What Is Metabolism and How Does It Affect Us?

Metabolism is said to resemble a fire; in terms of how “big” or “small” it is. Essentially, metabolism is a general term given to describe all the activities and chemical reactions that occurred in the body on a cellular level. This basically means how much work your body does and this is usually related to how many calories a person uses in a day. There are some key phrases to remember regarding metabolism.

Basal metabolism is used to describe the energy used by the body doing no physical activity at all that day. Knowing your basal metabolism is like marking a baseline on how much energy to consume. If you are a person who is desk bound to a job or generally inactive, your calorie intake should not vary too far away from your basal metabolism as you would have excess calories which will turn into fatty acids. In the same way, a construction worker who does a lot of physical work in a day requires more calories in a day when compared to his basal metabolism as he is active.

A high metabolism is a characteristic trait of an ectomorph. An ectomorph is someone who has difficulty gaining weight because of this trait. He is usually characterized as someone who has very little muscle mass and generally very lean. The high metabolism not only means that it consumes more energy which contributes to him being lean, but also that his body turn to using the glycogen in his muscle when it feels it is starved of energy, resulting in a state known as catabolism or muscle degradation .

A person with a low metabolism is used to describe an endomorph. An endomorph is someone who puts on weight easily due to the very nature of the body using the energy it gets from food slowly which results in a significant amount of calories to be stored as fatty acids. Endomorphs are also generally larger in size and have a difficult time in burning calories which are stored as fats. Endomorphs however, are blessed with the ability to maintain anabolism or muscular productivity as the body does not “feel” that it is going through a state of starvation and that will not turn to using the glycogen in the muscle.

Lastly, metabolism rate can be tweaked by both diet and exercise. Science has proven that when we consume food, the body will go into a state of overdrive as it has a new task of breaking down the food in the stomach and using it productively all over the body. This state will last generally for an hour before gradually falling down to suit the person's activity level. The same state also goes for exercise but instead of breaking down food in the stomach, the body goes to work repairing the muscular damage it faces during an exercise. An endomorph can use it to his advantage by consuming small meals throughout the day which will spike the metabolism more often which will burn more calories. When this is paired with intense exercise, this result in a fat burning ability which will ensure that it will lose weight easily.

An ectomorph must also follow this training regimen but tweak it such that he consumes more full volume meals throughout the day. This raises his calorie intake so that it is easier for him to put on weight. The reason to integrate exercise into his plan to put on weight as muscle is 3 times denser than fat which will translate into weight gain on the weighing machine.

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Why Do I Train Need to Train Legs and Back?

Legs and back are the two neglected muscle groups in the gym every day. The reasons that people give for this neglect are downright hilarious sometimes. Training your legs and back carry more benefits than having a nice chest or broad shoulders.

Training your legs and your back can benefit you simply because it means that your frame can carry more weight. Imagine a whole building supported only by just one pillar. While all of us yearn to grow bigger and have a body like Superman, it is key to also note the foundation of those huge muscles do not balance precariously on a weak core. The more weight your legs and your back can carry, the more muscle mass you can pile on at the top. This results any individual from stalling at a certain weight for more than 3 trainings in a row. So the next time your workout is not working anymore, it is probably a good time to examine when the last time you train your core.

Have you seen how chickens look when they run? Having such a superior top packed on such a thin frame is simply a joke. Having a well balanced body does not only mean that you do not get laughed at, but also that you are growing to fit into the new clothes you bought. It is also worth noting that growing big and well balanced all over means that it is easier to match clothing, especially with the fact that you are now more exposed to a variety of brands which used to be too big for you.

Safety is the key thing people overlook when they go to the gym and train. Having a strong and well-built upper body enables you to press or pull the weights you like but imagine what happens when your towel lands on the gym floor. Bending over with such a heavy top without a strong core is a ticking time bomb. You could set yourself back several weeks or even months just recovering from a strained back. It could make you abandon your gym training session as you suffer a major slip disc problem. With safe and well conditioned muscles in your lower body, you can always know the weight is simply an obstacle to be acquired the next training session rather than be stuck rebuilding the injury for weeks and even months.

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Which Is Better, Whey Or Casein?

Anyone who started going to the gym or have visited a health supplement store will definitely have a yard of whey and casein. Not many would be able to separate the fact from the fiction amidst all the hype on health products surrounding this two protein powerhouse. Let us start off with whey.

Whey is a protein found in milk and egg whites. It is the byproduct when you curd milk. The huge advantage of using whey is that it gets into the bloodstream within 1 to 2 hours. They get digested so quickly so that they can start the first line of repair on your muscles. The next advantage about whey is solubility. Since whey is a shorter chemical chain compared to casein, it is more soluble in water compared to casein and that is also why it is quickly absorbed by the body. The next thing we touch on will be the timing to consume whey. Since whey has a short chemical chain and it is absorbed quickly, consuming it at the appropriate timing will be nothing more than a waste of money. Whey is recommended to be consumed during breakfast as it goes straight to the muscles after a whole night of starvation. Similarly, this state happens also after your workout so that is also a good time for consumption of whey.

Let us now move over to casein. Similarly, it is also found in milk. However, it is a long chemical chain and so it is not found in egg whites as your baby chicks will not be able to digest such a long chemical chain. With the fact that it comes from only milk, it means that we do not consume enough casein as we generally stop drinking milk during our youth and adulthood. Chemically, casein breaks down within 3-6 hours depending on individuals and then it is a better source of protein to be used slowly by the body. Casein should not be consumed directly after a workout or early in the morning after you have woken up as it takes a long time to break down. This means that instead of fueling your body, you are using more energy to break down such a complex chain, resulting in muscular breakdown. Likewise, being a long chemical chain, it does not dissolve in water so easily so be sure to stir and shake thoroughly before consumption. Remember, every lump in your protein shake just goes to waste and I bet this will cause you to re-think the way you treat your protein shake. The appropriate time to consume casein would definitely be like a normal meal, but remember that this is a supplement or an add-on to your meal, never as your meal replacement.

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Why Is Gym Training Important for People Looking to Gain Weight?

The reason behind this idea is simple; muscle is 3 times heavier than fat. Due to the nature that its density is high, it is easier for a person to become heavier even without much significant growth in the size of his body. However, this must be done with the right system in order to maximize the food that he or she ingests.

Next up, building muscle is also a good way to ensure that you still have the same metabolism rate. What this really means is that you have the option to lose weight or gain weight. In comparison to just eating unhealthily and being inactive, the muscular resistance training ensures that there is always a demand for the nutrients from the food you eat rather than let them collect and become unsightly fatty deposits all over your body.

One great thing about building muscle on top of a high calorie diet is the option for you to put on mass where you want. Normally, ectomorphs are unsatisfied with their narrow shoulders and thin limbs and that is where they can put on the weight by training those areas and gaining muscular mass there. When you experience growth in the places you would like to put on mass in, this strengthens the self-belief that you are in total control of their body. This will ensure that you feel more confident about yourself, fueling your desire to grow larger with more mass.

Next, muscle is lost slower compared to fats. Fat is always being used by an ectomorph as a fuel source constantly due to their high metabolism. Thus, the fat deposit in the body of an ectomorph is always declining. However, it is more difficult to reduce the weight of an ectomorph by decreasing the muscle mass in the person. This is because a muscle in a collective community of fibers and enzymes, with its own storehouse of energy source in the form of glycogen. The body can only lose muscular mass when the glycogen in the muscle has been removed and it is not replaced promptly. This ensures that even with a higher metabolism rate of an ectomorph, the body weight will decrease slower as compared to having a body mainly consisting of fat deposits.

Lastly, nothing is more satisfying for an ectomorph than the idea of ​​finding their current clothing tight. When their small sized shirt is becoming tighter, it is an immediate gratification in 2 ways; knowing that they look good in what they wear now and the desire to shop for clothing that is of a larger size to continue growing. This sign motivates the ectomorphs to train even harder and to continue with what they have been doing right.

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Should We Take Protein to Help Increase Lean Muscle?

Protein is important to the body. It helps the body build muscles as well as giving the energy to run it. To keep the body healthy and energetic, protein is needed.

Proteins are essential nutrients for the growth and maintenance of a human body. They are one of the building blocks of body tissue. Like carbohydrates, it is one of the body's fuel source.

It can be found in all cells of the body and is the major structural component of all cells in the body, especially muscle. Thus, it's one of the key nutrients for success in terms of sports.

Debates have taken place regarding the protein intake requirements. The way to know how much protein a person takes daily is determined by the amount of energy rich food sources it takes in daily. The body can work better if it has the right amount of fuel to make it run. This is the reason why those who go to the gym take protein to build their muscles and to replenish those that they lost during the workout.

Protein is very important to keep the body fueled to do physical activities. It also helps increase a person's muscular mass. Less protein means weak body and less lean muscle. Without an adequate supply of protein the body's cellular process is affected like the process of the respiratory enzymes and blood cells. These processes need protein to keep it going.

There is a recommended consumption of protein and this varies depending on the age of the person. For women 19 to 70 years old, it is recommended that they take 46 grams per day. The dosage is different for men aged 19 to 70 because they need to have at least 56 grams of protein.

People who engage in strenuous physical activities like athletes need more protein compared to those who engage in normal physical activities. They need more protein because they have higher muscle mass and they sweat more. For these active persons it is suggested that they take at least 1.6 grams per kilo to 1.8 grams per kilo daily. The dosage can be as much as 2 to 2.25 grams per kilo.

If you want to have leaner muscles, just remember to take sufficient protein.

You may eat a smaller meal about every three waking hours or five to six per day. Never miss a meal and you must take the right amount of protein every mealtime. Women's meal must contain 15 g of protein and for males it should contain at least 20 g to be considered “sufficient.”

It is recommended that protein should be from natural sources. These natural sources include, egg, meat, and fish. Dairy products are also good sources of protein. The only downside in dairy products is that there are people who bodies can not tolerate it. These dairy products include cheese, chocolates and other products that come from milk.

Whole grains and cereals are another source of proteins. The downside to this is that these food sources have limited amount of threonine, which can only be found in meats and vegetables. These food sources rich in protein are oats, buckwheat, millet, rye, rice, corn, bulgar, wheat, amaranth, sorghum and quinoa.

Another good source of proteins are nuts, seeds, fruits and legumes. On the other hand, soybeans, kidney beans, mung beans, kidney beans contain seven percent of protein. This is also the same with cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, Brazil nuts, almonds and sunflower seeds.

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Arm Training – What’s a Beginner to Do?

Would you laugh if I said that if you are a beginning lifter you should not be arm training at all? That's right sometimes a beginner should just forget about training his / her arms all together and focus on the bigger things. I know this is contrary to everything you hear in the gym and read in the bodybuilding magazines but when the last time you saw a powerlifter with small arms? That's right if you only concentrate on the main compound lifts like powerlifters and football players, guess what? Your body might just start to resemble them a little bit. Here are some benefits to cutting all your arm workouts from your routine.

You will be able to recover for your next workout faster. Your body can only recover from so much in the few days in between your workouts. By not doing any arm work your body can get you back in the gym sooner to work on the big lifts.

You will get more out of training your arms when you are bigger and stronger later on. In a few years when you have gained slabs of muscle all over your body that's when you can really start to get the most out of specialized routines for growing your arms and other lagging body parts. There have been reports that have speculated that in order to increase your size you need to increase your overall body weight. So if you are a beginner doing set after set of curls you are probably just wasting your time.

You arms will get bigger anyways. That's right the big compound movements will absolutely cause growth in your arms. If your bench goes up by 50 pounds your triceps will be much bigger, likewise for your biceps with pull ups and rows.

Your workouts will be a little shorter. Without arm exercises tiring you out at the end of your workouts that time can be spending resting and eating letting you be fully rested for your next workout.

I know you have always been taught that the way to make your guns grow is to pound them in the gym. But why not try to eliminate your arm training for a while and concentrate on the big lifts. I bet you that you will be happy with the results. At the very least your arms will not get any smaller and they will probably grow as a result of increases in the main compound lifts and you will be closer to getting the big arms you want. These are the important lifts for beginners. They will stimulate muscle growth all over your entire body.

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Gaining Muscle Is Made Simple

In past articles I've discussed the best ways to add muscle to your physique, but how do you get the most muscle to reap those benefits as quickly as possible? In this article we'll discuss some of the most effective ways to achieve muscle mass quickly and the exercises to get you there.

We'll start with nutrition. Protein and carbohydrates are the body's building blocks, protein for muscle growth and carbohydrates for energy. You need to eat enough calories of both to fuel proper growth. To find out how much is right for you the general rule is to multiply your lean body weight by 19, somewhere between 1500-3000 calories or more for men and 1200-2500 or more for women. It is very important not to under eat if you expect to gain muscle mass. General numbers for protein consumption are 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Protein contains around 4 calories per gram. About 20-30% of your caloric intake daily should come from lean protein. Carbohydrates should be consumed at about twice the rate of protein and consist of between 40-60% of daily intake. Again carbohydrates have around 4 calories per gram so grab a calculator or your fitness pro and get to eating! It's recommended that you eat 6 small meals a day and eating 30-60 of the recommended grams of protein immediately after a lifting session will ensure the essential building blocks of your muscles are on hand to assist in their growth.

Next is weight lifting. This is a must but compound exercise moves get you much better results much more quickly. These are exercises utilizing more than one group of muscles or joints at a time, resulting in the ability to lift heavier weights, workout more muscles at once and gain more growth. Here are some of the best compound exercises to build muscle fast; chin-ups, pull-ups, dips, bench, military presses, rows and push-ups. There are also several movements that workout upper and lower body such as hang clean and push presses. For the lower body try, squats, dead lifts, lunges and good mornings. The heavier weight you lift the more damage you do to your muscle fibers and the more quickly additional mass will be packed on. A good rule of thumb for safely lifting heavy weights is to lift 70-80% of your 1 rep maximum or however much weight you can put up safely for 8-12 reps. Like most compound exercises it is imperative to utilize correct form and have a spotter to help prevent injury.

Next on the list are super sets, or doing 2 or more exercises in succession without rest in between. This increases the intensity of your routine and gets more accomplished more quickly. There are several forms of this kind of workout including exercises that utilize the same muscle groups pushing that group to its limit, opposition or antagonistic muscle groups allowing time for each group to rest between exercises, or staggered super sets which work completely unrelated groups of muscle , each of these has its own benefit.

The final ingredient is rest, the most essential and overlooked portion of the workout recipe. As just mentioned, muscles tear as you lift; your rest cycle is when these tears are repaired. This is especially true when you sleep; the body secretes the majority of your human growth hormones, which helps repair muscles, as you sleep. Never work the same group two days in a row, allow 4-5 days' rest before working out the same muscles again, allowing for proper recovery. Overt raining can lead to injury and lessen the effectiveness of the work that you've already done. If you follow these steps you are guaranteed massive gains in your muscle mass and power! Finally, always seek professional advice; do not tackle this type of advanced training without proper technique. Have fun and get to it!

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Why Are Free Weights Better Than Weights Machines?

A gym can be a rather intimidating place to be, especially at peak hours after work. I had one of these trainings 3 days back when I went to the gym in the evening before dinner. It was packed, sweaty and the smell of perspiration filled the air with a stale wet smell. My gym is just your typical small gym divided into 3 sections; cardiovascular area like your stationary bike and roller machine, weighed machines area and free weights. I hate to say this, but seriously the weighted machines and the cardiovascular machine area have no place in a gym in the first place! All of the machines are nothing more than restrictive areas that will eventually hurt you in the future. Here are the reasons why!

Machines by nature are restrictive. Try moving the machine in the way you want it to move and you will be definitely be disappointed. Not only is the movement not natural, but it place unnecessary stress on joints and opposing muscle groups when you try to compromise to the machine. Let us assume you are doing a Leg Press Machine and you shift the seat back until it suits you. You started doing a few reps before you feel a pain in your back while you are pushing the weights out. This is what I meant by seriously hurting yourself. A pair of dumb-bells or Olympic bar does not give you the same problem as other body parts can assist you when you are doing your exercise. For example, you are doing a barbell squat. You core will work to stabilize you while you move up and down and your trapezius and hands will help to keep the bar up. When you train many major muscles together at the same time, it allows your body to figure out how to compromise rather than get fixated into a regulated position which will grow a certain part of your body and impede another from growing, resulting in stalling of weights or in worse case scenarios, injury.

The next reason why free weights are better is what you have been contributing to all along; not many people dare to use free weights. That gives you plenty of time to work out without the interruption of someone asking if you are done with your exercise or a need to share the machine. With this, your exercise time is shorter which would result in faster results. The reason why this happens is that science have proven that the 45 minutes window for weight training is the optimum average time for you to train. Anything over 45 minutes may even turn out to be detrimental when your muscles are depleted of much needed energy and nutrients like glycogen and amino acids to repair the damage. This could lead to unnecessary aches and set your next training to an even further date.

Lastly, free weights training are the most effective and that is the reason why you should do it. People who have done machine solely have been proven not just by me, but hundreds of fitness trainers all around the world that the growth rate is slower compared to one who learn how to do the exercise with free weights properly.

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Why Is It So Hard To Gain Weight?

Many people, including myself found it very hard to gain a single kilogram of weight and keep it on. So many times have I stuffed my face filled with high calorie food and went to bed only to see the weight simply disappear the day after. Through my 6 years battling the losing battle to put on weight, I finally found out why I was not able to keep the weight I put on.

First of all, I lacked the motivation to keep doing what was right. Like many people out there, I jump from one diet to another, from diets similar to the Super Size Me movie to the popular culture of Atkins diet. When I did get a bit of weight, I will tell myself that this is simply too slow and hop on board the disappointment train and this would usually lead me in losing the weight, usually from late night events such as movies or local area network gaming . I realized after a very long while that produce results should become habits, not chucked away while you look for a faster way to get there.

Next, I was also doing diet and exercise all wrong. With each weight gaining diet, you can be quite sure that exercise is usually in the mix. The only reason why exercise is not in the mix is ​​usually rubbish which will lead you into gaining a lot of fat that will harm your heart, liver and kidney. I tend to nip-pick a bit of everything which usually results in a bad mix that both authors and instructors had not taken into account and then the result is also not desirable. I was also doing the exercises wrongly which prompted in unnecessary aches and pains in the undressed areas.

But I guess my biggest mistake is that I did not get my 8 hours sleep consistently. There was always something to deny me the precious sleep that everyone wants and yet it looks impossible to achieve. Either I had commitments very early in the day and I have to get up early or the computer will work its charm and before you know it I will only have 3-4 hours before the time I need to wake up again. There was even this one time when I was eating right and training right habitually and because I did not ensure that I slept the 8 hours a day, I fell sick and lost all my muscular gains within days. That is the reason why sleep is so important regardless of your training or diet.

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What Is The Fastest Way To Recover From Muscle Aches After A Gym Workout?

The short answer to the question is nutrition and rest. Nutrition sources 15-20 percent of the equation and rest constituents the remaining. As you can see, rest is the more important part but do not worry, I will educate you on both. This article is written in sequence of their importance so do not pick and choose what you want to follow and what you do not want to.

The reason why sleep accounts for such a huge percentage is simply because muscles grow when you sleep and go about your normal activity outside of the gym. You can pump all the iron you want in the gym, hang out late into the night and I can assure you no growth will ever come to you. Weight training puts a big demand on the body and if you abuse it even further without proper rest, it will result in viruses and bacteria attacking your body as your immune system takes a dip. It is not even enough just taking an 8 hours rest. It is about taking uninterrupted proper sleep. If you simply sleep 2 separate sessions of 4 hours that does not mean you get an 8 hours sleep, you simply got two 4 hours rest.

Now that the priority is out of the way, let us focus next on genetics. Some people have an amazing body that learns very fast and adapts quickly but for the rest of us diet and nutrition can help a lot. Before all the muscle building supplements come in, focus on your intake of Vitamin C and Zinc. Vitamin C keeps your immune system strong which ward off viruses and bacteria so you do not lose your muscle mass by falling ill, but also accept with the extra demands of weight training have on the body. Zinc helps in the absorption of Vitamin C to the body and that is the reason why it is key to focus on this two after you have delivered your habitual 8 hours uninterrupted sleep.

Next up is your protein intake. Muscles are repaired by the amino acids in protein so it is key to know how to deliver the right type of protein at the right time. Eat food or supplements high in whey when you first wake up and immediately after your training so that the body can utilize a short chemical chain protein quickly. This provides much needed protein and fuel to the muscle immediately. With that being said, that does not mean your entitlement diet is filled with eating whey all the time. The short chemical chain means that whey breaks down with an hour which does not aid the repair after. So be sure to eat food or supplement high in casein which is a more complex protein source an hour after training and through the day so that your body is always repairing the muscle. Be sure also to also consume a high carbohydrate diet immediately after your training as your muscle is depleted of energy and then need to be refueled to ensure that the body does not break down the muscle you train so hard for.

Generally, muscle aches last from 24-48 hours. If you do need to train again during this time period, be sure to also take Glutamine to relieves some of the aches. What Glutamine does is that it removes the waste product of weight training quickly so that the body can focus on repairing itself rather than have 2 tasks of repairing and getting rid of toxins.

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Build Muscle: How To Build Muscle Away From The Gym

Achieving thatought after appearance, the built and healthy body, is something many people desire. Doing it is a journey many fear to take, though, because of the thought that it is too difficult. When you do not know how to build muscle, it may seem intimidating or overwhelming when trying to do it. You may follow the guidance of your friends or what you read at times, but that might not always be enough. The truth behind building muscle is that there is no one way to it. If you are trying to get that perfect body, you have to consider all of the aspects, like health and effort that go into it. Eating the right foods, doing the right workouts, and having the willpower and mental strength to go forward will make a difference. If you want to see results, begin by examining your life and figuring out if you are following everything as you should.

When you are on the road towards building muscle, you have to consider your diet. The food you eat makes a massive difference, which means you need to be choosing the right stuff. Eating and drinking the right foods is sometimes a difficult thing for people who want to know how to build muscle, but it does not have to be. Taking in protein, having protein shakes post workout, eating healthy and homemade, and staying away from the junk that can get in the way of your goal are just a few things to keep in mind.

Of course, you can not forget the exercises. Without physical activity, you are not going to be in the shape you want to be. Before you start hitting the weights, though, you should begin on cardio. This is the best way to remove the extra fat that is between you and showing those abs you want. By running, swimming, biking, or beginning on any other effective cardio workout, you can begin trimming down for your new body.

When you are on the right diet and no longer have othersome fat in the way of your dream physique, you can begin on your journey to build muscle. By going to a gym, either at home or a public location, you can start lifting and bringing yourself to the physical condition you want to be in. It is important to remember that you can not start at the top, though. If you do more than you can handle, you risk an injury that can become very serious, very quickly. Increase the frequency, intensity, and time as you continue and you should see your body gradually becoming the powerhouse you want it to be.

Your mind plays just as big of a role in your goal to build muscle as your body. Without the willpower to not only continue, but push yourself so that you do not hit a plateau, you might not make it too far. If you feel as if you are mentally drained and this is no more, you need to begin revamping your attitude and how you take on this task. If you want that better body, you need to be in the right mindset and face everything with a ready to do it way of thinking.

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Building Muscle – How to Build Muscle Using Herbs

The following list of herbs can be found in tablets or capsules. You do not always have to mix in your herbs into a smoothie or meal. It is highly recommended that you take your herbs in the morning. They provide energy as well as build muscle.

  1. Ginseng – used to boost your body's testosterone levels as well as gives your body stamina and longevity naturally. Ginseng is basically the natural version of steroids. It comes from the roots of the Asian ginseng plant. As stated before, you can find ginseng tablets to provide your body it's daily dose. If you are a tea drinker then you can go to your local store and find Ginseng tea to drink.
  2. Fo-ti – What in the world is fo-ti? Fo-ti is a Chinese plant that is similar to Ginseng. It boosts stamina and longevity as well to assist you with building muscle. The difference between Ginseng and Fo-ti is that ginseng is much easier to get your hands on especially if you are not to big on ordering items online.
  3. Isoleucene – is so important to building muscle. It builds protein in your body and is the essential to building muscle mass. Foods that contain isoleucene are: egg whites, soy milk, turkey breast, lamb, chicken, tuna fish, and cottage cheese. A protein shake
  4. Cayenne – Cayenne gets the blood circulating at a faster rate. Not only does cayenne help build muscle but it also helps prevent heart disease. You can rub down your poultry with cayenne rub or dash a reasonable amount of cayenne pepper on your meats, starches, or vegetables.
  5. Oats – Oats build strong muscle as well as decrease your appetite. Now just because a food has oats in it does not mean that it will help build your muscle. Foods like oatmeal will benefit you but foods like oatmeal cookies will not benefit you. Stay away from the instant oatmeal because it does not provide as much nutrients as regular oatmeal. Instant oatmeal that is cooked in the microwave is not as beneficial to your body because the microwave actually removes most of your nutrients from your food. If you are not a fan of oatmeal then having a bowl of honey nut cheerios or a bowl of regular cereal with oats in it would be it's equivalent.

You do not have to fill your body with harmful chemicals to build muscle. The earth is filled with excellent nutrients that are all around you.

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Kettlebell Calf Raises

Kettlebell calf raises can be a great addition to your kettlebell workouts. They are not very different to your traditional barbell and machine calf raises but as the weights will be supported from a different angle they will challenge the calf muscles in a slightly different manner and therefore encourage some additional growth where you had not quite filled that potential.

As with all calf raises there are a few different versions for you to experiment with and the main concern being how much of a stretch on the negative part of the movement you are wanting.

An athlete will find that they can lift a lot more weight when performing standing calf raises straight off the floor. In this movement there is no stretch on the downwards part of the movement as the foot goes from being flat on the floor to standing on the tips of your toes preventing the calf to contract before returning back to flat footed allowing the calf muscle to relax.

The other version of the classic standing calf raise is to use some form of platform. The most common platform to perform this movement would be a simply wooden block. The athlete is then required to stand with their toes on the end of the block with their heads hanging off. The athlete is then required to drive upwards to a position where their weight is supported on the tips of the toes preventing maximum contraction of the calf muscles before reversing the movement so that the heel goes below the flat footed position and the Calf muscle is stretched. At the lower part of the movement it is very important not to allow the calf to bounce as this can injure the Achilles tendon. Explode out of the negative back into the tip toed position.

To use Kettlebells for standing calf raises there are ways of supporting the weight, both of which will challenge the Calves in different ways.

The first and simplest method is to simply hold a kettlebell in each hand and allow to hang at the sides of your body. This way of holding the Kettlebells tends to put more strain on the outer part of the Calves which can create the fuller look of the Calves from the back view of the athlete.

The other and more difficult way to perform the Kettlebell Calf raise is to Clean the Kettlebells up to the Racked position. Once in the racked position is when you would step onto the platform if you are performing this type of calf raise. To perform Kettlebell calf raises from this position is far more difficult and due to the advanced center of gravity the Kettlebells place on the Calf muscles you may find balancing a lot harder. It would be advisable to attempt the calf raises on the floor first of all if you wish to perform calf raises from the racked position. Once you can master the racked position kettlebell calf raises you will be challenging your calves with the stability of the movement and a lot of focus of the weight will be centralized towards the inner calf helping to create the diamond shape of a well developed calf muscle.

This is again just one of many ways kettlebell exercises can provide the boost required to your workouts to encourage even more muscular growth and definition.

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Spice Up Your Weight Training

Keeping your body guessing is something we all have to try and do if we want it to continue to improve whilst training. It happens all of sudden, but the Human body becomes accustomed to your training sessions and strength and muscle gains and even fat loss grind to a halt.

It is not just the Body which needs to be kept guessing while training, the mind also greatly benefits from various forms of training. After all if it is challenging your mind as the movements are new or you are trying different variations of working sets and repetitions your body will be working harder and therefore encouraging further improvement to your physique.

During my physical training career one of the simplest solutions I provide people who are stalling with their progress during weight training sessions is to simply give them a pair of Kettlebells. The kettlebell will challenge the core and forearms a lot more than either a Dumbbell or Barbell during any weight baring exercise, not only this, the Kettlebell can replace either of those pieces of equipment for any exercises.

As the Kettlebell will not allow a rest during a repetition, athletes who have not used them before will find an awful strain that they are not used to feeling during basic exercises that they perform on a regular basis. One of the best examples of this is during the Lateral Raise. The Lateral Raise is a basic isolation movement for the Deltoids that most people include in their regular workouts. The usual piece of equipment used for this movement is the Dumbbell, although you will see people using cables and even the odd lateral raise fixed machine. When you replace this with a pair of Kettlebells the strain on the Deltoids is unbelievable, as if it is a totally different movement. As the weight of the Kettlebell is always directly below the handle, when the Athlete gets into the top part of the movement with the arms out to the side and parallel with the floor, the force and pressure of the weight is pulling the weight through the grips on the hand and directly downwards to the floor. To temporarily hold this position puts intense static pressure on the Deltoids, this does not happen with the dumbbell in the slightest. The same kind of pressure happens as you start to bring the arms back down towards your sides, with a Dumbbell the Deltoids disengage and take a slight rest but with the Kettlebell the Deltoids are stretched with the force on the way down and this really encourages the Striations in the Deltoids to form creating the 'rippling muscle' effect.

This is just one Kettlebell exercise which can spice up your weight training routine, but please try and of them out. This will keep your body guessing as the muscle is strained in different ways and just as important keep your mind guessing and active while you train as the feeling will be different and you will have to focus on your form more to ensure you are hitting the muscles correctly as oppose to performing your working sets in zombie mode.

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4 Ways to Boost Your Natural Testosterone Levels

When it comes to hormones, testosterone is considered the king hormone. In males, testosterone is produced mainly in the testicles. In women, testosterone is produced in the ovaries although in much smaller amounts. Testosterone production in the body begins significantly increasing in the late teens and starts to decline after the age of 30. Testosterone is the primary sex hormone, and it has a huge effect on your muscle mass and bone density, body fat levels, mood and red blood cell production.

Low testosterone levels can cause a wide variety of symptoms including weight gain, low sex drive, low energy, depression and low self-esteem. While testosterone levels naturally decline as you age, there are multiple ways you can boost your testosterone levels to maintain optimal levels of this critical hormone.

Signs & Symptoms of Low-Testosterone:

(in Men)

  • Little interest in sex (low libido)
  • Unable to sustain or get anection
  • Unable to build muscle
  • Depression
  • Lethargy, weakness & overall low energy levels
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Low motivation
  • Unexpected weight gain
  • Hair loss
  • Decreased strength during exercise
  • Signs of gynecomastia, an abnormal increase in breast tissue size

(in Women)

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Declining muscle and bone mass
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Weight gain
  • Painful intercourse

If you're experiencing at least 3 of the above symptoms on a consistent basis, meaning they're present daily, and you've been experiencing them for more than a few weeks, go see your doctor for a testosterone level blood test, then adopt the following steps …

How to Boost Your Natural Testosterone Levels:

  • Reduce Your Stress Levels

In today's fast paced, hurried society, reducing your stress levels can be easier said than done. We worry about our jobs and children and we stress over finances and relationships. Research has shown that chronically stressed out increases your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that your body releases in small amounts during the day in response to different stimulus. However, chronically elevated cortisol levels can quickly cause your testosterone levels to plummet.

  • Get Plenty of Sunshine (Vitamin D)

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. Along with having numerous health benefits including helping with weight loss, it may also work as a natural testosterone booster according to a study done by German researchers. Ideally, you'll want to get at lest 20 minutes of sun exposure per day to optimize your body's Vitamin D levels.

If you live in the far north in a climate without much regularly direct sunshine and getting daily sun exposure is not realistic for you, I highly recommend that you supplement with a quality Vitamin D product.

  • Supplement with Fenugreek

Fenugreek is a plant that's been used in alternative and Chinese medicine to treat various health conditions. Fenugreek is a plant that grows in the forest with pods that contain small brown-golden fenugreek seeds. It's commonly used as a spice and sometimes found in personal care products such as shampoo and soap.

Fenugreek is a good source of several important nutrients, but its beneficial effects are used primarily for testosterone and libido boosting purposes. In one study, researchers provided 500 mg of fenugreek per day to 30 college-aged men. The men combined fenugreek with an 8-week weight lifting program and performed four training sessions per week, with half of them receiving the supplement.

When researchers compared the fenugreek supplement group to the non-supplement group, they noted a slight decline in testosterone in the non-supplement group and an increase in testosterone in the fenugreek group. The fenugreek supplement group also experienced a 2% reduction in body fat.

  • Do not Shy Away from Meat, Eggs and Butter

Meat, especially red meat, if it's one of the leaner varieties such as sirloin, top round or London broil, is an excellent testosterone booster. This is because red meat is rich in cholesterol, and cholesterol is a direct precursor to testosterone in your body. As with any other food, it's important to choose only the highest quality meat you can find at the grocery store, this means grass fed is a must and organic if possible.

Regular or conventional beef does not have the same health benefits as grass fed beef due to the difference in feed between feed-lot cows and pasture or grass-fed cows. Just like lean red meat, eggs are an excellent source of saturated fat and cholesterol which help boost your natural testosterone levels.

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