Get More From Your Workouts Through Muscle Confusion

June 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bodybuilder Tips

“I’m confused–what is Muscle Confusion and is it really important?”

Muscle confusion or cross training prevents plateaus

Muscle confusion or cross training prevents plateaus

Your body has an amazing ability to adapt and your muscles are no exception–they quickly become accustomed to workout routines.  That is
why the training principle of muscle confusion is so powerful, it prevents plateaus in your training and keeps your muscles growing.  By changing your  workout routine and adding variety on a daily basis, your muscles cannot become “bored” thus forcing your muscles to devlope faster than any other training method.  Performing the same workouts over and over can also cause your weight loss to stall so if weightloss is your goal, then muscle confusion should be your best friend.

Muscle confusion keeps your body guessing.  Muscle confusion is basically another way of describing Cross Training.   Cross training means you

are doing several different workouts in the same week.  For example, on Monday you may run, Tuesday – bike, Wednesday, swim, and so forth.  With weightlifting it is the same, on certain days, you exercise your arms and shoulders, another day the focus may be your legs, and another day you may be working on  your back or abs.  Cross training develops an overall balanced body that is strong in all areas.  For example, consider a workout routine that only involves biking a hilly terrain four times a week.  This routine would certainly result in strong legs and an increase in overall cardiovascular fitness and lung capacity.  However, the rest of the body is missing out.  Core exercises, balance, and strength training could all improve the efficiency and performance of the cycling.

p90x-small

P90X workout Program

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Changing exercises on a regular basis is also beneficial in that it helps prevent overuse injuries which stem from performing the same repetetive exercises.

A very popular system that emphasizes the Muscle Confusion Principle is Tony HOrtons P90x system.  I watched the videos prior to
working out along with them and I though to myself–that looks easy enough, I should be able to do that, no problem.
Then I got down to business and tried them out.  These workouts are not your everyday off-the-shelf workout video.  They are
kick butt workouts!  They are tough, but with consistency, they become easier and they provide results. The workouts are scientifically designed
to provide maximum results.  They also offer fun and variety.  If you want to get results and avoid plateaus which lead to muscle hydrotrophy, then P90x may be right for you.  Click here to learn more about or order the P90x system (this is the best price I could find on the web–if you find a better price, please email me.)

Supplements 101: Why Every Bodybuilder Requires Protein

May 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Bodybuilder Tips

588-supplementsYou’ve seen it – advertisements on television or in magazines which proclaim: “Phenomenal muscle gains in six weeks,”  “Super Growth Enhancer,” or even “Gain Strength – Lose Body!” More often than not, these are common advertisements for supplements used by bodybuilders. Be they pills, powders or liquids, supplements are a business — more so, a BIG business in the fitness industry. Bodybuilders often result to the use supplements in combination with their workout simply because supplements offer them that extra edge. For the serious day-in and day-out bodybuilder, the one who enters those contests you see on daytime ESPN broadcasts or in the bodybuilding magazines, they likely do provide a slight advantage. However, this is only true if the supplements are used correctly and if they happen to work well with the particular bodybuilder’s body chemistry.

But as for the average John (or Jane) Doe, their effectiveness remains to be questioned. While the average Joe can get a little help from supplements, they’re not for everybody. The main thing that increases muscle size is lifting weights, and the main thing that causes fat loss is proper diet and aerobic exercise.

There are hundreds of supplements on the market designed for various purposes. For the bodybuilder, the most widely sold supplements always revolve around their protein intake. Protein supplements are designed to add muscle mass. They provide bodybuilders with increased strength and energy during workouts, as well as act as fat burners to enhance the bodybuilder’s metabolism.

Most proteins can be found in a well-balanced diet. They are basically the same as what you would find in milk, eggs (whites only), meat, poultry and fish. However, if your diet is lacking these essential foods, you have the option to purchase powdered protein drinks which are basically raw protein. The stimulants are high-powered carbohydrates which give bodybuilders an extra boost to get through a tough workout.

If you find that you don’t have the time or desire to mix powdered drinks, there are many different kinds of protein drinks on the market, most already in liquid form. Consider them a sports drink like Gatorade, yet on steroids as they contain more carbohydrates in one serving.

Whichever form of protein you choose, understand that in order to receive its benefits you must participate in a workout that allows you to make use of the added amounts of protein in your system. Drinking a protein shake or popping protein pills will not be effective nor lend itself to any results if you’re flopping on the couch shortly after. Combine the proper protein supplement intake with a well balanced diet and workout regimen and you’ll be on your way to increasing your muscle mass in no time.

The Bodybuilder’s Guide to Progressive Weight Training

May 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Bodybuilder Tips

588-bodybuilder-weight-trainingThe key to progressive weight training is training to failure. That means selecting a weight heavy enough that when you complete the last repetition of a set, you cannot do another repetition of the exercise. When you have trained to the point where the final repetition is easy to perform, it is time to add more weight. When this is true of all the exercises you are performing, it is time to advance to the next stage of the program. Try to train with a partner. Training with a partner of your own level and ability will help your progress tremendously. Not only is the extra enthusiasm helpful, but a partner will help spot the weight for you, and will help watch your form.

Here, briefly, are some general principles to keep in mind when weight training:

• Do stretch and warm-up exercises before beginning each weight training session. Cool down after each training session.

• Begin your exercise program by starting with your hardest or least liked exercise.

• Isolate the muscle group you are arousing and concentrate on that group throughout the exercise.

• Vary your exercises and change your order of exercise periodically so you do not fall into training ruts.

• Breathe throughout each exercise. Inhale through your-nose and exhale through your mouth. Exhale when pushing or pulling the weight or at the point of maximum exertion; inhale when returning to starting position. Please note: Individuals who have sinus or nose-related problems should inhale and exhale through their mouths.

• Take small sips of water throughout the training period. Do not drink a large amount of water at one time. Also, avoid drinking extremely cold or hot water. Anything extremely hot or cold may cause cramping or abdominal discomfort.

• Move slowly when getting into or out of an exercise position. Use your hands to push yourself up from a sitting to a standing position.

• Never lift anything from the floor without bending your knees. In general, always have a small bend in your arms and legs.

• As a rule, always lower weight more slowly than you raise it.

• If possible, watch yourself in a mirror during all exercises. Watch your form and make sure you are pulling and pushing evenly.

• Fix your eyes on a particular spot so you can look straight ahead when doing all exercises.

• If you ever feel dizzy, stop the exercise, lie down, and raise your feel, slightly.

• Conclude each exercise by tensing the specific muscle group that you have been exercising. These tension exercises will pump more blood into the particular muscle.  If you find your arms are doing most of the work, try doing your arm exercises first. This routine will pre-exhaust your smaller muscle groups, forcing you to isolate the larger muscles.

The only way your body is going to learn how to build muscle is if you train it to. Progressive weight training requires you to train your body to go harder, longer, and stronger with every repetition. This takes time to build upon, but it can be done.

Train, Don’t Strain Your Body: A Word of Advice for Beginning Bodybuilders

May 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Bodybuilder Tips

Considering the fads about eating that surround bodybuilding it might be proper to say that a person on such a fad could be eating his way to a heart attack. Some bodybuilders mistakenly think you have to eat rich foods that contain a lot of fat and to restrict your endurance activity such as running. That is not necessary and is ill advised.

When you’re working out, keep in mind that the body breaks food down and reassembles it for growth or uses it for energy. If you want to grow a pound of lean muscle the best food for it is a pound of lean muscle, such as round steak. If your body is stimulated by exercise to increase its muscle size one pound and you eat a pound of lean round steak, the body will use that muscle protein from beef to build your muscle protein. The proteins in beef or muscle from any animal are about the same as the protein in your body muscles.

The average growing male requires 56 grams of protein a day and there are 100 grams of protein in each new pound of muscle you grow. All of which means if you consume 100 grams of good protein a day from milk, or dairy products and from the meat group you will be getting plenty of protein to build all the new muscles your exercise program can support.

The other requirement then is to eat enough calories so you won’t need to use the protein in your food for energy to run your body. You can get those calories from vegetables, fruit or cereals so you can eat a good wholesome balanced diet for your program without resorting to fads or supplements.

In general you need to work out about every other day, or three days a week with a day of rest between workout days. And the most important feature of your work out is to select the right weight, one you can lift easily three times in succession but have difficulty lifting nine times. By progressively increasing the weight you have to lift you can stimulate your muscles to increase in size. When you’re just starting out on a workout plan, it’s best to wait until the skeleton matures to do really heavy lifting. That means you should not try lifting weights in excess of your own body weight. Instead, build up to more heavier weights. You’ll end up with a better body if you don’t do too much too soon. And remember you should train — don’t strain. The end result is a lot more satisfactory.

Excessive Vitamins Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

May 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Bodybuilder Tips

Many Americans consume vitamins for a host of reasons. Some to lose weight, others to gain it, and then there are those who require vitamins to provide them with much needed nutrients which they don’t receive from the regular diet. In the case of bodybuilders, many injest supplements in the hopes of increasing muscle mass amongst a host of other reasons. However, taking too many vitamins at one time can be deadly, yet many people do this on a daily basis in the hopes that they’ll get that extra kick!

An overdose of vitamin and mineral supplements occurs usually because consumers are unaware that excessive amounts of vitamins can be deadly due to the fact that they are toxic (poisonous) in large quantities.

Many people still believe that if one tiny vitamin is good for you, then a lot must be better. As a result, they take large quantities of substances that are only meant to be effective in small amounts.

Contrary to the implied benefits listed on supplement bottles, there is little scientific evidence that supports the idea that vitamin and mineral pills will prevent cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and a host of other diseases.

American’s consumption of vitamin and mineral supplements is soaring on a daily basis. As a result, the potential for them to overdose is increasing as well. Many people consume more than the recommended daily amount of nutrients your body requires.

There are five instances when supplements prove to be helpful:

1.) For pregnant or lactating women
2.) Women who suffer from excessive menstrual bleeding
3.) Strict vegetarians
4.) Those who are undertaking a low calorie diet
5.) Individuals whose nutritional needs are altered either by the medication they take or an illness

As for everyone else, one daily multivitamin, or a single nutritional supplement should do the trick. Safe intake levels of vitamins vary from person to person, as well as being dependent upon the age of the individual ingesting it.

Overdosing on vitamins such as A, B, C, and D, as well as the minerals selenium and zinc raise the most concern. If you’re overdosing on vitamins in the hopes of bulking up faster, understand that too much of any vitamin or supplement can be fatal. Consuming nutrients from food will not put you at risk as overdosing or improperly using supplements can. It’s best to seek the advice of a healthcare professional before undertaking any vitamin regimen.

Bodybuilding Myths Debunked

May 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Bodybuilder Tips

Bodybuilding by “pumping iron” has been touted as the best way to promote physical fitness and sports prowess. But is all that muscle really healthy? This question depends on whom you ask.  Musclemen, and the moneymakers of exercise machines and clubs tend to give you one answer. Doctors, coaches and scientists tend to give a more careful reply. But most all the experts do agree that we should debunk outright at least two myths about bodybuilding:

Bodybuilding Myth #1:  “Oh, he looks great now, but wait. All that muscle will turn to flab.”

This myth is nonsense. You might as well say it will turn into bone. They are all distinct tissues and cannot interchange. What does happen is that if the weight trainer decides to quit, he will continue to eat the way he did before. Instead, you’ve got to cut the calories correspondingly, or you’ll get flab.

Bodybuilding Myth #2: “He looks beautiful, but he is so muscle-bound he couldn’t tie his shoe, much less play tennis.”

Body building doesn’t interfere with you playing sports. In fact, there are no sports in which one doesn’t benefit from having some sort of strength. But after the debunking comes the debating. Part of the problem is defining the term “bodybuilding.” The basic layperson takes it to mean the lifting of heavy weights to produce a body-oh-so-beautiful, a Mr. Olympia. By this definition, the medical profession tends to find the practice one-dimensional, and sometimes downright dangerous.

Instead, we want one easy answer. The truth is, lifting weights is good for only one thing, increasing strength. For balanced health you must include aerobic exercises for the heart and lungs—running, swimming, cycling. And you must include a sound nutritional program to be physically fit.

Weight lifting can be dangerous for people with high blood pressure. A reading can fluctuate suddenly up to 270. For those who suffer from high blood pressure, consider swimming or jogging instead. Bodybuilding does not mean just lifting weights. It means many types of exercises and training methods to improve the body, make it faster, stronger, and fitter. And it is not directed just to looking like somebody in the magazines. It can be used for sports training or for health and fitness. It can also be used for building self-confidence; for restructuring bad features of the body; for releasing negative energy to overcome frustrations, and for mental strength by setting and achieving goals. You decide what you want from bodybuilding, and you carefully follow a program to achieve it, whether you are a woman who wants to increase her bust measurement, or a man concerned about his heart and lungs.