Category Archives: Bodybuilding

Riviera Fitness Center Review (Centerpoint, AL)

RivieraCenterPointIt’s time for me to give another shout-out to a great gym: Riviera Fitness of Centerpoint, AL.

My Buddy Shannon

My Buddy Shannon

I learned about this gym a few years ago when I was still living overseas.  A pastor friend recommended I check it out because I was looking for a place to train while visiting here in the States.  He told me to talk to Shannon (one of the staff/trainers–pictured here with the blue sweatshirt).

I was really impressed with everything: the trainers, the equipment, the atmosphere, etc.  I’ve worked out in quite a few gyms around here and this place has been my favorite.

My wife and I have moved back to the States and are now living in Pinson.  We joined Riviera Fitness Center soon after we moved here.  Here are a few pictures of the facilities and equipment (with my description underneath):

RivieraFitnessMachinesResistance machines.

RivieraFitnessCardioCardio and abdominal training equipment.

RivieraFitnessFreeWeightsThe squat racks and free weights (squat racks, benches, dumbbells, etc.)–this is where I spend most of my time when I’m here.

RivieraFitnessLadiesThe ladies training area.  This room allows a little privacy for women while they work out.  My wife does some of here training in this (very large) room.

I haven’t taken a picture of everything–there’s another cardiovascular room and group training room I haven’t included in these photos.  This gym is located in what used to be a department store.  It’s really spacious and you can work out without feeling crowded.

I recommend this Riviera Fitness Center without hesitation.  Check it out if you live near the northeastern section of Birmingham (Centerpoint, Pinson, etc.) and are looking for a great gym.  Tell them Kevin sent you.

Adonis Golden Ratio Review (John Barban)

I’ve had the opportunity to review John Barban’s Adonis Golden Ratio program.  I’ve been meaning to post this for quite some time because some of my readers have asked me about it.

John Barban

John Barban

First I’ll explain the whole golden ratio concept.  The idea is pretty simple:  achieving certain body measurements/proportions will give you a more aesthetically appealing physique.  Some studies suggest, for example, that women are very attracted to men whose shoulders measurements are 1.6 times the size of their waist.  A man with these measurements would have broad shoulders, a v-taper back, and a narrow waist.  The goal of this program is to get as close to these ideal measurements/ratios as possible.

Now let’s talk about what you get when you order this program:

Program Components

Program Components

1. Adonis Golden Ratio Training Program:  Once you order you’ll have access to the members area of the website.  Here you can type in your height and weight in order to get the program that will help you with your specific goals.  This 12-week program will guide you through your training.

2. Adonis Golden Ratio Nutrition Guide:  As the name implies, this material will show you how to eat properly so you can lose fat and build muscle.  Please don’t overlook this component–especially if you are trying to lose fat and get leaner.

3. AGR Nutrition Software:  This is another tool to help you make sure you are doing things correctly as far as diet goes.

4. AGR Video Series:  Over 70 instructional videos so you can see demonstrations and learn how to do the exercises properly.

Demonstration Videos

Demonstration Videos

5.  AGR Supplement Guide:  The authors’ take on supplements–which ones help and which are worthless.

6: AGR Specialization Programs:  You can download workout programs designed to target specific body parts (arm & abs, back, calves, lesg, and shoulders).


One thing I really like about the AGR program is the customized design of the workout/diet.  Not all trainees walk into the gym with the same body type, so why should they all train in the exact same way?  I put my height and weight into the website (see image below) just to see what it came up with.  The program and diet it gave me matched my goals/needs very well (fat loss).

AGR Customized Program

AGR Customized Program

The specialization programs give you even more options for customization since you can target muscle groups that may be lagging.

The only area of disagreement I have is with the supplement guide.  His advice is OK, but he endorses a specific brand of supplements.  I’d advise you to simply shop around, buy reputable brands, and stick with the basics.  Do that and I’m sure you’ll be satisfied with your results, regardless of the supplement brand you use.

*Men who are primarily interested in building an aesthetically pleasing physique.

*Trainees who want a targeted, systematic approach for their goals.

*Beginner or novice trainees who want to spend 12 weeks on a focused transformation program.

The Adonis Golden Ratio program would be a good investment for you if any of these describe you.  Just click here if you are interested in ordering this program.

You can also look at my list of recommended programs if you think something else may better match your goals/needs.  And feel free to contact me with any questions.

Hypertrophy Max Review Phase 4

Phase 4 of Hypertrophy Max is called Max Volume.  These workouts are designed to maximize (you guessed it) training volume.   You’ll hear them talk about the concept of over-reaching–doing more volume than you would normally do.  This can be very effective if you can do it without over-training.

Hypertrophy Max Phase 4: arm training

Hypertrophy Max Phase 4: arm training

Here are a few benefits to this kind of training:

*You’ll break through size and strength plateaus as you push your body to new limits.

*Like the previous phase, volume training tends to result in increased growth hormone production.

Keep something in mind with volume training:  this only works if done as prescribed by Vince and Ben.  You have to give yourself adequate time to rest/recover, use the appropriate level of intensity, etc.

Just CLICK HERE if you are interested in ordering Hypertrophy Max. 

Rock Hard Grandfather Robert Durbin, Age 64 (Body Transformation)

Robert Durbin has a physique much younger men would envy.  But this wasn’t always so: as you can see by the before/after picture, Robert was in terrible shape a few years ago.  He wore braces and couldn’t walk without using a cane.  He decided to transform his body and life so he could enjoy his family.  The video (posted below) has made him an internet sensation.  He was kind enough to do this interview for me.

Robert Durbin, "Rock Hard Paw Paw"

Robert Durbin, “Rock Hard Paw Paw”

Kevin: Robert, I’d first like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Why don’t you tell my readers a little bit about yourself (education, family, work, etc.)?

Robert: I graduated from Fairdale High School in 1968. I’ve been married 34 years as of this month. We have five kids, five grandkids, and two great-grandkids. I’m retired.

Kevin: Let’s talk about your younger years. Were you in pretty good shape as a young man?

Robert: I was involved in several sports in high school: football, track, and cross-country running. I was pretty healthy until I reached my late 30’s.

Kevin: What was the turning point for you? What motivated you to transform your body?

Robert: I wasn’t able to do anything with my children and grandchildren, and I was always sick.

Kevin: What do you consider to be the most difficult part of this process?

Learning how to eat properly was definitely the hardest thing for me.

Kevin: Please tell my readers (in general terms) about your diet and training.

Robert: I don’t eat fried foods or white bread and I also never eat out. I eat lean meats like chicken, turkey breasts, and tuna. I also eat a lot of green vegetables. I believe in pushing myself to my physical/mental limits every day in the gym. I train 2.5-3 hours a day, and I also train abs every morning and night.

Kevin: One of the topics I’m interested in (as I age) is training into later years. What adaptations (if any) have you made to your training as an older athlete ?

I do the same workouts younger guys do but I use a little less weight. I also try to add a lot of variety: kickboxing, kettlebell training, Crossfit, yoga, etc.

Kevin: What advice would you give to people who want to get in better shape?

Robert: Just put your mind to it and do it! Set your goals and when you reach them raise them higher. Age is just a number—it’s never to late, get out there and do something.

Kevin: Please talk about the differences in quality of life you are experiencing now that you are in better shape.

I’m able to get around and I’m not afraid to try anything. My mindset is very positive.

Kevin: What does your family think of your new physique and notoriety?

Oh man, my kids brag about me all the time. It’s an incredible feeling and it makes all my hard work worth it.

Kevin: What’s next for you?

Robert: I’d like to make another video with Barstarzz. I’m also thinking about entering a physique competition like the Kentucky Derby Muscle Show.

Kevin: Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview!

Thank you!

Here’s the youtube video featuring Robert:


Hypertrophy Max Review Phase 3

Phase 3 of Hypertrophy Max is called Max Lactic.   As the name implies this training phase is focused on working out in a way to maximize lactic acid production.

Hypertrophy Max Phase 3

Hypertrophy Max Phase 3: Feeling the Burn

This looks like it would be the most painful part of the program, but I think you’ll find it to be worth it.  Here are a few benefits to this type of training:

*You become mentally tougher as you work through the pain barrier.

*Increased growth hormone (higher lactic acid=more GH).

*Positive changes in body composition.  Ben says a trainee can realistically expect a drop in body fat percentage while simultaneously seeing muscle gains–not a bad deal, right.

As always, Ben has a way of getting the maximum muscle stimulation out of each movement–it’s a truly scientific approach to building muscle.  I noticed a few movements/exercises I’ve never seen before and he teaches you how to tweak familiar exercises to get the most out of them.  I understand why he’s considered one of the best minds in bodybuilding.

Just CLICK HERE if you are interested in ordering Hypertrophy Max.

Hypertrophy Max Review (Phase 2)

The second phase of Hypertrohy Max is called Max Density, meaning it is focused on increasing the efficiency of training–doing more work/training in less time.  Ben is the one who trains in this series (not Vince).   This style of training, they argue, is often overlooked.

As always, the video workouts are really high quality.  Ben Pakulski is really a master at taking an exercise and adding subtle angles/grips to maximize the muscle stimulation.

Ben Training Chest

Ben Training Chest

Another thing you’ll notice is Ben doesn’t use a lot of weight–using a high percentage of your one-rep max is not the focus of this phase of training.

Here are just a few advantages to training this way:

*It isn’t as hard on your joints.  As I get older I’m getting more interested in learning how to get results with lighter weights.  This is something I would have studied more if I could go back and re-do my 25+ years of training.

*It would be very useful for competitors who are preparing for a contest (or photo shoot).  Ben noted that he can’t use extremely heavy weights when he gets close to competition because of the dieting involved.

*No spotter required.  You could probably do most of this phase without a training partner.

Click here if you are interested in ordering Hypertrophy Max. 

NOTE: Hypertrophy Max is closed until December. Please check out Mass Intentions Extreme 2.0 (MI40X) if you are looking for a similar program.

Fix My Back Pain Review Rick Kaselj

BR3-4I’ve had the chance to review Fix My Back Pain, the new program to help those with back injuries.  I’ve been impressed with previous programs from these authors/creators and I was also personally interested in this concept (I’ve also had back pain issues at different times throughout my lifting “career).  I’ll start this review with a program description/summary–here’s what you’ll get if you order it:

Quick Start Video Guide:

Quick Start Guide

Back Pain Cycle

This video will get you started with the program–be sure to watch it before you get into the other videos.  Rick Kaselj discusses his background/experience and explains the the “back pain cycle” that many trainees endure.  The object, of course, is to break this cycle through a series of exercises.  He also describes various kinds of back injuries and their symptoms.

Component 1: Internal Back Reshaping

This is another video you need to watch.  Kaselj argues that at least 20% of the results will come from following some practical steps such as doing some simple decompression exercises.  This, he argues, is the first step to living pain-free.  There are several practical steps here in addition to the decompression movements.

Component 2: Outer Back Reshaping

This video has instructions for the way the rest of the program will work–exercise protocols designed to strengthen muscles in such a way as to protect the back and reduce/eliminate pain.

Component 3: Injury Specific TrainingFixMyBackPain

Here’s the aspect of the program that is custome made: you choose the final instructional videos according to the specific type of injury you have.  Once you’ve chosen the appropriate category you can download videos and and exercise manual.  The disc herniation & bulges page, for example, has suggested exercises to do before and after you train.  As mentioned, the idea is to strengthen muscles that will help reduce the pain associated with a specific type of injury.


You’ll get some bonus material when you order Fix My Back Pain:

Barbell Deadlift Dominated (pdf file) and Pain Free Deadlifting (video).  Both of these resources will help you safely increase your strength in this foundational exercise.

48-Hour Back Pain Rescue Guide (pdf and video).  These are exercises you can do to relax and strengthen your back.  No equipment needed.

no-back-strain-group2No Back Strain Workout.  A guide to exercises that avoid compression/strain on the back (video and e-book are integrated).


Fix My Back Pain is a cost-effective way to help trainees manage or alleviate pain.  I’d highly recommend it for those who want to use exercise as a means of dealing with pain/injuries of the back.  Just keep in mind there is no substitute for visiting your doctor–be sure to talk to your physician if you aren’t sure of your ability to safely exercise.  Just click here if you’d like to order or learn more about this program.

Steroid Alternative?

You’ve probably seen supplements advertised as “safe, legal alternative to steroids with no side effects.”  Lately it seems these kinds of products are heavily advertised on Facebook.  testabolentahnt

I’d encourage you to be highly skeptical of any such claims.  The reason is simple: the only thing that works like an anabolic steroid is . . . an anabolic steroid.

Think through this with me.  I’ll mention something I’ve already stated in my testosterone booster review.  A typical beginner steroid cycle would be somewhere around 500 milligrams of testosterone a week–significantly higher than a therapeutic dose for someone with low testosterone (much higher than natural levels).

A cycle like this would probably result in at least 15 additional pounds of muscle (maybe more) and significant increases in strength in just a few weeks.  But these gains would come with the risks of side effects.  These side effects would likely be preventable (with the right post-cycle therapy) and not life threatening, but they are a logical by-product of altering your body chemistry.  In other words, any drug that takes you beyond your genetic limit has potential side effects–period.

The purpose of this post isn’t to be pro or anti steroid.  I’m simply trying to expose what some unethical supplement marketers are doing–trying to manipulate naive trainees with false promises.  Anything that promises “steroid-like” gains is a ripoff.

Off The Floor: A Manual For Deadlift Domination Review


One-Handed Deadlift

I recently had the chance to review Off the Floor: a Manual for Deadlift Domination by David Dellanave.  I’ve never heard of David before I read/reviewed this program, but he has a pretty impressive list of deadlift records under his belt.

I’ll start by explaining what you get when you order this program:

Off the Floor Training Manual:  This e-book explains the authors overall training philosophy.  It includes a comparison of several deadlift variations as well as suggested routines.

Deadlift Exercise Library Quick Reference: This is a specific, step-by-step illustrated guide on how to properly perform the exercises mentioned in the manual.

Deadlift Gear Guide:  A list of equipment you may find helpful for your training goals.  Most of the gear he recommends is fairly inexpensive.

Biofeedback Training Guide:  This e-book explains simple steps you can take to track your progress in the gym and make consistent improvements.

Supplement Guide: David’s recommended supplements (his list looks very similar to my Supplements That Work  page).

Review:  One of the major advantages of this program is learning just how many ways you can deadlift. I’ve never realized just how versatile this exercise is for building strength, size, and even helping recover from injuries. Off The Floor is a valuable addition to my library of training information.  Let me share who I think would most likely benefit from this program:

*Intermediate/advanced trainees who want to break through strength plateaus.

*Home/garage gym owners desiring to maximize the use of limited equipment (you can do a lot with a barbell and this program).

*Coaches/trainers who want to learn from a true deadlift expert.

I believe Off The Floor would be a good investment if you fit into any of these categories.  Just click here if you’d like to order the program or learn more about it.