A Workout Plan for Intermediate Lifters (Part Two)

In Part One we covered back/bicep day and leg day, we will discuss the rest of the workout plan now. If you’ve started you should be feeling the burn right now. Check back to Part One if you need to catch up.

Day 3- Chest and Triceps

Another great foundational muscle group is your chest muscles. Working out your chest gives you a lot of your pushing strength, which is important, especially if you play certain sports, such as football. Triceps, like biceps, are a secondary muscle. They get worked during chest workouts.

For Chest

4 Sets of Dumbbell Bench Press, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Decline Barbell Bench Press, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Incline Dumbbell Bench Press, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Cable Flys, 10-12 Reps

This chest workout stays consistent with the philosophy of using free-weight exercises and it also targets all areas of your chest.

For Triceps

4 Sets of Bench Dips, 10-12 Reps

3 Sets of Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press, 10-12 Reps

3 Sets of Triceps Dumbbell Kickbacks, 10-12 Reps

An easier workout for triceps, you’ll get a good burn from your chest workout and you won’t need to go crazy trying to build your triceps here. Once again, keeping it organic and well rounded.

Day 4- Shoulders and Traps

This will be an easier day and you’ll need it after the first three. You will still be getting a great workout, but it will be a shorter day. Traps in particular are limited to a few general workouts.

For Shoulders

4 Sets of Lateral Two-Dumbbell Raises, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Dumbbell Incline Shoulder Raises, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of the Arnold Dumbbell Press, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Front Two-Dumbbell Raises, 10-12 Reps

We are once again using free-weight workouts and this group will hit all areas of your shoulder.

For Traps

3 Sets of Two-Dumbbell Shrugs, 15-20 Reps

3 Sets of Behind the Back Barbell Shrugs, 15-20 Reps

3 Sets of Standing Upright Cable Rows, 15-20 Reps

We throw in one machine workout here, which is the Standing Upright Cable Rows and we do this because machines can give you a better balance than free-weights, which is helpful with this particular workout.

Day 5- Cardio and Core

Some people like to do a little bit of cardio and abs before or after every workout, but it can also be beneficial to dedicate a whole day to it. It saves you time during the rest of the week and allows for more time to be spent on cardio and your core for an extended period

For Cardio

15-20 minutes walking on an incline

15-20 minutes jogging

5-10 minute sprint

This will come in at just under an hour if you push yourself, which is ample time to burn fat. Don’t forget that if you keep a good pace during your lifting days you will burn fat, even if it isn’t true cardio. You’ll just need to keep your gym chatting to a minimum.

For Core

4 Sets of Leg Pull-Ins, 15-20 Reps

4 Sets of Crunches, 20-35 Reps

4 Sets of Hanging Leg Raises, 15-20 Reps

3 Sets of Side Bends, 15-20 Reps

3 Sets of Planks, Hold until failure

This set of abs workouts will target all areas of abs and your obliques.

Rest Days

Condensing the workout into five days allows for two rest days, which can be spaced into the week however you feel is best or based on your schedule. Having two rest days also allows for you to miss a day without breaking your routine, we know things happen and can get in the way.

We hope this workout has helped and remember that you should switch your routine every 3-4 months. Check back for more workout plans in the future.

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A Workout Plan for Intermediate Lifters (Part One)

Everyone wants to be the full package. Nice arms, abs, legs, back, etc. But not everyone knows how to get there. Doing a full-body workout everyday, or every other day, will burn you out and most likely be too time consuming. Switching back-and-forth between upper body and lower body days is not as bad, but can still be energy and time consuming.

The best way to have a well-rounded body is to have a well-rounded workout plan, which we will detail here in a weekly plan.  It is important to plan your workout by the week, because it gives you the proper time to feature different muscle groups.

The weight amount you use will depend upon your strength level. If you are new to working out, please start with a lighter load. You should go up slightly in weight after each rep and then go back down when starting a new workout.

You will want to give yourself 30-45 second breaks in-between sets and a couple minutes in-between workouts. Also, make sure to drink lots of water during your time at the gym and afterwards also.

Day 1- Back and Biceps

It’s good to start with a foundational muscle group like your back. Having a strong back will make all of your workouts more effective and less of a strain. The reason we pair up biceps with your back is because biceps are a secondary muscle to your back. Many back exercise also workout your biceps.

For Biceps

4 Sets of Hammer Curls, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Biceps Curls, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Barbell Curls, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Cross Body Bicep Curls, 10-12 Reps

These are mostly free-weight workouts with no machine use, which is not a knock on machines, but when working with free-weights it is more organic way of building muscles. You use more of your core and secondary muscles. These workouts also get different areas of your biceps

For Back

4 Sets of Pull-Downs, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Rows, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Lat Pull-Downs, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Deadlifts, 10-12 Reps

5 Sets of Pull-Ups, 10-20 Reps for first 4, go until failure for last set

You’ll be burnt out by the end of this workout as this group of back exercises will push you to your limits. These exercises are strategically setup to work all portions of your back. Three of the five workouts need machines, which we stay away from for the most part, but back exercises tend to lend better to machines.

Day 2- Leg Day

The day everyone dreads most, mine as well get it out of the way early in the week. It is also good to switch to your lower half after a day of working on your upper half. And trust me, you do not want to pair anything with your leg day, it’ll kill you.

4 Sets of Squats, 10-15 Reps

4 Sets of Calf Raises, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Leg Press, 10-12 Reps

4 Sets of Front Leg Raises, 10-12 Reps

3 Sets of Lunges, Increase length every time

You will not be able to walk in the morning if you push yourself on this day, especially the first couple of times you do these workouts. These workouts will hit every muscle in your lower half.

In Part Two of A Workout Plan for Intermediate Lifters we will finish discussing the rest of the workout plan. Feel free to get started and check back for the rest!

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Nutrition & Running

How Your Dog Can Help You Get Active

Sometimes the hardest thing about exercising is getting off your butt in the first place. Once you get past that initial struggle of getting started, it tends to get easier. So, one way to encourage yourself to get up and get moving is to use your dog as motivation. You have to get out and walk him or her everyday, so why not help yourself while your four-legged friend is out getting their own exercise.

Here are three exercises you can do with your dog:

Don’t Let Buddy Be The Only One Fetching

When out playing fetch with your dog, you can get some cardio in for yourself. Try chasing after the ball or toy after throwing it to be fetched, as if you are racing. He or she is sure to enjoy it and you will be surprised how many calories you burn. The best way to track your progress here is to compare yourself to your dog.  Most canines can play fetch for very long periods, so the goal here is to eventually have Buddy begging for breather while you’re still kicking in.

Running Buddies

Getting yourself to jog on a consistent basis can be difficult, but if you start turning one of your daily walks into a daily jog or run you will definitely find yourself burning fat and trimming down. If you try to bail out after the first couple weeks, your dog will not let you. They’ll be so accustomed to running everyday that they will literally pull you into a run, which is a great way to make sure keep up with your program.

The Sit-up Game

If you want to tone up your abs, this game is sure to get the job done. Grab your pooch’s favorite toy and get into a seated position. Throw the toy and do as many sit-ups as you can until your dog brings the toy back to you.  Then throw the toy again and do as many crunches you can until your dog brings it back to you. This game allows you to not focus on how many sit-ups or crunches you are doing, because your dog will do it for you, which will ultimately have you doing more reps than usual. Also, the constant switching from crunches to sit-ups, and vice versa, keeps you on your toes and works multiple sections of your core.

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Workouts That Will Improve your 40-Yard Dash

With the NFL Combine right around the corner, fans are gearing up to see how the potential draftees will grade out. Are your favorite college players really as good as you thought? The biggest attraction of the NFL Combine is the 40-yard dash. Fans cannot wait to see how fast or slow the top players in the draft are. There always seems to be at least one standout player who runs an insanely fast time.

This got us thinking. For all the fans that love to emulate their favorite players or would like to see how they compare to the pros, they’d might want to try to run a 40-yard dash themselves. But, if you’re going to run a 40, you got to be prepared. So, we’ve prepared a couple workouts that are sure to help you increase your time.

Squats

Really, all leg workouts will improve speed, but squats will improve leg strength in all areas of your lower half and they will improve your burst when you’re coming off the start line.

Deadlifts

Deadlifts are very similar to squats, but your core gets a better workout. And don’t be mistaken, your core is a huge part of running, it is actually a huge part of nearly all of someone’s physical activities, hence the name “core.” Another positive to deadlifts is that you need nearly no equipment to perform, just a bar and plates.

Lunges

Lunges will also workout just about your entire lower half and your core. Plus, you will get a killer cardio workout when performing lunges. They length of the distance, the heaviness of the weights and how long of a break you take between lunges all factor in how effective you’re your workout will be.

Any Plyometric Workout

Plyometrics, first used by Olympic athletes, are resistance workouts that swiftly stretch and shorten muscles. There are tons of plyometric workouts and they are all beneficial to speed training, which is why we didn’t specify one workout. Try a few, because they might be your best option.

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Couples Who Train Together, Stay Together

Taco Tuesday at Moe’s every week may seem like the greatest way to spend time together. But, it’s better to burn off calories together instead of packing them on together, trust me. Bring your significant other with you to the gym, and have them purchase a membership so you two can stay fit together. Working out together as a couple is a great habit to get into, and here’s why:

Makes You Happier With Your Relationship

Working out and partaking in some type of physical activity with your partner increases satisfaction, making you fall even more in love with one another.  Since exercising releases positive chemicals in your brain, not only physical attraction is increased, but also you’re happier as a person, which will make you happier with your significant other.

Improves The Effectiveness Of Your Workout

Working out with your girlfriend/boyfriend automatically gives you an extra push of motivation you wouldn’t normally get from working out on your own.  This is great, because you are helping each other without sometimes even realizing it.  Your partner will also help boost your energy, making your workout feel even more rewarding.

Your Schedules Can Sync

After working all day, you want to be able to spend enough quality time with each other. By training together, this allows you both to stay active, healthy and on a similar set schedule. If you and your significant other go to the gym every night from 5-7, you’re getting the connection desired, and creating a routine—two birds, one stone.

Achieve Goals Together

As a healthy couple, acting as a strong support system towards each other is always one of the best points in a relationship. By physically working out together, this will allow both of you to reach goals with the person that matters most in your life. Whether it’s running an extra two miles on the treadmill or doing an extra set of reps, the support of your significant other makes achieving the little goals that much more enjoyable.

Strengthens Your Emotional Bond

In a relationship, having a good connection is essential.  In training together, you coordinate your actions to match your partner—jogging at the same pace or even lifting at the same time.  By mimicking each other’s actions, this helps strengthen the emotional bond between you two, which will have a positive effect on your relationship as a whole.

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Eric’s Supplementation, Nutrition & Exercise Routine

As the owner of Max Muscle Sports Nutrition St. Pete, I am often asked about my own supplement regiment, nutrition plan and exercise approach. So for those who are interested, I will give you a typical day in terms of my supplementation, nutrition and exercise. I am a 43 year old male, 5’ 9” tall, 180 pounds with 16% body fat.

Upon waking, on an empty stomach I consume 1 tablespoon of Max Liquid L-Carnitine. L-Carnitine is essential to supporting the body’s use of fat stores as an energy source. In addition, I take 30 drops of Pure Solutions deer antler velvet/tribulus terrestris extract to aid in natural growth hormone production, recovery and natural testosterone boosting.

After getting ready for the work day, approximately 30 minutes later I consume my first meal which consists of 6 egg whites (cooked) and ½ cup of oatmeal sweetened with stevia and a little unsweetened almond milk. I routinely alternate ezekial bread for the oatmeal for variety. With this meal I also consume 2 tablespoons Max Vitacell and 2 capsules of MAX Essential Fatty Acids. These supplements make sure my body has the vitamins, minerals and omega’s to maintain good health. At this time, I also consume 1 scoop of Max Green Synergy and 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds mixed into probiotic yogurt to aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Approximately 2-3 hours later, I consume a mid-morning snack consisting of 30 grams of Max Pro (whey isolate,whey 80% and potassium caseinate), 10 grams of Max L-Glutamine powder and 5 grams of Max Creatine

Monohydrate along with 12 ounces of water. This snack gives my body the amino acids to repair damaged muscle,maintain high levels of nitrogen in my blood, levelize blood sugar and maintain muscle anabolism (growth).

2-3 hours later lunch consists of a mix of salad greens with egg whites and lean protein and balsamic salad dressing.At this time I also consume 1 cup of cottage cheese and roughly 1 oz of natural unsalted almonds. These whole foods provide additional fiber, healthy fats, and protein.

2-3 hours later I consume another shake identical to the ingredients listed for the mid-morning snack. Along with this shake I also take 3 pills of Max 2TX natural testosterone booster to aid and support natural hormone production.

At 4 pm, approximately 30 minutes prior to my afternoon training session, I consume a pre-workout 30 gram mix of multi-weight carbohydrates, caffeine, beta-alinine, creatine and other nitric oxide boosting amino acids. This is the formula of Max Muscle’s Full Blown Extreme (FBX). This product assures that I push my body to its limit during training with maximum focus, adequate cellular respiration to remove ammonia byproducts and maximum delay of muscle fatigue.

During my workout I sip on water mixed with 2 scoops of Max Pro BCAA’s which is a 2:1:1 mixture of leucine, iso-leucine and valine. Branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) are important to consume during heavy exercise to kick-start repair/recovery, avoid excessive muscle breakdown and delay fatigue.

My training regiment changes every 4 to 6 weeks and I apply constant variation to the exercises, sets, weights and intensity techniques including drop sets, rest pause, supersets, giant sets, etc. I typically train 6 days per week for 1½ hours per session, training each body part one day per week mixing in abs 3 times per week. I break legs into two separate training days – one for quadriceps and one for hamstrings. I train chest, back, quads, shoulders, hamstrings and arms then rest for a day. Cardio is limited to high intensity interval training at the conclusion of weight/strength training and usually consists of 10 minutes total to avoid muscle breakdown.

Immediately following training I consume 2 scoops of MAX Muscle ARM (Anabolic Recovery Matrix).Supplementing post exercise in the body’s natural anabolic window is the most essential time to consume a highly bioavailable mix of carbohydrates and protein. Including multi-weight carbohydrates with protein improves the body’s ability to uptake or synthesize protein by over 50%. MAX ARM also has other vital elements including 3 types of glutamine, electrolytes and trace minerals to replenish and hydrate the body.

Dinner is consumed roughly 1 to 2 hours after training, the menu is always 6 to 8 ounces of lean protein (fish, chicken, beef, pork), 2 cups of fibrous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini) and 1 serving of starch (sweet potato, brown rice, quinoa). At this time I also consume 2 pills of Max Essential Fatty Acids for health and wellness.

Finally before bed, the last meal of the day is consumed. This meal consists of only protein and fat. The purpose of eating before sleep is to provide the body the nutrients it needs to repair, recover and grow. Nutrition before bed keeps the body in an anabolic (muscle building) state, so I consume a shake of slow digesting protein, Max Muscle’s High 5 (whey isolate, whey concentrate, potassium caseinate, egg albumen, and soy) and tablespoon of all natural peanut butter. At this time I also take MAX ZMA to boost testosterone naturally while I sleep. ZMA is a mixture of zinc and magnesium which has been shown to boost the repair and recovery process at night.

This plan is roughly 2,500 calories broken down into 6 meals plus pre and post training supplementation. It has allowed me to maintain lean muscle mass, reduce body fat and promote strength. At 43, I am in the best shape of my life and can perform lifts of weight and reps far greater than at any other time in my past. I have used a variety of supplements since starting training in 1993, but the results that I have achieved using Max Muscle’s products far exceed that of any competitor. I believe in their products so much so that I invested my own franchise so I could help others achieve their best!

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5 Healthy Foods That Will Spark Your Love Life

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and you’re sweating the idea of treating your significant other to a romantic and tasty dinner without blowing your diet. These 5 aphrodisiac foods will not only help you spark things up in the bedroom, but are healthy too.

An aphrodisiac is a food, drink or drug that stimulates sexual desire. These 5 foods are perfect for you if you’re looking to make things hot while staying on track with your dieting.

1. Oysters

Oysters are well known for being an aphrodisiac, so no surprise there, but they are also healthy. They are high in Zinc and full of Amino Acids that help trigger the production of sex hormones.

2. Avocados

Avocados aren’t really known for being an aphrodisiac but it is and also healthy. It has healthy fats and is a good source of vitamins A, B, C, E and K. Avocados help keep the spark going because of it’s role in helping you maintaining vigor and high energy levels.

3. Bananas

Bananas are commonly known for being a great source of potassium. They are delicious, healthy and a great snack before going to the gym. The vitamin B and potassium in bananas are awesome for elevating energy levels, and they also contain Bromelain, an enzyme that triggers testosterone production.

4. Strawberries

Not only are these great for feeding to each other, they are also high with Vitamin C, which helps keep the blood flowing to all regions of the body. There is a lot you can do with Strawberries due to their versatility, so don’t forget about the chocolate, which brings us to our last food…

5. Dark Chocolate

Chocolate isn’t that bad if you just opt for the healthier choice, dark. Dipping strawberries in dark chocolate is a sweet gesture, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Dark Chocolate not only is delicious, but also produces a spike in dopamine, which induces feelings of pleasure.

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A Workout Plan for the Olympian in You

The XXII Olympic Winter Games are approaching, and DVR’s have been set. While watching your favorite athletes perform against the world’s best, you might get the itch to get active yourself. This Olympic cardio workout plan will help you get leaner than you ever could on the treadmill, because it’s good to mix things up.

MONDAY: Swim Drills

As much as you hate days filled with cardio, swim workouts will give you a lean, natural muscle build that you can’t imitate. Hit the nearest community pool, or your gym’s pool if they have one (which would be best) for your swim workout. Start off with a warm up of 4 sets of 8-12 laps—make sure you rest after each set. Follow up with a brisk swim, focusing on 25 arm strokes per set—do 6 sets. To get the leg burn you desire, put your weight on a kickboard and do 25 kick-cycles across the pool, 4 sets. You’ll feel the burn in your entire body.

TUESDAY: Rest Day

WEDNESDAY: Cycling Workout

This cycling workout can also be your leg day, as it works your nearly your entire lower-half. For this workout, start off by pedaling at a low resistance—1 or 2— and an average speed that suits your capability. To get the best possible leg workout, continue to increase the level of resistance and the speed—it’s recommended to set a timer on your machine that will control both of these factors, slowing and speeding up at different time intervals. Challenge yourself and see how many spinning intervals you can accomplish in 8 sets of each 4-minute cycling lap.

THURSDAY: Rest Day

FRIDAY: Ice Hockey Session

It’s one of your favorite sports to watch in the Winter Olympics, but you wouldn’t think twice about it as a workout. Think again. Get some of your gym buddies together and find a local rink to play a pick-up game. You’ll get an even better fat-burning workout than you ever thought you could once you get lost in the competition.

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Healthy Snacks for Your SuperBowl Party

It’s about that time of the year again where our four favorite Fs come into play—football, friends, family and most importantly, food.

Watching the Super Bowl is good time to cheat your meal plan, but you don’t have to go crazy. We know it’s difficult to fight off those guilty hunger pains when the game starts to get intense. Instead of worrying about how that fried chicken you just devoured will put yesterday’s intense core workout to waste, go with more healthy snacks instead.

Warm Spinach Artichoke Dip

Want to satisfy that salty hankering while still staying nutritious? Get your fix of iron with the spinach, mixed with a creamy combination of cream cheese, lima beans, artichoke hearts and olive oil. Pick up some Wheat-Thins to dip into this low calorie snack and enjoy.

Zucchini Fries

French Fries? Think again.  Luckily, Zucchini Fries can substitute your warm and crispy craving without having to worry about the grease overload entering your body. Not only will you be fulfilling your veggie count for the day, but you’ll also be providing your body with a source of Vitamin-C. Who would have known that zucchini, milk, eggs and a touch of Parmesan cheese could concoct such an addictive snack?

Salsa with Veggies

Every man needs his spicy fix, and the classic salsa never disappoints. With the simplistic ingredients of tomatoes, peppers and a dash of lime, you not only get a shot of fiber, but you get just the right amount of Vitamin A and C. To cut carbs, try dipping carrots or celery into your salsa. The fresh meets spicy aspect is on point.

Gorgonzola Turkey Burger Sliders

Turkey sliders are the best substitution for those fattening White Castle burgers you were going to microwave for you and your buddies. Not only are you sparing your body the excessive grease, but you’re also getting the grams of protein you desire. Throw some mini turkey burgers on a wheat bun, and you’re set!

With these healthy snacks, you’ll be set for all four quarters of the game, and maybe even overtime. On game day, your workout bros will be impressed, because not only are these snacks nutritious, but also delicious.

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