Thursday, October 25, 2012

Supplementation Part 1

Supplements play a major role in the bodybuilding community not only in the gym but on message boards everywhere. Supplements are just that, a supplement to your daily eating habits. For example, it would be very hard to eat 5 grams of creatine a day (a good serving size) in your average person's diet. It would take something like a kilogram of beef to get 2 grams of naturally occurring creatine; no one jams that much food in their mouth.

This takes me to a question I am often asked, "Is creatine safe?". I can tell you this much, I take 5 grams of Kre-Akalyn (a micronized monohydrate) every single day. This dosage has not resulted in any unfavorable side effects. Creatine is a necessity in gaining quality, natural muscle  My case is a special one however, I take creatine to be competitive in the bodybuilding circuit. I would strongly suggest speaking to your doctor before starting a creatine regimen.

Another common question is, "What kind of creatine is best?". I have only tried monohydrate and micronized. This question I cannot answer with absolute certainty but I can recommend heading over to and reading their in-depth supplement reviews.

Look out for a pre workout post coming up!

Thanks for reading and lift strong!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cutting Down

Hey everybody

I'm writing this while on the elliptical. I don't have much else to do besides cardio for the next hour so I figure I'll touch on a subject of minor controversy, cutting. There are many ways to cut down and they all depend on your body's reaction to carb sources and fat sources. Cardio is also imperative for anyone who wants to get lean. I have the unfortunate condition where keeping contest-ready abs all year round is near impossible. My body puts fat on the second I eat a simple carb. Other people I know have shredded abs almost all the time. In fact, their belly-fat comes off first during a cut. Also for all you put there saying fat-burners don't work, they do; if you use them correctly. They will not help if your diet is poor. They do in fact serve to enhance your metabolism if you're already eating clean. As always,, if you have specific questions you can contact me at

Thanks for reading and lift strong!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Update 4 (mini game review)

3 day weekends are fantastic. They finally give me some time to play some videogames and finish up some homework. I'm sure a ton of you have already picked up Madden 13 as I have and are addicted to it. I literally just ripped off the shrink wrap and am getting ready to play it for the first time. But as I marvel at the fantastic graphics and near-perfect physics engines that we take for granted today, I am reminded of a time when all the lighting effects we had were just painted on and un-dynamic. In some ways, classic games are better. The challenge, the general appeal, and the simplistic stories made for fantastic experiences.

It's always great to have the best of both worlds however. "Dark Souls" combines perfect gameplay, gorgeous graphics, and a very minimalistic story told mainly through item descriptions to weave its dark and foreboding tale. It was one of the best games I had played durring 2011. You might be wondering, "If it's a year old why are you bringing it up now?" Well, a new version is out. The "Prepare to Die" edition. And it's even better than before. My friend just downloaded it on Steam so you know I had to as well. I literally just created my character; a pyromancy wielding jubilant catarina. My first impression, "Damn, this opening cutscene still looks fantastic".

Now there is absolutely no excuse to not play "Dark Souls". It's on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. Get on Steam or get to Wal-Mart and pick up the Prepare to Die edition and get ready for a challenging and rewarding experience. Check this video about the game first though, its hilarious:

If you guys like these game reviews just let me know and I'll continue to make them. If not, I won't.

Thanks for reading and game strong!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Update 3

Happy Sunday everyone! If you're living in Florida you can look outside and know today is great for blogging. It's rainy, windy, and really cozy inside. My comments section question of the day is, "What's your favorite thing to do when you can't leave your house?" Also please remember to check out and show some love to the YouTube channel.

Now for the workout tip: hold your contractions! I see too many people in the gym just flinging weights around and lifting weights without paying attention to tempo and if they even feel the muscles or not. Eccentric movements build the most muscle. The gym is no place for a big ego. Sure you can bench 400 lbs one time with 3 spotters but are you going to get anything from that. Hell no. You're just going to injure yourself.

When you lift try and get that mind-muscle connection going and feel the fibers stretch and contract. For example, a straight bar curl can either be the best movement to build your biceps or a one-way ticket to snap city. What I like to do for that particular exercise is bring the bar up to pec height in 2 seconds and let the weight back down to my quads in 6 seconds. That way I know my biceps are stimulated and I can physically feel the muscle working. If you don't feel the burn or a pump, you're just not hitting the muscle.

Have a great rest of the day everyone!


Thanks for reading and lift strong!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Abs and Why Most People Don't Train Them Properly

  Abs are honestly the easiest part of your physique to obtain. Everyone, no matter how overweight, has a full set of abs. They just protect them with a wall of fat. Your abs start to show at around 11ish percent body fat and become pronounced at around 8%. This post will give you a comprehensive guide to getting a lean and defined mid-section.

  PART 1: Training
Resistance training 3 times a week will help strengthen your core as well as bring some shape to your abs. I recommend doing upper abs on Monday, obliques Wednesday, and lower abs Friday.

Upper abs- 15 reps of hanging leg raises: 3 sets
                   15 reps of between the legs push-throughs: 3 set
                   15 reps of ball rollouts: 3 sets

Obliques (the sides of your torso)- side plank- hold it two times on each side for at least 30 seconds
                                                      25 reps of bicycle crunches- 3 sets
                                                      15 reps of Russian twists- 3 sets

Lower abs- 25 reps of straight leg Roman chair crunches- 3 sets
                   25 reps of double-leg stretch- 3 sets
                   15 reps of lying leg raises- 3 sets

  PART 2: Nutrition
Carb and fat control are the keys to great abs. When I'm dieting down for a show, I usually get between 200-250 carbs. As the competition gets closer, I cut that number even more. On my non-training days I try to take in as little carbs as possible. Always remember to get most of your carbs in the morning so you have a whole day to use that energy. Everyones body reacts differently however so if you have specific questions about nutrition please feel free to email me at

Most people believe, for some strange reason, that abs recover faster than any other muscle group so it's ok to train them every day. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Your abs need just as much time to rest and recover as any other muscle in your body. Also, many people buy into those "insta-abs" belts I see advertised on TV 24/7. Those are complete scams! There is no substitute for hard training and strict dieting.

And guys please remember this, abs really aren't all that important. Sure they look nice but I'd much rather have great arms or a great chest. To me, abs are just something everyone's going to have when I show up at a contest so I have to have them too. And to all you guys who want to compete remember, back and legs win shows. If you've got shredded glutes and a little Christmas tree going on in your lower back, you'll win. Abs are more important to physique competitors but they still take the backseat compared to chest and arms. Don't obsess over abs! I only have good abs a few days before and durring my competitions. And that's after water restrictions which I'll cover in a contest prep thread eventually.

Thanks for reading and lift strong!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dieting Tips for Contest Prep

  Hey guys! I'm writing this today because I know I'm not going to be able to post tomorrow. This post is going to be on the topic of contest preparation and carb cycling. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, failure to prepare means preparing to fail. I think of this saying every time the thought of cheating on my diet crosses my mind. I would say that dieting makes up about 70% of bodybuilding. That might seem like an exaggeration but honestly, if your diet is not on point, your gains and fat loss will be infinitesimal as compared to eating properly.

  I've noticed that people regard the word "diet" with a negative connotation. All it means is the way you eat on a day to day basis. If you put good in, you're going to get good out; plain and simple. I like to start off with calculating how many calories I should eat in a day. For me to maintain my weight I need between 1500 and 1600 calories a day. If I wanted to gain weight, I'd add 200-300 extra calories. I also split my consumption of calories into 3 categories: protein, fat, and carbs. 60% of calories from protein, 20% from fat, and another 20% from carbs. My body responds well to those numbers but if I ever stopped seeing gains and fat loss from those numbers it's as simple as changing up the fat and carb percentages to rectify any problem that comes up. Stay true to you diet and your body will do the rest.

  Next up is carb cycling and trust me, it's way less complicated than it sounds. What I am about to present is not a new paradigm, or a revolutionary approach to diet. Nor is it the end-all, be-all to dieting; there are many viable approaches. This diet is, on the other hand, an easy (relatively speaking) approach to dieting that is physiologically and psychologically rewarding. Moreover, it is rather flexible and also forgiving, yet effective. For these reasons, I am astounded that it has not caught on to a greater extent (in some form or another), and played a bigger role in the dieting revolution. 

There are four types of days while on this diet:
  • High carb
  • Medium carb
  • Low carb
  • No carb Days
  Generally, the 4 days are rotated, or cycled, equally. Again, I will stress that this can, and should, be tweaked, based on the individual's goals, samatotype, and dieting history. Here is the basic plan, which is designed for rapid fat loss for most individuals and the one that got me into contest ready condition, twice.

  Thanks guys and lift strong!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cardio: How Much is Too Much?

   A question I am posed by numerous people everyday in the gym is, "How much cardio should I be doing?" Well, this question really is multi-faceted. It depends on what results you want, if you're training for endurance or if you just want to get cut-up. It also depends on how much your attention span will allow before getting bored on any given piece of cardio equipment. Let me just get this out of the way now, if you are killing yourself on the treadmill to the point where you're making copious amounts of noise and banging your feet on the belt, you are not achieving anything. The only people that should go over 10 miles an hour on a treadmill are advanced endurance runners; that's it. For everyone else let me give you some alternatives.

  1. Slow, steady pace cardio
This is my favorite kind of cardio by far. This kind of cardio can be preformed using any cardio apparatus in your gym or home or even outside in the fresh air. This cardio is for anyone who mants to burn straight fat without tapping into their muscles. This is the only kind of cardio that does not lead to muscular atrophy (muscle shrinkage). If you take your heart-rate up to high, your body sees this as overwork and burns muscle for quick fuel and amino acids. Fat is only burned when you keep it slow. For this kind of cardio I would recommend a session of 20 minutes or more.

  2. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
A place called Orange Theory openend in my neighborhood about 6 months ago. Like most people that live in my community, I went out to try it one morning at 5 am. I was interested in seeing if this new, HIIT fad had any substance behind it. All-in-all the workout was good, but left me wheezing and depleted. HIIT isn't for everyone and it certainly isn't for me but if you enjoy it, it's a great way to stay in shape and burn some fat. What's interesting about it is that you raise your heart-rate very high and then rest. Your heart-rate is all over the place durring that one hour class. Resistance training (weights) is also used for about half the time. I would recommend this to anyone who is training for a marathon or some athletic competition. Bodybuilders, stay away from this kind of cardio.

3. Cardio not done on an apparatus
This is possibly the healthiest of the 3. This kind of cardio includes swimming, hiking, biking, surfing; anything you can do outside really. I love to swim and anytime I get a chance that's what I usually do for cardio. It doesn't impact your body in anyway and really strengthens muscles not usually worked in the gym. I would say do 30 laps (one lap consists of one there-and-back) and then see how you feel. You can stop there or continue.

  Cardio is very important guys! It keeps you healthy as well as making all the muscles you work so hard to build visible. But remember to get a good mp3 player and some headphones. Cardio can get very tedious.

Thanks for reading and lift strong!