Beginner's Bible To Bodybuilding/Supplements/Fat-Loss ( Newbies Pls Read!!!)

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vurtomatic

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This is a monster thread of our old stickies you can find here:
A Beginner's Guide To Bodybuilding ( Newbies Pls Read!!!)
Beginner's Guide To Supplements( Newbies Pls Read!!!)
Beginners' Guide to Fat Loss / Q&A / FAQ

To jump to Beginnger's Bible to Supplements in this thread, click here.
To jump to Beginner's Bible to Fat-Loss, click here.

Credit goes to galapogos and rockstarz.





Beginner's Bible To Bodybuilding
Basic Nutrition

It's quite well known that nutrition is one of, if not the, most important factors of bodybuilding. I'd like to give a basic breakdown of some of the more basic aspects that everyone should be aware of.

As for a very basic breakdowns, all food consist of: carbs, proteins, and fats. Again...this is on a very basic level (as it all gets much more complex).

Protien (4 calories/gram) - Protien is the building block of muscle, so it's no wonder why bodybuilders are recomended to take in 1-1.5g/lb of bodyweight....minimum. There has been a debate that has still never been solved claiming that high protien diets aren't necessary, and even dangerous, and that high protien diets produce more of a placebo effect. But for every study which shows high protien diets are not effective, there is another showing that they are. This is still being debated, and most likely will continue to be debated for a very long time. It is believed that high protien diets are dangerous because it requires a lot of water to digest protien, a simple answer to this problem is to drink more water. It is also believed to put strain on the kidneys, again, drinking a lot of water will help with this problem. Though most of these claims of protien being dangerous are outdated, people still choose to believe, and preach this theory. Though there seems to be no real threat, i figured this debate was worth mentioning to clear up any concerns that a new bodybuilder might have.

Carbohydrates (4 calories/gram) - Carbs are much more complicated than protien because each carb source is different and should be used in a different way. Here's a basic run down:
1) Slow-Digesting Carbs(natural): yams, wild rice, beans, oats, fruts...all natural carbs are in this category. These are ideal for most people as they are digested slowly providing you with energy throught the day. They also don't spike insulin levels which is very unwanted for if you're metabolism isn't on the freakishly fast side, you're going to be gaining some fat.
2) Fast-Digesting Carbs(man-made): white bread, bagels, white rice, cold cerials, fruit juices, and other man-made carbs. These carbs hit the blood stream quicker and produce an insulin spike, which is generally only of use post-workout.
3) Bodybuilders with excess bodyfat should consume slow-digesting carbs
4) If you are low in bodyfat and have a hard time putting on weight, fast-digesting carbs can be usefull as you will be able to eat more of them and it will help stimulate appetite.
5) Take in slow-digesting carbs before training because your body will need them to sustain energy.
6) Immediately after training, take in fast-digesting carbs. They will spike insulin levels switching your muscles from a catabolic to an anabolic phase. Durring this phase after training you can take in up to .7 g of carbs/lb.
7) It is recomended to get 2.5-3 times your bodyweight in carbs/day. Use the information above to determine what sources you should get these carbs from.

Fat (9 calories/gram): This is the most feared of all of these 3 nutrients because common logic is, if someone doesn't want to store excess fat in their body, why would they eat something that bears the same name? The thing that most people don't know is, fat is as essential to a propper diet as anything else, it's just a matter of taking in the right fats. First of all, fat is very essential as it serves to keep you warm, and more importantly cushions your organs. The body also calls on fat for energy. Fats are probably the least complicated of all of these nutritents, as there really isn't much to say about them. Many people don't even count fat calories, they just limit the amount of saturated fat which they take in. I will say this though; it is very important to make sure you are getting all of your essential fatty acids. These are fats which the body needs and not just stored as fat as saturated fats are. You can get your essential fatty acids from fish, nuts, flax seeds, almonds, and avacados, just to name a few. With fat taken from these sources, you can supply your body with the fats that it needs without fearing your waist line expanding.

I included the calories/gram of all of those because, though you should be more concerned with where your calories are coming from, you should be sure to eat 200-300 calories over your maintnance levels every day in order to grow. If you wish to find out your maintnance levels, take a week where you just eat to maintain. Eat when you're hungry, and stop when you're not hungry anymore. Right down everything you eat in detail, and at the end of the week, add all of the calories up, and devide it by 7 (because there are 7 days in a week). The number you get is your maintnance calorie level. Add 200-300 calories on to that and you're set.

As you are just getting into bodybuilding, you are probably eating roughly 3 meals/day, with the occasional snack thrown in....well in bodybuilding, that crow won't caw

It has been understood for a very long time that you must change your eating patern from 3 large meals per day, to several small ones. There are several reasons as to why this method is best. First of all, your body gets a constant supply of nutrients throughout the day, so you can constantly feed your muscles (as they are metaboliclly active, and you're sure to have atleast 1 muscle group that is still recoving from it's previous workout) and grow. Another reason is because your body can only digest so much protien at a time. It varies from person to person but it's generally around 30g (though you can take in more upon waking up and post-workout). If you were to eat 3 meals a day, that would mean your body would only be digesting around 90g of protien and the rest would serve as empty calories to be stored as fat. Here are some sample meal plans that a bodybuilder may follow. Feel free to use these as guides, but they must be customized to tailor your caloric needs and schedual.


Sample 1:
Meal One - six-egg omlette with cheese, whol-grain toast, fruit, 1-2 glasses of milk

Meal 2 - broiled steak, 1-2 vegetables, baked potato, 1-2 glasses of milk

Meal 3 - tuna salad, 1-2 vegetables, baked potato, 1-2 glasses of milk

Meal 4 (pre-workout) - protien shake

Meal 5 - roast chicken, 1-2 vegetables, rice, 1-2 glasses of milk

Meal 6 - boiled eggs, cold cuts, 1-2 glasses of milk


Sample 2:
Meal 1 - 6 egg whites w/ 2 or 3 yolks, oatmeal, piece of fruit, two slices of whole-wheat toast

Meal 2 - protien and carb shake, bagel, piece of fruit

Meal 3 - 6 oz chicken breast, rice, vegetables

Meal 4 (pre-workout) - protien and carb shake

Meal 5 (immediate post-workout) - whey protien w/ simple carbs

Meal 6 - 6 oz beef (burger or steak), baked potato, vegetable (spinach)

Meal 7 (before bed)- 2 oz oatmeal, egg whites
 
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vurtomatic

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Weight Training

Many young lifters jump the gun when they first begin weight training. They go into split routines, using way too many exercies for each workout. I would like to help some "newbies" as it is put, get into weight training safely and effectively.

Beginners in bodybuilding have 2 main advantages. One is when you have never weight trained before, you can see remarkable growth since everything is new to you. The other is, your muscles recover significantly quicker than more advanced bodybuilders, so you can train each muscle group more often. Someone who is new to weight training can recover in a 24 hour period where it can take around 72 hours of more for a more advanced bodybuilder to recover.

For someone who has never weight trained before, i'd recomend getting into it with a fullbody split. The reason for this is, first of all, if each muscle recovers in 24 hours, it would be efficient to work it out every other day. Another reason for this is when someone has never used those muscles before, you don't want to start working them from so many different angles with so many total sets; because even though it is harder for a young bodybuilder to overtrain, this will do it. The reason is obviously that those muscles which were never used to a strenuous extent are now performing a greater amount of work than they can handle.

Now to your first full body split. I'd recomend performing it 3 days a week: monday, wednesday, and friday. Though they can be performed any days of the week to accomidate your schedual, just allow atleast 1 day of rest inbetween each workout session. You should also switch splits every 6 weeks or so. I will be including 3 different splits, this way you can use each for 6 weeks, and by the time you are done with this, your body will be able to move up to your first ever split routine.

In all of the following routines I am using 2 sets of 12 (2x12) for the majority of workouts. This means you would perform 12 repetitions of the workout, rest for 45 seconds or so, and then do another set of 12 repetitions. The reason i choose 12 is because higher reps will prepare your muscles for a more intense program later on. More importantly if you are using higher reps you will be using less weight, thus have a less risk of injury when learning the propper form for all of your workouts. By your third workout program, you can drop the reps down to 8 or 10, but no lower than that.

Before beginning each routine, it is necessary to warm up. The last thing you want when beginning your weight training routine is an injury. Begin with a jog lasting for 2-5 minutes. Then stretch out your entire body. By this time you will be ready to hit the weights

***IMPORTANT: Remember, if you wish to be a bodybuilder THE most important thing is FORM. Never feel tempted to use heavy weight when your training partner is lifting half and you are only doing the rest by cheating. Stick to good form and keep the weight in control throughout the movement, and you will see gains, but if you sacrafice form for weight, your gains will come much slower

(note: if you workout at home and don't have access to some of the equiptment, i will list alternatives in parenthasis)

Workout 1
(weeks 1-6)

Crunches 2x20
Squats 2x12
Leg Curls (or lunges) 2x12
Flat-Bench Press 2x12
Lat Pulldowns (or barbell rows) 2x12
Shoulder Press 2x12
Tricep Pushdowns (or overhead extensions) 2x12
Barbell Curls 2x12
Standing Calf Raises 2x15-20

Workout 2
(weeks 7-12)

Leg Raises 2x20
Leg Press (or squats) 2x12
Leg Curls (or lunges) 2x12
Incline Bench Press 2x12
Lat Pulldown (or barbell row) 2x12
Shoulder Press 2x12
Lying Tricep Extension 2x12
Standing Dumbell Curls 2x12
Standing Calf Raises 2x15-20

Wokout 3
(weeks 13-18)

Sit Ups 2x20
Squats 2x8-12
Leg Curls (or lunges) 2x8-12
Flat Dumbell Bench Press 2x8-12
One-arm dumbell rows 2x8-12
Shoulder Press 2x8-12
Over-head extensions 2x8-12
Incline Curl 2x8-12
Seated Calf Raises (or standing calf raises) 2x15-20

Upon compleation of this program, your tendon strength will be built up, and your muscles will be prepared for a more intense split. Please take to heart that flawless form is essential to building a great physique, and remaining injury free. I also advise you to read about nutrition as well and formulate a better diet for yourself upon beginning a weight training program.
 

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Your First Split

Upon completion of the previously listed full body splits, you can move up to a more intense split. At this point in time, there are several different routes you can take. It has been proven that muscles grow fastest when worked out 2 times a week, unfortunately this can not be performed for long due to the risk of overtraining. Since everyone's capacity for overtraining is different, and beginners have a larger threshold for it, over experienced lifters, you will probably be able to get away with a split in which you work out each muscle group twice a week for a while.

Before beginning, you must be familiar with overtraining, what it is, the symptoms, and how it's caused.

Overtraining is when your muscles are not allowed to fully recover for 1 reason or another. Because of this your muscles cease to grow and it can result in injury if you continue on with your workouts.

Overtraining is caused by:
1. performing too many sets too many days a week with too high intensity
2. training with too many sets too many days a week with little intensity
3. training with the right number of sets and reps but for too many days a week
4. training with adequate sets but with too much intensity
5. working the same muscle groups too frequently

The symptoms include

1. reduced or no muscle gains
2. weight loss
3. swollen lymph nodes
4. lack of motivation
5. irritability
6. insomnia
7. frequent injuries
8. lack of energy
9. reduced strength level
10. overall feeling of fatigue
11. increased blood pressure
12. abnormal heart rate
13. headaches
14. tremors or twitches

If you notice any of these symptoms, take a week or 2 off of training. It is best to stay out of the gym for as long as it takes for you to feel enthusiasm for your workouts again.

Now that you are familiar with overtraining, it's time to form your split.

It's important to find your capacity for overtraining. I'd say experiment until you can find the highest intensity that you can train with, without overtraining. The only way i see this can be done is to start with the highest intensity and as you begin to overtrain, throw in some rest days and alter your program accordingly.

Here are a few of the more popular ways to workout each muscle group twice/week. I will include a sample of how each one might look. Edit them so they fit your needs. This includes sets and rep schemes as well as changing the workouts in entierty.

***NOTE: The days if the following splits have been labeled, Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3; rather than me using days of the week. This is so you can choose how many rest days you would like to put in and when. Do not do this split 3 days in a row, and repeat with no rest, as this will lead to overtraining for anyone. Choose a frequency that fits your needs. Also, it is wise to begin your split with your worst muscle group following a rest day or 2. This way you can hit it with the most intensity while you are fresh from the time off of training.

SPLIT 1:
Day 1: Chest, Triceps, Front Delts, and Medial Delts

Bench Press 3x6-12
Incline Bench Press 3x6-12
Decline Bench Press 3x6-12
Shoulder Press 3x6-12
Lateral Raises 3x10-12
Tricep Pushdowns 3x8-12
Overhead Extensions 3x8-12

Day 2: Legs

Squats 4x6-12
Leg Press 4x6-10
Leg Curls 4x6-12
Calf Raises 3x15-20

Day 3: Back, Biceps, Rear Delts and Abs

Deadlifts 4x6-12
Pulldowns 3x6-12
Barbell Rows 3x6-12
Seated Pulley Rows 3x6-12
Rear Lateral Raises 2x10-12
Standing Cambered Bar Curls 3x6-12
Incline Curls 2x6-12
Hammer Curls 2x6-12
Decline Situps 3x20
Leg Raises 3x20
Twists 3x20

SPLIT 2:
Day 1: Chest, Back

Incline Bench Press 3x6-12
Flat Bench Flyes 3x8-12
Dips 3x6-12
Pulldowns 3x6-12
1 Arm Dumbell Rows 3x6-12
Shrugs 3x8-15
Hyperextensions 2x20


Day 2: Legs, Shoulders

Squats 4x6-12
Hack Squats 4x6-12
Leg Extensions 3x6-12
Stiff-Leg Deadlifts 2x12
Calf Raises 3x15-20
Shoulder Press 3x6-12
Lateral Raises 3x10-12
Rear Lateral Raises 3x10-12

Day 3: Biceps, Triceps, Forearms, Abs

Tricep Pushdowns 4x6-12
Lying Tricep Extensions 3x6-12
Overhead Extensions 3x6-12
Standing Cambered Bar Curls 3x6-12
Preacher Curls 2x6-12
Hammer Curls 2x6-12
Wrist Curls 3x15
Decline Situps 2x10-15
Reverse Crunches 2x20
Knee Raises 2x15
Crunches 2x20

Remember that these are just examples. You can change any workout, their orders, the number of sets, and the number of reps, to what ever fits your needs. Remember to be very alert for over training symptoms. If they begin to take place, take a few immediate rest days, and re-evaluate your split. You could simply need to add another rest day or 2, take off some sets, or change your split to one in which you workout each muscle group once a week (which i will get to soon, unless someone beats me to it). Peace
 

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How Do I Lose Fat

One of the most frequent questions asked by new bodybuilders is "how do i lose the fat in my _____". Well the fact of the matter is, you can't just drop fat from one area. People feel that if they perform high repetitions for a certain muscle group, it will somehow burn the fat in the area. This information is entierly incorrect. If you wish to loose fat in a certain area, you must loose it everywhere else. This can only be done through diet and cardio. Here's a few things to remember:


when you are cutting (lowering bodyfat) do not expect to make progress in your weight training. You will not be able to increase in weight in your lifts. Infact, they will probably decrease in weight, as energy levels drop. Durring this time period it is also easier to overtrain, so i recomend not going past failure (as there is not much need to seeing as how you aren't going to be growing durring this period). It was also believed that when one cuts, they should switch from low rep movements to high rep movements, but this has long since been proved not just ineffective, but stupid, as you lose muscle mass with this approach. Keep with your same rep schemes since you want to maintain as much muscle mass as possible.

The how to part of this question has been beaten to death, but since this is a thread for beginners, it's important to bring up. There are many different ways to cut, but I will be run through the "standard" method.

**IMPORTANT: Remember, you can not loose more than 3 lbs. of fat/week, and that's even pushing it. One of the biggest problems with cutting is people want to loose so much weight, so fast, that the majority of it is muscle (and water). Aim for a loss of 2 lbs./week. If you are losing more than 2 lbs./week assume the rest of it to be muscle and alter your diet to how you see fit.

The process is begun with a slow reduction of calories. Every 2 weeks, one would deduct 200 calories from their diet, until they reach a target zone in between 1500 and 2000 calories. It is important to recognize where the defecit in calories is coming from. You have to lower the amounts of saturated fats you take in (while maintaing your healthy fats), cut down on carbs(quite dramatically i might add), and increase protein. The reason you increase protien is because once your body stops taking in enough carbs for energy, it will turn towards protien, and if you don't take in more of it, it'll get it from your muscles.

An important thing to remember is when you cut out all of those carbs, you will look much smaller. This is because the glycogen stores in your muscles (which come from carbs) have been eliminated. You will appear flat and smaller, but don't worry, because as soon as you're done with your diet, you will regain your fullness.

While you're continuously bringing your carb intake down, your metabolism will be slowing down. This is why every week it is a good idea to go crazy with carbs. Eat around 3 times your bodyweight in carbs on this day, and then go back to your normal low carb diet for the rest of the week. This will keep your metabolism moving.

It's also imporatant to throw cardio into the mix. I don't use cardio at the beginning of my cutting phases, but towards the end it's needed more and more. You can't really say how often one should do cardio, and when they should start. Your best bet is to start when you feel like you need it, and do it how ever often you need to. But there are a few rules to remember.

1) Never do cardio on an empty stomach. Around 45 minutes before performing cardio take in some slow-burning carbs.
2) Don't exceed 45 minutes in your cardio training.
3) Space your cardio several hours before or after training, or perform it on an off day.
4) do which ever form of cardio you are comfertable. This includes riding bikes, running, swimming, or anything else that burns calories.

Now throughout your diet your carb intake will be increasingly lowered, but it's not enough to just lower them, you have to take them at the right time. The best times to take in carbs while cutting are upon waking up, and after your workout. When you wake up, take in a complex carbohydrate. As far as complex carbs go, oatmeal is pretty much unsurpassed, but if you're not a fan of oats, whole grain bread is a good choice. Now after your workouts it's a different story. At this time you want to take in some simple sugars. Since your body just went through it's workout session, and insulin spike won't hurt your progress. Just take in a protien shake with some fruit juice (preferably gatorade or grape) in it, or some dextrose.

Once you get down to your desired bodyfat, begin to up your carb intake and to get the fullness back in your physique, and then....you're done. Congradulations, you've completed your cutting cycle! (well, reading about it atleast).
 

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In this beginners guide, i would like to mention supplements. Now please understand before reading, i will not be going into anything in particular, this is just an introduction to what they are, as everyone seems to be a little confused at the beginning.

Now..i didn't mean to give your hopes up with the title, but you will not gain 50 lbs. of muscle in 2 days with supplements. As a matter of fact, if your diet and training aren't together, you won't gain 50 lbs. in 3 years with supplements. I would first like to stress that diet and training are unreplacable. Before this is mastered, supplements will do nothing but WASTE money. Supplements are nothing more than what they are titled..they supplement a good diet and training routine by giving your body what it needs to recover at maximum efficiency.

Another important thing to remember is to not pay too close attention to adds you see for the next "miracle" supplement. If you ever see an add for any kind of dietary supplement that seems almost too good to be true, it is.
 

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Protein Powder

Protien Powders...The Miracle Drug

Despite what so many people believe...simply taking protien powder doesn't result in instant weight gain to any degree...infact, protien powders don't really result in any weight gain what so ever. It's already been covered that diet is the only thing that does that. Now..what is protien powder?

Protien powder is about as much a miracle drug as a chicken breast is...both are simply sources of protien. Please understand that it is by no means a neccesity. The principle behind it is, if you can not get enough protien throughout your diet from solid food, you can make a shake which can be quickly consumed when you may not have the time to eat a whole meal. Protien powders are strickly for convenience purposes, and should never be chosen over real food. Now lets get down to the 2 most common kinds: whey, and casien.

Whey: Simply put, Whey protien is a quickly digested protien. This product is idealy used upon waking up, and post workout. The only time i'd say that you SHOULD use whey protien is post workout when your body needs the nutrients quickly (as whey is quickly digested). As far as upon waking, real food should always be your number one choice, but if in a hurry, a protien shake can always be consumed.

Casien: Casien is a slowly digested protien. The ideal time to consume this is before bed, and throughout the day. The only time i'd advocate using it would be before bed. The reason being that (as it is slow digesting) it will supply your body with protien while you are asleep. Again throughout the day it is much better to take your protien from real food, there is NO substitute for it. Though again, if you don't have the time for a meal, a casien protien shake will do.

So to sum it up; protien powders are great for filling gaps in your diet, but can not be a replacement for solid food. Use them in moderation and make sure the clear majority of your daily diet is made up of real food.
 

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Gaining Weight The Cheaper Way

It has come to my attention that many bro's in this section have problems gaining weight, and so purchase a weight gainer such as nlarge in order to get calories.

Most pre-made weight gainers are made up of sugar, whey protein concentrate and saturated fat. So whats wrong with that ? Well for a start using a gainer high in sugary carbohydrates and saturated fat, such as Nlarge is not optimal for gaining clean mass.

Secondly there's the fact that whey is not an optimal source of protein for times other than postworkout and breakfast, because it is absorbed too quickly.

Lastly there's the health issuse, it is definately not wise to consume vast amounts of sugary carbs and saturated fat throughout the day. I often hear people say "who cares ? its calories right", well if thats your attittude you may as well use McDonalds for your six meals each day after all who cares its calories right.

So rather than wasting your money on sugar in a tub you should make your own weight gainer its cheaper, more nutritious and a lot healthier.


Here's a recipe

500 mls skimmed milk
1/2 cup of oats
1 tablespoon olive oil
A scoop of a decent protein blend e.g. Isomatrix

Throw it in a shaker, mix and leave to infuse in the fridge for an hour or so.

Remember, if you put high quality fuel into your body, you will get high quality results
 

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Beginner's Guide To Supplements

This thread is to allow some common understanding on what does the various supplements that helps. As a start i will post several common supplements that people are asking about.
First of all , i must remind all that supplements are NOT magic pills or what to gain the desired body that you want. Without hard work, supplements will not help in any way.
 

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Protein

This is the most popular supplements that many are taking and i believe some are taking it and thinks that it build muscles as they down some protein shake. Let understand how portein works and how much u need and what types of proteins are there.

The recommendation the experts are issuing for athletes is 1 gram per pound (2.2 lbs to a kilo) of lean bodyweight. As far as I'm concerned you shouldn't underestimate protein and what it can do, and it will do little harm to shoot a little bit upward of that number. I've never been one for keeping records of exact numbers, so figure out your bodyweight in pounds and aim at the most convenient number above that, or even a bit more. Say you weigh in at 175 or 185, aim for 200 grams of protein.

I have to warn you that there is no way you need more than 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, provided you get enough diversity. Too much protein can have side effects. If they take up too large a part of your diet it can cause gastro-intestinal disorders the likes of which you have never seen. Chances of you consuming that much is unlikely, but if not for you, at least consider those who live around you. Unused protein in the intestines can lead to some really foul-smelling gas. Protein in your gut attracts bacteria that transform its smell to something between a cadaver and 3-month old egg whites.

Don't let anyone ever tell you that protein isn't the most important nutrient to a bodybuilder. Carbs do the actual building, fats make hormones. But what do you suppose these things would do in the body without enough building blocks to make new tissue or maintain it? The standard recommendation for carbs for instance is 60 percent of your diet, but for those of us consuming 250 grams or more of protein, this is often impossible to accommodate and stay within our calorie limit. So 50 percent will do you just fine. It's important to maintain a positive nitrogen balance throughout the day, so it's essential to spread your protein intake over the entire day. The standard equation is easy: take your weight in pounds and multiply it with 1 or 1.5, so that's 200-300 grams of protein daily for a 200 pound bodybuilder. Now divide this by the number of meals you take in a day. If you eat 5 meals, that comes down to 40-60 grams of protein per meal. If you eat 8 meals that's 25-37 grams per meal.

Protein has been shown to have more effect when combined with Carbohydrates. This is why weight gainers are often more anabolic than pure protein powders. You need at least 200 grams of carbs daily to adequately accommodate your protein intake, but obviously for a 200 pound bodybuilder it will be closer to 300 grams. Slightly more carbs than protein per meal is always a good idea. It facilitates the absorption of protein.
 

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Sources Of Protein

The sources of protein are many, and each has its values depending on the aminos they're made up of and the length of the chains of aminos. The ones you should be considering are soy, milk, egg, meat, casein and whey protein. One of the most frequent questions I get is "What kind of protein should I get?" That's a question you wouldn't pose if you understood protein. Diversity is important: To get a good spectrum of essential amino acids, which in turn produce non-essential amino acids. By making sure you get enough protein, you in turn make sure you have more than your share of essential aminos and that alone is enough to make your body function properly and recuperate better from all the strain you subject it to.
 

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Types Of Protein

Q. So what am I supposed to be eating?

Whey Protein Isolate (max BV of 157)

The highest yield of protein currently available, it's a derivative of milk protein. Its short chains and peptides make it available for absorption within ten minutes of ingestion sometimes. It's kind of a protein booster. If you asked which protein is best to invest in WPI would be it. No sane nutritionist would tell you otherwise. But caution is the key. Taking in more than 30 grams at once is not advisable because of its short-lived half-life. The best way to counter this effect a bit is to mix it in milk and not water. As I explained in my last article the casein in milk protein slows down the digestion of the whey protein, which may give it more time to absorb. It's a bit of a time-release mechanism.

Whey is the best investment because of its capacity as a post-workout recovery supplement. That critical time after severe physical stress when the cells will act like a sponge and take in almost anything. The extreme hunger of the cells and the fast-acting properties of whey will make sure you use the best window for recovery to the fullest. If not, the body will hunt the stored reserves of nutrients and when on a diet for example that will cause them to rob other muscle-tissue of glutamine. So whey is the best protein, especially on a diet. It also supplies the most aminos bodybuilders use. Its unfortunate high cost however makes me advise you to use it sparingly. Whey protein is the only choice when on a diet however. When on low-carb diets whey can function as an alternate source of energy, sparing hard-earned muscle protein and glutamine stores within the body.

Whey Protein Concentrate (Max BV of 104)

This Protein was the first isolated whey, but with the emergence of Isolates, it has become perfectly useless. At only 4 points more on the BV scale it may be wiser to supplement with egg-protein, the preferred protein source of bodybuilders as early as the 30's. Whey concentrate has taken on a life of its own in the industry because most companies are too cheap to use all whey isolates, and it's used as sort of stuffing of protein, just so they can say they use only whey protein. The actual uses are slim. It's basically of a similar make-up as the Isolate version but less bio-available. If you find WPI too expensive though and you already eat a dozen eggs a day, it's better than nothing and its often a good buy in pure form, but those of you looking for professional gains should probably pass up on WPC.

Eggs (max BV of 100)

This is a whole egg we're talking about. If you were to take only the egg-white it would have a BV of 91. Eggs are versatile sources of very useful protein. As far as uses go, this may be even better than milk protein. You can eat fried eggs in the morning with breakfast, eat hardboiled eggs throughout the day (like fruit, all you do is peel them and eat them) and its liquid in a raw form so you can mix it in plenty of things. I'm not a big fan of consuming extreme amounts of eggs like some people because they fill you up and after the umpteenth hardboiled egg anyone feels like barfing.

Though I think you are a fool if you throw away all your yolks (they contain more protein, B-vitamins and trace minerals) it wouldn't be prudent to eat twelve a day. The yolks have a very taxing effect on your liver. Extremely toxic. So out of precaution, limit your egg yolks to three a day and take a couple of weeks break once in a while. But eggs should make up at least a percentage of your weekly protein intake.

Milk Protein (max BV of 91)

I already gave you my rant on milk protein, so I'll spare you. Suffice it to mention it is a perfect blend of casein and whey that may yield great results and because of its convenience should make up a large portion of your protein intake. The combination of casein and whey has been found to be the best protein source in meals. This is why almost all MRP's use the blend as the base for their mix of protein.

Meat Proteins (max BV of 80)

Though chicken seems to hold some kind of god-like status in bodybuilding circles, it's actually red meat that yields better results. Several studies have shown that people consuming red meat gained more mass than those consuming the two favorites in the sport: chicken and tuna. That doesn't mean you need to dismiss the other two, but personally I'm sick of chicken and I'm not a big fan of tuna. Nonetheless both sources are prime nutrition when dieting. Tuna and the white part of chicken are low-fat and high-protein. Plus they are more easily transformed into tasty snacks you can carry around anywhere. But that big juicy steak will still give you better gains.

A hot topic in this new-age, biologically concerned, overly worried about nothing kind of generation the question of whether or not vegetarians can be bodybuilders is often heard. The answer is yes. I've already named a number of vegetarian proteins and I'll name one more after this, but chances you'll be Mr. Olympia are slim. In fact winning local contests isn't for tomorrow. You'll have to work twice as hard and recuperate smarter. For the vegans there is no hope. I'm sorry.

I have to swallow a lot from health-conscious people about my diet and I take it like a man, but I do not take that **** from vegans. If there is one diet that is sure to land you in a hospital in the long-term, rob you of energy and diminish the quality of life its a vegan diet. For these people there is no hope. You're doomed to be small. Moreover if plants are all you eat, 80 percent or more of your diet is water. So don't judge me and mine , if you can't even take care of yourself. Meat contains all kinds essential aminos, not to mention creatine and other useful elements that most protein sources cannot supply. The only bad thing is that you are eating a lot, but have a low yield of nutrients. Most of the ingested material ends up in your stool because it doesn't contain nutrients. So obviously you shouldn't bet all your money on meat proteins.

Casein

Casein is the other protein that is isolated from milk. Casein is the perfect complement to whey, which is why I'm such a big advocate of milk protein which combines the two. Both stimulate protein synthesis in the muscle, naturally not both quite as strong. But the benefit is that the protein synthesized from casein is used more directly in muscle-building than that synthesized from whey, which is more readily used as an alternate source of energy (that's the reason you have to use enough carbs when supplementing with whey for bulking). The less chance you have of a protein being used as energy, the more carbs you use as energy. The more carbs you use, the less carbs stored as fat. So casein may prevent you getting fat too fast... one of the reasons casein may be better than whey.

Soy Protein

Lately the unhealthy lifestyles are taking on all kinds of shapes and forms and there seems to be dome bad blood between carnivores and herbivores. Having said my bit about vegans, I have to point out that the other extreme could be unhealthy too. Too many bodybuilders, myself included, have almost sworn off vegetables. This is of course only possible provided you get your daily vitamins and minerals from other sources.

Soy protein however, may be one reason to eat your vegetables. Soy alone is practically useless, but as an addition to an already rich protein spectrum it may serve a thousand uses. Its main use is protecting the cardiovascular system by lowering LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Bad cholesterol as you know is one of the leading causes in arterial diseases. In this aspect the vegetarian bodybuilder has a plus over the meat-eating bodybuilder because meat , and especially that all-important red meat, could increase LDL cholesterol. Of course I'm not letting vegans off the hook that easily.

I'm sure everyone that gets around in bodybuilding has come across some article or some account that speaks of recent studies that say a high amount of soy in your diet may lead to breast cancer, brain damage and infertility in boys. The result of a high amount of flavonoids within the protein strands that may mimic the actions of strong estrogens. Then again other compounds are considered safe that exert similar effects. So don't worry about soy being bad, just don't go overboard and don't make soy your main source of protein. As with the other proteins it has its merits, but as with anything, moderation is the key.

I'm making an effort to eat some vegetables now, mainly for health reasons. I'm young, I can afford to eat less vegetables, but living unhealthily, for whatever reason, for too long will have its consequences down the road. The reason to limit vegetables however is clear and obvious: Vegetables are 80 percent or more water, and it doesn't make sense to load up on something that fills you up without result, if you could be filling up on more calorie-dense foods. I don't condone the use of one protein over another. If you want mass and health, you need to vary your proteins.

Post-Workout Protein

This is one of the most important moments to provide your body with protein. Post-workout nutrition should also consist of a percentage of simple carbs to better the total uptake of protein and replete lost glycogen. I realize that this article has rendered little useful information so I won't leave you like this. I'm going to give you the Big Cats own personal Protein Booster formula. This is the effective way to post-workout protein. After a long, hard, drug out workout your body will be crying for this. If you are a HIT fan , you should probably wait a little before consuming this and maybe not use as much, but for those who train the hard way this recipe will assure you a complete an full recovery.
 

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Biological Values

BVs are arbitrary numbers given to protein to show comparisons in their availability within the body.Obviously a high BV brings with it certain downsides. The easier it absorbs the faster it absorbs. The faster it absorbs the faster it's rendered useless within the body, which makes taking it in large amounts at once impossible. Some would have you take 50 grams of whey in one sitting, and I guarantee you 25 to 50 percent of that is being wasted. At the price of a decent whey protein Isolate that is plain insanity.
 

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Creatine

This is also a popular supplements, some people does not responds to creatine and yet they continue to take for the sake of taking em.

Creatine is a nutrient naturally found in all our bodies. It is a combination of 3 amino acids; arginine, glycine and methionine. Creatine helps provide the energy our muscles need to move, particularly quick and explosive movements. Muscle contraction is initially fuelled by ATP (adenosine-triphosphate).

There is only enough ATP to provide energy for approximately 10 seconds. For this energy system to continue, more ATP is required. Creatine phosphate gives up its phosphate molecule to ADP (adenosine-diphosphate), thus recreating ATP. Increasing the muscle's supply of creatine phosphate helps increase the rate in which the body can supply ATP.


What Is Creatine Phosphate?

Creatine Phosphate is an organic compound in muscle fibres that is fractured enzymatically for the production of ATP.

What Is Adenosine TriPhosphate (ATP)?

ATP is the organic compound found in muscle which, upon being broken down enzymatically, yields energy for muscle contraction. Creatine enhances your body's ability to make protein within the muscle fibres, which also increases your muscle mass (Creatine increases cellular hydration.

The hydrated muscle has increased permeability, which allows more amino acids into the muscle cell). Building up a supply of these contractile proteins (actin and myosin) increases your muscles ability to perform physical work. The bottom line here, is that creatine will allow you to to perform more repetitions with a given weight.

This will increase the time under tension, thus increasing the recruitment of muscle fibres, which will in turn increase the number of fibres stimulated. It also prevents your body from relying on another energy system called glycolysis, which has lactic acid as a byproduct. Lactic acid creates the burning sensation you feel during intense exercise.


Does This Mean I Will Be Able To Lift More Or Run Faster?

Indirectly, YES! Directly, POSSIBLY! Creatine does not make YOU stronger or faster, YOU make YOURSELF faster or stronger. Creatine allows you to train at a higher intensity level and to recover faster.

If your recovery is better then you are in a fresher more rested state before you commence your next session and as a result you will derive more benefit from this session than would otherwise have been possible. Let's use the Bench Press as an example: Prior to Creatine our subject, let's call him "Maximus" (mac-zim-us) was doing 4 sets on the Bench Press.

His goal was to do 4 sets of 8 repetitions with 225lbs, he usually got 8,8,6 and 4. By sets 3 and 4 he was fatigued and as a result he could not reach his goal. When Maximus takes Creatine he is likely to see an improvement in recovery significant enough to enable him to achieve his goal of 4 sets of 8 repetitions.

Now if Maximus continues to use Creatine, eat sensibly, train with intensity and passion over a 12-16 week period it would be possible for him to increase his Bench Press to @ 250lbs for 4 sets of 8 repetitions. Finally - remember you have to do the work! Use Creatine to progress not to standstill.


Where Is Creatine Found Naturally?

You may be asking, "Why do I need it if it is found naturally in my body". Well, the reason is that most people only ingest about one gram of creatine from food sources per day.

That, coupled with average endogenous production of another gram, totals a relatively paltry 2 grams of creatine per day. If you are a heavy consumer of red meat, don't expect dramatic results from creatine supplementation (1 pound of beef equals approximately 2 grams of creatine, and 4.6 grams in every pound of herring. Over 2 grams per pound in most fish).

Those likely to experience the best results are vegetarians. Vegetarians synthesize the supplement just as their carnivorous brethren do; they seldom top off their muscle stores of creatine since they avoid the rich food sources such as beef.

As a consequence, they react well to creatine. Creatine supplements are suitable for even hard-core vegans, since the product is synthetic and not derived from animal sources.
 

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Creatine Pt 2

Can Creatine Become Toxic With Long Term Use?

In truth, nobody knows. Although the body makes only 1-2 grams per day, the odds are good that your body can handle an intake of 5 or more grams per day. Anybody over 200 pounds can take 10 grams quite safely provided that they drink sufficient fluids (to avoid cramping). Some people have been taking as much as 20-30 grams a day since it was first available in 1990.


Is Creatine Safe?

Yes, Creatine is a natural amino acid present in the body of humans and animals. The human body has 100-115 grams of creatine in the form of creatine phosphate. No negative side effects have been noted in the research with the recommended levels of supplementation.


Are There Any Noted Side Effects?

Creatine is so efficient at shuttling water into the intramuscular compartment, that an emergent side effect associated with it is that of muscle cramping. This most often occurs when too little fluid is consumed whilst supplementing with creatine.

Muscle cramping, strains and tears are all anecdotal evidence that are not supported by scientific fact. Creatine draws water away from the internal working organs and therefore if you take a lot with no water then a mild stomach cramp will occur.

How to avoid this? Simple: drink 1 pint of water with every dose! Water makes sense for an athlete and most of us are guilty of consuming way too little. In an ideal world we should drink 4-5 pints of water a day. It will benefit us and also benefit the CM we are taking. The extra water will help maximise the effects of the CM.


When Is The Best Time To Take Creatine?

For best results, on training days, take creatine after your workout. It will not make you nauseous and is best taken at this time in order to replenish lost stores. If you wish to take more on a training day (i.e 10 grams),then take half pre-workout and remaining half post-workout.
 

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Creatine Pt 3

Ways To Take Creatine.


You will find many different recommendations on how to take creatine. Studies have shown that you get a 60% greater cell uptake of creatine if you combine it with a simple sugar base, such as grape juice (naturally rich in glucose).

A big insulin spike will push the creatine into the muscle. Do not ever take creatine with orange juice! Very simply it negates the positive effects due to it's acidity.

This is presently a matter for open debate, but possibly the best way to take CM is with warm water; you can add simple carbohydrates if required. Cranberry juice is recommended if you are prone to upset stomachs, it can help alleviate the upset.

Creatine shuttles
Theory is that in order to maximise the effects of Creatine consumption it is necessary to take it with a simple carbohydrate The idea is that this will promote an insulin spike which will "shuttle" CM into your muscles. The basic ingredient in all shuttles is Creatine and Dextrose. In a 1000 gram container most will have 200 grams of creatine and 800 grams of dextrose. Some will throw in extras like glutamine etc. but in all honesty not enough to make a difference.
Why use a shuttle?
In today's fast paced world it is really only for convenience. They are more expensive but every convenience food/drink always is!
How much are they?
1kg containers are on sale in stores for between $28 - $40. $40.00 is really taking the piss. You will get at best 1 month from a 1kg container.
Advisory note: Buy it if you want but only use it on your training days. On non-training days only take regular CM (Creatine Monohydrate). If the idea is to shuttle CM into your system then possibly the only time this should be taken is either before or during a workout.


Do I Need To Initially Go Through The Loading Phase?

No, this is not necessary. A mere 3 grams of creatine per day for 28 days results in the same muscle content of creatine as that of a six day load program. Thus, if you wanted to get off creatine, it would take about a month to reach normal muscle stores.

Taking even large amounts of creatine as in the load phase doesn't appear to inhibit the body's creatine synthesis after you cease using it.


Will I Lose Weight Or Muscle Mass If I Stop Using It?


There is no reason to expect muscle loss. You will, however, drop a few pounds, since creatine causes water volumisation in the intracellular tissues as opposed to bloating caused by sodium ingestion.

Does Creatine Make You Retain Water?


No. Creatine draws water from the body to do its work. There is a difference between cell volumization and water retention. Cell volumization leads to more water inside the cells, making the muscle bigger and firmer. Water retention, the process that makes the muscles look smooth, happens outside the muscle cells.

How Does Creatine Help Muscle Grow?

Intensity is necessary to achieve natural strength gains and muscle growth or increased athletic performance. Muscle growth takes place when the muscle has been overloaded. Without heavy sets, your muscle will remain small.

Creatine promotes intense lifting by recycling the necessary energy molecule ATP. Creatine also buffers the development of lactic acid allowing for a more enduring workout. As you know, lactic acid buildup is one of the main causes of exercise-related muscle fatigue
 

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NO Nitric Oxide

1. What is it and where does it come from?

Nitric Oxide is a free form gas that is produced in the body and is used by the body to communicate with other cells in the body. To produce this gas, enzymes in the body break down the amino acid Arginine.

Nitric Oxide is a molecule consisting of one atom of nitrogen and one atom of oxygen. The production of Nitric Oxide occurs when the amino acid L-arginine is converted into L-citruline through an enzyme group known as Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS). The chemical process of conversion is shown in figure 1.


2. What does it do and what scientific studies give evidence to support this?

Despite the claims of some in the supplement industry, there exists ample scientific literature to substantiate the efficacy of Nitric Oxide products. The following was written in May 1996 in a document prepared for the Royal Society and Association of British Science Writers: Summary research papers continue to flood the scientific journals and insights into the biological activity and potential clinical uses of nitric oxide (NO): a gas controlling a seemingly limitless range of functions in the body. Each revelation adds to nitric oxide's already lengthy resume in controlling the circulation of the blood, regulating activities of the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, stomach and other organs."

Since the above was written in 1996, Nitric Oxide containing products have continued to be touted by those in the medical profession, as well as by athletes looking to add muscle to their frames.

The above quotation states that Nitric Oxide controls the circulation of blood, transmits messages between nerve cells, and is a mediator of inflammation and is associated with the process of feeling pain. The popular erectile dysfunction drug sildenafil citrate (Viagra) contains nitric oxide and is responsible for maintaining healthy blood flow to the penis.

The fact that nitric oxide increases blood flow should make it of interest to bodybuilders, as increased blood flow will serve to deliver more nutrients to muscles, thus helping muscles become larger when subject to stress. The fact that Nitric Oxide acts to reduce inflammation should also make it of interest to bodybuilders as it has the potential to reduce the pain associated with subjecting muscles to extreme stress.

Nitric oxide also affects the endocrine system. It affects the release of gonadotroptin releasing hormone, as well as the release of adrenaline from the adrenal medulla.


3. Who needs it and what are some symptoms of deficiency?

Everyone REQUIRES nitric oxide to carry out key physiological processes within the body. From a bodybuilder's perspective, nitric oxide supplementation may prove useful in increasing growth due to increases in blood flow to certain areas of the body.
Signs of deficiency include the inability to achieve and sustain normal erections, physical weakness and extreme fatigue. Most "nitric oxide" supplements contain the amino acid Arginine-alpha-keto-glutarate.


4. How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?

With any amino acid containing product, overdose is a possibility. Dosing with too much arginine can lead to diarrhea, weakness and nausea. Clear dosing guidelines have not been established, so it is best to do what is known as "tolerance mapping". Take a small dosage for one week, note the benefits and the side effects, and increase the dosage until the benefits are maximized and the side effects minimized. Over time the two will converge and you will hit the optimal dose. This process is similar to "receptor mapping" for bodybuilders who use insulin.
Many protein powders are fortified with amino acids, including arginine. With this in mind, pay particular attention to how much arginine you are ingesting from all supplements taken.


5. Where can I get it?

At the time of this writing, Pinnacle Brands makes NOx2. This product is very similar to the NO2 product made by MRI. IDS also make a similar product, NP2. With IDS's product, tribulus terrestris is also included. Tribulus is proven to increase testosterone levels. The combination of tribulus and NO may prove incredibly effective.
 

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Beginners' Guide to Fat Loss / Q&A / FAQ

This is a hack job of rockstarz's original thread and Galapogos' thread from Flowerpod. rockstarz had quite an exhaustive Q&A, some of which I've left out because I feel Galapogos' information supplants them or are unnecessary IMO.

But if you're really interested to lose those fats, it will do you well to read both links as well.

Where's the Fat?
Fat, or adipose tissue, is found in several places in your body. Generally, fat is found underneath your skin (subcutaneous fat). There's also some on top of each of your kidneys. Other locations depend upon whether you are a man or woman:

*An adult man tends to carry body fat in his chest, abdomen and buttocks, producing an "apple" shape.

*An adult woman tends to carry fat in her breasts, hips, waist and buttocks, creating a "pear" shape.

*The difference in fat location comes from the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone.


Your body contains two types of fat tissue:

White fat - important in energy metabolism, heat insulation and mechanical cushioning.
Brown fat - found mostly in newborn babies, between the shoulders; important for thermogenesis (making heat).

Fat tissue is made up of fat cells. Fat cells are a unique type of cell. You can think of a fat cell as a tiny plastic bag that holds a drop of fat:

White fat cells are large cells that have very little cytoplasm, only 15 percent cell volume, a small nucleus and one large fat droplet that makes up 85 percent of cell volume.

Brown fat cells are somewhat smaller, are loaded with mitochondria and are composed of several smaller fat droplets. The mitochondria are able to generate heat. Fat cells are formed in the developing fetus during the third trimester of pregnancy, and later at the onset of puberty, when the sex hormones "kick in." It is during puberty that the differences in fat distribution between men and women begin to take form. One amazing fact is that fat cells do not multiply after puberty -- as your body stores more fat, the number of fat cells remains the same. Each fat cell simply gets bigger! In addition to fat tissue, some fat is stored in the liver, and an even smaller amount in muscle.

How fat enters your body
When you eat food that contains fat, mostly triglycerides, it goes through your stomach and intestines. In the intestines, the following happens:

1. Large fat droplets get mixed with bile salts from the gall bladder in a process called emulsification. The mixture breaks up the large droplets into several smaller droplets called micelles, increasing the fat's surface area.

2. The pancreas secretes enzymes called lipases that attack the surface of each micelle and break the fats down into their parts, glycerol and fatty acids.

3.These parts get absorbed into the cells lining the intestine.

4. In the intestinal cell, the parts are reassembled into packages of fat molecules (triglycerides) with a protein coating called chylomicrons. The protein coating makes the fat dissolve more easily in water.

5. The chylomicrons are released into the lymphatic system -- they do not go directly into the bloodstream because they are too big to pass through the wall of the capillary.

6. The lymphatic system eventually merges with the veins, at which point the chylomicrons pass into the bloodstream.


You might be wondering why fat molecules get broken down into glycerol and fatty acids if they're just going to be rebuilt. This is because fat molecules are too big to easily cross cell membranes. So when passing from the intestine through the intestinal cells into the lymph, or when crossing any cell barrier, the fats must be broken down. But, when fats are being transported in the lymph or blood, it is better to have a few, large fat molecules than many smaller fatty acids, because the larger fats do not "attract" as many excess water molecules by osmosis as many smaller molecules would.

How fat is stored in your body
Chylomicrons do not last long in the bloodstream -- only about eight minutes -- because enzymes called lipoprotein lipases break the fats into fatty acids. Lipoprotein lipases are found in the walls of blood vessels in fat tissue, muscle tissue and heart muscle. The activity of lipoprotein lipases depends upon the levels of insulin in the body. If insulin is high, then the lipases are highly active; if insulin is low, the lipases are inactive.

The fatty acids are then absorbed from the blood into fat cells, muscle cells and liver cells. In these cells, under stimulation by insulin, fatty acids are made into fat molecules and stored as fat droplets.

It is also possible for fat cells to take up glucose and amino acids, which have been absorbed into the bloodstream after a meal, and convert those into fat molecules. The conversion of carbohydrates or protein into fat is 10 times less efficient than simply storing fat in a fat cell, but the body can do it. If you have 100 extra calories in fat (about 11 grams) floating in your bloodstream, fat cells can store it using only 2.5 calories of energy. On the other hand, if you have 100 extra calories in glucose (about 25 grams) floating in your bloodstream, it takes 23 calories of energy to convert the glucose into fat and then store it. Given a choice, a fat cell will grab the fat and store it rather than the carbohydrates because fat is so much easier to store.

It is important to note that as your body stores more fat, the number of fat cells remains the same; each fat cell simply gets bigger.

Hormones That Act Opposite to Insulin
When you are not eating, your body is not absorbing food. If your body is not absorbing food, there is little insulin in the blood. However, your body is always using energy; and if you're not absorbing food, this energy must come from internal stores of complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Under these conditions, various organs in your body secrete hormones:

pancreas - glucagon
pituitary gland - growth hormone
pituitary gland - ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone)
adrenal gland - epinephrine (adrenaline)
thyroid gland - thyroid hormone

These hormones act on cells of the liver, muscle and fat tissue, and have the opposite effects of insulin.

How your body breaks down fat
When you are not eating, or you are exercising, your body must draw on its internal energy stores of complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Your body's prime source of energy is glucose. In fact, some cells in your body, such as brain cells, can get energy only from glucose.

The first line of defense in maintaining energy is to break down carbohydrates, or glycogen, into simple glucose molecules -- this process is called glycogenolysis. Next, your body breaks down fats into glycerol and fatty acids in the process of lipolysis. The fatty acids can then be broken down directly to get energy, or can be used to make glucose through a multi-step process called gluconeogenesis. In gluconeogenesis, amino acids can also be used to make glucose.

In the fat cell, other types of lipases work to break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. These lipases are activated by various hormones, such as glucagon, epinephrine and growth hormone. The resulting glycerol and fatty acids are released into the blood, and travel to the liver through the bloodstream. Once in the liver, the glycerol and fatty acids can be either further broken down or used to make glucose.
 

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Q. I have been eating 1500-1800 calories a day, I now understand this is wrong. How much should I eat and what results should I expect?

A. One of the simpler algorithms to find your cutting calories is to multiply your bodyweight by 15 to get an approximation of your maintenance calories, then subtract 500 to get your cutting calories. So a 200 lb man would have a maintenance calorie level of 3,000 calories, and can lose weight on 2400-2600 calories a day. If you've been under eating (starving) for a prolonged amount of time, you may gain weight when you begin to eat more. Don't get discouraged and keep eating. Treat your body good, give it fuel to run off of. The only time this formula does not work is when you are extremely overweight, in which case I would not recommend ever trying to cut on more than 3,000 calories (and never less than 1800).

Q. So what am I supposed to be eating?

A. Wholesome unprocessed foods. Now that you're ready to start losing fat the "right way", you are going to make a new dedication to learning about nutrition. YOU (not me, nor this post, nor anyone on this message board) are going to spend time searching the forums and the internet for information on how to eat properly. In general you will be eating things like chicken, tuna, brown rice, yams, walnuts, and other tasty treats, but the topic of nutrition and food choices is much too large to answer in this FAQ.

Q. Is it true that I only want to lose 2 pounds a week?

A. Absolutely, anything more than that is unhealthy. The only time this rule does not apply is when you are very over weight (280+lbs), in which case, losing 1% of your total bodyweight per week is completely acceptable.

Q) What's the best way to lose fat and get an ideal physique?
A) The best way to accomplish this is through a proper nutrition and training plan. Nutrition won't be covered in this thread(maybe in another thread), but training would include the following:
- Weight lifting compound free weights with short rest intervals
- High intensity interval training(HIIT)
Both these methods will be elaborated on later.

Q) But what about jogging for cardio? Isn't that the best way of losing weight?
A) No. In fact, it can be counter productive. You see, jogging is a form of steady state cardio exercise. What this means is that you keep a rather low speed that you're able to sustain for long periods of time. The premise of this exercise for weight loss is that you are able to run longer, hence burning more calories. However, there are problems with this.
- The more you run, the more efficient you become at running. As you get more efficient, your body will burn less calories. Imagine a car driving on a highway at 60km/h. It will achieve its highest fuel efficiency, meaning it will burn less fuel. The body acts the same way. This is great if your mission is to run a marathon, but bad if your mission is to burn calories and fat!
- The more you run, the more you waste your muscles. Muscle mass cannot be built or even maintained by running. In fact, running for long durations will actually bring your body into a catabolic state, meaning your muscles will start burning away. If your goal is to reduce your body fat percentage, then it would be in your best interest to keep as much muscle mass as you can, or even increase it. Running, or any other steady state aerobic exercise doesn't achieve this.

Q) OK, so if I don't run, what do I do for cardio?
A) High intensity interval training(HIIT), mentioned above. HIIT is a method of cardio work where you work at full intensity for a short burst, followed by resting for a slightly longer period of time. An example would be sprinting full speed for 30s on the track, then resting for 60s. Typically HIIT sessions are completed within 10mins. In unconditioned beginners, 1-2min might be all they can sustain.

Q) 10 mins? But I heard that you only start burning fat after 20mins
A) That is a myth that has been spread for years, and one that needs to be eliminated. At best, it is a half truth. You see, your body initially uses your glycogen stores to fuel the activity, and gradually shifts towards using fat stores as fuel. The ratio shifts more towards fats as you run more than 20mins. It doesn't mean that you're burning no fat before 20mins and all fat after. In any case, this ratio is not as important as people would like you to believe, because the overall calories and fat loss due to HIIT is more than what you would get if you just jogged more than 20min. Do you know when your body is burning the highest percentage of fats? When you're sleeping! That's right, but you don't expect anyone to tell you to sleep to lose fat anytime soon. Also, steady state cardio burns calories mostly during the activity itself. However, HIIT burns calories during the activity itself, as well as hours after the activity. Simply put, after an intense HIIT bout, you'd be burning more calories even while you're sleeping!

Q) Huh? HIIT burns calories after the session? How is this possible?
A) It is possible due to 2 factors - EPOC and hormonal response
EPOC - stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, aka the oxygen debt, or afterburn. What this means is that because of the added stress and trauma you've put your body through in an intense HIIT session, your body needs fuel to repair cells, decrease your body temperature, etc. All this takes energy...a lot of energy if your training was intensive.
Hormonal response - An intensive training session, including HIIT, triggers the release of many anabolic(muscle building) hormones, as well as others involved in fat loss. The hormonal response is perhaps the biggest contributor to fat loss.

Q) So HIIT is better than jogging/swimming/other steady state aerobic exercise?
A) For fat loss and conditioning, yes. Contrary to popular belief, the human species was never made to run long distances. Our early ancestors didn't chase their prey over long distances to catch them for food...they sprinted short distances and killed them with tools. A recent study actually found excessive aerobic exercise to be detrimental to cardiovascular health, effects of which include the downsizing of the heart. This could be the reason why we've seen so many triathletes and runners pass away before their time recently. In addition to cardiovascular health concerns, jogging is also notorious for being bad for the joints. I'm sure you've read or heard that every step you take while jogging puts many times your weight on the joints of your legs. Besides this, joggers are also known to have severe muscular imbalances due to the repetitive and concentrated nature of the activity. What this means is that some of their muscles are much weaker, or much less flexible than others. This can lead to compensation in movement patterns, leading to injury. Another point more pertaining to women - women in general are less suitable for jogging than their male counterparts, because of something called the "Q-angle". Simply put, the Q-angle is the angle of the thigh bone from the hip. Because women have wider hips and narrow knees, they also have larger Q-angles, making you more prone to knee and other joint injuries. In fact if you look at the elite runners, they all pretty much look like men as far as their Q-angle is concerned - they have narrow hips and smaller breasts. They are better suited for running. Most women aren't.

Q) Wow! That sounds like scary stuff! I guess I shouldn't jog at all!
A) Not necessarily. There's no need to avoid jogging/swimming/steady state aerobic exercise if you truly enjoy it. However, don't make it the core of your exercise regime. As long as you also train your body with HIIT, you can counter the negative cardiovascular effects that steady state exercise brings.

Q) OK, so how exactly do I perform this "HIIT"?
A) There are several protocols. You can do it sprinting on a track, on a stationary bike, sprinting up stairs or up a slope, with bodyweight exercises such as burpees, squats, lunges, etc. However, stay away from the treadmill and elliptical because the former can cause joint problems and the latter's arc is unnatural and awkward. For beginners, you generally want to start with a 1:4 work:rest ratio. What this means is that if you sprint for 30s, you rest for 2min. Depending on the difficulty of the activity(sprinting up stairs is harder than sprinting on a track for example), you should be working for about 15-40s, and then resting for 4x that. Experiment with the timings to suit your own physical fitness levels. Generally you want to time it such that you are feeling ok for 1-2 sets, even when you are doing it the fastest and hardest you can. The numbers of sets you do this again depends on your physical fitness level. A general guide is to do as many sets as you can before puking (IMG:style_emoticons/default/sick.gif) If this idea makes you cringe, another idea would be to perform as many sets as you can before performance drops considerably. For example if you managed to do about 15 burpees for each workset, stop the exercise once your performance drops to considerably to 10 burpees. This is just a rough guide...you have to work these figures out by experimenting.

Here's how you do a burpee in case you forgot or skipped all your primary school PE classes.



Q) How often should I do HIIT?
A) Depends on what else you are doing, your sleep, your nutrition, and a host of other factors. If HIIT is all you are doing for exercise, you can do it everyday assuming you have good nutrition and rest. You see, HIIT is metabolically and neurally intensive. You need to provide your body with the necessary rest and nutrition in order for it to repair itself in time for the next bout. If not, you will feel lethargic, depressed, tired and generally unmotivated. For a beginner I would keep it to about 3X max a week, and less if you're involved in other physical activity.

Q) How long do I have to do HIIT before I lose xxx kg?
A) I can't tell you that because I don't know how much you weight, what's your body fat percentage, and what your goals are. I can however say this much - if you keep working at it, coupled with proper nutrition and rest, the fat will come melting off, and this will keep you motivated. Ideally you should be doing this for the rest of your life! It is not something you do for a few weeks, lose the kilos, then stop...it is a lifestyle change.

Q) I must keep doing it? But I have no time...
A) HIIT takes just 10minutes of your time AT MOST. It can take as short as 4-5mins if you adjust the parameters right. If you have time to read through this post, you have time to do HIIT. No excuses.

Q) I've been doing HIIT for 2min each time for a couple of weeks and I've lose a few inches here and there, and now HIIT seems easy. Is this normal?
A) Yes, because you're getting fitter! You need some form of progression. For HIIT there are many parameters you can tweak to progress
- increase number of sets: if you're doing 2 sets, increase this to 3.
- increase work:rest ratio: 1:4 is for beginners. You can keep working your way up until one day you might be fit enough to do 2:1 for several sets! One of the HIIT methods using this ratio is called the "Tabata method" that calls for work sets of 20s with a 10s rest, done 8X over 4minutes. Japanese researchers who discovered this method found it to improve both aerobic and anaerobic conditioning, which is a very rare occurence. You can be assured that it's great for fat loss too!
- change the difficulty of the exercise: if you were sprinting on a track, try sprinting up a slope. If you were doing a normal burpee, try doing a burpee with a pushup and then a jump at the end. There are many ways to make the exercise more difficult. Use your imagination.
As you can see, there are several ways to progress, but none of these ways involve increasing the amount of time HIITing more than 10min. This saves time while giving superior results!

Q) When should I perform HIIT?
A) If you're doing only HIIT, any time. However, if you're also doing weight lifting(described later on), preferably at the end of the lifting session, because of 2 reasons
- Doing HIIT at the beginning would decrease your strength training's performance
- Doing HIIT at the end brings about a stronger hormonal response.
If you're doing HIIT at the end, make sure to keep the entire session(lifting included) within about 50min though. This will be explained later in the strength training section.

Q) What if I experience pain when doing HIIT?
A) If it's a joint pain, STOP immediately and identify where the pain is coming from, and is it an old injury, etc. This FAQ assumes you are a healthy individual with no injuries, so if you have an existing condition, please seek medical advice.
If it's a muscular pain, then no problem. Stretching will help. Be careful not to get cramps though as they are painful.
 

vurtomatic

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Q) So what should I do at the gym for fat loss
A) Basically, you should concentrate on exercises that fit these 2 criteria
- Free weights: this means barbells, dumbbells, bodyweight, and cable machines. This excludes all other machines as well as treadmills, ellipticals and most other cardio machines
- Compound movements/lifts: this means exercises that use more than 1 muscle group and involve more than one joint movement. It's the opposite of isolations. For example, a bicep curl is an isolation exercise, since it only involves elbow flexion and mostly the bicep muscle. A squat on the other hand is a compound movement because it involves both knee and hip extension(2 joints) and several muscle groups such as the quads(thigh muscles), hamstrings(back of your thigh), glutes(buttocks), core(abs), and even lats(back).

Q) No machines? But I thought machines were safer?
A) Contrary to popular belief, machines are not safer, even though they are marketed that way. I am talking about fixed range of motion machines here, such as your typical leg extension, leg curl, pec fly, etc where there's a camber and pulley system that you resist against a fixed arc. Cable machines are not in this category. Now let's take a look at what's wrong with machines. There are many studies that confirm this
- Machines have a fixed line/arc of motion. This is bad because it forces your body to adapt to the machine, and not vice versa. Simply put, this is bad for your joints over time.
- Machines often only isolate the "prime mover" muscles and neglect the development of the "stabilizing" muscles. For example, if you do a dumbbell bench press, your chest(pectorals) is the prime mover. It does the bulk of the moving. However, your delts and triceps and a bunch of other smaller muscles help to stabilize your hand while you're moving the weight. Together a whole group of muscles work in synergy to move and balance the weight. Now compare this with a machine chest press. The motion looks the same, but now you don't need to stabilize the weight because the machine has done that for you. This is bad because over time you develop muscular imbalances, which can lead to injury. Besides, you're at the gym to workout. Why let the machine do half the work for you? It doesn't make sense...
- Adeptness at operating the machines doesn't translate to real life strength and fitness, because of the above point. That means, even if you're very good at various machines, this ability doesn't carryover to real life strength and abilities. Machines are hence not very functional.
- Machines are easier to do, and because of this they do not cause as much of a metabolic and hormonal response as free weights, and these are critical elements in fat loss. Simply put, you are shortchanging yourself if you're doing the machines for fat loss.

Q) OK, so if I don't do the machines, what should I do?
A) Compound lifts with free/body weights, done with short rest intervals, examples of which include the following
- Barbell/dumbbell Squat
- Barbell/dumbbell deadlift
- Barbell/dumbbell bench press
- Barbell/dumbbell row
- Barbell/dumbbell standing overhead press(aka military press)
- Pullup
- Reverse leg curls
- Barbell/dumbbell lunges
The way to perform them is explained in the exercise guide below

Q)Free weights? That sounds hard and heavy. But I don't want to get bulky, I just want to get toned and sculpted
A) Don't worry, you won't get bulky. It is not that easy for even a guy to get bulky without a supporting diet, rest, and training plan. It is even harder for women to do so, because you have a much lower testosterone level, and testosterone is crucial to get "bulky". However, side effects of free weights include fat loss and muscle building, 2 things that you might be interested in if you're reading this.

Q) OK, so what exactly should I do? I don't understand the 8 exercises above...
A) No problem. I'll explain it to you. Basically these 8 exercises fit into the 8 natural human movements. They can be broken down into 2 body portions - upper body and lower body, 2 movements - pushing and pulling, and 2 planes - horizontal and vertical. I can see the confused look on your faces now. Stay with me...! I'll explain each movement
Upper body
Horizontal push - a movement where you push away from your torso. Examples include bench press, incline bench press, pushup.
Horizontal pull - a movement where you pull towards your torso. Examples include barbell row, seated cable row, bent-over dumbbell row.
Vertical push - a movement where you push something away from you overhead. Examples include military press, seated shoulder press
Vertical pull - a movement where you pull something towards you overhead. Examples include lat pulldown, pullup.
Lower body
Hip dominant - a movement where the main movement is centered around your hip joint. This is a pulling movement. Examples include various deadlift variations. Basically a deadlift is where you lift something from the ground up. For example in a barbell deadlift, you bend down with a straight back(very important!), grab the barbell, and then stand up again with the barbell hanging from your hands.
Quad dominant - a movement where the main movement is caused by your quads. This is a pushing movement. Examples include various squat and lunge variations.
Knee dominant flexion - a movement where you bend your knees. Examples include reverse leg curl, swiss ball leg curl. This is an accessory exercise, which means it's not as important as the ones above.
Knee dominant extension - a movement where you straighten your knees. Examples include split squats and lunges. This is an accessory exercise, which means it's not as important as the ones above.
The way to perform them is explained in the exercise guide below

Q) Fine, now I know what exercises to do. But how do I do them? All in 1 day?
A) Basically, for beginners, it is always best to start with full body workouts. What this means is that you work your entire body in 1 workout, and repeat it the next time, and the next time, and every time after that...to make things easy, I will give a sample workout here:
A1 Hip dominant(eg Romanian deadlift)
A2 Horizontal push(eg flat bench press)
B1 Quad dominant(eg squat)
B2 Vertical push(eg overhead press)
C1 Knee flexion(eg reverse leg curl)
C2 Vertical pull(eg band assisted pullup)
D1 Knee extension(eg split squats)
D2 Horizontal pull(eg 1 arm dumbbell rows)
The way to perform them is explained in the exercise guide below

Q) What do the numbers and letters mean?
A) This is a form of workout program notation for what is known as "alternating sets". What this means is that you do ALL your A lifts first, then ALL your B lifts, followed by ALL your C lifts, then your D lifts. So, for example, if you do 3 sets for each lifts, your workout would be something like - A1, A2, A1, A2, A1, A2, B1, B2, B1, B2, B1, B2, C1, C2, C1, C2, C1, C2, D1, D2, D1, D2, D1, D2, finish!

Q) How many sets and reps do I perform? I want details!
A) Woah, slow down there...I know you're eager to hit the gym and burn off that excess fat. For fat loss there are 2 schools of thought with regards to sets and reps. One school says lift very heavy weights for very few reps but many sets. Another says lift quite heavy weights for quite a few reps but few sets. Either way, reps won't reach too much into the 2 digit range. I would say 12 reps is probably the max you need to do, and you can go down all the way to 1 rep. For beginners, I would choose the latter - around 8-12 reps of moderately heavy weights, i.e. weights that you can perform maybe 10-14 reps with before you cannot lift it anymore. The reason why you choose this weight is so you have some buffer, since your performance in subsequent sets will be lower due to fatigue. This weight is also called your 10-14RM, or "repetition max". It's the max weight you can lift for x number of reps. i.e. 1RM would be the max weight you can lift for 1 rep. Any heavier and you won't be able to do even 1 rep.
Do this for about 3-4 sets, including a warmup set with lighter weights. So in essence, a warmup set followed by 2 sets of 10 would be an acceptable scheme. You have 8 exercises, so that would be 24 sets in total(including warmup). If you workout a few times a week(and you should!) you can vary the number of reps. For example, if you workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, on monday you might do 12 reps, wednesday 9 reps, friday 6 reps. Of course, you must also vary your load/resistance. As your reps decrease, your load should increase. How do you know what's your x RM? You'll have to experiment for the first week or 2.

Q) That seems like a lot! How can I finish it in time?
A) Good question. Time spent at the gym is one important factor you should consider because the longer you workout, the more you're breaking down your muscles. You see, when you start exerting your muscles and stressing them with physical work, you induce some hormone release in your body. These include anabolic(muscle building) and catabolic(muscle breaking) ones. Initially the anabolic ones are higher, but if you stress your body long enough the catabolic ones will win. Afterall, you can't expect to train 12 hours intensively and not lose muscle. How long is long enough? The limit is about 45-50mins, so keep your workouts within that time. Note that this duration is from your first work set to the last work set, including any HIIT you have at the end. This doesn't include any warmup or stretching, since you're not exerting yourself that hard.
Now, in order to finish all that 8 lifts within 45min, you're gonna have to move around fast! This means short rest intervals. This is in line with fat loss because the shorter you rest, the more metabolic demands you place on your body, since you're not giving your body sufficient time to recover completely before your next set. For fat loss, keep rest intervals between sets to about 30-60s
Now, assuming you take 30s to complete the set and 30s to rest before the next set. That's about 1 minute in total for each set. You have 24 sets to do, so that only takes 24mins. Doesn't seem that long now does it? (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

So all in all, the training parameters are as follows, assuming you tain 3x a week:
Sets: 2-3 work sets, 1 warmup set
Reps: 10-12 on Monday, 7-9 on Wednesday, 4-7 on Friday
Load: 12-14RM on Monday, 9-11RM on Wednesday, 6-8RM on Friday
Rest interval: 30s

Q) Why and how does this work?
A) This works because of several reasons. In case you want to know...
- Compound movements cause the most stress to your body because many joints and muscle groups are involved, and heavier weights are carried. They are metabolically and neurally more intensive, hence burns more calories and induces more EPOC and hormonal response, all of which are conducive for fat loss and muscle building.
- Alternating sets allow one part of your body to rest while another part works. It also increases the work density while not compromising too much the actual rest a muscle group has. For example if you look at A1/A2. While rest intervals between the deadlift and bench press is only 30s, if you think about it, rest intervals between each deadlift is actually twice that or more, and because the deadlift uses different muscle groups from the bench press, they are more or less independent, so you get more rest while still doing work. That's multitasking at the gym!
- Low number of sets allow more exercises to do be done. We have 8 to get through in 1 workout, so you can only afford to spend 3-4 sets in total for each exercise. This balances out the various movement and muscle groups so you don't have any imbalances.
- Moderately high reps takes some duration of time to complete them while still allowing you to use heavy enough weights. When done fast, they are also lactate inducing(this is what causes the "burn" in your muscles right after you complete the set). This again causes a hormonal response, as well as triggers your body to get rid of the lactate from your muscles. This is metabolically expensive and hence more calories are burnt
- Heavy loads are more intensive than 1kg pink dumbbells. Loads that challenge your body to lift them cause several responses from your body that include fat loss and lean muscle growth. Light weights have no chance of eliciting these responses because they are too easy.
- Short rest intervals makes perceived intensity higher, because you're not giving your body enough time to rest. In 30s your body cannot remove the lactate, or lower your pulse rate, or lower your body temperature, etc, however you would have enough rest to be able to perform the next set

Q) I've been doing this for a 2 weeks and the workout now seems easier. I'm not so out of breath anymore, and the weights don't seem that heavy
A) That's good news! It's because your body has adapted to the program and is now fitter and stronger. However, that's bad news for fat loss and muscle growth, because you're no longer presenting your body with as much stress as when you first started...so how do you fix this? Easy, by increasing the resistance! Ideally for beginners, every workout you should aim to add some weight. For example if you start out with a 20kg barbell squat(20kg is the weight of the empty long barbell), the next workout, put a pair of 1.25kg or 2.5kg on it(1 on each side), and so on...you will need to constantly evaluate your new 10-14RM by listening to your body.

Q) What about abs or "core" exercises? I don't see any listed there?
A) Good question. Core exercises are a different class altogether, but most people train them wrongly. Without going into too much detail, avoid traditional crunches and situps because they don't train the core the way it should be trained. The core should first be trained to prevent motion, not to create it. Exercises that train this include side planks/bridges and the ab-wheel. Do these after you warmup, but before the strength training. 5-10min of this should be sufficient. Core work doesn't fall within the 45min window since it's not very intensive.

Q) Speaking of warmup, how should I do this? Should I run on the treadmill for 5min before doing some stretching?
A) It may seem weird, but a warmup need not consist of actually warming your body up. It certainly need not include any kind of cardio beforehand. It doesn't hurt too much if you're only cycling for 5min, except for the fact that 5min is wasted. So what should you do? Several things:
- self massage or "self myofascial release"(SMFR): this releases the "knots" in your muscle fibers and increases your muscle tissue quality. Picture your muscle fibers as a big rubber band with several knots. If you just stretch it, the knots are still there, and will even get tighter. Now if you release those knots, you're able to stretch the rubber band more. SMFR can be performed with a tennis ball, golf ball, or ideally a foam roller. Basically you roll these around various muscles while putting your bodyweight on it, and then when you find a "tender spot" which illicits pain, stay in that position for about half a minute, and the pain will subside. It can be pretty painful the first time you do it, but you'll be amazed at how this can give relief to some nagging aches all around your body!
- static stretching: Now that the knots are released, you're ready to stretch! Stretch only what is tight/inflexible. Girls are usually more flexible than guys so it shouldn't be that time consuming. A few stretches include hamstring, glutes, hip flexors and quads for the lower body, and pecs and lats for the upper body. Do a google search for how to stretch these parts.
- muscle activation: this "activates" your muscles so that they're not sleeping. Believe it or not, many of us have muscles that are sleeping, or deactivated. Due to modern lifestyle and a 9-5 deskbound jobs, we have lost the ability to recruit those muscles. Hence when we perform certain lifts that are usually performed by those muscles, other muscles come in and try to lift it instead. This causes faulty movement patterns and can lead to over-stressing of the wrong muscles, which can ultimately lead to injury. This is one of the reasons why you hear of people getting back injuries from just bending down and picking up a pencil.
The glutes are a muscle group that are usually dormant and deactivated. A good way to activate it is to do a "clamshell", where you lay on your side, wrap a resistance band/tubing around your knees, and open/close your legs like a clamshell. If you're doing it right, you should feel it on your butt. Another good one is the side-step, where you hold a resistance band/tubing with your hands, step on it with both legs, then step to the side several times 1 direction, and several times back. The band/tubing provides some form of resistance.
- specific movement preparation: this prepares your body for the actual lifting/movement that it's about to perform. This is what the warmup set with a lighter weight does.

After you do all this, your body temperature will probably be raised already, so like I said earlier, there's no point in doing any actual "warming up" to warm your body up.
 

vurtomatic

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Exercise Guide
Some of you may not know how to perform the 8 different lifts correctly...and it's very important that you perform it correctly. Done correctly, you will be able to lift the heaviest, get the strongest muscles/joints, prevent injury & just be fitter & look better overall. If your form/technique is bad though, you'll get the opposite of all those effects. So please take a moment to digest these information, and be conscious about your form for the first few weeks. Form a good habit, and it will be 2nd nature to you. Form a bad habit, and it will be hard to correct...

So here they are, step by step for the benefit of the newbies!

Note that this is not meant to replace coaching by a qualified, good personal trainer. However, it's about the best I can do online. I hope it helps!

First of all, here's a list of equipment that you'll need

Olympic barbell - The long metal bar that's about 7' long & has ends that rotate & are thicker than the center portion. This weighs 20kg by itself so be careful when using it for upper body work. It may be too heavy. If so, you can used the fixed type barbells or dumbbells.
OR
Fixed barbell - these are lighter than 20kg and are usually arranged in a rack in California Fitness/Planet Fitness.
OR
Dumbbell

Power rack - most gyms such as SSC Clubfitt, CF/FF will have this. The 2 black bars you see at the side are called the rack pins, & the 2 black hooks on top of them are called the rack hooks, where you place the barbell on. Avoid the "smith machine" which has an attached fixed barbell to the rack.
OR
Squat rack - Suntec PF has this instead of the power rack. It'll work too.

Bench press station - includes the bench & the rack to put the barbell on.
OR
Bench - you can just use the bench with a power rack if your gym doesn't have a bench press station.

Strength band - comes in a variety of widths for varying resistances. These are more durable and of higher resistance than the resistance tubes that are found at some gyms. The tubes cannot be used as a substitute as they may break and offer too little resistance.
OR
Assisted pullup machine(left) OR Lat pulldown machine(right)

1) Squat
Setup
- Set the barbell on a rack hook that is slightly below your shoulder level
- Load the barbell with desired weight plates.
- Set the rack pins to a height that is slightly lower than the lowest point the barbell goes. Start at about mid-thigh level and adjust as needed. The purpose of the rack pins is so that in the event the barbell is too heavy for you and you can't get up from the bottom position, you can just let go of the bar and it will rest of the pins.
- Grip the bar with both hands in a fairly wide position.
- With your hands gripped onto the bar, get your head under and in front the bar so that the bar is now behind you.
- Rest the barbell on the top of your back, just below the bone that sticks out on your spine at the back of your neck. Find a position that is comfortable, as well as tight, i.e. the bar shouldn't have much wiggle space.
- Adjust your grip as close to you as you can, this helps "lock" the bar in place, making it tighter.
- Adjust your feet stance to a comfortable width. Normally this is slightly wider than shoulder width, with your feet pointing outwards slightly.
- At this point your body should be slightly bent down, i.e. your legs are not locked and your torso is slightly leaning forward. If your body is totally straight. You have set the bar up too high. Set it down 1 notch.
- Brace your abs as though someone is about to punch you. Push up and stand up with the bar by straightening your knees and hips.
- Take 1-2 steps back, adjust your feet stance again.

You are now ready to squat
- Take a deep breath, hold it in and brace your abs again. Hold your breath throughout the rep
- Start squatting down by pushing your hips back, NOT by bending your knees.
- Squat down as far as you can before your lower back becomes rounded. Ideally you should go below the point where your thighs are parallel to the floor, and your hamstrings and calves are touching. This is called a "full squat".
- At the bottom point, pause for a split second, then push back up again.
- That's 1 rep. Take another deep breath, brace your core, and perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, just hold the dumbbells to the side of your body. The rest of the instructions are the same.
- Try not to lean forward too much. A little lean is ok, but you shouldn't be folding forwards.
- Keep your head looking straight ahead and your elbows pointing to your ankles
- Make sure your knees are pointing in the same direction as your feet. Don't let your knees buckle in. It's VERY bad for your knee joint.

Now here's what it looks like when done right(ignore the bands)



And now a totally unbulky lady doing it with heavy weights and perfect form :)



2a) Romanian deadlift
I will describe the romanian deadlift first, since a conventional deadlift requires a bit more technique and flexibility. Beginners should start with a romanian deadlift first for a few weeks.

Setup
- Set the bar so that it rests slightly above knee level.
- Load the barbell with desired weight plates.
- Bend your knees and hips slightly with a straight back, and grip the barbell tightly with a pronated/overhand grip(pinkies on the outsides) with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip.
- Take a deep breath, brace your core, stand up with the barbell, and take 1-2 steps back.
- Adjust your feet stance to about the same as the squat stance.

You are now ready to romanian deadlift
- Take a deep breath, hold it in and brace your abs again. Hold your breath throughout the rep
- Start by pushing your hip back and bending your body forward, while keeping your back straight. Your knees should only bend slightly. Keep the barbell in contact with your thighs, and look wherever your chest is pointing(i.e. your head should gradually be looking downwards, following your chest). You should feel a stretch on your hamstrings.
- Continue bending forward, and go down as far as you can before your lower back rounds, keeping the weight of your body on your heels. The lowest point usually is when the barbell is about knee level, depending on your flexibility. If you're flexible, go to about mid shin, if you're not, mid thigh.
- Now pause for a split second, and push back up quickly by straightening your knees and hips.
- That's 1 rep. Take another deep breath, brace your core, and perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, just hold the dumbbells to the side or front of your body. The rest of the instructions are the same. You will have to pick them up from the floor though, or from a bench.
- Remember to ALWAYS keep your back straight. NEVER round your back. This is very important. Taking a deep breath and holding it helps you do this due to the pressure formed.

Now here's what it kinda looks like when done right...except she doesn't have a rack, and you probably won't be able to nor need to go down that low. Also, don't keep your head up!



2b) Conventional deadlift
Once you have perfected the romanian deadlift, you are ready to progress to a conventional deadlift.

Setup
- Set the barbell on the floor
- Load the barbell with desired weight plates. This can be a little bit harder when the barbell is on the floor, but we don't have much of a choice :(
- Stand just behind the loaded barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder width stance.
- Bend forward and down to grab the bar with a a pronated/overhand grip(pinkies on the outside). The grip width should be just outside your legs, and your forearm should be touching the outsides of your knees.
- Make sure that your shoulders are slightly in front of the barbell, your shins are touching the barbell, and your lower back has a slight arch to it(again, NOT rounded!)
- Your knee/hip/torso angles will differ according to your body type, so there's not hard and fast rule. However, you should not be sitting all the way down(knees bent all the way), or all the way up(knees extended all the way and hips jutting in the air). Somewhere in between is fine. Find something that you feel comfortable with.

You are now ready to deadlift
- Take a deep breath, hold it in and brace your abs again. Hold your breath throughout the rep
- Initiate the pull by bending your knees, while trying to keep your torso angle constant. Again your head/eyes should point in the same direction as your chest, so initially you should be still looking slightly down
- Once the barbell reaches your knees, start extending your hips together with your knees. Straighten your torso and knees together to complete the pull. Your eyes should gradually look up and straight forward.
- The lift is completed when your entire body is straight. The barbell should stay in contact with your thighs.
- Now start the descent in the opposite order, i.e. bend at your hips and knees to get the barbell to knee level. Once the barbell reaches the knee level, stop bending at the hips but continue bending at the knees until the barbell is completely resting on the floor.
- That's 1 rep. Take another deep breath, brace your core, and perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, just hold the dumbbells to the side of your body. The rest of the instructions are the same.
- If you're using lighter weights plates, they will be smaller and hence the barbell will be closer to the ground and you'll have to reach lower. This might affect your lifts. To remedy this, you may stack up some plates and put the barbell ends on the plates as a platform to make it higher.
- Remember to ALWAYS keep your back straight. NEVER round your back. This is very important. Taking a deep breath and holding it helps you do this due to the pressure formed.
- Be careful of the bar scraping your shins or thighs(mostly the shins) because they are in contact with them. Most barbells have "smooth" areas that coincide with your feet stance, so those are easier on the skin. It takes a bit of practice before you get the groove right so that it doesn't scrape your skin. Meanwhile, you can wear track pants when performing the lift.
- You may be tempted to keep a distance from the barbell because of fear. A little bit of distance is ok(1-2cm), but the further the barbell is from your body, the more torque it presents to your back, and the more prone to back injuries you are. When starting, take a little time to get the groove right by using a really light barbell so you can minimize the chance of it scraping you. Believe me, it's worth it! :good:

Now here's what it looks like when done right



3) Bench press
Setup
- Set the barbell on a hook that is appropriately high enough for you to grip while lying down on the bench.
- Load the barbell with desired weight plates.
- Lie on the bench and adjust your body so that the barbell is about slightly above your eye level.
- Keep your foot flat and planted on the floor, and keep a slight arch on your lower back. Your butt and upper back should be in contact with the bench
- Grip the barbell so that your arms make a 'V' shape. The exact width depends on your physical dimensions. A general guideline is when the barbell is at the bottom position, your forearms are about vertical. Your elbows should be slightly bent. If they are not, either the bar is too high, or your grip is too wide.
- Now, imagine you have a ping pong ball between your shoulder blades. Pull your shoulders blades back and together and imagine pinching the ball. This helps keep your shoulder joint tight to prevent unnecessary movement that can cause injuries. This also provides you a stable platform so you can lift more efficiently. Your shoulders should be pulled back throughout the entire set.
- Take a deep breath, brace your abs, and lift up the barbell and away from the hooks until it is directly over your chest.
- Take a look at the ceiling where it meets the bar. Remember this point on the ceiling. You will be pushing the bar towards this point in subsequent reps.

You are now ready to bench press
- Take another deep breath, brace your abs, and slowly let the barbell descend straight down towards your chest by bending your elbows. Don't flare your elbows out or inwards, your upper arm should make about a 45deg angle with your torso as they reach the bottom point.
- Let the bar descent as low as you can let it. For most people this will be when it touches your chest. For some inflexible people, this may not be. Don't force the bar too low if you cannot do it.
- At the lowest point, pause a split second so that you eliminate any "bouncing".
- Now as you prepare to push the bar up, make sure your abs are still braced, and now squeeze your glutes(as if you're trying to crack a peanut between your butt!), and drive your feet into the ground. This transfers some energy so that you can lift the bar up. Make sure your butt and upper back are still firmly on the bench, and maintain the slight arch on your lower back.
- Push the barbell towards that point in the ceiling from just now as fast as possible. It should go up in as straight vertical a path as possible. Avoid any zigzag/curvy paths as this wastes energy and can cause injuries due to poor leverages.
- That's 1 rep. Take another deep breath, brace your core, and perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, the starting position as at the bottom, not the top. You have to find a way to get into the starting position. The most common way is to sit on the bench first, put both dumbbells onyour thighs, then lie down and at the same time move the dumbbells to the starting position.
- ALWAYS get someone to spot you when benching heavy, because you do not have the luxury of rack pins to rest the barbell on should you fail a rep. You don't want to be stuck underneath a heavy barbell. :)
- Make sure the spotter understands that he/she must NOT touch the barbell except during unracking and reracking, and when you're stuck. YOU should be doing ALL the lifting, not the spotter :)
- Remember to keep your shoulders pulled back throughout the entire set.

Now here's what it looks like when done right



4) Dumbbell Row
Setup
- Find a bench and desired dumbbell weight. Place dumbbell at side of bench
- Bend down onto the bench and put left hand and left knee on it. Keep your back straight. Keep the right foot on the ground, knees slightly bent.
- Reach down and grip the dumbbell with right hand with a [spam] grip(palms facing in). Make sure the dumbbell is directly below your shoulder. Your right hand should be vertical

You are now ready to dumbbell row!
- Take a deep breath, brace your abs, and slowly lift the dumbbell towards your upper abs. Start the pull by moving your shoulders up, not by bending your elbows.
- Keep your elbows near your body at all times, do not flare it out.
- At the top, squeeze your shoulderblades to complete the rep, then slowly descend.
- That's 1 rep. Take another deep breath, brace your core, and perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- Don't let the leg on the bench fold over/bend completely. Keep your lower back tight and straight, don't round it.

Now here's what it looks like when done right



5) Overhead press/Military press
Setup
- Set the barbell on a rack hook that is slightly below your shoulder level. Move the hook if needed
- Load the barbell with desired weight plates.
- Set the rack pins 1 notch lower than the rack hooks.
- Grip the bar with both hands with a similar grip width to the bench press. As a general guide, bring the bar towards your chest while gripping it, Your forearms should be perpendicular to the bar.
- Adjust your feet stance to a comfortable width similar to the squat
- Brace your abs and lift the barbell up and bring it to your clavicle(the shoulder bone)
- Take 1-2 steps back, adjust your feet stance again.

You are now ready to overhead press!
- Take a deep breath, hold it in and brace your abs again. Hold your breath throughout the rep
- Start pushing the bar upwards over your head while keeping the rest of your body straight.
- Once your hands are fully extended, bring the bar down again until it is below your chin level.
- That's 1 rep. Take another deep breath, brace your core, and perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, you will have to find a way to bring it to the starting position. Usually this is done by "cleaning" the dumbbells up by using your hips to generate the power up, not your arms.
- Resist the tendency to lean back. A little lean is ok, but keep your body as straight as possible.
- It is very important to brace your core/abs in the overhead press because your core is what is keeping your spine straight.

Now here's what it looks like when done right



6) Assisted pullups/chinups
I will explain the band assisted pullup since this is the best method. Besides most of you should know how to use the assisted pullup machine or the lat pulldown machine, which are inferior to the band assisted pullup, but if you have no choice, they are better than nothing.

Setup
- Hang the strength band over the top of the pullup bar and make a simple loop with it. The band should now be hanging down.
- Place a step-up box at the bottom of the pullup bar if the bar is too high for you to reach. You don't want to jump up to grip the bar.
- Grip the pullup bar slightly wider than shoulder width if using a pronated/overhand. If using a supinated/underhand grip, use a much narrower grip. Both are acceptable, but they train slightly different muscle groups, so keep that in mind.
- Place 1 knee inside the band loop, and get someone to help place your other knee in as well
- Hang comfortably down with the band partially supporting your weight

You are now ready to do the band assisted pullup
- This is probably the only exercise that doesn't involve that much core bracing, but it doesn't hurt to brace either :)
- Pull yourself up towards the top of the pullup bar, until your chin is above it. If you're doing a pronated grip, pull your elbows down and back, not down and forward like a praying mantis. If you're doing a supinated grip, then bring your elbows forward.
- Now slowly descend down.
- That's 1 rep. Perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- You can substitute this with an assisted pullup machine(the one with a bar for you to stand on) or a lat pulldown machine, but these are inferior. As far as possible try to get a strength band and use it. It has many other uses as well!
- Don't cross your legs when doing the pullup

Now here's what it looks like when done right(except try to get both knees in the band)




Yes that's a girl doing a weighted chinup, which means she's being weighed down by 20+kg! That's how strong you can be, and she's not big and bulky at all! In fact, she's in great shape! You boyfriend will definitely be jealous when you can do this though :)

7) Reverse leg curl
Setup
- Go to an available lat pulldown machine and set the support height down.
- Place a bench about 50cm away from the seat of the machine
- Put both your knees together and kneel on the seat
- Hook your ankles onto the roller supports

You are now ready to Reverse leg curl
- Take a breath, brace your abs and start extending your knees so that you fall towards the bench. Try to resist the descent. Keep your thighs and back straight, do NOT jut your butt out.
- Once you're near the bench, push off the bench with both your hands
- "Catch" yourself midway and pull yourself back up with your hamstrings, i.e. don't rely too much on your hand power to get up.
- That's 1 rep. Perform the desired number of reps.

Notes:
- This exercise will be very challenging the first time you do it, so you will not be able to resist the descent too much, and you will need quite a strong pushoff as well. Don't be discouraged, even big muscleheads will suffer the same fate the first time they do this. :)
- Make sure your thighs and back are in a straight line and your butt doesn't stick out, otherwise, you will work your glutes more than your hamstrings.

Now here's what it looks like when done right



7a) Split squat
I will explain the split squat first because the lunge is a harder movement. You should perform the split squat for the first few weeks and the progress on to the lunge when you become proficient in it. The movement are similar, but lunges are harder and require more coordination & balance.

Setup
- Exactly like a squat(but with lighter weights), with the following additions at the end...
- From a standing squat position, take 1 big step so that 1 foot is in front and the other is behind. Make your both your feet are pointing straight ahead. The heels of your back foot can be off the floor but the entire front foot should be planted on the floor.

You are now ready to split squat
- Take a deep breath, brace your abs and bending both knees so that you descend down. At the bottom position, both your knees should be almost 90deg angles. Keep your back vertical.
- Once your knees touch the ground, start pushing up again with mainly the front leg until your knees are fully extended. Make sure your knees are pointing forward.
- That's 1 rep. Perform all the desired number of reps on 1 leg before moving on to the other.

Notes:
- This can be a challenging exercise for beginners due to balance issues. Beginners should try to do this without any weights, with hands akimbo. If even this is hard, then they should find a pole and hold on to it while performing the exercise.
- Keep your torso vertical
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, simply grab onto the dumbbells by the side of your body.

Now here's what it looks like when done right(imagine him with a barbell)



7b) Lunge
Only after you are proficient with the split squat should you move to the lunge. This can take a few weeks.

Setup
- Exactly like a squat(but with lighter weights)

You are now ready to lunge
- Take a deep breath, brace your abs and take a step forward and then perform a split squat.
- Once you're up from the split squat, move the front foot back again.
- That's 1 rep. Perform the desired number of reps. You may alternate between legs, or perform all reps on 1 leg before moving on to the other.

Notes:
- As you can see, this is nothing more than a split squat where every rep involves stepping forward and then back again. This component makes it a lot more challenging since you have to balance and coordinate the movement. You should try this unweighted first.
- Keep your torso vertical
- If you're doing this with dumbbells, simply grab onto the dumbbells by the side of your body.
- Once you're good at this, you can try the reverse lunge, which involves taking a step back at the beginning of the rep instead of forwards.

Now here's what it looks like when done right

 
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