logo
logo-about

Troubleshooting January 2014

on Wednesday, 01 January 2014.

How Important Is It To Get A "pump" In Training? I never seem to be able to achieve a pump when I train triceps. Any suggestions?

Some trainers will suggest that the single most important influence on muscle growth is "the pump". A pump will increase blood volume to the working muscle/muscles. This is actually referred to as exercise-induced hyperaemia.

The idea is to amplify blood flow to the region you are trying to build. If you deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the working muscle and eliminate the waste products, your training will be more effective and you will recover from your sets quicker.

If you muscle is filled with blood, it is getting bigger. In order to expand or allow that muscle room within the tissue to hypertrophy you have to stretch the fascial tissue constraining the muscle. To a certain extent this is what the pump does.

Growth in the muscle is a result of hydration of the muscle and a great pump will really hydrate and volumise the muscle fibres. Increased strength can only take place in a well-hydrated muscle fibre. Therefore it makes perfect sense that the more hydrated the fibres the stronger they can perform.

So on the one hand we have cell hydration but we also should consider proper oxygenation of the muscle fibre. This too is critical. Because muscles require oxygen for energy, factors that limit oxygen transport to the muscle cause greater stress on the primary metabolic processes involved in lifting heavy objects! The reverse is also true. Improved oxygen transport to muscles should cause a decreased depletion of muscle and blood lactate concentrations (fatigue toxins). So when you get a pump you get superior oxygen delivery to the muscles, which in turn improves maximum strength and speeds recovery between sets.

A suggested workout that will stimulate a good pump is as follows:

Decline French Press Using Dumbbells
3 working sets on your maximum weight for 10RM
1 drop set (*3) with the last set to complete failure.

One-Arm Seated Dumbbell Overhead Extensions
1 working set on your maximum weight for 15 reps
1 working set on your maximum weight for 12 reps
1 working set on your maximum weight for 10 reps

Rope Overhead Press
1 working set on your maximum weight for 20 reps
1 working set on your maximum weight for 15 reps
1 working set on your maximum weight for 12 reps
1 working set on your maximum weight for 10 reps

Triceps Press downs – Complete Drop Set
1 working set on your maximum weight for 20 reps
Immediately drop and strive for 12 reps
Immediately drop and strive for 15 reps
Immediately drop and continue until failure.

Upon completion you shouldn't be able to lift your arms above your head and may have to place your toothbrush on your bathroom sink and move your head from side to side to brush your teeth!! You won't be able to lift your arms up the following day, particularly into a straight position and this is what the pump is all about!!

I have heard a lot about the thermic effect of food. What type of diet can increase my thermogenesis?

Thermogeneisis basically refers to heat. Each time we eat food our temperature rises a little bit. Let's go with the campfire analogy. The more wood we add, the hotter the fire. The body is similar. Add food and the temperature increase. So this is one of the many arguments for increasing meal frequency. The very act of eating includes the process of peristalsis, digestion and mastication (chewing of food).

The more your body increases heat the more calories the body will burn. In lean individuals dietary induced thermogenesis occurs to a greater degree in leaner individuals. The more body fat one carries, the smaller the thermic boost in the body.
Diets that seem to blunt or negate thermogenesis include the following:

1. High fat diets
2. Low carbohydrate diets
3. Low protein diets.

When calories are too low which is common in most 'diet plans' the body produces less heat. With less heat production, your maximum ability to burn the maximum amount of calories each day subsequently falls.

One reason many who eat a low fat, but higher carbohydrate and protein diet see good results is due to the relatively greater thenogenic effect of carbs and protein compared to dietary fat.

Interestingly, a low carb diet can lower heat production within the body as decreasing carbohydrates is associated with a lower thermic effect. However, a low carb diet coupled with increased protein consumption – the nutrient with the greatest thermic effect – may off-set a compromised thermic effect.

Diets that increase thermogenesis include:
  • Diets that is adequate in calories, matching an individual's basal metabolism and activity levels
  • Diets that are above average daily caloric requirements
  • Diets that have frequent meals
  • Diets that include a lot of fibre from vegetables.
  • Dietary gaffes that compromise thermogenesis include:
  • Eating only 2-3 times a day.
  • Eating a low fibre diet
  • Eating too many simple carbs at the expense of eating complex carbs and vegetables
  • Eating excessive calories before going to bed
  • Skipping breakfast
  • Prolonged dieting
One of my mates told me that my supplements need to be synergistic. I was too embarrassed to admit I had no idea what he was talking about. Can you enlighten me as to what he meant?

Some trainee's like to use one product at a time, allowing a period of time, maybe 2-3 weeks to elapse before evaluating the results and determining if the product is having any visible or noticeable effects. At this point they may introduce another supplement.
Many supplements on the market nowadays seem to complement the effects of one another. For example, some manufacturers make hydroxycitric acid with chromium as research, at one point, showed the two together work better than each alone. Another popular combination is the caffeine – ma Huang mixture because caffeine can prolong the effect of ma Huang. Fish oils added to chromium will probably have a greater effect than taking chromium alone or fish oils alone. Taken individually both enhance insulin sensitivity: taken together or adding 25 grams of fibre to your diet, one would expect even greater insulin sensitivity. However in any case supplements aren't magic, they simply assist and nothing will beat a great whole food nutrition plan!

I am on the road a lot as I am a long-distance truck driver. I need some suggestions besides shakes to get my protein in whilst on the road. I need easy to eat options to put in my 6 pack for the day, that still tastes good.

I find that patties are the easiest thing to chow down whilst "doing things" – like travelling from A to B. Palatable, you don't need a knife and fork and they travel well in your 6 pack. A couple of really high protein burger recipes are as follows:

Fetta Beef Patties
1 pound of lean beef
2 tablespoons of olives, chopped
2 tablespoons low fat cheese
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of tabasco sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon of chilli powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Thoroughly mix with your hands. Form into 4 patties. Cover a broiler pan with foil. Coat with non-stick cooking spray. Broil 4-5 minutes each side or until done.

Herb and Citrus Turkey Burgers
1 pound of ground turkey
2 tablespoons of fresh basil
1 tablespoon orange juice concentrates, thawed and undiluted
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1.4 teaspoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions. Roll into balls and flatten into ½ inch patties. Heat grill and thoroughly coat with cooking spray. Grill patties for approximately 6 minutes on each side

I have competed a couple of times in bodybuilding in two natural federations in my state. I didn't place at either show and feedback was that although my symmetry is quite pleasing I need more muscle and better conditioning. The thing is, I am not really certain where to go at this point in terms of my diet and calorie intake, and balancing muscle gains with gaining too much body fat in the process of building. I think I am quite baffled at how to "bulk" best?

If you have competed on stage and have made the decision to compete again you have only a few options of the process/outcome for your next stage and next show. This article response whilst won't cover all scenario's, will indeed address the primary one's, their merits, benefits and ramifications in a fairly simple yet precise degree.
1)Traditional Style – The Old School "Bulking Up" strategy. Eat whatever under the guise of building maximum muscle by a calorie surplus of varying degree's of healthy and unhealthy food, as long as 'your protein is high'. Usually done with zero cardio.

Benefits: Usually large amount of muscle mass is built (providing all things are equal – solid program, lifting intensity, frequency of training ect). Quite often maximal strength gains.

Negatives: Can be a rapid gain in body fat levels. More often than not involves processed, refined, man-made manufactured crappy foods and many "free" meals. Cardio-vascular fitness drops off dramatically and all the health benefits associated with it. Contest prep becomes way more taxing and stressful on the body with more body fat to drop, requiring a longer prep, or a shorter but far more extreme prep. Either way – not optimal. "Bulking and cutting" is like yo-yo dieting, it may as well be one and the same!

Anabolically, it makes much more sense to maintain a lean body mass all year long and to function as an athlete the same way. Extra, non-functional body weight is just added metabolic stress both short and long term, which serves no purpose other than ego.
2) Latest Trend: Do too many comps (in my opinion), allowing for 5-6 months in between (0r maybe at best 9-10 months) "to put on more lean mass", OR "to do better".
Approach: Attempt to not put on any or minimal body fat (usually due to enjoying the feeling of being at or around contest condition).

Action: Don't ingest enough calories required for ANY appreciable lean muscle gain. Does any combination or one of the following: Does too much cardio still, cannot resist it as the allure of 'being lean' is too strong....so anything from twice to five times a week. Obsess about your scale weight. Still measure your foods. Steer clear of particular food types.

Consequence: For all and purposes virtually no lean muscle mass gained. Neglect to build caloric intake to improve metabolism and correct any metabolic blockers. Metabolism is now adapted to expending less calories with the same amount of exercise, thus requiring more time, effort and intensity for next contest prep. Because of not feeding the muscle, and growing, this competitor won't have brought his symmetry "up" – how could he as he wasn't really building enough quality lean muscle so his only option would have been to compromise his symmetry strengths (who the heck would want to do that???).
Potential Stage Outcomes: Certainly not much noticeable improved muscularity, could definitely have dieted harder so could clearly be much better conditioned. However, if this competitor did this, he is more than likely under MOST coaches to have lost MORE muscle than his first or in your case second comp and actually present smaller! (but don't worry.....you were leaner????) and really no improvements in symmetry.

Best Case Scenario On Stage:
Skun rabbit winner of class as opposition wasn't on stage. OR No different or even worse.....to last comp....leading to disappoint and frustration.
Ramifications: Long term – horrendous on three scales. Physical, emotional and mental. This competitor is setting himself up beautifully for post-comp disappointment, severe metabolic adaptation, possible metabolic damage, almost certainly disordered thinking to do with food/training and diet issues.

Intelligent/Healthy/Get the "WOW" Factor Approach:
Take a reasonable amount of time between comps. So for you doing male bodybuilding maybe a good 18 months. Slowly, carefully and in a structured manner add good quality low/high energy carbohydrates, lean proteins and fats, and slowly, slowly increase your energy surplus. Follow a structured resistance based program designed to improve your symmetry flaws and weaknesses. Build your metabolic capacity, improve it, slowly re-introduce foods that in your last comp you may have built intolerances too (not necessary), measured increases in your food take and then delve deeper into the types of foods you increase. Periodise your training.

Consider the "lawn analogy" Instead of continuing to assault the lawn like the competitor above, better to let the rain get at it and leave it alone; and when it shows signs of rejuvenation, then make your next move, to "maintain" the lawn, not redo the lawn.(i.e. ADD good quality calories!!!!)

For many - the smartest thing to do is to let it rain- even pour—on the dried grass. Cut your cardio right back. I don't advocate in most cases completely.....maybe one ICE session a week for most. Let your metabolism come back for you so you can work with it.
Potential Stage Outcome: Appreciable muscular development. Bigger. Improved symmetry. Improved condition. Improved enjoyment of contest preparation (don't have to "do it harder"). Sanity on emotional/mental level is preserved. Even heightened and strengthened. Bottom line: Better physique. So this is the approach that I advocate you take whilst working towards your next competition on stage. Hope this helps.

How Important Is It To Get A “pump” In Training? I never seem to be able to achieve a pump when I train triceps. Any suggestions?

Some trainers will suggest that the single most important influence on muscle growth is “the pump”. A pump will increase blood volume to the working muscle/muscles. This is actually referred to as exercise-induced hyperaemia.

The idea is to amplify blood flow to the region you are trying to build. If you deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the working muscle and eliminate the waste products, your training will be more effective and you will recover from your sets quicker.

If you muscle is filled with blood, it is getting bigger. In order to expand or allow that muscle room within the tissue to hypertrophy you have to stretch the fascial tissue constraining the muscle. To a certain extent this is what the pump does.

Growth in the muscle is a result of hydration of the muscle and a great pump will really hydrate and volumise the muscle fibres. Increased strength can only take place in a well-hydrated muscle fibre. Therefore it makes perfect sense that the more hydrated the fibres the stronger they can perform.

 

So on the one hand we have cell hydration but we also should consider proper oxygenation of the muscle fibre. This too is critical. Because muscles require oxygen for energy, factors that limit oxygen transport to the muscle cause greater stress on the primary metabolic processes involved in lifting heavy objects! The reverse is also true. Improved oxygen transport to muscles should cause a decreased depletion of muscle and blood lactate concentrations (fatigue toxins). So when you get a pump you get superior oxygen delivery to the muscles, which in turn improves maximum strength and speeds recovery between sets.

A suggested workout that will stimulate a good pump is as follows:

Decline French Press Using Dumbbells

3 working sets on your maximum weight for 10RM

1 drop set (*3) with the last set to complete failure.

One-Arm Seated Dumbbell Overhead Extensions

1 working set on your maximum weight for 15 reps

1 working set on your maximum weight for 12 reps

1 working set on your maximum weight for 10 reps

Rope Overhead Press

1 working set on your maximum weight for 20 reps

1 working set on your maximum weight for 15 reps

1 working set on your maximum weight for 12 reps

1 working set on your maximum weight for 10 reps

Triceps Press downs – Complete Drop Set

1 working set on your maximum weight for 20 reps

Immediately drop and strive for 12 reps

Immediately drop and strive for 15 reps

Immediately drop and continue until failure.

Upon completion you shouldn’t be able to lift your arms above your head and may have to place your toothbrush on your bathroom sink and move your head from side to side to brush your teeth!! You won’t be able to lift your arms up the following day, particularly into a straight position and this is what the pump is all about!!

I have heard a lot about the thermic effect of food. What type of diet can increase my thermogenesis?

Thermogeneisis basically refers to heat. Each time we eat food our temperature rises a little bit. Let’s go with the campfire analogy. The more wood we add, the hotter the fire. The body is similar. Add food and the temperature increase. So this is one of the many arguments for increasing meal frequency. The very act of eating includes the process of peristalsis, digestion and mastication (chewing of food).

The more your body increases heat the more calories the body will burn. In lean individuals dietary induced thermogenesis occurs to a greater degree in leaner individuals. The more body fat one carries, the smaller the thermic boost in the body.

Diets that seem to blunt or negate thermogenesis include the following:

1.  High fat diets

2.  Low carbohydrate diets

3.  Low protein diets.

When calories are too low which is common in most ‘diet plans’ the body produces less heat. With less heat production, your maximum ability to burn the maximum amount of calories each day subsequently falls.

One reason many who eat a low fat, but higher carbohydrate and protein diet see good results is due to the relatively greater thenogenic effect of carbs and protein compared to dietary fat.

Interestingly, a low carb diet can lower heat production within the body as decreasing carbohydrates is associated with a lower thermic effect. However, a low carb diet coupled with increased protein consumption – the nutrient with the greatest thermic effect – may off-set a compromised thermic effect.

Diets that increase thermogenesis include:

Diets that is adequate in calories, matching an individual’s basal metabolism and activity levels

Diets that are above average daily caloric requirements

Diets that have frequent meals

Diets that include a lot of fibre from vegetables.

Dietary gaffes that compromise thermogenesis include:

Eating only 2-3 times a day.

Eating a low fibre diet

Eating too many simple carbs at the expense of eating complex carbs and vegetables

Eating excessive calories before going to bed

Skipping breakfast

Prolonged dieting

One of my mates told me that my supplements need to be synergistic. I was too embarrassed to admit I had no idea what he was talking about. Can you enlighten me as to what he meant?

Some trainee’s like to use one product at a time, allowing a period of time, maybe 2-3 weeks to elapse before evaluating the results and determining if the product is having any visible or noticeable effects. At this point they may introduce another supplement.

Many supplements on the market nowadays seem to complement the effects of one another. For example, some manufacturers make hydroxycitric acid with chromium as research, at one point, showed the two together work better than each alone. Another popular combination is the caffeine – ma Huang mixture because caffeine can prolong the effect of ma Huang. Fish oils added to chromium will probably have a greater effect than taking chromium alone or fish oils alone. Taken individually both enhance insulin sensitivity: taken together or adding 25 grams of fibre to your diet, one would expect even greater insulin sensitivity. However in any case supplements aren’t magic, they simply assist and nothing will beat a great whole food nutrition plan!

I am on the road a lot as I am a long-distance truck driver. I need some suggestions besides shakes to get my protein in whilst on the road. I need easy to eat options to put in my 6 pack for the day, that still tastes good.

I find that patties are the easiest thing to chow down whilst “doing things” – like travelling from A to B. Palatable, you don’t need a knife and fork and they travel well in your 6 pack. A couple of really high protein burger recipes are as follows:

Fetta Beef Patties

1 pound of lean beef

2 tablespoons of olives, chopped

2 tablespoons low fat cheese

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon of tabasco sauce

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon of chilli powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Thoroughly mix with your hands. Form into 4 patties. Cover a broiler pan with foil. Coat with non-stick cooking spray. Broil 4-5 minutes each side or until done.

Herb and Citrus Turkey Burgers

1 pound of ground turkey

2 tablespoons of fresh basil

1 tablespoon orange juice concentrates, thawed and undiluted

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1.4 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Cooking spray

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Divide mixture into 4 equal portions. Roll into balls and flatten into ½ inch patties. Heat grill and thoroughly coat with cooking spray. Grill patties for approximately 6 minutes on each side

I have competed a couple of times in bodybuilding in two natural federations in my state. I didn’t place at either show and feedback was that although my symmetry is quite pleasing I need more muscle and better conditioning. The thing is, I am not really certain where to go at this point in terms of my diet and calorie intake, and balancing muscle gains with gaining too much body fat in the process of building. I think I am quite baffled at how to “bulk” best?

If you have competed on stage and have made the decision to compete again you have only a few options of the process/outcome for your next stage and next show. This article response whilst won’t cover all scenario’s, will indeed address the primary one’s, their merits, benefits and ramifications in a fairly simple yet precise degree.

 1)Traditional Style – The Old School “Bulking Up” strategy. Eat whatever under the guise of building maximum muscle by a calorie surplus of varying degree’s of healthy and unhealthy food, as long as ‘your protein is high’. Usually done with zero cardio.

 

 Benefits: Usually large amount of muscle mass is built (providing all things are equal – solid program, lifting intensity, frequency of training ect). Quite often maximal strength gains.

Negatives: Can be a rapid gain in body fat levels. More often than not involves processed, refined, man-made manufactured crappy foods and many “free” meals. Cardio-vascular fitness drops off dramatically and all the health benefits associated with it. Contest prep becomes way more taxing and stressful on the body with more body fat to drop, requiring a longer prep, or a shorter but far more extreme prep. Either way – not optimal. “Bulking and cutting” is like yo-yo dieting, it may as well be one and the same!

Anabolically, it makes much more sense to maintain a lean body mass all year long and to function as an athlete the same way. Extra, non-functional body weight is just added metabolic stress both short and long term, which serves no purpose other than ego.

2) Latest Trend: Do too many comps (in my opinion), allowing for 5-6 months in between (0r maybe at best 9-10 months) “to put on more lean mass”, OR “to do better”.

Approach: Attempt to not put on any or minimal body fat (usually due to enjoying the feeling of being at or around contest condition).

Action: Don’t ingest enough calories required for ANY appreciable lean muscle gain. Does any combination or one of the following: Does too much cardio still, cannot resist it as the allure of ‘being lean’ is too strong….so anything from twice to five times a week. Obsess about your scale weight. Still measure your foods. Steer clear of particular food types.

Consequence: For all and purposes virtually no lean muscle mass gained. Neglect to build caloric intake to improve metabolism and correct any metabolic blockers. Metabolism is now adapted to expending less calories with the same amount of exercise, thus requiring more time, effort and intensity for next contest prep. Because of not feeding the muscle, and growing, this competitor won’t have brought his symmetry “up” – how could he as he wasn’t really building enough quality lean muscle so his only option would have been to compromise his symmetry strengths (who the heck would want to do that???).

Potential Stage Outcomes: Certainly not much noticeable improved muscularity, could definitely have dieted harder so could clearly be much better conditioned. However, if this competitor did this, he is more than likely under MOST coaches to have lost MORE muscle than his first or in your case second comp and actually present smaller! (but don’t worry…..you were leaner????) and really no improvements in symmetry.

Best Case Scenario On Stage: Skun rabbit winner of class as opposition wasn’t on stage. OR No different or even worse…..to last comp….leading to disappoint and frustration.

Ramifications: Long term – horrendous on three scales. Physical, emotional and mental. This competitor is setting himself up beautifully for post-comp disappointment, severe metabolic adaptation, possible metabolic damage, almost certainly disordered thinking to do with food/training and diet issues.

 Intelligent/Healthy/Get the “WOW” Factor Approach:

Take a reasonable amount of time between comps. So for you doing male bodybuilding maybe a good 18 months. Slowly, carefully and in a structured manner add good quality low/high energy carbohydrates, lean proteins and fats, and slowly, slowly increase your energy surplus. Follow a structured resistance based program designed to improve your symmetry flaws and weaknesses. Build your metabolic capacity, improve it, slowly re-introduce foods that in your last comp you may have built intolerances too (not necessary), measured increases in your food take and then delve deeper into the types of foods you increase. Periodise your training.

Consider the “lawn analogy” Instead of continuing to assault the lawn like the competitor above, better to let the rain get at it and leave it alone; and when it shows signs of rejuvenation, then make your next move, to “maintain” the lawn, not redo the lawn.(i.e. ADD good quality calories!!!!)

For many - the smartest thing to do is to let it rain- even pour—on the dried grass. Cut your cardio right back. I don’t advocate in most cases completely…..maybe one ICE session a week for most. Let your metabolism come back for you so you can work with it.

Potential Stage Outcome: Appreciable muscular development. Bigger. Improved symmetry. Improved condition. Improved enjoyment of contest preparation (don’t have to “do it harder”). Sanity on emotional/mental level is preserved. Even heightened and strengthened. Bottom line: Better physique. So this is the approach that I advocate you take whilst working towards your next competition on stage. Hope this helps.