Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mike Mentzer and Heavy Duty Training

Another article by Jason Ferruggia, creator of Muscle Gaining Secrets. Mentzer had one on the best physiques I've ever seen--he actually received a perfect score when he won the Mr. Universe title in '78.

I've read Heavy Duty, and I agree with the conclusions of this article: Mentzer had some great ideas, but I think he was a little off on the volume and frequency of training. 

Mike Mentzer: Genius or Lunatic

By Jason Ferruggia

If you don’t know who Mike Mentzer was I will give you some quick background. He was a famous bodybuilder who competed back in the seventies and eighties against none other than Arnold, himself. He was known for being a huge proponent of extremely low volume training. Mike was either loved or hated; there was no in between. He had some radical view points and an in-your-face way of expressing them. He even had the balls to call Arnold out about his high volume training protocols and say what a complete waste of time it all was.

Mike Mentzer’s basic ideas and theories were that we are all grossly over-trained in sets and overall volume but under-trained in intensity. He recommended somewhere between one and three sets per bodypart, once every 7-21 days. He also knew what I have since learned; that high protein diets are unnecessary and are just another scam perpetrated by the bodybuilding industry to force you to buy more protein powder and useless crap.

Many people thought Mike Mentzer was a genius and learned a great deal from him while making tremendous progress employing his advice. Others thought he was completely insane and needed to be committed.

I, personally, loved Mike’s attitude and rebellious nature. I also learned quite a bit from him and when I first read Heavy Duty way back in the early 90’s, it completely changed the way I thought about training. It also led to some outstanding results.

The problem was that at the time I was like many of you; constantly in search for the next best training program and always thought there was a better way of doing things. So I lost my way for a few years while experimenting with everything under the sun.

Sadly, you have to get off the right path and get lost for a while in order to realize that you were heading in the right direction all along.

It has been at least 15 years since I read Mike Mentzer’s training theories for the first time and I have experimented with quite a bit of different loading parameters and training methods since then. I can now state, unequivocally, that Mike Mentzer was a lot smarter and a lot closer to the truth than a lot of people I have taken advice from over the years.

Was he a genius?

No. But he was a smart guy and a rational thinker. He never just blindly accepted what everyone else did. He thought for himself and questioned everything.

Looking back I can say that Mike was a little off with his frequency recommendations and that the intensity he advocated was a bit too high and unnecessary. In fact, I think some of the extreme intensity techniques he advocated may have even been counterproductive. I also strongly disagree with many of his exercise choices.

But that doesn’t mean that Mike’s ideas weren’t effective. He is, after all, responsible for helping Dorian Yates win the Mr. Olympia contest.

Mike knew the dangers of overtraining and realized just how unnecessary and counterproductive all that useless junk volume really was. He knew that it didn’t take anywhere near as much training as most people think to produce dramatic gains in size and strength. Mike knew and preached to people that if they couldn’t get the job done in a fraction of the sets they normally used then they weren’t training hard enough. Or maybe they weren’t eating properly or getting enough rest… But whatever it was, their lack of progress was not due to their lack of training volume. In fact, their training volume may have been what was holding them back.

I respect what Mike Mentzer contributed to the strength training world and will always consider him a pioneer in our business.

To learn how I incorporated many of Mike Mentzer’s theories with my own (that are based on 20 years of in the trenches experience and endless discussions with renowned coaches and trainers) to create the best muscle building system available for drug free, genetically average lifters, go to Muscle Gaining Secrets.

About the Author:
Jason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He has trained thousands of clients during his 14 years as a professional fitness coach, including more than 500 athletes from over 20 different sports. Jason has written hundreds of articles for numerous top rated training magazines and websites and has authored four fitness books. He is also the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more great muscle building information, please visit Muscle Gaining Secrets.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Intermittent Fasting

One of the strategies for fat loss that I've been studying is intermittent fasting. There's actually a large body of research to support the practice. One advocate of this approach is Brad Pilon, author/creator of Eat-Stop-Eat. Here's one of his articles describing the benefits of strategically using fasting for fat loss:

You may not even have heard yet about intermittent fasting and the benefits thereof. In fairness it is a relatively new way of looking at fasting and it's possible uses, so let's take a few moments and examine why intermittent fasting is quickly becoming a valuable element in your weight loss/fat loss arsenal.

Many of us know fasting as something that has religious and/or spiritual applications, or perhaps as a political statement or tool. (Almost always a bad idea!) However you've thought of fasting in the past, it may be time to look at it in a new way. Intermittent fasting has evolved into a useful way to cut your caloric intake and still maintain energy and strength enough to workout and get stronger, and in general become more fit.

An intermittent fast can be defined as one in which the person fasting abstains from everything but water for a period of 24 hours, one to two times per week. This definition serves those who would use this as a tool in their weight loss routine, and still be able to workout. Think of the benefits of exercising a full two days worth of calories from your diet, and still be burning them up at a high rate simultaneously. Sounds attractive, eh?

Now, employing a fast once or twice a week and then using the remaining days to practice for eating contests won't cut it. You need to practice restraint and employ a sensible eating plan for those days, but all in all, most people report that the urge to pig out isn't as strong as they thought it would be.

One of the biggest benefits of doing intermittent fasting as a part of your workout program is that studies have shown that not only is your energy NOT diminished, but it actually seems to be enhanced, and your metabolism isn't reduced but clearly further stoked up. This is the primary complaint among people who would use a traditional fast. They would no longer have the gas left in their tank to work out, and while they'd lose weight, often it would be muscle mass, which sort of defeats the purpose.

When starting out with intermittent fasting, make sure you start out easy, getting your body used to skipping a day once a week, then perhaps two. Also take it slow when working out during this transition time, until you start to feel as though you're able to take a full load in your workout program. This won't take long, and in fact will leave you hungering for more, and I don't mean food!

If you're seeking a way to accelerate your fat loss and still keep working out, then you need to take a good look at intermittent fasting. You may be pleased at just how effective it can be at painlessly reducing your caloric intake while at the same time allowing you sufficient energy to complete your workouts!

Brad Pilon is a nutrition professional with over eight years experience working in the nutritional supplement industry specializing in clinical research management and new product

development. Brad has completed graduate studies in nutritional sciences specializing in the use of short term fasting for weight loss.

His trademarked book Eat Stop Eat has been featured on national television and helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat without sacrificing the foods they love. For more information on Eat Stop Eat, visit Eat Stop Eat.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Eric Broser Interview (Alpha Male Advanced Workouts)

Eric Broser is very well-known name in the bodybuilding industry--he's been in it for 22 years. He is one of the developers of the the Alpha Male Advanced Workouts program. Here's an interview with him about the program, which he first tried with Dave Swanson and how the program developed.

Q. I understand that before writing the program in the Alpha Male Advanced Workouts e-book that you tried a prototype of the system out with a client of yours. How did that come about, and why did you choose him?

A. This is correct. After developing the basic outline for the “hybrid” PRRS/Alpha Wave training program I felt it would be a good idea to see just how well it would work with someone before finalizing the actual protocol for the book. After all, I wanted this to be the most effective total-body-transforming regimen ever introduced into the fitness arena. Out of sheer luck one of my former clients, David Swanson, got in contact with me right around this time, asking me if I would be able to work with him again. He explained to me that about a year before he had injured his knee and required surgery and months of rehabilitation. He revealed that during this period he had become quite depressed because he could not engage in serious training or the sporting activities he loves, and consequently “ate himself” into the worst condition of his adult life. Right then and there I knew I had found my guinea pig!

Q. What was Dave’s goal at this point?

A. He wanted to reduce his body fat from 18% to under 10% and to regain his strength, agility, speed, and endurance so he could again excel at the sports he loved to play.

Q. Did you immediately put him on the “hybrid” PRRS/Alpha Wave program, or did he need some time to re-acclimate to exercise?

A. Although he was doing some resistance training to help him rehab his knee, Dave really needed to get some strength and overall conditioning back before I could train him at full intensity, so we began more gradually. For the first three weeks I had him work with some Alpha Wave Basic training to help him regain some of his strength and stamina, and then followed this with a three week period introducing him to the principles of PRRS. This gave him a solid foundation to work from so that he would be able to withstand the rigors of the “hybrid” PRRS/Alpha Wave principles.

Q. So how long did you train Dave on the prototype of the program that appears in the e-book, Alpha Male Advanced Workouts?

A. We used a 10-week cycle, just like was utilized in the first Alpha Male Challenge book.

Q. Did you have him use any special supplements or a specific diet while undergoing Alpha Male Advanced training?

A. Absolutely! There is no way one can achieve optimal results from any training program unless it is coupled with a sound nutritional/supplementation regimen. I had Dave eat six moderately sized meals per day focusing on mostly lean proteins, well-timed complex carbs, green vegetables, and essential fats from nuts, avocados, and oils.

As for supplements, we used a quality whey protein, BCAA’s, creatine, and a high potency vitamin/mineral complex. Nothing fancy, just the basics.

Q. And how did it turn out? Did Dave reach his goals?

A. Not only did he reach them…he surpassed them! And by a large margin! His weight dropped from just over 200 lbs at 18% body fat to 175 lbs of solid muscle and just 6% body fat! In fact, he looked so amazing that he decided to enter 2010 Natural Las Vegas Bodybuilding Championships and won the light heavyweight division! And not only that, but he was able to return to all of the activities he loves like surfing, basketball, softball, and flag football but with more strength, power, and stamina than he has had in many years!

Q. Wow, that is incredible! Is there anything else you want to share about Dave’s transformation?

A. Well, I will just let the before and after photos do the rest of the talking and leave you will a quote from Dave’s testimonial about the Alpha Advanced training program: “Alpha Wave Advanced Training infused with PRRS contains the best all-around workout principles ever introduced into the fitness industry and is capable of transforming your physique like nothing else! I am living proof!”

Q. So tell us more about Eric Broser…who is he and what is he about?

A. To date I have been in the fitness/bodybuilding world for about twenty-two years and have experience in just about every major facet of this industry. In the past or at present I have worked as a personal trainer (one-on-one and online), strength coach, contest preparation “guru,” posing coach, gym owner, author, magazine columnist, model, radio show host, and consultant (in several areas) to several major sports nutrition supplement companies. Presently I am grateful to work closely with All American EFX, serving as their Internet Marketing Manager, as well as one of their sponsored athletes – proudly representing Team Natural Freak (the “natural” meaning, drug-free).

In 1991 I graduated from New York’s Hofstra University with a degree in psychology, although the emphasis of my studies was purposefully geared toward the connection between mind and body, or physiological psychology (always remember that the mind and body work as a unit and cannot be separated). I have completed about a dozen certifications in the field of training and nutrition with such excellent organizations as the ISSA, ACE and the NAFH. Additionally I have undergone specialized coursework with some of the world’s most well-known and prolific coaches/trainers like Charles Poliquin and Paul Chek. The eclectic nature of my fitness education allows me to work with a very wide range of individuals with varying needs, goals, strengths and limitations.

I started competing in bodybuilding competitions back in 1989 (at age 20), and have earned two Natural Mr. Eastern USA titles (novice and open) as well as pro cards in both the ANPPC (now defunct) and the NGA (National Gym Association), where I also serve as a judge and advisory board member.

In 2006 I co-wrote a book entitled “Building the Perfect Beast Naturally” and while BTPN is now off the market I feel quite confident in saying that it was probably one of the most cutting edge texts ever released on transforming one’s physique drug-free. I have had about 60-70 articles published in/on various major bodybuilding magazines and websites, and in addition pen (or have penned) monthly columns for Iron Man, Planet Muscle, Natural Muscle, Muscle Mag International and Muscular Development magazines. In days past I also spent a great of time writing the labels, ads and catalogues for many different supplement companies, while also assisting in the development of new products.

What I am likely most well known for is my POWER-REP RANGE-SHOCK system of training, which I created and pioneered around the year 2000. Initially this was a program that I simply utilized to train myself, and my highest-level clients, but the results were so overwhelmingly positive that I decided to introduce it on the Internet, then later in several magazine articles. Today, tens of thousands of athletes and bodybuilders around the globe are devout PRRS users, and not a day goes by that I do not receive an email speaking to its effectiveness. In spring of 2009 my PRRS DVD was released (and my E-book shortly after), which rapidly became a best seller (and still is 18 months later). Now I have had the pleasure of integrating the principles of P/RR/S training into the Alpha Wave protocol, creating one of the most effective, intense and productive training programs ever presented in the fitness arena.

Q. Eric, you have an impressive resume in the world of fitness and bodybuilding as both an athlete and a contributor of information. Where did it all start for you? What led you down this path in your life?

A. As a child I was always fascinated by muscles. I admired anyone I saw who appeared to be strong and powerful. The physiques of the characters in most comic books caught my eye the most and I fantasized about looking just like them. My father recognized this in me and brought home a basic weight training set so that I could start lifting at about age 12 or 13. I dabbled here and there but not enough to have any lasting effects on my physique. At age 16 my best friend Mitchell and I started watching bodybuilding competitions on ESPN and purchasing Muscle and Fitness magazine and reading it cover to cover. Together we made a pact…an actual written pact…that we would start training hard and eating right and would not stop until we attained the muscular physiques we envisioned for ourselves. We began working out together daily in my basement, and decided to call our little gym “The Lion’s Den.” I was 5’11.5” tall and weighed a paltry 125 lbs soaking wet. After four years of consistent training, Mitch and I entered our first (for him his last) bodybuilding competition and I was hooked. Just two months later, after making some adjustments to my diet and cardio regimen, I entered and won my class at the Natural Eastern USA at just 168 lbs. I was on top of the world and my career in the world of fitness was born.

Q. What keeps you motivated?

A. Complacency is a word that I truly hate. I just have this innate drive to improve myself every day. The thought of staying in one place and remaining stagnant actually frightens me. My body has become my life’s work in a sense. Sort of like a piece of art that I will always be sculpting and continually working on. Bodybuilding/fitness provides me with a greater purpose and allows me to live my life “at another level.”

Q. What is your basic training philosophy?

A. My basic philosophy is one of high intensity and moderate to low volume. It is rare that I perform more than 7-10 work sets for any body part during any workout. To stimulate muscles to grow I believe they must be challenged on a consistent basis with rising intensity, but without overtaxing your body as a whole. If you push TOO far you will not have enough “physiological energy” left over to support the repair and growth process. I also firmly believe in the need for variation in your training. The body is an incredibly adaptable machine and will learn very quickly how to counteract your efforts if you constantly feed it the same stimulus. This is of course why I developed the POWER, REP RANGE, SHOCK training program.

Q. Can you tell us about the evolution of the PRRS system, and some of the things you learned along the way that influenced its development?

A. The PRRS Training System evolved simply because it "had to!" After busting my butt in the gym for almost ten years I realized that my physical transformation had come to a halt. Yes I was pretty darn big at 230 lbs and pretty darn strong as well, but I refused to believe that I had already exhausted my genetic potential. I had also taken the opportunity to look at the many people I saw in the gym training hard day after day, year after year, and I noticed something rather disturbing...nobody was really progressing anymore.

This made me start to think...I mean really think. I decided to go back and research all of my training logs from the day I started lifting until the present time. I wanted to discover at what points I made my greatest progress, and see if I noticed some type of pattern. I also reread several of my college texts and looked into dozens of studies that had to do with muscle hypertrophy, the central nervous system, hormones, immune function, sports psychology, etc -anything that I felt could assist me in unlocking the mystery of human physiology.

What I slowly began to realize is just how complex and amazing the human body is. We were "built" to survive and adapt, and to do so with the greatest possible efficiency. Change is not something our systems prefer, so building new muscle tissue, gaining strength and losing body fat are not high on its "priority list." And although it is our very ability to adapt that allows us to add muscle/increase strength as the result of intense weight training, this very same ability makes it harder and harder to continue to do so as time passes (not to mention the natural decreases in testosterone and GH output that begin to occur after about age 25). And this is again because the human body seeks out homeostasis, not change or chaos. Thus, over time our system learns to better and better deal with the training stress we place upon it so that it can handle it without changing!

After reviewing my training logs I noticed that my biggest spurts of bodyweight gain/muscle growth occurred during periods of time that I made the greatest alternations to my training program! In the first few years all I needed to do to progress was to continue getting stronger, but eventually this led to diminishing returns. After some time it seemed that it took unique types of stimuli to re-ignite the growth process...not just a steady increase in weights lifted. Coupled with the information I gathered through my further research into the human physiology, I understood what direction I needed to take to break free from stagnation! That is when PRRS was born.

Q. So can you tell us exactly what PRRS Training is?

A. Power, Rep Range, Shock is a cyclical approach to lifting weights in which you utilize a unique training protocol every week (in 3-week cycles), with the goal of tapping into all of the body’s various hypertrophy (muscle growth) mechanisms. Each of the three weeks is meant to bring about a specific physiological effect, so that your body cannot adapt to any one form of training, which would eventually result in stagnation (the last thing any true Alpha Male wants). P/RR/S addresses muscle growth from a variety of essential pathways, and allows significant progress to take place on a very consistent, and long-term, basis.

Week # 1 is POWER training, and it is meant to annihilate the highest threshold fast twitch muscle fibers (Type II A and B), increase explosive power, and stimulate a greater amount of natural testosterone to course through your veins (which is especially important to the true Alpha Male). Here are the basic parameters that make up the “Power Week.”

Rep Goal: 4-6
Rest Between Sets: 2-3 minutes
Lifting Tempo: 3/0/X /0*
Exercises: Mostly compound

*(3 second eccentric contraction/0 second pause at midpoint/explosive concentric contraction/0 second pause before beginning next rep)

**Explosive contraction simply means that you will lift the weight as quickly as possible. Since the weights are heavy during POWER WEEK they will not actually move that fast, but still, this is what you are attempting to do. This will activate a large number of fast twitch fibers (good for muscle growth) and teach the CNS (central nervous system) how to create more explosive power (excellent for many sports like MMA, boxing, baseball, football, tennis, etc.).

Week # 2 is REP RANGE training, the goal of which is to activate all the intermediary muscle fibers that lie along the continuum from Type I (slow twitch) to Type II (fast twitch), induce capillarization (which will increase muscle size and provide for great nutrient import/waste product export), and to stimulate growth-producing metabolic adaptations within muscle cells. Here are the basic parameters that make up the “Power Week.”

Rep Goal: 7-9, 10-12, 13-15
Rest Between Sets: 2 minutes
Lifting Tempo: 2/1/2/0
Exercises: Compound, Isolation, Machine or Cable

Week # 3 is SHOCK training, and a true test of your ability to withstand searing muscle pain like a true Alpha Male! The burn and lactic acid that SHOCK workouts produce will help flood your system with natural growth hormone (which begins to diminish starting around age 25), literally bathing your cells in one of the most powerful muscle producing, fat incinerating hormones known to science! Here are the basic parameters that make up the “Power Week.”

Rep Goal: Supersets (8-10 for each exercise); Drop Sets (8-10, weight reduction, 4-6 more)
Rest Between Sets: 1.5 minutes
Lifting Tempo: 2/0/1/0
Exercises: Compound, Isolation, Machine or Cable

Q. Sounds amazing. So, how did you, and your system, then become a part of Team Alpha?

A. I cannot remember the exact day, but it was during the month of June, 2009 that I received a phone call from Rick Collins telling me about a book he had just finished writing with James Villepigue (author, trainer, and fitness guru) called the Alpha Male Challenge. He explained to me how American men have slowly been losing their masculinity through diminishing natural testosterone levels caused by stress, work, family obligations, and lack of attention to proper diet and exercise. He then went on to tell me that he and James had taken it upon themselves to recharge, revitalize, and “re-alpha” the entire male population! Okay, he may not have been that dramatic, but he did say that he felt I would find their book to be a great read, and offered to send me an advanced “reviewer’s” copy if I were interested…which of course I was.

A week or so later I was excited to find that the Alpha Male Challenge had arrived safely in my mailbox. Being the vociferous reader I am, especially when it comes to the subjects of training, nutrition, and health, I immediately sat down and opened to the first page. Within a couple of days I was through the entire book, and extremely impressed with what I had just read.

At the time I was writing a monthly column for Iron Man magazine wherein I would do reviews of new fitness-related books and DVD’s that were on the market. I called Rick the very next day to tell him that I loved the book and wanted to let the world know about Alpha Male Challenge! I asked if he would mind if I did a write-up about it in one of my next columns, and of course Rick was psyched about the idea. The story appeared in Iron Man a few months later, and shortly afterward I began to receive dozens of emails from men that read my review and decided to purchase the book. Every single email contained positive feedback about the program, telling me just how much they were enjoying it and getting out of it! Knowing I had helped such good guys as Rick and James get the word out about their book provided me with much joy and satisfaction. But of course, things did not stop there.

In September of that year I attended the Mr. Olympia Bodybuilding and Fitness Expo in Las Vegas with the supplement company I work with, All American EFX. At one point I decided to walk around and do interviews on camera with anyone I felt would have something interesting to discuss, when I spotted Rick standing at the Muscular Development booth. He was extremely busy, talking with all kinds of people, so I waited patiently with my cameraman for an opportunity to grab Rick’s attention. Luckily, a few minutes later I had my opening, so I ran over and asked him if he wanted to do an interview about the book. He of course agreed and did an excellent job of explaining why Alpha Male Challenge is such a valuable text for men all over the country.

Several months went by, and although Rick and I talked from time to time, we only discussed the book in passing. I assumed it was doing really well, and was happy for my good friend. But then, the month of February, 2010 arrived, which was truly the evolution of my partnership with Rick and James…and thus my membershipinto Team True Alpha.

One day while I was working on my computer I received an email notification from Face Book that Rick had messaged me. I decided to stop what I was doing and check it out. Rick asked me to give him a call as he had something he wanted to run by me. So I grabbed my cell and called Rick to see what was up. Moments later Rick and I were on the phone, catching up a bit, and then discussing the Alpha Male Challenge. He mentioned to me that because of the success of the first book that he and James were ready to launch a second (not to mention that people were asking for it). However, he explained that they wanted to advance the first 10-week program to the next level, but have the routine designed from “another expert’s perspective.” I thought this was a great idea, but had no clue that the reason for this call was to ask me to co-write the second installment! So, when Rick told me that I was their first choice I was totally shocked and incredibly honored. And while my plate at the time was totally full, there was no way I was going to pass up an opportunity to become part of something so prolific in the fitness industry as Team True Alpha, or to work alongside such brilliant, well-respected individuals as Rick and James. So when Rick asked me if I would have time, I simply told him I would make the time (even if it meant little to no sleep)!

A month later the three of us had a meeting in Columbus, Ohio, as we were all there to attend the Arnold Classic Weekend. It was the first time I had really had the chance to talk with James, and between us all there was an instant connection. Each of us discussed our thoughts and ideas for the new book, and we quickly knew we were all on the same page. After speaking for a couple of hours we solidified the deal with a handshake and a photograph of the new, expanding Team True Alpha! Something wonderful in the world of health and fitness had been born.

Q. That is really cool. So, tell us…how does PRRS and Alpha Wave training fit together?

A. As I mentioned earlier, many people fail to realize just how incredibly adaptable the human body can be, and how low on the priority list gaining muscle, losing fat and increasing strength/power is for our physiology…especially as we age. What this means is that even if you are diligent about putting your time in at the gym, if you do not continually provide your body with a new type of stimulus on a regular basis, you will soon stagnate and no longer see much in the way of progress for your efforts. Thus, one of the most vital keys to achieving a strong, fit, fat free, healthy physique is to constantly provide variation to your program, which means changing exercises, rep ranges, rest between sets, lifting tempos, and intensity techniques. And this is precisely why the marriage of P/RR/S and Alpha Wave training is a match made in fitness heaven, as each of these programs provides for a novel stimulus at each and every workout! These programs combined as they are in this e-book will constantly challenge your mind, muscles and nervous system, forcing your body to keep up by literally “evolving” into a bigger, stronger, faster, more powerful, and leaner “machine!” And that, my friend, is the mark of the true Alpha Male!

Just visit Alpha Male Advanced Workouts if you are interested in Checking out the program.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rest Interval

The proper rest interval for muscle growth

Jason Ferrugia (author, Muscle Gaining Secrets) discusses the proper rest interval for maximum muscle growth. He learned an important lesson about adjusting your rest time to meet your own goals:

My Uncle Rory from Scotland was the only guy on either side of my family who could be considered big. Neither of my parents has ever weighed more than 140 pounds and nobody on either side, except me and my brother, ever even made it past 185. But Uncle Rory was different. He was not only big, but he was massive. He also taught me quite a bit about how to gain muscle fast.

My family and I went to Uncle Rory’s house for a backyard barbecue one summer day, as we had a million times before. When we arrived I went out to the garage gym looking for him and found Uncle Rory in the midst of his workout. He had just done a set of deadlifts and was pumped up to even larger proportions than normal.

“Haallo wee’yan. How ye gittin’ on?”

I was set to enter high school the following month but I was still the “wee’yan” (little one) to Uncle Rory. Come to think of it, anyone was little compared to Uncle Rory.

We sat and talked for five minutes or so and he then excused himself to do another set. He banged out a set with 515 pounds for five reps and again sat down to chat some more. Four or five minutes later, he did another set. At that point he sat down to tell me a story and I assumed his workout was over. Several minutes later, and after his point was made, he did his final set of the day and began stripping the weights.

“Sorry to hold up your workout, Uncle Rory; I thought you were done.”

“Ye did’nae hold up my workoot.”

“Yeah, but I made you rest way longer than you’re supposed to between sets.”

“Then you’re supposed tae? How long are ye supposed tae rest between sets?”

“I don’t know; aren’t you supposed to do a set and then wait a few seconds and then do another? I thought you were supposed to really be breathing hard and sweating. I didn’t see you doing either.”

“That’s rubbish, lad. That’s nae how ye git big and strong. Ye need to take a good long rest between sets so ye can lift heavy weights. It’s the only way to dae it. Ye can’nae lift heavy weights withoot resting properly.”

“Oh. But I read something about how to gain muscle fast, and thought that to get in shape you were supposed to keep your heart rate up and keep moving for 30-60 minutes straight without resting.”

“Aye, but I’m no trying tae get in shape; I’m trying tae get bloody well big and strong.”

And with that, Uncle Rory delivered one of the most important points about how to gain muscle fast that I have ever learned. The weight room is the place where you get big and strong. Like Uncle Rory said; it is not the place where you “get in shape.” You do that through proper diet and cardio work. Don’t try to turn your workouts into marathon conditioning sessions or try to burn more calories with high-rep, low-rest nonsense. All that will do is leave you looking pathetically small and weak. While you may have seen videos of your favorite pro bodybuilders doing set after set during their pre contest preparation while only resting 30-45 seconds, I can tell you that that approach will leave you small and weak… and it won’t take long to happen.

You need to rest long enough to perform high quality sets with heavy weights. That is usually somewhere between one to three minutes depending on the exercise, weight being used, how much training experience you have, what you weigh and a variety of other factors too numerous to discuss here. Heavy weights with adequate rest periods should be the main focus of your workout. If you do that you can still add in some low rest periods and higher rep, pump style training from time to time in order to get the best of both worlds.

To learn more about the exact science of selecting proper rest intervals, and countless other critical factors that make up the optimal muscle building program, click HERE now.

Jason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out Muscle Gaining Secrets.

You can read my review of the program here: Muscle Gaining Secrets Review