Q & A: Carbs, Protein & Cardio

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Q & A – Carbs, Protein and Cardio

Question:

Bodybuilding- Carbs and Cardio

Mr Olympia Prep-Bodybuilding Contests

I am currently getting ready for a bodybuilding competition and reading many suggestions to do cardio on an empty stomach. Understanding this principle, but with my work schedule, very difficult. My work time starts at 5:45 a.m. My drive is 40 minutes, so leaving the house at 5:00 a.m. I work Tuesday – Friday and have a three-day weekend. Currently, I do a three day split with weights. (Sunday, Monday and Wednesday). Three days of cardio and abs. (Saturday, Monday and Thursday). I rest on Friday.

Generally, I eat my biggest portion of carbs in the morning. (one – half cup of oatmeal). I manage cardio on an empty stomach on Monday, since I am off work. On Saturday, however, the gym doesn’t open until 9:00 a.m. On Wednesdays, usually lunchtime before I can get away from work to do cardio. My second and fourth meals are just two scoops of whey with skim milk. Having to switch some meals to make sure I get a whey shake, post workout. On cardio days, should I just move the oatmeal to post-cardio? Or get rid of it completely and replace the calories with protein? And does it really make much a difference when cardio is done?

Answer:

The answers to your questions depend on what type of metabolism you have.  If getting ready for a show, and trying to get rid of stubborn body fat and have hit a plateau? Then doing cardio first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is probably the only solution.If you’re someone with better genetics for staying lean and losing fat, you can get away with doing cardio at anytime. While still seeing results.

One thing to understand, the more insulin your body releases, the less successful your attempts at burning body fat will be. This is why for most people, doing cardio after eating a meal with carbs will have a lesser effect on fat loss. You don’t necessarily have to have an empty stomach. Seeing good results doing cardio after only a whey protein shake with out carbs in it. If you decide to do this, make sure you don’t mix your shake in skim milk, because 16 ounces of it contains 24 grams of carbs. (Milk sugar or lactose).

If your body is holding on to fat and it doesn’t seem to be coming off, you should definitely not be consuming carbs before your cardio. However, if you have a lightning-fast metabolism and the type of guy who loses three pounds if he misses a meal, you can and should eat a meal with both protein and some carbs before your cardio session.

Find Your Pump: No Cookie-Cutter Workouts

Workouts for Building Muscle- Sets and Reps

What is a good number of sets and reps during your workouts to build muscle? How many days off a week do gain weight and muscle? With many people beginning weight lifting or bodybuilding, you need to start with nutrition first. Then get to work out the body parts that need attention.

Ab TrainingOnly you can feel which workouts and how many sets are doing the job. Getting you pumped in order to bring plenty of blood to the trained area and muscle. Pay attention to what is working for you and giving you the muscle pump. Don’t rely on others, because what works for them may not work for you.

A good base to start from, then figure out what’s good for you. Train each body part with 12 to 18 sets. Some people might feel it earlier. Some might need more. You must connect with your body to be able to determine what’s working for you. As far as reps, keep them between eight and 12 for your upper body. Anything lower than eight is probably too heavy to build muscle. Furthermore, you’ll be taxing your joints. Anything more than 12 is too light to do the job. When it comes to muscles that you use more, like forearms, calves, abdominals and legs – never do less than 15 reps and you can go as high as 25. These muscles seem to respond better to higher volume workouts.

The most important thing to remember is that you won’t grow in the gym. Keep your workouts nice and short. Just enough time to finish your sets. You’re not in the gym to socialize. You’re there to make your muscles scream and feel that important pump. Always take one day off after two consecutive training days. Give your muscles a chance to recover and get the right nutrients in order to grow.

Biceps – Blast Your Guns!

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Blasting the Guns

Start with the following muscle training split-

Day 1: Chest. Day 2: Back, Day 3: Arms-Triceps AM/Biceps PM, Day 4: Delts, Day 5: Legs-Hams AM/Quads PM. Off. Repeat.

Biceps

Bicep-BlastCable Curls: Having that constant resistance along the entire range of motion with cables. A nice way to do 21s. Breaking the rep down into segments, along with the higher reps. With more time under tension, exactly what the biceps need to shock some new growth into them. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you keep getting what you always got.

Seated Dumbbell Curls: Learning that dumbbell curls one arm at a time may be more effective for you. Feeling the biceps working much more. Getting a better contraction and can even go heavier when you focus on just one arm. Two things to make sure of that you get a nice twist. Rotating the palm away from your body. Do not curl too high up. There’s a point you pass where you start feeling the movement in the delts instead of the biceps.

Barbell Curls: Three double drop sets on these is a good tip. Line up three bars and you’re ready to go. For example, maybe 110 pounds for 12 reps. Drop and pick up 90-pound bar and curl in 12 times. Then grab a 60-pounder to finish 12 reps. Rest a minute or two. Then do those three bars in a row again. Rest one last time then hit the final group of drop sets. The muscle pump is intense!

Dumbbell Hammer Curls: Most people don’t get the most out of these. Because they curl the dumbbell straight up. Getting a more complete contraction if you curl it up toward your chest, in towards the body. As with the regular dumbbell curl, you should flex your wrist outward so that your thumb is facing away from your body at the top of the rep.

One-Arm Dumbbell Preacher Curls: Sometimes your biceps tendon gets really tight by the time you’ve done a couple of bicep movements. When you can’t do for sets of 21s with the cables, it’s to much for them to be under tension so long. At those times, do a single-arm dumbbell preacher curls instead. You get a nice stretch for the biceps with these.

Front Double Biceps Cable Curls: Usually bodybuilders will do these leading up to a contest. Done not so much as an exercise, but to perfect front-double biceps pose while pulling a vacuum. Go light and hold every pose and vacuum for six to eight seconds each.

Triceps

Build-Triceps-MuscleRope Cable Pushdowns: A lot of guys like to use the rope attachment to warm up the elbows with some higher reps. Once doing a couple of high-rep sets to do that, go heavier for four sets. This helps improve the strength on the long head of the triceps.

Overhead Dumbbell Extensions: You can do one or two arm at a time. This exercise hits the back of the triceps well. Use a moderate weight and aim for a complete range of motion with a good stretch on every rep.

Dip Machine: For triceps, compound movements more effective at building muscle mass than extension movements. The machine allows keeping the elbows closer to the body maintaining an upright torso. The tension is on triceps instead of drifting into the chest and delts.

One-Arm Reverse Cable Pushdowns: Another bodybuilding pre-contest phase, mostly done for more detail and striations. Keep going nonstop and switching off arms as soon as you fail with one.

 

Get Lean for the Summer: Get That V-Taper

Road to a V-Taper

Want to drop a few pounds before the summer gets here? While wanting to lose the gut and get ripped to revel the V-Taper that lies within you? Do you run into obstacles and roadblocks? The following article will empower you with knowledge to tighten things up and lose body fat. Transforming into a leaner version of yourself with a more classic proportioned physique.

Best Diet for a V-Taper

Protein plays an important role in minimizing body fat. High quality protein enhances fat loss because essential amino acids, especially leucine. Stimulates muscle protein synthesis, which leads to greater muscle mass. The increase in muscle boosts metabolic rate. While increasing the consumption of fatty acids, leading to fat loss.

Diets that target food portions and macronutrient ratios (carbohydrates:protein:fat) to banish a fat gut. Relying on restoring the sensitivity of the body to the hormone, insulin and reducing its fat gaining properties by dropping the carbohydrate content of the diet and glycemic index/load. Reducing carbohydrates, especially high-glycemic load diets. Moderating saturated fat intake and incorporating olive oil and cardio helps you lose inches around the waist.

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet, gaining considerable attention as fat-loss program, with plenty of science to back it up. The diet includes the high intake of olive oil, fish, fruits and vegetables along with a moderate use of dairy products. The monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids found in olive oil and fish show to positively impact body composition. Causing greater fat loss, especially around the waist.

Eating fruits and vegetables associated with the Mediterranean diet provides complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index that triggers a lower insulin response. Because low glycemic carbs don’t cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly. The requirement for insulin secretion is lowered. Since insulin directly inactivates fatty acid oxidation, the lower insulin levels in response to low glycemic carbs sources raises the level of fatty acid oxidation. Resulting in lower body fat. This diet suggests that a low carbohydrate diet with supplemental  olive oil, the best bang for the buck to lose the gut.

Meal Frequency: Does it Matter?

Diet for V-Taper BodySome think that eating small frequent meals optimizes fat loss. According to the theory, go without eating for more than a few hours and your body shifts into “starvation mode”. Part of the starvation response is to slow down metabolism in an effort to conserve energy. Pretty hard to get lean when your metabolic rate isn’t cooperating. Providing your body with a constant stream of nutrients prevents the starvation response. By “stoking the metabolic furnace,” thereby enhancing the ability to burn stubborn body fat.Despite seemingly logical basis,however the evidence does not support metabolic benefits of increased meal frequency either.

Studies looked at feeding frequencies and fat loss through randomized controlled trials. Finding that eating small, frequent meals appears to have little if any effect on reducing body fat. Meal frequency comes down to personal preference. Choose whatever frequency fits your lifestyle. Focus on what’s important to achieving fat loss. Creating negative energy balance and consuming adequate dietary protein. Eat a minimum of three daily meals spaced out no more than every five to six hours to promote optimal muscle growth. Any less than three meals, potentially risks muscular gains.

Cardio:Train Smarter and Harder

HIIT Supports Anabolic EnvironmentCardio is a big part of the equation if you want to get ripped. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the best way to go. A combination of high and low intensity exercise is the best exercise mode for fat burning and increasing total energy expenditure (all-day calorie burning). Without sacrificing muscle mass. HIIT burns fat and improves cardiovascular capacity with short but intense training sessions. Offering all the advantages needed to train smarter as well as harder.

HIIT entails working at 80-90 percent of your maximum capacity for roughly one minute. Accompanied by less intense recovery periods at 40-50 percent of maximum capacity. For approximately one minute. Studies found subjects performing HIIT increased cardiovascular capacity and burned considerably more body fat. Than those who did low-intensity cardio programs, while also promoting a more anabolic environment that supports muscle growth. In addition to HIIT burning fat and supporting a more anabolic setting, additional research  has shown HIIT also burns fat for longer periods of time, post workout, relative to low intensity cardio.

 

Crown Your Triceps with Skull-Crushers

Triceps Muscle and Skull-Crushers

Obtaining huge, ripped arms requires as much attention to the triceps (maybe more) the biceps muscles. This is because the triceps brachii muscle can make up about two-thirds of the upper arm mass. Having greater cross sectional mass than the biceps. Thus, if you want to stretch the arm tape measure to break the 20-inch barrier, you must be prepared. You’ll need to mercilessly hammer your triceps with heavy mass builders. A superior mass-building exercise is the skull-crusher. Also called the lying French press or lying triceps extension. This exercise activates all three heads of the triceps. Especially pounding the thick, long head of the muscle. Skull-crushers sound a bit like an old school approach, and they are. But this exercise is outstanding at building triceps mass and density.

Muscle Structure and Function

Skull-CrushersThe long head is the innermost of the three-headed triceps brachii muscle. It begins on the scapula (shoulder blade) just below (inferior to) the head of the humerus bone of the arm and shoulder joint. The muscle belly of the long head of the triceps brachii ends in a  tendon that joins the tendons from the other triceps heads. Making a common triceps tendon at the elbow. The triceps tendon crosses the elbow joint and attaches to the ulna bone of the forearm near the elbow.  The lateral head of the triceps brachii begins on the posterior part of the humerus bone of the upper arm. About two-thirds of the way toward the shoulder joint. It runs down the back (posterior), outer side of the humerus bone to connect to the common triceps tendon.

The medial head of the triceps brachii lies between and deep to the long and lateral heads of the triceps. It begins along the upper two-thirds of the posterior part of the humerus bone. The fibers of the medial head of the triceps run down the arm to connect triceps tendon, which inserts on the ulna bone. Together, the three heads of the triceps brachii muscle extend the forearm. Straighten the elbow joint. However, the long head of the triceps brachii can extend the shoulder (pull the arm to the rear of the body). Both of these functions of the long head are activated strongly by skull-crushers.

Skull-Crushers

Skull-crushers require forearm extensions, so this exercise hits all three heads of the triceps. While the angles hit the long head particularly hard.

Build-Arm-MusclesYou might want to engage a training partner to spot you during this exercise. By following this plan, if the weight gets stuck on the way up, you can get some assistance to prevent the bar from crashing back uncontrollably toward your head. Although you can pile on weight with skull-crushers, that strategy does increase the risk of bouncing the bar off of your forehead. A safer strategy, especially without a training partner, is to use moderate weights for 12 repetitions. Preferentially activating the medial and lateral heads of the triceps first. Push it hard (with a spotter) as you approach fatigue, the larger and stronger fibers of the triceps will really come onboard to keep the bar moving.

Keep pushing the weight, but make sure your training partner is nearby as fatigue sets in. You should always warm your elbows up with a few lighter sets before hitting it hard and heavy.

Proper Training

When it comes to arms, your effort and consistency in training, along with proper exercise form, determines if triceps will develop the way you want them too. Make sure to warm up your elbows before hitting lying triceps extensions. Joint pain from sloppy training only brings you closer to a forced layoff. On the other hand, you will want to experience the “good” pain that is induced from temporary lack of blood flow. Meaning you are moving closer to the ultimate triceps. Persistent exercise will increase your pain threshold. Nevertheless, do not push to the limits on  lying triceps extensions without proper safety and good exercise form.

The Exercise

  1. Place an EZ barbell on the end of a flat bench. You can use a straight bar, but will likely find it easier on the wrists to use the bent bar. Lie on the bench and grip the bar behind your head with a narrow, overhand grip. Palms facing up. You can place both feet on the floor or on the other end of the bench if you prefer.
  2. Move the bar from the bench by extending your elbows and lifting the bar until it is directly over your eyes.
  3. Do not pause at the top, but immediately lower the bar toward your forehead by controlling the flexion (bending) of your elbows. When you lower the weight to your forehead, you should do this relatively slowly, over three or four seconds.
  4. Continue to lower the bar until the bar almost contacts your forehead. Control the weight so that it does not crash into your head. (Skull-crushers did not get their name for no good reason!)
  5. Immediately extend your elbows so that the bar moves upward until it is over your eyes. In the top position, your elbows should be almost straight. After reaching the top, control the lowering of the weight back to your forehead. Repeat the next repetition until the set is complete.

 

 

 

 

21 Tips for 21 Inch Arms!

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21-Inch Arms are the Holy Grail in Bodybuilding

Whether you aspire to become Mr. Olympia one day, or have not intentions of getting any closer to a stage than your local beach. Huge, round biceps and thick hanging triceps are a prized possession to proudly show off. Only a chosen few ever reach or surpass the 21 inch arms mark. Give yourself the best possible chance of achieving this elite status. Put these 21 tips into practice.

Work the muscle, not your ego.

The biggest obstacle to building bigger arms is universal among lifters across the globe. Using terrible form and not putting the biceps and triceps under actual tension. Using more weight than can be handled in decent form is the underlying issue. Nobody cares how much weight you use for curls. They see your arms. Lighten up and do it right.

Huge biceps and triceps!Master your mind-muscle connection.

There is a subtle difference between merely using good form and truly working the muscle. You need to feel the biceps and triceps muscles both contract and stretch under resistance as you do your reps. Mimic the motion of a barbell curl, slowly flexing the biceps as you curl upward and consciously stretching them as you lower your arms.

Give them their own day.

You’re not doing your arms any favors by working them after larger torso muscles like the chest, back or shoulders. By then you’re already partially fatigued. Devote a dedicated workout day to arms. Training only arms on that day.

Hit them twice a week.

Work them twice a week. You do not need two dedicated arm days, but rather have one full arm day. You could do biceps after chest, or triceps after delts. Only doing three exercises for three sets each on those days. Two dedicated 21 inch arms workouts is probably too much for most men to recover from.Do a longer, tougher workout, along with a shorter one that isn’t demanding on your muscle recovery. 

Heavy chest and back work

Triceps get plenty of work when performing press movements for the chest. and biceps involved in all types of rows and pulldowns for the back. If you slack on those workouts, you’re missing out on residual work and growth for your arms.

Build Huge ArmsDeep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage, a staple among top-level bodybuilders. An effective way to break down fascia to allow additional muscle growth.

Stretch ‘Em

Many bodybuilders advocate aggressive, painful stretches held for 30-90 seconds, often with weight. Be careful with this, especially if you’ve never stretched arms out before. Keep in mind of static stretches. Do not add movement to a weighted stretch.

Take it EZ

Barbell curls, the absolute king of muscle building movements for the biceps. The straight bar can cause wrist pain in many. The angled contours of the cambered bar, better known as the EZ-curl bar alleviates wrist pain. While allowing you to work to your full potential on curls.

Brace Yourself

Having large deltoids, chances that they rob the stress from your biceps in any standing curl. Make sure you work bi’s rather than your shoulders. Upper arms braced an immobile, like preacher curls.

Weighted Tricep DipsDips and Press for Huge Tri’s

A 200 pound guy might be able to do weight dips with 100 extra pounds. Or close grip presses with 315. It’s doubtful he would ever use those weights for skull crushers or cable pushdowns.

Try Higher Reps

Supersets

Alternate Bi’s and Tri’s

You start each workout with a finite amount of energy that becomes depleted as you go along. Alternate movements for the biceps and triceps. One gets to rest and recover for a few minutes while the antagonistic muscle is worked.

Press on the Smith

Close grip bench press certainly adds bulk to your triceps. But many have a hard time keeping the barbell balanced and end up struggling. Better off doing close grip presses on a smith machine. Balance is taken out of the equation so you can build your tri’s.

Decline Bench for Better ROM on Skull Crushers

Most effective triceps extensions is the “skull crusher”. Standard version done on a flat bench is that the range of motion (ROM) is incomplete. On a decline bench, a complete ROM is provided.

Beware of Overkill

A good rule of thumb to follow is that when you lose your pump and can’t get it back, you’re done for the day.

Build Big Arm MusclesA Break Might Be In Order

If your arms haven’t grown in a long time, the best course of action might simply be to stop training them anywhere from a week to a month. Sometimes your muscles “reset” and make gains once you resume direct work.

Cheat at the Right Times

There is a time for good form and a time to loosen it up a bit. Introduce “cheating” style reps within a set. After you have taken it to failure with good form. This allows to take the muscle further and work it harder. As the other muscle groups are fresh and can assist in the process. Cheat when it gives the target muscle more work. Not less.

Go Overhead

If you never do any type of overhead extensions movement, you’re missing substantial development. Opt for overhead dumbbell or barbell extensions.

Hammer It Out

The brachialis is a muscle wedge between the long head of biceps and lateral head of triceps. A direct way to train this muscle is via hammer curl or reverse curls. When fully developed, the brachialis can add a solid inch or more to your upper arm measurement.

Believe Your Arms Can and Will Grow!

You must have faith and believe that your arms can and will grow. If you have doubts, or worse, are convinced that any efforts will be in vain, that negative poison will sabotage your efforts. Either consciously or subconsciously, you will hold back from giving it your all. Why bother? Your arms won’t grow anyway! You’re doomed! Squash that nonsense right now. Your arms are not finished growing yet. They are a work in progress. It’s up to you to force them to grow through intelligent strategy and pure hard work. Apply these 21 tips, and the gains will come.

Fat Fighters! Simple Steps Aiding Weight Loss

Fat Fighters! Chemical in Apples Promotes Weight Loss

Ursolic acid is a chemical found in apples, basil, cranberries, peppermint, oregano and prunes. It is used in a variety of cosmetic products and can inhibit the growth of some types of cancer cells. A Chinese study on rats found that ursolic acid fat fighter supplements reduced body weight. While increasing caloric expenditure and decreased fatty levels in muscle. Ursolic acid promoted weight loss by increasing the activity of uncoupling proteins in the cells. Causing fat loss by promoting heat formation.

Ursolic acid is also anabolic. A University of Iowa study in mice found that ursolic acid found in apple peels prevented muscle deterioration following fasting and spinal cord injury. Ursolic acid supplements also increased muscle mass in normal mice. The anabolic effect of ursolic acid causes increased insulin signaling the skeletal muscle and the suppression of gene activity. Linking to atrophy (decreased muscle size). Ursolic acid might speed fat loss and build muscle. Adding fat burning pills like these helps you lose weight.

Melatonin Cuts Fat and Increases Lean Muscle Mass

Melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, promoting sleep and daily biological rhythms. Research found when consuming 3 to 5 grams of melaonin daily for one year, decreased body fat. Decreasing body fat by nearly 7 percent and increased lean muscle mass by 5.2 percent. Compared to a placebo treatment. A good night sleep is always wise. Furthermore, melatonin helps promote sleep and seemingly promotes decrease in body fat as well.

Do You Need Testosterone Supplements?

Testosterone Supplements and Testosterone Boosters:

Testosterone replacement therapy is big right now. Prescriptions increased from 1.3 million in 2010 to more than 3 million several years later. Much of the increase was due to awareness of “Low T”, which is low testosterone.

Low testosterone, linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Also linked to depression, decrease sexual performance, low energy levels and premature death.

testosterone-boostersA subcommittee of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from the Endocrine Society recommended that testosterone prescriptions be limited to mean with low testosterone levels (hypogonadism). The subcommittee also recommended large scale studies to determine the effects of testosterone pills on the long term risks.  Like cardiovascular and prostate disease.

Most, but not all, studies showed that testosterone supplements increase muscle mass and strength. While improving sexual performance and enhancing mood in aging men. Symptoms that might call for testosterone supplements include a drop in sex drive. Or trouble getting or maintaining an erection. Consider testosterone also if you have reduced energy or decreased muscle mass or strength.

 

Explosive Reps for Muscle Mass

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Training for Muscle Mass?

When training for muscle mass, and building big muscles how should you lift the weight? Do you lift the weight slowly and try to squeeze the muscle throughout the entire range of motion? Or do you exert as much force as you can on the weight and attempt to lift it explosively?

Many bodybuilders like to do reps with an explosive positive. A little pause to fully contract the muscle on most exercises.Then a slower negative to control the weight down and feel it stretch. Do slow lifting portion down when going very heavy for sets. Sets of about six to eight reps. Just so you don’t put too much strain on the joints. Also not putting much stress on the tendons and ligaments as well. Most often, try to train with 10-12 reps per set and do the reps explosively.

Adding a muscle building supplement can help with building muscle mass also. Many of these supplements are classified as “legal steroids” and contain no banned ingredients. Muscle building supplements are safe to take and not harmful to your body. They help build the mass and also help increasing strength.

 

Want to Grow Muscles? Lift Heavy

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Heavy Lifting to Grow Muscles?

Do you need to become very strong to grow muscles bigger? Some people don’t care how much weight they can bench press or squat. Lifting heavy can be dangerous if you do not know what you’re doing. Can you get the same big muscle results by using other techniques? Like slower reps, drop sets and superset?

muscle-supplementsIf you plan on growing big muscles, use heavier weights as time goes by. If you have 14-inch amrs and you’re curling 20-pound dumbbells, for example. You’ll never get your arms up to 17 or 18 inches.by curling those same 20-pound dumbbells. It does not matter how slow your reps are. Or even if you superset them with barbell curls and cable curls. Those techniques, really only effective for more experienced lifters. Ones who have become much stronger and realistically aren’t going to get a whole lot stronger.

If some guys can handle 180-pound dumbbells for incline presses after 20 years of training, that is super impressive. You can not expect him to keep getting stronger until he can press 250’s! As long as you warm up properly, use good form and don’t do very low reps like one to five, you shouldn’t get hurt.