Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Overtraining will stop your muscle growth

As a trainer, trying to tell people not to overtrain is one of my biggest struggles. Overtraining can happen quickly and easily and is often a hard rut to get out of. And it's also the biggest reason why most people do not gain the muscle mass they truly desire.

You really have to listen to your body and go on how it feels. Your brain can actually work against in some instances because we are always led to believe that "more is better" in our society and that often times just isn't the case.

Especially in weight training, where "more" will almost always lead to overtraining. If you feel you're plateauing or even getting weaker on your lifts instead of stronger, that's a sign (one of the most prevalent) of overtraining. Also, nagging injuries, trouble sleeping, yawning during workouts, being constantly tired and run down are other sure-fire signs of over doing it.

Everyone responds differently to weight training, some people can lift 7 days a week and not overtrain. Others overtrain if they lift more than 3 times a week. It's very individualistic.

The key is to find the right balance for you. If you train too often, muscles do not get a chance to recuperate and will not grow or become stronger. With that said, you can definitely go back to the weights you were lifting before overtraining, but you really do want to learn how to set up your routine to avoid future chances of overtraining.

I will show you how you can learn how to build muscle, without overtraining, in a minute. After all, you gain muscle from after the workout.

You actually do not grow in the gym, you grow when resting. Now, in my experience, 2 types of people can respond well to more frequent training, such as training each muscle group twice:

1. Steroid users. That's because all of these steroids and drugs have one thing in common---they allow the user to recover faster. Because they can recover from previous workouts faster, the likelihood ofovertraining is diminished.

2. New weight trainers, people just beginning---that's because they have not been training long enough to start to see the effects of overtraining. But even as a beginner starts to train more and more often, he/she will start to see their results go down.

The more a beginner trains, the more he/she starts to get into the possibilities of overtraining. But just starting out, they can literally train all the time and still see results, because their bodies can handle it.

Other than that, my best results and the results of all of my clients show that training each muscle group once a week is best because you allow for optimum recovery that way. I can tell you from personal experience that it's not the amount of time you spend in the gym that matters, it's HOW you spend that time.

In fact, the average gain of most of my "Simple Stepsto Get Huge and Shredded" program users is about 20pounds of muscle mass in about 9 weeks time.

http://www.shawnlebrunfitness.com/getshredded.html

And this program tells you more about the "why" behind setting up your workout the right way, to avoid overtraining. I basically took what I did to build lean muscle mass for a bodybuilding show and put it into a step-by-step plan for others to follow.

By following "Simple Steps", you're by-passing the learning curve and doing exactly what works to build muscle and increase strength, saving you a ton of time and aggravation.

I cover which exercises to do, how much to do them, how many reps, sets, which supplements to take, how to do your cardio, how to burn fat, how to avoid overtraining...

How to increase your strength THE FIRST DAY, I cover nutrition, what to eat, when to eat, I cover all the best exercises, how to gain muscle...

And that's just a tiny piece.

The reason I mention this program is because it explains exactly what it takes to build muscle and then it shows you HOW to build muscle. It virtually eliminates overtraining by showing you how you must set up your weight training and cardio routine to maximize muscle growth and minimize the chances of overtraining.

It also shows you how you must train and eat in order to keep the mass gains that you get while following this program. In order to keep muscle gains, you must continue to train heavy and intense.

You must also eat right in order to support muscle growth. Specifically, high protein, moderate carbs, and low fats.

"Simple Steps" shows you exactly how to eat in order to keep muscle gains. I've been fortunate to get some really great feedback from users of this program.

You can learn more about this muscle-building and fat-loss program here...

http://www.shawnlebrunfitness.com/getshredded.html

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

We ALL have days of self doubt!

I think its normal to have days of self doubt.

If you didn't have them, I'd question your desire and will to go after what you want to achieve in your life.

When I started my online business 5 years ago, just about every day of mine was filled with self doubt. But it also came from family and relationships, people around me that truly didn't feel it was possible to make a good living online.

But I failed to listen to those who detracted from what I wanted and I stayed on course and persistently worked at building an online business.

5 years ago, I would be lucky to make $50.00 a week from my online business. This year, we're on track for over six figures and I was just featured in the "Secrets to Their Success" website.

I don't mention any of this to brag, but to prove that being persistent and keeping your eye on what you're looking to achieve can help harness self doubt.Because self doubt can be paralyzing if you allow it and I think that's why so many people fail to realize their dreams.

What makes people special is the ability to bounce back from days of self doubt and get back on track, going after those things that matter to you (family, fitness, community, etc)

So, on those days of self doubt, realize that it gets better. Focus on what you have accomplished and what you still want to accomplish. Then get back on track and refuse to settle for anything less.

As much as I preach fitness and taking care of your physical self, I truly do believe its just as important as taking care of the "emotional" self. Because constantly giving to others like family, friends, and community can be very draining. I liken it to a bank account. If you keep giving money out to everyone else, soon you're left with nothing for yourself.

So I think its important during the course of the week to find time for yourself and those things you personally like to do, like your workouts, reading, playing an instrument, painting, etc. That way, you can fill yourself back up and be ready to give to others without feeling so wiped.

Bottom line... don't let days of self doubt take away from what you've accomplished and what you still want to accomplish. If you keep moving ahead, being persistent, good things will happen.

The world has a weird way of keeping score. Not all days suck. Not all days are great.

But as long as the good outnumber the day by a pretty large margin, I'd say you're doing well.

Shawn

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

You can definitely gain muscle and lose fat at the same time

You CAN definitely gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. But you really have to be "right on" when it comes to your nutrition and your training. And I would attack both at once--gaining muscle while losing fat.

Why needlessly separate the two when you can work on them at the same time. In fact, the bodybuilding pros in the old days used to do these 2 separate phases of bulking and cutting. Not any more.

With today's nutritional advances, almost all bodybuilders (amateur or pro) stay lean AND muscular year round.

It's going to be based on your calorie intake and nutritional approach. It's a must that you figure out your calories because if your drastically over or under your daily needs, you're going to have trouble gaining muscle while losing fat.

The formula in my Simple Steps To Get Huge And Shredded program will show you how to find your daily caloric needs based upon your individual info. Use that number as a guide, try to hit it or come close to it each and every day.

This "balance" of calories will make sure you're taking in enough to build muscle but not so many extra calories so that you gain fat. You have to find that "balance" and the worksheet in the program will do that.

Also, make sure you're training with the principles of the program, meaning lower reps, heavy weight, lower number of sets, training each muscle group once a week. This will ensure you're adding lean muscle mass even while you are shedding fat from your "precision calorie intake"

Lastly, if you want to shed fat while gaining muscle, you have to make sure your cardio sessions are short and INTENSE. 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times each week is all you need to get the fat off, but each session needs to be intense for it to be productive.

By approaching the process of building muscle and losing fat on a3-pronged level, you need to:

1. Find your calories needed each day and make sure you're not going greatly under or over.

2. Keep weight training heavy so that muscle is stimulated to grow. If you do not force muscle to grow by lifting heavy and intense, it will not grow.

3. Keep cardio short and intense. Long cardio sessions are not productive at burning fat and preserving lean muscle.

And you absolutely want to consume a protein/carb drink after each workout. The best times to take ANY protein drink or protein supplements are as follows .

I've listed them in order of importance, so based upon your affordability, start at the top of the list and work down.

1. **Most important time---right after a workout. Your muscles are like a sponge and need instant nutrition for muscle recovery and growth. So you want to take a carb/protein mixture.

I use whey protein and Gatorade, or whey protein and juice. The reason you want a carb/protein mixture is because the carbs help replenish muscle glycogen stores lost during exercise and the protein of course helps with muscle tissue repair and growth.

2. Right before bed.You're about ready to sleep for 6 to 8 hours, meaning that's 6 to 8 hours without protein or any nutrition for that matter. Could you imagine going throughout the day when awake not eating 6 to 8 hours? So right before bed is important.

Here's where a meal replacement works well. Since most meal replacements are made with a mix of milk, whey, and egg proteins, each having a different digestion rate, by using a meal replacement, you get the benefits of slower digested proteins during sleep. So definitely a meal replacement, or any protein for that matter, is beneficial before bed.

3. Right upon waking. Same thing, you've just gone 6 to 8 hours without proper nutrition, so your body needs some quick. Meal replacements or a protein shake with milk works well here.

4. Half hour before a workout. This sets up an "anabolic window" before and after your workout so that you provide your muscles with adequate nutrition so that the effects of weight training(weight training breaks down muscle--called catabolic) are not as severe.

This is another instance where you want to mix your protein with a carb source like juice or a sports drink. Before and after workouts are the only 2 times its important to use a carb/protein mix, other times can be protein/milk or protein/water.

These are the best times for protein. Protein supplements may be better than whole food in these times only because its digested quicker.If you can afford 4 servings, you'll really notice the difference.But definitely I'd do one right after a workout and right before bed.

Follow these tips above, and the ones in my muscle-building and fat-loss program....

http://www.shawnlebrunfitness.com/shred2.html

And you'll soon be gaining more muscle and losing more fat than you ever thought possible!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Cardio and building muscle

Short intense cardio sessions lasting no longer than 15 to 20 minutes is the BEST way to prevent muscle loss from happening by doing cardio.

Most people do cardio wrong, they do it for too long and too slow (not intense) The shorter the sessions and the more intense, the less likely you will cause muscle breakdown.

The main purpose of doing cardio is not the calories you burn during cardio, but the calories you burn after cardio. Short, intense sessions of cardio will raise your metabolism, which in turn will cause your body to burn more calories throughout the day. To show you proof, look at sprinters, who do short bursts of running. They are lean but very muscular.

Now, look at long distance runners like marathoners, they are skinny, lanky, and have little muscle. The difference is in how much cardio they do.

Here is an article I wrote about how to set up yourcardio for best results:

http://www.shawnlebrunfitness.com/sample.html

When doing your fat loss phase, cardio is extremely important, since that's one of the ways to burn calories.

However, in a muscle mass building phase, cardio is still important but not as much as it was with the fat loss stage. In fact, too much cardio during a muscle gaining stage can hinder muscle growth, since you're expending calories that were needed for muscle growth and instead, using them for cardio.

In a muscle building stage, the way you ensure continuous muscle growth without gaining fat is to be quite precise with your nutrition. Adding calories a little at a time, based on current results.

That way, you don't take in so many extra calories that they go towards body fat storage. Remember the old days of bodybuilders doing separate"bulking and cutting phases" It wouldn't be uncommon to see a bodybuilder go from200 pounds to 280 in a matter of weeks, all based upon a serious increase in calories.

We don't want that. We want to stay lean as well as add muscle and that's primarily done by a proper approach to nutrition. So in a mass building stage, cardio now takes a back seat to weight training and nutrition.