3 Rep Ranges You Must Train In After Your Newbie Gains

Alain Gonzalez October 7th, 2014 No Comments

Stop searching for a magical rep range…it simply doesn’t exist.

You see, the idea behind inducing hypertrophy is simple.

Increase the workload slightly over time in order to continuously stimulate the muscle into new growth by forcing an adaptive response.

As a beginner, this can easily be done by sticking to one specific rep range. In fact, I would encourage that you keep it as simple as possible while focusing on linear progression. As a beginner, despite rep range, you will be able to increase workload (get stronger) damn near every session.

Unfortunately, at some point in your training career, these super human adaptations will slow down dramatically. Once that happens, it is critical that we begin to implement proper periodization into our training.

Hypertrophy

Periodization is the systematic planning of athletic or physical training. The aim is to reach the best possible performance in the most important competition of the year. It involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period.

Just to be clear, periodization is not the topic of this discussion.

Instead, I am going to discuss different rep ranges and their benefits towards overall strength and muscle growth.

You see, it’s no secret that if we want to build muscle, we must increase our performance (get stronger).

We also know that getting stronger is linear while we are in the magical stage of our training (novice).

So what happens when we are no longer able to increase workload by simply adding weight to the bar?

Well that’s when periodization comes into play. But to put it simpler, it’s when different rep ranges become much more beneficial.

Hypertrophy can be achieved by achieving:
1. Mechanical Stress
2. Metabolic Stress
3. Muscle Damage

Now let’s look at a few different rep ranges and their benefits.

Rep ranges

Now that we see what each rep range can provide, let’s talk a little about how they can work together to aid in hypertrophy.

E.M.O.T.M. Squats For Powerful Gains In Muscle and Strength – Guest Article

Alain Gonzalez September 17th, 2014 No Comments

E.M.O.T.M. Squats For Powerful Gains In Muscle and Strength

by: Travis Stoetzel

Everyone who knows a thing or two about building muscle and full body strength knows that SQUATS are king for this.

Load up a bar, put it on your back and squat away.

Maybe you’ve heard the story about Arnold going off into the woods and squatting for hours on end??

arnold-squats

Well, Arnold wasn’t crazy when he would go out into the woods with just a barbell and weights and squat for hours on end until he passed out…

While that might have been a bit of overkill, Arnold sure knew that the results he’d achieve in doing something nuts like that would sure pay off.

Now, I’m not telling you that you need to go off into the woods and squat for a few hours on end until you pass out and can’t walk all in order to gain more muscle and strength.

Actually I’m going to share with you now is how you can SAVE TIME while still gaining more muscle and strength while also shredding off some fat as well.

No need to go off into the woods and squat until you can’t walk ;)

However, just note that the method I’m about to share with you is NOT easy.

Far from it actually, but the struggle and pain (all good pain of course) will only lead to more GAINS in powerful muscle head to toe.

And if gains are what you want, then read on.

So, what is this specialized squat method I speak of that will save you time, but still get your fast and explosive gains in return??

It’s my “E.M.O.T.M. Squats Method” and it’s one of the many different go-to methods of use with squatting to gain muscle and strength quick.

This is something I’ve been using for years with amazing results not only with myself, but with my athletes as well.

Now, before I go any further I think I should probably explain to you about what the hell “E.M.O.T.M.” stands for and what it is.

E.M.O.T.M. is an interval training protocol that stands for “Every Minute On The Minute” and basically how it works is simple – Start a clock and at the top of the minute, start your set. Once your set reps are complete, rack the weights and rest for the remaining amount of the minute. Once the top of the minute comes back around, you’d then start your 2nd

For example, let’s say we’re doing 5 reps of squats at around your 70-75% squat max E.M.O.T.M. x 6 minutes.

With this you’d start off by cranking out 5 reps of squats at the top of the minute. Once you’re done you’d rack the weight and wait until the clock hits 1:00. At the top of that minute, you’d start your next set and keep on going until the full 6 minutes were done.

The faster you get your set done within the 60 second time frame, the more rest period you get.

Maybe now you can see where this might get a little gritty especially if you’re using a fairly heavy load ;)

No worries as it’s all apart of the plan.

Now, if you look at the overall set up, you’re getting in 30 reps of squats within just 6 minutes.

That’s some pretty good amount of volume at a fairly heavy load

5 Training Principles for Maximum Muscle Gains with Any Workout Program

Alain Gonzalez September 16th, 2014 2 Comments

You want to know the best training approach for optimizing your muscle gains?

Curious as to what kind of split you should be following for maximum results?

Look…

I know you would love for me to tell you exactly how many days you should be training…

What exercises you should be doing…

And give you some special rep range for building mass…

You pray for some magic routine that will solve all your muscle building problems…

But unfortunately, you’re screwed.

You’re screwed because that mind set is going to have you bouncing from program to program, hoping and praying that this next one finally yields the results you feel you deserve.

Maybe some jacked up monster at your gym told you it works.

Maybe some nerdy science guy explained (in a very convincing manner) how it’s fail proof and it’s been proven.

But the fact of the matter is…there is no “best”.

There is no special routine or training split that just magically produces gains.

If there were, then everyone would be on the same routine and everyone would be making gains. And since everyone is making gains, gains are no longer awesome. And since gains aren’t awesome because everyone has them, you no longer want them. You don’t want them so you stop lifting. You stop lifting and you become a weak little bitch.

Don’t become a weak little bitch!

Anyhoo…

Now that I have crushed your hopes and dreams of someday finding that magic training program and achieving the body of your dreams once you’ve cracked the muscle building code, I have good news.

The good news is, you don’t need some magic routine, rep range, or perfect exercise selection to finally get your body growing.

The reason is simple.

Because although different training programs will yield different results for different people, the principles used to achieve growth are the same across the board.

So whether you are training in a 5 day split, upper/lower, full body, or any other weight training approach, it does not matter.

Choosing a Workout Split

I am going to keep this very, very simple.

Choose a routine that fits into your life’s schedule and that you enjoy…period.

Now let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this article.

5 Principles for Formulating the Perfect Workout Routine

_MG_1513

1. Consistency

Before you face palm and say “no shit!” let me explain.

This muscle-building journey is exactly that, a journey. However, far too often I am getting emails from trainees who have tried an approach for 4 weeks and are seeing “no results”.

The program is not the problem…the exercises are not the problem…hell your diet is not the problem.

The problem is your unrealistic expectations of becoming a fitness cover model after 8 weeks of training.

Think I am being harsh? Why don’t you look at this comment I got on my Instagram.

Instagram

I don’t care who you are, how you train, or what you eat. If you are on a set program and you are consistent, results will come…period.

However, this is certainly not the end all be all. Consistently doing the wrong thing will never make it right. So keep it in the context that consistency should be accompanied by the other principles I am about to mention.

With that said, no matter how “perfect” the approach, it will still take a consistent effort.

Counting Macros VS Meal Plans – What’s better for you?

Alain Gonzalez August 31st, 2014 No Comments

In today’s article, I want to compare two very popular bodybuilding nutrition approaches. Particularly those who follow a flexible diet and those who follow a set meal plan.

1. The Flexible Dieter: This is the guy who follows IIFYM. He weighs and calculates every single food he consumes and takes a very calculated approach. In fact, his approach is so strategic, that he is able to fit in a variety of different foods, daily, without every compromising his body composition.

2. The Meal Planner: This is the person who, as mentioned in the title, follows a set meal plan. This person has one or various daily meal plans and schedules that he/she sticks to. This approach does not allow for variety and often times includes a “cheat day”. However, it does eliminate any guess work.

Shaped and healthy body man holding a fresh salad bowl,shaped ab

So before we conclude that one is better than the other, let’s first address why these two approaches fail.

Why Flexible Dieters Fail
Lately it has seemed like flexible dieting and counting macros is the end all be all of bodybuilding nutrition…and with good reason.

Unfortunately, this approach still can lead to failure and does (for many).

The reason is simple…you’re doing it wrong.

A lot of these kids see posts from physique athletes and authority figures showing off ice cream, cake, pizza, and a variety of creative (non-nutrient dense) concoctions and assume it’s part of flexible dieting.

What they fail to realize is that these people, for the rest of the day, are extremely calculated in their approach. Every single food item is weighed and calculated and is comprised of mainly nutrient dense choices.

So instead, they eat these “yolo foods” all day, never weigh or calculate a single meal, have no idea how much protein, fats, and carbs they are actually consuming.

This, my friends, is NOT flexible dieting…it’s a poor excuse to eat shit all day.

Why Meal Planners Fail
The main reason meal plans fail is very simple…99% of them are not calculated.

They are typically 4-6 meals that consist of “clean foods” and depending on your goals, you’re either reducing servings or increasing servings.

The problem with this is, you still have no idea how many fats, carbs, or protein you are consuming daily. The macronutrient ratio is not effective and this will not allow you to maximize your results, period.

Not to mention, it is extremely restrictive.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk a little about the pros and cons to each when done correctly.

Flexible Dieting Pros
• Extremely calculated and easily adjusted (if you need to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain, it’s as simple as adjusting your macros).
• Allows for variety in your diet (Never give up your favorite foods).
• Ensures overall health (It requires specific micronutrient goals).
• Does not interfere with your social life (Never have to worry about bringing Tupperware to the party).

Flexible Dieting Cons
• Requires you to weigh and calculate every single food item.
• Constant food choices (“What should I eat next?”)
• No structure (Ending up with 300 grams of carbs left to eat with 2 hours left in the day is not fun).

Is flexible dieting for you?
I personally follow this approach and enjoy it. However, I do understand that it is not for everyone.

5 Reasons Why Bodybuilders Should Train for Strength

Alain Gonzalez July 24th, 2014 1 Comment

You know what really grinds my gears?

When someone says “I want to build muscle but I really don’t care to add strength”.

I mean, do you really think you’re going to get massively bigger by pushing around the same weight as you are now?

Besides, who the hell wants to look big and muscular but struggle to open a water bottle?

Strength

To be fair, when someone says something like that, they probably just mean that they have no interest in getting powerlifter-strong.

Understandable.

Not everyone wants to deadlift 600lbs and bench press 400lbs…I get that.

But if you are someone who thinks that they can completely ignore strength and somehow achieve significant muscle gains, you, my friend, are sadly mistaken.

With this post, I want to remove that silly idea from your head by listing 7 reasons why you should train for strength, even if you “don’t care for it”.

Reason #1 – With Strength Comes Size

Plain and simple.

If you can manage to get stronger, you WILL get bigger, period.

Getting stronger is the most sure-fire way to ensure you are progressing in the gym. And with progress, comes gains.

By now you should understand that the main focus in any training program should be progressive overload.

Slowly increasing the total workload without sacrificing reps, sets, rest, etc.

In fact, if your training program does not encourage you to progress regularly, then ditch it, right now!

And I know that a lot of people will say “I never focused on strength and I still got great results”.

And to those people I say, you didn’t “focus” on strength because you weren’t writing things down and ensuring you were progressing. But I guaran-damn-tee you that you have progressively gotten stronger throughout your journey.

Think about the simplicity of how our body builds muscle.

We introduce a stimulus, our body adapts to it by building muscle to handle that stimulus. If we continue to provide new stimulus, our body has no choice but to continue to adapt and grow. So regardless of training splits, rep ranges, weight training techniques (supersets, drop sets, etc), as long as we are getting better, we are getting bigger. It’s really no more complicated than that.

So do you have to train like a powerlifter? NO!

But I highly encourage you to focus on strength in the sense that you should be aiming to get better with each lift, regularly.