Hi again everyone,

Well here we are in April already and the first season of physique contests is almost upon us! I am now enjoying the good old school holidays after an extremely busy Term 1. And even better I am spending my holidays in Melbourne with my fine fiancee Louise.

I love the gyms in Melbourne, such as Doherty’s and Derrimut, with their hardcore working atmosphere and awesome range of equipment be it free weights, dumbbells, old school machines or even some of the new plate loaded Hammer Strength style machines, Nautilus and Cybex. And what a great way to spend the last few weeks before my first contest for 2013 than training in a place that inspires and motivates me to go even harder than I already do!

Old School V The Modern Age

One of my social media friends, Michael, commented the other day how he loves my “old school” approach to training and nutrition. I am not sure that my approach is entirely old school as I do really enjoy some of the new age supplements as well as the new plate loaded machines that improve your form and muscle function whilst still moving free weights without the assistance of all those pulleys and cables that are on the other pin-loaded machines. I know my that my own version of HIT style training is quite old school but many incredible physiques were built with this type of training many decades ago. Basic exercises like bent rows, deadlifts, deep squats, cross-bench dumbbell pullovers, tricep dips, standing straight barbell curls and barbell military presses combined with a low volume no nonsense approach of discarding all those wasted extra sets per exercise, moving relatively quickly between sets and keeping the entire workout to less than one hour in duration. As they say in the classics…”Get in, go hard and get OUT!!”

I do believe that many personal trainers, in particular, try to overcomplicate training techniques when the trialled and tested more simplistic methods do just as good a job if not better. Many of today’s routines are becoming so longwinded, new-fangled and high volume in nature which can very easily lead to overtraining with decreased performance and results. As a natural bodybuilder your ability to recover depends very much on whether you have adequate nutrition on board, ample rest and sleep, minimal stress in your life and NOT training too often and for too long in the Gym.

There are some great modern day machines and exercises that we need to include in our programmes, just be mindful of doing too much in the one session and being over zealous with these movements compared to some of the so called ‘old school’ versions. Two cliches that spring to mind here are…”Keep it simple stupid” and of course…”Less is best”.

Layne Norton’s visit to Derrimut Gym

My Louise recently attended Layne Norton’s Seminar at Derrimut 24/7 in Caroline Springs. She said it was very informative, even though some of his facts and figures from his clinical research and studies were quite detailed. I first came across Layne in Muscular Development magazine several years ago with his ‘No Juice Bodybuilding” articles. These were excellent and I certainly learned a lot about training, nutrition and contest preparation for the natural athlete and that our approach did need to be somewhat different as compared to those who chose the drug-assisted pathway.

One thing that I remember very clearly was his discussion on the sodium/aldesterone myth and water restriction in those last few critical days before stepping on stage in a contest. He believed in keep things simple by maintaining sodium levels all the way to your show as well as to continue drinking water till just 2 hours before stage time!! I decided to adopt this approach for the first time in 2010 and was amazed at the number of people that asked me what I had done, people were surprised at not only how much fuller I was but were also impressed with my overall conditioning.

Louise told Layne this story after the Seminar and his reply, accompanied by an acknowledging smile, was…”See, it works doesn’t it!!” Louise then had this very nice photo taken with the man himself (see below).

In 2010 I did drink water all the way till midnight on the day before the show but simply replaced water on contest day. This year I have decided to go the ‘whole hog’ and follow Layne’s advice to the letter with continual normal water consumption till 2 hours before my division gets the final call from the backstage usher. I figure after 19 years of bodybuilding competition and 52 contests that I have got absolutely nothing to lose!! After all…”nothing ventured, nothing gained!”

The importance of Essential Fats

I have always achieved good results from my daily nutrition by allowing myself ample carbohydrates with my first 3 meals of the day. This adequately fuels my daily activities including my HIT style training at approximately 4-5pm.

Later at night, for my final meal of the day, I will then incorporate some good fats in my diet usually from whole eggs, nuts, fish oils and/or avocado. Essential fats are so important as they can improve hormone levels, boost brain function, help you better regulate those insulin spikes, act as an anti-inflammatory aid, LOWER your cholesterol, and the list goes on. Obviously fats are calorie-dense so you do need to take this into account when piecing together your PCF macro totals for the day.

CW’s supa-salad is made from sliced mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumber, chopped spring onions, low fat grated cheese, black pepper, sea salt, whole egg mayonaisse and 4 sliced jumbo sized hard boiled eggs with a generous handful of walnuts and cashews. Below is a good example of what I might eat.

Quality protein, plenty of EFA’s, low carb and more importantly tastes bloody great!

Exercise of the Month

Another friend of mine, Kurt, asked me for a good exercise that could add some mass to his legs whilst preserving his lower back. He was finding that the regular barbell back squat was hurting his lower lumbar spine which in turn was hindering his progress.

I actually experienced something similar with the barbell squat in that my very strong lower back takes over along with hips flexors and glutes with my quads not doing enough of the work.

My way of overcoming this was by squatting in the Smith Machine with your feet about shoulder width apart and placed directly under your hips as well as toes turned out at about 45 degrees. When performing the movement try to stay as vertical as possible by keeping your chest up whilst focusing on your form and looking straight ahead in the mirror.

This is a great exercise and has been responsible for some of the gains I have made in my quadriceps over the last 5 years or so. Kurt gave this a shot and messaged me the very next day to say his back was fine and that the post workout DOMs were kicking in with his quads and not his lower lumbar or spinae erector muscles!

CW’s new client and a t-shirt competition!

As many of you know one of my other passions is assisting others achieve their goals via my consulting under Bodychisel by Craig. I recently received an email from a gentlemen that competed with me back in 2010. He wanted me to assist him with his contest preparation with not only his nutrition but his posing and training too. Colin has loads of muscle and has been training for many years, he is unbelievably 61 years of age but doesn’t look a day over 50!! He wants to compete later this year in October, so we set up a plan and I am looking forward to seeing Colin do very well indeed in the Ultra Grandmasters where he will be very hard to beat!

My Bodychisel by Craig logo has been very well received and I now have a new batch of Tees with a larger logo on the front. These are proving to be popular too.

Just recently I posted a caption contest on my Facebook page for the best caption for this backstage photo of CW and my good buddy big Les at a state show some 2 years ago. The winner, local champ Ashley Dhu, won one of my new t-shirts which I subsequently mailed out to him.

Ash’s captions for the photo below were…

Les: “You’re absolutely right CW, these are the best seats in the house to watch the Sportsmodel Division!”

CW: “Les!…that’s the Grandmaster’s divvy!!”

If anyone would like one of these cool Tees I am letting them go for only $20 each including postage!! I have sizes M, L and XL available. Flick me an email at craigwinter@rocketmail.com and I will get one out to you very promptly!

Three weeks out!

Ok so now just 3 weeks till my first state show for 2013 and 7 weeks till the big one…the ANB Asia Pacific International. My plan is to obviously peak for this show and I am hoping to ‘eat’ into this contest whilst backing off my cardio so as to make use of the supercompensation technique to filling out the muscle bellies while still maintaining excellent condition. This of course can only be attempted if your body fat levels are low enough with only 2 or 3 weeks to go.

As always I am looking forward to strutting my stuff once again onstage and have really enjoyed this particular pre-contest journey very much. I have also created a somewhat ‘cheeky’ free posing routine to have some fun with at the Asia Pacific…it should hopefully get a few laughs!!

So until next we meet in cyberspace I wish you all the very best with your health and fitness lifestyle as well as success and prosperity with your personal life and family.

Kind regards, CW.