The Ultimate Performance Center

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Gaining Functional Muscle Weight: By John Abdo

It is ironic that a large segment of our population spends billions of dollars each year in attempts to lose excess weight (fat), while others exert lots of energy and also spend big bucks striving to gain weight—muscle weight that is.

No one needs instruction on how to gain fat, that’s easy; just eat and perform little, or no activity. On the other hand, gaining functional muscle weight is a highly sophisticated science, and complicated discipline. Let’s look at it closer.

To gain functional muscle mass, weight training with a specific range of resistances is one of the best prime stimulators, in addition to proper nutrition.

On a microscopic level, weight training actually traumatizes, or tears down muscle fibers; this is scientifically referred to as catabolism. Upon cessation of the catabolic phase, the body’s recuperative metabolism kicks into action; it’s known as the anabolic phase. The anabolic phase is the body’s reparation and rejuvenation metabolism that replenishes depleted energy storages while repairing damaged tissues and growing muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, bones and hormones. The catabolic/anabolic cycles are metabolic counterparts that are referred to as the ‘no pain, no gain’ cycle.

To stimulate the best anabolic state, strength authorities claim that medium-to-heavy resistances should be employed during weight training to induce the best catabolic phase. Generally speaking, many of the basic and/or multi-muscle weight-training movements; like bench presses, squats, power cleans, rows, leg presses and others, should be composed of sets that total between 5-12 repetitions. A weight that can only be performed for repetitions lower than 5 are typically too heavy a load, while a weight that can be performed for repetitions exceeding 12 means are typically too light.

The key to selecting accurate loads or resistances is simply select weights that allow failure between the 5-12 rep range. If a set for an exercise falls short or goes beyond this 5-12 rep range, the athlete simply adjusts their resistance on subsequent sets, or workouts, to remain within the range they need for progressive muscle building.

Although weight training is the main stimulus for anabolism, it’s nutrition that fuels both the catabolic and anabolic phases. Food and supplemental resources obtained from quality proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, certain herbs and adaptogens, all play essential roles in energy expenditure (catabolism/pain) and muscle growth (anabolism/gain).

Of course, gaining functional muscle mass, and the entire discipline of weight training for that matter, are far more complicated than my brief treatise, but there are always exceptions to most every rule. So have fun, experiment and watch your body grow stronger and bigger each and every week.

I Wish You Great Success!

John Abdo


John Abdo is an Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach, Master Fitness Trainer, co-formulator for Androzene® and author of the doctor-endorsed book Ultimate Sexual Health & Performance™. For more information please visit

July 24, 2012 Posted by | Performance Library | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

It’s Mind over Matter; and your life ‘is’ the matter! 5-Step Success Plan

BSMGetting, and keeping yourself motivated to consistently improve in life; whether it’s in business, fitness, family, or all of life, is often a wrestling match even the elite experience from time to time. But don’t ever consider throwing in the towel when ‘tough’ times are upon you, as there are plenty of proven solutions that ensure success, and they’re closer than you think!

Tough times don’t last, but tough people do!

As a health, fitness and Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach my profession extends beyond instructing physical exercises and sports performance skills. Great coaches must also integrate a variety of mental conditioning tools that inspire, educate, and motivate each of their athletes. These mental instruments are designed to train the MIND so the athletes (and students) can then train their bodies for higher and higher levels of achievement. These techniques are not confined to athletic enhancement; they apply to all goal-driven motives. However, in today’s fast-paced society too many people are approaching their transformational quests with an incorrect frame of mind, and this leads to failure.

As a prime example, let’s take two people who come into my gym to workout. Both are the same age, sex, and bodyweight, and have similar skill-sets and lifestyles. One guy approaches me “John, I have to get into shape. My doctor is demanding it”. The other fellow says, “Hey John, I want to get into great shape! Just tell me everything I need to do?

Of the two, the ‘have to’ guy or the ‘want to’ one, which ‘mindset’ would you place your bets on?

Body, sports, business or life, mental fuel comes in a variety of grades. And if a person desires high levels of achievement they must function with ‘high-performance fuel’ as the ‘mental’ energy charging their exertions, and this ‘between-the-ears’ focus is what makes a dramatic difference between success and failure. The ‘high-performance fuel’ I’m referring to is ambition, desire, and passion! Want to, not have to!

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It’s no surprise that there really is a mind-body-life connection. So when I declare the solutions are closer than you think, the answers that yield ultimate levels of achievement and success are (literally) located inside your (intangible) Mind; while your body and your manifested life can be regarded as the (tangible) Matter.

When the mind is properly conditioned; energized with ‘want to’ motivational powers and desires, one can enthusiastically, and confidently, approach their tasks, challenges, obstacles and goals with that “For Sure” attitude. They literally engineer their lives from the Inside-Out, and nothing stands in their way. Over time, that person continuously unleashes their truest potentials, a gift they always possessed but just needed to stay-the-course  until it was set free.

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5-Step Success Plan that REALLY WORKS!

STEP 1: Define your mental attitude. Do you resemble the ‘have to’ person or a ‘want to’ one? This is the first thing step you MUST establish, because it really is Mind over Matter. Once this seed principle is firmly implanted into your consciousness the success you’ve been striving for, and deserve, is not only possible, it’s inevitable!

STEP 2: Everyday—literally, you must write out your goals onto a sheet of paper. Make certain you write from an ‘already-acquired’ viewpoint, such as “I am a strong person” or “Everyday, in every way, I am better and better!” Something magical happens when the brain can generate a thought that physically, and visually, gets recorded onto paper.

STEP 3: Everyday, after you write down your goals, you must read them out loud. Again, there’s a phenomenon that occurs when you profess what you’re envisioning to manifest in your life. Simply hoping, or silently thinking or wishing for a goal to manifest has little or no stimulating power. Stand up, assume the role of your own coach and motivator, and say aloud, with conviction, “Everyday, in every way, I am better and better!” Affirmational vibrations connect with, and influence Universal Consciousness.

STEP 4: Write out two more lists; the first itemizes all of the things you need to do to obtain your goals, and the second list outlines all of the things you must avoid and/or eliminate that are standing in your way.

STEP 5: Make a date with yourself: Treat yourself every week to a positive engagement. Donate time to a pet adoption center. Visit a nursing home and hug an elderly person. Reach out and counsel confused kids and their parents. As you continue to improve in your own life you must ‘give back’ by inspiring, motivating and guiding others along their own life’s journey.

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Everybody, even the elite, experience tough times and often fall off track. It’s not that they fell off track that matters but how fast they get back up and move onward that counts. Be a champion. People love and admire success stories and heroes. Prove to yourself that you possess the skills, drive and motivation to obtain your goals, in spite of any setbacks. Develop the confidence; ego if you may, that failure is not an option. If you do fall off track, don’t stay there long. Just stand back up, dust yourself off, lift your chin and chest, kick yourself in the buttocks, then re-GO for it all over again. Remember, you are your own coach, motivator, and disciplinarian. Nobody is going to do it for you, that’s you’re responsibility. You are a success that’s always in the making!

Finally, investing in yourself pays huge dividends now and forever. Make up you ‘mind’ then watch your body and life (‘matter’) mold into the image your thoughts have impressed into your psyche. You and the world surrounding you are a much greater place because of YOU! Do it!

Think Up™ – Keep the Passion!

John Abdo


John Abdo is an Olympic Strength & Conditioning Coach, Master Fitness Trainer, Life Motivator and author of numerous books and articles. For more information please visit

July 24, 2012 Posted by | Performance Library | , , , , | Leave a comment