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Bodybuilding Question and Answer Column

Questions and answers when it comes to bodybuilding, just like anything else, it will depend on how advanced you are. In other words, how long you been training with weights. However, there are certain questions that seem to slip past most bodybuilders in the first few years of training, so we have selected just two of these type of questions to set the record straight on what is the right thing to do.

The question came from a bodybuilder than has actually been training for more than 2 years, but he asked if push-ups are a good way to get more definition in his arms, since he has too much fat around his arms. His question asked if he did a set of push-ups to failure one a day, would it help?

This man is just another victim of a weightlifting myth. The idea that doing some particular movement to specifically focus on a body-part (i.e. pushups for chest) and doing high reps will somehow help define that body-part is simply misguided. The body cannot partition calorie oxidation. The fat that your body "burns" when it is in a calorie deficit for its energy comes from under the skin (subcutaneous) or around your organs (visceral fat). That “defined” look comes from the oxidation (burning) of your subcutaneous fat. This is ONLY accomplished via caloric restriction or exercise, or a combination.

Trying to mobilize fat in a specific area or body-part is simply not possible regarding burning subcutaneous fat. The only fat which this kind of high repetition training might make a difference to, would be your interstitial fat (in between your muscle tissue). Unfortunately, in humans there is very little of this type of fat. In short, doing a set of pushups to failure once a day may help you to burn off some fat around your body due to caloric expenditure, doing 10-15 minutes of any high intensity cardio will burn more fat.

How Can I Look As Ripped as Possible for a bodybuilding show?

Firstly, it must be assumed that you are preparing for a show or some photo-shoot or some event in the next 2-3 weeks. Secondly, it needs to be assumed that you already know how to get your body-fat less than 10%, and you have done that already.

If that is the case, then you need to start by manipulating your carbohydrates about 7 days before the show. Start by decreasing your carbohydrates by 20-30g every day. 2 days before the show you then cease any further carb depletion and just maintain that daily carbohydrate intake level until the show.

10 hours before the show, start eating 30-40g of complex carbs every 2 hours. If you have managed to get your body-fat extremely low, you should eat about 20-30g of good quality fat with lots of sodium 2-3 hours before the show, this will help to fill your muscles out.

It also needs to be added that 2-3 weeks before the show you are already restricting your total sodium intake to about 2g per day for 2-3 weeks before. Two days before your show you need to reduce sodium farther to 1.5 g and then to 1g on competition day.

When you reduce your carbs and your sodium together it’ll flush the water out of your muscle cells. This then "primes" your cells for storing more water for competition day when you suddenly eat carbs and stacks of sodium. Keep your water normal on competition day, but know that your sodium and your carbohydrate manipulation on the day of the show will maximize any amount of water which is stored intracellularly plus it will minimize any water that gets stored subcutaneously.

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