• Lou's 2016 Killer Bodybuilding Workout

    Ready to get back in shape? Try my personalized all over body workout. Do 2 sets, back to back, of each body part. 15 slow and steady reps of each. At least 4 days a week. Remember to stretch. Going to kick your butt! 

  • Golden Age Building Routine for the Beginner: The Skinny Dude

    Regardless of body type, it takes plenty of heavy exercise to increase muscle size. In other words, the heavier the weights you use, the larger your muscle size. Still, you must train for your body type. Here is a very basic building routine for that guy that can't seem to put on weight - The Skinny Dude (aka the ectomorph).

    Ectomorph, a human physical type (somatotype) tending toward linearity, as determined by the physique-classification system developed by the American psychologist W.H. Sheldon. Although classification by the Sheldon system is not absolute, a person is classed as an ectomorph if ectomorphy predominates over endomorphy and mesomorphy in his body build.

    The extreme ectomorph has a thin face with high forehead and receding chin; narrow chest and abdomen; a narrow heart; rather long, thin arms and legs; little body fat and little muscle; but a large skin surface and a large nervous system. If well fed, he does not gain weight easily; if he becomes fat, he is still considered an ectomorph, only overweight. - encyclopedia britannica somatype

    Ectomorphs must be careful not to overtrain, since they will be very prone to do so. And overtraining very quickly halts any muscle gains dead in their tracks. The following is a jumping off point for your training. You'll have to adapt it to your own body depending on your age, experience, and fitness level.

    Ectomorphs can make their best gains with 3-6 sets per body part, depending on how experienced you are. Even the most experienced skinny builder might overtrain on more than 6-8 set per body part, merely sharpening your physique instead of gaining more size. With less than three months of training, three sets per body part would be most appropriate (add one more set of each exercise per six months of training, up to six sets of each).

    Here's a suitable beginning size gain workout:







    Standing Calf Machine






    Stiff Leg Deadlift



    Bent Row






    Bench Press



    Military Press



    Lying Triceps Extensions



    Barbell Curl



    Wrist Curl




    On exercises that recommend 10-15 reps, do a number of repetitions within that range. The 10/8/6 reps means one set of 10, add weight and do one set of 8, and add weight again for a set of 6. The weight jumps should be roughly 15-20% between sets. So if 100 is your first set on the squat, the second would be 120 and the third 140. It's essential to push hard to steadily increase exercise poundage. The final repetition of the third set should be absolutely the last rep you can do.

    Only by going close to "failure" like this can you be assured of getting the most out of each exercise. However, while the final set should be to max, the sets leading up to it should be 75-90% of maximum. These first sets build muscle but also warm up your muscles and joints for the all-out final set. Without a good warm-up, you are likely to injure yourself. You will also not be able to thoroughly stimulate your muscles with the final set unless fully warmed up. It's difficult for me to tell you how fast you should be progressing, because everyone is different and everyone moves at a different pace.

    While you may progress more quickly or slowly, you should be able to increase leg and back exercises about 5 five pounds per week and other body parts five pounds every other week. These are very general guidelines for a very general body type. This routine acts as a base for you to build on. Happy Building!

  • 5 Basic Rules of Eating BIG

    Power eating. It is not that dude who can eat 110 hot dogs in 10 minutes. It's about fueling your body for the purpose of performance. There are many variables that contribute to success when it comes to building. Besides having a powerful mind, you must master the diet.



    You can't create something out of nothing. So if you're looking to get BIG you need to eat BIG. If you want to lose weight, you cut calories; but for the purposes of growth, you need to feed your body so it has the tools to build mass (aka muscle). This means getting enough macro nutrients: carbs, proteins, and fats.    

    • Aim for 1 and 1½ grams of protein per pound of body weight.

    • For total calorie intake, aim for 15 times your weight. If you tend to put on fat easily, try between 10-15 times. If you have a quick metabolism, try between 15-20 times.

    • As a guideline, start with a 25% protein, 55% carbs and 20% fats combination.



    Carbs have their time and place - just like fats and proteins. Carbs are a crucial source of energy. They help recuperate after a workout, keep your mind sharp, balance blood sugar levels, reproduce and repair cells, and more. Moderation and balance is key.    

    • If you have a high metabolism, you may need more carbs than the average, but keep them healthy and whole.

    • Make sure you're getting lots of fiber-rich carbs. These help keep your bowls moving, keep you fuller longer, and also aid fat-burning.



    It's easy to pick a healthy meal and stick with it. Builders are notorious for having one of the most boring and bland diets. Although this may keep calories in check, a monotonous diet does not give your body all the nutrients it needs. When building, you are stressing out your body. In fact, you are constantly hurting it - tearing and bruising muscle while challenging joints, ligaments, and tendons. Your body needs a combination of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to keep it running, repairing, and efficient. Make sure you introduce a combination of foods into your diet.

    • Switch out the kinds of fruits you eat.

    • Lou likes to have red meat at least once a week but sticks to chicken and fish most days.

    • Try some color in your salads. Different colors mean different vitamins are present.

    • Don't go hog wild on the protein powder, get some natural protein as well. Although non-animal proteins like whey are digested quickly (making them perfect for immediate use after a workout), animal proteins are more effectively used by the body long term. If you don't eat animal protein, make sure you're getting some natural protein in like soy.



    What you eat when matters. Decide when you are working out, plan to eat every 3 hours, and then build an eating schedule to match. Also pay attention to your most energetic time of day and your work schedule. Getting the right energy balance and staving off hunger will give you optimum growth and fat burn.    

    • Eat most of your carbs early in the day. Taper off.

    • Have protein with every meal.

    • It is recommended that your pre-workout meal be low in fiber. This provides for quicker absorption into the system and helps avoid GI issues or complications during your workout.

    • A protein shake right after a workout helps your body keep working until you can get cleaned up and out of the gym for a proper meal.

    • Have some yogurt or some other form of casein protein before you go to bed to keep the body building muscle while you sleep.



    If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This is true for anything you attempt. And you need to apply it to your diet. Plan out what you're going to eat and when on a weekly basis. This way you can do your shopping once, make sure only good foods are at the ready, and you are always fueling yourself. This is not only important to keep your body's machine going, but it will help your mind stay focused and your energy levels consistent. Without planning, you're likely to grab fast food or anything at arms reach which may not be optimal for your goals.

    • Try keeping your go-to foods on note cards and switching them out depending on what you're in the mood for. This makes for easy planning after you've done all the calorie math.

    • Buy in bulk. It will keep your costs low and cuts down on time.

    • Keep a cooler in your car or office. Fresh food is good food. Unfortunately, a lot of foods that are good for you spoil quickly and need to be refrigerated.

    • Don't be afraid to brown bag it while others do take out. It's easy to pop out for a deli sandwich, special at the cafeteria, or drive-thru when you have limited time to eat, but it's even easier to pop something in the microwave. And, while you're eating your healthy meal, you're saving money too.

  • 10 Things I Learned From Pumping Iron

    Bodybuilding changed my life, but it was Pumping Iron that put me on the map. It was 1975, and I was competing against Arnold for the title of Mr. Olympia for the second year in a row. He was my idol at the time and 5 years my senior. He was Mr. Olympia and a bodybuilding champ. I was the hungry kid from Brooklyn that still trained in the neighborhood basement. Here are the top 10 things I learned from living and looking back on the days of 'Pumping Iron.’  



    Pumping Iron was an experience unlike any other. For the most part, it was real, but with any film there was still some storytelling to be done. Some considered my role to be the sulking underdog. Although it was played up in the movie, that was a lot of who I was at the time. I was constantly arguing with my father Matty. Our dynamic was stressful and left me angry most of the time. It caused me to doubt my own instincts, losing the focused I needed going into competition. You can't accomplish anything great if your mind is not focused on the task. If you are worrying about your health, your loved ones, or your opponent, then you're not focused. Make sure your relationships and your life are in order when taking on a challenge. It will make all the difference when it’s game time.


    I don't believe I trained as hard as I could have for the 1975 Mr. Olympia. I know there was more I could have done. It's not a good feeling to believe that. Don't make the same mistake. I know I never did again. Give everything you do 110%.


    Tanning matters. While Arnold and the guys trained in the California sun, I was training in a Brooklyn basement. I tried to get a tan right before the competition and couldn't. I felt like a rookie next to them. Psychologically, I believe it set me back. Without a tan - the right one for you - the judges may miss the details of your physique you've been working so hard to build. Have a plan A, B, and C for the important things in your life.


    If you've got the muscle, it's in the bag, right? Wrong. You've got to learn how to pose. If you don't know how to pose, you can't show others what you've got. It's like owning a fast car and not knowing how to drive. Arnold and Franco were big on practicing their posing. I didn't realize how much more they worked on it than me until the pre-judging.  


    Every builder needs cardio, but cardio was not part of my routine when I trained for the 1975 Mr. Olympia. I didn't think I needed it. So many builders, myself included, thought that calories burned were calories burned. At a basic level, this may be true. But when it comes to health, performance, and strength, nothing can be further from the truth. Builders need cardio for fat loss, to give their muscles a break from heavy weights, and for general cardiovascular fitness. I learned the hard way that training is a full body job.


    louweiderPumping Iron showed the world that we are all just people. Builders are not just meatheads with one thing on our minds, but complex people with complex dreams. In the same way, it made me realize that I wasn't alone. The same challenges, fears, and goals that drove me were driving an entire generation of men and women. It was educational, inspiring, and comforting.




    There is a special nature to the way a documentary film is produced. A lot like a reality show, the cameras are always on. Because they deal with real life, they need to capture all the boring stuff in order to get that great moment of drama. Over the course of the production, I got used to having cameras in my face. So much so that I finally forgot they were there - eventually relaxing enough to be myself. One of those moments was the scene where I'm peeling the tangerine. Pumping Iron helped me prepare for my future roles by getting me used to the camera, but it also taught me that I could "train" for anything I wanted to accomplish with enough time, dedication, and focus.


    During the 1975 shows, I truly learned to diet properly. I think dieting is a much harder science to tackle than the actual building of muscle. It changes with your body composition, mood, method of training, etc. You need to really know yourself to begin to tackle a proper diet that's going to transform your body.


    I look at something like the incredible popularity of CrossFit and I can't believe how far fitness has come these past few decades. When I got started, building was thought of as a fringe sport for men who were born looking like superheroes. Through education, time, and exposure, others now see bodybuilding as a science, a sport, and a legitimate part of the fitness world. To see that happen has been amazing.


    You can't be a champion without knowing a champion. Whether you're working out with your peers, engaging with your mentors, or observing your competitors, you need to surround yourself with greatness to be great. My time with those guys in the 1970s taught me a lot. It gave me a chance to share what I knew, learn some new tricks, and understand what competition and camaraderie was all about. It was a unique experience with a special group of friends at an extraordinary time. I was lucky to get to be part of that. And I'm so glad that it was captured on film for others to appreciate as well.

  • 5 Things Every Builder Must Do

    Like all challenges you will tackle in your life, building requires some basic skills apart from the actual act of training. It's these lifestyle changes that can make or break your success. They are simple concepts. Still, they evade the majority of people walking in and out of the gym.


    Get to know your body and its natural patterns. Pay attention to problem areas, strengths, and weaknesses. Build a routine that is specific to your body's needs and genetic makeup.  

    What is a Leg Day?[/caption] Train every body part equally. Too often builders find too much "enjoyment" in some workouts while neglecting others (leg day). Fitness is a full-body endeavor. If you don't see it this way, you risk injury, losses on the stage, and chicken legs in the summer.



    You must find passion in what you do. This applies to everything in life, but especially to the kind of challenges faced when making changes to your body. Building requires determination, unfailing consistency, and a certain appreciation for pain. If there isn't something greater driving you to transform into something else, you're bound to give in to the exhaustion at some point. Love what you do and it will see you through.



    You can always spot the new guy at the gym. Big or small, they work out too fast and too hard. If you look at a builder who knows what he's doing, he'll make it seem easy. Just put some plates on and lift till you turn blue in the face. But if you're done some reading and put in some time at the gym, you'll find that there is so much more going into a simple squat or bench press. Get to know how your body works - not just the muscles but also your bones, tendons, ligaments, joints, and organs. Once you understand how the human body works, educate yourself on proper form and execution. Your body is a complicated machine. Read the manual.



    This may sounds like a ridiculous tip but hear me out on this one. Just because you're about to get sweaty and work up a stink, doesn't mean you should walk into the gym already smelling like a gym bag. Respect the space and others by arriving clean. When you are done, clean up well. Feeling good about yourself when you walk in AND when you walk out will give you pride and confidence in your efforts - bringing you one step closer to success. Our sport has been fighting a bad rep for decades now. With the popularity of fitness on the rise, we have an opportunity to redefine ourselves. We all know it takes an extraordinary mind and body to build right. Don't let BO overshadow that. Represent and be proud. Deodorize.

  • Nutrition for Builders: BULK

    Nutrition is, by far, the most important part of your training - and it's also what a lot of builders get wrong. You need to approach your nutrition with the same intensity as your best workout. Consider your level of training, goals, and body type to craft a plan that's right for you.

    Below you'll find basic guidelines for building a diet plan for those looking to bulk. Depending on what you've learned about your body thus far, you'll need to play with these numbers until you get a combination that works for you. For instance, if you are a hard gainer (takes a lot to put on muscle), then you'll want to start at the maximum calorie level. If you tend to gain weight (put on fat) easily, you'll want to stay on the lower end and possibly cut back on your fat calories.

    The range given is a jumping off point. Each person will have different needs. The range differs for each builder depending on several factors:

    • Intensity/Days Training

    • Gender

    • Metabolism

    • Training Season

    • Experience Level

    As a general rule, women should focus on the lower ranges as a starting off point. Although some women may discover better results with mid-level numbers, most women may need to dip a bit lower than the range for men to optimize results.

    CALORIES: 18-24 g/lb
    PROTEIN: 1 g/lb
    CARBS: 2-3 g/lb
    FATS: 0.6-0.8 g/lb*


    *Total grams per pound of fats depends on the rest of your diet. This number is an estimate. To properly calculate the grams of fat for your diet, do the following:

    • Calculate total number of calories

    • Calculate protein calories: multiply total grams of proteins by 4

    • Calculate carb calories: multiply total grams of carbs by 4

    • Subtract total proteins and total carbs from total calories

    • Divide remainder by 9

    DAILY NUTRITION FOR 175 LB MAN (Top Range/Ectomorph)
    CALORIES: 4200

    PROTEIN: 175 g (1 g/lb)

    CARBS: 525 g  (3 g/lb)
    FATS: 155 g (about 0.8 g/lb)


    CALORIES: 2250
    PROTEIN: 125 g (1 g/lb)
    CARBS: 250 g (2 g/lb)
    FATS: 83 g (about 0.6 g/lb)

  • Four Moves for Beastly Lats

     If you're looking to change your shape, not just chisel it, you're going to need to challenge your muscles aggressively to promote growth. If you want to attack the lats, you'll want to add these four exercises to your routine. These four moves will help you find your wings. Remember, you want heavy weights and low reps. Slow and steady. Lift to failure on that last set.


    "It's vital to work the lats if you want to build a proportionate physique. Don't just look good from the front. The back is just as important."



    Let's give your biceps and pecs a rest. Engage the back with a wide grip pull-up. Place your hands on the pull up bar - palms forward and several inches wider than shoulder width. Start at a full hang and pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar. Return to your original position SLOWLY.

    (2) WIDE GRIP PULL-UP WITH WEIGHTS Repeat the same as above... only add some weight. You can wear a weighted vest, ankle weights, or tie a plate to your weight belt.

    (3) STRAIGHT ARM PULL-DOWN Attach a straight bar to the pulley. Hold the bar palms down and shoulder width apart with arms straight. To avoid injury, don't lock your elbows. Bring the bar down slowly until it reaches your quads then return to your original position at the same pace. Make sure you're using your back, not your arms, while performing this exercise.

    (4) SEATED CABLE ROW Using the V-bar, sit on the cable row machine with your feet on the platform, legs bent, back straight, and arms extended out. While remaining in position, use your back to bring the bar towards your torso, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly return to position.

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