Monday, June 25, 2007

Muscle Gaining Secrets

I've been waiting for the chance to tell you about a new book from Jason Ferruggia.

If you've never read anything from Jason before expect to hear the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Jason's been in the trenches since his early twenties back when he started his own gym. He freely admits that in his early training career he bought into all the B.S. training programs and supplements, tried them all, and then separated the truth from fiction. So when he says that he knows what works and what doesn't, he means it.

His client list alone reads like a who's who of sports and entertainment. These are people whose job depends on either having the right look or performing at the highest level of sports.

Be forewarned. Jason is going to tell it to straight and to the point. He's not one to beat around the bush or be "iffy" on any concept related to muscle growth and strength development.

If your goal is to gain muscle faster than you ever have before, I suggest you get Muscle Gaining Secrets. This book is extremely well-written and easy to apply regardless of your current level of development. I have not doubt it will leave you "chomping at the bit" to go hit the gym to blast through your best training sessions ever.

BTW, Jason is having one helluva sale to celebrate the release of Muscle Gaining Secrets with the addition of some killer bonus materials:

Beginner Blast-off: 25 pounds of muscle in 16 weeks

Develop Freak Strength with Zach Even-esh

Maximum Mass 1: 34 weeks of mass building workouts

Maximum Mass 2: Another 6 months of training programs

The Secrets of Super Strength with Jim Wendler

The Truth about Supplements

High Powered Nutrition Book

The Home Gym Warrior: the 16-Week Dumbbell and Body Weight training program

The Mass Building Shakes Book

Quick Meals for Fast Muscle

How to be Injury-free for Life with Keith Scott

A one month membership to Turbulence Training

A special bonus from Alwyn Cosgrove

Jason's only giving folks 3 days to rack up these bonuses so get Mass Gaining Secrets ASAP.


Friday, June 22, 2007


Restoration describes means by which one is able to return to the previous state. In training, it refers to methods that you may use to recover from your most recent training session in preparation for the next assuming that your goal is a progressive increase in performance or fitness.

While this is a broad and sometimes complex subject with methods including such things as contrast baths/showers, vibration, lasers, accupuncture, etc., in the real world where we have lives, most of these simply don't apply.

Here's a short list of restorative means that have the greatest impact for real people :

1. Planning your training

Most trainees don't consider this a restorative measure, but fluctuations in training intensity, volume, and training means are an essential method to promote adequate recovery and assure consistent progress.

2. Sleep/relaxation

Aside from the actual training program, sleep is probably most essential. In fact, I would say that if you're not getting adequate sleep, no other restorative measure will compensate. In other words, get enough sleep whether you function best on 6 hours or 10 hours a night, find your sweet spot and stick to it.

3. Nutrition

High-frequency (every 2-3 hours), nutrient dense meals will cover the bases for most trainees. Athletes training multiple times per day need to be more concerned with pre-, during, post-training nutrition to assure adequate restoration between sessions.

4. Soft-tissue therapy

Repetitive loading and strain will promote the formation of adhesions and myofascial restrictions eventually leading to altered joint motions and compensations that lead to dysfunction and injury. Regular soft-tissue therapy, and I'm not talking your regular, weekly feel-good massage, but rather methods such as rolfing, ART, foam rolling, and even some intensive stretching sessions each week. Having someone walk all over you is optional.

5. Ice

A little ice goes a long way. Post-training it will reduce and inflammation that was produced. More importantly, when applied to the joints affected by your training session, the lowered joint temperature prevents the breakdown of the protective hyaline cartilage by inhibiting the destructive enzymes that can progressively destroy joint surfaces.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

How hard are you training

Remember that no matter how strong you think you are there's a little Chinese girl warming up with your max.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

They're STILL Everywhere

I saw them again this morning.

I bet you've seen them too.

There's the 40-ish woman with the funny, abbreviated, duck-like gait pattern. The guy whose pushing 50 who looks like he's on the verge of death. The scrawny 20-something newlywed in the oversized t-shirt. And of course, the new Mom pushing Junior in the fancy carriage.

Yep. They're runners.

Every since the "running revolution" in the 70's, countless people have taken to the road in an effort to get in shape because they either read somewhere or someone told them that aerobic exercise is the key to fat loss or that it'll help them live longers.

I don't run.

It's boring.

It makes me all sweaty, my heart races, my breathing quickens, and I get a little queazy in my gut. (BTW, theses are all common symptoms during a heart attack)

My friend ran the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon back in May. 13.1 miles with a scenic view of the Indy 500 track as part of route.

It took him an hour and 20 mintues.

It takes me less than 15 mintues to go 13.1 miles. I take a car like most normal people.

Now I understand that some of you actually like the feeling you get from running, so by all means continue if you like. It will contribute to your health to some degree (keep in mind that your orthopedic health is put at risk from overuse injuries).

My question for you is why you're doing it.

For your health?

Well, there's no magic in running long distances or having high aerobic capacity. When it comes to longevity, it's all about burning calories.

Get this...longshoremen, not known for a lifetime quest in search of the secrets of health, have been shown to be at lower risk of heart attacks than their Harvard-educated, casually exercising counterparts.

How can this be?

Well, the longshoremen burned a helluva lot more calories than the regular exercisers by performing heavy lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling. Not by running.

Well, it's certainly great for fat loss, right?

Intially, maybe, but its contribution to a fat loss program drops off quickly as running-specific fitness increases. If you're running for fat loss, you've probably experienced such a phenomenon where you initially dropped some fat but plateaued quickly.

Why? It's easy to become aerobically fit and the body becomes more efficient very quickly, so you actually use fewer calories to cover the same distances. Fewer calories burned means less or no fat loss AND less contribution to health (there's also some evidence that you'll get fatter).

So what's the best way to lose fat and burn a lot of calories?

To answer, I'll borrow from a program by my friend Alwyn Cosgrove called Real World Fat Loss.

In it Alwyn explains the hierarchy of activities that have been shown in the research literature AND in the real-world for faster, effective fat loss.

Here's the hierarchy of fat loss:

1. Metabolic Resistance Training
2. High Intensity Anaerobic Interval Training
3. High Intensity Aerobic Interval Training
4. Steady State High Intensity Aerobic Training
5. Steady State Low Intensity Aerobic Training

At best, long distance running falls into level 4 which makes it a weak recommendation for fat loss.

Alwyn's wife, Rachel, is an up-n-coming triathlete who must run a great deal to train for her races. Does she then use long distance running as a component of training for her female fat-loss clients?

Nope. It's just not effective.

In fact, proper fat loss training following the hierarchy above will actually increase the number of calories you burn (these calories will come from fat by the way) AFTER you exercise. Alwyn has termed this Afterburn.

So not only will you burn more fat, but you'll increase your health by burning more calories.

Now, like I said, if you like to run, then run. But before you do, decide why you're running. If it's for reasons other than the joy of running, there's a better way.


P.S. Mike Boyle has a couple articles directed toward running and orthopedic health especially for women. The first is calle Why (Most) Women Shouldn't Run and part 2 is Should Women Run.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Battle of the Diet Plans

I visited my folks over the Father's Day weekend. It's always a bit surreal to visit the ol' home town as it changes.

For instance, my high school now has a soccer team.

Do you know what soccer is good for?

Ruining a perfectly good football field.

Anyway, I had a bit of down time and was flipping through a Consumer Reports magazine which included their run down of which diet books and diet plans were the best.

Personally, I think the whole article was weak.

Reason number 1: The overall rating for all the diet books was exactly the same except for Ultra-Metabolism which scored one notch lower than the rest (note to Consumer Reports: your rating system sucks).

Reason number 2: In the diet plan comparisons, they rated the nutritional analysis of Slim-fast, a sugar-laden drink based program, equivalent to Volumetrics, a food-based eating plan.

My guess is that it wasn't too difficult to achieve the higher level on the nutritional analysis scale seeing as the analysis was based on the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

By the way, Slim-fast also had the highest drop out rate of all the plans examined. Perhaps it's the starvation component that dieters don't like, eh?

So which one would I recommend?

None of them.

If you really want a nutritional resource to help you lose that strips away all the unnecessary fluff and gets right to the point, you need to check out Your Naked Nutrition Guide by Mike Roussell. It has quickly become one of my and my clients' favorite nutritional resources.

Other fitness and nutrition pros agree:

“Mike Roussell has put together an excellent manual covering the nutrition basics for optimal performance to help you reach your goals faster, safer, and more effectively. This is a great resource that everyone should have on their bookshelf. I have read 100's of different nutrition manuals and books, but Mike's is one of the best that has crossed my desk in a long time. With Mike's sound explanations and user friendly information, nutrition will no longer be a struggle. It's a great tool to have in your arsenal to help you succeed!”
Christopher R. Mohr, PhD, RD, CSSDPresident, Mohr Results, Inc

“There aren't many nutritional resources out there that when I immediately finish reading, think to myself, ‘wow...I am officially smarter.’ Naked Nutrition is one such resource. Mike Roussell has put together a manual that is full of practical yet up-to-date and proven information that the reader can put to use TODAY, and start seeing results within days. Rest assured that this is no quick fix dieting manual. Mike does a superb job in laying out a detailed format that will guide you to long term success.”
Tony Gentilcore, CSCS

Mike has made such an impression on my buddy Robert Dos Remedios that he asked Mike to provide a chapter on nutrition for his upcoming book.

I've had the opportunity to work with Mike myself and he continues to impress (even if he is a New England Patriots fan) as his work has help several of my client get back on the fat loss track.

You can read more about Your Naked Nutrition Guide here.


P.S. Slim-fast users can send your hate mail to the New England Patriots in care of Consumer Reports Magazine.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Beyond the Norm

I recently contributed to a little project that Leigh Peele put together.

It's called Beyond the Norm: Advanced Questions for Advanced Trainers and Nutritionists.

Contributors include:

Lou Schuler
Mike Robertson
Jonathan Fass
Alan Aragon
Tony Gentilcore
Geovanni Derice
John Izzo
Jimmy Smith
Robert Dos Remedios
Chris Mohr
Leigh Peele
and Me!

This isn't your typical Q & A and it answers a lot of very specific questions and progression dealing with your post-workout nutrition (not what you think) as well as dealing with hip/pelvic/shoulder issues.

Get from Leigh Peele by signing up for her newsletter.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Building Young Champions

You may or may not know that I sit on the Board of Directors of the International Youth Conditioning Association (

If you've got kids in athletics or work with kids in athletics and you're not involved with the IYCA, it's time to get involved.

My buddy and Executive Director of the IYCA, Brian Grasso, was recently featured in this week's Newsweek. You can read a part of the article at the link below:

At minimum, every coach, teacher, or parent with athletic children should own a copy of Developmental Essentials: The Foundation Of Youth Conditioning and certainly every coach should be certified as a Youth Conditioning Specialist. You can read a sample of the text at the IYCA website as well.


P.S. My good friend Alwyn Cosgrove is celebrating his Rebirthday. If you've been holding off on getting his top-selling Afterburn, the Bodyweight Training DVD, or any of his martial arts training programs, now's the time to get them. For the next 24 hours, you get free shipping anywhere in the world.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hurdle Mobility Drills

When it comes to developing hip mobility, hurdle mobility drills typically fall way short of the intended goal.

Case in point...

I have 5 athletes of varying sizes training together and one set of hurdles set up for step-overs and duck-unders.

(Smart guys don't give it away... just wait for it...let the others catch up)

The assumption must then be that my bigger, taller athletes have much greater general mobility than my smaller, shorter athletes for duck-unders and my shorter athletes have greater hip mobility for step-overs, right?


One size does not fit all, and it usually results in some form of compensation in the lumbar spine and pelvis rather than an increase in hip mobility.

I'm sure you've seen it.

Big guys ducks under the hurdle and it ends up looking like a dog taking a dump in the back yard as he rounds his back to get under the hurdle rather than utilizing hip flexion (that he doesn't have a sufficient quantity of to perform the task correctly in the first place).

The opposite is also true.

Try to step over a hurdle that is too high and the pelvis must be tilted posteriorly to get the foot up high enough for clearance. This also promotes reduced hip extension on the support leg.

For those of you who regularly perform the Functional Movement Screen or a Klatt test you'll see this technique quite often during your assessements of those who lack hip mobility.

Why reinforce bad mobility during training as well as methods that can promote back injury over time?

At best, with the optimum, individualized hurdle height, hip mobility can be reinforced with hurdle mobility drills but not improved.

For that use other effective drills that don't result in injury potentiating technique.


Monday, June 11, 2007

Max-Out Radio

Mike Roussell and I had a great discussion on the latest edition of Max-Out Radio.

Topics covered:

Overhead lifts
Bench pressing
The 20% Rule
The easy way to use Inside-Out: The Ultimate Upper Body Warm-up
Some of the things I'm doing with training
and more.

Check it out.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Neck Training

Here's a pic I got from Jim "Smitty" Smith from the Diesel Crew.
I find it interesting that so many neglect direct neck training considering how many neck pain patients I see with significant neck muscle weakness.
It's not just for athletes any more.
Now I'm certainly not implying that everyone needs to do their neck training with six 45 pound plates on a regular basis, but most can benefit from some regular neck strength work and including range of motion and mobility training.
Especially women. Women, in general, have smaller neck muscles and heads that may weigh more than men. (No, not because they have bigger brains, but rather because they have more hair...sorry girls). While I don't have hard stats to back this up, I've no doubt that a majority of the overuse and traumatic neck strain patients that I see in my clinics are experienced by women.
Athletes are especially negligent in regard to neck range of motion training in favor of strength work. You'll be hard pressed to find a football player, wrestler, or mixed martial artist who doesn't want more neck strength, but ask them about how they're developing their neck range of motion and you'll often see a puzzled look on their face.
Certainly the strength component is important, but in many cases of neck injury, the injury occurs when the neck is driven to end range of motion and beyond. Just like any other joint, a little flexibility reserve in the neck goes a long way.
Here's some wrap-up thoughts...
1. Train your neck
2. Include range of motion and strength training
3. Improve strength at the end ranges of motion
4. Avoid prolonged, repetitive, or aggressive neck flexion (forward bending)
5. When training the anterior neck musculature, press the tongue to the roof of your mouth
6. Train the neck at various speeds and loads to increase strength and power
7. While some isolation training is acceptable, incorporate neck loading into full body exercises. (but that's another article)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Painful Eccentric Training for Tendonosis = FUN!

A couple of months ago, I was talking with Bryan Chung, MD, PhD (and a bunch of other letters after his name) from about why eccentric training, particularly painful eccentric training (how fun!!), showed such improvements in subject pain complaints in those with previously painful conditions like patellar tendonosis or achilles tendonosis.

He mentioned that the eccentric contractions obliterated the neomicrocirculation (new capillaries) that entered the tendon and pain reduction resulted.

Pretty cool, eh?

I was reading the new Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy during lunch and came across an article that showed similar findings. With 12 weeks of painful eccentric training came a 45% reduction in paratendon blood flow AND a 48% reduction in pain. No negative effects were found in the paratendinous tissues.

Those of you dealing with painful conditions like patellar tendonosis (your doc may be calling it tendonitis and may very well be wrong...tendonitis usually clears up in a couple weeks, tendonosis doesn't), tennis elbow, golfers elbow, achilles tendonosis, etc., you may want to consider adding 3 sets of 12-15 reps of daily, painful eccentric training to your program.

Yeah, it doesn't sound fun, but there's good evidence that it'll be helpful.