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Craig's Blog #25

Hi again everyone!

Well it has indeed been a grand month of post-contest-rebound fun since the May/June competition season drew to a close. I have only put on a few kg's of bodyweight by slowly increasing my carbohydrate intake whilst halving the amount of cardio I was doing pre-contest.

My goal now is too get ready for the ANB's new contest in WA scheduled for September 29. This should be another great event for the ANB and I already know many people that are very keen to both watch and spectate this show.

Below is a recent backyard photo with my 3 first place trophies from the May/June State contests as well as my second place statue from the awesome ANB Asia Pacific International. The photos were taken two weeks after my last show with no tan, all my water IN and an extra 2kg of bodyweight!

CW's version of HIT training

Many people have asked me about my own version of HIT training and how it relates to the basic premise as laid out by Mike Mentzer and later Dorian Yates.

The basic premise is based on a low volume approach whereby the prepatory sets on a given exercise are simply getting you ready for that all out set to positive failure. 

For example, on incline barbell press, your first set could be with a relatively light weight for 15 reps. The second set is heavier for about 12 reps, but NOT to failure. The third and final set is performed with a weight that only allows you to get out 6-8 repetitions to failure with perhaps one or two forced reps.

You move quickly through the workout allowing only one to two minutes between sets.

Once into the workout and nicely warmed up the 15 rep warm up set is dropped thereby leaving you with only 2 sets...the 12 rep set with moderate weight followed by the 6-8 rep set to positive failure. Mentzer and Yates sometimes drop the 12 rep set as well going straight to the all out set to failure.

Also, throughout the workout, the negative part of the repetition is emphasized with approximately a 3 second duration.

All this creates great intensity and a superb pump in the muscle group being worked.

Each major muscle group is trained with 3-4 exercises whilst smaller muscle groups, such as biceps, are trained with 2-3 exercises. Workout duration is somewhere between 20-45 minutes per muscle group.

 

Some people have questioned how this can work when you don't have a spotter to help you whilst attempting to train to failure.

There are several ways to take a set beyond failure so as to create that fatigue in the muscle and intensity in the workout.

I use drop sets (or descending sets), cheat reps or partial reps to take a set beyond your attempt to max out without a training partner to watch over you.

I have been doing this style of training with my own little adaptations for the last 3 years or so and have made some pleasing gains in size and strength whilst simultaneously reducing my injuries and niggles.

I will also back things off a tad after 6-8 weeks by either having extra rest days, training lighter or missing a certain bodypart or two in a given week.

Worth a try and perhaps something you could do as a change from your usual approach. Maybe trial it for a couple of months and then revert back to what you normally do.

 

Exercise of the Month

This month I would like to focus on the awesome Hammer Strength V-squat plate loaded machine.

This is a terrific exercise that really feels like you are doing free weights all whilst preserving your lower back and isolating the quadriceps muscles. I like to perform this movement with my feet about shoulder width apart, in the middle of the platform and with toes turned out at about 30 degrees or so.

At the bottom of the movement you can actually go just past parallel, so as really maximize the contraction in your quad's.

The padding that sits on your shoulders is very comfortable too, this enabling you to really focus solely on the lower body with that all-important mind to muscle connection.

Definitely worth giving a go and if your gym hasn't got one you might need to get down on your hands and knees and beg the owner to get one!!

 

"The Art of Justiification!"

As some of you may or may not know CW does enjoy a Brandy or Cognac after a nice meal.

As it turns out these alcoholic beveridges have health benefits that are worthy of mention if for no other reason than to justify my consumption of it!!...

"The exact origin of brandy is unknown, but it likely began in Spain between the 15th and 16th centuries when winemakers there began to make use of the distilleries left behind by the Moors. Brandy is a shortened form of the Dutch word "brandywijn," which means burnt wine and refers to the process used to create brandy. Brandy is distilled from fermented grapes or other fruit to increase the alcohol content and remove impurities. Scientists have identified a number of potential health benefits of brandy.

HEART HEALTH

Researchers in France at the University of Bordeaux noticed a low occurrence of heart disease in Gascony, the region where Armagnac brandy is produced. Reporting its results in "Thrombosis Research" in 2007, the team found that Armagnac has an anti-platelet function similar to that of the prescription drug Plavix. Armagnac undergoes a unique distillation process and is aged in oak barrels, factors that may contribute to its apparent cardiovascular benefits.

ANTIOXIDANT POTENTIAL

Dr. Gordon Troup from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, has explored the antioxidant properties of brandy. Grape wine contains high levels of antioxidants that help your body to fight free-radical damage, but it was assumed that the distillation to create brandy destroyed the majority of these antioxidants. As reported on ScienceDaily in December 2005, Dr. Troup and his team found that a 30ml shot of brandy contains the same antioxidant potential as 90 mg of vitamin C. These benefits are thought to come from the copper used during distillation, and they increase with the quality of the brandy.

 SLEEP AID

Brandy typically contains between 40 and 45 percent alcohol by volume, and it is considered a relatively high alcohol beverage. Alcohol is a depressant that slows nerve reactions, and it has been used traditionally by many cultures as a sleep aid.

DIGESTIVE AID

Brandy has been known since time immemorial to act as a useful digestive aid, particularly after a meal high in fats. It has been top of the list on digestive menus in French Restaurants for many many years. It is also a great choice for low-carb dieters as it is relatively low in sugars, particularly when compared to red wine." 

Human's are indeed 'Omnivores'!!

About a week ago I was listening to an entertaining talkback segment on my local radio show whilst driving home from the gym.

The topic was initiated by the female host who was trying her hardest to stay Vegan even though she knew her sluggish metabolism and weight gain was partly due to her low protein diet.

Some of the disillusioned Vegan listeners that phoned in were telling similar tales and knew in themselves that it just wasn't working. One lady even said she felt sluggish and realized her iron levels had dropped, so she went back to eating some red meat and felt much better.

At the end of the day we are Omnivores...which means that the holistic approach always goes well. Yes we do need an abundance of fruit and vegetables as well as dietary fibre, wholegrains, essential fats, dairy and REAL protein from various animal sources that are high on the PER scale (Protein Efficiency Ratio).

If you do choose a Vegan approach make sure you consume a large variety of different fruits & vegetables in an attempt to cover off as many amino acids as possible. 

FATGRIPZ...another fad...or maybe not!!??

I just received my FATGRIPZ from good old bodybuilding.com

It should be very interesting to see how these go with my arm movements and pressing exercises 

Below is some info from their website you may wish to check out...

1. You’ll spread the weight more evenly across your body

When you first use Fat Gripz, you may notice that there’s less pressure on joints like your wrists, elbows and shoulders.

By using a wider grip on the bar, you’re actually spreading the weight more evenly across your joints.

This helps you:

Decrease the risk of injury – Because the weight’s spread evenly, there’s less pressure on individual joints like your wrists or elbows. In fact, Fat Gripz can even help to heal existing injuries.

Lift more weight – With Fat Gripz, you won’t be limited by pain in your joints or the memory of old training injuries. Instead, they allow your core muscles to lift the weight efficiently and effectively. (What’s more, with fewer injuries, you’ll be able to train more consistently and make quicker gains.)

2. When you use Fat Gripz, you engage your hands and forearms more than with a regular bar.

Charles Sherrington, neurophysiologist and Nobel laureate, states that the harder a muscle works, the more its neighboring muscles are activated – amplifying their strength.

So that means by working your hands and forearms harder, you’re increasing the muscle activation – and strengthening your upper arms, shoulders, chest and back.

That’s not all. Just holding the Fat Gripz on the bar is a completely difference experience to holding a regular bar. Your hands, forearms and upper arms are forced to work harder, helping to increase their strength and size.

3. You’ll eliminate imbalances

Every exercise you do with Fat Gripz will help to strengthen your grip, hands and forearms. And by eliminating these weak links, you’re unlocking bigger strength and muscle increases in your whole body.

Because our bodies are programmed to stay in proportion, the brain actually stops your arms, chest, shoulders and back developing – until your hands and forearms catch up. You can keep on training regardless – but you’ll hit a plateau.

Regular barbells and dumbbells don’t help – in fact, they actually make it worse. They’re designed to be easy on the hands and forearms, meaning that the more you workout, the more they’re falling behind.

But when you train with Fat Gripz, you’ll start to eliminate imbalances – from the very first workout. The first time, you’ll notice an intense burning in your forearms – hotter than anything you’ll have felt with grippers, wrist rollers or forearm curl and extensions.

Bodybuilding's iconic 'signature' pose!

A signature pose is one that a physique competitor becomes renowned for and is usually born about from their free posing routine to music. This in turn creates personality in the sport and adds to the excitement and anticipation when waiting for a competitor to come out on stage and display their wares before their legion of fans.

The very fact that some federations are removing routines from their contests is potentially damaging to the sport as it is taking this freedom of expression away rendering the show almost sterile.

There have been many amazing signature poses over the years which don't necessarily represent the 8 standard compulsory poses as called out in the Muscularity Round. Some competitors have created their own stamp of approval on these poses such as Arnold's famous twisting pose variations , Tom Platz's kneeling side tricep and ab/thigh/bicep pose, Sergio Oliva's victory pose, Dorian Yate's archer pose from either front or rear, Frank Zane's vacuum pose and other artistic variations, Flex Wheeler's twisting back double biceps and the list goes on.

I for one would really like to see the continued propagation of the signature pose and would hope all bodybuilders out there feel the same way...we don't want this to become endangered or worse still EXTINCT!!

  

A couple of quick meal suggestions:

Power Saturday morning breakfast before my HIT biceps & forearms workout...

4 soft boiled with Burgen Dark Rye Vegemite soldiers, 2 slices of plum jam toast, double shot expresso and various supps.

40g protein, 70g carbs, essential omega fats from yolks and my fish oil caps.

 

A tame Friday night cheat meal that tasted awesome...

Course 1: CW's faux Bangers & Mash comprised of two Hans cheese Kransky's with half a pureed cauliflower.

Course 2: Nestlé Apple Pie flavoured FORME low fat diet yoghurt with walnuts, cashews, macadamias and frozen blueberries.

Course 3: CW's fine expresso coffee, VSOP St Remy Brandy and Club Cashew & Cherry dark chocolate.

CW's favourite childhood character!!

I remember when I was wee chap I would watch good old Sesame Street in the morning before school and would then race home to watch it again straight after school!

Some of my favourite characters included Grover, Cookie Monster, Oscar the Grouch, Mumford the Amazing Magician and of course The Count.

I really did have a fascination with The Count and his own obsession with numbers and didn't realize at the time that 'numbers' were to become my destiny!

Mathematics was my best subject at school, I used to help my mates with their Math's homework, I tutored Maths for many years, became almost OCD with numbers with my weight training and food quantities for all my years in the gym and with bodybuilding competition prep, love counting Macro nutrients when helping my clients with plans and of course have really enjoyed my almost 3 decades of High School Mathematics teaching.

In recent years I have been teasing my fine fiancée Luscious Louise with my annoying impersonations of The Count. She, like me, also really enjoyed Sesame Street as a young child. 

I was looking in the ABC Shop the other day and found a perfect miniature replica of The Count in all his glory including his little black goatee, eye monocle, snappy looking suit, jade green cape, black & white 'Letterman' style shoes and of course those fang-like molars.

"What a perfect gift for LL!!"...I thought, so I promptly snapped it up and gave it to her as a very unusual surprise present.

Anyway, as it turned out Louise loved it...but little does she know that I now have a ventriloquist's dummy to now assist me with my Count impressions!!!

"1, 2, 3...ha ha ha...4, 5, 6, 7...ha ha ha...8, 9, 10, 11, 12...ha ha ha!!!..."

Let the fun begin I say! ;-)

 

Enjoy the process folks!!

One thing I always like to say about bodybuilding competition is that the reflections after that brief time on stage should be cherished and enjoyed. This may include catching up for dinner with fellow competitors and/or helpers for a breakfast or dinner, analyzing the contest DVD and photographs, creating a plan to improve on perceived weak areas and choosing some goals for future events.

Below are a few photos taken by our WA photographer, Robert Czempinski, at one of my May state contests...as you can tell by the expression on my mug I clearly enjoyed my time onstage. This is again something that we all need to do and not just wish it away so that you can start feeding your face with junk food. Even though that is an enjoyable experience too!

 

Once again, it is always a joy to blog my bodybuilding health & fitness lifestyle to you all via cyberspace and the fantastic ANB Australia website. Many thanks to the amazing Maria McCarter for her continued support in publishing my script and pictures.

 

Keep up the great work with your training and nutrition and CW wishes everyone all the very best till the next time we meet for Craig's Blog #26!

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  1. Re: Craig's Blog #23

    Oh yeah, best of luck for the ANB Asia-Pacific! I'll be keeping an eye out for some good news!Train hard...

    -- Peter Varley

  2. Re: Craig's Blog #23

    Hey Craig, nice blog buddy. Yes, we all either get those positive comments (eg, "you guys are awesome...

    -- Peter Varley

  3. Re: Craig's Blog #19!...

    Hey Leonard, so glad you liked my Blog #19 buddy :-)) Always glad to be of service ;-) Hope you're training...

    -- Craig Bodychisel

  4. Re: Craig's Blog #19!...

    Thanks so much for creating a Blog. A great read with heaps of info that I can commence myself. Look...

    -- Leonard Alfred Birch

  5. Re: Craig's Blog #13!...

    Thanks Gemma for the kind words and glad you enjoyed Blog #13! Look out for Craig's Blog #14 in the ...

    -- Craig Bodychisel

  6. Re: Craig's Blog #13!...

    So great to read your achievements! Love how you have involved your family and they support you. The...

    -- Gemma Dawson

  7. Re: Craig's Blog #7!...

    As usual very informative and motivating. Thanks Craig for yet another awesome blog! Maria

    -- Maria McCarter

  8. Re: Craig's Blog #4!...

    Thanks for that Lauryn I'm glad you enjoyed my Blog #4 :-))Kind regards, Craig W.

    -- Craig Bodychisel

  9. Re: Craig's Blog #4!...

    Cool blog Craig.. A really interesting read. :)Lauryn

    -- Lauryn Dina Meredith

  10. Re: Craig's Blog #1...

    Hi Craig, Great Blog. We look forward to having you be a contributor to the ANB site!

    -- Maria McCarter