Showing posts with label bodybuilding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bodybuilding. Show all posts

Arm Exercises For Beginning Bodybuilders

Most people new to bodybuilding pay a lot of attention to building big arms, sometimes to the point of overtraining. Don’t forget, the arm muscles are brought into play during most exercises aimed at other body parts so care must be taken not to overdo things.

Having said that, the arms are complex body parts in their own right and deserve a properly focused exercise program. In basic terms the arm consists of three main muscle groups:

1. Biceps brachii – two muscles at the front upper arm that run from the elbow to the shoulders.

2. Triceps brachii – three muscles at the rear upper arm that run from the elbow to the shoulder.

3. Forearm – several smaller muscles that run from the elbow to the wrist.

There are seven classic exercises that will allow beginners to get off to a good muscle building start without overstraining their bodies. For all of the exercises that follow, use a weight that is light enough to allow between 10-15 reps.

Three biceps building exercises are recommended for beginners:

1. Standing barbell curl – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

2. Alternative standing dumbbell curls – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

3. Preacher bench curls – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Three triceps building exercises are recommended for beginners:

1. Dips – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

2. Close grip bench press – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

3. EZ bar lying extensions – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

One forearm building exercise is recommended for beginners:

1. EZ bar reverse curls – 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

As with all exercises you need to take care in scheduling specific body parts. To begin with you should incorporate your arm exercises into a program similar to the one suggested below:

Day 1: Biceps, Back, Abs

Day 2: Hamstrings, Shoulders, Abs

Day 3: Quads, Forearms, Calves

Day 4: Triceps, Chest, Abs

For the first couple of weeks complete one set but then add one set each week to a maximum of three. At the end of three months you will be ready to move on to more intensive intermediate level exercises.

The Importance Of Creatine In Building Lean Muscle

Creatine monohydrate can rightly lay claim to being the most popular and arguably most effective bodybuilding supplement currently available. The beauty of creatine is that it is 100% natural and occurs in many foods so it’s unlikely to be banned from any sports or competitions.

Let’s first establish what creatine actually is. In brief, creatine is produced naturally in our bodies to help supply energy to the muscles. It is produced in the liver, pancreas and kidneys before being transported in the blood to our muscles. It is then converted into phosphocreatine which is a powerful metabolite used to regenerate the muscles’ ATP source of energy.

From a bodybuilder’s perspective, creatine can significantly increase lean muscle mass quickly, improve performance in high intensity exercise, raise energy levels and speed up recovery rates. Creatine’s ability to raise energy in muscles is due to its muscle protein synthesizing action whilst reducing the breakdown of protein. This happens because creatine has the effect of super-hydrating muscle cells with water. It also improves muscle growth adding size and strength to muscle fibers.

Creatine is normally taken in two ways. The first involves loading the muscles with 20 to 30 grams of creatine per day for four to seven days. At the end of this phase maintenance involves a regular intake of 5 to 15 grams per day. The other method is more gradual in that it skips out the loading phase and simply involves supplementing with 5 to 15 grams per day for an extended period.

Two questions remain to be answered – does it work and is it safe? Creatine has undoubtedly been proven effective in recent years – over twenty scientific studies have concluded that creatine can increase energy levels and result in enhanced strength, endurance levels and recovery rates. As a training aid it therefore has many merits. In terms of safety, no study to date has shown creatine to be anything other than safe, provided manufacturers’ instructions

are followed.

 

7 Proven Ways to Increase Testosterone Levels Naturally

What is testosterone?
Testosterone is the dominant male sex hormone, responsible for muscle growth, weight loss, and optimal health.The brain regulates the production of the hormone by the testicles.
Despite knowing the importance of the hormone, recent research has uncovered that testosterone levels in men are now at there lowest, mainly caused by unhealthy habits.
Its because of this, that men have resorted to finding ways of increasing this hormone.
One conventional way is to take dietary supplements that claim to boost testosterone.
This article reviews 8 natural supplements that can help increase your testosterone levels.
1) D-Aspartic Acid (D-AA)
D-AA is a natural amino acid which stimulates the release of a hormone in the brain that is responsible for testosterone production.
It works in the central brain region by causing a release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone(LH).
These hormones stimulate the cells responsible for producing testosterone in the testicles.
Available Research
One experiment conducted on a group of men aged 27-37, examined the effects of consuming the supplements for 12 days.
The study found that 20 of the 23 men taking the supplement had increased their testosterone levels, by an average of 42%.
3 Days after the experiment, their testosterone levels still remained 22% higher.
Summary
D-AA may boost testosterone in physically inactive men or those with low testosterone. But, it does not increase testosterone in physically active men.
You can find D-AA online.
2) Vitamin D
What is it?
Vitamin D is a soluble fat, responsible for the regulation of the minerals, calcium and phosphorous. The skin forms vitamin D when exposed to the Sun.
Even though vitamin D primary function is to help maintain a proper bone structure. Research has unveiled that, it may also help enhance testosterone and other related health measures, such as sperm production.
Available Research
Results from a study conducted showed a close interrelation between Vitamin D deficiency & testosterone levels.
The experiment observed that the more time participants spent under the sun, the higher their levels of testosterone became (7).
To raise your levels of Vitamin D:
  • spend more time under the sun;
  • eat vitamin D rich foods, such as egg yolks, cheese, fatty fish like mackerel and tuna, etc;
  • take 3,000 IU of vitamin D3 every day.
You can purchase vitamin D supplements online.
3) Tribulus Terrestris
Tribulus (Tribulus Terrestris) is an herb, whose roots and fruits, have been used for various medicinal purposes for many years.
Available Research
Most of the studies that have been conducted on it, consisted of animal research, showing enhanced sex drive and an increase in testosterone levels.
A 90-day experiment conducted in men with erectile dysfunction showed that taking the supplement increased testosterone by 17% (8).
However, as with most testosterone boosters, Tribulus appears to only benefit individuals with low testosterone levels but does not appear to have any effects in individuals with normal levels.
You can find Tribulus Terrestris online.
4) Fenugreek
Fenugreek is a well known herb-based testosterone supplement.
Available Research
Most studies conducted suggest that it may work by reducing enzymes, responsible for converting testosterone into estrogen.
A 56-day study was undertaken on two groups of 15 young men. The experiment required all participants to perform resistance training 4 times/week, but only the participants in group B were administered with 500mg/day (9).
Results from the experiment showed that the level of testosterone increased in group B, while the group that only weight trained experienced a slight decrease.
It's also important to note that participants in group B experienced a sharper rise in fat loss & strength gain.
Fenugreek is also available online.
5) Ginger
Ginger is a well-known household spice that has played a significant role in alternative medicine for centuries.
Available Research
Research shows it may reduce inflammation, muscle pain and boost testosterone levels (10).
A 30-day intensive research conducted on mice discovered that ginger had a positive effect on testosterone levels and sex drive.
The results also demonstrated that ginger treated no clear organ abnormalities but increased testosterone and luteinizing hormone in mice with diabetes.
Another study involved 75 men with a fertility problem. The participants were administered with a ginger supplement for 3-months. The results obtained showed a 17% increase in testosterone levels.
The consumption of ginger on a daily basis is safe and provides numerous health benefits.
Ginger supplements are readily available online.
6) DHEA
DHEA is a naturally occurring steroid hormone in the human body.
It plays a role in boosting testosterone and regulating estrogen levels.
Available Research
Based on the press it has gotten on its health effects, DHEA has become a popular way and safe way of boosting testosterone.
Of all the supplements mentioned in this article, DHEA has the most outstanding & extensive research behind it.
A number of studies have unveiled that a 50-100 mg of DHEA/day can increase testosterone levels up to 20% when compared with placebo (11).
All in all, as with most supplements, the results are not consistent. Other studies used similar methods and found no effect. The bottom line is that DHEA will benefit individuals with low testosterone levels.
You can buy DHEA online.
7) Ashwagandha
Also known as Withania Somnifera is an ancient herb, that has been used for medicinal purposes in India since the 1800s.
Ashwagandha is mainly administered to patients for reducing stress and anxiety (12).
A 3-months study was conducted on a group of infertile men. They were each administered with a dose of 5 grams of ashwagandha/day. The results obtained showed a 10-22% increase in testosterone levels.
In addition, 14% of participants' spouses became pregnant.
You can buy ashwagandha online.
Healthy Testosterone Levels Are Crucial
Testosterone is absolutely crucial for many aspects of health and body composition.
Although a lot of supplements are now accessible, only a few are likely to be effective and safe.
Many supplements will probably have measurable results in individuals with low testosterone levels.




The Secrets to Building Muscle in Less than Ten Seconds


An Introduction to Isometrics
In 7 SECONDS you can develop new muscle tissue. That mean in less than 4 hours a year you can develop a whole new body adding anything from 12 25 lbs of muscle on to your frame while substantially reducing your body fat.
A statement like that seems unrealistic. Fantastic – a figment of a delusional comic book writer explaining how a superhero became incredibly strong. I wouldnt blame you for thinking that. I though the same and Im approaching it form the cynicism of a seasoned fitness instructor and personal trainer.
Theres just one little, teeny-tiny problem though. Its possible. More so that that its a reality for thousands of people everyday.
And no, theyre not on steroids or drugs or part of military experiment creating super soldiers. They are everyday people like you and me. They hold down 9-5 jobs and dont have time for exercise between the kids and mortgage payments.
So how are they doing it?
The answer is Isometrics and Im going to explain what Isometrics is and how you can start doing it as you read the rest of this article. Thats right. By the time you have finished this you will have completed two exercises, the first to trim and tone your waistline the second to tone and firm your chest.
Ready ?
Isometric Abs
1.Sit up tall and straight in your chair.
2.Breathe in deep and suck in your stomach as hard as you can.
3.Now tense your stomach hard as though bracing for a punch still keeping it sucked in
4.You feel that tightness, a slight quiver in the muscles? Good, thats the start.
5.Breath out tightly making an SSSSSSSSS sound. Youll feel your abs getting tighter.
6.As you breathe out crunch your abs really hard rotating your pelvis upwards and your rid cage inwards.
7.Breathe all the way out
8.Relax
How did that feel? If you did it right it should feel great. Yours abs will be warm, worked, feel relaxed and slightly tired. Now do it again and repeat until youve finished this article. Your abs will be tighter, firmer and more toned tomorrow morning then they are right now. Diligent practice of this one exercise will tighten and tone your stomach faster than 1,000 sit ups.
Now to give you something entertaining to read as your tighten and tone your stomach heres the fascinating and scintillating science behind Isometrics.
Iso (meaning the same) and metric (meaning distance) is a method of tensing the muscles without moving the angle of the joint they are connected to. The abs exercise above is an example of this. So is pushing against an immovable object. Try as hard as you can, tense every ounce of muscle fibre against something that cant move, youll feel youve done great workout and in many ways you have!
Back in the old school days of physical culture, the Victorian eras introduction to bodybuilding and strong men Isometrics was all the rage. Skinny weak sickly kids turned to tensing their muscles in a specific way and transformed themselves into well toned living Greek Statues, strong enough to press grown men over their heads with one arm. Their feats of strength astonished the men of the time and women marvelled at their physiques. Okay, they couldnt leap tall buildings in a single bound, or hold back a locomotive but they could easily walk up walls lift horse over head and in one demonstration lift a platform on top on which ten men were standing.
One such guy was Maxick. Maxick, born Max Sick was a very weak child from birth and was not supposed to live. But he fought on and survived. A young Max once saw a strong man at the circus and determined to be as strong as the Greek Hero Hercules (their equivalent of Superman). So little Max started lifting weights.
Fortunately his parent soon put an end to this as he was too weak and fragile to take the strain. Still determined Max began to experiment with his body. Tensing his various muscles as hard as could and learning to control each one individually. Soon Max started to get stronger, more muscular.
One day in his teens Max went in to a local gym, too young to join he just watched. Then on invitation from one of the chief physical culturists (an old school name for bodybuilders) tried to lift a weight. Of course they were expecting Max to fail and have a good laugh at his expense. Max out-lifted the strong man.
People were stunned. Max became a local celebrity in his home time, demonstrating feats of unbelievable strength and muscle control. He could make his muscles jump and dance with a simple thought. And lift seemingly impossible weights.
He travelled to England where he developed a reputation as being incredibly strong. It was here he teamed up with fellow strong man Saldo and developed his Isometric Training system called Maxalding. You didnt lift weights; you did Isometric Exercises where you tensed and relaxed your muscles, just like your abs.
How are they doing by the way? Pretty tired? Okay give it a rest. Instead lets try this one for the chest.
Isometric Hand Press
1.Stand tall and straight
2.Hold your arms out in front of your chest
3.Make a slight bend at the elbow, creating a triangle from the wrist to the elbows
4.Press your palms together
5.As you do so concentrate on making your chest as tight and hard as possible.
6.After a few seconds you should feel youre chest and arms shaking all over this is the muscles tiring as they work really hard this is Isometrics.
7. Hold this Position for 30 seconds.
8.Slowly release this is important, after intense contraction your body needs time to unwind.
Now how does that feel. Repeat it ten times as you scroll down.
The Maxalding system was an early whole body Isometric Training system. His students got stunning results, and they werent the only ones. Years later, a man named Charles Atlas achieved phenomenal fame as the Worlds Most Perfect Man while promoting an Isometric System he called Dynamic Tension. Its still around.
However time advances, people on the look out for new fads move on and Isometrics was forgotten until recently. With a new fitness and physical culture renaissance approaching people are turning back to the old methods. And science is discovering some amazing things.
Like it only takes 7 Seconds to stimulate new muscle growth.
That said, there is one small detail it has to be incredibly intense stimulus. Isometrics just happens to be the most intense exercise in the world and in a little as 7 seconds you can completely exhaust your muscles. The wonderful thing is it doesnt matter what your current level of fitness is, because the force you generate while doing Isometrics is in direct proportion to your current level. You cant really go too far. Isometrics is also incredibly safe because it does not require any weights (except at very advance levels) making it ideal for rehabilitation, seniors and everyone else too busy to get to the gym.
If youve followed the directions in this article you will have just worked out two of the biggest muscle groups in the body, the chest and the core muscles of abs. In future articles Ill explain a little more about some of the specific benefits of Isometrics and give you some more exercises, as well as reveal how it blowtorches fat, and strengthen your digestion system, your internal organs and even reverse the again process. For now enjoy, the feeling of a firm toned waist and a lean powerful chest. Practice these two techniques every second day and remember to breath correctly.







7 Costly Muscle Building Mistakes to Avoid top 7 reasons you are not building muscle

We hear loads of advice and guidance on what to do to build up muscle but much of it is conflicting. For that reason we are going to clear up a few things right now about what not to do to build up muscles. Here we go, 7 things not to do when trying to build muscle up:
Muscle-Building Mistake #1:top 7 reasons you are not building muscle
Train for more than 45 minutes. training longer than this can be counter productive as at this point a hormone is released that actually inhibits the muscle building process, train for less than this and the hormones are at the right level for building muscle.

Muscle-Building Mistake #2:top 7 reasons you are not building muscle
Follow a 'see food' diet. Often you hear that you should just eat as much as everything as you can. Well sure we need excess calories to build muscle mass but do you really think that stuffing yourself full of E numbers, simple carbs (sugars), fatty red meats, fast food and so on is going to benefit you long term. Of course not, stick to sensible nutritious foods and you will put on lean muscle mass and save your body from long term health problems too.

Muscle-Building Mistake #3:top 7 reasons you are not building muscle
Exercises that isolate individual muscles. That refers to exercises such as tricep presses that place focus on one individual muscle alone. Your time and energy could be put to use a lot better. Stick to multi joint exercises like presses, squats, pull ups and so on. These exercises stimulate muscle growth in more than just one muscle at a time.

Muscle-Building Mistake #4:top 7 reasons you are not building muscle
 Neglecting aerobic fitness. I'm sure you have heard that you should steer clear of aerobic stuff as it consumes valuable calories that could be put towards building muscle. yes this is correct but come on there is a sensible balance to be had. Sure get big, but do you really not want to be able to walk up a few flights of stairs without losing your breathe. In order to preserve long term health then do aerobic exercise 2-3 times a week and simply make up for this by eating more.

Muscle-Building Mistake #5:top 7 reasons you are not building muscle
Alter your exercises a great deal. You may know that variety ensures muscles keep growing, that is correct but naturally at the same time not letting your muscles establish an exercise rhythm can also limit your progress that you might otherwise make. Stick with an exercise for a couple of months before dropping it.
Muscle-Building Mistake #6:top 7 reasons you are not building muscle
Lift too often. Over training is probably the biggest cause for lack of progress. Two or three workouts a week will suffice for the majority of people.
Muscle-Building Mistake #7:top 7 reasons you are not building muscle
Stop trying. Too may people give in when there muscle growth diminishes. This is the exact time when you should be rising to the challenge and training with more intensity, paying attention to muscle building nutrition and showing determination..


Sports Nutrition In 5 Easy Layers

Glamour Of Nutritional Supplements:Sports Nutrition

Nutrition is a high tech business with millions of pounds of research being spent on the latest ergogenic aides, but for most people getting the basics of nutrition right will reward them with maximised sports performance, healthy weight loss and body, and a robust immune system. 

Unfortunately the basics on nutrition are often not met, being eclipsed by high tech products such as creatine, HMB, weight loss tablets such as Proactol, Zotrim or Alli, or the plethora of weight loss and fitness supplements that are marketed to us.A common mistake made by those looking for improved sports performance, weight loss or health is to look for a supplement to do the job. People concern themselves with exotic products rather than addressing the basics first.



Hierarchy Of Nutritional Needs:Sports Nutrition

Considering nutritional needs to be a hierarchy of needs is a good way to develop a successful nutritional strategy. You may be aware of food pyramids - the ones you learn in cookery at school, or the ones found on sites such as the Good Food Guide - but these have some fundamental flaws in them (for another blog post). Consider the pyramid to have a wide base representing the most fundamental of nutritional needs, and an narrowing towards the top representing nutrients that are gradually more specialist towards the top. The more specialist needs we see at the top should only be considered once the fundamental base needs have been met.

Base Layer 1 - The Fundamentals: Sports Nutrition

The basic needs of nutrition can be met by including a balance of the macronutrients carbohydrates, fat and protein. The balance will vary with your lifestyle requirements and body type. Essential to get the system working is water and fibre, both soluble and insoluble. These will largely be met if you consume lean meats, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish. Limit your intake of sugar and refined grains which are considered to be anti-nutrients and actually contribute no nutritional value apart from energy, yet use up resources in the process. Add protective and micro-nutrient rich foods such as variety of colourful fruits and vegetables. Try to include raw or lightly cooked foods as the nutrient content may become denatured by intense heat.

Layer 2 - Protection:Sports Nutrition

Part of life is oxidation, and this is part of exercise too. As a metal car rusts so do we, and when we talk of anti-oxidants we are usually considering ways of limiting or repairing the damage caused by the aerobic nature of our body functions - free radicals affect our health and well being. Once the fundamentals are established you can consider tweaking your micro-nutrient needs to include anti-oxidants that are essential in combating free radical damage to the body including immune system.Consider the fruit and vegetables you do consume according to their anti-oxidant content. 

The richer in anti-oxidants the better able to combat the oxidative stresses placed on the body by air pollution and intense exercise, both of which place damage on the cells of the body. Taking a broad spectrum multivitamin may add to the daily protection from free radical oxidation, and a regular intake of omega 3 oils, through foods or supplement form will also help.Below is a table of high antioxidant food types. Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) is a method of measuring antioxidant capacities in biological samples. 

The higher the ORAC the more antioxidants are available. (US Dept. Agriculture; Brunswick Laboratories; JACS)FOOD: ORAC UNITS PER 100G70% cocoa solid dark chocolate 13500Pomegranate 10500Dried prunes 5770Red delicious apples 4270Raisins 2830Kale 2410Blueberries 2400Garlic 2320Blackberries 2040Spinach 1700Brussels sprouts 1580Strawberries 1540Alfalfa sprouts 1450Broccoli flowers 1290Raspberries 1220Beets 1170Plums 949Red bell peppers 810oranges 750Corn 720Cherries 670Onion 560Eggplant 510Cauliflower 510Cabbage 480Potato 460Sweet potato 430Leaf Lettuce 410String Bean 390Carrot 340Yellow squash 280Iceberg lettuce 230Tomato 195Celery 130Cucumber 110



Layer 3 - Fueling For Sport - Real Food:Sports Nutrition

Now you have a good general diet, an availability of macronutrients and micronutrients and a consideration of how best to protect our body from free radicals for health and immunity, it is time to consider what and when is best to eat. Also an optimum hydration strategy will be useful for those performing exercise - whether for sports or weight loss.Fluid needs are closely linked to air temperature and humidity, plus the intensity and duration of your exercise. 

If exercising aim to begin fully hydrated - a guide is to keep your urine a light straw colour, and re-hydrate immediately post workout. If you weight yourself pre and post workout, add the mass of the fluid you consumed during the exercise to the difference between pre and post workout weights. Aim to consume 1.5 times this figure.Example; pre workout 75kg, post workout 74kg, drinks 500ml during workout = 0.5kg so a difference of 1.5kg. It is therefore advised to consume 2.25l fluids post workout.Fueling your sports from food is also essential. I recommend making a daily 500kcal deficit if you are trying to lose weight. 

If you use 1000kcal during a workout it is therefore useful to eat accordingly, so you do not have too much of a calorie deficit, and you do not overeat.If you are like me and love to eat carbohydrates it is best to consume them pre and post workout as you are highly insulin sensitive during and up to 2 hours post exercise, particularly if your training consists of high intensity intervals or resistance exercises. 

However for best weight loss I suggest you stick to whole grain and vegetable sources of carbohydrates, and avoid sugar.For athletes my advice is different in that you are not trying to create a calorie deficit. More focus is on recovery for the next session. 

You should therefore consume your carbohydrates during and after exercise as this is when your body will best use it - absorbing it like a sponge and maximising your recovery and boosting your immune system. If you burn 1000kcal in training aim to replace this with real food during your session - cereal bars, flap jacks and dried fruit. Post workout try to include protein with your meal, whether it is in a milk shake, bowl of cereal or meat and veg meal. Aim to consume a proper meal within 2 hours post exercise and have a snack within 15mins of exercise.

Layer 4 - Fueling For Sport - Sports Nutrition

Firstly I have to say that if you are after weight loss avoid sports drinks at all cost. They are essentially sugar and will do your weight loss efforts no good at all, will make it difficult to create a calorie deficit, and will make it difficult for your body to access fat stores for energy if an available source of sugar is present to use.My advice for athletes is to use sports drinks to enhance your sport. Although nutrition and hydration needs can be met through food and water such as dried fruit, cereal bars etc, there are benefits of using special sports drinks. They provide a ready source of easily assimilated energy which is essential if exercising for over 1hour in a bike or run race. The stress on the gastric system is minimised and in the case of electrolyte drinks the essential minerals lost in sweat are replaced. 

The lack of fibre in sports drinks is also beneficial in longer races such as marathon or long course triathlon.Recently a series of protein:carbohydrate drinks for use during training have been launched. These are particularly useful for sessions or races over 3h in duration as the branched chain amino acids (BCAA) that are catabolised in muscle during endurance events are 'saved' by the available BCAA in the sports drink.Recovery drinks are also a revolution in the quest for swift recovery. In the field, recovery drinks allow athletes to consume a meal within the 15minute window of opportunity bu drinking a 2:1 carbohydrate to protein drink, that often contains vitamins and minerals too. 

This 15 minutes post race or training session is so crucial due to the ability of the body to use the materials we provide it. We are highly insulin sensitive, and any protein we consume with the carbohydrate will have the extra insulin to deliver it to where it is needed - the muscle - where repair will take place and glycogen will be replenished.

Layer 5 - Ergogenic Aids:Sports Nutrition

If you have the first 4 levels of the hierarchy of nutrition needs sorted then it may be beneficial to invest in some supplements such as creatine, beta-alanine, caffeine or HMB, and depending on your sport each of these may or may not be beneficial. However if you have not fully adopted the principles of real food and sports nutrition there is no way that you will be able to rely on a supplement to realise your potential. Unfortunately as with everything, there are no short cuts and although it may take time and effort the gains you will get from real food and hydration will far outweigh the gains from the specialist supplements mentioned - even if their adverts promise otherwise. It is essential to walk before you can run when it comes to nutrition, and to get the building blocks in place before trying supplements is the key to success.