Monthly Archives: November 2014

Can You Build Muscle as a Vegetarian or Vegan

When it comes building muscle, diet is key – especially eating enough protein and carbohydrates, and keeping food in your stomach throughout the day. However many bodybuilders get their protein from animal sources – in particular eggs, dairy and meat. So can you get enough protein and carbs from a primarily plant-based diet to build muscle? Absolutely!

But first, let’s define vegetarian and the associated variations to the basic term: A person that does not eat meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish, or crustaceans or by-products of slaughter. The definition can further be broken down into these four variations:

Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Eats both dairy products and eggs
Lacto vegetarian: Eats dairy products, but not eggs
Ovo vegetarian: Eats eggs, but not dairy products
Vegan: Does not eat dairy products, eggs or any other animal product

If you are vegan, you have fewer choices in protein selection than other types of vegetarians. As a vegan, you know you are mainly limited to beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, soybeans, tofu and whole grains. However, because most vegetables are not complete proteins, you must eat a good mix of fruits and vegetables to get in all of the amino acids, instead of focusing on eating just a few select foods.

If you are lacto-ovo, you have it easier because of the protein in dairy products and eggs. But, because ovo vegetarians and vegan choose not to eat dairy, they can’t use whey protein powder. However instead, they can use in their protein shakes one of the many vegetable protein powders available.

Vegetarian

The Salad Dressing You Should NEVER Eat — and my Alternative Super-Healthy Recipe

If you need a vegetable protein powder, you can choose from ones made from soy, peas, hemp, or brown rice, just to name a few of vegetable-based sources. Rice protein not only tastes great, but also supplies lots of digestible protein. Mix in a scoop of powder in almond or coconut milk and you have a protein shake that rivals one made with whey, but without the possible allergen and bloating that can occur with dairy-based powders.

If you are training to build muscle, then you need at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight. This is entirely doable by eating several small meals and snacks throughout the day. A good post-workout snack could be a handful of almonds, hummus on crackers, or almond butter on toast. Or mix up one of your great vegetable protein shakes!

In the end, it is fairly easy to build muscle from eating only vegetarian or vegan. It just requires a different mind-set as far as diet and having the discipline to eat a good variety of allowed foods to get in a complete diet.

Vegetarian Muscle Building Advice

Barbells vs. Dumbbells for Building Muscle Mass

Like with many pieces of fitness equipment, there is always a controversy as to which piece is best. With barbells and dumbbells both are good at what they do – building muscle mass. However the method in which each builds muscle mass is different. One uses just the muscles directly involved in the lift while the other one not only works muscle directly involved, but also employs muscles used to assist in the stabilization of the worked muscles.

To get the best muscle mass bang from your strength training workout buck, you should use both barbells and dumbbells and here is why.

Barbells

Barbells – weighted plates on each end of a long bar – provide a more balanced approach to weight lifting. Usually the lifter is either lifting or pushing the bar straight up or gradually letting it straight down in a controlled manner. Because both hands are used and the direction is linear it is easier to control a barbell. Another advantage is the size of the plates available. As you are ready to add more weight to the bar, heavier plate weights are available for barbells, but not for dumbbells.

Dumbbells

Dumbells on the other hand – smaller weighted plates on a bar just long enough to grip with one hand – tend to provide a more balanced workout muscle-wise because not only do you have linear movement, but also side-to-side, which not only employ the muscles being worked, but secondary muscles used to provide stabilization.

And certain exercises can only be done with dumbbells, such as the fly, tricep extension and lateral raise, just to name a few.

Barbells for Building Muscle Mass

A Guide to Good Form for Muscle Building Exercises

While dumbbells can be used individually, be sure to exercise each set of muscles equally in order to maintain a balance of size and strength. Inequality is an invite for injury which can sideline you for days if not weeks.

Conclusion

Regardless if you use just barbells or dumbbells – but preferably both – be sure to use good form and a varied routine. That is the best way to build muscle mass equally.

Workouts should consist of at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week, making sure to exercise both sides of your body equally. Alternately, you can train at a more vigorous rate for 20 minutes, three times per week. Between using varied routines and working both sides of your body, ultimately you may want to alternate weekly between the two types of strength training. Not only will it give you more variety in your workout, but it will introduce a variety in intensity, thus preventing your body from getting into a specified routine.

If you could only use one piece of workout equipment, which would it be; barbells, dumbbells or cables? In this video, I use one exercise to show you how all three are necessary to incorporate into a complete workout to build athletic muscle.

With the lunge overhead shoulder press, I perform the exercise with a barbell, dumbbells and cables. When done with a barbell I am able to lift more weight due to the fact that the stabilizer muscles in the shoulders are not as relied upon with the fixed bar as they are with individual dumbbells. This explains why 300 pound bench pressers are unlikely to lift 150 dumbbells.

In the next variation, I perform a dumbbell exercise. This dumbbell variation of the shoulder press could fit into any all dumbbell workout but is it the best? The db’s allow for the resistance to stay more centered as opposed to the barbell. This makes it easier on the core to perform the exercise and stabilize your trunk. The barbell challenges your frontal plane stability more because of this.

Finally, the cable version of the exercise adds in additional core challenge. With the cables representing the line of resistance you have to be sure to really contract your abs if you want to perform the exercise with cables without falling over backward. Obviously this is a challenge that is not present with either the dumbbells or the barbell.

A Quick Guide to the Science of Muscle Growth

How and why do muscles grow? Scientifically, the process is very simple. Your body responds in certain unpredictable ways to things you do. If you consistently weight train, add cardio, enjoy a healthy diet and drink lots of water, you will burn fat and gain muscle. Practice the following 4 steps and you will harness the science of muscle growth for a leaner, stronger, healthier body.

1 – Your muscles will only grow when they are forced to.

When you weight train, whether you use free weights or your body weight, you actually cause micro-tears in your muscle fiber. Your body’s incredible ability to repair itself steps in, and your muscles are adapted to grow stronger than they were before. And that muscle growth never occurs if you do not experience enough micro-tears.

You have to force your muscles to work so hard that they literally tear down. And there is definitely a sweet spot you are trying to achieve. If you work your muscles too hard, you can over-tear them. Your body may never fully heal, and you stunt your muscle growth. And if you do not workout hard enough and force your muscles to tear, very little muscle growth occurs.

2 – Muscles grow when you overload them.

Science of Muscle Growth

The Ultimate Hard-Body Exercise

Sometimes you will hear weight trainers talking about “feeling the burn”. Contrary to popular belief, this is not what causes your muscles to grow. That burning sensation is not the sign of a perfect workout. What you are experiencing is just a surge of lactic acid in your muscles. This happens because your muscles are burning energy.

And high repetition workouts with lower weights do not cause muscle growth either. Overload has to occur before your muscles grow. Overload your muscles by consistently and steadily increasing the amount of weight you left, and you will grow muscles.

3 – Muscles grow after you stop working out.

Muscle growth takes place outside of the gym. What you do when you are stressing your muscles and overloading them is preparing them for the recovery period. This is when your body heals, causing your muscles to grow in strength and size. This means plenty of rest between workouts.

4 – Your muscles will only grow if you feed them properly.

You can do everything properly to boost muscle growth, but if your diet is unhealthy, you may see little to no effect. Working out, lifting weights and doing body weight exercises only dictates 20% to 40% of how you look. Yep, your diet is that important. Get the proper ratio of carbohydrates, protein and good fats, drink lots of water and feed your muscles the right amount of calories and even minimal workouts will show quick results.

What if I told you that superhuman strength may be possible in the near future?

What Are Cardio Exercises and How Do You Benefit from Them

Any talk of cardio exercise benefits should start with a clear understanding of what cardio means. Let’s check with the Merriam-Webster dictionary for a definition …

“Any type of exercise that causes the heart to beat faster and harder for a period of time”

That is pretty straightforward. So does this mean that when you get up from your couch or chair and walk outside to check your mail, you are experiencing cardio fitness? Not exactly.

Sure, the act of walking gets your heart beating quicker than it does when you are just sitting. But cardio exercises focus on accelerating your heartbeat rapidly and keeping that heart rate elevated for an extended period of time. These are a few common types of cardio exercises.

Circuit training
Swimming
Outdoor cycling
Jumping rope
Jogging
Playing tennis
Hiking
Zumba
Kickboxing
Playing basketball
Core power yoga
Belly dancing

You can see that a wide variety of activities and fitness practices deliver cardiovascular benefits. The key is sustaining an elevated heart rate for at least 20 minutes without stopping.

Cardio Exercises

Do You Really Need “Cardio” Workouts?

What benefits does cardio exercising offer?

Aside from cardiovascular heart health (that is where the “cardio” comes from), you burn calories, improve your mental functioning and brainwave activity and strengthen your body.

You even make your muscles stronger to some degree. And while cardio workouts are definitely more beneficial than doing nothing at all, if fat burning and becoming stronger are your goals, you can see quicker results and spend less time exercising with strength training.

That is because strength training gets your heart elevated for an extended period of time just like cardio exercises do. But the intense stressing and repairing that your muscles undergo add a fat burning benefit for up to 24 hours that cardio simply cannot match.

This workout consists of 4 different exercises. It is in Tabata style but with a slightly lower level of intensity and will be targeting the whole body for an all-out incredible workout.

The idea here: quick, painful, and truly effective. In just 20 minutes you will put your metabolism into overdrive for the rest of the day, burn tons of calories, tone up the whole body and get you to your ‘fittest you’ !

This cardio workout is basically high intensity interval training (HIIT) based on Tabata protocol. Tabata protocol was created by Dr. Izumi Tabata at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, Japan.

So What Is Tabata? 4 minutes of near max exertion effort which consists of 8 rounds 20 seconds max effort + 10 seconds rest. Those 4 minutes a day are worth the equivalent to more than an hour of normal ‘endurance’ style cardio. It’s now used by professional athletes and many top trainers are saying that it’s possible to shed 7% — 10% body-fat within a month if you do this workout 4 times per week.

The intensity of the Tabata Protocol might be dangerous to anyone with heart disease. So be wise, and get physician clearance before you try this workout. You can still get incredible results with the Tabata Protocol while going at your own safe pace. It will also allow you to do more than just one exercise.

I hope you will enjoy the benefits of this workout

Round 1:Jumping Lunges (8 rounds of 20 second intense effort + 10seconds rest)
1 min rest
Round 2: Knee Push-Ups (8 rounds of 20 second intense effort + 10seconds rest)
1 min rest
Round 3: Mountain Climbers (8 rounds of 20 second intense effort + 10seconds rest)
1 min rest
Round 4: Scissor Crunches (8 rounds of 20 second intense effort + 10seconds rest)

Defining Strength Training

What exactly is strength training? A quick trip over to Wikipedia shows this definition …

“Strength training is a type of physical exercise specializing in the use of resistance to induce muscular contraction which builds the strength, anaerobic endurance, and size of skeletal muscles.”

Say what? What does that even mean? Basically put, when you lift or move any weight that is greater than your body is used to, your muscles experience tiny tears and rips. After your physical exertion is done, your body then goes to work healing your muscle fiber.

Your body actually repairs your muscles so that they are stronger than before, so they are ready for an increased workload in the future. That is what strength training focuses on, as opposed to cardio or aerobic exercises.

And you don’t have to join a gym or buy a bunch of expensive weight equipment to strength train properly. Strength training just means overloading your muscles, and making them do more than they are used to. There are body weight exercises and circuit training routines which let you use your own body to build muscle, burn calories, shred fat and lose weight.

Strength Training

A Guide to Good Form for Muscle Building Exercises

Of course, the more weight you can lift, the more muscles you will develop. And muscles burn calories at a higher rate than fat does. That is why strength training is more effective than hours spent walking or jogging on your treadmill, if burning the most amount of fat in the least amount of time is your goal.

Strength training also provides a lot of other benefits. Your heart is healthier, you run a much lower risk of contracting diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, your brain is sharper and quicker, and you feel great about yourself.

Combined with a healthy diet, strength training is probably the most efficient way to burn fat and get fit.

40 Minute Fat Blasting Total Body Strength Training and Toning Workout