Five times a week, two hours each visit. You've been more faithful to your gym schedule than you've ever been to any girlfriend you've had. And for a while it paid off: those muscles started rippling and the girls started paying attention.But then, like a bad dream you wake up from, your muscles suddenly wasn't growing like what it used to do. Your muscles stop responding to your heavy workout no matter how intensely you've been training. So you said to yourself, now I will train harder. So now you put in three hours a session and but even as you upped your gym dosage, horrors of horrors, your muscles are actually shrinking.Ahhhhh, the Gym Plateau. It afflicts all of us and few of us ever gotten out of it. In fact, most people don't even know that they have hit the dreaded plateau and thought that their muscles can only grow so much due to inherent genetic factors. Not to worry though, if you read the following fitness tips, and follow these tips to the latter, I can assure you that your muscles will start growing again and grow bigger they will.Here are your free "fitness tips" .Fitness Tip #1Take A BreakThis tip is easy to comply for most of us but very difficult for some gym rats. Simply take a break from your workout. Do not step into the gym or do any workout for 2 weeks. Its time to let your body recover from the punishments you are dishing out to your muscles. Some bodybuilders may find this difficult to do because working out is addictive. You produce endorphin when you workout and endorphin is also known as happy hormone. The same hormone you produce when having sex.Professional bodybuilders take a break after every 4-5 months of hard training and when they are back in the gym, they shock their well rested but complacent muscles back into massive muscle gain.Fitness Tip #2Are you training too often?If your exercises are intense enough, you need only to train each muscle group once or twice a week. Your training schedule shouldn't repeat muscle groups in the same week. Every time you train, you do your muscles damage. Muscles need time to repair and it does so in the after your training when you are resting. This means that if you lift weights on consecutive days, there isn't sufficient time for the body to recover. Try to have one day rest between each weight lifting day.If your routine requires intensive weight training, remember not to prolong your gym time longer than an hour. This is because your cortisol, a muscle eating hormone level will be elevated and thus will be counter productive to your efforts. It eats your muscles.Most of all, you must sleep! Eight hours or even better, go for ten hours. Muscles do not grow in the gym; they grow when you sleep. When you sleep, you are secreting growth hormones for many bodily functions and one of those functions is to build muscles. That is why they called it beauty sleep!Fitness Tip #3Are you using the correct weight lifting techniques?If your technique or form is incorrect, not only is your training retarded, you are also inviting injury. Don't laugh. But when you exercise you must think and focus, instead of mindlessly repeating the motions, do take note of how you perform each exercise and rep. Do so with deliberation and at the beginning and end of every lift, pause and squeeze the muscles you are exercising. Mind and muscle must connect! Never never use momentum of the swing to lift the weights and let gravity pull the weight down. That is why you must lift slowly and lower slowly feeling the tension in your muscles and resisting the load all the time.In order for muscles to want to grow, you have to stress them to the maximum, and then further. Do enough repetitions until you feel you cannot go any further using good form. You must then either increase the weight or the number of repetitions at the next session. This is called progressive overload, and progressive overload is what forces your muscles to grow. As a general guide, if you can lift more than 12 reps the weight is probably too light and it is too heavy if your muscles fail you in less than 5 reps. You may wish to consult your physical fitness trainer on the correct form and technique for each exercise.Fitness Tip #4Are you using free weights?Most machines do not involve as much of the synergistic muscles (supporting muscles) as free weights do. And, therefore, do not build as much muscle mass. Synergistic muscles are the smaller muscles that aid the main muscles in balance and strength in each lift. Machines has its uses, but for beginners and for smashing plateaus, use free weights.Fitness Tip#5Workout with compound exercisesCompound exercises are exercises that involve 2 or more joint movements and thereby employing bigger muscles and more synergistic muscles . Bench presses, dead lifts, squats, and barbell curls amongst others are fantastic compound exercises . For example, when you squat , all the muscles in your lower body get a workout and that alone is about 60 percent of your overall musculature . Squat also works your back and abs too. Using more muscles at one go means that you get a better overall workout. To add icing to the cake, because of the massive utilization of your muscles , you will pant, huff and sweat more. That means your routine also has a cardio effect and you will burn calories even hours after you stepped out of the gym . Fitness Tip#6Are you working out your legs?Your body is programmed to grow proportionately with only slight variations. If you do not train your legs, your upper body mass will stop growing before it becomes large. Surely, you've heard of chicken legs! Just because leg training can be brutal, it doesn't give you reason to hide your legs in your pants. To get that super hero X-frame, pepper your routine with squats . A word of caution though: compound exercises such as dead lifts, squats, and bench presses must be done in excellent form and a spotter is highly recommended. This is where your physical fitness trainer will come in handy as your spotter. If not, injuries are bound to happen and that may put you permanently out of the gym.Fitness Tip#7What are you eating?Muscle building requires protein - the more, the better. Meat, especially red meats and fish, are the best source. It is in your food that your body will draw nutrients from, for strength and necessary fats for joint and organ protection.To have massive muscle gain and help in muscle preservation , you need about 2-3 grams of good protein per kilogram of your body weight . If you want to get serious about muscles , you may need to supplement them with protein shakes . Eating a meal and having a protein shake immediately after your workout also maximizes the window for rapid absorption of nutrients. This is important as you need to feed the muscles now that you have damaged them. You should also 6 small meals a day so your muscles are constantly fed throughout the day. This will help rev up your metabolism to burn fat too. This will tremendously help you in your build muscle lose weight program. Remember to take your protein shake half an hour before you workout too. Fitness Tip#8How about Carbs?Glycogen is the main energy source for any muscle-building exercise. The body stores whatever carbohydrates you eat as glycogen and muscles use it to give you energy during your workout. After an intense workout, do consume carbohydrates immediately to replace the used glycogen. You can even indulge in high glycemic carbs such as ice creams and white bread as these will turn into insulin and shuttles nutrients such as protein to your muscle cells quickly.Fitness Tip #9And Fats?Yes, your body do need do need fats . But try to avoid saturated fats such as animal fats or worse, trans fats which are artificial fats found in pastries, confectionaries and preserved food. Consume healthy unsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, fish oils, flax seed oil.Fitness Tip#10Water Water is essential.Water is essential. It is the most underrated macronutrient. You need at least eight glasses of water every day but when you exercise , you lose even more water because of the sweating. So drink before, during and after your workout. Weigh yourself before and after the workout, and compensate for the loss by drinking at least 16 ounces of fluid for every pound or half a kg lost.Fitness Tip#11CreatineWhile meats are the best source for creatine, which is a nutrient that helps speed up muscle gain and power you up during workouts, those who do not get enough from their regular diet must be supplemented. Creatine puts volume into your muscle cells and gives you that muscle pump thus your muscles feels tighter, look bigger and overall illusion of superb muscularity . It also helps to prevent muscle breakdown.Fitness Tip#12GlutamineWhen supplemented, it may help bodybuilders reduce the amount of muscle wasting away or used up as energy. It also helps in muscle recovery. Fitness Tip #13Do you change your routine?The human body is fantastic at adaptation. So whatever routine you are on, your body will get used to it. So do change your routine every 6-8 weeks. For example, instead of working out your chest muscles at the start of your workout, work your back muscles instead. You can reverse your whole routine or change the variations of your exercises or add new ones and take away some old ones. By changing your routines, you not only shock your muscles to new growth, it will also prevent boredom by doing the same thing all the time.
Over the years there has been a surge of different strength training techniques that have come onto the market and just faded away. Here we discuss the training strategies to gain the maximum amount of muscle in the shortest time possible that have stood up to the test of time.Most of these strength-training strategies have been around for years but are not followed by many training systems these days. Lets look at a few below that actually work.1. Training FrequencyThe two main components of strength training are the intensity of the exercise and the recovery after the exercise. Infrequent, short, high intensity weight training sessions, followed by the required amount of time to recover and become stronger is what is needed to increase functional muscle size in the shortest period of time.The latest research has repeatedly shown that muscles over-compensate (become stronger) up to a week after the previous workout, provided that the muscles are trained to failure. Remember it's not the training volume but the intensity and recuperation that are important when it comes to gains in strength and muscle.2. Exercises Per SessionTests under strict gym conditions have revealed that you've only got a limited amount of (readily available) energy to use for a weight training session. Blood tests on individuals have also revealed that blood sugar levels (available energy) drop dramatically after 20 to 30 minutes of high intensity training. As you only have a short period of time to train before our blood sugar level drops, "Exercise Selection" is crucial. You have to use Multi-Joint or Compound movements, as these offer the most training stimulus for the available amount of time. In other words, we can train many muscles simultaneously and thus use our energy more efficiently. Performing three to four exercises with high intensity during a session are what most people are capable of. All the main structures of the body are worked hard during this time. Working on these big compound movements has a knock-on effect throughout the whole body; there is no need for specialization techniques or isolation movements.The fact is, the whole body is worked hard, rest and recuperation is allowed to take place and at the next exercise session we push out a few more reps than before with the same weight, then we have gotten stronger i.e. more muscle.3. Number of Sets per ExerciseAfter performing one complete set a compound exercise to total failure, it should be just about impossible to generate the same force and intensity for another complete set of the same exercise. If you're able to generate the same force and intensity for this second set then it'll be pretty obvious that not enough effort has been put into the first set. Thus you'll have to raise the intensity level you put out for the first set.If you give the first set 100% effort and work the exercise hard to total failure (eg. you cannot move the bar after the last rep) then there will be not more requirement for further muscle stimulation on that specific exercise. If you think that volume training (multiple sets) is more effective then you're wrong! The latest research shows that single set training is as beneficial as multiple set training. Training one set will decrease the chances of over-training. It will also allow you to save more energy for other exercises required during the workout.4. Number of Repetitions per SetThe development of muscle and strength is interrelated, it always has been. Strength training Sessions produce increases in strength that is equal to increases in functional muscle. (Youll become stronger and grow muscle). Cycling intensity through changes in repetitions and weight throughout a ten-week program is an effective way to maintain progression and avoid training plateaus (slumps in strength).Repetitions can be cycled, the higher repetition range will stimulate the slow twitch muscle fibres and promote endurance. Moving further down the scale, the lower repetition range will activate the fast twitch muscle fibres and increase strength and muscle size.
If you have been lifting weights for sometime or have been reading bodybuilding magazines and journals, you would have probably heard of super setting. However, how often have you seen people super setting when weight lifting? If you did, did you notice those guys who were super setting were almost invariably the bigger boys. If you want to be big, then why didnt you superset like them since you have seen that super setting can help you build big muscles?What is "weight lifting" superset? A superset is when you perform two exercises back to back with no rest in between the exercises. There are a few variations of superset such as, antagonistic muscle superset, pre-exhaustion superset and post exhaustion superset..etc. We will discuss just these 3 of the more popular supersets in this article. Antagonistic Muscles SupersetAn antagonistic super set is when you exercise opposite muscle group. Although they are opposite muscles, they actually support each muscle during your movements. For example, when you do dumb bell curls for your biceps, when you lower the dumb bells, your triceps are called into action as well. Similarly for the negative movement of a bench press, your back is working too like when you are doing the bent over row.So for example of an antagonistic superset on your, say chest and back day, do a bench press routine then follow up with a bent over row or vice versa. That will be one superset. Rest for 2-3 minutes and then proceed with the second set and so on. This will work the muscles involved more deeply than mere straight sets. Pre-exhaustion SupersetIn a pre-exhaustion superset, you work on the same muscle group with an isolation exercise and then follow up with a compound exercise without rest in between sets. For example, still on your chest and back day, you work out with dumb bell flyes (chest isolation exercise) then immediately thereafter with a bench press (chest compound exercise).By performing with an isolation exercise first (flyes), you pre-exhuast the targeted muscles you are working on, which in this instance are your pectorals (pecs) and then hit your pecs hard again with a compound movement (bench press) that allows other muscles that are still fresh such as your deltoids and triceps to assist your pecs in the exercise. Post Exhaustion SupersetAnother version of super setting is the post-exhaustion method. It is the exact reverse of the pre-exhaustion. In other words, lift compound exercise first and then follow up with an isolation exercise for the same muscle group. It will allow you to lift heavier weight for the compound exercise because your targeted muscle group is not pre-exhausted yet.Vary each of these various forms of superset every 2 3 months and watch your muscles explode with big massive muscle growth.
Ask any body builder and everyone will say they will feel light headed, nauseous and even sometimes even puke when they train big muscle groups with exercises such as squats and dead lifts. Some great bodybuilders even take pride that they puke after an intensive bout of weightlifting as an indication that they have had a fantastic workout. But to many, these symptoms are unpleasant, disruptive and could be even be dangerous and cause injuries. Perhaps, you may also have experienced these symptoms as well.What happened? Well, there could be several causes. First of all, you may have eaten or drunk too much before your gym workout. So you blood is channeled to your digestive organs for your digestive process. But when you begin to exercise intensively especially on "big muscle groups" , a lot of blood is channeled away from your digestive organs to the muscles. When that happens, food is now in your digestive system left unattended and therefore undigested and thus causing you to feel nauseous. Your blood sugar level may be low. This could happen when you are on a low carbohydrate caloric restriction diet or have not eaten for sometime and is now lifting heavy weights. You will feel giddy, tired and may even develop a headache and suffering muscular weakness. It simply boils down to a decreased of energy level for not having enough energy nutrients prior to your workout. The most common cause of nausea when weight lifting is low blood pressure. It could be inherent that you have low blood pressure and if not, it is caused by change of body position. Have you ever felt giddy when you are sitting stationary for sometime then suddenly gotten up and stretch? Well, if you have had that experience, then the same logic and science applies. The sudden fall of blood pressure happens when you are in a squatting position and then suddenly bursting upwards to a standing position with the blood pooled in your lower body and not sending the blood fast enough to your upper body and your brain.These are some of the reasons why many of us will experience giddiness, nausea and even puke when we do exercises like squats and "dead lifts" with heavy weights and when working on big muscle groups. Now that we know the reasons, we can avoid these unpleasant symptoms by taking necessary precautions during our "gym workout" on heavy weight days.
There are many reasons why your muscles wont grow or why your muscle growth is retarded. One main culprit for your muscle tissue to in a catabolic and not in an anabolic state is the stress hormone called cortisol. This "stress hormone" , cortisol, is produced by your body when you are under stressful situations. Yes, any type of stress, whether they are mental stress, physical stress or just emotional stress will trigger off an increased in the production of cortisol hormones. A high level of cortisol is always a bane for bodybuilders and that in itself, is creating more stress.When you exercise or especially weightlifting body building exercises, you are placing a tremendous stress on your body. This in turn will cause the cortisol hormone in your body to rise to unacceptable level which may destroy your muscle tissues, bone density and causes weight gain especially abdominal fat. Ohhh...that abdominal fat that would not go away.This hormone hates your muscles and wants you to grow fat. It takes away protein from the muscles. However to be fair to this hormone, the cortisol hormone has its positive functions. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal cortex and is commonly known as a stress hormone because the level of cortisol in your body rises sharply when you are under stress. This hormone plays an important role in your bodys metabolic function, it facilitates cardiovascular function, carbohydrate metabolism and controls inflammation. After all, it is a steroid hormone.As more cortisol is being produced, your muscle tissue breaks down further since the amino acids from your muscle protein is being converted into glucose for energy. This hormone also blocks new muscle tissues from growing because it interferes in protein synthesis in your muscles.How to lower cortisol level? Get enough sleep Let your body recuperate from the days stress and let the body rebuild its wears and tears. A lack of sleep will put your body under further stress and thus increasing cortisol levels. Avoid stress Take up yoga, read a book, take a break from whatever you are doing. Learn meditation and breathing techniques to reduce everyday stress. Take a week or so break from your exercise routine after 6-8 weeks of regular training. As your body learns how to relax, the level of cortisol hormone will fall correspondingly. Do not over train Over training is a common issue amongst athletes of all types. This is especially so in bodybuilding and weight lifting. You are already damaging your muscles when you lift weights, dont let cortisol hormones rob your muscles of the much needed proteins and preventing muscle repair and growth.Once your body and mind is free from stress, your cortisol production will be at a healthy level and you will once again see your muscles growing, provided that you are doing other things that are conducive to getting your muscles to grow.