Ok, here is the typical scenario of your usual dedicated and determined gym goer:
Few months of top results
Stop training (distractions and life issues set in)
Wake up one day and…crap, i’m losing my look!
It all goes back to that old saying ‘ Build it in 3 months, lose it in a week’. But that is only towards those who train at a high level and when they stop for even short periods of time, they notice the changes. But for the average person it still applies. The key thing here is maintenance.
Stick with a realistic time goal and then promise yourself you will work out at a moderately hard to challenging level for that time.
The higher intensity will ensure that your workout is of value and your time is well spent.
Another trick that helps people guarantee their workout is to schedule it. If it is written in your day planner, you are more likely to stick to it.
You are also more likely to stay away from that time when other engagements begin to fill your schedule.
Begin your week by opening your calendar on Sunday night, immediately pencil in workout at times that fit your existing schedule.
As other things come up, you will know to avoid the already scheduled exercise time.
Research shows that people who schedule and write down their workouts are 40 percent more likely to stick to their workout goals.
If you can’t depend on your own motivation, try finding a workout partner.
People who exercise with a partner two or more times a week are 35 percent more successful at keeping their commitment to exercise over the long term.
It is uncertain if the attraction is the combination of socialization and exercise, or some other, guilt-filled reason. Whatever the reason, people who meet others to workout will stick with it longer than those who try to go it alone.
Cross training is another trick to regular training. Without further study of exercise adherence and exercise psychology, I cannot comment on why this is so. Perhaps the cross training, varying your type of exercise, helps to aid with boredom. Or maybe it keeps us from getting overuse injuries.
Do you really need to know why?
The bottom line is that people who vary their exercise between at least two activities are more likely to become lifelong, regular exercisers.
You can spend 10 minutes a day talking with friends, giving them excuses why you couldn’t fit exercise in today, or you could save those 10 minutes. Combine your 10 minutes from Monday and 10 from Tuesday. Use that 20 minutes for a moderately paced treadmill workout or a walk around the block.
If you do this regularly, without skipping or stopping, over the course of a year you will have walked off approximately 6 pounds.
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When i started to go to the gym back in the 90’s as a teen, the first thing i thought was ‘ I’m 16 now… i know results take time, but in 2 years i’m gonna be huuuge!’. 10 years later and i am just a maintained size of what i achieved in the first 3 months since 16 years old. As i have previously mentioned, life and all the crazy things it throws at you just make it a certainty that it won’t be a straight forward path to building and maintaining a great physique. After a while that just becomes the norm and after a few years of training, there is only just one thing that really stops you from training. Injury from bad exercise technique.
The gym is a great place to meet and learn from like minded people for sure. But there are many who go to the gym solo, do there work out and believe they are executing there exercises correct 100% of the time. They may not be great communicators or good at asking others for help. Because of this they tend to just keep going and going, then before they know it they start to get problems. (Prevention is better than detection folks)
Below are some videos of some effective exercises that are executed CORRECTLY!
The Best Exercise for LOWER BODY (Thighs and Butt): Frog Squats
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Just like in everyday life situations whether it be a job, change of lifestyle or whatever it is you are trying to improve… if you stay in your comfort zone, it’s not likely that you’ll achieve anything greater than which you already have.
If you do take yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll probably make many mistakes in trying to improve or change whatever the goal is, but those mistakes will improve ‘you’ as a person and in the long run will lead you to achieve greater things!
The same can be said with weightlifting and exercise. If you lift the same weights or keep to that same treadmill routine for to long with out changing it, you will get used to it and you won’t achieve much more than that until you ANTE UP!
It’s all a part of the ‘no pain, no gain’ game, but the question is, when do you ante up?
I know for sure that this question affects everyone in a big way when working out, as it has certainly affected me in the past, and I’m quite a big enthusiast on ‘change’.
Quite simply, you need to ante up once that exercise starts to become too easy. But even then it is to late. You need to ante up before ‘easy’ sets in… push yourself a little. If everyone in this world pushed themselves to their utmost capabilities, I think the world really would be an amazing place.
If you are doing arm curls for example, and your routine is:
- 8 reps
- 3 sets
- At 15 kg
Aim for failure and start:
- 5 reps
- 3 sets
You might feel like you aren’t achieving much initially, but give it 2-3 weeks, muscle memory will start to set in and it will begin to feel like the norm. Now where would you be if you stuck with the original plan and didn’t ante up?
The bottom line is that in your workouts or in any activity where you are trying to progress and achieve, you need to step things up a gear. You will surprise yourself, and when you do, don’t forget to drop me a comment here and thank me for it. 🙂
How do you get motivated and ANTE UP!
See you in the comments.
We all know that for most of us, building muscles that stand out that will get you jaw dropping stares from people is no easy task. And I’m sure many of you have hit the gym, eaten the right foods, worked relatively hard and got some results.
But… there comes a day when you look in the mirror, like what you see, then put your top on and think.
‘Damn, I so need to be bigger than this. How can I do this’
You may have even taken some advice. But it could possibly have been advice from the wrong people. If some fabulous mesomorph body type of person who builds muscle even when they sneeze is advising you, then obviously things probably won’t work out the same for you.
Now most of you are going to turn around and say something logical like,
‘Take Creatine’ or ‘ take some protein supplements‘
Yes you can do that and I have used both at times. But many don’t want to use those products initially and I think that it is important to learn to live without them and how to get real weight gains when you are the skinny guy.
These are the type of gains that allow you to stand out when you wear everyday clothes and where you can actually start to feel content with your size. (perfectionist talk here)
So what is the answer?
You have to train like a barbarian!!
Let me try and make things a bit more clear and real for you.
You already workout pretty hard…right? But I bet you are not sweating buckets that could quench the thirst of a marathon runner.
I bet you are not pumping weights where everyone in the gym stops and stares and remembers who you are every time you train.
And I bet… In fact I know, that you are not training to your full potential every time you are at the gym!
If everyone in the world pushed themselves to their utmost potential, we really would be living in a very interesting world. But that is not so. So you must make it a priority that YOU are pushing yourself to your max potential and adapting it to your training.
Train like a barbarian and attack the weights with superior rage. If you want an idea of the kind of rage I am talking about, take a look at this guy this guy.
If you do not know who this is, he is a warrior from the popular Playstation game God of war. Now, you should not have this attitude 24/7, as that is not healthy for your mind set, but you should the moment you step into the gym.
Training like a barbarian
Now I’m going to give you some tips on how to do this, and you must follow this through consistently, otherwise you will fail.
1. Treat every single set like it is your last set.
Having this mind set will ensure that you really are pushing yourself every step of the way.
2. Treat every single rep like your life depends on it.
I mean it… every step of the way.
3. Wear a stop watch and ensure that you keep the rest period honest.
No cheating, when it is time to get up, GET UP.
4. Wear a sweater so you can’t stare at yourself in the mirror.
I talked about this before. But you really must stop loving yourself during this time. Focus on building muscle and take a good look at yourself every other day instead, even better… once a week.
5. Wear a hat that tells others ‘do not disturb.’
This is extreme, but it may be necessary as many like to lounge around, talk s*** and not train. You do not need distractions.
6. No girlfriend’s allowed or non-training partners who are going to compromise the intensity of your workout.
As I mentioned, some people are not serious. If you have a gym partner then make sure they have the same goals as you.
In terms of girlfriends or women in general, my philosophy has been to train at an ‘all guy gym’. What I mean here is that women are allowed in these gyms, but you want to be in a place where everyone there has the same mindset and goal as you… to strictly workout.
It will most likely be a non-commercial/ local gym (as mine is) and you’ll probably get help from others too.
7. Train with an intensity that scares the hell out of every person that walks in your path.
You may not have been doing this before, but if you train like a barbarian, you will catch attention for sure.
For many things that you achieve in life, you will get out what you put in, and that will be the same here.
Now I’ve previously talked about how you should lift weights. To summarize,
1) Start with lightweights – This will allow you to understand how to lift the weights properly regardless of the exercise.
2) Do the exercise properly – Once you have mastered how to do it, focus on control and execution.
3) Lift at moderate speed – Explosive yes! But not fast and not slow.
And for the purpose of the barbarian workout you need to increase the weight and build your strength to the max. Use only one compound exercise per major muscle group and focus on a 5% increase in strength from week to week. This will then allow your muscles to grow.
Time and work balance
Now you don’t want to be in the gym for 2 hours just for the sake of it. For some people, they think that the longer you are there, the better results you will have. This is not always the case.
Instead lift heavy weights close to your max threshold but with shorter rest periods and more exercise selection per muscle group.
Stick to a program
It is very easy to test drive a musclebuilding routine for a few weeks and then say it does not work and move on to the next latest ‘breakthrough’ workout program. Training for results is not a ‘fail fast’ game and this is not acceptable!
The reality is that virtually every weightlifting workout routine will work for a certain period of time if it is done at the right intensity.
Whichever routine you choose, make sure you study the details of it fully. And make sure every aspect of that routine matches the goals that you have set out. Do not ask a million questions and try and find holes or flaws or attempt to make it ‘perfect.’ The perfect program does not exist. Trust the program, follow it honestly and monitor the progress. The experience and results you gain from following one program for a consistent period of time will be priceless.
There you have it, if you aren’t seeing the results you want, you must go into your closet and drag your barbarian alter ego out and workout like one. Once you do, you will then soon find that you will look like one too.
How have you overcome your weightlifting workout plateaus?
See you in the comments.
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If this is you, then I feel your pain, as I too have struggled with building up my calves over the years. Out of all of the guys that I have met who train (Mostly high metabolism types), this is the one muscle over any other that they struggled to build. Although they all had excuses to why it was so hard, I believe there are other factors that contributed to the lack of muscle growth in their calves. Some factors are within their control, while there are some factors that aren’t, and today we will reveal some of the key reasons why your living human pair of drumsticks won’t pump any muscle like the rest of your body.
Calve training is your last exercise
Go on, admit it… you step into the gym, work your upper body to the max, get to the end of your workout and think to yourself ‘ooh, better work the calves… don’t wanna be top heavy now’!
Well if that isn’t you, then good on you, but that has been me and I’m sure it would be the same for many of you. Without a doubt, this mind set is unacceptable and I can guarantee that this is a key reason why your calves are lacking in ‘pump’.
No drive to build them
What you need to do is stop thinking about the raw power that you will use on that bench press and migrate it to your calf raises. But to do that you have to have a real desire to build your calves, and if you don’t, then you won’t succeed and you’ll just have to hit the beach and hurt the crowds eyes with your drumsticks.
But if you do have the desire then there are two things you will have to do.
1) Set a goal and a time frame on when you want to start seeing results (be realistic)
2) In that goal you MUST make calve training a priority in your workout. Even dedicate a whole day just for calve training if you have to!
Alternate, Alternate, and Alternate your exercises
If you are working your calve muscles religiously, yet still aren’t getting results, then not alternating your exercises could be a key reason why. I’ve definitely fallen into this trap before, and have often gotten wildly frustrated with the lack of results. I would do,
1) 3 sets of calf raises/ 15 reps
2) 3 sets of seated calf raises/ 15 reps
Not realizing that all of this repetition was killing my muscles. Your muscles have a memory and once that sets in, your muscles will get comfortable with the movements, so you have to switch it up.
Here’s the switch
I’ve talked about muscle memory before and your muscles will adapt to most routines that you do and stick to within 3-4 weeks. This is when you will usually start seeing a decrease in strength and this is when you have to change it up.
Standing Calf Raises
1 set 20 reps (warm up) 110kg
2 sets 10-15 reps 130kg
2 sets 10-15 reps 110kg with 5 second hold in top position
Seated Calf Raise
Set 1 – 40kg at 20-25 reps, slow, non-stop, continuous tension
Set 2: 60kg at 15 reps, 3 second hold at top, 3 seconds eccentric, 3 seconds concentric, then drop weight down to 40kg and do 15-20 more fast reps
Set 3: 80kg at 10-15 reps (slight “bounce” at bottom)
Set 4: 20kg as many reps as possible (up to 100)
Changing up your routine like this is when you will start to see the biggest changes in muscle mass growth.
If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting!
Damn these weak calve giving genetics
Ok, now if you suffer from weak calve muscles that have simply been handed down to you from a previous generation, then there isn’t really much you can do about that. But you are not allowed to use this as an excuse! You must work with what your mother (or father) gave you. Take myself for example. I have high calf muscles like these,
Do more calf exercises
Most of us all know the importance of giving recovery time to our muscles, but this mainly applies to our bigger muscle groups like the chest, back and quad muscles. Because the calves are so small they don’t really need much recovery time and you can work them more often through out the week. Do,
1) 3-4 calve workouts a week
2) Alternate the workouts doing half heavy and half lightweights
3) Heavy workouts = Heavy weights at 8-15 reps
4) Light workouts = Light weights at 20 to 100! reps
These are the main things to consider when you face a decrease or lack of growth when trying to build calve muscles. Follow these tips through when you next hit the gym, and you will start to see some real results. Also, don’t forget to keep a high carb diet, food that is high in carbs is what will give your muscles pump.
See you in the comments
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Without a doubt, this is possibly the most frustrating thing that will happen to all of us muscle heads.
- The first few months of working out = explosive growth
- The next few months after that = maintenance
- Then… muscle growth comes to a halt
This has happened to me a few times, and when I look in the mirror, it simply makes me want to cry :'( . Sometimes it may even be worse and muscles might even shrink. The worse thing about this is that I have seen guys who’ve trained three days a week and never noticed that they’ve had five months of no progress whatsoever!
But not to worry, you are on stayfitbug.com and when you are, you can expect to find a solution to your problem. The main problem here is that you would have overworked your muscles for this to have happened, but here’s what you can do to fix it.
I’ve talked about this endlessly throughout various previous posts. Over working any muscle group will actually make them sore, and can cause them to shrink. But the good thing about this plateau that you hit is that it will be short lived, and the slowdown in progress will likely show up in one or two exercises out of an entire workout, giving you time to act. The key thing here is to make adjustments in your training before full-blown stagnation sets in.
Doing to many standing tricep pull downs? Switch it up and focus on bench dips. An even better thing to do may be to leave that muscle group alone for a few days.
Take time off
When you are ‘In the zone’ when working out, this may seem like a painful thing to do, and your reaction would be something like,
‘WHAT! Stop working out? I’m going to shrink dammit’.
Yes you will shrink… if you carry on working out that is. By simply not lifting weights for a few weeks, you allow your body to fully recover… and add new muscle growth that you’ve already stimulated, so you can return to the gym and resume training effectively.
72 hour breaks instead of 48-hour breaks
When you first begin to workout, you will probably be working out 3-4 times a week, and right fully so, as you will be in the early stages of building up muscle mass. But as you begin to grow and become stronger, your workouts will need to be spaced further apart. This is essential for further muscle growth to occur and it will prevent you from falling into the same trap again.
Do heavy leg training
By far, the best exercise you can do to increase your body’s anabolic activity is heavy leg presses. Surprised I didn’t say squats? Squats are a great all-around exercise but they are limited by how much weight you can comfortably support on your shoulders. Many people I work with do 3,000-pound leg presses. Accounting for the 45-degree angle of most leg presses, that’s equivalent to a 2,100-pound squat, something that not many people do!
The legs contain the largest muscles in the human body and when those muscles are forced to operate at the limits of their capacity, the systemic anabolic effect spills into every muscle group in the body. And now to surprise you
Heavy leg training gives you bigger arms!
Might seem strange, but is very true.
The next time you hit a plateau and your muscles stop growing, follow these tips and you will be back on track to putting on those much wanted gains.
See you in the comments
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TRX Door Anchor
In a previous post (Hotel Workout) I talked about the importance of keeping fit while on vacation, without letting your workout routine disrupt your ‘holiday time’. For my home workouts, i use a chin up bar placed between a door frame. This allows me to maintain my muscle mass while I’m not at the gym. But while I’m away i use a door anchor instead, as i know most hotels don’t build there rooms around fitness and workout needs. My first reaction when i first got introduced to this tool was, ‘Is this thing even safe…what if it slips off the top when I’m using it?’. You are probably thinking that right now, but rest assured, it really is safe to use. I personally use it for building and maintaining my triceps, forearms and back shoulders. But the versatility of this thing is great so you can use it in a variety of ways for different muscle groups and it will work those muscles you may usually miss doing normal exercises. If you:
- Workout at home
- Travel a lot
- Have no time for the gym
Then add this to your collection of home gym accessories if you haven’t already done so.
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Gourmet Nutrition Cookbook
As i have stated before, I’m not really much of a book reader. What i tend to do is take excerpts from books and save them on to my laptop or iphone for reference to read later on. On the home page i have a rule:
BUGS RULES: #5 It’s OK to pig out on food sometimes, you are human after all. What’s the point of it all without a little rule breaking!
This i do believe. But one must still remain fit and focused. A solution to those visiting this site would be this book. Before i picked this book up, i did do a lot of searching around as there are a lot of ‘bad’ books out there and this wasn’t a usual recommendation from a friend. The first thing i noticed is that the books format is like a ‘cookbook’ and a ‘manual’ and if you are a single guy/girl or not a good cook like myself… I’d say, get this book! The authors are the main reason i like this book. They go out of their way to give step by step guidance on how to actually process the meals outlined properly. Some highlights:
- Building your Gourmet Nutrition – Everything you need to know about putting together a solid kitchen.
- Gourmet Recipes – 101 recipes that taste great and anyone can make (no previous cooking skills required).
- Cooking Tips – 18 cooking tips to make meal preparation a lot easier.
- Nutritional Facts and Strategies -25 hints, tips, and bits of nutritional information to enhance your nutritional knowledge.
There really aren’t any stand out negatives that i think i need to warn you about here, so that is a good and rare thing for sure. The last thing I’ll say which is good is that it comes in and e-book format, so you can put it on your iphone/ Sony reader/ Kindle for reading on the move or if you travel.
Feel free to get back to me once you have it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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The Complete Guide to Building Muscle the Natural Way (Paperback)
Since starting this site i have talked quite a bit about going from ectomorph to a daddy mammoth. If my advice to you so far hasn’t been enough, then this is a gem you can stash away and retrieve when ever you don’t have an encouraging voice to turn to. I’m not much of a book reader myself, but this one held my attention as i was reading excerpts from a friends copy, so i got my own and started to read it from the beginning.
My number one problem with the book… is the meal plans outlined get a bit vague when it comes to your own caloric needs. Plus, the author constantly pushes his website in the book.
The other issue I have with the book, is lack of organization. He uses terms like “the above table”….when the table is on another page. There is a lot of flipping around in the book too. Grrrr!
I like the style of writing this author has. It’s comical while still keeping to the point. It is very “Men’s health” like in style.
Other than those small issues, Scrawny to Brawny isn’t just a book… as i said, it is a book you can turn to when ever that encouraging voice isn’t present.
If what i have outlined above relates to you and if you still love the ‘physical’ book, give it a shot.
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You guessed it! I am back on my quest to find the most entertaining ways to exercise, and why not? You get to kill two birds with one stone.
- Exercise/ keep fit
- And have fun
Hopefully some of you have tried playing Rockband or Guitar hero after reading last weeks post. But it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day and this is a new post!
It’s time to start dancing to keep fit!
One of the reasons that dancing for fitness works so well is because traditional cardio training can get boring, and when you get bored, you lose motivation. Motivation is the very thing that you need to successfully maintain a good level of fitness.
Because dancing has so many variations and forms, it will be impossible to cover them all in one post. So welcome to part one of,
‘Working out is boring! Lets just dance’
Salsa is great for both men at women, and for all of the men reading this, if you have not yet tried Salsa then I suggest that you should. The first time I saw guys dancing to salsa, I suddenly felt that something was missing from my ‘lady magnet-attracting’ arsenal, because all of the moves involving salsa dancing scream pure class and elegance… something that will get you the best of ladies on and off the dance floor.
The moves are sexy, yet they don’t need to be sexual, unlike some other forms of dancing (which usually promote a vertical representation of a horizontal desire).
This Latin dance is also popular in nightclubs and health clubs and all types of salsa dance are being taught as ‘dance fitness’. Salsa also has a strong global presence too, from the far-east (India, New Delhi) to the wild wild west (US, New York). So no excuses here… get Googling.
- Practice good form
- Looks graceful and elegant
- Attractive to the opposite sex
- Boosts self-esteem
- Learn to dance in rhythm (with it’s ‘have to move’ feel)
Cardio training comparison = Moderate intensity training (Do 2-3 salsa sessions a week)
- Lowers cholesterol
- Lowers blood pressure
- Use inhaler less (if you have asthma)
- Eases stress and tension
- Great for mind and soul
I mentioned that salsa dancing can be elegant and graceful. But ballroom dancing steals the crown on that front. I personally would never have been seen dead doing this dance, but after seeing how some entertainment moguls have brought this to the media mainstream and how good it can be, I began to think twice.
- Posture – Good for back muscles, spine and spinal chord
- Balance – Strength in ankles
- Flexibility – Increase Range of Motion
Cardio training comparison = Moderate intensity training
Ladies, this one is for you, and you shouldn’t feel offended or uneasy by taking this up for fitness. In some parts of the world, Pole dancing has a bad stigma against it and is often perceived as just another form of stripping, while in some countries like Japan (how ironic), it is fully embraced and highly recommended as a fitness and sport activity.
Cardio comparison = Moderate to high intensity (3 -4 times a week with weight/ strength training)
Unless you have already been working out or have a natural strong upper body and core, taking up pole dancing will be a struggle to begin with as it requires brute upper body strength.
Think about it: One arm is supporting most of your weight as you try to propel yourself into a move or two.
So prepare to approach this form of dancing with some ‘here’s what I prepared earlier’ upper body strength. But again, this is not traditional cardio training, so not only will you be keeping yourself fighting fit, you’ll get to have fun, entertain and party with it.
As you can see so far, all of these dances are great alternatives to your everyday cardio or weight training routines. When you perform in these activities you won’t feel like you are exercising, will definitely not get bored, and you get to throw in some extra health benefits too. But stay tuned for part 2 of,
‘Working out is boring! Lets just dance’
See you in the comments
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