MENTAL TOUGHNESS

In keeping with The Total Self, this article is a continuation of an earlier article I have written about this topic.I have spoken about mental toughness on oregonsportsnews.com, my own blogs and other social media platforms. I have given speeches about this also. The number one thing I believe that is holding people back in life other than broken focus and a solid plan (plus the willingness to execute) is a lack of mental toughness. It is not necessarily a bad thing that most people are not “hard”. You need people who are a tad softer, normal people in this world. This world would be in bad shape if it were just “Type As” all over the place. But you can learn from the Type A. Learn how to not let things stop you, how not to be a victim, and how not to allow things that have tormented you for years have any more control over you.
Mental Toughness has many definitions and is not limited to athletic performance and pain tolerance. I have known many men and women throughout my life who I would define as “mentally tough”. From an 85 year old gardener to a high school football friend, who it seemed neither ever had a bad day. Much of mental toughness is simply attitude and self-determination. If you do a quick search online on the subject, you will see a variety of mental toughness techniques, articles, stories of remarkable physical performances to brave acts of heroism overcoming insurmountable odds and fear.
On a personal note, mental toughness is a way of life. It is quite simple to me. To not allow any voices, anyone or anything to stand in the way of my goals. To be able to withstand setbacks, controvesy and many other troubles that life throws our way.

For the purposes of this site and its readers, I will also say that through somewhat challenging workouts and introspection and study of this topic, you will cultivate a mentally tough mindset. Again, my philosophy works for ME. As I have often said in my articles, take what’s said and make it work for you. For example minutes of non stop punching in a boxer’s case. In my case, heavy lifting and running for miles will create increased energy levels and an increased pain tolerance through training in the pain zone. You really have to get the body to know what pain is so you can endure it longer. PAIN is not injury, but if you push too hard through pain you will be setting up for injury, so knowing your training limits is necessary as well. Studying mental toughness (or at least how others go over) will shed some light on what you may be lacking. On the days when you feel like crap and you have to WILL yourself to go to work or to hit the gym. THAT too is mental toughness. Persistence and determination are all factors as well. Other terms used to describe mental toughness is inspiration, self-motivation and confidence.

 

There are many examples of those who bring themselves out of horrible childhoods of poverty, neglect, and illness to become heroes, mentors, millionaires, and presidents. That takes mental toughness in MY book.

Mental Toughness! How do you get it? Are you born with it? Can you acquire it? Arguments to this question have occurred long before our modern world came about. I am of the opinion that through tough physical training, proper mindset, and a high level of maturity that mental toughness is born. This toughness is what propels you through the storms of life and all that brings How do you get that?

Take for example, the Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong. He had endured one of the toughest diseases by beating testicular cancer. After his battle with cancer, he came back mentally tougher and was once considered the greatest cyclist ever. Maybe he had it all along, who knows? Mental toughness is not measurable and is completely internal. But I believe hard work will get you there. When Lance Armstrong was asked by reporters “What are you on?” referring to performance enhancing drugs. Lance stated, “I am on my BIKE – busting my hump (paraphrased)for 6-8 hours a day!!”

So the question is do you get mental toughness by attending special workshops, or by being in the military/police or by playing sports? Is it by going through hard situations in life and learning from them? I would say the answer is a comination of all that. You can definitely become mentally tough by training and overcoming the trials and tribulations life brings, but ultimately it will be by the determination you make to be unstoppable and make the world a product of you.

I have seen a lot of people not win at life due to cracking under pressure. These daily gut checks that tend to make cowards of us all is something to behold. The pressures we all face tend to beat us down, and send us to our breaking points- that will cause us to lose focus and that’s how we fail. Not because of lack of talent, but because of broken focus. The break in focus becomes a turning point in your struggle/campaign.
This is the biggest difference in those who win in life and who do not. Everyone will have their nemesis or weakness. The key is to BECOME someone who rises to the occasion. Someone who will plow right through very arduous situations and come out with their heads held high. To deal with setbacks and not let them affect you.
In closing, I would like to say that Mental Toughness is definitely one of the basics. One of the master keys to winning in life. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!!

Teen Obesity

The obesity epidemic in the U.S. is truly tragic. Even more tragic, the teen obesity crisis. Teen obesity is even outpacing adult obesity in the U.S. In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled among adolescents. The percent of adolescents aged 12-19 who were obese increased from 5% in 1980 to nearly 21% in 2012. Overall, 37% of ALL teens are obese or overweight.

WHAT CAUSES THIS?

Here is a short list of what causes obesity in adolescents and teens:

  • poor eating habits
  • overeating or binging
  • lack of exercise (i.e., couch potato kids)
  • family history of obesity
  • medical illnesses (endocrine, neurological problems)
  • meds (steroids, some psychiatric medications)
  • stressful life events or changes (separations, divorce, moves, deaths, abuse)
  • family and peer problems
  • low self-esteem
  • depression or other emotional problems

 

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

Obese children need a thorough medical evaluation by a pediatrician or family physician to consider the possibility of a physical cause. In the absence of a physical disorder, the only way to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories being eaten and to increase the level of physical activity. Lasting weight loss can only occur when there is self-motivation. Since obesity often affects more than one family member, making healthy eating and regular exercise a family activity can improve the chances of successful weight control for the child or adolescent.

Ways to manage obesity in children and adolescents include:

  • start a weight-management program
  • change eating habits (eat slowly, develop a routine)
  • plan meals and make better food selections (eat less fatty foods, avoid junk and fast foods); know what your child eats at school
  • control portions and consume less calories
  • increase physical activity (especially walking) and have a more active lifestyle eat meals as a family instead of while watching television or at the computer
  • do not use food as a reward
  • limit snacking
  • attend a support group (e.g.,Overeaters Anonymous)

Obesity frequently becomes a lifelong issue. The reason most obese adolescents gain back their lost pounds is that they tend to go back to their old habits of eating and exercising. An obese adolescent must therefore learn to eat and enjoy healthy foods in moderate amounts and to exercise regularly to maintain a desired weight. Parents of an obese child can improve their child’s self esteem by emphasizing their strengths and positive qualities rather than just focusing on their weight problem.

When a child or adolescent with obesity also has emotional problems, a child and adolescent psychiatrist can work with the child’s family physician to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Such a plan would include reasonable weight loss goals, dietary and physical activity management, behavior modification, and family involvement.

 

CONCLUSION

Childhood obesity is a sad state of affairs. It must be addressed or we will continue to see children and teens with early onset versions of late-adulthood conditions. You can manage kids’ weight through portion control and healthy snacking, but I advocate the actual teaching of healthy habits by parents to kids. Parents are the first teachers of children. In closing, I hope these things I have shared will get all of you thinking.

 

 

15 Ways for Success with Your Fitness Regimen

It’s now June… how many of you have kept with your New Year’s pledge to lose weight, perhaps turn your life around? If you’ve fallen off track, that’s no big deal (over 85% of Americans break their New Year’s pledges in under 45 days). In case any of you all need a refresher, or a plan to get over the hump (or just to stay the course), here is my list of 15 ways to have success with any fitness regimen. This is by no means a comprehensive list… but hopefully it will work for you. Now, the list.
There is no shortcut to ideal health (whatever that is for you), no magic pill that lets you hit your five-a-day target and no single exercise that gives you a shredded physique in minutes. It takes time, hard work and an educated approach to get in shape and stay in shape. Following these tips will make your fitness quest (and life) a whole lot easier.

1. Prepping for Success
The better path to a sound diet is found by using your weekends wisely. Use the extra time you have on your weekends to make large batches of healthy meals that you can portion up to cover at least a couple of midweek lunches and dinners, avoiding the certain death of your fitness goals via fast food.

2. Mix Up Your Exercise

Variety is – cliché alert! – the spice of life, and many sports and activities support each other in ways you won’t realise until you try it. For example, strength training for your legs and core will make you a better runner, while those addicted to dumbbells will find Pilates works muscles they’d never even considered.

3. Calibrate Your Fitness Technology
If you invest in a fitness tracker, don’t just sit back and assume that following the preset targets will lead you to glory. Adjust the steps, active minutes and calorie targets regularly to build on your progress, or make them more realistic if you never get close and have started to ignore them. If you don’t engage with your fitness tech, you’ll quickly discard it.

4. Add In Extra Activity
This one of the oldest tricks in the book: take the stairs not the escalator, or get off the bus a stop early and walk. Any activity is better than none, and will only encourage you to do more. And if you really want to up the ante, try sprinting up the stairs (safely) each time you take them – clinical studies found that short bursts of high-intensity stair-climbing can make a significant difference to your cardiorespiratory fitness.

5. Keep Tabs On Your Visceral Fat

You can be skinny on the outside (at least your arms and legs), but fat on the inside. Visceral fat is the type that builds up around your organs and often results in a pot belly. It’s linked with heart disease, several types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Check your waist-to-height ratio (WtHR) to see if you’re at risk. Grab a piece of string and use it to measure your height, then halve it. If it doesn’t fit around your waist, get exercising – visceral fat is the first type to go when you start a health regimen.

6. Value Your Rest Days
When you start on a fitness kick, it’s tempting to exercise every day while motivation is high. This is a bad move, and one that may see your motivation flame out within weeks, because you’re always exhausted and won’t see the massive improvements you expect for your efforts. Why? You’re not giving your muscles the time and rest they need to recover and grow.

7. Up The Intensity If You’re Short On Time
Health and wellness experts still promote the 150 minutes of moderate activity a week minimum, but now offer an alternative option of 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week. That’s running or singles tennis, for example, rather than cycling or walking, which count as moderate. You can also mix the two, so 60 minutes of vigorous cardio plus 30 of moderate will do the trick also. Bear in mind the guidelines also demand strength exercises on two or more days a week alongside your aerobic activity.

8. Treat Your Body Right
Nothing derails a health kick as quickly as injury, as many serious injuries will start out as small ones- you may think it’s OK to push through. Scaling back the intensity for a few days is better than having to shut it down for a few months. If you have an urgent desire to hit the gym, target a different part of the body from the one that’s bothering you.

9. The Drive for Five
Eating at least five portions of fruit and veg a day should be at the cornerstone of your healthy diet plan. What’s not wise is getting in a rut and eating the same five every day, because different types of fruit and veg contain different vitamins and minerals. A good way to vary your five-a-day is to eat different colors, as the hue is a decent indication of the nutrients they contain.

10. Don’t Undervalue Your Sleep
There is tendency for people who sleep very little to brag about it, as if it’s an indication of their commitment to life. However, getting the full seven to eight hours is vital to a healthy lifestyle, as it provides the energy for your exercise and even influences dietary choices – a 2016 study found that in the day following a night of limited sleep, people ate an extra 385 calories on average. You don’t snooze, you lose.

11. Increase Your Cadence On Your Runs
If you are consistently picking up injuries when running, one change it’s definitely worth trying is to up your rate of strides per minute (your cadence). If you overstrike, thus taking fewer steps, you put extra pressure on your knee and hip joints. Try and take more steps, which means your feet will land more beneath your body, reducing the impact on your joints.

12. Give It Your All or Turn It Loose
The first time you try an exercise it’s very hard, but at least quite novel. The second time the novelty is gone, and it’s still hard, leading to the temptation to quit. Try it at least once more, as the third time is often the charm – when a sport or workout starts to become as enjoyable as it is tough.

13. Count Reps Backwards
This is a mental trick that might make resistance workouts a little easier. Counting down the reps means by the time it’s really hurting you’re at the 3,2,1 stage, which feels closer to the end than 8,9,10 or whatever target you’re going for. It won’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a try.

14. Make Full Use Of Your Street Furniture
Exercising outdoors is a great way to ensure you get your hit of vitamin D (if it’s sunny) as well as a good workout, and it doesn’t have to be all cardio. As well as the exercise machines that litter many parks, you can nearly always finds a bar or ledge for pull-ups, or a bench or wall to do dips on. Rarer treats can even include chains to use as ersatz TRX ropes.

15. Record Stats and Progress

Nothing builds motivation as efficiently as seeing signs of improvement, so make sure you keep some kind of record of your activity. It can be as simple as noting your record five-rep max or fastest 5K time, using either one of the many excellent fitness apps available or old-fashioned pen and paper.
In closing, these tips and tricks will help in your fitness goals. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is a fundamental building block in fitness and in life. Knowledge (alongside hard work and dedication) is the most essential of the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN!!

Controlling Anxiety Without Meds

Anxiety is real. In America today, according to the National Institutes of Health, anxiety disorders affect 18.1 percent of adults in the United States (approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18 to 54). Anxiety is a contributing factor of many health disorders (high blood pressure, obesity, heart attacks, mental fatigue). Many Americans are on medications for these disorders (that is/can be a case of the cure being worse than the disease). A viable alternative to risky prescription medication is a natural or holistic approach to treating anxiety.

Here are 6 tips for managing anxiety naturally:

1. Maintain Stable Blood Sugar
“It isn’t disrespectful to the complexity of existence to point out that despair is, often, just low blood sugar and exhaustion.” – Alain de Botton
The American diet promotes a blood sugar roller coaster, and every time we’re on the ride down, we can feel anxious.
When our blood sugar crashes, our body responds with a stress response. We secrete stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, which tell our liver to make more blood sugar to keep us alive. The good news: We stay alive. The bad news: This hormonal stress response feels identical to anxiety.
By stabilizing blood sugar, you can avoid this stress response and decrease your anxiety.
Here’s how to maintain stable blood sugar:

Eat more protein and healthy fats (e.g., olive oil, coconut oil, butter and ghee from pasture-raised animals).
Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks daily; don’t skip meals.
Take a spoonful of coconut oil upon waking, in the afternoon and right before bed; this will serve as a blood sugar safety net throughout the day.
Always have a snack handy (e.g., nuts, hard-boiled egg, dark chocolate, almond butter or jerky).

2. Get Off Caffeine (for a while)

Don’t underestimate the relationship between caffeine and anxiety.
Think of it like this: When we’re caffeinated, our nervous system is ready for a fight. Introduce a stressor- you are on Defcon 5 regarding anxiety.
If you suffer from anxiety, do yourself a favor and get off caffeine!!!!
I know, I know, the idea of going off caffeine might be giving you anxiety right now. If you reduce your intake gradually (coffee -> half-caf -> black tea -> green tea -> herbal tea) over the course of a week or two, you’ll avoid withdrawal symptoms. After a few weeks, you may be surprised to see that your anxiety has decreased, your sleep has improved, your energy is stabilized, and you even tolerate stress better.
If you had a successful trial off caffeine, but you want to go back to having that morning ritual, consider making green tea your go-to beverage, rather than a “Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte.”
3. Sleep

Getting a good night’s rest is your best bet against anxiety.
There’s a 2-way street between anxiety and sleep–anxiety causes insomnia and sleep deprivation makes us vulnerable to anxiety.
The best way to address this is to set ourselves up for better sleep. Conveniently, the way to do this overlaps with the overall approach to anxiety.

Here’s how:
Reduce or eliminate caffeine
Even if you have no trouble falling asleep, caffeine decreases sleep quality.
Maintain stable blood sugar
Blood sugar fluctuations disrupt your sleep, causing middle of the night awakening.
Be strategic about light:
Let your eyes see bright light in the morning and dim light at night.
If your room isn’t completely dark when you sleep, wear an eye mask or get blackout curtains.
Wind down and unplug before bed

4. Treat the Gut

Perhaps you’ve seen some of the recent articles about the relationship between gut flora and mood.
The bugs in our digestive tract have a profound impact on how we feel and play an integral role in anxiety disorders.
Here’s how to promote healthy gut flora and heal the gut:
Avoid what irritates the gut:
Food: Gluten, sugar, industrial vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, alcohol.
Certain medications: Antacids, antibiotics, oral contraceptives (only make changes under close supervision from your doctor).
Add in what soothes the gut:
Fermented foods: Sauerkraut, kimchi, beet kvass, miso paste, apple cider vinegar, kombucha, kefir (if you tolerate dairy).
Starchy tubers: Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, plantain, taro, yucca.
Bone broth:
Purchase Wise Choice Market Bone Broth.
Make your own bone broth.
Supplements:
Take a probiotic.

Consider supplementing with glutamine and collagen.
Create the conditions for the gut to heal:
Squatty Potty can be life-changing.
Get enough sleep.
Manage stress with yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, unplugging, acupuncture, being in nature.
Treat gut infections. If you suspect you may have a chronic gut infection, get evaluated by an integrative or functional medicine practitioner.
5. Exercise
Exercise is the best anti-anxiety medicine.
If you struggle to exercise regularly, forget the boot camps and triathlons. Get in the habit of mini workouts. Do small amounts of exercise in your living room or take a brief walk outside. Sustainability is key.
In general, stand more, sit less, walk whenever possible, and treat your body right with exercise.
Yoga and Tai Qi are particularly beneficial for anxiety, but the most important thing is to find something you enjoy.
6. Magnesium

Magnesium: Nature’s Xanax
Many of us are deficient in magnesium, since our food is grown in magnesium-depleted soil.
You can supplement with magnesium in a few different ways:
Take an Epsom salt bath.
Take a chelated magnesium supplement (e.g., magnesium glycinate).
Try a topical magnesium gel.

Anxiety has a significant impact on quality of life. Maintaining stable blood sugar, reducing caffeine, getting enough sleep, healing the gut, getting some exercise and filling the body with magnesium are safe tactics that go a long way toward reducing anxiety. If your anxiety does not respond to these lifestyle hacks, go see your healthcare provider.
In closing, you only have one life. Life is too short to let it slip away in anxiety and fear.
Living life free from anxiety is another way THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.

Expansion

I have been wanting to do more with this platform. I stumbled over two apps, Discord and Vid.me. These two are great apps- Discord is the “Skype killer”, plus it’s free (from what I have seen). Vid.me allows for great original content with total freedom.

These are great times for fitness and wellness. For the Halcyon Fitness Group? Just another weapon in our arsenal. Keep your eyes on us. As a matter of fact, join us!!!

twitter: @halcyonfg16

Vid.me: vid.me/halcyonfg16

Discord: Look up Halcyon Fitness Group.

 

Things are changing. Exciting time to be alive.

Vegetarian Diets

Vegetarians and vegetarian diets have been around as long as man has been around. I recently read about the late radio personality Casey Kasem (Shaggy on Scooby-Doo) and his aversion to meat as a child. My personal experience with vegetarianism was to see if I could do it. So for two years (2002-2004/5) I adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. I shed a TON of weight (going from 292 to 160 in 13 months). I think vegetarians get a bad rap. Vegetarianism is great. It’s a great alternative to eating meat, GMOs and who knows what else they are putting in your food. It’s great for kids (teaching portion control and discipline) plus it’s just plain healthier for them (with all the unnatural health ailments hitting children now).

Historic obesity rates across the spectrum for Americans (by 2030, 45% of Americans will be classified as clinically obese), diabetes spiking, even a risk for autism by obese pregnant females. Now more than ever, vegatarianism and vegetarian diets deserve a second look.

Did you know that there are different types of vegetarians?

With these levels of this lifestyle, there are a lot of varying outcomes. Personally, as stated earlier, I think vegetarianism is fantastic. I also hold the opinion that humans definitely benefit from vegetarianism. All the processed foods, all the GMOs, all of the junk we eat and drink is crippling us (and I am just talking about Americans). Combine that with a declining activity rate of most of us… you have a whopping obesity rate (over 67% of Americans are overweight) that will cost taxpayers TRILLIONS by 2028 (healthcare, transportation, clothing).

In closing, more attention should be paid to vegetarianism as a viable lifestyle. This should be brought to light on television, social media, etc. I am definitely in favor of more attention being paid to vegetarianism. It’s definetly cost effective, saves money on healthcare, prevents diseases, disorders like autism.

I would like your opinions on this article. Any and all will be appreciated.

 

2017’s Best Supplements for Men over 40

When a man hits the “Big 4-0”, things usually change drastically. His mind, as well as his body will either decline or change for the better in extraordinary ways. Through better health decisions, mainly diet, exercise and supplementation, a man can expect better results and a better quality of life for himself. Below are my recommendations for guys over 40 who are looking to better their health (at least through dietary supplementation). Don’t worry ladies, I will give a similar review for the year’s best supplements for women over 40 next article.

A Word of Caution

Though this is a definite list made by me, PLEASE use your best judgment, listen to your body and make sure you want to do this fellas. Do it for YOU. So here’s the list for 2017:

  • Multi-vitamin/multi-mineral combination. As I have been known to say, “the basics always win”. This combination is essential to replace any and all nutrients that are lacking in the American diet.
  • Fish Oil. If you use fish oil, use one with at least 2000 mg DHA and 3000 mg EPA. Fish Oil contains the essential Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
  • Vitamin D3 in the CHOLECALCIFEROL form, 4000 IU. Vitamin D3 should be between 40 ng/ml and 80 ng/ml. To attain and maintain this level in the blood, most people will need to supplement with an additional 4000-5000 IU of Vitamin D3.
  • Hydrochloric Acid. IMPORTANT: Take at the beginning of your meal(s). GERD (or Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease) or “heartburn” is due to the lack of hydrochloric acid (naturally decreases in the stomach as we age). The results of this are not only annoying, but harmful. Decreased digestion abilities, which in turn leads to decreased energy, even muscle atrophy seen in aging. This will also predispose you to decreased immune system functions (increased susceptibilities to upper respiratory illnesses, respiratory infections and even cancer (or at least a predisposition to cancer).
  • Arginine, ornithine and glutamine before bedtime (this encourages REM sleep, cell regeneration and Central Nervous System “reset”).

 

The basics always win. Note that there are no trendy supplements here. No NO2 boosters (though studies do show NO2 levels are important to overall health for men over 40), no steroids, any other weird concoctions. The basics of diet, exercise and some discipline will get the job done.

BIG ARMS: 14 LAWS

For those of you who are into bodybuilding, or showing off “the guns” in front of others… this is for you. Here are 14 laws of arm growth that you cannot ignore.

  1. WARM UP BEFORE TRAINING. It’s simple, yet oh so profound. Warming up gets the blood flowing, your joints ready and stretched. Plus your mind is better equipped to handle the workload.
  2. USE MODERATE WEIGHT. Another no-brainer. Real simple here also. Moderate weight will have you growing like a weed. Besides, the biceps and triceps are smaller body parts.  Using the same mass-building techniques for training arms as you would back or chest… not very good.
  3. FORM, FORM, FORM. Form is everything. You don’t want short biceps, muscle imbalances, stuff like that do you? Using proper form is key. Cheating on your sets is a sure-fire way to decrease development. Using proper form has shown an increase of the recruitment of the muscle fibers. Bad form decreases the growth potential of the muscle as much as 45%. So use good form. For those of you new to lifting, watch your form. Ask others in the gym or even watch YouTube videos on how to properly do the exercise. The critiques, the extra few seconds won’t kill you.
  4. MIX IT UP. I mean by this… vary the equipment usage. You will invariably have a favorite tool to use for arms (personally I love the ropes for tri’s- I did 215 lbs with that the other day). To only use one tool is to severely limit your potential growth (both with muscle and with your character).
  5. DON’T CHEAT. See the pattern yet? We have all seen bad form. Excess swinging of the arms, using your hips, whatever- to achieve a lift. Learning to isolate your arms, especially the focus of the exercise (bi’s, tri’s, forearms, etc) will minimize the potential for injury (plus the potential for getting clowned by some people in the gym who call out people who use bad form).
  6. SWITCH IT UP. Different angles mean everything. To achieve the growth you want, you have to change the angles of your exercises. Changing the angles of the work you’re putting in, even supersetting  (putting in another complimentary exercise that targets the same muscles you’re working, usually at a different angle i.e. wide-width push-ups in a set of dumbbell flyes) will do the trick.
  7. STRETCH. Lifting can be a science, but most of this is just “common-sense technique”. Stretching keeps the blood flowing in the muscles, removing the lactic acid and all the other trash that accumulates in a workout. Plus it feels good and can clear your head.
  8. MODERATION. Don’t over-do it! Don’t let your enthusiasm get the best of you. Overtraining will hinder your growth.
  9. TRAIN. TRAIN HARD. TRAIN LONG. BUT NOT BOTH. Keep your workouts varied. A great example is keep the intensity up, but keep it short- overtraining is your enemy.
  10. MIX IT UP 2: CHANGE YOUR ROUTINES OFTEN. The body commits to “muscle memory”. You have to keep your body guessing. There should be a change in your workout routines at least every 21-30 days. You will get stuck in a mental rut otherwise. It will affect growth, and you will overtrain at some point trying to overcompensate for the lack of growth.
  11. TEMPO. Too easy here. For mass, go slow (to recruit the muscle fibers, etc). For lean muscle, go fast.
  12. TRAIN BICEPS, TRICEPS TOGETHER SOMETIMES. Supersetting these two groups is good idea to keep the variety going. For example, some days, I will do arms. I will jump from bi’s to tri’s sometimes. You’re still getting the work in, but it’s a bit unconventional. Unconventional, unorthodox methods do work.
  13. MORE TRICKERY. More techniques like rest-pause, compartmentalized reps (like 21s- a personal favorite of mine), partial reps, stuff like that makes a workout great. Try ending full sets with a set or two of these type of schemes. You’ll love the results.
  14. LAST, BUT NOT LEAST… Massage. Whether it’s self-massage or getting an LMT to work out the kinks, getting that lactic acid and the blood out of the muscles is crucial, especially for smaller muscle groups like the biceps and triceps. Keep your water intake high before, during and after workouts, especially after a massage.