Building Big Arms

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Most men seem to fall into one of two camps when it comes to arm workouts:

Guys who do chin-ups (complex exercises that work multiple muscles), and guys who do curls (isolation exercises targeting a single group).

Complex movements are functional and great for people beginner and intermediate lifters, but may not deliver the pure muscle size you want. On the other hand, isolation exercises are great for hypertrophy but not function, meaning they’ll pack on some muscle, but won’t necessarily help your total body strength. Combine the two, and you get the best of both worlds.

Look at your isolation exercises and complex movements as lobster and steak: Each is good on their own, but together they’re unstoppable. Workouts that have curls and chin-ups, or bench presses and tricep pushdowns, are more likely to deliver both the size and strength you’re looking for.

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Determining a Calorie Deficit for Weight Loss

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A pound of fat equals 3,500 calories, which means, to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week, you need to burn off 500 to 1,000 calories more per day than you consume — or between 3,500 and 7,000 calories per week. Losing weight fast isn’t recommended by most major health organizations — it’s usually unsustainable and can lead to nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss and a stalled metabolism.

Use an online calculator to determine your daily calorie needs, given your current age, size, gender and activity level. Add exercise without increasing your calorie intake. If you eat more calories in response to exercise, it won’t result in weight loss. For example, a 155-pound person burns 2,000 calories per day and eats 2,000 calories will maintain her weight. But, if she exercises and burns an extra 500 calories per day — perhaps by jogging at 5 mph for 45 minutes — but continues to consume 2,000 calories, she can lose a pound per week.

Exercise helps burn calories and also maintains lean muscle mass while you’re losing weight. If you reduce calories without exercise, one-quarter of every pound you lose comes from lean muscle mass. Muscle also requires more calories for your body to sustain, so it boosts your metabolism. A more muscular body also looks taut and fit.

Measure the benefits exercise provides to weight loss in more than just calories burned, too. Cardiovascular exercise, which involves raising the heart rate for an extended period of time, such as cycling or running, burns a lot of calories per minute as compared to strength training. But, strength training is better at developing muscle mass when compared to cardio.

You may burn just about 100 calories per half-hour session of strength training but reap numerous, additional benefits. Ten weeks of resistance training can increase your lean muscle mass by 3 pounds, decrease your fat weight by 4 pounds and increase your metabolic rate by 7 percent, reports research published in a 2012 issue of Current Sports Medicine Reports. A balanced approach to exercise that includes both forms is best for your health and weight loss.

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Building Muscle on a Calorie Deficit

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Because the human body is designed to sacrifice muscle when losing weight as a survival mechanism, only a certain body type will permit the simultaneous growth of muscle and loss of overall mass. If you’re significantly overweight, your body may be able to support increased muscle mass even on a caloric deficit, provided it has less fat to maintain. If you’re relatively lean and/or muscular, however, it is much more difficult for your body to increase muscle mass while experiencing a caloric deficit.

While a caloric deficit implies that you’re eating less food overall, it is possible to increase your protein intake during a caloric deficit by adjusting your diet to include more protein-rich foods. To succeed in building muscle and losing weight simultaneously, consume 1.6 g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight daily. To meet this goal, you’ll likely have to rely heavily on protein sources, such as meat, fish, beans, eggs and tofu. You may also consider a powdered protein supplement.

To build muscle while losing weight, you’ll have to train with a high degree of intensity. Since the body’s natural inclination is to sacrifice muscle when losing weight, training is the only way to provide a stimulus that lets your body know that muscle is needed. To maximize this stimulus, focus of heavy, compound exercises, such as the bench press, shoulder press, bent-over row, squat and deadlift. For each exercise, perform three to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions for maximum muscular hypertrophy potential.

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Carbs go First and Fats Second

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Primarily Carbohydrates

The first fuel that your body breaks down for energy is carbohydrates. After a meal, your body is in the “fed” state and preferentially breaks down carbohydrates since they are easily accessible and turned into energy. After your body has used up the carbohydrates from a meal or snack, your cells begin to break down glucose stored in your muscles and liver known as glycogen. Glycogen stores vary in each person, but are typically depleted within 24 hours, meaning your body has to begin breaking down other compounds for energy.

Fat Preferentially Metabolized

When glucose and glycogen are not available, your body preferentially breaks down fatty compounds known as triacylglycerols which are present in adipose or fat tissue. Because fat is a high-energy source with nine calories per gram, fat provides an efficient fuel source. Additionally, your body metabolically prefers to preserve lean body mass and, when possible, breaks down fat stores for fuel as much as possible. Only when your fat stores are extremely low or depleted does your body have to then break down protein.

Muscle Breakdown

When glucose and fat stores are depleted, your body will then turn to muscle to break down into individual amino acids for energy. Unlike carbohydrates and fat, your body does not store amino acids, which is why muscle breakdown is the only way to release amino acids for fuel. In typical conditions where you are eating on a regular basis, your body will not use muscle for energy. Typically, protein is used for fuel only in a starvation state. Because you need muscle tissue to survive and move, the natural tendency of metabolism is to spare muscle tissue and break down carbohydrates and fat first.

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Best ways to a Flat Stomach

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Create a caloric deficit to help flatten your bloated stomach if you are overweight.

Consume all-natural high-fiber foods, which aid in digestion and help decrease bloating in the stomach.

Decrease your sodium intake to help reduce belly bloat caused by water retention.

Drink more water to help hydrate your body and eliminate puffiness in your stomach caused by excess water weight.

Reduce your dairy consumption to decrease midsection bloating caused by the sugars in milk.

Stay physically active to burn more calories daily and shed excess water weight. Participate in 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise five days per week.

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Good Fat vs Bad Fat

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Healthy Fats

Eating healthy fats, in moderation, during weight loss fulfills your dietary fat needs without increasing your chronic disease risks. Examples of heart-healthy fats include plant-based oils — such as olive, canola, walnut, soybean and flaxseed oils — nuts, seeds, nut butters, avocados and olives. Nuts and seeds are rich in heart-healthy fats as well as fiber and protein, which increase satiety more than carbs or fat, so they are an ideal choice when you’re trying to shed pounds.

Fats to Avoid

Bad fats are those that increase your chronic disease risk when consumed in excess. These include saturated animal fats — found in butter, lard, whole milk, ice cream, cream, cheese and high-fat meats like bacon. Plant-based fats that have been hydrogenated and contain trans fat — found in margarines, shortenings, fried foods and commercial baked goods — also increase your risk for heart disease, so avoid them when you’re trying to healthfully lose weight.

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Lateral plyometric

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Lateral plyometric jumps are advanced exercises that can be used to develop power and agility. The vast majority of athletes perform workouts and exercises that focus on forward motion, but it’s also important for athletes to include exercises that target powerful, and stable, lateral motion exercises as well.

If you play a sport that incorporates any sort of side-to-side movements, practicing these moves during training is crucial.

Lateral movements not only improve strength, stability and coordination, they also help reduce the risk of injuries by enhancing balance and proprioception through the whole body.

They improve overall hip, knee and ankle joint stability. Lateral drills also help build more balanced strength in the muscles of the lower body, including the hip abductors and adductors.

These lateral drills will improve sports performance, and reduce the risk for sports injuries, particularly for athletes who frequently, or abruptly, change direction, cut or pivot. Athletes who benefit the most from side-to-side agility drills are those who play field and court sports (soccer, basketball, football, rugby and tennis), as well as skiers, skaters, gymnasts, and even rock climbers.

Athletes need to maintain power, control and balance during fast side-to-side lateral motion and transitions.

In general, an athlete can generate power in two ways: (1) using his own body weight, or (2) pushing or throwing something heavy.

Plyometric movements are one of the easiest and most effective ways for athletes to generate and increase power. The lateral plyometric jump is one exercise that primarily uses an athlete’s body weight to generate power.

Before doing the lateral plyometric jumps, a good place for athletes to begin building lower body power is by doing simple agility drills (such as ladder drills and dot drills) then slowly build up to tuck jumps. Other good additions to the plyometric routine include: all-out sprints, stair running/bounding, and burpees.

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Core

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In everyday activities and exercise, balance and stability matter. Core strength training improves both. Core strength training not only works the muscles in the hips, abdomen and back, it also trains them to all work and function together. It builds coordination between these muscles, and working together balances and stabilizes your body.

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Plyometrics

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Plyometrics were originally designed for power athletes like sprinters, football players and gymnasts. According to Brian Mac, professional sports coach, your muscles achieve maximum power during eccentric contractions, or muscle lengthening. When you immediately follow an eccentric contraction with a concentric — or muscle-shortening — contraction, your muscle produces a greater force. This is called the stretch-shortening cycle. Plyometric training decreases the time between your eccentric and concentric contractions and improves your muscular speed and power.

Plyometric exercises require a lot of energy, because they are highly intense. They utilize the whole body and activate most muscle groups, therefore burning many calories in a single session and aiding in weight loss. The repetitive landing causes your entire leg muscles to contract, helping to improve overall tone and definition. Plyometrics combine strength training and cardiovascular exercise, allowing you to “kill two birds with one stone.

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Muscle Soreness

The mild muscle strain injury creates microscopic damage to the muscle fibers. Scientists believe this damage, coupled with the inflammation that accompanies these tears, causes the pain.

“The aches and pains should be minor,” says Carol Torgan, an exercise physiologist and fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, “and are simply indications that muscles are adapting to your fitness regimen.”

No one is immune to muscle soreness. Exercise neophytes and body builders alike experience delayed onset muscle soreness.

“Anyone can get cramps or DOMS, from weekend warriors to elite athletes,” says Torgan. “The muscle discomfort is simply a symptom of using your muscles and placing stresses on them that are leading to adaptations to make them stronger and better able to perform the task the next time.”

But for the deconditioned person starting out, this can be intimidating. People starting an exercise program need guidance, Torgan says.

“The big problem is with people that aren’t very fit and go out and try these things; they get all excited to start a new class and the instructors don’t tell them that they might get sore,” she says.

“To them they might feel very sore, and because they aren’t familiar with it, they might worry that they’ve hurt themselves. Then they won’t want to do it again.”

Letting them know it’s OK to be sore may help them work through that first few days without being discouraged.

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