You been lifting weights hardcore and following a strict diet, yet you haven't gained a single pound of muscle in weeks. What you need to solve this is a periodization training routine!

What is Periodization?

Leo Matveyev, a russian sports scientist developed a workout system called the Periodization Method (also known as Cycling Method). The basic idea of the Periodization method, is to put your year long workouts into phases. Each phase will work the body differently for a different goal. For example, the first phase will be hypertrophy (muscle growth), the next phase will focus on strength, followed by power, then a recuperative(light) phase.

What is the purpose of periodization?

The principle idea for periodization is, S.A.I.D. Specific Adaption to Imposed Demand. Behind the S.A.I.D theory, if you want to get bigger muscles, then you lift heavier weights. Over time however, the body will start to predict and adapt to your increased workload. Once it starts to adapt, it will stop changing even after you increase the weights. You will stop gaining muscle and strength in what is commonly known as a plateau.

By using the principles behind periodization, you help keep one step ahead of your body from "guessing". Instead of getting into a long term plateau, every phase will be followed by a short burst of growth and then a leveling off. Long term periodization will lead to better muscle and strength gains. Periodization will also prevent overtraining. Bodybuilders don't need to follow the exact workouts and phases recommended by Matveyev, what is important is following the principles behind it.

For further reading you should read another article I wrote HIT compared to periodization. This will hopefully help answer the long debate, on whether periodization is proven to be the best workout routine system for long term muscle gains. For a general idea of how to setup periodization workouts year around, read a previous article of mine periodization workouts

H.I.T Training

H.I.T is a low volume workout routine often advocated for hardgainers. However, mass monster and multiple time Mr. Olympia winner Dorian Yates, swore by H.I.T's effectiveness.

What is H.I.T training?

H.I.T stands for High intensity training. The concept is based around the fact that short burst of high intense workouts is best for muscle growth. H.I.T advocates believe that "less is really more". H.I.T has many variations, but the underlining concept is the same.

H.I.T Workout Basics:

Traditional H.I.T is full body workouts done two times a week.

Sample Traditional H.I.T Split

Workout day 1 and 2 should have 3 or 4 days of rest between them. Each set should be done to absolute muscle failure.

Day 1:

Deadlifts - 1 set X 15 reps
Shoulder press - 2 sets x 4-8
Pullups - 2 sets x 4-8
Barbell Curls - 1 setx 4-8
Shrugs - 1 set x 8-10
Calf Raises - 1 set x 4-8

Day 2:

Squats - 1 set x 15
Stiff Leg Dead Lift - 1 set x 15
Dumbell Press - 2 sets x 4-8
Bent Over Barbell Rows - 2 sets x 4-8
Dips or Tricep Pushdowns - 1 set x 4-8

Is H.I.T better than volume training?

This is an age old bodybuilding argument. The fact that everyone's genetics is different and responds differently to workouts, makes the issue very complicated. H.I.T may or may not work well for your body. The only way to know is to try it out.

What are the disadvantages to H.I.T training?

The lack of workout variance. This goes against the principles taught in periodization. The advocation of working the muscle to failure can be dangerous to bodybuilding newbies. Not very effective in increasing your muscular endurance, which may be helpful for certain sports.

2007 Olympia Contest

What is the olympia contest?

The Olympia contest created by Joe Weider in 1965, is the top professional bodybuilding competition in the world. The most massive and cut male bodybuilders as humanly possible compete here annually. The Olympia event also has the female contests: Ms. Olympia Contest, Figure Olympia, and Fitness Olympia.

Arnold Schwarzennegar and Lou Ferrigno "The Hulk", are the most well known past Mr. Olympia competitors, to the mainstream public.

When is the 2007 Olympia contest?

September 27-30, 2007.

Who are the expected 2007 Olympia contenders?

Mr. Olympia

1. Eddie Abbew (United Kingdom)
2. Melvin Anthony (USA)
3. Gustavo Badell (Puerto Rico)
4. Ronnie Coleman (USA)
5. Jay Cutler (USA)
6. Mark Dugdale (USA)
7. Toney Freeman (USA)
8. Marcus Haley (USA)
9. Phil Heath (USA)
10. Dexter Jackson (USA)
11. Victor Martinez (Dominican Republic)
12. Ronnie Rockel (Germany)
13. Markus Ruhl (Germany)
14. Silvio Samuel (Spain)
15. Sergey Shelestov (Russia)
16. Vince Taylor (USA)
17. Hidetada Yamagishi (Japan)

Ms. Olympia

1. Lisa Aukland (USA)
2. Dayana Cadeau (Canada)
3. Iris Kyle (USA)
4. Antoinette Norman (USA) 5. Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia (Venezuela)
6. Betty Pariso (USA)
7. Heather Policky (USA)
8. Bonny Priest (USA)
9.Annie Riviecco (USA)

Figure Olympia

1. Sonia Adcock (USA)
2. Gina Aliotti (USA)
3. Suzanne Bock (Germany)
4. Monica Brant-Peckham (USA)
5. Gina Camacho (USA)
6. Celeste Gonzalez (Spain)
7. Danielle Hollanshade (USA)
8. Mary Elizabeth Lado (USA)
9. Amber Littlejohn (USA)
10. Jenny Lynn (USA)
11. Inga Neverauskaite (Lithuania)
12. Christine Pomponio-Pate (USA)
13. Amanda Savell (USA)
14. Tara Scotti (USA)
15. Valerie Waugaman (USA)
16.Latisha Wilder (USA)

Fitness Olympia

1. Regiane Da Silva (Germany)
2. Adela Garcia (USA)
3. Tracey Greenwood (USA)
4. Jen Hendershott (USA)
5. Amy Huber (USA)
6. Tanji Johnson (USA)
7. Kim Klein (USA)
8. Julie Lohre (USA)
9. Angela Monteleone-Semsch (USA)
10. Julie Palmer (USA)
11.Julie Shipley-Childs (USA)

The top two Mr. Olympia finalist are expected to be Jay cutler and Ronnie Coleman. Eight time winner Ronnie Coleman, is expected to try and attempt to return as winner after losing to Jay cutler in 06.

Where is the Olympia contest event located?

Las Vegas Nevada at the Orleansarena com and Las Vegas Convention Center buildings.

Where do I order 2007 Olympia tickets?

To order event tickets, call the Orleans Arena box office toll free: 1-888-234-2334 or order online at Orleansarena com

The official host for the 2007 Olympia is Orleans Hotel & Casinoand is giving special hotel rates if you mention "Mr. Olympia Spectacular Block" (75 dollars weekdays, 150 friday & saturday)

Fat Loss Diet Guidelines

This article is the basic fat loss guidelines for bodybuilders on a traditional fat loss cycle. You may have to slightly tailor it, based on your particular lifestyle, genetics, and goals.

How many calories you should eat for fat loss

You should start off at 15 calories per pound of lean mass if you're new to dieting. However, if you are a experienced bodybuilder who is currently bulking, just drop your current calorie intake by 400 calories. This should probably be enough of a drop to start losing fat initially. You do not want to drop your calories too much immediately after bulking because your metabolism would slow very fast and you will lose little fat and a lot of muscle instead.

To calculate your lean mass, first find out what your BF% is(or at least estimate it). For example, if your 150 lbs and your BF% is 15%, then 150 X .15 = 22.5 lbs of fat. Simply subtract 22.5 from 150 to get your lean mass, which in this case equals 127lbs. 127 X 15 = 1900 calories, which is what this person would eat per day. We base it on lean mass instead of bodyweight because muscle plays a big role in metabolism and people have a wide range of bodyfat.

During a fat loss diet your calories should be 40% protein, 30% carbs, and 30%fat(Mostly good fats).

How to monitor your fat loss progress:

15 times your lean muscle is just a average middle of the road number. Some will find the number too high or too low for their metabolism. What's important is you start around the 15 number, so you get an idea of where to go from there initially. After the first 2 weeks you should get an idea of what you need to do for adjusting calories(if needed). You will know what to do because you will be monitoring your bodyfat % consistently every week with fat calipers. If you don't monitor bodyfat%, you wont know what kind of weight (fat vs. muscle) you are losing.

If you are losing weight too quickly and a lot of it is muscle, increase your calories by 200. Rapid muscle loss is a sign that your body feels it is starving and wants to hold onto the fat over muscle. If you are barely losing weight, then decrease calories by another 100-200. Your goal is to be losing a steady amount of weight of about 1 to 2 lbs a week, where the majority of it is fat not muscle. If you are losing half muscle and half fat, your calorie intake is probably too low and you should increase it by 200. Whether your losing the weight fairly slow or fast, as long as it is mostly fat you are losing, that means you are doing great! No one progresses as fast as they want, but if it's mostly fat, thats what matters. Just make sure you don't make too many calorie changes too quickly because then you will have a hard time knowing what worked and what didn't.

Preventing a fat loss plateau:

In order to continually lose fat week after week for months, you will have to adjust your calorie level. Every 2 or 3 weeks you may have to lower your calorie intake slightly to see continued fat loss. Eventually this may not be enough. Long term dieters or those looking for very low bodyfat % may need to incorporate calorie cycling to break through the most stubborn fat loss plateaus. This is done by raising calories for a day or week. This will spike your metabolism and hormones, which were stunted previously. This increased calorie intake and then dropping it back down again should cause renewed fat loss. Don't think of it as hurting your progress because you are already at a plateau anyways. Think of it as taking 1 step back to go 2 steps forward.

Fat Loss workout recommendations:

Lift heavy 3 times a week and do cardio on 3 of your off days. You can choose either, HIIT or Low-intensity cardio. Take one day off per week from excercise to give your body a rest. On weight training days only, you should have an extra 300-400 calories for the day, preferably in your postworkout meal.

CKD (Cyclic Keto Diet)

Unlike the traditional Keto diet made for sedentary individuals, CKD is a Keto diet designed for active people, such as bodybuilders.

What is the CKD diet?

CKD stands for Cyclic Keto Diet. Once a week, you will load up your muscle glycogen through carb refeed days. This will help your body to have the energy and glycogen stores, to handle a excercise regimen during the week.

CKD Diet Guide:

One day a week you will pick a high carbohydrate day. If you have a weekday weight training split, then you will start your carb day beginning on friday, after your last workout. During this 24 hour phase you should have 10-12 grams of carbs per kilogram of lean mass. The carb loading phase will end about 24 hours later on saturday night. This will allow your muscle glycogen stores to refill (load). The rest of the week you will maintain very low carbohydrates in your diet.

On this carb loading day you can have cheat meals. Don't go completely overboard, but feel free to have that dessert you been craving all week. You should continue to lift heavy and not fall into the high rep myth for fat loss. The rest of the week, you will be very low carb days following the traditional keto diet.

TKD (Targeted Keto Diet)

TKD is a special form of the keto diet built around excercise workouts.

What is the TKD diet?

In the traditional keto diet, it is based around keeping carbohydrates low everyday. Excercise days are not considered because the regular keto diet is not targeted to active people, such as bodybuilders. TKD differentiates itself, in that you will have a carb load before and after your workouts.

TKD Diet Guide:

Before and after your workout you will load up on a high carb meal. This will allow you the energy and recovery to finish an intense workout, while getting the benefits of a low carb diet. You should have around .3 -.4 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight for each of the carb loading meals. You may have to adjust this slightly outside this range based on genetics, preferences, and your current goal.

The days you don't lift weights will be low carb days, following the traditional keto diet. Do not use your pre-workout meal as a cheat meal opportunity, as you may overeat making your weight training workout difficult. Continue to lift heavy weights in the medium rep range on this diet.

Low Carb dieting: Best for Fat Loss?

Low Carb dietinghas become a recent dieting fad, in the mainstream it’s the Atkins diet and among bodybuilders, Keto and TKD.

Low Carb diet Controversy:

Not everyone agrees that Low Carb diet is beneficial. We will go through the major physiological reasons for this belief:

Gloycogen Stores: The lack of carbs will reduce your glycogen stores. This means your muscles will look flat. It will also effect your energy for your workouts and your recovery time. This could all lead to more susceptibility to overtraining and muscle wasting.

Testosterone: Low carb diets are often promoted as increasing testosterone levels. However long term insulin levels also promote higher SHBG levels, a protein that binds to testosterone to "deactivate" it. Therefore, they are really not giving you the full story and low carb diets actually decrease the bioactive form of testosterone, called free testosterone.

Insulin Sensitivity: Many tout that low carb diets promote insulin sensitivity. However, over time as your body stays on a low carb diet, your metabolism becomes less efficient at processing carbohydrates. This actually leads to insulin tolerance long term. The lower testosterone levels as a result of low carb diets also helps promote insulin tolerance. Insulin tolerance long term promotes fat gain, muscle loss, and increased risk of diabetes.

Is Low carb diet ever a good idea?

Yes. Extreme endomorphs should definitely use low carb dieting. The cons are outweighed by the diet's very effective fat loss. Most other bodytypes can do effective fat loss without low carb diets. However, as you can see by the negative impact on hormones, low carb diets should not be used as a long term diet solution.

Homemade MRP (Weight gainer) Recipes

Bodybuilders can make their own homemade weight gainers at home for a cheaper price. Plus they will taste a lot better too and without all the other junk added in them. You can customize below in a variety of ways based on if you are cutting or bulking. The main 3 things is the protein, carbohydrate, and fat content.

1) Protein. You can either have 1-2 scoops of protein powder or 1 scoop of protein powder and 1 cup of milk or 2 cups of milk. If you are cutting, you should go with only the scoops of protein powder.

2) Carbohydrates. You can either have maltodextrin, grinded up oatmeal, or 1 to 2 fat free yogurts. Maltodextrin is high glycemic so should be avoided if possible, to help avoid insulin tolerance long term. If you are cutting you should go with oatmeal.

3) Fat. Fat is optional in your homemade MRP and could be either flaxseed oil or natural peanut butter. If you are having maltodextrin, then you should add a tablespoon or two of flaxseed oil to slow it's digestion.

Atkins Diet & Bodybuilding

Atkins is a popular low carbohydrate diet among the mainstream, But how good of a fat loss diet is it for bodybuilders? Atkins is a high protein high fat and high protein low carb diet created by Dr. Atkins. Instead of having a lot of carbohydrates in the diet, you will be replacing most of them with fat and protein.

Is Atkins Diet healthy?

Due to the higher intake of fat, many are concerned about the health effects of the Atkins diet. According to research replacing carbs with fat actually causes lowering of triglycerides, HDL (good cholesterol) to go up, and dampening the harmful effects of LDL(bad cholesterol) through increasing it's size. In other words, the lower carbs reduce the negative effects of saturated fat in the diet. This does not mean that you should eat a lot of saturated fats, it just means the effects are reduced by a low carb diet.

Another concern is the high protein. Many are concerned about their kidneys. If you drink plenty of water and have no kidney ailments or pre-disposition, the diet is healthy.

With the lack of carbohydrates, some wonder if the body will have enough energy. The body, including the brain, over a couple weeks will slowly adjust it's metabolism to get most of it's glucose from protein and fat instead of carbohydrates. This process is called ketone metabolism. The body is highly adaptable and will quickly learn to efficiently metabolize high protein diet.

Atkins a good idea for bodybuilders?

Yes. Atkin's is actually very similiar to the Keto diet which is commonly used by bodybuilders.

Hardgainer Bulking Diet

Hardgainer is just a bodybuilding terminology for Ectomorph. Ectomorphs have various genetic differences, but the underlining commonality is they all are “skinny” and have a tough time gaining weight. Hardgainers have the hardest time during their bulking phases to get muscle packed on. Without gaining weight, it is impossible to get significant muscle gain. Getting adequate protein is even more important with hardgainers because of their fast metabolism that wants to burn up their hard earned muscle.

How many calories should hardgainers eat while bulking?

Every hardgainer has a slightly different metabolism depending on their age and genetics. The younger the person, the more likely their metabolism is higher. Larger people will also generally have more calorie needs than smaller.

A good starting base for experiment is to eat 20 times your bodyweight in overall calories a day. The nutrient profile should be 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat sources(mainly good fats).

I'm not gaining muscle, why?

Except for some newbies in the beginning, most need to eat a surplus of calories in order to gain muscle. If you aren't gaining muscle(and some fat along with it) then up your calories slightly. If after a few weeks, you put on too much fat, then your calorie amount is too high and should be recalculated to something lower.

On workout days you should have an extra 3 to 400 calories to replace the energy burned on your workout. Measuring your calories carefully and sticking to it each day, is crucial to find out what works for your body. It is important you are extra strict in the first few weeks to get a good idea of what works and what doesn't.

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