Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pre New Year bicep routine

Here is a giant set of bicep exercises that can help you get some new muscle growth before the New year.

A1) Seated hammer curls with dumbbells-10 reps ( both arms at the same time )
* keep your arms tight to your sides

A2) Lying bicep curl with straight bar-10 reps
*Lie on the floor and set the pulley to the very bottom. Keep your back on the floor and curl up the weight like a normal curl.

A3) Chinups-10 reps ( or as close as you can )
* If you cant do regular ones then use the assisted machine or bands.

A4) Standing band curls-20 reps ( both arms at the same time )
* Stand on band and rep out the curls as fast as you can

Rest 2 minutes. Repeat this 1-2 more times.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

3 Finishers for your workout

The set or exercise of your workout has the chance to make all the difference in your routine so don't go soft when the time comes! Below are some ways to add some bang to the end of your workouts.

1) Chest Press with plate pyramid

Set up 1 of each of the following 5lb,10lb,25lb,35lb and 45lb next to a flat bench. This works good with a spotter or partner to hand you the plates but it can be done without one as well. Start by pressing the 45lb plate from chest to lockout for 20 reps.Then, immediately grab the 35lb plate and rep out 20. Repeat this with the 25, 10 and 5 lb plates and then go back up the pyramid. When you get to the light plates try and move faster with the reps. If this becomes to easy then try going up and down the pyramid 2x.

2) Chinup isometric hold

Get yourself into the top position of a chinup and hold for as long as possible. Focus on squeezing the biceps as hard as you can. Hang on until you literally cant anymore. Even if you start to fall from the starting position keeping holding on until you have to let go. The time day you try this see if you cant beat your time.

3) Partner pause and press

Put about 50% of your 1 rep max on the flat bench press. Have a spotter be ready behind the bench. Lower the bar to your chest and then start lifting it up. Press it about 2 inches above your chest and then have your spotter put his hand against the bar to stop it. Press against his palm for 10 seconds letting them do the counting. Then press it about 6 inches away from your chest and again have your spotter stop it with their hand. Press against their hand for 10 seconds. To finish totally lockout the bar and hold it there for as long as you can.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

25 tips to Christmas-

Christmas is right around the corner so as a gift to my readers I wanted to give you 25 tips to apply into your life and training this holiday and new year.

1. Dont just eat the whites, consume yolks-the whole cholesterol thing gets over blown and most of those studies were done by cereal companies anyways. Eating whole eggs will give you those essential nutrients that just the yolks wont. My suggestion is to do 2 whites to 1 yolk or just do whole eggs every other day.

2. If you are not happy with your current results than something must change! Eat better, workout better, sleep better, stress less and re-focus. Change your path and get better results now!

3. Nutrient timing is everything. Carbs in the morning and post workout are your prime spots to consume them. The leaner you are the more carbs you can eat generally.

4. It is not the quantity of your workouts but the quality.

5. Don't make your workouts too complex, less is better.

6. Have no clue on a goal for yourself? Try and add more weight to the bar or move it faster or both!

7. At the end of the day it is all about commitment to yourself and your goals. If what you want to achieve is really that important than you need to make it important in your life. No excuses!

8. Don't be afraid of high reps for your quads. High rep training can help the legs grow. 25-40 reps is totally fine.

9. If your looking to put on more size on your arms try lifting biceps and triceps on the same day. Break away from the traditional chest/tri and back/bi days and do some pure arm workouts and see what happens.

10. If you don't eat breakfast I cant help you get better results.

11. Some of my clients have seen great results in terms of dropping body fat by doing different waves of workouts. First waive could be 3-4 weeks of high rep, light weight limited to no rest periods. Then we switch things up to heavier weight, moderate to low reps and higher rest periods in order to help maintain that muscle mass. You can keep cycling this or take a week or two and mess the two into one workout.

12. Drink water!

13. Start on your 2012 goals now! No need to wait til after Jan 1 like the rest of the world. Be better than everyone else.

14. If you see people who don't get results, well do the opposite of those people! When you see those you get results, do the same!

15. Hour workout is great, but so is 45min and so is 25min.......whatever time you have make it work for you.

16. Just do cardio and you will look ok, do weights and you will look really good, do cardio and weights and damn you will look wow.

17. If you are trying to put on muscle mass and you are having trouble its most likely a calorie thing. Eat more than you are because chances are you need to be!

18. Make your workouts hard and intense but don't beat yourself into the ground because that will cost you the next day. You want to get as many quality workouts as you can during the week so don't beat yourself into submission. Ever now and then however....go ahead and destroy yourself in a workout.

19. Range of motion is important for any exercise you perform. If you are doing full pullups don't do 3/4 pullups.

20. Take responsibility-YOU are the reason that YOU are not seeing results. No need to pass the blame plate, suck it up and realize you need to do something about it.

21. Having trouble thinking of what to eat for dinner? Veggies and protein to the rescue every time!

22. There is no best way to do anything! Certain methods work better for some more than others. Find what works for you.

23. Do ab work everyday. Your abdominals don't get as much muscular damage as other muscles therefore allowing you to train them more frequently.

24. Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when you need to change things, increase weight or take a step back. Ignorance will put you behind.

25. At the end of the day just move. MOVE!

Go Dominate! Happy Holidays! Thanks to everyone who continues to read my posts!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Taking it to the Shoulers

Guys want big broad shoulders and women want toned and lean ones. Now this might not be the case all time but basically just about everyone wants nice shoulders. There are two ways to thinking when it comes to the shoulders.

A) You don't need to directly work your shoulders much due to their role in numerous type movements like pushups, chest press variations ( especially incline ) and other compound movements.

B) The delts need to be trained directly if you want true development. To not train your shoulders would lead to an unbalanced look.

I tend to agree with both of this view points. If you have great delts to begin with than I think you don't have to pay as much attention specifically to them in your training as maybe others do. However, if you lack shoulders then you do need to make sure you add direct work in. Below are some tips/strategies/exercises to try in your training.

  • The delts respond best to multiple exercises and short rest periods. Try doing tri-sets like the one below I love.

A1) Seated dumbbell shoulder press-6-8 reps

A2) Standing lateral raises with dumbbells- 10-12 reps

A3) Machine shoulder press ( neutral grip with palms face if you can ) 15-20 reps

**Take 2 min rest and repeat 1-2 more times

  • The delts are slow twitch and recover fast. If your lacking shoulder development you might need to train the shoulders three times a week


1) Lateral raises-The medial head of the delt tends to get less work than the anterior and posterior delts do in compound exercises. Some quick tips when doing the lateral raise are:

* Keep a slightly forward lean ( but not too much ) in order to target the medial delt better.

* Keep your arms straight through the entire movement.

2) Shoulder press continuation-In this set up you will take advantage of stronger body positions and controlled momentum.

* Do a set of normal dumbbell seated shoulder presses until you have 1 rep left before failure. Next, stand up and crank out more reps in this stronger position. Finally, without rest, end with push presses until failure. The push presses allows you to use your legs to give you some help when your fatigued.

** Repeat this 1-2 more times. Note-A push press is just like an overhead press except you a small dip of the legs and momentum to help push the weight up.


Most people have bigger and stronger front and medial delts and smaller and weaker rear delts. This lack of balance can causes rotator cuff issues and shoulder pain. In order to fix this aim to work the rear delts with more sets and focus on training them first. Below is a sample set up for this.

A1) Rear delt raises- 8-10 reps

** 3 sets

B1) Lateral shoulder raise ( do one arm at a time) 8-10 reps

** 2 sets per side

C1) Plate front raise- 8-10 reps. Grab a plate with your hands at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock and raise it in front of your face until you can see through it.

** 1 set

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Random thoughts.....

  • Favorite new thing is a Bar-rito from Protein Bar ( a chain in Chicago that serves healthy protein based sandwiches, wraps and bowls ) called the Capone. It is easy to make at home so try it! Take a whole wheat tortilla as your wrap, fill it with grilled chicken, spinach, marinara, quinoa, and shredded parmesan. For a better taste finish it off by grilling it or using a panini press.

  • To get lean you must do different types of workouts. Do heavy strength workouts, high endurance, agility, speed, and power. Now do you have to do each of these, well not really, but the point is to expose your body to numerous styles of training in order to keep stressing the system to make new gains.

  • Great quick routine for the biceps-Do 1 heavy rep on one arm rows with a dumbbell then do 1 chinup. Keep repeating this sequence without rest adding 1 chinup to each set. See how high up you can go. I would use a weight you could do 5 times for the row.

  • Learn to do deadlifts. Hire a great trainer and learn the right technique. Done right and you have found yourself an exercise that uses tons of different muscles including traps, lats, hams, glutes just to name some. Deadlifts will bring you gains in muscle and strength as well as a great way to jack your metabolism and maximize your time in the gym. Ladies don't worry you wont get big doing them.

  • Around the holidays the worst thing to do is not have a action plan. Everyone is going to splurge at some point and some more than others so you need to be ready. Best bet is to kick up your workout sessions for the days prior and eat as clean as possible so that when you do cheat the negative effects are reduced.

  • Sleep might be the most underrated component of health and fitness. In order for your body to recover and rebuild you must get your sleep. Sometimes a lack of results that you see dont stem from a bad workout routine but are more of a product of bad recovery.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Taking it to the Triceps

1) DIPS-Other than the close grip press, dips are the most effective triceps exercise for building muscle. Unlike some triceps exercises dips hit every head of muscle. Dips are also great because you can use a heavy load. Most lifter make dips too much of a chest exercise and therefore don't get the full benefit for their triceps. Focus on these pointers-

*Keep the body as upright ( vertical ) as you can. The more you lean the more chest comes into play

*Use a narrow set of bars to target the triceps more

*Lower your body until your biceps touch your forearms. Full range of motion equals full development

* Once bodyweight is easy then add a dumbbell between your leg or use a weight belt and a plate

Try this when doing dips for a shock!

Lower yourself for a 8 second count until your biceps touch your forearms. Press yourself back up using your arms and legs, the focus here being only the negative part of the movement. Do 2 more reps like this and that is one set. Rest 90sec to 2 min and do 8 total sets!

2) SEATED HALF PRESS IN POWER RACK-Great exercise to pack on muscle especially on the lateral head of the triceps ( outside ) which is generally underdeveloped on most. You will give the back of your arms more of an X look once you build the lateral head.

Set up- Place an incline bench inside a power rack with the incline at 80-90 degrees from the ground. Place the pins in the rack so the bar is resting at hairline. Grip should be shoulder width and elbows wide. Just press the bar up like a normal press. The difference is that you want to make sure you come to a dead stop at the bottom. Once the bar hits the pins let it sit for a second then explode back up to avoid bouncing.


Try this sequence termed Omni-rep method by the great Charles Poliquin. Basically it is a extended series of three exercises for one muscle group. You do each exercise right after one another without rest. At the end of all three exercises rest for 2min and repeat for 3-4 total sets.

A1) Standing tricep pushdowns with palms up grip- 8-12 reps
A2) Standing tricep pushdowns with palms up grip- 8-12 reps
A3) Overhead rope extensions standing -8-12 reps

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

PHA-Your way to a better body!

Peripheral heart action ( PHA ) training was first introduced by Bob Gajda who won the 1966 Mr.American bodybuilding title. This type of training was an early form of circuit training. You basically perform two to three circuits of 5 exercises per workout, with each circuit being performed 3-4 times. PHA training is great to not only maintain lean muscle mass but also for fat loss. When you alternate exercises for the lower body and upper body you create a full body lactate effect. What is this lactate talk? It has been shown that there is a direct correlation between lactate production to the output of growth hormone production. Again why do you care with this science talk? Increases in growth hormone has been shown to boost the body's ability to burn fat. This you care about! Then the addition of the core work gives you a total body circuit.

The following is a simple template you can follow to structure your workouts

CIRCUIT A (12-15 reps per set) ** I have found using rep ranges between 8-15 works as well

A1. Horizontal pushing exercise ( ex:incline bench, decline bench, flat bench press etc )

A2. Quads-dominant exercise ( ex: squats, goblet squat, leg press, front squat etc )

A3. Horizontal pulling exercise ( ex: seated row, t-bar row, bent over row etc )

A4. Hamstrings-dominant exercise (ex: deadlift, glute-ham raise, leg curls, pull through etc )

A5. Abdominal exercise ( any you like )

**No rest between exercises within the circuit (or as little as possible). Perform the circuit three-four times.

CIRCUIT B (12-15 reps per set) ** I have found using rep ranges between 8-15 works as well

B1. Vertical pushing exercise ( ex: overhead press, lateral raises, front raises etc )

B2. Quads-dominant exercise ( ex: squats, goblet squat, leg press, front squat etc )

B3. Vertical pulling exercise ( ex: pullup, chinup, lat pulldowns etc )

B4. Hamstrings-dominant exercise (ex: deadlift, glute-ham raise, leg curls, pull throughs etc )

B5. Abdominal exercise

**No rest between exercises within the circuit (or as little as possible). Perform the circuit three-four times.

This circuit is optional and most workouts you will be fine with just doing A/B

CIRCUIT C ( 12-15 reps ) ** I have found using rep ranges between 8-15 works as well

C1. Biceps exercise

C2. Lateral work for the legs ( ex: band walks, lateral step up etc )

C3. Triceps exercise

C4. Glute work specific ( bridge, donkey kicks etc )

C5. Abdominal exercise

**No rest between exercises within the circuit (or as little as possible). Perform the circuit three-four times.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Push/pull routine to do for new muscle

Last week I found myself drawing a blank on what new routine to do for my push/pull day in order to really shock the body. It was then when I remembered a workout I used to do in college and knew that would be exactly what I needed. The workout is set up differently then I normally do and odds are this holds true for you too. I always do this workout when I lift with my friend Pat and you should do it with someone as well since the workout is based on training with a partner.

** Warning this workout is not meant for beginners or anyone not used to intense workouts. This is best used for someone looking to add muscle or gain strength.

Push Component-
You will get balance between dumbbell work, barbell work. bodyweight work and machine work. Not to leave any angle out you this takes you through incline, decline and flat body positions.

A1) Pushup pyramid- Start with 1 pushup, hold at the top for 2 seconds, then do 2 reps and hold at the top for 2 seconds, do 3 reps and hold at the top for 2 seconds......4,5,6,7,8,9 and then end with 10 reps. Go as far as you can push yourself even if you cant reach 10 reps. This exercise will get the chest burning right off the bat.

A2) Dumbbell chest press on flat bench-12 reps
Be wise when choosing weight. You will not be able to lift what you could for 12 reps fresh so plan accordingly.

A3) Decline barbell 1/2 presses-5-6 reps
. Take the bar off the rack and lower it all the way down, then press just half way up, lower it back down and then finish the rep going all the way to the top which would equal 1 rep.

A4) Incline Hammer press machine ( or whatever incline machine you have )-6-8 reps. The goal here is to explode up with the weight as fast as possible and then lower the weight for a 5 second count.

Rest 3 minutes and repeat this whole thing 1 more round. Only change is now do the pushup pyramid in reverse order so start with 10 reps, then 9 reps, 8....ending with 1 rep. You could a third round and start back from 1 on the pushups.

Here we target the back with horizontal pulling and vertical pulling movements

B1) Narrow grip lat
pulldown-6-8 reps. Have your hands about 8-10 inches apart and palms facing away from you.Go heavy and have your partner help on the last rep or two if need be.

B2) Seated curved bar row-10 reps
. palms down and arms wide.

B3) TRX row-12 reps. Start with your palms facing each other and then finish the row with your palms down. If you don't have a TRX then set up a double cable pulley station with the handles set up high. Drop down into a light squatted position grab the handles and perform the same action as stated above.

B4) Incline bench dumbbell reverse flys-15 reps.Lie face down on a incline bench grab a pair of dumbbells. With your arms extended towards the floor and your palms facing each other perform reverse flys under control. You do not need a ton of weight trust me.

Rest 3 minutes and repeat the pulling work for 1 more round. You can do a third round as you progress.

Done, done and DONE! The next day you will feel me and try this today!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

4 exercises to try!

1) Pushup pyramid- Do 1 pushup, then pause at the top for 2 seconds, do 2 reps, pause for 2 seconds, do 3 reps, pause for 2 seconds. Aim to get up to 10 reps and then be able to work yourself all the way down. You can also do the 2 second pause at the bottom instead.

2) Partial overhead press-
This exercise is great for size and strength for the triceps. If you need a new exercise to thrash the triceps then try this! To do this, perform a normal overhead press with a barbell using the same grip width and foot stance as usual. From the lockout position, lower the bar just until it touches the top of your hair. Press it back up and you have done 1 rep.

3) Constant tension bicep curls
-Great exercise since you take advantage of muscle tension, isometric contractions and unilateral action. Begin with both arms in a fully flexed position ( think the top of the curl .) Now lower the working arm while keeping the other arm flexed. Curl up the working arm to the fully flexed position to match the non working arm. Then switch arms and do the same thing. Keep alternating until the set is finished. You cant use as much weight with this so you might want to use this after doing a heavier bicep exercise.

4) Mid range partial presses
-Awesome way to keep tension on the pecs and get a feeling like never before! Grab dumbbells and get into a bench press position on your back. Simply, just don't go all the way down or all the way up. You will need to use lighter weight than normal.

Monday, November 28, 2011



Start with 2 minutes straight of jump rope

A1) Inverted row-8 reps
A2) Band donkey kicks - 15 reps per

3 sets before moving right into B1/B2

B1) Lateral pushups- 5 each direction, 4, 3
B2) Reverse drop off lunges from step with dumbbells-8 each leg

3 sets then go right into 1 set of A1/A2...then right into 1 set of B1/B2 then rest for 2 min

C1 ) Reverse grip band pulldowns- 20 reps
C2) Dumbbell sumo squat-12 reps

3 sets then go right into 1 set of A1/A2....1 set of B1/B2...then right into 1 set of C1/C2 then rest for 2min

D1) Tricep kickbacks with bands-15 reps
D2) backward/forward band walks-10 each direction

3 sets then go right into 1 set of A1/A2....1 set of B1/B2.....1 set of C1/C2.....then 1 set of D1/D2.....


Go Dominate!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quick push/pull giant set

If you are strapped for time and need some quick upper body work than try this brief routine. The rep ranges fit best for those looking to gain muscle. You can easily drop the weight on each exercise and up the reps if that is what you want as well.

Lying close grip dumbbell press ( keep your elbows tucked in tight to your sides with your palms facing each other as you press )-10 reps

Seated row with neutral grip
-12 reps

-10 reps ( hold at the bottom of each for 3 seconds )
** if this is too easy then add a weight vest or plate to your back

Lat pulldown with close grip ( palms facing forward )-12 reps

Rest 90 seconds and repeat 4 total rounds

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's Thanksgiving not Fatsgiving

Thanksgiving is a time were you get together with family and friends and enjoy a gluttony of food and football. Delicious turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes piled high on your plate. Other than the turkey most of the meal is heavy on the carbs which will make you heavy in the waist. No matter what your goals are you need to get active both before and after Thanksgiving.

MUSCLE BUILDERS- Go ahead and go to town on Thanksgiving. You need to hit the weights hard and chow down. If your goal is to pack on muscle eat the calories but just make sure to hit it hard the next day at the gym. You should go full body and target as many muscles as possible the day after.Below is a simple routine set up with minimal exercises to keep the workout time efficient.

Each exercise will be done as straight sets. Do 4 sets before moving onto the next exercise. Take 60 sec between sets. Do the first 2 sets aiming to reach failure between 8-10 reps. For the last 2 sets adjust the weight so you reach failure at 6-8 reps.

1) Row with dumbbells

2) Deadlift

3) Bench press with dumbbells

4) Split squat with barbell

5) Neutral grip chinups

6) Dips

WEIGH LOSS/LEANERS-You have it tougher than those trying to pack on muscle but you can still enjoy the holiday using the below strategies.

** Start off the morning do the following mini circuit. This quick morning jolt will kick start your metabolism for the rest of the days eating.

1) Jump rope-all out for 30 seconds ( if you don't have one then do the same motion and mimic having one )
2) Burpees-10 reps

Rest 1 minute, repeat this for 5 rounds.


1) Row with dumbbells-15 reps
2) Deadlift-10 reps
3) Pushups-15 reps
4) Walking lunges with dumbbells-10 reps each leg ( alternating legs )
5) Neutral grip chinups-12 reps
6) Sprint ( 20seconds on bike or run in place )

Take 1 min rest then repeat for 5 total rounds.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Random thoughts.....

  • If you think your eating a ton and your not packing on muscle, then eat more!
  • Avocados are like natures butter. Use avocado as a spread on sandwiches, with eggs, on burgers or just eat it alone.
  • Eating to drop body fat doesnt have to be boring and bland. Use spices and seasonings to give your food calorie free flavor. Try the following marinades- soy sauce, minced garlic and ginger, and diced scallions. Another option is balsalmic vinegar, garlic and diced rosemary. Hot sauces like tabasco and sriracha.
  • Sprinting owns jogging any day! Sprinting is great for athletes. great to make your legs looker better and great to drop fat quicker. If your not doing them now, start doing them. As always proper warm-up before.
  • Grab some dumbbells. Next time you workout try and put down the barbell in exchange for dumbbells. You can make this switch out on almost any lift. Try doing dumbbell squats, deadlifts etc. This will stimulate change!
  • If you are having issues with getting your legs to grow then try doing more reps. The quads specifically respond well to high rep training and this could be the cure you need for more gains. Do sets of 20-30 reps for a couple of weeks and see what happens.
  • If creating workouts are a chore then focus on just doing simple exercises and doing them really well with simple progressions. For example if you 10 reps of both pullups and squats for 3 sets, then the next workout aim for 4 sets of 10 reps with those exercises. Another option on workout two would be to aim for 3 sets of 12 reps of the two exercises. Those are just two ideas for you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

H4 Fat burner #17-JK Style


This workout has everything in each grouping of exercises for a total body workout. Each grouping has an upper body, lower body, core and conditioning exercise. In this video Kim and Julia, both beautiful badasses ( thanks Nia Shanks for this term ) dominate the workout and show how it should be done.


After proper dynamic warm-up and foam roll tissue work-

* This workout is meant to have a fast pace and intended to have reps done with speed. Make sure the weight you use allows for this.

A1) Motorcycle row with dumbbell-12 reps
A2) Hip Thrusters ( use barbell across hips if needed for challenge)-12 reps
A3) Chops with band-15 reps
A4) Heisman hops-20-30 seconds ( focus on getting wide and moving quick ) ** time dependant on your level

3-4 sets
** Take no rest if you can handle it else aim for 30-45 seconds between sets

B1) Single leg step up ( note in video at the emphasis on hip extension at top )- 8 reps
B2) Alternating neutral dumbbell shoulder press-10 reps
B3) Bicycle crunch-25 seconds
B4) Jump rope- 15-20 seconds ( all out as fast you can )

3-4 sets
** Take no rest if you can handle it else aim for 30-45 seconds between sets

C1) Row with bands ( palms down and go for speed )-20 reps
C2) Deadlift with kettlebell ( you can use dumbbell as well )-12 reps
C3) Med ball lifts-8 reps each
C4) Skiers forward and backward-3 per leg in each direction x 2

3-4 sets
** Take no rest if you can handle it else aim for 30-45 seconds between sets


Thursday, November 10, 2011

3 steps to lose more fat!

1) Do total body workouts 3x a week

Total body workouts simply burn more calories than doing body part splits. You burn more calories since you are working more muscle mass in each session that just doing say upper body in one workout. A total body workout should include upper body, lower body, knee dominant ( squats ) and hip dominant ( deadlift ) exercises. You get plenty of core work from these compound movements so you don't have to do too much extra core work. Some sample groupings to organize your workouts are below.

example 1-

A1) Row ( pull )
A2) Pushup ( push )
A3) Squat ( knee dominant )

B1) Pullup ( pull )
B2) Shoulder press ( press )
B3) Deadlift ( hip dominant )

or example 2

A1) Row ( pull )
A2) Lunge ( knee dominant )

B1) Pushup ( press )
B2) Glute bridge ( hip dominant )

2) Focus on veggies, protein and water

Make it simple by eating 5-6 times a day and consume veggies and protein at each meal. In terms of protein eat a portion about the size of a deck of cards. Veggies aim for the green variety since they are low in carbs and full of nutrients. Protein snack ideas are below.

Jerky-buffalo or turkey best
Cheese sticks
Cottage cheese
Protein shake
Hard boiled eggs

3) Get your workout going ASAP

Need a lift to your current workout? Maybe you start off on a slow foot? A simple answer to these issues is to start your workout with 5 minutes of jump rope. Not only will you get a great quick warmup but you will burn some extra calories before you even get going. Add 30 seconds or so to each workout. As you get better build up the time until you could do 10 minutes continuous before your workout. If you don't like jumping rope then do burpees ( hate that name ) and do as many as you can for 2 minutes.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bring the shock Tuesday

It is rainy and gloomy here in Chicago today and people are tired and dragging their feet around town and in the gym. I figured this a perfect day to bring to you a workout to disrupt your normal routine. If your progress has stalled and you need something to awaken you....use this!

This workout focuses on heavy weight and low reps. The focus is power and to make the body have to work really hard to move heavy things. You will be taking rest periods since you will need the rest in order to maintain the strength and power demands. After your done with the lifting you will get hammered with the conditioning aspect. Generally most people do not lift with the high load and low reps so this will be a change and a shock. Look to use this style of workouts for the next 2-3 weeks to bring about new change.

** Remember the weights used should be appropriate and you should struggle on the final rep of each set. Spotter is highly recommended.

A1) One arm row with dumbbell- 6 reps
A2) Squat jumps-10 reps ( focus on height and drive with your arms )

1 minute rest between combos. Do 3 total sets

B1) Lying neutral grip dumbbell press ( palms face each other )-6 reps
B2) Deadlift with trap bar ( if not then use traditional bar )-6 reps

1 minute rest between combos. Do 3 total sets

C1) Mixed grip pullup ( one palm facing away and one facing toward you )-3 reps then switch hands around, 6 reps total
C2) Step up with dumbbells ( use medium box and hold dumbbells in both hands )-5 reps each leg

1 minute rest between combos. Do 3 total sets

D1) Dips ( weighted if need be )-6 reps
D2) Lateral lunge with dumbbells -6 reps per side doing one leg at a time ( let the dumbbells go between the legs as you lunge )

1 minute rest between combos. Do 3 total sets


Sprints on bike - 20sec all out spring, 40 sec recovery slow ....repeat this 4 rounds



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

8 things to do to stay fit and healthy

1) Eat a protein based breakfast-You will eat less throughout the day and burn more calories. If your goal is weight gain than simply eat more at this time.

2) Drink green tea daily-activates your metabolism and has been shown to inhibit bad bacteria.

3) Eat multiple meals-Take your waking hours ( time you are up ) and divide it by 3 to give you a rough estimate on about how many meals you should have a day. Up 15 hours, then have 5 meals. Think to eat more often and smaller portions.

4) Minimal alcohol-yes enjoy yourself but keep it to a small amount and not too often. Alcohol slows down the fat burning process and can lead to access belly fat.

5) No calorie counting-Just keep things simple


  • AVOID CARBS AND SUGARS ( post workout is exception )


6) Rid yourself of stress-Stress can hurt your mood, workouts and life period. Life cant be spent worrying about everything so let things go and stay focused on important things. Next time you get stressed go listen to music, run or hit the weights.

7) Workout-this is obvious.

8) Get rest-sleep = recovery which = a better you.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween random thoughts.....

  • New take on deviled eggs-A friend of mine Brian Barkely introduced me to his version of this traditional dish. Take hard boiled eggs and remove the yolk just like you would for deviled eggs. Next, spoon in red pepper hummus into the empty eggs and dash on some paprika. It is the red pepper hummus that really does it. Not only is this better for you than the classic deviled egg it can be a great high protein snack.

  • When doing straight arm pull downs. try using a V shaped or curved bar to get better activation on the lats.

  • Your hamstrings respond best to low reps and your glutes respond best to medium to high reps.

  • Want quick advice to drop weight and lean out? Cut out the 3 whites. White bread, white salt and white flour.

  • Love Emeralds cocoa roast dark chocolate dusted almonds. Taste great and basically no sugar.As always with nuts watch out for the fat and calories of course.

  • Some motivation for you- Rocky 4 training montage...might be the best ever

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Strip set for the leg press

Most experts believe that the quads need high reps and time under tension to hypertrophy. Strip sets will allow you get a high amount of reps as well as place your muscles under a long period of tension. To start pile on the leg press with a weight you can do 10 reps with while keeping quality form. The 10th rep should be really difficult. Once you finish your 10 reps, have a partner strip off a plate off each side and without rest get as many reps as you can to failure. Next, strip off another plate from each side again and go until failure. Repeat this process until you no longer can finish. Some can get down until you are just pressing the sled itself.

* Notes- If you don't have a partner just strip the plates yourself but make sure to move fast. Remember leg presses in this manner can cause your blood pressure to skyrocket so be careful if you have high blood pressure to begin with.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Quick 3 considerations for fat loss

1) Your workouts need to be frequent- I realize this is obvious but it needs to happen if you want the best results. Working out more frequently will give you a more elevated metabolic rate therefore you will burn more calories.

2) Training sessions need to be under 45 minutes-You have to remember that you will be starting each workout in a energy deficit since you will be cutting your calories on a fat loss plan. The fact that your energy levels will be lower wont allow you to keep up a high intensity workout for anything over 45 minutes or so. I by no means am saying not to push it however! If your workouts are designed well enough then by the 45 minute mark you should be gassed anyways.

3) Center your workouts around exercises that are the most effective for fat loss-
Some exercises are just better suited for fat loss more than others are. Any multi-joint exercise will usually reign supreme. Below are some of the money exercises that should be included in any stud fat loss program.

Any variations of the below exercises works of course
*Pull-ups ( or any full body pull like inverted rows, chins )
* Push presses, presses in general
* Squats
* Cleans


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

3 rep schemes for new muscle growth!

1. Tempo Contrast -This is when you alternate between fast and slow tempos during one set. This hurts really bad trust me. Example would be doing 8 reps of curls like this:

Rep 1-Lower the weight for 6 seconds, and then lift the weight up with for a 4 second count

Rep2-Lower the weight for 6 seconds, and then lift the weight up with for a 4 second count

Rep 3-Explosive ( fast as you can )

Rep 4-Explosive ( fast as you can )

Rep 5-Lower the weight for 6 seconds, and then lift the weight up with for a 4 second count

Rep 6-Lower the weight for 6 seconds, and then lift the weight up with for a 4 second count

Rep 7-Explosive ( fast as you can )

Rep 8- Explosive ( fast as you can )

**Do about 3-4 sets like this

2. The 8x3 Method-Generally you think heavy weight with low reps is only for strength but you can build muscle with this method as well. The key is the multiple sets. Doing multiple sets with heavy weight targets type IIB muscle fibers which are the ones with the greatest growth potential.Here is how you do it:

* Perform 8 sets of 3 reps with heavy weight
* Don't train to complete failure ( you should be able to do a 4th rep, but you will stop at 3 )
*Keep rest periods at about 1 minute

3.Isometric/Dynamic method-This is when you add a pause into each rep. Isometric contractions can allow you to recruit up to 10% more muscle fibers than dynamic lifts. This really works good with isolation exercises. My favorite is to do this with seated rows. You would perform a regular row and then hold the contraction at the back end and try to squeeze your shoulder blades. Below is how it would look:

Rep 1-10 sec pause
Rep 2-8 sec pause
Rep 3-6 second pause
Rep 4-4 second pause
Rep 5- 2 second pause
Rep 6-no pause

Monday, October 17, 2011

Random thoughts....

  • I will give you the biggest secret to getting the best results you have ever it is- WORK HARD, STAY FOCUSED AND KEEP MENTALLY STRONG. That's it, seems really simple and it is, just hard to execute it and that is were people fail.

  • Fix your own oatmeal-More and more people seem to be getting their oatmeal from fast food joints and restaurants when it is super simple to do themselves. Buy a quality brand from Whole Foods/Trader Joe's and cook it in the microwave briefly ( I know microwaves are awful but just deal ) and then add sliced almond,dried natural cranberries and top it with some cinnamon. BOOM DONE!

  • 2 things to focus on for losing weight and getting lean-VEGGIES and PROTEIN.

  • Take a break from deadlifting and squatting and start doing single leg versions of both. Start off with body weight of each and work on form. Benefits are less stress on the lumbar spine, improves the musculature around the knee and stability.

  • Check out this motivational video-

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

3 Splits I like for hypertrophy

Here are some of my favorite splits to use when designing your training program with a goal of gaining lean muscle mass. Some these might not be that common but with my clients and myself I have found them to yield good results.

Split A ( this gives really good balance and lets the legs have plenty of recovery time between sessions)

M- Push/Pull ** Always aim for at least 2-1 ratio of pull to push work






Split B ( Hit the legs right from the get go. Back gets a second day compared to just one chest day to help and correct typical imbalance between push and pull . The single chest day should be high volume since that is all you will do for the week)



F-Bi/Back ( biceps/triceps can be interchangeable depending on your weak area ) S-OFF

Split C ( Here I pair lesser common groupings of biceps with chest and triceps with back. Thought is that you get more workload since these pairings don't effect one another. Every other week you can shift which pairing you do twice. Week 1-Back/Tri 2x......Week 2 Chest/Bi 2x )