Building a strong, shredded, athletic body is brutally hard work. It’s much easier to pack it in, follow the crowd and be average, weak, and un-athletic. The sad part is most people are fine with average, until finally, they snap. They get sick of it and go all in, making a change for the better.
If you want to be average do the things listed below. Want to be a better, happier version of yourself? Avoid these things like deadlifts at Planet Fitness and start making some real headway in the gym.
Let’s get to it.
Don’t lift heavy weights. You’re not training to be a strongman anyways. Besides, the pump is the only way a muscle grows.
Change your routine every week. Muscle confusion bro’!
Don’t Track progress. Besides, you’re changing workouts every week to do that “muscle confusion thing.” Body fat percentage, tracking strength gains, and analyzing your training is too hard anyways.
Focus on Curls, lateral raises, and calves. Cuz they’re my weak points that need bringing up. Sorry junior, you’re going to stay “junior” if you don’t seriously focus on strength in major compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, and chin-ups.
Compare yourself to everyone else. if you’re not first you’re last, right?
Don’t Eat Fruits and Vegetables. There’s not enough calories to support training. Besides, vitamins and minerals aren’t vital for chemical reactions that control every physiological process in the body.
Neglect Sleep. “ I didn’t sleep well” is a great excuse for every lackluster workout, meeting, or day. Besides, why sleep when you get to drink 67 Red Bulls, a few pre-workouts and be ready to take on the world? Nonsense, hack your sleep and get back on track.
Circuit Everything! supersets and giant sets are more time efficient, but you need rest to drive up strength levels and improve performance.
Never sprint, cut, jump, throw or crawl. You’re not training for sports these skills aren’t important anymore.
Warm-Up? Nah bro I’m hawt. Staying healthy, maximizing training performance, and preparing the body for a long and prosperous training career isn’t important. #YOLO
Focus on bulking… all day everyday! You need a caloric surplus to gain muscle and plenty of nutrients to support training, but your body needs a break. Try cycling calories and carbohydrates to support your training needs. Try this.
Rely On Supplements for all your nutritional gains. Science is mixed at best for most supplements. Plus, pills and powders are more convenient.
Here’s a tip… eat real, high-quality food. If you want to see what works check out the Examine Supplement Guide for no-B.S. research driven information.
GO BEASTMODE EVERYDAY. Okay, you need to work hard, but turn it down every now and then. Seriously, chill out, take a deload week and let your body heal. Without recovery there is no adaptation. With no adaptation there is no growth. Train, recover, adapt=> Strong, shredded, and athletic.
Yea, this is a sarcastic list, but it serves as a reminder for those trying to build a strong, shredded, and athletic body. Take advantage of the day and do something to build your dreams.
High Frequency Training is a hotly debated topic.
Some “experts” say you should demolish every muscle once per week, blitzing the body part split. Others say focus on an upper-lower or total body split because training major movement patterns more frequently will stimulate faster gains in strength and size.
I’m with High Frequency Training. Here’s Why.
Training Frequency the number of sessions performed per unit of time, is the most important training variable for building size, strength, and skill mastery for beginners.
For those looking to gain muscle and strength frequent training is the premier and logical choice for the fastest gains. Unfortunately, most people still follow bodybuilding body-part split routines popularized in every fitness magazine over the last three decades. These routines aren’t ideal for anyone except high-level bodybuilders.
Consider the Following:
If you’re learning a new language is it best to study for five hours one day per week, or 45 minutes seven days per week?
Would you be stronger performing squats in 52 workouts per year or 104?
I would go with 45 minutes per day, seven days per week and 104 workouts without a doubt.
Consistent exposure to stimuli is vital for learning new things and movement patterns.
The Research on High Frequency Training
In 2000 the study Comparison of 1 Day and 3 Days Per Week of Equal-Volume Resistance Training in Experienced Subjects 25 experienced participants were randomly separated into training groups. Group one performed one day per week of strength training with three sets to failure, with rep ranges moving from three to ten reps per set.
Group two performed workouts three days per week with one set to failure per day, while working in the same rep ranges. Volume was kept the exact same, yet group two had greater increases in both lean body mass and improved one-rep max strength. With total volume held constant, spreading the training frequency to three doses per week produced superior results in both strength and muscular hypertrophy.
In a 1997 study titled Isometric torso rotation strength: effect of training frequency on its development 33 men and 25 women were tested for rotational strength before and after 12 weeks of training. Groups were split into training groups that exercises one, two, or three times per week.
Although there were not major differences between groups training two or three times per week, strength was significantly increased compared to the one time per week training group. Once again, a higher frequency than one time per week was shown to improve strength gains.
In a 2010 study titled Anabolic processes in human skeletal muscle: restoring the identities of growth Hormone and Testosterone it was found that repeated phases of net protein balance, which can be generated in response to repeated bouts of resistance exercise and protein ingestion, underpins muscle hypertrophy.
This shows that frequent exposure to training increases protein synthesis at the cellular level, leading to greater amounts of muscle growth.
High Frequency Training for Hypertrophy and Strength
Full body workouts are the premier and logical choice for beginners. The more muscle you stimulate frequently the more muscle and strength you’ll build, with three or four workouts per week being plenty.
To set up your own full-body workout start with a dynamic warm-up to activate muscles, lubricate joints, and prepare the body for activity.
Before hitting the weights start with some box jumps or medicine ball slams to fire up the central nervous system to lift more weight. Two or three sets of three to five reps should be plenty.
Pick an upper body push, an upper body pull and a compound lower body exercise.
This includes squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench presses, push-ups, chin-ups, rows, cleans, overhead presses, and glute bridges.
Stick with four or five sets of two to eight reps with one or two minutes of rest between sets. Multi-joint exercises should be practiced with a high training frequency and technically mastered for both safety and results.
Plan ten minutes (yes, only ten) at the end of your workout of free time to do things you want to do, whether it’s abs, biceps curls, or somersaults across the floor.
Have fun and enjoy yourself. I highly recommend a qualified coach to get you off on the right foot.
Upper/ Lower Splits
If you’ve been training for a solid year while making significant strength gains you can get more creative.
I recommend intermediates move to an upper-lower split, with halves of the body being hit at least 48 hours apart. Pick two presses and two or three pulling exercises performed in alternative sets on upper body days. Always train strength first and add weight to the bar, but feel free to add in some higher rep work to build those “pretty bumps.”
According to The Mechanisms of Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training.” Chasing the pump is alright, as the accumulation of metabolites from exercise requires the use of anaerobic glycolysis resulting in the buildup of lactate, hydrogen ions, and other metabolites.
This metabolic stress leads to greater muscle fiber damage, furthering the need for tissue repair and nutrient shuttling to the source of damage.
Lower body workouts should be at least 48 hours apart as well, with 72 being ideal for maximum recovery.
Just like the upper body workouts train strength first and add weight to the bar, but feel free to add in some higher rep work to stimulate the metabolic environment to promote further muscle growth.
Here’s a sample lower body day: 1×10/each
- Walking knee hug
- Cradle walk
- Straight leg march
- Dynamic quad stretch
- Forward lunge
- Reverse lunge w/reach
- Sub-Scap Push-Ups
- Body Weight Squats
- Box Jump 3×3
1.Front Squat 5×5
2a.Romanian Deadlift 4×8
2b. Side plank 4×30 seconds
3a. Bulgarian Split Squat 3×12-15
3b. Hanging leg raises 3×10-15
4. Free time/ intervals/ Pretty bumps*Note: If you’re a competitive athlete this isn’t a program for you. You’ll need more specialization and movement included early in the session. Many athletes succeed with total body programs because they place a premium on recovery.
Routines that train movements or muscles only one time per week are not optimal for high-performance strength development, especially for beginners. I recommend training each movement pattern at least twice per week for the best gains in strength, muscle, and performance.
High Frequency Training for Athletes and Skill Mastery
“Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” –Vince Lombardi
For learning a new movement or athletic skill the more frequently you practice the quicker it’s learned, eventually leading to unconscious competence—being able to perform a skill correctly without conscious thought.
Training skills to the point muscle memory is imperative for athlete success and transfer from the weight room. Practicing solid body position and movements like triple-extension to perfection will reinforce movement in the field of play.
These same principles apply to anyone learning a new skill or movement. The more frequently you practice perfect technique the faster the learning process and subsequent gains.Movement skill development must be grooved correctly until it becomes automatic and follows the following continuum: (Landow, 2013) Unconscious Incompetence: Athlete looks clueless, unable to comprehend what is needed.
Conscious Incompetence: Athlete understands what’s needed, unable to produce it.
Conscious Incompetence: Athlete can reproduce with much needed concentration, but not in series.
Unconscious Competence: Automatic near perfection execution without thought.
Training for athletic gains is a process that can’t be served due justice in this post, but matching movement patterns to movements required in sport is a key step. (No, this doesn’t mean throwing 12lb baseballs.) For more in-depth sports performance specialization read this & this.
It’s a Wrap ( In Dr. Dre Voice)
The process of perfecting a skill, whether it’s shooting free throws or lifting technique, takes much practice. Total body and upper-lower training splits provide higher frequency training to maximize strength and muscle-building gains with compound lifts.
Put the leg extensions and seven variations of biceps curls on the back-burner and get back to what’s essential: high-frequency training with big movements, your strength building solution.
McLester, J., Bishop, E., & Guilliams, M. (2000). Comparison of 1 day and 3 days per week of equal-volume resistance training in experienced subjects. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 14(3). Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/2000/08000/Comparison_of_1_Day_and_3_Days_Per_Week_of.6.aspx
DeMichele, P. L., Pollock, M. L., Graves, J. E., Foster, D. N., Carpenter, D., Garzarella, L., Brechue, W., & Fulton, M. (1997). Isometric torso rotation strength: effect of training frequency on its development. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 78(1), 64-69. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9014960
Landow, L. (2013, August). In Loren Landow (Chair). Train to win. Steadman Hawkins Sports Performance Train to win performance mentorship, Denver, Colorado.
Phillips, S., & West, D. (2010). Anabolic processes in human skeletal muscle: restoring the identities of growth hormone and testosterone. Physican and Sportsmedicine, 38(3), 97-104. doi: 10.3810/psm.2010.10.1814
Schoenfeld, Brad. “The Mechanisms of Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 24.10 (2010): 2857. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.
It’s Tuesday afternoon, 12:30 pm. You’re staring at the at the greasy sandwich and healthy baked chips from the cafeteria, while half-heartedly clicking through emails to get your inbox to zero.
Cheese oozes through your fingers and drips on your keyboard. You look up to see your co-worker Jeff. That damn Jeff chuckles as he walks by, as the aroma of another “gourmet lunch” fills your nostrils.
You know how to cook and what to eat, but what’s holding you back? Jeff does it, why aren’t you?
But Eric, I ‘m too busy to cook. I really don’t have the time! “
Yea, yea. I’ve heard every excuse in the book from clients trying to build an awesome body. They’re intelligent, hard-working college students, executives, and business owners but still lack time management skills to whip up a few healthy muscle-building meals for the week.
It’s not hard. It just requires some a shopping list, halftime during your teams Football game, and a little effort.
I’m gonna hook you up with one of my favorite recipes that’s an easy fix for healthy lunches. I cook this every so often, package it up in portable containers, and throw it in the fridge.
This way, all I have to do is grab the container on my way out the door after my 15 minute morning. Nuke the microwave safe container at work—So we can avoid BPA causing cancer— and voila: Healthy, quick, muscle-building lunch.
What is it?
Chili. Ridiculously tasty and meaty chili. Loaded with fresh vegetables, spices, and copious amounts of dead animal flesh, this stuff has tons of healthy fiber, muscle-building protein, and health promoting phytochemicals.
– 1lb 93% Lean Grass Fed Ground Beef
– 1 lb Lean Spicy Chicken Sausage
– ½ lb Carrots
– ½ Onion
-1 Red Bell Pepper
-1 Yellow Bell Pepper
-1 Green Bell Pepper
-3 Jalapeno Peppers
– 1 Green Chili
– 3 serrano peppers
-1 banana pepper
– 1 Can Beans (Pinto, Garbanzo, or Black)- 15 ounces
– 1 Large Jar whole Tomatoes – 28 ounces
– 1 Tbs Minced Garlic
– Extra Virgin Olive Oil (to taste)
– Balsamic Vinaigrette ( to taste)
Seasonings: Cumin, Chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, onion salt
* Season to taste, I prefer a ginormous tablespoon of each. Or just add a shit-ton of Franks Red Hot, which makes everything taste good.
Puttin’ It Together
Wash, peel, slice and dice yo’ veggies. Heat a giant pot to medium-high heat. Pour some olive oil and add your spices –This helps bring out the full flavor of the spices.
Onions, carrots, jalapeno, green chilis, garlic, bell peppers should be thrown in the pot and crisped for about 10-12 minutes.Meanwhile, open your beans and tomatoes and set aside. Throw in your meat for another 10 minutes.
Decrease the heat to low, adding in beans and tomatoes. Cover, simmer, and stir every 20 minutes or so. Cook for at least an hour.
I find the longer it cooks, the better it tastes. This bodes well for your next week’s lunches as the flavor deepens.
*P.S. This also works well with large groups or as a healthy alternative to Game Day Pizza.
Muscle Building Considerations
Some people like a base with their chili. Both pasta and rice are common options. If you’re needing the calories and looking to add some more muscle stick with rice, or a whole grain pasta noodle. If you’re looking to get shredded, skip the base and eat the chili as is. There’s more than enough fiber and protein to keep you full. Luckily, chili works perfectly into your carb cycling routine as a muscle-building lunch.
Win Eric’s Favorite- Cookbook
Becoming a good cook – I hope I’m not ahead of myself– Is a great skill to have. Not only is it a huge part in making heathy and nutritious meals, it’s fun and a great way to spend time awesome people. Plus, it impresses girls… and their parents. Double score.
Post Inspired by Nate Green’s $17 Buys you Lunch for Days