Hi again everyone,
People often ask me how I stay motivated to maintain good condition all year round. The answer to this question is threefold. Firstly, I really enjoy the feeling of being relatively lean as you not only look good but you feel vibrant, energetic and more focused and this in turn makes you more productive and efficient in other aspects of your life.
Secondly, by maintaining an on-season approach with consistent training in the gym, excellent daily nutrition and regular cardiovascular exercise you can enjoy those wonderful deviations (or cheat meals) and not feel guilty doing so. And in the process you will keep your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) running nice and fast to help keep you lean and burning calories even whilst lying asleep in bed. Developing and hanging on to your lean muscle mass will also keep your BMR high. The bodybuilding health and fitness lifestyle really goes against the aging process of decreasing metabolism and loss of muscle mass as you get older. More and more General Practitioners are getting their elderly patients to do weight bearing exercise so as to hold onto muscle and keep bone mass up to prevent Osteoporosis.
Finally, my passion to be a competitive bodybuilder still burns brightly. By maintaining good condition and not bulking up I can run into a contest nice and easily without having to kill myself to get in stage condition. And as I have said in a previous Blog..."stay leaner, compete heavier!" Prolonged heavy dieting with too much cardio can literally chew up all your hard earned muscle resulting in a flat, stringy and 2 dimensional look to your physique come competition time. There are so many positives to staying ON and maintaining good physical condition and that is what motivates and inspires me to keep my health & fitness lifestyle part of my everyday life. For me no part of my life is a chore because I know that the benefits far outweigh any perceived negatives. As you have seen in my previous Blogs, I do enjoy my treats, so all I can say is you CAN have it all with the bodybuilding lifestyle. Enjoy the rewards of trying to better yourself and that doesn't necessarily mean you have to compete either...but you never know...one day you might!!
HIT Workout of the Week
I have been revealing to you all my HIT workouts for the training week.
Monday is Quads & Calves, Tuesday is Chest & Biceps, Wednesday OFF, Thursday is Hamstrings & Calves, Friday is Shoulders & Triceps and finally we are up now up to my last workout day on Saturday which is the gruelling Back, Rear Delts & Traps!
I will start off my back training with rowing one week and then lat work via chins and pull downs on the alternate week. When starting with rowing I will begin with the king of rowing exercises bent over barbell rows with the underhand grip. I will do 4 sets of these with 20, 15, 12 and the all out heavy set of 6-8 reps. Next is 2 sets of seated close grip cable rows of 12 and 8 reps respectively. The 15 rep set is unnecessary as you are already warm from the barbell work. Remember the basic premise of HIT training is low volume with all those wasted sets that lead to overtraining removed from the workout.
Next is the lat work with 2 sets of wide grip front chins (targeting the terres major) with bodyweight on the first set for 10 to 12 reps and then weighted for 8 reps on the second set. I like to use a spotter to help me take this set beyond failure. The next exercise which focuses on the terres minor is close reverse grip lat machine pull downs, again 12 reps followed by a heavy 8 rep second set to stimulate growth.
Dorian Yates always recommended training rear delts on back day as it's function is to pull rather than press or push. The exercise performed here is dumbbell rear delt raises where I like to lie on my front on an incline bench angled at around 10-20 degrees to the horizontal. Again only 2 sets of 12 and 8 reps each.
Finally I like to work my trapezius to finish the workout. Again the function of the traps is to pull, so it makes perfect sense to train traps on back day. I do 2 sets of dumbbell shrugs of 15 and 12 reps making sure I get a full range of motion as I shrug the dumbbells up and down by my sides.
This is a hard workout but effectively works all the muscles of the back from every angle. On the alternate weeks I will start with the chins and close grip pull downs and then do slightly lighter barbell rows and seated machine rows after that.
I really enjoy having Sunday OFF and probably shouldn't be training the day after back anyway. Sunday is the rest, relax, recover and growth day!!
Workout Tip of the Week
Training in the the gym 4 or 5 days per week can be a challenge on some occasions especially if you are like me and work out in the late afternoon or evening after your tiring and stressful day job. Many people resort to stimulants like Caffiene or one of the many Nitric Oxide pre-workout concoctions that are on the market. Dave Palumbo, who I respect greatly for his vast knowledge and experience, advocates a cat-nap just prior to training as the best way to rejuvenate before hitting the gym. I have done this myself for years and found it a bit of a coincidence when he discussed this with nutrition expert Chris Aceto.
What you need to do is simply find a quiet space like in your office chair or in your car when you pull up at the gym and close your eyes, relax and concentrate solely on your breathing. Focus on drawing a nice breath in and then really think about the breath out as that is the part that relaxes the whole body. Before you know it you'll be in a light slumber and you don't even need to lie down! This works brilliantly if you go off for around 10-20 minutes but no longer than that. At first you may find it difficult to sleep but the meditative breathing is enough to rejuvenate you. I always feel great once I get up and start moving and find this pre-workout 'formula' to be very effective in priming me for the big workout ahead, give it a try!
Dave Palumbo and Chris Aceto both host a terrific radio podcast every Monday night via the RxMuscle.com website called "Heavy Muscle Radio". You can download any episode you wish and listen to it at your leisure. The very knowledgeable and humorous gentlemen discuss all sorts of interesting stuff ranging from contest wrap ups, IFBB Pro interviews, health & fitness lifestyle advice, recollections from yesteryear, funny gossip & innuendo and much much more! I will listen to this show when doing my post workout cardio at the gym or as a 'bed time story' when there is absolutely nothing on the TV in my bedroom (which seems to be all the time these days!!).
Supa Food Saturday
My cheat meal from last week, and yes it is still in, was with Louise as she ventured over from Melbourne so that we could enjoy a few days together.
We booked Betty Blue Bar & Bistro on the Saturday evening for a very scrumptious "Supa Food Saturday" dinner overlooking the Rockingham Beach foreshore.
CW's course #1: Gourmet Goat's Cheese Souffle.
Course #2: Fillet steak with King Prawns and Calimari topped with my favourite, Bearnaise sauce!
Course #3: Fig, Pecan and Maple Pudding with vanilla icecream and strawberries!!
Course #4: Expresso coffee and Brandy as suitable "digestives" to finish off a fine feast!
Not long now then to my 50th contest but very much looking forward to my 52nd contest at good old Club Marconi being the 2012 ANB Nationals! I love this show as everyone in Sydney just treats me so well and having done so many shows there it really feels like coming home to family and friends. There is always a good sized crowd that gets into the show, especially when everyone starts doing their routines to music. The routines are so important as the athletes get to express their individuality and creative flair via their physique for all those people who have paid good money to come and watch them. I personally really enjoy constructing my routines and try to make them interesting, punchy, cheeky and a tad humorous where possible. It's good to have a change from the usual AC/DC routine songs I suppose!?
My stretch goal for the ANB Nationals is to have another crack with the young blokes in the Open Under 90kg Class as I did at the ANB Asia Pacific in June earlier this year. That was really good fun and I went into that with a happy and carefree "nothing to lose" attitude. I have competed in Masters many times with some great results so it's now time for a change to mix it with the fine gentlemen in my weight category again!!
The ANB and Judging Criteria
Another great thing about the ANB Nationals is that the judging panel with Robert Powell calling the shots and Phil Lehner at the helm treat their job seriously and don't just judge the top 3 and forget about the rest. Everyone is carefully looked at and the essential criteria of a great physique are taken into account when ranking the competitors. The three essential elements in bodybuilding have always been mass, symmetry and condition with overall presentation the icing on the cake so to speak. I have found, in recent years, that some judging panels have ranked competitors purely and solely on condition alone which has seen the sport move in the direction of a straight up and down athletic look rather than the X-framed bodybuilder with fuller muscle bellies and pleasing separation between between the muscle groups. My personal goal as a bodybuilder has always been, since I started working out in 1983, to display pleasing muscle size, present a V-shape and actually look as though I have strength and power.
So when I get onstage I am always trying to better my previous look and work closer to this Utopian image I have in my mind.
So if you see me at Club Marconi please come up and say hi and feel free to fire questions at me as I always enjoy chatting to positive, like-minded people that are keen to excel and better themselves.
Until next time have a great week and always remember to find some time in each day to do something relating to health and fitness, you always feel great afterwards even though the thought beforehand may have been daunting. The benefits far outweigh any negatives that is for sure!
Kind regards and best wishes, Craig W.