Sunday, July 26, 2009

Deadlifts and why you should be doing them

Today's workout was great! My training partner and I scheduled an upper body workout and we were there at the gym full of energy after 2 days off from the gym recuperating.
The main focus today was on 2 exercises, one was the incline dumbbell press and the other was the deadlift.
Deadlift is such an efficient exercise when it comes to adding muscle both to the upper body and lower body. It strengthens the back and all its surrounding muscles also making this a great lift for rehabilitative and preventive purposes.It also improves core strength, increases testosterone and growth hormone levels in the body and improves over all functional strength. So anyone with a healthy back MUST incorporate deadlifts into their program.
We warmed up with 135 lbs and 225 lbs on the bar and moved onto our working set with 315 lbs. While I can lift heavier, I decided to go for as many repetitions as possible to bring out the so called "Christmas tree" look in the back.

Here's a video of me deadlifting 315 lbs for 15 reps.

I don't bend my knees as much because I wanted to take my legs out of the movement to some extent. Notice my back remaining straight, eyes looking forward, looking downwards rolls the spine thus causing injuries so its important to look ahead and keep the back straight.
Deadlifting regularly with proper form is one of the best exercises to build over all strength, core stability and stay on the right track to achieve one's fitness goals.
Include these in your program and live strong.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Trying out Nutrilite

I'm sure a lot of people have heard about the nutritional supplement brand called Nutrilite. They have some pretty cool nutritional products, are very popular in Europe and North America. My friend Bharadwaj who I know from many years endorses and markets the products and he asked me if I would be interested in trying out some of their products and write testimonials about my experiences with these products. I agreed to this and we met today and he had a bag full of supplements and brochures for me.

I will be trying out these products and write my experiences with them, and me being the way I am, and being quite well acquainted with various supplement companies, I believe I will be able to provide an unbiased opinion on these products.

I tried out 2 of the products today.
first was the Nutrilite® Sports Drink which I used during my workout today. Today was a hot day, and this doubled as a energy source(20 gms of carbs or so) and my source of hydration at the gym. Training as hard as I do usually exhausts me on hot days but the sports drink definitely helped. It also tasted great which makes me give it a thumbs up.

Second was "Simply Nutrilite" which is an antioxidant juice. Tastes great, and a good source of anti oxidants, and its not too loaded with sugar. I wish there was a zero calorie version of this though, but it tasted great, and is a quality product.

I will be incorporating the other products into my daily supplementation and training program and see how things go. For now, Thank you Bharadwaj and Nutrilite!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Stimulate, not Annihilate

Some people make the mistake of going to the gym and working out until they feel completely tired and drained. They feel some kind of masochistic pleasure in the fact that they trained so long until their muscle is completely annihilated. Deriving some kind of pseudo-satisfaction out of an effort like this is foolish, and damaging in the long run. When one performs multiple exercises for many sets on the same muscle group, there's a good chance the Central Nervous System gets over trained.
And over training is the WORST thing one can do if their goal is gain muscle, lose body fat and recover properly.

Not only will the gains in the gym get affected, when the CNS stays over trained for a prolonged duration, it can lead to elevated levels of cortisol, stress, fatigue and sometimes even depression. Again, because of not seeing results in the gym, the athlete might feel like quitting. There's another way, a way to gain well from workouts in the gym, and have a life outside it too. However, to do this, one has to be willing to spend FEWER hours in the gym.

The main problem with traditional workouts where each muscle is trained on a separate day and the lifter performs 4-5 exercises for 4-5 sets each of 6-10 reps. The gains are simply not linear with this model unless he always keeps track of how well he is recovering from these workouts.

The flip side of this is that to grow as fast as humanly possible, training as frequently as possible is a key. That is, if you can train a muscle 2-3 times a week and recover from it, you grow at a much faster rate. However, its common sense to understand that if you train the muscle multiple times a week, the volume must be cut in half every workout.

An ideal kind of training program which uses the increased training frequency and intensity rule, while keeping track of CNS recovery is DC training as explained here.
In this kind of program, the body is split in upper and lower halves and each half is trained on one day, with few important compound movements, with enough intensity to stimulate growth but not over-train the CNS. And this process is repeated as frequently as possible. Simple common sense and great gains in the gym. Not only will one gain muscle and lose bodyfat, because they are not over training their CNS, their mood will be elevated outside the gym and transfer onto other aspects of daily life.

Keep in mind one can over train on any kind of training program, if the diet and rest is not proper. Everyone should strive to get close to 1 gm protein per lb of body weight and 6-8 hours of quality sleep, without this, efforts in the gym will go unrewarded. This is where supplementation comes into the picture, the intelligent use of nutritional supplements greatly help improve recovery rates. The supplements I use and the whys are answered here.
Remember, the ideal training model is one where you workout to stimulate growth and not annihilate the muscle. Then you get out of the gym, eat/drink your protein, rest well and watch the transformation your body goes through slowly but surely. Lets over-gain, not over train.