Sugar. It’s so sweet, it gets its own post.

Sugar. It makes any food item delectable. Coffee a little strong? Just add sugar.

It’s a yummy option, but do you know how sugar is processed in your body? Sugar works as an “anti-nutrient.” Bodybuilders pay attention, sugar will take those critical nutrients away from your muscles and keep your body from performing fat reduction. Keeping a good eye on your sugar intake will benefit you both now and long term.

Here’s why, with a grossly summarized explanation. When eating sugar, your body’s insulin levels spike. Insulin is one of the many critical components used to process and absorb energy from what you eat. Sugar, especially in high amounts, is known to cause rapid blood sugar spikes. In this event, your body has to produce enough insulin to take it in as energy. Through years of high sugar intake, this can cause the onset of diabetes.

There are two types of sugar. Glucose and Fructose. I must stress how important the difference is. Fructose is worse 10 times over. Fructose can only be processed and metabolized by the liver. This is a bad thing. A significantly higher number of calories are going through the liver, about three times higher than glucose. The result of this is the production of bad cholesterol and other unwanted acids.

When the body is taking in fructose, a trick is being played on your brain. Due to a leptin resistance(Leptin regulates your energy levels), your mind goes without knowing if you are full. Your brain gets no message that you’ve consumed much of anything, despite drinking a high calorie drink. This is a leading reason why you are left hungry after eating sugary cookies or drinking that sweet sugary drink.

As you transition into the New Year, better yourself and your health by keeping an eye on your sugar intake. Only in a perfect world we would lose weight and get rich by eating Chocolate.

Stay Healthy!

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What I did. Upper Body Workout Routines.

My workout partner and favorite cousin, after a grueling workout.

My workout partner and favorite cousin, after a grueling workout.

You’ve made the decision to live a healthier life! That’s great. Let’s start out with eating right. Below are various diets based on your goal.

Before I started putting on muscle, I did a ton of cardio for a good three months. Most of this was performed on an elliptical, I didn’t run at this point in my life. I also did not have a high protein diet. I shredded any body fat that would possibly get in the way of my gains. I wanted to have a clear understanding of where and what I was gaining.

Once I had eliminated the majority of excess body fat. I jumped right into a serious workout regimen. I asked myself, “who would I enjoy looking like?”  First name that came to my mind was Arnold. I altered Arnold Schwarzenegger’s routine to my abilities. He did huge weight and high reps. I did not have that kind of strength. I figured I’d keep the high reps and do what weight I could. After years of mixing up his workout, I found this to be beneficial

Chest & Back:

  • 20 Chin-ups
  • Incline Bench Press 2-3 sets; 10, 8, 6, 4
  • Flat Bench Press 2-3 sets; 10, 8, 6, 4
  • Decline Bench Press 2-3 sets; 10, 8, 6, 4
  • Dumbbell Flyes 2-3 sets; 10, 8, 6,4
  • Lat Pull Down 1-2 sets; 10,8,6,4
  • Lat Row 1-2 sets; 8,6,4,2
  • Finish with abdominal Workout

Arms:

  • Standing EZ Bar Curl 2-3 sets; 8,6,4,2
  • Reverse Preacher Curl 1-3 sets; 8,6,4,2
  • Zottman Curl 2-3 sets; 8,6,4,2
  • 20 Pullups
  • Dips 2-3 sets, Until failure
  • Concentration Curls 1-3 sets; 8,6,4,2
  • Finish with abdominal workout

Gaining Muscle 

If you want more muscle. YOU HAVE TO EAT CORRECTLY. Losing or gaining weight all revolves around your diet and activity level. To gain muscle, protein is an essential nutrient that you must supply your body. You must eat enough carbohydrates, they provide the necessary fuel for your muscles during grueling exercise sessions.

Formulas for muscle gain

  • Maintaining Muscle: daily intake of 0.5-1.0grams of protein per lb you weigh
  • Building Muscle: daily intake of 1-1.5 grams of protein per lb you weigh

160 lbs x 1.5grams = 240 grams of protein per day.

If you are starting out, slowly begin to feed your body more protein through a gradual increase over the course of a couple of days. I would not jump into doing a daily intake of 1.5grams per day. Your body won’t be able to use that much in the early stages. You must first build up the muscle and the nutritional requirements to effectively utilize those amounts.

Gaining Definition

Getting those beach ready abs isn’t all that hard. This requires a focus on your diet. Losing the fat over your abdominal area is the first step. When you lose fat, your body will begin shedding it in various places. Here’s one of the rough truths of life, your abs are the very last place your body will turn to when getting rid of fat. This means, you’re going to have to lose it in other places before you lose the subcutaneous fat on your stomach. Don’t misunderstand this, your tummy will shrink as you lose weight. However, to get the magazine look, you have to be serious about your eating habits.

Here is what worked for me and what I eat to get defined.

I ate and still eat mostly cereal, deli sandwiches, fruits, and whole grains. It’s a bland diet.

  • Calories: 2,500
  • Carbs: 200-250 g
  • Fat: 20g or less

I would run three times a week for a minimum of 20 minutes. The main goal was to run three miles each run, totaling 9 miles a week. I would typically run on days that I performed an arm or leg workout.

Abs. Ladies, they were made for you, not just for looking at.

Abs - FemaleI can’t think of a single woman who has told me they don’t want better abs. You are better off than you may think. However, to really help you polish off those sexy abs. Let’s take a look at what you are currently doing.

I was taught to be organized in my life. Well, why the heck are most people unorganized when it comes to the gym? NO ONE teaches you how to workout properly. It’s something you either pickup on your own, or you have the good fortune to learn from others.

Go into your workout with a plan. Have a journal with you. List each exercise, and how many reps you are going to do. The other option is listing the exercise and the weight you’d like to use. After the exercise is over, you can record how many reps you got in.

Obviously women and men have different builds. Confusion comes into play when deciding what to do for a workout. Although abs are great, I know many women who are worried they’ll get manly looking abs. Don’t fret over this ladies. Your body was built the way it is for a reason. You won’t look like a man! The main difference is how we acquire our abs.

My second post “All Abs. All Truth. All Gains. What you need to know and how to get them.” has a fantastic routine for sculpting Greek-Like abs. If this is not quite what you are ready for I recommend cutting the rep range in half at the start.

Here are some effective and fun exercises for bringing out those abs. I highly encourage a workout buddy. It’s a great way to make your workout faster and more enjoyable. Be sure you keep each other focused 🙂

  • Exercise Ball Crunch 1-3 sets; 12-15 reps.
  • Bicycle Crunches 1-3 sets; 15-20 reps. **My favorite**
  • Scissor Kicks 1-3 sets; 15-30 reps.
  • Ab Plank 1:00-2:00 minutes. “Got 3:00 minutes? Then start using my the other plan :)”
  • Leg Lifts 1-3 sets; 15-30 reps. (Not to be confused with the upright exercise) For an extra challenge, put a medicine ball between your feet.
  • Reverse Crunches 1-3 sets; 15-30 reps.
  • Ballet Twist 1-2 sets; 8-12 reps
  • Supermans (Superwomen in this case) 1-2 sets; 8-10 reps. This is a lower back exercise. It’s important to match the strength of your abs with your low back.\

Ab workouts can be performed after every session. I recommend doing them at the very end of your routine. This is how I stay in my current condition. The only day I do not do an ab workout is Sunday. They are a beastly muscle group with incredible recovery time.

I will continually have new stuff coming out every week. So check back often and follow on twitter @bassemier

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to do so at the bottom of the page or at mygymsuccess@gmail.com

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Coming posts:

Effective Routines.

Important Nutrition Tips.

That much needed motivation.

And much, MUCH MORE!

Altitude and Attitude. Why they matter and how cardio will help you.

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Over this past Christmas break I visited Colorado. Being from Indiana, it was like visiting a dream world. Seeing a culture that I could adopt as my own or even live among, it was spectacular. I was awestruck by the mountains and their almost seductive trance they had me in. Sharing this experience in the mile high city, it was unforgettable.

“When you go up in those mountains, bring some extra oxygen with you.” I felt people were jokingly telling me these things. In actuality, the change in altitude didn’t affect me until we were ON the mountains.

I began running two summers ago training for the Marine Corps Officer program PLC. I had never truly ran prior to my time in college. Baseball had been a big part of my life in my younger years. Let’s be honest, you don’t have to be in shape to play baseball. Running is not a big part of that sport and never will be. I began cycling at the age of 16. my average ride would be 35-40 miles per day. This is a rewarding and great sport. If you haven’t, cycle throughout a rural area of your hometown. It’s an adventurous and liberating experience.

As I began running, I noticed I gained a new focus in everything. From what I did on a professional level to my relationships with friends. It offered me a way to channel my thoughts and be free. With time, the physical benefits came without disappointment. Running is an unrestrained freedom.

I like to think of running with someone on the same level as catching a cup of coffee. They break down the walls, and the two of you can converse on anything. Initially, I HATED running. I despised it. It was painful, exhausting and tiring. I mean what’s attractive about that? 5:00 am, every morning all summer doing this? It was painstaking, but I pulled through and focused on what I wanted with the help of my dear friend Alicia. Having a person to run with, at least in the beginning, will make a difference ten times over.

It was weird. The whole running thing. “What’s this Runner’s high?” I asked myself. The day I hit my first runners high, it was comparable to having laughing gas for the first time at the dentist. I LOVED IT. Then I had to learn the etiquette of runners. Things like, cars hurt, if a dog is chasing you it’s probably not happy. But on a serious note. I had to learn how to run. I thought you just ran. However, there is a specific way your feet should first hit and leave the ground. The way your feet roll from toe to heel. It was a big learning experience for me mentally and physically. This was when I understood the concept of listening to my body. My legs, like the rest of my body, will tell me without hesitation if I’ve done something to upset them during the week.

Vail, Colorado. Elevation 9,000 feet. We were snow shoeing on the “Ice Climbers” trail. It really hit me after being on this particular trail for 3 minutes. I was breathing as if I had been doing a hasty jog around campus. I thought to myself, “This is odd. I’m just walking up the side of the mountain, no big deal.”

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But it was a big deal, my body was not acclimated to the altitude. If I had not been in good shape from running, I’m unsure how I would’ve ventured on the mountain. I’d recommend that no normal Joe should go in the mountains without doing cardio.

I can happily say, running has improved my life in all aspects and that it’s capacity to improve yours is limitless. I encourage you make it a integral part of your life and continue to spread the motivation to others 🙂

Your source of endless motivation- Ryan

All Abs. All Truth. All Gains. What you need to know and how to get them.

Abs. Men love them. Women love them even more. Why are they so attractive? The real question is, “What isn’t attractive about them?” Regardless of your experience with abdominal workouts, developing these muscles will help you in all activities that you perform on a daily basis.abs

Here’s the real secret…NO GREAT SET OF ABS were made outside of the kitchen. Think of food like jet fuel. The kind of gasoline you put in an airplane will greatly affect the engine’s performance. This is very much the same with food and the human body. Finding a happy medium in your diet and maintaining that is essential to keeping those abs around.

I have developed and maintained my abdominal muscles through a high protein diet. On an average day I’ll consume between 250-300 grams of carbohydrates (this is the daily recommended amount), I have no wacky set number on carbs in my diet.

Three rules: Rest, Eat, and Listen. After every workout, drink a protein shake as soon as you are done. The first 15 minutes after your workout are critical for nutrient absorption. Always, always, always, ensure that you allow your body enough time to recover and build up muscle tissue between workouts. The worst thing you can do is overtrain your body. You will breakdown muscles, causing them to become smaller, and possibly develop injuries. If you want to make those gains in the gym, eat right and give your body the nutrients it demands. Listen to your body, if something hurts then lay off of it. Your body is brutally honest. If it is painful, STOP.

*Always consult your doctor prior to starting a new physical exercise regimen. Ensure you are healthy enough for exercise and discuss and past injuries*

Before starting the ab workout, do as many crunches as you can in 2:00 minutes. Record this number. By doing this before every ab workout, you will be able to measure your abdominal strength and notice the huge gains! Note: As you progress through your workouts keep a journal of your progress, # of reps, weight, and type of exercise. This way you can see if you are improving or if you need to change up your plan.

BEGINNERS start reading here. Developing the base for the abdominal muscles is perhaps the hardest hurdle for many to get over. After that jump is made, it’s all down hill. To begin building the base for your abs, you must start with the basics. This means you won’t necessarily be doing high rep sets. You must allow time for your muscles to build up the endurance and strength to perform at a higher intensity. An essential item to know is that cardio is THE ONLY WAY you are going to show off your abs. You can do crunches until the cows come home, but it won’t do you any good for getting rid of fat. If you don’t do any medium to high intensity cardio workouts, you won’t have a six pack.

This is a beginner’s sample workout for you to adjust to your own ability.

Standard Crunches 3 sets of 20; Leg Levers 2 sets of 10-15; Scissor Kicks 2 sets of 10-15; Bicycle Crunches 2 sets 10-15. Repeat this workout until failure.

At the bottom of the page I’ve posted a great routine. For your benefit I recommend cutting the rep range in half and working your way up to the higher rep range as your progress 🙂

INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED  Now that you have some base or a good set of abs built up, it’s time to really get them to shine. I cannot stress enough, the importance of cardio in your workout. Whether it’s biking, swimming, or running, you must have some form of cardio in your workout. Do this at medium to high intensity at a minimum of 3 times per week. Cardio, combined with the proper diet, will will burn off those unwanted layers of subcutaneous fat on top of your abs. Adjust the amount of cardio and its intensity based upon your goal (muscle gain or getting definition).  Unlike other muscle groups, the abdominal muscles can be worked every day. They require little recovery time. The only day I don’t perform an abdominal workout is on sunday.

Below are 5 various abdominal workouts, all of which will yield excellent results. I picked these up while training to be an officer in the Marine Corps. I recommend doing all five workouts every week at the very end of your exercise sessions (This means monday you would do Abs (1), Tues Abs (2),…Fri Abs(5). Adjust this to your workout schedule and mix up the order as you like.

By clicking on the workout, it will be enlarged for printing purposes.

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New Years and Getting Started.

CCP_7703-EditHello there! My name is Ryan. I’m an active college student and model with high ambitions. I love coffee a little too much, and I’m known to be an outgoing introvert. I enjoy reading classic literature, and I’m a movie buff. I have decided to start this blog after receiving many requests to explain my fitness regimen.

With the turn of each year, I have failed to make any New Year’s resolutions for myself. I have not made New Year’s resolutions a habit in my life for whatever reason. This blog is for those seeking to chase your fitness goals. Here, you will find that much needed motivation! Alas, where do we find motivation? How do we keep it? Consistency.

Consistency is critical for your gains and achievements in and out of the gym. Eating right, it’s that over used saying that every doctor, mom, gym rat, and health nut will say. The integrity of this statement is unquestionable. Knowing how foods affect your body is your next step to reaching those goals.

Throughout this blog I will be posting my nutritional diet [It’s what I eat on a daily basis 🙂 ]. I will be posting my workout routines, cardio workouts, and various tips you can use every day.

Here’s to you and a successful New Year,

-Ryan