Thursday, May 28, 2009

Other Hazards of Leg Training

Not trying to scare anyone off, but its very easy to get seriously injured doing squats and deadlifts if you don't have the right form and try to lift a lot of weight.

So if you are considering doing them, I would recommend that you go light. Actually, scratch that – I would recommend that you do the single leg varieties. Not only is it more “functional”, it gives you the same results while reduction the chances of spinal injuries.

Another thing to watch out for is muscle balance. With me for example, possibly due to my desk job, my quads are more developed than my hamstrings. This has led to instances of me pulling my hamstrings while sprinting.

Happy Lifting.

Thoughts on Training Legs

Personally, my legs respond very well to any sort of weight stimulus. For the last couple of years my workouts consisted of full body exercises and my legs grew a lot faster than the my upper body. For comparison – my legs are 24” at the widest and my waist is ~30”.

I think this is true for most people. Simply because you can lift a lot more on a squat or deadlight than say a bench press.

Over the past couple of months I tried to restrict leg workouts to balance out my physique. I did 1 set of heavy single leg presses followed by 5 or so negatives once a week. My legs grew faster than ever. Right now, I have discontinued all leg workouts.


Over at, Rusty Moore is of the same opinion. He has a similar problem where his legs get too big too fast. He reckons that his High Intensity Interval style cardio is enough of a leg workout.

I now work out the rest of my body in the same manner as I trained my legs previously. It seems to be working, although i don’t have any results to report yet. Hey, I figured if its working so well for the legs why not try it for everything else?

The only thing that concerns me with this approach is that by not recruiting and stressing the muscle fibers in my largest muscle group I maybe limiting my Growth Hormone response (more intense workouts/fibers recruited = more GH released).

I used to ride the bicycle a LOT when growing up. Maybe that's why my legs respond quickly? I wish I did more pushups and pull-ups :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Is it all about the pump?

For the longest time, I used to workout with high weights for low reps (3-6) and medium sets (4-6) for a total of about 24 reps per exercise. I focused on compound movements and rarely did any isolation exercise.

Recently, thanks to Khalid, I've started focusing on single muscle groups, using lower weights and mostly machines for high reps (10-15) and low sets (1-3). As most of you probably realize by now: this workout goes for "the pump". Many old-school bodybuilders, like Arnold, have been big proponents of the pump.

The funny thing is, I'm seeing better results from 3 weeks of doing this than I did with 2 years of heavy weights. Now, I know its not as macho as lifting some serious heavy sh!t, but why do heavy sh!t when you can get better results with this?

I'm not sure why this works for me. Maybe it was the change of workout style - giving the body a different sort of stress to deal with? Maybe my body type is just more suited to this type of workout?
Maybe its just me? Has anyone else also experienced this? Please share your thoughts and ideas...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

What I eat in a day

Ok so I've never really measured how many calories I eat in a day or what my macro-nutrient ratios are. However, there is this website: that makes it really easy to get the breakdowns.
I entered info from the food I had last night (didn't eat anything during the day). Here is my breakdown:

Yup, you read it right - 70% of my calories come from fat. It is delicious, and it helps me stay full. Here is the breakdown of all the food I had:

I would recommend that everyone give a try out for a week. The website also tells you what vitamins you are getting enough of (or not), etc.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

On this day, 3 years ago I made a bet...

Today marks the 3rd year anniversary of my 2nd really serious attempt to get really fit. Its been an up and down journey as you will see. The purpose of this entry is not to show off, but to provide motivation to other people. A lot of people have been asking me what I eat, how I workout, etc., so hopefully this provides some guidance.

During this time, I have treated my body as a piece of lab equipment. I have tried all sorts of things, but I have always kept before and after measurements, logs, impressions, etc. I believe that is the key; try everything - keep what works, throw away what doesn't.

Not everything works for everybody. You have to find what's right for you.

Also, I should add - if I had not discovered low-carb/paleo eating I could have never sustained this.

I made a bet with a friend that in a months time I would be down to 180lbs. When I made the bet I weighed in at 235. Here's a time line of what has happened since then...

April 2006: I start using the elliptical machine at the gym for 30 minutes roughly 5 times a week. I start cooking more stuff at home. I also go "low-fat". Little changes in terms of sugar/carb intake.

May 2006: I ditch fruit juices / chocolate milk, chips, cookies, soft drinks. I'm down to 215lbs

June 2006: I drop the cardio (too much, too tiring and most of all too boring!). No major changes in diet. Down to 208.

July 2006: I find - start lifting weights. I am introduced to This is where I first learned about bread being bad. I try to drop the bread, down to one or two a day. In my opinion this is the key time turning point.

Aug 2006: I start working out using different programs outlined at Chad Waterbury's 10x3 is a big hit.

Oct 2006: With a combination of little bread, more meat and a solid exercise program, I am down to 190.

Nov 2006: I do "Guerilla Cardio" 2-3 times a week for two weeks and I lose 3 belt notches! I also stop going to the gym.

March 2007: I am still low-carbing big time. Have almost cut down all bread and sugar. Although on occasion maybe once a week, I still give in... I start working out again, trying out all sorts of different exercise programs. Weight is down to 180. I am also hiking a lot.

Sept 2007: Diet + easy weight-based workouts lead to a weight of 165. Too skinny. Plus my muscles don't have any definition. On the plus side - I can do about 20 pull-ups in a row now :) I decide to lift harder. Fat consumption is tremendously high at this point - close to 70% of my calories. From a year ago my HDL is up, LDL is the same, body fat is down, triglycerides are not measurable (due to low carb intake)

March 2008: I've gained some muscle, but I have also put on fat (mostly due to a higher carb intake). I'm up to 185. I feel chubby and clothes are getting tighter - there has to be a better way to put on muscle.

April 2008: I discover intermittent fasting. I eat just once a day for one or two days a week. Weight drops back down to 170.

July 2008: I discover that if I fast daily, I can eat WHATEVER I want at night...

Aug 2008: I get serious about weights. Start lifting some monstrous poundage, combined with lots of food and protein. I can see my abs!

Nov 2008: I am up to 185, this time its mostly muscle. Intense, short workouts are the key.

Dec 2008: I go for Hajj - down to 160. I can feel my spinal cord from my stomach, ewww!

Jan 2009 - Mar 2009: Working out really hard, mostly clean diet and fasting regularly. Weight is up to 176. For the first time in my life, I can easily say no to sugar - I have no need for it. Same with bread, rice, etc. The taste no longer appeals to me. I guess I'm finally off the crack.

Currently: I am trying out creatine for a month to see if it can help me gain some clean muscle. My current work out is a mix of super heavy days, combined with fun light upper body workouts.

When I started I was 24% body fat, now I am at 8%. My diet no longer feels restrictive or compulsive. I eat only when I am hungry, and sometimes I just stay hungry - I love being hungry. When I eat, I tend to eat a LOT! (seriously). I plan to start the once a week, big-5 workout from the body by science folks. Most of my workouts are under 25 minutes and I don't spend more than an hour at the gym a week. I plan to cut that further. I walk a lot, for groceries, to bookstores, at work, any chance I get.

If you are interested in learning about my thoughts on exercise and fitness, you can stay up to date at . I also log my workouts (although somewhat irregularly) at .

Saturday, March 21, 2009

High Intensity Training

Over the last few days I have been reading up on HIT. The idea is to perform minimum reps to failure with extremely high intensity and to give sufficient time for recovery between workouts.

Some very famous people have been proponents of this stuff, think Arthur Jones and Ellen Darrington(sp?), etc. However, most of the stuff I am reading is by the ‘Body By Science’ guys. So far, I’m intrigued. I’ll be trying some of this stuff and posting on progress…

Like to stay hungry, Like to eat a lot

Conflict? Hardly.

Staying Hungry. You know the feeling you get when you haven’t eaten anything for a long time – that grumbling in your tummy, the unusually sharp senses, I love it. It makes me happy, it keep keeps me alert and active, if I work out in this state – I can lift heavier than normal. It takes a couple of days of practice before I stop feeling the anxiety and actually start enjoying it.

Eating a Lot. Nothing like a ‘hayooge’ meal. Nothing. Your stomach is full, you feel content and best of all, you sleep like a baby. This feels even better when you have it when you are really hungry and craving food. Which brings us to…

The Conclusion. You can experience the joy of both (eat your cake and not eat it as well). You can also experience all the health benefits of calorie restriction (the fasting period) and the anabolic (that's a fancy word for muscle building) effects of over feeding. Sweet!winwin