Carnitine is a quaternary ammonium compound, which is essential for metabolic function in all mammals. Carnitine is not only essential for the healthy function of various human physiological systems, but also supplementation with carnitine can confer serious boosts to athletic performance and overall body composition in athletes that supplement with it! Carnitine can be suspended in a liquid or as a raw powder which is taken orally, and which following its breakthrough into the fitness world has undergone extensive medial trials in healthy individuals as well as athletes demonstrating extremely interesting effects on fatty acid metabolism and glycogen preservation.      

    In addition to the potential performance enhancing and physique benefits it provides, carnitine has also been connected in various studies to a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease. One of the primary roles carnitine serves in our body is the carnitine pathway shuttling of fatty acids. This is the process by which fatty acids are directly shuttled into the mitochondria of cells to provide essential cellular energy. Additionally, carnitine activation allows the oxidation of fats directly from cellular material, allowing an athlete to derive energy directly from body fat stores, not just carbohydrate metabolism. Furthermore, the presence of muscle carnitine, which can be metabolized into direct cellular energy, it has a glycogen sparing effect on muscle tissue and thereby exerts an anti-catabolic effect on muscular tissue, preventing the depletion of muscle glycogen throughout strenuous training. This allows an athlete alternative means of energy supply and preserves essential muscle glycogen for longer during workouts.

    Adding to its obvious benefits in terms energy production and the improvement of body composition caused by the direct oxidation of fatty acids, rather than pure carbohydrate metabolism; Carnitine, has been connected to a lower risk of diabetes and the prevention cardiac ischemia (decreased blood flow to the heart). The host of bodily mechanisms in which carnitine plays a role suggests that supplementation with it can contribute to broader holistic health, in addition to providing massive physique benefits in terms of its powerful fat burning effects and extremely efficient energy transportation. Carnitine is in many ways one of the essential bodily compounds with roles in a whole host of physiological processes, among which are several methods bodybuilders can utilize to enhance their physiques and athletic performance in the gym.

    Carnitine is, if not an essential, a very useful product for athletes seeking to improve their overall body composition, through the targeted oxidation of fatty acids from their cellular adipose tissue, or to enhance their workouts and overall energy, strength, and power through training sessions with carnitine mediated muscle glycogen preservation, allowing athletes to train harder, with less fatigue, while directly burning body fat and enjoying a variety of potential health benefits. There are a lot of potential upsides to supplementing with carnitine, but people have been getting jacked for decades before companies started selling carnitine; diet and training should come first; however, there is substantial evidence that carnitine could give you a performance boost.

We’ll outline some of the methods that have successfully worked for our clients. There are three starting points from our experience that you may fit into:

A. You haven’t been trying to grow or strengthen your legs and you follow no specific “leg day” in resistance training program.

B. You’ve been trying unsuccessfully to grow or strengthen your legs and you follow a cookie cutter “leg day” along with your resistance training program.

C. You’ve tried everything from jumping lunges to heavy leg press to grow and strengthen your legs and you don’t seem to be getting the results that you once did.

For all three starting points, a reasonable and healthy goal to reach for is to increase strength or volume across basic compound movements successfully and, upon measuring, see an increase in each leg circumference monthly.

Person A:

This person can successfully reach their leg growth goals following a progressive overload weight training program utilizing a linear progression model along with a caloric surplus composed, ideally, of mostly whole foods. The major movements to be used include back squats, front squats, conventional deadlift, wide stance deadlift, leg extensions, leg curls, and calf raises. A good starting point would be to perform back squats, front squats, conventional deadlift, and wide stance deadlift all once per week in any configuration at approximately 5 sets of 5 reps and to perform the more isolated movements: leg extensions, leg curls, and calf raises, at approximately 3 sets of 20 reps with a maximal stretch and contraction. The key to seeing increased strength and lean mass is in the linear progression model for this person. That means that you should be increasing the weight (even if its 2-5lbs some weeks) on all of these movements every week.

Person B:

This person can successfully reach their leg growth goals following, again, a progressive overload weight training program, but with a more phasic progression. The concepts previously mentioned still stand in regards to exercise selection and frequency except this person may benefit more from varying the rep ranges. For example, 10,8,6 week 1, 5×5 week 2, 3×3 week 3, and 5,3,1 week 4, then restart and the goal is to increase the weight each phase as compared to the prior phase. Additionally, comparatively, the weight should be heavier for fewer reps. In the example I just mentioned, the least weight would be used for 10 reps in week 1 and the most weight would be used for 1 rep in week 4 and everything in between would be between what was used for 10 reps and what was used for 1 rep.

Person C:

This is perhaps the most difficult type of person to bring about results because their central nervous system and muscles are very angry with them currently. Almost always, I’ve found that person C will require an extended deload followed by a systematic program in concert with a caloric surplus composed, again, ideally, of mostly whole foods. An extended deload, that I’ve seen work well before, usually consists of something to the effect of 1-2 weeks of just rest and eating when hungry (maintenance calories) followed by a gradual building of volume and intensity in basic compound movements over a 3-5 week period. After the central nervous system is reset, person C essentially becomes person A and now they are ready for a tailored leg training program that includes progressive overload to build strength and lean mass along with a caloric surplus to supply nutrients.

#1 Front Dumbbell Raise

  1. Pick a couple of dumbbells and stand with a straight torso and the dumbbells on front of your thighs at arms length with the palms of the hand facing your thighs. This will be your starting position.
  2. While maintaining the torso stationary (no swinging), lift the left dumbbell to the front with a slight bend on the elbow and the palms of the hands always facing down. Continue to go up until you arm is slightly above parallel to the floor. Exhale as you execute this portion of the movement and pause for a second at the top. Inhale after the second pause.
  3. Now lower the dumbbell back down slowly to the starting position as you simultaneously lift the right dumbbell.
  4. Continue alternating in this fashion until all of the recommended amount of repetitions have been performed for each arm.

Variations: This exercise can also be performed both arms at the same time. Also, you could use a barbell as well.

#2 Alternating Lateral Raises

  1. Pick a couple of dumbbells and stand with a straight torso and the dumbbells by your side at arms length with the palms of the hand facing you. This will be your starting position.
  2. While maintaining the torso in a stationary position (no swinging), lift the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend on the elbow and the hands slightly tilted forward as if pouring water in a glass. Continue to go up until you arms are parallel to the floor. Exhale as you execute this movement and pause for a second at the top.
  3. Lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position as you inhale.
  4. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Variation: This exercise can also be performed sitting down.

#3 Dumbbell One-Arm Shoulder Press

  1. Grab a dumbbell and either sit on a military press bench or a utility bench that has a back support on it as you place the dumbbells upright on top of your thighs or stand up straight.
  2. Clean the dumbbell up to bring it to shoulder height. The other hand can be kept fully extended to the side, by the waist or grabbing a fixed surface.
  3. Rotate the wrist so that the palm of your hand is facing forward. This is your starting position.
  4. As you exhale, push the dumbbell up until your arm is fully extended.
  5. After a second pause, slowly come down back to the starting position as you inhale.
  6. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions and then switch arms.

Variations: You can perform the exercise standing or sitting on a regular flat bench. For people with lower back problems, the version described is the recommended one.

You can also perform the exercise as Arnold Schwarzenegger used to do it, which is to start holding the dumbbells with a supinated grip (palms facing you) in front of your shoulders and then, as you start pushing up, you align the dumbbells in the starting position described on step 3 by rotating your wrists and touch the dumbbells at the top. As you come down, then you would go back to the starting position by rotating the wrist throughout the lowering portion until the palms of your hands are facing you. This variation is called the Arnold Press. However, it is not recommended if you have rotator cuff problems.

#4 Alternating front and side raises

  1. Grab a dumbbell and either sit on a military press bench or a utility bench that has a back support on it as you place the dumbbells upright on top of your thighs or stand up straight.
  2. Clean the dumbbell up to bring it to shoulder height. The other hand can be kept fully extended to the side, by the waist or grabbing a fixed surface.
  3. Rotate the wrist so that the palm of your hand is facing forward. This is your starting position.
  4. As you exhale, push the dumbbell up until your arm is fully extended.
  5. After a second pause, slowly come down back to the starting position as you inhale.
  6. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions and then switch arms.

Variations: You can perform the exercise standing or sitting on a regular flat bench. For people with lower back problems, the version described is the recommended one.

You can also perform the exercise as Arnold Schwarzenegger used to do it, which is to start holding the dumbbells with a supinated grip (palms facing you) in front of your shoulders and then, as you start pushing up, you align the dumbbells in the starting position described on step 3 by rotating your wrists and touch the dumbbells at the top. As you come down, then you would go back to the starting position by rotating the wrist throughout the lowering portion until the palms of your hands are facing you. This variation is called the Arnold Press. However, it is not recommended if you have rotator cuff problems.

#5 kneeling cable face pulls

  1. Assume a split stance with the arms straight out in front of you utilizing a pronated grip.
  2. Inhale and pull the rope towards your face with the elbows high.
  3. Slowly lower the rope back to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions on both sides.

 

What is Shredded Academy?

Check out Shredded Academy for fat-loss workouts and nutrition plans at all levels. The free articles on ShreddedAcademy.com also have a ton of information and motivation.

Losing body fat to get shredded may not always be easy, but it’s always worth it. Keep your eyes on the prize!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are wondering how to build muscle mass, you have come to the right place. Improving your muscularity is the aim to gain muscle mass but decreasing body fat is usually how muscle mass is measured.

What Is Muscle Mass Definition?

Muscle mass is literally the weight of your muscle in pounds or kilograms. To get slightly more technical, it is a measure of metabolic homeostasis, physical strength, and daily living activities. Think of it this way; if you have a higher lean mass means you have higher nutritional reserve and strength whereas lower muscle mass (sarcopenia) is a major contributor to disability and increased mortality.

How Muscle Builds Mass

Muscle builds mass after a workout; your body repairs or replaces the damaged fibers in the muscles through a cellular process. This process fuses muscle fibers together to create myofibrils or new muscle protein strands. These repaired myofibrils increase in thickness and number to grow to build muscle mass.

7 Tips for Building Muscle Mass

  • Get Stronger. Figuring how to grow muscle mass may require consistency, but at the very least it requires strength. Basically, more strength means more muscle.
  • Add Weight. Remember that weight is important, not just repetitions of an exercise. To get bigger muscles, the body needs to pump bigger iron. Start off by adding more weight to the last lift; slowly over time the body gets stronger.
  • Do Compounds. Do exercises that work several muscles at the same time.
  • Use Barbells. Barbells enable the human body to exercise with the most weight; as we said, more weight equals more strength.
  • Increase Frequency. If you think squatting once a week will get you the perfect butt, think again. Consistency and repetition are key, so try upping your squat routine to 3 times a week, then, up it to 5 times a week.
  • Recover. The human body needs work and rest. In order to rebuild the muscles for growth, sleep and rest is required for the process
  • Eat Protein. Protein is essential as a tool for rebuilding muscles. You need 2.2g protein per kilogram of body-weight (1g/lb.) to maximize muscle recovery and build muscle, although at least a gram of protein per kilogram of body-weight is less intense and will put you on the right track.

How Long to Build Muscle Mass?

Obviously building muscle doesn’t happen overnight, but even if you do not think you see results in the mirror, don’t lose motivation. Often when working out, it looks like muscles are getting bigger. When exercising, blood rushes to the muscle to give it fuel and start repair in a process called transient hypertrophy aka muscle pump. Although muscle pump makes muscles look bigger, think of it as more like a preview of what is to come. 

What Causes Muscle Mass Growth?

Whenever you work out, whatever stressor or movement that is unfamiliar to the body will cause microtears in muscle fibers; these microtears will take anywhere from a day to a few days to heal. This is why trainers do not recommend you work out the same muscle groups on back to back days, although to gain muscle mass quicker working out a set of muscles two times a week is recommended.  If you start a workout or movements that are new or unfamiliar, your body will focus less on muscle building and more on the body’s neurological system of how to do the exercise. The neurological system enables the body to learn when and how to fire up those muscles to do certain movements in an order.

How to Develop Muscle Mass?

In the beginning of practicing a strength building workout, the body will mostly be making neuromuscular advances, namely the muscles in the body and the nerves that serve them. Communication between the brain and the body is tantamount to executing the exercises and doing them correctly; the more consistent and longer you strength train, then the muscle gains will start kicking in. Being strict on workout means exponential growth, especially eight weeks after sticking to a consistent strength training routine and a strict diet.

Your maximum muscular body-weight depends mostly on your height and bone structure. A more petite bone structure can only carry so much muscular weight. Diet is also highly important, as your body needs the resources to not only perform exercises but recover afterwards with the right nutrients. To get the most out of gaining muscle mass, try three to six sets of six to twelve repetitions and remember to focus on your whole range of motion.

What is Shredded Academy?

Check out Shredded Academy for fat-loss workouts and nutrition plans at all levels. The free articles on ShreddedAcademy.com also have a ton of information and motivation.

Losing body fat to get shredded may not always be easy, but it’s always worth it. Keep your eyes on the prize!

#1 Squats

4 Sets 12-15 Reps

DONT’s 

  1. Not squatting low enough (first two squats in video)
  2. Dropping your chest during your squats- very bad for your back! (Next two in video)
  3. Raising your heels off the ground during squats- can lead to shin splints/ injury (last two squats in video)

DO’s

  1. Be slow and have control
  2. have a neutral neck/ spine alignment with your chest UP
  3. have a forward focus keep your hips below parallel
  4. keep your knees behind your toes
  5. have your feet FLAT on the ground

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#2 Leg Press Machine

4 Sets 12-15 Reps

DONT’s 

  1. Do not lock your knee.
  2. Do not place your Hands on the knees!

DO’s

  1. Upper and lower legs make a 90-degree angle.
  2. Push with mainly with your Heels.
  3. Rest your head back to get a better range of motion!
  4. position the feet right in the middle, not too high or too low.

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#3 Cable Kickbacks

4 Sets 12-15 Reps

DONT’s 

  1. “Bad girl booty syndrome” where the low back is arched like a MF and butt sticks out. we’re not a doctor but  that shit ain’t good for your back.
  2. Using momentum to drive the leg back and not controlling the negative portion.
  3. Standing upright and DECREASING the range of motion.

DO’s

  1. Brace your abs and maintain that tension throughout the set. This will keep your back from overarching and prevent Bad Girl Syndrome.
  2. Bend your knees SLIGHTLY and bend at the hips.
  3. Make your glute do all the work. Start the motion with your glute squeezing hard, instead of just kicking your leg back like you’re kicking something off your leg.

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#4 Dumbbell Deadlifts

4 Sets 12-15 Reps

DO’

  1. stand up straight with feet shoulder width apart and shoulders back.
  2. bend at the waist with hips back and your ensure your is core engaged
  3. knees should be slightly bent but fixed
  4. as you lower the db’s focus on the stretch (pull) in your hamstrings
  5. db’s should remain as close to your body as possible (don’t sway outwards)
  6. bring db’s slightly past knees or until you feel comfortable engagement
  7. keep engagement throughout the duration of the movement (don’t relax at the bottom)
  8. squeeze through your hamstrings and glutes to raise the db’s back up
  9. squeeze, squeeze, squeeze!
    .

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What is Shredded Academy?

Check out Shredded Academy for fat-loss workouts and nutrition plans at all levels. The free articles on ShreddedAcademy.com also have a ton of information and motivation.

Losing body fat to get shredded may not always be easy, but it’s always worth it. Keep your eyes on the prize!

Suddenly it’s July and everyone is going to the pool or beach; consequently, people are scrambling to get shredded and beach ready. No, ‘shredding it’ isn’t a surf term! Figuring out fitness and how to shred fat can be a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Just follow a few steps to get your mindset right to begin shredding.

What Does Shredding Muscles Mean?

A shredding exercise is a movement that makes your body burn fat. Although focused on exercise, shredding is a combination of diet and workouts consisting of cardio and weight-lifting. It allows you to step into a whole other level of muscularity and definition.

What is Shredding Season?

Shredding season is slang referring to shredding exercise or shredding bodybuilding to prepare for either a bodybuilding contest or for the general warm months. It refers to cutting down to a low percentage of body fat while maintaining muscle mass aka get shredded.

Fitness: How To Shred:

Hydrate- The body is 70% water, so it is important to make sure you are fueling your engine. A body can survive 7 days with food, it can only survive 3 days without water. Dehydration slows the fat-burning process and has negative effects on your muscles and joints. Therefore, water is the best weight loss asset out there.

Eat frequently- Yes you heard that right. Eat. Frequently. Also drink water often (see above). But the trick is to be careful what you eat; you would think that splitting up your food into smaller meals would help and that is correct. Additionally, you want to think about spreading your calories across meals so you feed your body throughout the entire day. You also can’t eat just any food, but food that is good for you. Think along the lines of lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs; if you space these evenly throughout the day it will help your metabolism stay constant promoting fat loss.

Nutrition- Although it sounds boring, what you eat as well as when you eat makes a difference; if you stick to plenty of protein your will lower your hunger while maintaining lean tissue. Instead of frying, stick to steaming or sautéing food in a little oil; find flavor by adding spices, herbs, and kinds of vinegar and steering clear of any creamy or fatty sauces or dressings. Heavy or sugary desserts and alcohol tend to hide a lot of calories; you can always read the menu at a restaurant or do a quick Google on your phone to figure out the best choices on the menu.

Use Good FormWeight-lifting as a fat burning work out is fantastic, but if you are using bad form plus going too fast this can end in hurting yourself. Correct form is essential to gaining the most from exercise as well as protecting your body from injury. Check yourself in the mirror or partner up with a workout buddy to help.

Strategic Cardio– Just getting on a bike or treadmill and starting the machine is not enough to get what you need out of cardio. For the best shred results there are many cardio programs; try “Fasted Cardio” when you do cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach 4-5 times a week. HIIT that stands for High-Intensity-Interval-Training is also a popular strategic cardio method as it combines sprints with walks as break periods designed to push the body to the peak. Post-workout cardio is another cardio method to fatigue already tired muscles and burn through those glycerin stores to get shredded.

Less Sitting/More Moving– The human body was not designed to sit for extended periods of time; in response, the body has weakened butt muscles and consequently lower back pain. The key is to break up long periods of sitting down with short periods of standing or walking; every hour try standing up either when you are on the phone or the commercials or on tv. Walk around to refill your water cup (when was the last time you drank water?). Remember that consistent movement shreds fat even if you are making small progress.

Sleep More- In sounds contrary to what you think you should be doing, but sleep is an essential part of the body’s process of rebuilding and replenishing to do more work. Little sleep, broken sleep, or even light sleep can hinder your metabolism rate.

BONUS

Stress Less– When the body is stressed, it retains cortisol that hinders fat breakdown by encouraging the body to hold on to fat and breaking down muscle instead. So take a deep breath, square your shoulders, you can handle this!

Be realistic without yourself about your goals; there is only so much you can change in a week. However, if you can turn these tips into habits, the structure for a better performing body with cardio and nutrition will pay off over time.

What is Shredded Academy?

Check out Shredded Academy for fat-loss workouts and nutrition plans at all levels. The free articles on ShreddedAcademy.com also have a ton of information and motivation.

Losing body fat to get shredded may not always be easy, but it’s always worth it. Keep your eyes on the prize!

Height: 5’0 – 152cm
Weight 105lbs – 48kgs

How did you get started with competing competitively in the bikini division?

I wasn’t too familiar with the NPC until I started dating my boyfriend who competes in bodybuilding. The first show I went to I was hooked and decided to make it my goal to one day step on stage. I made the gym my number one priority and joined Team Edge. I gave myself six months to prep, and by June 8th I was on stage at my first show where I placed first!

I was hooked and two weeks later stepped on stage for my second show where I also placed first!

2

Where does your motivation come from?

My coach Ingrid Romero has been one of my biggest motivator’s. Before she was my coach I would watch her videos on YouTube and was completely inspired, her beauty, body, stage presence and personality is completely motivating.

3

What workout routine has worked best for you?

I’ve noticed more changes in my body when I stick to moderate weight and higher reps.

Full Routine:

Monday: Arms/Abs/Cardio

  • Dumbbell Curls 3×20
  • Triceps Rope Extensions 3×20 (Superset)
  • 1 minute Sprint
  • Jump Squats 3×20
  • Ice Skaters 3×20 (Superset)
  • Hammer Curls 3×20
  • Assisted Dips 3×20
  • 1 minute Sprint
  • Tuck Jumps 3×20
  • Jump Lunges 3×20 (Superset)
  • 20 minute Ab Workout
  • 30 min Cardio

Tuesday: Back

  • Assisted Pull Ups Wide Grip 3×25
  • Kettle Bell Swings 3×25 (Superset)
  • 2 min run on 10% Incline
  • Seated High Row Wide Grip 3×25
  • Plyo Push Up 3×25 (Superset)
  • 2 min run on 10% Incline
  • Straight Arm Row 3×25
  • Med Ball Slams 3×25 (Superset)
  • 2 min run on 10% Incline
  • One Arm Dumbbell Rows 3×25
  • Tuck Jumps 3×25 (Superset)
  • 45 min HIIT on Treadmill

Wednesday: Legs/Abs

  • Weighted Squats 4×25
  • Jump Squat on Bosu 4×25 (Superset)
  • 1 minute run at 75% of Output
  • Weighted Curtsy Lunge 4×25
  • Sumo Squat Jumps 4×25 (Superset)
  • 2 minute run at 75% of Output
  • Donkey Kicks on Smith Machine 4×25 Each Leg
  • Leap Frogs 4×25 (Superset)
  • 3 minute run at 75% of Output
  • Weighted Sumo Squats 4×25
  • Straight Leg Deadlifts 4×25 (Superset)
  • Weighted Abs on Decline Bench 3×25
  • Roman Chair Holding Dumbbell with Feet 3×25 (Superset)
  • 45 Minutes HIIT Cardio

Thursday: Chest

  • Dumbbell Press 3×20
  • Push Ups to Failure
  • High Knees 1×1 minute
  • Incline Dumbbell Press 3×20
  • Push Ups feet on ball to Failure
  • High Knees 1×1 minute
  • Cable Fly’s 3×20
  • Standing Calf Raises 4×20
  • Weighted Abs on Incline Bench 5×35
  • V Ups 5×35
  • Cardio: 30 Min

Friday: Total Body Circuit (High Tempo)

  • Squat to Shoulder Press 3×20
  • Deadlifts to Upright Rows 3×20 (Superset)
  • Alternating Dumbbell Curls 3×20
  • Skull Crushers 3×20 (Superset)
  • Reverse Lunge with a High Row 3×20
  • Assisted Pull Ups x 20 (Superset)
  • Curtsy Lunge on Box 3×20
  • Weighted Bridge on Ball 3×20 (Superset)
  • Assisted Pull-ups 3×20
  • Hack Squats 3×20 (Superset)
  • 45 minutes of Cardio

Saturday: Plyo/Sprints

  • Yard Sprints 4x50m (1 minute rest between)
  • Tuck Jumps 2×30
  • Jump Lunges 2×30
  • Yard Sprints 3x50m (1 minute rest between)
  • Jump Squats 2×30
  • High Knees 2×30
  • Yard Sprints 2x50m
  • Yard Sprint 1x100m
  • Cardio: 45 min

Sunday: Rest Day

  • Recovery

4

What is your diet like?

Full Diet:

  • Meal 1: 1/2 cup of Oats & 4 Egg Whites
  • Meal 2: 4 oz. Sweet Potato & 5 oz. Tuna
  • Meal 3: 1/2 cup Brown Rice & 4 oz. Chicken & 1 cup of Greens
  • Meal 4: 4 oz. Tilapia & 1/4 Avocado
  • Meal 5: 4 oz. Chicken & 1 cup of Veggies
  • Meal 6: 4 Egg Whites & 10 Almonds

5

When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?

HIIT cardio has been the most effective for me. It has helped me lean down while keeping a substantial amount of muscle.

6

Biceps training is the easiest thing to do in the gym, right? It doesn’t take much thought, supposedly, which is why you see dozens of guys throwing 10-pound plates on the bar and curling as if it’s about to be outlawed.

The Problem
They’re not getting any stronger. The guys standing there doing barbell curls with dimes on the bar today will be doing the same thing a year from now, because they haven’t figured out how to get stronger.

The six-step approach we’re offering here will jack up your bicep workouts immediately.

1. Grip Selection
A wide grip means more tension is placed on the short head of your biceps, while a narrow grip focuses on the long head. Work both by changing your grip with every set.

2. Get Bent
The moment arm or force production of a barbell curl is greatest between 80 and 100 degrees of elbow flexion. This is where you produce the greatest amount of torque. For more force production to handle heavier loads, keep your arms slightly bent at the start of each rep.

3. Stay Tucked
Don’t let your elbows rise up or allow your shoulders to assist with the lift. You’ll develop less force in your biceps.

4. Retract
Keep your shoulder blades pinched together and back to restrict the amount of tension placed on the AC joint in your shoulders.

5. Kill The Momentum
Lift and lower the barbell in a controlled manner without swinging it. This will help you recruit the optimal number of muscle fibers for both growth and strength development.

6. Switch It Up
Change your rep counts each week to challenge the different muscle fibers in your arms.

Perform between five to seven reps one week, then ramp it up to 10 to 20 the next.

Everyone wants to get ripped and peeled, but usually only a few ever make it. With the hot months on the horizon, everyone at the gym starts talking about their upcoming diet and how excited they are to get the ball rolling.

A common scene really, but it’s uncommon that someone’s efforts actually payoff the way they originally intended. Within a month most guys find themselves pretty frustrated. They are halfway done cutting at best, and feel like they are running through quicksand. As a competitive bodybuilder and contest coach, I get to hear my fair share of rants from these guys and it’s the same issues over and over. Landmines placed in the exact same spot as last year get stumbled upon the following year. In this article we will name a few of the most common traps that slow down, discourage, often leave cutting phases unfinished, and with results that leave so much more to be desired.

Bodyfat

“What’s your body fat dude?”
“What’s my body fat at?”
“So what bodyfat should I get to?”

This has got to go!!

Be it if you are trying to compete in a bodybuilding show, gain the notoriety from the opposite sex, or just look good for your upcoming vacation. Nobody is going to look at you, point and say “WOW! Check out his 5.62934% bodyfat!” Truth is you are either in shape or not, and aiming for bodyfat percentages is a waste of time, a distraction at best. When I start dieting for bodybuilding shows I will get that question quite a bit. “So what bodyfat are you going to cut down to?” Truth is I just keep losing weight until I have achieved the look I desire. While your goal might not be striated glutes, I am sure you have a look in mind. What if you get callipered at the 8% you were aiming for, but don’t quite look the way you anticipated? Do you end your diet there? Which brings me to my next point: bodyfat testing in general is pretty hit or miss, at least all the affordable ways are. This is why I never have my clients send me bodyfat percentages in their weekly reports to me. I want weight (which tells us how many lbs. of bodyfat we have lost) and pictures which of course you can’t argue with. You are either ripped or not, and it’s that simple. Yes numbers are sexy, and being able to quantify things is something people just like to do in general, but “ripped” you either are or you aren’t.

Let the mirror decide, not some plastic calipers. Much like the judges don’t get on stage and caliper myself and the other competitors, neither will that young lady at the beach. Shredded doesn’t need a number, it just is.

Carbs
Fat loss and carbs just don’t go together in the eyes of most people looking to get into shape. Dieting is synonymous with low carb, and even no carb diets. While you will have to cut out some of your carbs when you start your mission towards getting lean, usually the amounts that are cut are too extreme. I will get asked often “so how man carbs should I take when dieting?” The answer is simple: as many as you can while still losing fat at the desired pace. Key words there being as many as YOU can!

Carb intakes can be one of the biggest variables when it comes to dieting.

Two guys with similar training programs, ages, and weights will often require two different approaches nutritionally. Some people might need to diet on 100 grams of carbs, others might require double or triple that amount. One thing is for sure, most folks low ball their carbohydrate threshold and diet on too little food. When you diet on less carbs than you require you will see the following occur: You will come out flying at the start, and then it will drastically slow down, and from there you will likely have to apply more aggressive protocols. Either dropping food lower or adding ungodly amounts of cardio will be required. You will then plateau to where nothing seems to work and progress will simply stall. This is where most guys end up a few weeks into their diet plan.

Use as many carbs as you can, as they will help power through your workouts in the gym, keep your metabolic rate healthy so you can lose fat longer and more efficiently and not just make progress the first month.

Second Approaches
Well if it worked for him than it should work for everyone else? If it were only that simple, how wonderful would it be. It would be great because I would no longer need weeks and weeks to get a feel for a client’s metabolic rate. Actually it would not be a good thing because there would be a “secret diet’ that would be applicable to everyone, and in turn I would be out of business. All joking aside, there is enough variation from individual to individual that one diet plan simply can’t fit all.

So while it’s cool, and I am always intrigued as to what other guys have done to get into magnificent shape, my interest has nothing to do with me wanting to mimic their approaches. I enjoy reading these protocols because it confirms the notion that we are each very unique and a wide array of approaches do work.

Some guys need to get in 3-4 hard cardio sessions a week, and others can count the number of cardio sessions they do during their whole diet on one hand. Varying protein intakes, caloric requirements, training guidelines etc. However as intriguing as these protocols are, what most likely makes these athletes successful is trial and error over the year, attention to detail, and being consistent. Good genetics usually help too, which in most cases these individuals happen to possess. For these guys almost anything will work, and let’s be blunt for a moment, if you were genetically predisposed to being muscular and lean you would likely not be reading this article.

Hard work and persistence is going to really make a big difference, the other half will come from using more sound physiological approaches, and not some copy and paste job.

Abs & Cardio
I am talking about the guys that go to the gym and spend 30-40 minutes working out abs. Not only is it a waste of time, but there could be better things you can spend fluff time at the gym on. For example prehab work, foam rolling, as in all the things that will help keep you healthy and progressing for a long time. Quite often I will get curious inquiries from clients about dedicating a whole workout to abs in an effort to tighten up the mid-section. Which still leaves me in awe since we can’t spot target fat loss, and why would a bicep grow when you use it, but the torso muscle shrink and tighten up? Truth is a little goes a long way since abs are involved in some of the bigger movements we do in the gym, and also what works best for other muscles works best for your ab development. Weighted ab exercises in the 5-12 rep range, at about 3-4 sets twice a week is more than enough. Real definition and true sculpting is going to come via fat loss, but like any other muscle in your body it can be very well developed, but if you are not lean enough it won’t show.

As the old saying goes: “abs are made in the kitchen”, not on the 400th rep of some weird ab crunch variation that is synchronized to some horrible techno music.

Weight Training Gone Circuit Training
In the offseason I love to hit heavy squat sets. Most of my leg development has come from the 1-5 rep range. So come time to diet I like to squat in the 1-5 rep range. Yes you read that right, and I do keep about 90% of my strength when dieting. In reality, if you want to keep your hard earned muscle, you need to continue lifting heavy throughout your diet. If it’s getting harder to hit those heavy sets I would first abandon the higher rep work so that I can save my energy, and recovery for the heavier weights. Here is how I would adjust once I get into those nitty gritty portions of a diet. The last few weeks where things can get tough at times, as not only does the weight seem heavier, but energy can take a hit.

Offseason Chest Workout
DB Press (Flat)
145 X 5 (2 sets)
135 x 7 (2 sets)
125 x 10

On season/Dieting Phase Chest Workout
DB Press (Flat)
145 x 5(2 sets)
135 x 7

On the contrary what you will commonly see is guys abandon the lower rep work for the higher rep work. The main reasons behind this is one, they have a hard time holding on to strength because they attempt to keep volume at offseason levels. Next is the all too common they are trying to “condition” the muscles. The latter is still one of those bodybuilding fables that I wish would go away, but like fanny packs they are still a sight for sore eyes at gyms today.

Want your muscle to look its best when you diet? Then go with what got you there in the first place. Keep lifting heavy!

Too Much Diet Restriction
Everybody cheats on their diet, I have found this out first hand. I have had my share of slip-ups, but also from working with countless bodybuilders over the years. Yes even the most hardcore guys have their moments of weakness where they give in. However, so much of this can be avoided by not sweating the details that don’t matter and avoiding specific pitfalls.

Such as banning specific macronutrients (fat, carbs and protein) completely, as many popular diets have in recent years. Be it the 80’s with their extremely low fat approaches, or in recent years the ketogenic type diets. This is why I am a fan of moderate approaches, because if you swing the pendulum too hard one way, it’s going to push back just as hard.

For example the guy who decided to diet on 1,000 less calories than he required, and then binges out of control on the 3rd week of his diet. Or perhaps a diet were you must eat 8 meals a day to keep the metabolism fast (which is more fitness folklore) and one day misses a meal and loses his mind. You’ll have a hard time dieting in the real world where you can’t always eat every 90-120 minutes. Trying to do so is an unnecessary stressor. When designing a diet for someone, I never hand them an envelope labeled “the diet” as for the numerous reasons discussed above it just doesn’t work that way. On the contrary, often we have to discuss what their real world looks like. If they have foods that lead to binges we get rid of those right away, if they have special occasions coming up were food will be eaten we adjust. If they are a busy mom and eating six times a day is too much, well then we will only eat three times a day.

Final Words
The most perfect diet will not work if the person cannot adhere to the details that actually matter. A diet has to make sense physiologically and psychologically. Diets that leave both variables unaccounted for are usually setting up people for failure, rather than helping them reach their full potential.

Height: 5’4” – 160cm
Weight: 117lbs. – 53 kg.

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

I’ve been pretty athletic my whole life. When I was younger I participated in a variety of sports including Swimming, Ballet and Gymnastics. Even in High School I was a part of the Track & Field Team and also Inline Speed Skating Team. It was always my dream to one day become an athlete. While I was in the Inline Skating Team, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Medellin, Colombia as part of Puerto Rico’s national team. Representing my country was one of the best experiences ever. Fitness had always been a great outlet to the stress in my life during my younger years. I was always trying to keep my mind and body active to prevent me from overthinking about my problems at home. Growing up wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, sometimes at home it felt like I was entering a battlefield.

My father had a very strong temper back in the day due to his bipolar disorder and this resulted in my parents having really bad fights.

My parents then decided to divorce which was hard to deal with at the time but thank God later he learned to deal with his temper and began going to church on a weekly basis. He became a changed man after that. Things seemed to be getting better in my life for once until disaster struck and we received the unexpected news that my father had cancer and only a short time to live. A couple months passed and my brother in law suddenly died in a car accident which hit all of us really hard. Then five months later my father passed away in my arms over Christmas Holidays, a moment that broke my heart and I fell into a big depression. I had stopped going to the gym and also lost interest in dieting. A year after my father’s death on Thanksgiving Day a cousin of mine was accidentally killed, I kept moving on trying to accept it all and stay strong for my family’s sake. Finally one day I got accepted by one of the top Modelling agencies “Next” in Miami. I flew over to Miami and stayed with some family. The plan was to find a way to move to Miami, find a job and pursue my dream of working as a fitness model but God’s plan was a different one.

Two weeks into Miami and my life took another hit perhaps the biggest one of them all.

My younger brother the one I called “my twin” was in a motorcycle accident. Someone passed a stop sign, hit him and drove away. I flew the next day back to Puerto Rico, he was never able to open his eyes or speak to me again. A week went by and he passed away and all I remembered were his last words before I flew to Miami “Don’t go, take me with you”. After that I experienced the worst abyss my soul had felt and deep sense of loneliness. He was more than my brother; he was like a son and a friend all at once. I went into shock for a couple weeks I didn’t even want to speak. The words just wouldn’t come out of my mouth I was like a zombie. I lost my soul, my strength and my will power.

Through the depression I had gained weight and I didn’t even want to go out just so I could avoid friends from seeing me like that.

Thanks to the help and love of my family, friends and God little by little I started to regain my strength. I remember crying one day while I still couldn’t speak and a fitness commercial came on TV and I stared and just pointed to the TV and I thought to myself I want to be like that. Although it was not just the physique I was after it was more like I wanted to add meaning back to my life and I remembered working out made me feel better. It was time to stop feeling sorry for myself. I slowly started picking up the pieces and going to the gym again and pushing myself hard. I liked how my body was shaping up so I decided to give competing a try. I joined an online coaching team to help me for the show I had chosen and to my surprise I placed second at my first NPC Bikini show and right there I was hooked and haven’t stopped since then. I found the perfect platform to engage with my inner self again and combine my two favorite things sports and modelling in a different way with the most gratifying bonus; getting to touch people’s lives along the way. Bodybuilding changed my life and gave me a purpose again.

There’s always something new to learn, new experiences to share and the chance to inspire people and really make a difference in this world!

1

Where does your motivation come from?

My motivation comes from my desire to reach my goals and see how far I can push past my limits. It also comes from my family since they are the reason I breathe and it’s also one of my goals to be able to help them out more. My online followers are also a source of where my motivation comes from. The lives I get to touch on a daily basis by sharing my emotions and experiences is great. Having the opportunity to change someone’s life for the better makes me very happy.

You decide what direction you want your life and future to take! Don’t let negativity and/or the circumstances around you dictate who you are and who you will become. It’s your life, choose wisely!

4

What workout routine has worked best for you?

I love to work in circuits (supersets, tri-sets and giant sets) when I lift because it keeps my heart rate up through the workout and it’s great when you’re pressed for time. I also love to do drop-sets on any muscle group I need to emphasize.

Full Routine:

Monday – Legs/Abs

  • Smith Machine Squats 5 x 20 (superset)
  • Diagonal Walking Lunges 5 x 20
  • Cable Side Squats (each leg) 3 x 20 (superset)
  • 1 min (Jump rope, jog in place, etc.)
  • Leg Extensions 5 x 20 (superset)
  • Shoulder Width Leg Press 5 x 15
  • Medicine Ball Pikes 3 x 20 (superset)
  • Incline Bench Crunches 3 x 15
  • 1 min Plank

Tuesday – Shoulders/Triceps

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 x 10 (superset)
  • Military Press 4 x 10
  • Rear Cable Fly’s 4 x 10 (superset)
  • Arnold Press 3 x 8
  • Lateral Cable Fly’s 3 x 8 (superset)
  • Dumbbell Kickbacks 3 x 10
  • Cable Rope Overhead Triceps Extension 3 x 15 (superset)
  • Push ups Close Grip 3 x 10

Wednesday – Legs

  • Leg Curls 5 x 15 (superset)
  • 1 min weighted Step Ups on bench
  • Stiff Leg Deadlifts 5 x 12 (superset)
  • Lunges (each leg) 5 x 12
  • Leg Press 4 x 10 (superset)
  • Donkey Calf Raises 4 x 15

Thursday – Back/Biceps/Abs

  • Wide Grip Pull Ups 4 x 8 (superset)
  • Cable Row Machine 4 x 8
  • Bent Over Cable Rows 4 x 12 (superset)
  • Lat Pull Downs 4 x 12
  • Medicine Ball Hyper Extensions 5 x 15 (superset)
  • Good Mornings 5 x 15
  • Alternating Seated Dumbbell Curls 4 x 8 (superset)
  • EZ Barbell Curls 4 x 12
  • Cable Curls 4 x 10 (superset)
  • Hanging Leg Raises 3 x 15
  • Inclined Russian Twists 3 x 15 (superset)
  • Crunches 3 x 15

Friday – Chest/Shoulder/Glutes

  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 x 12 (superset)
  • Standing Cable Fly’s 4 x 12
  • Lateral Raises 8 x 8 (superset)
  • Straight Leg Cable Kickbacks 4 x 15
  • Cross Back Lunges 4 x 12 (superset)
  • Smith Machine Lunges 5 x 15
  • Hip Bridges 4 x 12 (superset)
  • Butt Blaster Machine 4 x 12

Saturday – Rest Day

  • Recovery

Sunday – Cardio

  • 45 mins cardio session

6

If you had to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?

  1. Stiff Leg Deadlifts – They are great for tightening the back of my leg and works great on the glute/hamstring tie in. I also love the burn I get from it every time.
  2. Arnold Press – It has helped me gain some decent size on my deltoids. Truly a great compound exercise.
  3. Lunges – This exercise can be performed anywhere and has also been a huge help in getting my quads and hamstrings in shape.

5

What is your diet like?

Daily Diet:

  • Meal 1: 4 Egg Whites, 1 Egg, 1/2 cup of Oats, Mixed Berries, Flaxseed Oil & Asparagus
  • Meal 2: 4 oz. Salmon, Broccoli & Sweet Potato
  • Meal 3: Tuna, 1/3 cup of Brown Rice, Spinach & Grapefruit
  • Meal 4: 4 oz. Chicken, Steam Vegetables & Avocado
  • Meal 5: Egg Whites, Ground Beef Scramble, Brussels Sprouts & Olive Oil
  • Meal 6: 4 oz. White Fish, Steak, Asparagus, mixed Salad & Baby Carrots

8

When trying to cut down do you prefer to use HIIT or just normal cardio?

I use a combination of both. Some days I will do LIIS cardio (Low Intensity Steady State) and others I’ll do HIIT sprints (High Intensity Interval Training). But I prefer HIIT sprints because I find them more challenging and fun!

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