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Last Updated on January 21, 2021

4 Old School Bodybuilding Tips For An Epic Physique

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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.

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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: Gordon Cowie via unsplash.com

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Alex Eriksson

Founder & CEO, Anabolic Health

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Last Updated on October 4, 2021

5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

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5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

With the lines of work and home becoming increasingly blurry, it’s no wonder why we struggle to find the time to prioritize our health. Particularly with weight loss, it’s often difficult to manage the ever-present constraints around work, children, time to exercise, and the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.

Taking the effects of stress and the rise of remote work and work-from-home situations, we need to be far more tactical in our weight loss pursuits. Quite often, these exercises for weight loss at home aren’t even fitness-related.

Firstly, let’s look at a standard day in the life of a busy professional or parent to really understand the battlefield in which we need to operate.

We all have 24 hours in a day to work with. Knowing how we spend that 24 hours is crucial when learning where time will be best spent for our weight loss journey. Setting unrealistic expectations can be a quick way to end up back at square one.

  • Sleep: 8 hours (parents, if you’re lucky)
  • Work: 8 hours (sometimes more)
  • Children: 2 to 4 hours (includes pickups, drop-offs, and play)
  • Meal Preparation: 1 hour (at a minimum)
  • Household Activities: 1 to 2 hours (because someone’s got to do it, right?)
  • Total: 20 to 22 hours

Taking into account that switching between tasks takes time and cognitive space, we can start to understand why people just want to sit and scroll through social media at the end of a day. We also haven’t factored in the work commute if you have to report to the office.

Just realized you now have minimal time to yourself? This might start to explain why you struggle to gain momentum in your weight loss journey. Let’s work out how to take back the initiative:

  • Automate – Are there any tasks you can automate? If you’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, maybe it’s time to hire a cleaner or have ready-made meals delivered to your door. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but removing the decision of “what’s for dinner?” can be a great way to reduce stress and free up brain space and time.
  • Optimize – If you’re time-poor with kids, it’s time to optimize your activities. Turn screen time into playtime outdoors, and get them to join in on your activities. If your children are old enough, it might be time to start offering pocket money for chores and meal preparation. This strategy helped me stay fit as a single parent. By getting out and active with my son, I doubled my return on investment by staying fit and enhancing my relationship.
  • Eliminate – We’re only human. Sometimes, we simply have too much on our plate due to our high expectations. Take a look through your daily tasks and work out what can be removed.

Now, go through this exercise yourself. What potential spare time do you have to work with? If the answer is none, you might want to keep reading.

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Exercise Selection: It’s Not All About the Burn

No equipment? No problem.

So, we’re finally tracking the elements that matter. It’s time to start leveraging exercise to accelerate our weight loss journey. Alongside focusing on individual exercises that help with weight loss at home or caloric expenditure, we’re going to focus on another method to help keep you consistent and accountable for the long term: interest.

Interest has been linked as one of the key motivating factors to maintain consistency towards a goal. By choosing a form of exercise that your body and mind can enjoy, your chances of weight loss success are far greater.

Here’re the 5 best exercises for weight loss at home:

1. Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

Maybe the body isn’t what it used to be, and intense forms of training simply just aren’t safe anymore. Also considering the body’s response to stress, it might be in our very best interest to choose low-intensity activities that we can repeat daily.

Mobility and movement flows have risen in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise focuses on restoring range of motion (ROM), improving stability, and returning people to activity. Some exercise options include:

  • Quadruped Rocks
  • Frog Stretch
  • Hip Prying
  • Scapula Push-ups
  • Hindu push-ups

Below is a 10minute warm-up flow that shows you how to put all of this together:

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2. Yoga

Yoga is another perfect example of LIIT methodology that can be advanced as your ability improves. Focusing on mobility, stability, and range of movement using only your body weight, it’s a perfect entry-level activity for those that may have lost their way on their weight loss journey.

3. Calisthenics

Strength training at home can be difficult when you lack equipment or experience. An obvious path to building strength at home is calisthenics. Starting with just the following basic bodyweight movements:

You can begin your journey with no equipment and build to quite an advanced level. Here are five movements you can look to master over time are:

Depending on your ability, choose movements that allow you to progress safely over time. There is also gymnastics-based training you can move towards if your body is ready for a more demanding form of training.

4. Aerobic Exercise

Another underrepresented form of exercise, aerobic exercise is often overlooked for its sexier counterparts like strength and HIIT. With the prevalence of obesity nearly tripling between 1975 and 2016 and the major cause in adults being cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to focus on activities that improve cardiovascular or heart health.

Another benefit is that it can be as simple as getting your steps in, going for a swim, or going for an easy ride or run. Phil Maffetone pioneered the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Method that almost anyone can adopt regardless of fitness level and experience.[1]

Here’s a 30-minute session of aerobic exercises you can try:

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5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training is a great way to elevate the heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. It can also be super time-effective, giving you a great bang for your buck. Try sequencing some of the movements and exercises above together with minimal rest to keep your heart rate elevated. Be sure to select movements that suit your current level of fitness and ability.

Here’s a HIIT workout that takes little time and is suited for any level:

Chipper 60

Complete all reps of every exercise for time. Exercises can be done in any order and repetitions to complete the workout.

If you can’t do jump squats, regress to normal squats, and don’t be afraid to change the leg raises to a 60-second plank if you need to. Finish up with some light stretching or foam rolling.

What Also Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Stimulants

Sleep, stress, and stimulants, also known as the hamster wheel of death. Tracking these elements gives us the power to finally stop relying on our ever-depleted stores of discipline and motivation to get the job done. It will also highlight the self-destructive habits that sabotage your weight loss journey.

Simply put, stress affects stimulants, sleep affects stress, and the vicious cycle continues.

Sleep

Are you getting enough sleep? It’s well documented that sleep is an important factor in weight loss and recovery.

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“Restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.”[2]

Start this journey by tracking how much sleep you’re getting. Certain wearables can also track the amount of movement and time you spend awake or in lighter sleep cycles. Getting enough time in REM or deep sleep is critical for weight loss.

Stress

We don’t need to be fancy. A simple daily measurement out of ten indicates how much stress we think we are under. Using this number, we can observe the effects that sleep, stimulants, and exercise have on our stress levels, allowing us to deploy the right strategy for our weight loss goals.

Stimulants

Stimulants can be classified as anything we put in our mouths. Tracking calories, alcohol, and caffeine is a great way to observe, predict, and avoid trends or at-risk periods of overeating and destructive behaviors. Tracking this is aligned with how well we sleep, and our stress response gives us enough information to start forming better weight loss habits.

Work to identify the trigger, observe the response, and then look to adjust.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re fighting fit or returning to activity, the best exercises for weight loss at home are the ones that you can do day in day out that you enjoy. Think of exercise for weight loss as we do for compound interest. Consistently and regularly making deposits may not show immediately, but with time, they give you the momentum you need to reach your goals.

Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] PhilMaffetone: Maximum Aerobic Function
[2] SleepFoundation.org: Why is sleep so important to weight loss?

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