Author Archives: Gym Junkies

avatar

About Gym Junkies

I’m Terry I’m here to help you achieve the body you want. I truly believe anyone can achieve the figure they want, with the proper guidance. Through my eBook I have been able to help thousands of people online lose weight, tone up and get in shape. My goals are to continue to help people all around the world and change people’s life for the better.

Shock Your Muscles With This Intense Bodybuilding Workout Routine

zhd2cZ1409812343

Looking for a way to boost your workout success? Tired of seeing slow to stagnant progress? If you feel like your workout needs a wake-up call, this is the way to provide that.

Giant sets prove to be one of the top ways that you can seriously increase the overall intensity of your sessions while shocking your muscles into massive growth potential.

Chances are, you’ve tried supersets before.  Time and time again, they’ve had their place in your program. And this is great because supersets are one way to challenge your body more and move to the next level.

But are they enough?

As your intensity heats up, so should your workouts so the following will help you move to the next level.If you’re new to work out suggest you check out this article on a beginner’s workout.

Giant Set Definition

First let’s talk about what this ‘giant’ set really is. A giant set is basically where you are going to stack 4 exercises back to back with each other.

This makes it more intense than a superset, more intense than a triset – it makes it the most challenging protocol you’ve done yet.

The purpose behind a giant set is to bring your muscles to a state of fatigue where you just can’t push any harder.  Basically, you’re maxed out and need to rest before continuing on.

Then, when you go back to doing straight sets later on as you always have been doing, your muscle endurance will be up and you will likely see strength gains as well.

This is what helps you get to the next level. If you’ve felt stuck in a plateau and unable to lift more weight, sometimes the best approach is to stop trying to lift more weight.

Instead, evoke a higher fatigue stimulus in some other manner. Give it times, and then come back. When you do, you’ll find you’re stronger.

top-10-full-body-workout-benefits_e

Ways To Employ Giant Sets For The Best Exercises

Now there are many ways that you can go about doing giant sets.  Since you are going for a maximum fatigue level here, I would suggest performing a combination of isolation moves and compound moves.

One exercise should be repeated twice.

So for instance, let’s say you are going to train your quads and you want to burn them out really good.

Start with a set of leg extensions. This will fully isolate the quad, bringing about a state of fatigue. Do not take this set to exhaustion however.  Next, move over to a squat or leg press (if you don’t have a rack for safety reasons).  This is your compound move and where you will lift the most weight. You’ll already feel tired from the leg extension, so you should find this set harder to get through.

Bring this set one or two reps shy of maximum fatigue.

After that, go back to the leg extension. Now your quads are begging for mercy and crying out in pain.  It’s time to finish them off.  Do a third set on the leg extension, going to full fatigue.

You aren’t quite done yet.  The fourth set now should be an isolation move for the opposing muscle. In this case, the hamstrings. So you finish up by doing a set of hamstring curls. This will now fill the muscle with blood even more, bringing nutrients and oxygen to the quads, helping to provoke better growth and progress.

That last exercise should be done with slightly lighter weight and higher reps, going into the 15-20 rep range.

Once you’re finished all this, now you can rest.

The rest periods after giant set will need to be longer than after say a superset or triset for the fact that you are that much more fatigued.  You’ll basically need 3-4 times the rest period that you would normally take, so if you rest for 3 or 4 minutes, you should be on track.If you want an extra edge you can read my article on the best supplements for muscle growth found here. 

lose-fat-not-muscle

Points To Know

Before you go rush off to do this protocol, there are some important points to know.

First, realize that you absolute must make sure that you are well fueled going into any session where you plan to do these sets.  They are going to burn up glucose quickly and if you haven’t been eating right, it is going to influence the performance you are able to give.  Eat a good combination of both proteins and carbohydrates before this session and make sure you have eaten adequate calories leading up to the workout as well.

Do NOT attempt a giant set if you are on a fat loss diet plan.  You simply won’t have the fuel energy to complete the workout.

Second, since these sets are so very intense, you should not be doing them each and every workout. They will burn you out quickly if you are not monitoring your fatigue status, so you must make sure that you are taking the time to recover between them.

You should aim to choose one particular muscle group you want to target with giant sets and then use them for 3-4 weeks.  Just do them for that muscle group only and after you’re finished, you can then proceed to do them for another muscle group at that time.

By alternating like this, you’ll keep your body feeling fresher, avoid overtraining, and also reduce the chances of injury.

You may not even use them each and every workout for that single muscle group, but rather alternate. One week you use it, the next you don’t.

Finally, make sure that you maintain good form.  Never let your form slip. It’s easy to let yourself get caught up in using poor form as fatigue sets in, but you must avoid this.

Stop before you let poor form set in. if you aren’t completing the exercise using good form, you might as well stop doing the exercise entirely.  It won’t serve you well.

If you do need to stop, rest for a few seconds, take a few deep breaths, and then try and squeeze out as many more reps as possible.

Sample Giant Sets For Chest Exercises, Good Leg Workouts And Other Body Parts

So now that you know the concept behind giant sets, let’s show you a few more that you can do throughout your workout depending on which muscle group you want to target most.

Hamstring Giant Set

1 set hamstring curls
1 set stiff-leg deadlifts
1 set hamstring curls
1 set leg extension

Shoulder Giant Set

1 set lateral raises
1 set shoulder press
1 set lateral raises
1 set reverse fly’s

Back Giant Set

1 set single arm seated rows
1 set bent over rows
1 set single arm seated rows
1 set chest press

Chest Giant Set

1 set chest fly’s
1 set bench Press

1 set chest fly’s
1 set seated row

musclemasstips

Conclusion

So next time you feel like you need a challenge with your workout session, consider adding in a Giant set or two.  This is one of the best ways to see tremendous strength and size gains all while taking your fitness to the next level.  You’ll also reap a few cardiovascular gains as well since your heart rate will stay elevated for a longer period of time.

Train hard, train smart, and you will see success.

-Terry Asher

How To Prevent Muscle Loss During Vacation

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.44.12 PM

If you’re someone who’s on a bodybuilding workout program and regularly enjoys taking a vacation here and there or you happen to travel frequently for work purposes, you might be wondering how you can prevent muscle mass loss from occurring.

If you feel like you make excellent gains in progress while at home and then as soon as you leave for your holiday or time away, you see all the progress you’ve worked so hard for fade away, you need to get a game plan in place.

Going away does not need to mean moving backward in progress as long as you are wise in your approach. Remember you can always pack up your supplements as well, you can read my article on the best supplements for muscle growth found here.

Let’s go over a few key points to know that will help you travel, enjoy yourself, and come home to pick up right where you left off.

How To Stay Regular While Traveling and Plan Ahead For Workout Sessions

First, the most critical thing that you need to do is find out what the gym situation is wherever you are going and determine how much planning ahead you’ll have to do.

If you can, try and book a hotel that comes with a gym or even better, that is located to a gym nearby.  Chances are you are not going to get all that much weight in hotel gyms, if any at all, so you’ll want to really inquire about what is available here.

If you don’t, you may go expecting to get in a workout or two, only to find that the only thing you have available is a few treadmills and a bike.

If you are going to be stuck without much for equipment, bring along a resistance band. These bands are an excellent way to keep the tension on the muscle tissue and still provide sufficient challenge to prevent muscle mass loss.

While you may not make incredibly strength gains or be able to continue to build muscle mass while on holiday, if you can at least maintain what yourself, that’s one step ahead.

Resistance bands are perfect for travel as you can just pack them up in your suitcase and bring them along with you. They’re incredibly lightweight, so there is no excuse for not taking them along.

In addition to using the resistance bands, also focus on doing some bodyweight exercises in the comfort of your own hotel room as well.  Bodyweight squats, lunges, step-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups if you can find a bar all work great for providing some stress to your muscles for maintenance purposes.

Take these exercises into the higher rep range to provide a greater challenge on the body and bring yourself to the point of exhaustion.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.44.36 PM

 Book A Kitchenette

Once you have your workout planned out, the next step is to think about your food. Possibly the biggest mistake that people will make when going on holiday or business trips is either eating far too few calories because they’re out and about, not thinking about their diet or eating the wrong types of foods, resulting in fat gain and muscle loss.

Of all things you need to get right on that 2-4 day trip, nutrition is it. You can survive even if you didn’t workout for 2-3 days, but eat the wrong foods and you will see the effects.

To help stay on track, aim to book a kitchenette if possible. This way, you can either purchase groceries there and cook your normal meals as you always would, or you can plan to pack pre-made meals, heating them up as you need.

Having a kitchenette is the absolute best way to help you stay as consistent with your diet as possible. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a meal or two out, but the more you can eat in your hotel room – and eat the same as you would at home, the lower the risk you will lose muscle.

 Track Your Calorie Intake And Track Your Calories Burned 

 In addition to getting that kitchen, also make sure that you are tracking your calorie intake.  Despite the fact that you are on holidays, you do still need to make sure that you are taking in sufficient calories.  Lack of calorie support is the biggest reason for unintentional weight loss while traveling.

Your calorie requirements may go down slightly since you aren’t doing as intense gym workouts, but they aren’t going to half what they normally would be.

Track your calories to make sure you are getting enough and have a few go-to snacks on hand for when you need a quick boost.

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.43.43 PM

 Stay Active

The next must-do tip if you want to prevent muscle mass loss while travelling is to keep active. Don’t go doing hours of walking around or that could be a little too much cardio, which can hinder muscle maintenance, but at the same time, don’t go lay on the beach for 7 days straight.

Complete inactivity is a fast way to promote muscle mass loss – even if you are eating enough calories simply due to lack of use.

Make a conscious effort to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily, whether it’s walking around your resort, going on an excursion, or just getting out and seeing what the town or city you’re staying in has to offer. Remember there is no excuses, even if your skinny you can build plenty of muscle.

This will also help to keep you in the fitness mindset as well, which can be important for making smarter food choices.

 Limit Alcohol Intake

Finally, as much as you may not want to hear it, it’s also critical that you focus on limiting your alcohol as best as possible. Alcohol is a toxin for the body and too much of it creates metabolic stress that will not have favorable impacts on muscle maintenance or your body composition for that matter.

While a few drinks here and there is acceptable while on holidays, don’t go to the point of intoxication for 7 days straight and hope to come back, picking up right where you left off in the gym.

Alcohol does cause your testosterone levels to decrease and since that is the hormone responsible for muscle maintenance and building, the minute it starts to decline is the minute you’re at risk for muscle loss.

Staying hydrated with water is a much smarter move and will help you keep both your strength and energy levels up. Make sure that you are drinking even more than normal if you are vacationing in a hot climate.

So there you have some key information to know if you are planning a holiday or business trip and are feeling anxiety over whether you will be able to maintain the progress you’ve been seeing at the gym.

Banner-for-gymjunkies_AK-12-05-2014-468x60-02

Conclusion

The longer the time period you are planning on being away, the more planning you will need to do to ensure that you stay on track as best as possible.  A weekend getaway is not going to be as serious as a full week or two away, so know your situation and plan accordingly.

Those who are prepared however will be able to easily arrive back home after the trip, ready to pick right back up like they never missed a beat.

How To Increase Flexibility And Prevent Training Injuries

Knee-Bone-Tumours

Nothing will kill your progress faster than hitting an injury, but yet, it’s an everyday occurrence in gyms across the nation.  If you aren’t careful with how you’re working out, injury is practically inevitable.

This is especially the case as you make further and further progress with your routine to build muscle fast. The more muscle you have, the stronger you get, and, the more weight you will be lifting.

With more weight comes more risk for injuries. So it’s time to learn what the most common injuries are and the steps that you can take to prevent them. This way, you can have a long and happy gym career – injury free.Be sure to check out my other blog article that will explain other things that can cripple your workouts.

Microsoft PowerPoint - Presentation1

Improve Flexibility And Stop Low Back Pain

Of all the injuries, perhaps the most common one is lower back pain. This is a particular harmful injury because of the fact you’re going to not only typically experience pain during the workout, but there’s a good chance you’ll experience pain outside of the workout as well.

Oh, and let’s not forget the fact it tends to be chronic.

Once you mess up your back bad enough, you may never fully recover, so if there’s one injury to take extra precaution against, this is it.

The most frequent reason for lower back pain is lifting with an arch in your back. For anyone who has a natural swayback, this can prove to be very problematic if not corrected during the workout.

Double the case when you have weight overhead, such as with the shoulder press. If your back is arching unnaturally, all that weight from the load you’re lifting is coming down on the vertebrae, leading to significant pain down the road.

The easy fix?

Squeeze those abs.  By keeping your abs tight whenever you’re in a standing position, you’ll naturally pull the hips up and cut out that swayed position entirely.

This should also be done whenever you’re lying flat as well, such as with a flat bench press.  In this move, it’s also very easy to allow the lower back to lift right up off the bench as you execute the exercise.  In time, this too can lead to back pain.You can find more information on this topic in the blog article I wrote about core strength.

The added benefit of all this ab squeezing is that in due time, you’ll also have a stronger core because of it as well.

Win-win.

Knee-Bone-Tumours

Knee Pain And Weak Knees

The next injury to know about is bad knees.  Just like with the back, this can be frustrating as well as this injury will tend to come and go.  You’ll be fine one month and next month, you’re in pain again.

Or, it will switch sides. For a while, the left knee hurts. So you baby it, the right taking more of the work.

Then just as the left gets better, the right gives out. Awesome. You’re still injured.

If you’ve been left frustrated with knee problems, check your knee alignment. If you are letting those knees move inwards as you lunge, squat, or step-up, this is what’s causing your problem. Likewise if they move outward instead.

You want them to be moving directly over the toes at all times. This will keep them tracking properly, reducing any excessive grinding against the knee joint and tissues.

Also double check your surface. If you’re exercising on concrete floors, this is also a bad move. Even with heavily cushioned shoes, it can still send too much shock up the leg.

Shin Splints Treatment And Shin Splints Prevention

Shin splints are another injury, typically most common in those who do more running related activities.  This pain comes about and will nag at you with each run/walk you do, and may also be present while you do some other strengthening exercises as well.

To overcome shin splints, you’ll want to do a few things. First, check your shoes. If they’re worn out, this could be what’s causing the problem.

Second, also check your arches. If you over or under pronate and don’t have a shoe that’s designed to deal with this, that can also lead to shin splints over time.

After you’ve assessed both of these, look at your training program. Did you recently bump up the miles or intensity? If you did, you may have gone overboard.  Too much, too soon, is a very likely cause of shin splints.

Finally, look at muscle imbalances. If your inner thigh is much stronger than your outer or vice versa, this too can lead to shin problems over time.  Do some strengthening exercises to make sure your muscles are equally strong.

images

How To Increase Flexibility And Stop Cranky Shoulders

A shoulder injury is the next problem you may face, especially if you are heavy into bench pressing or shoulder pressing – two exercises that tend to bring about shoulder pain.

As the weight gets higher, your risk of injuries does as well, so you really have to be careful as you go about your diet designed to build muscle mass that this doesn’t happen to you.

The big injury prevention tip to know here is to always make sure that you are doing a very thorough warm-up.

One of the biggest causes of shoulder injuries is not warming up sufficiently before lifting the heavy weight and tearing a tendon or ligament in the process.

Warm up your rotator cuff for a good 5 minutes or more before doing any sort of heavy lifting where the shoulder will be involved.

elbow-pain

Tennis Elbow Treatment

Finally, the last injury to know about are painful elbows – sometimes referred to as tennis elbow.  This tends to occur if you are doing a repetitive motion over and over again – such as tennis, so assess your program and see if that is at play here.

Another reason painful elbows can develop is if you are hyperextending them as you go about your exercises.

Be very aware of this. Not everyone can hyperextend their elbows, but if you can, you’ll want to keep an eye on how much you extend whenever you are doing a shoulder press, bench press, or incline bench press.

You might have to think of keeping the elbows slightly bent, which will actually keep you in the proper position.

Once you correct this problem and avoid placing excessive strain on the elbows while they are in that hyperextended position, you should notice the pain going away.

So there you have the top bodybuilding related injuries that can occur as you go about your workout program to build muscle mass.  If you are smart with how you train, take good preventative strategies to avoid pain development, and always make sure that you are paying good attention to how you execute each exercise, you should be able to keep up that workout without suffering.

Banner-for-gymjunkies_AK-12-05-2014-468x60-01

Conclusion

If you do ever notice pain starting to occur, make sure that you rest immediately.  Back off for a few days, ice the area, and do any preventative treatment necessary. It’s far easier to recover from a very mild form of injury than it is to let it grow and continue on, getting worse and worse until you can’t exercise at all. If you do that, you could be out for weeks trying to get better.

Best Abdominal Exercises And Ab Engagement

abs-fit-fitness-girl-hot-Favim.com-328268

As you strive to build muscle fast and burn off the excess body fat, one key area of focus you likely have are your abdominal muscles.

How to get 6 pack abs…

That’s what you’re going for. Or, maybe you aren’t looking to get that full on defined midsection and you’d settle for just sustaining flat abs to look better in whatever you wear.

Regardless of your own personal goal set, there are some key things that you need to know about getting to this end objective.

In order to maximize your progress, you’ll want to keep your abs as engaged as possible throughout each workout you do, stimulating them even before you get to your ab movements themselves.

While it’s great to be able to work your abs hard at the end of your workout, if you can work them hard during the workout, much of the work will already be done for you.

Remember that if your exercises are done properly, your ab muscles will be contracting throughout each move you make. As they are a primary stabilization muscle, they need to be working in order to keep your body in the upright position and balanced over your feet.

Therefore, anything you can do to destabilize the body is going to make those abs works even harder than they already were and that is how you will begin to see the progress that you’re looking for.

So all of this said, let’s walk you through a few key changes to make with your workout program and also introduce a few new exercises you may not be doing already but should.

1001-pushup-position-row-483x300

Best Way To Get Abs By Doing The Renegade Row

The first excellent exercise to add to your routine to get better ab engagement is the renegade row.

With this move, you’re going to get down as if you were doing a plank position, placing two dumbbells down on the floor just beneath your shoulders.

The legs should be extended back behind you, body flat in a straight, but diagonal line.

From there, simply pick one dumbbell up and row it straight up and back as if you were doing a single arm row.

Note that the supportive arm should stay clenched onto the dumbbell on the ground beneath you.  Once you perform all the reps with that side, switch sides and repeat to the other.

Since your balance will be slightly off while doing this move, you should instantly feel those core muscles contracting.

Note that if at any point during this movement you feel like your hips are dropping and your core is loosening up, come out of the exercise entirely until you can carry on using proper form. Just like in the plank, if you use poor form while doing this, it will put you at a high risk for developing lower back pain.  It’s even worse with this exercise compared to the plank due to the fact that you are also now hoisting a weight load.

Chest-Fly-On-stability-ball

How To Get Six Pack Abs By Doing The Chest Fly On The Exercise Ball

Next up you have the chest fly on the exercise ball. Since the bench press is your primary heavy-weight chest builder, you want to keep this one on the stable surface of a flat bench.  Destabilizing yourself here and then also trying to lift a maximum weight load would get very dangerous, very fast.

Not a smart move.

Instead, do the isolation exercise – chest fly’s, which you don’t need to lift as heavy for, on top of the exercise ball.  Since the ball is again, that unstable surface, it’s going to force you to work harder as you execute this movement.

The abs will stay contracted and you’ll be seeing excellent progress.

Split-Squat

Best Way To Get Abs With The Single Leg Split Squats

Moving along, the next great exercise to do if you want to hit your core muscles through destabilizing the body is the single leg split squat.  This movement is ideal since not only will you still be able to lift a heavy weight load since you can place a barbell behind your back, but in addition to that, you’ll have to recruit those abs to stay balanced on the single leg supporting the body.

Single leg split squats are excellent for working the glute muscles, so in addition to hitting the core, you’ll see great lower body strengthening results as well.

Make sure that you work each side equally as you go about the movement to avoid any muscle imbalances as you perform the exercise.

Push-Ups On An Exercise Ball For Getting A Six Pack

If you want a move that will not only hit the abs overtime, but also really provide quite the challenge for your chest as well, the push-up with the hands on the exercise ball will do just that.

These are going to require utmost balance, therefore you will immediately feel your core muscles engaging the minute you move into the exercise.  The closer you place your hands together on the ball, the greater you’ll stimulate those abs.

If that gets too easy, place the feet up on an exercise ball too for the ultimate challenge.

So there you have four different exercises, each of which will require more core engagement than the regular move you may have already been doing in your workout program.

Looking for little ways to make the core work harder through decreasing your stability and base of support can really add up.  The idea is that by the time you are finished doing your workout session, your core muscles will be so tired that when you go to do the actual core exercises you have planned, you really finish them off, bringing them to a point of full fatigue.

This means you’ll also have to spend far less time total doing those ab exercises since they will already be feeling the effects from your main workout exercises.

One thing you want to note that you do not want to do however as you go about making these small adjustments in your program is destabilizing yourself whenever you’re aiming to lift maximally. We touched upon this point when we talked about doing the chest fly’s on the exercise ball, but always keep it in mind.

For instance, doing heavy-loaded barbell squats while standing on the bosu ball is a very bad idea. While sure, it destabilizes you, it also puts you at great risk for rolling an ankle or twisting a knee joint.

With any maximally heavy lift, keep yourself stabilized. Then look for ways to destabilize the body when doing your lighter, more isolated movements or body weight exercises.

Banner-for-gymjunkies_AK-12-05-2014-468x60-02

Conclusion

And as always, make sure that you are paying attention to your diet as you do this as well.  As the saying goes, ‘abs are made the kitchen’. While you can build your ab muscles up doing these exercises, making it more likely you will see that core definition, if you still have a thick layer of fat covering your abs, you’ll never be seeing the results that you’re going for.

Eat right, exercise hard, and stay committed. Do this and success will be yours.

-Terry Asher

Do Low Carb Diets Work? What To Know…

LowCarbDiet-300x187

After doing a bodybuilding program for quite some time and seeing great results, you might be considering looking into a fast weight loss program to shed any excess weight you’ve gained, getting leaner and more defined.

You now want to show off all the hard work you’ve put into your body and losing that last bit of fat still covering those muscles will do just that.

With hundreds of different diet plan offerings out there, it can be hard to choose which will fit the bill perfectly for you.

 Remember, your best buddy might tell you such a diet worked amazingly well for him, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it will have the same benefits for you.  Each person’s body is entirely unique, so the key is figuring out what diet plan will go well with your own preferences and body’s response.

One such approach you may consider that has been branded as a fast weight loss protocol is a low carb diet plan.

But, before you hop on this bandwagon, there are some things you should know. Going on a low carb diet unprepared could leave you falling off it in a matter of days.

Here’s what to keep in mind.

Brain Fog Low Carb Effect

If you’ve ever done a low carb diet before without too much research beforehand, you know very well what happens about 3-4 days into the diet.

You feel brain dead.

This is often described as ‘brain fog’ while on the low carb diet and will definitely impact almost everyone who is first using the approach.

Basically, your brain requires at least 100 grams of carbohydrates per day to function optimally, so if you plan on cutting back lower than that, you are going to feel the effects.

Your brain won’t have the fuel source it needs and as such, you’re bound to feel ‘fuzzy’.

Now, if you push through this time period, it typically will get better. Your brain can run off an alternate source of fuel called ketone bodies and within a week or two of being on the diet, it will switch over and you’ll notice you’re starting to feel better again.

In some cases, much better.   Certain individuals who tend to function well on fat as a fuel source report having higher mental clarity and focusing ability while on low carb diets once they are adapted, so you may just find you love this new style of eating.

Others won’t ever feel quite normal on them, which is a good indication you may just be better off using a mixed diet plan instead.

low_carb_diet

Low Carb Diet Results And Energy

The next consequence you’ll face when you decide to jump onto the low carb bandwagon is the increasingly low energy levels that come with it.  This also goes hand in hand with the brain fog described above.

Basically, your body has been running off glucose for quite some time and now that glucose is no longer present. Take away your primary fuel source and what do you expect to happen?

Pretty much feeling like you just want to pass out on the couch and not move.

Again, this can be overcome. If you push through the initial feelings, after a week or two, your body will adjust and adapt and be feeling better again.  Then you’ll likely find you can easily go about your day as normal.

You just have to get through that initial period, which for many people, is far easier said than done.  The drop-off rate of low carb dieters is highest during the first 2 week period, mostly because of this issue.

Low Carb Diets Side Effects And Nutrient Balance

Now it’s time to look at nutrition.  While losing weight is your primary focus here, let’s not overlook the fact that you want to maintain good health as well. Any diet that puts your health in jeopardy to help you experience fast weight loss is not a diet worth doing.

When going on the low carb diet, you run the risk of nutritional deficiency if you are not making sure that you are eating adequate amounts of vegetables and preferably some fruits as well.

Vegetables are so low in carbs, so there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t be including them into the protocol.  Eat up for your health’s sake. They’ll also help you maintain enough dietary fiber, which is vital for regularity while low carb dieting – something else that most people see go out the window.

Fruits can be eaten, but in moderation. How many will heavily depend upon how high your carbohydrate intake is.  Given some fruits can easily clock in at 20 grams of carbs or more, they may not be making a regular appearance on your daily plan.

But do try and get them in when you can.

Then make sure that you are choosing quality food sources from the protein and fat category. Yes, this is a higher fat diet, but that doesn’t mean you should be eating fried bacon and eggs in the morning and fatty steak for dinner every night.

Keep in mind there is nothing magical about low carb diets that will make you lose weight faster than a mixed diet would.  2500 calories on a low carb diet is 2500 calories on a mixed approach.

Low carb diets can make it easier for you to maintain your target calorie intake, but they don’t have any special fat burning properties that put it ahead of an approach with a few more carbs.

Likewise, health still matters. If you’re eating bacon and eggs every morning, what do you think is going to happen to your cholesterol?

Still focus on relatively lean sources of protein – chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, and lean grass fed beef.  Then add healthy fats into the mix – avocado, olive oil, coconut, nuts and seeds (in moderation as they contain more carbs).

Doing so will help you feel and function your best while on this diet, as well as after you come off this diet.

do-low-carb-diets-work

Low Carb Diets And Exercise

Finally, let’s not discount the impact of low carb diets on exercise. This is what you really need to know.

You cannot perform intense exercise training like weight lifting and sprint cardio sessions without eating carbohydrates.

Period.  Don’t try or you will regret it…

So for this fact, if you are planning on going low carb and want to continue with your usual workout session, do yourself a favor and make sure that you are eating some complex carbohydrates from grains, sweet potatoes, oats, or high starch fruits like bananas before and after that workout session.

This will help you maintain better performance and thus deliver you better results as well.

Banner-for-gymjunkies_AK-12-05-2014-468x60-02

Conclusion

So there you have the main points to keep in mind regarding low carb diet plans. They can work, but you need to understand them and then do them properly. If you don’t, you are going to spin your wheels and only regret going on this protocol in the first place. Done wrong, it can make you feel miserable, but done right, you’ll do much better.

The Best Supplements For Muscle Growth

f4263291f6572b6a9b5a4d0061b38a0f

If you’re just getting started with your journey into bodybuilding, or you’re a seasoned veteran who’s been at it for years, you still need to make sure that you are supplementing correctly. Far too many people fall for gimmicky supplements they firmly believe will deliver them fast results, only to find that they aren’t quite what they had hoped for.

If you don’t want to be left disappointed, it pays to do your research first. Let’s walk you through some of the most commonly used products and weigh in on which will help you get your weight up.

Best Protein Powder For Building Muscle

The very first supplement that you should look into that anyone who wants to build muscle mass should be considering is protein powder.  A good protein powder such as Protein Build will help supply the quality amino acids your muscles need to repair and restore broken down muscle tissues.

Protein powder is ideal during those busy times when you may not be able to cook a full meal and will also be great for immediately post workout as well.

Be sure to check carefully to get a good quality protein powder however as not all are created equally. Many have a number of added ingredients which aren’t natural for the body and may decrease the results that you see.

When looking for a good quality protein powder, you should find one that has around 105-120 calories and 23-25 grams of protein per scoop.

Best Bodybuilding Supplements And Creatine

Moving along, the next supplement that you should be considering is creatine.  Creatine is a great way to help combat fatigue during your workout sessions so that you can put more energy and effort into each set that you do.

Creatine will supply the pre-cursor to the high energy molecule ATP, which is going to be what actually powers you through each rep that you do.

Without ATP present, your workout would come to an abrupt end.

Since creatine allows you to do more work total per workout, it’s this additional work that can then mean you build more total muscle mass.

Find a product that contains fast absorbing creatine such as muscle build, which also contains L-Citriline to help increase blood flow as well as L-Arganine to bring about a stronger muscle pump.

With these three ingredients working together, you’ll have the strongest workout you’ve ever had.

protein-sec-2

Muscle Supplements And Your Pre-Workout

In addition to taking your creatine, you might also want to consider a pre workout product as well. These are going to ramp up your energy levels, increase your mental focus and concentration, as well as help to boost your muscular endurance.

A product such as Ignite will keep you going strong on those days when hitting the gym is the last thing you feel like doing.  One thing to always keep an eye out for when selecting these products is the type of sweetener they contain. Many will contain artificial ingredients here again, which can work against you and make you feel less than optimal.

Ideally you’ll also want to find a product that contains a moderate dose of caffeine as one of the main ingredients as it’s this caffeine that is going to best help boost your energy.

Green tea extract can also be utilized, but you won’t get as strong of an energy boost from that as you would caffeine.

Just do keep in mind that if you are using the caffeine based pre-workout, you’ll want to make sure there are a few hours between when you use it and when you go to bed to ensure that it’s not going to keep you awake at night.

Best Supplements And Why You Should Take Glutamine

Glutamine is the next bodybuilding supplement that can help you build muscle mass quickly.  Glutamine is a particular amino acid that’s heavily involved in the immune system response, so it’ll play a key role in how fast you recover between workout sessions.

If you are depleted of glutamine, this can mean a much slower recovery level, which means less frequent gym sessions. Since the more frequently you can break those muscle tissues down and build them up the faster the progress you see, it’s clear how glutamine will help out.

While you will take in some glutamine from the protein rich foods you eat, the level you take in is often not enough to meet the demands of the intense exercise sessions you are doing.

Therefore, adding the supplement proves to be very helpful. For optimal results, you’ll want to take 5 grams of glutamine immediately after your workout session and another 5 grams before you go to bed in the evening.

Branched Chain Amino Acid Supplements

Moving along, a branched chain amino acids are the next supplement that you’ll want to consider.  These are specially targeted towards the muscle cells and will help you avoid being in a catabolic state as you go about your workouts.

When you hit that catabolic state, you’re really breaking muscle tissue down quickly, moving away from progress.

As such, the better you can control this, the faster your progress will be. Branched chain amino acids will help you do just that.

These are designed to be taken either before, during, or after your workout – whenever you prefer. Some will choose to take them at all three times depending on their supplement budget.

They’re especially helpful for when you move into the cutting phase of your program and try and burn off more fat as they will help protect that hard-earned muscle you’ve just built.

cheat-day-per serving size

Testosterone Booster Supplements

Finally, the last of the bodybuilding supplements that you should know about is the testosterone booster. You will see a lot of these if you are reading popular fitness magazines and each has a different claim to fame.

This is one product you really need to be careful with however as most are more gimmicky than they are effective. One thing these products definitely will do however is increase your libido levels, so if that’s something you’re looking for, you will achieve that.

As far as being able to actually boost your total muscle development however, they may help out slightly if they include key ingredients, but beyond that, you won’t see that much of an effect.

The primary ingredients you do want to look out for include vitamin B6, zinc, as well as magnesium.  Together these have been shown to help boost testosterone levels.

That said, you can pick up a straight ZMA product and see similar results for a fraction of the cost.

So keep these bodybuilding supplements in mind. If you choose wisely, you can get your hands on products that will help out, but you need to do your research. There are too many companies out there that are just looking to make a quick dollar and use elaborate marketing schemes to get you to buy.

Conclusion

Read reviews, read research, and use some common sense and you should be able to steer clear of ones that won’t deliver and pick up ones that will.

-Terry Asher

6 Mass Building Training Techniques For Your Upper Body

8MovesMass_620x4452

Looking to build muscle mass quickly? Want to get that upper body that turns heads whenever you go? If so, you must be paying attention to some of the top training techniques and exercises available for the upper body muscles.

Too many people get caught up in the trap of going to the gym and performing the same bland workout routine over and over again.  They do the same bench press, the same bent over row, the same shoulder press, and so on.

All they try and do is add more weight over time. And while that is one approach to help you grow, it is definitely not the most effective approach.  To see even better results, you must make sure that you are continually changing it up, challenging your muscles in new and innovative ways.

Ready to discover some smart strategies to employ? Give any one of these 6 tips a try.

Reverse Grip Bench Press In Your Mass Building Routine

The first smart tip to remember as you go about your upper body program is to crank your bench press up a notch by reversing your grip. You can also check out my article on Bench Pressing Tips.

Don’t be surprised if when you do this you see a significant decline in the total amount of weight you can lift – this is all normal and natural.

The most important point is that you feel it in your triceps as they are now directing the movement to a much larger degree.

For a real challenge, perform two sets of reverse grip bench press to fatigue and then go back and perform your single set of straight bench press.

Since your triceps will be so tired by this point, you’re going to find that your chest now is doing more of the work.

This is a perfect way to bust through a chest plateau where you simply can’t add any more weight to the bar.  Once you go back to your normal straight sets after doing this, you should find you’re that much stronger. If you’re very new to the gym you might want to check out beginner’s workout guide.

Reverse-Grip-Close-Grip-Bench-Press

Close Grip Bent Over Row For Mass Building Workout

The next exercise to add into your workout protocol is the close grip bent over row.  While the wide grip bent over row is going to target the deltoids and traps to quite a high degree, when you close your grip, you’ll be hitting the fibers running along the mid back to a much greater extent.

This is excellent for really bringing out maximum back definition, while also helping to keep your total strength gains more balanced.

Few people devote as much total energy to back training as they should.  You need to really make sue that you are performing exercises on as many planes of movement as possible in order to see optimal results.

Remember to balance out your horizontal pulling exercises with vertical pulling exercises as well to avoid suffering from any degree of muscular imbalance.

Single Arm Lat Pull-Down

Speaking of pull-downs, this brings us to the next technique to consider trying – single arm lat pull-downs.  The great thing about this technique is that it is going to eliminate any possible chance of one arm taking over the movement.

When doing traditional pull-downs if one side of the body is much stronger than the other, it can easily overcompensate for this weaker side.

By doing the single arm lat pull-down however, you get around this. Each arm will be responsible for it’s own weight, thus there is no ‘cheating’ involved.

When doing this exercise, make sure that you are always focusing on the mind muscle control as you do it. It’s very easy to let the biceps take over, pulling that handle down with all your might.

The Pause Technique When Doing Mass Building Exercises

Adding a pause technique to your upper body exercises is yet another way to see faster progress and add more of a challenge without adding any additional weight. If your extremly skinny you can check out this article on how to build mass.

You can do this on virtually any upper body exercise, however it tends to work best on the bicep curl, bench press, or overhead tricep extension.

What you will do for this protocol is perform a few fluid reps as normal and then on the next 3-4 reps, pause halfway up to the top for a second or two.

Keep the tension on the muscle the entire time and remember to breathe as you perform it. You will feel great fatigue developing as you add those pauses into the picture.

Then once you’re finished with the pause reps, try and crank out another 3-4 regular reps once again.  These reps are going to be a real challenge, so make sure that you are focusing on maintaining good form.

If you can only do two reps, so be it. Never let poor form take over.

This technique is going to be very fatiguing of whatever muscle group you are performing, therefore you will want to make certain that you are doing it towards the end of the workout when you don’t have another 2-4 exercises to get through.

lateralna-podizanja-za-ramena-09i

Cable Lateral Raises

If you are always doing your lateral raises with dumbbells, it might be time to give them a break and think about using some cables instead.  Cable resistance is great because it’ll keep a constant level of tension on the muscles at all times.

Basically, while with the dumbbell the resistance lightens as you reach the top of the movement, with the cable, there’s no let up.  This can promote greater strength gains and when you do eventually go back to using a dumbbell again, you might find that you can get to the next strength level up.

Just be sure when doing these that you are performing them in a very slow and fluid movement pattern in order to avoid allowing momentum to take over and avoid going up much higher than 90 degrees or you could place too much strain on your shoulders.

Twisting Curl For The Mass Building Code

Finally, you should also explore the twisting curl. For this one, start with the dumbbells in a hammer curl position. Curl the weight up and as you reach the top, twist as much as you can, trying to get the little finger to touch your chest. You can also check out mass building tips here.

As you do this twist, really squeeze the bicep muscle as you move to the top of the bicep curl position. Pause at the very top so that you can fully focus on this position and then start to lower back down again.

On the way back down, untwist so you move back into the hammer curl position.

This is a great technique for working more of the bicep muscle fibers and bringing out that bicep peak.

So don’t let your upper body training grow stale any longer. By taking the time to learn some advanced training techniques and new exercises, then applying them to your workout program, you can bust through any plateau you might be facing and start to build muscle fast again.

Banner-for-gymjunkies_AK-12-05-2014-468x60-02

Conclusion

Just remember to only add one or two of these at a time – not all at once.  You want to shock your body, not overload it to the point of overtraining.  Alternating between each of these techniques over time will ensure you can keep up with the new stimulus that you’re providing.

The Must-Have Tools For A Home Gym

hot-girl-working-out-zuzana-light

Looking to build muscle at home? For some people, hitting the gym is simply not an option.  Whether it’s due to an ultra hectic lifestyle, young kids at home that you need to be with before and after work, or you simply don’t have a gym around you that you want to attend, you might be considering setting up a home gym instead.

The great news is that with the right pieces of equipment, it’s more than possible to build muscle mass right in the comfort of your own home. If you cannot afford equipment you can at least do an in home workout found here.

Your overall budget range will of course determine just how much you can purchase and how much total variety you have in the plan, but that said, even with minimal equipment you can still see success.

Let’s go over the must-have tools you need to get into place for your own home gym.

A Skipping Rope

Let’s start with the cheapest first – a skipping rope.  As cardio should be included in all workout programs – even those designed to help you build muscle mass fast, nothing gets better than this.

You can easily find a rope for around $10-15 and it will provide just as good of a cardio workout as running would.  Skip on cardio days or simply add 30-60 seconds of skipping in between weight lifting sets if you want to keep the intensity up and focus on fast weight loss to show off your hard-earned muscle.

A Resistance Band

Next, you’ll also want to consider picking up a resistance band. This is a great option for those who want to build muscle without weights and who have only a very small space to workout in.

Since you can easily tuck these away in a drawer when not in use, they will provide that external resistance you need to really see good strength gains.

Since there isn’t that heavy weight load that you’re lifting, they also tend to be far easier on the joints as well, so anyone who suffers from joint pain may want to consider going this route.

Remember that you can purchase resistance bands of different strength levels, so make sure that you aim to find one that will fully challenge your muscle tissues.

boostmetabolism

A Set Of Changeable Dumbbells

Moving along, the next piece of home workout equipment that you should definitely get into place if you do have the space is a set of changeable dumbbells. Now, you could go out and purchase individual weighted dumbbells – 25’s, 30’s, 35’s, 40’s, and so on, this would get pricey and would require a lot of space to store them.

A better option for those on the budget is to get changeable dumbbells. This way, you can simply put on or take off plate weight as you do your workouts in order to best meet your requirements.

It takes far less storage and will also allow you to progress much easier as well.  With traditional individual weighted dumbbells, you’ll typically have to up a minimum of 10 pounds when doing your movements (since each dumbbell will increase in 5 pound increments), which can take a very long time to accomplish.

Being able to add 2, 2.5 pound plate weights helps you increase in a smaller increment, making sooner progress possible.

An Exercise Ball

Moving along, also consider getting yourself an exercise ball.  This will be excellent for not only doing core exercises on, but also for doing some of your strength based dumbbell work as well.

For instance you can lay on top of the ball while performing shoulder presses, chest fly’s, and bicep curls, which will make not only those muscles work harder as you aim to stabilize yourself, but also in addition to that, work your core at the same time.

A bosu ball is also another great option – and would be an upgrade from an exercise ball, but provides similar benefits only now you can also stand on it to perform lower body movements as well.

A Barbell With Plate Weight

If you still have more room in your budget after that, the next piece of equipment to think about purchasing to help you build muscle mass is a barbell with plate weight.

Barbells will typically allow you to lift more weight total and work excellent when doing exercises such as the deadlift, barbell bicep curls, or barbell bent over rows.

Picking up one of these will definitely help you take your progress up a notch if strength is your primary goal.

benchpress_women_bar

A Bench Press

With that barbell, it’s also very good if you can purchase a bench press. Since you won’t be able to hit chest effectively with just a barbell alone, the bench press will remedy this issue.

You can also sit in your bench press and perform shoulder presses as well, provided you do have an incline bench. Here are ten tips to increase your bench.

Since the chest muscle is one of the biggest muscles in the upper body and one where you likely do want to gain significant mass, it’s vital that you can focus on it.

While you can always do dumbbell bench press, dumbbell incline press, and dumbbell chest fly’s, it isn’t quite the same as doing the fully loaded barbell bench press.

If you like, you can also look into a bench press that comes with a leg attachment, allowing you to perform leg extensions and hamstring curls as well.  Be sure that you do try this attachment out in-store before you bring it home to make sure it is comfortable to use. As you typically can’t adjust these like you could a gym leg extension machine, you want to make sure that it’s suitable for your body size.

A Squat Rack

Taking that concept one step further, now you have the squat rack. This is the last major piece of fitness equipment that you should purchase for your home gym if you have the budget and space to do so.

The squat rack is going to be excellent for assisting with lower body development. Without it, you likely won’t fully challenge your quads as much as you could as you’ll never lift enough weight up to your shoulders with the barbell to do full on squats. Here are some leg workouts you can perform with your new squat rack.

If you get a cage squat rack, you’ll also have the option of doing shoulder presses, bench presses, and pull-ups as well so it’s a wise move to opt for this variety when shopping.

While it may cost slightly more, you will have the opportunity to do so many additional exercises by having it in place.

So there you have the main pieces of equipment to consider if you want to build your very own home gym to help you build muscle mass.  While you definitely don’t need all of this, if you can pick it up, you can virtually build a workout program that is just as complete at home as what you would get if you were in the gym.

Conclusion

If hitting the gym is one of the biggest obstacles you face in sticking with a workout program – and your fitness means a significant amount to you – the home gym is the ideal way to go.

-Terry Asher

Advanced Workout Variations You Should Learn

push-ups-on-the-ball_-_step_2.max.v1

If you’re looking to liven up your workout routine, it’s imperative that you understand some of the key advanced bodybuilding exercise variations that you must be doing.

You can only continually keep adding more and more weight to the bar for so long. After that point, you’re going to find that you just can’t keep pushing it – and that your body hits a plateau.  Your weight incremental increases get smaller and soon, you feel like you aren’t progressing on. Remember if you’re a beginner I would suggest reading this blog post about a beginners workout plan.

At this point, that’s when you’ll want to perform some of the following advanced bodybuilding exercise variations.

Here’s what to know about advanced workouts…

Add Push-Ups On An Exercise Ball For More Advanced Workouts

The very first exercise that will increase the intensity of your session and help you see faster progress is the push-up on an exercise ball. If you want to really hit those abs hard, believe me when I say this move will do it.

Place both the hands up on an exercise ball, fingers close together, and then slowly lower down toward the ball and then back up again.  Make sure that the entire time, you are keeping your abs tight and the body in straight alignment.

The biggest mistake often made during this move is letting the lower back drop, so you must ensure that you aren’t doing this.

If you find this is just too challenging to start, consider placing the feet up on the ball instead. You’ll still have the instability factor at play, but you’ll find that you can much more easily get through the movement.If you’re looking for more push up variations I would suggest reading this blog post.

Front Squats With Your Advanced Workout Plan

Next, consider front squats.  Front squats are an excellent way to challenge your quads to a larger degree. While traditional squats work both the hamstrings and quads, front squats put far more emphasis right on that quad muscle – where you want to hit.

Make sure while doing these that you lower yourself all the way down to the ground, pause, and then press back up. Taking it through the full range of motion will help ensure that you see the absolute best results possible.

904_2

Single Arm Lat Pull-Down For Your Advanced Workout Routines

Moving along, the single arm lat pull-down is the next exercise to be including as part of your workout program to build muscle mass.  This exercise is nice since it’ll help to ensure that you aren’t suffering from any muscular imbalances.

For many people, as they go about doing their standard pull-downs, one arm is doing much more work than the other, thus it get stronger and the imbalance becomes even more pronounced.

By doing the single arm lat pull-down, each arm is now put to the test with no help from the other.

The end result? Faster progression.  You will notice a slight decrease in weight switching over the single arm – likely more than half of what you were doing before.

Be patient however and focus on form. Even if you are using less weight, if your form is spot on, that’s what matters most.  Feel the muscle contractions taking place and you will be on route to results. Try and place all stress on the lat muscle, relaxing the bicep as you perform the exercise.

Single Leg Squats For Your Advanced Workout Routine

Another challenging lower body exercise you can do with or without weights is the single leg squat.  Very few people can successfully do reps of single leg squats, even without weight, so put yourself to the test.

The trick is to lower all the way down so you are in the complete and full squat position. Once there, pause and then press back up again to complete the rep. You can also check out my article on more sculping leg workouts here.

Once all reps are completed, switch sides and repeat.  This one will really test your overall balance capability, so you may want to hold onto a nearby chair or rail as you do it to sustain balance as you go.

Then as you progress, practice doing it without holding onto anything.   Once you get really advanced, hold onto plate weight or else simply do it on top of a bosu ball for an even greater agility challenge.

Glute-Hamstring Raises For Advanced Leg Workout

Glute hamstring raises are the next exercise you must consider. These are a non-traditional move most people overlook in their workout program but an exercise that will bring excellent lower body firming benefits.

Get into a glute-hamstring machine and start with just your body weight, lowering yourself down and back up as you go. Make sure as you perform this exercise you use a very slow and controlled movement pattern. It’s very easy to allow momentum to carry you through the exercise, which would entirely take away from the results you should be seeing.

Once you’re more advanced and can easily do this, then add plate weight, holding it across your chest as you do the exercise.

This one is also excellent for strengthening all the muscles in the spinal column as well, reducing your risk of long-term back pain.

Weighted Twisting Decline Crunches For Advanced Ab Workout

Want that ripped midsection that you’ve always desired? Weighted twisting decline crunches may just get you there. This exercise is fantastic for strengthening the core and will hit the obliques as well as you do the twist from side to side.

Since it’s on a decline, this will have you working against the force of gravity as you do it, bumping up the intensity of the exercise.

You may wish to start without weight depending on how strong your core currently is and then as you progress along, add more weight from there.

An even more advanced variation that you can perform on this movement is to hold the weight over your head as you lean back and do the twisting crunch. This will place more tension on the abs as now you have even greater gravitational forces to act against.

building-muscle-banner

Best Arm Workout With Curl With A Twist

Finally, the last of the advanced moves to try out is the curl with a twist. This exercise is great for bringing out that peak in the bicep head and is going to help to improve your overall arm strength and size at the same time.

When doing this one, perform a hammer curl as normal, however when you get to the top of the movement, twist the wrist so you are in a standard curl position. Try and over twist slightly if you can, which will really bring out that peak. You should feel it working as you squeeze the bicep at the top portion of the movement.

From there, slowly lower the weight back down to the starting position, untwisting as you move back into the standard hammer curl position.

So there you have some of the top advanced bodybuilding exercises to challenge your body with. Remember that adding new and innovative moves to your workout plan is one of the most ideal ways to overload the body, providing that stimulus needed for greater muscle growth.

Conclusion

Never let yourself get stagnant with your workout routine as when you do, not only will you stop seeing results, but you may find your motivation to do the workout sessions also dropping as you just aren’t mentally interested any longer.

-Terry Asher

5 Workout Rules You Must Follow

71267

As you go about your workout program to build muscle mass fast, there are some important things that you absolutely must be doing. Failing to do these could mean risking your long-term progress, possibly even causing you to fall off the protocol plan altogether.

Fortunately, if you plan ahead and make sure the following are covered, you don’t have to worry about this being an issue for you.

Let’s go over five things that you must be doing if you are currently using a bodybuilding workout program and are aiming to add more lean muscle mass to your frame.

Always Warm Up Your Joints

The very first must-do is to always make sure that you warm-up your joints.  One of the most common reasons that many bodybuilders have to take time off – not by choice – is because of joint pain.

As you get stronger and stronger, you’ll be lifting heavier and heavier weight, which means your joints are going to have that much more stress being placed upon them.

Over time, this adds up. Shoulder problems are extremely likely among those who are doing bodybuilding workout programs, so making sure that your shoulders are properly warmed up before you do any heavy lifting is absolutely critical.

Do not rush the warm-up. So many people nearly skip over it because they want to be in and out of the gym in record time and think that warm-up is not going to be helping them progress onward.

While it may not be helping you build muscle itself, indirectly it is because it’ll keep you in the gym and with a proper warm-up, don’t be surprised if you lift heavier as well.

Take five to ten minutes at the start of every upper body workout and make sure you take care of this.

Girl-in-Bikini-Hot-Girl-Relaxing-in-the-Pool-Golden-and-Shinning-Body

Taking Time Off From Working Out

Next, you also need to consider taking one week off every six months of your bodybuilding program. This is another overlooked thing that needs to get done if you hope to come back year after year feeling your best.

You might feel fine on a day to day basis, like you’re recovering well with no problem, but, you don’t know the full story. Your body will still be suffering residual tears and trauma with ongoing consistent workouts.

An extended period of time off and away from the gym – at least a week or longer – helps to fully repair these trauma, preventing injuries down the road.

Some people will use a deloading week where they lighten the weight and reduce the volume to help kick-start repair, but this isn’t always enough.

Twice a week, take one full week off. Time it so it happens while you’re on holidays and relax and give your body that time you need.

Not only is it really going to help you physically, but you’ll find that you are mentally much stronger and more resilient when you come back.

Learn About Your Body

One of the greatest challenges that you must take on when you start off on a program to build muscle mass is to learn your body.

You think that building muscle is a basic science.  Do A and then B and you will get C.

Sadly, it rarely works this way.  Some protocols may produce unstoppable gains for your body, helping you build muscle faster than you ever have before.

With others, that isn’t the case.  You can hit the gym for weeks without seeing progress. It’s all about how your body responds and the individual body type you have.

By taking the time to learn this – to really come to better understand how your body functions and responds to the physical training you dish out, you can tailor make your program to see faster results.

One of the biggest regrets many older bodybuilders have is spending their early years doing things and only spinning their wheels.

While you can’t expect to determine if a protocol is going to give you results in a week, if you’ve been on it for a month and not much seems to be changing, this is a good sign something isn’t working and needs to be altered.

Keep alerting until you see progress.

Banner-for-gymjunkies_AK-12-05-2014-468x60-01

Workout Cycles Every 5-6 Months

Speaking of your workout program, this brings us to the next must-do tip for anyone on a bodybuilding program.  Make sure that you are changing your entire workout program every 3-4 months.

5-6 months is quite a lengthy period of time to make some significant progress and once this time is up, you should try and do something completely new and different.

If you were doing a split body program, try and upper/lower set-up or a full body.  Add some new exercises in. Adjust your rep range.

While you should be making some smaller scale changes to your workout on a week to week basis to keep yourself from hitting that dreaded progress plateau, every half a year, really change it up and do something entirely different.

This will keep your body responding and continually changing – which is precisely what you want here.

Överspagat

Add Flexibility Workout

Finally, the last must-do for anyone who wants to see long-term success with their quest to build muscle mass is to make sure that you are also adding flexibility work.

Along with the warm-up issue, many people don’t add flexibility work to their routine either. They figure it’s useless and just a waste of time. They either don’t get sore or can deal with it.

But, flexibility work does more than that.  It’s going to keep your tendons and ligaments functioning optimally, through the full range of motion that you want to move in each and every exercise you do.

Likewise, it’ll also help to keep your muscles more limber as well, which further helps you see increased strength gains as you can work through a larger range of motion in the gym.

Finally, it simply adds more functionality to your body overall. As you age, you are going to get more and more tight in all areas of your body unless you are taking the time to stretch daily.

Once you start getting so tight that everyday tasks become a greater challenge, this will really influence your overall quality of life.

Just be sure as you perform your stretches, you also do a good warm-up beforehand to reduce the risk of straining or pulling any ligaments, tendons, or muscles.  Never bounce into your stretches, but rather, do them in a controlled manner.

Conclusion

So there you have the five most important things that you must be doing if you are going to go on and see excellent progress for years to come.  It’s time to take responsibility for all of these things – don’t just think you can hit the gym, pick up a few weights and wait for results.

Bodybuilding and adding pounds of new lean muscle mass to your frame is just as much a mental activity as it is a physical one, so you need to treat it as such.

Train hard, but train smart and you will see far superior results.

-Terry Asher