How Often Should You Work A Muscle?

“The worst thing I could be is the same as everyone else. I’d hate that.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

Is There A Magic Pill?

Nowadays, we don’t have to dig very hard to find information. A simple Google search can tell us everything we want to know about a subject. At first glance, that sounds great, and it is, but there are definitely some cons that we often overlook.

We say this in the health and fitness community all the time these days. Some kid who’s been in the gym 6 months will tell a veteran who’s achieved tremendous physical development that he’s doing this or that wrong. Or that he’s over training, etc. Let’s put this into perspective for a second.

Typically, when you start something new, you ask questions. You learn from people with experience who have a tried and true resume, and you apply what you’ve learned. You don’t start working at the hospital fresh out of medical school and tell the doctors how to perform surgery. They know how already!

You learn from the experts, and allow their wisdom to shorten your path to success. These days however, people seem to read arbitrary information, and then spit it out as fact. None of this arbitrary information published by scientists is anecdotal, and no the test subjects in the study don’t count.

Why? It’s simple. They aren’t a 30 year old natural bodybuilding champion that’s been working out for 15 years. They have never reached the kind of physical development where people start to question if it’s even possible naturally.

It’s like this. You can read every book in the world on training, but until you get in the gym and start logging hours of hands on experience, learning what works for you and what doesn’t through trial and error, you have no idea about how to create a great physique.

You have to put some skin in the game! That brings me to the purpose of this article. How often should you train a muscle? There are many answers to this question, so I’ll provide some context, and allow you to make your own informed decision.

So What Should You Do?

The recommended training modality for natural lifters these days is to hit a given muscle group every 24 to 72 hours. This is because after training, muscle protein synthesis is elevated for 72 hours max. Elevated protein synthesis means more muscle mass.

So, is this true? Well let’s take a look at my physique and compare. Here is my physique at 235 lbs training each muscle once every six days. My split at the time looked like this.

Day 1: Chest and triceps

Day 2:Back and biceps

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Legs

Day 5: Shoulders

Day 6: Rest. Then repeat that cycle. Oh, and yes this physique is 100% au natural.

Now, here is my physique training at about 225 lbs working each muscle once every 3 days. My split looked like this.

Day 1: Quads and chest

Day 2: Back and Hamstrings

Day 3: Shoulders and arms. Here is what my physique looked like on that program.

Finally, here is what my physique looked like at 240 lbs hitting each muscle every other day. My split at the time was full body every other day. Simple as that.

My diet in each was always similar, although in the last picture, I was definitely not as lean. However, my basic diet has always consisted of two protein shakes and four meals a day. So, as you can see, all of these splits worked to build muscle.

I was able to increase my strength and muscle size on all of these programs. I definitely have my favorite, but my point is that there is no optimal training frequency. You just have to adjust your training volume to whatever your split is.

I will say that high volume has always worked best for me and everyone I know. I did try lower volume routines, even high intensity training, but I found that I was smaller and weaker than when I did high volume. Also, there is a certain quality that the muscles get from high volume training that you won’t get from any other style of training.

In Conclusion:

All training splits can be effective. Ultimately, you have to figure out what works for you. There is no magic pill, there’s only willing yourself to improve, workout after workout. Week after week, and year after year. So, stop looking for a magic pill, put your head down and work. Eventually, when you look up, you’ll realize how far you’ve come, and that’s what makes this bodybuilding and fitness journey so worth it. Until next time, train hard! I’m out.

How Much Protein Do You Need To Build Muscle? (The Truth)

“Protein is the building block of muscle.” Adonis

Protein, protein, and more protein! It’s a hot topic in the fitness community. The science is certainly there to tell us exactly how much we need. But there are many schools of thought on the topic.

There’s the old school train of thought, the new, and just some absurd ones. So who’s right? The obvious answer would be science, but it may not be that simple. I’ll show you why.

As a bodybuilder for nearly two decades, I’ve heard it all, read it all, and tried it all. One thing I’ve learned in all that time is, just because it’s in a book, or scientific journal, doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone.

There are way too many variables when it comes to building muscle and getting lean to make blanket statements. However, one thing that always remains true is that to lose weight, you must be in a caloric deficit (aka eat less calories than you burn) and to gain weight you must be in a caloric surplus (aka eat more calories than you burn).

Other than that, many things vary. For instance, some people, such as myself, can build muscle with remaining at eight percent body-fat, while others have to go up to around twelve percent or so. Some people can get lean while eating junk food daily, while others have to restrict calories and perform cardio to get lean.

My point is that we are all lean. With that being said, let’s look at some of the recommendations for protein intake. The RDA or recommended dietary allowance for protein for the average person is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body-weight.

That is the minimum amount required for optimum health. Keep in mind this is for the average person. For athletes, the RDA is much higher. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for athletes, depending on training.

For the person with a large amount of muscle mass looking to build more, even that is low in my experience and that of many people I know. I remember I built muscle to a certain point staying within the recommended range for athletes, but I eventually hit a plateau.

I increased my caloric intake, tried more carbs, more fats, training more frequently, training harder, and more. Keep in mind that I didn’t try all of those things at once. It wasn’t until I took the advice of some guys with more muscle mass than I, that I put on an extra 10 pounds of muscle. As you can see in this picture.

This made a huge difference in my physique, taking it from lean athlete to very densely muscular, and was exactly what I had wanted. So, what exact changes did I make? I went from one gram of protein per pound of body-weight to about 1.25-1.5. That’s over 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram.

I can’t tell you how quickly this benefited my physique, but I can tell you that it was quick. However, if I had listened to the scientific literature I never would’ve discovered that.

I later tried to lower my protein again, and guess what happened? I lost the extra 10 pounds of muscle! Now, I realize this isn’t for everyone. If you aren’t active and training consistently, then your body has no need for added protein, but if you train frequently, and have found yourself building muscle more slowly than you’d like, this could be the missing key for you.

Who knows, maybe you’ll take your physique to that next level that you’ve been looking for. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments. Until next time, I love you guys always.

ADONIS

Think And Grow Fit Part 2: How To Use Meditation To Take Your Physique To The Next Level

“Meditation is like giving a hug to ourselves, getting in touch with that awesome reality in us. While meditating we feel a deep sense of intimacy with God, a love that is inexplicable.” Paramahamsa Yogananda

What is meditation? Well, it is defined quite simply as a devotional exercise of or leading to contemplation. It has a great many benefits such as increased focus, self-discipline, stress reduction, memory, creativity, compassion, and many more. According to a 2011 Harvard study, meditation rebuilds grey matter in the brain in as little as 8 weeks!

So, How can it help you to improve your physique? It’s very simple. The increased focus and self-discipline will result in improved workout quality and better dietary choices.

So, how should you meditate? Well, I find that to get the most out of meditation, much like anything else, you need a simple routine. This should ideally be tailored toward your schedule.

Many people find that meditation first thing in the morning allows them to be more present throughout the day, but some schedules don’t permit that.

Truth be told, you can meditate at any time of day, though it’s easier when you are already in a relaxed state, such as first thing in the morning, or before bed.

Fifteen minutes is ALL you need. Simply find a comfortable place to sit. Somewhere you’ll be uninterrupted, set a timer for 15 minutes, and close your eyes.

Breathe naturally, through the nose. Relax your entire body, starting with your toes, and working your way ALL the way up to the top of your head.

To do this, mentally say to yourself, I’m relaxing my toes. Then, feel them relax. Repeat this with every part of your body. Next, observe your breath.

Watch it go in, and come out. From time to time, your mind will begin to wander. When this happens, bring your attention back to your breath, again and again.

As time goes on, your thoughts will become less and less prevalent, before ultimately ceasing ALL together. This, is the meditative state. You may not reach this state for days, weeks, or months, but it will come sooner or later.

Don’t become discouraged, it’s ALL part of the process. The mental presence required to focus only on the breath is a skill that takes time to develop. Eventually, this skill will give you super-human focus.

Apply this to maintaining absolute focus on each and every rep and it’s easy to see why meditation can help you to take your physique to the next level.

If you find that you enjoy the process, add a second meditation later in the day. I find that first thing in the morning and before bed are good times to meditate, but you’ll have to find what works best for you.

Remember, the things we do outside the gym reflect our results every bit as much as the things we do inside of it. I hope this has inspired you to give meditation a try if you haven’t, or if you have, I hope that it can reinvigorate your practice.

ALL MY LOVE,

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

 

 

How To Build Muscle On A Raw Vegan Diet

“Veganism which results in a decreased demand for animal products, is much more than a matter of diet, lifestyle, or consumer choice. It is a personal commitment to nonviolence and the abolition of exploitation.” Gary L. Franclone

Veganism has many stigmas, not the least of which being that vegans can’t build muscle. Thanks to the increasing popularity of a growing number of vegan athletes, that stigma is falling by the wayside. However, as many stigmas as there are about veganism, raw veganism is even less understood.

Very few people understand raw veganism and even less have any idea how to build muscle on a raw vegan diet. With this article, it is my intent to show that not only is it possible to build muscle on a raw vegan diet, it’s also fairly simple.

First, let’s talk a little bit about why someone would want to go raw. Plant based foods have a higher amount of energy in them than the dead flesh of animals and are loaded with nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

When we cook our food, we are killing it and destroying some of the nutritional content. We all know this to some degree. That’s why we strive to eat as many raw fruits and veggies as possible. Going raw is just taking that to the next level.

It can be a bit intimidating though, especially when your goal is to build muscle, but allow me to show you why there’s no need to fret. With a bit of know how and a few simple tools, essentially anyone can build muscle as a raw vegan!

Tools You Will Need:

  1. A High Speed Blender. While these can be highly expensive, there are some great options in the 70 to 100 dollar range.
  2. A Dehydrator. You can get these for as low as 30 dollars or so, but if you can, I recommend getting a bigger one. It’s much more convenient.
  3. A Spiralizer. These are super cheap. Around 10 dollars or so.

That’s it. Those are your basic tools. If you can’t get them all at once, simply get each one as you are able. The high speed blender is for making smoothies, raw nut butters, fresh juices, etc.

The dehydrator is for cooking your food at 118 degrees Farenheit or less. When you cook food above 118 degrees you kill the enzymes in it. Having a dehydrator also allows you to make raw versions of many popular foods such as pizza, breads, burgers, and virtually anything else you can think of.

The spiralizer is for making noodles from things like zucchini, sweet potatoes, squash, cucumbers, and more. These three tools may not all be absolutely necessary, but they certainly make life more fun as a raw foodie.

Let’s talk about food. The foods you eat can vary depending on if you’re on a tight budget, or if you have plenty to spend on groceries. If you have an abundance of money(which you should be speaking into existence) you can get creative and try many different things, whereas, if you’re on a budget your staple foods are a bit limited.

Staple Foods For Those On A Budget:

  • Bananas. Being cheap, filling, and nutritionally dense make bananas an obvious choice.
  • Peanut Butter. Besides being delicious, peanut butter is cheap, high in protein, and packed with calories.
  • Beans. Beans are super cheap, high in protein and fiber, and go with virtually anything. Instead of cooking them, sprout them. This dramatically increases the absorption of vitamins and minerals.
  • Yams or sweet potatoes. Many people don’t know it, but you can actually eat these raw. These are fairly cheap, and they also offer variety as you can spiralize them or put them in the dehydrator and make them as crispy as you want!
  • Nuts and seeds of all kinds. When you are on a budget, go for cheaper ones like peanuts, and if your budget permits, you can go for more decadent choices.
  • Greens. These are some of the healthiest things you can eat, and you should aim for a pound of leafy greens each day. Don’t feel bad if you don’t get that much every day though. Simply aim for a pound and get as close as you can.
  • Any fruits and veggies that go on sale. Sometimes you can catch a great deal and stock up on fruits and veggies that wouldn’t typically fit your budget.
  • Spring water. Often overlooked, water is the most important thing we ingest. Every cell in our body needs to be well hydrated in order to function properly.
  • Other fruits and veggies. This can include any fruits and veggies that fit your budget, and will allow you to have variety. Things like bell peppers of all colors, onions, cucumbers, zucchini and more give you distinct flavors that will take your meals to the next level.
  • Wild Rice. This is the only rice that be eaten raw. Simply rinse it, put it in a mason jar with 3 parts water to 1 part rice, and throw it in your dehydrator.
  • Quinoa. Quinoa, like beans, can be sprouted. It is high in protein and adds great texture to many dishes.
  • Avocado. Avocados are loved by vegans everywhere, and for good reason. They go with virtually anything, taste great, and are loaded with calories and nutrients.

When you need a quick and simple meal, throw 5-10 bananas in your blender with some water or plant based milk and blend. Add any other fruit that you’d like to, such as berries, pineapple, mango, etc. A banana has about 100 calories, so 10 would give you about 1,000 calories.

Have 2 of these shakes a day and you can easily get 2,000 calories. That’s how easy it is to get sufficient calories on a raw food diet. When it comes to solid foods, you have infinite options.

I won’t go into recipes in the interest of saving time, but if you combine some of the foods listed above, you can make some simple and delicious meals.

For instance, a great raw meal for building muscle would be wild rice, sprouted beans of your choice, avocado, onion and bell pepper, seasoned up just right, with a kale salad on the side. YUM!

A great snack would be raw cacao nibs, berries, and nuts. Or chia seed pudding. All of these are Super simple to make and taste delicious. You can get as creative as you’d like, use your imagination.

Please note that some beans are toxic unless cooked. These beans should be avoided if you are raw: Lima beans, pinto beans, navy beans, and red kidney beans. There may be more, be sure to do a quick google search if you are unsure.

It really is as simple as that. I promise anyone can build muscle on a Raw vegan diet, even You! If you have been thinking about giving it a try, I hope this article will encourage you. With all the information available, it really is a wonderful time to be vegan! Until next time, that’s all folks.

All my love,

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

model m9

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