3 Simple Tips For A Better Workout

When you work out very often, you quickly get stuck in your habits. You have a certain routine that you perform regularly, and after a while, that routine is much less effective because your body gets used to the exercises you do. That's the reason why I'm giving you some easy tips to improve your work out and make it more effective.

1. Combine your exercises.

Combining exercises is a good way to increase the intensity of your training. Combining is possible with the same muscle groups (several back exercises one after another) or different muscle groups. An example of the last point is to do a leg exercise (leg press / squat) with a back exercise (lat pulldown / pull-ups), wherey you'll change the exercise per set without taking a rest. These kind of exercises are also known by supersets (two exercises alternately) or giant sets (three or more exercises after each other). When you choose a combination of exercises for the same muscle group, you'll have as an extra effect taking hold of a muscle group in different ways in a short time. Without rest, it's possible to deplete all muscles and fiber out of that muscle group. When you choose to do different muscle groups after each other, you'll force your heart to pump blood from one muscle group to another. Pumping harder means a strong heart, and a strong heart means a better endurance. One to two hours of intensive strength training is as equally beneficial for your lungs and heart as four hours of jogging. The combination of exercises could save you a lot of time, and it also looks interesting.

2. Drop set.

Again, you do not take any rest between your training training sets. Instead of doing this you finish a set, lower the weight by a few pounds and start with the next set. After that, do it again. With this, your muscles are continuously challenged, and you'll see results fast!

3. Circuit training

This looks like the first tip, but it's a bit different. Instead of alternating two exercises with each other, you'll now follow a circuit of all exercises to be performed. Try to take minimal rest between the exercises. When you've done all exercises, take some rest (two or three minutes) before you go on with the second round of all exercises.

Try it for yourself for a couple of days, and it will definitely improve your workouts!

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A Bodybuilding Diet: 4 Rules You Need To Know

The nutrition of a bodybuilding diet can make or break a fitness regime. All too often people exercise and think it's OK to eat junk because they are “burning it off” or they are “bulking.” People know this is wrong but the thing is, they do not know the right way to eat to build muscle. They do not know that you can gain muscle and maintain a ripped core at the same time. They do not understand how to schedule “treats” into their new bodybuilding diet. Instead a snack turns into a full blown binge! Not good!

When constructing a bodybuilding diet there are certain principles that we follow. These principals set apart the winners and the losers. You're here because you are wanting to learn about the real way to eat according to goals. The following tips are tested and tested over time. There will be new techniques that promise fast results but they are often only temporary. Enjoy the ride and make it a lifestyle. In return, you will have a great body for life!

Bodybuilding Diet Rules:

Rule # 1: One of the most common rules is to eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of 3 large ones. The original idea was that it keeps the metabolism firing. Research has found this to be inaccurate. Instead, it has been discovered that eating smaller meals throughout the day high in protein encures more fat loss through much of the energy of protein being burned off as heat.

Rule # 2: Carbohydrates should not be neglected. Although a much leaner high-protein diet is recommended, complex carbohydrates are required as well. This principle is based on the fact that carbohydrates fuel the energy demands faster than protein alone. Additionally, you should be eating complex carbohydrates not simple sugars.

This is because complex carbohydrates are take longer to digest and if consumed they can last through the day to control your blood sugar levels. Be aware that simple sugars can enter the blood stream quickly and spike up your blood sugar level through increasing insulin secretion. Complex carbohydrates curb the sudden release of insulin, which can drive sugars in the blood to other tissues such as the liver and the fat cells. This is why complex carbohydrates can also control the deposition of sugars to fat cells; thus, controlling your body fat and weight gain.

Rule # 3: When designing a bodybuilding diet you will notice that most people almost prohibit the increase in insulin. There are certain times you need to elevate the level of your blood sugar in order to use the insulin effectively. The pre-and post-workout meals should be considered because sometimes it changes from the bodybuilding nutrition we all used to know and follow.

Rule # 4: The last among these principles (though not the least) is the limited consumption of dietary fats. Take note that fats also gives us energy and what many might not know yet, fats (particularly cholesterol) are required for hormone production, which in turn is needed to boost muscle development. Fats should normally make up around 20% of your calories or roughly 1g per pound of bodyweight.

BODYBUILDING DIET TIPS:

Pre-Workout:

Make sure to consume your pre-workout meal 30 to 60 minutes before your routine. This will ensure that you are properly fueled up and you do not go hungry during your training session. It should be noted here that your pre-workout meal should not be a heavy meal; it will not do you any good. On the other hand, eating only the recommended pre-workout food will give you the necessary energy that may even last on the post-workout recovery period.

Pre-workout meals should be balanced with the precursive amounts of nutrients of protein and fast and slow digesting carbohydrates. Take note that you should consume energy from carbs that can be immediately used during an extensive routine. Examples of these include: starchy carbohydrates such as white rice, and bread. Protein should also be fast-digesting and they include: egg whites and whey protein isolate.

Post-Workout:

Catabolism is the process wherein a state of muscle-wasting occur. This is the reverse of anabolism and is usually observed after an extensive workout. Additionally, right after your routine, glycogen is depleted from the muscle cells. Glycogen is the stored form of sugar in the muscles and it fuels the muscle during contracting, such as when you are doing your exercises. This is where you need again the fast-digesting carbs to affect also your insulin levels.

In order to refill the glycogen post-workout and push the anabolic process back again, you need to affect your glycogen stores. Thus, a combination of fast-digesting carbs plus fast-digesting proteins such as whey protein isolate is required to get them immediately recruited back to the muscle cells and avoid the catabolic process.

It has also been shown that muscle-building results when you consume the fast-digesting high protein and high simple carbohydrate diet post-workout because this is the time your muscles are demanding for nutrients.

It is also advisable that liquid food such protein shake is more advantageous than whole-food meal. Whole foods take a lot of time to get digested and assimilated, unlike liquid foods.

The Supplements You Need:

Foods are the best choice for choosing your required nutritional needs. However, there are some factors to be considered such as the rate at which food can be digested and the nutrient profile of the food. For these reasons, supplements can play a part in a bodybuilding diet to encourage muscle growth a recovery.

Sugar:

This may seem strange to include in a bodybuilding diet where one is working to transform their physique but research has proven it to be incredibly useful. It ensures that your glycogen is not depleted from the muscle cells post-workout. Sugars like dextrose and maltodextrin also spike your insulin levels that aids in pushing the nutrients from other sources back to your muscle cells. Consume 30g of sugar in the form of snakes or gummie bears post workout.

Glutamine:

It reduces catabolism and boosts the release of growth hormone and muscle cell volume. Although it is found abundantly in the body, glutamine is depleted during exercise. Part of the reason that it should be supplemented is because it is the predominant amino acid in the skeletal muscle.

Whey Protein Isolate (WPI):

Whey Protein is essential to any bodybuilding diet. It can provide a steady supply of amino acids once it enters the blood stream. WPI is immediately absorbed and can enhance lean mass gains, growth hormone release and body fat reduction.

Caffeine:

It helps prevent muscle soreness post-workout and can increase muscle intensity and strength. Caffeine also helps to mobilize fat cells to the blood. It should be taken pre-workout.

Creatine:

It increases phosphocreatine used in generating the energy ATP. Studies have shown that creatine increases insulin-like growth factor. Creatine also takes water into muscle cells to enhance protein synthesis. Put simply, it increases energy in the muscle and encourages a faster recovery.

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10 Things To Consider Before You Choose A Gym

Congratulations on making the decision to transform your body! Knowing how to choose a gym is extremely important as this can increase your progress more than you realize. There are a number of things to consider before settling on a specific gym.

By choosing the right gym, your workouts will be more enjoyable and your results will be reflected by this. A gym membership is a big commitment just like your commitment to transform your body. There are some important factors to consider on your quest to choose a gym.

The Important Stuff To Choose A Gym:

1. Location. It is essential you can get to the gym easily without traveling across town. It's too easy to skip a workout if the gym is out of the way.

2. Opening Hours: Choose a gym that suits your schedule. If you work early then make sure the gym is open at 5am or a 24hr option.

3. Equipment: Is there enough dumbbells for everyone? Are the machines of good quality? It's important to choose a gym with equipment you can use.

4. Is The Gym Overcrowded ?: If you plan on going after work, you can bet many other people will too. Check it out for a few days at the time you would like to train. You may need to be flexible.

5. Do You Have Children ?: If the gym does not offer childcare but you have kids, this may be hard. You may have to invest in a babysitter.

6. Do They Offer Other Services ?: Do they have showers, food, swimming pools, sauna, or massage rooms? If these are important to you then ensure your gym has what you need.

7. Changing Rooms: Choose a gym that has clean and large changing rooms. Nothing like being shoulder to shoulder with another naked dude. Too close, new gym!

8. Do They Offer Personal Training ?: If you plan to work with someone, make sure you consider this.

9. Does The Gym Offer Group Fitness Classes ?: Group fitness can be fun and extremely rewarding.

10. Is the gym co-ed ?: Some people prefer single sex gyms while others like a more family atmosphere. Some gyms even offer ladies only sections for those who prefer to exercise apart.

The Decision:

As you choose a gym in your area, take into consideration the above points. A gym is community and you want to enjoy it and be a part of it. If the gym you choose is perfect for your needs then start training. If you are unsure, ask about a trial period. Most gyms offer a week free or at least one free session. You do not want to be locked into a contract with a gym you do not enjoy. They can be painful and costly to get out of. Good luck!

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5 Best Foods For Building Muscle

So you want to build some muscle but are not sure about nutrition? Often times you will hear that nutrition is 80% of peoples success and training is only 20%. This may be true to an extent.

Certain foods react differently in the body and cause extreme results, both negative and positive. The best foods for building muscle can vary depending on the person but there are some staples you will find in every bodybuilders kitchen.

Best Foods For Building Muscle:

  1. Fish: Why fish? Most fish is extremely lean and high in protein. Choosing white fish means you get almost no fat, no carbohydrates, and tonne of protein. Most fish is 20% protein! If you choose a fatty fish such as Salmon, consume in moderation as it contains a high amount of fat (good fat but too much can be detrimental). Most fish can be easily cooked in the microwave making it a convenient option when on the go.
  2. Chicken: Chicken is another lean option of yielding no carbohydrates or fat but plenty of protein. This is one of the best foods for building muscle since why most bodybuilders have plenty of this ready to eat whenever they need it.
  3. Eggs: Eggs contain high amounts of protein and are high in saturated fat (this is good). The saturated fat in eggs along with the amino acids from the protein are great for maintaining healthy testosterone levels. This hormone is essential for building quality lean muscle.
  4. Sweet Potato or Yam: This is one the easiest foods to cook. All you need is a paper towel and a microwave and you have yourself a lean source of carbohydrates. 100g of sweet potato has only 20g of carbohydrates. Compare that to bread that has is roughly 40% carbs, sweet potatoes are a good option for anyone looking to make lean gains. This is why it made a list for best foods for building muscle.
  5. Broccoli: Not many people get excited over broccoli but lets change that now! Broccoli is great! Per cup it yields only 4g of carbs yet a whole lot of essential nutrients that are extremely beneficial to our bodybuilding goals. Try steaming broccoli in the microwave and add some Morrocan seasoning to create a dish worth talking about. You can eat plenty of this vegetable without worrying about weight gain and the fiber will keep you full for longer.

Those are my 5 best foods for building muscle. The list could go on but the above foods are the staples in any bodybuilders diet. Play around with the flavors. Add some Cajun seasoning to the meats to make it exciting. Sugar-free BBQ sauce is great that offers little to no calories. Food does not have to bland. Mix things up, try new herbs and spices and these foods will make building muscle so much easier.

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The 5 Best Muscle Building Exercises

Everyone wants to build more muscle and look great but not everyone knows the best muscle building exercises. Sometimes it gets hard with so many people telling you about “this” great exercise or “this” way of training that you do not know where to start. Luckily there are some common exercises that every single bodybuilder on the planet uses and always will.

Before we get into the best muscle building exercises, let's discuss what creates a good exercise. Compound movements are those that include more than one joint and muscle whereasolation movements are those that focus on one target muscle and are single joined exercise. To give an example, a overhead barbell shoulder press uses two joints (elbow and shoulder) and activates more than one muscle (deltoid, tricep, and trapezius) making it a compound exercise.

A bicep curl is what's called an isolation exercise as it uses the elbow joint alone and the bicep is the muscle performing the main contraction.

Compound exercises are known to speed up the metabolism and instigate more growth compared to that of an isolation exercise. Isolation exercises do still have their place and I use them every day to target smaller muscle groups in order to fine tune parts of my body.

Compound exercises are what every beginner, intermediate, and experienced lifter use. This is why compound exercises are the best muscle building exercises and isolation are more fine tuning exercises.

The 5 Best Muscle Building Exercises:

  1. Squat: Yep, you guessed it. This is number one. Why? It involves every muscle in the legs, core, and lower back making it one of the best muscle building exercises of all time. This is great exercise for building lower body strength and mass. Do not be tempted to go 'ass to grass' on this one as many 'hardcore' lifters will tell you to. Going lower than parallel shifts the focus away from the target muscles (quadriceps and hamstrings) and places unnecessary strain on the knee joint. Constant tension on the target muscle is what we want and going too low shifts the tension to other areas. If you are not comfortable with squats, try a 90 degree leg press instead.
  2. Pull-Up: This is a hard one but if you can master this move, expect your back to grow! This move targets the core, biceps, latissimus dorsi (lats), trapezius (traps), and deltoids. This move will give you an amazing v taper and your strength will explode. Try using a pulldown machine instead to work up to doing a pull-up.
  3. Push-Up: This is often neglected by many lifts due to it being a bodyweight exercise and people prefer to push more weight. If you can not do push ups non-stop for 60 seconds then you have no business getting under a bar loaded with weights. Work your core, shoulders, legs, triceps, and chest muscles with this power move. If you can already smash out push-ups, try adding a clap to each push-up to really turn up the heat. For theses reasons, the push-up is one of the best muscle building exercises.
  4. Military Press aka Shoulder Press: This move is killer for creating boulder shoulders and a killer physique. Using almost every muscle in the upper body, the shoulder press makes the cut for one of the best muscle building exercises. Use dumbbells or a barbell to transform your shoulders and amplify your strength. If you are a new and wish to increase your confidence first, use a machine shoulder press.
  5. Clean and Press: This is one of the best muscle building exercises yet severely anyone does this exercise as it is considered more of an Olympic lift rather than a bodybuilding lift. Any bodybuilder that does clean and presses is one that is focused on results. This move uses almost every muscle in the body. Picking a heavy barbell up off the ground and launching it above your head is hard but effective. Another benefit from this move is its effect on your metabolism. Studies show when training the entire body in one workout, fat burning is dramatically dramated for the next 24 hours.

These are the foundation exercises behind any well thought out program designed to create results. You may be wondering why I did not include the deadlift. Yes, this creates amazing power and strength but it is extremely risky and many injuries come from this move. For this reason it did not appear on the list. The exercises above are what I truly believe to be the best muscle building exercises available.

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The Importance of Muscle Recovery!

The concept of recovery periods during training is something that many people in the amateur world of sports tend to overlook when training for their big events. I have seen first-hand, many cyclists, triathletes and runners who have neglected cool downs, stretches, sports massage and rest days believing that the harder they train the fitter they get. To a certain extent this is true, but one thing that must be taken into consideration is over training and the effect this can have on the muscles, and how the neglect of recovery protocols can have negative long-term implications on the health of the muscles .

When training, your muscle fitness drops below its baseline fitness where it started before the training due to fatigue as the energy levels deplete. Given the right amount of recovery time, 1-2 days rest, the baseline fitness then becomes larger than where it begon as the body reacts to the training, building stronger muscles than before to cope with the stress that it had endured at the training phase . If the recovery phase is insufficient the muscles will not have sufficient time to repair efficiently, and the fatigue will continue to reduce the muscles baseline fitness level, with risk of over training.

Significant fatigue due to over training can increase the muscles susceptibility to injury and can increase the likelihood of the onset of muscle cramps, stiffness, and reduction in muscle flexibility which in turn can lead to muscle strains and even tears during hard training sessions if not appropriately treated. Without neglecting the recovery phases during training and by regularly increasing the intensity of training and with sufficient recovery protocols, you will set the stage for your body to become the fittest it can be.

During my time in the Sport Therapy field, far too often have I witnessed amateur athletes of all sporting activities neglect the phase and protocols during training schedules and have seen the long-term effects this can have on the muscles. If you are someone who trains regularly within any sporting capacity or gym environment, these symptoms may sound familiar to you: muscles feeling tight, stiff, heavy & sensitive, the lactic threshold and fatigue setting in quickly during training sessions, some pains occur around the joints and muscles effecting training and even sometimes preventing it. These are just some of the complaints I hear almost daily within the Triathlete community and it so often coincides with a lack of recovery protocols. These symptoms are commonly a by product of the muscles not being given sufficient time to repair from the microscopic damages that occurs during hard training sessions or enough time being given to flush out the waste products of physical exercise that lay within the soft tissue after exercise.

This waste produce will build up in the muscles without sufficient cool downs and if left stagnant for too long, will cause the muscle fibers to stiffen leading onto muscle soreness. A cool down after exercise is the facilitation of the muscles being active, to a resting state which is all part of the recovery phase to facilitate the body in naturally removing those waste products via maintaining the circulation of blood. If you stop immediately after exercises and do not cool down, the blood circulation will reduce dramatically to the muscles and the body will struggle to remove the waste products efficiently because causing the issues described. To help prevent this stiffness within the muscles building up, part of the cool down phase is stretching. Without stretching and increasing the flexibility back into the muscles, over time the whole muscle can become less flexible and in turn can cause issues through the tendons and muscles, usually presented as a deep muscle ache or pain on the attachment site.

A good cool down protocol should consist of 5 minutes light movement of the muscles that have been worked hard, followed by 10 minutes of stretching those same muscles.

It is important to know what to do with your recovery time to gain the most efficient way of recovery and to hit the Super-compensation phase faster, in order to be able to get back to training as fast as possible for the most effective training program . In today's Sporting world, there are many recovery enhancing techniques that help facilitate the muscles repair and efficiency so that training can be optimized and the baseline fitness levels can increase at a faster rate. It has been proven that Sports Massage is a great enhancer of muscle recovery as it helps increase the blood circulation to the muscles being treated, which in turn helps increase the rate in which the waste products in the muscles form exercise is extracted from the muscles and increases the deposit of good nutrients to help the muscles repair faster. Massage will also help the chronic symptoms of muscles stiffness and lack of flexibility which can help with any stiffness related issues such as ITB pain, quadriceps tendon issues, and Achilles tension.

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The 10 Commandments Needed To Build Muscle

Knowledge is power and with the constantly changing discoveries on muscle gain and fat-loss we need to keep up to date on these latest interventions. A good example is when HIIT (high intensity interval training) was first discovered in the 1990's, it changed the way we add muscle.

After millions of dollars have been spent by the research companies and manufacturers on specific issues related to muscle gain it becomes freely available to the general public very quickly. With the Internet now available to nearly 80% of the world's population information is free and easy.

If your specific objective is to gain muscle then you need to learn how to converse with your body. When you train on a regular basis you learn about your limitations and your capacity to heal. It is a self-discovery that all starts with education.

Today we can get up to date information online directly from the people who did the research. Whether the information is about some new product like creatine that has just been launched or a study showing the results of training differently for a few months.

The point is that the more knowledge you can get about planning your own workouts correctly the better your results will be. Muscle gain on a permanent basis is not easy to achieve and only comes from planning. The more specific the plan is to build muscle the better the results.

The basic ten commands that are required to be included in anyone's lifestyle who wants to continue adding muscle to their frame is listed below, the reader should know that any loss of these 'ten commands' will reduce the chances of you gaining muscle on a permanent basis.

• Progressive resistance is essential for muscle growth and that means if you do not get stronger you will not increase the muscle that you currently have on your body. From decreasing rest time between sets to increasing the weight that you lift, your training has to always pushing to get stronger.

• Avoiding the dreaded training plateau where you continue to train on a regular basis but stop gaining strength. If your muscles adapt to the stress of a good workout repeated on a regular basis it will then stop growing. There are countless ways to help you break through a plateau that range from doing drop sets, forced reps, eccentrics, tempo training and many more.

• Muscle gain comes from increasing your core strength and that comes from doing compound movements on a regular basis. These movements can have many different variations on the sets and reps that are done as well as the way the rep is performed.

• Training with tempo reps every 6 to 8 weeks can ensure that you will not get stuck in a training plateau. Simple adaptation to a 4/2 / o or a 2-1-2 tempo when you train can make a big difference to the muscle growth because of TUT (time under tension) that you get from training with tempo in mind.

• Without nutrition your intestinal workouts will only result in you losing muscle as you ever over-train. If you are not supplying the required nutrients to help the muscle repair after hard training you simply get weaker and lose muscle. Knowing how to count calories and where to purchase unprocessed complex carbohydrates, efficient protein and good quality fat is a basic requirement for muscle gain.

• Complex carbohydrates is where you should get your energy and not eating simple carbs like junk foods and soft drinks. You need to know where to get brown rice, whole-grain bread and other complex carbs like Quinoa, oatmeal etc. Any well-balanced diet should have 45% – 60% of complex carbs like pastas and whole-grain bread.

• Good quality low fat protein like turkey, fish and chicken as well as high quality, easily digested protein like egg whites is a requirement for muscle gain. But more important than the quality of the protein is how this protein is prepared. A boiled egg is 70 calories and a fried egg is around 220 calories so it makes sense that the way the food is cooked is vitally important for fat-loss as well as muscle gain.

• Without any good quality fat like Olive oil and saturated fat found in butter and milk your testosterone levels will not be produced released every day as much as it could. Avoiding fat like trans-fat found in junk foods is only going to happen with awareness and education.

• Adequate rest and recuperation is vitally important in order to continue with muscle growth on a permanent basis. Any change in training should always be carefully monitored so that you know exactly how much damage your body can handle.

• The last point is form or technique on how the movement is performed. This is vitally important and is even more important when the movement is done on a regular basis to perform better in a specific sport. Common injuries like rotator cuff injuries can be avoided by simply training with correct form at all times and avoid injury.

When the fitness boom started in the 1980's the industry did not know the specifics on exercising for fat-loss which they mistakenly called weight-loss and some still do. Weight-loss and fat-loss are different and should always be considered when lifting weights on a regular basis.

It takes 50 calories a day to keep a pound of muscle on your body and it requires only 5 calories to maintain a pound of fat. This means that the more muscle you have the more calories you are going to need to maintain or increase the amount of muscle that you have.

If you know your somatotype you will be able to plan your own workouts and nutrition that you will need to gain muscle. A tall and thin Ectomorph will not respond to the same diet and exercise program that an athletic Mesomorph will respond to.

This only comes from knowledge and knowing what your predominant somatotype is the basis for getting results on a long-term basis. Any resulting muscle gain that is achieved comes from the constant changing and adaptation to the current lean body mass that you have.

There are many gym goers who follow a specific program and most of them fall into the trap of doing the same workout with the same weight every time they train. The result is obviously a training plateau when your body stops responding because you are no longer stressing yourself enough when you train.

Our bodies are built to survive and the adaptability of our bodies and minds are able to change their structure completely when training is done on a regular basis. It is the same when eating good nutrition or bad nutrition where your body goes into survival mode and deposits fats that it does not need for later use.

Our built in survival mechanism that the creator wave us can be altered with specific movements and nutrition to insure muscle growth on a permanent basis. The more we know about our bodies the more we will be able to constantly challenge this adaptability.

Fat-loss comes from eating less calories than you use every day and this can only be done by learning to count calories. Counting calories, when you know your daily calorie requirement, is the foundation of any well-balanced bodybuilding diet.

Eating healthy, well-balanced meals or snacks 5 or 6 times a day only comes from planning. If you walk out your home without thinking about what you are going to eat for the day ahead you will simply land up getting quick and easy junk food when your blood sugar drops and you get starving hungry.

The result is fat gain that hides any and all muscle that you might be holding. But nutrition has come a long way and we now know that preparing negative calorie foods can speed up fat loss without ever needing to go hungry. Starving and not eating at all only slows metabolism and makes you fatter when you start eating again.

When we stop eating and going on a grape diet or some fancy fruit diet our metabolism adapts as it is built to survive. It slows down the breakdown of any food / fruit that you eat so that the energy needed to keep your body going is always maintained and that collapsing is avoided.

The contradiction is also true as the more often we eat the faster our metabolism goes. The reason why the metabolism rises up is because it is never short of calories to feed your system. Whether it needs the energy to get you through your intestinal workout or keep your basal metabolic rate, the energy will always be there.

The result is that your metabolism speeds up as it does not need to process any excess calories towards fat as there is always just enough energy available to meet its needs. Muscle gain is a holistic process and does not happen by accident, it comes from planning and regular training.

Diabetes is now the fastest growing disease in the world and the only reason that is happening is because of a lack of education. Lifestyle with a combination of genetic inheritance are the identified reasons for this radical increase in this potentially lethal disease.

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Functional Body Movement, The Secret To Fast Effective Gains

The world of fitness and weight loss is a complicated, and convoluted mess of lies, hype and heart break. When I research any type of fitness topic I am bombarded with so much false information and half truths that it makes the journey to an ideal weight far more stressful than it needs to be! I was reading a book recently that I found a phrase and three words in that changed my life!

The phrase, Functional Body Movement blew my mind, but I realized that this is the very essence of the greatest exercise trend to date, Cross Fit. Cross fit takes the idea of ​​body movement and makes it practical. I know when you see people doing handstand push-ups, or pull-ups, it does not look functional, but when you take a step back and look at it deeper you see what is happening. Many years ago before the advent of machines and air conditioning people had to do much of the work physically themselves. They would push, pull, and lift things where they needed to be. These are the three words that are going to change the way you exercise forever!

If you take the time to center your workouts around these three words, and the word lift interchanges with squats, but we will get to that in a moment, you will have incredible gains, quickly! Let's focus on each word specifically and explain how they work.

Pushing : When you look at functional body movement this is the first and most basic of that idea. When your buddy gets stuck in the mud, or the snow, how do you get him out? You all pile in behind his vehicle, someone drives and you use your whole body to push the vehicle out. This engages almost every muscle group simultanously, and provides a lot more bang for your buck. So instead of doing just a bench press, you do push-ups, which engages more muscle groups at once, or hand stand push-ups, or as you see on cross fit rolling a huge sized tire down an alley, or hell even pushing an old junk car down a road !!

Pulling: Let's look at pulling, same idea as pushing, only the opposite. (That was an incredibly obvious statement … moving on ..) Same scenario, vehicle is stuck, but this time it's in water .. So you and your friends, get in front of the vehicle with a rope, and engage your entire body pulling the vehicle out of the water! Again, this explodes your muscles into action, and your gains are higher. This means you engage in exercises like pull-ups, or standing rows, or again, pulling that same old heap back up the road! Using your whole body instead of one isolated muscle group!

Lifting or Squatting: I imagine this one is pretty obvious but let me elaborate. Your putting all your decorations away from a holiday, the boxes are heavy and they have to be put up on a shelf. So using proper lifting techniques you make it happen. This converts into functional body movement as dead lifts, squats, lunges. Anything that engages the upper body and the legs together!

These three simple words, incorporated into EVERY workout will change your life! If you do sets of pulling exercises, then pushing, and then squatting exercises. You will find you can accomplish a full body work out every workout! These three words are how our ancient people stayed as strong as they did, and you can use them to build your overall strength and physique! Be sure to share my thoughts with your friends, and please sign up for updates at my blog!

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Master the Movement – The Key to Strength

For many people, strength training is a numbers game – it's all about the weight on the bar. While this is absolutely one of the main indicators of progress in strength training, it should not be the only one. Instead, the focus should be on moving correctly, with the loading on the bar reflecting increasing capacity. Sacrificing the correct movement pattern in the quest for larger numbers can lead to a range of problems, all of which reduce the effectiveness of your training.

Before we talk about movement patterns, we need to think about how the body works. In the simplest of terms, the body and the brain work to get things done. This happens by nerve impulses traveling between the brain and the rest of the body. When it comes to performing movement-based tasks, the brain “requests” the muscles of the body to do the job, and the muscles complly. This underpins all movements, and defines the importance of getting them right.

If we focus on the correct movement pattern, we especially program our brains and our muscles to work in a specific order. In the context of strength training, this is critical, as we to move with the objective of engaging the “right” muscles. The “right” muscles are those best placed to maximize joint-muscle leverage at different bands of a movement. Each repetition reinforces the pattern, effectively “hardwiring” the brain-body network for that task. Once in place, it's hard to change.

If we do not focus on the correct movement patterns, the brain and the body move into “get the job done” mode – the brain tells the body to complete the movement, and muscles fire off to get it done. In this instance, the muscles working may not be those that should work; instead, they are likely to be the ones that can do the job (the hip flexors and glutes are a great example). Incorrect movement feeds back on itself and can result in poor movement under load, reduced maximum capacity and, in the worst scenario, injury. At the minimum, correcting poor movement patterns takes a long time, and may not be 100% effective (in other words – as the system reaches its capacity, it reverts to the incorrect pattern).

So, how do ensure that we learn the correct way? Follow these steps, and you'll be on the right track:

1. Get a good coach, one who demonstrates to you that they know what the correct technique looks like, how to fix it and what you should be feeling.

2. Progress slowly, and only when it is clear that the movement pattern both looks correct and engages the desired muscles. Post-exercise soreness is a good indicator of the latter.

3. As your strength increases, use warm-up sets to ensure that the correct movement is being employed.

4. Avoid performing reps once form degrades – all you are doing is reinforcing the wrong patterns.

5. Be patient – strength training is a long-term project, and there is nothing to be gain from rushing it.

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Time Under Tension (TUT)

All bodybuilders know very well that the only reason any hypertrophy is achieved with progressive resistance is because of the time under tension (TUT). Sports science has now conclusively proved that the only reason a muscle is able to grow in size is because of the time spent under tension.

Unfortunately many people who start going to gym to gain muscle land up doing 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps without considering the actual time spent under tension. The average time it takes to do 10 reps on any movement is between 15 to 25 seconds.

When TUT can be increased the resulting growth in muscle can be seen, which has now been seen in many clinical studies. If you are simply able to increase the time it takes to perform a set of ten repetitions then you will increase the results that you get from your training.

In order to increase the time under tension that you put your muscles through when you are training there are a few fundamental requirements that should be taken seriously if you want to get the benefits of TUT.

The six points are listed below.

• The first is to always be aware of the reason why you are training a little bit slower than normal and that means making sure that you do not lock out. Whether you are doing bench-press or squats you need to make sure that the tension is always maintained and that you never relax by locking out your knees or your elbows which reduces the tension. You need to spend more time in the difficult portion of the lift and not the easy part of the lift.

• Tempo is important and you should stick to a 2/4/0 tempo which means that 2 seconds for the lifting (concentric), 4 seconds for the lowering (eccentric) and 0 seconds on the pause which means no rest or stop is done when training with TUT.

• Sports science tells us that we are 60% stronger on the eccentric (lowering) part of a lift and this is why the tempo puts more time on the eccentric part of the movement. Any eccentric lift will cause more muscle damage on any isolated muscle group which results is faster muscle building for size when the correct rest and nutrition are combined.

• When training with TUT you will reach a point of fatigue a lot quicker so you need to always concentrate on form / technique to always make sure that your form remains perfectly intact at all times. Cheating while doing TUT is counter productive and doing partial reps when trying to increase TUT is not going to improve results.

• When training with TUT and you have selected a weight that you can not finish off the last few reps on a set you should do drop sets. This simply means that when you reach the point of failure in the middle of the set you can reduce the weight and continue. Whether this is done by selecting a lighter set of dumbbells or simple reducing the weight on a machine press or bench-press it will avoid you needing to start cheating your form.

• Sports science has proven to us that intensity is everything when it comes to getting results in muscle growth. If you simply lift the weight or do the movement until the buzzer goes it does not guarantee that you will get stronger. Making sure that you are always going to get the maximum results in muscle gain when training with time under tension means that you should always strive to increase intensity. This means a minimum requirement of 60% of 1RM when you are training like this. If you are training with time under tension (TUT) you should use no less than 60% of the maximum amount that you can lift for one repetition of that movement, then increased muscle gain is guaranteed.

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Bodybuilding Blast For The Holiday Season

Bodybuilders and weightlifters know it can be hard to stick to their weightlifting and nutrition routines over the holidays – especially the time from Christmas to New Year's. But there is a solution that not only keeps bodybuilders on track, but can actually build more muscle while freeing up more time over the holidays!

The idea here is to time a short period of over-reaching and it's corresponding super-compensation week to align with the holidays. If you're not familiar with over-reaching and super-compensation, the former is a short period of greatly increased training volume – increased to the point that it would lead to overtraining in short order. But instead of falling into the overtraining trap, after a few weeks of over-reaching workouts you take a week off to let your body heal fully, and GROW! That week off is your super-compensation, so named because you can experience more growth during that week as your body grows than you might otherwise see.

You do not need to increase the weights you're lifting during your workouts – in fact that could push it too far. Instead, add more reps to each set using your usual weight, add more sets to each exercise or add in a few more exercises per bodypart. If you do not have the stamina for the longer workouts, increase your training frequency instead. For example, you could train legs, chest and triceps on Monday, Wednesday & Friday, then train back, shoulders, biceps & abs on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday. That way you can do one or two compound exercises and two or three isolation exercises for each bodypart and still be out of the gym in 60 – 90 minutes every day. On that schedule every bodypart gets trained 3 times per week with twice the volume you'd do on a full-body workout, and you only have one day (Sunday) off each week.

It's easy to see how doubling your volume could quickly lead to overtraining, but you're going to keep it in the over-reaching stage by only doing it for a short time. Intermediate and advanced bodybuilders could do it for 3 weeks or so starting December 1st or 2nd, while novices should limit it to two weeks and can wait til the 8th or 9th to start. Either way, by the 23rd or 24th you're finished and move into the super-compensation week. For the next week to ten days you stop lifting and take in more clean calories than you're used to so that your body can compensate and heal from all you've put it through.

Now suddenly you have no gym time required from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day, freeing your time up for family, friends and holiday fun, taking away the frustration of trying to train if you're away for the holidays, and makes use of the extra carbs, protein and fats you'll be consuming during that time. And after a week to ten days off you'll be chomping at the bit to get back in the gym for your next session, just in time for January's cycle.

When you go back to the gym after your week off, return to your previous workout routine or have your trainer create a new one for you. DO NOT go straight into another over-reaching / super-compensation cycle, as it's too hard on your central nervous system – never do one of these cycles more often than once every 3-4 months.

So go ahead, set your schedule to do your workouts this way once December rolls around again, and be ready for a better, less rushed and lower-guilty holiday season where you actually build more quality muscle and endurance than any December before, and set yourself up for a great following year!

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Exercise and Adaptability

Since the start of the popularity of personal trainers in the 1980's sports scientists have seen the value of creating and changing a personal workout program. Clinical studies have proven that adaptability when designing a specific program for a specific objective is the best alternative.

Personal trainers all over the world know that when they design a program for a client they need to be able to adapt it to suit the response that they get. It is this adaptability which has not been fully understood by the weight-loss and muscle gain industry.

If a personal trainer is designing a program to get their client to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, the results that the trainer gets will be directly proportional to how strictly the client adhered to the program. But this problem is excluded by personal trainers who know how to design a program that includes the specific somatotype of the client.

Nobody is a pure 100% Mesomorph, Ectomorph or Endomorph but rather a mix of sometimes all three types. However a good program will include the specific adjustments that are needed when an ectomorph is exercising to when a mesomorph is doing the same exercise.

Gaining muscle is all about gaining strength and the stronger a muscle is the bigger it is however the way that this size is achieved will be different depending on the somatotype. For example any tall thin ectomorph will not respond to the same sets and reps of a given exercise as a mesomorph who puts on muscle very easily will.

This means that the program should be designed and adapted accordingly. Even if you are training by yourself and following a specific program you need to make sure that you are changing it at least every 6 weeks. If you do not do that you will fall into the dreaded training plateau where you stop improving no matter how hard you train.

The only way to break through any training plateau that all bodybuilders reach at some time or another is to change the way you are training. The body is built to survive and survival is about adaptability. As soon as your body is able to adapt to a certain way of training it stops adapting.

If we are training to reach any specific objective we should use everything at our disposal and using somatotype to design a specific workout and nutrition program makes perfect sense. Over the years it has become a prerequisite for creating a good workout program because we know that it works.

It is usually the predominately endomorphic people who live with a higher body-fat but that can easily be changed with correct nutrition. Any workout program deals on the nutrition that is given to aid the process. Changing the lifestyle in order to achieve this new way of eating is more important than just sticking to a diet.

Any adaptation that the body is able to achieve from doing regular exercise is only achieved with nutrition. The food we eat is what enables our body adapt, whether it be to stress of the mind or the body. The truth is that we are what we eat and we always have been.

The increase in cancer over the last 100 years and diabetes now the fastest growing disease on the planet, are all because of the diet that we eat which has changed from organic to highly processed and that has reduced our immunity. If we train on a regular basis and eat correctly we will be giving ourselves the best chance to adapt to the unknown future.

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How to Get Bigger Arms In Less Time

First and foremost arms have to have their very own day in your training split. They are worked as an accessory muscle on chest, shoulder and back day although being worked as an accessory does not even come close to attaining full muscular contracting and therefore does not optimally engage the biceps, triceps or forearms for full growth potential.

I will note however that they are still worked as accessory muscles on your chest, shoulder and back day, so my professional recommendation is to have your arm day on the day after legs or a rest day in order to give them adequate recovery time. (About 48 hours is more than enough time for a recovery period)

An essential part of arm training that is often neglected or overlooked is training the forearms. Two muscles that are a huge part of building aesthetically pleasing arms are the brachialis and brachiorialisis, both of which are forearm muscles.

One of the simplest ways to activate the forearms through a bicep or tricep movement is to utilize fat grips either through portable clip on grips, or an Olympic fat bar (If neither of these options are available at your gym, then there are a variety of affordable options online). As well as training the forearms, it is also important to hit the triceps and biceps from a variety of different angles in order to fully contract each muscle head and attain maximum hypertrophy effect.

An example of this is performing a supernatural when curling a dumbbell to work your biceps or performing a pronation when extending the dumbbell behind you on a kickback to work your triceps. (Have your arms down by your side; palms facing in towards your thigh is neutral, rotate out so your palm is facing forward is supernation and rotate the other way so that your palm is facing behind you is pronation) Performing a variety of sets with neutral, pronounced and supernounced movements are essential in building larger, stronger, aesthetically pleasing arms.

Probably the most important factor in building larger arms is going through a FULL range of movement. The reason I say this is important is because I see people every day in the gym performing arms exercises with only a partial range of movement and therefore not attaining optimal results.

You can load a barbell up with as much weight as you want and do a set of curls with 40% range of movement and a back arch that mimics a rainbow but trust me when I say the only thing growing is your ego!

An example of a FULL range of movement for a preacher curl would be: for the start of the move, have your arm completely straight with the elbow almost feeling like its hyper extended and the back of your arm lying flush down the pad (ensure your elbow is not past the bottom end of the pad).

Bring the bar or dumbbell up towards your face while keeping the back of your arm against the pad. Keeping that arm against the pad, try and create the smallest angle possible with the inside of your elbow joint and at the very top of the move pause for a second and squeeze to exaggerate the contraction, then slowly release away from you and concentrate on a slow and controlled eccentric (negative) movement back to the starting position.

Now when it comes to repetitions we are aiming for optimal hypertrophy effect so 12-15 is the goal in order to attain that. That being said in order to get bigger arms, it's all about volume and not so much intensity so train for the pump! Another way we can do this is to extend a set by performing supersets where you will perform two separate exercises back to back like a tricep extension and a tricep dip.

Performing these supersets and training at a high volume will rush blood into the muscle giving it a larger pump, fatiguing the muscle and effectively overloading the neurological system so releasing growth hormone factor, resulting in larger arms.

EXAMPLE WORKOUT

TRICEPS

1. Barbell skull crushers 3×12-15 superset with close barbell bench press 3×12-15

2. Cable rope triceps extensions tri-set 3×12-15 each way (The 3 ways you perform this – 1: straight down with rope spread outwards at bottom 2: straight down with routes remaining together 3: turn around and extend routes overhead)

3. Cable triceps pushdowns 3×12-15 superset with dumbbell kickbacks 3×12-15 (go through neutral, supernated and pronated contracts on the dumbbell kickbacks)

BICEPS

1. Preacher curls 4×20,15,12,10

2. Dumbbell supernatural curls 3×12-15 each side

3. Dumbbell neutral curls 3×12-15 each side

4. Barbell 21's 3×21 superset with bench dips 3×30

FOREARMS

1. barbell wrist curls 3×15 superset with barbell reverse wrist curls 3×15

So there's your blueprint on how to get bigger arms. Along with all of the advice I have presented in this article, it is absolutely essential that in order to attain maximum results in your journey to building larger arms, you consume a healthy balanced diet rich in vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats.

It is important to drink adequate water and rest throughout the week in order for your body to function and recover optimally.

Finally be sure to take a protein shake immediately after your workout in order to achieve optimal muscle synthesis. Follow these guidelines for at least 3-4weeks and I promise you will see gains. Enjoy growing some monster arms!

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Bodybuilding Exercises For The Legs

Do you have a plan to gain more muscle mass? Your legs are one of the most important muscle groups to train. Bodybuilding exercises for the legs are important for several reasons. Muscular legs look good, that's for sure, but it also keeps your body in balance when you regularly train your legs.

If you train your upper body to the max and you skip to train your legs, your body is not in balance and it will be bad for your health. The danger is that your legs need to carry the increased weight of your upper body. Your legs should be conditioned to handle that.

CREATE MUSCLE MASS IN YOUR LEGS

The intent of bodybuilding is to gain muscle mass. With some sports like running or cycling you will not gain muscle mass. These sports are good for endurance. You need to keep your focus on exercises that will train your muscles.

To create muscle mass it is very important that you train the legs regularly. It is wise to train the legs at least two times a week. After you trained your legs, it is better to do no other exercises. Training of the legs is very demanding. If you train your legs the right way, you should not have any more energy to perform other exercises.

EXERCISES FOR THE LEGS

Which exercises are most suitable for gaining muscle in the legs? Well, it depends on several factors. Aptitude is very important as that is a factor you can not influence. Some people have more aptitude than others to gain muscles faster.

If you have less aptitude to create more muscle mass, you can still focus on other factors that you can influence, like training, rest and nutrition of interest. To train your legs full force, it is important to perform big and heavy exercises such as the stiff legged deadlift, leg extension, deadlift, squat, lunge and dumbbell squat.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTHY NUTRITION

Besides heavy and regular training, nutrition is also very important. In case you do not train very heavy, most times it is sufficient to eat healthy. In case you go for a more severe training plan, then it is important to pay special attention to your nutrition. With bodybuilding it is important to eat a diet that will break down fat and increase muscle mass. In addition there are also proteins that you need to help your muscles recover after heavy exercises.

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Why Do You Go To The Gym?

“Why do I do it?” is a great question to ask yourself. I believe that if you have a good reason to do something that you want to do you will of course do it, no matter the odds. You will fight day and night just to do that thing you desire to do. Desire is a strong emotion. However, some people have no real reason on why they are going to the gym and so on. Perhaps it is because they saw their friends do or it could be for a variety of reason, the list could be endless.

It's very interesting to see people's responses on why they are doing something. I noticed that the people who had no real desire or reason to do what they want to do, usually drop out and do not achieve anything. Of course there are the few lucky ones that succeeded but really had no burning desire or reason to do it in the first place. The people who had a real reason behind to do what they where doing in the first place on the other hand almost always succeeded.

So, with that being said let me ask you, why do you go to the gym ?. How has the gym benefited you?

Most of the people around my age (sixteen to nineteen) usually go to the gym to impress the girls or the opposite sex and that is their sole reason behind going to the gym. I have noticed that almost most of them think that having a big muscular body will make the opposite sex bend over for them, which is simply not true. Yes, I can not lie, by going to the gym and trying to build a huge muscular body the gym will help you a bit with the opposite sex, but not as much as people think it would.

The end result of these kinds of people is pretty bad. Most people stop hitting the weights after seeing no improvements on their body and with the opposite sex. However, like I said in the above paragraph some people will catch the gym bug. Just like how I did back in the day. The gym bug is a very contagious one almost everyone that catches it stays in the gym and lifts weights for their whole entire lifetime.

Therefore, everything depends on your reasoning and desire behind going to the gym or with other things in your life.

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