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.

Best Muscle Sculpting Leg Workouts

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Alright, so it’s leg day. You know you don’t want to be that guy at the gym whose triceps dwarf his calves, but may80be you’re getting bored of your existing leg routine or are just looking for ways to keep things fresh. Today’s article will cover some important things to know when it comes to working your legs as well as provide you with some new ideas to shock your muscles. Did you also know that working your legs, specifically squats, releases testosterone throughout your body? So that means, even if you can’t stand leg day, that working these large muscles will help your body to produce greater gains in every area. Remember this next time you feel like skipping legs to work on beach muscles. The following is a compendium of leg exercises and principles that can help propel you the next level of building muscle in your legs.

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The Almighty Squat

Enough can’t be said about the importance of the squat to your overall fitness. The opportunity to work 80% of your body’s muscles simply cannot, intelligently, be ignored if your goal is overall fitness, strength and muscular development. I push the squat a lot in these articles, but for good reason. Always warm up your squat by starting with no weight. I often use a post for added balance and sink down into the squat, moving around in the low position to really loosen up those muscles and get comfortable in that seated position.

Pairing Plyos

Pairing a plyometric move with your weighted leg exercise is my favorite way of adding a dynamic, athletic element to your lower body workout. This keeps functional strength in mind as you work your muscles with weights for size and development. There’s no point to being big and strong and having no athleticism so pairing a body weight movement with a weighted resistance move is a good approach. Below you’ll find some of the best muscle building leg workouts for size, strength and athleticism.

Back Squat & Box Jump

If you’re going to pair these up, I suggest going with a low repetition, high weight combination on the weighted squat. I suggest sets of 6-8 on the back squat followed by 10 reps on the box jump. Always remember on your squats: feet just outside shoulder width apart, drive your knees outward as you sink, keep your head up and a straight back. Achieving optimal form on your squat is something that takes a great deal of practice and may feel uncomfortable at first, but as  you continue to add weight to this movement, it will be ever more important that your form is flawless. Spend time warming up this exercise and sitting down into your squat and swaying side to side to loosen up your muscles and get extremely comfortable in this position.

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Calf Raise & Jump Rope

Whether you are using a machine, a trap bar or dumbbells to perform calf raises, pairing this move with 100 loops of jump rope can add speed and agility to this muscle group. Remember when performing weighted calf raises to keep your spine straight and your core engaged, keeping a slight bend in your knees. When you finish a set of 10-12 with heavy weight, transition immediately to 100 repetitions of jump rope.

Weighted Lunge & Mountain Climbers

Pairing the weighted dumbbell lunge with mountain climbers is certainly a challenging combo but I assure you, this will pay off in results. Remember to focus on keeping your spine upright during your lunges and transition your weight between legs slow enough that you’re not swaying or losing balance.  The mountain-climber portion of this combo is where you will focus on a speed movement. Get yourself into a pushup position and you want to jump one leg at a time up to where it is positioned underneath your lower chest, as you bounce that leg out from under you, pull the other up to replace it. Try to remember to keep your back extra straight here as curving your spine will reduce the effectiveness of this move.

Trap Bar Squat

If you’ve seen the square framed trap bars around the gym, you might have worked with these. By using this bar for squats, you activate your biceps and shoulders in the process of holding the weight at your side, increasing the already 80% of your muscles worked by a traditional back squat. Your grip should go out to your sides and you’ll want to use less weight than with your regular squat.

Does Running Build Leg Muscle?

If you are wondering whether running will add muscle to your legs in the way that squatting will, the answer is no. If you enjoy running as a cardio activity, then continue to include it in your routine. However, I would recommend separating running days from leg workout days. In terms of using running to build overall fitness and muscular development, I would remind you to look at sprinters vs. distance runners. Sprinters are historically very developed muscularly as a result of their training which activates more of a power response than distance running which engages the cardiovascular system. With that in mind, interval training on non-leg days might be for you.

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Intervals

Interval training engages both the sprint and cardio vascular responses in your body’s energy systems. There are a number of methods like Swedish relays performed on a track but I like to make this nice and simple. If you want to train using intervals, the simple way to do this is to mix up your run with a mix of sprinting, walking, 50% speed and 75% speed. Sprint until you can’t, then walk, then mix up 75% and sprint, 50% for a longer distance, any combination of these where you charge hard and then rest in a lighter speed will activate your sprinting muscles as well as train your cardiovascular system. For more interval workouts you can download them here.

Don’t like leg day? Skip it

Don’t get too excited, this doesn’t mean you get out of working your legs, but if you’re one of those people that just can’t stand dedicating a whole day to you legs, then don’t. Instead, work legs into your other days. Because of the fact that they carry your body weight throughout the day, your leg muscles are incredibly resilient and can be worked multiple times throughout the week while still leaving enough time for proper rest and refueling. This means that you can add squats to several other workouts throughout your week The same is true for your  calves and for plyometric moves.

Conclusion:

A lot of people complain about leg day or avoid it. Don’t be one of those people. Keep your lower body workouts interesting by combining dynamic exercises, mixing in legs on other gym days, and keeping them guessing. As always, drink plenty of water and stretch thoroughly. Your legs are capable of storing a great deal of lactic acid for the sheer size of these muscles, so treat them right, keep it interesting and consider trying intervals on off days.

Product Review – Force Factor

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Hey guys,

Terry here and today I’m doing a product review on Force Factor’s NO2 booster.

I don’t have too many positive things to say about this product. Everything that is wrong with the supplement industry Force Factor qualifies for.  I took this product for about a month straight and saw little to no gains unfortunately. Let’s look in more detail about its ingredients and why I am giving this a negative rating.

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Value 2/10

This product is just simply too expensive for what you get in return. I believe this price retails for $69.99. I think you can shop around and find it for better price than there home page www.forcefactor.com.  In my personal opinion there are much better products for that price. If you’re going to spend money on supplements you should do you research, and be careful not to just get sucked in by flashy advertising.

Effectiveness 1/10

I didn’t see any strength gains while taking this product. I also didn’t notice any vascularity or pump. I took this product for approximately 30 days giving it plenty of time to “kick” in. As far as my mental focus I did not any difference either. If there was any effect it was not noticed.

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Ingredients 3/10

While the ingredients claim, “Advanced 3X Nitric Oxide Booster” I just doubt it’s potency or the actual dosage. In the blend itself it contains L-Arginine Monohydrate, Arginine-Alphaketoglutarate and Arginine-Ketoisocapraote. While Arginine is effective because your body converts this to NO, I just don’t know how much Force Factor contains. If I were manufacturing this product I would add Beta-Alanine, Taurine, L-Citruline and Niacin. They should focus more on product development and less on there marketing.

Overall 2/10

Overall I am going to steer you away from this product for the aforementioned reasons. When it comes to supplement companies in general you want to make sure you do your research on the actual ingredients. Also just as a friendly tip you can usually look at consumer ratings as most of the time you can get good feedback there. Remember force factor is really a marketing company at the end of the day, not a supplement company and there weak products reflect this.

-Terry Asher

First Gym Workout and Your Core

Whether it’s your first time in the gym or your first time back in the gym after a long hiatus, there are a few points to remember that can help prepare your body for a fitness routine. The main thing I recommend is focusing on your core to build a foundation of strength and keeping a close eye on your recovery and rest to minimize

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Warm up & Stretch.  You should be warming up and stretching before your workouts no matter what level of fitness you’re at. This is just part of the deal. If you want to work your body in a healthy, productive way, it’s important to warm up all of your major muscle groups. I suggest a light jog, followed by burpees, jumping jacks and/or jump rope. These will all get your heart pumping before a workout and warm up your muscles. The two key factors of an effective warm up are loosening up your muscles and getting your blood pumping. If you’re new to working out and experiencing some of the soreness that is natural to come with a new routine, I suggest hopping on the foam roller to knead out some of that soreness

 

Focus on Your Core. One of the most important things I would suggest for your first time in the gym is focusing on your core and major muscle groups. A strong core increases your strength in most other areas and is crucial to a healthy body. Some of the best core exercises I can recommend are a combination of weighted lifts, static floor exercises and dynamic movements. Focusing on your core will provide you with a solid foundation for your future workouts.

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Plank. The plank works your entire core as well as upper and lower body muscles. Lying on your stomach, keep your core in a straight line and push your body weight up onto your forearms, creating a 90-degree angle between your forearm and upper arm. Keep your head up and continue breathing. Hold this position until failure or try for a minute long hold.

 

Supermans. This is another one where you’ll start on your stomach. This time, just as the name depicts, you want to stretch your arms and legs out like you were flying. Perform these by trying to hold the position for a pause and release. Supermans will work your lower back and core.

 

Squats. Whether you’re ready to use weight and perform a back squat, or you’re just starting out and you’re performing this strictly with your body weight, squats work 80% of your body’s muscles and activate your core, back and legs. Beginning with your feet just outside shoulder width and your toes pointed slightly out, focus on squeezing your core as you sink down into your squat—eyes up. During your warm up, body weight squats are a great start to your work out but with weight these are oa pivotal dynamic movement for every fitness level.

 

Plyometrics. Plyometrics add a dynamic element to any workout, especially as a follow up to weighted exercise. My favorite plyos to add to a workout are box jumps. Think about the squat movement that you’ve been practicing, but now you’ll be performing this in a more athletic scenario. Approach the box and check your distance, you should be able to reach out and touch the box so that you can jump up and land squarely on top of it. When you land on top, stand completely upright as with your squat before hopping down to repeat.

 

 

Body Weight Exercises. Another thing that’s great for getting back into the gym or just starting out is body weight movement. As I’ve said before, never underestimate the power of pushups. However, pull ups, chin ups, dips, body weight squats and sit-ups are never to be overlooked at any fitness level. Especially when you are building a foundation of strength, these moves will prove extremely useful. If you can’t complete a whole pull up or chin up yet, performing a static hold where you start at the top of the pull up and slowly lower yourself, you will build the strength needed to complete one of these repetitions. This can also be done with a weight vest to create added stress on the muscles for growth. If you want more body weight workouts you can find them in my eBook here.

 

Cool Down & Stretch Again. When you finish up, it’s important to cool down and stretch again. I highly suggest purchasing a foam roller if you don’t already have one. They’re inexpensive and a great way to work the lactic acid out of your muscles before and after a workout. I can’t stress enough how much stretching can do to alleviate some of the soreness that inevitably comes with getting into shape. If you can tag a yoga class onto the end of your workout or into your week, this could prove highly beneficial in keeping you limber and in the fight to get your body and fitness level on point.

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Diet, Rest & Rehydrate. Keep in mind that you should expect some soreness after your first workouts in the gym. This is natural. However, what you eat and how you treat your body after every workout, but specifically these first few workouts will play a critical role in how quickly you recover and how much you gain in terms of strength and muscle development from your workouts. So what does that include? Let’s go over some key points. First and foremost: sleep. Do not underestimate the importance of sleep. When I say 8 hours, I mean it. This is one of the most looked over things in fitness. I can’t tell you how many fit, active people I know could be achieving greater results if they took their recovery more seriously. Your body and mind need sleep to recover. I can promise you that you’ll experience far less soreness if you take your sleep seriously.

 

As far as diet goes, when you shock your muscles you are having some inflammatory effect on your body, while this is healthy, adding fish oil to your diet will do a great deal to reduce this inflammation. As goes with workouts at any experience level, you should be eating a balance of protein, carbs and healthy fat after your workouts. If you are new to working out, one thing to pay special mind to as your body adjusts to physical activity is that you will need to drink more water than you are used to.

 

Conclusion. When you’re new to the gym or just getting back in, think big. Focus on the major muscle groups like your core and legs that you’ll need to get adjusted to a fitness routine. Big body movement and dynamic exercises that work multiple muscle groups are key. However, just as important to your progress is your prioritizing rest and stretching as you acclimate your body to rigorous exercise.

-Terry Asher

Top Foods for Body Building & Health

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In one of my recent articles I talked a lot about adding good habits to your nutrition and fitness routine as opposed to imposing restrictions. In all things in life, I really stand by this approach as I think that it helps you to feel positive about the good, healthy habits you’re adding to your life instead of being focused on things you’re ‘not allowed’ to do and feeling negative about missing some delicious food that desto. So in the interest of adding good dieting habits to your life, I’ve compiled a list of the best foods for building lean muscle, looking ripped, fighting inflammation and fortifying your immune system, while also taking care of your heart and brain. It’s my philosophy that there’s no point to getting big and strong if you’re not healthy and taking care of your body internally as well as focusing on your external appearance.

A balanced meal needs to contain some protein, some carbohydrate (vegetables) and some healthy fat. The unfortunate truth about some of the most nutrient rich foods available is that not everyone can manage eating raw kale or giving up the sauces and breading that make our favorite foods taste so sinfully good. So we’ll also go over some tips on making the healthy stuff taste good. Also included throughout this list will some foods to avoid at all costs. This list isn’t in any particular order,  just my suggestions for how to eat with the goal of keeping you fit, healthy and performing at your best in the gym and on the job, mentally and physically.

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Kale.

Kale is rich in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and contains  sulforaphane, a chemical with potent anti-cancer  properties.

Doesn’t matter what you think of the taste, the simple fact is you can’t afford to skip the kale. I hear a lot of complaints from guys who know this is the most nutrient dense natural food substance that one can ingest, but just can’t handle the texture of thick green roughage. So how do we work around this? I have a couple suggestions that work for me:

-       Smoothies: try adding kale to any smoothie and I promise you will hardly notice any difference in taste but you will be getting this potent nutritional powerhouse into your body.

-       Sauces: Another thing that works great for is sautéing a bunch of vegetables including finely chopped kale with garlic and cayenne pepper and add all of this to a tomato sauce and pour over steak or chicken. You’ll have basically created a liquid salad to your meal, and I promise you’ll hardly know it’s in there.

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Tuna. In my opinion there are few meals more appetizing to me than raw tuna. I could eat sushi three meals a day. Tuna is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids crucial to brain and heart health as well as possessing potent anti-inflammatory properties. When you’re training hard or eating foods that are toxic to your body

Fish Oil. One supplement that I strongly recommend to every human being of every fitness level and age is a good fish oil. While the naturally available omegas in fish are great ingested whole in fish, a fish oil supplement can help you reach clinically effective doses of these essential fatty acids.

 

Grass Fed Beef (Grass Finished if Available). Most cows in this day and age are fed and fattened predominantly on corn which you may or may not realize has essentially zero nutritional value and grain which essentially just makes the cow fat. If you look at a cross section of grass fed versus corn fed beef, it’s very clear to see the difference. Right down to the healthy deep red color of the grass fed image, it’s very clear to even the untrained eye that the increased price of grass fed beef is with good reason. Buyer beware though, as much grass fed beef is still switched over to corn and grain in the final months before slaughter to fatten the cow up; it can be difficult to come by and expensive, but grass finished beef is best.

 

 

Berries (blueberries, acai, raspberries). Of all the fruits, berries pack the biggest anti-oxidant punch. These are a great way to balance out your meals with some healthy carbohydrate. Berries are also an excellent addition to your post-workout meal as your body refuels and this high glycemic index carbohydrate will help your body to digest protein during recovery.

 

Eggs (organic, cage free, free range, farm fresh). When it comes to eggs, the closer to the farm and the less commercial the farming techniques, the better. When you’re eating healthy, natural eggs, you can feel free to go to town. For years there has been debate about the cholesterol in egg yolks. However, in recent years the USDA has announced that there is now 14% less cholesterol, and further, that coupled with proper exercise, the benefits of eggs outweigh those risk factors. The nutrition community has come to embrace eggs for the vitamin and nutrient packed little super-foods that they are. While some people stand by egg-whites for their lean protein benefit, you should consider that all the vitamins contained in eggs are stored in the yolk. Eat your yolks!

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Avocado. When it comes to healthy fats, avocado, which is technically a berry, is at the top of my list. In addition the healthy fat they’re known for, these little green grenades are packed with fiber and have 35% more potassium than a banana.

Guacamole. I can’t say enough about how much I love guacamole. Lime, cilantro, seasoning and avocado is a delicious combo that can be used in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches, to dip slices of vegetables in or use in place of salad dressing.

Smoothies. Avocado is also a great addition to your favorite smoothie to provide a creamy texture. Might sound a little weird; isn’t.

 

Nuts (Almond, walnut, macadamia). The best option here is organic, raw and unsalted. Nuts are the perfect snack between meals as they are a balanced meal in every bite with some protein, carbs and healthy fat. Keeping a bag of almonds in your desk can help to keep your glycemic index low.

      Seasoning: if the raw unsalted thing is too bland for you, I suggest adding your own seasoning. This is a healthy way to kick up the flavor but without sacrificing the nutrients lost in the process of roasting. Take a sandwich bag or cup with almonds or your own preference, add a teaspoon of olive oil and this will get your seasoning to stick. I tend to go with cayenne and garlic.

 

When it comes to eating healthy, it’s all about keeping it interesting and finding healthy ways to season and flavor the less exciting tastes. Hot peppers are my favorite way to add flavor without sauces full of oils and preservatives—but whatever works for you, go for it, as long as you’re getting the nutrient rich, vitamin intensive foods that your body and mind need to perform at their best.

-Terry Asher

4 Tips to Looking Ripped

Terry

With summer around the corner and countless outdoor events and pool parties on the horizon. I often get asked about how to get ripped and look cut up. The biggest mistake people make on this front is not leaving enough time to achieve their desired results. Cutting fat and getting lean does not happen overnight. It is a long process that involves displacing your bad habits and loose nutritional guidelines with on point diet, cardio and body sculpting exercise with an eye for overall fitness and core activity.

Nutrition

In the battle to look ripped, trim fat and be as fit as possible, nutrition is the utmost determinant to your success. What you do in the gym means nothing if you leave and go straight for the cheeseburger and fries. I am not personally one for counting calories (though this method works for some) and instead recommend ADDING healthy habits to your diet and lifestyle as opposed to restricting others.

Learn these Healthy Habits-

1. Small Meals. The appearance of your midsection is determined in part by the literal size of your stomach. Eating frequently shrinks your actual stomach and keeps your metabolism burning.
2. No Refined Sugars, No Starch. Avoiding refined sugars and starchy carbohydrates like white bread and pasta WILL help you cut fat. This step can not be stressed enough. If it’s not bad enough that refined sugars and starchy carbs will soften your waistline, remember that these foods are inflammatory to your whole body and are terrible for your overall health. If you miss pasta too much, try quinoa pasta; it’s a non-glutinous grain pasta that just might scratch that carb itch without all the health detriments and guilt.
3. Meat, Fish, Eggs and Veggies. These are the staples of a lean diet. Lean cuts of meat, chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon and cage free eggs are the building blocks of a high protein, low fat diet that will have you strong and cut. If you are not eating kale in your regular week, then you are missing out on the most nutrient rich food there is. Packed with nutrients, kale is an absolute must. Hot peppers are also known to boost the metabolism and are great for adding flavor and spice without adding the unnecessary sugar or preservatives of a sauce.
4. The Grain Question. People fall on all sides on this issue as to whether we should be eating grain at all or if whole grain is healthy. The fact is, if you must eat grains, go with whole, complex carbohydrates.
5. Snacking. Being prepared for a snack craving will save you a lot of regret when you finish that bag of chips that was just sort of hanging around your pantry. The keys are: don’t keep anything in your house that isn’t conducive to your overall health and fitness goals. And secondly, I recommend nuts like almonds and walnuts as they are a complete and balanced food with some protein, some carbs and some healthy fat.

 Cardio

Cardio

At the end of the day, losing pounds is a battle of calories. If you eat more than you burn, you’re keeping some of those residual calories. Cardio is boring, I get it, but if you want to look ripped, it’s time to come up with some creative ways to get cardio into your life. Swimming is of course the most effective overall body cardio exercise, but hiking and trail running are my favorite. If your climate allows for it, running outside in nature can be one of the most rewarding ways to forget you’re even exercising at all. Take in a view, climb a mountain, it’s all part of a fit, mobile lifestyle that is conducive to looking and feeling fit.

Shock your body

As far the resistance training portion of your routine goes, my most important advice would be to avoid routine at all costs. A training regiment that is anything but routine is one of the most effective ways to continually keep your body guessing and prevent reaching a plateau. Many athletes who abide by a strict routine of exercise will reach a strength plateau and have difficulty surpassing that level of fitness. This happens essentially because your muscles are bored. A lifestyle of consisting of constant movement, varied exercise, plyometric and weighted exercises along with cardio will yield the best results.
1. Keep it Fresh. Never let your body grow accustomed to your work out routine. Constantly challenge your body in new ways.
2. Constant Movement. If your body is constantly in motion, your metabolism will keep up pace. If this means taking 5 minute breaks during your workday to keep your blood pumping, then so be it. Find a quiet room and knock out some push ups. It doesn’t take long.
3. Full Body Focus. Adding core and compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups are a great way of training your body’s endurance response while training. My favorites are: burpees and muscle builders.

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Water

While professional body builders may limit water intake to increase the striated, ripped look of their muscles in the days or weeks before an event, if you’re just trying to look good for summer, this is not recommended.
1. Drink up. In reality, increasing your water intake may help you control your appetite. All too often, we mistake our body’s thirst response for hunger.
2. Cold Water First Thing in the Morning. Did you know that beginning your day with a large, COLD glass of water kick-starts your metabolism and gets all of your body’s natural processes off and running? This is a simple, easy to add, good habit that can help you begin your day on the right foot.

Before&after

Get a tan

There’s a reason professional body builders get sprayed up before an event. The fact is, a good bronzing does a great deal to show off your hard work in the gym and in the kitchen. So, hit the beach, the booth or the tanner, whatever you have to do to stop the blinding effects of your pasty skin in the sunlight. You’ll thank me later.

Conclusion

No single one of these methods is going to do it for you. These are simply a list of good habits that when added to your life can displace some old ones that are holding you back. Instead of restriction, think of the addition of good habits. Getting fit and looking ripped is an ongoing process, the result of literally thousands of decisions you make every day about how you will train and eat. Is one cookie going to ruin your progress? No. But is the habit of having a cookie every night after dinner holding you back from your physical potential? Definitely. Look hard at all of your diet and exercise decisions throughout the day, does each one contribute or detract from your goal of cutting fat and looking fit?

The Shocking Truth about Fruit

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You may have heard mixed things when it comes to consuming fruit. While fruit itself is a healthy choice, it’s important to know when to consume it. Another very important thing is to understand the difference between fruit and fruit juice.

Fruit > Fruit Juice

A lot of times my friends will say “Hey I am being healthy I had fruit juice earlier”, when in fact it’s doing just he opposite for there bodies. Fruit juice is loaded with sneaky sweeteners and high fructose syrup.

So why do food companies do this? That’s a fair question to ask, it really comes down to one thing however, profit. See the large companies want to extend the shelf life of their products, so they add a bunch of unhealthy fillers. You as the consumer are the one that is suffering however. When you consume all the un necessary ingredients it’s stored as fat.

A good rule of thumb when your looking at nutrition labels in general, if you don’t know how or what the ingredient does; is it’s most likely not good for you.

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How about just fruit for a post workout option?

After a workout it makes sense to consume healthy options. Fruit ironically is not the best choice however, and I will explain just exactly why that is.

Fruit contains a higher amount of Fructose verses white rice or bread for example. Fructose does not go towards filling your muscle glycogen levels like starch-based foods, as fructose is stored in your liver. It’s important to remember that after post workout the goal is to restore muscle glycogen levels, fruit will do the opposite for you.

Fruit and Energy Density

Now you have learned that there are more ideal foods to eat post workout, let’s talk about fruits energy density. One issue with fruit is that it is not very energy dense; this might lead to you consuming more after a workout. Fruit contains about 15-25 grams per piece or cup, for some people this just isn’t enough.

So all together you want to rethink fruit as a post workout snack, and still to starch only foods immediately after the workout period.

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The advantages of fruit

Now you have clear idea why fruit is not the most ideal for post workout, now I will explain the advantages of consuming fruit in general.

Eating fruit and vegetables may reduce the risk for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. Fruit will also aid and protect your body from certain types of cancers. Fiber is another positive thing you will find in fruit, which will lower your risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

A lot of essential nutrients are under consumed but by eating fruit you will get potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin c and folic acid.  Potassium his will help you contain healthy blood pressure, fruits that are rich in this are bananas, prunes, peaches, cantaloupe, honeydew and orange juice. The fiber will help you with bowel function and helps reduce blood cholesterol levels. The vitamin C is important for growth and repair of body tissue, and will help heal cuts and wounds. Folic acid found in fruit will help red blood cell formation.

Conclusion

As you can tell fruit is not ideal for a post workout snack but don’t discredit it when it comes to your overall health. Remember fruit is your friend, but there is a time a place that it’s more effective for your body. Don’t forget that fruit juice is not created equal and is most likely packed with un-healthy fillers or junk. Fruit is great for overall health and wellness, but think twice when consuming it post workout!

-Terry Asher

The Secrets of Bulking up Without Gaining Fat

Build Muscle

So you want to get bigger?  Ready to bulk up and increase your strength? When it comes to workouts for bulking up, there are a few principles that have come to define the way I train when size is my goal. In this post, we’ll go over eating and training to bulk up without making you fat.

Diet.

One common misconception when it comes to bulking up is that one should eat everything in sight and try to lift as much as they can and hope that the result is a gain in size. In reality, this only leads to excess fat gain. It is however true that you should essentially eat the necessary protein, carbohydrates for the size human that you are seeking to be. When your body has a caloric surplus (ie more than what it will burn off in the day), some of those calories will be stored as fat. However, by training hard and eating clean, whole, nutrient rich foods, you can minimize this and gain mass consisting of muscle not fluff. Some nutrition guidelines to follow for building balanced meals consisting of protein, carbs and fat for bulking up healthily are listed below:

Protein: 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight.

Sources: Chicken, Turkey, 93%, Lean Red Meats, Tuna, Eggs, Salmon.

Note: Protein should be eaten at less than 40g per meal. Consuming more than this will be wasteful, as your body cannot absorb more than this at one time.

Carbohydrates: 1.5-2 grams per pound of bodyweight.

Sources: low glycemic index (complex) brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potato; high glycemic index (simple) pasta, white rice, bread

Note: your body is most susceptible to absorbing carbs in the morning and after your workout. Eat complex carbs in the morning, and split half simple/half complex after your workout.

Fats: Increase your intake of good fats like essential omega fatty acids.

Sources: Fish oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, nuts

Note: Without some healthy fat, your testosterone levels will drop off.

Don’t be afraid to fail.

I get asked the questions often, “How do I bulk up? How do I grow?” And to that, I find that this is one way that training is a great analogy for life—if you want to grow as a person, you have to go beyond your comfort zone and often we grow the most fail often in pursuit of success. The same can be said for gaining size and strength through weight training. To achieve adaptation, your muscles need to be pushed to failure, beyond their current maximum output—your muscles will not grow by continuing the same old routine. They need to be shocked with a varied and dynamic workout, and be called on to perform feats of strength beyond their current ability.

Low Rep High Weight

Perhaps the most critical element when you want to grow your muscles is the ratio of weight to reps. What I mean by this is working towards with about 75-80% of your single rep max for three sets of 8-12 repetitions for each exercise. You will find with this method that you don’t need or have the energy to do tons of sets or many different exercises in a workout—you will be exhausted as your body is working closer to your maximum output. That makes it even more critical to make each repetition count.

Especially when you are working in the upper end of your maximum output, it is extremely important to stretch and warm up your body as a whole before approaching your workout. Go for a short jog, jump rope or do some burpees—get a thorough warm up and get your blood flowing. Before individual lifts, also make sure you perform each exercise with no weight to start, to acclimate your body to that motion before adding any weight.

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Power Lifts

While the high weight lower repetition formula can be applied to most exercises for increasing the size and strength of your muscles as you seek to bulk up, adding power lifts to your routine will produce significant gains. There’s a reason Olympic lifters are big; take note.

Deadlift: With the barbell starting from the ground, engage your legs and core to lift the weight from the ground to a hang. As you perform the deadlift you should keep your head up and focus your eyes on  a spot of ground about 7 feet in front of you. This will help to keep your spine in the right place which is absolutely critical on this lift. Another thing I like to do with deadlifts is a cross grip (one hand overhand, one under)

Bench press: From a laying position, use your arms to raise and lower a barbell from the chest. This is an exercise where a negative repetition can be very helpful if you have a partner, in order to increase your strength by taking the muscle beyond it’s current maximum output.

Back Squat: With your toes pointed slightly out, your feet shoulder width apart and a barbell resting on your shoulders, bend at the knees and sink into a sitting position, then straightening back up. If you access to a trap bar,

Clean: A weight lift starting from the ground that requires using the upwards momentum of a small jump and squat to bring the weight up to the shoulders.

Hang clean: A clean with the barbell starting from the hanging position, rather than the floor.

Push press: Starting with the weight at your shoulders, press upwards with no dip in the knees, hip drive, or jump.

Never Underestimate the Power of Squats

            In my last article, I mentioned that squats work 85% of your body’s total muscle mass but also that as a result of this, no other exercise does more to promote your body’s production of testosterone. If you want to grow, never skip leg day as this lift will help your body’s overall testosterone levels and work your legs, core and back in one motion.

Negatives / Static Holds

            When working at the upper end of your strength spectrum, you will experience the wall of your ability to perform that lest repetition. When you reach this point and are working with a training partner, you can do a great deal to improve your future strength by performing a negative or static hold on that last round. For example, if you were doing pull ups, and could not achieve the final repetition, try performing a negative, where you start at the top, with your chin at the bar and slowly lower yourself down as slow as you can. This hang will burn off your last bit of energy for that exercise but without just giving up that last rep. This approach is not possible with every exercise but when possible, is a great addition to your routine.

Sleep

Rest

One final and absolutely critical element to growth is your recovery. You should never underestimate is the power of ample rest between workouts. You grow in your sleep and you need at least 8 hours of it. If you want to bulk up, you absolutely MUST rest. Overtraining will not produce results, rather it will only make you more susceptible to injury and prevent you from increasing your strength. You break down your muscles by lifting. Without ample rest, your body does not have the time or energy to rebuild and you will only continue to break down your muscle fibers.

-Terry Asher

6 Jaw Dropping Weight-Loss Foods

Foodonfire

Not all foods are created equal for weight loss and today I will show you just why that is. In this section I will give you helpful hints and important foods you can add to your diet to aid in weight loss. I would recommend adding these to your grocery list right now!

Remember calorie deficit is the most important thing when you are trying to lose weight but combine these certain foods and you will excel your fat loss. It’s important to remember these foods because every little thing will add up.

I personally like to shop for these foods when I am trying to lose weight for spring or summer. It gives me that little extra edge I need to shed body fat.

Let’s go over some secret foods that can help aid you on your weight loss journey.

Garlic

Garlic

If you can stand to have bad breathe this one is great to add to your grocery bag. Fresh of pickled garlic is known to be an antibiotic and also helps regulate your blood sugar. Garlic can also work as a thermogenic in your body boosting your metabolism and keeling insulin levels low to maximize fat burning. So if you can handle the taste and those close to you can handle the smell then I recommend adding it to you diet accordingly.

Berriesandapples

Berrys and Apples

This food is a little more pleasant to swallow and taste very good in my opinion. Berries and apples are also great foods for weight loss. The both contain something called pectin, which limits the amount of fat your cells absorb because of its water binding properties. So next time you are strolling by the fruit section grab these tasty treats.

Gingner

Gingner

If you are someone like myself and love to eat sushi than you more than likely have tried or seen ginger. Ginger has the potential to boost your metabolism and expand your blood vessels. Expansion of your blood vessels is great for us gym junkies as it aids our muscles brining more nutrients to them. Aside for greater circulation it can also detoxify your body and has been shown to increase your metabolism by nearly 20%. So next time grab some ginger with your sushi, it’s great for you and great for weight loss.

Edamame

Edamame

Another personal favorite of mine that also happens to be associated with sushi is Edamame or other known as soybeans. They contain something called lecithin, which assist your cells in fighting fat by making them less likely to accumulate fat. Lecithin can also be found in egg yolks, grains and fish. Not only does it aid in weight loss it also has great benefits for cardio vascular health, liver and cell function. Soybeans have been also been to show arthritis relief, increased muscle endurance and cell communication. This is a great snack to carry during your day, and will help your weight loss goals as well.

cinamon

Cinnamon

Known to have a ton of flavor cinnamon is also known to regulate blood sugar, which aids in keeping fat off. Cinnamon will also help in metabolizing sugar about twenty times faster in your body. Something I personally like making is apples and cinnamon for a great fat burning snack.

CayeneePepper

Cayenee Pepper

If you are someone that enjoys spicy foods like myself then this is also a great one to pick up. Cayenne Pepper has an ingredient called capsicin, which can cause an increase in your metabolic rate and calorie burning after a meal. There are many studies that back this up on both humans and animals. Not only is a good metabolism stimulator it also has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. I like to enjoy cayenne pepper on my eggs in the morning or add to my meat dishes. This certain food will burn your mouth but it will also burn your calories!

Now that I have given you 6 new foods that will aid you in weight loss and body fat reduction it’s time to go pick them up at the grocery store! Also it’s important that I am not stating that these foods will MAKE or BREAK your diet however I do firmly believe they will add a little extra kick in your weight loss goals.

-Terry Asher

How to Build Muscle Without Equipment

Pushup

Whether you have access to a gym or not, there is really no excuse for not taking care of yourself and putting your health first. There are tons of exercises you can do without weights, in the privacy of your own home, hotel room or office to build muscle and improve your physique and health.

While weight training and machines are great, the simple fact is you CAN build muscle without equipment. We’ve all heard or used the excuse, “I just don’t have time to get to the gym.” In our busy lives, it’s easy to find excuses not to exercise. At the end of the day, whether you’re traveling, working late or the kids are wearing you out, you WILL feel better if you get it done.

Bodyweight Exercises

Exercises that require you to move your own body mass are critical to functional strength at every fitness level. Because you aren’t using added resistance for these exercises, it’s best to focus on moving as quickly as you can and completing more reps to exhaust your muscles. Of course, form always comes first, but in general, body weight exercises come with a much lower risk of injury than weight training.

I’ve included a list below of my Top 10 Bodyweight Exercises to help you build muscle without equipment in your home workout. Many of these you’ll have heard of, but I’ve included my tips for perfecting your form and usage of these critical moves.

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Squats

Squats work 85% of your body’s muscles. Just let that sink in for a second. That’s more than any other exercise in the book. In addition, squats are known to promote testosterone production better than any other exercise. If you want to build muscle

For achieving a deep, healthy squat, start with your feet shoulder width apart, your toes pointed slightly out, and as you descend, keep your back straight and focus on sticking your butt out and keeping a tall chest. As you sink down into your squat, drive your knees outward and your heels into the ground to maintain balance. If you need to, you can extend your arms as you sink for added balance. When you’re trying to perform these as fast as you can, this added balance can be very helpful.

Body weight squats can be performed every day if you like. You can also vary up your squats by trying one-legged squats (jackknifes) or sumo squats (wide stance).

Push-ups
Push-ups are the original upper body workout. Anywhere, anytime, you can blast out push-ups and work your chest, shoulders, triceps and back. Keep your eyes up to promote better breathing and descend until your chest touches the ground.

For variation, widening your hands will work more on your chest, whereas bringing them closer together will put more resistance on your arms.

Putting your feet up on a chair or the wall will change the angle of your push-up and work more of your upper chest while increasing difficulty.

Dips
Using a chair, coffee table, or even your bed frame, you can isolate your triceps and chest with the dip. This is a great exercise for carving out that horseshoe on the back of your arms. Remember to keep your head up to straighten your spine.

Wall Sits
Wall sits are an excellent way to burn out your quads and build endurance. With your back flat against the wall and your hands at your sides, sink down to create a 90 degree angle at your knees. No leaning on your knees! Personally, I like to use the timer on my phone for these. Start by trying to hold the wall sit for 60 seconds or as long as you can stand the burn.

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Lunges

Lunges are one of the best bodyweight exercises out there but proper form takes some practice. People have a tendency to sway during the transfer of body weight onto the lead foot. As you shift your weight to your forward stepping leg, remember to keep your upper body straight and focus on the downward motion of your hips toward the floor, not forward—this will get you nice and low for a complete repetition.

plank

Planks

Beginning on your stomach, keep your spine neutral and press your body weight up onto your forearms, keeping them flush with the floor and at 90 degrees from your upper arm. Tighten your core to make your body a straight ‘plank’ and squeeze your abdominal muscles to increase the intensity. Planks are another exercise for which I recommend using a timer. Try 90 seconds and tell me you can’t get a core workout at home.

side plank

Side Planks

Here, the concept is similar to a plank in that your upper body should be resting on a flush forearm, but you want your chest facing the wall, creating a hinge at your waist that will stress your obliques and core.

Supermans
This one is just like it sounds and will do work on your love handles and lower back. Lay on your stomach, then stretch forward and lift your arms, legs and head off the floor like you’re trying to fly—hold for a few seconds and release.

Crunch with Leg Extension
I like to combine the leg extension with a crunch to work the upper and lower abdominal muscles. Lay on your back with your heels just off the floor, bring your knees up to your chest and finish with a crunch, squeezing your abs as your knees and chest meet. Release the crunch as you extend your legs away from your body, but keep your feet off the ground for the remainder of the set.

Burpee

Burpees

A burpee is a complex movement combining a squat jump with a pushup. These are an excellent progression for multiple muscle groups. The main thing to watch is your lower back; avoid caving of your spine as much as possible when you crouch and pop up from the push up.

Circuit Training
If you’ve been training for a while and think bodyweight exercises don’t provide enough resistance for growth on their own, you can raise the intensity of your home workout by creating a circuit. This will build muscle, endurance and add an aerobic element to your bodyweight movements and really increase the difficulty of your home workouts.

Circuit training works by keeping you moving constantly and your heart rate up by resting one primary muscle group while working another. You’ll be amazed by how much physical output you can get done in shorter time using this method.

While planning a circuit, it’s important to switch off muscle groups so you are resting one group of muscles between exercises. So, if you start with pushups, move to squats, then an abdominal exercise. This sort of pattern will always keep a group of primary muscles working, while another is recovering.

Conclusion:
So there you have it, my favorite exercises for home workouts to build muscle without equipment. At home or on the road, these exercises can help you shape up and trim down while promoting your overall health and functional strength. No gym? No problem.

-Terry Asher

6 Ways Fitness will put More Money In Your Pocket

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Fitness has been consistent through my life from the first day I stepped foot in the gym. From weight lifting, running, surfing, kickboxing, boxing, swimming and an array of sports in high school.  I have always prioritized health and fitness throughout my life; it has kept me more competitive and focused in everything. I strongly believe there is a direct correlation between fitness and success.

Studies even back up the claims that fitness makes you more success in your life. A study that took 1,300 executives who earn 100,000+ 75% of them stated that physical fitness is “critical” for career success. An additional 17% said that fitness was a nice 2nd goal to their #1 goal making money. When questioned about being over weight the executives said it was a “serious career impediment.”

Personally speaking for myself I have struggled with attention deficit disorder, which will fall into the metal perks category. Fitness has been a medication for me that help me keep focused, happy and competitive. When doctors suggested I use medication to treat my mental disorder, I turned to fitness as a healthy alternative.

Let’s talk about the 6 ways that fitness will put more money in your pocket

1) Confidence –

A fit individual will have more confidence and higher self-esteem. They will carry themselves differently and be more assertive. Imagine you have a huge business conference that you are speaking at, are you someone that gets nervous? Next time you give a speech go on a strenuous run before hand, you will be amazed at how much calmer and increased confidence with one workout session.

Productivity

2) Productivity and Energy –

It’s no secret if you workout and has a normal exercise routine you will have much more energy through the day. Energy is very important in the workforce, as you will be faced with challenges that you will have to overcome. There is a study by Jim McKenna, which was conducted, that specifically shows that if you exercise regularly your work performance will be consistently higher.

3) Challenges –

When you’re in the gym or on a run or whatever type of exercise you will more than likely be faced with challenges. You become use to being pushed outside of your comfort zone when you train. Being use to being outside of your comfort zone makes you accept challenges more easily. This will increase your stamina and mental stamina alike. As a businessman or woman, you will have to face challenges in the workforce often while keeping mental focus on priorities and goals.

MentalSharpness

4) Mental Perks –

Is stress something you deal with in the workspace? Working out has been proven to aid in the management of stress, increasing endorphins in your brain. Endorphins make you feel good and give you a healthy “buzz”. Not only does this directly help your brain, but focuses more on your body for a period of time distracts you away from any other things that may be stressing you out.

Do you struggle with anxiety or depression or even Insomnia? According to an article by the Mayo Clinic exercise reduces depression, anxiety and improves your sleeping patterns. Sleeping alone can be disrupted by anxiety, stress and depression but you can help squelch this with exercise.  It’s always nice to be rested for work, you think more clearly and you can handle your workload much more efficient.

5) Creativity-

Ever thought being active would make you more creative? I didn’t but a recent study suggests it does just that . It shows that even with moderate exercise it improves our cognitive ability and our ability to create. Are you someone that has a creative line of work? Tryout a hard workout or a run next time you have to let your creative juice flow.

leadership

6) Your influence on others-

This is my personal favorite perk, your influence on your friends and coworkers is extremely important. This is even more important if you are an executive or a leader in the workspace. People will naturally gravitate towards you if you have good discipline, which most fitness people do.

The influence on fitness in the workforce will also improve the bottom line of a business. It also influences people’s immune systems and prevents them from getting sick, therefor reducing healthcare costs and improving work attendance.  So if you have a business consider the following fact as it will improve your bottom line, and save your business money.

Conclusion-

Next time you think fitness and health will have a negative impact on your working ability, your business or even your cash flow consider the aforementioned reasons. Walk into work with your head high, feeling great about the new day and utilize the benefits of getting great sleep, staying focused and taking on the business challenges you are faced with. Fitness equals success.

-Terry Asher