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    The ultimate muscle meal plan

     

    With this article, I just wanted to share with you one of my special muscle meal plans that I love. Surprisingly, it actually comes in the form of a salad, but it is killer! I know the ladies will love this idea, but for all of you guys out there that think eating a salad makes you less of a man... Well, you haven't tried my ultimate "salad on roids" yet! Keep in mind that this salad is not low in calories. It's not low in fat. It's not low in carbs. And guess what...that's the whole point! It's not low in anything, but it sure as hell is HIGH in everything under the sun that's good for your body... just about every vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, and phytonutrient on the planet! And that means your body will receive all the nutrition it needs to maintain optimal hormonal balance, function at it's highest capacity, keep your appetite satisfied for hours, and prevent any unwanted cravings. Keep in mind that last point... when you fill your body with all of the nutrients it needs on a daily basis, you pretty much totally eliminate cravings! This happens because your body is satisfied and doesn't need to crave any more food, because it has all of the nutrients it needs. I've experienced this myself. Years ago, I used to crave sweets ALL THE TIME. But now that I eat the balanced diet that I do these days, I can't say that I've had a craving in at least 5 years! No joke. Alright, here's the special muscle meal plan recipe: The Ultimate Muscle Salad approx 1-2 cups spinach leaves approx 1-2 cups mixed leaf lettuce shredded carrots 1/2 of a ripe avocado, diced 2 hard boiled eggs, diced (preferrably organic, cage free) 3 Tbsp chopped pecans 1/4 cup dried cranberries top with homemade dressing made of balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and Udo's Choice Oil Blend (3/4 of total liquid should come from the vinegar) Mix it all together and you've got one delicious and ridiculously nutritious salad. For an extra shot of antioxidants, wash it all down with some homemade iced green/white/oolong tea lightly sweetened with the natural sweetener Stevia or a little touch of raw honey. Alright, now let's look at the approx macronutrient breakdown: Prot: 23 g., Carbs: 48 g., Fiber: 12 g., Fat: 45 g., Calories: 650 Now before you throw your arms up in disgust and call me crazy for recommending such a high fat, high calorie meal, keep in mind to scale back the portion sizes for your own caloric goal. The portions above are simply the portions that I use considering that my maintenance caloric intake is around 3000 calories/day. If your maintenance is 2000 calories/day, then scale back the portions accordingly. Also, I don't care about the high fat content of this meal... because every last gram of the fat in this meal is VERY healthy... from the pecans, the olive oil, the Udo's oil, the fresh avocado... and yes, even the fat from the eggs is good for you! How about the carbs? Well, out of a total of 48 grams, you've got 12 grams of fiber. That's a pretty good ratio. Also, the healthy fats and protein in this meal will slow down the carbohydrate digestion, giving you a healthy glycemic response and steady controlled blood sugar. Alright, so you're probably also wondering why there isn't a larger amount of protein. After all, protein is all the rage with bodybuilders, right. Well, actually 23 grams isn't too shabby, especially considering 14 grams of that comes from the highly bioavailable protein from the hard boiled eggs. Also consider that this meal has a whole lot of healthy fats, which increases the utilization of your protein. This happens because your body does not need to use your protein for energy, and can instead use it for muscle building or maintenance, and all of the other various functions that amino acids are needed for in the body. Overall, with this meal plan, you've got a great mix of healthy fats, good fibrous carbs, quality protein, and a huge diversity of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other trace nutrients.

         
    Training muscle fiber types

     

    Copyright 2006 Raymond Burton Rep ranges are a funny thing. Lots of people talk about doing this many reps for this many sets but really have no idea why they are doing that particular number or the effect it will have on their bodies. Generally, lower repetitions like 3-8 are most productive for creating absolute strength. Repetitions in the medium range like 10-20 produce anaerobic strength endurance. The higher rep ranges between 20-40 produce aerobic strength endurance. The reason for such varied ranges even within a category of rep range is because people will take varying amounts of time to complete the rep. We know that it is not the actual number of reps but the time that the muscle is under tension that really causes the adaptative response. So if you do 4 reps that take 6 seconds each and I do 6 reps that take 4 seconds each, we have both worked in the 3-8 range and caused that adaptation response that would be caused by putting a muscle under 24 seconds of tension. Now on to fiber types. There are actually 3 major types of muscle fibers in the body that we are concerned with. Type 1, type 2a and type 2b. Some people have natural tendencies to do well at certain activities more so than others and this is because of the ratio of one muscle fiber type to another, among other things. Type 1 muscle fibers (or slow twitch muscle fibers, sometime called red) are your endurance muscle fibers because they are very resistant to fatigue and injuries. The sad part is that their ability to produce power is very low also. Type 2a muscle fibers (fast twitch muscle fibers – intermediate - sometimes called white) are much larger and stronger than type 1 muscle fibers. These fibers have a high capacity for glycolytic activity and can produce high force output for longer periods of time. Type 2b muscle fibers are the extreme end of the power scale. These are the survival fibers. The whole purpose for 2b muscle fibers is to allow enough power and strength to survive emergency situations. Sixteen percent of an inactive persons body is 2b fibers. Now even though these fibers are powerful, they have no resistance to fatigue or injury. Fact of the matter is that if and when you need to use these guys, most untrained people will damage that tissue beyond repair. Now I've said all that to say this. Research has show that it is the white muscle fibers, the type 2a and 2b that give the greatest returns in size and strength when trained. These white muscle fibers are for high force output, that means lots of calories burned along with a tissue that requires alot of calories to stay alive. So what about the red muscle fibers, the type 1? Well your body becomes efficient at what it is needed for. So if all you do is only cardio and other high rep activities, your body is going to favour the development of type 1 muscle fibers and in the end rob you of your ability to achieve your maximum strength, size and power. What if strength, size and power are not your goals? Well not having at least some of those attributes will result in a supressed metabolic rate. That means you will not burn as many calories in a day. This means that if you are on a weight loss program, you need to work the type 2a muscle fibers in the 10-12 rep range in order to boost your metabolism and stay strong and healthy. Now the body can only handle increasing levels of stimulus in a particular area for a given amount of time. This is why in good programs you will find several totally differant workouts, each stressing a differant muscle fiber type for a given period of time. An individualized program has the majority of the workout time spent in the phase that best effects the goal that is trying to be achieved.

         
    Use superset to build big muscles

     

    If you have been lifting weights for sometime or have been reading bodybuilding magazines and journals, you would have probably heard of super setting. However, how often have you seen people super setting when weight lifting? If you did, did you notice those guys who were super setting were almost invariably the bigger boys. If you want to be big, then why didn’t you superset like them since you have seen that super setting can help you build big muscles? What is weight lifting superset? A superset is when you perform two exercises back to back with no rest in between the exercises. There are a few variations of superset such as, antagonistic muscle superset, pre-exhaustion superset and post exhaustion superset…..etc. We will discuss just these 3 of the more popular supersets in this article. • Antagonistic Muscles Superset An antagonistic super set is when you exercise opposite muscle group. Although they are opposite muscles, they actually support each muscle during your movements. For example, when you do dumb bell curls for your biceps, when you lower the dumb bells, your triceps are called into action as well. Similarly for the negative movement of a bench press, your back is working too like when you are doing the bent over row. So for example of an antagonistic superset on your, say chest and back day, do a bench press routine then follow up with a bent over row or vice versa. That will be one superset. Rest for 2-3 minutes and then proceed with the second set and so on. This will work the muscles involved more deeply than mere straight sets. • Pre-exhaustion Superset In a pre-exhaustion superset, you work on the same muscle group with an isolation exercise and then follow up with a compound exercise without rest in between sets. For example, still on your chest and back day, you work out with dumb bell flyes (chest isolation exercise) then immediately thereafter with a bench press (chest compound exercise). By performing with an isolation exercise first (flyes), you pre-exhuast the targeted muscles you are working on, which in this instance are your pectorals (pecs) and then hit your pecs hard again with a compound movement (bench press) that allows other muscles that are still fresh such as your deltoids and triceps to assist your pecs in the exercise. • Post – Exhaustion Superset Another version of super setting is the post-exhaustion method. It is the exact reverse of the pre-exhaustion. In other words, lift compound exercise first and then follow up with an isolation exercise for the same muscle group. It will allow you to lift heavier weight for the compound exercise because your targeted muscle group is not pre-exhausted yet. Vary each of these various forms of superset every 2 – 3 months and watch your muscles explode with big massive muscle growth.

         
    Want to build big muscles here is how to gain muscles fast

     

    Want to build Big Huge Muscles? Then you must Squat! The Squat will build big muscles on your entire body frame. There are 3 types of people in this world. First, there are those that make things happen. They calculated and know very sure what they want, then they take action and get it no matter what happens. They single mindedly pursue their ambition and they will ultimately succeed. In bodybuilding, they want to grow big and strong with big huge muscles. They SQUAT and squat and squat again. Have you ever seen anyone who is big, have huge muscles and have a well proportioned body like a Greek god who does not squat? Never. Then there are those who watch things happen. They will savor the world around them. Then say, we will see what happens next. If it works, well we will decide if we are gonna do it. These are the majority of the average Joes. They want to grow big muscles and be strong and muscular but are reluctant to make the effort to include the squat in their workout routine. Even if they do, they will do it haphazardly and will give up before they achieve their objectives. Then the excuses will flow. "Squats are too hard on my knees" or "Doing squat will stunt your growth" or "Squats are for my back" or "I just want a well toned body." Excuses from sour grapes. That is why average joes just remain well... average. We will debunk those excuses later in this article. Finally there are those that are always saying "Omigosh! What happened?" Needless to say, these people are the ones oblivious to what is happening around them. They will walk leisurely on a treadmill reading a book at the same time when others are raising their heart rates to improve endurance and burn fats. They are the ones doing dumbbell curls after dumbbell curls when others are doing bench presses, dead lifts and squats. They are the ones who ask the champions why the champs are growing biiger muscles and getting fitter all the time whereas they are at the gym longer, more regular and yet not achieving any result. They will take note of the advises and the next time you see them, they are back to what they were doing. Reading that confounded book on the treadmill. They actually expect changes to take place by doing the same things. How is that possible? Then they will say, "Ah... but you are just lucky to have good genes!" What nonsense! To build muscles fast and big, you must SQUAT! The squat is often touted as the king of exercise and is grouped together with the dead lift and bench press, collectively called the Big Three for power and muscle mass building. If you want to build big muscles and enjoy a symmetrical physique, you must squat. Period. In most gym, the squat rack is there collecting dust. Why? Because most people think that their legs will be hidden by their pants. Why bother? How dead wrong they are. Wait till you see them in their shorts or swim wear. You will see Spiderman ..er ..I mean spider legs. Another reason why people avoid squatting exercises is because the squat work on many major muscles and is grueling work. When you perform squats correctly, you will huff and pant, wheeze, head spinning woozily, see stars, sweat profusely and your entire body will be screaming for you to stop. Of course the exercise is brutal! You are working out about 75% of your entire muscular structure including your shoulders, traps, back, gluteus, hams, calf, abs and many other synergistic muscles in a single exercise, isn't that supposed taxed your strength, endurance and your cardio health? Isn't that the best exercise? Isn't that why the results from squats will be astounding? As an added bonus to building big muscles , you will be burning fats like crazy since the squat, given the intensity placed on your body, your metabolism zooms straight up! If your body fat ratio is high, it will help you lose body fat. And because of the degree of difficulty, squats also force your body to release higher amounts of growth hormone , resulting in new muscle growth in all areas of your body. In addition, squats will cause a spillover effect, enabling you to gain strength in all of your other lifts. Awesome! It just befuddles me why, with all these benefits, people are avoiding squats like a bubonic plague. As for the hard gainers, squat will pack on pounds after pounds of muscle on your entire body! So hard gainers, you must squat to grow big! If you squat with the correct form, heavy weight and sheer intensity, you will see good results in just weeks. Not just your lower body. Your entire frame will take on a different form. A total body transformation. Guaranteed! You must know that since squats are performed with heavy weight, so correct form and techniques are critical and cannot be compromised. Anything less, you may sustain serious injury. However, when you adhere to the proper technique, you will be very safe and will enjoy all the benefits that come with the squat. Don't cheat yourself and substitute squats with leg presses. They are of a different class! Debunking Excuses! It's bad for the knees - In fact, it's on the contrary. Just like the muscle tissue in your body strengthens when exposed to stress, the tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues in your body will also thicken in response to weightlifting. That means, it actually improve knee health when you squat. It also strengthens all the muscles around your knee and thus providing your knees with support when the muscles are strong and less stress is placed on the knees on your day to day activities. I know. I used to suffer from knee pain until I started squatting and now, my knees are in perfect health that I can even play competitive soccer. Knee problems only occur when you squat improperly like resting at the bottom of the movement or letting your knee protrude over your toes. It's bad for my back - For the same reasons about strengthening your tissues, squats also exercises your lower back. When done in correct form, it actually builds strong muscles on your lower back and not only correcting you from bad posture that results in a bad back, it may even give you a healthy strong back. Again, it will only hurt your back if done in poor form like bending forward or doing it with a rounded back instead of arching it during the movement. It will give you high blood pressure and bad for the heart - Sure, your blood pressure will rise as your heart will beat faster from the exercise. That is only temporary and not dangerous unless you already have those problems in the first place. Other than that you are actually exercising your heart and cardio vascular system to strengthen it. How can that be dangerous? Don't most exercises elevate heart rate and increase blood flow? Then they should ban the treadmills and close all swimming pools! Do you buy that nonsense? So, now that you know that squat is the king of bodybuilding exercises, are you the type that makes things happen or are still contend to be wondering what the heck happened?

         
    Want to own a muscular greek god body

     

    If you are clueless at the gym and yet hungry for plain, good 'ol professional advice to help you on the road to that sculpted physique of a Greek god, fret not! All you have to do is to have a solid commitment, use the knowledge gleaned from this article and you will attain the body you want pronto. But remember to warm up and cool down, as well as stretching before and after each session; Or even better, after each set for better muscle recovery and prevention of injuries. Use Free Weights instead of Machines More Often Machines will have its uses, but for a start, concentrate on free weights. That means work almost exclusively with barbells and dumb bells. Free weights recruit many stabilizing muscles for balance and control. That means you will work a lot more muscle parts other than the intended ones. That will give rise to little bumps, striations and definitions all over your body instead of one huge lump of muscle on your intended muscle. Because of the extra stimulant created, your muscles grow faster too. Why else do you think all professional body builders almost exclusively use free weights? Compound Exercises Instead Of Isolation Exercises Use as many compound exercises as possible to your workoutspound exercises are exercises that involve 2 or more joint movements. Because they utilize more joints, that means greater muscle mass are involved. Greater muscle mass means heavier weights. Heavier weights means greater muscle gain. Some excellent compound exercises are the Squat, Deadlift, Chin ups, Dips, Bench press, Barbell Press, Lunges, Bent-Over Barbell Row...etc. Train with Intensity You must train intensively like a mad man for your muscle to grow. Try to do more reps or add more weight than the previous session or your muscles will think, "Ah... we've done that. Nothing new, so no need to grow bigger and stronger." Because of this, it is important that every time you train hard, you give your body time to recover as it has suffered strains and actually sustained many small scarring. Your muscles grow when you rest, especially when you sleep and not in the gym. So sleep at least 8 hours a day. Also, do not train everyday or work the same muscle group more than once or twice a week. If your training was vigorous enough, do no more than an hour per session. Try not to do cardio work on the same day as your weight lifting work. In fact, during the muscle building phase, you should do less cardio work as aerobic exercises burn muscles. You can increase your cardio work when we come to the cutting phase, to lose fats and gain rippling definition. Correct Technique And Form Everywhere, everyday, you will see people using wrong form and technique when training with weights. This not only compromises your growth, it will also make you susceptible to injuries. Wrong form occurs usually when people try to lift weights that are too heavy, whether out of vanity or ignorance. As a guide, always lift with strict focus on the muscle you intend to build for that particular exercise. Feel it contract and extend. Lift the weights deliberately and slowly. Never ever swing your weights up especially when doing bicep curls or the military press. Lower the weights slowly, taking about 3 seconds instead of letting gravity pull the weight down. You must fight gravity to stimulate the muscles, if not, half of your effort is going to waste. Another common mistake is when people arch their back when they are doing their bench presses. By arching your back, you are using your spine to press the weight up. Your back must be pressed against the bench at all times for the exercise to be effectively working on your chest! However you MUST arch your back when doing squats and deadlift. With some exceptions, as a general rule, if you can lift a weight in good form for more than 10 reps, it is too light. Conversely, if you can't lift it more than 5 times in good form, it is too heavy. To Grow Fast and Huge, You Must Perform Lower Body Exercises! This is what most people don't realize. Your lower body makes up 60-70% of your musculature. If you don't train them, not only will you look spider-legged, your entire body will not grow as quickly and as large. Don't think that you can hide those skinny legs in your pants! Most people do not train their legs because squats, dead lifts and lunges can be very grueling exercises. But it is precisely because of such intensity that you will produce more growth hormones when you sleep and overall muscular development is stimulated. EAT and EAT Correctly Losing weight and building muscles cannot happen at the same time although there are methods to do so and will be too technical to describe here. To lose weight, you must have a caloric deficit. To build muscles, you must have more calories, period! So do not be afraid to eat. Have plenty of protein, moderate complex carbs and some good oil like Omega, olive, flaxseed, fish etc., especially immediately after a workout. That is when your body is most nutrient hungry and will absorb whatever you eat very quickly. The longer you delay eating after a workout, the less effective it will be. Even better, take quick absorption protein shakes and high glycemic carbs during this time. The carbs will induce insulin production almost immediately and shuttle the protein to your muscle cells very quickly. Eat about 2 gm of protein for each kg of your bodyweight or 1 gm per pound of your body weight. Spread your meals evenly throughout the day about 3 hours apart. It is advisable that you have supplementation of Creatine, Protein, Multivitamins and L-Glutamine. Yes, you will probably gain weight, but a lot of it will be muscle weight because muscles are heavier than fats. You may also gain some fats because of the extra calories consumed. Don't worry, it is a happy problem because the more muscles you have, the easier the fats are to shed when you come to the cutting up phase to get those rippling definitions. Easy isn't it? Now that you know the facts, the rest is up to your determination.

         
    Weight gain myths

     

    The vast majority of myths about weight gain are mostly passed down from "gym talk" and so-called experts who know nothing about the body's workings. Myths that lead to wasted time, frustration and if are taken blindly as truth, can really set back your progress in the gym. Don't believe everything you hear in the gym when it comes to exercise and weight gain, do the research yourself. Simple, basic principles apply to all weight and muscle gain such as progressive overload, variable frequency of reps and high intensity workouts. Lets take a look at some of the most common weight gain myths. High repetitions burn fat while low repetitions build muscle. Progressive overload is needed to make muscles bigger. Meaning that you need to perform more reps than you did for your last workout for that particular exercise. If you perform the same amount of reps at each workout nothing will change on you, also if the weight doesn’t changes on the bar nothing will change on you. You need to become stronger. Definition has two characteristics, muscle size and a low incidence of body fat. To reduce body fat you will have to reduce your calories; the high repetition exercise will burn some calories, but wouldn't it be better to fast walk to burn these off? Better still; use the low reps to build muscle, which will elevate your metabolism and burn more calories (less fat). Vegetarians can’t build muscle. Yes they can! Strength training with supplementation of soy Protein Isolate has shown to increase solid bodyweight. Studies have shown that athletic performance is not impaired by following a meat free diet, and people strength training and consuming only soy protein isolate as a protein source were able to gain lean muscle mass. Strength Training will make you look masculine. If it is not you’re intention to bulk up from strength training you won’t. Putting on muscle is a long hard slow process. Your strength-training regime coupled with quality food will determine how much you will bulk up. To bulk up you also require more food. Women don't produce enough testosterone to allow for muscular growth as large as men. By working out you can eat what ever you want to. Of course you can eat whatever you want, if you don't care how you want to look. Working out does not give you an open license to consume as many calories as you want. Although you will burn more calories if you workout than someone who doesn't, you still need to balance your energy intake with you energy expenditure. If you take a week off you will lose most of your gains. Taking one or two weeks off occasionally will not harm your training. By taking this time off every eight to ten weeks in between strength training cycles it has the habit of refreshing you and to heal those small niggling injuries. By having longer layoffs you do not actually lose muscle fibres, just volume through not training, any size loss will be quickly re-gained. By eating more protein I can build bigger muscles. Building muscle mass involves two things, progressive overload to stimulate muscles beyond their normal levels of resistance and eating more calories than you can burn off. With all the hype about high protein diets lately and because muscle is made of protein, it’s easy to believe that protein is the best fuel for building muscle, however muscles work on calories which should predominately be derived from carbohydrates. If I'm not sore after a workout, I didn't work out hard enough. Post workout soreness is not an indication of how good the exercise or strength training session was for you. The fitter you are at a certain activity, the less soreness you will experience after. As soon as you change an exercise, use a heavier weight or do a few more reps you place extra stress on that body part and this will cause soreness. Resistance training doesn't burn fat. Nothing could not be further from the truth. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue and has a role in increasing the metabolism. The faster metabolism we have the quicker we can burn fat. Cardio exercise enables us to burn calories whilst exercising but does little else for fat loss afterwards. Weight training enables us to burn calories whilst exercising but also helps us to burn calories whilst at rest. Weight training encourages muscle growth and the more lean muscle mass we possess, the more fat we burn though an increased and elevated metabolism. No pain no gain. This is one myth that hangs on and on. Pain is your body signalling that something is wrong. If you feel real pain during a workout, stop your workout and rest. To develop muscle and increase endurance you may need to have a slight level of discomfort, but that's not actual pain. Taking steroids will make me huge. Not true, strength training and correct nutrition will grow muscle. Taking steroids without training will not make you muscular. Most steroids allow faster muscle growth through greater recovery, while others help increase strength which allows for greater stress to be put onto a muscle. Without food to build the muscle or training to stimulate it nothing will happen. Most of the weight gain seen with the use of some steroids is due to water retention and is not actual muscle. Strength training won’t work your heart. Wrong!! Strength training with short rest periods will increase your heartbeat well over a hundred beats per minute. For example, performing a set of breathing squats and you can be guaranteed that your heart will be working overtime and that your entire cardiovascular system will be given a great overall body workout. Any intensive weightlifting routine that lasts for 20 minutes or more is a great workout for your heart and the muscles involved. I can gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Wrong. Only a few gifted people with superb genetics can increase muscle size while not putting on body fat. But for the average hard gainer, they have to increase their muscle mass to its maximum potential and then cut down their body fat percentage to achieve the desired shape.

         
    Weight lifting what every beginner should know

     

    Here are a few things that beginners should know about weight lifting. First you put good strain on your joints as well as your bones when you lift weights. This strengthens your bones. Strong bones protect our bodies against breakage and osteoporosis. Another important point about weight lifting is that as your muscles increase in size your body becomes more shapely and firm - more attractive. Weight lifting also helps you more vigorously perform your aerobic exercise, which in turn will increase your cardiovascular endurance and help your heart. The reason you are able to perform at a higher level is the weight lifting has increased your muscular strength, and therefore your ability to tolerate more intense exercise. Weight lifting also gives you nice after effects to your metabolism. By adding muscle to your body through weight lifting, you likely will increase your metabolic rate. If you increase your metabolism you increase the amount of fat burning enzymes in your body. This means you’ll burn more body fat even at rest! What a great bonus! When you lift weights you should find the right weight that allows you to do 8-12 repetitions of the same movement with the same weight. If you are able to repeat it more than 12 times the weight is too light for you. If you can't do at least 8 reps the weight is too heavy. This 8-12 repetition practice is called a set. A beginning weight lifter should only be doing one or two sets of any weight lifting movement at one time. Beginners often forget to breathe when they lift weights, which is dangerous because it can elevate your blood pressure. You should concentrate on inhaling on the eccentric or lowering phase of the lift and exhale on the concentric or lifting phase of the lift. When weight lifting, you should always work your largest muscles first. Smaller muscles get tired faster. If they tire too quickly they can't help you work your large muscles. The first things you are going to work are your chest, back, shoulders and thighs. Then you do weight lifting exercises for your arms, abdominals and calves last. If you’re new to weight lifting, I would suggest picking 6-8 exercises that covers all the major body parts above. Perform these exercises 2-3 times per week making sure you allow at least 48 hours between workout sessions, so your body has time to recover. Good Luck!

         
    What causes muscle growth

     

    In order for muscles to grow, three things are required: 1. Stimulus - exercise is needed to make the muscles work, use energy and cause microscopic damage to the fibers. 2. Nutrition - after intense exercise the muscles need to replenish their stores of fuel. 3. Rest - it is during the rest or recovery phase that the muscles repair the microscopic damage and grow. Muscle size increases due to hypertrophic adaptation and an increase in the cross section area of individual muscle fibers. Intensive exercise impacts more on the strength influencing fast twitch type II fibers, therefore the increase in muscle size is accompanied by greater strength. This will deplete the muscle's energy stores and cause microscopic damage to the muscle tissue. During recovery, these stores of glycogen and phosphocreatine will replenish from carbohydrates and creatine ingested as food or supplements. Amino acids supplied in the diet will trigger the protein synthesis that repairs the damaged muscle and lead to the creation of bigger muscle fibers. To achieve continuous improvement you will need to keep reaching for higher levels of training intensity otherwise the improvement process will grind to a halt. Fortunately, this is relatively easy to plan for provided certain basic principles and rules are clearly followed. Subsequent articles in this series will examine these principles in detail.

         
    What to eat to gain weight and build muscle

     

    Are you underweight and don't know what to eat to gain weight? Millions of dollars are spent each year on magazines, books, and weight gain supplements. Gaining weight does not happen overnight and requires a commitment from you, but does not have to be hard if you work out and eat the proper foods in large enough amounts. Numerous people are continually searching for the fastest ways to gain weight and don't know what to eat. If you truly want to learn what to eat to gain weight and maintain it, a diet rich in calories and protein combined with a regular weight-training regimen will help you accomplish your goals. If you are looking for the best weight gain supplement for you, take into account your diet and exercise routine before making a decision. Weight gain supplements can be very beneficial when used in conjunction with the proper diet and weight training routine. The major part of your calorie and protein consumption should come from the foods you eat. Substituting a weight gain supplement for a meal is never a good idea. Your body needs the natural nutrients found in lean meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, and carbohydrates. Weight gain supplements can be used effectively as a weight gain aid when they are used to supplement your diet, not replace part of it. A diet consisting of large amounts of protein, fats, carbs, and high in calories is essential to any weight gaining effort aided by weight gain supplements. Training with weights is necessary if you want to build new muscle tissue, and a weight gain supplement can be used after a workout, in between meals, or as a snack but should never replace a meal. Protein is a major component of any diet designed to add body weight. Lean red meats, fish, poultry, and eggs are excellent sources of protein. Several small meals per day containing large amounts of protein are crucial to your weight gaining effort. The question of what to eat to gain weight is not as complicated as some believe. Along with plenty of protein, fats and carbohydrates are a big part of any weight gaining diet. By avoiding sweets and empty calories, you will give your body the fuel it needs to add body mass and build new muscle tissue through the nutritious foods you eat at regular intervals during the day. If you are finding it difficult to stick to a weight gain diet, try eating five or six smaller meals per day instead of three large ones. Keep in mind that a piece of chicken and a baked potato is always better than a shake, bar, or pill. If you should decide to use a weight gain supplement, make certain you consume adequate amounts of food each day in addition to the supplement. Weight gain supplements can give you added protein and calories and may be especially helpful if used immediately following weight training. Always be certain your diet contains all the required elements and use weight gain supplements wisely. Learning what to eat to gain weight is a relatively simple task. Increase your calorie intake and make certain you are eating healthy, protein rich foods. This combined with weight training and plenty of rest should allow your body to bulk up effectively and help you maintain your new body shape.

         
    When is best time to eat protein for building muscles muscle growth

     

    Every bodybuilder and fitness enthusiast knows that you must eat enough protein for muscle growth. Without the amino acids of protein, your muscles cannot grow no matter how hard and often you train your. Protein is the building block of muscles and there are no other nutrients to substitute protein for muscle growth. It is recommended that if you want to grow and build muscle mass, the rule is to eat one gram of protein per pound of your body weight per day. That is a lot of protein which many people cannot get in their normal dietary meals and protein supplementation is often necessary. Without eating enough protein, all your muscle building training in the gym will be futile. Such a waste isn’t it? So when is the best time to eat protein to optimize muscle growth? How and which type of protein should you eat to get spectacular muscular growth? •Eat protein first thing in the morning – After a good night’s sleep, your body is in a catabolic state. That means your body is burning your muscle for energy since your glycogen store is low. So eat quickly digestible protein such as whey protein the first thing in the morning even before you brush your teeth to prevent your muscle wasting away or catabolism. •Eat protein between your meals – To keep protein flowing in your bloodstream so as to feed your muscles continuously throughout the day, take casein protein in between your meals. Casein protein is slow to digest and as such will continuously release protein into your bloodstream to feed your muscles for many hours in between your meals. In this way, your muscles will be constantly receiving protein throughout the day. •Protein before/after gym workout – It is a known fact that eating fast to digest protein such as whey protein before your workout will promote muscle growth as your muscles are being fed as you training to build muscles. Then take whey protein again after your workout along with some carbohydrates to repair your muscle cells after you have damaged them during your workout. •Protein before bed – Since you will be going without food for many hours when you sleep and muscle building is at its optimum when you sleep, you must encourage your muscle to grow by eating casein protein before you sleep. As casein protein is slow to digest, it will continuously feed your muscles for as long as seven hours when you sleep and thus encouraging your muscles to build and grow. So now that you know when is the best time to eat protein and to encourage building muscles, follow these tips and see your muscles growing like you have never seen before.

         
    Whole foods vs shakes for muscle gain

     

    Copyright 2006 Jonathan Perez After many years of spending hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars, after getting sick on them, and after seeing NO KIND OF RESULTS from them, many have finally realized that they are WORTHLESS. Yet, many are still confused if the supplements that are sold as "Meal Replacements", "Weight Gainers", "natural supplements", and "amino acids" have some good use in substituting for some WHOLE FOODS. Surely you see them in just about every other page in every-single bodybuilding / fitness magazine. Everyone at the gym uses them. Go to any grocery store and they have them there too. Yes, even you have probably used them and / or are using them right now......... Shakes and supplements. Many different "meal replacement" powders and shakes, also known as RTD's, are sold as being a substitute for a real, whole food meal. The makers claim that they are "just as good, if not better, than eating a real meal". They claim to have higher amounts of protein, lower amounts of sugar, and add in ingredients such as BCAA's, Glutamine, Creatine, HMB, CLA, so on and so forth. They claim that your muscles need a high amount of this and that, and that you can't get those from just eating the right foods. ..... That's what the makers claim. First off, no supplement that is out on the market right now will build any kind of real, permanent muscle on your body, none! Not creatine (which makes you gain nothing but "water weight"), not glutamine, not HMB, not NO2, not any one of them. If you are skeptical, perform a test on yourself: For one month, don't change anything about your training routine or your eating habits. Measure your arms, your chest, and your waist with a measuring tape and fat calipers. Take one supplement, and only one. Use it for that month. Then take your measurements again. I guarantee you that your measurements will reveal that your arms or chest didn't get any bigger or vascular, regardless of what the weight scale says. Yes, some people report gaining 8-10 pounds of weight after one week of using creatine, but are those 8-10 pounds muscle? No! They are made up of water and / or fat. The measuring tape and fat calipers will reveal that to you. So, when a meal replacement shake or powder advertises that it is better than eating whole food because it contains all of these extra "muscle building ingredients", don't be fooled. Even if it actually contains those ingredients, they don't work anyway! Second, meal replacements claim to have a certain amount of protein grams, carb grams, and fat grams. Well, lately there have been several analysis done on many popular supplements, and it has been discovered that many of them do not contain the amount of ingredients as printed on the label!! Just a while back a report was written that a popular "protein bar", that claims to taste like Snickers, contained up to 7% less amount of protein than the label claims. And it contained much more sugar than stated. Many of these makers "skim" on the ingredients to bring the cost down of making those supplements, while lying on the nutrition labels, just to make a bigger profit! Third, the price. A meal replacement powder can cost you up to $3.00 PER PACKET, while it would probably cost you $1.00 or less if you were to eat the same amount of calories from real food. I don't know about you, but I rather keep my money in my pocket. Fourth, and probably the most important out of all, is that powders and shakes contain many ingredients that are down-right harmful to your internal body. In order to make these "meal replacements" into powders and to be able to be stored for long periods of time (for shipping and sitting on the store shelves), many chemicals and preservatives must be added. What do you think happens when you are constantly putting into your body foreign chemicals and preservatives, substances that are not from nature. Your body does not handle well those types of unnatural substances. Instead of making you gain muscle, all you will get is a BLOATED STOMACH, DIARRHEA, and EVEN FAT, since your body doesn't digest it well. How many times have you drunk a protein shake and 30 minutes later you start to get "gas"? That's your body's way of telling you that it cannot handle that shake. Also, "meal replacements" DON'T contain vital nutrients that are a "must-have" if you want to grow a healthy physique, such as vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, enzymes, etc. These powders don't have any of those things. Don't believe me, read the nutrition labels. On the contrary, whole foods are natural, they contain all of the vital nutrients that your body requires to get big and strong, they are much less in price, and they won't cause you to go running to the nearest toilet. Without a doubt, if you want to gain muscular weight, forget about those disgusting-tasting meal replacement powders and shakes, and eat real whole foods, just like our ancestors did back before the supplement industry came along with all of their lies.

         
    Why aren t i building muscle

     

    Have you ever asked yourself that question? Have you been going to the gym regularly for months and haven’t been able to put on any serious poundage? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time to take a step back and make some plans. Building muscle is not rocket science. There are four key factors that will mean the difference between building muscle or staying skinny. You have to ask yourself these four questions. Is my diet optimized for building muscle? It’s time to get out of the “3 meals per day” mentality. If you want to gain (or lose) weight you need to feed your body whole foods, six times per day. This means splitting your large meals up and eating about once every three hours. Not only is this good for your metabolism, but your body will use the foods instead of storing them as fat. Your six meals per day should consist of mainly complex carbohydrates and protein. You should aim for at least thirty grams of protein per meal. High protein foods include lean meat, chicken, fish, egg whites, cheese and milk productsplex carbohydrates are found in brown rice, brown bread and potatoes. Stay away from foods high in salt and sugar Should I be using supplements, and when should I be taking them? If you can afford supplements you should be using them. The basic three you should be considering are protein, carbs and creatine. Whey protein supplements are the fastest known way to deliver quality protein to your muscles. This makes shakes particularly effective after your workouts, when your body is craving protein for muscle re-growth. There are three key times that supplements should be taken. First thing in the morning, after your workout and before bed. If your diet is up to scratch you shouldn’t need supplements at any other time. Don’t use supplements to replace meals. Supplements are supplements, not meal replacements. Am I training hard and not smart? The biggest mistake the new lifters make is thinking that the more they workout the bigger they’ll get. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Two basic rules you must remember when it comes to weight training. First, quality is better than quantity. Second, compound exercises are the kings of building muscle. Compound exercises require at least two joint movements. Big compound exercises are the squat, bench press, wide grip pull up and seated row. These movements recruit many more muscles fibers to use to move the weight. This means more muscle groups are worked, the exercise is more challenging and the potential for growth is much greater. Generally you should be doing three compound exercises for one isolation exercise. For example your back/biceps workout might consist of wide grip pull ups, seated row, bent over row and standing bicep curl. You might think this is not enough work for your biceps? Wrong. Your biceps are worked heavily in all over these exercises; the bicep curl just finishes them off. The length of any training session should not exceed one hour. And you only need to train one muscle group once per week. This means a split routine should only need to be three days per week. In fact, most professional bodybuilders only train four times per week. Remember, it’s quality not quantity. Do I get enough rest and recovery time? When you workout you’re not building your muscles, you’re breaking them down. The reason why you looked “pumped up” when you’re in the gym is because your muscle tissue is swollen and damaged. Your muscles actually grow when you are resting. So in simple terms, no rest equals no muscle growth. So take it easy when you’re not working out. Ease up on the cardio. And make sure you get plenty of sleep. Sleep is the body’s number one time for building muscle. This is also why it’s important to eat before bed, so your body has the fuel to repair muscle in your sleep. Simple isn’t it? So you can see that despite what you read in magazines or on the web about building muscle, it’s surprisingly simple. If you get the four aspects I have mentioned in this article right, you will build muscle. If you’ve got any questions, I’m available on the forum on my site. See links in my bio.

         
    Why my muscles won t grow cortisol stress hormone destroy muscle tissues

     

    There are many reasons why your muscles won’t grow or why your muscle growth is retarded. One main culprit for your muscle tissue to in a catabolic and not in an anabolic state is the stress hormone called cortisol. This stress hormone, cortisol, is produced by your body when you are under stressful situations. Yes, any type of stress, whether they are mental stress, physical stress or just emotional stress will trigger off an increased in the production of cortisol hormones. A high level of cortisol is always a bane for bodybuilders and that in itself, is creating more stress. When you exercise or especially weightlifting body building exercises, you are placing a tremendous stress on your body. This in turn will cause the cortisol hormone in your body to rise to unacceptable level which may destroy your muscle tissues, bone density and causes weight gain especially abdominal fat. Ohhh...that abdominal fat that would not go away. This hormone hates your muscles and wants you to grow fat. It takes away protein from the muscles. However to be fair to this hormone, the cortisol hormone has its positive functions. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal cortex and is commonly known as a stress hormone because the level of cortisol in your body rises sharply when you are under stress. This hormone plays an important role in your body’s metabolic function, it facilitates cardiovascular function, carbohydrate metabolism and controls inflammation. After all, it is a steroid hormone. As more cortisol is being produced, your muscle tissue breaks down further since the amino acids from your muscle protein is being converted into glucose for energy. This hormone also blocks new muscle tissues from growing because it interferes in protein synthesis in your muscles. How to lower cortisol level? • Get enough sleep – Let your body recuperate from the day’s stress and let the body rebuild its wears and tears. A lack of sleep will put your body under further stress and thus increasing cortisol levels. • Avoid stress – Take up yoga, read a book, take a break from whatever you are doing. Learn meditation and breathing techniques to reduce everyday stress. Take a week or so break from your exercise routine after 6-8 weeks of regular training. As your body learns how to relax, the level of cortisol hormone will fall correspondingly. • Do not over train – Over training is a common issue amongst athletes of all types. This is especially so in bodybuilding and weight lifting. You are already damaging your muscles when you lift weights, don’t let cortisol hormones rob your muscles of the much needed proteins and preventing muscle repair and growth. Once your body and mind is free from stress, your cortisol production will be at a healthy level and you will once again see your muscles growing, provided that you are doing other things that are conducive to getting your muscles to grow.

         
    Why you should not try to isolate muscle groups when weight training

     

    Working as a fitness professional, there is one type of question I get all the time that shows that many people are missing the big picture regarding the benefits of strength training. This popular question usually goes something like this: "What exercise can I do to isolate my _______ (insert your muscle of choice – abs, quads, biceps, triceps, etc)?" It doesn't matter which muscle someone is asking about, they always seem to be asking how to 'isolate' it. My first response to this question is always – Why in the world would you want to isolate it? The first thing I try to teach my clients is that the body does not work well in muscle isolation. Rather, it works better in movements along a kinetic chain; that is, large portions of the body assist other portions of the body in completing a complex movement. In fact, there really is no such thing as true muscle isolation. There is almost always a nearby muscle group that will assist in some way with whatever movement you are doing. However, this article compares attempting to 'isolate' body parts via single-joint exercises to the much more effective strategy of performing multi-joint complex movements. When you attempt to 'isolate' muscles by performing single-joint exercises, you are actually creating a body that is non-functional and will be more prone to injury. Essentially, you are creating a body that is a compilation of body parts, instead of a powerful, functional unit that works together. Now if you really want to end up hobbling around in a body bandaged up with joint problems, tendonitis, and excess body fat, then by all means, continue trying to 'isolate' body parts. On the other hand, if you would rather have a lean, muscular, injury-free, functional body that works as a complete powerful unit to perform complex movements (in athletics or even everyday tasks), then you need to shift your focus away from muscle isolation. Believe me, focusing on how well your body functions will give you the side effect of a body that looks even better than it would have if you focused on muscle isolation. For example, take a look at the physiques of any NFL running backs, wide receivers, or even world class sprinters. Trust me when I say that these guys pretty much NEVER train for muscle isolation (their strength coaches wouldn’t be crazy enough to let them), yet they are absolutely ripped to shreds! Just look at guys like Maurice Green or Terrell Owens and tell me who wouldn’t want a physique like those guys. Another benefit to moving away from the 'muscle isolation' mindset to a more 'complex movement' mindset is that you will find it much easier to lose body fat. The reason is that by focusing more on multi-joint complex movements as opposed to single-joint muscle isolation, you not only burn a lot more calories during each workout, but you also increase your metabolic rate, and stimulate production of more fat burning and muscle building hormones like growth hormone and testosterone. Let's look at an example. The machine leg extension is a single joint exercise that works mainly the quadriceps, can potentially cause knee joint instability in the long run, and doesn’t even burn that many calories. On the other hand, exercises like squats, lunges, step-ups, and deadlifts are all multi-joint complex movements that work hundreds of muscles in the body (including the quadriceps) as a functional unit, create more stable and strong joints in the long run (when done properly), and also burn massive quantities of calories compared to the single-joint exercises.

         
    Workout without a gym

     

    We know that using free weights and machines is the fastest and most efficient way there is to improve your metabolism and strength, but for many reasons these may not be convenient or readily accessible to you. You may also have no access to a commercial gym, home gym or are on business trip, but there can be a solution, a strength-training workout without the need of expensive machines. As with any exercise, whether you are using your own body weight, machines or free weights, if the resistance doesn't increase, your muscles won't be worked to their maximum capacity and the stimulus these fibres need to grow will be missing. Exercises done correctly will build the lean muscle and increase your metabolism in the same way as performing exercises at a gymnasium, but without the time constraints and associated costs. These exercises can be easily done in a bedroom, hotel room, a park, school yard, ceiling rafters in a garage or in a doorway and all you have to do is use your imagination. There will always be a way to add more resistance to your workouts. Please remember: It doesn't matter where you are working out — at home, a hotel, or a park — always warm up properly before beginning your session, and cool down and stretch when you are finished. Leg Exercises Squats - They build muscle in the thighs, shape the buttocks and improve endurance. Position your feet about 13 to 17 inches apart or at shoulder width, keeping the back straight and your head up. If you want you can use something that will give you some support, i. e. a desk, bookcase, sink etc. Now squat down to where the tops of the thighs are parallel to the floor, hold for a second and then stand up, but don’t bounce at the bottom of the movement, use a nice fluid motion. Always exhale your breath as you stand up. Lunges – Stand straight in correct posture; now stand with one leg forward and one leg back. Keeping your abdominal muscles tight and chest up, lower your upper body down, bending your leg (don't step out too far). You should have about one to two feet between your feet at this stage, the further forward you step, and the more your gluteus and hamstring muscles will have to work. Do not allow your knee to go forward beyond your toes as you come down and stop where your feel comfortable (try not to let your back come forward) then push directly back up. Do all your reps on one leg then switch legs and do all your reps on the other leg. Back Exercises Chin-ups - Chin-ups are a great upper body workout, particularly targeting your biceps, deltoid and lat muscles. Use a doorway chin-up bar, ceiling rafters in a garage or grab the moulding of your door frame, position your hands with an under hand grip and hang down stretching the lats, slowly raise your body until your chin reaches the bar level. Pause a moment before slowly lowering yourself back to the starting position. Don’t swing or use momentum to get your body to the top, just use the target muscles. Doorway chinning bars remove from the doorway when you are not using them and can be put up and taken down in seconds. Bent Over Row - Take up a position with your right hand and right knee braced on a sturdy bed or some other flat surface that will provide a good support. Now pick up a dumbbell or something heavy that you can hold onto with your left hand. Visualize your arms as hooks and slowly bring the dumbbell or object up to the side of your chest, keeping your back straight, then lower the weight back down to arms length, no lower, on extremes, safe form only please. Concentrate on your back muscles. Reverse the whole procedure and do the exercise now with your right arm. Chest Exercises Push-Up - The push up is used for building chest, shoulders and arms. Lie face down on the floor with your hands about shoulder width apart and keeping your palms turned slightly inward. Now push-up until your arms are straight, lower and repeat for repetitions. To make it more difficult elevate your feet. Try placing the toes of your feet on a stable, elevated surface such as a bench, chair or a stair. Straightening your body, position your hands on the floor at shoulder width, lower your body until your chest touches the floor at the bottom, and then return to the starting position in a nice fluid motion. Dips - This exercise can be done between two sturdy chairs or other surfaces that provide stability. The dip is another great upper body exercise. It’s a compound movement as well and involves working all the muscles that the push up works. Keep your head up and body as vertical as possible. For the beginning of the movement, start at the top (arms fully extended) and lower yourself until your upper arms are parallel to the seat of the chairs, hold and then push up to the top of the movement until your arms are fully extended again. Keep looking straight ahead and don’t bounce at the bottom of the movement. Adding Weight Although the simple weight of your own body is enough resistance to provide an effective workout we need progressive overload (added resistance) to become stronger. So all we need to do is add some weight wherever we can find some. Because there are no metal plates and fancy machines to use it doesn’t matter because the body doesn’t care where it is as long as it's receiving resistance of some kind. You can use heavy books clasped in your hands. You can buy some cheap weighted dumbbells or ankle weights. A weighted vest will also allow you to add resistance for both chin-ups and push-ups. Try to buy one that will let you remove and add weight as you see fit. Also a backpack filled with books can be perfect for most of the exercises and is a cheap alternative. How about a couple of buckets and fill them with a certain level of water? As you get stronger fill them with more water. This is perfect because depending on the exercise, all you need to do is to increase or decrease the amount of water in the buckets for the required amount of resistance. To wrap things up… We know that using free weights and machines are the fastest and most efficient way there is to gain lean muscle and strength, but by performing the exercises in this article you’ll find that they will provide you with the same benefits as going to a gymnasium but without the ongoing costs and time constraints.

         
     
         
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