Hi there again everyone,
I hope you enjoyed my last blog which occurred whilst I was in Melbourne with my fiancée Louise. I am now back in WA and really going hard, at the business end of my contest prep, for my next state title on September 15th.
'Changing the environment' was my last topic of inspiration and motivation. This week I would like to touch on our bodybuilding health and fitness lifestyle that should not be taken for granted.
I was talking with Louise the other night and we were both sharing stories of our shopping ventures in our local favourite supermarkets. My Supa IGA is located next to my gym in Port Kennedy and is perfect for me to duck into after I have trained. I am usually a bit sweaty and with my attire obviously look like I have just worked out. So I will grab what I need and will usually do ad hock shopping several times per week getting a several days worth of food at a time. In my shopping cart will be usually eggs, steak, chicken, kiwi fruit, cauliflower, spring onions, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, soda water, frozen blueberries, miscellaneous vitamins and generally very clean healthy type produce. When I get to the checkout there are usually people in front of me and behind me as well of course as the girl at the checkout. Now unfortunately the contents of most peoples carts is not particularly healthy, you know, loaded with pre-packaged food, plenty of 'white death' (white sugar, white flour, white rice, white pasta, etc), junk food, soft drink and quite often a packet of cigarettes from the girl at the checkout as the final flourish in their shopping.
I can literally feel the virtual daggers in my back as they look at me with what I am buying. Quite often the checkout girl will make a comment, something along the lines of "wow, you eat healthy, do you work out??"
The funny thing is all my so called healthy food is actually really enjoyable and probably works out more economical than all that packaged stuff. You may ask "how is this an inspiration?"
Well the answer to that is simple. We have chosen a path in life to "look good, feel good, am good" and our chosen lifestyle is something we just 'do' and then reap the benefits as time goes by as we continue to better ourselves without even thinking about it. Sometimes we need to take stock, look at the very unhealthy people around us, and pat ourselves on the back for sticking to our guns at being in that elite minority of the population that most people would love to be a part of but don't have the dedication or willpower to actually achieve. Our chosen lifestyle is what others would aspire to and we have got the drive to carry it through. This is an absolute gift that should not be taken for granted, we need to constantly remind ourselves that we are lucky to have this intrinsic motivation and drive and be so very thankful we can literally rise above the trappings of the fast and easy unhealthy eating habits of the vast majority. So sometimes we need to stop and say to ourselves "well done, you are doing a great job for yourself and other people would do anything to be in your shoes!"
In short be proud of your enthusiasm to live an extraordinary life and be your own inspiration and source of motivation. Congratulations on not conforming to the unhealthy majority!
Last time I discussed my HIT Chest & Biceps workout. This week I will discuss my third workout for the week which is Hamstrings & Calves.
I have discussed previously the need to separate hamstrings from quadriceps, just as we would for chest versus back. How can you effectively work the big muscles of your hamstrings after using all of your stored glycogen to work the quads?? Training hamstrings on Thursday having worked quads on Monday works really well in balancing the workload on your entire lower body. I made great gains in this area since adopting this approach several years ago and have found that many of my clients have also improved their hamstring development greatly. And the bonus is that stronger leg bicep muscles will improve your squat for better quad training on your other leg workout!
My key exercises are:
1. Stiff-legged deadlifts 4 sets 20/15/12 and 6-8 reps.
2. Seated leg curls or Hammer standing leg curls 3sets 15/12/8 reps.
3. Seated calf raises (targeting the soleus) 4sets 30/25/20/15 reps.
Remember, apart from deadlifts, to move quickly between sets to maximize the intensity of the workout. Also, bearing in mind the other important premise of HIT training, to make sure that the last set on each exercise is done as close to failure as possible so as to stimulate muscle growth but not annihilate the bodypart with all those extraneous wasted sets which eventually leads to overtraining.
This workout is not long so now is the time to move to your 'favourite' piece of cardio equipment for a 40 minute low intensity, fat burning cool down that will help alleviate some of those post workout DOMS in the days to follow. It may be a short workout but it is surprisingly gruelling, particularly with those deadlifts in there!
The exercise I would like to focus on in Blog #8 is the walking dumbbell lunge. Just the very thought of this movement makes me shudder as it is so taxing when performed properly with heavy weights at the end of your quadriceps workout. This exercise literally works all the muscles of your lower body with an emphasis on the gluteus maximus muscles ( more commonly referred to as 'glutes'! ).
Many people over the years, dare I say it, have asked me how I get striated glutes? My answer involves several things that all work holistically to create this feature on your physique which can propel you ahead of other competitors that are 'soft' in that area when we are judged from the back! This body part back in the 1970's and 80's never used to be judged, you might remember all those very full cut posing trunks that would cover up the glutes so that any striations couldn't even be seen. Arnold, Franco, Frank Zane and even the legendary Tom Platz (who had striated glutes) all wore those full cut trunks. The 'Dragon Slayer' Rich Gaspari was one of the first IFBB pro's to show off striations in this area with briefer trunks and this changed the way competitors were judged. Nowadays the trunks are very brief, who can forget Ronnie Coleman's incredibly gnarly glutes with those tiny trunks he used to wear!
First and foremost is the diet, nutrition and cardio that needs to be done to get body fat levels to less than 4%. But a very close second is the exercise selection in your training regime. The gluteal muscles need to be well developed, as with any other muscle, so to show off those striations at contest time. There is a Trivial Pursuit Game question which asks "what is the largest muscle in the human body?"...the answer is the gluteus maximus! So it is a legitimate body part that can be shaped like any other body part we choose to train. The full squat will always work this area as will stiff-legged deadlifts, but the movement that really stimulates growth for the glutes is the walking dumbbell lunge! It must, however, be done with heavy weights and with excellent exercise form.
Find yourself, what I term, a 'landing strip' at your gym where you can walk for a good 12-15 paces without creating any road-rage so to speak! Stand with the dumbbells by your side and lunge forward with your right leg creating a nice wide stride length. The knee on your left leg should touch the ground at the bottom of the lunge. Now alternate your strides with each leg for 12- 15 paces up the landing strip, turn around and stride back for approximately the same number of lunges on each leg. When lunging try to keep your back relatively vertical, having the dumbbells by your sides really helps you achieve this posture, as opposed to the walking barbell lunge which brings in the lower back muscles too much and can be awkward sometimes to maintain balance.
My second and final set is 8-10 paces up and back with a heavier weight which absolutely finishes you off. The DOMS will be present the very next day and for the next few days! An awesome exercise that should be in any quad workout.
I have been blogging my cheat meal on my Facebook wall with my good buddy Les Carroll for some time now. We call it "Supa Food Friday!"
Each Friday night Les will bring over a sensational soup made from loads of vegetables, herbs, spices, sour cream, nuts and all sorts of miscellaneous goodies. He even makes the stock from scratch with chicken carcasses he gets from the local butcher.
My job is to get the ingredients which make up the protein for this fine feast. I call it CW's mixed grill. I will usually put 3 or 4 items on each of our plates ranging from Black Angus Scotch fillet steak to NZ Rock Oysters to pan-fried Haloumi cheese to garlic prawns to pork pies to English Black Pudding and other protein delights that are full of great flavours.
The next course is usually the naughty stuff which could easily involve Magnum Icecreams, Crunchies, Flakes and/or Lindt Dark Chocolate with expresso coffee from my La Cimbali coffee machine and a Brandy 'digestive' to finish the fantastic fiesta!
As you will see last Friday's Supa Food was very indulgent and certainly gave me a great boost for my hard HIT back workout on Saturday morning!
Ok so now only about 6 weeks to go till the my 50th contest and have shaved my carbs down to around 80g per day with cardio still done both morning and night. I have taken out the morning cardio on both my leg days (Monday & Thursday) so as to give me some extra energy to train my legs hard and heavy to keep up my lower body muscle mass. My bodyweight is now starting to level off as I slowly try to bring in hopefully even better condition than I achieved for the May/June shows.
So until next I blog via this wonderful ANB forum I wish you continued success from your health & fitness lifestyle and again just remember how lucky you are to have the internal fortitude it takes to be in this elite minority of society that takes pride in looking after their own appearance and well being. You can become your own inspiration and be proud of your efforts!
Best wishes until Blog #9 next hits the 'ANB Newstand', Craig W.