Muscle Pyramid http://musclepyramid.com Build the Most Powerful V-Tape Dominant Body Shape Mon, 07 Apr 2014 19:21:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.2 Use Leverage to Eliminate Injuries http://musclepyramid.com/leverage http://musclepyramid.com/leverage#respond Mon, 07 Apr 2014 13:00:37 +0000 http://musclepyramid.com/?p=5452 Anybody who has been involved in physical training knows that injuries are part of the game. However, dealing with them is tough, mentally and physically. Doing the rehab/prehab exercises often feels lame – I find myself skipping them more than once in a while.

Let’s be honest, injury-prevention exercises are boring and time-consuming. If you’re anything like me you’re fired up before and after your workouts and psyched to crush it, rather than doing dull little joint stabilization exercises. I would say, however, that the world is “a mean and nasty place” (Rocky lol) and you just have to do them. They’re important.

 

A neck strain can soon turn into a herniated Disc!

A neck strain can soon turn into a Herniated Disc!

 

When injuries do happen, they can be really tough to deal with. In terms of the mental aspect of it, personally I frequently get negative thoughts like “what if I can never train again?”, and “my career is over without fitness” etc etc. However, I learned how to deal with these negative thoughts to a certain degree by noticing that they’re based largely on emotion only, and not entirely rational. 30 minutes of meditation a day puts things into perspective – it gives you the clarity to see how your emotions play tricks on you and how to move on from them, knowing that things will get better. You can also consider the fact that some people participate in sports with all kinds of disabilities, so I guess we can live with a few aches and pains here and there!

Now, all that being said, to really manifest the habit of proper prehab/rehab, you need ‘LEVERAGE’. Leverage gives you the motivation to do something that bores you. For example, some people quit smoking because a person close to them died of lung cancer. Others religiously put seat belts on after someone close to them was paralyzed in a car crash.

That’s their leverage…

Here’s some leverage for you:

If you don’t think long term about your injury prevention and/or rehab, you might find yourself unable to train for months/YEARS. 

What does that lead to?

You’ll find yourself less attractive; you’ll think you’re less entitled to get ‘that girl’. She puts a lot of effort into her looks, why shouldn’t you?

You will almost certainly indulge in a lot of food, and the food will probably be unhealthy, too. That could lead to anything from cancer through to erectile dysfunction.

You’ll be the guy at the pool party/beach with a shirt on and everyone will know what you’re hiding under there. Guess who will pick on you for that? Yeah, your buddies – even more embarrassing when there are girls around.

Worst of all is when you know that you could have done something differently, but you didn’t. You will feel like S*IT. Worst case scenario, it could lead to a downward spiral of depression, anger and sadness.

Don’t write this off as an exaggeration – I’m trying to give you a reality check to get you to do your prehab/rehab exercises. As I said earlier, Leverage is key.

Please do your prehab and rehab, it will save you a lot of suffering. Use Leverage to get you through the boring stuff, so you can avoid some nasty consequences. Use Leverage in all areas of life to make your dreams come true ;).

The founder of the site www.musclepyramid.com, Vaclav Gregor, created our “Blueprint” program which has great info on how to lift to avoid injuries and really get RIPPED. It also contains a huge amount of info on muscle soreness (good indicator of possible injuries). It’s the perfect program to get you into the best shape possible and stay injury free.

 

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Are You Compensating for Something? http://musclepyramid.com/are-you-compensating http://musclepyramid.com/are-you-compensating#respond Mon, 31 Mar 2014 13:00:54 +0000 http://musclepyramid.com/?p=5427 Do you look towards others to see who's best?

Do you look towards others to see who’s best?

Certain things in life are hard, really hard. For example, approaching girls – that takes a lot of courage. Or sitting down to study – especially if it’s something that doesn’t have anything to do with the job you’re going to do (ah the modern education system lol).

I’ve seen many people who lack something significant, and instead of working on it they try to make up for it with something else. Bodybuilding might actually be the best example.

When I started working out and eating healthily, I got positive social feedback and my whole life improved. Because I ate healthier, I was able to focus better in school, girls liked it and guys were like “wow man, I’m not gonna fight this big guy”. Unfortunately, like any one thing, it only gets you so far.

I thought, “when I’m big and jacked I’ll have it all.” I thought I’d get laid every day and nobody would pick on me ever again.

WRONG.

Some people were still disrespectful, and until I learned more about social dynamics and how to set boundaries for these people, my abs didn’t do sh*t.

I know I mentioned how looks can strongly influence your success with girls and I’m not going to lie here – it did get me laid! BUT, my gains will never sustain a serious relationship nor a prolonged sexual relationship. A guy with a great body may be a so-called “boy toy” (I know I know, it sounds great to be that, but…), you might actually develop feelings for a girl (I don’t even want to see the expression of some guys reading this  but once you are in this position you will think of Joe Brunner).

Another example would be money; obviously more money gives you a good feeling about yourself and more freedom. BUT, if you think that money will get you friends (real friends) you’ve got another thing coming.

Every positive thing you do will positively affect other areas of your life. And that’s the clue: positively affect‘, not ‘solve; it’s not the Holy Grail. The only thing that gets you somewhere is the method that’s meant to get you there. The positive effects in other areas as a result are by-products.

It would be so cool if life was like the movies where the protagonist gets this one thing that turns his life around for good. The thing is that a movie is 90 minutes and a real life is, well… more than that…

Another problem I see that goes hand in hand with ‘compensating for something’ is constant comparison with other people. Many guys and girls do that with looks and other superficial stuff. It’s a societal phenomenon.

How would our economy look if everyone was completely happy with who they were? When people are constantly comparing themselves with the status quo and their neighbours, they invest a lot of cash into it and the governments and corporations keep making more and more money.

On the other hand, if people just accepted themselves and meditated all day long to train the areas of their brains that caused them to see the world positively, they wouldn’t desire Porsche sunglasses, a fancy car and an underground sprinkler system anymore. They would a lot less money on ‘society’.

Of course, meditating all day isn’t the life everyone wants to live, but self-acceptance is an important part of life and it will stop you comparing yourself to other people and you will soon realize that there is no ‘Holy Grail’ that solves all your problems.

You Have to Take Focused Action to Get Rid of Individual Problems

Now, I think it’s fair to say that most people who have never worked-out for any significant period of time will have the view that the purpose of working out is to get a good body, and be fitter and healthier. This is true. And working out has certain health benefits that nothing else can give you.

However, it’s also one of the best things you can do for your personal development – areas such as determination and the tendency to get things done will be improved. You will also learn how to manage your psyche in order to resist temptations.

If you struggle with any of that, working out might be the single best thing you can do. A proper workout program should be considered as ‘focused action to get rid of individual problems’, but not solely something to get you a good body, and be fitter and healthier. Of course, those are excellent goals to have, but…

Working Out Can Also be Used As a Focused Action to Improve Yourself As a Person

At this juncture, I may as well take the opportunity to slip in the fact that you will also enjoy some side-benefits, such as increased positive attention from the opposite sex, and some good ego strokes ;-) (Remember, it’s not the Holy Grail, but it helps ;-) )

Now, getting solid reliable info on working-out is pretty hard (google is flooded with questionable material), so why not check out a complete guide on how to get into cover model shape? A freakin’ fitness model wrote it!

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Stop Blaming Your Lack of Results on Others http://musclepyramid.com/results-blame http://musclepyramid.com/results-blame#respond Mon, 03 Mar 2014 14:00:52 +0000 http://musclepyramid.com/?p=5408 We’ve heard it time and time again, they say “IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!”. If you haven’t, look at any moderately popular workout system’s salespage – you’ll see that about 90% of them have these words plastered up there somewhere.

The marketing tactic behind it is that they want the customer to feel good about him or herself. It’s a pretty cunning strategy if you think about it, but it creates and encourages a f*cked up mentality.

Let me tell you why:

Remember when you were at school? Kids often blame their bad grades on the teacher. Maybe you did this; I certainly did, lol. The real reason they’re under-performing is that they didn’t study. If you talk to homeless people, many of them will tell you all kinds of reasons why they’re in this position…

Except the real reason why

And that is…

Themselves.

You see, humans are born into a society, whether it be western/american, middle eastern, asian or whatever. Most people’s identities and decisions are based on whatever society or circumstances they were born into.

Sounds cool right? I mean I’m German, which likely means I will live in Germany/Switzerland or Austria after university, work 40 hours a week,  drink beer and watch football with my friends & family until I die. Then when I’m dead and I’ve done all the stuff my little Matrix expected from me I will die happy right?

WRONG.

Most people will cry their balls out because of all the cool shit they missed out on: they didn’t learn the exotic instrument they wanted to learn; they didn’t have sex with enough people; hell, some even regret all the time they spent with their spouse whom they only married because she got pregnant, and regret not having created all the World Of Warcraft characters they wanted to.

 

Don't be pulled into a matrix

Don’t be pulled into a matrix

 

Point is, it’s about whatever floats your boat, not what you think society expects of you.

YOU have to decide what you want in your life and who you want to spend your time with. And then do it.

This little society rant applies to fitness too. I’ll give you an example: smokers usually tell you that they started in their teens because of peer pressure (active or passive). They just accept the circumstances they grew up in.

Same thing with fat people, “well my parents are fat and I really like cake so I guess I can’t lose weight. It would be cool to be ripped but I’m just not the type of guy to do this whole gym thing”.

Boy that is some bullsh*t. The shape of your parents’ bodies does not have anything to do with your body. Same principle applies to the rest of your life. You only truly become an adult once you have broken free of the bad programming you received whilst growing up. And this takes work.

To make it fitness-specific, let’s look at the fitness industry (aka society): magazines, clothes, groups to hang out with etc. What basically happens (happened to me too) is that the first thing an individual gets hooked on is magazines or websites.

There, someone who is pretty good at convincing people will explain to his customers with “science” why it’s important to go paleo, eat six times a day or go to their bootcamp. They will basically try to sell the customer some expensive stuff which most of the time will cause a loss, not in fat but in the wallet.

Then when the customer is hooked on the new lifestyle they will keep investing into it. You invest in your lifestyle too, your car, your cat and tickets to sports events on weekends (not you, I mean people in general).

So what does that mean? German society keeps making the middle class palatable so the machine keeps running. People invest into food, houses and cars. Everyone has a job and lives a safe life. In the fitness industry stuff like food and pets are replaced by supplements and protein shakes so that their machines run too.

The more they have you invested the more money you will spend on their products.

The problem is that fitness is simple and realistically you only need to spend a couple of hundred bucks, not thousands as advertised.

So what do the salesmen do?

They twist the truthtell you how important it is to eat protein six times a day and buy bogus equipment. If a customer figures out the correct way of doing things, he stops paying the salesmen.

To avoid this, the salesman tries to slow-down the customer’s progress in order to keep him investing more and for longer!

And there we are at  ”IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!”. I can’t tell you if it’s good marketing or the stupidity of people falling for that crap. I think it’s partially society’s fault for not explaining to children in school how to think for themselves but I also think many adults would benefit from investing in things like personal development programs and books so that they build up enough emotional intelligence to ‘see through the Matrix’.

Also, why would anyone stay aware and present to their surroundings when they could just numb themselves with a high instead? That’s another topic.

The best advice I can give you is to stick with logical and common-sense thinking. Man up and invest only in systems that teach you how to build and live your own life and aren’t trying to sell you on the whole fitness lifestyle obsession. For example, have you seen our flagship program that focuses on teaching you this very thing? Go ahead and take a look!

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Are You a “Hard Gainer”? http://musclepyramid.com/are-you-a-hard-gainer http://musclepyramid.com/are-you-a-hard-gainer#respond Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:00:50 +0000 http://musclepyramid.com/?p=5376 The term “Hardgainer” has become super popular these days. And in all honesty, I’ve only ever met one Hardgainer in my whole life. Yeah, ONE Hardgainer. I got to know him in kindergarten and we became friends. When I hit 5th grade I switched to another school. My sisters called him Skullmonkey because he was so skinny that you could see the skin wrapped around his skull like it was paper. He was weak, slow and had the appetite of a model at New York fashion week (meaning pretty much non existent).

Seven Years Later I Met Him Again…

I was in the locker room after a tough workout with my workout partner, Konstantin, and the skinny guy had just arrived. After Konstantin and I left the locker room, Konstantin said, “that’s one of them Hardgainers ain’t it?”. At that moment I felt sorry for the skinny guy and kind of ignored Konstantin’s comment.

The only thing that had changed for the Hardgainer was that he had grown a few inches. The poor kid was short and skinny, and you could tell by his body language that the word confidence must have sounded like Chinese to him.

Ask yourself the question: are you like that guy? Have you really developed close to zero muscle mass in 7 years of your life? As I said before, he’s the only true Hardgainer I’ve ever met.

“So what’s up with me not gaining mass?” you ask.

Let me break it down, there are three body types:

Ectomorph: Lean people, who are normally considered ‘skinny’ (often considered, usually incorrectly, to be Hardgainers),

Mesomorph: Envied for their ability to put on muscle and lose fat; generally good athletes,

Endomorph: “Big Boned” people,

Most guys who are Ectos think that they are Hardgainers. But in reality all they really need is a lot of intense lifting for a longer period of time (three to six months if you get it right from the start with the right program), and a diet with more protein and maybe more calories.

Gaining Muscle is about lots of time in the gym, rep after rep, set after set.

Gaining Muscle is about lots of time in the gym – rep after rep, set after set.

The problem is that most people take too much notice of the little things that happen over too short a period of time. They should make sure that they get the basics down and do them over a long period of time instead. Then measure the results.

Most of the good things in life take time and hard work, and this is certainly true for building muscle.

If you are still convinced that you really can’t gain any muscle, ask yourself these questions:

- How many days do you train every week?

- Do you write down the weights and increase the intensity?

- Do you do that with every workout?

- Do you even know how to lift? (mind-muscle connection)

- Do you sleep eight hours a night?

And most importantly, if you do these things for the next 6 months, do you think you won’t get any bigger?

Are you really a “Hardgainer”? Or are you just not accepting the fact that hard work is key?

If you suspect you fall into the latter category and you want to get things handled once and for all, our Blueprint program gives you everything you need to build muscle in all the right places to develop an awesome body. Check it out here.

 

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17 Easy-to-Correct Reasons Why You Are Failing to Get in Shape, Part III http://musclepyramid.com/failing-get-in-shape-iii http://musclepyramid.com/failing-get-in-shape-iii#respond Mon, 07 Oct 2013 10:30:41 +0000 http://musclepyramid.com/?p=4799 This is the third article in the 3-part article series on helping you discover a better approach to your fitness, find what works for you, build new empowering beliefs and finally get into the shape you have always wanted.
In the previous part you’ve discovered:

  • how to prevent fitness from taking over your life
  • how to prevent yourself from suffering from analysis paralysis due to overwhelming amount of education/information
  • how patience and lifestyle choice affect your ability to stick to your program
  • how understanding your desired can boost your progress
  • why not to rely on willpower
  • why should keep to yourself and not argue with others

You can read it here: 17 Easy-to-Correct Reasons that Are Preventing You from Getting in Shape, Part II

If you’ve already read it, let’s dive into the part two…

Bench press at gym

Why are you failing? Do you know? Have you ever asked for help?

13. Trying to Boost Success without Overcoming Inhibitors

Most people just pound protein shakes and eat loads of vitamins, thinking it’s gonna make their muscles grow faster and make them healthier.

The thing is, your body doesn’t work like that.

In scientific circles, there’s a theory called the Inhibition Theory of Muscle Growth, and it can be applied to pretty much anything.

Here’s John Barban’s and Brad Pilon’s take on it:

If you’re not eating enough protein, your muscles won’t be as big and strong as they would be if you ate enough. Same for vitamins; unless you get them you’ll get sick.

However, after you give the body what it needs, giving it more won’t make any difference.

Pretty simple, yet NO ONE is willing to understand it.

More is not always more.

Your body needs protein; let’s say for now that it needs around 120 grams of protein a day (the number will obviously vary from person to person, but not by much). Well, if you eat 60 grams, your performance in the gym will suffer slightly and your muscles won’t get as big as they could. If you eat around 100 grams one day and the next day around 150 grams, your body will be happy and will reward you with muscle growth (assuming you are killing it in the gym), but if you had eaten 200 grams of protein on the second day, your body would still have given you the same results, because it didn’t need that extra 50 grams.

Protein cannot create the muscle growth response; only training and drugs can.

So, try to think in terms of what is limiting you rather than what you can boost.

Maybe you really aren’t getting enough protein. Or maybe (probably) you just need to train harder and more often.

Which is it?

14. Having Too Many ‘Fitness Rules’

How many fitness rules have you tried to follow?

Many people buy a diet book (or three), some fitness magazines, some fitness programs, dive into shitloads of blog posts and articles on the web written by several different people. Before they know it, they’ve got dozens, if not hundreds, of rules that often contradict each other. This usually results in ‘analysis paralysis’ and being unable to take action. This eats away at your confidence.

Quite a common story.

Well, when you initially start researching fitness, it pays to look around and check out all the different ‘gurus’ out there. And whilst many people’s advice is sound, there are no stupid outlandish rules you have to follow.

Getting in shape may be hard, but it’s a pretty simple process – you eat less you lose weight, you train more you build muscle.

So, what you want to do with this knowledge is structure your “fitness lifestyle” around your life.

We all have school or business stuff to take care of, everyone has friends and family they want to spend time with, so if you try to create a rule that will interfere with those two, you are doomed to failure. This is why most people never stick to their fitness plan; they fail to create one that would work for them, so they fail. No surprises there.

Do you need to eat lunch with your co-workers? Then account for it in your daily calorie budget. Do you need to eat dinner with your girlfriend on Wednesday? Then don’t fast that day. Or better, fast before the dinner. Do you know you are always going to social eating events on Saturdays? Then don’t plan to workout on Saturdays (if you can’t make it) and eat less calories during the week, to save up something for that day.

You see?

Find a way to make it work. Don’t complain or bitch about how difficult your life is and how it’s impossible for you to get in shape – that’s BS – everyone can get in shape. You just need to find the way to make it work for you. Taking control of your life like this and making it work will build confidence in yourself and your ability to roll with the punches.

15. Not Getting Help

It’s quite easy actually. You can keep struggling and try to figure it all out on your own and make A LOT of mistakes, OR you can get help from someone who has already been through what you’re going through right now and has already achieved the goals you’re after.

This depends on your commitment and budget, but everyone can afford to spend a couple of bucks on some fitness programs. It’s still a way better investment than supplements.

If you’re really determined and you have the money, then obviously getting a mentor or coach is the best thing you can do no matter what area of your life we’re talking about. In the case of fitness I would just like to warn you that most personal trainers in the gym don’t really have a great deal of expertise and their advice can, in fact, hurt you. Not to attack trainers – there are loads of great ones – but it’s not the majority, so be careful.

Many trainers have blogs nowadays, so before giving them any money, go online and learn about them, their results and their methods.

You also have to look for someone who has a similar history and who built the kind of a body you want to have. If it’s a 220 pound ripped 5’10” former pro bodybuilder then he’s probably not the coach for you, unless you want to look like him and you’re okay with taking drugs.

You would also need to devote your life to bodybuilding and competition and have at least above average genetics. But my guess is that you’re more interested in achieving low body fat percentage, so you can see your abs, and packing on as much muscle as you naturally can and creating the power look with dominant shoulders. All while enjoying your life and keeping your day job and social life. If so, then find a mentor who shares these priorities.

16. Sailing Without a Plan or Strategy

Being without a plan or strategy you’re like a ship without a purpose; you’re just being carried along by the wind. You have the means to harness your environment, take control and direct yourself to a planned destination, but without taking the correct deliberate actions, you’ll just end up in some random unforeseen place.

When you have your goals written down, take some more time to jot down some plans and come up with a strategy.

For example, if you know you need to lose about 15 pounds to see a six pack and feel more confident. And you also want to put on two inches on your shoulders to improve your V-taper, and you want to do all this before your holiday in three months, then here are a couple of things you might want to write down:

  • Figure out my daily metabolic rate (BMR)
  • Make diet changes based on my BMR to match my goals
  • Start skipping breakfast and add one 24 hour fast each week
  • Throw away sweets from the house (not that chocolate is bad, it’s just high in calories, but if it isn’t in your house you won’t eat it)
  • Reduce alcohol intake to two beers and two glasses of scotch a week
  • Add two more workout days each week
  • Get a professional muscle building program
  • Take photos every Monday at the same time, first thing in the morning, to compare progress
  • Buy a calendar to write down the deadline and check your progress each day (you can even make a green checkmark on the days you did really well eg a particularly good workout, stuck to the diet etc to see how well you are doing)

This is just one example. Obviously, your goals may be different.

Personally, I use mind maps for this, to come up with both plans and strategies.

If you want the exact software I use, it’s called iMindMap and it’s from Tony Buzan. You can buy the sophisticated and advanced version for about $200 or you can use the simple version for free, it’s really up to you. You can even synchronize it with an app on your mobile device, so it’s perfect if you have an iPad, for example.

I find the iPad app the best one to use.

What you do is you place one word as your goal in the centre and then draw branches out from it and continue until you have covered everything – one word per branch.

It’s great because you can easily review this every morning in 5 minutes and visualize the outcome without having to read long notes.

Doing this is definitely one the best things I’ve ever decided to do, so try it out.

17. Not Starting or Taking Action

Around 97% of people never take any action on what they read; they never get out of whatever mess they’re in and they keep on living an average life.

This is not going to be the case for you, I’m sure of that.

Remember that some action is better than no action.

So, get your workout bag, iPod and hit the gym – right now!

Here’s your first startup workout:

  1. Pullups: 2 x 10-12
  2. Military press: 3 x 10-12
  3. Barbell Squats: 3 x 10-12
  4. Conventional deadlift: 2 x 10-12
  5. Dips: 3 x 10-12
  6. Barbell curls 3 x 10-12

(rest for 90 seconds between each set)

If you’re looking for more than just one plan for one day and you’d rather have a professional workout plan that will last you for almost one year, with step-by-step nutrition and training advice, including exercise videos, get the Peak Physique Transformation Blueprint here.

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Are You Looking for Secrets to Building a Killer Body? http://musclepyramid.com/secrets-killer-body http://musclepyramid.com/secrets-killer-body#respond Mon, 30 Sep 2013 10:30:46 +0000 http://musclepyramid.com/?p=5224 Secrets to a killer body

What’s the secret to a killer body?

I’ll kick this one off with a story. When I started 11th grade my school had lots of new students coming in. They noticed my gains and said stuff like “you actually have the perfect body man”.

I noticed that some of my classmates started working out too; many people want the benefits of working out. There was this one guy, let’s call him M. Ever since I knew M, despite his efforts, he barely gained any muscle at all. Unfortunately, people even poked the odd joke at him. They kept comparing the two of us and, not only did I start off bigger, but I also added much more muscle compared to him.

Two years have passed and he still hasn’t reached the point that I started out at. He is now 20 years old and I was in better shape when I was 17! Now, it may sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet, but I say these things to illustrate an important point:

Mainstream Bodybuilding Media Brainwashed Him…

It’s very difficult to help this guy and point out his mistakes – he’s been brainwashed to the extent that he doesn’t believe that this stuff is really quite simple. We discuss fitness at school all the time and whenever I say something out of his “matrix” he just says I’m wrong – to me: a dude with abs and way bigger muscles. It’s like Bill Gates being told he has no idea how to make money by a homeless person. That just makes no sense in my book.

Whenever I ask about the validity of his methods and how he can back it up (whether it be science or results), he obviously can’t. He then gets angry at me and tries to start an argument. I usually put an end to it before it gets any worse. It’s a bit like religion; it’s not worth arguing over someone else’s beliefs.

So what do I have that M (and many other people in the mainstream fitness matrix) doesn’t? How is my approach different? Most people think there is some magic pill, magic food or exercise. There’s not. There’s just three “secrets” for building a body…

Secret #1: You Want Gains? Get a Well Thought Out Workout Plan

M says that he knows what he’s doing. He says “I only work out twice a week because I want to get super big”. Some people think that they will gain more muscle by working out less and eating more.

Another example from M is “I do the Arnold Press now, that’s the best exercise! Right Joe?” He’s looking for the one exercise that will transform his body which, of course, is something he’ll never find.

The number one thing M is missing is some kind of basic workout plan.

If you don’t have a workout plan, get one! It has to be designed to move you towards your goal and fit into your lifestyle. What most beginners try to do is design the workout by themselves, usually based on some crappy plan from Muscle and Fitness. Not a good idea. Have you ever heard of periodization, progressive overload or mind muscle connection? Did you know that different rep ranges cause different amino acids to be activated? There is much more to workout design and if yours is missing any of these things it will greatly hinder your progress!

My advice, find someone who looks the way you want to look and get his workout plan.

Secret #2: Want to Get Ripped? You Need a Diet Based on Science and Common Sense

The good ol’ diet discussion… here is what brainwashed M likes to say, “I buy the chips at the supermarket with the highest protein content, as part of my pre-workout meal” and “I eat salmon every morning because it will get me big“. Truth is that he will gain mass, but it’s not going to be muscle, especially if he only works out twice a week. Restrict calories if you have to lose weight, go slightly over maintenance and increase protein intake (slightly) if you’re looking to gain muscle. M overeats a LOT and spends lots of money on high protein foods to gain muscle. Don’t do that.

Muscle gains are a result of the hard work you do at the GYM, not in the kitchen!

Secret #3: Supplements Aren’t the Key

My favourite part about bro science is that people treat protein supplements like they’re steroids. There are no magic potions, and mega-dosing on protein will do sh*t for you. It’s okay to take some protein to make sure your body has what it needs, but don’t expect to look like the Hulk, just because you increased your protein intake.

The supplement I recommend you definitely take is Creatine Monohydrate. I recommended creatine monohydrate to M; he then took creatine every day and drank 5 liters of water a day for a few days hoping that his muscle size would increase. After that he complained that creatine monohydrate doesn’t work and switched to a different type of creatine which was called something like Creatine Super Saiyan Triple Ultra.

As with everything, you need to give creatine monohydrate about 12 weeks to really gauge the results. If you have a professional workout plan (don’t skip this one, it’s the key!), then you can expect to gain around 8 extra pounds of muscle mass during those 12 weeks – assuming you’re a beginner. If you’ve been lifting for 20 years and taking creatine for 10, then you’re not gonna gain much extra.

Btw there are always non responders, but 8 pounds is the average most guys gain in the first few months they’re on creatine. Are you between the ages of 17 and 25 and take a testosterone booster? You are at the peak of your testosterone production, so buying a testosterone booster is just a waste of time and money.

Supplements are only the icing on the cake, so put all your effort into the dough and make a beef cake. The best supplement is creatine monohydrate, hands down. It has the most research and results to back it up. Other than that, eat moderately and lift like a beast.

Here is the cold hard truth: The only things that will get you into extraordinary shape are lifting, dieting and supplements. IN THAT ORDER!

If you have to lose fat, dieting comes first.

The only way you can get into great shape without lifting, eating and supplements is with ANABOLIC STEROIDS.

Apart from the government, we at Muscle Pyramid couldn’t care less what you put into your body (it’s your body after all, so it should be your choice what to put into it). But we don’t recommend it, because steroids will mess up your body shape and health, and for what, more muscle mass? Not worth it dude.

Hopefully what you take from this article is that there are no real secrets to muscle building and fat loss. To get in shape you have to spend a lot of time working out and eating in moderation. While it’s simple, it’s far from easy. However, all the hard work is worth it, so get your ass to the gym ASAP.

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Intermittent Fasting and Feeding Newbie Cheat Sheet http://musclepyramid.com/intermittent-fasting-for-newbies http://musclepyramid.com/intermittent-fasting-for-newbies#respond Tue, 27 Aug 2013 10:25:43 +0000 http://musclepyramid.com/?p=5268 Intermittent fasting is one of the simplest and most effective weight loss tools out there and it’s certainly something that should be part of your diet plan. To burn fat efficiently, dieting is a must so read the whole article to not miss out on this opportunity to learn about all the different methods of fasting!

Are you a slave to your appetite?

Well it should be the opposite!  You should be the master and in control of your appetite.

Let’s take a look at how you can do it…

intermittent-fasting-feeding.jpg

intermittent-fasting-feeding

You can actually look at fasting as a form of training instead of just a dieting protocol.  There are a lot of benefits to fasting that are eerily similar to the benefits from exercise.

…But that’s a discussion for another day. Today, I want to talk about why anyone would want to train to fast.  The reason to train to fast is the same to train for anything - To get better at it.

Just like training for a sport, you put in the effort because you want to hit certain performance goals and experience that gratifying feeling of winning a game and owning that sport.  When you put in the effort into mastering the skill of fasting will help you hit your body composition goals AND give you the gratifying feeling of being able to eat big, satisfying meals in the process.

Become the Fasting Ninja

As with any complex skill, I recommend working your way up to almost daily fasting.

Now, you don’t have to do this.  Heck, you don’t have to fast at all.  But this eating structure will work for you extremely well if you are fan eating big meals. Just like training for anything else though, there comes a point of diminishing returns and after that the burnout.  You don’t want to exercise for ten hours a day because you’ll overtrain and probably get injured in the process. Similarly, you don’t want to overdo it with fasting because at some point, your body will fight back and you’ll experience several negative effects such as decreased energy levels and metabolic slowdown.

However, when done right, when you are in that sweet spot of intermittent fasting, it’s the opposite.  You feel more energetic, enhance your fat metabolism, etc.

The key is to work your way up to that sweet spot.  I favor the 16/8 fasting/feeding split suggested by Martin Berkhan from Lean Gains. For me, the easiest and most natural way to accomplish this split is to fast until noon or later and then eat my meals throughout the remainder of the day.

Remember, intermittent fasting is supposed to simplify your life and give you a break from having to worry about food.  So there’s no need to be militant about the feeding window.  Sometimes I’ll feed between noon and 10pm.  Sometimes between 2pm and 8pm.  Once you become a fasting ninja, you just sort of go with the flow of your day without worrying about watching the clock. But having a scheduled window helps to stay on track, especially at the beginning.

If daily fasting interests you, then this is where I want you to be.  So without further delay, on to the training guide!

The Stages of Intermittent Fasting Expertise

This guide will train you to fast daily and after completing the final stage, you will be completely comfortable with an abbreviated feeding window (e.g. eight hours).

  1. Newbie – Generally uncomfortable with the idea of an abbreviated feeding window.  No control over appetite.  Feels the need to eat immediately after “getting hungry”.
  2. Apprentice – Can go a couple hours into the day without feeding but no more.  Minimal appetite control.  Starting to get into the habit of fasting.
  3. Novice – Somewhat comfortable with fasting.  Can control appetite for a few hours maybe once or twice a week in addition to not feeling the need to eat within a couple of hours of waking.
  4. Intermediate – Doesn’t feel the need to feed on a regular basis.  Can control appetite for a few hours several days a week.
  5. Advanced – Daily fasting has become routine.  Can fast for several hours comfortably nearly every day.  Understands the distinction between psychological hunger and true hunger.
  6. Ninja – Comfortable fasting for anywhere between 12 and 18 hours seven days a week.  Strategically implements various duration fasts as a fat loss tool.  Complete appetite control.  Immune to stress resulting from an unexpected change in eating schedule.  In short, eating is no longer a burden.

Whether you are a Newbie or a Ninja, on a micro level, the easiest time to fast is when your MIND IS INTENSELY ENGAGED in something.  We have all felt this whether it’s cramming to meet a tight work deadline, playing a sport, running around doing errands, or trying to beat the next level in your favorite video game.  The last thing you think about is eating.  On a macro level, fasting is easiest when you are happy, well-rested and generally stress-free.  Use this knowledge to your advantage in every stage of the process.

Stage

Hours Fasted a Week

Training Protocol

Tips

Recommended Duration of Stage

Newbie

<10

Try to go at least two hours after waking without eating.Start out one day per week and work your way up to five. The easiest days to start practicing fasting are weekend days

(or any days when you don’t currently have a fixed meal scheduled in the morning).

2-3 months

Apprentice

10-18

Try to go at least two hours after waking without eating every day.Pick one day a week when you fast until lunch time.

 

A mid-morning black coffee can help curb your hunger for that last two to three-hour stretch before lunch time.

2-3 months

Novice

18-25

Now that you have a solid foundation, start experimenting with flexible fasting.

Meaning play with different ways to get to 25 hours (e.g. three hours x five days + five hours x two days, six to eight hours x three to four days, three to four hours every day, etc.)

 

This is the most difficult phase to get through which is why I encourage you to test different weekly patterns to find the one that is the easiest for you.

You will then use this as your base going forward.

3-4 months

Intermediate

25-35

Keep progressing on your base pattern (e.g. if you are fasting daily, try to increase the fast time each day, if you are doing larger fasts a few times per week, try to keep adding days until you are skipping breakfast almost every day. Now that you’ve built up a decent amount of experience, start recognizing the tricks that allow you to fast longer and more effortlessly and think of ways to incorporate these into your lifestyle more frequently.  This will take you to the next level.

3-4 months

Advanced

35-50

Many people will not feel the need to go beyond this point and if that’s you, just relax and maintain your skill level.

At this point, you are already benefiting greatly from fasting.  If you do want to take that final step, the training is more psychological.

Begin to view fasting not in terms of a schedule, but within the context of your life.

Think about how what you eat the day before affects your fast the following day.

 

By now, you are comfortable going without food in the mornings.

The final step is getting comfortable going without food at any time and not stressing about it.

As long as you want – lifetime

Ninja

50+

No further training required.  You are a master!

If you are already lean at this stage, you won’t be able to go much beyond 50 hours of fasting in total each week.

If you truly feel the benefits of fasting and love the feeling of freedom from regular eating, share your newfound knowledge with others who are interested in getting started with intermittent fasting!

 

Lifetime

Notes and Conclusion on Intermittent Fasting

This is not a 30-day program, a two-month program or even a six-month program.  Grinding out a total of 50 hours of total fasted time after waking in one week while hating your life in the process WILL NOT make you a Ninja.  If you do it correctly, mastering the skill of fasting should take you at least a year.

Progress will not be linear. You will hit plateaus and sticking points.  But once you have mastered it, you will know because fasting will feel like a breeze and not a burden.

If you follow a good strength training system (For example like the Peak Physique Blueprint), don’t combine this with longer-duration fasting. However, if you have been practicing intermittent fasting, then it’s perfect to combine those two and I recommend you do that.

What you obviously don’t wanna do is run or bike for 6 hours after a 30 hour fast.

As with everything related to health and fitness, don’t what feels best, listen to your body and use some common sense.

If at any point you are worried about not getting enough calories or energy, don’t be. Your body is extremely effective at providing energy in brief absences of food (this is not true if you are approaching low digit body fat eg.: 6%BF).

When you truly need the calories your body will let you know that and then you should respond by getting some meal.  The idea is not to resist true hunger, but true hunger is something people have never experienced and never will, so don’tworry about it. The goal behind fasting is to expose the demon that is psychological hunger and to rid yourself of the helpless feeling that accompanies it.  We all love eating, so the calories will come sooner or later. That I can guarantee you.

I fast daily, sometimes I even go up to 24 hours and I NEVER worry about underfeeding.

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Walk the Walk, Don’t Talk the Talk http://musclepyramid.com/walk-the-walk http://musclepyramid.com/walk-the-walk#respond Mon, 05 Aug 2013 11:00:31 +0000 http://musclepyramid.com/?p=5191 We’ve all heard the age old saying “actions speak louder than words” however, many people forget this when it comes to health and fitness. In health and fitness, people like to talk more than they like to take action.

Get in shape and people will take you more seriously, no just when you talk about what you are doing in the gym.

Get in shape and you want have to tell people that you are trying to be fit and healthy, they will know you have it figured out.

Next time you stop by your local coffee shop, sit down for a bit and just observe. Listen to the conversations going on around you; take note of the people around you, and what they are eating.

If you stay there long enough, I’m sure you will overhear a conversation about health in some form; whether it’ll be about exercise, diet, or food choices (if you’re someone who drinks a lot of coffee, I’m sure you’ve noticed this).

Based on personal experience, health, fitness, and food choices have almost became the default topic of conversation. People like to talk about their diet, various workout styles, celebrity diets, or what they read in a health magazine.

Actually, it’s not that surprising since our society has become littered with diet products, pills, potions, gimmicks, all related to fat loss or muscle building. We are exposed to health and fitness product more than to any other topic, even the news, so it is no wonder it pops up in conversation so often.

The problem is, even with all this talking about health and fitness; most of us are still fat and out of shape.

Next time you go out for a dinner with someone who is trying to be “healthy,” or wants to lose weight, pay attention to the dialogue that goes on at the table. I’m betting that they will start talking about their food choices, diet, or what’s healthy on the menu. This is especially true if they have the “good foods, bad foods” mentality and haven’t figured out that the key to weight loss is eating less food.

Here’s a funny line I’ve heard a couple times:

“I’m being healthy tonight. I’m going to get the spaghetti Bolognese because I can get WHOLE WHEAT, so then I can have the FAT FREE sorbet for dessert”

Next time you hear it, notice who they talk about it with and the tone they talk about it in. When the server comes around, I’m betting that they say something along the lines of “I’m going to be a good guy and get the pasta with whole wheat” or “I’ll be healthy and get a salad.”

They know they are out of shape and this almost subconscious behavior will be their way of getting validation from other people. You are basically transferring the blame to an external factor, because if you are eating “healthy” it couldn’t possible be your fault that you are overweight, right?

The truth is that you don’t really need to tell the waitress that you are on a diet or that you are eating healthy. If you were in shape, you wouldn’t have to, people would naturally assume you have ti handled.

What Talking Does (Or Doesn’t Do)

Conversing about health and fitness is a crutch people lean on. When people can talk about how they are trying (or are) being “healthy,” “good,” or trying to lose weight, they can begin to rationalize their decisions out loud.

It’s mostly because people want to feel like they are doing something right, especially if they are not having success with their better choices the choices they believe to be better.

If someone else agrees with you or encourages you for being healthy, you will feel better about yourself, despite the fact that you may not be getting the results you want.

Rationalizing choices is not something that only goes on when eating out, or exercising. It will often go on in a general conversation, when food is not even involved, especially if the first person is “into fitness” and the other person he’s talking to is not. They like to talk about all the “healthy” choices they have been making this week, in an effort to “lose weight fast,” and their results, or lack thereof.

Guys like to talk about the great workout they had this morning, or what time they got up to do the workout. It makes them feel better than the rest, it doesn’t matter if they actually do get better results than others.

Guys also love to talk about all the protein or supplements they bought and about all the new techniques they are trying.

Talking Isn’t Walking, Or Running

I think this is one of the main reasons why people fail to achieve the results they are after – they talk about it too much.

Yes, support and guidance is necessary and beneficial to changing your body or lifestyle, but” becoming healthy,” “eating clean,” or working out should not become your lifestyle. It shouldn’t become the focus of your life and all you talk about; it should become only a part of your life. Obsessing about nutrition or working out will only create an unsustainable lifestyle that will actually prevent you from reaching your goals.

Results come with consistency, not periodic effort. Have you ever tried studying for a test the night before vs. studying all week? What gave you the most success, and what actually resulted in you learning something? The “I lived and breathed it for 24 hours” or the “I instilled it slowly over time” approach?

The same goes for talking about health and fitness vs. taking action. You can talk all you want about the latest diet, or fitness trend, but unless you take some action, nothing will happen.

The person who looks like they are in shape is probably the person who talks less about their food choices and fitness. The person who talks the most about health and fitness, you can bet he doesn’t have the body he desires.

Take notice of someone who has lost a lot of weight and had success, do they go around parading the fact that they lost 50 lbs. every chance they get? What about someone who is trying to lose weight? They are the ones who talk about their diet and exercise EVERY chance they get.

You can talk the talk, but unless you walk the walk it doesn’t mean anything. And most importantly, talk will never get you to your goal.

If you are unhappy with your results or your body, I suggest trying to talk about it less. You don’t need to let everyone know that your choice is “healthy.” Of course you can tell your friends about your goals and ask them for support, but if they know that you want to lose weight, or eat healthier, they already know why you’re getting a salad and joining the gym. You don’t need to substantiate your choices to anyone else, except yourself.

 

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17 Easy-to-Correct Reasons that Are Preventing You from Getting in Shape, Part II http://musclepyramid.com/failing-get-in-shape-ii http://musclepyramid.com/failing-get-in-shape-ii#respond Mon, 29 Jul 2013 13:53:16 +0000 http://musclepyramid.com/?p=4798 This is the second article in the 3 part articles series on helping you discover a better approach to your fitness, find what works for you, build new empowering beliefs and finally get into the shape you have always wanted.

In the previous part you’ve:

  1. Crashed your excuses
  2. Discovered that everyone can get in shape
  3. How to think long term and ditch the short term thinking when it comes to your body
  4. Discovered what’s the necessary sacrifice you need to make to get in shape
  5. How to make fitness part of your life for better results
  6. How to choose supplements intelligently

You can read it here: 17 Easy-to-Correct Reasons that Are Preventing You from Getting in Shape, Part I

If you’ve already read it, let’s dive into the part two…

Getting in shape is a big victory in your personal development, let's talk about the steps that lead to it.

Getting in shape is a big victory in your personal development, let’s talk about the steps that lead to it.

7. Fitness As an Interest, Or Your Identity?

Sometimes guys (and girls as well) get so obsessed with fitness that it becomes their sole identity.

However, even if it’s not your identity and you’re not obsessed with it; if you want results, then having fitness as an interest isn’t the best mindset either! It’s not like you’re really that interested in fitness; you’re after the outcome – you want a better body, to be a better person and to have a better life.

Consider fitness to be one of the foundations of your character and life. The way I look at it is that there are three blocks your life is built on:

  • Business/Career/Finance,
  • Social Life/Dating Life/Relationships,
  • Health/Energy/Physical Look.

Where you are in life is a reflection of the work you have done in each of these 3 areas.

If you neglect any or all of these areas, it will have a negative effect on your life and character. Now, I’m not saying that if you neglect any of these areas you will be a poor example of the human race – it’s a sliding scale; but the degree to which these areas are developed has a direct bearing on the quality of your life and character. Every one helps. And, as I’m sure you can imagine, if you get all of these areas really handled, your life would positively SING.

8. Reading, Reading and Doing More Reading

Did Analysis Paralysis hit you hard in 2013, after you made your New Year’s Resolutions?

In the past, most people didn’t have access to enough information. Nowadays, the opposite is true – everyone has access to too much information.

Not only is it difficult to distinguish ‘good’ information from ‘bad’, but there’s so much information that often we’re simply just overwhelmed.

Worst of all, it’s an endless cycle – always searching for new and better tips, thinking the next ebook will hold the secrets to the universe.

Now, while it’s important to keep developing yourself and read, say, at least one or two relevant books a month, you have to watch out for ‘Analysis Paralysis’.

Here’s a neat trick:

Something you may not know is that you learn by EXPERIENCE and PRACTICE.

Our school teachers usually had no clue about how the human mind works. The fact is, just because you read something, it doesn’t mean you’ll learn from it and be able to apply the acquired knowledge.

Unless you change your behavior you haven’t actually learned anything.

For example, unless you change your daily habits you didn’t really learn anything about productivity, you just read about it.

or…

Unless you have changed your diet, you haven’t really learned anything about fat loss, you just read about it.

Makes sense?

Reading DOES NOT EQUAL learning.

I can shoot a ten hour video on training and diet and you can watch the whole video, but unless you actually go through the steps I give you and get in shape, you won’t truly learn anything.

But once you do, once you really take the steps, once you make the transformation, then you have successfully learned how to get in shape and you will always carry that knowledge and experience and be able to recreate it if necessary (eg after being sick or traveling).

9. Trying to Be a Black Belt Master in One Month

At the beginning (first month or two) don’t focus on building enormous muscle mass. When you’re new to this, you first need to develop a solid routine of going to the gym and learning all the exercises with perfect form; then it’s time for some muscle building.

Most guys skip this step and if they never take the time to learn perfect form, they’ll always be struggling to build their dream body.

Listen, we all want to be champs, and we want it to happen yesterday, but you’ve got to be realistic.

It takes ten years to master a skill and become really good at something, so don’t expect to become a fitness model in two months.

Consider the time it took you to get to where you are, you can’t undo all that in just two weeks. You can get significantly better in three months, but it might take you two or three years to get to where you really want, but does this mean you should give up?

F*ck, no! You want something, so who cares how long it takes? If it’s worth it, it usually means that not everyone has the patience and determination to achieve it. Leave the giving up to losers; be a champion instead.

Be the guy who is willing to be patient and do the work he needs to do to get to where he wants.

You need to get used to the idea that the rate of progress will get slower; don’t get too attached to the speed of development you experience in the beginning. We all want it quicker, but that’s why people rebound when they try to make quick progress.

Ask yourself this, do you want quick results or a permanent transformation? It has to take a long time for you to really learn how to maintain your new body.

Accept the slower results.

Slow progress is to your benefit. You need to realize that. You are moving towards your goal and (think about this)….

You’re still building a sustainable lifestyle at the same time.

Compare this to your friends who are all over the place, chasing fad diets and magazine workouts, changing everything every 3 weeks – they’re not getting anywhere in the long run.

10. Not Understanding Your Desires and Drives

How’s your motivation these days?

Are you a driven guy, focused on your goals? Are you clear on what you want and do you understand why you want it?

Or do you have to drag yourself to the gym and are counting the minutes till the workout ends so you can go home and watch your favourite TV show?

If you don’t enjoy the process you won’t last very long.

You need to figure this out if you’re planning on getting somewhere.

All the successful people in the history of mankind were crystal clear on their goals and who they wanted to become.

How about you?

Training shouldn’t be something you just want to ‘get out of the way’ every day. It should be a source of daily mental and physical strength to help you endure the challenges of life.

You’re doing this for yourself, to live a better life, so take a piece of paper or open a new document and write down your goals and your reasons for why it’s important for you to achieve them.

11. Relying Solely on Willpower, Instead of Tweaking Your Environment Too

Something almost everyone does, but it’s like running up against a brick wall.

Don’t ever depend solely on your willpower. Instead, create an environment that supports your goals too.

Most people wake up and don’t go to the gym, thinking they will go later. They also eat early during the day and generally a little excessively during the week, planning to cut the calories later; but it’s like borrowing money, you’re just getting deeper and deeper into debt, but you won’t climb out of this one.

You’ve got to take a different approach – a proactive approach.

Think of it as saving part of your income.

Here’s what that analogy means:

You have some caloric need (energy) and you can eat until you fulfill that need.  If you keep eating you will gain fat, because that excess energy gets stored.

So, what you wanna do is push your meals later into the day when people (including yourself) are often socialising. Socialising often goes hand-in-hand with drinking and/or eating and it’s also the time of day when you’ll have less willpower to restrain yourself, due to social pressures and also tiredness, even if you’re just at home.

Roughly planning your caloric intake through the week is a good mindset to have, because you wanna save calories during the beginning of the week so on Friday night and weekends you can enjoy yourself. Now, I don’t want you to get obsessive about this and start counting your calories to the nth degree – it’s just a good idea to bear this in mind and shift your caloric intake around a little throughout the week, kind of like building up credit you can ‘spend’ later. It’s a hell of a lot easier doing it this way round than trying to cut loads of calories after you’ve had a big weekend of caloric intake. That could also lead to all kinds of negative associations with food, feelings of guilt etc. And that is definitely not something you want to have going on. You’ll get better at this the more you practice it.

Your workouts are something you wanna get done as early as possible each day. If you wait until you get home from work at 6pm, you will probably be too tired to go to the gym. Sound familiar? And even if you do, the intensity just won’t be there.

Are there any other things you’re having to use massive amounts of willpower to get done? Is there a way you could tweak your environment so you’re not having to use so much willpower to get the same result? In some cases, you may have to make big changes to your environment. Or you may just need to make a few tiny changes, but ones that make a surprisingly big difference to your efficiency. Create an environment that supports your goals.

12. Arguing with Others

Once people learn that you’re “into fitness” they will start asking about your approach, what you’re doing or avoiding etc. This may sound all well and good, but there’s a catch. If your approach goes against what they do and/or what they believe to be true, they will argue to the death with you about why their approach or belief is ‘right’. If you follow the Muscle Pyramid systems then I can assure you this will happen, because we go against conventional wisdom.

I suggest that you don’t talk to others, including your friends and family, about fitness.

Why?

Well, the above is one reason, but there’s another reason. It’s something you wouldn’t expect to happen, but it does and everyone learns the hard way.

When you get in shape, people notice. At first they encourage you, but once you start doing really well they try to drag you down. The reason is simple; they feel insecure because you’re improving yourself and they’re not.

At this point you have to do what’s best for you – the difficult thing – shut them down and surround yourself with people who are on the same level.

Remember, bodybuilders hang around bodybuilders; college students hang around other college students; entrepreneurs hang out around entrepreneurs of similar success, and so on.

If you get your sh*t together, but you constantly surround yourself with people who just watch TV and get sh*t-faced every night at their local watering hole then, well, your string of success has an expiration date on it.

The people you can’t choose are obviously your family. Some will support you, most won’t. It’s always like that. The people closest to you will try to talk you out of it or argue with you that what you’re doing is wrong or unhealthy, or that you’re too serious and obsessed about it, or whatever.

Remember, love your family, but choose your peers.

If you’re one of the rare cases who has family members who share your opinions and/or support you despite their beliefs, you’re lucky. If you’re not one of the lucky ones, it doesn’t really matter – just focus on the methods that are bringing you success, not what others think about them.

 

…Part III is coming soon. Subscribe to the email newsletter below and watch the blog updates to be the first to know.

Thanks for reading. If you liked the information here, but want a more structured approach, get the Peak Physique Transformation Blueprint here.

 

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2013 Fitness Photoshoot: Joe’s Photos and Techniques http://musclepyramid.com/fitness-photoshoot-joe http://musclepyramid.com/fitness-photoshoot-joe#respond Wed, 24 Jul 2013 13:51:47 +0000 http://musclepyramid.com/?p=5092 This is the first time I actually prepared for a photo shoot. So how was it?

IT SUCKED!

Man, it’s tough! Getting through the caloric deficit, as well as all the training, was super hard. I could barely sleep and was moody and aggressive all the time. The last week leading up to the fitness photoshoot, I didn’t even consider doing any social stuff because I was just too moody. All I did was (not) eat, try to sleep and keep my mind occupied with manga and work. My taekwondo performance dropped as well.

Was is worth it?

Hell yeah bro!

Totally worth it!

Totally worth it!

You don’t know how great it feels to have great pictures of yourself until you actually have them. I got mad respect from my friends and the number of female visitors to my facebook profile probably increased by 200% lol.

Now I feel a lot more confident in my ability to coach and I really wanted to back up my talk with some walk, unlike many other authors who are all bark but no bite. Some of them have such crappy pictures of themselves online that I can’t help but think, “do you even lift?” and some don’t have pictures at all.

Don’t listen to them, it’s like taking financial advice from a homeless person.

How Did I Prepare for this Photoshoot?

Due to an injury in my left arm I can’t do certain exercises or very heavy lifting, so I decided to create my own strength training system a designed a 2 month workout plan, which worked out quite well. FYI we are going to launch a couple workouts based on this strength training system THIS FALL!

The workout plan that I followed for  two months leading up to the photo shoot was based on a book called “Overcoming Gravity” by Steven Low, former competitive gymnast and acrobat.

The book is based on science and although I think it’s pretty outdated now, it’s a very worthwhile read if you’re into program design, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone because it’s mainly based on Olympic ring training and quite hard to understand.

*Note: although I’m a big fan of Olympic ring training, you don’t have to do it. It suits me well because of my injury. Don’t think that it’s any easier or harder; no matter what style of program you choose, you’ll have to work hard.*

I worked out three times a week using high intensity bodyweight progressions, and I practiced taekwondo 4 times a week.

My diet for the 3 months leading up to the photoshoot went like this:

  • I fasted 14-16 hours a day (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter when life got in the way)
  • I ate 2600 calories a day on average (remember the calorie intake depends on age, activity level…and I was already lean before that)

My diet 7 days out was what really got me from lean to ripped *Note: only follow such guidelines if you are actually 7 days out, otherwise you’ll be wasting your time*

  • No Salt, No “bad” carbs, No more fats 5 days out. All of this to avoid water retention and bloating.
  • I didn’t shower 3 days out either, because the body absorbs water through the skin as well
  • 24 hours out, I stopped drinking water
  • I ate 2000 calories a day (creating a 4200 caloric deficit over the course of 7 days)
  • My meals were always some sort of mix of veggies, lean meat cuts, chicken, yoghurt, milk and fruits

Supplements:

  • 5g of creatine Monohydrate a day

All this worked better than I expected.

Judge by yourself:

My gains in the back-department

My gains in the back-department

Theoretically, I could have lost all the pictures, because the owner of the gym we picked for the photoshoot wasn’t very happy about us taking shirtless pictures.

After I warmed up we took some pictures of me doing pull ups, dips etc. Eventually the owner of the gym walked by and told us to leave. He got pretty angry, telling me that those “shirt off” bodybuilding days are over. I just smiled and we left. Don’t pick fights with others and it’s probably better to be sure that you can film in your gym. Or you can just use a studio, it’s up to you.

I put my shirt on and we left the gym . As we walked down the stairs we noticed that the lighting was pretty good in some parts of the staircase. We decided to go one floor above the gym and take some more photos.

You really have to experiment with this, especially with the light. Not every angle will falter your body. You will actually have to try a lot of angles and take hundreds of pictures to get a dozen good. Just like the pro’s do, they shoot a 1000 pictures and use only one for the cover.

What we didn’t expect was the owner to walk up to us again. So now we really had to leave, but fortunately the gym owner did’t took our camera, so at the end of the day, everything worked out and the results are great.

You definitely want to schedule a photoshoot and do a prep. Fixed deadline, paid professional photographer, it will help you stay on track and keep pushing. And the pictures are worth the effort.

My final thoughts on fitness photoshoots are mixed. On the one hand, I think you can consider someone who has great pictures of his outstanding physique to be someone who knows what they’re talking about. On the other hand they could be somewhat flabby all year round and just look good in some pictures for a few days. That’s the reason why we advocate lifestyle choices, rather than telling our customers how to become a bodybuilder.

Check out our facebook for more pictures and tips.

Now that I have achieved a look that I’m proud of and gotten the photoshoot over with, I can just relax and keep hitting the gym and focus on building more muscle. Since I’m only 19 years old there’s still lots of muscle growth to come, which is pretty awesome.

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to be using new routine which incorporates strength and hypertrophy at the same time. I will let you in on this new routine in a few months once it’s ready to be released to our Muscle Pyramid’s community.

I’m also consulting with other coaches and focusing on getting lots of feedback, so I can keep providing you with badass info! So subscribe to our blog and newsletter, because more is coming!

Your brother in iron,

Joe

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