Thursday, June 29, 2006

New Rule for Bodybuilding #15

We've already covered what the most irrelevant question in bodybuilding is (Rule #6). Now let's examine why it is so very irrelevant.

15. If you lift like a powerlifter, you better be a card-carrying member. Otherwise, you're sabotaging your own gains.

There are two different ways to perform bench press. They are distinctly different:

Bodybuilding Bench Press:
It is intended for the development of the chest, or pectoral muscles, anterior deltoids, serratus anterior, but a variation exists for the triceps. When done correctly, this is an exercise for the chest, not the arms and shoulders.

"It is properly performed while lying on one's back with one's shoulder blades pinched together on a specially designed bench with a weighted barbell suspended on a rack. Not pinching one's shoulder blades together causes the anterior deltoids (frontal shoulders) to take over." source

Powerlifting Bench Press:
Is executed with the shoulder blades apart, making it an exercise mostly for the shoulders and back. More weight can be lifted this way, but...who cares? Bench Press is not the standard measure of upper body strength, but many believe that, incorrectly.

The real measure upper body strength is the condition of the core.

Likewise, there are 2 different ways to perform squat:

Bodybuilding Squat:

"You get greater overall muscle and strength gains from the squat than from any other exercise," says Jeff Volek, Ph.D., R.D., C.S.C.S., an exercise researcher at the University of Connecticut..."Squats create an overall anabolic environment in the body that maximizes gains from other exercises [in your workout]," says Volek. Because squats involve a large muscle group and require a tremendous amount of energy, they trigger the release of extra testosterone and growth hormone in the bloodstream. And that'll help you build your upper body, too."

The bar is removed from the rack, the lifter takes a step or two back. Feet are lined up under the shoulders at shoulder-width. The beginning position for squat is when the knees are very slightly bent, just short of locking out. This engages the quadriceps from the beginning. The movement continues (depending on the conditions of the knees) a bit past 90 degrees or is done as a "full squat," lowering oneself almost all the way down. If you are curious about your form, do front squats before you do (traditional) back squats. They're challenging, that's why you see so few doing them in the gym. Use a Smith machine.

If most of the driving force of the legs is focused on the ball of the foot, the movement concentrates on the quads. This is why some people elevate their heels with a plank or 5 pound plates, or simply do front squats. If most of the driving force is centered on the heel, the hamstrings and glutes will have greater involvement in the movement. When very heavy weights with the use of a belt are attempted, half squats and quarter squats also contribute to hypertrophy. source I recommend using a Smith machine.

A belt is not usually used so that the muscles of the core and midsection are involved. Wearing a belt on every set of squats is like using crutches on a treadmill (unless you have back problems or are trying to lift too much weight for yourself).

If your thighs look more like drumsticks, you'll need to squat them into shape. But don't overdo it. "When you handle heavy weights too frequently, you risk overtraining," says Jim LaFountain, an exercise physiologist and president of the All-American Fitness Center in New York City. Instead, gradually increase the amount of weight you lift. "You want to get used to having heavy weights on your back," says LaFountain. To that end, do squats 2 days a week--1 day of 12, eight, six, four, and two repetitions with heavy weights, followed 2 days later by five sets of five with moderate weights. Repeat this regimen for 6 to 8 weeks, or until it becomes easy, and then restart the cycle, adding heavier weights."

Works the gluteal muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, abdominals, and lower back An entire generation of gym-goers has heard the same dictum: Never allow your thighs to sink below parallel on the squat, or you'll risk doing serious damage to your knees. But studies have shown that bad form--not range of motion--causes knee problems. And if you cut your squats short, you may limit your gains. Start with the bar resting across your trapezius muscles. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, your knees straight, and your back in its natural alignment [A]. Slowly sit back as you lower yourself as far as you can while keeping a slight arch in your lower back [B]. Pause at the bottom, then press your heels into the floor as you push yourself back up to the starting position. Do three sets of six to 10 repetitions."
Powerlifting Squat:

The bar is removed from the power rack and a spotter is used. This form of squat ends at exactly when the knees form a 90 degree angle. This maximizes the amount of weight that can be lifted back up. BUT SO WHAT? The bar is very heavily loaded with weight and a belt is required to stabilize the midsection.

Finally, there are 2 different ways to perform deadlift:

Bodybuilding Deadlift:
Movement begins with the weight on the ground or held in the air. An excellent exercise animation is here on this site, click on LEGS, then click on Deadlift. Then take a look at this deadlift clip. Good written description here.

Powerlifting Deadlift:
Movement begins with a very heavily loaded barbell, on the ground. Rest between sets is maximized. source

Powerlifters only care about three exercises: bench press, squat, and deadlift. They perform these 3 exercises very differently from bodybuilders in order to maximize the amount of weight (a number) lifted. For them, the more rest; the better. In powerlifting, the less weight you can lift, the more of a wuss you are. Notice that one doesn't get to stop being a wuss either, because well, numbers can get very large. Infinity and stuff.

In contrast, bodybuilders perform the exercises in a way that maximizes muscle growth (hypertrophy). For them, proper form and intense burning sensations throughout the legs are the goal. In bodybuilding, the more rest you take (over 2 minutes), the more of a wuss you are.

Don't lift like a powerlifter unless you are a powerlifter.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

New Rule for Bodybuilding #14

14. Drink lots of water, most especially during workouts. Vigorous exercise for only 1 hour can lead to a loss of 2 liters of water, evaporated as sweat. That's equivalent to a large plastic bottle of soda (half a gallon). Drink water between sets. Don't just take sporadic trips to the drinking fountain; carry a water bottle. It makes things easier.

If you wait till you're thirsty, you're already on your way to dehydration.* Keep drinking water throughout your workout, even if you're not thirsty. Cramps are a sign of dehydration.

"But when I drink water while I'm running, I get cramps."

If you get a cramp right after drinking water during exercise, it means that you drank the water too late. If you had kept drinking water from the beginning, you wouldn't have gotten a cramp at all.

If you don't have some container for water, you could be dehydrated every time you workout. I had to learn to make drinking water a between set activity.

Dehydration can lead to temporarily impaired mental functioning...which could lead to grunting or even banging your dumbbells together...which could lead to me making this face :|
Water: Improving the Elixir
It's very difficult to get people to drink the water their bodies need. Why is this so hard? By now, everyone knows that you should drink about eight glasses of water every day to help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your body functioning properly. However, few people drink all eight glasses and some people go all day without drinking any water at all. Why is that?

What I've discovered is that many people simply don't like water. They don't like the way it tastes. In our culture of sugary sodas, fruit juice drinks, and other super-sweet beverages, people have become conditioned to seek a more intensely flavored beverage than water. This is problematic, because most sweet drinks are laden with high-calorie sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, which are devastating America's waistlines.

So, we need to come up with a way to make water taste better so more people will drink it. This is easier than you'd think, and we don't need to add sugary substances to do that. Here are some suggestions to improve the way water tastes:

  1. Many spas offer water flavored with citrus fruits, like lemon, lime, and orange. Recreate this spa experience at home by filling a pitcher with ice water and dropping in a few thin slices of the fruit of your choice.
  2. Sparkling water, such as Perrier, is convenient, flavorful, and filling, because of the carbonation. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime to vary the flavor.
  3. Various naturally-flavored waters have made an appearance on the market, such as FruitWater, made by the folks who make VitaminWater. These beverages are delicious, all-natural, low-calorie, and convenient.

These are just a few options for ways to get more water in your diet. People often mistake thirst for hunger, so the next time you feel the urge to snack, try chugging a glass of lemon-scented water instead. Chances are, it will take care of your craving.

"Glug! You may be drinking too much … water" (is 8 glasses a day a myth?)
*"Stay hydrated without gaining weight"This nutritionist says: "It used to be thought that when you were thirsty, it was “too late” — and that you were already dehydrated. Not true! So drink when you are thirsty."
I'm not sure what her source is, but her article is addressed to everyone especially people who don't get any regular vigorous exercise. Sedentary people. Couch people.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

New Rule for Bodybuilding #13

13. Stretch--after you finish lifting.

Stretching your muscles before you lift hard only makes the muscles weaker.

So this defeats the purpose of using creatine to boost available energy stores in order to lift harder and heavier, contracting as many fast twitch muscle fibers as possible.

Before the exercise, warm up the muscle by isometrically contracting it hard or doing a light warm up set. A warm up is sufficient.

Stretching is important only after lifting. Stretching the muscle(s) you've just finished contracting in your workout helps lengthen the muscle(s). After exercises that continuously and forcefully shortened the muscles, it's good to open them back up. When I stretch after lifting, I don't feel as stiff the following days and supposedly stretching helps improve the overall quality of fibers as they regrow.

Holding a stretch for 15 to 30 seconds is fine. More than 30 seconds is not much more beneficial; one gets diminishing returns. Stretching for longer, for minutes at a time, can be beneficial, but not after one just finished lifting/resistance training. Yoga or Pilates = good. A good article: "Now That's a Stretch! (And It Won't Hurt a Bit)." Another good reference

Saturday, June 24, 2006

New Rule for Bodybuilding #12

12. Your body's metabolism can be sped up just by changing around the same stuff you eat already.

-Take your total calories that you need for a day and divide them into 5-6 meals. This will drive up your metabolism. This is easily done by placing two reasonable snacks in between meals.

-Skipping a meal(s) will not lead to weight loss or make you more "cut," contrary to popular belief. It will do the opposite--eating one or two huge meals per day is an effective way to miss out on the muscular gains and slow the metabolism to a crawl--storing fat in preparation for a famine. And considering how many of us tend to eat these days, three meals per day is a recipe for obesity.

There are two meanings for diet: "caloric budget" or "depriving one's self." Most people miss the first meaning and go straight for the second one. But depriving one's self is basically making one's pre-existing pleasure drive for food even more acute in priority. Depriving yourself of food you've learned to count on may only make you want it more. Don't starve yourself, there's no need.

If you're already overweight, don't eat more; eat more often. Throughout the day. You'll start to forget what hunger is. You won't gorge when you do finally eat. You will drive up your metabolism.

You mean...I can change my metabolism just by changing how I divide up my meals throughout the day?!


If you're already overweight, take whatever you're eating now, in an entire day. Imagine it laid out in neat pile on a gymnasium floor (we may need the space). Take a giant imaginary knife and divide it up into six equal portions.

These are your six meals for the day, spread throughout time, your 16 or so waking hours. Eat up. Your metabolism will get faster. You will not want to finish off all of the second meal, or the third one, or the fourth one. It begins to feel much like you're eating all the time. You'll gradually or suddenly realize that what you were eating was mostly driven by self-imposed cravings. This budgeting is the real meaning of dieting, not self-deprivation.

Forget that imaginary stuff. This is more easily done by placing two reasonable "snacks" in between meals. These are like Mini-Me, but they are mini-meals. :) I like almonds + raisins or a PB and honey sandwich.

This is a reasonable plan for a good diet (diet as in "menu," not "starving") and it involves eating all day long.

If a person wants to lose weight, they usually think, "I'll go running!" Personally, I don't enjoy running for long periods. I do like sprinting and I like elliptical machines and recently learned how to row. But you don't have to run or do aerobics. And too much aerobics will limit your muscle gains if you're lifting weights also.

If you're devoting too much time to cardiovascular workouts, it could be compromising your muscle development. When you jog, you use mostly slow-twitch muscle fibers, and the constant pounding seems to have a shrinking effect on your upper-body muscles. It's best to do sprints for your cardio at a track or football field. On a treadmill, after a light 3-minute warmup jog, sprint for 30 seconds, then rest for a minute, and repeat this sequence for 10 minutes."

What is the aerobic exercise that burns the most calories?
Rowing and ballet dancing are about tied

Benefits of cardio. Good tips. Cardio and brainpower article. Body For Life Cardio plan.

Lifting weights is anaerobic. Anaerobic work persuades your body to adapt. Muscle tissue uses up energy. Fat tissue just stores it; fat just sits. If one weight trains, one can lose weight while doing nothing but just sitting. This benefit of anaerobics cannot be said about aerobics. Lifting weights will transform your body composition: more muscle, less fat, stronger bones.

Here is an excellent free workout program for the entire body that is easy to understand and printable. It's good for more advanced lifters too

If your metabolism is already high naturally, you are a "hard-gainer." Eat more carbs, and track the amount of protein you're eating over time.

In sum, the primary purpose of adding snacks is not to eat less at the following meal. The purpose of adding snacks is to drive up your metabolism.

New Rule for Bodybuilding #11

11. Don't increase your protein intake haphazardly (randomly; or at whim), because "everyone else" seems obsessed with eating much more dietary protein.

Protein should make up about 25% of the total calories consumed in a day. The 25% or thereabouts, is true for everyone, from couch potatoes to bodybuilders.

Protein must be eaten with carbohydrates, ideally including some fiber. Drinking a protein mixture or shake without also eating carbs is not effective. The protein gets used up for energy and not for rebuilding muscle fibers. So have some nice bread with that shake. One of the best and easiest things to eat after a workout: a bowl of cereal. Make mine with soymilk, please :)

Competitive bodybuilders recommend eating 1.0 g to 1.5 g of protein, per pound of body weight, per day (they have"special" dietary requirements).

Nutritionists, dieticians recommend for normal bodybuilders, eating 0.7 g to 0.9 g of protein, per pound of body weight, per day.

"Too much of a good thing can be, well, a bad thing. "Your body can use only so much protein, and then some of it is just converted into fat instead of going to your muscles," says Mike Bracko, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., an exercise physiologist at the Institute of Hockey Research in Calgary, Alberta. He recommends consuming no more than 0.5 to 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight each day."

So vary protein from 0.7 to 1.0 g per pound of bodyweight and see what works best. Excess protein gets stored as fat. 1.5 grams is a lot of protein.

Hard-gainers should eat more carbs with their 0.7 g to 1.0 g of protein, per pound of body weight, per day.

Digesting excessive and large amounts of protein is apparently not as hard on healthy kidneys as many describe, unless there is pre-existing kidney disease (or obesity).

Whey protein from the nutrition store (or online) is supposedly better than soy protein. Whey protein comes from milk. It is not the same thing as weight gainer shakes (which contain carbs and fats).

Runners (3x a week): 0.5 g to 0.7 g
Sedentary people: 0.4 g
(sedentary is from Latin, means "sitting," as in sedimentary rock layers)

-You don't lose muscle mass while sleeping, contrary to popular misconception. So eating large amounts of protein before bed, or waking up to drink protein is excessive, despite what the competitors say.

You may only be imagining losing muscle. As you use your muscles, blood enters them and stays there. As you sleep, that extra blood leaves your muscles. When you wake up in the morning, your muscles, like everyone's muscles, are "flat." They don't look as impressive while you brush your teeth, as they do while you're hitting it hard in the gym. So you may get the impression that you lost something but the muscles themselves are not smaller, they're just not "pumped up."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

New Rule for Bodybuilding #10

10. The term "pain" in bodybuilding is not clear; misleading.

Think of the phrase, "No pain, no gain." This is an old truism in bodybuilding. But don't mistake that usage of the word "pain" with something else. The use of "pain" there makes it a catchy rhyme, but that’s about it.

The meaning is different from the common definition of pain. Pain, as a symptom, is a body's way of telling the owner that something is not right; that it's time to visit the doctor.

In bodybuilding "pain" means learning to understand the feeling of burning during lifting and soreness afterwards.

The burning sensation during lifting is rewarding--it means that one is having an effective workout. The burning is caused by lactic acid, produced from oxygen debt and contraction of mostly fast-twitch muscle fibers. Large amounts of lactic acid produced from hard work can be a good thing.


Lactic acid (lactate) directly or indirectly signals the body for internal release of testosterone (T) in men and human growth hormone (HGH). Followed by release of IGF-1, insulin-like growth factor. These are endogenous (made within the body) and released naturally in order for one to adapt to the amount of work one is doing. And so one gets better at that work. Humans are amazingly adaptive.

Then we would want more lactic acid, to get more T and HGH naturally, right? Yes.


1. By working major muscle groups at once.
The quadriceps alone make up a large fraction of total muscle mass. "the lower body...contains more than 50 percent of your body's muscle mass." And so working the legs hard makes the entire body bigger, given both proper nutrition and rest. Squats. Deadlift. Putting the most effort toward upper-body exercises is not productive. Make [reasonable] leg workouts with proper form and increasingly less rest, a priority. It's a must. It's unusual for a guy with normal endocrine function to have a cartoonishly large upper body if the legs are not proportionately as big, ie, being "top heavy."

"A Stronger Upper Body
Training large muscle groups with heavy lifting produces a natural surge in growth hormone and testosterone. And there's nothing like squats to involve the large muscle groups. To perform the following variation on the squat, you have to activate most of your body's muscles simultaneously"

"Squats create an overall anabolic environment in the body that maximizes gains from other exercises [in your workout]," says Volek.

2. By varying workouts periodically.
If you're doing the same workouts for month(s) and you're not feeling the same intensity of soreness, then your body has already adapted. It's time to up the intensity* of your workout a notch or three. Either lift heavier, rest less between sets, or change your routine for a while. After, let your legs rest and recover.

The muscle soreness after working out eventually becomes a reward. It says, "What you did in the gym yesterday is working." Personally, I like the feeling. I just gradually learned how to appreciate it. The soreness is caused by micro-level damage to muscle tissue. The result is repair and/or growth (hypertrophy), in order to adapt.

Remember: muscle growth occurs while one is resting between workouts, not while one is actually lifting. Rest is therefore necessary when one is finished lifting CORRECTLY

Friday, June 16, 2006

New Rule for Bodybuilding #9

9. Know what you're going to do in the gym that day--before you get there.

Walking into the gym with no idea of what you'll be doing that day is a recipe for failure. Training requires a bit of forethought. Not knowing what you'll do that day can lead to spending too much time lifting.

Workouts are more effective if they last from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours at the most.

Workouts lasting for 2-3 hours means that the volume of work is too high while intensity is suffering as a result. If both intensity and volume are high at the same time it could lead to overtraining. But doing both at the same time is likely not the case. The more likely case is resting for so long that one totally cools off, back to resting heart rate. Get warmed up and stay warmed up.

If one usually works out for hours, it might make it easier to rationalize not exercising by saying, "I don't have the time to workout." If workouts normally exceed an hour and a half, they're not most effective anyway. What one is really saying is, "I don't have time to workout [the way that I'm used to working out]."

Many lift rarely yet so hard that on their first day or "first day back," overdo it and become so sore and stiff the following days that they associate lifting with "bad pain."

For many who lift regularly then take a long break, on returning, try to lift the amount of weight they were lifting when they lifted last. Yet when they lifted last they were at their peak of endurance and strength for those exercises. All they while, they remember how it feels to lift ("good") and maybe beat themselves up about not being "as strong" or not keeping an "ideal" workout schedule ("bad"). Why anchor good [physical] feelings to bad [emotional] feelings of disappointment?

Be nice to yourself. Don't lift for other people. Lift for yourself. If your mind-muscle connection is developed, the numbers on the weights do not matter; how you want others to perceive your workout does not matter.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

New Rule for Bodybuilding #8

8. 'Men's Fitness' magazine is a bodybuilding magazine.

So I'm walking through the aisles of the local bookstore. I spot Men's Health which is a decent and mostly relevant magazine. Seated next to it was a magazine called "Men's Fitness." I wonder to myself, "is that from the Men's Health people?" So I open it up and look for the editorial credits and browse the content.

let's recap:

Bodybuilding magazines are run by the industry of competitive bodybuilding. The IFBB was founded by supplement profiteers. Bodybuilding magazines are brochures for selling supplements.

Most supplement ads display pictures of professional competitors, putting them on a pedestal, a manufactured "ideal" so readers can aspire to look like them--even though competitive bodybuilding, since the 1950's, is "soaked" in anabolic or androgenic steroids (AAS).

Most supplements in most supplement ads are expensive pee and poo; often taste like that too.

The vast majority do not care to compete on stage, make a career out of it, sell their soul, etc.

People who lift for years at the gym and read bodybuilding magazines, learning "reality" vs. "fantasy," learn to spot normal human growth compared to abnormal growth.

"Men's Fitness" magazine is a bodybuilding magazine and a tacky one at that. It is not a wellness magazine. The editorial credits are the same as for the two biggest bodybuilding magazines. It is chock full of photos of abnormal growth. I don't think "fitness" people care to read irrelevant magazines.

When compared the vast population, relatively few people are actually card-carrying professional bodybuilders who compete on stage. Yet why are they on every magazine rack? Why such a circulation for these magazines when the vast majority of people do not even care to compete? Hmmm....

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

New Rule for Bodybuilding #7

7. Learning the exercise correctly comes before "doing" the exercise.

Exercises are always defined in at least two parts. These two parts answer two questions:

1. Muscle and its exercises
Part 1 is so well-known that it's practically fact.

2. Execution of the exercise
You are on your own to learn it

1. If you want to make a particular muscle bigger, part #1 is correct regarding your favorite muscle (YFM). Part #1 is done well on this website. They even have clips of mount and dismount procedure for exercises, which are so-so.

2. BUT if you want to know how to do the exercise:

YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN, even if you have a personal trainer, even if you have explicit written descriptions of how to do it in front of you.

There is no universal standard for part #2 because every source describes every exercise differently. Trusting one and only one source may not be in your best interest. Some sources leave out things. Part #1 is done well at the link above, but part #2 is not so great for detail. Therefore, find good descriptions of exercise execution with relevant detail.

This page at Men's Health has great verbal descriptions within entire workouts.
Body for Life has two good pages of mostly visual information (and they're fun to click through).
Here are the links:

good #1 muscles and exercises
good #2 at Men's Health
good visual #2 exercise animations at Body For Life
good visual #2 videos at BFL with real people demonstrating

Learn the exercises with low weight. A useful habit is to learn the exercise with low or no weight or with just the bar by doing this was a warm-up before each exercise. This is your insurance that your mind-to-muscle connection is developing and that you'll have correct form when you add more weight or resistance.

Learn the exercises correctly because it is necessary for you discover what correct form feels like to you. We all tend to focus on the muscle itself, but the muscular system is a slave to the nervous system.

The nervous system comes first in bodybuilding. Every movement begins in the brain. We see the results in the muscular system. A neuromuscular connection is one between mind and muscle. These connections can be made stronger by just using the muscles.

We all had to learn to tie our shoes. It was slow-going at first but we got better as we did it again and again. They're called "repetitions" for a reason. Do them right for yourself from the start. Print out your exercise descriptions and take them with you to the gym as you learn. Most people bypass this step altogether but what we want is results.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

New Rule for Bodybuilding #6

What is the most irrelevant question in bodybuilding?

"What do you bench press?"

Who cares?

6. Ask the right questions. Questions are the answer. If one focuses on a poor question, one will get a poor answer. Ask yourself, why was it that I joined this gym in the first place?

Ask questions like:

"How do I bench press (or squat, or deadlift...)?

"What does my chest look like after doing this particular chest exercise once a week for a couple of years?"

"Am I getting the results I signed up for?"

If not, relearn how to do the exercise correctly. In fact, skip bench press all together if you want. Some bodybuilders don't do bench because they hate it. There are many ways to workout the pectorals. Do machines or start with light dumbbells, then get heavier with more experience, as you improve your mind-muscle connection.

Did you know? It is possible to do bench press almost entirely using one’s arms and shoulders. It is possible to learn to bench press 2 or 3 times one's body weight while the chest does not grow at all.
"[Bench press] is properly performed while lying on one's back with one's shoulder blades pinched together" "Not pinching one's shoulder blades together causes the anterior deltoids (frontal shoulders) to take over."
So the goal is not to just push the weight up, the goal is to lift the weight by fully contracting the pectorals.

So the "How much do you bench?" question, most often asked by clueless people, contributes greatly to popular misconceptions about what one is supposed to be doing in the weight room. It is the question most responsible for all the wannabe powerlifters you see at the gym. Barrel-chested and stout is not what you want. You want to look better naked, not worse. Remember your first concern is not larger numbers your first concern is about a better body. Your measure of progress is not the number of plates on the bar, is it?

Begin with an obsession for numbers on bench it will begin to pervade all the other exercises too so that they're all done incorrectly with too much weight. And, I'm not saying that anyone asks that question maliciously, it's an example of another worthless misconception.

I used to relish each and every five-pound increase in my one-rep max for bench press but what I really wanted was what many guys want--bigger chest muscles. So don't get me wrong--observing one's own measurable progress is one of the great joys of exercise. But I wasn't doing myself any favors by lifting very hard yet incorrectly and ultimately not getting results. Start out with good form. Don't rush things. Ask yourself, "Why is it that I'm doing this, again?" "How could I do this more effectively to get better results?"

Saturday, June 10, 2006

New Rule for Bodybuilding #5

If you're just starting out, begin by learning the basic exercises with little weight (#2), some recommend using no weight, just the bar for the first couple of weeks. Then remember:

5. Do not create a habit for yourself, of either grunting loudly while lifting, or of banging your dumbbells together.

If I were teaching someone, say, how to drive, I would suggest not getting into bad habits in the first place by avoiding them from the start. I would say, "don't learn to drive while having a phone glued to your ear at the same time."

Grunting = way too much weight for what you can handle or needy for attention. I have heard people do a Tarzan-like call. I have heard guys making sexual-type noises while lifting in front of women, as if that would get them turned on or interested.

"If I've just heard you grunting in the weight room like a walrus, there's no way I'll talk to you." --Nina, 24, florist

If you really feel that grunting is in fact useful to you consider this--your grunting may just be a way for you to exhale a bit of air as you are giving it your all to get the last rep finished. Try just exhaling by blowing out air, and forgetting the noise part.

Banging = lack of control, lack of proper form, or lack of consideration for others trying to lift, lack of consideration for the gym owners who have their bolted dumbbells slowly and gradually broken; lack of consideration for others who have to use broken equipment. :| But most importantly, if you bang your weights together during certain chest and shoulder exercises, you are not fully contracting at the end of the movement with a pause and so you're form could use some adjustment.

If you picked up either of these habits because you watched “some guy” at the gym do the same thing, you will have to unlearn them because it is distracting to you, yes you, and very annoying to others (me). It is not necessary to incorporate useless quirks into your routine and making them into habits. The good part is that it's easy--just learn the exercises correctly with low weight. You might get better results and others won't feel uncomfortably embarrassed.

New Rule for Bodybuilding #4

4. Rest is very important. When you are finished lifting.

There are two meanings for "rest." Rest between workouts and rest between sets.

Muscle growth occurs while one is resting between workouts, not while one is actually lifting. Rest is therefore necessary--when you one is finished lifting CORRECTLY and HARD.

Rest between sets is overrated unless you're new to weight training. It's a must if you're learning the exercises. Later on, try to reduce the amount of rest between sets. Less rest between sets can be used to drive up intensity.

Less rest time can sometimes increase the amount of testosterone your body is producing," says Bracko. Try supersets--performing two exercises back to back without rest. For instance, do a set of bench presses immediately followed by a set of seated cable rows. Then rest for 90 to 180 seconds."
If you rest for one minute or two minutes between sets, that's great. Three minutes is too long unless you're supersetting, or doing 21's, or it's heavy duty day. If you need that much rest in order to complete your "8 to 12 reps" then you're doing too much weight. Try slowing down the movement of each repetition with less weight. Vary the time it takes to complete one repetition, for example, 2 seconds up, pause, 2 seconds down; 4 seconds up, pause, 4 seconds down.

You do not want to cool down completely after you get warmed up - until you are finished. If your routine is to lift very hard then rest for a long time, then you are a powerlifter. You don't want to look like a powerlifter because you want to look better naked. Occasionally, lifting like a powerlifter can help shock your body into new growth. Doing it every single time like that (3-4 heavy reps with 3+ minutes of rest) means you're a powerlifter. If you lift like a powerlifter, you'll end up looking like a powerlifter.

Few people time their rest between sets with a clock, but instead go by some sort of "feeling" of what is “about a minute." Most end up misjudging the time while doing their favorite between-set activities: watching others lift, talking shop about lifting for 5-10, etc. If I rest for five minutes, I might as well just leave the gym because warming up more than once leads to inefficient workouts.

A much better between-set activity is to contract the muscle you just finished working, but without the weight. This is called isometric contraction. Isometric contraction is necessary and should be done after completing each set: it can give clues as to whether you just did the exercise correctly or no and it may help “fill in the gaps” in the development of the muscle. Contract the muscle (hard) and think about the muscle. One great way to develop your mind-muscle connection is to:

1) contract the muscle before even doing a warm-up set

2) contract the muscle after each set

This, you don’t have to make into a permanent habit but it works. If you’ve ever tried to make your pecs “dance” this will help you achieve that goal. Doing that requires a well-developed mind-muscle connection.

Isometric contraction is not the same thing as posing. You don't have to “pose” unless you want to do so. Posing is a term used by bodybuilders who do their thing on stage. There are about 6 standard poses when every muscle in the body is contracted at once and held that way. They have names like "front double biceps," "side chest," "most muscular." Competitors pose this way because their entire bodies are being judged--from head to foot. They want to look the best they can. Posing is not necessary for building muscle, unless you plan to get up on stage.

New Rule for Bodybuilding #3

3. You don't absolutely need to do any exercises that require a spotter.

If your gym is adequate, it will have equipment and be set-up for you to do everything you need without a spotter or trainer if you do a little reading before you get there. Having a spotter is good for powerlifters or people who put too much weight on for themselves and for those who think they must do very heavy free-weight exercises.

Spotters are good for beginners who are doing free weights. I'm saying you don't have to do free weights, at least not in the beginning. Arnold says everyone should begin with free weights but his reasoning is poor. He says secondary muscles involved in an exercise, the ones with less involvement but are necessary for stabilization, need development too. That could be true...but lever-type and Hammer Strength machines require support muscles also. Machines require secondary muscles, just like lifting free weights does.

Anyway, if you need a spot on a machine to have correct form--you're using too much weight. As soon as you notice your form is starting to deviate due to fatigue--stop--decrease the amount weight, then continue.

Having a partner is good if you motivate each other, comment on form, etc., but it's not necessary. If you're uncertain about it, then yes, use a spotter, but don't let the lack of a training partner or personal trainer stop you or serve as an excuse.

Be kind. Some learned that asking for a spot is one way of introducing themselves to people who interest them. Be kind and treat others with respect because we did not all have the same learning experiences.

New Rule for Bodybuilding #2

2. Leave your ego at the door.

Despite that gut feeling in your belly to lift heavy weights, don’t lift heavy until your form is good. Don't worry--no one cares how much weight you lift. No one is writing down how heavy your dumbbells are today. And no one cares how much weight you can lift just like few are impressed if at all by the amount of weight. The sooner you realize this, the better.

Having good form and control is far more impressive than uncontrolled jerking and grunting. Your form is good when you are able to fully contract a muscle just by thinking about it and moving the related joints. You don't even need weights or resistance to do this. You could do it right now in your chair, with your left biceps or your right biceps.
--(biceps is always plural, never "bicep" The same goes for triceps, quadriceps)

If you have been doing the same exercises over and over without results, then:

INFERENCE #1 (again): You have been lifting weights that are too heavy and this is what you've always done. You have not developed good form because the weights have always been too heavy for you to learn good form correctly.

There are plenty of resources on the internet that describe the exercises and how to do them correctly. The Men's Health website is a useful (free) resource, I have found, and contains entire workouts and good articles.

Men's Health

Besides this, enough info about enough weight training exercises can be printed out onto a couple of sheets of paper. Body for Life has one for free on their website--it fits on a single page.

Body for Life

The connection between your mind and your muscles comes FIRST.
Every movement of the body (muscles) originates in the brain. Develop the ability to think of a muscle and contract it at will. Pull the pin out of the stack and start at the bottom, at the lowest weight. Remember, no one cares. And even if someone were so obsessed with numbers to say something or what. You are not spending your time at the gym to evaluate others. No one else worth knowing is, either.

I'm not in this world to live up to your expectations and you're not in this world to live up to mine.
-Bruce Lee

Machines are for everybody; not just for 'wimps and women.' Machines are mechanically designed to isolate and target muscles that you want to develop, when the exercises are done properly. Think of them now as "muscle-contraction learning devices." They are designed to produce results better than you would get with the same poundage as free-weights. What does this mean?

Consider two novice bodybuilders with about the same body type and potential and currently at about the same strength, overall. Identical twins would be a good way to demonstrate this. Anyway, put one twin on machines only. Put the other twin on free weights only. After the same amount of time lifting, and eating the same daily menu, and the same amount of rest, which twin will have gained better results? The one on the machines.

Start with low weight then work up gradually. At one point, I had to essentially relearn every exercise with low weights, to get closer to what is good form. Why? I had always assumed my form was 'fine.' Guess what? Everyone does! Compare this to posture. Everyone also assumes (unspokenly) that they have good or correct posture, but not everyone does.

A common posture problem that will prevent proper form in upper body exercises (Upper Crossed Syndrome) and how to tell if you have it

How to fix the problem

Other common postural deficiencies

I learned that one cannot bypass learning each and every exercise with good form and with low weight, even if it is troubling to the ego or one's competitiveness. But do it once then you can move upward. Think of and appreciate the journey not the "destination."

New Rule for Bodybuilding #1

You are an individual. You have a unique genetic makeup. You have a unique body type and metabolism. You have unique experiences with exercise, training, and beliefs about "how things are," and "how things are done."

1. The ultimate authority in bodybuilding is you. There is no "body" in" bodybuilding" without you; it's your body. It's your vehicle in life. Your job is to be skeptical of every claim or guarantee. Take all advice about training with a grain of salt, including what I write here. This includes any and all information from:

* bodybuilding magazines
* supplement companies
* weight-loss and diet companies
* professional and competitive bodybuilders
* so-called "natural" bodybuilders
* personal trainers who are certified
* the big guy at the gym who can lift heavy weights (powerlifter)
* your high school coach
* me
* etc.

Some bodybuilding magazines exist for the primary purpose of selling supplements. They are essentially brochures for selling supplements. Yet most (not all) supplements are nothing else but what amounts to very expensive urine or feces. I don't know about you but personally, I do not enjoy flushing money down the toilet.

Some of the people at the gym who lift weights are only there for one reason: to lift as much weight as they possibly can in one repetition. They are called "powerlifters" or "weightlifters." They are NOT bodybuilders. They only care about numbers, as in, *how much* they can Bench Press, Squat, or Deadlift. They rest for long periods between sets. It is unfathomable to me that someone would actually want to look like a powerlifter. Search the internet for pictures of the best powerlifters in the world and you will see what I mean. Mimicking what they do in the gym I don't suggest it.

Seemingly, these people make up the majority of weight room users. Some started with powerlifting as a specific goal. The rest were new to the gym, learned from observing what "everybody else" was doing in the gym. Many have been "lifting" the same way for years. Yet they feel frustration that every year they become more tubby and barrel-chested.

1. INFERENCE #1. The way you lift was learned by watching "everybody else" at the gym, including the person who trains like a powerlifter and rests for 5-10 minutes between sets.

Trainers may not be familiar with the results of new research, or might not communicate well (or maybe the clients don’t communicate well). Don't assume they know everything there is to know. Trainers can be useful however, for motivation, for changing your weights for you, commenting on your lifting form, etc. Ask questions and let them help you figure out what's best for you. Be wary.

I've overheard denizens of the gym ("gym rats,") give advice to people that made me cringe under the load of sheer inanity; total stupidity. Some of the people who hang out at the gym and make a lot of noise with their mouths don't know what they're talking about. And there are others who do know. Don't assume anything because some people appear confident about what they're saying. Sometimes people believe things wholeheartedly even though they don't remember the source or why they cling onto all these opinions without questioning them. Be wary.

Trying to define "natural bodybuilding" is harder than trying to define "bodybuilding." Testosterone is 'natural.' Growth hormone is 'natural.' So the term is ambiguous--depending on how one rationalizes it; it's still "natural" if one injects himself with these. I have wondered if using creatine is 'natural.' I take creatine periodically so I do not call myself 'natural.' "Natural" is more concerned about appearances and what others think; it's not necessary if one is honest with himself anyway. A "natural bodybuilder" might as well be a guy who goes out into 'nature' and lifts rocks and logs.

What "works" for others will not necessarily work for you. Bodybuilding is ultimately about finding out what works for you.

What bodybuilding is NOT

To clarify what bodybuilding is NOT:

-Bodybuilding is NOT the same thing as Competitive Bodybuilding.

Some bodybuilders choose to compete; not all of them. Competitive Bodybuilding is supported, endorsed, promoted, by the supplement companies; it is a branch of that industry. Competitive bodybuilding is saturated in steroid use. I have as much interest in competitive bodybuilding as I do for knitting my own sweaters out of belly-button lint or learning to ride a unicycle with a testicle-destroying seat, on a high wire with a rabid monkey on my back.

The best competitive-bodybuilders are not necessarily the best bodybuilders. For example, Bruce Lee was a bodybuilder and even though he inspired many people to build their bodies, he didn't compete against others on a stage while flexing and posing. I would say that Carl Lewis, Evander Holyfield, and Michael Jordan are bodybuilders. Brad Pitt or Ryan Reynolds are bodybuilders because they train a certain way based on how they want to look.

Then consider that the current reigning Mr. Olympia (the top prize in competitive bodybuilding) went far beyond his maximal aesthetics. After winning it 8 times, he looks unnatural, worn-down and haggard, his skin looks stretched and faded and his skull looks markedly different from only a few years earlier. He probably looked better when he won his first Olympia than when he won his eighth one. Look up current pictures of the competitive 'champions' of yesteryear. Some don't seem like they are aging gracefully; some have enormous man-boobs or no longer take photos without a shirt on. Some look worse off than people of the same age who did not exercise much at all. Even Arnold says that competitive bodybuilding today is seemingly headed in a very bad direction; an unhealthy obsession with mass and mass only, while judges overlook the distended bellies and "strange lumps."

Don't get me wrong, if the pageantry of competitive bodybuilding is what really floats your boat; then do it. But competition seems to eventually pressure many into getting addicted to steroids, 'paying the price for it,' so to speak; instant gratification for delayed payment. Looking better naked must not be bought "on credit" because you'll have to pay it back with interest. Looking better naked must neither be limited to your 20's and 30's.

I think someone coined it as "competitive bodybuilding" because that sounds kind of edgy, tough. I would rename it "performance bodybuilding;" performance, as in “on a stage,” or as in "performing arts.” Have you ever noticed that beauty pageants are not called "competitive beauty?" Women are called "contestants," and men are called "competitors." I don't accept competitive bodybuilding as a standard of masculinity. Plus, beauty contestants do charity work and other useful stuff.

Professional competitors are actually a suspect source of information about building muscle. Why? No one but them (and their dealer) knows when they started juicing. They could have no idea whatsoever about how to build muscle without their steroids.

-Bodybuilding does NOT require the use of performance enhancing drugs, steroids, or synthetic analogues of steroids or other hormones.

However, certain individuals choose to take them despite well-known and severe consequences. Looking better naked does not involve "disgusting boil-like acne pustules" on one's back ('bacne') or losing the ability to create one's own testosterone naturally (read: erectile dysfunction). And I'm also fairly certain that liver tumors and kidney failure have nothing to do with looking good naked. After a period of time of lifting regularly at the gym, one gets good at telling the difference between normal human growth and abnormal growth. I definitely do not want to see him naked.

"After a month of heavy use and weight training, you can add about 10 pounds of muscle to your chicken chest. Unfortunately, when you’re on your cycle you’ll want to kill people, and in between you’ll want to kill yourself."

If there is only one word used to to describe hormones, it's that they're "powerful" with multiple, cascading effects. They don't just do one thing, like "make you buff;" they do many things, like "fu*k up your internal organs" too.
"In addition to joint problems, taking steroids can cause side effects like oily skin, acne, shrunken testicles, sterility and male breasts. Synthetic testosterone can also inhibit good cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease.

But withdrawal, which can make some men deflate like used balloons, may be the most troubling problem. Taking steroids suppresses men’s own natural testosterone production. After athletes stop taking testosterone, the body may take weeks to months to return to normal hormone levels.

“In the meantime, you will have decreased muscles and decreased sexual function, such stressful withdrawal symptoms that many people go right back on testosterone,” Dr. Bhasin said." link

"Anabolic steroids, which are synthetic versions of the primary male sex hormone testosterone, can be injected, taken orally, or used transdermally. These drugs are Controlled Substances that can be prescribed to treat conditions such as body wasting in patients with AIDS, and other diseases that occur when the body produces abnormally low amounts of testosterone. However, the doses prescribed to treat these medical conditions are 10 to 100 times lower than the doses that are abused for performance enhancement." link

-Bodybuilding is NOT powerlifting. A bodybuilders' primary concern is not about the amount of weight in pounds. Bodybuilders care about how their muscles feel and react to particular resistance exercises because bodybuilders care about looking better naked. For bodybuilders, strength is only secondary, it comes only as a consequence on the road to the major, primary goal: lifting for hypertrophy (growth). In powerlifting, strength comes first in priority, muscle development comes last. So bodybuilding and powerlifting are opposites, diametrically opposed in how one goes about doing each.

-Bodybuilding is NOT about getting as big as one possibly can. Words like "massive," "freaky;" are subjective value judgments, not the ideal. These terms are only valuable to people who were taught that they indeed are. Are they ideal? I would say that he is close to being as big as he can get. Big woop. Despite promises in supplement ads that use such words, forget all that nonsense. They serve to produce anxiety, worry, and frustration so that you'll buy their products. Be wary of bodybuilding magazines.

-Bodybuilding is NOT something one gets from the nutritional supplements that are advertised in bodybuilding magazines. Be wary of bodybuilding magazines. Vitamins are nutritional supplements, but one is not a "bodybuilder" for taking them.

Bodybuilding magazines manufacture notions of what good or ideal "bodybuilders" are "supposed to" look like, by putting the competitors on a pedestal. They are marketing arms for supplement companies. They make unfounded claims in their marketing. Not one is evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, so the ads aren't even reviewed for fraudulent content. The disclaimer that appears on all the ads in fine print states implicitly that supplement companies are free to make any claims that might lead to more sales.

Most ads use scientific-sounding jargon placed next to the photo of a competitive bodybuilder on their payroll. I suggest not second-guessing your own natural potential and decide to give it a sincere and focused effort first. Don't be duped into buying worthless things. It's not a pleasant realization to come to when you get to the bottom of the container and realize, "do I even know what these people put in this awful tasting garbage?"

Want to write ad copy for supplement companies? It's simple! Here's the most popular ad format and its components:

picture of product, product logo, company logo
scientific details irrelevant to product itself
photo of competitive juicer
a couple of bikini clad women on his arms
random use of “massive,” “freaky,” “ripped” in big, bold letters
+ (don’t forget the tiny disclaimer at the bottom!)
= A supplement ad for bodybuilding magazines!

Sharpen up your resume because now you can write the ads too!

Some supplements are claimed to be things they are not:

"Creatine ethyl ester" or "liquid creatine"
As if it's better than creatine. Fancy sounding nonsense.
"Myostatin blocker"
Unless you're injecting antibodies, nothing is happening to myostatin. Even patients with muscular dystrophies can't get that yet as a potential therapy.
"Nitric oxide boosters"
Craptacular and unfounded BS. Is essentially paying 3-4 times as much for extra arginine. And if these products did what they claim, you would also have an erection to go with your protein shake.
"HGH" products
If you were getting real human growth hormone, it would be costing you thousands of dollars Human Growth Hormone, Popular but Illegal

One popular 'HGH' product I've seen contains colostrum among its ingredients. Colostrum is a fluid secretion from the nipples before breast milk flows. From what mammal did it come? They don't say which mammal on the container. Is it people? Cows? Isn't breast milk from cows...milk? These are ‘snake oil’ products.

There are herbal preparations that do have effects on the body, I'm not saying those are snake oil, because herbs actually do stuff. Most bodybuilding supplements don't do what they claim. Powder creatine (creatine monophosphate) is the only thing shown to work with any substantial evidence, besides of course, proper nutrition (and still, it is not strong evidence and the mechanism of [oral, supplemental, exogenous] creatine function in the body is not understood).

A multivitamin is insurance against premature aging, and in case your menu alone is not providing essential nutrients and the antioxidants might not hurt. If you exercise a lot, more antioxidants can help prevent premature aging from oxidative damage. I've seen photos of triathletes whose faces look similar to those of chain smokers. Creatine and a multivitamin, are actually some of the cheapest items at the nutrition store if you look around.

Some of the supplements I do take:
Flaxseed oil is cheap and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids--I choose flaxseed oil over fish oil because fish oil can contain concentrated levels of mercury which is toxic to the nervous system. I add one glutamine tablet after workouts when I am training hard. It may help support the immune system during that kind of "stress." I don't know if that's true, but I learned that bit from a nutritionist, not a bodybuilding magazine ad.

A pretty good supplements article, Men's Health

A good supplements resource listing, Men's Health

About a year ago the biggest magazines suddenly started putting more normal looking people on their covers-- look at the covers of M&F between 2004 and 2005. The inside content has not changed much though. Maybe they realized that the readers were starting to figure things out? I dunno.

non-juicers should not lift like the people in the ads article

-Bodybuilding is NOT a way to dress. There is no uniform for bodybuilding. Bodybuilding does not require wearing sleeveless "wife-beater" shirts or purposefully shredded rags to public places, wearing animal print baggy pants, or bandana do-rags atop one's [meaty] head. Dress however you please, but don't feel like you are playing some role and must dress a certain way because it will have ~ZERO influence on the outcome.

-Bodybuilding is NOT an exact science because every individual is unique. There is a field of study called exercise science but they seem to be lacking in the ability to actually apply that knowledge universally. You are the scientist. Your job is to figure out what works for you.

That said, the best way to change the appearance of the body is through resistance training, also known as "lifting weights," "weight training," "pumping iron." Bodybuilders are athletes. Whether or not bodybuilding is a sport, is highly arguable.

Friday, June 09, 2006

First Post

I'm James. This new and first blog of mine is about looking better while naked. Some people call it 'bodybuilding.' This blog is about what I have learned. I'm not a personal trainer or a bodybuilding competitor.

Despite the frankness of the title, I could think of no better way to explain the subject matter of this blog. If it were called a "bodybuilding" blog then the point is already defeated for most readers. "Bodybuilding" has certain meanings for everyone; not necessarily good meanings.

"Bodybuilding" is hard to define and should not be limited to what the competitive bodybuilders do.

So this blog is entitled as it is because it is about benefits and not preconceived notions about how to experience those benefits.

Arguably the most famous bodybuilder* defined bodybuilding this way:

"Bodybuilding is about the maximum aesthetic development of the entire physique."

I find that definition to be sufficient but this definition of bodybuilding works too, if it's not better:

Bodybuilding is about looking better naked.

They're pretty much the same definition, but with one difference. Forget Arnold's bit about "maximum," which is for competitive-bodybuilders only--a subjective term that is ultimately vague and so makes for unattainable goals. Make realistic goals that are concrete and achievable and you'll be successful. Otherwise prepare for "frustration" and "disappointment," created in one's mind when expectations aren't met for what one did or invested.

If you have been disappointed and frustrated by a big gap between what you expected and what you actually got, I would wager that it is because of your procedure; how you went about it. This applies to bodybuilding too. This blog will be about re-examining procedure.

Arnold is not the ultimate authority in bodybuilding and so I'm not suggesting that he is. He might be the most famous bodybuilder, but that is not the same thing. The ultimate authority in bodybuilding is you.

Arnold's book, "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding" is the so-called "Bible of Bodybuilding," but it is not the final word. A couple of exercises are described vaguely. The recommended competition training program will likely amount to overtraining (very bad) and may be overdoing it for most guys who just want to get bigger but not make a career out of it. I am not saying don't read it. It might be worth reading to you. Most, but not all, of what he explains is correct, I have found. Maybe check the book out from the library? If you're serious about building muscle, it is a good start. I say that because I started with that book; that's what I did, and it worked for me.

I was moved by his anecdotes about lifting so hard, making his arms so sore that he crashed his bicycle into a ditch; that he was so self-conscious about his flimsy calves that he cut off the bottoms of his pants so everyone could see his legs, creating motivation through a sort of self-imposed shame. I read it while imagining him narrating it, in his voice and accent. Doing that made it a fun read; and it's mostly pictures.

At that time, I was naive about competitive bodybuilding and steroid use. I didn't know then that competitive bodybuilding was saturated with steroids. So I am just saying be wary. He made a career out of bodybuilding.

Anyway, 'live and let live' is a good motto, I continually rediscover.

His perspective is that of a competitive bodybuilder, it's not the perspective of regular guys, everyday people with productive jobs. Arnold argues that the very best way to build muscle was discovered by competitive bodybuilders through their collective trial-and-error process and so everyone, even people who don't care to compete, should do what the competitors do.

If it's true, then why wasn't the so-called "Bible of Bodybuilding" authored by the whole lot of bodybuilders?

It's just Arnold and ghost-writer Bill Dobbins as the authors of the book. And Arnold doesn't describe all the common activities of competitive bodybuilders, especially the details that might be self-incriminating in print. If the book really is the "Bible of Bodybuilding," why wasn't it published by the sanctioning body, the IFBB?

Why doesn't the IFBB have enough authority to publish this "collective knowledge" of bodybuilders into a reliable reference book so that it can benefit the whole of society?

Competitive bodybuilders do not own any original information about weight training or physiology, so they are not authorities on it. You don't have to plan to look like them or train like them if you just want bigger muscles.

Arnold recommends hanging up pictures of competitive bodybuilding professionals so you can strive to look like them. That is exactly what bodybuilding magazines try to do--never mind the discrepancy you will eventually face when you don't arrive at that "goal" he sets in his book. Instead, get the poster "THE MUSCULAR SYSTEM," the anatomical chart similar to what you would see in a doctor's office which shows and names the muscles, but without the skin and fat of an actual person.

This blog does not consist of instructions. These are observations of mine for comparison to what others may have noticed too. I'm still figuring it out myself. Sometimes I use "you" too often before editing my writing, and I do it in the colloquial, conversational sense. I'm not specifically instructing anyone to do anything. But if you asked for my [current] opinion, this is it. This is a work in progress.