5 Overlooked Techniques for Bigger Muscles

Posted: 11th September 2013 by E.J. Reeves in motivation, muscle building

Most of my workouts are performed at home by myself but when I travel I get to see plenty of people training in the gyms that I visit. What shocks me is that many people limit their training effectiveness by neglecting some or all five techniques that I feel are crucial to having the best workout.

#1 Start Heavy

You should always start with most difficult and heaviest exercises. Never mine machines, cable pulleys or small dumbbells early in your workout session. Basic compound lifts with maximum poundage should be used when you are at your strongest. After a brief warm up hit  hard with your best weight. My favorite  heavy compound move is wide grip pull ups with a 50 pound vest.

#2 Maintain Mental Focus

Rival Any Competitive Model or Bodybuilder Half Their Ages
Rival Any Competitive Model or Bodybuilder Half Their Ages

Social interaction at gyms is common and why not, it makes your time more pleasant catching up with friends. WRONG ! If your exercises do not take extreme mental focus then you’re not working hard enough to make any gains in the gym. With every repetition your mind should be focused on pushing to the maximum while your body is screaming stop. Even the few seconds before the start of my sets is devoted to psyching   myself up or getting in the “zone” to exceed my previous personal best. Cut the casual chatter you need to focus to do your best. Get yourself a training partner that will help with motivation, good form and pushing each other to greater gains. People that just want to chat about things while you are in the gym are doing both you and them a disservice. On the other hand a training partner is invaluable to keep you a track with greater and sustained effort in your workout session.

#3 Have A Plan

The workout journal is the most important piece of equipment you can own. Your blue print for each session has to be on paper or at least recorded on something that you can follow when training. If you are not recording your repetitions or weights used how can you know where you have been or what is most effective for you. No plan equals no success. I have about a dozen Hilroy books full of every rep and set with pounds used for the last 12 years. When I enter either my home gym or a commercial one I will always have my journal, without it my workout would not have the same effectiveness.

#4 Stop Wasting Time

Most people rest between sets for three minutes or so. They also go to the cooler for water instead of carrying a water bottle. Then you have to add the social niceties for a waste of an hour to perform maybe 10 working sets. This is not enough volume to accomplish much. Very little “work” was performed for your investment of time. Try super sets to triple your volume and increase your intensity of a workout. My incline bench flys can start with 60 pound dumbbells for ten reps or more then without rest I pick up 55 pound dumbbells for another 10 reps then 50 pound dumbbells with still no rest between the sets. This is one super set or giant set and it is very intense but highly effective muscle builder. Now I rest for two minutes or so then repeat another super set for the same reps or to failure whichever comes first. I have more than doubled my work load in the same time frame. In an hour or less I have performed seven super sets of three that equals 21 working sets of extremely hard but effective sets with about 180 total repetitions.

#5 Finishing Well

EJ Reeves & Marlene MacLennan

EJ Reeves & Marlene MacLennan

The last third of your workout maybe your laziest and sloppiest as with many or it can be an intensely satisfying run to the finish line so to speak. The key here is to maintain both your earlier pace and form. It may be necessary now to drop some weight from your last working sets or reduce the reps or both .Injuries often occur when we are fatigued. Do not let your ego prohibit you from reducing the weigh and maintaining form. I see people looking at me puzzled at the effort it takes me to perform my last two or three sets. They of course have not seen my previous 120 reps with heavy weights so it looks like I am struggling with small weights. Yes there is a grimace on my face as my muscles are totally fatigued and it’s taking supreme mental effort to get those weights up and back down in a controlled fashion. I finished what I set out in my journal to do. Totally spent I shuffle to a corner to down my premixed whey protein drink. I have been in the gym for an hour or so have seen many come and go but no one is drinking a protein drink after their work out. Anxiously I head for the shower to have both hot and cold showers in an effort to stimulate blood flow and reduce any swelling. I have finished well and am satisfied with myself.

Conclusion

After reading this you may want to revamp your workout to include heavy compound exercises with giants sets recorded in a journal. You may also want to wrap your mind around focusing solely on your workout for the hour or so you are in the gym. Results hinge on your execution of the simplest of concepts… quality work equals quality results.

Recommended equipment

  • Ear phones with iPod (music to block out distractions)
  • Large wall mirror (help with form)
  • Note book with pen (workout journal)
  • Shaker Jug (for mixing whey protein)
  • Tailors tape measure (for measuring results)
  • Inspirational quotes (for increasing work ethic and pain tolerance)

Bullet Proof Your Shoulders

Posted: 3rd September 2013 by E.J. Reeves in arms

Nothing enhances the appearance of any physique like cannon ball shoulders adding a distinct wide look for a truly “V” shaped torso. Nor can any upper body moves be made without strong shoulders. Here is what I have learned about adding size and shape to my shoulders. First let me tell you that like my father I developed bursitis in both shoulders. Like most people my front deltoid was over developed compared with the side and rear deltoid. As you probably guessed it there are three heads in the deltoid with the rear head being the least developed. This of course leads to the shoulder girdle being pulled forward off balancing what is an already unstable body joint.

EasyEffort-105The solution was the utmost in simplicity, develop all three heads equally. I started with very light dumbbells and good form. Oddly enough the same exercises I received from physiotherapy were the same as I saw in bodybuilding magazines. Following is my present shoulder routine.

Giant set of side laterals with 22 lbs. then immediately a set with 20 lbs. then 17 lbs. Each set consists of 10 to 12 good form reps. This is three sets performed back to back to train the muscles for pump and strength. Side laterals are simply raising your straight arms from your sides to the horizontal position like an airplane imitation. Next I do the same exact format for front laterals. Like the previous exercise you perform stiff armed except you raise your arms in front of you to horizontal. Next I sit down bent slightly forward not quite at a 45 degree angle and raise my stiff arms from my hips to horizontal. It is important that all three exercises be performed with the same weight; repetitions and sets. You will notice that the front laterals seem the easiest with the back laterals as definitely the hardest. An imbalance of strength in the three deltoid heads is common; this could be one major reason why there are many shoulder injuries in the population next to back injuries. Resist the urge to train only the strongest head of the deltoid. Limit your progress to the slowest developed head so your deltoid development will be equally balanced between the three heads.

I am a small man (160 lbs.) but with strong shoulders. Many 200 pounders cannot do this routine with these poundages, with good form, no swinging and with perfectly straight arms. It took years to develop this strength, starting with 3 pound dumbbells. Starting out my balanced shoulder routine even with ridiculously light weights still resulted in a swollen bursa and the accompanying pain. After every shoulder workout I had a bag of ice on each shoulder to reduce the swelling and numb the pain. I could NOT do any pressing motions like standing overhead presses or bench presses and I still do NOT do any pressing moves. My only exception is dips on parallel bars.

EJ’s Personal Shoulder Rules

#1 Equal weight on front, side & bent over laterals.

#2 No pressing moves like standing presses or bench presses.

#3 Complete warm up of shoulder before using working weights on any upper body moves.

#4 Ice therapy after ANY workout that causes any shoulder pain.

Notice :#3 & 4 are rules ALL major league pitchers use in every game they pitch.

#5 Limit range of motion till half way through working sets of most exercises.

Complete range of motion is advocated by all trainers for complete benefit from any exercise. In my case I must only allow myself full range of motion with that nice stretch at the bottom of most moves after I am well into my working sets. This rule is important to me because:

#1 My shoulders are 62 years old with 50 years of workout miles on them.

#2 My incline bench flys are performed with 60 lb. dumbbells.

#3 My workout volume in pull ups is about 1000 repetitions per year.

#4 I have not have shoulder surgery in my life nor do I expect to.

Many of my friends have had some form of arthroscopic surgery on their shoulders, both men and women ,both avid weight trainers and the untrained. This can be avoided even with poor genetics like me ,if you bulletproof your shoulders with a balanced strength training program.

Try some of my shoulder “rules“as both prevention of injury as well as great shoulder development.

Triple Your Muscle Growth Potential

Posted: 28th August 2013 by E.J. Reeves in muscle building, pull ups

“In weight training, there’s only one scientific fact: progressive overloads builds muscle.” John Dunn, New York Giants conditioning coach’s quote is true but how to progressively overload is littered with countless theories that would take a lifetime to personally explore to test their veracity. Training for almost fifty years and making plenty of mistakes I can share some practical applications from three of the most accepted theories of progressive overload. First let’s take a look at the top three schools of thought for effective training.

#1 High intensity training is a well accepted conditioning model that stresses short, hard infrequent training sessions.This method has produced extremely strong well muscled athletes.

#2 High volume training is another conditioning model that has countless advocates. They on the other hand promote high set frequent training sessions. Some of the largest of the world’s bodybuilders follow this method.

#3 Periodization introduced in 1963 by Romanian and eastern bloc countries that dominated international sports in the 70s and 80s.This model organizes a period of unloading to allow the body to regenerate itself in preparation for further load increases. Olympic athletes invariably use this method in their 4 year or sometimes 8 or 12 year preparation for Olympic gold.

smallchinup1Let me introduce you to a 6 week routine, The 15 x 5 Protocol. This routine is a marriage of the three very different training styles to incorporate the advantages of all three. Does this sound too good to be true or at least too complicated to follow? Not true quite the opposite, so simple  you can apply it to any of your favorite exercises.

The first key to the 15×5 protocol is the manipulation of your repetition range from 15 reps down to 5 reps over a six week period. Here is how my 15×5 pull up routine looks like. The first workout consists of 18 sets of various grip pull ups with body weight for 15 repetitions for each set. This takes about 45 minutes for me. You can apply this to any exercise like bench presses or squats with any number of sets or time frame you are comfortable with. The focus here is high volume with as many 15 rep sets that you can squeeze out of your time and energy. Work fast with good form from one set to the other pumping your muscles till they feel like they will burst. This is your volume work out! Repeat every 72 hours or three times a week.

After week one we start to add weight to the exercise as we simultaneously drop the rep range as well as the number of sets. This is the second key to the success of the 15×5 protocol. Concurrent with this we increase the rest between workouts by as much as a day for every week. What in essence we are doing is transitioning from a high volume work out to a high intensity work out. This unloading from one to the other allows our body to rest a bit as we get stronger. This is of course the third key to our protocol.

Following is my 15×5 pull up routine:

Week 1 bodyweight pull ups for 15 reps and 18 sets

Week 2 bodyweight plus 10 pounds for 12 reps and 16 sets

Week 3 bodyweight plus 20 pounds for 10 reps and 14 sets

Week 4 bodyweight plus 35 pounds for 8 reps and 12 sets

Week 5 bodyweight plus 50 pounds for 6 reps and 10 sets

Week 6 bodyweight plus 60 pounds for 5 reps and 8 sets

From week one to week six we increase our rest days from three to six days. You may feel like training more frequent than this but resist the urge to do this because you will over train. By the end of week six you should feel stronger as well as strangely refreshed. Periodization which is a planed variation of workouts is the most effective way of continuing to grow. Training smarter not harder!

Presently my best example of volume capability for me is 30 non-stop good form pull ups. Whereas my best single move is one pull up from a dead hand with 100 pounds strapped to me. (Both of these are on YouTube.) High Volume, with High Intensity as well as Periodization has been instrumental in these personal bests for me.

There you have it the very basic elements of three effective schools of training practically learned in just six weeks. Once you understand the extremes of High intensity and High Volume you can design your own variations to suite your personal goals and preferences.

Try The 15×5 protocol as the saying goes “it is better felt then tell’t.”

Get Lean & Stay Lean: 5 Foods That Will Shed Unwanted Fat

Posted: 20th August 2013 by E.J. Reeves in diet, fat loss

Whenever we see a lean athletic build we presume that the person sporting those razor sharp abs has denied himself to the extreme in the form of diet. A frequent comment that I hear from people is that I must be very careful on what I eat and spend considerable time working out. Well I will admit that thought and effort must be present to accomplish any goal including the maintenance of a lean body but the view that it takes herculean effort is not correct. Ghandi like self denial is not necessary and maybe even counterproductive to losing and keeping fat off!

 First let’s add some food to our diet before thinking of removing food. We need to focus on nutrition rather than calories, initially. So many people (including athletes) are fixated on what they need to give up (the negative) rather than what they need to add (the positive).There is so much tasty, satisfying food that will boost our fat busting capabilities. Here is a starter list of my favorite as well as effective fat burning foods.

 #1 Add some veggies!

 Mom’s admonition to eat all our vegetables could not be truer when it comes to fat loss. If I could convince you to accept only one food addition to your diet it woul058d be “Cruciferous vegetables.”

 

 BROCCOLI & CAULIFLOWER

Eat these raw with low fat dip or cooked. Buy them fresh or frozen and eat up to five pounds a week. Yes, eat lots of them, there is no limit on the portions just do not cover them with a rich sauce. You can stir fry them with lean meat or just melt a little low fat shredded cheese on them with your main course.

If you do not like broccoli or cauliflower then learn to like them! This one food choice is the boot camp of lean healthy eating. Fail this and there is little hope you will ever be truly lean and healthy. I did not like these vegetables at all growing up. It was not till I started reading about the healthy virtues of cruciferous vegetables that I was determined to have them in my weekly diet. Once I made up my mind my taste buds followed. Now broccoli and cauliflower are my favorite veggies. There is no shortage of articles that tell us about the anti- cancer, nutritional and health benefits of this high nutrient, low glycemic source of complex carbohydrates.

 

#2 Try an apple a day!

This has to be the easiest food to add to your daily meal plan. Often I will eat two or three apples a day as a snack or sliced in my oatmeal. Start eating three apples a day, one a half hour before every meal and you will lose fat every week. This is my personal guarantee. If your present activity level and diet has you maintaining your same weight, the apples will start to have you shed pounds. What is the magic in the plain apple for fat loss? The apple is a low calorie, high nutrient, high fibre whole food just like broccoli or cauliflower. The more we eat these foods the better our bodies will be. I suppose there may be a limit to the amount we could eat these foods and still have a healthy outcome but I have not reached that limit. So start eating!

 

#3 Oatmeal with fruit

Typically the people with high body fat rarely eat a good breakfast, if any at all. A cup of cooked oatmeal with unsweetened fruit like frozen peaches, fresh berries and a table spoon of protein powder will fortify your body with the nutrition you body desperately needs first thing in the morning. To feed it toast and jelly with a cup of coffee is asking for energy deficiency that will manifest itself as gorging on fat friendly meals for the rest of the day. I have known hugely obese people that lived on coffee for the first three to four hours of the day. Take the time to cook some oatmeal in a large pot ,enough for a week then put it into the refrigerator to microwave a good portion every morning .Once you start the oatmeal habit you will quickly find the quality of you day to skyrocket. This is by far the easiest most nutritious breakfast you can have bar none. By now you can see the common thread in these fat busting foods is that it takes more time and effort to eat these foods. Proper chewing of your food is necessary with whole foods versus refined food products. At work I had two fifteen minute breaks as well as a twenty minute lunch. I spent the entire time (50 minutes) eating whil10097308e my mostly chubby counterparts swallowed their meal in a quarter of the time. Check it out; the fastest eaters tend to be the fattest eaters.

 

#4 Boca burgers on whole grain bread

This is the tastiest veggie burger going. Made with soybeans which are an excellent source of protein, low in fat and sodium but high in potassium. You can make this burger even tastier by lightly toasting your whole wheat bread, adding some mustard, and then pile on some alfalfa sprouts or lettuce. This is another take your time and chew meal, so enjoy the taste!

 #5 Bean Salad

Beans are one of the least expensive sources of protein available. My bean salad recipe calls for 7 different beans; they are black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lima beans, navy beans, black eye peas and chick peas. This salad is so tasty and filling it can be added to any meal or used by itself as a snack. I always like to have some bean salad in the refrigerator at all times. Like the rest of this list bean salad is a low calorie, low fat, high fibre source of low glycemic complex carbohydrates. Try to use a bean salad recipe that has 5 or more of these beans with as little added sugar as possible.

Summary

 To lose fat and keep it off you need to reduce both calories and fat content of your diet. Reducing your portions of high calorie and high fat foods will eventually cause you to fall off the wagon and gorge yourself. The logical recourse is to find low calorie foods that will fill you up and keep your body satisfied. The more you add these foods the more they will displace the obviously bad food choices in your diet. Add at least three of the five foods listed EVERY DAY and watch the fat melt and your energy soar. If you do not have the discipline to add food to your diet for fat loss what makes you think you will have the disciple to reduce food in your diet for fat loss?

 This list of foods is first and foremost what works for me over this last decade so I know it will work for you.

 Start eating!

The key to continuous growth of strength and muscle is to vary (or cycle) your work outs to allow a multitude of growth factors to be working. To stimulate muscle growth there are some key variables, these include but are not limited to speed of each repetition, number of repetitions, total number of sets per session, weight or difficulty of exercise, rest between sets and rest between sessions .There are at least three types of work outs needed to gain strength and muscle.

10097273#1  “Form with high volume” is a light workout.

A-Speed of repetitions is slow both up and lowering,3 seconds up and up to 5 seconds down.
B-Number of repetitions is between 12 & 15 per set.
C-Total number of sets is between 10 & 12 sets for a total of about 150 reps per session.
D-Light weight or easier moves.
E-Rest about 1 minute or less between sets.
F-Rest 3 or 4 days between work outs.
This work out will engorge your muscles with blood providing a very satisfying pumped up feeling. This workout is ideal for providing adequate stimulation of muscles while giving optimum muscle recuperation from higher intensity work outs. Use this work out between sessions of high or ultra high intensity workouts.
For my back work out I use latex bands( NH Bands) to make my pull ups easier so I can  concentrate on my form and volume.
#2 “Pure strength with low volume” is a high  intensity workout.
A-Speed is explosive up and quickly down.
B-Number of repetitions is between 3 & 6 per set.
C-Total number of sets is between 8 & 10 for a total of about 50 total repetitions per session.
D- Very heavy weight or most difficult moves.
E- Rest about three to four minutes between sets.
G-Rest about three days between workouts.
This workout will build incredible strength very quickly because of its focus on weight with lots of rest coupled with low volume. Do not overdo this work out as the very heavy weight will can cause injury. Use this sparingly since only a few weeks or less can increase your strength by as much as 50%.
For my back workout I use as much as 60 pounds plus my bodyweight for pull-ups
#3 “Strength with moderate volume “is an ultra high intensity workout.
A-Speed is rhythmic   with a tempo of 1 to 1 ½ seconds up or down.
B-Number of repetitions is between 6 & 8 per set.
C- Number of sets is between 10 & 12 for a total of just under 100 repetitions.
D- Weight is heavy but not excessive about 20% less than the previous strength workout.
E-Rest about 1 minute between sets.
G-Rest about 5 to 7 days between workouts.048
This workout is the meat of muscle building and requires the most rest between sessions. It breaks down the MOST muscle fibres resulting in significant growth, providing all the dietary requirements are present. If the #1 workout provides a pump and the #2 workout the exhilaration of increased strength the #3 workout should provide an almost euphoric sense of accomplishment. This is by far the most work you can do in an hour. Endurance training as well as pure strength training does not come close to this workout. Once you develop enough strength and endurance to complete this type of workout you will know why this format generates the most muscle growth.
For my back workout I have peaked with a 60 pound vest and up to 140 total repetitions per session.
You cannot maintain this type of pace so you cycle in light and moderate intensity workouts to allow your body to recuperate. You are still growing with light and moderate intensity workouts. The ultra high intensity workouts are so effective that many top bodybuilders have actually packed on muscle while taking several weeks off from training after contest preparation.
Continuous growth is possible if you cycle your workouts. Vary your workout after a few sessions or every session. This three prong approach is the basis of all effective bodybuilding!

Focus on form #1-Light

Focus on strength #2-Moderate

Focus on muscle #3-Ultra High intensity

Sustainable Growth

Posted: 22nd May 2013 by E.J. Reeves in chin ups, dead lifts, dips, muscle building, pull ups

During the 80’s businesses analyzed their operation for sustainable growth. They grew tired of the boom/bust cycle, resource wasting, and environment polluting ways of the past. A new philosophy of resource sparing, efficient, slow but consistent growth emerged that left both the business and the environment healthier.

Taking a lesson from this can you say your fitness level year over year has seen an improvement? Are you healthier, leaner, and more muscled each and every year? Has the last decade been one of improvement or decline? If you can’t say that, like the Oil of Olay commercial, you are not getting older but better you need to adapt sustainable growth principles for fitness.

The Management of:

  1. Time
  2. Energy
  3. Exercise selection

The above 3 are basic and linked together.

Two years ago I needed to hire a male fitness model to demonstrate a new chin up bar. At that point I decided that, although 48 years old, my body would improve to the point I could replace the model. You see pictured Tyson Mount, personal trainer at 25 years of age and myself E.J. Reeves, Easyeffort president at 50 years of age. How does a 50-year-old businessman compete with a man half his age in body development?

First of all you must manage your time properly. That means finding time to exercise. This was simple for me. There were and still are only 2 windows of opportunity for me to exercise. Working full time and starting a new business filled my days. So getting up an hour before having to head to work to exercise was my only weekday window. On the weekend I could sleep in an hour or so but 1st thing in the mornings on weekends was my second window for working out. Before you say that this is too early, I needed to be at work for 6:00 a.m. This meant waking up at 4:15 a.m. to work out, shower and head to work. Morning workouts make sense for a variety of reasons. You are freshest with your energy and testosterone levels the highest. This has to be the best way to start your day unless of course you can entice your spouse into some bedroom aerobics.

50 year old vs 30 year old

50 year old vs 30 year old

 

Next on the list of time management tools is some home exercise equipment. Now don’t get me wrong about health clubs. They are great and provide a variety of equipment choices. I just do not know anyone who is in shape who does not spend some of his workout time at home. The time spent driving to and from a gym, changing clothes, waiting for equipment, etc. could be better spent. Next time you peel your clothes off heading for a shower at home stop and bang out 5 sets of chin-ups to failure. The pump in your back, shoulders, and arms will make your shower feel even better. Your total investment for this pump will be 6 to 8 minutes of your time and about $30 to $60 for a chin up bar.

Number two on our list is energy management. You must manage your energy per work out session and throughout the week. What this means is:

#1 – The largest muscle group is worked at the beginning of the week.

#2 – At each workout the largest muscle group must be worked first during the session.

#3 – Each workout session must not exceed 45 minutes in duration.

E.J. doing dead lifts

E.J. doing dead lifts

By working the largest muscle group the first of the week guarantees you have spent your energy on stimulating muscle growth on the largest amount of body muscle. If you end up running out of gas before the end of week that first major workout is in the bank. When you start each session with the largest muscle group for that day’s workout the above analogy also holds true as well. For example if you start #1 workout for the week with dead lifts even if you do nothing else the rest of the week you have gone a long way in working your entire body. Now lets say your #2 workout consist of chin-ups, standing presses, and side laterals. It is obvious that chin ups work more muscle the standing presses as do the presses work more muscle than laterals. So the lesson is focus on the basic compound heavy movements. The other movements are added if you have the energy.

This brings us to exercise selection. As you see from the above, compound free weight moves are preferred. Let me give you my pecking order for exercises.

1. Free weight compound joint exercises that move the body through space. I know of only 5 such moves and they are dead lifts, squats, chin-ups, parallel bar dips and push-ups.

2. Free weight compound joint exercises that have the body fixed e.g. overhead presses, bent over rows, bench press.

3. Free weight single joint isolation exercises e.g. side dumbbell laterals, hammer curls, triceps lying French curls.

Most people would improve their builds tremendously if they dropped exercises in-group 2 and 3 in favor of group #1.

Below is my three-day a week resistance training routine that incorporates the above time, energy and exercise selection principles for maximum benefit.

E.J. doing weighted chin ups

E.J. doing weighted chin ups

Monday (Day 1 )

Dead lift 220 lbs. 5 to 8 reps

followed directly to

Bent over rows 70 lbs. 5 to 8 reps

followed directly to

Lying triceps French curls 35 lbs. 5 to 8 reps.

The above cycle is repeated 5 times in a non-stop fashion.

E.J. doing dips

E.J. doing chinups

Wednesday (Day 2)

Chin ups with 15 lbs vest 5 to 8 reps

followed directly by

Standing overhead presses 55 lbs. 5 to 8 reps

followed directly by

Side Laterals 10 lbs. 5 to 8 reps.

The above cycle is repeated 5 times in a non-stop fashion.

Friday (Day 3)

E.J. doing weighted deadlifts

E.J. doing weighted deadlifts

Dips with 20 lb. vest 5 to 8 reps

followed byeither incline Bench Flies or incline Bench Presses about 35 lbs. 5 to 8 reps followed directly by Hammer Curls 20 lbs. 5 to 8 reps.

The above cycle is repeated 5 times in a non-stop fashion.

Notice how drastically the weight drops in exercise #2 and #3.

#1 exercise is the heaviest while #2 and #3 allow total body recuperation while still working smaller muscles. That is why you can proceed non stop. I set an egg timer for 30 minutes to complete the cycle 5 times. So there you have it 1 & 1/2 hours per week of resistance training at home with minimum investment of time and money.

Warning:

Dead lifts, chin ups and dips are tough so start slow! The above three moves will do more for you than twice that amount on gym isolation machines!

Forever Young Workout

Posted: 9th April 2013 by E.J. Reeves in dips, pull ups

Exercise has long been touted as the fountain of youth by doctors and fitness writers. The problem for most of us is finding the time, money, energy and correct routine. Top this off with nagging injuries that sideline us just as we start making progress.

Enter my Forever Young Routine that solves these problems.

Wide grip chin-ups are the hardest

Wide grip chin-ups are the hardest

#1 Time – 15 minutes 3 times a week for a total of 45 minutes a week.

#2 Money – Body weight exercises that require the most basic equipment. You will need a chin-up bar and your floor.

#3 Energy – 5 of your 15 minute workout is rigorous with 10 minutes on stretching and rehab moves.

#4 Correct Routine – The absolute BEST exercises require you to move your body through space using a multi-joint compound movement. There are only 5 or 6 such exercises! Chin-ups, dips, push-ups, squats, dead lifts, and the clean & jerk. Note: I do not recommend the last 3 because of the propensity for injury.

#5 Abs for health – A must for sustained physical fitness and health are rock hard abs.

The following routine has one muscle building movement, one muscle stretching movement and one rehab movement.

Monday or Day One

Chin ups 4-10 reps

Lat stretching – 20 seconds each side

Bent over laterals for rear delts – 10 reps – very lightweight (soup cans or light dumbbells)

Repeat 10 to 12 times in 15 minutes. Note the stretching and the rehab exercises provide a rest for the chin-ups. Exercises are non-stop.

Tuesday or Day Two

Rest

Bodyweight exercises produce hard physiques

Bodyweight exercises produce hard physiques

Wednesday or Day Three

Push ups – 4-10 reps – substitute parallel bar dips if push-ups are too easy.

Pectoral muscle stretching – 20 seconds

Light shrugs with shoulders pulled back at top of shrugs. Again light dumbbells or small water filled containers with handles.

Exercises are non-stop. Complete the above 3 for 10 to 12 times in 15 minutes.

Thursday or Day Four

Rest

Friday or Day Five

Frog Jumps 8-12 reps. (To do a frog jump, squat down onto your haunches then spring up jumping as high as possible. Make sure you have head clearance. Immediately go back down to your haunches then jump again. These are very difficult and your legs will feel like rubber after a couple.

Flexing abs for stabilization

Lower back stretches – 20 seconds, 2 or 3 stretches 5-7 seconds each

Hanging leg or knee raises 3-6 reps, slow reps with a squeeze at the top of each rep

Repeat 10 to 12 times in a non-stop fashion. If you do not complete 10 sets in 15 minutes you are still finished.

 

Why does this routine work?

The #1 exercise per workout sessions is the best for recruiting the maximum amount of total body muscle.

The #2 exercise stretches these muscles for additional muscle fiber requirement (muscles stretched just prior to contracting have a higher muscle recruitment rate) Gently stretched muscles are less likely to incur injury.

The #3 exercise is any rehab exercise your chiropractor, physiotherapist or coach has recommended you do but since your injury is not bothering you today to have neglected these.

Rehab exercises

After living for over ½ a century my list of injuries include bursitis in both shoulders, levator scapula tear and ruptured disks in my lower back. Lifting heavy weights and careless work habits are all sins of my youth that I must deal with now. You can use my rehab exercises or better yet substitute your own.

 Stretches

Flexing abs for stabilization

Flexing abs for stabilization

Lats – Bend over at the waist and reach one arm to a door knob or other fixed object you can grab. Now that your in this position, keep your elbow up and twist your hips away from the fixed arm. You will feel a mild stretch from your arm pit down along your side. Hold for 20 seconds or so and repeat for the other side.

Pectorals – Lay on your back on a bench or floor. With a couple of small dumbbells or cans of soup spread your arms as wide as you can and horizontal to the floor. You should feel a mild stretch in your chest. Hold for 20 seconds or so.

Lower back – stand with feet shoulder width and hands on hips leaning back as far as comfortable. Hold for a count of two.

The above routine 3 times a week is an easy minimum for anyone’s schedule and fitness level. Once you can easily do 10-12 reps of chin-ups, dips or push-ups per set with 10-12 sets you are ready to double up this routine. Same routine except you do it 2 times a week. The same routine day 1, 2, 3 then repeat day 4, 5, 6 with day 7 as a day off.

If you can do this routine everyday for 6 days at only 15 minutes a day then you can rack up some impressive numbers. For instance you will have 200 chin-ups and 200 push-ups per week. This is an awesome volume of two strength and muscle builders.

Dealing with thousands of customers over a decade has lead me to some startling insights into what can release a persons real fitness potential. There are consistent triggers or keys if you wish that have the ability not only to make you reach your fitness goals but to surpass them. The starting point of a fitness program seems like the BIG key to your fitness journey but there are several key decisions you must come to before you can start a successful fitness campaign.

Yes, we have many false starts in trying to become more fit. Why do most people only last three weeks or so at the gym or with many programs? Why are our good intentions lost after but a brief foray into our program of choice? Is it the program that is lacking or the lack of support from family or is it just the inescapable ravages of age? No, it is not any of those but our inability to make an informed, conscious decision to get fit. The key lies in our mind and our will.

#1 Think about it for some time.

With out fail every person who has experienced any success in becoming fit has dedicated some time and effort into thinking about fitness. It is not uncommon for me to hear that people have followed my blog or U-tube videos for months before starting any fitness efforts. The conversation usually goes something like this “Hi I have been thinking about this for months and have visited your site many times to read the articles and work out tips. Now I am ready to start !

#2 Weight the consequences of fitness neglect.

It seems that many who are now consistently fit have come from a very unhealthy back ground .Every thing from obesity to heart problems are on the list .As one male caller put it “I am so tired ,I have no energy for anything, that means ANYTHING, if you get my meaning”. When even sex becomes undesirable for a reasonably young man (42) this certainly brings home the consequences of fitness neglect.

Unlocking Your Fitness Potential

Unlocking Your Fitness Potential

 

#3 Count the cost of a fitness life style.

Years ago I had a professor whose Life Philosophy centered around two themes “Sex or Economics”. Well we have already mentioned sex so economics is next. Everything has a cost in time and money. Do you see the value in fitness? Does it translate into dollars and cents? No matter what your budget is you will spend money on fitness. Now don’t get me wrong no matter how much money you spend you cannot buy fitness but fitness has a price, time and money!

Thought +( consequences – cost)= a conscious, informed decision.

A conscious, informed decision to get fit is the best start to your fitness journey. Take your time to be ready for the program of your choice. If you want a great body you need to exercise your mind now and ongoing to reach or exceed your fitness goals.

Give this some thought! Be fully informed! Make a decision!

The Metabolic Truth

Posted: 4th April 2013 by E.J. Reeves in diet, lifestyle

Have you ever heard someone say the reason for their excess weight was their metabolism was slow? Of course you have but it is NOT true. Well in at least 90% of cases we control our metabolism by our habits. Yes, we control our metabolism and consequently our weight gain or loss. Before you write me off as an unreasonable, unsympathetic, and uninformed writer, let me list the habits of people with a fast metabolism.

#1 Eats more often

#2 Eats small meals

#3 Eats lean protein at every meal

#4 Sleeps well

#5  Works with intensity

#6 Plays with intensity

#7 Lifts weights with intensity

#8 Does aerobics with intensity

#9 Drinks 8 glasses or more of water

#10 The most helpful person in many situations

Reaching for daily opportunities to speed up metabolism

Reaching for daily opportunities to speed up metabolism

We would have to have lived in a cave if we have never heard repeatedly that we should eat up to five small high protein meals to build muscle and lose fat. How about the well established bodily needs for adequate sleep, hydration and activity levels that studies have shown we require? Yes we do know this but time, neglect, and age factors have all conspired against us to slow our metabolism down. We have sunk into HABITS that progressively slowed our metabolism. So the logical person would reason that adopting fast metabolism HABITS will speed up our fat loss.

 

Every day can be an opportunity to add habits that will speed up our activity, our health and our vitality. If you have a day timer how will you fit in the ten habits? It could look like this:

6:00 AM out of bed then 50 pull ups and 100 push ups ( sets of 8 to 20 reps)
6:30 AM shower then drink half liter of water with Whey protein.
6:55 AM arrive at work with three prepared snacks and two liters of bottled water.
7:00 AM lead work crew with 15 minutes of light calisthenics and stretching.
10:00 AM Coffee break with cup of microwave oat meal, yogurt and fresh berries.
12:00  to 12:30 PM  lunch break with whole wheat bread Tuna sandwich and a 20 minute walk  out doors.
2:00 PM Coffee Break with Green tea and apple
4:00 PM  Brisk walk to farthest end of parking lot then back to your car.
4:30 PM Arrive at home to prepare a romantic supper for your spouse.
5: 00 PM Pour wine, bath and scented candles for a relaxing soak for your spouse.
5:30 PM Supper and romance.
6:30 PM Clean out the storage closet for give a ways or refuse.
8:30 PM Bicycle ride around the neighborhood.
9:30 PM Evening wind down and next day planning.
10:30 PM Bed time

Sounds idyllic does it not! Real life will never allow us such a perfectly planned day but we MUST plan and implement what we can. Before you know it there are more activities in our day that increase our metabolism. The secret is always more activity every day and every week. You need to add at least 50% of the list of ten to your day, then by weeks end you should have completed every one of the ten.

This will do MORE than any gym membership or latest fade diet. Try the list for a week & put in a modest amount of planning and effort then email me your weight loss.

Diet Tune-Up

Posted: 22nd February 2013 by E.J. Reeves in diet

We all gain a few pounds now and then.  It may be a bad weekend or possibly an over indulgent vacation.  Whatever the reason, chances are you may not want to go on “a diet”.  Too drastic, too complicated, too much sacrifice.  Yet if we do nothing, that few pounds will continue to grow until we take action.  So how about a diet tune up.  Some simple strategies that can arrange our present eating to induce some fat loss.  “Sounds like a diet to me” you might say.  Not so.

You will need an 8 oz. glass, a watch, a large bag of apples and your favorite desert.    This tune up is based on several sound principles of weight management that requires the absolute least amount of discipline and sacrifice.  As a matter of fact doing without is not on the list for your tune up.

Now before we explain the diet tune up, we must address some obvious areas that need attention before this diet tune up will work.  You do not need to change the foods you eat except for the following cases:

  1. Drinking 1 liter or more of carbonated pop, juice, wine or beer.  Everyone that is obese typically consumes large quantities of liquid  calories.  This is a no- brain er,  cut these calories out!
  2. Binge eating!  This usually occurs later in the day and is typified by several plates of high carbohydrate foods.  Most binge eaters are too busy most of the day to eat proper meals and save the evening hours to satisfy their day long abstinence of proper nutrient with as many as 2 or 3 large meals in the space of a few hours.  You are a binge eater if :
    A. Your binge meal is 3 times larger than breakfast. B. You eat your meal 2 times as fast as anyone else at the table. C. You feel uncomfortable after your meal.  Indigestion, a bloated feeling and a sense of laziness  that precludes any activity after supper except the couch.  The diet tune up will correct binge eating if you follow the tips early in the day.
  3. Cravings for deserts.  Are you the type that must finish a box of chocolates once they are opened?  Do you have to complete every meal with a high calorie treat?  If the answer is yes, then you need the diet tune up to remedy this.  Let’s describe the diet tune up with a sample day.

1 – 8 oz. glass of filtered water upon rising and out of bed!

1. – raw apple to be eaten just before breakfast.  Note you need to eat a breakfast.

Three hours later,

1 – raw apple to be eaten just before lunch.  Note, you need to eat lunch since it has been 3 hours since breakfast.

Three hours later,

1 – 8 oz. glass of filtered water 20 minutes before mid afternoon meal.

1 – raw apple to be eaten just before mid-afternoon meal.  Note, you will need to eat a mid-afternoon meal since it has been 3 hours since lunch.

Three hours later,

1- 8 oz. glass of filtered water 20 minutes before supper meal.

1 – raw apple to be eaten just before supper.  Note, you need to eat supper since it has been 3 hours since your mid afternoon meal.

Three hours later, favorite small desert 90 calories or less.  Then prepare for bed allowing at least one extra hour of sleep.

Tune-Up Summary

4 – 8 oz. glasses of filtered water per day to hydrate you, give you a sense of fullness and replace any liquid calories you may have been drinking.

4 raw apples just before each of four meals.  Apples supply roughage, carbohydrates and nutrients as well as giving you a sense of fullness and satisfaction from eating something raw.

4 equally sized meals spread every 3 hours to speed metabolism with frequent feedings.

1 – 90 calorie or less desert late in evening to satisfy craving and mentally prepare for early bed with the aid of comfort food. According to recent studies. sleeping 9 hours a night helps with weight control.

There you have it, a diet tune-up that cuts the tops of bad food mountains and also fills the nutritional valleys.  A level playing field where energy and weight management stand a fighting chance for success.

Typically I lose 3 pounds the first week on the Diet Tune-up and 2 lbs. on the following week.  You will also note a better daily overall energy level from the tune-up.

This regiment can be extended for months quite easily and can provide an excellent framework for further nutritional improvements if you need to lose more weight.

References:

2008 – JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION “water drinkers had lost an average of 15.5 pounds or 44% more wight than people who did not drink water before meals“.

IN A BRAZILIAN STUDY OF OVERWEIGHT WOMEN, THOSE EATING APPLES AND PEARS SHOWED SIGNIFICANT WEIGHT LOSS.

STUDIES HAVE FOUND THAT IRREGULAR MEAL FREQUENCY CAN LEAD TO OBESITY OVER TIME (FARSHCHI, TAYLOR & MCDONALD 2005).

DR. DANIELA JABUBOWICZ OF TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY “ALLOWING OURSELVES SOME SWEETS HELPS TO STEM CRAVINGS FOR THESE FOODS”.