1. Increase the intensity of your workout (fewer reps per set, with heavier weight in each set). If you do 3 sets of 10 reps, you are sacrificing intensity for conformity. Change that silly pattern before supplementing. You should find each set harder to do than the last, so it will necessarily consist of either fewer reps or less weight. If each set is the same, you are doing something wrong. Think about the logic, here. Then, implement the change and watch your results improve.
2. Focus on what the muscle is doing, not what the weight is doing.
3. Stimulate, don't annihilate. You need only stimulate the body into an adaptive response. Training beyond that point is counterproductive.
4. Remember that hard training, which is the only route to producing new muscle, generates the adaptive response by actually bursting existing muscle cells. Once that process begins, you won't get more of an adaptive response by doing more of it.
5. To maximize muscle growth from the adaptive response, work the muscles through their full range of motion (typically, this requires three different exercises per muscle) to recruit the most muscle fibers
6. To maximize the degree of adaptive response, contract as hard as possible. That may require more weight, but usually it just requires more focus on what the muscle is doing.
7. It's not how many reps you do or how much you lift. It's how you force that muscle into positive adaptation. Slow reps with less weight will work more than 100 times faster in muscle-building than fast reps with more weight added just to impress others in the gym (even though nobody is impressed).
1. Eat six small meals a day. This helps regulate your insulin, and proper spacing of these six small meals prevents your body from going into the muscle-digesting, fat-storing catabolic state. Plan your meals, and eat only what you planned at those six times.
2. Eat nutrient-dense, calorie-sparse foods. This necessarily eliminates nearly all grain products. It necessarily includes a huge range of tasty vegetables and most fruits.
3. Change the FDA's disastrous Food Pyramid by replacing "grain" with "green."
4. Don't drink fruit juices; they are endocrine modifiers and do immense damage to your hormonal environment. Eat whole fruit, instead.
5. Sodas cause osteoporosis. For strong bones, completely eliminate these from your diet. Drink water, tea, or coffee (the latter two are loaded with anti-oxidants).
6. Avoid products produced by Big Agra, such as corn-fed beef (toxic, wrong hormones, disease-infested), corn syrup (many negative health effects), and any processed flours of wheat or corn (federal law mandates adding folic acid, which is stupid in the extreme and toxic to the max--you should consume only naturally occurring folic acid).
1. Use supplements methodically, not haphazardly. Use the recommended dosage at the recommended intervals, without a gap in the program.
2. Time your supplement intake per the instructions on the container. For example, if it's a preworkout supplement you're supposed to consume 30 minutes prior to working out, don't consume it an hour ahead of time or right before.
3. Use supplements in harmony. For example, if you're using a fatburner because you're trying to get cut don't defeat that by adding extra calories via excess supplemental protein or some oil-based supplement.
1. Go to bed at the same time every night. This sets your body clock. You can't make up for lost sleep by "sleeping in."
2. Change/wash bedding once a week, to reduce sleep-robbing irritation.
3. Make your bedroom dark. If you have problems sleeping, you will be amazed at the results of installing "no light" blinds.
Cardio for fat loss?
Intense weight training is the best way to lose fat. That's because it alters your hormonal profile toward fat-burning, while limiting the catabolic response (that is, you burn fat without also losing muscle). While "cardio" burns a few calories while you're doing it, intense training with weights increases your fat-burning long after the workout is completed.
The term "cardio" is bodybuilder lingo for "cardio vascular exercise." Your squats and other combination exercises put plenty of stress on your cardiovascular system, if done correctly. But if, for some reason, these routines don't make your heart pound hard enough then you might want to add "cardio" to get more adaptive response for your heart and lungs. Or if your squats leave you dizzy and gasping for breath, then reduce the frequency to once a month for a few months while you add focused cardio (also once a month, or you'll overtrain).
There are good reasons for doing cardio. Generally, they are related to your not being able to handle your compound exercises without nearly fainting (needing to throw up, however, is considered par for the course). Burning fat is not a reason to do cardio, unless you want to fast track fat burn short-term by doing high intensity interval training (which necessarily means reducing other forms of training such as squats and deadlifts). That would consist of short bursts of running. For example, it could mean running up a steep hill as fast as you can until you can't run (you exhaust your glycogen in 15 seconds, that way) or running up it at about 80% of speed to tone down the intensity a bit. Running bleachers is another popular method of getting this kind of training in.
Six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates, whom many feel is the all-time greatest Mr. Olympia ever, is on record downplaying the role of "cardio." For most people, this kind of "workout" is an excuse to engage in low-intensity exercise instead of stepping up and doing the hard work that produces results.