Thứ Sáu, 31 tháng 7, 2015

Factor Five: Get Your Complex Carbs

The poor old carbohydrate has gotten a bad rap. Over recent years, low carb diets have been touted as the solution to rapid weight loss. Believing that curbing the carbs will force the body to draw on their fat stores for energy, millions of people have extremely restricted their total carb intake while actually eating more fatty foods. For most of them, the fat stays where it is while their body starts eating into their muscle stores for that essential energy. It’s about time that the carbohydrate started getting the respect it deserves. Maybe then people will begin to be able to eat their carbs in a manner that promotes leanness and health – as well as muscle gain.

Carbs Promote Anabolism

Carbohydrates are complex sugar molecules that promote the release of insulin. Insulin is a potent anabolic hormone that transports amino acids into the muscle cell, to be utilized for repair and regrowth of the muscle. So, even if you are getting all the protein you need, without quality complex carbs, that protein will be a huge stack of coal sitting at the train depot – it won’t have a transport system to get it into the muscle.

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel source. The body can also use protein and fat for fuel but these macronutrients are far less efficient at providing the body with the energy it needs. All the carbs that you eat end up in your blood as glucose or blood sugar. Yet not all carbs are equal.

Simple VS Complex Carbs

The two broad categories of carbs are simple and complex. Simple carbs are made up of either a single sugar molecule or two sugar molecules linked together. They provide very little in the way of vitamin or mineral content. They are easily digested by the body and provide an immediate energy boost. This leads to an increase of the release of insulin in the pancreas. The insulin does the job of clearing the glucose from the bloodstream with the result that weak, low in energy and hungry. This leads to a repeat cycle of binging on more simple carbs and the whole process starts over. Simple carbs are not your friend.

Complex carbs are made up of many molecules and are known as polysaccharides. The majority of them consist of fiber. In contrast with simple carbs they provide a consistent, slow release of energy into the bloodstream. Complex carbs are nutritionally dense, being packed with vitamins and minerals. Complex carbs include starchy and fibrous vegetables as well as grains. Fiber is essential to efficient bodily function as it provides bulk for the intestinal contents, aids in digestion and the elimination of waste and helps ward of digestive tract disease and colon cancer. In addition, fiber can help you to lose body fat. Because they are so low in calories, you can eat a lot of them without impacting on your calorie count. The smart person, then, will use fibrous carbs to add bulk to their meals so that they aren’t eating too many calorie dense starchy carbs and proteins. Eating a starchy carb AND a fibrous carb at each meal will provide an ideal macronutrient mix.

Rather than staying away from carbs all together, the person who is interested in a balanced, sensible fat loss nutritional program will focus on eating natural, unprocessed carbs. She will reduce refined, processed carbs as much as possible. White sugar and white flour products should be on the ‘no go’ list.

Fruit Facts

Fruit provides natural sugars in the form of fructose. Fructose has been blamed as a fat stimulator and many people avoid eating fruit as a result. The fructose myth, however, has been well and truly laid to rest by scientific studies and fruit should be an integral part of any sound nutritional plan. A piece of fruit is a great source of vitamins and minerals as well as carotenoids, flavonoids and polyphenols, all of which promote heart health. Fruits are also high in fiber while being low in total calorie count.

How Many Carbs?

Aim for 50% of your total daily caloric intake from natural carbohydrates. 25 to 35 grams of these carbs should be in the form of fiber. To pack mass onto your frame, you need to be taking in 2 grams of carbohydrate per pound of bodyweight. So, if you weight 180 pounds, you’ll need …

180 x 2 = 260 grams of carbs per day

Over the course of six meals, this equates to about 44 grams of carbs per meal. In terms of calories, he should eat 1500 calories per day of carbohydrate, mixed between fibrous and starchy varieties. If he is eating six small meals over the course of the day, he will be ingesting approximately 250 carb calories per meal. Use the following lists to plan out the carb component of your meals.

  • Starchy Carbs:
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Yams
  • Oats
  • Beans
  • Brown Rice
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Pumpkin
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Fibrous Carbs:
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms

Factor Four: Curtail Cardio

Exercise, while good for us, induces a catabolic response in the body. Simply put, it places stress upon the body which results in the breakdown of body tissue. If our exercise sessions go on for too long, or involve extra training on top of our weights workouts, we will find it very hard to stay in an anabolic state.

Your weight training workouts need to be hard, intense and short. You need to get in, work the muscles like hell, and then get out. Your whole body workouts should be over and done with inside of an hour. If you train for longer than that, you will be entering a state of catabolism.

When you are ready to focus on getting ripped you can venture into the cardio area of the gym. Until then, however, you have no place there. Your goal as a hard gainer right now is to pack solid mass onto your frame. Cardio exercise that burns up valuable calories and depletes your energy reserves will put you in a state of catabolism. That is not what you want.

You should also consider the amount of sport that you’re playing. An hour of basketball every other day will not be conducive to either building muscle or staying in an anabolic state. If you are going to play sport, make sure that you replace the extra calories that you will be consuming. Remember that you will not build muscle if you are in a negative calorie balance.

Factor Three: Take Advantage of the Anabolic Window

After your workout your body is screaming out for protein. Your intense training has created tiny tears in the muscle cell that need fixing and rebuilding. Muscle glycogen has been depleted as a result of your workout. In addition, your workout has drained your body of energy. Your muscles are craving nutrients. This creates a window of opportunity for you to boost the body’s anabolic state. But beware – this window only lasts for twenty minutes.

Your body will begin the rebuilding through muscle protein synthesis and glycogen resynthesis immediately after the workout. This provides an ideal opportunity to provide protein and carbs to the muscle. So, don’t wait an hour to refuel your body after your training is done. Get some quality protein and carbs into your system straight away – even before you hit the shower.

To ensure that the protein gets to the muscle as quickly as possible you should rely on liquid protein sources after your workout. But remember you also need carbs to replenish your energy stores. Use a protein / carb shake that you can mix in your shaker bottle and gulp down as you head toward the change room. Make sure that the protein is whey based, as this is the fastest acting and most bio-available protein that there is.

Factor Two: Supplement for Size

Why Supplement?

The right supplements - taken at the right times - can help propel you to your bodybuilding and strength training goals by doing three things. They can increase your anabolic drive, improve your workload capacity and decrease your recovery time. Individually these factors can make a big difference. Put together they will work synergistically to power you towards your goals. Let’s consider them one at a time:

Anabolic Drive

The word ‘anabolic’ refers to the body’s ability to produce more muscle tissue. Anabolic drive involves the natural production of testosterone, growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), insulin, thyroid, cortisol and other hormones and growth factors involved in muscle growth. For athletes, it refers to the body’s ability to increase it’s anabolic (or muscle producing) response to exercise, nutrition, supplements and other factors.

In the case of supplements, those targeted towards increasing the production of testosterone, growth hormone and insulin, and decreasing cortisol, will result in both anabolic and anti-catabolic effects, thus maximizing the anabolic drive.

Workload Capacity

Endurance or workload capacity involves your ability to maintain high quality training throughout a workout. If your capacity is limited and you don’t have the energy, endurance or concentration necessary to train hard from the beginning of your workout to the end, it won’t matter how well you manage the other components - nutrition, supplementation and rest. Your diet may be excellent. You may even be training properly six days a week, but if you don’t have the overall energy and muscle endurance for a productive workout, you aren’t going to experience maximal progress or muscle growth.


This involves your ability to recover properly between sets as well as workouts. The goal is to ensure that the body recovers fully from the stimulus of exercise and to reduce the amount of time necessary for it to take place. Recovery is critical to muscle growth. Your body must recuperate from the catabolic process before productive protein synthesis can occur. The sooner you recover from a workout, the sooner your body can begin to respond to it and adapt by adding muscle.

When you don’t recover from workouts, you can go into a state of chronic over training. You’ll actually begin to lose muscle instead of gaining it. In the gym, you’ll find yourself lacking the energy to do further sets at maximum ability. Even if you do manage to get through a workout without losing effort, your body still won’t respond with the kind of adaptation you want - more muscle.

Certain supplements can have a strong effect on lowering recovery time and increasing muscle growth. Supplements targeting recovery can also help you handle additional stress in your training. If you want to extend workouts from four to six days a week, supplements can help you accelerate recovery to make those workouts productive. Similarly, if you’re training for another sport, in addition to your bodybuilding and strength training endeavors, supplements might just spell the difference between being able to train for both effectively and having the dual training sabotage your progress in both areas.


You can decrease the breakdown of muscle tissue both during and after exercise and thus provide potent anti-catabolic effects in several ways. A lot of substances and methods decrease muscle breakdown and have anti-catabolic effects; for example taking in adequate carbohydrates is known to have a protein sparing effect.

Certain supplements can also create an anti-catabolic effect. Cortisol is a necessary hormone and in plays a significant role in decreasing muscle stiffness and inflammation. Without normal and somewhat elevated cortisol levels, we couldn’t even exercise properly - so it wouldn’t matter what training, diet, drug or nutritional supplement regimen you followed. Yet, chronically elevated levels of cortisol have a catabolic effect on muscle and decreases the effect of anabolic hormones. Decreasing the amount of cortisol after exercise can provide you with an added anabolic boost by decreasing muscle tissue breakdown and increasing amino-acid influx and utilization by muscle cells. In addition, decreasing catabolism by using appropriate methods and supplements can dramatically increase protein synthesis and muscle mass.

Substances that decrease catabolism can have anabolic effects on muscle. But like growth hormone stimulation, many nutritional supplements can also have anti-catabolic effects. Increasing dietary calories and protein and using branch chain amino acids, glutamine, alanine and other amino acids, Vitamin C, beta-carotene and other anti-oxidant vitamins have been shown to lessen muscle breakdown.

Supplements can also be used to increase insulin, Growth Hormone, IGF-1 and testosterone levels, and decrease cortisol levels and decrease cortisol levels and other anti-catabolic factors at specific times to maximize increases in lean body mass.


Let’s face it – we’re all busy. It’s not easy to get 40 or so grams of whole food protein into our body every three waking hours. Quality protein supplements, while never as ideal as whole foods, can be a life saver in this regard. Low-carb protein supplements are available in powder forms, as ready to drink bottles or cans, and as protein bars. These options make it a whole lot of easier to fill your protein requirements. However, try not to use supplements for more than two of your six daily meals. The human body was designed to eat protein, not to drink it!

In Chapter Seven we will reveal the essential supplements that you need to pack on quality mass fast.

Factor One: Be Protein Positive

Your muscles contain about 40% of the protein in your body. It is the raw material from which you are constructed. It is crucial in the rebuilding and recovery process. Yet, the consuming of protein, in itself, does not build muscle. It needs to be just one in a whole continuum of factors that work synergistically to bring about the end result of more mass on your frame.

Muscle growth can only occur if muscle protein synthesis exceeds muscle protein breakdown. This means that there must be a positive muscle protein balance. Strength training improves muscle protein balance, but, in the absence of food, the balance will remain negative, or catabolic.

The ingredient within protein which makes it so vital in the muscle building process is nitrogen. Unlike carbohydrates and fats, protein contains nitrogen, which is essential for the replacement of body cells. To be able to build muscle, and even to keep the muscle that we currently have, we must be in a state of positive nitrogen balance. That means that we need to be taking more nitrogen into our bodies than we are expending in the course of our daily activities.

If proteins are the building blocks of the body, then the building blocks of protein are amino acids. There are 20 amino acids that can be reformulated in a vast number of ways to create hundreds of different proteins. A dozen of these amino acids are able to be produced naturally by the human body. They are known as non essential amino acids because we don’t have to rely on outside food sources to get them into our body.

The remaining 8 amino acids are known as essential because they can’t be manufactured by the body and must come by way of the food we eat.

Here are the eight essential amino acids:

· Lysine

· Isoleucine

· Leucine

· Methionine

· Phenylaline

· Threonine

· Tryptophan

· Valine

Proteins sources that contain all eight of the essential amino acids are referred to as complete proteins. Many complete proteins come from animal sources. That’s because an animal’s molecular structure is similar to a human being. Here are some great animal sources of complete protein:

· Chicken Breast

· Salmon

· Turkey Breast

· Lean Beef – flank steak, bison, sirloin, lean ground beef

· Low Fat Pork

The very best complete protein source of them all is the egg.

As a hard gainer, you should aim for 1.5 grams of protein for every pound of bodyweight. So, if you are currently 175 pounds, you should be taking in …

175 x 1.5 = 262.5 grams of protein per day.

This consumption should be spread over the course of six or seven meals during the day. Your body can only absorb about 50 grams of protein at one sitting. By eating six meals per day, spaced about three hour apart, you will be able to get your daily protein requirement without any waste.

Our 175 pound guy will be taking in …

262.5 / 6 grams of protein per meal

That equates to 43.75 grams per meal. To give you an idea of how much of a certain food to consume in order to get your protein requirement in, a large egg contains 6 grams of protein, while most lean meats like beef, chicken, turkey and fish contain 6 grams of protein. Milk contains 1 gram of protein per fluid ounce.

Thứ Năm, 30 tháng 7, 2015


When it comes to muscle, your body knows two processes – anabolism and catabolism. They are the ying and yang of bodybuilding. The positive and the negative. The building up and the tearing down.

You goal is to be in a state of anabolism as often as possible. To build muscle that’s where you need to be. Working out hard is not enough. Unless you’ve got all of the other factor in place, that sweat and strain will be all for nothing. So, what are these other vital factors that will determine whether your efforts in the gym will translate to mass on your frame?

By ensuring that the following 9 factors are taken care of consistently your body will be in the prime state to build muscle mass – the anabolic state…


As the title of this chapter implies, your goal with eating over the next 12 months will be to gain muscular size. Despite the marketing that we see all around us about how you can get ripped while packing on mass, that is not what you are after right now. As a hard gainer, you cannot realistically get six pack abs while putting a dozen pounds of muscle mass onto your frame.

To gain muscle mass, you need to train hard and smart. You also need to give your body the time to recover, replenish and rebuild. The third ingredient is fuel, in the form of nutrition. If you are taking in more quality calories than you are burning, then the balance will be utilized to build muscle mass.

This doesn’t mean that you are going to throw yourself into the old school bulking up mentality. Clearly all calories are not equal. Gaining weight is not your goal here – gaining lean muscle mass is what this is all about. That’s why you will be eating clean nearly all of the time.

Neither will you indulge in an one the current crop of fad diets that are promulgating cyberspace right now. Intermittent fasting, the Keto diet or anything else that hits your inbox may work for some. But for you, as a hard gainer, right now it simply doesn’t apply. You are going to stick with a basic balanced, macronutrient program based on calories per day.

Your Maintenance Calorie Level

In order to determine how many calories you need to be consuming each day, you need to firstly work out how many calories you need to be taking in just to function. Everything you do , from breathing to scratching your nose, burns calories. If you don’t take in enough calories to meet these needs, then you will find yourself in a catabolic state (not a good place to be).

A simple formula to allow you to work out your maintenance calorie level is to multiply your current bodyweight in kilograms by 24.

Alternatively, multiply your current bodyweight in pounds by 0.45, then by 24

Let’s take a 180 pound guy. First we’ll multiply his bodyweight by 0.45 to get his weight in kilograms …

180 x 0.45 = 81 kilograms

Now, we do the second calculation …

81 x 24 = 1944

So, we now know that our 180 pound guy requires about 1950 calories per day to maintain his current bodyweight and supply the energy for his activities over a 24 hour period.

Our goal, of course, is not to maintain our body weight. We want to add muscle mass. We don’t want to add too many calories, as we are conscious of putting on lean mass only. A sensible amount to shoot for is 300 extra calories per day. 300 calories is manageable, without leaving your feel bloated. Yet, over the course of 12 months (and you need to be thinking of this as a year long program), you will have taken in an extra 109,500 calories. This will provide your body with a whole of quality fuel for building muscle.

So, let’s go back to our 180 pound guy, and add our extra calorie count …

1944 + 300 = 2244

We now have our daily calorie count of around 2250 calories per day.

Now, clearly, you aren’t going to take all of those calories into your body in one huge meal. But, neither should you do so over the course of three meals. To provide prime fuel for your body you need to give it a continual supply of nutrients. In fact you should be feeding it every two and a half hours. So, that is what you’ll be doing. You’ll learn more about why and how your should be eating every two-three hours in Chapter Six, but for now you need to establish how many calories you should be consuming at each meal.

To do this, we simply divide your total calorie figure by six.

So, for our 180 pound guy …

2244 / 6 = 374 calories

Our 180 pound hard gainer needs to be consuming 374 calories every meal, with meals spaced three hours apart.

Macronutrient Breakdown

The three macro-nutrients in our foods are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Well examine them in more detail in the next chapter. Our job right now is to establish the ideal ratio between these foods for each of your six meals.

Carbohydrates are the energy source that your body relies upon for everything that it does. Carbs are especially important for those, like you, who are engaged in hard, intense weight resistance training.

Protein, of course, is essential for building muscle. Everything in your body is composed of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. In order to recover from your workouts and rebuild your body, you need to ensure that a steady supply of quality protein is flowing through your blood stream.

Fats come in good and bad varieties. The good fats are known as essential fatty acids (EFA’s). The two primary categories of EFA’s are omega-3 and omega-6. You need them for a whole host of health, wellness and muscle building benefits. The best sources are fatty fish like salmon, sardines herring, mackerel and rainbow trout as well as flaxseeds, walnuts, fish oil, avocado and flaxseed oil.

The ideal macronutrient for the hard gainer bodybuilder is …

50% Carbs / 30% Protein / 20% Fats

  • That means that, at every meal, half of your plate should be filled with complex and fibrous carbs, three fifths of the other half should consist of a quality lean protein and the balance should be a healthy fat.
  • Nutrition Guidelines Summary
  • Have your first meal when you first get up in the morning, then space them out every two and a half hours, i.e…

  • Don’t skip meals – work the plan. In the next chapter, you’ll find some great ideas on how you can ensure that you get in very single meal, even when you’re on the go!
  • Cut out calorie laden beverages. Stick with water.
  • Make wise use of liquid protein supplements. They are great way to help you get your protein and calories while you’re on the run. Don’t have more than two meals per day in the form of protein shakes, however.
  • Count calories for the first couple of weeks. From there you should be able to gauge your meal sizes by sight.
  • Allow your self one cheat meal every seven days. Make it a midday meal if possible. Enjoy yourself, but don’t go too crazy!
  • Make sure that your post workout meal allows you to get quality protein and carbs into your body within twenty minutes of finishing the workout.


The sweat trickles down his forehead. The calloused hands tighten on the bar. He bites his lip and focuses on the 500 pounds of cold steel hovering over his body. The grip tightens and he eases the bar off of its support rack. Slowly, but steadily, the weight descends to his sternum …

As the bar kisses his sweat soaked t-shirt, his triceps come into action and the weight begins to rise. Two inches from his body, however, the bar stops. He has reached the sticking point - the moment on the lift that is the most difficult. Now, with more than a quarter-ton threatening to splinter his ribcage into a thousand pieces, he surges every fiber of his being into the fray. A Neanderthal grunt escapes his throat as his massive chest swells the t-shirt to breaking point. But the weight refuses to budge. Sensing failure he glances skyward. Within that moment the reassuring fingers of his training partner gently glide the bar upward past the sticking point and it’s easy now. He can glide the weight back to it’s staring position.

He’s ready for one more rep …

Take the partner out of that equation and what have you got? At best a set that finishes too early - at worst a severely injured iron pumper. All of which would seem to suggest that a bodybuilder without a training partner is a bit like a smoke detector without batteries - it looks the part but it’s just not up to the job. But hang on a minute - isn’t bodybuilding meant to be the ultimate isolationist sport? In fact, didn’t the great one himself (that’s Governor great one to you) once admit that he gravitated to it because he didn’t want to share the glory with others? Well, yes but he was also a part of one of the hottest training partnerships in the history of muscledom. Hey - when you’ve won 7 Mr Olympia’s, you’re allowed a few contradictory statements. So much for him - what about you? Should you put out for a partner or continue hitting the plates as a lone wolf?

Are Two Really Better Than One?

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their hard work. For if one of them should fall, the other can raise his partner up. But how will it be with just the one who falls when there is not another to raise him up?

Sounds like good bodybuilding advice, right? Well, in fact, those words were written over 3,000 years ago in the Bible (no, we’re not referring to Bill Pearl’s Keys to the Inner Universe - were talking about the REAL Bible, Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 to be exact). So, how about it? Does the revealed wisdom of the Creator translate to the gym floor? Why not check out the pros and cons and decide for yourself?

Partner Positives


The number one advantage of a training partner is that they are there to protect you if you get into trouble under the heavy iron. Serious bodybuilding equals heavy lifting and pushing a set to failure and beyond. Without a partner you simply cannot do that as efficiently. Sure, you can always ask the guy working out next to you for a spot when you think you’re going to need one, but unless a spotter is tuned into you and your specific needs, nine times out of ten their help will actually ruin the set for you, either by giving too much assistance or by causing the bar to ascend unevenly. A partner who knows how to spot you will do the job properly.


It doesn’t matter how dedicated we are to packing mass onto our frames, all of us have times when we’re dragging the chain, when just getting to the gym is a monumental effort, when our warm-up set feels like a ton, when we’re on auto-pilot and can’t wait to get out of the place. A good partner can be the perfect antidote to these stale, unproductive patches. For a start, just knowing that someone is going to be waiting for you gives most people (those with a least a spark of conscience, anyway) a kick in the butt out the door. And unless you’ve teamed up with the clinically depressed, the odds are that they’ll show up with some of the energy that you’re lacking. That energy could be the very thing you need to transform a by the numbers work-out (in other words, a total waste of your time) into a muscle quivering growth explosion.


We humans thrive on competition - it brings out the best and the worst in us. Having a training partner can allow you to put that piece of psychology to use in your muscle building endeavors. You can push each other to your limits, try to outdo each other and even go crazy once in a while. Schwarzenegger and Columbu, for instance, used to have curl fests where they’d load up a bar and then one of them would do as many strict curls as he could. After the last rep he’d literally throw the bar at his partner who’d try to do one more rep that what he’d done. This would go on until one of them either punked out or passed out. The shock factor to their biceps allowed them to blast through plateaus and keep stretching that tape measure. Stuff like that every now and again will make your workouts more exciting and more productive.

On the Other Hand …

Wasted Time:

It’s an all too familiar scenario … you’re on the go. You’ve got work to finish off at home tonight, a wife who needs affection and a couple of kids who are hanging out for their bed time story. So what the hell are you doing standing around waiting for that bozo workout partner to make an appearance? Throw in the fact that workouts are going to take longer and, unless you’re careful, you could easily lose the advantage of zero rest time between sets on certain techniques like pre-exhaustion and super setting, and the time factor becomes a real issue.

Bad Technique:

Some people just don’t how to spot - no matter how many times you try to show them. Having a bad spotter is infinitely worse than not having one at all. If they take too much of the weight, your set is ruined. And if they focus on the babe on the leg adductor machine instead of the weight in your hand, your set, not to mention your potential well being, is on the skids once again.

Different Mindsets:

Finding partner who wants to build muscle may not be that difficult. But how about finding one who’s willing to get out of bed at 5:30 every morning, who’s open minded enough to try training routines that fly in the face of what they think they know and who’ve got the guts and determination to consistently push through the pain barrier. It ain’t that easy.

Internal Motivators:

Tom Platz retired from competitive bodybuilding well over a decade ago. Yet, he’s still revered as one of the hardest trainers of all time. Funny thing is, his motivation didn’t come from a training partner. From within himself, Platz was able to summon up seemingly super human qualities of concentration, focus and intensity. Platz would play mind games on himself wherein his temporary reality would be that his wife had been kidnapped and would be killed if he didn’t get a certain number of reps on a certain exercise that he was doing. The results were legendary workouts. Needless to say, Platz was the ultimate lone wolf. A partner would have ruined his ability to concentrate. There are many such individuals who are able to fully self-motivate and to whom a partner would be nothing short of a pain in the gluteus maximus.

Program Conflicts:

So, your weak point is your upper pecs. Your partner, however - well you could balance a glass of water on his damned pecs and not spill a drop. His delts, however, are another story. Unlike yours, they’ve got no width. Clearly you’ve got different weak points. A good program should be built around hammering weak points first, but what’s a guy to do when he and his partner have different areas of priority. Compromises will necessarily have to be made which could led to less than optimum workouts.

And the Verdict Is …?

Now that we’ve got you nice and confused, what are you going to decide - partner or solo? First determine if you’re a self motivator or a guy who thrives on external input. If you’ve got that Platz-like ability to summon up super-human energy, by all means go it alone. Talk to an instructor at the gym and explain to them that you prefer to train alone but that you’ll be calling on them for a spot when you go real heavy. If they’re any good at their job they’ll be happy to oblige and they’ll know how to spot you properly. If they’re not, then what the hell are you doing there?

Everyone else should seriously consider a training partner. They key, however, is to be selective. Get the wrong guy and your muscle building goals are in jeopardy. Here’s a checklist of qualities that you’ll want to have ticks beside if you’ve found the right partner. Have a trial of a couple of weeks and see how he goes …

How Does He Rate?


If the guys not there at least a couple of minutes before the scheduled start time of your workout, every workout for the first two weeks, can him. The first time he’s late, start your workout on time and let him jump in when he arrives - he’ll know you mean business.


Worse than being late is not showing up at all. A missed day during that trial period means the guy’s a total loser. Move on.


The last thing you want when you’re trying to focus is some goof spewing on about how great they are. In fact, those idiots who don’t know when to shut up and concentrate are even worse. So, if he suffers from verbal diarrhea, give him the shove.

Ability to Motivate:

He doesn’t have to bark catch phrases at you like a drill sergeant, but he should be able to gently say the right words at the right time to help you achieve at the highest level. He should now, after those first two weeks, what buttons to push to get you to push out those critical last couple of reps.

Comparable Strength Levels:

You don’t want to be flipping 20 pounders on and off between sets, so look for a guy who’s about as strong as you are, maybe even just a little stronger. The exception to this is the extra motivation a guy can get from working out with a female. It’s a proven fact that female partners give a male trainer the extra motivation to lift more - after all, who wants to fail in front of a girl?




3 X 5-8
3 X 8-12
3 X 15-20

3 X 5-8
3 X 8-12
3 X 15-20

NOTE: Always perform a light warm-up set on the first movement of each tri-set.



3 X 5-8
3 X 8-12
3 X 15-20

3 X 5-8
3 X 8-12
3 X 15-20

The Exercises

Some of the exercises that you will be using in your PHA training phase are familiar to you from your Phase One program. In this section we outline the proper technique for those that are not.

Dumbbell Incline Press

If the incline bench you are using is adjustable, set it to a very steep angle (no more than 30 degrees from vertical). The steep angle focuses the exercise on the uppermost section of the pecs. Bring the dumbbells up to your chest level. In the starting position the weights should be resting against your shoulders.

Press the dumbbells up, using the pecs to pull the arm up and cross the chest. Following this path makes the exercise more stable and puts minimum emphasis on the main synergist, the triceps. Keep your back flat against the bench as you lift.

At the top of the movement, hunch your shoulders forward and up to unsure that you get complete pec stimulation. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting point. At the bottom of the movement, feel for a stretch in the delts and pecs.

Upright Row

If you have access to a pulley machine, use it for this exercise. Otherwise a barbell will do.

Hold the barbell or pulley bar in the middle, palms down, hands touching one another. Stand directly above the pulley, if possible. Pull straight up until your arms are at shoulder level. Keep the bar close to the body. If you pull up with the bar away from the body, the exercise focuses on the anterior delt only. Hold for a second and then lower and repeat.

Dumbbell Curls

Begin with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing back. You can increase your stability and decrease general strain during the exercise by performing the movement leaning against a bench with your knees slightly bent.

Think of the exercise as a combination of two movements that must be smoothly integrated. First, supination of the forearm. This is simply rotating the forearm so your palm, which begins facing backward, ends up facing forward.

Second, a curl. Proper curling form is not obvious, nor is it what the body naturally does, if given a chance. The natural tendency with any exercise is to do as little work as possible. When doing curls, for example, your body adjusts to the position of greatest mechanical advantage, taking as much strain off your biceps as possible – not at all what you want to develop your biceps.

To maximize the work done by your biceps during any curl you must make sure that your elbows remain in close to the body. Moving the elbow away from the body takes most of the strain off the biceps and puts possibly damaging stress on the elbows. You should also keep your elbow slightly in front of you during the curl. The natural tendency is to let the elbow move next to the body – or worse, behind the body – as you raise the weight. This also takes the strain off the body.

When performing a supinated curl, both the supination of the forearm and the curling motion should occur simultaneously. The supination should not happen all at once. Try to rotate the forearm smoothly throughout the entire curling motion. Remember to bring your elbow in front of you to ensure maximum action of the long head of the bicep, which flees the shoulder as well as the elbow.

Lean into the curl at the top to keep tension on the biceps.

On the way down it is important to exactly reverse the movement performed on the way up.


Lie face up on a flat bench. Rest your feet on the end of the bench to prevent your back from arching during the exercise. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and extend your hands straight up, palms facing each other. Your elbows should not be bent.

Lower the weights to each side to just below the level of the bench. The weights – and your arms – should remain perpendicular to your body through your shoulders. Feel for the stretch across the midline of the pecs. Your arms should end up at right angles to your body. To minimize potentially harmful strain on your biceps and elbows, your elbows should be slightly bent at the bottom of the motion, with your arms above bench level.

Moving in the largest arc possible, bring the weights back up to the starting position. Keep your arms within the ideal plane. Do not increase the bend in the elbows. If you do, the emphasis will shift from the pecs to the triceps. At the peak of the movement, your shoulders should come up off the bench slightly as you bring the weights together.

Concentrate on feeling the exercise across your chest and not in your shoulders.

Calf Raises

Stand with your toes on the block of a standing calf raise machine, your heels extending out into space. Hook your shoulders under the pads and straighten your legs, lifting the weight clear of the support. Lower your heels as far as possible toward the floor, keeping your knees slightly bent throughout the movement in order to work the lower area of the calves as well as the upper area, and feeling the calf muscles stretch to the maximum. From the bottom of the movement, come up on your toes as far as possible. The weight should be heavy enough to exercise the calves, but not so heavy that you cannot come all the way up for most of your repetitions.

Side Lateral Raises

Hold two dumbbells, one in each hand, at your sides, palms facing your sides. Lift the weights out to the side, pretending that, instead of dumbbells, you have pitchers of water in each hand and that you are going to water some plants up at shoulder level.

Allow your elbows to bend and your forearms to drive slightly forward out of the ideal plane. As you reach the top of the movement, rotate your shoulders forward so the front plates of the dumbbells are slightly lower than the rear plates – just as if you were pouring water. This will raise your elbows slightly. The rotation should come from your shoulders, not your wrists or arms.

The pouring motion positions the lateral deltoid to take the brunt of the strain. If you don’t pour, the Anterior Deltoid helps out too much, decreasing the efficiency of the exercise.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Sitting on a bench, hold one dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, elbows out to the side, palms facing forward. Lift the dumbbells straight up until they touch at the top, then lower them again as far as possible. You will find that you are able to both raise and lower the dumbbells farther than you can a barbell, although the need to control two weights independently means that you are lifting slightly less poundage.


Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and hold two dumbbells at your sides. Take a bold stride forward, far enough so that your front thigh ends up parallel to the floor with your knees over (but not past) your toes. Quickly push back up to the starting position. Alternate legs, counting both legs as one rep.

Triceps Pushdowns

Hook a short bar to an overhead cable and pulley, stand close to the bar and grasp it with an overhand grip, hands about 10 inches apart. Keep your elbows locked in close to your body and stationary. Keep your whole body steady – don’t lean forward to press down with your body weight.

Press the bar down as far as possible, locking out your arms and feeling the triceps fully contracting. Release and let the bar come up as far as possible without moving the elbows. For variety, you can vary your grip, the type of bar you use, how close you stand to the bar, or the width between your hands.


15 – 12 / 10 / 8 / 6
15 – 12 / 10 / 8 / 6
Pull Ups
Total 30 reps
Bench Press
15 – 12 / 10 / 8 / 6
Military Press
15 – 12 / 10 / 8 / 6

How Long?

You should continue on this training program for 8 weeks. That will be long enough for you to should some real improvement in your strength and muscle gains, but not too long to bring on diminishing returns due to over familiarization.

At the end of eight weeks, take a complete week off from training before moving into your Phase Two program.

Phase Two: Peripheral Heart Action Training

Peripheral Heart Action Training has been around since the 1940’s, when it was developed by Dr Arthur Steinhaus. It was popularised in the ‘60’s by Mr Universe title holder Bob Gajda. PHA is designed to keep the blood circulating around the entire body during the workout. Even though it may sound like circuit training, it is actually a very intense and a very effective way to pack muscle mass onto your body. Unlike circuit training, PHA requires that you use heavy weight and that you stick with good form.

This is a great workout option for hard gainers. PHA training will give your muscles an amazing pump. By shunting the blood around the body, you will also be receiving some important neuromuscular effects. The varied rep and target muscle scheme creates greater neurological pathways to the working muscle. This increases blood flow to the muscle.

PHA training is built around compound movements – like the ones you’ve been using during your Phase One training. A major goal of your workout will be to shunt the blood around your body. Because you will be doing consecutive sets for different body parts, you will be allowing the target muscle more rest than with conventional training. This will allow you to use neat maximal strength output on each and every set.

With PHA training you need to be focusing on making your workout more intense with each and every session. Here’s how to do that:
  • push out more reps with the same weight
  • do more sequences within the same time space
  • put more weight on the bar

Performing PHA training with basic, compound multi-joint exercises like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses will be extremely hard work. In fact, the reason that PHA training is not used more frequently is simply that it is too damned hard for most people to be able to handle for any length of time. But you’re not most people – right?

How Does PHA Work?

Peripheral Heart Action training involves doing tri-sets of exercises. This means that you do one set of an exercise, then move directly to another exercise for a different body part, followed by a final exercise for a third body part. After a rest period, you go on to your next tri-set. The workout usually consists of two or three of these tri sets to work the entire body.

In this program you will be completing three sets of two tri sets per workout. This is intense training, as you move straight from one exercise to the next without any rest. At the end of your tri set, you rest for two to three minutes before you move to your next set.

You will be training every other day on this program. Remember that the exercises that are grouped together in your tri set is not for the same body part. You will be either performing Workout 1 or Workout 2, alternating them each workout.

The PHA Rep Scheme

A unique aspect of the PHA System that you are about to embark upon is the tailored rep scheme. Each exercise in a tri set has its own rep count. Here’s how it works:

Exercise One: The first exercise that you will do in each tri set will be done for 5 reps. That means that you will be using a very heavy weight on that movement. You should not go to failure, however.

Exercise Two: The second exercise will be done for a rep count of between 8 and 12. Start with a weight that will allow 8 good reps. As you get stronger, increase the reps until you can do 12. At that point increase the weight to the extent that you are again only able to pump out 8 reps.

Exercise Three: The third exercise in your tri set will involve doing between 15 and 20 reps. This will gorge the muscle with blood, providing an amazing pump.


The key to building, and keeping, consistent muscle mass is variety. The best program in the world for you will give you results for only so long. That’s because our bodies are extremely adaptive. When they become acclimatized to a workout program, your results will diminish – and finally stop all together. That is why you will presented with two workout phases in this book:

  • Phase One: Foundational Mass Training
  • Phase Two: Peripheral Heart Action Training

Your 12 Month Training Plan

You will be alternating between these two workout systems over the course of the next 12 months. Begin with your Phase One Program. Stick with it for 8 weeks, focusing on getting stronger while maintaining perfect form. At the end of 8 weeks, take a complete week off from training. Then go into your Phase Two Program. Work this program for a further 8 weeks. Then take another complete week off. Now go back to your Phase One Program for a further 8 weeks.

This Phase One / Phase Two rotation with a week’s gap between each phase will allow you to complete 3 phases of each workout over the next 12 months.

Phase One: Foundational Mass Training

The bodybuilding magazines and websites have made building muscle extremely complicated (and extremely lucrative) to the extent that every guy thinks he needs to do at least 6 exercise for his biceps and triceps alone. Split routines are the default workout style. Anything less is for the pencil neck geek and the clueless klutz.

Let everyone else in the gym carry on their merry multi exercise, isolation focused way. You are going to train smarter. For a hard gainer to build muscle what’s needed is increasing the weights, dropping the reps, taking longer rest periods between sets and to focus on the basic compound exercises. That’s why your entire routine is going to consist of the big 6 mass builders …

  • Squats
  • Dead-lifts
  • Pull Ups
  • Bench Press
  • Military Press

That’s it! No barbell curls, no pec dec flyes, no lying leg curls. Put all of your energy and focus into the compound exercises that are already working every muscle in your body.

What’s more, you’ll only be in the gym twice a week. Go with Monday and Thursday, to provide maximum rest between workouts. Do not be tempted to do more exercise than this - it will be counter productive. Just make sure that every single second of every workout is full on.

From now on, your training mindset needs to be: Get in, work your body like hell, then get out.

Unless you get your choice of exercise right, you’re going to be wasting a lot of time in the gym for very little reward. Heavy compound movements are the key to building muscle mass. These are the multi-joint movements that work a variety of muscle groups simultaneously. They also simulate real life movements, like squatting down or lifting something off the floor. Prime examples of compound movements are chin ups, squats and the bench press. These exercises are not only the best way to build bulk and they will get you stronger quicker than anything else. And, because they work muscle groups simultaneously, they are far more time efficient than isolation movements.

Optimized Exercise Technique

The following exercises will form the basis of your training:

· Squats

· Dead-lifts

· Pull Ups

· Bench Press

· Military Press

Let’s now take a close look at each of these core exercises:


Squats are known as a compound exercise, meaning that they target more than one muscle group. This simple movement does, in fact, directly stimulate every muscle group in the lower body. The prime movers, however, are the inner thighs, the butt and the hips. Indirectly, the squat even provides a workout to the muscles of the upper body. It also generates a great cardiovascular benefit. By taking deep breaths between each repetition and forcing the air out of the body on the ascent, the heart and lungs will be working overtime to support the work of the muscles of the body. This ensures that a ton of calories are being burnt and that the cardiovascular system is getting a rev up at the same time.

Preparation: Place an Olympic bar on the squat rack. At a weight of 45 lbs you won’t need to add any added weight but make sure that use a pad in the middle of the bar to protect your neck.

Execution: Position yourself under the bar and lift it off the rack. Step back and stand with your feet spread slightly wider than shoulder width and pointing slightly outward. Keep your back straight, your chest thrust out and your head up. Now tense your abdominal wall, bend you knees and lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the floor. To avoid excess strain on the knees, don’t go down any further. While squatting, keep your head up and your back slightly arched.

In the bottom squat position, your lower legs should be almost vertical to the floor. Push through your heels as you return to the starting position.

Breathing: Because squats include an aerobic component, it’s vital that you use proper breathing technique. If you don’t you may start to feel light headed after a few repetitions. As you lower yourself, breath in deeply. Then on the way back up, forcefully expel the air in one breath. During the final few repetitions, take two or three quick breaths between reps.

What Not To Do When You Squat

· Squatting over a bench. Every time you touch the bench with your glutes, your spine will compress slightly. Over time this may cause vertebral damage.

· Placing a block under your heels / turning your toes too widely outwards. Both of these will place unnatural stresses on your knees and, over time, can lead to injury.

· Leaning too far forward. Not only does this increase your likelihood of suffering spinal injuries, it also takes the stress off the quadriceps and onto the trunk extensor muscles.

· Allowing the knees to ride over the toes while allowing your heels to lift off the floor. Keeping your lower legs almost vertical may feel unnatural at first but it can make the difference between injured and healthy knees. Keeping your shin bones vertical drastically reduces your risk of injury.


Often referred to as the king of exercises, the barbell deadlift is an extremely effective mass builder. It specifically targets the legs and back, but will place secondary adaptive stress upon nearly every muscle group in your body. Here’s how to perform them correctly:

Squat down so your feet are under the bar, and the bar rests against your shins. Grip the bar using an alternate hook grip to prevent it from rotating. Your hands should be a little wider than shoulder width apart. Make sure to keep your back flat and tight throughout the movement.

Begin lifting the bar with a long, strong leg push, extending your knees and hips. Your knees should be bent as you lift the bar past them. Pull your shoulder blades together as you do this. Push your hips in toward the bar and keep the bar close to your body throughout the lift.

Continue the lift as if pushing the floor away from you with your feet, unless you stand up straight with your knees locked. Brace your shoulders back as you lift. Also make sure that you grip the bar tightly, so that it doesn’t rotate in your hand.

With your knees unlocked, and maintaining a tight, flat back and keep your head up, start to lower the bar under control. Your knees should be bent as you lower the bar past them. Move your hips back and down as you descend.

Slowly move your hips and shoulder together when lowering the bar back down to the start position. Do not drop the bar. Make sure that you are bending at the knees and pulling your shoulders back.

Correct lifting technique is essential with this movement. Never lift with your spine flexed forward. Not only will the exercise be ineffective if you do, but you also risk spinal injury. Always raise and lower your shoulders and hips together. Keep the bar close to your body and do not drop it at the end of the movement. Always lower the bar under control.

Dumbbell Variation

Using dumbbells for the deadlift recruits more muscles to control and stabilize movement. It is a good way of developing strength and technique for heavier barbell lifts. Start with light weights to determine your range of motion. As with the barbell lift, keep your back flat and the weights close to your body. Do not pause at the bottom of the movement or allow the weights to ‘bounce’ as you lower them.


Wide Grip Pull Ups to the front are a great movement to widen the upper back and create a full sweep in the lats. Chinning yourself so that you touch the chest to the bar rather than the back of the neck gives you a slightly longer range of motion and is less strict, allowing you to cheat slightly so that you can continue your reps even after you are tired.


Take hold of the chinning bar with an overhand grip, hands as wide apart as practicable.

Hang from the bar, then pull yourself up, trying to touch the top of your chest to the bar. At the top of the movement, hold for a brief moment, then lower yourself back to the starting position.

Tips for Maximum Results

  • Pay attention to the details so that you can extract the most from the movement. Let your legs hang down straight, and don’t jerk your way up. Just pull yourself up in a smooth motion, then let your body down under control. Jerking movements shift the effort, taking tension off the lats.
  • For maximum stretch and contraction, lower yourself to the very bottom of each rep and pull up until the bar touches the chest (or your chin in the later reps of the set).
  • A grip just outside the shoulders is very effective. However, you should vary it to stimulate the muscle somewhat differently. The wide grip invites the tendency to do half reps, but better development comes with full range ones.
  • As you move your grip on the pull up bar closer to your midline, the greater the lower lat development along with the intercostals. Try a series of sets, starting with and finishing narrow, inching your grip closer with the set.
  • Shoot for a specific number of reps, say 50, rather than counting sets. On the first set you may do 10 reps. Perhaps you struggle with eight on the second set. You’ve now got 18 reps. If you make five on the third set, you’re up to 23 reps. Continue to add them until you have reached 50, even though it may take you 20 sets to do it. That will allow you to build both size and power.
  • After you’ve mastered 10-12 reps in any type of pull up, you can start to put weight around your waist. That’s when the muscle really begins to grow. Add about ten pounds at a time, which should make the reps harder. As you become stronger, ad more weight. It’s only when you are able to start adding weight that your last will really grow!


The bench press is a key compound mass builder for the entire body. It places you in a position of power, enabling you to lift very heavy weight and, therefore, exert maximum stress on the working muscles. While its major target is the chest, it also works the triceps, the shoulders and the back. In other words, it gives a damn good workout to your entire upper body.

Before we delve into the specifics of bench press performance, let’s make it clear what our goal is. We’re interested in building muscle, right? The bench is a tool towards that end. That is why we refer to ourselves as bodybuilders rather than power-lifters. For power-lifters the weight itself is the goal and that means that the exercise, although bearing the same name, is performed in a quite different way to a person who is using it as a tool to work their body. The being said, how do we use the bench press to build muscle?

Here’s the basic technique:

Lie on a bench with your head, torso and hips resting against it and your feet planted on the floor. Take a hold of the bar with a full overhand grip and with your arms slightly wider than shoulder width. Lift the bar off the rack so that it is being supported above your collar bone.

Pulling your shoulder blades together, slowly lower the bar to just above your nipples. Press back up in a slightly arcing movement until the bar returns to it’s starting position. Stop just short of lock-out and remember to keep your shoulder blades pulled back.

The following tips will allow you to optimize your technique:
  • Either place a four inch block under your feet or position your feet on the bench. This will lessen the likelihood of back arch during the movement as well as preventing your quads from taking some of the load that should be going to your chest.
  • After taking a grip on the bar which is wide enough so that your forearms are not quite parallel, lift it off the rack and, with it positioned above your mid chest, pinch your shoulder blades together.
  • Lower the bar to the sternum (that is, just below the nipples). Your elbows should end up at 70 degree angles to your sides and your forearms should be vertical.
  • Touch your chest (never bounce), forcefully stretch your pecs and immediately drive upwards, squeezing your lats and arcing the bar up to its start position at mid chest. Lock out briefly between reps. Keep your shoulders down throughout the pressing movement.
  • Breathing: inhale while the bar is overhead, hold your breath during the descent and breathe out as you press back up.

Five Things To Never do on The Bench

Bring the bar down to your upper chest. It will place way too much harmful stress on your shoulders and could, if done repeatedly, land you in line for surgery – which is definitely not recommended.

1. Perform hip thrusts. The hips MUST stay down on the bench. If they don’t, not only are you wasting the exercise, you are also courting major lower spinal disc problems.

2. Use a thumbless grip. It keeps the wrist hyper-extended, making it more injury prone. The thumbless grip also makes it easier to lose control of the bar as well as giving you less grip strength. All of which gives it the big thumbs down.

3. Let momentum do the work. It should go without saying that every exercise in the gym needs to be done with a controlled movement. Momentum negates your effort, robbing you of results and fooling yourself into thinking that you’re strong. In addition, it’s dangerous – especially when you’re handling heavy poundages. Bottom line – NEVER bounce the bar off your chest when benching.

4. Twist your neck around – no matter how hot that babe who just came into your peripheral vision looks. If you do you’re just asking for trouble – a guaranteed recipe for remaining dateless and desperate.


The military press is the granddaddy of all shoulder exercises. It directly hits the front and side deltoids, to give you both shoulder width and thickness. When you do the movement from a seated position the movement will be stricter than when standing.

Basic Military Press technique:

From a sitting position, grasp a barbell with an overhand grip and hold it at shoulder level, pams underneath for support, hands outside your shoulders, elbows tucked in and under.

From a position about even with your collarbone, lift the bar straight up overhead until your arms are locked out, being careful to keep the weight balanced and under control. Lower the weight back to the start position.

Optimized Military Press technique:

From the bottom position, move your elbows forward so that they are actually in front of your torso, rather than flared back. This will take the focus of stress from your upper back and place it on your delts. This will also relieve a lot of the tension from your spine. This may require you to drop back the weight slightly. The enhanced delt focus, however, will more than compensate.

Extra Tips:

Use a wide grip (too narrow a grip shifts the focus to the triceps)

  • Do not lock out at the top of the movement
  • Keep your back arched throughout
  • Do not bounce the weight off your chest

The Workout

Now that you’ve got to grips with the proper performance of each of the exercises in your back to foundational mass training workout, let’s take a look at how to put them together to ensure maximum results. Remember that you’ll be working the whole body in each session and training twice per week. The ideal training days will allow for a minimum of two full rest days between them.

Rep & Set Scheme

For every exercise, except for pull ups, use the following rep scheme:

  • Warm Up – 15 reps
  • Working sets – 12 reps
  • 10 reps
  • 8 reps
  • 6 reps

For Pull Ups, set yourself a target of 30 reps in the first two weeks. Do this is as few sets as possible, as described in the Pull Ups exercise description. After two weeks, up the target to 40 reps. After two more weeks, lift it once more to 50 reps.

Both research and experience have shown that bodybuilders get the most muscle building benefit from training with a weight that is between 70 and 75 percent of their one rep maximum. Your one rep max is the amount of weight that you can lift while doing one full-out rep with perfect form. When you pyramid your reps, as you will be doing, you slightly increase the weight as you decrease the reps.

The weight that you choose should mean that you are training to failure one ach set. This means that you will be continuing the set until you can’t do any more reps with that weight without stopping to rest. You’ll be doing 4 working sets on each exercise (apart from pull ups, which will take as many sets as required to hit your target). You need to do at least 4 sets in order to have the volume of training necessary to fully stimulate all of the available muscle. If you do more sets per exercise, your total training volume will be so great that you risk over training.