CARDIO CONFUSION

Run, run, run.

Run, run, run.

I’m not a massive fan of cardio, especially the conventional type. It’s a pain in the butt and I couldn’t see myself doing it daily.

Pay a visit to any commercial gym chain nowadays and what do you see when you walk through the door.

Hordes of people mindlessly slaving away like zombies on treadmills, elliptical machines and various other contraptions.

Although I dislike cardio, I inevitably end up doing  some shape or form of it from time to time. The difference is, I don’t perform, nor think of it as  “typical boring cardio.”

Ask any number of people their stance on cardio and they invariably pick one of two sides. You’ve got the advocates on one hand, and those referring to it like the devil’s child on the other.

Who’s telling the truth?

Time to clear the confusion and set the record straight.

I present to you the cardio case.

Note: In this article, I’ll weigh up the main pros and cons of cardio that I’ve witnessed and experienced.

  • Cardio can help burn fat

There’s no denying the fact that cardio can indeed aid fat loss. Cardio paired with the correct diet is going to get results. (You knew that already right?)

Simple fact, combine cardio with a reduced caloric intake and you’re going to see favorable changes in body composition. Cardio helps your body utilize calories.

However, if you simply reduced your total caloric intake, put in your time with the iron. You’ll find your body will burn fat anyway.

The only real advantage of cardio in relation to the fat loss game, is that you might be able to eat a little more than you otherwise would and not gain weight.

In all, the bottom line is that cardio is unnecessary if your goal is to look good naked. (You know who you are).

  • Cardio helps the internal organs

Cardio is great for improving the cardiac system. It’s beneficial in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar and strengthening the heart and lungs.

If you’ve got a particular health problem and have been directed to perform cardio to help deal with the issue, by all means do it.

  • Cardio improves fitness

Cardio will have a significant impact on your fitness levels. If you’re an athlete or performance is your thing, you’ll likely see the boost to your overall fitness by including cardio in your overall training.

There are two significant, highly talked about forms of cardio. (Everyone babbles on about them).

  • Low intensity cardio
  • High intensity cardio

Low intensity cardio is the most common form. It’s what you see everyone in the gyms doing the majority of the time. It typically involves slaving away on a treadmill at walking pace for 1hr at a time. (Sometimes longer).

While you’ll burn some calories, (mind you not very much) you will see an improvement in your stamina. Me personally, I still think it’s a waste of time.

I’ve got more pressing matters to take care of than to slave away sheepishly on a treadmill, exercise bike or whatever for an hour.

The only time I ever do low intensity cardio, is when I take my dog for his daily walk. But to me it’s more of a clarity thing. Just a way to start the day.

Truth being told, you’re probably doing enough low intensity cardio daily anyway. Think about it. If you go for a walk daily, you’re pretty much covered in that regard.

Why people feel the need to go to the gym, setup at a treadmill and go at it for an hour has always been quite absurd to me.

It’s the most boring, dullest form of training you can do.

High intensity cardio is exactly the opposite. It involves performing cardio at a much faster rate, with a higher energy output.

I’d pick 20 mins of high intensity cardio over 1 hr of low intensity cardio any day of the week. (Not that I suggest you do it everyday).

Sprinting is a classic example of high intensity cardio. It really gets the blood pumping and you really feel like you’re sucking up wind after a short burst.

Besides, higher intensity cardio trumps the lower variety, simply because the amount of calories you can burn in a far shorter time period are far greater.

Plus it sets the stage for desirable metabolic and hormonal changes. Namely forcing the body to release growth hormone, which is important when it comes to burning body fat and preserving muscle tissue. (You won’t get as much as you’d get from prodding a needle up your ass, mind you).

My preferred choices of “cardio” are, occasional short burst sprints (1-2 times a week), walking and just generally playing with my dog.

If you enjoy cardio, you can add in other leisurely activities you enjoy, i.e Swimming, hiking etc. (You know your preferences better than anyone else).

The point is, whatever you’re going to do, make it something you enjoy. The last thing you want to be doing is something you hate, because honestly, you aren’t going to do it then.

There you have it, my take on cardio.

Just remember what I said. While cardio definitely has its advantages, if you’re approaching fitness from an aesthetic angle, (like I know a lot of you are), cardio isn’t really necessary.

Keep your diet in gear, make sure you’re dedicating yourself to the iron, and you’ll see some pretty interesting changes.

What types of cardio do you like or hate? Drop your comments below.

CONSISTENCY AND CLARITY

 Image credit: npicturesk


 

DEVASTATING DELTOIDS

deltoids

Sculpted Shoulders.

Well-rounded and capped off delts are one of the main things all guys seek to develop. Who doesn’t want them? They symbolize power and stature and are nearly always visible. You can cover up your chest and arms, but powerful, wide, sculpted shoulders appear even through clothes.

Let’s get into two common mistakes and the simple solutions that’ll get you back on track to building cannon ball delts.

The two common problems with conventional shoulder training are:

1)   No rotator cuff work.

2)   Going heavy only on pressing movements.

Problem 1: No Rotator Cuff training

Let’s get into the first problem. Neglecting the rotator cuff is a major issue that virtually all trainers make nowadays. Rotator cuff strains and tears are so common today, it’s not even funny.

Having a strong rotator cuff is critical when it comes to maintaining healthy, injury and pain free shoulders. It’s also incredibly important from a postural aspect.

Take a look at the function of the rotator cuff. It’s there to support and stabilise the shoulders. Without them, your shoulders would just sag forward.

Many people nowadays have shoulders that tend to slump forwards. This is due to internal rotation at the shoulder joint. The situation isn’t helped by training body parts such as the chest, which when over developed tends to pull the shoulders forwards and down. Further stressing the rotator cuff. This is a one way ticket to injuryville. Obviously, the solution isn’t to stop training the chest. That’s a stupid suggestion. Treat it like an equation. To maintain the balance, if you focus heavily on training your front, do the same for your back.

To avoid a torn or strained rotator cuff, devote a little bit of time to strengthening the muscles and tendons. If you don’t add any injury preventative work for your rotator cuff into your routine, you’re risking a potential injury in the long-run. Maybe it’ll happen, maybe it won’t. Do you really want to find out though?

Remember, injured shoulders will make virtually every upper body exercise a pain in the ass to perform. (I should say, pain in the shoulder).

Problem 2: Going heavy only on pressing movements

This is another common problem. You see it all the time. People have the right idea when it comes to presses. Whenever it comes to a movement like overhead presses people intuitively know what to do. They know instinctlily use as heavy weight they can to perform a given number of reps. But when it comes to the medial (side) head of the deltoid they forget all about it and treat it differently. They perform lateral raises with light weights to “get more of a pump.” It’s understandable in some ways because you’re obviously stronger and can lift more weight overhead on presses than out to the side with lateral raises.

The lateral raise is never going to be identified as a strength movement, at least not when compared to the overhead shoulder press. However,  people tend to think of them as a light move and only ever work them in higher rep ranges. While that’s not necessarily a problem itself, it becomes a problem when you’re stuck to same weight and same rep range all the time.

People always bark on about progressive overload, yet when it comes to lateral raises people usually stick to lighter weight and never seem to shift.

Newsflash! if you want your delts to grow you’ll inevitably have to add more poundage. 

The way I incorporate heavy side delt work into my training is through cheat laterals. Cheat laterals are just lateral raises performed with heavier weight. The form is slightly looser than when performing a strict lateral raise, however, the motion is still controlled. Under no circumstances do you allow your arm to swing all over the place.  So if you normally do laterals with 20-25lb dumbbells, you’d use 50lb dumbbells.

Pick a weight you’d normally not be able to do many reps with. Use a slight bit of momentum to get the weight up and to the side and resist it as much as humanly possible on the way down. I usually perform 3 sets of 8 reps with each arm.

It’s worth mentioning, you should do cheat laterals one arm at a time, using your free arm to grab onto something to help support you.

This isn’t your regular, run of the mill lateral raise and I don’t recommend doing them all the time. Once every 2-3 weeks replace the regular lateral raise in your routine with them.

Let me know how or if you plan to incorporate the above into your training. Leave a comment below and subscribe if you like this article and want more.

 

For more useful in-depth content like this and more, grab a copy of WARRIOR 101. Hurry, the special offer ends January 1st 2014.

Don’t miss out on great and exclusive content. Not found anywhere else. Take advantage of the special festive offer and grab it today. 

 

BACK ON TRACK: BUILD A BACK

BACK IN ACTION!!

BACK IN ACTION!!

Carving an impressive, thick, wide back should be a priority of yours, especially if you want your physique to mimic the elusive V taper. (If it isn’t, make it one). I’m going to share 3 of my favorite back building exercises with you.

  • Chin-ups
  • T-bar rows
  • Cable rows

Chin-ups 

The good old chin-up. What’s there to say? It’s a great exercise. I personally prefer chins to pull-ups for a few reasons. The main ones are; stricter form, forcing you to work harder and a longer range of motion allowing you to get a better stretch in the lats.

With chins you’re simply hanging from a bar, pulling yourself up to the point your chin crosses the bar, then lowering yourself back down.

If you’re not strong enough to do them, stand on a chair/stool under the bar, get your chin over the bar from that position and slowly lower yourself back to the ground. (This works the negative phase of the exercise). Eventually you’ll get stronger and be able to do full chins.

If regular chins are too easy, up the ante and slap some weight around that pretty waist of yours and get chinning.

T-bar Rows

I’m not going to go into detail with this one simply because I explained it previously in the article “THE FORGOTTEN FOUR.” All I’m going to say is it’s fantastic for outer back development and thickening your back.

Seated Cable Rows

This is another great exercise for building back thickness. (Yeah it’s a machine, for all those anti-machine individuals).

I like this move, particularly due to the way I can really squeeze my back during the motion.

Just sit your butt down on the seat, keeping your feet stationary either on the ground or against the foot platform if it’s available. Grab the handles. Extend your arms forward and pull the handle toward your abs, focusing on the stretch and really squeezing your back together. Pause for a brief second, before returning to the start.

As of late I’ve been experimenting with a lower volume back routine and a system that I call “AXIS TRAINING.” (In fact the majority of my training nowadays is lower volume).

Coming BACK to the routine, all it simply involves is picking an exercise to hit your back from a vertical and another from a horizontal angle. Pretty damn basic, but effective and brutal. A real back blaster.

You’re probably expecting an example. Well I’m not the type to disappoint.

EX: Vertical Axis (Y)

Weighted chin-ups- 5 sets of 4-8 reps

EX: Horizontal Axis (X)

Cable rows 3 sets of 8-12

(The above is from my own personal routine).

That’s it. That simple. No messing with 4-5 exercises, blitzing the living hell out of one muscle. When it comes to effective training, simplicity is key. Better to pick 2 exercises for one muscle and give them your 100%, than pick 4 and half-ass it at 25%.

It all comes down to not spreading yourself too damn thinly, a mistake that many make when it comes to training. Use that saying, “More isn’t better, better is better” when choosing the number of exercises you’re going to do on a given day.

Anyways, the reason I developed axis training is so that I could hit a muscle group from two very distinct plains. The X or horizontal axis and the Y or vertical axis.

I see people working out all the time, and one thing that just beats me, is how they can keep blasting a given muscle from the same angle with a similar movement. e.g. barbell rows followed by dumbbell rows and one-arm rows.

There’s only a slight variation in the movement, sure it’s targeting a slightly different part of the muscle, but it’s in the exact same plain. All those moves are rows, which work along the horizontal axis, the vertical axis is getting no attention. Same thing, doing pull-ups and moving onto pull-downs, they’re working the same vertical region.

That’s not to say the exercises aren’t good, but you should have a balanced exercise selection, in order to create balanced musculature. If you want to do all those moves that’s fine. Just rotate them around, don’t do them all in one workout.

That’s why I began training according to my own style. This is the way I like to train and how my body responds best. I can hit the muscle from all the angles I want, without going through vast exercise selections. Why run when you can walk, right?

Don’t get the wrong idea and think it’s easy, because it isn’t I put a lot of effort and intensity into it. It’s all business when I’m training.

If your training’s too easy, you’re either doing it wrong or need to adjust your routine. In many cases it’s usually the former.

Your muscles should be on fire, but you shouldn’t feel depleted or exhausted. Your training should amp you up, make you feel like you’re ready to take on the world. You should leave the gym feeling satisfied with your achievement.

Sure, you’ll have bad training days and good ones, just like life is filled with ups and downs. But hey, give it your all every time and in the long run you won’t be disappointed.

REMEMBER, PUT YOUR BACK INTO IT.

EFFORT AND INTENSITY

As always consult a medical pro before undertaking any exercise regime. 

Your comments are valued. Feel free to drop them below in the comments section.

6 LIFE LESSONS LEARNT IN THE GYM

 

Back to school. Class is in session

Back to school. Class is in session

In my opinion, training is an education in itself. It teaches you great things about yourself and even reveals your flaws, so you can work on and improve them. Many lessons can be learnt in the gym.

Hey life’s about learning. With that said lets get to the good stuff.

Time for an education in iron.

Lesson 1: Discipline

There are few better ways that I know of to develop discipline than heaving and hoisting heavy iron. Now discipline isn’t a word people like to hear or use because it sounds hard. Well if you want to get better at something you’ve got to be disciplined. When you train with the iron consistently over the days, weeks and months you begin to instil discipline into your DNA. You begin to enjoy the feeling of clanging and banging iron, that feeling keeps you disciplined. Hence the reason I view the gym as a damn discipline powerhouse.

It’s worth noting that strict discipline is required for you to stick with your routine and actually take the effort and time to train.

Lesson 2: Persistence

My definition of persistence is the ability to never quit until you’re satisfied and then go above and beyond that. You’ll no doubt develop persistence in the gym. Think about it. Every time you lift, week-by-week, month-by-month, you’re building something.

Constantly striving to create and realise a goal. Continually reaching and improving. Not giving in and wallowing in defeat. Instead coming back again and again, hungry for more. That’s persistence.

Lesson 3: Courage

Whether you’re about to complete a set of heavy-ass squats or deadlifts it takes courage to make the decision to go balls to the wall, up the intensity and lift heavy. Some people lack the courage to truly challenge themselves, test their metal and see what they’re really made of. When you first start lifting you might be scared to go hard and heavy, maybe the fear of passing out on a bench or losing your lunch doesn’t appeal to you. (It happens).

Ultimately there’ll come a point when you’ll have the urge to train intensely. you’ll grow stronger and your courage will develop. As it does you’ll find yourself lifting poundage you thought you couldn’t.

Lesson 4: Hard work

If you’ve been lifting for sometime you’ll know this one well. Training develops your appreciation for hard work. Lifting intensely builds up your tolerance for hard work. It conditions you for it. Your training should be far from easy. (If you’re doing it right). It shouldn’t feel like a breeze. If it’s too easy you need to up the ante. If you go to the gym to screw around, you’re just wasting your time and robbing yourself of potential merits.

Lesson 5: Concentration

When you’re in the gym visualise what you’re trying to accomplish. As you begin to visualise your goal you’re developing your concentration. Overtime your concentration and focus will continually develop and you’ll be able to shut everything else around you out and just be in the moment. When you see nothing else but your goal, your chances of achieving it goes up dramatically. That’s the power of concentration and having pinpoint focus.

Lesson 6: Understanding

I think this is probably the most important thing you can learn in the gym. The ability to understand yourself. Training is a form of meditation. It’s your time away from work commitments and other social activities. Through training you’ll learn and begin to understand what your physical limitations are. As you begin to understand your weaknesses you can formulate strategies to improve on them. Turning former weaknesses into strengths.

You can take and apply each of these incredible characteristics to any aspect of your life that you want to achieve success in.

Class is over.

All that’s left to do is to get your butt down to the gym and start hitting that iron. 

FOCUS AND DEDICATION 

 

THE FORGOTTEN FOUR

FOUR UNDERUSED EXERCISES FOR AN INCREDIBLE PHYSIQUE

The weight ..... ing's over

The weight ….. ing’s over

Hundreds of exercises and routines are on the market nowadays. Over time some fade out, which is understandable as the world constantly evolves and changes. However, it’s a real kick in the nuts when genuinely good exercises are discarded with no real rhyme or reason.

So, without further ado I present to you the “Forgotten Four”. Four underused/forgotten exercises that will get you on the way to looking like you’re carved from granite.

SCULPTING TIME

T-bar Rows

An “old school” move for the outer back. Made popular by Arnold Schwarzenegger. This exercise has been dying out over time and it’s a damn shame. It’s got a lot to offer, problem is it’s hardly used.

Everyone concentrates on regular barbell rows or one arm rows which are fine, but this move really targets, thickens and hammers away at that outer back with pinpoint focus.

To perform,  pickup a T-bar and start rowing as you would when executing any other rowing movement. Raise the bar to your ab region and slowly lower it back down. I like to use a rep tempo of about 1 second up and 2 seconds down. (Play around and see what works for you).

Tip: This is a heavy movement. So go heavy. Hit it hard. Don’t be afraid to add weight. Don’t wimp out or you’ll skimp out on the benefits of this exercise. If you don’t have access to a T-bar you can use a barbell. Just load one end of the bar and place the other side in a corner. (You’ve got no excuse not to perform it now).

Pullovers

This move, I personally think is a real beauty. No other exercise targets, expands and stretches the chest, ribcage and serratus muscles like this one does. Another exercise popularised by Arnold.

To perform,  lie across a bench and keep your feet flat on the ground. Only your upper back and shoulders should rest on the bench. Grab a dumbbell, hold it above your chest, keeping your arms straight, lower it towards the ground behind you.

Tip: Unlike the T-bar row this isn’t a heavy move. Don’t under any circumstance use too much weight. (Before you ask, you don’t want to know). This move is all about the stretch. So lower the dumbbell as low as you’re comfortable and until you feel the stretch before raising it back up. You can execute this move with either a barbell or dumbbell. Personally I prefer dumbbells due to convenience and range of motion.

Farmers Walk

There’s nothing more fulfilling and basic than picking up the  heaviest pair of things you can find and then walking with them. This is a power move. Plain and simple.

Although it’s becoming more popular, it’s still not quite fully there yet. Pretty much all the commercial fitness chains don’t have the space for this move to be performed. This move is great for your traps, upper back, legs and forearms etc. It’s pretty solid for your body on the whole.

Tip: Not a lot to say about this one other than go hard and heavy. Give it all you’ve got. If your muscles aren’t on fire you’re not doing it right. You can use either dumbbells, barbells or farmers walk handles. Whatever, just pick up something heavy and get walking.

Lumberjack Press

This one’s a pretty unconventional move.  Fairly unknown and therefore, underused. A damn butt kicker nonetheless. Think back to that scene at the start of “Commando”, where Arnold’s resting a heavy-ass log on his thick shoulders as he makes his way through the forest. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about watch Commando). It’s a great way to hit your shoulders in a way they’re not used to.

To perform, simply grab a barbell, rest it on one shoulder, press it up and over your head and rest it on the opposite shoulder. Repeat as many times until you complete your set.

Tip: Don’t go overboard with the weight on this move. You will screw your shoulders if you do. Remember, you’ve really got to balance the weight as well as lift it.

There you have it. Add them to your routine. Try them out and see how you like them.

TRAIN INSANE!!!

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I’m not a doctor. Seek medical advice before undertaking any fitness regime or exercise.

IRON AND WILL 

READY FOR BATTLE

Battle ready.

Battle ready.

Bole So Nihal“. (Shout of victory)

Are you ready? 

Ready for battle?

Yesteryear, the battle-ground was for the warriors. Today however, there’s one place that’s home to the modern warrior. The name echoes everywhere. Many know it and know it well.

THE GYM. (That’s what I’m talking about).

Warriors?… You say.

EXPLANATION TIME.

I’m not talking about your average gym rat. Hell no. I’m talking about a rare breed. A breed that doesn’t ass around. Doesn’t buckle under strain. Finds comfort in discomfort. A conviction, average gym rats just don’t have.

 Listen up gents, ladies too, and listen well…

Where warriors used to train for hours on end with brandished swords, stifling shields and sharpened spears, the warriors of today train with weights. The commonality is. “Passion for iron”.

Where previously, warriors faced hordes of attacking enemy, the modern warrior faces heavy-ass dumbbells and barbells. Gleaming with the sweat of those who came before, as if to send a message. A message, “We’re from hell, we’ll push you to your limit and leave you broken in half ”.

Approach every training session like a battle. Go in with a plan and relentless, unyielding dedication. Destroy those weights in those 45mins, 1hr, or however long you “workout”.

You’ve got to go in with the intent of completely annihilating the opposition. (In this case the weights).

Get Ready for battle

The battle-ground

The battle-ground

Here are the strategies I use my self to get battle ready. (Time to hit it).

TIP 1: HAVE A PLAN

Plan, plan, plan!! If you look back in history, you’d find that the successful warriors had a battle plan. They knew what they had to do and planned for it. Knowing alone isn’t good enough. You’ve got to implement it too. You can’t go in blind and expect a good result. Go in without a plan and be prepared to fail.

No good saying, “I know I have to train legs today, but don’t know how I’m going to go about it.” Have a plan. Period.

TIP 2: PRE-TRAINING MEDITATION

Get your head in gear. Get your butt ready. Envision what you’re about to do and achieve. Sit down before you even pick up a weight. Think and focus on the task at hand. Take 5 minutes and mentally tune and prepare yourself. (It’ll do you a world of good).

TIP 3: PUT ON SOME PUMPING TUNES

Whenever I train I want to avoid all distraction. Don’t like anyone bugging me. Half the time the music played at gyms is irritatating and doesn’t help in the concentration department. To avoid all of that, I simply pop on my headset and go to work. Don’t just listen to any old garbage. Put on something that’ll get you in the zone and ready to work.

TIP 4: SCREAM LIKE A DAMN ANGRY SILVERBACK (OPTIONAL)

This one’s a joke by the way. But seriously, every warrior has a battle cry. Discover yours and leverage it in a way that motivates you to throw those weights around like ragdolls. (I don’t actually recommend going around screaming in your gym at the top of your lungs. It’s your call though).

FINAL TIP: GIVE YOURSELF A PAT ON THE BACK

Above all, have a great workout. When you’re done, be proud of yourself. Don’t get comfortable though. You’re going to go through hell all over again the next time you face the enemy. (weights).

How about telling me about your strategies and plans. Drop a comment below. I don’t bite.

Happy training.

HEART AND SPIRIT 

AWESOME ABS: PART 2- EXERCISES

With some SWEAT and GUTS

With some SWEAT and GUTS

Lets get down to it.

You want abs. Not just abs, but awesome abs. You don’t want to waste time, money and effort on useless gizmos and doohickeys that promise the world but deliver so little. Well gents, here it is plain and simple, the very same exercises I used (and continue to use) to sculpt, pummel and polish my abs into shape.

Time to get lean and mean!!

Note: Perform 3 sets of each exercise. Seek medical advice before performing any exercise!!!

EXERCISE 1: Weighted floor crunches

This exercise is so simple. It hardly needs an introduction. Everybody knows about crunches. Probably the most well known ab exercise around. Regular bodyweight crunches are fine, but if you really want those suckers to pop you need to add a little weight. No need to add tons of weight though. You’re just thickening them up a little. (Particularly if you have very flat abs and want the groves to be more defined and visible).

If you want chiseled and stronger abs add some weight. Period.

If you already have thick abs however,  you can do a few sets of weighted crunches, but I’d stick with regular crunches if I were you for the most part.

To perform, simply do as you would a regular crunch, whilst holding a weight plate, or dumbbell above your chest. You can also position it behind your neck.

Tip: I like using a rep range of around 12-15 reps. If you’re doing bodyweight crunches, go to failure. (The point at which you can’t keep pumping out reps).

EXERCISE 2: Hanging Leg raises

Good old hanging leg raises, another well-known move for the abs. This exercise is targeted towards the lower portion of the abs. Simply grab a chinning bar or anything you can hang from and lift your legs into the air. Make sure you feel it in your lower ab area otherwise you’re wasting your time.

Don’t under any circumstances throw your legs into the air (using momentum) otherwise you’re robbing yourself of any potential benefits. Keep it simple. If you’re not feeling it in your lower ab region then you’re doing it wrong. If you’re not strong enough to keep your legs straight while doing this move, you can keep your knees bent.

Tip: This move will really burn!!! Also your grip will get worked from holding onto the bar. I like to keep the rep ranges slightly higher with this move, given that you are using your bodyweight, 20-30 reps or going to failure should do it.

EXERCISE 3: Seated rope/cable crunches

This is a move I recently started using. In fact it’s currently the only move I do for abs. You can use it in place of the weighted crunch like I do. (If you have access to it). It’s a pretty basic and straightforward move. Perform the same way you would any crunch, only difference is you’re in a seated position instead of flat on your back.

Simply set your butt down on a flat bench, grab the rope from behind and get to work.

Tip: Really contract and squeeze the abs hard during this movement. Feel the burn. I like to keep the range between 12-15 reps.

BONUS EXERCISE : Lower back raises

This isn’t really an exercise for the abs as such. But if you’re working your front (abs) you need to work your back (lower back) to keep the balance. People that only focus on their abs and neglect their lower backs are foolish.

Only developing the abs without attention to the lower back is one of the biggest causes of injury. This exercise might not develop your abs like the others in this article, but it sure as hell will save you from avoidable lower back strains in the future. Think about it. You always hear about somebody tweaking their back. Heck, the doctors’ surgeries are full of people with lower back problems.

To perform, simply lie on your front, on the ground. Slowly lift both your upper torso and legs off the ground in conjunction with each other. Really feel the stretch in the lower back.

Tip: I like to keep the rep range around 10- 12 reps. Remember you don’t need to kill yourself on this move. It’s more of an injury prevention exercise than a strength / shaping one.

So there you have it. Moves for sculpting “Awesome Abs”.  Pretty simple and basic. No hitting abs from 50 different angles using 50 different exercises.

It’s up to you to try them out. You can either incorporate them into an awesome abs routine of their own to blast your abs, or use my preferred method of picking one move and adding it onto the end of your regular training sessions, rotating exercises when you feel like. Choice is yours.

Now we’ve covered myths in part 1 and exercises in part 2, but none of these exercises will make any difference, unless you shed the dough. (Not the bucks / dollars! hint, hint).

In part 3 we’ll cover simple diet strategies to set you straight.

Don’t forget to subscribe. You don’t want to miss Awesome Abs part 3.

 SWEAT AND GUTS 

Photo Credit: uncagetheanimal.com

AWESOME ABS: PART 1- MYTH BUSTING

Want awesome abs?

The curtains up. Take a look.

The curtains up. Take a peak.

You know you do!

Good old abs. The tight core. The ol’ “six pack”. Whatever you call them, everybody wants them. The ladies swoon over those rippling, hard cut muscles. Problem is, there are too many senseless overcomplicated myths and concepts. Weaving through all the lies is a workout in itself.

Relax, let’s cut through all the garbage and get you on the way to sporting a set of your own. (If you don’t already).

No other muscle, (other than biceps) probably gets as much attention as the abs. So developing them should be a priority. Big arms, chest and back along with a spare tyre just isn’t going to make the cut.

In the first part of this series we’ll cover the misconceptions and set the record straight.

“Hell yeah! It’s myth busting time.”

MYTH NUMERO UNO: TONS OF DIRECT AB WORK EVERY DAY

This one’s got me stumped, the fact that it’s still around. I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell don’t have the time to hit abs from 50 different angles every single day. Nor do I care to. Fact is if you haven’t lost the lard, no amount of ab work is going get those suckers popping. I hardly train my abs nowadays and they’re just as hard and cut as when I used to work them. (I do recommend a few moves to sharpen them up, but nothing terribly time consuming). No need to do 1000 sit-ups, crunches or whatever else daily. (If you’re doing that you seriously need some hobbies).

MYTH 2: TRAINING THE UPPER AND LOWER ABS

Get it in gear. The abs are one muscle. (The Rectus Abdominis). There is no upper abdominal muscle and lower abdominal muscle. They aren’t two separate muscles. It’s just one muscle!! If you add in the obliques, lower back and hip adductors it becomes more than one muscle. (The core).

When you perform a crunch for example, you’re targeting the upper region of the abdominal muscle, but your lower ab region is also getting worked albeit to a much lesser extent.

MYTH 3: CARDIO, CARDIO, CARDIO!!!!

Personally, I don’t do cardio, because I don’t like it. In all honesty, I’ve never really done it. Guess what? Eureka, I still sport a set of awesome abs.  Cardio is not the only or most practical method of fat loss. It’s more time consuming than it’s worth. You could actually spend that time doing something more valuable. (I’ll leave that for you to decide).

I see many people slogging away on treadmills, exercise bikes and contraptions that I can’t even name. Yet, they still look terrible. What they fail to understand is that all they’re really doing is working their cardiac system. (Not a bad goal). Sure they’ll burn a few calories here and there, but what good is burning off the amount of calories you’d find in a chocolate bar. (If you want to do it, knock yourself out).

MYTH 4: 6-8 SMALL MEALS

Eating 6-8 small meals daily, will lead to insanity. (Or close to it). You might as well live in your kitchen. Life is for living and I assume you have other things to do with your time than eat, cook and clean.  Eating all day will leave you feeling sluggish and hating yourself.

That said, you need to make sure you’re eating less calories than you burn every day, and there’s an easier way to do it than constantly slaving away in the kitchen.

MYTH 5: SECRET EXERCISES AND SUPPLEMENTS

Read this carefully. There’s no secret diet pill, exercise or routine that’ll get you a solid set of abs. All these things are completely bogus, the fake fat burners and “Program X.” The people that sell these products just want your money and they’re laughing at you. (Laughing all the way to the bank).

BONUS MYTH: SPECIAL DIETS

There’s no special starvation/borderline anorexic diet that will make you look ripped, lean and mean. You’ll probably just get damn sick and skinny.(Not a good look). Forget the “lettuce all day diet”. None of that stuff will work. Sure you’ll lose some weight, but not what you think. (i.e. more muscle than fat loss).

There are probably hordes of myths out there. However, to keep this simple and straight to the point we’ve covered the main five.

Now you’re probably wondering…. hey smart guy what do I do to get awesome abs then?

That’s where part 2 of this series comes in. In part 2 we’ll talk about exercises for sharpening those abs. Don’t miss it. Subscribe now for free.(If you haven’t already).

 SWEAT AND GUTS 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WORKING OUT AND TRAINING

 

The Legend Arnold Schwarzenegger training. Need I say more.

The Legend Arnold Schwarzenegger training. Need I say more.

Do you workout?…….

The phrase “working out” is thrown around often. The irony is that it doesn’t seem to have much weight. It’s become a casual term without much meaning. Nothing irritates me more than the term “working out”. Not the word itself, but the way people use it. They don’t do the word justice.

Ever seen all those people that “work out” at the gym? You know the ones running on the treadmill or whatever equipment they’re using. Do you notice anything specific about them? They are all out of shape, but they have convinced themselves they are making progress because they are “working out”.

I’ve seen people “working out”, on their phones, watching the TV monitors and reading magazines. All of this while they’re supposedly “working out.”

Standing around!! A new exercise I never knew about

Standing around!! A new exercise I never knew about

Let me tell you something. Working out is the new lazy. Working out is just a nicer way of saying, “I go through the motions, I’m not really pushing myself, but I go to the gym and just screw around”.

I, on the other hand do not workout, I train.  Train with fire, intensity and rage. If someone was to ask me if I did workout, I’d say, “No I don’t workout, I train and train damn hard too.”

You might be sitting there thinking to yourself, okay smart guy what’s the difference between working out and training? Well let me give it to you straight.

Working out is a pansy way of exercising. It’s the new lazy. It’s for people who try to prove that they exercise, but in reality they just go through the motions without ever feeling the aching, swelling and burning of their muscles, without really testing their strength and pushing themselves to their limit.

Training is going beyond that, pro athletes train. It’s a whole new level. Training is like sprinting, while working out (the way many average individuals do) is like walking. One will give you results the other will give zilch.

Which one do you follow?

Am I asking you to train like an athlete? No, absolutely not. But if you’re not working hard, you should be.

How do you train then?… Simple. Get in the gym and start tearing it up. Experience the burning and pumping of your muscles. Feel the weights. Don’t just lift them expecting your body to change itself.

Consciously feel what the exercise is doing for your body. Your mind must guide your body. If you can’t do any of this, don’t train at a gym. Forget those shinny new sneakers/trainers and latest gym clothes and find yourself something else to do with your time.

Make the time count. Every minute, second and millisecond.

If you workout/train and are doing it properly and seeing results, excellent. Keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re not, shape up and fly right.

Note: More info on all aspects of training, lifestyle and numerous other subjects will be available. Don’t forget to subscribe for free to receive future updates .

COURAGE and HONOR