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Recent Bodybuilding Articles

Compound Exercises For Mass

compound exercises

It makes sense to get the most out of your time. Gaining muscle mass is hard work and it can be time consuming if you are looking for serious results. It makes sense that if we can get a lot more muscle building out of one exercise than another, we can get better results faster. What are these key exercises that will make the difference in your muscle mass gains: Compound exercises. Like anything else, compound exercises aren't a cure-all. They are part of a superior muscle mass building work out program.

Compound exercises are ones that involve multi-joint movement. Obviously if you are moving more joints, you are moving more muscles. The alternative is known as isolation exercises. These focus on a single joint's movement and concentrate on developing one muscle. With a compound exercise you could be targeting two, three, and sometimes many more muscle groups. The prime example is the squat. You bend your ankles, knees, and hips. All of the muscles throughout your body see some impact. If you are using a barbell your arms and shoulders will see some work as well, just maintaining the bar.

A lot of our muscle mass gains are in the interest of looks. We want the kind of muscle mass that we have sculpted and worked into an impressive physique. But most of us want to know that that muscle mass provides some real strength too. Compound exercises are great for developing real world strength. When you have to lift a couch—or as your mass gains increase, a car—you wouldn't be using just one muscle. Most of life's situations that require actual strength involve movements that are multi-joint, compound movements.

Compound exercises provide the most bang for your buck. In the time that you can be doing an isolation exercise that benefits only one major muscle group, you could also have chosen a compound exercise. It is pretty simple to see that if you only have an hour to work out, all the time that hits more than one muscle group is more effective than the time spent on isolation exercises.

Like we mentioned compound exercises are not cure-alls. Like any good muscle mass gaining program everything needs to be in proper balance. The majority of your workout should be devoted to compound exercises. A small portion of time will go to isolation exercises naturally. Some exercises, like curls are isolation exercises just by nature of how they are performed. Just because they are not benefiting multiple muscle groups, you certainly wouldn't take them out of your routine. Another reason you might turn to isolation exercises is to focus on a particular muscle. If you find that you are lacking development in a particular muscle, you can always choose an isolation exercise that concentrates on it specifically. This way you can build your muscle mass in an area that has been lacking. Once you have everything back in balance you will be able to lift more, and therefore get more muscle mass gains, during your compound exercises.

While isolation clearly has its place, if you want serious muscle mass gains take a look at your work out routine. Are there a majority of compound exercises? If you think you should add some more check out the list below of compound exercises.

These three are the big hitters you will find them in the routines of anyone with serious muscle mass:
  • Squat 
  • Deadlift 
  • Bench Press
Here are some more compound exercises:
  • Shoulder Press 
  • Barbell Rows 
  • Pull Ups
  • Lunges 
  • Dips

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Create A Plan For Muscle Gain

plan for muscle gain

Beginning a bodybuilding career is a step toward a disciplined, structured and ultimately healthier lifestyle. There’s a lot to consider when embarking on this kind of journey, and make no mistake, a bodybuilding career is a journey. Most people start out joining a fitness club or gym randomly; maybe they’re looking to shed a few pounds or possibly they just want to get healthier, but during that process something happens, something clicks for them and they catch the bodybuilding bug.

They begin to notice changes in their physique, they’re becoming stronger, tighter, and they notice lean, sinewy muscle starting to develop in their legs, their arms and their chest. They’ve learned a few basic exercised and some simple understanding of the processes of the body, the processes that help them build muscle. It’s likely that they have little knowledge of proper nutrition and even less knowledge of supplementation; but the bug has caught them none-the-less.

Many people who catch that bug move on to longer, more intense workouts, they copy some of the movements they see in magazines and generally fumble their way through, until time and experience either teach them the right way (sort of) or chase them screaming from the gym. Well here’s a way to make the transition from casual fitness club patron to beginner (and eventually intermediate) bodybuilder a little easier and more effective…create a training plan.

Creating a training plan will help even the most knowledgeable bodybuilder focus their training according the goals they set out for themselves, whether short or long term. It will help to track progress, refine techniques, and identify problems; like the diet plan, the training plan is integral to the success of any bodybuilding career.

gym
When creating a training plan it is important to consider a few issues, not the least of which is setting realistic goals for your development; it’s important to consider your lifestyle, the type or size of gym you will have available (home gym or fitness club), your schedule (work or otherwise), and of course, where exactly you want this endeavor to lead you.

When setting your goals, it’s easy to day dream about the physique of your favorite professional bodybuilder, imagining that your biceps and quads will be just as massive and defined as theirs in as little as a few months (because of course, your imagination can make anything happen). Though when you think in more realistic terms, you need to get a sense of not only where you want to be, but where you can be. As a general rule it is possible and not particularly difficult for the average person to achieve a gain of 20lbs of lean muscle mass within six months of intelligent and rigorous training. This number would vary greatly depending on several factors such as diet, the degree of dedication and energy put into each movement, and whether or not the individual is participating in regular cardiovascular exercise and/or trying to lose body fat at the same time. Many people will state that it is not possible to trim body fat and gain muscle at the same time, and generally this is true, though it may simply be that muscle mass gains will be reduced (greatly) in that case.

When setting goals for your training, it is good to understand that maintaining a higher body fat index during a bulking phase (as compared to a cutting or fat burning phase) will aid in preventing injuries, and assist in the metabolism of protein or amino acids in the development of muscle. It’s also a good idea to not set your goals too high, while it might be possible to gain more than 30lbs of muscle mass in a relatively short period of time, it might be a wiser proposition to identify a target of 15-20lbs in the same period of time, to account for interruptions, diet conflicts and changing work schedules…setting your goal too high can set you up to fail before you start. For the beginning bodybuilder, set your weight gain goal between 10-15lbs in eight months, to allow for a period of adjustment and to ensure that you are correctly learning each movement without strain and the possibility of serious injury. The intermediate bodybuilder would do well to push their personal envelope (depending on their individual results and level of knowledge), to be gaining close to or more than 20-25lbs of lean muscle mass in approximately six months.

Now that you know, in specific terms, what you hope to gain from your bodybuilding experience, it’s time to consider the logistics of your training. Firstly, where will you workout? Have you set up a modest home gym in your basement or spare bedroom, or will you be attending a local fitness club or gym on a monthly membership?

While there may be a certain amount of convenience involved in training in the comfort of your own home, that situation can be and often is less than conducive to the goals you just set out. Laziness, distraction and a lack of assistance are some of the pit falls of training in a home gym. When you workout at home you will be more prone to allow distractions to enter your training time, kids, chores, TV, work and an entire gamut of things that should be left at the door; not to mention the likelihood that you will not have competent and knowledgeable spotters and guidance at home. The alternative would be paying for a monthly membership at a local gym or community fitness center (stay tuned for articles on selecting a good gym). The benefits of this might not be obvious at first; aside from providing trained staff to assist with spotting, advice on various movements and exercises and even nutritional advice; most gyms offer towel services, have a large array of equipment (which you would likely not have access to at home) and personal assessment services. If you are serious about your bodybuilding career, you will likely gravitate toward the social environment of a public gym rather than the secluded privacy of your basement anyway.

Next you should be indentifying when you will work out; there are several schools of thought concerning the best time of day for cardiovascular exercise and resistance training, though likely your work schedule will dictate and restrict your options in this regard, at least at first. Generally it is best to perform any cardio exercises first thing in the morning, either before your first meal or shortly after, restricting yourself to a maximum of 40 minutes, but no less than 20. Many bodybuilders will tell you that, unless you are trying to cut your physique for a show or event (trim body fat) you can eliminate deliberate cardiovascular exercise from your training plan, as it tends to waste precious energy and even protein from your system, while rigorous resistance training can provide ample cardio stimulation, incidentally, through your regular workouts. Transversely, it is generally thought to be best to schedule your resistance training for mid to late afternoon (or early evening if your work schedule won’t accommodate afternoon); this is so that your diet can adequately provide enough energy and protein throughout the day to accommodate a strenuous workout later.

Equally as important as determining what time you will workout each day, is knowing which days to workout on and which days to rest. A typical training plan will outline a four on, one off schedule, with the intention to target one major muscle group each day. There are many variations of training schedules; from three on, two off, to five on, one off. Mainly these variations are the result of personal preference, but there is some credence to each one. Some beginners may not recognize the importance of rest in their training program, opting to workout every day without a day off, eventually burning themselves out. At the very least every training plan should allow for one day of rest in five days of training, though some would say it is more advantageous to incorporate two days off in five. Rest could possibly be the single most important element of any bodybuilding plan, more so even than protein intake…as Arnold Schwarzenegger was once quoted; “if you don’t have to stand, sit; if you don’t have to sit, lie; if you don’t have to be awake, sleep”. Bodybuilders today would do well to adapt that thinking to their training plan and allow for adequate resting time, both between workouts, throughout their weekly schedule and in their daily routine.

As a part of your training plan, it’s a good idea to create a log book; in this log you should be recording your meals, both planned and unplanned and your workouts. Take your log book into the gym with you and record the number of sets and reps (repetitions) for each exercise as well as the weight you lifted for each set. Over time this will become an invaluable tool for tracking your progress and identifying areas where your development isn’t progressing the way you want.

Compile a list in your log book, of various movements and exercises that you want to use in your training. Consult your local library, book store or news stand for books and magazines that list and provide illustrations of the many hundreds of various movements that can be utilized. When selecting exercises, be sure to stick with core movements, i.e. exercises that involve one of the four major muscle groups of the body. Those groups should be as follows: arms, legs, chest/shoulders and back; within these four groups are sub groups, i.e. biceps and triceps, pectorals and deltoids, quads, hamstrings and calves, and latissimus major, minor and erectors. Also within these groups are further separations and smaller groups of muscles. Many bodybuilders treat pectorals and deltoids as separate major muscle groups and for the intermediate bodybuilder this might be a more effective approach, though for the beginner it is fine to think of them as the same group.

Be sure to select at least three exercises per muscle group, making sure they are basic and simple movements, i.e. flat bench press for chest, bicep curls and pushdowns for arms, and leg press or squats for quads. Once you become more familiar with the basic movements you can add in more elaborate or isometric exercises to target muscle groups in different ways.

training plan
Once you have determined the extent of you training plan, consult your diet plan to make certain you have accounted for the correct caloric intake and have allowed for enough protein to meet your goals. Be sure you’ve allowed for your meals to be timed according to your training schedule, leaving at least 30 minutes between your pre-workout meal and the beginning of your daily workout.

Finally, now that you’ve written out your goals, determined the exercises you want to use and matched your training plan to your diet, review your plan to be sure it isn’t too inflexible. As with your diet plan, being too strict with your training regime and failing to allow for life’s little inconveniences and surprises, will set you up to struggle and in the end walk away having done nothing but frustrate yourself and gain only a distaste for exercise. Always try to recognize your will power weaknesses and accommodate them in your plan, and whenever possible, incorporate as much fun as possible; making it fun will make you want to participate more and ultimately increase your potential to gain muscle.

Have fun, stay safe and lift heavy…happy training!

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Differences Between a Powerlifter and Bodybuilder

powerlifter and bodybuilder

Powerlifting and bodybuilding are two different sides of the same coin. They both require a dedication to intense workouts. Both sports require competitors to get on a stage and show the effects of their hard work. There are also many differences between the two sports.

Powerlifting is a sport that involves lifting the most amount of weight you can for one repetition. The lifts contested are the squat, bench press, and the deadlift. Some competitions involve only one lift (traditionally the bench press.) Lifters are given three attempts at each lift to lift the heaviest weight possible. Then the weights in each lift are added together to get a total amount. Powerlifters compete in various weight classes and age groupings. Strongman (or woman) competitions and Olympic weightlifting are similar to powerlifting but have different lifts.

Powerlifters train using heavy weights and low repetitions. They often focus on the core lifts and do not spend a lot of time doing cardiovascular training. Their diet is not as strict as that of a bodybuilder. They still require lots of protein to feed the muscles and complex carbohydrates for glycogen . They generally do not have to watch the calories as closely, unless dropping weight to make a weight class.

Powerlifters usually have large, powerful shoulders, chest, back, arm, and thigh muscles. Powerlifters do not usually focus on definition. Some may have a natural degree of definition but most are generally thick and powerful in appearance. They often look like bodybuilders during their bulking cycle.

Bodybuilders don’t have to demonstrate their strength on stage, instead they show the results of lifting all those heavy weights; the muscular development. They must flex and pose to show off the muscles that were developed through training. They are judged on the size, shape, and definition of the muscles. It includes a series of predetermined poses and an individual free routine.

Bodybuilders also train with heavy weights to gain size and strength, but they also spend a fair amount of time lifting lighter weights for higher repetitions. They spend time doing cardiovascular work to reduce body fat levels. Diet is a main focus for bodybuilders, whether trying to add mass or cut body fat. They spend a lot of time manipulating nutrients and calories to achieve a goal.

Bodybuilders have large muscles, but their focus is on developing symmetry and balance with all of the muscles of the body. Definitions is a large piece of the puzzle, as well. For true bodybuilding success large, full, well-defined muscles are the goal. During the off-season, between competitions, bodybuilders may look like power lifters, but in competition shape they usually appear very vascular and have low body fat percentages.

Bodybuilders and powerlifters train side by side in gyms and to an observer it would be hard to differentiate between the two. The goals of each are slightly different. The power lifter wanting to gain as much strength as possible, while the bodybuilder wants to create the largest, most balanced muscles possible. Diet is another area where the two sports diverge. Bodybuilders have to spend a lot of time focusing on their diet, while powerlifters do not need to watch it as closely. Even with the differences, the two sports are still very similar, and many lifters crossover and compete in both sports. Whether a powerlifter or bodybuilder, the name of the game is intensity.

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Dumbbell Versus Barbell Exercises

dumbbell versus barbell exercises

Dumbbells versus barbells. This is a battle with a clear line drawn in the sand. Proponents on each side have strong beliefs about why their weapon of choice is the best. If you listen to one side long enough they might just convince you that they are right, until you hear the arguments from the other side. When it really comes down to it, the truth of the matter is that both sides are right. A balanced bodybuilding program should incorporate both barbells and dumbbells, because each have their benefits, and their flaws.

Dumbbells may be descendents of the ancient training tool, the Indian club. The barbell is a more recent development, although the use of a bar to carry objects suspended from both ends has been cited in ancient literature. So, the actual origin of each is blurred slightly by the acceptance of various predecessors. Regardless of when each type of training tool began, they both have enjoyed success in spurts. At first they were the only options for weight trainers, then machines, bands, balls, and other equipment came in to replace them, however, they have both enjoyed a come back in recent years.

Barbells require two hands and a balanced grip. Barbell exercises can utilize more weight due to the two handed grip and leverage advantage of pulling the strong side in to help the weak side. More weight means more strength and size gains. It is also argued that a person can handle more with a barbell than they could combined between two dumbbells. This is because the bar acts as a lever between the two sides and the strong side can “pull” the weak side along. For this same fact, however, some exercises work to make the strong side stronger and the weak side never closes the gap.

Dumbbells are used by one hand and require the use of the supporting muscles to stabilize the weight. The fact that the weights are held separately requires each side to work equally. Dumbbells work great for equalizing strength on both sides. Exercises that can be done with barbells can also be done with dumbbells, with the added benefit of pulling in the assistance muscles. The balance and stabilization required when doing dumbbell exercises cause twice as many muscles to be called into play when performing the exercises. Dumbbells allow you to move your hands through a natural range of motion during exercises, reducing wrist, elbow and shoulder strain, as well.

So, it doesn’t matter which side of the line you find yourself on, dumbbells or barbells. Both pieces of equipment should be a part of your training arsenal. A combination of barbell and dumbbell training will help you develop a balanced physique and work all those small stabilizing muscles, at the same time. You don’t have to draw a line in the sand, instead put them both to work for you.

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Why Food Turns into Body Fat

food turns into body fat

Food is a necessity. The body uses it for energy, for repair, and for building new structures. Food can be as powerful as a drug when it comes to building lean muscle mass. Lack of food can lead to a catabolic state in the body. Starvation leads to the body eating itself and the first thing to go is the lean, protein rich tissue. So, if food is this important and a necessity, why does it turn into body fat?

First, it is important to understand that body fat actually has a purpose. It began back in prehistoric times. The body needed a way to store energy in between feedings, that might not come for a while. The body fat stores afford that opportunity. A lot of energy can be stored in the fat stores. This is insurance for those times of starvation.

Our bodies are still programmed for this survival mechanism and even though food is plentiful the body will still protect against possible starvation. This is the mechanism that leads to fat storage. This is why calorie restriction diets are often unsuccessful in the long run. The body senses starvation and slows the metabolism to survive, then shuffles the calories consumed to fat stores for future needs.

Every day the body burns a certain number of calories just to maintain normal functions within the body. This is the basal metabolic rate. Then, any additional activity increases the amount of calories needed to support and maintain the body. The body expects this amount of energy to be consumed throughout the day. Any deficit in the caloric intake results in the body using its stores of energy. If there are no energy stores, or if the deficit is significant enough to trigger the survival response, the body will attack the lean tissue for energy. This results in a reduction of muscle and bone mass.

Any calories in excess of the daily needs get stored in fat stores for those future lean times. After an extended period of low calories the body slows the normal processes in the body to reduce the caloric needs. This means the body can survive on fewer calories without turning on itself. Then, when the food becomes plentiful again, the priority becomes making sure the body has adequate energy stores for future periods of starvation.

Different nutrients are stored at different rates due to chemical and hormonal differences. Fat taken in through the diet is chemically closest to the make-up of body fat, however, it is also a great source of energy, especially in the long term. Energy is released each time it is broken down to a smaller unit. Then the final products of fat metabolism can be converted to glucose for energy use. The body prefers this energy source, due to its large quantity, but excess will easily be converted to body fat. Carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, trigger the release of insulin which opens up receptors on fat and muscle stores to receive the calories. This makes the storage of excess carbohydrates (and any other nutrients eaten with them) in fat stores easy. Protein is the farthest from fat, chemically. It is also used for repair of many structures in the body and to produce hormones and other messengers. It is the last nutrient used for energy and the last to be stored, but in excess any nutrient can be stored for future energy use.

Individuals trying to lose body fat are fighting millions of years of genetic coding. The survival mechanism keeps the body from shedding body fat too quickly. The energy from food is stored there for future needs. Any excess calories, beyond regular daily needs, are shuffled to the fat stores for this reason. The body is an amazing machine with survival as the main program.

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All About The Bodybuilding Supplement ZMA

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ZMA is an all natural supplement that was developed by Victor Conte, in California. He trademarked the name of this patent pending product under the company SNAC, Inc. The company has made claims that it increases testosterone and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) leading to strength and muscle gains. Of course, many supplements make these types of claims.

ZMA contains Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate, Magnesium Aspartate, and vitamin B-6. The usual amount of each mineral is 20 to 30 mg of Zinc, 400 to 500 mg of Magnesium, and approximately 10 mg of vitamin B-6. There are some clinical trials that have proven the claim that zinc and magnesium can help increase testosterone and IGF-1 for sale. Some opponents of these claims state that the trials did not get baseline zinc and magnesium levels so they cannot be sure that the individuals were not deficient to start. This could lead to an increase due to a deficiency not due to extra nutrients in the body.

One of those studies took place at Western Washington University. Lorrie Brilla, PhD, conducted a study using NCAA football players to see the effects of ZMA on well-trained athletes. The study took place in 1999. A group of players were given ZMA nightly for eight weeks during spring training. Another group was given a placebo. The ZMA group gained strength at a faster rate than the placebo group, based on pre- and post-study leg strength measurements. The more remarkable results had to do with testosterone for sale and IGF-1 levels. The ZMA group had elevated levels of both hormones while the placebo group had lower levels. These results were in well-trained athletes, which is a promising fact for bodybuilders.

Another benefit of ZMA use is better sleep. It is recommended that the supplement be taken 30 to 60 minutes before bed. It has been reported that ZMA users have an easier time falling asleep and achieve a deeper sleep. This is beneficial to the bodybuilder because it is during sleep that much of the body’s repairing takes place. It has also been shown that getting at least eight hours of quality sleep helps keep growth hormone levels elevated, as opposed to those getting less. And, lack of sleep can adversely affect both testosterone and growth hormone levels.

Most Americans get enough zinc and vitamin B-6, but many are deficient in magnesium. Hard-working athletes may lose many minerals and vitamins through sweat and the breakdown and repair of muscles. This deficiency may be the cause of the drop in testosterone and IGF-1 seen in the placebo group from the Western Washington University study. It may also answer the question of how ZMA works.

The formula for increasing hormones requires very specific dosing. It makes it difficult to use a multi-vitamin, or even separate vitamin and mineral supplements. ZMA combines the minerals and vitamin B-6 in the exact ratio designed to optimize testosterone and IGF-1 levels. This supplement should be taken on an empty stomach, at least 2 hours after the last meal and at least 30 minutes before any other supplements. It should not be taken with milk or any other dairy product because calcium blocks the absorption of zinc.

ZMA has some pretty fantastic claims, but also has some scientific data to support those claims. It has been shown to increase testosterone and IGF-1 levels, and subsequently, strength. ZMA may be the next creatine. It has some solid real world evidence, along with solid scientific backing, to substantiate its claims. It may not replace anabolic steroids, but it does seem to be a solid natural supplement that may support the bodybuilder in his quest for increased testosterone levels.

The Effects of Caffeine

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Caffeine is common in many foods and drinks enjoyed today. Coffee, chocolate, tea, soda, energy drinks, and other foods have caffeine in them. Supplements are enhanced with caffeine. There are also many caffeine supplements on the market. They are marketed for staying awake and energy. A substance this prevalent can’t be bad, right?

Well, caffeine has had mixed reviews for a long time. Caffeine at first was given no attention. Then, its stimulant effects were noted and it was isolated for use as a supplement. Caffeine pills began to hit the market and it was combined with other supplements to enhance their effects. Coffee was consumed by the gallon. People began making coffee consumption part of their morning ritual to help them wake up. They began drinking it throughout the day and into the night to stay awake.

Then people began to notice some of the negative effects. The jitteriness, anxiousness, dehydration, heart palpitations, sleeplessness, and withdrawal symptoms. This led scientists to investigate further. They determined that caffeine, being a drug, was as dangerous as other stimulants. Coffee, caffeinated drinks, chocolate and caffeine supplements were shunned by the medical world. Then new research came out showing the value of moderate cocoa (in dark chocolate) consumption. And, recently, the benefits of daily coffee consumption have been heralded.

Bodybuilders have had varied uses for caffeine. The stimulant effect has been a popular use. It has also been used in conjunction with many thermogenic compounds to increase metabolism and overall calorie burn. Caffeine has also been used pre-contest for a combination effect; stimulant and mild diuretic.

Caffeine is classified a drug compound in its isolated form. It has drug-like effects on the body. It works on the central nervous system as a stimulant. That is why it increases focus and alertness. It also increases heart rate, and in large amounts can lead to arrhythmias of the heart and even death. Due to this stimulant effect it increases blood flow throughout the body (due to the increased heart rate) which helps circulate other drugs or supplements quicker. This stimulant effect also increases energy consumption causing more calories to be burned. Caffeine has shown a mild diuretic effect, increasing urinary output. Supplemental caffeine can help reduce excess fluid covering the muscles, however, it can be dangerous if not offset by fluid intake.

Caffeine can be very beneficial to the bodybuilder if used sensibly. A cup of coffee in the morning has been shown to prevent obesity, some heart conditions, cancers, diabetes, and other maladies. Caffeine does rob some of the calcium from the bones, if calcium is not sufficient in the diet to offset this factor. Most bodybuilders get enough calcium from dairy products, but if not then a calcium supplement can be used. Caffeine can help speed the metabolism, even during a low calorie, cutting diet. It may help reduce the amount of fat gained during a bulking cycle, as well. The stimulant effect may help to increase the intensity of workouts. It may also give the energy needed to get through the day after a hard workout.

Caffeine has been shown to be safe in normal doses. Large doses can cause problems similar to other stimulant overdoses. Caffeine can be found in the foods we eat, the drinks we consume, and the supplements we take. Offset the diuretic effect with lots of water and avoid other stimulants while using caffeine. Caffeine may be one of the best tools in the energy/fat loss portion of your plan. Use it wisely and the results will speak for themselves.

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Tuna - A Bodybuilder’s Essential Protein Source

tuna steak

Tuna is a staple of the bodybuilder’s diet. It is convenient and easy to prepare. It can be eaten plain or mixed to make tuna salad. It can be used as a side for other dishes or a meal in itself. The main reason it is such a popular choice for bodybuilders is its protein content. Like other fish it is high in protein and offers some good oils, as well. The problem for many bodybuilders is how to shake things up and make that tuna a little more exciting.

Most serious bodybuilders would eat cardboard and dirt if it would enhance their diet and contribute to muscle repair and building. Taste is not a huge consideration. How the food affects the body is more important. But, if you can have a high protein food source, like tuna, and taste too, that’s a great deal.

Plain tuna can get old fast. Mixing it with mayonnaise may add some flavor and variety, but even that can get tiring quickly. Tuna steaks add a refreshing twist and can be prepared several ways to spice up the entrĂ©e. Canned tuna is most often eaten in its “raw” state.

Mixing the tuna with mayonnaise, adding some dill spice, a little oregano, and a touch of vinegar gives the tuna a little kick that will spice things up. Mixing with mayonnaise and mustard together also changes the flavor slightly. Mixing celery pieces, along with the mayonnaise adds some crunch without excess calories. Tuna with barbecue sauce adds an interesting twang to the taste. Along the same lines, tuna can be marinated in teriyaki, Jamaican jerk, or buffalo sauce for a change of pace.

Tuna companies have begun to put out flavored tuna to catch more consumers. Lemon pepper, sweet and spicy, and even smoked flavor tuna can be found on the shelves of the grocery store. These flavorings take the edge of the tuna flavor but do not add unnecessary calories.

Mixing this tuna with mayonnaise and eating it on whole grain rye crackers makes a great high protein snack choice.

Tuna can be eaten in sandwich form if you have room for the bread in your diet plan. A tuna wrap made with a high fiber wrap might be the answer for off-setting the bread. Tuna can be formed, breaded with a low calorie breading, and baked as fish filets. Tuna added to salad helps to increase the complex carbohydrate and fiber intake while adding necessary protein to the diet.

No matter whether you choose pre-flavored tuna or add your own flavoring, tuna is a great protein source for bodybuilders. The imagination is the limit. If you like a particular flavoring or spice, try it with tuna and see if it works. Tuna is a great protein source, but if you have to force it down it will begin to lose popularity and eventually be dropped from your diet all together. Finding new ways of preparing it will keep the taste buds guessing and avoid stagnation in the diet. Remember to only add flavorings or mixes that do not add a lot of excess calories, fats or sugars. Now, grab that can of tuna and your favorite flavoring and enjoy some muscle-feeding protein.

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Women Building Muscle - What You Need to Know

women building muscle
Being a woman, you may be completely comfortable trying to be slim and trim. However, you may not be as comfortable with trying to build muscle. If you do have the passion to develop muscles to sculpt your body structure, don’t think that it’s impossible. You can enhance your fitness by developing muscles and also speed up the process of burning fat. Ultimately, your body can become less prone to being overweight and having associated problems when you start to build muscle. So, here is a discussion to help you with information about women building muscle.

Muscle Building for Men and Women


Though, women building muscle is not significantly different from men accomplishing the same task, the hormonal differences between these two genders can bring differences between the same process for two different people.

  • Women can develop a restricted amount of muscle mass as compared to men.
  • The process of building muscle for women achieves its target faster than that employed by men.
  • Women are required to follow fewer exercises as compared to men to carve their body with muscles.
  • The main motive of women to build muscles is to attain a sexy and curvy figure, while men develop muscle to accumulate strength in their body.

Recommended Muscle Building Exercises for Woman


The exercises for women building muscle are similar to those employed by men for the same purpose, though the level of exercising may differ. Here are few of the most recommended exercises for women to build muscle.

  • Bench press and pullovers for building the muscles in chest.
  • Lat pull downs and dead lifts for building back muscles.
  • Squats and calf raises for toning leg muscles and
  • Crunches for building muscles in abdomen.


For further information, you might want to consult your gym instructor.

Complementing Exercises with a Planned Diet


The process of women building muscle must be simultaneous to losing excessive fat from the body. For this, it is essential to eat healthy and balance the calorie requirements of the body on regular basis. Again, a gym instructor can help you in planning your diet schedule. One point we want to suggest is to drink a lot of water everyday.

Benefits of Building Muscles


Women building muscle can add worth to their eligibility to achieve success in all walks of life. The things, which are lacked by other fitness campaigns like weight loss exercises and swimming, are fulfilled by exercise employed for building muscles:

  • The newly discovered muscles can give you self confidence in your new body and new found strength.
  • You can start to become more physically active in sports or other physical activities that you weren’t able to perform before.
  • The strengthening of muscles can also add strength to your bones and thus, the chances for bone diseases before a certain age are reduced significantly.
  • Finally, you’ll look better than ever in all of the new clothes you have to buy for your new body.

So, the moral of the story is that women building muscle is not rocket science for any women in this world, no matter what her personal or professional background is. Utilize the information above and see the stunning differences in your lifestyle.

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Muscle Building Training Secrets

muscle building training secrets

What’s more important than building muscles is to know the right approach for muscle building training. It has been estimated time and again that people desiring a great muscled body end up wasting their time, efforts and money due to lack of proper knowledge. First of all, it is better to workout under the guidance of a professional instructor. If that doesn’t comfort you, make sure you have learned all the tips for self muscle building training.

Number of Workouts per Week


The novice bodybuilders are highly charged to workout extensively throughout the week in the beginning. And the result is unbearable body pains and damage to body tissues. The workout sessions must be followed appropriately with right duration. It has been proved that a body experiencing a workout session for the first time needs at least 2 days to recover from this sudden change. So, be patient to follow the rules of muscle building training and decide three workout sessions in a week is plenty.

Appropriate Contribution From Different Techniques


There are basically three types of exercise suggested by muscle building training:

  • Free weight muscle building
  • Machine based muscle building and
  • Compound based exercises

There has been a constant argument upon the effectiveness of each of these exercising techniques in achieving fast and desirable results. The fact is that all these three forms of exercising can contribute their individual share in endowing your body with impressive muscles. Thus, it is favorable to maintain proper contribution of all these exercising schedules.

Eat Well but Don’t Gain Fat


Now, this is a critical aspect of muscle building training. While trying to build good muscle mass, you are recommended to consume good quality food in proper quantities. However, if you are equally concerned about avoiding extra weight or if you’re already overweight, then you might get trapped into a deadlock. To break this deadlock, you are required to carefully choose the food items and count all of the calories being consumed by your body. It is not a difficult task to maintain the balance; only a careful approach will help you to achieve this.

Avoid Muscle Imbalance


Many people, unaware of the secrets of muscle building training, commit this mistake of working out extensively on a few body muscles, while completely neglecting others. Thus, your important muscle groups like legs, chest, abdomen, arms, and shoulders and back must be fed equally with your workout schedules. At the end, your whole body should appear well built by your muscle building approach.

Keep Your Mind Vacant


It is important that as you follow the guidelines of muscle building training and get started in workout, your mind must not be preoccupied with other commitments and tensions. You can never enjoy your muscle building process in such a situation, and desirable results become difficult to attain. Maintain a proper level of breathing and let the tensions burst like bubbles.

You have just learned the significant approaches to make your muscle building process efficient and rewarding. Evaluate your workout performance after a month and you will appreciate your decision of following these secrets when you see the results you’ve gained over time.

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Pre And Post Workout Nutrition

Suggestions on what to eat before and after a workout are a question that is often asked. What you eat before and after your trip to the gym is essential for muscle growth and recovery. To gain the best results form your workouts, eating the right foods in the right proportions will help ensure that you gain the best results from your fitness routine.

pre post workout nutrition

Pre Workout Nutrition

Eating a good pre workout meal can make a difference between in your ability to get a good set in or adding more weight; or not. A lot of people put a all their focus on post workout nutrition by disregarding pre workout meal. Most fitness buffs, claim that working out on an empty stomach helps to burn more fat. The opposite is true. If you are not taking time needed to eat a proper meal in preparation for your workout, then you could be doing more harm than good to your overall fitness goals. It’s important to fuel your body with the right nutrients to gain muscle strength, endurance, and recovery.

Test it for yourself. Workout without eating and see how long you last. Next, you’ll want to workout after eating a solid meal and compare your overall endurance levels and intensity with the first study. You’ll notice that you will be much more equipped to last longer during your workouts, while combating fatigue.

Due to the time it takes to digest a meal, it’s best to eat one to two hours before your workout. A proper meal should consist of simple carbohydrates and protein. Simple carbohydrates can come in the form fruit or vegetables. Fruit tends to help replenish the flow of blood in the body as well as fuel the body with enough energy to get through your workout. If you want, a small amount of complex carbohydrates they can be added in the form of oatmeal, yams, or brown rice. Next, add a serving of protein such as an egg or a protein shake. If you want a quick meal try a low sugar protein bar that has a good combination of carbohydrates and protein.

It’s vital that you drink plenty of water before you workout. Water will help alleviate cramping and low energy levels. In athletes, it’s best to drink water to supply the body what it may lose through perspiration during training.

Post Workout Nutrition

For people who train, your post work out meal is most important. To make this simple, your post workout meal should only consist of protein and carbohydrates. The best time to consume this meal is within an hour after your workout. However, consuming your meal within 30 minutes is best. Good sources of protein include a whey protein shake. While other protein sources for building muscle such as eggs, fish, and chicken are good sources of protein as well. During this time, you want to eat something that’s going to quickly absorb into your digestive system supplying your muscles with vital nutrients, fast.

After your workout, it’s important to restore your muscle glycogens so that your muscle tissue doesn’t breakdown. For that purpose, carbohydrates are the best to eat, which will help push nutrients into your muscle tissue faster. Looking for carbohydrates with high fiber amounts such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, or oatmeal.

If achieving your fitness goals quickly is your goal, then carefully plan your pre and post workout nutrition. If you don’t supply the body with the nutrients it needs for proper muscle growth, your time working out may be in vain. Use this outline of pre and post workout nutrition as a guide to make your own nutritious muscle building, workout meals.

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Steps To Consistently Maintaining a Healthy Diet

healthy diet

Diet is a word that is all too familiar to bodybuilders. The necessity of a healthy diet is obvious to the hard training bodybuilder. There is nothing more discouraging than building slabs of powerful muscle, only to be hidden by a thick layer of body fat. Hard working muscles need the right fuel to continue to grow bigger and stronger.

Every bodybuilder knows the importance of a healthy diet. The real question is how to consistently maintain a healthy diet, even during those times of temptation. There are plenty of temptations and opportunities to slip. A small slip is not a big deal, but a large or continuous slip can be a major issue that may undo much of the hard work.

There are some helpful strategies to maintain a healthy diet. There are motivational techniques, behavioral choices, and, of course, the avoidance plan. No matter which strategy is used, it is important to accept the fact that you are human and mistakes occur. If you slip, get back on the plan and move forward. If the guilt is eating away at you, do an extra thirty minutes of cardiovascular work.

Trying to stay the course can be tough when people around you are not on the same page. Holidays become a tough time, also. Parties and social gatherings offer a lot of tasty, diet killing, muscle hiding food. These times require a little extra willpower. These are also the times when you need to remember your motivation for staying on a healthy diet.

If you have made some significant gains since adopting a healthy diet it might help to carry a before picture of yourself to remind you of why you eat healthy. A picture of a bodybuilder you admire, and aspire to be like, might help also.

Before attending an event where food may be an issue try spending ten minutes posing in front of the mirror or do a short, pump-building workout. The pumped feeling may help remind you each time you feel tempted by a bad choice.

Behavior modification strategies might include working with a partner who has the same goals to constantly remind each other why the healthy diet is the right choice. Convince yourself that food is simply a fuel for muscle growth and energy needs and schedule your meals accordingly. Stop eating for flavor and start eating for survival and performance. This will help you avoid those splurge meals or those little treats. Eating a healthy, high protein meal before going to a social gathering might help reduce the chances of cheating, as well. The protein meal will help fill you up and stay with you so you are not hungry and you will not need to snack.

Avoidance is the optimal choice. If you can avoid putting yourself in a position where temptation exists then you eliminate the problem. However, total avoidance is not an option without becoming a hermit. Avoiding the dessert table or skipping the sauces and dips can be accomplished fairly easy. Avoiding the bar and not ordering appetizers will also help reduce unhealthy choices. Asking family members to have healthy choices at family gatherings will also help you avoid many of the temptations regularly experienced at holiday times.

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Eating High Quality Fats

high quality fats

Shudder to think? No, no mistake has been made. This discussion is on eating high quality fats and not avoiding it. In common parlance today, the very mention of fat has become such an untouchable pariah! But, the fact remains that fat is an essential component to sustain the metabolic functions of human and even some animal bodies. What is necessary however is that one should know the facts about fat and choose the type of fats that are beneficial and discard those that can potentially deliver harm either in the short or long run.

Understanding fat

Let us examine the various types of fat before attempting a judgement on what is good and what is bad fat. For the purpose of this discussion, we will look at three broad classifications of fat.

  • Saturated fat
  • Hydrogenated fat
  • Unsaturated fat

Saturated fat

Most food from animals and certain plants contain saturated fat. Beef, veal, beef fat, pork, lamb, poultry fat, cream, milk, butter, cheese and a range of diary products derived from whole milk as well as 2 percent milk. Other carriers of saturated fat can be coconut, coconut oil, palm kernel oil, palm oil (also known as tropical oils) and butter obtained from cocoa. Fat from this stream has been held responsible for causing high blood cholesterol from dietary causes. While some fat are indeed essential for the human body, high levels of blood cholesterol does not merit any leniency, because high blood cholesterol has been singled out as a primary cause for a number of coronary dysfunctions and often leading to heart attacks.

Hydrogenated fat

Here is the major culprit. Hydrogenation is a chemical process wherein manufacturers of vegetable oils add hydrogen to the oil. Not because it is good for you, but because it enhances the shelf life of the product and increases the flavour stability of food which contain these fats. Remember the deep fried finger chips? There are no labelling regulations for fast foods – as yet. Take a look at the saturated fat percentages mentioned in the label giving you the nutrition facts.

Unsaturated fat (Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated)

Fish, seeds, nuts, and oils from certain plants contain unsaturated fats. Salmon, avocados, herring, olives, trout, walnuts, sunflower oil, saa flower oil, soybean etc. contain unsaturated fats in good measure.

Food with quality fat


Beef holds special favor with muscle builders for its high quality protein content and the low fat level. Eggs work as a power food to build muscles. The egg whites have no fat while the yolk is rich in cholesterol. The fat provided is omega 3, a good fat. Chicken/turkey is an excellent source to provide protein while being low in fat, though some parts of the chicken do carry high fat. Fish, particularly the lobster, mullet, haddock etc. too work well with muscle building. Tuna fish is also another convenient choice. Finally, soy and milk. Although liquid food, they are rich in protein and in combination with meat, compliment amino acids obtained from meat.

Ideally, all your meals should have protein in it and should be evenly spread out across the day. About 3 grams of protein for every kilogram of your body weight will contribute to positive balancing of nitrogen. This will optimize the results particularly in combination with passionate weight training.

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How To Gain Weight

gain weight

With the emphasis in society today so heavily focused on weight loss, there are much fewer resources for those looking to gain weight. That doesn't mean it can't be done. In fact the methods are simple if you follow along with the tips we give you in this article you will be on your way to gaining weight the right way. On your way to gaining serious muscle mass. Weight gain is a product of what you eat and what calories you burn every day. It is as simple as that. How you gain your weight though can be complicated.

In order to gain weight you need to consume more calories than you burn. This becomes more and more difficult the more you participate in a rigorous lifting routine. You lift so hard to gain muscle mass, mean while you are often burning the very calories that you need to gain that mass. In order to provide your body with the fuel that it needs for serious weight gain and muscle mass you can use a simple formula as your starting point. Take your own weight and multiply it by 18. 200-pounds, you're eating 3600 calories a day.

This can be difficult to do. It's not hard to eat 3600 calories a day. Some of the drinks you can get at your local coffee shop will get you half way there before you've even started your day. But that kind of diet isn't going to get you the kind of muscle mass gains that you are looking for. In order to get healthy weight gain you need to get your calories from a good source. This often means that you need to eat four, five, or even six meals a day rather than the traditional three.

Sometimes there just isn't enough time in the day to consume six meals, get your lifting in, and live your life. We can't change lifting and we'll leave your life up to you, but for the meals, you can always turn to a healthy meal replacement shake to quickly take in those missing calories. This is also a good option if you get all the meals in but the healthy food you are eating just doesn't pack all that calories that you need.

Another thing that can benefit your weight gain and muscle mass is dietary supplements. Supplements containing specific amino acid blends, such as creatine and glutamine have shown some benefit in gaining muscle mass.

The last aspect of weight gain, and this is the most important one, is lifting. There is no substitute, no short cut, no easy way around the fact that you will need to lift heavy weights in order to gain muscle mass. A standard workout routine consists of moderate weight being lifted 10-15 times per set. Any one exercise can have from 4-6 sets. In order to gain muscle mass, you need to drastically increase the weight and change your routine to do 3-4 sets of 6-8 reps. Make sure that you are getting the most out of the time that you spend lifting. Check out our articles on compound exercises vs. isolation exercises as well as free weights vs. machine weights. There you'll find tips for getting the most muscle gains out of the time you spend in the gym.

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Picking The Best Protein Bar

protein bar

Protein bars are an important tool for the bodybuilder. A good protein bar is a convenient way to get that much needed protein in between meals or on the road. The supplement market has been inundated with protein bar choices. The hard part for the average bodybuilder is sorting through all the choices and figuring out which is the best choice for them.

Most protein bars have certain aspects in common. They have all three of the major macronutrients in them; fats, protein, and carbohydrates. The variable factor is how much of each is contained in the bar. All the bars contain calories, as well. The amount can vary from 100 to 700 or more calories. Finally, all bars are marketed by companies trying to make money, therefore they will all claim to be the best on the market.

When looking for the best bar for your needs, it is important to understand your needs. Most bodybuilders fall into one of three categories. Some lifters need a lot of additional calories to offset a very fast metabolism. Other bodybuilders may need to limit the total calories to lose body fat. The third group is strictly looking to increase overall protein intake, without a lot of extra calories or other nutrients.

The protein bars vary widely by nutrient content and calories. Some bars are designed for the bodybuilder looking to control overall calorie intake. They are made with fewer calories and usually have fewer carbohydrates and fats. The protein intake may be lower, as well. There are some good bars with fiber and complex carbohydrates, limited fat, and a higher protein content that still keep the total calorie level below 250. These bars generally are not as sweet as others, and usually do not come in as many flavors.

Some protein bars have a great ratio of nutrients within a moderate calorie bar. They have an adequate amount of fats and carbohydrates along with a good protein amount. These bars often parallel the nutrient breakdown of the normal diet. These bars are so complete they can serve as a meal, when needed. These bars usually run around 300 to 500 calories.

Other bars may have more calories due to increased carbohydrates and fats. The fats give the bar a better consistency and the carbohydrates make the flavor better. Some of these bars come in extravagant flavors like Strawberry Smoothie, Mint Chocolate Chip, or Cookie Dough. They generally have calorie counts above 300, with some over 700 calories. The best high calorie protein bars get their calories from complex carbohydrates, some fats, and protein, with only enough sugar to flavor the bar.

A bodybuilder who needs extra calories may find the higher calorie protein bar convenient in this quest. Eating a protein bar between meals to increase calories may help boost muscular gains. It makes an easy way to get those extra calories. The bodybuilder who is looking to reduce overall caloric intake may use a complete protein bar to replace a meal or two during the day. This will ensure adequate nutrients without the extra calories often consumed in a regular meal. The bodybuilder who is simply looking to increase protein intake may seek a bar with very few carbohydrates and fats, and lower caloric content. This allows the bodybuilder to increase total protein without increasing overall caloric intake by a lot.

When searching for the best protein bar it is important to know your needs and how the right bar can feed that need. Whether you are trying to bulk up or get ripped the protein bar can be a great tool. Finding a bar that is low in simple carbohydrates and high in protein, and balanced in overall nutrients, will take you a long way toward your goal of developing the best physique possible.

My favorite protein bars are Detour bars because of the taste and high amount of protein (30 grams per bar). Luckily I have a GNC close to me that sells them for $24 for 12.

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Top Foods That Build Muscle

So what are some of the best foods that build muscle and lose weight?  When looking to build muscle a good ratio of carbs to protein to fat would be around 40% 40% 20%. Remember these are quality fats and complex carbohydrates.

The most important building blocks for building muscles is protein. Protein is used to repair the damage done by resistance or weight training. So to build muscle you need protein. See some of the top choices for protein below.

protein chicken

Top protein choices
  • Chicken Breast
  • Turkey Breast
  • Tuna
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Egg Whites
  • Salmon
  • Lean Beef
  • Whey Protein

carbs potato

Carbohydrates are what give the body energy and fuel to workout. See some of the complex carbohydrates below:

Top Carb Choices
  • Brown Rice
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Bagels
  • Oatmeal
  • Fat Free Yogurt
  • Beans

Veggies

  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Spinach

olive oil fat

When you think of building muscle or being fit you tend to think that you should avoid fat altogether. This is not true. Fats are a necessary component to sustain the metabolic functions of humans. See some of the top carb choices below.

Top Fat Choices
  • Avocado
  • Olive Oil
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Nuts
  • Flax Seed Oil
  • Fish Oil

So the next time you go to the grocery store, be sure you stock your cart full of the best foods that build muscle.

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Lift Lighter, Build More Muscles

Tired of waiting around in the gym for the right weights to be free? New research form the US means you can make gym queues like this a thing of the past, as it proves that you can build muscle just as fast using lighter weights. Traditional exercise wisdom says that the quickest way to build big muscles is to lift as heavy as possible. However, the new study shows you can get equally impressive results from going lighter but performing more repetitions. The only condition is that you must do all your sets to failure. So, next time your preferred dumbbells are taken, just switch down and up your reps. You'll be out of the gym that much quicker and still see the growth you're looking for.

 
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