They say that the 5 people you surround yourself with most will ultimately decide where you go with your life. I am sure you have noticed that when you are in a gym you see that the people with the best physiques or the ones with the most motivation are with like people. The same can apply to the business world; successful people are usually surrounded by other successful people. Think about it, if you’re hanging out with people that are out of shape, lack ambition and motivation you’re likely to be on the same path they are on. What’s worse is when you try and separate yourself from that lifestyle and those types of people, they will do what they can to detour you from your goals and try and hold you back. You will be met with negative comments, and they will try and put doubt in your head; don’t allow this. They see the changes you are making and that can incite fear in them that they too will have to make change to be accepted. If you want to be your best, surround yourself with the best and all the positivity you can.
Don’t let yourself get intimidated by anyone else in the gym. Realize that everyone there is trying to do the same thing; better themselves. The path to increase one’s performance and overall health can be harder for some than it is for others. This is a journey that we all share, our destinations may be different but we are on the same path to betterment. Whether you are a beginner or advanced; go in each day and do the best YOU can do and leave the intimidation factor at the door. Everyone starts at the beginning and nobody knows it all, so don’t let someone’s knowledge or their physical condition detour you from becoming a better you. If you are a beginner, look to the advanced as inspiration. Ask questions; get advice, ask for a periodic spot and continue to educate yourself. These people were once where you are at, and got to where they are doing the same things.
Time and time again I hear people say someone told them that they can’t achieve something. CANT is a word that needs to be eliminated from your vocabulary. Not only does it bring you down, but it also brings the people around you down. The only person that can tell you that you can’t is you, and the best thing about that is you don’t have to listen. People that are incapable or just too lazy to do what it is that you’re trying to achieve will rebel and tell you that you can’t. They will make you doubt yourself, and make you think that your goals/dreams are not achievable, so you give up. Instead use this negativity as fuel and prove these people and even yourself wrong. With each thing you achieve that you thought you previously couldn’t, you will gain confidence that you can in fact achieve whatever you want in life. If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves. So don’t let others judge you; by them telling you that you can’t, that is exactly what they are doing-judging you. Speak with your actions; and show them and yourself your true capabilities, and in the end your greatness will silence them all.
When you have a purpose/ game plan set you have a much better chance in achieving what you want than if you didn’t have one. If you go into a gym with no drive, purpose, or motivational factor to drive you in most cases you will fail. The gym can become a scary place and you find yourself wandering around like a zombie with no specific destination or routine. You don’t see any results so you start to doubt everything that you are doing and eventually quit. To be successful and to eliminate this doubt; set goals, and I advise you to write them down. If you only have goals in your head they can change day to day based on your energy level and your mood. When you write your goals down they are concrete, you can hold them, and they are right in front of you rather than floating around in your head somewhere. As you achieve these goals check them off, they will be a reminder of your success and give you that drive you need to continue on your fitness journey. As you achieve your goals continue to set more. Set present, short term, and long term goals. If you’re only looking at the destination and don’t focus on the journey itself, the end goal will seem unattainable and you can become overwhelmed and doubt will emerge and take over. Take joy in your small victories, they build on one another until you reach your destination.
This is one that I have heard over and over and mostly from women. “I am afraid if I weight train I will get big and bulky”. It’s important to realize that the amount of muscle a woman can put on is limited by a number of factors. First, women don’t have the testosterone needed to build a lot of muscle, so if you switch over from the light weights which I like to call “pink weight syndrome” or start to strength train, you are in no danger of losing your neck and building quads so big you bust out of your jeans. Many women coming to strength training are eating at a deficit for fat loss, so they won’t be building much, if any, new muscle—the goal of strength training while eating at a deficit is to retain the muscle mass you already have and skew the percentage of weight loss towards fat and away from muscle. The fact is: “Looking like a bodybuilder” doesn’t happen accidentally. To look like or be a bodybuilder, especially for women, requires a phenomenal lifestyle commitment. So don’t be afraid to use weights, and if you are lifting don’t be afraid to go heavier. If strength training causes a female to look like a bodybuilder that would equate to me saying “I don’t want to swim laps today because I don’t want to win the 100m gold next week” and that my friends is not going to happen without an act of God and a boat motor on my back.
For guys you do have the testosterone needed to gain muscle mass, so you will have a much easier time developing size. If you don’t want to get bulky, your diet and supplementation will determine this. If you are lifting heavy all the time, expect to gain some muscle if you diet is geared towards weight gain. Simply put, if you watch your protein, carbs, and fat ingestion then you can manipulate your diet to keep your mass down. If you want to keep lean and still lift heavy keep your cardio up, keep your protein and carbs at a moderate range so that you maintain lean muscle as you drop body fat. So you will transition muscle and fat more than you will bulk up.
Written by: Brandan Fokken
Bodybuilding.com Sponsored Athlete
I don’t know how many times you have to see it before you believe it, but here it is ladies – you aren’t going to bulk up and become a she-hulk overnight if you start incorporating heavier weight training into your workouts. Sorry, but it just won’t happen. Push yourself in the gym, train hard and don’t be afraid to build some muscle. You’ll look and feel better, not to mention one of the nice benefits of having more muscle is that you’ll burn more calories throughout the day. So put down those silly 5 lb weights and do some serious work!
Good muscle building workouts incorporate a variety of exercises, muscle groups and set variations. We’re only human, and tend to fall into a pattern and stick with what we like/are comfortable doing, but a stagnant workout is not beneficial to anyone. When you reach the point where you’re just going through the motions and not pushing yourself, it’s time to switch things up and try something new to stimulate muscle growth.
Along the lines of switching things up – this girl loves her supersets and dropsets! ☺ try adding some to your workout today. They really get your muscles pumping and you’ll feel the burn in ways you never thought possible…and love every second of it!
News flash, people: when it comes to cardio, walking on the treadmill for an hour is not only extremely boring, but also terribly inefficient. You won’t see any results from doing that day after day, especially if your goal is to lose weight and lean out. Step your game up and start doing high intensity cardio – sprints, plyometrics, etc. Any form of high intensity interval training will push you harder, burn more calories and complete your workout quicker.
Nothing irks me more than when i see men and women lifting improperly. It doesn’t matter how much weight you can throw around; if you’re not using proper form you’re just asking for an injury. Not to mention you look like an idiot. Too many people have no idea what they’re doing yet don’t bother to ensure they’re lifting correctly, then complain when they aren’t reaching their goals or seeing results. Proper form is very important when hitting the weights, or any exercise for that matter.
Stop guessing if what you’re doing is right – ask someone who knows. If you see someone doing an exercise you’d like to try or aren’t sure you’re doing something correctly, ask about it. Approach them when they’re in between sets or exercises and ask what they’re doing or if they can show you how to do it. Chances are they’ll be more than likely to help; just because gym rats look like big, bad meatheads, doesn’t mean we’re scary! ☺
When creating a trim and toned physique your diet is just as important, if not more so, than the physical work you put in at the gym. Don’t forget to eat! Many people believe the common misconception that if they skip a meal or two, it will help them lose weight and get skinnier faster. Wrong! Think of it this way: if you have a shiny new 2012 shelby mustang, are you going to fuel it with regular gas? I don’t think so. So if you’re doing intense workouts, why would you fuel your body with only half the amount it needs to get the job done? Don’t skimp on eating, and make sure you’re consuming the right amount of healthy meals every day. Also, remember to stay hydrated.
You can’t maintain a super strict diet 24/7; your body will eventually adjust to what you’re eating and the results you’re seeing will slow. If you have cravings (and who doesn’t?) Once in awhile it’s okay to give in and enjoy a cheat meal. Trust me, it won’t hurt you. And it’s a great treat.
I’m all for cutting out magazine articles, pictures of your fitness idols, whatever you see that inspires you to work out. However, it’s important to be motivated for the right reasons – because you want to better yourself, not become someone else. I found this quote the other day that I love: today, I compare myself to one other person: me yesterday. Don’t look at images of fitness professionals and become depressed and distraught your body doesn’t look the way theirs do, even if you’ve been training for a long time. Weight training is a marathon, not a sprint. And everyone is built differently. Certain physiques are more easily attainable for some people, while others will never achieve those same results. So don’t freak out if you bust your butt, eat right and still don’t have the same rock hard abs as your favorite fitness model. Focus on your body. The changes you are making, the improvements in your physique. Set smaller goals that are obtainable to keep your motivation level high, and make it happen!
In the end, it comes down to simple common sense - if you aren’t doing something you genuinely enjoy, you most likely won’t stick with it. If you want to get fit but being in the gym every day is not for you, find something that is. Whether it’s kayaking, jogging, hiking, weight training, boxing, swimming or something else, find an activity that you truly enjoy. And have fun with it! Chances are you will do it for longer and be happy to do whatever it is that’s keeping you in shape.
Written By Laura Jeanne
Laura Jeanne on YouYube: youtube.com/ljfit.
Yes they may be covered for the majority of the year, but that doesn't mean that they should be left out of your exercise routine. Squats and deadlifts work the entire body, and research has shown that they can activate the ab muscles far better than many traditional ab exercises, especially overhead squats. As you progressively train your lower body your core will become much stronger. Your core is required to stabilise your body in many other exercises, most sports, and day-to-day life, therefore your improvements in these areas should soar.
Your legs form the largest muscle group in the body and training with resistance weights will aid in the release of growth hormones. The benefit of stimulating a growth hormone response is important to bodybuilders and athletes as it has a positive effect on protein synthesis. It also promotes muscle growth and it affects the metabolic functions of your body in such a way that it can increase your use of stored fat while decreasing your use of carbohydrates for energy. So that's more muscle, less fat (therefore greater visibility of abs), greater strength, improvements in sport, and greater ability to do day to day activities...I still get puzzled when people say they never train legs...
For a bigger chest, train (not exclusively) on a slight incline, this will hit more of the upper part of the pectoral muscles which, when in a t-shirt, will give a much fuller appearance. Keep the incline to 30-45 degrees, as too much of an incline will bring more of the front delts into play, and take some of the strain off the pecs. At the top of the concentric phase of the lift, keep your elbows ever so slightly bent and don't lock out. Doing so also alleviates some of the tension placed on the chest.
Swap the barbell for dumbbells. Although barbells are easier for spotting, and great for negative reps, your hands are kept in a fixed position, which can limit the contraction on your pecs. Dumbbells will allow for a greater (wider) range of movement (ROM), and due to requiring more stabilisation, they can help even out weaknesses you may have between the right and left sides of the body. By increasing the ROM you are increasing the likelihood of more micro-tears in the muscle fibers. These will repair and become stronger. After a couple of weeks of using dumbbells, switch back to the barbell and you should feel a noticeable difference in your strength.
I see people doing 100's of bicep curls day in, day out, with the hope of getting bigger arms. And they get nowhere. Your biceps only fill up 1/3 of your t-shirt sleeve, with the other 2/3 being your triceps. Want big arms? Then you need to train your triceps too!
If you want to increase size, then you need to have the foundations of your program centered around compound movements. For the arms, this means close grip pull-ups, close grip bench press and dips. Reasoning is the same as the above point – when these large muscle groups are activated, a lot of growth hormones will be released. Very simply put, the more of them floating through your body, the greater the potential to grow, (growth is also dictated by a sound nutritional diet, so make sure you are taking in enough calories).
Then, by all means move onto isolation exercises – which should be performed using strict technique, aiming for 6-10 rep range, and don't train them more than twice a week. Also, don't do the same moves week in week out – your body needs to be continually challenged to induce growth, so mix up the exercises.
Personally speaking, late last year I focused loads on weighted pull-ups and dips and I hardly did any isolation movements. The result meant that when I eventually came round to changing my program, I noticed huge gains in strength with bicep and tricep exercises, and a noticeable difference in size.
Whether you've changed your program, introduced new moves, or are concentrating on the eccentric muscle contraction, DOMS are going to happen. That's a given! DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is commonly thought to be caused by microscopic tears in the muscles and the swelling associated with those tears. The pain kicks in 1-2 days following a workout (it can be sooner though), and rarely lasts more than 5 days. If it lasts over 7 days, go and see your GP.
The best methods I’ve found to deal with them are as follows:
Warm up: Make sure you perform a thorough warm up, which will also reduce your chance of injury! Increasing blood flow to muscles makes them more elastic, so they are more resistant to micro-tearing.
Stretching: Although studies show that stretching does not relieve the pain associated with DOMS, stretching the muscles when sore will help to build more elasticity in the new muscle fibers. Thorough yet gentle stretching of the muscle groups you've worked after each session is always a good idea, and make use of foam rollers if you access to them. Stretching will improve circulation to the given area, bringing nutrients to your cells and removing waste byproducts.
Supplementation/nutrition: Vitamin C and E are well known for their anti-oxidant properties and their ability to reduce the proliferation of free radicals. These are thought to be generated during the inflammatory response, which could potentially cause more damage to the affected muscle. Protein, EAA + BCAA and L-Glutamine will get to work repairing damaged muscle tissue – so consume your post workout shake as soon as your workout is over. It will assist the recovery process, but not necessarily reduce the recovery time.
Massages and Ibuprofen: If they are really bad, then a gentle massage and ibuprofen can help relieve the pain, but will not speed up your recovery time.
Yes there are lots of different supplements you can take, but all I'm going to cover here is protein, and the ideal times during the day that you should be consuming it. Whether dieting down or bulking up, protein should be consumed with each meal of the day. It is important to keep a constant supply of amino acids in the blood, so ideally you should be aiming to eat a meal every 2-3 hours. Just make sure your macro nutrient breakdown of each meal is linked into your goal. The result - if you are cutting or aiming to lose weight, this will keep your metabolism high. If you are bulking and looking to put on muscle, you will be providing your body with a constant supply of calories to help you grow.
Outside of those meals is when a protein shake can really be useful. As it is in liquid form it is fairly easy for your body to process quickly. So, if the budget will allow it, when are the most essential times of the day to be having a shake?
First thing in the morning: As you (hopefully) have been sleeping for a good 7-8 hours, and therefore technically fasting, a fast absorbing whey protein drink first thing in the morning will put a halt to your body's catabolic state.
Pre workout: 20g before a workout will ensure that your body is saturated with amino acids ready to start the repair process. Failing that, try to consume 8g of EAA (essential amino acids).
Post workout: 30 - 40g whey (or 50/50 split whey/casein) post workout will enable your muscles to begin repairing.
Before bed: As you will not be eating again for another 7-8 hours, consuming 45g micellar casein right before bed will keep your body drip-fed with amino acids while you sleep. Micellar casein forms a gel in your gut, slowing down the absorption process and keeping your body in an anabolic state for longer.
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