You've been surfing Bodybuilding.com for weeks, looking at the incredible transformations that other people have experienced and the plans that got them there. Now, you think it might be your turn. You've been peeking into training systems like LiveFit and Kris Gethin's Hardcore Daily Trainer, and thinking a lot about time: Is 12 weeks as long as it sounds? Is it long enough to make a genuine change?
Do not, under any circumstances, skip rest days. Your body will not be able to build muscle effectively if it does not have time to heal and repair itself. Because building muscle means creating tiny tears in muscle fiber, which then heals, failing to give your body adequate time to repair and rest will mean few gains and the risk of serious injury.
Different exercises will require different weights, but there are some markers that can help guide you towards the right resistance, whether you're using dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell. Go for a weight that feel heavy enough to challenge you, but not so heavy that you sacrifice your form. For example, if you're doing 15 reps, you should feel pretty fatigued by the time you hit rep 15. If you can breeze through all your reps, though, that's a sign you should up the weight.
Cardio makes you fat, tired and stressed. Don’t believe me, then have a look at all the recreational marathon runner with their little cortisol bellies. The occasional long walk is good, but jogging great distances is a total no-no for optimal body composition. If you want to blast your body quickly over a two week period then hit the gym twice a day, training your entire body in a three way split over five days. In the morning lift heavy weights for low reps (3-5), and in the evening train the same body parts but with repetition in the 9-15 range. The increased protein synthesis and elevated metabolism from the frequent training sessions will see your physique change at a rapid rate. One word of caution however, only follow such an intense programme for 2 weeks and then cut the frequency back down to once daily sessions in the 3rd week.  

If you are a female considering a bodybuilding regimen, it is important to understand you have a few physiological disadvantages compared to your male counterparts. You have much lower levels of the hormone testosterone than men, which makes it challenging to gain muscle. You also have much higher levels of estrogen than men, which causes you to retain more fat. However, by applying key strategies to your lifestyle, workouts and diet, you can acquire a shapely, muscular physique. Consult with your health care provider to determine if you are fit enough for a bodybuilding regimen.
The motor proteins actin and myosin generate the forces exerted by contracting muscles. Current recommendations suggest that bodybuilders should consume 25–30% of protein per total calorie intake to further their goal of maintaining and improving their body composition.[30] This is a widely debated topic, with many arguing that 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day is ideal, some suggesting that less is sufficient, while others recommending 1.5, 2, or more.[31] It is believed that protein needs to be consumed frequently throughout the day, especially during/after a workout, and before sleep.[32] There is also some debate concerning the best type of protein to take. Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish, eggs and dairy foods are high in protein, as are some nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils. Casein or whey are often used to supplement the diet with additional protein. Whey protein is the type of protein contained in many popular brands of protein supplements and is preferred by many bodybuilders because of its high Biological Value (BV) and quick absorption rates. Whey protein also has a bigger effect than casein on insulin levels, triggering about double the amount of insulin release.[33] That effect is somewhat overcome by combining casein and whey. Bodybuilders are usually thought to require protein with a higher BV than that of soy, which is additionally avoided due to its claimed estrogenic properties. Still, some nutrition experts believe that soy, flax seeds and many other plants that contain the weak estrogen-like compounds or phytoestrogens, can be used beneficially, as phytoestrogens compete with estrogens for receptor sites in the male body and can block its actions. This can also include some inhibition of pituitary functions while stimulating the P450 system (the system that eliminates hormones, drugs and metabolic waste product from the body) in the liver to more actively process and excrete excess estrogen.[34][35] Cortisol decreases amino acid uptake by muscle, and inhibits protein synthesis.[36]

Pick your favorite form of cardio -- spinning, outdoor biking, running, hill sprints, swimming -- and hit it hard. Literally. Brian Lebo of the Athletic Performance Training Center in Ohio advises HIIT, high-intensity interval training, as your way to burn fat in a time-efficient manner. Lebo advises a 3-to-1 rest-to-work ratio. In practical terms, this means you can for example go hard as you can on a hill sprint for 30 seconds, walk or jog back down the slope for 90 seconds, and repeat four times for an intense 10-minute training session.
The more muscles you work, the better it is in terms of results. Working a small muscle group like your arms can get pointless pretty fast due to overtraining in the beginning. You might feel like am a bit inclined away from isolation workouts, which are an essential part of any body building routine. The problem is, not everybody needs to do it. As far as a complete beginner goes, he first needs to build a strong base in terms of strength and muscle mass before you can proceed to actual body building and the long bulking-cutting cycles.
Listen to your body. If you have a training day scheduled on paper but feel like rubbish, a day off focused on quality nutrition and adequate rest might actually improve your results. After all, you damage muscle in the gym; you build it with quality rest and nutrition. Pushing through when you're overly tired can be a recipe for disaster or injury.
If you’re constantly depriving yourself of the foods you enjoy most, there’s a much greater chance that you’ll simply become discouraged and quit. Figure out what you need in terms of overall daily calories and macronutrients (the level of detail that you apply here is dependent on your individual goals and situation), and then allocate a small percentage of that to allow for the foods you crave most.
A bodybuilding diet aligns with all the general advice for a healthful diet: A balanced mix of macronutrients and plenty of micronutrients from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Even in the bulking phase, the idea is to bulk up by eating more, but sticking with mostly healthy choices. Similarly, in the cutting phase, the goal is to cut out less nutrient-dense foods, not slash calories extremely and give up nutritious foods.
The bent-over row is performed while leaning over, holding a weight hanging down in one hand or both hands, by pulling it up towards the abdomen. This is a compound exercise that also involves the biceps, forearms, traps, and the rear deltoids. The torso is unsupported in some variants of this exercise, in which case lifting belts are often used to help support the lower back.
Rest and recovery: Remember that muscles grow during downtime, not when you train, so allow a day or two between workouts when you first get started so that the muscles can recover and grow. You should show up at your workouts refreshed and at least as strong as the previous workout (there will be days when you aren't stronger, and you should expect them so don't get discouraged when it happens).
Attract sponsors to go pro. The more competitions you win and the more your physique starts to speak for itself, you'll need to start attracting sponsors, essentially going pro. This means that you'll be able to make money to train full time, without having to worry (at least as much) about doing other things to fund your bodybuilding. This is the dream that every bodybuilder works toward, and it'll only be available to a select few, with the genetics and the effort to make their bodies into Olympia-level physiques. Keep working toward this.
Develop your strength training routine. The exercises you perform will depend on your goals for your body and your stage in the training process. It's generally suggested, though, that you stick to the same major compound movements that most bodybuilders use, making this the cornerstone of your strength training. Later you can incorporate isolation exercises and machines into your routine, but right now you should be focused on leaning up and gaining muscle, doing the following exercises:
When you combine cardio, weight training, and diet it's a triple threat that can't be ignored. When doing cardio it is extremely important to determine your maximum heart rate (220-age) and then to determine your heart rate zones which is usually 60-90%. (For example a 20 year old: 220-20=200. 200x0.60=120 & 200x0.90=180. Thus, their optimal training range would be 120BPM - 180BPM)
Since fasting is a requirement of Ramadan, it’s a great idea to take the opportunity to lose fat during this period of time. Intermittent fasting is an awesome practice that allows an individual to eat during a specific time window which helps to burn fat. With the sunrise to sunset fasting in effect, it’s a perfect period of time to embrace intermittent fasting.
22. The muscle building topics and guides you read today are not written in black and white. You should learn how to balance what you read by sticking to what the pro lifters are reading and using in their workouts. Also, you should remember that although there’s a lot of science in bodybuilding, most of it is still an art because it’s not always black and white.

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They simply pushed my limits. When you see someone do something better than you, it naturally pushes you to do better. Even today, I hate to see anyone lift more than me. I always want to beat them! Healthy competition is good, so surround yourself with successful people in your sport or profession and it'll force you to excel. There's always something new to learn and some new way to improve, so find someone and make him your training partner.
Now I don't know if Branch is avid in his flexibility routines, but perhaps if he had been just a bit more flexible, maybe his arm could have caught him in a different way, preventing an injury. Flexibility is all about being able to move your body in a variety of different ways to compensate for the many different stimuli that can possibly cause harm to the system as a whole.
Major variants: reverse ~ (curling the pelvis towards the shoulders), twisting ~ or side ~ (lifting one shoulder at a time; emphasis is on the obliques), cable ~ (pulling down on a cable machine while kneeling), sit-up ~ (have [chest] touch your knees), vertical crunch (propping up to dangle legs and pulling knees to the [ chest] or keeping legs straight and pulling up legs to a 90 degree position). Reverse hanging crunch (using gravity boots or slings to hang head down and pulling to a 90 or 180 degree form)
Think of your muscles as a piece of gum, if you try to stretch a cold piece of gum it will break, similar to your muscles, but if you warm up prior to stretch its like stretching a piece of chewed gum. You should also be stretching before and after cardio, as stated above it enables blood to flood your worked muscles to improve healing and the most important reason is to
To combat steroid use and in the hopes of becoming a member of the IOC, the IFBB introduced doping tests for both steroids and other banned substances. Although doping tests occurred, the majority of professional bodybuilders still used anabolic steroids for competition. During the 1970s, the use of anabolic steroids was openly discussed, partly due to the fact they were legal.[9] In the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990, U.S. Congress placed anabolic steroids into Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In Canada, steroids are listed under Schedule IV of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, enacted by the federal Parliament in 1996.[10]
For example, I had some nagging tendinitis in my brachioradialis (forearm muscle) and doing hammer curls was unbearable. So, I swapped those in for standing alternating dumbbell curls, preacher curls, and standing cambered bar reverse curls with light weight. For shoulders, I have a slight tear in my left shoulder and when it's aggravated, I avoid all pressing movements all together. Focus on side/front laterals and rear delt movements. As for knees, not allowing my knees to come out pass my toes on squats takes the pressure of the part of my knee that gets sore. Also, a few minutes on the Stairmaster Stepmill is a good way to get the knee joint warmed up and ready for work. 
It's OK to be a little sore. Your muscles might feel achy or tired the day after a tough training session thanks to DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness. When you strength train you're causing microscopic damage to the tissue that will be repaired, that's how you build stronger lean muscle. Speaking of repair and recovery, though, rest days are important. "If you constantly break down muscle without a recovery period, you won’t give the muscle fibers a chance to repair and build back stronger,” explains Davis.
In my business, (I work in a retail vitamin store), I get customers all the time who come in looking for the magic supplement that will pack on pounds of muscle overnight. When I begin to question their training, eating, etc., I discover they've been training maybe 3-4 weeks; they train every day (sometimes I get a guy who says twice a day), they have no clue about protein intake, calorie intake, recovery, and on top of all that, the routine they use is anything but logical for their experience level. This extremely common!
If you subject your body to constant dieting or extreme calorie restriction—meaning cutting calories to less than 40 percent of maintenance—your body responds to the perceived "energy crisis" by down-regulating metabolic rate as a survival mechanism against starvation. Under starvation-like conditions, metabolic rate can drop as much as 40 percent over a 6-month period.
When lifting it is essential to focus your mind completely on the muscle group you are attempting to work on. This makes sure that you are actually using the target muscle to lift the weight rather than accessory muscles or even momentum. This skill will develop with time, and as you progress in making that mind to muscle connection, your workouts will become much more productive and efficient.
It’s worth reading the introductory weight training information before starting this program, or any program for that matter. The exercises use the standard free weights and equipment found in most gyms. All exercises can be done at home if you have the appropriate home gym equipment. A medical examination and clearance is wise if you've been sedentary for a lengthy period. Take care with injured or dysfunctional joints. Get medical advice before starting weight training if this applies to you.
2) Make your own home gym. In talking to thousands of trainees, it seems like the majority is better served by attending a health club as most people do not have the motivation to workout at home. However, if you are like me and like to workout in total solitude, this may be the best option for you. The advantages are obvious: no fees, no crowds, you can superset alot (move from one exercise to the next with no rest), and workout anytime. Disadvantages are that you have no one to spot you so you need to be very careful with what you are doing.
Don’t worry about what everyone else is wearing around you – this isn’t a fashion show. For shoes, look for a minimalist shoe with a hard, non-compressible sole.  Chuck Taylors are my personal favorite, but Steve wears Vibrams or Merrills. While there are some great shoe options specifically for weight lifting, as a beginner, the above multipurpose shoe will serve you just fine!
The wall sit, also known as a static squat, is performed by placing one's back against a wall with feet shoulder width apart, and lowering the hips until the knees and hips are both at right angles. The position is held as long as possible. The exercise is used to strengthen the quadriceps. Contrary to previous advice in this section, this exercise is NOT good for people with knee problems because the knees bear most of the load, especially when they are held at right angles (90 degrees).[citation needed]

You will have to bid adieu to your favourite processed and fried foods as a part of your bodybuilding program. Consume five or six small meals each day with lean protein to repair muscles, carbs to fire your workouts and healthy fats to meet hunger. It is advisable that you create meal plans for your week. You should also rest your muscles for a full 48 hours before working the same muscle group and get plenty of sleep.
In your zeal to bring up a stubborn muscle group, you might be tempted to employ the "throw everything at 'em but the kitchen sink" approach, but Arnold warned that this strategy might be counterproductive. "There will be times when a body part lags behind because you are overtraining it, hitting it so hard, so often, and so intensely that it never has a chance to rest, recuperate, and grow," he wrote.
I know, I know, flat bench press is your favorite lift, or whatever else you prefer, but if your goal is to build up triceps, perhaps you should start with something like dips, or even separate your regimen into a chest day and an arms day. It's simply impossible to improve if you waste all of your energy on your "favorite" lifts while neglecting the muscles that you truly want to bring up.

If you want to improve your shoulder width, prioritize this workout, swapping it for your regular shoulder sessions every third deltoid workout. Or, depending on present development, do it every other workout as needed. Use the sequence of exercises prescribed here: Their purpose is for progressive prioritization, from heavy weight for strength and muscle-group size to higher reps for isolated muscle size and deltoid striations that draw the onlooker’s eye to those points located at the maximum width of the shoulder girdle.
If you are really wanting to become successful, but are currently performing a polar opposite routine from the tips above (i.e. eating junk food, not having good technique) then try implementing one tip at a time until you have all of them. Take it slow, if you move to fast you'll most likely lose interest. Once you're following all the tips and rules, you'll be shocked by how fast you grow and how much stronger you become. It'll be a new you.

Most bodybuilders become familiar with their kitchens as a matter of necessity. Whether you can quickly master taste or not, cooking your own food means you know everything going into it. During a cut, where excess salt or sugar in ready meals and takeaways can hinder weight loss, bringing your own food to work will eliminate any risky meal choices.
Nutrition is important but I find that most people over-obsess about their diets. I hear people fretting over stuff like; Should I eat a chicken breast or a fillet of salmon? A handful of almonds, or a teaspoon of peanut butter? Broccoli, or spinach? brown rice, or yams? A half cup of yogurt, or a half cup of cottage cheese? High carb, or low carb? As much widespread confusion that exists regarding diets that should be followed in order to burn fat, the premise of the whole issue is actually very simple. Regardless of what you eat, as long as you take in fewer calories than you need in order to meet metabolic and physical activity energy requirements, you will lose fat. Some people have made great progress in fat loss simply by taking my advice and eating what they normally eat, but just eat 1/3 less of everything with the exception of green vegetables which are actually negative calorie food items that you can eat as much as you want off. Don’t complicate your nutrition and make it more difficult than it needs to be. Fats don’t make you fat, and carbohydrates don’t make you fat. Calories consumed beyond the body’s maintenance and growth needs make you fat.

Does this mean that everything is as good as everything else? Of course not. I'm a strength coach, and I believe that a full-body strength program built around compound lifts is the best place for almost everybody to start, no matter what they end up doing months or years later. It's better than so-called fat-loss programs, hypertrophy programs, programs that help add inches to your vertical jump, or ones that promise to turn you into a superhero in eight weeks.
The “one set to failure” approach — doing a single, all-out set of an exercise instead of multiple ones — has long been a popular, timesaving strategy among bodybuilders. And recent studies suggest that it can be effective for building muscle. But research (including this study) comparing lifters who performed just one set per exercise with those who performed three to five, suggests that, in general, more sets wins for muscle building.
Find experts you can trust. Your gym should have professional trainers ready to help you achieve your goals because you won’t be able to learn what you need to know quickly. With a fitness trainer, you can get sound advice instead of having to wade through the massive amount of bodybuilding information online. You will need the help of a nutritionist to assist in planning your diet, while a trainer can help you with your workouts. The advantage of getting a pro to help you is that the diet and workout plans can be customized to suit your needs. You don’t have to follow a generic plan.
What makes Arnold's routine stand out today is the volume and frequency with which he trained every body part. His offseason chest routine consisted of up to 26 working sets on a high-volume day, and he trained his pecs three times a week! Arnold also cycled heavy and light days to work the muscles with different relative intensities and ensure he wasn't overtraining his pecs.
The high levels of muscle growth and repair achieved by bodybuilders require a specialized diet. Generally speaking, bodybuilders require more calories than the average person of the same weight to provide the protein and energy requirements needed to support their training and increase muscle mass. In preparation of a contest, a sub-maintenance level of food energy is combined with cardiovascular exercise to lose body fat. Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are the three major macronutrients that the human body needs in order to build muscle.[24] The ratios of calories from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats vary depending on the goals of the bodybuilder.[25]
Design your training regimen to conform to your athletic objectives. Many athletes cycle their training according to their competition schedule. Three to four months out from a fight, a boxer might "train heavy" for strength and power. By eight weeks out, he/she has decreased the weight, increased his reps, and cut back on free weights to emphasize cables and machines. During the last four weeks, he/she eliminates weight-training altogether, concentrating entirely on speed drills and boxing. A power lifter will employ the opposite strategy. Three months out from a meet, he/she may incorporate many different exercises into his/her routine including machines, cables, and free weights. Two months out, the reps have dropped and so have the number of different exercises. The last weeks before the meet may include sets of only two or three reps of the most basic movements: bench press, squat, and dead lift.
Here's one for those of you who still compete. One of the most important things about professional bodybuilding is the way you present all that hard work and sacrifice when you get on stage. You want to pose in a way that hides your flaws and accentuates your strengths. If you want to see those flaws and strengths clearly, take pictures of your poses and when you look at them, cover your face. Sounds silly but it allows you to be more objective. Now, you may want to enlist the help of a credible posing coach to hone in your routine.
Get the right gear. While it's probably not the most important thing, if you're trying to be a bodybuilder, you might as well get some clothes and gear that will help to emphasize how jacked up you're getting. Purchase some good posing trunks, tight-fitting muscle shirts, and a good training belt to help keep you secure during your workouts. Weight-lifting gloves are also common.
Cholesterol is made by most body cells, part of all cell membranes and 50 percent of bile, and is transported in the blood by carriers known as lipoproteins. Too many of these cholesterol-containing blood lipoproteins can result in hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart attack, stroke and poor circulation in the eyes, fingers and feet. Some cholesterol-containing blood lipoproteins are worse at creating these problems than others: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol, can lead to heart disease faster than high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good” cholesterol, which is more benign. It’s good to have low total cholesterol (<200 mg/dl), but it’s also good to have low LDL (<100 mg/dl) and a high HDL-to-LDL ratio. So, the question is this: How do you get there?
I know, I know, flat bench press is your favorite lift, or whatever else you prefer, but if your goal is to build up triceps, perhaps you should start with something like dips, or even separate your regimen into a chest day and an arms day. It's simply impossible to improve if you waste all of your energy on your "favorite" lifts while neglecting the muscles that you truly want to bring up.

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How you eat to recover from exercise is one of the most important principles in exercise nutrition. Glucose, or glycogen, is the athlete’s and exerciser’s main fuel. You get it from carbohydrate foods and drinks. If you don’t refuel sufficiently after each session, glucose stores in muscle can get depleted. This can lead to fatigue, poor performance, and even immune system suppression and infection. What's more, inadequate refueling after your session won't take advantage of that hard muscle work by giving those muscles an anabolic boost that repairs and builds.
In natural contests, the testing protocol ranges among organizations from lie detectors to urinalysis. Penalties also range from organization to organization from suspensions to strict bans from competition. It is also important to note that natural organizations also have their own list of banned substances and it is important to refer to each organization's website for more information about which substances are banned from competition. There are many natural bodybuilding organizations; some of the larger ones include: MuscleMania, Ultimate Fitness Events (UFE), INBF/WNBF, and INBA/PNBA. These organizations either have an American or worldwide presence and are not limited to the country in which they are headquartered.
Put simply, "strength training means using resistance to create work for your muscles," says Hannah Davis, C.S.C.S. and author of Operation Bikini Body. So even if your mind jumps straight to those hardcore machines and massive weights, there are a lot of ways to create this resistance that require minimal equipment (or none at all). Bodyweight workouts can be an incredibly effective way to strength train. Squats and push-ups FTW. You can also use tools like dumbbells, medicine balls, TRX bands, resistance bands, kettlebells, and slider disks, to help get the job done, explains Davis. But if that sounds like gibberish don't worry about it. Keep it simple and focus on equipment-free routines first. No matter what you do, the most important thing is to find something that challenges you, says Davis.

The bent-over row is performed while leaning over, holding a weight hanging down in one hand or both hands, by pulling it up towards the abdomen. This is a compound exercise that also involves the biceps, forearms, traps, and the rear deltoids. The torso is unsupported in some variants of this exercise, in which case lifting belts are often used to help support the lower back.
Now that you've got the training part down, it's time to stretch it out. (Can you say ahhh?) Stretching while your muscles are warm can help improve your flexibility, says Davis, not to mention it just feels phenomenal after you've pushed yourself hard. A light cool-down is also great for calming the nervous system. While dynamic stretches should be your go-to during a warm-up, the cool-down is where static stretching comes in—this means holding a stretch for 20-30 seconds. These four passive stretches will do nicely.
People throw around a number of different words they think are “synonyms” when it comes to strength training: weight lifting, resistance training… the list goes on. But really the term “strength training” incorporates body weight exercises, bands, machines, weighted equipment, and essentially anything that isn’t running, swimming, jump roping, or flexibility training (like stretching), according to Men’s Fitness‘ Group Training Director Sean Hyson, C.S.C.S. So it’s not synonymous with weight lifting—it’s an umbrella term that includes it. And while weight lifting is great, there are tons of other strength-training moves that don’t include actual weights that can help you sculpt a strong, muscular upper body.
Resistance training or lifting weights is a common practice in the world of people who want to get bigger and stronger. To someone who wants to lose weight, it could seem almost counterproductive to put on muscle weight when your true goal is to lose weight. The truth of the matter is that you want to lose fat, and putting on muscle can help you accomplish that goal.
This program isn’t just for the true beginner who has never touched a weight before; it’s also suitable for anyone who has taken an extended leave of absence from training. How long has it been since you went to the gym regularly? Six months? A year? Five years? No worries: The following routines will get you back on track in—you guessed it—just four short weeks. Let’s get to work.

The Russian twist is a type of exercise that is used to work the abdomen muscles by performing a twisting motion on the abdomen. This exercise is performed sitting on the floor with knees bent like in a "sit-up" position with the back typically kept off the floor at an angle of 45°. In this position, the extended arms are swung from one side to another in a twisting motion with or without weight.
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