Q: I was wondering if you can help me out with a minor problem. The upper part of my chest needs more developing, more so than any other part of my chest right now. What are some good exercises you recommend to really hit that part of the chest or what do you recommend I do for it. It’s not awful, but it?s not great either.
A: This ?lacking body part? question comes up often. I’ve had some weak areas that I’ve had to deal with myself, so let me tell you what’s worked for me.
Calves and traps were my two weak parts. They weren?t necessarily weak as far as strength, but they sure didn?t show it. My traps were flat and my calves were small. Not good? I had a muscle group at both the top and the bottom of my physique lacking. The two body parts that judges? eyes tend focus on since they begin and end the body.
I learned that I couldn’t add a few sets of shrugs after my shoulder workout like everyone else in the gym was doing and get the development I needed. I had to work traps first, even if it hurt the amount of weight I could use for my shoulder presses that followed.
Same with calves. Almost everyone walks into the gym and starts with their major muscle group. For legs, it’s squat til we drop, extensions, leg curls, and straight legged dead lifts. And, then if we have anything left they’ll do a few sets of calves. No me, not anymore. People think I?m crazy when I can barely walk to the squat rack because I just finished 5 sets of 100 reps on calf raises (50 reps per set with weight, then 50 more with just my bodyweight as resistance). You know how they say, squat till you puke? I?m already feeling nauseous before I get to the squat rack. But that?s good! Here I am 10 years later, and guess what. My calves are now in perfect proportion with the rest of my body. The same is true with my traps.
I’m guessing you probably start off with flat presses for your chest. And, I know you know that it?s the incline presses and incline movements that are most important for upper chest development. So, make sure to give some focus to your upper chest first. Mix it up. Maybe start with the incline press every other workout, and every once in a while even start with incline dumbbell flies. Hit one of these incline movements for five good intense sets, and only then move on to your other chest exercises.
Here’s a tip for that area just under the clavicle, there are two little used exercises that are excellent for filling in that area of your upper chest. The first is the high incline press on the Smith Machine with a medium grip. The bar should just barely clear your chin and nose as you press up. Another one is the front raise with a single dumbbell. Interlock your fingers and lift just to nose level (and squeeze those pecs at the top).
Now, for my last secret on this? Whatever incline movement you start your chest workout with, make sure you end your chest workout with three more sets of that exact same movement. Works like a charm!
FEELING FLAT ON-STAGE
Q: I’ve competed in three natural bodybuilding shows. I felt flat? onstage at all three. I get great pumps the week before the show, even just posing, but on the day of the show, I can?t get a pump no matter what I do. Is it nerves, dehydration, not enough carbs causing me to be flat? What is it?
A I’ve heard this question from many competitors. So, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I had to deal with this same problem myself for my first shows.
Let me ask you some questions. Are you changing your diet the last few days before the show? It seems everybody does, but just because everybody does it, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Here’s my point. Your precontest diet gets you a routine of eating a certain way. Part of my precontest diet is a set pre workout schedule. I set up my pre workout meal to get the best pump during my workout.
If I workout at 1:00 p.m., I eat my pre workout meal at 11:00 a.m. I usually have ten ounces of lean protein, 25-30 grams of complex carbs, and ten grams of fat (typical for speed and convenience I have 2 cans tuna, ½ cup oats, and tablespoon of flax oil). I prefer to use a small amount of complex carbs prior to my workout since my workouts are pretty intense and last a good ninety minutes of intense weights. I realize some people differ on this and think that simple carbs are better prior to the workouts, especially if there’s no contest in sight, but I think a complex carb like oatmeal or a small sweet potato works better for me.
An hour later, I begin to take my pre workout supplements on a partially empty stomach. I take my 7 Keto Musclean and Lean Out at 12:00. I then take ten Muscle Synergy at 12:15. At 12:45, I start sipping on two scoops of Glutamine Select plus BCAAs! and Creatine Select with Phosphates mixed in 16 ounces of water. I drink half on my way to my gym, Fit Works in Newport, KY, and then I drink the other half while I workout. Talk about a sick pump.
So, here is my question’ Why, when we all have our routine to get our best workout and workout pump, do we do something so different right before we step on stage’ Sometimes we get crazy. We might stuff ourselves with pancakes and candy bars, eat a can of cherry pie filling, or even half a jar of peanut butter while we’re backstage pumping up. Could you even imagine eating a stack of pancakes and a couple of candy bars, then walking into the gym and expecting to get a good workout? No way! So, my answer is, stick to what works best. Even if the other twenty competitors in your class are sucking down brownies or some other processed crap with loads of simple sugars.
I know, you get nervous thinking that if everyone else is doing it, then it must be correct. Don’t fall into that trap. Stick to what you do every day that gives you those great pumps in the gym, and you’re bound to get that same great pump on stage!
Training is another area that I tamper with as little as possible the week of the show. I plan it so my legs are the furthest out-meaning that if the show is on Saturday, that I am done with legs the Saturday prior. Then, I go with my usual routine. I’ll do chest on Sunday, back and tri’s Monday, off Tuesday, shoulders and bi’s Wednesday, and off Thursday and Friday.
Then comes Saturday, and I’m well rested and ready to go. I eat my last meal about two hours before I go onstage. Yep, it’s protein, a small amount of complex carb, and a tablespoon of flax. Then, an hour later I take my pre workout supplements – 7 Keto, Lean Out, and Muscle Synergy. Fifteen minutes later I start sipping on Glutamine Select and Creatine Select. (Hey, one thing I forgot to mention, I don’t deplete my water either – heck, muscles are 80% water – if you want to make sure you’re flat, suck all the water out of your muscles). When I get in the pump up room I do a few sets for each part (except legs, as you don’t want the blood to hide separation in your legs). Since my chest was last worked nearly a week ago, I know that it’s going to respond like crazy in the pump up room. And what a great feeling – I get the same crazy pump that I get in the gym and I’m five minutes from walking on stage. One caveat, don’t do too much and leave the contest in the pump up room.
Don’t make the mistake of betting 16 weeks of dieting, hour upon hour of training, and all that money you have spent getting prepared for the show on some crazy secret that someone in the gym has told you to try. Chances are it’s not going to magically add muscle or strip fat – however, it very well could mess up 16 weeks of sound contest prep. Do what you already know works and kiss that flat feeling goodbye.
Do you really think beverly supplements are better
Q: Brian, do you really think Beverly Supplements are better? --Asked by hundreds of people--
A: I’m laughing as I write this just wondering what you are thinking. Of course he’s going to say they are better, he’s sponsored by Beverly?. Or, If he said anything different, they (Roger and Sandy) wouldn’t let it get to print.
Ok, let me get some things straight. I do not work for Beverly and am not sponsored by Beverly. Are Roger and Sandy good friends of Heidi and me? Yes, they are. Were we good friends before I ever graced the cover of Muscle and Fitness or before I ever got my pro cards in the drug-free organizations I’ve competed in? Yes, we were friends then and fortunately we still are now. And, do friends do nice things for each other? Yes, we do. Have I ever signed a contract with them–no, they don’t do that. They are not a marketing company. That’s not what they are about. However, they have offered me the opportunity to make Beverly products part of my on-line consultations at www.wiefit.com, and helped me grow my business.
I started with Beverly about ten years ago, but I haven’t always used Beverly. In fact, about a couple of years ago, I saw that another product line that I had the chance to sell offered me higher profit margins. So, I switched. Were we still friends? Yes, it was a business decision on my part (and I guess they knew I’d be back!). I sold this company’s product for close to a year. I even tried using that product. Then I decided to do a show. I could tell in a very short time that the five-gallon jug of crap (they called protein) was not working for me. In fact, it was coming out my bottom end, just as watery as it went in my top end (gross, I know, but how else can I sugar coat it?).
I knew there was no way I could achieve my previous condition with this stuff so I switched back to ordering Beverly. I loaded up on all my usual Beverly supplements for the show, while I continued to sell the other stuff. But, my conscience wouldn’t let me for long. The improvements I saw in my body were so unreal, that I couldn’t continue to sell the other stuff to people and feel good about it.
I should have realized this earlier. I was getting ready for a photo shoot earlier during the year I was taking Brand X and my weight just kept dropping. Unfortunately my body fat wasn’t dropping. I was getting skinnier, but not more muscular. I hadn’t changed my diet at all, the only difference – I wasn’t taking Beverly supplements.
As I thought about it I realized something. How was I supposed to keep muscle when my body couldn’t even process the garbage supplements I was giving it? I can remember after that shoot I was eating just about everything to get back up to a soft 205 lbs. (Roger, remember when I came to you and decided I wanted to take Beverly again and asked your help for the Northern 2005 show? Remember how I once I started back on the supplements you recommended I stayed at 205 every two weeks while my fat was dropping like crazy, and I couldn’t believe it? now you know the true story!).
So, yes, Beverly products are better. Much better! Will they make someone who didn’t place in a show, win the overall show the following year? probably not; But will they help someone who placed 5th or 4th in their class at one show without taking Beverly Supplements, be able to place 2nd or 1st at their next show only after adding Beverly? Yeah, it’s happened hundreds and hundreds of times.
All supplement companies have their choice of ingredients, purity, and grade of what they purchase. Are the ones that purchase a lesser grade of ingredients bad? Of course not. They have just made a business decision that the mass market does not require premium ingredients. From what I’ve experienced in the supplement industry (and yes, I’ve done agency ads for other companies as well) here’s how it works from a business point of view:
All companies in any industry strive to cut costs. Some do it by using cheaper ingredients others by keeping overhead as low as possible.
Non-bodybuilding consumers (and believe me, this segment makes up a much larger part of the supplement market than the bodybuilding segment) are relatively less educated and concerned about supplement quality. Since this is the larger segment, it’s the one that many supplement manufacturers would tend to target. Thus allowing the manufacturer to further cut costs legitimately by compromising on their choice and grade of ingredients.
Because they can target a larger number of potential customers at lowered manufacturing costs more and more supplement companies are further encouraged to abandon the serious bodybuilder in favor of the mass market.
New larger companies, backed by investment firms who enter the supplement marketplace have practically no knowledge of the serious bodybuilder and his/her needs so they choose the most cost effective road for them, too.
5. And finally, and what’s scary, because there is a lesser demand for premium ingredients, a decreasing number of suppliers are providing premium-quality ingredients that actually work, since many of the newer, larger companies do not demand them. A new supplement company just entering the market may not be able to find the premium ingredient manufacturers even if their intention is to manufacture a premium brand for the bodybuilder.
So, to sum it up, some companies purchase cheap stuff and sell it cheap. Others purchase cheap stuff, spend the majority of their money in marketing and advertising, and then sell their cheap stuff real expensive. Even those who want to make a premium product may not be able to find the grade of ingredients they want.
Then there’s Beverly International. They purchase the best (being in business for 40 years they know the best ingredient suppliers), they spend very little on advertising or overhead so they can continue to use premium ingredients, yet keep their prices affordable. Occasionally they’ll even offer specials like they do at the Arnold Classic (where they actually aren’t making squat) to entice you to try Beverly, see the immediate results, and then you’ll (like me) become a customer for life!