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 No Comments

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.

3 Reasons Why Your Results Can Be Better Than Mine – Learning From My Mistakes

Alain Gonzalez July 13th, 2014 6 Comments

Let me start by saying that I have been extremely hesitant about writing this post.

Mainly because I have witnessed the destructive power of misinterpretation here on planet Interwebs.

But after long hard thought, I’ve decided, fuck it! It’s my blog, I’ll write whatever the hell I want I want to write (joking).

In all seriousness, the issue I was having pertained to readers seeing this as a huge rant of excuses. And if you’ve been following me for any time now, you know I’m no fan of those (excuses).

So although a lot of the content in this article may sound like poor excuses or bitching from a bitter little man who wishes he had larger arms, it’s not that…at all.

You see, I get emails and comments almost daily from young guys who wish to attain a physique like mine. In some cases they call it a “dream”…as flattering as that is, I’ll be the first to admit, I am hardly a good example of what is attainable for most of you.

alain and alby

*Above is a photo of my brother and I. He is a better example of what is attainable. Although I may be comparing apples to oranges (since he’s been training far longer than I have), I still think the example is worth considering.

If I tell you that you have the ability to achieve far greater results than I have, it’s not because I believe myself to have shitty genetics or poor work ethic. It’s because I am fully aware of all the mistakes I made and all the time I wasted throughout my journey.

So don’t look at this as an “I’m not as big as I could be because (enter poor excuse here)” rant.

Look at this as an “If you don’t bullshit and waste time like I did, expect to make some serious gains” eye opener.

Alright…enough chit chat.

Here are the 3 BIGGEST mistakes I made throughout my muscle building journey that you should avoid at all cost if you want to maximize your results.

1. Looking for shortcuts…

No Shortcuts

As many of you know, the Bony to Brawny program was responsible for my initial body transformation. It was a well thought-out training protocol with a solid nutrition component that I created using all the data I had gathered at the time.

So what happened afterwards?

Well, for reasons unknown, I let the “fitness gurus” of the internet convince me that I was “doing it wrong”, again.

I thought “well these guys are huge, they must certainly know what they’re talking about”.

So…I let too many chefs in the kitchen, per say.

I ended up back where I started…letting big muscle-heads who used fancy words convince me that they had “the secret”. And it seemed like every week, the next guru had the latest secret to “steroid like muscle gains”.

So every week I had a new game-plan.

But that game plan never lasted, because before I could give it enough time to work, I was onto the next train to Muscleville.

Unfortunately, I never stayed on any of the trains long enough to reach the destination.

7 Truths About Muscle Building For Skinny Guys Experts Never Tell

Alain Gonzalez July 1st, 2014 No Comments

You couldn’t imagine how many emails I get on a daily basis from people asking for fitness advice.

I don’t mind it, though. It’s what I love and am passionate about. I could talk about it all day…everyday…twice…

But here is where it gets a little annoying.

Dear Alain, how come I am not able to build muscle? Any tips?

I know absolutely nothing about this person. Not how long they’ve been training, what type of split/program they’re on, what their diet looks like, hell I don’t even know their name!

I am going to need to know a lot more than your email address to figure out what is causing this problem in your training.

With that said, I have decided to write 7 Truths About Muscle Building for Skinny Guys that Experts Never Tell.

Fitness Expert

This blog post/article may not be tailored to each person individually, but I am willing to bet (not literally, I don’t gamble) that your answer lies within one of these things.

1. You MUST Remain in a Positive Net Energy Balance…

Fact: If you are not gaining weight, you are not eating enough, period!

If you’re eating a lot now, but you’re not gaining any weight, then guess what…you have to eat more.

Gaining weight is a simple matter of energy balance. Nothing more, nothing less. If you can manage to consume more calories than you are expending, consistently, then you will put on weight. Now, if your goal is to build muscle, then your macronutrient ratio is what will determine whether you are gaining fat, muscle, or both.

Read this article I wrote where I reveal the formula for calculating your calories in the appropriate macronutrient ratio for building muscle without losing your abs.

2. You have to keep getting better…Consistency is not always the key

Chest not growing?

How long have you been bench pressing 185 lbs?

For me, understanding this was one of the major game changers in my training and I believe it can be for you as well.

I used to eat enough, train enough, but couldn’t build an ounce of muscle.

Why?

Because I relied on my consistency to produce the gains I wanted. Fact is, our body adapts to a stimulus by building enough muscle to handle that stimulus. And until we introduce a new stimulus that will cause our body to adapt, it won’t ever feel the need to build new muscle.

So if you’ve been hitting the gym for 1 year straight without ever missing a session, but you’ve been pushing around (roughly) the same loads, then you, my friend, are relying on your consistency like I did and it’s robbing you of time and muscle gains.

Want to guarantee new muscle gains?

Start focusing on getting better with each lift, every time you walk in the gym.

Cutting Edge Shoulder Training Strategies for Cannonball Deltoids

Alain Gonzalez May 31st, 2014 No Comments

If there was one muscle more responsible than the others for creating a “he must workout” appearance, it’s the deltoids. Not only has broad shoulders been shown to increase attraction from women, but they are also responsible for the illusion of a smaller waistline. On the other hand, failing to train the shoulders appropriately and in a balanced fashion will lead to imbalances that lead to larger imbalances, bad posture due to forced internal rotation of the shoulders, and make you much more prone to shoulder injuries.

Best Shoulder Workout

Simple Shoulder Anatomy and Functions
Before we jump into the juicy training stuff, let me take a second to go over the simple anatomy of the shoulders. The shoulders aka deltoids are made up of three different heads.

deltoid anatmoy

Anterior Deltoid (Front Delt) – Responsible for shoulder flexion as well as internal rotation of the humerus.
Lateral Deltoid (Mid Delt) – Responsible for horizontal abduction.
Posterior Deltoid (Rear Delt) – Responsible for external rotation as well as hyper-extension of the shoulder.

Strengthening the Weak Link
Now let me go over the anatomy of what is easily the most overlooked area of the shoulders when it comes to training. Lack of properly training this area of the shoulders is more than likely the reason that you find it hard to develop bigger shoulders, you get shoulder pain when performing certain exercises, and that it’s hard for you to increase strength in some very important lifts including the bench press.

Rotator Cuff

What are your rotator cuff muscles?

They’re four unique muscles that surround your shoulder capsule. Each one is responsible for a different function and together they help stabilize the glenohumeral (GH) joint.

NOTE: Most shoulder problems can be attributed to a lack of external rotation, overall shoulder mobility, and strength.

rotator cuffs