-“Gaining Muscle”
-“The Placebo Effect”
-“Ankle Injury Prevention”

-“Nutrition for Gaining Muscle: Meal Plans”





A client recently deciding to return to weight training to regain some muscle mass and the following training program was recommended. No matter what your goals, I suggest you take a look at these guidelines as they may help you design a better workout for yourself.



1)       Train legs at least once per week and up to 3 times every 2 weeks.

2)       Choose 2-3 other daily workout routines (for a total of 3-4 workouts per week).  


For example:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Upper Body Legs & Lower Back Upper Body Rest Upper Body OR Rest Rest OR Upper Body Rest

Upper body workout suggestions:

i) chest + triceps  & back + biceps (2 day split of the upper body)

ii) chest + back & arms + shoulders (2 day split)

iii) chest + biceps & back + triceps (2 day split)

iv) chest &  back & arms (3 day split)


1)       Shoulders are not always trained directly because this area gets plenty of training from chest and back workouts. The shoulder joint can be easily injured when overworked.


2)       Split upper body workouts with a rest day OR a leg workout (i.e. see schedule above).


3)       Train the larger muscle groups (quads, back, and chest) earlier in the workout.


4)       Maintain a balanced training schedule so that no muscles are neglected.


5)       Always warm-up (2 sets x 10 reps) prior to the first exercise for a muscle.


6)       Return to training slowly if you have been off for a long time.

                (Limit the first workout to 1 set to prevent excess soreness, progress to 2, etc.)

(Don’t worry, it is still more exercise than you did yesterday!)


7)       Perform 6-10 repetitions per set & vary the rep scheme & exercises every 3 weeks.


8)       Use a slow repetition speed (2-3 count eccentric/negative and a 1-2 count concentric).


9)       Keep the time under tension of each set (TUT) between 20-45 seconds.

      (i.e. 8 reps, 3 count eccentric/negative, 1 count concentric/positive = 32 seconds)


10)    Train the abdominal muscles 2 times per week maximum with 10 repetitions per set. Use cable exercises (OR a machine) to increase intensity.


11)    Supplement with CREATINE.


12)    Keep your appointments with the gym and maintain your mental focus by making your workouts brief, yet intense, to help maintain your compliance. Do not let any setbacks get in your way, forget about missed workouts and get ready for the next.


13)    The best exercises are sometimes also hardest exercises. Stick to:

Squats   Deadlifts
Leg presses  Multi-joint presses (i.e. Flat press)
Rows  Pull-ups (much harder than pulldowns)
Cable abdominal exercises  






A placebo is a standard component of supplementation and exercise physiology experiments. The placebo controls for the influence of the treatment on the subjects, for example, subjects supplementing with creatine may expect to make increases in size and mass. Such expectations may influence the behavior of the clients and thus the results of the study, so a placebo group is added to control for these expectations.


A placebo is always as close as possible to the actual treatment, so in the case of creatine supplementation, the subjects in the placebo group would preferably supplement with a fine, bland, inert white powder.


The response rate of the “placebo effect” has been reported in research literature as being as low as 0% and as high as 100%, thus the placebo effect can be very powerful. For example, 100% of subjects that were told they were exposed to poison ivy (when it really was a harmless plant) felt as though they developed a skin reaction. Therefore, employing a placebo in most physiology studies is essential. 


The placebo effect can psychologically help & hinder the athlete during performance and the superstitions that athletes keep are an excellent example of a practical “placebo effect”. For example, athletes may rely on certain foods (i.e. a steak) before game time to help increase performance even though there is no scientific support for that particular practice. The placebo effect is also present in many facets of life and can play a huge role in exercise and performance outcomes.





The best protection for the ankles is the development of strong supporting muscles around this often-injured joint. The important lower leg muscles in ankle protection such as the peroneus (outer shin muscle that turns the foot outwards) is trained indirectly through squats, leg presses, step-ups, and calf raises. The tibialis anterior (front of shin) can be strengthened directly through resisted toe raises and balance exercises. While external devices (i.e. braces) are beneficial, strong muscles provide a better support and method of injury prevention for the joint.


 The tearing OR “over-stretching” of a ligament is commonly referred to as a ligament sprain (as opposed to muscles that are “strained”). An inversion sprain (rolling over on the outside of the ankle) is most common. Immediately apply RICE and limit activity for a few days and begin exercises that take the joint through a full range of motion after 72 hours, and if extreme pain and swelling persists visit a physician. Anti-inflammatories may help decrease pain and inflammation. After acute rehabilitation, ease back into activity using an ankle support and most importantly, start strengthening the supportive muscles. 






-          An essential meal because you have not eaten for ~6-12 hours!

-          You must refuel your body and prevent muscle breakdown.  

Ex) cereal, milk, toast, 2 eggs, protein shake (20g)

-          ½ of a daily multivitamin-mineral capsule



-          It is important to provide the body with energy every ~3 hours to avoid fatigue and muscle breakdown. Eat a small protein-carbohydrate snack.

 Ex) fruit + yogurt + protein shake (20g)


 sandwich + juice + yogurt



-          Eat another moderate-protein & CHO meal.

               Ex) lean-meat and low-fat cheese sandwiches + fruit +                protein shake


Kraft dinner + protein shake + ice cream


              Double burger + potato + protein shake + ice cream



-          Eat a small protein-carbohydrate snack about 1-2 hours before your workout.

              Ex) yogurt + protein shake + banana


bagel with low-fat cream cheese + protein shake


During workout   

-          If at all possible (tolerable), mix up a 50-50 CHO-protein shake that you will sip on during your workout.



-          Drink a high-carbohydrate-protein shake as soon as possible to replenish your energy stores, prevent muscle breakdown, and promote muscle growth.

-          TAKE CREATINE now in a high-glycemic carbohydrate drink

              Ex) Creatine-Carbohydrate + protein (40g)


              MRP (meal replacement shake)  + creatine



-          Eaten within 2 hours of training.

               100g CHO, 60g PRO, ~20g FAT

           Ex) steak + potatoes + vegetables + yogurt + protein shake                + cookies



               chicken breast + pasta + veggies + protein shake +                cookies


               2 slices pizza  + protein shake + banana

-          ½ of a daily multivitamin-mineral capsule


Ask about the exact CB ATHLETIC CONSULTING shake ingredients.


These tips should help you build or regain large amounts of muscle. Be consistent and remain patient, it will not happen overnight, BUT/ strength and size can be developed by anyone. Supplementing with creatine may provide extra help for increases in both strength and size. Remember that these are only recommendations and some people will need to eat even more than this basic plan suggests!

CB Athletic Consulting, Inc.
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