Should You Lift Fast Or Slow?

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You are lifting and one bro comes in and states: “Yo bro, you lifting too fast. You gotta go slower to increase time under tension!” The next day another bro comes in: ” Yo bro, you doing it all wrong. You gotta explode up fast in order increase explosive power!” This leaves you confused and you just go home shaking your head: “WTF?”

One of the basic questions that people lifting weights ask themselves is: How fast should I lift? In order to be able to answer that question, we have to look at some basic terminology and analyze the different stages of a repetition (rep) first. Then we will go into the different arguments whether rep speed matters and if so, how fast should you perform a lift.

There are two words that are important for this discussion:

  •  Rep tempo: how fast you lift
  •  Time under tension: how long each set of reps lasts.

The individual rep can be broken down into four parts:

  1. The starting position: this is the position where you have the weights when you are starting the rep. For example in a dumbbell bench press, this would be when you have the upper part of your arms parallel to the floor, the elbows are bent at 90 degrees and pointing up.
  2. The ending position: this is the position where you finish the rep. For example in a dumbbell bench press, this would be when your arms are extended straight up in the air and you have finished the movement.
  3. The concentric (positive) portion of the rep: this is the lifting part of the rep and you are moving the weights from the starting position to the ending position and experiencing resistance. In a dumbbell bench press, this is when you are moving the weights up.
  4. The eccentric (negative) portion of the rep: this is the lowering part of the rep and you are moving the weights from the ending position back to the starting position. In a dumbbell bench press, this is when you are lowering the weights.

The speed of reps is often measured by giving 3 numbers, for example 2-1-2, meaning speed on the concentric phase, time of pause up top, speed of eccentric phase.

There are some people who argue that you should lift slow, while others argue that you should lift fast. Even scientific studies are divided on this issue, with some showing results that support the slow camp, while other results support the fast camp. Some studies even came up with mixed results. For example a study on the velocity of weight training for kayak spring performance, had one group perform lifts at a slow speed, while another group was performing lifts at a fast speed.

The conclusions were: “Slow weight training is likely to be more effective than explosive training for improving the acceleration phase of sprinting, when force is high throughout the length of the stroke. Explosive weight training may be more effective in speed maintenance, when forces are developed rapidly over a short period at the start of the stroke.” So basically, both methods were good, they just differed on which portion of the race they were more beneficial for.
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How To Get To Where You Want To Be

road to your destination, how to gain weight

journey to gain weight, road, hill, bulk up

Where do you want to get? How can you get there? You have your hopes and dreams. Your brain knows where you want to be. You have your eye on the destination, yet it seems murky and far away.

In order to get to your desired destination you have to start with a single step. Whether big or small, this step is just the first of many.

All things in life require a journey. In order to get to where you want to be, you can take a number of different ways to get there. No way is the right way. It depends on what type of a person you are, what your starting point is, what your preferences are and a myriad of other things.

Let’s use the analogy of a hill to illustrate this. Your goal is to get to a destination on the other side of the hill, point C. In order to get there, people might start from different starting points, for example point A or point B.

road to your destination, how to gain weight

They might also prefer taking different paths to the same destination, which is point C for both. One person might prefer going the more challenging way of climbing the hill and then going down, another person might prefer going around the hill on the right side and doing the longer and more scenic way, while another person might prefer going on the left side (the shorter way), another might prefer going through the tunnel.

Even if someone takes the same path, the strategy might differ: some might try to run, while others will take a leisurely walk.

You see, there is no right path to a destination. There are a number of them. It depends on you which one you choose. What is important is starting the journey and then not getting lost along the way. 🙂

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How To Gain Weight: The Star Wars Edition

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It is a time of troubles. The Empire has taken over the Galaxy and you are the only one who can stop them. First however, you have to fight the demons within, in order to become the person you want to be.

You are embarking on an epic quest. One that will change your life for the better. You can take inspiration from the characters of Star Wars (the original trilogy) to conquer the universe, or at least be the master of your own domain. Luke Skywalker went from skinny moisture farmer to a powerful Jedi knight who brought down the Empire. You too can rise up from being a skinny nerf herder to a guy the size of Chewbacca (but not as hairy though 🙂 ). You too can use the wisdom of Yoda, Obi Wan Kenobi and other wise men (or wise guys 🙂 ) to guide your quest for getting bigger and gaining weight and lean muscle. However remember that this quest to gain weight will only be a side quest on the entire journey of transforming your life to become the master of the galaxy.

“May the Force be with you!”
Old Jedi saying

The Force is supposed to be an invisible energy field created by all living beings. It is similar to the concept of ch’i (or ki) in East Asian cultures. The Jedi use it to do incredible things. Unfortunately I cannot teach you how to use the Force, but I can give you some pointers on how to apply the principles behind it. In the Star Wars Universe, some beings are born with a natural sensibility to the Force, while others have to work hard to develop this sensibility. However for all beings, training is necessary in order to be able to harness the Force. In order to be able to use it, you need to train.

It is similar with training your muscles. Some people are born naturally big and have great genetics, so for them it doesn’t take too much effort to train and get big and muscular. For others, the ones that were not born big and have shitty genetics, it takes a lot more effort. You can get there too however.

Every journey begins with a first step. Whether it’s a long journey or a short journey, it doesn’t matter. You still need to take the first step. Many people hesitate on taking this first step and end up never taking it. You need to be strong and have faith. Whether you carefully prepare that first step, or plunge head first without thinking much, you are way ahead of most people already by actually having the courage to take it.

The journey will be difficult, but hopefully you will have luck on your side. We cannot escape from it, luck is a big part of our lives. However luck will never come, if you don’t give it a reason to come. And sometimes hard work can make luck happen. Hopefully luck, just like the Force, will be on your side.

Do not get discouraged on your journey. It will be hard and full of obstacles. Some people might start off later than you and surpass you, but you need to keep on going. Luke Skywalker also had to overcome many challenges in order to become a Jedi Master. He had to face his own fears by battling what he thought was Darth Vader, but ended up being himself. He failed that test. However he got back up and continued on the journey. You too may fail a few times, or suffer a few setbacks, the important thing is to get back up and continue in the same direction.

If you feel that the direction that you were heading in was not the right one, then it is ok to change it, as long as you continue moving forward. After all we all have different needs and goals and we cannot all be heading the same direction. However we do need to be heading in some direction, a direction that will fulfill us. For example if you decide one day that you don’t want to focus on size and getting bigger, but instead want to focus on strength and getting stronger, it is ok, you changed the direction you were heading in, but you are still continuing on your journey.

“You must unlearn what you have learned.”
Yoda

Unfortunately for many of us, our previous lifestyles have come with a bunch of baggage. This baggage weights down on us and prevents us from growing. One of the major obstacles here are our habits. We have developed many habits, which quite frankly are not very good. We might scrounge at our desks with a bad posture, we might have the habit of eating potato chips while watching the television or maybe we go a bit too wild and drink too much.

You need to unlearn all the bad habits that you have acquired. This is a very hard part of our journey, maybe even the hardest. We feel comfortable in our habits and don’t want to let go of them. However it is a necessary part of our journey, one that will be one of the pillars of success at the end. The strategy on doing this depends on what type of a person you are and what your preferences are. Some people may change from one day to another and do a complete turn around of their life really quickly. For some people it might take longer. They might need to take small steps. For example starting a few beneficial habits first, going with them and then piling a few more new beneficial habits on top of those.

The quote above also signifies a need for a new way of thinking about things. Sometimes we have negative perceptions of things. Some of these can be based on bad experiences. Sometimes we just make excuses why something cannot be done. So you need to change that. Instead of seeing the cup half empty, you might start seeing it half full. Instead of complaining how skinny and unhealthy you are, look at all the opportunities that are out there that will help you change that.

You also need to learn to do things differently. Try to be more efficient and effective. Experimenting is good, but you should observe carefully and note what works and what doesn’t. Then you should actually apply what you learned.

“Do…or do not! There is no try.”
Yoda

In order to achieve something you need to be committed to it. A half-assed effort won’t help you achieve your goal. In every gym, you can see those guys BSing around, going from one machine to another haphazardly, and then pushing out a few puny reps with bad form. If you see them at the gym a year later, you will notice that they have progressed very little and still look puny. Of course it’s better to do something than nothing, however that something needs to be done correctly. These guys have taken the first step, but have not followed up on it. They are trying, but not getting anywhere.

Yoda told Luke to use the Force to lift the X-Wing out of the swamp. Luke thought it was going to be impossible, but said that he was going to try. He tried, but was not committed, and ultimately failed. With Luke agitated, Yoda, with a calm demeanor, set out to work. Through the power of his mind and the use of the Force, he achieved something that Luke a few minutes ago thought was impossible.

You need to be smart about training and nutrition. It doesn’t really matter what type of a workout program you choose, as long as it respects a few basic principles and you adhere to it religiously without slacking off. The few basic principles that any training program for gaining weight and muscle needs to adhere to are:

  • lifting with correct form
  • progressive overload
  • cut down on the cardio
  • shorter workouts
  • plenty of rest

The number one advice is to lift with correct form. If you don’t, then you might get injured and your journey will end right there. In order to grow, you also need to keep on lifting heavier and heavier things. That’s how you will grow in size and strength. You should also cut down on the cardio and do shorter workouts in order not expend too much energy. You also need to get plenty of rest, as it is during resting that your body grows.

Also do not forget that eating is actually more important than exercise. In order for your body to grow, it needs the necessary nutrients to do so. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the building blocks for your body and you need to ingest a lot of them.

“Never tell me the odds!”
Han Solo

Some people might tell you to give up on your goals, because you are not built for it or some other reason. Don’t listen to them. Even scruffy looking nerf herders like Han Solo knew that the odds are just numbers and they can be overcome. You might have the odds stacked against you, but with hard (and especially smart) work, you can overcome them. The sense of achievement will give you ultimate confidence. At the end of that journey you can also become a master of witty remarks, just like Han Solo. Wisdom and wittiness can sometimes just be the opposite sides of the same coin. 🙂

“You will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi

Don’t get caught up in all the fitness battles that are happening out there. Many fitness gurus have their wisdoms that they try to preach, but often preach it in a way as if it was the only “truth”. Learn from them, but always keep an open mind. There is no such thing as the “truth” in fitness. Every person is different and what works for one person, does not work for another one. Everything depends on the point of view you take. Just like Obi-Wan Kenobi was both right and wrong at the same time, when explaining to Luke the story of his father, so are the people on this planet. Each person has their own experiences, beliefs and agendas, and all those have an influence on their actions. Remember this, when reading about the latest greatest workout, diet or supplement.

“Don’t give into the Dark Side!”
Old Jedi saying

And seriously don’t give into the Dark Side. Without pain, there is no gain. Don’t take steroids or similar things, just to get big muscles and gain weight fast. There will be negative side-effects and they can possibly mess you up bad. So stay away! Just like Obi-Wan and Yoda tried to instill in Luke the discipline needed in order to succeed, by taking the longer way, you should too. They could have taught him all the tips and tricks straight away, but that would have just made him cocky and would have led to the Dark Side and his own downfall. Instead he learned the hard way and had many “aha” moments on the way. That made him a stronger person and at the end was the key towards him defeating the Emperor.

gain weight, muscle

So take from this what you will. You don’t need an Imperial Stormtrooper telling you that yellow is yellow or green is green, or Yoda looking over you. You just need to apply a few common sense things and develop a plan to achieve what you want to achieve. Actually, on second thought, I think George Lucas was probably high when he came up with all those quotes above. 🙂 However it is of no importance of how all this came about, it is the message that matters, or rather how you interpret the message. If you interpret the message positively and apply its lesson, then you can be on your way to achieving great things. Maybe even bringing balance to the galaxy. However it all begins with a single first step.


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The Omega-6 To Omega-3 Fatty Acids Imbalance In Your Diet

One thing you probably didn’t know about is the fact that in our modern Western diet, there is a huge imbalance between the amount of omega-6 fatty acids you eat and omega-3 fatty acids. You have probably heard about these types of fatty acids and probably know that both types are good for you.

However that is not the whole truth. The ratio of these matters and if it’s not in balance, then a lot of bad things can happen. Don’t just take my word for it, but also take a look at the scientific evidence.

godzilla, big, huge, gain weight

So what are fatty acids and what about these omegas? Fatty acids are the building blocks of fats. They are a long chain of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms which is capped by a carboxyl group at one of its ends, and a methyl group at the other end.

Fatty acids are classified on the number of carbon atoms in the chain, and also how many double bonds are in the molecule. So an omega-3 fatty acid has a double bond (C=C) at the third carbon atom from where the carbon chain ends, while an omega-6 fatty acid has a double bond at the sixth position from the end, with the end being the methyl group which caps off the fatty acid chains.

Omega3_6

The word omega actually signifies the methyl end, while the word alpha is used for the beginning of the chain, the carboxyl group. So that’s where the word omega comes from in the name.

For some reason, whenever I hear these random Greek letters, I think of the Puff Daddy (the artist later known as P-Diddy) song “Come with Me” from the Godzilla soundtrack, which brings me back to my high school basketball days.

Now back to our discussion of the omegas. The most important omega-3 fatty acids for humans are the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Some important examples of omega-6 fatty acids are linoleic acid (LA), and arachidonic acid (sometimes abbreviated as AA or ARA).

Linolenic acid (ALA), which is an omega-3 fatty acid, and linoleic acid (LA), which is an omega-6 fatty acid, are both considered essential for the human body, meaning that the body cannot manufacture them itself and they need to be taken in from outside sources (food).

So what roles do these omegas play in the human body? They have a variety of roles and functions that have a large effect on how healthy the human body is. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in the body, keep the blood from clotting excessively, improve the insulin response and also regulate prostaglandin production.

Omega-6 fatty acids, on the other hand, promote an immune response of the body (for example through inflammation), promote the aggregation of platelets (which is good for blood clotting), are good for blood lipids, and also help in the regulation of metabolic functions.

Notice how the roles and effects of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are in many ways opposite to each other. For example, omega-3 reduce inflammation in the body, while omega-6 promote it. Inflammation is good for fighting diseases, however too much of it is harmful for the body.

That’s why the need for a balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your body. These fatty acids have competitive interactions between each other and that’s why a balance between them is needed. Health is about balance.

However the balance in our bodies is out of whack, due to our diets. Sometimes the ratio between omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is 10:1 or even 20:1. This has very serious effects on our health and is a very large contributing factor to people in the developed world suffering from such diseases as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Both omega-3 and omega-6 are important for you body, however they need to be in balance. So how much omega-3 you need to eat is dependent on how much omega-6 you are eating. Because of all the processed foods that are in stores, it is hard to maintain a balance between the two omegas.

Aim for a 1:1 balance, but even a 4:1 omega-6 to omega-3 balance is good.

The ratio between omega-6 and omega-3 used to be much more in balance in prehistory. Even in some recent hunter-gatherer societies the ratio was favorable. For example, before the 20th century among the Greenland Inuit, this ratio was 1:2 (even 1:4 in some cases) in favor of omega-3 fatty acids (because of a diet rich in fish and seafood).

However, throughout the course of human history this ratio changed and this is probably one of the factors that contributed to humans getting sick more often in modern times. The most significant change was during the industrial revolution, when the ratio changed drastically due to the wide availability of vegetable oils produced.

Among developed societies, the ratio is most favorable in Japan, due to their diet, and you can see that that country suffers much less from diseases such as heart diseases.

So what can you do to bring down this ratio towards a better balance? Well you need to start eating foods higher in omega-3 and bring down the amount of food rich in omega-6. The best source of omega-3 are fish, different types of seafood and marine algaes.

We are especially deficient in EPA and DHA. These can be synthesized from ALA (found in foods from plants such as flax, pumpkin seeds and walnuts), however this process is inefficient and limited. This means you need to eat foods that already contain EPA and DHA (such as fish, seafood, marine algae).

The ALA to EPA and DHA conversion is also highly dependent on such things as iron, zinc and pyridoxine. So you need to have these things in your body as well. Iron can be found in different types of animal sources, but also bananas.

Grass-fed meat is also the way to go (as it is high in omega-3 from the different grasses that the animals ate), however most meat today is from animals fed on grain-based feeds and so lacks the omega-3 component. You can also supplement omega-3 by eating fish oil capsules.

The other part of bringing the ratio back into balance is by eating less foods that have large omega-6 components. This doesn’t mean cutting them out all together, as many foods that contain omega-6 fatty acids are very good for you and omega-6 fatty themselves are also needed by the body.

Look at the chart below and try to cut down on the vegetable oils which have a high omega-6 ratio as opposed to other fatty acids.

fatty-acid-breakdown-of-different-fats

Remember also to cut down on processed foods, as they are also high in omega-6 fatty acids, and are generally considered less healthy.

Eating more foods with omega-3 fatty acids also has other benefits. For example, they have a positive effect on the eyes and vision. They can also help you in your quest to gain weight and get big. If your body knows how to partition nutrients well, then you can gain a lot of weight and size based on lean muscle, without adding too much fat.

Insulin plays a large role in this. When you have too many omega-6 fatty acids you can have a chronic inflamed state, which is bad for insulin sensitivity.

So you need to bring the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio more into balance in order to increase insulin sensitivity and to get your nutrients to be partitioned better, leading to lean muscle gains without too much extra fat being stored.

Now that I’ve explained to you the potential dangers of a high omega-6 to omega-3 imbalance and the benefits that omega-3 can have for your body, I hope that you examine your diet and try to bring the ratio to a reasonable level.

Your body needs both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, as they both play an important role. However the amount of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids that you take in needs to be in balance. That way, you can get the positive benefits of both and be much more healthy than ever before.
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The Official Introduction of Beer Time!!

weight gain with beer

So I went out boozing last night. Yeah it’s not the best thing to do if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but in life you have to keep a balance and so I go out from time to time. I don’t really understand the point of drinking yourself silly, so I try not to overdo it, however alcohol has its effects, especially as you get older. Today I woke up around 12pm, but still feeling sleepy though. I don’t really have a hangover, but feel like the best thing to do would be to go back to bed. The bad things that come out of doing things like this is that you get your body out of a rhythm, as your body is used to going to sleep at a certain time and then waking up at a certain time, and this just gets it out of whack. Not only will you get a bad sleep this night, but many nights after as well. Sleeping is very important in the recovery process and if you don’t sleep enough, you rob your body of the chance to recover and grow.

Another bad thing that comes out of drinking beer (and any alcohol actually) is that what you are getting is a lot of calories, but these are empty calories (especially empty carbs) . You might say: “great”, if you are trying to gain weight, however empty calories does not mean muscle, but instead it just means more fat. So you will get calories that will go straight into being turned into fat in your body. So what you will end up looking like is skinny-fat, not the most sexy look of them all. 🙂

At this point I would like to officially unveil the concept of “beer time” (patent pending 🙂 ). This means every time you are drinking beer, in order to keep yourself in check, you will start counting beer time. I already mentioned the concept in a previous post, but here I make it an official term and my contribution to the betterment of humanity. It’s a very simple concept really. An average beer is around 150 calories. A while back, I was on one of those elliptical machine that tries to pretend it’s a cross-country skiing machine, and noticed that I burned around 150 calories every 15 minutes. I was joking with a friend of what this means for our beer drinking habits and this is where I came up with the concept of beer time. So when you are out and drinking that glass of beer, remember that that is 15 minutes on the elliptical machine. When you take another glass of beer, that is 30 minutes on that elliptical machine. That’s the amount of time it will take you to burn all those empty calories you got from drinking beer. So think about that the next time you are drinking beer, and hopefully it will keep you in check. Unfortunately many people rack up weeks worth of beer time in just one night of going out. 🙂
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Honor, Morality And Selfishness: What The Game Of Thrones Teaches Us About The Real World

The Game of Thrones has been one of the most watched series of the last few years. I am a late comer onto the GoT bandwagon, having only started to watch the show midway into the second season, but I got hooked. The series has an engaging storyline and beautiful landscapes. It is set in the mythical lands of Westeros and Essos and follows the lives of multiple characters as they struggle to survive in this treacherous world. The story is fantasy and contains elements of magic, but it does explore many themes very relevant to our own world and lives. If you have not watched the series, then read no further, as a spoiler alert is in effect! 🙂

game of thrones lessons

The classic fantasy series (or any type of series actually) has the basic storyline of the main character (usually a hunky hero, but sometimes a loveable loser) battling many enemies and facing many pitfalls, but managing to overcome all the obstacles thrown at him to come out victorious. The bad guys are vanquished and everyone lives happily ever after. The Game of Thrones is not this type of story. Instead it explores much darker themes and has a much more sinister outlook on life. This makes it a much more realistic story and a very powerful commentary on human relations and things like honor, morality, selfishness and what it takes to succeed in this world. The different unexpected twists and turns of the storyline make us reflect on the nature of the world around us and its reality.

The story starts off by introducing Lord Eddard Stark, the Lord of the North. He is the head of the Stark family, who have ruled the lands named as “the North” for millennia. He is a strong warrior, a wise ruler and an honorable man. He does what is honorable and also what is his duty. This sense of honor and duty is what drives him and oftentimes the series portrays it as being old-school even for those times, as it is a code followed by fewer and fewer people. It seems that Eddard Stark or his family will be the heroes of the story, the righteous vanquishing the evil. Lord Stark has 5 legitimate children and one illegitimate son. Robb Stark is his oldest legitimate son and the heir to the lordship of the North. He tries to follow in his father’s footsteps and learn from his example. There are also other members of the Stark family, for example his wife Catelyn Stark and their other sons and daughters. He does have an illegitimate son as well. However that is a source of shame for him, as he considers adultery a bad thing. Yet he did succumb to the temptation, but deeply regrets it. A son was born of this and Eddard manned up to his mistake and raised the boy with his other children.

The story continues by King Robert Baratheon travelling to the capital city of the North, Winterfell, to try to persuade Eddard to become the Hand of the King, the king’s most senior adviser and basically the second most powerful position in the entire Kingdom. This is after the sudden and mysterious death of the previous Hand of the King, Jon Arryn, Eddard’s brother in law. Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark are old comrades and friends, who fought together to depose the evil king, Aerys II Targaryen. The Targaryen’s were the old ruling dynasty of Westeros. Their ancestor, King Aegon I, originally from the lands of Valyria in the east, came over to Westeros and with the aid of 3 dragons and a strong army, managed to conquer the entire continent and unite it under his rule and to become the first king to sit on the Iron Throne. The Iron Throne is central to the plot of the entire series, as the entire series is centered on the battles of several families to capture it and to become rulers of Westeros.

Aerys II Targaryen went mad and enacted a rule of terror over the lands of Westeros. Many nobles, led by Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark, rose up to try to depose him. They finally succeeded in killing him and deposing his family from the Iron Throne. Robert Baratheon took over the throne himself to rule as King Robert of House Baratheon.

In the opening of the series we are also introduced to Cercei, who is Robert’s wife and mother of their children. She is originally from the Lannister family, who are from the western part of Westeros and who are also the continent’s richest family. Her father is Tywin Lannister and the other major characters from her family are her brothers: Jaime and Tyrion. Jaime is a knight in the King’s Guard, while Tyrion is a small dwarf. Unknown to all, Cercei is actually carrying on an incestuous relationship with her brother Jaime and it is him who is the real father of the Baratheon children (the eldest of which, Joffrey, is the heir to the Iron Throne). This secret will prove to be one of the central points of the entire story.
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One Size Does Not Fit All: What Fitness Advice To Follow

workout routine advice

A lot of people who are new to the gym and haven’t lifted before, often follow routines which are not right for them. Many of them end up seeing very little progress and then quit. What they often do is flip through a glossy bodybuilding magazine and find a routine that is being followed by some buff bodybuilder. This routine is usually made up of a hundred different exercises for each muscle and the different muscles are trained in isolation. Yes, the routine works for that particular bodybuilder, but that doesn’t mean that it will work for you.

Each person is different and what works for one person might not work for another one. Before starting any type of routine, think hard about where you are now and where you want to be. If you are a skinny beginner and your goal is to gain weight and bulk up, then you should not be doing the routine of some huge bulky bodybuilder who has been working out for the past 15 years (and might or might not be on steroids). Instead you have to start slow and build up progressively.

Another mistake that some beginners make is that they try to start off lifting too heavy. What ends up happening is that they use poor form, the weight might fall off and they might even injure themselves. Good form is everything! There is no shame in starting off with a low weight, learning good form and then progressively increasing the weight as you get bigger and stronger.

Split routines where each muscle is trained separately are also not the right type of routines for the skinny beginners. Instead, a skinny beginner who wants to bulk up and gain weight should follow a full body (or at least a lower body, upper body split) routine which is composed of heavy compound exercises. The key is to periodically increase the weight you are lifting. That makes you bigger and stronger. You should also use free weights. All this is of course not saying that split routines and machines are bad. They all have their place. As you get more advanced you can change up your routine and maybe do split routines and incorporate machines. See what works for you.
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Guy Loses Weight By Eating McDonald’s

gain weight

gain weight

John Cisna, who is a teacher in Iowa, decided to go on an all McDonald’s diet and with it managed to lose weight and lower his cholesterol! 🙂

He had the kids in his class plan his meals based on the nutritional value of each meal. “What is cool is when you see one kid say, ‘It’s not McDonald’s that makes you fat. It’s your choices that make you fat,'” Cisna said. This gives further credence to your lifestyle determining whether you are healthy or not.

Is this the start of a new weight loss dieting fad? The McDonald’s Diet? 😛
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3 Tips On Gaining Weight And Bulking Up Fast

gain weight, how to gain weight, bulk up, gain muscle, hardgainer

gain weight, how to gain weight, bulk up, gain muscle, hardgainer
Have you been trying really hard to gain weight? Have you been trying to guzzle down all the food you can find and sweating it out in the gym? Yet, you are still skinny! Guess what… You’re not working hard enough. You need to work harder… Actually, instead of working harder, you need to work smarter. 🙂 However it’s not your fault. Unlike with weight loss, there simply is not enough information out there for people trying to gain weight. The information that is out there is hard to find.

I was there as well, a thin kid and all I wanted to be is bigger and stronger. I had to search everywhere and try to piece the information from different places together. This helped me gain weight and bulk up, but unfortunately the journey was not as smooth as it could have been. So that’s why I decided to start this blog, so that you don’t have to go searching all over for the information that you need and instead get it right here. This way you can apply the tips right away and start gaining weight as fast as possible.

So what should you do to gain weight and bulk up? Here are three basic tips that you should think about:

1) You aren’t eating enough!

If you aren’t gaining weight, then you simply aren’t eating enough. You might think you are, guzzling down all kinds of food, but trust me… you aren’t. So the number one thing you need to do is up your food intake. Without that you will never grow. Food provides the basic nutrients your body needs to grow. If you aren’t fueling your body with things like proteins, carbohydrates and fats, then there is no way it can create more muscle and get bigger. Even if you are training hard at the gym, food is the basic requirement. It’s the key for you getting bigger.

Sometimes people struggling to gain weight have the impression that they are eating tons of food, but the reality is different. They just have the perception of eating a lot of food, but in reality they aren’t. It might be good to track the amount of food you eat per day for a week and then see how many calories per day that is. Then you can calculate the amount of calories you need just to maintain your body weight (your maintenance calories) and compare the two numbers.

Surprisingly the number of calories you actually eat will most likely be at or below the maintenance calories number. In order to gain weight, you need to eat above your maintenance level! So take your maintenance calories and add 500 to 1000 more calories to that number. That’s how many calories you should be eating to gain weight. Start off slowly, first week adding maybe 250 more calories per day and then slowly adding more and more calories. Experiment a bit and see how your body responds. That way you will find out the ideal number of calories that you should be eating in order to get a good bulk.

Some people can gain a good amount of weight just by eating 250 calories per day above the maintenance level, while for others the number may be 500 calories above maintenance or more. In the process you will inevitably gain fat as well, but don’t worry, you can get rid of that fat later in a cutting phase. However in order to get the cleanest bulk possible, try to eat healthy. Also remember to drink plenty of water.

2) Do shorter, more intense workouts composed of a few heavy compound exercises

Training is also a big part of gaining weight and bulking up. If you want a nice, lean bulk, then you need to train hard. However don’t do the latest “greatest” routine you find in that glossy bodybuilding magazine full of smiling buff dudes with biceps the size of a baby elephant. You won’t see the type of results you want with that. The routines you see in those magazines are not designed for the skinny guys. Unless you are extremely genetically gifted, you probably won’t see the type of growth that you are looking for. Those routines are designed for guys who are already big. They consist of tons of isolation exercises to isolate all the different muscles.

For you it’s a waste of effort to do isolation exercises. Instead your routine should consist of heavy compound (multi-joint) exercises that recruit several muscles at once (including the tiny stabilizer muscles). That means things like the bench press, squat and deadlift. Don’t go on the machines just yet, but instead focus on free weights.

The key to growth here is what is called progressive overload. That means lifting heavier and heavier weights. If you are going for size, then your rep range should be somewhere in the 6-12 reps per set range, with 8-10 reps being ideal. This will maximize sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.

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3) Rest!
Resting is very important. Most people don’t realize it, but you don’t grow muscle and get stronger when you are exercising, but in fact when you are resting! During exercise you create tiny tears in the muscle fibers. It is during your rest period when these muscle fibers are repaired. The nutrients you get from eating are used in order to repair the muscle fibers and make them bigger and stronger.

With rest, we are talking about time away from training, but also sleeping. It is during sleep that the body regenerates and growth hormone levels are the highest. This means that you should leave at least 48 hours between training of the same muscle group and get 8 to 9 hours of good deep sleep during the night. This will ensure that your muscles are growing and you are getting bigger, stronger and gaining weight.

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