Monday, January 30, 2012

Great chest/tricep day workout

My philosophy is quality over quantity. Dominate the workout with just a couple of exercises and that should be plenty if the intensity is there.

Flat dumbbell chest press -6 reps ( heavy weight )
Flat barbell press-10-12 reps ( moderate weight )

**90 sec-2min rest and repeat for 3 total rounds

Decline barbell bench press ( 21's ) This will hit not only the chest but the triceps as well.

Do 7 full reps ( from bottom to lockout ) do 7 rest from top to half way down and up, do 7 reps from top to 1/4 the way down ( just small movement to really hit the triceps.

**Rest 90sec and repeat 3-4 total rounds

Seated machine press ( or any machine press you have )-10 reps
Close grip pushup-5sec lowering, 5 second hold at the bottom and then push back up with regular tempo. trust me you wont get many reps. If this is too hard for you then do them on a bench.

**2min rest and repeat 3 total times


Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Madness-Fat loss edition

  • You don't want to worry about total calories or how many calories from fat you are burning, but instead about boosting 24 hour energy expenditure and increasing metabolism

  • Carbs- Good in the AM, pre/post workout periods

  • Move more! You might be working out hard in the gym but what are you doing outside the gym? 5 Hours of gym time leaves 163 hours left in the week. That is the time that will decide your fate in terms of getting results or not.

  • Order of importance- 1) Cut out sugars/starches and eat more veggies! You cant out train a bad diet as they say. 2) Exercise and exercise with intensity and a purpose!

  • Be committed! Those hips, that butt and gut didn't get the way it is overnight and you wont lose it overnight either!

  • There is a thing called volumetrics. The principal is to get full on lower calorie foods. What does this mean to you? Eat lots of green leafy veggies and proteins!

  • Some people say a cheat day is fine, I think a cheat meal is better. 90% clean and 10% not is a great thing to follow. But look at yourself as an individual and see what works for you.

  • Lifting heavy weights on a fat loss program needs to happen. You need to keep muscle mass if you want the best metabolic burning engine you can get. Guys have no issue here, but ladies make sure it gets done. Lifting heavy doesn't need to be every week but it should be cycled into your program.

  • Some other great options are any of my H4 fat burner workouts which you can search on here or my PHA format post.

Get Hot, Get Fit-

Go Dominate!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Giant set for giant lats

A1) Hammer Strength Pull machine ( or pullup or lat pulldown )-12 reps

A2) One arm row with barbell-12 reps
* set up a barbell with one end jammed into the corner of a wall or anything that will keep it from moving. Load weight on one end and grip like it was a dumbbell row. Keep your back straight and stay in a squatted position with your non working arm resting on your hip or thigh.

A3) Decline straight bar cable pullover-12 reps
* set up a cable pulley just below hip height. Set up a decline bench in front of the cable so that when you lie down you are facing away from the cable. The bench so be just far enough so you can still grab a hold of the bar with your arms extended. Keeping your arms straight and locked. make a big sweeping motion bring the bar towards your thighs and then back to about eye level. If you start to feel this heavy in triceps odds are you are bending the arms.

A4) Speed rows-25 reps
* use this as a burnout. Grab a band and attach it around something. Get into a squatted position and rep out rows with your palms down as fast as you can. The farther you are away from where the band is attached the harder it will be. Full range of motion-reach your arms all the way forward and pull the band all the way back.

Rest 2min. Each round after you will drop the reps by 2 and increase the weight so that the exercise is challenging at that new rep count. The only exercise that remains the same in terms of the reps is the speed rows, they will always stay at 25.So for example set 2 would look like this-

A1)-10 reps
A2)-10 reps
A3)-10 reps
A4)-25 reps

set 3

8 reps on everything except the speed rows....

set 4

6 reps on everything except speed rows

Then to finish go back to the original weight you used to do 12 reps on each exercise and try and knock out another set with this weight on all 3 exercises doing 12 reps, of course still doing 25 with the bands.

Monday, January 16, 2012

MLK Day Inspiration and Motivation

1) Getting through that barrier is what makes the difference- Like Arnold said, its about pushing through those extra reps. It is easy to do what you normally do and train in your comfort zone but push yourself beyond what you do and you will see the greatest gains yet! It is easy not to push yourself, most people don't. The reward in pushing yourself beyond that barrier is not only the success that will come your way but also the feeling of the journey getting there knowing you did what most do not.

2) Never give up-Walter Payton battled not only on the field of play but in life as well. When things get tough, the workouts hurt, eating good is hard, getting to the gym is impossible......this is the time to not give up, this is the time to push harder and work like never before! Giving up will lead you further and further from your goals and achievements you strive for. When you find yourself wanting to give up think about what it is you want to get and why you want to get it. Think about all the positives that will come about when you do achieve that success and how glad you will be that you did not give up but instead attack the obstacles and barriers!

3) This is your time, go and get it! Why wait? Its Jan 16th....its 2012...are you waiting for Tuesday? For Feb? For next year? For when your bigger?Stronger?Leaner? Now is your time so get after it today! There is no reason why YOU cant do anything right now. Be arrogant and realize its now or never! Don't talk about making changes or getting better...go and get it!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Skinny guy fix

Some of you out there cant gain weight or muscle no matter how hard you work or how much you eat. You see others lifting with big weights and wonder if the day will come when you will be too. You don't have "guns" but rather toy pistols. If this is you then you might want to take to some of this advice.

1) Eat, eat, eat and did I mention eat some more! Classic skinny guy simply needs calories! Nutrition trumps training every time. Start off just consuming as much as you can. You must have a calorie surplus in order to pack on muscle and it needs to be significant. Eating a ton of a food in a day is actually tough and it wont be easy and will take planning, but do it! You can get some "bad" calories such as burgers and such just don't make it a habit all the time. Better fats include avocados, peanut butter galore and adding whole milk to your post workout shakes. If you eat too few of fats your testosterone levels may fall. Oh...and don't be afraid of carbs!

2) Get a great training program and stick to it! Most guys bounce around from program to program before letting one get them results. If the plan your using doesn't bring you results in 3 months then switch off it. Great programs done with the right intensity will work. Make sure that you also focus on you and what you need out of the program. If you need work on your back then make sure you get that work in and don't ignore you weak areas. For most skinny guys training between 6-12 reps will be best since they tend to have more slow twitch fibers.

3) Glutes, Hams and Quads-If you want three muscle groups that will put some size on you then those three would be it so train them! Some people can pack on the muscle just by hitting the legs more often and with greater intensity.

Extra quick fire tips

  • Carry a protein bar with you when you run errands or head out of the house. Now you have no excuse not to have some calories while on the run. Tri-O-Plex bars work well since they are such high in calories.
  • Don't over think your workouts! Focus on intensity and you will get results!
  • Eat breakfast! Eating a bowl of cereal doesn't count either. Eggs, turkey bacon or sausage and couple pieces of toast.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Unilateral workout

Most of us out there tend to neglect unilateral work and mostly do bilateral workouts. Adding in a unilateral workout into your regimen every now and then can bring great benefits that include:

  • More muscle fibers becoming involved in order to stabilize the weight
  • The core becomes more active due to the imbalance of the load
  • Allows you to make sure each side is working evenly
  • Better concentration on form
  • Increases recruitment of stabilizing muscles

Here is a workout I like to use with the videos below to show how each exercise should be down. The reps in the video do not correlate to the workout they are just meant to show the proper form.

A1) Chest press with dumbbell-12 reps

A2) One arm row with dumbbell-12 reps

A3) Sumo squat with dumbbell-12 reps

**Start with left arm for the press, row and sumo and then immediately without rest go into the right arm for each exercise. This would equal 1 set. Do 3 total sets, taking 30-60 sec between sets.

B1) Prone row with dumbbell on incline bench-12 reps

B2) Standing neutral grip shoulder press with dumbbell-12 reps

B3) Deadlift with dumbbell-12 reps

**Start with left arm for the press, row and sumo and then immediately without rest go into the right arm for each exercise. This would equal 1 set. Do 3 total sets, taking 30-60 sec between sets.

C1) Standing dumbbell curl-12 reps

C2) Lying tricep extension with dumbbell-12 reps

C3) Lunge with dumbbell ( same leg as arm holding weight )-12 reps

**Start with left arm for the press, row and sumo and then immediately without rest go into the right arm for each exercise. This would equal 1 set. Do 3 total sets, taking 30-60 sec between sets.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

NEW YEAR, NEW YOU! 10 Trainers give their tips for dominating the new year

1. Sharon Johnson, B.S., Ace-Certified CES, is a mother of 2, a trainer and blogger who is constantly pitting her passion for health and fitness against her natural tendency to be lazy and take the easy road. She uses her blog to help herself and others “Overcome Lazy” by sharing triumphs, failures, tips and tricks on her quest for living the happiest, healthiest life possible.

Adjust your mental description of yourself. We often define ourselves to others as being an “engineer” or an “avid White Sox fan.” Well, start describing yourself as a “healthy eater,” or a “regular exerciser.” Say it, do it, then you’ll BE it.

Create a healthy “bucket list,” which includes some biggies, like maybe doing a triathlon and/or a body-building competition – as well as some smaller goals like trying a new recipe or a different exercise class each month.

Plan for your success. Not a new concept, but, this time, actually do it! Schedule your workouts and pencil them into your calendar. Write down your meal plan (including snacks!) at the same time you make your grocery list. Optimum health and fitness doesn’t just happen because you want it to – you have to deliberately plan to be successful.

Always have a home back-up plan for when time, weather or other circumstances don’t allow for your gym or outdoor workout. This also goes for avoiding the convenience food trap. Have a trainer show you a kick-butt home routine and some quick, healthy recipes you can always fall back on.

2. Gabi Regino,BA Health Promotion & Wellness/Athletic Training,MS Exercise Physiology,USAW Sports Performance certified,FMS certified.Worked at Nellis AFB for 5 years as Strength & Cond. Coach and has been teaching Personal Training certification for 5 years at UNLV

  • I have a huge pet-peeve with the “losing weight” goal. If this is your goal, make this your last time…..please. There is nothing more boring than this goal. You go to the gym and every day you step on the scale, and see 1/16 of a pound that you have lost. Booorrring and add depressing to this! So let the tips below enhance and liberate your life.


  • You will NEVER need to step on the scale again……unless, of course, you have to make weight for a competition. Otherwise, toss it or give it to your dogs to play with it.

  • You can hit the gym and try to beat your own personal record (PR) from the previous week. It could your squat, deadlift, chin-up, push-up, shoulder press, bench press, lat pulldown, or something else that involves weight. It could be the amount of reps, or the amount of weight for your PR.

  • You can say you TRAIN versus ‘workout’. The word ‘train’ infers commitment; it refers to what athletes do. If you want to look like one, then act like one and start saying “I’m going to train”. It will give you a different frame of mind.

  • It is liberating! No more food phobias, no more “I burned 12 calories so I can eat one raisin”! You can actually go to the gym and TOUCH your goal, manipulate your weights and see the progress almost EVERY DAY! (As opposed to NOT feeling the fat being burned, which then equates to not being sure if you did enough, which then equates to doing more, which then equates to feeling like crap, which then equates to feeling like you won’t succeed, which then equates to analysis paralysis, which then equates to why-do-it-since-I-don’t-see-the-results-anyway… get the picture).

  • You don’t have to look the same year after year. All those people that want to “lose weight” are always on the cardio machines and always look the same. Booorrring…go play with the weights, it is a lot more fun.

3.Bret Contreras-is a National Strength and Conditioning Association – Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Certified Functional Movement Screen Expert. He has over 13 years of experience working as a certified personal trainer.

Contreras earned his Bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University and graduated Summa Cum Laude with his Master’s degree from Arizona State University. He is currently attaining his PhD at the Auckland University of Technology, where he is also scheduled to teach Biomechanics courses.

  • Get rid of all junk food from your house. If it's around then chances are you'll eat it. The only way to ensure that you eat healthy foods is to not have any bad foods around to tempt you.

  • Make fitness a priority. You most likely take a shower every day. You probably check your email ever day. And you should exercise every day too. An hour per day of exercise is ideal in my opinion, but thirty minutes will suffice if you're extra busy. Some days you can lift weights, some days you can do high-intensity interval training, some days you can go for a walk, and some days you can shoot some hoops or do some calisthenics at home. Just make sure to do something every single day.

  • If you seek a muscular appearance/firm appearance, then you'll need to perform resistance training. There are many different options, but squats and lunges will work the quads and glutes, deadlifts and hip thrusts will work the hamstrings and glutes, bench press and incline press will work the pecs and triceps, chin ups and rows will work the back and biceps, military press and rear delt raises will work the shoulders, and hanging leg raises and side planks will work the abs and obliques. For your best physique, you should be performing these exercises on a regular basis.

4. Justin Thomas-Co-Owner of Instinct Fitness,IKFF/WKC/IYCA Kettlebell Certified,FMS/TRX Certified

  • The hardest muscle to train is between the ears. Nothing happens instantly or easily and it takes time. Pick a program or diet and stick with it for the duration. There are many paths to success pick one and stick with it. One of my favorite quotes "Success is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."- Winston Churchill

A simple workout I like to call "Walk in the Park"

3-5 rounds

Work/Rest for time based on ability

A. Inch worms or walkouts (Power Wheel crawls work too)

B. Walking Swings (or standard swings)

C. Walking Press (press as you step forward)

D. Sled push or walking lunge

E. Rope pull or horizontal row. (I attach a weight to a battling rope and pull in various positions athletic stance, seated, kneeling, and plank for advanced)

5. Nick Tumminello- is the owner of Performance University – Hybrid Strength Training & Conditioning in Fort Lauderdale Florida. He trains the trainers, and athletes internationally. Check out Coach Nick’s Products, Seminar Schedule, Mentorship Programs and very popular Fitness Blog at

  • Find a way to exercise that you actually enjoy. You're much more likely to stick with something that you actually like. And, we all know that the biggest issue we have that leads to fitness failure is a lack of consistency.

  • Do some bi-lateral exercise AND some uni-lateral exercises in your workouts. Both types of training have unique benefits. So do both and focus your energy on that instead of arguing which is better because that'll get you no where!

  • Make some one happy and mind your own business! Just like we want people to live and let US live. As fitness professionals and exercise enthusiasts, we can also "train and let train." Be more about making your like constructive and less about being destructive to what other are doing.

  • Do something fast everyday!

  • Find a hill and sprint up it a bunch of times. That beats the Prowler or Weighted sled any day. Plus, it's FREE!

6.Paul Lundkvist- Swedish American, personal trainer for the past 10 yrs, former national level powerlifter, one of the busiest PTs in Sweden and formerly one of the busiest in the States. Currently speaking publicly about lifestyle sustainability and training clients full time in downtown Stockholm.

  • Follow the one and only stone set rule to resistance training: overload-do more than you did last time.

  • Keep track of your numbers: if you know you have to achieve overload, you know you have to know how much you did last time.

  • Look for results. Measure and use multi-textured devices to give you feedback-tape measure, scale, BC caliper, weights and reps, times...

  • Understand that the people in great shape like to live the life.

  • Eat clean the vast majority of the time and make bulges little. Oftentimes, the difference between people who get there and people who don't is beating this "well, now I've already cheated, I might as well go all in" feeling. Make the best out of mistakes even.

  • Ask yourself why you are eating.

  • Find substitute foods for cheat days-achieve the cheat feeling with better foods.

  • Be intensely active on most, if not all, days of the week.

  • Go all in, with regard to health and fitness, until you achieve your goals-100% focus on this goal, forget other goals right now. Get this done.

  • Make sure you take in what you need to take in-achieving goals is giving yourself what you need and not giving yourself what you don't.

7. Justin Russ, ACE certified personal trainer, Combine360 certified, TRX course instructor. BS exercise science.

  • Favorite quote: "we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."-Aristotle

  • Eat real, whole, non-processed foods. increase your intake of fish and whole grains.

  • Go to the gym with a purpose. make your workout your "me" time--leave the cell phone in a locker, put on the ipod and get after it.

  • While at the gym, always stay moving. don't fall into the trap of socialization or extended rest periods between sets. superset your exercises or perform active recovery movements.

  • Do not underestimate the importance of flexibility and joint mobility. especially the hips, shoulder girdle, and thoracic spine.

  • Rather than spending time specifically on "ab" work and focusing mostly on lumbar flexion, practice "core integration" and incorporate components such as rotation, balance and instability into your strength training routine.

8. Jon Goodman-is the creator of the Personal Trainer Development Center and maintains a personal blog at can also connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

  • Get in and get out - Don’t mess around in the gym. Tabata protocol works wonders (8 sets of 20s on, 10s off). Choose a large movement that’s safe so when you fatigue and form starts to fail you aren’t put in a vulnerable position. Thrusters work well either with dumbbells or kettlebells. (video of the exercise or you can make one yourself. This isn’t me and I don’t really care whether you use it or not

  • Eat your veggies - Twice a week cut up 3 large portions of veggies and make sure you finish one of them each day. It doesn’t matter what they are just make sure a lot of colors are represented.

  • Pick a plan and stick to it – The specifics of a workout make a lot less difference than you think. It’s most important to be consistent with your workouts and avoid the all-to-common trap of program hopping.

9. Nicole Kupish-NASM-PT certified; Kettle bell certified; Pre-Post Natal certified.Total fitness enthusiast & current Tier 3 personal trainer at Equinox Fitness in Chicago’s Loop.

  • Spend AT LEAST 30 minutes contemplating what your fitness goals for the year are going to be & WRITE THEM DOWN. These goals can't be vague like "I will lose weight, " or "I'm going to start eating healther." Setting these vague goals NEVER works. If you want to lose weight, specificy how much. In terms of eating healthier, say you will substitute vegetables for the potatoes you usually have for dinner. Write these goals down & carry them with you wherever you go. The goals should constantly be present so you are reminded of them until December 31st, 2012.

10. Andy McCloy-Andy McCloy is the owner and head trainer of Body Creations, Inc (BCI) which specializes in athletic based training for athletes of all levels. Driven by a passion to help athletes become their best BCI and Andy McCloy have trained over 50 Division 1 athletes and multiple athletes on NFL rosters.

  • The fact is if you want to improve your body and make lasting change you have to focus on learning how to eat! Use resources like precision nutrition to help guide you throughout the process. You can't out train a crappy diet no matter how hard you try!

  • This tip isn't very sexy but I feel everyone needs to do some type of self myo-facial release work before their training session. Foam roll, LAX ball work, stick work. It all works! Find the pain and sit there for awhile and let it dissipate. Then move a bit further. Keep with this slow process once or twice over the entire area, giving special attention to the ITB, VMO, and glutes. I personally have my athletes and clients do 7min.

  • Develop great relative strength. Movements like push ups, air squats, pull ups are great for developing your physique. More advanced exercises like ring dips, ring chin ups , muscle ups, hand stand push ups, will challenge even the strongest athletes.

Bonus#11 with some of my tips and strategies

  • Put as much effort into your eating as you do your workouts in order to get the best results possible. Eating right will be what makes the dramatic changes for yourself.

  • It is easy to give up early on when you dont start seeing results, but instead stay the course and see what happens. Everyone sees results differently and sometimes it might take a little more time than expected. You didnt get fat overnight, therefore your not going to get fit in a week.

  • Have a plan. Where will you workout? How? What are you going to eat? Answer these questions to ensure success.

  • Hire a trainer. Even if it might be tough to afford one, do yourself a favor and hire a trainer for at least a couple of sessions to learn quality form and technique. The key is hire a good trainer. Look for certifications through ACSM, NASM and NSCA to name some of the most well respected. Interview the trainer and see if their personality fits with you and to hear what they bring to them table.

Bonus #12-Becca Marino- N.S.C.A. is a Certified Personal Trainer with more than seven years experience. She received her B.S. in Exercise Science at George Mason University. Becca is the owner of Fitness Inspiration and BWV INSIDEOut Inc.

  • VISUALIZE.There is POWER in visualization.Become even more connected, more intimate with the level of health, fitness and wellness you want to achieve for yourself and your family through scheduling time everyday to see YOURself living the vision you have FEEL what you’ll be DO what you’ll be doing...

  • Believe it. Bring it.Achieve it!I’d like to close with this, remember that 1% WINS!!... Small, consistent, daily improvements lead to stunning results!

-1% improvement today
-7% improvement at the end of the week
-30% healthier at the end of the month
-365% HEALTHIER at the end of the year!

“Those who don’t make time for exercise must
eventually make time for illness.”
-Robin Sharma

Monday, January 2, 2012

Random thoughts starting the New Year...

  • 2012 has just started, looks like you have 12 months to accomplish anything you want so get started!

  • Breakfast is important no matter what your goals are. If you are one of those people who just cant eat early in the morning than look to start by eating something small. Eat just one egg, or half piece of toast with peanut butter. If you can gradually get yourself used to eating breakfast the better off you will be.

  • The biggest obstacle in getting where you want in terms of your fitness goals this year is YOU. YOU will be the reason you get what you want or don't.

  • In terms of weight loss, I have found that breaking away from your regular formatted routine every 7th workout seems to work really well in keeping the body guessing. For instance if you have done two giant sets of 5 exercises ( like shown in my post called PHA ) for 6 workouts then on your 7th workout totally go in a different direction. On that 7th workout you might do a giant set of 10 exercises using ropes, sandbags or anything else maybe you haven't been using. You can do the exercises for time in seconds instead of reps for example. When you get to workout 8 go back to the routine you were using for another 2 weeks or so before changing over to a new one.

  • Rotating your splits works really well for building muscle I have found. If you are doing chest/back, legs, arms as a split for one week, then change the following to chest/tri, back/bi, legs or something along those lines. You can also change splits every 2 weeks or 3 or 4 weeks.

  • You need to be able to do pushups. No matter female or male it simply is something you must be able to do. If you already can then great now focus on challenging yourself with harder more advanced progressions. All of my female clients do pushups and do them often.