Tag Archive | "fitness"

IIFYM And Flexible Nutrition Interview With Dr. Layne Norton!

Power: “If It Fits Your Macros” (IIFYM) adherents and flexible dieters have recently flooded the net and social media with pictures and hashtags claiming that eating some junk food won’t affect their body composition. In short, what is flexible dieting, or IIFYM, and is it the best nutritional strategy for a strength athlete’s performance and aesthetics?

Dr. Layne Norton: Unfortunately, flexible dieting has gotten a bad rap as a diet for people who only eat “junk.” That is not the point of flexible dieting. The point of flexible dieting is consistency. Diets fail because people can’t be consistent. They try to diet forever and inevitably gain all of the weight back. Studies show that diets have an almost 95 percent failure rate for long-term weight loss because people can’t maintain whatever lifestyle they used to diet the weight off.

The research also shows that more than half of people end up putting on more weight than they lost. They end up with a higher body fat percentage than before they even started dieting. This phenomenon is known as “body fat overshooting.” The point of flexible dieting is to have long-term sustainability. Allowing people to eat the foods they enjoy in moderation makes them less likely to cheat and binge eat—or worse, go totally off of the wagon and put 10 or 20 pounds back on in a few weeks of vacation or during the holidays (which is all too common).

“The point of flexible dieting is to have long-term sustainability. Allowing people to eat foods they enjoy in moderation makes them less likely to cheat and binge eat.”

Now, everyone’s metabolism is different, and flexible dieting is like a budget. If you have a fast metabolism, you will have a bigger budget for macronutrients. You will be able to fit more fun treats into your diet since you have a higher carb and fat intake. But if you have a slower metabolism, your budget will be much smaller and you won’t be able to fit in as much fun stuff.

The person who can lose weight on 300 g of carbs per day and 80 g of fat can afford to have a little fun with their diet and eat a Pop-Tart or some ice cream and still hit their macronutrient and fiber targets. But the person who has to be on 100 g of carbs and 40 g of fat per day in order to lose body fat isn’t going to be able to eat very much junk because they’re constrained by their macronutrient budget. In that way, flexible dieting is self-regulating. Still, I’ve seen people get ridiculously shredded with flexible dieting. They were able to be consistent because they didn’t feel deprived.

When people ask me how often I cheat on my diet, I say that I haven’t had a cheat meal in almost seven years because, even if I have a slice or two of pizza, I just fit it into my macronutrient targets and move on. I don’t feel the need to eat the whole thing. I know that I have gotten the leanest I ever have in my life having ice cream every week during prep. And, this past year, when I dieted down to the 93 kg weight class for USAPL Raw Nationals, which I won, I ate ice cream almost everyday. I just accounted for it in my caloric budget.

Power: The fitness industry always seems to ebb and flow, moving in circles and trends. The ’90s were all about low-fat dieting, but more recently, high-fat, high-protein, ultra-low-carb diets rule the strength world. What would you tell an advocate for high-fat diets? Is there a place for them as someone with strength and aesthetic goals?

Norton: Well, I think it’s all about what is maintainable. As a coach, I don’t look at things from a 12-week point of view. I look at them from a career-long standpoint. If a 12-week ultra-low-carb diet gets athletes in great shape and helps them lose weight for a meet, then that’s great. But, if they can’t maintain it and later on put on more fat than they lost in the first place (which I tend to see happen), then it’s a net negative. Now they have to diet even harder for the next meet and possibly lose more strength in the process. It can easily become a vicious cycle of ultra-restriction followed by massive regain.

Most people cannot maintain very low-carb diets indefinitely. Thus, I prefer diets that allow more flexibility so that people can lose weight and have a much easier time keeping it off. For example, I ate a very balanced, flexible diet to come down for USAPL Nationals. I never cut out any foods, I just controlled my portions. I ate a little ice cream nearly every day!

“I went from 223 to 202 the morning of Nationals and I gained 44 pounds on my total because I did it slowly.”

I went from 223 to 202 the morning of Nationals and I gained 44 pounds on my total because I did it slowly. This morning, I was 205 pounds. It’s over a month after the meet, and I’m maintaining that weight. It will be easy for me to stay in the 205 class and continue to gain strength because I did it slowly and in a maintainable way. If I had to crash diet, then I likely would have rebounded very badly because crash-dieting drastically lowers your metabolic rate. The research shows that slow and steady wins the race.

Power: It is rare to find a strength athlete who is satisfied with their body weight. People always want to drop a couple of pounds or want to put on more size and muscle. Where do you suggest an athlete who has never tracked calories or macronutrients begin?

Norton: Someone who has never tracked macros should just start at the beginning. They don’t have to change anything they’re doing—just start tracking to see where they currently stand. I remember when I was young and couldn’t gain weight; I never tracked my macros. I was shocked when I started to track them, because I swore I was eating almost 4,000 calories per day and doing exactly what the magazines told me to do. The fact of the matter was that I was barely over 2600 calories! No wonder I was a hard-gainer.

So track what you are doing now. If your goal is to gain, then you now have an exact amount of calories you need to exceed. If your goal is to lose weight, you’ll have a better idea of how much you’d need to reduce calories in order to drop body fat.



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IIFYM And Flexible Nutrition Interview With Dr. Layne Norton!

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Inspiring others: Dixon native's weight loss a transformation

DIXON – Be your best self: It’s a philosophy that lifted Dixon native Greg Clausen from the depths of being overweight and unhealthy, and made him face a transformation that likely saved his life.

Clausen, 35, now of Boise, Idaho, ballooned to 340 pounds, a weight gain attributed to a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating choices. He became an emotional eater after a career-halting back injury while he was in the Phoenix Suns basketball farm system.

When he returned home to Dixon, he worked in graphic design at Downtown Sports, a shop owned by his parents on Galena Avenue, but felt “stuck in a rut” and wanted to accomplish more, he said.

The former basketball star, who played at Marquette University, was in disbelief when he saw a photo of his 6-foot-11-inch self holding a drink on vacation.

“I saw the picture and thought. ‘Oh, my gosh, that can’t really be me,’” the 1997 Dixon High graduate said. He was 30 years old.

Three months later, his father suffered a heart attack that required quintuple bypass surgery, a procedure that was successful. But it left his father on oxygen and required frequent therapy, which served as a warning shot for everyone around him.

“I saw him on his death bed,” Clausen said, and that’s what forced a change.

The iron man

For the next 13 months, Clausen pushed himself at Anytime Fitness in Dixon, using a support system of friends and family to shed a whopping 90 pounds.

In his exercise regimen, he added techniques and eventually crossed over to bodybuilding, inspired in part by a friend who was a prison guard in Dixon.

He was persuaded to give it a chance, adding that he could find a niche as a 7-foot bodybuilder because there weren’t many.

Clausen was hooked after he aced his first competition in Freeport, landing first place.

Judges chose the best body based on a number of subjective criteria, Clausen said, but overall aesthetics – the way a body looks – is key.

“They’re looking for wide shoulders and a tiny waist,” he said, but admitted it’s difficult to put on muscle when you’re so tall.

Ignoring the odds, Clausen built himself into a ripped machine, slimming down to just 5 percent body fat and 240 pounds. A normal, healthy person might see a body fat range of 12 to 15 percent, he said.

Abs begin to show below 10 percent body fat, Clausen noted.

“[But] it didn’t come off overnight. It was a long process.”

Be all you can be

The journey began 4 years ago, but since then, Clausen has competed for trophies in an amateur bodybuilding class on the regional level in places like Rockford, on the national stage in Chicago, and around the country.

He switched to a separate classification called Men’s Physique, similar to traditional bodybuilding events, but with slightly different judging criteria, and you get to wear boardshorts.

“That’s when I started getting recognized,” said Clausen, who now has more than 10 tournaments under his belt.

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Inspiring others: Dixon native's weight loss a transformation

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3 Tips To Strengthen Your Mind

Personal-training clients are bound to think about their progress, good, bad, or indifferent. One of your jobs as a personal trainer is to help clients flip negative thoughts into positive ones. Aesthetic progress takes time, and folks grow frustrated. If clients think negatively, that mindset will hold them back. If negative thoughts slip in while they work out, it will hinder how hard they can train.

For instance, the mere thought of trying a CrossFit class can intimidate a client. They may believe they are too weak or incapable of performing a lift. If that’s the case, then they are more likely to stay away from physical challenges that may strengthen them down the road. These people are more likely to end up as whiners rather than winners.

However, if you get them pumping biceps curls and get their muscles burning, and convince them to believe in the positive manifestation of their own abilities … then, your clients can do more. That can probably help them crank out a couple of additional reps, and that will make anyone stronger.

Actions dictate thoughts, and thoughts can steer action in one direction or the other, depending on whether your outlook is positive or negative.

A successful trainer must also be an insightful psychologist. You must steer your clients in that positive direction. Teaching clients how and what to think about during a workout is just as important as proper deadlift form. Your mindset is the number one priority if you want your body to change.

These three mental tricks will help you help them free their minds of the negativity that hinders body composition and aesthetic progress. With a positive frame of mind, anyone can lift more weight, run faster, and finally get that body they always wanted.

All of this can be done just by changing how and what you think while training. It’s not easy, but a few mental exercises can help change their minds, so you can help them change their bodies.

1 Be prepared for the negativity

Most people in the gym are unaware of the moment negativity hits them. They hear internal negative chatter like “I can’t lift that weight” or “I won’t be able to run that long,” and at first, they’re not even sure where the voice came from. Next thing you know, such thoughts stop clients from even trying.

Cynical gym rats accept negative comments as truth. Confident lifters immediately call BS on negative self-talk. See the negative trend starting and squash it like a bug. Take the negative verbs and turn them positive. Replace “I can’t” with “I can.” See “I won’t” coming over the hill. Be alert to swap it with “I will,” “I must,” or “I got this!” If you see that doubt on their face, say the words yourself to pre-empt their negativity.

Confident lifters immediately call BS on negative self-talk.

Positive actions help weightlifters push their bodies in the gym like never before. Once your clients see how influential encouraging thoughts can be, how they inspire action, they will experience the power of a positive mindset.

Be mentally prepared. Make it a habit. Begin to change your mind, and body composition changes will come.

2 End negative statements with positivity

Positive actions help weightlifters push their bodies in the gym like never before.

It is delusion to think that a stubborn cynic can completely rid the mind of pessimistic views. Even optimists like me have bouts of negative self-talk during a workout especially. They intervene when I feel tired or lazy. The trick is to associate each fresh negative with positive outcomes.

For example, instead of saying “Doing 10 more reps is going to hurt my legs,” tie a positive benefit at the end of the sentence. Tell yourself, “Doing 10 more reps is going to hurt my legs, but I will become stronger because of it!” Strengthen this mental strategy by visualizing the positive outcome. See bigger legs and glutes. See a squat day next month when you are strong enough to pile on another plate.

The more vivid the image, the more likely a client is to continue the workout. See how the upcoming misery is connected with a positive image; it is one the strongest mental tools for instant motivation when you need it most!

3 Redefine yourself

The reason most negative people fail to make changes in the gym is because they see their physical shortcomings as permanent situations. They label themselves with negative, unchangeable assertions like “I will always be a fat person” or “My arms will never grow.”

Nothing is permanent. Anybody who makes changes with their bodies must first believe they can change through diligent effort and action. People who buy into the “you get what you put in” mentality are likely to show improvements with their bodies.

Instruct your clients to see themselves as they want to be.

Instruct your clients to see themselves as they want to be. Help them re-define the “new you” by installing more positive work habits. Instead of attributing negative labels like “I will always be the fat person,” assign a self-image which describes positive actions like “I’m the person who works hard” or “I’m the person who is disciplined.” Help them change negative perception to a new and positive identification.

This positive mental strategy can help your clients inspire themselves! When you’re not around, they need internal inspiration to make improvements in the gym, and in other aspects of their lives. Positive mental training isn’t limited to the gym floor. Its benefits—like those of physical training—carry over to everything in life. A positive self-image empowers the entire lifestyle!

From Pessimist to Optimist

Helping a client change from being a pessimist to an optimist is a tall order, in part because every client is unique. Some clients will struggle more than others. Confidence comes and goes, so be diligent. And stay positive yourself. Nothing will derail a positive train of thought faster than negativity from an authority figure like a personal trainer.

A client’s optimism will grow along with his or her muscles. It’s hard to argue against the benefits of a positive mindset when clients see dress sizes drop, chest muscles pop, and abs begin to be uncovered! Such visible evidence can convert even the most negative individual into an optimist with enthusiastic beliefs in the power of positive thinking.



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3 Tips To Strengthen Your Mind

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AMP: Marc Megna's 8-Week Aesthetics Meets Performance Trainer Phase 1, Day 2

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Cardio output training consists of steady-state work done for an extended period of time. Today, you’ll choose your cardio weapon of choice—the treadmill, the stair climber, or the stationary bike—and work for 40 minutes. You’re not doing intervals or sprint work, so you’ll keep a consistent speed for the entire workout. This type of cardio will build your work capacity and cardiovascular function, which helps you perform better. Cardio workouts will also help you burn fat so you can uncover that excellent physique.

The goal of this workout is to keep your heart rate at 130-150 beats per minute (bpm), but measuring your heart rate can be difficult without a device. If you don’t have a heart rate monitor, go by feel. Your heart rate should be elevated, but you should not be so out of breath that you can’t hold a steady conversation.

Don’t forget that your nutrition habit for this phase is to eat every 2-4 hours. This is an essential part of the AMP trainer. If you’re not fueling your body often and with healthy, whole foods, you won’t see the results you’re after. This habit might be difficult for the first couple of weeks, but it will soon become second nature.

  • Jogging-Treadmill Jogging-Treadmill Cardio Of Choice
    40 minutes at 130-150 heart beats per minute


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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 13

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If you’re still sore from your ramping set workout two days ago, we apologize! Many people find that when they experience delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), it’s actually worse two days after training than it is the first day. This may seem unfair, but it’s really common.

But if you’re rubbing a tender chest or lat muscle as you read this, hearing that you’re not the only one isn’t much consolation. You want to know how to make it better! And we can help there, too, because today, you’re going to learn about self-myofascial release, also known as “foam rolling.”

Ultimate 30 Day Beginners Guide To Fitness:
Watch The Video – 02:53


Day 13 Challenge

  • Perform another “ramping” workout, this time for the upper body.
  • Learn about foam rolling, and try it if you’ve got a roller at your gym or house.


Roll With It

There are a number of different self-release techniques, all with the same goal: to help spur the natural healing processes of your soft tissues. These techniques apply pressure to the tight muscle tissue, which it interprets as “Danger! Too much tension! Relax!” This causes a reflexive reaction that simultaneously causes the muscle to lengthen and relax. Effectively, it could be thought of as a light switch that turns off a muscle that is in danger of hurting itself. Although, to be clear, we aren’t putting muscle in danger!

The concept of what we are doing is the same as that of a deep-tissue massage. The main difference is that it doesn’t cost much since you do it to yourself. There are various ways to incorporate this technique into your training, but the most common method is foam rolling either before or after your workout.

Before a workout, rolling can be a great way to increase your mobility and range of motion in the area you’re working—for example, rolling your quads and IT band before leg training. After training, plenty of people find it helps them recover or avoid that “restless leg” feeling that can come with hard lifting or cardio.

How much tightness you have and how much discomfort you can handle will determine what device or surface you can roll out on. The white foam rollers, which are probably the most common, are a good place for inexperienced people to start.

Someone who has been at it awhile may find those too soft and prefer something harder, like a black foam roller or knobby rumble roller. With time, experienced trainees will use everything from foam rollers to PVC pipe and lacrosse balls to help them target specific muscles.

These are probably the five most common muscle groups people foam roll:

  1. Calf
  2. Latissimus dorsi
  3. Gluteus maximus/minimus
  4. IT Band
  5. Quadriceps

Here’s how to begin: Lie down on the floor. Apply pressure to the middle or “belly” of the muscle you want to work, using your bodyweight to increase the compression. Slowly roll over the muscle, pausing on “hot spots” when you find them for about 20 seconds. Don’t roll over the joint itself; stay on the muscle.

An important key here is to relax. You won’t want to, because if you have any tightness then this will be uncomfortable and you will attempt to brace yourself. Don’t do it. Find your happy place, breathe deep, and relax. This will take experimentation, so be patient and try to learn to enjoy the pain!

Need more instruction? We’ve got guides to rolling the major muscle groups in our Exercise Database. We’ve also got other articles packed with techniques to help you get over your DOMS and get back to training more quickly!


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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 13

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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 12

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People who hike and climb in the mountains like to say that food never tastes as good as when you’ve cooked it yourself after a long, hard day. This applies to fitness, too. Food tastes great when you’ve done your time in both the gym working up a sweat, and in the kitchen making it. If your food isn’t delicious and nutritious, don’t fret. You just need some new recipes!

Ultimate 30 Day Beginners Guide To Fitness:
Watch The Video – 02:57


Day 12 Challenge

  • Explore Bodybuilding.com’s recipe database and recipe content.
  • Try your hand at cooking a new recipe!

Get familiar with our recipe database, and you might find yourself getting excited about cooking for the first time in your life. We’ve got recipes to last all day, from breakfast to your post-workout shake, healthy snacks to salads, marinades to make your meat tastier, and even fool-proof protein desserts. We also have recipes to fit every event and season, courtesy of Kevin Alexander of “Fit Men Cook,” Anna “Protein Pow” Sward, and plenty of other regular contributors.

Earlier this week, we told you that you’ll most likely eat more than you’re used to in this trainer. This should be a prize, not a punishment. As you rest up from yesterday’s tough workout, today’s challenge will seem simple enough: Find a recipe that makes you go “Hmm,” and give it a go!


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Mind Over Muscle: Your One-Rep Max Mental Checklist

While bodybuilders aren’t known necessarily for doing single-rep maxes, your one-rep max (1RM) on key lifts means much more than determining your pecking order among the gym’s elite. The 1RM is also useful for directing your future training plans, which makes it essential to occasionally max out on major movements.

While knowledge is power when it comes to planning, it also has a heavy influence on strength performance. Despite the high-tension physical strain of lifting—muscles and tendons pulling on bones, human frames overcoming iron and gravity—1RM testing isn’t dominated by the physical form. It’s actually a carnal demonstration of a robust mental state.

When you venture into the territory of testing your physical limits, you’re more likely to succeed if you follow a process—a mental checklist of sorts—that prepares your mind to lead your body in battle against metal and inertia. That battle can often be won or lost before you even touch the weight.

Follow these five steps to dominate your next max-effort attempt against a massive load of iron.

1 Visualize the Lift

Let’s start with visualization, which begins days, weeks, or even months before your body even engages the barbell.

My college defensive coordinator drilled visualization into my training habits. Our daily instructions were to visualize successful plays when we woke up and again before we went to bed. On Saturday afternoons, it was as if my team had already played the game because we spent so much time visualizing the outcome. Lifting is no different.

Throughout your training cycle, visualize yourself successfully lifting your goal 1RM. In your mind’s eye, picture your performance: the weight on the bar, the gym around you … see your body forcefully defy gravity.

As you visualize, feel. Feel yourself strain to move the weight; feel the positive emotion from accomplishing your goal. The goal of visualization is to create the entire environment in your mind so your neurology is accustomed to it at game time.

Start visualizing every day—morning, night, and between sets while training—at the beginning of your training cycle. Keep visualizing your success until the moments before you attempt your 1RM.

In your mind’s eye, picture your performance: the weight on the bar, the gym around you … see your body forcefully defy gravity.

2 Set Your Mental Intensity Lever

Psychological intensity is the lifeblood of heavy lifting. Moreover, you have the ability to practice controlling said intensity by creating a mental intensity lever.

Psychological intensity is the lifeblood of heavy lifting.

This practice is rooted in visualization. I can’t give you the exact visual—you’ll have to create one with your own imagination—but you need a lever and numbers to rate your intensity. Start by imagining an actual lever that, when pulled, increases your concentration and strength. My lever ranges from 1-10, where 10 is maximum intensity. During warm-up sets I systematically crank the lever, working from 5-10.

Even though you’re not maxing out during a regular training day, you need to get used to feeling what maximal mental output feels like and associate it with your lever. So crank it up to 10 just once during your last warm-up set, drop down to 8 or 9 during most of your working sets, and get to a full 10 again during your last working set.

Let’s use the deadlift for a tangible example of how the lever works:

As you approach the bar, close your eyes and picture the lever next to your right hand. Grasp the lever and pull it hard until it reaches your desired intensity. Grab the bar, set your position, and match your performance intensity with your lever intensity.

It’s abstract, and it seems a bit New Age, but this really works. Build your mental intensity lever and put it into practice right now. When your big-lift game day arrives, you’ll find a new intensity level you didn’t know you possessed.

3 Engrain Coaching Cues

No matter if you coach yourself or outsource your training process, sound coaching cues are necessary for strong lift performance. Like the previous two checklist entries, coaching cues are engrained in your procedure months before your max attempt. The goal is to make these cues automatic, so conscious thoughts about starting position, lift engagement, and lift completion become unnecessary.

However, revisiting cues before approaching the bar for your ode to “human conquest over inanimate iron” is always a good idea.

As you practice your final visualization in the moments preceding your lift, remind yourself of your coaching cues for all phases of the lift. Start with your setup and make sure you master the necessary steps for good positioning. Move on to lift engagement: Is your first movement guiding you to your final destination? Are you in good position to lock the weight out?

Develop a list of 2-3 cues for each part of the lift and rehearse them religiously before yoking the bar to your will.

4 Get Aggressive

In 2014, aggression is viewed as an archaic psychological relic, a remnant from centuries gone by, and unnecessary for function in the civilized world. Yet it still hangs about, cultivating land within our psyches. A 1RM attempt is the perfect opportunity to harvest its yield as mental nourishment.

Getting angry is a “to each his own” type of process. I can’t offer you a step-by-step primer on rousing your inner beast to let loose on a barbell. I can, however, recommend that you find a dark place in your psyche and provoke it. This provocation coincides with ramping up your mental intensity lever. The combination turns aggression into applied performance.

Be mindful, however, to not disregard your coaching cues. Blind anger is a hindrance; focused aggression is an enhancement.

Blind anger is a hindrance; focused aggression is an enhancement.

5 Take Care of the Little Things

We’ve journeyed through mental territories that most training articles detour. We also engaged in processes that most don’t consider. Acquiring exciting new skills and perspectives, however, doesn’t award us license to disregard the diminutive, seemingly mundane tasks that keep our minds worry-free.

Start with procuring a trustworthy spotter. Knowing a person is there to save your skin—should any hazard reveal itself—is priceless for peace of mind. No need to waste mental energy that would be better spent on accelerating mass.

Sometimes collecting the little rocks permits us to move the big ones, so be sure to secure sturdy weight clips tightly to your plates, clear your lifting space, and make sure you’re not attempting an ego lift.

Now, check your list—check it twice if you have to—and go crush your next 1RM.

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Mind Over Muscle: Your One-Rep Max Mental Checklist

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Teen Amateur Of The Week: Stacked And Symmetrical

QHow did your fitness
journey begin?

My fitness journey began at age 10. I grew up being competitive and was passionate about competitive sports. I wanted to be the best at soccer, football, baseball, track and field, and more. While driving home one day from football, I passed a martial arts school and decided to join at age 11. I became well-conditioned, strong, and maintained a serious training regimen.

As my training and sparring progressed, I became obsessed with conditioning my body. I love full-contact sports, but my martial arts club only allowed minimal contact. I took a break from martial arts and stepped down to a brown belt level, much to the dismay of my martial arts coach, to explore a sport that enveloped full contact.

I was 14 years old, 5-foot-7, 130 pounds, compact, and quick. I joined a summer football league and excelled beyond expectations. Upon completion of the season, my coach suggested that I add mass to see how I performed with more weight. I started a vigorous gym training schedule, watched numerous workouts and Bodybuilding.com videos, and became obsessed with bodybuilding.

Cool Fact

Aside from the hard work Brandon puts into the gym, he spends quality time with his family hunting, fishing, and camping!

I became friends with a personal trainer at the gym who helped me with lifting, cardio, and dieting. He was a sports trainer for years and offered to help me achieve my goal. To have the form and technique I longed for, I started from the basics. There is no greater feeling than being a “potter” and moulding my body into perfection.

Brandon Bock
Watch The Video – 1:08


What workout regimen delivered the best results?

Amateurs Of The Week

Bodybuilding.com honors amateurs across all categories for their hard work, dedication, and great physiques. Learn how our featured amateurs built their bodies and hit their goals!

What nutrition plan fueled your body?

What supplements gave you an edge?

“Fitness can be used to turn stress or negativity into positive energy.”

How did your passion for fitness emerge?

I love being active, especially when the results pay dividends. I used to watch athletes on television and the Internet and admired how they looked. Through hard work and dedication, the sky’s the limit. Fitness can be used to turn stress or negativity into positive energy. It benefits general health, which is a bonus. I maintain a busy schedule and utilize my day to the fullest potential. Bodybuilding provides “me time” and gives my body a temporary release of the unlimited energy that’s bottled inside me.

What/Who motivated you to be a fitness guru?

I idolize Shawn Ray’s symmetry. He’s an underrated bodybuilder who never gave up. I admire his no-quit attitude and his quest for perfection.

Where did you go for inspiration?

I went to different gyms, talked to bodybuilders, and read books. I always watched bodybuilding videos and professional bodybuilding events. I learned about their workout regimens and applied their professionalism to my workouts.

“I plan to gain size and thickness and build on my symmetry.”

What are your future fitness plans?

I plan to gain size and thickness and build on my symmetry. I’m going to compete in future shows also. I would like to model sportswear, endorse supplements, and coach future bodybuilders. I will become a professional bodybuilder and strive to be the best!

What is the most important fitness tip?

Have an open mind. You can gather good tips and information from people to create your own workout. Form and technique are vital. When you master form and technique, you’ll develop your fullest potential. Be one with the mind and body to push past your limits like you never thought possible. The mind is a powerful tool that can be harnessed. No matter your size, height, or weight, drive and ambition will drive you to achieve anything. The person most willing to push the limits will be the true champion.

Who is your favorite competitor?

Flex Wheeler, Shawn Ray, Dorian Yates, Lee Priest, and Franco Columbu are my favorite competitors.

How did Bodybuilding.com help you reach your goals?

I watched lots of Bodybuilding.com videos and read many articles that made me a more knowledgeable bodybuilder. I also watch many motivational videos to pump me up before the gym and developed a great understanding about nutritional facts and diet plans thanks to Bodybuilding.com.

Brandon’s Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. “Diary Of Jane” by Breaking Benjamin
  2. “Hate” by Drowning Pool
  3. “Shoot To Thrill” by AC/DC
  4. “My Curse” by Killswitch Engage
  5. “Shove It” by Deftones
Competition History
  • 2013 Sudbury Classic Championships



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Want to share your story with the world and get some free supplements? Well, send in your info to Teen Amateur Of The Week! Learn more here!

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Teen Amateur Of The Week: Stacked And Symmetrical

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The Ultimate 30-Day Beginner's Guide To Fitness Day 2

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It’s time to set foot in the gym and begin the training portion of the Ultimate 30-Day Beginner’s Guide to Fitness. Or, if you prefer, you can perform this movement at home or outside in your yard or a park, provided you have an exercise ball (also known as a Swiss ball) and a medicine ball. Watch today’s video with Kathleen for the details!

Ultimate 30 Day Beginners Guide To Fitness:
Watch The Video – 03:21


Day 2 challenge

  • Complete a general warm-up
  • Conduct your first workout using bodyweight exercises

Below, you can see the workout program you’ll follow. You can follow it from this screen, print it out, or even load the trainer into your BodySpace profile and receive it that way. If you have any questions about one of the movements, just click on its name to see an instructional video.

If you’re going to be at the gym and are wondering how heavy of a medicine ball to use on the chest pass and scoop throws, it’s OK to err on the light side. With time, figure out a weight that leaves you winded but not overwhelmed after 12 reps. If you find you enjoy this full-body workout, keep it in your back pocket when you need a quick, simple routine someday down the road!

And remember, if you have questions about today’s workout or anything else related to this trainer, you can get them answered on the Ultimate 30-Day Beginner’s Guide to Fitness thread on the Bodybuilding.com forum.


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About The Author

Check out these awesome articles by some of the best writers in the industry.

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Supplement Company Of The Month: ProSupps

Supplement companies, like all other businesses, are created out of a complex web of personal and economic circumstances. They fill a need, take advantage of an opportunity, and in the case of ProSupps, help keep a dream alive after a tragic loss.

Founder T.J. Humphreys’s company arose from the remnants of Professional Supplements, a promising company started by his late friend and IFBB pro bodybuilder Art Atwood.

The new version of the company started without a single product to sell , and in just two years, was offering two dozen ergogenic aids, including the breakout pre-workout Mr. Hyde, to athletes around the globe.

ProSupps is the July Supplement Company of the Month and is nominated for three 2014 supplement awards.

Learn more from T.J. and ProSupps spokesmodel Jennifer Nicole Lee and see why this group of passionate people has skyrocketed into prominence!

Q How did you meet Art Atwood and come to be involved with his business?


T.J. Humphreys

Art and I became friends many years ago when he owned a supplement line called Professional Supplements. I then owned Lone Star Distribution, a distributor for Professional Supplements. He picked my brain, asking me how he could get better distribution through different retailers and wholesalers.

I was just jumping into bodybuilding and competing. Who would be a better coach to have than IFBB pro Art Atwood? We traded notes: He taught me how to be a bodybuilder, and I helped him on the sports nutrition side. We became really good friends. He even moved from Wisconsin to Dallas on my recommendation. He thought Dallas was awesome.

When Art passed away in September 2011, his family reached out to me. His sister noticed that my name came up in a lot of Art’s journals. He loved to take notes about formulations and sales strategies, and he mentioned my name numerous times.

When she searched for me, aside from the magazine covers and bodybuilding shots, she discovered that I was involved on the business side as well. She asked if I was interested in helping to build the brand. In January of 2012, I bounced over to take the job as CEO of Professional Supplements.

How did Professional Supplements become ProSupps?

We basically had the name and nothing else to sell. When Art passed away, the one product he was selling was called Pure Karbolyn, and the company that was making it for him no longer dealt with Professional Supplements. The name was the only asset we had.

I convinced my friend Brian Ikalina, who is now my VP of Sales, to join me in the business venture. We knew a bunch of guys who were unhappy where they were working, knew where Brian and I were going, believed in us and where we were going, and didn’t take “no” for an answer. We would build a brand together! We started from scratch, built the brand, the logos, colors—everything.

I AM AN ATHLETE TOO
Watch The Video – 02:10


Companies want to be household names, but in this industry you need to be a locker room name. How did you grow so rapidly?

When you look at our brand, one thing that guys and girls put a lot of trust in is the brand identity. When people talk about ProSupps in the locker rooms it’s a brand that speaks to quality and efficacy. The message starts with the way we brand the products and market them and finishes with the way they work in the gym.

We were one of the first companies to put agmatine sulfate in our pre-workout powder. We were the first to use three different kinds of caffeine, because one of the main criticisms people get from taking pre-workouts is that they come crashing down after taking it. We knew what we wanted to formulate and we knew which ingredients to use to make our products superior to all others.

“The message starts with the way we brand the products and market them and finishes with the way they work in the gym.”

It doesn’t matter how pretty the product is. If somebody buys it, takes it, and it doesn’t work, your lifespan in the business will be short . We knew coming into the business that we wanted to win over our customers with effectiveness–by making our products work. That provides long-term value and success of the brand.

You have two pre-workout products, Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. How do they differ?

There are huge differences. We wanted to have two pre-workouts because we felt like there was an audience that wanted them. There are either two different audiences, or there is a consumer who likes the benefits of two polar-opposite pre-workouts.

Dr Jekyll was built as more of an endurance, pump-type formula with low stimulants and low caffeine. It’s for somebody who likes to get energy without lots of stimulants. Mr. Hyde is for people who are most effective in the gym environment with a high-stimulant formula. We answered both calls.

The characters’ storyline plays perfectly into how those two products worked out. Mr. Hyde is your animalistic side, with tri-source caffeine, yohimbe, pikatropin, and agmatine sulfate. If you take it once, there’s nothing that you could take today, yesterday or years from now that could compare to it. With Mr. Hyde, we built a product that is unmatched.

We wanted to make a pre-workout that wasn’t just a bottle full of stimulants. That’s an inexpensive way to get people an immediate kick, but from a performance standpoint it doesn’t answer the call. We added ingredients that supply an athlete with a performance matrix.

Should users cycle off of your pre-workouts, or just switch back and forth between the two?

If someone has an interest in cycling off a high-stimulant pre-workout, Dr. Jekyll is the perfect fit. That said, because Mr. Hyde has three different kinds of caffeine, two of which are time-release, desensitizing your receptors isn’t as big a risk as a product that just uses a high dose of one kind of caffeine.

A lot of people stack the products! Because Jekyll is a pump formula, a lot of our guys—including myself—will take a scoop of each to get both a pump and a stimulant matrix.

How do you balance transparency and with a desire to protect your flagship products’ formulas?

It is important we make any stimulant-based product to be totally transparent. If you’re a performance athlete—and a lot of our customers are—you want to know how much caffeine and yohimbe are in it so you know how much to hydrate before an activity.

In other products, like Halotropin, which is a natural test booster—the formula was developed by Art Atwood himself. That product has a proprietary blend, since used a very unique ingredients in specific dosages that make that product work. Unfortunately in this industry there are a lot of knockoff products. The formulas can be very similar. Trusting them is hard.

When you are looking for transparency, you want to know what is going in your body; that is why we made the investment in a manufacturing facility. Less than 5 percent of brands can boast that they have complete control over their manufacturing. I wanted to have those controls and safety benefits in place. I wanted to make sure that we were completely compliant in every aspect of the business.

If you were to come to my facility in Allen, Texas, I could put you in a lab coat and walk you down the line to see your Mr. Hyde, Halotropin, or Dr. Jekyll, or AminoLinx being made every single day.

What are some of your newest products?

We just launched PS Whey, which has been a huge success on Bodybuilding.com and a weight gainer called IncrediBULK—it was totally fun to come up with that name!

Then, of course, Hyde RTD. These are some of the best advances in the industry, and I’ve been in it for 15 years. The Hyde RTD has taken the consumer market by storm.

When you look at our brand, people truly love what we are doing and what ProSupps means to them. I get daily emails from consumers who love what we stand for.

That’s a rare thing these days, when you have hundreds of different brands, to have consumer embrace the vision of the brand, the marketing, and the people behind the brand, it fuels all of us. It keeps us going.

Athlete Interview:

You were a staple on Bodybuilding.com for years. What have you been up to lately?

I just love Bodybuilding.com! It’s the number one online community for all things health and fitness related, chock-full of great information and inspiration! I have been blessed to be featured many times on Bodybuilding.com.

I’ve been busy! I have authored lifestyle and fitness motivational books, now have a globally recognized accredited workout method called JNL Fusion, and appeared in a blockbuster hit movie directed by Michael Bay starring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson called “Pain & Gain.”

I still run my online fitness studio with a presence all over the world, and now I’m proud to say that I have become the official spokesmodel for ProSupps!

You made your mark in fitness long before ProSupps existed, why join its ranks?

I have a solid 10 years-plus in the fitness industry, with more than 73 magazine covers and many exercise DVD productions. I’ve traveled around the world promoting fitness and products. I don’t say this to impress you, but to impress upon you that hard work always pays off. You have to earn your stripes, and never give up on your dreams, passion and always do what you love best!

“In order to be successful, you have to surround yourself with the best team and companies in the world.”

In order to be successful, you have to surround yourself with the best team and companies in the world. This is where ProSupps comes into play. It is the fastest growing supplement company in the world, a brand built from scratch through pure passion. I admired how ProSupps is committed to providing the highest quality products possible through its highly skilled team and dedicated experts. I am honored to be the Official Spokesmodel for ProSupps.

I coach and consult with VIP clients around the world. ProSupps has everything to offer in a complete line of lifestyle, fat loss, and muscle-fueling products. I listen to their fitness and wellness needs, and then I am able to create an amazing supplement plan for them—all from ProSupps.

Which ProSupps products have you taken? What’s your favorite?

“Never give up. Success is just as simple as that.”

I depend highly upon our newest “star” product, the Mr. Hyde RTD. I love the ease of use and the design of the product. It gives me the right dosage in one container; it’s mess free, fuss free, and clump free.

I also love Vanish for my energy management. It’s much more than a fat-burner. It gives me mental clarity and a mood boost as well. The TC-F Whey Isolate is my go-to protein source post-workout.

When I’m writing, or have to be on set for long hours, I rely upon iFocus to help me stay highly focused and truly engaged on what is going on-helping to keep my attention and stay in the moment.

What is your most important fitness tip?

Never give up. Success is just as simple as that. When you don’t give up and you don’t quit, you will end up being successful! So keep at it and never stop! Repetition is the mother of skill.

You can’t work out once and then be fit the rest of your life. Fitness is a journey to be enjoyed, not a one-time event. So have fun with it! Treat yourself with the best ProSupps supplements and your mind, body, and spirit will thank you. Make it fun, try new things, and enjoy the ride!

Always believe in yourself. When I was 70 pounds overweight, I tried to lose the weight over and over again, only to gain it back, and no one believed in me. It wasn’t until I believed in myself that I was able to “unzip my fat suit” and finally achieve my fitness goals, and maintain my weight loss success.

There are no excuses. If I can do it, you can do it too!


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Supplement Company Of The Month: ProSupps

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