Nov 272015

CU1ncnsXIAAXq67It’s hard to beleive that after all of the research that has been done on the safety and effectiveness of creatine as a natural supplement that there are journalist like Neil Francis who show how ignorant they are on the subject.

It also shows how the mainstream media fails yet again at doing any kind of fact gathering prior to publishing such an ill informed piece. No wonder people are turning to other sources for information since they are doing such a poor job of it.

Thankfully Danny Lennon of Sigma Nutrition takes Neil Francis and The Irish Independent to task with a well reasoned and fact based open letter which you can read here.

Nov 252015

New article over at T – Nation on What’s the Optimal TUT for Muscular Gains? by Brad Schoenfeld, check it out!


Here’s what you need to know…

  1. Time-under-tension refers to how long the muscle is under strain during a set. For size gains, most think you need 30-60 seconds of TUT.
  2. Rather than looking at TUT for a set, it’s better to look at the total TUT for a given muscle group in a workout.
  3. You can build muscle with heavy sets lasting several seconds or lighter sets lasting a minute as long as you accumulate sufficient volume.
  4. If your main goal is to gain muscle size, 60-90 seconds (20-30 RM per set) will do it. You can do this with a periodized plan or perform heavy and light work in the same workout.
  5. Women may need longer TUT than men to build muscle.

What is Time Under Tension?

Surf the internet and you’re bound to see a slew of training recommendations based on the concept of time-under-tension (TUT). Basically, this refers to how long the muscle is under strain or resisting the weight during each set. Do 12 reps of biceps curls, taking about 1 second to lift the weight and 2 seconds to lower it, and your TUT for that set is 36 seconds.

A popular claim is that an optimal TUT for maximizing muscle growth requires training with sets that last in the range of 30 to 60 seconds. According to this theory, sets of longer or shorter duration will be suboptimal for muscle gains. Sounds good in theory, but is this claim consistent with the prevailing science?

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Nov 252015

Everyone is trying to sell you the secret to building muscle or burning fat in order to obtain the body you’ve always dreamed about. The faster one can do that with the least amount of effort the better and more expensive the product is to buy. The truth is if you follow these 5 tips from Layne Norton you will get real results. It reminds me of this famous quote by Thomas Edison – “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”


If you wanted the best sure fire tips for building muscle, you couldn’t go to anyone better than Pro natural bodybuilder, pro powerlifting champion and Dr in Nutritional Sciences, Dr Layne Norton! Before Layne Norton flys all the way from the US of A to see you again at SFN, he wanted to share his top 5 tips for building muscle with you. Enjoy!

1) Consistency.

It’s not sexy. They won’t put it on the cover of a magazine. It won’t sell supplements. But the number one factor for building a great physique is time investment. You have to put in the time. You aren’t going to get results with the time you didn’t put in. The best people in ANY sport, business, or skill didn’t get there overnight. It took them years and years and years to get there. Don’t expect building muscle to happen fast. You can do a lot of things wrong but if you work really hard for a really long period of time you will get results even if small things aren’t optimal.

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Nov 222015

Balanced-Diet-Tips-For-BodybuildingGreat article from A Workout Routine on when you should make adjustments to your diet. Having gone through several bodybuilding competition preps I can attest that this article is spot on!

QUESTION: I’m currently looking to lose about 30-40lbs of fat and I’ve already calculated my calorie, protein, fat and carb intake based on your recommendations. However, I understand that as I gradually lose weight, those initial numbers that I’ve calculated will no longer be right for me.

So I was wondering, how often should I recalculate my calorie intake and adjust my diet to prevent plateaus and make sure I keep losing without having any stalls or setbacks? Every 1-2 weeks? Every month? After every 5-10 pounds lost? I’ll do it after every pound if you think it will help.

ANSWER: This is a good question. It’s also one that I get asked from the opposite point of view as well… meaning people who are focusing on building muscle (and are therefore very slowly gaining weight) and want to know how often they need to adjust their calorie and macronutrient intake upwards to keep things moving in the right direction at the ideal rate it should be.

So, let’s answer it all.

Nov 212015

Very happy with how this week of training went. I started doing yoga this week to help work on my flexibility and mobility and it’s made a big difference. My lower back is feeling much better and I have been able to do much better this week with adding either more reps or weight.

I now truly feel like I am back and in the zone, after training I feel good and much more optimistic about life which is a really good thing because there is a lot of crappy stuff going down outside of the gym in my life and in the world right now so it’s good to have something to counter all of that. Bad stress for me is when things happen that are outside of my control but can or does directly impact my life. Getting back in the gym and focusing on something I can control that has a positive impact on my health and life is great. It reminds me of the Serenity Prayer.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

-Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

That’s all I got for this week, hope you also had a great week!

Nov 212015

I have had several people over the years suggest yoga to me, I always just smiled and nodded at the suggestion. However given the fact that I identified that I was suffering from insufficient hip mobility, tight hip flexors and tight lower back that perhaps it was time to give yoga a try. So I did a search for Yoga for Bodybuilding and came across a Youtube Channel called Yoga with Kassandra where she had a video specically for Weightlifters, Powerlifters, and Bodybuilding.

Attempting to do this routine quickly made me realize how inflexible I have become over the years and this was an area that I had neglected and need to work on. I also realized that this was simply to advanced for me atm so I checked out some of her other video’s. Kassandra has a wide assortment of routines available on her channel so if you are interested in Yoga I would suggest checking them out. I did find a video called Yoga for Beginners Flexibility & Strength – Simple Easy Yoga for Beginners.

Even this video is very challenging for me but its been highly effective in helping my lower back feel better and I plan on continuing doing this routine 3 times a week until such time as I can start doing the Bodybuilding routine I first tried. I have only just started but I think Yoga is a good fit for me as it helps with stress, breathing and flexibility and ultimately I think this will help me be a better bodybuilder. My only regret is not being more open minded about Yoga and giving this a try sooner.

Oh one last thing, Kassandra offer a course Yoga for Weightlifting, Powerlifting and Bodybuilding here. Once I get more advanced this will certainly be something I buy as I want to improve my knowledge in this area and support Kassandra.

Nov 172015

Great Instagram post by Neil Tkatchuk that says it all. Great to see Neil and his wife Erika making their dreams come true while helping others achieve their own.

The crazy thing about life is that you have the power to become and create anything you want. 12 years ago I didn't have a clue how to pick up a weight, how to build muscle, or even the slightest idea about the huge role nutrition plays in this process. 5 years ago Trench Fitness didn't even exist. It was created from nothing. It was created to educate and inspire others in their own pursuits of health & fitness. We now have hundreds of clients and members all working towards their individual goals while supporting others in their own pursuit. I often step back and think about how awesome life really is. It is tough not to be grateful everyday when the work you do was only a dream in the past. Let your own self-belief be the driving force in your life. If you truly believe in your mission and are willing to work until it becomes a reality, the universe will have no choice but to make it come true. #work #passion #gym #lifestyle #fitness #yeswehavememberships #teamtrench #trenchfamous #yqr #regina #sk #success #neverquit #inspire #motivation #health #nutrition #diet

A photo posted by Neil Tkatchuk (@trenchfitness) on

Nov 152015

So I completed the first full week of my new training program. I updated the first week with the weight and reps I completed and it’s certainly humbling compared to what I was able to lift less than a year ago. It shows how quickly one can lose strength especially if one sits at a computer all day. My first day was upper strength and I walked out of the gym feeling like someone had hit me in the stomach as hard as they could, this in spite of me not doing any direct ab work. I don’t ever remember anything like this previously and again shows how weak my core has become sitting at a desk all day and then coming home and sitting on the couch watching TV or sitting at my computer.

Next was lower hypertrophy and again slowly making progress on my squat and feeling some tightness and soreness in my lower back, especially my right upper glute. This was an issue the last time I started training and it looks to be back again. Upper hypertrophy felt good, tiring but good with no punched in the stomach feeling afterwards. I did not train on Friday as I wanted to attend my daughter’s volleyball game. Her team was playing in the city’s division three championships. One of the reason I like a 4 day split is it gives me bit more flexibility so when something does come up I can work around it and still get my training in. To accomplish this I went and trained lower strength on Saturday.

I had my mind set on 225 lbs for at least 4 reps and I was happy I was able to do it however that lower back pain I had experienced earlier in the week was back with a vengeance. I pushed for another set of 4 and my back growled a little more. Undeterred because sometimes I am a pig headed barbarian warrior, I went for my third and final set but had to stop after two reps as I knew I was going to seriously hurt something if I continued. With my back howling I continued with deadlifts which forced me to go with lighter weight. I had been hoping to deadlifting 315 lbs but settled for 225 lbs. If I was smart I should have probably skipped deadlifts all together but it seems I always have to push and I was determined to complete this first week of training.

I feel I often get results because I do know how to push myself more than others but it’s a double edge sword that can easily get you injured and set you back in your training had you just been a bit smarter about things. Where that line is for you is for you to decide and only you. I just hate seeing people stop at the first sign of struggle or discomfort and never make any progress because they can’t mentally push through a bit of discomfort.

In any event the reason I am having this pain is due to a combination of:

  • Insufficient hip mobility
  • Weak posterior chain (think glute and hamstrings)
  • Weak abdominals
  • Tight hip flexors
  • Tight lower back

This is from an article from Syatt Fitness which you can read more about here. I also think this is a good article that explains….

“Most people live sedentary lives – drive to work in the morning, sit at a desk for 8 hours, drive home, flop on the couch for 5 hours (usually eating hot garbage for dinner), take a dump, then go to bed. Rinse and repeat. The end result is a stiff, immobile, tight body. The main areas affected are usually the hip flexors and lower back (lumbar spine).”

It then goes on to give some suggestions on how to fix this.

So that is how my first week went, humbling how little I can now lift and even with that I am struggling with issues. I will be working on my mobility by doing some of the prescribed exercise at home over the coming weeks.

Nov 152015

After reading this the other day at T Nation I decided to do these instead of front squats in my own program, check it out!

Yes, it hurts, but it’ll also strengthen your entire body, from quads to upper back. Here’s how to do it.


The Zercher squat – where the bar is held in the crook of the elbows – can build quads better than the front squat. It can jack up your traps better than shrugs. It can give you a core of steel faster than most ab work. It can even give you bigger biceps. Here’s how to do it:

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