muscle building fact or myth

Part 1

“There is no need for lectures on growing muscle! I am fully immersed in the industry and can truly understand the quality of information I need in order to grow muscle. After all, I follow the latest fads from a particular professional, stay current in training forums, schedule my workouts every day and change my exercises whilst always retaining this thought process – I must lift heavier.”

Your’s sincerely, the stubborn gym junkie


It is time to find out if what you know or learnt is a myth or a fact!


We can all replay a moment in our gym lives that we too came up with similar views and internal conversations. While listening to help and advice from professionals, friends or gurus, judging whether or not a claim is a fact or myth has been the endeavour of all of us in our personal fitness journey and it just so happens we meet a cross road each day  that tears us between truth and persuasion. So the question has to be asked, How on earth do we identify a myth from a fact?

In this blog I will be exploring whether a statement is myth or a fact and will incorporate what science has already proven.


You must eat large amounts of protein to build muscle “The more the better!” Myth or Fact

So, you are researching as a beginner or your stuck in the rip of a bodybuilding addiction over the years and you have come to the conclusion of the greatest training find in history.

If I eat more protein, I will proportionally gain more fat-free mass (lean muscle).

Well, to that statement there is some fact! Below, I will challenge that the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) can be exceeded for the strength and training for individuals seeking muscle growth.

The muscle building fact or myth

What does science tell us?

The recommendation for strength and power athletes range from 1.6-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.[1][2] . We are all well aware of this general consensus, though can this be conclusive or have there been other studies that support the fact that more than the recommended RDA actually supports muscle growth.

In several studies, controls consumed protein at ~1.5-2.5 times the current RDA, in line with current strength/power recommendations, yet in many cases, adding additional protein produced significantly greater muscular benefits.[3][4][5]. Wow, so eating more protein does help those wishing to gain greater lean mass! In conclusion the study deemed  2.38 g/kg/day the benchmark, which reconfirmed the affermention consumption of 1 g protein/lb of bodyweight/day (2.2 g/kg/day) which was a previous school of thought.

What we must also take into account is individual athletes taking anabolic substances for added performance. Due to the nature of the drug and its added support with protein synthesis the human body in this state can take far greater protein consumption, so it leaves great speculation to the true tolerance when met with a subject on this level.

Does high protein consumption effect your internal organs ?

There has been much debate over the matter of whether or not high protein consumption, leads to impaired renal function or chronic renal disease. In this day and age this matter is of high importance as not only do people engage in weight training have high protein diets, but also people engage with weightloss diets. So, as a devout professional I have uncovered some very important academic journal finds on this matter, along with compared studies.

Let’s take vegetarians for instance, it has been reported that there are no statistically significant differences in age, sex, weight, and kidney function between non-vegetarians and vegetarians (a group demonstrated to have lower dietary protein intakes)[6][7].

The greatest cause for concern for high protein intake lays with people who may already suffer from mild strain to their renal system, as going above RDA (recommended daily allowance).[8]

Will Brink talks about protein intake :

Here is the journal study behind the benefit of more protein then recommended RDA>

J. Bosse, B. Dixon. Dietary protein to maximize resistance training: a review and examination of protein spread and change theories
. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2012, 9:42 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-9-42
Published: 8 September 2012


In conclusion the myth of “more protein the better”  is Fact. More protein than the recommended RDA is beneficial for muscle growth, though keeping in mind a healthy renal system is very important during your fitness journey.


[1] Joint Position Statement: nutrition and athletic performance. American College of Sports Medicine, American Dietetic Association, and Dietitians of Canada

Med Sci Sports Exerc 2000, 32(12):2130-2145

[2] Tarnopolsky MA, Atkinson SA, MacDougall JD, Chesley A, Phillips S, Schwarcz HP: Evaluation of protein requirements for trained strength athletes.

J Appl Physiol 1992, 73(5):1986-1995

[3] Kerksick CM, Rasmussen CJ, Lancaster SL, Magu B, Smith P, Melton C, et al.: The effects of protein and amino acid supplementation on performance and training adaptations during ten weeks of resistance training.

J Strength Cond Res 2006, 20:643-653

[4] Burke DG, Chilibeck PD, Davidson KS, Candow DG, Farthing J, Smith-Palmer T: The effect of whey protein supplementation with and without creatine monohydrate combined with resistance training on lean tissue mass and muscle strength.

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2001, 11:349-364

[5] Candow DG, Burke NC, Smith-Palmer T, Burke DG: Effect of whey and soy protein supplementation combined with resistance training in young adults.

Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2006, 16:233-244

[6] Bedford JL, Barr SI: Diets and selected lifestyle practices of self-defined adult vegetarians from a population-based sample suggest they are more ‘health conscious’.

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2005, 2(1):4.

[7] Blum M, Averbuch M, Wolman Y, Aviram A: Protein intake and kidney function in humans: its effect on ‘normal aging’.

Arch Intern Med 1989, 149(1):211-212

[8] Martin WF, Armstrong LE, Rodriguez NR: Dietary protein intake and renal function.

Nutr Metab (Lond) 2005, 2:25

Is no pain no gain a true measure of a great workout?


There is much skepticism in the scientific community about whether the occurrence of post exercise pain (Delayed onset muscle soreness), is related to the measure of muscle growth. In this blog entry I will question the relationship and even support the myth behind no pain, no gain with scientific research.


We are all very familiar with the effect of post exercise pain known as DOMS, and I for one agree that muscular pain is a gauge of adaption and growth but doesn’t necessarily have to occur at every workout.


Over the years I have invested much of my time towards understanding effective programming and trialed numerous advanced workout routines. It was personally very common for me to undertake a new routines, then post workout begin to endure muscle soreness from anywhere between 3-5 days. This was my natural rhythm of training cycles and “Yes”, I would over the course of the weeks get stronger build muscle and have a reduced effect of muscle soreness though still present.

It made me always question the Myth “No pain No gain”! Is this truly a measure of a great workout or am I just genetically prone to training pain?

No pain no gain

What science reveals

In the book Strength and Conditioning: Biological Principles and practical application the conclusion behind the measure of DOMS and muscle growth is this. “The magnitude of DOMS does not reflect the magnitude of muscle damage[1], basically in short that statement establishes that the no pain no gain training plan does relate to muscle growth but not relative to a given amount of pain equal to muscle growth.

As both an athlete and professional personal trainer I was always inclined to disagree and say that there has to be a measure of pain to growth, but the evidents is sound regarding this comparative measure of DOMS. Though another statement retrieved from the strength and conditioning book concluded, “It is not muscle damage due to eccentric contractions, but eccentric contractions per set that are responsible for the greater muscle hypertrophy and muscle strength gain conferred by eccentric training[2].

As a bodybuilder we consider hypertrophy driven workouts to be a key element in our training, we change training modalities and use different concentric and eccentric tempos with a variety of different training principles. Often we focus heavily on eccentric control, which is known as the negative phase of an exercise movement. Following that statement made about eccentric contractions per set, what I have understood is that bouts of eccentric exercise have been known to increase the effect of DOMS .(Balnave & Thompson 1993).


Now the question has to be asked if the eccentric movement stimulates greater hypertrophy and strength, though it encourages greater DOMS. Can the effect of DOMS perhaps be a signature response of an appropriately measured eccentric workout?

No pain no gain

Science Goes full circle

So now we have gone full circle on this myth about no pain no gain!

It is not the relationship of muscle pain that is equivalent to muscle growth, but through eccentric training we are more likely to sustain muscle pain that can possibly increase muscle hypertrophy and strength.

So to an extent DOMS is a measure and has to be present!

To further back my claim here is a recent journal to support this statement. “Because muscle damage is theorized to mediate hypertrophic adaptations, there is some justification to actively seek muscle damage during a training session if maximal hypertrophy is the desired goal”.[3]


No pain no gain lives on as a training ethos

We understand No pain No gain is an old thought process behind training, though in our current fitness society it comes up quite often. I have come to agree that the words are symbolic, not in a literal sense but a training ethos. If we didn’t have these terms what would be presented in its place today, I could only imagine! Maybe the terms train smarter not harder, believe and succeed, no science no gains the word combinations are infinite. Though there is one thing certain with the claim no pain no gain and that is, it pushes limitations in human training performance. It seeks a so-called conclusion in training perfection, and some how pain is that measure, result and reward.



We can neither approve or disprove the claim that DOMS ( muscle pain) is a direct result of muscle growth and strength gain.

If you wish to read more visit the links provided:

Crossfit Journal article: Muscle damage and soreness

Tom Venuto talks in depth about DOMS

[1] Kazunori Nosaka, Edith Cowan University, School of exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Joondalup, WA, Australia Exercise –induced Muscle Damage and delayed-onset Muscle soreness (DOMS). Chapter 2.6, 2.6.6 Conclusion. Strength and Conditioning: Biological Principles and Practical Application. (2011). 25/1/15

[2] Kazunori Nosaka, Edith Cowan University, School of exercise, Biomedical and Health Sciences, Joondalup, WA, Australia Exercise –induced Muscle Damage and delayed-onset Muscle soreness (DOMS). Chapter 2.6, 2.6.6 Conclusion. Strength and Conditioning: Biological Principles and Practical Application. (2011) . 25/1/15

[3] Brad J. Schoenfeld, MSc, CSCS, CSPS1 and Bret Contreras, MA, CSCS2, Department of Health Science, Lehman College, Bronx, NY; and School of Sport and Recreation, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Is post exercise muscle soreness a valid indicator of muscular adaptions? . Journal.   Effect of eccentric contraction velocity on muscle damage in. PDF. 25/1/15


Weight training for women

How often have you wondered about weight training, and then considered how it will affect you? Many women speculate it will change their womanly curves and makes them look more ’Man-ish’.

weight training for women- society's view

This is a real topic of concern for many women in the fitness industry: do women need to weight train or should they completely avoid it? This article addresses the common myths and truths about the advantages that weight training brings to the average woman.

Before I get started I would just like to note that this article addresses resistance training applied to only women who are beginners in the resistance training world. The weight loads I draw attention to allow women to complete 10-12 repetitions, so they are not going to make you look like the muscular, Amazonian woman to the right.

Weight training: the common misconception

weight training for women- a common misconception

The term ‘bulking’ is used by women in the fitness world to define the physical change that results from excessive prolonged weight training, dieting and supplementation. It means they lose their hourglass figure and feminine physique, taking on a bulkier, more masculine appearance. But the term has caused confusion in the wider female population, leading a lot of women to think that any weight training will result in this sort of appearance.

Women can ‘bulk’ (and many women love this appearance and training regime), or they can weight-train to gain lean muscle which will accentuate their natural figure and leave them looking leaner, fitter and stronger.

The reason why women will never be able to ‘bulk’ naturally, in the true sense of the word is because of testosterone. Men produce 7-8 times more testosterone than women[1].

How does this relate to women and bulking?

This hormone is key to the development of bone mineral density, lean muscle development and body hair (women would consider this hormone the one big problem that accounts for countless hours of physical maintenance). So even with an intensive weight training program women don’t have enough ‘androgenic hormones’ to trigger the growth a male can achieve, unless they take hormonal supplements.


Knee injuries in women!


The average woman has what is known as a ‘Q’ angle (this is the angle from the quadriceps to the patella tendon), which is considerably wider than a male’s due to the width of a women’s pelvis. This, combined with less bone mineral density than men, and fluctuations in oestrogen levels, can have an impact on how prone women are to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries [2].


This Q angle affects gait biomechanics in women, which can create strain on the knee cruciate even in everyday walking. For a joint that is not adequately strengthened and stable there is a high risk of injury.[3]. Many women have quit their favourite exercises in order to avoid knee injuries or prevent further injury from occurring; however with proper strengthening exercises these injuries can be prevented


The positives of weight training for women

 weight training for women

Weight training for women should always be incorporated into a fitness program. As a personal trainer I always inform my female clients of the benefits of weight training, and develop a suitable training program to suit their needs and goals. Aside from developing great muscle tone, weight loss and basic aerobic conditioning, weight training completes the puzzle of achieving each and every fitness goal. Here are some more positive outcomes from a weight-training program:

  • Weight training helps build bone density in women, and important preventative of osteoporosis
  • Weight training can help strengthen weak abductor muscles (combined with a flexibility program) and reduce the ‘Q’ angle
  • Weight training/resistance training can help strengthen cruciate ligaments and tendons
  • A combined aerobic/weight training session will burn more kCal than a single continuous aerobic session.
  • Weight training can increase hormonal release helping to feed your day with positive energy
  • Weight training increases fat free mass (lean muscle).
  • Weight training can help you re-establish strength in your postural muscles and weak muscle groups, helping correct your posture, prevent injury and leave you stronger for longer.


 Weight training for pregnancy

weight training for women- Confident and strong

Weight training obviously gains considerable favour with many medical practitioners pertaining to rehabilitation, post-menopausal women, degenerative medical conditions and pre-pregnancy to name a few.

An interesting point was made by several clients of mine regarding the importance of strengthening the lower back, transverse abdominals, rectus abdominal and upper thoracic muscles after they delivered their first child. They complained that due to the combination of carrying their unborn child and subsequent weight gain (11-16kg is the average weight gain for healthy pregnant women), along with obvious physical size increases of the breasts etc. they were experiencing minor aches and pains due to the imbalances of weight distribution of the body. The clients who attempted a weight-training program of minimal loads but targeting core strength saw many aided benefits such as:

  • Reduced difficulty through labour
  • Reducing unwanted excess weight gain over the weeks
  • Reduction in pain of the (lumbar) lower back
  • A reduction in post pregnancy recovery and better muscle memory.


As a note, I am not qualified to take clients through weight training programs whilst in pregnancy, but for the eventual pregnancy planning I would advise weight training and its positive benefits, and seeking a trainer who can devise a suitable program for you.

As a recommendation, always seek advice from a medical professional about suitable exercises and intensities for weight training programs. This should be done during the early first trimester, during and after pregnancy, to ensure the safety of you and your child.


What should be in a weight-training program for women

As a recommendation, women who are just starting weight training should perform a (load) weight that allows her to perform repetitions of 8-12 reps. The amount of sets should exceed that of a man’s. This is due to the lack of testosterone and ability for a women’s body to build lean muscle mass (known as hypertrophy). Poliquin recommends higher volume of weight training for women in order to achieve the same muscular stimulus relative to a man. The below tables show my recommendations for preferred goals for a single exercise in a weight training program.


If you are the kind of woman that is searching for the goal that involves ‘bending your boyfriend in half’, below is a recommendation to build strength.


Sets Reps speed Rest
5-8 4-8 Explosive /slow eccentric 180 sec – 240 sec


If you are happy with your body but would love to tighten and tone those muscles, below is a recommendation to build muscle (hypertrophy).


Sets Reps Speed Rest
4-5 8 – 12 Controlled concentric 1 second / controlled eccentric 3 second count 60 sec – 180 sec


Summer is coming and time is of the essence, you have just committed to your new goal of the year and that is losing weight. In the past you would have probably strapped yourself onto a treadmill and slogged it out for hours each week, bored stiff. Instead, try incorporating an aerobic/weight-training session, designed to burn fat:


Sets Reps Speed Rest
3-4 12 – 15 Explosive with slow eccentric 30 sec – 60 sec


This is my personal preference to set/reps, speed and rest allotments for a given goal. There are many variations to weight training structures that women may find useful beyond what I have outlined in the tables above. Time is short and we all have our priorities, so experiment with what works best for you.

In order to make the most of your rest periods in between each set, you want to get yourself set up properly from the start. This is what I suggest:



Get several weighted dumbbells and a flat bench. This setup will enable you to perform 4 out of the 6 exercises in this circuit, which targets the upper body.


Weight loss circuit (perform 3 circuits of the below exercises)

Exercises Sets Reps speed rest
Dumbbell flat bench press 1 12 – 15 Explosive with slow eccentric 10 sec
Single arm dumbbell row 1 12 – 15 Explosive with slow eccentric 10 sec
Dumbbell shoulder press 1 12 – 15 Explosive with slow eccentric 10 sec
Dumbbell Rear delt raise 1 12 – 15 Explosive with slow eccentric 10 sec
Planking 1 12 – 15 Explosive with slow eccentric 10 sec
Abdominal crunch 1 12 – 15 Explosive with slow eccentric 60 sec

10 seconds’ rest accounts for correcting technique, posture and retrieving the correct weight.

Weight training and being time restrictive 

When you are short on time but what to make the most of your weight-training session, make sure you incorporate the following into your workout: 

  • Perform exercises that are agonist/antagonist to each other
  • Perform supersets or tri-sets to create greater intensity
  • Divide muscle groups over a week in order to target priority weakness muscle groups, or to perhaps develop a muscle group that will help correct your posture.

Ideal equipment 

When starting out on a weight-training regime, perform exercises that use the following equipment: 

  • Dumbbells
  • Body weight as resistance
  • Barbells
  • Therabands


Limit the quantity of machine exercises in a weight training session


Attach free 3 day 4 week hypertrophy program for women here

womens free weight training program


In conclusion, weight training is an essential fitness form that should be reinforced for its positive benefits for women of all ages. As we age it is paramount that we focus not only on life goals for career and academic development, but also physical development, so that we can live injury-free and stay fit well into our old age.





Key summary notes:The term ‘bulking’ for women can only occur if a woman performs weight training programs excessively over a long period of time, aided by a diet and hormonal supplementation. So even with an intensive weight training program women don’t have the right ‘androgenic hormones’ to trigger the growth a male has, unless you obviously take the hormonal replacement to become He-Women. Depending on the range of the ‘Q’ angle and knowing that women have less bone mineral density than their male counterparts, have fluctuations in estrogen and are even more prone than men to sustain tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)[1].Regardless of toning the muscle, basic aerobic conditioning or even weight loss, weight training finishes the complete puzzle of each and every fitness goal.As a recommendation, women who are just starting weight training should perform a (load) weight that allows her to perform repetitions of 8-12 reps. 

(Poliquin recommends higher volume of weight training for women in order to achieve the same muscular stimulus relative to a man)

Free downloads


Free PDF 3 day 4 week hypertrophy program for women

Input here:


Recommended reading: The new rules in lifting for women. Lou Schuler, Cassandra Forsythe, M.S. by Alwyn Cosgrove 2007   

You can also view further reading from

10 reasons why women should do resistance training

[1] Torjesen PA, Sandnes L (March 2004). “Serum testosterone in women as measured by an automated immunoassay and a RIA”. Clin. Chem. 50 (3): 678; author reply 678–9. DOI:10.1373/clinchem.2003.027565

[2] Prodromos CC, Han Y, Rogowski J, Joyce B, Shi K. A meta-analysis of the incidence of anterior cruciate ligament tears as a function of gender, sport, and a knee injury-reduction regimen. Arthroscopy. 2007;23(12):1320–1325.e1326.


[3] Lynch SL, Hoch AZ. The female runner: gender specifics. Clin Sports Med. 2010;29(3):477–498.

The Muscle Building Principles

The most intriguing question on almost every committed gym enthusiasts mind; How do I continuously gain lean muscle mass? If this is your dilemma, then prepare to learn the secrets which will help you on this journey.


The muscle principles

As a personal trainer, I believe that there should be a general consensus of principles agreed upon by the fitness industry, it should be laid out in simple terms to help direct the average gym enthusiast to their goal of lean muscle gain.

Below are the principles that I know work! They are not false claims, they are backed by the professionals.


Principle 1: Dieting

We have heard it all. Yet, how many of us have applied it? Diets are the foundation to any goal, but essentially for muscle gain how do we know what is what and how much of to get started? So let me explain the knowledge necessary for you to assemble a diet.

  • Count Calories : Calories consumed should be assessed for target weight, if you have an ectomorph somatotype (skinny build) ideally you need to find your BMR (BMR equations can be found on, then add the additional calories required to sustain your current activity level (activity factor multiplication can be found on to get your total. Remember we want you to put on lean mass, not excessive body fat!



  • Macro nutrient ratio: Protein, carbohydrates, fats are the basic food essentials. Achieving the right balance in portion to total calories consumed in a day is an important start. (A great blend for building lean muscle is – 45 carbohydrates, 35 protein, 20 fats) (45:35:20)- This is an acknowledged standard lean mass ratio requirement[1].




  • Limit HI-GI carbohydrates: Restrict your intake of High-GI carbohydrates throughout the day, an exception if taken 1 hour prior to your training session. Avoid white carbohydrates, as they tend to have a greater (GI) glycaemic index value that will in turn trigger greater amounts of insulin. This is the snow ball effect that shadows the weight gain illusion, say you put on weight whilst your diet contains a high amount of Hi-GI carbohydrates. You can bet that the weight gain is the by-product of higher insulin levels in which is a higher ratio of fat to lean muscle in total mass gained .



Principle 2: Know how to train your muscle fibres

muscle building 5 principles- knowing your muscle fibres

Targeting different muscle fibres is one of the most important methods in training that is often overlooked. Knowing how to target different fibres is the difference between performing a set at the utmost potential, to neglecting this fact and performing what is known as ‘garbage sets’.

We are all aware that we have muscle fibres, they help us to contract our muscle, produce force and stabilise the skeletal frame. Though do you know that we have several types of muscle fibres? We have a range from type 1, to type 2a and type 2b. Each muscle fibre plays a role and is responsible at one point or another during exercise, muscle fibres even work in combination to assist in a particular movement that requires greater force.

What point does this have towards putting on muscle? Certain fibres are incredibly useful in the development of muscle size. Take a bodybuilder for example. A bodybuilder will focus equally on 2b and 2a muscle fibre types, why? Because these fibres can grow (hypertrophy) allowing the bodybuilder to achieve that “god-like “frame.

Now how do you train 2a and 2b fibre types to gain muscle?

Here are the key points to focus on >

  • Per every set in your program try to abide by 20-70 seconds time under tension

(refer to the tempo article for more information).

  • Try to stick between 20-25 sets per workout do not perform more then 30-36 as this will lead to over training. [2]
  • Depending on the weight and time you perform a continuous exercise, you can primarily target different muscle fibre types. As a general note, the first initial 10-15 seconds of intensity utilises the anaerobic lactic system which mainly targets 2b recruitment only. From 15 to 90 seconds you will utilise the anaerobic lactic system which begins to share fibre recruitment between 2A and 2B, there for after that the aerobic oxidative system recruits slow twitch type 1 muscle fibres to keep up with the demand.
  • Hypertrophy type training is the most highly recommended form of training to develop an aesthetic look, though as a recommendation performing several compound exercises a week that have a set/rep principle more desired for strength (ex: 4-8 rep-5-6 sets). This ensures you have thoroughly recruited an abundance of 2 b muscle fibres. (Note : that if you haven’t completed strength training before do not do this combination unless under the guidance of a personal trainer)


Principle 3: Keep your testosterone in check


Testosterone   increases muscle mass strength and regulates other physiological processes such as protein synthesis, so to ensure you always have the highest of your own natural testosterone as possible. Follow these guidelines below.

  • Keep body fat under control (between 10-15% for men 18-25% in women)[3]
  • Remember that low calorie diets cause lower testosterone[4]
  • Ensure that you retain 7-11% saturated fat in your total calorie consumption. The body uses cholesterol to make testosterone and obviously saturated fat is one way of getting it. So doesn’t mean you smother yourself in butter in the belief you will build muscle[5]
  • Too much protein and too little carbohydrates can lead to lower testosterone.[6]
  • Alcohol lowers testosterone. (Yes, no more parties) [7] [8]
  • Limit soy protein.[9]
  • Continued exercising in the form of resistance training helps in elevating testosterone   [10]



Principle 4: Sleep and grow

I consider this principle to be the simplest of tasks in which can help you to gain lean muscle, but one which is seldom focused on. The essentials of adequate sleep help to reset your body’s hormonal, neurological and chemical functions, the average requirement for an adult is 7.5-9 hours of continuous sleep each night.

Average Sleep Requirement
Age Hours
Newborns (0-2 months) 12 – 18
Infants (3 months to 1 year) 14 – 15
Toddlers (1 to 3 years) 12 – 14
Preschoolers (3 to 5 years) 11 – 13
School-aged children (5 to 12 years) 10 – 11
Teens and preteens (12 to 18 years) 8.5 – 10
Adults (18+) 7.5 – 9

Table retrieved from

Though for the gym enthusiast this is not enough, see we cannot just merely sleep and we reap the complete benefits. You may achieve the required hours of sleep a night though what we need more than anything what is known as REM sleep. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep along with deep sleep is the one phase of the sleep cycle that encourages the highest amount of natural growth hormone in a day.

Download your free sleep tracker pdf

Sleep Data Sheet

Principle 5: Supplement to build and maintain

Principle 5 I would say would be the largest commercial push that captures the minds of gym enthusiasts worldwide. How many times have you overlooked eating to supplementing a meal? Or thought if you consume more of a supplement the effects would be greater and you achieve your goal in a quicker time frame? (This just creates expensive urine 90 % of the time or adverse side effects)

Some Supplements are great, others are useless, and some are even so new that the FDA approves the substance even though just a handful of human testing has been completed. For example I will identify the 3 clinically proven supplements that work and will help you achieve lean muscle gain.

Creatine: is naturally produced in the body as Creatine Phosphate and its role is cellular production of energy, essentially used in the anaerobic lactic system. The average person contains an average of 120 milligrams of Creatine Phosphate .

Creatine Benefits:

  • Improves the ability for your cells to produce energy (ATP)
  • Increases protein synthesis and reduces protein break down
  • In resting and high doses (20 grams) Creatine has been shown to enhance growth hormone.


Recent Findings: Saremi et al. 2003[11] reported a change in myogenic transcription factors when Creatine supplementation and resistance training are combined in young healthy males. It was found that serum levels of myostatin- a muscle growth inhibitor, were decreased in the Creatine group.

Creatine Dosage: Creatine monohydrate is the most researched and highly absorbable Creatine (95% absorption rate). Best absorbed upon waking and post workout.

  • For healthy people 3 grams/day 1 dose
  • Bodybuilders 5/20 grams a day 2-4 doses

5 day loading cycles required and the supplement should be cycled of after 3-4 weeks.


Protein Powder (Whey Isolate): In comparison to other protein sources, whey proteins are shown in research to be most effective at promoting the mechanisms that underline efficient recovery and better results from exercise training. Whey protein provides all the correct amino acids (the building blocks of protein) in approximate proportion to their ratios in skeletal muscle[12].

Whey Protein Benefits:

  • Highest quality source of protein that stimulates a higher rate of protein synthesis and net protein gain into tissue.
  • Directly enhances different functions within the immune system.
  • Richest known source of BCAA
  • Promotes higher glycogen stores within the liver.
  • Reduce markers of muscle damage and speed recovery after exercise.
  • Provide better strength gains during resistance training.
  • Provide a source of calcium to help keep bones strong.

Whey Protein Research findings: Research suggests that the consumption of whey protein before exercise will promote the maintenance of lean tissue while increasing the utilization of body fat for fuel.[13] To promote the preservation of lean mass and a reduction in fat mass, a dose of whey protein (20-50 grams) should be consumed within the hour before exercise.

Research also shows that the presence of carbohydrates and fats enhances whey proteins anabolic effect on muscle tissue. The consumption of whey protein in mixed macronutrient meals is shown to provide a higher net protein gain in both young and older adults compared to other high quality proteins such as Casein.[14]

Whey Protein Dosage: Bodybuilders and others that desire optimum gains in lean muscle mass should aim to consume a dose of 1.5g/kg/day of whey protein during a resistance training program. This dose should be divided into 4 or 5 smaller servings and consumed in mixed macronutrient meals throughout the day.

Supplement Research

muscle building 5 principles- supplement research

Studies show that the regular use of antioxidant supplements, just like L Carnitine, can reduce muscle damage after exercise[15]

The Average requirement per day for zinc supplements is 12 milligrams for women and 15 milligrams for men[16]

Case Study: Supplementation with 600 milligrams of Alpha-Tocopherol (vitamin E), 1000 milligrams of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and 32 milligrams of beta-carotene was enough to increase the ratio of testosterone to cortisol by almost 30% in a group of basketball players[17]

For more information on supplementation, which is peer reviewed and current. I would advise reading the journal articles from the British Journal of Sports Medicine known as (A-Z of nutritional supplements: dietary supplements, sports nutrition foods and ergogenic aids for heath and performance). This study has been conducted over several years which is soon to be administered to the public and even documented into a book.


In conclusion, the 5 principles of muscle building is a set of guidelines for those seeking to confirm clearer fitness topics to achieve lean muscle gain. Though what this article does not have is the factors associated with muscle atrophy (loss), so even if you have the principles correct the external factors such as lifestyle/stress/priorities/partying and binge drinking etc all impact on you achieving the results you want.




The unspoken truth of “muscle mass potential”

muscle building 5 principles

So we have established the principle’s behind building muscle, now to let you in on the final key ingredient that underpins all others. Let me discuss the natural muscle “Cap” in males. In my time spent searching for a solution to muscle development I came across a hard to neglect fact that lead me to several articles, and forums which directed me to a man by the name of Casey Butt Ph.D. (E-book- Your Muscular Potential: How to Predict Your Maximum Muscular Bodyweight and Measurements by Casey Butt, Ph.D) . Professor Butt devoted 6 years of research to help establish the links between body composition and total natural muscle potential. This to me was amazing and it made sense, how often have you seen your own friends plateau out after several years of training . Or known of a veteran natural bodybuilder reaching their potential regardless of what variety of training, intensity, frequency and volume they created to develop further muscle gains .

Though I would like to note Professor Butt does not establish a definite personal limit to your own muscle mass, but realistically establishes the upper limit.

The formulas mentioned below have been taken from the E- book (Your Muscular Potential: How to Predict Your Maximum Muscular Bodyweight and Measurements by Casey Butt, Ph.D) . As a bodybuilder and admirer of Casey Butt Ph.d I would like to advise that the formulas below is intended to provide recognition for Casey Butt Ph.d work and devotion and not intended to be personally assessed. I do advise the purchase of this 58 page E-book , as it has helped me establish my own personal bench marks to aim towards .

H = Height in inches
A = Ankle circumference at the smallest point
W = Wrist circumference measured on the hand side of the styloid process.
(The styloid process is the bony lump on the outside of your wrist.)

LBM= Lean body mass includes muscle, bone everything aside from body fat .
%Bf = The body fat percentage (you can retrieve this from a dexa scan, hydro density test , bio impedance , skin fold test and the lesser accurate methods)



The formula:

To convert maximum lean body mass to maximum bodyweight at any given body fat, use these equations. ( weight should be in pounds when calculating )


Formula is most accurate with ectomorphic males


For the bodybuilding enthusiast utilise the formula above with additional equation below.

To convert it into maximum body weight

Body weight = (Lean body mass / (100 – %body fat) ) x 100

Considerations for bodybuilders who in the off-season eat more calories and drink more, they can hold up to 4% of their total weight in water and food in the digestive tract

Bodyweight x 1.04 = maximum bulk body weight


You can purchase the book on

[1] Macrobolic Nutrition “discover how to unleash the Anabolic effects of food” by Gerard Dente with Kevin J. Hopkins , published by Basic Health publications Inc , 28812 Top of the world drive , Laguna beach ,CA 92651,Copyright © 2004 Gerard Dente. (Chapter 1: understanding macrobolic nutrition)

[2] The poliquin principles ,successful methods for strength and mass development by Charles Poliquin , published by Dayton Writers group ,1541 third st , Napa , CA ,94559 © 1997Dayton Writers and Charles poliquin . PG14

[3] Strauss, R.H., Lanese, R.R., & Malarkey, W.B. (1985). Weight loss in amateur wrestlers and its effect on serum testosterone levels. Journal of the American Medical Association, 254, 3337-3338

[4] Friedl, K.E., Moore, R.J., Hoyt, R.W., Marchitelli, L.J., Martinez-Lopez, L.E., & Askew, E.W. (2000). Endocrine markers of semistarvation in healthy lean men in a multistressor environment. Journal of Applied Physiology, 88, 1820-1830

[5] Habito, R.C., & Ball, M.J. (2001). Postprandial changes in sex hormones after meals of different composition. Metabolism, 50, 505-511

[6] Langfort, J.L., Zarzeczny, R., Nazar, K., & Kaciuba-Uscilko, H. (2001). The effect of low-carbohydrate diet on the pattern of hormonal changes during incremental, graded exercise in young men. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 11, 248-257

[7] Valimaki, M.J., Harkonen, M., Eriksson, C.J., & Ylikahri, R.H. (1984). Sex hormones and adrenocortical steroids in men acutely intoxicated with ethanol. Alcohol, 1, 89-93

[8] Koziris, L.P., Kraemer, W.J., Gordon, S.E., Incledon, T., & Knuttgen, H.G. (2000). Effect of acute postexercise ethanol intoxication on the neuroendocrine response to resistance exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 88, 165-172

[9] Gardner-Thorpe, D., O’Hagen, C., Young, I., & Lewis, S.J. (2003). Dietary supplements of soya flour lower serum testosterone concentrations and improve markers of oxidative stress in men. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 57, 100-106

[10] Allen, N.E., Appleby, P.N., Davey, G.K., & Key, T.J. (2002). Lifestyle and nutritional determinants of bioavailable androgens and related hormones in British men. Cancer Causes Control, 13, 353-363

[11] Saremi A, Gharakhanloo R, Sharghi S, Gharaati M, Larijani B, Omidfar K: Effects of oral creatine and resistance training on serum myostatin and GASP-1. Mol Cell Endocrinol 2010, 317:25–30.

[12] Ha E and Zemel MB. Functional properties of whey, whey components, and essential amino acids: mechanisms underlying health benefits for active people. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 14; 251-258, 2003.

[13] 5. Bouthegourd JJ, Roseau SM, Makarios-Lahham L, et al. A preexercise -lactalbumin-enriched whey protein meal preserves lipid oxidation and decreases adiposity in rats. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 283: E565-E572, 2002

[14] Dangin M, Guillet C, Garcia-Rodenas C, et al. The rate of protein digestion affects protein gain differently during aging in humans. J. Physiol 549.2: 635-644, 2003.

[15] Bloomer, R.J., Goldfarb, A.H., McKenzie, M.J., You, T., & Nguyen, L. (2004). Effects of antioxidant therapy in women exposed to eccentric exercise. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 14, 377-388

[16] Prasad, A.S., Mantzoros, C.S., Beck, F.W., Hess, J.W., Brewer, G.J. (1996). Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition, 12, 344-348

[17] Schroder, H., Navarro, E., Mora, J., Galiano, D., & Tramullas, A. (2001). Effects of alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene and ascorbic acid on oxidative, hormonal and enzymatic exercise stress markers in habitual training activity of professional basketball players. European Journal of Nutrition, 40, 178-184

Understanding Time Under Tension


How many times have you seen a peculiar number listed beside a workout (40, 301, 4010), or even had a particular situation with a personal trainer that he or she mentioned (slow down, and accelerate up)?. Well this all comes under the term known as time under tension (TUT) . Whether you are wishing to build lean muscle, strength, power and endurance, it is extremely important to understand the importance of “TUT” so that you may achieve the best results possible for your goal.

I want to first begin with a case study that we as committed gym enthusiasts may report seeing. How many of us have seen the unique individual that graces us with his presence in the gym , he is that well known specimen that  huffs and puffs pulling up weight and counting repetitions in succession of lifts . If you could have a resemblance similar to his technique it would most likely look like a (Taser shock victim on Cops) as he hurls up the weight in a barbell bicep curl. For him and many others like him the most overlooked training variable is the process of focusing on time under tension, an often neglected and misunderstood training variable that can create ongoing results. To validate the importance of “TUT” we must clearly establish that it is a form of overload, which is key to the training improvement required for the continued gains in a particular exercise.

time under tension

My understanding is that repetition and sets should be the guideline for your goals with greater emphasis on time under tension, safety in technique and correct form. There is a multitude of sequencing of time under tension which even with relative strength training should be considered. So I believe this article will help you understand the importance of knowing how Time under tension can help you to gain the goal you want , understand its importance and correctly assess how to use it .

Defining Time under tension


Time under tension is used to determine the duration of time that a muscle should be under stress (tension) with a given load (weight), by incorporating “TUT” you can recruit different muscle fibres which in turn can develop strength, power, speed and hypertrophy. Charles Poliquin makes great reference to the importance of speed of lifting, tempo and the ideal preferred cadence required to develop a particular adaption. As one of the most world renowned strength and condition coaches in the world, Charles Poliquin has helped infuse the idea that time under tension is the fundamental component to any weight training program .


Defining Tempo


Tempo is a sequence of seconds that are allotted to a rep to develop a particular physical quality ( strength, power etc.). The most currently revised Tempo sequence is the 4 digit tempo by Charles Poliquin , thou frequently you may see different combination of the 3 digit tempo in various weight training programs by Russian and European strength and condition coaches   . ( The breakdown of the tempo sequence is explained further in the next heading).

As it stands time under tension is broken down into 2 components, one is the overall muscle stimulus requirement for the physical quality to be attained (hypertrophy 20-70 seconds etc ) . Number two is that “TUT” has a independent approach when performing an eccentric, concentric, isometric hold and pause. Which you can then say “time under tension” is sequenced into a tempo, so whenever tempo is addressed we clearly establish a direct relationship to “time under tension “.

How is Tempo read?


If for example you have a tempo cadence of:

Eccentric Pause Concentric pause
4 1 1 0


We will apply this cadence to a barbell bench press.

  • The first digit is (4) –Eccentric. This is known as the time taken to lower the weight to the chest (negative).
  • The second digit is (1)- Pause. This is the (isometric) hold at closest distance from the chest to the bar.
  • The third digit is (1)-Concentric. This is the time taken to push the bar away from the body (positive movement).
  • The fourth digit is (0) – pause. This is the fullest extension the bar can go.

The total Time under tension for this exercise of 3 sets of 12 reps is .

(4110 x 12= 72 x 3 ) = 216 seconds of tension time ( 3 min 36 seconds)


Placing time under tension into a tempo (cadence) structure for a specific goal


So you have made it to this point and I know you are either an athlete that is” hell bent” on building strength, power or unbelievable aesthetics, otherwise you would have probable scrapped this article by now and missed these critical points. Constructing a tempo is just as hard as dictating the exercises that fit your goals, that’s why I am helping you find the appropriate tempo selection for your desired goals.

For the use of this article I have constructed a sequence of   tempos related to different goal aims, I recommend you utilise a variety of speeds though keeping with a rep range and within the required time stimulus.

Below is my basic recommendation for the tempo average for the goal aim. I advise changing the tempo structure every 2 sessions for greater muscular stimulus and adaption

Goal Aim                    Speed of lift                 Rest                       Reps 

Hypertrophy              Slow to moderate        30-180s                 8-12

Recommendation             4                                     0                                 1                             0

1 for (12 reps)

Recommendation             6                                     1                                   1                            0

2 for (8reps)
Charles Poliquin establishes that per set you should be within 20-70 seconds of total time under tension per set, this is desirable for bodybuilders. He also recommends changing the rep variables to encourage stimulus of different fibres types.[1]This table incorporates some of the agreeable components required for the goal aim associated with Australian strength and conditioning association.


                                          Goal Aim                     Speed of lift          Rest                       Reps

Strength                          moderate             180-300s                    1-5

Recommendation               5                                          0                           1                                0

1 for (5 reps)

Recommendation              3                                           0                          1                                0

2 for (1reps)
Charles Poliquin recommends 1 to 5 RM range which is equivalent to the 85-100% intensity range , in order to develop maximal strength . [2]This table incorporates some of the agreeable components required for the goal aim associated with Australian strength and conditioning association.

  • Australian strength and conditioning association agrees that the primary energy systems are 10-15 seconds for anaerobic alactic, 40-60 seconds for anaerobic lactic and 1 min and longer for aerobic . So it is critical you don’t stress an energy system that is not required for the sport or position you play .[3]


Goal Aim              Speed of lift                    Rest                       Reps

Power endurance       Explosive                  60-120s                    10-15

Recommendation             2                                0                                  X                              0

1 for (5 reps)

Recommendation            3                                 1                                   X                             0

2 for (1reps)
(X) Illustrates a explosive effort as fast as possible movement.This table incorporates some of the agreeable components required for the goal aim associated with Australian strength and conditioning association.



(Here is a free attachment of 3 different forms of tempo training you can use )

Insert here: tempo guidance for chest .xlsx

For more information on the history and development on tempo training Charles Poliquin has a great article.


Why is tempo more beneficial then repetition based training for developing muscle gain.


I make reference to repetition based training as primarily the one goal that a majority of weight training athletes aim for.

If you put this into perspective, you may have a friend that wishes to join you in say a (leg workout). Your friend may state our aim is to attain a given rep range, and whilst performing you may progressively increase the weights as you perform set after set.

If you have fallen into this trap as “I have” then I would say we have missed out on some of the vital points of information that may have helped structured our programs differently for greater results. By utilising repetitions over tempo we are wasting valuable glycogen firstly by assessing the appropriate load required to achieve that rep for the first few sets .Then even when we have achieved the weight for the desired reps, the total amount of effort exerted to do that exercise would probably be estimated around the figure of 20-40% efficiency in total muscle fibre recruitment given that it was an isolated technique with correct form that was used.

Not to say we won’t get results with repetition based training, but we would attain very minimal results. Often your body would build up to the tolerance of the load and plateau in regards to both strength and muscle gain, unless you are (the genetically gifted monsters out there!)? Thou this article address basically the general class of athletes looking for muscle gains so we need to apply the science of tempo to gain the greatest amount of hypertrophy.


Tempo benefits include:

  • enhanced metabolic rate
  • Reduction in injury
  • Extensive micro tears in a range of different fibres ( Type -2a,2b,Type 1 -slow twitch )
  • Increased hormone production ( growth hormone)
  • Greater adaption in different energy systems ( anaerobic lactic ,anaerobic alactic )

These benefits out way the benefits attained through reps only. The best way to test the two theories of training is to perform it to know how physically demanding each one is.

I will get you to perform a Repetition and tempo assessment to feel the demand on the muscle group.

  • Let’s do this assessment by starting by performing a 10 Repetition maximum and time yourself based on the repetition method, assess the total time under tension which should be around 10-20 seconds.


  • Now complete the same assessment with a lighter weight at 10 repetition maximum aiming at using a tempo of 4010, then once again time yourself and the time under tension should be around 40-50 seconds .

(Here is a free attachment of 3 different forms of tempo training)

If you could mention the muscular pump, fatigue (lactic) and control, would you consider the tempo method to be more demanding on that muscle then the repetition based method? . This should be evident, I say this because physically speaking your muscle right now should be ready to “peel off and run away “at the sight of the second set.

I believe if we could have met after you performed this assessment, we would be agreement that the physiological demands are much greater through tempo training and If I had to precisely determine why?. This would be the answer , tempo delivers greater muscular stimulus(demand) , energy system adaption , and isolated movements to focus on controlling the desired seconds of tension . Even tho through tempo you may have to lift lighter weights to correctly abide by the set seconds in hypertrophy aims , this does not mean that you will lose general strength but maintain . Thou There are many variations of seconds that can be chosen to build strength and power, so don’t just think of tempo as the only method required specifically to build muscle (I give further reference below in applied tempos for different goal aims).

In conclusion Repetitions are set as guidelines to be incorporated in with tempo, this will re vitalise your program in order for you to overcome the plateaus that hinder continued improvement gains.


Upload Free program here :tempo guidance for chest



Time under tension recent research


Research developing on this topic is minimal but of great importance amongst   exercise sports scientist trying to solve the equations for better, faster ,stronger athletes .Unfortunately there is no one ideal tempo construct that fits all athletes but generalised consensus amongst the experts. A recent study assessed 2 variations in tempo 2/0/2 and 2/0/4 and the hormonal effects on (insulin-like growth factor 1) for a 1 RM maximum for males. The conclusive results found that both tempos rendered similar (IGF-1) results, with the exception the greater work load can be carried out on the 2/0/2 . [4]

muscle anatomy time under tension

The Muscular anatomy above is that of a fighter. Fighters will have to develop strength, power and aerobic conditioning, so you can bet tempo provides the adaptive means to reach their aims.

Regardless of what sport or training aim, the essential of time under tension is always included.

As a gym enthusiast to another have a go and try out Tempo.

Here is a link to the poliquin group on the ten things you should know about tempo training  



Key summary notes:Time under tension is used to determine the duration of time that a muscle should be under stress (tension) with a given load (weight),Tempo is a sequence of seconds that are allotted to a rep to develop a particular physical quality (strength, power etc.).As it stands time under tension is broken down into 2 components , one   is the overall muscle stimulus requirement for the physical quality to be attained (hypertrophy 20-70 seconds etc )   . Number two is that “TUT” has a independent approach when performing an eccentric ,concentric, isometric hold and pause.Whenever tempo is addressed we clearly establish a direct relationship to “time under tension “.

Charles Poliquin establishes that per set you should be within 20-70 seconds of total time under tension per set, this is desirable for bodybuilders. He also recommends changing the rep variables to encourage stimulus of different fibres types.[5]


Australian strength and conditioning association agrees that the primary energy systems are 10-15 seconds for anaerobic alactic, 40-60 seconds for anaerobic lactic and 1 min and longer   for aerobic .

Tempo benefits include:

  • enhanced metabolic rate
  • Reduction in injury
  • Extensive micro tears in a range of different fibres ( Type -2a,2b,Type 1 -slow twitch )
  • Increased hormone production ( growth hormone)
  • Greater adaption in different energy systems ( anaerobic lactic ,anaerobic alactic

Free download :

free excel download ( 3 variations of tempo training for chest)

Upload here :tempo guidance for chest





Articles to share on this topic ( these articles have not been used in any way to construct this article ) : 


[1] The Poliquin Principles . “successful methods for strength and mass development “Published by Dayton Winters Group ,1541 third st, Napa, CA 94559 , 1997 Dayton Winters Group and Charles Poliquin . reference to Chapter 2 “PG 24”

[2] Modern Trends in strength training ,5th edition , Successful methods for strength and mass development , by Charles Poliquin , 2012 , “chapter 1 , PG19”

[3] Australian strength and conditioning , Level 1 Module 5 Participants Notes

[4] Effects of lifting tempo on one repetition maximum and hormonal responses to a bench press protocol. by Samuel A Headley, Kelley Henry, Bradley C Nindl, Brian A Thompson, William J Kraemer, Margaret T Jones The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research (2011) Volume: 25, Issue: 2, Pages: 406-413

[5] The Poliquin Principles . “successful methods for strength and mass development “Published by Dayton Winters Group ,1541 third st, Napa, CA 94559 , 1997 Dayton Winters Group and Charles Poliquin . reference to Chapter 2 “PG 24”