Clients strength Charting

Welcome to client strength charting

Client strength charting

In this particular blog clients can view their overall performance and specific performance in strength grading exercises. The importance of reviewing strength every 4 weeks at 6 repetitions (3010), is that it has a high correlation to lean muscle gain and conditioning. Regardless of your goal, one or all of these graphs will appeal to you.

Here is this weeks updates:


Strength Graph
Dead-lifting strength graph: The vertical line calculates weight in kilograms for 6 repetitions at 3010. After an extensive warm-up ( this is depending on the client), two active sets are allocated allowing 2 attempts at the target weight to add to the clients total score. The break between the two attempts can be anywhere between 90 seconds to 5 minutes depending on the clients energy and motivational levels. If there is no recorded column the exercise may be avoided by the client due to probability of injury or inability to perform the exercise.
Strength Graph
Barbell Flat bench strength graph: Is performed with a high arch, full range and must touch the chest. It is important to note that at the exact moment I spot the client, the active set is known as a failed set and can not be added to the clients total score.
Strength Graph
Barbell seated military press strength graph: This exercise requires a bench set to 85-80 degrees, the bar must lower past the chin and pressed to full extension.
 Male pull-up graph
Strength Graph
Women’s pull-up graph
Assisted pull-ups (10 plate counter weight)
Close grip pull-up strength graph: Male clients in this strength test must perform a supinated chin-up, so chin must go above the bar and a 3 second eccentric is required when lowering. Female clients use the assisted pull-up machine with a pronated medium grip and must lower for 3 seconds. It is important to note that the counter weight for women will be changed periodically as they proceed to lift their own bodyweight (major goal).
Strength graph
Squats strength graph: This exercise must be performed with a wide stance and either elevated heels or on flat ground. It is advisable to warm-up aggressively especially if the clients job is both a sedentary and stationary one.
Overall strength increase
The total point score graph combines all scores from the pull-ups, barbell flat bench press, dead-lift, seated shoulder press and squats. This may be only applicable if your goal is strength related and competitively driven, otherwise a great all around indicator of your overall strength progress.
Kg for Kg over 4 weeks

Kilogram for kilogram strength graph illustrates the body weight for weight lifted, ideally higher is better and dictates  very lean and muscular build.

4 week strength increase
The percentage increase graph illustrates the increase in strength from the clients previous strength assessment.The blue bar highlights the over strength gain over 4 weeks of the 5 major strength tested exercises. The orange bar illustrates the % increase for body weight over 4 weeks. These indicators demonstrate the clients effort and determination along with how well my customised programming aids in helping the client to achieve their goals.

Fat-loss and Calcium

It is here! “A solution, to the growing epidemic of obesity raging in the western world”. Followed by these bold words, “Now just take this calcium pill and do away with fat like never before”. This very well could have been the national headlines pouring through our commercials and news channels, regarding the decade of studies by Zemel and associates involved with calcium and weight-loss. If only this statement rained true right!

We are on the verge of a find like no other, in our life time there will be an available pill that will make all other fat-loss methods primitive. Now the question has to be asked is calcium that very pill?

In this blog article I will uncover the science that calcium reveals about weight-loss and take you on a journey that may be the beginning of what is the fat-loss pill of the future.


Calcium derived Diary and fat-loss

In this day and age it is quite common to find weight-loss diets that have either a low amount of dairy or none entirely, this is often due to one or more reasons particularly targeted against fat content and calories. This is often valid in the principle of calorie reduction though where is that person getting their calcium from? Before you argument that you get more calcium out of vegetables and I will debate that further, consider the many interesting studies on dairy derived calcium and effects on weight-loss over the past decade.

Take for example the studies performed by Zemel and colleagues over the past years, which have concluded the valuable role of dietary calcium against the widening obesity epidemic[1].


 Clinical study

In 2009 Zemel and colleagues tested a base of one hundred and six healthy over weight and obese adults, between the ages of 18 to 35. These individuals undertook a 12-week calorie restrictive trial (-500kcal) and were placed into control groups that either consisted of high calcium or low calcium diets. What was founded through this study was one control group that was supplied with 3 servings per day of milk, cheese and/or yogurt resulted in a two-fold increase in fat loss as compared to the high- and low-calcium diets. Concluding that “dairy-rich diets augment weight loss by targeting the fat compartment during energy restriction.”Zemel eta.[2][3]


So why calcium found in dairy ?

The facts are that calcium found in dairy is higher than that found in vegetables. As noted by Greer and colleagues, most vegetables contain calcium, although at relatively low density. Thus, large servings are needed to equal the total intake achieved with typical servings of dairy products.[4] Also as a note calcium derived from dairy has been at the forefront of investigation as it may influence lipid metabolism and body composition. Due to high concentrated doses found in dairy it merits the extensive studies that debate over the valuable nature of dairy in childhood development and against its practical use in battling obesity.


Calcium derived in food vs supplemented calcium

In regards to weight-loss, there have been many studies incorporating dairy derived calcium and the benefits it poses with reducing body fat. Though, what of supplemented calcium uptake and weight-loss? In 2007 the American society of clinical nutrition with the support of Genevieve et. al, discovered that consumption of a calcium + vitamin D supplement enhanced the beneficial effect of body weight loss on the lipid and lipoprotein profile in overweight or obese women with usual low calcium intake. In this particular study 1,200 mg of calcium experienced ( 2 tablets of 600 mg elemental calcium and 200 iu vitamin D/tablet) a decrease in lipid and lipoprotein concentrations, slightly higher than that of the recommended daily allowance. [5]

Sources of calcium

Milk, yogurt, and cheese are rich natural sources of calcium, the non-dairy sources include vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage, kale, and broccoli. Spinach provides calcium, but its bioavailability is poor. Most grains do not have high amounts of calcium unless they are fortified; however, they contribute calcium to the diet because they contain small amounts of calcium and people consume them frequently.

Some of the many foods that contain calcium
Some of the many foods that contain calcium

Table 1: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Calcium [1]

Age Male Female Pregnant Lactating
0–6 months* 200 mg 200 mg
7–12 months* 260 mg 260 mg
1–3 years 700 mg 700 mg
4–8 years 1,000 mg 1,000 mg
9–13 years 1,300 mg 1,300 mg
14–18 years 1,300 mg 1,300 mg 1,300 mg 1,300 mg
19–50 years 1,000 mg 1,000 mg 1,000 mg 1,000 mg
51–70 years 1,000 mg 1,200 mg
71+ years 1,200 mg 1,200 mg

* Adequate Intake (AI)

To find out more on calcium visit:


The science on Calcium

  • A recent study found that an increase in dietary calcium intake, together with a normal protein intake, increased fecal fat and energy excretion by about 350 calories per day.[6]
  • Zemel et al (2002) looked at the effects of calcium supplements on obese adults who were dieting. They found that a high-calcium diet (1200-1300 mg/day) resulted in greater weight and fat loss in humans compared to a low-calcium diet (400-500 mg/day).[7]
  • Calcium has also been reportedly helpful for lowering bad cholesterol levels by as much as 6%, the study was founded through 1,800 milligrams of calcium a day. [8]

Calcium Homeostasis Labeled-min

Bottom Line 

In conclusion if you consider a calorie restrictive diet add the extra calcium and make sure you take a balanced nutritional approach for an increased response to your next weight-loss goal.


[1] Zemel MB, Richards J, Mathis S, Milstead A, Gebhardt L, Silva E. Dairy augmentation of total and central fat loss in obese subjects. International Journal of Obesity (2005) 29, 391–397. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0802880 Published online 11 January 2005

[2] Zemel MB, Teegarden D, Van Loan M, Schoeller DA, Matkovic V, Lyle RM, Craig BA.  Dairy-rich diets augment fat loss on an energy-restricted diet: a multi-center trial.  Nutrients.  2009; 1(1): 83-100.

[3] Zemel MB, Thompson W, Milstead A, Morris K, Campbell P. Calcium and dairy acceleration of weight and fat loss during energy restriction in obese adults. Obes Res 2004; 12: 582–590

[4] Frank Greer, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Nancy Krebs, MD, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center wrote in their Feb. 2006 paper “Optimizing Bone Health and Calcium Intakes of Infants, Children, and Adolescents,” Pediatrics

[5] Geneviève C Major, Francine Alarie, Jean Doré, Sakouna Phouttama, and Angelo Tremblay Supplementation with calcium + vitamin D enhances the beneficial effect of weight loss on plasma lipid and lipoprotein concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr January 2007 vol. 85 no. 1 54-59

[6] Jacobsen R, Lorenzen JK, Toubro S, Krog-Mikkelsen I, Astrup A. Effect of short-term high dietary calcium intake on 24-h energy expenditure, fat oxidation, and fecal fat excretion. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2005 Jan 18

[7] Increase your weightl-loss by a considerable amount. Zemel MB, Thompson W, Zemel P, Nocton AM, Morris K, Campbell P. Dietary calcium and dairy products accelerate weight and fat loss during energy restriction in obese adults. Am J Clin Nutr 2002; 75:342S

[8] Denke MA, Fox MM, Schulte MC. Short-term dietary calcium fortification increases fecal saturated fat content and reduces serum lipids in men. J Nutr 1993; 123: 1047-1053.






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


My review on Living Lean

Every year I seem to revisit a period of time of both physiological and psychological challenges, which had both struck me on multiple levels as a professional athlete and a business owner. In September 2014, I was hit with the worst case of chicken pox in my life that could not have taken place in a more convenient time. It was literally 6 weeks from my competitive debut and the virus was contracted due to my sleep deprivation and failing immune system from intense training workouts, unfortunately what lead were further health complications as my body tried to regain control and balance.

In December I came across leaving Lean through a good friend named Ash. What was great about Ash was his background in the field of nutrition and his sound understanding of sports performance. I recall the moment when we touched base as we always did, we discussed life events, goals and off course training.


At one point in our conversation, I was compelled to tell him about the issues in the previous months and I was in desperate need to gain clarity and professional advice. I went on to express in detail that I felt emotionally indifferent, not myself and above all I truly believed my body was stalled of any progression even though my diet was very well balanced and high in protein. I even stated my frustration in my recent blood test that provided evidence that I was fit and healthy by general standards.

Ash recommended a quick reboot and the first mention of this protocol came about, “Perhaps you should have a go at the Living Lean program? “At first I ‘am very much a sceptic when it comes to cleanses and detoxifiers, really any slight mention of the word I immediately raise my guard for another marketing pitch. Not to mention, as a personal trainer I have heard it all. Though when it comes to Ash and his background, I have the highest amount of faith in his professional understanding in nutrition and advice.

Ash spoke to me in depth, stating Living Lean’s benefits from detoxification, reduction in inflammation, weight loss, cleansing and vitality. He even trialed it himself and achieved a remarkable 7kg weight loss in 15days, along with claims of a cleansing effect throughout the process. What made Living Lean more appealing than most of their competitor’s, is the extensive blood profiles taken pre and post Living leans 15 day program.

The blood profile for me clarified the scientific support needed and I was happy to invest in what this product could offer. After all what could I lose! I felt as though any one of the claimed benefits would be a tremendous win. A Reduction in inflammation, vitality or even hormone stability would greatly turn my life around.


After saying good-bye to Ash the strategy was in play, I received my pack soon after. The first thing I thought when I received it was “Wow”, the product and bottle with carbon filter, dual pamphlets were professional in every sense with clear concise instructions. It couldn’t be any easier and affordable at $169.95!


I there for set the next 10 days as the duration in which to run the protocol, where If I was a little earlier from Christmas I would have run the 15 day cycle. Upon reading the shopping list and instructions on quantity of greens powder to water, I was set for the following day. The shop was relatively easy checking off fruit, vegetables and alkalizing water. I was actually very surprised with the fact that I didn’t sacrifice food and calories, which made me, wonder little behind its weight loss effect.

Cooking on the Living Lean program seemed a breeze, I had smoothies ready to rock and roll along with soup dishes that smelt and tasted delicious. I began that Monday in December and I weighed myself at 106kg, my meals were ready made and I took it on with full compliance. I even went as far as to consume only alkalized water with an added alkalizing agent, which I then added the greens formula provided. My first meal was easy and light with most dishes being pureed, I then took on the green water, which in matter of affect was quite tasteless. Though others may differ in opinion and even go as far as to say it tastes like lawn clippings! Though everyone would agree that it is organic in its ingredients, and perhaps in its raw process it tastes very plain though it is important to understand it contains no added preservatives or artificial colors or flavors.

As the days knocked over I assessed myself each morning with the Ph strips provided, at times I was as low as 5.9 quite acidic then went up to 6.8 almost appropriately healthy alkaline. It took roughly 5 days for me to begin seeing both changes in body appearance and some stability in the Ph test at 7.5, though the key for me was crucially my vitality. From day 5 on wards I felt and looked different, my skin began to change, my waist shrunk and my moods became more stable with a morning outlook that seemed so much brighter.

At day 10 it was time to confirm the weight, I weighed in on that Wednesday morning at 101.8kg a 4.2kg weight loss! I also dropped a pants size from 36 to 34 and my skin cleared up noticeable. I was immensely proud with these results! Actually I ended up messaging Ash to state my claim and I could not be happier.

After performing the 10 days of the Living Lean program I slowly began supplementing 2 meals each day that consisted of the most alkaline protein sources I knew, which basically meant lean white fish and egg white. After all I am a bodybuilder and I needed to get my protein back up to begin muscle building. This diet with the newly introduced protein sources, made me understand the suitable protein types that my body could accept. I have always believed that foods that you may be intolerant to warrant an immediate symptomatic response post meal 30-60min after, so if you have gut issues, flatulence, diarrhoea, headaches, pains and hot flushes it may just be the body’s response to an inflammatory food you are consuming and something to take into account.


After an additional 2 weeks with the white fish and egg white, I then added chicken and turkey. Mind you I still to this day make some unbelievable protein smoothies that supplement meals and post workout supplementation, which I absolutely love.

So to conclude this review on the Living Lean detox program

My take away from this>

  • Greater vitality
  • Clear skin
  • Better health
  • Digestion and endocrine system repair and function
  • Knowledge of alkalising health foods
  • Removal of Inflammation

Regardless of what I read or what was explained with the benefits of the living lean detox program. I have always remained professionally unbiased and trialed the product against all its claims and can confidently say that it had a tremendous effect on me, along with life changing resolve. Leaving on this final note as a personal Trainer I believe the process of healthy nutrition is through knowing, learning and practicing and living lean is a great learning platform for those wishing to improve their life in more ways then one.



Living Lean
Ash Mc Millan

Here is me with the man, the myth the legend! Ash Mc Millan

To learn more about Living Lean Visit the below Link:

To learn more about balancing Acid/alkalised food visit the below Link:


Defining muscle soreness

“Wow! What an unbelievable Leg workout! I feel great, though completely exhausted. I just wonder how I will feel tomorrow ?”. In my mind I knew all too well what laid ahead of me, and the intrinsic questioning was a plea for help. That next day I pressed one leg on the ground only to understand that when my weight bared down my leg defiantly escaped the scene, it was as though my brain and leg in the middle of the night negotiated a separation. We all can recall this  feeling or for those that are yet to feel the wrath of training pain (Enjoy !=)). That  excruciating pain followed by a sudden and spontaneous case of  immobility , looks to the average joe like baby who is taking his first steps at birth. The known term for this pain is DOMS ( Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) and you will be familiar with it in your life.


Post muscle camp with Andy Bell and Ben Pakulski was just one of those weeks that taught me the lessons of muscle soreness, entail and physical exhaustion and training psychology.

So what and how does muscle soreness occur otherwise known as DOMS :

As noted by Wikepedia “Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), also called muscle fever, is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. The soreness is felt most strongly 24 to 72 hours after the exercise.It is thought to be caused by eccentric (lengthening) exercise, which causes microtrauma to the muscle fibers. After such exercise, the muscle adapts rapidly to prevent muscle damage, and thereby soreness, if the exercise is repeated”.

As unpleasant as DOMS may be the question has to be asked, how do we reduce its lasting effect ?

As a personal trainer you hear all kinds of post workout soreness relief methods from your clients, affiliates and coaches, from lavender pillows all the way to panadene fort. It is not to say these methods don’t work or it must have supported scientific backing to be considered, though as a personal trainer I feel I should shine a little light o this subject and highlight some remedies I have used.

Methods I have used :

  1. Post training slow walk and sauna with myofascial treatment
  2. BCAA supplement powder 15-20 g post workout
  3. Magnesium cream at night in arterial points ( Back of knees, neck)
  4. Magnessium salt bath
  5. Post workout tiger balm massage
  6. Compression pants worn at night
  7. Hot and cold showers

Science Assess DOMS:

Muscle soreness

“Multiple treatments have been advocated for the treatment of DOMS. The efficacy of these treatments is inconsistent, and both positive and negative results are reported. It appears that anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, diclofenac, or ketoprofen have shown some potential in alleviation in some but not all symptoms of DOMS. However, variation in dosage and mode of damage used make generalization of results difficult. Treatment using more conventional therapies such as icing, massage, or stretching is also inconsistent. There appears to be some potential for the use of icing as a treatment. Other variations of treatment including acupuncture, herbal remedies, and HBOT appear to have limited effect. Although some treatments such as antioxidant therapy appear promising, further work is warranted. In fact, much room exists for the implementation of more well-controlled, randomized studies to assess the effects of many of the aforemen- tined treatments”. (Declan A.J et al. 2003. 17(1), 197–208)

To learn more about DOMS click the link below:

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


Declan A.J. Connolly, Stephen P. Sayers, and Malachy P. Mchugh. (2003) Treatment and Prevention of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2003, 17(1), 197–208 .  National Strength & Conditioning Association. Retrieved from  16/1/15



Exercises that Strengthen back muscles

In this blog “exercises that strengthen back muscles”. As your personal trainer I will be taking you on a journey to educate and inform you with my preferred selection of back strengthening exercises, these exercises contain in-depth descriptions of technique as well as advisable repetitions and sets. So why is it so important to strengthen your back? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and safe work Australia, back injuries account for one of every five injuries and illnesses in the workplace[1]. Eighty percent of these injuries occur to the lower back and are associated with manual materials handling tasks.[2]


As a result of this, one of the largest emerging trends is the development of ergonomically friendly furniture and lifestyle companies appearing around all the major cities. Now, the question has to be asked, is the issue of muscular weakness being addressed through appropriate exercise information? Or is it simply being avoided through costly temporary solutions that sustain continuous muscular weakness in the individual?

Regardless, we have a choice to get active, get mobile and get stronger. With the exercises I’m about to illustrate, you will have available an extensive archive of exercises to turn to at any time in your life. These exercises, if done correctly, will reduce back injuries, strengthen lower back for better quality of life and help you to further understand the crucial nature of incorporating back exercises into your training routine.

 Beginner level

 Exercise – Hyper extension

Exercises that Strengthen back muscles- Hyper extensionExercises that Strengthen back muscles - Hyper extension

This exercise is performed on the hyper-extension bench, hands crossed over and legs locked and pushing against the pads. Begin by pivoting  from the hips while pushing your gluteus out.

Recommended Reps x Sets x Rest

15 slow repetitions (4010) for 3 sets with 90-second recovery time.

Exercise – Hyper extension with upper thoracic retraction


This exercise is performed with your arms straight, then as you extend upwards draw your elbows back and push your chest out while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Keep your legs straight and rigid, pivoting only at the hips.

Recommended Reps x Sets x Rest

15 repetitions (32X0) for 3 sets with 90-second recovery time

Exercise – Hyper extension with medicine ball

Exercises that Strengthen back muscles- Hyper extension with med ballExercises that Strengthen back muscles- Hyper extension with med ball

This exercise is performed with a medicine ball of whichever weight you are comfortable with. Grasping the medicine ball with arms outstretched, begin by extending upwards and drawing the medicine ball in to your sternum. The idea behind this is that the further extended your arms are the greater the recruitment in your lower back.

Recommended Reps x Sets x Rest

12 repetitions (4010) for 3 sets with 90-second recovery time.

Intermediate Level

Exercise – Hyper extension with dumbbell – retract and raise

Exercises that Strengthen back muscles- Hyper extension with dumbbell retract and raise  Exercises that Strengthen back muscles- Hyper extension with dumbbell retract and raiseExercises that Strengthen back muscles- Hyper extension with dumbbell retract and raise

This exercise is performed with a pair of dumbbells at a weight you are comfortable with. Grasp the dumbbells with straight arms at the bottom range as seen here on the right. Retract scapulae in one motion, then in the second draw your body up and rotate the dumbbells so that they are neutral at your waist at the point your back is fully extended upwards. Remember to keep your legs straight.

Recommended Reps x Sets x Rest

10 repetitions (6010) for 4 sets with 90-second recovery time.


Exercise – Hyper extension with barbell – retract and raise

Exercises that Strengthen back muscles- Hyper extension with barbell retract and raiseExercises that Strengthen back muscles- Hyper extension with barbell retract and raise

This exercise is performed with a straight bar at a weight you are comfortable with. Grasp the bar on the ground with your arms straight in a wide grip, pushing your glutes out and chest proud. Retract your scapulae then explode up engaging your lower back and glutes. Ensure you don’t engage your upper trapezius muscle and remember to keep your legs straight.

Recommended Reps x Sets x Rest

15  repetitions (30X0) for 4 sets with 90-second recovery time.

Exercise – Hyper extension with barbell

Exercises that Strengthen back muscles- Hyper extension with barbell Exercises that Strengthen back muscles- Hyper extension with barbell

This exercise is performed with a straight bar at a weight you are comfortable with. Place the bar on your middle trapezius, which is the thickest part of your upper back (make sure it is not resting on your vertebrae). With your chest proud, lower your trunk, focusing on pushing your glutes out. Your depth can be as low as possible without the bar riding onto your neck.

It is important to not let the bar rest on your neck – seek professional assistance for perfecting this technique if you are having difficulty

Recommended Reps x Sets x Rest

10  repetitions (4210) for 3 sets with 90-second recovery time.

 Advance Level

Exercise -Static Horizontal hold with retraction

Exercises that Strengthen back muscles-Static horizontal hold

This is a time-based exercise, requiring you to engage your glutes, push your calves into the pads and retract your shoulder blades. The machine in this image is known as the glute/ham machine .

Recommended Time x Sets x Rest

(60-second hold) for 3 sets with 60-second recovery time.

Exercise -Static Horizontal hold with retraction and thera band


Exercises that Strengthen back muscles-horizontal hold with retraction and thera bandExercises that Strengthen back muscles-horizontal hold with retraction and thera band

This is a time-based exercise, requiring you to engage your glutes, push your calves into the pads and retract your shoulder blades. Place the Theraband in the hooks provided or secure it down with weight plates. At the maximum set point hold and sustain the Theraband, squeezing all posterior muscles.

Recommended Time x Sets x Rest

(60-second hold) for 3 sets with 60-second recovery time.

 Exercise -Glute/ham machine with Barbell retract and raise

Exercises that Strengthen back muscles- Glute/ham machine with barbell retract and raise Exercises that Strengthen back muscles- Glute/ham machine with barbell retract and raise Exercises that Strengthen back muscles- Glute/ham machine with barbell retract and raise

Begin with the arms outstretched holding the barbell in as wide a grip as you can manage, retract your lower scapulae then extend up, squeezing all the posterior muscles.

Recommended Reps x Sets x Rest


15 reps 42X0 for 4 sets 60-seconds recovery .

For those that may need to begin first with lower back rehabilitation, or  haven’t the exercise equipment available.

Visit this link from Physio advisor

You can also listen to Peter O sullivan whom is a key note speaker about back pain.


[1] Safe work Australia (2012)



What to expect from your first personal training session

As a former client and current personal trainer, my goals and needs have been addressed in multiple ways through different coaches and personal trainers. In my early 20s I was a member of a gym and never really considered the value of having a personal trainer. After all, at that point in my life I had been training for many years. Now you can only imagine what years of solo gym conditioning can do to a man’s ego, and I actually believed at that point that I knew it all and had the best game plan to get me to my goals. Well, little did I know I was about to get schooled over and over again!

I had my first training experience upon leaving the military. It was a session I would never forget, and its lasting impression grew in value. I discovered that my personal trainer could help me address the majority of my concerns, needs and temporary flaws. Yes! Now, we can all agree that there are trainers there are good and bad trainers out there, and selecting one who is right for you will depend as much on your goals as each of your personalities. So you have to take the time, ask the right questions and above all schedule in a session to see if he/she will be right for you. Finally, if you aren’t happy and can’t address your concerns with the trainer, don’t feel obliged to stick with them. Move on immediately to find one who is right for you – it’s your money and your health, after all.


What to expect from your first personal training session from a great personal trainer

Your first personal training session

  • Feedback concerning your goal, which could involve a designing a training plan, and setting goals, deadlines and strategies, and importantly, ensuring goals are realistic and achieveable
  • Physical assessments such as BP-Test, skin fold measurements and strength tests
  • Understanding you personally, including job, family and relationship barriers) in order to get a proper understanding of you and your life, and to build friendly report and gather baseline results
  • Exercises with clear details, actions and key points, focusing on you and connecting you with the purpose and aim of the exercise, and especially explaining safe training practices
  • He/she has great body language and is approachable and earnest about taking you on as a client.

What you will receive from a less than average trainer

Your first personal training session

  • Inconsiderate and stubborn attitude towards you
  • Has trouble listening and making eye contact with you during exercise
  • Unclear and rushed exercise instruction; failure to identify key points to the exercise or correct poor technique
  • The trainer’s feedback is general and not informative enough to help you
  • Unprofessional and indifferent about your needs as a client
  • Inflexible in their approach to designing a training program for you or adapting it to your changing circumstances


With all these points to consider, your first meeting may not cover everything you desired but that isn’t to say that the trainer has much more in store for you as apart of their pre-program design or strategy. The important thing is to be clear on their approach by asking as many questions as you need.


So now you know some key points to consider and, like all service professionals, should be better equipped to match yourself up with the right specialist for you.


Here is a link from reveal the steal and their take on a bad personal trainer

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

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