Tag Archives: bodybuilding

Choosing a Trainer

Choosing a coach or a trainer can be a confusing matter for the beginner or intermediate athlete.  Every trainer or strength coach I have met is usually only an expert in one or two particular areas of fitness. In my experience, Ive come across very few gurus that can tackle more than two or three styles of training. Trainers will be passionate about some specific areas, but you cannot expect them to have a background in every sport, or every aspect of fitness. 

When choosing to put your body in the hands of a trainer, the first thing you need to do is find out what exactly his or her specialties are. Really grill this person and find out if they have walked the walk and are continuing to.  More importantly, have they done what you wish to do?  If you are looking to become a better football player you wouldn’t hire an IFBB pro bodybuilder to train you.  Similarly if you were training for your first bodybuilding show, it would make little sense to go with a talented cross fit instructor.  

As self-evident as this might seem, I see plenty of athletes under the guise of unqualified trainers.  Trainers that just want to do everything, and in doing so providing meteocre services.  While these trainers can be extremely knowledgeable in one particular area they often have limited experience/knowledge in other disciplines.  It is extremely important that as a newbie, you match your goals up with the accomplishments and expertise of your coach.

Be weary of what i call the “general trainer.” Having a certificate in fitness training is a great start, but often a general trainer is no more experienced than the client!  If you want to lift big numbers, go with a strength coach with a long history of Olympic lifting or power lifting.  Conversely if you wish to compete in a triathlon go with an experienced triathlete with a solid training history.  Remember, experience always trumps education.

On a final note, trainers who can achieve an extremely low bodyfat (4-5%) are sometimes more sought after by beginners as their promotional photos are often visually impressive.  This may or may not be a deciding factor in your choice of trainer.  If your goal is to drop below 7% bodyfat then their expertise may definitely help you with weightloss.  If your goal is to improve your deadlift or become a better shot putter, this is a poor indicator of what this trainer can do. In sum, find yourself an experienced strength coach who has mastered applicable techniques.  Don’t be fooled by the pictures, talk to previous clients, and discover if the trainer is right for you!Image





How to Build Muscle, Naturally.

Yes, there is a way to build muscle without the aid of anabolic steroids! In this short article I will outline several concepts that I personally recommend to gain extra muscle. Through my own trial and error, I have found the following tools can help to guide your training and take your physique to all new heights.

1) You need to eat enough real whole foods, and eat consistently. Too many young bodybuilders or strength athletes are afraid of gaining a little extra bodyfat, and either eat sparingly or merely nibble at food throughout the day. You need 5 meals a day at the minimum, to keep blood sugar constant and provide enough protein for muscle to grow.

2) Do not concern yourself with burning bodyfat during a phase of growth. To put this simply, fat burning and muscle gaining are two separate diet programs. Do not try to combine these. If you do, the contradictory eating strategies will cancel one another out and your body will stay the same.

3) You must powerlift. You need to lift some heavy weights and do the exercises that you see all the big guys (and gals) in the gym doing. Learn to squat, deadlift, and bench press. These compound movements increase hormones that facilitate muscle growth and tax the entire body building density, power and muscularity.

4) Only work with weights for an hour to and hour and a half. Without the aid of drugs, you will overtax your nervous system if you keep going. Go hard and increase your strength, but don’t overtrain by doing more than 4-5 exercises.

5) Use creatine supplements and eat enough protein. You don’t have to believe all the supplement ads, nor do you have to spend hundreds of dollars on products every month. But take a look at the guys you see on creatine and whey protein. Usually they are a step above the rest. Extra protein will allow you to build extra muscle.

6) Keep track of your strength in a journal. Strength and size have a direct correlation. The purpose of muscle is to move objects against gravity. The more resistance to a movement the larger the muscle will grow to accommodate the stress. Therefore, progressive resistance is absolutely necessary for muscle to increase in size. So challenge yourself everyday. Remember, if you aren’t getting stronger, you probably aren’t growing.

7) Make your progress in phases. I recommend completing a growth phase of at least 6 weeks before beginning a cut phase. This is because the muscle gaining diet program directly contradicts the fat loss diet program. The former is calorie rich, while the latter is calorie restrictive. If you attempt both, you will have no concept of what food to eat and confuse yourself. You will probably end up gaining very little strength (and muscle) while burning little or no body fat.

8) Minimize cardio while in the growth phase. Do cardio post-workout or in the evenings during a cut phase. In addition, rest 1.5-2 minutes between sets to allow your muscles to oxygenate after each set. Circuit training or minimizing rest is great for endurance strength, strengthening the heart, sport conditioning and so forth. However, for maximal muscle hypertrophy, it is counterproductive. Your muscles simply cannot lift heavy weights when oxygen depleted.

9) Connect your mind to every muscle in your body. Train your mind to memorize a pathway to the muscle. Learn to relax or minimize stress in muscles that are not being used and feel only the muscle you are training. Visualize the fibres contracting or firing and allow the energy to concentrate in that area of the body. Each muscle will respond with total control. Practice this and watch your muscles develop in response.

10) Believe. This may sound rather obvious, but you must put all your mind and bodily energy into a set of goals. Write them down. Your unique journey begins with desire. Constantly reminding yourself of why you are training, and what you are striving to achieve will prevent you from falling off the course. If you honestly and wholeheartedly believe that it CAN be done and that it IS possible, you will not only try to do it, you will.

You journey is as much in the mind as it is in the body. If you think that you cannot become great without taking drugs, then you will never be. It’s a strange phenomenon but there is an eerie truth to this. Take the above advice as something that has worked for my unique body. Your mileage will vary. But if you believe that you can achieve greatness without using anabolic steroids you will definitely be rewarded. Trust me!