Tag Archive | "barbell"


Body Transformation: Catherine Biery Busted Into A Figure Physique!

Name: Catherine Biery

Why I decided to transform

My weight skyrocketed during my 20s due to lifestyle choices, low self-esteem, and poor relationships. Even though I earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, I couldn’t get my weight under control. At one point, I got up to 175 pounds on my 5-foot-3 frame.

I started dating my husband in my early 30s, regained some of my lost self-esteem, and became more serious about exercise and nutrition. I became a cardio queen and steered clear of the weight room. I ran on the treadmill for hours and wondered why I didn’t lose weight. My husband later introduced me to weightlifting and I loved it. I developed a passion for strength training, slowly lost weight and eventually hit 135 pounds, which felt amazing. Rather than focusing on being skinny, I wanted to be strong.

I became pregnant at age 33 and gained weight again, but weighed less than I did in my 20s. I lost all of my pregnancy weight with continued training. I also paid attention to portion sizes by measuring food in a food journal. I was mostly fit again but wanted to take it to the next level.



AGE 37 / HEIGHT 5’3″ / BODY FAT 25%

AGE 37 / HEIGHT 5’3″ / BODY FAT 10%

Post To Fitboard

My ultimate goal was to compete in a figure. I learned about figure competitions years before, but always assumed I wouldn’t make it to that level. The physical and mental strength required to accomplish my goal seemed inspiring and appealing.

Before my daughter turned 3 years old, something clicked. I realized I could accomplish my goal if I set my mind to do it. I wanted to set a good example for my daughter who could watch me follow through with something important. A fire was ignited inside me at age 37. I was ready to see what I was made of, so I cleaned up my diet, increased my training, and watched myself transform.

On November 16, 2013, with support from my family and friends, I competed in my first figure competition. My confidence and inner strength are through the roof. I feel better mentally and physically now than at any time in my life. I’m excited to see what the future has in store for me and am excited to compete again.

How I accomplished my goals

Accomplishing my goals felt like a rollercoaster ride with many ups and downs. When I made the commitment to compete, I was determined to follow through. I wasn’t going to let myself down.


“Rather than focusing on being skinny, I wanted to be strong.”

I vocalized my goal to my friends and family who became my support team. Having their support motivated me when times got tough. It would’ve been easy to quit if I hadn’t let those I care about join my journey. The month before my contest was tough physically and mentally. I reached out to my support team on tough days and asked them to send me their favorite motivational quotes, stories, and experiences, which helped a lot.

On tough days, I’d look to individuals I admire. I visited Erin Stern’s Facebook page often and read transformation stories on Bodybuilding.com. I also read fitness magazines for new workout tips and clean-eating ideas. Most of all, I thought about who I wanted to be for myself and my daughter. I want her to know that it’s important to chase and complete your goals, even when it’s hard and you’re afraid.

I’ve been told countless times by friends, family, and random strangers at the gym that I inspire them. If I told my 20-year-old self that one day people would say that I inspire them, I would’ve never believed it. It’s those moments that keep me motivated to push toward my future goals.

Apply Here To Be A Transformation Of The Week!

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Of The Week!

Bodybuilding.com honors people across all transformation categories for their hard work and dedication. Learn how our featured transformers overcame obstacles and hit their goals!

Diet plan that guided my transformation

I drink at least one gallon of water per day and increase that to two gallons per day three weeks before competition. This is my maintenance diet that keeps me running like a well-fueled machine.

  • Salad
  • Spring Greens Spring Greens2 cups
  • Mixed Veggies Mixed Veggies1 serving
  • Light Asian Sesame Dressing Light Asian Sesame Dressing2 tbsp
  • chicken Chicken5 oz
  • cottage cheese Cottage Cheese1/2 cup
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk Unsweetened Almond Milk1 cup

Training regimen that kept me on track

I strength train six days per week and work each muscle group twice per week. I also do 3-4 hours of cardio per week on the stairmaster.

What aspect challenged me the most

The most challenging part of my transformation was three weeks out from my contest date. I increased my cardio from four to seven days per week and depleted additional calories from my diet.

The combination left me with low energy and an energetic 3-year-old to keep up with. Knowing it was temporary kept me going. I leaned on my husband and support team for motivation and visualized myself on stage completing my goal.

“Don’t obsess about the number on the scale!”

My future fitness plans

I learned a lot from my first figure competition. I met many wonderful people and had fun. I’m excited to get back on stage and do it again. I have specific improvements that I want to make for my next show and will give myself a few months before I step on stage again.

Even though I have a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, I was too embarrassed to pursue my dreams and help others meet their fitness goals because I hadn’t completed mine. I now have the confidence to pursue it and plan to become a certified personal trainer when my daughter is in preschool.

Suggestions for aspiring transformers

  • Believe in yourself and make long-term changes.
  • Surround yourself with positive people to lean on when you need help.
  • Seek inspiration from others who have been there to ignite your inner fire.
  • Take progress photos.
  • Keep a food log and measure your food.
  • Don’t obsess about the number on the scale!
  • Reach for the stars!

How Bodybuilding.com helped me reach my goals

My husband and I use Bodybuilding.com for our supplementation needs because it has the best prices and fastest shipping. Bodybuilding.com keeps us happily stocked with supplements and motivates us with articles and transformation stories.

Catherine’s Top 5 Gym Tracks

  1. “Shut It Down” by Pitbull (Feat. Akon)
  2. “Shake It” by Metro Station
  3. “Remember The Name” by Fort Minor (Feat. Styles Of Beyond)
  4. “Berzerk” by Eminem
  5. “Hella Good” by No Doubt

Body Transformation: Jen Wade Turned Body Fat Into Hard Muscle!

Jen was fooled by misleading food packaging and steadily added weight for several years. At age 31, she made a stand, lost 11 percent body fat, and competed. You can too!

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Are you addicted to exercise?

Exercise is great for the mind, body and soul, right? But what happens when it starts to take over your life?

PT Marisa Branscombe ponders the dangerous effects of too much exercise

Exercise is generally accepted as a positive behaviour associated with enhanced physical and psychological wellbeing. But is it possible to do too much exercise? So much that it takes over your life?

This may sound strange, but lately I’ve come across several women who seem to be controlled by eating and exercise. I have to admit, for a few years I was in that headspace too and every now and then I have to keep myself in check. There really is a fine line between exercising enough and becoming obsessed about it. Read on to find out how exercise addiction may be affecting you or someone you know.

Exercise addiction: positive vs. negative

“Addiction occurs when adaptive changes in the brain cause symptoms of tolerance, sensitisation, dependence and withdrawal,” (Leuenberger, 2006).

Positive Addiction, written by William Glaser (1976), first addressed positive and negative addiction to exercise. He refers to positive addiction as “involving a love of the activity that is characterised by controllability, an ability to integrate exercise into everyday activities, and an ability to miss exercisesessions when it is necessary”. People with a positive dependence schedule exercise carefully around other aspects of their life, so their exercise schedule is not detrimental to their wellbeing in these areas. They feel increased feelings of control, competence, physical and psychological wellbeing. Negative addiction to exercise, on the other hand, “involves a compulsive desire or need to exercise that overrides a person’s considerations about their health, relationships and career”. When these people have to miss an exercise session they experience feelings of loss, guilt, physical and psychological discomfort. Large amounts of time are dedicated to training, leading to many ‘negative addicts’ giving up other important aspects of their life.

Health risks of too much exercise

Exercise, like anything, can be carried too far. Overexercising stresses the body to the point of weakening the immune system, making people more prone to illness. Pushing yourself beyond your limits can lead to sore muscles, loss of appetite, headaches and trouble sleeping. More serious effects include joint pain and injuries, anaemia, weakening of the bones and the hormonal cycle shutting down (Cline, 2007).

Yes, exercise is good for you, but when it reaches the point of excess it can indeed make you sick. A study of Harvard Alumni by Stanford University’s Ralph Paffenbarger found death rates were lower for men who were involved in regular physical activity. But then death rates began to go up in those who burnt more than 3000 calories per week. His 10-year study also found that mood disturbances such as tension, depression, anger, confusion and anxiety were found to rise significantly as training loads increased.

Dr Kenneth Cooper, author of Aerobics, believes excessive exercise also produces unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals that cause harm to the body. These have been linked to health problems such as premature ageing, heart disease and cancer.

Why the addiction?

Psychological and physiological factors

There is still a great debate happening on the ‘why’ of exercise addiction. Some believe it’s associated with certain personality traits, including obsessive compulsive disorder, high-pain tolerance, high self-imposed expectations and narcissism.

Others propose it may be a result of low self-esteem, where exercise is used to improve this, or that endorphins released in the body during exercise, lead to a psychological state called ‘runners high’, which creates a relaxed state of being that people thrive to achieve over and over again. Some also say there are physiological causes, where the exerciser relies on exercise to increase their arousal to an optimal level.
Participants in sports that focus on body size and shape, such as dance, figure skating, ballet, gymnastics, distance running, body building, wrestling and boxing may be at higher risk.

Are you at risk?

Does all of this sound a little too familiar? Or perhaps alarm bells are ringing around one of your friends or family members? Well here are some of the typical symptoms of someone who is letting exercise take over their life:

  • Withdrawal

They will experience anxiety, fatigue and other similar symptoms if they don’t exercise. Or will have to exercise to relieve these.

  • Intention effects

The amount of exercise or length of exercise sessions is longer than originally intended.

  • Loss of control

A persistent desire to train or make unsuccessful attempts to reduce the amount of exercise they do.

  • Time

Large amounts of time are spent exercising and conflict with other areas of their life.

  • Continuance

Will continue to exercise even with persistent physical or psychological issues that are made worse from exercising, such as a recurring injury.

Other warnings signs are a fixation on weight loss, whereby they will talk about exercising to burn off a meal or treat. Compulsive exercisers will also try to lose weight in order to improve their exercise performance.  They often exercise alone and avoid interaction and exercise assessments, and will usually have a rigid routine.

However, as Amy Gleason, senior nutritionist from the McLean Hospital in the United States says, “unhealthy uses of exercise are not necessarily obvious. Exercisers won’t complain or bring their potential problems to anyone’s attention. Asking why a person is training or what their goals are is a great way to find out more.”

If you still feel like you can’t break the chains of obsessive exercise, consider talking to an expert, who can help you let go of it gradually.  A great book to check out is Appearance Obsession: Learning to Love the way you look, by Joni E. Johnston. This contains quizzes than can help you assess whether your exercise habit is becoming an unhealthy one. It also offers helpful suggestions, in addition to the ones I have given you.

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How to make the most of beach circuits and boot camps

The benefits of outdoor training

“Circuit training is an excellent way to frame your workouts regardless of whether you are working to time (i.e. 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off) or reps (i.e. 8–12 reps),” says personal trainer and owner of Flow Athletic Ben Lucas.

“You can tailor a circuit workout to suit your needs whether you want to work on your heart rate and endurance, or a slower strength-based workout.”

Sand also adds to the resistance, which Lucas says is great for your core, thighs and glutes – hello, booty. The unusual surface also helps with stability and is lower impact than running and sprinting on regular ground. Plus, with an array of exercise and timing options, you won’t get bored. Win, win, win.

Once a form of military entry training, outdoor boot camps typically involve a mix of bodyweight exercises, interval training and strength training in a group fitness environment – a good way to cover all fitness goals. Outdoor boot camps also help you to continuously progress and see results due to the variety of exercises and intensities involved.

For beginners, bodyweight exercises will likely produce some muscle gains, but for the more advanced you can add equipment such as kettlebells and resistance bands to allow for heavier loads and progression.

Max Gains

Limitations to keep in mind

The potential to improve all areas of your fitness and physique skyrocket given your ability to adjust the workout to your goal: want to lose fat? Keep the cardio exercises at high intensity with limited rest. Want to gain muscle? Add moderately weighted resistance exercise into the mix and increase your rest times between movements. Think time under tension – slow and steady movements to ensure the muscles are under load for longer periods of time, maximising ‘tone’.

That said, the high intensity and fast-paced nature of circuits can cause injury – particularly if overtraining and poor technique are a factor, warns Ferstera. Recovery sessions and a balanced training regimen, again, are important.

“Mixing up the type of activities you do in your boot camps means you’re likely to continue to see improvements. Most people who are stuck in a plateau and then have a rest from their training often find their plateau ends after their rest,” says exercise physiologist and exercise scientist Naomi Ferstera.

“Plus, when you’re enjoying what you’re doing, you’re more likely to keep going and push yourself harder.”

Doing what you enjoy seems to be the best strategy for success when it comes to getting your recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. A study published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise found that among two groups of people – one that did HIIT and the other longer moderate-intensity exercise – those who did moderate-intensity exercise compared to high-intensity reported greater pleasure and enjoyment, and felt more likely to keep it up.

If circuit training on the beach is your pick, Lucas recommends 3 to 4 workouts per week at 30 to 40 minutes in duration, supplemented with low-intensity steady-state cardio such as walking and yoga.

Try the following exercises, completing:

»10 reps

»Repeat for 3 rounds

»30 seconds’ rest between rounds

1. lateral lunges

2. squat jumps

3. push-ups

4. 20 metre shuttle sprints (use towels or cones as markers and set them out 20 metres apart)

“Training on the sand can cause lactic acid to build up in the legs, so you want to flush it out. Lighter exercise will ensure your muscles have a chance to recover, and will also keep your cortisol and inflammation levels in check,” he says.

Image: Elise Carver Surf Trainer.

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What it takes to become a professional bodybuilder, according to Steve Kuclo

Do you dream of getting paid to train and pose onstage? If so, you’ll want to heed IFBB pro Steve Kuclo’s advice.

As a kid growing up in St. Clair Shores, MI, Steve Kuclo would flip through the pages of FLEX and Muscle & Fitness magazines looking for workout programs and lifting tips to help him gain strength and size. “I’ve always loved competing, and I played a lot of sports growing up,” says Kuclo, who after two years of studying at the University of Michigan decided to change directions and become a full-time firefighter. About this time Kuclo also developed an itch to get onstage as a bodybuilder. After a few years of competing as an amateur, Kuclo, then 25, turned pro in 2011 at the NPC USAs. But he still had financial responsibilities, which meant he had to continue to juggle being a firefighter with his career as an IFBB pro—until last year.

 Like many top names in the industry, Kuclo uses the name recognition, income from sponsorships (he’s currently sponsored by AllMax Nutrition), and earnings from bodybuilding competitions as a platform to pursue other things. His biggest venture right now is a clothing company, Booty Queen Apparel, which he runs with his wife, IFBB bikini pro Amanda Latona-Kuclo. And being a body- builder, entrepreneur, and a dutiful husband means he “pretty much has three full-time jobs,” he says.

We’ll focus on one—being an IFBB pro bodybuilder. Think you have what it takes?

ON THE JOBThe lifestyle of an IFBB pro is a 24/7 grind—your training, nutrition, and sleep quality all have to be on point. Otherwise, your odds of flexing your way to glory are dismal at best. If you’re up for it, here’s what you can expect, according to Kuclo (Instagram: @stevekuclo).

THE DAILY GRIND“Monday through Friday, Amanda and I wake up early and take care of business for Booty Queen Apparel—answering emails, making sure we’re coming out with new products, and planning out appearances at expos. As for the gym, I’m lucky to have a training partner who is flexible, so I go either in the morning or at night for a couple of hours.”To remain nourished, Kuclo cooks at home and take his meals on the road with him.

BEST PART OF THE JOB“Meeting and greeting fans,” he says. “At the 2017 Mr. O expo, a guy said, ‘I had cancer, and watching your videos helped get me through some dark times.’ Meeting people like that is the most rewarding thing about what I do.”

WORST PART OF THE JOBAlong with the wear and tear of training, doing promotions for Booty Queen, and traveling to competitions, Kuclo says there’s another downside to the job: Your sex drive can plummet close to showtime. “If you put an apple pie and my wife in front of me, naked, two weeks out from a show, I know I’m in shape when I’d rather pick the apple pie…though I still may take my wife.”


What it Takes to Become a Professional…

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Best exercises for sport and cardio fitness

We take a look at top workouts and exercises for building up your sport and cardio fitness  think group fitness classes, running clubs, obstacle courses, hip-hop dance.


While not overly useful to the highly trained individual, low-key, entertainment-based group fitness classes or activities may provide a much needed push for the under-motivated.

“These types of workouts would be great for training for a five to ten kilometer fun run or obstacle course, but if your fitness levels are higher, you might find these exercises to be more of a fun sweat session,” says transformation coach and part-time athlete, Emilie Brabon-Hames.


Military-style obstacle courses have become popular for improving cardio fitness, burning calories and creating positive functional movement patterns. Courses such as True Grit not only provide a physical challenge, but also test your mental resolve and stamina, ensuring compliance. Beyond the 10 to 12 kilometers of the actual obstacle course, they often require a decent training component in preperation for the event.

“These are a fun, effective and challenging way to get your cardio in. You’re working out in a team environment, creating an encouraging atmosphere for increased motivation. People often push themselves harder in this type of environment than they would at the gym or running on a treadmill,” says nutritionist, trainer and online coach Brooke Turner.

“It’s a full body workout, so while you’re doing cardio you’re also challenging your strength. You might surprise yourself with what you achieve.”

Cardio fitness and increasing your breathing and heart rate have important health benefits, beyond body composition. Plus – we might as well admit it – courses that take you out of your comfort zone make you feel just that little bit bad-ass.

“Heart disease is the biggest cause of death for women in the world, and the first step to prevention is keeping the heart healthy. So sweating and making sure you are out of breath four to five times per week is beneficial not just for healthy heart function, but for endorphins, PMT and self confidence,” says Turner.

“Who doesn’t love knowing they can run ten kilometers or punch their way through a boxing class?”


Progression is obviously difficult without a structured plan and engaging in just one style of training will always allow your body to adapt or plateau. Whether you’re a gym junkie or group fitness fiend, Turner recommends varying your training routine.


Brabon-Hames agrees that you should mix it up and add some high intensity sessions into your workout routine.

“Short-term, you burn calories from any exercise. But if you really want to keep burning long after you finish that session, make sure it is of a higher-intensity to get that EPOC happening at a higher level and see continuous improvement,” she says.

“A mixture of resistance training, low-intensity steady-state cardio (LISS), cross-training and HIIT is your ultimate weapon to being fit.”


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Top fitness tips for building strong abs

Try: Pre-workout muscle engagement

When you’re pushed for time, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Pre-workout muscle engagement is a technique that aims to engage more muscles throughout your workout, which burns more calories and creates a stable base.

How: Try adding the following core and glute activation exercises into your routine:

a.   Toe Taps – 20 reps
b.    Plank – 1 min
c.    Leg Raises – 10 reps each leg
d.    Clams – 20 reps each leg
e.    Body Rolls – 10 reps

Complete 2 rounds

Why: A strong core will ensure you engage the correct muscles during your training and allow you to build a well-shaped physique.

INSIDER’S TIP: Begin each workout with the routine above and you will be well on your way to a killer core!
Activating these muscles prior to your workout will promote a muscle/ mind connection. This increases muscle fibre activation, improving your lifts and decreasing your risk of injury.

Alternatively, if you are unable to effectively engage your core, try a Pilates class to ensure you have the correct technique to build your base.

Tips by Zana, trainer at Goodlife Health Clubs Prahran.


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Do you postpone hitting the gym?

Here are 5 ways you can find motivation to work out

Sometimes, it’s tough to take the first step and sign up for a gym membership. Other times, it’s hard to get back to your routine after a break. We round up five ways to get back into the swing of things and hopefully keep your fitness regime going.

1. Find a friend

Pairing up with a workout buddy is one way to keep going with your fitness schedule. Making plans to work out together will make it harder to cancel, and make you both more accountable. Exercising with a friend or partner can also help you both stay motivated by congratulating each other on a workout well done and any goals reached. You could also make exercise more of a fun, social event by organising to grab a post-workout brunch or smoothie together.

2. Update your workout wardrobe

If you’re struggling to get back to the gym, buying some new sportswear to show off might help. Alternatively make a new purchase a well-deserved treat for hitting your exercise goals, it will help give you something to work towards.

Shutterstock (Get a friend to work out with you so you can support each other.)

3. Try a new class

Not only will a new sport or workout give your fitness regime a shake-up, but it could also teach you some new skills and help you make some new friends. If you’re always running why not try a Body Pump class for some resistance training? Already love resistance training? Stretch it out with some yoga. If you always swim breast stroke, book in with an instructor to teach you front crawl. The possibilities are endless!

4. Set a new goal

If you’ve taken a break from the gym, you might be feeling back to square one. Setting a new goal now that you’re back is one way to get yourself more motivated to start again, and to push yourself further. Try signing up for a run or sponsored swim, set yourself a new amount of steps to walk each week, or increase your workouts from 3 per week to 4. It doesn’t have to be too far or too much to start with, just something that is a challenge but also fun for you. Once you’ve achieved this goal, you can push yourself even further with another!

5. Keep track of your progress

Even if you’re not working towards a goal, keeping a track of your workouts will show you how far you have progressed and help keep you going. Invest in a fitness tracker as part of your back to the gym kit, a bit like updating your stationery for school, and make sure you’re wearing it daily to track all your activity as well as other important factors such as sleep. Alternatively, schedule workouts into your diary to keep a track of how many you make it to and what you achieved.


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Base Body Babes full-body barbell workout

Get stronger, fitter and feel more confident in the gym with this exclusive full-body workout by the Base Body Babes.”The barbell is our favourite piece of training equipment, as it can be used for such a great range of exercises. We like to say that ‘Load is King’ – the exercise that allows you to lift the heaviest loads will ultimately give you the best results, and the barbell allows you to do just that.

Although there is no magical number, we love the eight rep range as it allows you to build strength while still keeping the heart rate elevated for optimal calorie burn,” says the ladies, Felicia Oreb and Diana Johnson.Here’s what you need to do

A1 Barbell Back Squat

A2 Barbell Military Press

A3 Barbell Romanian Deadlift

A4 Barbell Bent-Over Row

A5 Barbell Split Squat

A6 Barbell Glute Bridges Perform each exercise

A1–A6 back to back, with no rest in between exercises

Complete 8 repetitions of each exercise Rest for 4 minutes after A6 Repeat 4–6 times NOTE: Choose weights that you believe you can complete all repetitions and sets with without failing, yet still keep the weight challenging enough to complete a great workout. Technique is most important when lifting heavy, so don’t compromise your form.

Ensure you are completing all repetitions and sets with perfect technique before increasing the weight.Let’s do this!Words/Workout: Felicia Oreb and Diana JohnsonPhotography: Vanessa Natoli / @vanesSanatoliphotography

Originally posted here:

Base Body Babes full-body barbell workout
Click Here!


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Bodybuilding.com Fit Team Member Spotlight: Joshua Dakin Pushes Human Limits

Look at him now and it’s a hard sell to believe that Joshua Dakin was bullied as a kid. Just imagine the pills of those bullies if they tried that trash today! Now that he’s a strapping hulk, crushing massive weight in powerlifting’s core lifts, no one gives him anything but compliments.

But back in middle school Josh was overweight, and bullied for it. He avoided sports and didn’t start a regular exercise routine until he was in high school. The gym gave him an escape from the trash talk, but he also found that in the weight room, he could achieve impressive feats and take control of his body for the first time.

“I had to find out how to train properly through trial and error,” Dakin says. “As high school progressed, it became clear I was abnormally strong—especially with deadlift and squat—compared to the other athletes and football players. I leaned down as time went by and became more interested in fitness because I liked that I wasn’t looking chubby anymore. I looked better, and as a result, I felt better.”

With his new physique and strength, Josh enlisted in the Marine Corps. Everything was progressing well until boot camp, when he fell ill with a severe case of pneumonia. That’s not the sort of environment where quitting is acceptable, so he refused to stop training. “I completed a 3-mile run with a 109-degree temperature, before finally collapsing, not responding to anyone,” Josh says. “That’s the last I remember before waking up in a hospital.”

The heatstroke caused by the fever damaged his internal organs. “They pretty much all were literally boiled internally,” He says. The incident and the damage to his vital organs led to a month in the hospital, another two months in rehab, and, unfortunately a medical discharge from the corps.

“When I came home after being discharged I was incredibly weak,” Josh says. “I dropped more than 30 pounds in the month after the heatstroke occurred and could barely stand for more than 30 minutes at a time before feeling like my legs were going to give out. This was the most depressing time in my life. I had to rebuild my body from scratch.”

He did just that, and three years later, Josh tested his hard work when he competed in his first powerlifting competition in Idaho. He didn’t know what to expect, but he ended up taking first place overall. That victory, and his new passion for powerlifting, set him on a course to join Bodybuilding.com and further advance his career in and out of the weight room.

QWhat is your position at Bodybuilding.com? How long have you worked here?

I am currently a customer service representative in the call center. I have been here just over a year, and honestly I love every minute of it. We take care of our customers.

What was your fitness level before working at Bodybuilding.com? What is your competition history like?

I was pretty active. I was lifting daily and sticking to my training routines. I will admit that my nutrition wasn’t that great though. I will say that I’ve significantly improved since I’ve been working here.

“To date, I have competed in four different powerlifting events. I also utilize some strongman exercises for conditioning, and I have my eyes on doing a bodybuilding show within the next year.”

To date, I have competed in four different powerlifting events. I also utilize some strongman exercises for conditioning, and I have my eyes on doing a bodybuilding show within the next year. I don’t really like to flaunt my strength. I try to not look like I’m searching for attention when I train.

What is it like working at Bodybuilding.com? How does it create a helpful fitness environment?

Honestly, it’s awesome! I love coming to work—even on my days off, just to train. The environment here is unlike any job I’ve had. Everyone is extremely supportive of their peers—especially the people competing or who have physical goals. We keep each other motivated and offer a hand to help one another out when possible.

What do you think of the new gym in the corporate office? Is it missing anything you need?

The gym is pretty sweet. I think we need more cowbell, j/k. But we could maybe use a prowler sled that we could push in the parking lot and a tire to flip when the weather warms up. Those are great conditioning tools; I found that they actually make conditioning fun, opposed to being on a stair-stepper for 30 minutes.

How does the Bodybuilding.com environment influence your health, fitness and appearance goals?

Our environment provides the support we need when we begin to feel overwhelmed. It’s honestly very cool that we have a job that supports its employees in this field.

Do you get asked for advice in the gym often?

I get asked about how to squat or deadlift properly almost daily actually! I don’t mind coaching anyone seeking help on their form. I actually take it as a compliment that they trust my opinion.

You’re still pretty young Josh, and are years from your prime. Do you think you’re on pace to maybe go pro some day?

In powerlifting, I honestly think I may have what it takes. I have some goals I’ve set this year and they appear to be on the horizon of being met very soon. If I meet them I may be able to compete on the pro level. If this happened, it would only be more motivation to train harder and continue to improve.

“I have some goals I’ve set this year and they appear to be on the horizon of being met very soon.”

Can you point out a moment in the gym when a co-worker asked you for advice?

What is your strategy when you are contacted by a customer? Honestly, paying full attention to the customer, just showing them we are here to help them to the best of our ability. Not a lot of companies allow their employees to do this and tend to be completely policy-driven. We legitimately care about our customers and will take care of them.

What is more important to you: looking good or being strong?

I like to try to balance it out. I’m not as ripped as some of the guys here, but I’m working on it. Being strong is a priority to me because it’s what I do, but I won’t use strength training as a reason to diet poorly and neglect basic conditioning. I want to try bodybuilding out because I believe these two goals can be balanced and will benefit each other if you know what you’re doing.

“Being strong is a priority to me because it’s what I do, but I won’t use strength training as a reason to diet poorly and neglect basic conditioning.”

Have you participated in the employee transformation challenge? How did that experience affect your life?

I am actually currently participating in it at the moment. I get compliments daily that I am looking way more lean and defined than prior. It honestly keeps me going, knowing I’m making progress. I’ve never made so much progress before, and it’s because of this support. It’s awesome.

Gym Rat Josh’s Lifting Regimen

I warm up on chest day with pull-ups to activate my lats for the bench press.

Warm up:

Nutrition: Sample daily meal-by-meal breakdown

Josh’s Supplement Stack

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Using Multiple Rep Schemes: Your Program For Power, Size, And Strength

If you listen to conventional bodybuilding and strength training wisdom, you probably believe that lifting for size and lifting for strength are totally separate endeavors. For decades, gurus and gym rats alike have been parroting the same old “3-5 reps for strength, 10-12 reps for size” mantra, and few people seem to question it.

Know what? I think it’s bullshit.

Have you ever seen a guy with huge legs, a broad back, and a massive chest who couldn’t put up some serious weight? On the other hand, how often do you see skinny guys lifting more than the experienced bodybuilders? Sure, you’ll see a 180-pound monster every now and again who can bench 405 or squat more than 600, but for the most part, size and strength go hand in hand.

The truth is that training for size and training for strength are basically the same. Instead of thinking about any single rep range as a “strength builder” or “size builder,” use them all to your advantage to train every fiber in your body and elicit maximal growth!

The Multiple Rep Range Program

Beyond Periodization

Periodization is the practice of transitioning from higher reps and lower weights to lower reps and higher weights (and vice versa)—over the course of a planned training cycle. It’s an effective, proven technique that’s long been used by powerlifters, weightlifters, and other strength athletes. But I think there’s a better way, at least for the more physique-oriented trainee.

Since each rep range is going to affect your strength, size, and overall look a bit differently—and because one isn’t more valuable than another—I favor a routine that includes them all in every workout. Instead of transitioning from one rep range to the next, I like to constantly improve my numbers in a variety of rep schemes, only taking steps back when my body needs a break.

“Periodization is the practice of transitioning from higher reps and lower weights to lower reps and higher weights (and vice versa)—over the course of a planned training cycle.”

Keep in mind, this may not be the optimal plan if you’re specialized or purely focused on powerlifting, but I find it yields the best results for maximum muscle size, strength, density, and tone. If you want that hard, constantly flexed look that experienced bodybuilders all seem to have, then you need to use multiple rep ranges.

Your Main Lifts

Of course, we can’t talk about rep ranges and progression schemes without actually discussing the lifts you’ll be performing. Think you’ll get away with doing nothing but leg presses for legs, machines for chest, and wimpy pull-downs for back? Think again!

I know some bodybuilders claim they get better fiber recruitment and mind-muscle connection with machines. That’s great for super-advanced guys, but if you aim to gain slabs of muscle, you need to do the big, basic lifts which tax your body and mind the most and place the greatest demand on your body to grow! These basic lifts are the squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press.

“These basic lifts are the squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press.”

Don’t worry, you’ll do more than just those four movements in this program, but they make up the four cornerstones of your training. You can certainly pick variations as long, as they allow you to use lots of weight and make relatively quick progress! You can’t chicken-out and substitute light dumbbell lunges for squats, for instance, but you can pick between high-bar and low-bar squats, vary your foot placement, depth, and other factors.

The same goes for the other moves: You might do incline or decline press instead of the regular bench press, sumo deadlifts rather than conventional, and do seated instead of standing military presses. Just make sure you stick with one choice per movement pattern for at least a couple of months at a time, otherwise you won’t be able to gauge your progress and gains.

“Here’s a good rule: No matter which rep range you use, always aim to leave one more rep in the tank.”

Choosing Your Reps

The rep ranges you utilize will vary based on experience level. Most lifters do best with three ranges: 3-5 reps, 6-8 reps, and 9-12 reps. If you’re a rank beginner who still doesn’t have great technique and a feel for each lift, you need to increase those rep numbers a bit—to 6-8, 9-12, and 13-15 reps.

I don’t like prescribing one-rep max percentages to determine how much you should lift for each rep range because some people can do a lot more reps with a given percentage than others. So here’s a good rule: No matter which rep range you use, always aim to leave one more rep in the tank. This means you should never miss a rep in training unless you’re testing your max.

In general, you should finish each set feeling like you probably could have just barely put up one more. Trust me, you’ll do enough overall work that you won’t need to blow a gasket on each and every set. You want to stay somewhat fresh and ensure progression from one workout to the next.

“Bodybuilding” Work

While those four basic lifts are by far the most important aspects of your program, you still don’t want to leave out your accessory work. Weightlifters might call this “bodybuilding work,” but in my opinion, just about any athlete who needs to get bigger and stronger should do these movements. Accessory movements are things like pull-ups, abdominal work, calf raises, biceps curls, and the like. The point of these movements is to “fill in the gaps” left by the four main movements.


There are hundreds, if not thousands of different accessory movements you can choose. So your accessory work is basically up to you. I will say, however, there are a few rules to follow:

  • Your upper-back work should include barbell rows, dumbbell rows, pull-ups (not pull-downs), and maybe some shrugs if the deadlifts aren’t doing enough to build your traps.
  • For your arms, use variations on the curl, triceps extension, and rear-delt raise—don’t do the same movements over and over.
  • For lower body, you’ll need heavy calves and abs exercises as well as a couple of additional moves for quads and hamstrings. As much I love the squat, you’ll probably run out of steam too soon if you try to do nothing but squats for your legs, so don’t be afraid to use the leg press or hack squat machines once your core (and mind) are too fried to do another set of squats.

The Program—Finally!

Alright, here’s the basic template. The most important things here are the basic movement patterns, the rep ranges, and the progression of weight and reps from week to week. Remember, you can sub in other exercises or exercise variations as long as they meet the same goals. Rest for a couple of minutes or as long as necessary between sets, because these sets will make you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck!

Main lift
Main lift

Main lift
Main lift
  • Barbell Deadlift Barbell Deadlift Deadlift (standing on 45-lb plates)
    2 sets of 3-5, 2 sets of 6-8, 2 sets of 9-12 reps
  • Upper Back
  • Bent Over Barbell Row Bent Over Barbell Row Close-Grip Barbell Row
    4 sets of 10-20 (all the same weight)
  • Secondary
  • Hack Squat Hack Squat Hack Squat
    4 sets of 10-20 (all the same weight)
  • Sit-Up Sit-Up Sit-Up (weighted)
    4 sets of 15-20

The Progression Scheme

Since there’s no traditional periodization here, your progression from one workout to the next is going to be simple. For your main lifts, add 5 pounds to the bar for each rep range every workout. Once you’re not able to get at least the bottom-end number of reps for any particular rep range, take 15 pounds off the bar (yes, I said 15) and start anew. You will be able to get more reps immediately and, in a few weeks, blow past your old sticking point.

For your secondary lifts—and any others for which you’ll do four sets of 10-20 reps—keep using the same weight until you’re able to get at least 15 reps for all four sets in the same workout. At that point, you can increase the weight, but not by so much that you can’t stay within the 10-20 range for all four sets.

“For your secondary lifts—and any others for which you’ll do four sets of 10-20 reps—keep using the same weight until you’re able to get at least 15 reps for all four sets in the same workout.”

Finally, for all of the upper-back work, use as much weight as you can without sacrificing form or missing reps. Ideally, you’d use the same weight for all four sets, but don’t worry if you have to lighten the load for the third or fourth set to stay within the rep range. Once you hit near the top of the range for all four sets, it’s time to go heavier!

Let’s Go To Work!

Seems almost too simple, doesn’t it? But that’s how your training should be, at least most of the time! Far too many new lifters spend hours upon hours over-thinking their programs. Smart training is essential, but your progression should rely on consistent hard work, not some overwrought, pseudo-scientific program. The greatest lifters—whether they’ve competed in powerlifting or bodybuilding—have busted their asses with simple programs to reach their level of success.

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Original article – 

Using Multiple Rep Schemes: Your Program For Power, Size, And Strength

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