6 Dec 2011

7 Hard Body Secrets

Everyone loves the look of a firm, hard body. That lean muscled physique is so elusive for most people because they do not know or practice the secrets!

Secret #1 - Visualization
Your mind is the most powerful tool in transforming your body into that reminiscent of a Greek sculpture. I have written before that the 3 bodies that I have both admired and have been inspired by are Steve Reeves (1950s actor), Larry Scott (1st Mr Olympia) and Bruce Lee (martial arts master & actor). Not only do I have numerous photos of these three but I imagine with my mind, developing like my heroes. When working my bis and tris (arms) I see them developing the awesome size and fullness of the first Mr Olympia. For the razor sharp definition of Bruce Lee my food choices as well as schedule are in line with that ripped look that I covet. Developing the overall symmetry of the movies first bodybuilding actor(as Hercules), is accomplished by my choice of body weight exercises like pull ups that have the ability of activating so many muscle groups simultaneously. You need an active, imaginative mind for a hard body!

Secret #2 - Form
So many people go to the gym but look so mediocre for all their effort. This is largely due to their sloppiness. It astounds me to see how most can work expensive health club machines with poor form. The entire purpose of these specialized pieces of equipment is to guide you through perfect form from the beginning to the end of every rep. The louder the clanging of the equipment and the ever increasing intensity of grunting is a sure signal poor form is being exercised.Yet they have a look of satisfaction on their faces when finished with the machine, feeling they have maxed out completely the body part targeted. When in reality they have abused two quality pieces of equipment, by this I mean both the gym equipment as well as their own bodies.

Secret #3 - Slow Down
"Slow down you are moving too fast, you got to make the moments last." One of the things that affects muscle growth is time under tension. If you understand this then it becomes obvious that a rep that takes 5 to 6 seconds to complete from start to finish is far superior to one that takes 1 to 2 seconds. How can you visualize muscle growth when your muscle is but momentarily stimulated? Additionally you have little control over your form with this quick, lazy approach to every rep. Some rationalize with a logic as follows, "it hurts so much that the faster I finish, the sooner the discomfort will stop". Invest time, intensity,form and visualization with every rep you perform.

Secret #4 - Variety
Now before you think that I am wandering off topic with this, let me explain. Everyone that trains understands the concept of progressive resistance. What this means is that with every workout you add a couple of reps to your total or a couple of pounds to the resistance. So over time as you add you become stronger and more muscularly developed. The problem with this totally linear progression is that it will only work for a few weeks before your progress will stall. The solution to this is to vary slightly one aspect of your normal workout. You need not scrap your present workout or purchase new equipment or a new DVD set, etc. All you need are slight variations and progress begins. For an example, my basic pull up routine consists of 8 reps with 12 sets of various grips for a total volume of 96 reps in one workout. If this needs a change up, it is so simple to do 12 reps with 8 sets for the needed variation. (This is but an over simplistic example, since there are so many ways to vary a basic workout). A few weeks at the new variation will be all that you need to go back to your original routine and you will notice an improvement as your body once again adapts to become stronger!

Secret #5 - Write It Down
There is a saying that "the pen is mightier than the sword". Numerous times in my articles or blog entries I have shared with all my readers that I have a workout journal, a daily record of my weight, waist size, body fat %, as well as arm girth. The discipline these journals have developed in me for improving my physical development have been nothing less than phenomenal. At this point I care not what form your journal takes. It can be a record of your food intake (calories), the miles walked everyday or even something as simple as an entry that says "on month X, day Y, year Z, I was too tired to workout as planned because I drank too much last night." Do not underestimate the inspirational power of your personal record. If you write it down on a permanent record, it will have the power to change, edify, as well as improve you.

Secret #6 - Planning
Planning is one of the keys to any successful endeavor. This is no different with developing a chiseled body. On many occasions I will have obligations that make it impossible to do my daily workout. This could be a 3 or 4 day business trip with long hours of driving as well as late meetings. Since these trips are planned I can also plan to compensate for the lost workout time. What I do typically for 4 days before the trip, is to cut my workouts to 75% of normal then instead of once a day they are performed morning and night for a total of 150% of normal. The over training just prior to the days "off" for the trip allow my body adequate work and rest on the trip to keep my muscular growth fairly consistent. Whenever I eat I look at the clock to time my next meal, 2 1/2 to 3 hours later. These are but simple fluid ways to plan for nutrition and workouts in our every changing personal demands. Plan, plan and keep planning with contingencies a plenty for a body to carry you through decades of active living.

Secret #7 - Enjoy Yourself
Pleasure is one of the great motivators. They say of Cleopatra that her beauty was influential in her rule of Egypt but a more accurate historical examination would be that Cleopatra's pleasure giving attributes inspired men. We all do things we enjoy! So find pleasure in your workouts as well as your nutrition. Nothing elevates my confidence like pushing past previous strength limits. When I view my body after an intense muscle pumping workout I feel unbelievably good about myself. The feel good endorphins that flood your mind in response to sustained physical effort can only be described as a form of mental pleasure. Long distance runners call this the runners "high". Find a workout that you enjoy, that gives you that satisfying pleasure of making a difference in your body. Do not mistake this exhortation to mean to find the shortest and easiest workout but the most invigorating, satisfying one.
Enjoy yourself! Find pleasure in pushing your physical boundaries and transform yourself from mediocre to fabulous!
EJ Reeves is a 59 year old body-weight exercise advocate. Visit www.pullupbar.com for more info, articles and videos.

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