Hi again everyone,
Well I feel it is that time once again for my weekly blog to bring you more bits and pieces from CW’s bodybuilding world.
Motivation and inspiration are so important in life and are key aspects to bodybuilding success and longevity in the sport. One way to motivate yourself is to create a very positive mindset whereby you always aim high and cast the naysayers to one side. For many years I used to put in a contingency plan for not winning so as to be not too disappointed if the cards didn’t fall my way so to speak. The funny thing is of course is that the temporary disappointment is there anyway. My fiancée Louise, who has a Masters degree in HR, told me to “act as if there is no doubt” and to visualize winning from accepting the 1st place trophy to celebrating afterwards with friends and a fun feed. The feelings of temporary disappointment are still present when you don’t win regardless of your previous mindset. And I know those feelings don’t last as you walk away and start devising a plan of attack to do better next time.
A confident competitor is an absolute force to be reckoned with, that positive mindset shines through on stage and can give you the winning edge. On the contrary, a competitor lacking self esteem will exude that and can make the audience and judges feel uncomfortable just watching them.
I am not saying that you should be arrogant with this confident outlook, simply try being more optimistic in a humble manner and set the bar higher to inspire yourself to reach new glorious goals. After all, as the saying goes…”The body can achieve what the mind can conceive!!”
I spoke in a previous blog about HIT(High Intensity Training) and how I have adapted Dorian Yates approach to this training system to suit myself. Basically I split my body parts up over 5 days so that Monday is Quads & Calves, Tuesday is Chest & Biceps, Wednesday off, Thursday is Hamstrings & Calves, Friday is Shoulders & Triceps, Saturday is Back, Rear Delts & Traps with Sunday off.
The basic premise of HIT is that you are trying to ‘stimulate not annihilate’. A muscle is good for peak contraction for only about 40-45 minutes so it makes sense to avoid all those what I call “wasted sets”. This week I will run through my Quads & Calves workout with this philosophy in mind.
Start off with a warmup on the treadmill or life cycle for 10 minutes to get the blood circulating. My first exercise is Leg Extensions with 4 sets. The first set is usually very light with around 20 reps, the second set is normally about 15 reps with a heavier weight, the third set is harder and heavier again for approximately 12 reps. The fourth and final set is 8 reps with your heaviest weight where you only just get that 7th and 8th rep out, these may even be forced reps with the aid of a spotter.
Now I am ready for the compound exercise which will be either Smith Machine Squats(deep) or 45 degree angle Leg Press. I will alternate these weekabout.
The first set is a moderate weight( as your knees are already warmed up) for 15 reps, the second set is heavy and quite gruelling for 12 reps with the third set again being that really hard set for 8 reps till muscular failure or as close as possible if no spotter is available. The idea is to work towards that all out set of 8 reps and then move on to the next exercise, saving something for that movement. Stimulate the muscle then move on and avoid all those wasted sets.
The last Quad exercise is certainly not for the faint hearted. Lunges!! I will again alternate walking dumbbell lunges with Smith Machine lunges weekabout. The first of only two sets is 12 reps on each leg with again a fairly heavy weight as you are already warmed up. The second set is 8 lung-busting reps with a heavier weight to finish off your Quadriceps!!
Finally I will do 4 sets of calf presses on the leg press machine targeting the Gastrocnemius muscle. These reps are higher and usually around 40 for set 1, 35 reps for set 2, 30 reps for set 3 and 25 reps for set 4. I will work the Soleus part of the lower legs after Hamstrings on Thursday.
To maximize the intensity and effect of this style of training remember to move fairly quickly from one set to the next. One to two minutes rest between sets is usually the norm although on back and leg day this may stretch out a bit whilst working through the big compound movements where huge oxygen debt prevents you from going any faster.
HIT training works really well for natural athletes where over training is always a hindrance to making gains. I have found in myself that many of my ‘niggles’ have healed up as well as noticing improvements in my strength levels. Some of my lagging body parts are also starting to improve and are, as always, still a work in progress!
The exercise I thought I would touch on this week is one that I learn’t many many years ago from reading an article written by the first ever Mr Olympia, Larry Scott. Larry had tremendous deltoids and had developed his own version of the side lat raise to better target that medial (middle) head of the 3 deltoid muscles. Too many people, when performing side lat raises, lift the arms to high and end up working the front delt which gets hammered in so many other exercises.
To effectively work the side head you start with the dumbbells touching each other in front of your body with the upper torso bent slightly at the waist. As you raise you arms away from your sides simultaneously turn the forearms downwards as though you were pouring water out of the ends of the dumbbells! Your little finger should end up higher than your forefinger. Try to feel the medial delt pull up your arms to point where they are almost parallel with the ground. At the top of the movement you bob your head down slightly so as to contract the medial delt, look at yourself in a mirror…you should be able to see the middle delt above the front delt…even the rear delt is almost visible! I have had many comments about my delts over the years and definitely attribute this exercise to their development.
Ok so now down to the business end of the road to my 50th contest, only 8 weeks to go and twice a day cardio is locked in place, except on Legs Day, where I only do low intensity cardio after that gruelling workout for about 30-40 minutes. My carbs will remain around 100g per day whilst protein levels are about 350-400g. I will still have my cheat meals, only once per week, for the time being.
Last weekend’s cheat meal for Supa Food Saturday was an awesome 7 course French luncheon at the famous Bistro Vue in Melbourne City. It was Bastille Day, so we celebrated in style with matching wines accompanying each course. There was some amazing dishes, I love French cuisine as everything just tastes so fantastic with their creative ingredients and of course “butter, butter and more butter!!”
Pre-contest doesn’t have to be a prison sentence. If you stay relatively lean off-season, eat clean during the week and pay your dues to cardio then the whole process can actually be very enjoyable. Having that cheat meal to look forward to certainly makes you go hard in the days leading up and then the mini-rebound you get afterwards gives you an great boost!
So until next time have a great week and try to be more positive in your daily life, remove the negatives and work towards becoming an eternal optimist. Positive thoughts yield positive outcomes…nothing more certain than that!
Kind regards, Craig W.