Monday, January 11, 2010

Making the Perfect Muscle Omelet


If I took my cooking advice from most bodybuilders, I would have left the sport a long time ago. Now, don’t get me wrong, I choke down my fair share of bland foods when it’s necessary, but rarely is that the case anymore.

I still dabble here and there with other meals, but breakfast is something I’ve mastered, and the foundation of that meal to me, is the omelet.

This is my recipe for the PERFECT muscle-omelet:

Ingredients:

Omega 3 enriched eggs (Cage-free or Free-range preferred; organic)
I know, I used to hate spending the extra couple of dollars on these eggs, but honestly, they’re far superior to the $1.25/dozen white eggs you normally buy. The protein is of a higher quality, the eggs come from a clean source, and the higher omega-3 content is very beneficial to all-around health. Plus, I’ve never found one piece of bird crap on these kinds of eggs. – Go ahead; buy those cheap white eggs you want to get. When you see a brown spec on one, scratch and sniff.

4-cheese Mexican blend
I don’t know quite what I like more; Mexican cheese or Mexican women…I think the cheese. It lasts longer, and doesn’t scream at me. Oh snap!

Ham steakPigs are cute, but they are cuter in my stomach.

Green/Red Peppers
Delicious, and adds color if nothing else.

Sweet onion
Not a white onion or purple onion, but the yellowish one.

Butter
Not margarine. Not butter substitute. Not lard, but REAL butter. Organic butter is the best. – Don’t you dare ask me if you can use that non-stick cooking spray garbage.

Salt
I’ve played with all kinds of salt; sea salt, iodized salt, non-iodized. Just get regular salt and save yourself the hassle.

Pepper
It’s nice to have a black pepper grinder, but obviously it’s not a big deal if you don’t.

Milk
Whatever you drink will work. Don’t get any special kind for this. If you don’t drink milk, you can skip this part.

8-10in non-stick pan
This is where the masterpiece is created.

Large mixing bowl
This is for the entire ingredient mixture. Make sure it’s large enough for you to beat the heck out of your eggs and not deal with spills.

Small bowl
This will be used to set your preliminary ingredients in.

Fork
This is for beating and aerating the eggs. – Some people choose to use a whisk; to them I say, “Good Day.”

Rubber spatula
I wish I could better explain what this looks like. You know those pancake spatulas most people use? – Ya, don’t use one of those. You will look stupid, especially in front of me. You don’t want to look stupid, do you? – On a more serious note, the pliability of a rubber spatula allows you to not only flip the omelet better, but it allows you to scrape the corner of the pan to get at any egg that has run-amuck.

Chopper/Dicer
You know that Slap Chop thing with Vince? Ya, one of those. There are all different kinds, but I actually do have the Slap Chop. What can I say? I enjoy Vince’s nuts.

Chef Knife
You don’t have to go out and get a $100 chef-knife. Just make sure you have something with a sharp blade or else this will take a painfully long time.

Cutting board
This is for your chopping and cutting. It hurts me to say that I have to tell some of you what this is for.

Making the Muscle Omelet
1. Gather your red and green peppers and sweet onion. Grab your knife and cut enough of each for the meal. I usually dice up all of it and throw it in some Tupperware and just use it over the next few days, but it’s all up to you. – Now, take what you’ve cut and dice it with your chopper. Gather it and throw it in the small bowl.
2. Take your ham steak and cut it in half. This should be about 4oz of meat. Now, cut that into smaller pieces so you can fit it in the chopper. Dice the meat until it looks like tiny squares. Toss that in the same small bowl as your peppers and onion.
3. Crack your eggs (I use between 3 and 5 depending on my diet goals; DO NOT take out the yolks. This “egg white omelet” thing needs to end!) on the side of the large bowl and pull apart the shells with your thumbs. If you can do it with one hand without getting shells in the bowl then you’re a jerk and I don’t like you. – Okay, I’m just jealous.
4. Turn on the stove to medium, set your pan.
5. Grab your fork and beat those eggs like you’ve never beat anything before. – You think I’m joking. Beating the eggs to a messy, gooey pulp makes all the difference. DO NOT stir the eggs, BEAT them. Flick your wrest back and forth; sort of like you’re dealing cards, just a lot faster.
6. Toss a teaspoon of butter in the pan and swirl it around with the spatula.
7. Give your eggs one last quick beating session. Toss the preliminary ingredients (peppers, onions, and ham), as well as a splash or two of milk into your egg bowl and beat for about 15 seconds. Dump all the ingredients in the pan. At this point it should be slightly sizzling, but not much.
8. Let the egg mixture sit for about a minute and a half. Toss in a generous amount of cheese. Add salt and pepper.
9. Peek under the egg with the spatula. It should be fully cooked.
10. Fold the omelet over and let it cook for another 20 seconds or so.
11. The omelet should easily slide off the pan and onto your plate.
12. Enjoy.

It will probably take a few practice runs to get it just right, but it will be well worth it. Learn to enjoy your mornings the best you can. Being able to make a delicious breakfast over a cup of coffee is something I take great pleasure in and I hope you learn to as well.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Is Your BCAA or EAA Drink Robbing You of Muscle Growth?

Bodybuilding supplements have come a long way in a very short period of time, but what has really taken off in the last few years is the science behind intra-workout supplementation. Products containing either branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), essential amino acids (EAAs), or both have really picked up in popularity. Unfortunately, most consumers are unaware that the bioavailability behind these products in their original form is actually quite poor, and an effective dose needs to be much higher than the recommended serving size.

Fortunately, products like LG Sciences BC+EAA contains not just BCAAs or EAAs, but a very special form known as “hydrolysates” from both whey and pea sources. - These very special peptides are actually pre-digested enzymes with an extremely high bioavailability.

The difference is in the process of absorption. Our stomachs are lined with thousands of receptors that immediately uptake hydrolyzed peptides, which is exactly what we want when ingesting BC+EAA inta-workout. Most of our competitors, however, offer only intact peptides; non-hydrolyzed BCAAs and EAAs are only partially digested in the stomach, and not fully digested until it enters the intestines.

What does this mean to you?

It means that if you’re taking a product without the hydrolysate peptides, you’re missing out on some serious muscle growth!

Stop throwing your money away on intra-workout products that contain intact peptides and complex carbohydrates, creatine, and other ingredients that will only slow absorption and make you sick to your stomach.

Let’s do a rundown of some competitors. Chances are if you’re using a BCAA or EAA intra-workout product other than LG Sciences BC+EAA, you’re using one of these products…

Competitor #1: Contains 7g of a 2:1:1 ratio of non-hydrolyzed BCAAs, 1g of Citruline Malate, and 2.5g of Glutamine. It’s not a horrible formula, but the absorption is less than optimal, and there is really no need for a pump ingredient in this type of product.

Competitor #2: A 7g EAA complex with a 2.7g complex of Citruline Malate, Beta Alanine and a couple fillers. While this products formulation is decent, it still lacks the fast absorbing hydrolyzed peptides.

Competitor #3: This product contains a solid profile; over 8g of BCAA/EAA, and actually contains a 30% hydrolyzed peptide formula, in addition to some Beta Alanine and filler ingredients; unfortunately, the 30% hydrolyzed peptide formula is not quite what we’re looking for.

Why Choose LG Sciences BC+EAA?



Each 11g serving of LG Sciences BC+EAA contains 4g of hydrolyzed EAAs, 4.5g of hydrolyzed BCAAs, and 2g of Glutamine. In addition, BC+EAA offers a 4:1:1 BCAA ratio, far better than our competitors 2:1:1 ratio. The whey portion of the hydrolyzed peptides are a full 100% hydrolysate, and 30% hydrolysate from the pea source.

For extreme muscle growth and intra-workout cellular endurance, choose a product that delivers quality nutrients to your muscles in the fastest way possible. Choose LG Sciences BC+EAA!

Available for Purchase at GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, DPSnutrition.com, Bodybuilding.com, FitnessFirstUSA.com, and other fine retailers.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Training Under a Time Constraint

What a perfect world it would be if our lives revolved around our hobbies, specifically that of our athletic and physical development. Unfortunately, this world is not perfect, and life does not always revolve around what we want to do, and often times our training and diet suffers because of this.



Unless you’re an athlete getting paid for your time in the gym, on the golf course, or on the tennis court, time management is stupendously important to us, especially for those of us that consider ourselves recreational bodybuilders or athletes, as we require more from ourselves than merely a workout when it’s convenient.

But let’s drop the negativity. Work, school, kids, or whatever is preventing you from training on a consistent basis can be easily worked around, and let’s face it, when you put it into perspective with the aforementioned reasons for the time constraint, to the recreational athlete, those three really should come first.
I want to take a moment to focus on the training aspect. – So how do we consistently train under a time constraint? Train less! – Okay, so it’s not really that simple, but hear me out…

I understand that most of those reading this are bodybuilders, and it’s very possible that your training routine is based around a 4-6x/wk training split, and you’ve come to the realization that spending eight or more hours in the gym every week just isn’t possible with your current schedule. Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to spend those eight hours in the gym every week.

Through years of training, I’ve discovered the key to a successful bodybuilding routine… anything and everything! Over all other rules, consistency is the key to our training. It doesn’t matter what type of training routine that you’re doing, as long as you’re doing it, and you’re giving it your all.

What I’m getting at is that less training does not necessarily equate to less results, quite often the opposite is the case. I’ve made some of my best gains on 3x/wk training splits, spending no more than four hours in the gym each week, and I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t have four hours to spare over the period of a week.

Let’s step outside the box for a moment and consider some viable training alternatives that are not only fun, new, and exciting to most bodybuilders, but yield great results in a short period of time…

Complex Exercises

My favorite method to speed up training is to incorporate what are called complex exercises. Contrary to popular belief, this is not just another name for compound exercises, as they are very different. Compound exercises are merely a single exercise that incorporates multiple body parts and joint movement in each repetition. Complex exercises, however, are multiple exercises within each repetition that result in working multiple body parts in a more direct manner than compound exercises.

Complex exercises are not set in stone. There is no specific movement that must be done; however, for obvious reasons, it is imperative to keep the movement fluid.

An example of this would be performing a DB curl, immediately followed by a Standing Arnold Press, and returning to the starting position. – In steps: (1) Positive curl movement, (2) Positive Arnold Press, (3) Negative Arnold Press, bringing elbows to your sides, and finally the (4) negative curl movement, repeat.



Another example would be performing a Barbell shrug, immediately followed by an Upright Barbell Row. – In steps: (1) Positive shrug, (2) negative shrug, (3) positive upright row, (4) negative upright row, repeat.

Full Body Training

Full-body workouts are another way to increase the speed of a workout without taking away from its effectiveness. Obviously a high volume routine is out of the question, or else you’d be in the gym for hours with no end in sight. Additionally, it would also be quite counterproductive as our bodies CNS can in no way handle a brutal, full-body beating multiple times each week.

When performing full-body splits, it’s important to get yourself in the mentality that more is not always better. In full-body training, we’re really trying to focus more on set-intensity; you’ve heard the term quality over quantity, right? Well, this is where that really plays out.

I recommend performing supersets (two exercises performed one right after the other, with a short rest in between) during this type of training, although trisets are not out of the question.

Training could range from 3 sets up to 8 sets per body part, but I recommend a total of 6 sets per body part; 1 full warm-up set, 1 partial warm-up set, and 4 working sets. – There will be two workouts each week, each involving different exercises. Starting body parts will be rotated each week.

What’s a full warm-up set? – The purpose of this type of set is merely to gain blood-flow to the muscle being worked. This set should not induce pain of any kind, nor should it be difficult to perform. A short, 30second muscle stretch should be performed after this set.

What’s a partial warm-up set? – The purpose of this set is to continue gaining blood flow to the muscle; however, it is a set itself, just in a higher rep rage (12 to 16). It SHOULD be positively painful towards the end, and you SHOULD struggle to achieve the required reps.

What’s a working set? – A working set is a true raw set; no pain, no gain. This is where the real work is done, the muscle fibers are recruited, and the muscle is broken down. These are the sets where you really need to give it your all. The rep range should be between 4 and 12.

An example routine:

Day 1

BB Back Squats + Upright BB Rows
Weighted Pull-ups + Close Grip Bench Press
BB Curl + Incline DB Press
Seated Calf Raise + DB Shrugs (Routines here may differ)

Day 2

T-bar Row + Overhead DB Extension
Pinwheel Curls + DB Pullover
DB Lunges + Military Press
Donkey Calf Raise + BB Shrugs (Routines here may differ)

*Day 3 - Optional

*If three workouts per week suit you better, you may break the workout up to cater to your schedule. This would allow you to decrease the total sets per body part each workout, due to your training frequency being higher.

Rest-Pause Sets

Another way to increase your workout speed is by introducing rest-pause sets to your routine. Rest-pause sets are essentially what I would call “never-ending sets.” Most people, unless they train using DC methods (and that’s a discussion for an entirely different column), count the rest period by time. I, however, count my rest periods by the number of breaths taken. It’s important to focus on your breathing pattern during a rest-pause set as it allows for increased production of ATP, thus giving you greater energy for the set to come.

An example of a rest-pause set…

Begin your exercise and complete until failure, take 10 deep breaths, continue the set until failure, take 10 deep breaths, continue the set until failure, take 10 deep breaths, continue the set until failure…and you’re done! You’ve just completed one rest-pause set, equating to four working sets.

Let’s say you’re doing DB Lateral Raises. Your log book should reflect something like this…

DB Lateral Raise; RP: 12 reps + 8 + 7 + 5 = a total of 32 repetitions. (Just a general idea)

Supplement Options for the Energy-deprived


LG Sciences offers a great line of supplements to fuel your workouts as well as your work week. Those of us on time-constraints are usually the same ones that are sleep-deprived, resulting in a lack of performance and energy in the gym. These supplements will help you meet the demands your workouts require, even if your sleep has been less than optimal:

LG Sciences E-911 (sublingual stimulant) – My personal favorite energy support product!
LG Sciences Speed V2 (fat-loss and energy capsule)
LG Sciences Anadraulic Pump (pre-workout nitric oxide enhancer, pump product, and focus support)



Soon to be released…

LG Sciences Anadraulic State GT (pre-workout energy enhancement, insulin potentiator, creatine complex, aromatase inhibitor, and pSARM complex)

End of the Line

These are just some ideas to help you fit your workout in to a smaller space on your day planner. I’ve personally dealt with this issue throughout my entire history of training due to school stresses; i.e. exams, papers, projects, etc. – I can surely relate to the time constraints put on our lives by the demands of the world.

None of the methods provided are strict. The best workout is the one that works for you, so feel free to add your own twists to the methods I provided. – Also, keep in mind that there is a plethora of time-reducing routines, including workouts involving kettlebells, agility drills, endurance exercises and the like. They’re all great, and as a bodybuilder don’t fall into the mentality that you’re above them. They’re ALL great for muscle growth regardless of what “that guy in the gym” may tell you.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Training and the Holidays

Well, it's here, Thanksgiving, and you know what that means... Turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, wine, double-doses of LG Sciences SLIN, and an hour long session of fitness involving agility drills, low-impact cardiovascular activity, and circuit weights. What, not your typical sedentary holiday?




Last Thanksgiving I found myself at Gold's Gym in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. While most people were just waking up, I was sitting on the curb waiting for the doors to open at 8am. As I was sitting there, a man across the street at an antique shop politely (take that with a grain of salt) told me that I needed to "get a life." - To which I politely replied (again, grain of salt), "Sir, you're at an antique shop."

Some people just don't understand fitness, the lifestyle surrounding it, and the dedication it takes to be involved in it. But even more so, what so many people don't understand is what it offers: A release of stress, a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of self-worth, a better body, and a healthy heart, and I mean that both literally and figuratively.

...however, what that man said to me was not all wrong. It is imperative that we, as fitness enthusiasts who do in fact want a life outside of training, find a healthy balance.

I've been training consistently ever since I was fifteen, and have been seriously dieting ever since I was sixteen. I've been through enough holidays to have developed my own philosophy on creating a balance between training and family tradition...

1) Don't neglect your family and/or friends. They mean more than a barbell and protein shake ever will. Devote the majority of your time on these days to them. They'll understand if you have to take an hour or two to yourself.

2) Just get it over with! After all, what else would you be doing?...watch Mom baste the bird? - Think about how many times in your life an hour quickly flew by, and what little you accomplished in that time frame. Get yourself to the gym, get the session in, and get out. You'll be done before the TV knows you're gone.

3) The turkey and pumpkin pie will not eat itself. If you're on a consistent diet, which everyone should be, you shouldn't be heavily cheating more than once per week anyways. If it makes you feel better, plan ahead and skip your scheduled cheat meal the week before. This means you'll have a two week break from your last cheat. Just treat this meal as you would any other cheat. It's no different.

4) Be thankful. - Cliche, I know, but it honestly helps in multiple ways. When you sit back and reflect on the year, your blessings, your accomplishments, you see that there is so much to be happy about. Give yourself today. You deserve it.

Have a great, safe, and happy Thanksgiving, everyone!