Clear Out Your Cupboards and Go “All In”

Today’s  post is the latest installment of the Golden Eye for the Adonis Series.

Here is another  guest post from Eric Weinbrenner.  Better know by his True Insider Handle, “eweinbrenner.”

EWeinbrenner: True Insider and One of our Top Bloggers in the Community

EWeinbrenner: True Insider and One of our Top Bloggers in the Community

Clear Out Your Cupboards and Go “All In”


The real secret to getting in great shape is much less complicated than most believe: Clearly define your goal and go all in.

The real secret to getting in great shape is much less complicated than most believe: Clearly define your goal and go all in.

Have you ever watched Extreme Weight Loss on ABC? The TV show chronicles a year in the life of a person who is struggling with obesity and hopes to transform their bodies and experience a new way of life.

While the people involved in the transformation are different individuals, and the actual challenges they face may vary; there is one underlying concept present in every episode: in order to have a successful transformation, the participants must remove the “distractions” from their lives and focus on their ultimate goal of losing weight.

In nearly all cases, the “distraction” is one (or all) of the following–a limiting belief (“I can’t do this” or “I don’t deserve this”), a bad habit (overeating/eating junk food), or a tendency to hold on to the “comfortable” life they have been living–despite that state of misery it may have placed them in.

Typically, limiting belief systems and the self-sabotaging that occurs when one struggles to choose transformation over comfort are more difficult to uncover; eating too much junk food, on the other hand, is more obvious and often the first issue dealt with.

In almost every episode of Extreme Weight Loss I have seen, and in almost every weight loss article I have read, one of the first steps is always “go into your kitchen and throw out all of the junk food in your cupboards.”

Why is this advice given? Because anyone who has tried to lose weight, has helped someone lose weight, or has watched a TV show about losing weight KNOWS that leaving that kind of temptation laying around will diminish even your best efforts to lose weight and make better decisions.

Perhaps just as important, throwing out all of the unhealthy, high calorie food in your cupboards that costs a fair amount of money and serves as one’s “comfort” signifies commitment–it shows that you are “all in.”

You can’t be “all in” when you are distracted by things that oppose your goals.

By now, you may be wondering what this has to do with you, other than the fact that you may have just realized you need to literally clean your your cupboards, or assuming this is just another weight loss article–and you would be wrong on both accounts.

In short, this idea of “cleaning out your cupboards” can be applied in a figurative manner to the fitness journey that all of us are on in a much broader, but incredibly important sense.

The Biggest Challenge of Building An Awesome Body

Ten or twenty years ago the biggest challenge of transforming your body, and when I say “transforming your body,  I mean getting an “Adonis Body”, may have been getting the right information to accomplish that goal.

However, with the boom of the internet, the biggest challenge today is not lack of information–but, rather being overloaded with  too much information, often leading to analysis paralysis.

Consider this scenario for a moment:

Let’s say a few years ago you started really getting into health and fitness. You googled “how to get a six pack” and came across a few different sites promising to deliver. You subscribe to their blog feed and apply some the advice and things are going pretty well.

As you start to see results, you realize that the challenge of transforming your body is something you thrive on, a quest that provides meaning and purpose far above “working out” for health benefits alone–you see an email promoting a new muscle-building workout and decide to give it a shot. You stick with that workout for a few weeks until you see a brand new muscle building program advertised from an up-and-coming fitness pro, promising better results than anything you’ve ever experienced and reason that it would be foolish to not give it a try.

This cycle continues over the next few months, and as you compare the three, or four (or ten) programs that have accumulated on your computer, you realize they don’t all see eye to eye: one program prescribes “heavy weights and low reps” while the other says “moderate weights and moderate reps” are the key and yet another takes a “wacky exercise” variation on all of the above.

As you continue to seek more information, sure that further “clarity” is the answer, you soon become lost in a sea of confusion, constantly frustrated about your lack of progress and, on some level, disappointed in yourself for not being able to stick with ONE program long enough to see results.

Sound familiar?

Intervention Time

The “hypothetical” scenario we just explored is often all too true. I see it almost daily on the Adonis forums–guys who are following an AGR workout but are asking questions about nutrition information from  some other supplement company. Guys who want advice on this or that program from some other “fitness pro.”

Some are completely focused on the wrong things; others are obsessing over the minutia and missing the point. And on some level, I get it: I get that adopting the AGR philosophy, an approach that is often radically different from what you are used to, takes time and is a process. At the same time, though,  I can’t help but wish that I could speed this process up and help you avoid the frustration that many, including me, have experienced on our way to revelation.

So that’s why I follow with this reality check: You will NEVER see the results you want until you stop flip-flopping between workout programs, reading 10 different fitness blogs, and buying every new program that comes across your email.

I know because I have been there. Until about a year ago I was constantly going back and forth between AGR and a few other workout communities across the web.

Information from both sources was credible and quality–the problem was that there were competing ideals. AGR stresses a very specific look that is all about proportion and definition; the other sources focused on “getting big” and being a “real man” which was associated with certain levels of strength or by weighing a certain amount. This left me going back and forth between focusing on achieving the Golden Ratio as outlined here and trying to “get big”; in the end I just continued to spin my wheels, making little progress toward either ideal.

The issue isn’t necessarily “good” vs. “bad” inforamtion. The issue is, tucked within each segment of the fitness industry, hidden within each respective goal–whether it be to build a proportional physique without being a slave to the process or to increase maximal strength–is a “culture”, a framework of beliefs and ideals that drive everything you and inevitably lead to your success or failure, or at the very least, the rate at which you will find success.

From the language used to the measure of an “effective” workout or even what it means to “look good”, the culture defines your thought process and determines where your focus is directed.

Trying to combine the frameworks that lie within each goal, frameworks that clash at their core,  leads to confusion and frustration that will derail your progress. Soon you aren’t even sure what your goal is anymore, which often leads to even more program hopping as you go from trying to become more athletic one month to trying to build a proportional physique the next.

The Epiphany

Today, as a committed AGR  member, I feel like I am in the best shape of my life and know exactly what  I need to do to achieve my goals. This is no accident–this is because I clearly defined what I wanted to achieve and zeroed in on that goal.

I went all “all in”:

I unsubscribed from all other fitness related blogs.

I cancelled my subscription to the other online forum I had been involved with; where I had been shelling out $20 per month for workout programs that sat stagnant on my computer.

I took all of the workout programs I had purchased over the past five years (probably in the range of 15-20 programs costing thousands of dollars in total), dropped them on a jump drive, which I filed away in a safe place and then deleted them off of my computer.

In a manner of speaking, I “cleaned out the cupboards.”

All that was left standing was AGR.

As I did this I felt a sense of relief and clarity: I no longer had to wonder if what I was doing was as good or interesting or comparable to any other program. I was no longer confused about what I was trying to accomplish with fitness– I knew exactly what my goals were (Golden Ratio) and all of the other distracting, competing information no longer mattered.

Wrapping Things Up: A Call To Action

People often want to talk about the “secret” to building muscle, losing fat, or getting in great shape. Typically, this will be an ever-elusive quest without a clear answer, even when it’s delivery is promised with “one easy payment of $67.”

The real secret to getting in great shape is much less complicated than most believe: Clearly define your goal and go all in.

In the fitness realm, there are a number of possible goals one could pursue; improving athleticism, increasing maximal strength, or building an awesome looking body.

You must decide what your primary goal is and remove all distractions that stand in your way, which for many, often means all distracting (or competing) information.

Get rid of all the other workout programs you have on  your computer. If you can’t stand the idea of “wasting” all of that money and deleting them; at least put them on a jump drive or find a way to remove them from immediate accessibility.

Stop reading fitness blogs outside the Adonis community (this includes being a part of other forums as well).

Consider investing in Immersion–when JB, Brad, or Allen say “you will never need to buy another fitness product in your life, it’s TRUE. Everyone who identifies their primary goal as building an awesome body in the most efficient and effective way possible should have Immersion.

Many will read this and keep grinding away, helpless to their vices of chasing the “secret” promised by the newest workout program–and they will continue to struggle, wasting money they often don’t have and drowning in the confusion.

But for few, something will click; they will take action and go “all in”, and they will find success, they will find peace of mind–they will be the ones featured at the end of the next Adonis transformation contest while others hopelessly wonder what their “secret” is.

Be one who takes action.

-Eric Weinbrenner

eweinbrenner's Transformation Pics

eweinbrenner’s Transformation Pics


Focus on What Matters: Muscle vs. Movement

Hope everyone here in the U.S. celebrated a Happy Thanksgiving with  friends & family yesterday.

As the infamous “Black Friday” is now upon us, I would encourage those brave shoppers who dare venture out into the “savings wilderness” to shop safe.

Alternatively,  to some of you who might be heading to the gym, might I suggest making it a “Back Friday.” (Pun Intended)

Nevertheless, today’s  post is the latest installment of the Golden Eye for the Adonis Series. 

Here is another  guest post from Eric Weinbrenner.  Better know by his True Insider Handle, “eweinbrenner.”

EWeinbrenner: True Insider and One of our Top Bloggers in the Community

EWeinbrenner: True Insider and One of our Top Bloggers in the Community

Focus on What Matters:

Muscle vs. Movement

I struggled through a few more reps, dropped the dumbbells, and sat up.

Having just finished my third set of Incline Dumbbell Press, my chest (especially the upper portion) should have been fried… but as I sat there thinking about the set I had just performed, I realized I couldn’t really feel any specific muscle working.

Sure, my arms, chest, and shoulders were fatigued- but as far as feeling a specific muscle?- nothing.

Unfortunately, this was not an isolated case: this was a system-wide issue. With nearly every exercise, be it biceps curls or seated rows, I could lift “heavy” weights, but getting a pump and really feeling the target muscle work just was not happening.

To make matters worse, I felt like my muscles were lacking that hard, defined look that I was after. I had put on a decent amount of size, but even at a pretty low body fat (near golden waist), definition was not what I wanted, especially in my chest and arms–where I struggled to feel the muscles working the most.

How a Set Should “feel”

When you are lifting to achieve a certain look–note: I said “to achieve a certain look”; not “to get strong”; not “to improve conditioning”–each set you perform in the gym should feel a certain way.

At the most basic level, during each rep of each set, you should feel the target muscle working. There will be stabilizing muscles contributing, but overall, on any given lift, there should be one muscle (or muscle group) that you feel above all else. When you set the weight down, you should know, without a doubt, that you just worked the target muscle.

But… wait… what does that feel like?

Feeling the target muscle work produces a significant “pump” in the muscle; you should be able to squeeze the muscle and feel tension in the “belly” of the muscle, rather than in the joints around it; you should be able to isolate and flex the target muscle without feeling distraction from surrounding muscles.

In addition to describing what a good set feels like; it is also helpful to describe a bad set. Let me use the biceps curl as an example.


Focus On What Matters: Muscle vs. Movement
At the most basic level, during each rep of each set, you should feel the target muscle working.

When you do a biceps curl, you should get an insane pump in your biceps and you should have limited contribution from any other muscles. Every guy in the world who has ever been in a weight room has done curls. For some guys, their workout looks like the following:

Monday: Curls

Tuesday: Bench press, curls

Wednesday: Think about doing legs but actually do curls

…You get the point.

I’m using curls and this ridiculous example to show that everyone knows (or thinks they know) how to do a curl.

Yet, I know guys, and have personally experienced doing curls and struggling to actually feel the biceps doing most of the work. For a long time, I would do curls and feel my front deltoids getting a lot of the action and notice that my elbow joints would hurt the next day.

It wasn’t that I was doing curls wrong–I just didn’t know how to target the biceps muscle and make it do the work. I’ve noticed this is especially true, for a lot of muscles, when people have a background in powerlifting or working out primarily to get stronger. They come over to Adonis, where it is about working the muscles, not the movement, and find that they struggle to do that efficiently.

 Work the Muscle, Not the Movement

If you find that you struggle to really feel the muscle working on any given exercise; you have joint pain following certain movements; or you lack the hard, fully developed look in any of your muscles– you very well may be focusing too much on the movement and not enough on the muscle.  

This often stems from the “more weight = more muscle” mantra preached so often in the fitness industry. There are also a lot of experts that suggest things like, “you must lift heavy weights in order to build muscle”, and that “lifting light weights will never stimulate enough muscle for growth.”

There are two major problems with both of these ideas: First, “heavy” and “light” are relative; a weight that is “heavy” to me may be “light” to someone else, and vice versa. Second, this kind of thinking places tends to cause focus to fall on lifting maximum weight, thus focusing more on the movement, rather than the muscle.

This whole idea of working the muscle is not new to the AGR community, but it is so important, it is worth repeating–this is THE focus of our workouts. John Barban himself has described the ability to contract and relax each muscle at will as the “key to full muscle development”– this is how important working the muscle is.

So how can you get better at working the muscle and avoid just slinging weight around?

There are a few ways to do this and nearly all revolve around improving your mind to muscle connection. The best way to do this without overcomplicating things is to align your lifting with your breathing.

This means you will need to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n and use light(er) weights. Remember: “light” weight is relative, choose a weight that allows you to complete the prescribed amount of reps with perfect form using the target muscle.

When I say “slow down”, I am referring to the tempo of each rep. AGR members know that this is built into some of the more advanced programs where specific tempos are prescribed. If you are following one of those programs, just stick with the tempo as written. 

During each rep, lower the rep while inhaling and counting  1 one thousand, 2 one thousand; pause for a second at the bottom of the lift; then complete the “lifting” portion of the lift while exhaling to the count of 1 one thousand, 2 one thousand. The entire motion should be controlled (i.e. you controlling the weight; not the other way around).

 Final Thoughts

The strategies above can be applied to any and all exercises where you struggle to feel the target muscle work or simply as a way to improve mind to muscle connection overall and refocus on what is most important during our work outs: working the muscle.

Be careful to assume that this is for “beginners” and that you are too advanced for this. Remember: John Barban has noted the ability to target a muscle at will is the advanced stage of muscle building–this is something that will take years or practice and consistency to achieve. I can personally attest to the difference this has made for my physique as I have made improving mind muscle connection the focus over the past year or two–I have noticed a much more dense, hard look to my muscles and my ability to work the target muscle has noticed incredible improvements.

 While I wanted to make sure I provided some applicable strategies that you can use at the gym within this article; I also want you to use this article as a way to adjust your mindset, if need be. Becoming distracted and getting caught up worrying about lifting heavy enough weights or feeling like you must “prove” yourself will distract you from what is truly important.

-Eric Weinbrenner

eweinbrenner's Transformation Pics

eweinbrenner’s Transformation Pics

No Training = No Muscle: Coaches’ Corner w/ Jason Haynes

Today’s post is our latest installment of a new series called the “Coaches Corner.”  Our Adonis Transformation Coaches will share their knowledge, experience, and best practices to help ensure your successful transformation.  To continue the series, our topic  comes from none other than Adonis Legend and AGR Pioneer, Jason Haynes.

No Training = No Muscle

No Train No Gain!

No Train No Gain!


Bodybuilding legend Vince Gironda used to advocate that bodybuilding was 80% nutrition and 20% training.

Granted, I am not a bodybuilder nor do I want to be one, but stay with me here.

This belief of “the Iron Guru” naturally leads to reason that without that 20% training you are not going to build any appreciative muscle.

Sorry, but that’s the way it is.  You can eat all the raw fertilized eggs and Rocky Mountain oysters all you want…you can mix the eggs into as much heavy whipping cream as you want (which is what Gironda advocated for muscle gaining diets), but you are still not going to gain any muscle without training.

Fact is that muscle is not going to mystically pop up on your body without putting in time and effort in the gym.

Now here is where the “nutrition only” people will want to skin me alive:  at the same time, guess what?  If you don’t watch your nutrition…if you eat like crap in more amounts than you need, but you still consistently train intensely…you’re going to gain muscle.

Now sure, chances are you’re going to get fat in the process if you don’t monitor your caloric intake…but the basic fact is that we can eat whatever we want in whatever amounts and gain muscle IF WE TRAIN CONSISTENTLY!

Conversely, if you eat 99.9999% perfectly and you don’t train, you’re STILL GOING TO BE SKINNY AND WEAK!  If your goal is to have an outstanding physique, you’re not going to even be remotely close to the physique that you desire if you’re not training consistently and with intensity.

On the contrary, I don’t care how perfect your diet is, without a properly designed training regimen that you follow consistently you will NOT…repeat:  NOT…achieve an outstanding physique.


We at Adonis Golden Ratio Systems do NOT encourage nor endorse “bulking up” (i.e. eating massive amounts of calories which only end up making one fat), but the simple fact is that fat can be dieted away.  The muscle gained stays in a caloric deficit.  Therefore, as I said, if one is training consistently but eating like crap, muscle is still gained.

However, focusing purely on nutrition without proper, consistent training will make you “healthier” (what is the exact definition of that anyway?), but will get you NO WHERE on your journey to a golden physique.  I don’t care if you eat the most healthy (whatever that means) diet of perfectly measured protein, macro-and-micronutrients, and fruits and vegetables,  but if you don’t train you’re still not going to gain one single gram of muscle whatsoever.

REMEMBER: Muscles are torn in the gym, fed in the kitchen and built in bed.

REMEMBER: Muscles are TORN in the gym, FED in the kitchen and BUILT in bed.


Look, I am all for eating healthy, clean, unprocessed, natural foods with no chemicals.  I am still on the fence about GM (genetically modified) foods, although I am definitely more on the “No Way” side of that one.  Yet, when it comes down to it, there are two parts of the equation:  training for muscle mass and nutrition/diet for losing or controlling fat gain.

Takeaway:  without worrying about nutrition, as long as you are training and challenging yourself, you’re still gaining muscle mass.  You may look like crap shirtless…fat, bloated, whatever, but you’re still building up your muscles.

(Side note: strangely enough you don’t have to eat well to lose fat.  Look at the “Convenience Store Diet”/”Twinkie Diet” experiment by Professor Mark Haub of Kansas State University as an example.)

Anyway, back on topic, about it:  how many fat, bloated guys do you see in the gym?  Now, taking “gear” (steroids) out of the equation because they just “change the rules of the game,” how many fat but strong guys with appreciative muscle mass (but with no “cuts”) do you see in the gym?  They have muscle because they train for it.  They have strength because they train for it. But they look like crap because they are paying no attention to calories in vs. calories expended.

However, if these same guys paid attention to just nutrition but didn’t go to the gym…at best they would just be skinny…or worse:  skinny-fat…or just plain old fat.

Look, people say “well nutrition is 80% of the overall bodybuilding equation.”   Yes, I’ll agree with that.  But, that is:  if you want to be a bodybuilder.    And being a bodybuilder, by basic definition, means that you “build your body,” and that is done through using weights.

(Side note again:  are you truly wanting to be a “bodybuilder?”  Do you want to be on stage all oiled up and flexing?  If not, then you might want to consider what you are doing NOW to get to your goals instead of using the methods for those who are not after the same goals as you.)

Fact is:  Take away the work out…take away exercise…you can have the most perfect dialed in diet down to the .0001% of everything being perfect and correct…and you are STILL going to look like skinny, fat,  or skinny- fat.

Build muscle at the gym.  Lose or control fat gain through nutrition.  Period.

End of story.

If you’re looking for something to help you get that golden physique, then check out the AGR systems, which has helped hundreds of men of different ages and sizes to achieve outstanding results…numerous of them jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring.

Finally, if you need some extra accountability or any extra help with your transformation, sign up for our premier coaching system.  Each of our coaches (including myself) underwent their own personal transformations and have maintained their physiques for years.  Frankly, even professional athletes have a coach to tell them what to do.  Even the best of the best professional athletes don’t need to do it for themselves, and neither do you.

As always I welcome your comments via the AGR community forum.

Train hard.  Train smart.



ADONIS ORIGINS: Jason Haynes | Circa 2009-2010

ADONIS ORIGINS: Jason Haynes | Circa 2009-2010

Jason Haynes is one of the oldest members of the AGR community and has been around since he participated in the first and second AGR Transformation Competitions, of which he placed second and first, respectively.  Having found a system that he is confident in and that works, he has faithfully stuck by it ever since.  Now in his 40’s, Jason enjoys living the life of maintaining his physique easily and with little effort, thanks to the AGR system and tools provided.  He is also a coach in the Adonis Premiere Coaching program and desires to help anyone to achieve their fitness goals.

ADONIS LEGEND: Jason Haynes: May 2014

ADONIS LEGEND: Jason Haynes: May 2014


“Golden” For Your Height

Here’s a little interesting factoid for you.

From our research we have found that high Adonis ratios usually occur at either extreme of body size.

In other words, it is exceptionally lean thin men or overly muscles bodybuilders and power lifters that typically have AI’s above 1.618.

Keira is beautiful, but I'd be less than thrilled if someone suggested my body looked like hers!

The ‘Ninja Assassin look’ and the ‘pro-body builder look’ are two great examples of AI’s above 1.618, but that are also not proportional to height.

This is a reason why high-level professional bodybuilders typically look shorter then they actually are, and why some exceptionally lean male models begin to take on characteristics that people describe as ‘feminine’ despite having a well proportioned body.

True story – I heard someone refer to a guy at a restaurant as the ‘shredded guy with the Keira Knightley body’!!! Sure enough the guy was lean with broad shoulders, but also undermuscled for his height – I’d guess around 140 pounds at 5’11 – 6 foot).

Having a good AI is exceptionally important to your overall look and aesthetics, but so is having an AI that is proportional to height.

The ideal waist that we’ve calculated is around 0.447. When you begin to approach 0.400 with shoulders above AI the look starts to become feminine and ‘gaunt’. When you approach 0.500 with shoulders above your AI the look becomes ‘stunted’ and short.

Being lean is important, being muscular is just as important, having the golden AI ratio is important, but so is making sure that ratio matches your height.



Forget Insulin for Muscle Building

One of the biggest things I regret about my younger bodybuilder days is when I used to take upwards of 150 grams of glucose after every workout.

Not just carbs..150 grams of straight dextrose.

At the time, I thought that more insulin meant more muscle.

Turns out…this was a mistake.

Insulin may be an important factor for muscle growth in young rodents and possibly in human children, but studies have shown convincingly that insulin is not required for protein synthesis in adult human beings.

In fact, according to a research paper published in the American Journal of Physiology, you need to get your insulin levels up to about 10,000 times normal levels to get an anabolic response.

10,000 times higher – There is not a post-workout shake in existence that can do this!

To make matters worse, having chronic high levels of insulin has been linked to the development of colorectal and pancreatic cancers.

The bottom line is, you don’t need high insulin to build muscle, and purposefully jacking up your insulin seems to have more negative health implications that it does positive.

So you can forget about forcing yourself to drink those crazy high carbohydrate post workout meals – It’s your workouts (not your post workout carbs) that dictate the size of your muscles.