Weight Maintenance: Simple Solution To Evening Snacking

Whether you’re looking to lose weight or maintain healthy weight, one of the main ways people sabotage their efforts is snacking in the evening after supper. We’ve all done it – you’re sitting watching TV or sitting at the computer and grab something to snack on, usually something that isn’t healthy and is fattening, right? Here are two simple tricks to help you stay on track with your weight loss or weight maintenance…

Add Some After-Dinner Protein

Simple Snacking Cure For Weight Loss

This simple high-protein shake can help with your weight loss or healthy weight maintenance – and it tastes delicious!

Ingesting snack foods usually means a lot of carbohydrates, and carbs are quickly digested and spike your blood sugar levels briefly. When they drop back down again you’ll feel hungry, leading to eating more of them, and the cycle continues over and over, only leaving you satiated (feeling full) for brief periods.

Protein, on the other hand, takes longer to digest and has much less affect on your blood sugar levels – yet a gram of protein has just the same number of calories a gram of carbs has. Additionally, since your digestive system is kept busy longer, your body is burning more calories during the process. This added benefit is referred to as protein being more ‘thermogenic’ than carbohydrates, since you’re ‘burning’ more fuel (calories) to digest your food.

The simple solution is to have some protein when you first start to feel peckish after a meal. For a great choice, put 8 ounces (250ml) of 2% milk into your blender and pour in 3/4 cup (about 188ml) of liquid egg whites. Add a zero-calorie flavouring like the Walden Farms blueberry syrup to taste, and blend them for 30 seconds.

The result? A delicious blueberry milkshake with 30 grams of protein, 12 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fat (the carbs & fat are just what exists in the cup of milk). A few minutes later you’ll find you’re no longer hungry, yet you don’t feel over-full at all…

Keep A Large Glass Of Water Beside You

After that, the second tip is to keep a large glass of water beside you to sip on as the night progresses. Many times when you feel hungry, your body isn’t looking for food – it’s looking for better hydration. By having the water beside you and taking a few sips every little while, you help keep your stomach full, make it easier for your system to digest the protein and get rid of the ‘hunger’ pains.

By combining these two tips you avoid high-calorie snacks and only add about 200 calories in total after supper – plus you feel satiated and comfortable throughout the evening. And if you’re tracking your macros, you’ve been able to add 30 grams of quality protein with high bio-availability with almost negligible carbs and fat.

And for anyone trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy diet, that’s a major win!

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Your Top 3 Important Tips to Build Muscle Faster

Your Top 3 Important Tips to Build Muscle Faster
By Mike Geary

Let’s face it… building muscle is not the easiest thing to accomplish even despite regular hard workout schedules and trying every type of workout and supplement.

The TRUTH About 6-Pack Abs

I struggled for years to gain any significant muscle mass, but over the years in my personal training business and with my own experimentation have found some important things that have helped make significant muscle gains possible even for hardgainers.

So, I’m going to give 3 important tips here so you can start building lean muscle mass faster and easier.

1. Make sure that 95% of the exercises you perform regularly in the gym are big multi-joint compound exercises. It doesn’t matter if your goal is fat loss or building muscle… big multi-joint exercises should comprise 95% of the exercises you do in your workouts if you want to get lean, ripped, and powerful.

It’s easiest to think of it in terms of the major movement patterns such as these (focus 95% of your workouts on these):

upper body horizontal press (bench press, pushups, dips),
upper body horizontal rows (1-arm dumbbell rows, seated cable rows, bent over barbell rows),
upper body vertical pull (lat pulldowns, pullups, chinups),
upper body vertical press (overhead dumbbell and barbell presses, barbell or kettlebell clean & presses)
lower body squatting movements (front squats, back squats, overhead squats, bodyweight squats, etc)
lower body deadlifting movements (regular deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts)
lower body single leg movements (lunges, step-ups, jump lunges, etc)
abdominal and core exercises (these are important, but still are 2nd priority after all of the major upper body and lower body multi-joint movements… your abs and core will be worked from most major multi-joint exercises anyway)

The other 5% of your exercises can focus on single joint exercises (isolation exercises) such as bicep curls, tricep presses, calf presses, shoulder shrugs, shoulder lateral raises, pec flyes, etc, etc. However, these exercises are only accessory exercises to do after the main focus has been the multi-joint drills.

2. Train hard and intensely 3-4 days/week for 45-60 minutes per weight training workout. Keep your workouts to no longer than 60 minutes as training too much beyond this point can trigger excess catabolism. You want to stay anabolic, but you still need to train your body hard and intensely enough to trigger muscle growth.

Try a super-set style of workout program to maximize the intensity that you can train. My favorite combinations are opposing upper and lower body movement patterns that don’t interfere with each other, such as squats coupled with pullups as a superset, or bench press coupled with deadlifts as a superset.

Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of these types of upper/lower body supersets done with heavy weights and a high intensity. The first time in my life that I experienced significant muscle mass gains were when I started doing these types of workout combos regularly (although still mixing up my training variables).

These are mainstays of almost any effective workout program — caloric intake can simply be adjusted whether your goal is fat burning or gaining muscle mass.

3. Eat clean with quality whole foods… REAL foods instead of highly processed over-hyped supplement powders and bars.

The quality of protein (and additional nutrition from vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) are best assimilated by the body from real whole food such as eggs, meats, dairy (preferably raw), fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc. instead of from processed protein powders, chemical-laden bars, and meal replacements.

Forget about the hyped up workouts in the muscle mags that only work for pro bodybuilders or people on steroids. Forget about the over-hyped supplement “stacks” that pay the bills for almost every muscle mag… Instead, make these tips in this article part of your lifestyle, and you’ll see muscle gains and a leaner, ripped body like you’ve never seen before!

If you want to get a lean chiseled body, check out these tips to Get Ripped Abs the right way.

Enjoy, and good luck!

Mike Geary
Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist

Author – The Truth about Six Pack Abs

Article Source: 3 Important Tips to Build Muscle Faster – Get Lean and Ripped

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Why 6-Pack Abs Aren’t A Realistic Goal For Most People

6-Pack Abs, Ripped, Shredded, Washboard Abs – The fitness media is full of terms like these to describe abdominal muscles that stand out in stark relief. Yet sporting 6-packs is seldom what people think – and definitely not a realistic goal for most people outside of fitness models or bodybuilders preparing for a competition.

First, let’s look at the truth about the people you see with shredded abs year-round. In most cases, it didn’t take a lot of work to get those amazing-looking abs – they’re most-commonly seen on people whose genetics blessed them with few, if any, fat cells on their midsection.

You see, everyone has ab muscles, and fairly well developed ones at that. You use your abdominal muscles in almost everything you do each day. They just aren’t as obvious on some people because of the thin, or not so thin, layer of bodyfat that covers them. If you’re one of the lucky ones that carries your bodyfat elsewhere, you’ll sport that washboard any time you’re not overeating.
For most people, though, eating little enough to show off a great midsection will run the risk of health complications if you try to maintain an extremely low bodyfat level year-round. Even those shredded bodybuilders you see in the mags and on stage don’t stay that way year-round – they follow a strict and somewhat severe diet for 6 – 12 weeks prior to competing to get rid of bodyfat and use diuretics to drain their body of any surplus water as the big day approaches.

The same is true for the cover shoots for fitness and bodybuilding magazines – either a shot is used from the last time that athlete was prepared to compete, or they spend as much as a month preparing for that shot using training and diet to give them that look – and again, just for that shoot.

Staying ripped year-round would leave you feeling lethargic and tired at all times, inhibit your muscle- & strength-building progress, and could lead to more serious health issues. Remember that every organ in the body has some fat content, and that your body uses some of its fat stores to protect your inner organs. Depriving it of the nutrients it needs will also affect everything from your skin tone to your hair – to say nothing of the hormonal imbalances and their effects on your state of wellness.
A better solution for most people is to keep your stomach area strong by working your abdominals regularly and aiming to maintain a healthy overall bodyfat level. For most fit people, that will give you a fairly flat stomach that leads up to the swell of your chest – a highly desirable body image in its own right.

It’s important to keep your abs strong at all times anyway, both because of all the daily activity and to help counterbalance your lower back muscles and their pull on your spine and hips. One of the keys to avoiding, or minimizing, lower back pain as you get older is being sure to keep your abs and hamstrings as strong as your quadriceps (thigh muscles) and lower back muscles to keep the forces on your hips and spine in balance.

By now you probably already know that you can’t ‘spot reduce’ your bodyfat – that is, it will come off fairly evenly over your entire body. So trying to burn off just stomach fat or diet off just belly fat simply can’t be done. It’s necessary to reduce your overall bodyfat to start seeing any ab development, and that takes both a low-carb diet and a full exercise regimen.

There is good news, though… You CAN build an impressive mid-section even if you don’t go to the extent of being totally ripped & shredded. A healthy, portion-controlled diet coupled with a workout routine designed to build bigger ab muscles can let you sport a belly to be proud of during the summer bikini season if you have the discipline to stay with it for a few months or more each year. For best results, consult a certified personal trainer for your workout plans and a certified nutritionist for an effective but safe diet regimen to follow.

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Starting To Exercise – Weight Lifting Basics

When you first decide to build muscle it’s important to have a firm grasp on the weight lifting basics. Effective weight lifting to build muscle requires a basic understanding of how lifting weights, proper nutrition and sufficient rest work together to create the metabolic state needed to add lean muscle mass and get stronger.

Weight Lifting Basics: Physiology

To understand how your muscles work and what it takes to build muscle you need to know, in general terms, what the muscle is made of. Think of a tube or sheath filled with liquid that has cables running through it. In each muscle, that fluid is sarcoplasm – a mix of water and other elements including the glycogen your muscles need for energy and the amino acids to repair damages to the muscle itself. The ‘cables’ running through it are your myofibrils – collections of thousands of protein chains that contract as the muscle moves.

While the two work synergistically, doing higher repetitions with a medium weight does more to build the amount of sarcoplasm, resulting in bigger muscles with less strength gain. Lifting heavier weights for fewer repetitions causes growth in the myofibril sections, giving you better strength gains with (usually) smaller muscle growth. If you main goal is to get stronger you’ll focus more on how much weight you can lift with proper form for 6 or fewer repetitions per set, while you’d be using a more moderate weight so you can complete sets of 12 – 15 repetitions if your main focus is to build muscle size. If you want to do both, you’ll either need to rotate back and forth between the two workout styles, or use reps schemes in the 8-10 reps per set range.

When you lift weights using either style, you’re creating micro-tears in the muscle. Your body will repair these tears and make the muscle a little bigger and stronger in case it meets that same stress again. If you’re not increasing the amount of weight you lift over time, there’s no need for the body to keep making the muscle bigger and stronger, so your gains plateau – this is why weight lifting is also referred to as progressive resistance – you have to be continually working the muscles a bit harder than before to see continuing gains in muscle mass and to keep getting stronger.

For weight lifting purposes there are 7 major muscle areas – legs, back, chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps and abdominals (abs). Each area can be broken down further as you progress with your exercises, but when first starting out just make sure your routines include exercising all 7 areas.

Weight Lifting Basics: Proper Nutrition

In order to repair the damages from working out your body needs sufficient carbohydrates and proteins along with some essential fats. Carbohydrates contain the sugars that are converted to glycogen, and are most necessary pre-workout for the energy to exercise at your peak levels and post-workout to replace the glycogen levels you depleted while working out.

Protein is necessary for the repairs and improvements to your muscles and must be made available throughout the recuperation process. Since it can take from 48 hours to a week for this process, depending on your conditioning and the amount of work performed in the gym, boosting your daily protein intake every day is necessary compared to someone who isn’t lifting weights.

There is an optimum-uptake window for your nutrients that lasts about 60-90 minutes after each weightlifting session, so be sure to get an abundance of both carbs and protein as soon as you can right after each workout. Unlike protein, however, you do not need to keep your carbohydrate intake higher on the days between gym visits – overindulging in carbs on your off days usually leads to a layer of fat hiding all your new shiny muscles!

Weight Lifting Basics: Sufficient Rest

It’s very important to realize that without proper rest and recuperation you’re pretty much wasting your time in the gym, especially as you get older. Your body needs time to fully heal and rebuild its energy levels between workouts. Understand right from the start that muscles are ‘torn down’ in the gym and rebuilt during rest periods on the days you’re not in the gym. As such, getting 7 – 9 hours of sleep is a MUST if you want to get optimal results for your time and energy expenditures.

Further, when first starting out you need at least 1 – 3 days off between the days you hit the gym. Anything less and you’re tearing down muscles that haven’t fully recovered yet, thus limiting your own muscle and strength growth. Forget the routines you see in the magazines where the top bodybuilders do 5 or 6 workouts a week – they have very superior genetics and a huge existing mass of muscle and STILL need steroids and other synthetic anabolic hormones to recover from a schedule like that. For most people, especially those first lifting weights, those routines would quickly lead to overtraining – a situation noted for fatigue, muscle loss and injuries both acute and chronic.

Take your time, learn proper form for each exercise and follow these weight lifting basics and you can enjoy a lifetime of better health and fitness, adding lean muscle mass and building strength throughout your lifetime. And don’t forget to share your exercise activities and these weight lifting basics with your spouse and kids – make fitness a family affair in your household starting today!

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Sport-Specific Training For Skiers And Snowboarders Starts NOW!

Around here, we’re fond of saying that ANY day is a great day to start the year right, since every day can start a new year. But for skiiers and snowboarders in the northern hemisphere your skiing or snowboarding season should start now with sport-specific training. By starting your training now, you can help ensure this is your best year yet for alpine skiing, cross-country skiing or snowboarding this winter.

Sport-Specific Training Helps Skiers & Snowboarders

Sport-Specific Training Helps Skiers & Snowboarders Have Their Best Year Ever!

All over the world snowboarders and skiers, both alpine skiers and cross-country skiers, eagerly anticipate that first powdery snowfall. That bright, crisp day with the sun shining through and the sound & feel of your skis or board schussing through the snow as you make your way downhill or across the meadows fills your blood with adrenaline as your mood soars. Sound familiar?

But that first day on the slopes or out in the woods isn’t the start of the snowboarding season or skiing season for serious winter athletes – for them, the season starts about 3 months earlier as they start getting into top shape before opening day. If you want to have your best year yet and take your sports performance to the next level this year, start your weightlifting buildup about 12 weeks out and improve your conditioning and sport-specific strength non-stop til you first snap on your boots and bindings.

So just how do you effectively design your sport-specific training? First up, of course, is cardiovascular (cardio) work. You’ll be expecting a lot from your heart & lungs while you’re skiing or snowboarding – even more so if you’re participating at any higher elevations where the air is thinner. If you’re using a certified personal trainer to design your program, have them incorporate High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) into your routine for 3 or 4 half-hour sessions per week.

If you don’t have a personal trainer you can design your own HIIT workouts… Basically the idea is to have 30-second all-out bursts of exertion interspersed with 90-second periods of less-extreme activity. One example is to run uphill as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then jog for 90 seconds to get back to the bottom of the hill. Repeat this pattern non-stop for 30 minutes, then quit. This type of HIIT training will also go a long way towards burning fat you may have put on during the off-season, assuming you’re also following a healthy diet.

To know which weightlifting exercises you should focus on, thing of your body position when skiing or snowboarding. Your legs are bent and pumping up and down and your upper body is bent forward at varying angles. To keep your legs both strong and supple use squats, leg extensions and leg curls. Be sure you’re using full range-of-motion on each exercise to achieve maximum flexibility and keep the ligaments and tendons healthy and strong along with your muscles.

Keeping your upper body bent forward from your waist uses mostly the muscles of your lower back and, to a lesser degree, your abdominal muscles. Here you want to use either traditional deadlifts or Romanian deadlifts for your lower back and knee raises or leg raises for your abs. Don’t bother with sit-ups or crunches, since neither is nearly as effective as the raises.

Finally we come to your arm position if you’re a cross-country or alpine skier – your arms are extended holding your poles and rising and lowering to dig your poles in then free them from the snow. Moving your arms towards your body and back away involves your biceps and triceps, while raising and lowering your arms uses your shoulders muscles (deltoids, or ‘delts’).

Overhead presses, seated or standing, are best for your shoulders, dumbbell kickbacks and triceps pushdowns are good for your triceps, and any form of dumbbell curls or barbell curls are perfect for your biceps. Do those exercises in the order shown to keep from fatiguing any of the muscles you’ve yet to train.

As with any new exercise routines, be sure to check with your medical professional before starting your weight training and cardio – but if you’re an avid skier or snowboarder you’ll probably get the nod to start without any issues. Just be sure to start with light weights and work your way up as the 12 weeks progress. Schedule your weightlifting sessions for 3 non-consecutive days each week, and drop in your HIIT cardio training on the days you aren’t going to be in the gym.

By starting the year right with three months of sports-specific training you have a much better chance of enjoying your best skiing or snowboarding year yet while minimizing your risk of injury and muscle strains – assuming you stay upright, of course! Your cardiovascular system will be stronger allowing for longer runs or further distances and you’ll minimize that all-too-familiar next-day soreness that plagues the start of every season on the slopes, snow-covered fields or half-pipe. As a side benefit, chances are your new physique will turn a few heads at the apres-ski parties as well!

So start the year right for your fun on the snow this winter by getting into good shape and preparing you body now. If you’re not familiar with the exercises mentioned here you can find them by searching YouTube or Google – plenty of videos of each of these exercises can be found quickly online. You’ve spent a lot of money getting the right equipment for your alpine skiing, cross-country skiing or snowboarding – now start your sport-specific traing with HIIT and weightlifting to have your best year yet!

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