Progressive Overload


Raising the Bar ( How Much)

At some point, after getting started lifting, everyone wonders when to up the ante. After all, we aren’t going through the motions for the sake of it – we want results. For those looking to build solid, lean muscle learning when to add weight is key for muscle hypertrophy. (Growth)

Sensei Says 

Building muscle requires a combination of variables, all fine-tuned and adapted to each of our metabolisms and body types, based around specific goals. Proper diet and nutrition, intervals, workout splits, and rest days, just to name a few. If I had to pick two of these to live by they would be a. protein intake b. progressive overload. For those who may question my choices, protein for the obvious – our bodies require it, and progressive overload because without providing constant tension, the muscles simply will not grow.

I remember the days when, after spending serious time in the gym and giving it my all, pushing out those last few reps and feeling proud of myself – someone would inevitably walk in and warm up with the weight I had just pushed that last set out with. Ego check.


Check Your Ego At The Door

Forget the weekend warrior who tells you to, “go big or go home.” You, my friend, want actual results. Go bigger, but do it smartly.

Slow and steady wins the race.

NASM defines progressive overload as: “The Principle of Overload is that in order for a tissue (bone, tendon, ligament, etc.) to adapt to a demand, it must be progressively overloaded.) Sounds simple enough, right. Not really. The body has an amazing ability to adapt to what ever it is we are doing to it. Perhaps you have noticed those at the gym who seem to go through the same routines week after week. I make it a habit not to criticize others, especially when it comes to gym time – they are there and that speaks volumes. After all, “A little progress everyday adds up to big results.” At some point though, we want the muscles to grow.

So When Do I Add More Weight?!

Conventional training advice, which I still believe to be true, says to add ten pounds once you can comfortably perform three sets. Three sets of ten repetitions that is. But lets expand on that.

As we work out we make tiny tears in the muscle fibers. (micro-tears) Those tears heal themselves, and the muscles grow.


Gaining Muscle

The pumped look you get after a workout is one thing.  That’s  blood rushing to the muscle. That will go away. Dem tears tho, their another thing. When they heal they build new ones. And abracadabra, muscle.


Giving the muscle a significant amount of time to adapt and then adding more weight is key for achieving results. Start small. Start with a 4 – 6 week plan. OR, when 3 sets of 10 reps with near perfect form are easily performed. Then up the weight by 1olbs. And remember:

“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying breaks everyday”

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“You must do the things you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt

All About Creatine


When I think back to my Gold’s Gym days, a time I most definitely was learning “the ropes,” as well, my way around a gym floor. I can clearly remember a few very serious lifters  (with some serious dedication) sitting on equipment between sets and eating from large containers full of egg salad and drinking out of gallon water jugs.


If they were “off season” or not I couldn’t tell you, I didn’t give it that much thought, however, I think it has something to do with why I still to this day, go through so many eggs. 


I was a gym neophyte, a newbie, the quintessential ectomorph striving for gains. The proverbial sponge, I listened to any and everyone, their advice, read everything I could, and ultimetely relied on what I would call good ol’ “trial and error.” Let’s call it Applied Bodybuilding.

One supplement I began using then, learned a great deal about, and continue to support:


No sugar, no artificial colors, no preservatives, no wheat, no gluten, no yeast, no dairy, flavorless, well then…what is it? Well, it’s the supplement that keeps on giving. Creatine has been studied, researched, and debated for sometime now, and has earned it’s place in the fitness industry.

An amino acid found naturally in the body, red meat, and seafood.

2 lbs of beef has about 5 g of creatine. A standard dose. I like a good steak but damn. Derived from the Greek word for meat, kreas, the body breaks it down and stores it in the muscles for energy. Exercise requires energy, and supplementing supplies the body with more. Creatine also aids in recovery – but we’ll get to that in a bit. (See H20 Info)

To state the obvious, everyone has their own modus operandi when it comes to training in the gym. Once we find what works it’s difficult to vary off script, however there are discoveries everyday and we take them in. Some methods remain tried-and-true and need little tweaking.

Related Posts AminoX

Loading Phase

To truly capitalize on the benefits creatine needs to be used correctly. For maximum benefits a short “loading phase” to saturate the system is typically recommended. 20 g for 5 days is standard, after which the daily amount is reduced to 5 g thereafter. Anything more is just waste and the body works harder to eliminate it or translate to faster or better results. During the loading period, it is important to spread the 20 g throughout the day to help the body process it properly and effectively.


Creatine absorbs into the system and stored in the muscles. Studies show that it absorbs faster with an insulin spike. If grape juice doesn’t suit your palate water will work just fine. On workout days aim to consume it around your workouts. Personally, I consume my dose post-workout. After a workout glycogen stores are depleted and the muscles are hungry. If you have a supplement stack, add it to your post-workout protein shake.

Yes, taste is important but again, it has no flavor, so don’t trip.

H20 Info

I often hear, “It makes you hold on to water,” which is true, in the sense that it increases the water volume in the body. Not to soundy cheeky, but we need water, correct? In fact, over 70% of muscle tissue in the body is made up of water.

Subcutaneous Water

Subcutaneous water, the bane of any physique competitors existence, is the water retained directly underneath the skin. When understanding the “ripped look” think of the skin like Saran Wrap. When you eliminate the fat and water underneath the skin, it can then “shrink wrap” around the muscles, and voula producing those beach ready abs.


Improper usage can lead to a bloat, even cramping. Not to sound like a broken record, BUT, during a maintenance phase using more than the recommended amount won’t help obtain faster or better results. So resist the urge and be smart. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

The Takeaway

Creatine is a substance found naturally in the body and in food. Studies continue to show supplementing with Creatine improves energy, performance, and growth. Affordable, safe, and combined with a diet and nutrition plan that’s on point, it can definitely help increase size and strength.

For those looking for a game changer, this might just be the supp for you. Oh, and it will not break the bank.

Back In The Day

That Gold’s was an enormous cavern of a space. We were truly spoiled. The free weights stretched half the length of one side, and the leg area was the envy for miles around. Even during peak hours you rarely had to wait for a machine. And another thing – it was clean. Really clean.


Ripley would not believe it, but monthly membership was only $15. Anybody and everybody came and trained. I knew former bodybuilders, physique competitors, true gym rats, and everyone in between. Gyms are communities and there is something to be said for community. This was a cross-section of everyday folk just trying to get in shape.

Aside from the customary self-absorbed knuckleheads, most everyone was supportive and had some knowledge and experience to share. I like that old school environment. Watching those bodybuilders eating all that egg salad got me curious about eggs. I’v always liked eggs. Growing up my father taught me how to make the perfect omelette, using water not milk. Those guys inspired me to learn everything I could and then some.

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If you’d like the recipe for my bomb – diggity – mass gainers – egg salad – supreme from my newest eBook – give me a shout:

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit” – Aristotle

Flair Out & Stretch Your Lats


I was told once way back when, as a lanky, ectomorph of a gym newbie by a yoked lifter, “If you want to show everyone up, just walk in and do 20 unassisted pull-ups before you workout.” I was on a serious mission and had he told me to stand on my head and whistle old lang syne I probably would have. None the less, “lat work” became a big part of my training. And still is. Over the years I’ve trained back several different ways. It has never been enough for me to “just do deadlifts.”


The latissimus dorsi muscles, or the “Lats,” are one of the widest muscles in the body and are commonly referred to as “the wings.” Triangular in shape, the lats flair our from either side of the upper spine along the scapula to the humerous, or upper arm, and down to the lumbar.  Swimmers, rock climbers, and bad-ass physique competitors all have lats worth a little envy.


Building a nice set of wings need not be an arduous task or futile. It simply requires a little fine tuning and getting out of the comfort zone of standard, cookie-cutter routines. As in daily life, making the smallest of changes can have the biggest impact. Alternate between these three exercises so baby can get some back.

Short Grip Lat Pull-Down

The Pull-down is a standard in any back workout. Switch the grip often and target the lats a more efficient way. Perform the exercise with hands slightly shoulder width apart.

Tip (switch it up) 


Wide Grip Lat Pull-Down

I incorporate the wide grip at the end of a workout using a high rep/low weight formula. My goal here is to exhaust the muscle. Grow baby, grow.

“When looking back doesn’t interest you anymore, you’re doing something right”

Bent Over Dumbbell Rows


Form is always the game-changer with any exercise as targeting the muscles correctly is the ultimate point. I equate it with a nutrition plan that’s on point. It also helps seperate the truly serious from the knuckleheads. Here, focus on keeping the elbows tucked in. Avoid letting them flair out.

And of course don’t forget bro-mans advice from earlier. Throw in as many unassisted pull ups as you can, whenever you can. Trust.


Balance and symmetry. Strength and agility. Get it right, get it tight.

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“The desire for symmetry, for balance, for rhythm in form as well as in sound, is one of the most inveterate of human instincts” – Edith Wharton 

Quote For The Week


“There are three types of baseball players: Those who  make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens.”  – Tommy Lasorda 

Play Ball

Baseball is a national pastime. If there is anyone out there who hasn’t spent a balmy summer evening up in the stands, with a hot dog covered in ketchup, pickle relish, and onions (that’s how I roll) and a cold beer, rooting for their hometown team – well, you are missing out and I highly recommend trying it. But seriously though.


Fitness Inspiration

So why is the above one of my favorite quotes of all time? Here we are, 10 weeks into the new year and already for some, those new year fitness resolutions have taken to the bench. (Pun intended) For one reason or another (commitments, pure laziness) they’ve already gotten pushed to the back burner and forgotton. Why?

To take Mr. Lasorda’s perspective, “those who make it happen.” In this case, working out even when you don’t feel like it. Telling the gang at happy hour your sitting this one out so you can meet with a kick-ass trainer. Getting up off the sofa and going for that walk. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You get the picture.

And then those “who wonder.” “If I had only….” And then there’s those who watch.


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Bottom of the 9th

I’ve always admired baseball players. They’ve always seemed fast and flexible. Calm, calculating – then the mad dash sliding into home plate. Booyah. Baseball is one of those sports that requires sports specific capabilities, like sprinting and hand-eye coordination. As well, baseball players need excellent physical stamina and agility. This summer I hope you get the chance to watch a few games. Live and in person. In the meantime, don’t sit around with the shoulda, coulda, woulda club. Get up, get active, get moving. You don’t need to train for the first-year player draft. Just a stronger, healthier version of yourself.


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“In baseball, there’s always the next day”Ryne Sandberg