I can do anything through him who gives me strength, even competing on a budget!
Well what can I say? Week ten has been the toughest week yet.
In my previous blog I explained that I would be dropping my carbs to 100g a day and upping my protein to around the 300g mark in compensation – and to maintain muscle as much as possible.
To say I am almost lifeless is an understatement, what with the cravings the sudden sleepiness... damn near falling off the bike through sheer exhaustion.
Honestly half way through my cardio I see bright flashing lights and have to grip the handle bars to resist falling off!!
And my legs, they feel like I constantly squat all day they ache so much. But hey I'm not complaining I'm just sharing – as pain is a short lived experience (repeat, it's temporary) and I love body building. It's just part of the winning process.
Why I Never Stretch Before Training
Since my last blog I have trained legs and arms, and pretty much followed the same cycle of application as mentioned in my previous blog.
However, I did also mention that I would explain why I never stretch before training.
For me personally, if I stretch the intended muscle before a workout, I tend not obtain a muscle pump or peak contraction, as much as if I had just warmed up with a pyramid cycle of weights (starting off with low weight until maximum is reached).
I know some advise that it is good practice, but I feel a far greater benefit from stretching after a session.
If we think of the muscle as a piece of thread – and we have a length between each hand and pulled the thread apart with force – the thread will snap.
But, on close inspection we would see that the thread has frayed with the separated ends looking like tree roots.
These are the multiple fibres that make up the thread; a bit like our muscle fibres.
Now, it's the recuperation and nourishment through food and supplementation that allows the muscle fibres to repair in the frayed state we have created, thus the increase in muscle size over time.
For me personally, if I stretch the worked muscle after it's workout; I feel that I am increasing the gap between the frayed muscle fibres allowing for additional depth in growth.
That's why I stretch after rather than before.
How I Get My Waist So Small!
I am often asked how I manage to keep my waist looking so small, and the honest truth is that I never perform any sort of abdominal exercise.
I see fitness folk and bodybuilders crunching away to oblivion, in the hope of the perfect six or eight pack – and that's fine if it's a goal to have your abs more prominent than your chest – but hey each to their own.
I noticed early on in my bodybuilding days how extensively the core (abs) were working during many of the exercises I was performing, and I believe it is important to bear this in mind.
The involvement of the core is more extensive than we realise.
I can recall an old interview with Dorian Yates, when he was asked about performing abdominal work, and his reply wasn't all that surprising to me.
He stated that he only paid attention to his abs in the lead up to a competition. Food for thought?
In my lead up to the PCA I perform a breathing exercise called vacuums. I find after a few weeks that my taper improves and the obliques tighten, drawing the waist in ever narrower.
So how do I perform these so called vacuums?
Well, standing in front of a mirror with knees slightly bent, hands behind the head I lift my hips towards my sternum, whilst breathing out through pursed lips under pressure.
The idea is to blow out as hard as you can without letting the air escape too quickly, hence the pursed lips.
Whilst blowing out under pressure and tilting your hips, you will notice and feel your diaphragm lifting inside. This is due to your lungs shrinking by trying to expel all of the air within them, as the process requires your diaphragm muscles to react in order for you to achieve the goal of air expelling to the max.
I do a set of 10 breaths with each breath lasting longer than 5 seconds.
Be cautious though, as carrying out this exercise can sometimes lead to hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain). For those who are not of a fit state, this can lead to passing out or feinting.
After that I perform another ten breaths but with one hand behind the head whilst putting all of my weight on one leg and crunching slightly to the side I have placed all the weight on.
I do the same for the other side for 10 breaths. All in all I perform this process three sets of 10 for the front and both sides.
That's how I keep my small waist, giving the impression and illusion that my shoulder and back width is a lot wider than it is!
Cardio & Training Update
My cardio remains the same. 40 minutes in the morning and another 40 minutes, twelve hours later on a stationary bike.
I strap my mobile phone to the handle bar and watch the YouTube motivational bodybuilding videos.
This only pushes me harder, and it is proven that music increases stamina by at least 20%.
I am sure I am holding a water reserve for someone else without knowing, due to the amount of sweat I produce!!
Still it has been tough, with the reduced carbs – and I can only look forward to when I have to reduce them again?
Legs on Tuesday was a surprisingly good session – seeing squats being implemented after a much deserved break from an injured abductor last year.
A point I picked up whilst reading Rick Jones' blog on power lifting was the importance of wearing flat soled footwear – rather than spongy – due to the instability that spongy footwear creates.
So the boxing boots were back on and my squat was duly stable and executed.
We always start off with leg extensions climbing the tree in weight until we reach a maximum and the quads are fully pumped.
From there we moved over to squats and from there to the leg press, all seeing 3 sets of 12 reps being performed for each exercise.
I must emphasise that the twelve rep range – if broken – means that the next set is to be even heavier (so if we get 15, we add some poundage to the next set – nothing good comes easy!).
With our quads fully pumped and fit to burst we move over to the seated leg curl. Again we work the tree of weight until we hit maximum, from there we move over to the bent over single leg curl device which really kills of the hams.
If we have enough energy we will utilise the leg press for calf raises and then do some seated, if not we will leave calves until shoulder day.
We had a blast with arms today and typing out this blog is witnessing some serious crampage going on in the forearms.
Does anybody else ever get this after a decent arm session? Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and the pain – almighty –I have to wake the Mrs and ask her to pull my arms down!!
I find having a banana before bed on an arm day usually keeps the cramp away.
Before I sign out I must let you know that my protein intake has been helped by the supplements I have received from Olympus Health, in return for writing these blog posts.
I am currently having 5 scoops a day of the Whey Protein 80% Concentrate, two of which I will take before a training session with the rest spread throughout the day.
I find the sweet taste can help with sugar cravings too as I'd rather dose up on protein that chocolate bars.
I am now using the Olympus Health Fat Burners too, two first thing in the morning and another two six hours later. However, I would recommend that you understand your tolerance before taking such a dosage.
I now add the iBCAA to my daily drink and have a scoop pre training, and during cardio as to maintain and save a much muscle tissue as possible.
I am also expecting some Micellar Casein Protein which I will replace one of the scoops of Whey Concentrate with – perhaps the one before bed as the Casein protein is absorbed over a longer period.
Oh well, until next time, Laurence Goodbody signing off. Have a great weekend filled with eating and training!!!