Five useful tips on muscle growth

couple with tight abs

Bodybuilding is a science. Our growth in knowledge about how our bodies work and how to maximise their performance continues to expand with every new piece of research. The tips in this article offer proven, evidence-based strategies for bodybuilding success.

1. Get good sleep regularly

Consistently good sleep is probably the single greatest determinant of your success a bodybuilder. Good sleep does more than just make you feel better, it releases Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is one of the most essential hormones your body releases to aid in the recovery and growth of muscle. In men, 60% to 70% of daily HGH is secreted during deep sleep, which happens early in your sleep cycle, that is, about two hours after you fall asleep.

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5 Daily Challenges to Mix Up Your Training Routine

pretty girl joggin in park

You love working out, but you get bored easily. You need some way to keep yourself motivated when exercising. Fortunately, exercising doesn’t have to be a drag. In fact, it’s ridiculously easy to mix things up a bit when your working out so that you constantly make progress, have fun, and stay motivated. Here are five simple ideas.

Do Interval Rides

Also called Tabata-style training, the idea is simple. You take 20 seconds and give it your all. If you’re riding a bike, this means all-out peddling like your life depended on it. Then, you follow it up with 10 40 seconds of rest or slower-paced riding. Then, you go at it for another 20 seconds. Keep this up for about 4 minutes. You’ll be drained. But, you won’t be bored – guaranteed.

Do Sprints

Sprinting invigorates most people for one simple reason: it’s a shock to the system. When you sprint, or rather when you get ready to sprint, your body releases endorphins and adrenaline. When you’ve finished, your body ramps up the production of natural pain killers that are more powerful than morphine.

Do this several times a week and you’ll notice that your legs are noticeably stronger, your distance running improves, and your breathing improves. This is because you’re providing quick bouts of stress that are enough to get your body to adapt and change so that you’re more equipped to deal with faster and more rigorous sprinting. If you want to add to the challenge, after you’ve gotten really good at the 100 meter dash, try wearing a weighted vest.

Do Endurance Workouts

Endurance workouts will drain you completely, but they’re hardly boring. In fact, you won’t have time enough to think about anything, let alone be bored about your training. If you set up your endurance workouts to alternate between running and weightlifting, then you’ll keep your mind off of what it is you’re doing.

So, take weightlifting. An excellent endurance lift is the breathing squat. This is a single set of 20 repetitions of the basic barbell squat. Don’t knock it ’till you’ve tried it. It’s tough, both mentally and physically. Take a weight that you can comfortably squat 10 or 15 reps and squeeze it out to 20 reps. Each week, add 2 to 5 lbs of weight. At the end of 6 weeks, you’ll think you’re in hell, but your lung capacity will greatly improve, your quads, glutes, spinal erectors, abs, and hamstrings will all become insanely strong and tight. You can either join a gym or find discounted weightlifting equipment on www.SportPursuit.com. It’s well-worth the investment.

In-between squatting, do distance running. This will further improve your endurance and lung capacity.

Intense Workouts

Another way to stave off boredom is to do circuit training. This is when you set up a workstation of several machines and rotate between them, giving each workout a set amount of time. It’s a time-tested method of increasing both strength and aerobic capacity.

Recovery Workouts

Sometimes what you need are “light days.” Go for a walk on a long trail, lower your working set in the gym to 50 percent or even less of your max weight. Go easy. It’ll be a new routine, you won’t gain much strength, but you’ll have a lot of fun.

Nancy Rider has a knack for effective and engaging fitness. She enjoys working with clients and blogging about simple ways to push fitness to the next level.

Bad eating habits can affect everyone – even avid runners

running at sunrise

Conventional wisdom says you can pretty much eat whatever you want if you’re an avid runner, as your body is burning off all of the excess calories. But is that really true? New research now suggests that avid runners need to pay attention to their diets as well when it comes to the potential for heart disease.

As a 10-mile-a-day runner, Dave McGillivray thought he could eat whatever he wanted without worrying about his heart. “I figured if the furnace was hot enough, it would burn everything,” said McGillivray, who is 59.

But a diagnosis six months ago of coronary artery disease shocked McGillivray, a finisher of 130 marathons and several Ironman-distance triathlons. Suddenly he regretted including a chocolate-chip-cookie recipe in his memoir about endurance athletics.

“My first reaction was, I was embarrassed,” he said.

As race director of the Boston Marathon, McGillivray is a high-profile exhibit in a growing medical case against the devil-may-care diets of many marathoners. Their high-mileage habit tends to lower their weight, blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol levels, leading them (and sometimes their doctors) to assume their cardiac health is robust regardless of diet.

“‘I will run it off’—that attitude clearly prevails among the marathoners themselves, almost sometimes to an arrogance,” said Paul Thompson, a veteran marathoner who is chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital.

A growing body of research shows the error of that thinking. A study published in the current edition of Missouri Medicine found that 50 men who had run at least one marathon a year for 25 years had higher levels of coronary-artery plaque than a control group of sedentary men. A British Medical Journal study published this year compared the carotid arteries of 42 Boston Marathon qualifiers with their much-less active spouses. “We hypothesized that the runners would have a more favourable atherosclerotic risk profile,” says the article. As it turned out, that hypothesis was wrong.

Many assumed that extreme-endurance sports could help prevent heart disease, but now the research suggests this extreme activity may actually cause problems.

We should be careful of course to jump to conclusions after several studies, but certainly this raises questions and challenges old assumptions.

It also brings us back to some common sense notions that moderation in diet and excercise can be the best combination. Pushing anything to the limit – whether its your diet or your activities, can lead to risks.

Adriana Lima – Workout warrior

Everybody needs to work out! Even supermodels like Adriana Lima.

Workout programs and losing weight

women in workout class

There are many good reasons to add workout programs to your daily routine. The best reason involves improving your health of course, and that should always be the top priority when trying to craft a workout program that’s best for you. Other reasons usually have to do with appearance and losing weight. For many of us, that’s usually the biggest motivator, unless of course we’re dealing with a health crisis like high blood pressure that forces us to become focused on our health.

As you consider different workout options, you need to be honest with yourself about what exactly you want to achieve, and that will help you make better decisions.

But, choosing workouts is only part of the process. When considering your health and your weight, your diet can be just as important, if not more important, than your workout routine. The harsh reality is that for many people, exercise will not make them thinner. The fact is that many people end up eating more when they exercise. Perhaps they want to rewards themselves, or maybe the workouts make them hungrier. So while they might be getting healthier, these people who don’t consider diet and start eating more might actually gain weight.

For many of you, hearing this may be frustrating, but you have to understand that there is no “silver bullet” when it comes to weight loss. Drugs are a bad idea, and niche diets just don’t last.

The key is developing a sound plan that includes exercise along with a rational, sustainable diet plan that feeds your hunger but also helps you keep the pounds off.

So, when considering workout options, keep in mind that there’s much more to consider. For example, a daily walking routine, combined with a sensible approach to reducing your sugar intake makes a ton of sense. Also, replace processed foods and white flower bread with more fruits and vegetables and whole grain products is also a great idea. Take a more holistic approach, and you’ll be much more successful in achieving your weight loss goals.

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