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Recent Bodybuilding Articles

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


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.

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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

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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

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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


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

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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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Top Dumbbell Bodybuilding Exercises

dumbbell exercises

Dumbbells are often the forgotten tool in bodybuilding. With the advent of machines, the popularity of dumbbells declined. The problem with that is the reduction in stabilizing muscle involvement. The muscles that stabilize the joints during a free weight lift are often taken out of the exercise during a machine exercise.

When training to build muscle many of the exercises are the same whether you use barbells, dumbbells, kettle bells, machines, or any other equipment. When developing the chest and shoulders you need to use pressing motions. The back requires lots of pulling motions from different angles. The arms can really be developed using dumbbells. Many people forget about the potential for some great leg work using dumbbells, as well.

Since they are often forgotten, let’s start with the legs. Squatting with dumbbells adds an extra degree of comfort because the weights can be held in a position that fits your body. The weights can be held at the shoulders, in tight to the chest, or hanging down at the sides. The position of the weights also allows for a more natural body position during the lift. Avoid the temptation to lean forward or look down because it can cause back injury just as it does in regular squats. Stiff-legged dead lifts are also a great leg exercise with the dumbbells. Heel raises can be done for the calves. One of the best all around leg shaping exercises is the lunge and dumbbells are ideal for performing this exercise.

Moving up the body to the abdominals and obliques, dumbbells can be used to sculpt this area, as well. Crunches with dumbbells for resistance are great for a change up. The resistance lowers the number of repetitions needed to get a great pump. Side bends holding one dumbbell or twists with the dumbbells out in front are also great for the obliques. Good mornings with the weights held in front are a great way to work the lower back area. These are done in a bowing motion, as if greeting someone good morning.

Moving farther up still, to the chest, we find many more dumbbell exercises. Dumbbell bench presses call a lot more support muscles into play than the regular bench press. It also allows for more involvement from the inner attachment. These can be done from the flat, incline, or decline positions. Dumbbell flys, again from any of the angles, are great for overall chest development. Dumbbell pullovers, done from a lying position, will bring all the attachments into play.

Now, the shoulders are another area that dumbbells are commonly used for. Dumbbell overhead presses really hit the meat of the shoulder. Dumbbell lateral raises done standing, or bent over for the rear deltoids, are great for shaping and sculpting. Using dumbbells for upright rowing motions can take some of the stress of the wrists and make the exercise more effective. Shrugging exercises with the dumbbells will place the shoulder in a more natural alignment and may reduce some of the stress on the rotator cuff muscles.

Okay, finally we are at the back. The king of back exercises would have to be the deadlift. And, the deadlift can be performed with dumbbells. Mind you, the weight may be reduced, but the strict form that can be adhered to with dumbbells can make this exercise tough. The weight can be held closer to the body and a straighter back can be accomplished with dumbbells. Bent over one-arm rowing can be done with dumbbells also, to help develop the sweep of the lats. Two arm rowing, from a bent-over position or lying face down on a high bench, is great for developing the thickness and lines of the upper back.

When planning your training routine don’t forget the value of dumbbells. They really call the supporting muscles into play and allow for a great range of motion. They can be used for bulking, as well as shaping, exercises. Most exercises can be adapted to dumbbells. So don’t be a dumbbell, use dumbbells in your training.

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Health Facts On Green Tea

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Green tea has received a lot of press lately. It has moved from the fields of the Far East to the world market. It has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. The Western culture has begun to recognize many of these herbal remedies and their value in medicine. Due to the late stage involvement of the scientific world, research is behind on these remedies. However, real world (anecdotal) evidence supports many of the claims of these herbal treatments.

Green tea has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity due to some of the claims about its health benefits. Many of the health claims are based on historical claims and anecdotal uses. Some others have some scientific backing. Unfortunately, since research on herbal medicine has been lagging behind there may not be as many studies to verify the claims. The promising fact is that green tea has not shown any major side effects from its use, even over the long term.

Green tea has been shown to have the following health benefits:
  • Anti-cancer benefits: The antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has been shown to help prevent a range of cancers.
  • Increasing metabolic rate: Green tea contains caffeine and catechin polyphenols that help increase thermogenesis. It may also help with fat oxidation, which will help reduce body fat stores, as well as, increasing endurance.
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity: Green tea has been shown to increase the body’s own affinity for insulin, especially in those who may have a slight insensitivity developing. This may also lead to a reduction in the chance of developing diabetes.
  • Increased mental acuity and focus: A combination of factors may help increase the ability to focus and cut down on age related degenerative diseases that affect the neurological system.

Green tea has been used for combating many conditions and preventing many others. The following list shows some of the current uses for green tea.

Those uses with no, or little, scientific research yet:
  • Preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Treatment for cancer
  • Treating multiple sclerosis
  • Reducing LDL and increasing HDL
Those with scientific backing (or solid real world backing):
  • As a diet aid, to increase metabolism
  • Improving cardiovascular health
  • Improving insulin sensitivity
  • Reducing free radical damage
  • Increasing mental acuity and focus
Whether enjoyed as a tea or taken in capsule form, green tea has some very promising health promoting benefits. The research continues on this herbal compound and more studies are being conducted every day. The results of the previous studies show that this is a good supplement for promoting overall health, as are many teas. It may or may not have all the benefits made by marketing claims, but it does promise to be a valuable tool in overall health.

The caffeine content helps increase energy without some of the negative effects associated with coffee. Green tea has no side effects, outside those associated with caffeine, and the potential benefits are numerous. Can you afford not to give it a try?

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How To Strengthen The Forearms

Forearm muscles account for approximately thirty-three percent of arm mass. They are indirectly stimulated with "straight-bar" exercises that work the biceps, triceps and back. However, it is helpful to occasionally use exercises that isolate the forearms for direct stimulation.

Strong forearms are particularly useful in injury prevention, sport specificity and grip strength. Research has shown that an effective strength & conditioning program can improve maximal force and power production, reduce the incidence of injuries and contribute to faster recovery times (Cockram & Tolley, 1997).

Reducing Injuries Resulting From Under Trained Forearms

Weak forearm muscles increase susceptibility to overuse injuries. For example, tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a painful inflammation resulting from a lesion primarily at the muscle-extensor carpi radialis brevis. The condition often arises from movements which hyper-extend the elbow joint.

Similarly, golfers elbow or medial epicondylitis affects the muscles on the medial side of the elbow joint (Cockram & Tolley, 1997). The occurence of each injury is reduced with more attention to direct forearm training. Competitors in other sports that involve throwing grabbing, pulling, pushing or gripping also benefit from direct forearm stimulation. Strengthened forearm muscles allow athletes to spend more time competing.

Strong forearms are not just for athletes. Regular people who strengthen their forearms can better perform everyday tasks that involve bending (contracting) and straightening (extending) the arms. For example carrying groceries, small children and pets become easier when weak forearms aren’t a limiting factor.

Basic Strengthening And Stretching Exercises For Lower Arms

Forearm strengthening exercises might include squeezing a tennis ball, wrist circles using a weighted object, dumbbell wrist curls with the forearm pronated (palm facing downward) and supinated (palm facing upward) and pull/chin ups.

Pull ups using a thick bar (over 1.5 inch diameter) may have a very positive impact on forearm and grip strength. If you cannot do a pull up then jump up to grip the bar and slowly lower your body weight downward. When stretching your forearms it is important to keep the elbow fully extended and ensure you stretch both flexors and extensors (Cockram & Tolley, 1997).

Basic Anatomy Of Forearm

The forearm is comprised of various muscle groups such as flexors, extensors, supinators and pronaters along with major nerves and arteries that facilitate movement of hands, elbows, wrists, fingers and thumbs. Bones of the forearm are the radius and ulna.

Common anterior forearm muscles include:
  • Brachioradialis (flexion of forearm)
  • Flexor Carpi Radialis (flexion/abduction at wrist)
  • Palmaris Longus (assists in wrist flexion, absent in nearly 20% of Caucasians)
  • Flexor Carpi Ulnaris (wrist flexion).

Common posterior forearm muscles include:
  • Extensor carpi radialis longus (wrist extension/hand abduction at wrist)
  • Flexor digitorum superficialis (finger flexion).

The anterior and posterior muscles listed are but a few of the many muscles that comprise the forearm.

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Massive Chest and Shoulder Workout

The Pectoral muscles, combined with the deltoids, create the most dramatic muscular impression in your upper body. These are two critical muscle groups to consider when bodybuilding for mass. In this section, I will walk you through a typical workout that incorporates both muscle groups into one, intense, muscle-building experience.

Note: It is strongly recommended that a spotter be present when this workout is done. We are going to fail in some sets, and with free weights that can be dangerous. Play it safe. Injuries suck.

So without further delay, let’s begin.


Stretching is always a key pre-workout activity that is going to help you in a number of ways. In this workout, we are going to focus on stretching out our chest and also our shoulders before we begin to stack on the weight.

For the purposes of this example routine, we will first work our chest and then move on to our shoulders. In some cases you would order the exercises differently, or even stagger between each muscle group. This type of fine tuning will come in handy once you are well on your way and comfortable with the routine. A separate article will go into more detail on that subject later.

Incline Bench Press

The first exercise we are doing is Incline Bench Press. This is first for a couple of reasons, but primarily because it is going to be one of the more demanding lifts of the workout. Begin your first set at a weight that allows you to complete 10-12 reps with good form and control with moderate strain toward the final reps. Spot your partner for his/her set, and then add more weight, roughly 20% would be a solid increase. So, if you did your first set with 100lbs. your second set should be at 120 lbs. and fall somewhere in the 8-10 rep range. For your third set, you will again raise the weight and go to failure.

Ideally this failure would occur in the 6-8 range, but may not.

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

Next is Decline Dumbbell Bench Press. This exercise is a variation of the pressing movement we just finished. The declined position will better target the lower portion of your chest. Additionally, by removing the Olympic bar from the movement, it will isolate each side of your chest. We are going for the same set and rep scheme here as we did with the incline bench press. So use your spotter to your advantage and push for that failure on the third set at around 6-8 reps.

Dumbbell Fly

The last chest exercise we will do on this particular workout is a Dumbbell Fly. This is going to target the center of chest primarily. At this point in the exercise your chest should already be very fatigued. If its not, I would suggest taking a careful look at the weight being used, as well as the rep scheme. You may not be working hard enough. For this exercise you can use the same rep scheme as the previous movements. However, since your chest should be pre-exhausted, you could also just move to the two working sets and skip the first set which would normally fall in the 10-12 range.

Some bodybuilders would say that this split does not include a flat pressing exercise and therefore does not fully incorporate the chest. It is my experience, however, that when the lower and upper portions of the chest are trained in isolation, the strength gain carries through to the entire pectoral muscle. It wouldn’t be out of the question to incorporate, for example, a 3-set of Flat Barbell Bench Press, but I don’t find it necessary.

So now that we are already exhausted, it’s time to grab a drink of water, shrug off the soreness and hit those deltoids. Nobody said today was going to be easy.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

First in line is the Dumbbell Shoulder Press. Three sets is the magic number here. First set should fall in the 10-12 range and should be moderately difficult. The second set is a working set with more weight and should land in the 8-10 range. As in our other final sets, this third should be to failure with heavier weight, and end around the 6-8 mark.

Side Lateral Raises

With little rest between exercises we are going to move directly to Side Lateral Raises. This move is less about stacking on huge weight that it is about fully controlling the motion and really isolating the lateral deltoids. This exercise will play a big part in creating that rounded, prominent shoulder that we want. You can do this set two ways, the usual 12, 10, 8, with added weight. Or you can drop the weight substantially and do three sets all in the higher rep range of 15-20.

Bent Over Cable Laterals

The last exercise we are going to do today is going to be a finisher move that should take the rest of the energy we have left right out of us! This is called Bent Over Cable Laterals. With this exercise you can go back to our normal rep scheme and give it your all. You will feel the rear deltoids throbbing at the end of each set if you are isolating them properly. Focus on the movement, and put everything you’ve got into it.

Tomorrow should be a rest day, so take your shaking, sweating frame home and get some protein and rest.

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Build Big Shoulders With This Easy Mass Building Workout Guide

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To build big shoulders, workouts need to be tough, demanding and bring about a process called 'hypertrophy'. This is when muscles are broken down and damaged during repetitive weight training and grow back stronger and larger than before. To avoid over training, keep shoulder workouts to a maximum of two per week, resting at least 48 hours between workouts. The shoulders are one of the most easily injured muscle groups so it is important to listen to the body and not overdo things.

At the same time, it is important to reach muscle failure regularly when training shoulders to stimulate hypertrophy and therefore growth. High repetitions of relatively low weights will give a good, strong muscular pump, driving blood cells and nutrients to the muscles.

Understanding the Anatomy of the Shoulder Muscles to Build Big Shoulders

The major muscles that make up the shoulders are the deltoids, trapezius, infraspinatus and, to a lesser degree, the triceps. These muscles need to be worked hard to encourage them to grow. A good training programme would look like this:
  • 5-10 minute warm up
  • Barbell overhead press - 5 sets of 12-15 repetitions
  • Pullups - 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Dumbell shrugs - 5 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Tricep dips - 5 sets of 12 reps

Rest for one minute between sets and one minute between different exercises. This will keep the intensity high and the metabolism fired up. Try to reach failure on the last set for each exercise, using a spotter where necessary to ensure safe lifting.

For the barbell overhead press, load a bar up with a fairly light weight: 60 percent of 1 rep maximum. Press it explosively overhead and lower slowly. Don't lock out the arms at the top of the movement to keep the tension on muscles and off the joints.

When doing dumbbell shrugs, keep the arms straight and try to shrug the shoulders up to the ears, tensing at the top then relaxing slowly, lowering the weights.

Eat a Muscle Building Diet to Grow Muscle Mass in the Shoulders

To build muscle, it is necessary to eat a diet high in quality protein and carbohydrate and healthy fats. A good muscle mass building eating plan will help to build big broad shoulders. It is important to ensure a calorie surplus in order to stimulate muscle growth. A 180 pound bodybuild should look to eat around 3700 calories per day but this should be adjusted if there is too much fat gain or not enough muscle growth.

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