Tag archive

Muscle

Four Training Splits to Build an Athletic Body

The Power Primer

We’ve both been there: Every rep feels explosive as if you’ve unlocked another gear. You’re adding weight to the bar and getting stronger damn near every workout.

Basically, you feel like Superman, minus the dorky cape and skin-tight leotard. Your arms feel bigger, your shirts fit better, and you hold your head high at the beach or office because frankly, you look fucking awesome. 

Then, as quickly as your gains started, the floor falls out from underneath you. You’re lethargic in the gym, and exhausted most of the day. Your knees ache, shoulder cracks, and back is sore.

And your motivation? Non-existent. Even after taking enough pre-workout to fail a drug test you’re dragging. Each rep is a grind and the gym feels like a waste of time. 

Yep, You’ve hit the wall. 

When your training takes a sharp dive off the deep end and your progress stalls it’s time to change.

Not just your grip, your stance, or another micro progression. Nor a change from front squats to back squats.

No, I’m talking a monumental shift.

A new training split.

Yes, your long-term training principles should remain constant, but you need new methods.

As long as you’re adding weight to the bar, moving like an athlete, eating well, and sleeping enough then a new training split is what you need to build transform your body and get a strong, jacked, and athletic body.

The Power Primer, athletic body

That said, let’s review the best splits to help you build a stronger, shredded, and athletic body.  I’ll explain the good and the bad of each, giving you the knowledge to pick your next training split so you can build the lean, athletic look you’re after.

Either way, a new program is exciting—renewed motivation will have you attacking each workout and getting in the best shape of your life. The Power Primer is such a program.

Training Your Core

Upper Lower Training Split

Upper-lower training splits are an excellent training split to help you build strength and muscle with four workouts per week.

Pros: Upper-Lower training splits are a great progression from total body training and work well if you want to gain muscle and strength.

Upper-Lower splits allow greater training frequency for quicker learning and mastering your lifts while still lifting heavy to build strength. Together, this helps you get better at your big lifts, train with enough volume to build muscle, and lift heavy enough to get strong. 

Cons: Upper body workouts can take much longer than lower body workouts. Sure, this is great for your biceps, but if you crave consistency and have troubles working out when life get’s crazy, the inconsistency between workout times might drive you crazy.


Plus, if you’ve been following bodybuilding style body part splits (chest on Monday, back on Tuesday etc), then you might notice you’re not recovering as quickly. Of course, you can fix this by spending time with recovery methods like foam rolling, getting 7-8 hours per sleep, and when all else fails, eating more steak

Here’s a sample outline:

Monday: Upper Body (Push Strength Emphasis)

Tuesday: Lower Body (Squat Pattern Strength Emphasis)

Wednesday: Off/active recovery

Thursday: Upper Body (Pull Strength Emphasis)

Friday: Lower Body (Hinge pattern strength Focus)

Saturday/Sunday: Off

Total Body Training Split
When you train your upper and lower body in the same workout, you’re doing a total body workout. Another way to think of it is rather than training each muscle individually, you’re training your body as an integrated machine.

Pros: If you only have three days to workout per week or have issues skipping workouts, then look no further. Since you’re training your entire body you’ll minimize the fluff. There’s no need for 13 variations of lateral raises when your training pressing, pulling, squatting, lunging, and deadlifting movements multiple times per week.  

Since you’re training muscles as much as 2-3 times per week, you’ll trigger more frequent protein synthesis in your muscles being trained, potentially helping you build muscle faster.


And if you’re looking to drop a few pounds?


Total body workouts can cause a massive disruption to your body as it tries to catch up with multiple muscle groups working in a short period of time to help you lose fat.

Cons: One of the downsides of total body workouts is you may get bored, especially if you crave variety and the novelty of a well-timed biceps pump. Plus, if you’re looking to maximize muscular size, then the low volume of workouts will limit some of your gains. A key component of muscle growth is metabolic stress, so unless you add a high-rep finisher like biceps curls to failure, you won’t get as big as a house with total body training.

Moreover, stronger and more experienced lifters struggle recovering from three hard leg training workouts per week. You’ll need to vary how often you go heavy, possibly adopting an undulated periodization model.

Still, among all training splits total body workouts are your best bet if you tend to program hop, skip workouts, and get “too busy” to train….especially if you’re skipping leg day. 

View this post on Instagram

✔️TOTAL BODY TRAINING SPLITS by @Bachperformance✔️ ⠀ Your workouts should improve, not consume your life. ⠀ During the holidays, total body training splits are often your best choice because they hit every major muscle group each time you train. ⠀ Even if you miss a workout per week, you’re still creating a solid training response to build muscle, lose fat, and boost performance. ⠀ Here are two different muscle building workouts for busy people who need go hit the gym and get on eoth their lives. You can alternate these in an A-B-A-B schedule. ⠀ Monday: Day A
⠀
Wednesday: Day B
⠀
Friday: Day A
⠀
Sunday: Day B ⠀ 👉Caveat: Once you get STRONG LIKE BULL it will get tougher to recover from total body workouts, especially if you’re lifting heavy. ⠀
But if you’re 🤯stressed, slammed, and want to look good naked 😎without living in the gym? ⠀
Look no further than today body workouts. ⠀
Let us know your current training split below👇 . . . . . #fullbody #fullbodyworkout #buildmuscle #gainmuscle #musclescience #musclegrowth #musclescientist #getstrong #muscleman #muscled

A post shared by Eric Bach (@bachperformance) on

Example:

Day One:

1.Power Clean 5×3

2.Bench Press 3×6

3.Lunge 3×8-12

4a.Farmer Walks 3×30 seconds

4b. Dips 3x 30 seconds timed set

Day Two:

1.Push Press 5×3

2.Deadlift 4×6

3.Chin Up 3×8-12

4a.Plank 3×30 seconds

4b. Biceps Curl 3x 30 seconds timed set

P.S. Want to build a body that looks as good as it performs? Grab your copy of the Power Primer below.

 

Push-Pull Training Split

If you’re like most people, you have a tendency to train what you see in the mirror while conveniently forgetting about the back side of your body.

Tsk. Tsk.

As much as we all like to push it like Salt-N-Pepa, building a strong, athletic, and shredded body requires more balance. 

Enter the push/pull training split, arguably the most balanced training split for total body strength, size, and athleticism.

On “pull” days, you’ll hammer the backside of your body, hitting muscles like your lats, traps, glutes, and hamstrings.


On push-days, you’ll hit the movements to train your chest, shoulders, triceps, quads, and abs.

You can work the entire front side of your body or the back side of your body all in one workout. Alternatively, you can break these days down further by breaking these workouts into upper body and lower body days each.

For example…

-Upper Body Push (chest, triceps, shoulders)
-Upper Body Pull (Lats, biceps, rear delts, traps)
-Lower Body Push (squats, leg extensions, lunges)
-Lower Body Pull (deadlifts, good mornings, hip thrusts)

Pros: Push-Pull routines are a great option for experienced lifters as they’re both efficient and flexible. You’ll be able to train with enough volume to trigger muscle growth without living in the gym. 

Cons: There are very few issues with these workouts. The biggest hiccup will come if you miss workouts and start skipping “pull” or “lower body” workouts. Push-pull workouts are okay, but not great for beginners in the gym.

Example:

Day One: Pull (legs/hamstrings, back, biceps, lower back)

Day Two: Push (chest, shoulders, triceps, legs/quads, abs)

Day Three: OFF

Day Four: Pull (legs/hamstrings, back, biceps, lower back)

Day Five: Push (chest, shoulders, triceps, legs/quads, abs)

Day Six: OFF

Day Seven: OFF

Intensive/Extensive Training Split

Giggity.

These are my favorite.

The intensive/extensive split bases training splits on the neural demands of a workout.

For example, a heavy/explosive day is often followed by a metabolic/higher volume bodybuilding style day.

This also corresponds with conditioning.

For example, a workout with squat jumps followed by heavy squats, and sprints workout is intensive, as it is very demanding on your nervous system and joints. If you pair too many neurally intensive workouts in a row, you’ll end up beat up, beaten down, and overtraining.

Hard pass, right?


Instead, it’s best to follow an intensive training split with an extensive workout. An example here would be doing an upper body workout focused on higher reps sets of 10-15 reps, shorter rest, and lighter weight. You lift as heavy, but you’ll  create tons of metabolic stress to build muscle, lose fat, and improve your endurance. 

Pros: Intensive/Extensive training splits are lifting strategy ideal for people looking to get stronger, more muscular, and more athletic at the same time.
If you want to train like an athlete, it’s easy to add high technical sprint work on the intensive days.
If you want to build muscle, you’ll train heavy enough to trigger increases in anabolic hormones and the tension needed to build muscle. Still, extensive days allow you to train light enough to get an incredible pump.

And for fat loss? 
They work here too. The variety of training stimulus isn’t too much to recover from, yet it’s enough to help you lose fat.

Cons: They’re difficult to program. If your primary goal is to look hot naked (hey, I can’t blame you), you’ll want to eliminate some of the intensive work and focus on some more higher rep work. If your goals are performance-based, the opposite is true.
If you train too many factors too close together, you risk the chance of becoming the “jack of all trades and the master of none,” wallowing in mediocrity and not really getting good at any one thing.
Plus, intensive workouts are longer as you’ll need to pay more attention to your rest if you want to maximize performance.

Sample Workout

This is focused on keeping you athletic, but a bit more on body composition so you look hot.

Monday: Olympic lift+ compound push exercises, Heavy and explosive. Light conditioning.

Tuesday: Pull Emphasis, high rep (8-15+) and hypertrophy focused. Hard conditioning.

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Olympic lift+ compound pull exercises. Heavy and explosive, light conditioning.

Friday: Pull Emphasis, high rep (8-15+) and hypertrophy focused.

Saturday/Sunday: Hard conditioning 1x, active recovery

 So, which workout is best for you?

Your training must be specific to your goal. 

If your goal is to look great naked above all else, then by all means trade in your power cleans for biceps curls. 

On the flip side, if you need to build muscle from head to toe and get stronger, don’t start your workouts by curling in the squat rack. 

How much time will you dedicate to training?

Regardless of how “busy” you are you still have 24 hours like the rest of us. I don’t say this to be a dick, but it’s true.
You have the time to prioritize training if you want your dream body. Regardless, weigh how committed you are and pick a training split you know you’ll do consistently.

How experienced are you in the gym?

For most guys, they’re best off crushing total body or upper lower training splits to get strong, explosive and athletic. Still, make sure you’re varying training as you gain strength and experience to prevent plateaus and minimize joint stress.

Do you focus on recovery…or only training?

The body is an integrated system. Rather than looking at recovery based on how your muscles feel you must take into account everyday stress, the nervous system, sleep quality, and nutrition.

For example, for a few years I crushed training in a high-end performance facility. That meant tons of sprints, jumps, throws, coffee, and explosive demonstrations. All these short, high-intensity bouts added up quickly as my energy fluctuated. I had to dial back heavy lifting, sprints, and jumps.
Now that I train fewer clients, write more, and demo less, I’m more recovered and can train harder more often.

Stress is systemic, everything counts and should be factored into your training.

Your Training Split to Build an Athletic Body

If your current training isn’t helping your build an athletic body, then you need to make a change. 

Don’t fall into the trap of endlessly pursuing one goal at the expense of all others

That’s fine for elite athletes.

But for the rest of us, we’re after the total package.

You probably want to be…

Strong in the gym, yet athletic enough to kick ass on the weekends.

 Strong, lean, and athletic. 

Happy and confident with your shirt off. 

There’s no better tool to bridge the gap between the body you want and the athleticism you deserve than my latest program The Power Primer, 2.0.

 I’ve created a Full Eight Months worth of programming to get you Strong, Shredded, and Athletic.

This isn’t a program for athletes.

It’s for those of us that refuse to accept pathetic athleticism a the cost of building your best-looking body.

It’s time to bridge the gap between looking your best and performing like an athlete. 

It’s time for the Power Primer. And it can be yours for less than $.17 (yes, 17 cents) per workout. 

 

thePowerprimer athlete strong

>> Get The Power Primer here <<

For less than you spend on protein powder each month, you’ll have all your workouts expertly planned, organized, and guided by a custom video guide from now until the Spring of 2019.

 

1. Gould D, Petlichkoff L. Participation motivation and attrition in young athletes. In: Smoll FL, Magill RA, Ash MJ, eds. Children in Sport. 3rd ed. Champaign IL: Human Kinetics; 1988:161-178.

Creatine: What’s the Deal?

Hey guys, i’ve got some exciting stuff today. I reached out to one of my idols in the Fitness industry Tony Gentilcore a few weeks ago to write a guest post. I anxiously waited around my email, checking constantly and drinking vodka to pass the time– okay, not really vodka– until I got a response. Tony was a very down-to earth dude and was thankful to have my contributions.
I was pretty jacked, I might have even peed a little. Okay, joking again, that’s weird.

Anyways, I’d really appreciate it if you would head over to his site and check out the post and drop me a comment.

Ready? See you there.

Creatine: What’s the Deal?

Creatine. We’ve all heard about it, but what’s the deal? I get boat-loads of questions regarding the safety and effectiveness of creatine.

Does it make me look better naked? What are these crazy ethyl-ester pills and shiny Pre-workout jugs promising a Skin Searing Pump?

With all the products and information it’s no wonder there are questions.  I’m going to dig in and tell you what creatine is, how to use it, and what to expect.

 

Creatine Monohydate
Creatine Monohydrate

What is it?

Creatine is a natural amino acid most commonly found in red meat,but also produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. In the body creatine becomes a fuel source for short duration high-intensity activities such as weight training, sprinting and jumping where phosphocreatine is converted to ATP.

The amount of creatine consumed through the diet and produced naturally in the body are low; supplementation increases available levels.

Continue Here… Creatine: What’s the Deal?

 

 

Strong. Shredded. Athletic.

-Eric

 

 

Bust through Plateaus with an Explosive Warm Up

Performing 2-3 sets of 1 exercise at the end of your warm up could dramatically increase your power and strength in your training session.

Crazy right?

I’ve already dove head-first into warm ups, you can find those here: Part 1 and Part 2, but there is one portion of the warm-up that will have a lasting impact on your workout.

I’m talking nervous system activation.

The central nervous system is your body’s computer, the central processing unit. It controls all the activities of the body.
The nervous system is the key to unlocking gains in the gym. Muscles leave much to be desired, as it’s is theorized that voluntary muscles contract at about 30% of their total ability.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/hotmeteor/210180257/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hotmeteor/210180257/

We’ve all heard stories of superhuman strength where someone lifts a 3,500 lb car off a loved one. This is due to adrenaline up-regulating the nervous system to maximize muscular strength. These extraordinary feats show the power a fully engaged of the nervous system.

Note: Before going further, it’s important to note I’m not talking about creating a life/death experience in a warm up to jack up your strength.

So if we are only using say, 30% of our potential muscular strength, what would an extra 4-5% percent do for sports performance or workouts in the gym?

And what if our muscles contracted faster, getting to maximal activation faster?

Neuromuscular Readiness

Performing an explosive warm-up before your main exercise of the day will ignite your central nervous system (CNS) and maximize your strength.

How?

Using explosive movements prior to your heavy training will prepare and teach your body to move with maximal velocity and force due to the increased rate of firing from the previous exercise.

Power= Force X Distance
                          Time

The faster you can contract the muscles the more muscle fibers recruited, and the stronger are. It’s vital that these exercises are not performed to fatigue, rather short duration (5-8 reps), maximum intensity, and plenty of rest.

Practical Application

A good warm up should  wake up your muscles and central nervous system to  maximize performance during your workout. The activities in your explosive warm up should mimic the body positions and movements in your training, and explosive movements that mimic those patterns are best.

Based on your major exercise of the day, select a matching explosive movement pattern:

Main Exercise:                     Explosive Movement:

Bench Press                             Clap Push Up, medicine ball chest pass

Shoulder Press                        Overhead medicine ball slam/ throw

Squat                                         Vertical jump, box jump

Deadlift                                     Broad jump, kettlebell swing

Photography by Ryan Dial
Photography by Ryan Dial

Perform 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps after your warm-up — directly before the start of your training session. Rest 1-2 minutes between sets, focusing on maximum intensity on each rep.

 

Wrap Up:

What good is all that strength if you can’t generate it quickly? An explosive warm-up will help shatter strength plateaus, sprint away from your competition, and build more muscle. Implement the simple movements warm-up movements for explosive growth!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/hotmeteor/210180257/”>Hot Meteor</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

The BEST way to Burn Body Fat

19 years old. There I was, plastered on the floor with a lowly 65 lbs on the barbell beside me. My lungs ached, forearms screamed, and legs felt like jello.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredpolin/4560294699/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredpolin/4560294699/

In my post-workout daze I said “Are you shitting me? I can deadlift 3x my bodyweight and 1/3 of my bodyweight just made me it’s little bitch. There is no way this should be difficult. But it was.” 

A new method The BEST way to Burn Body Fat was born.

It’s been 5 years since I first used them, but my first experience with barbell complexes still rings loud and clear. Barbell complexes are arguably the most efficient method to rapidly boost conditioning and strip body fat.

You see, although I base most workouts around multi-joint barbell exercises combining them all into a series was something new. In most cases, the more familiar you are with an exercise the less effective it is for fat loss and body composition changes.

The hard to swallow fact is, traditional cardio is a piss-poor method for fat loss. Most people become very efficient on the treadmill or elliptical quickly, leading the body to adapt and become more efficient. To give it to you straight, the things you suck at are probably the best for losing fat.

I have yet to train anyone who breezes through barbell complexes and hasn’t shed flubber. The best part is, they only take 10 minutes at the end of your workout.

For barbell complexes the only equipment needed is space to move, a barbell, and possibly a few weights. Regardless of strength levels I’d recommend starting with an empty barbell. Speed and full range of motion are more important than weight. In addition, adding too much weight will hinder your recovery and conflict with the remainder of your intelligent programming. Move as fast as possible through each exercise without putting the bar down. Your heart will be pulsating through your t-shirt, your lunges will scream, but damn you will be glad you did these.

Here are three of my favorite barbell complexes

“Rookie”

  1. deadlift 4×12 rest 0
  2. hang clean 4×12 rest 0
  3. Military press 4×12 rest 0
  4. front squat 4×12 rest 60-90 sec

“The Olympian” 

Bach Performance Athlete Raven Cepeda performs complexes only 10 minutes per week to stay lean while bulking for a powerlifting meet
Bach Performance Athlete Raven Cepeda performs complexes only 10 minutes per week to stay lean while bulking for a powerlifting meet
  1. Hang Snatch 3×10 Rest 0
  2. Push Press 3×10 Rest 0
  3. Hang Clean 3×10 Rest 0
  4. Front Squat 3×10 Rest 0
  5. Front Squat Reverse Lunge 3×10 Rest 0
  6. High Pull 3×10 rest 60-90 sec

**Note: If you don’t know how to properly perform these exercises avoid this sequence. Never perform exercises without proper training, but even more with overhead lifts such as the Olympic lifts.

“The Widow Maker”

  1. Overhead Press 2×10 Rest 0
  2. back squat 2×10 Rest 0
  3. reverse lunge 2×10 Rest 0
  4. hang clean 2×10 Rest 0
  5. front squat 2×10 Rest 0
  6. bent over row 2×10 Rest 0
  7. Romanian deadlift 2×10 Rest 0
  8. Front Squat lunge 2×10 Rest 0
  9. biceps curl 2×10 Rest 0
  10. front squat hold calf raise 2×10 Rest 90-120 sec

 

Will you step up to the plate and make 10 extra minutes for Complexes?

Complexes are a great method to dramatically improve your body composition and conditioning without stripping your hard-earned muscle. This isn’t for the faint-hearted or de-conditioned. It’s not for novices or those extremely out of shape. Don’t even try these if you aren’t experienced or coming back from an injury, this isn’t for you. It’s brutal.But if you follow this routine twice per week for four weeks you’ll see ridiculous improvements in your conditioning while stripping off layers of body fat.

What are you waiting for, stop wasting time and get Real Results.

Have you ever performed complexes? Share your favorite workout below!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredpolin/4560294699/”>jaredpolin</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>

 

Surviving Cheat Day

It was Saturday. Gorgeous, about 70 degrees and radiant sunshine. I spent the morning at the gym, training clients and blitzing a short workout. On the way home I ran some important errands and made it home by noon– Not bad for a Saturday! Everything I needed to do for the day was completed and the day was only half-way through.

photo from Buy-Beer.com http://www.buy-beer.com/bbq-beer-chicken/beer-butt-buddies2/
photo from Buy-Beer.com
http://www.buy-beer.com/bbq-beer-chicken/beer-butt-buddies2/

Even better, I had most of the day to eat and drink whatever I wanted….Cheat day had arrived.

There is nothing wrong with a cheat day, mentally they provide a break from a strict diet and let you relax and unwind. Physically cheat days can provide a much needed refueling for the body and boost various hormones such as T-3 and T-4 that can be down regulated if you are constantly dieting.

Cheat days kick ass. In disciplined dieters they improve compliance and provide a mental and physical break from dieting– As long as they’re kept within reason. Unfortunately, reason wasn’t present yesterday. Two pizzas, chicken wings, plenty of beer, a trip to a vodka bar, and hefty forth meal left me in a greasy stupor.

I drank like a fish and ate like it was going out of style.

Where do all of those calories go?

Eventually carbohydrate storage reaches capacity, leaving excess sugars to saturate the blood stream and  join the party around your love handles. If alcohol is involved that will halt all fat burning even further, promoting further fat storage. Eeeek. That’s the perfect storm to blow up quicker than a Kardasian wedding.

The Solution

There is a way to minimize the damage on these gluttonous days as I learned from Tim Ferriss’ book The 4 Hour Body. The goal isn’t to burn massive amounts of calories on cheat cheat; instead, prepare your body to receive and utilize the excess sugars you’re consuming.

Ideally, you will take more of these excess sugars and calories and have them pushed into your muscles rather than your waistline.

How?

Glute-4 Activation.

What is Glute-4?

Glute 4 is a protein responsible for insulin related glucose transport into cells. Muscular contractions stimulate muscle cells to translocate to the surface of the muscle, making them more receptive to insulin and stocking the muscles full of glycogen from those carbs you just ate.

Cool, so what do I do?

As close to your delicious meal, whether it be pizza, doughnuts, or whatever else you are craving you must force major skeletal muscles to contract to stimulate glute-4 translocation. And it doesn’t take nearly as much activity as you think.

Here are a few good options:

1.Bodyweight squats 20 reps. Quarter squats are fine, full are better
2.Push Ups (or wall push ups, you can do these in a bathroom stall, oh boy!) 20 reps
3.Band Pull aparts 20 reps
4.Isometric Quadriceps extension: lock your leg and flex as hard as you can for 20-30 seconds. This one can work (or use other muscles) while you are seated if you are out to eat. This way people won’t think you are as weird as me.

**You can do these things in private if that makes you feel more comfortable, but you probably shouldn’t care so much what others think, especially as it pertains to your health and lookin good neeeked 

These exercises take all of a minute or so to perform as close to your cheat meal as you can, as well as 60-90 minutes post-meal. This way you are activating the biggest muscles in your body to be more receptive to the surplus of calories floating around in your blood stream to lead to bigger muscles, rather than a bigger waistline.

Wrap Up

So there you have it. It’s not necessarily a good thing to go as crazy as I did and eat/drink 10,000 calories . Just know there are strategies to minimize the damage while maximizing the fun, even while trying to look your best

Resources:

Ferriss, Timothy. The 4-Hour Body. New York: Crown Archetype, 2010. 100-120. Print.

 

Accurately Estimate Body Fat Percentage

Your ability to accurately estimate body fat percentage is an essential tool to helping you optimize your physique, improve performance, and know how much progress you’re truly making in the gym. Heck, knowing where you stand can help you optimize your caloric intake, determine overall health, and give you the most accurate answer to, “how far to do I have to go” to build your ultimate body.

In this post, I’m going to share what I wish I knew about body fat percentage when I got started in the gym as a 103-pound skinny runt chasing the “perfect workout” routine. By the end, you’ll have a better grasp of how to measure body fat, why it’s important, and more importantly, how to look great naked.

What is body fat percentage?

Body fat percentage is the total percentage of body fat your total body weight is comprised of. Quite simply, the higher your body fat percentage, the more body fat you have. The lower your body fat percentage, the less body fat.

For example, a 200 lb male with 15% body fat would have 30 pounds of fat on his body. The remaining 170 pounds would comprise of bone, muscle, organ tissue, water, blood, and..well…fecal matter among other things.

All in all, knowing your body fat percentage is a better indicator of the state of your physique than BMI or the dreaded scale.

Body fat percentage or BMI?

BMI is short for Body Mass Index, and it’s found by taking your weight in kilograms divided by meters squared. BMI is the most widely used scale for determining whether someone is normal, overweight, or obese. While this is a great tool for measuring large populations and gauging overall obesity, it’s a poor indicator for athletic bodies and those who are dedicated in the gym. As an example, I’m not a huge guy; but at 5’10” 180-185 pounds I’m on the edge of obese despite having visible abdominals. The BMI fails to take into account lean muscle mass.

Let’s take our example guy above, and say he was 6 feet tall. To find his BMI we would convert his weight to kilograms, and his height to meters:

200 pounds x 0.45 = 90 kilograms

72 inches x 0.025 = 1.8 meters

Then we would square his height:

1.8 x 1.8 = 3.24

Then divide the weight by the height to get his BMI:

90/3.24 = 27.7 BMI

So how does that compare the standard BMI chart? Let’s look:

Underweight = BMI of less than 18.5

Normal weight = BMI of 18.5 to 24.9

Overweight = BMI of 25 to 29.9

Obese = BMI of 30 or greater

So according to the BMI chart, our guy is overweight.

But the problem with BMI is it’s just a general measurement. It doesn’t take into account the individual physique of a person, including the biggest factor influencing metabolic health: muscle mass. And this is where learning how to accurately estimate body fat percentage comes in handy.

How to Accurately Estimate Body Fat Percentage.

There are many ways which health and fitness professionals use to measure body fat percentages. There are circumference measurements, bioelectrical impedance (BIA), skinfold measurements, ultrasound, bodpod, hydrostatic weighing, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), X-Ray, and MRI.

As with any test, there is variation and error in body fat percentages, with even the best tests still having a percent error ranging from 1-3%. Most of these tests require skilled technicians, consistent testers, algorithms, and environmental variables, and some pocket change in order to perform the tests. As you see lots of variables must be accounted for in order to get an accurate reading of your body composition.

My take?

If you want something quick and easy, pick up skinfold calipers and practice often. They’re not the most reliable, but they’ll give you a baseline.

DEXA scans are among the best option and will cost between $50-$100, while also showing you imbalances and giving you an accurate reading (within 1-2% of your body-fat) and a breakdown of your body composition. In all cases, the most accurate bet is to head to a facility with experienced technicians. Since that isn’t always a pragmatic option, I’ll provide you with pictures and descriptions of each body fat percentage.

P.S.Want to an easy to follow eating style so you can lose fat without obsessing over every meal? Grab your free Intermittent Fasting Guide here.

Calculating Body Fat Percentage Based On Progress Photos

As a disclaimer, these are not perfect examples. Two individuals can have the same body fat percentage yet look dramatically different.

What gives?

The more lean muscle you have, the deeper the cuts, the harder the striations, and the more visibly “ripped” you will be at a lower body fat. To put it bluntly, it’s much more impressive to have base of muscle if you want to look strong, lean, and athletic when you’re stripping down.

What 25-30% Body Fat Looks Like

25%+ percent body fat is generally categorized as overweight or obese. At this body fat percentage, you’ll notice minimal muscular definition and likely large deposits of fat around the stomach in men and around the hips and waist in women.
In this image, Bach Performance Physique Coaching Client James “Swifty” Swift transformed from roughly 30% body fat to 10% or so.

What 20% Body Fat Looks Like

At 20% body fat, you’ll have minimal muscular definition and poor separation from muscle groups, unless you have an extremely muscular individual. In this picture, Bach Performance Physique Coaching Client and business owner Matt is likely closer to 18%, but you can see the dramatic improvement he made when dropping to a lean 10-12% body fat.

What 15% Body Fat Looks Like

At 15% you’ll notice some muscular definition. In extremely muscular individuals like client Bob Thompson, he holds a fair amount of definition even at higher body fat, namely because he’s built like a rhino. Typically, you’ll see moderate muscular separation, specifically in the shoulders as they tend to hold less fat. In most cases, your abs are not yet visible. Online coaching client, gym and supplement company owner Bob Thompson from 15% or so down to 10-12% body fat. As you can see, the more muscle you have the more pronounced the difference.

 

What 10-12% Body Fat Looks Like

At 12% body fat you will see visible abs. Depending on how much muscle you have, you may see anywhere from 2-6 abs and a definite biceps vein.  In this image, Bach Performance Physique Coaching Client and busy attorney Rob went from 12% body fat to a lean 8-10% body fat. The Leaner you get, the more dramatic the visual improvement.

7-9% Body Fat:

Hey, I know this weirdo glaring awkwardly into the camera. In the case of this photoshoot, I measured in just below 7% body fat. I had visible abs at all times, deep separation between quadriceps and defined back musculature. The serratus anterior (those wicked cool lines on the side of your ribs) should be visible.

5-7% Body Fat: Competitive male bodybuilders often are in this range. Lower abdominals and legs are both vascular and well-defined. Striations appear in large flexed muscle groups, especially the chest. As you can see, Bach Performance Physique Coaching Client Nazir Mohammed, a trainer in London, is shredded to the bone. This is stage ready and final stage leanness.

Body Fat Percentages For Women

Women naturally carry higher levels of body fat, particularly in their glutes, thighs, hips, and breasts. Even in cases where women have visible abs, their body fat percentages will be a few ticks higher due to these natural sex differences. Much like in males, the more lean muscle a woman has, the deeper the cuts and separation will appear at lower body fat percentages.

Here is a chart via Ben Honour Smith at @Bodyscuptorben on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

🌟 What’s your body fat percentage? @bodysculptorben . 🎯 Remember, if your trying to get leaner then the goal should be to lose body fat, not weight. Weight can be a good indicator that things are heading in the right direction (scale fluctuations will happen along the way though!). However the goal and focus should be dropping body fat not striving to reach an arbitrary number on the scales. . 📸 Monitoring your body fat levels with regular progress pictures is a good way to go. Ladies you can use this chart to guesstimate roughly where you are currently at if you like. . 👙 If your goal long term is to look leaner with more muscle definition then here is a good way to go about it: . 💁🏼‍♀️ Get to a lean enough state where you are comfortable with yourself and how you look. However accept that when you get to this stage that you are going to have to acquire some extra body fat on top of this if you want to build more muscle. The starting body fat percentage before you ‘bulk’ will vary from woman to woman, somewhere between 10-22% is likely to be a good place to get to. . 😋 Once you are at this stage you are going to have to gradually increase your calories so that you are in a calorie surplus. Aim for roughly about 0.2-0.5kgs of weight gain a week. The slower you gain weight the less body fat you will acquire. . 📈 Focus on increasing training volume over time with some big compound movements (training volume = weight x total reps. . 💅🏼 Remember it’s a hard process and sometimes painfully slow process to gain muscle, even more so for you women, due to lower levels of testosterone. Be patient and remain consistent. . 🥗 When you feel like you are acquiring too much body fat, start to lower your calories again so that you are into a calorie deficit for a while. Keep repeating these stages. This will result in a gain in muscle mass whilst staying relatively lean. . 👠 Try to stick to one process at a time. Either cutting (calorie deficit) or bulking (calorie surplus). Don’t get caught in the middle. Otherwise limited progress is likely to happen. . 😃 Get a plan of action in place and see it through 👍🏼. . #sculptedsquad

A post shared by Ben Honour-Smith (@bodysculptorben) on

What Else Do You Need To Know?

Body fat percentage is arguably the best tool to gauge changes in your physique because it accounts for both lean body mass and fat mass. Still, you shouldn’t judge yourself purely on body fat.

As the great Vince Gironda once said, “who cares what the scale says if you don’t like what you see in the mirror?”
The rings true both when examining your reflection and more importantly, your mindset.

At Bach Performance, we’re here to help you look great naked without living in the gym. And yes, that often means losing body fat. But at the end of the day, fitness needs to improve your life, not consume it. And when it comes to body fat percentage, it’s essential to realize getting shredded is not a practical look to maintain year round. It’s often a peak state held for hours or days for a photo shoot and competition, then back to reality.

But should you want to step up to the plate, get in the best shape of your life, and find a sustainable way to continue looking, feeling, and performing your best?

Then head below and see if you’re a fit to join the exclusive Bach Performance Physique Coaching Program.
Apply Here

Top 10 Tips to Add Muscle

tips to add muscle, high performance exercises


I’m going to keep this simple and straight forward.  If you’re not building muscle, you’re probably missing the basics.

1. Eat Big to Get Big

You can’t put 60 miles worth of gasoline and drive 120 miles can you? Providing your body with the essential calories and nutrients is rule #1. You will be working hard in the gym, you not only need to provide enough calories to fuel your workout, but you also need a caloric surplus in order to gain weight. For each meal aim for 1-2 fistfuls of protein (30g or so), 2 fists of vegetables, healthy fats, and carbs such as sweet potatoes or rice. Track what you eat using a site such as livestrong.com and consider reading up on carb cycling to maximize muscle and minimize fat.  Supershakes are a convenient and easy way to pack your body full of quality nutrients for muscle growth.

2. Progressive Overload

To build muscle you must follow the laws of progressive overload. You must continuously work to add weight to the bar, increase the speed you move the bar, increase the number of reps, or decrease rest periods each time you set foot in the gym. Give your body a reason to grow by challenging to a new level every chance you get (within reason), repeating the same workout pound for pound and word for word will not help yield the gains you are looking for.

 

3. Stick with Compound Exercises

Mixing in endless amounts of curls, leg extensions, calf raises, and lateral raises will do little more than delay your recovery and hinder your progress. Stick with squats, deadlifts, presses, bench presses, chin ups, dips, hip thrusts, and rows to build a well rounded physique. Major structural exercises like these will work the most muscle mass and stimulate the biggest release of testosterone to fuel your muscle growth. You don’t need gimmicky machines, cable crossovers, and shiny new equipment to get the job done; they are often a waste of time. Pay your dues with a barbell, kettlebells, dumbbells, and your own bodyweight to move your body the way it was built to move.

 

4.  Train Heavy

Training heavy is becoming a lost art in many gyms. I see so many people training every exercise at 12-15 reps chasing the pump that it makes me sick. Most individuals tend to follow body part splits with crazy high volume and rep ranges that only work for beginners and/or steroid users. Most drug free lifters make phenomenal gains by putting more weight on the bar and focusing on rep ranges between 3-8. Anything over 8 reps really begins developing endurance unless you can handle significant weight for reps. Bottom Line: If you add 50 pounds to your squat or a deadlift in a year you will be bigger, add weight and see magic happen!

 

5. Get In Get Out

Workouts are meant to stimulate, not annihilate the body. Get in a solid warm up and try to complete your workout in 45 minute or less. You are in the gym to work out and see results, not socialize in-between sets on the preacher curl. Get in, get out, eat, and repeat.

6. Sleep 8+ Hours

You need to recovery to grow, and optimal growth and recovery comes with getting 8+ hours of sleep per night. Sleeping well and long will increase your testosterone naturally while giving you more energy and making you more efficient throughout the day. Turn off the TV and get some sleep

7. Foam Roll

Staying healthy and recovering from workouts is absolutely vital to making consistent progress in the gym. Foam roll troubled areas such as the shoulders, pecs, IT bands, calves, and piriformis to improve movement quality. Pick up a foam roller or use tennis balls, baseballs, softballs (ouch), medicine balls to break up scar tissue. If you are financially able try to get a deep tissue massage once per week.

 

8. Incorporate SOME higher reps into your training

The emphasis on your training still needs to be on lower repetition multi-joint exercises to build muscle. However, increasing reps on occasion to 10-15 reps will increase your muscles ability to store glycogen and water. This will add volume to the muscle and increase their size. This is known as non-functional hypertrophy. If you goal is solely aesthetics and not strength/power mix 1-2 exercises per workout with a higher volume. Just be aware this can compromise your performance on big lifts!

 

9. Keep a Workout Journal

Writing down your workouts and tracking your progress is incredibly important to make consistent gains in the gym. How in the heck will you know when you have a new PR, or when you increased your reps by 5 on your squat from 2 months ago? Keeping a detailed workout journal will show you exactly what has worked in the past and what has not. Your workouts will improve and so will your knowledge of how your body reacts to different workouts.

 

10. De-load every 6-8 weeks

De-loading the muscles and nervous system every month or two will keep you healthy and mentally fresh in the long term. Muscle building is not an overnight ordeal, it takes years to build and smart programming. Take a complete week off on occasion, drop your intensity, or your volume for a week to allow joints, ligaments, and the nervous system to health up.

The Top 10 Tips to Add Muscle

Lift heavy, eat, sleep, repeat to get the gains you want. By taking these tips and focusing on 1 at a time until it becomes common practice will bring your training and physique to where it wants to be.
And if you’re looking for a program to get rollin,’ I’ve got you covered here.

Get Your 12 Week HFT Mass Program Today

5 Essential Nutrition Habits

Below are 5 essential habits via the Precision Nutrition System. These wicked-awesome 5 habits are pretty Kick-Ass! Why?!

Food for Life distributes food on an internati...
Food for Life distributes food on an international basis produced solely from vegan and lacto-vegetarian ingredients. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, they are easy to follow, especially if you looking to lose body fat ( NOT GAIN lotza MUSCLE) and optimize body composition without the work of calorie counting and spending countless hours logging and tracking your food choices (which is still a good idea).

Enough with my blabbing, here is the list.

1.)Eat Slowly and Stop at 80% Full. It takes 20 minutes for brain signals to kick in, take your time and enjoy your meal.2.)Eat Protein dense foods with each meal.

Women- 1 Palm (20-30g)

Men- 2 palms (40-60g)

–This will support positive nitrogen balance, leading to better muscle development, body composition, and metabolism.

3.)Eat Vegetables with each meal. ½ cup raw= 1 serving, aim for 10 servings between fruits and vegetables per day. 2 palms per meal!

–These are filled will all kinds of good shiznit, such as phytochemicals, fiber, and anti-oxidants. Fight cancer, fill up on good stuff, and be healthy!

4.)For Fat Loss, eat most carbs after exercise. Keeping carbs low until aftr exercise will promote burning stored fat before/during exercise.

–Keep carb choices slower digesting, such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, oats, quinoa, and whole wheat if you tolerate them.

5.)Eat healthy Fats Daily. Get roughly 30% of kcals and include healthy fats during each meal.

Get 1/3 from each type of fat, saturated, mono-unsaturated, and poly-unsaturated by varying your sources between lean meats, fish, nuts, and healthy oils.

For more information regarding Precision Nutrition check out my review of their level 1 certification below:
http://ericbachperformance.com/2013/01/21/precision-nutrition-level-1-certification-review/

 

Resources:

Berardi, Dr. John, and Ryan Andrews. The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition. second. Precision Nutrition. INC, 2012. 345-351. Print.

Activity Specific Warm Ups

Today I had my first officially published article through ACE Fitness, one of the most well respected fitness organizations around. BOOOOOOOOOOOYAHHH! So first, thanks for reading and your support of my blog, as feedback I receive is vital to improving myself as a trainer and writer.

But Anyways, this is an article I put quite a bit of effort into researching, writing, editing, and developing as I see it as a very under-utilized and lack luster piece of most programs.

Activity specific warm ups are important!  They safely prepare the body for activity, rev up the nervous system, and get you mentally in-tune to destroy your next training session. Whether you’re an elite athlete or someone just starting a fitness routine having a planned warm up is vital to having your best quality workout and staying injury free. Without further ado check out the link below and please let me know what you think.

Thanks for your support!

>>https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/2910/a-detailed-guide-to-designing-activity-specific<<

Exercises to avoid: Adductor Abductor Machine

Stop spending your workout with this awkward machine in hopes of a nice set of thighs or glutes.

adductor-machine
Photo Credit: deansomerset.com

Sorry, your attention should be elsewhere. If you’re looking to maximally develop these areas learn to squat, lunge, deadlift, sprint, and move optimally rather than wasting your time.

Although this wonderful device provides resistance for both adduction (bringing the legs together) and abduction (spreading the legs apart) it neglects to train the muscles of adduction and abduction as stabilizers, their primary role. Although they provide a burn” to the inner and outer thighs it serves no functional purpose and will not further “tone or shape” a muscle.

These machines are useless.

Although they provide a burn” to the inner and outer thighs it serves no functional purpose and will not further “tone or shape” a muscle. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot reduction. Contrary to belief you can’t change the shape or tone of your muscles– your insertion points aren’t going anywhere. If you want to a muscle to show visibly the issue isn’t muscle shape, but subcutaneous fat covering the muscle.

Adduction:

The adductor muscles are responsible for adducting the leg away from midline at the hip-joint. These muscles have multiple functions beyond simple adduction as you see below:

  • Adductor longus: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor brevis: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor magnus: hip extension, hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Adductor minimus: hip adduction
  • Pectineus: Hip adduction, hip flexion
  • Gracilus: Hip adduction, hip flexion, knee flexion

 Abduction:

As stated in described by their group name, the abductors abduct, or move the legs away from midline in the body.These muscles have multiple functions beyond simple abduction as you see below:

The Muscles responsible for abduction include:

  • Gluteus Medius: Hip abduction
  • Gluteus Minimis: Hip abduction, hip internal rotation
  • Tensor Fasica Latae : Hip abduction, hip internal rotation

Isolating these muscles services little purpose, as there are few instances these muscles work as a solo-primary mover in exercise. Muscles that control abduction and adduction must work synergistically to keep the femur (upper leg bone) in proper alignment and maintain frontal plane stability. Neglecting these functions with purely isolated training leaves the body open for knee injuries due to poor stability/mobility in the hip and knee and flexion based back injuries.

Opt For These instead:

All lower body unilateral exercises and variations including: deadlifts, Lunges, Squats (any variation), step ups, sprinting, banded shuffle walks, hip thrusts, bird-dogs, fire-hydrants and banded monster walks.

Training the adductors and abductors is NOT a bad idea, but using the “Yes-NO”machine is a waste of time. Muscles DO need to function in isolation, but overpowering their ability without training them dynamically is recipe for injury.

Plus, I’m not sure this is how you want to see your co-workers during lunch. Avoid the adductor abductor machine, it has no place in your routine.

abduction/adduction.
Yes-No Machine Is sending mixed messages. 
Go to Top