Workout of the Week: The Functional Upper-Lower Split

Athletes move, not just stand around flexing in front of a mirror (that’s for bodybuilders). While it is rewarding to build up a body that looks good, for many people, goals are all about improving athletic performance while shaping up the body at the same time.

That’s why we’ve put together this workout, the Functional Upper-Lower Split. Based on supersetting upper- and lower-body muscles to create the most dramatic cardio effect that weight-training can simulate, this workout also will incorporate plenty of athletic movements — lunging, jumping, and even some sprinting — to train your body to work while it’s tired. After all, it’s not when you’re fresh into a game that you struggle, but toward the end. Here’s how to help gain an advantage when everyone else’s body is giving up.

Superset box jumps with another plyometric movement, medicine ball wall slams, for a great upper-lower split.

THE FUNCTIONAL UPPER-LOWER SPLIT

Perform each superset by doing both exercises back-to-back with no rest in between, then rest just long enough for muscular fatigue to start to fade away (you shouldn’t fully catch your breath, in other words). Concentrate on movement form and getting all your reps.

  • Superset 1: Barbell squats/standing overhead press (5×12)
  • Superset 2: Romanian deadlifts/pull-ups (5×12, or failure on the pull-ups)
  • Cardio: 5 minutes HIIT on a treadmill, or 5 sets of liners (or suicides, to use the coach’s term) on a basketball court
  • Superset 3: Medicine ball wall slams/box jumps (5×12)
  • Superset 4: Alternate leg barbell lunges/incline dumbbell bench (5×12)
  • Cardio: 5 minutes HIIT on a treadmill, or 5 sets of liners on a basketball court

Tried the workout? Or got one of your own you want to share? Let us know!

The Food and Supplements You Need to Strength-Train

There are a number of ways you can train to add muscle size, even with light weights. You don’t necessarily HAVE to be strong to put on a little bit of size.

You won't get size or strength without eating right.

But if you’re after legitimate muscle mass and the strength that comes with it, you have to do two things: 1) Lift heavy stuff, and 2) eat and supplement your diet the right way with the proper stacks. And NUTRISHOP Chico has put together thousands of diet plans and supplement regimens for customers over the years. Read up if you want to see how to eat and what stack to choose if strength and muscle is what you’re after.

DIET PLAN

You can work out as often and as intensely as you want, but if you’re not giving your body the fuel it needs to build muscle, it never will grow the way you want it to. This diet plan focuses on loading up quality calories, making plenty of energy and protein available to your system so you can recover, rebuild and see strength gains. Timing is big: Make sure you’re eating a form of protein at least every 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Breakfast (30 mins after waking): 5 eggs (3 whites only), 1/2 C spinach, 1/2 chopped tomato, 1 C oatmeal/1 slice whole wheat toast with 1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter.

Mid-morning snack: PRO7 shake in nonfat milk and a piece of fruit

Lunch: Tuna sandwich (no mayo) on whole wheat bread, spinach salad with 1/2 tomato, 1/2 avocado, 2 Tbsp. olive-oil-based dressing (Balsamic vinaigrette)

Afternoon snack: PRO7 shake in nonfat milk, or two string cheeses and a handful of raw almonds

Dinner: Large chicken breast, steamed broccoli, baked sweet potato or yam, mixed green salad with olive-oil based dressing

Bedtime snack: 1/2 C fat-free cottage cheese

 

SUPPLEMENTS

Again, we’re going for muscle, so we need a lot of protein and calories, plus the drive and focus to get us through super-intense workouts with heavy weight. Go with the Advanced Hard Gainer Stack for the best results. Here’s what a sample schedule would look like on these supps:

GAINER 7: Immediately post-workout in cold water. Optional: Before bed.

N’SANE/CODE-3/VASOCOR: 30 minutes before your workout.

N’FUZE: 30 mins before and immediately after your workout (or with breakfast and lunch on non-workout days).

NATURE’S FUEL: Upon waking, before breakfast.

GLUTACOR: Upon waking, before bed, post-workout.

N’RAGE: Pre-workout.

IBCAA: Upon waking, before bed, during/before long workouts.

Don’t Let Your Muscles Waste Away — Get IBCAA NOW!

All week long, we’ve looked at the amazing results NUTRISHOP Chico customer Jennifer Bretney was able to get with some hard work and the proper supplementation plan. Jennifer severely injured both knees, was told she’d never run again, and eight weeks after her last surgery she’s back in the gym — plus, she didn’t lose any muscle mass while her knees recovered!

Jennifer’s recovery is so impressive, we wanted to share with the rest of our customers the benefits of the supplements she took as part of her recovery regimen. We looked at GLUTACOR and PRO7EIN SYNTHESIS the past couple days; today, we will highlight IBCAA, one of Jennifer’s staple supplements as she recovered from her surgeries.

IBCAA is an instanized branched-chain amino acid product featured leucine, valine and isoleucine, the “big three” amino acids responsible for muscle maintenance. The amino acids leucine, valine and isoleucine are all considered “essential” amino acids — meaning your body does not produce them, instead relying on your own dietary intake. But when you work out, your muscles go into a catabolic state, using up the amino acids that are readily available within the muscle itself. This is one of the reasons your muscles get fatigued and weak as you continue to lift; you’re purposely tearing them down and your body is doing what it needs to in order to stop that process.

In Jennifer’s case, her muscles would have become fatigued and weak from the opposite — non-use. Because her knees severely limited the amount of work she could do with her legs, it was crucial for her body to have a steady supply of branched-chain amino acids. If you go back and look at Jennifer’s supplementation recovery plan, you’ll see just how often she was downing IBCAA — at least three times a day, an aggressive recovery schedule but one that was necessary. The muscles’ natural tendency, whether over- or under-worked, is to break down tissue for fuel.

Having a surplus of amino acids stops this, since they are metabolized in the muscles and not in the liver. Once your system absorbs them, they go straight to the muscles in demand and begin to work. Exercise Prescription online points out that “amino acids will be used for protein synthesis, which is optimal for advanced human performance.” It continues to state that “BCAAs are of essential importance to athletes due to their ability to alleviate any deficiencies the body alone cannot produce.”

Jennifer’s story is an extreme one in the case of muscle tissue being converted to fuel, but make no mistake, it does happen with everyone. If your long workouts or cardio sessions are doing more harm than good by robbing you of your muscle mass because of insufficient amino acid levels, you’ll never see the results you’re after. IBCAAs kept Jennifer’s muscle tone while she couldn’t use it — imagine how it can help a fully healthy athlete!

PRO7EIN SYNTHESIS Helped Jennifer Keep Her Muscle Mass — It Can Help You, Too

protein powder, pro7, muscle gain, fat loss

Earlier this week, we looked at the amazing results NUTRISHOP Chico customer Jennifer Bretney was able to get with some hard work and the proper supplementation plan. Jennifer severely injured both knees, was told she’d never run again, and eight weeks after her last surgery she’s back in the gym — plus, she didn’t lose any muscle mass while her knees recovered!

Jennifer’s recovery is so impressive, we wanted to share with the rest of our customers the benefits of the supplements she took as part of her recovery regimen. We looked at GLUTACORyesterday; today, we will highlight PRO7EIN SYNTHESIS, one of Jennifer’s staple supplements as she recovered from her surgeries.

One of the most stunning aspects of her story was the fact that, when she went back to see her surgeon after her operation, he couldn’t believe that she hadn’t lost any muscle mass — or gained any fat. Jennifer had had surgery before, and lost severe muscle tone that caused her to fall behind in her fitness schedule, which her line of work then (law enforcement) really could suffer from.

But she came into NUTRISHOP in Chico, sought out our expert staff’s advice, and came up with a solid plan of attack to keep her body holding on to its muscle even while she wasn’t able to train on her injured knees. And a big part of that plan was PRO7 — here’s how it helped.

  • Protein helps provide amino acids crucial to the muscle-building and repairing process. With more than 30 grams of protein in a single serving and a wide range of protein sources with different absorption rates, PRO7 is an outstanding recovery product. An athlete would benefit from PRO7 right after a workout, to help quickly replenish the amino acid stores the muscles are searched for; in Jennifer’s case, a steady supply of protein enabled the protein synthesis process to take place continually.
  • More muscle (and the upkeep of it) translates directly into a higher-burning metabolism, which lets you process calories much more effectively. The easiest things to do while you’re inactive are lose muscle and gain fat. The body is very efficient, but naturally is geared toward preventing “emergency” situations — most notably, running out of energy (remember, calories are a unit of energy) and becoming fatigued. The more muscle you have and want to maintain, the more protein you need to consume. Jennifer turned to PRO7’s high-quality blend just for this reason — to save the muscle she already had, and maintaining her metabolism so she wouldn’t gain fat.
  • AMINOGEN: Aminogen is a patented enzyme system included in PRO7 to increase nitrogen retention and make better use of free-form amino acids found in proteins. A high nitrogen balance equals an optimal state for muscle growth and enables the body to fight off catabolism — the breakdown of muscle tissue to access amino acids for energy. Because Jennifer’s muscles, particularly her legs, were at risk to catabolize since she couldn’t exercise them, the Aminogen in PRO7 was crucial to helping utilize the most amino acids possible and keeping a positive nitrogen balance.

PRO7 is one of NUTRISHOP’s most popular, effective supplements for muscle building and maintenance. If you have a goal of creating more muscle or keeping the muscle you already have, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Make Injuries a Thing of the Past With GLUTACOR

Earlier this week, we looked at the amazing results NUTRISHOP Chico customer Jennifer Bretney was able to get with some hard work and the proper supplementation plan. Jennifer severely injured both knees, was told she’d never run again, and eight weeks after her last surgery she’s back in the gym — plus, she didn’t lose any muscle mass while her knees recovered!

Jennifer’s recovery is so impressive, we wanted to share with the rest of our customers the benefits of the supplements she took as part of her recovery regimen. And a good place to start is No. 1 — as in GLUTACOR, probably the No. 1 recovery supplement NUTRISHOP has to offer.

Studies have shown that the presence of muscular injury, or cellular sickness, is usually highlighted by a lack of glutamine in the muscle tissue. Glutamine has tremendous immune properties that help your body fight off illness (you can’t lift if you’re sick), injury (you can’t train if you’re hurt) and soreness. A University of Liverpool (UK) study in the British Journal of Nutrition (2002) highlighted the importance of glutamine:

“A striking feature of the cells of the immune system is that despite their differing function and cell biology, all are dependent on glutamine in a similar manner.”

The bottom line: ALL immune cells NEED glutamine to do their jobs.

In Jennifer’s case, she had torn ligaments that needed repair, plus muscle that she needed not to atrophy. If you’ve ever seen someone who’s had a cast on their arm or leg, you’ve no doubt noticed that, when they get the cast removed, the appendage is usually much smaller than it was before, with the muscle deteriorated from lack of use.

Glutamine’s properties as a recovery supplement help it target broken-down areas of muscle. This applies to weight lifters and athletes as a tool to reduce soreness by speeding up the process of muscle recovery. It is the presence of glutamine ITSELF in muscle tissue that is responsible for how sore you are after an intense workout. Even bed-ridden patients in hospitals are given excess glutamine to make sure their muscles don’t waste away while they’re off their feet. So, the more glutamine that’s available, theoretically, the less sore you will be.

Whle Jennifer was injured, she could have easily decided that the doctors were right — she’d never run again, she’d always walk with a cane and her lifestyle of exercise was over. She wasn’t ready to accept that. Obviously, tremendous willpower played a huge role in her recovery, but the other thing she did correctly was supplying her body with the right nutrients to make it happen. After visiting the staff members at Chico NUTRISHOP, she learned that GLUTACOR was important for boosting nitrogen balances in the system, making it a more effective muscle-builder. This was key in her maintaining muscle mass even while she couldn’t train her legs.

The presence of amino acids in the system will usually indicate high nitrogen balance in the body, so obviously you want to retain nitrogen if you can. One double-blind study in Germany showed that subjects given a glutamine supplement showed that “nitrogen balances were significantly better,” and concluded that improved nitrogen retention went hand-in-hand with “enhanced muscle protein synthesis.”

So how can you apply all this to yourself? Maybe you’ve been injured too, or, hopefully you haven’t — that’s even better. Taking GLUTACOR is one of the best things you can do to help prevent injury and sickness by bolstering the immune system, as well as one of the top products to take if you’ve suffered a setback — a pulled muscle, a rolled ankle or even something as severe as a torn knee ligament. Remember, Jennifer did it with tons of motivation and the right supplement plan.

The motivation is yours. Come to us for the GLUTACOR.

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Workout of the Week: Turn Up the Volume

We’ve looked into volume training before, with German Volume Training plans and how a large amount of sets and reps can increase endurance of strength and muscle size and tone. One of the biggest points about training with the volume method is that you’re conditioning the longest muscle fibers to withstand lactic acid burn, and in some cases, actuallyconvert it into energy by resynthesizing ATP — cellular energy.

With that said, we’ve put together a great front-back upper body workout based off two main principles: Supersetting and volume. By using high reps and a lot of sets, we’ll force the muscles to work their hardest to last the duration of the workout, and supersetting will force blood to the entire area to create a strong pump and cardio effect. After four weeks of training like this, your muscles would be accustomed to a high threshold of lactic acid burn, allowing you to fight through the toughest of reps. Enjoy!

TURN UP THE VOLUME

(Chest and Back)

You’ll want to use a weight that’s (much) lighter than what you ordinarily do. If you bench 205 for 10 reps, you should be thinking about starting off with maybe 150 here, as an example. Adjust the weight as you feel necessary, and don’t worry if you have to drop even more.

For each superset, you’ll do 5 sets of each exercise. Start with the first exercise, doing one set, then immediately move to the next exercise and perform a set without rest in between. Take 60 seconds between supersets to rest.

  • Superset 1: Wide-grip pull-ups (to failure)/barbell bench press (12).
  • Superset 2: Incline dumbbell press (12)/seated narrow-grip cable row (12).
  • Superset 3: Reverse-grip lat pulldowns (12)/cable flys (12).
  • Superset 4: Dumbbell pullovers (12)/shrugs (12).

Form and rep execution are the most important things about this workout — you MUST get all the reps for it to be effective! Don’t think, “Oh, well I got 10, so I’m good.” Wrong! Adjust the weight even more if you have to, but get EVERY rep. The last few should be incredibly challenging and test your determination almost more than your endurance. Remember, mind over matter!

How NUTRISHOP Helped Jennifer’s Amazing Recovery!

Jennifer Bretney

Chico, Calif.

Jennifer, 30, was in the Marine Corps and serves in law enforcement today, so she knows a thing or two about what toughness means. But when she blew up both her knees during training — she was tackled sideways by another officer, tearing ligaments in both knees — she saw maybe her toughest test to date.

“Before it happened, I was running triathlons, doing my law enforcement training, and after it happened, the doctor said I’d probably never run again and I’ll probably walk with a cane,” Jennifer says. “He said I’d have chronic pain. They told me it’d be one year to recover, and I couldn’t return to law enforcement. They said my knees just couldn’t take that impact.”

The day of her injury was August 10th, and Jennifer refused to let it run her life.

“I just thought, ‘I’m going to run again. An injury’s just an injury,’” she says. “You can do anything you want to do. You just have to make your body do it. I have a 9-year-old boy and I’m not going to sit on the couch and cry about it. It’s always too soon to quit.”

A few weeks after the surgery on her right knee, doctors found more damage in her left — and it, too, needed surgery, which Jennifer had in November.

Just last week, Jennifer was back in the gym. How?

“When I first got hurt, I went in and talked to the guys at NUTRISHOP, and said, ‘I still want to be in the gym, still want to keep my fitness,’” she says. “I didn’t want to be done. I wanted to recover, and the guys there gave me a few options to take and I stayed on it until my surgery. I was working out with a straight leg brace on. I was in the gym, in the pool, working with trainers, doing upper body and all the lower body I was told to do.”

By following a supplement regimen that included GLUTACOR, PRO7, IBCAA and NATURE’S FUEL, Jennifer, she even amazed her surgeon when she went in for a post-operation visit six months after the surgery. Her legs, despite having significantly less exercise because of the injury, had not atrophied at all.

“He said, ‘Oh my gosh, you have so much muscle mass and you’re not atrophying the way I’d expect.’ I came out of the brace and he couldn’t believe it,” Jennifer says. “I still had all my muscle. I didn’t lose or gain any weight over 6 months. I think my recovery was definitely helped by staying on a regimen with the diet, following my proteins and everything, getting the nutrition I needed to recover.”

Jennifer’s supplementation schedule was rigid, but she stuck to it precisely and got her incredible results. Her recovery regimen:

  • Pre-workout: GLUTACOR
  • During workout: IBCAA
  • After workout: PRO7/IBCAA
  • Before lunch: NATURE’S EFA
  • Afternoon: PRO7
  • Before bed: PRO7

Jennifer had never even been to NUTRISHOP and wasn’t really into supplements. But she’d been injured and had surgery before, and the process caused her to lose 12 pounds. She didn’t want that to happen again, because of the difficulty in recovering with so much weight loss. So she got her plan and just kept taking her supplements and doing what training she could. Now she’s walking without leg braces and only uses the cane on “bad days.” It’s been only eight weeks since her last operation.

“It’s just like this old saying goes,” Jennifer says. “The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”