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Hey, everybody, welcome to the 4th edition of Matters of Fitness. Let’s get into it.
1) I am an athlete but my hops are terrible. What is the best way to increase my vertical jump?
Through proper training, I was able to increase my vertical from 28 inches in 2017 to 33.5 inches at the age of 34 in 2018.
I also increased my max vertical from 31 inches to 36.5 inches. I haven’t tried yet, but I believe I can DUNK again!
What was my secret to increasing my hops at an age when most athletes have lost significant amounts of power? The key is prioritizing jumping.
In order to get better at jumping you have to put a priority on jumping. To get better at the thing, you have to do the dang thing. Getting stronger by lifting weights will definitely help but weights alone will not do it.
During the time (2010-2015) in which natural bodybuilding was my primary endeavor, I could squat 335lbs to the bucket, deadlift 470lbs, hip thrust 669.5lbs, and do the absolutely absurd lunges of death. Yet when I tested my vertical jump in February 2017, it was a lousy 28 inches.
I could not even touch 10ft on the Vertec which is the equivalent to a basketball hoop. Touching rim is always the standard for a male athlete who is almost 6ft tall.
My weak numbers were of no surprise as I had no jump training in my program. I promise you the great Allen Iverson could not squat 275lbs to the bucket but he had ridiculous, otherworldly bounce. You have to jump.
Adding jumping to your program is not difficult. For 2 days per week, start your workouts with jump training. The jumps below will add inches your to your vertical:
-Max effort jumps with no run up
-Run up max effort jumps
-Single leg jumps
If you are interested in a customized, in-person or online jump program, fill out this form.
2) What is a good meal to eat before I workout? I’m not trying to feel lightheaded during the training session.
People get lightheaded when they train because they do not have the energy in their body to support the workout. Showing up to train hard without fuel in your system is asinine.
Prior to training you should always have a meal that has moderate to high carbs/protein. That same meal would be lower in fat.
The carbs will give you the energy (glycogen) needed to sustain your training performance. One of my favorite and most effective pre-workout meals is my famous dog food. There are many variations but here is the basic version that will get the job done:
1 cup (cooked) brown rice
8oz lean ground turkey
1-1.5s cups mixed peppers
1/4 cup organic marinara sauce
Your macros here will be about 50C/41P/22F. You should however adjust the macros to match your goals.
The 1/4 cup of the organic marinara sauce will yield about 30 calories. I did not count the peppers into the macros because no one ever got fat by eating peppers.
By the way I can promise you that your version of dog food will not taste as good as mine!
3) I’m on my phone and laptop late at night. I heard that the blue light emitting from these devices can disrupt my sleep. What can I do to use my devices later but avoid or minimize the blue light?
The blue light that is emitted from your devices can disrupt or suppress the production of melatonin in your body.
Melatonin is a hormone responsible for making you get drowsy as the day turns to night. If melatonin is suppressed it will make it harder for you to fall asleep.
To add a blue light filter to your laptop, you can install F.Lux and for your Android phone, you can download the app Twilight. If you want to be even cooler you can wear a pair of blue light glasses at night like I do. Get them here.
I do not own an IPhone so I do not have an app recommendation for you folks who do but I’m sure there is one you can download.
Reducing the amount of blue light your eyes are getting at night will make it easier for you to fall asleep and be recharged for training.
4) As a man, what can I do to build a bigger chest and fill out these tank tops? I am pumping multiple moves from multiple angles but I have the same weak bird chest that I’ve always had.
I sported the definitive bird chest until my mid-20’s and it made me look and feel like a flat out joke.
To build a great set of pecs you need to utilize the right exercises and training program. The main problem for most men is that their “chest” day always looks like this:
Barbell Bench Press 3-5 x 10-15
Seated Chest Press Machine 3-5 x 10-15
Smith Machine Incline Press 3-5 x 10-15
Pec Dec Flyes 3-5 x 10-15
Dip Machine 3-5 x 10-15
Cable Crossover 3-5 x 10-15
The “workout” above is the International Chest Monday meathead special. There is way too much volume and there is also a lack of effective movements in this “workout.”
You can make your chest workout significantly more effective by simplifying the movements and focusing on progression. To build a bigger chest you need to focus on dips, bench presses (primarily the neck press), push-ups, and all of their variations.
For a legit, size-building chest workout click here.
5) I struggle with staying committed to training. I saw some pictures of myself the other day and my body looks no different than it did when I started training. It actually looks worse so what do I need to do?
You have to step over the C-line.
The C-line or commitment line is the line that separates who is seeing progress and who is not.
If you have stepped over the C-line then you are committed to making progress and unleashing your inner greatness. If you are still behind the C-line then you are not truly serious about reaching your goals. Actions always speak much louder than hollow words and promises.
Many folks try to straddle the C-line but what you must realize is that this is a black and white issue. People who are committed to change will always get infinitely better results than those who are only halfway committed.
If you have been working out for years, but you have not seen any real results then you have not been truly committed to the process. Don’t look to blame anything or anyone except the man or woman in the mirror.
The great thing is that if you have been going in the wrong direction you do not have to keep walking that way. All you have to do is turn around and walk towards real commitment.
6) Fake Hustle
Many folks are into editing their pictures before posting them online, but the most egregious offense of this is when “trainers” edit pictures to promote their phony products.
Don’t be fooled by the fake hustle Photoshop tricks of social media. You see woman “trainers” take pictures of their arse from advantageous angles and then use heavy editing to make it appear as if they have that gadonkadonk.
Yet when you see this person in real life and the filters are off her glutes look significantly smaller. She has a faux donk and all she really wanted you to do was to waste your money on her “6 weeks to a big butt” program.
What is even worse is when someone who has gotten surgery or taken anabolic steroids tries to sell you something that they did not even attain naturally. I’ve never taken anabolic steroids or had physique enhancing surgery.
I’ve always said that I’m not against anyone’s decision to get surgery or use steroids. I am however 100 percent against anyone telling blatant lies about how they built their body or increased their performance.
You do not go from flat, scarecrow glutes to massive, comic book glutes overnight. Or ever actually.
If Barrington Biceps tells you that the key to jacked 18 inch arms is EZ bar curls, yet he is pumped up full of the juice then what value do his words actually carry? He is all smoke and mirrors.
Don’t buy into the deception. If you want to change your body you need to be willing to put in the work.
I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer
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