What’s In Your Pre-workout Formula?

 Nutrition  Comments Off on What’s In Your Pre-workout Formula?
Jan 212012

Finding a good pre-workout supplement is all about knowing what ingredients to look for. Some supplement labels will try to impress you with the amount of ingredients. It’s not the number of ingredients that matter but the quality of those ingredients. If you are already aware of which ingredients are effective, then you will know how to choose your pre-workout. I’m going to outline some of the most crucial ingredients in any pre-workout formula.

The most effective ingredient in any pre-workout supplement is caffeine. This is where the majority of your energy is going to come from. B vitamins also supplying energy but they work with your body to release the energy that is in the calories you eat, rather than stimulating your body. Together these two ingredients will give you a powerful energy boost for your workout, from start to finish.

Creatine is a staple of any pre-workout supplement. Creatine aids with recovery and also delays muscle fatigue by increasing carnosine levels, which battle lactic acid build up. My personal recommendation is creatine monohydrate. It is the only tried and true form of creatine that has proven itself time and again, through decades of research. There are, however, other forms of creatine that may be effective, such as creatine HCL or creatine nitrate. Many users claim that creatine nitrate will give you the best pumps. Creatine HCL is the newest and most popular creatine supplement.

To get the pump in your muscles you need arginine. There is not a pre-workout formula on the planet that doesn’t contain some form of arginine. Arginine is an amino acid that your body converts into the natural gas nitric oxide, which aids in dilating blood vessels and thus increases blood flow to the extremities. This increased blood flow to the muscles is what causes the sensation known as the pump. Arginine AKG is the most commonly used form of arginine in pre-workout supplements.

Many pre-workout supplements will have branched chain amino acids and other amino acids as well. BCAA’s can be an effective tool during workouts for decreasing soreness. Many pre-workout supplements will contain taurine as well. Taurine is the second most abundant amino acid within your muscle tissue, right behind glutamine. Glutamine benefits include anti-catabolic properties among others, although it isn’t usually in pre-workout supplements.

Vitamin C has actually been shown to possibly increase stamina and absorption of other nutrients, which is why some pre-workout supplements include it in the mix.

The Checklist

Caffeine (about 100mg is good)
B vitamins (as a general rule – the more the better)
creatine (most pre-workouts contain around 1 gram per serving)
arginine (around 5 grams is optimal)

Other helpful ingredients

Vitamin C
other herbal stimulants (1,3 dimethylamylamine is an example of a popular one)

One final thing I highly recommend is switching between different pre-workouts. The body can become accustomed to a particular formula and the effects will diminish after time. To avoid building up this tolerance it is good to switch to a new pre-workout supplement every so often. Different blends and different amounts of ingredients can surprise your body and increase the effectiveness of your pre-workout supplement.

John McKiernan is a personal trainer who enjoys researching information on bodybuilding, supplements, diets, health tips and more. He is the owner of Supplementhelper.com where he shares knowledge and advice about popular bodybuilding and health supplements.

Oct 162011

Nutrition facts are provided on every food product that is being made everywhere in the world. The thing that most nutrition facts don’t provide though, is how to understand them. Although you would think that the nutrition facts would be pretty straightforward, there are several things that many people may have a hard time understanding. Such as how to determine the fat content compared to other products. Some may be low in fat but may also have a high sodium content. A lot of people may be bewildered in the process of reading nutrition labels because they can’t determine what any of the information means.

The reasons why many people look at nutrition facts is because of the fat content. They want to determine how many calories they are putting into their bodies. Many people make the mistake of only looking at the total fat content. But you must also take into consideration of trans fats and saturated fats. This is where people become lost because a lot of people may not know what different fats do to their bodies and if the different fats will make them gain weight.

Deciphering A Nutrition Label

There are four main parts to every nutrition label. There is the recommended serving size with how many servings in a particular product, the calorie amount per serving, the amount of nutrients per serving, and the recommended daily nutrient amount information. So with all these in mind it is hard to know where to start. Let me show you the steps that I take when reading nutrition products.

Step 1

The first thing that I think most people will look at is the amount of calories in a recommended serving. That’s why it is placed conveniently at the top of the label. To determine if the amount of calories is right for you, first you must determine what is your goal. This will be up to you to decide. Is it to lose weight or is it to gain muscle?

I am usually trying to put on muscle mass so I generally like to have more calories. But I also take into consideration how healthy those calories are, which we will talk about in a minute. The other thing you have to take into consideration is how much of those calories are you planning to burn. So for example, if you are trying to loose weight, but you want to eat something that has a high amount of calories, it is usually fine if you are planning on burning those calories from your daily workout.

Many labels also include the amount of calories that come from fat. This is also beneficial if you’re trying to cut some weight. Around 100 calories is about the range of the normal amount of calories that you would see in any food product. So use 100 calories as the determining factor when seeing if something has high or a low amount of calories.

Step 2

After I have looked at the amount of calories I will be consuming, I see exactly what I’m putting into my body by looking at the nutrients section. I usually like to explain this section like this; the top have of this section is usually the things that you want to cut down on your diet, and the bottom half is the nutrients where you want the most out of your diet.

It breaks down like this; the top half includes fat content, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, and protein. With the exception of fiber and protein, these are the things that most people don’t want in their diet. The bottom half includes all the vitamins that are contained in the product. Mainly you will see vitamin a, vitamin c, calcium, and iron. Then you will see the daily value percentage of each nutrient.

A point of reference that could be used is 5% or lower is considered to be low and anything thing that is 20% or higher is considered to be high. So eat foods that contain 20% of your daily value with the nutrients that are found at the bottom half of the nutrient section.

Understanding the last Part of The Label – The Footnote

The footnotes of food labels are the same on all products. This part of a nutrition label is merely a reference to determine how much nutrients you should be taking in. The information is based on a 2,000 diet. Compare this information with the information above to tell if the nutrition information corresponds with your recommended daily intake.

Erik Smith is a contributor at Workout Designs and is passionate about fitness and living a healthy lifestyle.

Weight Lifting Nutrition – Mass, Cuts, and Power Are Byproducts of Great Nutrition

 Bodybuilding, Nutrition  Comments Off on Weight Lifting Nutrition – Mass, Cuts, and Power Are Byproducts of Great Nutrition
Sep 012010

Becoming massive, powerful, and ripped is not an accident. It takes careful planning, massive effort, and extreme nutritional attention. Weight lifting nutrition is not a single diet plan, but a series of plans to meet the needs of your current training cycles. Are you ready to hit the big leagues?

The first thing you need to decide about nutrition is what your goal for weight lifting is. Are you trying to become the most powerful man in your school, gym, or community? Are you trying to build the best looking most symmetrical body possible with deep cuts? Are you trying to pack on muscle mass rapidly? All of these goals require careful planning in your nutrition. You must consider the food you consume and the supplements you will use to have the highest levels of success.

If your weight training is primarily to develop power and you are not overly concerned with deep cuts and extreme leanness your nutritional needs are going to focus on eating high amounts of natural proteins in your diet. This should come in the form of poultry, eggs, dairy products, beef, pork, and fish. A good mix of protein sources will help to make sure you get the best amino acid profiles to help build muscle quickly. For supplements consider adding creatine, powdered proteins, and other amino acid supplements. If you are in competitive sports make sure to check the rules in your sport to make sure what supplements are allowed and which can cause problems. Even though you are not concerned with your overall level of leanness still check the label for sugars and avoid them.

When you are training in a bodybuilder’s methods you are going to have two sequences in your weight lifting nutrition. The first sequence is to build mass. For this section of your training follow the same pattern as mentioned above for power. Eat plentifully and supplement your diet to make sure your muscles are getting plenty of building blocks to grow.

In your second sequence of weight lifting nutrition for bodybuilding you must cut calories and lose fat. The only way to get cut and ripped is to lower your body fat to under 10%. This is going to take massive discipline in your diet. Drop out the pork and beef which are high in fat and eat more fish and poultry. Eat primarily breast meat in your poultry selections to keep the fat level low. Grilled is the preferred method of cooking to avoid adding calories. Supplementation becomes critical at this point to make sure your muscles continue to get plenty of nutrition but without all the calories. Check the formulations on your protein powders very carefully. Many of the proteins on the market have extra calories you do not want.

For all lifters your weight lifting nutrition must contain plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your levels of fiber, vitamins, and minerals high. While you can take vitamin and mineral supplements they are not as effective and digestible as natural sources. The key to success is plenty of growth spurring protein, amino acids, and nutrition without empty calories weighing you down.

Weight Lifting Diet – Feed Your Body Right to Increase Your Power

 Bodybuilding, Nutrition  Comments Off on Weight Lifting Diet – Feed Your Body Right to Increase Your Power
Jul 072010

Your weight lifting diet is an important part of increasing your strength, and enhancing your workouts. Weight lifting is very intense on the body. Whether your goal is sport strength training, bodybuilding, or just overall fitness, you need to have a proper diet to fuel your workouts.

To start off with, we are going to need to define weight lifting with this assumption, you are trying to create larger and stronger muscles, while keeping your fat level the same, or lowering it. Does that sound like your goals?

One of the most important ingredients for continuing your weight lifting success is giving your muscles the proper nutrition. Your muscles need lots or protein in order to grow properly. You need to be consuming at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight for the best growth. This can come in the form of fresh foods, like egg whites, fish, poultry, and lean beef. It can come from protein supplements, which are used by many top lifters around the world. These protein supplements can consist of whey protein (dairy), egg proteins, or soy protein. Make sure to pay attention to the supplements you are buying to make sure they are not packed full of sugars or other unnecessary fillers.

Another critical portion of your weight lifting diet is carbohydrates. While you may be trying to lose a few pounds of fat, ignoring carbohydrates is foolish. Your muscles need a great source of energy for the workouts. You need to eat plenty of complex carbs in the form of whole grain breads, oatmeal, and pasta to provide them with the energy to hit the weights hard. If you feel like you run out of energy during your workouts, this is probably the culprit. Do not try to power your body with sugars, it is a waste of your time.

Along with carbs and proteins, you must get a well rounded diet to have all the minerals and vitamins for good health. Eat plenty of green vegetables and fresh fruits. Adding some dairy products will give you added proteins, and healthy fats for your body. If you are trying to reduce body fat stick with low fat varieties of dairy products. Low fat yogurts can be nutritious, healthy, and are a great treat.

There are many varieties of supplements you can add to your diet to enhance your weight lifting diet. Make sure to do your research carefully and check with your coaches before supplementing. You do not want to risk the chance of failing a drug test simply because you wanted to enhance your lifting a little. Eating properly is going to help your muscles grow larger, and stronger, much faster. With the increased nutrition you get another added advantage. Your muscle recovery is faster, meaning less pain, and the ability to workout hard on every workout. Get out there and hit those weights, and enjoy the feeling of power building in your life.

Jul 062010

The Pilates exercise program is great at improving your body flexibility, muscle tone, and increasing your core strength. The one failure in Pilates is the lack of high levels of aerobic activity to prompt weight loss. The Pilates diet takes care of this major shortcoming and helps you get a thinner, longer, lean body.

One of the originators of combining the Pilates exercise program and diet was Mari Winsor. She named her program the Winsor Pilates Diet program. What Mari promoted was a well balanced diet, low in calories and fat to help you lose weight while you trained your body with the Pilates exercise program. Mari was one of the people who helped in expanding the awareness of the Pilates exercise program around the world.

No matter whether you are choosing to do the Winsor Pilates program or wish to create you own Pilates diet, you are going to need to cut the calories to lose weight while doing Pilates. The first step is to do a good inventory of your current eating habits, and determine how many calories you are averaging per day now. If you are eating 2500 to 3000 calories per day and maintaining your current weight, then dropping only 500 calories per day would result in losing about one pound of fat per week. This many not sound very impressive, but a slow steady loss is easier to maintain, and will not cause you to have major cravings during your diet.

If you wish to lose weight a little faster, then you may wish to add a little aerobic exercise in with your Pilates routine. Adding 20 to 30 minutes of walking, jogging, or other aerobic activity to your days will accelerate the weight loss, and make the body shaping from Pilates even more effective. A brisk 30 minute walk daily could help you burn off another pound per week, doubling the speed of your weight loss. Two pounds of weight loss per week is the target figure most doctors and trainers recommend.

Now we need to look at the entire picture of what you are doing in your Pilates diet program. If you are cutting back on your calories, continuing with Pilates, and adding some aerobics you are going to be losing weight, adding lean muscle, and creating a longer appearing body. When you combine all of these factors your body will become leaner much faster than doing any one of these activities alone.

The increased lean muscle will help burn more calories, and give you a higher metabolic rate. Adding daily walking or other activity also increases your metabolic rate for the entire day, not only during the exercise. The combined power of these three items will increase the speed of your fat loss over the 2 pounds per week you were expecting, and you will see you body changing very quickly. Mari Winsor understood the need for combining more ingredients into the Pilates program to improve your body, and now you do, too.

Nutrition for Bodybuilding – Feed Your Body for Maximum Growth

 Bodybuilding, Nutrition  Comments Off on Nutrition for Bodybuilding – Feed Your Body for Maximum Growth
May 272010

Which is more important pumping iron, or pumping the proper nutrition for bodybuilding into your system? Whichever answer you chose, you were wrong. The proper answer is they are both useless without the other. You can pump iron until you are blue in the face and not get great growth. You can eat all the right foods, take the best supplements, and never gain an inch of muscle. Only when those two ingredients are considered as an integrated pair will you find true success in bodybuilding.

The biggest difference between bodybuilders who get massive gains and the ones who only get modest gains is intensity. Intensity in both their workouts, and in their nutrition. They do not take either side of this equation as insignificant. When they are in the gym, they show great focus, hit the weights hard, and strive to set a new personal best daily in every exercise. When they sit down to eat, they seek to feed their muscles every gram of protein, the proper amino acids, vitamins, and nutrients they need for rapid recovery and growth.

What do these bodybuilders eat? Each one of them will have slightly different answers to this question, but there are some core similarities. The first thing you must have for massive growth is plenty of protein. Without this building block you are wasting your time. Combine a wide range of protein into your diet. Eggs, chicken, milk, yogurt, fish, and beef all play important roles in your diet. They all offer unique kinds of proteins and amino acids to aid in your muscle growth. When you choose to use supplements to help you reach your protein needs choose to keep a couple different kinds on hand. By keeping a supplement based on egg proteins, and one based on whey proteins available you can vary the speed of digestion of your protein supplement. Aim to get a minimum of 1 gram of protein per body pound, possibly pushing towards 1.5 gram per body pound.

Protein is not the only type of food you need. Your muscles need energy to make your workouts productive. Energy comes from carbohydrates. Eating complex carbs at each meal is important. Whole grain breads, pastas, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and many other carb rich foods can help give your muscles the stored energy they need during your workout.

Fresh vegetables and fruits are critical in your diet. They provide energy, vitamins, and fiber in your diet. They help make sure all of your other foods are able to metabolized properly. Without a well balanced diet you will not maintain your highest levels of energy and health.

Plan on eating 6 meals per day. Eat a good balance of all the food groups to give your body the nutrition, energy and protein it needs.

Supplements can play an important part in nutrition for bodybuilding. Adding supplements like creatine, nitric oxide, proteins, natural testosterone boosters, and other amino acid supplements can help give you a complete nutritional profile aiding in faster muscle growth and quick recovery. The one thing often overlooked is the importance of water. If you are not drinking a gallon of water per day, your body is not in peak condition. Your body needs plenty of water to process all of these nutrients and to help fuel muscle growth. With proper nutrition and intense workouts your body is going to grow at the fastest speed possible.

Muscle Building Products – Take Your Muscles To The Next Level

 Bodybuilding, Nutrition  Comments Off on Muscle Building Products – Take Your Muscles To The Next Level
May 272010

You can build a tremendous body with just the proper diet and hitting the weights intensely. You can build a bigger and stronger body, doing it even quicker when you use muscle building products to feed your muscles.

You probably already know protein is one of the most critical parts of feeding your muscles to get massive muscles and for fast muscle recovery between workouts. You have to make a decision if you are going to try to get all of your protein by eating chicken breasts, egg whites, fish, and lean meats, or if you are going to supplement. You can add a great protein supplement to your diet and get more high quality protein with less calories, helping to keep you lean while you build muscle. With supplements you can vary your type of protein easily to give yourself the fast acting protein from whey or a slower protein based on eggs or casein.

One of the biggest problems faced by everyone trying to build muscle is their recovery between workouts. You need your muscles to be repaired, stronger, and ready for the next gruelling workout quickly. Muscle building products which use amino acids, nitric oxide, and creatine can give you faster recovery and help your muscles get large much faster.

The importance of muscle recovery should not be looked at lightly. You get gains in muscle mass in direct proportion to your ability to lift higher amounts of weight. If your muscles do not recover quickly you may discover yourself doing less reps, or even needing to decrease your weight. This is going the wrong direction and doing so quickly. Getting stuck at a certain weight level is just as frustrating. You cannot seem to break through to the next level. This is where supplementation really excels. It gives you the added boost to make it through those tough spots.

Often rotating different supplements gives you the most gains. Your body can be both stressed and adjust to certain supplements and only by cycling through them properly can you get the highest benefits. An example it creatine. While this amino acid can give you great gains, it is best used in cycles of 4 weeks on and 2 weeks off. Make sure to read all directions carefully and cycle the muscle building products when it is recommended. If you are using multiple products consider cycling so they are all on the off cycle at the same time. This allows your body to clear itself and will reset you for the most gain possible on the next cycle.

While this article is primarily about muscle building products to supplement your diet, buying products to help isolate muscles during your workouts is highly beneficial, too. You need to get the most impact and overload into your individual muscles to stimulate them to grow. Without stimulation by pushing your muscles to failure, the supplements will have nothing to do, and will simply wash out of your body. If the muscles has been torn down by exercise and need regrowth the supplements provide the building blocks to rebuild them stronger and larger. Get started using the proper products to maximize your gains.

Muscle Building Foods – Eat to Pack On The Muscle Without Adding Fat

 Bodybuilding, Nutrition  Comments Off on Muscle Building Foods – Eat to Pack On The Muscle Without Adding Fat
May 272010

Are you wanting to get bigger, stronger muscles? Working out hard is only half of your battle. Without eating the right muscle building foods your body cannot get bigger, and develop the impressive muscles you want to have. You need to plan your diet carefully, and make sure to keep your calories and fat in the right range to avoid adding fat to your body at the same time.

What types of food should you be eating to get stronger, more massive muscles as quickly as possible? Here is a list of some of the top foods consumed by bodybuilder, power lifters, and other power athletes to increase their muscular size and power.

1. Fresh Fish – Fish tops the list of many bodybuilders lists of favorite protein foods. Fish like salmon, tuna, and other deep water fish are high in protein and high in Omega 3 fatty acids. This powerful combination helps to promote muscle growth, and repair muscle tissue quickly. Avoid cooking in oil, grilled fish is the preferred method by top lifters.

2. Eggs – While eggs have received both good and bad press throughout the years they have been a long term favorite for athletes building muscle. If you are wanting to reduce the amount of cholesterol and fat you can eat more egg whites and reduce the number of yolks you eat. The protein in eggs is high quality, easy to absorb, and very complete. Combined with the low cost of eggs, and you have one of the muscle building foods you will enjoy keeping in your home.

3. Chicken – Chicken breasts can provide you with high quality protein with limited fat. Once again, steer clear of the fried chicken and go for broiled or baked varieties. You do not want to add large amounts of unnecessary fats into your diet.

4. Lean Beef – Do not neglect the importance of beef. Beef is high in creatine, protein, and fats needed to repair your body. Mixing it in with the other forms of protein foods will help you get the most complete mix of amino acids and fats to build an impressive physique.

5. Pasta and Bread – While proteins are necessary for rebuilding muscles, your body must have plenty of carbohydrates to power those intensive workouts. Make sure you eat plenty of complex carbohydrate foods to give your body energy.

6. Dairy Products – Milk and yogurt are excellent sources of both protein, fats, and important minerals to help rebuild your body. When you are in building mode the added calories and fats from whole milk will not harm you. When you switch in to your getting ripped mode, then you can switch to skim or low fat varieties to reduce the fat and calories.

These foods when combined with a healthy combination of colorful vegetables will give you get the protein, vitamins, and minerals to fuel muscle growth. Supplementing with good bodybuilding products can enhance your diet of muscle building foods to increase the speed of your growth. Get out there and pound out a few more reps, then feed your body to grow massive muscles.

May 272010

Working out hard with weights to create your ideal vision of the female body is great. If you do not partner it with the proper eating habits, and combinations of food, you are heading to rapid failure. The keys to feeding your body for muscle growth, definition, and body sculpting is very easy.

You must clear you mind of one idea right away. You do not want to cut back on your diet, you want to fuel your body for maximum change and effort. This means changing from the theory of three healthy meals per day to eating a minimum of six times per day. Do not panic, you are eating less calories per meal, so you will not be packing on the fat. Quite the opposite is actually true, you will most likely start becoming leaner.

Your diet needs to have high amounts of natural protein. This can come from eggs, especially egg whites, dairy products, fish, chicken, and beef. Work on getting 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you feel like this is eating too much meat, then you can use a protein supplement to make up the difference. These supplements are made from eggs, whey (dairy) and soy as the most popular sources. The egg supplements are the easiest to digest and enter the system the fastest. Soy is the least efficient of the proteins, but is the only complete protein for anyone seeking to stay on a vegetarian diet.

At each meal include carbohydrates, which can come from whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, sweet potatoes, or other high carb sources. Adding a fresh vegetable or fruit at each meal is ideal to make sure you keep a balanced and healthy diet. The carbohydrates are crucial for powering your body during your workouts. If you are trying to trim a few pounds reduce your carbohydrates slightly.

Many of the same supplements men use can aid a female bodybuilder, too. Make sure you are getting a great multi-vitamin to balance out your nutrition. You can choose to add creatine on a limited basis. Make sure to cycle the products, with no more than 4 weeks on, before taking a minimum of two weeks off. Testosterone boosters may help you develop muscle, but are not recommended for most women. They can interfere with the proper balance of hormones, and play havoc with your body. Nitric oxide and other supplements which help aid in muscle recovery and rebuilding work great. Make sure to reduce the dosage based upon you weight in comparison to a man’s weight.

The most important part of a female bodybuilding diet is making sure to get plenty of protein spread throughout the day. This ensures your muscles always have their basic building blocks to rebuild and become stronger. Feed your muscles every 3 hours and you will see the changes start to happen rapidly. You are going to have the athletic, great looking body you are dreaming of.

May 252010

You have been hitting the gym like a mad man. You have taken all the right supplements, ate like a champion, and grown great mass. When you look in the mirror you find yourself frowning. Instead of the cuts, the ripped appearance, and impressive muscles you were expecting, you see a smooth almost soft looking body. It is time to change up your bodybuilding diet plan and get ripped.

The smooth body is caused by only one thing, FAT. While you have built up tremendous muscle mass, you are still covered in a layer of fat which is hiding all those muscles. If you want them to show through, and look impressive, you must decrease your body fat percentage. The challenge, you must do this with utmost care or you will start losing muscle mass at the same time.

The worst enemy of any bodybuilder is a scale. If you have been stepping on one to monitor your weight and to work on getting ripped, go find it, smash it, and throw it in the trash. It is a meaningless measurement for you. Now, go to the drug store and buy yourself a good body fat calipers, or electronic gauge. You are not concerned about hitting an ideal weight, you are concerned about hitting an ideal body fat measurement. Use your new toy and follow the instructions to find out your percentage. Most likely if you look smooth your body fat is well above the 10% mark. Your goal is to get it into the single digits.

The first thing you need to understand as you start on a bodybuilding diet plan to get ripped is to not starve yourself. If you want to maintain your muscle mass you must consume the same amounts of protein you used to build it. You need to still eat plenty of complex carbohydrates to have energy reserves for workouts. You must still eat a well balanced diet. The key is to reduce your calorie intake just a little. Reduce the carbs by approximately 10%. If you have been eating any processed sugars today is the time to stop. By changing only those two items you will start to see your fat levels begin to drop.

To take your plan to the next level, add 10 minutes of extra aerobic activity into your cardio days. Just a few extra minutes will burn off more calories, and help you burn the fat a little faster. Add a little extra walking into each day, too.

Did you think you were going to hear a big speech about supplements, and extreme diets? Some supplements can help you speed up your metabolism and burn fat a little faster. Extreme diets must be avoided. If you go on an extreme bodybuilding diet plan you will lose muscle as fast as you lose fat. Sometimes a slower, more deliberate approach is the winning solution. It may take you a few more weeks to get into those single digits, but you will have retained your muscles. The muscles you battled to gain.

Best Supplements for Muscle Gain – Use the Right Supplements and Watch Your Muscles Explode

 Bodybuilding, Nutrition  Comments Off on Best Supplements for Muscle Gain – Use the Right Supplements and Watch Your Muscles Explode
May 252010

Pounding the iron is not enough to get great muscle growth. To make your muscles grow rapidly you need the best supplements for muscle gain. The challenge is the wide range of supplements on the market makes it very hard to make good choices. Here are the top 5 supplements you should consider for increasing your muscle building ability.

1. Protein Supplements – No list of muscle building supplements can be complete without protein supplements. Protein, and the amino acids contained within, are the key ingredients in allowing your body to repair and build new muscle tissue. If you do not have adequate protein all other supplements are going to be ineffective. You may want several different varieties of protein supplements due to the time they take to digest. Whey protein enters your system rapidly, Casein protein enters very slowly. Both have their purpose. Other forms have more intermediate times.

2. Creatine – This supplement does not actually aid in muscle nutrition but aids in your recovery and endurance phases of exercise. This allows you to pump put more reps with higher weights, which stimulates faster muscle growth. Make sure to use Creatine in cycles. Plan to use it for 2 to 4 weeks, and then allow your body to rest for approximately 2 weeks before starting another cycle.

3. Glutamine – This is the most pervasive amino acid in your muscles. The reason it is one of the best supplements for muscle gain is it helps your muscles repair themselves rapidly, giving you faster recovery, and the ability to hit the weights hard at each exercise session.

4. Multi-Vitamins – Your muscles are part of the entire system of your body. If any of the important vitamins or minerals are lacking you will not develop muscle rapidly. Using a multi-vitamin helps to fill in the gaps left from the foods you eat. Eating a healthy diet, with a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and grains is still necessary. The multi-vitamin does not replace your need to eat properly

5. Natural Testosterone Supplements – Testosterone plays a major role in determining your ability to gain muscle and to feeling strong and masculine. While steroids and other man made forms of testosterone boosting is illegal, using herbal supplements based on tribulus or other herbs can be highly effective and give you an added boost in gaining muscle.

Getting started with this short list of the best supplements for muscle gain could be all you will ever need. Make sure to always use protein supplementation and a good multi-vitamin, they are crucial to your advancement. The other supplements can help you progress even faster and are ones you will want to test in your own muscle building program. As with all forms of supplementation follow the recommendations on the packages carefully, and monitor your own health carefully. You are going to love watching your muscles expand and your power grow.

Fixing a Diet for Steady Muscle Gain

 Bodybuilding, Nutrition  Comments Off on Fixing a Diet for Steady Muscle Gain
May 112010

Muscle gain doesn’t really have a unique, fool-proof method of doing it. However, there are ways to ensure that your gain will be as great as you can manage, and your progress will surpass that of the average person. One of the keys to securing that goal is, of course, a properly balanced diet. Not only that, but your diet will also need to be targeted around the specific goal of muscle gain. Muscle gain in itself comes from mass gain, so you need a diet that allows your body to store up on a lot of mass.

And the best way to do that? Of course, a high-calorie diet. Now, you should be careful when going with such a diet – as useful as it is for gaining weight (and subsequently, muscle mass), it can also tip your health in the wrong way if you’re not cautious. Always exercise properly while on a high-calorie diet – actually, under those conditions, your exercise routine should be even more rigorous, to ensure a proper health balance in your body. Another important note is the exact percentage of the various nutrients you take in your high-calorie diet – they’ll be somewhat different than what you’d find in a regular diet. You should go for about 33-37% protein, roughly the same amount of carbs, and the rest in fats (try to keep them under 30%).

Of course, the values mentioned above aren’t perfect and universal – there are no such ones. You’ll need to figure out what works best for your body, which will come through lots of experimentation and trying out different solutions. Anyway, to help you get started, let’s take a look at some of the more useful foods you can include in your diet.

Fish – while being rich in very lean protein, it’s also very high in concentration in various other healthy substances, such as phosphorus. Overall a must-have for any balanced diet.

Eggs – again, a good source of protein, also easy to prepare.

Strawberries – strawberries are very rich in carbohydrates, so try to have a serving of them in a good number of your meals.

Steak – as long as it’s from lean meat, a steak is always a fantastic source of lean proteins, plus it’s also highly caloric and will get you filled easily.

Other things, such as olive oil (as well as olives themselves), lettuce, as well as chicken, can also be highly beneficial to your diet. Of course, those are just some examples, and you may not even like all of the foods mentioned here – in that case, simply substitute them with something of equal caloric value (make sure you retain the calorie type, e.g. very lean protein!) There are some good lists on the Internet which provide you with alternatives and substitutes for various foods, and their respective regular calorie size.

The Best Foods for Building Muscle

 Bodybuilding, Nutrition  Comments Off on The Best Foods for Building Muscle
May 112010

To build muscle, you need to both work out hard at the gym, but also have a proper diet – just eating random foods will never give you the appropriate results; your diet needs to have lots and lots of protein in it, and also optionally concentrate on several other elements, depending on your body type. And if you’re stuck trying to make the perfect diet for yourself, don’t worry – in this article, we’ve covered some basic foods that can work a long way towards helping you build muscle mass quickly and almost effortlessly.

First, one of the best types of healthy food all around – fish. It doesn’t really matter which kind you eat, as long as it’s a type of fish, you’re good to go. It’s a great food in many aspects, mainly because of its high protein contents. It’s not only plentiful in quantity, but also high-grade as well – plus, most fish contains pretty much no carbs. It’s also good for your brain due to various contents of the meat. And if you don’t enjoy eating plain fish by itself, there’s always plenty of options – use it in a sandwich, or a salad, etc. Tuna is also good, but make sure you go for the kind that’s in water, not in oil.

Let’s not forget eggs when we’re talking about high-protein foods as well. Eggs are also highly beneficial for muscle gain, as their protein is extremely easy for the body to digest, which makes them a popular element of any bodybuilder’s diet. It’s worth noting that they’re a piece of cake to prepare, too – anyone knows how to boil a couple of eggs for breakfast – so really, you can’t expect your diet to be good for gaining muscle if it doesn’t include eggs.

Dairy products are also useful for this purpose, but make sure to watch out for those fat counts – there are several types of dairy that can be used safely, as their fat contents aren’t that high, for example cottage cheese and plain milk. Yoghurt can also be good, but again, watch those fats as some brands tend to be very rich in that department. On the other hand, yoghurt is very useful for some of the bacteria it contains, as they can work towards cleansing your body a great deal. There are some brands that even concentrate on those bacteria a great deal.

There are other classic high-protein foods used by bodybuilders – like chicken. In fact, you’ll hardly find a bodybuilder that doesn’t have it in their diet. Chicken is good for a variety of reasons – it’s rich in protein, easy to prepare, relatively cheap, not to mention tasty (if you like meat, that is). Turkey is a good substitute if you want to spice up the taste a little, and it holds more or less the same benefits as regular chicken meat, so by all means go for it as well.

Forming a Proper Diet for Bodybuilding – The Basics

 Bodybuilding, Nutrition  Comments Off on Forming a Proper Diet for Bodybuilding – The Basics
May 112010

Bodybuilding consists of several elements, and not all of them are directly related to pumping iron in the gym. There’s a great importance in the food you eat and the way you eat it as well – a proper diet is one of the most basic prerequisites for successfully building a strong body, and you simply cannot expect to make any progress that’s worth your time, unless you get your eating habits in order first. It’s not that scary, and all of those percentages and calorie counts seem a lot easier and meaningful if you just know the basics behind them – anyone can learn how to do it right, the only ones that can’t are the ones telling themselves that!

First things first – you need something to base your diet on. Sure, some people have enough experience to develop their own diets from scratch, and even make them varied enough that they can switch between several ones – but becoming that good takes time and a lot of experimentation. So, instead of banging your head against the wall trying to put down the first line in your diet list, just take a popular diet and start tweaking it here and there until you like what you see. No pre-made diet will be perfect for you, there will always be this and that food that you don’t like or can’t eat. So simply take out everything you aren’t fine with – keeping track of the respective calorie count for each item – and then go through a list of healthy foods to find appropriate substitutes.

Regardless of what you choose though, there are several things which will set you back severely in your progress, and will make it really difficult for you to be effective in your bodybuilding efforts. The first and major offender here are saturated fats – these simply have to go. And if you’re used to a lifestyle of eating lots of unhealthy foods, you may find that this includes a large portion of your diet! Fried foods fall in this category as well – especially the deep-fried stuff. It’s okay to have the occasional fried eggs, but things like french fries and fast food will destroy your progress very quickly.

Alcohol is also something you should do your best to avoid – it’s a bit trickier here, since the substance has its social aspect and getting rid of it is not a simple option for some people – but if you find it hard to explain your abstinence at parties, just make up an excuse that sounds plausible and takes some heat off you – for example, say that you’ve got a medical condition that prevents you from drinking. And hey, it’s not like this particular one will be very far from the truth!

Building muscles and burning fat will usually require different diets – you’ll find that out as you progress. Sooner or later you should have a few separate diets that you’re using for specific purposes – this is normal and a standard practice for advanced bodybuilders.

A Rich Weight Loss Menu – Is It Possible?

 Nutrition, Weight Loss  Comments Off on A Rich Weight Loss Menu – Is It Possible?
Mar 232010

When thinking about weight loss, most people tend to associate it with things like hunger, sacrifice, and all around feeling miserable and down. Surely one of the largest fears associated with weight loss is the feeling of having to go on for weeks without eating anything filling or tasty. It doesn’t have to be this way though – if you know how to make your diet, if you’re familiar with what exactly you need in order to be healthy, you’ll be able to make a meal that’s both tasty and healthy.

First, in order to prevent feeling hungry throughout the day, make sure you spread your meals well enough – instead of having two or three large meals, eat a few smaller ones, with pauses of 2-3 hours between each. This will keep your body well-nurtured, which will reflect on your energy levels for the entire day. You’ll feel much more lively, and will be able to do more work than you normally can.

With that in mind, some good foods to keep in mind are rice, chicken (not fried though!), yoghurt, oatmeal, and of course fruit and vegetables. If you’re eating bread, replace it with whole-grain – but if you can, try to remove it completely. Milk is also very good for you, in pretty much all of its forms – though watch out for those high-fat cheeses, as they can give you some negative effects.

If you like fish, make sure you eat plenty of tuna as well – it’s rich, filling, and also very good for you, especially your brain. Don’t eat the kind that’s in oil though, go for the water one. It may taste a bit dry, but if you mix it in a salad, it’ll be fantastic!

Peanut butter is also nice in its nutritious contents, but eat it in moderation – one slice of toast with a thin spread on it should be enough per meal, otherwise you may get too much fat into your meal.

If you can, remove all kinds of juices from your diet as well – they may have their useful sides, but in the long run, the negatives outweigh the positives. Water is all your body needs to stay hydrated, and if you get used to drinking it on a regular basis, you’ll soon forget about those juices and soft drinks. And the best part of this is, when you do get to have a soft drink – when sitting down at a table with friends, for example – it will taste so much better when you haven’t had it in a while and you know you deserve it!

Coffee is okay, though don’t overdo it – if you can, limit it to one cup in the morning, and cut down on the sugar you use – using honey instead is better in most cases, but brown sugar is also fine if you prefer it. Black coffee is especially good, and it can give you enough energy to last for most of the morning and until noon, so try to have one strong cup after your breakfast.

Efficient Weight Loss on a Vegetarian Diet

 Nutrition, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Efficient Weight Loss on a Vegetarian Diet
Mar 232010

Many people consider vegetarianism to be an automatic key to getting slim. However, this is not only not true, but in fact often turns out to be the opposite of the truth. Sure, turning vegetarian means you’re throwing away some harmful foods from your diet. But is that really all of it? Think about it.

Vegetarians deprive themselves of various good sources of nutrients – meat is highly beneficial for any diet, and removing it can have adverse effects if you’re not prepared. In fact, sometimes being a vegetarian means that you eat more fatty foods, as you look for substitutes for the foods you’ve lost, but the only thing you care about is whether or not they come from animals. So you end up considering snacks, sugar, energy drinks and all that to be “good.”

One of the worst pitfalls for vegetarians trying to lose weight are the drinks. They often tend to get their calories from lots of fruit-flavored drinks. If you have a habit of doing that however, stop – you’ll need to start drinking lots and lots of water, at least 1.5 litres every day. If you can, get rid of any flavored drinks at all.

Having an occasional fruit juice now and then isn’t bad of course, but it should be limited as much as possible to avoid any detrimental effects on your health – even natural fruit juices contain stuff like acids that you probably don’t want to get in your body too much.

Being a vegetarian also means you’ll spend a lot more of your meal time eating salads – and what’s better than topping your salad with a nice layer of, say, french dressing? Seemingly nothing, but you can’t even begin to imagine the caloric contents of your standard salad dressing. Try to use plain mayonnaisse, especially the light variety. It will taste just as good, plus you can always throw in some extra ingredients of your own, all while keeping the calorie count down to a minimum!

And let’s not forget bread – some people on vegetarian diets just can’t live without having bread alongside every meal, but that can be highly detrimental to any weight loss plans – especially if we’re talking about white bread! The whole-grain kind is better, but you should still be careful eating it and if you can, throw it out of your diet completely. In the end, it will be for the better.

There are many companies that produce vegetarian-oriented diet foods as well – look for those in large stores, they usually have whole sections devoted to them. The good thing about those foods is that they watch for your diet in both ways – keeping you well-fed, while also sticking to your vegetarian lifestyle. Of course, if you want to live independently as a vegetarian, you’ll have to learn to cook your own food. But then again, that’s pretty much valid for anyone looking to lose weight, right?

Weight Loss With a Low Carb Diet

 Nutrition, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Weight Loss With a Low Carb Diet
Mar 232010

Nutrients, as most of you probably know, can be divided into three main groups – carbohydrates, proteins and fats. They’re all important for your good health, but each is needed in different amounts by your body for its proper function. The most important thing about any diet is the fine balance between those three elements – the specific foods included aren’t really relevant, and this is what most people fail to realize.

Carbohydrates have long been theorized to contribute to weight gain a great deal – the theory is that they promote the production of insulin in the body by raising your blood sugar levels. As a result, your body stops burning excess fat (due to some reactions that occur in it), and weight loss becomes much less effective. To prevent this, you need to balance your diet in a way that cuts down on the amount of carbs you take in, and concentrate on eating more fats and especially proteins.

Common sources of carbs are breads, rice, and some fruits and vegetables. Of course, that’s not to say those foods are bad, it’s just that they should be eaten in moderation, and your diet should consist primarily of other types of foods. To be more specific, look at things like eggs, fish, meat, and dairy products. Those are all foods that are especially rich in proteins, making them both very healthy and nutritious.

In terms of vegetables, look for the non-starchy ones – they usually contain much less carbs than the other kinds, and are thus safer and healthier to use. Don’t completely stop them though, you should still get your supply of good, starchy veggies with your everyday meals – just limit how much you eat of them.

A low-carb diet will benefit your weight loss in several ways. First, you’ll lose some weight from water itself – eating less carbs generally means your body will require less water to stay hydrated, and thus you’ll retain less water overall. You’ll also feel less hungry, as a low-carb diet has been known to curb hunger very effectively. It’s not known why exactly it works that way, but who cares when it does, right?

And the best part – you’ll lose weight much quicker than usual! A low-carb diet will boost your body’s natural weight burning processes, and give it the ability to cope with any fat build-ups and problems. And because you’ll be more energetic too, you’ll also be able to perform better when working out, completing the cycle of gratification, so to speak. A low-carb diet just puts your body in a state where its own actions benefit it further, creating a loop.

It doesn’t seem to work for absolutely everyone, though – some have reported worse results with a low-carb diet than a regular one. It really depends on your body’s specifics, but it never hurts to try at least for a while. If you’re not satisfied, you can always go back to your ordinary diet.

Using the Right Foods to Lose Weight

 Nutrition, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Using the Right Foods to Lose Weight
Mar 232010

Eating is just one of the many natural habits humans possess – it’s wrong to think that it alone makes you fat. The truth is, you become fat when you don’t eat properly, and you don’t do enough exercise along with the eating. It’s all a matter of a fine balance between eating, working out, and controlling your diet.

You may not know it, but eating some foods can actually be beneficial for your weight loss – if you know how to structure your diet properly, you’ll be a fat burning machine by just eating and exercising in regular norms. Remember though, the foods we’ve outlined below aren’t necessarily a complete diet for you to follow – they’re more of examples meant to guide you in the right direction.

Fiber is very important for losing weight – and maintaining it low enough. It’s what’s responsible for pushing feces and other substances through your digestive tract – the more fiber you eat, the better you’ll burn fat and the more efficient your efforts will be. Foods that are rich in fiber are fruits and vegetables – make sure you have enough of those in your diet, otherwise you risk getting your fiber balance tipped too much in the wrong direction.

Smoothies can also be highly beneficial for losing weight. They contain many useful nutrients in a concentrated form, allowing you to take on many more at once than usual. It’s best to prepare your own ones at home though – store-bought smoothies are usually not as rich in nutrients and other useful substances, and preparing them yourself guarantees their freshness as well.

If you want to throw in some meat into your diet, you can still do so without sacrificing your figure – roast beef is a very good example of this. It’s a good source of nutrients, especially proteins and iron, and usually contains a lot of minerals as well. Combine it with some vegetables, and you’ve got yourself a very healthy meal that won’t be hard on your calories either.

If you’re a fan of eggs, you may want to try eating just the whites, scrambled – they’re very rich in proteins, and also not very high in calories. Eggs are especially good to eat at breakfast, because they can give you a lot of good energy to last throughout the morning and till noon.

Last but not least, make sure you drink lots of water – food isn’t the only thing important for losing weight, you need to keep your body well hydrated as well. Drinking plenty of water ensures that all of the processes that occur in your organism will be performed at their optimum efficiency, as water is basically the fuel for most of your body’s processes. And while we’re at the drinking department – stay away from alcohol as best as you can. Not only is it bad for your health in general (come on, you surely know how), but it’s also highly detrimental to any diet, as it causes you to put on a lot of weight.

Fasting and its Benefits for Weight Loss

 Nutrition, Weight Loss  Comments Off on Fasting and its Benefits for Weight Loss
Mar 232010

Have you ever considered fasting as a way to accelerate your weight loss and boost your progress? Chances are, you may have never even heard of the term “fasting” before. There’s really nothing to be scared of here though, as this just implies that you will abstain from drinking certain kinds of drinks during your weight loss process, and preferably afterwards – ensuring that you’ll get the best out of the whole deal.

Juice fasting is the best thing to consider here. It basically means that you shouldn’t drink any juices, regardless of their contents, even the ones that are 100% fruit. Sure, they contain various healthy and useful nutrients, but they also contain many things that can be detrimental to your weight loss, including sugar and acids.

Replacing juices – and all of your drinks in general – with water, will quick prove to be a huge change in your life. If you were used to drinking lots of juices before, you’ll now have to adjust to a decreased sugar intake, which will lead to you craving candy and sugary treats on a more frequent basis. This is nothing to be worried about, you just need to control those cravings and you should be fine.

This brings us to one of the most important aspects of fasting – the psychological one. Fasting provides a very tough challenge for you to test yourself with, as it involves adjusting your body’s functions in various ways. Thus, if you manage to get comfortable with a fasting regime, you should also have no problems with the more serious and challenging aspects of weight loss.

Remember to also take short breaks from your fasting efforts – even though it’s good to last as long as you can, you should still take some “time off” and drink a bottle of juice every now and then – this will add some variety to your diet and ensure that your body gets supplied with a good number of healthy nutrients as well. It won’t harm you, as long as you manage to control the timing well enough.

If you find yourself failing, just lower the bar a little – for example, don’t go all the way right from the beginning, try to cut down on some specific drinks first and then move on to the others gradually, until you’re left with just water. It will take more time, sure, but at least you’ll know that you’re going somewhere. In the end, it’s much better to make it easy on yourself than to struggle like that.

Once you’ve mastered fasting, you’ll realize that it’s much easier for you to stick to any diet – fasting shapes you not only physically, but also prepares you mentally for the challenge of living without your favorite drinks. Once you’ve managed to overcome the initial stress and anxiety, you’ll see how much better it is to live like that, without having to worry about any harmful effects on your body!

Mar 122010

To lose weight and generally stay healthy and slim, you need to be careful with what you eat – everybody should be aware of that by now. The problem is, most people get the entirely wrong idea about what a proper diet is, and starve themselves to no end, thinking that this is helping them get slim. In fact, starving has more of a negative effect on your health and fitness, preventing you from building up muscle mass properly while still leaving a lot of the fat in.

First, in order to get the best diet to lose weight, forget about any fried foods. It may sound harsh, but it’s the truth – anything that’s been fried in oil, especially deep-fried foods, should be forgotten about. The harm they’re causing to your body is really much greater than you could possibly imagine, so this is really the best course of action here. You’ll eventually get over the “loss”, so don’t worry about that – just keep thinking ahead.

It’s also important to eat lots of fiber – fiber is the substance that helps push food through your digestive tract, so if you eat enough of it, your body will be able to process nutrients much faster – leading to an increased speed of the whole digestive cycle. This, in turn, has a positive effect on your metabolism and allows your organism to cope with foods much easier, and burn fat faster.

A diet also includes what you drink, not only what you eat – and you may need to make some tough decisions here as well. Forget about any fizzy drinks, like soda, beer, etc – also, anything with excessive amounts of added sweeteners, regardless if they’re natural or not, should also be thrown out of your meals. You may want to start getting used to the idea of drinking lots and lots of water – if you can totally replace your regular drinks with water, that’d actually be the best thing you can do.

Sticking to your new diet may be tough, but remember that you don’t need to be 100% perfect about it. You can let yourself go from time to time – you can even use it as stimulation. For example, every week you can reward yourself with something bad, fatty and unhealthy – doesn’t really matter how bad it is, as long as you limit it to once a week at most. This will give you something to look forward to, and make the burden easier.

And as time passes, you’ll feel less and less need for those “cheat meals” – at some point, you’ll feel confident enough to completely throw them out of your lifestyle and open up a new page, one that doesn’t include anything unhealthy. And you’ll find out something peculiar – once you’re on that page, you’ll never want to turn back and live your old lifestyle again. Yes, all that strain and stress is just temporary, and will soon be gone completely.