Sunday, September 5, 2010

The "Zippered" Bodybuilder

As you know by now, I am a fan of bodybuilding. I am far from having the physique of a bodybuilder, but I understand the sport. About a year ago, the idea to compete in a fitness competition started to bug into my head. I always wondered what would happen if a man with a scar down his chest walked on stage, what would the reaction be?

I still have not walked on stage, but there is a pro bodybuilder who has a very similar "zipper". Kris Dim has been in competition for many years, but since 2007, he has had a scar down his chest, smack dab in between his pecks. Near identical to mine.

I can't say that he is a hero or idol of mine, I barley know anything about the guy. I can say, though, that he is an inspiration to many people. Kris Dim is from Cambodia, a country that does not have too many pro bodybuilders. Although he moved to the US when he was 4, he had the dedication at the young age of 15 to join a gym. You can tell by his physique, that the gym bug has stuck with him.

He had many career wins and many mid place finishes until 2007. He was at Olympia a few times and was an NPC champion in the early 2000s, but he never gained the fame or recognition of Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, Dexter Jackson, Dennis Wolfe and others. His career, however, is extremely respectable.

On June 8th 2007, Kris had a potentially fatal heart attack. According to Dave Palumbo, Kris had emergency heart surgery to repair a split in his aortic valve. What caused the heart attack? I truly have no idea, but Kris being a bodybuilder I can safely guess to many stimulants, or a mix of stimulants and energy drinks. I can be totally wrong on that, it could have been a genetic issue, could have been an accident, or just a freak mishap... either way, he survived an incident that could have killed him. Better yet, he got back on stage to compete.

When Kris started competing there were very few Asian competitors. Even today, you don't see too many from the far east, and Kris has never gained the exposure that Hidetada Yamagishi has obtained. I am hoping that Kris can be an inspiration to other kids with physical disabilities. I am hoping that in a few years there will be an influx of bodybuilders with scars, or "less than perfect features." Perhaps the teenager with burn marks on him will now have a role model and he will not be afraid to compete.

Perhaps in years to come we will see that Kris Dim was a pioneer, and for me, I am using this as motivation to finally compete... 2012 being my set date!!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Are you training WRONG?

The one thing I see in all the gyms I visit, and of course the gym I train at as well is people training wrong. Quite often people are using poor form, which leads to no, or fewer results and increases the risk of injury, quite often serious injury.

More so than that, I see people who have decent form, but are just training wrong. Bosu ball and quick circuit training is great for increased balance, athleticism and weight loss, but it is not ideal for hypertrophy (muscle growth).

Same can be said for people who are working a power lifting routine while trying to lose weight. Yes, more lean muscle leads to increased rate of calories burned, and yes, weight training should be included into every weight loss routine, but it has to be done the right way.

What I see very often are people who join a gym, do the same thing day after day, see no results and leave. On the flip side, I also see people who have been at the gym for years, look exactly how they did when they joined, because they just aren't putting in enough effort.

Since I am a trainer and a group fitness instructor, not to mention an avid blogger, I get questions on just about any topic. One of the most frequent topics are infomercials. Does P90X really work? Will Chalean Xtreme really get me a 6-pack? Is Insanity really that effective?

Here is the deal. Some people prefer to train at home, others in the gym, and others want to train in a team like environment. All the results you see on these infomercials are real, however, they are not the average outcome. Just like at a gym, some people will gain faster results than others.

I titled this article "Are you training WRONG?" The reason for that also includes effort. When we were in high school (or any level of education for that matter) the more you paid attention in class, did homework and spent time studying, the easier the final exam was, and the higher your grades.

Guess what, most of the time, training wrong is just because you are not putting in the fair amount of effort. You may be doing everything you can in the gym, and your diet is awful. Flip side, you are eating a clean and sound diet, but your workouts are lackluster at best.

Do these infomercial programs work? Yes, if you follow them as best you can and stick to the diet given. Due to genetics and stress levels, no 2 people will get exactly the same results, but your results should be suited to you, not compared to somebody else.

Gym memberships are not cheap, neither are these "As seen on TV" programs. If you are making the financial investment, make the personal investment as well. No matter what your goals are, they will only be achieved if you put the right amount of effort, work and heart into them.

I assure you that effort and desire, and sheer will power will be your best ally in the hunt to reach your fitness goals and any goals you may have in life. Study, read up, do research, create a plan and stick to it. Don't be afraid to ask for help or advice. Be open minded, but at the same time, be smart about what you take in and what you ignore, not all info out there is correct.

Getting back to fitness, here is my humble opinion on how to reach your goal.

To Lose Weight:
Do 2 to 3 days of weight training, lighter weights, 4 sets of 12 to 15 reps. Circuits recommended.
Do 2 to 3 days of HIIT Cardio and Bosu workouts.

To get major hypertrophy:
4 to 5 days heavy lifting. 1 muscle group per day. 5 to 6 exercises, 5 sets of 8-12.
If you do cardio do it much later or on days when you do not weight train.

For massive strength gain:
3 to 4 times per week. 20+ sets of 2-5 reps... HEAVY!!!

This of course is not the only way to achieve your goals, but they work, so long as you put in the proper effort.

I look forward to your comments and if you have questions, please follow me on twitter @trainwithoz or on MySpace under Ozzie Elias.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Plyo Circuits

Many people know that I love lifting heavy weights. I do not necessarily strive to be a bodybuilder, but my body is my temple, and I want a well sculpted temple! Part of a well sculpted body means low body fat percentage and little to no fat around the "belly" area. I do have a small belly... for now!

If you happened to be at the gym where I trained today at 11am, you would have witnessed what I call a Plyo Circuit followed by an ab workout and then HIIT cardio. It is perfect for burning fat, improving speed and balance as well as overall athletic ability.

So, what are Plyo Circuits... basically it is a circuit of different plyometric exercises. Do a set of 3 exercises, rest for 30 seconds and then do them again. I went 4 rounds of 3 sets and then changed them up.

I also incorporated jumping on and off platforms, push-ups, swiss ball sit-ups, bosu ball squats and deadlifts, and of course jumping rope.

I plan on doing this 3 days a week and mixing in 3 days of heavy lifting. That should just about sculpt my body. Diet wise I am eating only real foods... no bars, and my protein is all natural.

I am allowing high carb breakfasts, and carbs post workout... THAT'S IT!!! The rest of my meals are lean protein, vegetables and essential fats.

Don't forget to follow my daily progress on twitter @trainwithoz


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Personal Update

It has been quite some time since I have blogged. I have thankfully been very busy with work and my personal training.

I have started to notice nice gains, especially in my quads, back and triceps. I am working to meet those gains on my biceps and chest as well. I am eating carbs with breakfast and post workout only, and completing my meals with good sources of proteins and essential fats.

In the gym I am lifting quite heavy. I am doing roughly 5 exercises per muscle, with 4 sets per exercise. Set 1 12 reps. Sets 2 & 3 are 10 reps and the final set is 8 reps. I increase weight with each set.

In terms of supplement use, I have not really been using anything special, but I am making sure to get loads of glutamine and BCAAs. I am also taking N.A.C and will likely start with Beta-Alanine.

I am of course sleeping well, most nights I get roughly 8 hours of sleep. There is always the exception of less sleep some nights, so I have taken to napping on those days.

I will be attending CanFit Pro show in Toronto next weekend, so if you are going to be there, come say hi.

Don't forget to follow me on twitter @trainwithoz or on MySpace or facebook under Ozzie Elias.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Biceps of mass defenition

Most men, especially the 18-30 age range, LOVE working out their biceps. I can assure you that if you took a random survey in any gym, and ask the males what body parts they most like to train, biceps and chest are almost always the top 2.

Many people often ask me how to get bigger biceps. They wonder why their biceps aren't growing as quickly as they want.

I am going to answer a few questions today, and I will suggest a routine to try which may help speed bicep hypertrophy.

I want you to keep in mind a few things. #1 is that your tricep is a bigger muscle, and a well defined tricep will make your arms look bigger, thicker and fuller. #2 since your bicep is a smaller muscle group, it will never grow at the same rate as say your legs or back.

What many people do is overtrain their biceps. That can have a negative effect on hypertrophy. Remember, muscles grow during rest and recovery periods. Your biceps take a beating during a good shoulder and back routine. I do recommend an arm day, but only 1 a week, as your tricep also gets worked on chest day.

Here is a routine a found effective for me.
I did 4 sets of each exercise. Set 1 was 12 reps. Sets 2 & 3 were 10 reps and set 4 was 8 reps. I increase weight with each set.

Twisting suppinated bicep curls
Hammer Curls
Suppinated bicep curls
concentration curls
Pronated EZ bar curls

Try that for 4 weeks, and be sure to keep working the rest of your body, and get enough rest. I assure you this will get you on your way.

Have questions? Please feel free to follow me at

Friday, June 18, 2010

Are you sedentary?

We live in a very fast paced competitive world. Many people are stuck at a desk for 8 or so hours per day. Others are stuck in a car for a majority of the day. Are you sedentary?

Lets start off with a description of a sedentary life: Somebody who is sedentary is a person who is involved in little or no regular physical activity. Majority of the day spent seated and inactive. Quite often, people who follow this type of lifestyle also have poor eating habits.

Why is sedentary bad? Being sedentary is the leading cause of osteoperosis, arthritis, depression, coronary heart disease, and it has been known (along with poor diet) to lead to certain cancers, Type II Diabetes, obesity, back and/or neck pain, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure. So basically living a sedentary life is a quick path to an early grave, or many years of illness and unhappiness.

I understand that life it tough at times. There are many financial strains and time restrictions. How do you avoid a sedentary life? There are a few answers, and they may not fit for everybody, but a few tips that often help are;

-go for family walks at least 4 times a week
-join a team and get serious about that sport
-avoid elevators and moving stairs, climb the good old fashioned stairs
-park a few blocks away from work, or take the bus at a farther stop
-go to the park and play games like tag with your children
-if you are stuck in an office all day, eat your lunch and then enjoy a walk around the block with a few colleagues.

These are not the only ways, and perhaps not as great as trying to hit the gym or pool a few times a week, but it will help without a doubt. Do not forget that diet plays a HUGE roll as well.

If you are stuck being sedentary and know the risks and want to change, please feel free to ask me for tips. There is always a solution.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Swimming to lose weight?

So the debate goes on... can you lose weight by swimming?

I have heard so many theories and explanations that it makes me laugh. I will share a few;
- you cannot lose weight swimming because you don't sweat
- yes, you lose weight because your muscles work harder to make you float
- no because you are not on your feet

I am sure there are millions more, but that is the general idea of how people react to this topic. I want to answer this question for you, and explain my answer.

Losing weight is a math game, if more calories are being spent than being put in, you will lose weight. How you burn those calories can play a role, but in general calories out greater than calories in = weight loss, plain and simple.

If you take an average 155 - 165lb male, and make him do laps (frontstroke) at a moderate pace, he will burn roughly 560 calories per hour. That same individual can burn up to 705 doing extremely intense breaststroke for an hour. SO as you can see, swimming is efficient at burning calories.

Swimming is perhaps the single best cardio exercise (as in helping your heart) since your heart has to pump blood to every muscle group and all extremities at the same time. If you are looking for a fun exercise to help lower cholesterol, help lower blood pressure, lower your resting heart rate, and simply to feel good, swimming is a very safe bet.

It is not at the top of my list as a weight loss workout, but I would never turn anybody away from doing it. There are millions of people who have taken on swimming, and altered their diets and have lost immense amounts of weight.

Personally, swimming is part of my overall training routine. I do laps for about 30minutes once a week. I rotate between breast and front strokes, and added to my clean diet and other workouts, it is for sure helping my weight management and my overall health.

So, to sum it all up, so long as your diet is clean, and you are swimming at a moderate to rigorous pace, YES, swimming can benefit you in your weight loss journey.

Please feel free to follow me on twitter @trainwithoz or via my website