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Tips of the week men's diet

Tipps der Woche Männer Diät

Most diet books and weight loss programs are designed with a specific group of people in mind. Most popular weight loss plans advertised on TV and the internet are designed with a specific target audience in mind: sedentary women.

Are you a middle-class housewife with 2.3 children in your thirties or forties and your idea of exercise is going for a walk around the block with your girlfriends? No? Then why are you dieting like a housewife from a yogurt commercial?

Think muscle - not weight on the scales

Diets for the average person are designed to achieve the average person's goal: a lower weight on the scales. Even men give in to this obsession with body weight and forget about things like body composition and catabolism.

"Hey, I've lost 10 pounds!" Yes, you've lost 5 pounds of fat, 3 pounds of muscle and 2 pounds of water. Congratulations, you're skinnier, weaker, produce less testosterone and your metabolic rate is now even more modest than before. You just changed your sex without having to inject estrogen or cut off certain parts of your body. Well done with the weight loss. Now go and watch Sex in the City.

Unless you're extremely obese and simply dieting to avoid dying within a year, your diet goals probably exceed what a fad diet has to offer. You want less fat, but you also want more muscle, more strength and increased athletic ability. The diet plan your mom uses or the one you'll find in the latest bestselling diet book can't give you any of that.

Choose a better plan

If you need to follow a diet plan to get back on track, make sure it's designed with your target audience in mind: an exerciser who cares more about looking good and performing well than looking at the numbers on the scale.

Make sure this diet plan takes into account that you want to build muscle and be strong. A little hint: such a plan will probably not be advertised by any D-list celebrities and will not have a name like "Cabbage Detox: tone your belly in two days". If in doubt, you'll find plenty of better diet plans on our site.

Tip: Increase your training intensity in two ways

Put on your gym face. Add these two intensity techniques to your program.

By Paul Carter


Some guy: "I saw you working out at the gym yesterday. I wanted to say hi, but you looked pissed."

Me: "I wasn't pissed off. I was working out."

You're at the gym to work out - not to socialize. Training requires a high level of concentration. Your gym face should reflect your training attitude. Don't put your gym face on at the disco and don't put your party face on at the gym.

I see a lot of people in the gym putting on their party face, socializing and having a great time there. And if that's the reason you're going to the gym, then that's totally fine as long as you're not in the way of others. Not everyone wants to build as much muscle mass as possible or get as strong as possible.

However, if you want to make maximum progress, then you need to train accordingly and take your time in the gym seriously. People often lose focus because they have very mundane training plans that don't require much concentration. In other words, there's no reason to focus or put on your gym face because your workout doesn't require it. Or maybe you're just really bad at working out.

Once upon a time, training with high repetitions was one of the most important foundations for leg training. 20 reps for squats, 50 reps for leg presses. You know, the hard stuff. These guys were using intensity techniques like descending sets, rest-pause, and all other kinds of methods that stretched the set out as much as possible and generated a ton of metabolic stress. They didn't even know what metabolic stress was. All they knew was that if they trained really, really hard, they grew.

Today, you'll see sayings all over the internet like "anything over three reps is cardio." However, the reality is that even the hardest three-rep max set can't compete with a set of high repetition squats to absolute muscle failure. It's not that a set with the 3RM weight isn't hard, but these two variations are simply not comparable. There comes a point in your training life where, if you want to progress, you have to work your ass off.

Two intensity-boosting training techniques

Add one of these intensity techniques, which force you to set personal goals for each training session, to your training:

50% sets

The working set of this technique provides you with a "built-in" goal. Perform this set after your warm-up until absolute muscle failure. Pause for 60 seconds and perform a second set, trying to complete at least half the repetitions you did on the first set. So if you did 10 to 12 reps with 150 kilos on the first set, then you need to aim for at least 5 to 6 reps on the second set. This works well with push and pull exercises.

Target-focused rest-pause sets

Perform one set, pause for 30 seconds, perform a second set, pause for 30 seconds and then perform a final set. If you did 15 repetitions with 50 kilos on your first set, 9 repetitions on the second set and 5 repetitions on the last set, that's 20 repetitions. The goal for the next week is to hit 20 total reps.

At some point you will need to increase the weight on the bar or do more reps with the same weight. This does not mean that you should sacrifice form of execution or quality of exercise execution. It simply means that progressive overload should be the cornerstone of your training ideology - which is especially true for the lean and weak.

Tip: Be willing to train around injuries

Think of injuries as bumps in the road to success, not dead ends. Here's how one of the strongest men in the world deals with setbacks.

by Matt Kroc


The stronger you get and the heavier the weights you use, the higher your risk of injury becomes. The guys at the top accept this as part of the process. Success is not dependent on avoiding injury. It depends on how you deal with injuries. The risk of injury increases proportionally with the amount of weight you move. This is because your muscles have a greater potential for growth and adaptation than your ligaments, tendons and joints. Handling heavier weights requires better technique. You may get away with horribly poor form when performing squats or deadlifts with light weights, but with heavier weights the risk of injury will increase.

Often, the ability to continue training successfully after an injury is what determines who reaches the top and who falls by the wayside. Think of injuries as bumps in the road to success, not dead ends.

There is a powerlifter who tore both patellar tendons and was told by doctors that his squat days were over and that he would be lucky if he could run normally again. This man made a comeback with a squat weight of over 500 kilos. He performed heavier squats after his comeback than ever before and broke the 450 kilo barrier.

Dealing successfully with injuries is more of a mental issue than a physical one. Never doubt your own ability to come back stronger than before. It is never a question of whether you can make a comeback after an injury, only how long it will take. The fact that you will recover must be a foregone conclusion.

In 2008, I tore my right quadriceps while doing 10 reps of squats at 260 kilos without bandages. It sounded like a pair of jeans being ripped apart.

Matt Kroc, quadriceps tear

I couldn't even walk at first and people on the internet were talking about my powerlifting career being over.

Never doubt your ability to make a comeback. These comments only fueled me to come back better than ever. I started with bodyweight squats using a countertop to support myself. At first, my arms did more work than my legs. But soon I was able to do squats without the support of my arms and after a few weeks I was back in the gym.

I started with an empty bar and worked my way up week by week. The quadriceps tear happened in January of 2008 and at the UPA Pro AM in July of that year I set a new personal best of 1014 pounds.

Tip: Use continuous tension for muscle gains

Bodybuilders have been doing it for decades and now science has confirmed it. Here's a description of how you can use this method for new gains

By Bret Contreras, Brad Schoenfeld, PhD


Muscles respond in desirable ways when they are placed under continuous tension without resting during repetition. Maintaining continuous tension can be achieved in several ways:

  • By avoiding rest pauses at the highest or lowest point of the movement.
  • By avoiding the upper range of motion in certain exercises.
  • By minimizing momentum - excessive momentum can cause a significant deceleration phase at the highest point of the movement, which is characterized by reduced muscle activity.

Scientific research supports the fact that training with continuous tension can provide a potent stimulus for muscle hypertrophy - even when relatively light weights are used (Tanimoto et al., 2008). The true benefits probably have less to do with reduced momentum and more to do with acute restriction of blood flow to the working muscles.

Repetitive muscle contractions cause compression of blood vessels, impairing both the inflow and outflow of blood during exercise, resulting in a hypoxic intramuscular environment. There is evidence that this hypoxic effect mediates a hypertrophy response, possibly related to an accumulation of metabolic products and a reduction in pH associated with such exercise.

These factors are believed to combine to increase muscle growth via a variety of mechanisms, including increased muscle fiber recruitment, acute increases in anabolic hormone levels, changes in myokines, production of reactive oxygen species, and/or cell swelling (the pump).

When should you use continuous tension

When performing heavy multi-joint exercises such as squats, deadlifts and bench presses, focus on using heavy weights, good exercise execution form and setting personal bests. Pause at the highest and lowest points of the movement when needed, use increased momentum to your advantage when appropriate and make sure you perform the exercise through the full range of motion.

For more targeted exercises, however, you can use continuous tension. Think of a piston that moves up and down continuously without built-in rest pauses - this is what your repetitions should look like.

For many exercises, the use of partial repetitions goes well with continuous tension, as some exercises lead to a complete drop in joint torque and muscle activation in the target region. At the highest point of flying movements, for example, there is no longer adequate tension on the target muscles. For this reason, partial repetitions where the weight is only moved over the lower two thirds of the range of motion could be ideal for this exercise. This allows you to maintain continuous tension in these muscles.

When performing exercises such as flying movements, pullovers, hip thrusts and certain variations of curls and tricep presses, focus on maintaining continuous tension in the target muscle. Don't rely on momentum, don't be afraid to limit the range of motion and simply contract your muscles against the resistance.

Tip: Perform hanging fly movements for bigger pecs

Put the barbell down for a while and build your chest using the perfect mechanical position.

By Eric Weinbrenner


Exercises performed in a hanging position feel completely different from anything you'll ever do with dumbbells or barbells. There is more range of motion, so instead of holding your arms in a fixed position like when using a barbell, you have the ability to move your arms inward (which is the primary function of the pecs), putting your body in a better mechanical position for maximum pec recruitment.

Dumbbells and cables also allow a similar range of motion, but the fear of falling on your face during hanging flying movements generates significantly more tension in your muscles. Try this exercise with the TRX, gymnastic rings or blast straps:

Hanging flying movements

  1. Set up the equipment so that the handles are approximately at waist height. The lower the handles are, the harder the exercise will be.
  2. Assume a standing push-up position with your hands on the rings or handles and your feet on the floor. Your arms should be stretched and your hands should be under your chest.
  3. Tighten your gluteus and abdominal muscles. This is almost like doing planks in mid-air.
  4. Lower your body over a period of 1 to 2 seconds, allowing your arms to move out to the side. Concentrate on building tension in the chest and not in the shoulder joints.
  5. Pause for a second at the lowest point of the movement.
  6. Push your body back up and repeat the movement, maintaining tension in your chest the entire time.

Most exercisers will be lucky if they can do a few reps without falling, which makes it more likely that the focus will remain on proper form of execution and maximizing muscle contraction - and less on trying to figure out how much weight you can move.


By Chris Shugart

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