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Beginning is where it starts.

Fatality

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Every so often, I will post a reply in this thread that I think, will benefit the new people that are coming in. There tends to be a lot of frequently asked questions but I want to solve that through this thread. I hope you guys enjoy it and learn from it for learning is the only way to take weightlifting to the next level.

Introduction:

I know fitness can be an intimidating and confusing subject to start learning about, and often people just getting in to it are scared off by the massive amounts of information presented to them. I?ve done my best to give beginners somewhere to start from here, and included several good resources to find more information at the bottom of the article. This is by no means an exhaustive or complete handbook, and should be treated as a starting point for beginners to familiarize themselves with the field. I have done my best to cite anything I feel requires it, but if you would like more information on any specific claim or point, please let me know and I will gladly give you several sources. The information laid out here has helped me immensely, and an intelligent approach to the subject will do the same for almost anyone.

There are many components to ?Fitness? as a whole. Each and every one is important, and ignoring one will end in tears, so let?s get right to the meat of it (pun intended).

Diet:

Your diet should be the first thing on your mind. Without a solid diet all the exercise in the world will likely do you no good. As the saying goes, ?abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.? So, first things first; the basics.

Fats:

Most fats are good, in moderation. As a general rule, fats should make up about 20% of your daily calorie intake. Getting too little fat in your diet can result in everything from impeded brain function(1) to reduced endurance during exercise. (2) There are 4 types of fats you will be dealing with.

Trans fat: Also known as the ?never-eat-me? fat. Trans fats are something you should, ideally, never have in your diet. This is the only thing I will ever say this about. When you eat trans fats, you not only raise the level of Low Density Lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) in your body, but you lower the level of High Density Lipoproteins (good cholesterol). (3) Again, not something you want to be eating.
Saturated fat: Good to moderate, but dont exclude it. Saturated fats raise the level of LDL, but do nothing to your HDLs. (3) They also raise the level of testosterone in men, (4) which helps with muscle building and strength gains. I largely get my saturated fats from high calorie protein bars and peanut butter.
Polyunsaturated fat: A good fat. This includes omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Keep these reasonably high in your diet. (3) Most of mine comes from fish, nuts, and oils.
Monounsaturated fat: Good fat. (3) Tons of it in olive oil. Try and make this and polyunsaturated fats your main source of fat. I largely get my intake of mono unsaturated fat from olive oil and almonds.


Carbs:

Carbohydrates are your main source of energy in a diet. They contribute very little to muscle building, (except by extension of more energy means more lifting) but without them you will begin to feel sluggish, tired, and drained. (5) Carbs should make up about 40% of your daily calories to ensure you have spring in your step and air in your lungs. For the most part, you want to avoid simple carbs, (sugars) and the carbohydrates found in many white breads, and eat complex ones. My number one source of complex carbs is oatmeal, but you can also get them from things like some whole grain breads and some veggies. Fruits and vegetables are also primarily in this category, and are something you need to eat, of course. However, most fruits are just made up of sugar, so keep that in mind. An apple is about 29 grams of carbs, mostly from sugar, so its something to moderate. Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce are much better sources of nutrients than most fruit.

Protein:

Protein is the staple of anyone trying to gain muscle and reduce fat. It allows your body to re-build damaged tissue, and in turn add more muscle to your body. (6) To ensure good recovery ability while still maintaining a healthy balance, aim for the remaining 40% of your calorie intake to be good protein. Plus its in meat, which is just awesome. Protein also unfortunately often comes with a lot of bad fats, such as saturated fat in ground beef and lots of fast food. Key sources of protein for me are whey, chicken, eggs, fish, turkey, peanut butter (careful, high in fat), and skim milk.

Supplements:

While not everyone may feel it necessary to supplement their diet, it is likely a good idea for anyone who is active and aiming to alter body composition to at least give some though to the subject. Supplements run the gamut from your basic whey protein powder to expensive and complicated blends of multiple ingredients, designed for everything from increased energy to better heart health. For beginners, it may be a good idea to select some of the simpler options to facilitate your diet and training. Just remember, it?s a supplement to your diet, not a replacement. Diet first, supplement second. Lets take a look at the basics.

Whey:

Whey is a bi-product of dairy production, and the single fastest absorbed protein you can get your hands on. Clocking in at a Biological Value, (absorption rate) of around 104, (7) whey is one of the best supplements you can invest in as a beginner. You can select whatever brand you feel is best, but keep in mind that not all whey is created equal. Some may have more carbs or fat, some may simply cost more. Be sure to balance the amount and purity of protein you are getting, and what you pay for it.

Fishoil:

Fishoil is a fantastic supplement for many reasons. Its packed full of omega 3, in DHA and EPA form, so your body dosnt have to convert the fatty acid to use it, unlike flaxoil. Its list of benefits is long and well documented. It can help with everything from proper brain function, to long term heart health, to superior recovery times after exertion. (8) There is really no reason not to take it, as its benefits are both helpful now and later in life. A word of warning, avoid liver oil and only buy flesh oil. Liver oil is loaded with vitamin A, which is a fat stored vitamin. Fat stored vitamins do not dilute in water, and can, in extreme cases, build to toxic levels. Its not something you would likely have to worry about, but there is no reason to ingest the unnecessary vitamin A. You probably already get enough unless you were raised as an Inuit or eat zero fruits or vegetables for some other reason. Also, if fish-burps are a problem for you simply get some enteric coated tablets. They break down later in digestion so you don?t taste the fishy flavor if you are prone to burping after pill taking.

Multivitamins:

A great idea no matter who you are. Most of us don?t get enough of at least some vitamin in our diet, and a multivitamin in the morning is a great start to fixing that. I personally like to take a fairly mild multivitamin twice a day, and get the rest of my vitamins from the food I eat. Just remember, multivitamins aren?t the cure-all you might think. You still need to eat vegetables! (9)

Diet notes:

As I said, your diet is the most important part of losing, (and gaining) weight. Moderation and balance is key. Ideally, assuming you are an active individual and are eating to support that, you want to get about 0.8 grams of protein in your diet for every pound of bodyweight. Most people overshoot their bad fats and simple carbs, and don?t get enough good stuff. As stated before, a good rule to follow is 40/40/20. That?s 40% of your daily calories from protein, 40% from carbs, and 20% from fat. (10)

Also, do NOT starve yourself, it wont work. Crash dieting is a stupid practice with multiple downsides and no advantages. Figure out your daily maintenance for calories, and cut off ~15% of that if you feel you want to lose weight. If you starve yourself, your body will begin storing everything it can as bodyfat. This occurs for several reasons. First, because fat is easy for your body to digest later if you stop eating again. Second, because fat, unlike muscle, doesn?t burn calories. If you are starving, the last thing your body wants to do is burn extra calories by keeping muscle around, so it will literally break down your existing muscle and replace it with more fat to reduce your metabolism and increase your chance of not starving to death. (11) In addition, your lowered metabolism will cause you to put on much MORE weight when you do finally eat. Try and keep your metabolism high and the stream of nutrients to your body constant by eating 5 or so smaller meals per day, (12) instead of 3 big ones. I cant stress this enough, if you don?t change what you fuel your body with, you can expect it to keep running the way it has for years. To change your body you have to change what you feed it.
 

Fatality

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Routine:

There are two components to exercise for our purposes. Cardio, and resistance training. Now, there is a very popular myth floating around that cardio is the way to go for weight loss. This is exactly why your friends and co-workers have been doing Pilates and walking on the treadmill for hours a day for the past year, and they look exactly the same as they did at the last Christmas party, then they got selected to dress up as the jolly big man himself. The religious belief that cardio is king for weight loss is foolish. Resistance training (lifting) is far, far more effective for weight loss. (13) The reasoning behind this is that as you lift, you build muscle mass. An increase in muscle mass leads to and increase of lean body mass. More lean body mass means a higher resting metabolic rate, which means you burn more calories a day. Since you burn more calories resting, you lose weight faster. In addition, since you are constantly using all your muscle groups, your body is encouraged to retain that muscle, (and build upon it) and burn the only other source of fuel it has available to it; fat. No matter how much you run or bike or swim you will continue to have a hard time out-pacing someone with a significantly faster metabolism for calories burned. So, first and foremost, lets look at lifting.

Weight Training

The typically accepted beginner-intermediate lifting program is some version of Bill Starr's 5x5 routine. (14) The 5x5 has been created, evaluated and modified by people with far more knowledge than anyone you or I know, so don?t try and ?customize it? for your self. Its fine the way it is. Leave it alone. If you feel your arms or legs or abs need more work, that?s fine. Add in some curls or leg press or crunches. Just be careful of overtraining, and don?t touch the big stuff. It works the way it is.

The 5X5 requires 3 days of lifting. It gets its name from the fact that it focuses on 5 sets of lifting 5 reps per exercise. The days as I ran them when I started are shown below. I broke them up to explain a few things you might not know as I go.

Day 1
Squat ? 5 sets of 5
Bench ? 5 sets of 5
Bent Over Row ? 5 sets of 5
Weighted Inclined crunch - 2 sets of 10
Close grip Chinups - 3 sets of 5

Check links for form. Be VERY careful when squatting, (and deadlifting) form is key or you will ruin your back. If you don?t feel confident or the lift feels awkward, find someone who looks like they know what they are up to at your gym and ask.

Also, the bent over row is a tricky lift. Make sure you?re pulling the weight towards your stomach with your back parallel to the ground. This will help you use your back, and not your arms. Really focus on the contraction of the muscles around your shoulder blades to pull the weight up, and try and limit the amount of bicep in the lift.

Day 2
DB Military Press ? 5 sets of 5
Squat ? 3 sets of 5 (Warmup for deads)
Deadlift ? 5 sets of 5
Weighted Inclined crunch - 2 sets of 10

Day 3
Squat ? 3 sets of 5, 1 triple, back-off
Bench ? 3 sets of 5, 1 triple, back-off
Bent Over Row ? 3 sets of 5, 1 triple, back-off
Weighted Inclined crunch - 2 sets of 10
Chinups - 3 sets of 5

"Back off" means reduce the weight to what it was the set before, and do another 8 reps. So essentially, repeat your 3rd set again, and add 3 more reps.

Lifting notes:

You can safely expect to be able to increase the weight about 2.5% a week, (or more for your first bit) so do that on Fridays on your set of 3. Also, eating before you lift is vital. It will give you energy to really push yourself throughout, as well as avoiding that shaky, light headed feeling. About an hour before you lift, try and eat some protein, (meat or a shake works) then about 15-30 minutes before hand eat some simple and complex carbs. I find two granola bars and a banana or two works great, but adjust your pre workout meal to your goals. Immediately after you finish, eat something with fast absorbed carbs, (juice, fruit, ect) as well as fast absorbed protein, such as whey or milk. This is to avoid having your body sit in a catabolic state, which essentially means it stops your body from using itself for fuel.

In addition, it may be wise to avoid cardio on lift days. If you have to, wait at least 5 or 6 hours between the two. Stacking work on top of work will cause your body to burn all the food you are very quickly, leaving you catabolic for longer than if you split the two up, so its just a bad idea. Also, stuff like running before a leg workout is going to limit your gains quite a lot due simply to muscle fatigue and a lack of recovery time. It can hurt your body, and limit the effects of your workout.

Lastly, I can not stress this enough, just going through the motions of a lift will not give you optimal gains. The ?mind-muscle connection? is, as lame as it sounds, very important. Make sure when you are exercising your chest and triceps on a bench, you can really feel those muscle groups working, and not other parts of your body. Focus on form and use the muscles each lift targets to complete the lift. Cheating on a lift isn?t getting you anywhere, so make sure to really be conscious of what muscles are moving in your body during each lift.

A word on that ?toned? look you might want

One thing I hear a lot is ?well, I would lift but I really don?t want to get all muscley. I just want to get toned.? Well, I hate to tell you this but getting ?toned? means getting muscley. If you start cutting right away and drop weight for an extended period of time you wont end up toned, you will end up skinny. To get the toned look so many people want you need some serious mass. Most of the people you see with really lean and cut physiques are very heavy, and weight train regularly. They simply cut to a low bodyfat to get that look, and end up looking deceptively light thanks most often to the weight training. For example, Ryan Reynolds in Blade 3, (an example I hear a lot) gained 22 pounds while cutting fat for his roll, thanks to good diet and regular lifting. So, please, stop refusing to lift because you want to be toned and don?t want to get ?huge.? You wont get big without really, really trying to for an extended period of time, so don?t worry. You wont just wake up ?muscle-bound? one day.


Cardio:

Cardio is still very important, and something you should work on if you plan to get serious about getting and staying in shape. I've really like Hight Intensity Interval Training, but this guy explains it much better than I can, so I'll let him do it. It?s a great program for everyone, but if you are either pressed for time or looking to get into an explosive sport like wrestling or rugby its practically made for you.

Notes:

Just remember, there is no ?Three Minute Workout? or ?Miracle diet.? There is no better approach than being informed and working hard. If you aren?t ready to put the effort in to your body that it requires to change then you really have no grounds to expect anything different than exactly what you have always gotten. As we are often told in life, ?accept no substitute.? Work hard, eat right, and results will come with a bit of time. Good luck!

Links

Fitday: A fantastic site for diet and nutrition tracking. I highly recommend beginners use this until they know enough to make informed

Exrx.net: A great site filled with exercises and form instruction, handy calculators, and great articles

Required calories for guys

Required calories for gals

Watch & Weight: The SA fitness subforum. HUGE following of people that know the subject of fitness and nutrition very well. Plus the "Display your physical transformation" thread is inspiring. (And my only goldmined thread!)
 

Fatality

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Motivation: The Key to Success
By, Emmit Visconti

What is Motivation?

We are bodybuilders, people who spend many hours a week working toward physical goals to better themselves. There is something built in each and every one of us that helps us crawl out of bed each morning and hit the cardio, squeeze out a couple extra reps through complete exhaustion, and select a can of tuna over a bag of potato chips. I'm not talking about something you can touch, but rather something in your mind, something ever-present in us all. Motivation, by definition is the wants, needs, and beliefs that drive a character. Whether it be to improve our self-image, our overall health, lose fat, win a competition, or attract the opposite sex, bodybuilders have motivation. Without it, we would go nowhere. In this article, I will explain how to get motivated for workouts, cardio sessions, and dieting, as well as changes you may need to make to your routine to help stay motivated long-term.

What is Your Goal?

As I mentioned, all of us have a goal or some purpose for bodybuilding. Each bodybuilder has a unique goal. I believe that the first step to getting motivated is to realize your goal. Perhaps it is to get cut up for the beach this summer, maybe you are training for a particular sport, or even if you train just because it is fun and it feels good, you need to pinpoint your goal and always keep it in mind. You must plan every step you take in bodybuilding to bring you closer to your goal.
It is also important that you set realistic goals that you can succeed at. As humans, success is one of the greatest things that we can experience. It boosts our self esteem, our confidence, and it helps us stay motivated. Once we start seeing results from our training and fitness programs, we get motivated to continue until we accomplish our goal. This is true of everybody. I believe it is the way we were designed. This is why something to work toward, a goal, is essential for all bodybuilders to have. So I encourage you to ask yourself, "Self, what is my goal?"

Avoiding Monotony in a Workout Program.

One important aspect when it comes to staying motivated, and ultimately sticking with a fitness program, is variety. It is a difficult task to complete a program, get in shape, or add muscle to your frame. These are things that take time and patience. It is perfectly normal to get bored doing the same thing several times a week, but with motivation and proper variety in your routine, you can pave yourself a road to success.
It is extremely important to change up your fitness routine occasionally. If you are performing the same workouts in the same order on the same days for months at a time, you are likely to get bored. The workouts become very stale. I recommend changing your routine every six weeks, if not sooner. A variety will increase your motivation by preventing you from getting bored with a program, and ultimately having it become something that you dread.
Variety does not only come in forms of changing an entire routine; performing variations of an exercise that you already do regularly can be something new and fun. For example, take a simple barbell curl, a movement that we all perform, and try an extremely close or an extremely wide grip. Not only will this help to avoid monotony, but it will also stimulate more holistic growth of the bicep by targeting different parts of the muscle. Another simple, yet effective way to add some variety to your program is to change repetition amounts. On a given workout day, decide to try doing a very high amount of repetitions. Even changing the speed of your reps will add variety and help fight boredom! Try extremely slow reps, fast reps, and slow down-explosive up. The point is, try something new! Try performing a dumbbell bench press, something that many of us lack in our routines. Heck, it may even give your muscles the extra shock they need to promote more growth. Do you really want to miss out on that?

General Tips to Stay Motivated.

Log your progress:
Keeping a log or workout journal can be an excellent way to build motivation. You can look back in it and see how far you have come. Bodybuilding is a journey. It is about dedication. I strongly recommend logging your progress.

Get a training partner:
Training partners are excellent. You can keep each other motivated by encouraging one another and helping each other along through this lifestyle called bodybuilding. A training partner should be a friend, somebody you trust, and preferably someone with a similar physique to yours.

Get a mentor or idol:
This person will give you something to aim for. A real life example of what you want for yourself. My idol is Marcelo Caraveo. I have pictures of him posted on my walls to remind me of my goal and keep me motivated.

Listen to music:
I really believe that music can make the difference between an excellent workout or cardio session and an average one. Music affects our mood, and it comes out in our training. It can make a workout much more enjoyable. I suggest bringing an MP3 player to the gym with you every time.

Take a break every so often:
It is important to take a week off once in a while, perhaps in the transition from one program to another. It will not hurt you. It is a time for resting and recuperation of the body and mind.

Keep your goal in mind:
This is the most important and effective of all motivation techniques. At times, you might feel like putting the weights down, skipping a cardio session, or eating junk food. At this time, I encourage you to stop, close your eyes and visualize your goal. What is it that you are working for? Reassure yourself that you can succeed with proper will power and perseverance.

Conclusion:

Of all the aspects that come into the physical side of bodybuilding, I believe that a more powerful force decides whether or not we will fail or succeed in accomplishing our goals. A mental force called motivation. If you lack motivation in your life, I recommend that you make it a top priority to obtain it. It could make the difference between good overall results and excellent ones.

Thanks,

Emmit
 

Fatality

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Finding What Works Best for You
Fatality
January 12, 2008

Many people believe that their way of doing things is the only way to achieving a good body. These people start getting confident to the point of developing an ego and feel that they are trendsetters so to speak. These people are destined for failure. They have to much pride to try new ideas and won`t take advice from anybody . If you are one of these people or would just like to educate yourself on why finding what works best for you is important, then read on!

When it comes to fitness, do not just take one person`s opinion for granted. You must open your mind to different ideas as well. What works for one person may not work well for you. There are different opinions on many topics in the sport of bodybuilding that range from what supplements to take, how much protein the body needs, best ways to train, best ways to lose weight. The simple/complex carb post workout debate has been going on for years and will never have a definate answer. The only option you have is to try both and use common sense trial and error to determine which work best.

You`ll gain more confidence over time as you start realizing that your way is working for you. If it`s not broke then don`t fix it but don`t be afraid of trying other things as well if you are sticking to the basics. After time, you`ll know exactly what your body needs and will be able to do almost anything with it.

Once you start believing that everything you do is the right way, you are in trouble. No matter how boring and time consuming finding the best way to do things is, you must keep trying to make everything work the way you want it to. If you don`t, you will fail to achieve the goals you have set for yourself and everything you do bodybuilding related will seem to be in vain.

Don`t get upset if you don`t get everything right the first try. Knowing your body well takes years to master and should never be taken lightly. Until next time, Good Luck!
 

Fatality

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If you want guys, please wait another day so I can get more posts in, I really don't want the thread to be broken up all over the place because it'll only frustrate others. Another reason why I'm posting this is because since there's a lot of new people here, I'm assuming that they probably won't read posts from 2 years ago. Anyways, happy reading and Good Luck!!
 

Fatality

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As I?m sure you are well aware the importance of protein and carbohydrate intake amongst bodybuilders, but what about vitamins? It seems so many young bodybuilders are overlooking the importance of vitamins in their daily lives. Ive noticed on the forums that there are hundreds of topics related to protein and creatine, but very few regarding vitamins. So with that being said, I decided to do some research and present to you guys the 10 most important vitamins for bodybuilders.

Why vitamins and minerals are important:

? During strenuous physical activity, an enormous amount of vitamins and minerals are depleted from our bodies.
? Making sure our bodies have enough vitamins and minerals helps maintain and improve proper health.
? Failure to maintain healthy vitamin and mineral levels can lead to hindered performance in the gym, slowing down growth, and in severe cases, also lead to other health problems.

Now for the top 10 vitamins. I found an excellent website that listed these in great detail. Saving you some reading time, I took the most important pieces of information from that article as well as listed the best natural food sources which contain these vitamins.

10. Cobalamin (vitamin B12)

? Carbohydrate metabolism and maintenance of nervous system tissue (spinal cord, nerves that carry signals from the brain to muscle tissue).
? The stimulation of muscles via the nerve cells is a critical step in the contraction, coordination, and growth of muscles.
? B12 is only available from foods of animal origin (beef, chicken, fish, pork, etc.)

9. Biotin

? Critical in amino acid metabolism and production of energy from many sources.
? Bodybuilders who eat raw egg whites gain a substance called Advin, which blocks biotin absorption.
? Sources of biotin include: egg yolk, liver, kidney, pancreas, milk, soya, and barley.

8. Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

? Involved in 3 main processes: 1) Glucose metabolism, 2) Oxidation of fatty acids, and 3) The shuttling of Hydrogen through the Krebs cycle (also known as the citric acid cycle where certain molecules are broken down into energy in the form of ATP).
? For bodybuilding purposes, riboflavin is related to protein metabolism. There is a strong relationship between lean body mass and dietary riboflavin.
? Foods rich in riboflavin: liver, almonds, soy nuts, shellfish, milk and other dairy products, and eggs.

7. Vitamin A

? Vitamin A helps with vision.
? Important in the synthesis of protein (muscle growth!!!).
? Involved in the production of Glycogen (the body?s form of energy for high intensity activities).
? Very important for contest preparation.
? Dietary sources: there are many, see the link below and click on (at the top, under table of contents) ?What foods provide vitamin A.? Notice that milk is mentioned again. So far out of 5, milk is mentioned in 4 of the main vitamins? Coincidence? I think not?
? http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamina.asp#h2

6. Vitamin E

? Used in protection of cell membranes since it is a powerful antioxidant.
? Recuperation and growth of muscle cells is dependant on healthy cell membranes.
? Vegetable oils, nuts, green leafy vegetables, and fortified cereals are the most common food sources of vitamin E.

5. Niacin (vitamin B3)

? Involved in nearly 60 metabolic processes related to energy production.
? Nicotine acid, a form of Niacin, causes vasodilatation which can help competitors looks more vascular on stage. Large doses of Nicotine acid drastically impairs the body?s ability to mobilize and burn fat.
? Dietary sources include: turkey meat (the body uses the amino acid tryptophan to create Niacin), dairy products, poultry, fish, lean meats, nuts, and eggs.

4. Vitamin D

? Vitamin D is necessary in the absorption of Calcium and Phosphorus. If adequate stores of Calcium are not available in the muscle, full and hard muscular contractions will not be achieved.
? Quick, powerful muscular contractions are provided by Phosphorus. Phosphorus is also required for the synthesis of ATP.
? Dietary sources: No-fat or low fat MILK.

3. Thiamine (vitamin B1)

? Required for protein metabolism and growth.
? Involved in the formation of hemoglobin which is a protein found in red blood cells that transports oxygen to working muscles in the body.
? Oxygen transportation becomes increasingly more important to athletic performance as intensity and duration of exercise increase.
? As the amount of exercise, intensity, and duration of exercise increase, the more thiamine is needed.
? Dietary sources: Green peas, Spinach, Liver, Beef, Pork, Navy beans, Nuts, Pinto beans, Bananas, Soybeans, Goji berries, Whole-grain and Enriched Cereals, Breads, Yeast,the aleurone layer of unpolished rice, and Legumes.

2. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

? The only vitamin directly tied to protein intake. The greater protein consumption, the greater amount of vitamin B6 you need.
? Vitamin B6 makes it possible for protein metabolism, growth and carbohydrate utilization to take place.
? Dietary sources: Avocados, nuts, liver, chicken, fish, green beans, field salad, wheat germ, nutritional yeast, sea vegetables, and bananas are particularly good food sources.

1. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

? Enhances recovery and growth in muscle cells. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant.
? Involved in the formation of Collagen, the primary constituent in connective tissue (connective tissue holds your bones and muscles together). As you lift heavier weights, you put more stress on your structure. If your connective tissue is not as strong as it should be you have a much higher risk of injury.
? Helps in the absorption of Iron. With an Iron deficiency, the amount of oxygen that gets bonded to hemoglobin in the blood decreases and muscular performance is greatly reduced.
? Diffuses very rapidly in water. Since a muscle cell is mostly water, the more muscular an athlete becomes, the more vitamin C disperses and the lower the concentration of this critical substance becomes in body tissues. So vitamin C requirements are greatly increased for bodybuilders.
? Finally: Vitamin C assists in the formation and release of steroid hormones, including the anabolic hormone testosterone.
? Dietary sources: The largest sources of vitamin C are present in citrus fruits and fruit juices.

Well there you have it, the 10 most important vitamins for a bodybuilder. If you are a bodybuilder, you should be eating a lot anyways, especially as much of the above foods listed as possible, so getting all of these vitamins in your diet shouldn?t be problem. However, if you feel your diet needs some help there are many multivitamins which you can supplement along with your meals, but it?s always better to get your vitamins from natural sources. You may however, want to consider in investing in a simple vitamin C supplement based purely on how important it is in the bodybuilding world.

Lastly, note how many times milk or dairy is listed as a primary food source of the above vitamins. Three or four glasses of milk a day will definitely be of good use by your body. If you are lactose intolerant, you may want to consider purchasing lactose free milk which is exactly the same as regular milk but with the added ingredient lactase, which neutralizes the lactose.

Until next time, lift hard, heavy, and don?t forget to EAT!!!

Sources:

http://www.getbig.com/articles/faq-vit1.htm
http://ods.od.nih.gov/index.aspx
http://www.MayoClinic.com
http://www.pdrhealth.com/index.html
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/
http://www.Wikipedia.org
http://www.approvedarticles.com/Arti...itamins-/10300
 

Fatality

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Everything known about the evolution of physical fitness in human bodies, reveals the idea that physical capabilities contribute to the ability to survive and have since the beginning of time. The more physical fitness one has, the more adept at maneuvering the human form and the healthier each physiological system can become. These variables combined provide the greatest opportunity for surviving and thriving. Perhaps this is the reason that physical fitness appeals to something very deep in many people and has thus been correlated in numerous cultures with spiritual and mental development, and is, quite literally a foundation for living that is connected to all we do.

The means and the motivation for fitness have changed dramatically over time. It is however, important to note that from its earliest beginnings to the most current trends and fads, the functional need for a fit body has maintained an integral level of importance for us as humans.

In the dawn of the human race, physical fitness was motivated by survival needs. Through hunting and gathering, nomadic journeys, and laboring lifestyles, humans developed fit healthy bodies through daily tasks. Even the dancing rituals and cultural games of celebrating tribes were physically demanding and contributed to the necessity of a high level of physical fitness as well as being a factor for social acceptance. In essence, physical fitness in primitive cultures was a defining factor of human life.

The idea of physical perfection in Ancient Greece is recorded as being held in very high regard. Ancient Greeks beyond any other civilization regarded the development of physical beauty, as relating to the human physique, equal to that of developing the mind. The aim of the Greeks was to develop a balance between the mind and the body. Ancient Greeks were believed to have developed methods of strength training such as that of the wrestler Milo of Croton who, legend has it, progressively strengthened by carrying a growing calf every day on his shoulders until it was an adult bovine.

Also in the 2nd century, the physician Galen supported the use of the halt'res which was an early form of the dumbbell. Dumbbells and other weight training equipment, although showing significant advancements since that time, serve the same basic purpose that they originally did. The concept was clear then, as is well known today, that progressive incremental increases in working a muscle will strengthen it.

The Renaissance period brought with it a renewed interest in the human body and inspired scientists, artists, and poets to explore its workings, meanings, and capabilities. For example, the Vitruvian Man, a famous drawing with accompanying notes by Leonardo da Vinci from 1490, of a naked male form in two superimposed positions, is described as a study of the proportions of the (male) human body and a fusion of scientific and artistic objectives. The drawing itself is often depicted as a symbol of the essential symmetry of the human body and, by extension, to the universe as a whole.

Another example of this burgeoning interest during the Renaissance period is represented in the work of Michelangelo. Michelangelo saw the human form as the physical symbol of soul and character and believed that if the mind were strong and the soul pure, his depiction should capture that with a lean, muscular, defined form.

Repeated advice and guidance can be found throughout 14th and 15th Century literature regarding the value of physical activity, such as running, swimming, climbing, jumping, vaulting, fencing, and wrestling. Also, the trend of maintaining physical fitness as a virtue and a form of moral excellence prevailed, and so the virtue of achieving one's potential, as in the case of physical strength and skill continued to be a significant component of social standards.

With a renewed interest in the human form, and consequently in fitness, there was also an inspired need to educate people about the necessity of developing strong lean bodies. Physical education became the means to further the cognitive recognition of the importance of physical fitness in cultures throughout Europe, with Vittorino da Feltre, an Italian physician, being the first to initiate childhood physical education classes in 1420.

In the late nineteenth century, people became fascinated with amazing feats of strength as the competitive strongman became a popularized display of power. Although rather than being associated with the enhancement of health or of creating an ideal physique, many of the famous strongmen, though amazingly powerful physically, often portrayed physiques that were overweight and unsightly, and did not exhibit a look of health or leanness. Muscular and lean bodies were a sign of the working class in men and considered unladylike for women.

The practice of weight lifting, which became popularized as bodybuilding, grew quickly and soon coincided with the advent of photography and ultimately inspired a new level of egocentricity among the competitive strongmen. Images that caught the attention of the world were of muscular, yet lean and defined men, and popular strongmen became inspired to compete, not only for recognition of physical power, but for the adoration that only physical perfection could yield.

Bodybuilding, largely perceived as egocentric and vain at that time due to the exhibitionist nature of famous physiques, evolved into a performance not only of masculinity and power but of an achievement of a god-like physical structure and a new means for achieving fame. Eugene Sandow was the first famous bodybuilder and somewhat of a cultural icon. A professional strongman in Europe, Sandow came to America in the 1890s and was billed by Florenz Ziegfeld as "The World's Strongest Man". What gave Sandow his strongest appeal however was not his amazing feats of strength but the aesthetically pleasing quality of his physique.

Reintegrating some of the ancient Greek's love of the physical form, Sandow often posed imitating ancient Greek sculptures and even measured the marble male statues to help develop a formula for the perfect male physique. He developed his own physique to match those proportions and became known as the "Father of Modern Bodybuilding".

Sandow almost single-handedly made it fashionable for a man to have a muscular physique at a time when men were typically quite thin or too-well-fed and overweight.

Another father figure in the industry of fitness is Jack La Lanne, born in 1914 and one of the most renowned fitness experts, celebrities, and motivational icons to ever grace the fitness world. La Lanne opened the first health spa in the United States and began approaching clients with the idea of utilizing weight training to improve their overall health, and was the first to include women among his clientele. La Lanne was the originator of much of the standard equipment that many gyms continue to use today and is also credited with the creation of the popular Jumping Jack exercise among many others. La Lanne also brought weight training and fitness to television in the early 1950s and created live fitness expertise and guidance performances which he continues still today. La Lanne, now 91 years of age and still exercising rigorously every day often states, "I can't die, it will ruin my image".

The bodybuilding culture solidified itself between the 1930s and 1970s. The 1970s became known as the golden age of bodybuilding as people interested in the sport became enamored with building balanced physiques and losing body-fat. Posing contests, beach-front weight lifting, and group training became common around the world. These expressions of the cultural fitness trends were especially popular at the famous Muscle Beach situated in Santa Monica, California.

The growing awareness of strength training, or weightlifting, as it became commonly known, added immensely to the popularity of gyms in America. The use of gyms and machines such as Nautilus had a profound impact upon the physical fitness norm and contributed to physiques that far surpassed those just a half century before.

The progression of weightlifting was greatly impacted by first the book (1974) and then the documentary film, Pumping Iron (1977), produced by Charles Gaines and George Butler. The film gave the general public a glimpse inside a world previously viewed as more or less a sub-culture which was often neglected and misunderstood. Pumping Iron also piqued the interest of a more public audience that began to see strength training as a potential tool for health and vitality.

The film popularized the concept that human bodies could be sculpted almost like art. Creating works of art through the development of the human body represents a continuing theme from the paintings and sculptures of Michelangelo, to Arnold Schwarzenegger and other famous bodybuilder's stage presentation of muscular physiques.

Fitness, like other cultural movements, became a trend, became fashion, became "what people do to fit into the social norms.

Strength training and fitness concepts are nothing new. They have existed since before the time of Christ. As awareness of exercise evolved, participants grew to utilize a variety of practices not only in regard to health concerns but for pleasure and recreation. Integrating strength and fitness became a challenge toward self-determination for some and for others it became even a path toward curing stress and improving mental health.

For thousands of years these statements have held true. At what point do you get on board and take control of your fitness destiny?


About the Author:
Jason Morgan is an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer and owner of Muscleworx Personal Fitness Systems located in Carolina Beach, NC. He is a featured writer for Snows Cut Monthly and various fitness publications and web sites. His website is http://www.muscleworx.com
 

Fatality

Mecca V.I.P.
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Have you ever seen what is referred to as the ?two man bench crew.?? Chances are you probably have? I wrote this article because I seem to see a lot of people not spotting their workout partners properly. Here?s a short summary of what this article contains:

- How to spot effectively
- My favorite spotting technique
- The benefits of a good spotter


Lets start with the basics of spotting. Ok, keeping things short and to the point, the more you know, the better you will be able to spot. With that being said, communication between the lifter and the spotter is vital. Ask how many reps the person is doing, intensity techniques (supersets, drop sets), and how the person likes to be spotted. Some people may like you to not touch the bar until they really need it, while others may want you to always be in contact with the bar for added safely. Here are some ways to spot various free-weight exercises:

- Barbell bench: the two finger or overhand-underhand spot (how you would grip a deadlift, you want to be right over top of the barbell). I will talk about the one finger spot later. You want to be pulling straight up, making sure to never restrict the motion of the barbell, since most people do not bench in a perfectly straight line.
- Dumbbell bench: push with palms up from their elbows. Avoid grabbing their wrists as is may throw off the lifter?s balance.
- Dips/ pullups of any kind: lightly take hold of the lifter?s feet or place open palms underneath their shins if they cross their legs and lightly help push them up (this is great for the top of the motion contractions on the last few reps)
- Flyes: Very similar to the dumbbell bench, but keep your palms flat to the bottom of their elbows (lower triceps). Placing too much pressure on the forearm area may actually drive the dumbbells down into the lifter?s chest.
- Triceps: Generally if the lifter is using a barbell the one finger spot will work just fine, a little touch to help the lifter out through the hard parts of the lift will be enough. If the lifter is using dumbbells (overhead extensions, skull crushers, and kickbacks) open palms on the bottom of the dumbbells to give an added push.
- Biceps: For any barbell move, a one finger spot will work. Stand in front of the lifter, placing your index fingers on the bar and helping it up. With dumbbells, what generally works best is to apply open palms to the wrist area while standing beside the lifter.
- Back: Back generally doesn?t need much spotting. Deadlifts, barbell rows, t-bar rows, and shrugs shouldn?t be spotted because there isn?t much benefit of a spotter in these exercises. Why? Well because just the positioning of the lifter makes it very hard for a spotter to be able to actually spot the weight, so generally these back movements don?t need spotting.
-Pulldowns: stand behind the lifter and place flat palms on the top of the bar, slightly bend your elbows and use your lats to help bring the stack up.
- Crunches and ab work: generally does not need spotting as well.
- Shoulders: With any overhead pressing movement help push the weight up with flat palms, with barbell military and rear delt presses, the two finger spot works very well. When spotting side laterals or bent over rear delt raises, place the backs of your hands on the inside of the lifter?s forearms.
-Legs: By far the hardest to spot. When spotting any type of squat I like to place my arms around the lifter?s waist and go through the motion of the squat, even if the lifter doesn?t need help. Help them rack the weight by walking forward with them with your arms still wrapped around their waist, but never start moving unless they are ready. When spotting leg presses, first get a firm foot placement, bend your knees a bit, and take a good grip on the foot platform, generally in the upper left or right hand corner, depending on where the release mechanism is. Bend your legs and move with the platform using your leg drive to press the weight, being careful not to push with just your arms. Having a strong foot placement is very key, since the leg press involves big weights, and a bad grip can lead to bad spotting and injury. When spotting hack squats, it?s very easy, just apply bodyweight to the back of the machine to help the lifter or grab one side of plate stack and pull up.

When spotting any exercise, make sure you have a good stance, knees bent, and ALWAYS on your feet, never kneeling, sitting, or anything. Give your full attention to the lifter, which brings me to another point, spotting mistakes. When you spot, never:

- Take the weight away from the person, unless they need it. Even if they hit their target reps, stand by, they may go for a few more. Never assume the person is done, until they make an effort to rack the weight, or they are in trouble of not making the lift at all. The worst a spotter can do is ruin the last few reps for a lifter.
- Yell or scream encouragement to the lifter unless they ask for it or you ask them if it?s Ok. This can be very distracting to someone and can ruin their set.
- Start talking to the lifter in mid-set. I think you know why?

There is one final example of how to spot. Someone asking you to hand them a weight. Basically, always pick up the weight from the sides, never obstruct the handles. Also I always verbally make sure the lifter is ready to go before letting go of the last dumbbell.

Remember it?s not your job to be lifting the weight rep after rep for the lifter. If from the first rep to the eighth you are doing a bent over row spotting a bench press, or right off the un-rack the lifter drops the weight on his chest because he?s using too much, there?s nothing you can do. Lifters cannot expect spotters to be able to pull hundreds of pounds of their chest in a flash.

So there you have it, the basics of spotting. But before I wrap this up I want to talk about the two finger spotting technique. This is my favorite of all spots. Its fairly simple too, just place your two index fingers under the bar and help push up. Doing so limits to how much the spotter lifts the weight and just gives the lifter that extra help needed to do the last couple of reps. If the lifter needs more help then I take a more aggressive grip. A good spotter can help the lifter to nail those last couple of reps, and we all know according to Arnold, that that?s where the growth occurs, through the pain of the last reps of a set.

Just a motivational quote: ?No one is going to give you anything in life. If you want something, you have to go get it.?

Articles referenced: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/betteru36.htm (Spotting mistakes, dumbbell and squat spotting techniques). Everything else was written by me.

Thanks for reading, and all the best in training.
 

Fatality

Mecca V.I.P.
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I'm sure everyone has a good breakfast here but I just wanna tell you a little about the importance of a breakfast

Now more than ever there are more diets, theories, programs and pieces of exercise equipment bombarding us every day. However, America continues to grow fatter and fatter every year3. Obesity is a major problem. There are numerous factors that play into gaining and losing weight such as activity level, cultural habits, genetics and so on.

However, probably the most influential factor is energy intake (i.e. eating). You can work your butt off in the gym day in and day out. Yet, you will never have that six pack if you overeat everyday on top of that.

In the fight for the next big money maker of fat loss miracles, there are two that have stuck around for quite a while now. Those are:

Eat a good breakfast to "Jump Start" your metabolism.
Don't eat late at night because everything you eat will be stored as fat.

What Is The Truth?


Both of these have of explanations and logical reasoning behind them, but regardless of how you come to the conclusion, they are, at the heart the same. But are they true? While it is true that the digestion of food does require energy and creates a thermogenic effect, the question at hand is if eating a breakfast in the morning results in a higher 24 hour energy expenditure or a negative net calorie balance.

The second theory that eating after a certain time (typically ranges between 6-8pm) results in the storage of every calorie that you eat. This is an interesting one that has perplexed me for quite some time. The notion that after 6pm our body alters the way that it processes nutrients is rather fascinating to me.

Somehow, for some reason, after 6pm the metabolic fate of all nutrients (especially carbohydrates) is to be stored as fat. These two little snippets of nutritional folklore have hung around longer than most others and this as driven me to get to the bottom of it all. So the pushing question here is, "Are they true?" Recent research1 has found the answer to both of them!

867 individuals consisting of both men and women were studied for there food intake at various time throughout the day for a number of days. Neither the subjects, researchers nor dietitians who analyzed the food for nutrient content were aware of which meals would be analyzed at what times of the day. This was done to prevent subjects from eating less/more or lying about actual intakes.

The food intakes were analyzed for density (calories per gram) and at what times of the day meals were eaten. The criteria for a "meal" was it had to be at least 50 calories and separated by 45 min from the previous food intake. They were also analyzed for a satiety index based on calories per minute.

This measure gives an idea of just how badly these people were stuffing themselves and at what times of the day. And as a side note, the average weight of the participants was 150 pounds, so no these were not already overweight people who were accustomed to overeating.

The First Point:


The results were interesting to say the least. The first major point was that as the day progressed meal size increased and the time between meals decreased. So people were eating more, more often! This is where the satiety index comes in.
For what ever reason people seem to feel more and more hungry as the day wears on and of course will eat until they are full. You know the old bodybuilders adage - You never want to go hungry!

The Second Point:


The next point made actually helps to answer the question about getting in a good breakfast. There was a very strong and negative correlation between meal size early in the morning and meal size late at night. That means people who ate meals with high energy content in the morning were eating less total calories the rest of the day, and vice versa. The people who didn't eat much in the morning actually ended up eating more the rest of the day.
Between 6pm and 11pm calorie intake per meal skyrocketed from 525 calories to a whopping 720 calories per meal. And remember, people were eating more meals more frequently at this time. Not only that, but the calorie density shot up.

So these people are eating high calorie, low volume / weight food. These are the people that always tell you that they don't eat much but can't seem to lose weight. On top of that, during that same time period carbohydrate intake shot from 35 grams per meal to 72 grams per meal. That is more than double!

This suggest that people tend to underestimate just how many calories they are eating and that is probably a direct result of feeling hungrier and hungrier as the day wears on. Many things can affect hunger, not just how much food is actually in your stomach. The things we see and smell, a phrase, someone just talking about food. All of these things can make you hungry. And the more time that has passed in the day only give more chances for one of those to pop up and make a person hungry.


There You Have It...


So there you have it. We have answered out two pressing questions. Does eating breakfast "Kick Start" your metabolism? No, the reason that eating breakfast can be a factor in a structured weight loss program is because you will tend to eat less calories over the course of a day. And our second questions, does restricting food past a certain time (especially carbohydrates) prevent a person from getting fat? Again, no it doesn't.

For what ever reason the overall calorie density of food that people choose to eat at these times of the day skyrockets. And more over, the foods that people seem to reach for seem to be carbohydrate rich. If one were to cut the carbs after 6pm, you just taken a big chunk out of your total calorie intake.

Add that to a good breakfast in the morning and you are likely to eat even less during the day. A lower total calorie intake over the course of a day, month or year is not a magic metabolic formula for fat loss. It is just another way to get you to eat less.


Conclusion


In today's modern world the average length of an individuals day has increased dramatically. Before the invent of the simple light bulb much of the days activities were over by sundown. Now we are up through all hours of the night. For most people, being up doesn't always involve being active.

There are many people who sit up watching late night infomercials thinking how they should get that new piece of exercise equipment and get back in shape while they munch on some delectable snack. The bottom line here is pretty simple. It's not the carbs, its not the time of day.

There is no magic ratio, combination or super pill that will make you thin. It comes down to being absolutely sure you know the exact number of calories you are putting into your body everyday.
 

Fatality

Mecca V.I.P.
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As bodybuilders we are constantly on the lookout for new and effective ways to gain muscle. The latest supplement, a sophisticated training routine, a new diet. Granted, all of these things are crucially important but what is possibly most important of all is sleep.

The best training routine, diet and supplement program will not compensate for insufficient rest, and sleep is the best, and only (in some instances), way of getting this rest. Professor Michael Colgan went as far as to say: “even if your training and nutrition program can straight for the mouth of God almighty, without adequate rest your body will fail to adapt.�

During sleep, growth hormone is produced and protein synthesis (provided protein is consumed prior to sleep) occurs. These are only two beneficial aspects of sleep. Energy consumption reduction and brain cell restoration are two other aspects equally important for bodybuilders.

Throughout this article I will explain the various stages of sleep and their implications for bodybuilders. Outlined also will be the benefits sleep has in terms of muscle recovery and growth.


Why Do We Sleep?


Sleep serves many vital functions. For bodybuilders the main functions are growth and mental alertness. Sleep provides these effects directly. Without adequate sleep, time in the gym could be, to a large degree, wasted. The following are important functions of sleep.

The repairing of muscle and other tissues, and replace aging or dead cells:


Sleeping for 8-10 hours per night is similar to fasting and this is catabolic to muscle growth. However, eating just prior to sleeping, can help to reverse this process and increase protein synthesis. Protein synthesis does occur under conditions of sleep but it occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, not the muscles.
Muscle is actually broken down under these conditions to provide our stomach with amino acids during this time of “starvation�. Eating before bed is crucial in offsetting this. Some reports suggest waking up in the middle of the night to eat (nocturnal eating).

Human growth hormone is also released under conditions of sleep. In men, 60% to 70% of daily human growth hormone secretion occurs during early sleep which is typically when the deepest sleep cycles occur. Poor quality sleep can negatively impact human growth hormone levels.

Research suggests that it’s during REM (Rapid Eye Movement: explained later) sleep that the body is able to: restore organs, bones, and tissue; replenish immune cells; and circulate human growth hormone. Sleep has a profound effect on muscle growth and physical well being.

During sleep energy consumption is lowered:


Lowered energy consumption is a biological mechanism for resource conservation. We would need many meals per day (rather than the normal 4-6 for bodybuilders) if we did not get enough sleep.
With bodybuilders, the name of the game is increased size, so energy conservation out of the gym is paramount. Several meals throughout the day also assists growth, and sleep helps to ensure that food is used to replace energy and rebuild muscle (pre-sleep meals and nocturnal eating help to intensify this effect).

Sleep to recharge the brain:


Adenosine (a neurotransmitter that produces ATP, the energy-storage molecule that powers most of the biochemical reactions inside cells) is used as a signal to tell the brain that it needs to rest. Rising and declining concentrations of adenosine suggest that the brain is actually resting during sleep given that adenosine secretion reflects brain activity.
During sleep, levels of adenosine decline. Blocking adenosine in the brain has been shown to increase alertness, so this suggests that during sleep the brain is recharging. During the day heightened levels of adenosine, particularly toward the end of the day, suggest that the brain is getting tired.

Resting the brain has obvious implications for bodybuilders given that mental alertness is desired during the day, especially during training. Motivation levels are highest when mental alertness is highest. Studies suggest that it is during REM sleep that proper functioning of the brain and alertness is assisted.



Getting Adequate Sleep


Often it is hard to get a good night of sleep. Even when we do fall asleep the quality of the sleep may not be sufficient. The following ways can assist in getting that good night sleep and subsequently the benefits thereof.


Never Oversleep: Oversleeping may set the bodies clock to a different cycle. This will make trying to fall asleep much harder.

Take A Warm Bath: A warm bath will sooth and relax. However, a shower will have the opposite effect so these should be avoided.

Exercise: Exercising, particularly aerobic, during the day will sufficiently tire one out and sleep will come faster at night. Intense training sessions during the late evening will have the opposite effect.

Avoid Alcohol, Caffeine & Tyrosine-Rich Foods At Night: Caffeine causes hyperactivity and wakefulness. Tyrosine- rich foods are brain stimulating and may keep one awake. Alcohol significantly disrupts sleep by interfering with the stages of sleep.

Avoid Sleeping Pills: These may work temporarily but in the long term will cause disturbed sleep patterns.

Correct Sleeping Environment: Keep your room reasonably cool (about 60 degrees). Humidity may cause disrupted sleep. A fan running or soft background music may help to relax and encourage sleep.

Make evenings relaxed, not stressful affairs.

Do not watch television in bed. This may also increase alertness. The brain may also decide that bedtime is for television watching and refuse to sleep.

Conclusion


As research has shown, sleep is important for any reasons. For bodybuilders, sleep is particularly important as it restores brain function and alertness in preparation for intense training sessions.

Sleep also enhances muscular recovery through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release. Getting eight to ten hours of quality sleep every night will promote these factors as well as general well being. Recovery will take a backward step if one does not prioritize sleep, so get to sleep if you want to grow.

References


Colgan, M.(1993). Optimum Sports Nutrition. Advanced Research Press. USA.
Morin MD, Charles M.(1996). Relief from Insomnia: Getting the Sleep of Your Dreams. New York: Doubleday Main-street Books.
Broughton, Roger, Robert Olgivie(1992). Sleep, arousal and Performance. Birkhauser.
Hobson, J. Allan.(1995). Sleep. W.H. Freeman & Co. New York.
 

Fatality

Mecca V.I.P.
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The notion of "training to failure" is perhaps one of the most revered practices in the modern bodybuilder's toolbox. But interestingly, this training method seems unique to bodybuilding. In other iron sports, such as Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and throwing, athletes develop enormous levels of muscle mass without training to failure, at least not in the way that most bodybuilders would define it. This observation, coupled with the fact that many elite-level bodybuilders do not embrace this practice, warrants a second look at this concept.

Birth of a Paradigm
Many credit Arthur Jones (the inventor of Nautilus equipment) with developing and popularizing the one set to failure paradigm. Jones argued that bodybuilders should work to the point of momentary failure, using one set per exercise/per session, rather than using multiple sets of multiple exercises. But Jone's commercial success may been potentiated by a long-standing tradition among young trainees (particularly men) who, in the absence of qualified supervision, regularly trained to failure as an intuitive way of obtaining objective feedback about their progress. Whenever an additional rep could be performed with a given weight, the trainee was psychologically reinforced, which further entrenched this habit.

Unfortunately, it also reinforced poor exercise form and the tremendous frustration that set in when, after several months of monotonous training, the inevitable plateau set in. This frustration then paved the way for numerous ill-conceived commercialized training systems that emerged over the past several decades. The result is an endless cycle of unsupervised trainees switching from one miracle method to another, in an endless search for the "perfect program."

Before we criticize Jones or the authors of the many programs available today, it may be necessary to revise our expectations of what a training method should and shouldn't do. Remember that nearly any training method can be effective, at least temporarily, for the following reasons:

1) Beginners will make short-term progress with any training method, provided they aren't injured in the process.

2) Many people train in a very monotonous manner, rarely changing acute exercise variables such as choice of exercise, order of exercise, rest periods, and load (volume and intensity). When such a person changes programs, they will progress, at least temporarily.

Conversely, NO training program is perfect because:

1) Everyone is different. No two people respond exactly the same to a given program.

2) The body will eventually accommodate to any program, and when it does, you hit a plateau.

The conclusion that might be drawn from these points is that all methods can be viewed as "tools" which have a certain degree of utility when used in the proper proportion and in the right context. The problem is when a proclamation is made that "This is the perfect program for all people all of the time!"

DEFINITIONS
A significant impediment to discussing this issue is the lack of consistent working definitions for several terms which are germain to the discussion at hand:

What is "Training to Failure"?

The very definition of "training to failure" needs considerable clarification. Does it mean concentric failure? Eccentric failure? Inability to complete another repetition in good form? (and what is "good form?") Inability to maintain the desired tempo (speed of execution)? Are we referring to failure of the cellular, or neural system? Failure of the stabilizers, or prime movers?

For the purposes of this discussion, "training to failure" describes training in a manner where each set is continued to the point where further concentric repetitions "in good form" cannot be completed under the lifter's own volition. Second, the notion of failure is inexorably linked to the magnitude of effort and ability to withstand pain and fatigue- both of which are subjective qualities.

What is "Good Form?"
While the amount of resistance, number of sets and reps, etc., constitute the quantitative element of training, good form (or exercise technique) can be seen as the qualitative element. Exercise technique includes range of motion, tempo, and control over the resistance being lifted. For the sake of variation, bodybuilders should plan for regular variations in tempo and range of motion. Such variations help to break through strength and hypertrophy plateaus. Control, however, should never be sacrificed, especially for the purpose of "eeking out" another repetition. For the sake of this discussion, "good form" will be defined as "exercise performance which is consistent with pre-determined objectives concerning range of motion, tempo, and control of the resistance." Using this definition, it is not considered bad form to lift a weight through a partial range of motion, as long as you pre-determined that the repetitions would be performed in that manner. On the other hand, if you planned to do parallel squats, and start losing depth due to fatigue, this would be considered bad form. Similarly, if you plan for a certain tempo (duration of each repetition) or even rest period, it would be considered bad form to alter these parameters in the middle of a workout.

What is Intensity?
Sports scientists and bodybuilders often assign two very different meanings to this term. In the sports sciences, intensity is usually defined as the difficulty of the work performed, expressed as a percentage of 1RM (One repetition maximum), or an athlete's maximum poundage for a single repetition for any given lift. Using this definition, if an athlete has a 1RM of 400 pounds in the leg press, a set performed with 350 pounds is more "intense" than a lift performed with 300 pounds, regardless of how many reps were performed, how close the set came to failure, or how much mental effort was applied.

Most bodybuilders, on the other hand, define intensity as the magnitude of effort applied to a task. Using this definition, a leg press of 300 pounds might be more intense than a set with 350 pounds, if a greater effort was applied to that set.

For our purposes then,we will distinguish between "extrinsic" intensity (or, the magnitude of the external load) and "intrinsic" intensity (or, the magnitude of effort applied against that load). It's important to recognize that extrinsic intensity is objective, and intrinsic intensity is subjective. In other words, we can measure the weight on the bar as a percentage of maximum, but when someone claims that they "went to failure," we have to take his or her word for it.

Objectives and Methods of Training
For bodybuilders, the object of training is muscular hypertrophy. The methods used to accomplish this objective are dictated by various training principles, most notably the principle of progressive overload. Fatigue, and occasionally failure, are unavoidable by-products of these methods. Viewing fatigue and/or failure as an objective of training (as many bodybuilders do) is masochistic and counterproductive.

The hallmarks of successful training are long-term consistency and progression. But progression must be gradual- very gradual- if it is to be consistent. Many athletes insist on always taking a set to utter failure, even if it's not necessary to achieve a new personal record. But these same athletes neglect to project these gains into the future, which reveals the impossibility of continuing these gains. As an example, if you manage to put 5 pounds a week on your squat, this equates to 20 pounds a month, and 240 pounds a year. If this could be continued for even three years, you would be a national level powerlifter, with size to go along with it! A better approach is to achieve very small increases in load on a regular basis, even though you won't reach failure. These smaller increases are easier for the body to adapt to, and recuperate from. Taking each and every set to complete failure is like trying to run a marathon at sprint speed- after a very short period of sprinting, you'll have to slow down considerably, if you expect to finish the race.

The Downside of One Set to Failure
As stated earlier, few training practices or techniques are good or bad in the absolute sense. Most often, it's a matter of application and context. Performing all sets to failure (or, trying to) is particularly problematic, for the following reasons:

1) Insufficient training volume for hypertrophy development

Many studies have confirmed that metabolic changes associated with muscular hypertrophy are best instigated through loading by high volumes, whereas neural adaptations are best brought about through high intensity loads.

Training volume is calculated in pounds lifted per unit of time. If you plan to lift a certain weight for 5 sets of 5 reps, only the last set would approach concentric failure- if you went to failure on the first set, the subsequent sets would have to be performed with significantly less weight. This decreases volume, which can negatively impact muscular hypertrophy. International strength coach Charles Poliquin observes that for any two athletes on the same basic program, the athlete who uses a higher volume will have greater hypertrophy. This observation may be due in part to increased levels of anabolic hormones which are associated with multi-set (as opposed to single set) training.

A second factor to consider with respect to the training load is that there is a limit to how long you can achieve progressions in intensity, but increases in volume can be achieved for a much longer period. For example, after about 9-10 years of solid training experience, you'll arrive at (or very close to) your maximum lifts (1RM's). Past this point, it becomes nearly impossible to increase the training load through increases in intensity. It's much more feasible at this point to increase training volume (by adding reps and/or sets). In this way, you can continue to make gains in muscle mass.

2) Injury potential, both acute and chronic, increases

Noted exercise scientist Paul Ward warns that training to failure results in ischemic reperfusion, or oxygen deprivation, followed by oxygen perfusion. This results in massive free-radical damage to DNA and cell membranes.

International Sports Sciences Association co-founder Dr. Sal Arria cautions that many soft tissue injuries occur when failure terminates a repetition in mid-stroke. "When the weight on the bar exceeds the muscle's ability to lift it, something has to give and usually, it's the musculotendonous junction." One of the most important functions of a spotter is to stay alert and keep the bar moving in order to avoid such injuries, according to Arria.

According, to powerlifting legend Fred Hatfield, if fatigue is so great that stabilizers and synergists (which typically tire faster than the prime movers) become too fatigued to allow maintenance of proper form, you're asking for trouble.

3) Potential for overtraining increases

Louie Simmons, well-known coach to many elite-level powerlifters finds that taking sets to failure "has an ill-effect on the central nervous system," which delays recovery. Simmons is noted for producing scores of high-ranked lifters with relatively low-intensity training

4) Regular failed attempts lead to a reduction in a lowering of the Golgi Tendon Organ (GTO) excitation threshold. Successful lifts which are above what the body is used to will raise the excitation threshold of the Golgi Tendon Organ, while failed attempts tend to lower it. What this means in bodybuilding parlance is that the more often you miss a lift, the more likely it is that you'll miss it again in the future.

Is Training to Failure Necessary?
Clearly, it is not. The overriding concept is that, like all training methods, training to failure is a tool. No tool should be used all the time for all applications. But used judiciously, it can be a useful training method. Any training program which plans for progressive resistance, consistency, and variation is likely to produce success.

Recommendations
1) Plan and document your training. If your best effort in the bench press is 225 for five sets of five repetitions, your goal should be to surpass that effort- either by getting five more pounds for 5x5, or by getting a greater volume with the same weight. When you do, you'll progress, even if you don't go to failure on each and every set. Keeping a training log is a must in order to know what barriers you're trying to surpass. Use one!

2) Use and apply strictly defined technique parameters for yourself. Cheating (by utilizing co-contraction from non-targeted muscles) only encourages inefficient movement patterns, poor posture, and potentially, injuries. Your technique on the last rep should be identical to the technique you use on the first repetition.

3) Progress is a function of gradually increasing your training load over time- not how "trashed" you feel after a workout.

4) Careful attention to acute program variables can have a big impact on how much volume you can comfortably tolerate. Here are two examples:

a) Muscles can be worked more thoroughly by first training in an unstable environment (i.e, free weights) which challenge the stabilizers, and then moving to a stable environment (i.e, machines). To test this for yourself, first do a set of dumbbell bench presses to fatigue. Next, load a barbell with the same weight, and immediately do a set. You will find that you can lift this weight, despite failure on the DB bench. Next, go to a machine bench press, load it with the same weight, and you'll find that you can continue even further. This phenomenon is an example of "stabilizer failure"; meaning that the motor cortex will limit neural drive to the prime movers when it senses that the body is unable to stabilize a load. This phenomenon has vast implications for the majority of trainees who primarily work prime movers through machine exercises only.

b) Because fatigue is specific5, greater workloads are possible if sets of contrasting exercises are performed back to back, as opposed to finishing all sets for a particular exercise before proceeding to the next. As an example, if you plan to perform bench presses and lat pulldowns in the same session, sets 1,3,5, etc., would be bench presses, and sets 2,4,6, etc., would be lat pulldowns. The more distant the two muscle groups are from one another, the greater the reduction in residual fatigue. Still another method of reducing fatigue is to alternate between low repetition sets, which fatigue primarily the nervous system, with high repetition sets, which fatigue primarily the metabolic system. The low repetition sets facilitate greater neural drive, which carries over to the high repetition set, allowing a greater overall workload to be performed.

c) Except for beginners, a linear progressions of training load, where the athlete attempts to add resistance each and every workout, result in early stagnation and loss of improvement. A more productive approach is a "three steps up, one step down approach" which allows for periodic regeneration and continued improvement.

5) For hypertrophy development, remember that muscles consist of more than just contractile fibers. Use a variety of repetition ranges to stimulate all elements of the muscle cell- including sarcoplasmic volume, capillary density, and mitochondria proliferation. (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy)

6) It is especially important to recognize the qualitative components of a good set- elements such as the feel, control, and overall mastery of the movement. Over-reliance on achieving the maximum number of repetitions at any cost is an invitation to injury and long-standing technique errors. A useful guideline is "Once you find yourself cheating, you're already beyond failure!"

7) Stick to conventional or "basic" training methods until they no longer yield results. If your neuromuscular system experiences every strength training method known to science in your first year of training, what will you do when you hit a plateau? Save "advanced" methods, such as partial repetitions, eccentric training, and ballistic methods for later, when you're advanced.

Training to Failure: Traditional and Revised Definitions
The majority of trainees define training to failure as continuing a set of repetitions (including both the concentric and eccentric portions of the rep) until no further repetitions are possible without a considerable erosion of form, or assistance from a partner, or both. Frequently, after concentric failure is reached, the trainee will continue the set, either by cheating (utilizing co-contraction from additional muscle groups), or with the help of a partner by either 1) completing a certain number of eccentric-emphasized reps, 2) performing "forced reps" (ie., utilizing help on both the concentric and eccentric portions of the reps), or performing "strip sets," meaning, the partner continues to reduce the weight on the bar until no further repetitions can be completed.

Other authors have rightly pointed out the fact that failure is specific to fiber type. As an example, you may select a heavy weight, and reach failure after performing 3 repetitions. While no further repetitions are possible with this weight, it would still be possible to lower the weight (as in a strip-set) and continue even further.

Olympic lifters terminate their sets when the ideal tempo and/or coordination erodes beyond acceptable parameters. For this reason, Olympic lifters rarely if ever utilize spotters, even on their heaviest maximum attempts, since (at least in theory) the worst thing that can happen is that the last rep will be slower than desired.

Is One Set Really Enough?
Many proponents of the "one set to failure" method justify their claims by suggesting that one set is sufficient to recruit a maximal number of motor units. While this may be true (although there is little solid data to support this statement), this approach assumes that simply recruiting a motor unit once is sufficient to fatigue it, which is a prerequisite to hypertrophic adaptations. For beginning trainees, it may be that single exposures to a training stimulus are sufficient to provoke an adaptation. But athletes with even moderate experience are likely to require multiple exposures (sets) in order to fatigue the target motor units9. Hypertrophy of other biological tissues is accomplished not by stressing the tissue close to its limits, but by applying a stress which is slightly beyond what it normally encounters. Bone, as an example, hypertrophies when a force equalling approximately one-tenth it's breaking point is applied. This example supports the contention that gradual progression is the ideal method for achieving muscular growth.


http://www.timinvermont.com/fitness/failure.htm
 

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Advanced Training Techniques For Growth
These methods should be used to mix-up your workout so that you can grow. Don't use these methods every time you train or you will end up overtraining.

Stripping (Requires a spotting partner)
Example: While doing a 225 pound bench press you are able to get 8 good reps out. After your eighth rep your spotting partner takes 20 to 40 lbs off of the bar and you continue your reps until you can't go any further. Your spotting partner takes off another 20 to 40 lbs and you continue until failure.

This is a really intense way of lifting and you shouldn't do more than 1 to 2 sets using this method during a workout session.

Negative Reps (Requires a spotting partner)
Load the bar using more weight than you would use normally. Lower the weight under your own power and have your spotting partner help you lift the weight to the starting position. A person has more strength in the negative portion (lowering) of an exercise. Do a few reps and your muscles will start to burn from the lactic acid. Rack the weight.

Don't abuse this exercise because it can lead to over training. This is a really intense way of lifting and you shouldn't do more than 1 to 2 sets using this method during a workout session.

Partial Reps or Burns (Doesn't require a spotter)
You're in the middle of an exercise and you get to the last rep and you can't go any further. Using partial reps you continue to bring up the weight as far as you can (a few inches) and then lower it. Get out 5 or 6 more reps if you can. This will work the muscle until it burns. This burn means you have stimulated many of your muscle fibers.
 

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Ten Most Common Causes of Training Injury
by Marty Gallagher, Muscle and Fitness, June 1996


Weight training isn't a picnic or a walk in the park; it's sweaty, gut busting work that, if done correctly, has you treading the thin line between growth and injury. If you train intensely - the only kind of training that stimulates growth - you continually flirt with muscle damage. Rubbing up against the danger zone is where the muscular gains lie.

Injury is always just ahead for the careless weight trainer. There's something inherently dangerous about pushing, tugging and straining against cold, hard iron with all your might. But how else are you going to stimulate those gains? Because the quickest way to sidetrack progress or derail a bodybuilding career is through debilitating injury, you need to be a bit clairvoyant, learning to avoid injuries before they happen. You can accomplish this by listening to your body's feedback and then making the appropriate adjustments. Here are the 10 most common causes of injury - let the bodybuilder beware.

1. Incorrect Technique
The most common weight training injuries are related to poor exercise technique. Incorrect technique can pull, rip or wrench a muscle, or tear delicate connective tissue quicker than you can strike a match. An out of control barbell or stray dumbbell can wreak havoc in an instant.

Each human body has very specific biomechanical pathways. Arms and legs can only move in certain ways, particularly if you're stress loading a limb with weight. Strive to become a technical perfectionist and respect the integrity of the exercise - no twisting, turning or contorting while pushing a weight. Either make the rep using perfect technique or miss the weight. Learn how to miss a rep safely; learn how to bail out.

2. Too Much Weight
Using too much weight in an exercise is a high risk proposition rife with injury potential. When it's too much: if you can't control a weight as you lower it; if you can't contain a movement within its biomechanical boundaries; and if you have to jerk or heave a weight in order to lift it.

An unchecked barbell or dumbbell assumes a mind of its own; the weight obeys the laws of gravity and seeks the floor. Anything in its way (or attached to it) is in danger.

3. Bad Spotting
If you lift long enough, you'll eventually reach a point where you need to have a spotter for a number of exercises, including the squat and bench press. When you work as hard as you're supposed to, you occasionally miss a rep. Nothing is wrong with that - it's a sign that you're working to your limit, which is a good thing if it isn't overdone. Yet when you work this hard, you need competent spotters. A good spotter should conduct him or herself at all times as though the lifter is on the verge of total failure. Your training partner can also lend a gentle touch that allows you to complete a rep you'd normally miss. A top spotter needs to be strong, sensitive and ever alert to the possibility of failure - not looking around or joking with friends.

4. Incorrect Use of Cheating
Cheating and forced reps are advanced techniques that allow the lifter to train beyond normal. Taken past the point of failure, the muscle is literally forced to grow. When incorrectly performed, a cheating or forced rep can push or pull the lifter out of the groove. The weight collapses and a spotter must come to the rescue.

Cheating movements work; real world data prove this statement. Yet cheating, by definition, is dangerous. Any time you use momentum to artificially goose rep speed, thus allowing you to handle more poundage than when using strict techniques, you risk injury. To play if safe, use the bare minimum cheat to complete the rep. On forced reps, make sure your training partner is on your wave length. Don't go crazy.

5. Training Too Often
How does overtraining relate to injury? It negatively impacts the body's overall level of strength and conditioning. Overtraining saps energy, retarding progress. You can't grow when you're overtrained. It also interferes with both the muscles and the nervous system's ability to recuperate - ATP (adenosine triphosphate, an energy compound in the cells) and glycogen stores are severely depleted when an agitated metabolic status is present. In such a depleted, weakened state, is it any wonder that injury is common, particularly if the athlete insists on handling big weights? The solution is to cut back to 3-4 training sessions per week and keep session length to no more than an hour.

6. Not Stretching
Stretching is different from warming up. Properly performed, a stretch helps relax and elongate a muscle after warm up and before and after weight training. As a result of warming up and stretching, the muscle is warm, loose and neurologically alert - in its most pliable and injury resistant state. In addition, stretching between sets actually helps build muscle by promoting muscular circulation and increasing the elasticity of the fascia casing surrounding the muscle. Finally, if you perform muscle specific stretches at the end of your workout, you'll virtually eliminate next day soreness.

7. Inadequate Warm Up
Let's define our terms. A warm up is usually a high rep, low intensity, quick paced exercise used to increase blood flow to the muscle. This quick, light movement raises the temperature of the involved muscle while decreasing blood viscosity and promoting flexibility and mobility. How? Everyone knows that a warm muscle with blood coursing through it is more elastic and pliable than a cold, stiff muscle. Riding a stationary bike, jogging, swimming, stair climbing and some high rep weight training are recommended forms of warming up.

Try a 5-10 minute formalized warm up before stretching. If you choose high rep weight training, try 25 ultralight, quick reps in the following nonstop sequence: calf raise, squat, leg curl, crunch, pull down, bench press and curl. Do one set each with no rest between sets. This can be accomplished in fewer than five minutes and warms every major muscle in the body.

8. Negatives
Negative (eccentric, or lowering) reps are one of the most difficult and dangerous of all weight training techniques - and very effective at stimulating muscle growth. What makes negatives so risky? The poundage you can handle in negative exercises is likely to be the heaviest you'll ever lift.

Normally, we only lift what we're capable of moving concentrically. In negative training, we handle a lot more weight. Most bodybuilders can control approximately 130% of their concentric maximum on the eccentric phase of a lift. Someone using 200 pounds for reps in the bench press, for example, would bench roughly 260 in the negative press. Because of the increased weight used with negatives, you need strong, experienced spotters. Exercise extreme caution. If the rep gets away from you, the spotters need to grab the weight immediately.

9. Poor Training
If you undereat and continue to train hard and heavy, you're likely to get hurt. Again, it relates to your overall health: Before heavy training when in a weakened state brought on by severe dieting or restricted eating. It's best to save the big weights, low reps, forced reps and negatives for nondiet growth periods. While dieting requires reduced poundage, this doesn't mean you can't be intense in your workout - it just means you need to use lighter weight.

10. Lack of Concentration
If you're distracted, preoccupied or lackadaisical when you work out, you're inviting injury. Watch a champion bodybuilder train and one thing you'll notice is his or her intense level of concentration. This is developed over time, and the athlete systematically develops a preset mental checklist that allows him or her to focus on the task at hand. More concentration equates to more poundage. More poundage equates to more growth. More poundage can lead to getting hurt if you don't pay attention. Train smart.
 

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Machines Versus Free Weights
The Advantages of Machines:

They are great for beginners because they are safe and easy to use.
Machines guide your body through a certain range of motion.
You don't have to worry about balancing the weight as much as with free weights.
Machines don't require as much coordination.
Machines isolate each muscle group.
Machines let you get in a fast workout. You go through a circuit of machines and then you are finished.
Machines are usually arranged so that you work large muscle groups and then smaller muscle groups.

The Disadvantages of Machines:

Machines don't fit everybody. They can be hard to adjust.
Machines don't build as much balance or coordination.
Machines can put your body into a bad range of motion. (If you feel uncomfortable move onto another machine.)
Machines are not portable. They can't be moved around very easily.
Many bodybuilders believe that working out with machines alone doesn't build a very good body.

The Advantages of Free Weights:

Free weights are versatile. One set of dumbells can be used for many exercises.
Free weights build better balance and coordination.
Free weights work your muscles in a way that matches real life.
Many bodybuilders primarily use free weights to gain their massive size.
Free weights allow you to strengthen muscles and tendons that wouldn't get much work when using machines.

The Disadvantages of Free Weights:

Free weights can be difficult because of the balance and coordination required.
A free weight workout will take longer than a machine workout.
You can get injured easier using free weights.
 

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The Top 10 Super Foods
Following is an article by Dr. Bill Misner from National Bodybuilding and Fitness Magazine



Calorie-empty, processed, packaged, or long shelf-life foods have taken the place of eating whole, raw, micronutrient-rich foods over the last 50 years. Precious loss of vitamins, minerals, natural enzymes and fiber from both soil depletion and man-made packaging or processing have lowered both the quality of nutrients as well as the benefits to health.

The National Cancer Institute recommends a minimum of 5 servings of a combination of vegetables and fruits per day in order to decrease the rate of all forms of cancer in the U.S.A. (Block1991). Dietary data from 8181 subjects in the USDA's 1989-1991 Continuing Surveys of Food Intakes showed that only 32% of American adults meet the mean intake of 4.3 servings fruit and vegetables per day. (Krebs-Smith SM et al., 1995) These results suggest a need for individuals to overcome whatever barriers hinder them from eating at least 5.0 servings per day minimum (Patterson et al., 1990).

Scientists became interested in what foods, especially foods rich in phyton and antioxidant "neutriceuticals," contributed to health, energy, and recovery from the modern stresses of living. As scientists studied what caused "health", I.E. lack of disease, they noticed a remarkable correlation between people who regularly ate fruits, vegetables, and other foods high in certain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fiber. Some scientists have hypothesized that food-absorbed antioxidants, for example, occur at a higher rate than supplemental antioxidants by themselves. Chelated vitamins are absorbed at 60% of their base values, while only 10-15% of non-chelated are absorbed.

Adding a total of 5 servings of either fresh vegetables or fruits to supplement intake may raise absorption rates and overall effective in the Public Interest (CSPI) has a good ranking system for foods, as did Sharon Yntema in her book, Vegetarian Baby. Both publications rated the better foods higher based on their natural content of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

The rating system below is based on the author's viewpoint (Natural Fiber is given higher value as are several other factors). However these "Top Ten" are similar to CSPI's rating lists, and those reported by Yntema (1991). The rating is based on total vitamin, mineral, and fiber content.

TOP 10 VEGETABLES
Sweet Potato
Spinach
Kale and Collard Greens
Carrots
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Potato
Peas
Tomato
Artichoke
TOP 10 FRUITS
Papaya
Strawberries
Canteloupe
Tangerines
Mango
Apricots
Persimmons
Peaches
Watermelons
Pineapple
Dr. James Balch (1990) stated it best, "Although most people are used to eating almost all cooked foods, fruits and vegetables should be eaten raw as much as possible. Vitamins and enzymes are extremely sensitive to heat and are destroyed in the cooking process."

Dietary Fiber scours the intestinal walls of pollutants, waste products, cholesterol, and enhances weight control by improving mean fecal transit time. Fiber was weighted emphatically in the above food ratings. It is the opinion of this author that daily values (dv) of 25 grams fiber per day is not enough. The suggested dietary intake for optimal recovery, health, and quality of life is 0.5 grams to 1.0 grams per kilogram body weight. The stomach contents of our healthy Paleolithic ancestors, as measured by Eaton and Konner (1985), showed nearly double the fiber as compared to averages of the modern American today.

The notion that our depleted "natural" foods have, in tact, the biochemistry to potentiate the absorption and application of supplemental vitamins and minerals is gaining popularity amidst a sea of research studies. To prove this hypothesis would mean to measure thousands of people over at least ten years time, assuming they were eating all the necessary natural nutrients (fiber, vitamins, and minerals), in addition to their complimentary supplemental vitamins and minerals.

Until this happens, perhaps the best way to create "deep-tissue micronutrient permeation" is to take post-workout supplements with a "Top Ten" Natural Vegetable or Fruit!
 

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WATER, drink it!!

Water is often overlooked and it's importance cannot be overstated. Water is the most important nutrient in our body. The health benefits of water are just too numerous to go without mention. Drinking water for health and especially for our purpose, building muscle is a very important topic and shouldn't be neglected. Water is the most critical nutrient for health, growth, and development. Water is also the most abundant nutrient in the body, not to mention the most important.


The importance of drinking water for health and building muscle cannot be overstated. Without enough water and other fluids, you'll die within the week. Although water does not provide energy in the same way carbohydrates and fat do, it plays a very important role in energy transformation. Water is the medium in which all energy reactions take place. Therefore, you need to drink a lot of water for health, stamina, fuel, and building muscle. Drinking water for health is an important aspect of building muscle. Why? Water is everywhere in your body, sort of like a river flowing through your arteries, veins, and capillaries carrying nutrients to your cells and transporting waste out of the body.


Water basically fills every space in your body and helps form the structures of protein and glycogen. For more information on the benefit of drinking water, please click here. Drinking water for health- Muscle and water


In order to move muscle, you need water. Muscle is considered an active tissue and water is found in the highest concentrations in active tissue. If your body is dehydrated, chances are you're not going to have a very productive weight lifting session. Why? Your muscles are deprived of electrolytes.

Muscles are controlled by nerves.


The electrical stimulation of nerves and contraction of muscles are the result of the exchange of electrolyte minerals dissolved in water.
It's essential that you drink water for health and building muscle. Without enough water, your muscles are not getting enough electrolytes. Muscle strength and control are weakened. If you want to build muscle, than you must keep your body well hydrated.
Water also helps out with the lubrication of your joints. Water is an ingredient in the makeup of the synovial fluid, which is the lubricating fluid between your joints. If your weight lifting diet is lacking in water, even for a brief period, less fluid is available to protect these areas.
As you add more weight and stress to your body, the demands from weight lifting on the joints will increase. Adequate protective fluid is essential for optimum performance and to give longer life to your joints. Believe me, once your joints go, its never the same.


Drinking water for health- how much water do you need


You need a minimum 8 to 12 cups of water per day and even more to replace the fluid you lose during exercise. Depending on your size and perspiration rate, you lose about four cups of water per hour of exercise. If you are working out in a mild climate, you are probably losing about 4 to 8 cups of water through perspiration. If you are working out in a hot climate, you can easily lose a lot more and therefore, dehydrate very quickly. If you don't replenish your fluid loss during exercise, you will tire very quickly and your performance will be poor. If you don't replenish after exercise, your performance on the following days will suffer.

Drinking water for health- beware of the warning signs of dehydration


-Sore throat, dry cough, and a hoarse voice are all signs of dehydration

-Check your urine. Should be odorless and relatively clear. If it's golden or deep color with a strong odor, you're dehydrated and you need more water

-A burning sensation in your stomach can be a sign of dehydration

-Muscle cramps may also be a sign of dehydration

-Fatigue

-Headache

-Dry skin

-Cold feet and hands


Drinking water for health- best sources of water


Drinking water for health and building muscle must come from clean sources. The easiest way to get water is right from your faucet. But reports of contaminated tap water are of concern to many people, including me. The water in some areas contains contaminants such as chlorine, pesticides, lead, fluoride, mercury, viruses and other harmful substances. A good move is to buy a water purifier, which filters lead and other contaminants from tap water. Some filters attach right onto the tap and others can be installed as part of an entire water system. There are other systems such as reverse osmosis drinking water systems that you may want to investigate for better quality of drinking water. Regardless of what type water you drink for health, be sure to drink 8 to 12 cups or more fluids you need daily to stay well hydrated.

Drinking water for health- water schedule


You need to drink water for health at regular intervals regardless if your thirsty or not. Keeping well hydrated is a must if you want to build muscle. Drinking water for health and building muscle is just too important and the benefits cannot be overstated.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Drink at least two cups of water upon awaking. Your body is in a dehydrated state after a long sleep and needs water. To ensure that you are getting enough fluids throughout the day, drink 8 to 12 cups of water throughout the day. Drinking water for health-Before exercise
Drink at least 2 cups of water two to three hours before exercise and 1 cup of water immediately before exercise. In very hot or cold temperatures, you will need even more water, usually 2 cups immediately before exercise.


Drinking water for health-During exercise


Drink one cup of water for every 15 minutes of exercise and more in extreme temperatures. Make regular water breaks a part of your training.

Drinking water for health-After exercise

Drink 2 to 3 cups of water within two hours after exercise. Continue to drink and additional 30 to 50 percent more fluid for the next 3 to 4 hours.


It is very important that drink water for health and that you keep your body well hydrated. Even a small, temporary shortage of water can impair your body's functions. If your muscles become dehydrated by only a small fraction, you lose a certain amount of contractile strength and speed.


For those of you who are intersted in losing weight, I found this very interesting web page about drinking water and losing weight:

Drink water to lose weight


Water balance is a very important aspect for building muscle and the maintenance of good health. The benefits of drinking water for health and building muscle are just too numerous to point out. Remember to drink a lot of water for health and building muscle!!


For more information regarding water consumption and health, see Supplecity.com
 

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The posts may seem to be a little disorganized, and I am sorry for that cause, however, I hope you enjoy the thread as much as I do because I know it will help a lot of people with their questions. I put this thread together for people that just wanted a quick read, but a quick read that is good to know. The comments, can start flowing because I'm done posting info for this thread. (However, if I come across a pretty cool article, I'll post it.) You can request a specific idea and I could try to find you one. Happy Reading!!!
 

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