Posts Tagged ‘Training’

Overview On Creatine: Safe Or Effective?

Creatine
Overview:

Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid (protein building block) that’s found in meat and fish, and also made by the human body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It is converted into creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine and stored in the muscles, where it is used for energy. During high-intensity, short-duration exercise, such as lifting weights or sprinting, phosphocreatine is converted into ATP, a major source of energy within the human body.

Creatine supplements are popular among body builders and competitive athletes. It is estimated that Americans spend roughly $14 million per year on creatine supplements. The attraction of creatine is that it may increase lean muscle mass and enhance athletic performance, particularly during high-intensity, short-duration sports (like high jumping and weight lifting).

However, not all human studies have shown that creatine improves athletic performance. Nor does every person seem to respond the same way to creatine supplements. For example, people who tend to have naturally high stores of creatine in their muscles don’t get an energy-boosting effect from extra creatine. Preliminary clinical studies also suggest that creatine’s ability to increase muscle mass and strength may help combat muscle weakness associated with illnesses such as heart failure and muscular dystrophy.

Uses:
Athletic performance

Although not all clinical studies agree, some conducted in both animals and people have shown that creatine supplements improve strength and lean muscle mass during high-intensity, short-duration exercises (such as weight lifting). In these studies, the positive results were seen mainly in young people (roughly 20 years of age). Most human studies have taken place in laboratories, not in people actually playing sports. Creatine does not seem to improve performance in exercises that requires endurance (like running) or in exercise that isn’t repeated, although study results are mixed.

Although creatine is not banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or the International Olympic Committee, using it for athletic performance is controversial. The NCAA prohibits member schools from giving creatine and other muscle building supplements to their athletes, although it doesn’t ban athletes from using it. The French Agency of Medical Security for Food (AFSSA) asserts that the use of creatine supplements is “against the spirit of sportsmanship and fair competition.”

Creatine appears to be generally safe, although when it is taken at high doses there is the potential for serious side effects such as kidney damage and the risk of inhibiting the body’s natural formation of creatine.

Also of concern is the marketing of creatine-containing supplements directly to teens, with claims about changing one’s body with little effort. One survey conducted with college students found that teen athletes frequently exceed the recommended loading and maintenance doses of creatine. Meanwhile, neither safety nor effectiveness in those under 19 has ever been tested.

Heart disease

A preliminary clinical study suggests that creatine supplements may help lower levels of triglycerides (fats in the blood) in men and women with abnormally high concentrations of triglycerides.

In a few clinical studies of people with congestive heart failure, those who took creatine (in addition to standard medical care) saw improvement in the amount of exercise they could do before becoming fatigued, compared to those who took placebo. Getting tired easily is one of the major symptoms of congestive heart failure. One clinical study of 20 people with congestive heart failure found that short-term creatine supplementation in addition to standard medication lead to an increase in body weight and an improvement of muscle strength.

Creatine has also been reported to help lower levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a marker of potential heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

In one double-blind study, people with COPD who took creatine increased muscle mass, muscle strength and endurance, and improved their health status compared with those who took placebo. They did not increase their exercise capacity. More studies are needed to see whether creatine has any benefit for people with COPD.

Muscular dystrophy

People who have muscular dystrophy may have less creatine in their muscle cells, which may contribute to muscle weakness. One study found that taking creatine resulted in a small improvement in muscle strength. However, other studies have found no effect.

Parkinson’s disease

People with Parkinson’s disease have decreased muscular fitness including decreased muscle mass, muscle strength, and increased fatigue. A small clinical study found that giving creatine to people with Parkinson’s disease improved their exercise ability and endurance. In another clinical study, creatinine supplementation improved patients’ moods and led to a smaller dose increase of drug therapy. More research is needed in this area.

Dietary Sources:
About half of the creatine in our bodies is made from other amino acids in the liver, kidney and pancreas, while the other half comes from foods we eat. Wild game is considered to be the richest source of creatine, but lean red meat and fish (particularly herring, salmon, and tuna) are also good sources.

Available Forms:
Supplements are commonly sold as powders, although liquids, tablets, capsules, energy bars, fruit-flavored chews, drink mixes, and other preparations are also available.

How to Take It:
Pediatric

Safety and effectiveness have not been tested in those under 19. Creatine supplements are not recommended for children or teens.

Adult

Loading dose in exercise performance (for adults ages 19 and older): Take 5g of creatine monohydrate, 4 times daily (20s total daily) for one week.

Maintenance dose in exercise performance (for adults ages 19 and older): Take 2 – 5g daily.

For cholesterol reduction (for adults ages 19 and older): Take 20 – 25g daily, for 5 days, followed by 5 – 10g daily thereafter.

Your body may absorb creatine better when you take it with carbohydrate foods (such as fruits, fruit juices, and starches). The doses mentioned have been tested frequently in athletes. However, it is not known whether these dosages have the same effects in non-athletes.

Precautions:
Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.

Side effects of creatine include weight gain, muscle cramps, muscle strains and pulls, stomach upset, diarrhea, dizziness, high blood pressure, liver dysfunction, and kidney damage. Most studies have found no significant side effects at the doses used for up to six months.

Rhabdomyolysis (breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue) and acute kidney failure was reported in one case involving an athlete taking more than 10 grams daily of creatine for 6 weeks. People with kidney disease, high blood pressure, or liver disease should avoid creatine.

Taking creatine supplements may prevent the body from making its own natural stores, although the long-term effects are not known. The Food & Drug Administration recommends talking to your doctor before starting to take creatine.

There have been reports of contaminated creatine supplements. Be sure to buy products made by established companies with good reputations.

Possible Interactions:
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use creatine without first talking to your health care provider.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — Creatine may increase the risk of damage if taken with these pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).

Caffeine — Caffeine may inhibit the body’s ability to use creatine. Taking creatine and caffeine may increase risk of dehydration. Using creatine, caffeine, and ephedra (a substance that has been banned in the U.S. but that was used in sports supplements) may increase the risk of stroke.

Diuretics (water pills) — Taking creatine with diuretics may increase the risk of dehydration and kidney damage.

Cimetidine (Tagamet) — Taking creatine while taking Tagamet may increase the risk of kidney damage.

Probenicid — Taking creatine while taking probenecid (a drug used to treat gout) may increase the risk of kidney damage.

The Secrets Of Training

The secrets of training that pros won’t tell the regular gym guru, I WILL!

TRAINING:

Secrets to the training aspect are fairly simple. The biggest mistake that amateurs make is that they do not listen to their body. If you need a break,then take it. If you feel you need more fluids, drink it. If you need more gear, then do it. Alot of the game is all in listening just as it is in school, you must listen to learn. Shocking your bod into different plateaus is what it begs for. One week if your doing squats for legs then switch it up the next week and do lunges and leg presses instead. Also, if your doing pyramid training one week, then switch to high rep low weight sets the next, and then maybe do high weight low rep the next. You just have to keep your muscle guessing into what’s coming next. You hear of a ton of bodybuilders saying they do not get sore anymore; this is bad, very bad. If your not getting sore, your not growing, simple as that. When the muscle breaks down and tears, it rebuilds itself during sleep and recuperation, hence, getting sore. Your post workout shake is a MUST after every hardcore session, right away.

Sleep:

The average Joe only gets about 6 to 7 hours of sleep per night. This is simply not enough and in order to have optimal results, you need optimal sleep. HGH (Human Growth Hormone) is a perfect way to get the REM sleep needed to grow into your full potential. If your pocket allows for the money to supply it, then by all means, it’s well worth it. If you can’t get the much needed 8 full hours of sleep at night because of life’s circumstances, then try to set aside the extra time for a nap sometime during the day, it will tremendously boost your energy and training.

Gear:

I usually will not even touch on this subject because alot of people take my advice as a “go ahead” to start using. So before I tell you, this is not me telling you to go ahead and do it. Gear is only used or should only be used once your genetics have fully maxed out. Anabolics are only going to do what you want them to do if there is nothing else stopping it. What do I mean? Your diet has to be dead on, your sleep has to be perfect, your genetics have to be worn thin from natural bodybuilding, and you have to have the time, money, patience, and the right attitude. Steroids are not for people that just want to hurry up and slab on fifty pounds, so everyone at school likes them! If you are ready and have exhausted your options then a good start would be to follow a simple beginner’s cycle. A anabolic, a androgenic, and a good anti-estrogen. Therefore, the cycle would always contain a testosterone base and maybe deca would be a great choice to run with it,and nolvadex as your anti-e.  Before starting this be sure to read up on as much information as possible, so you know what to expect and what your putting into your body.

Nutrition:

Nutrition is key. My outlook on things are much different then you have heard in the past. The difference is that mine is based on living longer and healthier, and also I have a master’s degree in nutrition to back this up. Protein intake should be 0.8 kg per kg of body weight. (your weight in lbs. divided by 2.2 will give you your weight in kgs). Now this sounds low right? It’s been proven many times that caloric intake is a must to build muscle,therefore, you must keep your calories high if your following this regimen. The protein intake I have listed is because the body simply can not handle digesting 500 grams of protein a day! It’s insane to hear about these guys taking in that much per day. Trust me when i say, your liver will not last long eating like this. Keep your carbohydrates fairly high too, 150 to 200 grams per day is adequate for gaining weight and muscle. Eating clean is the best you can do for your body. When I say eat clean, this means to simple eat home cooked meals and limit your butter, oil, and nasty cooking greases. You want to eat high quality protein from sources like fish, lean beef, chicken, and certain sea-foods. Always keep you carbs mostly eaten during the day to stop from fat forming at night. Sodium should be less then 1000 mg per day, otherwise you will retain too much water especially if you on AAS also. Water intake should always be above 1 gallon per day. In the summertime, you should consume more due to the heat causing you to perspire more often. Remember, nutrition is the most important, if you eat like crap, you will look like crap.

This is just a small portion of how to successfully train and bodybuild, you should always do as much research as possible with any questions that you have. Some people keep log books and other’s don’t. Some people do alot of things that others don’t, so have fun with it and find what works best for you.

Written By: Kane Congdon, NPC National Competitor,and M.D in biology/sports science.

Weight Loss The Right Way

When you think of weight loss and losing weight, the first things that probably come to your mind are either those “lose weight fast !!” articles that are in every magazine and newspaper in the world that never work and are written by some personal training idiot that has no idea what they’re talking about… or maybe you’re thinking of all of those weight loss pills that claim to be safe and allow you to “eat whatever you want and still lose weight because the pill will do all of the work for you” or whatever stupid line they are using to get you to buy their useless unsafe weight loss product. Or, maybe you’re thinking of rice cakes and never eating and being hungry all day long.

Well, if you are thinking any of those things, forget it! Forget all of it!

What I am about to give you is totally FREE, detailed, easy to understand information on weight loss and losing weight and how to lose weight and fat without using any type of pill or supplement, without using some “fitness magazine” diet, and by eating not 1, not 2, not 3, but 5 meals a day! Sound impossible? Sound too good to be true? Sound like I’m going to make you buy my “book” or order my “product” first before I tell you? Well I’m not! I don’t have a book and I don’t a have product. I am not trying to sell you a damn thing! What I am trying to do, no… what I am GOING to do, is tell you exactly how you can lose weight. Enjoy…

Weight loss is simple, burn more calories then you consume. If you can fully understand that then you are on your way to losing weight. There are 6 simple steps. Here they are:

1) Count how many calories you eat in a normal day. That’s right, wake up, and eat like you would normally eat and count the calories in everything you eat and everything you drink and keep track of it on a piece of paper or on the computer some where. You might be thinking to yourself, “yeah right, I’m not gonna sit around counting calories all day.” Well, if you’re thinking that, then you’re obviously not dedicated enough to losing weight. If this is the case, then feel free to go waste your money on the newest useless weight loss pill. But, if you are dedicated enough to take 10 minutes out of your day and count the calories, then keep on reading.

2) At the end of that day, add up the number of calories you ate/drank. Be as exact as possible. Once you add it all up, you now have the total number of calories you consume daily. Also, weigh yourself.

3) Starting the day after you counted calories, eat 500 calories LESS then you normally do. So, lets pretend that the day you counted calories you counted 2000. For the rest of the week, you would eat 1500 calories a day. Understand? All you have to do is subtract 500 from the total number of calories you consume in a normal day, and eat this new number of calories every day for the next 7 days.

4) Instead of eating 3 big meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), or eating all day all the time, spread those calories out over 5 smaller meals. Eat one meal every 2 and a half to 3 hours. Doing this will speed up your metabolism.

5) Cardio. Cardio is an important part of weight loss. If you’re serious about losing weight, but don’t want to do the cardio workouts, then you are requiring your diet to do all of the work. Jog, walk, swim, jump rope, ride a bike, take an aerobics class, whatever… cardio + proper diet = better than just doing one of the two. All it takes is 30 minutes a day, 3 – 5 days a week. I say 3-5 days a week because I don’t know if you have 5 pounds to lose, or if you have 50 pounds to lose. So, depending on how much your looking to lose, figure it out. 3 times a week is good starting point though.

6) At the end of that week, weigh yourself. You’ll notice a difference just after one week! Now, don’t expect to see a 20 pound difference. Losing anymore then 1 or 2 pounds a week is unhealthly. So look for a 1 or 2 pound weight loss at the end of the week. Don’t sound like much? You can lose 5-8 pounds a month! That’s around 75lbs a year! So if you have A LOT of weight to lose, you can lose it. If have just a few pounds to lose, you can lose it.

// // <![CDATA[Important weight loss tips for losing weight effectively! (extremely important!)

- THE BAD FAT MUST GO! Stay away from "bad" fat! Get rid of all the chips and candy. No more fast food, nothing fried. No more cookies, no more cake, no more of these saturated fats. There is no question about it and there is no way around it, get rid of these types of foods. Don't get me wrong, you should NOT be eating 0 grams of fat every day, but the only places you should be getting your daily fat intake from are lean meats (not the fried fast food kind), chicken (again, not fried!), etc. as well as the foods that contain the "healthy" types of fat, which can be found in just about every type of fish.

- LOWER THE BAD CARBS! Most people think that it is fat that makes people fat and that just by eating less fat, they are on their way to weight loss! WRONG! Certain carbs can be just as bad as fat when it comes to losing weight. Limit foods high in bad carbs. These carbs will eventually turn into fat. Foods like sugar, white bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, etc. are high in simple (bad) carbs. Sure, your body needs carbs, which is why foods like these are ok to eat, but don't go overboard. Stick to high protein/good carb/low fat foods like tuna fish (and other seafood), chicken breast, turkey, whole grains, fruits and vegetables etc.

- WATER! Drink water! Get rid of the soda, get rid of the beer, and get rid of the sports drinks. Drink around a half gallon a day, more if you can. Spread it out throughout the day, just like your 5 meals. Yes that's a lot of water, but it's that water that will give you energy and speed your weight loss.

- STRENGTH TRAINING! YES! Weightlifting isn't just great for muscles, it's great for losing weight. Muscles burn calories.

- Weigh yourself at the end of every week. If you ever have more then 2 weeks go by without losing 1 pound, it's time to change something. Eat 250 less calories then you've been eating. And keep everything else the same. Each time you see weight loss stop for more then 2 weeks, decrease calorie intake by 250 until you get down to where you want to be. Remember, NEVER starve yourself!

- Sleep! YES! Sleep! The easiest, yet most over looked step. Get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Trust me, you're gonna need it!

There you have it. You now know everything you need to know about losing weight. You didn't have to buy any weight loss pills or books on losing weight, instead, you should use the money you just saved and go buy some good food or a gym membership.

Now, I never once said this would be easy. If it was easy, you would have done it already. Losing weight isn't something you can just do "on the side."  You are going to have to dedicate your mind and body and your time to doing it! So, you now have the information you need, all you have to do now is use it.

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Muscle Building 101

Muscle building is not easy. If it was, everyone you know would be 250lbs of pure muscle. Muscle building takes time and effort, and if you aren’t willing to dedicate your time and put in extreme amounts of effort, then you are wasting your time. However, if you fully understand the amount of dedication that is needed, then read on and lets get down to business.

Muscle building requires 3 steps. Step 1 and the most important step is the weightlifting, which must be done correctly. This includes your workout routines and programs, as well as the actual exercises that you do. Your workout routine must allow your entire body to get the best workout it can (so that you are not overtraining), and you must do the most effective muscle building exercises. There are tons of different exercises and machines for each muscle group, but there are just 4 that have the greatest effect. These 4 exercises are your “compound” movements. Let me explain.

The most effective muscle building exercises are compound movements. Compound movements are exercises that require your body to use more than one muscle. For example, bicep curls will only require your body to use your biceps. This is known as an isolation exercise. An exercise like the bench press, which mainly requires the use of your chest, but secondarily requires your triceps and shoulders is a compound movement. Including the bench press, there are 4 weightlifting exercises that MUST be included in your workout routines.

The 4 biggest, most effective, muscle building exercises are Squats, Deadlifts, the Bench Press and the Military Press. All 4 are compound movements and all 4 are are extremely important to your workout. The main exercise of your chest workout should be the bench press, the main exercise of your leg workout should be squats, the main exercise of your back workout should be deadlifts and the main exercise of your shoulder workout should be the military press.

Exercises like dumbbell flyes which works the chest, leg extensions which works the legs, lat pulldowns which works the back and lateral raises which works the shoulders are all fine exercises and I do every one of them, however, the “big 4″ exercises are the ones that will allow you to gain the most muscle, size and strength.

Muscle building step number 2 is your diet. Diets are just as important as the actual weightlifting, because if you aren’t eating to grow, then you will NOT grow. You have to eat big, to lift big, to get big. Say that over and over again to yourself until you fully understand it. Some of the diet basics are eating at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight EVERY DAY whether you worked out that day or not. Protein is the building block of muscle. If you can’t get at least 1 gram of protein per pound every day from real food, supplement with shakes.  Most people use them, and so do I.  Eating very little (if any) saturated fat is important as well. You want to get big, but you don’t want to get fat. Also stay away from the rest of the junk food like cookies, candy, cake, anything high in sugar, soda, fast food, fried food, etc. and make sure you are eating enough calories! You have to eat big to get big, remember?

Muscle building step number 3 is “everything else.” This includes overtraining and giving your body enough time to rest and recover from your workouts. Make sure you are not overtraining! Overtraining can be just as bad as not training at all. This step also includes motivation and dedication. If you aren’t consistent, then you are wasting your time. You must stay dedicated and stay motivated. The results won’t come easy, and they won’t come very fast either, so stay dedicated, and stay consistent, and do all 3 steps correctly, and the muscle building results WILL come!

Growth Principles:Training

This is a general guide for beginning and intermediate bodybuilders that don’t know the principles behind muscle growth yet or are not happy with the results that they are currently getting.

We will go through training, diet and gear. I will tell you the principles behind everything that I recommend for you to do, so you can understand why certain things happen, so in the future you can fix problems yourself. Bodybuilding is a very simple and logical endeavour. Everything that you do has to be logical. Only logical actions will give you results. Every time that you come across a new principle, always ask yourself it it makes logical sense. If it does not, dump it!

TRAINING

Why does a muscle grow? Because it has to adapt. When does it have to adapt? When you expose it to something that it has not done before. When is something that it has not done before? When the muscle is taxed 100%. That’s 100% effort. What’s 100% effort? When you train to 100% PHYSICAL, not mental failure. So, to make the muscle grow, you have to train with 100% effort otherwise, the muscle will not adapt/grow.
Now, using the above logic, for a set to be beneficial to your growth, it needs to be 100% effort. So, a 100% effort set of an exercise, will make you grow. Then, what is the point to do a second set of that exercise? You cannot go more than 100%. The muscle already has been taxed by 100% from the first set, so why should you do a second one? You will just eat into your recovery ability. So, you should only do one set to failure per exercise. Later on, I will describe the training program and how exercises and warm-ups are involved.

A muscle will not grow until it’s recovered. The muscle will not begin to recover until the nervous system is Recovered. It takes roughly 24hours for the nervous system to recover from a workout. Only then will the muscle begin to recover and grow. So, you should never train 2 days in a row. Even if you train different bodyparts, you still use the same nervous system. You train 2 days in a row, your nervous system recovers, but by the time the muscles begin to, you train again, so the body has to concentrate again on recovering the nervous system.

A training frequency of 3 days per week (Mon, Wed, Fri) is more than enough. Numerous pros, including myself, train like this offseason for maximum growth. Even if you use streroids, you still have to train like this. Steroids increase your recovery ability, but they also make you stronger at a quicker rate. The extra strength will give you the ability to train harder/tear more muscle tissue, so you will need the extra recovery that the steroids will give you.

The following is a great training program that I recommend:

Mon – Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
* Incline press – warm-up sets, 1 work set
* Flat flyes – 1 work set
* Millitary press – 1 warm-up, 1 work set
* Lateral flyes – 1 work set
* Rear delt machine – 1 work set
* Tricep pushdowns – 1 warm-up, 1 work set
* Lying tricep extensions – 1 work-set

Wed – Quads, Hams, Calves
* Squats – warm-ups, 1 work set
* Leg press – work set
* Leg extension – work set
* Leg curl – warm-up, work set
* Stiff leg deadlift – work set
* Standing calf raise – work set

Fri – Abs, Back, Bis
* Rope crunches – warm up, work set
* Lat pull down – warm-ups, work set
* Deadlift – warm-up, work set
* Bent-over rows – work set
* Shrugs – work set
* Standing BB curls – warm up, work set
* Concentration curl – work set

You do a lot of warm-ups for your first exercise of the day. You do one warm-up for the first exercise of each bodypart, only to optimise the firing of the neuropathways.
Let’s use chest as an example – if for example your max (work set) in the incline press is 3 plates, then you do 2 warm-ups with the bar, 2 warm-ups with one plate, 1 warm-up with 2 plates and then your work set with 3 plates. The work set is a set where you fail at about 6 reps. Every workout, you have to do more reps or increase the weight in that work set (remember, the muscle has to do something that it has not done before). So if one work out you fail with 6 reps, the following nothing less than 7. When you reach 8 reps, the following workout you should do (increase) a weight where you can do minimum 4 reps. Then increase your reps again every workout until you reach 8 again, and so on. Each rep has a tempo of 2-1-1. That is 2 seconds in the negative, one second in the contraction
and 1 second in the positive. Then, after you fail in the incline press, you move straight to flat flyes. You do not need a warmp now because your chest is more than warm after you failed on presses. And that’s it for chest. The basic routine stays the same. If you want variety, small changes as using DB’s instead of BB or doing flat presse and incline flyes for example, is mor ethan enough variety to keep the muscle ‘confused’.

DIET

VERY simple. Very important that you try to get as close to 500g of protein per day. Easiest way to do that is to have a whey protein shake in water with every meal. Fats and carbs don’t matter. Calories don’t count, macro nutrients (protein, fat, carb) do. If you get to add fat on, just cut out the fats and keep your carbs bellow 300g/day. That’s all it is! Very simple, but hard to stick to, so not many people get results. On gear, the more protein you eat, the more you grow. Is as simple as that. Gear maximises protein synthesis.

GEAR

You need a testosterone base. 750mg/week is plenty. You need an anabolic – deca or Eq at 400mg/week is plenty. You need for optimum growth, a good oral like d-bol at 30mg/d or A-50 50mg/d. You use the test and the anabolic non stop. The oral is 4 weeks on 4 weeks off. Every 6th week (the half way point between the off oral period – so 2 weeks after you finish the oral) you have a blood test. If the blood test is OK, then you can begin your next 4 weeks on oral. There is no reason for you to come off. The only 2 reasons are health or your receptors are saturated. If the regular blood test is OK, your health is OK. If you are still making progress, your receptors are OK. Coming off, will just sabotage your gains. That’s why I do not believe in set time frames for cycles. Listen to your body. When you use the oral, you need to use all the liver aids available – Synthergine, Milk Thistle, L-methionine, Liv-52, etc. Of course you cannot drink or do rec drugs during that time. Using these precautions, your blood tests will be OK.
You also need to use an anti estrogen like Nolvadex at 10mg/d throughout the whole time. Also, you have a choice between HCG every 4 weeks at 5000IU or Clomid at 50mg EOD. These will make sure that your balls will stay at a decent size and they will not forget how to function. The blood tests that you need are: full blood count, liver and kidney function tests, FSH, LH, TSH, cholesterol. If the Total protein test in the liver tests is high, that is because of your diet. You need to keep an eye on the Billirubin and Urea test results. Your FSH and LH will be suppressed – that’s normal because of the gear. If the TSH is low, add 20mcg/d T3. If the kidney function is off, then drink more. Protein stresses the kidneys, so you need more fluids. When you eventually come off the gear, you make sure that you are off the orals. Then cut out the anabolic over 2 weeks. Then the testosterone over 3 weeks. One week after that, you need to add primo tabs or anavar (oxandrin) for 3 weeks. That will ensure that you will keep your gains.
Ideally do a gainkeeper’s formula that is outlined in another article.

These are the basic principles behind muscle growth. You do the above, you will GROW, no matter what.

Stubborn Muscles?

Plateau Busters

Pre-Exhaustion Training – Pre-fatiguing a larger muscle with an isolation, single-joint movement so it can be even more exhausted by the compound movements to follow. When you do an exercise like the bench press that works not only the chest, but also smaller muscles, one of the smaller muscles might fail before your chest is fully exhausted. By doing a chest isolation exercise beforehand, you can fatigue your chest so you can do bench presses to chest failure, which is what you want.

Muscle Priority Training – Training your most underdeveloped muscles first, so as to subject it to the maximum possible effort. If you have a weak body-part you want to improve, train it first in your workout, before you begin to fatigue. Pyramiding – When using multiple sets for a given exercise, doing your first set with less weight for more reps, gradually increasing the weight and decreasing the reps over the remainder of your sets. This allows you to gradually warm up a muscle group, preparing it for the resistance to come in the next set.

Supersets – Working opposing muscle groups in back-to-back fashion, taking as little rest as possible in between sets. Alternating sets between opposing muscle groups – such as biceps and triceps/chest and back – greatly increases intensity. When you train one muscle group, the other is recovering (sometimes even being stretched) as you complete the set. With two muscles or muscle groups being worked, more blood is pumped into the area.

Tri-Sets – Doing three sets in a row for the same body-part with as little rest as possible in between sets. Three exercises in a row more thoroughly exhaust the muscle. This training technique is so demanding that it should only be done on occasion, and is more often used by bodybuilders in their pre-contest training.

Set System Training – Simply doing more than one set for each exercise. This is the opposite of high-intensity training, which involves performing one set per exercise. Often, the first couple of sets aren’t enough to fatigue your muscle.

Giant Sets – Doing 4-6 exercises for the same body-part with as little rest between sets. Giant sets are used to create overwhelming stimulation to a body-part and totally exhaust the muscles involved. This technique should only be used occasionally as your body needs time to recover from this level of effort. This type of training is used more for muscular endurance and calorie burning then for putting on muscle size.

Instinctive Training – This involves experimenting with your workouts and paying attention to how your body reacts to certain types of training. The fundamentals of bodybuilding training are the same for everyone, but we are all unique. The further along you get in your training, the more you have to fine tune your workouts to suit your needs. It takes time to develop this “feel” and have this type of knowledge. Whatever you are used to is going to feel best for you, but you have to figure out what really produces the best results for you and make adjustments accordingly.

Compound Sets – Alternating two exercises for the same muscle group, taking as little rest as possible between each set. Each same-bodypart exercise fatigues the muscle involved in slightly different ways, so doing two exercises in a row with little rest in-between achieves a deeper level of stimulation and muscle pump.

Staggered Sets – Training smaller, slower-developing body parts like calves or forearms in between all sets for your major body parts. Arnold Schwarzenegger relied on this principle early in his career to develop his calves. He would do a set for chest, back or shoulders, then he would do a set of calf raises while his major muscle group was recovering for the next set. He’d then alternate sets for the working body part and calves. His calves got plenty of time to recover in-between sets and by the end of his workout, he would have subjected them to as many as 15-20 total sets of various calf raises.

Descending Sets – This is done by starting with the heaviest weight you can use for at least 8 reps (or more) and once you fail you drop the weight and get a few more reps and then again and even drop the weight again. This is commonly done on the standing calve raises. I generally start with 400lbs get 12 reps, drop the weight to around 350 get around 8 more, drop the weight again to about 300 and do it until I fail. This should be done with no rest when dropping the weight. After you did a few weight drops and failed after the third drop, take about 2-minute break and go at it again.

Burns -This is a great way to break past barriers if you have no partner. This can be done by dropping the weight after you have came close to failure, to weight in which you can handle for around 20 or so reps. Rep it out to break through your barriers. This should be done on you last set of that particular exercise.

Partial Reps – Performed when you have came close to failure but can still get about half the movement in. Do not perform to many of these for these can cause injury. Perform about 3 of these at the end of the set or until you can no longer move the bar. Only do these with a partner.

Forced Reps – This is done after you have failed on a set and your training partner helps you move the weight as you just go through the motions trying to do it. This should be done only after you have failed completely and can not get another on your own. This should be done after you have done the partial reps and failed. Perform no more than 3 of these.

Rest/Pause -Pyramid up to the maximum weight you can do for two or three reps, rest 30-40 seconds, then squeeze out another two or three reps, rest 40-60 seconds and get another two reps, rest 60-90 seconds and get one or two more reps; you will have done one long set of seven to 10 reps, all of which have been at or near the most weight you’ve ever lifted.” The effect is one of extending maximal effort over a high volume of sets and reps, all in the intensity range that produces the best results. In other words, think of it as being able to use your single-rep maximum weight for seven to 10 reps. Even then, rest-pause must be approached with respect. Try it initially with one exercise in your body part workout; keep in mind that, since this technique is primarily for maximum mass gains, it should first be used with the most basic compound movement in your workout for that day. Once your muscle conditioning and cardiovascular efficiency have caught up with your rest-pause performance for that exercise, you can try using it for a second heavy basic movement in that workout. Of course, always remember that since your intention is to spend most of your workout in the maximum-poundage register, you need a thorough warm-up and protracted pyramiding.

Box Squats: Training

Benefits of Box Squats. Many of you will struggle to do Squats correctly. While giving up an exercise too early is never the option, switching to Box Squats can allow for safer & faster progress. Benefits:

* Enforce Proper Technique. You can’t cheat depth and you learn to sit back by moving your hips first. Box Squats also improve hip mobility.
* Develop Hip Power. Box Squats have you start from a dead stop in the bottom position. This develops a strong, explosive posterior chain.
* Safer. Rounding the lower back on Squats is common. While you still can do it on Box Squats, it’s much harder and often goes away faster.

Getting The Box. Grab a box on which your hips end up below your knees when sitting. A box big enough for your glutes to sit on. Best is a box that allows for different heights so you can vary depth.

* Plates. Bumper plates are thicker thus work better. But you’ll need a lot of plates to get the right height, gym people might not be happy.
* Be Creative. Aerobic box. Or plyometric jump box. Or build a wooden box. If it’s robust, it works. I use stones. A bench is usually too high.
* Adjustable Box. Elite FTS sells a box you can adjust at different heights. You’ll find more info at their site.

Box Squat Starting Position. The starting position on Box Squats is similar as for Squats. Although you’ll use a slightly wider stance.

* Low Bar. High bar doesn’t work for Box Squats. Put the bar low, on top of your scapular spine. If this position feels hard: thoracic mobility.
* Narrow Grip. Makes it easier to keep your upper-back tight, which adds strength. Do shoulder dislocations if you struggle with this position.
* Foot Stance. Doesn’t need to be a sumo stance, but should definitely be wider than your shoulder-width. Feet turned out about 30°.
* Tight Upper-back. Imagine you try to squeeze a pen between your shoulder-blades. Keep this position during the whole lift.
* Chest Up. Make a big chest and keep it up. This together with the tight upper-back will prevent your back to bend.
* Look Forward. Fix a point in front of you during the whole lift. Don’t look up or down: look forward. If it’s a mirror: look through it.
* Push Your Abs Out. Increases lower back stability. Push your abs out as if someone was going to punch you in your stomach.

How to Squat Down on The Box. Lower yourself by moving your hips first. Your knees should hardly move during Box Squats, it all comes from your hips. Read the article on how NOT to Squat.

* Sit Back. Lead by pushing your hips back as far as you can. Think sitting on a toilet. Your knees don’t move, your hips move back.
* Shins Perpendicular. Or even past perpendicular to the floor. You’ll get this by moving your hips first. Push them back as far as you can.
* Knees Out. Your upper-thighs must stay inline with your feet to avoid knee injuries. Push your knees out, point them where your toes point.
* Sit on The Box. Do not let yourself fall on the box. Lower yourself under control. Not slow, and not a touch & go. It should be controlled.
* Stay Tight. Don’t relax your muscles, it can cause back injuries. Keep all your muscles tight on the box.

How to Squat off The Box. Stay tight, keep your chest up and look forward. Squat up by thinking hips up, do not lean forward.

* Heels on The Floor. Curl your toes. Heels on the floor so you don’t lose balance. Push from the outer side of your feet (wear Chuck Taylor’s!)
* Explode. You can’t do Box Squats slow. Squat up by exploding from your hips. That’s how Box Squats build hip power.

Common Box Squat Mistakes. Box Squats – like any weight lifting exercise – can mess with your lower back if you don’t do them correctly. The key is to sit on the box and stay tight. Do not bounce or relax.

* Bouncing off The Box. Sandwiches your spine between the bar & the box, causing back injuries. Lower yourself under control. Sit on the box.
* Relaxing on The Box. Your spine gets the whole load as surrounding muscles can’t provide support. Stay tight, push your abs out.
* Knees Forward. Kills posterior chain strength. Keep your shins (past) perpendicular to the floor. Lower yourself by pushing your hips back.
* Rocking Forward. Can’t use your glutes effectively this way and risk back injury. Squat up by moving your hips up. Keep your torso still.
* Leaning Forward. Can make your back round. Look forward, big chest, shoulder-blades back & down, arch your back, push your abs out, Squat.
* Knees In. Puts uneven compressive forces on your knee joint. Push your knees out from start to finish. Keep your thighs inline with your feet.

Intensity Techniques

All of the below mentioned methods are known collectively as “intensity” techniques. I personally consider them advanced training methods, so if you’re just getting into BB’ing/resistance training I wouldn’t suggest worrying about intensity techniques. You’ll make plenty of progress using just straight sets, adding weight to the bar and eating and resting enough.

I will however give you a brief description of several intensity techniques for future reference.

1) Drop sets- do a set to failure, and then decrease the weight on the bar and continue until you once again reach failure (rest just long enough to strip the weight off the bar, or better yet have a partner or two there to strip the weights for you). This process can be repeated several times (i.e. “double drop-set” “triple drop-set”).

This method is good for stressing a wide range of muscle fibers very efficiently. In other words start with a fairly heavy weight (say 5 RM/fast twitch fibers), then when you reach failure drop the weight (now you’ll be hitting more intermediate fibers), when you again reach failure drop the weight again (now you should be using fairly light weight and stressing more of the endurance fibers).

2) Pre-exhaustion- perform a set (to failure) of an isolation exercise for a specific muscle and then immediately perform at set of a compound exercise that also works that muscle (example leg extension/squat).

Generally with pre-exhaustion the purpose is to emphasize a specific muscle that you have a hard time recruiting during the compound. So, while I used leg extensions (quad) and squats as an example, that’s probably not a very common example (most people tend to be quad dominant squaters naturally). A more common example might be something like straight arm pull-downs and pull-ups (for someone who has a hard time recruiting their lats).

3) Post-exhaustion- Basically the opposite of pre-exhaustion. Perform a set of a compound exercise and then immediately perform a set of an isolation exercise for a specific muscle. This method allows you to use slightly more weight on the compound than pre-exhaust, so some people prefer it.

The idea is to really stress/overload the muscle with the compound and then use the following isolation exercise to really pump it up and get lots of blood/nutrients into the muscle belly.

4) Super-sets- (Note: this is the method that Arnold preferred for super-sets, though some would consider pre-exhaust and post exhaust to be forms of super-sets). Perform an exercise for a muscle group and then immediately perform an exercise for the opposing muscle group (example bench and rows).

This method is a good time saving method as is allows you to do two muscle groups in about the same time it would normally take you to do only one. Some suggest that it also actually improves strength/performance in the lifts as the muscles not only rest while the opposing muscle works, but also provide less resistance to the opposing muscles due to fatigue.

5) Rest-pause- as originally invented by Mike Mentzer (or at least I believe it was) was basically the same thing as what CT describes as “cluster sets” in his newest article. Many people however have come to associate the term with Dante Trudell’s methods. Basically Trudell’s method is to take a set to failure, take 10-15 deep breaths, go to failure again (keeping the weight the same), and repeat one more time.

This method is very good for building strength (both the original method and Trudell’s method) as it basically allows you to get more reps with the same weight in less time than you normally could.

6) One and a half’s- is another method designed to emphasize a specific muscle group during a compound exercise. Basically you do exactly as the name implies, perform a full rep followed by a half rep.

For instance during the bench the chest/pecs are primarily responsible for the lower half of the movement and the triceps are primarily responsible for the upper half (or at least that is the theory). So, if you wanted to emphasize your chest you’d do a full rep, then come all the way down to your chest, come up half way, back down to your chest and then all the way up again. If you wanted to focus on the triceps you’d just do the half rep in the upper half instead.

7) Partials- generally partials are done with supramaximal weights (more than you could lift through a full range of motion) and are used primarily for building strength. Once again, check out CT’s latest article for an example of a method utilizing partials. CW also did a good article a while back that was completely based around using partials.

8) 21′s- are performed by breaking a movement into three ranges/parts (a bottom range, a middle range, and a top range) and then performing 7 reps in each range. It’s primarily a “pump” exercise designed to get a lot of blood/nutrients into the muscle.

Post Workout Meal

Post Workout Meal Nutrition -what to eat after a workout

The post workout meal (the meal you eat after a workout) is probably the most important meal of the day for anyone who is into nutrition and fitness. However, in a lot of cases this importance also leads to confusion. Maybe it’s because of the many ready-made shakes available. Maybe it’s the trouble with fitting it in with the rest of your diet. Maybe it’s just generally not knowing whether you should even eat anything after you’ve worked out. Whatever it is, something about it confuses people.

The truth is, once you understand the basics of what nutrients your body needs and doesn’t need after your workout, and what the best sources are to get this nutrition from, the post workout meal will probably become the most simple and quick meal of your day. And, luckily for you, I just so happen to be explaining all of this information in this very article.

What you should and should NOT eat after a workout.

Simply put, aside from water (which you should already know you need) your post workout meal needs to contain 2 things, and it needs to not contain 1. You should be eating protein and carbs. You should NOT be eating fat. More on the protein and carbs you need a little later. First, let’s start with a quick explanation of why you shouldn’t eat fat after a workout.

Many times throughout this website I explain why fat is NOT a bad thing (when it’s the “good” fat) and why it is an important part of everyone’s diet. However, there just happens to be a certain time when fat (good or bad) wouldn’t be good to eat. This of course is in the post workout meal. Simply put, fat slows down digestion. In this case, it would be slowing down the digestion of protein and carbs. This, as you’re about to find out, is the exact opposite of what you want to happen.

At this point you should really have just 3 questions about your post workout meal:

1 – How soon should I eat it?
2 – How much protein and how many carbs should I eat?
3 – What foods should the protein and carbs be coming from?

Hey, what a coincidence, here comes the answers to all of those questions…

How long after my workout should I eat my post workout meal?

Soon… really soon. As soon as you can. I don’t mean put-down-the-dumbbells-and-start-eating. It doesn’t need to be quite that soon. However, there is this “window of time” that exists after your workout during which it would be the most beneficial for your body to receive it’s post workout nutrition. Typically you’d want to try to get this meal into your body within 1 hour. If possible, within 30 minutes would be even better. I personally have my post workout meal about 5-10 minutes after my workout. What’s that you say? How can I do it so fast if I’m at the gym? Don’t worry, more on that later.

Post Workout Protein

Now that you know that time is of the essence when it comes to your post workout meal, this part is going to make a whole lot of sense. See, eating this meal soon after a workout is important, but just because you are putting the food into your body quickly doesn’t actually mean the food is being digested and used by your body equally as quick. While egg whites, chicken and tuna fish are fine sources of protein that I personally eat daily, they aren’t the ideal type of protein for the meal after your workout.

These foods are whole foods, and the protein in whole foods digest pretty slowly. You may have eaten a high protein food in your post workout meal, but by the time the protein is digested and finally ready to be used by your body, a whole lot of time would have passed. This is why the ideal source of protein to eat after your workout is a whey protein powder mixed with some type of liquid thus creating a whey protein shake.

A whey protein shake will be digested by your body much quicker than a whole food because it will be a liquid. And, not to mention, whey protein is the fastest digesting protein there is. This is what makes whey protein pretty much the official choice of most people as their post workout meal protein source. Most people try to consume anywhere from 20-50 grams of protein at this time. I’d say 30 is probably a good number to shoot for.

As for the whey protein powder itself, I personally use Designer Whey Protein Powder.

Post Workout Carbs

Yeah yeah yeah. “Carbs are bad! Carbs are the devil! I am scared to death of carbs! Get them away from me!!” Settle down. First of all, they aren’t so bad. Secondly, after your workout they are actually an extremely important part of your post workout nutrition. Carbs will be used by your body to restore muscle glycogen. If your post workout meal doesn’t contain carbs, your body may actually instead break down muscle tissue for this same purpose. That would be a bad thing. Carbs also create an insulin spike which helps to move nutrients into your muscle tissue quicker.

So, now that you know you need them after a workout, what kind do you need? Well, you know all about good carbs and bad carbs by now, right? Funny enough, this is actually the only time when “good carbs” and “bad carbs” switch roles. This doesn’t mean start eating cookies, this just means that typical good carbs (whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc) contain fiber, and fiber slows down their digestion. This is actually what makes them “good” any other time of the day. But by now you know the post workout meal is all about speed. And when it comes to speed, simple carbs beat complex carbs.

A food like a baked potato is an okay choice for a carb source after a workout. However, just like protein, whole foods in general aren’t really the most ideal choice at this time. This is where a little something called dextrose comes in. Dextrose is not a supplement… it’s actually just a type of sugar. I know, I’m basically saying you should eat sugar. While that would be insane any other time of the day, your post workout meal is the one exception.

Along with whey protein, dextrose has also become almost an official choice for a post workout carb. Most people usually consume between 40-80 grams of carbs at this time from dextrose. I think 50-60 is probably a more average number to shoot for. As far as dextrose goes, I personally use NOW Foods Dextrose.

My Post Workout Meal

To finish this article up, here is what I do. Before I leave for the gym, I put everything I need inside of a shaker bottle. A shaker bottle is just a plastic cup with a cover and some type of “blending” piece inside. You just put something in it, add water, and shake it for about 5-10 seconds. It is simple and extremely convenient for your post workout meal. I put in the whey protein powder, dextrose, and 5 grams of L-Glutamine (more about L-Glutamine) and take a bottle of water with me.

After my workout I get into my car, open the shaker bottle, pour in the water, shake for 5-10 seconds and drink on the ride home. The whole process takes less than a minute and the whole “meal” is finished in a matter of minutes if I take my time. There you have it… quick, easy, convenient and contains the best sources of everything my body requires post workout.

What I use:
Designer Protein Powder
NOW Foods Dextrose
EAS L-Glutamine
Shaker Bottle
Water

High-Intensity Interval Training

High-Intensity Interval Training Is Time-Efficient and Effective, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Mar. 12, 2010) — The usual excuse of “lack of time” for not doing enough exercise is blown away by new research published in The Journal of Physiology.

The study, from scientists at Canada’s McMaster University, adds to the growing evidence for the benefits of short term high-intensity interval training (HIT) as a time-efficient but safe alternative to traditional types of moderate long term exercise. Astonishingly, it is possible to get more by doing less!

“We have shown that interval training does not have to be ‘all out’ in order to be effective,” says Professor Martin Gibala. “Doing 10 one-minute sprints on a standard stationary bike with about one minute of rest in between, three times a week, works as well in improving muscle as many hours of conventional long-term biking less strenuously.”

HIT means doing a number of short bursts of intense exercise with short recovery breaks in between. The authors have already shown with young healthy college students that this produces the same physical benefits as conventional long duration endurance training despite taking much less time (and amazingly, actually doing less exercise!) However, their previous work used a relatively extreme set-up that involved “all out” pedaling on a specialized laboratory bicycle. The new study used a standard stationary bicycle and a workload which was still above most people’s comfort zone -about 95% of maximal heart rate — but only about half of what can be achieved when people sprint at an all-out pace.

This less extreme HIT method may work well for people (the older, less fit, and slightly overweight among us) whose doctors might have worries about them exercising “all-out.” We have known for years that repeated moderate long-term exercise tunes up fuel and oxygen delivery to muscles and aids the removal of waste products. Exercise also improves the way muscles use the oxygen to burn the fuel in mitochondria, the microscopic power station of cells.

Running or cycling for hours a week widens the network of vessels supplying muscle cells and also boosts the numbers of mitochondria in them so that a person can carry out activities of daily living more effectively and without strain, and crucially with less risk of a heart attack, stroke or diabetes.

But the traditional approach to exercise is time consuming. Martin Gibala and his team have shown that the same results can be obtained in far less time with brief spurts of higher-intensity exercise.

To achieve the study’s equivalent results by endurance training you’d need to complete over 10 hours of continuous moderate bicycling exercise over a two-week period.

The “secret” to why HIT is so effective is unclear. However, the study by Gibala and co-workers also provides insight into the molecular signals that regulate muscle adaptation to interval training. It appears that HIT stimulates many of the same cellular pathways that are responsible for the beneficial effects we associate with endurance training.

The upside of doing more exercise is well-known, but a big question for most people thinking of getting fit is: “How much time out of my busy life do I need to spend to get the perks?”

Martin Gibala says “no time to exercise” is not an excuse now that HIT can be tailored for the average adult. “While still a demanding form of training,” Gibala adds, “the exercise protocol we used should be possible to do by the general public and you don’t need more than an average exercise bike.”

The McMaster team’s future research will examine whether HIT can bring health benefits to people who are overweight or who have metabolic diseases like diabetes.

As the evidence for HIT continues to grow, a new frontier in the fitness field emerges.

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