Bodybuilding - 20 rep program
Bodybuilding Programming, Uncategorized

Summer Programming

I’ve been concentrating on powerlifting for some time now and as much as I like it – long rest periods, lower repetitions, higher wandering around time – it’s certainly not the most conducive sport to make you look and feel the best. Plus Summertime = less clothes.

In lieu of that I think it’s time to revisit a little more bodybuilding style training: increasing repetitions and focusing more on individual muscle groups. I’m currently running a 10-12 week programme similar to Stan Efferding’s 20 rep training scheme: The Rhino’s 20 Rep Training. I’m sure it’ll be horrible. As far as my weekly breakdown goes it will look something like this:

Monday: Shoulders | Back | HIIT

Tuesday: Legs | Chest | Arms

Wednesday: Rest [Bike Ride or Run]

Thursday: Squat | Deadlift | Back [Attempting to keep my strength up here]

Friday: Rest

Saturday / Sunday: Shoulders | Chest | HIIT [I usually play football or go for a cycle too]

You don’t have to burn out at 20 reps on set 1, but by set 3 onwards you may need to take a few deep breaths and recover after 12-15 reps or so. I usually do around 8 -10 sets of 20 reps for each muscle group. So Monday would look something like:

  • 4-5 sets of Shoulder Press
  • 4-5 sets of Lateral Raises
  • 4-5 sets of Bent-Over Rows
  • 4-5 sets of Lat Pull-Downs
  • Plus HIIT Training [I usually do boxing or circuits, battle ropes and skipping]

I still try to focus on compound movements and want to be done in an hour and 10 minutes at the very most. Get in; Pain; Get out! My personal formula.

Peace x

Nakd Bars; The energy bar review
Snack Reviews, Uncategorized

Nakd Bars

Nakd bars were one of the first healthy energy snacks I ever tried. If I’m honest I remember being pretty underwhelmed when I first had one, but let’s not be a negative nancy to start the post. 100% natural fruit & nuts bars that are vegan; wheat, dairy & gluten-free (also not a concern of mine) and as they say, ‘lovingly smooshed together.’

Another company with a lovely ethos (I’m such a sucker for these) that want to provide tasty, good-for-you snacks for the whole family. They have a vast swathe of products (see here: Nakd Bars) and an insane amount of flavours, totally unrivalled by other companies. So clearly they’re doing something right! But, here comes the potentially hard-hitting truths from the Protein Bar Professor.

Taste: 5/10. So the first issue here is that there are too many flavours to accurately rank. I’m talking mocha to lemon drizzle and rhubard & custard to apple pie. The issue they have is that it becomes very difficult to only use fruit and nuts (and a few spices) and make them taste like lemon drizzle for example. All relatively samey, which is a shame.

Packaging (yes it matters): 7.5/10. Decent packaging. It’s vibrant without being garish; stands out and gives you that wholesome, healthy feel. Could maybe do with a little more of the actual ingredient on the bar in my unbelievably accurate opinion.

Macros: 4/10. OK so not the best here. It should be added that the bars themselves are quite small and only 150 ish calories a pop, but the macro breakdown is poor. 7 grams of fat, 15-16 carbohydrates (90% of which are sugars) and 3-4 grams of protein. So a bit shoddy for IIFYM or flexible dieting, but another vegan winner!

Ingredients: 8/10. Just a mixture of dried fruits, nuts, cocoa powder, bananas, oats and the like. Given that they’re fairly high in sugar, I am surprised they don’t use slightly more oats and some sort of essential oil to improve the macros, but I don’t know what I’m talking about (a la Pulsin Bars – shameless plug)!

Price: 7/10. Yes they are cheap. Somewhere between 80p – £1 usually, but they only weight 35 grams. So here’s the conundrum; you don’t spend much at all, but you don’t get much in return. I’m a big (ish) guy, I need filling, so fill me (with energy bars)!

Total: 31.5/50. 63% for Nakd. That’s better than I thought they would get so I’ve clearly been too kind to the guys as at the end of the day, I’m here to tell you all what to buy to maximise the consumer experience.

Peace x

Snack Reviews, Uncategorized

Clif Bars

So the legend has it that Clif bars were started when the founder was on a bike ride, took a bite of an energy bar and knew he could make a better one. In fairness the majority of energy bars on the market taste like cardboard with fungus. Clif bars do not. They have a lovely variety of flavours, bars and chews. Vegan too! (I’m not vegan): Shop for Clif Bars here

Another company with a back story, ethics and a desire to not bankroll roid-heads or social media ‘gurus.’ This makes me a fan. I am sure this is because their initial focus was around endurance athletes / exercise and not steroid.-abusing morons, but as you’ll see in my post around Pulsin Bars, I love an ethos. And packaging. Obviously.

Taste: 7.5/10. Very tricky to judge as they have a variety of products. The standard Clif Bar tastes like a healthy homebaked cookie made the day before. Oats, chocolate chips, peanuts, dried fruit. As you’ll know I’m also a sucker for peanut butter and chocolate chips; regardless of cookie-age. As protein bars go their Builders Protein Bar is pretty moist too which is a rarity!

Packaging (yes it matters): 7.5/10. You can’t knock Clif. Looks as it tastes actually. Hearty, slightly indulgent but something you could take home to your mother. Or father. Or both. Your choice.

Macros (Clif Bars): 4/10. This is very dependent as the Clif Bar itself is high in carbohydrates (55 + grams / 100) and sugar (30 grams / 100). But it was designed to be an intra-exercise bar. Around 15 grams of protein / 100 with fairly minimal fat, so calorie wise it’s only c. 375 / 100 grams. So not the ideal IIFYM snack if that’s your diet.

Macros (Clif Builders Protein Bar): 6/10. Higher protein c. 30 grams / 100, alongside slightly lower carbohydrate (c. 44 grams / 100), similar quantities of sugar and slightly higher fats. So slightly more filling and IIFYM friendly IMO.

Ingredients: 8/10. Rolled oats, vegan protein sources, rice syrups, (vegan) chocolate chips, natural flavourings. Again, very little to complain about. I am FAR too good to you all.

Price: 7/10. The Builders Protein bar tends to be more expensive, around the £2.50 mark whereas you can pick up the Clif Bar for around £1.50-70. Again when they go on sale I usually stockpile them until I hate eating them, but do whatever you want with your £!

Total: 35/50. I took an average mark for their macros so you don’t have to (honestly you don’t deserve me). A solid 70% for Clif. He’d be proud I’m sure!

Peace x

Snack Reviews, Uncategorized

Pulsin Bars

The holy grail of energy bars / protein bars. Vegan, gluten-free, soya-free, non-GM… I am none of these things, but don’t be put off, they’re wonderful. I like their list of values on their ‘About’ page and frankly I’d rather spend my money on products from companies who have an ethos and are keen to not bankroll roid-abusing melts: Pulsin

I once bought 50 for myself and my girlfriend off amazon: Amazon’s Pulsin Multipack (Thank me later). In hindsight that was a bit much and we didn’t have any for a while afterwards, but they’re still top snacking. I have put together a definitive list of everything that makes energy bars great. Given about 10% of my salary goes on this stuff, I’m your guru for this:

Taste: 9/10. It tastes clean. By that I mean it doesn’t taste at all synthetic like so many of these bars. I’m all about the orange chocolate chip, vanilla chocolate chip and the peanut  chocolate chip, which is a raw chocolate brownie. (Clearly there’s a theme here… God I’m disgusting).

Packaging (yes it matters): 8/10. Looks great, very crisp and stands out from the crowd. They’re actually launching a new theme soon which is devastating, but huge fan of their simplicity.

Macros: 7.5/10. The protein snacks are around 215 calories, have between 12-15 grams of protein per 50g, alongside 8-12 grams of fat and c. 15 grams of carbohydrates (only around 6 of which is sugar). The raw brownie versions are very similar calorie wise, with slightly higher carbohydrate and sugar content alongside a lower protein content. So slightly less macro-friendly, but still very tasty!

Ingredients: 9/10. All natural vibes. Nuts, dates, essential oils (which are seriously great in the orange and mint versions), (vegan) chocolate chips, pea protein, rice protein, cacao butter, cacao powder… Really nothing to complain about here.

Price: 6.5/10. Somewhere between £1.40-£1.80 for a single bar or nearer £1 for a multipack version. I usually grab them on deal at Whole Foods (I love you Whole Foods) or other supermarkets (I love you supermarkets).

Overall: 40/50

If you’re about that vegan living, healthy life; or are a sucker for nice packaging like myself, these are for you! Pulsin; sponsor me, please. Honestly, I’ll do whatever you need!

Strength training programming

Basic Programming: 5×5, 6×4, 7×3…

Essentially the first thing to remember is these all work! Whether you’re doing 5×5’s, 6×4’s etc. Although they’re simple, they’re effective and an excellent building block for beginners or people between larger cycles. They absolutely work, don’t let their simplicity fool you. Specificity breeds success! You want be better at deadlifts? Do more of them.

On a slightly separate topic, if you find yourself plateauing a) it’s your fault b) eat more c) reset and start a program again at a higher weight than your previous starting point.

You might be working on a 4 day split that could look something like this, with each of the compound lifts and accessories being;  5 sets of 5 or 6 sets of 4:

  1. Bench Press (accessory) x Deadlift
  2. Bent over Row x Back Squat
  3. Rest day
  4. Deadlift (accessory) x Bench Press 
  5. Rest day
  6. Deadlift x Back Squat
  7. Sunday obviously!

You could run anywhere between a 6-12 week program based around the Squat, Bench Press and Deadlift and make 🔥 gains. I personally add this in to a more ‘powerbuilding‘ style program as otherwise you’ll end up looking like a disproportionate porpoise. For reference just focusing on your chest, legs and some form of back is probably not the most aesthetically pleasing look. I’m assuming you already know this, but just in case…

To counter this I’ll usually add in a couple of giant-style sets (for more on giant-sets see my previous post:My Current Programming: Giant Sets) which could be:

  • Lat-pull downs / Bicep curls
  • Arnold Press / Incline flies
  • Stiff-legged Deadlifts (SLDL’s) / Piston squats
  • Machine flies / Reverse flies

Effectively I want to do sets that’s can be done in 10 minutes max, that help get some volume in and minimise my time in the gym. However IMO you shouldn’t add in giant sets for every session. Deadlifting and back-squatting twice a week can be a debilitating process so don’t overreach yourself; I would suggest adding the giant sets / hypertrophy work in the less debilitating sessions (i.e. Bench Press / accessory sessions) so as you don’t have to go to bed for 3 hours after. It’s ruined my days plenty of times…