Monday, January 31, 2011

Reasons Why Kettlebells Will Help You Build Muscle in No Time

Do you want a whole body workout that will build stronger bones and muscles, help you lose weight and strengthen your core? If you said yes, then kettlebells are the way to go. Kettlebells are designed to strengthen and tone every muscle in your body. Kettlebell exercises are especially effective at increasing lean muscle mass. Additional lean muscle means that your metabolism will remain higher throughout the day, which in turn, will help you to maintain a healthy body weight.

Working out with kettlebells will help you to develop back muscles and to improve your posture, because by lifting and swinging the weights you are strengthening your core. You are also working out the muscles of your chest and back. Kettlebells work differently on the body than lifting weights. The handles on the weights are off center, which causes it to pivot when it is lifted. This pivoting action of the kettlebell works your arms, chest and back as you stabilize the weight. Your whole body is stimulated to act in unison to lift and control the weight.

The off-center weight of the kettlebell works against the body's center of gravity, which forces you to use your core and back muscles to remain balanced. Swinging the kettlebell back and forth between your legs stimulates almost every inch of your body. Your arms get worked out as you hold the weight. Your back and abdominal muscles work to stabilize your body. Start off doing a set of 12 swings while holding one kettlebell with both hands with your palms pointed toward your body. To work your core, swing the weight with first one arm and then use the other.

Doing kettlebell exercises can burn on average 20 calories per minute, and you can burn as much as 400 calories by working out for 20 minutes per day. You would have to run one mile in 6 minutes to in order to burn the same amount of calories. Kettlebell exercises will also increase your heart rate more than static weight lifting (dumbbells) for a superb cardiovascular workout.

You will notice that your back, abdominal and arm muscles will feel stronger within a week after beginning kettlebell exercises. Your body will become toned and your joints will feel more flexible.

Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and freelance writer. She has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College. Robin's goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for her clients. Her services include both in-person and online personal training at Lose up to 10 lbs with a 24-DAY WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE! Visit my website to get started today!

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Ab Muscles

Strong abdominals can turn an average athlete into an all-star; they provide support for throwing motions, stability and balance for jumping/lunging movements, and stamina for endurance sports. And ab perform an invaluable function in everyday life; they support the spine and allow us to bend. Combine conditioned ab muscles with regular stretching for the hamstrings and lower back, and you’ll have a strong, healthy spine and excellent posture. An amazing $80 billion is spent every year on medical care for the treatment of problems associated with low back pain. So even if you never want to wear a midriff-baring top, there are plenty of sensible reasons for you to take care of your ab.

The abdominal region is composed of four muscles groups: the rectus abdominis, the external and internal obliques, and the transverse abdominis. The chart below explains each muscle’s location and function. Knowing these simple facts about your anatomy will help you with visualization during your ab workout so you get the most out of each exercise.

Muscle: Rectus abdominis
Location: The rectus abdominis runs the length of the torso from the pubic bone to mid-chest.
Function: Used for flexion: pulls the torso toward the hips and vice versa; responsible for tilt of pelvis.
Sports: Good for sports requiring running, jumping, and lifting.

Muscle: External oblique
Location: The external oblique runs diagonally to the rectus abdominis; it forms a V when viewed from the front.
Function: Aids in twisting at the waist: left external is active when you twist to the right (and vice versa).
Sports: Improves performance in golf, boxing, tennis, baseball, and any other sport that require trunk rotation.

Muscle: Internal oblique
Location: The internal oblique lies underneath the external oblique and runs diagonally in the opposite direction.
Function: Aids in twisting the torso: left internal is active when you twist to the left, aiding the right external oblique (and vice versa).
Sports: Like the external obliques, good for sports that require rotation: skiing, paddling, rowing, etc.

Muscle: Transverse abdominis
Location: The transverse abdominis runs horizontally across the abdominal wall and underneath the obliques; this is the muscle you use to “suck in your stomach.”
Function: Primarily responsible for helping the lungs breathe: pulls the abdominal wall inward to force air exhalation.
Sports: Enhances performance in sports that require short, powerful bursts: football, karate, soccer, hockey, shot put.

Ab Muscles

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ab Workout #1

You may not think abs have much to do with strength, but they do. Abs are the counter-balance for your back. If you have weak abs, your back strength is bound to be hampered. Ab strength indirectly affects almost every muscle group in your body and remember, that well developed abs make you look good. Keep them strong.
Start this workout as always, by stretching.

After stretching, start with standing trunk twists. I recommend that you keep a broom handle or other stick behind the head while doing this exercise (rest you arms on the stick).

Do 3 sets of 50-75 reps. Each rep is a full rotation from left to right.

Following the truck twists, start with crunches. You are going to do three sets of as many reps as you can do. Make sure you push yourself, but use proper form. Do not rush through the reps, work them slowly.

After crunches, you are going to move on to ab-wheel rollers. If your gym does not have an ab wheel, they can be purchased at a sporting goods store for $10.00-$20.00. Use the wheel that looks like a lawnmower wheel with a bar stuck through it. You don’t have to spend a lot of money for this piece of equipment.

With the ab wheel, do 3 sets of 50-75 reps.

Following the ab wheel, do side stretchers. With side stretchers, you take a dumbbell in one hand and lean in the opposite direction. When you pick your dumbbell for this exercise, make sure that the weight is heavy enough that you feel it, but not too heavy. Do three sets of 25-50 side stretchers (make sure you work each side for the set).

The final exercise is going to be regular sit-ups. Do three sets of as many reps as you can. Good luck.

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Supplements: A Helping Hand to Build Your Muscles

Usually, men are interested for building their bodies due to three evident reasons. The first obvious reason is that a man with muscles easily can attract women. It is not only for the reason that a man full of muscles appears good to the women, but also because women would get the impression that the man is capable of physically protecting them.

Men, who have muscles, appear more confident. The gazes from the people around boost their ego, which results in increasing their confidence to show off their muscular bodies. They are aware that they are being stared as they possess great bodies.

It is known by everyone that exercise makes people healthy as the cholesterol and fat are being eliminated from the body while exercising. Men, who are constantly building their muscles, not only feel stronger, but also healthier. As the bodybuilders are healthier, they are safe from various diseases, such as heart diseases.

For the three reasons, men are mainly interested to build their bodies. Certainly, there is no shortcut to build the muscles. You need to exercise a lot and regularly, and keep the patience intact with loads of dedication in order to achieve the perfect body you dream of. There is a way to make bodybuilding easier. You are absolutely wrong if you are assuming that it is steroids. Steroids are not that healthy for you. The only way to build muscles quicker is by consuming supplements of muscle building.

Supplements of nitric oxide, which contain L-Argentine, arouse the production of the nitric oxide inside the body. When the nitric oxide inside the body is increased, the blood vessels get widened. Due to the widened blood vessels, the flow of the blood is increased. As the blood flow is increased, nutrients are capable to get to the muscles faster. Thus, the muscles can recover faster and the bodybuilder can continue working out with increased endurance and strength. Taking in muscle building supplements are not only effective, but also the safest. It is because nitric oxide is produced naturally inside the body. The supplements only help to increase its level. There are absolutely no side effects. You can easily find the muscle building supplements.

Now, bodybuilders can make bigger muscles quicker by exercising and taking muscle building supplements. They have become so popular that bodybuilders have nicknamed it as NO, which is the short form of nitric oxide.

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Ab Workout #2

Try this workout the next time you work abs.

Start with truck twists. Do three sets of 20 reps.

Next, move over to the lat pulldown station for pull-down crunches (with the rope device). Do 3 sets of 20-30 reps.

After pull-down crunches, move over to the mat for regular crunches. Do three sets of as many reps as you can.

Next, move over to the leg lift station and do three sets of 25 reps.

After leg lifts, do side stretchers with dumbbells. Do three sets (per side), 25-30 reps per set.

Finish off the workout with regular sit-ups doing 3 sets of as many reps as you can.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Best Back Strengthening Exercises To Turbo Boost Muscle Growth

Did you know that your back muscles are the second largest muscle group in your body? This fact makes it all the more important for you to put some serious effort in training and building your back muscles. The best back strengthening exercises will definitely pay off whether you are aiming to look better in your shirts or you simply want to burn up more calories. Developing your back muscles can even help you increase your overall functional strength and develop good posture.

Specifically, the best back strengthening exercises can help you easily pick up any heavy object from the ground, especially when a strong back works in unison with a strong pair of legs. A stronger back will also allow you to move more easily in any direction, but most especially when you need to pull yourself up. Finally, working your back is a very good way of correcting any muscle imbalance you may be experiencing as a result of focusing too much on chest exercises. What's best is that back strengthening exercises help you burn as many calories as you do when exercising your legs.

Before we discuss what the best back strengthening exercises are, it may do you good to familiarize yourself with the anatomy and functionality of your back muscles. This way, you will have a better understanding of why such exercises are considered the best for back strengthening. For our purposes, we will focus the discussion on the middle and upper back.

Even with your shirt on, you can still see the two major muscle groups in your middle and upper back. These muscle groups are known as the latissimus dorsi (lats, for short) and the trapezius (also called traps). The lats runs from your armpits to your waist. This is the muscle group you see when people strike a lat spread bodybuilding pose. The traps are those muscles that start at the base of your skull, run through both sides of your neck as well as above your shoulders and then extend in a diamond shape to the middle of your back.

Another muscle, known as the levator scapulae or scapula, works in conjunction with your lats and traps. Now, you will recognize that an individual is serious about training his back muscles when he appears to have no neck because his traps are fully developed. If a person has flat traps, it usually means that he does not spend much time in free weight exercises such as deadlifts, barbell rows, and barbell shrugs. Such a pity, since these are counted among the best back strengthening exercises.

Your back is also composed of some smaller muscles which are secondary to your lats and traps. These muscles are the teres major, teres minor, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and rhomboideus or simply rhomboids. They are stimulated when you perform vertical and horizontal training exercises for your lats. The serratus is another back muscle that is also visible from the front, as it wraps around your body. Many people wish to train this muscle directly and the best back strengthening exercises for that are dumbbell and barbell pullovers.

Now that we have sufficiently discussed the anatomy of your back, it's time to talk about its functions. The primary function of your lats is to pull your arm down towards your pelvis. Subsequently, when you perform back strengthening exercises with your arms in a fixed position such as pull-ups, the function of the lats is to bring your body up towards your arm. The lats serve the same function both times, except that it works from opposite directions. Your lats also serve to keep your torso stabilized during movements like the flat bench press and the overhead press.

For its part, your traps facilitate the elevation of your scapula. This function is best demonstrated when you shrug your shoulders. It also serves to facilitate scapular adduction in rowing and scapular depression in performing pull-downs. The traps often work in conjunction with the lats as well as the smaller muscles of your back, especially when you perform rowing and pull-down movements.

Now that you know more about the anatomy and functions of your middle and upper back muscles, you're ready to learn what the best back strengthening exercises are. Here are the top three exercises you can do to develop your back muscles:

1. Bent-over Barbell Rows

Start this exercise by standing on a box with a weighted barbell. It is necessary to stand on a box so as to prevent the barbell from hitting the floor when you bend over. Take a shoulder-width stance for conventional barbell rows.

To start the movement, pull the bar up until it touches your chest. Make sure that the movement is controlled by your back muscles rather than your arms. Keep your head up, your elbows tucked in, and your back straight when you pull the bar up and be sure not to bounce it on your chest.

Next, keep your head up, back straight, and knees slightly bent as you slowly bend over until your upper body is positioned less than 45 degrees to the floor. Get as close to parallel with the floor as you can. Make sure that the weight hangs down from your arms directly below your chest and that your palms are facing towards you. Feel free to use some chalk for this exercise, but definitely NO STRAPS!

2. Chin-ups and Pull-ups

Set up for these back strengthening exercises either by standing on a box or simply jumping up to reach the bar. Grip the bar with your palms facing away if you are doing pull-ups and with your palms facing towards you if you are doing chin-ups. Furthermore, your hands should be a little more than shoulder width apart for pull-ups and a little less than shoulder width apart for chin-ups.

The movement starts when you pull yourself up until your chin goes over the bar. Be sure to keep your head up and pause for about half a second at the top of the movement. Lower yourself back down slowly until your arms are about 99% straight; be careful not to bounce upon lowering yourself.

If you are unable to complete the movement required for these exercises, you might want to try using assisted pull-up machines until you become strong enough for free weight pull-ups. And when you can already do more than ten pull-ups effortlessly, it may be time to try weighted pull-ups and chin-ups.

3. Barbell Shrugs

You can start this exercise either by deadlifting the barbell directly off the floor or unracking it at thigh height from a squat rack or power rack. Grip the bar with your palms facing towards you and then unrack the weight or lift it off the floor until it hangs to mid-thigh. Be sure to always stand straight with your head up and your knees slightly bent. Shrug your shoulders straight up as high as you can and try to touch your shoulders to your ears. Hold this position for half a second and then lower the weight slowly back to mid-thigh.

This is one of the back strengthening exercises where it is okay to use straps. However, you'll want to refrain from using an alternating grip. Take note as well that chalk sometimes doesn't work well with this exercise, especially if you are using a much heavier weight than you usually deadlift.

Now that you know what the best back strengthening exercises are, you need to learn how to integrate them properly into your regular workout routine. You will need to ensure a balanced strength training program so as to reap the full benefits of these exercises.

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Basic Ab Exercises

Make sure the lower back stays well supported. Relax for a moment between exercises. Allow enough time for a good stretch/cool-down period when you are done.

Basic Crunch
Lay down on the floor, knees bent, hands resting on your thighs, feet and lower back pressing into the ground. Squeeze the abdominals as you lift your upper body toward your knees. Lower. Your hands will naturally move up and down your leg. Exhale up, inhale down. Repeat 20 times.

Reverse Crunch
Press the hands into the floor at your side. Raise your legs so that they are perpendicular to the ground. Now, lift your buttocks an inch or two off of the floor, keeping shoulders to the floor. Lower slowly, concentrating on the lower ab region. Repeat 15 times.

Lay on your back, knees bent. Use your hands to support the head, thumbs right behind your ears. Keeping your right shoulder on the ground, twist the left side of your body up and over, pointing your left shoulder toward your right knee. Lower. Repeat 15 times each side.

Crunch with Alternate Twist
Same position, knees bent, hands supporting the head. Crunch up; twist your body to the right; twist your body to the left; and crunch forward again. Release, but do not lower your head all the way to the ground. Repeat this series of fluid movements 10 times.

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The Best Way for Women to Get Six Pack Abs

Exercising to get fit is no longer enough for several women; it's the six pack abs that they are looking for. So for the thin and fat alike, new diet regimes and exercise routines targeting the rectus abdominus and obliques are favorite picks.

Many women find that even after months of low carb diets, thousands of crunches and strict exercise regimes, the six pack abs they were hoping to see were nowhere in sight. While you might see significant weight loss and overall improvement in your health with these measures, getting the to-die-for abs takes some professional help and guidance. The tips listed below are aimed at helping you adopt the right approach to getting a great body.

Before you begin on any new diet or exercise regime be sure to consult a doctor to assess your fitness levels. One of the things dieters overlook is the importance of dietary supplements in enhancing the effects of their exercise routines. The rigorous exercise requirements for getting six pack abs deplete the body of essential nutrients. Supplements are a good way of putting them back into your body. Supplements like Chromium help control sugar cravings while Vitamins C and E help flush out toxins generated during vigorous exercise.

Abs exercises are the surest way to train those six pack abs. Be sure to give adequate rest and exercise in proper form. While you need to do these exercises at least 3-4 times a week and for at least 20 minutes each time do not over train. Give adequate rest between exercise days but during the exercise routine itself try to minimize the rest time and this will give you a more intense and effective routine.

Crunches, Twisted Crunches, Seated Jackknife, and Dumbbell Side Bends are a few of the best abs exercises. Be sure you do at least 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps each. Weight training is also an essential part of an effective six pack abs routine. Weight training helps build muscle which burns more calories than fat. Ensure that you do not do anything drastic with weights as this can lead to injuries. Progress gradually from smaller weights to heavier ones for a sustained improvement in muscle mass. Aerobic exercises must be done to keep losing weight and conditioning your body for an effective six pack abs routine. Do them on a stationary bike or treadmill or jog, walk or swim for a natural way.

Along with the above tips, include plenty of water, sleep and good nutritious food including lean proteins and fiber into your healthy six pack abs workout routine. Check out the PX09 work out reviews and PX09 routines for a great way to get that perfect abs.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Basic Stretching Exercises

Stretching is needed at the beginning of exercise to prepare the muscle for the exercise it is about to take part in. These stretches will help prevent damage to the muscle, and help with your suppleness. Stretching after the workout helps straighten the muscle fibres, helps clear out any build up of by products from exercise and also makes you feel good.

The stretching program is as just as important as the exercise workout itself. These stretches are to be done before and after your workout,or even when you wake up and go to bed. Hold each stretch for around 10 seconds breathing freely. Ensure that you do not bounce the stretch, keep the limbs nice and still. Relax into the stretch until you feel a mild tension on the muscle,there should be no pain.

Reach - Ensure you keep your knees slightly bent to protect your lower back. Reach your hand up in to the air.

Triceps - Knees bent, gently pull arm down center of back. Feel the stretch on the back of your arm.

Upper Back - Knees bent, hands clasped, gently push hands away from body.

Lats - Feel the stretch as you gently pull the arm over.

Hip - Keep knees slightly bent.

Quadriceps - Keep the supporting knee slightly bent.If too hard,lie down on tummy and do the same.

Calfs - Keep both feet facing forwards, keeping feet still gently move forward.

Adductors - Sit on the floor, gently push your knees to the floor, no bouncing.

Glutes - Lie on back, gently pull knee towards you with other leg lying over pulled one.

Hamstrings - Pull the leg back gently, if leg starts to shake relax off a bit, keep leg still.

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Training Tips for Building Muscle at Home

If you plan to build up your muscle mass by working out at home instead of a gym, the most important thing is that you stay motivated. Develop a plan, stick to the plan and stay motivated to follow through with the exercise program every day. Set realistic expectations for muscle development and track your progress by keeping an exercise diary and charts. Realistic goals and expectations for muscle development will help you stay on track. Stick with a healthy diet and exercise on a regular schedule. You will soon see results.

Building muscle at home does not have to be an expensive ordeal. In fact, all you really need is your own body and maybe good set of used dumbbells. To build leg muscles, do a set of squats every day. Perform squats by standing with your legs apart about shoulder width and your toes pointed forward. Keep your upper body straight and your head pointed forward like your toes. Squat down as if you were going to sit down on a chair. Try to keep your upper body straight and don't lean forward, if you can help it. Do at least 25 squats at least 3 days a week, and increase the number of squats as your strength and endurance increases. Squats will help you build muscle in your hips, thighs and glutes.

To build up your biceps and triceps, begin by sitting on a bench or on a chair that does not have arms. A dining chair works well to perform curls while sitting down. Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and lift the dumbbell first with the right arm and then with the left arm. Repeat curls for your biceps for 3 sets of 10 repetitions each, and then switch to the triceps exercise. Work your triceps by grasping one dumbbell with both hands. Lift the dumbbell over your head and then lower it behind your head. Start with a weight that you can handle easily so that you do not drop it and injure yourself at home. Add weight to the dumbbells as your strength increases.

Push-ups on a stability ball are at the top of the list to build up chest and arm muscles. Face the floor with your palms down and place both legs on the ball. Stretch your body out, but keep your hands underneath your shoulders. Lower your upper body toward the floor as you breathe out, and push your body back up as your breathe in. Do at least 10 push-ups every other day.

Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and freelance writer. She has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College. Robin's goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for her clients. Her services include both in-person and online personal training at Lose up to 10 lbs with a 24-DAY WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE! Visit my website to get started today!

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weight Training Programs Are The Best Way To Change Your Muscle Mass

There are two types of Weight Training Programs, the Off Season and Pre Contest. With each program comes two entirely different types of training. We will break down what you need to do in each program such as techniques, reps, sets, etc. and what kinds of nutrition you need to get the best results.

When we talk about weight training programs, we are talking about a lot more than just lifting weights. There is a system involved that professionals use to get the most out of every workout. This system include two different weight training programs.

The first program is called Off Season Weight Training Program. In this program, you will add muscle mass. That means having a caloric surplus while lifting very heavy weight to add muscle size and density.

The second program is called Pre Contest Weight Training Program. This program requires you to lower your calorie intake and include cardiovascular exercises along with your weight training. For this Pre Contest Program, your weight training will not be the same as the Off Season Program. The poundage of weights used will be less and the techniques will be different.

Off Season Weight Training Program

Off Season Diet Your diet should have plenty of...

...spaced evenly every 2 to 3 hours throughout the day.Protein is key in both weight training programs. The amino acids found in protein help rebuild the cells that have been broken down and split during the workout. Having a fast absorbing protein, like whey protein is great right after a workout. Other then post workouts, all you really need is a protein source found in natural foods. Some great choices should consist of...


Carbohydrates give you the energy needed during the workout to pump out as many reps as you can with loads of energy. Complex carbohydrates should be consumed all throughout the day in moderation.

In this diet plan for Off Season Weight Training, you want your carbohydrates to be equal to or more than your protein intake. But, be careful you don't over consume your carbohydrates because unused carbohydrates will be stored as fat.

Speaking of fat, your fat intake should be low. Fat yields 9 calories for each gram. So beware of your fat intake. Also, do not consume any saturated fats or trans fats. This is true for both weight training programs. Instead, focus on unsaturated fats like monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

Off Season Training Training for the Off Season Program requires you to go heavy on the poundage and low on the reps. It's all about breaking down the muscle and then rebuilding it with the food you eat afterwards.

The exercises you pick should be ones that target the entire muscle area instead of those that target specific areas. An example of this would be...

Flat barbell bench press targets the entire chest muscleDecline barbell bench press only target the lower part of the chest.

To build the most muscle mass possible, focus on exercises which favors entire muscle stimulation.

Off Season Techniques It is always wise in the beginning of both weight training programs to develop good form. This is why we recommend using a technique called negatives.

Negatives require you to slowly lower the weight, forcing you to use good form and work against gravity. The normal time it takes to lower a weight will usually be around 2 to 3 seconds. When performing negatives, your aim will be for a total lowering time of around 10 to 12 seconds. Once you have perfected this technique and developed good form on your exercises, you should switch to descending sets or another technique.

The one important thing to remember in both weight training programs is, always switch up your routine once your body becomes adapted to it.

Pre Contest Weight Training Program

Pre Contest Diet For the Pre Contest Program, the diet could be your best friend or your worst enemy. Most people think you need to drop your calories dramatically. But you don't. Once you learn that a calorie is not just a calorie and you find out different foods have a different hormonal response within your body, you will notice that it isn't the amount of calories but the quality of calories that you consume.

You still need to watch the amount of calories you consume. But 2000 calories consisting of cupcakes and cookies versus 2000 calories of fish and chicken will have a completely different effect on how those calories are stored in your body.

Pre Contest Training A big difference between the two weight training programs is that the Pre Contest Weight Training Program will have you more out of breath when the workout is over. By reducing the rest intervals between sets and adding aerobic exercises, you will be burning fat while still maintaining your muscle mass. The poundage of the weight will have to be less than your Off Season Program but, you still want to lift as heavy as you can.

Pre Contest Techniques For weight training, you want to use a circuit based workout. Compound movements that use more than one muscle group to complete the task is preferable for this circuit training. Jumping from one exercise to the next with little to no rest and engaging both the upper and lower body will maintain your muscle mass while shedding layer after layer of fat.

For your cardiovascular exercise, you do not want long distance cardio. Long distance cardiovascular exercise will sabotage both of your weight training programs. After an hour of this type of cardio, your body will start to break down muscle tissue to use as fuel.

When performing your cardiovascular exercise, you want the time to be around 20 to 40 minutes. A good cardiovascular technique for burning fat and maintaining muscle mass is called high intensity interval training. This technique is based on sprinting for as long as you can and then resting until you are able to repeat the same intensity for your next sprint. 20 minutes of this kind of cardio is great for getting ripped and lean.

Both of these weight training programs will be cycled for a certain length of time. This means you will not be on the Off Season Program for one week and then cycle on the Pre Contest Program the next.

Usually, when you've built up enough muscle mass during your Off Season Program which could take anywhere from 6 months to a year on average, you will then cycle to your Pre Contest Program and strip away stored fat you have gain during your Off Season. This is when you'll show off the new muscle you worked hard for. These weight training programs are just a simple starter for anyone who wants to build muscle mass and then get ripped.

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Combination Exercises

Combination: Obliques Crunch

Beginner: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet shoulder width apart on floor. Pull your belly button to your spine. Place your left hand on your right thigh; put your right hand behind your head for support. Contract your tummy and slide your hand up your leg to the outside of your right knee, exhaling on the lift. Slowly slide down to the starting position. Finish a set on one side, then switch to the other side.

Intermediate: Lie on your back with your knees bent and pulled in toward your chest, keeping your feet close to your buns. Place your right hand behind your head and your left arm on the floor by your side. Pull your belly button in and lift toward your left knee. Exhale as you lift. Slowly return to the starting position. Finish a set on one side, then switch to the other side.

Make it harder: Extend your legs toward the ceiling, rather than keeping them bent. Even harder? Reach for your toes with your fingertips as you lift.

Helpful Hints: Rotate the shoulders toward the opposite knee, NOT the elbow. Keep elbows relaxed back and chest “open.” Think of lifting on a diagonal toward the knee, feeling the bottom of your rib cage and your hipbone squeezing toward each other.

Combination: Full Crunch (This exercise combines the basic and reverse crunch)

Beginner: Lie on your back with your knees pulled in toward your chest, feet hanging close to your buns. Place your hands behind your head. Pull your belly button in tightly then contract the lower abs so that your hips and buns lift off the floor while you lift your shoulders from the floor using the upper abs. Exhale as you lift.

Intermediate: Lie on your back with your legs extended toward the ceiling. Place your hands behind your head. Pull your belly button in tightly then contract the lower abs so that your hips and buns lift off the floor while you lift your shoulders from the floor using the upper abs. Exhale as you lift.

Make it harder: Extend arms into diving position overhead.

Helpful Hints: If you feel any strain in your lower back, pull your legs closer to your chest. The closer your legs are to parallel to the floor, the harder the exercise is for your back.

Combination: Negative Crunch

Beginner: Sit on the floor with your legs bent, feet flat. Extend your arms out in front of you at shoulder height. Pull your tummy in tight and slowly lower your back toward the floor, rounding your back as you go. Only go about halfway to the floor. Then exhale, contract your abs, and return to starting position.

Intermediate: To make this more challenging, walk your feet further away from your body.

Make it harder: Change the rhythm of your movement: lower for 2 and contract for 2 … lower for 3 and contract for 1 … lower for 1 and contract for 3.

Helpful Hints: Keep the small of your back rounded and only go as far as you can without losing your abdominal contraction. When returning to sitting position, don’t go too high. You should feel tension in your abs throughout this movement.

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Eat Right for the Best Workout

The 12 rules of eating right.

Get enough fiber
The experts say we should be consuming at least 25 grams of fiber per day. Go for whole grain breads, beans, fruit, and veggies.

Drink 2-3 glasses of skim or low-fat milk every day
Not only does it provide much-needed calcium, it’s got a perfect proportion of carbohydrate and protein calories to keep you feeling energetic.

Cool, refreshing, blissfully calorie-and fat-free, a glass of water is one of the best pick-me-ups around. Drinking lots helps prevent water retention, keeps your skin glowing, sustains your energy, and keeps all your functions functioning.

Protein is your body’s building block
Make sure you get some at each meal - and go for the low-fat kinds: chicken and turkey breast, fish, lean beef, egg whites, and beans.

It really is smart food, so eat fish once a week
Versatile and loaded with heart-healthy Omega-3 oil and protein, fish is a great way to satisfy your daily protein requirement.

Rev your engine with complex carbs
The right kinds of carbohydrates will keep you feeling energized all day. What’s the right kind? The kind loaded with fiber: fruits, veggies, whole grain starches, beans.

Eat a carrot everyday
Loaded with beta carotene, carrots also have fiber, take a long time to eat, and taste delicious.

Eat for energy by thinking about what the foods you eat can do for you
Think about what they contain, rather than what they don’t. For example, fat free cookies are all about what’s not in there. But strawberries have vitamin C, whole wheat bagels serve up energizing carbs, peanut butter is a protein powerhouse, cottage cheese has a one-two punch of calcium and protein…

Eat your cruciferous veggies
Leafy dark green and brightly colored veggies contain antioxidants that can help you ward off villains from the common cold to cancer.

Take a bite of an apple (or pear, grapefruit, pineapple)
Fruit is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Pass on the trendy juice shakes and smoothies that are loaded with empty sugar calories and sink your teeth into the real thing. With an average of only 60 calories per serving, fruit is a low-calorie, energy-packed food.

Don’t fight all fat
Your body needs fat to function - and fat is a highly-concentrated source of energy, so don’t cut all of it out of your diet. Just eliminate the bad, yucky, saturated kind. Research has shown that olive oil and canola oil have very health side effects. Stay away from the sat-fat found in highly-marbleized meat, butter, tropical oils, and some margarines - but don’t be afraid to drizzle a little olive oil on your salad.

Remember: there’s no bad food
Just about everything can be part of a healthy diet - as long as you concentrate on low-fat foods, fruits, and vegetables most of the time. By removing the taboos from foods, you free yourself to make healthful choices willingly– and think of food as healthy fuel instead of an enemy you need to fight.

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What Is Plyometrics? 3 Body Weight Plyometric Exercises

Plyometrics is a special type of exercise training that combines speed and power to produce explosive movements. Made popular by many athletic programs, plyometrics conditions your body by forcing the muscles to react in rapid succession at a high intensity for multiple intervals. This type of training will produce what is known as fast twitch muscle fibers. The result is enhanced athletic performance that will help you to run faster, jump higher, become much stronger and extend muscle endurance.

So now that you know what plyometrics is, you might be wondering what kind of exercises constitutes plyometrics, right? Not to worry, here is a list of 3 full body exercises that can easily be incorporated in any workout without any additional equipment. All you need is your own natural body weight and a space that measures roughly 7x6.

Jumping Lunges - Start in the regular lunge position with you left foot in front and your back and shoulders straight. You can help to balance yourself by putting your hands on your hips; this will assist with centering your weight with correct form. Now as you slowly kneel make sure that your left knee is parallel with the floor. Now EXPLODE up and jump in the air while switching legs. When you land your right leg should now be in the front position. When exploding up from the kneeling position, swing your arms up to assist with your momentum.Plyo-Pushups - Start in the regular push up position. Body completely straight and hands on the floor slightly outside shoulder width. Slowly lower the body to the floor and explode up so that your hands are no longer touching the ground. Now quickly clap your hands together and return your hands to the starting position and repeat.Mountain Climbers - Start in the traditional runners position. Both hands on the floor and your left leg underneath you supporting your body weight while the right leg is fully extended behind you. Now explosively switch legs so that your right leg is now underneath you and your left leg is now fully extended behind. Rapidly repeat this movement while keeping your hands on the floor throughout the entire time.

Being that plyometrics is very intense on the central nervous system it should only be trained 2 or 3 times a week. Make sure to drink plenty of water after wards as well.

The most important thing to remember when training plyometrics is to practice perfect form. Don't worry if you stumble and lose your balance in the beginning, it happens to the best of us. Just keep focusing on technique and in time you will be able to perform them with tremendous confidence not to mention you'll notice increase in strength and a much leaner overall physical appearance.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Is The Most Important Step To Take As A Naturally Skinny Guy Looking To Gain Weight?

Weight gain gets a lot of coverage, but is most typically looked on as a bad thing. This is because most of the population find gaining weight easy, and hence don't give a second thought to the 'problem' of how to gain weight, or how they should go about the process. They are too busy looking at weight gain as a negative.

However, if you are naturally skinny guy then you will most likely have a completely different take on the issue. For you weight gain is something that you probably fantasise about, because the fact is that you find it impossibly hard to pull off, and instead are constantly trying out new methods to try to gain some pounds. If however you are like the majority of skinny guys you will find that these methods generally don't work.

The most important step then that you can take as a naturally skinny guy looking to lose weight is to stop looking for the answers to your problem in the places that you are currently looking. Namely, at diet, methods and solutions for weight gains that are aimed squarely at normal weight gainers, and not at naturally skinny guys like you.

It is a completely different physiology, and so you need to approach things totally differently. This doesn't however mean that you should stop your efforts. Merely that you should change your approach, and instead make use of methods that were specifically designed for guys like you who are naturally skinny.

In that way you will find that it is finally like putting a square peg in a square hole, and will finally start to gain weight almost effortlessly, because you will be doing the right things at last.

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Essential Nutrients

These are the six essential nutrients that your body needs on a daily basis.



Water is the most essential nutrient the body needs. Your body is around forty to sixty percent of water. Forty to sixty percent of your body weight is water. Muscle composition is approximately 70% water. It is vital that while you exercise you continually drink water to ensure that your body does not dehydrate. If you feel thirsty it will take around 20 minutes for the liquid to be utilized by the body. Obviously the amount of water you need depends on your body weight, height and any activity you take part in but on average you need around three and a half pints of water a day. This may seem a lot but a lot of water will come from your food such as fruits which contain 75 to 90 percent of water.


Carbohydrates are usually referred to as sugars or starches. Complicated carbohydrates are the carbohydrates that we keep hearing about that we should improve our food intake of. These carbohydrates are found in such foods such as potatoes, bananas, pasta, bread, cereals etc. Carbohydrates are converted into sugars by the body. Carbohydrates come in two forms:

Simple Sugars

Simple sugars are sugars like processed sugar and sugar from fruits. This kind of sugar is used almost immediately during exercise. Just eating these sugars would not give you endless amounts of instant energy because as your sugar level in your blood increased, more insulin would be released to grab the sugar and dispose of it because there is too much. All this insulin grabs all the sugar and more as well so eventually you would have even less energy than you started with. This is why when you eat a chocolate bar you feel great for about 15 minutes, your body will then loose energy and become slightly fatigued.

Complex Sugars

This kind of sugar is taken from foods like potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, vegetables and fruits. The difference between these sugars and simple sugars are that the sugars are released at a slower level so you do not get this insulin rush. As the sugar is released a lot slower it also lasts a lot longer because it takes the sugar a lot longer to be broken down. It should be obvious to you that these complex sugars or carbohydrates as they are better known are a 100 times better for you than the simple sugars. We need to be looking at around 55 percent of our daily intake of complex sugars.


Protein is composed of amino acids, which help to build muscle mass. Cells in the body are being replaced all the time every day 365 days a year, so we need to give the body the tools to complete the task of keeping our bodys fit and healthy. Protein is found in such foods such as chicken (white meat), egg white, beans, skimmed milk etc. The bigger and leaner your muscles are the higher your basal matabolic rate is. Your basal metabolic rate is the amount of calories the body uses just to live for the day, so even doing such things as sitting watching television your body will be burning more calories which means burning away more body fat. We need about 70 to 80 grams of protein daily in our diet.If you eat too much protein the excess will also be stored as body fat, you should be looking at 20 percent of your daily calorific intake to be of protein.


Fat is another term for lipid. Too much fat in your diet can lead to obesity, heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Fat does have its uses though, the body needs some fat to process vitamins and minerals and to insulate its inner systems. Fat is also used by the body to provide energy to the body during exercise. Cheese, nuts, cooking oil etc are high in fat content. There are more than one kind of fat, here are the three:

Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is the worst fat for the body. Saturated fat causes the arteries to clog which in turn can cause strokes, heart attacks and coronary heart disease.

Polyunsaturated Fat

Polyunsaturated fat has fewer fatty acid molecules than saturated fat, so is a lot better for you than saturated fat. A type of polyunsaturated fat is Omega 3, this is found only in fish oils, this fat helps with the developments of the nervous system and a host of other bodily functions.

Mono Unsaturated Fat

Mono unsaturated fat has even fewer fatty acid molecules than polyunsaturated fat, and for this reason is the best of all three fats. You should have a higher intake of mono unsaturated fat than the other two fats.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins are needed in small amounts to help the body with chemical reactions within its cells and are organic. Vitamins come in two forms, they are fat soluble and water soluble. Fat Soluble Vitamins (A, D, E, K) are stored in the fat tissue and can build up high levels of toxins in the body if they are not utilized. Water Soluble Vitamins (B, C) are excreted by the body if your daily amount of intake is too great.

Minerals are inorganic substances in other words they are man made and they regulate processes within the body. Minerals are put into different structures within the body to create enzymes, hormones, skeletal bones, skeletal tissues, teeth and fluids.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Lower Rectus Abdominis

Listed below are exercises that focus on the lower rectus abdominis muscle.

Reverse Crunch

Beginner: Lie on your back with knees pulled into your chest. Hands are behind your head and belly button is pulled in tightly. Exhale and contract your lower abs so that your hips and buns lift off the floor. Inhale as you slowly lower to the starting position.

Intermediate: Lie on your back with legs extended up toward the ceiling, keeping legs pulled toward your head to remove pressure from the lower back. Hands are behind your head and belly button is pulled in tightly. Exhale and contract you lower abs so that your hips and buns lift off the floor — think of stamping your feet on the ceiling. Inhale as you slowly lower to the starting position.

Make It Harder: Lift and lower for counts of 2, 3, or 4.

Helpful Hints: Don’t rock your legs. Use your abs to lift and let your legs come along for the ride. The movement should be small and controlled.


Beginner: Lie on your back with your hands under your buns to give you a slight pelvic tilt. Lift your legs so they’re pointing toward the ceiling and hold them close to your body to remove pressure from your back. Slowly pull your right knee toward your chest, using the lower abs to pull. Then extend the right leg and pull in the left knee. Keep alternating, using a pushing-pulling motion with the abs.

Intermediate: Lie on your back with your hands under your buns to give you a slight pelvic tilt. Extend your legs parallel to the floor and lift them about 1 foot off the floor. Slowly pull your right knee toward your chest, using the lower abs to pull. Then extend the right leg and pull in the left knee. Keep alternating, using a pushing-pulling motion with the abs.

Make It Harder: Cycle are variable speeds: quickly for 4 counts, then very slowly for 4 counts.

Helpful Hints: If you feel pressure in your lower back, point your legs more toward the ceiling. To make this exercise more difficult, try holding your head and shoulders off the floor as you cycle.

Seated Raises

Beginner: Sit on the edge of a bench or chair with your legs extended in front of you, your heels just touching the floor. Hold onto the sides of the chair or bench as an anchor. Contract your abs, exhale, and pull your knees in toward your chest. Inhale as you slowly lower to starting position, barely touching the floor with your heels.

Intermediate: Sit on the edge of a bench or chair with your legs extended in front of you, your heels just touching the floor. Hold onto the sides of the chair or bench as an anchor. Contract your abs, exhale, and keeping your legs extended, lift them up until their parallel to the floor. Inhale as you slowly lower to starting position, barely touching the floor with your heels.

Make It Harder: Raise and lower for variable counts: up 2, down 2 … up for 3, down for 1 … up for 1, down for 3 … raise and lower slowly on a count of 4.

Helpful Hints: Control the lowering motion and fight against gravity. Be sure to keep upper body upright; try not to lean back as you lift.

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What's Wrong With My Bench Press? Your Bench Press Technique

Increasing your bench press numbers is about a lot more than just repetition. It's also about more than just getting bigger. Moving heavier weights on the bench really comes down to good bench press technique.

The world record for this lift is over 1,000 pounds. There is no way that someone can lift that much weight based only on strength. When the weight gets that heavy, you have to have perfect technique. The average lifter in the gym does not have a good understanding of what bench press technique is all about, so they easily get stalled at a certain weight, and get frustrated.

If you want to start pressing more weight, it's time to focus on your technique.

Bench Press Technique Checklist

Here is a short list of things that you should be doing before ever attempting the lift itself. A little time to properly prepare will make all of the difference in the weight you will be able to move.

Squeeze your shoulder blades together and keep them tight.Get a good arch in your back, but make sure your butt doesn't come off the bench.Make sure you are on your toes, and your feet are underneath you.Use a strong leg drive to push your traps into the bench.

Now that you are all set up to perform the lift, there is one key mistake that many lifters make at this point. They lift the bar off the rack. All of the work you just did to make sure your body was tight, is now gone.

Instead, you should be pulling the bar off the rack. As you pull, you will be able to keep the tension in the rest of your body.

Now You Are Ready To Lift

Now it is time to start the lift itself. When you begin the lift, you need to create tension in your hands and arms. You do this with two simple techniques. First, squeeze the bar as hard as you can. Try to crush it.

Second, try to pull the bar apart. These two simple steps will put your arms in the correct position, and create the tension you need for big bench press numbers.

Technique Will Always Be King

Now that you have a good idea of proper bench press technique you have to keep training it over and over again. If this is the first time you have read these techniques, it will take time for them to feel comfortable. Stick with it no matter what. Big bench press numbers are right around the corner if you are willing to put in the work!

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Oblique Exercises

The exercises below will strengthen your oblique muscles.

Side Lift

Beginner: Lie on your left side with legs together and knees bent. Place your left arm comfortably in front of you and place your right hand behind your ear, elbow bent. Exhale and use your obliques to lift your right knee while simultaneously lifting your upper torso to meet it. Inhale and slowly lower to the starting position. Do all reps and switch sides.

Intermediate: Lie on your left side with legs together and legs extended. Place your left arm comfortably in front of you and place your right hand behind your ear, elbow bent. Exhale and use your obliques to lift both legs toward the ceiling while simultaneously lifting your upper torso. Inhale and slowly lower to the starting position. Do all reps and switch sides.

Make It Harder: Raise and lower for variable counts: up 2, down 2 … up for 3, down for 1 … up for 1, down for 3.

Helpful Hints: Keep abs tight throughout to control the lowering phase. Try not to allow your legs to touch the floor when you return to the starting position.

Leg Overs

Beginner: Lie flat on your back with your arms extended at from the shoulders, perpendicular to your body. Bring your bent knees in toward your chest and hold them with thighs perpendicular to the floor, calves parallel to the floor. Inhale and use your obliques to lower your legs to the left side, keeping knees bent. Exhale, pulling your knees back to the center and lowering them to the right side. Be sure to keep both shoulder blades flat on the floor throughout the movement.

Intermediate: Lie flat on your back with your arms extended out from the shoulders, perpendicular to your body. Extend your legs straight up to the ceiling. Inhale and use your oblique to lower your legs to the left side until they barely touch the floor. Exhale, pulling your legs back to the center and lowering them to the right side. Be sure to keep both shoulder blades flat on the floor throughout the movement.

Make It Harder: Raise and lower for variable counts: up 2, down 2 … up for 3, down for 1 … up for 1, down for 3.

Helpful Hints: As you lower your legs to the side, allow your hips to roll with the movement. The extended-leg version of this exercise is very advanced; only proceed to a long-legged position after working through varying degrees of extension first.

Side Crunches

Beginner: Lie on your left side with legs bent perpendicular to your body. Place your left arm comfortably in front of you and put your right hand behind your ear. Using a slow crunching motion, exhale and lift your rib cage toward your hip. Inhale and slowly lower almost to the floor.

Intermediate: Lie on your left side with legs bent perpendicular to your body. Place your left arm comfortably in front of you and put your right hand behind your ear. Using a slow crunching motion, exhale and lift your rib cage toward your hip. Inhale and slowly lower almost to the floor.

Make It Harder: Raise and lower for variable counts: up 2, down 2 … up for 3, down for 1 … up for 1, down for 3.

Helpful Hints: Lift entire torso off the floor, not just your elbow and head. Focus on using the obliques to list your toros, and be sure to get the bottom shoulder off the floor during the lifting phase.

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Why You Can Stop Being Skinny And Become The Buff Dude You Always Wanted To Be!

Don't listen to the naysayers, or even that little voice in your head that says that gaining weight is hard (or even impossible) for naturally skinny guys and that you should just roll over and accept that you will always be skinny. You can do something about it. You simply need to change your approach if you want to become the buff dude that you always wanted to be.

The biggest problem that most naturally skinny guys have is that they eat a load of food, don't put on any weight, and then assume that somehow their genetics is inherently against them and that there is nothing they can do to fight back against it and regain the handsome body shape that they have always dreamed of.

This is a false assumption. Just because randomly eating more has not gained you the weight or muscle that you desire does not mean that it is not possible. It simply means that you are eating the wrong foods, and training in the wrong ways.

This isn't your fault, because most of the weight gain advice is written by buff guys who have no problem gaining weight, and so all of the thrust of their programs is not aimed at you. It's like a Hells Angel teaching you how to knit! It's just not going to be as good.

You can stop being skinny, but you should instead focus on using the advice of guys who are NATURALLY skinny, because they have insights and the school of hard knocks as their teachers. And by changing subtle, small elements of your lifestyle it is very possible to see dramatically different results in your weight, as long as they are the right elements.

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Personal First Aid

This article will cover the basic things you need to know if you have an injury while exercising.

The most common problems with exercise are fainting and dizziness, pulled muscle and dehydration.

Fainting and Dizziness

This condition is caused by lack of water and salt to the body. This only usually happens to people who are not used to exercise or work a lot harder than they usually do and the body is not prepared for it. If you are working out in a hotter place than normal you have to make sure you take plenty of water as you will lose more liquid while working out. Dizziness will occur before the fainting so if you feel dizzy then stop exercising straight away as if you are on your own you cannot help yourself if you faint.

Symptoms and Signs:

Feeling of exhaustion but may feel restless May have a headache and feel tired May feel dizzy and nauseated Stomach cramps may be felt Skin will feel cold and clammy, face will be pale Shallow and fast breathingPulse will be rapid and weak


Stop exercising immediately Try and get to a cooler place Sip water Lie down with your feet slightly above your head If you feel you might become unconscious then lie in the recovery position (on your side with your tummy to the floor) If sweating profusely, have cramp or vomiting add half a tea spoon of salt to each pint of water

Pulled Muscles

This problem can occur if you have not warmed up or stretched out properly. If your demand on the muscles is too great the muscle fibre can be slightly torn given a very tight and probably pain full feeling in the muscle.

Symptoms and Signs:

Muscle feels tight or hurts as exercise is doneMuscle feels tight hurts after exercise has finishedBurning sensation from muscle


Stop exercising immediatelyIce pack the muscle with the a towel in between the ice pack and a the skin Compress the muscle with a bandage (not too tight) Elevate the limb

It is very important for you to rest the limb until the injury has healed completely. The advice 2, 3 and 4 is to prevent the swelling of the muscle. As the muscle repairs, slowly and gently start to work it with some good stretches. A good diet with adequate protein is needed.


This condition is caused by lack of water to the body. This does not only happen to people who are new to exercise, some people who exercise all their lives can become dehydrated if they do not take in enough water. If you are working out in a hotter place than normal you have to make sure you take plenty of water as you will lose more liquid while working out.

Symptoms and Signs:

Feeling of thirstMay have a headache and feel tired May feel dizzy and nauseated Skin will feel cold and clammy, face will be pale Shallow and fast breathing Pulse will be rapid and weak


Stop exercising immediatelyTry and get to a cooler placeSit down on the floorSip water and keep drinking it until you feel betterIf you feel you might become unconscious then lie in the recovery position (on your side with your tummy to the floor)DO NOT carry on exercising when you feel better

These are only a few of the problems that can occur during first aid, but as said earlier they are the most common. Now you know the problems that can happen you can make sure they do not happen to you.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Upper Ab Exercises

Working the muscles at a variety of speeds ensures that you have strength throughout your whole range of motion, and helps overload the muscles, thus making you work harder and producing more rapid gains in strength.

Basic Crunch

Beginner: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet shoulder width apart on the floor, hands behind your head. Pull your belly button to your spine and slowly squeeze your abs as your head and shoulders come up off the floor. Lift straight toward the ceiling, chin pointing up. Slowly lower to the floor and repeat.

Intermediate: Lie on your back with your knees bent and pulled in toward your chest, feet hanging close to your buns. Pull your belly button to your spine and slowly squeeze your abs as your head and shoulders come up off the floor. Lift straight toward the ceiling, chin pointing up. Slowly lower to the floor and repeat.

Make It Harder: Rather than placing hands behind your head, extend your arms as if you’re diving into a swimming pool, keeping forearms close to your ears. Focus on relaxing the shoulders to keep tension out of your neck. Also, try varying the speed of your lifting and lowering motion.

Helpful Hints: Try not to lower completely to the floor at the bottom of the movement. Try to clear your shoulder blades from the floor; be sure you’re not just lifting your head. Really focus on pulling your belly button down toward your spine.

Frog Legs

Beginner: Lie on your back with the soles of your feet together, letting your knees fall open to the sides. Place your hands behind your head to support your neck. Pull your belly button to your spine and slowly squeeze your abs as your head and shoulders come up off the floor. Lift straight toward the ceiling, chin pointing up. Slowly lower to the floor and repeat.

Intermediate: Lie on your back with your knees bent and pulled in toward your chest. Cross your ankles and let your knees fall open to the sides. Place your hands behind your head to support your neck. Pull your belly button to your spine and slowly squeeze your abs as your head and shoulders come up off the floor. Lift straight toward the ceiling, chin pointing up. Slowly lower to the floor and repeat.

Make It Harder: Extend your arms as if you’re diving, keeping forearms close to your ears. Focus on relaxing the shoulders to keep tension out of your neck. Also, try varying the speed of your lifting and lowering motion.

Helpful Hints: This exercise works the upper part of the rectus abdominis and into the lower segment. Be sure to really pull your belly button in tightly to protect your back and don’t lower all the way to the floor at the bottom.


Beginner: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet shoulder width apart on the floor, hands behind your head. Pull your belly button to your spine and lift shoulders and head off the floor, just a few inches. You should feel a contraction in the abdominals. Now lift straight toward the ceiling, chin pointing up and slowly return to your starting position - do not go all the way to the floor.

Intermediate: Lie on your back with your knees bent and pulled in toward your chest, feet hanging close to your buns. Pull your belly button to your spine and lift shoulders and head off the floor, just a few inches. You should feel a contraction in the abdominals. Now lift straight toward the ceiling, chin pointing up and slowly return to your starting position - do not go all the way to the floor.

Make It Harder: Lie on your back with your knees bent and walk your feet away from your buns until your legs are almost fully extended - be sure to keep a slight bend in the knee. If you feel any pain in your lower back, bring your feet in closer to your buns. This leg position gets the lower abs, too.

Helpful Hints: Be sure to really pull your belly button in tightly to protect your back and don’t lower all the way to the floor at the bottom.

View the original article here

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Workout Tips

For the most effective workout, work the lower section of the rectus abdominis first, then the obliques, then the upper part of the rectus abdominis.

When lifting your upper torso for a crunch, always keep your chin pointing up to the ceiling, rather than looking toward your knees.

Really support your head and neck with your hands without pulling on your neck.

Exhale on the contraction and inhale as your relax the muscles.

Always contract the ab by pulling the belly button toward the spine before beginning any lifting motion.

When doing crunches, if you feel a lot of tension in your neck, take a break until the muscles of the neck and shoulder relax. That tension is produced when you try to lift with your upper body instead of your ab. It’s important that you take a break, relax, and contract the ab by pulling your belly button toward your spine.

Rather than trying to flatten your back to the floor, focus instead on pulling your belly button in as tightly as you can. It’s not important how high you lift, but how deeply you contract the abdominals.

View the original article here

Monday, January 10, 2011

How to Gain Weight Fast For Men and Women - Critical Information

Since you're reading this article, chances are you're getting pretty fed up with your bathroom scale's lack of cooperation despite all the hard work you put into trying to gain weight. You're also probably tired of hearing the same old advice: "Just eat more and you'll gain weight", but you know it's not that simple for you. Let's forget the nonsense and explain the truth about how to gain weight fast for men and women.

First of all, it's crucial to understand why you're so skinny, and that it's not your fault. Our genetics determine what we are predisposed to look like even before we're born. Your genetics likely endowed you with a combination of characteristics like a very fast metabolism, longer than average limbs, and a lack of natural strength. Nature didn't intend for you to be a muscled hunk, but there's no reason you need to settle for the unfortunate hand you've been dealt. We CAN gain weight fast skinny people!

We obviously need to start by increasing our daily caloric intake. Let's not beat around the bush, we're not talking about adding a little bit here and there, we want to DOUBLE UP what we were eating before. For example, if you're used to eating one piece of chicken at a meal, make it two from now on. It's important that you stick to this mind set, it's at the very base of a gain weight fast diet.

Be diligent about your eating schedule. You need to eat every two to three hours if you're serious about gaining weight, but this isn't easy to do for everyone. You could set a digital countdown timer to go off every two and a half hours to ensure you're not late. Try letting it continue to beep until you start eating to add impact to this practice.

When it comes to training, you absolutely mustn't train while you're hungry. Try to get at least three full meals in you before training on any day. If your only option is to train in the morning, ensure you have the biggest meal of your day right after your workout.

It's also vital to understand that in order to be able to gain weight, your body needs not only macronutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins for calories, but also micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Your body can only gain muscle mass when it has all the raw materials necessary. You can easily take care of this by concentrating on eating whole natural foods, which are the very best foods to gain weight fast, instead of packaged and processed foods, which will only get in the way of your progress if the truth be told.

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How To Get Longer And Leaner Muscles

If you aren't a dancer, but you envy a dancer's long lean muscles and toned body, then you need to read further. Dancers practice concentrated movements that sculpt those deep muscles to create long and toned muscles. Here are a couple of exercises that you can try for yourself, so you too can start looking and feeling like a dancer.

Yoga and Pilates are dance infused programs that focus on all of a woman's problem areas. Dancers exercise by working the muscles and then stretching them out again in order to get a long lean look without the bulk.

A dancers workout will focus mainly on isometric exercises. These are exercises that work against the weight of the body. The movements are small and held to develop strength and condition the muscles. These types of exercises work your overall fitness and improve your endurance and balance. Speed and agility is developed further with isometric training.

These exercises won't look like much, but they will work some of those deep muscles and if done correctly will deliver great results. You will need a bar or chair for support.

1. Stand feet slightly turned out facing a bar or chair with both hands holding for support. Point your toe behind you to five o'clock. Slowly lift the leg up and down by 2.5 cm for thirty seconds. Next repeat smaller and faster for another thirty seconds. Now imagine tracing a R5 coin with your big toe. The smaller the movements, the better. Next reverse the circles and then repeat the entire thing with your left leg pointing to 7 o'clock.

2. Still standing next to your support, turn sideways and hold on with one hand. Lift your right leg up as high as you can in front of you while keeping the abs held and the left knee slightly bent. Slowly lift and lower your raised leg by 2.5 cm at a height comfortable to you. Once again repeat this a bit faster and then trace your toe around an imaginary R5 piece clockwise and then again anti clockwise. Repeat on the other leg.

3. Place your forearms on the support and rest your head on your forearms. Lift your right leg up behind you with the foot flexed and the knee bent at 90 degrees. Press the raised leg up and down by 2.5 cm for thirty seconds. Now do the same exercises faster, then switch over to the other leg.

4. Again using your chair for balance, place your feet in a narrow V and rise. Keeping your heels together and off the floor bend your knees so they resemble a diamond. Keeping your tail bone looking down at the floor, bend and stretch by 2,5 cm for thirty seconds and then repeat this faster for another thirty seconds. You can then do the same exercise with your feet turned outwards hip distance apart and keeping your heels on the ground. Be sure to keep your knees aligned over your toes for both these bending exercises.

Mastering the above simple exercises will get you off to a good start in the quest to get a dancers body.

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Sunday, January 9, 2011

How To Perform Triceps Extensions With Exercise Bands

To train your triceps as well as other muscles and get a full body workout, exercise bands are really just what you need. You don't even need much room, you can train anywhere without spending too much money. Triceps extension is one arm exercise you can perform the same way you would with dumbbells.

Grab the exercise band by the handles, each in one hand. This may be better for you to try fist with the Light resistance band. Step with one foot on the band, in the middle of the length.

You're going to train one arm at a time. Lift the handle up behind your neck. Your elbow should be bent, just next to your head and stay there, keep it in. This is the starting position.

Now extend your arm all the way up over your head. That's a triceps extension, you need to keep proper form, control the movement. Go back to the starting position by bending your arm, not too fast, still keeping the elbow in and up, your hand is now back behind your neck.

You can perform these triceps extensions using your two arms. Just grab each handle and move them up over your head in the starting position explained earlier, and extend the same way.

Your can also increase the tension by stepping on the band with your two feet. This will provide you more resistance and make the exercise more challenging. You can also then use a heavier resistance band when it becomes too easy.

Depending on the resistance you use, you will still want to be able to perform 12 reps per set. When you can then again, increase resistance with a heavier tension exercise band.

Triceps extensions is just one exercise you can perform with exercise bands. There are many others you can do and still with the same comfort, versatility and portability.

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If You Are Looking To Build Muscle While Losing Fat - This Is For You

Building muscle and losing fat, is what you should be shooting for.

Having additional muscle is a great idea, because with additional muscle mass you will burn more calories, make everyday living easier, give you confidence that you will be able to handle tough tasks that you are confronted with, and build self-esteem.

Building muscle mass while losing fat, is perfect for fine tuning your body, to reach the peak of your potential.

Some great benefits:
You'll sleep betterYou'll have more energyYou'll have a better outlook on lifeYou'll be able to finish tasks easier and fasterImproved self-esteemLess stressGeneral feeling of well-beingMore resistance to diseaseQuicker recovery from illnessAnd many more benefits

Gaining additional muscle mass, while you lose fat, go hand in hand with a healthy, optimized goal for good health.

The building muscle part of this equation is pretty straightforward:
Increase whole protein consumptionBegin, or increase working outIncrease high quality carbohydrate consumptionBe consistent

Some sources of whole protein:
ChickenTurkeyTunaCheeseBeefEggsMilkProtein supplements

Some sources of high quality carbohydrates:
CerealsGrains and breads: Bagels, whole wheat bread, white breadWhite ricePastaMuffinsFruits: Apricots, bananas, blueberries, figs, apples, grapes, orangesBeans: Refried beans, chickpeas, white beans, garbanzo beans, navy beansPotatoesSweet potatoesCarrotsCorn

As far as working out to build muscle and lose fat, you should workout about 3 times a week. Be consistent, do it faithfully. Don't make the workout so hard that you dread doing it. Make it challenging and enjoyable.

Set up a part of your home where you can do your workouts. It can be in your basement, or if you have a spare room that would be fine. Preferably a light airy place that would be conducive to a good workout.

For building muscles you should start with light weights, to get your body acclimated to using muscles that you hardly ever use. The goal is to work up to heavy weights with low repetitions. Your workouts should include targeting all parts of your body, you want a nice muscular proportional body.

For losing fat, you should train with low weights and high repetitions, this will help you lose fat and streamline your body.

Now these two routines seems at odds with each-other, high reps-low weights versus low reps-high weights, but what you will need to do is to have 2 low rep workouts and one high rep workout per week. That way you cover building muscle mass and also the losing fat part of your goal.

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If You're Looking for the Best Testosterone Booster - Here It Is!

Are you looking for the best testosterone booster? I'm sorry to say that this article wont be about the latest supplement or bodybuilding fad. This is because the best methods to increase testosterone are natural...

And in this article I am going to reveal them to you

Here is the best testosterone booster.

Use these two methods to increase you t-levels naturally.

1. Start by loosing weight.

The best way to boost your testosterone levels is to lose weight, and most importantly to lose the weight around your belly. The reason for this is that belly fat produces the enzyme aromatase, which later converts itself into estrogen (this is why overweight people men develop man-boobs).

Just remember this - the lower your body fat, the lower your estrogen levels will be and the higher your testosterone levels will be.

2. Start eating more healthy fats

Anyone on a serious fitness regime will avoid fat like the plague. Unfortunately this is not a good idea because fat actually plays an important role in your health. Fat is needed by your body to produce testosterone, take note that I am not telling you to start eating bacon three times a day.

What you want to do is eat monosaturated fats. Studies have shown that these fats have the most direct effect on testosterone production. Foods with good fats in them are those such as avocados, olive oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil and nuts of any kind.

Using these two tips in combination will create the best testosterone booster you could ever hope to find.

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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Is Taking Testosterone Tablets a Waste of Your Time and Money?

Are you taking testosterone tablets in order to speed up your muscle gains? What you should know is that taking these tablets is actually a huge waste of time and money.

This is because your body is more than capable of producing enough testosterone for your bodybuilding needs - naturally!

How to quit taking testosterone tablets and boost t-levels naturally.

Here are some tips for increasing testosterone naturally.

1. Cut down on your drinking.

Studies have shown that heavy alcohol consumption has a drastic effect on your testosterone production. Alcohol, especially beer shuts down testosterone production while at the same causes your body to begin producing huge quantities of estrogen.

The solution to this is to cut down your drinking and stop binge drinking. Try your best to stick to 3 drinks max and space them out over as much time as you can.

2. Start eating more vegetables

Research has shown that eating more vegetables increases t-levels. Not just any vegetables, you want to eat vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, radishes, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, water cress and collard greens.

These vegetables are known as cruciferous vegetables and are high in a phyto-chemical known as indole-3-carbinol. This chemical has been found to drastically reduce estrogen and increase testosterone production (one study showed that 500 milligrams of IC3 can actually cut estrogen levels in half). Have two servings a day of the above vegetables to get your required dose.

As you can see taking testosterone tablets is a huge waste of time.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Lower Ab Exercises - Establishing A Routine That Works Well

Types Of Exercises For Abs

Doing Lower Ab Exercises to acquire six-pack abs does not have to be torture. Finding and then beginning to employ a highly effective fitness routine with commitment, will get you that hard body you have been looking for quickly. Exercising is a vital requirement that will get your whole body in amazing condition, and looking its best.

Assuming you would like to change the way you look, and improve your image, you will first need to take action. Keeping your-self in the game of a healthy life requires that you eat right, and perform a physical exercise program consistently. A spotty workout performance will get you no where. If you want to feel and perform in life a great deal better than you ever have, you must be consistent with your efforts. Only then are you going to make heads turn and stick out amongst all of the rest.

First, you should never attempt to get into shape over-night! You can't do it. If you over-do-it at first, all that will occur is you will end up with pulled muscles or tendons. You can't force it. If you make your muscles sore through over-work, you will have to work out with less effort, thereby producing less results.

Naturally, you should exercise all of your body groups to keep your body looking superb, so that you don't neglect the big picture of how you look and feel. This article is about emphasizing the Abdominal's to get yourself a ripped set of six-pack abs. By far the most difficult to get, should you do it the wrong way.

I believe that the easiest way to make it happen, is to use the Ab Circle Pro, with a few specific core exercises and a good diet. The Abdominal muscle groups can be the most difficult to successfully exercise. To get your abs to really show, your routine should include: The Ab Circle Pro, abdominal anaerobic exercises, stretching, and jogging. Getting your washboard abs to show makes it necessary that you reduce your body weight overall. It is not going to happen if you try and spot reduce your abdominal area.

Four Workouts For Abs

The four primary exercise categories for this specific routine are: Abdominal treadmill; Anaerobic exercises; Stretching; Cardio-vascular.

Abdominal Treadmill

The Ab Circle Pro treadmill, will get you off the floor. It has two knee socket cups, so you can swing from side to side. It does a fantastic job of targeting your whole abdominal core, buttocks, and thighs in a circular movement. It will help workout your upper, middle, lower abs and obliques.

Best Ab Exercises To Build Muscles

These exercises are known as Abdominal Anaerobic. They will accelerate the process of getting six-pack abs. They consist of a series of ab crunches, leg raises, scissor and bicycle simulations.

Best Ab Exercises For Increased Flexibility

Developing first-rate flexibility of the body is important. To achieve it, you must add a stretching out routine just before and after your workout. Having good flexibility enables you to complete exercises in a more pure form, giving you greater gains.

Aerobic Exercises

The last exercise is one which has been widely used for some time -- Jogging. In order for your abdominal's to show, it is important to reduce weight over all of your body, not try to spot reduce. Jogging is one of the most effective ways to achieve this. It is a great cardiovascular exercise for your heart, and also builds your endurance for more intense workouts.


Remember, 1200-1500 calories per day is a diet -- period! Search Google, in order to find one that you can manage. Make sure you include Green Tea. Rotate the Abdominal Anaerobic exercises, so that they match your fitness level, and do not grow to be tedious. Finally, use music, it truly improves your workout intensity, and motivation.

This is doable folks -- you can do this. If you would like people to drop their jaws, when you raise your shirt, why not begin today? You are going to enjoy the way you look and feel.

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Meal Frequency On Your Muscle Building Diet Program - Does It Matter?

One issue that some guys do find they struggle with as they go about their muscle building diet plan is being sure to consume six to eight meals every single day. At times, it may feel as though you spend the vast majority of your life cooking in the kitchen and then sitting down and eating your meals.

As life gets busy, this can really put a damper on your motivation to carry on as you simply do not have the time to dedicate to all this diet prep work.

So when this is the issue at plan, what can you do? Just how important is it that you stick with a high meal frequency on your muscle building diet program?

Let's take a quick look at a few of the important things you should consider.

Total Calorie Intake

The very first thing that you need to think about when it comes to your meal frequency on your muscle building diet program is the fact that while it may constantly be suggested that you do consume more frequent meals, the more important thing that you need to remember is that it's total calorie intake that really counts here.

Even if you just consumed 3 meals per day, if you managed to hit your total calorie intake, you're still going to have success. The reason why fewer meals is often considered to be less advantageous is because of the fact that it can be quite trying to fit in 1500 calories per meal if you do require those higher calorie intakes. Spreading the meals out helps solve this problem.

The 'Fullness Factor

Second, along with that 1500 calorie meal idea, you have to consider how easily you are able to tolerate high volumes of food.

Perhaps you're someone who can down 1000 calories without too much difficulty. If so, you could maybe get away with just 3 or 4 meals each day.

It all comes down to that total calorie intake. If your fullness factor is low and you can eat a lot of food before feeling way too full, then you can be a bit more flexible with how many meals you consume.

Creating A Schedule That Works For You

Finally, if you have decided that you will do better on a plan that requires fewer meals each day and that it's far easier to stick with for you, then you need to assess how to go about creating the schedule.

You should still aim to place a high amount of calories immediately after the workout period regardless of how many other meals you're consuming since this is when the body needs it the most.

Your pre and post workout nutrition should never change so then you'll just want to adjust the other meal times to match your schedule.

Keep in mind though that you should always still be eating a good breakfast meal on your muscle building diet program and something before bed. You don't want to go over six hours if possible without taking in some food and the overnight fast is just that.

So there you have a few important points to keep in mind with regards to meal frequency and your muscle building diet program. Don't stress out about it too much. Instead, figure out a diet plan that meets your calorie requirements and is easy for you to follow.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Muscle Building Arm Workouts - Three Important Things To Remember

If you're like many guys who are interested in building muscle mass, you're most concerned with your arm development. Almost every guy who's going into the gym to do his workout program is going to be looking for the perfect muscle building arm workouts that will give him killer biceps and noticeable triceps.

But yet, few ever show the results they're hoping for. Why is this? How come building great arms seems like such a hard task to accomplish for most guys?

Let's take a quick look at a few of the most critical factors that you must know about muscle building arm workouts. If you don't have these in place with your workout program, you cannot expect to see top-level results from it.

Perform Heavy Compound Lifts

The very first thing that you must be doing if you're going to get great arms is to make sure that you're performing compound lifts as often as possible. This includes movements like bench presses, bent over rows, pull-ups, and shoulder presses.

While these exercises are going to predominately work the major muscle groups in the body, since the smaller muscles of the biceps and triceps will also come into play, you're going to see noticeable improvements in them as well.

What's more is that because you tend to lift such heavy weights while doing these exercises, that means you'll get more total overall strength development.

Utilize Supersets Often

The second thing that you must know as you go about your muscle building arm workouts is that you should make use of supersets as often as possible.

A superset is going to be where you pair two exercises immediately back to back, so say a bicep curl paired with a tricep extension.

By doing them in this manner you're going to increase the muscle pump you get in the workout and also help to increase the muscle's tolerance to fatigue.

Try and do two different variations of supersets in each arm workout you do, and you'll be on track with building bigger arms.

Consider Drop Sets

Third, you should also try and incorporate in a few drop sets as well along with your supersets. While you don't necessarily have to do them both in the same session as that could quickly lead to overtraining, by throwing some drop sets in there when applicable, you will help push past a muscle building plateau.

A drop set is where you simply lift your standard weight for a given number of reps and then immediately after that, you drop the weight and crank out another set.

If you really have a lot of energy in you, once that's finished drop the weight again and then go for a third set.

Be Patient

Finally, the last thing to note with your muscle building arm workouts is that you must not overlook the importance of being patient. While it's understandable that you do want to see results as quickly as possible, try not to overlook the fact that some guys do have arms that are a bit slower to respond.

If you are seeing continual increases in strength over time though then you can rest assured that you are on your way to progress. Those who never see strength gains however should take a good hard look at their training program as that could be an indication that overtraining is currently taking place.

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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Muscle Building Nutrition Tips That You Should Always Remember

If you're looking to build muscle mass as quickly as possible, there are a few important muscle mass building tips that you must keep in mind at all times. Far too many people set a diet up for themselves but then fail to take into account a few of the essential ingredients that will be necessary for success.

Fortunately, if you follow the below quick strategies you can quickly start adding pounds of muscle to your frame without overcomplicating things.

Remember, when you make it too difficult to follow your muscle building meal plan you aren't going to be doing yourself any favors. Instead, you just increase the chances that you fall off the plan entirely and really fail to see the results that you were after.

Let's take a look at what you need to know.

Utilize Plenty Of Simple Carbs Post-Workout

The very first thing that you'll want to make sure that you do as you go about your mass building diet is to get in some fast acting carbohydrates immediately after the workout is finished. It's very essential not to neglect high quality nutrition at this point as that's when the muscles are hungry for fuel.

Some guys are sure to get in plenty of protein at this time, but completely overlook the importance of carbs. Carbs are just as important for refilling the muscle glycogen stores and will be needed to get good size growth.

Keep Your Essential Fats Up

Second, the next thing that you must be making sure to do is keep those essential fats up higher. If you want one quick tip with regards to muscle building nutrition, this is most definitely it.

Essential fats are not only going to help to keep your testosterone levels higher and closer to where they need to be but they're also going to ensure that you don't start to pack on too much added fat mass.

Getting enough essential fatty acids helps your body utilize the carbohydrates you consume that much better so you can be sure to direct them towards the muscle cells rather than into the fat cells.

Get Protein In Every Three Hours

Finally, the last thing that you want to focus on doing is making sure that you're taking in protein every t here hours or so. It's vital that you provide a constant stream of amino acids to the muscle cells so they have plenty of nutrients to use to build themselves back up stronger.

Aim to keep the protein intake plentiful throughout the day, never going for long periods of time without it.

If you must use a protein powder to help you get it in, so be it.

So there you have three important muscle building nutrition tips that you must keep in mind at all times. If you take the time to carefully plan out your diet you can be guaranteed to see a much higher level of success from your training and will completely reshape your entire body.

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