Tag Archives: bodybuilders

Deadly Bodybuilding Myths You Don’t Know

5 May

There are so many unproven bodybuilding myths that are still around us. Would you believe me if I said you are being scammed out of 90% of the muscle growth you should be getting because you have been mislead and misinformed by one or all of these deadly bodybuilding myths. Here are the first three of six bodybuilding myths that must be dispelled!

bodybuilding myths

Bodybuilding Myth #1

Train like a bodybuilder to become a bodybuilder.

This is the message screamed by the bodybuilding world. While this mantra may have inspired millions via popular bodybuilding magazines, it has also mislead millions by re-printing and rehashing irresponsible training nonsense that will wreak havoc on your body and make you just another one of the herd.

Imitating the training of the ‘champion’ bodybuilder is one of the most costly frauds in the exercise world because the ‘instruction’ from elite bodybuilders has no practical relevance for average people like you and me who are without gifted genetic potential and are drug-free.

The traditional 5-7 day splits, 5 exercises per muscle, 24 set chest routine is training suicide for the average trainee not spending a couple thousand dollars a week on special ‘vitamins’. Not only are these magazines useless but they will cause injuries, over-training, and illness. The books and magazines will not tell you that the drugs and genetics were responsible for curing their problem of being a hard gainer. Supplements, ‘better training’, and more dedication are their ‘secrets’ so you are told.

Bodybuilding Myth #2

Train for the ‘holy’ pump.

The ‘muscle pump‘ is described as putting your muscles under an extended period of constant tension. As your muscles stretch and contract they become gorged with blood which makes them feel tighter and fuller.

Getting a muscle pump is not necessarily what causes the muscle to grow – doing 100 reps with a light rep will create a huge pump – but does this make a muscle grow? Of course not! Distance runners get a pump in their legs when they sprint uphill. Do they get big muscles? Heck no!

Most bodybuilders swear by the ‘pump‘ and preach that you are shuttling more nutrients into the muscle – but is that what is really happening? Sure it feels great, like Arnold says in the unforgettable scene in Pumping Iron, but all that is occurring is a ‘back-up’ of blood. The blood is ‘stuck’ inside the muscle, which creates that worshiped tight and full look.

The blood that’s backed up into the muscle has hit a dead end and has nowhere to go. If you had fresh new blood that would be great, but unfortunately you just have old, stale blood getting ready for a snooze. That will not help you gain weight or build muscle mass!

The pump that is built up by the blood in your muscles will usually occur after you repeat set after set, which results in the famous “burning” sensation known as lactic acid. Lactic acid forms in the absence of oxygen. Lactic acid is a WASTE product and does nothing to build muscle weight.

Now if you are lifting extremely heavy weights and achieving a pump then this is a very good indication that you are making the muscle fibers work fully. I would only use the pump as an indicator to reveal how well you are ‘targeting’ the working muscle. Not as you guide to mark your success.

Bodybuilding Myth #3

You MUST train until failure.

Training to ‘failure‘ has probably received more debate, misinterpretation, and improper logic resulting in too much wasted effort. Going to failure– going to the point in a set where you are physically incapable of going just one more rep, hence you ‘fail’ – is preached as the most promised way to make continuous muscle gains. Interestingly, there is no activity outside the gym that demonstrates this ‘going to failure’ principle is as critical as bodybuilders have employed.

Growing up as a long distance runner I often stood by and watched the sprinters compete, and was astonished by their tremendous quadriceps and hamstring muscle. Yet I never remember watching any sprinter on my team train until failure, nor do I recall them ever sprinting through the finish line and collapsing. Yet they demonstrated a greater amount of muscular work in less time each time they practiced and raced.

Also, I will never forget the phenomenal muscularity of the construction workers I used to work with when I laid bricks and framed houses. Yet I never recall them carrying timber around the yard until they could not pick up one more 2 x 4. Nor do I remember the bricklayers moving the bricks around until they could not move them anymore. Both of these groups had incredible muscularity and were able to stimulate muscle growth without going to failure. So why do so many command that ‘failure’ is an absolute law for stimulating muscle growth when much evidence shows otherwise?

Improving your body’s sensitivity to the cold does not require you to go outside in the middle of winter with no clothes on prior to passing out. If you want to improve your tan, it isn’t necessary to subject your skin to the sun prior to the moment of blistering. If you want to improve your ability to hold your breath under water, do you need to go to the point just prior to losing consciousness?

Since your body’s primary function in life is to survive it will adapt only to the point where your body has sufficient defense to whatever element it is exposed. Similarly, when lifting weights your body will adapt to the intensity you have exposed it to over time while maintaining your recovery resources. As you can see, muscle growth stimulation operates on the same principle and does not require over killing your muscles’ absolute limit.

Bodybuilding Myth #4

Low reps are for size and high reps are for cutting.

Your muscles do not have much personality – they are either growing, shrinking or staying the same.

If you want your muscle to grow then gradually force your muscles to do more work and outperform your last workout’s performance. If you are content with the size of your muscles right now then this is easy – just keep doing what you are doing. And to make the muscle smaller, this is even easier – simply do not train it.

You can not pick certain exercises to get a muscle ‘cut‘ or make a muscle ‘huge‘ – this theory holds no water. Muscle ‘cuts’ are a reflection of two criteria on the body: pure muscle size and low levels of body fat (in the single digits). So if you want to build massive muscles get ready to apply the fundamental principle of progressive overload. And if you wish to get ‘cut’ and ‘ripped’ be prepared to drop your body fat levels into the single digits.

Next time you hear someone say, “I just lift light weights to get toned,” then pat them on the back and point them in the direction of the cardio room as a better option. Light weights do not build muscle, period. They will burn calories and that’s all. You’re better off maximizing your time by burning calories running or doing jumping jacks. And if you see someone with the goal to get bigger and they are a cardio junkie – grab their hand and lead them to the heavy weights.

Bodybuilding Myth #5

Monday is chest day, Tuesday is Leg day, Wednesday is Back day…

Splitting up a routine is preached like ‘gospel‘ and is rarely on trial or questioned as the way to structure a muscle building routine.

And sure, splitting up a routine is fine and has some benefits BUT it is also the fastest way to over-train and burn out. Remember that you do not get stronger in the gym – you get stronger and bigger when you go home, rest, sleep, eat and FULLY recover.

To SUPERCOMPENSATE from your previous workout your muscles are not the only things that must experience a full recovery. Do not neglect the fact that you are taxing and depleting your central nervous system, hormonal system, and immune system – systems that, in fact, take longer than your muscles to recover.

Just because your muscles say, “OK we feel fine, let’s train again,” you must still experience a FULL recovery prior to attempting to stimulate your muscles again for more muscle growth.

Consider this practical example. What is the best way to cure a sickness? By taking an entire bottle of aspirin in one sitting? Or taking smaller dosages at more frequent intervals? I hope you agreed with the second solution. So what is the best way to build muscle? Taking one huge dosage per muscle group per week? Or taking smaller and more frequent dosages on a muscle group?

Bodybuilding Myth #6

Shock’ your muscle and keep them ‘guessing.’

This has got to be one of the silliest and most misleading statements ever made (no hard feelings because in theory it can be convincing). Interestingly, the people who used to give me this advice must have been ‘shocking‘ or ‘tricking’ their muscles the wrong way because they had no muscle mass on their bodies to back up that statement.

If you think about this myth long enough you might start to laugh. Do you think you can really change your exercises and training routine to ‘surprise‘ your body and get a different reaction out of them?

Your muscles do not have outside eyes that reward you with new muscle growth if you ‘confuse’ them. Your muscles understand MOVEMENT and that’s all – push, pull, curl, extend, contract or release – that’s it. You can be lifting bags of sand or dead lifting 400 pounds and the action on your back is the same – your knees bend and your trunk flexes. So where is the shock? Why would your back muscles say, “Holy Macaroni Batman, you’re lifting with an Olympic bar and not sand bags anymore. Better pack on some muscle.”

Or maybe you can switch up the order of your routine by hitting a weak body part twice in the week. If you only train your arms once in the week and then ‘strategically’ throw arms in twice one week they will be ‘confused’ and ‘shocked’ into growing. Please! Your muscles operate on laws of science, not on laws of trickery.

Forget trying to shock, confuse, trick or ‘keep the muscle guessing.’ The only thing that will be shocked and confused is the person messing around with this theory who has no clue why their body has not changed in a month since they started this magic show.

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Bodybuilding in Venice Beach, CA

22 Jan

Venice, California is known for being a trendsetting locale, and bodybuilding is certainly one of its most popular draws. It is why Venice is often referred to as Muscle Beach. It is said that California Governor (and former actor) Arnold Schwarzenegger heightened the interest in pumping iron when he relocated from Europe. Not only did he train at the world famous Gold’s Gym in Venice, it was the site of the popular cult film, Pumping Iron, which introduced Schwarzenegger to the movie-going public. Today, Gold’s Gym has expanded with branches in cities across the country, and Muscle Beach (which serious bodybuilders believe go hand in hand) is an attraction that still draws thousands of spectators yearly.

Bodybuilding in Venice Beach

Muscle Beach

The history of Muscle Beach is long and illustrious. It dates back to the 1930’s when thousands used to gather and watch the gymnastics performed by Muscle Beach regulars, stuntmen, circus performers, and athletes. It was also a spot where celebrities, such as Kirk Douglas, Clark Gable, Jayne Mansfield, Jane Russell, and Mae West liked to hang out. Body builders like Vic Tanney and Joe Gold (founder of Gold’s Gym and World Gym) used the gym’s resources to sculpt their bodies and stay fit. It was also home to famous body builders like Jack LaLanne and Steve “Hercules” Reeves. It even inspired the popular 1964 film classic, Muscle Beach Party, starring teen idols, Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.

Clearly, Muscle Beach (also referred to as “The Pen”) has never lost its allure over the decades, but it has upgraded and is now considered one of the most popular attractions along the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Nowadays, you will find a gated, fully restored outdoor gym that features chin and parallel bars, rings, small jungle gyms for kids, and a padded safe gymnastics area for tumbling. There’s also the bleachers where hundreds of spectators can sit and observe the body builders pump iron (Sundays are the best day) or watch the contests that are held regularly. Further, in September of 2007 the Walk of Fame was established. Twenty three bodybuilder notables (such as Rachel McLish, the first woman Ms. Olympia and Mickey Hargitay, 1955 Mr. Universe and father of Law and Order’s Mariska Hargitay), were inducted. To honor them, each was given a bronze plaque mounted on the outside of the weight pen. New inductees are added during the yearly May ceremony.

Gold’s Gym

Gold’s Gym in Venice (established in 1964) is considered the Mecca of Bodybuilding. This is where it all began. It is considered the prime spot to pump some serious iron. As Tyler Durden, competitive bodybuilder and member of the NPC (National Physics Committee) points out: “For those of us who are serious and compete, this is a lifestyle. You eat right, you don’t drink or smoke, and you get plenty of rest. If you’re not serious about this, someone else will come along that is.” Concurs 51 year old body builder, Ron King: “It takes discipline and it’s healthy. That’s what matters.”

This world-renowned gym has turned out countless champion bodybuilders. Besides 47,000 square feet of Nautilus machines and free weights, the walls are lined with floor to ceiling mirrors. At any given time, you’ll see serious bodybuilders pumping iron to a rock and roll beat. Located at 360 Hampton Drive (three streets inland from the beach), Gold’s Gym opens daily at 5 a.m. and stays open until midnight. On weekends it’s open from 4 a.m. until midnight.

Upcoming Events

Late spring and summer are the best times of the year to catch some fun bodybuilding events:

  • The Muscle Beach International Classic on May 25-26.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Muscle Beach held on July 4th. This offers novice and open divisions for men and women bodybuilding and figure.
  • Muscle Beach Midsummer’s-Eve Fitness Pageant. There will be two categories: Figure Competitors and Bikini Models.
  • The Muscle Beach Championship, held on September 1st.
  • Body Building and Figure Demonstration held on Sundays from 2-4 on May 18th, June 29th, July 6th, and August 31st. It’s free to the public. Remember, huge crowds are expected to attend these events so prepare to arrive at the beach early.

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Oatmeal For Your Health

25 Mar

If you cook rolled oats in boiling water, with a bit of raw butter perhaps, it’s very good for you. Even those who have a low carb tolerance, like Jon, can consume oats when soaked overnight prior to boiling the next day. This deactivates the enzyme inhibitors that cause digestion problems.

Back to heart health for a moment: one study focused on millers, individuals who mill oats, and found that those who ate the most of their own product had the least amount of heart disease. Even for those who did not consume as much as the other millers, all of them had less heart disease than the general population.

oatmeal with fruits

This is a staggering find, and one you should consider when thinking to yourself, “What should I have for breakfast today?” Just think what adding blueberries and walnuts would do for you! And, for those of us into bodybuilding and protein, including a scoop of high-quality whey (or soy if you’re a vegan or vegetarian) protein creates the ideal “quick and healthy” meal.

Oatmeal is also reasonably high in protein and all the B vitamins. And, if you eat oatmeal with a bit of milk (or the protein mentioned earlier), you’ll get enough protein to substitute for a meal consisting of ham and eggs.

Clenbuterol Might Prevent Cancer

21 Nov

Clenbuterol is used to treat asth­ma and is very popular with body­builders because it increases muscle growth and cuts fat. It is a beta-2 agonist, which means that it has effects similar to the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline. It is a popular drug with bodybuilders because it increases muscle mass, cuts fat and boosts energy levels. It builds muscle by promoting specific signaling path­ways inside the cells that activate protein synthesis and modifies mus­cle protein breakdown, remodeling, and repair. It decreases body fat by binding with the adrenaline receptors in fat cells, which promotes fat break­down and release.

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Italian researchers found that clenbuterol reacts with nitrites in the gut and forms com­pounds that could cause cancer. Also, studies in humans and animals showed that clenbuterol caused severe cardiovascular side effects, including heart failure. Clenbuterol builds muscle, but the side effects are potentially dangerous, so bodybuilders should use it with care. However the studies regarding the role of clenbuterol in preventing several forms of cancer are still at incipient level and will be widely researches in the next years.

Caffeine Increases Your Testosterone Levels

21 Oct

Many bodybuilders take caffeine pills or energy beverages containing caffeine (e.g., coffee or Red Bull) to increase training intensity. Caffeine is a central nervous stimulant used to prevent fatigue and promote mental alertness. Most studies show that caffeine does not increase muscle strength or power, but reduces the perception of fatigue.


New Zealand researchers found that caffeine increased testos­terone levels during training, with higher doses of caffeine producing higher blood levels of testosterone. Increased testosterone levels make it easier to gain muscle mass and strength with training. The study also showed that caffeine increased cortisol— a catabolic hormone linked to protein breakdown, which might nullify caffeine’s beneficial effects on testosterone. Caffeine provides an energy boost to train harder and might also promote training gains by increasing testos­terone levels.

Estimating Bodyfat Percentage

27 Sep

belly fat

There are a number of methods of estimating bodyfat percentage ranging from lo-tech to high-tech and accurate to horribly inaccurate. Which you use depends on your goals and what you have access to. I won’t bore you listing all of them, rather I’ll focus on which ones I think are worth pursuing in this specific case.

According to the information presented in the book A Guide to Flexible Dieting by Lyle McDonald, relatively lean individuals, athletes or bodybuilders, should either know what their bodyfat percentage is or have some reasonable method of estimating it. Calipers would be one of  preferred method.

Another possible method, although fraught with potential problems are the bioelectrical impedance bodyfat scales . The problem is that these devices are drastically affected by hydration, a large glass of water or a big piss can alter the number. But it is doubtful they are that accurate but assuming you control for hydration, they can at least give you a starting point and some ability to track relative changes. If you’re not that lean and not currently very active, there’s a fairly easy way to get a rough estimate of your bodyfat percentage and that is by using something called the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is supposed to be a measure of fatness but it’s really not, what it does is relate height and weight with certain BMI ranges (supposedly) being associated with health or not. The problem with BMI is that it doesn’t factor bodyfat percentage into account.

For example we have two individuals who are 6 feet tall and weigh 200 lbs.. But say one is an athlete and has 10% bodyfat and the other is not and has 30% bodyfat. They will have the same BMI value but it’s fairly clear (it should be anyhow) that they are not going to be in the same boat in terms of health risk or anything else. Basically, BMI makes no distinction between fat mass and LBM and since active individuals typically have more LBM (and hence less fat) at any given bodyweight, BMI is not accurate for them.However, recent research allows us to use BMI to get a rough idea of bodyfat percentage.

Getting Bigger!

4 Jul
These are the bodybuilder’s goals:
– Incredible muscular size;
– Awesome arms and chest;
– Massive thighs;
– Bigger, stronger body parts.
bodybuilders muscles

Few bodybuilders, however, reach their goals. Most fall short because they stray from the basics. In their quest for massive muscles, they blitz and bomb, rotate the split, and amino acid their bodies into a deep state of over-training. They train too much, load their bodies with excessive protein, and rest too little.

The vast majority of bodybuilders fail to get the results that they desperately desire. In short, they do not get bigger!

Contra-lateral training involves working the right side of your upper body and the left side of your lower body on one day, and the left side of your upper body and right lower body on the next day. More will be said about this new breakthrough later, but the results are amazing.

In just about every bodybuilding gym you visit throughout the United States – or the world for that matter – trainees perform their exercises in a sloppy, inefficient manner. They cheat on the lifting and neglect the lowering. In the process they arch their backs, move their elbows, dip their shoulders, bounce the bar off their chests, and do dozens of little things that make the exercises easier.

In actuality, they should be doing little things to make the exercises harder. Harder exercises, not easier, is what stimulates muscular growth.

In gyms across the country bodybuilders spend hours a day training in styles which do little to permit growth. In fact, many of their techniques actually produce losses in size and strength.

What is needed is a return to the basics, the basics of what stimulates a muscle to grow and how to follow through with the growth.

What Makes A Muscle Grow

The scientific term of muscular growth is hypertrophy. Its inverse, called atrophy, refers to the breakdown of muscle tissue from neglect or lack of use. Atrophy involves the metabolic breakdown of muscle into its constituent compounds, which are then eliminated by the bloodstream.

Hypertrophy, or muscular growth, occurs as a result of increased demands placed on the muscle. The signal for growth is clearly intense overload. When a muscle is forced with high-intensity requirements, it responds with a protective increase in size and strength.

A number of changes associated with hypertrophy explain increased muscular size and strength:
– The actin and particularly the myosin protein filaments enlarge.
– The number of myofibrils increases.
– The number of blood capillaries within the fiber may become more numerous.
– The amount of connective tissue within the muscle may thicken.

Some or all of these changes within a muscle must take place at the cellular level. Three factors govern cellular stimulation. First, the targeted muscle must be stimulated to grow through proper exercise. Second, the muscle must be permitted to grow with adequate rest. Third, the muscle must be supplied with the necessary nutrients to grow.

Exercise, rest, and nutrients – in that order – are the key requirements for muscular growth. The difficult part is getting the just right balance, without having too little or too much of any factor.

Intensity: Often The Ignored Factor

“If you’ve never vomited from a set of barbell curls,” says Arthur Jones, the inventor of Nautilus equipment, “then you don’t know the meaning of intense exercise.”

Keith Whitley summed it up best in a comment he made to Betsy Hoffmann, a champion in women’s bodybuilding.

“Is that high-intensity training really working?” Betsy asked Keith. Keith was halfway through the 42-day program and had already packed on over 20 pounds.

“I’ll say it’s working,” replied Keith. “It’s the hardest training I’ve ever done. Most people in the gym can’t push themselves to the level that Dr. Darden pushes me. But that’s the secret: getting those last one or two repetitions, and Doc makes sure I do them.”

Keith is correct. Those last repetitions are the most important.

The first several repetitions in a set are simply preparation, a warm-up, for those last repetitions. For maximum growth stimulation, you must always attempt the momentarily impossible.

If you can do another repetition, do it. And if you complete it, try one more. Do not stop until additional upward movement is impossible. When no upward movement is possible, keep pushing and breathing for another 15 seconds. Maybe, just maybe, the weight will move upward a direction of an inch.

Evidently, growth stimulation is similar to turning on an electric light. A flick of the switch turns on the light immediately, not gradually. But it takes working through those last, painful repetitions to finally get to the switch. And even then you may fall to flick if you don’t attempt – for 15 seconds – the momentarily impossible.

Once the witch is turned on and growth is activated, then more sets are not necessary. More sets can even be detrimental because they use up your valuable recovery ability.

So don’t avoid the last repetitions in your exercise. Look forward to the increased intensity, endure the pain, and reap the results.

It’s impossible to build quality muscle without hard work. Too many bodybuilders are not willing to work hard enough to get maximum muscle size. Don’t be one of them.

Decide now that exercising intensely is the best way to get bigger.

Progression: Keep It Simple

Continual muscular growth depends on progress being made at each workout. Progress is best measured by a workout-by-workout increase in the weight used, or the number of repetitions performed, on each exercise.

The rule to remember is as follows: Perform between 4 and 8 repetitions of each exercise. Any time you can do 8 or more repetitions in proper form, increase the resistance by 5 percent at the next workout.

Always try to do at least one more repetition per exercise today than you did in the same exercise during the previous workout. And always use as much weight as possible, as much weight as possible in good form.

Good Form: Slower Is Better

Slamming, banging, and bouncing the weights, as opposed to smooth, slow lifting and lowering, seems to be the choice of most trainees. Once bad form is established, it’s difficult to change. But change you must, especially if you want maximum growth stimulation.

Good form requires a very slow speed of lifting and a smooth lowering. No sudden, quick, or explosive movements are permitted. The idea is to keep your targeted muscles overloaded throughout the entire set.

Effective overload best occurs when the positive or lifting phase of each repetition is performed in 10 seconds. The negative or lowering phase is done in 5 seconds.

– 10 seconds up;
– 5 seconds down.

In other words, each repetition should take at least 15 seconds.

Such a style of training is called super slow.

Super-slow training is the most efficient way to stimulate your muscles to grow larger and stronger. it’s the best way to get bigger.

Why is super-slow training better than faster styles of lifting? Because it eliminates most of the momentum from each repetition. Eliminating the momentum better isolates the involved muscles and makes the exercise harder.

Remember, the harder and the more targeted the exercise is, the better.

Duration: Harder And Briefer

Once the intensity of your exercise is high and your form is slow and smooth, then the length of your workouts must be brief. Rarely do I have any of my trainees perform more than 16 total exercises in any workout. One set, and one set only, is usually the rule. Once again, that one set is carried to absolute momentary muscular failure, until no upward movement is possible.

If your workouts, from start to finish, are taking longer than one hour to complete, then you are not training hard enough ot you are taking too much time between exercises. None of the workouts take longer than one hour to finish. In fact, once you get the hang of each one, you should be able to complete it in 45 minutes or less.

The idea is to get in and out of the gym effectively and efficiently. Doing so supplies your body with maximum growth stimulation and maximum recovery ability.

Summarizing The Basics

The basics information that you will need for getting bigger from exercise can be summarized as follows:
– Continue doing each exercise until no upward movement is possible. A final effort of holding the weight stationary for another 15 seconds increases the intensity.
– Work between 4 and 8 repetitions. When 8 or more repetitions are done in good form, add 5 percent more resistance at the next workout.
– Perform each repetition in the super-slow style. Lift the weight slowly in 10 seconds. Lower the weight smoothly in 5 seconds.
– Keep your workouts brief. One set of 16 or fewer exercises applies in most situations.