Tag Archive: building

Click here to watch video “Confusing bodybuilding terms for novices”


Quite a few of my followers have requested that I must clarify some of the basic training terms I refer too in my videos. I can fully understand their confusion. Some of them has never seen the inside of the gym. After watching some of my videos they are so inspired and then want to embark on this new adventure but alas everything is soooo confusing! It is similar when a nuclear physicist is trying to explain cold fusion in the most basic terms, but you still have no clue as to what he/she is talking about because you do not grasp the meaning of the most basic terms.

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So although many of you will find this boring, let me lay the ground work and give some clarification for those newbies to the basic training terms I refer to in my videos.

Ok, let start at the big term: “training program”. This refers to the training aspect and does not include nutrition or supplements. It refers to everything where muscles are involved while you exercise.

By the way, I support a 4 or 5 day workout schedule.

Workout is the specific routine you will be following on a specific day.

There are total body workouts, which refers to a workout where all muscles groups are trained/exercised during a single session.

Then there are more goal orientated split routine workouts where one only focusses on 2-3 muscle groups per training session/day – this is the kind of training I support.

You will hear I talk a lot about sets and reps.

Reps are the time it takes to lift a weight to the maximum position and dropping it back to the original starting position. This will be a single rep. If you lift and drop the weight 8 times, that will be 8 reps performed.

concerntration curl

Sets are slightly more complicated. This is a method of grouping the reps together for a specific goal. For example if one wants to build muscle you will typically group the reps in sets of 8 (and reach muscle failure on the last rep). When you want to lose body fat one typically group the reps together with more reps, about 15 in a set (and just stop short of complete muscle failure).

Muscle failure is the point where one cannot perform another rep with the weight, meaning the muscle is literally failing.

Between sets one typically rest long enough to allow the muscles to recover enough to be able to do the next set effectively. This is usually 2-3 min but when one really training very heavy this might be slightly longer.

A muscle group refers to a single muscle like biceps for example. For effectivity one strings 2-3 logical muscle groups together in a training session. (For example: Pecs, Biceps and abs)

Warm ups is the process by which one perform light exercises before the training session to get the blood flowing and make sure the target muscles are sufficiently warmed up before you start training intensely.

Stretching is the process after each set which you use to lightly stretch the muscle which was just trained.

You will hear I will also refer to training concepts and things like supersets.

Training concepts is any activity that you add to your training session to perform your normal reps and sets in a different fashion to stimulate the muscle for growth.

The way the body works is that anything that become repetitive over time stop stimulating the muscles for a response. The muscles learn to handle that type of training/attack without further increasing in shape or size.

So training need always be fresh and changing to allow for effective muscle stimulation.

A training concept I regularly refer to is supersets. That is where you string two different muscle group’s sets together without resting in between. You only do this for 2 sets at a time. It is good tool to help burn more body fat and stimulate muscles for growth.

Dumbbells refers to the weights showing on the screen now.


This is how a EZ barbell look.

EZ bar

Then one also get barbells with straight bars.


This is a flat bench.

flat bench

This is an incline bench.

Incline Bench.png

This is a seated bench.

seated bench.jpg

This is an exercise ball.

exercise ball

When I talk about technique, I refer to the specific way and form in which one performs an exercise or lift a weight.

I also regularly refer to Cutting Phase and Building Phase. Cutting phase is the process by which one train and diet with the focus on preserving muscles mass while losing body fat. Building Phase is the process and diet which focus on building muscles with adding a little more body fat to allow the body to build muscles effectively.

Lastly, you will hear I refer to health supplements and bodybuilding supplements.

Health supplements is anything (like a multi vit) you take to ensure optimal health. Bodybuilding supplements is something one takes in a specific way and timeframe to assist the body with certain aspects of the bodybuilding process (could be fat loss, muscle building, tissue repair, etc…)


Hope this give some better understanding for those newbie’s that want to start the great adventure.


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Wish you all happy training!
Gert Louw


What to do first? Cut or building phase?

This is probably the most frequent question I get ask.” I want to start with my body transformation now, but which phase must I do first?”

Cutting and Building phases play a very important role in allowing the body to cope with the strain of training. Every 3 months during the Cutting Phase the weights are lighter with higher reps per set, allowing the tendons and joints a rest and time to recover and strengthen for the next attack with the Building Phase. It also has many other positive effects on health and the body in general.

Click here to view video “Cutting or Building Phase first?”


Just to clarify the terms:

Cutting Phase

  • The phase by which you drop body fat while attempting to hang on to the muscle size.
  • Lighter training (more reps per set), generally not to the point of failure.
  • Fewer calories consumed.
  • Usually 3 months in length.
  • Can go as low as 4-5% body fat where competing athletes push the limits to 2-3% body fat levels for very short durations.

Building Phase

  • The phase by which you slightly increase body fat to enable you to build bigger muscles.
  • Train to muscle failure at low reps on EACH set to ignite growth.
  • Slightly higher calories consumed (approximately 10% more than cutting phase – ALWAYS stick to 40/30/30 split – protein/carbs/fat).
  • Usually 3 months in length.
  • Should not go lower than 8% body fat otherwise you will struggle to add decent muscle size.


The answer is not a simple one and some factors needs to be considered. I think it will be best explained by going through a couple of scenarios.


Training status: beginner to moderate / Body fat levels: Above 10%  / Goal:  Shredded, muscled body.

ANSWER:  Considering your goal of a shredded physique and the fact that you are not an advanced athlete and body fat levels are above 10% it is a clear sign that you should start with the Cutting Phase. In fact I would say that if your body fat levels are over 15% or 20% you should strongly consider an extended Cutting Phase until such time that it drops below a 10% level before you start alternating between the Phases.


Training Status: beginner to moderate / Body fat levels: 8% – 10% / Goal: Shredded, muscled body

ANSWER:  For this scenario the freedom of choice is yours. Depending on how much you want that shredded look, I would suggest you decide. If it is all important, then start off with a 3 month Cutting Phase and then alternate with a 3 month Building Phase and repeat. If it is not all out important then nothing stops you from starting with the Building Phase in this scenario. The fact that you are a beginner to moderate athlete however would suggest the Cutting Phase could be a better option to start with since you might still not have all the techniques of the exercises fully under control and heavy intense training might put you in risk of injury.


Training Status: advanced / Body fat levels: between 8% – 10% / Goal: Shredded, muscled body

ANSWER:  The exact same as above scenario with the difference that this is an advanced athlete. Due to this fact he/she will have strengthened tendons and joints and exercise technique should already been well under control. These facts lend to the suggest that such an athlete might rather want to start with the Building Phase (although he/she have complete freedom to decide).


Training Status: advanced / Body fat levels: below 8% / Goal: Shredded, muscled body

ANSWER:  In this scenario the athlete is already in shredded territory (below 8% body fat). Unless it is a  hardcore athlete that want to go down to like 5% body fat levels, the better choice here would be to do a Building Phase.


Training Status: advanced / Body fat levels: above 10% / Goal: muscled body

ANSWER:  In this scenario the aim is just to get a muscled body (call it a Rugby player look). Body fat levels are not such a great concern to this person plus he is a rather advanced athlete that knows his technique. There is no reason why such a person should start with the Cutting Phase. He can start off with the Building Phase and from there onwards alternate every 3 months between Cutting and Building Phases.


I hope this clears up the confusion. (BODY Transformation SYSTEMS worked out just for you: https://gertlouw.com/contact-me/)

Keep training hard and GROW!

Gert Louw



Hey guys and girls, 2015 in full swing.

Hope all back at gym and training going good. Make sure that diet is fully in check!

If u want a cutting diet, click here: https://gertlouw.com/2014/08/16/cutting-diet-challenges/

If you want a building diet, click here: https://gertlouw.com/2014/10/27/muscle-building-phase-sample-diets/

If you ant to know how to start a transformation from scratch, click here: https://gertlouw.com/2014/06/02/how-do-i-start-a-body-transformation-from-scratch/


To help you get focussed, here is a free e-book on some great bodybuilding advice.

Just click the link below:

19 Tips To Build Muscle


Wish u much success.


gert smiling white

Many new guys starting out on the journey of muscle-building struggle to grasp the reasons and concept behind a building and cutting phase in training.

Let’s first get the naming conventions sorted out. Doing bodybuilding natural (without anabolic steroids) means you will be doing a building and cutting phase.

For the anabolic crowd it is a more of a “bulking and cutting” phase than a “building and cutting” phase.

The difference in the naming is due to the anabolic crowd having greater control over manipulating body fat percentages than the natural crowd. Being natural means that you will not fluctuate as heavily with body fat between building and cutting phases.

Anabolic crowd can fluctuate up to 12% body fat between phases but natural guys usually limit fluctuation to a max of 4 or 5%.


So why a cutting and building phase?

I can speak from personal experience. Since I introduced a cutting and building phase into my training my shape and power has gone from strength to strength.

The alternating of these phase allow your muscles and especially tendons to recover and growth stronger for the next attack. After every cutting phase you will see you can lift more intense and heavier weights than during the earlier building phase.

Let’s get to phase specific reasons.

Benefits of a building phase (max 8 reps per sets and total of 14 sets per routine):

  1. Body fat at higher percentage allowing for better lean mass growth.
  2. Training intense with low reps and very heavy weights building muscle.
  3. Eat excess calories to feed the body for growth during this process.
  4. The heavy and intense training stimulates extra release of testosterone and Growth Hormone further helping with adding on muscles.

But alas this cannot continue indefinitely. You usually run a building phase for 3 – 4 months.

The tendons and joints will be stiff and sore at the end of this phase (if u trained intense enough like u should). Continuing for a too long time in this phase WILL result in severe injury which will keep you out of gym for a long period.

Young guys can still extend the Building Phase period for a few months extra but the older guys must stick to the 3 to 4 month max period.

It is good practice to rest for 7 to 14 days between phases – NO TRAINING! To allow the body to rest and further recover. It will also be a boost to your immune system.

Always after the building phase you will do a cutting phase and then alternate again.


Benefits of the cutting phase (max 8 reps per set and total of 14 sets per routine):

  1. Tendons recover and strengthen for an even more intense cycle in the building phase.
  2. “Train” body to lose body fat easily.
  3. Eat into “grey fat” areas and slowly eradicated them (love handles, etc…)
  4. Result in aesthetic pleasing body with 6-pack.


A crucial rule for the cutting phase is to train at not more than 80% your max.

Also cut out any cardio or severely limit it.

Cardio on top of the weights will overtax your energy resources with the cutting diet and this will result in smaller muscles (NOT FATLOSS!).

It is critical that you find the “sweet spot” during your cutting diet where you will lose fat and not muscle. Visit my cutting diet video for detailed explanation about this process.


Scenario 1 : “I am 20% body fat what phase do I do?”

In this scenario I will suggest that you kick off with the cutting phase and cutting diet. I suggest you drop at least 10% body fat before embarking on a building phase again. Then make sure that you do NOT pick up more body fat than a maximum of 5% during the building phase. With your following cutting phase you must then bring the body fat down from 15% to at least 7% before embarking on the building phase again. From there onwards you can stick to a 3-4 month alternating routine between building and cutting phases.

Scenario 2: “I am 10% body fat what phase do I do?”

In this scenario you are close to slot in with a normal building/cutting approach. Do a cutting phase and bring down the body fat to 5% before embarking on a building phase. From there onwards stick to the standard 3-4 months building/cutting phases.


A cutting phase can theoretically be stretched over a slightly longer period than a building phase because of the lesser strain it places on tendons and joints. But even so I would still not suggest longer than 6 months before switching over to a building phase and then alternate.


I am now 60 days in my building program and already added nearly 8kg bodyweight. Weighing 89 now. Targeting 92 to 95kg by time I finish the building phase.

Here is a recent pic with the added weight:


Wish you all happy training!


Gert Louw


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