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4 Old School Bodybuilding Tips For An Epic Physique

4 Old School Bodybuilding Tips For An Epic Physique

Anyone who has spent quite some time practicing serious bodybuilding will likely have come across the name of “The Iron Guru,” Vince Gironda. Gironda was a premier trainer of bodybuilding greats such as Arnold Schwarzenegger. His methods were revolutionary and continue to be relevant up to this day. Most of his ideas were controversial but have in recent years been given more merit after being proven by medical research.

Gironda always said that bodybuilding is 85% nutrition, and this is very much true. Without the proper fuel, there is no way your muscles can grow. Let’s take a look at some of The Iron Guru’s secrets to building an epic physique.

The Hormone Precursor Shake

Some bodybuilders have probably heard of one of Gironda’s peculiar shake recipes that promises to help build mass faster. This one is called the Hormone Precursor Shake, and it’s a drink based on the power of raw eggs.

The Hormone Precursor Recipe (original):

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  • 12 ounces of half-and-half
  • 12 raw eggs
  • 1/3 cup of good quality milk-and-egg protein powder
  • 1 medium-sized banana (this can be skipped if you are on a ketogenic diet for lean muscle building and/or weight loss, which will make this drink work better with low-carb diets)

This shake can be consumed 1-3 times per day between meals to help you stay in a positive nitrogen balance, which is the key to muscle growth. Hard gainers will benefit the most from this recipe. These people have a hard time gaining mass no matter what they eat or do. This recipe helps them to get a larger amount of calories, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins in liquid form, which makes them easier to digest and consume.

The Anabolic Role of Raw Eggs

The eggs do most of the work in the above shake recipe. Eggs are filled with essential amino acids that the body can use for building muscle. They are also a first-rate source of protein and healthy cholesterol, which maximizes testosterone production. Cholesterol can be used by the body to produce more testosterone, which can further support lean muscle building. Raw eggs are also a rich natural source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), another helpful nutrient for building muscle, losing weight and balancing hormones.

Raw eggs are a superfood, and they have powerful anabolic actions in the body. At his peak, Gironda and his students would consume over 36 raw eggs per day to promote anabolism and growth.

The saturated fats and cholesterol in raw eggs are helpful for hormone production, and they do not raise the levels of cholesterol in the blood by a significant amount. In fact, the body use fats and cholesterol from foods directly to produce testosterone.

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Supplementing with Liver Tablets

Another debatable topic surrounding Gironda was his aversion to supplements. He did not recommend the use of most supplements, since he believed they would bring you no closer to the Greek-god-like physiques, unlike what is suggested by some of the manufacturers.

That is, except for liver tablets.

Technically, liver tablets are not in the same league as some other commercially-available supplements. They are real food, made from liver that has been freeze-dried, ground up, and made into tablets. In essence, they are an all-natural whole food supplement packaged into a small capsule. The ultimate multivitamin.

So, what do liver tablets do?

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They are an extremely nutrient-dense food. In fact, liver is the most nutrient dense food on the planet, beating even fruits in most classes except vitamin C content. Liver contains excellent concentrations of vitamin B12, vitamin A, copper, folic acid, iron, chromium, and zinc, to name a few. These vitamins and minerals are all supportive to building muscle and increasing exercise performance and recovery.

The Iron Guru and Squatting

Gironda’s unique methods go beyond nutrition. He had some unique training methods that went against common convention and are still very popular today. One of these is his take on squatting. His gym stands apart from the rest due to its very noticeable lack of squat racks.

For most bodybuilders, squatting is an integral part of training. The Iron Guru believed otherwise.

In traditional squatting, the focus is mostly on the muscles of the hips and the buttocks. This technique can work for those who need to develop these areas; however, the type of physique that most guys are after does not include huge butts and meaty hips. Also, the hips are spread by the common squat and this might hurt the back.

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A better exercise is the “Sissy Squat.” This is better performed using Smith and/or Hack machines. These give better control over the movements compared to the free weight squat.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RqNPstpdaw

This routine requires balance. The feet are kept 13 inches from each other with the knees 17 inches apart. The routine is done while balancing on the toes. This is so much different from the traditional flat-footed squats.

The Sissy Squat stance keeps the thighs and the upper torso in alignment during the whole routine. This will reduce undue strain on the back and does not spread the hips, while the thighs still get enough muscle-strengthening, sculpting effect.

Conclusion

Eating the right foods and following the correct training routines will together help you create the best physique your body is capable of achieving. Vince Gironda’s techniques may seem like a total turnaround from prevailing bodybuilding ideas and methods, but his life’s work proves that his methods work. You can see this in the shape of the many amazing bodies he has produced, such as the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Featured photo credit: By Source, Fair use, Wikipedia.org via en.wikipedia.org

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Alex Eriksson

Founder & CEO, Anabolic Health

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Published on January 17, 2020

How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

How to Learn Yoga (The Beginner’s Guide)

If you think yoga can be learned on the mat, you’re wrong! To learn yoga is to learn yourself, your life and the world around you, which happens mostly off the mat.

Since 2000, I study, practice, teach and live yoga – I grow with it from year to year – hence life becomes more interesting and more meaningful from year to year, too. Through all these years, I observe the evolution of yoga in the western culture and see, how (mostly) wrongly, has been interpreted, taught and practiced. Little is known about how to learn yoga – about its practice, its effect and its application. Yoga is all about finding the simplicity and the meaning in the complexity of life.

But when we look around us, it doesn’t seem so simple, even for those who practice it, and for the most who teach it. Everything about yoga begins in its definition from the original yogic scripture Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[1]

And the value for how to learn yoga, is in this article – showing the value of the above definition and how to practice it in the simplest way, effectively and efficiently.

What is Yoga?

Yoga-Citta-Vrtti-Hirodhah — and its translation is: Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations arising within consciousness.

The 195 Sutras, that the original yoga scripture consists of, are written in a strongly compressed manner with the idea to deliver a profound meaning and a lot of space for interpretation. However, the interpreter must be highly serious and competent, otherwise the interpretation will drastically deviate from what the message conveys.

When the definition about yoga is interpreted and applied the right way, it tells us how yoga is to be practiced and explored. To start the right way, we must know the right destination of yoga, which is Kaivalya:[2] The union between you, the other and the world.

Let’s see how to do that:

Beginning with the famous mainstream slogan “Union of Body, Mind and Soul”, brings up the question, “How to reunite the body, mind and soul?”

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Your feelings – created by outside stimuli result in the creation of thoughts, hence there’s connection between your body and mind. That’s easy to understand, right?

Now this connection and the thoughts must serve and improve the mind, making it capable to 1) understand the soul and 2) to unite it with the body and mind. That’s where our journey towards the goal of yoga (Samadhi) is interrupted – making the main part of the union not easy to understand, even less so to accomplish.

Yoga is More Spiritual than Physical

This is what makes yoga more spiritual than physical. To put it in numbers, yoga is 97% of psychological, philosophical and spiritual nature and only some 3% of physiological, considering that there are only seven out of 195 Sutras referring physiologically to sitting and breathing, of which I talked in my earlier post on Yoga For men.

But before experiencing any spirituality from yoga, there is the mental (emotional) part that needs to be mastered and that part is to establish a connection between the body and mind. How?

The simple thought and realization that you are conscious of how you feel within your body (cold, warm, relaxed, depressed, anxious, happy and so on), means that you have made the union between your body and mind. (below the step by step exercise for that).

But to establish a connection to your soul – to the finest part of yourself – the Self:

You must find out (through thinking) what is the subtlest thing that drives your body and mind – yourself as an individual and use that driver to go pass beyond your physicality and mentality.

It is right here that you use the definition about yoga and the realization – the moment, where you are not analyzing any thoughts or feelings. This is a state of Yoga – a state of union between body, mind and soul, in which your consciousness has ceased to identify with its fluctuations.

Yoga as Creativity and Expertise of the Individual

In such a case, there is no specific (like beginners, intermediate or advanced) technique for learning yoga. The moment of the state of yoga arises for everyone of us in an individual way as everybody’s physique and mental content are different. You might be very well advanced in performing the most difficult asanas for decades but still unable and incompetent to be in a state of union with your body, mind and soul. Whereas, if you are a beginner and possess the grace and other virtues, than it’s easier and quicker to establish that connection.

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As yoga is an inherent part of the human being, firstly, in order to pave the yoga path successfully and effectively, you must understand that yoga is not a technique for performance, but rather a creativity and expertise of yourself.

Your learning process cannot be focused on, nor conditioned by a certain handbook, someone’s instructions or some specific school.

Learning yoga requires your creativity to look within yourself and learn from yourself, become the expert of your feelings, emotions and desires. You, as a beginner might already possess many qualities and prerequisites for creating the union between your body, mind and soul, but your knowledge requires creativity for your growth to reach the state of union and then reap the fruits of that union. Once this happens there is no turning back – you’ll be pulled by the beauty and energy of your on being.

Be Fast Mentally and Slow Physically

As already mentioned, you don’t need to do physical performances like the split or the headstand to be able to immerse in a deep meditation or Samadhi. But you do need enough creativity for your self-inquiry.

Many of my students start working directly with meditation – attending the complexities of the mind, because that’s where the hindrances lie. There, the meditator is able to work on the cessation of identifying with the fluctuations of the consciousness – where intelligence expands, adversity ends and the individual is ready to pass through its physicality and mentality in order to reach the union with the soul.

But if you’re really a beginner and cannot start with that, then you can start enhancing your creativity on the body-mind level. The exercise follows in the next paragraph.

The greater your creativity, the better your expertise about yourself – the deeper your competence to inquire further into the union with your soul. Sure enough that a more pliable and healthy physical body has some advantages and better preconditions for that, but don’t get discouraged because your body-mind union will open up the way.

So here we are, you are at the moment to enhance your creativity upon that union. Please, take this as a very serious part of the practice as it is crucial for learning yoga – for learning yourself.

The Beginner’s Exercise – Creativity upon Body-Mind Union

The first and most important element to learn and practice yoga is of physiological and psychological nature: Stillness:

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  1. Make sure your body is still and comfortable.
  2. Focus on breathing to initiate observing.
  3. Observe your body and identify the first feeling that occurs to you.
  4. Keep identifying feelings and emotions, but without getting involved with them.
  5. Now create feelings and emotions as you please and let them go.

That’s it! That’s the creativity upon the body-mind union. The validity of this creativity lies in the stillness and observance of that union. In this practice you can learn to understand and catch the moment – the main ingredient of life.

Life is a sequence of moments and knowing that you’re able to manage that sequence is a new level of living life, called dharma – the practical and skillful way of living. An essential character develops as a result of practicing this discipline.

However, be aware that we are still talking about outward elements of yoga – the gross levels (from Yama to Pratyahara) whereas the subtle, inward elements (Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi) are yet to be approached, learned and implemented. It is on these subtle levels that you can realize the depth of spirituality and the essence of yoga.

It is remarkable how the science of yoga can take you in such heights and depths of exploring life and being. Little is known about the essence and the right practice of yoga in the west. There is a huge knowledge gap between how yoga should be learned and how it is practiced today in the west. You can bridge this gap by practicing the above exercise.

Know that yoga is of a very subtle nature – operating on a subtle energetic level – the level of your mental energies, your thoughts. That means that it is to be learned at that level and not on any other. A body posture alone cannot take you to that level if you don’t apply your creativity and self-inquiry.

Prerequisite for Yogic Success – Union between You and the Other

Yoga is nothing, if our relationships with others are not managed harmonically.

Learning yoga is also learning connecting with the other – with the stranger who’s not you but carries the same “core”, the same heart as you. We as individuals, possess the inborn feature of Ego – the “I-consciousness” that makes us feel separate from the rest of what makes the wholeness.

This separation is the second of the the five “klesah” afflictions[3] – that stand as major hindrance against the union (Yoga) – called “asmita” or I-am-ness / Egoism (Y.S. II.6.), and has to be cultivated and brought to a level of discernment that will lessen our disturbance that comes out the fragmentation between the “I-am-ness” and the “Other-ness”.

This is a crucial concept in Yoga and it is inevitable to be worked upon this hindrance in order to reach the inner “psychological” freedom or the ultimate liberation “Kaivalya” for which Yoga stands for. But, again, if you are beginner in this part, you want to know how to start dealing with all this. Here is the exercise:

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  1. Practice observance from the first exercise.
  2. Realize that the structure of your feelings, emotions, etc. is identical with the one of the other individuals.
  3. Practice witnessing, tolerating and gradually accepting the diversity between yourself and the other individuals.
  4. Observe for so long with equanimity, until you see the uniformity in that diversity.

This is one of the greatest accomplishments a human being can achieve. To be, means, to be in relationship – internally, as well as externally.

Yogic Lifestyle – Union Between You, The Other and The World

Here comes the last piece of the puzzle – the union – on the highest level of worldly existence – between you, the other and the world. This means that Yoga is also worthless if practiced only on the mat. So when learning yoga, especially when practicing the body-mind union, consider if:

You speak the language of nature and how you’re connected to nature and its basic elements? Do you complicate your existence by thinking that you are in the center of the world and require extra attention and acknowledgement?

Thinking this way interferes with the practice of yoga. And surely, you might wonder, what should be done here in order to create that harmony in union? You’d be amazed to know that there is one important yogic movement that needs to be done. That is:

The action of not doing anything but contemplating! Then yoga happens.

Yes, this goes beyond the physicality and mentality of your being. As our bodies play just a tiny part of the evolution of existence, we must not attach to the world in that sense – clinging to worldly life with that insatiable urge that generates worries and anxiety – but rather grow through life with detachment and the attitude that life has been gifted to us with the purpose to realize that gift and attain the wisdom of life.

Go Beyond Your Physicality and Mentality

Attaining greatness like connecting to the world and to your soul, we must pass beyond the thoughts, feelings and emotions, and the influence they have on us. Hence we want to make the mental fluctuations to cease and let yoga shine its light through this yogic movement:

The stillness and the watching within.

Can yoga be understood and achieved in one single session and then practiced continuously, productively and effectively? Of course it can. Your union within yourself, the other and the world is lot simpler and easier than you think. Practice these simple yogic movements diligently, seriously but also effortlessly and your yoga will be flourishing and fruitful. I salute the spirit in you!

More About Yoga

Featured photo credit: Avrielle Suleiman via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
[2] Wikipedia: Kaivalya
[3] Plato Stanford: Klesah

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