Training, Diet, and Gear
The following was written by by an IFBB pro and he knows what he's talking about.
"This is a general guide for beginning and intermediate bodybuilders that don't know the principles behind muscle growth yet or are not happy with the results that they are currently getting.
We will go through training, diet and gear. I will tell you the principles behind everything that I recommend for you to do, so you can understand why certain things happen, so in the future you can fix problems yourself. Bodybuilding is a very simple and logical endeavour. Everything that you do has to be logical. Only logical actions will give you results. Every time that you come across a new principle, always ask yourself it it makes logical sense. If it does not, dump it!
Why does a muscle grow? Because it has to adapt. When does it have to adapt? When you expose it to something that it has not done before. When is something that it has not done before? When the muscle is taxed 100%. That's 100% effort. What's 100% effort? When you train to 100% PHYSICAL, not mental failure. So, to make the muscle grow, you have to train with 100% effort otherwise, the muscle will not adapt/grow.
Now, using the above logic, for a set to be beneficial to your growth, it needs to be 100% effort. So, a 100% effort set of an exercise, will make you grow. Then, what is the point to do a second set of that exercise? You cannot go more than 100%. The muscle already has been taxed by 100% from the first set, so why should you do a second one? You will just eat into your recovery ability. So, you should only do one set to failure per exercise. Later on, I will describe the training program and how exercises and warm-ups are involved. A muscle will not grow until it's recovered. The muscle will not begin to recover until the nervous system is recovered. It takes roughly 24hours for the nervous system to recover from a workout. Only then will the muscle begin to recover and grow. So, you should never train 2 days in a row. Even if you train different bodyparts, you still use the same nervous system. You train 2 days in a row, your nervous system recovers, but by the time the muscles begin to, you train again, so the body has to concentrate again on recovering the nervous system. A training frequency of 3 days per week (Mon, Wed, Fri) is more than enough. Numerous pros, including myself, train like this offseason for maximum growth. Even if you use streroids, you still have to train like this. Steroids increase your recovery ability, but they also make you stronger at a quicker rate. The extra strength will give you the ability to train harder/tear more muscle tissue, so you will need the extra recovery that the steroids will give you.
The following is a great training program that I recomend:
Mon - Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
* Incline press - warm-up sets, 1 work set
* Flat flyes - 1 work set
* Millitary press - 1 warm-up, 1 work set
* Lateral flyes - 1 work set
* Rear delt machine - 1 work set
* Tricep pushdowns - 1 warm-up, 1 work set
* Lying tricep extensions - 1 work-set
Wed - Quads, Hams, Calves
* Squats - warm-ups, 1 work set
* Leg press - work set
* Leg extension - work set
* Leg curl - warm-up, work set
* Stiff leg deadlift - work set
* Standing calf raise - work set
Fri - Abs, Back, Bis
* Rope crunches - warm up, work set
* Lat pull down - warm-ups, work set
* Deadlift - warm-up, work set
* Bent-over rows - work set
* Shrugs - work set
* Standing BB curls - warm up, work set
* Concentration curl - work set
You do a lot of warm-ups for your first exercise of the day. You do one warm-up for the first exercise of each bodypart, only to optimise the firing of the neuropathways. Let's use chest as an example - if your max (work set) in the incline press is 3 plates, then you do 2 warm-ups with the bar, 2 warm-ups with one plate, 1 warm-up with 2 plates and then your work set with 3 plates. The work set is a set where you fail at about 6 reps. Every workout, you have to do more reps or increase the weight in that work set (remember, the muscle has to do something that it has not done before). So if one work out you fail with 6 reps, the following nothing less than 7. When you reach 8 reps, the following workout you should do (increase) a weight where you can do minimum 4 reps. Then increase your reps again every workout until you reach 8 again, and so on. Each rep has a tempo of 2-1-1. That is 2 seconds in the negative, one second in the contraction and 1 second in the positive. Then, after you fail in the incline press, you move straight to flat flyes. You do not need a warmup now because your chest is more than warm after you failed on presses. And that's it for chest. The basic routine stays the same. If you want variety, small changes as using DBs instead of BBs or doing flat presses and incline flyes for example, is more than enough variety to keep the muscle 'confused'.
VERY simple. Very important that you try to get as close to 500g of protein per day. Easiest way to do that is to have a whey protein shake in water with every meal. Fats and carbs don't matter. Calories don't count, macro nutrients (protein, fat, carb) do. If you get to add fat on, just cut out the fats and keep your carbs bellow 300g/day. That's all it is! Very simple, but hard to stick to, so not many people get results. On gear, the more protein you eat, the more you grow. Is as simple as that. Gear maximises protein synthesis.
You need a testosterone base. 750mg/week is plenty. You need an anabolic - deca or Eq at 400mg/week is plenty. You need for optimum growth, a good oral like d-bol at 30mg/d or A-50 50mg/d. You use the test and the anabolic non stop. The oral is 4 weeks on 4 weeks off. Every 6th week (the half way point between the off oral period - so 2 weeks after you finish the oral) you have a blood test. If the blood test is OK, then you can begin your next 4 weeks on oral. There is no reason for you to come off. The only 2 reasons are health or your receptors are saturated. If the regular blood test is OK, your health is OK. If you are still making progress, your receptors are OK. Coming off will just sabotage your gains. That's why I do not believe in set time frames for cycles. Listen to your body. When you use the oral, you need to use all the liver aids available - Synthergine, Milk Thistle, L-methionine, Liv-52, etc. Of course you cannot drink or do rec drugs during that time. Using these precautions, your blood tests will be OK.
You also need to use an anti estrogen like Nolvadex at 10mg/d throughout the whole time. Also, you have a choice between HCG every 4 weeks at 5000IU or Clomid at 50mg EOD. These will make sure that your balls will stay at a decent size and they will not forget how to function.
The blood tests that you need are:
full blood count, liver and kidney function tests, FSH, LH, TSH, cholesterol.
If the Total protein test in the liver tests is high, that is because of your diet. You need to keep an eye on the Billirubin and Urea test results. Your FSH and LH will be suppressed - that's normal because of the gear. If the TSH is low, add 20mcg/d T3. If the kidney function is off, then drink more. Protein stresses the kidneys, so you need more fluids. When you eventually come off the gear, you make sure that you are off the orals. Then cut out the anabolic over 2 weeks. Then the testosterone over 3 weeks. One week after that, you need to add primo tabs or anavar (oxandrin) for 3 weeks. That will ensure that you will keep your gains. Ideally do a gainkeeper's formula that is outlined in another article.
These are the basic principles behind muscle growth. You do the above you will GROW, no matter what."