What Is Fat?

Fats are a big topic of discussion these days. Everybody wants to lose fat. Everywhere you go, you see things like “low fat”, “no fat” or “fat free”. What are fats and do they deserve the bad reputation that they get?

Fats are one of the three main macronutrient types for your body, together with proteins and carbohydrates. Unlike carbohydrates, some types of fats are considered essential for your body and life. This means that you need to get them from the outside by ingesting food, otherwise your body cannot produce some elements necessary in order to keep functioning. Fats are often misunderstood by the general public. They have a very bad image, however in fact, many types of fats are good for you and your health. Your body needs fats in order to perform its functions. The key here is in the types of fats that you consume and also the amount. If you want to gain weight and muscle, then fats should definitely be a part of your diet.

Fats are a wide group of compounds that are usually soluble in organic solvents, but insoluble in water. They are also called triglycerides, because chemically they are triesters of glycerol and any of the several types of fatty acids. When triglycerides are metabolized, the glycerol in them gets converted to glucose, which means usable energy for the body. The enzymes that break them down are called lipases and are produced in the pancreas.

Fats are a subset of a wider group of compounds called lipids. Lipids include triglycerides, phospholipids, and also sterols (one type of sterol is called cholesterol). You get all of these types of lipids when you eat, however triglycerides make up the most significant group of lipids in our diets. They make up around 95% of the lipids in our food and bodies.

Sources of Fats
Fats come in two forms: liquid and solid. The ones that at room temperature come in liquid form are called oils. Most oils come from plants (edible plant fats). Examples of these oils include ones from: palms, soybean, rapeseed (a subtype of rapeseed is for example canola oil), sunflower seeds, peanuts, cottonseeds, palm kernels, coconuts, olives, corn…etc. Solid fats usually come from animals. The main example are the fats from under the skin of different animals. In some cases, fats from animals can also come as oils, for example fish oils.

Sources of “good fats”:
avocados
olives
tofu
sunflower oil
canola oil
olive oil
nuts
peanut butter
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds
flaxseeds
fish
seafood
milk

Structure of Fats
All triglycerides have similar structures, being composed of a glycerol molecule and three fatty acids attached to it. Fatty acids are one of the main constituent parts of fats, but what are they? A fatty acid is a type of carboxylic acid and consists of a long hydrocarbon chain capped by a carboxyl group (COOH). They can serve as fuel and also form adenosine triphosphate, otherwise known as ATP. ATP can basically be described as the engine of the body, as these enzyme molecules can store energy and then release it when it is necessary.
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Compound Exercises To Do If You Want To Gain Weight And Muscle

compound exercises to gain weight

compound exercises to gain weight
Many rookies in the gym trying to bulk up and gain weight make the mistake of doing the same routines that they find in bodybuilding magazines. These magazines have articles on the routines of professional bodybuilders. The routines usually consist of tons of isolation exercises for various individual muscles. Gym rookies follow these routines and then wonder why they see very little gains. The reason is that a novice to the gym has different needs than a pro bodybuilder. Instead, the beginners (and also intermediates) should follow a routine based on heavy compound movements.
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What Are Carbohydrates?

carbohydrates for weight gain
Carbohydrates make up a very important part of our daily diets, and most people consume the majority of their calories from them. Much has been written about what role they should play in our diets and much of this is contradictory. These contradictory pieces of information serve as a source of confusion for many people who want to find out about what types of dietary guidelines they should follow. Some people say you should eat a lot of them, while others say you should eat a low carb diet. All these strategies have their merits, but might not be for everyone. Your basic strategy on the amount of carbohydrates depends on what type of a person you are, what your goals are and also what your activity levels are. What might be the “right” carbohydrate strategy for one person, might not be the best one for another person.

So what actually are carbohydrates and what do they do? Carbohydrates are macromolecules with various combinations of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Together with proteins and fats, they form one of the three main nutrient types in the human diet. Unlike the other two however, no carbohydrate type is considered essential, as the human body itself can manufacture any type of carbohydrate that it needs.

There are two main roles of carbohydrates in organisms: to serve as storage of energy, and in some organisms carbohydrates also serve a structural role and provide structure (for example cellulose in plants, chitin in arthropods). There are also other roles that carbohydrates play. One type of carbohydrate, ribose, also forms part of coenzymes and can be found in the structure of RNA. Another carbohydrate, deoxyribose, forms part of DNA. Carbohydrates also participate in things like fertilization, blood clotting, development and also play a role in the immune system. Furthermore, scientific studies also show that an adequate supply of carbohydrates (glucose) has a positive effect on the brain.

Most carbohydrates in our diets come from plants, although milk (comes from different types of mammals) also contains lactose (which is a carbohydrate). In terms of energy, a carbohydrate is about 4 calories per gram.

Carbohydrates can be divided into 4 chemical groupings (with each grouping containing several types of carbohydrates):
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Everybody Wants To Be A Ninja

CropKotoNinjaToyokuniUtagawa

Seriously, who hasn’t thought about becoming a ninja? That is something that every kid dreams about! 🙂 As kids we have a very vivid and wild imagination and there are a lot of things that fascinate us. I remember that as a kid, I loved to listen to my grandfather’s stories of times long gone and especially his war stories. I also watched many movies and when I learned to read, I also read a lot of things. Somehow I learned about ninjas. Whether it was through my fascination with the movie “Karate Kid”, or through watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or just trading stories as kids, the subject of ninjas grabbed my attention very early on.

These ancient Japanese warriors could use their hands and other parts of their bodies to defeat much larger and stronger opponents and use their tricks to do all kinds of cool things. They could climb walls, throw shurikens (metal stars), create different potions and disappear in clouds of smoke. I was not the only kid that had this fascination and the ninja sparked the imagination of many a kid. We all wanted to be ninjas, playing games where we pretended to be powerful ninja warriors or spies on a mission. Whether the image of the ninja that we have is accurate or not, it is a powerful image and one that still fascinates me to this day.

The theme of ninjas was reflected in many different things during the 1990s. There were movies, cartoons, books, video games and martial arts classes. For example, characters based on ninjas played main roles in such popular cultural phenomenon as Mortal Kombat (mostly video games, but also movies), the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (where the word ninja was even in the name), even G.I. Joe (cartoons, action figures), where several of the characters strongly resemble ninjas.

These characters then sparked our wonder in the real ninjas that they were based on. With ninjas, it is hard to separate fact from fiction. Much of what we hear about ninjas is based on legends passed down from generation to generation. Some of the images of the ninja are, on the other hand, based on modern myths invented only recently. Even the term “ninja” is of more recent origin, as older texts usually refer to shinobi. However all these myths and legends are based on real events and real people.
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7 Rules For Lifting

lift to gain weight

lift to gain weight

1) The road is gonna be long and hard
Many ads on the internet promise incredible gains in a short amount of time with minimal work. For some this is achievable. However for the majority of people, the journey is going to be long and hard. Some people can achieve incredible gains in a short amount of time, however most people take much longer. If you are like most people, then your journey towards bulking up and gaining weight will be long and hard. You will have to put in a lot of effort and the gains will be minimal from week to week. However over the course of a long period, you will see results. You just have to persist and keep at it. With hard work, you will see results.

2) We are all different. What works for one person might not work for another one.
No two people are alike. We all have different backgrounds,different body types, and other things. That’s why the optimal training for one person is different from the optimal training for another person. There is no “best” way. What works for one person, might not work for another one. So you will have to sometimes try different things in order to find what works the best for you. When you look at bodybuilding magazines, a lot of times they have these routines for professional bodybuilders. These contain hundreds of different exercises for different body parts. A lot of beginners look at these and think that’s what they should be doing. They follow these routines and then wonder why they are not seeing any gains. What works for a pro bodybuilder is not going to work for a novice at the gym. A beginner should be following a totally different routine from that of an advanced lifter.

3) Don’t lift through your injuries.
If you are injured, take a break. Sometimes people don’t want to accept that they are injured and keep doing things despite their injury. Then they create even bigger problems for themselves. If you are injured, then stop and take a rest. Heal the injury and come back once you are better.

Also if some sort of an injury is preventing you from doing some type of exercise (for example squat or deadlift), do an alternative instead. Due to the nature of our society, where we sit all day, some people have developed permanent injuries, which are hard to get rid of and prevent them from doing a full-blown lifting workout. If such a structural injury is preventing you from doing for example a squat or a deadlift, then find alternatives to do. Remember, there is no shame in that.

4) Setbacks will happen. Learn to accept it and be ready to come back once the setback is overcome.
You are going strong, lifting regularly, seeing significant gains, feeling happy and motivated. And then one day, “boom”, something happens that prevents you from continuing. Be it an injury, sickness or some unexpected event, things happen and make us unable to continue. It’s unfortunate, but such is life. You have to deal with it. There is no point in going back and fretting about it (and thinking over what you could have done differently). It happened and unfortunately you can’t do anything about it now. For example I had recently undergone an ACL surgery to repair my ACL, which I had ruptured previously. This has taken me out of commission for a long time. Previously I had a similar setback, when I almost lost my eye. Both times, I was in the best shape of my life, motivated and going strong. With these types of situations, you have to learn how to deal with them, wait them out, and then come back strong. Think of ways of how to overcome the problem and once you can, go back to the gym and get back to your routine.

5) Don’t try to do too much. Just lift what is possible.
Some people try to do too much. Some novices go into the gym, rack up the heaviest weights they can find, thinking that they can lift them and then almost kill themselves when trying to lift them (sometimes even injuring themselves). Instead start off slow. Figure out what you can lift. Practice and then once you have mastered that weight with proper form and it is no longer challenging, move onto a higher weight. You grow by progressively lifting heavier, but you need to start at the proper starting line for you.

6) Good form is everything.
When lifting, proper form is very important. In order to get the maximum impact from an exercise and minimize injuries, you need to do it with proper form. Before starting to do an exercise, learn how to do it properly. This is important if you want to see gains and prevent injuries. Some people think that putting as much weight on as possible is the way to go, but then do the reps with poor form. That is not the best way to gain muscle and can easily result in an injury. So remember to do exercises with proper form.

7) Remember to eat a good nutritious diet
Most experienced lifters will tell you that diet is very important. In fact probably even more important than your workout routine. In order to grow, you need to get the proper nutrients into your body. If you are not doing that, no matter how good your workout routine is, you will never see any significant gains. So remember to eat well.

New Ligament In The Knee Discovered

I had an ACL surgery back in the beginning of September and am still recovering from it. So it is with interest that I read the recent news that a new ligament in the knee was discovered. It’s interesting that the scientists didn’t discover it until now, even though a French surgeon had predicted it already back in the 19th century. This news is helpful for people who have had ACL surgeries, as a number of them, even after a successful surgery, still have knees that give way. This is caused by the fact that their anterolateral ligament is injured as well, something that had not been known up until now. This discovery could result in new techniques in ACL surgery.
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What Is Protein?

Whenever you read anything on bulking up, one of the main tips is usually to eat lots of protein. So what is protein? Proteins are large macromolecules consisting of long chains of amino acids. Our body needs protein in order to be able to function properly. Common sources of protein include eggs, chicken, fish, turkey and other things.
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Beer: The Unhealthy Way to Gain Weight (And Fat)

weight gain with beer

weight gain with beer
We have all seen the notorious beer bellies. Whether on the beach or anywhere else, many men sport a protruding gut which makes them look pregnant. 🙂 This is actually something that can be even seen with skinny guys. Some skinny guys, while otherwise very thin, can also be seen sporting pot bellies, leading to the very sad condition of being skinny-fat. So how does drinking beer and alcohol in general affect weight gain and fat gain?
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The Importance Of Staying Hydrated

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Drinking water is one of the basic things that you need to do every day. Your body needs water in order to function. That’s why it is very important to stay hydrated and to keep constantly replenishing your fluids. This is especially important if you want to gain weight and muscle and generally if you do any type of exercise. When exercising, your body raises its temperature and so in order to cool down, it starts releasing sweat, which is primarily composed of fluids. So in this way your body is losing fluids fast and needs them to be replenished. Dehydration is a serious health risk. You also need to keep a balance between the amount of fluids in your body and electrolytes. If this balance is not maintained or if in general your body loses its fluids, then serious problems will arise.
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