Every quarter I like to sit down and reflect on where my bodybuilding diet and training currently is, what I have learned, and what changes I need to make. I like to put it out in an open forum so it can help others. I hope you can learn from my mistakes and take something on your journey that may help. More importantly, I suggest you reflect on your own diet and training over the last 3 months and think about what you have learned.
1. Protect Your Insulin Sensitivity At All Cost In Order To Lose Fat and Gain Muscle
After my diet for my September 2013 competition, I kept my nutrition on point and gradually introduced more and more calories. Once I reached a certain point, even though I was still gaining a ½ pound per week, I pushed calories hard. This was a mistake because it led to me being insulin resistant, and the quick accumulation of body fat. I spent the rest of last year trying to get back to decent shape, but never feel I reached where I was prior to that push.
This year I did everything I could to keep my body insulin sensitive. Not large amounts of carbs, nutrient timing, and used glucose disposal agents. I don’t think many understand the importance of keeping the body in a state where it can manage carbs efficiently. When the body becomes insulin resistant, due to over intake of carbs, it not only stores fat easier, but also limits continued muscle growth. What have I done to combat this successfully?
- Nutrient Timing- Limit carbs to the meals closest to your workouts
- Glucose Disposal Agents- R-ALA, Green Coffee Bean and others
- Low Carb Off Days- Significantly decrease carbs on non-training days
- Off Season Cardio- Low intensity cardio 3-5 days per week 20-30min
- Mini Diets- Caloric surplus followed by a 3-4 week diet
2. Increase Training Frequency To Bring Up A Lagging Body Part
Just about everyone has a weak body part, and for me one of them is my arms. This year I was bound determined to bring my arms up. In the past I had normally done an arm day that consisted of about 12 sets each for biceps and triceps. I began to think about my training in the past for arms, and knew that my arms do not respond very well to high volume. I realized this because after about 8 sets for biceps I always lose my pump. Even though I knew this, my first thought was what can I do more of. My conclusion was to do 16 sets for each. Although I am doing 16 sets, I am splitting the sets up between 2 separate workouts. On an normal arm day I will do 8 intense sets for biceps and triceps, and then after chest I will add 8 sets of triceps and after back I tack on 8 sets for biceps. This slight change in approach has made an improvement in my arms and is something I will continue to play with the duration of this year.
3. Use The Exercises That Work Best For You
I have talked about this topic previously, but it is something that always comes to mind when I think of what I need to do to continue to improve: movement selection. Do not feel like there are any specific movements that you must do. I was very stubborn about this for many years. What you need to do is find your weak areas, select movements that can target that area, and then further select from those movements that your body can connect with.
An example of this for me is squats. I have continued to force myself to squat over the last couple years. I do not feel squats in my muscle, but more so in my joints, yet I continue to push forward. I see no change in the tape measure when I continue to squat. In fact, I usually end up with agitated patellar tendons after a heavy squat session. For the last 3 months I have not completed any regular squats. In place of them I have used a smith machine, hack squat or other machine variation. This allows me to focus more on the muscle I am trying to work as well as relieving the joint discomfort. As a result I have started to see growth in my lower extremities again.
- Look at the area of the body or muscle you need to bring up.
- Select specific movements that target those area.
- Try those movements to see which of them you can feel working the most and keep those as your primary exercises/
- Ditch movements that cause you pain, discomfort, or agitate injuries.
Bodybuilding is a continuous learning process. There will never be a time that you your know your body fully, because your physique is constantly adapting to the demands you place on it. What works today might not work tomorrow. For some of us the challenge is probably why we are so drawn to it.
About the Author
Marc Snyder is an active NPC Bodybuilder and current 2013 Mr Ohio. Marc has created a balance in his life with the sport he loves and the family of 2 kids and a wife that he lives for. Marc has been involved in many avenues of the fitness industry. He is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. He also has experience in clinical exercise physiology working in the field for nearly 2 years.
It is now Marc’s goal to educate and guide individuals through yèt-their health and fitness journey by utilizing the knowledge he has gained over the years. He operates SnyderAthletics.com an online nutrition and training website to help people. achieve their goals.
Please follow Marc on his journey of continued progress by following him on his website at SnyderAthletics.com , facebook at www.facebook.com/NPCMarcSnyder and twitter at www.twitter.com/SnyderMarcA. He post his daily lifestyle tips on these feeds for you to access and utilize in your health and fitness journey.