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      ALEX SAVVA’S SUPPLEMENTATION OVERVIEW

      ALEX SAVVA’S SUPPLEMENTATION OVERVIEW

      You don’t need a ton of supplements to boost your results in the gym. The quality of your training and your overall nutritional approach is far, far more important. But a few strategic supps can definitely make a difference you can see and feel.

      Maybe they’ll mean you recover better between workouts so that you can push yourself harder in your next workout. Maybe they mean you can hit those protein targets without feeling like you have to stuff yourself uncomfortably with food day and night. Maybe, after 12 weeks, they mean you can see a little extra definition where there wasn’t any before, which motivates you to keep going when others would quit.

      That’s the power of supplementation. So let’s see what you’ll be taking during the FreakMode trainer. First, I’ll dig into the four essential supplements for any hard-training person, and then I’ll discuss supplements that are best suited to specific goals like fat loss or muscle gain.

      SEE ALL THE ESSENTIAL SUPPLEMENTS AND THE FULL #FREAKMODE TRAINER ON BODYBUILDING.COM

      10 RULES FOR RIPPED ABS

      10 RULES FOR RIPPED ABS

      USE THESE 10 ABDOMINAL TRUTHS TO EFFECTIVELY BURN FAT, TARGET YOUR ABS, AND BUILD A STRONG SIX-PACK.
      As a personal trainer, I’m constantly bombarded with questions about how to build six-pack abs. My clients want to know the best core exercises, what to eat, and how to train for best results.
       

      To help you complete your own quest for a chiselled middle, I’ve gathered and answered my clients’ top 10 questions into one supercharged six-pack article. Start shredding!

      -Alex Savva

      1. ARE CRUNCHES THE BEST WAY TO GET RIPPED ABS?

      No. Crunches work your abs, but there are more effective core-centric exercises. A study from San Diego State University showed that the vertical chair knee raise, for example, stimulates up to 210 percent more abdominal activity than a regular crunch!

      Core muscles are also an integral part of deadlifts and squats, both of which are more effective than crunches. They also burn more calories, giving you extra bang for each rep you perform.

      2. HOW SHOULD I TRAIN FOR MAXIMUM FAT LOSS?

      Go hard and go heavy. High-intensity exercise has been shown to stimulate lipolytic hormones, including growth hormone and epinephrine, which promote greater post-exercise energy expenditure and fat burning.1 This after-burn effect is associated with a boost in metabolism, known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).

      High-volume, whole-body resistance training significantly elevates resting energy expenditure up to 72 hours after exercise in both trained and untrained subjects.2,3 In fact, a study from the National Taiwan Normal University found that EPOC after training with heavier weights—75 percent of one rep max (1RM)—is higher than after training with lighter weights at 50 percent of 1RM.

      Basically, the heavier and harder you train in the gym, the more you burn when you’re done lifting.

      3. WHY IS STOMACH FAT SO HARD TO LOSE?

      Everyone’s different, but the stomach is generally the body’s favorite place to store and hold fat—even on a strict diet and fitness plan. When I was competing in bodybuilding, my lower abs were the last to appear before a show. Hormonal changes that result from lack of proper sleep, stress, and aging add more fat to your waistline.

      Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a quick fix—it’s all about proper nutrition, consistent exercise, and overall caloric expenditure.

      4. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET A SIX-PACK?

      This is probably the most common question we hear from our clients at CircuitFIT. There’s no sure-fire answer because so many factors are involved, including your current body fat, your fitness level, your exercise routine, your diet, stress, and your sleep duration and quality.

      Regardless, you won’t build a six-pack overnight. You have to put in real work and give it time. Get a fitness and nutrition plan together and follow it consistently for at least 12 weeks before you expect to see noticeable results.

      5. WHAT SHOULD I EAT IN ORDER TO GET RIPPED ABS?

      Fewer carbohydrates and more protein! Stick to nutritious carbs like whole grains and vegetables, and make sure each meal or snack contains a lean protein source like chicken, fish, or non-fat Greek yogurt. Don’t be afraid of fat, however. Include good fats from fish, fish oil, nuts, olives and avocados in your diet.

      I personally have 3-4 whole-food meals and 1-2 protein shakes per day. I have my shakes pre- and post-workout on training days. It’s all about choosing whole fruits and vegetables, and nutrient-dense, complex carbs. My diet includes whole eggs, yams, Greek yogurt, fish, chicken, beef, nuts, olive oil, almond butter, fruits, vegetables, quinoa, and other nutritious grains.

      6. CAN I GET RIPPED BY TAKING A SUPPLEMENT?

      Remember that supplements need to supplement something. If you want to get ripped and build muscle, you have to get off your butt and do the work! I always recommend that my clients have a solid training and nutrition regimen in place before they add supplements to their programs. When you’re ready to add a fat-burning product, choose one with ingredients backed by published studies.

      Caffeine, CH-19 Sweet Red Pepper Extract, and raspberry ketone are all backed by quality research. These are some of the ingredients we use in our PHARMAFREAK fat burner, Ripped Frek.

      7. WILL I BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN MY RESULTS ONCE I STOP USING A FAT BURNER?

      Of course! As long as you continue to train hard and follow a solid nutrition plan, you’ll maintain your results sans supplements. Most people eat super clean and train harder than ever while taking supplements, but go back to their old, lazy ways once they stop. This leads to the dreaded “yo-yo syndrome,” which destroys hard-earned results. Consistency is the key.

      8. IS IT EASIER FOR MEN OR WOMEN TO GET RIPPED ABS?

      In general, men can achieve six-pack status easier than women because they produce more testosterone, allowing them to build more muscle mass and burn more calories while exercising and resting.

      Women have a harder time because of their hormonal and muscular makeup, which is one of the main reasons we emphasize compound—or functional—lifts with our female clients.

      That said, the older we get, the harder it becomes for both sexes to get a six-pack. Our hormone levels naturally decline. However, research shows that strength training can increase lean muscle tissue and strength, which helps us stay ripped.

      Pumping iron is the key. Proper nutrition and supplements can also help naturally raise key muscle-building and fat-burning hormones.

      9. WHAT IF YOU DON’T WANT THE SIX-PACK, BUT JUST A FLAT STOMACH?

      Wait, who doesn’t want a six-pack? OK, even if you just want a flat stomach, I recommend you train your abs from all angles 3-5 times per week to build a strong core that not only looks good but also helps you perform better and stay injury-free. Check out my favorite abs exercises.

      10. WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN IT COMES TO GETTING FLAT ABS?

      Ninety-nine percent of the time, when clients aren’t achieving desired results, they’re consuming too many calories, making bad food choices, or both. You can avoid this by tracking your progress. In addition to writing down reps and sets, keep a food journal. Documenting your daily progress is extremely valuable because it allows you to look back, review, and tweak your plan.

      Everyone responds differently, so to determine what works best, get to know your body and listen to its feedback.

      REFERENCES
      1. Irving, B.A., & Davis, C.K., et al. (2008). Effect of Exercise Training Intensity on Abdominal Visceral Fat and Body Composition. Med Sci Sports Exerc, Oct 8.
      2. Schuenke M.D., & Mikat R.P., et al. (2002). Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Eur J Appl Physiol, 86(5):411-7.
      3. Hackney K.J. & Engels H.J., et al. (2008). Resting energy expenditure and delayed-onset muscle soreness after full-body resistance training with an eccentric concentration. J Strength Cond Res, Sep;22(5):1602-9.

      7 SMART WAYS TO BOOST YOUR TESTOSTERONE

      7 SMART WAYS TO BOOST YOUR TESTOSTERONE

      The power of testosterone is almost mythical, and no wonder; it can boost muscle and burn body fat in addition to a whole heap of other benefits, including improved mood, sleep, libido, energy, overall health, and quality of life. Unfortunately, most men experience a slow decline in testosterone after they hit the age of about 30, putting them at greater risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, low mineral density, impaired sexual function, reduced muscle mass, and diminished physical performance.

      How to boost your testosterone:

      • Eat more fat
      • Consume more zinc and vitamin D
      • Stick with multijoint movements in the gym
      • Shorten your rest periods
      • Get more sleep

      Don’t think women aren’t affected by reduced levels of this anabolic hormone as well. Similar to men, levels of testosterone in women—albeit only one-tenth that of their male counterparts—peak in their 20s and decline thereafter. This drop in testosterone can negatively alter the balance between testosterone and estrogen, resulting in an increase in body fat, slowed metabolism, reduced strength and bone mineral density, and difficulty putting on muscle.

      Thankfully there are many ways you can naturally increase your testosterone levels, with the most dramatic changes occurring though resistance training, nutrition, rest, and supplementation—some of which you might already be doing.

      Visit BodyBuilding.com and read the full article to learn seven surefire ways to safely increase your testosterone levels.

      GERMAN VOLUME TRAINING FREAK STYLE

      GERMAN VOLUME TRAINING FREAK STYLE

      By ALEX SAVVA

      GVT is not for the weak. This program is for experienced athletes only that wish to shock their muscles and shift into a hypertrophy phase like no other. This training protocol originated in Germany and hence the name “German Volume Training”. I’ve used this workout program many times over the years and I found it particularly useful at gaining muscle and getting ripped while preparing for bodybuilding competitions. This program is what comes to mind when I hear the phrase “pain and gain”.

      Weekly workout schedule:

      Monday Chest/Back Workout
      Tuesday REST or 20min of Intervals
      Wednesday Shoulders/Arms Workout
      Thursday REST or 20min of Intervals
      Friday Leg Workout
      Saturday REST or Light Cardio/Cross-Train
      Sunday REST or Light Cardio/Cross-Train

       

      CHEST/BACK WORKOUT

      Exercise Sets Reps Tempo
      Bench Press 10 10 4-0-2-1
      Cable Back Row 10 10 4-0-2-1
      Bicycle Crunch 10 10 1-0-1-0

       

      SHOULDERS/ARMS WORKOUT

      Exercise Sets Reps Tempo
      Dumbbell Shoulder Press 10 10 4-0-2-1
      Neutral-Grip Chins 10 10 2-0-2-1
      Dips 10 10 2-0-1-1
      Reverse Crunch 10 10 2-0-1-1

       

      LEG WORKOUT

      Exercise Sets Reps Tempo
      Squat 10 10 4-0-2-1
      Lying Hamstring Curl 10 10 2-0-2-1
      Vertical Chair Knee Raise 10 10 2-0-1-1

      THE WORKOUTS

      There are 3 weight-training workouts that you’ll be performing each week to hit every major muscle group. Each workout includes basic, compound movements to stimulate maximum muscle fibers and that’s why you are only performing 1-2 exercise per body part. You will notice that Friday is leg day and there are 2 days of REST or Light Cardio/Cross-Training that I recommend following that workout. If you do this program properly, your legs will be fried and light cardio or rest is about the only thing you’ll be able to manage during the days after. Also, the light cardio will help speed recovery and reduce stiffness after your brutal leg session.

      I’ve added a core exercise to each workout. Stick with one exercise only so you don’t fatigue the core muscles to the degree that they’ll compromise your strength and technique during your compound lifts. The core exercise will also serve as some active recovery between each set.

      LOADS & REST

      For the compound exercises (that are the focus of this program), stick with 50 to 60% of your one rep max. Your goal should be to get 10 reps out of each set without going to complete failure. Perform the exercises listed back-to-back and rest for 1 minute between each set. Once you can complete a full workout with all the reps prescribed, increase the weight by about 5%.

      TEMPO

      It’s very important to control all movements and follow the prescribed lifting tempo for each exercise in the program. The lifting tempo used in this program is written in a sequence of four numbers (i.e. 4-0-2-1). The first number represents the eccentric phase, the second number represents the stretched phase, the third number represents the concentric phase, and the fourth number represents the peak contracted phase. The number assigned to each phase of the tempo represents the number of seconds you should take to complete each phase.

      A recent study conducted at McMaster University showed that slower tempo training elicited greater responses in protein synthesis when compared to faster tempo training.1 Another study showed that longer time under tension per set resulted in greater EPOC and energy expenditure.2

      Example of 4-0-2-1 Tempo:

      4 = 4-second eccentric contraction (negative part of the movement)

      0 = no pause at the “stretch” portion of the movement

      2 = take 2 seconds for the concentric contraction (the actual pushing/pulling of the weight)

      1 = take 1-second pause at the peak contraction of the movement

       

      References:

      1. Burd N.A., & Andrews R.J., et al. (2012). Muscle time under tension during resistance exercise stimulates differential muscle protein sub-fractional synthetic responses in men. J Physiol. Jan 15;590(Pt 2):351-62.
      2. Scott, C.B. (2012). The effect of time-under-tension and weight lifting cadence on aerobic, anaerobic, and recovery energy expenditures: 3 submaximal sets. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. Apr;37(2):252-6.

      TESTOSTERONE BOOSTER OF THE YEAR!

      TESTOSTERONE BOOSTER OF THE YEAR!

      PHARMAFREAK’s TEST FREAK® has been awarded Testosterone Booster of the Year for 2017 by Popeye’s Supplements Canada!

      TEST FREAK® has been recognized as a favourite and go-to test supplement for both retailers and consumers since it was released in 2010. Developed with premium, clinically-validated ingredients, nothing matches the power of TEST FREAK’s formula!

      TEST FREAK® is a hybrid vitamin/mineral supplement made up of clinically-researched ingredients. Each serving supplies 1,100 mg of fenugreek, 1,000 mg of Tribulus terrestris and Zinc.

      TEST FREAK® also provides a proprietary complex consisting of saw palmetto extract and stinging nettle extract while supplying hesperidin, apigenin and resveratrol! Learn more.

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