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For any guy who needs some workout tips, there's almost no better person to tap than a consultant for USA Weightlifting. After all, these athletes are competing on the highest level and are at the top of their sport, so the training and advice they're getting from people like Dr. Mike Israetel — the Head Science Consultant/Co-Founder of Renaissance Periodization and U.S. Olympic Sports Nutritionist — is stuff that will help them in their quest for glory.
But, just because you're not an Olympian, doesn't mean that you can't train like one! That's why we reached out to Dr. Mike for some workout tips, getting his thoughts on things like nutrition, recovery, injury prevention and other things that will help get the most out of your workouts. What may surprise you is that, just because you're at the gym, doesn't mean you're doing everything right while there, with Dr. Mike Israetel reminding us that it's important to understand the technique of lifting before seeing serious results.
As a former competitive powerlifter and someone who has been around USA Weightlifting athletes and thousands of more, Dr. Mike's expertise will go a long way in seeing the results you want, without overdoing it. So keep on reading to see what workout tips you could use to get yourself in the shape you want.
FHM: Working With Olympians, Point Blank, What Makes These People The Best Athletes In The World?
Dr. Mike Israetel: "Genetics is a huge factor, followed by years of proper training. Combine those two, and you're well on your way to the top."
FHM: You're A Former Competitive Powerlifter Yourself, Can You Talk About What Your Training Routine Used To Be Like?
Dr. Mike Israetel: "Two upper body days, two lower body days, Squat, bench and deadlift heavy once a week, lighter and assistance work once a week, lots of sets of three and five reps. Nothing too fancy!"
FHM: There Are Hundreds of Weightlifting Tips Out There, What Are The Most Important Ones To Know And Follow?
Dr. Mike Israetel: "Forget the tips and learn the principles of training so that you can create or choose the right programs for yourself. Our Renaissance Periodization book, Scientific Principles of Strength Training, goes in depth about every major training principle and how it can be used to improve your results."
FHM: For A Regular Joe Like Myself, What's The Best Way To Gain Weight And Muscle Without Overdoing It?
Dr. Mike Israetel: "Gain weight slowly, at perhaps half a pound of weight a week (two pounds per month) and make sure you're training hard, at least four days a week. This way you'll gain mostly muscle and very little fat. Oh, and watch your diet too! More details on diet can be found in our classic book on the subject."
FHM: And We Should, Generally Speaking, Stick To Lifting About 70 Percent Of Our Max Weight Each Day, Yeah?
Dr. Mike Israetel: "That's not necessarily needed, though it's a fine and effective way of doing things. To get strong, most lifting should be above 70 percent 1RM, but not all of it has to be."
FHM: What About Foods For Before And After Lifting? What Have You Found To Be The Best Or That Team USA Athletes Use?
Dr. Mike Israetel: "Foods that are easily digestible and have plenty of carbs and protein to provide and replenish energy and support muscle growth. Sandwiches with lean protein, fat free milk, fish and rice, and any number of fruits and lean protein sources can work!"
FHM: Along Those Same Lines, How Important Is Rest To Let Your Body Recover? Any Specific Timeframe Guys Should Follow To Avoid Injury?
Dr. Mike Israetel: "Very important! If you're sleeping plenty (eight hours or so per night) and not overly stressed out, you can recover much more completely and get that much better from training. Generally, hard training can occur as often as once per day, but how much you do per week is most important. For best strength results per movement (push, pull, or squatting, for example), anything over 15 working sets per week is likely overkill for most athletes. For those interested in the best ways to recovery, our book, Recovering From Training is an excellent resource on the subject."
FHM: Lastly, What Should Guys Absolutely Avoid Doing When Lifting Or Trying To Gain Muscle Mass?
Dr. Mike Israetel: "Lifting with poor technique. That will get you a whole lot of hurt and very little of anything else. All of the Olympians have great technique for a reason... it made them stronger and kept them free from major injury so they could train as long as they needed to get to such a high level."
Lead image via Getty, all other images provided by Renaissance Periodization.