Have you ever been interested in body building or physique contests? Have you ever wondered what its like on stage, back stage, or even in the crowd on the night of the event?
Preparing the Body
I know how I felt when I first thought of getting on stage and seeing what this whole competition things was all about. I was terrified. I didnt know anything about diet, tanning, posing, how to pump up, what suit to buy, what to eat the night before, and on and on and on. I realized I probably wasn’t alone, and that this “abyss”of the unknown may be keeping many from trying one of the toughest sports in the world when it comes to training and nutrition.
Competitors don’t risk falling off of a balance beam after years of preparation, or getting knocked out by one rogue lucky punch but, instead, the competition is soley in the preparation. The day of the show is merely an unvailing of a sculpture (or science project) that took months, and even years, to perfect – or at least improve.
Preparing the body for a show takes a lot of planning (and, as you can see in these pictures below shot at the hotel competition day, a lot of packing, cooking, supplementing and planning ahead).
Preparing the Mind
This type of discipline is grueling – and takes a lot of mental fortitude and drive to keep going till the day of competition. This is when, as a coach, a little encouragement can go a long way. I have close to 20 people that are going to compete with me in an upcomming physique event, and the following is a letter I wrote them to encourage them to persever till the end. I wrote this letter to encourage them to say the course no matter what their brain or body is telling them. I wrote this letter to push them to keep faith that in 5 weeks their bodies will be the most amazing aesthtically that they have been in years, if not ever.
Letter to my clients and future competitors out there where ever you are:
Secretly I am hoping you find it very fulfilling, beyond the seemingly narcissistic focus it may have at first glance. I promise you, this level of commitment, self denial and discipline has perfect carry over into our daily lives. It teaches us to be better parents, boss’s, moms, dads, husbands and on and on…
Here we are guys… 5 weeks to go. Some of you are still on the fence, and that is ok. But next week we are either crossing the line of committing to April 6th, or we are going to gracefully bow out for another show. I am asking you to humbly allow me to help you with that decision. Lets decide together if your physique will be show ready or not.
Please don’t let fear into your heart, or head, when it comes to this decision of competing. It is only a question of being ready or not physically. Emotionally and mentally you will be wondering “what if” all the way up to and even the day of the show. So get that out of your head.
You guys have already overcome so much. We have only been training as a team for 5 weeks so far, and every single one of you has amazed me with your level of commitment. We still have 5 weeks to go. I’ve never had a team with so many firsts, so personally I am overwhelmed with excitement.
Guys (and girls), I know the inbody is messing with your head, I know the scale is your best friend in the morning and then your nemesis by noon. You feel so weak trying to finish the most menial tasks around the house, never mind making it into Max to train. When you finally do have time to train you may feel like you’re letting something else go, or putting other priorities on the back burner. You are paying the price, you are paying your dues. You will all have different levels of sacrifice depending on your support structure at home. Some friends and family are supporting your every move, keeping you accountable, reminding you of how amazing your commitment is – and others… not so much.
Your spouse may feel left out. You may have guilt about picking your kids up at school only to drop them off again so you can train. Your best friend may miss her drinking buddy, or even be jealous that she doesn’t have the guts to commit to this epic training. Get all of this out of your head, because when your friends and family see you on the stage, all will be forgiven.
I have seen my clients go to a show with a skeptic husband, and I watch his face as his bride walks out on stage and his jaw drops. He stands to his feet and screams, number 17, number 17… Or the look on the faces of your kids shouting from the crowd, mom… mom… As a coach, this all plays a part of why I drive you guys, and beg for more when you have nothing left to give. If you are struggling with this, stay true to training, stay true to yourself. The one thing they can’t argue the day of the show is that you deserve the applause they are hearing for you right now.
I would like to encourage you, however, to arrange your schedule to train early or later or in the middle of the day as to not affect your friends and family as much. The less impact our training and diet has on disrupting our social lives, the more supportive our loved ones will be. It is a sacrifice to get up early, to get that extra cardio before your spouse or kids wake. It is a sacrifice to make PB&J sandwiches for the rest of the family when you’re dying to lick the spoon. It is a sacrifice to go out for drinks with friends and sip on un-sweet ice tea in a martini glass – but you didn’t think that all this sacrifice was just in the gym, did ya?
So here we are… 5 weeks out. We feel too fat, too flabby, too skinny, too hungry. By now, I think I have had a chance to talk to each of you about dialing it in for the show. If not, lets talk Saturday so we can straighten out these questions. But in the mean time, stick to the program. Regardless if the scale doesn’t move, stick to the program. If you feel skinny, it doesn’t necessarily mean eat more, and if you’re having a fat day it doesn’t mean you need to starve yourself.
You must “stay the course”. I know you are hungry, tired, emotional, scared, insecure… because I feel these things too – but guys, I can tell you what its like the day after… the accomplishment, the pride, the feeling as though you worked so hard and you deserve the compliments that people give you. It is worth it in the end.
Lets all commit to taking our training and diet up another notch. Don’t put your family and friends second, don’t let fatigue and hunger slow you down, don’t let your eyes tell you your not going to be ready, and never, never, never give up.
Think It’s Too Late?
Dr. Josefina Monasterio STARTED competing for the first time when she was 60. She is one of our Team Max members who will compete in the upcoming Southeast Classic in Hollywood April 6th, even after hip surgery. So, NO it’s not too late. Read Dr. Josefina’s story…
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #respectyourself
If you have been following this mess I call a blog at all for the last 5 months you may have heard me whine and whine about my knee. If not, you’re in luck because here I go again. 5 months ago I was getting ready for my first ever MMA tournament. I know,… shut it! But anywho, I was gonna try. Here’s a shocker: my 42-year-old butt got tore up by a 19-year-old monster. I tore my medial meniscus and sustained a 90% tear to my MCL. I was devastated, but now I’m back and I want to not only return to competing, I want my quads bigger and stronger than ever. The area I want to focus on for this workout is the Vastus Lateralis, the largest and most outer portion of the thigh.
How to Improve Your Sweep
How do we isolate out the vastus lateralis muscle, or as we call it in the physique world, “the sweep”? Vastus externus or vastus lateralis, depending on your A&P professor, is the largest of all the quadricep muscles. The action of this muscle is to extend the tibia or shin bone at the knee, but I’m here to help you learn how to perform knee extension to isolate out the other muscles that synergistically aid in this action. In sculpting, it is very important that we learn isolation. Whether we are a bodybuilder, a bikini competitor or a stay-at-home mom that wants to scult their body, we can all use these principles to learn to sculpt nicer legs.
Fat burn or spot reducing fat can not be limited to specific areas of the body, no matter what ”bogus science” and pills tell you. However, sculpting most assuredly can be reduced to a single area, action, and in some cases, specific fibers of a specific muscle – all based on how we execute the exercise. You don’t need a degree in kinesiology to learn these principals, just a little common sense is all.
So, how do we excite and fatigue the fibers of our outer quad to hypertrophy our SWEEP?
Ok, so here is one exercise you should be narrow-minded about. Narrow is better when we talk about our stance to accentuate or facilitate the contractile tissue of the outer quad. So lets think narrow when doing squats and leg extensions. Whatever exercises you do, stand with a more narrow stance (feet together). You may stop and ask, does that mean if I stand wide, I will work my inner thigh and medial quads? Yeppers! Now you are getting it. (another blog perhaps) Moving on…
With leg extensions, it’s all about being self-centered – literally. If you point your toes outward, you are working the vastus medialis, the tear drop shaped muscle on the medial side (inside) of the legs close to the knee. Since we want to work the opposite side of the legs, then (yes, you guessed it) we want to point our toes in the opposite direction, pointing toes together. Note: this doesn’t work by just pointing the feet from the ankle down, the whole leg must internally rotate to the center to excite the appropriate muscles.
Here is an example of my own leg workout where I use these same principles to improve my sweep.
Yesterday’s Leg Workout
Warm up: 4 sets / 20 reps
Deep weighted walking lunges (35-50 pound dumbbells) 45 seconds rest btw sets
Couplet: Leg Press & Leg Extension Super Set
(zero rest between super set, 1 minute between sets)
#1 Heavy leg press
5-8 plates each side, narrow stance (4″ apart) and push only on your heels
10 sets / 15 reps
#2 Moderately heavy leg extension
Moderately heavy leg extension (130lbs-160lbs) internally rotate your femur’s in (toes are pigeon-toed), and squeeze your outer quad in terminal extension.
10 sets / 12-15 reps
Repeat Super Set 10 Times
Puke and repeat for 10 rounds(sets) with 1 minute rest between (rounds) sets
Here are some pics from my last show, the Daytona Classic, just 10 days after getting hurt.
I created this mantra, featured on DetourBar.com today, to remind people that all your workouts have a lot of benefits, outside of just appearance. Even though getting “picked first” is not the reason I train hard, training has affected my overall athletic performance – and it affects so many other areas of my life too.
When you are in the gym, training your guts out, don’t just focus on how your muscle looks or even how you feel in that moment. Think of all the opportunities your new fit body gives you – to be a better athlete, employee, spouse, parent and friend.
CLICK HERE to get the full-size mantra.
I love fundamentals. Fundamentals are the foundation from which more complex and effective derivatives are built upon. So many pro athletes achieve stardom and fame only to eventually fall into a slump and return to the basics. Many coaches and athletes alike will tell you, if you perfect the fundamentals, there may be no need for much else.
My Striking, and grappling skills are continuing to get better. As I get more advanced, I’ve noticed that every class starts with repeating basic drills that I learned from the very first day; and so it is with abdominal work.
You can do V-ups, X-ups, sit ups, roll ups, knee ups, or just about any abdominal exercise you want, and without using basic fundamentals, you will never effectively work the target area. Most ineffective abdominal work is caused from poor set up. If you can accomplish a good starting position and maintain good positioning during the range, your abs will cry sweaty tears of bliss. So, how do we set up to get all the “goody” out of our abdominal training? glad you asked!
1. Lay down on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor
2. Roll your belt line (low back) into the mat or ground (a slight posterior pelvic tilt)
3. Use the hamstrings to lock your pelvis into position. Do this by digging your heels into the ground and pull them toward your buttocks to tighten your hamstrings holding your pelvis in a posterior tilt
4. Place your hands behind your neck holding the base of your noggin (nuchal line) and keep your elbows open and wide.
5. Look straight up keeping your chin off your chest.
6. Pull your naval into your spine AS YOU EXHALE.
7. As you exhale, PULL YOUR TRANSVERSE ABDOMINALS IN, LIFT YOUR SHOULDER BLADES OFF THE FLOOR UNTIL ONLY THE MID BACK (THORACIC REGION) IS TOUCHING
(NOTE: LIFT STRAIGHT UP AS IF YOU HAVE A GLASS OF WATER ON YOUR CHEST… TRY NOT TO ROLL UP IN AN ARC)
Congratulations, you just executed a perfect crunch!
Continue to use these same principals for all abdominal work. These fundamentals will help facilitate and recruit more abdominal musculature durring your workout giving you “perfect abs”.
NOTE: Don’t forget – no matter how great your ab exercises are, you’ll never see them if you don’t diet. Diet is 80% of getting the abs of your dreams!
Tractor Tire Abs
Here is an entire ab & core workout I put together for GNC utilizing a tractor tire. Since many MMA camps and boot camps us tractor tires, I decided to come up with a few exercises to help you make the most of your tractor tire. Don’t have one? You can get a used on free at your local tractor repair store or dealer – or you can use a stability ball or bench.
FitFluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.
The temporary pleasure of sin will never out weigh the devastating long term consequences, as the temporary pain of training will never out weigh the amazing long term consequences!
Bonnie and I were both brought up in the south, and for many of us that means that we were in church everytime the doors were open. One of the phrases you hear a lot in the church is “we really hate SIN”. Don’t tune me out, I’m about to make a point. As much as church, Bon and I in our adult lives spent a lot of time in the gym as well. One of the phrases we hear all of time at the gym is “I love my workout”. So “we hate sin and love our workouts” hmmm
Hate Sin? Not at all.
We love sin, its exciting, feels good, it’s attractive, it taste good, it’s a total rush… No we don’t hate sin. What we hate is the consequences of our sin. Sin can lead to drug addiction. divorce, obesity, disease, or even death – not to mention total seperation from the Dude who created you. (another blog, another time). But to say we hate sin, well, that just isn’t true – but to truly hate the devastating affects of sin is such a huge reality it isn’t a lie to say “I hate sin”. Hold on, here it comes…
Love your workout? Not truly…
Right now I am doing 315 pound shruggs. I think I just popped every vertebrae in my back, just ripped a callous, my legs are trembling and I have sweat in my eye and a charlie horse in my calf. Love my workout? …not so much.
HOWEVER, I absolutely love the consequences that I experience from working out. Health, aesthetics, energy, increased self esteem, confidence, the ablility to defend myself and my family against danger, and vitality are all considered bliss – directly related to the suffering and drudgery of the afformentioned workout. Knowing the amazing results of hard training, I can honestly say, “I love my workouts”!
The same way a person who has been caught up in SIN becomes so hurt and disgusted with that lifestyle, another can honestly say they love working out becuase of the amazing results and positive influence, that it can acutally be said, “I love my workout”
In short...The temporary pleasure of sin will never out weigh the devastating long term consequences, as the temporary pain of training will never out weigh the amazing long term consequences!
How do we change our belief system to be able to honestly say… “I love training”?
2. Visualize the prize (end game) seeing the goal as if its complete.
3. Make a plan that is realistic and effective to meet your goal.
4. Grow a pair. Dont be afraid to “gut it out”. Know it will be worth it.
5. Start over a million times – but dont quit, not even once!
As I said in Muscle vs. Fat Part 1, “All excess unused calories will be stored in your body. It’s up to you HOW they are stored.“
Runners Store Fat
Running is an activity, requiring moderate intensity performed over a longer duration. Runners primarily (especially in highly trained runners) use slow twitch, slow fatiguing muscle fibers. The primary fuel source for this activity dictated by duration, intensity, and muscles fiber type used is fat stores. As a runner, excess muscle will only slow you down, and protein stores are very heavy and dense and will only yield 4 calories of energy per gram (that’s why a runner’s body typically doesn’t have a lot of muscle – your body doesn’t want it). In comparison, fat will give the athlete over twice as much energy per gram, and metabolically takes less energy to maintain at rest (this is why your body hoards it, whether you burn it all off running or not).
So even with a higher protein diet, any excess calories stored are prone to be stored as fat. It is primal… It is science. Your body is always efficiently meeting the demands you are putting on it. Here is what happens… As your muscle atrophies, you become lighter, and as you store more fat, you can run longer. Congratulations, you are now skinnier and fatter.
Your body doesn’t give a crap if you can win a hot body contest. It’s programed to keep you alive despite the demands and tasks you set before it. How you feel you should look is solely up to psychological and social parameters we put on ourselves. How you perform, on the other hand, is up to the demands you put on your body.
Bodybuilders Store Muscle
Building muscle, in a biological environment, is hard and plays against the odds. The human body finds very little use for excess muscle as it is dense and not very efficient for survival or providing energy. Yes, when these proteins are broken down, some of the amino acids can be used on a cellular level, but our body has amino acid pools that already exist for this and are an efficient storage system for this.
Excess striated skeletal muscle is left (stored) as a useless luxury at best. It’s nice to look at, but after the body has enough skeletal muscle to move and function, the rest becomes very inefficient, energy-wasting luggage we must carry around all day everyday. In order for you to quit storing much needed valuable fat, in leu of storing heavy useless muscle, you must create an alternate environment that will primally dictate some sort of need, so your body will begin to store muscle instead of fat. So, how can we make this happen?
3 ways to Store Muscle NOT Fat:
1. Take away the need for your body to store excess calories as fat. Do not use long bouts of running or moderately intense exercises to control your weight. Restrict calories instead, and try intervals of sprinting or higher intensity shorter duration activities. (sorry runners)
Quit long distance running > 5 miles.
2. Restrict excess calories. All excess calories can be stored as fat. Even if all you eat is pure protein and green vegetables, if you eat more than you burn, you will store these extra calories as fat. We must decrease our sugars and make sure we are getting quality proteins and fats (mono/poly unsaturated fatty acids) to support protein synthesis.
Eat less simple carbohydrates and increase protein if need be.
3. Train Hard. You won’t store muscle, unless uou give your body a reason and a need to store the extra calories as muscle by, intense, short duration, resistance training.
Train with resistance and intensity.
DISCLAIMER FOR HATERS:
This was written with the “big picture in mind and trying to stay under 1000 words, It would be impossible to site and discuss micro metabolic science within these parameters. So unless you find something butt-a#* wrong… don’t be a “douschtard”.