Archive for January, 2011

The Training Trio: Are 3 Partners a Crowd?

In a blog last month, I covered the 4 Big Benefits of working out with a training partner.  But does the old maxim that “two’s company and three’s a crowd” apply to gym workouts?  Some people would say so. The disadvantage of a training as a threesome is obvious: an extra training partner can slow everything down.  With two partners, both are always occupied – one is doing a set while the other is spotting, and vice versa.  It’s easy for two partners to get into a steady rhythm and there’s no excuse for extended rest periods.  Nobody is ever standing around with nothing to do.  With trio training, one partner is always neither doing a set nor spotting.  That’s when a talky partner can become a distraction, diverting the spotter’s attention – a potential danger – or simply slowing down the overall workout pace.

But the advantages of trio training can be significant, too.  Here are 3 suggestions for making the most of a training trio: Read the rest of this entry »

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STRETCH to GROW!

As a natural for life bodybuilder I need to gain every advantage possible when trying to build muscle. This means that any training or nutritional strategy that I can implement that will force my system into an anabolic (muscle-building) state has to be utilized consistently if I have any chance of pushing my physique (and my “alpha-ness”) to greater levels as I age. One of the best methods I have found for inducing new growth is the use of a technique called “stretch under tension.” Now, you must understand this is no ordinary form of stretching, and is not part of any kind of warm-up or cool-down from exercise. Rather, it is a vital part of your actual workout! What you need to do to make use of this little muscle-inducing “trick” is to pick one exercise per workout (for each muscle group that you are training) that has a strong stretch component. Some examples would be DB flyes for chest, seated cable rows for lats, sissy squats for quads, stiff leg deadlifts for hams, and overhead DB extensions for triceps. Now, instead of performing the movement at a normal rep speed you will utilize a tempo of 3/4/X, which means lowering the weight slowly over 3 seconds, holding the deep stretch for 4 seconds, and then exploding out of the bottom using only muscular power. By doing this you will be forcing the muscle to undergo a deep/exaggerated stretch using the tension that the weight provides, which has been shown to stimulate both the natural release of the powerful growth hormone IGF-1 and the proliferation of satellite cells! These are two absolutely essential ingredients in the process that leads to muscle hypertrophy! So, you now have your mission…stretch to grow!

To learn about more physique-transforming methods go to www.alphamaleadvancedworkouts.com and get the newest training E-book that is taking the fitness industry by storm!

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Lifting: It does a brain good!

We’ve been hearing for many years about the benefits of keeping active on the health of our brain.  If, like me, you are not getting any younger, you are probably trying to do all you can to keep that edge.  Most of the suggestions have focused on maintaining mental activity (sure can’t hurt) or the value of aerobic exercise.  Sometimes, as an avid resistance trainer, I have wondered if I was missing something.  What about lifting weight?

Well, fortunately, although at this point it may only be animal work (and we know that there are shortcomings in applying animal models to humans), research is emerging that suggests that resistance exercise is also good for our brain.  I think most of us suspect this – we know it “works” for us – now we have some evidence for it.  While we don’t tie weights to our tails and climb ladders, I have done a few sets of squats that felt like it.  Rats who do show increases in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which may generate increases in neurons in the brain.  Behaviorally, they showed enhanced learning and memory.

Nah…we’re not rats….but it seems to me we have a good formula for doing all we can to remain healthy and vigorous Alphas across our lifespan:  Eat healthy (fuel), exercise your mental muscles (attitude) and stay active – both aerobically and anaerobically (architecture).

So…the brains or brawn thing?  Just a myth, a leftover from the old days of body-typing.

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Arginine and the Alpha Male!

Walk into any health food/nutrition store and you will be bombarded with shelves and shelves of pills, potions and powders in colorful cans, canisters and containers, all promising to give you the body of your dreams. Grab one of those products and read the label and your confusion will likely get even worse. There are so many new ingredients out there with fancy names that you have to be a freaking scientist to understand what it is you are putting into your body!

Well, here at Team Alpha Headquarters one of our goals is to help you more easily navigate your way through the sometimes dizzying world of sports supplementation, and provide you with solid, well-documented information about what actually “works,” and what is just hype!

Arginine is an amino acid that has been around for a long time, and was once purported to be a natural growth hormone releaser. However, due to the fact that in most studies it was injectable  arginine that was used to increase GH, and that the oral form had to be taken in way too large of amounts to produce a similar effect, its popularity had gone by the wayside.

In recent years though, arginine made somewhat of a comeback when its role in increasing the body’s nitric oxide production was revealed to the bodybuilding/fitness world. Nitric oxide is a natural chemical that it critical for blood flow control, regulating a process called vasodilation. Greater nitric oxide results in increased blood flow, which in practical terms for us lifters means a far better muscle pump, enhanced nutrient delivery to tissues, and even reduced blood pressure during exercise. Pretty cool stuff!

But, the benefits of arginine do not stop there. In a recent review of literature, by Jason McKnight and colleagues from Texas A & M University, it was concluded that arginine can promote positive body composition changes as well! Yes, that means less body fat and more muscle! It appears that arginine works by decreasing food intake, increasing metabolic rate, and reducing the growth of white adipose tissue (storage fat), all of which can contribute to a leaner you!

I have personally had good success with arginine when taking in 2-3 grams per day thirty minutes before breakfast, exercise and my final meal of the day.

Arginine is a rather cheap and yet effective supplement that can help you further your Alpha Male status.

Note:  The brand new, cutting-edge, scientifically-driven ALPHA MALE ADVANCED WORKOUT E-BOOK is now available! Nothing will transform your physique more radically or quickly than this program! The time is now! www.alphamaleadvancedworkouts.com

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How can you tell if you’ve had a Great Workout?

One common way to tell if you’ve had a terrific and challenging training session is if you accomplished a new personal best in the poundage department.  It’s simple mathematics.  If your previous record was 8 reps at a given weight and now you grind out 10 strict reps at that weight, you’ve scaled a new strength peak!  Great workout!

Of course, handling increased resistance isn’t the only way to have a fantastic workout.  You can juggle other variables of intensity such as number of sets, repetition ranges, rep tempo, or rest between sets, or you can throw advanced intensity techniques like forced reps into the mix.  Whenever you can add intensity to your regular exercises, you’re heading in the right direction.

I say “regular exercises” because most guys tend to gravitate toward certain favorite exercises, and even toward specific machines.  The usual reason?   It’s because they suit our individual biomechanics and we’re good at them (as in, we can handle weights on them that are more impressive relative to the weights we handle on other similar machines). Read the rest of this entry »

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The Ultimate Look-Your-Best Program is Here!!

It’s officially the New Year and the gyms are once again filled with the short-term commitment people.  Most will be long gone by late February, and will never meet their goals of losing fat, building rock hard muscle, and getting into amazing shape.  You can go to the gym and flounder around if you like.  But I’ve got a better solution.  Put yourself in our hands.  My True Alpha brother Eric Broser has worked with James and I to design an absolutely jaw-dropping ten-week advanced program for anyone looking to take their Alpha Male status to new heights! 

The Alpha Male Advanced Workouts program is something completely new, a sophisticated but easy-to-follow, science-based cross-periodized training blueprint that can jack up your body to a whole new level of size, strength and definition in only 10 weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

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