How To Get Abs: Five Cold, Hard Truths

HowtoGetAbsMost young men walk in the gym with dreams of looking like a bodybuilder, NFL wide receiver, or maybe even a UFC fighter. Trainees may desire different levels of musculature, but most of them want the one centerpiece that all great physiques have in common: washboard abs, also known as a “six pack.”

Having shredded abs is an admirable goal. But there are some cold, hard truths you should embrace before hanging all your hopes and dreams on the status of your midsection. You’ll be much less frustrated if you keep some of these things in mind.

1. Diet is THE Key to Six-Pack Abs:

Some sectors of the fitness industry continue to perpetuate the myth that abdominal training is the key to having a washboard stomach. We’ve all seen that infomercial with the incredibly lean, tanned, well-oiled fitness model using some kind of gadget designed to train the abs. And you can look like him for a few easy payments of 20 or 30 bucks.

You might as well hold on to your credit card, because the key to having visible abdominal muscles is having a low percentage of body fat. And the key to having low body fat is diet. Yes, exercise definitely helps–I’d highly recommend lifting weights combined with some form of cardiovascular conditioning. But it is virtually impossible to do enough exercise to overcome a poor diet.

Getting really lean will require you to put as much planning in your eating as you do your training. There are several effective diet strategies you can use (I prefer an intermittent fasting approach), but all of them will require you to use more calories than you consume for several weeks (or even months, depending on your current level of fitness).

2. Genetics Play a Role in Visible Abs:

Like it or not, some guys will have a much easier time achieving and/or maintaining six pack abs than others. Some men have low body fat levels because of their parents–they are genetically “programmed” to be lean and can stay that way with minimal dietary adjustments. We’ve all met that guy who eats a steady diet of fast food, trains sporadically, and still looks incredible with his shirt off.

The role of genetics doesn’t stop at overall body fat levels–it also has a huge influence in where you store your fat. Men naturally tend to have more fat around the midsection (women tend to carry it on their hips/thighs). But there is great variation in the proportion of fat we store around our stomach vs. other parts of the body. Some men can be quite lean through the arms and legs yet have large waistlines. Others store fat more evenly. These differences in fat distribution mean some can have visible abdominal muscles with a higher body fat percentage than others.  Some will have to get their body fat level very low in order to have visible abs.

3. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Crunches:

Remember the picture of that bodybuilder you wanted to look like? Chances are he doesn’t look like that 99% of the time. Bodybuilders, fitness models, and even actors usually spend several weeks preparing for a single show, photo shoot, or scene. They undergo a strict diet and training regimen that, if properly executed, will get them to their desired level of leanness at the right time.

Hugh Jackman: Ripped and Thirsty
Hugh Jackman: Ripped and Thirsty

The “shredded” look often requires more than getting lean–subcutaneous fluid/water has to be carefully manipulated to make muscle definition more visible. Hugh Jackman began intentionally dehydrating himself 36 hours before his shirtless scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Bodybuilders often resort to using diuretics drugs, sometimes with fatal consequences.

To summarize, the strong physiques you see in magazines and movies are often temporary illusions–you may be looking at someone who is weakened by dehydration and calorie/carbohydrate restriction.

4. Getting Shredded May Lower Your Testosterone:

Here’s something else you should know: extremely low body fat levels (or the process required to get there) can have disastrous effects on testosterone levels. One study followed a natural bodybuilder as he prepared for a contest. He began with 14% body fat and worked his way down to 4.5% body fat over a period of several weeks. His testosterone went down 80% by the time he had reached his goal–80%!

It is incredibly difficult to naturally maintain strength and vitality when body fat drops into the lower single digits. This is one of the many reasons anabolic steroids have such great appeal to those who get ripped for a living. These synthetic hormones help offset the body’s natural response to several weeks’ worth of calorie restriction.

It is possible to diet and train your way to 5% body fat with no “pharmaceutical assistance,” but be prepared for a serious drop in testosterone.

5. Women May Not Care:

Let’s just assume you are able to get completely shredded without losing your interest in the ladies (remember that testosterone thing). Chances are they will not be nearly as impressed as you had planned. Yes, most women appreciate a lean, muscular physique. But don’t expect them to line up just to look at your abs. It just doesn’t work that way.

GymExpectations

Attraction tends to be a complex thing for women, and most of them will simultaneously weigh several factors before giving you their attention. Personality, sense of humor, communication skills, success/ambition, and a long list of other characteristics are going to be more important to her than your shredded six-pack.

Wrap-up:

Believe it or not, I’m not trying to discourage you from pursuing physical excellence.  Find a good program.  Go to the gym. Clean up your diet. Lose that gut. Put on some muscle. Build some strength. Your genetic makeup may allow you to get a six-pack with a reasonably low body fat level.  But you may need to settle for a good shoulder-to-waist ratio and flat stomach.  Don’t despair: you’ll look and feel great at this level of fitness.  And you’ll be within striking distance of the “shredded” look if you decide you want to take it that far.

Muscle Matrix Solution Review (Ryan Hughes)

I’ve had a chance to look over the Muscle Matrix Solution by Ryan Hughes. I’ll start of this review with a little information about the author.

Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes
Ryan Hughes

Hughes first started training when he was a teenager. He was 6’1″ tall and weighed only 135 lb. But he had a passion for training and was able to compete in his first bodybuilding competition at age 19. He would eventually become one of the first IFBB Men’s Physique Pros, an International Fitness Cover Model, and a well-known trainer and fitness professional. He is considered one of America’s top personal trainers and has appeared on nationally syndicated television shows.

Muscle Matrix Solution Program Components (Summary)

Now let’s talk about what you get if you decide to order the Muscle Matrix Solution:

Once you make your purchase you will get an email with login information. As you can see (by looking at the screenshot) you begin with a welcome page. The navigation tabs on the top of the page will take you through the rest of the program:

musclematrixsolutionreviewwebsite

Introduction:

This section includes an overview of the program in video form. Hughes walks you through what the program includes and how to set it up specifically for your needs. Some of the topics he discusses are optimizing hormones (like testosterone), training, diet, and supplementation. He also gets into some motivational issues that will hopefully help inspire you to get started and stick with it.

There are also two downloadable pdf files in this section: 1. Welcome file/e-book, and 2. Cover Model Secrets, which explains some of the final steps bodybuilders/models take to get ready for a photo shoot or contest.

Training:
Ryan Hughes explains the workouts in this section (which he calls Matrix Training). His program combines three different styles of training, all of which are proven to be effective individually. The idea is that these training techniques will work together synergistically when combined. The workouts are set up in three different tracks: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Progression is built into the workouts so will improve in the amount of weight you use, the amount of reps you can do, and the amount of time you rest in between sets (you will be able to get by with less rest time as you progress through the program). He goes on to explain the specific set and rep range you’ll be doing.

There’s a downloadable file where you can see the actual workout plan (the specific exercises, set/reps, etc.).

Keep this in mind: the program is set up for you to do brief, intense workouts (about 45 minutes). You won’t be spending all day in the gym, but you will have to train hard–these workouts will not be easy.

Nutrition:
Hughes’ nutrition plan is based on three key principles:

1. Flexibility: This doesn’t mean you can eat pizza and ice cream every day. It does mean that you can eat foods like this every once in a while in moderation. In other words, you can follow this lifestyle without having to plan your entire life around a 24/7 strict diet.

2. Meal Timing and Nutrient Combination: You will be guided in eating certain types of foods according to the time of day and/or your training. You will try to eat most of your carbohydrates, for example, in the evening after you train. This advise may sound different that what you’ve heard before, but it does work (based on my personal experience–I eat most of my carbs either after I train or at dinner).

3. Macronutrients: Ryan explains the role of protein, carbohydrates and fats and how you can manipulate your intake of these to build muscle and burn fat.

There is downloadable file you can use to read about these principles.

This section also includes a nutrition calculator. You can use this to customize your eating plan for your specific needs.

Supplementation:
The video and the pdf file breaks down Hughes’ recommended supplement protocol. This is one area where I have some disagreements with the author. I personally do not believe any supplement can significantly increase testosterone and nothing he wrote has changed my mind. Instead of getting into details I’d rather just give my standard advice: stick with basic supplements like whey protein powder, (micronized) creatine monohydrate, a multivitamin, and fish oil. Use these basic supplements with reputable brands and you’ll do fine (and you’ll keep more of your hard-earned money).

The Exercise Library:

Drag Curl Demonstration Video
Drag Curl Demonstration Video

This is another nice feature of the Muscle Matrix Solution. I always appreciate video demonstrations of exercises and these are well done.

Conclusion:
This final video/pdf wraps up the program. Hughes talks about defining your goal(s) that were on your mind when you ordered and implemented this program. He recaps all the program components (training, nutrition, etc.) and encourages you to embrace what you have learned as a lifestyle. He also mentions an insider’s coaching club you can join if you choose to.

Bonus Material:
This section has the Abdominal Accelerator program available for download. This is a plan for those who want to spend 30 days focusing on maximizing their fat loss. I think this would work really well with or without the supplements mentioned.

REVIEW:

I think the Muscle Matrix Solution program is put together very well and will get results if you follow both the training and the nutrition plans. The set and reps Hughes recommends makes sense to me because it is a good mix of strength and hypertrophy (growth) rep ranges. I found the material to be well organized and easy to navigate.

Who would this program benefit? A few types of people come to mind:

*New trainees who want a step-by-step system to guide them on their journey of building muscle and/or losing fat.

*Intermediate or advanced trainees who have reached plateaus in their training and are ready to try some new workout techniques.

*Guys who want to look better–those who want to build a lean, muscular physique and be more self-confident.

If what I have described sounds like you then I think the Muscle Matrix Solution would be a good investment for your training library. Just CLICK HERE if you would like to order this program or learn more.

Fighter Abs Review (Andrew Raposo)

I’ve had the opportunity to look over Andrew Raposo’s Fighter Abs program. Let me start this review by explaining what you get if you order this program. You’ll be directed to a download page where you’ll see the following:

Beginner Workout
Beginner Workout

The Coaching Video Workouts:

This page has videos divided into three levels of difficulty: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. There are 19 videos total with a pretty good variety of exercises. These videos are well done and you’ll be abele to see exactly how to do the prescribed exercises.

Fighter Abs Exercise Manual:

This pdf file is a complete illustrated guide to the exercise program. It includes both pictures and step-by-step descriptions of the movements you’ll be doing (stance, body positioning etc.). You could easily print this out if you want, but I had an easy time reading it in digital form.

12 Week Blueprint:

The previous components I mentioned show you how to do the exercises. The blueprint shows you how to put it all together–it is a complete “road map” of how to set up your training schedule. It includes tips for getting started, how to incorporate the Fighter Abs routine in an existing program, choosing the phase you should start with, etc.

Bonuses

Mobility Video
Mobility Video

Get Mobility Like a Fighter Videos: These warm up exercises are designed to help with flexibility/mobility. Doing these movements will keep your joints healthy and should help with tight muscles or even poor posture.

Mobility Exercise Manual: This is the illustrated guide to the mobility exercises. Like the main exercise manual, you’ll see descriptions/instructions on how to properly execute the movements.

Mindset Solution:  This document is all about the mental aspects of training.  You’ll learn how to condition your mind for training and you’ll find some of these principles carry over to other aspects of life.

4 Week Mobility Blueprint: Raposo explains how to incorporate this mobility work into your routine over the course of a month. I’m guessing you would notice a marked improvement in just a few weeks, especially if you’ve never worked on your mobility (or haven’t done it in a long time).

7-Day Rapid Fat Loss Accelerator Guide: Needless to say, no one will see your abdominal muscles if they are covered in fat. This guide shows you how to kick-start your fat loss if that is one of your goals. You’ll be manipulating your calories and macronutrients (carbohydrates, etc.) for maximum results. There is a limit to how much you can lose in a week, but this will teach you the limits of what can be done in a short period of time and maybe even motivate you to keep working towards getting leaner.

Supplement Guide: As the name implies, this is a the author’s recommended supplements. He recommends some specific brands (as most fitness professionals do), but I’d suggest you just stick to the basics and find less expensive brands.

REVIEW:

Not everyone who trains does so with the idea of looking like a bodybuilder. Some find the lean, athletic, powerful physiques of MMA fighters to be more appealing. Fighter Abs is the kind of training that is more in line with that goal.

I should mention something here: this program is not some “short cut” to having six-pack abs–there is no such thing, and anyone who tells you otherwise just isn’t being honest. Having visible abs comes from having low body fat along with a few other factors (genetics, etc.). I’ve mentioned MMA fighters, and they are the perfect examples of this–some of them have washboard abs, others don’t–even when they are in top condition.

I think this program is put together well and would be beneficial for the following:

*People who want to add some variety in their training. You could incorporate these exercises into an existing program to help with core/abdominal strength, conditioning, and mobility.

*Trainees who want an alternative to the typical bodybuilding routine. This may mean you want a break from lifting weights or you just want to explore another type of training altogether.

*Martial artists who want a program that will help them with their basic strength/conditioning. I think this would be especially good for beginners who need to develop the basic strength.

*People who are interested in studying self-defense. This isn’t a self-defense program per se, but learning some of these movements would be useful for that purpose.

*Trainees who want to ad some variety to their abdominal training. It is easy to get bored with crunches, etc. This program may help you stay motivated to train abs and core muscles.

If any of the above describes you then I think Fighter Abs would be a good investment for your library of training information. Please CLICK HERE if you’d like to get this program for only 20 bucks (a great value).

Prohormones: Hype and History

Every once in a while I get asked about the form of supplements known as prohormones.  I’ll share what I believe to be an informed opinion (along with some personal stories for your amusement), but keep in mind I’m not a doctor or pharmacist.

I’ll start with a little personal history:

Some of you may know that I spent wasted a lot of money on supplements in the 90’s.  That era was in many ways the the “wild west” of supplement industry.

Prohormones came on the scene the mid-90’s, not long after anabolic steroids had been reclassified as schedule 3 controlled substances (since big biceps are apparently as dangerous as heroine).1  They were still legal because they were supposed to be precursors to anabolic hormones–converting to testosterone only after passing through the liver.

This was also around the time of the internet boom, so all kinds of stuff was being sold online.  I remember GHB, the “date rape drug,” being marketed since it induced a deep sleep which would theoretically help with growth hormone production.

Androstenedione was the first prohormone to be heavily marketed (and given the nickname “andro”).  This one was made famous when a sports reporter “accidentally” spotted a bottle in Mark MgGwire’s locker–some believe he put it there to draw attention away from allegations of steroid use (which he denied for years).  AST_Androstene

I was a naive 20-something who had been training for over a decade.  I was eager to find an edge to make me bigger and stronger (ironic, since I considered myself a “natural” trainee).  I tried several prohormone formulas: androstendione, 4-AD, 1-AD, etc.  I even tried some unusual administration routes, like spraying them on my skin (which was supposedly superior to taking them orally), and even spraying them up my nose (which supposedly helped with focus and aggression, since that’s a more direct route to the brain).  Did I mention what a naive consumer I was?  I can’t help but laugh thinking back to some of the moronic things I tried.

I used prohormones on and off from the mid to late 90’s, but I can’t say they made any difference whatsoever.  If I had it all to do over I would have simply enjoyed the gains that come from being in the peak years of my natural testosterone production (and saved some of my hard-earned cash).  My best lifts of that decade came from simply adjusting my training methods—not from supplements of any kind.

At some point I discovered just how unpredictable prohormones were.  Androstenedione, for example, was shown to raise the level of certain female hormones–not what I had in mind!2  I had never experienced any feminizing side effects, but the illusion of inducing a legal, side effect free testosterone boost was completely shattered.  I never bothered with prohormones again–part of the hard lesson I had learned about trusting the supplement industry.  I’m extremely grateful for reaching this conclusion because the worst was yet to come.

The hype regarding prohormones lived on in the 2000’s even after some were banned by the Steroid Control Act of 2004.  “New” products came up that were not covered under the current law.  I would see brands/names mentioned on bodybuilding forums, complete with testimonies of muscle/strength gains.   But I was done–I wasn’t about to potentially tamper with my natural testosterone production based on endorsements in forums.

I have since learned that most of the prohormones were not really new at all–they were originally developed in the 60’s by chemists that were trying to create new steroid formulas.  These compounds were abandoned because they were found to be ineffective and/or extremely toxic to the liver.   Unscrupulous companies had essentially repackaged toxic waste of the 60’s as muscle builders.   Apparently some the formulas that were resurrected in the 2000’s were more toxic than what was sold/used in the 90’s–a few unfortunate users required medical intervention due to liver toxicity.The FDA eventually banned these new/old drugs as well.

So here we are, about 20 years after prohormones were first introduced.  I don’t know if any “new” versions are out there and I could care less.  I’m content to lift, live and just optimize my testosterone levels naturally.

References:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anabolic_steroid#United_States

2. JAMA. 2000 Feb 9;283(6):779-82. Oral androstenedione administration and serum testosterone concentrations in young men.

3. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Jul;5(7):809-12. Epub 2007 May 16. Hepatotoxicity associated with dietary supplements containing anabolic steroids.

The Key To Successful Intermittent Fasting

I jumped on the intermittent fasting bandwagon a few years ago.  I have IntermittentFastingfound it to be a very effective, practical method for losing fat or just keeping myself from getting too fat (maintenance).

Here’s my most important tip for those who want to try it:

Don’t overcompensate when you break the fast. 

In other words, you have to discipline yourself not to go crazy and overeat once the fast is over.   This one thing has been the key to whether or not I’m successful with this kind of diet.

This is true for those doing a 24 your fast every few days (Eat Stop Eat style) or for those who skip breakfast and fast through the morning (Renegade Diet style).  Regardless of strategy you have to be disciplined.

Remember this: Intermittent fasting does not “hack” your metabolism or override the basic laws of thermodynamics (calories in versus calories out ). It is one of many dietary strategies that will work as long as you can keep a negative calorie balance long enough to see the desired results.  I do believe this kind of dieting has some hormonal advantages in term of fat loss, but it is just like any other diet (or lifestyle, or eating plan, or whatever you want to call it): calories matter.

Keep this in mind and don’t sabotage your diet by gorging yourself after you fast.

Probiotics and Weight Loss

EscherichiaColi_NIAID

I’m sure most of you know that our digestive system (especially the colon) is full of “friendly” bacteria.  We’re just beginning to understand their importance for overall health, especially in the immune system.

Eating yogurt is one way to facilitate a healthy balance of these microorganisms in your gut.  Probiotic supplements have also become more popular as we realize the importance of healthy bacteria.  I think these supplements are useful–especially if you are having digestive issues or have had to take antibiotics (which tend to kill both “good” and “bad” bacteria).

But I’ve also seen probiotic supplements marketed as weight loss aids.  One theory is they make the intestines less permeable and less able to absorb fat calories.

Do these kinds of supplements really help with weight loss?

Scientists recently did a meta-analysis of the current research regarding probiotic supplements and weight loss.  In case you aren’t familiar with the term, a meta-analysis means that researchers analyzed the data from several studies.  This means the findings should be more reliable than that of just one isolated study/experiment.   Here is their conclusion: “The meta-analysis of these data showed no significant effect of probiotics on body weight and BMI.”1 They did note, however, that the number and quality of the studies is limited at this point.

There’s no conclusive evidence that probiotics help with weight loss, but researchers have noted connections between gut microorganisms and metabolism.  There seems to be a link, for example, between the prevalence of certain intestinal bacteria with metabolic diseases (like diabetes). 2

Conclusion:

Right now there is not enough evidence to say probiotics help with weight loss.  Having said that, it isn’t a bad idea to use them–especially if you have recently taken antibiotics (for surgery, sickness, etc).  These supplements are inexpensive and useful for overall health.

Just remember a diet and exercise program is the key to losing weight.

Reference:

1. Nutr Res. 2015 May 21. pii: S0271-5317(15)00103-7. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2015.05.008. Probiotics for weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
2. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2015 Jun 17. Influence of the human intestinal microbiome on obesity and metabolic dysfunction.

My 600 lb Life

A while back I started watching The Learning Channel’s My 600 lb. Life.  This my_600_lb_lifeshow documents the lives of the super obese as they reach out to Dr. Younan Nowzaradan, one of the few physicians who performs bariatric surgery on patients their size.

Watching this show is both fascinating and a horrifying–like seeing a bloody road accident and being unable to avert your eyes.

The extreme nature of these patients’ condition leaves them with very limited mobility (some of them can’t even get out of bed) or quality of life.  It’s simply hard to fathom having a body that size or an addiction that is so crippling.

Here’s a theme I’ve noticed while watching this show: there tends to be a “perfect storm” of factors that combine to create a 600 lb. person.

1.  A genetic predisposition for obesity:  Needless to say, we don’t completely understand the role genetics plays in our body weight.  But most of the people featured on this show tend to come from families where obesity is a major problem.   This becomes painfully apparent when the patient’s parents, children or siblings are interviewed.  The patient often reports being overweight as long as he/she can remember.

2.  Enablers:  Even bedridden patients are able to get an endless supply of high-calorie foods delivered within arm’s length.  This is one of the most fascinating (and baffling) things to observe on the show.  Family members (spouses in particular) will give in to the patient’s demands for certain foods.  Family members, in fact, often sabotage the medical intervention designed to save their loved one.

3.  Traumatic events:  Many of the 600+ lb. patients have experienced some kind of trauma that escalated their weight gain (often it’s something that happened in childhood).  Some of the women featured on the show were molested or raped.  Others report gaining weight after losing a family member.  I don’t remember this kind of thing being a part of every story, but it was quite common.

Combine these three things and you get people crushed under the weight of their own gargantuan bodies, seemingly unable to stop consuming the thousands of calories that are slowly but surely killing them.

Bariatric surgery is not a “quick fix” for people suffering from this disease (due to the factors I’ve mentioned).  I remember one patient who made virtually no progress even after her stomach had been surgically reduced in size.  But it can be an effective tool for weight loss in those who would otherwise not have any hope of a normal life.

Watching these patients get the surgery and (hopefully) transform their lives is compelling.  I find this interesting as someone who studies both fitness and addiction.

There’s good news for those of us who watch this show:  TLC will be doing a fourth season, to be shown in 2016.

DUP Method Review: Daily Undulating Periodization Program (Jason Maxwell; Mike Samuels)

TheDUPMethodReviewI’ve had an opportunity to check out a new program called The DUP Method (from Jason Maxwell and Mike Samuels). I’ll start this review by explaining what you get if you decide to invest in this program:

DUP Method Program Components:

#1 The DUP Main Manual

This document serves as a starting point, explaining the overall training philosophy and science behind the strategies you’ll be using.  It will give you an overview of the program as well as some different options for training frequency (anything from 2-5 days).  Once you’ve read this you’ll have a basic understanding of why this method should make you stronger.

#2 The DUP Method Nutrition Guide

Needless to say, you can’t get big and strong without a good eating plan.  This document will show you how to set up your diet/nutrition in order to maximize the benefits of your training.  You’ll be guided in calculating your daily caloric intake as well as macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates).  Be sure to look over this carefully–many trainees fail to reach their goals because they don’t put much thought or planning into their diet.

#3 The Optimal DUP Workout Log

According to the author, the ideal setup for this program is to train five days per week.  That may sound like overtraining, but you have to remember that the volume (number of sets and reps) is adjusted so you’ll be able to adequately recover.  Anyway, this workout log is convenient because you can print it out or put it on your smartphone.  Either way you could bring it to the gym with you.

#4-Day Per Week Workout Log

As the name implies, this workout is designed for those who can only train four times per week.

#5 The “Busy Man’s” Workout Log

This one is for those who can only train three times a week.

#6 DUP For Beat Up Lifters Workout Log

This is a program variation for lifters who are a little older and/or training around old injuries. Some trainees, for example, may have back issues or joint problems that require them to make some adjustments in their exercise selection, etc. This would be helpful for men (or women) in that situation who want to keep getting stronger while avoiding re-injuring themselves.

#7 DUP For Hypertrophy Workout Log

As the title implies, this program is set up for those who are primarily concerned with building muscle (vs. those who are only interested in strength/powerlifting).

#8 DUP For Fat Loss

Last but not least, these workouts are set up for those who are interested in maximizing fat loss while also benefiting from the strength aspects of the training.

Bonuses:

You’ll also get some nice bonus material if you decide to order.
BONUS #1: Bench Press Tutorial Video
BONUS #2: Squat Tutorial Video
BONUS #3: Deadlift Tutorial Video
BONUS #4: Bigger Bench Checklist
Bonus #5: Customization Guide
Bonus #6: DUP Arms Specialization

Deadlift Tutorial
Bonus Material (Deadlift Tutorial)

I think you’ll find the video tutorials especially helpful. You can watch them online or download them onto your hard drive (I’d recommend downloading them).

Additional Products (Upsells):

Here are additional program packages you can add on to the basic package. You do not have to purchase these, but you can if you are interested:

The Accelerator Package:
This includes a manual for diet, training, supplementation and complete workouts for those who want to do an all-out, 6-day per week training schedule.

The Done-for-You Package: This includes spreadsheets for all five of the workouts in the basic package.  You just put your one rep max in and it calculates it for you.  A nutrition spreadsheet is also included.

The Specialization Package: This includes specialization guides for bench press, deadlift and squat. These programs would be useful for those who really want to focus on improving one of these lifts.

REVIEW:

Have you ever noticed how many guys go to the gym and lift the exact same weight for the same number of reps week in and week out?  The reason is pretty simple: they are training like newbies.

Beginner trainees will usually get a little bit stronger every week, regardless of training methodology.  But linear progression (adding a little weight to the bar each workout) will only get you so far.  You will eventually reach a “sticking point”–a lesson I learned the hard way back in the 90’s.

This is where periodization comes in–training in a way that works with your muscular and neurological system.   Daily Undulating Periodization is a unique variation of this strategy that can be very effective.

Keep this in mind: this way of training is not like the typical bodybuilding type split you see in the magazines (and gyms).  But I think you’ll find it to be a refreshing change of pace–one that is backed by science.  One study, for example, found that the DUP method was superior to linear methods (like 5×5) for building strength in those with significant training experience.1

I believe the DUP Method can teach you how to start making progress again if you find yourself stuck in a rut of no noticeable gains.

*Intermediate to advance trainees who want to break through plateaus in their overall strength.  This includes increasing your max in the bench press, squat, and deadlift.

*Athletes who want to increase their strength in order to be more competitive in sports.

*Guys (or girls) who want be strong in addition to looking strong.

*Trainees who are willing to commit to a different style of programming than what they may be used to (especially those who have done a traditional bodybuilding split).

If any of these descriptions fit you then I think the DUP Method would be a worthwhile investment as part of your training library.  Just CLICK HERE if you’d like to order this program or learn more.  Don’t delay because the price will be going up soon. 

Reference:

1. J Strength Cond Res. 2002 May;16(2):250-5. A comparison of linear and daily undulating periodized programs with equated volume and intensity for strength.

Omega Body Blueprint Review John Romaniello

omegabodybluepringreviewtransformationI’ve had an opportunity to review the Omega Body Blueprint, the latest body transformation program from John Romaniello.

Let me start by telling you a little bit about the author/creator of this program:John-Romaniello-Omega-Body-Blueprint

John Romaniello (aka “Roman”) has been in the fitness industry for over 13 years.  His work has been featured in several well-known publications and he has been interviewed on fitness-related television shows.  He is also a New York Times best-selling author.  Roman specializes in fat loss and body transformation.

Now let’s talk about what you get if you decide to order the Omega Body Blueprint program (I have listed these components in the order I downloaded them–not necessarily in order of importance or in the sequence from the program website).

Component 1: Training Manual

This book begins with an explanation of hormones and their role in fat loss.  Romaniello focuses much of this information on why it gets more difficult to lose fat and how we can overcome the body’s natural resistance to getting lean.  One important strategy, he argues, is to alternate training modalities.   This allows the trainee to get the optimal benefits of several types of training (in addition to keeping things interesting).  The illustrated manual takes you through six complete weeks of training–workouts designed to maximize fat loss and overcome plateaus.

Component 2: Workout Log Sheets

These printable workout logs will allow you to follow the previous manual and keep a record of the weights you use.

NOTE: I should say something here about Roman’s workouts.  I’ve done some of them before and they are not easy–even if you are in decent shape.  This program is for those who are willing to work hard–not for those content to sit around and talk for twenty minutes in between sets.

Component 3: Nutrition Manual

Roman begins this manual with an important observation: most trainees will meticulously plan their training but fail to put even a fraction of that time and effort into planning their diet.  This is why so many people in the gym never really see visible improvements in their physiques.  He goes on to explain some of the most nutritional strategies for this program: intermittent fasting, eating certain macro nutrient combinations, etc.  I think you’ll find his advice simple and straightforward.

Component 4:  Calorie and Macro Calculator

This file includes a link to an online calculator that will show you exactly how many calories and macro nutrients (protein/fat/carbohydrates) you should be eating every day.  This feature is nice because it will take all the guesswork out of your diet.

Component 5:  Supplement Guide

As the name implies, this is a list of recommended supplements.  I greatly appreciate the fact that Romaniello does not over-emphasize supplements (he states that you can do the program without them).  Having said that, the supplements he mentions are relatively expensive in my opinion.  I’d just recommend you stick to the basics (protein, fish oil, etc.) and use brands that you trust.

Additional Products (these items below are not included in the basic Omega Body Blueprint program–you will be given the option to purchase these as an addition if you chose):

The Hormonal Response Diet (by Chad Howse)

This document is primarily about our favorite hormone–testosterone.  Optimizing this hormone, Howse argues, will help keep you lean and healthy.  It will even influence your mental health, helping you be more focused and happy.  Howse explains some dietary and supplement strategies that will help you optimize your testosterone levels naturally (he mentions intermittent fasting, for example).  He also explains why this is an important issue for women as well as men.

Overdrive Training Manual/Log Sheets:

This is a more advanced version of the training you can follow if you finish the basic program and want to take things to another level in terms of conditioning and fat loss.   This is six additional weeks of programming, which would give you twelve weeks total (including the basic program).

VIP Coaching

This option is for those who want to join the exclusive Facebook group.  This will allow you access to additional training information that is not open to the general public.

REVIEW:

I believe Roman’s strong point is fat loss–he has developed nutritional and exercise strategies that help trainees achieve levels of leanness and aesthetic beauty that they never thought possible.  The Omega Body Blueprint combines the “best of the best”–the best of everything he has learned in over a decade of studying fat loss.

I think this program would be helpful for the following:

*People that are healthy enough to train with intensity.  As I mentioned, the workouts are difficult.

*Trainees that want to overcome plateaus in fat loss and leanness.  Roman does a good job of explaining why we reaching “sticking points” when losing fat.  The diet and training will help you get past these.  This is a good program for men and women who want to lose those last few stubborn pounds that are keeping you from having your ideal physique.

*Guys/girls who are willing to follow a nutrition plan.  The diet is laid out very well, but you have to follow it for it to be effective.  Remember that diet/nutrition is responsible for most of your fat loss results.

*Trainees that want to focus 6-12 weeks on losing fat.

If any of these descriptions match you or your goals then I think the Omega Body Blueprint would be a good investment.  It is a cost effective way to get solid diet and training information (especially when compared to hiring a personal trainer).

Just CLICK HERE if you are interested in ordering this program or learning more.

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