I love my PhD research. After three years, very few people can say that, but here I am. Now the reason for such positivity is not because a student recently gave me whiskey as a […]
Although sometimes people take up bodybuilding to lose weight, the majority take to the sport in an attempt to add weight and gain muscle size to their frames. This is especially true for teenagers and young adults. As one matures with age it is usually much easier to gain weight, sometimes too much weight. Individuals who are extremely thin go through just as difficult a time as those that are excessively overweight. Being extremely skinny was the reason I took up bodybuilding in the first place.
1 — You can get as big as a pro bodybuilder without taking steroids; it just takes longer.
Despite what many of the magazines say, all professional bodybuilders use either steroids or steroids in combination with other growth-enhancing drugs. Without manipulating hormones, it just isn’t possible to get that degree of muscularity, the paper-thin skin, and the continuing ability to pack on mass, despite sometimes having poor workout habits and relative ignorance of the principles involved that many pro bodybuilders have. Many supplement distributors, in order to sell their products, would have you believe otherwise.
Still, that’s no reason to give up. By using state-of-the-art training principles, consuming a nutrient-rich diet, and by getting proper amounts of rest, almost every person can make incredible changes in his or her physique. The competitive bodybuilder circuit may not be in your future, but building the kind of physique that gains you respect is certainly achievable, as are self-respect and robust health.
2 — In order to get really big, you have to eat a super-high-calorie diet.
Well, that’s true; you’ll get really big if you eat a super high-calorie diet, but you’ll look like the Michelin Man’s fraternal twin. However, if you want to get big, lean-tissue wise, then super-high- calorie diets are probably not for you unless you are one of those very few people with metabolicrates so fast you can burn off these calories instead of depositing them as fat. Unfortunately, studies show that, in most people, about 65% of the new tissue gains brought about by high-calorie diets consists of fat! Of the remaining 35%, approximately 15% consists of increased intracellular fluid volume, leaving a very modest percentage attributable to increased lean muscle mass.
According to Dr Scott Connelly (MM2K, Spring 1992, p. 21), only about 20% to 25% of increased muscle growth stems from increased protein synthesis. The rest of the muscle growth is directly attributable to increased proliferation of the satellite cells in the basal lamina of muscle tissue, and dietary energy (calories) is not a key factor in the differentiation of these cells into new myofibres (muscle cells).
Of all factors determining muscle growth, prevention of protein breakdown (anti-catabolism) seems to be the most relevant, but adding adipose [fat] tissue through constant overfeeding can actually increase muscle proteolysis (breakdown). Furthermore, additional adipose mass can radically alter hormone balances which are responsible for controlling protein breakdown in muscle. Insulin balance, for one, which partially controls anti- catabolism in the body, is impaired by consistent overfeeding. So much for the eat-big-to-get-big philosophy!
Stay away from the super-high calorie diets unless you’re a genetic freak, or you’re woefully lean and don’t mind putting on fat [or you’re using appropriate pharmaceutical supplements].
A quick tip on military pressing from the Iron Guru himself, Vince Gironda. Known for his unique approach to the bench press and the squat, it should come as no surprise to learn that Gironda […]
Though few exercise programmes maintain a venerated status for long in the Iron Game, the mystique surrounding 20 Rep Squat programmes has endured. As hinted by the name, such programmes require lifters to back squat twenty times before unloading the bar, and in my own experience, lying on the ground questioning your decision-making.
Primarily touted for individuals struggling to build mass or to bulk up their legs, such programmes originated in the 1920s and 30s. That they still exist, albeit with some modifications, is testament to their efficacy and popularity. The goal of today’s post is to highlight the original promoters of the programme, to explore the writers who kept the idea in the public mind and finally to question why the programme remains popular in the current age.
Weightlifting supplements, despite their ubiquity nowadays, are a relatively new addition to the realm of weightlifting. While the practice of eating mystical substances in the hope of improved athletic performance dates to Greco-Roman times, the marketing of explicit ‘body building’ supplements is a far more recent phenomenon.
Dating really to the emergence of physical culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, these supplements represented the first rudimentary efforts to market foods explicitly for those interested in picking heavy things up and putting them back down again. As expected, these supplements centred on muscle building, celebrity endorsements and benefits extending far beyond strength.
One point that always fascinates me about training is the sheer diversity one finds when it comes to training systems, exercises and training philosophies. What works for one trainee can prove pointless to another. No matter how good the programme, it often has to be tailored towards the individual, and indeed, we often find that the most successful trainees when it comes to bodybuilding have devised or used workouts advantageous to themselves.
Today’s post is a case in point. Titled ‘Peripheral Heart Action’ or PHA training, this form of exercise has come to be associated with Bob Gajda, the 1966 Mr. America Winner. Counting a host of proponents, including Charles Poliquin, PHA training is a rather interesting combination of circuit, strength and hypertrophy designed with bodybuilding in mind. That being the case, today’s post seeks to answer three simple questions. What is PHA Training and who invented it? Why did it come to be associated with Gajda and finally how can it be used for the modern trainee?
It was the first really warm day of spring. The trees and shrubs displayed tiny buds, but the insects and crawling creatures were not yet out in force and, best of all, the poison ivy was still dormant. It was the ideal time to hike through the woodlands of the Susquehanna State Park. I tracked down the source of a small stream, watched a six-foot blacksnake slither up the limbs of a sapling in order to do some serious sunbathing, and observed a dozen adventuresome canoeists guide their crafts over the white water of Deer Creek.
Recently I had the privilege of going through the British Library’s fantastic collection of physical culture books, workout courses and magazines as part of my PhD research. Though this was work, in the lightest sense of the word, I made a point of reading as much as the great institution had to offer.
One book which caught my eye is the subject of today’s post and I’m sure in a few moments you’ll understand why. Published in 1908 by Health & Strength magazine, the famed British physical culture magazine, Tricks and Tests of the Muscles is an incredibly detailed and imaginative way of testing one’s own strength. Of course, we’ll be attaching the book in its entirety at the end of the post but before that I want to run through some of the more interesting tests.
Building muscle is one of the most common fitness goals for all kinds of people, but it is also one that requires a good deal of commitment and effort. And if you are going to be investing all this extra energy, you want to make sure that you are doing the right things to get you to your goal in the most efficient way possible. Though there is a whole range of different advice out there that is specific to different muscle groups, here is some information to provide you with a good overview.