Happy healthy cells are full of life and are round (70% intracellular water), while stressed cells are smaller and crenated (intracellular water may be as low as 50% or lower depending on illness).

Feelings can be so wonderfully enjoyable, while at the same time they can elicit such deep suffering. Therefore, the science of epigenetics suggests that choosing to love ourselves, each other and choosing to perceive our world as a place of beauty, abundance and tranquility is a perception that leads to a cornucopia of healthy cells and healing. The science is suggesting that the choice is ours and ours only. Hence, nothing and no one has more control over the level of health that we will enjoy than ourselves.

How do you get started? The first thing to do is make sure you are consuming copious amounts of marine lipids (EPA/DHA) in a clean high quality supplement form. The standard dose is about 6 grams daily. In addition, attempting to consume an alkalizing diet (lots of greens and clean high ph water) and supplementing with chlorophyll, chlorella, or any greens product is also of utmost importance. Next, I highly encourage you to read the book The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton, who is the pioneer of this cutting edge research. You can also tune into his lecture on the subject by finding him on you tube, in my humble opinion a must for all to see! I believe people are intelligent and want to read the scientific data behind this obviously monumental and groundbreaking information. It is important to understand how it all works, because the deeper the awareness the more passionate is the application.

Remember that yesterday is the untouchable and unchangeable past, and tomorrow is always a day away. All we have is this moment, so to look beyond it keeps us from enjoying the wondrous beauty that surrounds us all. Look around and see the joy and magnificence that exists in everything and everyone, I promise you can't miss it, as it is everywhere.

March 2011 – Issue XI – Fit & Firm Magazine 121

— Reprinted With Permission

Guiltless Eating

I don't know about you, but I'm in my off season right now. That doesn't mean I head to the nearest fast food restaurant or ice cream stand and blow all my hard work! It means it's a time to enjoy healthy nutritious foods that you may not normally eat in your on season diet. This keeps your mind and body in balance and ready when the time comes to kick things up a notch for the next big show!

Typically in the 16-12 weeks out before a show I will start to cut out things like milk, yogurt and cottage cheese and replace them with a more solid form of pure protein like egg whites, dry curd cottage cheese or ground turkey. Up until then I like to enjoy a little variety and a big breakfast to start my day!

Some people may turn their noses up and say I don't have time to make breakfast! Let me remind you, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. It's the first thing your body intakes after a nights sleep while we can't fuel our muscles! Its one of the most optimal times to have a higher carbohydrate meal because you have the whole day to burn it off! For those of you who are really short on time I've also added an on the run breakfast shake. Enjoy!

Zucchini Waffles with Almond Butter and Maple Syrup

If you don't own a waffle iron its time you make this investment in your fitness future!

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites or 1/2 cup of egg whites
  • 1/3 cup dry curd cottage cheese
  • 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup or 45g zucchini, grated
  • Dash nutmeg
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tsp natural almond butter
  • 1 tsp pure organic maple syrup

Directions:

 

  1. Heat up the waffle iron.

  2. In a blender place the egg whites through to nutmeg. Blend until smooth. You may have to scrape down the edges and blend again.
  3. Spray the waffle maker top and bottom with cooking spray. Pour the batter into the waffle maker and cook according to your waffle maker instructions.
  4. The batter should make 2 standard sized waffles. Drizzle 1 tsp of almond butter and 1 tsp of organic maple syrup over the waffles and serve.

Makes 1 serving – Calorie Content: 290 calories (34.7g protein, 27g carbohydrates, 4.8g fat.)

On The Go Blueberry Breakfast Shake

This shake is great as a pre or post workout meal too! Recent studies tell us that of all fresh fruits and vegetables, blueberries provide the most health-protecting antioxidants, those valuable elements which prevent cancer-causing cell damage and may limit the changes wrought by age related diseases.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogourt
  • 1/3 cup dry curd cottage cheese
  • 2/3 cup frozen blueberries

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend well.
  2. Pour into an on the go cup and go!

Makes 1 serving – Calorie Content: 251.2 calories (26.9g protein, 24.2g carbohydrates, 5.2g fat.)

Sundried Tomato And Basil Omelette With Sweet Potato Hash-Browns

 

Sun dried tomatoes can be found in most grocery stores by the fresh tomatoes or in the bulk section. Make sure to get yours just the dried variety to cut down on fat. Soak the sun dried tomatoes for a few minutes in boiling water before cooking with them.

Ingredients:

  1. 120g sweet potato, grated with a cheese grater
  2. 1 tsp pure organic coconut oil
  3. 6 egg whites or 1 cup of egg whites
  4. 3 sun dried tomato halves, without oil and soaked for 2 minutes in boiling water
  5. 1 garlic clove
  6. 4 asparagus spears, sliced into 1'' pieces
  7. 1 tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  8. 2 button mushrooms, sliced
  9. 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  10. Cooking spray
  11. Sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 1 tsp pure organic coconut oil and spread evenly around the pan. Add the grated sweet potato. Pat down with a spatula and cook one side for about 3 minutes. Flip potatoes and cook other side for another 3 minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper as desired.
  2. While the hash browns are cooking heat another nonstick pan coated with cooking spray. Add the sun dried tomatoes, garlic, asparagus, onions and mushrooms. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through. Remove the vegetables from the pan and place on a side plate.
  3. Spray the same nonstick pan you were cooking the vegetables in with cooking spray. Add six egg whites and with the spatula make small circular motions until the eggs are nearly cooked. Add the vegetable mixture to half of the egg whites. Place a lid over top of the egg whites and vegetable mixture add the basil and cook another minute with the lid on. Season with sea salt and pepper if desired.
  4. Using a spatula flip the just egg white side of the omelette over the vegetable side and serve with hash browns.

Makes 1 serving – Calorie Content: 327.2 calories (31.4g grams protein, 36.9g carbohydrates, 6g fat)

March 2011 – Issue XI – Fit & Firm Magazine 149 Health & Nutrition — Reprinted With Permission

So You Want to Date a Fitness Model

Sounds glamorous! Dating a Fitness Model is like dating a celebrity, isn’t it? Getting ready for photoshoots, competitions and a variety of other in demand industry events. Well, once you actually get the opportunity to take out a fit female (or male) you’ll find that they’re just like everyone else….only a bit more neurotic about food, working out and their appearance.

If you can handle someone who has compulsive habits like ensuring specific timing with eating – no matter where in the world they are at the moment, numerous workouts and an obsession with pushing the body to extremes…then you can date a Fitness Model. And if you get excited at the idea of filling your shopping cart with chicken breast when it’s on sale, you’re already ahead of the game. In addition to being able to appreciate the wonderful after affects of asparagus—then you’re welcome to the world of exercise enthusiasts!

If you’re dating a Fitness Model, you yourself need to be confident and allow your better half to be in the spotlight without wanting to take them away from it all. The more you empower him/her, the more they’ll be able to give back to you. It’s amazing what genuine support can do for the relationship. And the exact opposite can also be said. When and if you don’t understand what it takes to get your physique show or shoot ready, it can cause chaos and throw everything off balance. It’s not easy to juggle cardio sessions, weight training, meal prep, careers and family time. But, when you see your sexy spouse all done up and featured in magazines – you can’t help be but be proud as a peacock. It’s at that point you realize the rewards of the hard efforts put into creating the desired look. Fitness can bring many wonderful things to your life. And, it can also tear relationships apart. It all depends on the partnerships that are formed.

It’s important at the beginning of the relationship, expectations are clearly laid out. If you go into it knowing there will be times when quality time is scarce because of an upcoming project, it can make life a whole lot easier to take. When you don’t know that what lies ahead, you may feel neglected or not needed. Even though, that’s not the case at all.

So, when you first see a hot, fit person, don’t be intimidated by their carefully crafted exterior nor let it discourage you from discovering the person that lies within. Not only could you find out that their charm outshines what you see, it could in fact make them seem more beautiful than you initially thought. After all, beauty is skin deep, right? And, Fitness Models date outside of their own social circle. It’s not all about looks, if you’re the right match – it’s not going to matter if you pump iron or lift paperweights.

Date a Fitness Model and you’ll learn a lot about how to reach your goals, go after your dreams and how to create a network of beautiful people…on the inside and out.

— Reprinted with Permission

Gracefully Daring To Fail

Written by: WBFF Diva Bikini Model Jaylie Nicoll

“Be miserable, or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

“Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.” – Mary Tyler Moore

We are taught from the beginning that practice makes perfect, but is anything or anyone really flawless? This has been engraved into our minds since we were children and in this sport, perfectionism is a common trait that we share.

Ironically, failing in order to get to the top is what we have to do, but as many of you know, this doesn’t always happen naturally. Acceptance of our misfortunes is often overlooked and our fear of looking human essentially ends up holding us back. Some days, being a perfectionist is a blessing, and on others, it’s a curse.

If you knew me ten years ago, you would have never once thought that I’d be on the WBFF stage in front of a sold out show, which included some of the most recognizable and influential people in the fitness industry, wearing a very glittery bikini in sky-high heels. I was raised in a conservative family, in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, where I frequently entered science fairs, studied gemology, spent numerous hours on the UVic campus in my father’s mechanical engineering department, and won the art awards in school. I was always the last to get picked for any team sport and once even ran into a wall playing indoor floor hockey. My parents didn’t even allow me to wear the tight clinging ‘bell bottom’ style pants that had just come back into style again and ironically, all I wear today is Lululemon because I can’t fit into jeans.

Introverted at my very best, I had a hard time even raising my hand in class – even when I knew the answer. Going from what seemed like the perfect nuclear family, to having my world as I knew it shattered at the age of thirteen with my parent’s catastrophic divorce, all of a sudden, my mother and I found ourselves on the streets. Several tragic events occurred in the consequent years, which resulted in the loss of almost my entire family, and an eventual move to Ontario. My perfect family, my perfect house, my perfect school, my perfect dog, was a distant memory and to be honest, I didn’t know exactly how to handle it.

When I first started training in 2008, without a Personal Trainer in hand, sticking to the basic moves that I could understand without further instruction, found in Oxygen Magazine, made me feel comfortable and satisfied. I completed every set, every rep and never left the gym without mentally checking off everything I had walked in with as my game plan. Normally, this would be the perfect strategy to getting an assignment or a common task efficiently completed but little did I know that this was actually hindering my progress.

For the first year, there was not one failure. For the first year, there were no gains. I was doing everything perfect and getting nowhere. I’m in the gym and on my last few reps of a shoulder press. Slowly inhaling on the way down, taking a pause and exhaling as I try to get those two dumbbells over top of my head once again, I manage to get out a ninth rep so I try to do it again. This time, no such luck and as I’m about half way up, my shoulders give out and I fail. Isn’t it ironic that I am looking for success and have gained it through failure?

I can’t count the number of people who can recognize struggle or true hardship and identify with the pain and courage that resulted for me at such a young age. Whether a competitor or not, young or old, healthy or weak, it’s our bravery acquired from our failures or misfortunes that keep us going. Hitting rock bottom doesn’t always happen to everyone, but it certainly happened to me, and I am actually grateful for every mistake, every experience, and every pitfall. Tragedy and negativity only exists if you let it. Make a decision to turn nothing into something and accept that fate is not a matter of luck, but a matter of your willingness to believe in yourself. I am grateful for every time I’ve been called a loser, for every embarrassment, and for every heartache. I’m even grateful for accidentally peeing my pants in the first grade in front of my entire class. YOU are stronger because of what you’ve seen and what has happened in your life. You are determined because you’ve failed or been let down. You are making mistakes left, right, and center in order to practice motivation and face your fears. Not learning from your mistakes is one of the biggest (no pun intended) mistakes that you could make. I can tell you one thing; I’ve never had another ‘accident’ since.

Dare to veer so far off course that you land yourself on one of the biggest and recognizable physique competitions in the world. Fail consistently in the gym and bring that desire to be perfect with you on the WBFF stage. It won’t be fate that you gained one of the best experiences of your life; it will be your choice. Compete with the WBFF and turn your failure into a guaranteed success.

March 2011 – Issue XI – Fit & Firm Magazine 159

— Reprinted With Permission

The Conscious Athlete

“What’s your conditioning like?”

What is the most powerful weapon in your bodybuilding, fitness and figure contest prep arsenal? Is it a low carb diet? A high carb diet? Moderate cardio? HIIT Cardio? 5X5’s, Multi-Vortex-Conditioning?

So many techniques, tools and gadgets are being thrust upon us (not to mention the marketing!) that everyone forgets the most important tool: your mind! More specifically, your conscious mind, or as I will call it here, the “thinking” mind. “What is the thinking mind?” you ask. It is that small, small portion of your brain that actually allows us to think about specific things in specific ways. That of course is in addition to your conditioned, and powerful “unconscious mind” or, as a few scholars like to call it, the “room behind the closed door”.

“Bweep-bweep, bweepbweep.” Skype is complaining to me that someone is trying to do a video conference call. Gotta answer this one, it’s Belinda and she not only has a smokin’ body, but she also has a BIG set of. ..cortices! Yes, that’s right, her brain is so big I am surprised it can fit into her well formed, perfectly sized cranium. We struck up a conversation at a health conference some time ago when I was still a competitive bodybuilder and rolling around at 5’9”/230 with abs. Nowadays, she always calls me to go over her plans for whatever show she is currently prepping for, because, as many of my clients and friends know, while I’m a great listener – I’m even better at talking.

“Hello? E-mo? Yeah, it’s Belinda, I am so stoked for this show! I finally have the money for the best supplement stack ever, and I further researched my water loss methods during my spare hours at the lab. I also hired the best choreographer for my routine and I had enough of my xmas bonus left from Professor Colman for a custom suit that cost me 1000 dollars! I think that all that, coupled with the scientifically proven training routine I found on that wicked site you told me about last time, will guarantee a top three for sure! Last time too many things just came up at the same time and I just couldn’t seem to pull it all together. My sleep is still not the best but THIS time, I am going to be so dedicated, and those cheat meals I ate last time won’t happen again.. .”

Ah, the dedication, the pure blood and sweat people like Belinda put into their prep. They do have the best “intentions”, the best researched supplement stacks, and they hire self-proclaimed contest prep “guru’s” that charge a nifty couple of grand (upfront) for diets. And their positivity simply can’t be beat! So, why is it they can never beat “buffy the bimbo” that barely passed grade three? How is it that these supposedly more intelligent people can’t seem to get it together and win?!

Well, we had to go down this path at some point, so here goes; down the rabbit hole so to speak. The “thinking” cortex is capable of 2,000 bits of information processing per second (1-3 “action” events at a time; like typing, while talking on the phone and eating a sandwich) and the subconscious mind is capable of a staggering 4 billion (!) bits of information per second, which translates into quite literally thousands of processes at a time. How else do you think your heart beats, diaphragm contracts and relaxes and you stay alive when in a deep Delta sleep cycle? It certainly is not the supposedly “intelligent” Vic-20 you have as a frontal cortex.

I think we can all admit that the expansive unconscious mind patterns we all develop before we hit the age of 6 always crush the thinking “conscious” mind that we trust and “think” we make all of our well-meant decisions with. This is why most people just can’t “discipline” themselves enough to follow through and come out on top. 2000 bits will always succumb to 4 billion. Period.

No wonder the bodybuilding and figure community gets a bad rap when people rate the athletes on an IQ scale. The winners are usually not well developed when it comes to their cortical functions and are many times a very reactive “hindbrain” dominant person. You could say that these people, through no fault of their own, but perhaps their environment, were born reactive street-fighters, fight or flight instead of Einsteinlike, methodical and deep thinkers.

Of course for you people wanting to pick a brain as it were, there are always exceptions to every rule and some do manage to get really high IQ levels as well as a highly developed and over-active Amygdala/adrenal axis; I already have a whole article on how that can occur, but as usual, one of my typical conditioned patterns is to get onto another thought stream and take a wide detour.

CANCEL!

If my only goal in life was to take people’s money and run, then I’d just hang out at all the local shows, pick out the guy that got 3rd or 4th because he just did not have a technical clue about what he was doing in general, but still placed well (meaning that, perhaps he has great natural muscle and fat loss genetics). Then I would double check to be extra sure he was the most obsessive, compulsively mind patterned person on the planet, and then give him the strictest, well structured diet, (low carb, high carb, cardio, no cardio…this all becomes relatively irrelevant when you peel back the skull plates and have a look under the hood) along with some basic heavy training and tell him to dress like John Wayne when he went to the gym because it would, “increase your man juice bro”, and hey presto, I would have all the plastic trophies lining my mantel that 3K a client can buy.

If you have been to enough shows you will always see a few of these people; usually wearing a John Wayne outfit between pose downs, hanging out with their “guru”.

By Eric Morrison, Director – Topdown Wellness

The Top 20 Reasons: You Know You're 'Hardcore'

HARDCORE – Pronunciation: [hahrd-kawr, -kohr] –adjective Definition: unswervingly committed; uncompromising; dedicated: a hard-core segregationist.

The Top 20 Reasons

  • 20. You’ve ever put chalk on anything in the gym
  • 19. You take Ibuprofen before you train, while you train and after you train
  • 18. Nobody else in the gym has access to weights on your leg days
  • 17. You’ve experienced projectile vomiting after a set of squats
  • 16. You’ve experienced projectile vomiting during a set of squats
  • 15. You diet for the Arnold Classic, the Olympia and the WBFF Worlds even though you’re not competing
  • 14. You voted for Arnold but know nothing about politics
  • 13. Your dream vacation is Venice Beach, California
  • 12. You’ve referred to Jay Cutler as “fat”, “out of shape” or “small”
  • 11. You consider cardio as a “brisk walk to the fridge”
  • 10. You eat out of tupperware more frequently than tableware
  • 09. You don’t own tableware
  • 08. You’re on your second “Magic Bullet” blender
  • 07. You know how many grams of protein are in every animal
  • 06. At any given time you’ve hit ALL of the compulsory poses in public
  • 05. You’ve waited in the parking lot for the gym to open
  • 04. Gym staff have asked you to keep the “screaming to a minimum” as you’re scaring other members
  • 03. You’ve ever wrapped a tape measure around your forearms and calves
  • 02. You’re 260 lbs. at 4% body fat and feel you can be “a little bigger”
  • 01. You compete with the WBFF

Daryl Gazey – WBFF Director of Operations, Editor Fit & Firm Magazine

— Reprinted with Permission

Downward Dogs = Better Sex Life?

Oh, and by the way, practicing yoga will definitely improve your sex life as well. C’mon! Tell me you weren’t thinking that. And no, it’s not from the fact that your body starts looking damn good! You already know that the practice of yoga can lead to greater flexibility, better muscle tone, a surefire way to release stress, and maybe even enlightenment.

But better sex? Really? Of course it does! Yoga offers a myriad of physical and emotional benefits that add up to more fun between the sheets and a more fulfilling, meaningful sexual relationship with your partner.

Whether heating up your sex life is the main goal of your yoga practice or just a happy side effect, note this information down as yet another great reason to hop onto your yoga mat. Here are the major ways it works:

Sensuality: On a more subtle level, yoga helps you develop an awareness of sensations in your body. Learning to feel the weight rolling into the inside edges of your palms in downward dog, for example, teaches you to savor every sensation in your body — including the really delicious ones that happen during sex. It also helps keep you rooted in your body and out of your head, where your swirling thoughts can keep you from enjoying the experience at hand, whether it’s in class, out with friends or between the sheets.

Confidence & Energy: A recent study in the U.S. shows that people who practice yoga gain less weight as they age than people who don’t do yoga at all. And while feeling more fit is an undeniable turn-on, a sustained yoga practice also encourages you to develop a reverence for your body. Yoga gets your blood pumping to a variety of essential body parts for sex, but the most notable; your brain.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt so exhausted while having sex or felt the stirrings of arousal but were so tired you had to catch some z’s instead? According to a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation, a full third of women say tiredness causes them to cut back on sex. And a 2005 clinical study at Harvard Medical School showed that just eight weeks of a simple at-home yoga practice significantly improved sleep quality for the toughest audience—chronic insomniacs. It’s a simple exercise to connect the dots—practice yoga, sleep better, have more sex.

Intimacy: Yoga’s effects transcend the physical. It helps us become more comfortable in vulnerable positions—whether it’s a full backbend during class or a heart-to-heart conversation in bed at night.

Better Orgasms: On a purely physical level, many yoga poses—such as upavista konasana, or wide-legged straddle pose—increase blood flow to the pelvis. In our sedentary world, the muscles that run through the pelvis are chronically constricted. Another crucial aspect of yoga involves engaging and drawing up the muscles of the pelvic floor (known in Sanskrit as mula bandha, or root lock), which strengthens the muscles that play an integral role in orgasm.

In closing, remember that the practice of yoga is a constant journey and the learning never stops. Your experiences will change based on your teacher and genre of yoga you learn. Try as many classes as you can, look at the positive things you gain from teacher to teacher and rid of the negatives… the more you learn about yourself, the more you will discover what is best for you and how you can make your life better.

Even when it comes to your own weight training, watch as you’ll have beady range of motion, the pain will go away and start getting used to people saying. “Hey man, you’re looking taller these days”. :)

Keep an open mind, take time for yourself, really love yourself and your own time… everything else will fall into place in time.

— Reprinted with Permission, March 2011 – Issue XI – Fit & Firm Magazine 181

Contest Preparation with a New Baby

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to have a body like you see on every fitness magazine cover. In my teenage years I dieted on and off and always had a love for working out. Around 2 years ago I started thinking about actually competing I was so excited to start my journey of training hard and sticking to a strict diet.

Unfortunately my journey did not start off right away as planned. I soon received the news that I was pregnant!

I had many thoughts going through my head at the time. I remember thinking to myself that my dream of being a cover model for a leading fitness magazine would never happen. Of course at the same time I was very excited to become a mother. Once over my initial joy, my next thought was “Oh my God”, I am going to get fat and a whole lotta stretch marks. It was very hard to come to terms that after all the work I put into getting my body to look the way it did, it was all going to go away within a few months.

Who knows if it would ever look the same again? I tried to stay positive focusing on my new love that was growing inside of me…and course lathered my belly up with cocoa butter religiously everyday!

During my pregnancy I gained a whopping total of 45 lbs. My doctor told me at my first appointment a healthy weight gain for my size is only 25-35 lbs. I definitely went over that by a little bit! Finally after nine long months of being pregnant, my precious little baby boy Carson Luke Cunningham was born! He weighed a little over 8 lbs. This was the happiest day of my life! In the next couple of days I started thinking about how much excess body fat was still on me, even though I was still swollen. It made me very unhappy and depressed.

I did not want to be stereotyped as a new mom who loses her shape and becomes overweight. I knew I wanted to be in good physical shape but I must confess that after giving birth you are very exhausted. Losing weight and getting back into shape is not a priority. My baby needed me and my body needed time to heal, so the gym was not even an option for at least a month. I did however manage to keep my diet on track during this time.

Within about three months, I was finally able to get back into the swing of things, including the gym. I started weight training and doing cardio, which made me see results a lot faster than I had thought I would. I also think when you are walking around holding your baby for hours every day it definitely gets exhausting, but helps burn a lot of extra calories.

When Carson was six months old, I decided I was going to compete in a WBFF show. Being on maternity leave gives me the time to prepare my meals but it can be very challenging to get to the gym. It will continue being a challenge to get to the gym, but once he gets a little bit older, I will be able to bring him to the gym’s daycare. In the meantime I had to come up with some workout routines to do at home to get into the shape I need to compete for my upcoming my WBFF debut at the Vancouver show.

Fun Workouts

Some fun workouts I love doing at home are squats with my son in my arms, I give him a big hug and he is now my 25 lbs weight. When I feel like I can’t do another one, I always get a couple more in because I love hearing his giggles and I push through it. Lifting him high up in the air is a great arm workout. Even when I do push ups he seems to think I look funny, because he laughs at me every time.

Dance with your baby! Its great cardio, and they love the motion and bouncing. He loves workout time because we are playing and it is a great bonding experience for us. For the last little while I have been waking up at 5am to get to the gym so I can do my morning cardio. What a challenge! My son goes to bed late most nights and he wakes up once or twice during the night, so getting up that early with absolutely no energy is very tough! I don’t have a choice though, my boyfriend works early and long hours so that is the only time I am able to go. Once I get there I always feel better and I always have so much more energy throughout the day.

Another tip for the mothers who find it hard to prepare meals would be to make some delicious protein smoothies. They taste great and can replace a meal, and only takes about two minutes to do. Add some berries or a banana and peanut butter, they taste better then a milkshake and are great for slimming down. So after all the worry I had thinking I would never be able to compete, I am starting my training and dieting off in the best shape I have ever been in and I give all the credit to my son. He really gives me the drive and motivation to work out and at the end of the day I want to be happy and healthy so I can be here for him and my family as long as possible.

I wrote this article hoping to inspire some of the other mothers out there who think it is impossible to get back into shape. It is never too late to get into living a better and healthier life style. Make playing with kids fun and prepare your meals thinking its fuel for your body because everyone knows keeping up with a toddler is hard work! You will watch the pounds fall right off!

So after all the worry I had thinking I would never be able to compete, I am starting my training and dieting off in the best shape I have ever been in and I give all the credit to my son.

WBFF Diva Bikini Model – Candice Dufault

70 Fit & Firm Magazine – Issue XI – March 2011

— Reprinted with permission.

The Role of Electrolytes in Athletic Performance

Health And Nutrition

Endurance athletes have long known the crucial importance of potassium, sodium and magnesium in preventing heat stroke and severe dehydration, as well as in avoiding the muscle cramping and injury that can be caused by a lack of electrolytes. These aforementioned trace minerals allow for proper functioning of muscles and are excreted when an individual partakes in physical activity (strenuous or otherwise), hence the importance of these trace minerals in electrolyte replenishment.

The importance of magnesium bears noting, especially in regards to muscle relaxation post-workout. Magnesium is key in avoiding muscle spasms (any muscle twitching is indicative of a magnesium deficiency). Most individuals get an abundance of sodium chloride (salt) in their diet, yet healthier alternatives such as sea salts with adequate trace minerals are a healthier choice. Some foods are great sources of these minerals: bananas post-workout are a good source of potassium, and almonds provide magnesium. Some great electrolyte products such as E-Load, and Amino Vital are good choices for endurance athletes and anyone looking to increase their athletic performance and avoid injuries and heat exhaustion.

Remember:

  • Electrolytes play a crucial role in the function of muscles and in adequate hydration.
  • They are especially important during intense physical activity and in extreme temperatures, notably in the hot weather of the summer months.
  • Bananas post-workout are a good source of potassium, and almonds provide magnesium.

Don’t forget your electrolytes!

By: Robert Saliwonczyk, RHN, RN CP/ROHP

What a Gym Really Needs

There are franchises and there are gyms. Westside Barbell is definitely a gym. What's the difference? A franchise is a place where they sell baggy pants, T-shirts, protein powder, and a whole bunch of junk you don't need. You can't make noise (don't even think about cursing), and chalk is forbidden. They have lots of mirrors (all you weirdo's who look in them for hours, you know who you are) and bodybuilding magazines featuring lots of girls and lots of bull.

So what does a gym have that's so important? First is attitude. Everyone must have the same goal, which is to get stronger. We don't care if you are trying a 300 bench press for a PR or a 600 PR.

And what about equipment? Machines are a waste. They work on the theory of peak contraction, which simply means you must start at your weakest point; this is stupid and very dangerous. Machines build no stability. Also, how can one machine work for two people if one is strong at the bottom of a lift and his partner is strongest at the top? It's impossible.

I want to say something there about high-intensity training (HIT). Many football teams are using the HIT system. Well, my friends, intensity is not a feeling but rather a division of percent-of-a-one-rep-max zones. Doing one set to failure does little for speed strength. If you have a player do 20 reps with a barbell to complete failure, how long does it take him to do a second set? Under 35 seconds I hope, because that's how long a football player gets to rest between plays. I was talking to an NFL strength coach recently who said that college programs using HIT are sending him linemen that can't vertical jump 19 inches or squat 300 pounds! Chuck Vogelpohl's brother, who trains with us, is a center and weighs 305 at 20 years old; he has a vertical jump of 31 inches.

What does a gym need for bench pressing? First is a power rack with pin holes every 2 inches on center, or 1 inch on center if possible, like ours, for doing rack lockouts. If the hole spacing is greater than 2 inches, the weight reduction necessary between using one set of holes and the next is too great to work within our strength curve.

For board presses a gym needs two, three, and four boards glued or nailed together. Doing a board press is not the same as doing a rack press. When doing a rack press, the contact is only with the hands. When board pressing, the weight is transferred through the boards into your chest, shoulders, and arms.

Heavy dumbbells are necessary. If you want to bench more than 600, you need dumbbells up to at least 175s.

If you want reversal strength, and who doesn't, the contrast method is a must, for example, sleds and parachutes, which sprinters use, that break away while running to help create the over-speed effect.

Explosive and accelerating strength can be developed with the aid of weight strippers or the release device. By lowering extra weight on the releasers and then concentrically raising a lesser load, explosive strength can be increased.

By using chains that are connected to the bar, we can create a deloading effect on the eccentric phase through the chains piling on the floor. This process exactly duplicates the strength curve as it relates to the bottom of the lift. Reloading of chain concentrically again helps to maximize the complete range of joint motion, thus accommodating resistance very effectively.

Flex bands work much like chains in as much as they unload tension upon lowering, with a regaining of tension in the concentric phase. A greater amount reversal strength can be obtained not by lowering a heavier weight, which leads to a decrease in reversal strength, but by a moderate increase in downward velocity. This is kinetic energy, which can be transferred to the storage and reuse of elastic energy, for the concentric phase. This was discussed by Zatsiorsky in Science and Practice of Strength Training.

A great piece of equipment is a McDonald cambered bar. If you are an advanced bencher, you may have to place a 2 x 6 or two 2 x 6s on your chest to reduce the stretching from 5 inches to 2-3 inches. A 7-foot EZ-curl bar can also be a great benefit.

A set of rings resembling gymnastic rings to do push-ups and pull-ups with, from a variety of angles, is tremendous for building extra muscle.

For squatting and deadlifting, again weight releasers, chains, and bands should be used extensively on max effort day and speed day. An assortment of boxes to squat off of is vital. Also, a Manta Ray, a Safety Squat Bar, and for most powerlifters, a front squat harness are needed to change body leverage artificially.

Don't worry if you are weak on one or all of these devices. On the contrary, this is precisely why they will work for you. For example, Don Damron would use the Safety Squat Bar for a minicycle and his squat and deadlift would jump about 20 pounds every time. A lifter needs many weapons in his arsenal to increase his or her lifts, as well as to prevent boredom.

Another bar that we use quite often is the Buffalo Bar by Ironmind. It is very strong and cambered, enabling one to do good mornings easily. Don't forget to include bands, chains, and weight releasers to affect your leverage in different ways. Sometimes use lots of chains and a light bar weight, or do just the opposite, a light amount of chains and a heavy bar weight. The Russians did a lot of slow lowering with 80%, taking about 6 seconds, and raising up 60% very explosively with the use of weight releasers.

Belt squats are the perfect way to work the lower body without trauma on the spine. They are also very therapeutic. If you suffer from a back injury, you can still build your lower body with belt squats. This exercise can realign the vertebrae by its traction properties. A glute/ham bench is an absolute must. The hamstring is the muscle group that can make or break your squat and deadlift progress. Five women at Westside have squatted or deadlifted 500 pounds or more, and every one of them laid a heavy foundation on a glute/ham machine. Doris Simmons made a 341 squat and 349 deadlift at 105, and Amy Weisberger has done a 445 squat and 430 deadlift at 123.

A Reverse Hyper will build your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back like nothing else. There are many men who merely increase the weight on this exercise near a meet. Billy Masters, who squats 900 pounds, does just that. The Reverse Hyper is very therapeutic for the low back because it rotates the sacrum on each rep.

A pulling sled will do unbelievable things for your squat and deadlift. Jim Voronin was stuck at a 683 deadlift forever. We advised him to stop deadlifting and start dragging a weighted sled. In 4 months he did a 750 deadlift!

It also helps to be well read. You need a good library to understand how science and exercise fit together. Forget most of the books written by Americans. Try for The Managing of the Weightlifter, Multi-Year Training In Weightlifting, Science and Practice of Strength Training and The Fundamentals of Special Strength, all translated from Russian. Books by Tudor Bompa are good, such as Strength and Power in Sports. These books will help you understand weight training to a much greater extent.