Tag: bodybuilding

Why you need to deadlift

Do you even deadlift?

For those of you that are new to working out you may not even be familiar with this exercise, but the vast majority of folks know at least vaguely what a deadlift is. It is that move where you pick the bar up off the ground and set it back down. Simple enough right? Not so much. Form and technique are extremely important with this move so it may take some time to get your form down, but once you do, this exercise is the best hands down for a total body workout.

Every Major Muscle Group

The deadlift literally hits every major muscle group. From your legs, glutes, hips, entire back, and core. This is why it is also the most taxing on your body. One time a week is more than enough for using this move in your routine if you are an average gym goer. Some top powerlifters will deadlift 2-3 times per week, but they are only using maybe 70% of what they could really do and focusing more on technique only, while one of those workouts are actually at a training weight that is more suitable to building strength or building muscle.

Form Check

The proper form on a deadlift varies depending on which coach or guru you talk to, so I will give a basic definition of what your form should look like and give an image below that shows good technique.

For starters…Do not lift in shoes with a heel what so ever. This will naturally pitch you forward when you get in the ready position to pull. Either lift in bare feet or in something like a chuck taylor or reebok crossfit shoe.


From here step up to the barbell. Your feet should be far enough under the barbell to where it looks like the barbell would cut your foot in half if it were to keep going toward the floor. This is considered the best position to be in so you get the best and most balanced push from the floor. Your feet should be about a foot apart, maybe slightly wider if you are a bigger guy, or someone with large hips. Once your feet width is figured out, your toes should be pointed slightly outward to help incorporate more glute and hamstring muscles into the workout.


Now that your feet are in the correct position reach down and grab the barbell with both hands. Make sure your hands are at about a shoulders width and are not too wide. This will change your starting position and make the exercise even more difficult than it should be. For your grip I would start out with a hand over hand grip. Where both hands are over the bar. This will be shown in the image below.

Knees and Chest

Now that your feet and hands are in the right position bend your knees and raise you chest a bit. When you do this you should feel tight. This means you are just about ready to pull. Last thing to mention is your head position. When you lift your chest DO NOT raise your head up high as well. This will put you in a bad position to start your deadlift. Your head should be in a neutral position, meaning when you get into position your eyes should be looking at the ground about 12-15 feet in front of you, not looking at the floor, or looking up, just ahead of you 12-15 feet.

Pull! Wait…Push!

Now that you are in the right position you are ready to pull. But here is the number one thing to remember. A deadlift really isn’t a pull as much as it is a push with your feet. Yes you are pulling the weight off the floor, but pretending to push your feet through the floor will give you the best possible strength out of the starting position. The deadlift requires that hard push off the floor and then the back takes over on the mid range to lockout position. Check out the video tutorial below. This will walk you through what we just discussed above to give you a good visual of how to perform the movement. If you haven’t already I highly recommend adding the deadlift into your weekly routine. Not only will you get stronger but your physique will tighten up as well. Give them a shot!


Best Program For Size and Strength


Probably at least twenty times a week I get asked my opinion about what is the best program I can get on to put on muscle. And surprisingly this is not just coming from young men wanting to get bigger but all walks of life. The importance of holding onto muscle tissue as we age has become more well known in the masses, especially to seniors in their golden years. As we age we tend to begin to lose muscle tissue, which is not good because this can be beneficial to have in our day to day lives. But, more importantly, staying physically active, especially with weights can help keep your immune system boosted, bones stronger than average, and keep you chasing around those pesky grand children. So old and young here is my opinion on the best program for putting on some quality muscle.

How do we define best?

Determining what the “best program” is for size and strength to me would be one that does not require a user to be in the gym every single day to get results, so lets lay that foundation out from the get go. I have been a firm believer my whole life of lifting weights 3-4 times a week for best results. Exercising 3-4 days a week and really focusing on movements that will give us the best bang for our buck because we are all busy people, and do not have all the time in the world to run around doing 15 different movements in a given time frame. That being said, for me anyway, whether it be Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, it’s all relative. Pick three days spread out through the week, train hard and effective, and that pretty much sums it up. The next issue at hand is what to do on these three days?

The Movements

Here is a list of exercises that could be considered some of the most effective for putting on quality muscle and getting stronger in no particular order…

Squat, Deadlift, Standing Military Press, Bench Press, Bent Over Rows, Straight Leg Deadlift, Barbell Shrugs, Pull-ups, Dips.

Truly on this list you could develop an entire program with just these exercises and be extremely successful at putting on lean muscle and losing body fat in the process. For more information on these movements stay tuned into our other media outlets such as instagram and facebook for more information on form and technique.

How much weight? How many reps? What days do I do certain movements?

All these questions in the headline should be coming next out of anyone’s mouth. Well, that’s great that I should be doing these moves, but what do I do with them? Here is a simple way to set up your training. Push day, Pull day, Leg day. Push day being a bench press and standing military press day. Pull day being a Deadlift and Bent over row day. Lastly leg day being a Squat day. Without going into a crazy amount of detail on one post here if you are interested in getting a customized training routine built for your goals, please just email me at derek@nfxfit.com and we can work together on this one-on-one. For the sake of time I can tell you your rep count on main movements such as deadlifts, benches, and squats should be in the 3-6 rep range to put on quality muscle and get stronger. The weight you should be using on these movements is completely dependent on your current strength level. This can be determined by doing max effort lifts on these moves to help you gauge what weight you can use to train with on a weekly basis.

What about assistance work?

When you hear someone talk about assistance work what they are referring to are other exercises besides your main lifts for that day that you can perform. For example, on a push day you will be using a lot of chest, shoulder, and tricep muscles. So one might throw in a tricep exercise at the end of their training session to help get stronger triceps. The theory is if I get stronger triceps, I get a stronger bench press and stronger in general. But, all too often I see clients get too carried away with doing extra assistance exercises and end up taking away from there end results. So make sure you are keeping your eye on the ball so to speak with your training. Always be focusing in on those core movements to help you. If you add assistance exercises that’s great, but do not make them the bulk of your training.

Getting Started

To get started with a new program you do not have to be a total guru. Use some common sense to gauge what you can do, and what ever you do do not over reach your boundaries. If you haven’t squatted in three months, do not expect your squat max to still be where it was. Most likely you have lost a good amount of strength here, so start slow. Patience and consistency are your two best friends when it comes to getting results in the gym. Just remember to keep moving forward and do not give up. It takes time for anything that is worth while so hang in there.




Should I Compete?

Am I Ready?

Being ready to compete in a bodybuilding or fitness competition takes a ton of hard, work, consistency, and dedication to not only your lifting routine, but your diet as well. Week after week you will be on the grind, unable to stray from the contest prep diet to ensure you get the best results possible going into your show. These two basic principles will never go away if you desire to do shows. But, if you are questioning whether or not you should compete and you haven’t before here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself.

What are your reasons for wanting to compete?

Is it for the love of the sport? Is it because you want to be the best? Or is it simply a fun challenge? Well regardless, you need to have some strong reasons why you are doing this, because when you start getting closer to your competition, your depleted, and not able to eat certain foods, being able to justify your means can sometimes be tough. You start telling yourself, well who really cares if I do this or not, or i’m not going to place well anyway etc. People will justify anything when they are uncomfortable or when the going gets tough. So keep in mind that whatever reason you are deciding to do this better be a good one.

Who are you?

No really though….What I mean is who are you trying to be? There are a ton of different federations and divisions these days so you could go a bunch of different routes. You have regular bodybuilding, physique, classic physique etc. All of these carry with them a different look to achieve. For visual images I urge you to look up the difference in the builds of these competitors, and different body weights they carry for the show. Before starting any show prep, get a good grasp of who you really are and who you are not. Do not let someone talk you into doing a bodybuilding show when you clearly have the build of a physique guy.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

Bodybuilding and Fitness are extreme sports in that it takes a great deal to get your physique to a top level. So, if your goal is to not only compete, but to become a professional you gotta ask yourself are you willing to do whatever it takes to not only compete but to win? The bodybuilder of today has there competition schedule down to a science from there training, diet, sleep schedule, and supplementation, everything is planned out.

One last note

I want to leave all you future competitior’s with one last piece of advice moving forward. Do not get frustrated. There are a few things you need to keep in mind. For your first show you will not be ready. I don’t care how much prep you do you will not be ready for your first show. In fact there is a good chance you will not even make the top 10. But that’s okay. You are not expected to come out of the gates getting first or second. That will come with time. The first step is going through the prep the best you can and then moving forward from there.


contest prep nutrition fx

Hard Work Beats Talent Any Day!

Hard work will beat out talent if you want it bad enough. Learning the self discipline and focus to work toward your goals is the toughest and yet most rewarding and fulfilling experience of your life. I feel bad for those who will never understand this. Do you have a goal this year you are striving toward? If so, ask yourself am I taking the necessary steps on a daily basis to make this happen? Remember every day counts toward that end result! So what are you going to do?


3 Main Reasons You Are Not Making Progress

What’s Going On?

So you finally pull the trigger and get started on a new training routine to begin reaching those goals you desire. A few months in you are seeing a little bit of change and then something happens….You completely stall out. Why? Everything seemed to be going well? Here are a few reasons that may be able to help you figure out what the real problem is.

  1. You Grew Complacent- This reason is actually the most common problem I see in my clients. All too often complacency kicks in quickly because you never had a clear goal set in mind in the first place. You wanted to lose some weight, and in the first few months you did, which is good, but now subconsciously you begin telling yourself that you did what you set out to do. So now your workouts lose the proper intensity, you start just going through the motions, and next thing you know you begin skipping out on the gym all together until next year. To avoid this trap so many fall for make sure you have a clear goal, and be sure to make sure your reasons why are strong enough to get you through the hard times.
  2. Your Diet Does Not Match The Goal- Another common issue I see is your diet is way off from where it should be. This goes both ways too, whether your goal is to put on muscle or weight loss, I see it on both sides of the fence. For example, a young athlete trying to put on muscle will most likely not be successful eat chicken and broccoli three times a day. No different than someone trying to lose weight going on a lose weight quick starvation diet to where they end up stalling out on progress after two months. Make sure you get with someone that can help you dial in a meal plan before you begin your new routine, that way you start off on the right foot and are not digging yourself out of a hole later.
  3. Your Sleep Sucks!- Not getting adequate amounts of sleep each night prevents our bodies from having the correct hormonal responses to both help us recover from the day before, and also to aid in fat loss….Yes fat loss! Getting enough sleep allows the body to release the proper amount of growth hormone throughout the night so we recover, feel energized in the morning, and over time see better fat loss results.

If you pay close attention to all three reasons you will notice that they are truly all connected to one common denominator…Bad planning. A wise man once said if you do not have a plan then you plan to fail, and does that statement really hold true for most people. So the best advice I can give you this year is before you jump in head first nail down a specific goal you have in mind, and then put together the meal plan and training routine that will be best suited your your needs. Sounds simple enough, but every year 80% off gym memberships are never used once! So easier said than done in this regard, but everyone has to start somewhere, so don’t wait any longer and get after it today!

nutrition fx

Stop Wasting Money On Energy Drinks!

Where We Are Currently

Today more than ever I see countless numbers of different energy drinks available on the market. Without naming specific company names here, from the brand that “gives you wings” to the one that sounds like a flammable gas we use to go faster in a race car, the market has exploded with different brands and competition. But what I do not understand is why people are using these in the first place?

A Simpler Approach

Instead of spending the 2.00-2.50 per can on whatever energy drink you are using why not buy something in a powder form, add water, and shake it up? Buying a powder product this way will save you almost an extra 1.00 per serving, cutting your monthly energy drink bill in half! And even better yet, there are a lot of available products on the market currently that are more potent than your typical energy drink as well. So if you are not noticing much out of what you are buying now, you have more options to find something better suited for your own personal tolerance.


Here is where everyone is different. Some folks will get by on a product that is very light on the potency scale, while others are on the opposite side of the fence, looking for the strongest product for their money. For something lighter that will give you smooth energy throughout the day check out Attack from Kodiak Sports Nutrition. This product will not be overwhelming, but does not give you a crash after 3-4 hours. You can also use this product before workouts as well to give you a boost in endurance. On the other hand, if you are someone looking for more potency and strength per serving I would recommend Hemoshock from GPL Labs. This product contains key ingredients such as geranium stem extract that will give you a great kick in the energy department and last all day. One scoop is all you will need to get you through the day!


The above products mentioned per serving will run you between .85-1.25 per serving! Significantly less than any energy drink and more potent as well. And better yet some of the flavor you can get in these products will blow away just about any typical carbonated energy drink you are used to. And no extra sugars added either. If you get a chance I would definitely check them out, and save yourself some money in the process. Speaking of saving money do not forget to use the promo code fit20 for the month of January to save 20% on ALL purchases made on our website.