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Five “Alpha” Tips for Fat Loss and Fitness Success
Even if you’re hitting the weights hard, you may be packing some extra pounds of fat you’d like to leave behind. There’s no better time to get that butt in even better shape than right NOW! Here are some tips for you guys out there from Eric Broser, James Villepigue and Rick Collins, the creators of the Alpha Male Advanced Workouts program that has even the most experienced hardcore bodybuilders talking!
1. GET OFF THE SCALE
Americans are notoriously obsessed with their body weight, and even many gym rats start their training session with a jump on the scale. Forget it! Weigh yourself only once a month. Scales can be inaccurate, misleading, and a psychological deterrent to your success. If you add some muscle to your frame while you’re dropping fat (like you would with our program, for instance), the scale may fool you!
2. DO IT FOR THE HEALTH BENEFITS
Everybody wants to look great in the mirror. But don’t forget to pay attention to your overall health, not just your appearance. Sure, you want a program that’s going to make you look awesome, but you can add years to your life and reduce major health risks by following a sound nutrition and exercise program. And you’ll look better and feel better too!
3. CAN THE SODA AND SAVE
Soda adds useless (and expensive) calories to your diet. Just drinking water rather than sugar-rich soda can put an extra $2-$3 in your wallet each day. Over one year, that adds up to over $1,000 saved. And 100,000 fewer calories consumed! Considering that 1 pound of fat is the equivalent of 3,500 calories, that can be a weight savings of 28 pounds!
4. BE ACTIVE… BUT BE SMART
Proper diet and exercise go hand in hand. One without the other is a recipe for failure. Just because you walked for 30 minutes doesn’t mean you can reward yourself with a pint of your favorite ice cream! Find smarter ways to reward yourself for a week of hard training!
5. REDUCE THE CALORIES
Americans take in way too many calories, Period! From super-sized meals at fast food chains to enormous servings at our favorite steakhouse, we are on the receiving end of an abundance of calories. Weight reduction is a caloric formula. Calories in (through eating) versus calories out (through activity) – it’s that simple. Stick with smaller portions, and keep your protein high, especially if you’re engaged in intense training!
Combine these tips with a top-notch training program like the amazing Alpha Male Advanced Workouts and you’ll see some dramatic changes in the way you look … AND FEEL!
Which is better – Free Weights or Machines?
That’s a tough question, as both are beneficial to creating a great physique. Free weights are awesome, as they allow you to follow your body’s unique mechanical flow and range of motion. You are also forced to make those smaller “stabilizer” or “auxiliary” muscles that act synergistically to help the primary lifting muscles move the weight.
These stabilizers are also responsible for helping maintain your balance during free weight exercises. This is partly what helps prevent your body and your limbs from sloppily moving all over the place like the Scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz.”
Machines are great for allowing you to focus simply on moving the weight up and down or back and forth. Because you are locked in a predefined range of motion (only a few machines offer a free range), your stabilizer muscles will not be engaged as much as they are when performing free weight exercises. By not having to balance the weight, you have the ability to concentrate more of your effort on just pushing or pulling the weight with your primary movers. Is this better than having to also balance the weight? Not necessarily. Both are great and should be used regularly as part of a balanced training regimen. You’ll get the best of both worlds!
Also, some machine exercises can actually be more effective at helping you hit/isolate certain muscle groups than free weights can. Exercises such as the Pec Deck Flye are great because compared to the dumbbell flye, the Pec Deck allows you to get a resisted muscle contraction in the top position. The free weight dumbbell fly will not optimally stimulate the chest muscles when you reach the top position because in that position the weights are supported more by bone support and the shoulders than they are the pecs (chest muscles).
So the answer to the ultimate question, Free Weights OR Machines? It’s BOTH! If you aren’t performing both in the majority of your workouts, your workouts are suffering! Stop making excuses and include both in your training. Check out the Alpha Male Advanced Workouts program for a balanced routine that includes the best of both worlds!
Change the Tempo for Faster Gains!
In music, the tempo is the speed or pace of an arrangement. In resistance exercise, the training tempo of a repetition is the speed at which you perform the repetition. For example, for a bench press, the training tempo is the time during which the weight is lowered (eccentric contraction), how long it’s held at the bottom of the movement, how fast it’s lifted (concentric contraction), and how long it’s held at the top before being lowered again. Each of the four phases of the rep is measured in seconds. Varying the training tempo will vary the stimulation to the muscles being worked, and elicit different responses. It’s also a terrific way to keep your training fresh, and you’ll find it throughout the Alpha Wave Advanced Workouts program. In fact, we’ve done all the work of creating a sophisticated system of varied training tempos (we’ve thought it all out, so you don’t have to!).
Let’s use the bench press example again. For a training tempo of 3-0-1-0, you should:
- Lower the bar to your chest over a span of 3 seconds,
- Begin lifting the bar without a discernable pause at the bottom,
- Lift the bar over a 1-second span,
- Begin lowering the bar again without a discernable pause at the top.
Recognize that some exercises start by lowering a weight (e.g., squats, leg press, bench press, flies) and some start by raising it (leg curls, shoulder press, biceps curl, pec deck). The first number always corresponds to the eccentric contraction in any movement, regardless of which phase typically starts that exercise.
Be mindful that slower rep tempos (e.g., 3-0-3-0) will be much harder than more traditional tempos (i.e., 1-0-1-0) using the same weights. You can randomly throw tempo changes you’re your existing program, or better yet … try a program that systematically builds in tempo changes for maximum effect! We’ve inserted slower rep tempos in just the right places in our Alpha Male Advanced Workouts program to maximize your training progress and results. There’ll be some trial and error at first to find just the right poundages to make you struggle to finish each set of your workout while maintaining good form and remaining injury-free. But the results will be a symphony of outstanding gains!
The Punisher PLUS!
The quest to be your best requires pushing yourself harder and farther than you ever thought you could go, both in and out of the gym. It means finding new ways to test your limits and dig deeper into your pool of willpower, strength and courage.
One of the authors of the amazing new Alpha Male Advanced Workouts program described a recent biceps workout that included a new variation of the Punisher. The idea of the Punisher is to do a total of 100 repetitions in as short a time as possible. You can stop intermittently, but only long enough to catch your breath and let the intense pain and deep ache subside a little. The Punisher isn’t about using heavy poundage. You use only about half the training weight you would normally use, and you should try to get at least 40 solid reps in good form before stopping. But they were going to make this a “Punisher Plus” set of standing barbell curls by using a heavier weight, even if the initial rep count before stopping was lower, and incorporating the concept of a “Drop Set” (page 60 of the original Alpha Male Challenge). This new hybrid is an advanced technique designed to take things to a whole new level of punishment … and productivity. But it’s not for the faint of heart.
They set up an Olympic barbell at hip level on the squat rack, did a couple light warm-up sets, and then put a dime (10 pounds), two nickels (5 pounds each), and a collar (to prevent the weights from sliding) on each side. That’s just a bit over 85 pounds – a little more than half of what they’d typically use for working sets of strict standing barbell curls.
Once you begin your Punisher Plus set, you can’t stop for more than a few seconds. You have to continue until the 100 reps are completed. They all knew before starting that this would be a journey of self-discovery deep into the pain zone. It is sets like these that tell you what you’re made of.
Do it like this: Pick up the barbell with a shoulder-width grip and start curling in strict form – no swinging, no leaning back, no momentum. Each repetition should be full, using only your biceps to curl the bar up from a position at your hips to a position just in front of your chin. The tempo must be smooth and controlled on both the raising and lowering segment of each rep, stopping for just a brief instant at the top.
Try to complete 20 consecutive reps, with the last 3 giving your biceps a serious burn. When you pick up the bar a few seconds later to resume curling, your biceps will be on fire after only 5 or 6 more reps. Do 10 reps, put the bar down for a few seconds, and then pick it up again and do 10 more. Your biceps will feel like they are being burned with a blow torch, and you will barely squeeze out the last few reps. That’s when you can quickly pull off a 5 pound plate from each side, grab the bar, and curl another 15 solid reps, passing the halfway mark at 55 reps, with 45 yet to go. Step away from the rack only long enough to gulp down a few lung-fulls of oxygen, grab the bar, and grind out another 10 strict, painful reps. At this point, the rep count becomes a chant. Nothing else on earth matters except pushing on to the next number. Now strip the remaining nickels off the bar, and keep going for another 15 reps, followed by two more sets of 10 strict reps with minimal rest in between. Even the final reps should be strict and controlled, despite the searing pain. Your biceps will feel like they are being engulfed in flames – even your brain will feel like it’s on fire! Your biceps will feel like smoldering ash when you’re done, and will still look and feel pumped for days!!
The Punisher Plus isn’t necessarily something to do too often. But the take-home message is that there’s more to a workout than 3 sets of 10. Make a serious assessment of your workouts. Are you just going through the motions? If so, you’re wasting precious time and effort. Are you sore after a training session? If you almost never are, you may not be pushing hard enough to force your body to adapt and improve. If you have a workout so brutally intense you feel compelled to share it with others, you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing. Stop going through the motions. Leave your comfort zone far behind. Dig deep and challenge yourself to do something incredible. Conquering a workout like the one I’ve described will make you feel capable of vanquishing anything. You’ll feel pumped both physically and mentally for days! Try out the Punisher Plus on your next biceps workout, and let me know what you think! And download Alpha Male Advanced Workouts for an incredible new training program that will rock your world!!!
Faster Muscle Building – No More Training Plateaus!
Have you been on the same ol’ training routine/workout for a while now? If you’re not experiencing great results often, chances are that you’re training routine is stale and you’ve hit the dreaded training plateau. Well, it’s time to change up your training routine.
There are many ways to add variety to your workouts…Here are several: You can change up the exercises or change the sequence of them, try adding variety to exercises by changing the angles by which you lift (e.g., traditional preacher curl angle @ 45 degrees versus Spider Curls @ 90 degrees), increase the weights for each exercise, and slightly modify the rest between sets to challenge your metabolic threshold. Here’s how you can mix up the tempo (speed by which you lift and lower weight) of your reps – Let’s get right to it...
A 1-0-1-0 rep (tempo) speed for a Biceps Barbell Curl would mean first curling the bar up to the starting point (that 1st curl up does not count). You’ll begin the 1-0-1-0 by lowering the bar (negative/eccentric portion) for a count of “1” second – Next, you will come down to full elbow extension and the “0” represents taking no rest, at all.
You’ll immediately begin curling the bar up for a count of “1” second. Finally, you’ll curl the bar up, to full elbow flexion and again, “0” indicates no rest – You’ll immediately go right back into your next rep, which is led by the negative/eccentric portion.
As you can see, this is a 4 point tempo range. You can brilliantly mix it up by performing: 2-0-2-0 – 3-0-2-1 – 2-1-1-2, etc. In our new Alpha Male Advanced Workouts program, we introduce the “X” variable in the tempo mix…”X” equals Explosivity!
Paying attention to your training tempo can be a bit tricky at first, as counting and applying great focus can be difficult – They say that women are much better than men when it comes to multi-tasking, so gentlemen, give it all you’ve got! Ladies, although you may have a better handle on handling both the tempo counting and the exercise concentration, you’ll still need to give this your all, too!