Not Happy With Your Muscle Building Results? Then Workout Like A Barbarian!

September 30, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

weightlifting-workout-barbarian

We all know that for most of us, building muscles that stand out that will get you jaw dropping stares from people is no easy task. And I’m sure many of you have hit the gym, eaten the right foods, worked relatively hard and got some results.

But… there comes a day when you look in the mirror, like what you see, then put your top on and think.

‘Damn, I so need to be bigger than this. How can I do this’

You may have even taken some advice. But it could possibly have been advice from the wrong people. If some fabulous mesomorph body type of person who builds muscle even when they sneeze is advising you, then obviously things probably won’t work out the same for you.

Now most of you are going to turn around and say something logical like,

‘Take Creatine’ or ‘ take some protein supplements

Yes you can do that and I have used both at times. But many don’t want to use those products initially and I think that it is important to learn to live without them and how to get real weight gains when you are the skinny guy.

These are the type of gains that allow you to stand out when you wear everyday clothes and where you can actually start to feel content with your size. (perfectionist talk here)

So what is the answer?

You have to train like a barbarian!!

Let me try and make things a bit more clear and real for you.

You already workout pretty hard…right? But I bet you are not sweating buckets that could quench the thirst of a marathon runner.

I bet you are not pumping weights where everyone in the gym stops and stares and remembers who you are every time you train.

And I bet… In fact I know, that you are not training to your full potential every time you are at the gym!

If everyone in the world pushed themselves to their utmost potential, we really would be living in a very interesting world. But that is not so. So you must make it a priority that YOU are pushing yourself to your max potential and adapting it to your training.

Train like a barbarian and attack the weights with superior rage. If you want an idea of the kind of rage I am talking about, take a look at this guy this guy.

If you do not know who this is, he is a warrior from the popular Playstation game God of war. Now, you should not have this attitude 24/7, as that is not healthy for your mind set, but you should the moment you step into the gym.

Training like a barbarian

Now I’m going to give you some tips on how to do this, and you must follow this through consistently, otherwise you will fail.

1.  Treat every single set like it is your last set.

Having this mind set will ensure that you really are pushing yourself every step of the way.

2. Treat every single rep like your life depends on it.

I mean it… every step of the way.

3. Wear a stop watch and ensure that you keep the rest period honest.

No cheating, when it is time to get up, GET UP.

4. Wear a sweater so you can’t stare at yourself in the mirror.

I talked about this before. But you really must stop loving yourself during this time. Focus on building muscle and take a good look at yourself every other day instead, even better… once a week.

5. Wear a hat that tells others ‘do not disturb.’

This is extreme, but it may be necessary as many like to lounge around, talk s*** and not train. You do not need distractions.

6. No girlfriend’s allowed or non-training partners who are going to compromise the intensity of your workout.

As I mentioned, some people are not serious. If you have a gym partner then make sure they have the same goals as you.

In terms of girlfriends or women in general, my philosophy has been to train at an ‘all guy gym’. What I mean here is that women are allowed in these gyms, but you want to be in a place where everyone there has the same mindset and goal as you… to strictly workout.

It will most likely be a non-commercial/ local gym (as mine is) and you’ll probably get help from others too.

7. Train with an intensity that scares the hell out of every person that walks in your path.

You may not have been doing this before, but if you train like a barbarian, you will catch attention for sure.

For many things that you achieve in life, you will get out what you put in, and that will be the same here.

Get explosive with the weights
weightlifting-workout

Now I’ve previously talked about how you should lift weights. To summarize,

1) Start with lightweights – This will allow you to understand how to lift the weights properly regardless of the exercise.

2) Do the exercise properly – Once you have mastered how to do it, focus on control and execution.

3) Lift at moderate speed – Explosive yes! But not fast and not slow.

And for the purpose of the barbarian workout you need to increase the weight and build your strength to the max. Use only one compound exercise per major muscle group and focus on a 5% increase in strength from week to week. This will then allow your muscles to grow.

Time and work balance

Now you don’t want to be in the gym for 2 hours just for the sake of it. For some people, they think that the longer you are there, the better results you will have. This is not always the case.

Instead lift heavy weights close to your max threshold but with shorter rest periods and more exercise selection per muscle group.

Stick to a program

It is very easy to test drive a musclebuilding routine for a few weeks and then say it does not work and move on to the next latest ‘breakthrough’ workout program. Training for results is not a ‘fail fast’ game and this is not acceptable!

The reality is that virtually every weightlifting workout routine will work for a certain period of time if it is done at the right intensity.

Whichever routine you choose, make sure you study the details of it fully. And make sure every aspect of that routine matches the goals that you have set out. Do not ask a million questions and try and find holes or flaws or attempt to make it ‘perfect.’ The perfect program does not exist. Trust the program, follow it honestly and monitor the progress. The experience and results you gain from following one program for a consistent period of time will be priceless.

There you have it, if you aren’t seeing the results you want, you must go into your closet and drag your barbarian alter ego out and workout like one. Once you do, you will then soon find that you will look like one too.

How have you overcome your weightlifting workout plateaus?

See you in the comments.

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What To Eat After A Weightlifting Workout?

September 29, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

post-weightlifiting-workout-meal

Back in the days of athletic training, my coach used to drum it into our heads that we had to eat a good meal packed with protein, carbs and fat (yes… you do need fat), but no less then 2 hours before the training session. The reason for this is because eating heavy foods takes time to digest and by the time it has digested, the body would be ready to use the new energy. This would be food such as,

Protein

  • Egg
  • Chicken
  • Tuna Fish

Carbs

  • Brown Bread
  • Rice

However, there was many a time that I broke this 2 hour rule, and I suffered for it. The key word here is ‘vomit’, and you don’t want to do that while you are at the gym. But everyone has been asking what to eat for a post workout meal, and again, the Bug is here to help answer that.

For quite some time I would always follow the rule above and eat a very good meal before my workout, work my muscles hard and eat hardly anything afterwards. That seemed to work for me, and doing that didn’t affect my muscle building results. But one day I took some advice from a fellow gym goer and stated that I should eat something after my workout.

But what to eat?

Well, there are two things we need to state first.

1) You need to drink water (which you should already be doing)

2) You must NOT eat any fatty foods

Earlier I stated that you do need fat in your diet, which is true, but this is bad to include in a post workout meal.

Why?

Because fat slows down digestion, and in the case of a post workout meal, it would be slowing down the digestion of protein and carbs and these are the key things your body will need. In fact you can help speed up that digestion by eating Pineapple and papaya. This has proven to be a good source for speeding up the digestion of protein.

pineappap

The second thing we need to state is,

How soon should you eat after the workout?

Well you need to eat straight after your workout. That is, the moment you put the dumbbells down….

Ok not as soon as that, that is a bit extreme. But for your body to benefit the most from a post workout meal, it should be 30 minutes (1 hour max) after your workout. I personally go to my local restaurant/cafe, as they have just what I need for a perfect post workout meal, and I get to relax properly, read a magazine or what ever (You should too).

Ok, I will do that, but stop keeping me in suspense. What food should I eat?

Now, we know that your body needs… proteins and carbs (but not the heavy stuff) and doesn’t need fat (as that slows digestion too).

The type of protein you should take is Whey protein. For those who don’t know what that is, Whey protein is a powder supplement that you can take to fill your body with the protein nutrients that it would lack after a workout. Whey protein is also the fastest digesting protein there is, and the best way to consume it would be to mix it with a liquid such as milk or water.

Once it becomes a liquid you would now have a protein shake and it would naturally make it quicker to digest than solid food. This is the reason why Whey protein has become so popular in recent years as it is the source of a great post workout meal.

100 whey gold standard

How much to take?

0.15-0.25 grams of protein (per pound) of your body weight. So a 175lb person (my bodyweight) would go for 26-43 grams (1.5 scoops) a time. As some of you might know, I’ve been using Optimum Nutrition Whey protein for the past 2 years, so that’s what I recommend (you can see my Gold Standard wWhey Protein verdict here).

Carbs

Before I dive into the type of carbs that you need, you first need to understand that you will need to have carbs in your diet if you plan to build muscle. Without carbs in your system your body may actually start to break down your muscles rather than build them up (Now we don’t want that now… do we). Carbs also help move nutrients to your muscles quickly too.

With carbs we also need to avoid the heavy foods, those of which I mentioned earlier, quite simply because they take long to digest. Instead what you need to eat is sugar, just sugar!

That might actually sound a bit crazy, and generally not a smart thing to do, but this is the post workout meal so you can be excused if anyone see’s you eating spoonful’s of sugar.

The type of sugar you should take is one called Dextrose, and like Whey protein, it has become a people’s favourite for the post workout meal. I’ve not yet written about my use of Dextrose yet, but I will do soon. Just know that is what you need to mix along with your Whey protein shake that you would have created earlier.

How much to take?

Between 0.25-0.4 grams of carbs (per pound) of your body weight from Dextrose (a 175lb person would shoot for between 40-70 grams)

There really is nothing trivial about the post workout meal, but that is the type of meal you should take after your workouts, and if I stumble upon any other great combinations in the coming weeks/ months, I’ll be sure to le you know.

Have you tried this blend before?

If so, how did it work for you?

See you in the comments.

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Workouts For Teens

September 28, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

teen-body-building

Over the past few weeks I have been assisting many teens (under the age of 16) on how they should workout, and the lack of knowledge some of them have does amaze me. However, I was that young once (in my mind I still am :)) and I do remember what it was like. One thing I did know for sure though, was that you shouldn’t be hitting free weights (power lifting) or supplements before the age of 16. So to drum it into the mind of any teenager that reads this,

‘What you don’t know will kill you’

Well… not literally, but possibly. That applies to many things in life, but lets stick weight training and exercise.

Whether you are a teen or you have a nephew, brother, son or someone you know that is one, they will most likely be inspired to workout. But until they reach the age of 18, or even 21, the exercises that they perform in their workouts will and should be different compared to those performed in an adult’s workout.

For myself it was at age 16 when I started to workout, but I made a pact to myself not to start high intensity resistance training until I was 17-18 years old, and there was a good reason for this.

Prevent Stunt Growth

The reality is that the skeletal structure of the younger person is likely to still be growing and any teenager really doesn’t want to interrupt that growth process. It may lead to being short, or under developed in terms of adult size and frame. Even worse, you may just carry on growing, and if you become a skyscraper (like me 🙂 ), then you are likely to develop stretch marks.

Avoid-stretchmarks-gain-weight-healthilystretch marks-avoid-gain-weight-healthily

There is nothing wrong with being short at all, but you might as well find out if that is how you will be once you reach the age of 21. If you then find that you are to be tall then the girls will love you for your height too. 😉

I was always tall growing up but I still didn’t want to interrupt my natural growth, so I waited until 17 years old before lifting heavy weights. It was good that I did wait, as many other ‘shooting stars’ that I knew in and outside of school started to early and without a doubt, I am certain that doing so stunted their growth.

Ok, point taken, I’m a teen, what should I do?

In terms of building strength or some weight gains, teens should stick to bodyweight workouts, performing many of the exercises that I have recently covered such as

  • Sit-ups
  • Leg lifts
  • Crunches

Use an exercise ball to maximize your ab building potential with the above exercises.

  • Press-ups
  • Chin ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Leg raises

Use the Iron Gym Xtreme door chin up bar to perform the above exercises effectively.

  • Knee jumps
  • Mahler body blasters
  • Weight-less squats
  • Lunges

Swimming, running and cycling are good moderate intensity cardio exercises, but are also good for building functional strength. Climbing trees is also another good activity to include in your workouts.

You could always take up activities such as martial arts to keep your muscles and strength gains active. Martial arts will not only be good for improving body strength, but will be good for improving flexibility too. The best part of taking up martial arts is that it will set you up well for your knowledge in self-defence with a strong mind set for discipline and improved attitude.

Overall, as a teenager, your goal should be to only increase your strength and build the ‘ripped’ look and of course, general fitness. Be patient and wait it out for 2-3 years before you start bulking up and pumping those heavy weights. Time will fly after reading this, and believe me, when that time comes you will thank me for it.

Are you a teenager?

If not, how old were you when you began to lift weights?

See you in the comments

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Iron Gym Xtreme Chin Pull Up Bar Review

September 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Gym Equiment, The Fitness Bug

xtreme-iron-gym


I hope you are all enjoying your weekend wherever you are, but today will be the last of the products that will be of use to you for your bodyweight workouts. After that, no more talk of bodyweight exercises until the e-book.

Now I’m a bit of a traditional exercise guy at heart, as that is how I started off in the fitness and weightlifting world. When I attended university and worked part-time, I would workout during my breaks and after work, doing only bodyweight workouts with exercises including:

  • Dips
  • Chin ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Press-ups

In the very beginning I had no money to go to the gym and I would perform all of these exercises on a recreation sports ground that had a high chin up pull up bar and two parallel bars for dips exercises.

As with most things, the way in which you learn something in the beginning is how you’ll probably do them for the present and future (all a part of muscle memory). So that is where my traditional bodyweight training mind set comes from and why I tend to make bodyweight exercises compulsory in all of my workout routines.

However, as time goes on and we learn about new ways of doing things for fitness, new products will inevitably be created that will allow for easier execution of exercises and some times enhance performance. The P90x workout programme is a great example of that.

Although traditional ways of working out is embedded into my workout roots, I am definitely a fan of change and trying new things, especially in the fitness world. That is the reason why I am now here talking about the Iron Gym Xtreme chin pull up bar.

iron-gym-xtreme-pull-upiron-gym-xtreme-sit-up

iron-gym-xtreme-dips-exerciseiron-gym-xtreme-pushup
First impressions of this bar may throw you off a little, but the pictures I have added should give you some idea of what you can do with it. Just know that change is good, and that this change is fairly new compared to a normal door chin up bar.

First impressions

Yes! I was initially unsure about this bar. I mean… you’ve got a door chin up bar that is not fixed to the door! What sort of chin up bar is that? So that started ringing some bells in my mind. You’ll look at the pictures and know that you can perform some great bodyweight exercises all with one tool (and which inspired me to share with you all)!

  • Back dips
  • All types of chin up and pull exercise
  • Sit-ups
  • Press-ups

Impressive yes! But it is still a chin up bar that is not fixed to a door.

After a few times of using the bar, I started to see that our ingenious ergonomic fitness product-building friends were onto something, and that it works very well and that it does exactly what it says on the tin. I then found myself slowly saying,

‘ I CAN WORKOUT ON THE MOVE’

That is,

– All doors of my house (no more screwing up the wood work)

– In the hotel (the bathroom door way)

– Girl friends place (more time – some one’s happy now)

Leaving me feeling genuinely happy. I’m usually an early bird with new products, but I was late in adapting to this one. But that should not be you, and you should add this to your arsenal of homegym fitness equipment. And I’ll be sure to include it in future workout routines. I’ll leave you with a video.

View It Here

The Ontel Iron Gym Xtreme

Bonuses!

Discount codes to use at checkout: 5off100 / 10Off200

You can also checkout other fitness equipment over at

Stayfitbug.com Bodybuilding Resources

See you in the comments.

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What To Do On Your Non Weighttraining days?

September 25, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Relax and Build muscle faster

Weight lifting is intense! It will leave your muscles feeling sore and leave you feeling exhausted and if you are training properly, you will always feel the pain. (It just eases up over time)

Now we all know that the next day after a workout will be a rest day, and rightly so.  But have you considered actually doing something on those days instead of resting? (And I don’t mean alternate workouts either). Activities that don’t involve using mega strength or cause exhaustion, that will be beneficial to your mind and soul that will give you a sense of relaxation and increased self-awareness?

Well you should! And you will enjoy your weight training workouts more when doing so.

So what activities should you do?

Swimming

Backstroke
Now this activity is breaking the rules a little, as swimming can be classed as a moderate intensity cardio workout. The answer on how to avoid doing that is simple…

No hard swimming!

Stick to swimming styles such as the backstroke or breaststroke. When doing so, swimming then becomes a very relaxing activity that can also assist in healing your war torn muscles from the intense workout you had previously. Swimming will also relieve your mind from built up stress and tension and help revive those energy levels, doing wonders for your mental.

Although you won’t be perusing this activity with a workout state of mind, the movements you make during swimming will strengthen your heart muscles and help deliver oxygen throughout your body, which will then help you perform better in your cardio training workouts.

Swimming is a basic and common activity for sure, but not everyone takes it up, so if that is you, make sure you get your Lara croft Tomb Raider dive on for your next rest day from the gym.

Yoga

chakras

I’ve talked about the benefits of taking up yoga in a previous post, and I also encouraged guys to take it up as well. Yoga is great for a number of reasons.

  • Greater flexibility
  • Increased circulation
  • Muscle balance
  • Spinal alignment (Still keep your form while lifting)

The key reason I included yoga is because one thing it helps you do is stop! Fully relax and find self-awareness. And for me, stopping and finding self-awareness is where the real value is, as I’m sure you can agree that the activities in our daily lives keep our minds racing away at a ‘sometimes’ uncontrollable pace.

Overall, yoga will help you fully relax your muscles, as they will be very tense from the weighttraing workout.

Take a walk in the park

workout-relax-in-park

In the past I would go to Work/ University and then workout in the evening. This would be the same for all three-workout days in the week and at weekends I would do the social thing or some other spontaneous activity. So I was a part of the uncontrollable fast paced life.

But today things are a bit different. I now make it compulsory to take REAL time out on certain days, especially after an intense workout. Taking a walk in the park is something I do often, and I find that it fully relaxes me. Sometimes I add music to the mix, as music can be great for relaxing the mind. The bonus for me is that when you listen to music, (what ever it is you listen to) and you hear the same songs months or years later, it brings back memories to a time when you were in a good state of mind.

What music to listen to?

Everyone’s taste is different, but you will want to stay away from the gym music (Rock, Hip-hop), and put on some thing relaxing to your ears.

  • Easy going
  • Classic
  • Chill out CD’s

chill-out-gym music
Or if you don’t like music for whatever reason, you could always throw on some ambient sounds (ambience) from your iphone/ ipod app (if you own one).

In addition to these, make sure you are eating your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, spinach, milk, protein supplements (if you use them) and others after your workouts. These are great foods for helping to repair muscle and will help reduce tension.

The key thing to take away from this, whatever the activity is, is that you should make it compulsory that you take REAL time out. I know we are all fitness fanatics and gym brutes and only want to achieve results with the utmost passion, but implementing the above in which ever way you do it will help you perform better, be great for your mental state and more importantly, build muscle.

What activities do you do on your days off from the gym?

See you in the comments.

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Building Muscles for Tall Men vs Building Muscles for Short Men

September 23, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

short-man-tall-man-workout

Since growing to my adult height of 6’1 at age 16, I decided that it was time to hit the gym as my late high school years were coming to an end. Yes, it is true that I may have kept growing up until the age of 21, but I was happy with my height, yet I simply was not a fan of the skinny man look as an adult.

That was some years back now and from my experience of building muscle, I can conclude that it is definitely harder to gain muscle mass on a tall persons frame than it is for a short person.

Now don’t get me wrong, overtime time I have realised that both body types will build muscle at the same rate, it’s just that tall peoples muscles are distributed over a larger area. This means that taller people will need to work harder to grow their muscles to point where they look ‘HUGE’. But when they do get to that stage, they will definitely adopt the’ stand out from the crowd’ look.

This is what the shorter guys won’t get!

Shorter guys can build muscle faster for sure, because their muscles are distributed over a smaller area, but they will only get the small powerful look and once they reach a certain size, there won’t be much room to grow any further either because of their smaller frame. So although taller guys have a hard time gaining weight, with hard work there will always be room to grow.

Tall persons frame

= Larger bones

= More distance between joint and insertion point of muscle

= Better leverage

= Stronger

Taller persons frame

= Larger ROM (Range of Motion)

= What some argue… weaker!

Taller persons frame

= Larger frame

= More potential for weight gain in workouts

But Shaun… people are neither ‘just tall’ nor ‘just short’, there are many variations of body types!

You are right,

  • Long legs vs. short legs
  • Long arms vs. short arms
  • Long torso vs. short torso

And all kinds of combination’s

But you can discuss those variations of body types at the end of this post. For the purpose of this post lets just assume we are talking about,

Short – typical ectomorph

Tall – typical ectomporph

Lets now look at how both body types are affected with particular exercises to prove the fact that it is harder to build muscle mass when you are taller and that tall people are at a disadvantage.

Pull-ups

Pull-up

Pull-ups are one of the best strength gaining and muscle building exercises, and it gets even better when you add a dipping belt to the mix. Despite its greatness, the pull up is simply not a tall persons exercise and someone like myself has to work much harder to get those strength gains (Painful!).

The main issue is that a tall person would have a wider grip compared to a shorter person, and that is what makes it tough.

However, I did work hard, and I know for sure it took me a lot longer to get strength gains than my shorter framed friends. My only real personal advantage was that I didn’t weigh too much to begin with in those early days, so I was able to put out more reps than my heavier taller friends.

Bicep exercises (chin ups/ Curls)

preacher-curl-main_Full

If you are tall then it is very unlikely that you will have short arms, and I know from experience (again, painful!) that a tall person has a tough time building ‘stand out biceps’, even to the stage where they look developed. Taking them to the ‘HUGE’ level is a different matter altogether. (But it can be done). The key difference here is that a shorter person with naturally shorter arms can build big biceps in a fraction of the time that it will take for the tall person to get achieve the same results (damn these long limbs).

Bench Press

machinebenchpress

This is another short man exercise. For years I’ve met many people that were able to lift a lot more weight than I could on the bench press exercise and I just couldn’t figure out how that was so. I mean… I was and still am a pretty strong guy (In my view) and can lift some pretty serious weights. But every time it comes to bench press, it just takes more work.

Why?

  • Longer arms!
  • Wider grip!
  • More Range of Motion to perform a full rep!

Without a doubt, there are advantages and disadvantages to both body types. It may seem like I’m bashing the short guys for having it all, but hey, that’s my experience. The bottom line is that in general, shorter guys can do less and gain muscle mass much quicker than us tall guys. Whichever body type you are, just be sure to replace those exercises that feel awkward to perform with something else, and if a shorter/ taller guy out-performs you at a particular exercise, just mind your own business! Because if you try to challenge them you will get egg on your face, then you WILL be embarrassed.

Which exercises do you have difficulty performing?

What is your body type? Is it a variation of the above?

See you in the comments.

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Altus Deluxe Door Chin Up Bar

September 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Gym Equiment, The Fitness Bug

Altus Deluxe Chin Up Bar, 1 Bar Altus Deluxe Chin Up Bar, 1 BarAltus Deluxe Chin Up Bar, 1 Bar

The Ultimate Upper Body And Abdominal Workout!


Some of you may still be buzzing from the unique bodyweight exercises. But before i give you the Ebook lowdown on that, i would like to prepare you for those bodyweight workouts that I’m sure you’ll be doing as we lead up to the festive season in these sure to be cold winter months.

The door chin up bar

If you haven’t already got one of these, then this should be the first piece of home gym equipment that you should get. I’m now onto my 2nd chin up bar that I’ve put onto a 2nd door in my home.

Why?

Well, The chin up bar allows you to perform some of the best bodyweight exercises there are that will give you the best strength gains.

  • Chin ups
  • Pull ups (Wide grip, close grip, both with a dipping belt)
  • Hanging Leg raises

And when you are just relaxing in your home, or feeling energetic after a good meal, you can just easily jump on to the bar and max out on a few sets of the above bodyweight exercises. No real preparation, just spontaneous muscle action.

There are many chin up bars you can buy out there, but this was the 2nd one I bought earlier this year. It’s been pretty sturdy since putting it up and hasn’t given me any problems (such as falling down scares when in use!). This one is better than my all steel chin up bar as it has rubber handles that don’t slip, which also absorbs sweat from your hands. The grips are actually a vital accessory for any chin up bar, and if you have performed chin ups on a groove-less steel bar, then you’ll know how frustrating slipping across the bar can be during a workout. If you truly are heavy handed then you can always use a paper towel for extra grip, although i don’t think it will be necessary. (see picture)

Atlus-chin-up-bar-1atlus-chin-up-bar-2

atlus-chin-up-bar-4

So if you haven’t yet got one, be sure to get it, as the Ebook won’t be to far off, and i definitely want you to be ready in time for that. I’ll be updating you on a few other must-have bodyweight exercise accessories, until then, get pulling.

But wait…

Whether you have been hit by the recession or not, one can always save money… right? Any how, I’ll leave you with these coupons for you bodyweight enthusiasts.

Take $5.00 Off Your $100 Order! Use coupon code 5off100.

Take $10.00 Off Your $200 Order! Use coupon code 10off200.

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Vinyl Weights or Cast Iron Weights?

September 21, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

It’s a new week people, and I thought I’d start off the week with a discussion that I had with a newbie gym goer over the weekend. Which weights should you buy for a home gym?

Vinyl plates or cast iron plates for your homegym weights routine?

Both have there pro’s and con’s, but lets look at each one to decide what will be best for you.

Vinyl weights


vinyl_weights

Just in case you don’t know what these are, they are concrete weights covered by a hard plastic material. If you are a newbie or just starting out with weight training, then this would be a good type of weights plate to start with. One very good reason to start with these beginner weights is so that you can practice on your form so that you can perform all weights exercises properly. That is actually a vital part of your training and where there is still much debate on what is the best way to lift weights. Read more about that here.

They are also the cheapest of the type of weights that you can buy, so if you are on a budget, then these could be great for you. Saying that, it would be good to have a short-term plan for using these weight plates. Why? Well… the problem with these concrete (sometimes sand) weights, is that over time they will break apart. You will inevitably be knocking, dropping and sometimes throwing these weights about every time you use them, and as the level of concrete decreases, so will the level of weight. So you’ll probably get a few years out of them before you will have to switch to…

Cast iron weights

Cast_Iron_Plates
If you are a bit more experienced with lifting weights and are dedicated to building a great home gym, then buying cast iron weights is the way to go. Once you own a set of cast iron weights, they’ll probably be with you for life. Unlike concrete weights, these will not break when they are bashed about and are extremely durable. This is one of the reasons that many gyms will use iron weights rather than concrete weights. But you must be careful with these weights, as dropping them on the floor, or even worse… on your foot, will cause some serious damage. So make sure you have had some experience with handling weights.

Another reason for buying these weights is that you can add more weight plates to a barbell/ dumbbell than concrete weights because they are smaller in size.

There has been some argument whether these weights feel heavier than concrete weights. Over time I can see why the iron weight would be heavier, but initially I think that iron weights are just denser, so they then seem heavier.

Go chrome

chrome-weights
If you really want to give your home gym view a polished look, you could always go for chrome weights. They’ll give you all of the same benefits of owning cast iron weights but are nicer to look at. But do note that these are more expensive and can be a b**** to clean.

To conclude

For most of you reading this I would suggest buying cast iron weights and if you are a beginner, just take it slow when using them. Yes… vinyl weights will cost less, but they simply will not stand the test of time, and when the concrete breaks apart, that will make your weightlifting workouts efforts very inconsistent.

Do you own a set of home weights? Cast iron or Vinyl weight plates?

See you in the comments.

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Unique Bodyweight exercises (part 2)

September 18, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

After yesterdays post i am still quite enthusiastic to share some of the most unique bodyweight exercises that you can perform to build and maintain super strength . And supreme strength is the very thing that I am quite certain of that most gym buffs lack. But after reading this continuation of unique bodyweight exercises, a strength less gym buff you will be not!

I have talked about abs quite a lot over the weeks. Why? Well, it’s what everyone asks for and it was and still is one of the muscle groups that i am passionate about building. But this next exercise will be a true test of your strength as well as building up your abdominal muscles .

Flying human flag: Oblique ab crunch (Vertical)

  • Difficulty: 8 /10
  • Time to master: 6-8 months

As you can see, this exercise does look pretty insane, and it can take some time to master. The heavier you are the harder it will be to do. Before attempting this, I would advise that you get really good at performing chin ups and handstand exercises. Once you do that you should then have enough strength to attempt this exercise.

To perform this, you will need very good core strength. Start by keeping your knees tucked in close to reduce leverage. Each week you should gradually be able to hold the form for about one split second longer. When you do, you must begin to gradually extend just one leg outwards… and then so on.

When you do nail this exercise you can show off as much as you like, and best of all, you will have super strength.

Now… you may have been able to master pull ups. You may have been able to master the dips exercise. You might have even mastered doing them with a dipping belt. But could you imagine performing both exercises in one whole movement? Well… if you are up for the challenge then such an exercise does exist. It is called the

Muscle up

  • Difficulty: 10/10
  • Time to master:10-12 months

What is a muscle up? It is a pull up exercise followed immediately by a dips exercise. In general you will need rings to perform this (like in gymnastics), but you can use a chin up bar. However, using a chin up bar will make the exercise harder to perform.

This exercise is truly a sacred hidden gem for sure. You may possibly have heard of them before, but i bet you don’t hear about many people performing them. The guy in the video is simply a beast! He makes this exercise look really easy to do. But i can assure you… this exercise is tough and you will need brute Tarzan strength to perform it.

Requirements

Perform

  • 15 pull ups
  • 15 dips

One arm chin up

one-arm-chin-upone-arm-chin-2

  • Difficulty : 10 / 10
  • Time to master: 6 months to several years!

This is actually one of my favorite exercises. It’s not the fact that it will increase my muscle mass or strength, it’s just that i was always really bad at trying to do these exercises, and to progress and be able to do them fluently is quite a good feeling.

But enough about me. Once you have mastered ordinary chin ups, this exercise is the one that will truly challenge your strength. If you do manage to master it, it will prove that you are one of very few who possess this raw human strength and you can be proud to wear that trophy too.

After seeing part’s one and two of unique bodyweight exercises, it is quite possible that you are lost on how to actually perform each one. Because of that, i will be posting an in depth guide over the next few days on how to actually perform them in the correct way, the do’ s and don’ts and how to really prepare for them. So stay tuned.

See you in the comments.

The unique bodyweight exercises ebook

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Unique bodyweight exercises

September 17, 2009 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

bodyweight exercises

As of this month, it has been reported that we are now climbing our way out of the recession. But for many that doesn’t mean s***, and many people are still broke and struggling. If you fall into that category, you might have made cut backs on spending, and going to the gym may have been one of the things you cut back on, which is a worry as everyone from me to Aviva (check ’em out at http://www.aviva.co.uk/) are telling you the best way to be is to stay in shape. If so then it is your lucky day, as today I will be describing some unique bodyweight exercises that will allow you to maintain that sweet body that you have built up.

Advanced bench dips

bench dips

  • Difficulty: 4/ 10
  • Time to master: 2-3 weeks

Although this exercise isn’t too demanding on the triceps, it is still demanding enough that you will need to have a decent amount of current tricep strength to perform it.

Instruction

  • Find a bench and a wall
  • Place your hands on the bench, shoulder width apart and push your feet against the wall so that your legs are straight and roughly in line with the bench.
  • Put your feet against the wall, lift your arms up straight and lower yourself down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle.
  • Hold this position for a second or two, and then back to the starting position.
  • Repeat

What makes this exercise unique is that instead of having your feet placed on the ground, they are up against the wall. Having your feet up against the wall means that your triceps will have to lift more weight. If you want to get creative then you can always place some weight plates onto your lap.

Full hanging leg raise

  • Difficulty: 6/ 10
  • Time to master: 2-3 months

Now normal leg raises can be a bit of a challenge for sure, you,

  • Grab a pull up bar.
  • Raise both legs together up to a 90-degree angle.
  • Lower your legs and repeat.

But now that you have no money to go to the gym, you have to up the ante a little.

Introducing the full hanging leg raise!

hanging-leg-rasie
The difference with this exercise is that instead of lifting your legs to a 90-degree angle, you must now lift them all the way up to the bar until your feet touch the bar. This will be a challenge yes, but once mastered, it will give you an increase in strength, flexibility and control over your body, along with perfecting those lower abs.

If you find that you are not able to get your feet all the way up, take your time and build up to that progression until you do reach the bar.

The Ab wheel roll out

  • Difficulty: 9/10
  • Time to master: 3- 6 months

This exercise is very similar to the exercise ball roll out exercise from yesterdays post. Again, it might look pretty simple to perform, but once you reach those last few reps, the burn really does catch you by surprise. Now the normal ab wheel roll out looks like this,

ab-wheel-rollout

  • Begin by kneeling on the floor, and hold both sides of the wheel.
  • Roll the wheel forward, and lower your body as far as you can without arching your back.
  • Use your abs to pull yourself back to the starting position.

The unique version looks like this,

ab-rolloutab-rollout

The difference now is that only your feet and hands are on the floor. The real burn here is when you return from the extended position. That is where you will suffer, but master this exercise and you will see improvements in your strength on all parts of your body.

One legged squat

one-leg-squat

  • Difficulty: 6/10
  • Time to master: 2-3 months

Now we can test if all of that squatting with weights in the gym has or has not improved your functional strength. This is the best leg exercise that you can do with your body weight. Some may even go, as far as to say that it is the best leg exercise of the lot! But here’s how you do it,

  • Stand straight.
  • Hold one leg out in front of you.
  • Hold both arms out straight in front of you.
  • Lower your self down on one leg.
  • As you reach the ground, tense your butt and stomach muscles.
  • Hold the position briefly.
  • Rise back up and repeat.

This exercise is all about balance, but once you master this one, you will build real true strength for sure.

I am without a doubt a bodyweight exercise enthusiast, but that is also a good thing for those of you reading this. Why? Because I don’t want you to end up being the ‘king’ of the gym who can’t manage to do a single pull up. That is no real king in my eyes.

These bodyweight exercises will help you build real strength, and better yet, you will be building muscle and strength on the cheap in the space of your own home. So follow these exercises through and you will succeed in your strength gaining efforts.

See you in the comments.

You can now grab the Unique Bodyweight Exercises Ebook here.

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