Vanguard Bodybuilding SET NO LIMITS Sun, 17 Sep 2017 14:14:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Vanguard Bodybuilding 32 32 26973202 CCC Obstacle Course Race 2017 Sun, 17 Sep 2017 14:14:43 +0000 [Read More]]]> I still battled with my lower back this week but was able to compete in the Calgary Corporate Challenge’s OCR with my fellow teammates yesterday. If my back had been 100% I am sure I would we would have done better. We had no idea what or how many obstacles we would face until the competition, which ended up being 16. When we had practiced we had plenty of time to rest in between but running 16 as fast as you can like that hits your aerobic capacity very hard. If I ever do this again I will be sure to work more on increasing my cardio. Each team had a maximum time to complete the course in 12 minutes. We completed the course in approximately 8.5 minutes which was a fairly decent time.

Hats off to my fellow teammates that did an amazing job! Having to complete each obstacle as a team before we could move to the next one was great and really helped focus on the team aspect of the challenge. In total there were 18 teams entered and we have no idea how we did yet but in all honesty for me at least it was about the experience and challenging yourself and working as a team that made yesterday so much fun.

Of course usually when you go out and have a really good time there is a cost and for me it was being in a lot of pain with my back really flaring up and I was unable to hit the gym and train like I had wanted to. Today its back to being more manageable and I am hoping to be back on track to start week 3 on Monday and finally get a full 4 days of training in. No more extra curricular activities for the rest of the year so I can focus 100% on bodybuilding.

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Operation “Get Jacked” has Officially Started! Sun, 10 Sep 2017 15:53:56 +0000 [Read More]]]> So I started working with Alberto Nuñez from 3D Muscle Journey this week in preparation of stepping on stage again. After talking with Alberto we decided the best course of action at this point is to start a lean gaining phase. My only goal this time around is to bring a much improved physique from the one I brought to the stage in 2014, pictured left. Hopefully we can do this for 2019 but I told Alberto if we need to make it 2020 I am totally fine with that.

As part of this lean gaining phase Alberto has me on a upper/lower split 4 days a week and the volume is much higher then I am use too. I got off to a rough start as I tweaked my back on Tuesday testing my 1 RM doing deadlifts. I had planned on trying to get all four training session in this week however with the injury I decided to skip the last lower training day especially since it would have meant training legs two days in a row, add in my lower back injury and it would have been way to much.

One of the secondary lifts on the lower days is for a leg press variation or hack squat. Since I don’t have either of those machines in my home gym it was suggested I do Bulgarian Split Squats. I tried these once before and found them really difficult due to the balancing aspect and the fact its a unilateral movement. That said I figure I have never really trained my legs like this and if I want to grow and get better this is probably the lift I need to be doing. I started out with just the bar and the goal was to do three sets of 12. To say I struggled is an understatement, this was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done and I could only get 10 reps. The fact that this was so challenging at such a light weight to me means that this movement has identified a weakness and its something I really need to work on and get better at. Getting better and stronger at this should help with improving my squats and deadlifts.

So as challenging as this last week has been this next week will be even tougher as the sets for the main lifts double and we add a couple more reps as well. So as an example I did squats for 2 sets of 6 reps at 220 lbs. Tomorrow I need to do 4 sets of 8 reps at 220. I am also supposed to do 4 x 8 x 255 for deadlifts but considering I stopped after one set of 4 reps this week I will most likely go with lower weight or RDL’s as I need to get back to being healthy and I don’t want to let the team down this coming Saturday when we do the OCR for the Corporated Challenge.

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Back Working with Alberto Nuñez Sat, 09 Sep 2017 15:55:18 +0000 [Read More]]]> So I am thrilled to report that I am officially back to being a 3DMJ coached Physique Athlete working with Alberto Nuñez! 3DMJ’s reputation in the Natural Bodybuilding world speaks for itself and it is truly an honor to be back working with them and especially Alberto. For those that don’t know Alberto was my prep coach for my 2014 competition season and he did a phenomenal job. The goal after competing was to continue working with Alberto in the off season with the goal of having him be my prep coach when the time was right.

Unfortunately in late 2014 I had to stop training and working with Alberto due to a very stressful time in my life, I ended up quitting my job and moving to a new company. I then needed to focus on ensuring I did well in my new job and role as it was in an area of I.T. that I had never really done before, so 2015 was a complete right off as far as bodybuilding. In 2016 I did start training again on my own however around September I had to stop again due to another very stressful situation at my job. In mid January of this year I started training again but by August I was getting to the point that I found myself second guessing myself at times and with my goal of competing in 2019, I felt it best to work with a coach again to ensure I was in the best spot possible to start contest prep.

I did think about working with some other coaches, there are some really good ones, however I think one of the biggest keys is working with a coach you trust and have a good relationship with. I knew I had this with Alberto already so rather than taking a chance on someone new I wanted to see if I could work with Alberto again, especially since I felt we had some unfinished business from 2014. Fortunately for me I have been able to get back to working with Alberto, we had our first Skype consultation on Monday and we have a game plan in place and I started a new training program from him this week. I will update how that’s been going tomorrow.

Shortly after all this happened Jeff Alberts posted the following on Instagram. Jeff does such a great job on explaining why its so great to work with Alberto as your coach and why I am so thrilled to be working with him and 3DMJ again.

After 31.5 yrs of training, 30+ shows, and coaching hundreds of bodybuilders myself…I decided to hand the keys over to one of the best natural bodybuilding coaches in the world @nunez3dmj Not that I can’t coach myself as I’ve done that well over the years, but I’ve realized in my 40’s is that humility, being open minded and continuing to learn has made me a better bodybuilder and coach. Having Alberto on board (my other 3DMJ coaches are all my coaches!) was not based on how many pro cards he’s personally won, how many he’s collected as a coach, degrees he has or how popular he is with social media. I’m sure there’s quite a few pro cards he’s attained as a coach and I can say with 100% confidence he couldn’t tell you how many if you asked. That’s what I love about him…he’s humble and understands there’s more to bodybuilding than the wins and losses. He understands how I operate…how to get the most out of me…he knows my strengths, my weaknesses, my personality, my life outside of the sport…and he will do everything in his power to ensure the big picture is never compromised. We have history together…we built a relationship and over time we’ve won together and we’ve lost together. We never got too high with a win and I certainly never put blame on him for a loss. Looking for another coach because of a hiccup…meh…that’s premature, too impatient and frankly too easy of an excuse imho. Bill Bellicheck didn’t build a dynasty in his first year…it took a little time building a solid foundation. It’s a two way street and there needs to be time spent together to be able to grow together. Down the stretch I need to be accountable, to execute precisely…basically I need to do my job not just for me, but for coach too! Having an experienced eye and someone who more than likely cares more about my journey than myself is truly a blessing. So now we have work to do for IPE Clash of the Titans on October 28th in Minnesota and if I can get that qualification…we head to IPE Worlds in November for some more fun! #3dmusclejourney #3DMJ #coaching #relationship #growtogether #naturalbodybuildingforlife

A post shared by Jeff Alberts, 3DMJ Coach (@3dmj_godfather) on

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Obstacle Course Racing or “OCR” for short Sun, 03 Sep 2017 13:18:21 +0000 [Read More]]]> So my favorite show on TV is American Ninja Warrior on NBC and its something I always wanted to try if I got the opportunity. I have run a few 5K OCR’s before but there is lots or running in between obstacles, in American Ninja Warrior its a series of obstacles one right after the other and you need to complete the course as quickly as possible.

So this year my company is competing in the Calgary Corporate Challenge in the White Division and when I saw there was an Obstacle Course Race I had to sign up. The race is on Saturday September 16th at COR.FIT Industrial location. We got a chance to go down and learn how to do the obstacles and practice last Thursday. We won’t know which obstacles we will have to complete on race day so they reviewed all of the ones we might have to complete. This is a team event comprised of two men and two women and the fastest team to complete the course wins.

So I was able to complete all of the obstacles and practices compelting them several times but I was there for 2 hours and was completely exhausted by the end. I definitely over did it and I have been paying for it ever since. Completing obstacles like this utilizes your hands and forearms as well as your abs to a far greater extent than weight training. My hands, forearms and abs are still sore and I ended up not training weights for days 3 and 4 on this weeks training block. Long story short when you get a chance to try something new don’t go nuts or you will pay for it! 🙂

I have a tremendous amount of respect for the athleticism this type of racing requires and those who make it look effortless. Upper body strength with regards to fingers, hands, wrists and forearms is a must and is something not really focused on in bodybuilding. Its probably why climbers do so well at these type of challenges as that is something they require for climbing. I do think there is value in being stronger in these areas so I think next year I am going to add a few things like a peg board, climbing rope, etc. to my gym to help develop this kind of strength.

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Scale Weight vs Fat Loss Sun, 27 Aug 2017 15:54:20 +0000 [Read More]]]> One of the main tools that I use to determine if I am in a caloric deficit is to weigh myself first thing every morning after going to the bathroom.. I track this in a spreadsheet and I plot the weekly average over time. In the image is my average weekly weight from week 27 to this current week 35.

As you can see my weight loss had leveled off at 199 lbs for week 27 to 29 at which time I decided to take a diet break on vacation for a week, hence the jump to 200.3 lbs. Once I got back I decided to continue to lose weight and try and get closer to my goal of 190 lbs. Things were back on track until week 33 which is when I started taking creatine. When you take creatine it ends up pulling more water into the muscles adding size and weight. In most cases it will add 3 to 5 lbs of body weight until you reach the maximum levels of creatine in the body. Some people prefer to load the body in a week taking 5 mg of creatine 4 times a day to saturate the body and then switching to 5 mg a day to maintain. The down side to this is it can cause bloating and diarrhea so I prefer to just take 5 mg a day and in approximately 30 days I will reach the same point as if I had loaded over a week.

So what is the point I am trying to get at? Well we use the scale as a tool to measure fat loss. If the scale is going down week after week and our performance in the gym is the same or better then we can be assured that the weight being lost is fat. So if its true the scale going down = fat loss then surely the scale going up must mean fat being gained right? Well not exactly. There are many things that will cause the body to increase in weight like creatine, salt, stress, menstrual cycle, etc. These can also cause the scale not to move up or down despite the fact you are still losing fat. At the end of the day the scale only measures body weight and not body composition.

These last few weeks I have known I would ended up gaining weight on the scale but even knowing that in my head, when I step on the scale in the morning and see my weight has gone up it still has a negative emotional impact. I have to over ride that gut feeling and trust that I am still on track. This is even harder when you don’t know the reason for the sudden increase in weight and it often cause people to make changes they did not need to make by either cutting calories and/or increasing cardio. In worst cases it can cause the person to give up entirely.

One thing natural bodybuilding has taught me is to be more patient and to not make sudden reactive changes. It’s taught me to use pictures, body measurements, the mirror, and how my cloths fit to also help judge how things are going. If you are not prepping for the stage you should be looking at fat loss as a long term lifestyle change not the quick fix that we are promised in marketing ads trying to get us to buy the latest and greatest fat loss supplement or diet. If you are prepping for the stage or if you really struggle with losing weight I would encourage you to work with a good prep or weight loss coach as they can help you deal with those emotional gut reactions and ensure you bring the best you to the stage or reach the goal you are after.

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Block 1 – Week 3 Completed Sun, 20 Aug 2017 14:29:10 +0000 [Read More]]]> I completed week three of this new training program and I have to say I am really enjoying it and my training has been super consistent even with doing other activities like the Rugged Maniac 5k OCR race and the Dragon Boat Race last weekend.

Ten days ago I started taking 5 mg of Creatine Monohydrate every day. When I started training again in January I just wanted to get back in the swing of things and was not taking any supplements. Then when I decided I need to lose weight in March I felt taking creatine would throw off my weight tracking as you typically gain weight when you start taking creatine.

In starting this new training program my goal was to get much stronger and creatine would certainly help with that. ( benefits of creatine ) No matter when I started taking creatine it was going to cause some weight gain but it was not going to hinder my fat loss despite the scale increasing so I might as well get started.

I have to say this was a good decision as my performance in the gym has had a definite increase since I started taking it. As a result instead of increasing my main lifts by 2.5% of my estimated 1 RM I am going to up it to 5% for the next three weeks. To get a better idea of how the program works and what I am doing here is what I have done for day 1 for the last three weeks and what the next three weeks look like.

After week 6 I will retest my 1 RM’s for the 4 main lifts and then start Block 2 with the new numbers.

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Block 1 – Week 2 Training Update Mon, 14 Aug 2017 01:13:55 +0000 [Read More]]]> Just finished up two days of Dragon Boat Racing on top of this weeks training. We ended up coming in 3rd place on the D division final so very happy with that. My daughter Grace was just coming to watch today but we were short one female paddler so in order not to be disqualified she agreed to help us out and fill the spot. Very proud of her for doing this as it was pretty hard to come in with zero training to help us out so we were not disqualified and help us win 3rd place.

Both Grace and I trained together last year for the Dragon Boat race but this year we had no plans on participating but due to being short handed we both had to jump in and help out so we get to chalk up another festival and add some more hardware to our growing collections! 🙂

This week saw me complete the second week of my new training block. Really enjoying this and hoping to see some long term gains with this although I do have something in the works for September that may alter my training but I will wait to reveal that when and if it happens. Anyways here is the footage of the main and aux lifts from week 2. My weight is also starting to move in the right direction and I am hoping to see a new low in the coming week.

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The Complete Strength Training Guide Sun, 06 Aug 2017 14:39:55 +0000 [Read More]]]>

I started a new training program this week that is offered for free by Greg Nuckols on his new site Stronger By Science. The nice thing about this program is that it can be used by beginner, intermediate and advanced lifters. You can read all about it and download the program yourself here.

I like this program because it’s designed to add muscle and strength at the same time so it can be used by bodybuilders and/or powerlifters. Even though I have been lifting for a few years now, knowing how to create an intelligent training program with built in progression over time has been something that I have really not had a good grasp on. I understand the ideas and concepts in general but actually putting it into a good training program has been a challenge. Most of my training has been linear in that once I can lift x amount of weight for x reps by x sets its time to increase the weight the next training session. This works great for awhile but one can’t make linear gains like that forever and I think trying to do so only leads to burnout and injury as you end up training to close to failure to often and your body simply can’t recover.

Here is some training footage of Day 3 of the program. Main lift is Deadlifts at 70% of 1 RM for 4 sets of 4 reps followed by the Aux lift of Paused Squats for 4 sets or 4 Reps. If you are interested I track all of my training on the forums here.

I was going to start this program as part of my lean gaining phase but have decided I want to keep losing a bit more yet. Taking a diet break over vacation has helped a lot and I am eager to keep digging. During the Rugged Maniac race last weekend I ended up smashing my shin pretty good and it turned out I injured it more then I originally thought.

In addition I also ended up with a skin infection and I am now taking antibiotics for it. Despite the injury I was able to get in all my training completed for the week so very happy with that and the leg is on the mend and feeling much better.

Also on my return from vacation I was asked to participate in the Dragon Boat race again this year for my company. Originally I was not going to as I wanted to focus on my bodybuilding and give others an opportunity and they had more then enough men to fill all the spots but I guess some are not able to be there for race day which is August 12th and 13th. In any event I agreed to help out so went to my first practice on Thursday which was everyone else’s 4th practice and man it was so hard! Even though I have done it before to do a full practice race on your first time out in a year was challenging to say the least. We have one more practice this Thursday and then the official race on the weekend so I will let you know how we do.

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Rugged Maniac 5k Obstacle Race Sat, 29 Jul 2017 23:49:40 +0000 [Read More]]]> Today my daughter Grace and I competed in the Calgary Rugged Maniac Race. This was my daughters first obstacle race and my second time. Doing this with my daughter was so much fun and I am so proud of her. I smashed my shin pretty bad and got a nasty pressure cut from the impact but I was able to still complete the event. Below are some pictures from the event.

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Last Heavy Training Session for the Month Thu, 13 Jul 2017 01:36:09 +0000 Pretty happy with this last heavy session for the month since I leave for vacation on Monday. Glad I was able to improve on my last lower heavy day that was certainly not the best.

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