Entries Tagged 'Muscle Building' ↓
May 17th, 2010 — Muscle Building, Nutrition
Metabolism is the process that converts food into energy. It determines the rate that your body burns calories and therefore, affects your weight.
It is easy to blame a slow metabolism for being overweight. In most instances, poor nutrition and lack of exercise are the main causes of unwanted pounds. Are you consuming too many calories, eating processed foods or not exercising? These are some of the lifestyle questions to ask yourself before pointing the finger at a sluggish metabolism.
Some medical conditions such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease, and certain medications (for depression and mental illness) can reduce metabolism and cause weight gain. However, these are rare cases.
There are many factors that affect your metabolic rate, some of which are within your control. Here are 7 ways to increase your metabolism and burn more calories.
1. Resistance training
The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is and the more calories you burn. Muscle even burns calories while you are at rest!
Besides building muscle, resistance training is also important for preventing muscle loss (and the resulting metabolism slow down) that occurs due to aging.
Make sure you follow a resistance training program that’s progressive to achieve maximum results.
Check out these muscle building workouts that can be done at home or in the gym:
–>Muscle building workouts
If you don’t fancy joining a gym, resistance training can be done at home with a set of adjustable dumbbells, resistance bands or your bodyweight.
Bodyweight exercises are excellent for boosting metabolism, gaining muscle and losing body fat. They can be done at home, in the gym and outdoors (playground, beach, etc).
Here are some incredible bodyweight workouts for men and women of all fitness levels:
For busy mums who want to get back into shape with short resistance training workouts from the comfort of their homes, this could be what you need:
–>Fit Yummy Mummy
2. Eat small, frequent meals
Take a look at your eating habits. Are you skipping meals or cutting calories drastically?
Your metabolism slows down when you go too long between meals. Insufficient calorie intake can reduce your metabolism by 15-25% and cause your body to burn muscle and hold on to fat.
Eating 5-6 small meals per day keeps your metabolism fired up and prevents over eating.
3. Eat breakfast
People who skip breakfast are sabotaging their metabolism and usually end up eating more in the later part of the day.
After an overnight fast, breakfast is the most important meal to jumpstart your metabolism. It supplies the body with nutrition and energy to undertake activities for the day.
A healthy, satiating breakfast should include lean protein and fiber, such as fruits, oatmeal, eggs and yogurt.
Aim to get 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night.
Lack of sleep has adverse effects on your metabolism and energy level. It also increases cravings for carbs and sweets, leading to weight gain.
Our bodies are made up mostly of water. Lack of hydration affects bodily functions so your metabolism slows down as well.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water each day.
Your body is dehydrated by the time you feel thirsty. So, don’t wait till you are thirsty to drink.
6. Lean protein
Protein has the highest thermic effect out of all the macronutrients. This means it requires more energy to digest protein than fat or carbohydrate. Protein keeps you satiated and is essential for building muscle.
Choose lean sources of protein such as fish, chicken breast, turkey breast, lean red meat and egg whites.
So, including some protein at every meal can give a boost to your metabolism.
7. Metabolism boosting foods
Some foods such as hot pepper (spicy foods) and green tea have been shown to speed up metabolism. However, their metabolism boosting effects are small.
More about Fat Burning Foods & Foods That Burn Fat
March 5th, 2010 — Muscle Building
(This is a guest post by Tom Venuto, author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle)
“How can I gain muscle and lose fat at the same time?” That’s right up there with “How do I get six pack abs” as one of the most frequently asked fitness questions of all time. The problem is, when you ask it, you get all kinds of conflicting answers – even from experts who are supposed to know these things. So what’s the deal? Is it really possible to lose fat and build muscle simultaneously?
Short answer: Yes, you can gain muscle and lose fat at the “same time.”
Long answer: It’s difficult and it’s complicated. Allow me to explain….
First we have the issue of whether you really lose fat and gain muscle at the “same time.”
Well, yes, if your definition of the “same time” is say, a month or 12 weeks. But in that case, you’re probably not gaining muscle at the “same time” literally speaking, as in, right now this very moment you are reading this, or 7 days a week, 24 hours a day for months in a row.
The best explanation for what’s really happening is that you alternate between periods of caloric surplus (anabolism) and caloric deficit (catabolism) and the net result is a gain in muscle and a loss in body fat.
You see, if you stay in a calorie surplus, it’s the body’s natural tendency for body fat and lean body mass to go up together. And if you stay in a calorie deficit, it’s your body’s natural tendency for body fat and lean body mass to go down together.
There may be exceptions, but the general rule is that it is very difficult to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time – the mechanisms are mostly antagonistic to one another. When it does happen, it’s almost always the result of “unusual conditions” – I call them X factors.
The 4 X-Factors
The first X-factor is “training age” . Ever hear of “newbie gains?” The less trained your body is and the further you are from your genetic potential, the easier it is to gain muscle. The reverse is also true – an advanced bodybuilder with 20 years experience would be thrilled just to gain a few pounds of solid dry muscle in a year!
The second x factor is muscle memory. It’s easier to regain muscle you’ve lost than it is to gain new muscle in the first place (ergo, the fat out of shape semi retired bodybuilder who starts training again and blows up and gets ripped “overnight”).
The third X factor is genetics (or somatotype). Ever heard of the “genetic freak?” That’s the dude who sprouts muscle like weeds even when he’s on the “50-50 diet” (50% McDonald’s and 50% pizza)… and he never gets fat. (That dude chose the right parents!)
The fourth X factor is drugs. It would stun (or sadden) you if you knew how many people take performance and physique-enhancing drugs. I’m not just talking about pro bodybuilders, I’m talking about “Joe six pack” in the gym – not to mention those fitness models you idolize in the magazines. How did they get large muscle gains with concurrent fat loss? Chemicals.
I’m not a gambling man, but I’ll place a wager on this any day: I’ll bet that in 99% of the cases of large muscle gains with concurrent large fat losses, one or more of these x factors were present.
That’s not all! There are actually 5 more X factors related to your body composition and diet status (the X2 factors). But I’ll have to talk about those later.
So you’re not a beginner, you don’t take roids, you’re not a genetic freak and you have no muscle memory to take advantage of. Are you S.O.L? Well, I do want you to be realistic about your goals, but…
There IS a way for the average person to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time.
The Secret: You have to change your “temporal perspective!”
Traditionally nutritionists and fitness pros have only looked at calorie balance in terms of 24 hour periods. At midnight, you could tally up the calories like a shopkeeper closing out his register, and if the balance were positive, you’d say you were in a surplus for the day. If the balance were negative, you’d say you were in a deficit for the day.
But it’s entirely possible that you might pass through periods of “within-day” surplus where you were in a highly anabolic state (for example, you eat the biggest, highest carb meal of the day after your workout), and you were in a deficit the rest of the day.
If you did intense weight training, and you timed your nutrient intake appropriately, Isn’t it possible that you could gain a small amount of muscle during those anabolic hours, while losing fat the rest of the day? Granted it might only be grams or ounces – but what if you kept that up for a week? A month? Three months?
As you pan out and look at the bigger picture, what if most days of the week you were in a deficit for the entire day, and on some days you were in a surplus? If so, then isn’t it possible that over the course of the week, you’d have a small net gain of muscle and loss of body fat a a result of the caloric fluctuation?
These within-day and within-week phases are called microcycles and mesocycles. If you also had a primary goal with a longer term focus of several months, say 12 weeks or 16 weeks, that would be a macrocycle.
What I’ve just described is nutritional periodization. Some people call it cyclical dieting. it’s where you manipulate your calories (primarily by fluctuating carbohydrate intake, hence “carb cycling”) in order to intentionally zig zag your way through periods of surplus and deficit and create specific hormonal responses.
The end result: muscle gain and fat loss during the same time period!
I know that someone out there is having a hissy fit because I’ve only talked about calories: deficits and surpluses. Rightfully so. Calories matter but there’s more to it than calories – most importantly, hormones and “nutrient partitioning.”
If you’re in a calorie deficit you are going to pull energy from your body.The question is: From WHERE? If your hormones are out of whack and you’re eating crap, you could lose more muscle than fat in a deficit and gain almost pure fat, not muscle, in a surplus!
But WHAT IF you could manipulate within day energy balance, use nutritional periodization AND control your hormones with food and lifestyle strategies?
AHA! NOW you can see how concurrent muscle gain and fat loss are starting to look possible!
Make no mistake – concurrent muscle gain and fat loss is a difficult goal to achieve. The good news: difficult does not mean impossible. Or as George Santayana said, “The difficult is that which can be done immediately, the impossible, that which takes a little longer.”
The Holy Grail Body Transformation Program: How to Gain Muscle and Lose Fat at The Same Time
You can learn more about gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time in Tom Venuto’s new e-book called, “The Holy Grail Body Transformation System“
You’ll learn all about nutritional periodization, cyclical dieting, hormonal manipulation, within day energy balance, nutrient partitioning, AND the all the X factors, including the 5 “X2-Factors” – which are the keys to gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time.
You’ll also get Tom’s new “TNB” training system, as seen in Men’s Fitness magazine (the complete, expanded version that Men’s Fitness didn’t have room to print).
At the moment, The Holy Grail ebook is not for sale separately and there are only two ways you can get it.
From now until Midnight (PST), March 5th, 2010, you can get a copy of the Holy Grail Body Transformation program ebook for FREE when you purchase the Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle e-book from this web page:
The other way you can a a copy is by joining the Burn the Fat Inner Circle at:
Burn the Fat Inner Circle is an amazing fat loss support community. I encourage you to visit it to learn all about this group of supportive fat loss achievers and how they and Tom can help you accomplish your own goals.
December 24th, 2009 — Ab Exercises, Cardiovascular Training, Muscle Building, Nutrition, Weight Training
(Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Jon Benson)
You may be wasting your time in the gym or at home if you are trying to shape your body or get rid of body fat.
Most people are. That is when it comes to exercise for getting rid of belly fat and getting into better shape.
I was in the gym today (nothing new… ; ) and I saw all 4 of these exercises being performed by various gym members (again… nothing new.)
And they are useless for 99% of the people on the planet.
Here they are…
USELESS EXERCISE 1: Walking Dumbbell Lunges
Okay ladies, this one is for you… although I see guys do this exercise as well.
This is where you take a pair of dumbbells and kneel with one leg, then the other, and so-on, walking around the gym as you go.
The idea behind this exercise is to work the butt, and to some extent the thighs… but it’s a joke. It’s something invented by trainers who should know better.
If you want to build and tone your butt, exercise one leg at a time. Lunges are a great exercise for this, but save your energy. Do them on a Smith Machine or with a barbell. Work one leg at a time, too. Do not alternate legs. This just wears you out aerobically before it has a chance to get to your glutes.
Here’s how I perform lunges: On a Smith Machine, with pretty heavy weights… one leg at a time. I will do 2-3 sets, or do them in my 7 Minute Body-style workout fashion. I will finish one leg (and one butt cheek) before moving to the other leg.
Why? Again, to focus on the muscle more intensely and to avoid turning a leg/butt workout into a cardio session.
Jon Benson covers exactly how to work the butt area for the best results in 7 Minute Body and 7 Minute Muscle, found right here
USELESS EXERCISE 2: The Sit-up
I’m shocked that people still think sit-ups done the old-fashioned way actually work the abs. Even worse, most people have been fooled into believing this actually helps get rid of bellyfat.
Nonsense. Belly fat is burned off when you have a good nutrition plan and through general exercise, not using exercises for the abs. Ab exercises are fine, but guess what?
I never train my abs more than 3-5 minutes. Today my ab workout took 3 minutes and 12 seconds to complete. And my abs are sore!
But without the nutrition plan, forget it… I’d never SEE my abs at all. I’d just have a nice wall of muscle with a bunch of flab covering it up.
The best nutrition plan for abs is The Every Other Day Diet plan, found here
The best exercises to do for the actual ab muscles are hanging leg raises, done slowly, crunches (if you do them right)… and that’s really all you need.
USELESS EXERCISE 3: The Bench Press
I’m going to get a lot of flack from the guys out there who love to bench, but I’m here to tell you that this exercise for bodyshaping is all but worthless.
Why? Because most people are not built right body-wise to bench press on a flat bench with a barbell. I am not, that’s for sure.
Bench presses work if you have short arms, a relatively short torso, and your shoulders are genetically strong.
Protect your shoulders and really work your chest by doing incline dumbbell presses with your palms facing OUT, not in toward your head. This protects the rotator cuff, a part of the shoulder that is often injured using barbell bench presses.
Combine this with a good cable fly or press movement and you’re set. Again, you only need about 7-14 minutes of chest work tops to get the job done.
USELESS EXERCISE 4: Most Cardio Exercises
Yep… saved the best for last.
Here’s a fact: Most cardio (bike, treadmill, glider, whatever) is a waste to time… UNLESS you do it at the right time with the right nutrition plan.
The calories you burn from cardio will be easily negated simply by eating a bagel! Hardly effective for getting rid of bodyfat. Weight training and/or resistance training at home or with your body weight, as covered in 7 Minute Muscle, is your best bet for exercise that burns-off mega-calories and keeps on burning long after the exercise session is over.
Here’s how to use traditional cardio wisely:
1. Do it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach;
2. Keep your heart rate down to 75% of your max (220 minus your age x .75 will give you this number, at least approximately);
3. “Burst” for 2-3 minutes in your session up to 85-90% of your max heart rate.
4. OR, do cardio right after weight or resistance training when your heart rate is already elevated and your blood sugar is lower. Your body burns blood sugar first during exercise.
Cardio for most people only needs to be performed 3-4 times a week for 20 minutes. The only time I break this rule is when I want to get my body fat below 10%. Then I will do more, but only using the rules above.
Hope this saves you a ton of time with your workouts.
You can get both books, The Every Other Day Diet plan and 7 Minute Body, for a big-time discount by going here and watching the presentation.
February 25th, 2009 — Muscle Building
Since becoming a Twilight fan after watching the movie, I’ve been staying up way past my bedtime to read the novels in the Twilight Saga series. 3 done, 1 more to go… can’t wait to read the conclusion in the last and 4th novel, Breaking Dawn.
All the late nights have screwed up my body clock. Since I didn’t get my 8 hours of beauty sleep each night, I felt sluggish, lethargic and my workout has been affected. From now onwards, no more staying up late to read, watch tv, surf the internet, etc.
Getting enough sleep affects hormone health. When you’re asleep at night, your body receives the biggest boost of testosterone for muscle growth. Yes, you’re practically building muscle while sleeping!
Aim to get at least 7-8 hours per night. Some people may need more or less, depending on individuals.
Time to sign off now, read for an hour and then zzzzzzzzz…….
Got to be physically and mentally ready for the bodyweight Turbulence Training workout tomorrow.