I thought those things only happen in wars and stuff?
Yes they do. But I’m talking about building muscle here.
You see… Whether you are new to building muscle or not. You would have experienced an explosive initial growth when you first lifted a dumbbell.
‘You broke your muscle building virginity’
You know the feeling right?
- Sore for the first 7-10 days
- Muscles feeling tense (You actually think you have grown because of how you feel, when you’ve actually probably shrunk)
Of course you know the feeling. And it’s great! And then you actually notice muscles that pop out that you didn’t even think existed. You begin to feel like one of these guys…
In my view, this is the best feeling you’ll EVER get throughout your fitness and bodybuilding life. Mainly because it’s a new and fresh experience for you. There really is nothing quite like your first time.
However, it won’t take long until that inital honey moon period is over. Just like a male/female relationship… give it 3 months, and you’ll find that the happy fun period suddenly becomes less fun. And then problems arise. And in the case of building muscle?
- - You can’t seem to progress and lift any heavier weight
- - You may even notice that your muscles start to shrink
- - You get frustrated and get demotivated
- - You look the same year after year!
With that being the case, it’s time that you refocus your mindset for your next workout. Because all the above points really are not cool.
#1 You can’t seem to progress and lift any heavier weight
This is the most common scenario in the gym. People lifting weights month after month, year after year, without seeing any real progress in both strength and size gains. This happens because of one main reason.
‘Because you are trying to gain too quickly’
Like I’ve said once before. The main reason you want to gain quickly is because of your ego. Maybe to impress the ladies. Who knows. But quit it already. Just like a male/female relationship, once that honeymoon period is over, you’re going to have to work at that relationship to keep it fresh. To keep it from going stale.
The same thing you need to do with your muscles!
The only thing you should be doing is focusing on slow growth and steady progress. For two main reasons…
- It’s the only way you’ll actually grow
- It’s the only way to gauge and understand what is working/ not working for your body
Hence the title of this post ‘Real tweaks happen after the explosion’.
- You may have bulked quickly (Honeymoon period) and gained some extra stomach fat. Maybe cut carbs and increase protein intake
- Your bench press gains may have flattened some what. Maybe switched things up and perform more pull ups and barbell rows for assistance
- (#2) Your muscles have shrunk! More sleep? Add a deload week? Take a month off working out? Shorter workout period? Less exercise?
That list could go on and on and on. I will be covering many of these causes and more shortly, and whatever your cause is, you’ll have a solution.
#3 You get frustrated and get demotivated
The only reason this happens is because you have seen a lack of real progress. It’s natural. But one thing you have to understand here is that this WILL happen. It’s just a question of when?
When it does happen, all you need to do is STOP! And go back to the drawing board. Find out what your ‘today’ One Rep Max’s are and start over (This is what you base your future reps/sets/weights on you see). Refresh and start the honeymoon period all over again. Obviously it won’t be the same like the first time around… it never is. But utilizing this method to progress will work for years to come. How do you think people manage to stay married for so long? They work at it, change things up, refresh and recycle. And you will do the same.
#4 You look the same year after year!
This is a problem that I’ll soon fix for you all. Because what’s the point of looking like everyone else and your former self year after year. That’s what happens to 90% of gym goers. The main thing you need to do here is take a maximum of 1 year to build the body of your dreams (Easily done… no excuses here) and then maintain and tweak your results over the 2nd year. That’s the short version of your fitness plan. Follow that methodology and you certainly won’t look the same year after year. And you’ll probably be inspired to take up some kind of career in fitness at this point. Heck…. you’ll probably get approached by some industry guy/gal to become a spokesperson/fitness competitor. But like I said, this is just the short version… for now.
Now… I am still working on the early version of ‘the solution’ for all of you… and I’m keeping the theme of the program Stayfitbug style… as that’s what ‘I’ know most of you like and are used to on this site (More info coming up shortly). However, over the weekend, I watched a video by nutritionist Kyle Leon… and I do like the focus of his program, on being ‘diet precise’. Although not for everyone, and something I actually won’t be pushing forward too much (Initially at least – as I don’t think this is the most important thing you need to do to enhance your fitness lifestyle) I think the video is worth a watch, because what he says does make sense. Here’s the link to his video…
And when I show you what ‘I ‘think is important (As a core focus of what you should keep at the forefront of your fitness mindset) in the video ‘I’ show you, you’ll be able to make your comparisons and see where I’m coming from. Never the less, watch the video. Here’s the link again.
And remember, real tweaks happen ‘after’ the explosion. Keep the solutions above listed in your workout mindset, and you will indeed be better off for the long term.
See you in the comments.
Before I begin my rant, I just want to get one thing clear.
Bodybuilding is not complicated!
- Train to stimulate muscle growth
- Eat the right foods at the right time to feed that muscle growth
- Supplement when necessary
You do the above and you will achieve. Simple!
But the mistake that many people make (Especially new lifters) is that they become addicted to the 1 hour muscle pump. Which is, that period where your muscles inflate briefly during the period that you workout. What then happens, is that thought then becomes fixated in their minds, that they have to train more to maintain that ‘look’. It’s not a completely silly way of thinking either, because it’s like, what you see is what you get. And looking fantastic for that brief moment in time does feel nice. But it’s a flawed way of thinking that needs to be corrected. Because as most of you may know. The real growth happens in your sleep, and most of you don’t get enough of that as it is.
Now, if you are a mature muscle mass lean machine, you’ve probably trained your body over the years to handle 5 workouts per week. But for those who…
- Are still working to get shred with bulk results.
- Hold down a separate professional career
5 workouts per week will often prove to be too much.
Think about it….
A young professional or higher education student will work say 10-12 hours per day. Add 2 hours of travel back and fourth. Add workout time (2 hours with travel). Add evening leisure time (3-4 hours). And you are left with only 4-5 hours to sleep.
You need at least 8-10 hours of rest if you intend on following a good program such as the upcoming shred with bulk program, if you are serious about seeing some serious results. Especially within the first 4 weeks.
You can get the full scoop on the upcoming Stay-fit Bug strength progression program that’s coming in a few weeks below.
The Stay-Fit Bug 31 Day Shred with Bulk program
You can eat well and train well, but skip that one crucial part of the cycle (sleep) and you will indeed break a very necessary link in the chain in order to build necessary gains. If you feel you have been doing everything right, but sometimes feel you are unusually deflated (Most will feel it in there arms first… this post does a good job of explaining that) it’s probably because you have been depriving your body of the necessary rest that it needs.
How much rest do you need?
Well, first things first. If you train insane the ‘In The Zone’ way, as described in the upcoming shred with bulk program (Enter your details above to learn more) then getting enough sleep will be an after thought. Because the way the program teaches you to train will indeed put you to sleep.
But the amount of sleep you should aim for is about 8 hours, to be realistic in this day and age. Which of course is something that we all struggle with. Some people may need even less. But if you find that your gains are lacking compared to the amount of dedication you are putting towards your nutrition and workouts, then sleep is the link in that chain that you need to fix. Yes, I know you may like those late nights. Sitting up on Facebook, PS3 or whatever. Just save 2 hours out of those few hours of leisure time that you have to get some proper rest. You’ll make your mirror very happy.
5 day workouts vs 3 day workouts
Like I said earlier. 5 workouts per week will often prove too much for a gym goer with a separate career. Yes, it’s fine for those pro bodybuilders who do nothing but lift all the time, or for those who have built stacks of mature muscle over the years. But for Mr. I have a career, Mr. I have a Family, or Mr. ”I have a damn life”. 5 workouts per week will prove to be too much. Your body simply will not get enough rest between the days in order to develop some real muscle growth.
A break down for your perspective.
168 hours in a week
- You work 50-60 hours of those (Young professional or busy Further education student – Masters degree)
- Travel 10 hours back and fourth
- Workout 10 hours of those (Assuming 5 day workouts)
- You need 56 hours of sleep per week
- Leisure time 20 hours per week (On week days)
- Weekend of doing nothing or leisure time of 24 hours
That is your entire week ‘overly’ maxed out. And this is without leaving room for actual ‘life’. Because as most of us know. Most weeks aren’t stream lined and perfect like that. You have things like…
- Spending time with your partner/love interest
- Seeing a friend on the odd day
- Evenings out with colleagues
- And other things
Training 5 days a week for someone with life demands other than bodybuilding is not a lifestyle. You become a prisoner to the gym, when you really don’t have to. Seriously, cut back. Change 5 days a week to 3 days a week.
”Most of what you achieve from going ‘to’ the gym, will be a direct result of what you do ‘outside’ of the gym”
Let that quote sink in. Because it’s the truth in all its simple glory.
Have ‘Jack all’ days. Focus on the other links in the bodybuilding chain other than working out. Live the lifestyle! Once you do, you’ll start getting quotes such as this…
‘Dude, what you been doing. You been juicing haven’t you?’
That is a compliment in all its glory right there. And your response will be something like…
”Dude, I haven’t even been training’
‘Yea… right dude, I really do believe you’ (I’ve experienced this first hand. It was a glorious day to say the least :))
Once that happens, you are succeeding with the formula of obtaining more sleep, a balanced bodybuilding chain, a balanced lifestyle. And a happier fit bugger.
”Less is more”
The only other thing you need to focus on is consistency. Which is in fact, arguably, the most important aspect of this lifestyle. Because if you don’t stick to it, you won’t grow and progress. And even worse, you won’t develop any mature muscle mass. Which is of course muscle mass that sticks. Which allows you to decide if you want to train more or less, without there being much effect on your gains.
So when it comes to getting your optimum hours of sleep per night, whether its 6, 8 or even 10 hours. Stick to it. Try not to miss 1 -2 hours of sleep every other night. That’s 30-60 hours of rest that your body would have missed out on. And you can bet a mighty dollar that the hours missed will have an affect on your shred with bulk results.
Training tired is the same as training drunk
Lack of sleep… worse than training drunk?
I didn’t realize this in my earlier years of training. When I got my first car, I would do crazy things like, drive in a tired state of mind (And body). All I can tell you about that now, is DON’T DO IT! You will crash and die. And for a while I argued that driving tired is actually worse than being drunk, or driving drunk (Which of course is illegal. Again… don’t do it). And it wasn’t until later on that I found out that being awake for 24 hours or more has the same physical affects as being over the legal driving alcohol limit. But again, from experience, I’d say driving tired is worse.
That then means, in regards to your training, that training while you are tired is the same or worse as training as if you were drunk. Obviously something you would never do… right?
Of course not.
Therefore emphasizing the importance of getting enough sleep. Besides, lifting and dropping a 30kg dumbbell on your toe (Or on someone elses) is not a good look.
Don’t workout too late in the day
Working out too late in the evening may also be a factor in keeping you awake. Efficient sleep is directly connected to body temperature. Build up heat, you’ll stay awake. Get cold and you’ll go out for the count. Intense workouts will raise your body temperature high, therefore it’s a good idea to keep your workout periods up until the early evening hours only.
Don’t put sleep on the back burner just because you are ‘busy’. Set goals and structure into your life and getting enough sleep will become an after thought. Besides, what’s the point of being ripped and sexy only to look like a dead zombie half the time
Get those hours in.
See you in the comments.
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How the Fitness Industry is Training Women to Look Like Smaller Versions of Men & … What You Can Do About It!
I’m going to keep this short and sweet, because there is a video to watch after my little ramble here.
Now… that headline goes hand in hand with most of the video interviews I conducted with last year, with the likes of Miryah Jade Scott, Natalia Muntean, Kelly Rennie and others. Stay-Fit Bug does focus on the male reader first and foremost. However, the site also began to attract some female readers too. Most probably because of the related fitness ‘lifestyle’ topics that I have previously covered.
But over time I have come to learn that women want to look a certain way, and quite frankly screw their face up when they look at images of certain lady fitness pros.
These women who I have shown the images to don’t want the masculine 6 pacs and the overly ripped arms. They want to look like women ‘in shape’, and look like… well… women.
I haven’t really had the time to look into creating a product that solves that problem. But Rusty Moore has (Rusty is the author of the website fitnessbackbook.com and who I work with closely regarding web businesses and other aspects surrounding that).
Like I said, there’s a video to watch. So click the link below to get started to see what I’m talking about
Click here >>> http://tinyurl.com/The-Body-MostWomen-REALLY-want
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Lets get one thing straight…
The deadlift is arguably the king of all back exercises.
Actually ill rephrase…
The deadlift IS the undisputed king of all back exercises!
However, it is not uncommon to hear about the deadlift being trash talked about, due to the lower back pain it has known to cause individuals. This may have happened to you too, even when you swear blind that you have been following correct form and technique for weeks on end.
Could it be that you don’t have the optimum physique to perform deadlifts at max capacity/ intensity?
Could it be that you have actually started to sacrifice good technique as you’ve increased the weight, without realizing it?
It could be that too.
There are indeed other reasons why you could b etaking an injury beating from performing the deadlift. But the main focus point of the deadlift is that you are supposed to feel the pain in your upper back, and not your lower back. And the last thing you want to be doing is sacrificing your health just to grow big. Seriously… it’s not worth it.
I’m not here to talk about quitting exercises. Especially the ones that will get you those super gains. I’m here to show you what you can do to prevent, cure and substitute those exercises with. And in this case, the deadlift.
#1 Deload week (Go light)
This is what you’ll probably need to do, if you happen to be one of those whose lower back pain has ‘suddenly ‘ appeared out of nowhere. This is because you’ve probably been going ‘at it’ for 6 weeks or more.
Note: A 12 week program is usually best in most cases. It’s always good to take a breather after that period. Say a week or two, before getting back into the swing of things.
You can get the full scoop on the upcoming Stay-fit Bug strength progression program that’s coming in a few weeks below.
If that is the case, then it’s time to deload. Take a week off and then work in again lightly over the next week or two at about 60% intensity (higher volume).
#2 Perform an alternative exercise
Deadlift on a Hammer Strength shrug machine
This machine is actually designed for performing the shrug exercise. But you can use it as a machine to perform deadlifts on.
- You can concentrate on what you need to do and be more upright as it helps you take out the dangerous lower part of the deadlifting movement whilst still getting a good range of motion.
- You can load on the uber heavy weights without getting scared. Which is understandable when performing deadlifts with a free weight barbell.
#3 Strengthen your lower back
With stiff leg deadlifts
This exercise is geared towards working your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. And unlike normal deadlifts, you should indeed feel tension lower down your back and not your upper back. If you do suffer from pain from performing ordinary deadlifts, then this is an exercise that you should include as a core part of your program.
2) Less explosive than ordinary deadlifts
Focus on this (While performing correctly) early on in your progression and you should indeed find that it helps quite a bit. But please.. do it right, otherwise you’ll just be back at square one. Pain central!
#4 Focus on good form
Last but not least (And probably should have been first). Focus on good form.
It’s a well known rule that you should be starting out with light weights. That’s with any exercise. But one reason you could be feeling pain in your lower back is due to performing the exercise with incorrect form… over a period of time. Don’t be a dumb meat head and shrug off pain, thinking your ego is all bad and that your body can ‘take it’. Taking pain for the sake of looking cool is the dumbest thing ever. Don’t do it.
Get someone to watch you perform the exercise to see if you are doing it right. Especially once you start lifting heavier weights. Or better yet, record yourself and make sure you tick all the boxes below.
Preparing for the Deadlift.
- Position the bar first, 2-4 inches away from your shins before attempting to lift. Don’t walk with the bar. Do so and something like this could happen.
- Hold the bar at Shoulder-width
- Point your toes outwards and curl them upwards. (Stability)
- On the way up, make a big chest & lift it up, and pull your shoulders backwards. Do this and your back will never ’round out’ on the way up.
- Look forward throughout the entire lift. It’s not just a psychological thing either. It really will prevent you from arching your back.
- Grip the bar with your fingers and not your palms. Start my allowing the bar to just sit in your fingers. Roll the bar in, close your hands and lift. Doing so will help prevent the formation of big calluses.
- Keep your arms locked and straight through the entire lift. Bend them and risk tearing a bicep.
- Lift with your hips and not your lower back. This is the critical part of the movement which will determine if you feel pain and cry, or continue to lift big and grow. The upper back is the target and where you should feel all of the tension.
- Keep the bar close to your shins on the way up. Move your hips first before bending your knees and you won’t risk scraping them.
- Squeeze you glutes. Bring your hips forward by pushing from the heels & squeezing your glutes . This too will help prevent lower back pain as it stops you from pulling with your lower back.
There’ll be a more detailed video version of this upon the launch of the new program, so make sure you enter your email address below to get the full scoop.
After all is said and done, the deadlift is still the champion back exercise. If pain has struck you, or if you have been afraid of even performing the exercise because of all the trash talk you hear about the exercise, then follow the above. And of course, keep an eye out for the upcoming program.
See you in the comments
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Ok… very soon you’ll be introduced to the concept of ‘In The Zone’ nutrition. I wont reveal all of the specifics just yet. But the short version is to stack your guts and deliberately spike your insulin levels around the times that you workout.
Now, if we fast forward to the post workout meal, you’ll know that its important to refuel your body full of nutrients. Nutrients that you would have used up during your workout.
You can read more here
If you have been following, you will also know that it’s important to refuel your body with the RIGHT sources of carbs and proteins… especially within 30-45 mins after working out.
There are many food sources you can choose from (Many of which you will learn about in the coming weeks).
But if there is one food source that does it all and has gained the crown to be labeled the ‘best’, it would be…
Let’s look at the specifics…
#1 Whole milk is highly anabolic
This is just a word used for the process of building muscle. And whole milk is very good for that (More on this below).
#2 Whole milk is highly soluble
Milk is 87% water, which means it’s largely a liquid food source. Which also means it’s a easily digested food source. Which is exactly what you want to be consuming 30-45 minutes post workout. As you want to get the right nutrients into your muscles as quick as possible.
#3 Whole milk is convenient
We all want to make the process of building muscle an easy one as well as a pleasurable one. Milk is packaged in bottle form, which means you can…
- Take it with you on your travels
- Buy it from the store and take it with you into the gym
- Drink it as you please
- No preparation time (Great for you talentless cooks out there ;))
#4 Whole milk is cheap
Where I’m from (UK) 568ml of milk (2 cups) costs about 45 pence/ 72 cents.
That is 72 cents per workout.
4 workouts a week x 4 weeks = 16 workouts x 72 cents
That is pocket change!
Your ultimate post workout nutrition source costs next to nothing. Follow a good program (Coming very soon) and you’ll look like a million dollars… at the cost of nothing!!!
Hail to whole milk…
#5 Whole milk contains a good balance of protein
Now, unless you have been living under a rock, you would be well aware of the popularity of whey protein for post workout nutrition. The reason being is that whey protein is a fast digesting protein, which makes it right for post workout nutrition in order to refuel your muscles. (You can learn more about the different types of protein/supplements in The guide to necessary supplementation ebook).
However, I do not represent any supplement companies, and I won’t force every supplement in existence down your throat. So I’ll introduce you to a case of did you know.
Did you know that whole milk consists of 80% casein 20% whey?
Well now you do. With that being the case. One swift gulp (say 250-500ml) of milk post workout will give you the best of both worlds.
1) Fast digesting protein into your muscles
2) Slow digesting protein into your muscles
This means that you can keep on guzzling milk even up until bed time, which of course means muscle repair activity even while you sleep!
Did you know that whole milk contains a strong dose of BCAA’s? (The main 3 chain BCAA’s – There are 21 in total).
Branch chain amino acids are what proteins in your body are made up of (They are like long strips).
I talk about these in ‘The guide to necessary supplementation too‘. But drinking whole milk actually means you won’t have to spend any extra money on supplementation. Whole milk is already very affordable as mentioned above. You’ve now saved yourself a stack load of cash!
#6 Whole milk contains a good balance of carbs
That’s right, whole milk is high in carbs too. Carbs are what you need along side protein after you workout. Yes, you will be spiking your insulin levels through the roof, but don’t worry. This is the one time of day that you are allowed to do so. Your muscle receptors will greet the flow of food into your muscles with open arms (Read this post for more on that).
Oh, and another thing. Earlier I talked about eating the right type of carbs post workout. Meaning you need to be consuming simple/ fast digesting carbs. Also known as lactose. Which is largely found in products such as… milk (Whole milk wins again). And again… this will indeed spike your insulin levels. But it’s ok. This is the one time of the day you are allowed to do so.
Cant drink milk because you are lactose intolerent?
If you’re lactose intolerant you can consume lactase pills instead. They’re just as good as taking lactaid milk, but they cost a lot less.
#7 Whole milk contains a good balance of fat
Earlier I mentioned that whole milk is highly anabolic. This is partly due to the increased levels of saturated fats contained within it.Yes, you may have understood that saturated fats are ‘bad fats’ (Which I actually state in the guide to necessary supplementation ebook). But in the scenario of post work out nutrition, they happened to be the right fats. Because they are known for sending testosterone levels through the roof. Which is of course what we all want when it comes to building muscle.
The increased fat content in whole milk is also very beneficial post workout too, because of ‘fats’ slow digesting nature.
#8 Whole milk tastes better
We all know that Stay-Fit Bug is all about living the lifestyle while us ‘meat heads’ pump our way to muscle bound oblivion. And one important part of that lifestyle is to make sure that we aren’t just eating food… bust tasting it too!
With that said, whole milk makes another winning entry for reasons why it makes for the best post workout food source.
More fat > more tasty > digests slower> Therefore…keeps hunger at bay
#9 Milk is better than Water
Milk is about 87% water. Proper hydration improves muscle recovery and can increase strength by preventing fatigue & stalling. However, milk contains electrolytes and minerals such as potassium and sodium which improve re-hydration by retaining the fluids you consume post workout. Read killer foods for fitness for my favorite post workout milk… shake.
#10 Whole milk (Contains fast & slow digesting protein?)
That’s right. And if you have been reading The guide to necessary supplementation, you might think this article is contradicting itself a bit. Because you would have learned that whey protein is good for refueling right after a workout, and that casein is good for well… all other times of the day. Mainly before bed time though.
Now, even though I gave you the ultimate post workout cocktail in that ebook, you would have also noticed it has a mix of both whey and casein. This is because a mix of both slow and fast digesting proteins ‘together’ actually work better post workout, when your goal is look like this…
Don’t worry, you’ll be just fine once I introduce you to ‘In the zone’ nutrition. Either way, whole milk contains both, and wins again.
Whole milk isn’t the be all and end all of post workout nutrition. But it is hands down the best food source for refueling your body/muscles post workout. Myself, along with a few others are still testing the new workout/nutrition program, so expect to see something very different than just guzzling on bucket loads of milk daily in order to build that ripped body, with the bulk. Sign up below for the full scoop.
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Since publishing this article, there has been some confusion. Whole milk is indeed great as a post workout meal. But when it comes to the post workout meal, we are usually talking about 2 meals.
1) 30 minutes right after a workout
2) 2-3 hours after a workout
The idea is to get the nutrients into your muscles as fast as possible after you workout, because they would have been radically depleted from intense activity from your workout. Hence why I state that this is the only time of day where it’s ok to spike your insulin levels. Now, whole milk is great because of it’s saturated fat content… leading to increased testosterone levels, which is of course great for muscle building. However, saturated fat increase does indeed mean slower digestion. Which means our food sources pass through a lot ‘slower’ than usual (Remember the hose vs tap concept). Therefore this means that whole milk will make for a better meal no.2 post workout nutritional boost. Which of course is where all the benefits listed above come into effect. So, whole milk is great for meal 2 yes, but not meal no 1.
Meal 1 options include…
- Semi-skimmed milk (Or chocolate. As mentioned in killer foods for fitness, which I mentioned back in 2009). Semi-skimmed milk is in fact what I take right after the workout at this moment in time. I drink 568ml right after the workouts that are currently being tested. Nutritional values are as follows (Protein 3.6g/Carbs 4.8 grams/Fat 1.8 grams). Fat is under 2 grams per 100ml serving.
- Hydrolyzed whey protein
A cocktail taken from the guide to necessary supplementation ebook
• Platinum Hydrowhey + iced coffee + Glycomaize + Glutamine Powder.
1. Fast-acting proteins (Whey protein)
2. Free form amino acids (Amino acids only – Glutamine) – Build/Repair muscle faster
3. Quickly digested carbohydrates (Starch – Glycomaize) Replenish muscle
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It’s been a while since I’ve talked on this topic, but it is something that has caught my attention recently, especially as I too am one of the guinea pigs testing out the the workout program. Which means I’ve been lifting weights more than usual, which means an increase of the chances for me to develop calluses.
Now, you’ll notice that I placed an emphasis on the word ‘big’ in the title. The reason for this is that big calluses is what will cause you pain and grief. They’ll bleed and make your hands look like you have been playing around with razor blade sharp… ‘balls’.
Once this happens you will indeed be turned off from wanting to lift the bar. Which of course means no muscles to rip and build, no progress, super catabolism and a loss of muscles mass. This you don’t want (obviously).
So how can we avoid developing big calluses? (Small calluses aren’t a bad thing btw. It’s better to have some kind of callus formation rather than none. Because the bar will chop away at your baby soft hands and hurt. So grow some man hands already :))
#1 Be friends with Mr.Chalk
And I’m not talking about chalk for the use on the blackboard either.
Now, just like you see in the picture above, our fellow olympians don’t just use chalk because it looks like a cool thing to do. No. They use it for the same reasons that you will be using it. The first reason…
Chalk smooths out the grooves
If you look closely at the palms of your hands, you’ll see that they have grooves along the surface. Placing your hands in chalk will help fill the gaps in the grooves, giving your hands the feel of a smooth surface.
Prevent the sweat
If there is one thing that annoys me more than anything else while lifting is not being able to grip the bar, due to execessive sweat. It’s like being stuck in a traffic jam behind the wheel of a Ferrari. You know your car can move, but there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. You know you have the strength to lift big, but your sweaty hands just won’t hold out.
And that’s where Mr.Chalk comes in to save the day. Because he will indeed help prevent sweating in your hands, which in turn will increase your grip strength, especially when performing pulling exercises such as the deadlift, pull ups and cleans.
Don’t use gym gloves
Unless you want to keep lifting baby weights all your life.
This is because in order to become proficient at lifting the heavier weights as you progress, you will need to place an emphasis on some callus formation. That really is the only way you are going to survive the big weights later on in the program when performing exercises such as the deadlift.
But Shaun, isn’t the point of this article to help prevent the formation of calluses?
Yes… but again, take notice of the word ‘big’. That is what you don’t want. However, what you do want is the beginning stages of callus development, and then to keep it that way and under control!
Now, since we are living in the year 2011, you will probably notice a strong disappearance or lack of chalk in your local gym. Especially mainstream ones (Haaail to the old school hardcore gym).
The main reason for this is that chalk is messy, and gym owners don’t want to have to clean up extra mess. Especially when you have people such as those described in this article.
Metolius Eco Ball
This is basically a coloured chalk ball. It is more expensive than generic chalk, but if you want to get away with using chalk without being caught in those mainstream gyms, then this is the stuff to use. Key benefits?
- Increases grip
- Reduced chalk dust present
- Less messy (No white chalk stains everywhere)
- However, may dry your hands out
(I would have mentioned liquid chalk as an alternative. However, recent tests of using the stuff has indeed been disappointing. Avoid).
#2 Buy a pumice stone
Now, I already know that you will walk away from this page, fresh advice and gym ready. And a few weeks from now, you’ll start to get some callus formation and there will be one day where it starts to go out of control. One way to prevent this is to use a pumice stone. I’ve actually used these for years, long before I even touched a weight plate. Just be warned… use it properly, otherwise you may do the opposite and wreck your skin. Don’t know what a pumice stone is? Click here.
- Nail file
- Foot file
(We all know your girlfriend has one of those ;))
#3 Hire Edward Scissor Hands
Well, not really… he’ll probably take your whole hand off, along with the calluses.
But if your calluses are really bad, just cut them away with scissors… gently! Just use basic tissue paper to wrap your hands while you lift for the next few weeks after doing so.
Other prevention methods
- Weightlifting gloves
- Weight lifters’ wrist straps
- Inner-tube rubber wrapped around the barbell (Most mainstream gyms will have this)
- Weight lifting hooks
I’ll probably be experimenting with this again soon, and put it on video towards the launch of the program, seeing as my hands are almost callus free at present. But until then, follow the above and you will indeed prevent the formation of ‘big’ calluses and avoid the screaming gym owner by not using loose powdered chalk.
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
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It’s a new year folks, which means yet another year of building muscle.
Have you made any new years resolutions?
I’d say yes, you probably have. However, in terms of building muscle… heck, in terms of living your life as a whole… while building muscle, most of those resolutions should be defined by short term and long term goals and NOT just some new years eve happy moment mantra. Those happy moment mantras are meaningless, and just like a guy who is crap in bed, won’t last very long.
But Shaun, I like to take each day as it comes. Live everyday like it’s my last?
Yes, so do I. Spontaneity has been a true hard coded rule of how I have lived my life for the past 12 years. That may be how you have been living yours too. If so, good! Don’t stop. All you do is just set short term and long term goals along side that way of living. That way, you can ensure that you are always growing as a person, and when you look back, years from now, you can cherish those moments, reflect and be proud that you achieved what you achieved ‘at the time’. I say ‘at the time’ because the world is constantly changing. Time does not stand still. One look in the mirror 30 years from now will be hard proof of that (Although it is a good idea to preserve youth with fitness :). This post and this post may help with that too).
Humans are also lazy, which means that any action taken that doesn’t have a goal and an end date fixed to it probably won’t ever get completed. Heck, no end date will probably burn you out, because motivation is driven by inspiration, and in most cases, that motivation won’t last very long. So having a goal and having the motivation to complete it when you say will, will both work hand in hand.
But let me give you some examples before I blabble on any further.
Possible short term goal
Obtain my IFBB pro card
I call this a short term goal because it can be achieved within the space of a year for most people. It requires a hardcore focus on training and good dieting to get your body in shape where you either…
1) Qualify to attend a bodybuilding competition (Which is a great way to start, if catching the fit bug has taken you down this route)
2) Obtain your pro card directly via your weight class
However, this is a means to an end (or a beginning, depending on how you look at it). And once you achieve it, you will scale back on the intensity a little and get back to some normality.
- Do what’s required within a certain time frame
- Work towards a desired end date
Possible long term goal
Open a new local bootcamp business and build it to a certain level
This might be a new goal for many in 2011, especially if you’ve caught a nasty dose of the fit bug. If so, starting up any new venture may take some time until it starts to develop it’s own set of legs to drive itself forward. Which means you are going to have to set quite a few short term goals along side those ultimate long term goals (e.g, build a 200K a year business). It probably won’t be all whistles and bells throughout that journey, but structuring your goals like that will allow you to at least enjoy it to some degree.
Now, those are just examples. Everyone who reads this will all have different career paths. And the point is this…
If you want to enjoy your life, along side a life of fitness, then you need to treat it as a lifestyle.
Whatever you do inside and outside of fitness will affect how you live your life as a whole. Heck, in many cases living the lifestyle may cause you to change career paths altogether. Look what happened to my recent interviewee Christina Adler. Who is now dubbed ‘attorney turned figure nut’ and who will most likely drive herself forward to a full time career in fitness.
That’s right… the lifestyle will impact not just your body, but your mind too, because they work together. Having a great looking body will improve self esteem, amongst other things (You can read what they are here). Once that happens your confidence will go through the roof, and that will in turn create a mindset where you believe that anything you want can be achieved, if you put your mind to it.
This is actually a very powerful thing.
A process that allows individuals to improve their lives for the better. And with so many avenues to go down to make a living out of the lifestyle, the next question to put to yourself would be, ‘why not’?
Remember what I said a few days ago…
If you have a goal to do something or become the person you are meant to be, then do it. Do it now. Time is precious and you can’t buy it back once it’s gone.
With that being said, make sure to keep any eye out for the upcoming program that I’ll shine upon your world within the next 4-5 weeks. Which has a core ‘lifestyle’ theme to it. I’m still testing the waters with it (I too am a guinea pig at present :)), but I’m certain it will cure a quite a few of the dilemmas that you face TODAY on your on your journey to build that near perfect physique… supreme muscle mass, with the supreme cuts. New readers can sign up below this post to stay updated on that.
Nevertheless, muscle building should be treated as a lifestyle. And let’s make 2011 an exciting lifestyle at that!!!
Leave your thoughts in the comments.
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