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The Foundation to Reaching Your Peak Performance

With BIG: Building Greatness

The Foundation to Reaching Your Peak Performance

Revision 2016.06.22.v1

About the Authors Steve Cook Steve Cook is one of the most recognizable faces in

About the Authors

Steve Cook

Steve Cook is one of the most recognizable faces in the Fitness Industry. He is best noted for being an IFBB Pro Men’s Physique Competitor, Optimum Nutrition and Bodybuilding.com Spokes Model, international fitness personality, and the founder of Swoldier Nation.

Playing football for Dixie State College gave Steve the foundation and experience to achieve a successful career in competitive bodybuilding. Steve has always excelled in this arena, winning the Muscle and Fitness Male Model Search, Bodybuilding.com FitBody Contest, BodyBuilding.com BodySpace Spokesmodel Search, and then moving on to become the 3rd person ever to obtain his Men’s Physique Pro Card, 1st ever Men’s Physique Competitor to qualify for the Mr. Olympia, and much more.

Today, Steve works to entertain and educate large audiences on fitness and health. Steve aims to redefine how exercise is perceived across the world, starting with this program.

Michael Cazayoux

Michael is best known for his competitive CrossFit career, in which he competed at the CrossFit Games 3 years in a row. In 2012 and 2013, his team won the World Championship becoming the only team to do so back to back.

Cazayoux started his coaching career at Southern Utah University, where he was a strength and conditioning coach for the football, gymnastics, soccer, and track and field teams. Following his time at SUU, he assisted with multiple teams at Louisiana State University, working with future MLB and NFL players.

Michael has worked with Olympians, CrossFit Games athletes, and everything in between. He is also CSCS, USAW, FMS certified and is writing his Master’s Thesis in Sports Performance and Conditioning. His specialty is Sports Psychology and what we’ll call “Program Adherence.” He understands the little things that get in people’s way and throw them off track. He’s set out to make this a program one that “sticks.”

Jacob Hutton Jake was a freak football player throughout his youth. He was named a

Jacob Hutton

Jake was a freak football player throughout his youth. He was named a Freshman All-American as he played for the Utah State Aggies. After being courted by every single NFL team, he became plagued by foot injuries that eventually cost him the opportunity to play in the NFL.

In his pro day, he weighed 250 lbs. was about 7% body fat, ran a 4’540 yard dash, bench pressed 225lbs for 48 reps (3 short of the all time record), and jumped over 40. A freak.

He then started his coaching career at Southern Utah University, where he worked with football, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and track and field teams. Jake is also CSCS, USAW, FMS certified and is writing his Master’s Thesis in Sports Performance and Conditioning. His specialty is in hypertrophy (muscle gain) and fat loss. He is well versed in dozens of training methodologies and diets that greatly contributed to the writing of the BIG program.

What’s the BIG idea? BIG is a program that is designed and proven to help

What’s the BIG idea?

BIG is a program that is designed and proven to help you reach your peak performance. Joining the BIG team doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get big, unless that’s your goal. What it means is that you will be equipped with the resources needed to make a big difference in your life. You will lose fat, gain lean muscle and become the strongest you’ve ever been.

The BIG program is our recipe to making these body transformations. We do the preparation and give you the ingredients. It isn’t easy, but, if done correctly, we guarantee it will be successful.

In this ebook, we share some of the key fundamentals that the BIG community and program embody. We hope you use this guide as a starting point in your fitness journey with BIG.

Inside you’ll discover:

6 Major Factors in Gaining Lean Muscle

6 Lifestyle Choices Your Gym Idols Make

4 Fairytales on Fat Loss

5 Tips for a Bigger Chest

2 Ways to Get Ripped, Not Ripped-Off

Bonus Material

1 HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training Workout

2 Days of Upper Body Programming

6 Major Factors in Gaining Lean Muscle

1. Consume A LOT of protein

95% of our clients aren’t eating enough protein before starting with us. If you are serious about training, eating at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight is a minimum. A high concentration of amino acids in the blood stream is imperative to keeping the body in an anabolic (muscle building) state. This will provide every chance to repair and build muscle, reducing day-to-day recovery time and muscle soreness.

This also keeps the hormone cortisol in check. High cortisol levels can lead to inflammation

This also keeps the hormone cortisol in check. High cortisol levels can lead to inflammation and excess body fat.

Tips:

Spend 3 days tracking your food to get an honest evaluation of how much protein you are currently eating.

The 1 gram per pound of bodyweight should be consumed in whole foods. Shakes should be a supplement to meals and be used post workout to speed up the recovery process.

If your protein intake is very low, start by adding 3 grams a day until you reach the desired amount. Your digestive system and toilet will thank you.

2. Respect the micros

There are 2 things to keep in mind when eating big to get big: macros and micros. Everybody knows that if you aren’t getting enough protein (macronutrient), you won’t grow. BUT, if you are deficient in ANY vitamin or mineral (micronutrients), you have no chance!

Magnesium and vitamin D deficiency are nothing short of an epidemic in the United States. Magnesium deficiency is prevalent in the western diet due to grains, rather than leafy green vegetables, making up our predominant source of plant based food intake. Magnesium is critical for nervous system and cardiovascular regulation, as well as glucose tolerance. Vitamin D has been proven in research to be important for power and force development, muscle strength, bone development and lean body mass.

Tips:

Find a high-quality multivitamin to help you fill in the gaps.

Supplement magnesium daily with a minimum of 400 milligrams.

Supplement your vitamin D levels with a minimum of 4,000 IU per day.

3. Focus on compound movements There is a reason that the biggest guys in the

3. Focus on compound movements

There is a reason that the biggest guys in the gym hang out in the squat rack. Exercises that train more than one muscle are the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to getting big. There is also excellent research showing the body’s physiological response of increased testosterone and human growth hormone response to multi-joint, compound movements. The reason we put this in the guide is to remind you to prioritize these movements, follow a progression and always make sure these make up the bulk of your training.

Tips:

Start adding in additional squats, deadlifts, overhead presses and chin-ups to build more muscle mass.

4. Train through a full range of motion

Don’t get us wrong, there is a time and a place for partial rep training, but doing it as a year round main movement, rather than as an accessory, is the fast track to plateauing. The rule of thumb when training full range is to “completely close the joint.” For example, if you’re training a hamstring curl, get the calf to the hamstring until there is no space between them. The same is true for biceps curls, you want your forearm to get all the way to your biceps until there is no space between them. Half reps get half results!

5. Follow techniques geared towards muscle growth

A strong muscle is a bigger muscle. This is especially true for a natural lifter. You must be constantly overloading the muscle to get it to adapt and grow. Going into the gym without a plan, only doing metcons and never getting stronger, is a waste of your hard work. If you are using performance-enhancing drugs, you might be able to get away with it. If you are a natural lifter, you must use training techniques scientifically proven to get you stronger and build muscle at the same time.

Focus on the growth of type II muscle fibers. Fast twitch (type II) muscle fibers are fibers that produce the most force and contract very quickly. Luckily, these are the

fibers with the most growth potential as well. The best ways to tap into these

fibers with the most growth potential as well. The best ways to tap into these fibers are:

1. Slow eccentric training

Thisputs you under the bar for a longer period of time with greater percentages of your 1 rep max. Time under tension at heavy loads is the name of the game if you are trying to grow. This causes more damage to the muscle and allows more potential for growth. The muscle is built back bigger and stronger.

2. Training at maximal loads (1-3 reps)

Training at maximal loads forces you to tap into fast twitch muscle fibers. You must tap into these fibers to move the weight! Heavy weight train your central nervous system to engage fast twitch fibers, allowing them to grow and increasing strength.

3. Dynamic effort and ballistic training (explosive movements/plyometric)

Dynamic effort and ballistic training are also ways to tap into these fibers. To be strong you must have a well-developed central nervous system. You must be able to elicit the response of fast twitch fibers on command. This type of training is another way to get strong without putting a heavy barbell on your back. You must know when to incorporate these movements not only during the week, but also during your training session to benefit from this type of training.

Tips:

Add a day for dynamic effort training at least once a week.

These movements must be prioritized to the beginning of the training session. To reap the full benefits of this type of training you must be fresh and able to give 100% effort every rep.

6. Exercise in the correct rep ranges

The amount of reps you are completing per sets of an exercise is a very important component of building muscle. Sets of 1-5 reps are geared for strength. You can definitely build muscle with these sets, but low reps like this are better for building absolute strength. Sets of 15+ are great to build muscular endurance, but cause less muscle damage and less growth. If you are serious about building muscle, you must spend a significant amount of time training in rep ranges geared toward hypertrophy (muscle growth). Sets of 6-15 reps are great for building muscle, with the sweet spot landing in the 8-12 rep range.

Here’s the kicker – ​ train to failure ​ (or at least close to it).

Here’s the kicker – train to failure(or at least close to it). We’ve all seen people in the gym rack weight the weight on a set of 12 when they clearly have more in the tank. Completing a set of 12 when you are good for 25 reps isn’t going to get the job done.

However, for compound, multi-joint leg movements, you must be carefuland follow a periodized plan. Training to complete failure on these movements on a weekly basis can have a negative impact on your training and overtax the central nervous system. With upper body and single joint movements, training to complete failure can be done more consistently.

Tips:

Train to complete failure in the 8-12 rep range on upper body accessory work and single joint movements. Failure means you can’t complete one more rep. Actually FAIL!

Want big arms fast? Train 2 reps past failure in the 8-12 rep range. Ex: BB Biceps Curl - you fail at 8 reps. Have your training partner assist with the concentric phase of the lift (curling the bar up), then control the eccentric (lowering) phase for a 4-6 count for 2 more reps.

6 Lifestyle Choices Your Gym Idols Make 1. Set a sleep schedule The quickest way

6 Lifestyle Choices Your Gym Idols Make

1. Set a sleep schedule

The quickest way to derail a phenomenal nutrition and training protocol is to have an irregular sleep schedule. Sleep is the most underrated performance enhancer and general health promoter. Anything less than 7 hours a night is not good enough. 8 hours a night is great. 9 hours a night will leave you feeling invincible. To keep your metabolism firing and your energy levels optimal (energy=motivation), get more sleep!

Tips:

Drink at least 12 ounces of water prior to falling asleep so you don’t wake up in a fatigued state from dehydration.

Take magnesium before bed as a sleep aid. Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system.

Get rid of the TV! Your bedroom should be a place you go to sleep. Taking away distractions will allow you to get in a routine of falling asleep faster when you enter the bedroom.

2. Follow a diet with structured macros

Macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fat. Every gram of each macronutrient contains calories. Protein and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, and fat contains 9 calories per gram.

We recommend everyone spend at least two months following a diet plan with daily macro goals. Ex: Every day you must consume 220 grams of protein, 300 grams of carbohydrates, and 80 grams of fat. Learning to track macros will teach you what foods contain certain macronutrients, portion sizes that best fit your body and how your body responds to food. Learning about food will set you up for long-term success.

Tips:

Find someone qualified to guide you through the process if you are new to macro counting.

Buy a food scale. Weighing and measuring your food for a few months will teach you portion sizes.

3. Always have a plan “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” This

3. Always have a plan

“He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” This is especially true when talking about achieving the body of your dreams. Whether you are trying to gain 20lbs or lose 20lbs, you must have a plan to succeed.

The old saying, “eating five meals a day speeds up your metabolism,” has never been proven by science. The reason people succeed when they eat five meals a day is because they are making healthy food choices! Imagine someone eating five meals a day saying, “For meal one I’m going to eat two donuts, I think I’ll have two slices of pizza and a soda for meal two, etc.”

Maximize your willpower by planning your meals and structuring your life for success. No one has an unlimited amount of willpower. Knowing that and preparing for temptation is a huge step in the right direction.

Tips:

Prep your meals for the middle of the day. Most people have time to make breakfast and dinner, and this is where you can add more variety.

Only buy and keep healthy groceries in your house. If you aren’t around bad food, the chances of eating poorly reduce dramatically. Also, junk food is by far the easiest to get your hands on. Never keep it in your house.

4. Cut out sugary drinks

Drinking beverages loaded with sugar is a huge factor causing Americans to become obese. Our friend Bruce Pitcher from Extreme Weight Losswas over 400lbs at one point in his life. Years of soda consumption had a big impact on this. The calories he consumed from soda every day was equal to about 17 donuts. 17 donuts on top of everything he was actually eating!

Tons of different beverages out there are loaded with sugar and many people don't even realize it. Be aware of this and check nutrition labels. A 32oz Dr. Pepper contains 108 carbs, and it's not uncommon to see people drinking a couple of these a day. Cutting this out will have a huge impact on your body composition.

Tips:

Always opt for a 0 calorie choice.

Save your calories for food, which will keep you full longer and give you more sustenance.

5. De-stress daily Meditation has a positive impact on hormone regulation. People who meditate on

5. De-stress daily

Meditation has a positive impact on hormone regulation. People who meditate on a regular basis experience higher testosterone and lower cortisol levels. If cortisol levels are too high they can have a negative impact on recovery and muscle building. Think you are too busy? Ten minutes or even less can have a huge impact on your daily stress levels.

Tips:

1. Download​​and use the app Headspacefor 10 days or

2. Listen to Sam Harris explain meditationand practice it on your own for 10 days

6. Train with purpose

Setting a goal, making a plan to achieve that goal and staying accountable are key components to changing your body. You must clearly define your “WHY.” Why am I doing this? Why am I getting up early to hit the gym while everyone else is still in bed? It could be to make it to the Olympics, or it could be as simple as having a good Christmas picture this year. Define your “WHY” and let it motivate you every day.

Next, you must figure out how you are going to achieve this goal. Make a plan and stick to it. If you don’t know where to start, find a qualified professional to guide you through the process. Becoming part of a motivating community is one reason Brute athletes have so much success. Our athletes feed off of each other, compete against each other and push to be the best versions of themselves.

Tips:

Find a good training partner. A good training partner is one of the most valuable tools to stay accountable. Talking yourself out of going to the gym is 10 times harder when someone else is relying on you. Also, the chances of having a bad training day reduces dramatically when you have a training partner to raise your game.

4 Fairytales on Fat Loss 1. “A calorie is a calorie” First and foremost, a

4 Fairytales on Fat Loss

1. “A calorie is a calorie”

First and foremost, a calorie is not just a calorie. Everything you put into your body creates a physiological response within the body. This is called the thermic effect of food. Animal protein and leafy greens take much more energy to digest than white bread and candy.

This is why counting macronutrients is so important. It is a way to make sure your calories are coming from foods that will help you be lean and support muscle repair and growth. 600 calories from ribeye steak, cauliflower and yams looks significantly different than 600 calories from pizza, Oreos and Pepsi. You should look to consume nutrient dense, low glycemic index food options.

Tips:

Follow the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy nutrient dense food 80% of the time and allow room to enjoy less healthy options 20% of the time. This will keep you on track, while allowing you to eat food you enjoy and have fun with friends.

2. “You can work off a bad diet”

The fact that there are still trainers pushing for you to buy more training sessions, but never doing anything to help with your nutrition protocols shows that there is a disconnect with the true way to get lean. There is no denying the anatomical and physiological benefits of training, but your biggest advocate in weight loss is the kitchen.

3. “Fat makes you fat”

Fat is an essential macronutrient required for healthy bodily function. Fat gets a bad rap because there are 9 calories per gram compared to 4 calories per gram of protein and carbohydrates. When it comes to fat intake, remember that omega-3s are your best friend when trying to get lean. Consuming a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids will ensure the fat (lipid) layer of your cells is built using omega-3s. This cell layer can be made of any types of fat, like omega-6 and trans fats. Having the lipid layer of your cells composed of omega-3s will improve insulin sensitivity, a huge factor for fat loss.

Tips: ◾ Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. (Ex. Grass fed beef, wild game,

Tips:

Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. (Ex. Grass fed beef, wild game, wild caught fish, etc.)

Buy a high-quality fish oil (look for total omega-3 content when making your purchase).

4. “You have to do long duration cardio to burn fat”

Too often we see people spending hours at the gym doing cardio in the “fat burning” zone. These workouts are great and have many benefits physiologically and aesthetically. But, if we are talking about the most bang for your buck, high intensity interval training is the king of fat loss. The physiological effects of intense interval training are much different than low and slow cardio. This is because of EPOC - Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. After a session of intense interval training your body’s response is to increase the consumption of oxygen to bring the body back to homeostasis. This increased oxygen consumption lasts for hours and is accompanied by the need for more fuel. If you want to increase your metabolism, do high intensity interval training.

Also, the hormonal response to high intensity interval training trumps low and slow cardio every time.

Here’s a HIIT workout to get you started:

First - Test your mile time. Do an all out mile and record your time. We will be using this to measure your intensity on the HIIT workout.

Workout:

Incline Treadmill Sprints 10 rounds – 20 sec on 1 min rest 15% incline Set speed at PR mile pace

4 Tips for a Bigger Chest Building the chest of your dreams requires more than

4 Tips for a Bigger Chest

Building the chest of your dreams requires more than just hitting a few sets on the bench press and pec deck every time you go to the gym. Many people focus a lot of time and energy building their chest, but avoid other exercises, causing an imbalanced physique and structural imbalance in the shoulder.

Follow these tips to:

- Avoid injury

- Avoid strength plateaus

- Keep steady gains

1. Never neglect the bench press

When it comes to chest-building exercises, the bench press is the VIP. The barbell flat bench is probably the most commonly used variation of the bench press, but you aren’t going to build a huge chest by only doing a few sets of the barbell flat bench a week. We recommend doing 6-12 sets twice a week for real chest gains.

Here’s a list of our top 5 chest exercises:

1. Bench Press

2. SA DB Bench

2. Build a strong back

If you are trying to build a big, strong chest and don’t give the same amount of attention to your back, you’re in trouble. If you don’t strive for structural balance, the shoulder immobility issues are sure to come. Also, if you are bench pressing correctly, lat engagement is a huge factor in pressing more weight. More weight = bigger chest.

Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou7yLU627Rofor how to bench properly/lat engagement:

Here’s a list of our top 5 pulling exercises:

2. Pendlay Row

4. CG Pulldowns

5. DB Pullovers

​ Single-Arm DB Row 4. CG Pulldowns 5. ​ DB Pullovers Here is an example of

Here is an example of how to structure your workouts:

Monday

Sets x Reps

1a*

Close Grip Bench Press @55%-60%-65%-65% 4 count lower ¼ up / all the way up

4 x 8

1b

Face Pulls - AHAP**

4

x 12

Rest 2-3 min

2a

Chin-up: 4 count lower AHAP**

4 x 8

2b

Behind the Neck Press – 60%,65%,70%,70%

4 x 12

2c

Seated side lateral raise

4

x 12

Rest 2 mins

3a

Neutral Grip Single-Arm DB Bench Press – AHAP** – close to failure at 10 reps

3 x 10 each

3b

DB Row @AHAP** – close to failure at 10 reps

3

x 10

Reset 90 seconds

Giant Set– 3 x 8-12 FAIL in the 8-12 range. Rest 30 sec or less between exercises. Complete all exercises then rest for 2 min.

4a

Machine Incline Bench

3 x 8-12

4b

Lat Pulldown

3 x 8-12

4c

Dips

3 x 8-12

4d

T-Bar Chest Supported Row

3 x 8-12

Workouts ​ (continued) Thursday Sets x Reps 1a* 20 Incline Bench Press leave 2 in

Workouts (continued)

Thursday

Sets x Reps

1a*

20 Incline Bench Press leave 2 in the tank and go all out on 3rd

2

x 15

This means to pick a weight that you can complete 15-20 reps. On the first 2 sets you will stop when you feel like you are 2 reps from failure. On the third and final set, go to complete failure.

1b*

Chest Supported Row

3 x 15

1c*

Incline Rear Delt Raise

3

x 15

Rest 2 mins

2a

Strict Pull-Ups

3 x 15

2b

SA DB OH Press – AHAP**

3 x 15 each

Rest 2 mins

Giant Set -

Rest 30 sec or less between exercises. Complete all exercises then rest for 2 min.

 

3a

Arnold Press

3 x 15

3b

Lat Pulldown Behind Neck

3 x 15

3c

Machine Shoulder Press

3 x 15

3d

Prison Push-Ups

3 x 15

*(1a. - 1b.) - This means you will need to superset the exercise. In a superset, you will complete both exercises in the numbered pairing back to back. Once both exercises are completed, rest for the prescribed amount of time before restarting the superset. Once all sets of (1a.-1b.) are complete, you will advance to the next superset (2a.-2b.). (1a.-1b. - 1c.) will be completed the same way.

**AHAP- As Heavy As Possible

3. Gain monster triceps The more weight you can do, the bigger and faster your

3. Gain monster triceps

The more weight you can do, the bigger and faster your muscles will grow. Strong triceps are a key component to strong pressing. Also, working your biceps and triceps is a great way to clear up tendonitis in the elbow and forearm. You will surprise yourself with how heavy you can go on these movements.

Here’s a list of our top five exercises to build some triceps you can be proud of:

3. Bench Dips

5. DB French Press

4. Maintain mobility

With all the added pressing it takes to build a bigger chest, mobility is key to shoulder health and keeping your game on point. Don’t let tight shoulders slow you down. Take 10 minutes a day to stretch your chest and the rest of your upper body.

10 min chest opener on roller -https://youtu.be/2EbUNmfFyY8

5. Strengthen your external rotators

Extra pressing is going to make the internal rotators of your shoulder girdle really strong. Make sure you are going out of your way to give your external rotators some love. We like to start every upper body lifting day with some extensive prehab work for the external rotators and upper back. We also add it to the lifting during supersets to increase the volume.

Here’s a list of our top 5 exercises for the external rotators of the arm and upper back:

2. Cuban Press

2 Ways to Get Ripped, Not Ripped-Off 1. Acknowledge there are no shortcuts There are

2 Ways to Get Ripped, Not Ripped-Off

1. Acknowledge there are no shortcuts

There are two things that all experts know about getting results: You need to work hard and you need to prioritize nutrition. If somebody is trying to convince you that it takes anything other than that, they are playing you. The quickest way to spot this rip off is when a trainer tries convincing a novice client that it only takes a few hours a week to change their body. It is no secret that 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week doesn’t work. However, for those novices who have never trained before, this is exactly what they want to hear and they will fall victim to the sales pitch.

2. Don’t trust claims that have no credibility

Is your expert willing to share before and after pictures? Does your expert have clients who have reached an elite level? Has your expert actually done anything they say they’ve done? You get what you pay for! The value is in the results.

If your goal is to reach the Olympia, you should hire a coach who has trained athletes to reach the Olympia. If your goal is to set new PRs on your power lifts, you should hire a coach who has coached athletes to get PRs on the power lifts. If you want abs that pop, hire a coach that has gotten overweight clients six packs. You work hard for your money, don’t give it away to an imposter that hasn’t actually gotten the results you are paying to get.

Thank you for trusting BIG as a guide on your fitness journey. Signing up for this program means joining a team of individuals tirelessly working towards their goals and coaches dedicated to seeing them to the finish line.

Making the transformation you’re looking for is a two-way street. While we will provide you with the resources needed for success, it’s up to you to implement them.

We take our jobs very seriously, and we hope you do the same.

Click hereto learn more about this program.