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Strange Dream-TsunamiA STRANGE DREAM I’ve kept SECRET for a year that I wish never came true. What you are about to read I actually wrote, exactly as shown, one year ago, just 6 days after my Dad died. Today marks the one year anniversary and this is the first time I’ve re-read this since, and am ready to share it with you. Remember, this was written a year ago. I’ve added some new comments in parentheses.

CANCER TSUNAMI
Significant events in my life are often preceded and followed by meaningful dreams. This previous week with the passing of my Dad on Monday, February 27th (2017) it began with a clairvoyant dream the night before he passed. In most instances, a clairvoyant dream does not identify the location or the time and day the event would occur. Clairvoyant dreams aren’t usually recognized as precognition until after the fact, as was the case with my tsunami dream.

Upon waking that morning I just had a strange feeling in my gut that something was not right. I had a seemingly random thought, “If my Dad passed away sometime during that day would we pull the kids out of school or wait until school was done? How would we break the news to them?” This thought quickly passed but I was left with an uneasy feeling and a need to just go lay quietly with the kids before they woke up. First I snuggled up to Brayden, very mindful of how calm, peaceful and precious that moment was. I stayed next to him for several minutes until he woke up around 7:30am. Then I went into Lauren’s room and did the same thing.

Around 10:15am, as I just finished up with my last client for the morning, we got the phone call that my Dad had been taken to the emergency dept. at the hospital and we needed to get there asap. We were told he only had hours to a few days. He passed away around 6:30pm later that day.

(We did pick up the kids early from school and they both got to experience some very special and memorable last moments with their Grandpa.)

My Dream: The night before my Dad passed I dreamt of a tsunami. However, I was arriving at a beach after the tsunami had already happened. Although you would not want to be present during a tsunami, I felt like I arrived too late, and there was nothing I could do to help. There were dead bodies half buried in the sand everywhere, mostly with their arms reaching out from the sand. There were also cell phones lying strewn all over the place. I recall questioning myself in the dream about what had just happened, trying to make sense of it all. I woke up feeling very upset, yet not fully aware of what I had just been dreaming about.

According to Carl Jung, a tsunami dream is very significant. It is one of those great “archetypal” dreams, meaning symbols which are universal across all cultures. A tsunami is supposed to be a symbol of some great spiritual change, the washing away of the old and the beginnings of new growth.

A tsunami can indicate a tremendous and fundamental change in you. Most people now know that tsunamis are caused by massive earth changes under the sea. These changes are part of the natural order, and often show themselves to people in their dreams. So they can be understood as an expression of our personal adaptation to enormous changes that are going on around us and within us. They can wash away most of the beliefs, social structures we have built or held onto as important. Be ready to meet change in your life and in your family. Yet, if we are not afraid of change and the forces that we are actually involved in, then we can find enormous power and force within us.

(When my brother passed away 7 years ago I found this power within me which led me to competing in my first bodybuilding competition together with Alissa. Since my Dad died I have let fear, anger and depression rob me of this power and force. This has affected many areas of my life, including my commitment to exercise and nutrition where I’ve been very inconsistent. However, there has been a recent shift and I find myself in a much better place.)

After the fact, I was struck by the parallels between my dream and my recent final visits to the chemo treatment centre with my Dad (the most depressing place I’ve ever been, partly because my Dad was always the person in the worst looking condition there). Everyone was covered by white sheets hooked up to an IV, similar to the bodies in my dream covered with white sand and their arms reaching out as though they were hooked up to an IV. When sitting with my Dad during his treatments I found myself staring at a sign that read “Cell Phone Use Prohibited”. In my dream cell phones were scattered across the sand everywhere.

Within my dream the tsunami represented a “natural disaster” of another kind…cancer. The fact that I arrived after the tsunami meant I was too late and there was nothing else I could do. The image of bodies in the sand everywhere with outreached arms positioned exactly as they were if hooked up to an IV to me represented the experimental drug treatment my Dad received. In my opinion, and based on the research I did, it was this aggressive treatment of the cancer, with minimal attention giving to treating my Dad’s deteriorating health from the side-effects, that really took a much greater toll on his health than the cancer itself. This interfered with proper nutrition, causing major weight-loss, lack of energy and loss of strength to the point where he was left with no independence or any quality of life.

(During every trip for treatment my Dad had to complete a questionnaire where he rated how he was feeling and functioning on a scale of 1 (best) to 10 (worst). On every question he scored a 9 or a 10, the most severe. Every week I could see for myself how much worse he was getting and how he was losing his ability to drive, to walk, to talk and eventually to even stand or go to the washroom without assistance. Some of the nurses administering the new treatment questioned his condition and yet the doctor let him continue. As much as I emphasized the importance of better nutrition it wasn’t until three days before he died that we got to meet with a hospital dietitian to discuss a better plan for his diet that included a meal plan with specifics. NUTRITION SHOULD HAVE BEEN A PRIORITY FROM DAY ONE!)

 

IMG_6770I’m no stranger to Pain. To Sacrifice. To Delayed Gratification.

I know pain is not the same as suffering. With suffering, whether you think you are, or you’re not, you’re right.

My pain has purpose. I know that a sore body today is a stronger one tomorrow.

Sacrifice also has purpose. A sacrifice is something I am willing to do today for a greater good so that I may create and live a better tomorrow without compromise. Sacrifice is only passing, regret is permanent.

For this I am willing to delay gratification because I know that anything worth having is worth working for, and anything worth working for is worth waiting for. However, I also take gratification in knowing that it’s not all about the end result…some of the greatest rewards are found in the Becoming, the process of striving to be a better version of myself, what I must do to get there, all that the experience teaches me and brings out in me.

My desire to change is far greater than any inconveniences or challenges that are part of the process. Real strength flows from being the best you you can be!

This is not just about creating a healthier body. This is about Life.

Life is getting up an hour early to live an hour more. It’s doing something today that helps make you better than the person you were the day before. I am better than yesterday, but not as good as I will be tomorrow.

This is about Living my Best Life in my Healthiest Body and inspiring others to do so along the way.

Thank-you, my Future Self, for being my inspiration!

My Transformation Journey-2-JeffBoris

The transformation you see is nothing compared to the transformation within. Even though I struggled to achieve the physical results I desired for many years, the journey was never without its greatest rewards. EVERY part of the journey has its own purpose. EVERY part of the journey will serve you and has something to offer in helping you become the person you are meant to be, not just physically, but mentally and spiritually…if you are open to it and embrace the journey.

Post-goal withdrawal! This is a common challenge that follows the completion of major goals. Often not properly addressed, it’s the reason behind why many people find themselves falling off track after they’ve done so well for so long. Now that my big competition has come and gone, I’m left with the big question “What’s next?

Here’s the key to successful goal transitioning… “Remember to always goal-set THRU the event, and not just TO the event, so as to stay positive and active – to avoid the emotional letdown that typically happens after big goals like this.” These are such wise words shared with me by my client Pat Mussieux, who is an award-winning business coach. Check her out at www.hirePat.com.

I see this emotional letdown happen often with many clients I’ve coached over the years, whether they’re training for a major athletic event, completing their first Isagenix 30-day program or entering the IsaBody Challenge. For myself, I found my mindset to be different going into the national championships and coming out of it. Partly because it’s my second national competition and partly because I enjoyed so much unplugged downtime immediately afterwards to relax and reflect. I’ve transitioned quite nicely into already setting new goals and prepping for what I need to achieve for the nationals next year to better myself and my placing. I’m in a very good place both physically and mentally. It’s also been good for me to have Alissa competing so soon after my competition (just 2 more weeks in Barrie for her) sharing in her goals as I help with her prep.

During this part of my journey to the 2016 Canadian Natural Championships IFBB World Qualifier I experienced several new achievements and won in so many ways:

  • COMPETITION PLACING: Since I first competed at the nationals in 2012, I increased my ranking from a 6th to a 5th place finish in the Men’s Bodybuilding Light Heavyweight Class, and from a 5th to a 4th in the Men’s Bodybuilding Over 40 Master’s Class.
  • PHYSICAL CONDITIONING: Although I did not hit my competition goal weight of 198lbs, I was the leanest I’ve ever been at 188lbs. Since my last competition in August 2015 my waist was a half inch narrower, my chest/back an inch wider and I gained a half inch on my arms and an inch on my thighs. I know I could have done more to still make better gains, but progress is still progress and I’ll take it! This is all about refining the process, and for me it’s the real appeal behind why I’m drawn to this particular sport….the journey of constant and never-ending improvement, and the 24/7/365 lifestyle aspect (there is no off-season!).
  • FAMILY: My two kids, Brayden (10) and Lauren (6) got to watch me compete for the first time. This made it an extra special competition and more memorable experience. This is a family affair and we live a “family-friendly” lifestyle for contest prep.  They witness the daily process of healthy nutrition and intense training so it was great for them to see the final outcome. In the end, I could not achieve what I do without the support of my family so everyone shares in the success. Another side-benefit of attending the national championships that were held in Moncton, NB was tagging on what turned out to be an amazing family vacation!
  • PERSONAL MISSION/SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION: This competition was on live Webcast which allowed so many clients, friends and family to watch. Plus as cast members for the show “Radical Body Transformation – Season 2” our journey is being documented for all to see. This helps me better serve my ultimate goal and greatest motivator for competing, which is not what I can achieve personally, but what I can inspire in others to achieve.

    RBT-NationalChampionships2016

    The family being interviewed by James Hergott for “Radical Body Transformation – Season 2

SO, WHAT’S NEXT?

  • COMPETITION PLACING: To increase my ranking further from a 4th and 5th place finish at the 2017 National Championships.
  • PHYSICAL CONDITIONING: Continue to improve my fitness, and work on increasing my lean body mass by another 10lbs while achieving the same or slightly lower level of body fat for a competition weight of 198lbs.
  • FAMILY: With Alissa competing at the Regional Qualifier in Barrie, ON (in 2 weeks) for the Provincial Championships (in 3 weeks), support her in her prep with our shared goal of both being qualified to compete at the 2017 National Championships together. And pending on the location of the 2017 National Championships maybe tag on another Boris family vacation!
  • PERSONAL MISSION/SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION: Continue to live by higher example, out of respect and admiration for those who have done so before me, in appreciation of those who continue to support and believe in me, and as an inspiration for others to pursue their own goals.

So, what was once a new milestone before has become a new stepping stone for achieving more. Whatever your goals and struggles, Embrace Your Journey, Celebrate Each Success along the way, Learn and Grow through the Challenges, and keep motivated looking forward to all the New Possibilities with excitement!

 

 

Shake 3 days out
What’s this? 3 days out and I’m still enjoying my IsaLean Pro shake with some fruit? This is NOT your typical contest prep, but the results are NOT typical either! I can do this because this is not just any ordinary shake and proper post-exercise nutrient timing along with nutritional cleansing also makes it possible.

Completing my last two strength-training workouts today. Already did Chest & Back early this morning and will be hitting Shoulders & Arms this afternoon. No cardio today but the way I do strength-training, it’s better than cardio! Following the “Crazy 8’s” workout with supersets…8 sets of 8 reps for each exercise, with exercises performed back-to-back in pairs with NO REST. My diet consists of eating every 2hrs a combination of protein and veg. The only exception is within the 3hr window post-exercise of each workout where I consume an IsaLean Pro shake immediately afterwards, then an hour later 2 rice cakes with coconut oil or almond butter and IsaPro, then another hour later a meal of chicken, veg and yams. Also drinking 24 cups of water throughout the day.

 

Who Inspires You?

June 13, 2016 — Leave a comment

Who inspires you to want to do good and be the best version of you? Here is my personal motivation mantra I first wrote in 1999 after the first of all my grandparents passed away. I’ve never shared this with anyone before but the timing feels right with the 2016 Canadian National Championships (CBBF) World Qualifier a mere 12 days away, plus dealing with illness in the family along with some recent news of the passing of a friend.Motivation Mantra

Whatever goals I strive for are not about what I can accomplish for myself, but what I can help inspire in others to accomplish. To be the best possible role model I can for my I Do My Bestchildren, to be the best version of the man my wife decided to marry, to honour and give meaning to the lives of those before me who made it possible for me to be here or to have
the opportunities I’m blessed with, to be an example to others of the possibilities that exist for everyone when they dare to dream and believe in something greater. In short, I’m inspired to do good and be my best because of my kids, my wife and you.

Sure it would be really nice to finish in the top three of the Canadian National Championships but the only thing I have control over is a) integrity with how I got myself in shape to get there, and b) showing up in my best possible shape above and beyond what I’ve been able to personally achieve with my conditioning before. Now if my current conditioning is worthy of a top three placing the greatest value of this to me is what it’s worth in helping inspire others.

BestForTheWorld-Quote

 

Pasta-precomp-16days

Yes, that’s right, I’m eating PASTA 16 days precomp! Instead of treating carbs as the enemy and having to avoid them, carbs become one of my muscle’s best allies thanks to ‪#‎NutrientTiming‬, ‪#‎NutritionalCleansing‬ and ‪#‎CarbCycling‬.

CARB DEPLETION = MUSCLE CATABOLISM: This is the Scientific Case for Maintaining Carb Intake

While most competitors are “dieting down” with very restrictive diets that limit carbs to very low levels I keep my carb intake levels up until 7-10 days pre-competition! It’s the unique combination of proper nutrient timing, carb-cycling and nutritional cleansing that puts carbs to work FOR ME versus AGAINST ME. Here is the REAL DEEP SCIENCE behind why it’s not only unnecessary but may be detrimental to deprive the body of carbs for prolonged periods. There’s no arguing that lowering carb intake has been effective for leaning up, but what if there was an even better way to build/maintain MORE MUSCLE while getting LEANER!!!

CarbCycling

A Review of Issues of Dietary Protein Intake in Humans (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2006, 16, 129-152)

The consumption of large amounts of protein by athletes and bodybuilders is not a new practice (1). Recent evidence suggests that increased protein intakes for endurance and strength-trained athletes can increase strength and recovery from exercise (2, 3, 4). In healthy adult men consuming small frequent meals providing protein at 2.5g/kg/day, there was a decreased protein breakdown, and increased protein synthesis of up to 63%, compared with intakes of 1g/kg/day (5). Subjects receiving 1g/kg/day underwent muscle protein breakdown with less evident changes in muscle protein synthesis. Some evidence suggests, however, that a high protein diet increases leucine oxidation (6, 7), while other data demonstrate that the slower digestion rate of protein (8, 9), and the timing of protein ingestion (with resistance training) (10) promote muscle protein synthesis.

One important role of dietary carbohydrate (through pyruvate) is in anaplerosis, the replenishing of Krebs cycle intermediates, (or tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates—TCAI). The primary role of this cycle is to generate reduced forms of the enzymes NADH and FADH2, transferring high energy electrons to the mitochondrial electron transport chain for use in the resynthesis of ATP (11). IN OTHER WORDS FOR THE MORE EFFICIENT PRODUCTION OF ENERGY! Five of the intermediates of Krebs cycle are involved in additional reactions which involve amino acids and will be limited if insufficient carbohydrate is available. Oxaloacetate and α-ketoglutarate are used in the synthesis of several amino acids such as phosphoenolpyruvate. Heme synthesis uses succinyl CoA, glutamine synthesis draws upon α-ketoglutarate, and citrate is the source of acetyl-CoA in the cystol and is used for the synthesis of lipids and amino acids (12, 13).

Nutrient Timing InterventionAdequate dietary carbohydrate during exercise is thus critical, because its availability is inversely related to the rate of exercise protein catabolism OR MUSCLE TISSUE BREAKDOWN (14), hence adequate carbohydrate can prevent cataplerosis, the reverse of anaplerosis, which takes place in the absence of sufficient pyruvate (from carbohydrate). Gluconeogenesis (THE CREATION OF GLUCOSE FROM OTHER SOURCES SUCH AS AMINO ACIDS FROM MUSCLE TISSUE & DIET) can be considered cataplerotic and can result in a “drain” of Krebs cycle intermediates (13), which may result in a decreased production of ATP, and an increased muscle protein breakdown. There may be a critical minimum intake of carbohydrate to provide a sufficient flux of pyruvate to maintain anaplerosis (3), and prevent muscle protein breakdown via gluconeogenesis.

This has practical significance to fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and bodybuilders where 150-400g of protein can be consumed per day (16-18), especially if consumed at the expense of sufficient carbohydrate. In elite athletes it has been clearly established that low glycogen availability for exercising skeletal muscles leads to fatigue more rapidly in prolonged or intense exercise (19, 20). Other studies show the time until the onset of fatigue during high-intensity exercise in untrained individuals consuming diets deficient in carbohydrate is shortened (21-24), however similar results are not found in trained individuals (25). In high-intensity resistance training, fatigue may also be associated with carbohydrate depletion (26).While high protein diets have focused on protein and its value in building lean muscle and preventing protein breakdown, it is vitally important for athletes to understand that high protein consumption at the expense of sufficient amounts of carbohydrate can be potentially detrimental to lean muscle.

nutrient-timing-clock

REFERENCES

1. Schenk, P. Die Verpflegung von 4700 wettkampfern aus 42 Nationen im Olympischen Dorf wahrend der XI. Olympischen Spiele 1936 zu Berlin. Muench. Med. Wochenschr. 83:1535-1539, 1936.

2. Lemon,P.W. Do athletes need more dietary protein and amino acids. Int. J. Sport. Nutr. 5:S39-S61, 1995.

3. Wolfe, R.R. Regulation of muscle protein by amino acids. J. Nutr.132:3219S-3224S, 2002.

4. Tipton, K., and R.R. Wolfe. Exercise, protein metabolism and muscle growth. Int. J. Sport Nutr. Exerc. Metab.11: 109-132, 2001.

5. Forslund, A.H., A.E. El-Khoury, R.M. Olsson, A.M. Sjodin, L. Hambraeus, and V.R. Young. Effect of protein intake and physical activity on 24-h pattern and rate of macronutrient utilization. Am. J. Physiol. 276:E964-E976, 1999.

6. Pacy, P., G. Price, D. Halliday, M. Quevedo, and D. Millward. Nitrogen homeostatis in man: the diurnal responses of protein synthesis and degradation and amino acid oxidation to diets with increasing protein intakes. Clin. Sci (Colch) 86:103-118, 1994.

7. Bowtell, J.L., G.P. Leese, K. Smith, P.W. Watt, A. Nevill, O. Rooyackers, A.J. Wagen- makers, and M.J. Rennie. Modulation of whole body protein metabolism, during and after exercise by variation of dietary protein. J. Appl. Physiol. 85:1744-1752, 1998.

8. Boirie, Y., M. Dangin, P. Gachon, M.P. Vasson, J.L. Maubois, and B. Beaufrere. Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial accretion. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 94: 14930-14935, 1997.

9. Dangin, M., Y. Boirie, C. Guillet, and B. Beaufrere. Influence of protein digestion rate on protein turnover in young and elderly subjects. J. Nutr. 132:3228S-3233S, 2002.

10. Tipton,K.D., B.B.Rasmussen, S.L.Miller, S.E.Wolf, S.K.Owens-Stovall, B.E.Petrini, and R.R. Wolfe. Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. 281:E197-E206, 2001.

11. Gibala, M.J. Regulation of skeletal muscle amino acid metabolism during exercise. Int. J. Sport Nutr. Exerc. Metab. 11: 87-108, 2001.

12. Zubay, G. Glycolysis, gluconeogenesis and the pentose pathway, and the tricarboxylic acid cycle. In Biochemistry 4th Ed. Dubuque, IA: Wm.C. Brown Publishers, pp. 294- 343, 1999.

13. Brosnan,J.T. Comments on metabolic needs for glucose and the role of gluconeogenesis. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 53: S107-S111, 1999.

14. Lemon, P.W., and J.P. Mullin. Effect of initial muscle glycogen levels on protein catabolism during exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 48:624-629, 1980.

15. Gibala, M.J., M. Lozej, M.A. Tarnopolsky, C. McLean, and T.E. Graham. Low glycogen and branch-chain amino acid ingestion do not impair anaplerosis during exercise in humans. J. Appl. Physiol. 87(5):1662-1667, 1999.

16. Lemon, P.W. Beyond the zone: protein needs of active individuals. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 19:513S-521S, 2000.

17. Forslund, A.H., A.E. El-Khoury, R.M. Olsson, A.M. Sjodin, L. Hambraeus, and V.R. Young. Effect of protein intake and physical activity on 24-h pattern and rate of macronutrient utilization. Am. J. Physiol. 276:E964-E976, 1999.

18. Poortmans, J.R., and O. Dellalieux. Do regular high protein diets have potential health risks on kidney functions in athletes? Int. J. Sport. Nutr. Exerc. Metab.10: 39-50, 2000.

19. Costill, D.L., and M Hargreaves. Carbohydrate nutrition and fatigue. Sports Med. 13:86-92, 1992.

20. Hawley, J.A., E.J. Schabort, T.D. Noakes, and S.C. Dennis. Carbohydrate-loading and exercise performance: an update. Sports Med. 24:73-81, 1997.

21. Greenhaff, P.L., M. Gleeson, P.H. Whiting, and R.J. Maughan. Dietary composition and acid base status: Limiting factors in the performance of maximal exercise in man? Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. Occup. Physiol. 56:444-450, 1987b.

22. Greenhaff, P.L., M. Gleeson, and R.J. Maughan. Diet induced metabolic acidosis and the performance of high intensity exercise in man. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. Occup. Physiol. 57:583-590, 1988.

23. Maughan, R.J. and D.C. Poole. The effect of a glycogen-loading regime on the capacity to perform anaerobic exercise. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. Occup. Physiol. 46:211-219, 1981.

24. Balsom, P.D., G.C. Gaitanos, K. Soderlund, and B. Ekblom. High-intensity exercise and muscle glycogen availability in humans. Acta. Physiol. Scand. 165:337-345, 1999.

25. Hargreaves, M., J.P. Finn, R.T. Withers, J.A. Halbert, G.C. Scroop, M. Mackay, R.J. Snow, and M.F. Carey. Effect of muscle glycogen availability on maximal exercise performance. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. Occup. Physiol. 75:188-192, 1997.

26. Lambert, C.P., and M.G. Flyn. Fatigue during high intensity intermittent exercise: application to bodybuilding. Sports Med. 32:511-522, 2002.

runquote

I don’t typically do much cardio, even in the final weeks of contest prep. In fact, during the last 10 days of my contest prep for the 2011 Provincial Championships, a time when competitors are typically maxing out their cardio, I couldn’t even do any cardio at all due to an injury. I relied on a combination of smarter strength-training and strategically timed nutritional cleansing days. I placed first and second out of six and five competitors, respectively in my categories proving how unnecessary cardio is. But when I do cardio, it’s not because I have to, it’s because I want to. And I do what I enjoy for Health of Body, Peace of Mind, and Freedom of Spirit which is running outdoors in the early morning hours taking in the sights and sounds of nature. For me contest prep is not just about doing whatever it takes to be in my best possible physical condition, but to do so without compromising my health and also in a balanced manner that fulfills me.

I’m also a “seasonal runner”. My running season begins the week of May 9th (my birthday) and ends in late Fall / early Winter. My very first run is as much a spiritual practice as it is a physical workout. I run my first run in honour of my brother because every year when we would see each other for my birthday or be home for Mother’s Day at this time that’s what we would do…Go for our first run of the season together. How I miss that.

First Run-Deer-May9-2016

My running companions this morning. The Deer is my Spirit Guide. It first showed up with great significance the day I found out my brother passed away. Ever since deer constantly appear in my daily life in meaningful ways. My wife and kids call me the “Deer Whisperer”, lol.

 

Over the past ten years, a style of resistance has been developed that simultaneously improves training with heavy loads and training at high velocities. This is known as accommodating resistance and it’s typically done by using bands and chains. Alissa and I love the variety training with bands and chains provides. And even more, we LOVE the RESULTS it delivers for greater gains in both strength and muscle hypertrophy. To truly understand the benefits of training with chains, it’s important to understand strength curves and what exercises fit into each category.

Strength curves

A strength curve is a mathematical model that represents how much force can be produced at specific joint angles. In other words, it’s the amount of force produced over a range of motion. Strength curves are further broken down into ascending strength curves and descending strength curves. Every exercise fits into the ascending or descending category.

Ascending strength curve:

Exercises that represent an ascending strength curve are those that are easiest at the top ranges of motion (i.e. squatting). An overload set on squats will overload the top half—your strongest half—of the movement. Think about the guys you see in the gym who’s idea of training legs is to throw three plates on the bar and do a few sets of quarter squats. They might not realize this, but they are using the ascending strength curve in their favor, creating a misconception as to how much they can truly squat.

Exercises that fit into this category are those that create force through extension (i.e. squats, deadlifts, bench presses, military presses).

Descending strength curve:

Exercises that represent a descending strength curve are those that are hardest at the top range of motion (i.e. pull-ups). Think about the last time you did a high amount of reps of pull-ups. Unless you defy the laws of strength or were doing kipping pull-ups (relies on momentum from swinging), it became harder and harder for you to get your chin up to the bar as you fatigued. This is the descending strength curve working against you.

Exercises that fit into this category are those that create force through flexion (i.e. a bicep curl, pull-up, upright row, standing lateral raise). Using chains in exercises that fit into this category don’t enhance your strength throughout a full range of motion. Instead, they act solely as a heavier load.

What causes the difference in the two strength curves? The difference in the two strength curves is dependent on muscle strength tension relationships. The muscle strength tension relationship states that the amount of force a muscle fiber can produce is related to the degree of overlap between the actin and myosin filaments. If the fiber is stretched or shortened too much, the number of actomyosin complexes that can be formed is limited, resulting in restricted force production.

To sum it up, exercises that have an ascending strength curve (training the bottom range of motion) limit your strength potential in the top ranges of motion. If your views of training are similar to mine, you want to get the most out of each rep, maintaining overload in the top half of motion while still overloading the bottom half. In order to do this, you would need to have varying loads on the bar or, in this case, have a load on the bar that will vary throughout the range of motion. How can you do this? Apply chains to the bar!

Enter the lifting chains…the effect of lifting chains works due to the concept of accommodating resistance. Accommodating resistance means that the load on the bar accommodates the varying strengths of your body throughout the entire range of motion rather than at a certain point. Again, let’s look at the back squat. Based on differences in joint angles, you can squat a lot more in a quarter squat than you can in a full squat.

There are certainly different ways to train with accommodating resistance. You can use different style cams and fancy machines that will run you thousands of dollars. You can train using overload sets/lockout sets, or you can outsmart the machines, maintain specificity of the movement, and apply bands and chains to the bar!

Benefits of lifting with chains

Training with chains and bands, when applied properly, has the potential to improve the velocity on the bar by enhancing the force-velocity relationship. This will improve your stability under the bar and your ability to blast through the sticking point you face while training.IMG_6765

Improving the force-velocity relationship

The force-velocity relationship states that the speed at which a muscle changes length also changes the force it can generate. External load and speed of the bar play a significant role in changing the force-velocity relationship. Obviously, increasing the load on the bar will change the velocity at which the bar is moving. Training with chains and bands has the ability to improve the force-velocity relationship at a given load over time.

For the athletes of the training world who are using bands and chains on the bar, it is important to remember that accommodating resistance places a larger emphasis on the concentric phase of the lift rather than the eccentric phase. This means that the antagonist muscles and those responsible for decelerating aren’t trained to the same extent. Being able to decelerate properly and efficiently will save you from a lot of injuries. This doesn’t mean that you should eliminate the use of chains and bands if you are an athlete. Just remember to consider the demands of the sport. Bands don’t need to be used with every exercise that fits into the ascending strength category. So load your body appropriately.

Science of using chains

Overall, science appears to support the benefits of training with chains. When looped around the bar instead of hung straight down, they have been shown to have positive effects on bar velocity and stability.

Neelly and colleagues (5) compared the mechanical effect of double looped chains to chains hung straight during the back squat. Results showed nearly twice as much variable resistance at the top of the squat compared to the bottom with the double looped chains compared to the linear looped chains. In other words, you must pay attention to the way the chains are hung. To get the full effect of accommodating resistance, chains should be double looped instead of hung in a straight line.

Baker and colleagues (1) compared the difference of bar velocity during two bench press conditions. The first condition was two sets of three reps at 75 percent 1RM plate loaded while the second condition was also two sets of three. However, the 75 percent 1RM was broken down to 60 percent plate loaded and 15 percent chain loaded. Results of the study found that the plate and chain loaded condition increased bar velocity by a mean of 10 percent on both sets. The reason for the increased velocity could be explained by the eccentric unloading of the chains. Baker explains that eccentric unloading will result in a more rapid stretch shortening cycle and possibly a repetition post-activation potentiation.

The final study by Coker and colleagues (2) compared the biomechanical and perceptual influence of chain resistance while completing one rep at 85 percent 1RM on the snatch. The first snatch condition was 85 percent plate loaded with the second being 80 percent plate loaded and 5 percent chain loaded. There wasn’t any significant biomechanical difference between the chain and plate loaded conditions. However, subjects did perceive there to be a significant difference between the two conditions. The chains require greater force during the initial pull and a greater amount of stability within the shoulders, core, and back during the catch.

The benefit of lifting with chains could have been overshadowed by the high load the lifters were tested with. Because Olympic lifting is such a technically demanding lift, training with bands and chains could have a more profound effect when there are lighter loads on the bar.

Summary

When all is said and done, accommodating resistance, which is accomplished by training with bands and chains, has the ability to take your training to the next level. The benefits of lifting with bands and chains are most effectively realized during exercises that have an ascending strength curve, meaning exercises that require a large amount of force to be produced during extension.

Applying chains to exercises that have a descending strength curve will apply a greater amount of instability to the bar, which has its own benefits separate from the topic of this article. However, this doesn’t fit the accommodating strength model. Applying chains or bands to exercises that fit into the descending strength curve category wouldn’t provide the same benefits.

IMG_6770Research on training with chains has shown that chains should be looped rather than hung linearly from the bar. Training with chains improves the speed of the bar during the bench press, and although research didn’t show improved bar speed during the snatch, anecdotal evidence suggests a potential improvement in shoulder, core, and back stability.

In conclusion, training with bands and chains allows athletes, coaches, trainers and experienced gym goers a way to improve their totals through accommodating resistance. As we know, gaining strength is a vital component to gaining muscle. Applying this modality to your training is a surefire way to improve your strength and speed throughout the entire range of motion of any lift that fits into the ascending strength curve.

References

  1. Baker DG, Newton RU (2009) Effect of Kinetically Altering a Repetition Via the Use of Chain Resistance on Velocity During the Bench Press. J Strength Cond Res 27:(7)1941–46.
  2. Ebben WP, Jensen RL (2002) Electromyographic and kinetic analysis of traditional, chain, and elastic band squats. J Strength Cond Res 16:547–50.
  3. Kraemer WJ, Fleck SJ (2012) Exercise Physiology: Integrating Theory and Application. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins: Baltimore, MD.
  4. McMaster TD, Croning J, McGuigan MR. Quanitificant of Rubber and Chain Based Resistance Modes. J Strength Cond Res 24:(8)2056–64.
  5. Neely KR, Terry JG, Morris MJ. A Mechanical Comparison of Linear and Double Looped Hung Supplemental Heavy Chain Resistance to the Back Squat: A Case Study. J Strength Cond Res 24:(1)278–81.
  6. Siff M (2003) Supertraining. 6th edition. Denver.

Since the first picture was taken 2 months ago I am up about 10 pounds on the scale. For many the scale represents the true picture of weight loss and gain so they easily become discouraged and frustrated when the numbers do not reflect what they want. If anything, the scale is the true saboteur of your best efforts and ultimate transformation. So the reason why I am showing you my pictures is that you have to look at the whole picture when building muscle or even losing weight. I could be freaking out right now about the numbers BUT I know better and I want others to know better for themselves. When you are not just “losing weight” but “changing body composition” with increased muscle and decreased body fat this is positively reflected in the pictures and inches, NOT the scale. The undeniable truth is that muscle tissue is so much denser than fat so when you replace fat with a similar volume of muscle there will be a corresponding decrease or increase of inches in different places (for example, my shoulder girth increases as my waist and butt decreases). This can be accompanied by either no change in body weight OR an increase. To build a significant amount of muscle in a relatively short period of time, without gaining unwanted body fat, I have not gone to any extremes either, just a combination of smart exercise, smarter eating, nutritional cleansing and some uniquely effective pre/post-exercise nutritional support (Amped Performance Nutrition & IsaLean Pro). Remember the scale is not always our friend and is a very limited tool for tracking results beyond measure. Stop settling on what the scale tells you. Don’t let it hold you back from achieving much greater results that the scale is incapable of measuring. ‪#‎musclegains‬ ‪#‎forgetthescale‬ ‪#‎amped‬

IsaBody-Nationals CountdownDoubly committed and driven with my current IsaBody Challenge ending just 1 week prior to the Canadian Natural Bodybuilding Championships in June! Made this week a “March Break Blitz & Breakthrough“…With some clients away and taking some more personal time off I’ve “amplified” my workouts through a daily double split (two strength-training workouts per day) that helped me accomplish three things:

  1. IMG_6770Create a second Anabolic Window each training day for naturally boosting insulin-like growth factor, growth hormone and testosterone levels.
  2. Take advantage of the power of Nutrient-timing twice daily where I could increase my consumption of total calories, carbs and protein post-exercise for enhancing muscle protein synthesis and glycogen uptake.
  3. Apply the Principle of Prioritization, training only one muscle group per workout so that I am able to maximize both training volume and intensity for that muscle group, while still keeping total workout duration short.


Increasing my intake of IsaLean Pro shakes (36g of undenatured whey concentrate) and the Amped Performance products this week allowed me to fully recover faster, shortening my recovery cycle, so I wasn’t only training twice a day, but could also hit each muscle group hard twice during the week.

Before Summer Shape-up-April30-2014When I sit still I can SEE and FEEL the muscles g-r-o-w-i-n-g! LOL. Seriously, I’ve got “growing pains” this week, feeling muscles in ways I have never felt them. I’ve always struggled to keep my body weight above 200lbs for more than a couple days, but I’ve changed that this week!