Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Brandon Work Out Plan

So, many of you have asked me about my diet and work out plan that helped me get to the point I have reached physically. So here it is.

First, I need you to open Spotify and turn on Kanye West's New Work Out Plan. This is essential. Everyone needs a soundtrack; begin.

So here's the scoop. There is no magical mystical way for you to build the body you want. There are various programs that can teach you how to adjust your portion size and manage the calories you intake, but here is the basic, bottom line: I eat what I want to eat but I eat it in small portions. In general, I have a smoothie for breakfast, I eat a decent lunch (even with take out, which I eat almost every day during the work week, I opt for non-fried options on the Chinese menu but then make sure that I am only eating enough to satiate my hunger and not overeat). For dinner, I try and cook for myself, and, again, eat decent food, not deep fried, but it is the food I want to eat. Rice-a-roni and steak is one of my favorite meals, the key is don't eat everything in the pot or pan.

The basis for my workout is very simple.  It is the 5x5 Strong Lifts philosophy, which you can find laid out on their website. But the basics are these:

1) Until you can squat one and a half times your body weight, you should do full body work outs and not exercises that focus only on one muscle area (for example, you wouldn't do bicep curls but would focus on exercises that work total muscle groups and areas). This is critical as it builds up your complete body strength, develops your muscles naturally and in tandem to one another, and does not lead to overdevelopment.

2) Your lower body is ESSENTIAL. All of your largest muscles are in your lower body. Your glutes being the biggest muscle group. The core of the 5x5 are squats, which if done correctly and with a bar and free weights works ALL OF YOUR MUSCLE GROUPS! This is truly key. You should, as much as possible, avoid using machines to do your exercises....using free weights requires you to keep your body in balance and strengthens muscle groups that are not engaged if you use a machine to balance for you.

3) Five by five is just what it means. You do five sets of five reps each at the highest weight that you can handle. This allows for maximum growth AND also keeps you from plateauing.  There are ten basic exercises that you do split between alternating work outs. Again you can find these on the Strong Lifts website.

4) Once you have built your basic strength, then it becomes essential to mix up your exercises and do a combination of machines, free weights, and cables in order to keep things popping and mixing.  I do the same basic exercises but I do them using different types of weight equipment and this keeps your body guessing and growing.

5) There is only really one ab exercise that you need to do to get decent abs...REVERSE CRUNCHES! Here is a video link to what they look like.

6) Consistency is key. If you really want to transform your body, then commit to the gym five days a week for at least an hour to and hour and half. Thirty minutes should be cardio (of your choice) and the other hour weights. YOU MUST DO CARDIO AND LIFT WEIGHTS! Your body shape won't change just by doing one or the other, in tandem they cut, slim and build. Your heart health is critical and cardio is how you strengthen that muscle.

7) There are natural supplements you can take...and if you are in New York, I would highly suggest taking a trip down to Eva's Natural Foods on 8th street and have a chat with the folks in the supplement section about your weight training goals and they will provide you with the supplies that will help keep your liver and body healthy as well as maximize your work outs.

8) For people living long term with HIV. Go to your doctor and have your testosterone levels checked. HIV inhibits testosterone production and often we have less than necessary. Your doctor can prescribe for you the best way to increase your levels, which could be a gel, patch or, in some cases, injections. It is critical for people living with HIV to increase your lean muscle mass. It helps with white blood cell production and in keeping you healthy.  And exercise also helps control depression and anxiety.

9) Be gentle with yourself and patient. Ignore the mirror and STAY OFF OF THE SCALE! Especially if you are trying to lose weight, your enemy, especially in the first month to six weeks is the scale. It takes at least 30 days of regular exercise to see a change. You will feel a change well before that, but the number on the scale often puts people off...remember muscle weighs more than fat and burns more calories...your body will shift but give it time and know that you are doing right and best by yourself by building muscle. The more you build the more accelerated the weight loss.

10) Do all of this for yourself and for reasons that apply to your life and not what the world and the media will tell you. Love yourself and do this for the right reasons and it will become a lifestyle change that you will enjoy.

That's all I got.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing what you do! I wanted to comment on this bit: "You should, as much as possible, avoid using machines to do your exercises....using free weights requires you to keep your body in balance and strengthens muscle groups that are not engaged if you use a machine to balance for you."

    You are correct that using free weights requires more muscle work. That is why I use machines. I was in a wheelchair for 10 years due to severe fatigue. I had some treatments to help that and I started lifting weights. At first I could only do this sitting down and only if I didn't have to use a lot of other muscles. I started with 1 set of 1-3 reps on 4 machines and used my chair to get from machine to machine. The Y staff actually made fun of me but in a few months I was lifting more than some of them could (women) and walking around on my own. (I followed the book Strong Women Stay Young (first edition) by Miriam Nelson.)

    I want to note that I did not "cure" myself with graduated exercise. Rather, I healed myself to the point where I could exercise a bit without getting sick and then slowly worked up from there. Very important because when you say "fatigue" or "exercise intolerance" a lot of people assume that you just need to exercise more to fix it and the truth is that you can make things a lot worse that way.


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