Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How To Master Nutrient Timing For Faster Muscle Growth!

How To Master Nutrient Timing For Faster Muscle Growth!

It’s true that the grueling workout you’ve invested at the local “iron jungle” will stimulate your muscles to grow bigger and stronger. But ultimately it’s your diet that will provide the “building blocks” for this new growth.

However, there’s more to a bodybuilder’s diet than mountains of canned tuna and protein powder. Timing your meals just right will provide you with a competitive edge that will allow you to build muscle faster and help burn those extra layers of fat covering up your hard work.

Here’s how…

Early Morning

When you wake up, you’re at the end of a 7-9 hour fast and your muscles are screaming for nutrition. Start off with a potent protein drink for fast absorption mixed with some complex carbs for fueling your day.

(For my “top secret recipe” of the world’s best mass building breakfast, check out my “top tip” at the end of this article!)

1-2 Hours Before Your Workout

You’re about to send your muscles into the “combat zone” so shouldn’t you provide them with the ammunition they need to “take the hill”?

Load up on some complex carbs that will provide the long lasting fuel you’ll need to power through your intense workout. Add a full dose of protein to provide a ready source of amino acids and give your muscles a head start on the growth process as you stress the muscle cells during your workout.

Immediately After Your Workout

You’ve used up the glycogen (stored carbohydrates) in your muscle cells as fuel for your workout and if you don’t replenish them fast, you’re bound to short circuit your growth.

Within 45 minutes to an hour after your workout you need to down a high-glycemic, high protein drink while your body is primed for fast absorption. Take in between 75 – 100 grams of sugar and about 25% of your day’s total protein requirement along with a healthy dose of monounsaturated fats to help stimulate testosterone production.

This is actually a key time to really pack on mass so don’t be afraid to get a little crazy here! In my “Optimum Anabolics” program (www.OptimumAnabolics.com), I actually include a potent post-workout regimen of around 200 grams of high glycemic carbs and 20-30 grams of health fats to kickstart a mass-building hormone release. It works!

Before Bed

You’re about to enter another long period of fasting at bedtime, but it’s also a prime time for your body to repair and build muscle. The problem is that your metabolism slows way down when you sleep so a large meal before turning in has the potential to trigger fat storage.

To provide the building blocks your body needs for growth while minimizing fat storage, eat a light meal consisting of slow-digesting protein and some easily digestible carbs. A bowl of cottage cheese with some fruit is ideal or mix a scoop of protein powder (one with casein in it is best) into some milk or water. Be sure to avoid high carbs and fat calories at this time.

* * * TOP DIET TIP * * *

Ok, it’s time for my promised “Top Secret” Pre-Workout Power Potion Recipe that will give you everything you need to turbo-charge your workouts while providing a ready source of amino acids to avoid muscle loss and begin the growth process.

Follow the directions on the next page and consume this mixture about 1-2 hours before your workout …

The “Muscle Nerd’s” Top Secret Pre-Workout Power Potion

Ingredient 1: 1.5 cups Skim Milk

Milk is probably one of the most overlooked supplements there is! It’s loaded with both fast-digesting (whey) and slow-digesting (casein) proteins for a steady supply of amino acids…and it’s been proven in research to be a powerful growth hormone releaser!

Ingredient 2: ½ Frozen “Slightly Green” Banana

Ripe bananas have more sugar content than bananas that are still slightly green and will result in more of a quick “sugar rush” instead of supplying long term energy to power through your workout. Grab a bunch of “slightly green” bananas at your local supermarket, peel them all, and place them in a plastic bag in your freezer to break up and add to your protein blender drinks as desired.

Ingredient 3: 2 Tbsp Natural Peanut Butter

“Natural” peanut butter ( NOT the commercial hydrogenated garbage!) is loaded with mono-unsaturated fats…perfect for helping you raise your body’s testosterone levels for increased muscle mass and rapid fat burning. Look for a product that ONLY lists ” Peanuts ” and ” Salt ” on the list of ingredients.

Ingredient 4: ½ Cup Raw Oat Bran or Uncooked Oatmeal

Raw oat bran, like oatmeal, is a complex carbohydrate that is ideal for supplying tons of sustained energy for your workouts… AND the rest of the day.

Its finer texture makes is a better option for blender drinks, but if you only have access to oatmeal, make sure you put the dry oatmeal alone in the blender first and give it a few seconds on “high” to break it up a bit more.

Ingredient 5: ½ Scoop Vanilla Whey Protein

In addition to the casein protein from the milk, whey protein will provide you with additional, ready-to-deliver amino acids that will provide your muscles with a “jump start” on the recovery process.

Vanilla flavored powder seems to go best with this drink but chocolate flavored is another great option!

Directions: Ok…this is pretty self-explanatory, but here goes…

Add the first 4 ingredients in the order listed and blend on “High” for about 15 seconds. While it’s still blending, open the top and add the protein powder . Blend for another 5 seconds…stop… drink…wipe the “smoothie mustache” off your face…and enjoy your workout!

The Lost Mass Building Technique You're Not Doing!

The Lost Mass Building Technique You're Not Doing!

Ok, at first, this bodybuilding technique isn’t going to sound all that sexy to you.

But what if I told you that it will, without a doubt, magnify your mass-building results exponentially and…

…there’s a 95% chance you’re NOT doing it?

And what if I told you that you won’t even break one tiny little bead of sweat when you add it to your bodybuilding routine?


I thought so!

You see, most guys at the gym have no problem grunting their way through endless sets of muscle-pumping exercises.

Intensity is high…the skin on your arms is about to burst open…and your chest is screaming for relief.

But did you know that STRETCHING is actually a powerful mass-building workout technique?

Here’s why…

When you stretch your muscle fibers, you increase the natural release of “Insulin Like Growth Factor 1″ (IGF-1), the primary anabolic trigger for the follow up release of muscle-building, fat-burning growth hormone. In fact, IGF-1 is absolutely critical for muscle growth and in supporting your body’s natural recovery process following your training.

But Wait, It Gets Even BETTER…

Stretching also activates your muscle fibers to create “satellite cells” that branch off as part of your body’s natural recovery response to the elongation of the fibers.

Bottom line…more muscle cells = more muscle mass potential!

I started incorporating this in my “Advanced Mass Building” workout program (http://www.musclenerdfitness.com/go.php?offer=4mass&pid=7) some time ago and it’s incredible how much more you can FEEL the buzz in your muscle cells if you really concentrate on them after your workouts!

How To Use This Mass Building Technique Correctly…

Ok, this is important because how you apply stretching to your mass building routine can make or break your success.

In fact, I had been doing it completely WRONG for years and I want to make sure you don’t screw it up like I did. Follow these tips:

1. Do NOT stretch your muscles BEFORE or DURING your workouts!

It used to be thought that stretching before exercise helped to avoid injury to the muscles. Actually, a good 5 minute warmup of your target muscles is all you need.
Pre-training stretching has actually been shown to REDUCE your muscle strength by as much as 28 PERCENT for your follow up workout because it reduces the level of muscle tension you need to push iron.

Who the hell wants a 30% decrease in workout intensity? Not me!

Therefore, save your stretching until the END of your workout, when you’ve completed all of your sets.

2. Make sure you’re “warm” enough for stretching

You don’t want to stretch a cold muscle or you’ll risk injury. This is why you should perform your stretches IMMEDIATELY following your workout.

You’ll get a better, safer stretch…and better results!

3. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.

The muscle fibers need time to elongate slowly. No bouncing and don’t push yourself too far too fast.

4. Choose “Functional Stretching” techniques over static.

“Functional stretching” includes muscle tension with the actual stretching movement. This helps to activate the muscle fibers better and can actually give you a better stretch in the muscle while also tapping into stabilizer muscles.

Here are a few examples:
Single Leg Deep Lunges for Quads & Hip Flexors (You’re actually stretching your BACK LEG in this movement.)
Dumbbell Fly Hold For Chest (Just hold the dumbbells in the bottom position and feel the stretch.)
Preacher Curl Hold For Biceps (Hold a barbell at the bottom position of the preacher curl machine.)
Cable Row Hold For Back (On a seated rowing station, let the weight forward until you feel that stretch in your lats. Careful not to extend your lower back.)
Think of some other exercises you do that involve a “stretch” at the bottom position and look at your POST-WORKOUT as just another anabolic extension of your mass building workout!

Go To: http://www.musclenerdfitness.com/go.php?offer=4mass&pid=7

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Pistol Assisted Squat

Forearm Dumbell Preacher Curls - Kill Your Grip!

Using Supplements Correctly.

Using Supplements Correctly.

Many athletes and fitness conscience people are bombarded with all kinds of supplement products in today’s supplement market. Trying to figure out which ones to use can become a daunting task and a very expensive experience if you chose to use many without any knowledge of what you currently need.

I have created a list of supplements that those who are athletes and fitness minded can use. It is very important to know at what stage you are currently at in terms of your bodybuilding and fitness training. The reason for this is so that you can choose those supplements that are most favorable for your current needs.

How to Prioritize Your Supplement Choices.

People often ask me about a certain supplement and look dissatisfied when they don’t get the particular answer they want to hear. There are supplements that are good for a specific application but bad for another. There are supplements which are good to take at specific times but not so effective at other times. There are supplements that should be taken all year, and of course, there are supplements that just plain suck all the time. The bottom line is there are few black and white areas in the field of nutrition supplementation and an abundance of gray areas. In an effort to clear up some of the confusion, I’d like to propose a way of viewing and organizing supplement needs.

Foundation Supplements.

Foundation supplements are those supplements you take all year round for over all health. These usually consist of essential vitamin, mineral, fatty acids and such. Essential nutrients are just that - essential to life itself. The basic definition of an essential nutrient is “any nutrient which is essential to maintain proper bodily function and which the body cannot manufacture itself and therefore must be obtained from the diet.” These supplements consist of the following:

1)Multi Vitamin – Mineral Formula
2)Vit C
3)Vit E
4)Beta Carotene
8)Flax Oil
9)Borage Oil
10)Cod Liver Oil

Performance and Health Enhancing Convenient Supplements.

The next group of supplements are those that will help you in terms of recuperation, fat burning and muscle building. These include the following:

1)Whey Protein
2)Meal replacement powders
3)Protein Bars
6)Branched Chain Amino Acids

Specific Athletic enhancing Supplements.

1)A good fat burner like Lean system 7
2)DHEA - provides support for critical hormonal production.
3)LG Sciences Methyl 1-D (A good Testosterone booster)
4)LG Sciences Formadrol Extreme XL (A Good Testosterone Booster)
5)Gaspari Novedex XT (This supplement has demonstrated an upward modulating effect on testosterone levels and a downward or static modulating effect on estrogen.
6)Vanadyl Sulfate - One of the most important aspects of muscle recovery after intense exercise is proper replenishment with micronutrients. Vanadyl Sulfate aid your natural insulin levels in moving nutrients to worked muscle cells creating a super pump and recuperation along with better utilization of creating, glutamine and amino acids.
7)Chromium Picolinate - Chromium assists the action of insulin, a hormone involved in carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism.
8)Alpha Lipoic Acid - Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from oxidative damage related to aging and exercise. ALA supplementation can also support glucose uptake by the body's cells.
9)LIV 52 - was introduced in 1955 as a specially formulated proprietary herbal formula for healthy liver support.
10) Milk Thistle - Silymarin/Milk Thistle Extract has been extensively researched in Europe for over 30 years. Silymarin nutritionally supports healthy liver function.
11)HGH Amino supplements (See video at http://leon- ruzmuscleblog.blogspot.com

These are the supplements all athletes should be using during the year and at certain times during their training.

Yours in health,

Leon Cruz.

Copyright, Urban Publishing Co LLC., 2009

**The contents of this daily email are not to be
considered as medical advice.
Always consult a physician before beginning or
changing any fitness

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Core Training Fundamentals for Martial Artists.

Core Training Fundamentals for Martial Artists.
By Charles Staley, B.Sc, MSS
Director, Staley Training Systems

In sports training jargon, the abdominal and low back musculature are often referred to as the "core" of the body. The importance of these muscles to athletes is that they transmit forces— either from the lower extremities to the upper extremities (such as when a boxer executes a punch against the heavy bag), or from the upper body to the lower body (such as when a martial artist delivers a spin crescent kick).

The core musculature also plays a significant role in stabilization during almost every movement, from squatting in the weight room, to running, throwing, and jumping.

Additionally, the abdominals play an important role in protecting the body during moments of extreme exertion, such as lifting a very heavy weight, or in absorbing an impact (such as a fall during judo practice). Specifically, during such an exertion, the athlete will instinctively exhale against a closed glottis, called the valsalva maneuver. This exhalation creates greater intraabdominal pressure, which acts to stabilize the lumbar spine from the inside.

In his popular and informative training seminars, abdominal training expert Paul Chek makes the point that when the stabilizer muscles possess inadequate strength, the motor cortex of the brain will not allow the prime movers to contract to their expected potential. This is simply a protective mechanism— if the body realizes that it can't stabilize a certain movement, it simply won't allow the movement to be performed.

My experience working with athletes in a variety of sports collaborates Chek's sentiments. In fact, an easy way to make almost anyone stronger is to improve abdominal strength. Many martial artists intuitively recognize this fact, but our experience reveals that most martial artists (and athletes in general) cling to outdated and ineffective methods for training the core muscles of the body. In the following section, I will present methods (and justifications for these methods) of training the core musculature.

Core Musculature Function

The core area of the body can be be categorized into five groups of muscles, according to function:

1) The trunk flexors (the rectus abdominous) 2) The trunk extensors (the erector spinea) 3) The side flexors (quadratus lumborum) 4) The flexor-rotators (the internal and external obliques) 5) The hip flexors (the illiopsoas, illiacus, and rectus femoris)

Training the Trunk Flexors

The primary trunk flexor is the rectus abdominous. This muscle originates at the diaphragmatic arch, and inserts into the pubic symphysis of the pelvis. Since the primary function of this muscle is to flex the trunk (such that the sternum and pelvis are drawn toward each other), the most direct and effective exercises are those which cause trunk flexion. Any form of crunch or reverse crunch serves this function best. All abdominal muscles are composed of predominately slow-twitch fibers, and as such, tend to respond best to high repetition sets.

The trunk flexors may also be trained through "hanging leg-raises" and related movements, as long as the exerciser maintains a 90 degree angle between the thighs and trunk. Since this is extremely difficult— even for very strong athletes— we generally recommend avoiding this type of movement.
During crunches and similar movements, the athlete can modify arm position in order to manipulate the level of resistance. The least resistance occurs when the arms are straight and outstretched along the side of the body during the movement.

A more difficult variation is to cross the arms against the chest during the exercise. The most difficult variation is to place the hands such that the fingers are touching the head at a point just behind the ears. Avoid interlacing the fingers and clasping behind the head, which can strain the cervical vertebrae, and encourage co-contraction from other muscles. Additional resistance (in the form of a medicine ball or weight plate) can be used when the athlete's bodyweight is no longer sufficient to cause an improvement in strength. Note: Avoid anchoring the feet and extending the legs, since these practices tend to shift the exercise stress away from the trunk flexors and onto the hip flexors.

Training the Trunk Extensors: The erector spinae are the predominant trunk extensors. Strong trunk extensors are necessary to balance the strength of the rectus abdominous, and to maintain efficient postural stabilization and control. They are most commonly trained through the use of the back extension exercise, performed on a specialized apparatus designed for this purpose. However, in order to minimize co-contraction from the gluteals and hamstrings, the athlete should be positioned in such a way that the navel is directly over (not in front of) the pad or bench. With this positioning, the pelvis is stabilized, allowing the exercise stress to fall directly onto the erectors.

Training the Side Flexors and the Flexor-rotators

One of the most common "ab" exercises seen in commercial gyms and health clubs today is the dumbbell side bend. Most proponents of this movement recommend it as an exercise for the obliques, but in reality, it is an exercise for the quadratus lumborum— the primary side flexor. For martial artists who rely heavily on kicking skills, the side flexors should be systematically trained. But most other athletes (who don't have a reason) should avoid training this muscle, since over-developed side flexors have been associated with low back pain. Further, performing side bends has no significant effect on the waistline, since the quadratus lumborum is such a deep-lying muscle.

Training the Flexor-rotators

The flexor-rotators are the internal and external obliques. These muscles cause trunk flexion as well as rotation when they contract unilaterally (one side at a time), but cancel each other out, causing only trunk flexion when they contract bilaterally (both sides simultaneously). Thus, uni-lateral exercises, such as twisting crunches, are most effective for developing these muscles.

When performing twisting crunches and their variations, use the same guidelines that were presented in the section on trunk flexion, with the exception that the exercises should curl the trunk up and diagonally, such that the left armpit approaches the right hip, and vice versa. Avoid touching elbow to opposite knee, as this encourages too much cervical and hip flexion.

Training of the flexor-rotators should be prioritized over the pure flexors, since most athletic and day-to-day activities involve rotation with flexion, as opposed to pure flexion.

Training the Hip Flexors

Many people excessively train the hip flexors thinking that they're training the abdominals. Sit-ups, leg raises, "flutter kicks," and hanging leg raises are all primarily hip flexor exercises. That doesn't necessarily make them bad, but most people tend to have chronically short hip flexors, which can compromise the structural dynamics of the lumbar spine. Short hip flexors are also associated with low back pain. Of course, martial artists must have strength in these muscles, but normally, time spent drilling with kicks is sufficient for this purpose.

Many martial arts techniques involve simultaneous hip flexion, trunk flexion, and rotation. For this reason, I recommend using a wide variety of exercises. An excellent tool is the "physio-ball"— an oversized "beach ball" which can be used for a variety of core exercises, including crunches, sit-ups, back extensions, and many more. With a little experimentation, you can devise dozens of multi-planar exercises which have a high degree of transfer to your sport techniques. Medicine balls are also an invaluable tool for core training.

Many exercises can be developed using the medicine ball and physio-ball together. An example is to sit on the physio-ball (feet anchored by heavy dumbbells), and perform medicine ball sit-ups with a partner. The unstable environment provided by the physio-ball, combined with the ballistic, multi-planar aspects of the medicine ball throws, makes this a fruitful exercise for those desiring sport-specific strength.

Core training can be periodized over the training cycle. Early in the cycle, exercises tend to be single plane, of a slow, steady tempo, and conducted in a stable environment. Another goal during the early stages of the training cycle is to eliminate weaknesses, so special attention is paid to muscles which need extra conditioning. Gradually, the emphasis shifts to multi-planar, ballistic exercise conducted in a less stable environment.

Abdominal training and bodyfat deposition

Abdominal training does not significantly affect the layer of fat which oftentimes covers these muscles. Many people become a slave to crunches, situps, and TV info-mercial devices, when the real issue is bodyfat, not abdominal conditioning. In fact, many of these people probably have superbly conditioned abs. Bodyfat is reduced through a comprehensive training program incorporating resistance training and caloric manipulation— NOT abdominal training!