Popular vegan bodybuilder Alfredo Martin recently passed away from mysterious circumstances leaving his family and friends devastated. Martin’s girlfriend, Vera Schroeder broke the news of his passing on social media. Martin is another in a long list of bodybuilders who have been passing away at very young age recently.
A YouTuber and Instagram influencer, Alfredo Martin was an outspoken bodybuilder with a focus on gaining muscle mass and shedding fat all while being on a vegan diet. His Instagram page Heroe Fitness was filled with a ton of information and progress pics that motivated his loyal followers. He informed his fans and followers on different methods of gaining muscle and creating their ideal physique. At times controversial with his approach, but nonetheless his message and mission was clear. He tried to help people reach their physical best through bodybuilding. Passing away at the age of 30 has left everyone in his community shocked and devastated.
Currently, no cause of death has been reported. Many are speculating that the cause of death is related to the usage of PEDs. Alfredo Martin was open and honest about utilizing PEDs to help enhance his physique. But with no real cause of death, all of this is speculation.
Those Left Behind
Vera Schroeder, the girlfriend of Alfredo Martin, took to social media to express her grief over the loss of her partner. She had this to say about the passing of Martin.
I don’t know what it means to hit rock bottom because no one so close to me has ever died, but I’m discovering that what comes after the loss is much worse…the return to an empty home, the lack of response when I say I love you in loud voice, the longing for your caresses, your smile, serious but loving, your warmth, your hug, your kisses, all the everyday things we did together, waking up in an empty house that was once shared, closing the room in the that we spend most of the time because I can’t stand being in it because it’s too painful and I keep imagining you there, the inability to sleep in the bed because we shared it and now I “sleep” on the couch.
Well, sleep, I don’t sleep. The change in the routine of my day and my weeks, the wait for my phone to turn on with a message from you, passing by all the usual places we went to.
All the broken plans and the promises of things I always wanted to do with you or do for you that can never be fulfilled, all the things you see and I say to myself: I bet you would love this and he “want” to tell you about it or surprise you with it and the sudden realization that I can’t, and the million other minor details that are now missing from my life after losing you.
All things are almost worse than death itself. Nothing can ever fill that place…and it never will…can you die of heartbreak? I could almost wish so.
News and Editorial Writer at Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.
Jerry Brainum breaks down optimizing fat oxidation during a workout in this week’s Straight Facts.
Diet is the most important factor to losing weight. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help improve your fat burning capabilities via workouts and aerobic exercise. Yes, exercising can help you add a bit more fat loss into your goals – but it’s not always easy. Basic exercise does not guarantee fat loss. This is a fact that has frustrated many across the globe as they try to lose pounds. In an episode of Straight Facts, Jerry Brainum breaks down the key factors that help increase fat oxidation and improve fat loss during a workout.
Jerry Brainum starts the episode with a very important reminder: What you eat is the key determining factor in how much fat you burn or gain, this seems to be something that many people forget. While exercise can help burn fat – even the most perfectly performed aerobic training routine will only bring minimum fat loss, as you cannot out-train a bad diet. If you’re looking to truly transform your body and weight – a lifestyle change in your diet is necessary, you cannot just be eating meals full of straight junk.
With that being said, fat loss via exercise can also be very helpful alongside a proper diet. Which is why Jerry Brainum uses research studies to help break down the key determining factors in burning fat during a workout. Let’s jump into the main points.
Carbohydrates, Workouts, and Fat Loss
The key to losing fat while exercising is fat oxidization, a term that not everyone is all too familiar with, but he explains it. So for the entirety of this episode, Jerry Brainum breaks down the best ways to improve fat oxidization during your training routine. One of the most important factors to consider is how many carbohydrates you consume before a workout. Carbs provide fuel and energy for your body, making certain foods a great pre-workout. So when you exercise while loaded on carbs, your body will chose the carbs over fat to fuel your workout.
On basic terms, this means that if you exercise while loaded up on carbohydrates, you will burn less fat. However, in practice this seems to make little difference. Studies have shown that fasted cardio does not help increase fat loss.
HIIT Training and Fat Loss
Nearly everyone knows that aerobic exercise is the key to burning fat through exercise. But there are various ways to train aerobically. Which training style or strategy is best to burn the most fat? Typically, studies have shown that your body starts truly oxidizing fat over carbs after exercising for more than 60-90 minutes. Jerry Brainum wouldn’t recommend that individuals train every day for over 90 minutes though.
Instead, High Intensity Interval Training (aka HIIT) has shown to bring the best benefit to weight loss. HIIT training is so high intensity, that your body wants fast fuel. This would come from carbs. That sounds bad, right? However, studies have shown that HIIT training increases your metabolism for hours after you finish exercising. This leads to fat oxidation and fat loss for a few hours throughout your day. Take a look at Mike Mentzer, who was in the gym for around 45 minutes a workout but was absolutely massive and shredded when he was competing.
The key with this, though, is to ensure you are truly performing HIIT training correctly. The goal of HIIT is to bring up your heart rate to 90% of its max, really getting that blood pumping and the fat burning. If you aren’t pushing hard enough to hit that point – you won’t see those same fat burning boosts.
An additional note for those focusing on aerobic exercise. Studies have shown that standing exercises burn fat better than sitting ones. So it’s best to move from cycling to running, whether that is outside or on a treadmill, if possible. The stairclimber is also a great option for burning fat.
How Your Environment Helps You Lose Fat
Studies have shown that if you are training under very hot temperatures, that your body will oxidize fat less, so no more dumbbell curls in the sauna. This is only slight – but something of note. On the flip side, Jerry Brainum explains that some studies have shown extremely cold environments help boost fat loss. Those include:
Fat Burner supplements are everywhere these days, you cannot look down any supplement aisle without seeing these. But do the fat burning supplements really work? Jerry Brainum warns that fat burners are not miracle pills, and they do not actually burn fat at all. Instead, they help mobilize fat. So in order for a fat burner to work – you absolutely need to exercise. Taking a fat burner but not exercising will do absolutely nothing for your fat loss journey.
In addition to fat burner supplements, caffeine is also a great substance to help mobilize fat, and this is a common ingredient in energy drinks and pre-workouts. This is good news for all those coffee drinkers out there. Studies have shown that approx. 3-4 cups of coffee per day can help improve fat loss when you exercise.
Fat Burning Wrap Up
Jerry Brainum goes into far more detail about the best factors to help improve fat burning during a workout. However, as he states at the very top – exercise is the least effective way to lose weight. A proper diet and lifestyle change is most important to meeting your weight loss goals.
However, if you want to give yourself an extra edge alongside your diet – Jerry Brainum’s guide using past research studies will help you optimize your fat loss during a workout. Make sure to watch the entire episode of Straight Facts for the full details above. And don’t forget to visit Generation Iron every Wednesday for new episodes each week!
Generation Iron may receive commissions on purchases made through our links. See our disclosure page for more information.
Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Jay Cutler believes Derek Lunsford has a slight disadvantage if he gets bigger because of his height.
With the current state of the Men’s Open division, Derek Lunsfordwill have to work as hard as ever to retain his Mr. Olympia title in 2024. Jay Cutlerrecently discussed the division and Lunsford’s prospects for becoming a back-to-back champion. He offered some advice and it stemmed from Lunsford’s lack of height.
At 5-foot-6, Lunsford is a shorter competitor and Cutler believes that he should not be focused on adding size because of it.
“He just needs to be careful to not get too big. Where Ronnie and myself were able to get bigger, even Brandon Curry. We all put on size but when you have that limited structure-to-height ratio, you have to be careful to not get too big cause otherwise, you look compact.”
Lunsford upset Hadi Choopan during the Olympia just a few weeks ago. He became the first competitor to win in two separate divisions, doing to his 212 title from 2021.
During the 2023 Olympia, Lunsford was able to outdo the competition. Choopan finished as the runner-up while Arnold Classic champ Samson Dauda finished third. The contest was missing Nick Walker, who was forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury.
Jay Cutler Talks Derek Lunsford’s Height
Derek Lunsford quick put together one of the elite physiques in Men’s Open. He did it in one year after putting on significant amount of muscle mass in 2022. Now, it is about maintaining his physique and making improvements where necessary. Jay Cutler believes that putting on size is not the answer.
“Right now, you have to respect what he was able to do because he did improve from last year and he does have a height disadvantage because he is a little shorter so you know they alway aid a great big man will beat a great little guy. I hate to say little but he’s just shorter in stature but he is very wide and obviously, he’s got a crazy back and all that.”
Get rid of the fluff, but keep packing on the muscle mass
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a bodybuilder getting ready to compete or an average person getting shredded for a vacation, the fundamentals of fat loss and muscle gain are the same. And you may be wondering how to lose fat and gain muscle, but don’t worry, we have you covered.
Body recomposition is the journey of fat loss and muscle gain, but it isn’t an easy one. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication. The only way to get results you want is by being consistent. This is an in-depth guide on how to burn fat without losing strength.
Let’s break down what it takes to lose fat but continue building muscle.
Training To Build Muscle
When it comes to building muscle mass, the only way to do so is through training, and in particular resistance training. There are various methods and popular workouts that are known in the fitness industry when it comes to building muscle, but first you need to get the fundamentals right.
Take a look at these methods to build muscle mass.
This is an extremely important term when it comes to building muscle and improving performance, without progressive overload you will not get the results you want. Progressive overload is the ability to gradually increase stress placed on the musculoskeletal system. This means continuously making the exercise more difficult through small increments, rather than just throwing a massive amount of weight on the barbell and hoping you don’t get injured.
Progressive overload can be done in various different ways. One of the best ways to overload and build muscle is by increasing the weight. The more weight you lift, the more tension is placed on the muscle and the bigger and stronger they get. However, it isn’t always possible to increase the weight. For starters, our bodies will only be able to push to a certain point, or you may not have access to heavier weights. If so, you can still progressively overload by increasing the sets, reps, reducing the tempo or even reducing rest time in-between sets.
Another important factor for building muscle is to include a large amount of compound lifts in your weight training sessions. Compound exercises include large muscle groups as opposed to accessory exercises that feature smaller muscle groups.
The benefit of including compound lifts in your workout is that the more muscle you’re using, the more muscle you’ll build, it’s as simple as that. For example, when you perform a barbell bent over row, you are using various muscles in the back, along with the biceps and the core muscles. In opposition, when you do a bicep curl, you are primarily only using your biceps.
On top of this, when you are weight training your heart rate increases and your metabolic rate also increases, this means you burn your calories quicker. When you’re doing big compound lifts this will increase your metabolism and aid fat loss.
Exercise To Lose Fat
When it comes to exercise for fat loss, in-order to push for a calorie deficit, you need to ensure that you are active enough for the amount of calories you are consuming. For example, if you are consuming 2,000 calories, but only burning 1,000 calories during resistance training, you will just continue to bulk up. This means that although strength training sessions are important, your everyday movement will be the most important for fat loss.
NEAT is non exercise activity thermogenesis, which is all of the activity you do that doesn’t include your workouts. This can be doing your daily steps, gardening or carrying the food shopping, anything that is included in your everyday activity.
It is especially important to get your NEAT up during a fat loss phase because it is a time when you need to be in a calorie deficit and therefore, the more calorie you can burn from everyday activities the better.
When you’re trying to lose fat and build muscle at the same time, cardio is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health and also increase the energy expended. That being said, intense bouts of cardio may have a detrimental effect on your strength training if you do too much. This is because the main focus should be on strength, therefore tiring the body with intense cardio may leave the muscles too fatigued for gym sessions.
This is why LISS is a great alternative. Low Intensity Steady State cardio is usually performed for 30-60 minutes and will increase your calorie expenditure without having an adverse effect on your strength training. LISS can be as simple as walking on the treadmill on an incline, or doing the stairclimber at a steady pace.
Nutrition For Fat Loss & Muscle Gain
The main thing to consider in terms of nutrition and fat loss is being in a calorie deficit. This means consuming less calories than you expend. During body recomposition, you will be required to reduce your calorie intake for the best fat loss results.
As well as strength training, you also need to be fueling your body with adequate calories and the right ones. This means getting enough protein. Protein is one of three macronutrients the body needs to function and survive, it is used to repair and build muscle, grow hair and nails and regulate hormones in the body, so it’s pretty important.
Protein is made up of amino acids which are the building blocks of our body. Without a sufficient amount of protein, not only does our body not function as well, but your muscles will not be able to repair at a rate necessary when you’re strength training. This results in not achieving the muscle mass you desire for body recomposition.
When you train the muscles, micro tears are created, and it is once these are repaired that the muscle will grow. In-order to repair you need enough sleep, rest and protein. Therefore without enough of each of these things, your muscles will not grow and it may also result in injury.
Another important factor in nutrition for muscle gain is to eat enough calories so that you are not starving the muscles and cannot incur muscle growth.
Although to lose fat you need to be in a calorie deficit, if you are in too much of a deficit this can have a negative effect. Your body uses carbohydrates and fats as energy sources. When we exercise, we are burning calories from these two macronutrients. If you are not consuming enough of either of these, or you are doing a considerable amount more exercise than the calories you consume, then your body will start to use protein as a source of fuel.
This isn’t good. If your body is using protein for energy then that protein cannot be used for muscle growth.
Supplements For Body Recomposition
Once you’ve got your nutrition and exercise down to a T, then it might be time to consider supplementation for the final push of your body recomposition. It is important to note that you will get the best results from supplements once you have the foundations set. Supplements are there as a final push to get you to where you want to be. Here are some key supplements to consider when you want to lose fat and gain muscle:
Protein powder is an essential if you need to increase your protein in-take and struggle to get it from natural food sources. Whey protein in-particular is the most popular form of protein and comes from a by-product of milk and cheese. It is often sold in a powder form, comes in several flavors and can be mixed with water or milk/milk alternatives right in your shaker bottle. Protein powder often has around 30g of protein per scoop and can be a great low calorie way to increase your daily protein intake.
Fat burners are often the icing on the cake when it comes to fat loss. You must execute your nutrition and training before moving to the final stages with a fat burner.
Ingredients often found in fat burners are there to increase your metabolism, use stored fat as energy and improve your energy levels so that you can train harder. To find a good fat burner, you should look for the following ingredients:
If you’re losing fat then you should be in a calorie deficit. Although this is essential, it might leave you feeling deflated and fatigued when it comes to training. To give your body a push you can opt to take pre-workout supplements. They usually come in a powder, capsule or as a snack bar and should be consumed before training.
Pre-workout supplements often have similar ingredients no matter what the brand, important ingredients to look out for include:
Now are you ready to cut fat and keep muscle? Remember to make strength training the most important part of your workout routines to maintain strength and incorporate steady state cardio and NEAT to boost the amount of calories you expend.
Along with this, a controlled calorie deficit is vital if you want to lose fat, however keeping large amounts of protein in your diet to hold onto that all important muscle mass.
The Egyptian lateral raise allows you to raise heavier dumbbells than the standard dumbbell lateral raise.
The press and lateral raise are indispensable for developing well-rounded and impressive shoulders. While many fitness enthusiasts prioritize pressing movements to target the anterior delts, incorporating the lateral raise is crucial for achieving three-dimensional deltoids. Unlike presses such as the overhead press that primarily engage the front delts, the lateral raise specifically targets the medial delts, promoting comprehensive growth and muscular symmetry (1).
The Egyptian lateral raise is a variation of the regular dumbbell lateral raise. This isolation exercise hits the lateral delts with more weight and time under tension, increasing shoulder mass. It also isolates the delts better than bilateral lateral raises.
So, how do you do the Egyptian lateral raise, and how does it compare to the standard lateral raise? In this exercise guide, we share that information alongside the benefits of doing this variation. We also answer popular questions about this exercise and share some more shoulder-building alternatives to try.
Techniques and Muscles Worked
The Egyptian lateral raise focuses on hitting your lateral delts while leaning. This routine is an excellent alternative for lifters with difficulty concentrating on their delts during regular lateral raises. It’s a form of unilateral training for the medial delts that focuses on range of motion and heavier loads.
You need dumbbells and something sturdy to lean on for the Egyptian lateral raise. Keep your negatives slow and do them deliberately for the best results with this exercise. Below is a step-by-step guide on performing the Egyptian lateral raise.
Choose a lightweight dumbbell to ensure you hit a full range of motion when doing this exercise, and hold it in your right hand.
Position yourself next to your sturdy support and grab it with your left hand. This can be a squat rack, cable machine, or column. Just make sure it can support your weight.
Bring your feet together close to the support and then fully extend the left arm, grabbing to hang out in the opposite direction.
Keeping your spine neutral and your core tight, position your weight-bearing arm perpendicular to the floor. This is your starting position.
Raise your right hand with the dumbbell until it is parallel to the floor. Lift your chest and pull back your shoulder blades to keep the focus on your delts.
Pause when your arm is parallel, then slowly return it to the starting position to complete your rep.
Do for as many reps as you desire, then switch arms and steps 4 to 6.
The Egyptian lateral raise is an exercise that you should add to your next shoulder training routine. It’s an excellent low-weight, high-rep training that engages your delts intensely. Below are more benefits of this exercise.
The Egyptian lateral raise is an effective isolation routine to support the compound exercises you do for your shoulders. It induces muscle hypertrophy in the delts, leading to bigger size. Bigger shoulders make your waist look smaller and trimmer, which gives you the perfect V-shape.
Egyptian lateral raises strengthen your delts, which is excellent for your joints. It takes the stress off them, reducing your risk of injuries. The rotator cuff, in particular, benefits from stronger delts and will help keep your shoulders injury-free.
Fix Muscle & Strength Imbalances
The Egyptian lateral raise is a unilateral exercise. Doing it one arm after another can help you find muscle or strength imbalances between your arms. You can then use this exercise to work on and fix the discrepancy.
Great Mind Muscle Connection
The only way to do the Egyptian lateral raise for results is slowly and with focus. You need to use your mind-muscle connection for this exercise. This study shows how the mind-muscle connection leads to more muscle hypertrophy and growth (2).
Break Through Delt Plateau
Have your medial delts hit a plateau when doing the regular lateral raise and stopped seeing results? The Egyptian lateral raise allows you to vary your routine, break out of that plateau, and resume growing your shoulders (3).
Lift Heavier Weight
Compared to the standard lateral raise, the Egyptian lateral raise will allow you to lift heavier loads due to the angle of your torso and stabilize from gripping onto something with your non-lifting arm. Raising heavier weights with your delts will help them grow.
More Time Under Tension
The angle of this movement allows you to bring the dumbbells through a greater range of motion and, therefore, more time under tension to help stimulate more muscle growth in the medial deltoids.
Egyptian Lateral Raise Alternatives
The Egyptian lateral raise isn’t the only exercise you can use to build your delts. Below are other alternatives that are also effective.
Incline Dumbbell Lateral Raise
The incline bench dumbbell lateral raise is an effective lying lateral raise variation. Chest-supported lateral raises help remove momentum and force you to use the proper form for this exercise. The bench should be at an incline of 70-80 degrees to hit your side delts, while an incline of 60 will work your posterior delts more.
Leaning Cable Lateral Raise
People consider leaning cable lateral raises a variation of the Egyptian lateral raise because of the leaning. This routine also keeps constant tension on your muscles throughout the range of motion, which means more time under tension and more growth. You can also focus more on your anterior delts by doing this exercise with the cable behind your back.
Single Arm Dumbbell Lateral Raise
The single-arm dumbbell lateral raise is an excellent routine for your medial delts. It’s a unilateral routine, also great for fixing muscle imbalances.
What muscles do Egyptian lateral raises work?
Egyptian lateral raises work on your shoulder muscles like other lateral raises, specifically isolating and building your lateral delts.
What are the benefits of Egyptian lateral raises?
Some benefits of the Egyptian lateral raise include building bigger shoulders to improve your V-shape and helping you break through medial deltoid muscle growth plateau. Check the exercise guide above for more benefits.
Is the Egyptian lateral raise more effective than the side lateral raise?
It depends on what your goals are. While this exercise is more effective at isolating your lateral delts, you need both routines for a more balanced shoulder workout.
Coratella, G., Tornatore, G., Longo, S., Esposito, F., & Cè, E. (2020). An Electromyographic Analysis of Lateral Raise Variations and Frontal Raise in Competitive Bodybuilders. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(17), 6015. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176015
Halperin, I., & Vigotsky, A. D. (2016). The mind-muscle connection in resistance training: friend or foe?. European journal of applied physiology, 116(4), 863–864. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-016-3341-y
Krzysztofik, M., Wilk, M., Wojdała, G., & Gołaś, A. (2019). Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(24), 4897. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244897
Mark Wahlberg continues to train at a high level but has dialed it back recently.
Mark Wahlbergcontinues to train at a high level at 52 years old. He has maintained his shredded physique and it is because of his overall dedication and recovery process. On Thanksgiving Day, Wahlberg shared a video giving thanks and hopping into an ice bath before hitting his home gym. Wahlberg has also discussed his recovery process and shared that his training routine is no longer seven days.
Wahlberg became known at an early age for his roles on the big screen. He would show off his incredible physique both in movies and as a model. As time went on, Wahlberg continued to display a shredded physique. As he continues to train hard, Wahlberg began training at all hours of the day. This includes as early as 3 or 4 a.m.
On Thanksgiving, Wahlberg jumped into an ice bath before taking time to sculpt once again.
“Remember on this day and everyday, give thanks and prayers. Got a late start today. It’s 40 degrees outside, 40 degrees in the water.”
Mark Wahlberg is no stranger to transforming his body to fit a role, like many stars in Hollywood. This includes adding weight for his role in Father Stu where he had to put on around 30 pounds. The weight quickly fell off an Wahlberg regained his shredded midsection.
At 52 years old, he admitted to cutting back his training routine.
“I just, you know, get more and more injuries and not recovering the way I should. There’s no reason why anybody, never mind somebody at 52 years old, needs to be training seven days a week and then doing two a days. You’re just putting a pounding on your body and recovery, you know.
God has given us the best possible gifts. One of them is sleep right to recover and to heal and also even cold water.”
Despite cutting back, Mark Wahlberg continues to be as motivated as ever in his fitness. He has a great balance in his diet and in the gym to keep his build. This is the biggest key when it comes to maintaining a physique to be proud of.
“Eat right, exercise and rest, and you know what? You have to find balance. You don’t want to live a boot camp type of existence. You want to be able to go out, have fun, reward tousled for your hard work.”
One product that the Generation Iron team recommends for all of your ice bath needs, Ice Barrel, especially if you want to get in that proper recovery. Ice Barrel is 42 inches high and 31 inches wide, making it easy to transport yet big enough for you to stay in an upright position, instead of being reclined, so you can fully experience the natural response of forced cold exposure. The design also allows you to choose how much you wish to submerge yourself, whether that’s up to your neck and shoulders or even dunking completely in the cold water.
How To Perform Bodyweight Workouts Safely and Effectively
Due to the worldwide pandemic in 2020, home-based training had become increasingly more popular during the past few years, with many people stocking up on home gym equipment like barbells and dumbbells and squat racks amongst other pieces of equipment. However, not everyone stocked up on equipment like that, and were left performing basic home workouts. Not only are home workouts simple and convenient, you also do not need a great deal of equipment in order to perform a tough workout.
This article will highlight five reasons why high-rep bodyweight workouts might be causing more harm than good.
The Limitations Of Home Bodyweight Workouts
As touched upon, one of the main challenges with home bodyweight workouts is that it can be challenging to perform a workout that is challenging enough to bring about change.
By performing high-rep workouts, it is possible to develop muscular endurance, however, it is challenging to build serious strength using only bodyweight. Many bodyweight workouts lack the intensity required to develop strength because they do not utilize external loading.
In an attempt to increase this intensity, individuals often increase the number of reps performed per exercise. While this may indeed elevate the intensity and will enhance muscular endurance, heavy loading develops strength most efficiently (1) – something that is not possible with bodyweight training.
Furthermore, exercise selection can be difficult as there are fewer exercises to choose from when doing bodyweight workouts. As a result, you will often have to think outside the box in order to really challenge the body and bring about change. Not only can this make workouts restrictive, performing the same exercises time and time again for a prolonged period of time may not be particularly enjoyable or motivating.
As a result of the limited exercise pool, individuals often perform a number of exercises that work the same or similar movements and muscle groups. Working the same muscle groups and completing a high number of reps may lead to problems such as overuse injuries and poor movement patterns.
The Five Reasons Home Workouts are Not Enough
Although home training can be beneficial, there are some potential problems. This section will cover five reasons why high-rep bodyweight workouts may actually be causing issues.
1) Workouts May Not Lead To Substantial Change
As reflected on, a huge limitation with bodyweight only training is the fact that you cannot load the exercise. The only weight that you can utilize is your own bodyweight. For many individuals, this will simply not be enough to force the muscles of the body to adapt and increase in strength and function.
When exposed to a training stimulus, the human body will adapt to ensure that it can deal with this stimulus should it be exposed to it again. However, once the body has adapted to a certain point, it can comfortably deal with the demands of your training sessions.
Therefore, without the use of external loading, it can be difficult to place a powerful enough stimulus on the body to force it to adapt any further.
2) May Increase Stress Hormone Production and Lower Immunity
Cortisol is the primary stress hormone in the body that plays a variety of roles in blood sugar control, inflammation reduction, and metabolism regulation. However, high levels of cortisol can be detrimental to the body and can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, depression, digestive issues, headaches, and poor sleep.
Studies on high intensity workouts have determined that they increase the production of cortisol (2). Therefore, by regularly performing high intensity sessions, you may be causing a bit more harm than you’d like to. Extremely high intensity exercise sessions have also been found to reduce immune function and increase your susceptibility to contracting infections (3).
That said, it should be noted that this reduction in function only lasts for a short period of time. Nonetheless, it is still a risk that you should be aware of.
3) Increased Injury Risk and Development of Poor Motor Skills
Another potential risk of high-rep bodyweight workouts is overuse injuries such as tendonitis. These injuries occur when training intensity is simply too high, too soon.
Overuse injuries can be subtle and often take time to develop which can make them challenging to diagnose and treat. These injuries can be avoided by applying the progressive overload training principle where intensity starts low and gradually builds up over time.
This way the body can deal with the training stimulus and recover suitably thus reducing the chances of developing an injury. Furthermore, with high-rep exercise, fatigue can become a factor. As the amount of fatigue increases, our technique can become compromised.
Not only does poor technique increase the risk of injury, it may also retrain the nervous system to move in an incorrect way.
4) Many Home Workouts Are Not Functional
Although they may claim to be, many home workouts are not functional. The idea with functional fitness training is to perform exercises that will have a positive impact on day-to-day activities.
For example, utilizing exercises such as the squat and push-up may be considered functional as they replicate movement patterns that will be performed throughout the course of the day. While some of the exercises incorporated into the home workouts may be considered functional, the training structure may be far from functional.
As reflected on, many workouts hammer the same muscles and joints in a way that may lead to injury. In addition, if technique begins to break down as a result of fatigue, you will no longer moving in a way that is considered “functional”.
5) May Lead To Overtraining Syndrome
As with overuse injuries, overtraining occurs when the body simply cannot deal with demands being placed on it during training. Because recovery is compromised, the body does not adapt in the desired way. In actuality, regression will occur, rather than progression.
Performing workouts that incorporate a high number of reps too frequently, may not allow the body to recover adequately. If this is maintained over a prolonged time period, overtraining will occur (4). Some symptoms of overtraining include chronic fatigue, muscle soreness or pain, suppressed immunity, poor energy and performance levels, and low-quality sleep.
Once again, providing training commences at the correct intensity and follows progressive overload, overtraining can be avoided.
Training Principles For Bodyweight Home Workouts
This is not to say that home bodyweight workouts cannot be of benefit to your physical health and fitness. Rather, the workouts that you perform should follow a number of training principles that will ensure that you are exercising safely and most efficiently.
1) Apply Progressive Overload
To ensure that you optimize progress and reduce the chances of injury and overtraining, you must apply progressive overload to your training. As mentioned, this simply involves gradually increasing the training intensity over time.
If your training intensity is too low, progress will stall, however, if it’s too high, you run the risk of injury and overtraining.
This is why progressive overload is so important and undoubtedly the best way of ensuring that the intensity is managed and applied correctly. To increase workout intensity, consider gradually adding repetitions and sets, reducing rest periods, or altering the exercise to make it more demanding.
2) Split Your Training
Although the training sessions themselves are important, your ability to recover from the stresses of training are equally important. If your training is incorrectly structured, you may find that the body does not have time to fully recover and you may consequently end up going backwards.
However, this is entirely dependent on your training goals, preferences, level of fitness, and limitations.
3) Consider Your Training Goals and Limitations
The final principle that you must consider is your own training goals and potential limitations. All of the workouts that you perform should be shaped around these things. For example, if your goal is to improve upper body strength but you can only commit to a minimum of three workouts per week, find a program that is upper body orientated and fits your schedule.
It is crucial that you avoid biting off more than you can chew and understand your limitations. If you are new to home bodyweight workouts begin with the absolute basics. Following a more advanced program that is far beyond your capabilities is unwise.
While home bodyweight workouts can be convenient and of great benefit, there are a number of common mistakes that can lead to suboptimal progress and injury.
By applying the three home training principles outlined in this article, it is possible to make great progress with your fitness and avoid these mistakes.
Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.
1 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28834797/ Schoenfeld, Brad J.; Grgic, Jozo; Ogborn, Dan; Krieger, James W. (2017-12). “Strength and Hypertrophy Adaptations Between Low- vs. High-Load Resistance Training: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 31 (12): 3508–3523. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000002200. ISSN 1533-4287. PMID 28834797.
2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162535/ Mangine, Gerald T.; Van Dusseldorp, Trisha A.; Feito, Yuri; Holmes, Alyssa J.; Serafini, Paul R.; Box, Allyson G.; Gonzalez, Adam M. (2018-07-14). “Testosterone and Cortisol Responses to Five High-Intensity Functional Training Competition Workouts in Recreationally Active Adults”. Sports. 6 (3). doi:10.3390/sports6030062. ISSN 2075-4663. PMC 6162535. PMID 30011910.
3 – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9134882/ Nieman, D. C. (1997-05). “Immune response to heavy exertion”. Journal of Applied Physiology (Bethesda, Md.: 1985). 82 (5): 1385–1394. doi:10.1152/jappl.1922.214.171.1245. ISSN 8750-7587. PMID 9134882.
The athletes who’ve built the best physiques without using PEDs.
Natural bodybuilding is about maximizing one’s genetic potential through dedicated training and nutrition protocols. In the pursuit of achieving a remarkable physique, a significant number of athletes have resorted to using steroids(1). These substances enable athletes to push their bodies to extreme limits and produce muscle growth faster. Leagues like the IFBB Pro League don’t test for steroids. On the contrary, natural bodybuilding leagues put their athletes through rigorous drug testing protocols. Let’s dive into the top 10 natural bodybuilders of all time and the ins and outs of natural bodybuilding.
Disclaimer: Generation Iron does not condone or endorse the use of illegal drugs. This article is to help educate on the basic information of what these drugs actually do and in no way is a recommendation or instruction guide on how to use the steroids mentioned within this article.
10 of the Best Natural Bodybuilders
Due to the lower popularity of natural bodybuilding, you might only know a few bodybuilders on this list. Plus, many bodybuilders who claim to be natty aren’t. Our list includes bodybuilders who have never failed a drug test and compete in the natural federation competitions. However, you may never entirely know if an athlete is 100% natty. Below is a list of the top 10 natural bodybuilders (in no particular order).
We’re starting our list with the father of modern bodybuilding, Eugen Sandow. This is the athlete whose figure is awarded the coveted Mr. Olympia trophy. Since Sandow was born in 1867 and steroids gained traction in the 1950s, we can confidently say this legend was natty.
Ron Williams is the most decorated natural bodybuilder and has won over 250 competitions. This superstar was inducted into the International Bodybuilding Hall of Fame in 2008. He has 7 Mr. Natural Oympia titles, 7 Mr. Natural Universe Titles, and 7 Mr. Natural World Titles.
Paul Krueger is a force to reckon with in natural bodybuilding. He shocked everyone by winning the 2021 Natural Olympia weeks after getting his pro card! However, you should know he was an amateur bodybuilder for 25 years before becoming a professional natural bodybuilder.
Meshack Ochieng is called the “Natural Ronnie Coleman” because you could easily mistake him for a non-natty athlete. However, Ochieng competes in the INBA and NANBF, which are very strict about their drug testing, and has won multiple natty competitions.
We left the most controversial for the last with Mike O’Hearn. As a four-time INBA Mr. Natural Universe who has never flunked a drug test, O’Hearn’s natty status can never quite be contested. However, you’ll find many articles and podcasts debating this.
What Is Natural Bodybuilding
As the name suggests, natural bodybuilding is simply bodybuilding that is done without drug use. Natural bodybuilders, like bodybuilders in the IFBB Pro League, strive to obtain a shredded physique, except without the support of performance enhancers. As a result, they tend to be smaller than their juiced-up counterparts.
That said, not all bodybuilders admit to the use of steroids. Many claim to be natty, as many people consider steroid use as cheating. To set their athletes apart, natural bodybuilding leagues such as the INBA PNBA do multiple drug tests throughout the year and have a list of prohibited substances.
Advantages & Disadvantages of Natural Bodybuilding
Most people start building their muscles naturally before choosing to take performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). However, many bodybuilders, especially those who compete in natural bodybuilding leagues, decide to stay natty. Below are the advantages and disadvantages of natural bodybuilding to help you determine if it fits your goals.
Performance-enhancing drugs come with side effects that can be negatively life-altering. Some include hair loss, hormonal issues, depression, and heart failure.As a natural bodybuilder, you don’t have to unduly worry about these side effects as those drugs won’t be in your system.
Better for Longevity
Another advantage of not worrying about the above side effects is longevity. Lifting weights naturally is excellent for your health and well-being. Without the extra damage from drugs, you stand a good chance of living a long and healthy life.
More Pocket Friendly
Bodybuilding can be very expensive. You must eat a healthy diet, pay for a gym membership, and take quality supplements in addition to all the costs of preparing for a show, like travel costs. Adding steroids to that cost can add up, as the quality options are costly. Natural bodybuilding relieves you of that extra financial stress.
The Best for Your Pride & Self-Image
The satisfaction comes with knowing that you worked hard and pushed yourself to your limits to get your muscles. Bodybuilders who take steroids and lie about it end up living a double life, which can be stressful mentally. Natty bodybuilders have the peace of mind from knowing they are credible and made this happen themselves without any help from drugs.
Lots of Testing
Being a natural bodybuilder comes with year-round and consistent testing. Most natural bodybuilders also bear the costs of these tests, which can be expensive in the long run. There’s also the stress of false positives and the cumbersome appeal process to rectify this mistake.
Natural bodybuilders get a small fraction of the massive fan love that other bodybuilders get. This can be a tough pill to swallow, leading many to give up. Media coverage for natural bodybuilding is also not as impressive as many prefer the mass monster look that athletes in the IFBB Pro League have.
While you can be a pro-natural bodybuilder, your body will not be able to outperform other bodybuilders since there’s no way a natty can keep up with PED users in the bodybuilding sphere.
Due to lower fan and media involvement, natural bodybuilding pays less. Prize money from competitions is less, and the sponsored deals have a smaller payout. This is why many people approach bodybuilding as a hobby and have other jobs to fund their lifestyle.
Watching your steroid-using counterparts make it far faster can be discouraging. Building muscle and strength is hard and can take a while. This could lead to frustration for the natty bodybuilder.
Differences Between Natural Bodybuilding & Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding is about lifting weights to achieve muscle hypertrophy and growth. The goal is to look as big and shredded as proportionally possible. Bodybuilders who use performance-enhancing drugs have a higher strength threshold and can lift more for longer, leading to more muscle growth. This study confirms the relationship between weight, volume, and muscle growth (2). In addition, anabolic steroids cause an anabolic chain in the body that yields more muscle growth as well.
To differentiate between categories, natural bodybuilding competitions have an extensive list of what is forbidden for natural bodybuilding. Taking any of the following affects your natty status:
Some competitions also include CBD and natural test boosters
Competitions for Natural Bodybuilders
The most prominent natural bodybuilding regulating organizations are the International Natural Bodybuilding Association and Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA/PNBA), the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF), and the American Natural Bodybuilding Federation (ANBF). They all work with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and their banned substance list.
Pursuing natural bodybuilding is a captivating journey that many embark on but few complete. Despite its relatively modest financial and fame rewards compared to its counterpart, it offers a healthier approach and arguably commands greater respect to achieve their physiques without the helping hand of PEDs. Explore the profiles of some remarkable natty bodybuilders we have curated, and delve further into the world of natural bodybuilding below:
Krzysztofik, M., Wilk, M., Wojdała, G., & Gołaś, A. (2019). Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(24), 4897. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244897
Jay Cutler led Strongman legend Brian Shaw through his Olympia back workout.
Jay Cutlercontinues to train at a high level in retirement. The bodybuilding legend was recently joined by former World’s Strongest Man Brian Shaw for a Mr. Olympia back workout.
Cutler recently went through his “Fit-For-50” transformation and showed off his progress during a guest posing appearance at the 2023 Musclecontest FitExpo in August. Cutler looked shredded on stage, showing off the improvements made on his physique.
During his career, Cutler rose to the top of bodybuilding and won four Olympia titles. This includes a victory over Ronnie Coleman in 2006, ending his eight-year reign as champion. Cutler was joined by another four-time champion in Shaw. He is a four-time World’s Strongest Man. In 2020, Shaw created the Shaw Classic and won inaugural contest. Before he called it a career, Shaw also won the 2023 rendition of the event. His legacy is stamped in Strongman and he will now move onto another avenue looking to find success.
This will be MMA as he sets his sights on his new endeavor. Shaw announced that his first fight could take place at the beginning of 2024. He has trained with Coleman in the past and recently joined another bodybuilding legend for a workout.
Jay Cutler’s Mr. Olympia Back Workout
This workout created by Jay Cutler featured four exercises. Each movement began with two warmup sets and featured three working sets of 10-12 reps.
The workout began with reverse grip lat pulldowns on a plate-loaded machine. This grip has the arms closer to the body and emphasis on the lower lats. The duo hit three sets after warmups.
Machine Bent Over Rows
The second workout took place on another plate-loaded machine. Cutler and Shaw hit machine rows rather than using dumbbells. Cutler shared that one-arm dumbbell rows was his favorite exercise during the prime of his career. The duo began with three plates and added weight as sets went on.
“Your back depth is carried over from your bent over rows, one-arm rows, seated cable rows. It takes a long time.”
The session began with reverse grip lat pulldowns. Here, Cutler instructed Shaw to do basic lat pulldowns on a plate-loaded iso-lateral machine. Here, they focused on pushing the chest out to create contraction in the back.
Cutler continues to work lat pulldowns into his routine but still prefers the pull-up as the best way to build this muscle mass.
“Pull-ups were my number one lat builder in my opinion. Like width-wise so a wide-grip pull-up, I think that’s the best. If someone wants to build a crazy V-taper, I think the pull-up is the best.”
Close Grip Seated Cable Rows
The final workout of the day was close grip seated rows. Following the workout, Cutler shared that he still performs deadlifts and that there are benefits for bodybuilders as well.
“I think it works the overall body. When you talk about doing bent over rows and I’m doing four plates, those deadlifts helped that strength all around. We talk about core strength and I believe that deadlifts help a lot with that.”
Bradley Martyn shares behind the scenes information about his craziest viral stunts and most shocking injuries
Watch the new exclusive clip fromBradley Martyn: The Influencer– available on all major digital platforms December 1st!You can pre-order your digital copy today right here. In this clip, Bradley Martyn looks back at the origins of his greatest and most viral stunts – including an injury that nearly demolished his face. Check out the exclusive clip above!
Bradley Martyn is one of the biggest fitness influencers on the planet. But he didn’t start off that way. Like anyone, he had to make a name for himself – but part of that process was determining what kind of name he wanted to be known for. At the time, social media was new and growing rapidly. Bradley saw a path towards success using these tools – but at first he didn’t know what kind of content to post on the platform.
All of this changed after he posted an Instagram video showcasing himself jumping out of a pool and landing squarely on his feet. The video went viral – amassing him millions of views and a large number of followers. It was at that moment that Bradley Martyn realized that shocking stunts garnered massive attention. Or as Bradley put it, “people want to see wild stuff.”
Bradley Martyn’s Viral Stunts And Path To Success
Now that Bradley Martyn found a new focus for his social media platforms – he needed to come up with never before seen stunts to stay original. Bradley used a combination of his physical prowess and his fearless attitude to skyrocket his name into the fitness mainstream. This also meant risking serious injury. The closer to danger he genuinely looked – the more engagement he would receive.
Beyond his podcast and clothing brand, Bradley Martyn might be best known for his memorable videos lifting insane amounts of weight or, as seen quite often, lifting a large number of attractive women in unique ways.
Bradley himself even points out that lifting an adult woman isn’t too heavy compared to a heavy weightlifting day. But it looks shocking and has the sex appeal factor. So when he put those lifting videos together – they exploded in popularity.
Bradley can also be seen completing incredibly high or long jumps, often over other individuals laying on the ground. He completed his own version of the Milk Crate Challenge (back when that was a thing) and even gained the attention of mainstream headlines – claiming that he had “gentrified” the challenge trend.
The Danger Behind Bradley’ Martyn’s Stunts
But as noted above, the more dangerous the stunt became the more views and engagement his videos would receive. Sometimes this led to accidents and injury.
One of his most notable injuries came when he was lifting a young woman who was standing on a barbell plate. Essentially, she was balancing on the plat as Bradley was lifting it while laying on a weightlifting bench.
But this time, the woman was not able to keep her balance and slipped, causing her foot and the barbell plate to slam straight into his face and mouth. Bradley ultimately needed stitches – but luckily on the inside of his mouth. Bradley decided to release the video including the fail to show the other side of his stunts. Predictably, the fail and injury lead to even more engagement and views.
Beyond The Stunts: Using A Platform For Deeper Material
Bradley Martyn eventually used the followers he had gained through his incredible stunt videos to publish more detailed and deeper content. This included long form video on YouTube where he would speak candidly about his past traumas, including his father’s suicide, and share motivational tactics to help others who are suffering, lost, or in need.
This evolved into fully edited “day in the life” videos, comedy sketches, and eventually – his own podcast that has become one of Bradley Martyn’s biggest successes.
Bradley Martyn: The Influencer Synopsis
Bradley Martyn: The Influencer is a captivating documentary that delves into the extraordinary life of Bradley Martyn, the YouTube fitness sensation and social media juggernaut with over 10 million devoted followers. Beyond the chiseled physique and charismatic online persona lies a compelling story of resilience and transformation.
At just six years old, Bradley faced the devastating loss of his father to suicide, a trauma that haunted him throughout his youth. Yet, through unwavering determination and a passion for bodybuilding, he harnessed his pain to become an inspiration to millions, using fitness and positivity to uplift both mental and physical well-being.
The film not only unravels the complexities of Bradley’s past but also captures his legal battle against the city of Los Angeles – as he keeps gym open during the COVID-19 pandemic despite mandates, fighting for freedom of speech and a right to health during a tumultuous period in the world.
The film also chronicles his pursuits expanding his media empire alongside the Nelk Boys, all while forging deep connections with his global fanbase. Bradley Martyn emerges as a groundbreaking figure, redefining success in bodybuilding and proving that, with resilience and purpose, one can turn adversity into a beacon of hope.
Bradley Martyn: The Influencer Release Date & How to Watch
Bradley Martyn: The Influencer will be available on all major digital platforms on Friday, December 1st, 2023 – including Apple TV, Amazon Prime video, Google Play, and more.