Tag Archives: bodybuilding

The FitExpo Los Angeles

The FitExpo LA has come and gone. March brings exciting new events in the fitness industry including the Arnold Classic, IHRSA, and SCW Mania. While we won’t make it to the Arnold due to a crazy schedule in the next two months, we will be going to the other two. (They are geared heavily toward facility managers, operators, and professional instructors. The Arnold is focused on competitions.) Still, let’s take a minute to recognize some of Hungry & Fit’s standout moments from this year’s FitExpo, in no particular order.

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The Mecca – Gold’s Venice – Not Just a Bodybuilding Gym?

While the fitness industry is growing at an incredible rate, there has been an unfortunate amount of negative energy between different communities. In the past, athletes got along really well and were considered a clique (in high school, college, etc.) but now people can’t even agree over who is an athlete and what is a sport. Different kinds of athletes (Olympic/sport, martial arts, strongman, powerlifting, endurance, CrossFit, etc.) have all become increasingly hostile and instead of supporting other groups, they put others down in order to lift themselves higher. Since there is no clear competitive comparison of any of the different communities, it all comes down to subjectivity and trash talking. It’s a shame since everyone working towards a healthier lifestyle should continue to motivate one another. While I won’t get into anything in-depth about the can of worms I just opened, I will get back to the topic at hand. Let’s talk about (arguably) the most famous gym in the world.

Gold’s Gym – The MECCA of Bodybuilding – Venice Beach, CA – Since 1965

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These are various pictures of me wearing Gold’s apparel…the gym’s in the background are NOT of Gold’s

Ever seen Pumping Iron starring Arnold and Lou Ferrigno? A lot of that footage was shot at Gold’s and Muscle Beach. (Lou was in NYC) Watch Mike O’Hearn‘s YouTube videos? Mostly at Gold’s yet again. Pictures from your favorite bodybuilders on Instagram? Venice! The Mecca has always been the place to be for bodybuilding and it has become even more popular than it was when Pumping Iron came out, despite the rise in competition. (I’ve been to a lot of good gyms across the world and I am sure you have too!) There is no question that the weather, members, posters on the wall, and equipment scream “come here to be a pro bodybuilder” but let me approach this with a different angle. Is Gold’s not just a bodybuilding gym? 

When we moved (back) to L.A. (Santa Monica) recently, I told myself I need to join a new gym because I cancelled my YMCA and 24 Hour Fitness memberships. That gym needed to be 1) open late, 2) have amazing equipment, and 3) be able to motivate me in some way. Well, Gold’s was open until midnight, had dumbbells up to 200 lbs, and was full of extremely hard-working and passionate people. Whether they were big or small, strong or weak, natural or not, these people were giving it their all and I love that drive, since I DO NOT HAVE IT. But we all know one thing… I am NOT a bodybuilder! So the final question was, is this gym good for someone like myself? Someone who does not have any concrete goals but just works out because he/she enjoys it. Someone who has participated in sports and martial arts their whole life, using concepts and exercises from every community to become the best athlete possible. And that is precisely why I ended up a member at Gold’s. Because of the following that make it NOT JUST a bodybuilding gym.

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(The following is a random list of things that I love at Gold’s, that a bodybuilding gym does not NEED, but this one has them anyway!)

1. Jacobs Ladder – Not one, but two! These are amazing machines and some of the only cardio equipment that I use. Jack up the speed to work on your eye-hand-foot coordination. It helps you maintain relative strength while you build absolute strength.

2. Plyo-Boxes – One that is actually tall. 48” and A TON of them. Different models with one that is just insanely tall. This is one gym where I don’t have to stack boxes on top of each other dangerously to get those high box jumps.

3. Sleds – Multiple sleds in their outdoor workout area. With a countless number of plates to load onto them. Amazing way to build explosive speed and strength in your lower body, while elevating that heart rate. 

4. Endless Rope Machine – There are very few gyms in the world where I have seen one of these. It helps you get a full upper body workout, while working on rope climbing turnover technique, grip strength, and elevating your heart rate. And it’s fun!

5. 200 lb dumbbells – And everything in between. If you are a strongman or powerlifter, heavier weights are necessary for your workouts. You can’t do singles, doubles, and triples with 100 lb dumbbells if you want to make it to the top of the mountain!

6. Cambered Squat Bar – I’m impressed when gyms have 100 olympic barbells. Even more so when they have multiple model hex bars. But when you throw a rackable cambered squat bar into the mix, that makes my day. I love the little things!

7. Olympic Platform – It’s often locked up, but it’s a full Olympic platform with bumper plates, chalk, and no mirror! Olympic lifts are not recommended for bodybuilding so for them to have this platform means this gym is for other athletes too!

8. Kettlebells – Oh, we’re not talking about 12 lb ones. They have 40 kg kettlebells… matching! So you can do your front squats, snatches, and walking lunges with a heavier load! They’re outside too so you can throw up in peace!

9. Punching Bag – Or full body striking bags. Heavy ones. That hang. And 4 of them, at least. These aren’t cheap bags either. Don’t tell anyone but I was testing these out the other night and they took a good beating from my legs.

10. A huge dirty wall – That’s right! A huge dirty wall in back. That way you can do wall assisted handstand push ups without having to take your shoes off, or getting yelled at for taking your shoes off, or getting yelled at for putting your shoes on the wall, etc. You can also do flips off the wall, or use the wall for assisted pullups, etc!

As you can tell, I can go on forever. But I will stop here and tell ALL ATHLETES that visit Los Angeles to stop by Gold’s Venice for a day and get a workout in not just for the equipment but more for the culture. It’s an experience you won’t forget. Plus, you might get to see some real monsters there.

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Disclaimer: Chris KING Tucci and Hungry & Fit LLC have NO AFFILIATION, personal, or professional relationship with Gold’s Gym Venice, Gold’s Gym, or any of its employees. This was written because I wanted to write it to get a few points across. As always, stay hungry & fit.

Choosing the Right Program and Coach (Beginner Level)

Here are some notes to take into consideration before the troubleshooting:

IMPORTANT: To make matters simple, coach refers to the instructor or person that is training you. Facility can mean a gym, pool, yoga studio, field, forest or any place a coach may use to perform your program. Program refers to the exercises and workouts that you are performing, whether they consistently change or have very little differentiation.

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Not all facilities, programs and coaches are created equal. It is a coach’s responsibility to tell you this. One way you can tell if a coach has YOUR health and wellness in mind is if they are honest about this piece of information. I am NOT a good businessman but I help people reach their goals because I care. It is impossible to know if your future coach will do the same but there are some signs that will help you decide whether you trust them or not and it is that…

No facility, program or coach is the gold standard. By that I mean, there is not one perfect way of reaching your goals because everyone is different. If a coach makes any mention that they, their facility or their program is the best choice for every single person, that is a red flag. I have worked with a wide array of triathletes and the first fact that I state to those interested in working with me is… “I will NOT instruct you on your bike and run. I will, however, tell you some amazing coaches to help you with those aspects. I will help with your race strategy and your swimming.” If a coach says something along those lines, it is a good sign. Honesty is obviously very important and every facility, program and coach requires…

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Specialization! This is what makes a good coach… a great coach. Every new personal trainer, inexperienced CrossFit coach, yoga instructing apprentice, etc, etc is going to be taught the basic tools of their trade. Depending on their own experience and how they are officially educated or certified, there will be some degree of differentiation. You can research your coach, on Google, and find out more about their history in the industry and it will help you decide if they are a good candidate to work with you. However, the internet only has so much information so please don’t rule out candidates solely because their online information is out of date or inaccurate. Getting back on track, as a coach continues to learn through methods including seminars, continuing education units and trial/error (hopefully… not so much that last one) they will start to develop a focus. It is similar to choosing a major in college, or something along those lines. That focus is usually a specialized part of their trade that they are very interested in or at which they are very skilled. A good coach will advertise their specialization because it was sets us apart from our competition in the industry. It also usually means that you will attract clients that are interested in your specialization, and since you love your focus, it means doing more of what you love! It’s a win-win situation, as long as…

The client has chosen the correct facility, program and coach. Now we are coming full circle on our little journey. This is the important part… we can call it the end of the road. After taking all of the previously stated and more into consideration you want to end up in the right place for you! And this is where you make important decisions. I will not tell someone why they should workout. I don’t think it’s right. That is up to their family, friends, doctors, and most importantly… themselves! If some underweight and underdeveloped feeling beginner wants to join a CrossFit box because he has a huge crush on one of the girls that works out there… GO FOR IT!

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Picture from www.carrotsncake.com, who is a CrossFit enthusiast

Just proceed anywhere with caution! Take pricing into consideration. Think about why you want to start exercising. Create some basic goals and ask around to get an idea about local facilities, programs and coaches will help you meet those goals safely, effectively and in a fun way! If you want, EMAIL ME at hungryandfit@gmail.com and I will point you in the right direction! But if you just want a general idea let me provide some information to get you started.

There are SO MANY facilities and coaches out there so I can’t help much in this department without your location and budget. There are however YMCAs, 24 Hour Fitnesses, and playgrounds all over the country. There are also hundreds of mostly free online coaches  (YouTube and Instagram) so you can always find some advice and means of exercising for little to no cost. (Feeding yourself the proper macronutrients and micronutrients is a different story that I will not touch on here.) Still… proceed with caution, again, with some of those coaches. There is nothing stopping them from providing false information about their credentials, so you have been warned. (There are some good ones!) However, going back to the troubleshooting guide, I want to present a small array of programs for you to consider. They are either popular, I approve of them, or both. Here is what some of you might have skipped straight to in order to avoid my “notes.”

Workout in Taupo, New Zealand

Workout in Taupo, New Zealand

(I hope pilates instructors, etc, are not offended because their program is not listed. This is a VERY short and basic guide, and once again, it is subjectively objective!)

Personal Training – You can find personal trainers in almost any gym or fitness facility. The YMCA, 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s Gym, L.A. Fitness, local one of a kind gyms, local one of a kind businesses. Last time I checked there were over 240,000 CERTIFIED personal trainers. The vast majority of them will cost you about $40 an hour, especially at the big name locations. Not all of them will be good but they SHOULD be one of the best candidates to point you in the right direction because their education and certification process SHOULD have included fundamentals that are seen in most programs and relate to nutrition, exercise science, anatomy, physiology, evaluations, first aid and cpr and more.

Good CPTs can be accessible, affordable, and effective for ALL individuals interested. Discover their specialty and see if it matches your goals. A great CPT can train almost any demographic that simply “wants to get in shape.” This might be the ideal path for a beginner, depending on anything that might them considered a special population. Special populations generally include individuals that may have special physical or mental needs. Most CPT educators will cover special populations, which should be somewhat comforting. Please remember to always check with your doctor before starting a program. If your coach has any doubt of your ability to perform, they SHOULD recommend or even require that you get clearance from a doctor first. But back on track, personal training can be  amazing way for the lost souls of fitness to learn the fundamentals that carry over into every other field and eventually use this as a stepping stone to move towards a more specific goal. That goal could very well keep you working with a personal trainer or move you towards one of the following options.

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CrossFit– Oh, my best friend CrossFit (Inside joke). CF was officially founded by Greg Glassman in 2000 and it has grown into a HUGE community in the fitness industry. Within in a year there will probably be 10,000 affiliated gyms throughout the world. CF utilizes exercises that have existed for far longer than the official entity has but it also has made tons of innovations. Where CF succeeds the most, in my opinion, is its, well… crossing over of different fitness programs. This is reflected in the annual Reebok CF Games, which are televised nationally. You will see athletes run, jump, push, pull, swim, lift, etc.

The general dose of CF is to join a box (their word for facility) and perform the WOD, or the workout of the day. It is very structured and easy to perform on a daily basis, but is not necessarily repetitive depending on your coaches. The growing community is in my opinion the most supportive in the fitness industry. If you want to make friends, join a box. If you want to develop a “nice and natural” physique and get “in good, great or awesome condition,” join a box. Just remember, that YOU are responsible for your own health and wellness. Listen to your coach because they should know best, and if what they say sounds stupid, don’t just do it. Feel comfortable doing it. CF is VERY challenging, includes complex Olympic lifts, advanced equipment, and timed workouts. You need to understand what that all means before you try to race to the end of a five round circuit involving all of the above. I, personally, would not recommend this for true beginners, but some facilities and coaches are exceptions to that statement. However, for those with some experience in fitness and for those that are good listeners, doing one WOD with the support of your box and community can be a VERY efficient way of achieving a better physique and having fun unless you are interested in optimal hypertrophic growth and…

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Bodybuilding – So you want to look like Arnold, Dorian, Ronnie, Flex, Jay, Phil, Kai etc. You don’t want to be able to put on your own shirt or fit through a doorway. You want your veins popping out of our bulging muscles and you want to walk up on stage with a fake tan, in a g-string, and hit that back double biceps with cameras going off making tons of flashes. I AM ALL FOR IT. Bodybuilding is, in my opinion, the optimal means to hypertrophy, or gaining muscle mass. But don’t just start lifting weights with no idea of why you are doing it. Here are some tips. Join a cheap gym with good equipment. You could win the Mr. Olympia and pay 24.99 a month to go to your local 24 Hour Fitness, or at least I think you can. The man makes the body, not the gym. (But working out in The Mecca everyday would be a real motivating factor.)

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Research the different ways to perform a rep. You are looking for hypertrophy. I believe slow reps, especially negatives are essential… but I am not a bodybuilder or BB coach, so what do I know! Find a good online coach. I recommend Marc Lobliner and Team Hollywood Militia, if you can afford it. If you can’t afford, save up money, because if you’re going to be a bodybuilder, you better do it right. Don’t follow some cookie-cutter program that is free or cheap, because it was not made for you. It didn’t take your height, injuries, body composition, current physique, etc into consideration. Also, NEVER starve yourself… it is not worth the risks. Christian Bale can starve himself for a movie because he gets paid $20 million. If you want a trophy made of plastic, go for it, but don’t risk “damaging your metabolism” or anything along those lines. Also look into Layne Norton and Jim Stoppani’s work. They are WELL-educated, passionate as anything and I agree with A LOT of their material. (I don’t know if Jim does the same level of coaching the Marc does. And for the record, I have nothing to gain from mentioning or recommending anyone. I worked out with and talked with Marc once, he swears a lot which I am cool with, but he will never see this, so don’t think I get something out of it. Remember, I am doing this for YOU ALL. FREE OF CHARGE!). Well, that was longer than expected so we will make this short with…

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Powerlifting/Strongman– Please, no one be offended. I know these are different. Powerlifting is essentially performing bench press, deadlifts and squats. You do it in a weight class, and you can do it raw (no fancy braces or shirts) or equipped with some items including belts to help you. You try to get a max weight of each and at an elite level, you have monster numbers for all three. Everyone has their best lift here. In the Olympics, you get three attempts at each. I don’t know much more except that to train for powerlifting you perform reps for strength and well… power. Do not think your bodybuilding reps will carry over, a bodybuilding bench press and a powerlifting bench press are VERY different.

Strongman, I believe is the origin of powerlifting. If you watch the MET-RX World’s Strongest Man Competition you will get a very good idea. These men and women are massively powerful and have surprisingly good agility, speed, quickness, endurance, etc. These are ELITE athletes and their bodies reflect their ability to lift, throw, and carry massive objects. They deadlift cars, squat monster truck tires, carry buckets of stones in circles, pull trucks and more. I believe this sport has a very high risk of injury so proceed with caution. (Powerlifting isn’t the safest either, IMO, but Strongman is a whole different story.) If you are getting into strongman, don’t assume you will have this ripped physique. Their fat protects their body from injury and provides a padding for the three hundred pound rocks they hold against their chest and stomach.

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Yoga – Do not be macho about this. Yoga is not easy. If you asked any of the above, with no previous Yoga experience, to take an advanced class, 99% of the time they would not do well at all. It requires flexibility, focus, relative strength, and so much more. I sincerely recommend Yoga as a supplement to all athletes. It helped me a lot in the past. It comes in all forms, from beginner to advanced. 100% approved by me.

Endurance Sports/Triathlon – Now I am getting lazy, obviously, but I did say this wouldn’t be the best guide ever. Maybe one day in the future. Endurance sports take a certain crazy individual that can tolerate repetition. You NEED to get in a groove to run 26 miles, bike 112 miles, and swim 2.5 miles. (26.2 and 2.4 so no one goes crazy on me) That is the extreme distance obviously, there are far shorter races and some people don’t even want to race. They enjoy training and staying in shape. Most endurance athletes are light and lean. Remember to watch your body fat, don’t let it drop too low and be careful! Cycling on a highway is dangerous. Cycling on a highway, listening to music is more dangerous. And when you creep into a lane for cars because you want to ride next to your partner and talk, that’s just a risk not worth taking. Aim to compete in Kona World Championships because Karlyn Pipes told me it is beautiful there.

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Aquatics/Swimming– Obviously, I am very biased here. Teaching people how to swim is my specialty. It is challenging because you can’t just breathe whenever you want. In scuba, you can if your equipment works well. In aqua-aerobics, aqua zumba, deep water running, etc you can but here is the major benefit of aquatics. Little to NO impact. Save your knees, save your ankles, save your hips and get in a nice warm pool. You can get in the water when you’re 6 months old, pregnant, physically disabled (if supervised), elderly, etc. It can forge strong athletes with attractive bodies or help an elderly person exercise for a long time. Ask me about any specific aquatic questions.

“Sports”– In my opinion, if an athlete is equally skilled at everything I listed, they will usually choose sports as the most enjoyable means of exercise. By sports, I am referring to tennis, basketball, soccer, football, lacrosse, hockey, water polo, rugby, volleyball, baseball, etc. You get the point, track and field etc. that whole family that can be recreational or highly competitive. These sports are fun because of the nature of the competition, the social aspect and the unique features that make them all different from one another. Sports can and should, usually, be combined with other training methods to produce the best results, essentially, winning. Many football players lift weights to increase size and strength. Sports are a great way of creating a very natural body.

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On a personal note, I have a much larger and stronger lower body, compared to my upper. That is a result of the massive amounts of basketball, soccer, tennis, and similar sports I played growing up. That just happens and it makes you unique. Sports can be expensive, depending on the sport. Ultimate frisbee is not expensive but can burn some serious calories and get your heart rate very high. Golf will however provide nearly the exact opposite. Give every sport a try and either play them all or choose your favorite. Join a league and practice in order to not only stay in a great active state of being but also have fun!

And I will stop here with a final note. I don’t discriminate, much, in fitness. If a program gets people off the couch and into a facility, with or without a coach, and helps them better their health and wellness, and puts them in a good mood, I can’t complain much. I didn’t mention home workouts such as Insanity or P90X because they are what they are and I won’t stop anyone from doing them. Just remember, when you are alone, the risk of serious injury or doing an exercise incorrectly increases a lot. I also obviously have “something” against cookie-cutter programs BUT with that being said, these home workouts HAVE made more people workout and for that I am thankful. I didn’t mention martial arts, which I normally would have, because I would have too much to say about. Just know that I fully support martial arts as a means of achieving many health and fitness related goals. Also, please don’t judge someone because their method is different than yours. Respect bar athletes and calisthenics (see my post about Barstarzz for more info), respect cheerleaders (I say it’s a sport and they are athletes), and appreciate what good people are trying to do and make the general fitness community as supportive as the CF community. With that being said, please follow this link (this came out of nowhere, I feel like I should do this) and help him recover. You might think the $140,000 raised so far will cover the cost, but he doesn’t have insurance, and trust me… it will not even come close. Recognize, respect, and support one another.

H&F

H&F

If you read that whole post, wow. It was almost 3000 words. You are my new favorite people. Stay hungry and fit 😉

  • Question of the Day: What is your workout/exercise type of choice?

BONUS KITTY PIC

Sajah giving kisses

Sajah giving kisses

Intro to Power Bodybuilding

A few months ago, we tried introducing you to the Barstarzz, street workouts, and their body-weight exercises that can be performed in any neighborhood park. Ever since I saw that first Hannibal for King video in a New York City Subway, I was amazed by his relative strength and how he could manage his own weight so well. It was far more impressive than what most people can do in the gym, whether they are bodybuilders, powerlifters, crossfitters, triathletes, etc. Ever since that time, I’ve used their workouts a bit more in my own workouts to perform muscle ups (without kipping) and the human flag. It is a very practical strength.

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Now, it is time to take a whole new approach to staying in shape and introduce you to power bodybuilding and its founder, Mike O’Hearn. There is a good chance that you’ve seen him somewhere but just didn’t know who he is or what he does. I’m not going to tell you his whole life story or what I know of it because this is about power bodybuilding but there is a chance I’ll talk more about him in the future. We will be in Los Angeles next week so maybe I’ll go to The Mecca at 4 a.m. and see him there. Before we get started, I support power bodybuilding because I sort of it did it without knowing it was actually real. I almost never isolate abs, never hit the treadmill/bike/elliptical, and do tons of power lifts, so it was somewhat similar.

Here is my understanding of it and a brief introduction to power bodybuilding. As you might be able to tell, it is part bodybuilding and part power lifting. Essentially, through exercises from both worlds you maximize your strength while keeping a low body fat percentage and a physique that you enjoy looking at in the mirror. Mike, a 4 time NATURAL Mr Universe, does not “do cardio or abs.” I get a lot of questions about those two. “Cardio” is often used as a means of burning calories to burn fat. People prefer to do it on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical because it is easy to calculate the number of calories you burn. Many individuals also focus on isolating their core because they know you need to strengthen and build your abdominal muscles so once you burn the fat necessary, your “abs” become more visible.

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Power bodybuilding accomplishes both of these DURING your session lifting weights. In theory, if you are putting %100 percent into heavy squats, deadlifts, bench presses, shoulder presses, etc, you are burning massive amounts of calories. You could be more out of breath and have a higher heart rate than when you hit the treadmill. Also, you need to keep your whole CORE tight and engaged during these fairly complex lifts. You want a neutral back and tight core during many “power” lifts. Essentially, during a one hour power bodybuilding workout session you can accomplish multiple training goals, which makes this a very efficient way of training.

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Now, Mike didn’t get on the cover of hundreds of magazines without focusing on all his body parts. He is an expert in the industry with one of the most impressive lists of accomplishments. He also isolates his arms, lives an active overall lifestyle, and does everything he needs to be cover model ready. He does it all naturally as well. Find me someone else that has that impressive a physique and that much strength without using performance enhancing drugs. And for anyone that doubts him being natural, you should trust what good people say and also look at the development of his body. I would never want to look like a professional bodybuilder or even physique competitor in the professional ranks. Too much size, lack of function and also far too vascular. But that’s just me, I find Mike’s physique set on the frame of a taller guy to be more aesthetically appealing. These were my words, I have never even spoken to Mike, but this is how I explain power bodybuilding to anyone interested in taking a new approach to building strength and burning fat. In the end, check out some of the links below and consider following his advice to reach some of your goals. (Hopefully I get to meet him next week at Gold’s Venice! He’s also a huge dog lover and motivator! Mike O’Hearn and power bodybuilding are Hungry&Fit approved!)

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Mike’s website: http://www.mikeohearn.com/tag/power-bodybuilding/

Mike’s YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/mikeohearnvideos

Mike’s Instagram: http://instagram.com/mikeohearn

BONUS KITTY PIC

Sajah is a stud

Sajah is a stud

15-Minute Upper Body Home Workout

Ever since the completion of the contest, I haven’t done any hardcore or intense workouts. I’ve done some running, yoga, and light weights. I plan to get back to heavy lifting soon, because I miss it! Anyhow, after work one day, I was feeling sluggish and I knew a fast-paced light-weight circuit would give me that pick-me-up and turn on the sweat. All you need are some dumbbells and a elevated surface such as a chair, bench, couch, or bed. Repeat this circuit 3-6x as time allows. Each set is until failure, meaning that your muscles are too tired to complete another rep.

Disclaimer: Pics were taken after the home workout as they are obviously taken in a gym 😛

1. Elevated crunches. Put your legs up on the elevated surface, contract your abs, and crunch. Don’t pull your neck, but use the core to crunch up, creating that contraction and eventual burn of your soon-to-be six-pack. Use weight if you want to challenge yourself further.

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2. Concentration curls. Sit down on your bench, chair, couch–whatever it is that you have.  Lean your elbow on your leg, bend forward, but keep your shoulders back and curl one at a time. Then switch to other arm.

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3. Triceps extension. Grab your dumbbells and stay seated. Lift up your arms and hold your hands behind your head with the weights in them. Lift up vertically until your arms are straight then come down to the bent-arm position behind your head.

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4. Shoulder press. Hold dumbbells at shoulder level, so that your body almost looks like a T. Press up and almost touch the weights, then come back to starting position.

Coworker making me laugh...

Coworker making me laugh…

5. Dips. Use that elevated surface and place your hands on the edge, fingers facing forward. Have your legs out straight and bend the elbows, lowering your body. Then raise up to starting position (do not sit in between).

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Again, repeat 3-6x. The more times, the better. This will hit core, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and a little bit of chest. Not a bad upper body workout if you’re short on time. All you need are dumbbells and an elevated surface. Let us know how this goes! Stay strong. Use this workout to stay hungry and fit! 

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Teehee, caught sleeping

Teehee, caught sleeping

How to Complete a Transformation Contest (I Did It!!)

So this is less of a “how-to” and more of a “I-freaking-did-it” post. And this is even less of a “I’m-gonna-win” and more of a “I-made-it-through” post. I think you’re getting the picture. But you can still pick up some tips from my journey. Don’t worry, I’m not going to write Day 1: I cried for lack of cheese. No, no, but an overall view of the contest and my journey through it. Let me start by saying that I, an already-fit personal trainer, dropped 6.5% body fat and 10 pounds. Anyone can do anything they put their mind to. That’s what I love about humans, we can always adapt to become stronger, better than what we are. This may be a long post, but it for me it was a long journey (that I can’t believe is over). You can skip to the end for tips or take a few minutes and read the whole thing.

Back shots, before and after

Back shots, before and after

If you aren’t sure what contest I’m talking about, read this briefly. I completed a 6-week (plus a 10-day cleanse before that) “Strong to the COR” transformation contest. It was sponsored by Cellucor, a popular supplement company. The grand prizes for one male and female are 10k a piece along with supplements, apparel, and a free cruise. Sounds pretty nice. But I wasn’t in to win. I know that sounds bad. I was in it to win it for myself and complete it all the way for myself, but I had an inkling I wasn’t going to win as other females came in weighing 200lbs with 30%+ body fat percentage. Much easier for them to complete a transformation than a 135lbs, 20/22% body fat percentage gal like me. And 6-weeks isn’t a proper time for a true transformation, most contests include bulking and cutting that consist of maybe 6 months. But here I am, coming in at a fit weight and body fat to prove to myself that I can do anything.

For the "before" pics, we tried to get me as messy as possible and push my stomach out as much too!

For the “before” pics, we tried to get me as messy as possible and push my stomach out as much too!

And I made it to the very last day. Despite vacations (ice cream, you are my downfall), dinners out, and moving, I stayed on track for the most part. Sure, I did have ice cream in Iowa on vacation, sure I did have a slice of homemade pizza, but I stuck to my macros. And I killed it with my workouts. For the last 3 weeks of contest, I used Ashley Conrad’s 21-Day Clutch Cut. Basically, shredding workouts in addition to the clean-eating I was doing. Her program consisted of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) that was slowly built up (last week was awesome torture) and strength circuits to keep the heart rate up and the body strong. She put in rest days, but I wasn’t so good at listening to those. I always had to do something, even if it was a trail run with the dog we were taking care of.

Mid-workout

Mid-workout

Around Week 3, right around/before I started the 21-Day Cut, I started to feel not as focused, not as dedicated. I was still killing it with the workouts, but my eating habits were slipping. I was still sticking to my perfected clean-eating, but I started to pick at bad foods. That’s my bad habit. My friends all know this—I pick at things. Which is one of the reasons I wrote this post. After I slapped myself into shape, I really buckled down with the eating. Sure I’d pick here and there once in awhile, but when I saw Hope Solo diving across my screen, I knew that it wasn’t worth it to mess around. Chris always says, “Keep your eye on the prize.” And I did, and it helped. I started seeing results, my back became beastly and my abs visible.

Actually developing some abs

Actually developing some abs

The last week and a half was my super clean-eating, low-carb, high-fat week. This was probably the most monotonous with meals, but I was okay with it. I was in it to win it (not ACTUALLY win it…but you know what I mean!), and there was no room to mess around. I went longer on my circuits, harder on my HIIT, and cleaner with my nutrition. Peeling hard-boiled eggs became my bane. My meals normally consisted of tuna, avocado, eggs, nuts, protein shakes and hot sauce. And I made it work. No actual carbs, but I would get them from things like vegetables and such. I really started seeing the results by this time and I turned in to a lean, mean egg-white-eating machine. And I made it all the way to the very last day, even though we were moving the last 2 days that made it tough to squeeze workouts in.

 photo 2 (19)

I couldn’t have done it without support. Every step of the way, Chris was there to push me on and catch me if I fell. He was a great coach (even though he never thinks so). He provided me with meal plans and workouts before Ashley Conrad, and supported and encouraged me to just finish that last circuit. It helps to live with your coach, and he really made the difference for me. As did my friends, and family (whenever I talked to my dad, he would cheer me on and say he’s behind me the whole way)–jeez, I have a great ring of support. I would text my friends in anguish during my workouts and they would tell me to finish that last set, that I would regret if I didn’t and they would send me strange picture messages through emotes (COUGH—Kathleen).

photo 3 (14)

What did I do on Monday, the day of contest completion? WENT CRAZY. Just kidding…kinda. My stomach had felt a little weird from eating bread the night before (carb loading to fill out my muscles for pictures), so I didn’t feel like having a huge breakfasts. I greased myself up, did some exercises to pump up my muscles, and Chris photographed me in my poses. We went to Spruce Confections, our favorite bakery, and got warm croissants. Mmmm! I can’t describe how good it was to have one.

photo (28)

I went through the day not feeling great after eating a brownie, some yogurt, and peanut butter. I shocked my system a little too much. Once I ate some Wahoo’s tacos, I felt better—real food helps, I think. For dinner, my cousins, my cousin’s boyfriend, Chris, and I went to our favorite Italian place in town to get a wonderful dinner. We were seated outside and just had a great time—I got pesto gnocchi. However, I couldn’t fill up too much because Chris had challenged me that I couldn’t eat a pint of Glacier cookies and cream ice cream. Who are we kidding, does he know who I am? So after that Italian feast, we headed to Glacier and I finished the pint in 12 minutes. That’s right, I always make my Powell family line proud (we are known for our love of ice cream). Not to say I felt great afterwards (rather, I’m still feeling the effects of dairy, which I hadn’t had for at least a month, sitting in my stomach 12 hours after), but it was fun to finish and celebrate with family and friends.

Tacos

Tacos

Gnocchi

Gnocchi

photo 3 (19)

Megan caught stealing my food

Megan caught stealing my food

Nice view from the table

Nice view from the table

Gettin ready to CHOW DOWN

Gettin ready to CHOW DOWN

 

Start of ice cream

Start of ice cream

BEASTED IT

BEASTED IT

So what the heck should you learn from this? How to complete a transformation contest

  • Find a support network. Whether that means your partner, your friends, your family, even online—find that support group. On bodybuilding.com (where this contest was hosted), there was a forum for all of us doing the contest, and there were loads of supportive people all helping each other to make it to the end. You may think this is all about your body, but you need support to keep going.

  • Find a meal plan that works for you. I happen to enjoy nuts, eggs, tuna, and avocado—but maybe you don’t. It was tough for me being a vegetarian on a bodybuilder’s diet (it’s much easier with meat), but I made it work. If you aren’t sure what to eat, search online for resources, ask a trainer, nutritionist, or someone you know that’s into the fitness industry.

  • Don’t only do cardio. This is a transformation. It’s not just about weight loss. You want to build muscle. If I had no muscle, I would look pretty horrible. My muscle is what makes me look good, what makes me stand out, and look strong. And I am strong Stronger than I look too. You do cardio, you’re just going to run your butt literally off and have no structure to your body. Incorporate strength training and cardio.

  • Don’t starve yourself. I know you want to win. I know you want to see a difference in your body. Starving yourself is not the way to go, see the point above: you won’t build muscle, you won’t look good. Don’t become a stick, it’s not very attractive, and people who lead transformation contests do not appreciate it. They appreciate muscle, definition, toning, and HEALTHY effort.

  • Give yourself some breathing room. It’s okay not to be on the ball every single second—especially if it’s a 6-week contest! I wish we could all be paid to do these contests, but we’re real people with real lives and real work. Things come up, you may not be able to hit every set of that workout you wanted or you may have to scarf something down on the go. Maybe you go to a family reunion and can’t resist Grandma’s strawberry pie—it’s okay. One cheat meal isn’t going to kill you. Breathe, and continue on.

  • Count your macros. Working out is important to build muscle and lose fat—of course! It’s a big part of this transformation process. However, without proper nutrition, all that hard work isn’t going to go too far. Check this post out to learn more about macronutrients and comment if you have more questions. If you count your calories, carbohydrates, fats, and protein, you will be fine in the eating realm. It comes down to pure science, and there’s something beautiful about that. Stick to your macros and you will see a difference.

  • Keep your eye on the prize. Like Chris said—this is so important. Want to pick at the brownies you just made for everyone? Keep your eye on the prize. Weigh decisions. Is it actually worth it to eat that piece of cake or lick of frosting? Probably not. Reject those animal impulses and use that willpower muscle. It’s my favorite muscle.

  • Measure yourself every week. I might’ve thought I wasn’t making any progress, but then I had my fellow trainers measure me and I was seeing the body fat drop. We are hardest on ourselves so get the real hard facts of the progress you are making through your hard work.

  • Focus on the positive. This could be one of the most important things. I’m very hard on myself, and sometimes I can get negative with how hard I’m working. This is bad. We don’t want to be negative about ourselves because it will lower our motivation level. Look at the positive things that you’ve done—you actually got to your workout, you resisted that candy, and you are staying on track. Don’t look at the negative—it’s not going to help anyone.

photo (29)

So here I am, at the end of 6 weeks, transformed and happy. I’m proud of myself for going all the way and happy with my results. It has felt like a long journey, and I learned new things about myself. But now I’m wondering…what’s next? Compete in a contest to stay hungry and fit!

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5 Ways to Stay Focused on Your Goals

If you’re one of our followers, you know I’m going through contest prep right now. It’s been a 6-week contest of cutting fat and building lean muscle, trying to create a “transformation.” Since my willpower week, the clean eating has been a cinch. Well, except when I went to Iowa for family reunion and had ice cream on a daily basis. After that vacation, it was hard to get myself as motivated as I was beforehand. I still followed a good eating plan and exercise routine but I wasn’t as into it, so I’d fall into some bad habits–mostly, it’s picking at food I shouldn’t have. We all sometimes have trouble staying focused on our goals and here are some tips to stay on track

1. Set your phone background to something motivational. I know what I want and I know how I can get it. But there’s always the gap of emotion, laziness, and impulse. This is a way to bridge that gap. Take a photo that inspires you, could be a picture of a physique you want or a place you want to get to. Whatever your goal is. Email it to your phone and set it as your background so that every time you look at it (and we all know our phones are with us 24/7). I even went and added some text to mine to remind me of my bad habit and stop my hand from snatching a little piece of something.

HOPE solo inspiration

A great motivator for me

2. Go back to the first image, post, “thing” that started you on this path. We all become inspired to complete a goal, one way or another. For me, for this goal, I was inspired by the contest page. Chris showed me the contest and he thought I could do well, maybe even win. I never thought I could win (okay maybe before I saw all the rest of the people joining), but his confidence in me and my imagination of what I could  transform my body into. It was a chance to test my willpower, to see how hard I could work. I look at that page and I feel those same feelings and I become inspired again.

3. Imagine yourself at the end. This is a huge one for me. I can feel tired after a day’s work, I can feel lazy, and make up some excuse of why I shouldn’t go 100% that day. But all it takes for me is to imagine myself at my completion, imagine what I can become, and that inspiration pops right up again. If your goal is to save enough money for a vacation to Greece, imagine yourself on the beach. If your goal is to lose those x number of pounds, imagine what you will look like, what you will feel like. I always like to imagine how strong I will become, mind, body, and spirit.

Actually developing some abs

Actually developing some abs

4. Set a schedule on your calendar. Whether you have a smart phone or a hard calendar (we have both), plan the days of your week. I used to do this a lot during college when I set up training sessions with my friends. And for this last week of the contest, I am scheduling my workouts each day. You don’t have to schedule all the way down to what exercises you’re going to do, but a general plan. Maybe back and biceps with a little cardio on Monday, Yoga and HIIT training on Tuesday, and so forth. Put it into your calendar (it’d be great if you could do reminders and alerts with your smart phone if you have one) and put the times too. Make what you want a priority, and that means making solid time for yourself.

Set a date!

Set a date!

5. Track your results. Whether that means calculating body fat percentage or watching your savings account go up, TRACK IT. Maybe you don’t see a difference (though you probably will), keep reality-based checkpoints that you can measure with. I hadn’t measured for a while and I finally did, finding that I had lost 2% body fat. It’s a great re-motivator if you feel like you’re hitting a plateau or sliding away. Find some way to track your results and goal, no matter what it is.

Seeing progress

Seeing progress

Those are 5 simple things you can do anywhere, anyhow. If you feel yourself sliding, try one of these tricks. They are sure-fire to keep you hungry and fit! 

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BONUS KITTY PIC

Kitties from the other side of the window

Kitties from the other side of the window

Facebook: Come Like Us!

Since the conception and foundation of Hungry & Fit, we have worked hard to expand our reach to more and more people through various ways. Although we are nowhere near content with our progress, we are excited to announce that our Facebook page is officially ready to go. It might be rather skeletal and boring but it’s another work in progress.

hungry&fit.3

It’s similar to the Twitter and YouTube accounts that have not quite yet picked up as a result of our lack of effort. The YouTube is one that haunts me everyday since I have been on YouTube for so long. We are currently working with a start up company called NationBuilder in order to tie together all of our branches so that we can manage them together and keep things sync-ed. We also have our Bodyspace accounts on Bodybuilding.com but that’s less of a business related and more of a personal thing. All of this information can be found on our “Nation” page.

Facebook is an international social media entity that is a great way to stay in touch with individuals from all over the world. Although it is not a tool that we have personally used for the past three or four years, I still have my friends on it and have used it to spread the word about Hungry & Fit. So if you are on Facebook, please friend “King Tucci” in order to find out more about Hungry & Fit! Every and all likes towards our page will be appreciated and hopefully returned!

Keep an eye out for our YouTube channel’s latest additions and Facebook page if you are interested in staying hungry and fit!

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My Hell Week is Over

Disclaimer: I would never suggest this “diet” to anyone else. For me, it was just a willpower test I’ve wanted to try. I am highly against crash or fad diets.

Second Disclaimer: This is kind of a long post, but only because it means a lot to me.

I did it. I did it! I did it! If you’re wondering why I’m seemingly raving mad right now, direct yourself to this postIf you don’t feel like reading the whole thing (even though it’s short), I’ll give you a little summary. I did a crazy thing of subjecting myself to 7 days of 560 caloric hell. The actors from Spartacus did this to get lean and in slave-gladiator-like shape for their show. It was a prescribed four water protein shakes a day. That’s it. For an entire week. And that was while they were at “Gladiator Camp” doing 4 hours of combat work each day. I unfortunately had no such camp to attend, so every other day I completed the hellish Spartacus Circuit (3 times over). And on the other days, I did other cardio and strength exercises.

Working hard during a Spartacus circuit

Working hard during a Spartacus circuit

So last Wednesday I forwent food, subsisting on only 4-5 protein shakes a day (water mixed with protein powder). If any of you know me, I am hungry most of the time. Why do you think we named this blog Hungry and Fit? I didn’t choose to do this to lose weight or lose inches (even though I am doing this contest), I did it for the sole sake of testing my willpower. And I did it. I didn’t touch any food for that entire week though I drooled and craved it constantly. I’m waiting for someone to send me my “Willpower Extraordinaire” plaque, but I guess it takes time to mail.

My only sustenance

I am very proud of myself and happy I pushed through. Water, gum, and ice are the three material things that really helped me get through it. Oh, and video games. Thanks, nerdy side of myself, for helping me get lost in that while I wasn’t working out or working. More than those, Chris and friends really supported me. Chris was there for me every step of the way and my friends would text me each morning say, “Alana, still staying strong?!” I appreciated it more than they know. Because I was definitely an infinitely more grumpy person during that week. You can especially ask Chris, but also my workmates like Daisy or Kim too.

How I felt

How I felt

Again, I would not suggest this to anyone. After only consuming 560 calories a day, working out every day, and continuing an active-paced job, I lost ten pounds (I know my mum is yelling at me right now back home). Ten pounds in a week is NOT GOOD. Listen to me, I’m a trainer. That’s what you call a bad crash diet. Again, I want to reiterate, I did it for the willpower test, because for me, I think at the end of the day, if you don’t have your willpower, you don’t have anything. It was extremely rough the first few days–who am I kidding, it was rough for the entirety, but I started getting used to not consuming food. However, by the end, my body was pretty mad at me, making me a little sick and weak. Again–DON’T do this. I’m just sharing my achievement. It ended up de-motivating me for my contest because I was so miserable without food and feeling weak.

"Before"

“Before”

"After"

“After”

I’m showing you pictures of how my body slightly transformed, not as motivation, but to document how this affected me.

You can imagine how blissfully amazing this day of rebirth into food has been (if you think I’m being dramatic, blame my dad, he’s an actor). I had my meals planned days in advance (because what do you do when you can’t eat? You think about food!). I was in such a better mood than I had been all week and I was just happy because I did it. I accomplished something I had wanted to for a long time now. I’m all for celebration, but I’m still on track for this contest. And although today is a “cheat” day (you’ll get descriptions and pictures after this of my meals today), I’m going right back to strict eating of lean proteins, veggies, fruits, and complex carbohydrates to get to my “extremely fit” goal with Chris at my back as a coach.

This wasn’t even close to my cheat day before the Spartacus Hell Week (in terms of bad food), but it was cheat enough for me because it was real, beautiful FOOD. Let’s look at the menu.

For Breakfast: Dot’s Diner

Small House Breakfast...that's fake meat

Small House Breakfast…that’s fake meat

photo (28)

I really tried slowly eating, but you can’t understand my excitement and happiness. I ate most of it, but not the whole biscuit. Stomach felt funky for a few hours, but it just needs to get used to solids again.

For Lunch: Snarf’s 

Tuna sandwich...mmmm

Tuna sandwich…mmmm

Face of bliss

Face of bliss

The mouth-watering in this situation happened to be ridiculous. Again, tried to take my time. 

For Dinner: Korea House

Korea House in its amazingness...we would eat here every night if we could afford it

Korea House in its amazingness…we would eat here every night if we could afford it

Happy last meal

Happy last meal

I wasn’t going to (or supposed to) have any thick dairy like milk or ice cream, but we were served it by our favorite Korean chef and we always put respect, honor, and morals before anything else.

All in all, I’m glad I did it. I’m proud of myself. But I will never do it again.  I only wish to inspire people to try to reach higher and higher, because you never know what you’re capable of. Wish me luck on the rest of my 5 weeks til the end of the contest! Going to be on an eating plan of tuna, beans, rice, vegetables, grapefruit, banana, fish and oatmeal! Use your willpower to stay hungry and fit!

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Ultimate Chest Workout – Machine Militia Meetup

Last Thursday morning, after sleeping about zero hours for two nights in a row, amidst an absurdly busy 70-hour work week, I “woke up” at 4:30 a.m. in order to travel down to Wheat Ridge, Colorado in order to meet an expert in the fitness industry. Marc “The Machine” Lobliner of Tigerfitness.com and iSatori (A Golden, CO based supplement company) was hosting a meet up at Armbrust Pro Gym.

Armbrust Pro Gym in Wheat Ridge is the home of Phil Heath and many other professional bodybuilders, including Alina Pope. Let me start by thanking Armbrust for letting us all work out that morning. It was the best weight lifting and strength training facility I have seen in Colorado and one of the best in the country. If you ever have the opportunity, stop by for a workout. I hope to return in the future. It isn’t too far from Boulder. It is clean, well-organized, well-run and the equipment is legitimately top of the line.

David Sandler, iSatori’s Director of Science and Education, was accompanied by some other iSatori representatives. I would like to thank him and the company as well for helping put this together. I left early so I’m not sure what happened at the end of the workout and I have not yet finished watching the YouTube videos of the event. David has put together some great natural products and I might even sell some of their products in the future. They stand apart from competition in the industry by offering more natural supplements. I think they could be extremely popular in Boulder, Santa Monica and other health-conscious cities. I will keep you all informed on my relationship with them.

The real reason I decided to wake up so early and train chest for a second time in 72 hours was because of Marc. Tigerfitness is one of my favorite online supplement and fitness equipment stores. They offer products you cannot find anywhere else, including Marc’s own “Machine” Whey and Drop Factor. Fit is currently using that same whey in her week long Spartacus challenge. Marc is the CMO of Tigerfitness, a pro heavyweight bodybuilder, the CEO of his own supplement company, and the vice president of the ANBF. Here are three of the reasons I dragged myself down there.

The protein I'm using

1. I wanted Marc to write Fit a motivating note in one of his books. He did it without a second thought and I appreciate that greatly. Whether it’s helping her or not, I think she was happy that I got it done so it had to have been beneficial in some way. It reads: “Alana, winning contests is not a game. ML

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2. I wanted to introduce Hungry & Fit to Marc and his 60,000 plus subscribers and fans online. I tried a cheap plug while they were filming me doing cable flyes and asked him jokingly if it would make it onto YouTube. He said of course. I thought it wouldn’t happen but Marc seems to be a brutally honest person and sure enough… it made it. Hopefully this will help spread the word about what we are doing here. Although we are not aspiring professional bodybuilders we are all in a similar industry.

3. Tying into the last point, I wanted to ask Marc about professional physique competitions. While I have no interest in becoming a professional bodybuilder, I am interested in earning a pro card in natural physique competitions. I asked him what organization I should involve myself with and as I expected he answered the ANBF. Unfortunately, the majority of their events are on the East Coast, but if I ever return home there will be plenty to do. I can always travel as well, if I feel I am ready to compete and win, of course.

Basically, we all met up and split into groups. You can see this all on his YouTube video by following the link below. I recommend subscribing to his channel for great information about anything related to fitness. He knows his stuff, obviously. He’s also a very honest family man and although the language isn’t always G-rated, I don’t mind. The substance is worth it and it’s entertaining.

Marc and I

Marc and I

Despite training chest on Tuesday and being extremely sore and in recovery mode, I pushed myself relatively hard. Although I wasn’t putting up 365 for reps like in 2010/2011 I was proud to push 245 on the incline, despite a spot from Marc that gave me a ton of help. Marc said that he got the workout from the great Dorian Yates while they trained in Australia. Once again, see the video for the workout. Otherwise here is a quick summary of what I did.

Incline Bench 3 sets working up, one main set to failure

Flat Chest Press Machine (looked like a transformer) – 2 sets to failure

Incline Dumbbell Flyes2 sets to failure

Cable Flyes – 2 sets to failure

Then I left to make it to work right on time. Not a minute early. I believe they threw in some biceps after. I hope I didn’t miss any free giveaways but I can always buy another blender bottle or t-shirt. Still would have loved to stay until the end but life is life and work is work. All in all I am very grateful to all the parties involved for the opportunity and remember, staying hungry and fit IS NOT A GAME!

The link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ8v0zfkquk&feature=c4-overview&list=UUzzYnZ8GIzfB1Vr3hk2Nj9Q

Oh, please ignore the comment section below the video. YouTube viewers are known to “talk” quite a bit and it doesn’t bother me one bit. I have seen that problem grow ever since I joined YouTube the year it was introduced. There is an unfortunate lack of support and positivity in that community.

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