How To Build Muscle On A Vegan Diet Fast!

The Best Way To Predict The Future Is To Create It.”

Peter Ducker

We’ve all seen it. The stereotypical scrawny vegan that certainly may be healthy, but is far from inspiring at a glance. Let’s face it. Humans are visual beings. Appearance is important to us, though many of us haven’t made peace with that fact. With that being said, building muscle isn’t merely a vain pursuit, it benefits one’s health in a myriad of ways. Namely, anti-aging. Resistance(weight) training is probably the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth. While building muscle can certainly be challenging, it absolutely does not have to be complicated. The differences between building muscle for someone on a more typical diet and someone on a vegan diet aren’t drastic, but they do exist. In this article, I’ll show you how to build muscle on a vegan diet in as simple a manner as possible.

I remember when I first went vegan 5 years ago. Within a year I went from this:

To this:

I didn’t want to have to show you that, but it’s for your own good. Just kidding. Seriously though, keep in mind that I’ve been working out for 19 years and that didn’t change between the two photos. In all fairness, some people would say that I look great in both pictures, and they’re certainly entitled to their opinions. However, for me, I was light years away from the standards that I have held myself to for over a decade. The only thing that changed was my diet. I had no idea what I was doing. I was bloated, holding more body fat than I wanted to, and my performance was suffering massively. I’ve seen this happen to far too many people. They go vegan and become bloated, or lose muscle. Don’t get me wrong, I love being vegan and I think everyone should at least give it an honest try, but when you go vegan, there is a learning curve. Whereas before you may not have put much thought into what you were eating, now you’ll have to make a some effort. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but you do need to have a basic idea of how to structure a well balanced diet. Honestly, this doesn’t only apply to vegans, but anyone desiring a better physique.

So, after months of slowly losing muscle and feeling bloated, I finally started to piece things together. It took some time, but eventually I got rid of the bloating, leaned out, and began to feel great, even better before. Can you guess what happened next? That’s right, I started looking better and better. Within 6 months or so, I was as ripped and strong as ever, as you can see here:

How’d I do it? I implemented a few key principles that honestly changed my life. I now feel better than I ever have in my 30s. I’m lean, strong, flexible, and have more energy than a teen on prom night. Okay, maybe not quite that much energy, but I feel amazing. I haven’t been ill in almost 4 years, not even a cold. Now, I’m going to give you all the tools I used to create this transformation so you can do the same. If you’re not currently in the shape you’d love to be in, or you’re just a go getter looking to take your health and fitness to the next level, you’ll definitely want to read on.

I used this success to create some basic rules for being in great shape as a vegan. They’re simple, and can be applied by anyone intelligent enough to read this article. They are as follows:

  1. Stop eating processed vegan meats. Sure, they’re high in protein, but they’re also usually high in sodium and often contain oils that are high in Omega 6 fatty acids. Consuming too many Omega 6 fatty acids causes inflammation in the body, which over time can lead to a whole host of illnesses. Omega 3 fatty acids on the other hand reduce inflammation and are healthy for the brain and heart.
  2. Don’t eat too much salt. I can’t stress this enough. Most people eat far beyond the recommended daily allowance for sodium. This can lead to bloating, which makes you look and feel like crap. It’s also not healthy in the long run, and while I’m not suggesting that anyone tally up their salt intake, doing a little due diligence to check labels can go a long way. Also, Try eating 1 or 2 meals a day with little to no salt. Something I do is eat Japanese sweet potatoes covered in cinnamon, lentils, and sweet peas all mixed together. It tastes great even without salt because of the Japanese sweet potatoes.
  3. Limit your fat intake. Vegans tend to eat nuts, seeds, and avocados more than the average person. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you’re looking to be lean, use moderation.
  4. Take fermented protein powders. Seriously, your digestion will thank you for this one. Protein powder certainly isn’t essential, but when you’re trying to consume enough protein to build muscle, it’s very convenient.
  5. Train with maximum intensity. This one applies to anyone, but this wouldn’t be complete without it. I recommend that anyone looking to build muscle naturally train with the highest possible intensity, but very briefly. This means weight training for no more than 30-45 minutes at a time, but making it so challenging that it seems like hours. Apply yourself, focus, and give it your all. Then leave the gym, rest, and recover. Always train safely and with proper form. This will keep you injury free, and therefore making progress.

That’s all there is to it guys and girls. If you are new to weight training and have no idea how to create a routine, you can check out my article on a practical way to begin weight training. It contains a basic workout routine that you can use for 3 to 6 months, and then perhaps create your own routine from there. So, as you can see, it’s fairly simple to build muscle on a vegan diet, but it’s not always easy. Now let’s get out there and represent health and conscious eating in the right way.

Adonis

How To Lose Weight On A Vegan Diet Fast!

“Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”

The Marines

Some people seem to think that because something is plant based that automatically makes it healthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Some people also seem to think that it’s easier to get lean on a vegan diet than others. While this does have some merit, ultimately, it’s not the whole truth. Getting lean, or ripped on a vegan diet can absolutely be done, but it requires one to have and apply some basic understanding.

Firstly, let me just say getting ripped is never easy unless you’re naturally very lean. Secondly, it’s not necessarily harder on a plant based diet, but there’s less good information available. At least, for the time being. The problem is that there are so many conflicting sources of information. For example, people saying carb up, the vegan keto people (Don’t get me started with those.), etc. Let me clarify something. I don’t condone extreme diets in any shape or fashion.

That includes any form of starvation, or any other form of eating that drastically restricts one from eating a wide variety of foods. The key word here is foods, because alot of what is being sold as food is anything but food. I’m not saying we should eliminate processed foods from our diets entirely, but they should be looked at as treats, and therefore eaten in moderation.

The vast majority of what we eat should be whole foods if we sincerely desire to get ripped, or simply look and feel our best. However, although it does promote great health and overall well being, eating mostly whole plant based foods isn’t enough to ensure that we’ll be bringing sexy back when we hit the pool in our swimsuits. There are a few more key things to understand. Without further ado, here are the keys to getting shredded on a vegan diet.

Keys To Getting Shredded On A Plant Based Diet

  1. Avoid sugar unless it’s post workout. This is a tough one for most people, but it’s crucial. All sugary foods must be avoided, including junk foods, desserts, and sugary fruits such as dates, bananas, and mangoes. I know you didn’t wanna hear that, but it’s true. Remember though, you can have them post workout. When I say post workout, I mean after lifting weights, not cardio. If you eat sugar after hitting the weights hard, it’ll replenish your glycogen(energy) stores and jump start the recovery process. If you have it after cardio, you’ll just defeat the purpose of the cardio, which is to get leaner. Also, watch what you drink, there are many drinks out there marketed as healthy that are loaded with more sugar than ice cream!
  2. Fat is fat! Regardless of if it comes from junk food or healthy food, there are 9 calories in every gram of fat, while there are only 4 calories in each gram of protein or carbohydrates. This trips so many people up because they forget that regardless of if the fat they are eating comes from a healthy or unhealthy source, the calories still add up quickly! Sure, avocados, nuts, and seeds are healthy for you, but if you want to be lean, you must consume them in moderation. For those that want to be ripped, I recommend that no more than 10 percent of your daily calories come from fat. there is of course, some flexibility here. If you prefer higher fat, just reduce your carbs. remember though, the more fat you consume, the less food you can eat overall.
  3. Water is your best friend. Drink lots and lots of it. Besides being crucial for the survival of every cell in your body, water helps keep us feeling full. The more water you drink during the day, the less hungry you’ll feel. In fact, sometimes when you feel hungry, you’re actually thirsty. Most people are in a constant state of mild dehydration all day long. So drink up my friend.
  4. Lift weights! This is like the ultimate cheat code for getting ripped. Why? I’m glad you asked. The more muscle you build, the higher your resting metabolic rate becomes. Meaning the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn sitting, standing, or doing anything else for that matter. It becomes easier and easier to lose body fat.
  5. Find a form of cardiovascular exercise you love, and do it at least every other day. This can be anything that raises your heart rate, and keeps it up. It can be intense cardio done briefly, such as high intensity interval training performed for 15 minutes, or it can be a form of steady state cardio, done for 45 minutes to an hour. Whatever you prefer and can stick with is ideal. I encourage you to get creative here. If you don’t like running then don’t run. Maybe you prefer dancing, or swimming, or kickboxing. Whatever your cup of tea is, go for it. The most important thing is that you stick with it.

Conclusion

That’s all there is to it folks. A few simple lifestyle changes implemented over the next several months could lead to you being in the best shape of your life. Whatever you do though, take things one step at a time so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. The most important part of making any change is, and always will be consistency.

ADONIS

How To Identify And Smash Your Physique Goals

“No Wind Blows In Favor Of A Ship Without A Destination.” Montaigne

 

Exercise is a great way to stay young and healthy. It holds a host of benefits for all those willing to stick to it, but one of the most controversial is the fact that it augments one’s physical appearance. That is the MAIN reason many people get into it, quiet as it’s kept.

And that is perfectly okay. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, and shut shit down every time you step out the door. A healthy ego, not an out of control one, is an asset, not a liability. That brings me to the purpose of this article. This is for any and everyone who wants to achieve a specific physical aesthetic. With that being said, let’s dive into it.

Let me preface with a small disclaimer. This article is written by a male and primarily intended for other men, however, women can certainly benefit from it.

Look at you! You’re hitting the gym several times a week. You’re being more mindful about what you put into your body. You’re even seeing some results. Congratulations!

But before you celebrate your new found gains and confidence, let’s face facts. After that beginning period of 1-2 years of making decent progress, most people will Inevitably plateau.

Why is this? Don’t get me wrong. It’s perfectly fine to coast if you’ve reached your physique goals, although personally I believe coasting leads to losing ALL your hard earned gains sooner or later. Coasting is what happens when you lose motivation.

And why do you lose motivation? It’s simple. Undefined goals! Think about it. Why would you bust your ass in the gym when you don’t even know exactly what you want to look like? Exactly! You wouldn’t.

Luckily, this is a simple fix. People are obsessed with the way things look. When something is beautiful, we can’t stop staring at it. The body is a thing. And we have the ability to change it. Look at it like an artist. Our genetics are our canvas. What we eat is our paint. And the weights are our paintbrush. With these tools we can create a masterpiece, or a mess.

This brings me to my next point. What do you want to look like? Seriously, if you could have any body you wanted, what would you choose to look like? It’s very important. Find someone, an athlete, a celebrity, that you would love to look like, and put a picture of them up on your wall, or the mirror.

Pro tip: Make sure that they are similar in structure to you. If you are tall, they should be tall. If you have a small waist, they should too, etc. Obviously they won’t look like you due to added muscle mass and lower body fat, but just look at the structure. This will ensure that you can build a very similar physique to them.

Look at this picture in the morning and before bed, and try to imagine looking at yourself in the mirror with that physique. You look great, you feel vibrant and fit.

This will create a deep level of motivation that will make it easier to go to the gym and make responsible eating choices, and will aid you in staying focused throughout your workouts.

Next, create a basic plan to attain your goal physique. Don’t get fanatical. Just remember this, junk food is a treat, not fuel. Whole(REAL) food is fuel. Eat to fuel your body and treat yourself every so often. Try to drink mostly water, or other zero calorie beverages, and eat mostly whole foods.

This will of course vary from person to person, and if you’re naturally as thin as a rail, you may be able to eat junk more often and still get the results you’re looking for. Generally speaking though, it is always wise to eat healthy most of the time.

Now, let’s talk about identifying the type of physique you want. Different physiques are created by different types of training and nutrition. Here are a few basic physiques to help you identify your goal.

Physique 1

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This physique is slim and very lean. To achieve this type of look you would have to eat very clean, ideally knowing and tracking your macros, at least in the beginning. You could lift weights as little as 3 days a week, preferably in a circuit training fashion, and attain this look as long as you were doing some cardio as well to burn extra calories. You would want to keep rep ranges around 10 to 15 to increase the length of your sets and therefore burn more calories. Remember to keep rest periods short to keep your heart rate elevated while you train, no more than 60 seconds rest after each circuit.

 

Physique 2

new article pic 2

This physique has quite a bit more muscle, but isn’t quite as lean. For a physique like this, you would want to train a with relatively heavier weights in the 8-10 rep range. You would also want to get in a good amount of volume each week, and therefore hit the gym more like 4-5 times a week. To accomodate the heavier weight lifted, you would want rest periods between sets at 90-120 seconds. You would also want to eat in a slight caloric surplus, in order to build muscle.

 

Physique 3

new article pic 3

This physique is basically a blend of the first 2. A fair amount of muscle, but also shredded. This is my ideal physique type, but it should be noted that this physique is the hardest to achieve of the 3. It takes several years to build the muscle mass, and absolute dietary discipline to stay so shredded year round. If this is your ideal physique type, prepare to be in the gym 5-7 days a week. You need to lift light, moderate, and relatively heavy and do cardio several days each week to achieve this look. Figuring out your macros is a must! If you want to look like this, you can’t afford to lose focus in the gym, or in the kitchen. Of course you can still have cheat meals every so often, depending on how lean you are. Let me make it clear that these physiques are just a few examples, and there are many more to choose from. The most important thing is just to find a physique that inspires you!

There you have it. A clear cut way to identify and SMASH your physique goals! Remember, be honest with yourself, and also remember that it’s ok for your goals to change with time. Maybe you start off with something more attainable for you now, and set higher goals over time. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

If you do, you’ll most likely just burn yourself out. So, if all you can commit to is 3 days days in the gym, then do it. Set your goals accordingly. Monitor your progress. It’s incredibly motivating to see your progress on paper, or in pictures. If you know where you’re going, you have a much better chance of getting there. If you have read this far and still feel overwhelmed and confused, you aren’t alone. I would LOVE to work with you. I offer one-on-one coaching, as well as custom training and meal plans. Simply go to my products page to check it out, or you can follow this link: https://wordpress.com/page/frommeatheadtomeatless.com/125 As, always, I love you guys.

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Adonis

 

 

So You’re Vegan Now, But What Should You Eat?

In the age of information, we have more knowledge available to us than ever before. On one hand, this is can be a great thing, but on the other hand, it can be confusing as hell. There are so many fad diets at the moment, carnivore, paleo, keto, pescatarian, vegetarian, etc. Even when it comes to vegan diets, there are just so many different schools of thought, it can be overwhelming, especially for someone who’s just looking to make the healthiest and most sustainable decision for their health. Is this you? Well, worry not my good friend. That’s exactly why I’ve created this article, to clear up your confusion. For obvious reasons, I will focus on clarifying the confusion around the vegan or plant based diet.

 

First, let’s define what a vegan diet is. In simple terms, it is a diet devoid of any meat or animal products of any kind. Simple enough, right? But you know how we humans do things. We complicate them for no good reason haha.

 

There are several ways of eating a vegan diet, and they vary pretty significantly. Here is a list of the main ones.

 

Types of Vegan Diet:

  1. Typical Vegan- This is definitely the most common. It isn’t very limiting. Essentially, the people following this type of diet eat anything that doesn’t have animal products. This often includes lots of junk foods, alcohol, etc. They are usually vegan for ethical reasons and don’t care much about their health.
  2. Raw Vegan- This diet is much more restricting as one following it only eats vegan food that is raw, or uncooked. Those following this type of diet usually care tremendously about their health, and put great thought into everything that goes into their bodies.
  3.  Fruitarian- This diet is very simple. It consists of eating fruit exclusively. It is the probably the most restrictive of all vegan diets. People who follow this diet are usually very mindful about their health also. I have to add that while I feel fruit is one of the best foods we can eat, I believe eating it exclusively robs one of the nutrients that other food groups provide.
  4. 80-10-10- This diet was created by Dr. Douglas Graham and consists of eating raw vegan with 80 percent of your calories from carbs, 10 percent from protein, and the remaining 10 percent from fat.

 

There are other variations, but those are the most common. All of these diets can work for certain people, but I feel the best way to eat will always be finding a way to eat sensibly, while enjoying some variation of the foods you love.

Deprivation seldom works for long periods of time. We all want to find a sustainable way to eat that we fully enjoy, while having the least impact on the health of our beautiful planet that we possibly can.

For you, the reader looking to give veganism a shot, or in the early stages of your vegan journey I recommend a few simple things to help you enjoy this process more. Subscribe to some vegan food based YouTube channels.

There are so many incredible vegan chefs making delicious vegan versions of everything you can imagine and more! Get a notebook. Write down recipes that look good and try them. Keep your favorites.

Make a list of all the foods you love and then look up vegan recipes of them. These days there are even videos of how to make everything under the sun, so don’t let not being experienced in the kitchen stop you.

Learn to make sauces. The perfect sauce can take 2 minutes to make, and can take a dish from good to fire! Write a couple of simple sauce recipes down to try. Keep the ones you like.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. I like to buy something I’ve never had every time I go to the store. It can be a seasoning, fruit, vegetable, anything! Obviously you’ll run out of things to try eventually, but you’ll find new things that you love.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips for new and beginning vegans, and maybe even some experienced ones.  If you have, be sure to give it a like, and comment if you benefitted or have any questions for me. I love interacting with you guys so don’t be bashful. Much love always,

me b&w

Adonis

4 Best Diet Hacks For Getting Leaner Easily

“Bodybuilding is 80 percent nutrition.” Vince Gironda

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“Abs are made in the kitchen.” “You are what you eat.” You’ve heard the sayings. They all boil down to one thing and that is this. If you want to create changes in your body, your diet has to be on point.

However, let’s face it. There are new fad diets popping up every week. Keto, paleo, vegan, plant-based, carnivore, etc. All of this basically just complicates a simple thing. There are a few basics that if you’ll add to your repertoire will put you well on your way to mind blowing changes in your health and physical appearance.

That’s why I’ve put together this simple list of 4 hacks that are so simple, yet so powerful in their effect. Give even one or two of them a try, and within four weeks, I guarantee you’ll notice a difference in your energy and body.

1. Only drink things with zero calories. This is self explanatory. Drink plenty of water, tea, etc. So long as it is calorie free it is ok to drink. Avoid artificial sweeteners and drinks with unnatural ingredients.

2. Only eat sugar containing foods at predetermined times. For instance, for a weekly designated cheat meal. Another acceptable time would be after an intense workout. Keep in mind though that dependent on your body type and goals it may be best to avoid cheat meals altogether until you hit your physique goal.

3. Avoid carbs within four hours of bedtime. Chances are they won’t be utilized by the body for energy, and thus, will be stored as fat. Instead, eat meals consisting of protein and “good” fats such as those found in nuts, seeds, and avocadoes.

4. Make it enjoyable. The best diet is one you can stick with. The old adage of healthy food being tasteless is simply not true. A healthy way of eating can truly be sustainable for any and everyone, although it may take some time to find what works for you. Don’t be afraid to expand your palette.

If you apply even one or two of these very super simple principles I promise you’ll be astonished at the changes that occur over time. Don’t forget to be active whenever you can on a daily basis. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk instead of driving to the corner store, stretch while binge watching your favorite netflix show, and whatever else you can think of. You’d be surprised how creative you can be when you use your imagination. Much love,

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Adonis

 

 

 

A Simple And Practical Way To Begin Weight Training

The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” John Pierpont Morgan

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So, you’ve decided to begin a weight training program, but you’re not sure where to start. There is so much conflicting information out there, it can be a challenge just figuring out what will work best for you. While there are many factors determining your ideal training program, there are a few basics that essentially apply to all beginners right off the bat. Due to all the complex information available about this subject, my chief aim is to make this as straight-forward and simple as possible. With that being said, let’s get right into it.

 

As a beginner in the weight room, the best thing you can do is to keep things very simple. Resist the urge to do fancy exercises and exotic programs simply for this reason, the basics are the most effective things you can do to improve your body composition and your overall health. So, what are the basics? They are compound (multi-joint) movements. Why would you do this? They work more muscles at a time the, then isolation (single-joint) movements.

 

In other words, you’re doing more in less time. This is not only more efficient for building the body, it’s also time efficient. Time efficiency in the gym is super important because when you’re training for too long, aka more than an hour, cortisol aka the stress hormone begins to rise in the body. Cortisol inhibits muscle growth and fat loss, which is a big no no! Also, as a beginner, the body responds to even a small stimulus, and isn’t conditioned to recover from a significant amount of work.

 

It is for these reasons that it makes sense for a beginner to utilize a full body three times a week routine. There should be at least one day of rest between workouts so doing your workouts on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday would be ideal. However, if Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, or any other combination of days work better for you then by all means go for it. The exercises you select for your routine should all be basic compound movements, as I said earlier. Examples of basic, compound movements are: Deadlifts, Squats, Barbell rows, Chin-ups, Leg press, Military Press (esp. When performed while standing) , Clean and Jerks, Snatches, Dips, Etc. You can pick five of these exercises and perform 3 sets of each for eight to ten repetitions. A sample program would look like this:

 

Exercise:                                                   Sets                                                                 Reps

 

Deadlift                                                      3                                                                    10

 

Squat                                                           3                                                                    10

 

Bench Press                                             3                                                                    10

 

Chin-Up                                                      3                                                                    10

 

Military Press                                           3                                                                   10

 

For the chin ups, you can use an assisted chin-up machine if you need to. If your gym doesn’t have one, lat pull-downs would be a great option as well. Rest sixty seconds between each set and control the weight on the eccentric(negative) part of the movement. Repeat three times a week increasing the weight used in each each exercise every week by about five pounds. This will ensure that you are progressing consistently, provided you are eating a balanced diet.

 

That’s all there is to it. Stick with this program for as long as it is effective, which could figuratively be indefinitely, and I promise, you will not only improve your health, but also create phenomenal changes in your body chemistry. Print this article out, write it down, or whatever you have to do, and take it to the gym with you. If you’re unsure of the form on an exercise, look it up on YouTube. Remember, it doesn’t matter where you’re starting from, or even where you finish, but the distance that you travel. All the best.

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Adonis

 

8 Powerful Reasons Why You Should Be Resistance Training

                        “The groundwork of all happiness is good health.” L. Hunt

Adonis

Nowadays, more people than ever are taking up resistance training and rightfully so. Although in the past it was thought that weight training was harmful to health and decreased speed and mobility. Thankfully, these days we have many scientific studies showing us that just the opposite is true.

Weight training performed in a controlled and safe manner has many benefits for people of all ages, and I will be covering many of them right here in this very article. I’ve compiled them into a list, in no particular order, for your convenience.

Check them out, perhaps it will give you that extra push you need to get into the gym, or perhaps your workouts have grown stale, in which case this may be just the fire you need to get out of a rut. Ok, enough of the chit chat. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.

                           8 Benefits of Resistance Training

  1. Anti Aging. If this one doesn’t grab your attention, don’t even bother reading the rest of the list. Training slows down many of the factors that result from the aging process, and let’s be honest. Who doesn’t want to feel good in their body for as long as possible?
  2. It reduces abdominal fat. In 2014, a study published in the research journal obesity, performed by Harvard researchers on 10,500 men over the course of 12 years found that strength training is more effective than cardiovascular training at preventing increases in abdominal fat. In other words, if you want to get leaner, lift weights.
  3. Creates better cardiovascular health. Lifting weights has been shown to decrease visceral fat(abdominal fat), which loves to sit around the organs, including the heart. It also improves blood pressure and facilitates better functioning HDL(good cholesterol). Fun fact. 2015 research published in The Lancet medical journal showed that grip strength (a marker for total-body muscle health) more accurately predicts death from heart disease than blood pressure does.
  4. Controlled blood sugar levels. Strength training improves the muscle’s ability to take in and use glucose, or blood sugar, thereby decreasing blood sugar levels.
  5. It reduces the risk of cancer. Research from the journal Oncogene show that visceral fat cells produce high levels of a cancer-triggering protein called fibroblast growth factor-2, or FGF2. Also, according to research, published in Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology, muscle mass is a strong predictor of cancer treatment outcomes. Muscle wasting is a common complication of cancer treatment and is associated with a higher risk of chemotherapy toxicity, faster tumor progression and lower survival rates.
  6. Improved brain health. Strength training can improve brain power in all people over a lifetime, but the effects are possibly the strongest in older adults who are suffering from cognitive decline. In a study in the Journal of American Geriatrics performed in 2016, when men and women ages 55 through 86 with mild impairment performed weight training twice a week for six months, they improved their scores on cognitive tests significantly. However, when participants spent their workouts stretching, their cognitive test scores declined. The key could be getting the blood flowing, Rebold says, noting that high-intensity strength training increases the flow of blood, oxygen and other nutrients to the brain. In this study, adults lifted 80 percent of their 1RM, or the maximum amount of weight they could lift for one rep. That roughly equates to the amount of weight they could lift for eight reps without breaking form.
  7. Preventing and managing osteoporosis. Strength training greatly increases bone mineral density. Any weight-bearing exercise in which you’re standing with gravity pulling down on your body will lightly stress and strengthen bones and muscles.
  8. Improved brain health.  Strength training can improve your brain power over your lifetime, however, the effects seem to be the strongest in older adults suffering from cognitive decline. In one 2016 study in the Journal of American Geriatrics, when men and women ages 55 through 86 with mild impairment performed weight training twice a week for six months, they significantly improved their scores on cognitive tests. However, when participants performed stretching only workouts, their cognitive test scores declined.

The key may be getting the blood flowing, Rebold says, noting that high-intensity strength training increases the flow of blood, oxygen and other nutrients to the brain. In the study, adults lifted 80 percent of their 1RM, or the maximum amount of weight they could lift for one rep. That roughly equates to the amount of weight they could lift for eight reps without breaking form.

There are a tremendous number of benefits to weight training, these are only a handful, however, I hope some of them are new to you, and perhaps could be the inspiration you need to get in the gym. There’s no need to kill yourself, all you need to experience many of these and more benefits is 30 minutes, 2-3 times a week. In the meantime, I’ll be here, guiding and encouraging you every step of the way. Let’s do this!

Amon 1-14198Adonis

How to Stay Motivated to Crush Your Fitness Goals

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” Zig Ziglar

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Often, in the fitness community, there is a rush to achieve a certain result as quickly as possible.

This leads to the use of steroids, growth hormone, ephedrine, and other harmful and unnatural substances. It may seem like no big deal to experiment with these kinds of drugs, but in reality to use these drugs is to cheat and misuse your body and mind. Like it or not, harming yourself to look good or be stronger is self-abuse.

This kind of abuse comes as a result of low self-esteem, and though it temporarily increases confidence, it is unsustainable in the long run and ultimately leads to even lower self-esteem. Remember, bodybuilding is an act of self love.

Any act putting one’s health at risk for the sake of vanity is not in line with true bodybuilding. Keep this in mind when temptations to take shortcuts come along. Bodybuilding is a journey, not a destination.

Still, with all that being said, how does one stay motivated day in and day out for decades? There is no simple answer to this question.What motivates some is of no consequence to others.

I’m sure you’ve heard that to stay motivated one needs a strong why. A strong why allows us to push through difficulties that would otherwise make us quit. People get into bodybuilding for all sorts of different reasons.

I find that on the surface it doesn’t really matter what gets someone into bodybuilding initially. What ultimately keeps us around is love. Some love the art of bodybuilding, while others love the challenge.

Some love the release, while others love the health benefits. There is no right way to be motivated, ultimately we are all motivated by love of something.

Take some time to think about what you love about bodybuilding. When you are connected to your love of bodybuilding, day to day motivation is almost effortless for the most part.

So what about those who don’t love bodybuilding? What about those who hate training and eating in a balanced way? I believe everyone loves something about bodybuilding, some of us just have to look harder to find out what that something is.

Working with a trainer can be very beneficial in this regard, as a good trainer is generally passionate about fitness, and passion is contagious. Knowing what you’re doing early on can help you to achieve your goals in significantly less time.

So then, what if someone doesn’t love anything about bodybuilding? Well assuming someone truly didn’t have a love for any aspect of bodybuilding, to that person I say, find a form of exercise you do love.

One that doesn’t feel like work. One that makes time fly. It could be biking, dancing, martial arts, gymnastics, hiking, swimming, jogging, calisthenics, or any other of the endless possibilities.

This is a far too often overlooked aspect of anyone’s health and fitness. At the end of the day, I bodybuild because I love it. I love training, being disciplined with my eating, and watching my body progress.

If I didn’t love it, there’s no way I would’ve trained almost daily for 17 years, and eaten a bodybuilding style 6 meals a day for almost just as long. Some people love training, but don’t enjoy being disciplined with their eating.

If this is you, figure out a way to get what you want, while still progressing toward your goals. Hating your training or diet is a sure sign that you won’t last. What you have to realize is that will power is a finite thing, and when it runs out, it’s gone.

That’s when you give into temptation, skipping workouts, abandoning your diet, which leads to feelings of guilt and shame, and the cycle repeats. You’re much better off creating a lifestyle where you can achieve your goals gradually, taking on new challenges as you’re ready. This is sustainable because it’s not based on deprivation and abstinence, but balance and moderation.

Conclusion

Let’s recap the tools to staying motivated long term.

  1. Steer clear of shortcuts. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself, and enjoy the process.
  1. If you love it, you’ll stick with it. Therefore, find a form of exercise you do love. Maybe you don’t love every aspect of it, but you should enjoy it overall.
  1. Figure out your why. And make it meaningful. More than just, “I want to lose such and such weight.” Why do you want to achieve X Y Z? Get specific. Find out what emotions are attached to achieving that goal for you.
  1. Work with a trainer. This is optional, but can be a tremendous investment in your health.

Inevitably there will be times when you feel more motivated than others, but if you implement these tips, I guarantee you’ll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals.

me b&w

Adonis

How to Build Bicep Peaks That Will Stop Traffic

Introduction

“I visualized my biceps as mountains. This allowed me to develop my biceps much more than if I had pictured them only as muscles.” Arnold Schwarzeneggar

arnold for fmtm

In bodybuilding, developing every muscle in a symmetrical way is paramount. However, there are a few muscles that are and have always been favored by most. These are considered the show muscles.

They are the muscles that the eyes are first drawn to. Think about it. When you first see a muscular person, where is the first place you look. Nine times out of ten it is at the chest and of course, the biceps. Namely, the bicep peak.

When someone asks us to flex, we automatically know that they are talking about flexing our biceps. A well developed bicep peak takes any physique from great to extraordinary, but many people believe having a great peak is genetic.

This would mean that for those who are not born with a great peak, there is no hope. This is a misconception, and with the right mindset and work ethic, almost anyone can develop a great peak.

I’ve witnessed it first hand on myself, and also on others. You see I didn’t always have a great bicep peak, even once my arms got to 18 and a half inches, my peak still lacked.

It wasn’t until I learned a few key principles that my peaks really began to develop. These principles worked like a charm for me, and they can for you too, but keep in mind that everyone is different and has to find their own ways of training.

Use this only as a guide. My hope is that it will lead you down a path of discovery. Discovering that there is much more to training the biceps than you had previously imagined. Let us get into it.

What Exactly is a Bicep?

Let’s briefly discuss the anatomy of the bicep. The bicep is composed of the bicep brachii, which consists of two heads, the long or outer head, and the short or inner head, and the brachialis, which is an underlying muscle that gives the bicep height and thickness when developed.

The primary function of the biceps is elbow flexion and also supination of the wrist. This is why even though the biceps are trained during virtually all back movements, the optimal movement for training them is and always will be the curl. However, there are dozens of variations of the curl.

Variations of Bicep Curls

The biceps are a relatively small muscle group, and therefore should not be trained with excessive volume. Three sets of three exercises twice a week for a total of eighteen sets a week is plenty.Very advanced lifters can do more at times as long as they are able to recover from it.

A good way to know if your bicep routine is effective is to measure the biceps every six to eight weeks. If they are growing, you’re on the right track, if not, it’s time to reassess your routine and diet.

For every muscle group, a basic compound movement is generally performed first in your routine. In the case of biceps, this movement is the barbell curl.

Although it’s not technically a compound (multi-joint) movement, it allows you to go the heaviest, and train the entire biceps effectively. In general, this is a good movement to start with, but in some cases there are other movements that are ideal for beginning your routine.

One example of this is if you have been training for at least two years and beginning each workout with barbell curls, and your biceps are still a weakness. In this case, for whatever reason, be it technical or structural, your biceps are not being fully stimulated during the barbell curl.

It would be wise then, to start off with a more strict movement to isolate and pre-exhaust the biceps. Some good movements for this are, preacher curls, incline curls, lying cable curls, or even concentration curls.

These movements make it hard to incorporate any muscle besides the biceps. They will give you a great pump, strong contraction, and get your mind in your biceps. This will make it easier to feel barbell curls later.

Keep your reps higher, between 8 and 15 and never going below 6. This is because when you go to heavy when curling other muscles, namely the lower back and front delts tend to take over.

Focus on feeling the biceps, not on lifting the weight. Follow this up with a more basic movement, like barbell or alternating dumbbell curls. You could also do cable curls with a low pulley.

Follow this up with an exercise for peak such as guillotine curls, high pulley cable curls, or dumbbell preacher curls, and you will have a solid routine for growth, so long as you progress over time and eat adequately.

If you start with barbell curls you could do dumbbell hammer curls next, or cable curls with the rope attachment. From there you would finish with a peaking exercise.

Technique

Technique is paramount for maximizing results, and it varies for everyone depending on their unique structure. Figuring out and perfecting the best technique for you takes time, but there are some basic guidelines I’ve found helpful for most.

Here they are. Don’t go too slow. Use a good speed, especially on the positive portion of the reps. Going too slowlywill result in more type 1 muscle fiber recruitment. Type 1 muscle fibers are responsible for a more slim muscular look.

This will result in toned arms but not much of an increase in size in my experience. Utilizing a faster tempo will generally result in more type 2 muscle fibers being stimulated. This will result in a big increase in size over time.

Tips

Now that you have an idea what exercises to perform, and how to set up your routine, let’s discuss a few tips to really maximize your time in the gym.

Tip 1: Keep constant tension on the biceps. Do not rest at the bottom unless you’re doing rest-pause reps at the end of a set. This applies the time under tension principle, which is crucial for bicep growth.

Tip 2: Don’t go too heavy. The biceps are only so strong, and if you pick up more weight than your biceps can handle your lower back and front delts will help.

Tip 3: Relax the wrists and forearms. The forearms assist during all bicep movements, since we are grabbing something. Especially if the biceps are a weak point,aim to fully relax the wrists and forearms and put as much tension as possible on the biceps.

Tip 4: Biceps not responding to regular training? Add techniques to increase your intensity such as, rest-pause, drop-sets, supersets, holding peak contractions, etc. to really wake those guns up.

Tip 5: Train the biceps frequently. Twice a week minimum to keep protein synthesis elevated and growth consistently occurring.

Tip 6: Monitor rest periods. Resting too little or too much will negatively affect gains. Aim for around 60 to 90 seconds depending on how quickly your biceps recover from a given movement.

Tip 7: Squeeze! Every rep squeeze the biceps at the top.

Tip 8: Visualize how you want the biceps to look while you are training them. This may seem esoteric, but I can tell you it works!

Tip 9: Flex your biceps in the mirror often, to build a strong mind muscle connection.

Tip 10: Don’t overtrain the biceps. They don’t need a ton of volume, just to be properly stimulated. If any bicep workout takes longer than 30 minutes then you are resting too long and or not training hard enough.

My biceps are over 18 inches, and my bicep workouts typically only last around 20 minutes. However, this is a hard and focused 20 minutes, and at the end, my biceps are toasted.

Conclusion

There you have it. The biceps are a very simple muscle to train, but to sculpt them to perfection takes a tremendous amount of effort and will. Our minds are truly our strongest muscles and in order to develop the biceps to their full potential we must utilize not only weights, but our mental faculties as well.

There you have it, if you will incorporate just a few of these tips into your biceps training, you are sure to build peaks that would belong on Mount Olympus. Now train hard and eat properly, I’ll be watching you and counting your reps.

me flexin

Adonis

How to Bring up Weak Points

“My attitude is if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.” Michael Jordan

front relaxed

In bodybuilding, the idea is to create the illusion of perfect balance, symmetry, and proportion. Ideally this seems simple and straightforward, train everything equally and you will create balance throughout the physique. However, this is not the case, and if it were, every bodybuilder would be walking around with perfect symmetry, resembling a statue carved by Michelangelo himself. The truth is that body parts develop differently due to several factors. This is what we will be addressing in this very article, along with how to overcome these factors and build a physique worthy of being immortalized on Mount Olympus.

Why Everyone Inherently Has Weak Points

No one wants weak points, and for this reason we typically ignore them and keep training as usual, as if hoping they’ll magically vanish one day. This often has the opposite effect, exacerbating our weak points as our strong points continue to grow consistently. Among the many factors that cause weak points are: Genetics, poor mind-muscle connection in certain muscle groups, lack of intensity, overtraining (particularly in smaller muscle groups), and simply the way we are naturally put together. For example, someone with long arms and a short torso is usually going to appear to be lacking in arm thickness. Someone who’s short with a wider waist is going to look blocky, etc. If any of the above describe you, don’t worry. It’s all fixable. It isn’t your fault that you have weak points, it is however, your duty to do something about them.

Bringing Up Weak Points

So how do you bring up weak points? It varies from person to person, and bodypart to bodypart, however, with dedication and patience, any weak point can always be drastically improved. The following is a list of ways to bring up weak points. Give one or two methods a try, and if they work, continue implementing them. If not, try other alternatives, but just remember, the most important thing is that you have your mind made up regarding exactly what you want to achieve.

1.Train more intensely. This is the most basic principle when bringing up a lagging bodypart. Often we are lacking in intensity. Let’s say someone is lacking in the medial or “side” delts for example. It is hard to train them to failure because when they start to get fatigued you have to swing the weights up to keep working them which takes most of the tension off of them and puts it on the traps and lower back. Because of this, I find that the best way to fully develop the side delts is to train them with alot of volume. Every muscle is like this, it has its own preference and it is on You, the bodybuilder, to figure out what that preference is.

2.Learn more about training that particular bodypart. I believe the best way to learn is hands on experience, however, when bringing up a weak point, often it can help to learn about what its functions are. This will help you understand why you would choose certain movements in your training program, and what the most effective movements are. You can also research different methods of training that bodypart that you haven’t tried before. Assuming you’ve been consistent with your current routine, something completely new will often prompt your body to add some new muscle.

3.Lighten up your weights and focus on mind-muscle connection for a while. Too often we believe that big weights equal big muscles, and while this is true in some cases, such as when doing compound movements, there are some instances where going too heavy can hinder or prevent progress all together. Let’s take rear delts for example. They are a small area that is stimulated with heavy weight when training back, however, if we try to use heavy weights on rear delt specific exercises, the back and traps are going to take over the movements. This prevents us from getting deep fatigue in the rear delts and thus, hinders our development and creates a disproportionate look. The same is true with virtually all bicep movements, most tricep movements (with the exception of close grip bench presses and tricep dips), and generally all isolation movements. A good rule of thumb to follow is to never go below 10-12 reps when doing an isolation movement. This will ensure that you’re using a light enough weight to really utilize the mind-muscle connection. It will also increase time under tension, an important factor for growth. Most importantly though, it will aide you in minimizing the involvement of assisting muscles.

4.Train weak points more frequently. Research shows that muscle protein synthesis is increased for 48-72 hours after training a bodypart. This suggests that training a bodypart every 2-3 days is optimal for growth. If you are only training a muscle once a week, consider cutting your current workout in half and training said bodypart twice a week. Add more as you can handle it. For example, you could train arms on Tuesday and Friday. This will keep muscle protein synthesis elevated and ideally, produce more growth. Also, you could do a main workout for a bodypart, then a feeder workout 3 or 4 days later. A feeder workout is a low volume pump workout where nothing is done to failure. The idea is just to bring blood into the muscle to provide it with nutrients and stretch the fascia.

5.Stretch that bodypart daily. Stretching is one of the easiest, and most overlooked ways to improve your physique. First and foremost, stretching can create good posture. Good posture will automatically make your physique look significantly better, even without changing body composition. Correcting bad posture can lead to better technique and the correction of muscle imbalances. Another benefit is decreased risk of injury. As you know, when you’re injured, you can’t workout. If you can’t workout, you can’t progress. It can also help improve mind-muscle connection. It increases range of motion, which leads to better development. Lastly, as an added benefit, it’s good for you in general.

6.Visualize daily how you would like that bodypart to look. This one is slightly different, as it’s not a physical thing. Visualization is very powerful, just look at the studies on how visualization has affected high level athletes’ performance. I have found that if I can clearly imagine how I want a bodypart to look, and I persist with this vision, that is exactly how that bodypart develops. Give it a try, visualize how you want a bodypart to look while you are training it, and also when you think about it throughout the day. Arnold and many other greats have said this was crucial to their success.

In Conclusion

All of these methods will assist you in achieving your goals, but keep in mind, nothing will work unless you do. You have to really want it, and be willing to put in the time. That about wraps it up. Have some weak points? Give some of these methods a try and watch them turn into strengths.

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