A popular approach to boost your muscle mass is the German Volume Training (GVT). This training is also known as ‘10 times 10’. That is 10 sets of 10 repetitions at 60% of your repetition maximum (1RM). In comparison with the 4 * 8 system (@ 70-80% of 1RM) you perform 100 instead of 32 reps.

Imagine you would do 32 reps at 100 KG for a total of 3.200 KG; the GVT at 50 KG per set will get you to 5.000 KG. The goal of this method is to tire you out more and also to give you a bigger pump. 


In practice you will not be able to do all (10) sets at the same weight. However, this is not a problem. Just lower the weight but maintain the 10 reps per set! Important criterion is you make sure to avoid ‘failing to repeat’ (another rep). This could lead to a state of  overtraining, you are not looking for. You always need to feel you could have done one more rep! There are many ways to organise this GVT but basically it is based upon one or two compound exercises at 10X10 complemented with some isolated exercises at 3 sets.


You would think 10X10 can only be conducted within a split training. Nevertheless, it is also possible to create it within a full body session. The GVT is not meant to be your regular protocol. It is a so-called ‘Intervention program’; designed to ‘shock’ your body and push you forward in muscle growth and future trainings.




The volume of the celebrated 4 times 8 (repetitions) systems by Arnold Schwarzenegger was labelled by Mike Mentzer as ‘too high’. Mentzer, who actually called High Intensity Training (HIT): ‘Heavy Duty training’ felt that the Schwarzenegger’s approach led to continuous overtraining.


He felt that the ability of the body to recover does not match the development of muscle power (Hypertrophy). As a consequence Mentzer stated that when you are getting stronger (intensity), you should not do more (volume) but less. In his view a well trained ‘bodybuilder’ can only train his or her body once a week and sometimes not even that when you have worked out super intense.


He defined ‘Intensively’ as doing one exercise (set) very heavy (85-90%), followed immediately by a second or a third set within the same muscle group. Being able to do more, meant you did not really train intensively (enough). In his train of thought, you will not train longer than half an hour. 


The rest between sets should be short and training more than 3 times a week was out of the question. Mentzer focused on a strict and slow performance of the exercises. Especially because negative contractions can add substantially to (more) intensity.


Although the ideas of Mentzer were contradicting the 4 * 8 regime, his method ultimately fell out of fashion. His HIT was regarded as not just heavy for muscles, but maybe even more for the nervous system. Therefore, people mentally checked out. Some elements of his approach survived, but the intensity with regard to the 1RM was brought down to 70%. In the end, his training form became HIT ‘light’.



Arnold Schwarzenegger has always been concerned about people training too much. In the so-called Volume training scheme that he advised, the muscles are trained twice a week. Subsequently, you train 4 days a week and as a consequence the body rests 3 days. The foundation of the system is the 4 times 8 approach; that is 4 sets of 8 repetitions. The intensity throughout is established between 70 and 80% of your Repetition maximum.


The split is twofold and as follows. The one day: (1) Chest, (2) Shoulders and (3) Triceps and the other day: (1) Back, (2) Biceps and (3) Legs. Basically, you repeat on Thursday what you did on the Monday and on Friday what you did on Tuesday. Wednesdays and weekends are off or can be used for cardio sessions only. Of course, you can organise an alternative weekly set-up as long as you restrain yourself to ‘just’ four training days and honour the important recovery time.


The volume training is both substantial and focused. On the Monday (Chest etc.) you choose 8 exercises for a total of 32 sets. The Tuesday (Back & Legs, etc.) demands 10 exercises, resulting in 40 sets. This training regime really puts you out, but guarantees results … Ask Arnold!


How many kilo calories, make one (1) kilogram of fat. It could be a great quiz question, but it is definitely a number you will never forget: 7.777 Kilo calories. That is a pile of calories that cannot be ‘burned’ as quickly as people would like.


The energy deficit you need to organise in order lose this fat simply takes time. Then again, it is the best argument to hit the gym or start moving  and exercising elsewhere. Because, whichever you look at it; the higher you are able to make your daily energy need, the more deficit you will create.


Just eating wisely is a good start and an important foundation; however, to speed up the burning of any excess fat, you really need to workout and get in shape. For instance, to develop some muscle mass that will help you burn these extra calories now and in the future.


Although there are many roads to weight loss, dieticians and weight consultants will generally start with modest goals. To lose (just) 2 kilo’s per month is a proven and achievable goal. That results in losing a pound per week and demands a deficit of less than 600 kilo calories per day. So no crash or low calorie diets to follow.


Actually regular and  substantial workouts and a serious plan (for instance with a Personal trainer) are a guarantee of losing weight. Slowly but surely!


There are many criteria to measure weight loss. The most direct one is (whether or not you have lost?) Weight itself (1). Another benchmark obviously is your Fat percentage (2). These percentages of ‘Normal’, ‘Too high’ and ‘Much too high’ not only differ in (three) age (categories) but also in gender (Women are allowed to have more fat). 


Lastly, the value of your Visceral Fat (3) is important. This so-called organ fat is often described as ‘Dangerous fat’. The normal range (0-9) is equal for men and women.


This guy (33) clearly has some weight to get rid of. Following the post ‘7.777 Kilo calories’ he was able to lose this achievable goal of one pound (lb) per week. After 10 weeks he actually surpassed the 5 kilo’s we were hoping for. He recorded 6,6 kilograms of which 3,3 was fat and consequently 25.580 kilo calories. His Visceral fat score dropped 1 value point which was supported by 5,5 centimeters less around the waist.


With more cardio for a higher energy need, he surely would have been able to organise a bigger energy deficit (and more weight loss). However, to start your long journey to healthier stats, this is really encouraging and an effort you can sustain in the long run.


Some people love it and some hate planking. However the benefits are numerous. Not only in terms of muscles used, but also concerning (to mention a few) strengthen your core, increasing metabolism, reducing back pain and giving you better posture as well as improving balance.


Planks come in all forms or variations, but always address – more than just the abdominals (Obliques) - a lot of different muscles. Like doing crunches, the more and longer you do it, the better you will get at it. And quite quickly! With regard to endurance, beginners should last up to 30 seconds, intermediates up to a minute and advanced plankers up to at least 90 seconds


Anybody will extract energy from fat and carbs,stored in your body as glycogen. With weight training or during HIIT, but also when simply you get up from a chair, this glycogen is instrumental.


The third macro nutrient Protein will not provide you energy, but is crucial in your recovery and muscle growth. The number of protein your body requires needs attention.


Too many people visiting gyms do not get the minimum amount needed per day. The general Dutch advice (by ‘De Gezondheidsraad’) is set at just 0,8 grams per kilogram body weight.


However, when you regularly subject your body to strength training, you will really need to increase your daily protein intake. Your body will surely and ultimately physically benefit from an amount between 1,5 en 2 grams protein.


Some will suggest your ‘body weight times 2,2’ (grams). This is based on the so-called ‘Thermic effect’ of food in general and protein specifically. This effect refers to the number of calories bodies need to digest, absorb and store protein. Since this can lead to 20% of the original intake, some people will decide to take more protein to actually have the net amount required.       


Bottom line, for someone at 80 kilograms of body weight and seriously working out, a daily dose between 120 and 160 grams protein is sufficient to support your efforts, muscles and body.



World wilde research has shown over and over again why people in general do not set goals in life. The findings are familiar to us all; we do not like to fail or disappoint ourselves! Therefore schools and teachers are instrumental in keeping students focused to pass exams and getting the education, diploma’s and degrees. When people set goals themselves, we encounter all kinds of challenges. Think of the New Year’s resolutions. Often it is ‘quit smoking’ and ‘getting fit, move more’ but after a few weeks the famous excuses dribble in. Having ‘no time’ and finding other pressing urgencies make people first delay and ultimately forget the ambitious plans.   


In gyms, goals are frequently not specific and hardly realistic. The program is too general (probably too Google-ish) and miss an essential personal touch. Unfortunately the majority of trainees lack an understanding of training techniques. Not only with free weights but also in using machines. 


To succeed and enjoy physical training you need to invest time and effort. The beginning is always easy and promising. Whatever goal you choose, without qualified coaching 85 to 90% of trainees will likely do not progress to their potential and finally drop out. Behavioral change does not happen overnight anyway. Professionals claim it takes at least 3 months to change; in this case into a happy, comfortable gym attendee.


Personal trainers are perfect partners in guiding you through this process. Not only to start, short term but also in the long run.



The DYNAMIC contraction of your muscles consists of 2 parts. 


First of all, the ‘Concentric’ contraction. In order to provide strength, the muscle shortens. When you do a Biceps Curl, you will see the muscle work and more or less pop up. Many trainees will subsequently drop the weight for the next repetition. However, you’d better lower the weight slowly. Actually in this ‘Eccentric’ contraction, you always (try to) RESIST the weight. Not necessarily in slow motion but always in a controlled fashion. In this second contraction the length of muscle used will increase in the process. This approach contributes more to important goals such as Hypertrophy, muscle definition and endurance.


Another effective contraction is the STATIC version; also known as the ‘Isometric’ contraction. 


You simply hold the weight in a certain angle you choose. The combination of the two contractions is a great work out. Especially in the example of the Biceps Curl, Guaranteed you will feel your lactate acid ‘arriving’.



How much fluid (in percentages) do you need to lose before you get thirsty?


The answer is just 2%. You probably do not realize it but before your thirst shows up you already suffered some performance loss. 


Therefore drinking water (and never drinks with sugar/carbs; let alone energy drinks) is essential during all kinds of training; for cardio-vascular as well as weight (resistance) training. The deficit of 2% of fluid can occur quite quickly. So protect yourself and make sure you keep on drinking while training. Even when you are not thirsty yet!



The idea that the intake of energy drinks prior to or during exercising is beneficial is - however understandable - in fact totally false. Since weight training certainly demands effort, trainees think this extra energy will give them that little bit extra to push or pull; perform the number of repetitions as well as produce the amount of kilograms. 


What you are actually doing is confusing your body. In some cases with lightheadedness, excessive sweating and shakyness as a result. These (so called ‘Hypo’) symptoms should make you think! You are then suffering a sugar shortage; medically a ‘Hypoglycemia’, 


Why does this happen? With weight or resistance training your body will be EXTRACTING energy from the stored glycogen in your body. These reserves are based upon the carbs (sugars) you have been eating. Drinking energy drinks at the same time will make the your body ABSORBING carbs. These processes are opposite and therefore possibly leading to this unpleasant Hypoglycemia.


You should not only be careful with these energy drinks. Also ‘innocent’ food like a currant bun (‘Krentenbol’) has been the cause of someone almost passing out during a work-out. Of course, after training some energy drinks can be instrumental in supplementing the loss of carbs but never overdo it. In your normal diet there will be plenty of carbs to stock your body for the next training.



Although we have room for 8 trainees; when just 2 ladies turn up, it’s just as much fun, sweat, effort and satisfaction. It’s probably the reason why these ‘Early birds’ are smiling from ear to ear. See you at the next session …



(‘De wet van verminderde meeropbrengst’)

One of the (many) reasons why people stop training is ‘disappointment’ or rather ‘having wrong expectations’. What happens? The first phase of training is always rewarding. That is if you train correctly and regularly of course. A major challenge in itself! The body will jump to the occasion and the progress will be very noticeable. At one point, everybody will find, growth is not a linear process. 


You simply cannot develop (let’s say) 10 You simply cannot develop (let’s say) 10 kilograms of muscle mass each year. Imagine how you will look in 5 years time? You are bound to slow down; even if you fully master weight training. The human body, eager to be tested and contested, will ultimately resist too big a change.

In the end, the longer you train, it will get harder to progress in the same fashion. The good news is, what you have literally built up is there to stay. Unless you quit training …




These power women embraced a circuit Core session like there is no tomorrow.

24 exercises times 16 reps plus: each and every time followed by working the abs.

In other words: 30 minutes action packed with 48 sets.



Part of going to the gym is getting to know the terminology. However words are not enough. ‘Range of motion’ sounds logical but what does it actually mean when you are performing a Biceps Curl, a Bench Press or a Side Raise. The famous and sometimes feared High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) also offers some interesting abbreviations.


To start with AMRAP; ‘As Many Repetitions As Possible’ in the given time. The more rounds the trainer will let you go, the less repetitions you are likely to do. Another one is EMOM: ‘Every Minute On the Minute’. Here you execute the same number of repetitions per minute but because of your increasing fatigue you will need more time to finish your set, and subsequently have less time to recover.


The best way is to simply join our free HIIT classes and experience the effort and thrill of being able to succeed. Just like these two participants did. Because no matter AMRAP or EMOM: You got to get DOWN to push UP!