March 2004 Journal

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State of the Physique 03/08 thru 03/14 - The more my muscle defintion and vascularity become noticeable, the more amazed I am with how the body works. I start to look at individual bodyparts, watching them work and being developed separately, yet knowing it takes a whole series of brain, nerve, and supporting muscle functions to lift a weight. Compound movements, such as squats, call upon a number of muscles to perform the exercise properly: back, shoulders, abs, and of course, legs. My mind has to be in the muscle (that mind-muscle connection we read so much about) to focus my energy on contracting the muscle group I'm working. That is what is meant by really feeling the muscle. This allows me to get the most muscle fibers activated during the exercise, which helps me get the most out of the exercise. Yes, I'm into efficiency.

Hey, wake up! Do I look like Ronnie Coleman? Glad to get that off my back... As you can probably tell, it's leg day! And the camera kept going off. Man, my legs are rather jello-like at the moment. It was a good workout.

Currently, I weight train 2 days on/1 day off working each muscle group once every 6 days (except for abs and calves get a little extra because they recover quicker). I like variety in my exercises. It keeps me interested and also works the muscles in different ways. I try to do some heavy sets and some lighter. I throw in supersets and drop sets. I have noticed, over the years, that my left side tends to grow faster than my right, and my right side tends to get more defined than my left. Subtle differences, but my challenge is training to keep these in balance and symmetry as much as possible. I try to add more unilateral exercises for this, plus really focus on evenly distributing the work when doing a compound movement.

1-Leg Leg Press
I have been trying to do 4 cardio sessions per week, and will probably up it 1 or 2 more sessions these last 3 weeks in hopes of less fat/more definition in my lower body. That may seem low to some, but I lift in the morning and have been keeping rest time between sets to a minimum to get a little extra aerobic, fat-burning benefit. I also think finding a diet that helps me preserve muscle, lose fat is a key part of the equation. I think I'm still responding well to my diet in terms of results and energy levels (see Nutrition Table below). I've been posing more to help 'tighten' up too. It's a balancing act, for sure. What's the right amount of weight training and cardio? Don't ask me, I just work here.... and it depends, of course, on...

Hyperextensions for Hamstrings/Glutes
... your condition, athletic experience, and goals. You have to listen to your body. It takes anywhere from 48 to 72 hours for a muscle to recover. If you are still very sore, you should give yourself more time before working a particular muscle again. And don't forget to factor in the neurological and mental aspects. Sometimes a little break helps give them time to relax too, so you can hit it strong again. Yeah, when I'm in competition mode, I don't take many breaks, but I do still allow a particular muscle to recover several days and stay in tune with my body. I'll have to wait for my mental break for a little while yet. Cardio is a little different in that it does work the muscles (but mainly slow-twitch fibers which do not grow as big) and can burn fat; however, it can also be overdone, which depletes your glycogen stores and put you in a catabolic state (i.e., body breakdowns muscle to support its functions--not a good thing). You want to do enough to aid in the fat loss, but not too much to cause muscle loss. Nutrition again factors in big time. It is not an exact science by any means. I do think women, in general, may need a little extra cardio (in combination with weight training) since we have a natural tendency to store fat in our lower bodies. Here is a good article by Chris Aceto, a nutritionist/coach to many pro bodybuilders, whom I really respect: Clearing The Air About Eight Aerobic Misconceptions . And here's another good one about the AM Fat Burn. (Yes, I'm sure I could find an article to justify any theory, but from my and many others' experience, I think what he says is very true and produces positive results.)

Everytime I go through this process, I do some things the same and try changing a few things in search of maximum muscle, minimum fat. And then there's that whole water manipulation the last week before a contest to help better display the muscles once you've lost the fat, but we'll save that for another time.

Obviously from these ramblings, my mind was really in my muscles this week. Contest time must be getting closer. It's April 3rd!

NUTRITION - (approx. 200-210g protein, 60-80g carbs, 40-45g fat  -or- 55%-20%-25% of 1400-1500 cals.)
1 Lean Out & 1 Energy Reserve 20 minutes prior to Meals 3 thru 6, 3 Ultra 40 Liver Tablets with Meals 2 thru 6, 2 Muscularity BCAA caps with Meals 3 thru 6.
 Meal 1
2 Energy Reserve tablets, 5g glutamine, 3 7-Keto Musclean, & 1 scoop Mass Maker (before weight workouts), 12 Muscle Mass BCAA tablets (during workout), 5g creatine (after workouts)
 Meal 2
3 oz. Ground Turkey Breast, 3 egg whites, 1/2 grapefruit, Vitamin Pak
 Meal 3
2 scoops Muscle Provider, 1 tsp peanut Power Butter, 2 Flax Seed Caps
 Meal 4
5-6 oz Chicken Breast or Orange Roughy, spinach or broccoli or asparagus, 3 Flax Seed Caps
 Meal 5
2 scoops Muscle Provider, few frozen strawberries, 1 tsp all-natural peanut butter
 Meal 6
6 oz can White Tuna, 3 cups Spinach Salad (with broccoli, cucumbers, radishes, peppers, celery, green onions), 1 TBS Paul Newman's Olive Oil and Vinegar
Monday and Friday - 3 oz sweet potato with Meal 4.
Wednesday and Saturday - Supper (in place of Meal 6) - 4-5 oz sweet potato, 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1/2 scoop Muscle Provider and 1 tsp peanut butter, broccoli, 1/2 banana
Incline Barbell Press (70-100) 4 10-15
Dumbbell Press (30-40) 4 8-12
Cable Crossover (10) superset w/ pushups off squat bar 4 10/12
Seated Incline DB Curls (15-25) 414-24
Preacher Curls (15-20)310-12
1 Arm Low Cable Curls (20-25)4 12
Seated Side Laterals (10) 4 12
Seated Weight Crunches (25)4 15
Hip Lifts / superset with Floor Crunches 4 15/12
Vacuums (hold for 10 secs) 6-
CARDIO - Treadmill--incline, 20 minutes.
Front Lat Pulldowns (50-70) 4 10-12
Smith Machine BentOver Rows (90-100) 4 10-12
Parallel Grip Cable Rows (80-140) 4 10-15
Straight Arm Pulldowns (50-70) 4 10-12
Rope Pushdowns (30-40)4 12-15
Dips 3 10
Decline Dumbbell Extensions (15-20) 4 12
CARDIO - Treadmill, 20 minutes in the evening.
Seated DB Overhead Presses (20-35) w/ 2 drop sets at end 5 8-12
1 Arm Side Cable Laterals (7.5-10) 4 8-10
Standing Arnold Presses (20-25) 4 12
Reverse Pec Dec Flyes (10-20)312-15
Seated Calf Raises (100) 4 12
Floor Crunches 4 12
Machine Crunches (40)4 15
Vertical Leg Raises / superset with Incline Crunches 4 12/15
Vacuums (hold for 10 secs) 10 -
CARDIO - Treadmill--incline, 20 minutes.
Hack Squats (70-160) 412-15
Barbell Squats (70-140) w/ one drop set 5 12-15
Leg Extensions (50-60)--squeeze!! 3 12
Hyperextension for Hamstrings 4 10-12
Lying Leg Curls (25-35)410-12
1-Leg Leg Press, alternating legs with no rest between sets (50) 4 10-12
1-Leg Standing Calf Raises, alternating legs with no rest between sets (20) 4 12-15
Incline Dumbbell Press (25-40) 4 10-15
Pec Dec Flyes (30-40) 4 10-12
Seated Machine Press (60) superset w/ Dumbbell Pullovers (35) 4 12/12
Standing Alternate DB Curls (15-25) 416-24
Rope Curls (60)312
1 Arm Concentration Curls (15-20)3 10-12
High Cable Curls (20)--squeeze!!412
Seated Side Laterals (10) 4 12
CARDIO - Treadmill, 20 minutes in the evening.

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