Showing posts from February, 2009

8x8 for Fat Loss

"I'm trying to lean down by eating less and running more. As for the strength training, should I stick with the hypertrophy program or the 8x8 program you briefly mention? The hypertrophy program has really improved my strength, but I haven't really noticed any changes in my physique because I carry around too much body fat. Thanks."


My Answer: I think you answered your own question there, Mike. I don't know which hypertrophy program you're referring to, since I have many hypertrophy programs. Nevertheless, if you can't see any progress in muscularity, because you have a layer of fat covering it up, then your path is clear: do the 8x8.

Product Review: The Heavy Handle

I recently received a set of "Heavy Handles," a rather unique training tool. It's basically a double-pronged adjustable dumbbell handle. You can add weight to either of the threaded shafts, creating a dumbbell with an offset center of gravity. Thus you can change the angle of resistance for many conventional dumbbell exercises and make them much more difficult.

The Heavy Handle requires standard, one-inch hole plates and comes in 2 grip sizes: a one inch ergonomic handle and a two inch thick bar handle. The Heavy Handle also has a cable ring attachment for use with pulley machines.

I've definitely noticed a difference in using the Heavy Handle. Dumbbell flyes, rows, curls, laterals and triceps extensions all feel very different and more difficult with the Heavy Handle. I actually had to use weights lighter than I use with conventional dumbbells. I've also noticed that my upper body musculature has thickened up quite a bit, especially in my forearms and back…

Wave Load Your Starting Weight

"Hello. I was reading your Hypertrophy Training for the Ectomorph, and I had one question regarding the weight incrementation process. Should I just increase the weight by a certain amount after each week, or should I just guess as to how much weight I can lift after each week that will allow me to do at most the
10, 8, 6 and 15 reps?"

Many thanks!
M. Rivera

My Answer: A lot of it is going to be you guessing as to what weight to choose for each set, especially in the first week. By your second week, however, you should have a good sense of what weight to choose. What I suggest is to slowly increase the weight in small increments day by day for the 10 rep set, but do it in waves. Here's how wave loading looks with sample weights:

Workout One: 100 pounds
Workout Two: 105 pounds
Workout Three: 110 pounds
Workout Four: 105 pounds
Workout Five: 110 pounds
Workout Six: 115 pounds

As you can see, your starting weight for the 10 rep set zigzags up through the weeks. As long as …

Grocery List for the Lean Machine

"Big fan of the blog. Anyway I know you're a personal trainer, and I was wondering if you could comment and give some advice... about putting together a grocery list of simple lean and cutting foods guys can eat to get cut... Anyway thanx a lot, I really enjoy reading your blog and I love to lift."


My Answer- Here's a random list of pointers that come to my mind when it comes to good clean diet:

1) If you want to be lean, then you got to go green. In other words, if you want to lean out with your diet, then your carb sources should primarily be green leafy vegetables.

2) Remove all white carbs and carbs dull in color. This includes sugar (white and brown), pastas (enriched and whole wheat), bread (white and whole wheat), rice (white and brown) and grains of any sort.

3) Eliminate dairy, but keep yogurt. Make sure it is organic, however.

4) Do "U-shopping." In other words, when you enter a supermarket, most of the foods you should be eating will be alon…

An Advanced Routine

Q: "Hi, I just wanted to ask: what is the most effective workout? Or can you give me an advanced routine, because I'm already used to my workout program. So I just want to mix things up. I already have 2 years of training experience."

Thanks, more power to you
- Ralph T.

My Answer: I have no idea what your training background is. You could have been doing 2 years of pushups and sit-ups and calling yourself advanced. Who knows, because you didn't say what's your workout program.

A lot of people say they are advanced lifters, but have no idea what that means. Ask yourself this:

1) Can you do a pull-up?
2) Can you do dips?
3) Do you squat?
4) Do you deadlift?

If you answer "No" to any of those questions, then forget being advanced. You do not even have the basic strength foundation for bodybuilding and strength sports.

Now what is the most effective workout? Depends on what your goal is, but I'm assuming you're talking about bodybuilding worko…

Post-Workout Protein Drink

"Hi James,

"Hope you're doing well. Your second book is great. Your programs and diets helped me gain some pretty incredible results. A lot of skinny bastard people I used to go to school with see me, and they hardly recognize me. They ask me, 'How the hell did you get like that?"

"I tell them that it's all in [your] Strength and Physique books. The other day, one of those guys came up to me with your book telling me how awesome it was. I just thought I'd let you know.

"I'm sure you've been asked this question thousands of times, but I hope it's not too late to ask you. I'm looking for a convenient way of getting some protein in my body right after my workout. I've been drinking 400 ml. vanilla and chocolate shakes that I would buy from my local super market to get protein in my system after workouts.

"The only problem is that there are 500 calories per shake and it has 18 g. of protein. It is very expensive, and I'm l…

Performance Enhancement

Q: Another schnazzy subject line for you. Pretty much you are officially godlike to me. Every single exercise I do goes up by about 10-20 pounds each week. I am nearly benching 300 pounds. Whatever you say I will do.

Here is my question, but it isn't really related to strength training. I want to push myself to the limit and mentally thrive without sleep and just keep working. I am a medical student. Do you know of any program for this, or any underground book for this? Should I fast? Stop drinking water? Take any supplements?

I ask you, because I believe your methods can be construed as underground-esque (I don't know of anyone or seen anyone using your methods and that's why they don't increase their bench as dramatically). I guess I believe in extreme training as Tom Platz did with his 10 minute squat routines.

I just want to find that corollary in other areas, such as mental training. Of course I would do this for only one week, as I believe that this isn't rea…

Single Leg Work

"I was wondering if there was any way I could incorporate single leg work into your Shotgun Program. I really enjoy it, but I feel I need to always do some single leg work. Should it be done on the troubleshooting days?"

-John Julius

My Answer: You can certainly do single leg work on troubleshooting days. Another option would be to do reverse barbell lunges as a shotgun movement:


Q: "Hi James. I read your Cop Workout and think it's awesome. Do you recommend any supplements to take with this?"

-Jose T.

My Answer: I used to take quite a few supplements back in my earlier days of bodybuilding. I experimented with quite a few. If it worked for me, I'd keep it in my regimen. If it didn't work, then I wouldn't buy it anymore. My supplement regimen nowadays is bare bones and focused more on health. Here's what I take:

1) Surge Recovery Post-Workout Drink
2) Creatine Monohydrate
3) Fish Oil
4) Resveratrol
5) Superfood (freeze dried food extract)

I get my supplements from Biotest, as they make high quality products. Now you may have noticed that I don't take any protein powder. If you're looking to stay trim and muscular, then you should be eating high quality animal proteins instead of drinking your protein.

If you were to bulk up, however, then supplement your diet with some micellar casein. This type of protein stays i…