Weightlifting And Ego In Your Teens And Twenties

You’re young, you’re full of energy and you want to hit the gym to workout and start lifting weights. So how do you make the most of your gym time, get stronger and build bigger muscles in the shortest period of time?

If you’re in your teens or twenties, to truly maximize your results you need to control your ego first. It’s not easy – especially since the number one reason young people start lifting weights is insecurity. Arnold Schwarzenegger went on to be the biggest bodybuilding star in history – but he began because his brother was always beating him up and his Dad referred to him as his ‘daughter’. Nimrod was a common name in Africa, but when Nimrod King moved to Canada the kids teased him mercilessly – and he went on to be the Canadian bodybuilding champion. There are plenty of other examples, but suffice it to say that there can be a lot of emotion, and ego, wrapped up in your decision to hit the gym.

Many others start lifting weights because they want to improve in sports – at school, after school or on the weekends. While that’s an admirable and appropriate decision, ego often enters the picture once they get into the gym and see others there, or have teammates or competitors working out there too. It’s easy to get caught up in it all, especially if your local gym has a number of immature, insecure older lifters working out there – the kind that egg you on or tease less experienced or less strong athletes like yourself.

Here’s the scoop – you will never be able to build strength, build muscles or burn off bodyfat as easily as you can in your teens and twenties. You are in the ‘sweet spot’ for hormones right now, especially testosterone. Bodybuilding for teens is like a snowball rolling downhill – every year you get bigger and stronger, and every year your efforts get you further as your testosterone increases. Bodybuilding for people in their twenties is like cruising at high speed – your testosterone levels continue to rise til about the age of 24 and then levels off, with not nearly as much downgrade as you’ll experience in your thirties and beyond. With adrenaline, testosterone, growth hormone and the like creating a ‘growth cocktail’ in your bloodstream, your teens and twenties are definitely the best time to lay the groundwork for a fantastic body for life…

This is GREAT news for boys in their teens and men in their twenties – it means you can put on more muscle and build strength faster, so off to the gym you go regularly. It’s also great news for girls in their teens and women in their twenties… You won’t need to worry about building huge muscles, as your levels of testosterone are much, much lower. But you’ll still get strong quickly, and your muscles will be noticeable by their shape and density as opposed to their size. And teens and twenties of both sexes will love the way their bodyfat levels drop as they burn of their remaining ‘babyfat’.

But this is where ego usually takes over… Gyms are full of guys working their chests and arms like crazy, with only a bit of work for their backs and legs. You see the results on beaches everywhere – young men with a stunning upper body and chicken legs (maybe that’s why board shorts have replaced Speedo-style bathing suits). For the ladies, they’ll spend hours on a treadmill, running at a steady pace the whole time, and maybe – just maybe – do a bit of light work with the smaller dumbbells. He’s chasing bigger arms, she’s chasing lower fat levels and a fit-looking body.

Not only are both on the wrong course, but both are wasting the best anabolic window of their lives!

Since your body chemistry is making this the best time of your life physically, this is the time to use the most powerful lifts to multiply your results. Forget doing a lot of isolation exercises for your chest and arms, men – in fact, at your age training arms directly is unnecessary. They’ll get more than enough growth and strength gains from the big compound moves you use to build your biggest muscles. And ladies – nothing will burn more fat and make you stronger than doing the exact same exercises as the men.

What you need to focus on is squats, deadlifts, bent rows, pullups (eventually weighted pullups), bench press and upright rows. Period. Those 6 exercises, done correctly with the right amount of weight, will build you all over – your biceps, triceps and forearms will get stronger and bigger just from being the assistants during your big lifts. For the boys and men, decide whether your main goal is size or strength – while the two go hand-in-hand to a large degree, different workouts favour one over the other. For strength, keep your reps low – keep to just 5 reps per set, using the heaviest weight you can move while keeping perfect form and completing 5 to 10 sets of each exercise. To shift the focus to size, lift weights that just allow you to get in 8 – 12 reps, taking about 4 to 6 seconds per rep, for 4 or five sets.

Most girls and women, on the other hand, aren’t training for muscle size but for strength and speed for other sports or simply to be stronger, plus reducing and maintaining lower bodyfat levels. For this, use the same sets and reps scheme as above for building strength. Start off with whatever weights you can properly handle at the start, no matter how light, and add more weight as your body strengthens. Don’t let anyone in the gym give you a hard time or tell you what you should be lifting – go by the strength you currently have and raise the amount of weight you lift as your body allows. Forget all the little ‘toning’ and ‘shaping’ exercises you hear about or read about – nothing will burn more calories than the big compound lifts like squats and deadlifts.

Sticking to those ‘Big-6’ exercises for at least your first couple of years in the gym will put you well on the path to the best physique your genetics will allow. Mixing in a lot of cardio or isolation exercises will just rob you of energy you could be putting into your compound lifts, and slow down the time your body takes to recover from each workout – obviously the greater your energy output, the longer the recovery time. If you still feel like you have a lot of energy after your workout, next time add one more set to each exercise or simply slow down each rep – either will move you further ahead.

On the subject of steroids and other injectables, it’s simple: you don’t need them and you don’t want them, no matter what your coach, buddies or local gym rats tell you. Male or female, if you work out consistently lifting heavy weights it’s still going to take you YEARS to even get close to your genetic potential, so why waste your money on enhancements now while your body’s got that powerful NATURAL mix going on to help you in your quest?

One other benefit you derive from your hormonal cocktail is faster recovery between workouts, assuming you make sure you get your 8 hours of sleep a night or more – remember your body only repairs and rebuilds while you’re asleep. For most people in their teens and twenties the best results in the gym will come from a full-body workout done on three non-consecutive days per week – Monday, Wednesday Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, for example. Be sure to learn about and follow healthy nutrition guidelines and stay hydrated, get enough sleep and you’ll be shooting towards your best body at a rapid pace – just try your best not to let your ego become a series of speedbumps along the way or, worse yet, lead you down a dead-end street. If you’re going to be lifting weights and expending all that energy in the gym it would be foolish to settle for anything less than the best possible results!

So What Exactly Are Abs?

It may seem like the most obvious question in the world but believe me, without at least a basic understanding of the physiology and composition of this particular muscle group then your goal of well defined ripped abs will remain a distant dream.

There are six groups of abdominal muscles, hence the term six pack, and they make up the core abdominal muscles. Your abs begin just under the rib cage and make their way all the way down to the pelvic area. On each side of your torso are two pairs of abdominals known as the external and internal obliques. These muscles are there primarily to support the movement of your spine from both side to side and the bending of your spine backward and forward. Your obliques are absolutely fundamental in your quest for ripped abs as they play a key role in developing core strength, but they will not form part of your visible six pack as they are impossible to see.

Now one extremely important fact to remember when working to develop ripped abs is that although the abs are made up of distinct muscle groups the abdominal area is in fact one muscle known as the Rectus Abdominus. Therefore it is physiologically impossible to isolate just one area of your abs completely, because by definition when you work your abs you will be working them all. You will sometimes hear people saying “I need to work my lower abs” or something similar. This is simply not possible without working the rest of the muscle group at the same time.

The third and final group of abdominal muscles are known as the transverse abdominus muscles. Again just like the internal and external obliques they are not visible from the outside, however, they play just as important a role in your plan for ripped abs as the other ab muscles. They are mainly responsible for ensuring correct body posture. The best analogy would be to think of your transverse abdominus as your very own natural weight belt.

I believe it is vitally important to stress at this point just how vital strong abs can be. Ripped abs are a wonderful goal to work towards, not just from an aesthetic aspect but also because strong and well defined abs will go a very long way towards reducing problems in later life. Weak abdominal muscles will contribute towards problems such as lower back pain or indeed any other postural issues. Strong abs will go a long way towards reducing the risk of injury when you train or indeed just help to build your core strength when performing everyday activities.

It is also important to remember that the abs are muscles just like any other and as such they will require a period of recovery after a workout. The good news however, is that given their unique fibre composition they actually require slightly less recovery time than most of the other major muscle groups. Devise your workout plan around your ultimate goal, whether that be just to build strength or to develop awesome ripped abs, and stick to it rigidly. Good luck.

Now you have a basic understanding of the anatomy of abs you will be better equipped to Get Ripped Abs Quick

Prison Workout For Better Muscles

As long as there have been prisoners, there have been prison workouts. As common to correctional facilities as beating up the new guy on the first day and avoiding dropped soap, prisoners have been building better muscles in confined spaces. Here are some reasons why the Prison Workout works:

1) Unlimited Time – Time is the only thing you have. You can spend four hours building better muscles because you’ve got nothing else to do!

2) Confined Space – In prison, ambivalence and indecisiveness do not exist. You can’t perseverate on whether or not to hit the gym or run the beach. You’re already at the gym, and you can never leave.

3) Creativity Required – with no equipment and no open space for running, it’s just you in a room, face to face with your potential.

4) You are the Steppenwolfe – A lone soldier, a man on a mission of fitness. Better muscles and a haunted past, what more is a lady looking for?

So the prison workout has its perks, but most of us don’t want to commit crimes and go to jail simply for the benefit of better muscles. Not to fear, the prison workout has many practical applications in the real world. This is a guide that uses the concepts of the prison workout to create a fitness routine you can practice in the confines of your bedroom.

The Burpee

Get ready for some pain. The burpee is a staple of the prison workout. Do 20 descending sets and you’ll have better muscles in no time. Here’s the process:

From a standing position, drop to a squat. Place your hands on the floor and spring back to a push up position. Do the push up. Jump back to a squat and then spring up into the air bringing your knees up to your chest. Do this 20 times. Take a breather then do 19 more. Then do 18, then 17, and so on. You’ll feel the prison workout burn.

Upper Body

The Card Game – This prison workout challenge requires a deck of playing cards and a hat. Sit across the room from the hat and flip cards toward it. Any time you miss and a card lands face up, do as many push ups as the card reads (face cards are 10). Work your way through a whole deck and you’ll be working your way to some serious ripped abs and pectorals. And remember to keep your body level, no butts in the air (especially for actual prisoners).

Tricep Prison Workout – This is a simple dip. Place your hands on a chair, bed, or sink, and dip your body toward the ground.

Lower Body

Squat Leap – This is basically a burpee without the push up. Do a squat and spring upward. This works the quads.

Jump Lunge – Lower your body into a lunge position, weight on the bent leg with the other leg stabilizing behind. Jump into the air and switch the position of your feet. Repeat as fast as possible.

Core

The Prisoner’s Plank – Drop to a push up position, body rigid and straight. Now hold this position for three minutes. It’s not so easy unless you’ve got washboard abs.

For the Extreme Prisoner

Handstand Push-ups – You may have seen Nick Cage squeezing these out in Con-Air. The concept is simple, Do a handstand-you can brace your feet against a wall for support-then lower your head to the floor and push back upwards. You will build better triceps and shoulder muscles.

The Wall Squat – Back against a wall, lower your body until your upper and lower legs form a 90 degree angle. Hold this position as long as you can. Sounds simple? Try it for 5 minutes. That’s the prison workout way.

The prison workout fits perfectly into the Primal Blueprint, a health plan designed to maximize strength and good nutrition for those looking for simpler, natural alternatives to health in the modern world.

Resistance Training – Muscle Strength Burns Fat!

If you’re like a lot of my patients over 40, you may have a few pounds to lose and would like to regain that youthful, toned, muscular look you used to have. It’s true, as we get older, if we don’t use it; we lose it, muscle strength, that is.

Did you know that people lose 5 lbs of muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 30? That’s right! With that muscle loss comes decreased metabolic rate, which means we burn fat slower and may gain weight faster. However, the good news is that there is a way to reverse this process. It’s called resistance training.

There are so many aspects of optimal health that good muscle strength influences. In fact, toned muscles not only make us look more streamlined but they can actually help us age slower, lose weight, build bone density, and stay agile and less prone to injuries.

Many people trying to lose weight tell me that they do aerobic exercise like walking, running, or cycling, several times a week along with watching what they eat, yet their weight loss is still very slow. When I ask them if they do any resistance, or muscle strength training along with those efforts, they’re surprised to hear that they’ll see results faster if they substitute some aerobic exercise for some resistance training. Let me explain why.

What Is Resistance Training?

Simply put, resistance training is any kind of movement of your muscles against an external resistance like free weights, weight machines, exercise bands, or even lifting rocks, that causes your muscles to contract. Doing these kind of muscle movements causes microscopic tears in the muscle in a process called catabolism, or break down, of the muscle fibers.

The healing and repair that our body does in response is known as anabolism. It causes the muscles to not only repair themselves but also grow stronger, denser, and more resilient. The result of that two-stage process creates a more toned you and increases your metabolic rate which helps you burn fat faster. If you burn fat faster, guess what? You lose those stubborn pounds of fat faster.

Here are some other side benefits of resistance training that I bet you’ll be surprised to know:

Can help lower blood pressure – current research shows that resistance training lowers both systolic (upper) and diastolic (lower) blood pressure by several points. It also decreases stress hormones in the blood which helps lower blood pressure.

Prevents osteoporosis by building bone – friction of the muscle against bone during resistance training stimulates the bone to grow and become thicker.

Reverse or slow down the aging process – along with a higher protein intake, resistance training helps release Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which slows aging.

Improve glucose metabolism – weight training improves insulin usage by utilizing glucose for muscle work. Helps prevent type 2 diabetes.

Aerobic and Resistance Training – Both Work Together

Don’t get me wrong, aerobic exercise is very beneficial to your overall health. It also improves your mood, decreases your blood pressure, increases your metabolic rate, increases lung and heart capacity, and helps you sleep!

However, I have some patients who exhaust and dehydrate themselves doing aerobic exercise every day for 1 hour, trying to lose fat and tone muscles. This is actually counterproductive. You can shorten your aerobic exercise time to 20 minutes, 3 times a week, doing interval aerobic exercise instead which not only energizes you but strengthens your heart and boosts your metabolic rate far better and faster.

Interval aerobic exercise, is doing a 10 minute slower warm up with your chosen exercise (walking, jogging, traditional bicycling or “spinning” on a bike in a club, elliptical machine, swimming, brisk dancing) and then alternating between short, 2 minute bursts of more intense, faster, higher resistance level exercise and slow, resting exercise for the remaining 10 minutes. As you get used to doing intervals like this, you can gradually increase your length of high intensity bursts to 5 minutes.

Resistance training, on the other hand, specifically targets the strength of each muscle group and should be done 3 times a week. Whether you use free weights or standing weight machines in your gym is your choice. However, you may want to start out on weight machines and incorporate some free weight exercises into your resistance training routine after you’ve become comfortable with it. Also, a good warm up session of stretching before resistance training is important to avoid injury. Be sure to also stay hydrated and drink a lot of water while exercising.

In general, a good guideline is 3 sets of 10-12 reps (repetitions), starting with 5-10 lb free weights, or 20 lbs machine weight. Each exercise should be done on an every other day pattern, giving your muscles a chance to rest and repair in between sessions. However, to start out with for the first week or so, you may want to decrease your number of sets and reps to half this amount and gradually build up to this level, increasing your weight slightly as you go. You don’t want to over work previously unused muscles and become sore.

Remember, this is resistance/strength training and not bodybuilding so keep your weights at just slightly tougher than comfortable level to avoid building a lot of muscle mass. Resistance training is very easy, and safe to do on your own, but, you may want to start off with a little personal instruction at a gym with a trainer who can give you a basic resistance training program and help you keep track of your goals.

I hope the basics of resistance training mentioned here will encourage you to add it to your fitness routine. The benefits of resistance training are usually noticeable within the first 3 weeks, and if you’re faithful to your dietary intake, you should see some tangible results in fat loss. Take your measurements before you start resistance training, and then again 3 weeks later. You may not see a big drop in numbers on the scale, as muscle, even though it is smaller and denser than fat, weighs more. However, your clothes will fit better and you’ll start seeing more and more muscle definition. You’ll have more stamina, you’ll look great and best of all you’ll feel awesome!

Syntrax Nectar Review – Is Nectar a Good Protein Powder For Women?

Many women these days are using protein powders on a regular basis, but it can often be confusing trying to find the right protein for you.

Are you looking to gain muscle mass, lose weight, or get a meal replacement shake?

In this Syntrax Nectar review we’re going to look at this protein powder that claims to be high on taste and ideal for women who are looking to lose weight.

Taste

Whey protein powders (and most supplements in general) are not always big on the taste front, and usually require being mixed with something like milk, yoghurt or ice cream (in a smoothie) in order for it to be palatable.

However, in their Nectar protein, Syntrax has managed to create a protein powder that tastes great WITHOUT even needing to be mixed…in other words you can eat straight out of the jar on your cereal or any way you want.

This is great news and a good way for women to avoid consuming any excess calories in the form of milk or other additives.

Taste really is the biggest plus point about Syntrax Nectar Protein, and women absolutely love its variety of 8 sweet flavours.

Low Calorie Profile

Another plus point of the Syntrax Nectar protein powder is its low calorie profile. At just 90 calories per serving this has to be one of the lowest calorie protein supplements on the market, and ideal for women who are conscious about their calorie intake particularly if they are on a fat loss diet.

How does it compare to many other protein powders?

Well, the popular protein shakes for gaining muscle mass will typically provide as much as 300 calories per serving, and even the “light” versions come in around 180-200 calories…so you can see that Syntrax Nectar is one of the lowest by a significant margin.

There is a large 23g of protein per scoop and ZERO carbs and fat. This is ideal for ladies who are looking to minimize calorie intake, but may not be ideal for those looking for a Meal Replacement Protein powder (MRP).

MRPs are better with a more balanced nutrition profile of protein, carbs and fats.

High Quality Protein Content

In our review of the Syntrax Nectar protein powder we discovered that the quality of the protein in the powder is also top class.

Derived from a whey protein isolate (a pure form of protein) called Promina, this is one of the fastest and easily digestible proteins available and so is quickly absorbed and used by your muscle tissue for repair and growth. The Syntrax Nectar protein also contains more bio-available amino acids than cheaper whey isolates on the market meaning that muscle tissue repair is even faster.

Mixability

Many protein powders on the market can be a pain-in-the-you-what when it comes to mixing them in liquids or oatmeal etc. They often clump up and don’t dissolve properly which can be frustrating and messy.

Syntrax Nectar on the other hand mixes phenomenally well into pretty much anything – water, milk, ice cream, oatmeal, cottage cheese and yoghurt.

However, it can foam up a bit, more so than some other whey proteins on the market, so this may be something to consider if you like to use a shaker or mix it heavily.

Negatives

As mentioned above, the mixability while good is a little foamy, so you should take that into account.

Also, the lack of carbs and fats means that while it is great for women looking to get pure protein, it is not ideal for those looking to get a healthy meal replacement, or to use it to build muscle mass quickly.

However, Syntrax Nectar protein is great for women who are looking to get some pure healthy protein in a sweet snack which won’t compromise their fat loss diet plan.