Author: toop

Mixing It Up

Mixing things up with a mixer

Do your muscles get bored?

Many people say yes, they do. They say that you should mix up your workout to get the most gains. While most people do the same thing every day, they say that you should constantly be varying your workout to get the most benefit.

So, is this true?

In my opinion, after years of workouts I can honestly say, I don’t know.

To be honest, I have never noticed too much difference between varying my workout and doing the same thing. That might be because my standard workout is pretty involved though. I already hit my muscles from just about every angle so for me, it is probably not necessary to vary my workout.

Now that this is out of the way, you should know that there still might be some strong reasons to vary your workout and mix it up. Everyone is different, so here are some reasons that you might consider changing your routine.

Changing Your Routine

Hit muscles from a different angle.

If your workout is not as varied as mine or is a bit simpler, you might want to change up your exercises to hit the muscles differently. There are many little helper muscles that you might not be hitting with your regular workout.

Build a different type of strength.

For most of us, we want size and strength. But what about endurance? You might be able to bench 315 pounds but how many times can you press 225? At the NFL combine, for example, the 225 press is one of the main events. How do you compare to these guys? It might be nice to build up the endurance and see.

End the workout boredom.

Doing the same thing each and every day can get quite tedious. It can make you dread your workout and possibly even limit your motivation. You can keep things interesting by varying your workout and adding some new and possibly more challenging lifts.

How To Mix Things Up

Change The Exercise

This is the most obvious way to change your routine. Move from the bench press to the incline press or dumbell press. Change from leg curls to stiff legged dead lifts. There are hundreds of different lifts out there, all you have to do is search for them.

Change The Reps

If you normally press heavy with low reps, switch it up. Move to a lower weight and higher reps. A little time building endurance could eventually spawn new gains in strength.

Move Your Days Around

Sometimes, just switching your days around can make things interesting again. Move your leg day from Tuesday to Thursday or switch from a 5 day workout week to a 4 day one.

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Max Out For Max Strength

Working out for maximum muscle

In weight lifting, as you have probably already noticed, everyone has an opinion about what is best. Some say high reps, and some say go with low reps.

Just like everyone else, I have an opinion and here it is. If you want to get strong, you have to lift heavy.

Your body adapts to what pressure you put upon it. If you want to be strong, you have to tell it that it needs to get stronger. This means pushing as much weight as possible and maxing out.

Personally, I like to max out every time I workout to push my body and while my 355 pound max bench is not the greatest in the world, it tells me that I am stronger than the average guy and is not to bad for a 45 year old. It tells me that I am doing something right.

Lifting heavy might not work for you but if you are stalling on your gains, perhaps you should give it a try.

Lifting Heavy Safety Tips

First, here are some tips to helping you lift heavy. Take them all under consideration because maxing out is dangerous I will be the first to say that. Not only will you be placing a large amount of weight over your body, but you will be stressing your muscles and tendons. This puts you at risk for injury. Be careful and listen to your body.

Use A Spotter

If you can, work out with a buddy. A spotter can not only help you lift that weight smoothly but they can also help you complete a rep should you stall.

Use A Safety Cage

If a spotter is not available, use a safety cage. and set it up properly. Before you place any weight on the bar, make sure the safety bar will stop the weight before it hits any part of your body. Do a trial rep with no weight on the bar to make sure the settings are right.

Do Not Use Weight Clamps

If you do not have a spotter or a safety cage, working out with max weight is NOT advised. If you must though, at least ditch the weight clamps. If you use the clamps to hold the weights on and fail, the weight is stuck on the bar. If you leave the clamps off, you can tilt the bar and slide the weights off to free yourself in an emergency.

Warm Up

Never go straight to your max weight. I like to do a pyramid routine where I work my way up to max weight and then work back down. If you go right to your max, you risk tearing a muscle or tendon.

Take Longer Breaks

It takes about 5 minutes for you to regain 95 percent of your strength after a lift. It pays to wait between sets. Do your cardio at some other time, weight lifting is not about getting that heart rate up, it is about pushing the most weight.

Listen To Your Body

If something does not feel right, STOP. A minor pull often proceeds a major one, so do not try to push yourself too hard if your body is telling you that it is hurt. There have been many times when I have stopped my routine because I felt off and many times that I dod not and regretted it.

Finishing Up

Lifting heavy is not for everyone but it might just work for you. If you have stalled and need to change things up, give it a try. Just take it seriously. Using max weight can be dangerous, especially if you do it often. Listen to your body and take the necessary precautions.

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Are Supplements Worth It?

Do You Need Suplements

One of the biggest questions that we get all the time is about supplements. What supplements should I be taking?

The bodybuilding industry has made it appear like you will never get any kind of results without supplements. They parade these super bulky athletes out there who claim to use “supplement x”. “Supplement x” is what allowed me to build bulk, get super ripped and have women hanging off of me.

Well, let me tell you what helped most of these guys get ripped, steroids!

In fact, the only supplement that will really help you get huge is steroids. That is not what you want to do though, I am just saying that it is ridiculous to think some formula in a bottle is going to do anything for you. But that is what they try to make you believe.

Having said that, there are just two things that you should consider incorporating into your life. Both are totally unnecessary if you are eating a balanced diet. Those two things are a multivitamin and protein powder.

If you are eating a good diet, you do not need either but most people, quite frankly, do not eat a good diet.

About Multivitamins

This is the most important of the two things above because few people get all of the vitamins that they need through eating their regular meals. Are foods are so processed and overcooked that vitamins have a hard time getting to you. Just a simple “One A Day” vitamin can do wonders, no need to go with anything fancy.

About Protein Powder

Most people actually do not need this because they get enough protein in their diet. You do not need near as much protein as the industry says. One gram per pound of  lean mass is plenty. So, if you weight 200 pounds, 150 grams of protein a day will be just fine.

Since an 8 ounce chicken breast has about 70 grams of protein, you should have no problem getting enough protein in your diet from regular food. If you do find the need to supplement, one protein shake a day will probably suffice. The supplement industry does not want to promote that message because they have to move those huge tubs of powder.

In Conclusion

So, to wrap things up. Eat a balanced diet and you do not need to add any supplements to your diet. Take that money that you would be spending on supplements and use it towards your regular meals. Hit the farmers market and stock up on veggies in a variety of colors. Variety is key to getting all of your nutrients.

In addition, try to get several portions of lean protein a day and you should be able to easily meet all of your protein needs without having to chug down a glass of powder.

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3 Keys To Gaining Muscle Naturally

People have all sorts of ideas about what it takes to build muscle. Some will do crazy workout plans and some will try every supplement on the shelf. You do not have to go to extremes to gain muscle as long as you are consistent with your regime and do these three things.

One: Workout hard and heavy. Who cares about supersets and workouts designed to fatigue a muscle. You can wear your muscles out with low weight high rep exercises but it won’t make you bigger. You will build endurance which is great but it won’t add muscle. The trick to building muscle is to lift heavy at low reps. Shoot for doing a 95% max lift at every workout.

Two: Eat a balanced diet. This does not mean that you need to eat god awful amounts of protein. One gram of protein per pound of lean muscle is sufficient. In addition to protein, you need to eat fat as well. You need fat to make testosterone and build muscle. You can play with your carb intake as you like. Take in enough to have energy without packing on the fat.

Three: Get plenty of sleep. This is where most people fail. It can be hard to get enough sleep but this is when your body repairs itself the most and releases growth hormone. Eight hours is the minimum that you should get. If you can swing it, 9-10 hours is best. If you do not get enough sleep, you are hurting your chances for growth.

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Make $500 Or More A Week Bodybuilding

For most people, bodybuilding is just a hobby that they enjoy. You can, however, make money bodybuilding and thousands of people do it every day. The trick is to be creative and proactive. If you want to make some money from your favorite hobby, here are some great ways that you can do so . Keep reading and learn how to make $5o0 a week or more from your bodybuilding hobby.

First and foremost on your list of ways to make money from bodybuilding is being a personal trainer. If you have a good physique and can teach people how to get there themselves, you can make a lot of money. The trick to profiting in the personal trainer area is word of mouth. You need to prove that you can do what you are saying that you can do and the word will spread. Do that and you can not only make $500 a week, but can make much much more. There are personal trainers making 6 figures, easily. You just need to have good word of mouth and positive real results that you can prove. Start with a low price and work your way up as your reputation and your client base expands. Before long, you will be laughing at the meager $500 a week that you used to make. You will be riding to the gym in your Rover and banking over 6 figures a year. Sound far fetched? It is not, many trainers are living this dream right now.

Not the personal trainer type but have a killer physique? Get an agent. Perhaps you can enter the world of the fitness model. Get paid to advertise for fitness products and fitness magazines. To do this, you need to be devoted and stay in peak physical condition. You do not have to believe in the product that you are advertising necessarily you just need to look good. This is the world of the sellout, no offense. In most cases, you will be modeling to advertise products that you have never used and probably would never use. It is what it is. That is the world we live in. Still, your body can make you some cash and if you are good, $500 a week will be no problem at all.

Want another option to make money? How about sharing your experiences on the internet? You can make a lot of money with a good blog. You will need to post some good and informative articles and be prepared to use some affiliate links to sell some products. The key these days is not to just answer questions to get traffic. Google has taken that away from website owners by posting answers to questions right on the search results page. You will want to lure visitors in to your website and capture their email addresses via a signup form. Then you can market to them directly with newsletters, If you are good at what you do and know your stuff, you can make some good money doing this.

As you can see, there are a number of ways to make some good money online or in person with your bodybuilding skills Be creative and think outside the box and you too can make $500 a week or more with your hobby

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Are You Benching Enough?

Everybody wants a high bench press and it can be tough to accomplish. Stalling on bench press gains is extremely common with people pushing the same weight for months at a time with no gains at all. You move the weight, you are sore so you know something is getting done but still no gains. What is the problem?

The problem might just be that you are not benching enough. Maybe you need to increase the frequency. Some people respond better to benching multiple times a week. This is especially true if you have proper nutrition and are getting enough rest. You might be benching and then fully healed in 3 to 4 days. Why not bench again right away instead of letting your muscles degrade in the second half of the week.

What I typically do is bench heavy on the first lift of the week and then bench light on the second half. So, for example, bench at 90 percent max for the first workout and then 60 to 70 percent for the second workout. Another variation you  might try is to do standard bench for your first workout and incline bench for your workout later in the week.

So, if you are stalling on bench, or any lift for that matter, why not give this method a try. It might just be that you need more frequency to make gains.

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Body Building Finances – Loans, Money & More

Bodybuilding can take up a lot of your day and because of this, it takes attention away from other parts of your life. Besides relationships and family, finances can sometimes take a back seat. You need to be extra careful to keep things in order. If you need to spend more time at work, that is where your devotion should be. Here are a few of the financial implications of bodybuilding and how you can handle them.

Home Gyms Are Expensive

If you decide that working out at home is the way to go, it can get costly very quickly. Once you add up the cost of weights, a weight rack, benches and all of the little specialty equipment, it can run into the thousands. You might be tempted to get a loan for all this stuff and places like Loan Monkey make it easy to do so but this might not be the best option. Loans come with extra interest and regular payments. These payments can place a financial burden on you and stress is not good for you mentally or physically. Stress can actually limit your bodybuilding gains. Instead of loans, a smarter option might be to buy your equipment piece by piece with cash. Even better, shop at places like Craigslist. A good time of year to shop is coming up. A few months after the new year people have generally given up on their resolutions. This means that a bunch of brand new shiny equipment will go on sale for pennies on the dollar.

Time Away From Work Can Cost You

If you are young and just starting out in a career, time away from work can be really costly. You need to prioritize work, unless you plan on a career in bodybuilding. Do your workouts around your work schedule, not the other way around. In the early years of your career, you need to put in the work to get ahead. This will pay dividends in the future. Make your name and your career now before other pressures fill your time like family. Some day you will not be able to devote 60 to 80 hours a week to your career. Now you can and you can use this time to get ahead.

With most gyms being open 24 hours a day, you can easily slip a work out in to even the toughest work schedules. Hit the gym on the way home or use your lunch our to get your reps in. If there is a will, there is a way and you can have both work and your hobby of bodybuilding.

Supplements Add Up Quickly

This is one of the easiest ways to save money. Do not fall for the hype. Most supplements are garbage and are simply not needed. The only one that is really worth the money is protein powder. But a good Whey Isolate and be done with it. No LEGAL substance is going to do anything for you except protein. Remember, the guys on the label of those products earned their physiques through other means, not from using the products themselves.

Gyms Can Be Affordable

If you like working out at a gym, you really need to do your due diligence. That big gym might be the best option or you might be better off with the little one around the corner in the strip center. There are a lot of low cost options these days. With the rise of the Anytime Fitness type establishments, there have also been a rise of copycats. Now, it is true, many of these gyms are strictly machine weights which is just not a good thing for a true bodybuilder. However, many of the copycat gyms have free weights as well. Find one of them and you could wind up with a super cheap gym membership, well under $20 a month. As a side benefit, most of the people at these gyms do not tend to use the free weights which means that you might just find that you have them all to yourself.

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Supersetter – Gym Pro or Gym A$$hole

Supersets, you know all about them. You do one exercise and then immediately hit one or even two separate exercises. The purpose, to push your muscles to the brink and hopefully get a nice gain in strength. Does it work though or does it just make you an a$$hole at the gym.

Me, I think the latter. Weight lifting is to build strength, not endurance. Supersets push you into an aerobic state and give you a cardio workout and nothing more. It takes about 5 minutes between sets to regain your strength You can lift about 95% of your max after five minutes. If you have no rest between sets, you can lift only a fraction of what you are capable. This does not push your body into building more muscle. It does not cause the needed tearing and destruction of muscle fibers which leads to growth. All it leads to is an increase in heart rate and and a misguided sense of accomplishment.

I will say that it also makes you an a$$hole. There is nothing worse than the piece of you know what who thinks nothing of monopolizing a bench press station, squat rack and whatever else is the flavor of the day all at once. They tend to always do this at peak hours as well. What makes it worse is that when they finally do finish, they hardly have the courtesy to wipe off the equipment from the unnecessary sweating that they do. If you are sweating heavy during a weight workout, you are doing it wrong, period.

Supersets are great for cardio, if that is your goal but so is the treadmill. So, instead of doing supersets, why not do a regular strength workout and then hop on the cardio machine of your choice. You will get a better workout and you wont be an a$$hole.

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Home Gym Must – The Cage

Thinking about making a home gym? If so, there are a few things that you will need. The biggest thing is a weight bench. Your whole gym will revolve around it. 

You will need a good weight bench if you want to enjoy your home gym.. You have two basic choices here. You can go with a basic bench or a cage system. In my opinion, there is nothing better than a good cage system. It allows you to work out alone safely and go for max lifts without the possibility of hurting yourself. Well, from hurting yourself with falling weights at least. 

You might be seeing dollar signs swirling around your head now that I mentioned cage systems but this does not have to be the case. Sure there are systems that cost thousands of dollars on the market but you can actually get a cage shipped to your door for around $300 or less. This is where you say thanks to Amazon for driving down the price of these systems. Years ago, if you had to go to the sporting goods store, you would have paid a fortune for a cage. Not anymore. 

Here is an example of one from Amazon. You can get it for just over $300 shipped and probably tax free depending on where you live. It will allow you to safely do bench press, incline press, decline press, squats and more without worrying about dropping a heavy weight on the floor or worse yet, your chest. 

I am of the opinion that if you want to lift heavy, you need to lift heavy weights. You can not do that safely without a cage system. Even a spotter can let you down but a properly constructed cage, never will. 

An alternative to this is to check craigslist for a used system but this has a drawback. The ones I have checked out are almost always a bit rusty and you must transport it. This means having a vehicle big enough to move it or it involves disassembly. Disassembly can be difficult and you risk losing bolts or just plain getting lost. For the hundred bucks you would save, not worth it. 

 

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What’s your weakness?

Everybody has at least one bodybuilding weak spot. A part of your body that you might not believe is coming around as fast as the rest of you. It could be your pec, your glutes or just about anything. In bodybuilding your goal should be symmetry. You want your body to develop evenly. This means making sure that everything is balanced.

To do this, you must first identify your weakness. If you are not sure, ask someone to evaluate you. Once you identify your weakness, you can begin to target it.

The ultimate goal here is to turn your weakness into a strength. Arnold Schwarzenegger, tells a story about how he hated his calfs. He forced himself to make them a strength by cutting the legs off of his clothing to expose his calf muscles. This gave him the motivation to build them up.

Improving Your Weak Spot

To improve your weak spot, you must do one of two things.

First, you need to evaluate your program and make sure that you are hitting the muscle properly. If needed, add some isolation exercises. If you are doing high reps, switch to low reps and higher weights. If you are doing low reps, switch to higher reps and a reduced weight. Try this approach first and see if that problem spot begins to improve.

If changing your routine does not give you the desired affect, you need to increase your frequency. The week is a man made concept. Why should we think that our bodies grow on a weekly basis. You might need to work that body part twice or even three times a week to get growth. Adding additional frequency could help you bust that plateau.

Combined with a proper diet, one of the above techniques should help you easily bust through a plateau and turn that weak body part into one of your strongest.

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