Workout of the Week: Explosive Movements for Explosive Gains

You can “tone” all you want, but no amount of leg extensions will give you the powerful quads, hamstrings and glutes you need for athletic performance the way compound, big-energy movements will. That’s why we’re dedicating this workout to some of the most basic yet effective moves in the book. Get off the inner-thigh adductor and train for real function.

EXPLOSIVE MOVEMENTS, EXPLOSIVE GAINS

4 Supersets: Power Cleans/Front Squats (x8 each). For the cleans, start with the bar on the ground. In one fluid motion and your back flat, pull the bar upward, extending onto your toes, and once it’s at your head level quickly turn your hands under and “catch” the bar, elbows forward, at your collarbone. That’s one.

5 Supersets: Deadlifts (x5)/Planks (30 seconds). Your deads should be heavy — the fifth rep should be a struggle each set.

4 Supersets: Squats/Romanian Deadlifts (12 each).

Barbell Overhead Walking Lunges: 4×16. Holding a barbell directly overhead, keep your chest up and torso flexed as you perform these lunges. Do not stop between each lunge; rather, keep a fluid walking motion for 16 steps, 8 per leg.

CLA’s Fat-Burning Sidekicks in THERMOVEX

The wonders of congjugated linoleic acid found in THERMOVEX have been on our minds this week, but that’s not to say that EvoChem’s phenomenal fat-burning pre-workout product’s other ingredients should go unnoticed. The best weight loss supplements are the ones that naturally attack fat stores, prevent fat build-up and increase the metabolism, preferably on several fronts. That’s the idea behind the blend in THERMOVEX: CLA does a lot of the heavy lifting, but it’s getting plenty of help.

Another key ingredient is L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, which a 2011 Dutch study suggests can be used to increase muscle and impact muscle metabolism. Research has indicated that LCLT reduces fat mass — the actual size of the fat cells in your body — and increases muscle mass and reduces fatigue.

THERMOVEX also helps reduce appetite, not only with LCLT, but by including hoodia extract and 10 grams of dietary fiber. Fiber’s benefits include the ability to bind to toxins that make you feel tired and lethargic and actually flush them from your system, and it also helps promote a feeling of fullness — helping you to curb cravings that might make you mindlessly eat food you don’t need.

Lastly, there is also a bevy of all-natural diuretics in THERMOVEX, which help remove the excess water in your cells that can “puff” up fat cells under the skin and cause a bloated look.

THERMOVEX is one of the newest, most advanced fat-burning supplement in to NUTRISHOP Chico, and its unique formula makes it worth checking out if you want to key significant fat loss, or even just lean out and accentuate your muscle a bit more. Check it out today.

The Added Benefits of CLA in THERMOVEX

A pre-workout and fat-burner in one? Look no further than THERMOVEX.

We’re big on CLA because of its research-backed ability to help keep body fat in check, limiting how big existing fat cells can get and preventing new ones from forming. The direct properties of CLA on the body’s fat-burning capabilities are seen in the numbers: The most telling research done in studies shows significant losses in body fat and the ability to eventually gain more muscle.

But there are other benefits to CLA that are great as well. Our aim is to briefly discuss those here.

One of the most revolutionary fat-burning supplements designed to work by increasing metabolic rate and enhancing muscle growth, is CLA — conjugated linoleic acids – and it’s the primary fat-burning ingredient in Evochem’s THERMOVEX. CLA supplementation is building a strong reputation as a proven fat-loss supplement, with benefits including:

  • Increased metabolic rate: The quicker your “motor” runs, the faster and more efficiently it processes fatty acids and prevents them from being stored.
  • Enhanced muscle growth: A sneaky must for those looking to drop body fat. The more muscle your body has, the faster the metabolism burns.
  • Reduced insulin resistance: Constant insulin spikes makes your body’s sensitivity to this anabolic hormone drop dramatically, which can cue various health ailments including diabetes and obesity. By reducing your body’s resistance to it, it can function to process glucose through the muscles and not to fat cells.
  • Improved immune function: Some studies have shown CLA to not only strengthen the body’s ability to fend off viruses, but also there are indications from the Journal of Food Science that it could be anticarcinogenic.
  • Reduced “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides: Keeping these under control is critical to health body fat levels.

The Fat-Burning Benefits of CLA and THERMOVEX

Fat loss is a goal we run into every day at NUTRISHOP, whether it’s someone who’s overweight trying to reshape their life, someone trying to cut up for a swimsuit contest or any level of motivation in between. The extra pound is clearly unwanted. One of the favorites we are happy to point people toward is THERMOVEX, a pre-workout that not only gets you performing at higher levels in the gym, but that also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a proven compound that helps reduce body fat and preserve muscle tissue.

CLA is a naturally occuring fatty acid found in meats, and recently has been touted as one of Dr. Oz’s “miracle” supplements. We don’t know if we believe in “miracles,” but we DO believe in results, and CLA gets them:

In 2000, the Journal of Nutrition published reports of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study that concluded CLA had these properties. The group that took CLA lost an average of six pounds of body fat, compared to the placebo group, by taking 3.4 grams of CLA per day. In that same year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Dr. Michael Pariza reported to the American Chemical Society that dieters taking CLA were more likely to gain muscle and not fat after they stopped dieting. And then, at Purdue, CLA tests showed that it improves insulin levels in about two-thirds of diabetic patients, moderately reducing triglyceride and blood glucose levels (Reference).

These results, plus some other benefits (increased metabolism, decreased body fat, enhance muscle growth, decreased insulin resistance, increased immune function), make CLA a star ingredient of THERMOVEX and one of our most popular pre-workouts for those looking to burn body fat.

Workout of the Week: The Full-Body Experience

Sometimes, you just need something to shake out the cobwebs. The same old workout split can get boring and can stunt results as your body adapts to it. Other times, you might just need to get an extra day of calorie burning in. Whatever the reason, we’ve got a full-body workout that will hit a little bit of every muscle group, challenging your endurance and overall strength.

Give yourself plenty of time for this one, but try to power through it as fast as you can. The quicker your pace, the more effective this workout will be.

THE FULL BODY EXPERIENCE

Parallel Barbell Squats: 3×15.

Romanian Deadlifts: 3×20.

Seated Calf Raises: 2 drop sets – 40, 20, 15, 10.

Pull-Ups: 3 x failure.

Seated Cable Rows: 3×12.

Barbell Bench Press: 3×12.

Overhead Dumbbell Press: 3×15.

Hanging Leg Raises: 4×8.

Planks: 3 x 30seconds.

Another Way BCAAs Can Help You Lose Fat

We all know how branched-chain amino acids can help build muscle and burn body fat. With instant metabolization and anti-catabolic properties, BCAAs are a must-have for your workouts to help preserve muscle tissue that works to keep you strong while forcing the body to turn to fat stores for energy.

But there is another side of fat loss — the mental side of it. Many athletes concerned with their metabolisms can find it easy to stress over calories, protein consumption and more, regardless of their goals. In particular, the “timing windows” surrounding the workout that require appropriate nutrition can actually be harmful when they are stressed over.

The body releases the hormone cortisol during stress, and this hormone is particularly renowned for leading to fat storage. High output levels of cortisol can essentially stunt the immediate recovery process!

An example that applies to nearly everyone is the “emergency stop” on the way home from a workout — you’ve just finished with your last rep, you’re rushed to get home and slam a protein shake within 20 minutes for immediate recovery, and then, OOPS: You have to stop and get gas, or a friend stops you to chat — there are a ton of things that can get in your way. The worrying one might do about their workout going to waste is legitimate! But that’s where BCAAs can help out, especially if they’ve been in your interim-workout water bottle. The mental confidence that your muscles are not catabolizing goes a long way in suppressing dangerous cortisol levels — it  turns what was a two-fold operation into a three-fold effect.

BCAAs not only help build muscle, which in turn helps burn fat, but the mental aspect of knowing this is happening furthers those effects by lessening metabolism-related stress. If you find you’re always hustling to get to your protein shake at home because you’re worried about making your recovery window, BCAAs are a clear-cut, immediate option.

NUTRISHOP’s Hard-Gainer Trainer: Part 2

A month ago we introduced the Hard-Gainer’s Guide, a start to a diet, training and supplement plan for those who want to put on muscle and weight. For some of us who are taller, longer-torsoed and leaner, building and maintaining muscle is a constant process, throughout the year, one that doesn’t have a “cutting phase.”

Because we know not everybody is looking to simply lose weight, we have the Hard Gainer’s Guide — a comprehensive plan of attack for adding muscle size with the proper gym, diet and supplement strategies.

We’ve included the original diet and supplement plans here for easy reference, but with an updated workout guide to follow for the next four weeks. Again, you’ll go four days on and three off, leaving ample time to recover. Check back at this page throughout the week for the next day’s workout — by Thursday, the whole plan will be in place.

EATING FOR HARD GAINERS

If you’re reading this, it more than likely applies to you: Hard gainers are classified as “longer” body types, with typically fast metabolisms, lean frames, smaller joints (narrow wrists and ankles) and narrow waists. Usually, hard gainers are longer-limbed and taller than our stockier gym friends. That’s OK — many find the “lifeguard” body type to be the most desirable. If you fall into this category, where you find that you simply can’t eat enough to ever get fat or, sadly, gain the muscle fast enough, you’re a hard gainer.

The bottom line for you if you want to add muscle is this: YOU MUST EAT. Many hard gainers make the common mistake of undereating because they don’t want to gain body fat, a reasonable concern. However, take into consideration that you are skinny for a reason! You’re blessed with a fast metabolism and the amount of calories will almost never be an issue as long as the quality of calories is premium. If you’re serious about adding muscle, your workouts will be so intense and you’ll gain enough muscle that you won’t gain significant levels of fat, and that just leaves you with the task of using food for building material. Muscle just doesn’t come from thin air — new tissue needs to come from a source. It’s food, in the form of quality proteins, fats and carbs.

Three meals a day ain’t gonna cut it anymore. It’s time to eat with a purpose and a plan. And here is that plan:

BREAKFAST (within 30 minutes of waking):

4-5 whole eggs, spinach, tomato, piece of fruit (grapefruit, orange, banana, apple, peach, etc.), 1 c milk, 1 c instant oatmeal with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter.

SNACK (2 1/2 hours after breakfast)

Protein shake in milk, peanut butter/banana/honey sandwich on whole wheat bread

LUNCH (3 hours after first snack)

Tuna* or chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread, sliced apples with peanut butter, greens salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

SNACK (2 1/2 hours after lunch)

Two string cheeses, handful of almonds, banana.

DINNER (3 hours after second snack)

1 serving meat (lean beef — filet mignon, loin steak, etc. — salmon, tilapia, shrimp, ahi*, etc.), 1 leafy/green vegetable (broccoli, spinach), 1/2 C brown rice or whole wheat pasta OR a sweet potato/yam. Avoid white potatoes.

BEDTIME SNACK

1/2 C cottage cheese, 1 slice whole wheat toast with peanut butter.

*Because of potentially high mercury levels in fish, do not eat tuna more than 3-4 times per week.

There obviously is some wiggle room for variety, which is the way you want it, but the important thing is to notice the approximate ratios of proteins, carbs and healthy fats with each meal and emulate it as closely as possible.

TRAINING FOR HARD GAINERS

Next, it’s time to come up with a plan to put all that fuel to use. The goal every time you hit the gym should be hypertrophy — the increase in muscle volume. To achieve this on a lean frame, you won’t be able to simply use a generic workout plan. Like all lanky guys experience when we clothes shop, you need something a bit more custom-fitted, tailored to you. Forget three sets of 10. We need to reach deep muscle fibers, building the slow-twitch ones larger and the fast-twitch ones stronger. To do that, we’ve set up this workout plan that will not only add size, strength and endurance of strength, but will provide just enough of a calorie burn to ensure that you’re not storing up fat.

Follow this plan for 4-6 weeks (in four weeks, we will have the second stage of this plan), and DO NOT cheat yourself — make every workout, do every set and get every rep. Anything less than full effort is a failure! It is a four-day split, with three rest days, ample time to get both physical and mental rest before you’re back in the gym, so there are no “burnout” excuses here.

MONDAY (Chest and Back)

Chin-Ups:  5x failure.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press. 15, 12, 10, 8, 6.

Seated Cable Rows: 15, 12, 10, 8, 6.

Bench Press: 5×5. Go as heavy as you can while still keeping form.

Lat Pulldowns: 15, 12, 10, 8.

Stretch-Out Dumbbell Flys: 5×5. Go light and really extend the range of motion as far as you can, focusing on using the chest to draw the weight up, not the arms.

TUESDAY (Legs)

Squats: 20, 15, 12, 10, 8

Leg Press: 20, 15, 12, 10, 8

Hamstring Curls: 15, 12, 8, 5, 5, 5

Seated Calf Raises: 3 Drop-Burnout Sets. It helps to have assistance on these. Load the chair with a weight you can get 25-30 times (ex: four plates). If you’re using lighter weight, use smaller plates; for example, if you can only lift 100 pounds 25-30 times, use 25-pound plates instead of 45s. Do as many quality-form calf raises as possible before you can’t do any more, then continue taking plates off and moving on to a lighter weight for another burnout. Do this until there is no weight left on the machine!

WEDNESDAY (Arms)

4 Trisets: 5 dumbbell preacher curls, 5 reverse-grip preacher curls, 30 machine preacher curls (slow with great form).

Close-grip bench press: 5×5.

Tricep pulldowns (rope extension): 4×20.

Dips: 4xfailure.

Straight bar pushdowns: 4×20.

THURSDAY (Shoulders/Abs)

Seated Overhead Barbell Press: 15, 12, 10, 8.

Dumbbell Overhead Press: 12, 10, 8.

Lateral Raises: 4×20

Full Frontals: 4×6

Shrugs: 5×5 (heavy).

3 Trisets: 10 hanging leg raises, 20 crunches, 35 second plank.

SUPPLEMENTS FOR HARD GAINERS

If you’re a hard gainer, we can assume a few things about you: 1) You need a lot of calories, 2) your existing muscle mass is difficult to maintain and 3) your body naturally isn’t inclined to grow much more. None of these are complete roadblocks; rather, they’re just small speed bumps you can get over with some help. Now, we can address the first issue with the diet plan we’ve put in place, but really, you’ll need more. The supplement plan that works best for hard gainers is one that addresses the need for a calorie surplus, muscle recovery and rebuilding and even hormonal issues that aren’t as uncommon as you might think.

Absolutely, if you’re a hard gainer trying to build muscle fast, we recommend:

  • High-quality gainer shake. GAINER7, MASS COMPLEX or MASS FUZION are all effective at delivering quality calories in a hurry post-workout.
  • BCAAs. Around the clock, your body needs amino acids to prevent catabolism, where the body feeds on muscle storage for energy. Go with BCAA SPORT or IBCAA by Katalyst.
  • Creatine. Abundantly researched and shown to increase muscle volume and strength, there is no reason to pick a low-quality version anymore — it’s mostly a very affordable supplement. Kre-Alkalyn is a buffered form of creatine that ensures nearly 100 percent of this product goes to the muscles and doesn’t get converted into useless creatinin. N’FUZE and KRE-ALKALYN COMPLEX by VitaSport are great options.
  • Pro-testosterone products. Hard gainers are, well, hard-wired to simply not produce much muscle mass. This can be changed with more natural testosterone production. As many lean guys can attest, during puberty there was one massive growth spike where we got taller and filled out (at least as much as we were going to). Natural testosterone, which caused that spike, decreases dramatically as men get older, leading to increases in body fat and decreases in muscle  mass. We simply can’t afford that! ANITEST, ARABOL, AUGMENT, 1-XD and HGH-191 are outstanding options to get your body back to growing, the natural way.
  • Pre-workout products. A supplement that increases your body’s nitric oxide production is a supplement that will flat-out increase your workout quality, and the stronger you feel and the more endurance you have, the better your results will be. Imagine how much benefit you’d get from just two last reps at the end of a set, or from using a heavier weight. Pre-workout products like N’SANE, NOX-P3, ANX-P3, and THERMOVEX deliver more energy, both of mind and body, for the most high-quality workouts you can get. Plus, the increased blood flow means your other supplements are working more efficiently. Remember, to gain muscle as a skinny guy you’ll need to be working with heavy weights, and doing a lot of reps. Focus and energy are absolute MUSTS.

OTHER TIPS FOR HARD GAINERS

  • Stay hydrated. Shoot for at least a gallon of clean, cold water a day. It will take the stress off your body, allowing it to concentrate on the ultimate mission you’re giving it: to build muscle! Plus, with the increased calorie intake and supplements, your liver and kidneys will thank you for keeping the system hydrated. On top of this all, it helps digestion, helps keep the body’s tissues healthy and ensures a flushed system that won’t bloat the body.
  • ALWAYS have snacks on hand. If you’re stuck in an office, running errands, or going on a trip, be prepared. Don’t let a lack of nearby food sidetrack your mission. Bring along jerky, string cheeses, fruit, trail mix, a shaker cup and Ziploc full of PRO7, whatever — just have food handy. You HAVE to eat. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’ll miss healthy meals — it’s nearly as bad as missing a workout.
  • Pre-cook. Most guys who need to eat a lot suffer the pitfall of being unprepared, especially if they live busy lives. Well, most of us have a least one day a week off — use that day to prepare for all seven. Cook up a week’s worth of chicken breasts and put it all in tupperware for salads, to mix in with pasta or beans, or even just to eat alone as a snack. Do the same with broccoli or squash, or even sweet potatoes and pasta. My fridge looks like I’m storing rations in preparation for a natural disaster — in a way, that’s exactly what I’m doing!
  • ALWAYS eat a complete breakfast. You are most susceptible to muscle-wasting at the only time you can’t do anything about caloric intake — while you sleep. Do not let it continue when you wake up! Even if it means waking up 30 minutes early to account for the time to make breakfast, you have to eat this meal.