facebook_pixel

Articles Tagged: bodybuilding

Balance is Crucial: Bulking and Cutting

Do you ever feel like you’re on a “perma-bulk” or always seem to be in a cutting phase?

Most of us are genetically predisposed to either carrying more body fat than we’d prefer, or less muscle mass than we’d like. Only the lucky few are naturally inclined towards those lean bodies packed with muscle.

While there’s a greater proportion  of the lucky individuals in the world of competition compared to the general population, plenty of competitors still land on either side of the spectrum.

As such, we tend to gravitate towards the eating/training style that matches our natural struggle–those of us who struggle to lose weight are always eating at a calorie deficit and doing a lot of cardio, while the “hardgainers” among us pack away calories day after day and spend a lot of time pumping iron. Continue Reading Balance is Crucial: Bulking and Cutting »

Putting on the Brakes: Why Your Prep Needs a Reverse Diet!

Competitors–have you ever felt like you’re on a permanent prep diet? Do you have trouble remembering the last time you consciously increased your calories for an extended period of time, outside of a post-show binge?

Do you also feel like your energy levels, strength and stamina have decreased while your stress levels have increased over time?

Is getting lean and staying there becoming more and more difficult, requiring you to drop calories further and further and/or increase cardio more and more each time you cut?

Bikini athletes in particular tend to suffer this scenario due to the fact that high levels of muscle are not as emphasized of a requirement as other divisions of fitness competition, and thus many women never go into a “bulking” stage that is foundational to programs for bodybuilding, physique and figure divisions. Continue Reading Putting on the Brakes: Why Your Prep Needs a Reverse Diet! »

Why the IIFYM Approach to Dieting Isn’t Enough

It’s human nature to appeal to labels and neat packaging of ideas. In the fitness and nutrition industry, this is readily apparent.

If you look at most workout programs, they have a name, a brand: Body Pump. Jazzercize. CrossFit. P90x.

The same thing is true with nutrition: the Paleo Diet. Atkins Diet. Clean Eating. IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros).

Labels are convenient because we can wrap said labels around a bunch of ideas and make the ideas appear more cohesive than if we had to track each idea individually. It allows us to understand relatively complex concepts more easily.

In competition prep, nutrition has primarily focused around two pre-packaged ideas: clean eating and IIFYM.

Let’s take a historical trip together down competition prep’s “memory lane.” Continue Reading Why the IIFYM Approach to Dieting Isn’t Enough »

4 Ways You’re Approaching Competition Prep Dieting All Wrong

“Eat clean, train mean, get lean!” Seems so simple, right?

Of course, as anyone who’s gone through the process of prepping for a competition (successfully or otherwise) can tell you, there’s a lot more to it.

Unfortunately, misinformation and bro-science have permeated the bodybuilding subculture of the fitness industry more than perhaps any other niche–which is saying something. Approaches to dieting and training have been handed down from one generation of competitors to another–without critical analysis–so many times now that most of what is taken as “common sense” is actually myth.

Here are the top four mistakes I see many competitors make when prepping for a fitness competition. Continue Reading 4 Ways You’re Approaching Competition Prep Dieting All Wrong »

Does Weight Training Make Women Bulky? Learn the Truth Now

If you’ve read any women’s fitness magazines or browsed any fitness websites, you’ve undoubtedly seen the following claims:

“Women shouldn’t lift weights over 3 lbs.”

“You want to lift light weights to lengthen and tone your muscles; heavy weights will make your muscles bulky.”

And so on. So it’s no wonder that one of the biggest fears most women have when they start a fitness regimen, is that they’re going to gain too much bulk and end up looking like a professional bodybuilder if they spend too much time in the weight room.

Thus, many of them stick to cardio and low-impact fitness programs like pilates and yoga. The idea being that such exercise will prevent a bulky physique, while simultaneously carving out muscle definition and getting rid of body fat.

But women who are looking to make changes to their bodies–namely fat loss and toning–find that they’re unable to get the results they want with low-impact exercise alone. Continue Reading Does Weight Training Make Women Bulky? Learn the Truth Now »

Troubleshooting Weight Gain

A couple of years back I wrote an article series on troubleshooting weight loss that was quite popular with my clients who were struggling with identifying the reason they’re weight loss efforts had stalled.

I have been meaning to write a companion article for some time now on the other side of the coin–weight gain, for my hardgainer athletes who find themselves in plateaus on the other end of the spectrum: where they feel like they should be gaining weight but are either maintaining weight, or even losing weight.

I unfortunately got distracted by other obligations but now I am getting this article out there once and for all.

When I talked about the issues with weight loss plateaus, they mainly centered around unwittingly eliminating the calorie deficit that weight loss requires through one or more factors.

These same factors are typically responsible for stalls in weight gain for those looking to put on size, so it behooves us to review them, but from the perspective of someone desiring to add mass rather than reduce it. Continue Reading Troubleshooting Weight Gain »

Two Critical Factors to Natural Muscle Gain That You’re Currently Ignoring

“I work out hard all the time and I just don’t grow!” Sound familiar? How about, “No matter how much I eat, I can’t gain weight!” or, “My bench has been stuck at __ lbs forever and I just can’t get stronger!”—any of those sound like something you’ve heard recently, or perhaps even said yourself?

Every day, thousands of hopeful hardgainers travel to their local gyms, diligently work through the latest muscle magazine or bodybuilding.com workout program, and summarily fail to achieve any of the incredible results promised by these programs despite their best and continued effort.

While some maintain a headstrong attitude in the face of continued failure for years, most eventually burn out and give up. And who can blame them? Nothing is less motivating than working excruciatingly hard at something, only to see literally nothing for your hard work.

The reason I am so familiar with this feeling is because I went through the same thing myself as a young adult. Throughout high school and early college, I was a scrawny, muscleless weakling and was treated as such by everyone around me.

Continue Reading Two Critical Factors to Natural Muscle Gain That You’re Currently Ignoring »

3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 5

Intro by Coach B: Finishing our 5-part our bulking recipe series (see part 1 here, part 2 herepart 3 here and part 4 here), this week’s installment includes 3 all-new recipes for your mass-gaining pleasure. Enjoy and be sure to share this recipe series with anyone else you know who needs to put on size and needs to learn how to eat appropriately for their goals.

Article Series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5

Coach Tracy here, I hope these recipes have helped increase your repertoire, and most importantly, helped you start putting on some size!

Here are the key points that I wanted you to learn as we took you through this article series:

  1. For maximum performance and an optimal lean mass gain to body fat mass gain ratio, meals must have more than just lots of calories; they must have optimal macros, which for the typical hardgainer is going to be high carbohydrate, moderately-high protein, and moderately-high fat.
  2. Choosing low volume foods with higher carbohydrate content like white rice, potatoes, and white pasta will help prevent that extremely full feeling compared with eating very volumous, fiber-rich carbs. Remember, 2 cups of hash browns have almost the same amount of carbs as 9 cups of green beans!
  3. Choosing full fat dairy products like whole milk, ice cream, cheeses, sour cream and heavy cream gives you a big boost to calories without having to drench things in oil.
  4. Creating flavorful sauces that are high in calories and take up a good portion of the meal’s calories will make you feel less full. For example, Alfredo sauce uses milk, cream, butter, garlic, and parmesan cheese and can pack a caloric wallop.
  5. Eating a “bro-diet” of chicken, sweet potato and broccoli every 2 hours, six times a day is not ideal for lean mass gain (or anything, other than pushing you to jump off a cliff in nutritional boredom and misery).
  6. Having fun and be patient are key to long-term success!

Here are the last three recipes of the series, bringing you a total of 15 mass-gain recipes. All very different, very delicious, and very easy to pack away. Continue Reading 3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 5 »

3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 2

Intro by Coach B: Continuing our bulking recipe series from last week (see part 1 here), this week’s installment includes 3 all-new recipes for your mass-gaining pleasure.

Remember, if you want to get big, all the weight lifting in the world won’t amount to anything if you’re not in a calorie surplus. Many guys spend so much effort trying to find that magical combination of exercises, sets, reps and/or weekly routine splits, while completely ignoring their calorie intake and falling short of a surplus each day (or at least, many times per week).

They then scratch their head wondering why they can’t grow. But if you think about it logically, it makes sense. Without excess calories, your body has nothing to make new tissue with. It can’t spontaneously appear from the ether… muscle gain (like fat loss) is a byproduct of energy balance and without the energy balance in your favor, you’re on the road to no gainz, baby.

So grab your fork, do a few jaw stretches and get ready to put away some serious calories.

Article Series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5
Continue Reading 3 Mass-Gain Recipes for the Alpha Athlete, Pt. 2 »

Dangerous Curves Ahead: How to Build a Better Butt

It seems like lately, it is all about the bum–it has taken over the internet, literally. This booty-licious trend is one that I actually like. I mean, what female wants a flat, flabby behind? None that I know of! Sure, some abs and biceps will look nice and probably fill out your clothes well–but ladies, you need some curves. The backside is where it’s at… am I right?

Having a great behind isn’t only something to be achieved by professional fitness competitors or models anymore. Every woman on the planet wants one. It is an essential part of our female physique, so it’s important for us not to ignore it. I am pretty sure that most of the time when you check your Instagram feed, you see women who embrace their curves, especially if they’ve worked hard for them.

I am constantly flooded with questions from females asking, “Lucy, how can I get a nice butt?” Well, there is definitely more to it than just genetics, and believe me that when I say that for my own rear, I have put a ton of work into it! This didn’t just happen overnight… and I wasn’t simply blessed with good genetics–I had to bust my ass for my results (no pun intended). Continue Reading Dangerous Curves Ahead: How to Build a Better Butt »