I don't write on Bodyspace often, and haven't in some time. But I want to touch on something that I feel is important to share, especially for those who are trying to lose weight and achieve better health. This is some simple advice that will help you immensely.

 There are so many on this site, and people I know personally, who are struggling to lose weight, and get frustrated by what they perceive as a lack of results. Often because the weight is not coming off as fast as they like and as a result have trouble with consistency in their workouts and diets. If this is you listen up!

Their is no special trick to achieving your goals. Forget about supplements and finding that perfect workout and diet plan, because your success does not depend on that and if anything is a distraction and deterrent. What we have in the fitness industry is an inundation of different programs and diets and shameless peddlers of a variety of products which are scientifically developed to help you gain muscle and lose fat faster and better than ever. And very little focus on the simple facts and principles that make achieving your fitness goals possible, principles which I will share with you right now.

1) First and foremost you have to resolve yourself to the undeniable fact that it will take time to lose weight. A lot of time. Period. It took time to add weight and gain bodyfat, it will take time to lose it. You MUST accept this mentally to put yourself in a mental state you will need to see your journey through. So stop putting a time table on what you want to see on the scale when. Throw that mindset in the trash, NOW! 

2) Change your goal to one goal only. Performance. Strive to improve the quality of your workout every time you set foot in the gym or garage or bedroom or where ever you workout. I'm not necessarily talking about working out longer or doing more sets or exercises. Performance is getting better quality reps. More mind muscle connection. Better form. Performance can be pushing out one extra rep than you did last time on the same exercise. These little tiny improvements really do add up over time.

3) Simplify diet and training program! Forget about all these supplements. Unless you are getting ready to hit the stage or a photo shoot, then they are not necessary. I built almost 40 lbs of muscle in 6 years and all I use are protein powder, 1 glass mixed with soy milk after my workout. And an omega 3 capsule, since I don't eat a lot of fish. I don't follow any special diet, I just eat satisfying nutritionally balanced meals, 3-4 times a day. I don't take anything else or doing anything more complicated than that. Some people might for health reasons need special dietary considerations, but it still boils down to getting protein, good carbs, eating fruits and veggies for those vitamins and minerals; and avoiding junk food.  As for training, there is no reason to follow some complicated program with a plethora of exercises.  Doing a handful of compound, time tested moves and doing them WELL(go back to point 1) is far more productive in the long run.

  In conclusion, to succeed and STAY successful starts with mindset first. Simplification. Forget the scale. Forget checking the mirror constantly for improvements. Focus on these alone "I will do my workout today" " I get better in my workout." "I'm going to eat good food to fuel my body". It does not matter if you cheated on your diet yesterday, or missed your workout, focusing on that is a WASTE OF TIME! Wake up every morning with those three things in mind. Make it your mission.  One last thing I leave you with.

Let's say you need to lose 100lbs to get to a healthy weight. And you are consistent with those three things. And yes, you may fail sometimes, but you get back on track the next day and keep trying. And every month you lose only 1 lb. This sounds slow, and you might not consider that good progress. But after 8 years, you will be almost 100 lbs lighter, in fantastic shape and your physique will be top notch. This might seem too slow but let me finish. After a few years you have lost 35-40 lbs, not as much as you would like but you will certainly have more lean muscle, less body fat and as result you lose fat EASIER and FASTER. So over the next 3 years after that instead of another 35-40 lbs it will be closer to another 70-80lbs! So by year 5 you will be at you target weight and will look AMAZING! It may come a little quicker, or take a little longer than that, but the idea is that it is not so long is it, in the grand scheme of things? And you will absolutely without doubt being seeing some nice results well before that.

  I want with all my heart for you all to succeed. And if you follow my simple advice, you will, I promise.  

Digging In Your Heels

Hello everyone! The last couple of times I've written training advice mainly addressed to the novice, but today I'm going to tackle an issue that faces the more experienced trainee. Someone who's put on some muscle but can't seem to progress their physique anymore no matter how hard they're working(or THINK they're working). Not that this info isn't good for a beginner who has bodybuidling dreams. I'm going to talk about digging your heels, and no that it isn't just a cute expression meaning to stick with it, but it means  literally digging your heels into the floor.

First of all, when you view pics of amateur natural bodybuilders, what parts are usually lacking compared to the rest? Look carefully. How many do see with nicely etched hams that run from the bottom point of the glute all the way down to the back of the knee? Or on a side chest pose where the glute forms a razor sharp wedge between a deep seperated ham and lateral quad? You might see that a little  more often, but still kinda rare! Everyone's got nice back detail and peaking biceps, and good quad feathering but who has show stopping hams?  Some will come in with shredded glutes but they don't quite have the quad and ham size to pull off that much leanness. A shredded physique is angular and flat when the muscle bellies aren't full and mature.  Keep in mind my hams are lagging as well, but I learned something cool that does work(I already see a little progress after 6 weeks) to give those hams & glutes a super sonic kick!

I wished I had known this technique years ago, but I did things for the most part the way they needed to be done. By that I mean employing powerlifting form on heavy deadlifts. This is to build the muscle enough that you can consciously flex it. If you cannot flex a muscle at will the technique I will teach isn't as helpful. But at some point you have to go from powerlifting form to BODYBUILDING form in order to develop a muscle further.  What is the difference?

When doing powerlifting form on a deadlift, the objective is to move a large amount of weight from point A to B with minimal effort. That means you are not consciously flexing anything, your mind is focused on moving the weight and as a result the various muscle groups(hams,glutes,forearms, lats,traps) flex on their own, but only as much as needed to complete the lift.

Now, doing bodybuilding form is much the same, point A and B are the same and the range of motion is identical. It is the same exercise. BUT...the mind is focused on flexing a target muscle or muscles and not on moving the weight efficiently.  Now, if you guys and gals want to take those hams and glute to new level pay attention!!!

1)  When you are at the bottom point of your lift in perfect deadlift form,  dig in heels and begin lift only by flexing your glutes! This takes a little practice, and you will not be using the same amount of weight as for a normal deadlift, beleive me.

2) Keeping heels dug in, simultaneously push them together as you lift up the bar. Your heels will not actually come together but maintain regular distance. Because of the pressure the heel is exerting you will feel the ham flex HARD starting with the glute/ham tie in and go all the way down the back of the thigh.

3)  Glutes squeezed the whole time! As you come up to near the top you should feel the glutes then squeezing together super hard as your hips thrust out.

Does this sound like a lot to be mindful of when doing a deadlift rep? It's not so much once you get the hang of the technique. I advice a warmup before training hams using no weight, just practice deadlift bodybulding form. Feel with your hands the outer glutes and hams through the range of motion. If you feel the flex start at that outer glute tie in and then feel the ham flex from top working down to the bottom as you come up, then you are doing it right. Hope this is helpful, I learned it from a pro. Good luck everybody!

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A Simple Formula

Sadly we've seen it before. Or maybe it's been us in that situation. A friend, aquaintance or family member finally has that epiphany and gets motivated. "Man, I got to lose this gut." or " I really need to take better care of my health." They start out on fire. Joggin at night, plain oatmeal for breakfast, ect. But it doesn't last. And months later we hear the same exact tune. " Gotta get myself in shape bro, not gettin' any younger!" And the cycle begins again. Like I said before maybe it's been us in that situation, not neccesarily in training but maybe some other area of life. Is the problem simply an issue of character, or is it deeper?

I've learned that success in every area of life (sports, career, relationships, ect)  is dependent upon the completion of the following formula

 Knowledge (Knowing what to do) + Work (Actually doing it) + Patience(Doing the work for  a certain period of time) + Faith (Believing that applying knowledge though work over  period of time will produce the desired results, even without yet seeing them)

So, if this formula applies to every area of life, why not in our relationship with God too?

  Unfortunately, I've seen this similar pattern with people's spiritual lives as well.  People who have mental torment, health issues, loneliness, depression, all sorts of problems; they come to Jesus wanting to be delivered. They start coming to church for worship, they decide to repent and be baptized in Jesus' name for the remission of sins. So far they are doing well, having the desire to draw closer to God and put their lives more in obedience to His Word.  But then the progress stops because they fall away, just like the yo-yo exerciser/dieter . Why? A lot of times the reasons break down to this.... after they made the decision to be born again they gave up when their problems didn't instantly go away over night.

  Many are aware that Jesus did miracles to heal the lame, the blind, to set free those tormented by unclean spirits, ect.  It's easy to just perceive the surface of what's written, that God can give instant cures and deliverence through His power. But were they instant for those afflicted? Many of them had to live with their problems for YEARS before they had a chance to grab hold of Jesus and get their miracle.  So many have missed out on that chance! So many start out like the woman wth the issue of blood, pushing through the crowd to get to Jesus. (see Luke 8:40-56, Mark 5:21-43, Matthew 9:18-26)But unlike her, they stop pushing when the crowd gets too thick. 

When we are born again in Christ Jesus, our problems do not go instantly.The same temptations, distractions and frustrations are still going to confront us. But God promised He would not forsake us, and He never lies! However, it's like trying to reach a fitness goal; we have to dig in for the log haul. The formula still applies

Knowledge(Knowing what God wants us to do) + Work( Actually doing it)+Patience(Doing the work for x amount of time) +Faith( Believing that doing this will yield the desired result even if you've yet to see it)

Jesus said to "seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you."  If we can apply the formula and have a successful relationship with Jesus, then how much more could we have success in whatever we choose to pursue in life?


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Bodybuilding Truth...A Refrefreshing Alernative!

      Listen up! Any body in that tough spot of having begun to work on their physique, but still being a long way off? Putting in the work but not quite seeing results yet, this is for YOU!

 I've been enjoying my new computer and reading through the forums and I have tio say there is some questionable stuff out there. But amid the garbage is some good stuff. Useful and practical common sense info about the art and science of building muscle and getting lean. I saw one thing though that really stuck out. It said that if you are 100lbs soaking wet  right now you are not competeing this year or the next...it might be 5 or more years of consistent hard work before you can even THINK about trying to dial in. And to that I say AMEN! Because not enough are speaking the truth, we have too many "quick fix" and "instant success"  merchants peddling their product and programs just to make a $.

The problem is, people trying to shed the fat or put on muscle see all this and think that they are doing something wrong, because they haven't made some drastic Peewee Herman to Incredible Hulk tansformation. I was once a victim once myself, being a 130-140 lbs and despite  hitting the gym hard and  consistently wondering why after months I wasn't jacked like guys in the magazines. And starting to beleive that maybe I just had bad genetics, and I was meant to be a skinny guy forever. But I wasn't going to stay that way, and if I kept it up I WOULD grow!  But nobody told me that...all I got were gimicks and plans which weren't healthy or even possible. I knew they were wrong, and the best thing I could do was stick to the basic tenets of sound nutrition and muscle building training, and learn what I could about exercise science. And most of all, be PATIENT. Without patience you will fail, period. Once we make peace with the fact that our goal is maybe miles off, and that it's going to be one day, one  training session at a time; then we stand a chance of making it to the end. And that brings me to my last point.

One last bit of advice is to not put your hope in your goal! Putting your hope of peace, joy, self-worth in reaching a fitness or sport related goal is a bomb waiting to go off in your face. Back in the early part of 2008 I was a wreck. I would check my body fat% and weight every time I set foot in the gym and would be devestated when they wouldn't change. Why? Because I thought that if I could get jacked  and strong it would make everything better. If could get the hot fitness babe or win the bodybuilding contest  I would finally be happy and feel self esteem. And everyday that I wasn't a championship athlete, everyday that I didn't have the "dream" girl, everyday that I wasn't somebody else; it was just another day not worth living through. And I don't think I am the only one who has felt this way, right?

 When I was born again in 2008, Jesus changed my heart so that I no longer saw my goals as my salvation, because HE is my salvation. And then the long road to the bodybuilding stage didn't seem so long, because I had the peace of mind to only think of one session at a time.  My being wasn't so wrapped up in the things of the flesh.  I stayed away from gimicks and quick results programs and lo and behold, I  eventually GAINED MUSCLE! And what was once 50-60 lbs away is now closer to 20-30lbs. It's been almost ten years since I started to work out again regularly at age 23, but it really doesn't feel like it. I am still about 2-3 years away from the stage but that is OK because I have God with me so every day is good(even the crappy ones). 

So if you guys get anything from this..

1. Trust the basic foundation( Train hard, eat right, get enough rest, and do those 3  consistently)

2.Be OK with not reaching your main goal for quite a while

3. Put your hope in Jesus and not in reaching your goal

If you do these three you will reach your fitness goal I promise!


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New Computer!

Hi everybody! I have an new computer now, praise the Lord! So the old one finally is doing the only thing it's good for now, being furniture for cats. I should be on more here more often now. Hope everyone is doing well, it's been awhile since I' been able to keep up to date. Well, that's all I wanted to say for now!

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Trimming the Fat

Hello Everybody! I haven't been up on Bodyspace in several months, been busy, busy, busy! On top of that , I have an old computer that runs super slow and and still on dial-up if you could believe that....stuck in the dark ages of technology and no way to do anything about it for now.  Bottom line is, whenever I do have free time the last thing I want to do is to start up this ancient contraption and have my patience tested by an hour+ of waiting to just get on-line, check E-mail and make a simple update. But there is a blessing in all this...

The more I have my resources "stripped", the more I seem to have success at what I do! 2 years ago I stopped going to the gym, just couldn't afford it anymore.  Going to the gym was great, met lots of interesting people and got to train heavy with all that great equipment, but in a way it impeded me. The amount of progress I made in 2 years at Gold's VS 2 years at home is not even close. I joined up with them in 2008 at 146lbs 14%bf...and in Jun 2010 left about 155 lbs and slightly leaner...not bad. But working at home w/ just  a barbell, 2 dumbells and some plates....started out 143 lbs in Sept 2011(it was a rough summer!) and now almost 2 years later at 173lbs with bodyfat just a notch higher, so what happened?

What happened is that I was left with limited options and that opened a new door of potential. I had to re-learn how to train. Utilizing tempo, using more challenging form, ect. I could no longer load up a barbell with 200+ lbs and do heavy squats, having the safety of a spotter and a rack. No more big benchs and leg press machines. So I took what I knew about exercise science and came up with ways to pump those muscles to the max. Going for a set to failure at 225 on the squat is tough, if you get parallel on each one and don't lock at at the top. But what if you make the movement harder? No more slight forward lean, keeping spine straight vertical; and you go as low as possible....even with only 115 lbs doing a set to failure this way will blow your quads up from top to bottom! I won't go into it all, but all the major exercises have form variants that are hit the muscles harder, and force you to be humble and cut back the weight. The biggest benefit is that every section of the working muscle had to work..and those little details in bodybuilding can be the difference between winning and losing.

Bottom line, the best thing that has happened to help me toward my goal is to be stripped of things that seem so essential. It's just me in my workout room, no cell phone, no beautiful ladies, no blaring music, no socializing...just me and the iron. And I can focus on every rep, every set. Perfecting every exercise and every aspect of training. Because that is what it will take. I'm still not ready to compete, those guys even at the amateur level are another tier of conditioning and density. You see,  I don't want to just step on stage, but to WIN! And I know one day I will!

Understand, I'm not knocking technolony or the gym or any of that. I just want to share a little revelation about how in life sometimes we thing we're being dumped on and things are being taken away but God is actually doing us a HUGE favor, He is opening the door to acheiving our dreams. Jesus is trimming the fat and getting us hard and lean so we can be a champion!

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Spiritual Atitude=Religious ACTitude

There is a something that is weighing on my mind, that I feel I have to get out. It's about the latest fad in new age belief, a non-religous religion that uses biblical principles and the laws of the universe to acheive our dreams and goals and have a full and rich life. We can have the blessings of God physically, financially, and great success in your career and hobbies, without religion and it totally works. And that's what makes it so dangerous! Because it is based on biblical principles, it will literally blind us with success, so that in the midst of having everything that WE could want on this Earth we forget the thing that matters the most to God; a close relationship with HIM!  There is nothing wrong with an abundant life, it is His desire for us. But in the end good without God = 0, it is of no value. 

  I think there is a mis-understanding in the general population about what religion is about, and churches that have abused, misused, and twisted the truth are in no small part to blame!  But make no mistake, doing physical religious acts with a right heart is part of being spiritual and we cannot truly be spiritual without it.  They all have to do with our RELATIONSHIP with God. 

Church- Giving gratitude by taking time to be in God's house and give Him praise. Acknowledging that it is He alone who gives us life and blessings. What is a loving relationship without appreciation?

Prayer- Taking time to speak with God, and more importantly to listen. What is a loving relationship without communication?

Fasting- Sometimes we need to make a sacrifice to obtain something better. Healthy fasting also cleans the body of toxins, making it more sanctified for His Spirit. What is a loving relationship without sacrifices?

Reading the Bible- reading the Bible teaches us about who God is and tells us of His character. It teaches us what makes Him happy and what He dislikes as well. What is a loving relationship without a desire to know more about the other person?

Service- Doing those things that please God for the simple fact that they please him. Not only spreading the love of Jesus by our actions and declaring what He did for us , but also the above(gathering at church to worship and hear the Word, fasting and praying)   What loving relationship lacks service?

The bottom line is that those things that seem like physical religious acts, those sort of things so many do by rote without any real feeling; those can be the most spiritual of all! Never in the Scripture did the Lord do a miracle without some physical action involved!  We can have it all, the riches the fame and the success; but it is possible to have them without loving God. And no matter how much we have in this life, without a loving realtionship with God; in the end we really will have nothing at all.

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I Will Compete in 2012

  Yes, I have decided that I will compete in 2012, probably in a local show sometime in the Summer or early Autumn.  I have NO idea how i'm going to pull it off, but it doesn't matter. This is something I need to do to really push to another level.  I need to have this to look towards when I train.  Something to look forward to and get excited about!!

Ideally, I would like my weight to be in the high 170s at 3-5% bf, but that is probably not realistic by next year. I will try to get around 160-165 at that bodyfat, that is about a lb of muscle every month. My main issue is geting as much size as I can so I don't come in flat. Aside from needeing to gain all around mass I pretty much know what I need to bring up; have to get more upper quad detail, deeper seperations everywhere, wider  more rounded delts, deeper ridge between lower pecs and torso...as well as bring the legs up bigger in proportion to upper body. Really need more details in hams and glutes and overall need more vascularity and density....bottom line there is a lot of work to do!

But I am optimistic and I know I will be ready to not only compete next summer but to place well too!


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