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Bodybuilding and Biking - 
My Favorites The first 3 pages in the Training section are more about attitude than anything else. That is a HUGE factor--believing you can do it and want to change your life for the right reasons. Then there are the Exercise descriptions to help show you how to do certain exercises and what muscles they should be working. You will be well on your way to improving your quality of life by finding ways to stay motivated and doing these exercises properly.

As you get stronger and get hooked on the fitness lifestyle, it is only natural for a certain sport or activity to become more interesting and challenging to you. Maybe you want to improve your performance in that sport or even compete. Bodybuilding has been my thing for a while. But I have also enjoyed running, a couple of sprint triathlons, and still do weeklong bike rides. I do believe some form of resistance training improves performance, based on personal experience as well as all the research. It should be designed for your sport and not overshadow the training for your sport (unless, of course, you want to compete as a bodybuilder!). I'm also always doing research on different aspects of training--it interests me, keeps me motivated, and I usually learn something new. If you are very experienced in a certain sport, you already know a lot, but I hope that you still find something new or motivational here. I've linked articles and plans that I think have sound concepts to help you on your way.

This section is intended to highlight training tips and suggested plans to help you reach specific goals, but you have to incorporate sound nutrition along with it! Go to General Fitness vs. Sport Specific Nutrition (in the Nutrition section) when you're done here. Also, I don't want to minimize the fact that you are unique and may require some differences in your training and nutrition plans, but you have to start somewhere. These have been proven to be effective. If you are not meeting your goals though, you need to change something and monitor its effects.


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General Fitness


  • Free Weights vs. Machines. The best pieces of weight lifting equipment are the ones you will actually use! I do think that free weights are more versatile and usually a smaller investment if you work out at home, rather than a cheap machine that isn't very adjustable. Whatever you use, focus on working and feeling the muscles.

    Keep spinning!

  • How Much Cardio. Cardio is great, but for overall fitness, you don't need to overdo it. To keep a healthy heart and lungs, you can add 2-3 sessions of 20-30 minutes per week to your weight training program. If you do cardio on weight training days, make sure to do it after the weights. Just about anything counts that gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping, so have fun with it! Besides the standard treadmill, stationary bike, or stepper, there's jogging/brisk walks outside, basketball, soccer, mountain biking, swimming, canoeing, etc. Better yet, do some circuit training for a change of pace to get the benefits of both weights and cardio!

Bodybuilding

  • Periodization. Doing the same exercises with the same amount of weights for the same number of reps will not always build muscle. It will at first because your body hasn't adapted to it yet. Once you reach a plateau or start losing interest, you need to start thinking about shaking things up. There are many ways to cycle your training. It can be changes every time you workout, like this FLEX article outlines, or for set periods of time like this periodization plan. I've tried both types, but do like to change things frequently. Any of the programs in General Fitness above could be used as a phase. So, keep those muscles guessing and keep those workouts interesting!
  • Junior Nationals 2002

  • Other Interesting Advanced Training Programs. Everyone is different, so here's some other ideas to spice it up. I'd suggest sticking with a certain program for at least a month to determine how it works for you.

  • Compound Movements vs. Isolation Movements. Incorporate both into your training. They both have good points. You can lift heavier weights and hit more muscle groups with a compound movement, such as squats, bench press, or deadlifts. They usually require more balance and coordination, which is good. Make sure to include compound movements in your workouts the majority of the time. Isolation movements, such as leg extensions and one-arm cable curls, hit one particular muscle group, which is just another way to work the muscle. They make good finishing movements, or as a pre-exhaust before doing a compound movement.

  • Cardio. Cardio is still an important part of keeping your heart and lungs strong, but if building muscle mass is your main goal, it should not be overdone. 3 HIIT sessions per week of 20 minutes works just fine. When shredding down for a competition, it can be increased, but only if diet changes haven't produced the results desired. Diet and weight training should always be the main focus to get that lean yet full look.

  • Pre-Contest Training. The only difference between 'off-season' training and 'pre-contest' training is intensity. It is not necessary nor really beneficial to lift lighter weights for higher reps to achieve that ripped physique. Always focus on building muscle and don't overtrain. Diet plays a greater role in a pre-contest phase. So, be intense in your training by using some advanced techniques during this time, like supersets, drop sets, partial sets. Also, make sure to honestly evaluate your starting point and how much time it will take to reach your physique goals. A 12-week pre-contest phase is pretty normal, but I've seen anywhere from 8 to 20 weeks depending on the amount of fat loss and/or muscle sought. Here is just an example of short duration training program incorporating some of these intensity techniques: 5 Weeks to a Ripped Physique.

Running

Biking

Swimming

Team Sports - Baseball, Football, Basketball, Soccer
  • Weight Training and Team Sports. Perfect Form Why do you think nearly all the team trainers set up weight training programs for their players? It's not just for injury rehabilitation, but for injury prevention, increasing starting and endurance strength, outplaying and outlasting your opponent. I've been involved in enough sports over the years to see what a difference incorporating some weight training into your regimen can make. Here's a neat site, although there's a yearly fee involved to get full benefits: Sportspecific.com.

    Here's some good weight training programs for the following sports:

  • Specific Skills Based on Position. In nearly every team sport, there are different positions that requires different levels of strength, speed, agility, etc. Focus on the skills that apply most to the position that you are to be playing. I know this depends on how competitive the team is and if you are able to only play one position.

  • Working as a Team. You want to be the best at the position you play. You need specific Soccer Rocks! technical skills training, but also need to work as a team and have the right mental preparation in terms of goals and commitment. The best teams are strong physically, technically, and mentally. Team strategy is built based on the makeup of your team. I won't even attempt to go into the psychology on team building and attitude. Here's a site I've found that has a lot of good info on team building.
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Whatever your interest, give it your best and have fun with it!   It's a great feeling.

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