* Is there a question that’s bugging you?
* Is there a topic you’d like covered?
* Is there an aspect of your training or diet that I could help you with?
* Do you think I have missed something?
Just let me know!
This is an opportunity for you to tell me what’s on your mind, and also for me to have a relaxing evening as I don’t have to type out a lengthy article 🙂 .
Article ideas, or even ‘new category’ ideas are welcome. Also, if you think MuscleHack is missing something or could be improved in any way, let me know.
General comments, especially kind ones, are encouraged 😉 .
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Hey Mark, I’ve been using your site for a while now and it’s been working great. I have a question though. For bicep workout, specifically standing dumbell curls, do you count each curl with each arm as a rep? And if so, does that mean that you should be doing 16-24 reps for biceps? Also, the range for abs is 8-16 reps right? Keep up the good work!
1. What happened to your old YouTube exercise videos, and will you be replacing them? It’s distracting going through old blog postings with missing videos…
2. What’s your personal procedure for measuring body fat? What calculations do you use, and what body parts do you measure? Do you have a friend or relative to help?
3. How do you recommend breaking through plateaus on lagging body parts when the rest of one’s physique is developing satisfactorily? In particular, how would you approach reaching the next level of progressive overload when there isn’t a dumbbell interval small enough to allow 8-12 reps?
First off, thanks for putting so much time and energy into such a helpful, informative, and genuinely useful site. There’s a lot of pseudo-fitness-babble on the internet, and the Muscle Hack community is one of the few trustworthy places one can turn to for true advice.
As to my question, I’m just curious as to whether you had heard of Crossfit (www.crossfit.com). Judging from Total 6 Pack Abs and Total Anabolism, your training philosophy seems to differ substantially from theirs. Whereas they advocate short, incredibly intense, functional fitness (supposedly, 20 minutes a day), you seem to believe in working each muscle group specifically, once per week.
My question to you, first off, if you have heard of Crossfit, is whether or not one can build a really chiseled physique simply by doing the single Crossfit workout six times a week. Secondly, and a related question, is whether you think your program or Crossfit is more effective at building raw, athletic strength and power. Long and short, I guess, is, “Do you believe the Crossfit protocol is effective in burning fat, building muscle, and getting fit.”
I apologize for the length, but thanks a lot for reading and keep up the great work!
i think you should give the article about the workout plan of building upper body only
I started a new 10 week cycle yesterday and let me state that my main goal is to encourage my body to build as much muscle as possible but also lose some of the fat I have, I beleive I’m at about 17.2% body fat. My main focus is building muscle and when I get my body fat low enough add some T.S.P.A secrets. I would like to know even though it’s been covered by some extent will my Muscle gains be less than if I was carbing up? I’m really unsure wether to or not, it will be two weeks tommorrow since my last carb up and my workout yesterday went well. Can someone build as much muscle with the same intensity and enough protein and fat without carb ups as someone who is carbing up? With my last cycle when I did carb up I once put on 4lbs in 1.5 days I also felt very tired. Any further advice on this would be great.
p.s do you always carb up weekly?
Another thing I could get cleard up is the following, I started using an EZ bar yesterday and found that it was easier on my wrist’s but it also gave my forearms a tough workout, does this indicate that I’m holding the bar wrong, maybe my hands to close? is it natural for my forearms to get a good workout with the EZ bar? I really tried to push through the pain but maybe if the forearms were not so involved I would have been able to do more than I did. Any advice on wether I’m doing anything wrong.
Thanks again Mark
Sorry about filling the comments with my own but would just like to mention that I’ve got that skinny fat guy look so muscle building is definatly a prority as I look very thin/bony except for my abdomen, of course.
Thanks for the opportunity to suggest post ideas. Here’s some for starters:
– Free weights, tips for training without a spot
– How to measure your improvement in HIT training
– More videos! Priority for me Abs, Back, chest – you might want to get some lighting 😉
Keep up the good work dude!
Free weights, tips for training without a spot
that sounds like a great idea for an article.
keep up the good work bud. the website is an inspiration to many
1- Warming up and stretching (When, How, How long?)
2- Muscle Gain / Fat loss if you’re on low carb continuously (No carb up days)
3- Effects of “carbing-up” when you’re on a low carb diet (type 2 diabetes is my concern here since we’re intentionally playing with insulin levels)
Thanks, your work has been an eye openner for me!
I would like to hear more on your thoughts on recovery and ways to improve/speed up recovery (if any) and also your thoughts on workout frequency!
yo Mark- recently stumbled upon your sight and found loads of useful information. I’ve done a bunch of reading on this highly debated topic, and was hoping you would shed some light.
Perhaps an article centered around wether to do cardio (sports:ie-Tennis,Basketball,Swimming) before or after an intense weight training session to promote muscle growth.
I’ve only been weightlifting for 6 months, but have always been active with sports (Basketball/Tennis/Swimming). I lift for about an hour a day, and play sports for roughly the same time.
I know that HIT is the most effective cardio exertion to promote muscle growth, but I’m wondering if these sports are hampering my muscle growth. And wether to play them before or after.
-appreciate the archived articles: proved to be an invaluable source of information- Joe.
Maybe an article about how you manage to fit workouts and meals around a busy day – you know just a few pointers on when to do what and the best times to eat meals allowing for maximun muscle growth. etc etc. thanks mark
So,I get this questions a lot. I wanna gain muscle and lose fat at the same time? Maybe set the record straight that to lose weight you have to be in a deficit on your maintnance calories and to gain you have to have a surplus of calories. So, letting people know you have to focus on one or the other. Can you be taking in a surplus and deficit at the same time? Obviously not!
Maybe you could debunk this fraud.
I’ve been seeing ads all over the internet saying this person lost 25 pounds of body fat (stomach fat) in one month. All the effort ‘she’ put into it was eating berries and a colon cleanse.
It’s painful to watch these con artists fleece ignorant people.
Your site is very good. I appreciate the effort you are putting in this site.
There are many questions that I would like to get answered.
1) Many couches are recommending total body training instead of splits. What is your opinion on that considering that you promote splits.
2) Machines vs Free Weights?
3) A skinny guy wants to gain as much as muscle mass as possible. What diet do you recommend.
Hey, uhh, Wusty?
You might want to get your facts straight on calorie deficits and surpluses. I can eat far more calories on a low-carb diet and still lose fat (not muscle, not water, FAT!) than I can on a calorie-reduced or low-fat diet.
A calorie, in fact, isn’t just a calorie. Dietary proteins and fats are digested less efficiently than carbohydrates, and create a measurable metabolic advantage for fat loss.
Mark has also blogged a number of times regarding how to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time using a low-carb regimen. It can be done, and is being done by many people, including me. You need not focus on one over the other necessarily, but if one is more important than the other to you, than by all means focus on it.
–Currently gained 11 pounds of muscle while losing 44 pounds of fat since September 1, 2008.
Hi Mark I would like a simple way to understand carb cycling. I’m 40 years old, 5’8″ tall
161 lbs, 19 % bodyfat which sucks. I want to maintain my current weight if possible but continue to burn fat and reach 7% bodyfat does that make sense. I would like for someone to help me out with a meal plan one for carb deplete days and one for carb load days.
Foods I like to eat: oatmeal,egg whites, sweet potatoes, mixed green salads, extra lean ground turkey/beef and chicken, skinless chicken breasts I snack on almonds and peanut butter.
Thanks for great site. Some suggestions:
1.Some forearm exercises wouldnt go astray
2.A video for Bench press and Inc Bench Press
3.Reviews of different brands of supplements
4.Tips for people who have to play sport as well as workout e.g. Hurling rugby boxing football
5. Tips or people in school/college e.g cafeteria choices
* The afore-mentioned split vs. whole body workout debate
* How about something for us girls? What kind of diet/workout modifications to you recommend for the fairer sex?
Keep up the good work.
As a 26 year old retired professional freestyle skier, NASM certified personal trainer and gym owner her in Utah. I don’t agree with your facts. Simple as that.
Sorry Wusty but Matts right.
Ive gained 7 lbs of muscle while losing 5% body fat I eat a dickload of calories a day and still lose body fat, very few of which are carbs. So yea to go against conventional wisdom a calorie is not a calorie.
I also think the site should have a suggestion for Females. I have started this diet three weeks ago and have lost 12 lbs all while increasing strength gains. I want to know if it would be good for my wife to go on this diet as I think its really easy to do. She tries weight watchers and ends up starving herself and not having any energy to go to the gym. Will this work for my wife or will she gain weight?
I’d be interested in articles about “mind over matter” and the psychology of strength – I read recently this was what the likes of Arnold and other pros used. Keep up the good work mate!
@Derek – for db curls I count 1 rep when I have completed one on both arms. It really doesn’t matter as long as EACH arm hits 8-12 reps.
@Matt. I’ll be replacing all the old vids with new ones. I aim to illustrate BO form for each exercise on the first cycle of THT training in TA2.0 – this should be a great help for all newbies to the site, and regulars alike.
For body fat, I use accumeasure callipers – they only require one testing site.
In this scenario I would switch the exercise e.g. DB presses to standing BB presses or shrugs for upright rows.
@Jim. Sorry, I don’t know anything about the crossfit system. I’ve only heard the name. Anyway, I truly believe my program builds maximum muscle in minimum time. If that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t say it. Heck, many of my readers are doing what they’ve been told is impossible – burning fat and building muscle simultaneously.
@WAI. Yes I carb-up weekly, apart from when I cut. Yes, it’s true that you can build muscle as you lose fat BUT not at the same rate as when primarily targeting muscle growth rather than fat loss.
For EZ bar curls, experiment with grip width. Also, look into wrist wraps as an option.
@Chris & Mark. Thanks mate. Training without a spot I will do. I will also be uploading new videos over the coming weeks.
@John. Your foods look good for carb-load days. See the forum for a bunch of low carb ideas.
@Jill. I don’t recommend any variations for women. I haven’t seen any compelling reasons to do so. If and when I do, I’ll let you know.
@Derrick. Firstly, congrats! Yes, it will work for your wife. What I suggest is that she let her satiety guide her consumption if she is worried about weight gain.
@Rich. I’ve already done a few but it’s an area I’m hugely interested in. I’ll do more in the future.
The rest of the suggestions seem to revolve around free weights, cardio and other training systems. The suggestions have been great and I’ll put these into the works my friends.
Thanks also to Matt and Scott 😉
I sometimes get cramps in my abs about the belly button area when doing decline sit ups with and without weights. Crunches are fine though. Am I doing something wrong? I’m following the instructions in the TSPA ebook.
Just wondering if you got my Email about an Idea. Well if not Id like to know how long it takes to deplete all of your glycogen stores, after a carb up. Muscles and liver, and what exercises are best at doing this. It would be cool to know because if I knew I was totally depleted I would know where I stand in terms of what exercises I need to do.
Thanx in advance
I’m in Utah, too. What gym do you work out of? I’m willing to drive a bit, and I’d love to hear your thoughts first-hand. I will warn you I’m a formerly-obese low-carb veteran (some would say extremist) but a newbie lifter, only lifting since October 2008.
Love to train with you some time. Just because I think you’re crazy on the “a calorie is a calorie” topic doesn’t mean you don’t have good advice to give elsewhere 🙂
I’d definitely like to see all of @Adnan’s suggestions. Especially stretching at the mo.
I also had a problem with cramping, though for me it was in my right calf. Increase your potassium and water consumption religiously for the next two weeks and see if it resolves the issue. That solution works for me and lots of other people!
Potassium can be hard, though, since there are few low-carb sources of it. Low-Carb IsoPure protein powder has a whopping 750mg of potassium per serving, and that really helps that particular deficiency.
Hey Mark. I have a quick question that has been bothering me for a while. I have been working out for a while now, I try to do the Progressive Overload with each practice. Lately though my muscles have been less and less sore after each training. Im woundering if there is something that im doing wrong or is it just how its suppost to be. Is muscle soreness necessary for maximum gains?
No your fine. I dont get sore anymore unless I take like a week or 2 off any type of training and the initial post lift day is the only time Im sore. Its just your muscles are getting used to the continual stress you put on them.
Was in the gym the other day doing some barbell curls when I noticed that my left arm seemed to be struggling a lot more than my right. I was kinda shocked that it could be so much weaker. I looked at the weight to find it was actually heavier. Doh! lol
This happened again today to a slightly lesser extent while I was doing some Standing Barbell Presses. My left shoulder was struggling a bit more than my right which meant the form wasnt looking to optimal. I double checked the weights were the same.Yup. So my left shoulder is weaker it would seem.
I’m assuming that I should do an extra set on my left to make it as strong as my right. What do you think?
A couple things I’ve been trying to work out:
1) There are certain exercises that require I go up less than the base 5lb intervals found between most dumbbells. Can you recommend any kind of 1lb / 2.5lb “add-ons” for dumbbells? (only thing I’ve seen that comes close is weight “wraps” used by some joggers)
Keep up the good work Mark!
Your site is definitely genuinely useful.
Ok, I’ve built a nice body the natural way. Now I just want to maintain the muscle gains I’ve made, and do it with the least amount of effort, and the most flexible diet possible. What types of changes would you suggest that would help me keep those gains while making the routine more sustainable for a guy with a wife, kids, and a full time job?
yo mark how long have you been useing that journal thing for? or how long have you been tracking your progress?
it would be cool to see an archive article of your physique progression over the years.
photos of your physique from when you first started training and what you were eating and training like
then we can see how your orignal workouts and meals didnt give you the physique you wanted
and so we can see how your muscle hack workouts and eating real made a change on your physique
ive never seen stuff like that before and it would be really interesting
Could you talk about how you would change or alter a normal diet for people who work out very early and first thing in the morning.
I just saw an article on FOXNews.com about a study that was done on red meat. I personally love the stuff and I know the benefits to weightlifters in eating a good portion of it. But after reading this, I’m wondering if I should cut down red meat and go for chicken, pork and tuna instead. Any thoughts on a good ratio of the different meats?
Also, I’ve been doing the 2-3 minute breaks between sets as suggested. But I’m starting to wonder if there’d be any harm on putting a set in for a different muscle group during that break. Wouldn’t that be more efficient? Or is there some negative point that I’m missing?
I’m really looking forward to any comments or an article on these points. Have a good one.
Ah, sorry, I didn’t post the article URL, did I. Here it is: https://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,510255,00.html
Maybe a vegetarian MANS diet…if possible?