Environment is huge when it comes to your fitness progression.  You'll need a place that inspires you and makes you feel at home.  For some people, large crowds and a vibrant social setting is ideal, while others might like their privacy and smaller crowds.  If you don't like your gym, that might prevent you from wanting to go.  A less than ideal environment can also stifle your progress by not encouraging you to challenge yourself.

SMALL, MOM-AND-POP Gym

What to expect: 
  • PRIVACY
  • FEELING OF BEING AT HOME
  • SMALL CROWDS, MEANING LESS WAITING FOR EQUIPMENT
  • LESS LIKELIHOOD OF SWEATY, SMELLY, OR OTHERWISE ANNOYING PEOPLE
  • CHANCES ARE THE OWNER IS THERE A LOT AND WILL QUICKLY ADDRESS ANY ISSUES YOU HAVE
These benefits will make more sense in the long run.  The boisterous dynamic of a 24 Hour Fitness will get old, VERY FAST.  Especially for those people that feel more at home in a quiet and intimate setting.  
Click button below for a great example of a local mom and pop gym in So Cal.

The Big Corporate Gym

What to expect:
  • LOTS OF SPACE
  • LOTS OF PEOPLE
  • MORE FACILITY OPTIONS LIKE BASKETBALL COURTS, SHOWERS, AND A POOL
  • SPINNING, YOGA, AND AEROBIC CLASSES
This environment is best for the average person.   It is also very good for people that like to socialize and meet other people.  Also good for people that don't mind dealing with old folks, loud people, smelly people, or people walking around naked in the locker room. 
THIS IS NOT THE GYM FOR SERIOUS LIFTERS.

CIRCUIT OR BOOT CAMP GYM

What to expect:
  • PRE-CONSTRUCTED, INTENSE WORKOUTS
  • CHALLENGING
  • MOTIVATING/COMPETITIVE GROUPS
  • UNIQUE EQUIPMENT
  • GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH BUSY LIVES 
A gym like this usually has a strong internal community.  Everyone helps and encourages each other.  It is a great environment for people with a busy life and a strong work ethic.  Motivated and competitive people fit nicely in this environment.  Below is an example of a very successful circuit style gym in Bakersfield, CA.

Weight lifter's gym

What to expect:
  • SERIOUS EQUIPMENT
  • SERIOUS MEMBERS
  • VARIETY OF AMENITIES, SUPPLEMENTS, AND APPAREL
  • A GENUINE GYM VIBE   
These are the gyms where athletes, bodybuilders, fitness models, or devoted lifters exercise.  The feeling in the gym is generally conducive to a determined attitude.  The environment emotes greatness; you feel as though you are part of something bigger than you.

Do yourself a favor and take advantage of the free 1 week pass any gym offers you.  
Take the tour, see the members, do a yelp or google search.  whatever you need to see if the gym is right for you.

matthew C
matthew@pasadenamusclecompany.com
@mctheanomaly

 
 
I am forever a weight lifter, but even the most dedicated weight lifters need to train cardio.  That being said, cardiovascular training should be used strategically to burn fat.  Your goals are going to determine when you should do cardio, at what intensity, and the duration.
Here are some common fitness goals and how cardio should be applied to them.  

BUILDING MUSCLE SIZE 
Cardio should be done separate from weight training session, preferably in the morning, but can be done at night.  The goal is to keep burning fat while giving your muscles priority.  That means that you will likely be working out twice a day.  Let your cardio session be done with moderate intensity for about 30-40 minutes.

STAYING TONED
Do 15-20 minutes of moderate to intense cardio before a weight session.  
OR
Schedule your workout week to look something like this:
Monday: Weights, Tuesday: Cardio, Wednesday: Weights, Thursday: Cardio, etc.

SERIOUS FAT BURNING
Using cardio to burn some serious fat means that you will have 40-60 minute cardio sessions, basically giving your cardiovascular training priority.  This type of training is good for runners, swimmers, and cyclists, and can give your fat a nice ass whooping.  

FORMS OF CARDIO:
Running, jogging, or walking, swimming, cycling, aerobics, certain forms of yoga, or dance.  Zumba and Jazz-ercise seem to be popular these days.  Hey, what ever gets your butt off the couch.

BOTTOM LINE:
Cardio will significantly dip into your total energy supply, so use train wisely.  If you train cardio too much, you will compromise muscle building sessions.  Still, the more you are active, the better.  Keep lifting weights for muscle shape and toning, but include a cardio session either early in the morning or at night IN ADDITION to your weight training regimen.  

by Matthew C
matthew@pasadenamusclecompany.com

WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW FOR A HYBRID WORKOUT THAT INCLUDES CARDIO AND MUSCLE BUILDING EXERCISES

 
 
I use the Arm Blaster to put extra pressure on my arms and create new growth and definition.  
This piece of equipment is great to have in your collection.  I use it about twice a month.  
In this video I show both biceps and triceps applications.

MC
Like my Facebook Page for more tips and news
 
 
Pros
  • Mixes well
  • Good for low to moderately active people
  • Tastes great
  • No GMO, rBST, or artificial sweeteners

Cons
  • Slightly pricey
  • A little high in cholesterol 

Jarrow is very reputable brand.  Their products speak for themselves.  This protein is clean and smooth.  It mixes very well and tastes good too.  What more can I say.  The price is a little on the high end but in this economy you pay to be healthy.  The unhealthy stuff, unfortunately, is much cheaper.

BOTTOM LINE:
If you are looking for a natural and safe protein source, this is definitely the way to go.  A local health food store should carry this supplement.  Stop by GRASSROOTS NATURAL MARKET AND KITCHEN in South Pasadena to pick up a tub. 

8.9 out of 10 
 
 
Pros:
  • Covers your main vitamin spectrum  
  • Price is right
  • Added bonuses that other vitamins do not provide 

Cons:
  • Not considered a high performance vitamin
  • The propriety blend is negligible 
  • Can only be purchased at GNC

Rundown:
Like other supplements, it is hard to tell if a vitamin is 'working'.  Some tell tale signs that you are vitamin or mineral deficient are things like skin dryness, scalp issues, hair thinning, irritability, lack of energy, brittle nails, depression, and much more.  The best thing to do is to cover all of your bases by taking a solid multi-vitamin.  That being said, I've nothing but positive things to say about this vitamin.

Bottom Line:
For the price and the vitamin/mineral line-up, this product is excellent.  As previously mentioned, it is hard to tell how good a vitamin is unless you've been taking it a long time.  This is an excellent, basic vitamin choice for the price.  However, if you exercise heavy, you might have to double dose or find a stronger vitamin supplement.   

8.9 out of 10



 
 
Main Pros:
  • Tastes great
  • Mixes easily
  • Good with water

Main Cons:
  • Poor recovery
  • 2 Scoops needed instead of the recommended 1 
  • No feeling of satiety


Run Down:
You can not 'feel' the instantaneous effect of protein.  You can, however, tell the difference between good and bad protein based on its texture, flavor, and long-term use.  A good protein mixes well but still maintains a bit of grit.  It smells like protein more than it does it's assigned flavor.  Most of all, your muscles get a feeling of being 'fulfilled'.  Soreness is somewhat diminished and you can tell that your muscles have begun the process of recovery.  This effect will make sense after training for a few years while supplementing protein.  Recovery time will be noticeably more efficient than weaker proteins.

Bottom Line:
The price is great, but the follow through is not.  It performs better than BSN Syntha 6, for example, but is not as thick and flavorful.  It tastes better than Pro7ein Synthesis, but does not perform as well as the Vitasport kingpin.  

6 out of 10

MC 

 
 
MYTH:
IF WOMEN LIFT WEIGHTS THEY WILL SUDDENLY GROW BIG MUSCLES.  THEREFORE, WOMEN SHOULD NOT LIFT WEIGHTS IF THEY DON'T WANT BIG MUSCLES.

Ladies, your bodies are not designed to carry large amounts of weight or be incredibly muscular.  Your bodies do not break down protein and rebuild muscle tissue as rapidly as men, a process called HYPERTROPHY.  When you lift weights, your body will not automatically respond by accumulating muscle mass.  To make the muscles larger, you would have to consume more carbs and protein in addition lifting heavy amounts of weight.

Lifting weights is so important for women because it helps strengthen bone density.  Women experience a greater decrease in bone density than men as they age.  This is why women are more prone to osteoporosis.  

I implore you to include weight training in your workout regimen.  General rules of thumb:

1.  Light weights for lots of repetitions = chiseled muscles
2. Heavy weights for fewer repetitions = more voluminous muscles
3. Moderate weights for moderate repetitions = overall toned muscularity 

For a consultation on designing a weight lifting regimen specifically for your bodies needs, please contact me:
matthew@pasadenamusclecompany.com

Work out hard, workout often, and have fun!
 
 
JOINT PROBLEMS?
This nagging issue is very common, so don't feel too bad. We get old, it happens. Preventative measures are your sure fire bet to eliminating joint pains.  Practice good form, stretch, and warm up before and after exercise.   Above all, eat healthy and allow your body to rest. Workout like a maniac, but don't exceed your body's capabilities, unless you're getting a large paycheck to do so. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
If you can't make it to a doctor, try a brace or wrap from your local pharmacy or sporting goods store. This will help stabilize the joint. Some braces even absorb certain levels of impact depending on the joint.

EXERCISING:
Use machines instead of free weights for a couple weeks or longer depending on the severity of the problem. The guided motion will keep you from swaying and wobbling, allowing you to focus on the major muscle group. Most joints are stabilized by smaller, weaker muscle groups, ligaments, and tendons. So although the major muscle group is strong, the little parts that hold the joint together are not. 

SUPPLEMENTS:
There are several supplements that MIGHT help, but none of them have CONCRETE scientific evidence to show that they repair or improve joint function. At the very least, they can ease inflammation and reduce discomfort.
Try to consume a collagen source of protein, as this is the most abundant protein in cartilage and other connective tissues. Also, omega fatty acids are believed to reduce joint inflammation. Do a little research on the following popular supplements before you decide to consume them:
Hyaluranic Acid, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and MSM

Remember, this is only advice. To seriously attack this problem, see a qualified physician.
 
 
Pasadena Muscle Company wants you to build your body with us!


Now in our 3rd week, we provide an ALL FITNESS LEVEL outdoor training camp to jump start your weekend.  We want it to be San Gabriel Valley's BEST boot camp available.  Please come and join us.  $10 per person. 


Contact Matthew:  
matthew@pasadenamusclecompany.com
626-755-4592
or click 'join' on our Facebook event page
 
 
"What's your secret?" they ask. 
 It couldn't be hard work and discipline, that's not interesting enough.  There must be some esoteric information I am privileged to possess.  Or maybe I tap into some extrinsic force by chanting or casting lots.  Most people think I take steroids, which I will continue to emphasize that I absolutely do not, nor have I ever.  

My secret, you ask?  It is very simple.  Hard work and discipline.  Every day, over and over again.  I am borderline obsessed with health and fitness in the sense that I am continually seeking results.  I am always trying to get better or discover something new.  Yet, I am satisfied with what I already have.   

Here is a list of "secrets", if you will.  These are techniques that I practice often and are overlooked by many.

1.  FLEXING -  This is by far the most important in terms of aesthetics.  You probably spend plenty of time in front of the mirror at home, but DO NOT skip this at the gym.  Look at your muscles and flex them between sets.  Imagine what you want your body to look like.  Understand the feeling you get when your muscles are activated.  This is very hard to explain, but you will know it is happening when it finally happens.  

2.  PRE AND POST WORKOUT NUTRITION -  This will make or break you.  Carb up before and after.  Drink some BCAA's before a workout with a simple sugar item or a Power Bar.  After your workout, have a fast digesting protein shake with carbs as well.  Carbs are needed to build muscle.

3.  DO'NT SKIP ANYTHING! - When I need to rest, I rest.  Eat, I eat.  Workout, I workout.  This "me first" mentality is not for selfish reasons, its for health reasons.  You will find most people don't care about health and fitness like you do, which is why you look and feel awesome and they don't.  Most people want you to be on their level or lower to make themselves feel better.  I am constantly the one that has to eat immediately, or go to bed early, or skip a night out because I need to workout in the morning.    

4.  SUPERSETS - When done properly, supersets will yield remarkable muscular size and definition.  Don't waste time between sets, keep burning fat and glycogen by maximizing your time in the gym.  Follow one exercise immediately with another.  When you want to increase definition, do triple (3) sets or mega (4) sets.  

5.  VISUALIZATION - This sort of ties into #1 and #3.  You must imagine what you choose to become, only then are you able to discover the path towards your goal.  I go to sleep imagining my workout for the next day.  I look in the mirror and imagine my body becoming more defined and muscular.  When I choose food to eat, I literally imagine the physiological benefits it provides for my body.  I become what I want to become based merely on visualizing what the result will be.  Sometimes it doesn't end up completely as I had imagined, but its damn near close and I am satisfied with the outcome.

Hope these tips help.  There are far too many to list, but these are the top 5 that you should keep in your arsenal.  Remember that many things will come to you along your fitness journey.  Always be aware of what is working and what isn't working.  Stay positive, work hard, and have fun! 

MC

 

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