We all dream about becoming something we’re not, but very few of us see those dreams to completion, let alone start down the path to glory.

Let this group of friends be the inspiration to get your butt off the couch and into the gym once and for all!

Now, go lift something heavy!!!

Your chest is a paradox. Comprising only one major muscle pair, it would seem to be an easy area to train. Press and flye end of story. But this story is a mystery with unpredictable twists. The pecs are deceptively complex–working them is fraught with pitfalls you’ll likely blunder into workout after workout, year after year. This month, we expose those pitfalls, highlighting the five most common chest-training errors and detailing strategies to avoid them. Take notes; you may be shocked at the number of pec peccadilloes you’ve been committing.

#1 Overreliance on barbell bench presses

“How much can you bench?” The question is asked so often of anyone with a modicum of muscle that it’s long been the ultimate gym cliche. Still, the fact that the bench press is the go-to strength barometer has had a decimating effect on chests. Bodybuilders bench too much too often for too many sets of too few reps. Used correctly, the bench press is an excellent exercise. Overused, it can potentially overdevelop the lower-pec region in relation to the upper region, giving you “droopy boobs” (think Art Atwood). Furthermore, consistently benching for maximum sets of low reps will boost your chances of injuries, ranging from shoulder, elbow and wrist strains to pec tears.

Solutions

  • Think of barbell bench presses as just another chest exercise, one that can be done at any time during your routine, including last.
  • Do sets of eight to 12 reps, only occasionally pyramiding to as low as six reps.
  • If you’re curious about how much you can bench for a single rep, use an online calculator and your best 10-rep set to compute your one-rep max.
  • If you always do barbell benches first, start with incline presses–with barbells one workout and dumbbells the next. Alternately, cycle eight-week periods during which you do no free-weight benches with eight weeks during which you do benches with barbells one workout and dumbbells the next.

#2 Under training upper chest

Often occurring in concert with an overreliance on bench presses is an underreliance on exercises that target the upper-pec region. This is the area from your clavicles to approximately halfway down your chest. It gives your torso a higher appearance and visually ties your pecs in with your delts and traps (think Franco Columbu). Pecs are naturally thinner at the top than the bottom, so everyone can prioritize their upper pecs via incline work without fearing that this region will overpower their lower pecs.

Solutions

  • Do incline presses with a barbell or dumbbells first in your routine.
  • In each chest workout, include at least as many sets of upper-chest work (incline presses and flyes) as you do lower chest work (flat and decline presses and flyes, and dips).
  • To focus cable crossovers on your upper chest, perform them with the cables set near the floor, so that you are pulling the handles up and together on each rep.
  • Practice posing your upper pecs with hands-on-hips most-musculars or simply tensing. This will build a greater mind-muscle connection, so you can feel this area contracting on targeted chest exercises.

#3 Overreliance on machines

While too many bodybuilders do too many sets of benches, there is another group that goes to the other extreme–they rarely grab barbells or dumbbells on chest day. Most modern gyms have a plethora of press and fly machines, but resist the urge to form the bulk of your routine around mechanical movements. Despite modern advantages, the best chests of Arnold’s era still compare favorably with the pecs in recent Olympia pose-downs. Why? Then, pecs were worked almost exclusively with free weights.

Solutions

  • Do mostly free-weight and body-weight basics.
  • Do no more than half of your chest exercises with machines.
  • If you do mechanical presses, try to choose a unilateral Hammer Strength, FreeMotion or similar machine that approximates the freedom of free weights.
  • If you’re not strong enough to get eight bodyweight reps while dipping, use a dip assist machine to lighten your load. (This doesn’t count as a machine exercise.)

#4 Failure to contract

The downside of free weights is that they make it difficult to attain a maximum contraction in the pecs. When you do dumbbell flyes, there is less resistance on the chest at the top of the movement (when the dumbbells come together) than near the bottom. Likewise, during presses or dips, the triceps do much of the work near lockout.

Solutions

  • Do one flye exercise each workout with either a machine or training bands. If you do cable crossovers, cross one hand over the other (hence the name) at contractions. Similarly, if you use an upright flye or pecdeck machine, or do flyes with bands, perform repetitions unilaterally in order to bring your hand past the center plane of your body to lengthen contractions.
  • Lock out on presses. Although your triceps will do much of the work at the end, you can still maximally flex your chest at contractions.

#5 Working the weight, not the muscles

“Work the muscles, not the weight” is one of Jay Cutler’s favorite aphorisms. Working the weight is different than focusing too much on the number of pounds used, and thus going too heavy.

Working the weight is using speed and momentum to pound out reps with little or no regard for the targeted area and it’s a precise distillation of the way many bodybuilders press, flye and dip.

Solutions

  • Feel where you want to focus each set before it begins. For example, tense your upper chest before a set of incline presses to keep your attention on that area.
  • Always utilize strict form. This is not only safer, but also better for targeting your pecs, because the sloppier your execution on a chest exercise is, the more that secondary muscles take over.
  • Carefully control the negative halves of reps. During presses, take approximately two seconds to lower the weight and one to two seconds to raise it.

Lessons Learned

  • Treat bench presses as just another chest exercise with reps in the eight to 12 range.
  • Prioritize your upper chest.
  • Do primarily free-weight presses and flyes.
  • Concentrate on the contraction of each rep.
  • Keep the focus on your pecs, not on the weight.

Age: 28
Height: 6’1” – 185 cm
Weight: 198 lbs – 90 kg

What was your lifestyle like prior to your transformation?

I was brought up in the US from a young age although originally from London. Having moved around a lot, finding the right direction and what I wanted to achieve in life was tough. Things changed when I moved back to London and joined a gym. From there I slowly started to learn and tried new things by observing others. I still train in the same gym I walked into as a 9 stone guy in 2009. Since being involved in BodyPower in April 2013, my commitment and enthusiasm for being an active part of the fitness industry took on a new direction as my energy levels and motivation grew.

I realized I could share my experiences and demonstrate how, with commitment and determination, anyone can dramatically increase their fitness levels and change their outlook on life.

What motivates you to keep going and push harder?

The feedback and support I get from everyone on social media has been amazing! It’s a two way street, I motivate them and they motivate me.

3

What is your next goal? Where do you see yourself this time next year?

I am working towards owning and operating a full scale gym. This will be my main focus for the next year, but I wouldn’t say a competition is out of the question either!

4

What is your current training philosophy?

Right now, I am focusing on building more muscle and bringing up my weak areas. I plan to build more muscle before I do another cut.

Monday: Chest/Biceps

  • Flat Bench Press 4 x 10
  • Dumbbell Fly 3 x 10-12
  • Decline Dumbbell Press 4 x 10
  • Cable Fly 3 x 10-12
  • EZ-Bar Curl 4 x 10
  • Cable Robe Curls 3 x 10-12

Tuesday: Quads/Hamstrings

  • Leg Extension 4 x 10
  • Squats 4 x 10
  • Leg Press 4 x 10
  • Leg Curl 3 x 10
  • Deadlifts 4 x 10
  • Leg Curl 4 x 12

Wednesday: Abs

  • Decline Bench Oblique Crunch 4 x 12-15
  • Hanging Leg Raise 5 x 12-15
  • Cable Rope Crunch 3 x 20
  • Ab Machine 3 x 25-30

Thursday: Back/Triceps

  • Seated Row 3 x 10
  • T-Bar Row 4 x 10
  • Upper Back Row 3 x 12
  • Lateral Pulldown 4 x 10
  • Single Arm Close Grip Pulldown 3 x 12
  • Bench Dips 4 x 10
  • Dumbbell Overhead Extension 3 x 12
  • Cable Rope Extension 3 x 12

Friday: Shoulders/Traps

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 x 10
  • Arnold Press 4 x 10
  • Smith Machine Shoulder Press 3 x 12
  • Lateral Raise 3 x 12
  • Rear Delt Raise 3 x 12
  • Smith Machine Shrugs 4-5 x 12

Saturday: Cardio/Abs

  • Lower Crunch 3 x 15-20
  • Hanging Leg Raise 3 x 15-20
  • TRX or Normal Squat Thrusts 3 x 20-30
  • Swiss Ball Crunch 3 x 15-20
  • Russian Twist 3 x 20-30
  • V-Sit Crunch 3 x 15-20
  • Bicycle Crunch 3 x 20-30
  • Mountain Climbers 3 x 20-30

5

Favorite form of cardio?

I use HIIT to shed stubborn body fat for contest prep and when I’m cutting. Spinning is ideal for this because it allows a smooth transition between high intensity and resting phases.

Describe your cardio routine:

I perform 20 minutes of cardio. I warm up for 5 minutes and slowly increase the speed to a working heart rate of 50% max effort.

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What is your approach to nutrition?

I keep it clean and simple. Eating clean 90% of the time makes a huge difference in my ability to keep my body fat down while I am bulking or cutting.

9

Do you bulk and cut or stay lean year round?

I rotate between bulking and cutting. Being a hard gainer, I’m always striving to build more muscle mass during the winter. My main bulk runs from November through February. Then, I make the transition to a cutting phase. I usually aim for an event in May, so I try to plan my cut accordingly.

Daily Diet:

Weights are dry/raw measure.

  • Meal 1: 2 ounces Oats, 1 Scoop Whey, 4 ounces Skim Milk, 4 ounces Water and 1 tablespoon Peanut Butter
  • Meal 2: 2 Whole Eggs and 3 Egg Whites
  • Meal 3: 3 ounces Almonds and 3 0unces Blueberries
  • Meal 4: 8 ounces Ground Turkey Breast, 4 0unces Onions, 4 0unces Peppers, 8 0unces Sweet Potato, 3-4 ounces Green Beans and 1 teaspoon Coconut Oil
  • Meal 5: 1 Apple and 2-3 tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • Meal 6: 3 ½ ounces Tuna and Salad
  • Meal 7: 7 ½ ounces Chicken Breast, 6 ounces Brown Rice, 2-3 ounces Snap Peas, 4 ounces Onions and 4 0unces Peppers
  • Meal 8: 1 Scoop Whey and 5-6 0unces Cottage Cheese or Fat-Free Greek Yogurt

7

What are your best 3 tips for someone looking to reach their goal physique?

  1. No excuses, train hard!
  2. Nutrition is key!
  3. Have a structured routine and be consistent.

10

So you are extremely busy and don’t have time to work out, but you also want to have a beautiful physique. Well, we have good news and bad news. The good news is – you can stay in shape in ways, other than engaging in rigorous workouts in the gym. The bad news is that you will still have to make an effort. But don’t you worry! In this article, we share with you 8 simple ways to quickly burn calories. They are really engaging and fun and should keep you motivated as well as entertained. Well, some of them at least.

1. Go For A Swim

It’s time to hit your local swimming pool! When it’s so much fun to swim, it’s much easier to motivate yourself to do it on a regular basis, than, say, to go to the gym. In only 15 minutes of swimming, you’ll burn 100 calories. If you breaststroke, it’s even less than that – only 9 minutes!

2. Go Bowling

When it comes to exercising regularly, we can have a million excuses, but not so much when it comes to going out and having fun with friends. And the next time you’re wondering what to do, go bowling. Within half an hour you’ll lose 100 calories!

3. Jump Rope

7 minutes of relatively intensive rope jumping, will be a nice little cardio workout, that burns 100 calories. No need to go to the gym either! You can easily do this exercise at home (and have a lot of fun along the way).

4. Dance!

Just dance! In 15 minutes of dancing, you’ll burn 100 calories! Do you like going clubbing with friends? Well, there is a great opportunity to lose some weight! If you are more of an introvert or just don’t feel like going out, you can easily put some tunes at home and dance! It works miracles for your mood and is a lot of fun!

5. Give Your Car A Wash

Rather than taking your vehicle to a car wash on a weekend, you can get your hands dirty by washing it yourself. In just 17 minutes, you will burn 100 calories. Be sure to give it a good body waxing as well. May not seem like fun at first, but put some nice music on and enjoy yourself!

6. Do House Chores

Well, that doesn’t seem like fun. And to be honest, we agree. But house chores are something that needs to be done, so you might as well enjoy it. In only 20 minutes you’ll burn 100 calories. And working in a backyard or garden (if you have one) also counts! This is something you may actually enjoy.

7. Take The Stairs

Just because you have an elevator in your office building doesn’t mean you have to use it all the time. You can take the stairs instead! We understand that it might be hard to force yourself sometimes, but it is worth it. In 14 minutes at a steady pace, you’ll burn 100 calories.

8. Walk Your Dog

Now, walking your dog is definitely fun! If you have a dog, that is. The chances are you already walk him or her twice a day. Even a short walk is beneficial for you. You’ll burn 100 calories in 17 minutes. It’s really a pleasure, so why not consider doing it for longer, now that you know how good it is for you?

Conclusion

With these 8 simple tips, you will be able to burn 100 calories even if you’re really short on time. We hope you found this advice useful and will apply some of it in real life. If you’re really busy and want to lose weight faster, we suggest you check out Lazar’s article 7 Foods That Speed Up Your Metabolism.

Height: 5’2” – 157 cm
Weight: 123 lbs – 56 kg

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

I started to take training serious about three years ago, but before that I had always been athletic. When I was a kid I used to play several sports including volleyball, basketball and soccer. A couple of years later I decided to train with a personal trainer as my goal was to get in shape for summer. However after 1 year of intense training and strict dieting my trainer and I realized I had already achieved a competition body, so I decided to take the risk and enter a competition. I went to three different bodybuilding competitions; in Rio de Janeiro, Madrid, and Ohio. It was truly an amazing experience and when I look back on things I feel happy to see how far I have come.

 

Where does your motivation come from?

My motivation comes from the desire to overcome all the limits of my body.

What workout routine has worked best for you?

Day 1: Lower body

  • Superset: Leg Extension with Leg Curls 3×12-18
  • Leg Press: 3×12-18
  • Superset: Squats with Switch Lunges 3×12-18
  • Superset: Lunges on the Smith Machine with Pop Squats 3×12-18
  • Superset: Walking Dumbbell Lunges with Free Weight Walking Lunges 3×12-18
  • Adduction Machine 3×12-18

Day 2: Upper Body

  • Pullovers: 3×12-18
  • Superset: Back Row Machine 3×12-18
  • Machine Shoulder Press: 3×12-18
  • Superset: Front Raises with Shoulder Side Raises 3×12-18
  • Superset: Cable Pushdowns with Body Dips 3×12-18

Day 3: Lower Body

  • Lunges: 3×12-18
  • Squats: 3×12-18
  • Leg Press Unilateral: 3×12-18
  • Superset: Glute Extension with Stiff Legged Deadlifts: 3×12-18
  • Abduction Machine: 3×12-18

Day 4: Upper Body

  • Chest Press Machine: 3×12-18
  • Superset: Front Raises with Seated Rows: 3×12-18
  • Shoulder Press: 3×12-18
  • Inclined Lateral Raises: 3×12-18

Day 5: Lower Body

  • Lying Hamstring Curls: 3×12-18
  • Seated Leg Curls: 3×12-18
  • Stiff Legged Deadlifts: 3×12-18
  • Lunges on Smith Machine: 3×12-18
  • Adduction Machine: 3×12-18

Cardio:

  • 40 to 50 minutes of cardio on the Bike or Elliptical Machine 5x a week

If you had to pick only 3 exercises, what would they be and why?

  • Barbell Squats
  • Bench Press
  • Back Row

All of these exercises are compound movements, which involve the use of more than one major muscle group at a time. In my experience they are the best for building mass.

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What is your diet like?

  • Meal 1: 6 Egg Whites, 40g of Oat Bran
  • Meal 2: 150g Chicken Breast, 100g Brown Rice/Whole-Wheat Pasta & Salad
  • Meal 3: 30g of Whey Protein
  • Meal 4: 150g Salmon or Filet Mignon & Vegetables
  • Meal 5: 6 Egg Whites
  • Meal 6: 30g Casein Protein, Probolic or Pro Complex

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What is your supplementation like?

My supplementation is:

  • Glutamine: 4 x 5g per day (Pre, during, post-workout and before bed)
  • BCAA Powder: 10g during training and before cardio
  • L Carnitine: Before cardio
  • Mega Woman, Vitamin E, C, Omega 3: At lunchtime

7

Favorite Quote?

Try to be the best version of yourself in all areas of your life. Only the ones who fight for a goal are the ones who can achieve success!

8

MICHAEL COUNIHAN

Age: 32
Height: 5’9″ – 175 cm
Weight: 205 lbs – 93 kg

How did you get started with bodybuilding?

Initially, my motivation for working out came from training for football at the age of twelve. Throughout college, I continued to have a passion for training. At that time, I loved the way training made me feel, and I loved seeing my body change over time as it become stronger.

Where does your motivation come from?

Today my motivation has changed because I feel like I need to be in shape for my career. I also feel as if I have a small group of people that rely on me for motivation. This in itself is motivation for me, as I don’t want to let those people down.

What do you love most about being a police officer in NYC, and do you feel your celebrity status has helped you while patrolling NYC?

I love being a cop, especially in NYC. And no, I wouldn’t consider myself a celebrity by any means. People very rarely recognize me on the street, but it’s gratifying when they do. It’s nice to know I motivate them to live a healthier lifestyle, and sometimes they even fill me in on what accomplishments they’ve made because I have inspired them. News like that really helps keep me going!

What workout routine has worked best for you?

For me, hammering one body part at a time has worked best for me. Training this way also allows me to focus on bringing up any areas I feel may be lagging behind. Some conventional training methods have also helped me to achieve more overall muscle mass. For cardio, I do thirty minutes each day, and I prefer using the treadmill on an incline.

Full Routine:

Monday: Chest/Cardio

  • Incline Bench Press 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Flat Bench Dumbbell 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Incline Dumbbell Fly’s 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Incline Machine Press 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Cable Fly’s 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • 30 Minutes Treadmill (Steady State)

Tuesday: Back/Cardio

  • Lat Pulldowns 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Cable Rows 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Barbell Rows 15/12/10/8/6
  • Dumbbell Rows 15/12/10/8/8
  • Low Rows 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • T-Bar Rows 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Deadlifts 15/12/10/10/6/4/2
  • 30 Minutes Treadmill (Steady State)

Wednesday: Quads/Hams

  • Squats 25/15/12/10/8/6
  • Wide Leg Press 5 x 15 (Superset)
  • Narrow Stance 5 x 15
  • Hack Squats 15/12/10/8
  • Lying Leg Curls 15/15/12/10/8
  • Leg Extensions 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Walking Lunges 4 x 15 (per leg)
  • 30 Minutes Treadmill (Steady State)

Thursday: Shoulders

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Behind the Neck Military Barbell Press 15/15/12/10
  • Reverse Pec Deck Fly’s 15/15/12/10
  • Lateral Raises 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Wide Grip Upright Rows 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Front Raises 15/12/10/8
  • 30 Minutes Treadmill (Steady State)

Friday: Arms/Cardio

  • EZ-Bar Curls 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Rope Pushdowns 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • Cable Curls 25/15/15/12/10
  • Skull Crushers 25/15/15/12/10
  • Straight Bar Curls 15/12/10/8
  • Close Grip Bench Press 15/12/10/8
  • Machine Curls 25/15/15/12/10/8
  • 30 Minutes Treadmill (Steady State)

Saturday: Cardio/Abs

  • 30 Minutes Treadmill (Steady State)
  • Crunches 3 x 25
  • Hanging Leg Raises 3 x 25

Sunday: Fasted Cardio/Abs

  • 30 Minutes Treadmill (Steady State)
  • Crunches 3 x 25
  • Hanging Leg Raises 3 x 25

If you had to pick only 3 exercises what would they be and why?

If I had to pick three exercises, they would probably be squat, bench and deadlift due to their overall value.

  1. Squats: I love doing squats for my overall core stability and leg mass.
  2. Bench: This is a great overall compound movement that not only works my chest, but it hits my triceps, shoulders and back.
  3. Deadlifts: In my opinion deadlifts are a true strength builder.

What is your diet like?

My nutrition solely depends on my desired physique, so it will vary from time to time. For example, if I’m trying to get leaner, I will manipulate my carbs and fats, and I will keep my protein levels relatively high. Currently, I am eating an unlimited quantity of vegetables during my meals, and I’m keeping my carbs at about 25-50 grams per serving. My diet at the moment looks something like below.

Daily Diet:

  • Meal 1: 1 scoop Protein
  • Meal 2: 6 Egg Whites and 1 Whole Egg
  • Meal 3: 6 ounces Chicken and 1 cup Vegetables
  • Meal 4: 6 ounces Lean Steak, 8 ounces Rice and 1 cup Vegetables
  • Meal 5: 1 scoop Protein and 50 grams Carb Powder
  • Meal 6: 6 ounces Chicken and 1 cup Vegetables

So you want to build muscle without steroids do you? Well let me tell you that natural bodybuilding is hard…

Especially since it feels like it’s an uneven playing field in the gym, doesn’t it?

There are some guys where you just know they’re on steroids. Other guys, you suspect, but aren’t really sure.

It’s a sad fact of the matter: steroids are far more common than you’d like to believe and it can feel like everyone is doing them…

But, if you’ve resolved tostay natural and want to build muscle without steroids fast no matter what it takes, you may be feeling a little discouraged at your ability to build muscle.

But don’t worry, you’ve actually made a very smart decision…

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why staying steroid-free is better
  • How to build muscle without steroids or any other illegal substances
  • The secret trick to keep the muscle on without spending hours in the gym

When you hit the gym, you might feel like there’s two camps: those on gear and those who are not. If you feel like your group – non-steroid users – is growing smaller by the day, you may be tempted to try a cycle.

I mean, how bad can it really be, right?

Fact is, it can be very bad…

Why Using Steroids To Build Muscle Is a Bad Idea

Consider this:

Most users of steroids take 10 to 100 times more than what a doctor would prescribe to treat a real medical condition or illness

  • Steroids don’t just impact your body. They also impact your mind. symptoms related to steroid use include mood swings, manic behavior, insomnia, irritability, and impaired judgment. Some individuals also become very aggressive.
  • Steroids are not a long-term solution. Do too many cycles and your body may become reliant on external testosterone, reducing own natural production. Then, should you choose to come off, you’re left with testosterone levels lower than normal. Say good-bye to that muscle you’ve built!
  • Steroids are addictive. Rarely will someone ever just do one cycle. The reason? See above. Men who use steroids can suffer from any of the following: Shrinking testicles, breast growth, infertility, impotence, a higher risk for prostate cancer. Steroids may impact your ability to have children.
  • Steroid users are at a higher risk for HIV/Aids if unsterile needles are used.

While steroids may give you that initial boost you long for – to feel like you have superhuman powers in the gym, when you get right down to it, you know very well it’s not a wise long-term option.

Be smart and stick to your guns. Staying natural will not only give you the feeling of being able to achieve excellent muscle group without assistance, but will also set you up for long-term health.

Plus, your chances of keeping your gains will be far higher if steroids aren’t involved.

Okay, so now that you’re back on the straight and narrow, let’s talk about how you can build muscle without steroids but so it would actually seem like you are on steroids even though you know (proudly!) that you aren’t.

Get Serious About Creatine

One product that isn’t illegal that you definitely want to get serious about using is creatine. If you aren’t using this product already, now is the time to start.Creatine is one of the most well-researched supplements in the industry and has been proven to help accelerate the rate of lean muscle mass tissue. Of course, it won’t do the work for you – you’ll have to bust your ass in the gym each workout to build muscle quickly, but with creatine on your side, you’ll do more each session, thus seeing faster results.

Need proof?

One study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise noted that when test subjects were either given creatine with carbohydrates, creatine with whey protein, or whey protein or carbohydrates alone, the creatine focused groups showed greater improvements in muscle strength as well as size compared to carbohydrates alone.

The researchers determined that up to 76% of the strength improvements in the squat exercise being performed could be attributed to hypertrophy of the muscles involved in this exercise.

Creatine isn’t a magic bullet where you take it and grow muscle out of thin air. But, it may help you do more before reaching that point of fatigue where you have to stop each set.

This in turn is what helps you grow.

Even better, unlike steroids and some other supplements out there, there is no need to cycle creatine either. This is something that can help you get bigger 365 days per year.

Know That Building Muscle Naturally Is All In The Food

You might think that the true secret to getting as big as possible is through hitting the gym as hard and often as you can. But if you’re natural, the real secret lies in the kitchen. What you eat is going to help or hinder your success, period. Now, when steroid users eat, it’s pretty much a game of eat as much as you possibly can to grow as fast as you possibly can. Steroids ramp up the rate of protein synthesis so that the trainee is able to accelerate muscle building without much body fat gain. As a natural trainee, you need to be smarter. Yes, you do need to eat big to get big, but timing your food becomes more important. This is what helps get you big, but keeps you lean at the same time. If you just eat everything in sight, unless you’re a natural ectomorph, you’ll find yourself gaining unwanted body fat as well. What you’ll want to do is set your calorie intake to around a 600-700 calorie surplus on training days, placing the bulk of those added calories before/after your workout session. This is the time when protein synthesis will be elevated, so when you’ll be most likely to shuttle those calories towards the process of muscle building. Then on rest days, cut back slightlyEat in a 100-200 calorie surplus (remember, recovery uses energy too!) and focus on keeping your dietary fat a little higher that day while carbs are slightly lower. Using this eating style will help you maximize your muscle gain while minimizing additional unwanted body fat. As a natural trainee, you want to avoid lengthy cutting periods as this is a time when you can begin to lose your hard earned muscle.

Back Off Your Training (Slightly!)

As much as it might come as a surprise, as a natural trainee, you might want to consider backing off your training. Now, don’t get me wrong – training is still critical and when you hit the gym, you need to be giving 110% of your effort each and every set you do.

As a natural trainee though, too much training will just lead to slow muscle growth and possibly lead you down the path to overtraining. While steroid users may be doing two-a-day sessions, for you, you’re better off hitting the gym hard once per day and making sure that you have at least two days off a week for rest and recovery. It’s during recovery that you grow, so don’t miss out on this opportunity. Many natural lifters are already on the verge of overtraining and when they finally do cut back, that’s when they see the best results. If you aren’t getting any gains and you know your calorie intake is where it needs to be, chances are, you’re training too much. Back off slightly and your results may skyrocket.

Clock More Sleep Time and Build Muscle Before You Even Start the Day

Believe it or not, sleeping more will actually help you build muscle without steroid. Since you aren’t getting the help of external sources of testosterone, you’ll want to do whatever you can to maximize your internal production. This means getting serious about sleep. I get it. You’re busy and your to-do list never stops. But if you want results, you need to be clocking 8-9 hours of sleep each night.

Get this:

In one study published in the Jama Journal, researchers studied what the implications of one week of sleep deprivation would be. They had test subjects sleep for 8 hours for one week (the washout period) and then spent 11 nights in the lab. The first three nights they slept for 10 hours to really restore any sleep debt present.

Testosterone levels were then recorded to serve as a baseline reading.

After this, they were then subjected to 8 nights with just 5 hours of sleep. After this period, testosterone levels were taken once again. After the results were in, it was seen that subjects experienced a 10-15% decline in free testosterone levels.

Considering the fact that testosterone naturally declines about 1% a year, this means you could be walking around with testosterone levels that are a decade older than you.

Moral of the story?

Get serious about sleep. To do natural bodybuilding, you cannot afford to not be getting the natural boost to your testosterone that sleep gives. As you know your natural testosterone production is vital if you want to be able to build muscle without steroids fast.

Eat More Saturated Fat (Really!)

Chances are, you’ve probably been told that decreasing your saturated fat intake is best for health purposes. And, if you feast on a half dozen eggs, steak, and bacon daily, then yes, that probably is good advice. But for the natural trainee who eats a relatively healthy diet? Adding more saturated fat could actually be key to success. Research suggests that men who consume too much dietary fiber and not enough saturated fat show suppressed testosterone profiles compared to men who eat more saturated fat and less fiber.

So should you swap out your broccoli for bacon?

Not so fast brother. You don’t want to avoid fiber entirely but instead, make sure you aren’t overdoing it. And then make sure that the saturated fat sources you are eating come from natural sources. Think lean red meat, eggs, and possibly even some higher fat dairy products. Stay away from deep fried foods or those heavily processed. While they may contain saturated fat, they contain a number of other things that will do your health harm.

Take home advice

So after this natural bodybuilding guide you now have the key steps to take if you want to build muscle without steroids as fast as possible.

Make sure you:

  • Take creatine
  • Fully understand the importance of nutrition
  • Remember that muscle is built while you rest
  • Get 10 hours of sleep
  • Eat more saturated fat

Work hard, follow this advice, and don’t give in to the pressures to take steroids. You can build muscle without steroids and when you do, you’ll feel far better knowing you did it through strictly your own resources.

REFERENCES:

Cribb, Paul J., et al. “Effects of whey isolate, creatine and resistance training on muscle hypertrophy.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 39.2 (2007): 298-307.

Leproult, Rachel, and Eve Van Cauter. “Effect of 1 week of sleep restriction on testosterone levels in young healthy men.” Jama 305.21 (2011): 2173-2174.

Dorgan, Joanne F., et al. “Effects of dietary fat and fiber on plasma and urine androgens and estrogens in men: a controlled feeding study.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 64.6 (1996): 850-855.

Physical exercises, undoubtedly, are critical to getting a well-built athletic body. Regular workouts are also instrumental to staying in shape and living a healthy life. Although very important, physical activity is not the only component of a balanced lifestyle. In both, getting and staying in shape, it is also important to support fitness efforts with a healthy diet and positive day-to-day habits. This article presents you with six things, that can meaningfully enhance your lifestyle if integrated into your daily routine.

1. Have A Protein-Rich Breakfast

There is a tendency among many people to consume processed and refined foods in the morning. This is hardly a good idea since such breakfast adversely impacts your endurance and stamina levels that are particularly important if you exercise. Such food barely contains any nutrients and raises your blood sugar levels, hence increasing the risk of type II diabetes.  Instead, your breakfast should consist of protein-rich food, like eggs and beans. It will energize you and set you up for an active productive day. Breakfast is often referred to as “the most important meal of the day” – and this is justified to a high extent, as you need to get as much nourishment as possible in order to boost your stamina and endurance levels.

2. Have A Dietary Plan

The importance of a healthy diet is widely acknowledged today. In spite of this, unfortunately, the fast-paced lifestyle and the increasing need for quick and easy food, lead to many people eating poorly. You need to be mindful of what, how much and when you eat – especially if you have a strict workout regimen.

Your diet needs to be designed with your health and fitness goals in mind. Professional and aspiring bodybuilders need to estimate the number of calories burnt as a result of the training and develop their meal plan accordingly. For this, naturally, it is important to know exactly what the food contains, in terms of calories, vitamins and minerals. Align your diet with your training requirements, and ensure that the food you are eating is natural and diverse.

3. Don’t Miss On Food Supplements 

4. Drink More Water

Water is crucial, as it helps detoxify the body. Vital organs, like the liver and kidneys, are dependent on water to remain healthy. If you actively and regularly exercise, rehydrating yourself is critical during and after training sessions. Water also assists digestion and helps avoid constipation problems. For best effects, consumer 1 gallon (4.5 liters) daily.
5. Get Plenty Of Sleep And Rest

One way to stay fit and strong is to get a lot of rest and sleep. Your body burns a lot of energy during the day, and “the batteries” need to be recharged overnight. The optimal amount of sleep you should be getting is 8 hours per day. This way you will feel rejuvenated in the morning, and be more energetic and concentrated during the day. The health consequences of not getting enough sleep include fatigue, migraines, lack of focus, indigestion, constipation, weak immune system and deteriorating muscle tissues.

6. Be More Active During The Day
As part of your daily routine, you need to engage in activities, that involve movement, in order to stimulate your body. You can be regularly going for a run or cycling to work every day. Whatever you do, make sure you are actively moving, as this will be a good cardio exercise, which would allow you to effectively burn fat and calories. Living a passive lifestyle is a step on the way to obesity, heart attack and diabetes.
Conclusion

A healthy lifestyle is not simply a result of regularly going to the gym. It is a complex combination of factors, from physical activity to diet and sleep. These six habits will allow you live a more

It’s not uncommon to enter a typical commercial gym and see a vast majority of females confined to the cardio area while all the males are latching onto the nearest barbell.It’s a shame that women often feel intimidated by the thought of lifting weights since the benefits of weight training far outweigh the benefits of cardio. Don’t take this to mean that cardio isn’t a useful part of an exercise regimen, but rather that cardio on its own is not going to build that shapely, toned body that most females desire. Given this, we have constructed a list of the top ten reasons females should choose to get down and dirty with some iron as opposed to slaving away on the elliptical (or whatever cardio apparatus they choose to obey).

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1. Accelerates fat-loss when combined with cardio

Having an exercise regimen that relies solely on cardio for fat-loss will eventually lead to stagnation as your metabolic rate will continue to drop as your body adapts to the demand you put on it. Therefore, the prudent thing to do is incorporate more bouts of weight training while keeping cardio to as low of a frequency as possible (while still achieving your fat-loss goals). In fact a study recently published in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that concurrent training (combining weight and endurance training) greatly enhanced the metabolic effects of each mode of training on their own. Essentially, you get more fat-loss from cardio when you combine it with weight training.

2. Increases calorie expenditure

Vigorous weight training actually boosts your metabolic rate throughout the day, which in turn makes you more efficient at burning body-fat when you’re not exercising. It appears that the primary mechanism for this is increased mitochondria in cells, via a process known as mitochondrial biogenesis. Mitochondria are basically the “powerhouse” of cells and by increasing these organelles you increase your metabolic rate/daily calorie expenditure. Numerous studies have illustrated that weight training greatly enhances such biochemical adaptations, while doing too much cardio can do just the opposite (decrease mitochondrial content in cells/lower metabolic rate). When in doubt, opt for the iron over the treadmill… you’ll likely burn more calories in the end anyway.

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3. Shapes your curves

Most females feel that the best way to shape their body and achieve a more toned look is by spending hours doing low-intensity cardio. The reality is that the best way to “bring out your curves” is to build strength and muscle. If all you do is constantly endure long bouts of low/moderate intensity cardio then you are basically lowering your metabolic rate while concomitantly losing muscle mass. In the end, you will have lowered your bodyweight but increased your body-fat percentage (i.e. you will look “skinny-fat”). Don’t give in to the idea that you need to be a “cardio bunny” in order to be lean and toned. The more weight training you incorporate, the more shapely your body will be, and the fact that you will also be stronger will empower you.

4. More energy throughout the day

Weight training actually greatly improves your psychological well-being and enhances your sense of vitality throughout your daily life. It’s not uncommon to feel completely wiped out and lifeless after spending hours on the treadmill; lifting, on the other hand actually boosts “feel-good” chemicals in the brain. In fact, studies show that the heavy weight exercise protocols appear to greatly increase plasma beta-endorphin concentration, which in turn modulates mood in a positive manner. If you find yourself stressed out, don’t hesitate to take some of that out on the iron… lifting can be very therapeutic.

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5. Better heart health, blood lipid profiles, and insulin sensitivity

The heart is indeed a muscle (a smooth muscle) and it can be trained much like skeletal muscle. Most females assume that aerobic exercise is inherently the best way to train the heart and improve blood lipid profiles. While that is true, combining aerobic exercise with weight training actually has been shown to do those factors just as effectively, if not even more. Not only does weight training reduce Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL), which is often referred to as “unhealthy” cholesterol, but also it elevates serum values of high-density lipoproteins (which is “healthy” cholesterol).Moreover, weight training is one of the most effective ways to increase insulin sensitivity. This essentially means that your body is more efficient at utilizing carbohydrates for energy and assisting the muscle-building process, as opposed to storing them and being converted to adipose tissue. If you want to enjoy some sugary treats without feeling guilty, hit the iron and indulge a bit!

6. Improves mental health

Many females foray into the gym because they find themselves depressed with the way they look and end up doing tons of cardio to fix the issue. Instead, these women would be much better off grabbing a barbell and letting out some of their worries on the iron. Along with the points alluded to in Reason #4, chronic weight training has been shown to greatly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in a plethora of studies. Most females will find along the continuum of their training that lifting really does improve your body image and self-esteem. The actual process of building your physique is much like carving a sculpture. Enjoy every rep of your training and soon you will have your masterpiece.

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7. Bone health improves

Osteoporosis and osteopenia are becoming more and more common in females (both young and old), which can likely be attributed to physical inactivity and lack of load-bearing exercises. Weight-bearing exercise in particular provides mechanical stimuli or “loading” important for the maintenance and improvement of bone health, whereas physical inactivity has been implicated in loss of bone density. In fact, low bone mass is a major risk factor for fractures in females, and one of the most effective ways to reverse degeneration of bones is to consistently train with weights; studies suggest it is quite a bit more effective than aerobic exercise as well. Take-home point is that if you want to keep your bones healthy and strong, choose the weights over the treadmill… you’ll thank yourself down the road.

8. Improves libido

If you’re somewhat familiar with female endocrinology, you hopefully know that estrogen is the primary sex hormone they produce. However, women also produce small amounts of testosterone (the primary male sex hormone) and it appears that boosting testosterone levels in females improves their sex drive and well-being.
Weight training is one of the most effective ways to naturally elevate testosterone levels in both males and females. Hopefully females don’t take this to mean they will suddenly get all hairy and grow a beard just because they hit the iron a few times a week, because that is certainly far from what will happen. The slight elevation in testosterone levels that can be achieved via weight training will serve to enhance your sex life and keep you in a positive mood. Contrarily, long-duration cardio (over 1 hour) may do just the opposite and decrease testosterone levels.

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9. Better sleep quality

Females should aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night, and they often fall short of this range due to things like stress and poor mood. Numerous studies have demonstrated that a sustained exercise regimen incorporating vigorous weight training can greatly improve sleep quality and the duration of sleep episodes. In fact, weight training provides an effective natural alternative to pharmaceutical interventions in patients with insomnia. Don’t be afraid to pump some iron if you just can’t get to sleep at night, it will knock you out (literally).

10. Weight training with heavy resistance, WILL NOT make females bulky; it will empower them!

One of the most annoying myths that pervades gyms everywhere is the idea that females who train with relatively heavy weights will suddenly transform into the female equivalent of The Incredible Hulk. Reality is that females should train with heavy weights just like their male counterparts often do and no it won’t make you “bulky” and deepen your voice.If a female really wanted to get “bulky” they would have to eat like a pig and put in years of intense training just like any other person, regardless their gender, would have to… nobody just blows up their muscle size by accident.

Summing it up

So there you have it, 10 of the top reasons females should stop fearing weights and give the cardio room a break. Of course it would be remiss not to mention that some cardio is worthwhile in almost any female’s exercise regimen, but weight training should be the focus; don’t worry, you won’t magically get “bulky” overnight just because you start lifting more. You’ll just have sexier curves and a lean body… that’s not so bad, is it?

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Doesn’t it sound appealing, ladies (and gents), to have a tight and toned butt? Of course, it does, but the chances the chances are you just don’t know how to achieve this. If you’re wondering how you can burn leg and thigh fat, and get your buttocks in shape, you’re in luck! In this article, we share with you five exercises to keep your butt tight and toned!

A little disclaimer before we begin. We expect this article to be of interest primarily to girls, ladies, and women (thus, the pictures). If you’re a man, however, nothing stops you from training your butt – it’s a great workout, which carries plenty of health and fitness benefits. We’d only encourage you! So carry on reading regardless of your gender – it’s time to train your butt!

It’s important to understand, that the buttocks are muscles in our body. And like with any other muscle, positive results only come with hard work.

Obviously, while training your butt, you’ll be exercising a few other muscles. Typically, your waist, thighs, and legs will benefit the most but, depending on the routine, other muscles can also be exercised. And this is very good news! In the end of the day, healthy, fresh and sexy looks don’t come with a tight butt alone.

1. Squats

We will start, of course, with a classic exercise – squats. It seems, however, that a lot of us, both men and women, don’t do squats regularly enough. That’s a shame because this exercise can perform miracles for your butt! Many people avoid squats because they mistakenly think that they will drastically increase the buttocks muscle mass. For women, in particular, it’s highly unlikely.

For our bodies it is a very natural movement and, if done correctly, squats can get you that tight and toned butt you always wanted. And they’re great for your thighs and waist as well!

2. Lunges

Lunges are a great exercise to build up your strength and improve the body balance. If performed correctly, they also exercise your butt. As with any routine, lunges can be performed on their own or as part of a wider program. For best results, we recommend combining them with the rest of the exercises in this article.

3. Hyperextensions

The chances are, you have heard of this exercise before. Similarly to squats and lunges, it develops several muscles, namely waist, back thighs and, rather unsurprisingly, buttocks. Not only do hyperextensions tighten these muscles, they also shape them. Fantastic! And if you want to achieve even better results, you can perform the exercise with some additional weight – a few kilograms, for better effect.

4. Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

This is an extremely popular exercise, especially among women. Rather unsurprisingly, given the title of this article, but it is because RDL works miracles for the butt The focus of the load during the exercise is directly on the buttocks and back thighs – that’s why it’s so effective.

5. Stair Climbing

This basic activity, that we do on a daily basis, can transform your butt – that’s true. The reason why is not hard to see – a rapid ascent up the stairs places a great load on thighs and buttocks, and tightens your butt. If performed on a regular basis, stairs climbing can deliver quick results. And all it is is a basic day-to-day activity. Who knew!

Don’t Forget To Eat Well

These are five fantastic exercises to make your butt tight and toned. With them, you can achieve impressive results in less than a month. But before you hit the gym, we wanted to draw you attention to one more thing.

It’s very important to remember why we’re doing these exercises in the first place – to get rid of fat in buttocks. The not-so-good news is that often in women, the concentration of fat in buttocks is higher relative to the rest of the body. That’s not nice, but it’s just the way our bodies work. Fat first starts to store in abdomen and buttocks. That’s why it is so hard to burn it in these areas: in abs for men, and in buttocks for women. There is something you can do outside of the gym to support your training – get rid of harmful eating habits that fatten your buttocks. Here we list three simple things that your butt will thank you for later.

●      Cook home, and eliminate all prepared food and ready meals from your diet

●      Replace sweets with fruit – it may sound hard but you can do it