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Copyright ‘Physique Athlete’, ‘Cosmetic Bodybuilding’, ‘Optimal Physique Training Zone’, ‘Protein Leveraging’ and ‘Protein Economy’ are registered trademarks of Vince Andrich. All rights reserved.
Acknowledgements Vince Andrich I want to thank the many great minds that as luck would have it played key roles in my never-ending search for knowledge in nutrition and exercise. I’ve listened and learned. You have all inspired me more than you know.
Dedications Vince Andrich: I’d like to dedicate this book to my two favorite girls: my wife Jamie Hagan Andrich and my daughter Morgan Rose. Thanks for the love and inspiration. Also my mother Angela, my father Robert Sr., my sisters Angela, Susan and my brother Rob Jr., and my other family Ed and Adele Hagan.
Warnings Information provided in this guide is solely for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing of any medications or supplements. Please consult your healthcare provider before starting any supplement, diet or exercise program, before taking any medications or receiving treatment, particularly if you are currently under medical care. Make sure you carefully read all product labeling and packaging prior to use. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, do not embark on any new exercise program, nutrition plan or take any supplements without first consulting and obtaining the approval of your healthcare provider. © 2011 Vince Andrich Real BodyBuilding, Vince Andrich Uncensored, & www.vandrich.com. All Rights Reserved.
Vince Andrich is a former National Level NPC (National Physique Committee) Bodybuilding Competitor. He still talks ‘shop’ with NPC President Jim Manion nearly every week. Vince has been researching, disseminating and practicing ‘bleeding edge’ training and nutritional techniques for over 23 years. Much of his adult life has been spent in health food stores and he has over 17 years of experience in the sports nutrition industry. Not impressed? Then consider this: Imagine the amount of nutritional information, new product concepts and top bodybuilder interactions you would be exposed while holding positions such as Vice President of Sports Nutrition at Weider Nutrition International, Senior Director of Marketing at MET-Rx USA and Senior Director of Sports Nutrition at Experimental and Applied Sciences (EAS). These are all positions Vince has held and which allowed him to be inside the proverbial ‘war room’ of each of these companies where he spearheaded numerous research and product development projects. Vince has spent countless hours working hand in hand with the best minds in this business. In fact, this is why he was asked to author the 4th issue of the best-selling Sports Supplement Review®, and has had articles published in various well respected bodybuilding magazines such as Muscle & Fitness, Max Sports and Fitness, Planet Muscle and Muscle Media.
TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction Part One - Weight Training Chapter 1) We Got Our Own Thing, Physique Athlete Defined Chapter 2) Strength, The Physique Perspective Chapter 3) Training Intensity, The Definition Makes The Difference Chapter 4) Too Heavy, Too Light, No-Go In The Physique Training Zone Chapter 5) The World's Best Bodies, Just Do The Work Chapter 6) Pacing The Work, The Physique Training Tempo Chapter 7) Form Follows Function, Don’t Build It, Build It Right Chest Back Quads Hamstrings Abdominals/Low Back Shoulders (deltoids) Triceps Biceps/Forearms Calves Chapter 8) Physique Training Cycles; Progression and Recovery Simplified Cycle–1 Cycle–2 Cycle–3 Cycle–4 Part Two - Nutrition Chapter 9) Make Yourself; Slow is Steady, Steady IS Fast Chapter 10) Sports Performance & Endurance, Nutrition For The Masses Chapter 11) Low-Carb/High Protein, The Quick Fix, Needs A Fix Chapter 12) Physique Nutrition; Redirecting The Magical Chemistry Tour Chapter 13) Physique Athlete Nutrition; The Breakdown, To Build Up STEP ONE STEP TWO STEP THREE STEP FOUR STEP FIVE Chapter 14) Eating Like A Physique Athlete, Recommended Food Lists
Introduction Physique Athlete; Do This, Get What You Really Want Even if you’re the most dedicated person on the planet, the feeling of having no clearcut idea about how to positively change your physique is certain to cost you time, energy and money that can never be recovered. While there are several ways to improve the composition and shape of your body, my primary goal for writing this guide is to document and “systemize” what science and experience have proven to be the fastest and most reliable way to achieve that goal.
Your best body If you’ve gone past the gimmicks and have taken up the study of weight training, cardio and nutrition to improve how you look in the mirror, you already are a Physique Athlete, and reading this guide will save you years of trial and error. But, if you’re a beginner, you might be wondering if the pages of this guide will teach you something you can actually apply in your own life to get what you really want out of that gym membership.
You can If you’re still not convinced, consider this. Research has shown that when it comes to following a diet/nutrition and or exercise plan, the prime motivator for most, is looking great. You know, a bit more muscle, and a lot less bodyfat, which creates a better looking physique. That’s why we’re constantly bombarded with marketing for miracle diets and exercise gimmicks, that all claim to “make us look better”. Marketers of these products know that the desire to look better is in our DNA, which is why it’s the ultimate hook to get us to buy into any exercise and nutrition program.
The problem is that in our search to find the easy solution, we fail to get the results we were promised. Over time we believe the goal we want is impossible to achieve.
It isn’t More importantly, you’ll spend more time, energy and money searching for a quick fix to achieving your best body, than you ever will applying the principles of a Physique Athlete contained in this guide.
That’s a promise Here’s Your Mission: You want to create your best body, right? Then you owe it to yourself to learn how to be a Physique Athlete. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll be much more savvy when it comes to evaluating nutrition and exercise plans. Better yet, I’m convinced you’ll finally change the composition and shape of your body. Once that process is in motion, you’ll realize that your instincts were right. That is; how you look is linked to your social and economic well-being, and that opens the door, to life’s most fleeting state; happiness. In a word, positively changing your physique equals CONFIDENCE. And that will transcend your life on many levels.
Believe it Let’s begin to learn the science, sport, and art, of the Physique Athlete, and get working on the body you really want.
Part One - Weight Training
Chapter 1) We Got Our Own Thing, Physique Athlete Defined Years ago, when weight-training was first used as a means for muscle development to shape and strengthen the body, the activity or sport was called ‘physical culture’. The original premise that drove men (and women) to this way of life was “physique improvement”, and the hallmark of this concept is the development of each muscle so it is pleasing to the eye and in proportion to the other muscles. This concept differs from hardcore bodybuilding to increase each muscle to its maximum, and certainly not the same as lifting weights solely for increasing strength. As weight-training proved its worth to maximize strength and increase muscle size it became the foundation for a new kind of athletic trainer; the Strength Coach. While a focus on increasing strength was maintained in weight-rooms that supported athletic programs, from high school to the pro’s, this was not the case for physique enthusiasts. For people who wanted to improve their physique, the “experts” told them to perform routines that were really a combination of three different programs; 1-for strength, 1-for increasing muscle size (aka hypertrophy) and yet another for improving body composition. These programs were popularized by muscle/fitness magazines, and later on the Internet, and have been the basis for most bodybuilding programs we see today. The programs vary for the most part in, the amount of reps per set, rest between sets, number of sets and types of movements they prescribe. It has taken years for exercise scientists to separate these training methods into more discrete disciplines; for strength, muscle gain, and improving body composition. I have taken this research and created one clear-cut method for training your muscles with weights to enhance your physique. This method can be used to meet your current level of fitness, and scaled up and down so you can keep progressing. The program focuses your muscles to operate in what I call; “The Physique Training Zone”, but you’ll also gain plenty of strength, and the main benefit will be remarkable improvements in the composition of your body.
Chapter 2) Strength, The Physique Perspective The reason we still see different programs; for strength, muscle gain, and improving body composition packaged up as one, and promoted to physique athletes is that most people equate strength with muscle gain. They also believe more strength should mean better body composition. In part, this is true, but it is misleading for you as a physique athlete. The reality is that simply getting stronger can increase your muscles, in size, tone or whatever you call it, up to 50-percent, and is limited by genetics. Simply put, the composition of your body and your physique are NOT directly related to how much weight you can lift.
Many inexperienced, and some mistaken, weight-trainees don’t realize that even though powerlifters, strength athletes and physique athletes all increase the size of the contractile elements of their muscles (generally known as muscle fibers), training methods specific to physique athletes offer much greater increases in muscle gain and improvements in body composition. Exercise scientists believe these differences are due to increases in the extracellular matrix that supports the growth process, plus stored energy substrates that fuel the production of work (MacDougall et al., 1982). A comprehensive scientific review on the development of muscle has shown that it requires a combination of mechanical stress, local muscle damage and metabolic stress (Schoenfeld, 2010). Applying these three factors starts by understanding how to define and measure “work”, which is also vital to losing bodyfat and minimizing its storage. We’ll discover how to measure work in a moment, but first let’s get on the same page regarding what it means to train with intensity.
Chapter 3) Training Intensity, The Definition Makes The Difference If you’ve read anything about building muscle, you know the word intensity is commonly thrown around, and without much context. Numerous articles are written all the time about advanced training techniques like; forced reps, drop sets and heavy negatives, which are then touted as a means to increase the “intensity” of effort. These techniques can be useful when used sparingly, but in this guide we will focus on what are called––straight-sets, because they are the “bread and butter” for the physique athlete. Exercise scientists refer to intensity as the load, or in gym speak, “how heavy is the weight you’re lifting”. But there’s a catch; what you’re lifting is then measured as a percentage of your one-rep maximum (1RM). This means if your one-rep max in the squat is 200-lbs, then lifting 150-lbs is 75% of your 1RM. Typically, training with weights between 70 and 85% of your 1RM is considered the optimal range of intensity for developing the most muscle. But, it’s not practical, or necessary to get your 1RM in every exercise because research has consistently proven that for physique athletes, performing a highervolume of work through multiple-set programs, performed in the moderate 6-12 rep range are vastly superior to single sets (Kreiger 2010, Kersick et al, 2009). This approach is even better than multiple sets in the low, 1-5 rep range (Kraemer et al, 2002). Scientists believe this is due to greater amounts of work being performed by the target muscles, which in turn causes more local damage, plus mechanical and metabolic stress. The 6-12 rep range works best because it provides the platform to induce an intensity-to-work ratio that attacks all three training-related muscle building factors we discussed previously, which is a combination of mechanical stress, local muscle damage and metabolic stress. By focusing on the amount of work your muscles perform you’ll gain another benefit; an acute, but significant increase in your natural fat burning and muscle building hormones. These naturally produced hormones; increased testosterone and insulin-like growth factor-1, plus decreased levels of cortisol are critical to both men and women for improving body composition.
Chapter 4) Too Heavy, Too Light, No-Go In The Physique Training Zone Understanding that 6-12 repetitions per set is our target rep range, makes it much easier to focus on training your muscles, not merely lifting weights. I’d like to refer to sets performed for 6-12 repetitions from now on as; The Physique Training Zone. However, choosing the right weights to use so that you are pushing yourself in each set is still an art. I prefer the old-school method of pyramiding combined with feeling the target muscle (s) working. Here’s how.
Choose your exercise Then pick a weight to warm up for 15-20 reps, and concentrate on the mental connection that allows you to control the weight in a coordinated fashion through it’s natural plane of motion. Now you’re ready for your work sets If your training program called for 4-work sets, after the warm-up above it would look like this; o Step 1) Add weight to the exercise (beyond warm-up weight) and shoot for 10-12 reps. If you get at least 10, you can add more weight for set 2. Use small increases on single-joint exercises like dumbbell curls, and bigger additions on multi-joint exercises (squats, bench press). o Set 2) if you added weight you now should get between 6-10 reps; If you get at least 8, you can add more weight for set 3 using the guideline above. For set 4 use the guide above, but remember; If you ever have trouble doing a set of 6-reps, reduce the weight in the same increments used when adding weight. Only count sets that are in the Physique Training Zone, which means performing 6-12 repetitions.
The training necessary to develop your physique is specific. Fundamentally, it’s all about doing enough work (reps) with a heavy enough weight (load).
In the next chapter youâ€™ll see how the Physique Training Zone impacts the amount of work your muscles are challenged with, and why science and experience have proven it to be the fastest and most reliable way to achieve
Your best body.
Chapter 5) The World's Best Bodies, Just Do The Work It is so fundamental, it’s worth repeating; performing sets of 6-12 reps while constantly pushing yourself intensely within this range overloads your muscles with the 3-key factors necessary to build your physique, AND keep it leaner namely; mechanical stress, local muscle damage and metabolic stress. Now, we’ll expand this into a training program that keeps us interested, motivated, and progressing. With reps as our cornerstone, let’s see how this translates into work performed, and in turn, developing your best body. Sets x Reps x Weight = The “Work” The amount of work you do for each bodypart, in a single workout, is calculated by multiplying; sets x reps x weight. So 5 sets of 8 with 100-lbs = 4000–lbs total weight lifted. Exercise scientists call this number volume, but I like to refer to it as “work”. By tracking total weight, not max weight in a given lift you’ll have a much better gauge for progression. It also shows why focusing on low reps for strength, limits, not increases the amount of work your muscles must overcome. Here’s an example using a typical “get to my max weight” pyramid plan, in the standard bench press:
135-lbs for 15 reps
2025 (warm up)
225 for 8 reps
275 for 6 reps
295 for 2 reps
315 for 1 (maybe)
Total 6380-lbs lifted To a lifter this looks great since they hit the magic 315-lb bench. To a physique athlete it’s a disaster, because by operating in the Physique Training Zone (6-12 reps) the numbers would look something like this.
135-lbs for 15 reps
2025 (warm up)
185 for 12 reps
200 for 10 reps
200 for 8 reps
215 for 6 reps
Total 9195-lbs lifted
or 44% more WORK than the example above. Understanding the simple math in this chapter, will keep your training loads or weights in the right range to stimulate muscle gain, because it focuses your program on what works, which is ironically, doing the work. Now, to stay even more focused and inflict the most stress onto your muscles, we’re going to explore rep cadence and rest between sets, which is commonly called “tempo”.
Chapter 6) Pacing The Work, The Physique Training Tempo In order to really measure the amount of stress we place on our muscles, we must consider “time”. In other words, this key variable cannot be all over the place from workout to workout, because we won’t be measuring the work in the same manner. Here’s a quick example; If you do 4 sets of bench presses with 200-lbs all for 8 reps you would have lifted: 4 x 200 x 8 = 6,400 The problem is; if you rested 3 minutes between sets, it would not be the same stress on your muscles as if you only rested 60-seconds between sets. Exercise scientists have explored the differences in rest in between sets, and we can take this information to systemize our training for maximum physique benefits. Rest In-Between Sets, Your Workout Tempo Rest intervals between sets are classified into 3 broad categories: short (30 seconds or less/muscle endurance), moderate (60–90 seconds/muscle development), and long (3 minutes or more/muscle strength). While all 3 ranges provide unique training benefits for your muscles, moderate rest intervals appear to provide a the best compromise between long and short rest periods for muscle development. And since research indicates that most of your strength capacity is recovered within the first minute after ending a set, locking in on a pace of 60-90 seconds rest between sets, depending on the difficulty of the exercise should be your target. More specifically.
On small bodyparts like biceps or triceps, you should rest no more than 60seconds between sets. On large muscle groups like quads and back, or with multi-joint exercises like squats, bench press, or rows, especially when the reps are over 10, you will likely need the full 60-90-seconds to catch your breath, and be ready for the next set.
The key is to hit the next set so that you are fatiguing the target muscle group progressively with each successive set, but not so fast that you are outrunning your cardiovascular system. The tempo should make you breathe hard right after the set, but you should recover enough breath so that your heart isn’t jumping out of your chest before your next set. Individual Rep Tempo, The Cadence Time is also a factor in how we perform each rep. Many experts refer to this as “time under tension”, and some trainers have people change these variables quite often, in hopes of getting better results. While it is true that different rep cadences can benefit power and strength specific training, it is also true for physique specific benefits. So, in staying with our plan of limiting the variables, your focus will be on the following rep cadence. For individual reps, stay focused on a 2 seconds up, 4 seconds down tempo, with a 1 second pause whenever the muscle is in the contracted/flexed position, and just before you perform the next rep. More specifically.
2 Seconds Up––when talking rep tempo the portion of the rep when you are moving or lifting the weight, is generally called the UP position. It is also called the concentric phase of the rep. In this phase, focus on a fairly quick, forceful action. The 1 second pause is recommended so that you get full contractions on each rep. 4 Seconds Down––when talking rep tempo the portion of the rep when you are fighting gravity (aka lowering the weight), is generally called the DOWN position. It is also called the eccentric or more commonly, the negative phase of the rep. The negative portion of each repetition is regarded as the most significant when it comes to muscle development, so our goal is to slow it down as if we were defying gravity. The 1 second pause at the end of the negative portion, before you perform the next rep, limits the amount of inertia, or bounce that can reduce the amount of work your muscles are performing.
By focusing on a set rep cadence and a limited range of rest in-between sets we are maximizing the "cumulative stress", your muscles must handle, which causes them to increase in size and become visually more impactful than they would by simply increasing their capacity for pure strength, or endurance. Learning how to put the right amount of stress on your muscles is key to making gains––something most people looking to build their best body never learn. You’re now way ahead of the game. We’ll cover actual training splits, plus progression and
recovery cycles in detail, in the workouts section. Next, weâ€™ll take a quick course on exercise form and function, to be sure weâ€™re developing our physique for the most visual impact.
Chapter 7) Form Follows Function, Don’t Build It, Build It Right So far we’ve discovered how a Physique Athlete should approach the individual pieces of their training, such as; reps, weights, sets and rest periods to create a system that is proven to develop their best body. Now, we’re going to review the major muscle groups, as well as the form and function of some well-known exercises, plus some you may not have used yet, so we can target each muscle group correctly. Major Muscle Groups, Minor Details Are Everything Most all training programs designed to build muscle, list exercises for major muscle groups with somewhat general descriptions on form and function. We’ll do that and more. That’s because even though it is virtually impossible to totally isolate an individual muscle “strand”, or section of a muscle group, we can pick exercises that use angles and leverage to cause these specific areas to get more stress and contract more forcefully to enhance their development. The section below covers nine major muscle groups, which are further separated into regions that when developed properly, really make a difference visually. Here’s how to use this section. Take note of the basic multi-joint movements and when possible use the angle/grip variation of the movement that you feel most in the target muscle or in a more specific region. Get familiar with the key isolation movements; many can specifically stress the target muscle, while some are the best way to achieve peak contractions. I’ve also included some personal tips for performing some of my favorite exercises with specific form, to further enhance the shape and development of your physique. Most of the time, you should use a multi-joint movement, or one of my favorites, first when training each muscle group, if possible. This increases the loading/stress factor. However, since everyone has different anatomy, once you learn how your body responds, you should mix the order of exercises in a manner that allows you to “personally feel” more stress on the target muscle (s).
All exercises listed and more can be found with full descriptions and photos at: http://www .exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html
Chest Basic or Multi-Joint Exercises Barbell or Dumbbell Pressing Movements Key Isolation Exercises Dumbbell Flyes, Cable Crossovers Angle/Grip Variations/Targets Flat Bench; General Chest, Mid/Sternal Chest Incline Bench; Upper/Clavicular Chest Decline Bench; Lower/Pectoralis Minor and Upper Chest Close Grip, Mid Chest Shoulder Width Grip is Best Overall/Avoid Extra Wide Grip, Reduces Range of Motion Vinceâ€™s Favorites Barbell Flat Bench Press to Neck (Guillotine Press); Best movement for upper chest/ reduces front deltoid power. Must use spotter and start with much less weight than regular bench press. Wide Grip Dips; great for building outer/pec minor and low pec line. Must use wide grip, and head down, chin on chest.
Back Basic or Multi-Joint Exercises Barbell or Dumbbell Rows, Low Pulley Rows, Med Grip Pulldowns to Front Key Isolation Exercises Straight Arm Pulldowns, Shrugs, Rear Dumbbell Flyes Angle/Grip Variations/Targets Barbell Rows with a shoulder width or underhand grip can increase lat involvement by emphasizing shoulder extension over transverse extension. A wide regular/overhand grip involves overall back musculature while slightly emphasizing Rear Delt, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor involvement. Vinceâ€™s Favorites Close grip/head down rowing/pulls, bar pulled to waist line; targets high lats, (for wide looking back) Medium grip, back arched in contracted position; targets mid, upper back (back thickness)
Quads Basic or Multi-Joint Exercises Barbell Squats, Hack Squats, Leg Press Key Isolation Exercises Leg Extensions Angle/Grip Variations/Targets Feet 6” apart on Barbell Squats, Hack Squats; targets outer quads/thigh sweep Wide stance, toes pointing out (frog stance), on Barbell Squats, Hack Squats; targets medial head of quads by kneecap Vince’s Favorites Leg Press with toes out, wide stance; targets medial head of quads by kneecap Hack Slide, Close stance, push out pelvis at start of movement (sissy squat motion); targets outer quads/thigh sweep.
Hamstrings Basic or Multi-Joint Exercises Barbell Squats, Hack Squats, Leg Press Key Isolation Exercises Leg Curls Stiff Leg Deadlifts Angle/Grip Variations/Targets Leg Press with feet at medium width stance, feet high on platform; targets hamstrings better Vince’s Favorites Stiff legged deadlifts, close stance; excellent stretch for hamstrings and low back complex (targets low back better than regular deadlifts in my opinion).
Abdominals/Low Back Basic or Multi-Joint Exercises Hanging Leg Lifts Heavy Ball Throw Stiff Leg Deadlifts Key Isolation Exercises Crunches, Hyperextensions Angle/Grip Variations/Targets Legs Ups On 45-degree bench; targets lower abs
Vince’s Favorites Keep tight on all movements, especially when training back. Sit ups on stability ball with feet locked; hits obliques Stiff legged deadlifts, close stance; excellent stretch for hamstrings and low back complex (targets low back better than regular deadlifts in my opinion).
Shoulders (deltoids) Basic or Multi-Joint Exercises Barbell (military) or dumbbell overhead presses Key Isolation Exercises Dumbbell Side laterals; targets lateral or medial head of deltoids (for wide look) Rear dumbbell flyes; targets rear deltoids Angle/Grip Variations/Targets Dumbbell flyes facing 45-degree bench; targets side and rear deltoids Vince’s Favorites Wide grip barbell upright rows; targets side deltoids Barbell presses without lockout; targets front and side deltoids
Triceps Basic or Multi-Joint Exercises EZ Bar French Presses (seated or lying) V-Bar Dips; close grip, head high, look at ceiling Key Isolation Exercises Medium Grip Pulley Pushdowns Overhead Rope Pulls; targets lateral/outer strand of triceps Dumbbell Kickbacks; peak contraction Angle/Grip Variations/Targets Closer grip/hands pointing inward; targets outer strand of tricep Close grip/hands pointing outward; targets inner tricep Vince’s Favorites Medium grip pulley pushdowns; targets lateral (outer) triceps Overhead Rope Pulls; targets lateral and medial triceps
Biceps/Forearms Basic or Multi-Joint Exercises Standing Barbell or Dumbbell curls EZ Bar or Barbell Reverse curls Key Isolation Exercises Preacher Curls; Targets low biceps One Arm DB Concentration Curls Any Cable Curls Angle/Grip Variations/Targets Close grip; targets biceps peak Wide grip; targets bicep thickness Reverse Grip; targets forearms and brachialis (muscle between bicep and tricep) Vince’s Favorites Close Grip Preacher curls (machine); low biceps, peak and constant tension Wide Grip Cable curls; bicep thickness, constant tension
Calves Basic or Multi-Joint Exercises Standing Calf Raises Key Isolation Exercises Seated calf raises; lower calves Calf Raises on leg press (CAUTION, MUST KEEP SPOTTER PINS IN LEG PRESS AT ALL TIMES) Angle/Grip Variations/Targets Toes pointed in; outer calves Toes pointed out; inner calves Vince’s Favorites Standing calf raises, knees slightly bent on way up, knees locked at bottom for full stretch, motion going up should feel like you’re jumping, knees bent slightly for max contraction at top. (you don’t jump with your knees locked) Use weight that you can handle do you get a full contraction at top portion of movement
All exercises listed and more can be found with full descriptions and photos at: http://www .exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html
The objective in this chapter is to create a list of exercises that can be used to get you building your best body right now, and also allow you to specifically focus on problem areas of your physique. You don’t want to just build muscle wherever you can, as this usually results in a physique that can look worse with added size, because people tend to overwork/build their strong points, and avoid their weaknesses. The goal of the Physique Athlete and hopefully yours, is to build a body that looks better tomorrow than it does today. If you’re just starting out, you’ll likely need to get a bit more muscle, or lose some bodyfat so you can evaluate your body better. Some of you already know what areas of your physique need more attention, so you may want to begin focusing on these areas right away. To take full control of your development, the following “general rules” must also be in play.
Always emphasize your slowest-growing and/or least-developed muscles in your training more than your fastest-growing and/or best-developed muscles. Give your weak points priority in your workouts, training them first when your energy, strength and enthusiasm are highest. Do more total sets and train your weak points more frequently. In order to create a better shape and improve proportions, sometimes it might be necessary to hold back gains in some faster-growing or overdeveloped muscles to allow the slower-growing or less developed muscles to “catch up.” Emphasize the origins and insertions of the muscles when you train, not just the central belly of the muscle. Basic exercises tend to develop just the belly of a muscle. This is important for building mass, but too much mass in the belly gives a muscle a shortened, “bunched-up look.” For enhanced shape, use isolation exercises to develop the origins and insertions.
The weight-training movements above and the resource listed allows you to have a virtual library of exercises necessary to build your best body. Now it’s critical to understand how to use progression and recovery to maximize our results.
Chapter 8) Physique Training Cycles; Progression and Recovery Simplified One of the most important concepts that seems to allude many physique athletes is periodization, or cycling their training. Most of this information is geared for sports performance where you split off training in three buckets; strength, hypertrophy (muscle gain) and strength-endurance. Some experts believe these buckets should be done in 6-week increments, or split up on different days during each training week, which are respectively called, linear and undulating periodization. However, the need for the three buckets listed above is due to the belief that a physique athlete actually needs to cycle periods of strength, hypertrophy (muscle gain) and strength-endurance training.
You Don’t That’s why we blew up that concept in the previous chapters. We’ve intentionally focused the Physique Training Zone in the 6-12 rep range, with multiple sets, spaced 60-90 seconds apart. True, we’ve done this for focus, but even more importantly, by keeping these variables basically static, the only variable we need to cycle is the amount of work, or “volume”. This allows us to create a much tighter map of progression and recovery that will then be cycled. The Volume and Rest Relationship The program below offers three levels of training volume that also include adjustments for how many days rest you should take before training the same body part again. These levels of training can be easily altered to fit your schedule. For example, when doing about 5-sets per bodypart, you can easily split upper and lower body (2-day split) and train within the recommended 4-days per week. Moving up to 8sets per bodypart you should split your body into a 3 days on, one off scenario, and so on.
It is important to remember that because of work, family and other commitments (or stressors), your energy level can change from workout to workout. This is another reason I don’t recommend training cycles that are too rigid. It is best to back off on days you lack energy, and do a bit more if you have extra energy. The goal is to stay in the game, and avoid burnout. The best bodies are built on constancy as it’s the small gains that become remarkable over time.
Exercises and Variety Because total sets are lower in Cycle-1, you should focus on multi-joint movements such as presses for chest, squats for legs, and rows for back, then add in other movements as needed. When you move into the other cycles, you should still keep the multi-joint movements in, but also generate higher levels of stress on each muscle group with additional movements in a variety of angles. Each cycle should be done for 3-weeks, before moving up. Once you finish your highest cycle, return back to cycle one. Exercise scientists have noted that this allows your body to progress to the point of overreaching (with less chance of overtraining), while tapering back down will allow your body to super-compensate (Fry, 2004). The result is you’ll be bigger, stronger, and tighter than you were before the cycles began. Simply put; you’ll make better gains by moving through each cycle and onto the next about every 4-weeks. You can go in a simple progression; 1,2,3,4, to 1, 2,3,4 and repeat, or from cycle; 1, 2, 3, 4, back to; 3, 2, 1. It’s really up to you, but don’t “dog it”. The goals are;
1) stay in the game and 2) progression.
Remember the day you become a physique athlete, because if you ever quit, you can’t honestly say you “were” one. The Cycles Note: Look at each working set (not warmups). All sets performed within 6-12 reps, with 60-90 seconds rest between set.
YOU ARE COUNTING TOTAL SETS NOT REPS
2 day split, train 4 days per week only. o Split body into 2 workouts; Workout 1) All Upper Body, Workout 2) All Lower Body and Abs Volume: each body part gets 4-sets per workout (1-exercise) Rest before training same bodypart––at least 48-hours
3 day split o Split Body Into 3-Workouts; Workout 1) Chest and Back, Workout 2) Quads, Hamstrings, Calves and Abs/Low Back, Workout 3) Shoulders, Biceps/ Forearms and Triceps o Train 3 on one off, then repeat Volume: each body part gets about 8-sets per workout (2-exercises). Rest before training same bodypart––at least 72 hours
3 or 4 day split, (add another day to the 3 day above to spread out workload), train 4 days on, one off, then repeat. Volume: each body part gets about 12 sets per workout (3 exercises) Rest before training same bodypart––at least 96-120 hours
(minimum 1-year training)
4 day split, train 4 days on, one off, then repeat Volume: each body part gets 16 sets per workout (4-exercises) Rest before training same bodypart––at least 120 hours
Remember, if you try and train a body part again when it is still tender to the touch, you should consider adding another rest day to your program. Mapping out cycles of training allows you to stay focused, avoid burnout and rebound with more real gains in muscle size than you’ll ever get by get “winging it”.
Part Two - Nutrition
Chapter 9) Make Yourself; Slow is Steady, Steady IS Fast The majority of my professional career has been spent in the field of nutrition and performance supplements designed to help athletes gain muscle and lose fat. I’ve focused my efforts on creating nutritional plans that not only get results, but more importantly bring forth concepts that can be applied throughout life. That’s because nutrition designed to get you leaner and more muscular must be able to stand up to the element of time, for lasting results. If not, you’re only getting a diet, which by definition isn’t a plan you can maintain. The slow and steady nutrition plan, IS the FASTEST way to your best body, because it’s the only one that lasts.
Instead of offering short term fixes, I’m going to give you principles that can be used year round and even modified slightly to accelerate fat loss or muscle gain. All this without resorting to drastic measures that bounce you into a yo-yo cycle of “bulking and cutting” that never ends. I believe that to understand what you should eat, you need to know “the why” behind it. In the next few chapters we’ll do a quick review of the most popular “sports nutrition” diets. This will allow you to learn why these plans just aren’t right for the physique athlete, before we get into what you should eat and why. Let’s go.
Chapter 10) Sports Performance & Endurance, Nutrition For The Masses For years registered dietitians and related nutritional ‘experts’ with letters behind their names have lumped dietary guidelines for “athletes” together, sometimes under the name “sports nutrition”. The key terms here are; “athletes and sports”, used in a homogenized form. On its face, these descriptions alone should make any real expert nutritionist cringe. Yet, it seems that their belief is that “anyone” who does “any” athletic activity or sport is part of some generic mass of people.
Of course they aren’t No offense, to any dietitians or nutritional experts reading this. The plan I’m referring to has a rightful place with athletes who are focused on, e.g., sports performance or endurance capacity. Not for those of us who just want to build muscle and improve body composition. If you want to debate, let this guide be my personal position. Optimize Energy Storage, And Bodyfat At The Same Time The standard diet for athletes involved in organized sports as well as most any activity with an endurance component, consists of; 60-70% of its calories from carbohydrate, 20-30% from protein and 10% from fat. This diet emphasizes carbohydrates because the endurance or “sports” athlete places high demands on energy resources. For the physique athlete this diet should be avoided because:
Diets that contain significantly more carbohydrate than protein at each meal, shift energy storage into fat cells, not muscle cells (Devkota 2011). High carb diets cause larger and longer spikes in the hormone insulin, which significantly reduces or stops your body from burning fat. By design, your calorie intake on a high carb diet needs to be extremely high to deliver the protein you need.
Lastly, this guide is intended for Physique Athletes that have; family, work, social and even school commitments that limit the amount of time they have to train beyond what is contained herein. That’s the point, you don’t have to train more. Unless you
have a very physical job, most of the time you’re not exercising, and so a high carb “athletic” diet is impractical at best, and in my view counterproductive.
Chapter 11) Low-Carb/High Protein, The Quick Fix, Needs A Fix Nearly all of the major diet breakthroughs for maximizing body-composition were born from trial and error done by the most hyper-obsessed physique enthusiasts on the planet; competitive bodybuilders. The low carb/high protein diet is likely the most popular of them all, yet misses the mark for long term physique enhancement. There are various marketing “faces” for low carb diets, such as the Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, Protein Power to name but a few. The concept is also the “hidden magic” inside many calorie reducing diets, as well as the popular Paleo Nutrition Plan. Marketed primarily to sedentary people, the most popular low carb diets simply emphasize severely restricting carb intake, while you can eat all the fat and protein you want. These are the worst variations for our needs. For purposes of this discussion we’ll assume that a low carbohydrate diet also means one that calls for higher protein intake, which is the form bodybuilders popularized. Lose Some Fat, Gain a Straightjacket The standard bodybuilding low carb/high protein diet calls for eating 50 to 100grams of carbohydrate per day, while keeping protein levels at about 1-gram or more per pound of bodyweight. Most users are told they can add liberal amounts of fats into the diet to meet energy needs. Some low carb diets do offer a buffer by telling users to eat carbs in a cyclical manner, e.g. every few days or after training only. The cyclical diets can work, but in my experience they force the user to become very rigid socially, and generally make nutrition more difficult to manage than is actually necessary. And the gains are short term at best. In principle, low carb/high protein diets have scientific merit. The basic idea is to; 1) limit the amount of glucose your body gets through your diet (all carbs eventually become glucose), which increases the use of bodyfat as fuel and 2) cause fewer spikes of the hormone insulin, which keeps your fat burning switch on. The combination arguably makes you leaner, but there are significant trade offs. For the physique athlete this diet should be avoided because:
Physique Athletes do more work than sedentary folks––even typical weight lifters, though less than endurance athletes. Training for Physique Athletes involves a relatively high-intensity, high-volume of work, which requires stored carbohydrate energy (glycogen) in muscle. Training for Physique Athletes is designed to build contractile muscle fibers, and also increase your muscles capacity to store energy---which requires carbs to make your muscles look full and healthy, not flat. Low carb diets are good for people who are insensitive to insulin in muscle, meaning they have severe difficulty (or rather no need) to shuttle glucose into muscle cells –– Physique training is a much better solution. Low carb diets must be adhered to long term because your fat cells become more sensitive to insulin, which is the bodies way of saying; “when you give me carbs, I’m going to store every last molecule”.
My experience as a bodybuilding competitor decades ago created the foundation of the nutritional beliefs in the guide, and are now backed up by science. It has been through a lifetime of “dieting” that made me realize that the value of any nutrition plan is determined by the ratio of; how difficult it is to maintain, versus the long term “cosmetic” benefits. For the record, I have personally used low carb/high protein diets, but always came back to a more moderate approach, which we’ll cover next.
Chapter 12) Physique Nutrition; Redirecting The Magical Chemistry Tour Food plays a crucial role in the composition of your body. And it isn’t simply about energy in, energy out. It’s about chemicals. The food you eat truly becomes active after it becomes chemical messengers inside your body. The human body orchestrates these chemicals with elaborate sensors that are nothing short of ingenious. Trouble is, your metabolic sensors are not designed to keep you lean and muscular, otherwise any diet or nutrition plan would work. Instead it’s programmed to insure that;
1) your brain has fuel, and 2) you stay alive.
The system is actually designed to compensate when nutrition is scarce, which is why you should avoid extreme diets. The goal of the physique athlete is to use training and nutrition to slowly and consistently redirect your body’s most important metabolic choice. That is, where to store the food you eat; muscle or fat. More Muscle, Less Fat; Don’t Fight The System I emphasized that our system (biochemistry) is designed to compensate when nutrition is scarce, because by definition all diets try and fool the system with some form of scarcity. Most of the time the scarcity is energy or calories in general, but sometimes it could be any macronutrient, which are proteins, carbohydrates or fats. The system fights scarcity by storing fat, and with numerous ways to make glucose, the preferred energy source for the brain. While it should seem obvious that the brain is critical for survival, most people don’t know that the body can make glucose from the fat and protein in our diet, and off our body. In my opinion, this brilliant biochemical trick is the linchpin to any nutrition plan designed to enhance body composition. The key is learning how to leverage our biochemistry and avoid fighting our built in survival mechanisms. Nutrition and Training Matched; Metabolic Leverage In Your Control Besides training, the main players in your personal biochemistry set are; proteins, carbohydrates and fats (a.k.a. macronutrients). Without getting too technical or
longwinded, here is a highlight reel outlining the metabolic implications and leverage that different macronutrients plus training offer the physique athlete. Protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which not only turns on your muscle building machinery, it also increases energy expenditure naturally. Reducing carbs in your diet ramps up gluconeogenesis, which is how your body makes ‘new’ glucose from ‘non-carbohydrate’ sources. Ramping up gluconeogenesis causes fat and protein to be broken down to make glucose. Added protein to your diet helps protect muscle when gluconeogenesis is ramped up (we want fat, not muscle to be burned here). Physique athlete training is designed to burn and store carbohydrates, which further stimulates gluconeogenesis. Proper physique training redirects the vast majority of the glucose provided by the food you eat to be transported into your skeletal muscle cells (Baron et al., 1988). Generally speaking, as you increase your training volume, the exercised muscles will incur a greater depletion of stored carbohydrate (glycogen), thereby prompting an elevation in overall fat-burning metabolism. If you consume too much carbohydrate, i.e., exceeding your storage capacity in tissues other than fat cells, you will eventually incur a net fat gain. Eating carbohydrate stimulates the oxidation of glucose and its storage as glycogen (Acheson et al., 1982). Eating carbohydrate will instruct your metabolism to burn less fat temporarily, since it has carbohydrates to burn, but it will also cause it to store and oxidize that carbohydrate. Concerning carbohydrate calories, arguably the most important factor determining your ability to lose body fat is the quantity of carbohydrate you eat. Dietary carbohydrate powerfully ‘leverages’, or stimulates, its own oxidation, fat does so to a much lesser degree. Contrary to popular belief, eating more fat does not substantially increase fat burning metabolism, causing more of it to be stored (Flatt et al., 1985; Forslund et al., 1999). The list above is not exhaustive, but rather intended to give you better insight into why the physique nutrition plan in the next section is the most sensible choice.
Chapter 13) Physique Athlete Nutrition; The Breakdown, To Build Up The nutritional approach described below is specifically designed for physique athletes, so you can achieve 4 things:
1) lose body fat faster, 2) build muscle faster, 3) eat more food and 4) live your life.
This is not intended to be a diet, but rather a nutrition plan that won’t leave you feeling too restricted or deprived. You’ll have the energy to train properly, maximize your body composition and best of all, life your life. Let’s work through it step by step.
STEP ONE: Start by Eating 15 Calories per Pound of Body Weight I firmly believe that the ratio of, proteins to carbs to fats, you consume each day is as important, if not more so than calories. But to get a grip on these ratio’s you need a starting point. This section is that starting point, or baseline, and nothing more. To get you started on the Physique Nutrition Plan, we’ll begin by calculating our energy intake at, 15 Calories (or ‘kcalories’) per pound of body weight. Keep in mind, the ‘per pound of body weight’ description would imply you are feeding metabolically ‘inactive’ tissue such as your fat. Nevertheless, in my opinion calculating your lean, or ‘non-fat’ body mass and a calorie level for it is much more work, and really not worth the hassle. In order to acclimated with the breakdown of the food you eat, I suggest going online or getting a calorie-counting guide (e.g., the Nutrition Almanac) that tells you how much energy (calories), protein, fat and carbohydrate are in a serving of as broad a variety of foods as possible. Don’t make it rocket science, as it doesn’t have to be. Simply watch your mirror closely for the next 2 weeks and adjust your 15 Calories/lb value up or down accordingly. If you are relatively inactive, this may be too much food; for the highly active, it may be too little.
STEP TWO: Divide your Calories over 5-6 Smaller Meals Physique athletes are often advised to consume smaller meals (e.g., 5-6) spaced evenly over the course of day. My intention here is not to prevent a fall in your metabolic rate, which is often suggested, but simply to provide a stable supply of muscle-building materials and to keep blood sugar levels from going up or down wildly--which sends off false triggers to eat more than necessary. The ‘small and more frequent’ approach to eating increases the chances that the calories you eat will be directed toward lean tissue (muscle, connective tissue, bone) and away from fat stores --which, of course, is exactly what you want. Here’s another meal scheduling trick. Physical activity, like training in the gym, turns your muscles into your very own personal energy (calories) ‘sponges’. They effectively ‘suck’ up the food energy you consume, effectively ‘robbing’ them from your fat cells. You can take advantage of this fact by having slightly larger meals after your weighttraining sessions or other periods of physical activity. Eat smaller meals during your less active portions of the day. This may seem insignificant, but over time it can become a big deal when it comes to redirecting energy towards lean muscle rather than as extra body fat.
STEP THREE: Eat More Protein than You ‘Need’ –40% of Your Calories Physique athletes can benefit from .75 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day (Lemon et al., 1997). However, my protein recommendations are even higher, because eating a diet that contains up to 1.35 g per pound/bodyweight/day) yet lower in carbohydrate can allow you to burn more fat both during exercise and at rest (Forslund et al., 1999). This plan is vastly superior to one lower (though still adequate in) protein and higher in carbohydrate for establishing a positive protein balance (Forslund et al., 1999), which is an essential requirement for adding lean muscle to your physique.
STEP FOUR: Eat 40% of your Calories as ‘Intact’, Slow-Digesting Carbohydrate Okay, so you’ve calculated your baseline calorie intake using the 15 Calories/lb of body weight rule. 40% of those calories will come from protein. Another 40% of your calories will come from carbohydrate. This will allow you to keep up with the energy demands of your training and keep your your muscles from looking flat. “What type of carbs should I eat?” It isn’t just the amount, but also the type of carbs you eat that can affect the progress of your muscle gain and body composition. My recommendation is to get your carbs come from ‘intact’, slow-absorbing sources. The simplest way to do this is by consuming only natural, ‘whole’ (unrefined, unprocessed) foods --the foods that are generally found in the perimeter of the grocery store. I call these foods inconvenient foods. Carbohydrates and the Glycemic Index (GI) A lot has been written about the Glycemic Index (GI) of carbohydrates, here’s a quick review. We use the GI to rate the tendency of carbohydrate-containing foods to raise your blood glucose (and thereby, insulin) levels following their consumption. Our metabolic equipment likely has the capacity to use low-GI, biologically ‘intact’ (unprocessed) carbohydrate-containing foods much better when it comes to achieving the physique benefits we want. In fact, studies performed in the 1930s (Cuthbertson and Munro, 1939), showed that sustained nutrient delivery, such as would be expected to occur by eating smaller, more frequent meals consisting of unprocessed nutrients is superior for enhancing lean tissue and minimizing body fat. Higher-GI Foods, and The Runaway Appetite When it comes to appetite regulation, sustained delivery of energy appears to be best. Higher-GI foods, because of their effects on blood sugar and the accompanying insulin secretion, can cause your blood glucose to fall to a lower level than that which occurred prior to their consumption. Your brain interprets this as a threat to your glucose supply and reacts by stimulating appetite. This can make you extremely hungry, even though you are actually well fed. This is sometimes called, reactive hypoglycemia, which results in ‘rebound eating’. This explains why a regular soda and a bagel kicks in a “runaway appetite”. This is the nasty side effect of what is commonly known as the sugar roller-coaster. In effect, your system is trying to match the high level of insulin in your bloodstream, which got spiked rapidly with the fast acting sugars, but are cleared out before the insulin levels come down.
STEP FIVE: Eat 20% of your Calories as Fat ---Mostly Unsaturated Fat The physique nutrition plan allows you to eat 20% of your calories from fat. However, like carbs, I believe the type of fat you eat matters. While the debate over which fats are more or less “healthy”, seems to never end, the jury is out on trans fats. That is, they are not recommended. Note, I am not a nutritional biochemist, but my personal experience suggests that you certainly cannot eat all the fat you want, and expect to look your best. This is true even eating a zero carb diet. You may lose scale weight, but you will not maximize your body composition. Even the evolutionary/ancestral diet ‘experts’ like those who prescribe the popular “Paleo plans”, don’t actually agree on which fats are best. With respect to body composition, the consensus however does point to eating less saturated fat, and more unsaturated fats. Generally speaking, animal fats are richer in saturated fats. The harder a fat is at room temperature (e.g., cooled bacon drippings vs. vegetable oil), the more saturated it tends to be. Plant fats tend to be richer in unsaturated fats, though cold-water fish are also good sources. Processed fats (e.g., vegetable oils, lard) should be avoided as much as possible.
Chapter 14) Eating Like A Physique Athlete, Recommended Food Lists Lean Protein Sources High-quality, lean protein sources include chicken or turkey breasts, broiled or steamed fish, lean cuts of beef, non-fat and 2% fat cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and water-packed tuna. Carbohydrates To spread your meals out properly, most every meal should contain at least some carbohydrate. Focus on eating low-to moderate-glycemic index carbohydrate. You can find Glycemic Index tables all over the Internet. Physique nutrition means eating more foods that in their whole, unprocessed state. Your training will allow you to eat starchy carbs which include (though are not limited to); brown rice, yams, steel-cut rolled oats, and baked potatoes. Don't drive yourself crazy trying to make each meal â€˜perfectâ€™. Just think whole, unprocessed --as close to nature as you can get. Fibrous Carbs These are the low-GI, biologically very intact carbs. To ensure good health and to alleviate any wild blood sugar swings, ample amounts of fibrous carbs should be eaten at each meal. The only exception is that if the starchy carb (like steel cut oats) contains ample fiber or if you are in a hurry use a fiber supplement such as Metamucil. My favorite approach to getting more fibrous, vegetable carbs in my diet has always been a bit of a cheat. Truth is, it works. I opt for blends of frozen vegetables from the local supermarket and microwave them. There are several good varieties that can found virtually in any good grocery store. Many of them have ethnic styles such as fiesta blend (Mexican) as well as Italian, Japanese and Oriental. It sure beats the heck out of shopping, dicing and slicing produce.