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Welcome to the Freak Show (Bodybuilding 103)
Part III- “You and Your Phenotype!”
By Victor Lasato


You may ask yourself: “self, why can’t some people loose weight no matter what, some people can’t gain it no matter what, and some people seem to get bigger by the day?” –Well, as you will see in this short video, it’s perfectly natural…. Woa! Sorry, I flashed back to high school for a second there.  Where were we, oh yes:  It’s time for a quick Phenotype (body-type) lesson.  If you’re an Endomorph (store fat easily) it’s probably a good idea to do some cardio on your off days: start at 20 minutes, and work your way up, slowly, to 40-60 minute sessions of low-intensity cardio: you should be able to carry on a conversation without getting winded: that’s low intensity. As you advance, or if you’re in a particular hurry to get cut up, higher-intensity cardio will be the way to go. Low-intensity cardio is for the following people: beginners, the obese, people w/ cardiac problems, pro-bodybuilders on an ungodly amount of drugs, and last but not least, the lazy.  Google “HIIT cardio” or “Fartlek training,” which are methods of doing cardio requiring frequent changes in intensity levels, which many believe to be the most effective type of cardio, as it recruits “type II-a, otherwise known as type I/II, or Red-Fast-Twitch fibers.  These muscle fibers have properties of both fast and slow twitch fibers, and tend to be found in the highest concentrations in sprinters, skiers, speed skaters, and boxers (Think: athletes who are naturally ripped).

Next on the Phenotype lineup is the Ectomorph: classified by extremely low levels of both body fat and skeletal muscle tissue.  The Ectomorph is also known as the “hard-gainer.”  For Ectomorphs, skipping cardio, or limiting it to 20 - 30 minutes  three times per week, strictly for cardiovascular health purposes is the way to go.  However, if you must do cardio, do not forget to make up for those extra calories you burned with the regular use of a weight gainer. Ergopharm’s “Mass Meal” and “All in One” products are great gainers for anyone trying to bulk up, as they don’t rely on mega-doses of simple carbohydrates and inferior proteins like most weight gainers / post-workout drinks. A more economical and comparable product is Cytosport’s “Cyto Gainer.”  However be warned: the body needs to adjust to the extra calories, protein, and carbohydrates, so I highly recommend you invest in some quality digestive enzymes.  NOW foods “Super Enzymes” is one quality product that comes to mind.  In addition to a weight gainer, supplements that enhance recovery, such as creatine,  IDS’ “Total Recovery,” and cell-volumizers such as L-Taurine and nitric-oxide precursors are excellent choices for hardgainers.

If you just realized that you don’t fit into either of the above categories, congratulations! You’re a Mesomorph. You lucky individuals can gain and hold muscle with minimal fat gain and seemingly no effort.  You are the few genetically gifted people that are the bane of everyone else in the gym: eating whatever you want, spending 20 minutes in the gym and looking like you’ve been training for years after three or four months.  However, imagine if you worked out w/ the intensity of and drive of an Ectomorph, and ate with the strict asceticism of an Endomorph.  It is your Phenotype that makes up the majority of professional athletes (a few sports aside), and nearly every pro-bodybuilder.  Just because you don’t have to work as hard as everyone else, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  As far as supplements, keep in mind that you’re still a beginner. Feel free to use any or all of the supplements mentioned in any section of this article, in addition to a weight gainer, post-workout drink of your choice, and/or cell-volumizers.  With the right training and supplementation, the sky’s the limit for the Mesomorph.

Full-body workouts get boring, but your Central Nervous System (CNS), muscles, and joints need to become accustomed to the new burden.  The phrase “no pain, no gain,” can sometimes be interpreted as, “no monotony, no gain.”  Even most professional athletes utilize full body workouts during their off-season.   Some training programs recommend different variations of full-body workouts for advanced bodybuilders as well; both for mass gains and fat loss (Google Lyle Mcdonald + UD 2.0”) for one example of how varying progression and load during a ketogenic (low-carbohydrate) diet is an excellent technique for preventing dietary failure.  While you’re at it, look up “progression,” and “load” if you don’t know what they refer to in terms of bodybuilding. 

Once you’re two month initiation is up, you’re going to be looking forward to those two, three, four, even six day splits you see people at the gym doing.  After all, they’re ripped and huge, what they’re doing must work?   Well it works for them, but you don’t know what they’re swallowing or injecting on their own time, not to mention how long they’ve been training for, or even if their a retired NFL linebacker.  Here’s an important lesson: What you don’t know about someone can easily come back to kick you in the ass should you choose to adapt that person's training regimen.  But full-body training simply cannot be employed year-round.  The boredom and long hours at the gym will discourage you from working out, and that’s just no fun.  Bodybuilding should be fun.  Arnold described the feeling of getting a pump in his muscles to that of an orgasm in 1977’s Pumping Iron.  While I wouldn’t go that far, I’ll admit two things.  Getting “the pump” does feel good, and finding the right split for you is an integral part of staying motivated in the gym.  Personally, my schedule consists of the following:

From November to February, I use a program developed by Bryan Haycock known as Hypertrophy-Specific-Training (HST).  This program is tedious, long, and most importantly, highly effective for adding mass… for me. HST also has the added advantage of rebuilding and repairing joint and tendon tissue, which prepares me for my next period of training, known as Max-OT.  (by the way, all these programs can be easily found with a simple Internet search, or stopping by the training forums over at Mind and Muscle’s forums (www.avantlabs.com/forum/).  Max-OT is geared for lifters looking to complete what’s known as a “lean-bulk.”  That is, putting on the most muscle possible, while even loosing a bit of fat.  While I’ve found that the loosing fat part requires the utmost stringency in diet and cardio, Max-OT is still a good transition from the “pure bulks” of the off season, to the “pure diets” of the beach season, which is why I conduct this program from March 1st to May 1st, which is when I start what’s known as a Cyclical-Ketogenic-Diet (CKD).  As I mentioned earlier, Lyle McDonald’s UD 2.0 is an excellent, albeit brutal routine.  The Late-Great Dan Duchaine’s “Body Opus” diet, while similar to the UD 2.0, is a bit easier although most likely much unhealthier.  Even Atkin’s can be successful if applied right (although personally I believe it’s for the clinically obese and those with no willpower).  Changing your training intensity, volume, rep-range, sets, and basically all aspects of the three or four bodybuilding routines you use throughout the year will be the means to a shredded, damn-sexy new version of yourself.  Or a huge, bloated, scary looking version of your old self, whatever floats your boat.
    -V

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bodybuilding 103