Wednesday, August 23, 2017

How Failing at What You Desire Can Lead You to Your Destiny

This idea is not confined to the health and fitness field. It really speaks to all aspects of life, so it is a bit of a departure from my specific teachings on physical fitness. Everyone has different things that they desire to have, and desire to be. But what happens when you fail at achieving these desires? Do you just give up and throw in the towel, settling for mediocre, or an unhappy, unfulfilled life?

I would ask you to try and see things from a different perspective... Let's take the person you desire to be; maybe you desire to be a happier person, or a healthier person. Or maybe you desire to be a more successful person. But what is success? Is it defined by financial wealth and material possessions? Is it defined by having an amazing body? Will obtaining these things equal success in your eyes? I'm sure everyone knows someone (either personally, or a celebrity, or through word of mouth) that has all of the financial freedom, physical beauty, and material possessions they could ever want...and they are miserable.

Too often, people equate monetary gain, physical beauty, and/or celebrity and fame with success. The truth is, none of these things will amount to you feeling successful if you are not truly fulfilled. If you are able to reach a level of true fulfillment, you will know. You will feel it in your soul. You will find true peace and happiness in your heart, regardless of whether or not you have financial riches, an amazing body, or are loved and adored by the masses.

While we have specific desires in what we hope to gain or who we want to be, these desires can actually be far different than who and what, we are destined to be. You may desire to achieve financial freedom, only to one day realize that your true destiny is to live modestly, and spend your life helping others achieve their hopes and dreams, and providing happiness to others. Or you may desire to be someone who is famous and adored all around the world, but if it doesn't happen, and that door slams shut on you, it may in fact be that another door is waiting to burst open...and lead you to your true calling; your destiny. Now don't get me wrong; I am not saying that we cannot control our destiny's to a degree!

The lesson in this is that desire and destiny can be completely different, and your destiny is often times far more important than your desires. If in the end, the person you desire to be and the things you desire to have come to fruition, then maybe you were destined to have everything you desire...and that will be amazing! But if the things you desire in life don't work out the way you hoped they would, don't let it ruin your spirit...for often many times, the failure to have, and meet your desires, will lead you to your true calling...and when you can achieve your true calling in life, you will know it by the fulfillment you feel in your heart and soul!

Lee Dremel

Monday, August 21, 2017

Today's Workout: Chest

Today's workout consisted only of chest. For the better part of my lifting career I used a single body part 5-6 day split i.e. chest, back, legs, shoulders, arms, legs. But for probably the last 6 months I have just been training instinctively (basically deciding based on if anything is bothering me, I just skip it). For the most part, I have been training probably a couple body parts a day in my split lately. Here is today's chest workout:

15 minute treadmill walk (warm up)

Standard Push Ups: 3 sets x 20 reps (warm up)

Incline dumbbell chest press: 4 sets x 15/12/8/10 reps

Incline dumbbell flyes: 2 sets x 15 reps

Free Motion Seated Cable Flyes: 3 sets x approx. 15-20 reps

Machine Seated Dips: 2 sets x 20 reps

Again, right now as I am dealing with various injuries, I am not training for growth/strenght; this means I am using much lighter weight than usual, for higher reps, and simply just to keep my muscles acclimated to training. That way, when I get around to being able to push hard again, I won't feel like I am completely starting from scratch.

p.s., for online/email training program and pricing information, inquire through my website, or direct email!

Train hard, and enjoy the journey! 

Lee Dremel

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Yesterday's Workout: Total Body

I had taken a couple of days off from the gym, so I decided to do a little total body work out yesterday, just to kind of prep for the upcoming workout week. Since I was doing a little bit of everything, I did not overload any one particular muscle group. Here is the routine:

Leg Press- 3 sets x 30/20/20 reps

Seated Machine Dips- 3 sets x 20/20/15 reps

Seated Free Motion Cable Chest Flyes- 3 sets x 20/15/15 reps

Standing Cable Straight Arm Pulldowns (lats)- 3 sets x 20/20/20 reps

Seated Free Motion Cable Unilateral Shoulder Press- 3 sets x 20/15/15 reps

Standing Free Motion Cable Unilateral Cable Curls- 3 sets x 15/15/12 reps

Wide Grip Pull Ups (Bodyweight)- 2 sets x 15/10 reps

Nothing too fancy, the goal was really just to get something in!

Train hard and enjoy the journey!

Lee Dremel

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Today's Workout: Chest, Shoulders, and Back, Using GVT Method

Today's workout was done using the German Volume Training technique, as I have frequently done over the last couple of months. German Volume Training consists of doing 10 sets x 10 reps of one movement, and the goal is to aim for a load that is about 60% of your estimated one rep max for that movement. If done correctly, you should be able to use the same weight for all ten sets most of the time. There may be times where you have to decrease the load around say, sets 5 and 6, but you may actually be able to increase the load back to the starting weight in the later sets. This can be attributed to a neurological phenomenon that really does not have a concrete explanation. The other component I adhere to with GVT is specific rest periods that are timed, and I try to keep the rest period (usually 40 seconds) the same through the entire 10 sets.
Some of the benefits of GVT are being able to complete a workout in a shorter amount of time, overload one specific exercise/muscle group with a lot of volume, and only needing one machine/bench and specific weight for the entire workout for that muscle group. A drawback of GVT is that since you are only doing one exercise for a particular muscle group, you will inherently limit that muscle group from being fully stimulated from a variety of angles, hand positions, etc. So, with GVT, you are going to want to pick a compound exercise over an isolation exercise.
Here are a few examples of what I mean by this: If you want to use the GVT method for legs, you will need to pick a compound movement that utilizes the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Exercises such as squats, leg presses, deadlifts, and lunges are a few good examples. On the other hand, if you pick leg extensions, you would only be hitting the quads. If you pick leg curls, you will only be hitting the hamstrings.
Another example would be GVT for shoulders; you are going to want to pick a pressing (compound) movement over a raise (isolation) movement. Whether it is a dumbbell shoulder press, barbell military press, or a machine press, you will better stimulate all three heads (anterior, medial, posterior) of the deltoid (shoulder) than an (isolation) raise movement. If you chose a lateral raise, you would certainly overload the medial (middle) head of the deltoid, but the anterior (front) and posterior (rear) heads would not get as much work. If you choose a front raise, the anterior head would be overloaded, but the medial and posterior heads would get almost no work.
So it is important to remember that exercise selection is crucial when doing German Volume Training.
Here is my workout from this morning:

GVT- Smith Machine low (about 35 degree) incline chest press
1 warm up set x 20 reps
10 sets x 10 reps with 40 second rest periods (weight was increased 10 pounds after 4 sets)
GVT- Hammer Strength shoulder press
10 sets x 10 reps with 40 second rest periods
GVT- Lat Flexor (wide pull downs for back) machine
10 sets x 10 reps with 40 second rest periods 

Train hard and enjoy the journey!

Lee Dremel

Monday, August 14, 2017

Today's Workout: Biceps and Triceps

Truth be told, arms are one of my strengths in terms of ease of growth. I could probably be just fine getting ancillary arm work from chest, back, and shoulder training. However, I still like to throw in arm specific workouts because I enjoy them. That being said, here is today's exact routine:

Single arm cable pushdown superset with single arm overhead cable extension
-set 1 x 20 reps (warm up)
-set 2 x 15 reps (warm up)

Single arm cable curl superset with straight bar cable curls
-set 1 x 20 reps (warm up)
-set 2 x 15 reps (warm up)

Alternating dumbbell standard curls superset with hammer curls
-set 1 x 10 reps each style
-set 2 " "

Triceps single arm cable kickbacks superset with one arm overhead dumbbell extensions
-set 1 x 20 reps (kickback) x 15 reps (overhead extensions)
-set 2 " "

Hammer Strength machine single arm high curl
-set 1 x 15 reps
-set 2 " "

Seated machine dips superset with reverse (standing, facing machine, bent over) dips
-set 1 x 15 reps each style
-set 2 " "

I did not include any of the poundages I used (nor will I ever), because those will be unique to the individual. This workout was a bit unorthodox for me; as I am trying to heal up from various injuries, right now I am simply getting in the gym and lifting with fairly light weight to keep my body acclimated.

Train hard and enjoy the journey!

Lee Dremel

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Why Planning Your Workout Ahead of Time Sets You Up For Success

The value is often overlooked, but planning your workout before you head to the gym can greatly increase your success. When you plan out what muscle group(s) you are going to train on a given day, as well as planning out which exact movements you will do, and set/rep scheme, you have a vision. Having this vision is important, because your mind starts to prepare for these exact movements before you even step foot in the gym. Of course there will be times where you will have to modify your pre-planned workout; whether it be specific machines, weights, and/or benches are being used when you need them, or you realize a specific muscle is bothering you once you start to train, etc. But for the most part, you should be able to execute your plan.
Another benefit of pre-planning your workout is intensity; you are more likely to hit the weights with more intensity and focus when you know exactly what your plan of action is. While it is OK to train "instinctively" at times, I only recommend this style of training for seasoned lifters. For most people, when you go into the gym without a plan, you are more likely to spend too much time thinking about what you are going to do, exercise after exercise. You are also more likely to run into the problem of specific pieces of equipment already being used, especially if you train at a busier time of day. Certain routines will allow you to occupy a single bench or machine for several exercises in a row, thus diminishing the chances of something already being occupied.
To take it a step further, don't just plan your workout ahead of time in your head; actually write down your plan. Once you put your plan on paper, it becomes a tangible thing that you can see and envision. Of course it is OK to modify that plan when needed, and you are not locked into it just because you have written it down. Along with being able to visualize your workout, logging your sets, reps, and poundage used will allow you to gauge progress! This has a two fold benefit in that a) you won't have to always try and remember what weight you previously used, and b) when you see yourself getting stronger through the numbers, it can be one of the greatest motivators. If you are getting stronger, you can be assured that your body is changing, because this is how the muscles adapt to the increased load being placed on them. So the next time you plan on working out, plan that workout ahead of time for better success!
Train hard and enjoy the journey!

Lee Dremel

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Find Fitness Motivation In Setting Short Term Goals

Many people aspire to lose a ton of weight, gain muscle, run a marathon, or drastically improve their overall fitness level in many other ways. These are all awesome aspirations, but they can get lost in the shuffle when the goal is a long term one. If you want to run a marathon one day, but you haven't even started running at all yet, then the goal is most likely going to take quite a long time to accomplish. If you want to lose 100 pounds, but you just started working out for the first time, it is going to take you quite a while to reach your goal (in a healthy, sustainable way).
When we set goals for ourselves that may take a year or more to accomplish, we can easily lose our motivation, because the goal is so far away, it seems almost unattainable at times. But these goals are very attainable, and the key to reaching them is to set small, short term goals along the way. If you want to run that marathon one day, commit yourself to getting started now, and set short term goals as you go. These goals may be monthly, or even weekly, but they will help you to keep your eye on the prize. Maybe after just one month, you have reached a goal of being able to run a 5K. After a few more months, you may reach a goal of running a 10K, and so on. If your aspirations include tremendous weight loss, again, set monthly and/or weekly goals for yourself. You are not going to lose 100 pounds in a month, but you can certainly lose 10 pounds in a month! Aim for the 10 pounds and when you hit that goal, reset, and set your next goal, until you reach your ultimate goal.
Short term goal setting allows our minds to continuously see things as attainable, because the goals are within reach; we know that a week is nothing, and a month will be here before we know it. It is this mindset that allows for constant motivation, and is a way of holding ourselves accountable week by week and month by month. But what happens when the ultimate goal is reached? Once you run that marathon, what comes next? Do you give up running altogether? Or do you stay consistent with your training, even if you have not set another huge goal for yourself... if it took you a year or more of training to achieve your marathon goal, I would bet that the latter will hold true; you will stay consistent with your training because it has now become a habit, and almost second nature. The same holds true for the person who is trying to lose 100 pounds. It is going to take a lot of hard work and consistency to reach that weight loss goal, but once it is achieved, the individual is more likely to have success maintaining their new physique because of all of the time and effort it took to get there. Short term goal setting is a crucial component of long term success! It is awesome to set the bar high for yourself, but always continue to set your sights on the small accomplishments you can achieve along the way; because fitness achievements are a marathon, not a sprint!
Train hard, and enjoy the journey! 
Lee Dremel Fitness

Goal setting and motivation are just two of the I touch on in my eBook, "40 Fitness Fixes." You can get this book in PDF format available to view on all devices, at my website:
You can also connect with me at:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Finding Balance With Your Fitness and Nutrition

Far too often, people get over zealous in their commitment to achieving their fitness and nutrition goals, only to ultimately fail at their attempt. What exactly, do I mean by this? Here lies the notion of instant gratification, and wanting immediate results. Someone will set out to achieve their dream physique, and have an unrealistic expectation of the amount of time it takes to achieve it. In the endeavor to achieve their dream physique, a person will try and do a complete 180 overnight, in terms of drastically changing their diet and exercise regime. For most people, this drastic change usually ends up in a failed attempt. Because the changes were made drastically almost overnight, the sustainability of the lifestyle change is usually short lived. In terms of nutrition, the reason for this is when a person tries to change their entire lifestyle overnight, they are usually only able to keep up with the changes for a short period of time before they succumb to feelings of being deprived. Once a person begins to feel deprived of certain foods, those cravings can lead to the inevitable binge, which can then lead to that individual feeling guilty and/or discouraged. This leads to them giving up on their positive changes all together.
The same can be said for the exercise component; When a person goes from exercising very little (or not at all) to trying to exercise several hours a day, almost every day of the week, you can be assured that there is going to be a negative feedback associated with this. Since the body has not been properly acclimated to the physical stresses that are now being placed upon it, the individual can end up feeling extremely sore for long periods of time (a week or even longer), and actually feel like they have less energy than before (even though proper exercise should have a positive change on energy levels). Just as the burnout can quickly set in from doing a 180 in terms of the nutritional changes, the same can be said for the exercise component; if a person feels extremely sore and tired all of the time, their motivation to exercise will be very low, as they begin to only associate it with pain and a lack of energy.
Thankfully, there is a proper way (or a way that gives you a much better chance for long term success, at least) to make a lifestyle change in terms of fitness and nutrition. When it comes to nutrition, you can't go wrong with the "80/20" rule... Eat clean, healthy whole foods 80% of the week, and give yourself 20% wiggle room to indulge in things that may not be the best for you, but will satisfy your cravings. This way, you are less likely to feel deprived or that certain things are "off limits," and ultimately it allows you to stay committed and consistent, sustaining the positive changes for the long term! For example, if you eat fast food, drink soda, eat fried food, and eat sweets several days (if not every day) of the week, don't eliminate everything overnight. Start with eliminating the soda. You may be surprised to notice a positive change just from this, in only a few weeks. Once you feel confident that you have kicked the soda habit, try cutting down your sugar/sweets intake. If you eat sweets every day, start with 3-4 days a week, and progress from there. Then you can reduce the fast food and fried food intake, and so on. This is simply an example of how to go about making the changes, but you can see here that because the changes are gradual, there is a much greater chance of long term success because you are able to ween yourself off of things little by little. Once you have gotten control of the unhealthy eating habits, you can still allow yourself to splurge here and there (if desired), and this is where you find a balance! With regards to exercise, try and think along the same terms; if you are not exercising at all, try starting with one or two light exercise sessions a week. Even just 20-30 minutes can make a big difference. Once you feel comfortable with the exercise, you can slowly begin to add in additional days and/or increase the amount of time you exercise. Doing it this way should allow your body to properly acclimate to the physical stresses and it will not be such a shock to the system. If you are one of the few that can do a complete 180 overnight and achieve long term success, then by all means, more power to you! But for the many, even though instant gratification is a notion that is always present, it is the understanding that the best chance for long term success and sustainability comes from gradual changes and always finding a balance with your efforts!
For more helpful fitness tips, pick up a copy of my eBook "40 Fitness Fixes" at: You can also connect with me through my other social media platforms listed below.
Train hard, and enjoy the journey!

Lee Dremel

Monday, July 24, 2017

Information On Additional Places You Can Find Me and My Fitness Tips!

Check out my YouTube channel, Facebook page, and Instagram page for periodic fitness tips!

You can also purchase my brand new eBook titled "40 Fitness Fixes" at:

train hard, and enjoy the journey!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Stretching...Important, or Not?

While there are a few opponents of stretching, the vast majority of people (including myself) are huge proponents of stretching, its benefits, and its immense importance. I have a very simple answer as to why stretching is so important; I have had an injury to my lower back (lumbar spine) for about two and half years and when I practice consistent stretching of the lower back and gluteal muscles, I am in less pain. When I do not stretch consistently, I can feel the difference in pain and tightness from the moment I wake up.
Even if you do not have an injury, I firmly believe that regular stretching is vital for flexibility, improved performance in and out of the gym, and can possibly prevent injury from happening. If you naturally lack flexibility, stretching regularly doesn't necessarily mean you will ever have great flexibility, but it can definitely improve it. And if you never stretch, you can bet that your flexibility and mobility WILL decrease over time.
Another topic related to stretching is the appropriate amount of time to hold a stretch. I believe that if you are thoroughly warmed up, i.e., you have done some light cardio or have already worked out, you can hold certain stretches for as long as two minutes in some instances. At the same time, I do believe that if your muscles are cold, i.e. first thing in the morning upon waking up, you should not go right into long stretches, as this can be counter productive and actually lead to muscle pulls. Regardless if you are doing a long stretching session or a quick one, anything less than 15 seconds is most likely doing nothing for you. So no matter what period of the day you are stretching, aim for 20-30 second holds at minimum. Until next time,
train hard...and enjoy the journey!

p.s., pick up my eBook "40 Fitness Fixes" at: !!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Exciting News!!

Hello everyone!
I know it has been quite some time, to say the least...but I am BACK! You can look forward to regular postings from me on a weekly basis, and please feel free to comment on ANY and EVERYthing fitness and/or nutrition related that you have questions about, or have topics that you would like me to write about. When it comes to fitness and nutrition, my biggest passion is educating you guys, and helping you succeed in achieving your goals through continued education!

With that being said, I am super excited to announce that my eBook
"40 Fitness Fixes: A Practical Guide to Avoiding or Correcting Common Fitness Mistakes" is officially online and available for purchase at: This book has been an idea for a couple of years, and for the last 4 or 5 months I have been actively writing it. Let me tell you briefly about my inspiration for writing this book. First off, I have had a couple of major injuries from bodybuilding in the last 2.5 to 3 years or so, and I am still afflicted my these injuries today. I have spent so much of the time since then being angry at myself (for not following my own expertise), feeling sorry for myself, having regret, etc. But one day I decided that having all of these negative feelings was not going to change my circumstances; so I decided to find a positive spin, or silver lining if you will, from it all... and that was the beginning of my inspiration for this book. I knew that I could provide the necessary education to everyone out there who may just be starting their fitness journey, or have even been working out for a few years but just don't feel like they have the hang of it, to avoid suffering the injuries that I have dealt with. Now I would be remiss if I did not disclose this undeniable fact: that even when performing exercises with perfect form, there is always a risk for injury. Just like in all areas of life, we can control a lot of things, but we cannot control everything. That being said, my injuries were more likely the result of lifting too heavy, not listening to my body when it told me to back down the frequency a bit and take a break, or a combination of the both.
My other inspiration for wanting to write this book was the kind of educational material I was seeing, or should say, wasn't seeing in the marketplace, online, etc. Over my 20+ years of bodybuilding, working out, exercising, however you want to phrase it, I have come across endless books and articles on different workout routines, meal plans, etc., but I never quite found a quality piece of literature that talked about some of the most commonly made fitness mistakes, both in and outside of the gym... so I decided to provide that information myself!
My "40 Fitness Fixes" talks about some of the most common mistakes I see made every single day, including mistakes I have made myself, and how you can fix these mistakes, or avoid making them altogether! So if you want to get the most out of your fitness and maximize your potential success, I highly recommend picking up this book. It is over 100 pages of text, spread out through 8 Chapters, of critical information you need to know in order to be successful in your fitness endeavors. 
The website is:  and the book is currently only $9.99. You can purchase it directly from the website, and you will automatically receive the eBook in downloadable PDF format. You can also connect with me by subscribing to the newsletter that you will see a pop up prompt for, shortly after entering the website. Lastly, you can connect with me through my other social media platforms:
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Have an awesome day, and remember... train hard, and enjoy the journey!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Water- Drink A Ton!

I have given my water intake recommendations before; half of your body weight in ounces (although I prefer a gallon a day). However, as I am sitting in our 100 degree Florida (which feels like 200), it occurred to me that I need to give an additional recommendation-

If you live in (or are visiting) an extremely hot climate like the southwest or southeast, and are exposed to the heat for extended periods of time throughout the day, I encourage you to drink considerably more water than you usually consume.

Your body will lose water at a much faster rate in intense heat, and you may become dehydrated much faster. The goal EVERY day is to never be dehydrated (which you will achieve if you are consuming at least half of your body weight in ounces).

On top of your normal intake, you will probably need anywhere from around 30-60 ounces more water in hot climates. Listen to your body, but remember to avoid waiting until you are already thirsty...this is your body's way of telling you that you are already reaching levels of dehydration.

Train hard, and enjoy the journey!

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

MCT's For Optimal Performance!

Whether you are looking to build lean muscle, burn fat, or both, it is important to start the day off with the right kind of breakfast! Regardless of what time of day you train (but especially important for morning training), I suggest swapping carbs for a good source of fat. If you eat eggs, you need to eat the WHOLE egg, as the bioavailability of the protein is maximized with the whole egg. But really, the best choice for fat in the morning is MCT's (either from straight MCT oil, or coconut oil). MCT's, or medium-chain triglycerides have been shown to be used by the body as fuel, rather than the propensity to be stored (like saturated, or long-chain triglycerides). Because MCT's are used for fuel, they will provide a better source of fuel for a morning workout, and they won't still be floating around in the body post-workout like saturated fats (which will delay the uptake of your post workout protein).
You do NOT need carbs for breakfast, even with morning training sessions! Force your body to use the fat you provide it, along with stored fat, for fuel! This method will give you a better chance for fat burning, while still providing the body fuel and protein for muscle building/sparing. A good example for a great breakfast (especially for morning training) would be:

-a lean protein source (chicken, turkey, white fish)
-a vegetable (broccoli is a good choice)
-MCT oil, or coconut oil (can be put on vegetable or taken separately)

Try to start thinking outside the box and try eating meat and vegetables at breakfast!

Train hard, and enjoy the journey!

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Finding What Fuels You

When embarking on your fitness journey, try not to get caught up in the trappings of trying to figure out the "right" way to train. Sure, there are some general guidelines to follow for building lean muscle and burning fat, but there is no "one right way" to do it!
Fitness is more about finding what fuels you; learning what type of training you enjoy and that motivates you, so you enjoy the process and stick with it! Learn to figure out your OWN body; what works, what doesn't, etc. Everyone is different, and even if you find someone who looks nearly identical to you in height, weight, structure, etc., you can be assured that their body is completely different than yours. What works for one person may not work for another.
So rather than being overwhelmed with all of the different information out there on training, nutrition, etc., don't be afraid to continuously experiment with different training methods that you find, until you find what works for YOU.

Enjoy the journey, and train hard!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Meal Cadence (Properly Timed Eating)

So often, the focus on nutrition is what to eat, and how much to eat. But another important factor that is often overlooked is the timing of meals. When you are actively involved in fitness, how often you eat is extremely important. Forget the old "three square meals a day" adage. I believe that it is crucial to supply your body with nutrients about every 3 hours, and there are several reasons why.

Whether you are in a "bulking" phase looking to add mass, or a "cutting" phase looking to shed body fat, the 3 hour rule applies across the board! First let us look at why it is important for someone looking to get lean to eat every 3 hours; when you supply your body with a steady stream of nutrients, you keep your "furnace" (metabolism) revved up, which will in turn keep you in a better fat burning mode all day long. Second, when you eat more frequent meals, you avoid having to eat overly large quantities in a single sitting, in order to meet your daily caloric needs. Another benefit of eating smaller meals is that you do not overload your GI system, and allow your body to better absorb more of the nutrients you are providing it. It is important to note that this method of eating begins within an hour of waking up; this is very important to kick start your metabolism for the rest of the day!

Now let us look at why meal cadence is important for the person looking to bulk (add lean muscle). Eating every 3 hours ensures that you minimize your body being in a catabolic (muscle burning) state, which is counterproductive to gaining muscle. The other benefits that apply to the person looking to cut body fat also apply to the person bulking! Better nutrient absorption, less GI system stress, and the allowance of smaller meals since the frequency of eating is increased.

Whether you are looking to lose body fat or add lean muscle, eating every 3 hours or so is universally beneficial. The only real difference between these goals is the amount of food that is eaten at each sitting. While the person looking to lose body fat may have 3 main meals with a couple of snacks in-between, the person looking to gain weight will need to eat full meals at each sitting.

Enjoy the journey and train hard!

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Setting Clearly Defined Fitness Goals

One of my "50 Biggest Fitness Mistakes Beginners Make," not having clearly defined goals can be detrimental to your success. The biggest benefit of creating goals for yourself is that it gives you something to strive for, and ultimately, keep you motivated. When you first embark on your fitness journey, you have to ask yourself "what do I want to achieve?"
Setting clearly defined goals will in turn, allow you to have a plan of action to achieve them! If you do not have a goal (or several goals) before you enter the wonderful world of fitness, you are more likely to aimlessly plot along, just instinctively doing whatever comes to mind at the time. Now I will say, instinctive training has it's place, and I use it often; but I have been weight training for almost 20 years, so I have a solid foundation of experience and vast knowledge to be able to do this. I believe there is no place for instinctive training for a beginner.
As previously stated, I feel that the biggest benefit of setting goals is the motivation factor. In order to keep yourself motivated, (and trust me, you WILL lose motivation from time to time) it is best to set both short AND long term goals for yourself.
Think out of the box; these goals do not need to be strictly number oriented i.e., losing/gaining weight, lifting more weight, more reps, etc. Get creative based on what you hope to achieve. Maybe you want to be able to run a 5K within 3 months. Maybe you want to improve your resting heart rate, or go from 1 workout a week to 3 or 4! Maybe you want to be able to hike up a local mountain (sorry my Florida peeps, I know, I know..) without keeling over, near death!
Whatever your goals may be, it is important to define them, and then create a plan to accomplish them. Setting short term goals (meaning a goal you want to reach say, every 8-12 weeks) will hold you accountable week by week. Hopefully, if you can stay on track with your short term goals, you will ultimately reach your long term goals (goals that may take a year or so to accomplish). Lastly, and probably most important, is to write your goals and your plan of action down! This way, it is not just an idea in your head, but something tangible you can look at and have as a daily reminder.
Enjoy the journey, and train hard!

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Free Weights vs. Machines

Free weights (dumbbells and barbells) and machines both have their place in the gym. Let us examine some of the pros and cons of each...
The biggest benefit of free weights is the requirement of stability. When using free weights, your body's stabilizer muscles that surround the joints are required to perform. This is especially true when using dumbbells, because now each arm's stabilizer muscles have to work independently. For example, if you are doing a seated overhead dumbbell shoulder press, or a lying dumbbell chest press, each shoulder, pectoral muscle, and shoulder/elbow stabilizers have to do the work. This unilateral work will ensure that you minimize strength and size imbalances between each side of the body, top to bottom, and front to back.
The drawback to free weights is safety. If you are a beginner, or unsure of proper form and usage, you have a greater risk of injury with free weights, especially if you are not using a spotter.

Machines offer a variety of exercises for every body part. There are different types of machines, i.e. cable resistance, plate loading (offers more of a free weight feel), cable resistance with swivels (to encourage extra stability work), etc. Machines are great for beginners, because they move through a fixed range of motion, which minimizes the risk for injury. Cable resistance is also beneficial in offering a different feel than free weights, which rely solely on the weight and gravity. There are also many machines that give you movement options that simply cannot be mimicked with free weights. Machines do not require a spotter, which is another benefit for a beginner. The downside to machines is that they do not recruit as much muscle as free weights, and therefore should not be used solely (without free weights).

Conclusion: I would say that my personal regimen is made up of around 70% free weights and 30% machine work. Both have their rightful place in a workout regimen, and I feel that everyone should try and implement both in their workouts. However, I feel that in the long run, free weight training will always be KING. Mass building exercises such as squats, dead lifts, pull ups, rows (barbell/dumbbell), military press, dumbbell shoulder press, chest press, etc. all utilize free weights. The best way to ensure that you are getting a well rounded workout attacking the muscles from all angles/positions is through using both free weights and machines. But I suggest that free weights should always remain the foundation of your routine! Train hard!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Losing The Fat

Stop focusing on getting "skinny," period. Instead, aim your focus on getting stronger and building lean muscle. This is the best way to burn fat. Add more lean muscle to your frame, and get that metabolism revved up!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Smart Lifting

One of my "50 Biggest Fitness Mistakes Beginners Make" topics, lifting smart vs. lifting with ego will allow you to make way better progress, and will allow you to be much less likely to suffer severe injury. Trust me, I've been through it so I can give personal insight to the topic.
When bodybuilding for aesthetics (muscle growth and symmetry), it is far more important to train with a weight you can handle (and which allows you to keep proper form) then to try and throw heavy weight around for the sake of seeing how heavy you can lift. Keep an eye out for my future eBook, where I will go into further detail on this subject. Train hard and train smart! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Calories: Bulking and Cutting (Part II- Macronutrients)

In part I of this post, I talked about where to start in terms of a calorie range for bulking and cutting. Here in part II, I will discuss macronutrients, their percentages, and why they can be even more important than counting overall calories.

For simplicity, let us first understand macronutrients. Macronutrients (or macros, for short) are the major nutrients your body uses. These are: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Micronutrients are your vitamins and minerals.

Let me first give you a perfect example of why having a proper macro split can be more important than just counting calories: Lets say a woman (we'll call her Jane) who is looking to achieve fat loss exercises regularly (is very active), but has a slow metabolism (puts on fat easily). Jane actually found an ideal calorie range that would work for her body, but it isn't working. Lets say she is tracking her food, and I take a look at her numbers and see what her macro split is. After review, I see that she is eating 50% carbs, 30% fat, and 20% protein.

Right away I have spotted the problem. Even though Jane is active, she has a slow metabolism and easily puts on fat. Well if 50% of her calories are coming from carbs, and 30% are coming from fat, Jane is not going to be losing any fat anytime soon. She will also most likely not add any new lean muscle and will possibly burn a decent amount of her current muscle, because her protein intake is too low. I would immediately tell Jane that she should probably try a 40/40/20 split (carbs/protein/fat) to start with, and adjust accordingly from there (she may need to drop the carbs a bit more).

But a 40/40/20 split is not going to work for everyone, because EVERY body functions differently. Lets take myself for example. I am an ectomorph (or what is known as a classic "hardgainer"). This means that I naturally carry little muscle, but also little fat. I can eat pretty much anything without having to worry about putting fat on, but I have to work extremely hard to keep (and add) new muscle. All of that being said, coupled with my lightning speed metabolism, and I am better served with a 50/30/20 split (carbs/protein/fat).

This is why it is so important to look at WHAT you are eating, not just how much! It is also important to clearly define your goal(s) so you can adjust your nutrition as needed. Now lets do just a little bit of math to understand how to calculate your macros:

Carbs- 4 calories per gram
Protein- 4 calories per gram
Fat- about 9 calories per gram

Lets say you are looking to cut, are eating 1800 calories a day, and have a macro split of 40/40/20 (carbs/protein/fat). This means you need 40% of your total calories to come from carbs, 40% to come from protein, and 20% to come from fat. So...

Carbs- 40% of 1800 calories = 720 calories. Since carbs have 4 calories per gram, you are looking at
180 grams of carbs per day.
Protein- since your protein is also 40%, and protein also contains 4 calories per gram, your protein intake will also be 180 grams per day.
Fat- 20% of 1800 calories = 360 calories. Since fat has 9 calories per gram, you are looking at
40 grams of fat per day.

Hopefully all of these numbers help you learn how to calculate your macros, and why it is important. Remember, if you focus on hitting your daily macro goals, you will also hit your total daily calorie goal! Train hard, eat smart!