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As a rule, include heavy lifting into your routine at least once a month. Heavy lifting is categorized as any lift where you’ll fail before 6 reps or less. Focus on the big lifts like the bench press, military press, deadlifts, and squats. I like to include at least one heavy exercise in every workout, usually more, but make sure you’re getting it done at least once a month. The back, as far as strength and aesthetics are concerned, is also more important than the chest. So make sure you’re pulling at least 1.5 times and much as you’re pushing. Pulling includes deadlifts, rows, chin-ups, pulldowns, and anything that works your hips or back muscles.
Jumping is the foundation of athleticism. If you can jump higher you can run faster. If you’re more athletic, you’re going to be a more confident and more effective man. A guy who looks great but is useless when it comes to real life situations and sports, is useless. There’s no point to him. No benefit of having him here. A great life is built through action and adventure, if you’re too immobile to partake in either, you’re not going to live much of an exciting life. Jumping is all about explosive power. Add the following exercises to your routine, keeping in mind that your focus in each exercise should be to explode as fast as possible on the concentric contraction, and patiently resist on the eccentric contraction. Sumo Deadlifts With your sumo deadlifts, mix in two different variations into your training.
- Lock the lift out like you would normally.
- Drop the weight as it reaches your knees.
Cleans Cleans are one of my favorite exercises. You’ll notice that all of the exercises here, except squats, are pulling exercises. Really vary your reps when doing cleans. If you’re doing them in the beginning of your workout, go for 5-6 sets of 3 reps, adding weight with each set. But they’re also a great finisher. As a finisher, do 10-15 reps along with a circuit that can include med-ball slams, push-ups, and abs work. Snatch The snatch is often the forgotten lift of the O-lifts. It seems as though everyone does cleans, but how often do you see the snatch performed in the gym? It’s rare. The snatch is important because to do the lift you have to use an extremely wide grip that isn’t replicated in other exercises. This forces you to explode from a lower stance, and gives your back a unique angle to get worked from. Perform the snatch like you would cleans, vary your reps. Box Squats Box squats are one of the best powerlifting exercises you can perform. If you want to grow stronger, more powerful, and improve your athleticism, add box squats with a wide stance to your training. Focus on exploding as fast as possible once you reach the bottom of the lift. And keep a strict form as to not place to much stress on the lower back when you’re at the bottom of the lift. Note: lift heavy, but not too heavy. Keep it between 70-90% of your max, and focus on speed during the exercise while, of course, maintaining strict, proper form.
Increase Lactic Acid
Lifting heavy weights helps you naturally raise your testosterone levels directly, but also by correlation in many different ways. Weight training also helps you naturally raise your growth hormone by raising lactic acid. To become your ideal, you need to be optimal hormonally, this means high levels of testosterone as well as growth hormone. Lactic acid is a precursor to growth hormone. The greater your lactic acid levels, the higher healthier your growth hormone levels. Here’s what you should do to raise your lactic acid when training, and, by correlation, also raise your growth hormone levels:
- Train really, really hard. Sounds simple enough, right? The harder your train (in intensity not duration) the more lactic acid is created in your muscles.
- Double up your sets. Use supersets and giant sets to compound the lactic acid creation in your muscles. This is tied to the next point as well.
- Use shorter rest periods. Shorter rest periods don’t allow your muscles to fully recover, or the lactic acid to fully leave them. Stick to 30-60 second rest periods, making sure your eye is on the clock to prove that you’re within this range.
Improving Hormone Health Through Diet
Lifting heavy weights will help you build muscle, get lean, and improve your hormonal health. The next step you need to take is through diet. Here’s what you need to do.
Add More Fats To Your Diet
Testosterone is the most important hormone for men. Testosterone comes from cholesterol, which is given to us by saturated and monounsaturated fats (animal fats). One of the reasons why vegetarianism is so dangerous for men is because of the lack of protein and healthy fats. Vegetarians typically have lower levels of testosterone than men who eat ample animal fats through meats and fishes. Eat more meat, more fish, and supplement with Omega 3 fatty acids. One thing you don’t want to do is to combine your consuming of fats with a rise in insulin. So don’t pair your fats with a high-glycemic carbohydrate.
- Have steak, but no potatoes.
- Have veggies with your meats/fats.
- Eat the skin of the chicken and of fish (lots of good fats in both).
- Start your day with 3 omega-3 fish oil pills.
Supplement With Zinc and Vitamin D
Zinc blocks aromatase, a hormone that is a precursor for estrogen. Add 20-30 mg of zinc to your daily routine. Vitamin D3 “free’s” the testosterone that is bound to a protein, allowing it to do what it needs to do: repair tissue. Add 3,000 IU to your morning supplementation, and 3,000 IU to your evening supplementation before bed.
Practice Intermittent Fasting (IF)
Growth hormone ain’t testosterone, but it’s not all that far behind. It’s a hormone that will help you repair muscle tissue, burn fat, and maintain muscle as you’re burning fat. HGH aids testosterone. The lower your bodyfat, the higher your T levels. Both T and HGH’s enemy is insulin. One of the ways you can naturally raise HGH is by practicing IF. You don’t need to go nuts, just skip breakfast and eat your carbs at night after your workout. Here’s how a typical day may look:
- Start eating at noon, having only fatty proteins and veggies.
- Eat one more meal like this, but stop eating at around 3.
- Lift at 5 or 6.
- Post workout shake: high in sugars and lean protein (protein powder)
- Eat 1 or two meals to follow with lean proteins and good carbs (brown, whole wheat carbs, yams, oatmeal etc…)
This has nothing to do with diet, but the more you stress, the higher your cortisol levels are. Combat stress and cortisol by getting 8 hours of sleep every night. Also take mini-vacations. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but get away from it all. Unplug, and rewind. Put things into perspective everyday by writing 5 things you’re grateful for in your journal. Cortisol is not only the enemy of your body and your health, but also testosterone. Rid stress from your life as much as possible to ensure your hormone health, and to ensure you’re living as strong as possible.
Constructing Your Ideal
Getting your body to reflect your spirit is important. If you feel like you’re a warrior, an alpha, a Legend, and a man to be reckoned with, show it! Build a strong body that reflects your internal strength. To be optimal in one area, you need to be optimal in the other. If you want to build this body, have a look at this program: The PowerHowse Challenge by Chad Howse If you want to learn more about how to optimize your hormones and get more in line with the powerful man you are deep down, read this book: Engineering the Alpha by John Romaniello & Adam Bornstein Both resources are great, and needed, just like a strong body. You need muscle. You need muscle to be stronger, more courageous, and more like the bad-ass you are, can be, and should be to live your best life. Life is a beautiful adventure. The key word is adventure. Are you living an adventure? Are you strong enough to do so? Start by building your body, optimizing your hormones, and let the external reflect who you are internally. Be strong. Be bold. Be a Legend.