Friday, June 14, 2013

Box Squats, something new for the arsenal.

Recently, I have become obsessed with box squats. The Westside Barbell powerlifting team are the masters of the Box squat so I have been trying to learn as much as possible from their articles and videos. These guys claim that they have been able to squat heavier in competitions by employing the use of box squats and deadlifts. I will try to chronicle my own experiences with box squats but so far I really enjoy them alot.

The technique 
Similar to regular squats you want to keep your chest up and eyes forward. Next remember to keep everything tight (core, back muscles, everything). With 100s of lbs on your back it is essential to keep everything engaged or you are really running the risk of serious back injury. Slowly lower yourself down to the box and once you hit the box, sit down and pause for a second. Chins should be beyond perpendicular to the ground, drive your heels into the ground and power up. That is the basics of the movement!

Sets and Reps 
I have posted an article where Louie Simmons recommends using about 55% to 60% of your regular squat one rep max. With that weight you would then try to perform 12 sets of 2 reps with about 60 second recovery. I haven't try that method yet but I will give it a try next week. Personally, I have been using rep ranges of 8 to 12, for about 4 to 6 reps. Give it a try!

Here is a video of me box squatting 305. I have since moved from that bench to a lower bucket
but I have yet to try 305 at that lower depth. I like to think my form is also a lot better now as
this video was shot a few months back. Here is some video of the master Louie Simmons giving tips on proper form.

Article by Louie Simmons on Box Squatting

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Working out doesn't have to be complicated! 3 week beginners workout, I bet you get results!


Do you remember when you were a child and had to take PE in grade school? One of the main exercises we always performed were jumping jacks. Why, because they are simple and give you
a total body workout. The jumping isn't very stressful on the joints and you can do them pretty much everywhere. Not to mention, there is no need for equipment.

So here's a workout you can use to jump start your workout program if you haven't worked out in some time. We will use the Tabata approach which is just another fancy word for interval training.
Let's start with a goal time of 10mins. As you get stronger, you can increase that time to 20mins.

Find some music or a playlist that will keep you hyped up for that time and begin jumping for 20 seconds. I like to use 20 seconds on, 20 seconds off. If this is too difficult, scale back your recovery
to a 30 seconds. The goal is to keep moving during your on time and recover during your breaks so even if you have to stop jumping during your on interval just keep shuffling your feet from left to right. You will be surprised how fast your endurance picks up and how easy it will become for you to complete this workout.

I recommend doing this 3 times a week if you are just starting out.  Make sure to extend fully overhead to touch your fingertips on every rep.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

No Equipment but still want a great Fat burning workout!? Try my 1,2,3 workout!

No Equipment but still want a great Fat burning workout!? Try my 1,2,3 workout!

This workout is simple in concept but becomes brutally challenging as your numbers continue
to multiply per set. The rest is as little or as long as needed. Here's the workout.
Pushups, Body weight squats, crunches.  Simple right, well here's the twist.
Here's what it looks like
Set 1 : 1 Pushup, 2 Squats, 3 Crunches
Set 2 : 2 Pushups, 4 Squats, 6 Crunches
Set 3 : 3 Pushups, 6 Squats, 9 Crunches
Set 4 : 4 Pushups, 8 Squats, 12 Crunches

As you can see, those numbers start increasing pretty quickly and the lack of rest time greatly
enhances the effect of this workout. Keep going until you get to 10 Pushups, start at 10 again and  then work your way back down the pyramid. I guarantee by the time your finished you will be covered in sweat and pretty exhausted!

 By the time you are finished you will have done 110 pushups, 220 squats, and 330 crunches!!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

More nutrition tips! How to eat 101

How to eat 101- Smart eating habits to help you achieve your goals!

Do not starve yourself. Not eating shocks your body into thinking it needs to preserve fat due to a lack of food. Your metabolism slows as a result and you will be miserable.

Eat Eat Eat - Contrary to how it sounds, eating actually helps you to lose weight. However, you can not eat junk and empty calories and expect this to work. We will get into the specifics of what to eat further down. But for now, let this be your guideline. Try to eat 3 main meals and 3 small snacks. Also, remember your body will only use what it needs and then will store the rest as fat so eliminate
the huge meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Try to keep a consistent influx of nutrients throughout the day.

Breakfast counts - Breaking the Fast is very important for your body. According to Todd Durkins' Impact Body Plan book, "researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School found that those who didn't regularly eat breakfast were 450% percent more likely to be obese than those who start their day off with a meal." That says a lot don't you think. Our body repairs itself when it sleeps, so it is in need of nutrients when we wake up. It is important that we provide those nutrients first thing of the morning! 

Eat Fresh when possible - Fresh is better than Frozen, which is better than canned. Always try to eat fresh vegetables and fruit when available. Try to consume fresh vegetables with every meal. I even go as far as to say eat as much vegetables in a meal as you want. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and contain a variety of great nutrients that our bodies need. Try to avoid canned goods as much as possible as they are full of sodium and other preservatives. 

Let's talk snacks. - Nuts are  a great option. Try to let your snacks consist of a fat or protein source. These keep you feeling full. When you snack on chips and cookies, ever notice that you don't start to feel full until you have eaten the whole bag? Additionally, they are full of things that have no real benefit for your body.

White ain't right! - White rice, flour, sugar, pasta, all of these have a more nutritional counterpart

Let's start with liquids and what to drink - The obvious choices are to avoid sugary colas, and processed fruit juices. Instead opt for water, vegetable juice, coconut water, nut milks, and green teas. Alcohol should be avoided and I personally don't recommend cow milk either. Try coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, or even goat milk. 

Other things to avoid- Sugar, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweetners (these hide under the names, Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharin, and acesulfame-K), 

courtesy of

courtesy of
Did I mention, eat more fruit!? - Many fruits and leafy vegetables put your system into a metabolic flux. What this means is, it takes more calories to break down the food than the actual food contains. So it creates a negative calorie surplus. How great is that!? You can enjoy the food, get full, and it will have a very minimal effect on your calorie count. And some people wind about the sugar content
of fruits! This is just my opinion but I don't worry about that one bit. The natural sugars contained in fruit are beneficial to your body and of better quality than regular table sugar or   
                                                              those artificial sweetners. 

I will continue to post updates and additions to this list as time permits but I hope this gets you on the right track. Thanks for reading and feel free to add your other tips or things that work for you!

-Mark B Fitness

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Get paid to get in the best shape of your life! is sponsoring a 6 week body transformation contest! The challenge starts on June 17, 2013 and ends on July 28, 2013. If you are entered you will have to create an account on and submit about 4 before and after pictures. Also, the more active you are on the
site during that time, the greater your chance of being selected as a winner! First place male and female will win $10,000 dollars! Other winners may win smaller cash prizes, supplements, apparel and/or be featured on the website. Not bad for 6 weeks of hard work and dieting if you ask me. Even if you don't win any of the prizes, just becoming healthier and more fit for yourself is the grand prize.

I am thinking of entering the competition myself, if I do I will post my before and after pictures on here as well.

Here is the link to the competition:

If you join let me know, we can form a support group through this journey!
Peace, blessings and happy lifting!

-Mark B