It is Super Bowl time again this weekend and people in training always want to know what to eat on Super Bowl Sunday.  If you are having or are going to a football party then I am sure that you are aware that the snacks you usually find are loaded with calories.  I am not going to give you a bunch of recipes for boring healthy snacks that no one will eat.  I am not even going to suggest that you try not to eat them.  What fun is that?  And besides, you know you are going to eat all of those chips and dips and wash them down with a few beers.

What To Eat Super Bowl Sunday

But you see, this is an advantage.  It is like the GI Joe slogan “Knowing is half the battle!”  So, if you know you dont have the will power to abstain from gorging yourself on nachos and hot dogs, then why not prepare yourself for such a giant calorie intake?

Let’s take a different approach than what everyone else will tell you.  We have talked about before that caloric intake is what drives the gain or loss of fat.  Too many calories and you gain fat and too few and you lose fat.  Most of us are trying to get more lean and so try to create a deficit in calorie consumption in order to burn fat off of our frame.  I have said before, that you shouldn’t worry too much about  minute to minute consumption but more like weekly and monthly consumption.  This is really the time frame that affects you (unless you are less than 8% body fat- then each meal can show up within hours).

So if you know that you are going to eat a bunch this sunday watching your teams vie for the Super Bowl Championship then prepare yourself a few days before and a few days after to even out the weekly intake.  So perhaps you eat less at every meal this week and next.  Or maybe you skip lunch all week.  Maybe you go for salads at every meal.  There are several choices available to you for cutting out calories…. maybe you do a mixture of the options.

By doing this, you weekly consumption of calories will balance out.   You can allow yourself this wonderful treat because you already have created a deficit!  So now you can enjoy the festivities and not wonder what to eat on Super Bowl Sunday.

Today I’d like to talk a little bit about body weight exercises– you know like push-ups or pull ups.  However, first I’d like to talk about the way to build muscle the most efficient way.  You see, I feel that the most efficient way to maximize muscle gain is by creating high tension in your muscles by using heavy weight training and low reps.

Now the issue with body weight exercise is that once you get to a certain level of strength training, then you’re body weight just isn’t heavy enough without doing extremely high reps.

So you can’t build the muscle density and increase definition as efficiently.  Over time, yes, you will build some density -but let’s talk about what we can do to modify bodyweight exercises in order to increase their efficiency

First, I must say that I can’t take full credit for this information because I actually learned this years ago…without even realizing it.  Often I find that I have learned things and forgotten about them.

Think about this for a moment.  In military boot camp when you do strength training PT, and you are doing push-ups, you often are required to hold your position either in the top or bottom of the movement- and at times in the middle of the movement. I hadn’t thought about this until I read about Scott Sonnon’s course based on his real-life work with Special Ops teams around the world.  The bodyweight exercises only training course is called TACFIT Commando. It talks about this particular boot camp techniques and actually focuses on body weight training.

body weight exercises

The technique is static body weight holds and it seems like a relatively simple idea but many people have never thought about it.  By just doing a few workouts this way, you’re likely to experience more muscle tone fairly quickly.

Let me explain static hold for you: A bodyweight static hold is when you stop you movement in a condition where you are creating tension in your muscle.  So for instance, when you’re doing a pull-up you want to stop and hold yourself at the most difficult part of the movement.  If you take push-ups for example, you need to stop and hold it about halfway down and you want to hold it for a certain interval.

You want to do these bodyweight exercises like interval training. Do the exercise for a set amount of time with a resting time in between.  So you can hold it for 60 seconds and 30 seconds break or hold it for 40 seconds and 20 seconds break.  As you get stronger just increase the length of time you’re doing the rep.

The way I do bodyweight holds is in the form of supersets.  This means that I’ll do one bodyweight exercise then take a short break and then move into a new position. Then I take a break and move into another position and take a break, etc. Each exercise should be opposing each other so if you do one chest exercise then the next exercise should be a back exercise. And you can set up your workout routine for upper body or full body or lower body muscle building.

These are great for your warm-up exercises.  In fact I do about 8 min. worth of these exercises prior to my weight lifting routine.  It just seems to get all the muscles loose and ready to work better.   Bodyweight static hold exercises are also great for when you’re traveling because often you don’t have access to a gym to work out.  So you can do bodyweight exercises in your hotel room very quickly before you go out.

hotel room bodyweight exercises

*Can you imagine doing your bodyweight exercises in this room I found on Google Images?

Don’t get me wrong, this should not replace your weight training workout routine but it is great to do when you just don’t feel like going to the gym to work out.  Sometimes that lack of motivation hits me and I don’t go to the gym, but then when I’m watching TV during the commercial breaks I will do body weight exercises so that at least I get some sort of workout.

Body weight exercises are great for when you’re short on time, are great for when you travel, and they’re much more difficult than what you think so give it a try for a couple of weeks see if you don’t find that you are getting more muscle tone and definition.  Try the bodyweight static hold strength training exercises and let me know what you think!

Cardio interval training routines have been around for a long time, however, this training routine today seems to be gaining in popularity.

Part of the reasoning behind this is that studies are showing that cardio interval training routines are one of the best forms of exercise for weight loss, heart rate training, and aerobic capacity building.  Many people add this cardiorespiratory fitness training to their weight training routines.

What is Cardio Interval Training?

Cardio Interval Training RoutinesIntervals are different that normal cardio exercises due to their intensity and modulated timing.  Traditional cardio routines are 45 minutes to an hour in duration and are usually at a pretty constant pace- think running a few miles on a treadmill for instance.

Conversely, cardio fitness interval routines are constantly changing intensity (pace) for spurts of time with a total duration of up to 20 minutes.  You see, most people cannot maintain the proper level of intensity for any longer than that.  In addition to this, with interval routines, you can switch up the exercises performed.  So perhaps in the 20 minutes you do sprints, jump rope, pull-ups, etc.

The endless combinations of exercises that you can insert into your cardio interval training routines will help you combat boredom with your exercise schedule.

The routines are usually based on a time interval and/or your personal heart rate.

Example Routine

Let me start this by saying that Interval training routines are not for everyone.  If you are just beginning to workout, this type of exercise may be too difficult for you.  So, be sure your are healthy and in good enough condition to attempt these exercises.  If you are in any doubt- go talk to your doctor to see if it is OK for you to perform rigorous activities.

As you start out with intervals, you way want to keep the time short so that you can keep a high intensity level.  So, perhaps you will just start with a 5 minute routine vs. one that is 20 minutes.

Your set should always start out with a moderate pace for the first 1-2 minutes in order to get the muscles warm and the joints loose.  Then you should aim for the same at the end out your set in order to ease the muscles back down and to help prevent the lactic acid (the stuff that makes you ache the next day) from building up too much.

Here is an example 5 minute 20 second routine:interval sprints

  • Moderate Jogging 2 minutes
  • Full speed sprint 20 seconds
  • Moderate Jogging 10 seconds
  • Full speed sprint 20 seconds
  • Moderate Jogging 10 seconds
  • Full speed sprint 20 seconds
  • Moderate Jogging 2 minutes

As you progress you can add more intervals and also change up the type of exercises.  For instance you can substitute a 30 second jump rope session for one of the sprint/jog intervals.  This availability for adaption allows you to change the exercises in order to tailor your routine for your particular sport too.  Thus, as a basketball player, perhaps you to squat jump intervals in addition to the sprints.  And you can work it into your weight training routine like a martial artist and use dumbbells for 100 weighted punches as one of the intervals.

High Intensity Interval Training Results

Cardio interval training routines will get you better condition faster- sometimes in as little as a few weeks!

HIIT routines will help you reduce your body fat, and thus lose weight to give you the appearance of better muscle tone.  In fact, by performing these types of cardio exercises not only will you increase the calories burned while you work out, but you will also increase your EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption).  This means that you will continue to burn more calories even after your workout is over!

This type of exercise tends to work your heart harder that traditional cardio because it must regulate itself more to try to keep a constant beat.  Heart rate training is critical to improve your cardio fitness performance as an athlete.

The bursts of high intensity and then the periods of less activity lend themselves to helping your body decrease its recovery time.  By this I mean it will eventually take you less time to recover from a 100m sprint and allow you perform at a normal level faster.

HIIT can also help improve your max VO2.  in fact, many many runners do these type of workouts to improve their running time.  This increasing of aerobic ability means that you can perform at higher intensities for longer periods of time.  So you will have more wind in your sails as you build up your aerobic capacity.

Speaking of more wind…

Well, this post seems to be getting pretty long.  There has been a lot of info for you to consider.  We will be discussing cardio interval training again in the future with some more detail on how it helps to lose fat and build muscle.  Until then… keep up the hard work!

There are a plethora of different workout routines to build muscle.

And as I have said before, they also vary depending on the type of muscle you are looking to achieve.  You should be very skeptical of a fitness trainer that there is only one approach.

Workout Routine Schedule

The key to success of any workout routine to build muscle is that you must stay motivated and train regularly. Like a train conductor, your schedule must be taken seriously and done consistently

Lets talk about workout routine motivation.

Weight training lifting is a great way to build muscle.  However to gain muscle mass and to promote fat weight loss you need to maintain a constant effort with your workout routines.  Rock hard muscle comes not only from the proper weight training exercises but from the proper program focused on time spent.

We all have those big event that we want to lose weight for, or just look great with a slender body of lean muscle mass.  You know the events, they are things like weddings, a high school reunion, or maybe you are just about to go on vacation and want that fantastic beach body look.

These events are catalysts to motivation, but once they past we tend to slip into our old unhealthy habits until the next event pops up and we struggle to get back into shape and fit into that bikini you bought for the beach trip.

This is the problem with external factors of motivation.  They pass by and you loose your motivation.

Workout Routine Motivation

W -O -R -K -O -U -T... WORKOUT! ... GOOOOOOOO WORKOUT! External motivational factors only last until the event passes.

So this means that motivation must become an internal standard to which you hold yourself.  It must become a part of you- your thoughts, your craving, your friends, a lifestyle.  You must eat, sleep and breath proper nutrition, exercise to build muscle mass, and surround yourself with like minded people.

As this becomes your lifestyle, it wont be about having to motivate yourself every day, but it just will be what you do.  Ingrained into your behavior.  This makes it much easier to build muscle and maintain a constant workout routine.

Workout Routine Obstacles

One of the major impediments for us to stay fit is that we tend to make ourselves a victim.  What I mean is, there always seems to be something that gets in our way of staying on top of our workout routine.

  • “Work is too demanding and I am too exhausted to workout at the end of the day.”
  • “I have to run errands today so maybe I can get to the gym tomorrow”
  • “The kids need time with me today so I don’t have time to do my workout routine.”
  • “I need to get fast food because I don’t have time for a real meal.”

And the list goes on and on.  Have you said anything like the above to yourself?  Then you are playing the victim and you need to stop!  You are in the place you are now because of your thought process.  To change your body, you must change your mindset.

Workout Obstacles

We must learn to jump over the hurdles that life puts in front of us. So run around, jump over or blast through your workout routine obstacles!

Build your thinking muscle and get your mind right.

If you don’t have the right mindset, then you will surely fail.  If you think about weight training and other exercises as a task that you have to perform, it is such a pain in the rear, or I’d rather be watching Oprah and eating Bon Bons on the couch- then you may force yourself to lose weight or to build muscle for a short time but over the long haul you are doomed to slip back into to your current state (or worse).

If you really want to have rock hard muscle, you need to have the mindset of a lean muscle building machine!  Here are some simple steps to help you alter your mindset:

Automatic Fitness
The more automated you make your routine, the easier it will be to do it consistently.

So, workout at the same time every day.  This regularity helps subconsciously prepare you for your efforts.  Pretty soon you will start to crave the exercise at that time of day.

Get your crap together!  Pack your gym bag the night before.  Have a checklist and check it twice.  Be sure you have your music player charged, workout outfit clean and ready, water bottle waiting to be used, and what ever else you may need.  This allows you to just pick up and go when the time arrives- no thought.

This goes for your food intake as well.  The more pre-planned you have your diet, the less likely you will be to slip and go out to a burger joint for those extra large salty, greasy fries… definetly not made your way!

Workout Routine to Build Muscle

I bet your saying,

“What the hell I thought this was going to be about workout routines!?”

Well, it is!  It is about your daily routine of mindset.  Get your mind right and your body will follow.  Yes, Yes, I will get into specific workout routines to build muscle that talk about muscle building exercises and losing fat.  But first I needed to talk about the simple steps you must first take in order to have real long term changes.

There are many fitness trainers out there that tell you high reps are critical for muscle tone.

Guess what?  Their expert answers are misleading you.  Now, I am not saying that they are doing this intentionally.  Because most likely they learned this from someone else who didn’t really understand the right way to build muscle.

So let’s take a moment to understand what nice muscle tone is and how to get it.

Muscle tone in an attractive muscular body is caused basically by nerve impulses that keep your muscles in a partially contracted condition.  This is done subconsciously by the brain/nervous system and affects the muscle fibers.

muscle tone nerves

This cool micrograph image by Dr Guy Bewick, Aberdeen Univ. is of living nerve terminals on skeletal muscle fibre. It allows us to the visualize branches of the motor nerve terminals. When activated, the terminals make the muscle fibers contract.

Basically this means there is tension in your muscle fibers that are creating the toned look.  The more the tension in the muscle there is, the more toned you will appear.

So how do you increase tension in the muscle?

By engaging in high tension muscle training with heavy weights.  The more stress you put on a muscle the more tension there is.  When you muscle is constantly required to engage in high tension situations, it adapts and your nervous system makes sure it is always ready for this time of effort.  Thus, it stays in this constant state of tension, and gives the toned look you want.

Ok.  I know that was some heavy brain gymnastics.  But go back and re-read it to be sure you understand the meaning.

Basically what I am saying here is heavy weight lifting, causes stress on a muscle which in turn generates a continuous stressed muscle state (on a micro level) with the effect that the muscle stays in a partially contracted state.  And that this condition is what muscle tone is.

Phew that was a mouthful!

Ok, you say, then…

Why do we always hear about doing high reps for muscle tone?

Here is the thing:  High reps are really just a type of cardio fitness exercise.

You workout in longer sets (high repetitions) for a longer duration of time, and burn a few calories in the process.  Unfortunately, you would probably burn more calories spending that time on the elliptical machine and you definitely build more muscle with heavier weights and lower reps… so what are you doing with the high rep approach?

With high repetitions you’re wasting your time & not gaining much for your effort.

Exercise Routine TimeLet me clarify this.  Yes you will see improvements.  But you could get those same improvements in less time and more efficiently by doing your training in a different way.

Right after your high rep workout you may look great because your muscles are all pumped… but this is temporary and fades as the day goes on.

Low reps with heavy weight however, will give you a permanent skeletal muscle tone (as long as you continue working out, as once you stop training the stress will lessen and the tone will fade).

This is the case with lower body, upper body, compound exercises and all weight training fitness exercises.  So we need to approach the way to build muscle in a no nonsense sport science way and lift heavy dumbbells, bar bells and other weight training equipment.

In addition to tone muscle, building muscle mass will also help you lose fat.  But that is a topic for another post…

Well that is a lot to chew on for now.  It is a big slap in the face of what we hear all the time about high reps and muscle tone.  So I am sure it will take some time for me to convince you to come back to the good side of the Force!  There will be many more post on this topic, but hopefully I spurred some thought!

So work hard, be good and may the Force be with you!  (sorry I couldn’t resist)

I have started this site to help you get a sexy body that you can feel good about, attract a guy or gal, be healthier and build muscle the right way!

Muscle building can be done in different ways depending on what your objective is.  Are you looking for chiseled angular muscular tone?  Endurance?  Power?  Speed?  Athleticism?  Or Bulk?

Here will will concentrate primarily on getting fit and developing a sexy chiseled body like the models from GQ or Abercrombie & Fitch.

abercrombie body

This image from Abercrombie & Fitch is a great representation of the body you can get with the proper way to build muscle!

Personally I don’t like the big bulky look that bodybuilders strive for.  So if you are looking for that type of education then you will probably need to search elsewhere.

We will be discussing weight training both conceptually and technically.  Meaning we will talk about the means and methods of workout routines, what is required to build muscle right, as well as specific exercises ranging from body weight training to interval training and of course resistance training.

Here you will find a no nonsense muscle building approach to help build muscle mass fast and to lose body fat percentage to look ripped.

From time to time we will review some of the more interesting workout routines that you can find in the market place.  But for the most part we will discuss very specific topics on the way to build muscle and lose fat for a sexy Hollywood body physique!

There is a lot of mis-information out there about gaining muscle, nutrition, and fitness training.  Here we will dispel some of these myths and learn the proper way to build muscle.