Vanguard Bodybuilding

Proving you're never too old to chase your dreams!

Take Pride in Your Progress

Since buying our first home I have been putting a lot of work and effort into doing renovations to make it better. This weekend I completed one of the renovation projects that we wanted to make. I did it all myself and I think it turned out pretty good. It took hard work, stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying something new. I am pretty proud of how this turned out and it got me thinking of how this is just like bodybuilding, or at least how it should be if you are thinking about it the right way. I know I haven’t always.

I took on this project to make my home nicer to live in and hopefully add some resale value. Our home is not the most expensive, the biggest, or even that fancy but its ours. I did the work myself because I like to challenge myself and there is a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you complete a project like this. There was no “prize” for best stair renovation but I still felt great having completed it to the best of my ability.

So then why is it when we step on stage we are focused on the outcome, the prize, the pro card? My body is older, not the most muscular, and will never be featured on the cover of a magazine but its mine. I put the work in lifting weights to be a stronger, look better and be the best bodybuilder I can be. As long as I have improved over the last time I step onstage then I should feel the same sense of pride and happiness that I do right now after completing this home renovation.

A New Beginning….

When I started this site back in March 2012, it was to document my journey and dream of stepping on a bodybuilding stage for the first time in my life. During that process, I became even more excited to share the information and knowledge from people who had made a huge impact in this area of my life and so the site changed to mostly promoting other people and the sport of natural bodybuilding.

During the last 5 years, I have had to stop training as well as updating the site a couple of times due to some very stressful life situations. On both occasions, I am happy to report that I ended up in a better position after. During this last stressful period in my life, my wife and I ended up buying our first home in December. This was a dream we had almost let die, as it just seemed we would never be in a financial position to buy, yet here we are.

Since the beginning of the year, I have gone back to training and getting things in my life back in balance. I debated with myself if I would ever go back to blogging again and if I did would it be the same? Well the answer is yes and no. I have decided to go back to blogging however the format is going to change back to just a personal blog that I continue to share my journey and track my progress.

Twice in my life, I thought I was too old to accomplish my dream of competing as a bodybuilder or being a homeowner. Yet here I am at 52 finally having achieve both and I truly feel blessed. That is why I want to continue to share and dream, “Proving that you’re never too old to chase your dreams!”

SEWEH Episode 6 Interviews Part 1 Krieger, Tumminello, Aragon

Episode six of Science and Application (SAWEH, pronounced “saaaywhaaa!?”) with Eric Helm’s of 3DMJ.  In part one of this episode Eric interviews James Krieger, Nick Tumminello and Alan Aragon who where all guest speakers at the AFTP 2016 Convention in Oslo, Norway.

3DMJ Podcast #14: Social Media & Bodybuilding

In this episode Alberto Nunez, Brad Loomis, and Andrea Valdez discuss social media, is it doing more harm than good? This is the crux of today’s podcast. Andrea, Alberto and Brad work their way through the positives, as well as the negatives, of how the rise in social media over recent years has impacted both athletes and coaches.

GMOs | Dr. Mike Israetel |

Most physique athletes lift weights to not only look good but to be healthy so in this video Dr. Mike Israetel talks about GMOs and why people don’t need to be afraid of them. I personally have never had an issue with GMOs, sugar, or processed foods that people get freaked out about and I plan on living to at least a 100 as a strong health person.

WHY YOUR QUADS AREN’T GROWING (The Truth) Ft. Alberto Nunez

Alberto Nunez of 3DMJ is featured in a video on Omarlsuf’s YouTube channel explaining how you can get better quad development. The longer I train the more I find it’s the little details that can make a big difference on getting better results from your training.

Hyperplasis vs. Hypertrophy in Skeletal Muscle

body_recomposition An interesting article by Lyle McDonald answering the question, “Does the number of fast/slow twitch muscle fiber types in your body actually change in response to strength or endurance stimulus? Or just the volume, and you’re stuck with what your genetics dictate?”

I received the following question in the mailbag and, for a fairly short question I’m going to give a fairly long answer since it gives me something to write about today.

Question: Does the number of fast/slow twitch muscle fiber types in your body actually change in response to strength or endurance stimulus? Or just the volume, and you’re stuck with what your genetics dictate?

The short answer is yes-ish. Here’s the long answer.

Let me make one clarification here. Well, two. The first is that I am talking about skeletal muscle. Cardiac muscle acts a little bit differently in how it grows with stress and we don’t lift weights for a bigger heart (perhaps if we did there would be more love in the world).

Also, I’m talking about training induced growth. You can cause some goofy stuff to occur when you ablate a muscle (i.e. cut a muscle in a larger group and you see the other muscles grow like crazy) or with other distinctly non-physiological types of research methods. Here we’re talking about moving iron (the original question asked about endurance training but there’s no reason to begin to suspect that hyperplasia occurs from that type of training in my mind).

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In this episode Eric Helms, Brad Loomis, and Andrea Valdez discuss experience vs. science, which one is better? This is a highly debated topic amongst both athletes and coaches alike. These two concepts shouldn’t be viewed as one versus the other, but rather as two fundamentally different, yet equally important skill sets.

Eric Helms: Pre Contest Diet

Interview by Juma Iraki of Iraki Nutrition with Eric Helms who discuss pre-contest dieting. Some of the topics they discuss are:

1. What are the biggest mistakes you see people do pre-contest? Being a natural bodybuilder yourself, what are the biggest mistakes you did in your career and what have you changed with your approach?

2. Do you feel that athletes often underestimate how much weight they have to loss to get stage ready? Is it possible for everyone to get that “stage lean”?

3. Does your approach for training and cardio change during the pre contest diet? Do you incorporate diet breaks and refeeds?

4. If you where do give your 3 best tips for a successful pre-contest diet, what would they be?

5. What are your general guidelines when taking an athlete from a pre-contest diet and transitioning them over to an off season diet?


Why You Can’t Gain Muscle and How to Fix It

New article by Peter Fitschen, PhD over at on reasons why you are not gaining muscle.

Building muscle mass is one of the main goals of lifters in any given gym.  Despite this, many individuals in the gym look pretty much the same from year to year.  Many are confused as to why they are not making progress and as a result one of the most common questions I am asked is what to do to build muscle and why an individual is not progressing.

There are many potential culprits blunting an individual’s gains.  Below are 7 potential reasons why you are not making the gains you had hoped.

1. Not Eating Enough

When someone mentions to me that they cannot gain weight, the first thing I ask them is how many calories per day they are eating.  In most circumstances, the individual has no idea and will throw out some ungodly high number (e.g. 10,000kcal/day).  As someone who has a relatively quick metabolism myself, (in my late teens/early 20’s I required 5000+ kcal/day to gain weight) I am usually pretty quick to sniff out this over-exaggeration.

My general advice to those who are struggling to gain weight is to track everything you eat for 7 days while eating normally and also monitor your weight during this time.  If your average daily caloric intake while eating normally is around 3000kcal/day and you are not gaining, try increasing to 3300-3500kcal/day and see if that is enough to gain.  If that is enough, increase further.  Eventually you will hit a caloric intake where you will start to gain.  At that point, adjust your rate of gain based upon your progress and goals.

In addition, I would make sure you are consuming an adequate protein intake.  An intake of roughly 1g protein / lb bodyweight is going to be more than sufficient for building muscle.  If you find that your caloric intake is getting extremely high, I would consider increasing protein intake to ensure that you are able to eat at least some compete sources of protein throughout the day and do not get all of it from incomplete sources as a result of your high carbohydrate and fat intake.

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