Tag Archive: South Africa

Think it’s time for me to do another DUDE TALK article/video where I just talk about the guy stuff that’s on my mind.

Gert Louw SEA50

I am supposed to be busy with my Cutting Phase. But I must admit I am not very fond of the cutting phase. I love the failure hardcore training of the building phase and well, I like the more calories and relaxed attitude towards eating. And especially because I do not take part in competitions it allows me more freedom. But alas I need some new photos for my site and YouTube channel which forces me to cut down the body fat. So, balls to the wall it is. Luckily it is summer over here and very warm, so it makes cutting slightly easier. I reckon being in the Northern Hemisphere (especially northern US or Canada) in winter time trying to cut will be a very, very difficult undertaking! Snow is rather foreign to us here in Africa.

On to a more controversial subject. South Africa might be as far removed from the USA as one can get, but even here President Trump is covered extensively in all his brightly colored politics. Now, I for one hate politics and certainly have not been following the Trump saga in detail but what I absolutely love about Trump is the fact that he does what he believe is right, whether it is politically correct or not, basically he got the balls to act on what he believe is true and correct. Whether what he believes is true and correct might be another story, I do not know. I am not in your situation, neither educated about American politics to be able to voice an opinion of merit. Although I must admit I LOVE some of his conservative remarks/actions. Let me take one of the current hot topics here, the WALL! Now remember I am a complete outsider and know very little about all the pro’s and cons and fighting going on. I just know it is a big issue. But as an outsider and pretty much objective party (I have nothing to win or lose by either supporting or not supporting it), it is a very simplistic matter (except maybe for the costs involved!). If the WALL is there, the immigrants that have all the legal papers would still be able to come into the USA as always. The only thing the WALL wants to do is to keep the wrong people out, those that illegally want to enter the USA. Now guys and girls we are in a situation in South Africa were our borders are pretty much open and any “goody” or “baddy” can just come and go…and you know what…it is chaos. Crime is out of control and way too many people for the few jobs we have (South Africa is to Africa what the USA is to the world). It is a mess! Learn from us and protect your country with everything you have, before it is too late! You got an amazing country but it can very easily turn into something like South Africa! Anyway, Americans, we have waaaaaay to many political problems here in South Africa to even think about the USA!

Our country is busy with a very high profile governmental investigation into corruption. Now, every educated western person knew this was going to happen when the ANC took over and start appointing all their “freedom fighters” with zero education and skills into key positions all around government (President Zuma for example had but the school educational level of a 9 y/o child and he had to lead the strongest economy in Africa!). No criteria were necessary, only the fact that you were part of the struggle fight. So 20+ years down the line and thousands of billions upon billions of dollars have been stolen through corruption in every single governmental institution and department. It is not like the ANC actually wanted to take action right now. They simply did not have a choice, because South Africa is on a tipping point. There simply is not enough money anymore to cover or pay back all that was, and is being stolen. Thus why the ANC started with these corruption commissions (and yes, here we have to thank Trump for starting applying pressure on the South African government). But right now, all these commissions are all just words and big show without ANY action being taken. Plus, the NAZI’s have resurfaced here in South Africa in the form of Julius Malema and the EFF (and BLF), preaching hate and even genocide towards white people and they have a lot of followers.  All very scary indeed. Now you understand why we do not have time to even think about Trump!

Enough about politics!

As all my friends and followers know I am on a quest to be the best version of myself, inside and outside. Part of this “change” is how I communicate with people in real life, face to face vs how I communicate over internet in the “faceless-no-responsibility” environment. My STRONG believe is that the character and integrity of a man is revealed by how close his way of communication is between these two environments. A man of high character will communicate in exactly the same way, whether it is face to face with someone or over internet in a nameless, faceless forum. He will use the same level of respect for his fellow human being and his language use, will be controlled. His actions will be the same no matter the environment. Now this is particularly important to me and also one of the things that saddens me most. The language currently used and the level of respect shown to people over internet communication is a sign of how far we have lost our way. Even worse, this is spilling over to the real world. Youngsters do not even stand up anymore on a metro for a 90 y/o lady who have to stand and can barely hold on.

We have lost our way…

We don’t care, and we simply have zero respect for each other.  Can’t we see how we are slipping? How is it that our eyes can be so closed to how we are regressing? I want to be a better person, why not other people? Sadly, I honestly do not understand this. It is like a darkness is preventing us from seeing what is happening. But, I for one, will keep on treating my fellow human being, whether face to face or over the internet, with respect. The same respect that I want him or her to show me. Even if no one else is doing it. I will be considerate and respectful to everyone and especially to my elderly.

Thus, why I also have a very strict policy of respect on my channel. You don’t show it, I block you.

I have the urge to be kind, considerate, love my fellow human being, to be respectful of others, to have tolerance and to be a man of integrity and character to everyone who crosses my path. The world might be dark and ugly but that little patch where I am will be different. However small, I want to make the world a better place. We don’t HAVE TO BE so ugly and nasty and disrespectful. We have full control. The world is what it is because of us and our actions.

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Call me naïve. I do not care. Maybe I am…but I WILL continue to shine a little light of hope and respect everywhere I go.

I stumbled across this post on social media the other day and it sums up very good as to how far we have regressed:

Welcome to the world today…..
Where sex is free and love is expensive. Where losing a phone is more painful than losing your virginity. Where modernization means nudity, profanity, and if you don’t drink/smoke dope you’re out of fashion/style. Where boys stay boys and never want to become men, and girls become men to rule over them. Where if you don’t fool your partner it’s because you’re not clever enough. Where the bathrooms have become photography studios. Where pizza delivery is faster than the emergency response. Where people fear the thieves and the terrorists more than God. Where Worshipping God is difficult. Where temples turn into dating pools. Where lies become realities. Where the ladies fear pregnancy more than h.i.v., and babies are murdered so the ladies can escape. Where people become toxic when they speak the truth or you’re resisting to turn from what is actually toxic. Where perspectives and clothes decide the value of a person. Where money is more important than family and God. Where children are ready to leave their families for their love of the moment, rebellion and spite. Where the marriage covenant is no longer sacred or taken seriously. Where it’s easier to play house than to build a home. Where jumping from partner to partner for sex or attention is easier than waiting for the right partner for life.
Where love is a game.
Where evil no longer exists.
Whoever plays with the mind always gets happiness and who plays with the heart always hurts.
Modernity, love and liquid education…

The new generation of humanity.

II Timothy 3: 1-4
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

Now, some of you wondering why I get so deep often while the core of what I am doing is fitness. Well it is, but what I am all about is transformation. Being the best version of you on all levels. And fitness is but just one of them. The BIG Battle is internally, changing yourself to be a man of integrity. To like the person looking back at you in that mirror…the inside and the outside.

But now I get too deep again!


If you want to sign-up for my comprehensive transformation system for the older guy (customised for your body and goals) – have a look here: 


Anyway guys and girls, shine that light of yours and make this world a better place even if it is just that little patch on earth where you are.

Happy training

Gert Louw


Here is the 2013 video:

Choosing contestants is always a very difficult challenge due to the sheer amount of quality flexers out there – shape and aesthetics is critical above sheer size.

However, making an HD video requires good quality photos of each contestant and that is much more difficult to find. The guys all have photos and most good ones but few of a high enough quality to be used in the vid. So that immediately narrows down the field of contestants quite drastically.

One contestant I really wanted to include but could not (photos not in focus) is Flipie Du Preez from South Africa, 18 years old and serious good muscle and aesthetics.

Flipie du preez Flipiedupreez Flipiedupreez2 Flipiedupreez4 FlippieduPreez

Will monitor him and if the photo quality improves I will most definately include him in the 2014 vid.

The enlisting for the 2014 vid is open until the last day of August 2014. Email me at gertlouwljc@hotmail.com if interested but please make sure you have good quality photos.

Here follows the rest of the great flexers I wish I could have used for the video but could not due to unacceptable quality photos:


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Getting calves and abs to GROW!

ab_muscles anatomy-calf

Probably the two hardiest muscle groups for most people to train and grow is the calves (well, legs for that matter) and the abs.

Sure there are some genetic gifted lads out there that just blow up by looking at a protein shake but for us average folks it sometimes is close to impossible to get hose two muscle groups to grow and respond effectively with training.

And then you get these over 40 dads climbing up on the treadmills and their calves are the size of my waist. I am not joking here…it is ridiculous. Maybe it is something to do with why South Africans are so good in Rugby? Well, I am Afrikaans and a South African but I sortoff missed that gene…! I’ll go and talk to my mom and dad!

chris-dickerson-calves massive-calves

But for us average folk, there is a good reason why calves and abs don’t respond the same as other muscle groups to training.

The two muscles you use more than any other muscle in your body is the calves and the abs.

For just about everything you do, these 2 muscle groups are active and busy working while all the other muscles groups only get used infrequently as when needed.

What it boils down to is that calves and abs specifically have a type of muscle makeup that respond to different type of training type and frequency than all other muscle groups.

Because they get use so often, you have to train them in a fashion that they will understand.

The key here is “frequently”.

lower-abs_2 bodybuilder-abs734488_474407839273067_2086405842_nBoth these groups need to be trained 2-3 times a week. And they must be trained HARD. Hitting them with a higher frequency than once a week is just about the only way that most of us is going to get a decent growth response from calves and abs. You don’t have to do too many sets and exercises but at least 2 x 3 sets of 2 different exercises.

Burnouts is a good idea because it is a “language” calves and abs will understand. With burnouts you will start at the heaviest weight and do about 8 reps, then without resting lower the weight one step and do as many reps to failure. Continue with this until you can only squeeze out 2 reps. It hurts like hell but is great for growth stimulation for calves and abs.

All the other muscles groups should be trained only once a week at high intensity.

Training other muscle groups more than once a week is moving very close to overtraining, which will mean a decrease in muscle size as well as feeling exhausted the whole time.

Slot calves and abs in once a week before a training session and once a week after a training session and on the last day of training do them on their own.

calves 2

Many guys struggling with calves and abs had good success with such an attack.

Obviously all the other factors needs to be in place: eating for muscle growth, resting well enough and train wisely.

Wish u MUCH success!

transformation legs II


For those that want to know more, here is a much more technical article from [www.bodyrecomposition.com] about how to train calves:

Calf Anatomy and Fiber Typing

The muscle group called the calves actually include several muscles although most only focus on two: the gastrocnemius and the soleus.  The primary function of these muscles is to act as plantarflexors (pointing the toe) although the gastroc also has very weak knee flexion activity (which is why some people will catch calf cramps on leg curl type movements).

This is also why doing calf work with the knee bent (e.g. seated calf raise) tends to work the soleus preferentially, since the gastroc crosses the knee, if the knee is bent, the gastroc can’t contribute as significantly to force output.  Put differently, if you do a straight legged calf movement, both the gastroc and soleus get trained, if you do bent-knee work, only the soleus really works.

Anatomically, the soleus essentially lies ‘underneath’ the gastroc but both give the calf its distinctive diamond like shape (when developed).   As I sort of alluded to above, the soleus doesn’t cross the knee, the gastroc does (why it can function as a weak knee flexor).

Many people seem to still think that the calf is a primarily slow twitch muscle but this is incorrect.  The gastroc is actually a fast twitch muscle and is involved in explosive type movements.  This is actually part of what is colloquially referred to as Black Man’s Calf Syndrome.

Black bodybuilders have commonly been completely unable to develop calves and the function of the calves is part of why.  High/short calves are excellent for jumping and sprinting but have little potential for growth, they are simply too short.  Black bodybuilders (or white bodybuilders for that matter) who have a short/high gastroc with a long tendon will make fantastic jumpers and sprinters; but great calves they will never have.

In any case, the soleus is predominantly a slow twitch muscle as it is more involved in overall stability (what rehab types often call a tonic muscle) of the ankle complex.  The difference in fiber type between the gastroc and soleus has implications for training that I’ll get to at the end.

I really should note another issue with the calves and that has to do with the very tiny lever arm of the achilles tendon relative to the ankle (the axis of rotation).  Because of the specific anatomy of the calves, a rather small muscle can actually generate a massive force (technically: torque) around the ankle.  This is one reason that many people can use such absolute massive amounts of weight on calf work (in addition to something I’m going to talk about below).


So Why are the Calves So Stubborn?

I haven’t honestly ever seen anything to suggest that the calves are genetically resistant or prone to muscle growth but there is one lesser well known biological fact about calves that contributes to the difficulty in making small calves into big cows (see what I did there?).

I’m assuming that everybody reading this knows or has heard of androgen receptors (AR).  The AR is what testosterone and related molecules bind to and one of the effects is to stimulate protein synthesis.  In men, there is a distinctive pattern of AR whereby there is a higher AR density in the upper body (especially the traps and shoulder girdle which is why steroid users tend to have their shoulders BLOW up when they take anabolics) decreasing as you move down the body.   If you think about it, this makes sense, since the typical wide shouldered v-shape is sort of the ideal ‘male’ physique, and we evolved like this for a reason.

By the time you get to the calves, the AR density is very low.  So even if you train the absolute hell out of them they simply don’t get the same training effect because testosterone can’t exert as much of an effect.  Even the legs of most men don’t have the same androgen receptor density as the upper body; yes, I’ve just given you guys an excuse for chicken leg syndrome.

On this note, my friend and altogether too smart guy Bryan Haycock once hypothesized to me that he thought that modern bodybuilders had better legs and calves than guys of old due to their essentially year round anabolic use.  By constantly bombarding even the low AR number of the legs and calves with constant dosing (not to mention that studies show that steroids actually upregulate the AR number), he felt that this contributes to better leg size (compare for example, the size of Lee Haney’s legs to that of Arnold in his prime, despite all that squatting with logs, Arnold had proportionally smaller legs compared to his upper body).

In any case, this is a big part of the reason that the calves are so hard to develop.  I’d note, and this is purely an empirical observation on my part, that some people seem to have somewhat reversed patterns whereby AR density seems to be higher in the lower body and lesser in the upper body.  These folks develop legs easily but the upper body never seems to catch up.  Women, especially those carrying more weight seem to have this happen but I’ve seen it in men too.  Again, no research on this, just an observation over the years.


What We can Learn from Kangaroos

There’s another aspect of calf function that most ignore but that I think contributes massively to most people’s complete inability to develop their calves.  Everyone reading this at some point been in the weight room and seen the absolute skinniest of folks bouncing enormous amounts of weight on calf exercises without appearing to be working very hard.  They couldn’t do this on any other exercise, did you ever wonder what was going on?

To understand what I’m going to explain, I need to talk about elastic tissue and how it stores and recoils energy.  Tissues like tendons are termed elastic tissue (meaning that they can stretch/deform and come back to normal afterwards), if you load them quickly (e.g. through a fast eccentric), they actually store energy which you can then get returned to you if you move quickly enough.  This is part of why it’s always easier to bench out of a bounce than with a pause (there are other reasons that aren’t relevant here).  So just remember that: elastic tissues can store energy and return it if you move quickly enough.

And that brings us to kangaroos.  Ever seen a kangaroo hop, ever notice how bouncy they are?  As it turns out, when kangaroos hop for distance, they do it in a very certain frequency.  And research has shown that this frequency allows them to load the tendon on the back of their leg to get a massive amount of elastic recoil; this allows them to keep going and going without using much muscular energy.  It’s massively efficient because tendons don’t really get tired.

Do you see where I’m going with this yet?  The human achilles tendon, the elastic tissue connective the calves to the bottom of the foot works similarly (not to nearly the magnitude of the kangaroo mind you).  This is an adaptation for human locomotion, when you walk and the shin moves forwards, it loads the achilles which gives you a bit of energy return, it saves energy for walking and running

Quite in fact, running shoes have tried to build mechanical versions of this, spring type cushions in the heel of shoes that return energy when you run so that less muscular energy is required.

What do you think is happening when people do bouncy bouncy calf work?  That’s right, they are basically using the elastic energy return potential of their calves to move enormous amounts of weight without performing much muscular work; and since the combination of tension and work is what stimulates growth…biology isn’t the only reason most people’s calves don’t grow.  Most people just train them terribly.

I honestly think this is where the idea of doing massively high reps on calves came from: when you bounce, you use such a tiny amount of muscular effort with each rep, that you have to do hundreds of reps to get the muscle to feel anything at all.

Of course, there’s a much easier solution; you’ve probably guessed what it is but this brings me to the next section: how to train the calves.

How to Train the Calves

First, let’s sum up what I’ve covered:

  • The gastroc is primarily a fast-twitch muscle
  • The soleus is primarily a slow-twitch muscle
  • If you do calf work with straight legs, you work both the gastroc and soleus
  • If you do calf work with bent legs, you work only the soleus
  • When you bounce, the achilles tendon does much, if not most of the work and the calf does little

I didn’t mention the androgen receptor density thing because, short of taking steroids year round, there’s nothing you can do to control that.  But with proper training, we can take all of the above into account.

First, here’s my standard go-to calf routine.

A straight legged calf exercise: 5 sets of 5 done in the following fashion.

From a dead 2 second pause, explode up, squeeze for 1 second at the top, 3 second eccentric (for tempo freaks, this would be written X/1/3/2: explosive concentric, 1 second squeeze at the top, 3 second negative, 2 second pause at the bottom).  Take 3 minutes between sets and GO HEAVY.   When you get all 5 sets of 5, add weight at the next workout.  The gastroc is fast twitch, it responds to heavy loads.  The explosive concentric out of the pause will maximize tension, the squeeze makes sure that you’re controlling the weight, the slow eccentric is critical for growth.  Note: be careful on the pause, don’t overstretch the calves or you can give yourself plantar fascitis.  But don’t cut range of motion either.  You want some stretch on the calves, don’t try to drop your heels as far as possible.

Follow that up with:

A bent-knee calf raise: 3-4 sets of 8-10 done in the following fashion.

From a 2 second pause, take 2 seconds to squeeze the weight up, brief pause at the top, 2 second eccentric (so 2/1/2/2).  60-90 seconds rest and use as much weight as you can in good form, you may have to drop weight after each set due to fatigue.  Being slow-twitch, the soleus will respond to longer sets and more of a fatigue stimulus. This should hurt like hell.

Putting it a little more clearly:

  • Straight leg calf raise: 5X5/3′ rest on a X/1/3/2 tempo
  • Bent knee calf raise: 3-4X8-10/60-90″ rest on a 2/1/2/2 tempo.

That’s it, do the above twice per week (once every 5 days if you have poorer recovery) either as specialization or after legs.  Oh yeah, and you need to be gaining weight to grow calves (or any body part).  You’re not going to build muscle out of thin air and wishful thinking and if you’re not gaining weight while doing the above, you won’t grow anything.

Do the above for an 8 week cycle, take the first 2 weeks sub-maximally (you won’t be able to walk the first week if this is your first time dead pausing calf work) and then push the weights as much as you can (especially on the heavy sets).  After 8 weeks, drop the weight for 2 weeks and either hit it again or move on to something else.

I can’t guarantee that the above will turn your piddle calves into cows but compared to how 99% of people train calves, the above coupled with a slight caloric surplus can only help.


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