Author Archives: Gym Junkies

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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.

The Must-Have Tools For A Home Gym

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

How To Build Muscle Mass But Stay Lean

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You want more muscle mass – what you don’t want is the fat mass that typically comes along with it.  There’s no question if you’ve been reading enough material in the bodybuilding industry, you’ve heard of the ‘bulking phase’ and the ‘cutting phase’.

Essentially, during the bulking phase, (often called a dirty bulk), you eat, eat, and eat some more. Your main mission, more size. It doesn’t matter if it’s fat or muscle because you’ll just diet off the fat gain during the cutting phase later on.

You want to maximize the amount of muscle you build, so the more calories, the better.

This mindset isn’t ideal however. If you don’t mind having a body fat that’s higher than normal and keeps your muscle mass quite hidden as you ‘bulk’, by all means, go for the dirty bulk and cruel cut to come after it.

But, you’ll pay the price. When you have to cut hard after a dirty bulking phase, you’ll be at more of a risk of losing muscle mass tissue since your calorie intake is so low.

So not only do you gain more fat as you focus on building muscle, but you lose more muscle as you focus on cutting fat later on.  Clearly not a win-win scenario.

Instead, use the following techniques to help you build muscle, without the added fat gain.

Get Out Of The Bulking Phase Mindset

First, get right out of the ‘bulking’ phase mindset. Stop dividing your year up into these phases.  You are no longer ‘bulking’, you are focusing on building lean muscle mass and this takes just as much precision as leaning down does.

If you’re lucky, by the time you’re through your lean muscle building phase, you will hardly even have to lean down as you won’t have gained much fat at all.

The minute you shift your mindset from bulking/cutting to year round leanness is the minute you can put more focus on eating right to maintain that target body composition.

This means putting quality calories into your body.  No more pizza, ice cream, or burgers just because you need more calories. Eat the same foods you would during a cutting phase only now, eat more of them.

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When Is The Best Time To Eat Your Meals and Nutrients 

Next, you need to time your nutrients right.  Since you are going to be most anabolic as you come out of your workout session, this is when you want to carb load.  Really put a high dose – up to 75% of the total carbohydrates you’ll eat during this post workout period. You can learn more about staying on top of your muscle building diet plan here.

Your body is least likely to convert them to body fat at this time, so when you stand the best chance of lean muscle gain.

Then spread out the remaining carbohydrates equally throughout the rest of the day.

Lower Dietary Fat Intake

To stay leaner, you’ll also want to keep your dietary fat intake on the lower side as well. Now, don’t go extremely low as a very low dietary fat intake means plummeting testosterone levels, which will make it even harder to build the muscle you’re after.

Keep it to around 10-15% total dietary fat.  This is lower than standard, but if you want to stay lean, it’s the best route to go. As fat is not the preferred source of fuel for powering you through those intense sessions, nor is it helpful at all during the post workout recovery period, you’re wiser to put more focus on carbohydrates and protein.

Eating More Protein and Foods That Build Muscle Mass

Speaking of protein, aim to eat around 1.25 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day.  This again is slightly higher than the recommended amount, but it’s going to have a greater thermic effect on the body, meaning it’ll boost your metabolism and help prevent fat gain.

In addition to that, since protein is the nutrient required to repair and rebuild muscle tissue, you want to make sure you are providing more than enough.  This intake will meet those needs perfectly. You can obtain tons of muscle building recipes from my guide found here.

Keep the protein coming from lean sources such as chicken, turkey, fish, lean red meat, egg whites, and whey protein powder.

Eat Clean Carb Foods

Just as we mentioned above, you must make sure that the foods you are eating are clean ones if you hope to stay as lean as possible. This means ditching the white bread, ditching the processed snack foods, and ditching the sugary desserts.

Focus on clean carbs like oats, brown rice, barley, quinoa, and sweet potatoes for your primary energy sources. These are the ones that will keep insulin controlled, thus producing the lean mass building without rapid fat gain. You can learn more about clean carbs from my old article found here.

The only time on this diet setup that you should be eating faster burning carbohydrates is immediately post-workout when you want that insulin spike to boost muscle glycogen storage and replenishment.

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Keep Up Some Cardio Excersises

While you don’t ever want to go overboard with your cardio training, adding an hour or more daily while aiming to build muscle is ok, you also don’t want to stop either like so many people do.

Often people think that adding any additional cardio will just eat away at calories – calories that could have been used to help with the muscle building you’re going for.

And, while this is true to an extent, doing some cardio is still critical. Not only for heart-health, but to keep the fat burning pathways open in the body. Doing lower intensity cardio can also help to train your body to utilize fat as a fuel source during lower intensity work, which then means you’ll spare muscle glycogen for when you need it most – during those intense lifting sessions.

Doing 2-3 sessions of 20-30 minutes of this moderate intensity cardio is all that’s needed to accomplish this task.

Keep Your Expectations Realistic

Finally, it’s also important that you keep your expectations realistic. Will you stay as lean as you were when you finished your last cutting phase while building muscle?

Likely not. Almost everyone, no matter how great they structure their workout and diet will gain a little fat while building muscle and this fat can actually help you lift heavier, thus boost your results.

And likewise, you may build muscle slightly slower while using this approach, than if you did the dirty bulk where you ate as many calories as you could possibly stuff into your body.

But, isn’t it a better trade-off?  Cycling body weight as hard as those individuals do – gaining 20+ pounds in the off season only to have to diet it off a few months later – destroys your metabolism and puts excess strain on the body.

By staying leaner at all times, you can avoid this excess strain, look better and feel better about yourself, and you will end up at that end goal in due time if you work hard.

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Conclusion

So make your choice.  There is no right or wrong here, but if you prefer to enjoy the way you look 12 months of the year and can sacrifice a little on the speed of mass gains all while keeping a very clean and controlled diet, you can build muscle while staying lean successfully.

-Terry Asher

Guide To The Paleo Diet And Does It Build Muscle Mass?

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One of the hot diets in the nutrition and fitness industry right now is the Paleo diet plan. You’ve likely heard about it. You might even know a few people who are currently using it.

But, is it right for you? Is it the approach that will help you get the body of your dreams? In order to fully understand whether this is a viable diet to help you build lean muscle mass, you need to understand a few key features about the approach – along with a few cons as well.

Let’s go into the details you need to know about the Paleo diet plan so you can see for yourself whether it will help or hinder your progress.

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The Food Choices And The Basics Of Paleo Diet

Before we start getting into whether the Paleo diet is going to meet your muscle building requirements, we need to make sure that you fully understand what the Paleo diet is all about and the types of foods you will eat on it.

This diet is one based on our ancestors. The theory behind it is that if you eat back how people ate before processed foods were invented – you ate food from the land or the wild, you would rid yourself of so many of the disease that are out there today.

As such, if you can’t grow it or catch it, you don’t eat it – simple as that. The diet is very focused on animal meat products, especially grass fed beef along with wild caught salmon, which will also supply most of the healthy fat intake.

Along with that, fresh fruits and vegetables are encouraged, often in abundance, along with healthy fat coming from coconuts, avocados, olive oil, and grass fed butter. Nuts and seeds can be consumed, but only in small doses.

Sweet potatoes are also permitted, but all other forms of grain products are not.

Given that the food choices on the Paleo approach are so natural and are going to have you moving away from all nutrient devoid processed foods, this is one very large highlight the plan has to offer. You’ll have a greater tendency to build lean muscle mass while on the Paleo approach if it’s used right because you will bet taking in such high quality foods.

If you were eating a large amount of processed foods on another diet plan to build mass, you’ll likely experience fluctuating blood glucose levels throughout the day, which can, rapidly lead to fat gain if you aren’t right outside the workout period.

Even while building muscle mass, the goal should be to keep stable blood glucose levels at all times apart from the immediate post workout period. This is important for not only adding lean mass, but also making sure you stay as healthy as possible as well.

So now that you see how this program is designed, let’s talk about how well it meets muscle building needs.

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Caveman Diet And The Calorie Intake

Calories. If there is one thing that you must have to build muscle mass, this is it. Without an adequate calorie intake, you might get stronger, but you sure won’t be getting bigger.

You absolutely must provide an overabundance of calories if you are going to build more muscle tissue over and beyond what you have now.

Fortunately, the Paleo diet has this covered quite well. The diet, as you’ll soon see is very high in dietary fat, and since fat is such a calorie dense nutrient, this helps you meet those needs quite easily. As long as you are choosing the proper calorie-dense foods to support your efforts, you’ll easily meet your calorie needs to see results.

It should be noted that it is vital you don’t eat with abandon on this approach. While it’s great for making it easy to take in more calories, if you aren’t careful, you might just take in too many calories and this could then lead to body fat gain.

Moderation and monitoring your intake is key.

How to Eat Paleo and Your Protein Level

After calories, the next must-have for success on your diet to build muscle mass is protein. If you don’t get enough protein, you won’t be supplying the building blocks that your body utilizes to generate that lean muscle mass from.

As such, success will not be yours. Fortunately, Paleo hits this on the mark again. With its high focus on animal based protein, you’ll be taking in high quality amino acids with all meals of the day, thus you should have no problem with this element.

The drawback however is that protein powder is not encouraged and ideally, you want a good protein powder such as Protein Build in your diet for use immediately after your workout. At this time, protein powder is digested faster, so is able to jump-start the repair process better than eating whole proteins would.

Adding this to the protocol would help you see faster and more pronounced results.

Paleo Diet Food List

Here are some examples of foods you can consume for the Paleo Diet. I have highlighted a list of foods that fall under the rules of the Paleo Diet.

These foods are directly out of my best selling eBook, where I have a grocery list that ranks all the top foods. However this being said I have highlighted the ones on my grocery list that correspond with the Paleo Diet.

TNT Diet Sample 1

 

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TNT DIET SAMPLE 3

As you can see you’re only really sticking to proteins and only limited to sweet potatoes for carbs. For this reason the paleolithic diet falls a bit behind a diet that utilizes all three macronutrients.

The Energy Providing-Macronutrients

Now it comes time to look at the energy providing nutrients to see how they stack up – carbohydrates and fats.

This is where you see the Paleo diet coming up a bit short. There’s no shortage of dietary fat being utilized in this plan, that’s for sure as a high amount of calories will come from fat.

But the problem with that is that in order to complete those intense workouts to build muscle mass as optimally as possible, you need glucose as a fuel source. If the only sources of glucose/carbohydrates you’re taking in is through fresh fruits and vegetables, you simply won’t be able to keep up. There is simply not enough total glucose in these foods to support ongoing workout sessions.

Now, you can add sweet potatoes and anyone who is following the Paleo approach to build muscle most definitely should. But, you may get bored of just adding those and if you don’t eat enough, again, your results will suffer.

So the one area that this diet could improve is with adding a few more options of complex carbohydrates. Brown rice, quinoa, or oats would all be excellent additions to the protocol and help make sure that you get your energy needs met for the workouts and for your recovery.

Carbohydrates also have the greatest influence on insulin levels, and given the fact insulin is the most anabolic hormone in the body, you can see how this would improve the results that you experience.

You definitely don’t need to go crazy with your carbohydrate intake, but if you follow a very traditional Paleo approach and aren’t careful, you simply won’t have enough to build muscle optimally. And if weight loss is your goal I would suggest reading my article about weight loss here.

You’ll definitely still see some results, but they won’t be maximized.

Keep your vegetable intake up, but to moderation on this diet as well because if you eat too many vegetables, it may make it more challenging to get in the calorie dense food choices needed for muscle building.

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Conclusion

So there you have the dirt on the Paleo approach. If you make a few slight modifications and make sure that you choose your foods properly and in good balance, you can definitely see great muscle building results by following this protocol.

-Terry Asher

6 Ways To Boost Your Chest Workouts

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Looking to boost your bench press? If so, you aren’t alone. This is a very common goal for many who want to build muscle and get stronger.  The bench press is one of the most commonly used demonstrations of strength, so it’s one you likely want to have an impressive number for.  Plus, given the fact the bench press is a compound movement and will work the chest, triceps, shoulders, and even the biceps to a small degree, it’s easy to see why it is so effective.

You can get a near complete upper body workout by doing this exercise, with the only exception of hitting your back. Pair the bench press along with a couple back moves such as a bent over row and pull-up and you’ll basically have your whole upper body covered.

This all said, how do you go about increasing your bench press? It’s also one move where many people tend to find they hit a sticking point with.

Let’s walk you through six great ways to help boost your bench press so you can see faster results.

Start With Good Form For Your Chest Workouts

First, take a step back and make sure that your form is 100% in check.  The first mistake far too many people make is using improper form when they bench.

This sets you up for multiple problems. First, because you are using improper form, this means you are at a high risk of injury. If you get injured, as you might imagine, you really won’t be making any strength gains.

Second, when you aren’t using proper form, you won’t be stressing the muscle tissues exactly as you should. This means they won’t be getting stronger like they should either, which can leave you open to strength weaknesses or imbalances.

Using proper form ensure that you get stronger in all areas of the movement pattern and all regions of the chest – precisely what you need to make ongoing strength gains.

While you may see some initial strength gains using improper form, in time, as you become stronger and it gets harder and harder to see further results, you will find that it impacts you more.

Remember that it is always better to use good form and lift less weight, than it is to use poor form and lift as much as possible.  You will get stronger with less weight if you use good form and really feel each muscle contraction that occurs. Zero in and focus on the muscle squeezing throughout the rep and this is what will produce remarkable strength gains.

Pre-Fatigue Principle For The Best Chest Workout

The pre-fatigue principle is also something to consider trying if you have hit a sticking point and just can’t get past.

With this, if your chest muscles aren’t getting much stronger, it could be because your triceps or shoulders are starting to take over. Since they assist with the execution of the movement, this means if you have very strong muscles in these regions, you may not actually be working the chest to that high of a degree.

To avoid this, fatigue those muscles first.  Perform some overhead tricep extensions and a few sets of lateral raises and front raises.

Then once those muscles feel tired, move into the bench press. As you do the bench press, focus on pressing only through the chest muscle.  You will be amazed at how much harder you feel that muscle working now.

These advanced techniques like this, when applied properly to your bodybuilding workout, can help you take your progress up to the next level.

You will likely need to go down in weight while you use this approach, but realize that when you go back to doing your straight sets fresh again later on, you will move past that plateau as your chest will now be stronger. Remember if you’re a beginner always start with body weight first, you can check out some body weight exercises that build muscle here.

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Interchange Dumbbells And Barbells For Your Chest Workout Routine

The next smart move to make if you want to increase your bench press is to interchange between dumbbells and barbells.

Each type of equipment offers its own pros and cons. Dumbbells will help to prevent any strength imbalances between the two sides of the body. If one of your body sides is stronger than the other, if you are constantly using a barbell, you may not even realize this is happening.

But, when you use a dumbbell, it now becomes obvious.

At the same time, you will have to focus on stabilization far more when using dumbbells compared to if you were using a barbell, thus this can hinder how much weight total you can press up.

This is where using a barbell comes in to be advantageous.

So by making sure that you include both in your workout, you’ll really set yourself up for success and cover all ends of the spectrum.

You don’t necessarily have to do both in one workout, but alternate between the two over time.

Don’t Forget To Deloading 

As you go about your workout, don’t forget to add deloading weeks in from time to time.  So often men just push, push, and push some more without realizing that they are on the brink of overtraining.

If you start to overtrain, making strength gains will be next to impossible.

Instead, every 4-6 weeks, take one week and reduce the volume and cut back on the weight.  Keep it this way for one week and when you move back to your usual program, don’t be surprised if you’re stronger.

Use A Spotter

Nothing beats having a spotter to help push through those plateaus and get up the next level of weight. If you want to boost your bench and build muscle, having a spotter to help you with that level you are uncertain of – or even help to squeeze out one more rep than you’d do on your own can mean the difference between progress or hitting a plateau.

As often as you can, try and bench with a spotter. It is dangerous to not have one if you are pushing new limits, so protect yourself and stay smart.

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Perform Both Incline And Decline Bench Press 

Finally, make sure that you are including both incline and decline bench press in your workout program as well. This will help to work the chest on all angles, making sure that you are strong no matter what particular plane of movement you’re on.

The break away from always training straight flat bench press can also help you recover from that exercise, coming back stronger when you do it next.

Not to mention the added variety in your workout routine can also keep you more mentally fresh and ready to push hard. If you are doing the same workout over and over again, it’s far easier to get stuck in a rut and mentally pull back a bit. Many trainees do this unconsciously, so you may not even realize it’s impacting you.If you want an extra energy while performing your chest routine you should check out the pre-workout ignite.

Conclusion

So there you have some quick tips for how to build muscle faster and boost your bench press. The bench press is a key exercise in any good muscle building program, so you’ll want to make sure that you are devoting a good level of attention to it.  Use it properly and see impression upper body mass gains.

-Terry Asher

7 Muscle Building Workout Sins Beginners Typically Make

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If you’re just about to get started with a bodybuilding workout program, there are a number of so-called ‘sins’ that you should know about that would quickly rob you of the progress that you hope to make.

By identifying what these sins are, you can better make sure that they aren’t going to apply to your own program plan.

Many beginners will simply read workout programs in the pages of fitness magazines and think they can hop onto the first plan they find. For more information you can also check out beginners workout plan.

Very often however, these plans are not designed for them and as such, they are not going to see the results they were hoping for.

By learning how to start up on a build muscle program geared towards the beginner trainee, you can make sure that you are on the track to success.

Here are the seven top sins that you must avoid.

Neglecting To Build A Strength Foundation

The very first thing that you should know as a beginner is that you must build a proper strength foundation.   Many beginners rush into using intricate workout techniques that are simply not at their skill level.

Push your body with these techniques before building up the proper strength foundation and you’re basically just asking for an injury to happen.

Instead, you should spend some time focusing on the main compound movements – squats, bench press, bent over rows, shoulder press, and the deadlift, doing them first and adding more weight.

Only once you feel very comfortable with these exercises and have seen weight increases should you consider adding more isolated exercises.For more information you can also check out this strength training post once your body is acclimated.

As a beginner, your body is primed for excellent strength grains as long as you train in a manner that promotes them.

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Work Out To Much

Next, you also need to watch and make sure that you aren’t exercising too often throughout the week.  Your body will be adjusting and adapting to the increased stress of exercise on the body, so if you aren’t allowing adequate time for rest and recovery, it will influence your progress going forward.

Beginners will typically far best on a build muscle program that works the whole body with each workout session compared to a split body program that hits just one part of the body at once.

Too Much Cardio

Next, you should also consider how much cardio exercise you are doing along with your strength training workout.  Many beginners think that by doing as much cardio as possible, they will build leaner muscle mass.

This isn’t correct thinking however. Realize that it isn’t about how much cardio you do that will keep you leaner, but rather, it’s about the calorie surplus you maintain.

Too much food is what will lead to fat gain, not too little cardio.

If you are doing too much cardio, you will sacrifice your strength level, meaning you’ll lift less weight in the gym. This can translate into slower results.

Keep cardio limited to 1-2 sessions per week and make sure that you only do that if you are feeling recovered. There’s no need to cut cardio out entirely as it is important for maintaining good heart health, but at the same time, you need to make sure that your program achieves good balance.

Not Building Good Form Habits

Maintaining good form is the next thing that you must make sure that you are doing. If you aren’t keeping your form in check as a beginner you are more prone to developing bad habits that will hurt you down the road.

Once a bad habit is built, it can be hard to break and could be something that you have to continuously monitor for the rest of time.

Start fresh.  As you learn a new move, do it without much weight at first until you have your form perfected. Only then add weight.  And, once every 3-4 weeks, do a form check on each exercise in your program. Spend time focusing just the form you are using, making sure you aren’t getting into any bad movement habits.

Not Feeling The Mind-Muscle Connection

Another thing that will be key for those who are focusing on building lean muscle mass and are just starting out is to focusing on the mind-muscle connection.For more information you can also check out this post once were I explain about the connection between your brain and working out. 

Some beginners will just move through the exercise, aiming to get the weight from point A to point B. While hoisting the weight like this will bring about progress, remember that it’s more than that.

To really see optimal results, you need to feel the weight moving from A to B. You need to think of the muscles squeezing, contracting and getting shorter while you move the weight to the upwards position.

The moment you turn your focus inward like this, really imaging that muscle tissue moving as you go about the rep is the minute that you will see enhanced intensity with your workout.

Many people, even more advanced trainees, have not mastered this mind-muscle connection, so spend some time developing it for yourself and you will be setting yourself up for a much higher success rate.

Not Deloading Often Enough

Deloading is a concept that some beginners entirely overlook, but one that you should be paying more attention to.  With the process of deloading, you are to reduce the weight and volume of your workout for a one week time period.

This is to help you avoid getting stuck into overtraining mode, putting too much stress and strain on your body for too long of a period of time.

Deloading should be done once every 4-6 weeks on a regular workout program and once every 3-4 months of consecutive training, you should have one week completely off for rest and recovery.

If you neglect to do this, you could find that you start going backward in progress as your body simply cannot keep up to the demands you are placing upon it.

Change Your Workout Routine  Regularly

Finally, the last error you want to avoid making is not changing your workout routine regularly enough.  If you are doing the same workout over and over again, you can expect to hit a plateau in record time.

Each week, something about your workout should change. Add a new exercise, do another set, reverse the order or some exercises, or simply change the grip pattern that you’re using as you perform one or two movements. Any little change will work – as long as it’s something new your body hasn’t encountered in the last session or two.

This is the best way to help ensure that you are continually shocking your body and that it never knows what’s coming next. Remember, your body is fast to learn and adapt to what you’re dishing out, so your mission is to keep changing this so it must keep responding.

So have a good look over your current build muscle workout. Are you making any of these fatal errors? Is there room for improvement?

Conclusion

Always be paying attention to how you are going about your workout protocol so that you can spot any potentially troubling factors before they really hinder your progress over the long-term. Building good habits now as a beginner will help to form a strong foundation for the future.

-Terry Asher

Ways to Boost Your Metabolism Throughout the Day

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What if I told you there were some simple steps you could take throughout your day that would help boost your metabolism? Steps so simple that anyone could easily add them to their daily routine without changing much of that routine. Well you can, by simply supplementing a few foods and snacks, adding a few daily activities, and drinking more water.

Speed Up Your Metabolism with These Tips Starting Your Day

When you wake up, you can quickly get a boost to your metabolism by starting it off with a cool 16oz of water. Since most of us do not get up frequently at night to hydrate, we tend to wake up slightly dehydrated. By drinking 16oz of water right off the start, our bodies will hydrate, will help kick out toxins that may have built up, and will kick your metabolism into gear.

We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Now while we don’t require a huge breakfast, starting it off with some whole grain toast or some oatmeal with berries and almonds can get you off to a good start.

Another great way to boost your metabolism in the morning is with a small cup of black coffee. Though not a long term boost, taking sips of black coffee in the morning can give you a temporary boost to your metabolic rate. The caffeine in coffee can also help with your morning energy as well as help boost your endurance during your morning exercise. You can also check out easy weight loss tips.

How To Boost Your Metabolism Throughout Your Day

Now that your day has started, you may be running errands, heading to the office, herding the kids around, or heading to school and find yourself too busy to add any changes to your routine.  Well there are some simple steps that could help you boost your metabolism through the day by simply standing up and pacing slowly when you get a phone call instead of sitting. Let’s say you are in the 150 pound range. Now a that weight you will consume 129 calories just by standing for an hour, where you would burn off 72 by sitting. But if you were to stand and slowly pace for an hour, you could burn up to 143 calories an hour.

Another easy way to help boost your metabolism and burn calories is by laughing. The  International Journal of Obesity has shown that by taking a 10 to 15 minute laugh break, you could boost your calories burned by 10 to 40, a 10 t0 20 percent boost to you calories burned. So take a break and laugh with a co-worker, watch a fun show with your kids, or watch some funny videos between classes.

If you find you have time to work out during your day, try building some muscle. For every pound of muscle your body uses 6 calories a day to sustain itself. Now imagine you packed on 10 pounds of muscle. That’s an extra 60 calories burned a day. Also try to add some aerobic exercise to your routine. Although it may not build as much muscle as lifting weights, it can boost your metabolic rate for the hours to follow your workout.

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Boost Your Metabolism Naturally With Food

Let’s talk about food now. Most of us have grown up knowing that we need to eat three large meals a day and maybe a couple snacks to get us to each meal. Studies have shown that by snacking more frequently and eating smaller portions, as opposed to eating only large meals, your body is forced to work harder and keep the metabolic burn on. When we eat large meals and throw in large breaks in between, our metabolism takes a break. Now by snacking frequently and throughout the day, our metabolism is forced to keep burning throughout the day.

  • Water – If you were to drink a couple glasses of water before every meal, research has been shown to help dieters lose on average, 15 pounds over the course of 3 months in a study shown at the American Chemical Society’s  annual conference. By drinking water throughout the day you will also help boost your overall effectiveness of your metabolism.  Without water, your body cannot process calories. While slightly dehydrated (like first thing in the morning), your metabolism will slow down. People who simply drank 8 glasses or more a day have been shown to burn more calories than those that only had 4.
  • Berries - For a good snack try eating some fruit. Berries are a great source of fiber, and our bodies can’t digest fiber, but it will try to. In doing so, it will burn calories. You can also check out more fat burning foods here.
  • Citrus Fruits - Foods like Lemons, Limes, and Oranges contain a large amount of Vitamin-C which will help the body burn fat quicker, and will be beneficial in your weight loss. Also if you up your daily intake by 500mg, you can increase your burn potential by 39%.
  • Green or Oolong Tea - By drinking green or oolong tea, you will be getting the beneficial factors of the caffeine and catechins, which have been shown to boost your metabolic rate for  a few hours at a time. Drinking up to 4 cups before exercise can help you burn calories by up to 17%.
  • Omega 3′s – Adding salmon, tuna, herring, or any other omega 3 rich foods, can rev up your metabolism. Omega 3′s have also been shows to cut down your bodies resistance to hormone leptin, which is referred to as the “Fat Hormone” .
  • Protein Rich Foods – As opposed to carbohydrates or fat, the human body burns way more calories by burning protein.  Try adding some turkey, fish, white chicken,  eggs, beans, tofu, lean beef, or low-fat dairy products to your daily intake.
  • Spicy Foods – There are chemicals in spicy food that can naturally boost your metabolic rate. Try adding cayenne pepper or some green chili pepper to your next meal.  Although it may be a temporary fix, by eating spicy foods on a regular basis, you can keep that metabolic burn going.
  • Energy Drinks and Energy Supplements – In moderation, energy drinks and energy supplements can help give you a quick boost to your metabolism. They can be full of caffeine and taurine (an amino acid), which help provide your body with the burn it needs to help burn off fat. For a great all natural pre-workout you can check out gymjunkeis ignite.

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Conclusion

Now that your day is finished, remember to get some rest. Studies have shown that not getting your 7 to 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis can lead to a slower metabolism, and an increase to hunger leading to obesity and weight gain. A good night’s sleep can help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for that next glass of water.

-Terry Asher

The Biggest Bicep Exercise Mistakes You Might Be Making

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If you’re like most men, there’s a very good chance that topping your list of goals to achieve with your workout program is growing bigger biceps.  Biceps tend to be the most commonly used illustration of strength – the classic bicep curl.

But, if through your training, you’re finding that your biceps are leaving much to be desired and it doesn’t seem like you can get them growing, you may be making some errors in your approach.

While some people are genetically fortunate and they build muscle fast in the biceps without really trying, others are not quite so lucky.

If you find yourself in this group, you’ll really have to push your body hard, doing new and intricate techniques to break the barrier on size gains.  It’s not just about lifting more weight, it’s about how you lift more weight.

So that is what we are going to talk about here today.  Let’s go over some of the main principles you must know – and the errors you may be making – that are currently preventing you from seeing the size gains you’re after. Also if strength is your goal them you might want to check out this strength training blog post.

Bicep Building Error #1: You Only Work One Rep Range For Bicep Exercises 

Just like any other muscle group, the biceps are going to respond the very best to a wide variety of rep ranges. If all you ever do is the 12-15 rep range because you think that’s what’s ‘best’ for isolation exercises, you’re wrong.

The problem with this is that this rep range will never allow you to hoist as much weight as possible, a key critical requirement for building more size.

Try doing a few sets in the 8-10 rep range. Use a barbell and really push as much weight as possible.  Then compliment that with some sets in the higher rep range.

The more variety you can add, the better and faster your results will be.

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Bicep Building Error #2: You Neglect Compound Moves For Bicep Curl Exercises 

Next, another classic mistake many people make is not making good enough use of the compound moves.

While you likely already have some bent over rows on back day, turn this into a bicep move as well. Simply reverse your grip, which will place more stress and strain on the bicep muscle, while still working the back at the same time.

Since you have more total muscle force behind you as you do this lift, this will really increase the total load as well.  You can use this same principle when doing lat pull-downs as well as pull-ups.

One simple change in grip pattern can really mean the difference between bicep progress or bicep maintenance. Put those biceps to work in as many moves in your workout as you can.

Bicep Building Error #3: You’re Allowing Momentum To Take Over

A classic error: the momentum-infused bicep ‘swing’.  If you aren’t using good mind-muscle connection as you move through your rep, you’re missing out.

Far too many men go to the gym, lift a weight heavier than they should, but allow their body momentum to help hoist the weight upwards.

This needs to come to an end. Put all the stress and strain on the bicep muscle itself. If you have to, do the exercise in a seated bicep machine in order to prevent momentum from taking over.

Until you master the proper mind-muscle control to only have the muscle itself doing the contractions, you’ll be missing out on progress you could be making.

Bicep Building Error #4: You Cheat Yourself Of A Full Rep

Along with using momentum, another classic error is cheating yourself out of a full rep of each move you do. If you only go partway down, you’ll only see part results.

It’s as simple as that.

Your elbows should almost be fully extended as you perform each curl, going as close to the thighs as possible.  Most men cut the rep short just above 90 degrees because beyond that, they’re too weak to keep the move going.

If you do find that you are much weaker in this lowered position of the bicep rep range, then you should consider using 21’s, so you perform 7 reps in the lower rep range, 7 reps in the top rep range, and then 7 full and complete reps at the end.  This will help to really strengthen those weak areas, making sure that when you go back to straight sets, you’re that much stronger.

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Bicep Building Error #5: You Don’t Add Sufficient Bicep Curl Varations 

Sufficient variety of rep ranges is important, but so is exercises in general. Your biceps need constant variety in order to keep progressing, so make sure you’re changing it up often.

You can do this by utilizing one different exercise in every 2-3 workouts you do.  Hammer curls, dumbbell curls, barbell curls, concentration curls, incline curls, cable curls – there are so many ways to target this muscle group you should never find yourself getting bored. You can also try supersets, you can learn more about how supersets benefit your workout here. 

Using a mix of free weights and cables is always a good idea because the tension loading pattern of cables will be slightly different than free weights, ensuring your muscles stay challenged.

Bicep Building Error #6: You’re Neglecting Rest

Another mistake that you must make sure you are avoiding as you do your bicep training is neglecting rest overall.  Take a good look at your workout programming. If you’re dividing your body up into a body part split, do you have sufficient rest time between your back day and your arm day?

If you do these two separate, remember that you will hit arms on each back workout you do, therefore there needs to be downtime between them.

If you aren’t giving your body sufficient rest between workouts, you won’t grow regardless.  You’ll only continually break your muscle tissues down further and further until you actually see a decline in total strength and size.

Rest is imperative for growing stronger, so make sure you have adequate amounts.

Bicep Building Error #7: You Neglect The ‘Twist’

Finally, the last error to make sure you aren’t making is neglecting the ‘twist’.  This technique is one of the best ways to really build muscle fast and bring out the head of the bicep.

As you do a standard hammer curl, as you move the weight upwards towards the body, begin twisting the wrist so that the palm is facing toward you.

As you do, over-twist the hand, so that you turn it as far inwards as possible. As you do this, think of squeezing the bicep. You’ll really notice this target muscle working overtime using this technique, ensuring that you see improvements in both size and the overall shape of your muscle.

Conclusion

So make sure that you keep these tips in mind as you work on improving your biceps.  You may never see the strength and size gains in the biceps as you would say your quads or back due to the simple fact that the muscle size is much smaller, but you can still make excellent progress – progress you are proud to show off.

-Terry Asher

Be Healthier & Happier With More Activity In Your Life [Infographic]

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 11.58.05 PM Learn to be Healthier and Happier With More Activity In Your Life Just 30 minutes a day can lead to great benefits such as burning more calories, being in a better mood, and having more brainpower. You will also learn what the harsh reality of physical inactivity has done to people worldwide.    This will help you understand why you should at least incorporate 30 minutes of exercise a day. Below I have put together an infographic for you to follow. Read More