Bodybuilding Nutrition And Balance

Many inexperienced (sometimes even experienced!) gym regulars believe that muscles grow while lifting weights. However lifting weights forms only a small fraction of the muscle building process. Muscle development takes place at night during deep sleep when the body synthesizes new cells with nutrients from our diet. Therefore nutrition forms a very important part of a bodybuilding program.

The body utilizes nutrients in food to perform daily metabolic and what’s commonly referred to as the “wear and tear processes”. With bodybuilding, additional strain is put on the body to make new muscle tissues. Therefore the nutrient requirements also shoots up to stay with the demand.

The best bodybuilding nutrition comes from a balanced intake of carbohydrates, adequate protein, vitamins, minerals, fats and large amounts of water. So if you are serious about getting lean and ripped it’s time to say goodbye to mayo burgers, colas and other synthetic foods. Adopt eating habits imbibing fruits, whole grains, milk, eggs and fresh farm products.

How much protein do you need?

Your growing muscles need amino acids to create new tissues. The amino acids are provided by protein in diet. There is a lot of debate on the exact quantity of protein required in bodybuilding. The caution to maintain is that extreme amounts of protein in the diet can cause gastric and renal complications. Recent studies have suggested that a protein intake of 1 to 1.4 grams per unit of body weight is adequate to sustain the bodybuilding process. This means that the protein requirement of a 70 kg individual should be around 70 to 98 grams. To give an estimate of the amount involved consider the following: A 100 gm chicken breast has 22 grams of protein, a glass of milk has 8 grams,an egg approximately 5 grams and a slice bread 3 grams.

A word of caution against the tide of bodybuilding supplements in markets. Many times you come across advertisements proclaiming, ‘Gain 20 pounds of muscle in 3 months flat!’. Stay clear of these money hungry advertisers. Building lean muscle takes time and effort. Making use of synthetic products which alter body’s natural mechanism would offset what should be your real purpose in bodybuilding which is to keep the body fit and healthy.

Lastly in bodybuilding it’s not, ‘the more the better’. Rather it is ‘the more precise the better’. Don’t over exert, eat balanced food and include plenty of rest. With everything good in life, patience, commitment, and balance will guarantee your success. With these tips in mind you are all set to pump iron!

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Want To Build Big Muscles? Here Is How To Gain Muscles Fast

Want to build Big Huge Muscles? Then you must Squat! The Squat will build big muscles on your entire body frame.

There are 3 types of people in this world.

First, there are those that make things happen. They calculated and know very sure what they want, then they take action and get it no matter what happens. They single mindedly pursue their ambition and they will ultimately succeed. In bodybuilding, they want to grow big and strong with big huge muscles. They SQUAT and squat and squat again. Have you ever seen anyone who is big, have huge muscles and have a well proportioned body like a Greek god who does not squat? Never.

Then there are those who watch things happen. They will savor the world around them. Then say, we will see what happens next. If it works, well we will decide if we are gonna do it.

These are the majority of the average Joes. They want to grow big muscles and be strong and muscular but are reluctant to make the effort to include the squat in their workout routine. Even if they do, they will do it haphazardly and will give up before they achieve their objectives. Then the excuses will flow. “Squats are too hard on my knees” or “Doing squat will stunt your growth” or “Squats are for my back” or “I just want a well toned body.” Excuses from sour grapes. That is why average joes just remain well… average. We will debunk those excuses later in this article.

Finally there are those that are always saying “Omigosh! What happened?” Needless to say, these people are the ones oblivious to what is happening around them. They will walk leisurely on a treadmill reading a book at the same time when others are raising their heart rates to improve endurance and burn fats.

They are the ones doing dumbbell curls after dumbbell curls when others are doing bench presses, dead lifts and squats. They are the ones who ask the champions why the champs are growing biiger muscles and getting fitter all the time whereas they are at the gym longer, more regular and yet not achieving any result. They will take note of the advises and the next time you see them, they are back to what they were doing. Reading that confounded book on the treadmill. They actually expect changes to take place by doing the same things. How is that possible? Then they will say, “Ah… but you are just lucky to have good genes!” What nonsense!

To build muscles fast and big, you must SQUAT! The squat is often touted as the king of exercise and is grouped together with the dead lift and bench press, collectively called the Big Three for power and muscle mass building.

If you want to build big muscles and enjoy a symmetrical physique, you must squat. Period.

In most gym, the squat rack is there collecting dust. Why? Because most people think that their legs will be hidden by their pants. Why bother? How dead wrong they are. Wait till you see them in their shorts or swim wear. You will see Spiderman ..er ..I mean spider legs.

Another reason why people avoid squatting exercises is because the squat work on many major muscles and is grueling work. When you perform squats correctly, you will huff and pant, wheeze, head spinning woozily, see stars, sweat profusely and your entire body will be screaming for you to stop.

Of course the exercise is brutal! You are working out about 75% of your entire muscular structure including your shoulders, traps, back, gluteus, hams, calf, abs and many other synergistic muscles in a single exercise, isn’t that supposed taxed your strength, endurance and your cardio health? Isn’t that the best exercise? Isn’t that why the results from squats will be astounding?

As an added bonus to building big muscles , you will be burning fats like crazy since the squat, given the intensity placed on your body, your metabolism zooms straight up! If your body fat ratio is high, it will help you lose body fat.

And because of the degree of difficulty, squats also force your body to release higher amounts of growth hormone , resulting in new muscle growth in all areas of your body. In addition, squats will cause a spillover effect, enabling you to gain strength in all of your other lifts. Awesome! It just befuddles me why, with all these benefits, people are avoiding squats like a bubonic plague. As for the hard gainers, squat will pack on pounds after pounds of muscle on your entire body! So hard gainers, you must squat to grow big!

If you squat with the correct form, heavy weight and sheer intensity, you will see good results in just weeks. Not just your lower body. Your entire frame will take on a different form. A total body transformation. Guaranteed!

You must know that since squats are performed with heavy weight, so correct form and techniques are critical and cannot be compromised. Anything less, you may sustain serious injury. However, when you adhere to the proper technique, you will be very safe and will enjoy all the benefits that come with the squat. Don’t cheat yourself and substitute squats with leg presses. They are of a different class!

Debunking Excuses!

It’s bad for the knees – In fact, it’s on the contrary. Just like the muscle tissue in your body strengthens when exposed to stress, the tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues in your body will also thicken in response to weightlifting. That means, it actually improve knee health when you squat. It also strengthens all the muscles around your knee and thus providing your knees with support when the muscles are strong and less stress is placed on the knees on your day to day activities. I know. I used to suffer from knee pain until I started squatting and now, my knees are in perfect health that I can even play competitive soccer. Knee problems only occur when you squat improperly like resting at the bottom of the movement or letting your knee protrude over your toes.

It’s bad for my back – For the same reasons about strengthening your tissues, squats also exercises your lower back. When done in correct form, it actually builds strong muscles on your lower back and not only correcting you from bad posture that results in a bad back, it may even give you a healthy strong back. Again, it will only hurt your back if done in poor form like bending forward or doing it with a rounded back instead of arching it during the movement.

It will give you high blood pressure and bad for the heart –
Sure, your blood pressure will rise as your heart will beat faster from the exercise. That is only temporary and not dangerous unless you already have those problems in the first place. Other than that you are actually exercising your heart and cardio vascular system to strengthen it. How can that be dangerous? Don’t most exercises elevate heart rate and increase blood flow? Then they should ban the treadmills and close all swimming pools! Do you buy that nonsense?

So, now that you know that squat is the king of bodybuilding exercises, are you the type that makes things happen or are still contend to be wondering what the heck happened?

2 Simple Steps To Ripped Summertime Muscles

Summer is on the horizon, and the time has come to kick back and relax under the sun. It’s time for beach days, barbecues and pool parties, and for any serious weightlifter these activities also mean one thing: it’s time for the shirts to come off and to showcase that rock-solid physique they’ve been working on all year. No one wants to be walking around with a soft, smooth and flabby body, and for the next month or two, all of those serious lifters will be shifting into “get ripped” mode.

How do they usually go about this?

They lighten up the weights and perform higher reps.

This has always been a widely accepted method of “cutting down” and if you ask most trainers in the gym they’ll tell you that “heavy weights bulk up the muscle and lighter weights define the muscle”.

Do you want to know the reality behind the “light weight and high reps” method of obtaining a ripped and defined physique?

It is completely, totally and utterly DEAD WRONG.

It couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, there is no logical basis for this way of training whatsoever, and whoever dreamt up this downright ridiculous way of thinking has caused the vast majority of lifters to waste their time and impede their progress in the gym.

Let me clear this up once and for all: you CANNOT spot reduce. In other words, it is physically impossible to target fat loss from a specific area on your body. Performing bench presses with light resistance and high repetitions will not magically burn fat off of your chest or cause it to appear harder and more defined.

Every single time you wrap your hands around a barbell, dumbbell or cable, your goal is to stimulate as much muscle growth as you possibly can. There are no special, secret weightlifting exercises that will “define” your muscles or cause them to become more “ripped”.

Training with weights builds muscle mass, end of story.

So how exactly do you “define” a muscle?

The only way to “define” a muscle is by lowering your body fat level in order to make your muscles more visible. Body fat reduction can be achieved in two ways:

1) Modify your diet.

You should lower your overall caloric intake to around 15x your bodyweight and focus on consuming smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. This will keep your metabolism naturally raised at all times and will keep your body in a constant fat burning state. Limit your intake of saturated fats and simple sugars, and focus instead on consuming lean sources of protein and low glycemic carbohydrates. It is also very important to keep your water intake high at a level of around 0.6 ounces per pound of bodyweight.

2) Perform proper cardio workouts.

Let go of the traditional method of moderate intensity cardio in 30-45 minute durations. If you want to maximize your body’s fat burning capacity and also minimize the muscle loss that inevitably accompanies a fat burning cycle, focus on shorter cardio workouts performed at a high level of intensity. These types of workouts will shoot your resting metabolism through the roof and will allow you to burn maximum amounts of fat even when you are at rest. I recommend 3-5 high intensity cardio sessions per week, spaced at least 8 hours away from your weight workouts.

That’s all there is to it, folks. Take the notion of “light weight and higher reps” and throw it right out the window, down the street and around the corner. Following this misguided method will only cause you to lose muscle mass and strength, and will not assist you in burning fat or defining your physique.

All you need to do to mold those rock-solid muscles for the summer time is this:

1) Train with heavy weights and low repetitions to build maximum muscle mass.

2) Modify your diet and implement cardio workouts to eliminate body fat and create visibly harder and more defined muscles.

End of story.

I’ll see you at the beach!

Abdominal Exercises For Beginning Bodybuilders

The abdomen contains the muscles that most beginners struggle with because they take a long time to develop and need a low level of body fat to be seen. The abdominal muscle group consists of three main muscles:

1. Rectus abdominis – commonly known as the abs, this is a large flat muscle wall that runs from the lower chest to the pubic bone.

2. Obliquus abdominis – commonly known as the obliques, this muscle runs diagonally along the side of the mid-section from the lower ribcage to the pubic area. The internal obliques lie underneath the external obliques.

3. Transversus abdominis – this is a thin strip of muscle that runs horizontally across the abdomen.

You can target these muscles effectively by performing the following exercises:

1. Crunches – 3 sets of 15-20 reps. This exercise will work the upper abs.

2. Pelvic tilts – 3 sets of 15-20 reps.This exercise will target the lower portion of the abdomen below the navel.

3. Side bends – 3 sets of 15-20 reps. This exercise will work the obliques.

As with all exercises you need to take care in scheduling specific body parts. To begin with you should incorporate your abdominal exercises into a program similar to the one suggested below:

Day 1: Biceps, Back, Abs

Day 2: Hamstrings, Shoulders, Abs

Day 3: Quads, Forearms, Calves

Day 4: Triceps, Chest, Abs

For the first couple of weeks complete one set but then add one set each week to a maximum of three. At the end of three months you will be ready to move on to more intensive intermediate level exercises.

Changing Your Eating Habits

Because all of us have been brought up eating junk food, well most of us, it is not easy to change our eating habits. Your eating habits have developed since childhood based on what your mothers or fathers cooked and what your psychological make-up was during that time.

The foods you eat and crave help keep pass trauma and present anxiety in check. Food helps make you feel good when you start to feel bad. Eating is a natural defense mechanism that the brain-body uses to keep you from going crazy.

So, you see, it is very difficult to change our eating habits. When we do, we start to feel bad. We start to feel uncomfortable, we feel pain, we have withdrawal symptoms, and we may feel sick. Is it any wonder that any of us ever succeed in changing our eating habits?

I consider every thing that has been packaged to be junk food. There are a few exception and you need to read ingredient labels carefully. Very few food manufacturers and even restaurants prepare food with your health in mind. Of course, they want to satisfy you, but they don’t use foods that are in your best interest.

Most people eat junk food 85% of the time and then eat good food the other 15%. It should be the reverse of this – eat good food 85% and junk food 15% of the time.
To have better health, here are some foods to stop eating. Eliminate these foods over the next two to three weeks.

· Milk (non-fat or no-fat also) – is a mucus and acid forming food. Milk creates mucus in the body and makes the lymph liquid (we will talk about lymph later) in your body acidic, which attracts parasites and other pathogens. (In the place of milk almond milk or goats milk)
Cancer thrives in a body that is acidic.

o Bread – white bread is also acid and mucus forming. It is also more difficult to pass through the colon and gives rise to constipation.
Sugar the #1 food additive. Sugar is in most of all the products that you buy.

· Sodas (regular or diet)- are extremely high in sugar or artificial sugar – 7 teaspoons per can. Most people drink over 35 gallons per year. Sugar is a body poison and leads to many disease – diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and osteoarthritis and so on.
o Sugar, also, depletes your B-vitamins and calcium and magnesium from your bones and teeth.

o In addition, since sodas are in aluminum cans, aluminum can go into the soda because most sodas contain phosphoric acid. Aluminum has been associated with senility and Alzheimer disease.

o Calcium is also leached from your body to neutralize the phosphoric acid. (Its healthier to drink juices of all kinds)

There is just no way around it. Sodas suck health right out of your body.

· Regular salt (NaCl) – excessive salt intake is related to high blood pressure, edema, and imbalances in the minerals in your lymph liquid. Sodium, Na, in salt attracts water so the more sodium you eat that more water your body will hold. (Use sea salt, it has 25% less sodium, use low salt soy sauce, and herbs to flavor your food)

o Most people eat too much salt – over 10,000 milligrams per day. We only need around 200-300 mg per day.

o Excess salt is also in involved with kidney problems, cardiovascular disease, stomach cancer, and excess sensitive to stress.

o Get your Sodium from eating vegetables that are high in sodium. When you get your salt from vegetables it is organic salt, which does not have the same effect in your body as inorganic salt from a shaker. You need a lot of organic salt or Na in your body. Your stomach is a Na organ. It needs organic salt, Na, to keep its lining from being eaten by the hydrochloric acid in your stomach – an ulcer.

o Foods high in organic sodium are apples, apricots, asparagus, greens, red cabbage, carrots, celery, dulse, egg yolks, figs, fish, raisins, prunes, and lentils.

For the next two weeks try adding the following foods to your eating habits.

· lecithin – is 30-40% choline, which is used throughout your body. This is why you want to include it in your diet.
o choline is one of the main chemicals in our cell membrane.
o It is used in our brains to create the neurotransmitter acytlcholine, which is required for thinking and memory. Consider lecithin brain food.
o It is used by the liver, which helps to prevent a fatty liver. A fatty liver prevents you from losing weight around your belly.
o it helps to break up fats into tiny goblets so that they are easily digestible and will reduce your cholesterol.
o it helps to keep cholesterol from clinging to your artery walls.

· flax seed oil – is an essential oil, omega 3. This means your body does not make it and it is necessary for you to eat it so that you can live without illness or pain.
o it helps to detoxify the liver
o it stimulates the production of bile. Remember that bile helps to breakdown fat so that the liver can better metabolize it.
o stimulates the body to burn fat.

o apple juice and apples – are high in vitamin A, in Potassium and have other minerals that strengthen the blood. They contain malic and tartaric acids, which keep the liver healthy and promote good digestion. Apples help you to lose weight by providing fiber and keeping you regular.

o fiber – you need 30-35 grams of fiber every day. Most people only get up to 10-15 grams. Fiber is one foods that reduce your transient time in the colon. Fiber helps to keep your colon clean, reduce cholesterol, remove toxins from your body and eliminate constipation.

There you have it. If you can accomplish these changes in one year, you will notice a big difference in the way you feel and the health that you have.

Combatting Atherosclerosis With Good Nutrition

Imagine hundreds of cars zooming down an eight-lane highway. One lane disappears, and then another, until the same cars crawl bumper-to-bumper along a one-lane country road. That’s sort of what happens when you have atherosclerosis. Your arteries, the highways for your blood, harden and narrow, and the same amount of blood has to make its way through a much tighter space. This traffic jam in your arteries leads to all sorts of trouble, including heart attack and stroke.

Atherosclerosis occurs when cholesterol, fat, and other substances in your blood build up in the walls of your arteries. The process can begin when you’re a child, but it may not become a problem until you’re in your 50s or 60s. As this muck gathers in your arteries, it forms plaque. Plaque can clog or completely block arteries, cutting off blood flow to your heart or brain. That’s when you have a heart attack or stroke.

Too much cholesterol and triglycerides – types of fat – in the blood, high blood pressure, and smoking cause the most damage to your arteries. Other risk factors for atherosclerosis include diabetes, a family history of the condition, stress, obesity, and an inactive lifestyle. Men, in general, are at greater risk, as are people who have an “apple” body shape – with the fat gathering at the belly rather than the hips and thighs.

You can fight atherosclerosis by making good food choices. Cut back on saturated fat and cholesterol from meat and whole-milk dairy products, and look for the following foods that lower cholesterol, bring down blood pressure, and keep your blood flowing smoothly.

Nutritional blockbusters that fight atherosclerosis

Fish. Reel in a big, fat fish and wriggle off the hook of atherosclerosis. Omega-3 fatty acids, the polyunsaturated kinds found in fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon, protect your arteries from damage.

First, omega-3 takes out triglycerides, the fats that build up on your artery walls. It also stops your blood’s platelets from clumping together. That way, your blood remains smooth instead of sticky. Sticky blood can clot and block blood flow. Lastly, omega-3 might lower blood pressure.

No wonder so many studies show that eating fish can reduce your risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two fish meals a week.

You can find a form of omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid in walnuts, which lower cholesterol. Other sources of omega-3 include flaxseed, wheat germ, and some green, leafy vegetables, like kale, spinach, and arugula.

Garlic. Anything fish can do garlic does, too. The sulfur compounds in this amazing herb not only lower cholesterol and triglycerides, but they also go after only the LDL or “bad” cholesterol and leave the HDL or “good” cholesterol alone.

Garlic can also lower blood pressure so your arteries don’t take as much of a pounding. Thanks to a substance called ajoene, garlic keeps your blood from clumping and clotting. One study even showed garlic helps your aorta, the body’s main artery, remain elastic as you age.

Experts recommend getting 4 grams of garlic – about one clove – into your diet each day.

Fiber. During the course of a day, you should eat about 25 to 35 grams of fiber. If you do, you’ll boost your general health and give atherosclerosis quite a battle.

Certain types of soluble fiber, such as the kind in oats, barley, apples, and other fruits, shrink your cholesterol levels. It works by slowing down your food as it passes through your stomach and small intestine so your “good” cholesterol has more time to take cholesterol to your liver and out of your body. Eating more than 25 grams of fiber every day might also cut your risk of developing high blood pressure by 25 percent.

Fiber comes with an added bonus – it fills you up. After a fiber-rich meal, you feel full, so you’re less likely to overeat and put on unwanted pounds. Because being overweight increases your risk of atherosclerosis and other heart problems, eating fiber could be part of an effective strategy to guard your arteries.

You’ll find fiber in fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals.

Antioxidants. An unarmed intruder poses less of a threat than one with a weapon. By stopping free radicals from oxidizing LDL cholesterol, antioxidants remove much of the danger. Once oxidized, LDL cholesterol makes a beeline for your artery walls much faster. In fact, some scientists believe LDL cholesterol only harms you once it has been oxidized.

Vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene are antioxidants. Peppers, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupe, and broccoli give you vitamin C, while carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, mangoes, and collard greens are full of beta carotene. Sources of vitamin E include wheat germ, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.

While you munch on those fruits and vegetables, you’ll get the added benefit of antioxidant substances called flavonoids. Resveratrol in grapes, anthocyanins in cranberry juice, and quercetin in onions, apples, and tea are some of the flavonoids that help your heart and arteries.

Monounsaturated fat. To keep your blood running smoothly, maybe you need an oil change. Olive oil, the main source of fat in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, has mostly monounsaturated fat. This type of fat slashes the “bad” cholesterol without harming the “good” cholesterol. It also prevents clotting, giving your arteries even more protection.

Like fiber, monounsaturated fat also fills you up so you’re less likely to overeat.

Think about switching from soybean or corn oil to olive oil. After all, the Greeks – even while enjoying a rather high-fat diet – rarely develop atherosclerosis.

Besides olive oil, sources of monounsaturated fat include avocados, nuts, and canola oil.
Ginger. Make your dinner a little bit tastier and your arteries a little bit healthier with this ancient spice. Ginger contains phytochemicals called gingerol and shogaol, which give it its antioxidant power.

Animal studies show ginger not only lowers LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, it also prevents LDL oxidation. On top of that, ginger also keeps your blood from clotting by reducing the stickiness of your platelets.

Delicious Do-it-Yourself Snacks For Kids

Nearly seven million American children come home from school to an empty house, clamoring for a quick, appetizing snack only to settle for junk food. But instead of reaching for the sweets during those cool after-school days or hot summer nights, kids can put on the chef’s hat and prepare their own easy, tasty snacks that are just as satisfying.

Kids often shy away from preparing anything other than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich because it’s too difficult and time-consuming. But there is a wide variety of products available at the grocery store, like Tyson® refrigerated, fully-cooked chicken and steak strips, which simplify the snack- and meal-making process for kids. The strips go from package to plate in minutes-making it easy to prepare kid-favorite snacks and meals such as pizza, tacos and pasta. These well-balanced, do-it-yourself options are high in protein and have zero grams trans fat, so parents can feel good about providing kids with a wholesome alternative to help power them through their active days.

With snack and meal ideas like these, children can come home and reach for something other than the usual suspects-instead preparing a delicious snack on their own. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even graduate to making family dinners.

Fiesta Chicken Nachos

11/4 cups Tyson® Southwest Seasoned Chicken Breast Strips

1 bag (10 oz.) tortilla chips

2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

1. Layer chips, cheese and chicken strips on a large, microwave-safe plate.

2. Microwave on High for 30 to 45 seconds or until cheese melts.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. Refrigerate leftovers.

Chicken Tacos Olé

1 package (6 oz.) Tyson® Refrigerated Fajita Chicken Breast Strips

4 taco shells

1/2 cup shredded cheese

Shredded lettuce

1. Heat chicken strips and taco shells according to package directions.

2. Fill shells with meat, cheese and lettuce.

Serving Suggestion: Other toppings can include diced tomato, salsa and sour cream. Refrigerate leftovers.