By: Ben Kirby, Model
As many people know the way to achieve a great body is a combination of training (weights and cardiovascular) and a healthy nutritional diet. And contrary to what a lot of people believe, even with a full time course/job it is possible to get the results you've always desired. Better still it does not take as long as you think.
There are countless articles describing the best ways to train, explaining numerous different styles and techniques. The training routine I will give details on is what I feel comfortable with, and I hope that you will too, but my routine is very flexible and can be modified with ease. My routine is set out to accomplish rapid and effective gains in muscle mass whilst losing body fat. These are goals which most training guides say are contradictory, but I know through personal experience that they can be driven towards at the same time.
My article is split into three main sections: Training, Diet and Supplementation.
A lot of people training with weights, but to achieve real results quickly you have to train in the correct manner, and it's amazing how many people don't train in the correct way. The first vital thing to know is that you must only train a muscle group (i.e. biceps, shoulders, chest etc…) a maximum of twice a week. This is to allow time for recovery, which then allows you to train harder next session and more importantly the muscle to grow!!! When working a muscle I find it best to do 3 different exercises, and for each exercise do 3 sets which consist of 8 to 12 reps.
I work 2 muscles per day 6 days a week and have one rest day. I generally find that 3 sets takes me around 10 minutes, as I have about 90 seconds rest. Therefore my work-outs last around an hour, though if you speed things up you could get all the exercises done in a shorter period of time, but then again if you're going to the gym with friends or meet some there you'll probably take longer after a bit of chatting!
An exercise consists of 3 sets with 8 to 12 reps, on the last rep you should only just be able to complete it or you may even need to be helped out slightly by a spotter. The best spotters are reliable friends, though if their not available don't be afraid to ask an employee of the gym, as after all its there job! I try and go up in weight after each set but then do less reps, I try and start with a set that consists of 12 reps, then a second set of 10 reps, then finally the third set with 8 reps.
I have three workout routines that I do twice a week each:
MONDAY: Chest, Triceps
TUESDAY: Shoulders, Back
WEDNESDAY: Legs, Biceps, Abs
THURSDAY: Chest, Triceps
FRIDAY: Shoulders, Back
SATURDAY: Legs, Biceps, Abs
However if you have a busy day and cant fit a work out in, or your too hung over to even think of lifting weights, then take the day off, just go the next day and the whole routine shifts a day. Its your routine so decide what muscle you want to work, when you want to work it.
I try to go to the gym at 11.00 but obviously if you have lectures or work then don't, just go in the evening, or there is the option of getting up early………yeah, I thought maybe not! But seriously it is only an hour and the results are worth it.
Okay so now its time to say what exactly the exercises are, truth is you may… in fact probably will choose a couple of exercises from my list and then use some of your own that you know or will learn off other people. What ever you feel really works the muscle and you enjoy doing is the best thing to do.
Below is a sample of my exercises, do change sometimes for variation (if you don't understand any of them, just type them in on an internet search engine and there will be loads of websites with graphic portrayals of the movements:
Shoulders: Military Dumbbell Press, Lateral Raise, Upright Row
Biceps: Preacher Curl with EZ bar, Barbell Curls, Concentration Curls
Triceps: Lying barbell extensions, Close Grip Bench Press, Triceps Push Down, Dips
Chest: Standard Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, Decline Bench Press, Fly's
Back: Lat Pull Downs, Wide Grip Pull-ups, Seated Rows, Trap Raises
Abs: Hanging Leg Raises, Weighted Decline Sit-ups
Legs: Leg press, Lunges, Calf Raises
Achieving a good six-pack is not about doing a million crunches a day, it is the biggest misconception. What is important is to have a low body fat, and that is accomplished by your cardio work. Your abs are like any other muscle they shouldn't be worked more than twice a week, and use weights for resistance when working them.
I try and do 3 sessions a week, which consist of 30 minutes work. I do a lot of running on the treadmill as this means I know exactly how far I have run, how long I'm running for and what my heart rate is. This is because the best way to lose body-fat is do an exercise at which your heartbeat is around 60-70% of its max. To work out this amount all you need to do is, minus your age from 220. Therefore as I am 20 I take that from 220, which gives 200 and 70% of that is 140, so I try and run for around 30 minutes. If your feeling tired or time is running low, then at least try and do 10 minutes minimum, but at the end of the day what you get out is what you put in.
If running isn't really your thing, then go on the cross trainer, bicycle or get in the pool, there all great ways in burning body-fat. Or if you're training for a team, i.e. a football team or rugby team, every session you do for that, or every match count that as a session.
First off don't worry you don't need to starve yourself, in fact it's the opposite! In-order to build size you need to eat slightly more calories than your burning, but if your aim is to really burn body-fat then you should eat slightly less. When I say slightly I mean around 200 calories, the amount of calories burnt by an average man is 2500, and for a women 2000, but if you're slightly bigger or smaller, or working out or very active then this may be different.
Now the ideal way to eat if you have a lot of time and dedication is to eat 6 or 7 small meals spaced evenly throughout the day, say every couple of hours, and each meal containing 20grams of protein. Now with full-time commitments this is probably out of the question. I personally just stick to 3 main meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. If I snack then I try and keep it healthy with cereal, cereal bars or protein bars. (Protein bars taste great and are very good for you, they can be very expensive though but they do go on sale sometimes and when that happens it's a good time to stock up). Other things good to snack on are nuts, fruit (though apples are very high in fructose which transforms to sugar and which is good for energy but not for burning fat!) and dried fruit.
The reason it is good to eat small meals regularly is because the body is a very adaptable complicated instrument, if you haven't eaten in a few hours then it will adjust into a state where it will store food as fat as it thinks it could be being starved; and storing food as fat will allow you to live longer. Sounds drastic but hey it's impossible to stop, but not adhering to this small but often meal policy is not a major problem, I don't do it and I've had good results.
Breakfast is very important, it kick-starts the bodies metabolism keeping your body a calorie burning machine for the whole day. I have a bowl of high fibre, oat cereal sprinkled with flax seed; this is good for energy and digestion. I also have a protein shake to give muscles the substance they need to promote growth and recovery; my diet is very high in protein due to this. Throughout the day you should try and eat around 1.5grams of protein for every kilogram you weigh, e.g. if you weigh 80kg try and eat 120grams of protein. High amounts of protein are found in milk, cheese, and meat so include these into your diet. Nutritional information is available on every product, it's a good idea to check things especially before you buy it, look for low amounts of sugar, salt, calories and fat; especially saturated fat.
The body needs some 'healthy fats' but saturated fat is very bad and much harder to burn off. 'Healthy fats' as I have put it, are found in peanut butter (I go for a lowered fat option), and cooking oils (go for olive oil). There is a type of fat called Trans fat that is found in types of food such as fried food and some cakes, this fat is extremely bad as it is hard to burn off, so avoid at all costs!!!
For lunch I eat tortilla wraps filled with salad and tuna, or other meats such as chicken, ham or turkey. If I feel like something sweet, the 'Go-ahead' range of snacks are available in most if not all supermarkets and are low fat and sugar alternatives to chocolate and sweets. If you want sauce and relishes add them, most things in moderation is okay; but full-fat mayonnaise and some salad dressings can be extremely high in calories and fat, so go for the 'good-for-you' or lowered fat options (Hellman's extra light mayonnaise is very tasty and much healthier).
For dinner I keep things simple yet varied! I eat pasta, rice or couscous mixed with lean meats such as chicken breast, turkey breast or lean mince, and add a sauce and add any vegetables like onions and mushrooms. I find cooking sauces great as there's numerous types that range over every type of cuisine, i.e. Indian, Chinese, Italian etc… And of course there are always healthier low fat options, and many contain lots of vegetables already. Also all the meals that I eat are always very quick to prepare and filling so if you're in a rush it's not a problem.
The meals I have suggested are what I like so you may want to modify them to your tastes, but always be adventurous try new things and eat what you want. Don't eat things like chips, ready-meals and foods high in fat, salt and oil, but then you probably knew that already! Burgers, pizza and take-out food isn't going to allow you to build the body you desire. But every now and again if you do have one, don't feel too guilty, if your going to eat healthily all week one cheat meal is okay, but lets keep it to just the one! Though if you've been drinking all night avoid the pizza/kebab house at the end, not only is the food covered in fat/grease eating so late at night is not good for you; whilst you sleep your metabolism slows down and you are likely to store the food as fat.
Through out the day drink plenty of water, 3 litres is a good amount, it's easy to carry a water bottle with you at all times and fill it up when it's empty. Water acts as a diuretic and this means that water is expelled from the body, leaving your body with a harder appearance; water also hydrates the bodies systems allowing them to work at their optimum.
Protein shakes are vital in my opinion to aid the transformation of the body, but I will discuss this in the third section, titled 'Supplementation'.
As well as drinking water all day, drinking coffee and tea in moderation is effective, as it can increase your metabolic rate and awareness, but be aware to much caffeine can have adverse effects on your body. Drinking green tea is not every bodies drink of choice but I enjoy it (especially mixed with lemon), and the healthy properties the ancient drink exhibits are plentiful, it is said to aid and prevent the following medical conditions: cancer, infection, impaired immune function, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. So even if you don't find the drink particularly appetising with benefits such as those maybe it's worth a try. Milk is a good source of calcium and protein, calcium helps the body burn fat so have a least a glass a day (skimmed milk (the red one) has the lowest amount of fat in it).
Now obviously alcohol is detrimental to the struggle of achieving the body you desire, but I drink 2 or 3 times a week at university and it hasn't stopped my results. When drinking I always go for a spirit with a diet mixer, this keeps the sugar levels down and calories as low as I can get. Alcopops are full of sugar and I would advise you to stay away from them. Beers such as Michelob Ultra are low carb beers that taste great, so are great options. I bet you never thought you'd see information on how to curve the affects of drinking in an article about transforming your body, but the truth is the great body you want is achievable even if your busy and enjoy drinking and clubbing. When your out get on that dance floor, dancing is not only a great body-fat burner is a great way to meet people.
Now there are countless articles on carbohydrate-free diets, but after hearing the positives and negatives my position on carbs are that they should be enjoyed but I try to not eat them after 6.00pm. Carbohydrates are found in many foods but are especially rich in bread, pasta and potatoes. They are a good source of energy and are vital for a healthy balanced diet.
Supplements are something I am very interested in and am constantly looking out for articles, information and new developments. I would advise everyone to take a multivitamin to enable the body to function at its greatest. Creatine such as Explosive Creatine is one of the best selling supplements, I think it's a great supplement that aids recovery and allows you to gain good lean muscle mass. Protein shakes such as LA Whey are also vital, they are best taken immediately after a workout, the protein allows the production of muscle.
Finally a supplement I find to be the most effective is LA Muscle's own, Norateen Heavyweight II, after taking it for 30 days, I put on 7 pounds of lean muscle mass. Previously I had had problems with putting on weight but this supplement really helped me put on a lot of weight fats and is something I will take again.
Hope this article helps you get to where you want to be, remember the harder you work the better you are going to look.
Photos: copyright Camera One UK Ltd.
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