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Wednesday
May032017

Garage Gym Workout: Squats Lunges and Deadlifts with Darren

I have been training lately with Darren, my Crossfit partner from a few years back. Darren has a nice free weight setup in his garage with a rack, bench, bars, lots of plates and some dumbbells. It's a great setup to do the classic compound movements and it's really awesome to have a partner to push me!

Darren and I are pretty close in strength and fairly close in age, I am 48 and Darren is 54. I have been wanting to show some more training session videos and so now it looks like I will be able to again :)

In this first Garage Gym Training Video we hit legs and do a variety of squats, lunges and even some straight leg deadlifts to finish off.

Monday
Apr242017

Road to Canadian Nationals 2017 - It Begins!

It has officially begun! Today was the first day of my contest preparation for the 2017 Canadian Nationals where I will be competing in Men's Masters Physique and defending my first place title :) I have more to prove this year, my hope is to not only take first place in the tall division but also win the overall 1st place and get my IFBB Pro Card. I was super close last year but it was not meant to be...

I feel I am in my best starting shape ever sitting around 195 pounds at around 8% body fat. Overall I am healthy with no serious injuries. I feel stronger than ever and I have around 14 weeks to lose about 3% body fat and put on about 5 or so pounds of muscle. Since my weight cut will be almost non existent as I hope to walk on stage at 195 pounds, what I need to focus on is hitting my nutrition and working harder than ever in the gym. My goal this year is to be in my best shape ever and leave no question to the judges when I walk on stage and stand with all the other top athletes.

Wednesday
Apr052017

The Road to 50 is Getting Shorter!

Today was my birthday and I turned 48! I don't really think of myself as a 50 year old person although some days it does feel like it ;) But overall I feel good and can do most everything I put my mind to with very few limitations. And when I look in the mirror I don't really see a 50 year old man at least in my minds eye but perhaps as we age we look past the extra wrinkles, grey hairs and sagging areas...

Either way I'm OK with the thought of turning 50 in only two more years, I plan to keep this healthy and fit lifestyle going well past 50 so turning 50 shouldn't really be any different than any other birthday!

Below is a photos of me this year April 5th at 48 versus last year April 5th at 47. In both photos it is my "Off-season" and I am about 195 pounds and pretty close in body fat but I feel that this year I'm a bit thicker in my legs and perhaps upper chest. Looking at my workout numbers I am a slightly stronger this year over last years numbers so that should indicate that I 'm sporting a little more muscle here and there. The lighting in both photos is different as I tired to use mainly natural lighting. This year it was kind of cloudy outside compared to last years where I believe there was more natural lighting. I also have more of a tan this year ;)

April 5th 2017 48 Years Old

April 5th 2016 47 Years Old

Saturday
Apr012017

Workout Supplements 101

This Article/Video is intended as a very general guideline to help people understand the very basics about supplements that are considered beneficial for people that are active in exercise especially those interested in building muscle. The information I share in this Article/Video is based on my personal experience using many of these supplements and also information I have read about and learned over the years. This does not mean all my statements are 100% accurate, I have been know to be wrong sometimes, just don't tell anyone...

What happens when we workout?

  • We created energy that puts strain on our bodies and can cause muscle and cell damage and cause oxidization in our bodies.
  • Strenuous exercise can create lactic acid buildup in our muscles which is what we often feel as pain after a workout.
  • Strenuous exercise uses up vital nutrients in our bodies that need to be replaced.

Why we need supplements and who they can help. 

  • To replace the lost nutrients we use up during exercise.
  • To rebuild the damaged cells and tissue.
  • To repair oxidization.
  • Supplements can help virtually everyone even if you are not exercising as we rarely get all of our nutrition from the foods we eat.

Protein:

  • Proteins are the main building block of the human body and contain lots of amino acids important to building muscle.
  • Protein helps to increase natural anabolic hormone release that can stimulate muscle growth.
  • Protein is also very satiating which helps with food cravings.

BCAA’s:

  • BCAA’s are fast acting amino acids from Protein.
  • BCAA’s improve protein synthesis and fat burning.
  • BCAA’s can help with hormone imbalances when doing intense training.
  • BCAA’s decrease fatigue and improve endurance.
  • BCAA’s help prevent muscle loss and soreness related to training.
  • BCAA’s can improve insulin response and reduce diabetes risks.

Creatine:

  • Creatine is mainly for strength training, not so much for endurance purposes.
  • Creatine pulls water into your muscle cells so there will be a little bit of water weight gain but only really in your muscle fibers so not a bad area to have extra fullness.
  • This water in our muscles increases protein synthesis which makes the muscle grow when we put demands on our muscles by weight training.

General Vitamins

Good multi-vitamin:

  • Fish Oil (Helps with: blood pressure, insulin levels, inflammation, protein synthesis, fat burning)
  • Vitamin C (Helps with: connective tissue support, healthy bones, cardiovascular health, antioxidant)
  • Vitamin D (Helps with: Can increase strength, healthy bones, diabetes risks)
  • Vitamin B’s (Helps with: immune system support, increase metabolic rate, support cell growth)
  • Calcium -Magnesium (Helps with: CNS (Central Nervous System), blood pressure, immunity, bone health, energy production and protein synthesis)  

Joint Vitamins: 

  • Glucosamine (Helps with: promoting cartilage, tendons and ligament growth and aid in their repair)
  • MSM (Helps with: anti-inflammatory, accelerates healing, improves flexibility, Increases energy)

Saturday
Mar252017

My Latest Workout Program - With Sample Wokrout

There is lots of info in my below YouTube video so make sure to watch it if you're interested in more details about my "Latest Workout Program"!

The Back Story:
I have been really trying out some different approaches to figuring out the best workout program for me. I have found from trial and error that a lot of frequency seems to work for me so the more often I hit a muscle group each week the better I seem to respond, well at least to a point...

A while back my training consisted of hitting each muscle group really hard at least once per week by doing multiple exercises on that body part day and practically beating the muscle to death. Did I see results? For sure but I found that I eventually hit a wall training this way and the other negative side to this infrequent way of training each muscle group, is how soar you will be in that body part and for a long time afterwards.

I then switched to hitting each body part twice per week and found that my muscles responded even better to this more frequent training and the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) did not seem as bad, don't get me wrong there is always going to be some muscle soreness if you train hard.

Let's skip ahead to several months ago... I decided to train every body part every workout day which for me is five days per week. To do this you have to pick one exercise per muscle and do around 5-6 sets with a very high intensity to make sure that at the end of that exercise set you have complete fatigued and exhausted that muscle group completely. The next workout day you do the same but pick a different exercise for each muscle group than you did the previous before. This continues on each day so that at the end of the week you have done 5 different exercises for each muscle groups.

The problem I found with this is that my workouts where getting rather long, as much as 2 hours each and because of the super high intensity, it would effect the exercises at the end of the workout as I was mentally and physically too tired to give them 100% of my effort. I also found that the idea of coming into the gym to torture myself in this way was taking the fun out of my workouts and making me dread going to the gym at all.

So I backed my workout days down to 4 days per week hitting every muscle group every day and this was for sure better as I was able to take three days off each week taking some of the mental and physical strain off of me but to be honest I was still dreading the long workouts on my workout days which again took a lot of the fun out of training. So I decided to try something new yet again...

So here we are with My "Latest Workout Program"
I decided to go back to a 5 day per week program to shorten each workout a little bit to under 1.5 hours as I feel this is the sweet spot for me, anything longer and I lose focus and energy. I also decided to put my training focus on upper body one day and lower body the next day starting with upper body so I can hit it an extra day getting three upper body workouts in per week. I have found my legs do not need as much frequency as my upper body does and in general legs seem to take a little longer to recover than upper body for me.

I also decided to swap out arms on upper body day for calves, and on leg day I train arms instead of calves. I do this so that I have an exercise I can swap in to let my main body part recover a little before hitting it with the next exercise. For me training calves more often is beneficial and I find arms get a good workout while doing other main body part exercises so effectively I am kind of training arms every day this way.

Similarly to when I train every body part every day, I still focus all my energy into one single exercise for each body part on upper body day, on leg day I start with a compound movement and then follow that up with some leg extensions and leg curls. As a general rule I do about 6 sets for each exercise with the first three sets being more for warmup, my third set is getting very close to a working set but not fully. Sets four five and six are my working sets where I use my heaviest loads and try to go very close to failure on all of them with my last set making sure there is nothing left in that muscle. You could cut this down to four sets if you want to shorten your workout time down to around 45 minutes by making sets one and two your warmup sets and sets three and four your working sets.

Here is an example of a one week workout I would do:

Day 1 Upper Body Focus: 

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press (6 sets)
  • Calf Raises Using Leg Press (6 sets)
  • Wide Late Cable Pulldown (6 sets)
  • Chest Flies using Universal (6 sets)
  • Ab Crunches (2 power sets)

Day 2 Lower Body Focus:

  • Box Squats (6 sets)
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curls (6 sets)
  • Leg Extensions (6 sets)
  • Dumbbell Triceps Overhead Extensions (6 sets)
  • Leg Curls Sitting (6 sets)
  • DB Side Ab Raises (3 sets)

Day 3 Upper Body Focus: 

  • Barbell Bench Press (6 sets)
  • Seated Cable Back Row (6 sets)
  • Misc Dumbbell Shoulder Raises (3x3x3 sets)
  • Calf Raises (6 sets)
  • Leg Lever Ab Raises (3 sets) 

Day 4 Lower Body Focus:

  • Barbell Deadlifts (6 sets)
  • Biceps Curls using Cable (6 sets)
  • Leg Extensions (6 sets)
  • Triceps Extensions using Cable (6 sets)
  • Leg Curls Lying down (6 sets)
  • Ab Roller (2 power sets)

Day 5 Upper Body Focus:

  • Dumbbell Flies on Incline Bench (6 sets)
  • Calf Raises (6 sets)
  • Upright Rows using Cable (6 sets)
  • Straight Arm Pull Downs (6 sets)
  • Shoulder Shrugs (6 sets)
  • Side Ab Twists using Functional Trainer (2 power sets)

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