Using Heavy Lifting to Get Ripped Six Pack Abs

21:13 Eugene Madondo 0 Comments

In January I was doing an abs challenge, where I worked out abs every day after workouts and on rest days to develop and sculpt them. While I realize that training abs alone will not give you that complete 6 pack abs look, the aim of this experiment was to see if what the top fitness guys were doing really worked. Now to understand how these top fitness guys get their ripped abs we have to look at their whole routine in detail.

alon gabbay crazy ripped six pack
Alon Gabbay crazy ripped thick abs.
Photo: www.alongabbay.com

Getting Ripped Six Pack Abs like a Fitness Model

Most fitness models train abs more than 3 times a week. Some of the guys with the craziest looking abs train them every day, using multiple ab exercises to sculpt their core. Some of the most effective ab workouts are the ones that use weights and cables. To add to this, fitness models unlike normal people live fitness, it’s their life and their occupation so everything depends on them being lean year round. So they use a multitude of supplements to help them burn fat and optimize the amount of muscle they maintain year round. Of the supplements that they take, some of them take fat burners which help them to get shredded for photo-shoots which is when we always see them. Besides the supplementation, they also eat clean foods most of the time, to add to that many fitness models do cardio to put the finishing touches to their physiques. Depending on their body-type the various fitness models will do different amounts of cardio with some not doing cardio at all (the ectomorphs), opting intense training sessions instead.

Now to get back to doing heavy lifts for abs.

Heavy Lifting for Six Pack Abs

I remember during my first year of gym, I did not train abs at all, if I did it was random but I still had visible abs even after gaining 33lbs. The reason for this was that training regularly especially doing workouts for legs and back which require core strength to stabilize the body, the abs were indirectly worked out. What I am noticing again now that I am doing the Arnold type split is that the abs are really getting well trained from the squats, dead-lifts, pull ups and good mornings. These workouts being repeated twice a week give the abs a good workout. Doing these exercises as well as normal ab exercises is sure to bring about, thick and cut abs.

My First Week Training with an Arnold Style Workout Split

18:34 Eugene Madondo 0 Comments


Last week some time, I wrote about changing from a 5 day one body part per day workout plan to an Arnold type split modified from a workout that I got from muscleandstrength.com to fit me. It was a 6 day workout program with 1 rest day, but I was going to do it in 5. How was I going to do it in 5 days? Well basically each week I will have 5 training sessions in which I would repeat 2/3 of those workouts in the split twice. This will happen by training for 2 days then taking a rest day on the 3rd day then training for the next 3 days resting again on the 7th day. My split is chest/back, shoulders/arms, legs/lower back so in the first week I would only have one legs/lower back workout then in the second week I would have one shoulder/arm workout, the following week I would have one chest/back and the cycle would continue on like that.

Arnold type workout split
Arnold type workout split
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

My First Week Progress on Arnold Split:


I have to say I was not sure how training most of my muscles twice a week would work out, I was afraid I would be too tired to lift properly on other workout days as legs and lower back exercises usually hit the same region at times (think dead-lift, good mornings and stiff legged dead-lifts), also shoulder and chest are somewhat related, and you indirectly work shoulders during chest workouts.

I started off with the chest and back workout, and I have to say I enjoyed it, it was demanding but the upper body pump I got was awesome. The muscle t-shirt I was wearing went from being a little loose before the workout to being tight by the end of the workout.
I loved the first round of workouts, when it was time to repeat chest/back, shoulders/arms I thought I would be weak but to my surprise I actually felt a bit stronger and all went well.

I am expecting to see great results from this workout; I can already imagine the future more muscular and ripped me. Even during my workout I am imagining the muscle growing, trying to do that whole mind muscle connection thing.

I made a YouTube video to signal my one week progress on Arnold type split, and I will take photos and compare between my body now and maybe 4 weeks from now and so forth.

Metabolism, 3 Body Types and How it Affects Muscle Building

09:38 Eugene Madondo 0 Comments


In the fitness world you find that metabolism and metabolic rate are always spoken about but not too many people understand what this means and how it affects their nutrition and muscle building plans. Today I thought I would share a few things about metabolism starting from describing what it is? How it affects us? How it affects muscle building and cutting in men? How it affects women? How to measure our metabolic rate? How to increase our metabolic rate?

the 3 bodytypes ectomorph mesomorph and endomorph
The 3 Body Types: Ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

What is metabolism?


Metabolism describes all the chemical reactions that happen in the body to maintain living cells, it’s a process which keeps us alive whereby our body converts food into energy and that energy is used for us(our bodies) to function . It can be broken down into two different categories, Catabolism which is the breakdown of molecules to obtain energy in the body and anabolism describes the synthesis of all compounds needed by the cells in our body. Nutrition is a very important factor when it comes to metabolism because metabolic pathways are dependent on nutrients that we consume to produce energy by breaking down those nutrients. We need all types of nutrients to be able to function and repair damage in the body, these nutrients are classed as micronutrients and macronutrients which are all metabolised to serve different functions in the body. To read more about how different nutrients are metabolised go here.

What is metabolic rate?


Metabolic rate is the speed of your metabolism, in other words it’s the amount of energy used up in a certain period of time. So our metabolic rate is how fast or slow our body burns up calories. Our metabolic rate determines how easy or difficult it is for us to lose weight, gain weight or maintain a certain weight.

Basal metabolic rate (BMR)

BMR is the amount of energy (calories) you need to keep your body functioning when it’s resting. This energy is used by the body for functions like breathing, the functioning of your nervous system, blood circulation, cell growth and so on. Your BMR is responsible for most of the calories you use up per day. It also controls your weight, because if it’s a fast rate you are more likely to burn more calories and lose weight, or find difficulty gaining weight, if its slow you do not use up a lot of calories so your body stores them as fat and you will most likely gain weight especially if you do not exercise.

Your BMR is affected by many things for example:


  • Your age, the older you get the slower it gets.


  • Your gender, women generally have a slower metabolic rates than men because they have less muscle which takes me to the next point.


  • Amount of muscle in your body affects metabolic rate, the more muscular you are the higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn in a state of rest.


  • Your size/weight affects your metabolic rate or should I say the calories your need for maintenance, the bigger and taller you are the more calories you need to eat and vice versa.  


  • Your endocrine glands also play a part in regulating your metabolic rate, your thyroid hormones play a major part in regulating metabolism, people with thyroid problems either hyper or hypo secretion of certain hormones can lead to drastic increase or decrease of metabolic rate which can be problematic.


  • There are other factors which affect metabolic rate like sleep or lack of sleep, stress, sickness and so on.

It is great to know your BMR/RMR (which is resting metabolic rate) so that you know how much you need to eat to sustain your body and your bodily functions each day. BMR is calculated when you are in a state of complete rest usually taken in a dark room after about 8 hours of sleep and 12 hours in a fasted state when you are still in bed and RMR is measured under less strict conditions meaning if you are just not doing any activity. You can use a metabolism calculator to measure how many calories you need to consume per day with varying levels of activity. Very active people must eat more to account for the extra calories they burn during sporting activities or exercise etc.  If you decrease the number of calories you consume to less than your RMR than you will lose weight, and if you do the opposite and increase the amount of calories you consume to more than your RMR you gain weight. It is as simple as that, but be aware that not all foods are made equal some like junk food contain a lot of calories but they are mostly empty calories which are no good for you, whereas healthier foods contain less calories but a better quality of nutrients within them.

The Different Body Types  


There are 3 different body types; they are ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorph.


  • Ectomorphs – Are usually skinny, fragile, thin, delicate build, flat chest, stoop-shouldered,  lightly muscled, large brain, muscle growth takes longer, have a small frame, trouble gaining weight and have very fast metabolisms.

Ectomorphs should focus on gaining lean muscle mass; they should also eat a lot of food to get a lot of calories to build muscle. Ectomorphs should not weight lift too often they should opt for shorter workouts using relatively heavy weights. Avoid doing any cardio, or keep it at a minimal until you are happy with the weight you have gained.


  • Mesomorphs – are usually naturally athletic and fit, hard muscular body (hour glass shape in women), rectangular in shape with broad shoulders, upright posture, grows muscle quickly. They are muscular and naturally strong.

Mesomorphs can train with weights for longer periods than ectomorphs but be careful not to over train. Mesomorphs respond best to weight training compared to the other two groups. They find it easy to gain muscle. Mesomorph gains fat easier than ectomorph but can lose it easily with a bit of cardio, so do cardio that you enjoy like riding a bicycle or playing soccer or running if that’s your thing.


  • Endomorphs – have it the hardest, they are soft and round in shape, under developed muscles,usually short and storky, they gain muscle easily but they also get fat really easily. They have a slow metabolism and find it hard to lose weight.

Endomorphs should use fast paced training using challenging weights with very short intervals to help them to burn fat. Training with weight will help the endomorph lose weight by getting a better muscle to fat ratio, the more muscle they have the higher their metabolic rate. Diet is very very important when you are an endomorph, junk foods, processed foods, simple carbs should be eliminated from your diet. Also an endomorph needs to do more cardio then the other two body types; it needs to be often, 3 or more times per week.

Woman

Females can also use these 3 body types above to see what kind of workout plan to get, just click on the body type test link in the next section after I finish discussing female body types and you will know what body type you are. Also with females you generally get the pear shape, straight, curvy (hour glass) and athletic body types.


  • The pear shape shape has a big lower body and a smaller upper body so they should focus on tightening that lower body and building their shoulder and arms.


  • The straight female body type is as the name describes without any curves so they should do workouts that that promote curves like squats and lunges to build a perfectly shaped gym booty and arm and shoulder exercises to promote growth in that region which will give the straight woman some shape.


  • The curvy woman has wide hips and wide upper body with a small waist, so they should engage in workouts that tighten up the entire body so they develop smooth curves, a firm gym booty and tight arms.


  • The athletic female body type has wide shoulder and a narrow waist so the best way to go is to train towards having a small waist and toned midsection, increase the size of your lower body this region includes your buttocks and legs to form some shape in that lower region.

My Body Type


I used the body type test on bodybuilding.com to check what body type I am. It turns out I am somewhere between an ectomorph and a mesomorph which I find pretty cool, it sort of makes sense, I was skinny but muscular and sort of strong before I started working out, I was always good at sports. I found it easy to gain muscle, had a fast metabolism and ate a lot of food but did not gain weight until I started lifting weights. If you see my development I am not tall and narrow I am more rectangular shape now even though my shoulders (and v taper) needs work in order to be considered broad.

How to Increase Metabolic Rate

Besides working out to build more muscle to increase metabolic rate there is another way to do it. Rusty Moore of fitness blackbook recently shared a way to boost and fix metabolism in his 3 part series on Eating to Increase Your Metabolism.

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Trying out some Arnold Schwarzenegger Style Training – Arnold Workout Split

02:58 Eugene Madondo 0 Comments



I have been working out for a while now, training with weights since 2011. I feel I am ready for some serious training that is why I have decided to try out an Arnold Schwarzenegger style workout split; I will share the split just now.  I have been doing this one body part per workout thing for too long now, I don’t count abs as I train those after workouts and on rest days, I started doing this in the beginning of the year whereas before I trained abs every other day. I feel it’s time for a change; my body is used to the old split now it’s time for a new one.


Arnold style workout Split
Young Arnold Schwarzenegger posing his biceps
Arnold style workout split

The Arnold Split I am doing:


I got this split from http://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/arnold-schwarzenegger-volume-workout-routines; this is going to be a little difficult but its easier compared to his other higher frequency workout split where he trained each major body part 3 times per week. I will make some minor adjustments which I will mention below. Also I will be purchasing some creatine monohydrate and whey protein to aid with my needs be it, energy, protein intake, recovery or repair of muscles. So I feel it will be easier to cope with the demanding split, and I hope I will make some good gains while maintaining a low body fat with this routine.

Day 1 and 4 – chest and back

Chest
Bench press – 10 reps * 3-4 sets
Incline bench – 10 reps * 3-4 sets
Dumbbell Pull overs – 10 reps *3-4 sets

Back
Chin up – 10 reps * 3-4 sets
Bent-over rows – 10 reps * 3-4 sets
Dead-lifts – 10 reps * 3-4 sets

Day 2 and 5 – Shoulders and arms

Shoulders
Dumbbell lateral raise – 10*3
Upright row – 10*3
Military Press – 10*3

Arms
Seated Dumbbell curls – 10*3
21’s – repeat 3 times
Hammer curls – 10*3
Close grip bench press – 10*3
Barbell tricep extensions – 10*3

Day 3 and 6 – Legs and lower back

Legs
Squat - 10*3
Lunge – 10*3
Standing calf raises – 10*3

Lower back
Stiff legged dead-lifts – 10*3
Good mornings – 10*3

*note that there are minor changes in this workout so it is not exactly the same as the one in the link I gave above.

I usually work out 5 times a week and this kind of split is for 6 days a week so I will not be doing this for 6 days a week. I will be training 5 times a week and each week I will omit one workout from each group for example one week I will train chest and back only once a week, then the other week I will do chest and back twice but do legs and lower back once then again do legs and lower back twice in the following week and do shoulders and arms once.

I have already done one workout of this split and I have to say I enjoyed it, I trained chest and back, since chest and back are push pull movements I find that they are complimentary and make for an awesome upper body pump, my lose wife beater was tight by the time I was finished with my workout. I had to drink a lot of water more than usual and it was a taxing workout but I loved it. I am looking forward to doing the rest and getting used to doing this split.

Now Check out Arnold Schwarzenegger Working Out:

Update: Results of Cutting, Ripped 8 Pack Abs Challenge

02:00 Eugene Madondo 0 Comments


In January I published a post saying I was going 8 pack abs crazy, my plan was to train my abs every day after my workouts on workout days, and on rest days. I wanted to adopt the abs training style that many fitness model use to build their abs size and cuts. My inspiration in January was, Marc Fitt the French Canadian fitness model with killer abs. He trained abs everyday and had probably the most cut abs I have ever seen, I wanted to have abs like him and other great fitness models with ripped abs.


results of 8 pack abs challenge
Result of 8 pack abs challenge and cut.  

Results of Cutting and 8 pack abs challenge:


I am proud to announce that I did not miss a single abdominal workout in January. No matter how tired I was after a workout, I put in that extra 10 to 15 minutes just to work those abs. I found it to be a good fat burner as expected so I found no need to do cardio. I had said I would do cardio if I felt I needed that extra boost to burn fat. I probably just skipped cardio because I hate it and I am lazy when it comes to doing things I hate. Would I have seen better results with cardio? Maybe, but I do not care as I got good results without it anyways.

At the end of 4 weeks in Jan I was satisfied with the results so far, when I touched my abs I could feel that I had developed them thickness wise, it was just a matter of sweating it out to reveal the abs. The lower abs were there when I felt them but they were still under developed when compared to the upper abs and oblique’s.  My plan was to continue to train the way I was training for a bit longer. I am currently still focussing on thickening the lower abs. I will continue training abs every day until further notice.

What I was eating

As far as my diet is concerned there is nothing special where that is concerned. I eat normal whole foods; I eat take aways maybe once a month just so I remember how junk food tastes. I do not eat a lot on non workout days; I eat most of my carbohydrates before and after my workouts. I usually have a cup of nuts as a snack during the day but this January more often than not I was eating bananas, apples, peaches, yoghurt and mango’s.

As I mentioned in an earlier post in Jan, this year I am going to take supplements and see how that aids my progress. I am getting myself some whey protein and maybe some creatine later on this month so that is all that is going to change in my nutrition plan. I know I have lost some weight but I have not checked the scale yet, the scale is not important for now, what I see is the mirror is what is important.

Struggling to Lose Weight, Gain Muscle or Commit to a Nutrition and Lifting Plan

19:47 Eugene Madondo 0 Comments


Many people have commitment problems and I am not talking about relationships here. People fail to make a commitment with themselves to stick with their nutrition plans and to go regularly to the gym. This leads to failure to lose weight or gain muscle, whatever that person’s particular goal is. Many a time, things are going well and you are losing some weight then something like Christmas or another occasion that involves gobbling down lots of food comes along an you go back to your old habits. In the case of the person who wants to gain muscle, you go to the gym regularly and see no results but still go until that one time you are on a trip or get sick then you never go back thinking “it was not working anyways”. It is like people want to fail; they abort the mission as soon as they can find an excuse.  In order to achieve your fitness goals whether its weight loss or weight gain, you are going to have to start by assessing yourself.

TONY ROBBINS QUOTE-SETTING GOALS QUOTE-FIRST STEP QUOTE
Struggling to lose weight, how about setting some gaols.

Why you want to lose weight/gain muscle?

You have to ask yourself why you are doing it. Is it because of you? Is it because of others? The reason you need to figure this out why you are losing weight or gaining muscle is because if you are doing it to please others you are bound to fail. There is a higher chance of success if you are doing it for you! Also when you fail to accomplish your goals, know that it means nothing to others, they will forget about it. If you are the type that always promises to lose weight and you always fail, people will stop taking you seriously when you make such promises again but what they think is not important. What is important is you! You are the one that has to live with yourself, so what matters is what you think and what you want.

SUCCESS QUOTE-FIRST STEP QUOTE
Struggling to gain muscle or lose weight, its time to drop the excuses and better yourself.

Every time you fail ask yourself how you feel? Would you like to feel that way ever again? What are you going to do to make sure that you never feel that way again? Answering these questions is important because if you are disappointed in yourself and feel like a loser, you won’t want to disappoint yourself again. How will you do that? By working harder than you did before and being consistent this time round.  Everyone fails at some point but it’s important to forgive yourself, and start building from there. I hear about people, who lose a few pounds, only to stop doing what was obviously working for them then they gain the weight back, because they feel guilty they indulge themselves with comfort food which will make them worse than they were before the weight loss. The aim is to improve and not to go backwards which is why it is important to forgive yourself for your failures.

FIRST STEP QUOTE-WILLIAM JAMES QUOTE
You have failed in the past, now its gone start a new chapter.


Each and every one of us is capable of achieving goals  more so in fitness because there are so many resources available to us for free and for sale if you really think it’s necessary. There is no shortage of support and motivation especially online.  

A Gift from Technology to Us - The Curse of the Sedentary Lifestyle

13:14 Eugene Madondo 0 Comments


Technology has been improving at an alarming rate in the past 100 years, more than at any other period in time and with that come many benefits but also many disadvantages. During this blog post I will focus mainly on how this affects our bodies and our health. I will focus mainly on how the improvement in technology has led to a sedentary lifestyle and how that affects us as modern day human beings.


Charley Motreuil arms, big biceps, big round delts
Canadian fitness dude Charley Montreuil is my gym motivation, being the same age has me he had worked very hard from a young age to get into this sort of condition.


Kinds of jobs back then and now


Many years ago most of the jobs done by man used to be manual labour. These were hard jobs which made people sweat and really work for their money. They were physical jobs and were mainly suited to men and not women. Yes these jobs were physically stressful and resulted in many injuries for people back then, but this also meant that people were fit and physically strong, and were stronger for a longer period because for as long as they had mouths to feed they had to work themselves to the ground. This has all changed for many people with the exception of those hard working strong man who still do physical labour especially in 3rd world countries. Nowadays many jobs are automated and done by machines so there is no need for manual labour, also many jobs nowadays are intellectual jobs and do not require much in terms of physical strength or effort. It is only those who do not get higher education who often do physical jobs these days. The problem today is people spend many a day in front of a computer in their office clicking away the whole day, or answering phone calls and being in boardroom meetings. All these modern day job activities do not involve much physical activity but rather they involve brain activity. Nothing is wrong with a little brain activity but your body also needs to be stimulated by physically stimulating it by doing physical work or doing exercise, many people don’t not exercise hence there is an increasing problem with weight and increasing obesity especially in 1st world countries. Mix this lack of activity and an increase in fast food consumption and you have a big problem, the future is not looking good. We will have little fat kids and their obese parents being the norm in the future; don’t forget the health issues which are related to obesity and unbalanced diets.

Fun activities then and now


Back in the day, for fun people used to go outside and play with their kids. They used to play a game of football, soccer, basketball. They used to go hiking up a mountain or go cycling because they wanted to entertain themselves. Then technology came into the picture instead of going outside to play and have fun people started staying in and watching television. It got worse as television channels increase so there was never a shortage of things to watch. People began sitting in front of their TV’s all day everyday when they came back from their office jobs, so this was a disaster for their physical health. Not only were they not active at work and home but they sat on the couch eating junk food. Without movement, exercise, sports this was a disaster waiting to happen, so began the rise of the unhealthy obese human being. To make it worse there were TV games, computer games which were addicting to the players meaning they would never set foot in a sports field again, opting to play sports with their fingers on their games rather than actually playing that same game outside. The gaming industry knew what they were doing was wrong but they did not want to lose money so they have been developing exercise and sports games that actually require you to move, or dance or swing a tennis bat, but I do not think this will do much good. It is up to the schools to try and save the future generation from the sedentary curse and the disease which is obesity. It is up to the parents to be responsible and lead by example, kids raised by obese parents are more likely to get obese than kids with healthy parent as so many studies have shown just check on Google scholar if you don’t believe me.

A way forward


I still have hope that we will someday turn things around, I see people being inspired everyday on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. I see people lose weight every day and accomplish their fitness goals because of the support of a mostly anonymous group of fitness fanatics who refer to themselves as the #FitFam on twitter, and FitBlrs on tumblr with their thousands of inspirational FitSpo pictures, inspirational quotes and progress pictures. I also hope that someone will stumble upon this very blog and be inspired to get in shape, whether they only wish to lose weight or to build lean muscle. 

Why You Should Play Soccer/Football Inspired by the AFCON 2013

09:23 Eugene Madondo 0 Comments


With AFCON 2013 fever around I thought it would be great to write about some of the reasons why you should play soccer. Besides that it is the most loved sport in the world, enjoyed by most people from the poor to the wealthy, from young boys to women.

moses mabhida stadium durban south africa
Moses Mabhida Stadium Where Bafana Bafana will play Mali
Photo by: Vuyo Mbuli

Benefits of Playing Soccer


It is gives you a great workout, it is great for cardiovascular exercise. So that means if you want to lose weight giving soccer a try would be a good option for you especially if you want that great 6 pack. Have you noticed that many soccer players such as Super Mario Ballotelli, Christiano Ronaldo are in great shape because of soccer? Also other than those two players, if you are a soccer fan and watch a lot of top matches you will see that many of the guys are insanely ripped and low body fat because they play soccer, there are lots of player in the AFCON 2013 South Africa who are insanely ripped. You also build strength, flexibility and endurance through training, stretching and playing soccer. Playing soccer improves muscle and bone strength as well.

When you start playing soccer really young, you can develop your skills and play professionally. There is lots of money to be made in soccer especially for very talented players. The top soccer leagues are in Europe mainly in England, Spain, France and Germany. Soccer players make millions from sponsorship deals; sponsors are willing to pay big money because they know soccer has a lot of appeal across all races in all continents maybe except Antarctica.

Soccer is fun, like many others I grew up playing soccer with friends around my neighbourhood and at school, some of my friends even played for local teams. Even if you do not want to be a soccer star, playing soccer is a good way to socialise with others, make new friends and form stronger bonds with your mates by defeating others in soccer.
moses mabhida stadium full during bafana match
FULL Moses Mabhida Stadium During AFCON 2013
PHOTO by: Taahir


Soccer promotes team work, so by learning to work in a team, it will be easier for you to work with a team in other things in life that are not necessarily connected with soccer. Soccer also boost your confidence and may take you out of your shell as it is mostly played in public grounds, if you are good at your position, whether its striking goals, being a creative middle fielder or a tough defender, you will gain confidence and we all know confidence is something that is important, something that is needed to succeed in whatever we do. Soccer may even make you cool, and therefore get girls if that is what you want, sports guys always get girls. Top soccer stars like Super Mario and Christiano Ronaldo have been with some of the most beautiful girls in the world.

I love soccer; I hope you do too check out what has been happening with the AFCON 2013 here.