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The Bicep Whisperer: How to get results from your workouts instead of just waiving your arms around aimlessly.

May 28, 2013, Jon Boldireff

I’m terribly sorry that my blog is late this week! I attended a fitness conference in Calgary the entire weekend called “Fit Rendezvous.” I was increasing my knowledge in order to keep up with the trends and become a better trainer for all of my clients. I sat in on sessions about injury prevention and training for the hips, shoulder and spine, tendon injury rehab, and the fun filled world of fascia. Needless to say, my brain is on fitness nerd overload. My two favorite speakers were Michol Dalcourt and Alexandre Pare. Mr.Dalcourt is the co-founder of The Institute of Motion (www.instituteofmotion.com) and Mr.Pare holds a Masters in Exercise Science. These are some brainy dudes!

In today’s blog, I’m going to briefly discuss how much weight you should use/how many reps you should perform in a set of a given exercise.  So you stroll down to 7-11 and start reading a fitness magazine while drinking your half Coke/half grape Slurpee (for shame). The article with the super tanned dude/chick says “45 minute workout to killer arms!” It gives you a list of exercises that you need to perform anywhere from 8-15 reps per set. Seems easy enough and you begin dreaming about all the tank tops you can wear this summer. You perform the workout to the letter, but don’t quite see the results you were looking for. Do you know why? I do. It’s because you stopped at 8 reps when you could of done 13. You stopped at 15 and you could of cranked out 5 more. It’s not the program that’s flawed, it’s your understanding of workout intensity. If the program says 10 reps, you need to use a load with which you can’t perform an 11th rep. Different ranges of reps will elicit different muscular response. I hate to pick on a gender, but women are especially notorious for this. “High reps will make me toned.” No it won’t. Building lean muscle and not eating that 700 calorie chocolate chip muffin will make you look “toned.” Don’t worry about bulking up ladies. 99.9% of you don’t produce enough testosterone for that to happen.

If  you’re using the same weights week after week then you’re doing it wrong. Stop waiving those 3lb dumbbells around like you’re signalling a plane to land safely on the runway and do some actual work in the gym. That goes for both women and men. You’re only cheating yourselves. As for the prescription of reps, rest, load and periodization of your program in general… that’s where it gets complicated; you need to talk to a trainer. Either that or do some serious research from credible sources to get a solid program that’s built SPECIFIC to your needs. If it was easy and simple then everyone would be in shape. Get informed and get results!

***Now that you’re lifting REAL weights, always make sure you’re being safe and using a spotter when needed.


THUMB UPDATE: I’ve been wearing this nifty new splint for a little over a week now. It looks like I’m in an S&M bowling or archery league. I was told 4 weeks which would mean June 7th, but my thumb is still swollen so who knows. Lots of leg training in the meantime!



Eternal Sunshine of the Thumbless Man: How to Stay Fit Through Injury.

May 13, 2013, Jon Boldireff

You’ve set your goals. You’ve been hitting the gym, training hard, and eating right. Not even one Double Stuffed Oreo has crossed into the defensive zone which is your mouth. Needless to say your hard work and sacrifice is starting to pay off in the form of toned arms and the need to buy smaller pants. Then all of a sudden you’re sidelined. It could be an injury, could be illness, or maybe just some personal or work issues. You need to be able to re-focus and not throw all that hard work down the drain.

I’d like to think I’m an expert on this topic. My friends call me Mr.Glass. I always have a new injury and they usually result from basketball. Torn this, sprained that. Sometimes I feel like I’m 31 going on 71. Now THERE’S a movie idea (eat your heart out Jennifer Garner). My newest setback: non-displaced fracture of my left thumb. Along with making bananas, showering, and zip lock bags challenging, this also means no upper body work outs for at least 4 weeks. I really need to be in the best shape of my life in August for a secret event (which I’ll share with you in a few weeks). So I need a contingency plan. If you get off track because of something like a sprained ankle, broken arm, or 70hr work weeks then listen up.

1. Day of the incident: eat your feelings. I know you want to. Do it today and get it over with. There’s no time to eat like crap later because your activity will be limited. Don’t say to yourself: “Oh I hurt my ankle I can’t do ANYTHING. I’m just gonna eat pizza and play XBox all day.” Keep eating healthy. If your level of activity has decreased significantly and you’re burning fewer calories you may need to eat less to maintain your body weight. Makes sense right?

2. Stop thinking about what you CAN’T do. I can’t do any upper body work, no deadlifts, and no basketball. Suck it up and focus on challenging yourself with what you CAN do. I’m going to work out my legs three times a week and run three times a week. Yes my splint is gonna stink. If you hurt your lower body, then focus on improving your upper body lifts.

3. If time is your issue then you need a new plan of attack. Instead of working out for 1hr 3x a week, maybe you increase the intensity of your workouts and only do 30 min. Ride out this new work load that your boss dropped on you and then back to the one hour sessions once the dust has settled.

4. Keep your eye on the prize. Yes this is a setback. Yes it sucks. Maybe you’re not able to see improvement towards your goal for the next 4-6 weeks. Instead, maybe you need to focus on maintenance. Challenge yourself to not gain any fat while you recover. That Blizzard from DQ is now twice as bad as it was when you were hitting the gym hard 5x per week.

Stay positive through your setbacks folks! Whatever they may be. If you turn this negative into a positive you’ll be much better for it and it’ll help you deal with any roadblocks you have in the future. Oh, and HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all the moms out there and to mine in particular. It’s just a thumb, you don’t have to fly from Victoria to take care of me. Although peeling that orange was frustrating….  Thumb(s) up!