Category Archives: Bodybuilding

Posts about bodybuilding and exercise, written from my 17+ years of experience.

Wonder Smoothie

More about my Wonder Smoothie recipe

I got a really good question about my Wonder Smoothie recipe this morning, one that made me wish I would have included the info right in the original post. The question was:

“I was wondering if you would do a breakdown of your post-workout shake (reason for specific ingredients, e.g. baobab, alkaline water, methylsulfonylmethane, suma root etc.)”

To that effect, here are the main reasons I put each of those ingredients into the mix:

  • Chlorella/Spirulina: detox and protein
  • Mesquite: vitamins, minerals and lysine
  • Gynostemma: strength, endurance, digestion
  • Baobab: antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
  • Suma Root: muscle building, endurance and healing
  • Triphala: digestion and cardiovascular functioning
  • Rose Hip: antioxidant
  • MSM: joint health
  • Coconut Butter: healthy fats, metabolism booster
  • Hemp Seeds: healthy fats, bioavailable protein
  • Sesame Seeds: minerals
  • Alkaline Water: detox and recovery
  • Raw Honey: immunity, healthy sweetener
  • Raw Protein: high quality bioavailable protein from plant sources such as brown rice, pea, hemp, amaranth, quinoa and more

As you can see, my Wonder Smoothie is packed full of goodness to nourish the body, help it heal after workouts and support its growth.

I have to tell though, if you don’t get the recipe right, it’s going to taste awful. So play with the recipe until you get it to the point where you can drink this and then always make it the same way.

Drink the smoothie right away after making it — this isn’t one of those drinks that keeps for hours. It spoils after a half hour. And don’t drink it too often, otherwise you’ll tire of its taste and won’t want it anymore. Once or twice a week is enough.

Here’s to your health and continued growth!

High-Rep-Back-Workout

A high-rep back workout

I wanted to share a video from a recent back workout with you (it’s from this past Saturday). I know I haven’t posted workout videos in a few months, so that was one of the reasons I made this video. Another was to show you what a high-rep workout looks like. The popular opinion is that you need to lift heavy with fewer reps in order to work the muscle and put on mass, but that’s not true. You can also go for higher reps at 50-60% of your max, focus on form, proper contraction and extension, go for the pump and you’ll still work the muscle beautifully (two days later I’m still sore) and still put on mass.

What happens when you focus on heavy workouts is two things: you run the risk of injuries constantly because when you’re constantly at the limit, you don’t know what’s going to give (a joint, a muscle, a bone) and second, you will over-exert yourself and over-train. Some people say there’s no such thing as over-training. There is. You can recognize the symptoms easily: lack of power, lack of energy, hitting plateaus frequently, extreme fatigue and soreness after workouts, desire to sleep constantly, injuries (small or serious ones) and so on.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should never do heavy workouts. But it pays to alternate, to do a few heavy workouts until you feel you’re reaching your training limits, then step back and focus on lighter workouts at anywhere from 40% to 80% of your 1-2 rep max on each exercise. How do you know when to step back? You need to listen to your body. As long as you’re feeding it and resting it properly, it’ll give you the proper feedback and results.

A third reason I wanted to make this video was to show my progress. I posted this photo a couple of weeks ago but a video shows how far I’ve come much better. If you still can’t see it, you need to look at one of my early workout videos, like this one for example.

Alright, here’s the video and the workout routine is below:

  • 5 sets of pull-ups: as many as you can on each set, start with palms forward, wide-grip, do as many as you can then switch grip to palms toward you, shoulder-width or so and again do as many as you can to finish the set.
  • 4 sets of T-bar rows: 50-60% of your 1-2 rep max, 20-25 reps per set.
  • 4 sets of close-grip pull-ups: use a parallel grip and pull some extra weight for some of the sets, do as many reps as you can on each set.
  • 4 sets of deadlifts: 40-50% of your 1-2 rep max, 20-25 reps per set.
  • 5 sets of standing high cable rows: this is an exercise I’ve adapted from Athlean-x, who does it with dumbbells attached with rubber bands to a power rack. I did it with handles and a chain attached to a cable and pulleys, works just as well.
  • 4 sets of seated wide-grip pull-downs: 40-50% of your 1-2 rep max, 20-25 reps per set.

Hope this helps you!

Side biceps, December 2013

Year-end progress report

I thought it’d be worthwhile to take a photo from December 2012 and put it side-by-side with a photo taken this month (December 2013).

Bodybuilding Progress 2012-2013

If you’ll remember from a previous post, I am a raw foodist. I was also slowed down for a couple of months by an ankle fracture which required two surgical interventions. And yet, this was my progress. I’m satisfied with it.

I plan to grow even more. There are certain measurements I want to reach. I am so glad I started bodybuilding again.

Here’s a triptych where I included a shot taken in March of this year.

Bodybuilding Progress Triptych 2012-2013

Happy New Year!

8-hour Arm Workout

Killer 8-hour arm workout

I’d like to show you a marathon 8-hour arm workout that is not for the weak of heart (or body). This is for the dedicated few that really want to go the extra mile in order to grow. If you’re thinking of posting a comment complaining that this is too grueling, too taxing, can’t be done without steroids, then this isn’t for you, please go look at photos of kittens.

We all reach certain stages in our workout routines when we need to shock the body and this workout will definitely do the trick — if you can get through it, and most people can’t. I’m thinking of doing it in the near future and will let you know once I get it done.

You’ll understand it best once it’s explained to you in this video featuring Rich Piana. Don’t be fooled by his tattoos and intimidating demeanor, he’s a nice guy who’s been publishing all sorts of informative bodybuilding videos.

Just in case you still haven’t got, I made an infographic, a guide to help you out. Just print it and you’ll be set.

8-hour Arm Workout

Chest and Back Workout

Chest and Back Workout

This past weekend, I recorded portions of a chest and back workout I did. It marked an important point in my plan to add muscle mass. During the past month, I’ve started to feel the pump during my workouts. A pump, for those who are uninitiated, is a feeling of well-being, of swollen muscles that occurs during your workout. It’s a great motivator and it helps with the pain one normally feels during the sets. You don’t get a pump unless theres a certain amount of muscle mass on your body. In other words, you could be working out for years and still not get a pump unless your muscle mass grows to a certain point where every time you work out, you start to feel your muscles grip your bones like armor plating. It’s pretty nice. Getting the pump is a mile marker, it means you’re well on your way. So it’s good.

Enjoy the video!

How can a skinny guy put on muscle?

I got asked this question recently and answered it with a video. Here it is:

There are two main things you can do:

  • Eat like a horse
  • Work out like a horse

There are more things involved, such as getting enough sleep and focusing on big, whole body exercises such as the deadlift, the squat, the clean and press and other similar exercises, but those two things, if put in practice with determination and with the clear goal in mind of getting huge, will take you from a skinny ectomorph of 135 lbs. to a muscular, strong 195 lbs. See the diptych below. On the left is what I looked like when I started college, and on the right is what I looked like when I graduated.

Diptych Bodybuilding College YearsHope you find the video helpful to you!

Whole Body Workout II

A whole body workout II

This is a second whole body workout I wanted to share with you (here’s my first one). I reached new maxes in this workout on the clean and press, deadlift and t-bar rows. I did the following exercises:

  • Good Mornings
  • Clean and Press
  • Deadlifts
  • T-Bar Rows

New maxes:

  • New max on the clean and press: 60 kg or 135 lbs
  • New max on the deadlift: 130 kg or 290 lbs
  • New max on the t-bar rows: 60 kg or 135 lbs plus barbell

I need to mention that I used unorthodox form on the t-bar rows, which can lead to injuries if you’re not experienced. So don’t do it like I did it unless you know why I did it that way (hint: it has to do with the way the old school bodybuilders did it).

Enjoy the video and I hope it motivates you to push further in your exercises!