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10 Commandments to Achieving a Body Like a GOD.
1. Lift HEAVY and ONLY HEAVY!
Moderate or high reps are a complete waste of time! There is no such thing as “toning” or building “lean” muscle! This is a HUGE misconception and it drives me crazy seeing all the magazine articles and fitness ads on TV that claim to do just that! First off – muscle is just MUSCLE, there is no such thing as lean muscle or bulky muscle, soft or hard muscle. What gives the APPEARANCE of these variables is the SIZE of muscle and how much body fat is surrounding it. Therefore the best way to “tone” or get that sculpted body is to lose body fat, (preferably mainly through dieting) and heavy or intense weight training to get your muscles to show through your new lean body. The bigger you want to be the longer you continue your workout regiment, once you feel that you have the size you want as well as the body fat percentage then you can simply just maintain what you have attained. Lets briefly look at the science behind it….
Fast twitch muscle fibres are the fibres with larger mass; they ‘re also the easiest to grow when compared to the slow twitch fibres used for endurance and conditioning. Slow twitch fibres take more effort and take longer to grow in size. High reps would influence development of such fibres. Do workouts that recruit more fast twitch fibres instead of slow twitch fibres; specifically by heavy intense low to moderate reps to facilitate size, power and strength.
2. Focus on INTENSITY and PROGRESSION!
You can do all the correct workouts all day long but if your not lifting heavy or intense enough and not pushing yourself to do more each and EVERY workout, then your not going to get the BEST results that your capable of. Stick with compound movements (multi-joint exercises like bench, dead lifts, squats, chin-ups etc.) since they work your body harder and more intense than single joint (isolation) exercises. Why not get more bang for your buck right? And if your spending time in the gym anyway, why not really make it count?
To get an idea of how heavy you should be lifting in order to gain size, or strength then 6-12 reps should bring you to failure. If your able to do more than 12 reps then YOU NEED TO INCREASE THE WEIGHT. For strength you should be within the 3-6 rep range. Progression of heavier and heavier weight will recruit more muscle fibres which in turn increase your muscle size. Progression ensures that your intensity continues for as long as you weight train and helps you to avoid from slumping into a “comfortability zone” which can stall your gains.
3. You cannot target a specific PART of a muscle in a workout.
Your muscle can either get Bigger or smaller. That is it! You cannot change the shape of the muscle itself. It’s a good idea to become more comfortable with anatomy. This will help you to weed out bullshit workouts that will only cost you time and effort. For example – for chest development, you only truly need to do 2 workouts!!! Incline bench or dumbbells, and flat bench or flat dumbbell presses, that’s IT! Just take a look at the anatomy of the chest itself and you will realize there are only 2 parts. Upper and lower. There is no “inner” or “outer side” of the chest. (Hence the inefficiency of the pec deck flyes) Take a look at the anatomy of other body parts and how many separate “sections” they actually contain. If the workout you are doing is meant for a body part or section that doesn’t really exist – then discontinue that particular exercise at once!
4. A Woman SHOULD workout like a MAN!
Women lifting heavy will NOT get bulky muscles or get “too big”. First off, if a woman feels that she is getting big and bulky, most of the time it is simply the fact that they have not lost any body fat while at the same time gaining a bit of lean muscle mass, giving the illusion of “bulk”. Also keep in mind that being more defined and lean can also make you appear bigger when in fact you are not. Why take the long route to your goal of getting in shape by doing moderate to high repetitions when you can simply fast track your way to the body of your dreams? Lifting heavy while concentrating on losing body fat will do just that!
Trust me ladies, if a man with a 100 times more testosterone would spend hours in the gym for years in order to chase his dream body, why would you think you can achieve such a state of hypertrophy in far less time?
5. If weight loss is your goal; DO NOT waste time on cardio!
Cardio is the most inefficient way to lose body fat percentage. Unless your an athlete and or compete where great cardio and conditioning holds major importance or for your own cardiovascular health, then I wouldn’t waste too much time with cardio. Keeping cardio sessions to a minimum if any at all would be recommended. If you don’t believe me, trust GOOGLE. By doing a few searches you will soon realize how many hrs a day it takes for certain activities to burn up to 500 calories a day. The general consensus on losing 1lb a week would be that you need to cut or burn 500 cals a day from your maintenance level of calories. Rather than Burning 500 cals a day through vigorous or extremely long bouts of cardio, why not simply eat 250-500 calories less and save yourself some time and energy?
6. There is no such thing as spot reduction (body fat).
Stop wasting time with workouts that are “supposed to trim” certain areas, this is impossible. Sadly we gain fat in different areas based on our body type and genetics, however to LOSE that weight, no matter how we go about it, we lose body-fat UNIFORMLY as a whole. The most famous example of this would be Abdominal workouts. Have you ever wondered why hundreds of sit ups seem to do nothing for your washboard abs? The only way to see your abs is mainly through dieting. Cardio workouts may start to have more importance once body fat percentage gets fairly low and a little bit of stubborn body fat remains.
7. AB Workouts are the MOST inefficient for getting abs!
Concentrate on core exercises, more importantly compound since they are higher in intensity, and burns more calories. Personally I think the absolute best workout for abs and obliques would be heavy sets of dead lifts. It is impossible to be dead-lifting 300lbs – plus with weak abs. In order to sustain heavy weight, your abs need to be strong enough to assist and protect your spine to avoid your body from crumbling in on itself. The way you REVEAL the great abs that you have is by losing BODY FAT. Not by ab workouts, but by cutting calories within your DIET.
8. Do NOT mix intense cardio on the same day as your weight training days.
Intense cardio can tax your CNS (Central Nervous System) as much as a heavy lifting session. A combination of the two can lead to an over trained state, which in turn can stifle gains. Your body reacts by recruiting specific muscle fibres and motor neurons depending on the type of activity your engaged in. If your goal is to gain muscle mass, then you will need to avoid a “mixture” of adaptations of your endocrine system and motor neurons. If you mix your workouts with intense cardio, then your body will recruit a mixture of endurance muscle fibres as well as power fibres, also it will arrange motor neurons and other adaptations in a blended manner. Again, there is nothing wrong with this, however if you have one specific goal as a priority why not do the work that concentrates mostly on that particular goal?
9. LESS is more. Rest is the MOST important!!
You actually BUILD muscle AFTER your workout!!! This is where rest and your diet is MOST important. For at least the next 48 to 72 hrs or depending on the intensity of your workout even up to 3-5 days needed to completely heal. the specific amount of rest needed for YOU is further determined by your specific day to day routine. Everyone is different, and it also depends on your occupation (heavy labour vs. office work for example) , body type, gender, amount of sleep and your diet. This may take a bit of trial and error, and may even become frustrating to some. I personally found my perfect balance after about 5 months of training by specifically keeping all of the above in mind. More on this in the final commandment below.
10. Everyone’s Body Reacts Differently to Training.
Sadly we are not all created equally. Many factors come in to play that effects an individuals personal gains, plateaus and even over training. As mentioned earlier in this article, genetics diet, rest and work life are all determining factors to how your body adapts to training. Keeping all of that in mind, it is STRONGLY suggested that you do a bit of trail and error to find the perfect sets/reps and exercises coupled with the ideal rest period for yourself. Just because one individual can work out on biceps 3 times a week and can continue to get gains week after week without over training doesn’t mean that you can do the same. Paradoxically some individuals are gifted to the point where they can work their biceps only once a week and see results as good or even better than the person that works them 3 times a week.
Since the perfect balance is totally in your own hands to discover, I will leave you with this bit of important advice – when coming up with a workout schedule, look at the total load volume [reps (x) sets (x) mass lifted] for the entire week as a whole, rather than daily or totals per workout. For example: A person that does 3 exercises 3 sets each for chest, shoulders and triceps on one day may work just as well as a person that splits that same workout into 2 or even 3 days. The main message here is to do what works best for YOU. If it feels good and you continue to see gains without slumping into an over trained state, then congratulations! You have found the right workout routine.
**references – various articles from: rippedbody.jp, leangains.com as well as chapters within NSCA – Strength and Conditioning textbook 3rd edition.