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Incline Leg Press or Lever Hack Squat??

Lever Hack Squat:

 

Incline Leg Press:

 

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Which would you rather?

Which EXERCISE, pervs! Well today I did both. 5 sets on the Incline Leg Press Machine and 5 sets on the Lever Hack Squat Machine. This “Lever” machine is different from the other Hack Squat machines in that it does not use a sled that slides up and down in a linear path.

It rotates so that it gives you a more natural movement and works your muscles differently. Remember, every little difference in your workout makes a difference in your body. Change an angle by a few inches and you’re working different muscle fibers, if not different muscles altogether. Always change things up and do different machines or exercises that seem to work the same body parts because they will hit those muscles a bit differently. This will make you more well-rounded and balanced, plus you won’t hit plateaus so easily.

 

Here’s the Sled Hack Machine in action:

 

And, then there’s always the sit-down leg press machines. Although they don’t use weight plates, they are still good machines. I use them to warm up since you can’t really add that much weight for a heavy set. Try low enough weight so that you can do 2 sets of 20 reps without reaching your maximum (failure). You’re only warming up, afterall. This Nautilus version is plate-loaded so you can go DAMN-HEAVY:

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3 fitness products currently on the shelves!

If you’re into fitness, chances are you might be aware of the ton of fitness products on the market. Most are hacks, some are good, and very few are great. Either way, a lot of people are making a lot of money in the fitness products industry. I’m pushing a few products myself, and therefore, I am always on the lookout to see what’s selling, what new products are hitting the shelves, how they’re marketing them, etc.

Here are some products I’ve recently noticed out there.

You know how I really like those Bowflex adjustable dumbbells? I’ve tried the few other competitors and feel strongly that the Bowflex are the only ones to get because of their great design, smooth operation and ease of use.

But now, Weider has introduced the Speed Weight 100’s. They are a pair of 50 lb. dumbbells that adjust even quicker and easier than the Bowflex, just like their name indicates! You simply turn the handle itself once the dumbbell is in its caddy. Very smooth operation, it never got caught or stuck when I tried all of the different weights.

They sell for $499, while the Bowflex 552,s are selling for $399 at the moment (they used to be more expensive). But they only go up to 50 lb, very close to the Bowflex 52 pounders.

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The Bowflex beat it by a tiny 2 lb for $100 less. Now, like I’ve mentioned before, I would not get the 552’s anyway—I would get the 1090’s (10-90 lbs – $599) since I’m not going to do much with 5 lb weights anyway. And 52 lbs is not enough for bent over rows or bench press unless you’re a girl and/or just starting out, in which case the 552’s might suffice, but if you have the money, just go for the bigger ones.

 

As for which of the smaller dumbbells to get—Bowflex 552’s or Weider Speed Weight 100’s—I’d say, try them out and see if Weider’s smooth and simpler adjustment mechanism warrants the extra $100. It might! (they’re pretty damn smooth)

 

You may have heard of TheRack or seen it on TV. This senior walker look-alike is actually pretty useful for some exercises but definitely not everything they claim or demonstrate.

Great for dips, deep pushups, handstand pushups, elevated feet pushups, body rows (haha they call them “extreme pullups”), ab roller (has wheels) and reverse ab roller (lower abs, knees to chest).

Retarded for their claims of shoulder press, bicep curls and specially retarded for “power squats”. Really, “POWER” squats with a 23 lb weight? Your leg itself weighs more than that!

But again, it might be worth it if you don’t have anywhere else to do dips. I also like the body rows capabilities and the rolling capabilities is what took it to the “might” category for me.

You can get TheRack here for $129.

We all know that Jillian Michaels is a household name in fitness for women, and I’m sure you’ve seen mma champ, George St. Pierre’s RUSHFIT advertised all over the place as well, right?

Well, they’ve teamed up to sell even more product. Best of both worlds, right? Dudes wanting to get a body like a UFC fighter so they can impress the ladies, as well as the ladies who idolize Jillian will totally pee their pants when they see this. Just imagine all of that pee all over the Target isles.

I don’t care for the DVD’s, but this product is basically another suspension system like the Jungle Gym which I own and love. Target sells Rip:60 for $99 or you can get it sent to your home for practically the same price. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE in the rip:60 is its rotational function. The strap is basically threaded through a pulley at the top instead of being stuck up there so you can smoothly pull one strap to raise the other, or pull both at the same time like the other suspensions systems. See the pic of George doing that pulling move on the box up there? That’s what he’s doing; pulling one handle while retracting the other. Also good for doing that pull/retract thing with the legs as you can see in their demo vids.

But I’d just get the Jungle Gym for half the price unless you’re interested in some nice beer coasters that resemble DVD’s for another $50.

So there you go. Some good stuff, some ok stuff, some funny stuff. “Power Pullups”. Seriously.

If you see another product that just hit the market, let me know!

– Your friendly neighborhood BUM.

 

 

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Protein comparisons

Gain muscle fast. 10 pounds in 30 days! WHEY Protein

I compare the price per protein of 3 leading sources of protein and tell you which is BEST.

You already know that you need lots of protein so your muscles can repair themselves after grueling workouts. As I have stated in the Gain 10 lbs plan on this site, you’ll need 1.5 – 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. And if your mission is to Lose 10 lbs in 30 days, then you still need lots of protein: 1 gram per pound of bodyweight.

Now, how do you go about doing that? Most of your protein should come from real, whole foods like chicken breast meat, tuna, lean steak, even hamburger (but it has to be the 96% lean type).

 

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Really, most meats will cut it. What you have to look out for is how much fat they’re putting into your body and how it’s cooked. Obviously, never eat fried foods. I say “never” like I’ve mentioned before on this site. Make “never” your goal, and if you mess up, it’ll be minimal. Give yourself a pass by saying “rarely” and you’ll be eating fries every week!

So where do the other servings of protein come from? That’s where snacks and convenient supplements come in. Whey protein is the most popular form of protein because it is the most convenient. You don’t need to refrigerate it, can easily mix it with water, and you can take it anywhere. There’s also cottage cheese and yogurt which are great and cheaper, but you need a fridge.

So here’s my price-per-gram breakdown of protein sources and my take on their pros and cons.
(all prices taken from bodybuilding.com for the sake of consistency)

First, we have
Muscle Milk by Cytosport.
4.94 lb. $52.99
Serving Size: 2 scoops (70g)
Servings per container: 16

Protein per serving: 32g
1 scoop = 35g total, 16g pro
2.19 protein-to-total scoop ratio

$52.99 / 16 servings = $3.31 per serving or per 32g pro

$3.31 / 32=

$0.10 per g pro

I’ll break it down. Muscle Milk’s serving size is two scoops. You get 32 grams of protein per those two scoops or per 70 grams of product. That means that for 70 grams of Muscle Milk, 32g of it is protein.

That’s a 2.19 protein-to-total scoop ratio, meaning that for every gram of protein, 2.19 grams are something else. (32 x 2.19 = 70) 2 to 1 would mean that half of the total scoop is protein. 1 to 1 would mean that all of it is protein.

Muscle Milk breaks down to 10¢ per gram of protein. Now, of course, you don’t only get protein with Muscle Milk. You get 20 vitamins and minerals and 19g carbs. I don’t know about you but I have a hard time drinking two scoops. Even if I do drink them, I usually feel grossed out afterward. The most I usually do is 1.5 scoops but normally just 1.

If you were to do only one scoop you’d get only 16g protein. Since protein is what you want most of, I don’t think it’s enough protein per scoop. But that’s just my opinion.

 

Next, is
Gold Standard Whey.
Gain muscle fast. 10 pounds in 30 days! WHEY Protein
5 lb $52.99
Serving Size: 1 scoop (31g)
Servings per container: 74

Protein per serving: 24g
1 scoop = 31g total, 24g pro
1.29 protein-to-total scoop ratio

$52.99 / 74 servings = $.72 per serving or  per 24g pro

.72 / 24=

$.03 per g pro

So, we’re down to 3¢ per gram of protein with Gold Standard Whey. And take a look at that ratio. Only .29 difference. For every gram of protein, 1.29 is “other”. You’re consuming 31g of product to get 24g pro.

Now it doesn’t have the vitamins that Muscle Milk has, but I don’t see that as a problem because you’re consuming this for its protein and you should be taking a mulit-vitamin daily so you get greater amounts of each of those and many other vitamins and minerals.

 

 

MYOFUSIONThird, is a very popular protein supplement from Gasapri Nutrition, MYOFUSION.

5 lb $52.9
Serving Size: 1 scoop (36g)
Servings per container: 63

Protein per serving: 25g
1 scoop = 36g total, 25g pro
1.44 protein-to-total scoop ratio

$52.99 / 63 servings = $.84 per serving or  per 25g pro

.84 / 25=

$.03 per g pro (0.033)

Aha! A strong contender to the crowd favorite! Pretty much the same cost as Gold Standard, but the scoop is a little bigger (36g vs 31g).

Despite the fact that you have to consume more product to get the same amount of protein as Gold Standard, the main thing to look at is the cost per gram of protein being virtually the same. You can sort of look at it as Gaspari Nutrition is giving you the extra product besides the protein for free since you are buying this for its protein.

 

Fourth on the list is not a protein shake at all.
Chobani 0% Greek Vanilla Yogurt.
32 oz $5.99 (Target)
Serving size: 8oz (227g)
Servings per container: 4

Protein per serving: 22g
1 serving=227g yogurt, 22g pro
A WHOPPING 10.32 ratio!

$5.99 / 4 servings = $1.50/serving or
per 22g pro.

1.50 / 22=
$0.07 per g pro

Now, of course, you are getting probiotics and other stuff in greek yogurt. But did you see that ratio? 10.32! So for every gram of protein, you have to eat 10.32 times more of other stuff. And let me tell you; I will not eat a whole serving of that anymore. Tried eating 8 oz of yogurt and it was too much to only get 22g protein.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Chobani yogurt and usually eat a small container or around 6 tablespoons every morning. But when you look at that ratio, combined with the cost of more than twice the amount of Gold Standard Whey, I wouldn’t use this as my main source of protein. Not cost effective and not very efficient if that’s all you’re eating between meals.

And I wouldn’t remove Muscle Milk from my shopping list either. I like the taste of it and it seems richer to me. Besides, it’s good to mix your supplements up, if not for nutritional purposes, then for variety.

But my #1 choice, if you haven’t figured it out yet, is Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Whey. I didn’t even mention that it includes 4 grams of glutamine and 5 grams of the ever-important Branched Chain Amino Acids, BCAA’s. So easy to drink since you only need 4-6 oz water to get 24g protein or 36g protein if you’re having a scoop and a half.

I would definitely use the MYOFUSION for variety, though. In fact, that will be my next purchase after I run out of my current GS WHEY. I hear it has a damn good taste, too!

I don’t even bother mixing in bananas, berries or other stuff like people do in those “Bullet” mini blenders. I feel that if you’re serious about your fitness and nutrition, you don’t need your nutritional shakes to taste like desert. C’mon people, we’re not babies. Whip cream on everything? Just drink the damn protein shake; it’s already chocolate flavored, you big ninny! Haha, just busting balls.

But seriously, cut that out! You’re only making it unsustainable to consume enough protein every day if you have to buy fruits, wash them, chop them, blend them, then – – (pause to take a breath) wash all of those blender parts and clean up the mess you made. How long did that take? Now do it again later that day.

In contrast, I make my protein shakes by simply filling my shaker cup with water and adding the whey. Takes around a minute including travel time to the kitchen. Washing the cup is a breeze.

Besides, why would you want to eat so much fruit?! You’re in danger of adding a ton of sugar to your daily calories. Bye bye, abs. But if you’re controlling the amount of fruit you’re eating per day, you can just eat the damn fruit itself alongside your shake without going through the trouble of blending it into Super Delicious Tastes Better Than Your Momma’s Milk Shake. Remember:

CONSISTENCY TRUMPS INTENSITY

 

Be consistent, friends.

This chick can surely lift her legs up. [vid]

“Kat” is doing one of my favorite and one of the most effective ab exercises, Hanging Leg Raises. She adds Windshield Wipers because she can.

Not the Shake Weight—the Shake Weight DVD!

The Shake Weight might not be on your wish list for Santa, but perhaps you’d like to order this DVD instead:

Work your hamstrings at the park!

You’re already good at working your quads with bodyweight exercises. Squat jumps, lunge jumps, bulgarian single leg squat, pistols, step jumps.

And you know how to work the upper body with no weights as well: If you’re at the park, you can do pullups on the monkey bars, dips on the hand rails, pushups with feet on step, body rows on monkey bars with feet on the ladder, flies on rails with feet suspended.

But how about the neglected hamstrings? What about them?!

Here’s a workout you can do in between your quad exercises to get you all wobbly-legged and sore the next day.

park workout, hamstrings  park workout, hamstrings

My daughter Devan demonstrates the Monkey Bar Leg Curls. She is a pretty fit 13 year old. She does cheer, dancing, and track. And after a rest/pause set of 3×10 she laughed and said, “Whoa dad. I really feel them in my legs!” I love that little girl! {single tear}

Notice her superior form! See how she keeps her arms straight! With this exercise, curl your legs, not your arms. If you bend your arms you’d be doing body rows which are damn good, but this is not that.

See how she curls her body? This is also working her abs a bit, similar to knee lifts or as I prefer to call them, “body curls”. But the emphasis is on her hamstrings. They are working hard to curl the legs and pull her body up.

Hold it at the top for 1 Mississippi, then come down SLOWLY! Like I’ve said many times on this site: Don’t just drop like a sack of—brown rice! Take 3 seconds to return to the bottom position. Then a quick 1 second lift.

Get it?

Do 10 reps, then rest while hanging in the bottom position for a count of 10, and do another set of 10 (or as many reps ’til failure). Rest another 10 seconds while hanging and do it one more time. Then come down and do a jumping or upper body exercise. Or you can rest 45 seconds instead of doing an in-between exercise.
3 rest/pause sets
is one super set.
Do 3 of those sets for a total of 9.

We good?

Soon, I’ll post my complete PARK WORKOUT that I love so damn much. Whole body, baby!

Blast Your Calves—Once and for all!

If you are not seeing results in your calves despite training them like a beast, you might want to try this technique on for size.

This aint me btw. : (

From what I’ve experienced, heavy weight/low reps seems to do nothing for me. Maybe it does for you, or maybe it used to work, but not anymore, but overloading the calves with MANY MANY REPS seems to finally give me the limping, painful aftermath we all seek after working out.

Yes, you seek that. You should seek that. It means you kicked your muscles’ ass pretty bad and they’re pissed. Therefore, they’re going to get bigger and stronger so they can deal with your monkey ass next time you pick on them. You big bully.

Take, for example, yesterday’s workout. Besides squats and other crap I did for the quads and hams, I bombarded the calves with what scholars everywhere refer to as a “fuckload” of reps. 6 sets of standing, 6 sets of seated.

Smith Machine Calf Raises:
1. 15 reps or til you can’t take the burn (if you don’t get to 15, pause for 5 secs then continue like that ’til you hit 15) All the way down for a good stretch, hold it for 3-4 secs, then all the way up, stand on the balls of your feet for 5 secs really crunching that shit, then back down)

Walk it out for 10 seconds.

2. 15 reps or til you can’t take the burn (if you don’t get to 15, pause for 5 secs then continue like that ’til you hit 15) All the way down for a good stretch, hold it for 3-4 secs, then all the way up, stand on the balls of your feet for 5 secs really crunching that shit, then back down)

Walk it out for 10 seconds.

3. As many reps as you can without altering the weight, again ’til your calves begin to FUCKING-SMOKE! (no need to hit 15 this time; just your max)

4. Now, jump around! On the balls of your feet, don’t let the heels touch the ground. don’t bend your knees. Jump HIGH. On landing, your heels will come down but they should barely “kiss” the floor if touching the floor at all. Perform a little hop in between and exhale before each high hop.
Do this for 20 seconds.
Your calves and FEET should feel pain.

Walk it out for 10 seconds.

5. 15 reps or til you can’t take the burn (if you don’t get to 15, pause for 5 secs then continue like that ’til you hit 15) All the way down for a good stretch, hold it for 3-4 secs, then all the way up, stand on the balls of your feet for 5 secs really crunching that shit, then back down)

Walk it out for 10 seconds.

6. As many reps as you can.

Walk it out for 10 seconds.

Total Standing Calf Raises: 65-75 (depending on the “as many reps” sets. Assuming 10 or 15) Plus 20 seconds of power jumps.

 

Seated Calf Raises:
1. 15 reps.
Add enough weight so that you can only do 15. But make sure you go down SLOWLY. Do them just like the 10 in 30 method of 1 sec up, hold 1 sec, 3 seconds down. Then hold at the bottom, ensuring a good stretch for 3 seconds.

Don’t make it so heavy that you’re conking out at 10. Remember, we’re going for max reps without getting ridiculous.

Walk it out for 10 seconds.

2. 15 reps.

Walk it out for 10 seconds.

3. ‘Til failure.

Walk it out for 10 seconds.

4. Jump around! Just like before. Jump up, jump up and get down. 20 seconds.

Walk it out for 10 seconds.

5. 15 reps.

Walk it out for 10 seconds.

6. ‘Til failure.

Total seated calf raises: 65-75 (depending on the “as many reps” sets. Assuming 10 or 15) Plus 20 seconds of power jumps.

DONE!  Total calf reps in all: 130 through 150 with no more than 10 seconds of rest between sets of 15. Plus 40 seconds of high calf power jumps.

The key to this madness is the very little rest times. You’ll be surprised how fast the calves recover and you’re able to do more complete sets. Also, the bodyweight power jumps will join in the ass kicking. Those calves have many bullies.

IF you don’t have a Smith, or just hate the shit out of it, you can use the calf raise machine at the gym. Or the leg press. In fact, if you’re trying to enlarge your calves like I am, you should train them TWICE a week, this hard, and alternate between doing them on the Smith (or standing calf raise machine) and the leg press machine. The press is significantly different because it eliminates one pivot point—your waist. Calf raises on the leg press are similar to Donkey Raises such as:

OH NO THEY DINT!

 

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Nutrition for HIIT!

High Intensity Interval Training is an effective, highly popular form of cardio and fat-burning exercise where you push yourself to the max for short bursts and then recover before repeating. Super effective for super fast results!

It is basically the opposite of steady-pace cardio like long distance running or cycling. You perform intervals of high intensity sprints or bursts of all-out energy where you give 100% maximum effort, and then you take it all the way down to a slow, calm “active recovery” interval and repeat.

tuck_Jump

Try the 10in30 “12 Minute HIIT”!
(click on pic)

This has been proven to be a highly effective form of cardio that will help build muscle and burn fat at a much faster rate than its steady-pace alternative. However, like its name implies, it is high intensity so you can actually end up losing muscle mass if you don’t have proper nutrition. NOOOOOOOOOOO! This is bad for both men and women.

Therefore, don’t just do your HIIT workout and call it a day! Even if you do see results without proper nutrition, your results can plateau faster, you can get tired and over worked, and your results will be far better if you fill your body with the nutrients it needs at the right time surrounding your workout.

To ensure that you are not depleting your hard earned muscle, here are some tips on what you should consume to get the most out of your HIIT:

espresso

1. Caffeine
Half hour before you workout, have a cup of coffee or other source of around 100 mg of caffeine. A typical cup of coffee contains 100mg. Or you can have a Red Bull (80 mg), or do like I do; green tea fat burning pills with a whopping 150 mg of caffeine. It takes 20 minutes for your body to absorb most nutrients so at .5 hr you should be up and ready to start your work out.

If you can’t have caffeine for medical reasons, then a simple carb like a fruit juice or sports drink like Gatorade (with sugar, not the splenda version) will help energize you, sans caffeine.

 

xtend, bcaa, bcaa's

2. BCAA’s
Branched Chain Amino Acids are important for muscle recovery and to prevent your muscle from being used as energy. You worked hard to build the muscle you have, so don’t let it get eaten up by your body when it’s desperate for energy. This is called a “catabolic” state. Bad.

Start drinking a serving of BCAA’s around 15 minutes before you start working out and continue drinking throughout your workout. I highly recommend Xtend as it also contains electrolytes which will ensure you don’t get dehydrated and start cramping up. And it has glutamine and vitamin b6 too!

 

torrent

3. Protein and simple carbs
These must be consumed immediately upon finishing your HIIT workout.

Drinking your protein is far better than eating some meat or other solid since time is of the essence after a tough workout and liquids get absorbed by your body much faster than solids.

You can have a whey protein shake but you’ll still need some simple carbs since most whey protein powders don’t come with carbs (they use splenda or other non caloric sweeteners). Having some white bread product with your protein shake will suffice, or you can drink a cup (8 oz) grape juice right before your protein shake. Simple carbs such as sugars help deliver the protein and other nutrients to your muscles by raising your insulin levels.

Some say that it’s not necessary to consume protein after a workout and give examples like prisoners with restricted diets and no access to supplements that still manage to get buffed. Your body might be able to adapt and do the best it can with what its given, but I would rather do the most I can for my body while I can control it.

chocolate milk, proteinMy all-time favorite supplement is Universal Nutrition’s Torrent, post workout shake. It has everything you need; protein, simple carbs, amino acids and even creatine. If you can buy this, go for it. The convenience alone will be worth it let alone the awesome taste!

If you’d rather keep your supplements expenses low, a really cheap and tasty treat that has been proven to work is your very common chocolate milk. It has protein and simple carbs through the sugars it provides for the chocolate. Consume an 8 ounce serving of it and you’ll get 8g protein and 26g simple carbs.

So that’s pretty much the basics of what you should consume before, during and after your high intensity workout. The only other supplement that will ensure your body is functioning at its best and you recover quickly is a multi-vitamin. It doesn’t revolve around your workout but you should take one every morning or per dosage on the bottle.

The multi-vitamin along with the 3 supplements listed above will allow your body to perform at its maximum and get the full benefit of your workouts! Let me know if you begin taking these supplements and how you feel after a few weeks, ok?

CHEERS!