Bodybuilding is Art and Science and because it has a defined purpose, it’s a process of Design as well. It’s fascinating to watch how modern technology has circled back to what Nature invented millions of years ago – our communications and networking technologies are mimicking human nervous system, artificial intelligence is after our brains and thought process, and all together they made possible design and production of artificial body parts powered by lithium-ion batteries! What an amazing time we live in!
Bodybuilding is a lifelong journey and it’s the set of principles one’s lives by every day. In the age of the dawn of artificial intelligence, our bodies could be the only way to distinguish between what was created by nature and what human civilization brought to life on its own.
My ultimate goal is to coach you on how to live a life of victory and see the beautiful body that comes with it as a byproduct of feeling amazing while making better choices about your health and wellness.
Humans are creatures of habits and it’s the daily living routine that ultimately affects our body composition. Habits and motivation could be easier than you think and this is where my coaching plan differentiates from others. I won’t bore you with repetitive moves, exhausting cardio, complicated fitness jargon, plans, numbers, and tables… My strategies are based on the science of positive psychology. We will focus on making wellness, happiness, and fitness an essential part of your everyday life and your main source of energy, vitality, and success. Periodization is one of the most important aspects of bodybuilding in terms of muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth), additionally, it brings the feeling of newness into our lives which in return our mental capacity to achieve our goals and dreams.
One day we might be training a fat-burning catwalk for your everyday runway show on your way to work. And another day we will learn how to burn 5 times the calories while having a nominal conversation with your friend or giving a PowerPoint presentation in the office. There are countless ways to make fitness an essential part of your everyday life.
That’s right, I will coach you how to develop a body language of a champion which in return maximizes your confidence, evoke body’s natural hormonal response that in return will help to improve your mood, promote better metabolism and overall wellbeing.
Did you know what is the main ingredient in the belly fat? Scientists agree that it is stress! It took me a while to shift my perspective on fitness and now I am on a mission to coach you to take the energy of stress and turn it into pure muscle instead of belly fat.
Here is what you will learn when you sign up for online fitness and bodybuilding coaching with Maxwell Alexander:
- Look amazing after the first coaching session: Discover the billion-dollar secret of the fashion industry. I will give you a head start by making you look 100% more fit on day one and the best thing is that your first session won’t even happen at the gym! The first coaching session will be in your favorite clothing store, online stores could work just as well. Yes, you will get on a shopping spree and using my fitness style strategies will make yourself look like you are already halfway there!
- Living the life of victory: Daily habits, Success, Empowerment, Body language. Learn the secrets of the runway models.
- The Art and Science of Bodybuilding. Yes, there is science behind it and its name is not “bro-science”!
- Life goals: Wellness, Happiness and feeling good. The main body organ that you use in bodybuilding is the brain, so what happens in your head is responsible for 90% of the results you get, so being in balance with the rest of your life and feeling happy, will get you to your bodybuilding goals much faster.
- Motivation and The power of visualization.
- Bodybuilding Nutrition Strategies and Supplements.
- Importance of periodization.
- Bodybuilding techniques and traditions.
Muscle Hyperthrophy: The Science behind Muscle Growth
The sliding filament theory explains the mechanism of muscle contraction via the process of actin and myosin filaments sliding over each other resulting in a shortening of the motor unit and the muscle overall.
While sliding filament theory explains fiber contraction, the size principle of motor unit recruitment states that motor units will be recruited in order of size: smaller units that produce smaller force, but resistant to fatigue go first, and when intensity increases additional larger units get activated to produce more action.
The all or none theory is important in explaining two of the above theories while stating that a single motor unit can only be in two states: completely relaxed or fully contracted and therefore the action produced by a muscle is based on the number and sequencing of single motor units and not a degree of a single unit response.
Understanding of these three principles is crucial when training and coaching a bodybuilder because the information isn’t obviously apparent to a person who might think they know their body well. Being aware of the mechanics inside of the muscle and the way a motor response is generated is specifically important to bodybuilders because of their muscle hypertrophy goals and the end result depends on how well one leverages the effect of the above theories on muscle growth.
The application of these theories in bodybuilding training comes down to developing training techniques that maximize muscle hypertrophy by engaging the maximum number of muscle motor units through variation in load, intensity, speed, volume, and direction of exercises. For example, training the same muscle group using the same weight, but different angles will engage more motor units than repeating an exercise with the same angle. Or performing heavy loaded compound movements will engage and exercise a much broader number of units, as opposed to light, aerobic activity.
The Six Core Lifts: Foundation of the Life-Long Bodybuilding Journey
The six core lifts including squats, overhead press, chin-ups, bench press, deadlifts, and bar dips are compound movements that cover the engagement of virtually all skeletal muscles which is important for developing strong and symmetrical physique. The author feels that these core movements should be a foundation of a bodybuilder’s program because all together they cause balanced muscular and neurological adaptation while promoting sustained growth.
The advantage of the core compound lifts is in their ability to affect the entire musculoskeletal system which promotes developing not only the skeletal muscular tissue but also improvement and strengthening of joints and ligaments according to the larger demands. All together these adaptations create a stronger and more efficient system capable of achieving better bodybuilding results while minimizing injuries and pain that comes with intense fitness training such as bodybuilding. Additionally, these core lifts cause much higher anabolic hormonal response including the growth hormone and testosterone, as opposed to isolated moves, therefore, they are much more effective in achieving muscle hypertrophy goals.
My bodybuilding certification course by the International Sports Sciences Association was created by Josh Bryant who trains some of the world’s muscular and strongest athletes. I totally agree with his idea of placing core lifts at the foundation of a training program for bodybuilders. I believe that bodybuilding is a journey and not a destination and therefore a balanced approach that is based on a strong foundation is the key to keep the ball rolling in the long run, without sacrificing physical and mental health for short and unsustainable goals. Core compound lifts, when performed and programmed properly, are proven to deliver the results in a safe and sustainable manner and help bodybuilders to achieve the winning physique and other personal goals at the same time.
Bodybuilding program design and three factors essential to optimizing muscle growth
Hypertrophy or muscle growth through a growth in the size of its component cells happens because of the three factors including mechanical tension, muscle damage, and metabolic stress according to Brad Schoenfeld who wrote for the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. While muscle damage has a delayed effect on muscle hypertrophy (approximately 24 hours after strength and resistance exercise), metabolic stress caused by anabolic metabolism induces hypertrophy right after resistance training with peak protein consumption around 30 minutes after the workout.
Heavy resistance training is the most beneficial method to achieve muscle hypertrophy (due to its effect on the Type II fibers), which was confirmed by research. However, when designing an effective training program for a bodybuilder, several steps must be taken to maximize hypertrophy in a safer and responsible manner.
Ronnie Coleman recommends starting with a good powerlifting base with heavy core lifts. The powerlifting approach involves lifting maximum heavy loads with a small number of reps and causes myofibrillar hypertrophy that gives that dense look to those athletes who focus on powerlifting. Core lifts create a stable foundation and strengthen the entire musculoskeletal system that will become ready for the next step in maximizing muscle hypertrophy: Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy which accumulation of the noncontractile matter in muscle cells. It is the sarcoplasmic hypertrophy that helps bodybuilders to achieve their aesthetic goals and shape the muscles in the desired way. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is caused by high-volume resistance training with a higher number of reps that create the pump effect. Additionally, training for sarcoplasmic hypertrophy helps to improve and strengthen connective tissue like ligaments and tendons while stimulating joints and causing the hormonal response that is necessary for the optimal muscle hypertrophy.
Periodization is one of the most important aspects of bodybuilding programming and affects the muscle gains, ability to recover, and the mental state of an athlete.
The main reason periodization became an essential part of bodybuilding is its effect on achieving muscle hypertrophy goals. Periodization means constantly changing workout patterns (volume, load, intensity, angles) and that in return leads to continuous muscle growth, given that appropriate nutrition and supplementation are in place.
In my opinion, flexible nonlinear periodization is one of the best ways to about optimizing bodybuilder’s physique because of several reasons. First of all, nonlinear periodization is proven to have a great effect on muscle hypertrophy by constantly changing training patterns, plus from my experience, it is also a much more sustainable way to train from the mental perspective. Getting bored with the same all routine could lead to a lack of motivation and low energy and that will never produce great hypertrophy results.
Additionally, the flexibility component in the flexible nonlinear periodization approach allows adjusting each training session based on the readiness of the athlete, therefore potential injuries and overtraining could be minimized. It seems that this approach is more natural and takes into account the wellbeing of the bodybuilder rather than forcing a workout that could be way too much, or too little in fact. Plus having the athlete feeling like he or she is in control of the process by having a choice and variety of intensity and volume of training, they would be more confident and empowered to push further and harder. Positive psychology is applicable in bodybuilding like nowhere else and it is my goal to put to good use.
Recovery Phase is when the Muscle Hypertrophy (Muscle Growth) happens, therefore this phase is just as important as the training itself.
Bodybuilding is a very intense sport, especially while an athlete is getting ready for a competition. Extreme motivation and pressure could push one to the edge or even beyond her or his abilities taxing heavily musculoskeletal and central nervous systems. Additionally recovery period is when muscles grow and because muscle hypertrophy is the goal in bodybuilding, the recovery phase is just as important as training and has to be taken seriously.
The recovery process is not the same for everyone and is largely affected by bodybuilder’s genetics. There are three types of genetic makeup that define a person’s body type. Ectomorphs are lean and tall, at the same time, it is difficult for them to build muscle mass. Endomorphs are big and naturally have a much higher percentage of body fat. Their metabolism is also slower, therefore, their bodies have a tendency to store body fat. Mesomorphs are naturally muscular and fit. Their metabolism is high and muscle cells respond well to training and grow much faster than two other genetic types.
Another factor that can affect the recovery period is the intensity of a workout. More intense high volume loads will take longer to recover from, as opposed to lighter intensity levels.
Environmental and psychological stressors, even outside of the gym, should also be accounted for, as they affect the athlete’s mental state and thus can cause fatigue and inadequate recovery after training.
We are what we eat and this is one of the most important concepts to take into account during a recovery phase: an appropriate amount of whey protein is required within the first 30 minutes after the workout, to maximize the absorption of protein and muscle growth. In the hours after the workout, additional supplements, such as amino acids could be used to further optimize the recovery from the nutrition standpoint.
Mild stretching, massage and foam rollers will increase the blood flow and can help to flush post-workout toxins from the muscle which in return will improve the recovery.
And the last. but not least is the mental aspect of recovery: vigorous exercise causes as much psychological stress on the CNS as physical stress on the body, therefore mental recovery techniques such as meditation, visualization or simply listening to relaxing classical music can help to restore the mental balance.
Some bodybuilders might choose active recovery when they will decrease the volume and intensity of the exercise allowing the body to recover while still being productive and burning more calories. This approach could be great during the cutting cycle when fat loss is a priority.