Thoughts: Gain Muscle Naturally

Controlling your thoughts and believing you can acomplish greatness may be one of the greatest contributors to your success in any endeavor. You must believe in your abilities even in the midst of daily struggles and the negative influences of the world. You must believe that you are capable of building muscle mass and reaching the level of leanness you have set out to accomplish. Finding a way to control your thoughts despite the negativity around you, often requires significant discipline and action.

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Perhaps the first thing you must do is fill your mind with positive and uplifting material. Surrounding yourself with individuals that are positive, those folks will provide you with positive support when you are down. There will be times when you will doubt your abilities and that is when a friend can lift you up. In opposition to this, I would not share your goals with individuals that are negative or might poison your efforts. Choose your support system wisely and then keep moving toward your goals.

I encourage you to read motivation books and materials or watch movies (my favorite) that may strike a motivational cord to keep you moving in a positive direction. I am a believer in Christ and I often read motivational bible verses. In fact, over the years the bible has been my greatest source of inspiration. For me, there are some questions and problems that I know of no where else to turn than to my faith in Christ.

I have also found good motivation from reading great books.  Napolean Hill has been a great source of motivation for me over the past few years, his book “Think and Grow Rich” is a must read for anyone working to achieve goals.   This book is not just about making money.

Pursuit of any goal will require massive action and keeping the negative thoughts from disabling your efforts is a key element to keeping you moving in a positive direction.  In the midst of the years of work ahead, keep working hard and believing in  your abilities and I promise in the end you will achieve.

Never, ever quit!   You have no options but to win!

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Passion: The 5th Mistake That Limits Muscle Gain

I am not sure this is a mistake, but this element must be present or your gains will be severely limited.

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Today I was doing some research for my book I am hoping to complete by the End of the year.  Lana and I went in the garage and sifted through all my old training and nutrition books I had acquired over the years.  Every one of those books brought back some awesome memories.

Memories of my thirst for knowledge and a time when I was so young.  I just love books and even today there is nothing better to me than having a book in my hands.

I picked up books like Stuart McRoberts, Beyond Brawn, Brawn, Further Brawn, and His Exercise Technique books.  Which by the way, should be required reading for any physique competitor that wants to work with me! 🙂

I looked at all of the Big Beyond Belief Books by Leo Costa, which were best sellers in those days!  Agree or disagree with the methods every book provides some great information.

I open the pages of Tudor Bompa’s work on Periodization, I have all the Serious Strength Training Editions, along with William Kraemer’s and Vladmir Zatsiorsky’s Science and Practice of Strength.  In fact, the original Science and Practice of Strength was the first textbook on Strength Training and Bodybuilding I read.  It opened my thoughts to the possibility of hypertrophy research.  I remember in great detail being in the library at Southwest Missouri State University reading intently this landmark book.

The books of Size Surge and the Various Ironman Magazine Productions of the early 90’s.

What great memories those were.

I thought back to my passion of strength training and how just maybe one of these books might provide me a strategy that would propel my physique to victory.

Today as I read the stories and content of these books I wonder am I alone in my search for knowledge.

Is there anyone else out there that has a passion to be the best they can be and will not settle for anything that is less than there absolute best?

Are there folks with integrity that want to do things the moral and truthful way?  I wonder sometimes?

I am serious, is anyone out there humble enough to even read books and search for knowledge?  Or are we a society of individuals that have all the answers?  Are we just a bunch of egomaniacs that think we have all the answers?

Let me ask you, how many books have you read on training and nutrition lately?  Or are we getting information from the facebook or twitter newsfeed.

In an age where old fashioned hard work and consistency is almost foreign, is anyone out there starving to learn about building muscle naturally?

I pondered this today?  I am far from perfect and I know sometimes I come across as blunt, but these books brought me back to a time where I thought I would never achieve and frankly a time where I was very uneducated.

But, there is one thing I had and that was passion and a desire to learn.  A passion and desire to work hard and do what was necessary to achieve.  Are you with me? 🙂

I want to thank you for reading this blog and trusting me enough to take time to engage with my blog.

I am not sure where this post has went or where it is going, but today I just wondered am I alone?

Who wants to lock arms with me and work together and learn?  If you are interested I would love to brain storm!

Who out there wants to talk shop?  Who wants to discuss training and nutrition in a rational way?

Lets go about this another way?

Why are you involved in building your body?  Seriously?

Do you have a real passion for muscle building, just for the sake of the endeavor?  Regardless of winning or losing or looking good, do you really love this thing?

I wonder sometimes?  When I look out at facebook and hear folks complaining about dieting or other parts of transforming their physique, I wonder why is this person really doing this?  If it is so difficult and arduous perhaps this is not their true passion.  I am not saying extreme dieting is fun, because it isn’t, but is their something else you would rather do with your time?  It is no big deal if muscle building is not your passion, there is a ton of information to help you.

I am trying to get you to think about passion and drive to accomplish goals.  Achievement will take a strong drive, will, and passion!

Again, I go back to the books!  How many books on training and nutrition have you read?  Every book I have read has provided me something of value that I either experimented with or at least considered.

Do you have a thirst for knowledge and think things through?

I understand you want answers but sometimes the answers are best found through your own search and experience.  Coaches help expedite the process but do you have passion to persevere even when success seems so far away and defeat has pummeled you.

These are just my thoughts today!  I suppose these books brought back my feelings on passion!  I can’t go back and I am thankful for the gifts and memories I have.  It is time to move forward and keep fighting!

If you are still here I know you have what is necessary to build muscle and transform your physique.  This article is over 900 words long and if you stayed with me this long you are ready to Build Some Serious Muscle.

Who is With ME?

MP3 Conference Call in Forum, You Can Download on Your Phone

Topics: The Foundations of Building Muscle, Discussion of Natural Bodybuilding, and Your Questions

 

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5 Mistakes That Limit Your Muscle Gains: Part 4-B

In my last blog post I discussed how lack of consistency will cost you big time in your efforts to build muscle and lose fat.  I described how most interventions (exercise and nutrition) take some time to assess their effectiveness.

Today I am going to give you a specific example in my training career, I hope you can learn something from my mistakes.

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Key point: Never stop learning and experimenting and Give Each Program Time!

I trained for 4 years using a high frequency training approach early in my career.  This was before any real science was available, and in fact we don’t have much today either.  So if you are hanging your hat on science I am afraid you don’t have a lot.

At that time, I thought high frequency training was the best way to train.  I was training 2 times per day, 6 days per week, and trained each muscle group 3 times per week (9-12 sets per muscle group).  I was always exhausted and making very little progress.  However, I was doing what I thought was best for my progress to achieving my goal of WNBF Pro Status.

More is better, right??  Or is it?

At one of my earlier competitions,  I met a competitor who encouraged me to train each muscle group once per week, cutting my training days to 4 days per week.  I did not believe this approach could be effective and looked for every reason possible for this new method to NOT work or at least be inferior to the program I was following.

I searched the literature and no one had any real answers as to the most appropriate frequency of training for hypertrophy.

So I went in the gym and gave this method a try for a month or so and after the first month abandoned program.  I thought a month was long enough to give this lower frequency approach a chance.

Can you believe that, I gave the program a month??  Which meant each muscle group was only trained 4 times….  Really, could I accurately measure the effectiveness, and how did I even know if It was producing a positive result?

Now, I clearly see that a month is not near the time necessary to assess the effectiveness of this program or any program.  I immediately went back to my normal high frequency training (my comfort zone).

Did I miss out on some gains that might have occurred from my lack of discipline and consistency in applying the lower frequency approach, this fellow competitor suggested?

I continued on with the high frequency, high volume, training program for a few more years, when finally a great friend encouraged me to give the one time per week approach another try.  This time I committed myself to 6 months of consistent effort, to this lower muscle group frequency approach.

Sure enough, I did gain lean mass as evident by an increase in competition weight at my next show the following year.

If only I had given this lower frequency program a consistent effort, over a number of months, before passing judgment during my first experiment with it. This experience was very valuable in my development both physically and mentally as a natural bodybuilder.

Being stubborn and lacking courage left me following an unbalanced high frequency approach that probably cost me at least 5 years of no gains and considerable frustration.

I am not writing this to emphasize that high frequency training is ineffective as I do believe higher frequency training can work and is very effective.  In fact, my new manual Leave No Doubt Volume 2 (LND V2)  is a high frequency training approach.

However,  I realize now I was trying to perform too many sets along with not enough recovery time for high frequency training to be effective.

Give every training program or nutritional intervention Consistent effort for a number of weeks before passing judgment.  Do not make decisions based on how you feel.  Make decisions based on facts, increases in lean mass or decreased bodyfat through good assessment tools.   I strongly recommend taking girth measurements, as skinfolds and other assessment tools can be very misleading.  Outside of a DXA scanner I think girth measurements may be your best bet, of course pictures are a tremendous tool as well 🙂

This story illustrates that consistent effort is vital to assessing the benefits of any program.  Give your best consistent effort to every training and dietary approach you attempt for a period of time.

I advise giving any training program at least 3 months of consistent effort.  Do not change your program every week looking for something wrong with your current plan, letting doubt creep in.

Attack each plan with confidence knowing that you are going to be a better athlete and student of your own body through the experience.  Be consistent and take measurements.  Eventually, the answers will come to you, but the time necessary is usually longer than you think.

Leave No Doubt Training is:  “Laser Focused Muscle Building”  No Fluff just real training to help you achieve your best Naturally!!

P.S. Agree, Disagree?  I would love to hear your comments.

New Conference Call Recorded and in the FORUM.  With a New Call Every Week Wednesday @ 330 pm CST.

I record these calls and place them in MP3 files in the forum for download.

 

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5 Mistakes That Limit Your Muscle Gains: Part 4

The 4th mistake many trainees make is lack of Consistency.  Not just consistency of showing up to your workouts, but consistency to following a set program for a number of weeks.  We are all looking for some magic formula that is going to propel you to amazing gains and sometimes we fall prey to not giving a program enough time to truly assess its effectiveness.



Without consistency in applying your methods (training, nutrition, or supplementation) you will never be able to determine if a method is working for you.  You must experiment at times with training and dieting to find the most efficient approaches for your body and your goals.  This experimentation will probably take weeks of consistent execution to access the effectiveness.

One issue, that is an extension of consistency, is the stubbornness (unwillingness to learn) so many have with regard to their training and nutrition methodology.  At no point in your training career should you stop learning.  I learn from watching and listening to others and along with hours of reading per week.  Never stop learning and experimenting, even if the experiment does not work you have acquired good information through this process.

On another note, the more education and training a person achieves I find the more stubborn they become.  I too have been guilty of being stubborn and unwilling to listen and learn.  When we close our mind to learning new approaches or asking new questions we limit our ability to acquire knowledge.

In the next article I am going to give an example of how Lack of Consistency and Stubbornness cost me a least 5 years of productive training.  Halting my muscle gain progress and slowing down my achievement toward my goal of being a WNBF Pro.

Coming Soon:  Conference Call This afternoon @ 330 pm CST, MP3 will be posted in the Forum

Topics:  Integrity, Praise of Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness, Objective Assessment of Your Training.

P.S. I would love to hear your comments below

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Gain Muscle Naturally: Number 1 Priority!

This afternoon I worked out at a local gym.  I actually don’t work out often at a commercial gym and I never go later in the day.  It was good to see so many guys and gals working hard in the gym.  Watching folks workout is a very good thing for me as it exposes me to what people are doing.



 

As I was witnessing many folks working out today, I noticed some glaring errors.  What I saw is obvious to me but is not so obvious to many.  Assuming all the guys there were interested in building muscle.

This brings about another topic, real quick:  Why Listen To Me?

For one, I have been trying to build muscle via strength training and nutritional interventions for the past 25 years.  The second reason, I have witnessed over 20,000 training sessions, training clients of all walks of life at my own training center.  The third reason, I know what it is like to struggle to build muscle mass, I remember spending hours in the gym performing tons of volume with no real gains.  The fourth reason, I have managed to scrape together some great gains in lean mass, enough to win my WNBF Pro card and compete successfully and I am not genetically gifted.  The fifth reason, I have an academic background in exercise science and nutrition with a BS, MS, and work toward my PhD.  Honestly, the fifth reason is probably not as important as the other four.

Now, you can choose to listen to me or not.  But ask yourself this one question.  How much lean mass have you really gained in the past year?

Lets think this through, if what you are currently doing is not working, perhaps you should try something different?

My observation….

Today at the local gym, I saw so many young guys performing curls, leg extensions, leg curls, crunches, tricep pushdowns, and a bunch of single joint stuff.  There is a place for these exercises, but not until you have performed the big exercises.   No one was squatting, deadlifting, or even leg pressing, I don’t think I saw anyone doing any heavy pressing or pulling either.

Multi joint exercises that engage a lots of muscle mass are going to provide you the most muscle gains.  You must be progressive in these exercises.  Never sacrifice number of sets for strength.  I fear that many times folks get into doing so many sets that they lose sight of just getting strong.

I preach this concept over and over to my clients that are training for physique events.  You must get as strong as possible and then do everything imaginable to keep every bit of that strength while dieting.

On another tangent:  If you think while dieting you should lighten the resistance and somehow that is magically going to get you leaner you are seriously mistaken.  The same strategy that allows you to build muscle is the same strategy that will most likely help you keep it in low calorie conditions.

I would bet the farm (I don’t have a farm 😉 ) that if every gym in the country would remove all machines (cable crossovers, cable machines, leg extensions, leg curls, cybex, lifefitness, etc) and only have a power rack, dumbbells, and maybe a leg press, trainees would immediately start to experience gains.  All the distractions would be gone and they would be forced to perform the money exercises.

You show me someone who has doubled their strength on big multi joint movements and I will show you someone that will eventually have significantly more lean mass.

These are just my thoughts today.

Just looking out for you!

If I knew of a better way to build lean mass Naturally, I would tell you 🙂

See Part 3, discussion of exercise selection and 

See Part 1, discussion of Progressive Overload

I would love to hear your comments, Agree, Disagree?

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Olympic Lifting For Maximum Muscle Gain

Goodness there is much confusion in the fitness world!  Building muscle has been my work since I was 16 years old.  I have tried just about every training and diet program available.  I want to be clear that this site is about Building Muscle Naturally and Efficiently.   I am not interested in any form of exercise that is not centered on that goal.  Training methods Must Be FOCUSED on your goal or outcome.  You would not train a World Class Sprinter by running him Marathons.  Specificity, Specificity, Specificity.  Muscles increase in size by placing maximum tension on them followed by adequate recovery time.

I am NOT a SUPPORTER of OLYMPIC lifting for anyone other than OLYMPIC lifters.

Olympic lifts are perhaps the most complex sports skills on the planet and in my opinion expose the average trainee to a GREAT INJURY RISK.  I would think it takes many years to perfect the mechanics of these lifts and that learning curve would waste a lot of time, compared to very basic strength training, where overload could be employed from the first week.  Moreover, many body types, ectomorphs (tall, slender, long legs, and  short torso) would probably never be able to perform a Olympic lift correctly due to a high center of gravity and not favorable levers in general.

Training for hypertrophy is about putting the body in a position where maximum overload can be placed on a large amount of tissue.

Olympic lifting to my knowledge is about using momentum to move an object from point A to B.  I know these types of lifting programs are fun, but they will not result in MAXIMUM HYPERTROPHY and if MUSCLE GAIN is YOUR goal the answer is likely not here.

This website is about giving the best information I have acquired through my years of experience and academic research.   If I thought a particular method of training was effective I would most definitely support it.

Olympic lifting is NOT for guys and gals interested in Building Maximum Amounts of Muscle safely and efficiently.

Just my take and I would love to hear your comments.

P.S. Tomorrows Conference Call @ 530 pm is going to cover an exact program from my training logs that will result in Increases in Muscle CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS  Follow the routine and you will gain lean mass!  Plus ask me as many questions as you want and it will be recorded in MP3 file so you can listen to it later.  

 

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One Concept for Building Muscle and Losing Fat

As I sit in the coffee shop today day thinking about one piece of advice I could give to help with your success in transforming your physique.  I look back over the years of experimenting, reading, studying, dieting, competing, training clients, and everything that I have put into my work of finding the most efficient ways to Build Muscle and Lose Fat.  Achievement really comes down to ONE concept.

One concept will eventually lead you to success.

One concept that will allow you to Build Maximum Muscle.

One concept that will guarantee achievement of fat loss.

One concept that will lead you to victory in any field, especially in physique development.

One concept that will allow you to discover the best ways to exercise program and diet.

One concept that will set you apart from the crowd, even if today you are miles from your goal.

So what is that one concept?

As I look back, I realize I have tried about every training and diet plan imaginable.  Dieting, I have experimented with low carb, carb cycling, high carb, moderate carb, high protein, low fat, and on and on…  Training I have exercised using high frequency, low frequency, low volume, high volume, high repetitions, low repetition, and on and on…

So what is the answer?  What is the best method?  I know you guys want answers right? 🙂  We all want to know the one magic routine or method?   I know, I have been there and I still look. “Give me a strategy that will work forever or even just for a little while.”  Surely there is one best way to train and diet?  Or is there?  What is this one concept, that will allow you to transform your physique.

Drum Roll Please…….

Don’t Look 🙂

CONSISTENCY.  Is the one Concept that will propel you to your goal.  Without consistency in applying your methods you will never be able to determine if a method is working for you.  You must experiment at times with training and dieting to find the most efficient methods for your body and your goals.  This experimenting will probably take weeks of consistent execution to access the effectiveness.  For instance, I trained for 4 years doing high frequency training early in my career.  This was before any real science was available, and in fact we don’t have much today anyway.  I thought that the best way to train was to train 2 times per day, 6 days per week, and training each muscle group 3 times per week.  As I think back, I was always exhausted and making very little progress.  But, I was doing what I thought was best.

Then I met a competitor who encouraged me to train each muscle group once per week, cutting my training days to 4 days per week.  I did not believe this could be effective and tried to find some research for or against any method.  This led to a dead end as there was no real work in muscle recovery.  I went in the gym and gave this method a try for a month or so.  Like just 1 month was going to dramatically change my physique.  Back then I thought a month was a long time but now I see that a month is not near the time necessary to really assess the effectiveness.  So I only gave it about a month of effort and soon abandoned it to go back to my normal high frequency training (comfort).  Many now would call this type of training  “overtraining.” but I had never heard of overtraining.

I kept this high frequency training approach up a few more years and finally a friend encouraged me to give the one time per week approach another try.  This time I committed to 6 months of consistent effort to the new program.  Sure enough I did gain lean mass as evident by an increase in competition weight at the next show.  If only I had given this approach a consistent effort for a number of months before passing judgement the first time. However, the experience was very valuable in my development both physically and mentally.   I was so young with little experience and as I look back I realize I was drastically short circuiting my progress by such a high frequency, high volume, and unbalanced approach for at least 5 years.

I do believe higher frequency training can work and I see now that I was trying to do too many sets and too much total volume for it to be effective.  The same could be said about nutrition.  Though, I do believe a nutritional intervention can be assessed much quicker.

Give your best consistent effort to every training and dietary approach you attempt for a period of time.  When we are dealing with training you should probably give a program at least 3 months.  Do not change your program every week looking for something wrong with your current plan.  Be consistent and take measurements.  Eventually, the answers will come to you, but the time necessary is usually longer than you think.

One way to dramatically accelerate your progress is to get good coaching.  Hire a coach who has built their body naturally, if that is your goal.  Do not seek coaching from someone who has not walked the path you are on.

Stay Strong,

Michael

P.S. Even if you have the best training and nutritional strategies available, achievement will take Consistent effort for an extended period of time.