Blog Archives

Post Competition Leg Workout

Nano 3.0I just competed in a bodybuiding competition in Port St Lucie, Florida Saturday, August 24th with 10 other athletes from Team Max (our competition team of bikini, figure, bodybuilding and physique athletes) from our gym, Max Fitness Club.

I trained and dieted for this event for about two months, counting every calorie in and every calorie out. I treated every rep of every exercise as if someone else was doing it better. I did 3-a-day cardios and worked my abs harder than I ever have before. I truly pushed my body to what I felt was the limit. The outcome?  Awww sweet success, but what do I do now?

Treasure Coast Classic

Nano 3.0I decided I would compete again in 4 weeks, with some of my clients, so there is no way to take a week off (which is what I would usually do to allow my body to heal).  So, here I sit Monday morning having to do legs and my body is still so achy, sore, and depleted from the crazy carnage from the weekend. I strap on my new favorite lifting shoes, my new Nano 3.0’s and off I go!

I decide that whatever I do today will need to be submax, and less intense – maybe I’ll add a little more rest time and decrease the resistance.  Off I go…

POST COMPETITION LEG DAY… just to get started again

Quadriceps and glutes:

A. Leg press
Five sets starting very light and adding resistance every set for five easy sets,

Set1: 2 plates X 30 reps (wide foot placement)
Set 2: 4 plates X 30 reps (moderate foot placement)
Set 3-5: 6 plates X 30 reps (3 each side) (alternating foot placement from narrow to wide)

NOTE: the Nano 3.0 gives great feed back and response while doing leg press.  Love that feeling.

B. Deep Squats
Five sets starting ridiculously light and working my way to just 135.  All I want to day is to stretch out the carnage from flexing this weekend.  I need to move the weight through a long range of motion safely.

Set 1: 95lbs X’s 20 reps (deep as safely tolerated)
Set 2-5: 135 X’s 20 reps (deep as tolerated)

NOTE: the Nano 3.0’s provide stability and true feel from the floor through the lift that you just cant get with any other shoe outside of a oly-lifting shoe.

C. Leg Extension
let’s keep this slow and methodical.  Five sets using each rep as an opportunity to squeeze theses muscles into a full contraction.

set 1: 100lbs X’s 15
set 2: 120 X’s 15
set 3: 140 X’s 15
set 4 150 X’s 15
set 5 160 X’s 15

NOTE: in most open chain exercises (where your feet aren’t planted or connect to a machine’s surface), the only benefit the Nano 3.0 has to offer is how cool it makes me feel wearing it,,, lol

So there it is… my post competition workout.  I hope this helps you after a race, a meet, or any competition.  After meeting our fitness goals, and competing, it is always hard to find a way to “restart”.  But follow this easy 2 step guide:

Step 1:  Pick a goal
Step 2: Go to the gym

Yep, it’s pretty much that simple.

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Fitness Vomit or Workout Program?

workout at homeWith the onset of online fitness enthusiasts, and the quest for more knowledge, I’ve noticed more workouts shared online now than ever. And, unarguably there are a lot of great “workouts” available by both professionals and fitness enthusiasts that are taking the time to post some killer workouts.  Enough of the politically correct niceties… here it goes!

No matter how amazing a workout seems, a single workout is not purposeful unless its used correctly in a program.

hammer and nailA workout is like a tool in a tool bag. A hammer is useless without a nail and a piece of wood.  But even a hammer, nail, and wood are just a bunch of “construction vomit” unless you have an idea, or desire, to build something.  The more grandiose your goals of construction, the more tools (workouts) you will need. I’ve seen lots of hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches, thrown together into a bag of tools with no idea, if any, of what the builder even wants to build.

nail gun failThe next analogolitical /ano:log:itical/ (yes, my new word) idea is knowing how to use the tools properly so you don’t waste your wood. At 43, it is a bad idea to ever do that. If you don’t use your hammer properly you can bend a nail in the wood, not only will you never reach your goal, you can injure yourself or injure someone else in your quest.  A perfectly good hammer (workout) is dangerous,or even useless if you aren’t taking your time to learn your craft.

PROGRAMMING

love handlesAfter you develop some goals (what you want to build), look at what materials you have to work with.  Some things I hear are “I’m too fat”, “I’m too skinny”, “I have no cardio”, “I’m not flexible”,or “uh-uhm… I’m all the above”  Make sure you have the right tools, or workouts, for the right construction materials and a reasonable goal of what you want to attain.

Old_bookYour workouts should be a journey that lead you to reaching your goals.  The individual exercises in a single workout are like words in a paragraph. The way you pair your exercises together in a workout are comparable to a finished paragraph. What body parts you do together, and in what order each week, are your chapters. How you change and arrange your training and rest days to reach your final goals, is the novel that we call your goal.

If the chapters are randomly thrown together the story will make no sense. If the words on the page are just 5 and 6 syllable words that you can’t understand, how will they ever tell a great story?  Thus, they are nothing more than “literary vomit”.

Anyone who has ever worked out can put a single workout together by picking some tough exercises, decreasing the rest time, and turning up some angry grunge music – but to what end? Is this leading us anywhere long-term – or is it just meant to blow off some steam and carbs for an hour or so????

GOOD, BAD AND UGLY  

p90xA great example of an outstanding program is P90X; it has a method to its madness. The training is methodical, scheduled, and so are the rest and recovery periods, as well as the eating. This example has every tool you need to attain an amazing physique in 90 days. However, the same company produced “Insanity.” What a tough and incredible workout – and Shaun-T is a great instructor. The programing, however, is “vomit”. The idea of “let’s take the hardest exercises and throw them together into a video that kicks butt, but takes us nowhere specifically” = VOMIT.

insanityNow, to use insanity as a hammer with some other tools and materials would be profoundly useful. However, in and of itself, its just a hard workout – and if that is all you do as a “program” it would be like reading the same paragraph in a book over and over and expecting a different ending, or trying to build a skyscraper with just a hammer.

My point is this (and don’t hate), if you are showing up for your “workout of the day”  and not getting the long term results you want (especially with your physique), maybe you should question what direction that specific program is taking you if any, or find out how to use your existing program in a more purposeful way. Because, even if you are getting stronger or your cardio is improving, but it isn’t helping you reach your main goal (which, for most of us, is to also improve your physique), then maybe you need to tweak your program or change it altogether.

Looking for a workout program to follow? Subscribe to DualFit.com and join my newest online 4-week daily workout plan – great for  both guys and girls and requiring minimal equipment so you can do it at home or the gym. 🙂 Recruit some friends and I’ll be posting a launch date for peeps to all start together!

DualFit 4-Week Workout

Burpee and Swing Suicide

Steve PfiesterHere’s a tough conditioning circuit you can add to any strength or cardio workout to take your training up a notch.

Burpee and Kettlebell Swing Suicide 

1 Burpee & 1 Kettlebell Swing

2 Burpees & 2 Kettlebell Swings

3 Burpees & 3 Kettlebell Swings

…continue until you reach

10 Burpees & 10 Kettlebell Swings

By the time you are finished, you will have done 55 Burpees and 55 Kettlebell Swings!

Is It Time to Ramp Up Your Workout?

IMG_5140You are finally motivated to take your training to the next level.  You are no longer satisfied with these mundane mediocre workouts that leave your body fatigued but no different looking, or performing, than before you started.  Your goals are literally “running on a treadmill”, taking you nowhere.  Maybe you are satisfied with your physique, but you know you have more – and you want to know what that “more” is!  It all starts with increasing the intensity of your training.

How do you intelligently increase the intensity of your training so that it provides the biggest benefit?  That is where this blog comes in.  How you change your training regimen is going to largely depend on what your goals are.  If you are training to sprint faster, your training will change to the polar opposite of a long distance runner.  937If you are a fighter that needs stamina for 12 rounds you will train completely different than a power lifter who needs enormous energy for 1 bout of a 3 second lift.  What will be considered is duration, frequency, intensity, rest, and nutrition.

If you are looking for this blog to spell out each individual sport specific training protocol, you are looking in the wrong place.  There are tons of great research online to help individual athletes develop programs specific to their sport.  What I hope to accomplish here is to provide you with what questions you should be trying to ask so you can develop a program that will take your training to the next level.

Knowing the Right Questions

fitness-goalsBefore we start, determine your main focus: Do you need to develop strength (increase the load of a 1 rep max ), hypertrophy (increase in muscle size  ), or stamina (increase the ability to repeat a movement continuously with little fatigue over a longer duration).  Without a doubt, genetics play the biggest factor in our performance, our aesthetics, and our health.  Hard work takes off where genetics leaves off.  Nothing worth having comes easy.  But you have to work hard… and smart!

These are the questions you should be asking to take your body to the next level.

Question 1: Intensity

IntensityIntensity can have a plethora of different meanings.  Let’s define it to mean the % of load, and the speed of each individual repetition.  When we discuss speed, we begin to blur together other principals that we will look at later, such as duration.  As a matter of fact, all of the following definitions and principals will affect intensity.   In other words, how heavy should I lift and how fast should each repetition be performed to elicit the biggest change for my goal?

Question 2: Frequency

workout-too-muchFrequency controls the variables of how often to lift or exercise.  How many reps, sets, and training sessions should I have in a given week?  This is easiest described by looking at a marathon runners training schedule.  How often should they run to get the desired affect of being able to run further faster?  If they train to often (long runs every day), their muscles don’t have ample time to repair – and that, my friends, is what this is all about!

Frequency is a huge variable when it comes to our goals because it works in conjunction with recovery, or controlling how much our muscle can recover/repair before the next repetition, set, or training session.

Question 3:  Duration

durationDuration, as we are using the term, will be the time variable.  The time it takes to lift in one rep, one set, and one training period.  Duration for a boxer could be, how long each round goes, how many rounds in that specific match, and how many matches that day.

Duration is used in some other pertinent principals of exercise as well.  Such as the “TUT” principal.  This is described as time under tension.  The object of TUT is trying to gain a training affect by varying the time your body is under load during resistance exercise.  When talking about duration and TUT, we have to consider the phases of contraction.  Mostly the eccentric phase (negative).  Many theories have supporting data that a slow negative movement will increase mass, strength, and tone of a muscle during resistance exercise.  How long a training session lasts to be optimal for a training effect is also hugely important.  If you train longer than your body can maintain intensity for, may be your downfall in the long run. How long or short, slow or fast,  should my reps, sets, rest time, and workouts be?

Question 4: Recovery (rest and nutrition)

Sleep-and-RecoveryThis question could be its own blog.  Please consider doing a lot of homework on your own looking at the questions I will pose.  Recovery includes so many variables that will get us off track, so let’s just focus on rest and nutrition.  I believe, and it is supported by solid research, that nutrition and rest are the most important factors limiting growth and performance second only to genetics and androgenic drugs.

Rest and nutrition are powerful variables that can give an athlete the advantage even when competing against a stronger more gifted rival.

1. How long should I rest between sets
2. How long should I rest between workouts
3. How long should I rest between specific body parts (how often should I hit legs)
4. What do I eat before or after training
5. How much should I eat to maximize results
6. What do I eat to maximize results
7. What do I NOT eat (does alcohol or sugars affect a training response)

Cheat Sheet – The Beginning…

There are no easy answers for any of these questions.  The answers are all specific to your sport and your methodology of training.  But I promise you, if you are training hard, its worth it for you to find the specific answers you need for your specific goals.  If you are a football player, and you train like a football player but eat a ballerina’s diet, you will look and perform like a ballerina.  (That is not a jab at ballerina’s) – just sayin’.

I came across a helpful table on Wikipedia based on sound theory and solid research, and I agree with much of it.  I hope this table is a useful tool to help get you started on answering the questions we have developed to master your craft!

Variable

Training Goal

Strength

Power

Hypertrophy

Endurance

Speed

Load (% of 1RM)

80-90

45-60

60-80

40-60

30

Reps per set

1-5

1-5

6-12

13-60

1-5

Sets per exercise

4-7

3-5

4-8

2-4

3-5

Rest between sets (mins)

2-6

2-6

2-5

1-2

2-5

Duration (seconds per set)

5-10

4-8

20-60

80-150

20-40

Speed per rep (% of max)

60-100

90-100

60-90

60-80

100

Training sessions per week

3-6

3-6

5-7

8-14

3-6

Table reproduced from Siff, 2003[9]

Beginner’s HIIT Workout

HIIT ITWhether you’ve never done a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout before, or you are a pro, here is a workout I put together for DualFit that is designed for beginners – but can be adjusted in intensity by simply adjusting the intervals.

OTHER INTERVALS TO TRY:

  • 30/30: 30 Seconds of Exercise & 30 Seconds of Rest
  • 30/30/30: 30 Seconds of the 1st Exercise ( no rest), 30 Seconds of the 2nd Exercise and 30 Seconds rest
  • 45/15: 45 Seconds of Exercise & 15 Seconds of Rest
  • 50/10: 50 Seconds of Exercise & 10 Seconds of Rest

CLICK HERE to get the written workout, and get more great info at DualFit.com!

Hard Core Abs Workouts

 

Here is one of the workouts we did this week! I thought you might like to give it a try.

Hard Core

Click on the links below to see video instruction:

Combine this workout with another ab workout and really blast those abs! Or combine

Spring into Spring Workout

I just dug up this old workout – totally killer. totally hard. totally awesome. Tone up, shed fat and burn calories in this plyometric workout!

Spring into Spring1ST COUPLET
25 Plyo Jumps on Box
25 Surfers on Box
(3 Times)

2ND COUPLET
25 Double Unders
25 Skaters
(3 Times)

3RD COUPLET
25 Knee Ups
25 Plyo Alligator Push Ups
(3 Times)

My new favorite shoe for this type of training:
Reebok’s CrossFit Nanos

I just got these shoes this month. I customized mine, complete with “BCX TRAINER” on the back heel – and they are awesome. These shoes are great for plyos, quick sprints & heavy lifts. The shoe is light and the sole grips the ground great. You definitely don’t have to do CrossFit to enjoy the CrossFit line of shoes. They are totally versatile – and great for anyone. The only thing they are not really made for is long distance runs.

CrossFit Nano 2.0

CrossFit Nano 2.0

 

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

So You Want to Compete? Encouragement for the Future Competitor

Have you ever been interested in body building or physique contests? Have you ever wondered what its like on stage, back stage, or even in the crowd  on the night of the event?

npc bodybuilding, figure, physique and figure

Preparing the Body

Daytona ClassicI know how I felt when I first thought of getting on stage and seeing what this whole competition things was all about. I was terrified. I didnt know anything about diet, tanning, posing, how to pump up, what suit to buy, what to eat the night before, and on and on and on. I realized I probably wasn’t alone, and that this “abyss”of the unknown may be keeping many from trying one of the toughest sports in the world when it comes to training and nutrition.

Competitors don’t risk falling off of a balance beam after years of preparation, or getting knocked out by one rogue lucky punch but, instead, the competition is soley in the preparation. The day of the show is merely an unvailing of a sculpture (or science project) that took months, and even years, to perfect – or at least improve.

Preparing the body for  a show takes a lot of planning (and, as you can see in these pictures below shot at the hotel competition day, a lot of packing, cooking, supplementing and planning ahead).

Bodybuilding, Physique, Figure & Bikini Competition prep GNC vitamins  bodybuilding diet bodybuilding prep hotel gym

Preparing the Mind

Team Max This type of discipline is grueling – and takes a lot of mental fortitude and drive to keep going till the day of competition. This is when, as a coach, a little encouragement can go a long way. I have close to 20 people that are going to compete with me in an upcomming physique event, and the following is a letter I wrote them to encourage them to persever till the end.  I wrote this letter to encourage them to say the course no matter what their brain or body is telling them.  I wrote this letter to push them to keep faith that in 5 weeks their bodies will be the most amazing aesthtically that they have been in years, if not ever.

Dear Competitor,

Letter to my clients and future competitors out there where ever you are:

Bikini CompetitorsFirst, I want to applaud you all for your commitment, drive, discipline and self-denial – and your courage and your desire to step out into this scary world of physique competitions. 

Secretly I am hoping you find it very fulfilling, beyond the seemingly narcissistic focus it may have at first glance.  I promise you, this level of commitment, self denial and discipline has perfect carry over into our daily lives.  It teaches us to be better parents, boss’s, moms, dads, husbands and on and on… 

Here we are guys… 5 weeks to go. Some of you are still on the fence, and that is ok.  But next week we are either crossing the line of committing to April 6th, or we are going to gracefully bow out for another show. I am asking you to humbly allow me to help you with that decision.  Lets decide together if your physique will be show ready or not. 

Please don’t let fear into your heart, or head, when it comes to this decision of competing.  It is only a question of being ready or not physically.  Emotionally and mentally you will be wondering “what if” all the way up to and even the day of the show.  So get that out of your head.

You guys have already overcome so much.  We have only been training as a team for 5 weeks so far, and every single one of you has amazed me with your level of commitment. We still have 5 weeks to go.  I’ve never had a team with so many firsts, so personally I am overwhelmed with excitement.

What If’s…

Men's Physique (before)Guys (and girls), I know the inbody is messing with your head, I know the scale is your best friend in the morning and then your nemesis by noon.  You feel so weak trying to finish the most menial tasks around the house, never mind making it into Max to train.  When you finally do have time to train you may feel like you’re letting something else go, or putting other priorities on the back burner.  You are paying the price, you are paying your dues.  You will all have different levels of sacrifice depending on your support structure at home.  Some friends and family are supporting your every move, keeping you accountable, reminding you of how amazing your commitment is – and others… not so much. 

Your spouse may feel left out. You may have guilt about picking your kids up at school only to drop them off again so you can train. Your best friend may miss her drinking buddy, or even be jealous that she doesn’t have the guts to commit to this epic training.  Get all of this out of your head, because when your friends and family see you on the stage, all will be forgiven. 

Tell me I can'tI have seen my clients go to a show with a skeptic husband, and I watch his face as his bride walks out on stage and his jaw drops.  He stands to his feet and screams, number 17, number 17…  Or the look on the faces of your kids shouting from the crowd, mom… mom…  As a coach, this all plays a part of why I drive you guys, and beg for more when you have nothing left to give.  If you are struggling with this, stay true to training, stay true to yourself. The one thing they can’t argue the day of the show is that you deserve the applause they are hearing for you right now. 

I would like to encourage you, however, to arrange your schedule to train early or later or in the middle of the day as to not affect your friends and family as much.  The less impact our training and diet has on disrupting our social lives, the more supportive our loved ones will be.  It is a sacrifice to get up early, to get that extra cardio before your spouse or kids wake. It is a sacrifice to make PB&J sandwiches for the rest of the family when you’re dying to lick the spoon. It is a sacrifice to go out for drinks with friends and sip on un-sweet ice tea in a martini glass – but you didn’t think that all this sacrifice was just in the gym, did ya?

Bodybuilding TROPHIESSo here we are… 5 weeks out.  We feel too fat, too flabby, too skinny, too hungry. By now, I think I have had a chance to talk to each of you about dialing it in for the show.  If not, lets talk Saturday so we can straighten out these questions.  But in the mean time, stick to the program. Regardless if the scale doesn’t move, stick to the program.  If you feel skinny, it doesn’t necessarily mean eat more, and if you’re having a fat day it doesn’t mean you need to starve yourself. 

You must “stay the course”.  I know you are hungry, tired, emotional, scared, insecure… because I feel these things too – but guys, I can tell you what its like the day after… the accomplishment, the pride, the feeling as though you worked so hard and you deserve the compliments that people give you.  It is worth it in the end.

Lets all commit to taking our training and diet up another notch.  Don’t put your family and friends second, don’t let fatigue and hunger slow you down, don’t let your eyes tell you your not going to be ready, and never, never, never give up.

StevO’

Think It’s Too Late?

Steve Pfiester trains female bodybuilder

Dr. Josefina Monasterio STARTED competing for the first time when she was 60. She is one of our Team Max members who will compete in the upcoming Southeast Classic in Hollywood April 6th, even after hip surgery. So, NO it’s not too late. Read Dr. Josefina’s story…

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #respectyourself

Sculpting Better Legs: Simple Leg Workout to Improve Your “Sweep”

vastus lateralisIf you have been following this mess I call a blog at all for the last 5 months you may have heard me whine and whine about my knee. If not, you’re in luck because here I go again.  5 months ago I was getting ready for my first ever MMA tournament.  I know,… shut it! But anywho, I was gonna try. Here’s a shocker: my 42-year-old butt got tore up by a 19-year-old monster.  I tore my medial meniscus and sustained a 90% tear to my MCL.  I was devastated, but now I’m back and I want to not only return to competing, I want my quads bigger and stronger than ever. The area I want to focus on for this workout is the Vastus Lateralis, the largest and most outer portion of the thigh.

How to Improve Your Sweep

Bikini competitors legsHow do we isolate out the vastus lateralis muscle, or as we call it in the physique world, “the sweep”?  Vastus externus or vastus lateralis, depending on your A&P professor, is the largest of all the quadricep muscles. The action of this muscle is to extend the tibia or shin bone at the knee, but I’m here to help you learn how to perform knee extension to isolate out the other muscles that synergistically aid in this action.  In sculpting, it is very important that we learn isolation. Whether we are a bodybuilder, a bikini competitor or a stay-at-home mom that wants to scult their body, we can all use these principles to learn to sculpt nicer legs.

Target Training

target fatFat burn or spot reducing fat  can not be limited to specific areas of the body, no matter what  “bogus science” and pills tell you. However, sculpting most assuredly can be reduced to a single area, action, and in some cases, specific fibers of a specific muscle – all based on how we execute the exercise.  You don’t need a degree in kinesiology to learn these principals, just a little common sense is all.

So, how do we excite and fatigue the fibers of our outer quad to hypertrophy our SWEEP?

Narrow-minded

Leg press sweepOk, so here is one exercise you should be narrow-minded about. Narrow is better when we talk about our stance to accentuate or facilitate the contractile tissue of the outer quad.  So lets think narrow when doing squats and leg extensions.  Whatever exercises you do, stand with a more narrow stance (feet together).  You may stop and ask, does that mean if I stand wide, I will work my inner thigh and medial quads?  Yeppers! Now you are getting it.  (another blog perhaps)  Moving on…

Self-Centered

building better legsWith leg extensions, it’s all about being self-centered – literally. If you point your toes outward, you are working the  vastus medialis, the tear drop shaped muscle on the medial side (inside) of the legs close to the knee. Since we want to work the opposite side of the legs, then (yes, you guessed it) we want to point our toes in the opposite direction, pointing toes together. Note: this doesn’t work by just pointing the feet from the ankle down, the whole leg must internally rotate to the center to excite the appropriate muscles.

Here is an example of my own leg workout where I use these same principles to improve my sweep.

Yesterday’s Leg Workout

Warm up:  4 sets / 20 reps  

Deep weighted walking lunges  (35-50 pound dumbbells) 45 seconds rest btw sets

Couplet: Leg Press & Leg Extension Super Set
(zero rest between super set, 1 minute between sets)

#1 Heavy leg press
5-8 plates each side, narrow stance (4″ apart) and push only on your heels
10 sets / 15 reps

#2 Moderately heavy leg extension
Moderately heavy leg extension (130lbs-160lbs) internally rotate your femur’s in (toes are pigeon-toed), and squeeze your outer quad in terminal extension.
10 sets / 12-15 reps

Repeat Super Set 10 Times

Puke and repeat for 10 rounds(sets) with 1 minute rest between (rounds) sets

Here are some pics from my last show, the Daytona Classic, just 10 days after getting hurt.

daytona classic

It Won’t Be Easy, But It WILL be Worth It! #respectyourself

 

After I wrote my blog yesterday, Bonnie made this mantra to help us all remember what we are working so hard for.

2013 I will be GNC

 

FitFluential LLC compensated me for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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