Monster Mass Building Part II: Shoulders of Steel

This week we continue The Dragon’s Mega Mass Building Training Series with a post dedicated to the shoulders.The shoulder complex doesn’t just include the Deltoid muscles but the Trapezius muscles as well. They come together to give your frame a wide, strong and dominant look. Let’s take a quick look at what these muscles do:

  1. Deltoids: The Deltoids are divided into 3 parts (or heads) that essentially handle all the lifting and rotating of your arms. What’s important for you to know is that these 3 heads are divided into Anterior (front), Lateral (side) and Posterior (rear) fibers. It’s important to train all three heads equally to have nice round capped shoulders.
  2. Trapezius: The Trapezius is a large diamond shaped muscle that attaches to your mid back, fans out to the back of your shoulders and collarbone and extends all the way to the back of your head. The “Traps”, as they are called, give the impression of a thick neck and tall shoulders. They help with neck rotation, back and forth motion and raising of the shoulders (shrugging). *If you want great examples of extremely well defined (borderline scary) traps, Google actor Tom Hardy and MMA / WWE Athlete Brock Lesnar.

The “Shoulder Complex” consist of Deltoids and Trapezius Muscles

Some fortunate individuals were born with big broad boulders for deltoids and perfectly symmetrical diamonds for “Traps”. These guys have to do very little work to maintain them. The rest of us, however, have to adopt a complex training routine in order to get our shoulders to stand out.

Now, let’s get to work:

The Dragon’s Shoulders of Steel Training Program

Workout #1:

  • Shoulder Press / Military Press: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 5-7 reps.“Superset” with Lateral Dumbbell Raises: 4 Sets x 10 reps
  • Seated Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raises: 4 Sets x 10-12 reps
  • Upright Rows (with curl-bar):  1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps.3 Working Sets x 5 – 7 reps
  • Dumbbell Shrugs: 4 Sets x 15 reps

Workout #2:

  • “Arnold” Dumbbell Presses: 1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 5-7 reps
  • Front Dumbbell Raises:        1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 10 reps
  • Reverse Cable Flys:              1 Warm-up Set x 10 reps. 3 Working Sets x 10 reps
  • Dumbbell Shrugs:                 1 Warm-up Set x10 reps.  3 Working Sets x 5-7 reps
  • Machine Shoulder Press:     1 “Failure” set: Do as many as possible until failure!

As with your chest workout, you should aim to work out your shoulders every 5 days. You must work them hard at least once per week in order to make them grow. Warm-up sets get your muscles loose and prepared for the heavy workload. Don’t skip them! Each “Working” Set should be at least 5 – 7 reps, at about 80% of your 1 rep maximum. Make each repetition strict. Squeeze those muscles and go slow. If you are able to lift 7-10 reps during each set then it’s time to add on more weight. Be sure to push yourself by resting no more than 2 minutes between sets. Finally, remember, the only way you will get big is to eat big! That means lots of lean protein and proper complex carbohydrates. Need help? Go here and send me a message.

Now get to it!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

Actor Tom Hardy has very well defined Trapezius and Deltoid Muscles. Great exercises to develop your shoulders and neck include Military Press, Shrugs, and Dumbbell Raises!

“Get Fit in the Gym. Lose Weight in the Kitchen.” (Part II)

Today’s post is the second part to “Get Fit in the Gym. Lose Weight in the Kitchen”, originally posted in July. As a conclusion to that post, I will show you how to regulate your metabolism, show you how it’s possible to eat 4-6 meals per day and finally I will give you some homework to do!

Regulating your metabolism plays a tremendous role in losing weight and becoming fit. Your body craves regularity and order. If you don’t feed it properly and at regular intervals it will enter into “starvation” mode. Once here, any food that you eat will be used as storage (fat, yuck!). This is because your body doesn’t know when it will be fed again. To avoid this, make sure you eat every 3 hours (4 is stretching it). In most cases, you only need to eat a small meal consisting of the three basic macronutrients/components that I’ve previously shared with you (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat).

I know that we all have hectic schedules and sometimes it’s work just to get in one good meal a day, let alone 4-6. But you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to really make an effort here so that you’ll be healthy and look great! There are many options for quick meals including a variety of snacks and MRP (Meal Replacement Products) on the market. I’ll be happy to point you in the direction of great quick alternatives for the busy person. To sum it up though, I really want to express the importance of eating quality food every 3-4 hours. If you absolutely cannot do this then remember this great quote: “Eat like a king (or queen) in the morning and like a pauper at night”. This means that you should eat the heaviest meals early in the day and taper off your calories the later it gets. By your last meal you want to eat smaller portions and avoid lots of carbohydrates and fats. Your body tends to go into storage mode at night and will retain more of each and convert it into fat.

So, you have the keys to nutrition in your arsenal. Let’s use them by doing some “homework”. I’m going to simply ask you to read labels of the food you eat and make some mental notes. That’s it. Read & learn! If you’re anything like me then the first time you will read the labels of your favorite foods now that you know what’s good and bad for you, you will be shocked. Especially at the amount of certain substances that food has. The important items to pay attention to are:

1.Carbohydrates. The higher the number (especially in the SUGAR category) generally the more it will negatively impact your waistline. If you find that the food that you are choosing has most of its carbohydrates coming from sugar, pause and think about whether it’s worth it.

2. Fat: Just like carbs, too much fat (especially Saturated) is bad for you. Fat is extremely dense, hard to burn off and has the additional problem of contributing to diabetes and high blood pressure. A way to greatly reduce the fat you eat is to prepare your food with minimal oil, trim the fat off of beef and pork and try to eat skinless chicken as much as possible.

The last thing I want you to look for is found in the ingredients: HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. Most processed food contains this sneaky additive. It was originally added as a cheap way to preserve and boost the caloric value of food. Beware of HFCS and what it can do to you. I’ll leave it up to you to Google it and learn about what it does.

Once again, knowledge is power! Now that you know how what you eat impacts your body, you also have a greater understanding of what to put into your body and at what time. Good luck on your journey to becoming more healthy and fit and reaching your goals!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

*This ratio is subject to change, however depending on specific fitness goals/programs. 

A Personal Trainer’s Daily Meals (AKA “A day in the life”)

One of my most favorite questions from family, friends and clients is:

What do you eat, exactly? Can you break it down for me?

I usually tell people that I eat relatively the same thing every day, with minor adjustments. I save space for my cheat meal on the weekend but I find that a consistent diet of the same foods keeps me on track. It also reduces my chances of eating things that are bad for me. Besides, if you hate to cook, like I do, you can make large portions of some of these things and have them ready to simply warm up and eat!

In this post I will give you a typical day’s worth of meals and show you that to be fit, you don’t need a lot of time and money.

Breakfast: Egg white omelette, turkey bacon and instant oats

  • 1 cup liquid egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • 4 chopped asparagus spears
  • 1 chopped mushroom
  • ¼ cup chopped peppers
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 slice organic turkey bacon
  • ½ to 1 cup of plain instant oats

Pour egg whites and whole egg into a bowl. Stir. Chop asparagus, mushroom and peppers. Pour egg whites and egg into skillet. Put asparagus, mushroom, peppers and shredded cheese in egg whites. Fold into omelette. Serve with turkey bacon and oats.

Snack: Greek yogurt, chopped fruit and almonds

  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • ¼ cup roasted almonds
  • ¼ cup fruit of your choice (I prefer bananas)

Simply pour 1 cup of Greek Yogurt into a bowl, mix with almonds and fruit. Then eat. Or, eat yogurt in container mixed with almonds and fruit separately.

Lunch/Pre-workout meal: Chicken breast, broccoli & brown rice

  • 1 Chicken breast
  • ½ cup broccoli
  • ½ to 1 cup brown rice

I like to cook several chicken breasts at once. This way, I’ll have them available for several days. I also prefer frozen vegetables and rice so I can microwave the entire meal at once.

Post-Workout Meal: Protein shake

  • 1 packet Shakeology
  • ½ to 1 cup of whole milk    or
  • 2 scoops of Protein Powder of your choice
  • Fruit of your choice
  • ½ to 1 cup milk

Currently I am using Shakeology as my post-workout shake

http://myshakeology.com/ReggieGooden

I find that it has all of the natural ingredients that I need to quickly flood my body with nutrients after a workout. I use milk and add one scoop of BCAA’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids) because my weightlifting workouts can be intense. The average person won’t need to do that. Just make sure you get a fair amount of protein and carbohydrates in your system immediately after exercise.

Dinner: Ground turkey, sweet potato, mixed veggies

  • 6 oz. ground turkey
  • 1 sweet potato
  • Mixed vegetables

As with the chicken breasts, I will also cook an entire package of ground turkey so that I will have multiple servings already prepared. Once cooked, poke holes in the sweet potato and microwave it. Also microwave frozen mixed vegetables.

Bedtime Snack: Chopped almonds and dark chocolate

  • ½ cup chopped almonds
  • 1 square dark chocolate

Technically this is not a meal but a bedtime snack. Since I live with a “choco-holic”, our house is usually never without the stuff. If you are also a “choco-holic “, then rejoice! Dark chocolate actually has many benefits when eaten in small quantities. It has antioxidants, can regulate blood sugar, lower blood pressure and is pretty rich in minerals. I’ll eat one square with a hand full of chopped almonds just so I can “slow” my metabolism slightly through the night.  If you don’t like chocolate (or fear having it around), then try a small portion (1/4 to ½ cup) of organic trail mix.

This is a typical day’s worth of food for me. It’s gotten me great results and I know that it can do the same for you! I am offering custom meal plans and training programs available for the rate of 2 personal training sessions. Contact me for details!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.

“Get fit in the gym. Lose weight in the kitchen.”

This wise quote by an anonymous source is probably the most important key to your health and fitness goals! Many people have been mislead into thinking that doing hours and hours of exhausting exercises is the way to lose weight. It is true the you will have to move your body in order to get it toned and into shape. But even more important than the battle in the gym, is the war in the kitchen. I often like to tell my clients that your diet is 85% of your “battle of the bulge”. Since knowing is half the battle, I’m going to give you some basic information so that you will be well armed on your quest.  First, you should have a basic understanding of the three main components that your body needs to function properly: Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats.

  • Protein is what your body needs to build muscle. It usually is “anything that had parents”. From best (leanest) to worst (fattest), the main sources of protein are:Fish, Poultry (including eggs), Beef, Pork and Dairy. Great examples of protein are: baked chicken breast, egg whites, baked fish, turkey, lean ground beef, nuts, greek yogurt, etc.
  • Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for your body. They give you energy, keep you “regular” and includes whole grains, fiber and sugar. Great sources of carbohydrates are: brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bread, vegetables and fruit. Not-so-good sources are anything that has lots of sugar. In fact, and I cannot stress this enough, SUGAR IS YOUR ENEMY. Sugar is processed by your body and is often converted into fat. You would be surprised at just how much of it we all consume everyday. A little bit of sugar is fine but it is really important to minimize the amount of sugar we take in. This will be illustrated in the homework assignment that I will ask you to do at the end of this article.
  • The last component is Fat. Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad. Unsaturated (good) fats can be found in cold water fish like salmon, trout, tuna, cod, halibut, mussels, oysters, plant based cooking oils like vegetable oil and most nuts and seeds like almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, etc. As you can see, sometimes, especially with fish you are consuming good fats in the protein sources you eat.

How much of each component we all require depends on weight, current level of fitness and level of activity. A general rule of thumb for the average person however is the principal of “1-2-3″. In each meal (generally speaking) you should have 1 part of your calories from “good” fat, 2 parts from protein and 3 parts from “good” carbohydrates. The easiest way to measure this is by “eyeballing” what you put on your plate.

Now that you know WHAT to eat, stay tuned for the next post which explains WHEN to eat. The timing of meals is just as important as the type of meals we eat. I will also be giving you a “Homework” assignment. So get ready!

Dream Fit. Live Fit.