Thursday, 30 October 2008

Martin Gergov Interview

Today I am happy to say that we have an interview with Martin Gergov, four times Bulgarian powerlifting champion!

At only 29 years of age Martin has already achieved so much in the powerlifting world so this is a really exciting interview.

How old were you when you started out in fitness?

- Training in fitness started at 14 years ol. But at 12 years old I was doing raise lever and parallel bars at school. I started practicing because I was skinny, about 40 kg in weight.

What made you start out in Powerlifting?

- Powerlifting I started to train in by accident. In a Journal of fitness, which I buy regularly, they published results of the vidyah compete in powerlifting. I could not believe it - I had good results from the first category to 60 kg. So I decided to participate in my first competition.

How did you become a member of the Bulgarian national team?

- Before I attend my first competition I went to the federation in powerlifting in Sofia (I am from the city Ivailovgrad) and told them I wanted to hire a coach. Once they understood what my achievements were they introduced me to the coach of the National Sports Academy. So I started training under his leadership. Performing anything they said my results were incredible. So after a competition, despite being rated second - my federation announced that I was accepted into the National team of Bulgaria in powerlifting.

What years did you become national Bulgarian powerlifting champion?

- I was four times champion of Bulgaria, three silver medalist and bronze medalist five times. Other places I do not remember them. After that I stopped to compete because of funds in Bulgaria, which is devoted to sports are funny! (a Bulgarian saying that means because there are very little funds)

What is your favourite weightlifting exercise?

All basic exercises are my favorites. But I love and am motivated by Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift!

What is your personal best weight lifted?

Squat - 250kg (75 kg in weight) of drill
Bench Press - 180kg (75 kg in weight) of drill
Deadlift - 280kg (75 kg in weight) of drill

What is your training schedule?

- When I competed I practice twice a day and three sessions (a week). Each exercise with 8-10 working series (sets) with 1-2 repetitions 3-4 months before the competition and no longer than 4 repetitions in the base (off season) period. My recovery was a little difficult because I had to work at night so I can train during the day.

The Bulgarians are well known for their strength and being champions of different weightlifting sports, what is the Bulgarian secret to success?

- To really work hard. When I was in our national team coaches were Andon Nikolov, Olympic champion weightlifting coach and made the most of Bulgarian Ivan Abadjiev Rods!

I suppose in this issue you are trying to ask me about chemistry. To have a good recovery, to make enormous training of course is not achievable without chemistry. Otherwise, there is no tie physically and mentally, but with proper dosage (correct level of physical and mental strength - the dose makes the poison, remember that). But the greater truth is training.

I remember that Abadjiev wanted to practice at least three times. Abadjiev system really makes champions. The bad thing is that Bulgaria does not appreciate good!

Where do you see your future as you have already achieved so much?

- In Bulgaria, at least for now I do not see a future. I would not compete, I have declined and so have many of my friends. Why you ha ha per kilogram protein and creatine kilo for first place, not much.

Professional sport is sport for money-occupation, not a sport for health, the difference is very great. You strip yourself of clubs, favorite foods, family, all day, even at night and eventually work for one boy, yourself!

After finishing to compete I began work as an individual fitness instructor. Among my clients there has been very well known people in Bulgaria and VIP personalities. Currently I am working again as an individual fitness instructor, I write articles on fitness and nutrition for a male magazine, and worked as a consultant! It is a matter of some time, however, when I leave Bulgaria for ever. Because this country is stepmother to good people, never satisfied!

If you want to find out more about Martin Gergov visit his website at

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Bulgarian Training

So I have been in Bulgaria for just over a week....what have I found that I can give as a pointer from the training I have received?

Well firstly the Bulgarians train brutally, I mean this in a totally positive way, these guys know how to train HARD by pounding out compound exercises with huge free weights and little recovery time between sets.

While Im a person that trains early in the morning around 8am to 8:30am the Bulgarian boys tend to train around 4 to 5 pm. Training with little recovery time inbetween sets compared to what I am used to really has been a struggle but has also been rewarding as I can feel the impact on my muscles.

The thing about the training is that although they train very hard, they also know how to relax and recuperate after training.

After training its time to rest and enjoy the evening with food. The food doesnt comprise of one meal that you eat within 30 minutes to an hour, this meal is a full evening affair with a starter and main meal supported by lots of plates full of cold meats, eggs, cheeses and nuts.

The starter and main course are eaten slowly and everyone is taking little bits of meats etc from the other plates (these are called meze). Even when the starter and main course are finished the meze plates stay on the table for all to enjoy along with a glass of Rakia (Bulgarian spirit made form grapes).

So as you can see the Bulgarian guys train hard with compound exercises, heavy weights and low recovery times between sets. Most of all they have a great relaxing recovery time that they spend eating slowly over long hours. By eating over long hours their keeps metabolism at a high level and their body enjoys a steady good protein intake to support muscle recovery and gains.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Fat Burning Zone

I have talked previously of the fat burning zone when on the topic of muscle definition but thought I would go further into the explanation of how this works and what it is all about.

When training we tend to put the highest intensity into what we are doing as we believe this will burn the most amount of calories thus help us lose the most amount of weight through fat loss, this unfortunately is not the truth.

As the body is using energy it does so in three ways...firstly the body uses carbohydrate stores, then fat stores and finally protein stores. The higher the intensity of your workout the more likely it is that you are utilsing your protein stores rather than your fat stores.

The end story of this will mean that your cardiovascular system will get stronger due to the high instensity of your workout, GREAT!, but you will also be in a position where prolonged training at this intensity will see muscle reduce with little fat loss.

The optimum way to train is at a medium intensity within the fat burning zone, the fat burning zone will see your body use carbohydrates and fats for its energy needs. This fat burning zone will ensure that the optimum amount of fat is lost through training.

So how do you find your fat burning zone?

To gain your fat burning zone we use your heart rate. Take your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age) and multiply this by 60% to find what your fat burning zone base heart rate is.

To find your ceiling fat burning zone heart rate take your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age) and multiply this by 70%.


I'm 27 so...

220 - 27 = 193
193 x 60% = 116
193 x 70% = 135

This means when training in the fat burning zone my heart rate should always sit between 116 beats per minute and 135 beats per minute.

If you train four times a week for forty minutes in the fat burning zone along with a healthy diet you are sure to see great fat loss results within four to six weeks while retaining our bodies muscle mass.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Powerlifting 5x5 Workout

You may have seen the previous 5x5 workout that I posted, now this workout being posted today is a powerlifting 5x5 workout.

The difference between a standard 5x5 workout and a powerlifting 5x5 workout is the exercises completed in the workout. The exercises differ because a powerlifter is concentrating on building on the three lifts in powerlifting competitions

  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift

By completing the powerlifting 5x5 workout your strength will increase quite quickly but you wont gain the huge arms etc that many want for vanity.

The powerlifting 5x5 workout is carried out three times a week with at least a days rest between training sessions, below is the two workouts you need to carry out to complete this workout.

Day 1

Squat 5x5
Benchpress 5x5
Barbell Row 3x15
EZ Curls 3x15
Crunch (Abs) 3x25

Day 2

Squat 5x5
Deadlift 5x5
Shoulder Press 3x12
Skullcrushers 3x15
Reverse Crunches (Abs) 3x25

Once day 2 is complete go straight back to day one and keep alternating, after 12 weeks take a one week rest and start again!

For a full 12 month 5x5 workout click here

Disclaimer - With any workout please only lift what you physically can, its more important to lift lighter and correctly than lift heavy and damage yourself.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Kettlebell Beginner Workout

The kettlebell beginner workout will increase the strength in your body overall, it does not target specific muscle groups but rather uses compound exercises to give an overall workout.

If carried out correctly and used as part of a larger training regime the kettlebell beginner workout can really help you get on track with gaining that beach body and increasing strength.

As the kettlebell beginner workout is an overall body workout it is important to rest for forty eight hours after the workout before training again.

Power Cleans - 3 sets x 15-20 reps
Single Arm Rows - 3 sets x 15-20 reps
Alternating Floor Press - 3 sets x 15-20 reps
Front Squat - 3 sets x 15-20 reps
Single Arm Jerk - 3 sets x 15-20 rep
Kettlebell Swing - 3 sets x 15-20 reps

The illustrious kettlebell history has shown the kettlebells success with athletes and strongmen from the former Soviet Union (Russia) and it is for this reason that a kettlebell workout may support you in achieving your weight lifting goal.

Disclaimer - With any workout please only lift what you physically can, its more important to lift lighter and correctly than lift heavy and damage yourself.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Kettlebell History

Kettlebell training is a new craze to have hit some western nations but the truth is that the kettlebell history is unique and this centuries old training technique is one that Russia has been using religiously.

What is a Kettlebell?

A kettlebell is essentially a large cast iron ball with a handle. Kettlebells come in different weights (pounds and kilograms), the kettlebells in kilograms normally come in weights of even numbers while kettlebells in pounds can come in a variety of weights.

Kettlebell History

The kettlebell history is interesting.

The first documented mention of the kettlebell dates back to a Russian dictionary from 1704. It is believed that during this time the kettlebell was actually a counterweight used in the Russian markets to measure the weight of produce. Those in the villages and small towns started using the kettlebells as a way of keeping fit by throwing them around much like the shot put found in th present day Olympics.

Over time the kettlebell became very popular among strongmen who started incoorporating the kettlebell in to their strength training regime. This use of the kettlebell started with the Russian strongmen but was also used by strongmen across the countries of western Europe and America.

In fact if you look at old strongmen manuals from the early 1900's you will see that the kettlebell is a main part of all training regimes from the east or west.

As time progressed kettlebells disappeared from the west but carried on being used religiously in the Soviet Union (present day Russia).

It was not until the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991 that kettlebells were seen again in the west. Even at this time they were not really bothered with and it has only been the past 12 to 24 months that kettlebells have been advocated as a great training tool in the gym for both men and women.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Training Body Parts Equally

It is well known in the training world that many men will train specific parts of their body and neglect other parts. While this may not seem too bad at first glance, it is essentially very bad for the body.

We all know the men that visit the gym and work hard on their pecs, abs and guns (Biceps) yet never train their back or legs. These same people have the ideal in their head of having big arms and chest for the beach but dont understand the negative impact it can have on their body.

By training hard on one muscle group and not training others it produces an unnatural muscle imbalance which can affect the skeletal system causing problems with posture and joints.


An example of an unnatural imbalance causing probems to the skeletal system is overtraining the chest. By training the chest but not the back you can cause a muscle imbalance that affects your posture. When training the chest you will also train the front deltoid muscle of the shoulder, over time the chest and front deltoid grow in strength and size but the back remains the same.

Because of the muscle imbalance a person can expect to see their shoulders slump, neck bend forward and an unnatural curvature of the spine appear over time, this is because the muscles of the back and deltoid muscles cannot support the added weight from the training of the chest and front deltoids.


It is true that many people have one musle group that can be naturally stronger than other muscle groups comparitively speaking. I for one know that my back is extremely strong compared to all other muscle groups but for me this is a natural balance I was born with and has always been the case since before I started training.

In fact because I know of this slight imbalance I work harder on all other muscle groups than I do on my back so it gives me the opportunity to bring all my muscles in to line.

It is essential to train all body parts equally unless you know of a muscle group that has a weakness compared to others where you can train harder on this muscle group to bring it in to line with your stronger muscles.

If you do not train your muscles equally you can start to look awkward because of large muscles in one area and small muscles elsewhere, or even worse you can have a negative impact on your skeletal system.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Bodybuilder Diet

The bodybuilder diet differs greatly from that of a weight lifter or powerlifter. The idea behind the bodybuilder diet is to feed your muscle mass while being able to reduce body fat to gain that defined physique.

As I have mentioned previously you firstly need to establish you calorie intake to ensure you are eating enough, but not too much.

After this you need to understand how much macronutrients your body requires every day as part of your calorie intake.

  • Protein - 1 - 1.5 grams of protein for every pound you weigh (2.2 - 3.3 grams for every kilogram you weigh)
  • Carbohydrates - 2 grams of slow digesting carbohydrates, known as low GI foods, for every pound you weigh. (4.4 grams for every kilogram you weigh).
  • Fat - Consume 0.7 grams of essential fats for every pound you weigh (1.54 grams for every kilogram you weigh).
Next you need to change your meal times. For a bodybuilder diet you need to eat no less than six times a day spacing your meals out evenly to ensure a sustainable amount of energy and to keep your metabolic rate at its optimum level.

If you are into bodybuilding and want that huge mass that is cut to clear definition then you need to really up your game and change your diet to achieve your dreams. This bodybuilder diet is just what you need to kick start your bodybuilding goals.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Training with the Bulgarian Big Boys

A week today I travel back to Bulgaria to train with the big boys in Eastern Europe. To me this is going to be a bigger and more exciting opportunity than the last time I was training in Eastern Europe back in April.

I am going to use this time to learn new techniques and improve my deadlift and squat. My benchpress is coming along strong and even though the deadlift is the strongest of all my three lifts I feel it has not been improving as I want.

My weight has been waivering around 200lbs (90kg) and I think its time to push my body further to build on my strength/weight ratio.

When I am in Bulgaria I should have alot of time to post more often on here. I will use this time to talk about any interesting pointers I pick up.

For those who dont know Bulgaria is THE country for Olympic weight lifting champions. Bulgaria may only be a small country of around 7.5 million people but it has dominated the Olympic weight lifting circuit over all weight ranges for the past 30 years!

Although I am a powerlifter, not an Olympic lifter, I do see myself learning alot of training techniques that will cross over to the powerlifting world and will improve my training significantly.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Intermediate Leg Workout

Here we have the Intermediate leg and shoulder workout that will increase the size and strength of your legs and shoulders!

This workout is used along with a chest/triceps and back/biceps workout to give an overall body workout that will support your target of increasing size and muscle mass.

The reason why the workouts are broken down in this way is to give maximum opportunity for your body to grow through hard training and the correct rest and repair time muscles need.

This workout should be carried out once a week to see the biggest gains as any more will cause overtraining which could have a negative impact.

Upright Row - 5 sets of 5 reps
Arnie Press - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Barbell Shrugs - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Dumbbell Lateral Raise - 3 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Squat - 5 sets of 6 to 8 reps
Leg Press - 5 sets of 6 to 8 reps

Disclaimer - With any workout please only lift what you physically can, its more important to lift lighter and correctly than lift heavy and damage yourself.